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Inside Daily Brief (Dec 7th, 2017)

Michael Slager, the former South Carolina police officer convicted in the 2015 killing of unarmed 50-year-old Walter Scott, has been sentenced by a federal judge to 20 years in prison. Slager, a white man who was working with the North Charleston Police Department at the time, was convicted of second-degree murder and obstruction of justice in the shooting death of African-American Scott. Slager claims he shot Scott in self-defense, but a cellphone video shot by an eyewitness depicted him firing at Scott's back as he ran away. The sentence was passed by U.S. District Judge David Norton. Slager was charged with Scott's murder in South Carolina, but that case ended in a mistrial. Before the sentence was read, Slager apologized by name to each member of Scott's family, saying “I wish I could go back to the day and change the events, but I can’t.” – ABCNEWS

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Three anonymous sources claim that the 20-year-old man responsible for the data breach at Uber Technologies was paid by Uber to destroy the data through a “bug bounty” program. This type of program is typically used to identify small code vulnerabilities. On November 21, it was revealed that the personal data of about 57 million users in the U.S. was stolen in a breach that occurred back in October 2016. However, the company did not reveal information about the hacker or how he was paid the money. The sources claim that Uber made the payment through a program specifically designed to reward security professionals who can find flaws in a company’s software. – REUTERS

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A new study published in Nature describes the newly discovered fossil of a dinosaur with a swan-like neck, amphibious flippers and claws. “The first time I saw the fossil I was shocked,” said lead author Andrea Cau, a paleontologist at the Geological and Palaeontological Museum Giovanni Capellini. “It was so unexpected and bizarre.” The dinosaur, H. escuilliei, walked the planet nearly 75 million years ago. It likely spent most of its time in lakes and rivers, eating small fish and animals, such as lizards. – LAT  

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President Vladimir Putin has confirmed that he will seek a fourth term in office. The election is set to take place next March, and President Putin is expected to “win handily.” If he is re-elected, his tenure would become the longest by a Russian leader since Joseph Stalin's 29 year tenure over the Soviet Union. A full, six-year term would keep Putin in office through 2024. – NYT

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Argentina's former president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, has been indicted on treason charges by a federal judge. Judge Claudio Bonadio has accused Fernández of attempting to hide Iran's involvement in the bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish community center in 1994, in which 85 people died. Several former associates and aides, including Fernández's former foreign minister Héctor Timerman, were placed under arrest, and authorities conducted raids on a number of homes seeking additional evidence in the case. The investigation was initiated by prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who had discussed the possibility of a cover-up before dying in his apartment under mysterious circumstances. – WAPO

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Steam, one of the largest video game platforms, has stopped accepting bitcoin as a form of payment. "As of today, Steam will no longer support bitcoin as a payment method on our platform due to high fees and volatility in the value of bitcoin,” said Steam engineer Kurtis Chinn. Steam has more than 67 million monthly active players, making it the world’s second biggest gaming service (Sony’s PlayStation is No. 1). As of Thursday morning, the value of Bitcoin had surpassed $15,000.  – BI

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Astronomers believe they have found the oldest supermassive black hole, which formed approximately 690 million years after the Big Bang. At the time, the universe was just five percent of its current age. Supermassive black holes are thought to be present in the hearts of most galaxies. Scientists believe that the black hole may one day help them understand how the current universe formed. – SPACE

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"Game of Thrones" actress Sophie Turner revealed that the show may not return until 2019. HBO has yet to confirm a premiere date for Season 8, but Turner made mention of the 2019 premiere date in an interview with Variety. The final six episodes of the show are currently being shot, and filming is expected to continue through the summer of 2018. – EW

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A new study suggests that air pollution may cause harm to unborn babies. Researchers in London looked at expectant mothers’ exposure to pollution and traffic noise in parts of the city from 2006 to 2010. Then, they looked at the birth weights of more than 540,000 babies born during between these years. The scientists concluded that women who were exposed to air pollution appeared to have children with low birth weight, which is a predictor of an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension later in life. – NYT  

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Formula One racing executives are recommending new security measures for the Brazilian Grand Prix. This comes about one month after team staff members were robbed at gunpoint of passports and phones while leaving the circuit. In a statement, The International Automobile Federation recommended that race promoters retain an independent security expert to “evaluate and advise on measures” pertaining to the safety of all participants. – REUTERS

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Google is launching a new feature that allows celebrities to answer questions about themselves. Some of the stars who have participated in the feature thus far include Gina Rodriguez, James Franco, Mark Wahlberg and Nick Jonas. The feature is being piloted on mobile in the U.S., and it may expand to include lesser-known stars in the near future. – VERGE

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