News

  • Global cyber attack could spur $53 billion in losses: Lloyd's of London

    (Reuters) - A major, global cyber attack could trigger an average of $53 billion of economic losses, a figure on par with a catastrophic natural disaster such as U.S. Superstorm Sandy in 2012, Lloyd's of London said in a report on Monday. The report, co-written with risk-modeling firm Cyence, examined potential economic losses from the hypothetical hacking of a cloud service provider and cyber attacks on computer operating systems run by businesses worldwide. Insurers are struggling to estimate their potential exposure to cyber-related losses amid mounting cyber risks and interest in cyber insurance. A lack of historical data on which insurers can base assumptions is a key challenge. "Because cyber is virtual, it is such a difficult task to understand how it will accumulate in a big event," Lloyd's of London Chief Executive Inga Beale told Reuters. Economic costs in the hypothetical cloud provider attack dwarf the $8 billion global cost of the "WannaCry" ransomware attack in May, which spread to more than 100 countries, according to Cyence. Economic costs typically include business interruptions and computer repairs. The Lloyd's report follows a U.S. government warning to industrial firms about a hacking campaign targeting the nuclear and energy sectors. In June, an attack of a virus dubbed "NotPetya" spread from infections in Ukraine to businesses around the globe. It encrypted data on infected machines, rendering them inoperable and disrupted activity at ports, law firms and factories. "NotPetya" caused $850 million in economic costs, Cyence said. Read more

    Read more
  • Parenting in the Era of Addictive Electronics

    I feel your pain. As a mom to a couple of kids in college and three tweens, I’ve found that video games, social media, and smartphones have made parenting harder than ever. With my younger three kids, I’m having to make new rules and navigate a landscape that wasn’t a threat to my older children. The evidence is mounting that screen time and electronics function like hard drugs for our kids. According to Dr. Victoria L. Dunckley, “screen time—particularly the interactive kind—acts like a stimulant, not unlike caffeine, amphetamines, or cocaine.” The dopamine released by the stimulation of electronics hits children especially virulently because their cerebral cortexes simply aren’t developed enough for them to feel satisfied with small doses or to self-regulate. “It’s not realistic to expect the brain to adapt to intense and artificial stimulation it was never meant to handle,” Dunckley adds. “It’s also not realistic to expect a child with still-developing frontal lobe to control their screen-time, whether that means managing how long they play a game, how they use or misuse social media, or how they behave afterward.” Although the data is still emerging, it’s obvious that our kids’ addiction is correlated with higher rates of obesity, less time spent reading, less self-directed imaginative play, and less face-to-face social interaction. There’s no point in dredging up the sordid details of the dangers of social media and the potential for cyberbullying; clearly, our kids face a brave new world when it comes to their daily reality. I’ve watched my fun-loving, intellectually engaged tweens become crabby zombies when I give in to their addiction. It’s painful for me to acknowledge that my older kids read more, played outside more, and weren’t myopically focused on getting their next fix. I know I’m not alone when I say that screens, phones, and electronics have made parenting a much more onerous task than it was 10 years ago. Many parents are experimenting with a variety of techniques to manage their kids’ use of electronics, such as parental controls to block inappropriate content, with varying success. But the struggle is real, and we need to help each other navigate the electronic candy store that threatens our children’s well-being. Read more

    Read more
  • UAE rejects accusations it hacked Qatari websites

    The United Arab Emirates has rejected a report indicating it hacked Qatari government news and social media websites to post incendiary false quotes attributed to Qatar's emir that generated regional turmoil. The Washington Post on Sunday released a report citing U.S. intelligence officials that said the UAE orchestrated the hacking in late May that sparked ongoing turmoil between Qatar and its regional neighbors. The Post report said U.S. intelligence agencies confirmed that senior members of the UAE government discussed the hacking plan and implementation on May 23. The anonymous U.S. officials told The Post that U.S. intelligence does not know if the UAE carried out hacks itself or contracted to have them carried out. The false reports posted on the Qatari websites said that Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani called Iran an "Islamic power" and praised Hamas, the Palestinian militant and political organization, The Post reported. Following the comments attributed to the emir, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt in early June froze diplomatic, economic and transportation ties with Qatar on accusations of supporting terrorist networks. The countries called on the nation, among other things, to downgrade its relations with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and close its al-Jazeera media outlet. Read more

    Read more
  • Mugabe donates $1m to help finance A.U. after Zimbabwe cattle sale

    Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe, on Monday handed a cheque of $1 million to the African Union (A.U.) Foundation as part of efforts aimed at lessening the body’s dependence on foreign aid. The 93-year-old formally handed over the cheque to the A.U. Commission (AUC) chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, on the floor of the AU headquarters during the 29th Heads of State summit in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. The state-owned Herald newspaper reported that the amount had been raised from the sale of cattle donated by Zimbabwean farmers following an appeal by Mugabe to help the A.U. self fund its operations. More Here...

    Read more
  • Eritrea-Djibouti tensions: A.U. peace and security chief heads to Asmara

    The African Union (A.U.) will send its peace and security commissioner to Eritrea in the wake of the country’s border tension with neighbouring Djibouti. According to the Reuters correspondent covering Ethiopia and the A.U., Moussa Faki Mahamat said Ambassador Smail Chergui will go to Asmara to meet authorities over the tensions. Djibouti on Monday through its foreign affairs minister asked the continent’s political bloc to deploy observers along its disputed border with Eritrea after Qatar withdrew its peace-keeping troops two weeks ago. “The Qatari forces left on short notice without really preparing the ground. Leaving the status quo was not in the best interest of both countries,” Djiboutian Foreign Minister Mahamoud Ali Youssouf told Reuters during a summit of African Union leaders in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. “We proposed to the African Union that it take over the disputed side and fill the gap. We need the African Union to act very quickly,” Youssouf said. Tensions between the two countries date back to 2008 when their armies clashed in fierce fighting that claimed several lives. It was recently renewed in the wake of the Gulf crisis which saw Saudi and allies blacklist Qatar – who had agreed to mediate in the tensions leading to the deployment of troops. Djibouti and Eritrea reportedly backed Saudi, Asmara has rejected that claim saying relations with Doha remained intact. The area in question is the Dumeira Island and mountains. The small island lies off the coast of both countries, specifically at the southern end of the Red Sea. It is close to a vital shipping route for global trade, the Baba-el-Mandeb strait. Read more

    Read more
  • FGM: more than 5,000 new cases recorded in England

    More than 5,000 newly recorded cases of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) were reported in England during 2016-17, according to official figures. Women and girls born in Somalia account for more than one third (35 per cent or 875 cases) of the 2,504 cases of FGM with a known country of birth. Of the newly recorded cases, 112 involved women and girls who were born in the United Kingdom, where the majority of cases are known to be piercings. There were 5,391 cases in total, according to NHS Digital, bringing the total number recorded over the last two years to more than 11,000. The 5 to 9 year old age group was the most common age range at which FGM was carried out. The average age for those reporting FGM at a hospital or GP surgery was 31 years. 95 per cent of the women and girls first recorded in the data in 2016/17 had undergone FGM before they were 18 years old. This information was recorded for three in ten women and girls. The first ever recorded figures for FGM, reported in July last year, showed that between April 2015 and March 2016 there were 5,702 new cases in England. FGM has been illegal in the United Kingdom (UK) since 1985, with the law being strengthened in 2003 to prevent girls travelling from the UK and undergoing FGM abroad. However there has yet to be a successful prosecution in the UK for FGM. In a report last September calling the failure to hold a single person to account a “national scandal”, the MPs said it was “beyond belief” that no-one had been convicted of FGM 30 years after the practice was made illegal. Read more 

    Read more
  • Saudi-led group receives Qatar response to demands

    Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies said Qatar "will receive a reply in due time" after the group of countries confirmed receiving a response to their list of demands. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt announced on June 5 they were severing ties with Qatar and later put forward a list of 13 demands. On Monday, Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani handed over a letter from Qatar's emir in response to the demands to Kuwait, which is mediating in the dispute, according to state-run Kuwait News Agency. "Minister Adel al-Jubeir received from the Kuwaiti state minister Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al Sabah the official Qatari response regarding the demands of the boycotting countries," Saudi Arabia's foreign ministry said on Twitter early on Wednesday. "Qatar will receive a reply in due time," said a statement, according to the Saudi News Agency. On Tuesday, Qatar's foreign minister said the list of conditions for restoring relations "is unrealistic and is not actionable". "It's not about terrorism, it's talking about shutting down the freedom of speech," he said at a joint press conference after talks with his German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel. The list of demands by the group included Doha ending its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, closing Al Jazeera Media Network, downgrading diplomatic ties with Iran and shutting down a Turkish military base in the country. Read more

    Read more
  • Ethiopian political campaigner Charged for Attending Terrorist Training Camp

    Ethiopian 'pro-democracy campaigner' refugee given asylum in Britain is charged with attending a terrorist training camp after he was arrested at Heathrow Ethiopian political campaigner was detained at Heathrow Airport in January Scotland Yard announced he's been charged with attending a terrorist camp The charges are not thought to relate to allegations of Islamist militancy An Ethiopian political campaigner has been charged with attending a terrorist training camp. Tadesse Kersmo, 51, came to Britain as a refugee from Ethiopia, where he said he was persecuted because of his political views. He was arrested at Heathrow Airport in January and will appear in court later today charged with attending a place used for terrorist training. Scotland Yard said last night that Kersmo also faces eight counts of possession of articles containing information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism. Although the charges are often used to deal with ISIS-linked militants, Kersmo's alleged offences are not thought to be related to Islamist activity, The Times reported today. Kersmo moved to Britain with his wife in 2009 and was granted asylum. He is understood to have since worked as a university lecturer and campaigned for Ethiopian pro-democracy opposition. He later claimed his computer had been hacked in 2014, leading to a privacy charity launching a legal case against the Ethiopian government. Kersmo will appear in custody at Westminster Magistrates' Court today. Read more: dailymail.co.uk

    Read more
  • Man Accused of Raping, Killing an Eight-Year-Old Girl in India ‘Beaten to Death by the Mob'

    A man accused of raping and killing an eight-year-old girl in a village in India has reportedly been beaten to death. The man, named locally as Mithun Hansda, died near the city of Dumka, Jharkhand, after he was tied up and beaten by a group of locals, Prabhat Khabar reports. The girl who died had been attending a wedding in nearby Jalwe village when she and a few other girls went to bathe in a nearby lake. Hansda allegedly abducted the girl, raped her and killed her before leaving her body among the trees by the river bank, India Today reported. The girl’s family began to search for her and eventually found her body. Enraged locals then tied Hansda to a tree and beat him repeatedly. Footage of the beating shows the man tied with his arms behind his back and being dragged by a woman holding a long rope, while two other women beat him with large sticks. Police later arrived and took both bodies into custody, ANI News reported, before releasing them to their respective families, following a post-mortem.
    Read More:

    Read more
  • Italian 'land artist' creates crop circle image of Putin

    A crop circle unlike any other has appeared in a field in Italy – a giant image of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s face. Don’t blame Russian-speaking aliens though, this is the work of artist Dario Gambarin. ​The 135-metre portrait is in a field near Verona and has been created ahead of the G20 summit in Hamburg, which Putin will be attending. The “land-art” was created with a tractor and Gambarin’s “innate sense of proportion”. Putin joins the likes of Pope Francis, Jesus Christ and US President Donald Trump as muses for Gambarin. The art doesn’t last long though, they are removed after a few days to allow cultivation. Read more

    Read more