Mar. 19 News Briefs

Putin’s huge victory deflates, divides Russian opposition

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin’s crushing re-election victory puts his opponents in a tough spot. They gathered widespread examples of apparent voting violations in Sunday’s vote, but it’s unlikely to seriously damage Putin given his widespread support. With 99.8 percent of the vote counted, results showed Putin won almost 77 percent of the vote, well up from his showing in the last election in 2012. His closest rival, communist Pavel Grudinin, had less than 12 percent. The only candidate to openly criticize Putin in the campaign, TV star Ksenia Sobchak, got less than 2 percent. Putin’s most serious foe, opposition leader Alexei Navalny, was barred from the race. He clashed publicly with Sobchak on Sunday night, accusing her of being a Kremlin stooge.

Cambridge Analytica took ‘fake news to the next level’

NEW YORK (AP) — A former employee of a Trump-affiliated data-mining firm says it used algorithms that “took fake news to the next level” using data inappropriately obtained from Facebook. Chris Wylie, a former employee of Cambridge Analytica, said Monday on NBC’s “Today” that the group ‘injected content’ all around a person to change their perception of what was actually happening. He said the firm identified voters who might be swayed and targeted them with messages that may or may not be true. Wylie says he doesn’t know to what extent Trump’s campaign used the techniques. But he says Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was meeting with Cambridge Analytica in 2015, before Trump even announced his run for office. Wylie claimed Cambridge used the data it had while speaking with Russian businesses.

Uber self-driving vehicle hits, kills pedestrian in Arizona

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Police in a Phoenix suburb say one of Uber’s self-driving vehicles has struck and killed a pedestrian. Police in the city of Tempe said Monday that the vehicle was in autonomous mode with an operator behind the wheel when the woman walking outside of a crosswalk was hit. Sgt. Ronald Elcock says in an email that the accident happened overnight but did not say whether it occurred Sunday night or Monday morning. The woman died of her injuries at a hospital and her name was not made public. Uber has been testing the self-driving vehicles in Tempe and Phoenix for months. Uber says on Twitter that it is “fully cooperating” with the investigation and expressed condolences to the family of the victim.