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Rio de Janeiro lights up world’s tallest floating Christmas tree

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Rio de Janeiro: The Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro has lit up its traditional floating Christmas tree – one of the biggest of its kind in the world – with musical shows and fireworks, marking the beginning of the December festivities.

The impressive metallic structure, standing 230 feet tall, was illuminated on Saturday with multicoloured lights above the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, one of the most iconic places in all of the southern region of Rio de Janeiro, reports Efe news.

The lights were accompanied by a musical show and fireworks that went on for seven minutes, as hundreds of spectators gathered to witness the inauguration.

With a height equivalent to a 24-storey building, the towering Christmas tree stands atop 11 platforms to float on the water. More than 900,000 LED light bulbs provide it with its distinct, shimmering glow.

Different combinations of lights allows the tree to show eight different patterns.

The huge floating Christmas tree, one of the major attractions of the city this time of the year, was set up for the first time in 1996.

However, after being damaged in a storm in 2015, it remained dark in 2016 and 2017 due to the economic crisis that had ravaged the city’s coffers. To this day, Rio is yet to completely recover from that crisis.

The Christmas attraction was lit up once again in December 2018 – despite being 15 metre shorter than its predecessor – thus resuming the city’s decades-old tradition. The tree will remain lit until January 6, 2020.

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Six French tourists among eight killed by gunmen in Nigeria

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Six French tourists among eight killed by gunmen in Nigeria: governor

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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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