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Health-Care Sector Vulnerable To Hackers, Researchers Say

Security researchers warn that intruders could exploit known gaps to steal patients’ records for use in identity theft schemes and even launch disruptive attacks that could shut down critical hospital systems. A year-long examination of cybersecurity by The Washington Post has found that health care is among the most vulnerable industries in the country, in part because it lags behind in addressing known problems. Compared with financial, corporate and military networks, relatively few hacks have been directed at hospitals and other medical facilities. But in recent months, officials with the Department of Homeland Security have expressed growing fear that health care presents an inviting target to activist hackers, cyberwarriors, criminals and terrorists.

Russian Parliament Votes To Ban U.S. Adoption

Russia’s parliament unanimously voted in favor of a measure banning adoptions of Russian children by American on Wednesday, CBS News reports. The vote comes after years of increasingly strict adoption laws in Russia and is widely seen as a retaliation against a new U.S. law that punishes Russians accused of human rights violations. Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed support for the ban and has previously called it a legitimate response to the new U.S. law. Despite voicing his support, Putin — who will now sign or turn down the measure –stopped short of confirming that he would sign it into law. According to the U.S. State Department, nearly 6,000 Russian children were adopted by U.S. families in 2004. In 2012, that number dropped to less than 1,000 children. UNICEF estimates that there are more than 700,000 orphaned or abandoned children in Russia. Over the last 20 years, Americans adopted more than 60,000 Russian children.

Police Investigating ‘Meet The Press’ Over Ammunition Magazine

D.C. police say they are investigating an incident in which NBC News reporter David Gregory displayed what he described as a high-capacity ammunition magazine on “Meet the Press.” Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump told The Washington Post  in an email that the matter is under investigation. Gregory interviewed Wayne LaPierre, the CEO of the National Rifle Association, on Sunday’s program. When asking whether high-capacity magazines should be banned, Gregory held an object and said it was a magazine that could hold 30 rounds.High-capacity ammunition magazines are banned in the District of Columbia. “Meet the Press” is generally taped in Washington, The Washington Post reports.

Judge Says Oklahoma Can End Planned Parenthood Contract

A federal judge on Monday rejected Planned Parenthood’s bid to stop Oklahoma from ending its contract with the women’s health organization to provide food vouchers and counseling to poor mothers in the Tulsa area. Reuters reports U.S. District Judge Stephen Friot of the Western District of Oklahoma ruled that Planned Parenthood failed to prove its contract with the state’s department of health was terminated for political reasons related to the group’s support of abortion rights. The state contract ends on Jan. 1. The judge said Planned Parenthood’s performance shortfalls – mostly drops in caseload – did not themselves seem to be problems that could lead to a cut in ties. Planned Parenthood does not perform abortions in Oklahoma, but it does refer women to clinics where abortions are carried out. It also dispenses the so-called “morning after” pill, which abortion opponents decry as abortion-inducing drugs.State health officials have said politics played no part in ending an 18-year relationship with Planned Parenthood to help provide services under the federal Women, Infant and Children’s (WIC) program.

U.S. Counties Sue HSBC Over Bad Loans, Lost Tax Revenue

Three Atlanta-area counties have filed a lawsuit claiming that British bank HSBC cost them hundreds of millions of dollars in extra expenses and damage to their tax bases by aggressively signing minorities to housing loans that were likely to fail, CBS News reports. The Georgia counties’ failure or success with the relatively novel strategy could help determine whether other local governments try to hold big banks accountable for losses in tax revenue based on what they claim are discriminatory or predatory lending practices. Similar lawsuits resulted in settlements this year worth millions of dollars for communities in Maryland and Tennessee. Fulton, DeKalb and Cobb counties say in their lawsuit, which was filed in October, that the housing foreclosure crisis was the “foreseeable and inevitable result” of big banks, such as HSBC and its American subsidiaries, aggressively pushing irresponsible loans or loans that were destined to fail. The counties say that crisis has caused them tremendous damage.

 

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