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Chinese hackers target government officials: July 13 rundown

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Chinese hackers breached the email accounts belonging to top government officials, and Hollywood actors could join writers in striking. These stories and more highlight the rundown for Thursday, July 13, 2023.

Chinese hackers breach U.S. government email accounts

Microsoft email accounts belonging to top government officials and agencies have been breached by Chinese hackers, according to statements from Microsoft and the White House. Affected agencies include the State Department and the Commerce Department.

According to The Washington Post, hackers accessed the email account of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. Sources familiar with the investigation said the Chinese hackers also targeted a handful of other government officials.

The FBI had previously said Beijing has a larger hacking program than all other governments combined. The latest breach could escalate cybersecurity concerns regarding China.

“We always look at incidents such as this and seek to learn how to better protect our systems,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said on Wednesday, July 12. “And of course, we engage in conversation with the third-party providers about how they can better protect the systems that they provide to us.”

Russian general dismissed over criticism of leadership

A Russian general said he was dismissed after telling military leadership about the dire situation on the front lines of the war with Ukraine. Major General Ivan Popov said Russian soldiers had been stabbed in the back by the failings of military leadership.

Popov also said the Russian army lacked proper reconnaissance of enemy artillery and counter artillery systems. His criticism and subsequent dismissal comes less than three weeks after the Wagner group staged a brief but significant revolt against Russia, further demonstrating discontent within Russian fighters as the country continues the biggest land war in Europe since World War 2.

“Putin still wrongly believes that he can outlast Ukraine. He can’t believe it’s their land, their country and their future. And even after all this time, Putin still doubts our staying power,” President Joe Biden said Wednesday in his closing remarks at this week’s NATO summit. “He’s still making a bad bet that the conviction and the unity among the United States and our allies and partners will break down.”

Tornado spotted near Chicago’s O’Hare airport

A tornado was spotted near Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport Wednesday night. Just behind planes on the tarmac, a funnel and dark clouds hovered in the skies, grounding nearly 700 flights as pilots waited for the powerful storm to pass through.

Homes were lost and trees and powerlines were toppled in the suburbs. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage at the airport.

Ray Epps sues Fox News over Jan. 6 charges

Among the thousands of people participated in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, Ray Epps became the center of a conspiracy theory accusing him of being an FBI informant, at the Capitol to incite the crowd. Several Fox News hosts ran with the story, with former primetime host Tucker Carlson often questioning why Epps hadn’t been arrested when hundreds of others had.

Epps has now sued Fox News for defamation. According to the suit, Epps was informed in May of 2023 that he faces criminal charges for his actions on Jan. 6. Epps blames the charges on “the relentless attacks by Fox and Tucker Carlson and the resulting political pressure.”

The lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of Delaware, the same court where Dominion Voting Systems sued Fox over its coverage of the 2020 presidential election. Before trial was set to begin, Fox agreed to settle that lawsuit for $787 million. Soon after, Carlson was ousted.

Hollywood actors strike looms

Hollywood actors may soon join screenwriters on the picket lines. A deadline for the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) to reach a deal with studios and streaming services passed at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.

The SAG-AFTRA Negotiating Committee then voted unanimously to recommend a strike, which would halt Hollywood productions. Issues in the negotiations include better residuals with streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon, as well as the use of AI technology.

The looming strike cast a shadow over Wednesday’s Emmy nominations.

“There are certain streamers that have really kind of changed the way we work and the way we have work,” actress Jessica Chastain said Wednesday. “And the contracts really haven’t caught up to the innovation that’s happened.”

The Writers Guild of America has been on strike since early May of 2023. If the actors go on strike, it would be the first time since 1960 that the two guilds would be on strike at the same time.

Elon Musk creates new company “xAI”

Elon Musk has begun his next business venture. This time, he’s entering the space of artificial intelligence.

Musk said he built “xAI” with a goal to “understand reality and the true nature of the universe.” He hired researchers from Google, OpenAI and other top tech firms to be part of his initial xAI team.

According to Musk, xAI will be its own entity, separate from his other businesses like Twitter, Tesla and SpaceX. However, Musk also said the companies will work closely together.

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CHINESE HACKERS HAVE BREACHED THE EMAIL ACCOUNTS BELONGING TO TOP GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS.
WHICH AGENCIES WERE SPECIFICALLY TARGETED.
AND —
HOLLYWOOD WRITERS ARE GOING ON TWO MONTHS STRONG IN THEIR STRIKE —
AND ANOTHER ELITE GROUP THAT MAKES THE MAGIC OF HOLLYWOOD HAPPEN — COULD SOON JOIN THEM.
THE RUNDOWN STARTS NOW.
THIS IS STRAIGHT-ARROW NEWS.
BRINGING YOU UNBIASED, STRAIGHT FACTS.
TODAY IS THURSDAY — JULY 13TH.
THANKS FOR JOINING US.
I’M KARAH RUCKER.
MICROSOFT EMAIL ACCOUNTS BELONGING TO TOP GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS AND AGENCIES HAVE BEEN BREACHED BY CHINESE HACKERS.
THAT’S ACCORDING TO STATEMENTS FROM MICROSOFT AND THE WHITE HOUSE.
THE FEDERAL AGENCY WHERE THE CHINA-BASED HACKERS WERE FIRST DETECTED —
WAS THE STATE DEPARTMENT.
THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE — WHICH HAS SANCTIONED CHINESE FIRMS —
WAS ALSO BREACHED.
HACKERS ACCESSED THE EMAIL ACCOUNT OF COMMERCE SECRETARY “GINA RAIMONDO” — FIRST REPORTED BY THE WASHINGTON POST.
SOURCES FAMILIAR WITH THE INVESTIGAITON SAY THE HACKERS WERE **TARGETING A HANDFUL OF SPECIFIC OFFICIALS.
THE FBI HAS PREVIOUSLY SAID BEIJING HAS A LARGER HACKING PROGRAM THAN ALL OVER GOVERNMENTS COMBINED —
THE LATEST BREACH ADDING TO SERIOUS CYBERSECURITY CONCERNS.
“We always look at incidents such as this and seek to learn how to better protect our systems. And of course, we engage in conversation with the third-party providers about how they can better protect the systems that they provide to us.”
Reporter off camera: “And have you engaged with any anybody in the Chinese about this issue?”
“I don’t have any conversations to read.”

MORE SIGNS OF DISSENSION WITHIN THE RUSSIAN RANKS — AS THE COUNTRY PUSHES FORWARD WITH ITS INVASION OF UKRAINE.
A RUSSIAN GENERAL SAID HE WAS DISMISSED AFTER TELLING MILITARY LEADERSHIP ABOUT THE DIRE SITUATION ON THE FRONT LINES OF THE WAR.
MAJOR GENERAL IVAN POPOV SAID RUSSIAN SOLDIERS HAD BEEN STABBED IN THE BACK BY THE FAILINGS OF MILITARY LEADERSHIP.
HE ALSO SAID THE RUSSIAN ARMY LACKED PROPER RECON OF ENEMY ARTILLERY AND COUNTER ARTILLERY SYSTEMS.
POPOV’S CRITICISM AND SUBSEQUENT DISMISSAL COMES LESS THAN THREE WEEKS AFTER THE WAGNER GROUP STAGED A BRIEF BUT SIGNIFICANT REVOLT AGAINST RUSSIA — FURTHER DEMONSTRATING DISCONTENT WITHIN RUSSIAN FIGHTERS AS THE COUNTRY CONTINUES THE BIGGEST LAND WAR IN EUROPE SINCE WORLD WAR 2.
“Putin still wrongly believes that he can outlast Ukraine. He can’t believe it’s their land, their country and their future. And even after all this time, Putin still doubts our staying power. He’s still making a bad bet that the conviction and the unity among the United States and our allies and partners will break down.”

CAUGHT ON VIDEO —
A **TORNADO WAS SPOTTED NEAR CHICAGO’S “O’HARE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT” LAST NIGHT.
JUST BEHIND PLANES ON THE TARMAK —
A FUNNEL AND DARK CLOUDS HOVERED IN THE SKIES —
GROUNDING NEARLY 700 FLIGHTS AS PILOTS WAITED FOR THE POWERFUL STORM TO PASS THROUGH.
HOMES WERE LOST AND TREES AND POWERLINES WERE TOPPLED IN THE SUBURBS.
THERE WERE NO IMMEDIATE REPORTS OF INJURIES OR DAMAGE AT THE AIRPORT.

THE NAME “RAY EPPS” IS NOW SYNONYMOUS WITH JANUARY SIXTH.
A MAN PLASTERED IN IMAGES AND VIDEOS AT THE CAPITOL.
WHILE THERE WERE THOUSANDS OF PROTESTERS IN ATTENDANCE —
IT’S RAY EPPS WHO BECAME THE CENTER OF A CONSPIRACY THEORY THAT CLAIMS THE FORMER MARINE COULD HAVE BEEN AN FBI INFORMANT THERE TO INCITE THE CROWD.
SEVERAL FOX NEWS HOSTS RAN WITH THE STORY —
FORMER HOST TUCKER CARLSON OFTEN QUESTIONING WHY EPPS HADN’T BEEN ARRESTED BUT HUNDREDS OF OTHERS HAD.
“Tomorrow we need to go into the capitol. into the capitol. what no. fed fed fed.”
“In a lot of ways that’s the strangest video to emerge…we’ve played it several times on this show. quote we need to go into the capitol, into the capitol, ray epps tells the crowd.”
EPPS HAS NOW SUED FOX NEWS IN A DEFAMATION LAWSUIT.
ACCORDING TO THE SUIT — EPPS **IS BEING PURSUED BY THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT.
IN MAY — THE DOJ TOLD EPPS HE FACES CRIMINAL CHARGES FOR HIS ACTIONS ON JANUARY SIXTH.
EPPS BLAMES QUOTE “THE RELENTLESS ATTACKS BY FOX AND TUCKER CARLSON AND THE ‘RESULTING POLITICAL PRESSURE.’”
THE LAWSUIT WAS FILED IN THE SUPERIOR COURT IN DELAWARE —
THE SAME COURT WHERE DOMINION VOTING SYSTEMS SUED FOX OVER ITS COVERAGE OF THE 2020 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.
BEFORE TRIAL WAS SET TO BEGIN — FOX AGREED TO SETTLE FOR 787 MILLION DOLLARS.
SOON AFTER — HOST TUCKER CARLSON WAS OUSTED.

HOLLYWOOD ACTORS MAY SOON JOIN SCREENWRITERS ON THE PICKET LINES.
A DEADLINE FOR THE UNION — “SCREEN ACTORS GUILD-AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TELEVISION AND RADIO ARTISTS” —
TO REACH A DEAL WITH STUDIOS AND STREAMING SERVICES —
PASSED AT 11:59 P.M. WEDNESDAY.
THE SAG-AFTRA NEGOTIATING COMMITTEE THEN VOTED UNANIMOUSLY TO RECOMMEND A STRIKE WHICH WOULD HALT HOLLYWOOD PRODUCTIONS.
ISSUES IN THE NEGOTIATIONS INCLUDE BETTER RESIDUALS WITH STREAMING GIANTS LIKE NETFLIX AND AMAZON AND THE USE OF AI TECHNOLOGY.
THE LOOMING STRIKE CAST A **SHADOW OVER WEDNESDAY’S EMMY NOMINATIONS.
“There are certain streamers that have really kind of changed the way we work and the way we have work. And the contracts really haven’t caught up to the innovation that’s happened.”
THE **WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA HAS BEEN ON STRIKE SINCE EARLY MAY.
THIS WOULD BE THE FIRST TIME SINCE 1960 THAT THE TWO GUILDS WOULD BE ON STRIKE AT THE SAME TIME.

ELON MUSK HAS BEGUN HIS NEXT BUSINESS VENTURE —
THIS TIME — ENTERING THE SPACE OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE.
“X-AI” IS THE NAME OF THE NEW COMPANY —
BUILT WITH A GOAL TO QUOTE “UNDERSTAND REALITY — AND THE TRUE NATURE OF THE UNIVERSE.”
MUSK HAS HIRED RESEARCHERS FROM GOOGLE, OPEN A-I, AND OTHER TOP TECH FIRMS TO BE PART OF HIS INITIAL X-A-I TEAM.
X-A-I WILL BE ITS OWN ENTITY SEPARATE FROM MUSK’S OTHER BUSINESSES LIKE TWITTER — TESLA — SPACE-X —
BUT MUSK SAYS THE COMPANIES WILL WORK CLOSELY TOGETHER.
THIS IS SOMETHING MUSK HAS BEEN EYEING NOW FOR MONTHS.
THANKS FOR WATCHING STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS WHERE OUR MISSION IS TO BRING YOU UNBIASED, FACT-BASED REPORTING.
AND WE ARE DOING JUST THAT.
TWO SEPARATE INDUSTRY WATCHDOGS CONFIRM S-A-N IS REPORTING RIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE.
THE SURVEY OF EXPERTS AND USERS LIKE YOU SAY OUR REPORTING HAS NO LEAN.
SO IF YOU PREFER THE SOURCE THAT GIVES IT TO YOU STRAIGHT – STAY WITH US — AT STRAIGHTARROWNEWS.COM AND ON ALL OUR SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS.
UNBIASED. STRAIGHT FACTS. THAT’S S-A-N.
WE’LL SEE YOU BACK HERE TOMORROW
UNTIL THEN I’M KARAH RUCKER
HAVE A GREAT DAY!