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Trump appoints Indian American Neil Chatterjee for key post in energy agency




Washington, May 9 : US President Donald Trump has appointed Indian American Neil Chatterjee for key post in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which looks after electricity, natural gas and oil at the national level.

Chatterjee will serve key role in Trump’s programme to reform energy policy, most of which is opposed by environmentalists and Democrats, if his appointment is confirmed by the Senate.

He is the second Indian American to be appointed by Trump to a major regulatory position with a controversial mission.

The other is Ajit Pai, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, who is spearheading the administration’s drive to end net neutrality, a policy that prevents internet service providers from giving special treatment to preferred web companies.

Chatterjee held the influential position of energy policy advisor to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and helped shape energy legislation.

His work backed the Senator’s campaign against regulations to restrict use of coal for electricity generation.
A lawyer by training, he started as an intern with the House Works and Means Committee.

Between his stints on Congressional staff, he has been a lobbyist for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

Chatterjee, 40, grew up in Lexington, Kentucky, where his parents worked in cancer research. He is married with two sons and a daughter.

Among issues he will likely deal with are Trump’s plans to allow the construction of the Keystone pipeline to carry crude oil from Canada to Texas in the US, which was stopped by former President Barack Obama, and several gas pipeline projects.



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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