14 arrested in alleged cyberattack on PayPal

Posted July 19, 2011, at 8:48 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Fourteen people were arrested Tuesday for allegedly mounting a cyberattack on the website of PayPal in retaliation for its suspending the accounts of WikiLeaks.

Separately, FBI agents executed more than 35 search warrants around the country in an ongoing investigation into coordinated cyberattacks against major companies and organizations.

As part of the effort, there were two arrests in the United States unrelated to the PayPal attack. Overseas, one person was arrested by Scotland Yard in Britain, and there were four arrests by the Dutch National Police Agency, all for alleged cybercrimes.

The cyberattacks on PayPal’s website by the group Anonymous followed the release by WikiLeaks in November of thousands of classified State Department cables.

Anonymous is a loosely organized group of hackers sympathetic to WikiLeaks. It has claimed responsibility for attacks against corporate and government websites worldwide.

Federal panel: No copays for contraceptives

WASHINGTON — An Institute of Medicine panel on Tuesday recommended that the government require health insurance companies to cover birth control for women as preventive care, without copayments. Contraception — along with such care as diabetes tests during pregnancy and screening for the virus that causes cervical cancer — was one of eight recommended preventive services for women.

Medical experts say easier access could start a shift to more reliable forms of long-acting birth control, such as implants or IUDs, which are gaining acceptance in other economically developed countries. Emergency contraception, known as the morning-after pill, would also be covered.

All but one member of the 16-person IOM panel supported the final recommendations.

Obama Tops GOP on Helping Middle Class; Also Has Edge on Small Business

WASHINGTON — When it comes to protecting the economic interests of the middle class, President Barack Obama has a decisive advantage over congressional Republicans, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The president also has a double-digit lead when it comes to caring more about people’s own family financial interests and edges out the GOP on helping small businesses, which has been a flash point in the high-profile, big-stakes contest over debt and deficits.

Obama’s advantages over the GOP in these areas emerge despite an overall approval rating — 47 percent — near the lowest of his presidency in Post-ABC polling. As before, more Americans “strongly disapprove” than “strongly approve” of the way he is handling his job (35 to 25 percent).

But pitted against the GOP, the president benefits from a widespread perception that the Republicans in Congress are particularly in sync with the economic interests of Wall Street financial institutions and large business corporations.

Asked who cares more about the financial concerns of middle-class Americans, Obama has a big advantage, 53 percent to 35 percent, over the Republicans in Congress. He’s up 47 percent to 37 percent when poll respondents were asked about themselves and their families. On protecting the interests of small businesses, 48 percent of Americans say Obama cares more; 39 percent say so of the GOP .

Majorities across party lines see the GOP as caring more than Obama about Wall Street and big business.

Obama’s overall approval rating is a shade below where presidents Bill Clinton (51 percent) and Ronald Reagan (52 percent) were at this stage in their first terms in Post-ABC polling.

Oxfam: $800 million needed to help hungry

UNITED NATIONS — The relief agency Oxfam is urging donors to provide $800 million desperately needed to help 10 million hungry people in the Horn of Africa who are victims of severe drought.

Of the estimated $1 billion needed to stave off a major humanitarian catastrophe, Oxfam said Tuesday night, only around $200 million in new money has so far been provided.

In the last two weeks Britain has pledged an estimated $145 million — almost 15 percent of what is needed. The European Union pledged around $8 million, with more expected in the coming days, Spain pledged nearly $10 million and Germany around $8.5 million.

Aid agencies say the number of people requiring emergency assistance has grown from 6.3 million early this year to 10 million today, the majority in Kenya.

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