• in ,

    Iran sentences journalist to death

    Iranian dissident and journalist Rouhollah Zam has been sentenced to death, months after he was apprehended by Iranian forces in mysterious circumstances.

    Zam was found guilty of “corruption on earth,” a judiciary spokesman Gholam Hossein Esmaeili told reporters Tuesday. The term does not specify a single crime, but it is a charge that the Iranian government sometimes uses in cases of alleged attempts to overthrow the government.

    Zam ran Amad News, an online opposition news site which Tehran alleges incited violence during deadly 2017 – 2018 protests, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported last year.

    Zam, who had been living in France, was arrested last year. The circumstances of how — and where — he was detained remain unclear.

    Zam left France on October 11, according to the french foreign ministry. Three days later, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps released a statement saying it had arrested Zam following an operation to “deceive foreign intelligence services” and “direct” Zam into Iran, state media reported.

    Iran has been “one of the world’s most repressive countries for journalists for the past 40 years,” with at least 860 journalists and citizen journalists imprisoned or executed since 1979, according to non-profit Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

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    Madagascar reimposes lockdown in capital as coronavirus cases surge

    Madagascar has reimposed a lockdown in its central region, which includes its capital Antananarivo, in an effort to tackle an increase in coronavirus cases in the city, according to the country’s government.

    Madagascar has reimposed a lockdown in its central region, which includes its capital Antananarivo, in an effort to tackle an increase in coronavirus cases in the city, according to the country’s government.

    Schools and universities in the city have been closed and nonessential travel within the region is prohibited until July 20.

    Authorities say churches will be shut, and public gatherings of more than 50 people have been banned.

    The government said troops have been deployed to affected districts to ensure residents comply with containment measures, including a curfew in the capital city, the government said.

    The decision came after the island nation, with around 27 million people recorded 209 new cases in the capital Saturday bringing the total number to 2,942 coronavirus cases, according to the World Health Organization.

  • in ,

    Two Americans fined for breaking Canada's quarantine rules

    To limit the spread of the coronavirus in Canada, anyone entering the country must quarantine for 14 days regardless of whether they have symptoms.

    Saturday, police announced they fined two Americans for breaking the quarantine rules after being spotted multiple times in an Ontario town, according to a news release obtained by CNN news partner CTV.

    Ontario Provincial Police said the 66-year-old man and 65-year-old woman entered Canada on June 24, both from Minnesota. They were directed to go their Canadian destination and stay there for 14 days, according to CTV.

    “Both individuals failed to comply with the … Quarantine Act and were observed making stops in the Town of Fort Frances,” reads the release.

    On June 30, the Canadian government extended its emergency order requiring anyone who enters the county — whether by air, land or sea — to quarantine for 14 days. This is in place until at least August 31.

    “There have been 105,317 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 8,674 deaths,” Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said in a statement on sunday. “66% of people have now recovered.”

  • in ,

    Japan floods kill at least 18 people after record-breaking rainfall

    Rescue workers in Japan are beginning a desperate search for survivors after dozens were left dead or missing following widespread flash flooding triggered by record rainfall on the southern island of Kyushu.

    Local authorities confirmed at least 18 people had died and 14 were missing in the prefectures of Kumamoto and Kagoshima, with images from the hardest-hit areas showing houses completely destroyed by the strength of the flood waters.Japan’s Meteorological Agency issued a warning Saturday for unprecedented rainfall, calling for residents in Kyushu to take “maximum caution.” At least 270,000 people were told to evacuate in four prefectures across the island.

    Kuma Village in Kumamoto saw a record-breaking 83.5 mileometers of rainfall in one hour on Saturday morning, according to the meteorological agency, while Kanoya city in Kagoshima had 109.5 mm in an hour on Monday, its highest ever.A heavy rain warning remains in place for parts of Kumamoto and Kagoshima on Monday, with more flooding expected.

    A rail line lies upturned after being submerged by floodwater when the nearby Kuma River burst its banks, on July 5 in Hitoyoshi, Japan.

  • in ,

    Japan debuts new bullet train that can run during an earthquake

    Japan’s latest record-breaking bullet train doesn’t only run faster and smoother — it also has a new feature that sends passengers to safety in the event of an earthquake.

    Japan’s latest record-breaking bullet train doesn’t only run faster and smoother — it’s also able to transport passengers to safety in the event of an earthquake.The N700S — the ‘S’ stands for ‘Supreme’ — entered into service July 1 and serves the Tokaido Shinkansen line, which links Tokyo Station and Shin-Osaka Station in Osaka.It can run up to 360 kilometers per hour, a new record set during a test run in 2019, making it one of the fastest trains in the world. The operating speed, however, will be capped at 285 kilometers per hour.

    It’s the first new bullet train model to be added to the Tokaido Shinkansen line by the Central Japan Railway (JR Central) in 13 years, a launch that was originally timed to coincide with the Tokyo olympics in 2020 – now postponed to 2021. Coincidentally, Japan inaugurated the Tokaido Shinkansen line in 1964, connecting Tokyo and Osaka, just in time for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo that same year. It was the world’s first high speed railway line.

    Appearance-wise, the n700S doesn’t look too different from the older N700 or N700A models, apart from its elegant golden logo.

  • in ,

    The UK is reopening for business. London may never be the same

    London has seen more than its share of crises. The 2000-year old metropolis has endured an influenza pandemic, the Blitz and several financial meltdowns over just the past century.

    Time and again,London has come roaring back, relying on a spirit of resilience and reinvention that is being summoned once more as the British capital seeks to recover from what may be this century’s greatest upheaval: the coronavirus pandemic.

    The spread of the virus and efforts to contain it turned one of the world’s liveliest urban meccas into a virtual ghost town, driving millions of people out of the city’s center and its financial district, and bringing commerce to a sudden halt.

    The scale of the shutdown would have been unimaginable just six months ago, when around 500,000 people poured into the area around Piccadilly Circus for the annual New Year’s Day Parade and it was common to wait 90 minutes for a table at the busiest restaurants.

    Then the pandemic hit. Virtually overnight, shops closed, tourists fled, offices and streets emptied out and the city’s 9 million residents holed up at home. Nowhere was the standstill captured more acutely than in the mainstay of London city life: the Tube.

  • in ,

    Doctors say the US is in a 'free fall' with coronavirus, doctors wa

    While new Covid-19 infections keep soaring in most states, some hospitals are close to running out of beds.

    But by the looks of packed holiday crowds this weekend, many Americans don’t care — threatening to infect others and set the economy back even further.

    “We are in free fall,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, chief of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital.

    “You see the footage of what happened this past weekend. And people are either naive to the influence of their actions, or they’re simply resigned to ignore it.”

    This virus is notorious for how contagious it is — and how easily people can infect others without symptoms. “We know of the 50,000 cases this past day — a single day of this (holiday) weekend,” Walensky said. “If they’re young people, it could be 500 people who die from that. If they’re older people, it could be 7,500 people who die from that — just from a single day of infection.”

    But “even if a person does not get harmed individually, they have the potential to infect two to three other people who will be harmed by this infection. So there’s a lot of harm that could be done. ”close dialong 

    Almost 3 million Americans have been infected with Covid-19, including a growing number of young adults. More than 129,000 Americans have died  from Covid-19, and some survivors are grapplings with long term complications. 

  • in ,

    Facebook and WhatsApp won't give Hong Kong authorities user data for no

    Facebook and its messaging service WhatsApp will stop processing requests for user data made by Hong Kong law enforcement authorities while they carry out an assessment of a controversial security law imposed by China on the city.

    The social media platforms said in statements Monday that they would “pause” the review of information requests from the Hong Kong government “pending further assessment of the impact of the National Security Law, including formal human rights due diligence and consultations with human rights experts.”Facebook (FB) said the company believes “freedom of expression is a fundamental human right and support the right of people to express themselves without fear for their safety or other repercussions.”

    Twitter (TWTR) confirmed to CNN Business that it has also paused all requests from Hong Kong authorities for data and information while it reviews the law.”Like many public interest organizations, civil society leaders and entities, and industry peers, we have grave concerns regarding both the developing process and the full intention of this law,” the spokesperson said.

    The law imposed last week by Beijing criminalizes secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign powers, a sweeping change that critics describe as an attack on freedoms of speech and the press that have long existed in Hong Kong but are prohibited on the Chinese mainland.

  • in ,

    Prince Harry and Meghan say countries including the UK must right the wrong

    Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, have encouraged the UK to reckon with its colonial past, highlighting the “wrongs” of its historic involvement in the countries that now make up the commonwealth.

    Speaking at a session of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust on Wednesday, Harry said people must “acknowledge the past,” even when doing so is uncomfortable.

    “When you look across the Commonwealth, there is no way that we can move forward unless we acknowledge the past,” he said. “So many people have done such an incredible job of acknowledging the past and trying to right those wrongs, but I think we all acknowledge there is so much more still to do.”

    “It’s not going to be easy and in some cases it’s not going to be comfortable but it needs to be done, because guess what: Everybody benefits,” the Prince added.

    The Commonwealth is made up of 54 nations, almost all of which were previously ruled by Britain as part of its empire. Britain’s colonization of those countries has been reassessed in the wake of recent global anti-racism protests.

    Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, also contributed to the session, which focused on how the Commonwealth can support young people.

    “We’re going to have to be a little uncomfortable right now, because it’s only in pushing through that discomfort that we get to the other side of this and find the place where a high tide raises all ships,” she said.

  • in ,

    Mary Trump’s book says the president practices ‘cheating as a way of life’

    A forthcoming book by President Trump’s estranged niece describes him as a “toxic” bully who practices “cheating as a way of life” and made fun of his own father when his health began to deteriorate, according to a Monday press release.

    In addition to those damning details, the press release from publisher Simon & Schuster announced that Mary Trump’s book, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,” will now be released July 14, two weeks earlier than planned — even though the president’s brother is trying to block the tell-all in court.

    The publisher said it’s moving up the release due to “high demand and extraordinary interest.”

    “In addition to the firsthand accounts I can give as my father’s daughter and my uncle’s only niece, I have the perspective of a trained clinical psychologist,” reads an excerpt of the book’s prologue included in the release. “‘Too Much and Never Enough’ is the story of the most visible and powerful family in the world. And I am the only Trump who is willing to tell it.”

    Having spent much time at the sprawling Queens home where President Trump and his siblings grew up, Mary Trump speaks from first-hand experience as she delves into embarrassing accounts about the leader of the free world and his family, the press release states.

  • in ,

    Broadway actor Nick Cordero, 41, loses coronavirus fight: ‘I am in disbelie

    Nick Cordero, the beloved Broadway star whose battle with coronavirus caught the hearts of a nation, died Sunday, his wife, Amanda Kloots, announced.

    He was 41.

    The “Waitress” star had spent just over 90 days in the hospital, much of it on a ventilator. He had endured numerous complications, including multiple lung infections, sepsis and blood clots that forced a leg amputation. His lungs were so damaged that he would most likely need a double transplant, his wife, fitness trainer Amanda Kloots, had reported.

    “God has another angel in heaven now,” Kloots wrote on Instagram Sunday evening. “My darling husband passed away this morning. He was surrounded in love by his family, singing and praying as he gently left this earth.”

  • in ,

    Serial killer Scott Erskine latest San Quentin death-row inmate to die from

    Death-row inmates are fearing the coronavirus over the execution chamber.

    On Friday, California serial killer Scott Erskine, who murdered two young boys in 1993, became the latest San Quentin State Prison fiend to apparently die from COVID-19 complications.

    The 57-year-old convict was pronounced dead on Friday at a non-prison hospital, reported San Diego TV station KFMB.

    On March 27, 1993, Erskine killed 13-year-old Charlie Keever and Jonathon Sellers, 9, who were riding their bikes that day.

    Their bodies were discovered two days later.

    DNA found on the victims was matched to Erskine, who had already been behind bars at San Quentin while serving a 70-year sentence for rape, penetration with a foreign object and oral copulation with force.

    He was sentenced to death in 2004 for the first-degree murders of the boys, noted KFMB.

    Erskine admitted to raping and murdering Renee Baker in Florida in 1989 but wasn’t formally charged in her death until more than a decade later when another DNA test for Baker matched a sample left behind by the killer, according to  people pill.

  • in ,

    Litzenberger: US, Azerbaijan share important partnership [VIDEO]

    The US and Azerbaijan share an important partnership, said the US Ambassador to Azerbaijan Earle D. Litzenberger in his video message on the occasion of July 4 Independence Day of the US, Trend reports.

    The US and Azerbaijan share an important partnership, said the US Ambassador to Azerbaijan Earle D. Litzenberger in his video message on the occasion of July 4 Independence Day of the US, Trend reports.

    “We’re proud to support your sovereignty and independence,” said the ambassador.

    He pointed out that usually on July 4, the US Embassy hosts a celebration of the US Independence Day.

    “Last year we welcomed many of our good friends from Azerbaijan to a great event in the Embassy garden, and many more of you joined the party via our Facebook live stream. Due to the Covid-19 global pandemic we cannot gather as usual this year. Despite these challenges, this doesn’t mean that we can’t virtually celebrate America’s 244th birthday,” said Litzenberger

  • in ,

    Azerbaijan modifies rules for obtaining SMS permit

    A number of innovations have been introduced in the system for obtaining permits and monitoring the implementation of special quarantine regime, chairman of the State Agency for Public Service and Social Innovation Ulvi Mehdiyev announced at briefing of Operational Headquarters on July 3.

    Thus, the serial number of the ID card of citizens will be also reflected in the reply message when obtaining permission for the relevant codes through the permit system 8103. 

    This helps to determine exactly which authorization is issued so that there is no confusion among citizens who receive authorization for different cards from one number.

    Moreover, all permissions meant until July 5 and issued earlier on the portal icaze.e-gov.az will be automatically deactivated. Employers will be able to reactivate the permissions of workers working in the areas permitted by the relevant Cabinet of Ministers decision until July 20.

    Additionally, it will be possible to add business trips for employees working in the permitted zones on the portal icaze.e-gov.az.

  • in ,

    China allocates humanitarian aid to Kazakhstan, backing anti-COVID battle

    A humanitarian cargo from China arrived in Kazakhstan, Trend reports with reference to the press office of Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    “As part of international efforts and solidarity in the fight against the coronavirus spread, China’s government sent another batch of medical humanitarian aid to Kazakhstan,” the ministry said.

    The cargo was delivered to Almaty International Airport.

    The first two cases of coronavirus infection were detected in Kazakhstan among those who arrived in Almaty city from Germany on March 13, 2020.

    The total number of coronavirus cases confirmed in Kazakhstan since the virus was first confirmed in the country amounted to 45,719 cases. This includes 15,404 people who recovered from the coronavirus, and 188 patients who passed away.

  • in ,

    BSTDB may release second tranche of manat bonds

    The Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB) is considering the possibility of releasing the second tranche of its manat bonds in 2020, depending on the situation on the local market, BSTDB told Trend.

    The BSTDB will continue to support the initiatives of the Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA) aimed at providing support to emerging markets, as well as providing access by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to financing in local currency, alongside the existing mechanism for financing the SMEs provided through Turan bank.

    The bank noted that Azerbaijan is taking measures in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, similar to those used in other countries, such as restrictions on border crossings, strict quarantine procedures, suspension of educational institutions, restaurants, shopping centers, etc.

    Along with the foregoing, in order to mitigate the negative economic consequences of these restrictive measures, the government introduced tax incentives and vacations to companies to not fire workers, provided cash payments to the needy, and implemented other measures to help economic agents to overcome the pandemic and to restart their activities once the pandemic is over, said BSTDB.

  • in ,

    One American dead, another missing after vessel ran aground near South Bimi

    Authorities are searching for a missing boater after an American registered vessel ran aground near South Bimini early this morning, injuring two other people.

    The Royal Bahamas Defence Force said it responded to reports of a disabled boat around 1.20am and found a 34-ft vessel “Stand Firm”, with one man and woman aboard suffering from minor injuries.

    According to reports, the vessel ran aground a mile and a half from South Bimini.

    It was later discovered that two other individuals were presumably thrown from the vessel and missing.

    The injured individuals were taken aboard the Defence Force vessel HMBS LL Smith and transported to the local hospital in north Bimini.

    When a search of the surrounding area was carried out around 8.30am, officers found the lifeless body of a man on Turtle Cay, south of south Bimini.

    A search for the remaining individual is ongoing.

    The search is being assisted by the Royal Bahamas Police Marine Division and a United States Coast Guard helicopter.

  • in ,

    Goliath vs Hlophe: 3 allegations Chief Justice recommends tribunal investig

    The Chief Justice has recommended that three claims lodged against Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe are serious and warrant a tribunal.

    Three serious allegations contained in the explosive affidavit by Western Cape Deputy Judge President Patricia Goliath has resulted in Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng recommending that a tribunal be established to investigate gross misconduct claims against Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe.

    A counter-complaint made against Goliath by Hlophe was dismissed.

    These are the claims against the Judge President that Mogoeng recommended be investigated.

    In her complaint, Goliath charged that Hlophe had physically assaulted one of his unnamed colleagues on the Bench and that the judge wanted to proceed with a criminal complaint but was persuaded by another to not go ahead with it.

    Judge Mushtak Parker has since been identified as the other party in the alleged scuffle. He has since agreed with Hlophe’s response, denying the attack.

    Mogoeng said the alleged assault, inside Parker’s chambers during working hours, saw more than 10 judges depose affidavits, with 15 of Parker’s colleagues saying he had until February consistently “told the same assault story”.

  • in ,

    Green light for Formula 1 after negative Covid-19 tests

    The first Formula 1 Grand Prix gets underway in Austria on Sunday 

    The sport says everyone involved in the race tested negative for the Covid-19 virus

    Formula 1’s travelling circus was given a medical thumbs-up on when organisers announced that everyone involved at this weekend’s season-opening Austrian Grand Prix had tested negative for the COVID-19 virus.

    Formula 1’s travelling circus was given a medical thumbs-up on Saturday when organisers announced that everyone involved at this weekend’s season-opening Austrian Grand Prix had tested negative for the COVID-19 virus.

    In a statement, organisers in Spielberg said 4032 personnel had been tested between June 26 and July 2 without a single positive result.

    F1 added that aggregated information, following further tests carried out every five days, will be published once a week.

    Everyone who enters the F1 paddock must have a clean bill of health and be tested regularly.

    This weekend’s race is the first of two on successive Sundays at the Red Bull Ring and is being run behind closed doors under strict health and safety protocols.

  • in ,

    Brumbies kick off Aussie Super Rugby tournament with Rebels win | Sport

    The Brumbies started their Super Rugby AU campaign with a relatively comfortable 31-23 win over the Rebels in Canberra on Saturday.

    It was a strong opening 40 minutes from Dan McKellar’s men, who were enjoying a fine year before the Super Rugby competition was suspended, and three tries via Andy Muirhead, Joe Powell and Folau Fainga’a saw them go into the interval 19-6 in front.

    Matt Toomua had kicked two penalties for the visitors but they lacked ideas and the hosts appeared to have secured the victory at the start of the second period when Tom Wright went over for their third try.

    However, the Rebels got back into the contest through quick-fire Jordan Uelese and Dane Haylett-Petty efforts. Another Toomua three-pointer reduced the deficit further, before Will Miller’s late score secured the win for the Brumbies.

    The Canberra outfit were the dominant force in Australia before the Super Rugby season was curtailed, topping their conference with five victories out of six.

    Included in that run was a comfortable 39-26 success over the Rebels, which was based on a lightning-quick start. They scored four tries in the first half-hour and the visitors perhaps feared a similar story when the hosts opened the scoring early on.

  • in ,

    Retail tech hopes to beat one key Covid-19 threat: The shopping queue | Fin

    Retail – or at least some businesses within the sector – was one of the few industries able to remain operational through all five stages of government’s risk-adjusted response to the coronavirus pandemic.

    But, like other essential services allowed to continue operating, shops that remain open face a major challenge: curbing the spread of the virus at their premises.

    e-Commerce and delivery services have wasted no time stepping in to fill the gap, with customers scrambling to book delivery slots at major supermarkets, and services like OneCart racing to expand their operations – OneCart, for example, said at the beginning of may that it had hired 450 new staff during lockdown.

    But other innovations are also expected to gain traction. Amazon’s Go model – which uses overhead cameras and computer vision to track shoppers through the store. The partially automated, cashierless model can trace when a shopper selects an item and puts it back, meaning a checkout station is not required. Using scanning technology, customers can pay for their groceries and leave a store without standing in a queue.

    Innovations of this kind – which use artificial intelligence, algorithms, bar codes and weighting technology to identify items that customers have taken off the shelves to buy – have been around for years. But they are expected to gain traction as social distancing continues.

  • in ,

    New swine flu with 'pandemic potential' discovered in China

    Chinese researchers have discovered a new type of swine flu that can infect humans and has the potential to cause a future pandemic, according to a study released on Monday, though scientists have cautioned that the virus does not pose an immediate global health threat.

    The disease, which researchers called the G4 virus, is genetically descended from the H1N1 swine flu that caused a pandemic in 2009. G4 now shows “all the essential hallmarks of a candidate pandemic virus,” said the study, published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

    But Dr. Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University’s public health school, warned the public not to “freak out.”

    “Our understanding of what is a potential pandemic influenza strain is limited,” she posted on Twitter. “Sure, this virus meets a lot of the basic criteria but it’s not for sure going to cause a hypothetical 2020 flu pandemic, or even be a dominant strain in humans.”

    Chinese researchers based at several institutions, including Shandong Agricultural University and the Chinese National Influenza Center, discovered the G4 virus during a pig surveillance program. From 2011 to 2018, they collected more than 30,000 nasal swab samples from pigs in slaughterhouses and veterinary teaching hospitals across 10 Chinese provinces.

    From these samples, researchers identified 179 swine influenza viruses — but not all of them posed a concern. Some only showed up one year out of the program’s seven, or eventually declined to nonthreatening levels.

  • in ,

    Qantas cancels international flights until October.

    Australian flagship carrier Qantas has canceled most of its international flights for the next four months on the expectation that the coronavirus pandemic will last through most of the year.

    “With Australia’s borders set to remain closed for some time, we have canceled most international flights until late October,” Qantas said in a statement on Thursday.

    A Qantas spokesperson pointed out that the country’s tourism minister, Simon Birmingham, recently said Australia’s international borders with most countries are unlikely to reopen until 2021.

    There’s one possible exception: New Zealand, Australia’s neighbor across the Tasman Sea. Politicians have discussed the possibility of creating a travel corridor between the two countries — though nothing has been formally agreed yet. Currently, anyone traveling between the two countries is subject to a two-week quarantine. Non-residents of either country are banned from even flying those routes, with few exceptions.

    “If there is any country in the world with whom we can reconnect with first, undoubtedly that’s New Zealand,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in April. Qantas said that it still has “some flights” scheduled between the two countries “in the coming months. ”close dialog

    “Should travel between Australia and other countries open up and demand returns, we can add more flights back into our schedule,” the airline added.T

  • in ,

    WhatsApp is rolling out animated stickers in beta (APK download)

    Animated stickers have been available in Telegram and Gboard for a long while, but WhatsApp has only supported static sticker images so far. Be it through

    Animated stickers have been available in Telegram and Gboard for a long while, but WhatsApp has only supported static sticker images so far. 

    Be it through the app’s few included packs or downloadable third-party packs from the Play Store, you got still image stickers. That’s changing now in WhatsApp beta, as the app is introducing animated sticker support.

    The feature first showed up on June 22, in beta v2.20.194.7 and then disappeared the same day in v2.20.194.9. It’s now live in v2.20.195.2 beta (APK Mirror) and seems to be here to stay.

    SOURCE: Android Police

    Read More:

  • in ,

    Australia has been targeted by a 'sophisticated' state-based cyber

    The Australian government is grappling with massive cyber attacks from what Prime Minister Scott Morrison has described as a “malicious” and “sophisticated” state-based actor.

    The Australian government is grappling with massive cyber attacks from what Prime Minister Scott Morrison has described as a “malicious” and “sophisticated” state-based actor.

    Morrison revealed the existence of the attacks during a press conference on Friday, adding that a “state-based cyber actor” is “targeting Australian organizations across a range of sectors, including all levels of government, industry, political organizations, education, health, essential service providers and operators of other critical infrastructure.”

    He did not specify which agencies or businesses are believed to be under attack, nor did he detail the exact nature of the attacks — though he did say that the government’s investigation has not uncovered any “large-scale personal data breaches.”

    Morrison also did not say which state Australia believes to be behind the attack. But he told reporters that “there are not a large number of state-based actors that can engage in this type of activity. It is clear that this has been done by a state-based actor with very, very significant capabilities,” Morrison added.

  • in ,

    SA has the continent's highest Covid-19 cases. Now it has another pande

    President Cyril Ramaphosa described it as “no less than a war being waged against the women and the children of our country,” in a nationwide television address Wednesday.

    Early on Sunday morning, the mutilated body of a 42-year-old woman was found in Eersterust, a middle-class township in Pretoria, South Africa.

    Two days earlier, residents in the Soweto township of Johannesburg discovered the body of another young woman under a tree. And just over a week ago, a heavily pregnant 28-year-old was found hanging from a tree on the outskirts of Johannesburg.The three women were among the latest victims in a surge of violence against women in South Africa which the country’s president has described as a ”pandemic

    “As a man, as a husband, and as a father, I am appalled at what is no less than a war being waged against the women and the children of our country,” said President Cyril Ramaphosa in a nationwide television address Wednesday.More than 20 women and children have been murdered in South Africa in recent weeks, he added. 

    “These women are not just statistics, they have names, they have families and friends,” he said as he read out the names of the victims.In an earlier statement on Saturday, he said the killings show that perpetrators have “descended to even greater depths of cruelty and callousness.”

    South Africa has one of the highest femicide rates anywhere in the world. More than 2,700 South African women and 1,000 children were killed last year, according to police figures.

  • in ,

    UN, and telcos in Africa take on Covid-19 with AI and digital service

    The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa joined forces with a group of telecoms operating in Africa to reach over 600 million mobile subscribers with coronavirus health advice.

    The Africa Communications Intelligence Platform will be deployed on mobile phones via text and voice messaging in at least 23 African countries in its first phase, UNECA siad.

    It will offer coronavirus-related health tips, feature a symptom checker and allow users to take short health and economic surveys related to the pandemic, Tunde Fafunwa of the UN economic agency in Africa told CNN.

    Fafunwa said the platform would analyze anonymous user-generated responses and information from social media platforms using artificial intelligence to identify trends around the outbreak.

    UNECA said insights gained from the curated data will be used to support national Covid-19 task forces and relevant ministries to help countries evaluate their response to the pandemic.

    With more than 320,000 coronavirus cases and the World Health Organization says the pandemic is accelerating on the continent.

    Spot infection hotspots

    Authorities can also spot potential coronavirus hotspots and direct their social responses to areas from the platform’s information, Fafunwa said”Some governments are trying to distribute social benefits and cash payments during the pandemic. The platform will give the opportunity to understand the economic and health situation better,” Fafunwa told CNN.

  • in ,

    Russian voters overwhelmingly back a ploy by President Vladimir Putin to ru

    President Vladimir Putin has won a resounding victory in his bid to stay in power until the middle of the next decade, as Russians voted overwhelmingly to endorse the country’s political status quo, according to preliminary results. 

    Russians went to the polls Wednesday to cast ballots in a nationwide referendum on constitutional amendments. The vote paves the way for Putin, who has ruled for two decades, to remain president until 2036.

    Campaign literature made little mention of the real purpose of the referendum, framing it as a return to old-fashioned family values, designed to appeal to conservative voters.

    “Our country, our constitution, our decision” was the slogan on the information bulletin explaining the constitutional reform to voters. The brochure spelled out a range of amendments, including a provision that defines marriage strictly as a “union of a man and a woman.”

    But the brochure glosses over one key point: The changes to the constitution effectively reset the clock on Putin’s term limits, allowing him to seek two more six-year terms when his presidency ends in 2024.

    It’s little surprise, then, that the government has pushed a robust get-out-the-vote effort, with a very clear goal: ensuring the public gives a resounding endorsement to the constitutional change.

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