World View: China Suspected in New York Times Hacking

World View: China Suspected in New York Times Hacking

This morning’s key headlines from

  • China’s smog becomes deadly, but use of coal increases
  • Chinese attackers considered likely in NY Times hacking
  • Israel threatened with International Criminal Court over settlements
  • France declares ‘Mission Accomplished!’ in Mali

China’s smog becomes deadly, but use of coal increases

China’s consumption of coal has tripled in the last decade.Currently, China burns as much coal as the rest of the world combined,and the amount is still surging. Beijing and other Chinese provincesare paying a heavy price right now, because the smog is causingrespiratory problems, and thousands of premature deaths according toone study. There’s little chance of any cutbacks, as coal accountsfor two-thirds of China’s energy supply. Millions of cars also add tothe pollution. The air quality index is so high that the BeijingMeteorological Bureau is advising children and the elderly not to leavehome. To make matters worse, the smog is reducing visibility on theicy roads. There have been at least 2,000 reports of trafficaccidents, and at least two people have died. BBC andXinhua

Chinese attackers considered likely in NY Times hacking

Attackers have been hacking into computer systems at the NY Times forthe last four months, stealing the corporate passwords for everyemployee and compromising the home PCs of multiple reporters. It’sbelieved that the attackers gained initial entry by using “spearphishing” attack on some of the reporters. That is, the attackersgathered personal information about the reporters from multiplesources, including Facebook, and used that information to create acredible, personal e-mail message with a link that the reporter wouldclick on, resulting in malware being installed on his computer. Oncethe malware was installed, the attackers could gather additionalinformation to escalate the attack. Some 45 people’s computers wereinfected with custom-designed malware, indicating a large,sophisticated attack. China’s government is the suspectedperpetrator, but that hasn’t been proven. The NY Times’ computerswere supposedly protected by Symantec’s Norton Antivirus, and is nowsuffering a major black eye as a result of the incident. Information Week and Forbes

Israel threatened with International Criminal Court over settlements

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) is demandingthat Israel permanently end its settlement building in the West Bank,and that Israel immediately begin a process of withdrawingfrom the West Bank and east Jerusalem. According to the draftreport, prepared by 3 members of the UNHCR: 

The establishment of the settlements in the West Bankincluding east Jerusalem is a mesh of construction andinfrastructure leading to a creeping annexation that prevents theestablishment of a contiguous and viable Palestinian state andundermines the rights of the Palestinian people toself-determination.

The report stopped short of advocating that the issue be brought tothe International Criminal Court (ICC), but says that the ICC hasjurisdiction. In particular, the State of Palestine may go to theICC, with a result that “may lead to accountability for grossviolations of human rights law and serious violations of internationalhumanitarian law and justice for victims. Israel has rejected thereport as “biased,” pointing out that there’s no mention of theexperience with Gaza. In 2005, Israel withdrew all its settlementsand military from Gaza, but the result has been something that no oneexpected: Hamas took control of Gaza in 2008, and has been using Gazaas a base for terror and rocket attacks on Israel. The Israelis fearthat the same thing could happen in the West Bank. Jerusalem Post

France declares ‘Mission Accomplished!’ in Mali

France’s Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said France’s air attackshad hit the Mali rebels hard: 

The jihadists suffered heavy losses. There werenumerous strikes which hit their equipment and men. 

The French intervention has succeeded. [Rebel fighters are]returning home, or trying to cross the borders, which will be moreand more difficult… or they are making a tacticalretreat.

Le Drian said that France’s warplanes were striking Kidal, the lastmilitant stronghold in northern Mali, and ground troops were gatheringto enter the city. France now has 3,500 troops on the ground.AFP

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