December 2019

‘Juan Mata is everything Arsenal fans pretend Mesut Ozil is!’ – Manchester United fans LOVE their Spaniard

first_imgThe best playmaker in England?Juan Mata produced an inspired performance to help spearhead Manchester United’s crucial comeback victory over Wolfsburg in the Champions League on Wednesday night.United prevailed 2-1 to earn their first group stage points of the season, mainly thanks to the Spaniard’s penalty and a sublime piece of skill to set up Chris Smalling for the winner.Red Devils fans waxed lyrical about their number eight throughout the 90 minutes, and many of the best Twitter reactions can be found below: Juan Mata 1last_img read more

Rio Ferdinand no longer set for John Terry and Ashley Cole reunion

first_img1 The former England trio had all been set to be part of the Great Britain squad for the UNICEF match at Old Trafford Rio Ferdinand will no longer be teaming up with John Terry and Ashley Cole for Saturday’s charity game at Old Trafford.The trio had all featured in the Great Britain and Ireland line-up announced in October for the match against the Rest of the World, which is in aid of UNICEF.But Ferdinand’s name was then missing from an updated list of players to be involved which was released on Thursday, with the Guardian claiming the 37-year-old has a calf injury.Terry and Cole are still set to play.Terry received a four-match suspension after being found guilty by the Football Association of using abusive language towards Ferdinand’s brother Anton during a Premier League game in October 2011, while Cole gave evidence on Terry’s behalf at a magistrates hearing which saw the Chelsea captain cleared of a racial abuse charge over the same incident.Rio Ferdinand wrote in his autobiography that “three years later I find it impossible to forgive or forget the pain he (Terry) put my family through” and that he felt Cole had “betrayed” their friendship.The press release giving the updated lists on Thursday did not specify any reason for the ex-Manchester United and England defender’s withdrawal, simply saying: “Players who were originally scheduled to play including Rio Ferdinand, Andy Cole, Fabio Cannavaro, Alessandro Nesta and Massimo Ambrosini can no longer attend Saturday’s match.”The Great Britain and Ireland team will be managed by Sir Alex Ferguson, captained by David Beckham and feature his fellow former United players Phil Neville, Darren Fletcher, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Michael Owen and Alan Smith.David Seaman and David James are the two goalkeepers in a 17-man squad, which is completed by Terry and Cole, Sol Campbell, Jamie Carragher, Trevor Sinclair, Gary McAllister and Peter Crouch.Carlo Ancelotti’s Rest of the World team will be captained by Zinedine Zidane and boasts Patrick Vieira, Luis Figo and Ronaldinho.Former Manchester United players Edwin van der Sar, Raimond van der Gouw, Mikael Silvestre, Park Ji-sung, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Dwight Yorke are included.GREAT BRITAIN & IRELAND: David Seaman, David James, Jamie Carragher, Sol Campbell, Phil Neville, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Darren Fletcher, Nicky Butt, Trevor Sinclair, Paul Scholes, Gary McAllister, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham (captain), Michael Owen, Peter Crouch, Alan SmithREST OF THE WORLD: Edwin van der Sar, Raimond van der Gouw, Cafu, Fernando Hierro, Fernando Couto, Mikael Silvestre, Maxwell, Luis Figo, Robert Pires, Christian Karembeu, Park Ji-sung, Clarence Seedorf, Patrick Vieira, Michael Ballack, Ronaldinho, Zinedine Zidane (captain), Dwight Yorke, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Patrick Kluivert, Landon Donovanlast_img read more

Serie A star pens new deal to quash Manchester United transfer talk

first_img1 Kamil Glik Kamil Glik has ended any talk of a move to Manchester United by signing a new contract with Torino.The defender has been linked with a transfer to Old Trafford over the past 18 months after impressing in Serie A.However, the Poland international has now committed his future to Torino by signing a new deal.Glik’s previous contract was due to expire in 18 months and the Italian club have been trying to tie him down since the summer.The 27-year-old has now agreed to Torino’s terms and his new deal will see him stay with the Serie A side until June 2020.last_img read more

Arsene Wenger’s dictatorship and four other things that must change at Arsenal

first_img 5 2. Injuries – no more blaming it on bad luck – It’s not bad luck. It’s not unfortunate. And it’s not coincidental. Arsenal are hit with an injury crisis at almost the same point each season – just before the festive period – and it’s almost laughable to think that the root cause is the work of black magic. Is it their medical staff? Is it their training? Is it their post match recovery? Diet? Warm up? The continuity of their fitness problems suggests that the club aren’t sure – and this isn’t good enough. If the Gunners are to sustain a title challenge they cannot have key players missing for lengthy periods. Whether it means spending large sums on the finest sports scientists on offer or completely changing their training plan, then so be it. Their injury record is abysmal and it could continue to hamper their chances of title glory. It has to be rectified, fast. The excuses are no longer cutting it. 3. Not spending when it’s obvious where the team needs strengthening – Arsenal’s lack of movement in the respective transfer windows has largely been attributed to their business plan – a refusal to be drawn into a financial battle. While this is understandable in some ways, it has reached the stage where it almost feels simply stubborn. Or, Wenger being stubborn. As one of the wealthiest clubs in England, who have further been boosted by the TV money being pumped into the Premier League, there can be no excuses for not chasing a marquee acquisition, as a message of intent in the most open title race in recent memory. Not only this, but now that the division as a whole has been strengthened financially, clubs such as Stoke City have illustrated their desire to move forward – and this should worry the juggernauts of English football. Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Petr Cech were great, world class additions, but that should be the minimum expected of a club like Arsenal. With the title there for the taking, the club’s inability to strengthen where needed is disappointing. 5 5 Arsenal slid down to fourth place after their match at home to Southampton finished goalless.While most clubs are afforded the odd blip, at this stage in the campaign, the Gunners should be cementing themselves as serious title contenders.But, still, Premier League supporters remain unconvinced that Arsene Wenger’s side have what it takes to finally return the English trophy to north London.It feels like deja vu at the Emirates Stadium.What exactly needs altering or addressing, though?Take a look at five things talkSPORT believes need to happen at Arsenal, above, and let us know what you would like to see change – just leave a comment below. 5 5. Relying too much on Mesut Ozil – Ozil is great – when he doesn’t have to work too hard. He might well be closing in on Thierry Henry’s assist record in England’s top flight, but who cares? Is this more important than silverware at the end of the season? Individual stats are meaningless unless they deliver results for the team. The Germany international is influential and, at times, the most mesmerising player in the Premier League. Alone, though, he appears to lack the mentality to turn things around – to drag games, such as their recent goalless draw against Southampton, out of the gutter. Too often, in the more challenging fixtures of the campaign so far, Ozil alone has not been able to spark a result when most needed. Everyone knows he can create, but will Arsenal have enough in attack to finish, to take the title? 1. Arsene Wenger’s ‘dictatorship’ – read four more things that must be addressed at Arsenal by clicking the arrow above – While the Frenchman remains coy on his future in north London, at 66 years old, retirement is approaching. This leads to the question, are Arsenal going to be equipped to deal with the handover? The end of Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign at Manchester United and the lack of succession plan is still causing big problems at Old Trafford – and that at a club where the outgoing boss left a title-winning team. Arsenal can’t risk a similar decline, and need to address Wenger’s power. Stronger, alternative voices at the club might also bring improvements before Wenger retires, maybe even the title. 5 4. The brittle back four – While Arsenal’s goalkeeping, midfield and attacking options have been noticeably strengthened over the past few seasons, their back line remains a concern. The Gunners’ defence seems to falter when they most need to stand firm. Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista each have their qualities, but putting aside their ability, the one characteristic missing from their game is the fear factor. It’s time the Gunners challenged for the signature of a centre back, or two, who can roll up their sleeves when the going gets tough, and keep the likes of Diego Costa at bay. A Tony Adams, a Martin Keown, a Sol Campbell figure. last_img read more

How much Hawaiian blood is enough?

first_imgCOURTS: Some are fighting for a piece of the benefits going to those who have the strongest ancestral link. By Mark Niesse THE ASSOCIATED PRESS WAIMANALO, Hawaii – In Hawaii, where blood and ancestry matter as in no other state, a legal challenge is posing this question: Who is sufficiently Hawaiian? AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.In Hawaii, ancestry is more than just a matter of ethnic pride. Under a program created by Congress in 1921, Native Hawaiians with strong bloodlines can get land for a home for $1 a year. Those with more mixed ancestry still receive many other benefits, including low-interest loans and admission for their children to the richly endowed and highly regarded Kamehameha Schools. The help is designed to make amends for the 1893 U.S. overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom, the annexation of the islands, and the hundreds of thousands of deaths caused by foreign disease. In a federal lawsuit filed in 2005, Native Hawaiians with at least 50 percent islander blood want exclusive control over state programs currently open to everyone with some Native Hawaiian blood. In a separate dispute that could also be headed for court, state residents with no Native Hawaiian ancestry are questioning why they can’t join a Hawaiians-only voter registry. The two cases are just the latest in a string of challenges over the special treatment accorded Native Hawaiians. About 400,000 people claim Native Hawaiian ancestry nationwide, two-thirds of them in the Hawaiian islands, making them a minority in a state of 1.2 million. Roughly 60,000 of those who consider themselves Hawaiian claim at least half Hawaiian blood. Proving Native Hawaiian ancestry is a big deal. Without it, you can be born in the islands but can never call yourself Hawaiian. No blood or DNA test exists to determine who is or isn’t Hawaiian. Instead, people have to prove their ethnicity through birth certificates, marriage licenses, census records, family trees or newspaper obituaries. The state Office of Hawaiian Affairs spends millions a year on programs to benefit Native Hawaiians, promoting the Hawaiian language and pushing for federal recognition of Hawaiians. Most of the money comes from revenue generated by leasing out to farmers, developers and harbor users the land that once belonged to the Hawaiian kingdom. In the federal lawsuit, people with at least 50 percent Hawaiian blood contend that the money derived from their ancestors’ land should be spent only on them. “These are the closest relatives to the people whose lands were taken from them unjustly,” said their attorney, Walter Schoettle. “If you’re less than 50percent Hawaiian, you’re more something else.” But the state of Hawaii argues that it is committed to trying to raise the quality of life for all Native Hawaiians. “It is impossible to improve the conditions of 50 percent Native Hawaiians in isolation,” said Clyde Namuo, administrator for the state office. Shannon Kahalepauole, 25, lives on property designated under the 1921 federal law for people with at least half Hawaiian blood. But she said all people of Hawaiian ancestry should be treated the same. “If you’re Hawaiian, you’re Hawaiian,” she said as she and nine other Hawaiian women prepared for a dance exhibition today in seaside Waimanalo. “Hawaiian is not just blood. It’s culture and attitude.” Another dancer, Oriana Coleman said that she is 47 percent Hawaiian and that it is rare to find people who are more than 50percent. Hawaiian programs “should be opened up for all Hawaiians,” she said. In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Hawaii law that permitted only Native Hawaiians to vote in trustee elections for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, citing the constitutional ban on racial discrimination in voting. As for the 6.700-student Kamehameha Schools, they have so far survived lawsuits from students who were denied admission because they were not at least part Native Hawaiian.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Pile your film plate with picks at theater buffet

first_imgMOVIE CASH: I love free movie tickets. If you plan to see the drama “Lions for Lambs” starring Robert Redford, Meryl Streep and Tom Cruise when it opens next month, here’s a free movie cash tip: If you buy the “Best Picture Collection” on DVD or any other UA gift set from Best Buy, you get two free movie tickets to see “Lambs” that can be used anytime between Nov. 9 and Dec. 30. ARE YOU AN INSOMNIAC? Well, the Regency Theatre in the Fairfax District has Friday night midnight movies! This is kinda cool because they are a real random mix of popular films from the past that you may not have ever seen on the big screen. Tonight, “The Exorcist” will screen, followed in subsequent weeks by “Shaun of the Dead,” “The Big Lebowski,” “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and “The Goonies.” The price is $7 and there are plenty of seats at the three-screen theater at 7907 Beverly Blvd. For more information, go to or call (323) 655-4010. [email protected] (818) 713-3758160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.RACE FOR SECOND PLACE: “Comebacks” should fare slightly better than the others and could gross as much as $12 million as it targets the coveted young male crowd; it’s playing in almost as many theaters as “39 Days.” “Rendition,” also starring Meryl Streep, should get the adult crowd and take in about $10 million. Playing in fewer theaters, the Ben Affleck-directed “Gone” will be fortunate to earn more than $5 million, while “Fire” will likely earn even less. DEBUTS AND EXPANSIONS: The Sean Penn-directed “Into the Wild” will be far easier to see now that it has expanded to 658 locations, as will the Brad Pitt western “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” and the Wes Anderson-directed “The Darjeeling Limited,” starring Owen Wilson and Adrien Brody, is playing in just over 200 spots. The animated film “The Ten Commandments” is booked into 830 theaters and “Sarah Landon” is in 1,115 locations. Debuting smaller are the drama “Reservation Road” with Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Ruffalo and Jennifer Connelly (13 theaters) and the unique Ryan Gosling flick “Lars and the Real Girl” (21 locations). SNEAKY DAN: If you just cannot wait another week to see Steve Carell’s latest comedy, “Dan in Real Life,” check out your local movie listings and see if you are near one of the 400 theaters that are screening a Saturday night “sneak peek” of the flick. DOUBLE PLAY: If you are planning to see “The Comebacks,” keep your eyes open for the feature film debut of Bill Buckner. He was my favorite player on the Dodgers when I was a kid but became best known for mishandling a crucial play during the 1986 World Series when he was playing for the Boston Red Sox. He re-enacts his historical `moment’ that likely cost his team the title. I don’t really like buffets because I can never decide what to eat. That’s what this weekend sorta feels like at the multiplex. First, it’s a buffet of movie offerings that include six new wide releases of various genres battling for supremacy. The horror flick “30 Days of Night” will be on nearly 3,000 screens and looks to have the best shot at finishing in first place in the $15 million to $20 million range. “It’s a love story with vampires,” one of the film’s stars, Melissa George, told me this week. “The movie is seductive and the vampires are unbelievable. I’m in every shot so hopefully you’re not bored!” The rest of the field is comprised of a sports spoof (“The Comebacks”), a thriller starring Reese Witherspoon and Jake Gyllenhaal (“Rendition”), dramatic-thrillers (“Gone Baby Gone” and “Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour”), and a Halle Berry-Benicio del Toro drama, “Things We Lost in the Fire.” last_img

Conservative Anglicans may split off over ordination of gay bishop

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.“The plan is to see, after having the ads in the paper, to hold a meeting and decide how we want to proceed.” The movement was triggered by three Santa Clarita families who approached Obermeyer to help establish the new congregation. He plans a meeting next month. Anglican Mission founding members are primarily former Episcopalians angered over that church’s acceptance of gay priests, same-sex unions and women in the priesthood. And while there have been women Episcopal priests for more than 30 years, the ordination in 2003 of openly gay Bishop V. Gene Robinson in New Hampshire galvanized conservative forces. The Rev. Lynn Jay, pastor of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Santa Clarita, said the move to establish an Anglican Mission parish in the area is driven by a “very conservative few.” “This is the history of people,” said Jay, a woman who was ordained 25 years ago. “We get upset at something and we start the Church of Bob. And then the Church of Bob will break up and we go to the Church of Charlie. “Most of us simply stay and duke it out with God in the church.” The rift eased in recent weeks when the Episcopal Church agreed to temporarily halt pro-gay actions, though leaders said they will not move backward and vowed to protect the civil rights and dignity of gays. The statement came just before the Sept. 30 deadline set by Anglican leaders who will meet in February in Tanzania for their biannual leadership conference. Nevertheless the Anglican Mission is growing in numbers across the nation. Locally, the fledgling congregation plans Bible studies, regular services and support for parents who home-school their children, Obermeyer said. Home-schooling allows parents to instill Christian values while controlling outside influences, he said. [email protected] (661) 257-5251160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SANTA CLARITA – A worldwide rift in Anglican churches over the ordination of a gay Episcopal priest is being felt in Santa Clarita, where plans are under way to establish a conservative offshoot. The African-based Anglican Mission in America is advertising locally to see how much interest there is in the church, a breakaway from the more liberal Episcopal denomination. Both are under the umbrella of the Anglican Communion, the third-largest Christian denomination in the world. “A number of families are interested in starting a new parish,” said the Rev. Jim Obermeyer, an Anglican priest now on sabbatical in Phoenix. last_img read more

Out of the ashes, Southland recovers

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.“It sparks one house. That’s gutted. It skips a few houses and another is a total loss. For whatever reason, one house will go up in flames and the one next door is standing fine,” said Capt. Michael Morales of the Alhambra Fire Department. “Every so often those conditions are going to line up just right. This was one of those fires.” Experts say it’s part luck, part preparedness and part Mother Nature that determines who might be spared in such natural disasters. “It can very well be the luck of the draw because of those burning embers,” said Greg Sherlock, a spokesman for State Farm Insurance, which is still tallying its claims. “You don’t know where they’re going to land. The winds are unpredictable, which makes the fire unpredictable.” They can’t live in their house for a while – some windows are shattered and the eaves are singed. The stench of smoke is overpowering and there’s no gas or electricity. But the Ross family is among the lucky ones in Canyon Country, where flying embers from last week’s wildfires made hopscotch jumps through neighborhoods and sent some homes up in flames while leaving others unscathed just feet away. “Their house was gutted. Ours is going to be fine,” Melissa Ross said, gazing in disbelief at the blackened rubble that is all that remains of her next-door neighbor’s house on Camp Plenty Road. And the Ross family is not alone. Across Southern California, the region’s voracious wildfires claimed more than 1,000 homes, of the wealthy and poor alike, often with violent randomness. In Canyon Country, it was the 38,356-acre Buckweed Fire – propelled by 70mph winds – that raced for miles to the Rosses’ neighborhood and claimed dozens of homes in the region. Forty miles from Canyon Country, in coastal Malibu, the phenomenon is the same. The landmark Malibu Presbyterian Church was gutted last Sunday but, across the street, Pepperdine University remains an unscathed green island with a sweeping view of the destruction. “When a fire burns, how it jumps from one location to another is by the embers from the burning leaves and little bits of wood and sparks off burning trees,” said Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Mark Whaling. “Those embers could be carried in some conditions up to a mile or more away. “The properties that are unscathed might have had better protection, better clearance. It can also depend physically on how houses are designed – some are impacted more by wind currents, just by their location.” While it was a seemingly safe distance from the multiple faces of last week’s Canyon Fire, one end of the Malibu Colony Shopping Center unexpectedly went up in flames. Chaotic winds tossed burning embers into the crown of a palm tree in the parking lot. “That palm tree, it literally exploded,” said Sammy Duran, who worked in a gas station next door. And while six homes in the area were destroyed and the still-smoldering fire charred 4,565 acres, the only scars on the Pepperdine campus were the two burned vehicles belonging to its janitorial service. “It’s known as fire-resistive construction,” Rick Leach, part of the facilities management team, said of the campus’s design. “We think about the shape of our buildings – the exterior surfaces are stucco or metal or terra-cotta tile. They’re built without nooks, crannies and places where embers can get wedged.” Such architectural features as open eaves or decorative exterior window shutters can harbor smoldering materials for hours until they finally ignite, Leach said. “Even a tile roof – the roof itself is fireproof, but if something gets under it, the building can burn,” he said. Campus crews also incorporate landscaping that resists fires and diligently clear surrounding native brush at least 200 feet, he said. In the Santa Clarita area, the 20-year-old community of Stevenson Ranch sits in the shadow of the Santa Susana Mountains in the western Santa Clarita Valley. As at Pepperdine, the developers built with nonflammable materials and landscaped with foliage that resists fire. And the community easily survived its latest threat, last week’s 2,824-acre Magic Fire. Blackened slopes now stand beyond Stevenson Ranch, but not a single home was damaged. “Part of it is luck, the other part involves taking precautions,” Whaling said. “Usually the homes that survive, they have proper clearance, they don’t have piles of wood by their house or beds of fuel like little clumps of leaves on their roofs.” A pine tree that’s dropped piles of brown needles on a wood-shake roof is a welcome mat to a fire sweeping through. In fact, anything flammable close to a house will help flames gobble a home, Whaling said. A less obvious hazard might be an open living-room window that allows a flying spark to hit draperies, or a vent below the eaves of a house that exposes a wood-frame attic filled with flammable insulation, the Alhambra Fire Department’s Morales said. On one side of the Ross family, the neighbor’s house was leveled to a grotesque pile of scorched memories; on the other side, the walls of a home stand but the interior is gutted. It’s much the same along a two-block stretch of Camp Plenty and some surrounding streets marked by a bizarre checkerboard of charred lots next to homes where the only damage is singed trees and shrubs. Jay Bowman lives around the corner from the Rosses in Canyon Country, where neighbors have thanked him for staying behind and saving their homes. He had watered his roof all day long and when flames came close he hosed down his yard and doused embers at his neighbors’ homes, too. Melissa Ross’ husband did the same, staying to save the family home. “I was screaming at him to leave, but he wouldn’t,” she said. Still, while their efforts apparently paid off, residents who refuse to evacuate are a source of frustration for firefighters. “Human life is the most important thing to save,” said Whaling, the county fire captain. “A home – especially if it’s insured – can be replaced. Mementos can be remembered. It beats being in the burn ward or being dead.” Civilians also don’t have the proper training or clothing to be safe in a fire area, he said. And they often also can panic. “I have been in situations where people say, `I’m going to stay.’ Then when the fire hits, they don’t have any idea how intense it is. They’re scared, they’re frightened. They drive over our hoses, they run into us, they bump into the engines,” Whaling said. “They can get in the way of us doing our job in the most effective way. That means there can be more damage.” Vanessa Andrews, her husband and two sons have lived at the end of their cul-de-sac overlooking Camp Plenty for 10 months. The day before the fire, they finally held a housewarming. Their hilltop site was the only one on the street hit by the fast-moving flames, which destroyed their motor home and damaged two sheds and a free-standing garage. Some of the plastic chairs they rented for the housewarming party melted in the heat of the fire. Neighbors helped with garden hoses before Andrews’ husband finally directed a fire engine nearby to their street. The house was saved, but the damage estimate is about $50,000. “You don’t look at damage like this and say `Why me?’ You say, `Thank God,”‘ Andrews said. “Even if you lose it all, if your family’s OK, you’ll be OK.” [email protected] (661) 257-5251 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

LA man charged in massive wiretap, ID theft fraud case

first_img160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre In another scheme, Schiefer installed malware on zombie computers running Microsoft operating systems, causing them to disgorge usernames and passwords from a secure storage area known as the PStore. Schiefer and his co-schemers caused the zombie computers to send that account access information to computers that Schiefer and his co-schemers controlled. Once again, Schiefer located Paypal usernames and passwords among this data and used that authentication information to access victim bank accounts. Finally, Schiefer acknowledged defrauding an Internet advertising company with his botnets. Schiefer signed up as a consultant with a Dutch Internet advertising company and promised to install the company’s programs on computers only when the owners gave consent. Instead, Schiefer and two co-schemers installed that program on approximately 150,000 computers that were infected with their malware. To avoid detection by the advertising company, Schiefer instructed his associates to moderate the number of installations so it appeared that the installations were legitimate and not the result of a malicious computer program that was propagating itself. Schiefer was ultimately paid more than $19,128.35 by the advertising company. Schiefer has agreed to make an initial appearance in Los Angeles on November 28 and to be arraigned on December 3. Once he pleads guilty to the four counts, Schiefer will face a statutory maximum sentence of 60 years in federal prison and a fine of $1.75 million. For the latest news and observations on crime in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, check out the Daily News’ crime blog by clicking here. In the first prosecution of its kind in the nation, a well-known member of the “botnet underground” was charged today with using “botnets” – armies of compromised computers – to steal the identities of victims across the country by extracting information from their personal computers and wiretapping their communications. John Schiefer, 26, of Los Angeles, has agreed to plead guilty to four felony counts: accessing protected computers to conduct fraud, disclosing illegally intercepted electronic communications, wire fraud and bank fraud. The criminal information and plea agreement filed this morning in United States District Court in Los Angeles outline a series of schemes in which Schiefer and several associates developed malicious computer code and distributed that code to vulnerable computers. Schiefer and the others used the illicitly installed code to assemble armies of up to 250,000 infected computers, which they used to engage in a variety of identity theft schemes. Schiefer also used the compromised computers to defraud a Dutch advertising company. In his plea agreement, Schiefer acknowledged installing malicious computer code, or “malware,” that acted as a wiretap on compromised computers. Because the users of those compromised computers were unaware that their computers had been turned into “zombies,” they continued to use their computers to engage in commercial activities. Schiefer used the malware, which he called a “spybot,” to intercept electronic communications being sent over the Internet from those zombie computers to and other websites. Once in possession of those intercepted communications, Schiefer and the others sifted through the data to mine usernames and passwords. With Paypal usernames and passwords, Schiefer and the others accessed bank accounts to make purchases without the consent of the true owners. Schiefer also acknowledged in the plea agreement that he transferred both the wiretapped communications and the stolen Paypal information to others. It is the first time in the nation that someone has been charged under the federal wiretap statute for conduct related to botnets.last_img read more

Cruise returns like a lion with his latest film

first_imgThat was when he was still the guy who, through sheer force of promotional will, could make such hard-sell flicks as “Vanilla Sky” and “Collateral” gross more than $100million domestically. He’d rarely known failure since bursting onto the scene in 1983’s “Risky Business.” From there, it was a stellar run that included “Top Gun,” “Born on the Fourth of July,” “A Few Good Men,” “The Firm,” “Jerry Maguire,” “Mission: Impossible” and its sequel, “Interview With a Vampire,” “Minority Report” and on and on. But Tom’s world has changed, and he is now operating in it as damaged box-office goods after the poor performance of “Mission: Impossible III” in summer 2006. “M:i:III” suffered from his off-screen antics while promoting “War of the Worlds” a year earlier. He dissed Brooke Shields for taking meds for post-partum depression and, in doing so, alienated many of his female fans. Then there was the couch-jumping on “Oprah” and a general over-exposure surrounding his romance with Holmes and being publicly dumped from the Paramount lot that he had called home for a decade. Cruise is now at United Artists, which is releasing “Lambs.” I saw the movie, also starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep, and it will remind people of what a good actor the three-time Oscar nominee is. I was riveted during every one of the scenes between him and Streep. But with Cruise no longer the movie star he once was, I think the movie will be hard-pressed to achieve a top-five finish. I predict a $12 million bow in this very crowded marketplace. AN EARLY X-MAS: A real contender for first place, if it can knock the blockbuster “American Gangster” out of the top spot, is the Vince Vaughn holiday comedy “Fred Claus,” which should debut with a gross in excess of $25 million. It bows in a whopping 3,600 locations and will only have Jerry Seinfeld’s “Bee Movie” fighting with it for family business. ENCHANTING OFFER: Are you planning to see the Disney movie “Enchanted,” which hits theaters Nov. 21? Well, if you are also planning to buy the DVD of Disney’s animated hit “Ratatouille” or a game based on the movie, you can get a free movie certificate from worth up to $7 and good from Nov. 21 through Dec. 31. I saw about 20 minutes of “Enchanted” on the Disney lot this summer, and it looks like a winner with its combination of animation and live action and a cast that includes Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden and Susan Sarandon. [email protected] 818-713-3758160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Tom Cruise is, once again, in movie promotion overdrive. In recent weeks, it’s been: Tom in Germany! Tom in London! Tom kissing Katie Holmes at the finish line of the NYC marathon! Tom getting honored at a gala dinner! Tom on the red carpet with Will Smith at the ArcLight in Hollywood! To promote the political thriller “Lions for Lambs,” which opened in 2,200 theaters today, Cruise even made an appearance on MTV’s “TRL.” And if not for the writers strike, he surely would have dropped in on Letterman and Leno, too. Does Cruise think this is 2004 or what? last_img read more