US Charges Russians With Cyberattacks On Ukraine, French Elections, Olympics

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Six Russian military intelligence officers have been charged in the United States with carrying out cyberattacks on Ukraine’s power grid, the 2017 French elections and the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, the Justice Department announced on Monday.

The six GRU agents were also accused of staging a malware attack called “NotPetya” that infected computers of businesses worldwide causing nearly $1 billion in losses to three US companies alone.

In addition, they allegedly targeted international investigations into the nerve agent poisoning of Russian former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, and waged cyberattacks on media outlets and parliament in Georgia.

Assistant Attorney General John Demers said the six were responsible for “the most disruptive and destructive series of computer attacks ever attributed to a single group.”

Demers said members of the same GRU unit have been charged previously with seeking to disrupt the 2016 US elections — but there were “no (2020) election interference allegations” in this indictment.





An FBI poster shows six Russian military intelligence officers accused of staging cyberattacks
 GETTY IMAGES / POOL

The indictment of the six, none of whom are in US custody, was brought by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where hospitals were allegedly

Israel And Bahrain Formalise Diplomatic Ties

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Israel and Bahrain cemented Sunday a deal officially establishing relations and signed several memorandums of understanding, further opening up the wealthy Gulf region to the Jewish state.

An Israeli delegation, led by National Security Council chief Meir Ben Shabbat, headed to Manama from Tel Aviv on the first direct flight between the two countries to formalise the US-brokered deal they agreed to at the White House on September 15.

Israeli and Bahraini officials on Sunday signed the document establishing bilateral relations in the presence of other international dignitaries and reporters, an AFP correspondent said. They also agreed seven memorandums of understanding.

King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, as well as Bahrain’s crown prince and prime minister, were absent from the ceremony, the correspondent said.

Bahrain’s foreign minister, Abdullatif al-Zayani, said during the event that it was the “start of relations between the two countries leading to constructive cooperation in various fields”.





(L-R)Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US President Donald Trump, and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan pose from the Truman Balcony at the White House
 AFP / SAUL LOEB

He said the decision to normalise ties with the Jewish state comes from the

New Trump Golf Course In Scotland Gets Go-head Despite Environmental Fears

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President Donald Trump’s company has been given permission by Scottish authorities to build a second golf course in northeast Scotland despite local objections.

Plans for a new 18-hole golf course have been approved by Aberdeenshire council.

The course is to be named MacLeod after Trump’s mother, Mary Anne MacLeod, and will be built next to the current course on his Menie Estate.





President Donald Trump pictured during construction of his golf course on the Menie Estate near Aberdeen in 2010
 AFP / DEREK BLAIR

Many locals objected to the application, citing loss of public space and the impact it would have on water supply, private roads and nearby estates.

The Scottish Environment Protective Agency (SEPA) also objected, saying the water management plan was inadequate and the environmental management plan was not appropriate.

The US president also owns Turnberry golf course, in southwest Scotland.

Fastest-ever Growth In Global Virus Cases As US Tops 8 Million

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Coronavirus cases in the United States topped eight million Friday as the world saw the highest-ever number reported in a single day, while European countries tightened measures to control the pandemic’s spread.

The running US case tally from Johns Hopkins University is the highest in the world, followed by India at 7.4 million cases and Brazil with 5.1 million.

America has also suffered the most coronavirus deaths of any country, at over 218,000.





The curfew in Paris and eight other cities will start at 9pm
 AFP / THOMAS COEX

Worldwide, more than 400,000 new cases were reported on Friday alone, according to an AFP tally based on official data — a figure only partly explained by increased testing since the first wave of the pandemic in March-April.

Across Europe, the average number of daily infections leapt 44 percent in a single week to over 121,000.

“It’s terrible. It feels to me like being back in March,” said Hocine Saal, head of the emergency service at the hospital in the Paris suburb of Montreuil, adding that rising numbers of non-coronavirus patients made coping “really difficult”.



Sanna Marin was forced to leave an EU summit to self-isolate


Sanna Marin was forced to leave an EU summit to self-isolate
 POOL / JOHANNA GERON

On

YouTube Toughens Rules For QAnon Conspiracy Content

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YouTube said Thursday it was tightening rules for propagation of conspiracy theories, notably targeting the QAnon movement already limited on Twitter and Facebook.

The Google-owned video-sharing service said it was expanding its policies on hate and harassment “to prohibit content that targets an individual or group with conspiracy theories that have been used to justify real-world violence.”

This could mean removing videos threatening or harassing people by suggesting they are complicit in a conspiracy like Pizzagate — about a supposed child sex trafficking ring with links to former Democratic White House candidate Hillary Clinton that operated from a Washington pizzeria.





A man in a QAnon vest waves a US flag as demonstrators gather on October 5, 2020 to protest mandatory flu vaccines for children in Boston, Massachusetts
 AFP / Joseph Prezioso

QAnon has grown sharply during the pandemic because it acted as a binding force — mixing its core tenet of anti-Semitic and white supremacist tropes with long-running conspiracy theories about vaccines and 5G mobile technology, as well as far-right and libertarian politics.

YouTube said it had previously removed “tens of thousands of QAnon videos” and terminated some channels used by the movement, notably those that explicitly threaten violence or

Amanaci, The Jaguar That Symbolizes Environmental Destruction In Brazil Wetlands

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Amanaci used to roam freely around Brazil’s Pantanal region until an outbreak of fires in this paradise of biodiversity left the jaguar with scorched paws.

She was found two months ago sheltering in a chicken coop in Pocone in the central-western state of Mato Grosso, trying to flee the fires.

Since then Amanaci has become a symbol of the destruction of the planet’s largest tropical wetland caused by fires.

Suffering from third degree burns to her paws, she is now being treated with stem cells at the Nex Institute, an animal preservation NGO, some 1,000 kilometers from her natural habitat.





Jaguar Amanaci suffered third degree burns from the Pantanal fires and may never be able to be released into the wild again
 AFP / EVARISTO SA

“Amanaci’s case really touched us. The injuries are horrible, she was left with exposed bones,” Cristina Gianni, who founded the Nex Institute, told AFP.

On Sunday, the institute’s vets took the sedated jaguar out of her cage and put her on a stretcher. They placed a mask over her eyes and removed her bandages to clean and treat her injuries, in which her flesh remains exposed.

“We started applying stem cells to stimulate the

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