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US man charged with hate crime for assaulting Indian-American




Washington, March 18: A federal grand jury has indicted a US man for a hate crime against an Indian-origin man mistaking him for a Muslim in November last year.

Jeffrey Allen Burgess, 54, was accused of intentionally harming a man, Ankur Mehta, on November 22 because of his “perceived race, colour and national origin“, said a report in PennLive news website on Friday.

Burgess was accused of assaulting and hurling racial slurs on Indian origin Mehta as per the reports.

A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted Burgess on a hate crime charge in connection with the alleged assault at Red Robin restaurant in Pittsburgh’s South Hills Village.

According to WTAE-TV, at the time of the incident, Burgess was seated next to Mehta at the restaurant’s bar. Mehta was working on his tablet with his earbuds on and failed to notice Burgess taunting him and using racial and ethnic epithets.

Burgess then launched an unprovoked attack on the victim as he was seated at the bar, striking Mehta in the face with his elbow and fist multiple times, said the police.

I don’t want you sitting next to me … you people,” Burgess was heard saying, in addition to anti-Muslim racial slurs, according to a criminal complaint filed by Bethel Park police.

Witnesses said Burgess struck Mehta four or five times and called him a “(expletive) Muslim,” according to the complaint.

In addition to the slurs, Burgess told Mehta “things are different now”, the police said, which authorities believe was a reference to the election of Donald Trump.

Officials said Mehta was taken to a local hospital with a loose tooth and a cut to his upper lip, while Burgess was arrested on suspicion of ethnic intimidation, simple assault, harassment and public drunkenness by local authorities.

If convicted, Burgess faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Before a recent court appearance on the local charges, Burgess blamed alcohol for his actions, adding, “I’m not that kind of person … It happened and I’m remorseful about it.”

Wefornews Bureau

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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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