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US appeals court hears case against Trump’s travel ban



Donald Trump

Washington, May 16, 2017: A three-judge panel of a federal appeals court heard case Monday against US President Donald Trump’s travel ban without giving an immediate ruling.

Streamed live through the website of the US Courts for the 9th Circuit from a court room in Seattle, Washington state, the three judges grilled Acting US Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall for his defence on behalf of the Trump administration.

In his 30-minute oral argument, Wall said the president’s executive order signed on March 6, which bars nationals of Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the United States for 90 days, has nothing to do with his statements about Muslims on campaign trails last year.

Neal Katyal, an attorney representing the state of Hawaii, told the judges that the President had not disavowed the rhetorics until last week, by taking the statements off his campaign website.

The travel ban, the second of the kind, was blocked on March 15 by a federal judge in Hawaii.

Wall tried at the appeals court to repeal the nationwide temporary restraining order (TRO) imposed by US District Judge Derrick Watson.

However, after more than an hour of hearing, including Katyal’s 30-minute argument, the three judges neither gave an immediate ruling, nor hinted when to make a decision.

It was the second time the 9th Circuit Court heard case against travel ban.

On February 9, another panel of judges ruled in San Francisco, Northern California, against reinstating the travel ban signed on Jan. 27 by Trump as part of an executive order.

The President subsequently issued the revised order in early March 6, taking Iraq off the list of seven Muslim-majority countries.

In initiating the legal challenge against the second travel ban on March 9, Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin noted that the new order, compared with the initial ban, “nothing of substance has changed: there is the same blanket ban on entry from Muslim-majority countries.”



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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