Prince Charles tests positive for COVID-19

News Network
March 25, 2020

London, Mar 25: Prince Charles on Wednesday has tested positive for the novel coronavirus and is working from home with mild symptoms, according to UK media.
A Clarence House spokesperson said the Prince of Wales was "displaying mild symptoms but otherwise remains in good health and has been working from home throughout the last few days as usual", the Telegraph UK reported.
"He has been displaying mild symptoms but otherwise remains in good health and has been working from home throughout the last few days as usual," the spokesperson added.
In accordance with the government and medical advice, the 71-year old heir to the British throne and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, are now self-isolating at their home in Scotland.
The Duchess of Cornwall has also been tested but does not have the virus.
The tests were carried out by the NHS in Aberdeenshire where they met the criteria required for testing.
"It is not possible to ascertain from whom the Prince caught the virus owing to the high number of engagements he carried out in his public role during recent weeks," the statement further said.

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News Network
September 23,2020

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Taipei, Sept 23: Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Tuesday visited a military base on one of its outlying islands, Penghu, after a recent show of strength by Beijing, in which, scores of Chinese jets had crossed the midline of Taiwan strait.

During the visit, Tsai said that provocations by the People's Liberation Army are disturbing the peace of its area.

"I know that having to face the provocations of the People's Liberation Army surrounding Taiwan, and their actions in disturbing the area's peace, in the situation, everyone's duty at the frontline air defense at Penghu has become heavier," Tsai was quoted as saying by South China Morning Post.

"But I have faith in every individual, that every one of our well-trained air force brothers and sisters is able to lift this heavy responsibility," she added.

China flew as many as 37 aircraft including bomber and fighter jets over the Taiwan Strait following the visit of a US State Department official, which apparently angered Beijing.

According to the SCMP, China regards Taipei as a "breakaway province" and has said that it wouldn't mind using force to claim it. At the same time, Beijing has also accused Washington and Taipei of promoting independence.

On Monday, Taiwan had responded to China's threat to "set off the war", in a cheeky manner.

"How do you deal with a neighbour sending you death threats just for having dinner with friends visiting from afar? Asking for a friend," Taiwan Presidential Office Spokesperson tweeted.

This statement followed the threat issued by the Chinese mouthpiece Global Times after US Undersecretary for Economic Affairs Keith Krach had visited Taipei.

"Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen, who pledged deeper ties with the US at a dinner for a visiting senior State Department official, is clearly playing with fire. If any act of her provocation violates the Anti-Secession Law of China, a war will be set off and Tsai will be wiped out," wrote Global Times.

During Krach's visit, Tsai Ing-wen had pledged deeper ties with the US.

According to an official statement, Taiwan President has committed collaboration with the US to strengthen ties.

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Agencies
September 17,2020

Washington, Sept 17: The US Justice Department has charged five Chinese citizens with hacking over a 100 companies and institutions in America and abroad, including the Indian government's networks, and stealing valuable software data and business intelligence.

Deputy US Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen on Wednesday announced three indictments have been unsealed in the matter that collectively charge five Chinese nationals with computer hacking and charge two Malaysian nationals for helping some of those hackers target victims and sell the fruits of their crime.

The Malaysian nationals were arrested on Sunday and the Chinese nationals have been declared fugitive, according to a Justice Department statement.

Rosen severely criticised the Chinese government.

"The Department of Justice has used every tool available to disrupt the illegal computer intrusions and cyberattacks by these Chinese citizens. Regrettably, the Chinese Communist Party has chosen a different path - of making China safe for cyber-criminals so long as they attack computers outside China and steal intellectual property helpful to China," the deputy attorney general said.

"In about 2019, the conspirators compromised Government of lndia websites, as well as virtual private networks and database servers supporting the Government of India. The conspirators used VPS PROVIDER servers to connect to an Open VPN network owned by the Government of India," the indictment said.

In the attacks, the conspirators installed 'Cobalt Strike' malware on Indian government-protected computers, it added.

According to the charges, the computer intrusions affected over 100 companies in the United States and abroad.

The victims ranged from software development, computer hardware, telecommunication, social media and video game companies. Non-profit organisations, universities, think-tanks, foreign governments, pro-democracy politicians and activists in Hong Kong were also targeted.

Security researchers have tracked the intrusions using labels "APT41, Barium, Winnti, Wicked Panda, and Wicked Spider.

These intrusions facilitated the theft of source code, software code signing certificates, customer account data, and valuable business information, the researchers said.

These intrusions also facilitated the defendants' other criminal schemes, including ransomware and crypto-jacking schemes, the latter refers to the group's unauthorised use of victim computers to mine cryptocurrency.

The Chinese hackers also targeted government computers and networks of Vietnam and United Kingdom. The hackers, however were not successful in compromising the government computer networks in the United Kingdom.

The racketeering conspiracy pertained to the three defendants' conducting the affairs of Chengdu 404 Network Technology ( Chengdu 404 ), a Chinese Government company, through a pattern of racketeering activity involving computer intrusion offenses affecting over 100 victim companies, organisations, and individuals in the United States and around the world, including in Australia, Brazil, Chile, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam, the Justice Department said.

"Today's announcement demonstrates the ramifications faced by the hackers in China but it is also a reminder to those who continue to deploy malicious cyber tactics that we will utilise every tool we have to administer justice, said FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich.

Noting that the scope and sophistication of the crimes are unprecedented, Acting US Attorney for the District of Columbia Michael R Sherwin said some of these criminal actors believed their association with the Peoples Republic of China provided them free licence to hack and steal across the globe.

"This scheme also contained a new and troubling cyber-criminal component -- the targeting and utilisation of gaming platforms to both defraud video game companies and launder illicit proceeds," Sherwin said.

Rosen told reporters that as an additional method of making-money, several of the Chinese defendants compromised the networks of video game companies worldwide -- a billion-dollar industry -- and defrauded them of in-game resources.

Two of the Chinese defendants stand accused, with two Malaysian defendants, of selling those resources in the black market, through their illicit website, he said.

Asserting that the Chinese government has the power to help stop crimes like these, Rosen alleged that the Chinese Government has made a deliberate choice to allow its citizens to commit computer intrusions and attacks around the world because these actors will also help them.

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News Network
September 16,2020

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Paris, Sept 16: The world has lost nearly 100 million hectares of forests in two decades, marking a steady decline though at a slower pace than before, a UN agency reported Tuesday.

The proportion of forest to total land area fell from 31.9 per cent in 2000 to 31.2 per cent in 2020, now some 4.1 billion hectares, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.

It marks "a net loss of almost 100 million hectares of the world's forests," the FAO said.

Deforestation has hit particularly hard sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, where it has accelerated in the last decade, but also Latin and Central America, where it has nonetheless slowed down.

Forests are being cut down mainly to make way for crops or farm animals, especially in less developed countries.

In southeast Asia, the forest now covers 47.8 per cent of the land compared to 49 per cent in 2015. In sub-Saharan Africa, it covers 27.8 per cent compared to 28.7 per cent five years ago.

In Indonesia, it is 50.9 per cent, down from 52.5 per cent. In Malaysia, it is 58.2 per cent, down from 59.2 per cent five years ago.

A country strongly focused on agriculture like the Ivory Coast has seen forests reduced to 8.9 per cent of the total land area from 10.7 per cent in 2015. Kenya, Mali and Rwanda have largely held firm against forest loss.

In Latin and Central America, forest covers only 46.7 per cent of the total land, compared to 47.4 per cent five years ago.

In Brazil, forests declined to 59.4 per cent of the country's territory in 2020 from 60.3 per cent in 2015. In Haiti, deforestation has continued apace -- falling to 12.6 per cent of the total land area from 13.2 per cent in 2015.

In contrast, in many parts of Asia, Europe and North America forest area has increased or stayed the same in the last five years with policies to restore woodland and allow forests to expand naturally.

In China, forests make up 23.3 per cent, up from 22.3 per cent in 2015. In Japan, they account for 68.4 per cent, the same as it was five years ago.

In France, forests cover 31.5 per cent of the land in 2020, up from 30.7 per cent in 2015. In Italy, they make up 32.5 per cent of the national territory, up from 31.6 five years ago.

In Britain, they make up 13.2 per cent, up from 13 per cent five years ago.

In Canada, it is unchanged at 38.2 per cent, and in the United States, unchanged at 33.9 per cent.

In Australia, the figure rose from 17.3 to 17.4 per cent and in New Zealand from 37.4 per cent to 37.6 per cent over the five years.

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