Crop-insurance payout: $16 billion
DES MOINES, Iowa
Farmers will be paid a record $16 billion in crop- insurance claims for 2012 because of the widespread drought, a staggering amount that has critics calling for changes to what they say is an inefficient taxpayer subsidy the government cannot afford.
Though farmers buy crop insurance from private companies, the federal government subsidizes their premiums and picks up the tab for losses over a certain amount. One analyst estimates the federal tab for 2012 will come to about $11 billion.
It is the second year in a row that U.S. farmers have received record crop- insurance payments as flooding and drought in 2011 was followed by an even worse drought last year. The $16 billion in payments also comes as lawmakers working on a new farm bill have been considering a shift from disaster relief to crop insurance as a more predicable way of protecting farmers from natural disasters.
S. Korea wrongly IDs hacking source
SEOUL, South Korea
In an embarrassing twist to a coordinated cyberattack on six major South Korean companies this week, investigators said Friday they wrongly identified a Chinese Internet Protocol address as the source.
A joint team of government and private experts still maintains that hackers abroad likely were to blame, and many analysts suspect North Korea. But the error raises questions about investigators’ ability to track down the source of an attack that shut down 32,000 computers Wednesday and exposed big Internet security holes in one of the world’s most wired, tech-savvy countries.