Monday 25 May 2015

World Headlines - 05/24/2015

For years, hackers have been warning that passenger jets are vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Airlines and plane manufacturers have largely ignored the risks, but recent events are leading German authorities and pilots to take the threats extremely seriously.

The officials from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) were not at all happy about what they were hearing. An unshaven 32-year-old from Spain, his hair pulled back in a ponytail, was talking about cockpit computers and their weaknesses and security loopholes. Specifically, he was telling the EASA officials how he had managed to buy original parts from aviation suppliers on Ebay for just a few hundred dollars. His goal was to simulate the data exchange between current passenger-jet models and air-traffic controllers on the ground in order to search for possible backdoors. His search was successful. Very successful.

As Isis surges ahead and the Syrian regime teeters on the brink of collapse, our Middle East correspondent, winner of the 2015 Orwell prize for journalism, reports on the deadly struggle for dominance in the region

Bombshell- Head of The Russian Military Intelligence, Colonel-General Igor Sergun, accuses the US and its allies of creating the transnational “Islamist” terrorist network.

Chief of the GRU military intelligence service gave a speech on the global fight on terror and international security in Moscow recently. The Colonel-General who is in charge of Intelligence for the Russian armed forces and matters relating to espionage, gave a rare public speech outlining his view. He outlined the risks of the islamist terrorist threat, calling it a Western creation which has global objectives.

Sophie Shevardnadze

Media watchdog has threatened RT with statutory sanctions after repeated breaches of broadcasting regulations on impartiality

Thousands of Rohingya Muslims are stuck in conditions like these on boats in South-East Asia waters

Navy ships from two countries scoured South-East Asian waters Friday for boats believed to be carrying thousands of migrants with little food or water, and a top U.S. diplomat said Myanmar needs to shoulder some responsibility for the crisis. That's something it has been reluctant to do.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Rohingya Muslims fleeing the predominantly Buddhist nation are risking perilous journeys and putting their lives in the hands of human traffickers because "they are in despair and don't see a future" at home.

They have been denied citizenship and chased off their own land. They have little access to education or adequate medical care and cannot move around freely.

A high-ranking commander of the foreign forces in Afghanistan says the Takfiri ISIL terror group is actively recruiting militants in the war-torn country amid its ongoing terrorist operations in Iraq and neighboring Syria.

General John F. Campbell, the commander of the NATO Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, told reporters in the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Saturday that ISIL is making use of a sophisticated social media campaign in order to woo local Taliban militants.

At least a dozen people have been arrested in the US city of Cleveland during protests after an officer was cleared of all charges relating to the killing of an unarmed black couple.

Amid all the atrocities carried out by Isis — its massacres of civilians, its beheading of hostages, its pillaging of antiquities — the systematic violence the jihadists have carried out against countless enslaved women and girls never fails to shock. For months now, we've heard appalling testimony from women who escaped Isis's clutches, many of whom endured rape and other hideous acts of violence.

Zainab Bangura, the U.N.'s special representative on sexual violence in conflict, recently conducted a tour of refugee camps in the shadow of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, war-ravaged countries where the Islamic State commands swaths of territory. She heard a host of horror stories from victims and their families and recounted them in an interview earlier this week with the Middle East Eye, an independent regional news site.

"They are institutionalizing sexual violence," Bangura said of the Islamic State. "The brutalization of women and girls is central to their ideology."

Historical city of Palmyra, Syria (Reuters / Nour Fourat)

Islamic State militants have killed at least 400 people in Syria's ancient city of Palmyra, mostly women and children, Syrian state television said Sunday, citing residents.

According to Reuters, opposition activists on social media claimed that hundreds of bodies were in the streets of the city.

"The terrorists have killed more than 400 people.. and mutilated their bodies, under the pretext that they cooperated with the government and did not follow orders," a Palmyra resident told Syria's state news agency.

State employees were among hundreds killed in the massacre. Among them was the head of nursing department at the hospital and all her family.

Security officers stand outside the U.S. Embassy in Berlin (Reuters / Thomas Peter)

The US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has ordered a review of cooperation between the National Security Agency (NSA) and the German intelligence agency BND, Bild newspaper reports.

Citing an unnamed source in US intelligence, Bild says Clapper is unhappy with Berlin's “inability to contain secret data”. According to the report, the Bundestag committee on investigating the recent secret service scandals handed some secret documents to the media.

For the US it is “more dangerous than what Snowden did,” Bild quoted the source as saying, referring to former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s revelations of worldwide surveillance.

Unused missiles reportedly have fallen in the hands of Houthi rebels in Yemen after a Saudi jet fighter was downed on the outskirts of the capital, Sanaa.

Saudi Arabia's oil minister has said the country will switch its energy focus to solar power as the nation envisages an end to fossil fuels, possibly around 2040-2050, Reuters reports.

"In Saudi Arabia, we recognise that eventually, one of these days, we are not going to need fossil fuels, I don't know when, in 2040, 2050... so we have embarked on a program to develop solar energy," Ali Al-Naimi told a business and climate conference in Paris, the news service reports.

"Hopefully, one of these days, instead of exporting fossil fuels, we will be exporting gigawatts, electric ones. Does that sound good?"

According to exit polls revealed on Sunday, opposition candidate Andrzej Duda won Poland's run-off presidential election.

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