Twitter hacked — Social media giant Twitter is among the latest U.S. companies to report that it is among a growing list of victims of Internet security attacks. Twitter discovered that the attackers may have stolen user names, email addresses and encrypted passwords belonging to 250,000 users they describe as “a very small percentage" of its 200 million active users. The company reset the pilfered passwords and sent emails advising the affected users. The attack comes on the heels of recent hacks into the computer systems of U.S. companies, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and now The Washington Post, possibly the work of China-based hackers monitoring media coverage the Chinese government deems important.
Biden on Iran — Vice President Joe Biden said Saturday at a security conference in Munich that the United States is prepared to engage in direct talks with Iran over its controversial nuclear program, although he added that the administration would negotiate only if Iranians were “serious." Talks have been offered in the past, but they have never materialized, and last month Iran defiantly said it planned to accelerate its enrichment of uranium. Biden said that it was not too late to reach an agreement on Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.
Syria conflict — Biden also met with the Syrian opposition leader in Munich, commending the opposition’s move raising the possibility of direct talks with President Bashar Assad. Biden made no new promises of support. The leader of the Syrian opposition council, Mouaz al-Khatib, also met with key Russian representatives, but the Saturday meetings were separate and there was no indication that any progress had been made toward a workable plan to bring the violence to an end. In Syria, Rebels captured a strategic neighborhood near Aleppo’s international airport Saturday, putting opposition fighters in control of a key road that the regime has used to ferry supplies and reinforcements to soldiers, activists said.
State of the Union preview — Biden, addressing the Munich conference, said President Barack Obama — who “sends me to places that he doesn’t want to go," he quipped — will address in his State of the Union speech on Feb. 12 nuclear nonproliferation, climate change, extreme poverty, political and trade alliances, and Mideast peace.
Missing in Turkey — Sarai Sierra, a 33-year-old mother of two from New York City, was found dead Saturday after going missing while vacationing alone in Istanbul. Police detained nine people for questioning in connection with the case, Turkey’s state news agency said. The agency did not say what caused her death. Sierra was last heard from on Jan. 21, the day she was to fly home. The disappearance of tourists is rare in Turkey.
Violence in Egypt — Egypt’s interior minister vowed Saturday to investigate the beating of a naked man by riot police that threatened to further inflame popular anger against security forces, but suggested that initial results absolve the police of direct abuse. The beating was caught on camera and broadcast live on television late Friday as protests raged in the streets outside the presidential palace. Video showed police trying to bundle the naked man into a police van. More than 50 people have been killed in violence over the last 10 days in the country.
Alabama standoff — Federal agents are still watching the underground bunker where they say a man named Jimmy Lee Dykes has held a 5-year-old boy hostage for more than four days now. Law enforcement officials are saying little about attempts to rescue the boy, who was kidnapped on Tuesday when Dykes allegedly raided a school bus and killed the driver. Officials have been in constant communication with Dykes through a plastic pipe that he originally installed, a neighbor said, to eavesdrop on trespassers from within the bunker.
Boston bus crash — A charter bus carrying high school students from Pennsylvania crashed when it attempted to pass under a low bridge in Boston on Saturday night, injuring more than 30 people, four seriously, and leaving some trapped for more than an hour, authorities said. The students had been in the area to visit Harvard University. The bus, which was carrying 42 students and adult chaperones, was heading back to the Philadelphia area when it struck an overpass on Soldier’s Field Road, a major crosstown road, at around 7:30 p.m., Massachusetts State Police said. State Police were investigating whether charges were warranted against the driver, who apparently failed to see a sign prohibiting the vehicle from taking that route.
The groundhog’s forecast — An end to winter’s bitter cold will come soon, according to Pennsylvania’s famous groundhog. Following a recent stretch of weather that’s included both record warm temperatures and bitter cold, tornadoes in the South and Midwest, torrential rains in the mid-Atlantic and high winds in the Northeast, Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his lair Saturday in front of thousands in west-central Pennsylvania but didn’t see his shadow — which, of course, means spring will come early this year.
— From wire reports