Matt Rourke / AP

DA's Office Among 500K Hit By International Cybercrime Group

A state prosecutor's office in Pennsylvania was among hundreds of thousands of victims of a now-shuttered international cybercrime operation, paying nearly $1,400 in a bitcoin ransom to free up its infected computer network, authorities disclosed Monday.
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Politics & Government

David Amsler / Flickr

Republican state Sen. Scott Wagner is filing a Right-to-Know request over the layoffs of several hundred state employees.

The York County lawmaker is being blamed by Democratic Governor Tom Wolf and union leaders for being a major cause of the layoffs.

But Wagner contends that Wolf is at fault.

At the end of the 2016 legislative session last month, the GOP-led Senate decided not to vote on a funding bill for the state’s unemployment compensation program.

Identity & Justice

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

When someone is incarcerated, they family members – especially children – can be forgotten, but Elizabeth Mansley works hard to remember them. 

Last year, Mansley, a Mt. Aloysius College associate professor of criminology, and her students launched The Storybook Project.

“The idea actually came from my daughter,” Mansley said.

Science, Health, & Tech

Jon Olav Eikenes / Flickr

A recent study found the number of concussion diagnoses in Pennsylvania is spiking, but that’s not necessarily because they’re happening more often.

The report from Blue Cross Blue Shield found concussion diagnoses among 10 to 19-year-olds in the state jumped 85 percent between 2010 and 2015. The report doesn’t specify how the concussions were received, nor does it speculate as to why the numbers are increasing.

Education

Brian Cantoni / Flickr

A former University of Pittsburgh student who pleaded guilty to being the go-between for Chinese students who paid to have impostors take college entrance exams for them faces sentencing before a federal judge.

Han Tong faces up to three years in prison on Monday, though his attorney is expected to argue for leniency.

Tong is one of 15 Chinese citizens charged by federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh last year with conspiring to have impostors take the Scholastic Aptitude Test or other college entrance tests in western Pennsylvania since 2011.

Essential Pittsburgh

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

They Pay Mortgages & Taxes, But Many Pittsburghers Don’t Realize Their Home Titles Are Tangled

Eric Luster grew up in a three-bedroom 1920s-era home on a quiet dead end street in Homewood. It was a self-described good childhood, but he thought he would have a better future in Atlanta, Ga., so he moved out of town to raise his five children.
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Development & Transportation

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

 

Carnegie Mellon University will receive $14 million in federal funding to develop innovations in smart transportation, research and education, the school announced Tuesday.

Environment & Energy

For Smart, Social Crows, Pennsylvania Is A Warm Winter Oasis

9 hours ago
Tim Spouge / Flickr

 

The large flocks of crows in our region now are primarily migrants from more northerly locations that are here to spend the winter. The number of roosting crows tends to build up steadily through November and December. These large winter roosts were historically in rural areas. But over time, as crows adapted to people, they moved their winter roosts into urban areas. Here they benefit from the warmth of the city. They are attracted to well-lit areas, which may enhance their ability to detect approaching predators. Their roosts can number in the hundreds of thousands of birds.

Local Headlines

Google Maps

 

Police are investigating allegedly Satanic graffiti spray-painted onto a central Pennsylvania church.

The vandalism included the digits "666" and upside-down crosses sprayed on the cupola above the roof of the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Lancaster County's Manheim Township, about 40 miles southeast of Harrisburg.

The graffiti was discovered Sunday afternoon.

Pastor Michael Rogers said the church has never experienced anything like this. It appeared to be the work of "somebody stupid with something to get out of their system," he said.

Federal Bureau of Prisons

 

Federal prosecutors say an inmate's killing of a guard at a federal prison in Pennsylvania was a calculated slaying that saw the suspect pause to chew a piece of gum he took from the dying man's pocket.

Federal prosecutors detailed the attack in court documents filed Monday, arguing that a jury should see surveillance video showing the 9-minute attack, and 22-minute aftermath in which guard Eric Williams lay dying before other guards arrived.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

 

Police in the Pittsburgh suburbs have charged an Uber driver with indecent assault and harassment for allegedly making unwanted sexual advances toward a female passenger.

Ross Township police are charging 46-year-old Jehad Abdula Makhoul by summons, so online court records don't list an attorney for him.

The woman reported the incident Nov. 22 after she contacted the ride-sharing serving for a ride to a restaurant that evening.

National & International

President-elect Donald Trump wants to clip the wings of a new Air Force One, saying the customized 747 is too expensive.

"The plane is totally out of control," Trump told reporters Tuesday morning. "I think Boeing is doing a little bit of a number. We want Boeing to make a lot of money, but not that much money."

Earlier in the day, Trump tweeted that the new aircraft would cost more than $4 billion and urged the government to cancel the contract. Neither Trump nor his spokespeople said where that cost estimate came from.

Arts, Sports, & Culture

Benjamin Tice Smith

Author Michael Chabon’s literary career began here in Pittsburgh. It’s the place where he spent part of his childhood and college years, and it was the setting for his first two novels, "The Mysteries of Pittsburgh" and "Wonder Boys."

Now, Chabon returns to the city Dec. 9 to discuss his new novel "Moonglow" at an event hosted by the University of Pittsburgh at the Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland.

Moonglow’s narrator shares a name with the book’s author, and he has a comparable life story.

Economy & Business

DA's Office Among 500K Hit By International Cybercrime Group

Dec 5, 2016
Matt Rourke / AP

 

A state prosecutor's office in Pennsylvania was among hundreds of thousands of victims of a now-shuttered international cybercrime operation, paying nearly $1,400 in a bitcoin ransom to free up its infected computer network, authorities disclosed Monday.

Food & Drink

Marcus Charleston / WESA

Food makers, consumers and regulators have sparred back and forth over what constitutes “healthy” in food labeling for years. Last year, the makers of Kind Bars battled over their snacks’ nutrition merits.

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