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TECHNOLOGY - page 2

Russia: BuzzFeed at the center of the storm

in ASIA/EUROPE/TECHNOLOGY by

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has accused BuzzFeed of being a “tool of American intelligence services” after the news organization published an article about suspicious financial transactions involving Russian diplomats.
The media outlet reported this week that U.S. officials had flagged hundreds of suspicious Russian Embassy bank transfers over the past decade. Last November, Russia’s Foreign Ministry accused BuzzFeed of falsely claiming that Russian diplomatic transfers were part of an alleged campaign of interference in the U.S. presidential election. The ministry said that Buzzfeed had accessed and leaked the private banking information of embassy employees to the public, in a strongly worded statement published on its website Thursday. “This is no longer simply a matter of ‘fake news’, but a real crime”, it said in the statement. The ministry called on Washington to bring the alleged leakers to justice, “including those who occupy corresponding positions in the American state apparatus”.

Analysis of Lebanon’s recently discovered state-sponsored hacking

in MIDLE EAST/TECHNOLOGY by

If Edward Snowden has taught anything to the world, governments now can pry into their personal and political affairs with relative ease, and Lebanon is no exception. The report, compiled by the cyber security company Lookout Inc. and the digital rights NGO of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, suggests that the Lebanese government is, at least, complicit in a flagrant cyber espionage campaign, undertaken by a group of operators under the banner of Dark Caracal, whose operators were stationed inside the building of the General Directorate of General Security (GDGS) owned by the government. The GDGS building is home to one of the country’s intelligence agencies and according to researchers the first attacks took place in January 2012, when Dark Caracal launched a first mobile surveillance campaign. According to the report by Lookout Inc. and EFF, Dark Caracal was able to create its own network acquiring a deep knowledge of each of the victims, including members of the army, government officials, doctors, academics, civilians belonging to financial institutions, manufacturing companies and defense contractors. It is always difficult to give the government the benefit of the doubt about home surveillance, but skepticism increases further if you look at the Lebanon law on interception, data collection and the illegal obtaining of sensitive information. This indiscriminate spying on the communications of citizens, without any conviction or cause, on behalf of the GDGS is in violation of the Lebanese law, and in particular the fundamental protections guaranteed by the law n.140 of 1999. Article 1 of the law, in fact, prohibits clearly gathering information or monitoring communications of any kind, except in specific cases.

Israeli and Indian industry cooperation to fight drought

in MIDLE EAST/TECHNOLOGY by

A memorandum of understanding was signed between the Indian company Tata and the Israeli company Watergen, which specializes in the extraction of drinking water from the air, which could alleviate the problem of India’s deadly drought. The document was signed in New Delhi during the Israeli visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; the financial terms were not disclosed, but the president of Watergen, Mikhael Mirilashvili, explained his company’s plan to solve the water crisis in India by 2022 to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, stating that the two models of atmospheric water generators of Watergen are able to extract up to 6,000 liters of water from the air every day, depending on the humidity of the air. This is an agreement of fundamental importance in a country where, according to estimates reported by the Government to the Supreme Court, at least 330 million people in 2016 are affected by drought.

Taiwan denies permission for nearly 200 China flights amid routes row

in ASIA/TECHNOLOGY by

Taiwan has refused permission for nearly 200 flights by Chinese airlines over the strait that separates the two rivals due to the carriers’ use of controversial new travel routes introduced by China. China said it had introduced the new flight routes to help ease congestion in its airspace over the strait and that the routes would only be used for civilian flights and China would maintain technical communications with Taiwan. Taiwan’s military has said it will intercept, warn and repel if necessary any planes that cross into Taiwanese airspace and threaten the island’s security. Cross-strait ties have steadily deteriorated since 2016 when President Tsai Ing-wen of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party was elected. Beijing stopped communication between the two sides after she took office.

Algeria: Condor will invest $ 1 billion over five years

in AFRICA/TECHNOLOGY by

The Condor group will invest $ 1 billion over the next five years to expand its mobile phone production capacity. The chairman Abderrahmane Benhamadi said that they are going to invest $ 1 billion over five years to expand their business in mobile phones, built-in products, kitchen and furniture, refrigerators and they will invest in 7 new phone production lines. The Condor group is already exporting its products to all Maghreb countries (Tunisia, Morocco, Libya and Mauritania), but also in France, Senegal, Congo, Benin, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.

Israel: soldiers’ social media activity restricted under new IDF regulations

in MIDLE EAST/TECHNOLOGY by

A new IDF directive, currently in the final stages of approval, aims to regulate for the first time the way soldiers are allowed to use social media and the way they use group messaging formats, such as those with Whatsapp. The new directive prohibits soldiers and active duty officers from expressing public support online to political figures or parties. In addition, the army is banning soldiers from issuing statements of a political nature, or statements deemed harmful to the IDF, both online and in groups on platforms such as WhatsApp. With the entry into force of the new directive, therefore, IDF soldiers active on social media will be ordered to moderate their online activities; furthermore, any online activity that hurts human dignity and influences the public perception of the IDF is forbidden to them. Such conduct – as well as other online rules violations or the sharing of classified information – could lead to disciplinary or even criminal measures against them.

Baku-Sofia Air Service inaugurated

in EUROPE/TECHNOLOGY by

Prime Minister Borisov, together with his Azerbaijan’s counterpart Rasizade, inaugurated the first scheduled air service which links Baku and Sofia. The ceremony took place at the Heydar Aliyev International Airport. This direct air service will contribute to the development of business and tourism between the two countries.

Hawaii says lack of adequate fail-safe measures led to false missile alert

in AMERICAS/DEFENCE/TECHNOLOGY by

Human error and a lack of adequate fail-safe measures during a civil defense warning drill led to the false missile alert that stirred panic across Hawaii over the weekend, a state emergency management agency spokesman acknowledged on Sunday. Elaborating on the origins of Saturday’s false alarm, which went uncorrected for nearly 40 minutes, spokesman Richard Rapoza said the employee who mistakenly sent the missile alert “has been temporarily reassigned” to other duties.

Turk Eximbank mobilises $ 20 million to expand Tunisian-Turkish projects

in AFRICA/ECONOMY/TECHNOLOGY by

Turkish Eximbank has financed Tunisian-Turkish textile projects in Tunisia worth US $ 20 million. Speaking at the forum of textile co-operation between Tunisia and Turkey, the ambassador pointed out that the textile sector employs 165 thousand people, adding that the funds allocated by “Turk Exim Bank “will bring the number of jobs in Tunisia up to more than 20 thousand positions.He said Turkey is a strategic partner of Tunisia and will help increase its exports. “We hope that Tunisia will become an exporter of ready-to-wear clothing”.He added that textile is a key and promising sector to boost the economy, recalling its important role in increasing Turkish exports. He pointed out that the participation of 20 Turkish textile manufacturers, officials of the Turkish, Ministry of Commerce and a delegation of the Istanbul Textile and Raw Materials Exporters Association (ITHIB) reflects Turkey’s willingness to establish a platform for co-operation between the Tunisian and Turkish parties in the sector and to invest in Tunisia. For his part, vice-president of the Tunisian Federation of Textile and Clothing (FTTH), Nafaa Neifer recalled that the textile sector has faced several difficulties in recent years, despite its importance in the development of the economy and its ranking at the top of the list of exports.He stressed that Turkish companies will have to consider Tunisia as a destination for investment, job creation and exchange of experiences and not as a market only, calling for developing co-operation in the field of textile spinning and fabrics in Tunisia.He emphasised the need to attract investment, particularly in the fields of textiles, technical textiles and textile spinning, stressing the importance of developing the sector, creativity and research in order to achieve added value.

Iran prepared a strong response in case of US withdrawal from JCPOA

in MIDLE EAST/POLITICS/TECHNOLOGY by

Speaking to the Tasnim News Agency, spokesman for the Iranian Administration Mohammad Baqer Nobakht declared that the Islamic Republic is poised to give “a strong and firm response” to a possible move by the US government to leave the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), stressing that the country has made various preparations for the possible withdrawal of the US from it. The remarks came as US President Donald Trump must decide whether to waive nuclear sanctions on Iran or effectively end the United States’ participation in the nuclear agreement. In October, Trump announced he would not certify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear agreement negotiated under the previous administration because it was “in violation of the spirit” of the accord. The Trump administration asked Congress then to come up with and pass a companion agreement that addresses those issues and to modify the legislation that gives lawmakers the authority to slap sanctions on Iran if it decides Tehran is in violation of the nuclear agreement, outlining “trigger points” instead that set off automatic sanctions. Last week, Rex Tillerson, US Secretary of State, said that Trump would be inclined to authorize another sanctions waiver if real progress was being made toward the changes he demanded in October.

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