Showing posts from October 17, 2021

Time to regulate or ban video games?

Some video games are camouflaged by educational content. The ones most addictive are built around the most negative themes that promote killings in war-like scenarios, racial and gender stereotypes. Numerous studies conducted across the world have found adverse effects of video games on the physical and mental development of children. Video game industry has several multi-national players, Sony, Tencent, Nintendo, Microsoft, Activision etc., each of which earns billions of dollars, enjoying tremendous lobbying power, can buy scientists, writers and columnists. A Google search throws as many papers glorifying the games for supposedly increasing memory, concentration and cognitive abilities, that address mental depression and loneliness as against their harmful effects on children and adults. But parents suffering from the unbearable agonies of their children losing focus and going stray know the truth. Gaming companies employ highly skilled scientists trained in neuro-science, child psy

We are in the middle of a ‘cyber pandemic’. Digital security standards need reinforcing

  We are in the midst of a “cyber pandemic”. In 2020, COVID-19 accelerated a transition towards remote working and the software being used for these attacks has become easier to execute, ransomware attacks have risen rapidly and continue to accelerate in 2021: A prime target for cybercriminals has been the Operational Technology (OT) networks which interconnect the Industrial Control Systems (ICS) that manage our critical infrastructure. As services like power grids, water treatment facilities, transport and healthcare systems increasingly integrate their operational technology systems with the internet of things – for example through remote sensors and monitoring – this creates a new frontier of risks where millions more vulnerability points and new vectors can be exploited by hackers. These attacks have huge implications not only on businesses but also on communities, cities, states, and entire countries. The consequences can be dire. In April 2020, hackers targeted Israel’s water tr

Explained: Why has the global terror finance watchdog put Turkey under the lens?

There are now 23 countries in the FATF grey list, officially referred to as "jurisdictions with strategic deficiencies". From India's perspective, the most important country on the list is Pakistan. Myanmar is also on it — and now, Turkey. The global terror financing watchdog, Financial Action Task Force (FATF), has added Turkey, along with Jordan and Mali, in its revised list of “jurisdictions under increased monitoring”. The FATF is an inter-governmental body that works to “set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system”. The FATF holds three Plenary meetings in the course of each of its 12-month rotating presidencies. The FATF has released the outcomes of its Plenary held in Paris under the German Presidency of Dr Marcus Pleyer from October 19-21, 2021. What does ‘increased monitoring’ mea

Thousands of Islamists continue marching to Pakistan capital

  LAHORE: Thousands of supporters of a banned radical Islamist party Saturday departed the eastern  Pakistan  city of  Lahore , clashing for a second straight day with police who lobbed tear gas into the crowd, a party spokesman and witnesses said.  The group began their journey Friday with the goal of reaching the capital Islamabad to pressure the government to release  Saad Rizvi , the head of the Tehreek-e-Labiak Pakistan party. Rizvi was arrested last year amid demonstrations against France over the publication of caricatures of Islam’s  Prophet Muhammad .  Violent clashes erupted between security forces and Islamists in Lahore leaving at least two police and two demonstrators dead Friday.  Sajid Saifi, spokesman for Rizvi’s party, said supporters spent the night near the Ravi River bridge and in the early morning started again toward Islamabad amid heavy tear gas.  Saifi  said the huge crowd removed barricades and exited the city limits but again faced security forces near the tow

Dhia al-Haq al-Ahdal, prominent leader of Al-Islah Party in city of Taiz was shot dead by gunmen on a motorbike, no claim of responsibility.

A leader of Al-Islah, Yemen’s largest Islamic party, was shot dead in the southwestern city of Taiz, according to a local source. Gunmen on a motorbike opened fire on Dhia al-Haq al-Ahdal as he left his home in the city, the source said on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to brief the media. There was no claim of responsibility for the attack. Al-Ahdal, a prominent party leader in Taiz, played a major role in forming local vigilante groups to fight Houthi rebels. Yemen has been engulfed by violence and instability since 2014, when Iranian-aligned Houthi rebels captured much of the country, including the capital Sanaa. A Saudi-led coalition aimed at reinstating the Yemeni government exacerbated the situation, causing one of the world’s worst man-made humanitarian crises, with 233,000 people killed, nearly 80 percent or about 30 million needing humanitarian assistance and protection, and more than 13 million in danger of starvation, according to UN estimates. READ MORE:  M

AMISOM holds discussions on women's political participation in Somalia

  The African Union Mission in Somalia ( AMISOM ), in collaboration with the Southwest State of Somalia, has held a forum to devise ways to promote women’s representation and participation in politics in Somalia. A two-day forum held in Baidoa, organised by the  AMISOM  Political Unit, attracted 45 participants, including Women Goodwill Ambassadors, women candidates, youth, men, academics, women’s rights activists, and political experts. The participants discussed how women in Somalia could increase their representation and participation in the ongoing elections. At the opening,  AMISOM  Political Affairs Officer, Sayid Ali Hersi, stated that the objective of the forum is to create a platform to advocate for more women representation in the upper and lower house in the ongoing 2021 election, and how best to advocate for the 30% women quota. The  AMISOM  Gender Officer in Baidoa, Inspector of Police (IP) Ngonzi Trilla, noted the need to challenge existing social norms which limit women’

Over 100K people displaced due to escalating tensions in central Somalia: UNOCHA

A United Nations agency informed on Friday that over 100,000 people have escaped a town in central Somalia's Galmudug state because of heightened agitation and probable violence between local authorities and a paramilitary organisation. The unrest between the authorities has now expanded to 28 rural communities, according to the  UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs  (UNOCHA).  A statement released by UNOCHA in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu revealed that approximately 1,005 unaccompanied children and 2,009 individuals with disabilities and wellbeing issues are among the displaced people who fled from the disputed area. With concerns of a probable war between the Galmudug administration and Ahlu Sunna Waljama'a (ASWJ), a conservative Muslim organisation located in the central area, Somalis evacuated the town of Guriel.  As the discussions between the regional Galmudug government and ASWJ clan leaders crumbled, the Galmudug administration said on Thursday tha

Regional Lawmakers Call for More Efforts to Fight Terrorism

Regional lawmakers on October 20, sounded the alarm over the apparent vulnerability of the East African Community (EAC) which, as noted, has seen the most heinous terrorists' related attacks in the Sub-Saharan Africa. This was as MP Fatuma Ndangiza, Chairperson of the East African Legislative Assembly's Committee on Regional Affairs and Conflict Resolution presented a report on the implementation of the six-member bloc's peace and security strategy. As lawmakers resumed business interrupted on October 12 when Ugandan lawmakers staged walkouts due to what they consider as an unfair EAC recruitment process, Ndangiza said counter-terrorism is one of the most crucial and pertinent aspects of the region's peace and security strategy. She said: "The Committee observed that in the recent past, the EAC region has seen the most heinous terrorists' related attacks in Sub-Saharan Africa. Yet all the endeavours taken by the East African Community (EAC), in particular, to c

Gravitas: Report: Taliban launches operation to fight ISIS


Prevention and Encroachment of ISIS into Central Asia from Afghanistan

 Central Asia is a region that seems the next possible target for (Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham) ISIS. There can be different reasons behind it, but at the same time, it is a dilemma that either ISIS will be able to get into Central Asian Republics (CARs)? The main thing can be the geographic location and plans of ISIS that seems very interested in that region. Furthermore, we can see that Afghanistan shares a border with 3 out of 5 CARs that increase the threat of ISIS in the region. Soon after the creation of ISIS, they entered into Afghanistan and started their activities in eastern and northeastern parts of the country; however, after the takeover of the Taliban of Kabul, a number of suicide attacks happened in larger cities of Afghanistan which gives a clue of a more substantial presence of the group and their strength. Most important tricks to prevent ISIS possible expansion into CARs states we should know about their recruitments policies. Nowadays, in the 21st century, med

UN fears 'mass atrocities' in Myanmar as troops gather

  Source: The UN warned Friday of a possible new  human rights catastrophe  in Myanmar as thousands of soldiers moved into the north of the country during a crackdown on dissent. The military junta that took over the south east Asian country in a February coup has been responsible for over 1,100  civilian deaths  and  8,000 arrests , according to a report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, Tom Andrews. Why is the UN concerned? Andrews expressed fears of more  bloodshed, repression and torture  in his annual human rights report on Myanmar to the General Assembly. Tens of thousands of troops were now moving into the north and northwest of the country, he reported. "These tactics are ominously reminiscent of those employed by the military before its genocidal attacks against  the Rohingya  in Rakhine State in 2016 and 2017," he recalled. Protesters against the February coup have been met

Gravitas: The Islamic State has China on its hit list


Blacklisted Chinese tech giant Huawei paid Tony Podesta $500,000 to lobby the White House

Huawei, the Chinese tech giant that is on a U.S. trade blacklist, paid veteran Democratic lobbyist and donor Tony Podesta $500,000 to lobby the White House during the third quarter. The disclosure comes as the Biden administration is facing pressure to keep Huawei  on the blacklist , which restricts the company’s access to semiconductors. The lobbying took place between July and September. The specifics of Podesta’s lobbying campaign for Huawei were not clear. Podesta and Huawei did not return requests for comment before publication. The White House, in a response Thursday, criticized Huawei and said the company is still subject to trade restrictions. “President Biden and this administration believe digital infrastructure equipment made by untrustworthy vendors, like Huawei, pose a threat to the security of the U.S., our allies, and our partners. Export controls against Huawei remain in place,” a White House official said, when asked about Podesta’s lobbying. “We are committed to using