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South Korea Election : Voting underway to elect new president



Seoul, May 9 : Voting is underway across South Korea in the presidential election on Tuesday as the nation is set to elect a new leader after a year of political upheaval, media reports said.

The early poll was triggered by the ouster of former President Park Geun-hye, who was removed from office in March over a massive corruption and influence-peddling scandal involving her close friend, aides and business moguls, Yonhap News Agency reported.

About 42.4 million South Koreans are eligible to cast their ballots. Voting began at 6 a.m. in 13,964 polling stations across the country and is scheduled to end at 8 p.m.

As of 9 a.m., electoral participation stood at 9.4 per cent, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) said.

Front-runner Moon Jae-in, 64, of the Democratic Party cast his ballot at a polling station in northwestern Seoul, together with his wife.

“I felt the people’s earnest desire for government change to create a country worthy of calling a country,” the former human rights lawyer and chief of staff to late President Roh Moo-hyun, told the media.

“I plead with you to join forces to build a country worthy of being called a country by participating in the vote until the end.”

Moon’s closest rivals are conservative Liberty Korea Party candidate Hong Joon-pyo and the People’s Party candidate Ahn Cheol-soo, who is also a liberal. According to latest opinion polls, both are close to 20 per cent in the race.

Hong cast his ballot at a polling station in southern Seoul, also with his wife.

“This election is a war of regime choice in which people will accept the pro-North Korea, leftist administration or choose a government that will defend the free Republic of Korea,” he said.

If elected, Hong promised to swiftly form his government to fill the vacancy left by Park’s ouster and stabilise inter-Korean relations through summit talks with US President Donald Trump.

Ahn expressed hope that more voters will come out and achieve a record high turnout.

Speaking to the media after voting at a polling station in northeastern Seoul, he said: “That is the way democracy will develop.”

The last opinion poll on the presidential election published on May 3 had Ahn and Hong tied at 18.6 per cent with Moon in the lead with 42.4 per cent.

Unlike the previous elections, the president-elect will be sworn in immediately after the NEC makes an official statement of the election result at a meeting scheduled for Wednesday morning, Efe news reported.

There are a total of 13 candidates in the fray. Two others withdrew earlier.

Over 26 per cent, or some 11 million, have already cast their ballots over a two-day early voting period held on May 4 and 5.

The turnout marked the highest rate ever in early voting, apparently indicating high public interest in the election that followed the first impeachment of a President.



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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