Tag: sputnik

Al-Nusra Front Terrorists Attack Kurdish Neighborhood in Aleppo

Nusra Front terrorists have attacked government forces and local militia in the Kurdish neighborhood of Sheikh Maqsood in Aleppo, a representative of the Russian center for Syrian reconciliation at the Hmeymim airbase said early on Thursday.

According to the representative, at least five people were killed and more than 50 injured during the attack.

He added that al-Nusra Front militants have also carried out attacks in the Syrian provinces of Idlib, Latakia and Hama in the past twenty four hours.

Activists Counter FBI Trying to Exempt Its Database From Privacy Protection

After having spent eight years collecting sensitive biometric data on over 100 million Americans and assembling a huge database to contain it, the FBI has now announced that, in just 21 days, they will exempt this enormous bulk of information from the privacy protections guaranteed by US law.

A coalition of activists and privacy groups have submitted a joint letter to the agency seeking additional time to respond, requesting another month for public debate to decide if the Next Generation Identification (NGI) database is actually “designed to protect.”The NGI contains biometric data, including fingerprints, face profiles, iris scans, palm prints and biographical information. Contrary to the common belief that the information is solely related to arrest records, roughly half of the database is from ordinary citizens, official documents reveal.

For instance, to get a job with the federal government, a prospective employee must provide fingerprints. But some states require the same kind of background checks for those who seek to become dentists, accountants, or teachers. The fingerprints of representatives from many different careers then end up in the NGI system.

Snowden Tried to Raise Concerns Over Mass Surveillance, Documents Reveal

Whistleblower Edward Snowden raised concerns about mass surveillance to his superiors at the NSA before publicly releasing thousands of classified documents, Vice News revealed.

But he did not get a response.

After leaking the documents, the agency repeatedly tried to find evidence, or lack thereof, of Snowden’s claims. However, each time there were reasons to return a negative — and false — response to reporters from various outlets.

The methods the NSA used to cover up Snowden’s accusations varied, the story says. On one occasion, high-ranking NSA officials did not inform the Media Leaks Task Force (an internal NSA group tasked with Snowden’s case investigation) about interactions Snowden had with agency employees. The official later explicitly apologized for not providing actual information to the task force.

Over 270 Syrian Civilians Killed, Hundreds Wounded in Militants’ Shelling

More than 270 civilians were killed and hundreds more were injured by militants’ bombings in Syrian cities, the Russian Center for Reconciliation in Syria reported.

More than 270 civilians were killed and hundreds more were injured by militant groups’ shelling of Syrian cities, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday.

“As a result of the Syrian cities being shelled by terrorist groups, more than 270 civilians were killed, hundreds were injured,” the ministry said in a daily bulletin posted on its website.

CIA to Spill the Beans on Top-Secret Cold War Spy Ops

CIA

Throughout the Cold War, the CIA was involved in a wide range of covert operations. Details of four of those top-secret assignments will soon be released.

According to a new report by the Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation to the [US] Department of State (HAC), the department has two primary responsibilities:

“It oversees the preparation and timely publication of the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series, and it monitors the declassification of Department of State records.”

The report, published last week, indicates that the HAC plans to declassify a number of Cold War-era spy missions.

Fake Caliphate: Loss of Raqqa Will ‘End Sponsors From Foreign Nations’

The militants of Daesh after a series of defeats are now quickly strengthening positions in Raqqa, while the rest “Democratic Forces of Syria” are advancing quickly on the city.

With the support of Russian aviation, Syrians have managed to free the ancient town of Palmyra. Now the Iraqi army and Kurds are advancing in Raqqa to liberate it from the clutches of terrorists.

“Militants are getting really angry and can kill a man without any reason. If someone talks back to them or if they just don’t like someone, they can kill them. There is looting and robbery of property as well,” one of the family members told a RIA Novosti correspondent in an interview.

Monsanto Losing Ground: India Rethinks Rules Over Sale of GM Cotton Seeds

The Indian government has passed legislation capping royalties for new genetically-modified (GM) cotton varieties to be introduced by Monsanto, striking a blow at the company’s pricing structure in the heavily-populated country.
Earlier in March, in response to complaints that Monsanto’s Indian subsidiary Mahyaco Monsanto Biotech India Ltd (MMBL) was overcharging for a crop that produces its own pesticide, the agriculture ministry cut royalties paid by local seed firms by nearly 70 percent, substantially affecting MMBL’s revenue.

To ensure the welfare of farmers and eliminate the agrochemical giant’s monopoly in the market, the Indian government also fixed GM-cotton-seed maximum-sale price at 800 rupees for a 450-gram packet.

Daesh Bans Raqqa Residents From Leaving City Ahead of Kurdish Offensive

Courtesy of TRAJAN 117

Daesh terrorists have forbidden Raqqa residents from leaving the militants’ self-declared capital in Syria and have started evacuating their own families.

Islamic State (ISIL, also known as Daesh) militants have forbidden Raqqa residents from leaving the militants’ self-declared capital in Syria and have started evacuating their own families in the direction of Deir ez-Zor, Sputnik Arabic reports citing eye witnesses and local sources.

The families of foreign mercenaries were the first ones to leave the city on Friday afternoon. Inmates have been let free from Raqqa prisons.

Meanwhile Kurdish forces have established a stronghold about 37 kilometers (23 miles) north of Raqqa.A spokesperson of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) told Sputnik Turkey on Friday that Kurds were planning to launch an offensive on Raqqa in the coming days.

US Military Trains Soldiers to ‘Ethically Hack’ Foreign Governments

America’s cyberwarfare defense begins with placing the word ‘ethical’ in front of actions barred under international law.

The US Navy posted a training solicitation last week, calling for interested personnel to sign-up for a ‘Certified Ethical Hacker’ program, a five-day course from June 6-10, in San Diego, California. The training represents the latest step by the US military to respond to an increase in global cyberwarfare.

According to the Navy, a ‘certified ethical hacker’ “is a skilled professional who understands and knows how to look for the weaknesses and vulnerabilities in networks and/or computer systems and uses the same knowledge and tools as a malicious hacker upon request from an organization.”

Yellowstone Park Euthanizes Bison Calf After Tourists Attempt to Rescue It

Visitors to America’s famous Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming attempted to ‘rescue’ a bison calf, causing its herd to abandon it; it was subsequently euthanized by park officials.

The Yellowstone National Park Service (NPS) released a statement Monday after a pair of tourists put a bison calf in an SUV. The NPS said they had to euthanize the animal because, after having interacted with humans, it was rejected by its herd.

Despite clearly-posted park regulations that require visitors to stay a minimum of 25 yards from all wildlife (and 100 yards from predators), a father and son decided to put an very young bison calf into their car over concerns that the animal was too cold.

FBI: We Can Neither Confirm or Deny We are Tapping Your Amazon Echo

A writer for Gizmodo had a hunch: Could the FBI spy on your Amazon Echo? He filed a FOIA Request and got a disturbing answer.

Matt Novak, a writer for Gizmodo/Gawker Media wondered if the FBI could tap into the microphone for his Amazon Echo, a device sold by Amazon which lets him order goods, play music, and a host of other services with the sound of his voice which they have affectionately named “Alexa.”Novak points out that the Echo’s microphone is perpetually on and can be access with “a little hacking.”

“In many ways the Echo is a law enforcement dream,” he writes. “Years ago agencies like the FBI would need to wiretap a phone conversation or place bugs inside homes, practices that can be cost prohibitive and labor intensive. Today, you just need some software to tap into a device’s microphone.”

Venezuela’s President Threatens to Seize Factories With Halted Production

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro threatened to seize the country’s factories which are currently not working and put their owners in prison.

The announcement comes after the Polar Group food and beverages producer stopped making beer last month.
“We must take all measures to recover productive capacity, which is being paralyzed by the bourgeoisie. Anyone who wants to halt [production] to sabotage the country should get out, and those who do must be handcuffed and sent to the PGV [Venezuelan General Penitentiary],” Maduro said Saturday as quoted by the BBC.

On Friday, Maduro extended the economic state of emergency in the country for three more months.

Kurdish Forces Advancing on Raqqa City in Full Combat Readiness

he predominately Kurdish ‘Syrian Democratic Forces’ (SDF) have made further advances in Raqqa province, and are now very close to entering Raqqa city.

On Wednesday, SDF Spokesman Tajir Kobani announced that commanders of the SDF-affiliated groups in Northern Syria have, in a secret meeting, coordinated the process of a joint final operation for liberating Raqqa from Daesh terrorists.

“The Kurdish fighters are now only 30 kilometers from Raqqa city,” the Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper quoted unnamed sources as saying on Sunday.
“Our troops with their heavy weapons have gathered near Kobani in Northern Syria,” the spokesman said, adding, “We will begin our operation from three directions simultaneously.”

“As soon as the Russian envoy in the UN announced the preparation of the Syrian Army and its popular allies to launch large-scale operations to liberate Raqqa and end ISIL’s siege of Deir Ezzur, the ISIL terrorists started covering their military vehicles and equipment to avoid being identified in the event of an airstrike,” the sources said.

Daesh Uses Chemical Weapons Against Kurds in Northern Iraq

Daesh militants used chemical weapons in an attack on Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq on Saturday, injuring at least 14 people, local news agency Rudaw reported, citing military sources.

According to local Peshmerga Commander Gwer-Makhmour Sirwan Barzani, Daesh militants conducted their attack on Saturday. They used heavy equipment to diffuse the poisonous gas, he added.

“The state of those injured Peshmerga troops is stable,” Barzani said as cited by Rudaw. “After a counter-attack by Kurdish forces, the situation at the battlefield has stabilized.”

Harsh Truth: US ‘Can’t Fix’ Daesh Problem – Top Intelligence Chief

America’s top intelligence Chief James R. Clapper revealed that Washington is not capable of beating terrorism in the Middle East, adding that this bitter struggle will likely last for decades.

Speaking to the Washington Post, Clapper, who has worked for intelligence services for over 50 years, laid it all bare saying that US officials don’t have a recipe for battling radicals in the Middle East. He explained that Washington had “underestimated” the bulk of problems that plague the region, including “the large population bulge of disaffected young males, ungoverned spaces, economic challenges and the availability of weapons.”

“The US can’t fix it,” he asserted. “Somehow the expectation is that we can find the silver needle, and we’ll create ‘the city on a hill.’ ”

Clapper said that the fight against Dash is going much slower than the US expected. In particular, he put it firmly that the major stronghold in Iraq, Mosul, won’t be retaken this year, despite Daesh suffering major losses in manpower and territory recently.