Ukraine’s government and embassy websites targeted in cyber attack

More than a dozen Ukrainian government websites went down on Friday, in a cyber-attack that also targeted embassies. The foreign and education ministries were among those hit, along with embassies in the UK, US and Sweden. Before the sites went down a message appeared warning Ukrainians to “prepare for the worst”. It was unclear who was behind the attack but a spokesman said previous cyber-attacks had come from Russia. Russia has not yet commented. However, Ukraine’s government has come under intense pressure from its neighbour, with a build-up of some 100,000 Russian troops near its borders. Ukraine’s SBU security service … Continue reading Ukraine’s government and embassy websites targeted in cyber attack

Update: Australia cancels Novak Djokovic visa

Australia has revoked tennis star Novak Djokovic’s visa for a second time in a row over his right to remain in the country unvaccinated. The decision on “health and good order” grounds means he could be deported and get a three-year visa ban. However, the 34-year-old Serbian can still launch another legal challenge to remain in Australia. The men’s tennis number one was scheduled to play in the Australian Open, which begins on Monday. “Today I exercised my power… to cancel the visa held by Mr Novak Djokovic on health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was … Continue reading Update: Australia cancels Novak Djokovic visa

Thousands attend Hindu festival amid Covid-19 surge

Tens of thousands of Hindu pilgrims have gathered in the northern Indian city of Prayagraj (formerly Allahabad) for a festival amid a massive surge in Covid-19 infections. Devotees believe that bathing in the river Ganges during the Makar Sankranti festival would cleanse their sins. A similar gathering had contributed to India’s deadly second wave last year. But the authorities in Uttar Pradesh state, where Prayagraj is located, have refused to ban this year’s event. TV footage on Friday showed crowds at the river bank as pilgrims offered prayers with little regard to social distancing. Hindi news channel ABP reported that … Continue reading Thousands attend Hindu festival amid Covid-19 surge

Vestige Of The Past: Dutch King Willem-Alexander retires coach amid slavery row

The Netherlands’ King Willem-Alexander has announced that Dutch royals will cease using a historic golden carriage amid a debate over slavery links. Critics say that one side of the horse-drawn carriage, called De Gouden Koets, is decorated with an image that glorifies the country’s colonial past. Out of use since 2015, the carriage has traditionally been used to carry Dutch monarchs to the opening of parliament. The move comes amid an ongoing debate in the country over its history. The controversial image featured on the vehicle is called Tribute from the Colonies, and depicts black and Asian people – one … Continue reading Vestige Of The Past: Dutch King Willem-Alexander retires coach amid slavery row

US Supreme Court blocks Biden’s workplace vaccine mandate

The US Supreme Court has blocked President Joe Biden’s rule requiring workers at large companies to be vaccinated or masked and tested weekly. The justices at the nation’s highest court said the mandate exceeded the Biden administration’s authority. Separately they ruled that a more limited vaccine mandate could stand for staff at government-funded healthcare facilities. The administration said the mandates would help fight the pandemic. President Biden, whose approval rating has been sagging, expressed disappointment with the decision “to block common-sense life-saving requirements for employees”. He added: “I call on business leaders to immediately join those who have already stepped … Continue reading US Supreme Court blocks Biden’s workplace vaccine mandate

Man on trial over plot to kill Pakistani activist

A man has gone on trial in London, accused of plotting to kill a Pakistani blogger living in the Netherlands. A court heard that 31-year-old Muhammad Gohir Khan was hired as a “hitman” by figures said to be based in Pakistan. He was arrested last June and pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to murder. Lawyers said the intended victim, Ahmad Waqass Goraya, had set up a blog on Facebook making fun of the Pakistani military and detailing alleged human rights violations. Kingston Crown Court heard that Mr Goraya, who was living in Rotterdam at the time, “was known for speaking … Continue reading Man on trial over plot to kill Pakistani activist

Australia equals hottest day on record at 50.7C

Australia has equalled its hottest day on record after a remote coastal town reported temperatures of 50.7C (123.26F). The temperature in Onslow, Western Australia, on Thursday matched a record set in 1962 in South Australia. Onslow and the surrounding areas could see records broken again with temperatures set to rise slightly on Friday. It comes after Western Australia reported large bushfires last month. One fire near Margaret River scorched through more than 6,000 hectares of land, forcing evacuations. The Bureau of Meteorology confirmed on Thursday that Onslow equalled the record at 14:26 local time (22:26 GMT). According to local media, … Continue reading Australia equals hottest day on record at 50.7C

North Korea hackers stole $400m of cryptocurrency in 2021, report says

North Korean hackers stole almost $400m (£291m) worth of digital assets in at least seven attacks on cryptocurrency platforms last year, a report claims. Blockchain analysis company Chainalysis said it was one of most successful years on record for cyber-criminals in the closed east Asian state. The attacks mainly targeted investment firms and centralised exchanges. North Korea has routinely denied being involved in hack attacks attributed to them. “From 2020 to 2021, the number of North Korean-linked hacks jumped from four to seven, and the value extracted from these hacks grew by 40%,” Chainalysis said in a report. The hackers used … Continue reading North Korea hackers stole $400m of cryptocurrency in 2021, report says

Update: Prince Andrew loses military titles and use of HRH

The Duke of York’s military titles and royal patronages have been returned to the Queen, Buckingham Palace has said. Prince Andrew, 61, will also stop using the style His Royal Highness in an official capacity, a royal source said. It comes as he faces a US civil action over sexual assault allegations – claims he has consistently denied. A source close to the duke said he would “continue to defend himself” against the case brought in New York by Virginia Giuffre. But the source insisted a judge’s ruling on Wednesday that the civil action could proceed was “not a judgement … Continue reading Update: Prince Andrew loses military titles and use of HRH

Tragic: Terrorists on the rampage in Nigeria as 52 people are killed

Fifty-two persons have been killed in separate attacks on communities in Plateau and Niger states. While 18 persons were confirmed killed after gunmen attacked the Ncha community in the Bassa Local Government Area of Plateau State, gunmen on Wednesday attacked two communities in Niger State and killed 34 persons. The Niger State incident appeared to be reprisal as a few weeks ago some special hunters and local vigilantes killed scores of gunmen who were e terrorising the communities. The gunmen launched Wednesday’s attack on Nakuna and Wurukuchi communities when the villagers were on their farms harvesting produce. All the houses … Continue reading Tragic: Terrorists on the rampage in Nigeria as 52 people are killed

KFC faces boycott in China over meal toy promotion

A top Chinese consumer group has called for a boycott of a KFC meal promotion, saying it encourages food waste. The China Consumers Association (CCA) says the promotion sent some customers into a buying frenzy. KFC launched the promotion last week with Pop Mart, a Chinese toy maker known for its mystery boxes. Customers are able to collect limited edition versions of large-eyed and round-faced Dimoo dolls when buying certain KFC set meals. KFC “used limited-edition blind box sales to induce and condone consumers’ irrational and excessive purchase of meal sets, which goes against public order, good customs and the … Continue reading KFC faces boycott in China over meal toy promotion