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Trump expresses desire to improve relations with Russia



Trump weighs lifting Russia sanctions

Washington, May 11 : US President Donald Trump on Wednesday emphasised his desire to build a better relationship between the US and Russia, the White House said.

Meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Washington, Trump raised the possibility of broader cooperation on resolving conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere, Xinhua quoted the White House as saying.

The meeting came amid tensions between the US and Russia as the two countries hold differences on a slew of issues, including the Syrian conflict, the Ukrainian crisis and the expansion of NATO.

Trump, who has expressed hopes of repairing relations with Moscow, said last month that the US was “not getting along with Russia at all” and the relations between the two countries “may be at an all-time low.”

At Wednesday’s meeting, Trump emphasised the need to work together to end the conflict in Syria, underscoring the need for Russia to “rein in the Assad regime, Iran, and Iranian proxies.”

After Trump ordered missile strikes on a Syria airbase last month in response to Syrian government’s alleged use of chemical weapons, the Russian government condemned the military action, calling Washington’s move “aggression against a sovereign state in violation of international law.”

On Ukraine, Trump expressed his Administration’s commitment to remain engaged in resolving the conflict and stressed Russia’s responsibility to fully implement the Minsk agreements.

The US, along with some European allies, has imposed several rounds of economic sanctions on Russia in response to what they called the annexation of Crimea and destabilising activities in eastern Ukraine.

After the meeting, Lavrov told reporters that Trump confirmed his interest in building “mutually beneficial” relations with Russia.

Earlier in the day, Lavrov held talks with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on a range of issues, including Ukraine, Syria, and bilateral concerns.


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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