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  1. British Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson says the attack was further evidence of a "new era of warfare" with "a destructive and deadly mix of conventional military might and malicious cyber attacks." ? Reuters FILE LONDON: Britain on Thursday accused the Russian military of being behind last year's "NotPetya" cyber-attack, which started in Ukraine and Russia before spreading globally, affecting thousands of computers. "The UK Government judges that the Russian Government, specifically the Russian military, was responsible for the destructive NotPetya cyber-attack of June 2017," Foreign Office minister Tariq Ahmad said. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said the attack was further evidence of a "new era of warfare" with "a destructive and deadly mix of conventional military might and malicious cyber attacks." "Russia is ripping up the rule book by undermining democracy, wrecking livelihoods by targeting critical infrastructure and weaponising information," he said. The accusation was immediately denied by the Kremlin. "We categorically reject such accusations. We consider them unsubstantiated and groundless," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists. "This is nothing but a continuation of a Russophobic campaign that is not based on any evidence," he said. 'More sophisticated attack' The attack contaminated thousands of computers worldwide, particularly affecting multinational companies and critical infrastructure, such as radiation monitors at the old Chernobyl nuclear power plant and the ports of Mumbai and Amsterdam. Companies hit included the Russian oil group Rosneft, Danish shipping company Maersk, US pharmaceutical giant Merck, French construction specialist Saint-Gobain and the British advertising firm WPP. Ukraine, which is battling Russia-backed rebels in the east in a conflict that has killed more than 10,000 people, was the worst affected country. Banking operations were compromised in what authorities said was an unprecedented attack, which even disrupted arrivals and departures informations at the capital's main Boryspil airport. The virus, which demanded a payment worth $300 as it locked up files at companies and government agencies, was reminiscent of the WannaCry ransomware attack that swept the world a month earlier in May 2017, hitting more than 200,000 users in more than 150 countries. Britain and the US have blamed North Korea for the WannaCry attack, saying it may have been an attempt by the isolated communist regime to access foreign currency. The NotPetya attack appeared much smaller in scale, with global cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab estimating there were thousands of victims. Comparing it to WannaCry, the director of European police agency Europol, Rob Wainwright, said at the time that NotPetya showed "indications of a more sophisticated attack capability intended to exploit a range of vulnerabilities." 'Seeking to weaponise information' The British government on Thursday said the attack "masqueraded as a criminal enterprise but its purpose was principally to disrupt." "The UK and its allies will not tolerate malicious cyber activity," it added. Minister Ahmad said the Kremlin had "positioned Russia in direct opposition to the West", but that the country could still "be the responsible member of the international community that it claims to be rather than secretly trying to undermine it." London has taken an aggressive stance against Moscow, with Prime Minister Theresa May last year accusing it of "seeking to weaponise information." British army chief Nick Carter later said that Russian cyber-warfare presented a direct threat to Britain. He called for more investment in the armed forces to be able to deal with it. Carter said Russia was engaging in "information warfare at its best." Some British politicians have accused Russia of attempts to disrupt the democratic process in Britain by online interference in political campaigns such as the 2016 Brexit referendum and a 2017 general election. Speaking on Wednesday, John Chipman, director of the International Institute of Strategic Studies, said Russia was engaged in "capabilities beyond conventional military force that are easier to develop and deploy unaccountably." "There is still no effective response from the West either in the form of countermeasures or sanctions," he said.
  2. [embed_video1 url=http://stream.jeem.tv/vod/e53a8c63bd34384ec21cbc013f5e4c38.mp4/playlist.m3u8?wmsAuthSign=c2VydmVyX3RpbWU9Mi8xNC8yMDE4IDY6NTg6MDkgUE0maGFzaF92YWx1ZT1hWVMwU1djZDZRQnpLUlNkTG5WOFN3PT0mdmFsaWRtaW51dGVzPTYwJmlkPTE= style=center] KARACHI: Advisor to PM on Finance Miftah Ismail Wednesday said the United States' motion to place Pakistan on a global terrorist-financing watchlist is "inspired by India." Speaking on Geo News' show 'Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Saath', Ismail said they are in talks with 25, 30 countries and many of these countries have appreciated Pakistan's steps. "We have been working and telling the world our stance. The reason for which they want to put us on watchlist...we have ended that very reason." He said there is positive feedback from officials and states they have been talking to and it appears that Pakistan will not be put on the watchlist. US moves to put Pakistan on global terrorist-financing watchlist A meeting of FATF member states is due to take place next week in Paris, where the motion on Pakistan could be adopted Responding to a question about the motion being focused on Hafiz Saeed and India's allegations, the PM's advisor said the process has become "India-inspired, India-centric" and that an international organisation like FATF is doing so because of conspiracies of one country. He, however, said that there were loopholes in their laws. "As far as these technical issues or the legal loopholes are concerned, we are ready to talk to them (FATF), if it would be on technical level and not political." Ismail called it "injustice" to single out an individual or organisation. "When we feel that the whole process is India-inspired and they have only been singling out one organisation or one individual, then this is injustice." He said that Pakistan has fulfilled its international commitments and obligations under the UN charter. "We have fulfilled our obligations and expect the world fraternity to understand that Pakistan is meeting its reasonable expectations," the PM's advisor said. "After all this, what India wants is mischief," he concluded.
  3. YANGON: Myanmar blamed Bangladesh on Tuesday for delays to a huge repatriation programme for Rohingya refugees, as the deadline passed for starting the return of the Muslim minority to strife-torn Rakhine state. Nearly 690,000 Rohingya escaped to Bangladesh after a brutal Myanmar army crackdown began last August, while a further 100,000 fled an earlier bout of violence in October 2016. In signs the unrest was continuing despite the repatriation plans, Bangladesh officials said Tuesday a huge fire burned and gunshots were heard in a village in Rakhine. Myanmar agreed that from January 23 it would start taking those refugees who had fled since 2016 back from the squalid camps in the Cox's Bazar district of Bangladesh where they have sought shelter. But a Bangladeshi official said Monday the programme would not begin as planned. Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner Mohammad Abul Kalam said there was much more preparatory work to be done. The complex process of registering huge numbers of the dispossessed has been further cast into doubt by the refugees themselves, who are too afraid to return to the scene of what the UN has called "ethnic cleansing". Mainly Buddhist Myanmar sees the Rohingya in Rakhine as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and denies them citizenship. Myanmar has been accused of drawing out the repatriation process by agreeing to take back just 1,500 people a week. It has prepared two reception camps on its side of the border. Myanmar officials said that by Tuesday afternoon no Rohingya had crossed back into Rakhine, the scene of alleged widespread atrocities by Myanmar's army and ethnic Rakhine mobs. "We are right now ready to receive... we are completely ready to welcome them according to the agreement," Kyaw Tin, Minister of International Cooperation told reporters in Naypyidaw, Myanmar´s capital. "We have seen the news that the Bangladesh side is not ready, but we have not received any official" explanation, he added. With hundreds of Rohingya villages torched and communal tensions still at boiling point in Rakhine, rights groups say Rohingya returnees will at best be herded into long-term camps. Those who return must sign a form verifying they did so voluntarily and pledging to abide by Myanmar laws. Not going back Myanmar has sent a list of more than 1,000 "wanted" alleged Rohingya militants to Bangladesh, while headshot photos of the suspects have been widely circulated inside the country. In a sign of the tensions surrounding the issue, a second Rohingya leader was killed in Bangladesh camps on Monday - allegedly after endorsing the returns programme. Many in the camps are fearful of going back. "We won't go there if they try to send us back... kill us here, because we won't go. If we go back, the Burmese (Myanmar) will kill us," 12-year-old Mohammad Ayas said at a camp at Cox´s Bazar. Others said repatriation was a pipe dream while people were still trickling into the camps. Mohammad Amin, who arrived just last week, described villages being set ablaze and women assaulted. Backing up his claim, a senior Bangladeshi border guard at Cox's Bazar said a "big fire" was seen raging late Monday in an abandoned village in Rakhine. It is believed the homes ablaze overnight belonged to Rohingya, the official said on condition of anonymity. The border region is controlled by Myanmar´s forces, he added. Another border official said he heard several gunshots before flames were seen leaping from the village. Footage of the blaze quickly spread among Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh through social media, with many quick to blame Myanmar´s security forces. "The fire is designed to destroy the last remaining traces of Rohingya homes so that none of us can return to our villages," activist Rafique bin Habib told AFP. He said without homes, those Rohingya who were repatriated would be denied access to their ancestral lands and forced to live in displacement camps. Bangladesh, one of Asia´s poorest countries, has been besieged by an influx of Rohingya since communal violence flared in 2016. It has tried to use the global outcry over the crisis to press Myanmar into taking back the refugees before they settle.
  4. In a speech carried on state television, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei broke his silence on the protests for the first time since they erupted last Thursday. Photo: AFP/file TEHRAN: Iran's supreme leader blamed "enemies" Tuesday for unrest that has seen 21 deaths as Washington sought to increase pressure on the regime that was facing its biggest test in years. In a speech carried on state television, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei broke his silence on the protests for the first time since they erupted last Thursday. "The enemies have united and are using all their means, money, weapons, policies and security services to create problems for the Islamic regime," the supreme leader said. "The enemy is always looking for an opportunity and any crevice to infiltrate and strike the Iranian nation." Even reformists, who backed the last major protest movement in 2009, condemned the unrest and the support it has received from the United States. But they also urged the authorities to address economic grievances that have fuelled the protests. "The Iranian people are confronted with difficulties in their daily lives... and have the right to peacefully demand and protest," said a statement from the Association of Combatant Clerics, headed by reformist ex-president Mohammad Khatami. Major challenge A fifth night of unrest Monday to Tuesday saw six protesters killed during an attack on a police station in Qahderijan in the central province of Isfahan, state TV said. At least three other towns near the cultural hub of Isfahan also saw violence overnight, causing the deaths of a young member of the Revolutionary Guards, a policeman and a bystander. The estimated death toll is now 21 since protests began in second city Mashhad and quickly spread to become the biggest challenge to the Islamic regime since mass demonstrations in 2009. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini late Tuesday deplored "the unacceptable loss of human lives" and called on "all concerned to refrain from violence". As violence has grown, authorities have stepped up arrests, with at least 450 people detained in Tehran since Saturday and 100 more around Isfahan on Monday, media reported. US President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly criticised Tehran since the latest protests began, praised the demonstrators for acting against the "brutal and corrupt" regime and said Iranians had "little food, big inflation and no human rights". Iran´s foreign ministry said Trump was "wasting his time sending useless and insulting tweets" and would be better off focusing on "homeless and hungry people" in his own country. Trump´s ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said the US would seek emergency UN talks on the situation. "The people of Iran are crying out for freedom," she said at a news conference. "All freedom-loving people must stand with their cause." 'Complete nonsense' Haley rejected as "complete nonsense" Khamenei´s charges that the protests were being fomented by Iran´s "enemies". "The freedoms that are enshrined in the United Nations charter are under attack in Iran. Dozens have already been killed. Hundreds have been arrested," she said. "If the Iranian dictatorship´s history is any guide, we can expect more outrageous abuses in the days to come." Iran´s moderate President Hassan Rouhani phoned his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron Tuesday to demand action against the Paris-based "terrorist" Mujahedeen-e-Khalq opposition group he accused of fomenting protests. A statement from the French presidency said Macron called for "restraint", and both sides agreed to postpone an imminent visit to Tehran by the French foreign minister. The unrest in Iran appears leaderless and focused on provincial towns and cities, with only small and sporadic protests in Tehran amid a heavy police presence. Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, described the unrest as a "proxy war against the Iranian people" and said online accounts in the United States, Britain and Saudi Arabia were encouraging demonstrations. Many Tehranis agreed with his assessment. "When there is a protest, you can be sure other countries will take advantage of it and interfere," 30-year-old architectural engineer Mehdi Rahmani told AFP. But he also understood the economic grievances driving the unrest. Economic woes "The root of people's protests are merely their economic problems, the problem of youth unemployment," he said. Rouhani has tried to play down the unrest, which began over economic woes but quickly turned against the regime as a whole. Pro-regime rallies have also been held, reflecting continued support among a large conservative section of society. The head of Tehran´s revolutionary court, Moussa Ghazanfarabadi, warned that as violence grows punishments for demonstrators would get "heavier". "We no longer consider them as protesters demanding rights, but as people targeting the regime," he told the conservative Tasnim news agency. Rouhani came to power in 2013 promising to mend the economy and ease social tensions, but high living costs and a 12 percent unemployment rate have left many feeling that progress is too slow. The young are the most affected, with as many as 40 percent jobless according to analysts, and rural areas particularly hard-hit. Rouhani on Sunday acknowledged there was "no problem bigger than unemployment", and also vowed a more balanced media and more transparency. In 2009, authorities ruthlessly put down protests against the re-election of hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. At least 36 people were killed, according to an official toll, while the opposition says 72 died.
  5. TEHRAN: Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran's "enemies" were orchestrating a plot to infiltrate and target the regime as he broke his silence Tuesday on the days of unrest rocking the country. "In the events of recent days, the enemies have united and are using all their means, money, weapons, policies and security services to create problems for the Islamic regime," Khamenei said in a statement shown on state television. "The enemy is always looking for an opportunity and any crevice to infiltrate and strike the Iranian nation," he added. A total of 21 people have died in five days of unrest across the country which began as protests over the economy before quickly turning against the Islamic regime as a whole. "What can stop the enemy from acting is the spirit of courage, sacrifice and faith of the people," he said, speaking to a gathering of war widows and their families.
  6. White House homeland security advisor Tom Bossert said that "after careful investigation" Washington is publicly attributing the massive "WannaCry" cyber attack to North Korea. Photo: AFP WASHINGTON: The White House on Tuesday publicly accused North Korea of launching a massive cyber attack that hit 150 countries last May ? hobbling networks from Britain?s public health system to FedEx. "After careful investigation, the United States is publicly attributing the massive ?WannaCry? cyber attack to North Korea," said White House homeland security advisor Tom Bossert. "We do not make this allegation lightly, we do so with evidence and we do so with partners," he added. Exploiting a security flaw in Microsoft?s Windows XP operating system, the malware infected an estimated 300,000 computers demanding ransom to decrypt data. The United States is the latest country to point the finger of blame at Pyongyang, attribution which comes as part of a drive to exert "maximum pressure" on the regime. As yet, no retaliatory measures have been announced. Among the infected computers were those at Britain?s National Health Service (NHS), Spanish telecoms company Telefonica and US logistics company FedEx. London had already blamed North Korea, which hit a third of Britain?s public hospitals. Pyongyang then denied the allegation, saying it went "beyond the limit of our tolerance" and was a "wicked attempt to lure the international community into harbouring greater mistrust of the DPRK." US government under scrutiny Questions had been raised about whether the US government acted in a timely manner to respond to the attack, with Microsoft accusing Washington of spotting the flaw and using it for its own ends. "This attack provides yet another example of why the stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments is such a problem," Microsoft?s Brad Smith said at the time. "Repeatedly, exploits in the hands of governments have leaked into the public domain and caused widespread damage," he said, claiming that the National Security Agency of spotting the flaw and saying nothing. Bossert said that the United States kept only 10 percent of security flaws secret and had no policy of "stockpiling" or withholding information from potential targets. Since coming to office Donald Trump has sought to put pressure on North Korea, as its reclusive leaders edge ever-closer to developing a ballistic missile that could deliver a nuclear warhead to the United States. Amid a series of tests, Trump?s administration has appeared at odds over whether talks could offer a way out of the standoff. National Security Advisor HR McMaster tried to clean up that question in an interview with the BBC, saying the United States wanted a peaceful solution: "Of course that?s what we want but we are not committed to a peaceful resolution." "We are committed to a resolution, we want the resolution to be peaceful. But, as the president has said, all options are on the table and we have to be prepared if necessary to compel the denuclearization of North Korea without the cooperation of that regime." Trump?s first National Security Strategy released Monday, declared that "North Korea seeks the capability to kill millions of Americans with nuclear weapons." "Continued provocations by North Korea will prompt neighbouring countries and the United States to further strengthen security bonds and take additional measures to protect themselves."
  7. [embed_video1 url=http://stream.jeem.tv/vod/39ebceea6e0ac5957d1a8582859477c4.mp4/playlist.m3u8?wmsAuthSign=c2VydmVyX3RpbWU9MTEvMjIvMjAxNyAzOjI4OjEzIFBNJmhhc2hfdmFsdWU9WVIvbjBkWjRnN2ttUGRreDg4MUdrQT09JnZhbGlkbWludXRlcz02MCZpZD0x style=center] KARACHI: Governor Sindh Mohammad Zubair said on Wednesday the delay in completion of Green Line bus project in Karachi is due to the provincial government, however, added the project would become operational by May, next year. The statement was made as the Sindh governor interacted with newsmen during his visit to Karachi's Hyderi area, where he reviewed progress of work on the project. Zubair said Karachi used to be considered as one of the most dangerous cities in the world. "The megapolis has witnessed a miraculous change over the last four years, with major crimes eliminated from the city." He said Rangers performed brilliantly in the city and the purpose to have the paramilitary force in the megapolis is to not allow the law and order situation to deteriorate again, and for the people to remain satisfied. The Sindh governor further said a major chunk of the Karachi package has been allocated for the city's infrastructure. He said the Green Line bus service would be operational by April or May, 2018.
  8. National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) head Ciaran Martin. Image Courtesy: The Telegraph via Simon Williams LONDON: Russia has launched cyber attacks on the UK media, telecoms, and energy sectors in the past year, Britain's cybersecurity chief said Wednesday, amid reports of Russian interference in the Brexit referendum. "Russia is seeking to undermine the international system. That much is clear," Ciaran Martin, head of Britain's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), said at a technology conference in London, according to his office. "Russian interference, seen by the NCSC over the past year, has included attacks on the UK media, telecommunications and energy sectors," Martin said. The centre has coordinated the government's response to 590 significant incidents since it was created in 2016, though it has not detailed which were linked to Russia. Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday accused Moscow of "seeking to weaponise information" in order to "sow discord in the West and undermine our institutions". Russia's cyber activities include "deploying its state-run media organisations to plant fake stories and photo-shopped images", she said in a speech. The scathing criticism was rejected by Russia's foreign ministry, which accused May of trying to distract the British public from problems at home. Parliamentary probes Moscow's alleged attempts to influence last year's referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union are part of investigations underway in London. On Wednesday, May told lawmakers that parliament's intelligence and security committee would be looking into Russian interference. Meanwhile, parliament's digital, culture, media, and sports committee has requested data from Twitter and Facebook on Russia-linked accounts and aims to interview social media executives at the British embassy in Washington early next year. Damian Collins, the committee chairman, said it was "beyond doubt" that Russia had interfered in UK politics. He said there was a pattern of behaviour of Russian organisations seeking out opportunities to create division, unrest and instability in the West. "Foreign organisations have the ability to manipulate social media platforms to target voters abroad," Collins told AFP. "This is seriously organised buildings of hundreds of people engaged in propagating every day fake news through social media," he added. "It is one of the biggest threats our democracies face and we have to be serious about combatting it." But May's spokesman emphasised that "There has been no evidence of successful interference in our electoral processes." Pro-Brexit 'bots' Researchers at Swansea University in Wales, working with the University of California, Berkeley, looked at 18,000 Twitter users who had registered in Russian but were tweeting in English around the time of the referendum. Russian-related accounts put out around 45,000 Brexit tweets on June 23 and 24, of which 13,180 were at least six words long, Swansea researcher Tho Pham told AFP. "The massive number of Russian-related tweets were only created a few days before the voting day, reached its peak during the voting and result days then dropped immediately afterwards," the research paper said. They were posted by both "bots" and humans, with the majority of the posts pro-Brexit. Bots spreading misinformation into the echo chambers of social media "might lead to the case that bots could shape public opinions in negative ways", the paper concluded. Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Edinburgh, who examined 2,752 accounts suspended by Twitter in the United States, found that 419 were operating from the Russian Internet Research Agency and attempting to influence British politics, The Guardian reported. Professor Laura Cram, the university's neuro-politics research director, told the newspaper they tweeted about Brexit 3,468 times ? mostly after the June 23 referendum. The content overall was "quite chaotic and it seems to be aimed at wider disruption. There's not an absolutely clear thrust. We pick up a lot on refugees and immigration", she said.
  9. source: Press TV MOSCOW: Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Monday that the "two-faced policy" of the United States was to blame for the death of Russian Lieutenant-General Valery Asapov in Syria, the RIA news agency quoted him as saying. The Russian Defence Ministry said on Sunday that Asapov had been killed by Daesh shelling near Deir al-Zor. Moscow has complained about what it has suggested are suspiciously friendly ties between US - backed militias, US special forces, and Daesh in the area, accusing Washington of trying to slow the advance of the Syrian army. "The death of the Russian commander is the price, the bloody price, for two-faced American policy in Syria," Ryabkov told reporters, according to RIA. Ryabkov questioned Washington´s intention to fight Daesh in Syria. "The American side declares that it is interested in the elimination of Daesh ... but some of its actions show it is doing the opposite and that some political and geopolitical goals are more important for Washington," Ryabkov was quoted as saying. Earlier on Monday, American-backed Syrian militias said that Russian warplanes had struck their positions in Deir al-Zor province near a natural gas field they seized from Daesh last week. Russia denied that. Ryabkov also said that Russia wanted to strengthen the International Atomic Energy Agency and had not violated the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, rejecting allegations made against it by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson earlier this month.
  10. Physicist Stephen Hawking sits on stage during an announcement of the Breakthrough Starshot initiative with investor Yuri Milner in New York April 12, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/Files LONDON: Physicist Stephen Hawking found himself in a war of words with Britain's Conservative government after he said it had caused a crisis in the state-run National Health Service (NHS) and was leading it towards a profit-making US-style system. Writing in the Guardian newspaper on Saturday, the British cosmologist, who was diagnosed with motor neuron disease aged 21, also accused the government's health minister Jeremy Hunt of cherry-picking scientific evidence to justify policies. Hunt hit back saying that Hawking, author of the bestselling book 'A Brief History of Time', was wrong and that his criticism was a "pernicious falsehood". "The care I have received since being diagnosed with motor neuron disease as a student in 1962 has enabled me to live my life as I want, and to contribute to major advances in our understanding of the universe," wrote Hawking. Founded in 1948, the NHS is a source of huge pride for many Britons who are able to access free care from the cradle to the grave, but in recent years tight budgets, an ageing population and more expensive, complex treatments have put the system under huge financial strain. Hawking, a supporter of the opposition Labour Party, said the NHS was "a cornerstone of our society" but was in crisis because of political decisions. It was also facing a conflict between the interests of multinational corporations driven by profit and public opposition to increasing privatization, he said. "In the US, where they are dominant in the healthcare system, these corporations make enormous profits, healthcare is not universal, and it is hugely more expensive for the outcomes patients receive than in the UK," he wrote. "We see the balance of power in the UK is with private healthcare companies, and the direction of change is towards a US-style insurance system." Last year, English doctors staged their first strikes in four decades over government plans to reform pay and conditions as part of moves to deliver what it said would be a consistent service seven days a week as studies showed mortality rates were higher at weekends when staffing is reduced. However, Hawking, who communicates via a cheek muscle linked to a sensor and computerized voice system, said Hunt had cherry-picked research to justify his arguments. "For a scientist, cherry-picking evidence is unacceptable. When public figures abuse scientific argument, citing some studies but suppressing others to justify policies they want to implement for other reasons, it debases scientific culture," he wrote. Hunt responded on Twitter saying no health secretary could ignore the "comprehensive" evidence and said his government had put more money, doctors and nurses into the NHS than ever before. "Stephen Hawking is brilliant physicist but wrong on lack of evidence 4 weekend effect," Hunt wrote. "Most pernicious falsehood from Stephen Hawking is idea govt wants US-style insurance system. Is it 2 much to ask him to look at evidence?"
  11. The North Korea flag flutters next to concertina wire at the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia March 9, 2017. Photo: Reuters The US government on Tuesday issued a rare alert squarely blaming the North Korean government for a raft of cyber attacks stretching back to 2009 and warning that more were likely. The joint warning from the US Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation said that "cyber actors of the North Korean government," referred to in the report as "Hidden Cobra," had targeted the media, aerospace and financial sectors, as well as critical infrastructure, in the United States and globally. The new level of detail about the US government's analysis of suspected North Korean hacking activity coincides with increasing tensions between Washington and Pyongyang because of North Korea's missile tests. The alert warned that North Korea would continue to rely on cyber operations to advance its military and strategic objectives. North Korea has routinely denied involvement in cyber attacks against other countries. The North Korean mission to the United Nations was not immediately available for comment. Tuesday's alert said Hidden Cobra has been previously referred to by private sector experts as Lazarus Group and Guardians of the Peace, which have been linked to attacks such as the 2014 intrusion into Sony Corp's (6758.T) Sony Pictures Entertainment. Symantec Corp (SYMC.O) and Kaspersky Lab both said last month it was "highly likely" that Lazarus was behind the WannaCry ransomware attack that infected more than 300,000 computers worldwide, disrupting operations at hospitals, banks and schools. The alert did not identify specific Hidden Cobra victims. It said the group had compromised a range of victims and that some intrusions had resulted in thefts of data while others were disruptive. The group's capabilities include denial of service attacks, which send reams of junk traffic to a server to knock it offline, keystroke logging, remote access tools and several variants of malware, the alert said. John Hultquist, a cyber intelligence analyst with FireEye Inc (FEYE.O), said that his firm was concerned about increasingly aggressive cyber attacks from North Korea. The hacks include cyber espionage at South Korean finance, energy and transportation firms that appears to be reconnaissance ahead of other attacks that would be disruptive or destructive, he said. "It suggests they are preparing for something fairly significant," he added. Hidden Cobra commonly targets systems that run older versions of Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) operating systems that are no longer patched, the alert said, and also used vulnerabilities in Adobe Systems Inc's (ADBE.O) Flash software to gain access into targeted computers. The report urged organisations to upgrade to current versions of Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight or, when possible, uninstall those applications altogether. Microsoft said it an emailed statement that it had "addressed" the Silverlight issue in a January 2016 software update. Adobe said via email that it patched the vulnerabilities in June 2016. North Korean hacking activity has grown increasingly hostile in recent years, according to Western officials and cyber security experts. The alert arrived on the same day that North Korea released an American university student who had been held captive by Pyongyang for 17 months. Otto Warmbier, 22, was on his way back to the United States on Tuesday but in a coma and in urgent need of medical care, according to Bill Richardson, a veteran former diplomat and politician who has played a role in past negotiations with North Korea. "The US government seeks to arm network defenders with the tools they need to identify, detect and disrupt North Korean government malicious cyber activity that is targeting our country's and our allies? networks," a DHS official said about the alert. The official was not authorised to speak publicly.
  12. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a speech during a ceremony marking the death anniversary of the founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, in Tehran, Iran, June 4, 2017. Photo: Reuters Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Monday blamed the United States for instability in the Middle East and said Washington's fight against the militant group Daesh was "a lie". "You (the United States) and your agents are the source of instability in the Middle East...who created Daesh? America ... America's claim of fighting against Daesh is a lie," Khamenei said in a meeting with high-ranking Iranian officials, according to his official website. Pakistan hopes gulf countries? impasse will be resolved soon: PM ?Hopeful that conflict will be resolved in best interest of Muslim Brotherhood? Iran and the United States cut diplomatic ties shortly after Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution and enmity with Washington has long been a rallying point for hardline supporters of Khamenei in Iran. Khamenei has made several statements denouncing the United States since the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, while US President Donald Trump has spoken out against Iran in harsh terms since taking office, indicating that he will reverse the previous administration's attempts at rapprochement with Tehran. The Iranian leader has accused the United States and its regional ally Saudi Arabia of funding hardline militants, including Daesh, which carried out its first attack in Iran on Wednesday in Tehran, killing 17 people. Riyadh has denied involvement in the suicide bombings and gun attacks on Iran's parliament and the mausoleum of the Islamic Republic's founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who favours opening up to the world, has condemned the attacks, without pointing a finger at any country. The pragmatist president championed a nuclear deal with the United States and five other powers in 2015 that led to the lifting of most sanctions against Iran, in return for curbs on its nuclear program. But the deal has not led to normalization of ties between the two countries that Rouhani hoped for. Trump has frequently called the agreement "one of the worst deals ever signed" and said Washington would review it. "The American government is against an independent Iran ... They have problems with the existence of Islamic Republic of Iran...Most of our problems with them cannot be resolved," the semi-official Fars news agency quoted him as saying. Khamenei's hardline loyalists, fear that normalization of ties with the United States might weaken their position. "America is a terrorist country and backs terrorism ... therefore, we cannot normalize ties with such country," he said.
  13. geo_embedgallery TEHRAN: Suicide bombers and gunmen attacked the Iranian parliament and Ayatollah Khomeini's mausoleum in Tehran on Wednesday, killing at least 13 people in an unprecedented assault that Iran's Revolutionary Guards blamed on regional rival Saudi Arabia. Daesh claimed responsibility and threatened more attacks against Iran's majority population, seen by the hardline militants as heretics. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted: "Terror-sponsoring despots threaten to bring the fight to our homeland. Proxies attack what their masters despise most: the seat of democracy." He did not explicitly blame any country but the tweet appeared to refer to comments made by Saudi Arabia?s deputy crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud, in May, saying that Riyadh would bring "the battle" for regional influence to Iran. Saudi Arabia denied any involvement in the Tehran attacks, but the assault further fuels tensions between Riyadh and Tehran as they vie for control of the Gulf and influence in the wider Islamic world. It comes days after Riyadh and other Muslim powers cut ties with Qatar, accusing it of backing Tehran and militant groups. They were the first attacks claimed by Daesh inside the tightly controlled Muslim country, one of the powers leading the fight against IS forces in nearby Iraq and Syria. The deputy head of Iran's National Security Council, Reza Seifollhai, told state TV late on Wednesday that the attackers were people from Iran who had joined Daesh. Iranian police said they had arrested five suspects Armed men launched two attacks in Iran's capital on Wednesday morning, killing a guard at the parliament and wounding several people in the Mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini. Photo: Iranian news agency Mizan Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said: "These fireworks have no effect on Iran. They will soon be eliminated." "They are too small to affect the will of the Iranian nation and its officials," state TV quoted him saying. The powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps accused Riyadh of being behind the attacks and vowed to seek revenge. "This terrorist attack happened only a week after the meeting between the US president (Donald Trump) and the (Saudi) backward leaders who support terrorists. The fact that Daesh has claimed responsibility proves that they were involved in the brutal attack," a Guards statement said. Trump said in a statement that he prayed for the victims of the attacks but added that "states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote." The US State Department and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres both condemned the attacks. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said he did not know who was responsible for the attacks and said there was no evidence Saudi extremists were involved. DRESSED AS WOMEN Attackers dressed as women burst through parliament's main entrance, deputy interior minister Mohammad Hossein Zolfaghari said, according to the Tasnim news agency. One of them detonated a suicide vest, he said. Police helicopters circled over parliament, with snipers on its rooftop. Within five hours, four attackers were dead and the incident was over, Iranian media said. "I was inside the parliament when shooting happened. Everyone was shocked and scared. I saw two men shooting randomly," said one journalist at the scene. Soon after the assault on parliament began, a bomber detonated a suicide vest near the shrine of the Islamic Republic's revered founder, Ayatollah Khomeini, a few kilometres south of the city, Zolfaghari said. A second attacker was shot dead, he said. The shrine is a main destination for tourists and religious pilgrims. "The terrorists had explosives strapped to them and suddenly started to shoot around," said the shrine's overseer, Mohammadali Ansari. By late evening, deputy interior minister Zolfaghari put the death toll at 13, with 43 wounded. The Intelligence Ministry said security forces had arrested another "terrorist team" planning a third attack. The National Security Council's Seifollhai said Iran had foiled 58 similar attacks, without specifying a time period. REGIONAL ANIMOSITY The attacks follow several weeks of heightened rhetorical animosity between Riyadh and Tehran. In unusually blunt remarks on May 2, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is Saudi defence minister and a son of King Salman, said he would protect his country from what he called Iranian efforts to dominate the Muslim world. Any struggle for influence between the Muslim kingdom and the revolutionary theocracy ought to take place "inside Iran, not in Saudi Arabia," he said without elaborating. The next day Iran accused Saudi Arabia of seeking tension in the region, saying the prince had made "destructive" comments and it was proof that Riyadh supported terrorism. The attacks could also exacerbate tensions in Iran between newly re-elected President Hassan Rouhani, who positions himself as a reformer, and his rivals among hardline clergy and the Revolutionary Guards. But Rouhani said Iran would be more united and more determined in the fight against regional terrorism and violence. "We will prove once again that we will crush the enemies' plots with more unity and more strength," he said. In an appeal for unity, Rouhani?s chief of staff, Hamid Aboutalebi, took to Twitter to praise the security services. "Applause to the power and firmness of our revolutionary guards, Basij (volunteer militia), police and security forces," he wrote. However, two senior government officials, who asked not to be named, said the attacks might prompt a blame game. "They (hardliners) are very angry and will use every opportunity to grow in strength to isolate Rouhani," said one. The other said the attacks would push Iran towards "a harsher regional policy". Militant attacks are rare in Tehran and other major cities although two militant groups, Jaish al-Adl and Jundallah, have been waging a deadly insurgency, mostly in remote areas, for almost a decade. Iran's Sistan and Baluchestan province, in the southeast on the borders with Pakistan and Afghanistan, is home to the Balouch minority and has long been a hotbed of insurgents fighting the republic. Last year Iranian authorities said they had foiled a plot by militants to bomb targets in Tehran and other cities during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
  14. [embed_video1 url=http://stream.jeem.tv/vod/5d7a2721f23d9beeb23d64224bb39cf1.mp4/playlist.m3u8?wmsAuthSign=c2VydmVyX3RpbWU9Ni81LzIwMTcgOToyNzo1NSBBTSZoYXNoX3ZhbHVlPWt0cG1YczhMRW1JU2R3NDRER2VJUHc9PSZ2YWxpZG1pbnV0ZXM9NjAmaWQ9MQ== style=center] Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed their ties with Qatar on Monday, accusing it of supporting terrorism and opening up the worst rift in years among some of the most powerful states in the Arab world. Iran?long at odds with Saudi Arabia?immediately blamed US President Donald Trump for setting the stage during his recent trip to Riyadh. Gulf Arab states and Egypt have already long resented Qatar's support for extremists, especially the Muslim Brotherhood which they regard as a dangerous political enemy. The coordinated move, with Yemen and Libya's eastern-based government joining in later, created a dramatic rift among the Arab nations, many of which are in OPEC. Announcing the closure of transport ties with Qatar, the three Gulf states gave Qatari visitors and residents two weeks to leave. Qatar was also expelled from the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen. Major airlines announce end to Qatar-bound flights Doha responds in kind by banning all flights to Saudi Arabia Oil giant Saudi Arabia accused Qatar of backing militant groups?some backed by regional arch-rival Iran?and broadcasting their ideology, an apparent reference to Qatar's influential state-owned satellite channel al Jazeera. "(Qatar) embraces multiple terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at disturbing stability in the region, including the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS (Islamic State) and al-Qaeda, and promotes the message and schemes of these groups through their media constantly," Saudi state news agency SPA said. It accused Qatar of supporting what it described as Iranian-backed militants in its restive and largely Shi'ite Muslim-populated Eastern region of Qatif and in Bahrain. Iran saw America pulling the strings. "What is happening is the preliminary result of the sword dance," Hamid Aboutalebi, deputy chief of staff of Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, tweeted in a reference to Trump's recent visit to Saudi Arabia. Trump and other US officials participated in a traditional sword dance during the trip in which he called on Muslim countries to stand united against religious extremists and singled out Iran as a key source of funding and support for militant groups. Qatar Airways retaliate, suspend flights to Saudia Arabia Qatar denounces 'unjustified' cut of Gulf ties, read a statement US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters in Sydney on Monday that the spat would not affect the fight against religious militants and that Washington has encouraged its Gulf allies to resolve their differences. A split between Doha and its closest allies can have repercussions around the Middle East, where Gulf states have used their financial and political power to influence events in Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Fallout The economic fallout loomed immediately, as Abu Dhabi's state-owned Ethihad Airways, Dubai's Emirates Airline and budget carrier Flydubai said they would suspend all flights to and from Doha from Tuesday morning until further notice. Qatar Airways said on its official website it had suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia. Qatar's stock market index sank 7.5 percent with some of the market's top blue chips hardest hit. The measures are more severe than during a previous eight-month rift in 2014, when Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE withdrew their ambassadors from Doha, again alleging Qatari support for militant groups. At that time, travel links were maintained and Qataris were not expelled. The diplomatic broadside threatens the international prestige of Qatar, which hosts a large US military base and is set to host the 2022 World Cup. It has for years presented itself as a mediator and power broker for the region's many disputes. Defeating terrorism our mutual goal, Trump says in Saudi summit The session was earlier addressed by King Salman Bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia 'Lies, fabrications': Qatar Qatar said on Monday it was facing a campaign of lies and fabrications aimed at putting the Gulf Arab state under guardianship, after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with it. "The campaign of incitement is based on lies that had reached the level of complete fabrications," the Qatari foreign ministry said. It added that, as a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council, it was committed to its charter, respected the sovereignty of other states and did not interfere in their affairs. Pakistan to stay away from conflict Pakistan has no immediate plans to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, a spokesman for the foreign ministry said on Monday. Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nafees Zakria The country "has no such plans," the spokesman, Nafees Zakaria, said, following the severing of ties with Qatar by Islamabad's key ally, Saudi Arabia, and three other Middle East nations. "At the moment there is nothing on Qatar issue, (we) will issue a statement if some development takes place," Zakaria said. Pakistan in recent years has been caught between the feud between its ally Saudi Arabia and neighbour Iran. FIFA World Cup 2022 in 'danger' The measures are more severe than during a previous eight-month rift in 2014, when Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE withdrew their ambassadors from Doha, again alleging Qatari support for militant groups. At that time, travel links were maintained and Qataris were not expelled. A split between Doha and its closest allies can have repercussions around the Middle East, where Gulf states have used their financial and political power to influence events in Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. The diplomatic broadside threatens the international prestige of Qatar, which hosts a large US military base and is set to host the 2022 World Cup. It has for years presented itself as a mediator and power broker for the region's many disputes. Warships of the US Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain, in May 2007. Photo: Reuters Kristian Ulrichsen, a Gulf expert at the US-based Baker Institute, said if Qatar's land borders and air space were closed for any length of time "it would wreak havoc on the timeline and delivery" of the World Cup. Arab Spring Qatar has used its media and political clout to support long-repressed groups during the 2011 pro-democracy "Arab Spring" uprisings in several Arab countries. Muslim Brotherhood parties allied to Doha are now mostly on the backfoot in the region, especially after a 2013 military takeover in Egypt ousted the elected president. The former army chief and now president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, along with the new government's allies in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, blacklist the Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation. Egypt, the Arab world's most populous nation, said on its state news agency that Qatar's policy "threatens Arab national security and sows the seeds of strife and division within Arab societies according to a deliberate plan aimed at the unity and interests of the Arab nation." Oil prices rose after the moves against Qatar, which is the biggest supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and a major seller of condensate - a low-density liquid fuel and refining product derived from natural gas. Iran says decision not help resolve Middle East crisis A senior Iranian official said on Monday the decision by some Gulf Arab states and Egypt to sever diplomatic ties with Qatar would not help end the crisis in the Middle East. "The era of cutting diplomatic ties and closing borders ... is not a way to resolve crisis ... As I said before, aggression and occupation will have no result but instability," Hamid Aboutalebi, deputy chief of staff of Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, tweeted on Monday.
  15. [embed_video1 url=http://stream.jeem.tv/vod/5d7a2721f23d9beeb23d64224bb39cf1.mp4/playlist.m3u8?wmsAuthSign=c2VydmVyX3RpbWU9Ni81LzIwMTcgOToyNzo1NSBBTSZoYXNoX3ZhbHVlPWt0cG1YczhMRW1JU2R3NDRER2VJUHc9PSZ2YWxpZG1pbnV0ZXM9NjAmaWQ9MQ== style=center] The Arab world's strongest powers cut ties with Qatar on Monday over alleged support for extremists and Iran, re-opening a festering wound two weeks after US President Donald Trump's demand for Muslim states to fight terrorism. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain cut relations with Qatar in a coordinated move. Yemen, Libya's eastern-based government and the Maldives joined in later. Iran?long at odds with Saudi Arabia?immediately blamed US President Donald Trump for setting the stage during his recent trip to Riyadh. Gulf Arab states and Egypt have already long resented Qatar's support for extremists, especially the Muslim Brotherhood which they regard as a dangerous political enemy. The coordinated move, with Yemen and Libya's eastern-based government joining in later, created a dramatic rift among the Arab nations, many of which are in OPEC. Announcing the closure of transport ties with Qatar, the three Gulf states gave Qatari visitors and residents two weeks to leave. Qatar was also expelled from the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen. Major airlines announce end to Qatar-bound flights Doha responds in kind by banning all flights to Saudi Arabia Oil giant Saudi Arabia accused Qatar of backing militant groups?some backed by regional arch-rival Iran?and broadcasting their ideology, an apparent reference to Qatar's influential state-owned satellite channel al Jazeera. "(Qatar) embraces multiple terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at disturbing stability in the region, including the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS (Islamic State) and al-Qaeda, and promotes the message and schemes of these groups through their media constantly," Saudi state news agency SPA said. It accused Qatar of supporting what it described as Iranian-backed militants in its restive and largely Shi'ite Muslim-populated Eastern region of Qatif and in Bahrain. Iran saw America pulling the strings. "What is happening is the preliminary result of the sword dance," Hamid Aboutalebi, deputy chief of staff of Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, tweeted in a reference to Trump's recent visit to Saudi Arabia. Trump and other US officials participated in a traditional sword dance during the trip in which he called on Muslim countries to stand united against religious extremists and singled out Iran as a key source of funding and support for militant groups. Qatar Airways retaliate, suspend flights to Saudia Arabia Qatar denounces 'unjustified' cut of Gulf ties, read a statement US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters in Sydney on Monday that the spat would not affect the fight against religious militants and that Washington has encouraged its Gulf allies to resolve their differences. A split between Doha and its closest allies can have repercussions around the Middle East, where Gulf states have used their financial and political power to influence events in Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Fallout The economic fallout loomed immediately, as Abu Dhabi's state-owned Ethihad Airways, Dubai's Emirates Airline and budget carrier Flydubai said they would suspend all flights to and from Doha from Tuesday morning until further notice. Qatar Airways said on its official website it had suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia. Qatar's stock market index sank 7.5 percent with some of the market's top blue chips hardest hit. The measures are more severe than during a previous eight-month rift in 2014, when Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE withdrew their ambassadors from Doha, again alleging Qatari support for militant groups. At that time, travel links were maintained and Qataris were not expelled. The diplomatic broadside threatens the international prestige of Qatar, which hosts a large US military base and is set to host the 2022 World Cup. It has for years presented itself as a mediator and power broker for the region's many disputes. Defeating terrorism our mutual goal, Trump says in Saudi summit The session was earlier addressed by King Salman Bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia 'Lies, fabrications': Qatar Qatar said on Monday it was facing a campaign of lies and fabrications aimed at putting the Gulf Arab state under guardianship, after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with it. "The campaign of incitement is based on lies that had reached the level of complete fabrications," the Qatari foreign ministry said. It added that, as a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council, it was committed to its charter, respected the sovereignty of other states and did not interfere in their affairs. Pakistan to stay away from conflict Pakistan has no immediate plans to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, a spokesman for the foreign ministry said on Monday. Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nafees Zakria The country "has no such plans," the spokesman, Nafees Zakaria, said, following the severing of ties with Qatar by Islamabad's key ally, Saudi Arabia, and three other Middle East nations. "At the moment there is nothing on Qatar issue, (we) will issue a statement if some development takes place," Zakaria said. Pakistan in recent years has been caught between the feud between its ally Saudi Arabia and neighbour Iran. FIFA World Cup 2022 in 'danger' The measures are more severe than during a previous eight-month rift in 2014, when Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE withdrew their ambassadors from Doha, again alleging Qatari support for militant groups. At that time, travel links were maintained and Qataris were not expelled. A split between Doha and its closest allies can have repercussions around the Middle East, where Gulf states have used their financial and political power to influence events in Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. The diplomatic broadside threatens the international prestige of Qatar, which hosts a large US military base and is set to host the 2022 World Cup. It has for years presented itself as a mediator and power broker for the region's many disputes. Warships of the US Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain, in May 2007. Photo: Reuters Kristian Ulrichsen, a Gulf expert at the US-based Baker Institute, said if Qatar's land borders and air space were closed for any length of time "it would wreak havoc on the timeline and delivery" of the World Cup. Arab Spring Qatar has used its media and political clout to support long-repressed groups during the 2011 pro-democracy "Arab Spring" uprisings in several Arab countries. Muslim Brotherhood parties allied to Doha are now mostly on the backfoot in the region, especially after a 2013 military takeover in Egypt ousted the elected president. The former army chief and now president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, along with the new government's allies in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, blacklist the Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation. Egypt, the Arab world's most populous nation, said on its state news agency that Qatar's policy "threatens Arab national security and sows the seeds of strife and division within Arab societies according to a deliberate plan aimed at the unity and interests of the Arab nation." Oil prices rose after the moves against Qatar, which is the biggest supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and a major seller of condensate - a low-density liquid fuel and refining product derived from natural gas. Iran says decision not help resolve Middle East crisis A senior Iranian official said on Monday the decision by some Gulf Arab states and Egypt to sever diplomatic ties with Qatar would not help end the crisis in the Middle East. "The era of cutting diplomatic ties and closing borders ... is not a way to resolve crisis ... As I said before, aggression and occupation will have no result but instability," Hamid Aboutalebi, deputy chief of staff of Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, tweeted on Monday.
  16. BEIJING: Russia had nothing to do with a massive global cyberattack, President Vladimir Putin said Monday, criticising the US intelligence community for creating the original software. Hundreds of thousands of computers in more than 150 countries have been hit by the ransomware attack, which has been described as the largest-ever of its kind. It began Friday and struck banks, hospitals and government agencies among a variety of other targets, exploiting known vulnerabilities in older Microsoft computer operating systems. "As for the source of these threats, Microsoft´s leadership stated this directly, they said the source of the virus was the special services of the United States," Putin said. He was referring to a weekend blog post by Microsoft president Brad Smith stating that the US National Security Agency had developed the code being used in the attack. It was leaked as part of a document dump, according to researchers. "A genie let out of a bottle of this kind, especially created by secret services, can then cause damage to its authors and creators," Putin said on the sidelines of an international summit in Beijing. "This completely doesn´t concern Russia." The US has accused Russia in the past of mounting several cyberattacks. In March the Justice Department indicted two officials of Russia´s Federal Security Service and two criminal hackers whom they allegedly hired to steal data from some 500 million Yahoo user accounts. While there was "no significant damage" to Russian institutions such as banks and hospitals, Putin said the incident was "worrisome" and warranted immediate talks "on a serious political level". "There is nothing good in this and calls for concern," he said. "A protection system from these manifestations needs to be worked out."
  17. It seems that even French President-elect Emmanuel Macron also had his fill of the media spotlight on his wife, Brigitte Trogneux – who happens to be 25 years his senior. In a press conference, Macron finally addressed the issue, saying that all the interest regarding the couple’s age difference tells about the misogyny in France. “If my wife was 20 years older than I am then nobody would have questioned the legitimacy of the relationship even for a second,” he was quoted as saying in an Independent.co report. The couple’s relationship has been a special topic of interest for media organisations and social media discussions alike. Newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron's wife, now 64, has been constantly by his side during his campaign, managing his agenda, editing his speeches and advising him on his stage presence.