UNSC renewed Syria cross-border humanitarian aid deliveries mechanism

Agencies
January 11,2020

New York, Jan 11: The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Friday renewed a six-year-long cross-border humanitarian aid deliveries mechanism into Syria.

According to Sputnik, the Security Council voted in favour of a resolution on Friday that allows cross border deliveries to be conducted via Turkey, preserving two checkpoints and excluding the Al-Yarubiyah border crossing with Iraq and the Al-Ramtha crossing with Jordan, until July 10, 2020.

Russia proposed to amend the adopted resolution by replacing a part of the draft which stipulates that humanitarian assistance into Syria should be delivered based on the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence by the phrase that such aid should be provided "in accordance with the guiding principles of humanitarian emergency assistance, as contained in UNGA resolution 46/182."

The agreement was reached after Belgium and Germany decided to amend the original version of their joint resolution, which proposed keeping three points for cross-border deliveries into the Arab republic.

In December last year, the United Nations had said that over 235,000 people fled the Idlib region in the last two weeks after Russia and Syria launched airstrikes in a bid to take over the last major opposition bastion.

Russia backed Syria government launched a fresh assault to capture the province.

Syrian Bashar al-Assad regime, backed by Iran, has reportedly promised to take back the rebel-controlled area and broke a ceasefire that was announced in August.

They have since December 19 seized dozens of towns and villages from armed fighters amid clashes that have killed hundreds on both sides.

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Twitter apologises for mega crypto hack, says it is embarrassed and disappointed

Agencies
July 18,2020

Days after Twitter accounts of several billionaires were hacked to engineer a crypto scam, Twitter on Saturday said it is embarrassed, disappointed and, more than anything, sorry for what happened with some of its high-profile users as attackers successfully manipulated its employees and used their credentials to access internal systems, including getting through the two-factor protections.

In the first detailed summary of the "social engineering attack" via a crypto scam that hit at least 130 users this week, Twitter said for 45 of those accounts, the attackers were able to initiate a password reset, login to the account and send Tweets.

"We are continuing our forensic review of all of the accounts to confirm all actions that may have been taken. In addition, we believe they may have attempted to sell some of the usernames," the micro-blogging platform said in a statement.

For up to eight of the Twitter accounts involved, the attackers took the additional step of downloading the account's information via "Your Twitter Data" tool.

This is a tool that is meant to provide an account owner with a summary of their Twitter account details and activity.

"We are reaching out directly to any account owner where we know this to be true. None of the eight were verified accounts," said Twitter.

The company said the attackers were not able to view previous account passwords, as those are not stored in plain text or available through the tools used in the attack.

"Attackers were able to view personal information including email addresses and phone numbers, which are displayed to some users of our internal support tools," informed Twitter.

In cases where an account was taken over by the attacker, they may have been able to view additional information, Twitter added, saying its forensic investigation of these activities was still ongoing.

"We are actively working on communicating directly with the account-holders that were impacted".

The company said it will soon restore access for all account owners who may still be locked out as a result of the remediation efforts.

The New York Times reported on Friday that the Twitter crypto scam can be traced back to a group of hackers who congregate online at OGusers.com, a username-swapping community where people buy and sell coveted online handles.

The report said that the Twitter hack is not from Russian, Chinese or North Korean hackers but was done by a group of young people, "one of whom says he lives at home with his mother".

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China asks United States to close its Consulate in Chengdu

Agencies
July 24,2020

Chengdu, Jul 24: China on Friday asked the US to close down its Consulate in Chengdu in retaliation to Washington's decision to shut the Chinese Consulate in Houston.

A statement by the Chinese Foreign Ministry said China has informed the US Embassy of its decision to withdraw its consent for the establishment and operation of the US Consulate General in Chengdu.

This was in response to "unilateral" decision by the US to shut the Houston Consulate. China's decision is legitimate and necessary response to the unreasonable actions of the US, it said.

The US on Wednesday ordered the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston, a move it said was aimed "to protect American intellectual property and private information."

Reacting strongly to the US move, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin termed it as an "unprecedented escalation and warned retaliatory measures.

China on Thursday said that "malicious slander" is behind an order by the US government to close its consulate in Houston, Texas, and maintained that its officials have never operated outside ordinary diplomatic norms.

Wang said the order to close the consulate violates international law and basic norms governing international relations, and seriously undermines China-US relations.

This is breaking down the bridge of friendship between the Chinese and American people, Wang said.

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Nepal floods: Death toll reaches 1322

News Network
July 24,2020

Kathmandu, Jul 24: At least 132 people lost their lives as a result of heavy rains triggering landslides, and flash floods in Nepal.

"132 people dead, 128 injured, 53 missing and 998 families affected due to rainfall, landslides and floods in the country as of 23rd July," Nepal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority Within the last two weeks, the Myagdi district of western Nepal was the worst affected with 27 reported deaths.

Search and rescue operations are being conducted continuously with officials and police personnel who are looking through the debris to find missing people.

Monsoon-induced disasters are common in Nepal owing to the country's mountainous topography. Hundreds have been displaced as landslides have swept away their homes. They ended up taking refuge in local schools and community centers.

Nepal's Meteorological Forecasting Division earlier last week had predicted heavy downpour across the country. The Division had warned of monsoon winds being near the low-pressure line in the Terai belt, which would consequently cause more rainfall.

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