President of Ghana dies

Ghanaian President John Atta Mills has died, according to a statement sent by his office to Reuters. The 68-year-old Mills, a former law professor, was elected in 2009 and presided over a period of steady economic growth -- as well as newfound oil wealth and the complications that come along with it -- for one of Africa's most stable and prosperous countries.

The exact cause of Mills' death is unclear, with Ghanaian media, for now, reporting only that he had suffered "a long battle with sickness." Mills' health had been the subject of speculation for some time, particularly after he traveled to New York for a "routine checkup" last month. The website Ghana MMA reported then:

President John Evans Atta Mills on Monday afternoon returned from a routine medical check-up in New York with a medical report that he has strong energy for Presidential duties.

“The report of the doctors show that I have strong energy enough for the past, the present and the future; and therefore I should drive from here to the Castle to do my work,” President Mills said just on arrival at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra.[...]

President Mills, who had extended courtesies to the welcoming party, said it was his tradition to have regular medical check-ups in Ghana, but had to go outside on the advice of his doctors.

President Mills thanked all who offered prayers for him and asked for prayers for all who go on medical check-ups.

“Everything showed that God is in control,” President Mills said.

Vice President John Dramani Mahama, who is also an author and regular contributor to The Root, will now take over as president. 



Iran nuclear scientists reportedly assaulted with AC/DC

The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran has been attacked by malware once again.

In a letter made public on the company's website, an unknown Iranian scientist from the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) contacted Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer of Finnish security company F-secure, with an unusual complaint:

I am writing you to inform you that our nuclear program has once again been compromised and attacked by a new worm with exploits which have shut down our automation network at Natanz and another facility Fordo near Qom.

According to the email our cyber experts sent to our teams, they believe a hacker tool Metasploit was used. The hackers had access to our VPN. The automation network and Siemens hardware were attacked and shut down. I only know very little about these cyber issues as I am scientist not a computer expert.

There was also some music playing randomly on several of the workstations during the middle of the night with the volume maxed out. I believe it was playing 'Thunderstruck' by AC/DC.

Though Hypponen emphasized that he could not verify the attacks upon the Natanz Uraniam enrichment facility in central Iran and Qom, a research facility in an undisclosed section of southwest Tehran, he confirmed that the message was sent from the AEIO.

This sort of thing isn't new. Music was central to 1989's Operation Just Cause, in which U.S. soldiers attempted to coerce Panamanian President Manuel Noriega from his refuge in the Vatican embassy by blaring loud music at the building. In documents acquired by the National Security Archives,  U.S. SOUTHCOM admitted U.S. military DJs took requests, blaring a playlist that ranged from Paul Simon's 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover, Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run and, an apparent favorite, AC/DC's You Shook Me All Night Long.

More recently, U.S. Psychological Operations Company (PsyOps) admitted to the use of heavy metal in Iraq as a mechanism to break uncooperative prisoners' resistance. Similar use was reported by the International Committee of the Red Cross as part of the "cruel, humane and degrading" treatment of Guantanamo inmates. Though the use of heavy metal as a interrogation technique incited some record companies to warn that the United States may owe royalty fees, military officials were unrepentant. As one officer told Newsweek, "Trust me, it works."

Though hackers have been known for their peculiar brand of humor -- see Stuxnet's hidden biblical references -- the use of music in cyber warfare is certainly a new development. Start planning your requests.

Sara Johannessen/AFP/Getty Images