There is a big difference between the known capabilities of Russian hackers — such as cyber espionage — and the debilitating software the country actually possesses, which could hamper U.S. efforts to predict Putin’s next move, say some security researchers.
So, far Russia’s alleged cyber operations amid unrest in Ukraine have caused more spectacle than destruction. Reportedly a “massive denial-of-service attack” paralyzed Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council servers for several hours last week, but such temporary traffic floods cannot access data or damage systems.
This doesn’t mean Russia can’t carry out a cyberattack that would physically or economically damage Ukrainian citizens. Continue reading
BERLIN/KIEV/BERN (Own report) – In the aftermath of the Western-oriented putsch in Kiev, German politicians are preparing German public opinion for the disastrous deterioration of the Ukraine economic situation. Even though it was most recently suggested that the country could only expect a thriving development by linking up to the EU, it is now – truthfully – being announced that Ukraine is practically bankrupt. The CDU European parliamentarian, Elmar Brok, predicts “difficult times” ahead: “It has never rained gold coins, except in fairy tales.” In fact back in the fall, experts had already indicated that, because of its out-dated industry, the Ukraine would have to expect dramatic economic slumps if it signs the EU Association Agreements – unemployment and poverty would dramatically rise. In a position paper, the Berlin-based German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) is now proposing the introduction of a special status in EU ties for the Ukraine as well as other countries, such as Turkey. This sort of EU “second ring” would also permit the economic integration of such countries as Switzerland, which politically resists joining the EU. The SWP contends that these plans could also be used for Catalonia, should it secede from Spain and Scotland, from Britain. Continue reading
Between January 2006 and December 2013 99 servicewomen sent home
Military rules ban mothers-to-be from serving in a war zone
16 women were removed from Afghanistan in 2013 due to pregnancy
In September 2012 Lynette Pearce gave birth at Camp Bastion
According to figures released by the Ministry Of Defence, 16 women were removed from Afghanistan in 2013 due to pregnancy, while 18 were sent home in 2011.
The women were flown back on flights usually reserved for injured troops, meaning the true figure could be higher if other female soldiers came home via routine flights, according to The Sun. Continue reading
A bill being debated in Brussels would force UK citizens to disclose ‘reams’ of private, financial information on a public register
New legislation planned in Brussels is set to heap fresh costs and paperwork on families’ financial planning, as well as leaving their affairs open to unwanted public scrutiny. Continue reading
A new assessment from a British and New Zealand research team has concluded that the worldwide electrical grid will suffer more frequent and significant outages if current trends continue.
In their report, which was published in the Social Space Scientific Journal, the two authors noted that nearly three quarters of American transmission lines are more than 25 years old. Continue reading
New Malvinas secretary says Buenos Aires will defend its claim to islands and surrounding waters in international courts
Argentina will seek legal punishment, including prison sentences, for anyone who drills for oil in the Falklands and the surrounding waters it claims as its territories, the country’s newly created Malvinas secretary has told the Guardian. Continue reading
The U.K.’s Royal Mint, which traces its history back more than 1,000 years, ran out of 2014 Sovereign gold coins as prices near a six-month low led to “exceptional demand.”
The mint, based in Llantrisant, Wales, expects to have stocks of the coins again by the end of January, it said in a statement e-mailed today. It has full availability of gold and silver Britannia bullion coins, it said. Gold dropped to a six-month low of $1,182.27 an ounce in London on Dec. 31, capping the largest annual decline since 1981. Continue reading
Many observers are correct in noting that the Middle East is undergoing yet another seismic shift – that the Russian-brokered destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, a US-Iranian rapprochement, the diminished strategic value of Saudi Arabia and Israel, and a US withdrawal from Afghanistan will all contribute to changing regional dynamics considerably.
But what is this new direction? Where will it come from, who will lead it, what will define it? Continue reading
The Duke of Westminster has been knocked off his perch after more than a decade as the richest investor in UK property.
He’s taken the top spot in the Estates Gazette Rich List since it began in 2002, comfortably surpassing billionaires such as the pharmaceuticals scion Ernesto Bertarelli and the Swiss-based investors and private equity players, David and Simon Reuben.
Notice anything about this list? Like the two Chinese men that came out of nowhere to occupy first and second place? Neither of them appeared in the top 250 UK property investors last year. The third Chinese member of the top 10, Joseph Lau, is £550m richer than he was last year. But the wealth of the top 250 is so much greater – up 60% on 2012 – that he has fallen three places. Continue reading
The European Common Security and Defence Policy is an attempt to protect Continental industrial interests from US competition
The UK government likes to pretend that EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) is harmless inter-government cooperation, which has no access to money, or legal sanctions, and is therefore a federalist paper tiger. These draft European Council Conclusions give the lie to that. Any Conservative prime minister should be wholly opposed to what these Conclusions so clearly intend. To sign the UK up to this programme is not just another step towards a Euro-Army, which has always been a dream of the federalist nations like Germany, but another blow to the UK’s already beleaguered defence industries, and another nail in the coffin of Nato, in order that Continental defence industries should not be exposed to US competition. Continue reading
DEBKAfile was the first to report that a secret deal was for months already in the works, and it has come to pass. Now, here what we see is how much of a deal the Iranians get as opposed to what the US and Israel get, which is nothing out of it.
The first preliminary nuclear deal the six world powers (US, Russia, China, UK, France and German) signed with Iran before dawn Sunday, Nov. 24, at the end of a four-day marathon, failed to address the most questionable aspects of Iran’s nuclear program, i.e. its clandestine military dimensions. The accord confined itself to aspects of uranium enrichment and stockpiles. UN inspections were expanded – but not applied, for instance, to Iran’s concealed nuclear sites – or even the Parchin military base where Iran is suspected of having tested nuclear-related explosions. Continue reading
Switzerland, the world’s largest offshore wealth center, worth an estimated $2.2 trillion in assets, has signed an agreement to share financial information with nearly 60 other countries, which could completely change the country’s financial landscape.
The country has made a giant leap towards banking transparency after it signed a convention with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) agreeing to exchange data with 60 member countries. Continue reading