December 10, 2018

The swamp may be dirty, but it pays well.

The United States contains 3,142 counties, and the five of them with the highest median income levels are all in the Washington, D.C., metro area, the Census Bureau reports, using data from 2013 to 2017. They are Loudoun, Fairfax, and Arlington Counties in Virginia, as well as Falls Church City, Virginia, and Howard County, Maryland.

The lowest income counties tend to be found in the Southeast region, especially in rural areas. The Census Bureau lists McCreary, Bell, and Harlan Counties in Kentucky with Holmes County, Mississippi, and Sumter County, Alabama, as five of the lowest median income counties nationwide.
Bonnie Kristian

August 14, 2018

You might want to keep a close eye on your bank accounts, because something wicked this way comes.

The FBI recently warned banks that cybercriminals are preparing to perform a global ATM heist. Within the "coming days," criminals plan to infiltrate banks or payment card processors and withdraw millions of dollars from ATMs using fake cards, per an FBI notice reported by cybersecurity blogger Brian Krebs. The advisory came from a "confidential alert the FBI shared with banks privately on Friday," Krebs added.

Referred to as an "unlimited operation," the choreographed scheme will seek to access customers' bank card information with the help of malware. Once the hackers have gained access to accounts, they'll be able to manipulate a number of features, such as withdrawal amounts, limits on ATM transactions, and account balances. Per The Verge, the card data will then be sent to accomplices who can reprint it "onto reusable magnetic strip cards" to be used at individual ATMs, where they can quickly withdraw the maximum amount of money available from the compromised accounts.

The FBI alert sent to banks Friday explained that "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," per Krebs' report. The breaches also tend to occur on holidays when banks are closed, or on Saturday evenings when banks are beginning to close.

Customers can expect similar attacks to happen more frequently in the future, the FBI warned. Read more at Krebs on Security. Amari Pollard

June 12, 2018

President Trump's daughter and son-in-law earned at least $82 million in outside income while serving as White House advisers last year, reigniting concerns about potential conflicts of interest, The Washington Post reports. The financial disclosure forms, which were released Monday, show that Jared Kushner earned at least $70 million from his family's real estate business in 2017, while his wife, Ivanka Trump, earned at least $12 million, mainly through her clothing business, although she also drew $3.9 million from her stake in the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Critics slammed the report, with Dartmouth political science professor Brendan Nyhan tweeting, "What would you say if you saw it in another country?" NPR's Susan Davis noted that by comparison, "members of the U.S. House and senior House staff can't earn more than $28,000 in outside income in 2018."

A spokesman for Kushner and Trump's ethics counsel emphasized to the Post that the couple has "complied with the rules and restrictions as set out by the Office of Government Ethics" since joining the administration. Jeva Lange

May 21, 2018

Deadpool 2 dethroned Avengers: Infinity War as leader of the box office, taking in $125 million in the U.S. and Canada over its opening weekend. The debut of the sequel featuring Ryan Reynolds' wisecracking superhero was the second-highest opening ever for an R-rated movie. Deadpool 2's haul fell just short of a projected $130 million to $150 million debut. It also fell shy of the original Deadpool's opening weekend haul of $132.4 million.

Avengers: Infinity War had led the box office for the three previous weekends. It dropped to second place, adding $28.7 million to its domestic total, which now stands at $595 million. Worldwide it has brought in $1.8 billion. Harold Maass

May 14, 2018

The Supreme Court struck down a federal law prohibiting states from allowing sports betting Monday, siding with the state of New Jersey in Murphy v. NCAA and reversing a ruling from the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Liberal justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor were the only dissenters.

"The legalization of sports gambling is a controversial subject," the opinion reads. "Supporters argue that legalization will produce revenue for the states and critically weaken illegal sports betting operations, which are often run by organized crime. Opponents contend that legalizing sports gambling will hook the young on gambling, encourage people of modest means to squander their savings and earnings, and corrupt professional and college sports."

The justices determined that the legalization of sports gambling "requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make." New Jersey argued the case in part to revitalize Atlantic City, where it wants to allow wagers at casinos or racetracks, the Washington Examiner reports. Jeva Lange

April 5, 2018

President Trump on Thursday told reporters aboard Air Force One that he was unaware that his personal lawyer had paid a former adult film star to keep quiet about an alleged affair she had with the erstwhile Manhattan billionaire.

The attorney, Michael Cohen, admitted earlier this year to transferring $130,000 to actress Stormy Daniels in exchange for her silence about a tryst she says she had with Trump in 2006. The payment to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, was made in late October 2016, just weeks before the presidential election.

Daniels and her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, are currently embroiled in a back-and-forth with Trump's legal team. Daniels is suing to be released from the nondisclosure agreement she signed with Cohen, arguing that because Trump never signed the contract, it is void. Lawyers for Trump have asserted that Daniels will be hit with financial penalties for breaking the agreement by talking about the alleged affair.

Trump has steadfastly denied that he was ever involved with Daniels — though New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman notes that Trump's specific characterization of Cohen as "my attorney" could make "attorney-client privilege assertion likelier," as the legal saga drags on. Read more about Daniels' unlikely heroism here at The Week. Kimberly Alters

March 26, 2018

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rebounded after a tumultuous run last week, jumping nearly 670 points by the time markets closed Monday afternoon. The index surged nearly 3 percent in part thanks to Microsoft, the top-performing stock of the day.

The gains suggest the market is recovering after President Trump last week announced tariffs targeted at China, which sparked fears of a trade war between the world's two biggest economies. The Dow had closed down roughly 400 points Friday, good for its "lowest level since November," CNBC noted.

But investors "have apparently recognized that a trade war is in no one's best interests and therefore extremely unlikely," market strategist Jeremy Klein told CNBC in explaining the rebound. The S&P 500 also saw a more than 2 percent bump Monday, while the Nasdaq composite jumped 2.6 percent. Kimberly Alters

February 23, 2018

The White House announced Friday that President Trump has authorized an extension of the disaster declaration in Puerto Rico. Under the extension, the island will receive 90 more days of federal funding for "debris removal" and 60 more days of funding for "emergency protective measures," to help continue recovery efforts following Hurricane Maria last September. The announcement amends Trump's previous disaster declaration, under which federal aid would have ended in mid-March.

The Trump administration's response to Hurricane Maria has been heavily criticized, and recovery efforts have been marred by bungled federal contracts for disaster relief. Almost half a year after the Category 5 hurricane hit Puerto Rico, 15 percent of the island remains without power. Kelly O'Meara Morales

See More Speed Reads