SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – A 35-year-old Dutchman has been arrested for his suspected role in cyber-attacks against Spamhaus, according to the Dutch Public Ministry. The arrest took place in Spain. The media believe the man to be CyberBunker spokesman Sven Olaf Kamphuis.
In a press release on its website, the National Office of the Public Ministry refers to the arrested suspect simply as "SK." It states that SK is suspected of a heavy attack against Spamhaus, an international organization which tracks email spammers and spam activity, last month.
The suspect's house was searched at the request of the National Prosecutor in Barcelona. Authorities seized computers, data carriers, and mobile phones from the premises. SK is expected to soon be transferred to the Dutch Public Prosecution Service.
The distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attack on Spamhaus flooded targeted web servers with fake traffic to make them inaccessible. It is believed to be the largest-ever DDoS attack in history. At one point, Spamhaus servers were being inundated with 300 billion bits per second of data.
The attack is believed to have been sparked when Spamhaus placed CyberBunker on its blacklist of sites to be blocked for spreading spam.
In a March interview with RT, Kamphuis accused Spamhaus of claiming people were spammers when they are not.
“They do it on a regular basis,” he said. “If people do not comply with their demands they just list the entire internet provider.”
“Spamhaus mafia tactics are definitely the largest threat to the freedom of the internet at the moment,” he added.
He denied that CyberBunker was the organization behind the attack, instead pointing the finger at a large collective of internet providers around the globe known as Stophaus.com.-www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –Twenty-nine people have been injured in clashes between police and protesters in the latest street demonstrations sparked by anger at Spain's economic crisis, emergency services said.
Around 1,000 protesters massed in front of a police barrier protecting parliament in Madrid on Thursday, calling for
the government and lawmakers to quit.
The demonstration coincided with the release of Spain's latest official unemployment figures which showed the jobless rate had surged past 27 percent, with 6.2 million people out of work.
A group of protesters hurled bottles at the police line and let off firecrackers, prompting riot police with shields and helmets to chase them along nearby avenues, beating some with batons.
Thirteen of those injured in the clashes were police officers, officials said.
Before the demonstration started police arrested four members of anarchist groups suspected of plotting to set fire to a bank and 11 people who blocked access to a university.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's government was due on Friday to unveil a further package of economic reforms which he wants to have implemented by 2015. Government officials say the plan will tread a fine line between growth and austerity.
But, with millions people unemployed in the country, protesters on Thursday said the increasing austerity cuts were causing unfair suffering to the poor and complain that the political system is stacked against them.
As well as overseeing a bailout for Spain's banking sector, Rajoy has brought in spending cuts and labour reforms, since his conservative government took office in December 2011.
He says the steps are needed to fix the public finances and strengthen the economy and will help Spain save $196bn by 2014.
Rising unemployment in Spain has caused evictions to soar and forced tens of thousands of people to leave in search of work abroad.
The number of households in which all eligible members are unemployed reached 1.91 million in the first quarter, the statistics office said.
In neighbouring France, also hit by the financial crisis, unemployment reached its highest rate since 1997, according to data announced on Thursday.
Around 3.2 million people were out of work in the country, an 11.5 percent annual increase, the French labour ministry said. -www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Spanish police arrested two suspected terrorists with apparent links to an al Qaeda-affiliated group Tuesday but said they had no indication of an imminent attack.
The Interior Ministry identified the suspects as Nou Mediouni, 23, from Algeria, who was arrested in the north-central city of Zaragoza, and Hassan El Jaaouani, 52, from Morocco, who was detained in the southeastern city of Murcia.
Spanish police worked with their counterparts in France and Morocco to carry out the latest arrests, an Interior Ministry statement said.
The two suspects have a "profile" that is similar to the two suspects in the Boston Marathon attacks, the statement said. Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz told reporters that police consider them "lone wolves," like the Boston suspects.
However, the similarity is based only on how the two suspects in Spain were "radicalized," by going to online forums and chat rooms, and also in the suspects' alleged interest in pulling from the Internet information on bomb-making, said an Interior Ministry spokesman, who by custom is not identified.
The pair, who are from different countries, are not brothers and, unlike the two suspects in the Boston Marathon attacks, have no roots in the Caucasus region, he said.
But Fernandez said one of the suspects recently praised the Boston attacks. A second Interior Ministry spokesman said that was the younger suspect, Mediouni.
Both of the suspects in Spain are unemployed, the second Interior Ministry spokesman said. Mediouni, arrested in Zaragoza, studied computer sciences but had not worked professionally in that field, the ministry statement said.
The two are suspected members of a radical cell close to the terrorist organization al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the Interior Ministry said.
The two men have been under surveillance as part of an operation lasting more than a year run in cooperation with France and Morocco, the Spanish Interior Ministry said.
The Madrid train bombings in March 2004, which killed 191 people and wounded more than 1,800, led to a sharp increase in Spain's fight against Islamic terrorism. The courts convicted 14 Islamic militants for their role in the bombings, along with four Spaniards convicted for trafficking in explosives used in the attacks.
Since then, authorities have told CNN that Spain has assigned hundreds of additional police officers to investigate Islamic terrorism and added dozens of Arabic translators, so authorities will be able to understand communications and threats. Around 400 suspected Islamic militants have been arrested in Spain since March 2004, although many have been released by judges for lack of evidence.
Mali extremist contacts alleged
Mediouni was identified and recruited by Mali-based members of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb through his interest in radical Islamist Internet sites, the Interior Ministry statement alleges.
He was given specific instructions for a trip to a jihadist camp in northern Mali led by the group, the Interior Ministry claims, but was unable to meet with AQIM leaders because of the heightened security presence in the area.
Since January, France and nearby African nations have been supporting Malian forces in their efforts to push back Islamist extremists who carved out a large haven in northern Mali last year.
El Jaaouani is also alleged to have established contact with AQIM leaders in Mali and to be responsible for recruiting radicals in Spain. One of the people he contacted was directly involved with the kidnapping and murder of two French citizens in Niger in January 2011, the Spanish Interior Ministry said.
The two suspects' homes were being searched by police, the statement added. They are due to be arraigned Thursday at the National Court in Madrid, which handles terrorism cases, a court spokeswoman said.
The arrests in Spain come days before the Madrid Marathon on Sunday.
About 26,000 runners are expected to take part in a marathon, half-marathon and 10-kilometer race, to be run at the same time. Security has been increased in light of the attacks in Boston, authorities said.-www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –The Spanish royal family has agreed to be included in the country's new transparency law, potentially giving the public unprecedented access to information on its spending and activities, a palace source said on Friday.
The source, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said representatives of the royal family have been negotiating for two months with the government on how to increase oversight of its activities.
The move takes place as the once-popular royals are embroiled in a corruption scandal that has badly damaged their public image and as ordinary Spaniards struggle with a deep economic crisis.
On Wednesday an examining magistrate charged King Juan Carlos' youngest daughter, Princess Cristina, with aiding and abetting her husband, who is charged with a number of crimes in a 6 million euros corruption case.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, whose center-right People's Party is also embroiled in a number of corruption scandals, has sent to Parliament a bill for a new transparency law. It is currently being debated.
The bill, as well as other resolutions Rajoy has sent to Parliament, proposes tighter regulation of tax declarations, assets and activities of public employees, rules for lobbying activities, harsher punishments for corruption, and more thorough audits of foundations, labor unions and business chambers that receive public funding.- www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –Tens of thousands of demonstrators are marching in dozens of Spanish cities to protest record unemployment rates and the government’s handling of the economic and corruption scandals. It comes just after Spain’s jobless figure hit the 5 million mark.
Rallies have been organized in Madrid and 60 other cities by 150 organizations, including trade unions representing the construction, car, television, police, and health services industries. The actions were called "against unemployment and for the renewal of democracy," the UGT, one of the biggest trade unions, said in a statement.
General Workers Union spokesman Candido Mendez told AP that most people reject the government’s austerity policies, which he said were pushing many people toward poverty and away from democracy.
"Bread and a roof at a fair price," read some of the signs waved by protestors. Others brandished pictures of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy with the words "Wanted: serial con man".
The UGT urged "a radical and urgent change in economic policy in Europe as well as Spain".
"The policies of 2012 have been a resounding failure in tackling the crisis and have only made all our problems worse," the union said.
Rahoy and his government insist that budget cuts are necessary to meet the targets for cutting deficit that has been agreed with the EU. Officials believe the present austerity will strengthen Spain's finances and economy in the long run.
Still, on Saturday, New Europe Online reported that the number of unemployed people in the European country had gone over the 5-million mark for the first time since such records began.
But while the overall jobless rate is at 26 per cent, the figure among youth is even higher – soaring to over 50 per cent. Many of the nation’s young graduates and qualified professionals are emigrating to other countries to find work.
The protests come just two weeks after tens of thousands of demonstrators marched in cities across Spain to rally against the economic hardship and corruption caused by the country’s financial crisis. Dozens of people were arrested or injured in Madrid.
Spain’s economy is embroiled in its second recession in three years, sparked by the 2011 collapse of the country’s housing market.www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –Spain now has a record five million people registered as unemployed as the country remains stuck in recession.
The Labor Ministry said Monday that the number of people on the unemployment list in February jumped by 59,444 compared with January, making for a total of 5.04 million.
Spain is battling to emerge from its second recession in just over three years with its economy still reeling from the collapse of the once-booming real estate sector.
The country's unemployment rate was at 26 percent at the end of the fourth quarter.-www.shfaqna.com/English
Spanish authorities, working with the European Union's law enforcement agency, Europol, arrested 11 people, from Russia, Georgia and Ukraine. Europol said that software was planted on victim computers to accuse the users of having visited illegal sites such as those showing child abuse. It then demanded the users to pay a ‘fine’ before continuing to use their computers.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – The Spanish Police said that it discovered a complex cybercrime network which was responsible for spreading ransomware in order to extort money from the victims. Spanish authorities, working with the European Union's law enforcement agency, Europol, arrested 11 people, from Russia, Georgia and Ukraine. Europol said that software was planted on victim computers to accuse the users of having visited illegal sites such as those showing child abuse. It then demanded the users to pay a ‘fine’ before continuing to use their computers.
Europol said that "By dressing the ransomware up to look as if it comes from a law enforcement agency, cybercriminals convince the victim to pay the 'fine' of 100 euros through two types of payment gateways; virtual and anonymous - as a penalty for the alleged offence. The criminals then go on to steal data and information from the victim's computer. Since the virus was detected in May 2011, there have been more than 1200 reported cases just in Spain, and the number of victims could be much higher." The officials from the Europol's European Cybercrime Centre which launched last month said the network had infected tens of thousands of computers worldwide.
Estimated profits had been in the range of one million euros per year, the statement said. The cyber criminals collected the money in a variety of ways including virtual currency such as Bitcoin, Europol said. The criminals also used cash machines in Spain to withdraw money with compromised credit cards. In one case the gang managed to take out 26000 euros before their arrest. Europol said the head of the operation is a 27-year-old Russian man who had been in charge of the “creation, development and international distribution of the various versions of the malware. He was arrested in the United Arab Emirates and is awaiting extradition to Spain," the statement said. Six other Russians, two Ukrainians and two Georgians were also arrested.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy made public his tax returns on Saturday as he seeks to quell a corruption scandal that has gripped Spaniards and pushed up the country's borrowing costs.
The corruption allegations, centered on Luis Barcenas, a former treasurer at the ruling People's Party (PP), have spooked investors just when Spain appeared to be emerging from the worst of the euro zone debt crisis.
Former PP treasurer Barcenas has described as fake handwritten ledger entries published on January 31 by El Pais newspaper purporting to show payments made to PP leaders, including Rajoy, from construction firm kickbacks.
The tax authority documents, posted on the government's website, showed Rajoy's income and tax payments from 2004 to 2012. He earned up to 147,620 euros ($197,500) per year over the period plus income from investments. He paid 870,292 euros in tax over the eight-year period, the documents showed.-www.shfaqna.com/English
El Pais published a set of what it said were unofficial accounts of the ruling Party, suggesting party leaders had received a series of secret large payments over 20 years from businesses.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Leading figures in Spanish government have been accused of obtaining illegal payments from some firms. The scandal will hit Spain as it is trying to overcome its massive economic problems and reduce its high unemployment rate. Spanish newspaper El Pais revealed the scandal on Thursday, claiming that the Spanish ruling party passed on payments from business donors secretly to the Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and other senior members of the People's Party.
Amidst economic crisis, on Wednesday Spanish premier introduced a new economic package after the news that Spanish output had fallen in the last quarter, for the sixth quarter in a row. The following day El Pais published a set of what it said were unofficial accounts of the ruling Party, suggesting party leaders had received a series of secret large payments over 20 years from businesses. The images of handwritten accounting books, which it said amounted to a parallel unofficial book-keeping system that had been maintained by the party’s treasurers were also published.
The prime minister received 25,200 euros a year, between 1997-2008. Also the People’s party’s Secretary General Maria Dolores de Cospedal and ex-IMF chief Rodrigo Rato were among others accused of receiving the secret payments, El Pais reported. The report is the latest twist in an ongoing scandal over alleged secret cash payments to ruling party’s leaders that has hit the Spanish government. Among the companies named in the El Pais report is builder and infrastructure and energy company FCC and building company, OHL. During the building boom, politicians approved large numbers of development contracts.
One of the main reasons behind Spain's recession has been the fact that its property market crashed spectacularly after the start of the banking crisis. Many investors have lost their investments as property prices have fallen sharply. The massive rise in unemployment in the country is the highest in Europe at over 25% and this has coincided with the country's property crash. More than half of young people are without a job in Spain and all these are bad news for the ruling party. As the story is developing, in the next few days the Spanish people will find out more about their government and its financial scandals. It seems that Spain is entering a new phase of political and financial instability.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)-Official data indicate that Spain’s unemployment rate hit a record high of 26.02 percent in the final quarter of 2012 as the country continues to grapple with economic problems.
Spain’s National Statistics Institute (INE) released the new data on Thursday. The figures indicated an increase of one percent from October’s reading of 25.02 percent.
The INE further said that the number of unemployed people in Spain soared by 187,300 to reach 5.97 million at the end of 2012.
Unemployment was especially high among Spain’s youth last year, with 60 percent of those under the age of 25 jobless.
The figures come one day after the Bank of Spain reported a worsening of the country’ recession due to budget cuts.
On Wednesday, the central bank announced that Spain’s economy contracted 1.3 percent in 2012 with the gross domestic product (GDP) falling 0.6 percent in the final quarter of 2012 compared with the previous quarter.
Battered by the global financial downturn, the Spanish economy collapsed into recession in the second half of 2008, taking millions of jobs with it.
The fourth-largest economy in the eurozone must lower its deficit to 4.5 percent in 2013 and 2.8 percent in 2014. Many economists, however, say those targets will be difficult to meet amid poor prospects for Spain’s economic recovery.
The Spanish government has also been sharply criticized over its austerity measures that are hitting the middle and working classes the hardest.