Russian daily Kommersant reports today that more athletes' medical files from the World Anti-Doping Agency have been leaked, including three-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova. With

tensions rising between Russia and the West, such an information security breach — whether about alleged banned substances in sports or gossipy emails from retired generals — tend to look like an act of geopolitical aggression. But in the digital world, reality has even more layers than offline espionage.


Since the advent of computing technologies, experts have been forced to face the threat of "hacking," when a digital systems is compromised remotely by those with the same skill set as the builders of the system itself. But beyond governments, individual hacking, be it to demonstrate political beliefs, fight for justice, or simply to display talent, is no less of a threat.


To avoid being detected, hackers use a variety of tools to disguise their identity or hide their location. Tricking a computer into thinking that you are at the North Pole can be as simple as editing your browser settings. Tracing a hack can be more difficult than executing it, and is the reason why many so-called "hacktivist" groups — like Anonymous or Fancy Bear — remain beyond the reach of authorities.


Cyber security is no doubt a major new foreign policy challenge, but jumping to conclusions about the source or motivation of a hack is also a risk in our real-time world.

It's important to remember that just about anything with a network connection can be compromised and manipulated, from the Pentagon to the Kremlin, Democratic Party servers and World Anti-Doping Association databases — and yes, as the Moscow daily Kommersant reports: to your very own refrigerator.



WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY



BRAZIL'S LULA CHARGED WITH CORRUPTION

Brazil's former president, Lula da Silva, was charged with corruption, with prosecutors describing him as the "commander-in-chief" of a vast kickback scheme that diverted more than $26 million from state oil company Petrobras, Folha de S. Paulo reports. His wife was also among seven other people charged. Lula's hopes of returning as president now appear slim.


UK/FRENCH/CHINESE NUCLEAR PLANT DEAL

The British government green-lighted plans for a $24 billion nuclear power plant that will be built by a French company and partly financed by China, The Guardian reports.


— ON THIS DAY

It's been 195 years since Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica all said ¡adiós! to Spain … That, and more, in your 57-second shot of history.


CLINTON "HEALTHY AND FIT" TO SERVE

U.S. Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton "continues to improve" after contracting a "mild, non-contagious" form of pneumonia, according to a letter from her doctor which was released by her campaign yesterday. More from The New York Times.


VERBATIM

"You need to be as arrogant as men are to believe that we have changed the climate," Nicolas Sarkozy told a panel of business leaders, in comments reported by French magazine Marianne. "The climate has been changing for 4 billion years," the French presidential hopeful said.


— WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

After seven years of research, a determined academic says he has definitive proof that Robert Capa's legendary Spanish Civil War photograph, The Falling Soldier, was a fake. For French daily Le Figaro, Mathieu de Taillac spoke to myth-buster Professor José Manuel Susperregui: "Susperregui's discovery is due to his determination but also to chance. After he realized the scenery was nowhere to be found in Cerro Muriano, he sent the three photos to the towns that were at war at the time when Capa was passing through the region. The series fell into the hands of a teacher who showed it to his pupils. One of the students recognized the Batan plateau. ...

‘Robert Capa came to Spain to witness the war,' Susperregui explains. ‘He went to Madrid, Aragon and Barcelona before coming to Andalusia. But he never got to find an active front and he realized that he could not go back home empty-handed. So he created a simulation.'"

Read the full article, From Spain, New Evidence That Robert Capa Staged Iconic War.


GENETICALLY MODIFIED MERGER

Agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation Monsanto has accepted German chemicals giant Bayer's whopping $66 billion takeover offer, after months of courtship. Read more about the deal from Bloomberg here.


HONG KONG JOURNALISTS ARRESTED IN CHINA

Five Hong Kong journalists were arrested, questioned and later expelled from a fishing village in China's Guangdong province, this morning. Among them was a reporter from the South China Morning Post, with the newspaper saying it is "highly concerned about the incident." Protests over disputed land erupted days ago in the village, leading to clashes with the police, and local authorities are reportedly offering rewards for information leading to "foreign forces," meaning journalists.


— MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD

A Tombstone Maker's Death — Salzburg, 1963


236

French tennis player Alizé Cornet set a new Frame Challenge record, bouncing a tennis ball off the frame of her racket 236 times in a row — blowing Italian player Sara Errani's 219 bounces out of the frame.


MORE STORIES, BROUGHT TO YOU BY WORLDCRUNCH

MONKEYS TYPE SHAKESPEARE SOLILOQUY USING ONLY BRAINWAVES

Yup. You read that right.

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Geopolitics

Taliban Redux, Cleaned-Up Image Can't Mask Their Cruel Reality

Twenty years later the Islamist group is back in power in Afghanistan, but trying this time to win international support. Now that several months have passed, experts on the ground can offer a clear assessment if the group has genuinely transformed on such issues as women's rights and free speech.

The Taliban have now been in power for almost five months

Atal Ahmadzai and Faten Ghosn

The international community is closely monitoring the Taliban, after the group re-seized power in Afghanistan in August 2021.

There is legitimate reason for concern. The Taliban are again ruling through fear and draconian rules.

The Taliban’s last regime, in the mid-1990s, was marked by human rights violations, including massacres, mass detentions and rape. The regime collapsed on Nov. 14, 2001, shortly after the U.S. launched its global war on terrorism.

Even after the Taliban officially fell from power, their subsequent two decades of insurgency produced various gross human rights violations, an encompassing term under international human rights law.

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