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US demands that China end hacking and set cyber rules

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration demanded Monday that China take steps to stop the widespread hacking of U.S. government and corporate computer networks and that it engage in a dialogue to set standards for security in cyberspace.

The demands, laid out in a speech by President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, Thomas E. Donilon, represent the first direct response by the White House to a raft of attacks on U.S. computer networks, many of which appear to have originated with the People’s Liberation Army.

“U.S. businesses are speaking out about their serious concerns about sophisticated, targeted theft of confidential business information and proprietary technologies through cyberintrusions emanating from China on an unprecedented scale,” Donilon said in remarks prepared for delivery to the Asia Society in New York.

He also announced that the Treasury Department would impose sanctions on a North Korean bank that specializes in foreign-exchange transactions — ratcheting up the pressure on the North Korean government on the day that Pyongyang announced it would no longer abide by the 1953 armistice that halted the Korean War.

—Mark Landler, The New York Times

Ukrainian blogger escapes her Sy

MOSCOW — A Ukrainian blogger and journalist captured by a Syrian rebel group some five months ago announced that she had escaped her captors on Monday but offered little detail, telling a Russian radio station that she “just walked out and left.”

A spokesman for Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that the blogger, Anhar Kochneva, was free, but offered no account of how that had come about, saying she had contacted the Ukrainian Embassy in Damascus. Kochneva, who worked as a fixer for Russian journalists in Syria, was captured near the city of Homs in October, reportedly by a group from the Free Syrian Army.

In an interview with the radio station Business FM, Kochneva said she “just walked out and left, and in about 15 kilometers I met some normal people who helped me cross over” to government-controlled territory.

Later, she told RIA-Novosti, a news agency, that she had been held in a suburb of Homs called al-Bueida, and was the captive of the head of the local military council of the Free Syrian Army.

On her blog, Kochneva was more mysterious, writing: “Your Alice has returned from behind the looking-glass. Details later.”

—Ellen Barry, The New York Times

Thousands of dead pigs found in Chinese river

BEIJING — More than 2,800 dead pigs have been found in a major river that flows through Shanghai, igniting fears among city residents of contaminated tap water, according to state news media reports Monday.

Officials were trying to determine who had dumped the carcasses into the river, the Huangpu, which slices through the heart of Shanghai. Some reports blamed farmers. Officials were seeking to track the source of the pigs from marks on their ears, and a preliminary inquiry found that the dumping occurred in Zhejiang province, which is south of Shanghai and upstream on the Huangpu.

Photographs of the carcasses floating in the river were circulating widely on the Internet. One photograph on the website of Global Times showed sanitation workers in orange vests and blue uniforms lifting carcasses from Hengliaojing Creek with long wooden poles.

An accompanying report, citing a Shanghai news website, said the first carcasses were discovered Thursday near a water treatment plant in an area that is a protected water resource. Their numbers increased quickly over the weekend, and the tally is expected to grow further as search barges return to Shanghai.

Shanghai Waterworks, which manages the city’s tap water, said Sunday night that the water still met drinking standards, according to Xinhua, the state news agency. Shanghai officials said the group was checking the water hourly.

—Edward Wong, The New York Times

Ovarian cancer study finds widespread flaws in treatment

Most women with ovarian cancer receive inadequate care and miss out on treatments that could add a year or more to their lives, a new study has found.

The results highlight what many experts say is a neglected problem: widespread, persistent flaws in the care of women with this disease, which kills 15,000 a year in the United States. About 22,000 new cases are diagnosed annually, most of them discovered at an advanced stage and needing aggressive treatment. Worldwide, there are about 200,000 new cases a year.

Cancer specialists around the country say the main reason for the poor care is that most women are treated by doctors and hospitals that see few cases of the disease and lack expertise in the complex surgery and chemotherapy that can prolong life.

“If we could just make sure that women get to the people who are trained to take care of them, the impact would be much greater than that of any new chemotherapy drug or biological agent,” said Dr. Robert E. Bristow, the director of gynecologic oncology at the University of California, Irvine, and lead author of the new study presented on Monday at a meeting of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology in Los Angeles.

Dr. Barbara A. Goff, a professor of gynecologic oncology at the University of Washington, in Seattle, who was not part of Bristow’s study, said the problem with ovarian cancer care was clear: “We’re not making the most use of things that we know work well.”

—Denise Grady, The New York Times