VIDEO: Today's Headline News from Associated Press
MILITARY GROOMS NEW OFFICERS FOR WAR IN CYBERSPACE
AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) -- The U.S. service academies are ramping up efforts to groom a new breed of cyberspace warriors to confront increasing threats to the nation's military and civilian computer networks that control everything from electrical power grids to the banking system.
Students at the Army, Navy and Air Force academies are taking more courses and participating in elaborate cyberwarfare exercises as the military educates a generation of future commanders in the theory and practice of computer warfare.
The academies have been training cadets in cyber for more than a decade. But the effort has taken on new urgency amid warnings that hostile nations or organizations might be capable of crippling attacks on critical networks.
James Clapper, director of national intelligence, called cyberattack the top threat to national security when he presented the annual Worldwide Threat Assessment to Congress this month. "Threats are more diverse, interconnected, and viral than at any time in history," his report stated. "Destruction can be invisible, latent, and progressive."
EPA METHANE REPORT FURTHER DIVIDES FRACKING CAMPS
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The Environmental Protection Agency has dramatically lowered its estimate of how much of a potent heat-trapping gas leaks during natural gas production, in a shift with major implications for a debate that has divided environmentalists: Does the recent boom in fracking help or hurt the fight against climate change?
Oil and gas drilling companies had pushed for the change, but there have been differing scientific estimates of the amount of methane that leaks from wells, pipelines and other facilities during production and delivery. Methane is the main component of natural gas.
The new EPA data is "kind of an earthquake" in the debate over drilling, said Michael Shellenberger, the president of the Breakthrough Institute, an environmental group based in Oakland, Calif. "This is great news for anybody concerned about the climate and strong proof that existing technologies can be deployed to reduce methane leaks."
The scope of the EPA's revision was vast. In a mid-April report on greenhouse emissions, the agency now says that tighter pollution controls instituted by the industry resulted in an average annual decrease of 41.6 million metric tons of methane emissions from 1990 through 2010, or more than 850 million metric tons overall. That's about a 20 percent reduction from previous estimates. The agency converts the methane emissions into their equivalent in carbon dioxide, following standard scientific practice.
The EPA revisions came even though natural gas production has grown by nearly 40 percent since 1990.
A NEW FRONT FOR GUN BACKGROUND CHECKS: THE BALLOT
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- After struggling to sway both state and federal lawmakers, proponents of expanding background checks for gun sales are now exploring whether they will have more success by taking the issue directly to voters.
While advocates generally prefer that new gun laws be passed through the legislative process, especially at the national level, they are also concerned about how much sway the National Rifle Association has with lawmakers. Washington Rep. Jamie Pedersen, a Democrat who had sponsored unsuccessful legislation on background checks at the state level, said a winning ballot initiative would make a statement with broad implications.
"It's more powerful if the voters do it - as opposed to our doing it," Pedersen said. "And it would make it easier for the Legislature to do even more."
On Monday, proponents of universal background checks in Washington will announce their plan to launch a statewide initiative campaign that would require the collection of some 300,000 signatures, according to a person involved in the initiative planning who spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to pre-empt the official announcement. The advocates have scheduled a fundraiser in Seattle at the end of next month and hope to have a campaign budget in the millions of dollars.
Ballot measures may be an option elsewhere, too. Hildy Saizow, president of Arizonans for Gun Safety, said an initiative is one of the things the group will be considering as it reconsiders strategies. An organizer in Oregon was focused on the Legislature for now but wouldn't rule out a ballot measure in the future if lawmakers fail to pass a proposed bill there.