National Briefs | Computer woes loom

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WASHINGTON -- Thousands of people around the country whose computers were infected with malicious software more than a year ago faced the possibility of not being able to get online today.

At 12:01 a.m. EDT, the FBI had planned to shut down the Internet servers set up as a temporary safety net to keep infected computers online for the past eight months. The court order the agency obtained to keep the servers running expired, and it was not renewed.

The problem began when international hackers ran an online advertising scam to take control of more than 570,000 infected computers around the world. When the FBI went in to take down the hackers late last year, agents realized that if they turned off the malicious servers being used to control the computers, all the victims would lose their Internet service.

In a highly unusual move, the FBI set up the safety net. The bureau brought in a private company to install two clean Internet servers to take over for the malicious servers so that people would not suddenly lose their Internet.

As of Wednesday, there were about 45,600 in the U.S. -- nearly 20,000 less than a week ago. Worldwide, the total is roughly 250,000 infected. The numbers have declined steadily, and recent efforts by Internet service providers may limit the problems today.

Heat wave easing up

PHILADELPHIA -- The heat that blanketed much of the U.S. began to ease up from unbearable to merely very hot Sunday as temperatures from the Midwest to the East Coast dropped from highs above 100 degrees down to the 90s.

Cooler air swept southward in the eastern half of the country, bringing down some temperatures by 15 or more degrees from Saturday's highs, which topped 100 in some regions.

The heat of the past several days has also been blamed for at least 35 deaths across the country.

Zimmerman in safe house

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The neighborhood watch leader charged with fatally shooting Trayvon Martin is in a safe house that is being protected by his security team.

George Zimmerman was released Friday after posting bail for the second time on a second-degree murder charge. His attorney said Sunday he was in Seminole County in central Florida.

Rep. Frank ties the knot

NEWTON, Mass. -- U.S. Rep. Barney Frank has tied the knot with his longtime partner in a ceremony officiated by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

Frank spokesman Harry Gural says the 72-year-old Democratic congressman married 42-year-old Jim Ready in a Saturday evening wedding at the Boston Marriott hotel in Newton.

Campaign complaint

WASHINGTON -- The Democratic Party's Senate campaign arm will file a formal complaint today with the Federal Election Commission against three of the Republicans' biggest campaign groups, accusing them of willful violations of federal election law and asking that their electioneering be stopped.

The complaint by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee targets Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, Americans for Prosperity and the 60 Plus Association -- Republican-leaning "social welfare" organizations that have received or are requesting tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code, which allows funding sources to be kept private. Such groups are prohibited from devoting themselves primarily to political activity.

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