The Week that Was: 5/25/14

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Hacking high jinks

A federal indictment says Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel, Westinghouse Electric, Alcoa, Allegheny Technologies and the United Steelworkers International Union were all hacking targets by five Chinese officials to access technology secrets, business strategies and lobbying plans.

Meanwhile, online marketplace eBay reported that hackers had infiltrated its website, gaining personal information such as names, birth dates, passwords and home addresses for 145 million customers. Officials said there was no evidence they also were able to get credit card numbers or other financial information.

Good news for wedding planners

A federal judge Tuesday declared Pennsylvania’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. Couples were able to go online less than an hour later to apply for a marriage license, even as supporters of the ban called for a quick appeal. Gov. Tom Corbett said he would not appeal the ruling. Celebratory ceremonies here had to wait a day, though, as the Allegheny County marriage license bureau was closed for Election Day.

As I recall …

General Motors issued its 29th, then its 30th, recall this week. The first affected 2.4 million vehicles for faulty ignition switches, and the second was for 218,000 subcompact cars vulnerable to overheating dashboards. This brings the year’s GM recall total to near 14 million vehicles.

Mega good news

Someone who stopped by White Oak Gas and Grocery in recent days left with a Mega Millions ticket worth $149 million after Tuesday’s drawing, or $86.1 million if they need the money right away and take their winnings in a lump sum. It’s Pennsylvania’s first Mega Millions winning ticket since 2010.

Mega not-so-good news

Citing low ridership, bargain bus company Megabus has cut service to Cleveland and Toledo in Ohio, and Michigan destinations Detroit and Ann Arbor. Megabus still goes from Pittsburgh to New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., State College, Harrisburg and Morgantown, W.Va.

Majoring in debt

Graduates in the Class of 2014 will leave with their diplomas, and a record amount of debt. The Fiscal Times reported that students will have an average of $33,000 in school loans, more than double the average 20 years ago even after adjusting for inflation.

Caffeine crisis

Central American farmers are battling a fungus known as “coffee rust” that already has caused $1 billion in damage, hitting the Arabica beans especially hard. That is endangering the livelihoods of the farmers and affecting the price of coffee in the U.S.


Steve Twedt: stwedt@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1963.

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