Texas Tackles Gun Control, Macron Goes to Russia, US Diplomat Ousted From Venezuela, and Comcast Data Leak

This is the transcript for the news segment on The Morning Brew for May 23, 2018. The show airs Monday-Friday at 10:30 AM EST.

You can catch the edited stream on YouTube here (If not available, it’s probably still uploading/rendering):

You can also find a temporary archive on Twitch.

TX Tackles Gun Control

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Still reeling from the incident at Santa Fe High School, the Second Amendment supporting Governor of the state, Greg Abbott, made a promise to tackle the gun control issue. This Wednesday, he will be talking to representatives of Texas Gun Sense, a gun control group, and the Texas Rifle Association, an affiliate of the National Rifle Association. The gun control group will propose tougher background checks for gun sales and “red flag” laws which will serve to prevent people who are a danger to themselves and others from getting firearms. The meeting looks to also address tracking student mental health.

Gov. Greg Abbott has signed bills in recent years reducing the cost of obtaining a license and reduce the training needed to acquire one. Another bill he singed into law give permission to firearm users to openly carry their firearms in public.


Macron Scrambles Ahead of Russia Trip

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Looking to win concessions with President Vladimir Putin, Emmanuel Macron will be in St. Petersburg on Thursday. With the ongoing strained relationship the United States is having with Europe over Iran, the Prime Minister of France may have an uphill battle as President Putin may have little motivation to offer him by way of diplomatic negotiations. PM Macron wishes to find common ground on Syria and Ukraine on his two-day trip. He also desires to open a dialogue on Iran after President Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal.

Macron seeks to mediate between all sides in the matter without upsetting anyone. The Iran deal is being tested after Trump showed his disdain by imposing his own sanctions on Iran, which is the cause of the strained relationships. Trump has also pulled out of the global climate pact and is threatening tariffs on metals from the EU.

Macron is placing emphasis on private talks and wants to push for restoring business and cultural ties even though the EU has sanctions on Moscow.

Due to the fact Russia has shown no signs of altering its position on Syria by continuing to back Assad, Macron may have his options limited. This move will also be hampered by the fact President Putin excluded restoring the annexed Crimea. There is also the latest accusations of Russia having used a nerve gas in Britain from the British government. It seems the cards are stacked against Macron.


Top US Diplomat Expelled From Venezuela

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“We’ve had enough of your conspiring,” President Nicolas Maduro was quoted as saying as he expelled the top United States diplomat from Venezuela on Tuesday, alleging that Todd Robinson and his deputy Brian Naranjo conspired against the socialist government and attempted to sabotage the weekend’s presidential election, which placed Maduro in power. The election, labeled a “sham” by several countries, has elevated tensions between the U.S. and Venezuela. President Maduro asserted the diplomat was the head of the CIA in his country and accused both men of pressuring anti-government presidential candidates not to participate in the race. These assertions were made amid the discontent over the country’s economic collapse and a boycott of the election.

President Maduro also pointed fingers at the Trump administration, who strengthened financial sanctions on the Venezuelan government and is now considering sanctioning oil in the socialist country.

“The dominant and decisive reason why the opposition progressively withdrew from the elections was the decision by the extremist U.S. government to not validate or legitimize a presidential election that they knew fully was going to be won in any scenario by the candidate of Nicolas Maduro,” Maduro said. The Venezuelan President appointed Carlos Ron as deputy foreign minister in charge of North American relations.


Comcast Bug Leaks Customer Data

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A bug on Comcast’s website has a possibility of returning the sensitive information of its customers. This bug, used to activate Xfinity routers, helps customers set up their home internet and cable services. The router can be duped into showing the home address, exposing the router location and the location of the customer. This includes the Wi-Fi username and password.

ZDNet attained the permission from two Xfinity customers to back up, or refute, the existence of the bug. They were able to acquire the full addresses and zip codes of both and confirmed this with the customers. The site returned the Wi-Fi and username of both customers as well, information that would allow people not on the network to connect with the router. They also discovered the router returned the information after it was activated without an opt-out feature. 

The leak was discovered by Karan Saini and Ryan Stevenson, two security researchers. Saini had previously uncovered a two-factor bypass in Uber’s application and India’s biometric database. When asked about the leak, Saini went on to state it would be impossible to estimate account numbers. It is not believed the data collected could be used to access the router settings. After the bug was publicized, Comcast removed it from its website and issued this statement, “There’s nothing more important than our customer’s security. Within hours of learning of the issue, we shut it down. We are conducting a thorough investigation and will take all necessary steps to ensure that this does not happen again.”


Stories were edited and the show is produced and directed by Maddy. Merlin was ill this day.

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