NEW YORK (AP) — Got hundreds of Facebook friends you hardly know?
Now is a good time to do some digital cleanup, while the year is still fresh. Review your security and privacy settings, and make sure those casual acquaintances you met at a bar eons ago aren’t still getting the most intimate details of your life. Get rid of games and apps that might have latched onto your account years ago, but that you no longer use.
Here are six cleanup tips:
SECURE YOUR ACCOUNT
You’ve doubtless heard you should have a strong password. It’s especially important for email and social-networking accounts because so much of your digital life revolves around them. Plus, many other services let you log on using your Facebook account, so if that gets compromised, so will your other accounts.
Because passwords are tough to manage, it’s best not to rely solely on them. Turn on what Facebook calls Login Approvals. It’s in the account settings under “Security.” After you do so, you’re asked for confirmation — entering a special number sent to your phone — when signing on from a new device.
Unless you switch devices often, this is something you set up once and forget about. And no one else can log in with your password unless they also have your phone and that special number.
REVIEW YOUR PRIVACY SETTINGS
Facebook offers a series of quick privacy “shortcuts.” On desktops and laptops, look for the small padlock on the upper right corner of the browser. On Apple and Android devices, access shortcuts through the menu — the three horizontal bars.
The key shortcut is “Who can see my stuff ?” See whether you’ve been inadvertently broadcasting your musings to the entire Facebook community. You’ll probably want to at least limit sharing to “Friends” rather than “Public,” though you can customize that further to exclude certain individuals or groups — such as co-workers, acquaintances or grandparents. When sharing, remember that less is more.
While you’re at it, check “Timeline and Tagging” in your account settings from a PC or mobile. You can insist on approving posts that people tag you in. Note that this is limited to what appears on your personal timeline; if Mary tags you in a post, Mary’s friends will still see it regardless of your settings. That includes friends you may have in common with her.
If you’re on a desktop or laptop, Facebook has a Privacy Checkup tool to review your settings. Look for that padlock. This tool is coming soon to mobile.
MAKE ENEMIES … OR AT LEAST UNFRIEND SOME
Purge friends you’re no longer in touch with. If you think “unfriending” is too mean, add them to an “Acquaintances” or “Restricted” list instead. “Acquaintances” means they won’t show up in your news feed as often, though they’ll still have full access to any posts you distribute to your friends. “Restricted” means they’ll only see posts you mark as public. Either is effectively a way to unfriend someone without dropping any clues you’ve done so.
You can also create custom lists, such as “college friends” or “family.” This is great for oversharing with those who’ll appreciate it, while not annoying everyone else you know and putting yourself in danger of becoming an “acquaintance” yourself. You can create lists on a traditional PC by hitting “More” next to “Friends” to the left of your news feed. Individuals can be in multiple groups. Capabilities are limited on mobile devices, although changes you make on the PC will appear on your phone or tablet.
WATCH THOSE APPS
Perhaps someone invited you to play a game a few years ago. You tried it a few weeks and moved on, yet the app is still getting access to your data. Or perhaps you’ve used Facebook to log onto a service you no longer use, such as one to track the 2014 Winter Olympics. It’s time to sign out. If you’re not sure you still use it, drop it anyway. You can always sign on again.
The Privacy Checkup tool on PCs will review apps for you automatically. On mobile devices, look for “Apps” in the account settings (not “Apps” in the main menu).
A related option is the Security Checkup tool. It’s an easy way to log out of Facebook on devices you rarely use. You can also enable alerts when someone tries to sign on from a new device or browser. To run this, go to http://Facebook.com/securitycheckup on a PC. On the Android app, you can search for “security checkup” in the Help Center. On iPhones and iPads, you’ll have to find the options individually in the account settings under “Security.”
CONTROL YOUR DATA
You can exert some influence over whose posts you see more or less often by going to “News Feeds Preferences.” The setting is on the top right on browsers and Android apps and on the lower right on iPhones. Here, you can select friends who’ll always show up on top, or hide someone’s posts completely.
Finally, if you’re worried about data usage, you can stop videos in your news feeds from playing automatically. On Android, go to “Autoplay” in the “App Settings.” On iPhones, it’s in the account settings under “Videos and Photos.”
Two settings might eliminate grief later in life … or death.
In the security settings, you can designate certain friends as trusted contacts. They’ll have power to help you if you get locked out of your account for some reason. You can also designate a “Legacy Contact” — a family member or close friend who’d serve as your administrator should you, um, make your last status update (as in, ever). They won’t be able to post on your behalf or see your messages, but they’ll be able to respond to new friend requests and take a few additional actions on your deceased behalf.
MOSCOW (AP) — A prominent Russian opposition figure says he was threatened by a group of men who then attacked him with a cake while he was dining at a restaurant in Moscow.
Mikhail Kasyanov said he was sitting in a central Moscow restaurant Tuesday night when around 10 men of “non-Slavic appearance” entered, threatened him and rammed a cake into his face, according to Russia’s Interfax news agency.
A staunch critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the leader of the opposition Parnas party, Kasyanov said he filed a complaint with the police, concerned that the run-in had darker implications.
The incident came several days after Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Russia’s Chechnya republic, posted a threatening video on Instagram that shows Kasyanov in the crosshairs of a sniper rifle.
The Kremlin on Wednesday called the cake attack an act of “hooliganism” and rebuffed the idea that it was related to Chechnya’s leadership.
Now that Carnival has drawn to a close, here’s a selection of top images taken at this year’s pre-Lenten parties across Latin America and the Caribbean.
At the iconic Sambadrome parade in Rio de Janeiro, some performers literally became shower heads, spraying water up into the air from their hats as they sang and danced. A performer who uses a wheelchair dazzled the crowd with a seemingly impossible feat: a handstand while holding the chair up in the air.
Animals got into the action during a pet parade along Rio’s Copacabana Beach, with some dogs in baby strollers and all of them in costume.
Other cities around the hemisphere celebrated in their own unique ways.
Revelers in Triunfo, Brazil, strolled the streets in sad-faced masks, while partygoers in Montevideo, Uruguay, banged on Candombe drums, a tradition dating from the colonial era when African slaves were brought to South America. In Oruro, Bolivia, dancers performed their pagan-Catholic blend of Carnival, an event considered one of UNESCO’s Masterpieces of Humanity’s Oral and Intangible Heritage.
Political tensions in Haiti caused some events to be cancelled and dampened participation, but people still took to the streets to celebrate, including roller-skaters in elaborate costumes.
The Zika outbreak in the Americas was on a lot of people’s minds, but it didn’t dent Carnival celebrations. At one street party, Brazilians symbolically buried the Aedes aegypti mosquito that transmits the virus, insisting the show go on as always.
This gallery was curated by AP Regional Photo Editor Enric Marti in Mexico City.
HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong’s Lunar New Year celebration descended into chaos as protesters and police, who fired warning shots into the air, clashed over a street market selling fishballs and other local holiday delicacies, with dozens injured and more than 60 arrested.
The violence is the worst in Hong Kong since pro-democracy protests rocked the city in 2014, leaving a growing trust gap between the public and authorities.
Activists angered over authorities’ attempts to crack down on the food hawkers in a crowded Kowloon neighborhood held running battles with police into the early morning hours of Tuesday.
Protesters pelted officers with paving stones, glass bottles and other pieces of debris. Some threw garbage cans, plastic safety barriers and wood from shipping pallets. They also set fires on the street.
The unrest started when authorities tried to prevent unlicensed street food sellers from operating Monday night in Mong Kok, a working-class district. The hawkers have become a local tradition during the Lunar New Year holiday but this year authorities tried to remove them.
The hawkers were backed by activists who objected to the crackdown over concerns that Hong Kong’s local culture is disappearing as Beijing tightens its hold on the semiautonomous city.
The scuffles underscore how tensions remain unresolved more than a year after the end of pro-democracy protests that gripped the city. Mong Kok, a popular and densely populated shopping and entertainment district, was one of the neighborhoods where activists occupied streets for about 11 weeks in late 2014, capturing world headlines with their demands for greater electoral freedom.
Hong Kong’s leader, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, told reporters a mob had attacked police officers and journalists, and said the perpetrators would be prosecuted. More than 80 officers and four reporters were hurt, he said.
Police cars and public property were damaged, fires started and bricks and other objects thrown at police officers, including those already injured and lying on the ground, Leung said.
“I believe the public can see for themselves from TV news reports the seriousness of the situation. The (Hong Kong) government strongly condemns such violent acts. The police will apprehend the mobs and bring them to justice,” Leung said.
Officials said they were investigating whether the violence had been organized in advance.
At one point, a protester tried to tackle a traffic police officer from behind before both sides rushed in to the melee in the middle of a busy street, according to video shown by local news channel Cable TV. Moments later, another officer appeared to fire two warning shots into the air.
Hong Kong police said the protesters had ignored their warnings to get off the street and shoved officers, who responded with batons and pepper spray.
Police said late Tuesday that 61 people ranging in age from 15 to 70 were arrested on suspicion of unlawful assembly, assaulting police, resisting arrest, obstructing officers, possession of offensive weapons and disorderly conduct in a public place.
Some were also suspected of participating in a riot, a charge that Police Commissioner Lo Wai-Chung told reporters earlier in the day has not been employed since 1967 riots expressing support for China’s radical Cultural Revolution and against British colonial rule.
Two warning shots were fired during the incident, Acting District Commander Yau Siu-kei said.
In Japan, the prime minister said North Korea would be committing a “grave, provocative act” if it followed through on plans to launch a long-range rocket. South Korea warned of “searing consequences” if the launch went ahead. Moscow and Washington, which rarely agree on much of anything these days, both denounced Pyongyang’s plans. Even China, North Korea’s closest ally, said it was worried.
But in the end, the international outrage didn’t make any difference. On Sunday, Pyongyang launched its rocket — which it says was designed only to carry a satellite into orbit, but which much of the world insists was a camouflaged long-range missile test — and then proudly proclaimed its success.
Because North Korea learned long ago that it could achieve a great deal with deliberate belligerence.
Here’s a look at Pyongyang’s provocations.
Years after North Korea first agreed to shut down its nuclear weapons program, even as it quietly built it up, Pyongyang no longer makes a secret of its ambitions. Its 2012 constitution enshrines its status as a nuclear state. When it set off its fourth nuclear weapons test just a few weeks ago, infuriating the international community, it called the explosion “a great deed of history.”
The test “guarantees the eternal future of the nation,” the government declared. If the statement was over the top, there was also truth amid the hyperbole.
North Korea is an impoverished nation with a military often reduced to using decades-old Soviet equipment. It is profoundly isolated, facing sanctions that cut it off from most international trade. Its leaders are mocked regularly in the Western media.
Nuclear weapons, though, make the world pay attention. Even to a country so poor that 24-hour electricity is considered a luxury.
North Korea’s nuclear weapons technology has given it immense international negotiating power, allowing Pyongyang to alternate nuclear tests with talks to ratchet back its weapons programs. Over the years, those talks have resulted in billions of dollars in aid.
The nuclear tests are also powerful messages for domestic consumption, proof of how North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, like his father and grandfather before him, had developed the country’s military technology to withstand the ever-looming threats of South Korea and the United States.
Or as Kim put it in his New Year’s address: “If invasive outsiders and provocateurs touch us even slightly, we will … answer with a merciless, holy war of justice.”
Nuclear weapons are inherently dangerous, of course, but they are far more dangerous if they can be launched quickly against targets around the world.
That, however, requires missiles, along with the technology to miniaturize nuclear explosives so they can fit onto warheads.
In announcing its launch plans, Pyongyang insisted its intentions were peaceful, calling it part of a “space development program” and saying the rocket would carry an Earth-observation satellite.
Many experts believe the North’s rockets look more like they are designed to carry satellites into space — and less like long-range missiles — but the technology is similar, and forbidden by a series of U.N. resolutions.
As a result, much of the world denounced the Sunday launch as yet another ballistic missile test, and one more step toward a North Korean arsenal of nuclear weapons capable of striking as far away as the United States.
The announcement was also quickly followed by demands to further tighten trade restrictions on North Korea, already among the most-sanctioned nations in the world. It also sparked renewed calls, particularly from U.S. officials, for China to exert pressure on Pyongyang. While Beijing quickly expressed regret Sunday that North Korea had “obstinately insisted in carrying out a launch,” it also pushed back against simply ratcheting up sanctions.
China’s U.N. ambassador, Liu Jieyi, said any new U.N. resolution should “do the work of reducing tension, of working toward denuclearization.”
Beijing has also made clear it believes there is plenty of blame to go around, and that it does not like being lectured to by Washington.
Soon after the January nuclear test, China’s official Xinhua News Agency said the United States was responsible for much of the tension on the Korean Peninsula, saying “it boils down to Uncle Sam’s uncompromising hostility … flaring up the country’s insecurity and thus pushing it toward reckless nuclear brinkmanship.”
Such talk is welcome in Pyongyang, which has long portrayed itself as a courageous nation standing up to American aggression. Strained relations between Beijing and Washington also give North Korea more room for its own diplomatic maneuvering.
What happens when you want to demonstrate your military might but your technology isn’t quite ready? If you’re North Korea, experts say, sometimes you fake it. Or at least you exaggerate.
Pyongyang called its January nuclear blast a successful test of a hydrogen bomb, proof that North Korea was now “equipped with the most powerful nuclear deterrent.”
Well, probably not. Weapons experts said there was little chance that Pyongyang had detonated an H-bomb. At best, they said, Pyongyang had set off a “boosted” explosion, which uses hydrogen isotopes but has far less strength than a traditional two-stage hydrogen bomb.
Or take North Korea’s purported submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
In 2015, when North Korea announced it had successfully launched a missile from a submarine, experts said it may have actually been fired from an underwater testing barge.
Then, last month, a North Korea television report appeared to show leader Kim Jong Un proudly watching a successful underwater launch of a KN-11 missile. But detailed analysis of the footage done at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies, a leading proliferation research center in Monterey, California, instead found a carefully edited collection of video clips. Hidden amid the splicing was a completely different reality, they said. The missile, the Middlebury scholars found, most likely exploded moments after leaving the water.
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Latest on an armed group that took over buildings at a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon (all times local):
A Nevada state lawmaker says she will travel to Portland, Oregon, this week to protest the jailing of members of an armed group that took over a national wildlife refuge.
Michelle Fiore, a Republican state Assembly member from Las Vegas and an outspoken gun rights advocate, told The Associated Press she plans to fly to Portland on Wednesday ahead of a Thursday meeting involving lawmakers from several states who are members of a group called the Coalition of Western States. The group opposes federal management of Western lands.
Fiore says the people jailed for seizing the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon, last month were “exercising political free speech.”
The jailed leader of the standoff had earlier called on elected officials to support his cause. Ammon Bundy is among 16 people who have been indicted on charges of conspiracy to interfere with federal workers.
The jailed leader of the armed Oregon standoff is calling on elected officials to support those charged in connection with taking over a national wildlife preserve.
Ammon Bundy is among 16 people who have been indicted on charges of conspiracy to interfere with federal workers. That includes four holdouts still holed up at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to oppose federal land policy after more than five weeks.
Bundy’s attorneys released an audio recording Monday in which he urges officials from eight states to visit defendants in jail and show support for their rights to free speech, assembly and civil disobedience.
The defendants hail from Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, Ohio and Washington.
Federal authorities say the standoff is illegal, occupiers had threatened violence and intimidated federal employees.
The last four occupiers of an Oregon wildlife refuge have posted a series of defiant videos in which one of them calls FBI agents losers, shows defensive barricades they have erected and takes a joyride in a government vehicle.
The videos were posted Sunday on a YouTube channel called Defend Your Base, which the armed group has been using to give live updates. The holdouts are among 16 people charged with conspiracy to interfere with federal workers.
David Fry says the FBI told him in negotiations that he was facing charges for setting up the barricades at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
In a video, he defends building them, then drives around in a government vehicle. He mockingly says the ride would give the FBI fodder for more charges.