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Jakarta, Nov 28: Indonesian authorities on Tuesday extended the closure of Bali’s main airport for a further 24 hours amid fears of an imminent major eruption of the island’s Mount Agung volcano.

“The closure of I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport is extended. The airport is closed until Wednesday… Evaluations continue to be made by the airport authorities,” director of information for the Indonesian National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB), Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, said in a statement, news agency IANS quoted.

Nugroho also highlighted that Agung continues to erupt and spew water vapour and ash between 2,000 and 3,400 metres high above the crater, in addition to the seismic activity in the area, reports Efe news.

A report from the local aviation authority indicated that “the plane routes have been covered by volcanic ash”, which could affect the engines of the carrier and lead to an accident.

Yesterday, the airport cancelled 445 domestic and international flights, leaving at least 59,000 passengers stranded.

The authorities reported on Monday that they planned to evacuate between 90,000 and 100,000 people living in a safety radius of 10 km around Mount Agung, after the Centre for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM) raised the eruption alert to the peak level.

At least 22 towns near the mountain have been affected by the ash, and following this the authorities have suggested the use of protective masks for the population.

Located in the east of the island, in Karangasem district, Mount Agung is far away from most tourist attractions.

This is Mount Agung’s first volcanic eruption since 1963, when the ejection of magma lasted almost a year and claimed more than 1,100 lives.

According to official data, Bali is the main tourist destination in Indonesia, with an annual influx of around 5.4 million foreign tourists.

Wefornews Bureau 

World

H1B workers in crosshairs of US lawsuit against Facebook

“These U.S. workers were denied an opportunity to be considered for the jobs Facebook sought to channel to temporary visa holders,” it said.

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New York: H1B workers find themselves in the crosshairs of a new US Justice Department lawsuit against Facebook alleging that the giant social media platform discriminated against American workers and favoured foreign workers to fill more than 2,600 jobs with an average salary of approximately $156,000.

Facebook, according to the lawsuit, sponsored the temporary visa holders for “green cards” authorizing them to work permanently. The case is the result of a “nearly two-year investigation”, the Justice Department said in a December 3 statement.

The US Justice Department claims that during the period of investigation, “Facebook received zero or one U.S. worker applicants for 99.7 percent of its PERM positions, while comparable positions at Facebook that were advertised on its careers website during a similar time period typically attracted 100 or more applicants each.”

“These U.S. workers were denied an opportunity to be considered for the jobs Facebook sought to channel to temporary visa holders,” it said.

The case comes smack in the middle of the Donald Trump presidency’s lame duck priod. H1B visa workers who spoke with IANS on background are shrugging off the latest development as another sample of the Trump administration “howling at the wind”, trying to discredit legal immigrants on its way out the door.

The Joe Biden administration takes over in January next year.

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Azerbaijan says 2,783 soldiers killed in Nagorno-Karabakh fighting

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Nagorno Karabakh

Azerbaijan said Thursday that nearly 2,800 of its soldiers were killed in recent fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh, the first details it has released of military losses in weeks of clashes with Armenian forces.

The defence ministry in Baku said in a statement that “2,783 servicemen of the Azerbaijani armed forces were killed in the patriotic war,” adding that 100 more soldiers were missing.

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Criminal networks could try to sell fake COVID vaccines physically and on internet, warns Interpol

The Interpol has asked police organisations to ensure “the safety of the supply chain” and said “identifying illicit websites selling fake products will be essential”.

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Vaccine

New Delhi, December 3: The Interpol has warned law enforcement agencies across the globe that organised criminal networks could try to advertise and sell fake COVID-19 vaccines physically and on the internet.

In an Orange notice issued to all 194 member countries on Wednesday, the Lyon-based international police cooperation body warned agencies to prepare for potential criminal activity in relation to “the falsification, theft and illegal advertising of COVID-19 and flu vaccines”.

“It also includes examples of crimes where individuals have been advertising, selling and administering fake vaccines,” a statement from the Interpol said.

The Interpol issues an Orange notice to warn of an event, a person, an object or a process representing a serious and imminent threat to public safety.

The CBI, which is the national central bureau for India, is tasked with coordination with the Interpol.

The warning came on the day the UK became the first Western nation to approve a COVID-19 vaccine, vaulting past the US and the European Union in the race to approve a vaccine.

The Interpol has asked police organisations to ensure “the safety of the supply chain” and said “identifying illicit websites selling fake products will be essential”.

“Criminal networks will also be targeting unsuspecting members of the public via fake websites and false cures, which could pose a significant risk to their health, even their lives,” Interpol Secretary General Jurgen Stock said in a statement.

“It is essential that law enforcement is as prepared as possible for what will be an onslaught of all types of criminal activity linked to the COVID-19 vaccine, which is why INTERPOL has issued this global warning,” the official said.

The Interpol cybercrime unit has analysed that of 3,000 websites associated with online pharmacies suspected of selling illicit medicines and medical devices, around 1,700 contained cyber threats, especially phishing and spamming malware making such operators even more potent of causing financial and health harms.

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