Connect with us


Trump signs bill imposing sanctions on Russia, Iran, N Korea



trump travel ban-wefornews-min (1)
File Photo

Washington, Aug 3, 2017: US President Donald Trump has signed a sweeping sanctions measure that targets Russia, Iran and North Korea, the White House has said.

The US President’s signature on Wednesday has come after some speculation that he could veto or not sign the legislation, which passed both chambers of Congress in overwhelming votes last week, CBS News reported.

Vice President Mike Pence and other White House officials had signaled, however, that Trump planned to sign the bill into law.

While he signed the bill, the President made clear in a statement on Wednesday that he is signing the bill “for the sake of national unity” even though he isn’t satisfied with some of its provisions.

“I favour tough measures to punish and deter bad behavior by the rogue regimes in Tehran and Pyongyang. I also support making clear that America will not tolerate interference in our democratic process, and that we will side with our allies and friends against Russian subversion and destabilization,” he said.

He added, “Still, the bill remains seriously flawed — particularly because it encroaches on the executive branch’s authority to negotiate.”

The bill maintains and expands sanctions against the Russian government. Most importantly, it will require congressional approval before the president can ease or lift sanctions on Russia.

The measure also targets sanctions on Russian activities that undermine US cybersecurity, sanctions on Russian crude oil projects and on certain transactions with foreign sanctions evaders and human rights abusers, among other things.

A day after the Senate passed the new set of sanctions, Russia’s Foreign Ministry last Friday announced countermeasures in which it set a September 1 deadline for Washington to reduce the number of diplomatic staff in the country and ordered some US-run facilities in Russia to close.

Trump’s signature is significant given that he spent time on the 2016 campaign trail promoting a platform that included a warming of relations with Russia and its President, Vladimir Putin.

The two leaders met in person for the first time in early July at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. Trump later came under fire for a previously undisclosed conversation that he had with Putin at the time over dinner in which only a Russian interpreter was present.

The measure also targets Iran’s ballistic missile program, its support for terrorism and human rights violations, and yet it would still comply with the Iranian nuclear deal.

Specifically, it imposes sanctions on any foreign person or foreign entity that does business with an entity already designated by the administration that has a connection to Iran’s ballistic missile program.

These sanctions, for example, could apply to any financial institution or any foreign company that provides key parts or components to Iran’s missile program.

As for North Korea, it enforces compliance with United Nations shipping sanctions against North Korea and it imposes new sanctions in response to human rights abuses by the North Korean government and its bellicose behavior abroad.

The bill came together in July after a series of road bumps that lawmakers encountered over the last several months.

This also comes a day after the Senate confirmed Christopher Wray to serve as FBI director, replacing James Comey, who Trump abruptly fired in early May.

Special Counsel Bob Mueller then took over the federal investigation into Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election, which is still underway.

The US intelligence community concluded in a report in early January that Putin ordered a campaign involving covert intelligence operations and overt propaganda to undermine faith in the US election, disparage Hillary Clinton and help Trump’s election chances.



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.


Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading


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.


Continue Reading

Most Popular