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Fresh clashes break out in Syria

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Damascus, Oct 26 Renewed clashes between Kurdish and Turkish forces erupted in northern Syria, as the Russia-backed Syrian government moved troops into the area around the town of Kobani, located on the Turkish border . Up to 1,300 Syrian government forces and at least 160 vehicles arrived at the said border.

Following a pact struck between Ankara and Moscow this week, Turkish forces suspended a military campaign against the Kurds, whom Ankara regards as a terrorist threat, on Wednesday, giving Kurdish fighters 150 hours to leave a 20-mile-deep belt that Turkey calls a safe zone, reports Efe news.

Nonetheless, since Thursday morning, Turkey and its local allies have been conducting a ground assault including artillery shelling on several border villages, forcing thousands of civilians to flee, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said.

Under the Turkey-Russia agreement, Russian and Syrian security forces would oversee the withdrawal of Kurdish fighters, some of whom have already started to leave, from the safe zone and conduct joint patrols in parts of the area.

Turkish drones attacked southeast of the border town of Ras al-Ain on Thursday and Friday, killing at least one SDF fighter, according to David Eubank, a US humanitarian worker volunteering with the Kurdish-led forces.

“These Turkish airstrikes have not stopped any day during this so-called ceasefire. Along with the Free Syrian Army, they attacked all day yesterday (Friday) from noon until night,” Eubank said on Saturday, referring to Turkish-backed Syrian rebels.

Eight Turkish-backed troops and three SDF fighters were killed on Friday, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an independent monitoring group.

Three nurses working with an ambulance team were killed by Turkish-backed rebels, and their bodies discovered in a water sewage system on Thursday, the Kurdish Red Crescent said.

On Friday, the Russian Defense Ministry said it has sent around 300 more military police officers from Chechnya to the Syrian-Turkish border area.

Any effort by Turkey to push beyond that area would risk US sanctions, administration officials have said.

World

Six French tourists among eight killed by gunmen in Niger

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PARIS, Aug 9 : Six French tourists were among a group of eight people killed by gunmen in Niger, AFP reported on Sunday, citing a local governor.

Eight people including six French and two Nigeriens were killed Sunday by armed men who came on motorcycles in the Kouré area in Niger, which is home to the last herds of West African giraffes, an official source has learned. .

“There are eight dead: two Nigeriens including a (tourist) guide and a driver, the other six are French,” Tillabéri governor Tidjani Ibrahim Katiella told AFP.

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China starts blocking HTTPS connections with encrypted SNI: Report

TLS 1.3 introduced Encrypted SNI (ESNI) that encrypts the SNI so that intermediaries cannot view it, said the report.

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San Francisco, Aug 9 : In an update to its national censorship tool, known as the Great Firewall, China has reportedly started blocking HTTPS connections with Encrypted Server Name Indication.

The ban has been in place for over a week now, three organisations tracking Chinese censorship — iYouPort, the University of Maryland, and the Great Firewall Report – said this week in a joint report.

“We confirm that the Great Firewall (GFW) of China has recently begun blocking ESNI – one of the foundational features of TLS 1.3 and HTTPS,” said the report.

TLS is the foundation of secure communication on the web (HTTPS). It provides authenticated encryption so that users can know whom they are communicating with. It also ensures that an intermediary does not read or tamper with your information.

But even though TLS hides the content of a user’s communication, it does not always conceal with whom the user is communicating.

The TLS handshake (a process that kicks off a communication session) optionally contains a Server Name Indication (SNI) field that allows the user’s client to inform the server which website it wishes to communicate with.

Nation-state censors have used the SNI field to block users from being able to communicate with certain destinations, said that report, adding that China has long been censoring HTTPS in this manner.

TLS 1.3 introduced Encrypted SNI (ESNI) that encrypts the SNI so that intermediaries cannot view it, said the report.

The Great Firewall of China blocks ESNI connections by dropping packets from client to server, it added.

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Singaporean PM Lee Hsien Loong calls for resilience in face of economic downturn

The prime minister added that he is confident that Singaporeans will get through this current crisis, though it may take longer time.

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Lee Hsien Loong

Singapore, Aug 9 : Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday called for resilience in the face of severe economic downturn on the 55th National Day.

When delivering his National Day message, Lee said Singaporeans are understandably anxious and worried as business closures, retrenchments and unemployment are all likely to go up in the coming months, Xinhua news agency reported.

“But this is not the first economic crisis we have experienced,” he said. “Each time the outlook was ominous, and we feared the worst, but each time we worked hard to secure our position, gritted our teeth, and came through together.”

The prime minister added that he is confident that Singaporeans will get through this current crisis, though it may take longer time.

He said unity and resilience are needed more than ever. Many countries that had brought COVID-19 under control and eased restrictions see their cases rise sharply again, and this can happen to Singapore too despite all the precautions, he added.

Lee forecast that it will most likely take a year or two before a vaccine is widely available, and the threat of the virus is blunted. “Until then, we have to maintain our vigilance and resolve, to keep ourselves, our loved ones and our neighbours all safe,” he said.

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