US troops in Japan banned from drinking after fatal crash

A Japanese driver's damaged vehicle is placed at a police station in Naha, Okinawa, southern Japan on Sunday. (AP)
Updated 20 November 2017
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US troops in Japan banned from drinking after fatal crash

TOKYO: US Forces in Japan banned all personnel from consuming alcohol after a drink-driving accident on the island of Okinawa where anti-base sentiment runs high.
A US Marine crashed his vehicle into a mini-truck at an intersection on Sunday, killing the other driver, 61.
The 21-year-old, whose breath test showed an alcohol level three times the legal limit, was arrested and charged with negligent driving resulting in death, police said.
All US servicemen stationed in Japan are now banned from drinking, both on and off base, the US Forces in Japan said in a statement.
In Okinawa, personnel are also restricted to base or to their residences.
“When our service members fail to live up to the high standards we set for them, it damages the bonds between bases and local communities and makes it harder for us to accomplish our mission,” the statement said.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Tokyo made an immediate complaint about the case to the US side, demanding the US military enforce strict discipline and take preventive steps.
“It is extremely regrettable that this accident happened even though the Japanese government has repeatedly asked them for the thorough implementation of preventive measures and enforcement of disciplines,” Suga told reporters.
The US has several military bases in Japan and stations about 47,000 troops in the country as part of a joint security treaty.
But crimes by US personnel have seen relations with locals strained.
In the most recent case, a former US Marine employed at the US Air Force’s sprawling Kadena Air Base on Okinawa was charged with the murder of a 20-year-old woman last year.
The incident intensified longstanding local opposition to the American military presence on the island.
Commanders across Japan will immediately lead mandatory training to address responsible alcohol use, risk management and acceptable behavior, the US statement added.
Okinawa accounts for nearly 75 percent of land allotted for US bases in Japan, despite being only a fraction of the country’s total area.
 


Microsoft uncovers more Russian attacks ahead of midterms

Updated 12 min 8 sec ago
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Microsoft uncovers more Russian attacks ahead of midterms

  • The hacking attempts mirror similar Russian attacks ahead of the 2016 election
  • The company is offering free cybersecurity protection to all US political candidates, campaigns and other political organizations

Microsoft said Tuesday it has uncovered new Russian hacking attempts targeting US political groups ahead of the midterm elections.
The company said that a hacking group tied to the Russian government created fake Internet domains that appeared to spoof two American conservative organizations: the Hudson Institute and the International Republican Institute. Three other fake domains were designed to look as if they belonged to the US Senate.
Microsoft didn’t offer any further description of the fake sites.
The revelation came just weeks after a similar Microsoft discovery led Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat who is running for re-election, to reveal that Russian hackers tried unsuccessfully to infiltrate her Senate computer network.
The hacking attempts mirror similar Russian attacks ahead of the 2016 election, which US intelligence officials have said were focused on helping to elect Republican Donald Trump to the presidency by hurting his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.
This time, more than helping one political party over another, “this activity is most fundamentally focused on disrupting democracy,” Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer, said in an interview this week.
Smith said there is no sign the hackers were successful in persuading anyone to click on the fake websites, which could have exposed a target victim to computer infiltration, hidden surveillance and data theft. Both conservative think tanks said they have tried to be vigilant about “spear-phishing” email attacks because their global pro-democracy work has frequently drawn the ire of authoritarian governments.
“We’re glad that our work is attracting the attention of bad actors,” said Hudson Institute spokesman David Tell. “It means we’re having an effect, presumably.”
The International Republican Institute is led by a board that includes six Republican senators, and one prominent Russia critic and Senate hopeful, Mitt Romney, who is running for a Utah seat this fall.
Microsoft calls the hacking group Strontium; others call it Fancy Bear or APT28. An indictment from US special counsel Robert Mueller has tied it to Russian’s main intelligence agency, known as the GRU, and to the 2016 email hacking of both the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign.
“We have no doubt in our minds” who is responsible, Smith said.
Microsoft has waged a legal battle with Strontium since suing it in a Virginia federal court in summer 2016. The company obtained court approval last year allowing it to seize certain fake domains created by the group. It has so far used the courts to shut down 84 fake websites created by the group, including the most recent six announced Tuesday.
Microsoft has argued in court that by setting up fake but realistic-looking domains, the hackers were misusing Microsoft trademarks and services to hack into targeted computer networks, install malware and steal sensitive emails and other data.
Smith also announced Tuesday that the company is offering free cybersecurity protection to all US political candidates, campaigns and other political organizations, at least so long as they’re already using Microsoft’s Office 365 productivity software. Facebook and Google have also promoted similar tools to combat campaign interference.