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Source: MedleyStory

How Staples' credit breach compares to a year of hacks

Staples finally confirmed Friday it suffered a months-long security breach earlier this year, which could have compromised more than a million consumer credit and debit cards.

Security researcher Brian Krebs first covered the intrusion on his blog in October.

Staples’ recent announcement, though, says  between July and September, 115 different stores discovered malware on their systems. Before it was purged, it’s thought to have extracted some 1.16 million credit card numbers.

The company is providing the now-standard cautions in cases of credit card theft: watch your statements carefully and inform your bank if you see evidence of fraud.

Staples is also extending fraud monitoring and identity theft insurance to anyone who shopped with a card at the compromised stores.

All told, it’s not as bad as it could have been. Staples didn’t exactly dodge the bullet, but compared to earlier credit breaches, it’s doing better than some retailers. (Video via KNXV)

There are plenty to choose from. The Target hack at the end of 2012 compromised some 40 million cards, and the Home Depot hack in September leaked 56 million numbers. (Video via NBC)

It’s probably safe to say credit breaches are no longer a surprising new cybersecurity threat. So why is it taking so long for businesses to react?

A writer at CNN points out earlier breaches were perfect high-profile warnings, but Staples appears to have taken action only after the fact.

“It's unclear why Staples hadn't installed these protections sooner, given that the Target hack in late 2013 was a wake-up call for the retail industry.”

“At this late date, to be letting 1.16 million cardholders know the extent of this breach, it’s concerning. Hopefully there’s a new standard set for businesses that have been hacked,” said CNBC’s John Fortt.

For what it’s worth, Staples has published a full list of those stores affected as part of its announcement.

Published: Sun, 21 Dec 2014 10:50:12 -0500

Why posting 'The Interview' online isn't so simple

After maybe the single most devastating cyberattack in American corporate history, Sony Pictures Entertainment pulled “The Interview."

But Sony CEO Michael Lynton said he wasn't giving up, hinting to CNN that Sony may still try and release the movie.

“We have not caved, we have not given in, we have persevered, and we haven to backed down. We have always had the desire to have the American public see this movie.”

But how exactly would Sony be able to get “The Interview” to the public without showing it in theaters? Well, Sony has a few options, but they’re not exactly bulletproof.

Option number one: Crackle. No, not like the cereal. We're talking about Sony’s online video streaming service. Think Hulu, but with much less content and not quite as popular.

The theory is that Sony could simply release “The Interview” on Crackle to both stand up to an international cyberbully and generate interest in its streaming site at the same time.

Sony would still generate cash since the site is ad-supported. Sony could also require payment from viewers. 

But then there are the leaked emails revealing that Sony considered selling Crackle as recently as November, meaning it may not be in love with the service. There’s an alternative though — video on demand.

Time Warner Cable commercial: “Enjoy movies better with Time Warner Cable Movies On Demand.”

Thousands of movies are available through video on demand, bringing new releases to the viewer in the comfort of their own home.

But there’s another problem here as noted by Fast Company — for as big of a corporation as Sony is, it doesn’t have its own video on demand service aside from streaming on PlayStation, which doesn’t have a large enough audience.

OK, so how about the numerous other video on demand services offered by cable companies? Fast Company notes there’s yet another problem here as movie studios typically ask for 80 percent in royalties for the first two weeks of showing a movie.

If Sony were to lower that to offset any cyberattack retaliation worries for cable companies, there’d be the chance they’d never be able to raise the price again.

So both Crackle and video on demand have their problems. But Sony still needs to release “The Interview” in some form or another, at least in the opinion of Ken Paulson writing for USA Today.

"What value is free speech if we're afraid to use it? … This movie can't go unseen. At the heart of creativity is the courage to express yourself freely. Sony needs to summon up that courage right now.”

Sony has yet to announce any specific plan to get “The Interview” to the public. The cybergroup responsible for the attack has threatened to release more data if Sony does indeed release it.

This video includes images from Getty Images.

 

Published: Sun, 21 Dec 2014 08:55:45 -0500

Will Cuba give up Assata Shakur, FBI's most wanted woman?

The U.S. and Cuba are pressing reset on diplomatic relations. And here's one of the many questions coming out of this story: Will Assata Shakur be extradited and face life in prison back in the U.S.?

"I come from a very strong history, and I simply want to live on this planet," said Shakur. 

Shakur was convicted of the 1973 killing of a New Jersey state trooper during a shootout. She was shot twice by officers during the incident. (Video Via RBGStreet Scholar)

Shakur was given life in prison but always proclaimed her innocence. She was a member of the armed black nationalist group the Black Liberation Army and the Black Panther Party. 

In 1979, Shakur escaped from prison with the help of fellow Liberation Army members and fled to Cuba where Fidel Castro took her in as a fellow socialist and accepted her request for asylum. 

In 2013, Shakur became the first woman to be on the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists List. 

New Jersey state is offering a $1 million reward in addition to the FBI's $1 million reward for information leading to the arrest of Shakur.  

New Jersey law enforcement has said it hopes improved ties between the countries will lead to Shakur's extradition. But there are a lot of factors at play.

The U.S. is home to many Cuban-born immigrants who fled to the U.S. at the time of Castro's takeover. The U.S. probably won't be handing them over.

And a legal adviser explained to Al Jazeera because the Cuban government has labeled Shakur a political refugee, the country would likely never agree to extradite her anyway. 

This video includes images from the FBI. 

Published: Sun, 21 Dec 2014 08:53:13 -0500

Here's why gas prices in the U.S. are so low

Consider it an early Christmas present. This week, gas prices are their lowest since 2009.

The average gas price in the U.S. dipped down to $2.43 and there are stations in 24 states selling gas for under $2 per gallon. 

This drop in price is thanks to an oil boom. The high supply has pushed the cost of oil down to about $60 a barrel. Back in June, the price was $115 a barrel. 

The boom is a response to the high oil prices of 2010; the U.S. stepping up its crude oil production to combat those prices. By last summer, the U.S. became the largest source of crude in the world. 

As this was happening demand for oil began tapering off in European and Asian countries as economies weakened and fuel efficiency increased.

Pretty soon, supply started to surpass demand, and in September, prices began to fall more sharply.

Making things more severe, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, which produces a third of the world's oil supply, decided not to cut back on production. That move sent gas prices down even further. (Video via OPEC)

And analysts say the decline has not bottomed out yet. Prices are expected to continue to drop through New Years. 

This video includes images from Getty Images and music from Kevin MacLeod / CC BY 3.0.

Published: Sun, 21 Dec 2014 08:45:36 -0500

Firefighter injured when fire truck overturns in south Charlotte

Investigators are on the scene of a fire truck crash in south Charlotte.

Authorities said the fire truck was responding to a fire alarm activation call when it crashed and overturned on Community House Road around 3:30 a.m.

The fire truck overturned in a back yard.

IMAGES: Fire truck overturns in south Charlotte

There were four firefighters on Charlotte Fire Department Truck 32 at the time.  The driver was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

The other firefighters are OK.

Charlotte Mecklenburg's Major Crash Investigation Unit is on site investigating the crash.

Police did not say how the crash occurred.

Another Charlotte Fire Department truck crashed, flipped and caught fire in south Charlotte in May.

Four firefighters were injured in that crash.

Read more on that crash here.

Published: Sun, 21 Dec 2014 07:26:29 -0500

Police: Gunman who killed 2 NYPD officers had active warrants in Atlanta

A man who killed two New York City police officers in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn Saturday afternoon was believed to have last lived in Georgia, NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said.

On Saturday night, the suspect's active warrants in Cobb County, Georgia, were confirmed.

Police sources said Ismaaiyl Brinsley, the suspect, had warrants for probation violations related to theft, firearm possession and criminal property damage charges.

The officers, Wenjin Liu and Raphael Ramos, were sitting in their vehicle shortly before 3 p.m. when a man approached the car on the passenger side, took a "shooter's stance" and opened fire, Bratton said. The two officers were shot with "no warning, no provocation," he said.

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The officers were "assassinated," shot "execution-style" as they sat in their patrol vehicle, city officials said.

The suspect was said to have posted a photo of a gun with a morbid message to his Instagram account before the shooting. He then shot himself at a subway station after the incident, according to The Associated Press.

Police believe Brinsley shot his ex-girlfriend in Baltimore earlier in the day, and then posted "anti-police postings" on her Instagram account, the police commissioner said.

Baltimore police investigating the shooting there found the posts, which included threats against New York police, and sent a message alerting the NYPD about Brinsley, but it arrived just about the time the shootings occurred, Bratton said.

Published: Sat, 20 Dec 2014 22:38:38 -0500

Charlotte airport welcomes 3,700 troops Saturday

Thousands of troops traveled through Charlotte Douglas Airport Saturday as they were heading home for the holidays.

Each received a friendly holiday greeting for their service.

The leave, coined “Operation Exodus,” is the annual voyage of America’s military men and women through the Charlotte airport as they return home for the holidays.

The USO of North Carolina’s Charlotte Center hosted more than 3,700 troops, handed out 4,500 cups of coffee, served more than 250 dozen cookies and provided 2,500 gift packs.

The USO partnered with Coca-Cola and Walmart. The stop included visits from Sir Purr and the Topcats, as well as Santa and his elves.

Published: Sat, 20 Dec 2014 15:49:03 -0500

Friday wreck in North Charlotte leaves one dead, one seriously injured

Police charged a man Saturday in a hit-and-run accident that killed one and seriously injured another Friday night.

Detectives with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said Robert John Leahy, 46, was driving a 2011 Infiniti in the 10000 block of Old Statesville Road before 11:30 p.m. Friday when he rear-ended a moped.

According to police, the moped got stuck in front of the Infiniti, causing the driver and passenger to be thrown off the moped.

Passenger Valerie Shaak, 22, died at the scene of the crash. The driver of the moped, Phillip Brice Black, 19, was hospitalized with serious injuries.

CMPD's K-9 and helicopter units were called out to search for Leahy after police say he drove about a mile away from the scene, parked his vehicle at a closed business and then ran away on foot. Leahy was located and taken to Carolinas Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.

Co-workers of Black and Shaak said they couple has worked at a restaurant near Northlake Mall and had just left work shortly before the crash.

"Everybody loved them they were the sweetest people you would ever meet," said Cam Ratliff, a co-worker.

Ratliff said Shaak had just showed him a ring that Black had bought her Friday night.

"She just showed it to me last night," said Ratliff. "She said that was the only thing she wanted for Christmas and she got it."

Leahy is charged with driving while impaired, not having an operator's license, two counts of hit-and-run, felony serious injury by vehicle and felony death by vehicle.

As of Saturday night he remained in the Mecklenburg County Jail.

Published: Sat, 20 Dec 2014 11:40:48 -0500

Health Department warns of possible mumps case

The Mecklenburg County Health Department sent out a letter Friday warning parents of students at a Charlotte-Mecklenburg school about a possible mumps case.

Parents of Piedmont Middle School students received the letter on the last day of classes before school dismissed for two weeks.

"One student at your school has been diagnosed with parotitis (possibly from the mumps virus)," the letter said.
 
The letter lists symptoms, which include fever, muscle aches, loss of appetite, fatigue, headache, earache, tenderness or pain in the jaw area.
 
Parents were asked to look for signs of a fever to determine if a child might have been exposed.
 
Parents with whom Channel 9 spoke hope it's an isolated case and said they're not worried.
 
“I mean, they could pick it up anywhere -- school, the mall. (I'm) not so concerned about where it came from,” parent Lorie Lindley said.
 
Vaccination has made mumps a rare disease. Schoolchildren are required to receive two immunizations against the mumps well before second grade.
 
“We believe in vaccinations. We think that's important,” parent Steve Lindsley said.  
 
The letter said the child in this case is up to date on vaccinations.
 
Channel 9 called the two numbers on the Health Department letter and got messages saying that the nurses and staff won't be back in the office until Monday.            
 
Mumps cases have been reported recently, even though the virus was nearly eradicated by vaccines.
 
There's been a mumps outbreak in the National Hockey League, and since the first case was reported two months ago, 16 players have been diagnosed, along with three people associated with teams.
 
In 2013, 438 people in the U.S. were diagnosed with mumps. Between January and November of this year, there were already more than 1,000 cases.

WEBSITE: Information on mumps

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Published: Fri, 19 Dec 2014 22:14:51 -0500

Positive pregnancy tests allegedly being sold online

Positive pregnancy tests are allegedly for sale online by an Oklahoma woman who is marketing them specifically for the holidays.

A Craigslist ad called the positive tests “a way to keep your man.” The tests are being offered for $20. Positive pregnancy tests were also found for sale on eBay.

So far, no customers have stepped forward to verify if the ads are legitimate.

Many people who spoke to FOX23 seemed appalled that someone would attempt to buy one of the tests.

“Why would you want to do that to somebody?” one person asked.

Those buying the tests could also run into legal problems ranging from libel to emotional stress to misrepresentation.

“If a woman were to ask for money for medical treatment, that would be considered a crime or fraudulent criminal act,” said attorney Timothy Houchin of Brune Law Firm.

Houchin said he didn’t realize the sale of positive pregnancy tests was happening in the Tulsa area.

“At first I thought it was more of a joke you could use to be silly, but I guess it’s being abused more,” Houchin said.

He said he hopes people realize the seriousness of the consequences that could come with purchasing a test.

“There are definitely some significant ramifications for doing this. It may seem funny, but you can get in a lot of trouble for it,” Houchin said.

Houchin said that anyone fooled by a fake test could even press fraud charges if the cases escalated.

Published: Fri, 19 Dec 2014 21:56:31 -0500

UPS employees become sick at Charlotte hub

UPS employees were taken to the hospital Friday night after they became sick at a distribution hub at 1600 Cottonwood St. in Charlotte, a UPS spokesperson said.

The employees said there was an unusual smell in an empty trailer that was being prepared for loading.

Two employees were taken to the hospital for observation, according emergency officials.

There is no impact on service or the hub, the spokesperson said.

UPS is working with authorities to investigate this situation that the Charlotte Fire Department called a HAZMAT situation.

Stay with www.wsoctv.com for updates on this story.

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Published: Fri, 19 Dec 2014 21:45:48 -0500

State Dept. warns US travelers to be extra careful

The U.S. State Department issued a worldwide travel alert Friday, one of the busiest travel days of the year, urging international travelers to be cautious.
 
The alert followed what the State Department called a "lone wolf" attack in Australia this week in which two hostages were killed after being held at a busy cafe.
 
Charlotte Douglas International Airport officials said Friday is the airport's busiest day of the year, with more than 25,000 passengers expected.
 
The airport backup began long before the check-in lines Friday and was growing by the minute.
 
"Surprised to see these long queue at Charlotte airport. Usually it's half an hour into the gate actually," said Srikant Telikeplli, who was traveling from Charlotte to Dallas with his family.
 
But wait times were much longer Friday.
 
Many travelers told Eyewitness News that they allowed extra time to make sure things went smoothly.
 
"The traffic was a little worse than usual," said Jennifer Givot, who came to drop off her daughter for a cross-country flight.
 
Despite the security warning from the State Department, she said she believes that her daughter will be safe.
 
"I feel like Charlotte is pretty good," Givot said. "I feel like everybody keeps an eye on things."
 
The travel warning urges people to be "extra cautious," specifically when traveling abroad.
 
The warning said there is a "focus by terrorists not only on the targeting of U.S. government facilities but also on hotels, shopping areas, places of worship and schools" during the holiday period.
 
Travelers who spoke to Channel 9 said they aren't worried about airports at home.
 
"I feel that TSA takes good care of us, so it is not a problem," Telikeplli said.
 
But many were concerned about how long they'd be waiting in lines and also about their baggage.
Friday's warning doesn't expire until March. 

The State Department urges people traveling internationally to register with its Smart Traveler Enrollment Program at https://step.state.gov/step/.

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Published: Fri, 19 Dec 2014 20:21:02 -0500

Police: Vale man charged with child sex crimes

Lincolnton Police Department investigators arrested Danny Lee Hensley, 40, of 7873 Matthew Miller Road in Vale and charged him with child sex offenses, officials said Friday in a news release.

The police department received a report on Sunday of a child being molested.

That was when police collected enough evidence to charge Hensley with second-degree rape, kidnapping, sex offense in a parental role and first-degree sex offense of a child.
 
Hensley was a boyfriend of the child's mom and lived with them from Sept. 1 to Dec. 14, officials said.
 
Hensley is under a $500,000 bond and was placed in the Lincoln County Jail.

The investigation is ongoing and additional charges are possible.
 
If anyone has any information regarding this case, please call Detective Brent Heavner of the Lincolnton Police Department at 704-736-8900. 

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Published: Fri, 19 Dec 2014 20:09:02 -0500

Legislature, Congress maps upheld by NC high court

The North Carolina Supreme Court Friday upheld the boundaries for General Assembly and congressional districts drawn by Republicans three years ago that helped the GOP strengthen its grip on legislative seats.

Nearly a year after hearing oral arguments on the maps, a majority on the state's highest court ruled that a three-judge panel was correct last year in determining the lines were lawful under the state and federal constitutions.

Two of the six sitting justices ruling in the case disagreed and said lawmakers wrongly packed black voters under the belief it would provide them protection from litigation, and the maps should be revisited by the three judges. The case could wind up at the U.S. Supreme Court.

The maps, which were first used in the 2012 elections, have helped strengthen the grip of Republicans in state politics. The GOP holds comfortable margins over Democrats in the General Assembly and will carry 10 of the 13 seats in the state's U.S. House delegation starting in January.

Election and civil rights advocacy groups and Democratic voters sued over the maps, arguing the boundaries illegally clustered black voters in districts to benefit Republicans, creating oddly shaped districts. Republicans said the districts were lawful and designed to protect the state from legal claims under the U.S. Voting Rights Act. The litigation focused on 30 districts — 27 for the General Assembly and three for Congress.

"We are proud to have broken the cycle set by previous legislatures that repeatedly saw their maps tossed out by the courts as illegal," Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett, and Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, who oversaw the drawing of the maps in 2011, said in a release. During the 2000s, lawmakers were required to redraw legislative boundaries three times.

For 26 of the districts deemed subject to the Voting Rights Act, the trial court panel determined that race was the predominant factor in forming their boundaries and thus required a higher level of scrutiny. Writing for the majority, Associate Justice Bob Edmunds said the panel didn't offer enough findings of fact to determine race was the leading factor and thus a lower level of scrutiny was applicable.

"Nonetheless, this error is not fatal and does not invalidate the trial court's order," Edmunds wrote, adding later in his 51-page opinion the boundaries still withstood the higher scrutiny and were thus lawful. The other four districts also met the law, the justice wrote.

"The General Assembly's enacted plans do not violate plaintiffs' constitutional rights. We hold that the enacted House and Senate plans satisfy state and federal constitutional and statutory requirements," he wrote.

Associate Justice Cheri Beasley wrote in a 29-page dissenting opinion the higher scrutiny did apply but those districts failed to meet that threshold. She said other districts also violated the state constitution's directive barring the splitting of counties to form House and Senate districts — as long as the boundaries first comply with federal civil rights voting laws.

"For any of these errors, this court would do well to vacate and remand rather than prematurely affirm a defective and ultimately undemocratic districting plan," Beasley wrote. Justice Robin Hudson joined in Beasley's opinion.

In news releases, plaintiffs and lawyers who sued said they plan to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case.

"It is simply wrong for the legislature to carve up this state on the basis of race in these circumstances." said attorney Anita Earls, representing the North Carolina NAACP. Rucho and Lewis said they hoped "hyper-partisan rhetoric" by opponents of the maps would now end with Friday's ruling.

Since the Supreme Court heard from the lawyers in person last Jan. 6, Chief Justice Sarah Parker stepped down from the court after reaching the mandatory retirement age for judges. Mark Martin is now the chief justice. Associate Justice Bob Hunter, who joined the court in September but lost an election for an eight-year term last month, did not participate in the deliberations, the court said.

While Supreme Court elections are officially nonpartisan, Hudson and Beasley are registered Democrats. The remaining sitting justices — Martin, Edmunds, Paul Newby and Barbara Jackson — are Republicans.

Copyright The Associated Press

Published: Fri, 19 Dec 2014 19:52:25 -0500

Authorities arrest gang member on firearm charges

On Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014, a known Crips gang member with multiple felony convictions for crimes of violence was arrested by federal, state and local authorities in Rowan County.

They arrested Cameron Jamar Neely, 27, of 780 Corriher Gravel Road, in China Grove on firearm charges, according to a news release.

Rowan County Sheriff's Office said that in October, it learned Neely was possessing and selling firearms and extended-capacity magazines.

Multiple agencies started surveillance on Neely and found out that he had firearms on Oct. 22-23 and Dec. 4, officials said.

On Dec. 18, the Sheriff's Office, with assistance from other agencies, executed a search warrant at the residence after arresting Neely in a traffic stop on U.S. Highway 29.

Investigators said they found found a .45-caliber handgun, magazines and a variety of ammunition inside the residence.  Investigators said they also seized numerous bags of fake crack cocaine, which are frequently used by drug traffickers to sell to unsuspecting drug customers.

Neely was charged with four counts of felon in possession of a firearm, one count of possession of a weapon of mass destruction, one count of transportation of a weapon of mass destruction and one count of selling a weapon of mass destruction.

Neely was placed under a $500,000 secured bond.

Neely has previous felony convictions in Davidson and Rowan counties for assault with intent to kill, assault inflicting serious injury, common-law robbery and larceny.   

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Published: Fri, 19 Dec 2014 19:10:55 -0500

Neighbors upset about halfway house for sex offenders

A single-family house in an east Charlotte neighborhood was recently approved to be a group home for six sex offenders and neighbors are upset they were never told about it.
 
It's part of a transitional-housing program to get them out of shelters and off the streets and it may be expanding in Charlotte and other cities across the state.
 
Six sex offenders moved into a home three weeks ago on McAlpine Lane at the end of a cul-de-sac in the middle of a neighborhood with single family homes.
 
The resident are convicted of charges including rape, kidnapping, exploitation of a minor and indecent liberties with a child.
 
"None of the kids come down here and play anymore," said Victoria Golba who lives two houses down from the home.
 
Channel 9 learned the Bradley-Reid Corporation bought the house from the previous homeowner who the CEO said is a volunteer with the Bradley-Reid Corporation. It offers housing and re-entry services for veterans and this is its first group home for sex offenders.

The program is under the Department of Public Safety to provide temporary housing for sex offenders still on probation.
 
"The residents can be offenders who have been released from prison and are serving post-release supervision or who are on probation and have exhausted all other housing options and would otherwise be homeless," a DPS spokesperson wrote in an email to Channel 9.
 
Neighbor Michael Layman said residents received no notice this was happening.
 
"That was a real shock and kind of a kick in the gut," said Layman.
 
The house received a zoning-use permit to become a group home from the city of Charlotte's planning department.
 
The prescribed condition is that new group homes be separated from existing homes by 800 feet. 
 
"The location of the transitional home meets the state's legal requirements for sex offender housing and was approved by the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Department Sex Offender Registry Unit," said a DPS spokesperson.
 
The DPS believes this type of housing is better than having sex offenders wander the streets.
 
"We believe in second chances absolutely. The problem that we have with it is that there are so many," said Golba. "How did this happen to a neighborhood like this? And if it happened to ours then it could happen to someone else's."
 
DPS pointed out 117 sex offenders live within 3 miles of the home.
 
The house is supposed to have 24 hours supervision and had to be inspected by the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office. Residents are also subject to curfew and regular drug and alcohol screening.
           
Channel 9 was told two other homes could be opening this spring in other parts of the Charlotte and facilitators are not obligated to notify residents about the move.

Published: Fri, 19 Dec 2014 17:35:17 -0500

Time Warner Cable to increase rates in January 2015

A Time Warner Cable spokesman said there will be a rate increase in January 2015 for customers.

Time Warner customers were notified by letter with their statement, the spokesman said.

Increases include:

  • $2.75-per-month fee for sports programming
  • 50 cent increase to broadcasting TV surcharge
  • $2 increase for Internet modem lease
  • $2 increase for HBO movie channels purchased “a la carte”

The spokesman released the following details about the increase:

  • Many customers are in promotional package pricing and will not see any increase until their promotional period expires.
  • About 30 percent of all TV customers will not see a Broadcast TV Fee increase or the new Sports Programming Surcharge immediately because their TV service is currently part of a promotional package.
  • About 75 percent of TV customers who have Standard TV or above will not be charged the Sports Programming Fee immediately because their TV service is currently part of a promotional package. Broadcast and sports programming costs are by far the biggest drivers of higher TV prices; our fees paid to local broadcast channels have soared 60 percent the past two years alone — and the cost of cable sports networks has increased 91 percent since 2008. The broadcasting TV and sports programming surcharges listed on customer bills represent only a fraction of what we actually pay for broadcast TV and sports content and we think that it’s important to show customers the impact of these rising costs through a specific item on their bills.
  • We’re investing millions of dollars in deploying new modems that support faster speeds and a better Internet experience in all our markets. The modem lease fee helps pay for this equipment as well as the maintenance and service we provide to our modem customers who can have a malfunctioning modem replaced at any time with no extra charge.  Any Time Warner Cable customer who doesn’t want the benefit of these services can avoid the Internet modem lease fee by purchasing their own modem. 
  • Equipment fees include not only the cost of the equipment, but also the operational costs associated with providing this equipment and supporting its use in customer’s homes.
  • Time Warner Cable continually invests in its network, making it possible to add the new content and features customers want and the reliable, dependable service customers deserve.  In the past year, Time Warner Cable has invested more than $345 million in network improvement and reliability across our Carolinas markets.
  • The vast majority of Time Warner Cable customers who subscribe to HBO get that content as part of a package price, and those package prices aren’t changing.  This change only affects customers who get HBO on an a la carte basis.

Published: Fri, 19 Dec 2014 17:21:18 -0500

Staples: Customer data exposed in security breach

Staples Inc. said nearly 1.2 million customer payment cards may have been exposed during a security breach earlier this year.

The office supply retailer said in October that it was looking into a potential credit card breach, adding to a long list of retailers recently hit by cyberattacks.

Staples said Friday that an investigation shows that the criminals used malware that may have allowed access to information for transactions at 115 of its U.S. stores. That includes cardholder names, payment card numbers, expiration dates and card verification codes.

The Framingham, Massachusetts-based company is offering free identity protection services, including credit monitoring, to customers who might be at risk.

The security breach affected different stores at different times between July and September.

Published: Fri, 19 Dec 2014 17:06:37 -0500

Deputies: Someone may be helping wanted Catawba Co. man

Catawba County Sheriff's deputies believe someone may be helping a wanted man hide from authorities.
 
Deputies and federal agents have been hunting for Jeffrey Dean Tucker since Thursday afternoon, when they said he ran from a deputy attempting to arrest him on a federal warrant for possession of firearm by a felon.

READ MORE: Authorities search for convicted felon in Catawba County
 
Authorities said the deputy chased Tucker to Tower Road, where he bailed from his car and disappeared into the woods.
 
"That's two miles from where he grew up, that's all the area with his family friends, and I'm sure he had a plan where he was going at the time," said Capt. Joel Fish.
 
For hours Thursday, deputies combed the area but with no success.
 
"The phone rang four different times -- it was the sheriff, warning me not to go out, to keep my doors locked," said Martha Owens, who lives on Tower Road.
 
By Friday afternoon, deputies ended the active search and now believe Tucker is receiving assistance from a relative or friend.
 
"I'm sure he's still in the area, he probably got a ride, or he's at somebody's house," Fish said.

Channel 9 dug through Tucker's criminal history and found convictions for assault with a deadly weapon, robbery and DWI.
 
Authorities are asking anyone who might have seen him to call them.

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Published: Fri, 19 Dec 2014 16:51:52 -0500

Police task force makes arrests in drive-by shootings

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police told Eyewitness News they arrested more than 10 people they believe to have been involved in a string of drive-by shootings in the last month on the city’s north and west sides, including a slaying at a car wash the day after Thanksgiving.

The arrests, mostly on charges unrelated to the shootings, came after police formed a special task force that met twice a day to focus on the shooting spree that hit several homes and apartments while families were inside.

“Gunshots start ringing out at my house like ‘boom, boom, boom, boom,’” said a woman who lives at a home on Statesville Avenue where the shootings began early in the morning Nov. 28.

She said she believes the bullets were intended for her son’s friend who had parked his car in front of the home. Ten hours later that friend, Jose Cuestas, was shot and killed at a car wash on Sunset Road.

Police have not made any arrests in that homicide but said that it may have triggered two shootings the next day outside apartment complexes in west Charlotte.

“As soon as I moved from the window they started shooting. I mean, there were a lot of shots. I thought I was in Beirut,” said Corinthia Reed, who was in her apartment with family, including her 3-year-old son.

Jenna McGee had just stepped outside her front door.

“All I heard were gunshots, gunshots, gunshots so I just fell to the ground,” McGee said.  

She watched as half a dozen bullets hit her minivan, leaving her frozen with fear.

“I don't know exactly how many rounds hit the front of this apartment,” Lt. Mike Barron said Friday as he stood in front of the complex off Dr. Carver Road.

Minutes before the shots were fired, someone fired into two apartments on Clanton Road. Barron said.  He said it appeared that someone had been shooting at a group of people on the sidewalk.

No one was hit but police two groups, one on the city’s west side and the other on the north side, had been engaging in a running gun battle that was threatening innocent bystanders.

“For us it's a race against time,” said Maj. Jeff Estes, a week after the task force began meeting twice a day to update the investigation.

With little cooperation from the people involved, even potential victims, police focused on identifying the people involved and finding other ways to take them off the streets.

Three weeks and more than 10 arrests later, Estes said it appears to have worked.

“The amount of violence associated with these two groups seems to have diminished significantly,” Estes said Friday.

With more possible suspects and the homicide at the car wash still unsolved, police are keeping the pressure on and no one appreciates that more than Reed, who’s not taking the silence for granted.

“It may stop for a day but then it's right back,” she said.

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Published: Fri, 19 Dec 2014 16:44:36 -0500