SUSPECTED ARSONIST CAPTURED
Harry Buckhart, a 24-year-old German national, has been apprehended in connection to a string of vehicle fires in Los Angeles, California. Reports CNN: “Arson investigators counted 52 fires, most starting in parked cars, since Friday morning, but none since the man was detained at 3 a.m. Monday, according to officials.”
Law enforcement officials believe Buckhart acted alone in setting the fires — which have caused about $3 million in damages — but as the investigation is still ongoing, they “will behave as though he did not, until [the LAPD] know for sure,” according to Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck, reports CNN. No one was injured in the fires.
ISRAELI CREDIT CARD INFORMATION HACKED
Some 15,000 Israelis had their credit card information hacked and posted online by a Saudi hacker group known as Group-XP, according to the Associated Press. The AP reports that the information was “posted on an Israeli sports website and removed shortly after it appeared,” and that, “credit card companies said they blocked Internet purchases on the compromised cards and would issue replacement cards soon.”
Gadi Aviran, from Israeli cyber intelligence firm Terrogence, Ltd., commented on the rogue hacker group, stating, “The fact that the hackers offered the credit card details for free, and admitted to using the cards in order to expand their activity and cause more damage to Israelis in the future, shows that they were not motivated by criminal intent or greed. This event is less cyber warfare than cyber terrorism.”
However, another cyber security expert, Gadi Evron — former head of security for an Israeli government Internet provider — sought to quell Aviran’s claim: “Evron said the attack was ‘nothing special’ technically … given the millions of credit card numbers stolen online daily,” reports the AP.
YOUNGER AMERICANS MAKE NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS
CNN reports that a new Marist poll finds that, “even though 62 [percent] of the overall American population will not make resolutions for 2012, 59 [percent] of Americans younger than 45 planned to do so.” According to Lynn Bufka, a psychologist and assistant executive director of the American Psychological Association, “Younger people may be less satisfied with their lives, [and] may have more dreams or goals to accomplish,” reports CNN.
Over 1,000 Americans were polled, and about 38 percent reported their intent to make resolutions for 2012. Among the leading resolutions were: losing weight (18 percent), exercising (11 percent) and quitting smoking and saving more money (tied at 9 percent). About 33 percent of Americans “didn’t keep their word this past year,” but for those looking to follow through this year, “the American Psychological Association breaks down how to stay on the resolution bandwagon in five steps: start small, change behaviors one at a time, talk about it, don’t beat yourself up and ask for support,” writes CNN’s Sarah LeTrent.
MITT ROMNEY WINS IOWA CAUCUS
In a dramatic and protracted finish, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney edged out former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum by a mere eight votes to win Iowa’s “first in the nation” caucus. Santorum and Romney, vying for the Republican party presidential nomination, were locked in a dead heat virtually all night on Tuesday, January 3 — even being separated by one voted toward the end of the night with 99 percent of Iowa’s precincts reporting.
Owing to his poor, fifth-place faring in Iowa, Texas governor Rick Perry announced his intent to suspend his campaign, return to Texas and “assess the results of [the] caucus, [and] determine whether there is a path forward for myself in this race.” Michele Bachmann has also suspended her campaign in the wake of the caucus results. Meanwhile, candidates Romney, Santorum, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich,and John Huntsman will move on to the upcoming January caucuses in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida.