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Hackers Demand Millions in Ransom for Stolen HBO Data


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Picture Courtesy: Genesis_3g/Pixabay

Hackers using the name “Mr. Smith” posted a fresh cache of stolen HBO files online Monday, and demanded that HBO pay a ransom of several million dollars to prevent further such releases.

The data dump included what appear to be scripts from five “Game of Thrones” episodes, including one upcoming episode, and a month’s worth of email from the account of Leslie Cohen, HBO’s vice president for film programming. There were also internal documents, including a report of legal claims against the network and job offer letters to top executives.

HBO, which previously acknowledged the theft of “proprietary information,” said it’s continuing to investigate and is working with police and cybersecurity experts. The network said Monday that it still doesn’t believe that its email system as a whole has been compromised.

This is the second data dump from the purported hacker. So far the HBO leaks have been limited, falling well short of the chaos inflicted on Sony in 2014. In that attack, hackers unearthed thousands of embarrassing emails and released personal information, including salaries and social security numbers, of nearly 50,000 current and former Sony employees.

Those behind the HBO hack claim to have more data, including scripts, upcoming episodes of HBO shows and movies, and information damaging to HBO.

In a video directed to HBO CEO Richard Plepler, “Mr. Smith” used white text on a black background to threaten further disclosures if HBO doesn’t pay up. To stop the leaks, the purported hackers demanded “our 6 month salary in bitcoin,” which they implied is at least $6 million.

News Courtesy: VOA NEWS

 

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13 Prisoners Dig Tunnel to Escape Guyana Jail


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Map Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Authorities in Guyana are hunting for 13 prisoners who escaped from custody, just weeks after another jailbreak.

Police in the South American country said the prisoners dug a tunnel disguised as a latrine under a high wall to escape Lusignan Prison, a minimum-security facility on the country’s east coast.

Lusignan Prison was recently fortified, after hundreds of inmates were transferred there from Georgetown Prison, a maximum-security institution that burned down after inmates set a fire to protest prison conditions and lengthy trial delays. Seventeen convicts died in the fire last year, and most of the hundreds of others formerly held at Georgetown have since been transferred to other facilities.

A senior police official said the 13 men who broke out between Sunday night and Monday morning were “real bad ones” and former Georgetown inmates, and he urged members of the public to be cautious.

Four other prisoners who escaped from what remains of the Georgetown Prison also are still on the loose. Using handguns smuggled into the jail, they shot their way out more than two weeks ago, killing a guard in the process.

News Courtesy: VOA NEWS

UNESCO Adds to List of World Heritage Sites


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Yazd, Iran World Heritage Site Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

A remote Iranian desert city, Ice Age-era caves in Germany and a stone wharf in Brazil built for arriving African slave ships are three new additions to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites.

The World Heritage Committee spent a week meeting in Kraków, Poland, to consider 34 significant historical and cultural sites to add to the list.

This year’s selections include the Iranian city of Yazd, which UNESCO describes as a “living testimony to the use of limited resources for survival in the desert.”

The city has managed to avoid so-called modernization that destroyed many similar Iranian towns, and has preserved its traditional homes, bazaars, mosques and synagogues.

Another site UNESCO added to the list is in the Swabian Jura in southern Germany, one of the areas in Europe where humans first arrived more than 40,000 years ago, during the last Ice Age. They settled in caves, first discovered in the 1860s, and where they created some of the oldest known figurative art.

The U.N. cultural organization said the ancient musical instruments and prehistoric carved figures of animals and humans found in the caves help shed light on the origins of human artistic development

UNESCO also placed the Valongo Wharf in central Rio de Janeiro on the World Heritage List. The stone wharves were built in the early 1800s for slave ships sailing from Africa to Brazil. UNESCO called the wharves “the most important physical trace of the arrival of African slaves on the American continent.”

UNESCO added the World Heritage designation to more than 22 sites during its weeklong meeting in Poland, including choices that were controversial.

They include the Hoh Xil area in the China’s Qinghai province, a traditionally Tibetan area. By designating this a World Heritage site, the International Camnpaign for Tibet, an advocacy group critical of China’s administration there, said UNESCO endorses the forced relocation of Tibetan nomads by Chinese authorities.

China has promised to preserve the traditions and cultural heritage of the Tibetan region.

UNESCO also designated the Old City and Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron as a Palestinian World Heritage Site, angering Israel.

The city is split between Israeli and Palestinian control with the Old City and tomb in the Israeli sector. The tomb is sacred to Jews, Muslims, and Christians. Israel accuses UNESCO of trying to hide Jewish ties to Hebron, while Palestinians contend Israel is seeking to undermine their history.
News Courtesy: VOA NEWS

 

Facebook Drone Could One Day Provide Global Internet Access


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Photo Courtesy: Flash Alexander

A solar-powered drone backed by Facebook that could one day provide worldwide internet access has quietly completed a test flight in Arizona after an earlier attempt ended with a crash landing.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s long-term plan for the drone, called Aquila, is to have it and others provide internet access to 4 billion people around the world who are currently in the dark.

“When Aquila is ready, it will be a fleet of solar-powered planes that will beam internet connectivity across the world,” he wrote on Facebook.

The drone’s second flight was completed in May at Yuma Proving Ground, The Yuma Sun reported.

The drone flew with more sensors, new spoilers and a horizontal propeller stopping system to help it better land after the crash in December. It was in the air for an hour and 46 minutes and elevated 3,000 feet (910 meters).

The drone flew with the engineering team watching a live stream from a helicopter chasing the drone, said Martin Luis Gomez, Facebook’s director of aeronautical platforms.

The team was thrilled with the outcome, Gomez said.

“The improvements we implemented based on Aquila’s performance during its first test flight made a significant difference in this flight,” he said.

The drone weighs about 1,000 pounds (450 kilograms) and has a longer wingspan than a Boeing 747.

The drone runs mostly on autopilot, but there are manned ground crews to manage certain maneuvers.

“We successfully gathered a lot of data to help us optimize Aquila’s efficiency,” Zuckerberg said. “No one has ever built an unmanned airplane,”

Text Courtesy: VOA NEWS

Media Watch: Pedophile Arrested


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Screenshot of the website of Limerick Leader, Ireland

Web Link: http://www.limerickleader.ie/news/home/253844/man-had-images-and-videos-of-child-porn-at-limerick-city-apartment.html

Media Watch: Crime against Humanity


Web Link: http://siberiantimes.com/other/others/news/skin-and-bones-boy-aged-11-rescued-after-weighing-in-at-just-11-kg-due-to-food-torture/

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Screen shot of the website of The Siberian Times, Russia

Pick of the Day: Chill Out!


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Photo Courtesy: Vera Kratochvil

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Photo Courtesy: Petr Kratochvil

 

 

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