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  • UN says Libyan rivals have restarted military talks in Egypt

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    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 13:23:27 -0400
  • US to ship millions of tests in push to reopen K-12 schools news

    President Donald Trump planned to announce Monday that the federal government will begin distributing millions of rapid coronavirus tests to states this week and urging governors to use them to reopen schools for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. It also comes just five weeks before the November election, with Trump facing continued criticism for his handling of the crisis. The tests will go out to states based on their population and can be used as governors see fit, but the administration encourages states to place a priority on schools.

    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 13:05:09 -0400
  • Nigeria's Boko Haram crisis: 'Bomb on donkey' used to ambush Borno governor news

    Militants from an Islamic State-linked group strapped the animal with explosives in Borno state.

    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 12:11:28 -0400
  • Iraqi military: 5 dead, 2 wounded in Baghdad rocket attack

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    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 11:26:48 -0400
  • EU concerned over resignation of Lebanon's PM-designate news

    The European Union expressed “disappointment and concern” Monday about the resignation of Lebanon’s prime minister-designate over the weekend and urged the country’s leaders to do their best to form a Cabinet that meets the demands of the people. Mustapha Adib’s resignation during a political impasse came amid Lebanon's worst economic and financial crisis in decades — made worse by a massive explosion in Beirut in early August that killed and wounded many and caused widespread damage. Adib, who handed in his resignation Saturday, nearly a month after winning majority support from the Parliament, left Beirut early Monday to return to his post as Lebanon’s ambassador to Germany.

    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 11:13:25 -0400
  • What Trump's golf courses could reveal news

    The New York Times' report on President Trump's tax info shed a significant amount of new light on his businesses and personal wealth, but there are still several questions left unanswered. Journalist Adam Davidson, who has reported on Trump's business dealings for The New Yorker, suggests people look to Trump's golf courses to find out more.One of Davidson's big takeaways from the Times report is that Trump had a "new source of funds" beginning around 2011 after he had finished "blowing through" most of the money he received from his father, television producer Mark Burnett, and through loans. It's not clear who this alleged new source of money may be, but Davidson believes golf courses could be the key. In 2011, Davidson writes, Trump went into business with families from Azerbaijan, and was also "flirting" with Georgian and Kazakh businesses that have ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Between 2011 and 2016, all of those groups were known to be laundering money through golf courses.Trump, of course, has his own courses across the U.S., as well as in other countries, and those properties have cost him a lot of money. Davidson singled out his Scottish golf resorts, which have prompted investigation requests in the past, because that is where he, perhaps confoundingly, spent the post-2011 money.> \- Golf courses are one of the best ways to launder large amounts of money. > > So, next step: look to Scotland. That is where he spent this money, where the businesses make the least sense. > > The math seems clear: *somebody* was giving him 100s of millions to spend. > > 4/> > — Adam Davidson (@adamdavidson) September 28, 2020But speculation is just that, and Davidson argues that little more can be known about who Trump "owes and what they know about him" until the alleged funding source is uncovered.More stories from Trump literally can't afford to lose the election Most of Trump's charitable tax write-offs are reportedly for not developing property he owns 5 outrageously funny cartoons about Trump's election scheming

    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 11:09:00 -0400
  • At UN, nations urge overdue reckoning with colonial crimes news

    Leaders of countries once subjugated to Western powers sent a pointed message at this year’s U.N. General Assembly: For those who think the word “colonialism” evokes a long-ago, no-longer-relevant era, think again. Several leaders raised this year’s global protests inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States and renewed demands for reparations for the slave trade, calling them just one step in a still-unfinished reckoning with crimes of former empires. “The global movement for racial justice and equality is not a passing phenomenon,” said Paul Kagame of Rwanda, once colonized by Germany and Belgium.

    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 10:54:42 -0400
  • US warns Iraq of Baghdad embassy closure if attacks continue news

    The Trump administration has warned Iraq that it will close its embassy in Baghdad if the government does not take swift and decisive action to end persistent rocket and other attacks by Iranian-backed militias and rogue armed elements on American and allied interests in the country, U.S., Iraqi and other officials said Monday. As news of the warning sent shockwaves across Baghdad, Iraq's military said a Katyusha rocket hit near Baghdad airport, killing five Iraqi civilians and severely wounding two others. A U.S. official said the administration’s warning was given to both Iraq’s president and prime minister but that it was not an imminent ultimatum.

    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 10:46:07 -0400
  • Britain is part of "arc of instability" around the EU, chairman says

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    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 10:22:49 -0400
  • As suicides rise, Army brass reassessing outreach news

    If there were any signs that Staff Sgt. Jason Lowe was struggling, the soldiers he served alongside didn’t see them. The 27-year-old paratrooper was a top performer. “On the way there I think it set in that maybe there’s something a lot worse going on,” Graves said.

    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 10:04:46 -0400
  • Mourning daughter, a Guatemalan couple find healing in dance news

    Jenifer Vásquez was 32 when she died of renal insufficiency in June, leaving behind grief-stricken parents already struggling with the isolation of the coronavirus lockdown in Guatemala. Then Fabio Rodolfo Vásquez heard about a dance contest organized on social media, “Covi Dance 2020.” For a week he and María Moreno, his wife, mulled it over.

    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 10:00:48 -0400
  • Erdogan Puts Himself in a Bind in Azerbaijan-Armenia Conflict

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    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 09:56:06 -0400
  • US threatens to close Baghdad embassy unless Iraq halts militia attacks news

    Five Iraqi civilians were killed on Monday by rocket fire targeting Baghdad airport, where US troops are stationed, Iraqi officials said, days after the United States warned it would withdraw its diplomats Iraqi unless authorities rein in militia attacks. Three children and two women from the same family died and two other children were wounded when a Katyusha rocket fell on their home, the army said. The incident was the deadliest yet in a series of attacks targeting American interests in the country. On Saturday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi in a phone call that the US would close its Baghdad embassy unless Iraq stopped Iran-backed militias from striking American installations, according to Iraqi officials. A "strong and violent" response would follow against the groups responsible for the attacks, the Iraqi officials reported Mr Pompeo as saying . Attacks on US targets in Iraq have increased since the United States killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in an audacious drone strike in Baghdad in January. The capital’s heavily fortified Green Zone has been targeted in at least 19 rocket and mortar attacks this month, while convoys serving the US-led international coalition against Islamic State have been attacked two dozen times, most recently on Sunday when an improvised explosive device hit vehicles transporting military equipment in southern Iraq. A roadside bomb targeted a British convoy in Baghdad this month, the first such attack against western diplomats in years, while a British soldier was killed alongside two Americans at camp Taiji north of Baghdad in March. Since taking office in May, Mr Kadhimi has vowed to rein in rogue militias. He assumed the premiership with US support but his western ally is dissatisfied with his cautious approach to militias, many of which are backed by Iran. As Mr Khadimi visited Washington last month, unknown gunmen carried out a string of attacks on Iraqi activists linked to the US consulate in Basra, which was widely interpreted as an attempt by militiamen to discredit the premier. The administration of US President Donald Trump has adopted a “maximum pressure” strategy towards Iran and with up to 5,000 US soldiers remaining in Iraq, there are fears withdrawing diplomats could prefigure US military strikes on Iranian interests. The Baghdad embassy is one of the largest American diplomatic missions worldwide and closing it would take months. The process could be halted if the US is satisfied with Iraq’s response. “For now, gauging credibility of US threat to close embassy can’t be distinguished from a real threat or a bluff,” wrote Ramzy Mardini, a researcher on Iraq at the University of Chicago.

    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 09:47:12 -0400
  • Germany 'could face 19,200 infections a day', warns Merkel news

    Angela Merkel is reportedly worried Germany is not doing enough to contain the coronavirus and infections could spiral out of control. “If we don’t get on top of this, we could see 19,200 infections a day by Christmas”, she warned party allies privately on Monday, according to reports in German media. She expressed particular concern over rapidly rising infections in the German capital, saying: “Something has to be done about Berlin”. Mrs Merkel has yet to speak publicly of her concerns, which emerged in details of a private conference call leaked to the German press. But the leaked comments suggested she is set to press for new restrictions on daily life in Germany in coronavirus talks with regional leaders on Tuesday “We have to intervene swiftly and contain the infection process,” she reportedly said in the conference call with senior figures from her Christian Democrat party (CDU). “We have to establish priorities: keep the economy running, and keep schools and nurseries open. “Football is of only secondary concern,” she added, in reference to recent public debate over whether to readmit live crowds to Bundesliga matches.

    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 09:43:51 -0400
  • Belarus detains 500 at weekend anti-government protests news

    Authorities in Belarus have detained about 500 people during weekend protests against the country's authoritarian president, who has claimed a sixth term in office in an election widely seen as rigged. Belarus' Interior Ministry said Monday that 150 protesters were detained on Saturday and over 350 more on Sunday, when anti-government protests spanned 22 cities. Daily rallies have rocked Belarus for over seven weeks now, with the largest ones drawing up to 200,000 people, in the biggest challenge yet to President Alexander Lukashenko's long hard-line reign.

    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 08:46:43 -0400
  • Election 2020 Today: Tax bombshell, presidential debate prep news

    TAX BOMBSHELL: President Donald Trump's tax revelations threaten to undercut a pillar of his appeal among blue-collar voters while providing a new opening for his Democratic rival just two days before the first presidential debate. Trump has worked for decades to build an image of himself as a hugely successful businessman — even choosing “mogul” as his Secret Service code name. DEBATE PREP: Ahead of the first debate between President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden, each campaign is promising a stark contrast in policy, personality and preparation.

    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 08:30:48 -0400
  • Belarus' embattled leader secretly inaugurated himself, sparking new protests and global backlash news

    As if a fraudulent election and months of mass protest weren’t enough drama for Belarus, its embattled authoritarian leader went ahead and inaugurated himself as president in a secretive Sept. 23 ceremony, held without prior announcement or live television broadcast. This begins Alexander Lukashenko’s sixth term as president, at least according to Lukashenko and government-controlled Belarusian media. But the Belarusian people and at least 15 countries – including the United States, Canada and Germany – say the country’s Aug. 9 presidential election was rigged and refuse to recognize Lukashenko as its rightful leader. The election delivered him 80% of the vote, an impossibly favorable result given the clear popular discontent with his regime. While intended to assure Lukashenko’s future, the secret inauguration appears to be backfiring. Crumbling legitimacyLukashenko did not invite foreign diplomats or dignitaries to his self-declared inauguration ceremony. Only a few hundred hand-picked regime insiders attended. Not even Russia, Lukashenko’s main booster after the disputed presidential vote, was aware of the planned inauguration ceremony. Moscow, like the Belarusian people, learned Lukashenko had assumed the presidency only after the fact. In Belarus, news of the self-inauguration triggered widespread new demonstrations in the street. Online, people staged satirical inauguration “flash mobs,” dressing up and inaugurating themselves with fictional titles. Another mass protest, dubbed the “people’s inauguration of the real president,” was held Sept. 27 to declare Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya – Lukashenko’s main election rival – as the country’s legitimate leader. Lukashenko’s stunt has left him isolated, both locally and internationally. In coordination with neighboring Estonia and Lithuania, Latvia announced on Sept. 25 it had imposed an indefinite entry ban on 101 Belarusian officials. The European Union is considering sanctions against about 40 high-level Belarusian officials, including the country’s interior minister. The U.S., Canada and the U.K. all say they could impose sanctions within days.Shortly after the disputed election, Russia gave Belarus a US$1.5 billion emergency loan. That was a lifeline to Lukashenko’s regime, though not enough to save a taking economy. Once a tech-startup magnet, Minsk is now seeing companies flee. What’s nextAs an Eastern Europe researcher who was born and raised in Belarus, I can attest this is not the first time Lukashenko has been at odds with the world.The past four presidential elections in Belarus – all of which Lukashenko won with upwards of 80% of the vote – were not recognized as free and fair. The Belarusian government was sanctioned for falsifying results in 2006 and 2010.But this time feels different. In an unprecedented political crisis, all Europe is uniting around serious sanctions intended to pressure top regime officials into reconsidering their support of Lukashenko. Sanctions also effectively give Belarus’ pro-democracy protesters an international stamp of approval.Since 1994, populist Lukashenko has rested his legitimacy on his mission to provide stability and protect the common people. Now, amid months of protests, he’s forced to rely on coercion and violence to stay in power. But research shows that repression alone is too costly a means of sustaining authoritarian rule. Even dictatorial regimes need a certain level of legitimacy to survive.The fact that Lukashenko felt compelled to hold a tiny, secret inauguration ceremony suggests that even he knows he’s in trouble. At this point, Lukashenko’s fate probably depends on Vladimir Putin, who has taken a wait-and-see attitude about his fellow post-Soviet strongman. [Get our best science, health and technology stories. Sign up for The Conversation’s science newsletter.]After Lukashenko’s secret inauguration, Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, refused to comment on what he called an “internal decision of the Belarusian leadership.” If Putin continues to support the Belarusian ruler it would probably assure Lukashenko stays in power. But there’s a cost for Russia to intervening in Belarusian affairs, particularly if that means assisting in Lukashenko’s violent crackdown on protesters. Doing so would pit Putin against Europe, and could push Belarusians who seek a greater political voice away from Russia and toward the West.This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts.Read more: * Belarus: Vladimir Putin has Alexander Lukashenko just where he wants him * Young Belarusians are turning away from Russia and looking towards EuropeTatsiana Kulakevich does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 08:24:09 -0400
  • Fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan risks turning into a wider regional war news

    The fighting around Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountainous region wedged between Azerbaijan and Armenia, is a hangover from the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. However, if the conflict has its roots in the Cold War 30 years ago, it could still turn hot quickly and drag in neighbours Russia and Turkey, and possibly even Iran, disrupt energy supplies to Europe and unsettle global markets just as governments grapple with rising cases of the coronavirus. Fighting between Armenia-backed forces and Azerbaijan had raged across Nagorno-Karabakh for six years killing an estimated 20,000 people when a UN-negotiated ceasefire in 1994 imposed a shaky peace. Almost every week over the past decade, reports from the heavily militarised region have described sporadic exchanges of gunfire, often with casualties. The fighting this weekend, though, was different. It has been intense, with tank battles and civilians killed. The spin that both sides deploy on reporting casualties makes facts hard to confirm but it does seem likely that at least 25 people have been killed. This means the fighting is the most serious since April 2016 when approximately 200 people were killed. Then, as now, economies in the South Caucasus were in recession. In 2016 it was an oil-price collapse that dragged down economies and caused currency collapses. Now, it is the coronavirus pandemic. Nationalistic wars are a good distraction from economic recessions. It's a tinderbox scenario and one that Western policymakers dread because the conflict in this former Soviet backwater will unnerve energy markets. The South Caucasus, which also includes Georgia, has been promoted as a major transit route for oil and gas from Central Asia and the Caspian Sea. European governments view it as a lynchpin for shifting their energy supply routes from Russia. BP and other companies have spent billions building pipelines from the Caspian Sea across Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey to Europe. However, war now threatens regional stability.

    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 08:16:44 -0400
  • Iran unveils enhanced ballistic missile as tensions rise with US news

    Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has unveiled a new ballistic missile with a range of up to 430 miles, in the latest escalation of tensions between Tehran and Washington. The Zolfaghar Basir missile is an enhanced, naval variant of the surface-to-air Zolfaghar missile, according to Iranian officials, and can travel twice as far as other rockets in Iran’s arsenal. Tasnim, an Iranian news agency, published an image of the new missile resting on a launching truck during the inauguration of Tehran's National Aerospace Park on Sunday. "This exhibition shows the comprehensive plan of the deterrent power of the [Islamic Republic's] system," Revolutionary Guard commander Major General Hossein Salami said at the ceremony. Earlier models of the Zolfaghar missile were fired on US targets in Iraq in January in retaliation for the assassination of Qassim Soleimani, the revered Iranian general who led Iran’s elite Quds Force.

    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 08:05:50 -0400
  • Ransomware Attacks Take On New Urgency Ahead of Vote news

    A Texas company that sells software that cities and states use to display results on election night was hit by ransomware last week, the latest of nearly 1,000 such attacks over the past year against small towns, big cities and the contractors who run their voting systems.Many of the attacks are conducted by Russian criminal groups, some with shady ties to President Vladimir Putin's intelligence services. But the attack on Tyler Technologies, which continued Friday with efforts by outsiders to log into its clients' systems around the country, was particularly rattling less than 40 days before the election.While Tyler does not actually tally votes, it is used by election officials to aggregate and report them in at least 20 places around the country -- making it exactly the kind of soft target that the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and U.S. Cyber Command worry could be struck by anyone trying to sow chaos and uncertainty on election night.Tyler would not describe the attack in detail. It initially appeared to be an ordinary ransomware attack in which data is made inaccessible unless the victim pays the ransom, usually in harder-to-trace cryptocurrencies. But then some of Tyler's clients -- the company would not say which ones -- saw outsiders trying to gain access to their systems Friday, raising fears that the attackers might be out for something more than just a quick profit.That has been the fear haunting federal officials for a year now: that in the days leading up to the election, or in its aftermath, ransomware groups will try to freeze voter registration data, election poll books or the computer systems of the secretaries of the state who certify election results.With only 37 days before the election, federal investigators still do not have a clear picture of whether the ransomware attacks clobbering U.S. networks are purely criminal acts seeking a quick payday or Trojan horses for more nefarious Russian interference. But they have not had much success in stopping them. In just the first two weeks of September, another seven U.S. government entities have been hit with ransomware and their data stolen."The chance of a local government not being hit while attempting to manage the upcoming and already ridiculously messy election would seem to be very slim," said Brett Callow, a threat analyst at Emsisoft, a security firm.The proliferation of ransomware attacks that result in data theft is an evolution in Russian tactics beyond the kind of "hack and leak" events engineered against the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign chair, John Podesta, in 2016. By design, whether the attacks are criminal or state-sponsored is not clear, and the attacker does not always have to be successful everywhere. Just a few well-placed ransomware attacks in key battleground states could create the impression that voters everywhere would not be able to cast their ballots or that the ballots could not be accurately counted -- what the cybersecurity world calls a "perception hack.""We have been hardening these systems since last summer," Christopher Krebs, who runs the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency for the Department of Homeland Security, said this month. He noted that the agency was trying to make sure local election officials printed out their electronic poll books, which are used to check in voters, so that they had a backup.The United States has made "tremendous progress" in the effort, Krebs added, by "getting on this problem early."Still, some officials worry that President Donald Trump's repeated assertion about the election that "we're not going to lose this except if they cheat" may be the 2020 equivalent of "Russia, if you're listening" -- seen as a signal to hackers to create just enough incidents to bolster his unfounded claims of widespread fraud.So far Trump has focused on mail-in ballots and new balloting systems, but on election night there would be no faster way to create turmoil than altering the reporting of the vote -- even if the vote itself was free of fraud.That would be a classic perception hack: If Trump was erroneously declared a winner, for example, and then the vote totals appeared to change, it would be easy to claim someone was fiddling with the numbers.The Russians tried this and almost got away with it in Ukraine's presidential election six years ago. That is one reason the FBI warned last week that the days after the election could result in "disinformation that includes reports of voter suppression, cyberattacks targeting election infrastructure, voter or ballot fraud, and other problems intended to convince the public of the elections' illegitimacy."The FBI warning made no mention of Trump's own declarations that if Biden wins, the election must be illegitimate, or his baseless attacks on the use of mail-in ballots. But Saturday, at a rally in Pennsylvania, the president openly speculated how an uncertain outcome could throw the election into the courts or Congress, both places where he believes he has an advantage.That is why the surge in ransomware has become such a rising concern. Should an attack be well-timed enough to make it difficult to count votes or certify tallies, it would add to the uncertainty -- just what the Russians, and perhaps Trump himself, are seeking.Part of the problem is that the full scale of ransomware attacks is not always disclosed.It was three years after the 2016 election that the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and even Florida state officials learned that Palm Beach County -- which played a critical role in deciding the 2000 election -- had its election offices seized by ransomware just weeks before the election.Over the past 18 months, cybercriminals -- primarily based in Russia and Eastern Europe -- have hit the U.S. public sector with more ransomware attacks than in any other period on record, according to Emsisoft, which tracks the incursions. A record 966 ransomware attacks hit the U.S. public sector last year -- two-thirds of them targeting state or local governments.Among them: a Texas county that voted for Clinton in 2016 as well as counties that helped determine the 2016 election in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida and Georgia and other cities and counties that will most likely play a critical role in deciding close Senate races in South Carolina, Kentucky, Colorado and Maine in November.The FBI concluded that ransomware "will likely threaten the availability of data on interconnected election servers" in November, according to a bureau analysis leaked this summer. The agency cited two recent examples: a ransomware attack in Oregon that locked up county computers and crippled backup data and another in Louisiana in which cybercriminals hacked the secretary of state's offices, then waited three months to detonate their ransomware the week of Louisiana's statewide elections for governor and legislative seats last November.The Louisiana election proceeded unscathed because officials had the foresight to separate voter rolls from internal networks. Still, some analysts feared the attack was a dry run for Nov. 3.Sometimes victims pay -- as a small town in Florida did. Sometimes they refuse, as Atlanta did -- though it ended up spending more than the ransom demand reconstructing its systems.The latest victim, Tyler Technologies, has been vague about the details of its attack. Citing a continuing investigation, the company declined to elaborate on the ransom demands, say whether it paid or offer any details about the attackers. And while the company claimed that none of its products "support voting or election systems," its Socrata dashboard software is used by some election officials to aggregate and share election results.That display software is precisely the kind of soft target that intelligence agencies warned could be subject to foreign manipulation on Election Day. In the Ukraine case in 2014, Russian hackers got into the software that reported the country's election results to the media, altering it to falsely claim victory for a far-right candidate. Ukrainians caught the hack just in time and reported the correct results on television that night. Tellingly, Russian state media still reported that the far-right candidate had won the presidency.It was a classic perception hack because even if the actual ballots are untouched, an attack that delayed the vote or cast doubt on the ultimate results could create enough uncertainty in voters' minds that somehow the election was illegitimate.The Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee report into the 2016 election even warned against the kind of proclamations Trump is making about "rigged" elections from the White House press room and at rallies."Sitting officials and candidates should use the absolute greatest amount of restraint and caution if they are considering publicly calling the validity of an upcoming election into question," the report said, noting that doing so would only be "exacerbating the already damaging messaging efforts of foreign intelligence services."Christopher Wray, the FBI director, countered the president's claims Thursday, telling lawmakers that his agency had "not seen, historically, any kind of coordinated national voter fraud effort in a major election, whether it's by mail or otherwise." He was immediately attacked by the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows. "With all due respect to Director Wray, he has a hard time finding emails in his own FBI," Meadows said on Fox News.Still, U.S. officials are walking a thin line. They are trying not to ramp up too many fears about ransomware for fear of amplifying the uncertainty.But at the same time, security researchers have noted with growing alarm that the ransomware attacks hitting U.S. systems are evolving in disturbing ways. Attackers are not just locking up data; they are stealing it, dumping it online in some cases, and selling access to victims' data on the dark web and privately to nation-state groups. Researchers at Intel471, a threat intelligence firm, recently discovered that Russian cybercriminals had been selling access to victims' data to North Korean hackers, and Russian cybercriminals have a long track record of working hand in hand with the Kremlin.When the Treasury Department imposed sanctions on members of an elite Russian cybercrime group last December, they outed the group's leader as a member of Russia's Federal Security Service, or FSB, a successor to the KGB.Three years ago, the Justice Department accused two FSB agents of working closely with two cybercriminals to hack 500 million Yahoo accounts. Russian agents allowed cybercriminals to profit from the attack while mining their access to spy on journalists, dissidents and U.S. officials."There is a pax mafiosa between the Russian regime and its cybercartels," said Tom Kellermann, head of cybersecurity strategy at VMWare, who sits on the Secret Service's cyberinvestigations advisory board. "Russia's cybercriminals are treated as a national asset who provide the regime free access to victims of ransomware and financial crime. And in exchange, they get untouchable status. It's a protection racket. And it works both ways."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company

    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 07:55:00 -0400
  • 10 things you need to know today: September 28, 2020

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    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 06:54:00 -0400
  • Pakistan arrests opposition leader ahead of planned protests

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    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 06:43:31 -0400
  • Global Law Enforcement Software Market (2020 to 2025) - Growth, Trends, and Forecasts

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    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 06:24:00 -0400
  • Britain, EU start key week of Brexit talks with 'better mood music'

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    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 06:19:18 -0400
  • St Kitts and Nevis Accedes to UN Convention against Torture news

    The Federation of St Kitts and Nevis acceded to the United Nations' Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The small Caribbean nation deposited its accession on September 21, 2020, in New York. St Kitts and Nevis joins another 170 countries in their fight against torture through national capacity building, inter-state dialogue and cooperation.

    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 06:13:00 -0400
  • AP PHOTOS: Migrants face more misery in Bosnian crackdown news

    VELIKA KLADUSA, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Remote woods, abandoned run-down buildings and roadsides in northwestern Bosnia are steadily filling with makeshift camps where migrants and refugees from the Mideast, Asia and North Africa are bracing for more misery as autumn’s chill and rains set in. A sense of desperation hangs over the hundreds of men and boys who have been forced to build tents from sticks and black plastic tarps in the forests after local authorities in Bosnia's Krajina region decided last month to start pushing them away from town centers, even kicking them out of U.N-run reception centers there. Krajina shares a highly porous 1,000 kilometer (620 mile) border with European Union member Croatia, making it a major draw for migrants crossing Bosnia.

    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 05:59:05 -0400
  • 2020 Watch: How much do debates matter this year? news

    The race is tightening somewhat in some states, but Joe Biden is maintaining a remarkably stable lead over President Donald Trump in most national polls five weeks before Election Day as early voting intensifies. First, Trump and his allies are poised to dominate the national conversation as they escalate their push to confirm Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, whom the president formally introduced to America on Saturday. Trump's team is betting that the evolving confirmation fight will help unify Republicans behind his candidacy and shift the national conversation away from his struggle to control the pandemic.

    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 05:50:17 -0400
  • Trump's Taxes Show He's a National Security Threat news

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- In a tour de force of hard won reporting, the New York Times has put numerical clothing on what we’ve known about President Donald Trump for decades — that, at best, he’s a haphazard businessman, human billboard and serial bankruptcy artist who gorges on debt he may have a hard time repaying.The Times, in a news story published Sunday evening that disclosed years of the president’s tax returns, also put a lot of clothing on things we didn’t know. Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes in 2016, the year he was elected president, and the same amount the following year, when he entered the White House. In many years recently he hasn’t paid anything at all. He has played so fast and loose with the taxman that he’s entangled in an audit. He paid his daughter Ivanka lush consulting fees that he deducted as a business expense even though she helped him manage the Trump Organization. And he’s taken questionable tax write-offs on everything from getting his hair coifed to managing his personal residences.Step away from the tragicomic tawdriness and grift that the tax returns define, however, and focus on what they reveal about Trump as the most powerful man in the world and occupant of the Oval Office.Due to his indebtedness, his reliance on income from overseas and his refusal to authentically distance himself from his hodgepodge of business, Trump represents a profound national security threat – a threat that will only escalate if he’s re-elected. The tax returns also show the extent to which Trump has repeatedly betrayed the interests of many of the average Americans who elected him and remain his most loyal supporters.I have some history with Trump and his taxes. Trump sued me for libel in 2006 for a biography I wrote, “TrumpNation,” claiming the book misrepresented his track record as a businessman and lowballed the size of his fortune. He lost the suit in 2011. During the litigation, Trump resisted releasing his tax returns and other financial records. My lawyers got the returns, and while I can’t disclose specifics of what I saw, I imagine that Trump has always refused to release them because they would reveal how robust his businesses and finances actually are and shine a light on some of his foreign sources of income. The Times has now solved that problem for us.According to the Times, Trump has about $421 million in debts which he has personally guaranteed and which are coming due over the next several years. This is consistent with earlier reporting about how much debt he carries, a chunk of which could be gleaned from the personal financial disclosures he is required to file with the federal government. But Trump’s overall indebtedness is greater than the Times tally, I believe.Russ Choma reported in Mother Jones last summer that Trump’s debts were nearly $500 million and would come due in relatively short order, pressuring the president’s finances. But Trump’s debts are even bigger than that, and he’s worked hard to keep them hidden for decades. Dan Alexander, a senior editor at Forbes, has been covering Trump’s business interests since 2016 and has a new book out about the president’s financial conflicts of interest, “White House Inc.” Alexander, in a helpful tally he shared Sunday evening, estimates Trump’s total indebtedness to be about $1.1 billion. Now that’s more like it.Trump has been bloviating about being worth $10 billion ever since he entered the 2016 presidential race, a figure that simply isn’t true. He’s worth a fraction of that amount, and the larger his indebtedness becomes, the more strain it puts on his assets. The Covid-19 pandemic has taken a particularly brutal toll on the sectors in which the Trump Organization operates — real estate, travel and leisure. If Trump is unable to meet his debt payments, he’s either going to have to sell assets or get bailed out by a friend with funds. Trump has never liked to sell anything, even when it’s hemorrhaging money. So if he’s tempted to save himself by getting a handout, that makes him a mark.If Trump was still just a reality TV oddity, that wouldn’t be earthshaking. But he’s president, and the trade-offs someone like him would be willing to make to save his face and his wallet taint every public policy decision he makes – including issues around national security. If Vladimir Putin, for example, can backchannel a loan or a handout to the president, how hard is Trump going to be on Russia? Not that we should worry about Trump’s relationship with Putin. That’s just a hypothetical question.Trump’s own history of avoiding tax payments – and often paying nothing -- is the other issue that should alarm the president’s supporters. Trump and the Republican Party engineered a massive tax cut in 2017 that largely benefitted the most affluent Americans and the largest corporations in the U.S. Now we learn that the president who pushed a tax cut that didn’t deliver the economic stimulus he claimed it would, but feathered the nests of the most privileged, has rarely paid taxes in recent years.Trump paid $750 in taxes the year he was elected! That’s way less than the $130,000 in hush money he paid Stormy Daniels. In 2012, Trump criticized Barack Obama for “only” paying $161,950 in taxes. That’s a lot more than $750 too! And it’s a lot more than the $0 in taxes Trump frequently paid.Trump even paid far less than his really wealthy buddies. As Times reporter David Leonhardt noted, “Over the past two decades, Mr. Trump has paid about $400 million less in combined federal income taxes than a very wealthy person who paid the average for that group each year.” It’s even more troubling when you compare Trump’s tax payments to an American household earning about $75,000 in 2016. Those folks paid about $14,000 in federal income taxes — which is also a lot more than $750.Anyone buying Trump’s tripe about looking out for the little guy while he occupies the White House, or who takes their lives in their hands attending one of his Covid-19-defying campaign rallies, should bear in mind one of the many things the Times’s reporting substantiates: The president of the United States is in it only for himself, and he’s laughing all the way to the bank. And he’s laughing at you, too.(Corrects figure in seventh paragraph to $500 million.)This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Timothy L. O'Brien is a senior columnist for Bloomberg Opinion.For more articles like this, please visit us at now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 05:37:24 -0400
  • Armenia, Azerbaijan clash in separatist region for a 2nd day news

    Armenian and Azerbaijani forces fought over the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh for a second day Monday, with both sides blaming each other for resuming the attacks that reportedly killed and wounded dozens as the decades-old conflict has reignited. The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry claimed Armenian forces shelled the town of Tartar, while Armenian officials said the fighting continued overnight and Baku resumed “offensive operations" in the morning. Azerbaijani military officials told the Interfax news agency that over 550 Armenian troops have been “destroyed (including those wounded)” in a claim that Armenia denied.

    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 05:29:18 -0400
  • Russia's Navalny visited by German chancellor in hospital news

    Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny on Monday confirmed reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited him in a Berlin hospital where he was being treated for what German authorities determined was nerve agent poisoning. “There was a meeting, but one shouldn’t call it secret,” Navalny said in a tweet, referring to media reports alleging that Merkel made a secret visit to the Charite hospital where he remained for 32 days.

    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 05:23:03 -0400
  • Route to Glasgow COP26: COVID-19 should not be allowed to derail progress made in driving greater climate resilience

    No description related. Click here to go to original article.

    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 05:23:00 -0400
  • New US citizen refugees excited for first presidential vote news

    They came fleeing war and persecution in countries like Myanmar, Eritrea and Iraq, handpicked by the United States for resettlement under longstanding humanitarian traditions. Now, tens of thousands of refugees welcomed into the U.S. during the Obama administration are American citizens, voting the first time in what could be the most consequential presidential contest of their lifetimes. With some states already sending out early ballots, the first-time voters from Arizona to Florida are excited but mindful of their responsibility in helping to choose the country's next leader.

    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 05:00:06 -0400
  • Merkel privately visited Russian opposition leader Navalny in hospital after Novichok poisoning news

    Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a Berlin hospital where he was recovering from a poisoning that kept him in a coma for weeks, he revealed on Monday. Mr Navalny was discharged from the Charite hospital in Berlin last Wednesday after spending weeks on a ventilator in a medically induced coma. The German media outlet Der Spiegel on Monday quoted unnamed sources saying that Chancellor Merkel went to see Mr Navalny in hospital in a sign of solidarity. The 44-year old Russian politician confirmed the reports later in the day, insisting that there was nothing “secret” about the meeting. “It was more of a private meeting and conversation with the family,” he tweeted. “I’m very grateful to Chancellor Merkel for seeing me in hospital.” The top Kremlin critic did not say when the meeting took place or offer any details. Steffen Seibert, Mrs Merkel’s spokesman, described the meeting as “private.” “It was a meeting with a person who fell sick after a nerve agent attack and who is being treated in Germany,” he said. Mr Navalny fell suddenly ill on the plane from Siberia to Moscow at the end of August. Several European laboratories independently confirmed that he was poisoned with the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok which was used in the 2018 attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal.

    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 04:49:07 -0400
  • How Team Trump Keeps Twisting the Real Election Threat news

    On Sept. 23, as the presidential election began its terminal season, Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) asked acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf if Russia had an active propaganda campaign against former Vice President Joe Biden. Wolf responded by talking about two other countries.“I think on everything that I’ve seen, that there are three nation states that we have to be very concerned about. One is Russia, one is China and one is Iran,” Wolf began. Yes, Russia indeed “looks to denigrate” Biden, he acknowledged, and yes, they all respond to the election differently. But “all three nation states” comprise 2020’s foreign election threat.It was an odd conflation. While China and Iran have certainly pushed their share of political disinformation, only Russia’s propaganda is known to be directly and deeply targeted to the U.S. election in November.In his testimony, Wolf pointed to a piece of paper—one that, subtextually, U.S. senators are bound to respect. Two months before, William Evanina, the nation’s top counterintelligence official, issued a public assessment treating all three nations as election threats. But his depiction of those threats varied. China was trying to influence “the policy environment” in America, and “will continue to weigh the risks and benefits of aggressive action.” Iran wants to “undermine U.S. democratic institutions” by circulating “anti-U.S. content” online. Rudimentary maneuvers, in other words, in the realm of information warfare.U.S. Intel Repeatedly Warned About Rudy’s ‘Russian Agent’ PalRussia, by contrast, was engaged in an array of efforts—hiring American freelance writers to unknowingly pen and spread Kremlin propaganda, signal-boosting the most unhinged conspiracy theories online. And it had an agent. What’s more, Russia was using a Ukrainian parliamentarian, Andreii Derkach, to generate and circulate misinformation against Biden. Evanina didn’t say it, but Derkach gave those documents to Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani.Evanina’s equivalences drew criticism from Democrats with access to intelligence. “[T]oday’s statement still treats three actors of differing intent and capability as equal threats to our democratic elections,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the intelligence committee chair, both of whom had criticized an earlier Evanina election-threat portrait. Politico subsequently reported that CIA Director Gina Haspel prevented Russia assessments from reaching the White House and accused CIA Russia analysts of lying about intelligence.A closer look at the purported intrusion campaigns, from cybersecurity analysts and others, shows a sharp divergence. Microsoft found no indication that Chinese attempts to access accounts belonging to Biden advisers and a Trump administration were successful; but it also found the Chinese targeting academics and think-tankers, consistent with its observed intelligence-collection patterns. Nor did it find any success from Iranian hackers. But Microsoft warned that Russian hackers operate a more sophisticated credential-siphoning enterprise and pledged to continue “proactively hunting” them. Given these divergences, crafting a framework of Russia-China-Iran is reminiscent of how depictions of threats from “weapons of mass destruction” paper over the vast differences between nuclear weapons, biological weapons, and chemical weapons. And if there’s a nation with nukes in this analogy, so far China and Iran haven’t shown them off.Portraying a “troika” of China, Russia, and Iran election threats suits the intelligence analysts, said the former official, who assign different weight to each of those threats in terms of scale, urgency and objective. But the formulation of them as a troika allows Trump and his allies to “cherry-pick” which threats to emphasize.“If China is mentioned in a statement like that, the administration can lift that part up while ignoring the Russia part, for example, which may be of much greater consequence. That puts Evanina and the intelligence professionals in a difficult position. You can’t engage in a war of words with your customer set, that doesn’t generally turn out well,” said the former official, who expressed respect for Evanina’s integrity.There may be further classified intelligence to back up the administration’s claim that China poses a greater threat than Russia or Iran. And it’s worth remembering WikiLeaks didn’t release its trove of emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman until October of 2016; perhaps Beijing or Tehran has an October surprise this time around.But the dispute over the correct characterization of foreign threats to the election obscures the reality that the biggest threat to the election isn’t foreign at all. It’s domestic, according to former intelligence officials and cybersecurity experts, and it seeks to keep Trump in power. He and his allies describe mail-in balloting, increasingly a choice of voters in a pandemic, as a tool for Democrats to steal the election. They’ve gamed out voter-suppression scenarios for Black voters and other presumed Democratic constituencies. Trump supporters are describing the perpetuation of Trump’s presidency as the last stand of a free republic and threaten violence if it doesn’t go their way. Whatever foreign threat imperils the election is relatively minor. But calibrating whose foreign interference is worse is much easier for politicians to confront.“My sense is that the volume and velocity of material aimed at misleading people with respect to politics in the U.S. right now, generated by Americans themselves, probably vastly exceeds the volume and velocity that emanates from foreign actors,” said a former senior intelligence official.* * *Over the last several weeks, President Trump and his closest aides, particularly National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, have ramped up a public messaging campaign focused on how China poses a greater threat to the electoral process than any other foreign power, including Russia. “We know the Chinese have taken the most active role,” O’Brien told reporters in September, adding that Beijing had “had the most massive program to influence the United States politically.”National security officials have for years worked to underscore and fight back against the threats China poses to U.S. interests, particularly its attempts to steal American intellectual property, hack into American networks, and control its own people through American proxies. Dozens and dozens of arrests have been made, including, most recently, that of a New York City cop recruited by Beijing to spy on local Tibetan groups.NYPD Officer Spied on Tibetan New Yorkers for Chinese Government: FedsLess has been said about how Beijing may be attempting to interfere in the 2020 election. Last week, the Justice Department announced the indictment of two Chinese hackers working for the Ministry of State Security; Facebook did recently remove accounts associated with a Chinese-linked disinformation network that worked to promote the People’s Republic to overseas audiences, including the American one. But the activity alleged in the indictment has nothing to do with elections, however. And Facebook told reporters at the time of the announcement that there was little engagement around the network’s posts that focused on the United States. And O’Brien himself didn’t have much to add in the way of specifics in his talk with reporters earlier this month. “I am not going to go into all the intelligence,” he said.Asked how the administration is calculating the risk China poses to the 2020 campaign, spokespersons for the National Security Council would not answer questions on the record. O’Brien recently published a Wall Street Journal op-ed on the topic, in which he pointed to that Microsoft hacking assessment—the one that showed Russia to be the more sophisticated actor. Yet O’Brien declared that, “This behavior, coupled with China’s ever-present influence operations targeting all aspects of U.S. civil society and the economy, represents a serious threat to the integrity of our elections.”In his public statements, Evanina, the U.S. counterintelligence chief, “has noted that Beijing is engaged in influence efforts, but has not gone so far as to assert that China is attempting election interference,” said Zach Cooper, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and an expert on China. “Some senior Trump administration officials, however, have appeared to suggest that both are occurring.”U.S. officials who attempt to veer from this line have faced the consequences. When FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before Congress this week, he did not speak to any specific threats posed by China but instead detailed how Russia was attempting to use disinformation to “denigrate Biden.”It didn’t take long for Trump to push back. “But Chris, you don’t see any activity from China, even though it is a FAR greater threat than Russia, Russia, Russia. They will both, plus others, be able to interfere in our 2020 Election with our totally vulnerable Unsolicited (Counterfeit?) Ballot Scam,” Trump tweeted.The next day, Trump was asked whether he intended to fire Wray. “I did not like his answers yesterday and I’m not sure he liked them either. I’m sure that he probably would agree with me.”Michael Carpenter, a defense official in the Obama administration and a managing director of the Penn Biden Center, sees a dangerous trend developing. “It is not just that the commander-in-chief doesn’t trust the intelligence that he’s getting or doesn’t act on it. He and close associates of his are trying to both insert partisan cronies into the intelligence community to do their bidding. It’s designed to undermine Biden’s candidacy,” he said.* * *When Evanina published his August statement on election security, politicians and officials argued about the significance of both China and Russian information operations, Iran kept its own propaganda machine revved up.It comes as perhaps no surprise that Tehran is continuing to wage disinformation campaigns aimed at dividing the country and attacking Trump, whose administration has over the last four years launched a massive assault on Iran’s economy with punishing sanctions. Iranian networks have long sought to use social media to attack the Trump administration so much so that the State Department created a team to fight back and target those speaking out against the administration’s Iran policy.In his election security notice, Evanina noted that in the lead-up to the election, Iran “will focus on on-line influence, such as spreading disinformation on social media and recirculating anti-U.S. content.” “Tehran’s motivation to conduct such activities is, in part, driven by a perception that President Trump’s reelection would result in a continuation of U.S. pressure on Iran in an effort to foment regime change,” the statement said.Microsoft’s analysis revealed how Phosphorus, an Iranian group known for targeting a wide variety of organizations working on geopolitics, economics and human rights, has “continued to attack the personal accounts of people associated with the Donald J. Trump for President campaign.”In February, Facebook took down half a dozen troll accounts associated with an Iranian effort to target conservatives in the U.S. The trolls spent time in Christian groups like “Only Jesus Can Save” and “Jesus Christ Family,” and posted flyers that appeared to attack former National Security Adviser John Bolton, labeling him a “slave of gold.” The cybersecurity firm FireEye also found accounts that targeted well-known conservatives opposed to Trump and sent them messages inquiring about their thoughts on the 2020 election.Pro-Iran Troll Posed as WHO Official to Push Racist Coronavirus HoaxBut what cybersecurity firms, social media companies, and U.S. intelligence have observed about Russian propaganda is an order of magnitude more advanced and targeted to the 2020 election.Intelligence and national security officials have for months warned of Russian attempts to meddle in the 2020 presidential election. In her December 2019 remarks in front of House impeachment investigators, Fiona Hill, Trump’s former top Russia adviser, sounded the alarm.“Right now Russia security services and their proxies are geared up to repeat their interference in the 2020 election,” she said. “The way that the Russians operate is that they will use whatever conduit they can to put out information that is both real and credible but that also masks a great deal of disinformation.”In the months leading up to Hill’s testimony, intelligence officials drafted reports outlining the extent to which Russia was leaning on proxies, such as Andrii Derkach, a Ukrainian parliamentarian, to spread debunked conspiracy theories about nominee Joe Biden, his son Hunter, and their dealings in Ukraine. Members of Congress were warned about such efforts at the end of 2019, as The Daily Beast has reported. At the same time, Derkach worked closely with the president’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to propagate falsehoods about the Bidens and Ukrainian intervention in the 2016 election.In an Aug. 7 statement on threats to the 2020 election, Evanina pointed to Derkach as one of the main Russian-linked individuals “using a range of measures to primarily denigrate former Vice President Biden.” “Derkach is spreading claims about corruption—including through publicizing leaked phone calls—to undermine former Vice President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party,” the statement said. Earlier this month the Treasury Department blacklisted Derkach for acting as a Russian “agent” and for meddling in the 2020 election.The Derkach push is one of many. In recent months, the FBI has twice provided tips about Russian intelligence-linked troll networks on Facebook. The move led the social media company to remove at least two separate clusters of fake accounts, which posed as a fictitious news site and think tank in order to recruit unsuspecting Western freelancers to write and distribute content.And on Sept. 10, the Justice Department indicted a 27-year-old employee of the Internet Research Agency, Artem Lifshits, for his role in “a wire fraud conspiracy to further Russian foreign influence efforts and to enrich himself and others.” In August, the State Department also published a detailed guide to Russian-linked propaganda outlets and revealed the outlets’ connections to Russian intelligence services like the GRU and SVR.Asked if there were Chinese or Iranian election interference networks that the FBI had tipped the social media companies off to, an FBI spokesperson declined comment.* * *All the emphasis on foreign interference in the presidential election obscures the torrent of disinformation coming not from any overseas troll farm or cut-out, but from the president and his allies, who portray mailed ballots as the tools for a Democratic coup and undermine faith in the voting process.On Sep. 23, Evanina joined Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe in briefing the Senate Intelligence Committee. Evanina did most of the talking. According to a source familiar with the briefing, the senior intelligence officials told lawmakers that the anticipated uncertainty over the election results in the days following the votes would likely be exploited by foreign disinformation. Evanina didn’t sound any pronounced warning against any particular foreign entity. The following day, the senior Democrat on the committee, Sen. Mark Warner (VA), said the intelligence officials had assessed the period immediately before and after the election “could be uniquely volatile.”A spokesperson for the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, which Evanina helms, would not comment on the briefing. But they pointed to a Sept. 21 announcement from the FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency that “raise[d] awareness of the potential threat posed by attempts to spread disinformation regarding the results of the 2020 elections.” Among its warnings about “foreign actors and cybercriminals” was the prospect of trolls defacing official election websites and manufacturing fake ones that could circulate on social media to announce false results.While the Sept. 23 briefing avoided talk of domestic politics, the source familiar with it noted that foreign propaganda typically mingles with domestically produced and disseminated disinformation. Much of that disinformation is authentically American in origin—and coming specifically from the White House.President Trump has spent weeks discrediting the mail-in voting that is likely to be a major driver of votes in a pandemic. That voting, judging from early public opinion polls, appears to be disproportionately Democratic, prompting The Atlantic’s Barton Gellman to describe it as a “proxy” for Trump “to distinguish friend from foe.” It’s in keeping with a long American history of voter suppression, particularly against Black people, most recently practiced by the Republican Party. The president, as Gellman noted, gleefully told a Black audience that he benefited from low Black turnout in 2016. The Democrats, Trump said in August, are “using COVID to steal our election.” Most ominously, Trump portrayed all of this as so dire a threat that he refused to rule out relinquishing power peacefully, a five-alarm fire for republican continuity.But mail-in voter fraud isn’t an appreciable danger to the election. The FBI’s Wray testified to a Senate panel Thursday that the FBI wasn’t seeing “coordinated national voter fraud” in the election at all, “whether it’s by mail or otherwise.” Manipulating mailed ballots would be a “major challenge,” Wray assessed. He pled for “confidence in our voting system and our election infrastructure.” By contrast, Trump said he wants to “make sure that the election is honest, and I’m not sure that it can be.”Wray was already on thin ice with the White House. But on Friday, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows attempted to discredit him outright. “With all due respect to Director Wray, he has a hard time finding emails in his own FBI, let alone figuring out whether there’s any kind of voter fraud,” Meadows said. Meadows’ remarks came the morning after the Justice Department announced an investigation into nine allegedly discarded military ballots in Pennsylvania’s Luzerne County—something a former U.S. attorney told The Daily Beast smelled like a push by the department to “undermine confidence in the election.”Behind Trump is an army of amplification. “The radical left are laying the groundwork for stealing this election from my father,” Donald Trump Jr. claims in an ad urging supporters to join an “army” for election security. Notwithstanding Trump’s admonishments on the manufactured danger of voting by mail, robocalls from family surrogates Lara Trump and Kimberly Guilfoyle urge absentee voting and claim, falsely, that Democrats oppose “voting absentee.” They draw a false distinction between absentee balloting and voting by mail, which they falsely claim is “proven to be filled with fraud, abuse and mistakes.” Years of Republican messaging that both the news media and the social media companies are implacably hostile has convinced many on the right that disinformation warnings around right-wing media are cover to suppress conservative viewpoints.Further out is the untold hundreds of thousands of believers in QAnon. QAnon is a revenge fantasy about a secret Trump war against various adversaries in the political, cultural and security establishments, complete with accusations of child trafficking, secret indictments and looming Guantanamo Bay imprisonments. Trump embraced QAnon followers as “people that love our country” last month, a year after the FBI warned that it and other conspiracy groups will drive “both groups and individual extremists to carry out criminal or violent acts.” QAnon has taken on a life of its own, merging with or incorporating other aspects of disinformation, like considering the coronavirus a hoax and mail-in balloting the tools of a coup. In August, Facebook tried to purge large QAnon groups—many of which Facebook’s algorithm directed users toward, according to The New York Times—but they proved resilient.It took years and sustained criticism before Facebook and the other social-media giants took action against QAnon. They have been even more reluctant to label as misinformation statements discrediting mail-in voting or the coronavirus pushed by Trump and his surrogates. And though Facebook in particular was initially unwilling to concede that it was an election-disinformation vector in 2016, the companies have been notably more willing to purge foreign propaganda.Their method is functionally a compromise with the truth: they’re taking action against inauthentic identity, like Russians pretending to be Americans, rather than adjudicating the truth of a statement published on their platforms. That can’t work against disinformation Americans authentically spread. Trump has both exploited the companies’ reluctance to policing the truth—a reluctance derived from the companies’ interest in continuing to acquire and exploit data from right-wing users—and threatened them with regulatory and Justice Department investigations once they modestly began disinformation warnings.Similarly, the intelligence agencies are barred—by legal mandate and by the realities of political pressure—from assessing domestic disinformation.“Since that domestic space is so off-limits for the intelligence community, there’s just not going to be anything published, declared, or stated by U.S. intel agencies on this. It leaves the American people with no ability to compare scale,” said the former senior intelligence official.The ex-official said that this time, the Russians didn’t need to invent a narrative about how the election would be stolen. “They’re just piling on that stuff from Trump,” he said. “The beauty from their perspective is they don’t have to pilot that campaign. They’re just a force multiplier.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 04:41:52 -0400
  • Sterling at 19-day high vs euro as traders see hope of avoiding cliff-edge Brexit

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    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 04:41:04 -0400
  • China's Xi Jinping says 'happiness' on rise in Uighur heartland in face of global backlash news

    Xi Jinping, the leader of China’s Communist Party, said policies in the country’s Xinjiang region were “completely correct” despite growing international backlash over the government’s alleged human rights abuses against the Uighur Muslim minority in the province. "It is necessary to educate residents of Xinjiang on their understanding of the Chinese nation and to guide “all ethnic groups on establishing a correct perspective on the country, history and nationality,” Mr Xi said, according to remarks reported in Chinese state media. “We must also continue the direction of Sinicising Islam to achieve the healthy development of religion,” he said at a two-day Communist Party conference on Xinjiang this weekend. These are Mr Xi’s most public comments to date in support of China’s policies to bring Xinjiang’s primarily Muslim ethnic minority population – mostly Uighurs but also Kazakhs, Kyrgyzs and Hui – under control. The Chinese government has long struggled to quiet the tensions that have stewed in the region for decades, at times leading to deadly attacks authorities attributed to Uighur separatists. But Beijing’s mass “re-education” campaign faces increasing global criticism over alleged human rights abuses. The United Nations estimates that one million people in Xinjiang have been thrown into mass internment camps.

    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 04:39:52 -0400
  • China's leaders to endorse lower 2021-2025 growth target at key meeting - sources

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    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 04:23:48 -0400
  • Huawei CFO Meng back in Canadian court fighting U.S. extradition news

    Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou will be back in a Canadian courtroom on Monday as her lawyers resume their fight to block the United States' efforts to extradite her. Meng, 48, was arrested in December 2018 on a warrant from the United States charging her with bank fraud for misleading HSBC about Huawei's business dealings in Iran and causing the bank to break U.S. sanction law. Huawei lawyers will argue that the U.S. extradition request was flawed because it omitted key evidence showing Meng did not lie to HSBC about Huawei's business in Iran.

    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 03:18:17 -0400
  • Libyan Investment Authority concludes first phase of transformation programme news

    Libyan Investment Authority concludes first phase of transformation programme LIA Chairman Dr Ali Mahmoud meets with Oliver Wyman representatives (September 2020)LONDON and TRIPOLI, Libya, Sept. 28, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), Africa’s largest sovereign wealth fund, has announced the conclusion of the first phase of its comprehensive Transformation Programme, a major strategic mechanism for institutional development. The key milestone was marked in the presence of the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds (IFSWF), a global network of close to 40 SWF, and international experts, as well as the directors of its subsidiaries and affiliated investment portfolios. Phase one of the strategic programme focused on the design and adoption of an operational mechanism to boost working efficiency, ensure internal transparency, control and governance, as well as compliance with the Santiago Principles.The first phase saw the LIA adopt an organisational structure that meets all set objectives, and better supports its long-term strategy. It also covered the creation and deployment of a comprehensive package of financial and investment policies and regulations, as well as internal control systems that are in line with the best practices of sovereign wealth funds around the world.As a result, the LIA is now advancing with a clear strategy and well-defined roadmap, with a system in place to measure success and ensure continued progress. Clear authorities, decision making protocols and reporting lines have also been institutionalised.Following the completion of the first phase of the Transformation Programme, the LIA’s compliance rating with the Santiago Principles has climbed to 20 points out of a possible 24 (a substantial increase from just six points in mid-2019).The implementation of this all-encompassing strategic initiative will enable the LIA to manage its international assets with optimal effectiveness in line with the best practices of international sovereign wealth funds, while operating well within the United Nations’ sanctions framework.A photo accompanying this announcement is available at CONTACT: Media Contact: Mr. Ismail Ayan Media Relations Manager

    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 03:00:00 -0400
  • Top Afghan negotiator in Taliban talks arrives in Pakistan news

    Afghanistan's top official in negotiations with the Taliban arrived in Pakistan's capital Monday on a three-day trip during which he will meet with the country's prime minister and other government officials. Abdullah Abdullah, who leads the Afghan High Council for National Reconciliation, was received by top government officials on arriving in Islamabad. Later he took to Twitter to say he had a constructive meeting with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 02:59:21 -0400
  • Nigerian soldiers and police killed in IS ambush in Borno state news

    The Islamic State group said it was behind the ambush on a convoy of government officials.

    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 02:55:55 -0400
  • EU-UK trade talks resume under Brexit bill cloud news

    Negotiators for the EU and Britain are hoping for a breakthrough in trade talks this week, despite feuding over a controversial UK bill that threatens to scupper a post-Brexit deal.

    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 02:39:25 -0400
  • Saudi Arabia: G-20 gathering of world leaders to be virtual news

    Saudi Arabia, which is presiding over the Group of 20 countries this year, said Monday that the upcoming November gathering of world leaders will be held virtually amid the coronavirus pandemic. The kingdom had originally planned to host world leaders for the G-20 summit in Riyadh before the pandemic, offering Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman the chance to share handshakes and wide smiles with presidents and prime ministers, such as Donald Trump, Russia's President Vladimir Putin, India's Narendra Modi and China's Xi Jinping.

    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 02:27:34 -0400
  • Boris Johnson's Enemy No. 1 Has Weaknesses, Too

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    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 02:00:20 -0400
  • Trump ex-campaign boss hospitalized amid threat to harm self news

    President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Brad Parscale has been hospitalized after he threatened to harm himself, according to Florida police and campaign officials. Police officers talked Parscale out of his Fort Lauderdale home after his wife called police to say that he had multiple firearms and was threatening to hurt himself when he was hospitalized Sunday under the state’s Baker Act. “Brad Parscale is a member of our family and we love him,” said Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh.

    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 01:48:47 -0400
  • Pandemic overwhelms Trump's message in critical N. Carolina news

    WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — President Donald Trump is fighting to fill a Supreme Court vacancy, howling with unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud and warning that violent mobs are infiltrating the suburbs. Trump's challenge is acute here in North Carolina, a state that his senior aides describe as a “must-win."

    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 01:41:40 -0400
  • India’s confirmed coronavirus tally reaches 6 million cases news

    India’s confirmed coronavirus tally reached 6 million on Monday, keeping the country second to the United States in number of reported cases. The Health Ministry reported 82,170 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, driving the overall total to 6,074,703. New infections in India are currently being reported faster than anywhere else in the world.

    Mon, 28 Sep 2020 00:12:33 -0400
  • Trump ex-campaign boss hospitalized amid threat to harm self news

    President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Brad Parscale was hospitalized Sunday after he threatened to harm himself, according to Florida police and campaign officials. Police officers talked Parscale out of his Fort Lauderdale home after his wife called police to say that he had multiple firearms and was threatening to hurt himself. Police Sgt. DeAnna Greenlaw said Parscale was hospitalized under the state’s Baker Act, which allows anyone deemed to be a threat to themselves or others to be detained for 72 hours for psychiatric evaluation.

    Sun, 27 Sep 2020 22:14:34 -0400
  • The South African cleric taking on the church over a rapist priest news

    Reverend June Major has gone on hunger strike twice to demand that the church take action against her alleged attacker who still practises as a priest

    Sun, 27 Sep 2020 20:58:12 -0400
  • Appellate court halts Wisconsin ballot-counting extension

    No description related. Click here to go to original article.

    Sun, 27 Sep 2020 16:40:07 -0400
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