SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Following revelations of hackers accessing files at companies including Apple and Facebook, Microsoft revealed today it also found evidence of intrusions. In a blog post on the Microsoft Security Response Center, general manager Matt Thomlinson indicated "a small number of computers, including some in our Mac business unit" were affected by malware of the type described in the other attacks. As he mentions, such cyberattacks are no surprise to a company with Microsoft's profile, however one wonders if the folks in Redmond aren't having a chuckle that Macs appear to have been exploited in this case. He continued to state that the investigation is ongoing, however it does not appear that any customer data was at risk.-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Global warming is likely to shrink the size of fish by as much as a quarter in coming decades, according to a groundbreaking new study of the world's oceans.
The reduction in individual fish size will be matched by a dwindling of overall fish stocks, warned scientists, at a time when the world's growing human population is putting ever greater pressure on fisheries.
"We were surprised as we did not think the effects would be so strong and so widespread," said Prof William Cheung from the University of British Columbia in Canada, who led the research. His team examined the effect of rising ocean temperatures on the growth and distribution of more than 600 species of fish around the world and found that they are expected to shrink in size by 14-24% by 2050, with the biggest effects in tropical regions.
"It could be worse than that," said Prof Callum Roberts, at the University of York, who described the research as the most comprehensive to date. Roberts, who was not one of the study's authors, said additional impacts of climate change such as the acidification of the ocean and reduction of nutrients in surface waters could decrease fish stocks even further, as would continued overfishing.
"We will see dramatic changes in the oceans likely to reduce productivity," said Roberts. "One billion people rely on fish for primary animal protein and that is going to increase, especially in developing countries. We have to get to grips with our dependence on fossil fuels otherwise we are stuffed."
The fish shrinkage predicted by the new research results from two effects: the difficulty of growing in warmer, oxygen-poor waters, and migration.
"The metabolic rate of fish in the warm oceans increases and therefore they need more oxygen," said Cheung, whose work is published in Nature Climate Change. But warm water holds less oxygen and so their growth is limited.
In addition, there are more small-bodied fish in the tropics and these will migrate to temperate or polar regions as the ocean warms, reducing the average fish size.
The two effects are similar in impact, said Cheung, who used computer models to project the effect of warming on fish physiology, distribution, migration and population.
"We are already seeing the effects," he added, pointing to a 2011 study that showed the reduction in the size of haddock in the North Sea correlated closely with increasing temperature. Cheung's team projected temperature rises using data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, based on a high-emissions scenario that matches the current trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions.
"Our work shows a very concerning future for the oceans and so it is very important to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and develop better fish management policies to adapt to these changes," said Cheung.
Roberts said the research showed the impact of climate change on the oceans looked set to be greater than previously predicted. The reduction in fish size due to overfishing was well known, he said, as for the last century fish have increasingly "lived fast and died young", preventing them reaching full size. But, if overfishing continues, this effect would be additional to the shrinkage caused by warming, Roberts said.
Furthermore, rising carbon dioxide in the atmosphere leads to more of the gas dissolving in the ocean, increasing its acidity. "That makes life much tougher for animals that make a chalky skeleton," said Roberts. "We need to worry about these tiny animals – such as coccoliths and foraminifera – which are an important part of primary production: the base of the food chain."
Lastly, Roberts said the heating of the oceans means that the warmer layer at the surface mixes less with the colder layer below. As the colder layer contains most of the nutrients, that means less food for fish. "We are already seeing some evidence of this, as oceanic 'deserts' are getting larger."
"All this is yet one more reason to do something to cut greenhouse gases urgently," he said.— www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Andrew Mitchell repeatedly refused to comply with Downing Street police, angrily swore at them and was then threatened with arrest after he called them “plebs”, the official record of his disputed row with officers discloses.
The Daily Telegraph today publishes in full the 442-word police log of the incident in which the Conservative Chief Whip abused officers after being asked to use a side gate. David Cameron defied calls for an official investigation into the incident after Sir Jeremy Heywood, the Cabinet Secretary, discussed the matter with Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner.
But Downing Street struggled to draw a line under the scandal and aides admitted that the Prime Minister had not read the official police record.
Mr Mitchell has admitted swearing at the officers but denies calling them “plebs”. The police record, a contemporaneous note of the incident, clearly records him having used the term amid a flurry of expletives.
It details that, last Wednesday evening, Mr Mitchell was speaking to a female Pc, who is named in the log, “demanding exit through the main vehicle gate into Whitehall.” The Chief Whip was told that it was “policy” for cyclists to use a pedestrian gate but claimed that he “always used the main gates” and initially refused to do otherwise.
A colleague of the female officer who wrote the incident report continues: “After several refusals Mr Mitchell got off his bike and walked to the pedestrian gate with me after I again offered to open that for him.
The officer noted that members of the public looked “visibly shocked” by Mr Mitchell’s language and the Chief Whip was warned that he if he continued to swear he would be arrested under the Public Order Act.
The police record notes: “Mr Mitchell was then silent and left saying 'you haven’t heard the last of this’ as he cycled off.”
The officer who wrote the report stresses that officers were “extremely polite” to the Chief Whip, who was nicknamed “Thrasher” for his abrasive style at school.
Mr Mitchell finally appeared before television cameras yesterday morning to apologise publicly over the incident after Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, urged him to do so.
He said he had not used the words “attributed “ to him, and said the outburst had come after a “long and frustrating” day’s work.
“I have apologised to the police,” he said. “I have apologised to the police officer involved on the gate and he’s accepted my apology and I hope very much that we can draw a line under it there.”
Downing Street said “different versions” of the same incident had emerged and it is understood that Mr Mitchell will not be asked to resign unless evidence proving that he lied emerges. The police officer is understood to be sticking to his account.
A spokesman for the Prime Minister said: “Andrew Mitchell has apologised for his behaviour and that apology has been accepted. The important thing is Mr Mitchell didn’t show the police officer the respect he should have done. He acknowledges that and apologised to the officer concerned.”
The Cabinet Office released a letter from Sir Jeremy Heywood to Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, ruling out an investigation. He said the police sergeant involved had been spoken to by senior officials at No 10.
“There clearly remains a genuine difference of views about what words were actually used,” the letter said. “I have subsequently discussed the matter with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe.
“Like the Prime Minister he is obviously very disappointed at the lack of respect shown towards the police and agrees that the behaviour fell short of what the police should expect, in particular from members of the government”.
The letter added that the police officer involved did not wish to pursue the matter further, concluding, “the Prime Minister nor I see any purpose in a further investigation”.
Labour MPs called for Mr Mitchell to be referred to the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner and the Police Federation, which represents police officers, said an internal inquiry into his conduct was necessary.
In reference to the dispute over what words were used, John Tully, the head of the federation in London, said: “I know who I believe.” He said the Cabinet Office and the Prime Minister needed to carry out an inquiry and Mr Mitchell should be sacked if he was found to have lied.
Senior Liberal Democrats appeared reluctant to draw a line under the issue, with Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, joking in his speech at the party’s conference that he was a “mere pleb”.
Jeremy Browne, the Lib Dem Home Office minister said Mr Mitchell needed to tie up the “loose ends”.
“I know there’s a big media debate about what this says about the Conservative Party; whether it means the Conservatives are out of touch and whether they sound like they’re talking down to people,” he said.
“I can understand why people feel that we need to get to the bottom of it.”—www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — A recently released study conducted by the Barem Research Company and its global collaborator WIN/Gallup International Association has revealed that 61 percent of Turks do not want refugees in their country.
With a recent increase in the number of illegal immigrants and of refugees seeking shelter from unrest in their own countries, or due to natural disasters, such as earthquakes or famine, Barem Research has conducted a study titled “The Views of People on Global Immigration” to determine the way people regard migration across the world.
The study was conducted with the participation of 1,000 people in Turkey and a total of 50,000 people from 59 countries. According to the study, 38 percent of people around the globe consider migration negative and do not like immigrants, while 34 percent of people are positive about migration.
In Turkey, the perception of migrants is highly negative in terms of the global figures. According to the study, 61 percent of participants in Turkey said they did not want refugees in their country, with only 15 percent stating that they would invite migrants into their country. The remaining 24 percent had no strong positive or negative feelings about the issue.
However, while Turks proved generally negative about migrants in their country, they are among the nationalities most prone to migration themselves. Turkey sends the third-highest volume of migrants to other countries worldwide, and, considered on a per capita basis, Turkey is at the top of this list. Over 6.5 million people from Turkey, a country with a population of over 72 million, live in other countries around the globe, in particular Germany.
According to data from the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat), around 3 million more people entered Turkey to live than left to live abroad between 2000 and 2011.
The study also reveals that the high rate of migration is largely due to financial causes. Most migrants leave their countries to live in another country in order to have access to better economic opportunities.
Nigeria is the country that is most supportive of migration, the study suggests, followed by Pakistan and Armenia. Countries least favorable to global migration are Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Turkey.
According to data from the International Migration Research Center (UGAM), the country that sends the highest number of migrants abroad is China, with 55 million people living outside the country, followed by India, with 35 million emigrants. India is followed by Turkey with 6.5 million emigrants.—www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — NBC News reports exclusively the previously leaked 1 million Apple UDIDs by Antisec did not come from an FBI laptop, but rather stolen from a Florida publishing company called Blue Toad, as discovered by researcher David Schuetz, who tipped the company:
Paul DeHart, CEO of the Blue Toad publishing company, told NBC News that technicians at his firm downloaded the data released by Anonymous and compared it to the company’s own database. The analysis found a 98 percent correlation between the two datasets.
“That’s 100 percent confidence level, it’s our data,” DeHart said. “As soon as we found out we were involved and victimized, we approached the appropriate law enforcement officials, and we began to take steps to come forward, clear the record and take responsibility for this.”
After Antisec released the UDID data, the FBI uncharacteristically responded and denied the claims the data came from their laptop, and said Antisec was lying. Looks like the FBI was correct. Apple even released a statement and said they did not provide any data to the FBI.
Apple spokeswoman Trudy Mullter told NBC News the following:
“As an app developer, BlueToad would have access to a user’s device information such as UDID, device name and type…Developers do not have access to users’ account information, passwords or credit card information, unless a user specifically elects to provide that information to the developer.”
Very interesting developments in this story. Just goes to show to never believe anything you read on the internet. The biggest loser out of this case is Gawker’s Adrian Chen. He was asked to dress up and post pictures of himself in a pink tutu at the request of Antisec, in order for the hacker group to release more interviews about the subject. Ouch.
Update: Here’s the official statement from Blue Toad’s website:
A little more than a week ago, BlueToad was the victim of a criminal cyber attack, which resulted in the theft of Apple UDIDs from our systems. Shortly thereafter, an unknown group posted these UDIDs on the Internet.—www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — he researchers claim that because Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), and Parkinson’s disease each involve ocular control and attention dysfunctions, they can be easily identified through an evaluation of how patients move their eyes while they watch television.
“Natural attention and eye movement behavior—like a drop of saliva—contains a biometric signature of an individual and her/his state of brain function or dysfunction,” they write in the study, which is published in the Journal of Neurology.
“Such individual signatures, and especially potential biomarkers of particular neurological disorders which they may contain, however, have not yet been successfully decoded.”
Typical methods of detection—clinical evaluation, structured behavioral tasks, and neuroimaging—are costly, labor-intensive, and limited by a patient’s ability to understand and comply with instructions.
To solve this problem, doctoral student Po-He Tseng and Professor Laurent Itti of the department of computer science at the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering, along with collaborators at Queen’s University in Canada, have devised the new screening method.
Participants in the study were simply instructed to “watch and enjoy” television clips for 20 minutes while their eye movements were recorded.
Eye-tracking data was then combined with normative eye-tracking data and a computational model of visual attention to extract 224 quantitative features, allowing the team to use new machine-learning techniques to identify critical features that differentiated patients from control subjects.
With eye movement data from 108 subjects, the team was able to identify older adults with Parkinson’s Disease with 89.6 percent accuracy, and children with either ADHD or FASD with 77.3 percent accuracy.
Providing new insights into which aspects of attention and gaze control are affected by specific disorders, the team’s method provides considerable promise as an easily deployed, low-cost, high-throughput screening tool, especially for young children and elderly populations who may be less compliant to traditional tests.
“For the first time, we can actually decode a person’s neurological state from their everyday behavior, without having to subject them to difficult or time-consuming tests,” Itti says.
Funding for the research came from the National Science Foundation, the Army Research Office, the Human Frontier Science Program, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.—www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — A recently launched corporate social responsibility program has revealed shocking facts and figures relating to the Saudi youth.
During an event held at the Jeddah headquarters of Saudi wealth management company, SEDCO Holding, results of a survey that the company has shown that 11 percent of the Kingdom’s youth keep track of their spending and 80 percent of income goes on mobile phones and travel while 46 percent rely on parents for funding big purchases.
These findings are exactly why SEDCO chose to launch “Riyali,” which addresses the need to educate the Saudi population on financial literacy and empower people with the personal financial skills required to achieve a desirable standard of living. The first phase of this program targets college students.
Announcing the program, Dr. Adnan Soufi, CEO of SEDCO Holding, said, “We have selected financial literacy as our flagship social responsibility initiative. The program aims to enable upcoming generations with crucial skills to manage their personal income.”
Riyali will reach 50,000 beneficiaries over the next five years, aiming to impact 15,000 university students in its first phase. As the program expands, other demographic groups will be included.
SEDCO employee volunteers will serve as ambassadors to train the students on Financial Literacy through a curriculum focused on basic savings, budgeting, investing, and borrowing. Sessions will be evaluated immediately upon completion and the students tested on the information and knowledge shared during the course.
Riyali will be carried out at universities using a series of interactive workshops that will bring about a change in youth behavior towards financial planning and responsibility. Hence, it will create a difference in their overall spending and saving habits.
In developing the program SEDCO partnered with Operation Hope, a leading global social empowerment non-profit organization founded in 1992 with a mission to expand economic opportunity through financial literacy education. To date, Operation Hope has served over 2 million people in the United States, Haiti, South Africa, and Morocco.
John Hope Bryant, founder and Chief Executive of Operation Hope attended the launch where he addressed the attendees explaining the importance of speaking the language of money.
“If you don’t understand the language of money and you don’t have a bank account, you are risking becoming a slave to today’s financial system” he said.
Bryant also announced that he is committed to learn Arabic within 1 year after he fell in love with the language and culture.
SEDCO Group’s investment and wealth management company, SEDCO Capital, has also contributed to the development of Riyali by helping to construct the curriculum. Its staff will be the main source of ambassadors who will give participants in the program the benefit of their expertise in the same way they advise companies and corporations but adapted for personal financial management at an individual level.
Hasan Aljabri, CEO of SEDCO Capital, said: “We here at SEDCO Capital believe that the value of any economy is the individual and he alone is able to extract the wealth of the land and use its resources to supplement technologies, industry, agriculture and various aspects of science and the arts.”
Leading educational institutions in the Kingdom, including King Abdulaziz University, Effat University, Dar Al Hekma College and the College of Business Administration, have partnered in the initiative.—www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: Al Arabiya
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — The American spy agency, CIA has declassified a document, admitting to “analytic liabilities” that resulted in false US intelligence estimates on Iraq’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction, leading to a major war.
The heavily-redacted 2006 review, declassified on Wednesday, shows that the case for war against Iraq rested on a number of falsehoods, all of which came from the US intelligence community’s failures in assessing Iraqi weapons programs in the lead-up to the Bush administration’s 2003 invasion.
The document highlights that such “analytic liabilities” kept US analysts from seeing the issue “through an Iraqi prism” and generated findings that helped justify the Iraq war.
Prior to the 2003 military occupation of Iraq, the US intelligence community had claimed that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, backed by Washington throughout the 8-year war he waged against the Islamic Republic of Iran in the 1980’s, was hiding stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons.
"Given Iraq's extensive history of deception and only small changes in outward behavior, analysts did not spend adequate time examining the premise that the Iraqis had undergone a change in their behavior, and that what Iraq was saying by the end of 1995 was, for the most part, accurate," the report reads in part.
The key findings of the declassified document are reportedly released nearly in full while the body of the report is filled with blackened codewords, sources and intelligence reports that are still kept classified, seven years after the Iraq Survey Group reported to the CIA director on the near total failure of the prewar assessments.
The assessment further states, "Analysts tended to focus on what was most important to us -- the hunt for WMD -- and less on what would be most important for a paranoid dictatorship to protect. Viewed through an Iraqi prism, their reputation, their security, their overall technological capabilities, and their status needed to be preserved.”
The document notes that the failure on Iraq’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction marks a complete fiasco for the US intelligence community.
Paul Pillar, who served as the CIA Middle East division chief in the run-up to the Iraq war, has noted that the document stops short of speaking about the pressure, the Bush administration exerted on US intelligence services to fabricate findings in an attempt to justify the invasion of Iraq. “The campaign to sell the war moved into high gear before the estimate was ever written,” writes Pillar in his Intelligence and US Foreign Policy: Iraq, 9/11, and Misguided Reform.
In 2003, just before the US military invasion of Iraq, top American officials, including then Secretary of State Colin Powell and CIA Director George Tenet, appeared before the UN Security Council and offered what they claimed to be specific intelligence accounts pointing to the Iraqi efforts to hide their arsenal of chemical and biological weapons.—www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: Press TV
SHAFAQNA (Shia News Association)— Rolls-Royce has just revealed the world’s first jet engine to be made entirely out of LEGO bricks. They revealed the model, made out of 152,455 standard LEGO bricks, at the Farnborough Airshow. The engine is a half-size replica with moving parts of the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 turbofan jet engine, which powers the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
The engine does not function and its dimensions are as follows: weighs in at 677 pounds, 6.6 feet long, and 4.9 feet wide. The engine took eight weeks for a team of four to complete. Over 160 separate engine components were individually built in the project. The goal of the model was to encourage young people to look into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Rolls-Royce has not only accomplished a feat in the LEGO world, but also has created a project to create more interest around science for the younger generation. Let us know what you think of this crazy jet engine model in the comments section below.— www.shafaqna.com/english/