56 arrested demonstrating support for Christine Blasey Ford

WASHINGTON — Capitol Police arrested 56 protesters Thursday who flooded Senate office buildings to voice opposition to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and express support for his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford.

Thirty-three protesters were arrested outside Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley’s office in the Hart Senate Office Building Thursday afternoon. The demonstrators were charged with “Crowding, Obstructing, or Incommoding.” Earlier in the day, Capitol Police arrested 23 protesters outside Sen. Susan Collins office in Dirksen for “unlawful demonstration activities.” They faced the same charges.

In addition to the protesters arrested, scores of people staged quiet demonstrations all day at different senators’ offices. Many wore pins reading “I believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford,” which are a throwback to pins worn during the 1991 hearings in which Anita Hill testified about sexual harassment while working for then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. One of the buttons that reads “I believe Anita Hill” is on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Thursday’s protesters came from a variety of groups, from health care organizations, disability rights groups and the women’s marches.

— CQ-Roll Call

Romanian cyberattack targeted security cameras ahead of inauguration

WASHINGTON — A Romanian woman pleaded guilty in connection with a cyberattack against the District of Columbia’s Metropolitan Police Department that disabled two-thirds of the outdoor surveillance cameras operated by the department, just days before the 2017 presidential inauguration.

Eveline Cismaru, a Romanian citizen, pleaded guilty Thursday to federal charges related to her role in the cyberattack.

The computer intrusion was used to execute a ransomware attack, according to the Secret Service. The 126 infected computers were locked and displayed instructions to pay Bitcoin in order to unlock the affected machines, which were connected to the cameras. The ransom to unlock all the computers would have totaled $60,800.

Cismaru and her co-conspirator Mihai Alexandru Isvanca were in the process of attacking as many as 170,000 other computers using stolen emails, email passwords and banking credentials, according to the Secret Service.

Federal agencies, including the Secret Service use MPD’s camera network to provide surveillance and security during national events, including presidential inaugurations.

“The Secret Service and MPD quickly ensured that the surveillance camera system was secure and operational prior to the Inauguration,” according to a release from the Justice Department. It said that the investigation showed “no evidence that any person’s physical security was threatened or harmed due to the disruption of the MPD surveillance cameras.”

Cismaru and her co-defendant Isvanca were arrested Dec. 15, 2017, in Bucharest, Romania. Cismaru fled Romania weeks after her arrest and was later apprehended in the United Kingdom on March 23, 2018, and extradited to the United States on July 26, 2018. Isvanca, also of Romania, remains held there pending extradition to the United States.

The charges against Cismaru of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit computer fraud carry statutory maximum prison sentences of 20 and five years respectively. She will be sentenced Dec. 3, 2018.

— CQ-Roll Call

Florida airport reopens after student pilot boards passenger plane, police say

ORLANDO, Fla. — Orlando Melbourne International Airport has reopened after it closed for about five hours Thursday morning, because a student pilot boarded a passenger plane in the airfield’s maintenance facility, a spokeswoman said.

The 26-year-old suspect was arrested, airport spokeswoman Lori Booker said.

The incident started at about 2 a.m. when the suspect drove to the curb outside the airport and left his car running, spokeswoman Lori Booker said. He hopped a fence and boarded a vacant Airbus A321 aircraft belonging to American Airlines, Booker said.

A maintenance worker saw the suspect and alerted airport police, who apprehended him within a couple of minutes, Booker said.

Booker said the suspect was born in Trinidad and entered the United States through Canada. She said the man has a Florida driver’s license and was a student pilot, but she did not know whether he was enrolled in school currently or in the past.

Police towed the man’s car after a robotic arm searched it for any explosives, Booker said. Police, the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force are involved in the investigation, she said.

The suspect was taken to the Brevard County Jail. His identity has not been revealed.

— Orlando Sentinel

Rwanda discovers mass graves with bodies of 5,400 genocide victims

KIGALI, Rwanda — Rwandan authorities have discovered the bodies of 5,400 victims of the 1994 genocide.

The bodies were exhumed from 26 mass graves in the Masaka and Kicukiro districts of the capital, Kigali, according to Naphtal Ahishakiye, the executive secretary of genocide survivors organization Ibuka.

A resident from Kicukiro, who had lived through the genocide, had pointed the authorities towards the previously unknown mass graves, Ahishakiye told dpa Thursday.

The search for more graves in the same district was ongoing, said Ahishakiye.

About 18,000 bodies have been discovered since April. More than 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in only 100 days in 1994.

— dpa


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