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Posts Tagged ‘Reuters’

Cyber-war between U.S., China

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 20, 2013

Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank explains President Obama's cybersecurity policy after an executive order designed to combat cyber-terrorism was issued last week. Photo: Ann Heisenfelt, Associated Press

Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank explains President Obama’s cybersecurity policy after an executive order designed to combat cyber-terrorism was issued last week. Photo: Ann Heisenfelt, Associated Press

By James Temple

A prominent computer security firm has traced the activity of one of the world’s most sophisticated hacking groups to the gates of the Chinese military, underscoring critical weaknesses in both our cyber-defenses and trade policies.

Mandiant’s detailed 60-page analysis, first reported in the New York Times on Sunday, adds to the mounting evidence that Beijing plays a direct hand in ongoing espionage of U.S. corporations.

The Alexandria, Va., security firm explained that attacks from the group it calls APT1, or Comment Crew, originate in the same geographic location as the People’s Liberation Army Unit 61398, on the edge of Shanghai. The two groups also appear to share missions, capabilities, resources, tactics and technology infrastructure.

“It is time to acknowledge the threat is originating in China,” the company said.

China declined to do so, however, denying the allegations and labeling the report “unprofessional.”

But Mandiant’s analysis follows a string of reports linking corporate cyber-attacks to China in recent weeks, including ones aimed at the New York TimesWall Street Journal, Washington Post and others. The report is also consistent with the U.S. government’s own findings. Read the rest of this entry »

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Queen Beatrix To Abdicate Dutch Throne April 30

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 29, 2013

By MIKE CORDER  AP

Queen BeatrixTHE HAGUE, Netherlands — The Netherlands’ Queen Beatrix announced Monday that she is ending her reign after 33 years and passing the crown to her eldest son, who has long been groomed to be king but who will have to work hard to match his mother’s popularity.

The widely expected abdication comes at a time of debate over the future of the largely ceremonial Dutch monarchy, but also as calm has descended upon the Netherlands after a decade of turmoil that saw Beatrix act as the glue that held together an increasingly divided society.

“Responsibility for our country must now lie in the hands of a new generation,” Beatrix, one of Europe’s longest-serving monarchs, said in the simple, televised speech announcing her abdication.

The queen, who turns 75 in just a few days, said she will step down from the throne on April 30. That same day, her eldest son, Willem-Alexander, will be appointed king at an inauguration in Amsterdam. He will be the Netherlands’ first king since Willem III died in 1890.

Willem-Alexander is a 45-year-old father of three young daughters, an International Olympic Committee member, a pilot and a water management expert.

Over the years, he has struggled to win the affection of this nation of 16 million, but his immensely popular wife, the Argentine-born Maxima, has helped him gain more acceptance ever since she brushed away a tear during their wedding in 2002.

They are a hard-working couple: Willem-Alexander regularly gives speeches at water conferences, sharing his low-lying nation’s centuries of experience battling to stay dry, while soon-to-be Queen Maxima, a former investment banker, has carved out acareer as a microfinance expert. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Is Osama bin Laden’s Last Victory Over America

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 17, 2013

Booker T. Washington High School

zerodarkthirtyI went to see Zero Dark Thirty this weekend with great anticipation. I’ve always loved Kathryn Bigelow’s movies – I’m a fan to an almost embarrassing degree. Like most people I liked the Busey-Keanu surf-and-bromance film Point Break, but I also loved the The Weight of Water, as well as Strange Days, The Widowmaker… Bigelow’s movies are visually engrossing, innovative and smart, and I couldn’t wait to see what she did with a real-life subject matter that had the potential to be both the greatest detective story and the greatest action-movie plot of all time.

So I went to see the movie and like most people I know who watched it, I was blown away. On a pure whodunit level, the bulk of the film was an unbelievably compelling thriller, and purely on the level of action cinematography, the final scene – with all its real-world drama and consequence, plus the unique fact the movie revealed secrets about one of the shadowiest, most highly-classified operations ever – was about as pulse-pounding and exciting as movies get.

The way Bigelow shot that last sequence in Abbotabad, constantly declining to Michael-Bay-ize the action sequences with goofball explosions and kung-fu battles, and not glossing over the brutality or the mission’s mistakes (God, what a screw-up to crash that helicopter!), it was ingenious. For however long it lasted, you felt exactly how long 14 or 15 minutes can be, with so much on the line, crowds beginning to form, Pakistani jets on the way. Read the rest of this entry »

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Celebrity Bad Science: Sense About Science Campaign Lists Worst Offenders

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 30, 2012

Reuters  |  By Kate Kelland

Fox's "The X Factor" Season Finale - Night 2

LONDON (Reuters) – Pop guru Simon Cowell carries pocket-sized inhalable oxygen shots, America’s “Mad Men” actress January Jones favors dried placenta pills, and British soap star Patsy Palmer rubs coffee granules into her skin.

Celebrities rarely shy away from public peddling of dubious ideas about health and science, and 2012 was no exception.

In its annual list of the year’s worst abuses against science, the Sense About Science (SAS) campaign also named former U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney for spreading misinformation about windows on planes, and Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps for false justifications for peeing in the pool.

Natalie PortmanQueen Amidala was only the beginning. Movie star Natalie Portman started acting as a child, but kept her academic dreams alive, too, graduating from Harvard University in 2003 with a bachelor's in psychology. She was a semifinalist in the Intel Science Talent Search in 1998 and a co-author on a study published in the journal NeuroImage in 2002 under her given name, Natalie Hershlag.

Natalie Portman
Queen Amidala was only the beginning. Movie star Natalie Portman started acting as a child, but kept her academic dreams alive, too, graduating from Harvard University in 2003 with a bachelor’s in psychology. She was a semifinalist in the Intel Science Talent Search in 1998 and a co-author on a study published in the journal NeuroImage in 2002 under her given name, Natalie Hershlag.

To help set the record straight, SAS, a charity dedicated to helping people make sense of science and evidence, invited qualified scientists to respond to some of the wilder pseudo-scientific claims put about by the rich and famous. Read the rest of this entry »

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Hunger And Homelessness Rise In U.S. Cities: Report

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 21, 2012

By Susan Heavey and Lisa Lambert and Lucia Mutikani

People passing a homeless man begging for money, London.

WASHINGTON, Dec 20 (Reuters) – Across the United States, the number of hungry and homeless people is growing, and budget fights at the federal level are threatening the aid many need to survive, the U.S. Conference of Mayors said on Thursday.

Amidst the holiday season of family feasts and corporate dinners, the mayors released a report that found requests for emergency food assistance rose in 21 out of the 25 cities it surveyed in 2012 and remained at the same level in three. More than half the cities said homelessness increased.

“This report is a stark reminder of the long-lasting impact the recession has had on many of our citizens,” Greg Fischer, mayor of Louisville, Kentucky, said in a statement. “Families, who once lived in middle class homes, now find themselves without a roof over their heads, needing multiple social services for the first time in their lives.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Russia Arms Sales: Putin Touts Record $14 Billion In Weapons Exports In 2012

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 18, 2012

The Horse Whisperer In this Sept. 2010, photo released on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin pats a horse during his trip in Ubsunur Hollow in the Siberian Tyva region (also referred to as Tuva), on the border with Mongolia, Russia. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Pool)

The Horse Whisperer
In this Sept. 2010, photo released on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin pats a horse during his trip in Ubsunur Hollow in the Siberian Tyva region (also referred to as Tuva), on the border with Mongolia, Russia. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Pool)

MOSCOW, Dec 17 (Reuters) –

Russian arms exports reached a record $14 billion this year, President Vladimir Putin said on Monday, extending a run of record-breaking sales in recent years that have included deliveries to Syria despite the civil war raging there.

The world no. 2 arms exporter has cultivated new weapons clients in Southeast Asia and Africa, despite criticism that it is failing to deliver the technological benefits of Western suppliers or the low costs of emerging weapons exporter China.

“Let’s talk about our results – they are positive. We are reaching a record level of weapons exports. Their total volume was above $14 billion,” Putin said in a televised meeting with officials.

He said Russia had signed over $15 billion in new export contracts this year alone. He did not spell out when deliveries on those deals were expected.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Not so noble: EU’s Peace Prize win sparks debate over legitimacy

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 11, 2012

The European Union’s presidents have received this year’s Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the 27-member group. However, growing numbers of critics have pointed to the EU’s economic and foreign policy failures, arguing the prize is undeserved.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz have accepted the 930,000-euro ($1.2 million) award on behalf of the EU.

In his acceptance speech, Van Rompuy praised postwar leaders in France and Germany who created the EU by uniting their economic interests: “The EU’s secret weapon – an unrivalled way of binding our interests so tightly that war becomes impossible.”

The French and German representatives at the ceremony – President Francois Hollande and Chancellor Angela Merkel, respectively – greeted the award with standing ovations.

But critics argued the award was an inappropriate honor. Six EU leaders, including British Prime Minister David Cameron, did not attend the event. The initial news that the European Union won the 2012 Peace Prize sparked heated debate over whether the award was being discredited, a debate that also raged after US President Barack Obama’s win in 2009. Read the rest of this entry »

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Palestinian UN Recognition Vote Passes By Majority

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 30, 2012

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. General Assembly has voted by a more than two-thirds majority to recognize the state of Palestine.

The resolution upgrading the Palestinians’ status to a nonmember observer state at the United Nations was approved by the 193-member world body late Thursday by a vote of 138-9 with 41 abstentions.

Addressing the General Assembly Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the historic vote was the last chance to save the two-state solution. He also told the meeting that it “is being asked today to issue the birth certificate of Palestine.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged the parties to renew their commitment to negotiating peace deal.

However the US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said the UN’s vote on the Palestinians’ status places further obstacles in the path of peace.

The Palestinian bid to join the global body as a full member state failed in 2011 due to lack of support at the UN Security Council. To get the “non-member observer state” status, the Palestinians only needed a simple majority at the 193-member General Assembly, such status is already held by the Vatican. Read the rest of this entry »

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Kung-Fu Nuns Teach Cosmic Energy To CERN Scientists

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 19, 2012

My comment: There are lots of things that science can not speak where spiritual world speaks and we can encounter in the real life many strange examples that challenge to science. The problem with science is that it has difficulty to speak without scientific proof. That’s why it is said that science can reach up to fifth level and real spiritual world starts from fifth level. When a scientist crosses fifth level s/he will not be any more scientist but will be spiritual person. In that level s/he will not speak out everything but start to teach the ways to be there, because spiritual world is not to speak but to realize.

Reuters  |  By  

Nunk Fu Nuns

GENEVA (Reuters) – A dozen kung fu nuns from an Asian Buddhist order displayed their martial arts prowess to bemused scientists at CERN this week as their spiritual leader explained how their energy was like that of the cosmos.

The nuns, all from the Himalayan region, struck poses of hand-chops, high-kicks and punches on Thursday while touring the research centre where physicists at the frontiers of science are probing the origins of the universe.

“Men and women carry different energy,” said His Holiness Gyalwang Drukpa, a monk who ranks only slightly below the Dalai Lama in the global Buddhist hierarchy. “Both male and female energies are needed to better the world.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Largest Criminal Fines Against Companies in the US

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 16, 2012

AP Associated Press

BP said Thursday it has agreed to pay $4.5 billion in a settlement with the federal government over the April 2010 explosion of the drilling rig Deepwater Horizon. The agreement includes nearly $1.3 billion in criminal fines, with the rest of the money going to several government-related entities. The criminal fine is the largest in U.S. history and eclipses a 2009 fine against drug-maker Pfizer Inc.

Here’s a look at the largest criminal fines assessed against companies in the U.S., according to the Justice Department:

1. $1.256 billion in criminal fines, November 2012, against BP PLC for various charges related to the 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon and the resulting oil spill. An estimated 172 million gallons of crude spilled into the Gulf, fouling marshes and beaches, killing wildlife and closing vast areas to fishing. Eleven workers died in the blast. The spill was the nation’s worst offshore oil disaster. Read the rest of this entry »

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Xi Jinping, China Vice President, Named Communist Party Leader

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 15, 2012

By Ben Blanchard and Sui-Lee Wee

BEIJING, Nov 15 (Reuters) – China’s ruling Communist Party unveiled its new leadership line-up on Thursday to steer the world’s second-largest economy for the next five years, with Vice President Xi Jinping taking over from outgoing President Hu Jintao as party chief.

Xi was also named head of the party’s Central Military Commission, state news agency Xinhua said.

The other new members of the Politburo Standing Committee – the innermost circle of power in China’s authoritarian government – include premier-in-waiting Li Keqiang and financial guru Wang Qishan, who will be in charge of fighting corruption. Read the rest of this entry »

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Kate Middleton Topless Photos: Nude Images Of The Duchess Of Cambridge Published In French Magazine Closer

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 15, 2012

French tabloid Closer magazine published a series of photos of Kate Middleton sunbathing topless on Friday, sending shockwaves around the world and provoking a stern statement from the palace as the royal family still reels from the Prince Harry naked photo scandal.

Closer‘s grainy photos (obviously taken with a long lens) depict Kate Middletonsunbathing topless with Prince William on a balcony at a 19th century hunting lodge in southern France, in early September. “OH MY GOD!”, the cover breathlessly proclaims of the “world exclusive,” on top of a montage of uncensored pictures. Inside, there’s a five-page spread of the couple relaxing, obviously oblivious to the lurking paparazzi. In one photo, Middleton is seen removing her bikini top; in another, she’s seen rubbing suntan lotion on Will’s back. In another, William rubs suntan lotion on her almost-bare bottom. Closer also said Kate was spotted smoking a cigarette as the couple walked out of nearby Marseille airport where they arrived on a commercial flight.

In a swift move, St. James Palace fired off a statement condemning the photos:

“Their Royal Highnesses have been hugely saddened to learn that a French publication and a photographer have invaded their privacy in such a grotesque and totally unjustifiable manner. The incident is reminiscent of the worst excesses of the press and paparazzi during the life of Diana, Princess of Wales, and all the more upsetting to the duke and duchess for being so. Their Royal Highnesses had every expectation of privacy in the remote house. It is unthinkable that anyone should take such photographs, let alone publish them.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Putin Compares Russian Opposition To ‘Weak Cranes’ After Flying Stunt

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 10, 2012

Putin Weak Cranes

By Gleb Bryanski

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia, Sept 9 (Reuters) – Days after flying with migrating cranes, Russian President Vladimir Putin likened his opponents on Sunday to weak birds that are unable to follow their leader.

Putin put on a baggy white jumpsuit, helmet and goggles on Wednesday for two flights in a light aircraft with young cranes born in captivity. The aim was to help introduce them to the wild and teach them how to follow a leader.

His flight has provoked mockery by his critics, including talk show host Ksenia Sobchak, who likened his adventure to the presidential election in March at which he won nearly two-thirds – but not all – of the votes.

Asked about the comment at a news conference after a weekend summit, Putin said with an ironic smile: “Yes, its true, not all the cranes followed right away. Only the weak cranes did not follow at the first attempt. At the second attempt all of them followed.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Climate Change Poses Food Distribution Risks, Experts Worry

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 17, 2012

* Bridges, roads could be washed away, hitting harvest transport

Coffee Coffee lovers may want to get that caffeine fix before the treasured drink becomes an extinct export. Starbucks raised the issue last year when the company's director of sustainability told The Guardian climate change is shortening the supply chain of Arabica coffee bean.

Coffee
Coffee lovers may want to get that caffeine fix before the treasured drink becomes an extinct export. Starbucks raised the issue last year when the company’s director of sustainability told The Guardian climate change is shortening the supply chain of Arabica coffee bean.

* “High degree of confidence” weather extremes linked to climate change

* Enough food, but problem is distribution – professor

By Environment Correspondent Alister Doyle

OSLO, Aug 15 (Reuters) – Downpours and heatwaves caused by climate change could disrupt food supplies from the fields to the supermarkets, raising the risk of more price spikes such as this year’s leap triggered by drought in the United States.

Food security experts working on a chapter in a U.N. overview of global warming due in 2014 said governments should take more account of how extremes of heat, droughts or floods could affect food supplies from seeds to consumers’ plates.

“It has not been properly recognised yet that we are dealing with a food system here. There is a whole chain that is also going to be affected by climate change,” Professor Dr John Porter of the University of Copenhagen said.

“It is more than just the fact that there are droughts in the United States that will reduce yields,” he said. Like the other experts, he said was giving personal opinions, not those of the U.N. panel.

After harvest, floods could wash away roads or bridges, for instance, between fields and factories processing the crop. Or warehouses storing food could be damaged by more powerful storms. Such factors were likely to hit poor nations hardest.

“There are reasons to expect more frequent (price) spikes, given that it will be more common to see conditions that are considered extreme,” said David Lobell, an assistant professor at Stanford University in California. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pussy Riot Trial: Russian Prosecutor Seeks Jail Time For Protesters

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 8, 2012

Reuters

Pussy Riot

By Maria Tsvetkova

MOSCOW, Aug 7 (Reuters) – A state prosecutor on Tuesday demanded a three-year jail term for three women from the punk band Pussy Riot, saying they had abused God when they stormed the altar of a Moscow cathedral and sang a “protest prayer” against the Russian Orthodox Church’s close links to Vladimir Putin.

The case, in which the three are charged with hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, has outraged many Russian Orthodox believers.

But it has also caused an international outcry and focused attention on a crackdown on dissent since Putin returned to the presidency for a six-year term on May 7.

“The actions of the accomplices clearly show religious hatred and enmity,” federal prosecutor Alexei Nikiforov said in closing arguments, watched by the women’s lawyers, friends and family in the tiny courtroom.

“There was real mockery and humiliation directed at the people in the church,” he said.

The defendants looked pale and tired as they sat silently in a glass and metal courtroom cage, two of them scribbling notes. Their lawyer said the demand for a prison sentence was disproportionate and shameful. Read the rest of this entry »

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