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Donald Trump Troubles Facebook’s Libra Coin

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US President Donald Trump recently tweeted and warned Facebook Inc. over its plan of creating the digital currency, the Libra.

In these series of posts, Trump criticized the virtual currencies or rather cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Facebook’s proposed Libra digital coin and others. Trump in the tweet demanded that companies seek a banking charter and make themselves subject to the US and global regulations if they wanted to “become a bank“.

The Federal Reserve Chair, Jerome Powell also raised “serious concern” over the upcoming digital coin Libra earlier this week. While testifying before the House Financial Services Committee, Powell raised serious objections on Facebook cryptocurrency scheduled to arrive in 2020, adding “I just think it cannot go forward without there being broad satisfaction with the way the company has addressed money laundering” and other issues. Jerome Powell also added, “Libra raises many serious concerns regarding privacy, money laundering, consumer protection, and financial stability.”

The lawmakers at The White House have reportedly asked Facebook to cease all development of its Libra cryptocurrency, in a new letter sent to Facebook executives. Facebook declined to comment on these topics.

The Libra Association

Facebook in the last month said that it would launch its global cryptocurrency, Libra in 2020. Facebook and all of its 28 partners, including Mastercard Inc, PayPal Holdings Inc, and Uber Technologies Inc, would form the Libra Association to govern the new coin. No banks are currently a part of the Libra Association. JPMorgan Chase & Co, the largest US bank by assets, also plans to launch its own digital coins in the near future.

After having an uncertain history with ups and downs last year, Bitcoin, the world’s most-traded cryptocurrency, has soared more than 300% in 2019.

The market reaction to Trump’s comments was quiet. Bitcoin was trading at $11,400 as of 10 p.m. in Washington, which changed a little after the tweet of Trump. The cryptocurrency Bitcoin has more than tripled this year, recovering most of its losses from the 2018 crash, this could only be possible as Libra project helped revive investor interest in digital assets.

The virtual coin named Libra will be built on a Blockchain infrastructure accessible from anywhere in the world. Facebook and all of its partners on the project Libra have set up a non-profit organization in Switzerland to govern its payment network and will hold a reserve of bank deposits and short-term government securities that will back the coin, according to the document provided.

Trump’s Economical Nationalism

Trump framed his cryptocurrency skepticism in terms of economic nationalism as he tweeted later that :

The Democratic Majority leading the US House Committee on Financial Services circulated a proposal to all the tech giants, stating that the proposal includes preventing large tech firms such as Facebook from issuing cryptocurrencies or providing financial services to its users. According to the sources, the proposal is currently under discussion. Violating such regulations mentioned in the proposal would cost tech firms a mammoth fine of $1 million a day, according to the proposed bill. Facebook has always been attacked by regulators across the globe, mainly because of its privacy concerns.

These proceedings have increased the heat in the crypto-market and the effect is expected to be seen soon. Till then let us wait for the reply and decisions that Facebook would take for securing it’s Libra Project. Keep connected with us to be updated with the latest and trending news every day.

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Mexico In Outrage As Picture Of Mutilated Body Of A Murdered Woman Published

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In Mexico, a 25-year-old woman was brutally killed and mutilated has sparked outrage after a leaked picture of the victim’s disfigured body gets a space in the front pages of newspapers and in digital news websites. The public has demanded the country’s laws to be changed after the picture gets leaked by media outlets.

On Sunday, authorities announced that police arrived at Ingrid Escamilla’s home in Mexico City and found her dead skinned corpse where few of her organs were missing. This was considered to be a part of the ongoing streak of violent crimes against women in Mexico. A man of 46 years was arrested as he was covered in blood was also found near the scene.

Leaked videos and photos have come up where a bloodied man was found confessing of killing the woman after a heated argument where the woman threatened to kill him. He claimed to skin her further to remove evidence. It is unclear whether the man was had legal representation.

According to the Mexico City’s mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, the prosecutors would demand maximum sentence against the alleged perpetrator who in views of the police was the woman’s husband. She says that femicide is an absolute condemnable crime where hatred reached an extreme like in the case of Escamilla.

But what sparked the actual outrage was the release of the leaked photo of the victim’s body in local tabloids and digital news websites. Pasala was one of the papers that showed the photos on the front page with a headline that said: “It was Cupid’s fault.” Several activists are on streets calling for a change in the way cases of violence is reported or handled by newspapers and media outlets. This included Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador who has remained critical over the response to the killing.

On the other hand, Mexico City Prosecutor’s office is looking to investigate civil servants over the leak and making it a crime to distribute images of victims. On Thursday, López Obrador in a press conference asked for punishment for leaking the pictures especially when the country has an increase of 137 per cent in femicides it is necessary such cases are handled sensitively.

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Leaked Report Reveals France As Brazil’s Biggest Threat

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According to a secret report published in a Brazilian media on Friday, in the next 20 years, Brazil’s biggest military threat is expected to be France who could invade Amazon in 2035. The French embassy jokingly put down the words saying that they salute the limitless imagination of the report. Experts believe that this report could add another chapter to the troubled relations of Brazil and France which might redefine the foreign policy strategy.

Brazil’s military elite have their minds preoccupied with France after the last August diplomatic spat between French President Emmanuel Macron and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. According to a premier daily Folha de São Paulo sourced a leaked highest rank and file a military document that said that France would be the country’s biggest threat in 20 years due to the possible dispute over the Amazon.

The 45-page long document named “Defence scenarios 2040” was drafted based on interviews with 500 high ranked army officials who explained their biggest concerns and predictions during individual interviews. But the Embassy of France in Brasilia reacts immediately moments later on twitter saying that they salute the unlimited imaginations of the authors of the document.

According to the article published by Folha de São Paulo, the individual interviews were conducted during the meeting at the Defence Ministry’s Superior School of War which were then compiled to form a 20-year long foreign policy strategy which outlined few possible scenarios. It includes few other delirious hypotheses like organised coronavirus attack in 2039 Rock in Rio music festival by Southeast Asian ultranationalists.

Although the document mentioned four strategic scenarios France was a common threat to all after the Amazon fires hit headlines shocked the world. But the document omits the fact that France is Brazil’s main military partner. Bolsonaro was criticised by Macron for his environmental policies in August. But somehow the scenarios for the next 20 years seem to align with President Bolsonaro’s current agenda which increased international ties between the US and Israel.

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Brazilian Cultural Secretary To Be Sacked After He Echoes Goebbels

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Brazil is set to sack Culture Secretary Roberto Alvim after his video was posted on the ministry’s Twitter page that has gone viral causing a huge outrage as he used parts of speech that were used by infamous Nazi Germany’s propaganda leader Joseph Goebbels.

Released on Thursday, the video announced prizes for heroic and national art which quickly goes viral due to using wordplay similar to Goebbels. An anonymous source tells Reuters that the government plans to remove him from the office which was informed to the congressional leaders.

Alvim a former theatre director was appointed last year by President Jair Bolsonaro who was a far-right leader. He has now been urged to fire Alvim. Alvim was also a former army captain who was filled with a conservative social agenda and claimed that artists and cultural productions(schoolbooks and movies) were filled with left-wing bias.

He announced the prizes while music played in the background which was Hitler’s favourite music from Wagner Opera. During the six-minute video detailing National Arts Awards, Alvim tells that next decade Brazilian art would be national, heroic and imperative.

His speech was similar to that of Goebbel’s who was the propaganda boss of Hitler. He then told theatre directors during the Nazi regime that German art in the coming decade would be heroic, wildly romantic, objective, free of sentimentality, national with great pathos and equally being imperative and binding.

Alvim on Facebook claims that this similarity is just mere rhetorical coincidence with one sentence being similar to that of Goebbels and he would never dare quote Goebbels. He also said that the whole speech was based to create a nationalistic ideal for Brazilian art. Yet he even added that this phrase was perfect as heroism and aspiration of people is what he was looking for in national art.

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Venezuela Regime Resorts to Kidnapping 8-year-old to Catch Escaped Uncle

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The Venezuelan political crisis has reached its rock bottom when the Organization of American States (OAS) denounced the regime of Nicolas Maduro to stooping to too low enough to kidnap a family along with an eight-year-old who is the nephew of a National Guard captain who has escaped the so-called escape-proof military prison.

OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro tweeted on Wednesday night demanding that dictatorship of Venezuela should take care of the denunciation about the kidnapping of Captain Anyelo Heredia’s family and release information about the same.

On December 24th 2019, Captain Heredia was able to escape from Ramo Verde near Caracas which was considered to be the first-ever reported escape from this military prison. No one was even aware of the escape before 25th December. Two prison guards who are claimed to be connected with the event have been taken into custody. Ramo Verde had the reputation of holding political prisoners like Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma who later escaped house arrest after shifting from there.

On January 1st, Heredia’s relatives, neighbours were also kidnapped along with his underage nephew. Several activists in Caracas say that the general of the directorate for military counterintelligence also know as DGCIM arrived at the house where Heredia’s parents lived and kidnapped father Julio Heredia(80), mother Gervacia de Heredia(76) and sister Anyi Heredia, brother-in-law Air Force Sargent Oscar Martinez and his nephew Samuel Martinez along with their neighbour Blanca Contreras.

According to PROVEA, a human rights NGO, Venezuela enters 2020 with 388 political prisoners which is an all-time high. They even said that DGCIM was one of the top agencies to use torture with around 62 per cent of all incidents practised by its agents. Repression under Maduro’s regime does not spare anyone not even children. Around 10 per cent of all people killed during protests in 2017 were minors.

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Saddened by US Airstrikes, Iraqi Protestors Storm US Embassy

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On Tuesday, after the deadly airstrikes carried out by the US that killed 25 fighters from an Iran supported militia in Iraq, hundreds of mourners and protestors storm the US embassy in Baghdad. The crowd tried to enter the embassy cried “Down, Down USA! Death to America! and Death to Israel! Water bottles were tossed and security CCTV cameras outside were destroyed by the protestors.

The US military carried out the airstrikes this Sunday against the Iranian supported militia named Kataeb Hezbollah claiming it to be a retaliation for the killing of an American contractor last week in a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base which was blamed on the group.

This US airstrike was the largest attack that targeted an Iraqi state-sanctioned militia in recent years and this call for retaliation represents another escalation in the US recent proxy-war against Iran in the Middle East.

The attempted storming on the US embassy took place after several mourners left the funerals held for the militia fighters killed in the Baghdad area. They marched straight through the heavily fortified Green Zone and kept marching till the US Embassy there.

In words of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo the airstrike send a message to Iran that the US will not tolerate actions caused by Iran that jeopardize American lives. On the other hand, the Iran-backed Iraqi militia has vowed revenge on Monday to retaliate for the US airstrikes that killed 25 and wounded several of their own people.

Other than the militia even the Iraqi government is outraged by the US attacks and says it will reconsider its relationship with the US-led coalition. The attack was called a “flagrant violation of its sovereignty” by the Iraqi government. It was the first time they said so after signing the agreement to a certain amount of US troops in the country.

According to Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi statement in a partly televised meeting, he has told the cabinet members that he did try to stop the US attack operation but there seems to be insistence from American officials.

The US military said that the strikes were precise and were conducted in five sites that are said to have Kataeb Hezbollah or the Hezbollah Brigades in Iraq and Syria. This group is separate from the Lebanese militancy group with the name Hezbollah and it operates under the Popular Mobilization Forces which is an umbrella of the state-sanctioned militia of which many are supported by Iran.

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Microsoft takes control American, Japanese, South Korean Domains after attack from North Korean Hackers

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On Monday, a North Korean Hacker group called Thallium hacked into web domains with the target of launching a cyberattack on human rights activism. The targetted activists, researchers, government employees, think tanks, university staff etc., leading Microsoft to take control of the hacked domains. Most of the above-mentioned targets were based in the United States of America, Japan and South Korea.

According to Microsoft’s statement, the US federal court allowed the company to take control of over 50 domains that fell into the attack by Thallium. It was further found out that Thallium used the hacking technique known as “spear phishing,” where they used credible-looking emails that can fool you to believe that they are legitimate.

They illegally used Microsoft brands and trademarks to make the mails look credible. As soon as they got the target victim’s credentials, they can hack into anything and access their emails, phone calls, contacts, calendar appointments, forward new mails and utilise any other relevant data.

According to Tom Burt, Microsoft’s vice-president for customer security and trust, this network was used to target and compromise victim’s security and online accounts while infecting their computers to steal sensitive information by using Malware.

The company said this was the fourth nation-state group against whom Microsoft took legal action. Before that, there were similar operations done by nation-state groups from China, Russia and Iran that were dubbed as Barium, Strontium and Phosphorus.

Cybercrimes are a constant problem with smaller-scale crimes and attacks happening in different places. By hacking into one car, one can hack all vehicles in the city. Building and trading cyberweapons like malware are commonly making it easy to access if you know where to find.

There are several countermeasures being taken by governments and companies but some might lack basic stuff. Yet, there is a hack every 39 seconds making cybercrime more profitable than the illegal drug trade. Traditional firewall and antivirus are of no use as the hackers grow so do technology need to grow.

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