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Pakistani embassy staff held by Afghan intelligence



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Islamabad, May 18: Two staffers at the Pakistan Embassy in Kabul were detained by the National Directorate of Security (NDS), the intelligence agency of Afghanistan, under unclear circumstances, the media reported on Thursday.

The two men, Hassan Khanzada and Syed Munir Shah, were at a market when they were picked up by NDS members and taken to one of their detention centres along with the embassy’s official vehicle, Dawn online reported.

Khanzada serves as a visa assistant at the embassy, and Syed Munir Shah is a staff driver.

The embassy approached the Afghan Foreign Ministry and sought the immediate release of the two staffers.

Khanzada and Shah were finally released after three hours, reports Dawn online.

On Wednesday, Afghan deputy head of mission Zardasht Shams was summoned to the Foreign Office over the detention of the embassy staffers.

“The Afghan deputy head of mission was summoned to the Foreign Office today to lodge Pakistan’s strong protest over the incident in which two diplomatic officials in Kabul were detained, reportedly by Afghan security agencies,” the Foreign Office said.

Pakistan accused Afghanistan of violating Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations (1961).

“It was emphasised that such incidents undermined the constructive engagement which the two countries envisaged for the strengthening of bilateral ties,” it said.




Israel opens probe into Facebook after data scandal



Cambridge Analytica data scandal

JERUSALEM: Israeli authorities said Thursday (Mar 22) they had launched an investigation into Facebook’s activities following a scandal over the hijacking of personal data from millions of the social network’s users.

Israel’s privacy protection agency “informed Facebook” of the probe after revelations over data transfers from the tech giant to consultant Cambridge Analytica, the agency said.

It said it was also looking into “the possibility of other infringements of the privacy law regarding Israelis”, it said in a statement released by the justice ministry.

Britain’s Guardian newspaper has reported that Israeli hackers offered material to Cambridge Analytica.

But an Israeli justice ministry spokeswoman said the probe did not involve hackers, focusing rather on whether Israeli users’ rights were violated.

Under Israel’s privacy law, personal data may only be used with consent and for the purpose for which it was handed over, the privacy protection agency said.


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Middle East

Loud explosion heard outside busy hotel in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu

Explosion hits busy road outside popular hotel in central Mogadishu.



Somalia Car Bombing

MOGADISHU: 16 people killed and 20 injured in a bomb attack at the entrance of  Wehliye hotel in Mogadishu. Most of the casualties are auto rickshaw drivers and passengers, according to witnesses.

The death toll is expected to rise.

The attacked was claimed by al-Shabab, Reuters news agency reported, citing the armed group’s military operation spokesman.

Al-Shabab, which is fighting to overthrow Somalia’s internationally recognised government, is frequently carrying out attacks in and around the capital.

More to follow.

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Twitter’s chief information security officer quits




San Francisco, March 22: As tech companies reel under mounting pressure to prevent their platforms from data breach and fake news, Twitter’s Chief Information Security Officer Michael Coates has decided to quit.

In a tweet on Thursday, Coates who joined Twitter in 2015 announced his departure from the micro-blogging website.

“Twitter has been an amazing ride, but as I mentioned internally a few weeks back, my time is coming to an end. I’m confident to leave the program with an amazing security team,” Coates tweeted.

According to The Verge, Coates’ interim replacement is Joseph Camilleri, a senior manager for information security and risk.

Coates’ departure comes soon after reports surfaced that Facebook’s Chief Information Security Officer Alex Stamos is planning to leave the company by August.

Facebook is facing the heat after Cambridge Analytica, a British consulting company, was accused of harvesting data of up to 50 million Facebook users without permission and using the data to help politicians, including US President Donald Trump and the Brexit campaign.

Meanwhile, Michael Zalewski, Director of Information Security Engineering at Google, has also announced his departure from that company after 11 years.


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