Family, fans rally around Aretha Franklin

By Lisa Respers France, CNN

(CNN)Aretha Franklin is surrounded by those closest to her as the legendary singer receives hospice care.

A source close to Franklin tells CNN’s Don Lemon the 76-year-old “Queen of Soul” is being visited by people close to her who are reading messages from friends and loved ones, holding her hand.
Stevie Wonder and her ex-husband Glynn Turman paid the singer a visit, Franklin’s publicist Gwendolyn Quinn told CNN. Rev. Jesse Jackson will visit her on Wednesday, Quinn said.
 Social media has also been flooded with tributes to Franklin.
Former president Bill Clinton tweeted late Monday asking others to “lift” the ailing star.
“Like people all around the world, Hillary and I are thinking about Aretha Franklin tonight & listening to her music that has been such an important part of our lives the last 50 years,” the tweet read. “We hope you’ll lift her up by listening and sharing her songs that have meant the most to you.”
He joined a chorus of other famous voices, including Mariah Carey, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Chance the Rapper, who offered well-wishes and prayers for the the 76-year-old singer.

AP Probe: Google Is Storing Data You Said Not To

Specifically, your location data
By Newser Editors and Wire Services

(NEWSER) – Google wants to know where you go so badly that it records your movements even when you explicitly tell it not to. An AP investigation found many Google services on Android devices and iPhones store your location data even if you’ve used privacy settings that say they’ll prevent it from doing so. Computer-science researchers at Princeton confirmed these findings at the AP’s request. For the most part, Google is upfront about asking permission to use your location information. An app like Google Maps will remind you to allow access to your location if you use it for navigating. But the company will also let you “pause” a setting called “Location History,” which it says will prevent the company from remembering where you’ve been. Google’s support page on the subject states: “You can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored.”

But even with “Location History” paused, some Google apps automatically store time-stamped location data without asking. For example, Google stores a snapshot of where you are when you merely open its Maps app; automatic daily weather updates on Android phones also pinpoint roughly where you are. The privacy issue affects some 2 billion users of devices running Google’s Android operating software and hundreds of millions of iPhone users who rely on Google for maps or search. Critics say Google’s insistence on tracking its users’ locations stems from its drive to boost advertising revenue. In a statement, a Google rep says the company is being perfectly clear and offers “robust controls so people can turn them on or off, and delete their histories at any time.” Check out the AP for more on why Google’s remarks may be simplifying a more complex issue.


Willow Creek paid $3.25M to settle lawsuits over child sex abuse by church volunteer

Willow Creek Community Church agreed to pay more than $3 million to settle lawsuits over the sexual abuse of two developmentally disabled boys by a church volunteer, court records show.

The second and largest of the settlements, for $1.75 million, was made in February, before the Tribune revealed unrelated claims that the evangelical megachurch’s founder, the Rev. Bill Hybels, engaged in inappropriate conduct with women, eventually leading to his early retirement and, this month, the resignation of the church’s two leading pastors and its entire board of elders.

The influential South Barrington church also agreed last year to pay $1.5 million to another victim of former volunteer Robert Sobczak Jr.

Sobczak, now 24, is serving a seven-year prison sentence after pleading guilty in 2014 to sexually abusing an 8-year-old boy with special needs at the church and an older boy who was not connected to Willow Creek. In 2013, Sobczak pleaded guilty to sexually abusing another disabled boy, around age 9, at the church, and initially received probation in that case.

Willow Creek did not directly address questions about the settlements, but issued a written statement calling the experience “heartbreaking.”

“Since these incidents occurred,” the statement read, “we have worked with law enforcement and security experts to learn how this happened and how we can ensure it never happens again.”

Despite the church agreeing to the financial payouts, the John Doe settlement says Willow Creek “has denied and continues to deny all material allegations of negligence and damages in this case.”

There are no allegations that Hybels had any connection to Sobczak’s case. Hybels stepped down from the helm of the church in April, six months ahead of schedule, amid claims of inappropriate behavior with women, including employees.

Sobczak was a volunteer “buddy” for Willow Creek’s Special Friends program for children with intellectual or developmental disabilities or other special needs.

According to Cook County prosecutors, Sobczak separately took the two boys to an isolated area of the church and molested them.

Church policy called for there to be at least two adult volunteers with any single child at all times, but Sobczak repeatedly broke that rule, the lawsuits alleged.

Attorneys for the family of Jack Roe wrote that he was 8 years old when Sobczak molested him in February 2013. That day, the boy told his mother, who told church officials, who contacted police, which triggered the criminal investigation and the first sexual abuse charge against Sobczak. The lawsuits alleged that Sobczak abused John Doe multiple times prior to that.



Election officials’ concerns turn to information warfare as hackers gather in Vegas

By Donie O’Sullivan, CNN

Las Vegas, Nevada (CNN)As hackers sit down to break into dozens of voting machines here in Las Vegas this weekend, some state and local election officials that have flown in to witness the spectacle at one of the world’s largest hacking conventions are becoming increasingly concerned about another threat to November’s midterm elections: information warfare.

Organizers of a “voting village” at the annual Def Con hacker convention have packed a conference room at Caesars Palace with voting machines and have asked civically-curious hackers to wreak havoc. The event, now in its second year, is supposed to demonstrate vulnerabilities in America’s vast election infrastructure.
After a few hours on Friday, one hacker was essentially able to turn a voting machine into a jukebox, making it play music and display animations. While such hacks are a cause of concern for election officials, they are increasingly looking beyond the threats against traditional election infrastructure like voting machines and voting databases and more to the threat of disinformation.
What, some of them ask, if they fall victim to a coordinated information warfare campaign?
Recent indictments of Russian nationals by special counsel Robert Mueller allege Russia’s targeting of the Democratic party and the Clinton campaign in 2016 was two-fold. First came the successful penetration of campaign emails, and then a coordinated information warfare campaign that involved the dissemination of the hacked materials through specially-built websites and social media accounts, including DCLeaks, and through other sites like WikiLeaks.
If state election boards were to be targeted in this way, where voter information or voting systems were hacked, and then a coordinated campaign to disseminate or weaponize that information were to follow on social media, it could lead to widespread confusion that could undermine the integrity of an election could ensue, some officials fear.
“Obviously, we look at what happened in 2016 and what we should expect in the future is a two-pronged attack,” says Noah Praetz, the director of elections for Cook County in Illinois.
Praetz says when it comes to the first part of an attack, the targeting of election infrastructure, election officials across the country are taking steps to mitigate against a breach — steps they can take because they are responsible for those systems. But he says when it comes to the second part, the use of hacked material, things get more difficult.
He points out, “what you’ve got, what was clearly a more successful line of attack [in 2016] was this disinformation campaign, and it’s interesting, and it needs to inform what we’re doing, but it’s a really tough place to operate in because we don’t have much, if any, control in there.”
Alex Padilla, California’s secretary of state, told CNN, “There’s always been a concern about the integrity of our elections and there’s always been a concern about misinformation, disinformation being disseminated around campaigns.”
But Padilla, who is the only secretary of state to attend Def Con this year, said the threat of disinformation campaigns has heightened due to social media.
The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School is briefing election officials on what to do if they are the target of a conventional hack, a disinformation operation, or both. The center is advising officials to establish plans to monitor and, when warranted, respond to misinformation on social media.
Padilla’s office says California is hiring half a dozen cybersecurity communications professionals and others to help mitigate against the risk.
Padilla says his team is in regular contact with the major social media companies, all of which call California home, and is happy with their cooperation so far. But the test, he says, will come if California’s elections come under attack.
Disinformation campaigns could seek to misinform voters in an effort to deter them from casting a ballot. In 2016, the Internet Research Agency, a Kremlin-linked troll group that has since been indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller, targeted Hillary Clinton voters with false information telling them they could vote by text message or online.
But there appears to be growing concern among election officials that the communication of election results could also be vulnerable.

Child’s play

“The biggest threat is who reports the votes and having that hacked,” West Virginia’s secretary of state, Mac Warner, told CNN last month at a cybersecurity training event he organized for local election officials.
Warner said that the way election results are communicated from states to the public need to be particularly protected, and news organizations should be on guard.
In Vegas, Def Con organizers arranged for mock versions of some swing states’ election board websites, where results are posted, to be built to identify potential vulnerabilities.
“Unfortunately, it’s so easy to hack the websites that report election results that we couldn’t do it in this room because [adult hackers] would find it boring,” said Jake Braun, one of the event’s organizers.
So on Friday, almost 40 child hackers between the ages of 6 and 17 were let loose on the mock sites, and most of them were able to tamper with vote tallies, some even changing candidates names to things like “Bob Da Builder” and “Richard Nixon’s Head.”

‘Pseudo environment’

Plans for such provocative demonstrations led the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), the group that represents the top state officials in charge of elections, to criticize the Def Con voting village on Thursday.
The mock sites Def Con built for the kids to hack aren’t up to snuff, NASS said.
“It would be extremely difficult to replicate these systems since many states utilize unique networks and custom-built databases with new and updated security protocols,” the group said in a statement.

Report will detail sexual abuse by more than 300 priests in Pennsylvania’s Catholic Church

By Susannah Cullinane, CNN

(CNN)A grand jury’s report on sexual abuse by hundreds of Catholic priests in Pennsylvania is expected to be released later Tuesday.

The report is “an honest and comprehensive accounting of widespread sexual abuse by more than 300 priests in six Pennsylvania dioceses,” according to the attorney general’s office. The Church has said that the grand jury’s inquiry dates to 1947.
Court action has delayed the report’s publication. A number of individuals named in the report claimed that its findings were false or misleading, that they were denied due process of law and that its release would impair their reputations.
On July 27, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered the grand jury report to be released by 2 p.m. August 14 with redactions in sections where litigation was ongoing.
State Attorney General Josh Shapiro had written to the head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, on July 25, requesting that the Pontiff direct church leaders to stop “efforts to silence the survivors.”
“A comprehensive investigation by the Office of Attorney General found widespread sexual abuse of children and a systematic coverup by leaders of the Catholic Church,” Shapiro said in his letter. “Last month I planned to release the findings of our investigation. As I prepared to do so, anonymous petitioners implicated in this report went to court to stop me and silence the victims …”
Shapiro later issued a statement welcoming the state supreme court’s decision to allow the report’s release.
“Our fear throughout this process has been that the entire grand jury report would be shelved and victims’ truth would be silenced,” Shapiro said. “Today’s order ensures that will not be the case — the redacted report on widespread sexual abuse and cover up within the Catholic Church will be released.”
“I will continue to fight to ensure every single victim is heard and every priest, bishop and church official is held accountable for their abhorrent conduct. No one victim’s truth is any less important than another and no one’s criminal conduct any less loathsome.”

Harrisburg abuse list

On August 1, the leader of one of the largest Roman Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvaniareleased a list identifying 71 priests, deacons and seminarians accused of “substantiated” sexual misconduct over the past seven decades.
Bishop Ronald Gainer of the Harrisburg Diocese also issued an apology on behalf of the religious community.
“That conduct has left a legacy of pain and sorrow that is still being felt,” he wrote. “I apologize for these actions.”
While most men on the Harrisburg list are accused of sexually abusing children, others were investigated for inappropriate behavior, such as kissing or inappropriately communicating with a minor, Gainer wrote. Others were accused of viewing or possessing child pornography.
The list did not say how the diocese handled most of the accusations and did not give the men’s current whereabouts, though a few cases that were forwarded to civil authorities were more detailed.

Archbishop’s resignation

A long series of abuse allegations have rocked the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics since the scope of systemic abuse and cover-ups began emerging in 2002.

US Cardinal resigns over abuse allegations04:06
In July, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick from the College of Cardinals, one of the church’s most powerful bodies, amid allegations of molestation and sexual misconduct. McCarrick, 88, had been a popular and politically influential leader in Washington. He maintained his innocence in June against some claims and has been unavailable to comment on others.
The sexual abuse accusations against McCarrick reveal a “grievous moral failure” within the Catholic Church, the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops said July 31.
“Our Church is suffering from a crisis of sexual morality,” Daniel DiNardo said. “The way forward must involve learning from past sins.”

Inspirational sports classic ‘Rudy’ returns to theaters for 25th anniversary


Long before President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani became ubiquitous on cable news, the name “Rudy” represented something very different – the ultimate, feel-good sports movie.

That time is coming again.

“Rudy” is returning to theaters nationwide for two days only, Aug. 28 and Sept. 2, as part of Fathom Events’ celebration of the sports classic’s 25th anniversary.

The 1993 movie is based on a true underdog story. Sean Astin stars as Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, a too-small player with a big enough heart to practice with the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team, and who makes history on his final play with the team.

“It feels like only yesterday. But it’s a timeless message,” says the real Rudy Ruettiger, now 69, who made the rounds in Hollywood for years before he found the right team willing to take on his sports story (“Hoosiers” director David Anspaugh and screenwriter Angelo Pizzo). “When we put this film out there, we didn’t know it would ever take off like it did.”

“Rudy” follows Ruettiger as he grows up in an Illinois steel mill town obsessed with Notre Dame football and dreams of playing against all odds. He was too small to be taken seriously on the field and initially didn’t have the grades (he was diagnosed with dyslexia after high school) to get into Notre Dame.

But he worked his way into the university and eventually toiled as a walk-on for the football practice squad. Amazingly, Ruettiger got to play in the final seconds of his final home game, the only time he was allowed to even suit up.

Ruettiger’s miracle sack in the final seconds of Notre Dame’s blowout over Georgia Tech in November 1975 meant nothing for the game – but it made history of the inspirational kind. His overjoyed fellow players carried Ruettiger off the field.

The world has changed since “Rudy” was first released, but people still love the movie.

“They love it because it breaks down barriers: political, religious, whatever,” Ruettiger says. “It’s about belief in yourself. That if you believe in yourself, everything is possible. That’s why the movie works.”

Along with Ned Beatty as Rudy’s father and Charles Dutton as the groundskeeper, Fortune (a composite character), “Rudy” gives a look at young Jon Favreau (as Rudy’s tutor D-Bob) and Vince Vaughn (as a talented Notre Dame player). “They had a thing going and went onto make ‘Swingers’ together afterward,” Ruettiger said.

He says the movie is even more meaningful 25 years on, as key figures in the film have since died, including Notre Dame football coach Dan Devine (played by Chelcie Ross); Robert Prosky, who starred as Father Cavanaugh, died in 2008. Jason Miller, who played legendary Coach Ara Parseghian, died in 2001; the real coach died last year.

Theatrical screenings of “Rudy” will be accompanied by a Q&A with Ruettiger, filmed in front of a live audience at Chicago’s Music Box Theatre. 


Aretha Franklin in hospice care but remains hopeful: Reports

Aretha Franklin is reportedly in hospice care but she and her family remain hopeful she will recover, media outlets report.

The 76-year-old is in Detroit surrounded by loved ones and friends, according to a report by entertainment writer Roger Friedman of Showbiz411. AP also confirmed with a source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, that the singer is seriously ill.
CNN reported that the singer is in hospice care.

Franklin and her family remain hopeful that she will pull through, her nephew, Tim Franklin, told People.

“We believe she’ll pull through it, she believes she’ll pull through it, and that’s the important thing,” he said, adding that she has been joking and in good spirits.

People also reported that Franklin has been ill for a long time, according to a friend. The friend said that loved ones have been warned that her death is ‘imminent.’

Franklin has been battling numerous health problems over the years and had to cancel concerts last summer due to doctor’s orders.

She said last year that she planned to retire but would still perform at “some select things.” Her last performance was last November at the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s 25th Anniversary Gala in New York.

Abdul “Duke” Fakir of the Four Tops told AP that he and Franklin are still close and had just spoken on the phone a week ago.

“She talked about this great, big special she was going to have in New York, with all her great friends performing,” he said. “It made me feel good as well – she was still hoping and wishing and dreaming as we do in this business.”

The “Queen of Soul” is known for hits like “Natural Woman” and “Think,” as well as iconic covers, such as “Respect” and “I Say A Little Prayer.” She is one of the most decorated Grammy winners of all time with 18 trophies. Among her many other accolades, she was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

On Monday night, Beyonce reacted to the news by dedicating her Detroit concert with husband Jay-Z to Franklin, according to the Detroit Free Press. Opening act DJ Khaled also got the crowd going with a tribute to Franklin.


Hackers ‘to steal MILLIONS from cash machines within days’: FBI warns of imminent mass attack on world’s ATMs

  • The FBI has sent a confidential alert to warn banks of a global ‘cash-out scheme’
  • A ‘jackpotting’ scheme would see hackers use malware to take control of ATMs 
  • Smaller banks with less sophisticated security are said to be most vulnerable 

America’s intelligence chiefs have warned banks of a major hacking threat to cash machines worldwide in the next few days.

The FBI sent out a confidential alert on Friday to warn that cyber criminals are planning a global ‘cash-out scheme’ using malware to take over ATMs and steal millions of dollars.

Banks were warned that they could fall victim to an ‘unlimited operation’ in which millions of dollars could be withdrawn from cash machines.

Smaller banks with less sophisticated security systems are thought to be most vulnerable to an attack using the ‘jackpotting’ technique, the Daily Telegraphreports.

The warning said: ‘The FBI has obtained unspecified reporting indicating cyber criminals are planning to conduct a global Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cash-out scheme in the coming days, likely associated with an unknown card issuer breach.’

The FBI warned that ‘at a pre-determined time, the co-conspirators withdraw account funds from ATMs using these cards.’

‘Historic compromises have included small-to-medium size financial institutions, likely due to less robust implementation of cyber security controls, budgets, or third-party vendor vulnerabilities,’ the alert said.

Attacks could affect banks all over the world with British banks with large overseas interests including Barclays and HSBC thought to have been made aware of the danger from the ‘jackpotting’ technique.

Earlier this year it was revealed that a co-ordinated group of hackers had stolen more than $1million by hijacking cash machines in the U.S.

The spate of attacks represented the first widespread jackpotting activity in the United States, officials said in January.

The heists, which involved hacking ATMs to rapidly shoot out torrents of cash, were across the United States spanning from the Gulf Coast to New England.

An alert at the time from an ATM maker said the method included gaining physical access, replacing the hard drive and using an industrial endoscope to depress an internal button required to reset the device.

A U.S. Secret Service alert sent to banks in January said machines running Windows XP were more vulnerable and encouraged ATM operators to update to Windows 7 to protect against the attack.

Hackers have moved from stealing payment card numbers and online banking credentials to more lucrative hacks on bank networks, giving them access not only to ATM machines, but also to electronic payment networks.

In 2016 it was reported that cyber criminals had remotely attacked cash machines in more than a dozen countries across Europe.


Police to patrol Tom Lee Park after ATV vandalism

By Jessica Holley, WMC – TV

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) – Extra police officers will patrol the area of Tom Lee Park after ATVs were driven on public roads.

Memphis Police Department made the promise to patrol the area after receiving complaints of people riding the ATVs through the park on Sunday.

Fred Williams was at the park with his family when he saw six or seven people on ATVs doing donuts on the grass.

“They were ripping it up real bad,” Williams said. “Just tearing it up, doing donuts.”

Police arrested 28-year-old George Joy on Sunday night for vandalism, evading arrest, reckless driving, and possession of marijuana.

According to investigators, officers came across Joy blocking traffic up the road at A.W. Willis Avenue and North Main Street.

Police said Joy attempted to run an officer’s foot over with his ATV and hit one of their cars before trying to run away from them.

Downtown residents complained about the ATVs a week prior, too.

“That’s something they definitely need to sit on and crack down on some more,” Steven Haynes said. “But if they are promising to, I guess that is something we’ll just have to wait and see if they keep their promise.”

According to Department of Motor Vehicles, ATVs are not allowed to be driven on public roads or highways.


Bus driver drops group of kids at wrong location, police say

By Staff

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) – A substitute bus driver dropped a group of children off at the wrong location Monday afternoon, according to Memphis Police Department.

As a result, the Tillman police precinct turned into a makeshift daycare for several Treadwell Middle School students.

Police said the bus driver, driving the route for the first time, got frustrated after mixing the routes up and dropped 8-10 children off at a random spot miles away from home.

A student then called her dad to pick them up, and the dad drove the rest of the children to a police station.

“It’s not good, I mean they put a lot of kids in danger,” said parent John Wright. “A lot of kids were scared, and anything could have happened.”

“Some of the kids said we don’t know, and he started yelling,” said Ariana Wright, one of the students on the bus. “He said if y’all don’t tell me where we’re going, we’re going back to the school.”

But that didn’t happen. He dropped about nine students off on Vandalia Street in Binghampton. Neighbors in the area immediately knew something was wrong.

“I’ve never seen this many kids get off at this stop,” said neighbor John Grimes. “I thought they had an altercation on the bus. I seen the bus driver get off. like I said I thought they had an altercation, but he just got back on the bus and drove off!”

But there were still more children left on the bus.

Memphis police tracked down the bus and the driver near Overton Crossing and Woodlawn Terrace. Apparently, the driver dropped off the rest of the students at their correct stops.

Parents said they haven’t had issues in the past with their children riding the bus, but at least one parent said their child won’t be on the bus Tuesday until they get this all figured out.

Durham School Services said they are aware of the situation and are investigating. The bus driver has been released by the school district.

A representative from Shelby County Schools released this statement:

Several students from Treadwell Middle were dropped off before their assigned bus stops this afternoon. All students are safe; however, the matter remains under investigation. Student safety is our top priority, and we will always take appropriate action when bus safety procedures are not followed. The driver of this route will be removed while the matter is investigated further.