Dhaka, Sept 20 (UNB) - The number of the country's total internet users is now 9.05 crore, according to statistics published on Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC)'s website on Thursday.
The BTRC released its statistics updated till the end of August.
Among them, 8.47 crore are mobile phone internet users, 57.33 lakh are broadband internet (ISP + PSTN) users and the rest 83,000 are WiMax users.
The total number of internet subscribers reached 8.89 crore at the end of July.
Berlin, Sep 20 (AP/UNB) — Germans are beginning to embrace electric cars, with experts predicting the country will have a million hybrid or battery-electric vehicles on the road by 2022.
The government originally aimed to have that many e-cars in Germany by 2020, but slow uptake in the land of the Autobahn forced it to abandon that goal.
A government advisory panel said Wednesday that recent additional financial incentives for buyers have helped provide the necessary jolt for Germany to reach the million mark two years late.
Official figures show some 460,000 electric or hybrid cars in Germany last month, and about 13,500 publicly accessible charging stations.
German automakers, shaken by the diesel emissions scandal, now have 33 electric or hybrid cars on offer, a figure the industry expects to triple in the coming years.
Tokyo, Sep 19 (AP/UNB) — The Japanese billionaire who Tesla chief Elon Musk says plans to blast off on the first-ever private commercial space trip aboard the SpaceX Big Falcon Rocket often makes headlines in Japan. The SpaceX mission, set for takeoff in 2023, is just the latest exploit in tycoon Yusaku Maezawa's colorful and ambitious career:
Maezawa, 42, is the chief executive of Start Today Co., which he founded in 1998 as a CD sales business when he was still in his 20s. The company pioneered e-commerce in Japan and now runs the popular fashion mall Zozotown, selling various, relatively affordable clothing brands. Annual sales totaled more than 98 billion yen ($890 million) in the fiscal year that ended in March.
Forbes magazine estimates Maezawa's wealth at $2.9 billion. In a nation where billionaires are relatively rare, he gets attention for his celebrity friends and for zipping around in a private jet and fleet of sports cars. Such flamboyance is uncommon in a country where even very rich men often keep a low profile.
Maezawa's trademark defiant but disarming style may be rooted in his start as a musician, playing drums in indie rock bands. The punk band he was in, called Switch Style, signed with a major Japanese record label. He opted out of attending prestigious Waseda University in Tokyo to pursue music and then started his own business selling imported CDs. The name of his company was inspired by the title of an album by the American punk band Gorilla Biscuits.
Maezawa has invested lavishly in art, collecting works by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol, among others, and in designer-brand furniture from abroad. He paid $110.5 million for Basquiat's 1982 painting of a graffiti-like black and blue rendition of a human skull, a record price for an American artist, at a Sotheby's auction last year. "When I saw this painting, I was struck with so much excitement and gratitude for my love of art," Maezawa said at the time. He had set the previous auction record for a Basquiat, in 2016, when he paid $57.3 million.
Maezawa recently has been dating Japanese actress Ayame Goriki. He previously had a widely publicized relationship with model and actress Saeko, the ex-wife of major league baseball player Yu Darvish. In a recent tweet, when someone asked whether he was going to get married soon, Maezawa replied, "No."
Maezawa has recently shown off a wearable technology called the Zozosuit, the centerpiece of his Zozo fashion brand. Customers first order a black, body-hugging outfit covered with white dots. They then take a smartphone photo wearing the outfit which is used to do a full body scan, determining shapes and sizes with a special app. Choices are still limited to basic pants and shirts for now, but that could change.
Maezawa says the planned trip to space is a way "to inspire the dreamer in all of us." He plans to take six or eight artists, architects and designers with him. He hasn't said who they might be or how much he is paying for the trip. The idea is for those creative minds to see the moon up close and planet Earth from afar. Maezawa says he has often wondered what Basquiat might have drawn if he had traveled into space. "I choose to go to the moon, with artists," Maezawa tweeted both in Japanese and English.
Dubai, Sep 19 (AP/UNB) — An Iranian government-aligned group of hackers launched a major campaign targeting Mideast energy firms and others ahead of U.S. sanctions on Iran, a cybersecurity firm said Tuesday, warning further attacks remain possible as America re-imposes others on Tehran.
While the firm FireEye says the so-called "spear-phishing" email campaign only involves hackers stealing information from infected computers, it involves a similar type of malware previously used to inject a program that destroyed tens of thousands of terminals in Saudi Arabia.
The firm warns that raises the danger level ahead of America re-imposing crushing sanctions on Iran's oil industry in early November.
"Whenever we see Iranian threat groups active in this region, particularly in line with geopolitical events, we have to be concerned they might either be engaged in or pre-positioning for a disruptive attack," Alister Shepherd, a director for a FireEye subsidiary, told The Associated Press.
Iran's mission to the United Nations rejected FireEye's report, calling it "categorically false."
"Iran's cyber capabilities are purely defensive, and these claims made by private firms are a form of false advertising designed to attract clients," the mission said in a statement. "They should not be taken at face value."
FireEye, which often works with governments and large corporations, refers to the group of Iranian hackers as APT33, an acronym for "advanced persistent threat." APT33 used phishing email attacks with fake job opportunities to gain access to the companies affected, faking domain names to make the messages look legitimate. Analysts described the emails as "spear-phishing" as they appear targeted in nature.
FireEye first discussed the group last year around the same time. This year, the company briefed journalists after offering presentations to potential government clients in Dubai at a luxury hotel and yacht club on the man-made, sea-horse-shaped Daria Island.
While acknowledging their sales pitch, FireEye warned of the danger such Iranian government-aligned hacking groups pose. Iran is believed to be behind the spread of Shamoon in 2012, which hit Saudi Arabian Oil Co. and Qatari natural gas producer RasGas. The virus deleted hard drives and then displayed a picture of a burning American flag on computer screens. Saudi Aramco ultimately shut down its network and destroyed over 30,000 computers.
A second version of Shamoon raced through Saudi government computers in late 2016, this time making the destroyed computers display a photograph of the body of 3-year-old Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi, who drowned fleeing his country's civil war.
But Iran first found itself as a victim of a cyberattack. Iran developed its cyber capabilities in 2011 after the Stuxnet computer virus destroyed thousands of centrifuges involved in Iran's contested nuclear program. Stuxnet is widely believed to be an American and Israeli creation.
APT33's emails haven't been destructive. However, from July 2 through July 29, FireEye saw "a by-factors-of-10 increase" in the number of emails the group sent targeting their clients, Shepherd said. The actual number of attacks likely was even larger as FireEye's figures only include their own clients.
The emails, pretending to be from a Mideast oil and gas company, targeted organizations in the Mideast, North America and Japan. The recipients included companies involved in the oil and gas industry, utilities, insurance, manufacturing and education, FireEye said.
Several clues lead FireEye to believe APT33 has the backing of Iran's government. The hackers uses Farsi, work an Iranian workweek of Saturday through Wednesday and correspond during Iranian office hours, FireEye said. Its list of targets also includes American firms in petrochemicals and aviation, as well as allied nations, like members of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, Shepherd said. The GCC encompasses Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
"Since we started tracking APT33 in 2013, their sophistication has definitely improved. . We wouldn't put them on the same level as some of the more-sophisticated Russian groups, for instance, in terms of capability," Shepherd told the AP. "But they are a very capable group and they manage to meet their objectives, which is to compromise institutions in both the government and private sector and steal data."
Dhaka, Sept 18 (UNB) – Bangladesh Communication Satellite Company Limited (BCSCL) has appointed Thai firm Thaicom Public Limited Company as the consultant for commercially launching the activities of Bangladesh’s first geostationary communications satellite Bangabandhu-1 abroad.
BCSCL Chairman Shahjahan Mahmood told UNB on Tuesday that they hired the Thai firm for the next two years for expanding the commercial activities of the satellite.
He said Thaicom Public Limited Company will work for developing coordinated market for the satellite.
Earlier, Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology Minister Mustafa Jabbar said Thales Alenia Space which developed the Bangabandhu-1 will hand over the satellite to Bangladesh within this month and its commercial activities will start at the end of the month.
State Minister for Information Tarana Halim had also said her ministry has urged all private television channels to use the Bangladeshi satellite alongside BTV for broadcasting their programmes.
Bangladesh entered the elite Space Club of 57 nations with the launch of its first geostationary communications satellite into the orbit by US space transport company SpaceX on May 12.
The satellite was launched using the latest version of SpaceX's upgraded Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket, from the historic Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral.
Two ground stations -– one in Betbunia of Rangamati and the other at Joydevpur of Gazipur -– have been set up to control the satellite.