Moscow, Dec 20 (AP/UNB) — Three astronauts returned to Earth Thursday after more than six months aboard the International Space Station.
A Russian Soyuz capsule with NASA's Serena Aunon-Chancellor, Russian Sergey Prokopyev and German astronaut Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency landed on the snow-covered steppes in Kazakhstan, about 140 kilometers (87 miles) southeast of the city of Dzhezkazgan. They touched down a minute ahead of schedule at 11:02 a.m. local time (0502 GMT; 12:02 a.m. EST).
The crew radioed that they were feeling fine. Russian rescue teams in helicopters and all-terrain vehicles rushed to the landing site to extract the astronauts from the capsule charred by a fiery ride through atmosphere.
The trio has spent 197 days in space. It was the first mission for Aunon-Chancellor and Prokopyev, while Gerst flew his second to a total of 362 days in orbit, setting the ESA's flight duration record.
The rescue crews helped the crew in their balky space suits leave the capsule and conducted an initial medical examination. The astronauts will be taken to Dzhezkazgan for a brief welcome ceremony before being flown to their respective countries for more thorough check-ups.
NASA astronaut Anne McClain, Russian Oleg Kononenko and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency, who have arrived at the station earlier this month, are set to remain in orbit until June.
Bangkok, Dec 20 (AP/UNB) — Facebook has announced its third and biggest purge of military-linked accounts in Myanmar, where critics have charged that the social network did too little to block inflammatory material that fueled communal hatred and violence, particularly against the country's Muslim Rohingya minority.
The social media giant said in a statement Wednesday that it had removed 425 Facebook pages, 17 groups and 135 accounts in Myanmar for engaging in "coordinated inauthentic behavior," meaning they misrepresented who was running the provocative accounts. It also removed 15 Instagram accounts.
Some 700,000 Rohingya fled their homes in western Myanmar since last year in response to a brutal counterinsurgency campaign by the military, which has been accused of massive human rights violations. Rights activists and U.N. investigators have charged that the military in Buddhist-dominated Myanmar was carrying out a policy of ethnic cleansing, or even genocide.
"As part of our ongoing investigations into this type of behavior in Myanmar, we discovered that these seemingly independent news, entertainment, beauty and lifestyle Pages were linked to the Myanmar military, and to the Pages we removed for coordinated inauthentic behavior in Myanmar in August," said Facebook's statement. "This kind of behavior is not allowed on Facebook under our misrepresentation policy because we don't want people or organizations creating networks of accounts to mislead others about who they are, or what they're doing."
In its initial action in August to fight the problem, Facebook said it had banned Myanmar's powerful military chief and 19 other individuals and organizations in order to "prevent the spread of hate and misinformation."
Last month, Facebook admitted that it didn't do enough to prevent its services from being used to incite violence and spread hate in Myanmar.
It was reacting to a report it commissioned from the nonprofit group Business for Social Responsibility, which said that "A minority of users is seeking to use Facebook as a platform to undermine democracy and incite offline violence, including serious crimes under international law."
Washington, Dec 20 (AP/UNB) — The District of Columbia has fired the latest legal salvo against Facebook with a lawsuit seeking to punish the social networking company for allowing data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica to improperly access data from as many as 87 million users .
The complaint filed Wednesday by Washington, D.C., Attorney General Karl Racine alleges that Facebook misled users about the security of their data and failed for years to properly monitor third-party apps.
"We're seeking to hold Facebook accountable for jeopardizing and exposing the personal information of tens of millions of its users," Racine said. "We hope this lawsuit will ensure Facebook takes better care with its data."
Facebook said it's reviewing the complaint and will continue to hold discussions with Racine and attorneys general scattered across the country who have raised red flags about the company's mishandling of personal information.
The lawsuit is the latest blow to Facebook in a year fraught with privacy scandals and other problems for the world's biggest social network.
Facebook already has been buried in an avalanche of other lawsuits filed in federal and state courts, as well as regulatory investigations in both U.S. and Europe into whether the company has violated laws by repeatedly allowing unauthorized access to the personal information of the nearly 2.3 billion people on its private network.
Most of the headaches began in March after revelations that Cambridge Analytica, which had been working with the 2016 campaign of President Donald Trump, had been able to vacuum up potentially valuable information about U.S. voters off of Facebook profiles.
That bombshell triggered congressional hearings and changes in what sorts of data Facebook lets outside developers access.
The Washington lawsuit alleges that about half of the District of Columbia's roughly 700,000 residents had their data scooped up by Cambridge Analytica in violation of local laws. That is a relatively small number, but the case could attract outsized attention, given it will unfold in the nation's capital, where U.S. lawmakers are mulling imposing new regulations restricting how much personal information Facebook and other internet companies can collect on their mostly free services.
"Every time we see another lawsuit, or investigation, it helps keep attention on what has been happening and should help create a framework for holding Facebook accountable," said Mike Chapple, an associate teaching professor of information technology, analytics and operations at the University of Notre Dame. "People are getting fed up with having their information mishandled."
It remains unclear, however, whether the allegations that are being made against Facebook in the District of Columbia and in other complaints were against the law at the time, said Dora Kingsley Vertenten, professor of public policy at the University of Southern California.
"It looks like they are throwing spaghetti against the wall and seeing what sticks," she said.
Facebook has repeatedly assured lawmakers, regulators and the media that it is battening down its hatches in an effort to do a better job preventing unauthorized access to the pictures, thoughts and other personal information that its nearly 2.3 billion users typically intend to share only with friends and family.
But revelations of more privacy lapses continue to crop up, sometimes through breakdowns that Facebook has periodically disclosed, such as a software flaw that improperly exposed the photos of about 7 million users, or other times though media investigations such as a New York Times report documenting the company's agreements to share its audience's information with its partners, including Microsoft and Netflix.
With each breakdown, Facebook risks losing credibility with both its audience and the advertisers whose spending generates most of the company's revenue. That threat has spooked investors, causing Facebook's stock price to plunge by more than 24 percent so far this year, wiping out more than $100 billion in shareholder wealth.
Some of the lawsuits allege Facebook misled investors as its privacy problems unfolded. Other lawsuits, as well as regulatory inquiries by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the Irish Data Protection Commission, are focused on Facebook's sharing of personal information with other companies. Depending on how they turn out, the lawsuits and government probes could cost Facebook billions of dollars more in penalties.
Dhaka, Dec 19 (UNB)- Huawei’s rotating chairman Ken Hu expressed his confidence over company’s business growth and other prospects.
Attending a press conference with leading global media at the company's new campus in Dongguan on Tuesday Ken Hu directly addressed the recent allegations against Huawei, stating that it is best to let the facts speak for themselves.
The journalists present at the conference visited R&D labs showcasing materials and thermal management technologies, as well as an independent cyber security lab. Huawei also revealed plans to launch security center and improve software engineering with an investment of 2 billion dollar.
“When it comes to security, we need to let the facts speak for themselves, Huawei’s record on security is clean,” said Ken Hu. Over 30 years, the company has never had a serious cyber security issue or seen any evidence showing its equipment is a security threat: “We have a solid track record,” Hu stated during a press conference at its headquarters in Shenzhen.
The rotating chairman added the company is keenly aware it has to be proactive with governments, local communities and its customers, but argued: “this is what we have been doing, and we are willing to take additional steps compared to our peers in the industry.”
“We will not relax. As technology becomes more complex and networks become more open, we will continue to increase our investment in security related efforts”, he said.
Dhaka, Dec 19 (UNB) – Network jammer devices and illegally imported mobile handsets, worth an estimated Tk 60 lakh, were seized during a drive in the city’s Baitul Mukarram Market on Wednesday.
Eleven people were arrested during the joint drive of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission and Rapid Action Battalion. It was led by Lt Col Md Aminul Hoque, spectrum department director at BTRC, and Executive Magistrate Md Sarowar Alam of RAB.
Fourteen mobile network jamming devices and 293 handsets were seized from eight shops of the market. Ten cases were filed against the shops while two men were fined Tk 6,00,000.
The detainees were given different jail terms.