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Trump wants Pakistan’s ‘paradoxical’ policies to change



Washington, Aug 6: US President Donald Trump wants Pakistan to change its policy of supporting militants who have safe haven in the country and are causing great losses, the media reported on Sunday.

US National Security Adviser General H.R. McMaster on Saturday defended Trump’s strategy on winning the war in Afghanistan by giving unrestricted powers to the US military, and said the President wanted Pakistan to change “paradoxical” policy of supporting militants in the neighbouring country, Dawn online reported.

US officials often accuse Pakistan of helping militants, a charge Islamabad vehemently denies, but this marks the first time that the allegation has been attributed to Trump.

“The President has also made clear that we need to see a change in behaviour of those in the region, which includes those who are providing safe haven and support bases for the Taliban, Haqqani Network and others,” McMaster said.

Banned outfits such as the Taliban and Haqqani Network operate and move freely in parts of Pakistan close to the border of Afghanistan. Kabul has repeatedly blamed Islamabad for violence in the country.

“This is Pakistan in particular that we want to really see a change in and a reduction of their support for these groups. This is of course, you know, a very paradoxical situation where Pakistan is taking great losses. They have fought very hard against these groups, but they’ve done so really only selectively,” he said.

According to McMaster, the US President “does not want to place restrictions on the military that undermine our ability to win battles in combat”.

The US media reported earlier this week that in a July 19 meeting at the White House, Trump berated his generals for not winning the war in Afghanistan and allowing the violence to continue for more than 16 years.

Trump also “repeatedly suggested” to his senior military advisers that they should replace General John Nicholson, the commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan, with a new General who could win the war.

But McMaster disagrees with Trump’s suggestion. For Nicholson, the General said: “Of course. I’ve known him for many years. I can’t imagine a more capable commander on any mission.”

Trump has authorised the Pentagon to take the lead on military decisions in Afghanistan, although he formed a separate team of experts for a new Afghan policy.



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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