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Found 22 results

  1. ISLAMABAD: A suspected US drone strike on Friday killed three militants in one of Pakistan´s federally administered areas near its border with Afghanistan, a senior regional official said. Baseer Khan Wazir, the most senior administrator in the Kurram Agency region of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), said the drone strike took place close to the border with Afghanistan. "Two missiles were dropped on the home of Maulvi Mohib and three people have been killed," Wazir said. US drone attacks inside Pakistan have become rare over the past few years. In its last high-profile attack inside Pakistan, the United States last May killed Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour in the southwestern province of Balochistan.
  2. Rocket launchers and Kalashnikov rifles were among ammo recovered during police operation PESHAWAR: At least 86 suspects were rounded up and heavy ammunition recovered during a police search operation in Khyber Agency area of FATA late Thursday night, police officials said. According to Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Operations Peshawar Sajjad Khan, police seized 27 rocket launchers, 24 rockets, 16 Kalashnikov rifles during the operation. 16 hand grenades, 28 pistols and nine other rifles were also recovered during the operation, the SSP said.
  3. MOHMAND AGENCY: A man and his son were among the three people who died when a mine exploded in the Shati Maina area of Tehsil Ambar, political administration said. Two others were injured in the explosion and were shifted to Bajaur hospital, the political administration said. In February, at least five people, including three security forces personnel were martyred, while many others were injured when a suicide bomber blew himself at the main gate of Mohmand Agency headquarters, Ghallanai. The Inter-Services Public Relations had said that two suicide bombers were on a motorbike. One blew himself up while the other was killed by firing of security forces. A school teacher and a passerby where also killed in the suicide attack.
  4. BAJAUR AGENCY: At least two people were killed and 25 injured in a remote-controlled bomb blast which hit the town of Nawagai in Bajaur Agency of FATA on Friday, Geo News reported. The blast occurred in Chahrmang area of Nawagai, sources said. The injured were being taken to Agency Headquarter Hospital at the time of filing of this report. Security forces cordoned off the site of the incident and started a search operation in the area, sources added. This is a developing story
  5. Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya speaks during an interview in Moscow, Russia, November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Kommersant Photo/Yury Martyanov MOSCOW: The Russian lawyer who met Donald Trump Jr. after his father won the Republican nomination for the 2016 US presidential election counted Russia's FSB security service among her clients for years, Russian court documents seen by Reuters show. The documents show that the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, successfully represented the FSB's interests in a legal wrangle over ownership of an upscale property in north-west Moscow between 2005 and 2013. The FSB, the successor to the Soviet-era KGB service, was headed by Vladimir Putin before he became Russian president. There is no suggestion that Veselnitskaya is an employee of the Russian government or intelligence services, and she has denied having anything to do with the Kremlin. But the fact she represented the FSB in a court case may raise questions among some US politicians. The Obama administration last year sanctioned the FSB for what it said was its role in hacking the election, something Russia flatly denies. Charles Grassley, the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has raised concerns about why Veselnitskaya gained entry into the United States. Veselnitskaya represented a Russian client accused by US prosecutors of money laundering in a case that was settled in May this year after four years. Veselnitskaya did not reply to emailed Reuters questions about her work for the FSB. But she later posted a link to it on her Facebook page on Friday. "Is it all your proof? You disappointed me," she wrote in a post. "Dig in court databases again! You'll be surprised to find among my clients Russian businessmen... as well as citizens and companies that had to defend themselves from accusations from the state..." Veselnitskaya added that she also had US citizens as clients. The FSB did not respond to a request for comment. Reuters could not find a record of when and by whom the lawsuit ? which dates back to at least 2003 ? was first lodged. But appeal documents show that Rosimushchestvo, Russia's federal government property agency, was involved. It did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Veselnitskaya and her firm Kamerton Consulting represented "military unit 55002" in the property dispute, the documents show. A public list of Russian legal entities shows the FSB, Russia's domestic intelligence agency, founded the military unit whose legal address is behind the FSB's own headquarters. Reuters was unable to establish if Veselnitskaya did any other work for the FSB or confirm who now occupies the building at the centre of the case. 'Mass hysteria' over meeting President Donald Trump's eldest son eagerly agreed in June 2016 to meet Veselnitskaya, a woman he was told was a Russian government lawyer who might have damaging information about Democratic White House rival Hillary Clinton, according to emails released by Trump Jr. Veselnitskaya has said she is a private lawyer and has never obtained damaging information about Clinton. Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin, has said she had "nothing whatsoever to do with us". Veselnitskaya has also said she is ready to testify to the US Congress to dispel what she called "mass hysteria" about the meeting with Trump Jr. The case in which Veselnitskaya represented the FSB was complex; appeals courts at least twice ruled in favour of private companies which the FSB wanted to evict. The FSB took over the disputed office building in mid-2008, a person who worked for Atos-Component, a firm that was evicted as a result, told Reuters, on condition of anonymity. The building was privatised after the 1991 Soviet collapse, but the Russian government said in the lawsuit in which Veselnitskaya represented the FSB that the building had been illegally sold to private firms. The businesses were listed in the court documents, but many of them no longer exist and those that do are little-known firms in the electric components business. Elektronintorg, an electronic components supplier, said on its website that it now occupied the building. Elektronintorg is owned by state conglomerate Rostec, run by Sergei Chemezov, who, like Putin, worked for the KGB and served with him in East Germany. When contacted by phone, an unnamed Elektronintorg employee said he was not obliged to speak to Reuters. Rostec, responding to a request for comment, said that Elektronintorg only had a legal address in the building but that its staff were based elsewhere. When asked which organisation was located there, an unidentified man who answered a speakerphone at the main entrance laughed and said, "Congratulations. Ask the city administration."
  6. Men stand near an artwork depicting Qatar?s Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani after it was unveiled by Qatar Airways in Doha, Qatar, July 13, 2017. REUTERS/Naseem Zeitoon DOHA: Qatar's ruler has amended the country's anti-terrorism laws in a royal decree issued on Thursday, state news agency QNA reported, in a move that appears aimed at countering charges the Gulf Arab state supports terrorism. The move comes less than a week after Doha signed an accord with the United States to bolster measures aimed at curbing terrorism financing. Qatar has been under pressure from four Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Egypt, over allegations it supports terrorism ? a charge it denies. QNA ? citing a decree issued by the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani amending a 2004 anti-terrorism law ? said the amendments set rules for defining terrorism, acts of terrorism, freezing funding, and terrorism financing. It also creates two national terrorism lists and set rules for listing individuals and groups on each list. Qatar has been struggling to dispel charges it supports terrorism since the four Arab countries imposed sanctions on it last month. Last week, Qatar signed an accord with the United States that provided for measures to work together to fight terrorism financing. Details of the accord had not been released but sources said it provides for the United States to post officials at Qatar's state prosecutor's office.
  7. RAWALPINDI: Inter Services Public Relations Director General Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor held a press conference on Sunday. Addressing the media, he said a follow-up operation, Khyber-4, has been launched in Khyber Agency's Rajgal Valley today. The ISPR DG said the area, next to the Afghan border, is being used by Daesh and other local militant groups. A division-plus size force will take part in the operation, he informed, hoping they plan to unilaterlly secure the int border, eliminate hideouts, and complete physical hold on Khyber Agency. The army spokesperson also gave a country-wide breakdown of the operations taken as part of Operation Raddul Fasaad (RuF), stating that the security situation of the country has improved after the launch of RuF. Talking about the situation on the Line of Control, he said so far 580 ceasefire violations have occurred to-date this year ? the highest in any year. "This indicates the Indian aim of diverting attention from political upheaval in Indian Occupied Kashmir," he claimed. The ISPR DG lamented that the Indian army has the choice of opening fire on civilian areas whereas the Pakistan Army cannot do that to Kashmiris across the LoC. "There will never be any foreign boots on our ground," said Maj Gen Ghafoor when talking about collaborative efforts against terrorism on the Pak-Afghan border. Referring to the ongoing phase-1 of fencing the Pak- Afghan border, he said on average there is a fort or check post every 1.5 kilometres. Talking about the military courts, he said at present 40 cases are under process at the moment. Regarding the 17 terrorists nabbed in Parachinar, he said there case in the military court will be fast-tracked. He ended the presser by relaying a message from the army chief: We are building peace in our country, brick by brick. Replying to a question on the Kulbhushan Jadhav case, DG ISPR said the army chief is reviewing the proceedings of the case and will take a decision on his appeal on merit. When asked to comment on reports that the army is part of a conspiracy to remove the government, he said "I don't think it merits a response. I have shown you what the army is doing". In response to another question, Maj Gen Ghafoor stressed that there is no organised Daesh infrastructure in Pakistan and nor will one be allowed. ?However, Daesh is getting stronger in Afghanistan but is still far from making a base the way it did in the Middle East.? He added that splinter groups of TTP adopting the bandwagon of Daesh in Pakistan are already being taken care of by the security forces. ?It is the duty of every Pakistani to ensure the supremacy of the law and Constitution,? he said when asked about the ongoing political crisis in the country.
  8. One suspected suicide bomber was killed in retaliatory fire while the other blew himself up. Photo: File TIRAH: Two personnel of the Frontier Constabulary (FC) were injured in Khyber Agency when a suicide bomber blew himself up while attempting to target a security check post on Friday morning. Security officials said two suicide bombers attempted to attack the FC post in Tirah from the main gate but were shot at by guards. As a result, one suspected suicide bomber was killed in the firing while the other blew himself up, injuring two officials. In March this year, two FC were martyred in an attack on an FC check post in the tribal agency. Pakistan Army effectively responded to the aggression and killed six terrorists in retaliatory fire, the military?s media wing Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement later. Two FC personnel embraced martyrdom in the attack which was carried out from across the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, the ISPR stated. Pakistan has repeatedly protested that terrorists are taking advantage of the turmoil in Afghanistan and using Afghan soil to orchestrate terrorist attacks in Pakistan. The Pakistan Army last month also launched multiple strikes across the border targetting terrorist hideouts in retaliation to the aggression. 2 FC personnel martyred, 6 terrorists killed in attack on checkpost from Afghanistan Terror plot from across the Pakistan-Afghanistan border foiled by Pakistan Army
  9. The use of electric cars is set to grow in the coming years, but this will not spell the end of demand for oil, the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Tuesday. IEA executive director Fatih Birol told Agence France-Presse in an interview that the growth of electric cars was starting from a very small base and oil would still be needed for ships, planes and trucks. Focus on the game-changing potential of electric cars has increased dramatically in the last weeks. France said it will end sales of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040 and Volvo Cars plans to start phasing out production of conventional petrol-only cars from 2019, with all new models to be electric or hybrid from that date. "Today, many people talk about electric cars -- rightly so because electric car sales are increasing. Last year we have seen a record in the sale of electric cars," said Birol, whose inter-governmental organisation seeks to ensure a reliable energy supply for its member states. But even on these record sales, the number of electric cars today has only reached two million, just 0.2 percent of the global car fleet. "It will grow but it will not bring us the end of the oil era," he said on the sidelines of the World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul. "Oil demand will be driven by trucks, it is going to be driven by aviation, by jets, by ships and, very importantly, the petrochemical industry." 'For years to come' "So it is very difficult to substitute oil in these sectors at least in the short and medium term," he said. The oil industry has over the last years been buffeted by the low price of crude and also pressure for a reduction of emissions in line with the Paris Agreement on fighting climate change. Meanwhile, interest in renewable energy has surged, raising questions over whether demand for oil will run out even before resources are exhausted. And while the IEA is forecasting a slight recovery this year of around six percent in oil and gas investment that has suffered badly under the low oil prices, Birol said the spending was uneven across the world. It is the booming un-conventional source of shale oil and gas in the US that accounts for most investment and not traditional markets. '$100/barrel unlikely' "The big chunk of the investments are going in US shale and shale is changing the entire picture," said Birol, noting that investments were not being made in the Middle East, Africa and Russia. But he said that oil demand growth will slow down but still grow. "Even in a world which is constrained by climate... we see that oil and gas will be still needed," said Birol. The price of crude is still floundering at around $45 a barrel, a far cry from the high of $145 seen in 2008. The price crisis has prompted a rare cooperation between OPEC and non-members of the cartel in a bid to push up prices. "At the end of the day, if the demand is healthy, we expect that in the second half of the year we may see the rebalancing of the markets," said Birol. Warning against over-optimism on the part of oil producers, he added: "But expecting prices such as hundred dollars (a barrel) and above is not something that we subscribe to."
  10. An illustration picture shows a laptop on the screen of an X-ray security scanner, April 7, 2017. Photo: Reuters A three-month-old ban on taking electronic devices such as laptops onto aircraft cabins on flights from Turkey to the United States was lifted on Wednesday, the private Dogan news agency reported. On March 25, the United States banned electronic devices larger than a mobile phone from cabins on direct flights to the United States from 10 airports in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey. Dogan said flag carrier Turkish Airlines (THYAO.IS) accepted passengers with electronic devices onto its 6:45 a.m. (11:45 p.m. ET on Tuesday) flight from Istanbul's Ataturk Airport to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport on Wednesday morning. State-run Anadolu news agency on Tuesday reported Turkey's Transport Minister Ahmet Arslan as saying the ban on the devices on flights from Istanbul to the United States would be lifted on Wednesday. US and British officials carried out inspections of security measures at Ataturk Airport on Tuesday, Dogan reported. The ban was imposed at the 10 airports in eight countries - Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Turkey - to address fears that bombs could be concealed in electronic devices. On Sunday, the ban was lifted on flights from Abu Dhabi. Emirates says laptop ban on US flights lifted Emirates [EMIRA.UL], the Middle East's largest airline, said on Wednesday the in-cabin ban on laptops and other large electronic devices on its flights to the United States had been lifted "effective immediately." Emirates aircraft are seen at Dubai International Airport, United Arab Emirates May 10, 2016. Photo: Reuters "Emirates has been working hard in coordination with various aviation stakeholders and the local authorities to implement heightened security measures and protocols that meet the requirements of the US Department of Homeland Security?s new security guidelines for all US bound flights," an Emirates spokeswoman said in a statement. Emirates flies to 12 US cities.
  11. Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 31, has taken a lead role in defence, economic affairs of the Kingdom. Photo: Reuters RIYADH: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef has been relieved of his post and replaced by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a royal decree published by state news agency SPA reported on Wednesday. Salman, 31, is the son of King Salman bin Abdulaziz and has been the Kingdom's defence minister and deputy crown prince since 2014. The young prince has taken a central role in Saudi Arabia's efforts to build its economy beyond the oil industry. He holds primary responsibility for the kingdom's military and energy sector.
  12. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Photo: File OTTAWA: Canada's government on Tuesday introduced legislation that would expand oversight of its security and intelligence agencies while enabling the country's electronic spy agency to assist the military with cyber operations. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau intended the legislation to make good on a 2015 campaign pledge to modify a law passed by the former Conservative government that boosted powers of police and intelligence agencies. The legislation would create a National Security and Intelligence Review Agency responsible for oversight of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), cyber-spy agency the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) and other departments including the Canadian Border Services Agency. It would replace current oversight bodies at the two spy agencies and review "every other department and agency of the government of Canada that has a security or intelligence function," Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale told reporters. It would work alongside a separate oversight committee of members of parliament that has been proposed in another bill, Goodale said. Given the Liberal majority in Parliament, the bill is expected to be passed into law, though it is unlikely to be debated until fall at the earliest. One expert said he remained uneasy that the government was expanding its cyber capabilities. The government also proposed to clarify CSE's mandate and said the cyber-spy agency will be allowed to take action online to defend Canadian networks and stop cyber threats. CSE monitors electronic communication and helps protect national computer networks. "For any type of potential cyber threats," the measures would allow CSE "to prevent an attack that comes on us rather than waiting for an attack to actually occur," Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan said at the press conference. Ron Deibert, director of The Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto, said he was concerned to see the Canadian government expand potential operations. "We're at a time when cyberspace is under threat, and it's already very unstable," said Deibert, a well-known expert on digital surveillance and internet censorship. "There are many governments that have built up offensive capabilities and now we're actively contributing to that." The agency will also be allowed to assist the Canadian Armed Forces with cyber operations. The legislation would also create an independent intelligence commissioner that would oversee the authorization of certain types of intelligence gathering and cyber operations.
  13. Qatar's attorney general said on Tuesday his country has evidence that the hacking of Qatar's state news agency was linked to countries that have severed ties with Doha. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates cut their ties with Doha earlier this month over comments alleged to have been made by the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and posted briefly on the Qatar News Agency's website on May 23 which Doha said had been hacked. US and European officials have said that while US government agencies and experts were convinced that the news agency and the Qatari government's Twitter feed were hacked, they have not yet determined who did the hacking. "Qatar has evidence that certain iPhones originating from countries laying siege to Qatar were used in the hack," the Qatari Attorney General Ali Bin Fetais al-Marri told reporters in Doha. Marri said it was too early to explicitly name the countries responsible for the hacking and declined to comment when he was asked if individuals or states were behind it. Arab countries at odds with Qatar accuse it of supporting militant groups and advancing the agenda of their arch-rival Iran in the region - charges Doha calls baseless. Marri also said that a list of individuals and entities designated by the Arab countries as terrorists was "baseless," adding that Doha would legally pursue those who had done harm to the Gulf Arab state. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain on June 8 named 59 people, including Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yousef al-Qaradawi, and 12 entities, among them Qatari-funded charities Qatar Charity and Eid Charity, as terrorist.
  14. Two US Navy vessels have arrived in Doha to take part in a joint military exercise with the Qatari Emiri Navy, reported Qatar News Agency (QNA) QNA. But it was unclear if the arrival of the two warships was planned before the Gulf rift or was a sign of support from the Pentagon. Qatar, a major ally of the US and other Western countries, has been in the spotlight since four major Arab powers, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt, severed their ties with the country and accused it of supporting terrorism and working secretly with Iran, the arch-foe of the Saudis. Qatar hosts the biggest US military base in the Middle East with 11,000 troops deployed to or assigned to Al Udeid Air Base. More than 100 aircraft operate from there. The Pentagon last week renewed praise of Qatar for hosting a vital US airbase and for its "enduring commitment to regional security," after four Arab countries cut ties with the Gulf ally. The Pentagon reassurance differed from the US President Donald Trump comments that applauded the decision, via Twitter. The crews of the two vessels were received by Qatari navy officers, QNA said, citing a statement from the country's defence ministry. Turkey sent its foreign minister to Qatar as part of a drive to resolve the crisis. Kuwait, a neighbour and a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council also has been mediating.
  15. A preliminary investigation has confirmed that Qatar's state news agency was hacked and false statements attributed to the country's ruler were posted that helped spark a rift with other Gulf states, the Qatari foreign ministry said on Wednesday. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and several other countries cut their ties with Doha on Monday in part over the comments briefly posted on the Qatar News Agency. The article quoted Qatar's Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani as cautioning against confrontation with Iran as well as defending the Palestinian group Hamas and Hezbollah, a Lebanese movement allied to Tehran. "The Ministry said the investigation team confirmed that the piracy process had used high techniques and innovative methods by exploiting an electronic gap on the website of the Qatar News Agency," the foreign ministry said in a statement. While it did not say who it might believe carried out the hack, the ministry added its "team confirmed that the hacked file was installed last April, which was later exploited in the publication of the fabricated news on 24/5/2017, at 12:13 AM". The ministry said findings of the probe will be disclosed in a press conference "immediately after the team have completed the entire investigation". The Arab countries at odds with Qatar accuse it of supporting militant groups and advancing their arch-rival Iran's agenda in the region ? charges that Doha calls baseless. Qatar's foreign ministry thanked the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the British National Commission for Combating Crime (NCA) for cooperating in the investigation, without elaborating further.
  16. Egypt has banned 21 websites, including the main website of Qatar-based Al Jazeera television, for "supporting terrorism", state news agency MENA and security sources said on Wednesday. Reuters tried to access five websites named by local Egyptian newspapers and broadcasters, including the Al Jazeera website, and found them all inaccessible. There was no immediate official comment available. An official from the National Telecom Regulatory Authority could not confirm or deny the news, but said: "So what if it is true? It should not be a problem." MENA cited a senior security source as saying the websites, which also included some Egypt-focused websites hosted abroad such as Masr Al Arabiya that the government says are financed by Qatar, were blocked because they supported terrorism. "A senior security source said 21 websites have been blocked inside Egypt for having content that supports terrorism and extremism as well (as) publishing lies," MENA said. The security source said legal action would be taken against the websites, MENA reported. Two security sources told Reuters the websites were blocked for being affiliated with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood or for being funded by Qatar. Cairo accused Qatar of supporting the Brotherhood, which was ousted from power in Egypt in 2013 when the military removed elected President Mohamed Mursi following mass protests against his rule. However, Mada Masr, an Egyptian news website based inside the country which describes itself as progressive, was also inaccessible on Wednesday. The Huffington Post's Arabic website also was inaccessible, although the international version was accessible. Mada and the Huffington Post were not named by security sources - who said there were 21 websites but named only five - as part of the list of blocked websites. The block follows similar actions taken earlier on Wednesday by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates who got into a war of words with Qatar and blocked Al Jazeera and other websites. Qatar said hackers had posted fake remarks by its emir against US foreign policy but the Saudi and UAE state-run media reported the comments anyway.
  17. A bill proposed in Congress on Wednesday would require the U.S. National Security Agency to inform representatives of other government agencies about security holes it finds in software like the one that allowed last week's "ransomware" attacks. Under former President Barack Obama, the government created a similar inter-agency review, but it was not required by law and was administered by the NSA itself. The new bill would mandate a review when a government agency discovers a security hole in a computer product and does not want to alert the manufacturer because it hopes to use the flaw to spy on rivals. It also calls for the review process to be chaired by the defense-oriented Department of Homeland Security rather than the NSA, which spends 90 percent of its budget on offensive capabilities and spying. Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Democratic Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii introduced the legislation in the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “Striking the balance between U.S. national security and general cyber security is critical, but it’s not easy,” said Senator Schatz in a statement. “This bill strikes that balance.” Tech companies have long criticized the practice of withholding information about software flaws so they can be used by government intelligence agencies for attacks. Hackers attacked 200,000 in more than 150 countries last week using a Microsoft Windows software vulnerability that had been developed by the NSA and later leaked online. Microsoft President Brad Smith harshly criticized government practices on security flaws in the wake of the ransomware attacks. "Repeatedly, exploits in the hands of governments have leaked into the public domain and caused widespread damage," Smith wrote in a blog post. Agencies like the NSA often have greater incentives to exploit any security holes they find for spying, instead of helping companies protect customers, cyber security experts say. "Do you get to listen to the Chinese politburo chatting and get credit from the president?" said Richard Clayton a cyber-security researcher at the University of Cambridge. "Or do you notify the public to help defend everyone else and get fewer kudos?" Susan Landau, a cyber security policy expert at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, said that in putting DHS in charge of the process, the new bill was an effort to put the process "into civilian control." The new committee's meetings would still be secret. But once a year it would issue a public version of a secret annual report. The NSA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
  18. ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Wednesday summoned the Afghan Deputy Head of Mission to protest over the detention of two employees of Pakistan embassy in Afghanistan. According to sources, Afghanistan’s spy agency National Directorate of Security took into custody Protocol Assistant Hassan Khanzada and driver Syed Muneer Shah along with their car from a shop. The agency kept them in confinement for three hours, during which they were also tortured, sources said. The employees were finally released after Pakistan embassy’s efforts. The Afghan charge d'affaires was conveyed that the incident was a violation of the Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations (1961) and against the spirit of the cordial relations enjoyed by the two countries. The FO has asked the Afghan government to urgently look into the matter and ensure the security and safety of Pakistani diplomatic personnel so that no such incident takes place in future.
  19. PESHAWAR: Commander Peshawar Corps Lt Gen Nazir Ahmed Butt visited forward areas of Kurram Agency and was given a detailed briefing on the prevailing security situation in the area, an Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement said. Commander laid the foundation stone of Army Public School (APS) Parachinar. For quality education of the locals, establishment of an APS was announced by COAS during his visit to the agency on Jan 22, 2017. Corps Commander also interacted with tribal elders of the area and lauded their efforts in maintaining tribal and sectarian harmony. Earlier on arrival at Parachinar, he was received by IGFC North Maj Gen Shaheen Mazhar Mahmood.
  20. A global cyber attack leveraging hacking tools widely believed by researchers to have been developed by the U.S. National Security Agency hit international shipper FedEx, disrupted Britain's health system and infected computers in nearly 100 countries on Friday. Cyber extortionists tricked victims into opening malicious malware attachments to spam emails that appeared to contain invoices, job offers, security warnings and other legitimate files. The ransomware encrypted data on the computers, demanding payments of $300 to $600 to restore access. Security researchers said they observed some victims paying via the digital currency bitcoin, though they did not know what percent had given in to the extortionists. Researchers with security software maker Avast said they had observed 57,000 infections in 99 countries with Russia, Ukraine, and Taiwan the top targets. The most disruptive attacks were reported in Britain, where hospitals and clinics were forced to turn away patients after losing access to computers. International shipper FedEx Corp said some of its Windows computers were also infected. "We are implementing remediation steps as quickly as possible," it said in a statement. Still, only a small number of U.S.-headquartered organizations were hit because the hackers appear to have begun the campaign by targeting organizations in Europe, said Vikram Thakur, research manager with security software maker Symantec. By the time they turned their attention to the United States, spam filters had identified the new threat and flagged the ransomware-laden emails as malicious, Thakur said. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said late on Friday that it was aware of reports of the ransomware, was sharing information with domestic and foreign partners and was ready to lend technical support. Telecommunications company Telefonica was among many targets in Spain, though it said the attack was limited to some computers on an internal network and had not affected clients or services. Portugal Telecom and Telefonica Argentina both said they were also targeted. Private security firms identified the ransomware as a new variant of "WannaCry" that had the ability to automatically spread across large networks by exploiting a known bug in Microsoft's Windows operating system. "Once it gets in and starts moving across the infrastructure, there is no way to stop it," said Adam Meyers, a researcher with cyber security firm CrowdStrike. The hackers, who have not come forward to claim responsibility or otherwise been identified, likely made it a "worm," or self-spreading malware, by exploiting a piece of NSA code known as "Eternal Blue" that was released last month by a group known as the Shadow Brokers, researchers with several private cybersecurity firms said. "This is one of the largest global ransomware attacks the cyber community has ever seen," said Rich Barger, director of threat research with Splunk, one of the firms that linked WannaCry to the NSA. The Shadow Brokers released Eternal Blue as part of a trove of hacking tools that they said belonged to the U.S. spy agency. Microsoft on Friday said it was pushing out automatic Windows updates to defend clients from WannaCry. It issued a patch on March 14 to protect them from Eternal Blue. "Today our engineers added detection and protection against new malicious software known as Ransom: Win32.WannaCrypt," Microsoft said in a statement. It said the company was working with its customers to provide additional assistance. The spread of the ransomware capped a week of cyber turmoil in Europe that kicked off a week earlier when hackers posted a huge trove of campaign documents tied to French candidate Emmanuel Macron just 1-1/2 days before a run-off vote in which he was elected as the new president of France. On Wednesday, hackers disputed the websites of several French media companies and aerospace giant Airbus.Also, the hack happened four weeks before a British parliamentary election in which national security and the management of the state-run National Health Service (NHS) are important campaign themes. Authorities in Britain have been braced for possible cyberattacks in the run-up to the vote, as happened during last year's U.S. election and on the eve of this month's presidential vote in France. But those attacks - blamed on Russia, which has repeatedly denied them - followed an entirely different modus operandi involving penetrating the accounts of individuals and political organizations and then releasing hacked material online. On Friday, Russia's interior and emergencies ministries, as well as the country's biggest bank, Sberbank, said they were targeted. The interior ministry said on its website that around 1,000 computers had been infected but it had localized the virus. The emergencies ministry told Russian news agencies it had repelled the cyber attacks while Sberbank said its cyber security systems had prevented viruses from entering its systems. Although cyber extortion cases have been rising for several years, they have to date affected small-to-mid-sized organizations, disrupting services provided by hospitals, police departments, public transportation systems and utilities in the United States and Europe. "Seeing a large telco like Telefonica get hit is going to get everybody worried. Now ransomware is affecting larger companies with more sophisticated security operations," Chris Wysopal, chief technology officer with cyber security firm Veracode, said. The news is also likely to embolden cyber extortionists when selecting targets, Chris Camacho, chief strategy officer with cyber intelligence firm Flashpoint, said. "Now that the cyber criminals know they can hit the big guys, they will start to target big corporations. And some of them may not be well prepared for such attacks," Camacho said. In Spain, some big firms took pre-emptive steps to thwart ransomware attacks following a warning from Spain's National Cryptology Centre of "a massive ransomware attack." Iberdrola and Gas Natural, along with Vodafone's unit in Spain, asked staff to turn off computers or cut off internet access in case they had been compromised, representatives from the firms said. In Spain, the attacks did not disrupt the provision of services or networks operations of the victims, the government said in a statement.
  21. RAWALPINDI: Reacting to Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Aitzaz Ahsan’s statement, Director-General Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor on Friday said that comments by a few people regarding the head of premier intelligence agency are baseless, misleading and unwarranted. Maj Gen Ghafoor tweeted that the integrity of armed forces is beyond reproach. Comments by few regarding head of premier int agency are baseless, misleading and unwarranted. Integrity of armed forces is beyond reproach. — Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) April 21, 2017
  22. KHAR: One person was killed while two others were injured in an explosion in Bajaur Agency on Friday, according to sources in the government. The bomb was installed at the side of a road in Khar tehsil of the agency, sources added. Around two months back an explosion had claimed one life and had left four others injured in Arang tehsil of the agency, sources in the levies force had told the media. ce.