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TMCNet:  EFE News Briefs for Monday, May 19

[May 19, 2014]

EFE News Briefs for Monday, May 19

(EFE Ingles Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) U.S. accuses 5 Chinese military men of industrial cyber-spying Washington (EFE).- The U.S. government accused five Chinese military members of a secret unit of hackers of conducting industrial espionage against U.S. firms.


"The range of trade secrets and other sensitive business information stolen in this case is significant and demands an aggressive response," Attorney General Eric Holder said during a press conference to announce the charges.

A federal grand jury in Pittsburgh indicted five People's Liberation Army officers for cyber-attacks on entities including Westinghouse Electric, Alcoa, Allegheny Technologies Incorporated, U.S. Steel, the United Steelworkers Union and SolarWorld.

The 31 charges filed against the Chinese hackers carry maximum prison terms ranging from 10 to 15 years, though it is highly unlikely any of them will ever stand trial.

--- AT&T agrees to buy DIRECTV for $48.5 bn Washington (EFE).- U.S. telecom giant AT&T said it agreed to buy satellite television service DIRECTV for $48.5 billion, creating a leading pay television provider.

"This is a unique opportunity that will redefine the video entertainment industry and create a company able to offer new bundles and deliver content to consumers across multiple screens - mobile devices, TVs, laptops, cars and even airplanes. At the same time, it creates immediate and long-term value for our shareholders," AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson said in a statement.

DIRECTV provides digital satellite television service to more than 20 million customers in the United States and over 18 million customers in Latin America.

--- Death toll revised downward in Brazil bus crash Sao Paulo (EFE).- The death toll from a weekend bus accident in the northeastern state of Ceara was 18, not 23, Brazilian authorities said.

Authorities initially had reported 23 fatalities, a figure that was reduced after the victims were identified, according to the supervisor of forensic operations in the city of Caninde, Paulo Granjeiro A dozen other people were injured, several of them seriously.

The accident occurred around 8:45 a.m. on Sunday at Kilometer 303 on federal highway BR-020, in the vicinity of Caninde.

--- Credit Suisse pleads guilty to tax evasion, will pay $2.5 bn fine to U.S.

Washington (EFE).- Credit Suisse agreed to pay a fine of more than $2.5 billion to the U.S. government and plead guilty to knowingly attempting to help some of its U.S. customers evade taxes, the Department of Justice announced.

The agreement comes after lengthy negotiations with the DOJ, the Federal Reserve and New York State's Department of Financial Services.

This is the first time in almost two decades that a bank has admitted guilt in a U.S. penal case. In 1995, Japan's Daiwa Bank pleaded guilty to hiding losses from regulators.

In addition, the size of the fine for Switzerland's second-largest bank is the biggest in history in a U.S. tax case.

Credit Suisse, which is based in Zurich, created secret accounts abroad, hid information from regulators and "engaged in an extensive and wide-ranging conspiracy to help U.S. taxpayers evade taxes," U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said.

--- Senior police officer gunned down in Mexico Mexico City (EFE).- A state police commander was fatally shot near the southern Mexican city of Chilpancingo, authorities said.

Maj. Esteban Parra Catalan, 55, was killed while on his way to work, an official in the Guerrero state Attorney General's Office told Efe by telephone from Chilpancingo, the state capital.

The shooting took place on a stretch of highway between Chilpancingo and Tixta, the AG's office said in a statement.

--- Colombia's Santos blasts election rival for "criminal campaign" Bogota (EFE).- Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos denounced his main challenger in the May 25 election for running a "criminal campaign," as evidenced by a video showing candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga meeting with a man recently arrested for cyber-espionage targeting the government.

Santos spoke bluntly for the first time about the content of this video that shook up the campaign over the weekend and about which he said on Sunday that the "twisted, criminal methods" of his rival do not alter his determination to make peace in Colombia.

"We are now entering a phase of criminal campaigning that is totally unacceptable," Santos said on Blu Radio.

--- Poll shows immigration could be key in close congressional races Washington (EFE).- A survey of voters who will decide this year's most competitive congressional races found 71 percent support for immigration reform, online publication Politico said.

The SocialSphere-designed poll was carried out in English and Spanish by Gfk among 867 likely voters during the period May 2-13 and has a margin of error of plus/minus 4.1 percentage points.

Support for immigration reform is bipartisan: 64 percent of Republicans are in favor of it, along with 78 percent of Democrats and 71 percent of independents.

In addition, nine out of every 10 Hispanic voters say they favor immigration reform.

Seventy-three percent of those surveyed say that immigration reform will be an important issue in determining which candidate they will vote for in November, while 28 percent say that it will be "very important." --- Barbara Walters calls it quits after 50 years of big interviews Washington (EFE).- Michael Jackson, Fidel Castro, Audrey Hepburn, Monica Lewinsky and Margaret Thatcher, as well as every U.S. president and first lady since Richard Nixon, were among the subjects who came clean with Barbara Walters, the legendary journalist who took the art of the interview to a new level over her 50-year career.

Walters, who paved the way for women in an industry that was once dominated by men, signed off for the last time over the weekend.

The 84-year-old Walters became the first woman to co-host a morning show, the first female co-anchor of an evening newscast and the first woman anchor to be paid $1 million.

Walters was known for her verbal agility and probing interviewing style, allowing subjects to let their guard down and then getting them to make statements that would go down in history.

EFE bp (c) 2014 EFE News Services (U.S.) Inc.

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