UniqueThis 's Entries

4 blogs
  • 22 Aug 2021
    Afghanistan's Taliban have tried to offer hope that the country - and the world - won't return to the 1990s hard-line regime. According to Al Jazeera, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said: "Our nation is a Muslim nation, whether 20 years ago or now." "But when it comes to experience, maturity, vision, there is a huge difference from 20 years ago." Both the United States, which invaded after the Taliban government sheltered Osama bin Laden and other Al Qaeda members, and the Afghans scarred by the militants' violent struggle for power and oppression have sided with skepticism. Burqa-clad women sit outside a door in Herat in 1999. Per-Anders Pettersson / Getty National security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters at the White House on Tuesday that it's "premature" to say whether the Biden administration recognizes the Taliban as governing power in Afghanistan. The Taliban must show the rest of the world who they are and how they plan to proceed, Sullivan said. "Track record isn't good." In the early 1990s, the Taliban were formed to fight the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. This group was led by Mullah Omar, who died in 2015, after the country plunged into civil war after many fighters who had expelled the Soviets turned on each other. The group, which adheres to a strict interpretation of Sunni Islam and ruled the country as an emirate without a parliament or elections from 1996 to 2001, was initially hailed for attempting to restore order. After the U.S. overthrew the Taliban, democracy and equal rights became enshrined in the constitution, if not in daily life for many Afghans, and the lives of minorities and urban women improved. The Taliban still controlled parts of Afghanistan during this time. So they took over state hospitals and schools and ran their own justice system. Afghans viewed the central government as corrupt and inefficient, so they preferred the Taliban. Taliban fought U.S.-backed governments in Kabul for 20 years. Since 2009, more than 100,000 civilians have been killed or injured. Other groups blame the Taliban for planting improvised explosive devices in public places, often injuring civilians, and for assassinating prominent Western and liberal figures.. In the first six months of this year, the group was responsible for nearly 40 percent of civilian casualties, more than any other party to the conflict, according to the United Nations. Taliban leaders have denied targeting civilians. In February 2020, the militants made a deal with the Trump administration that all U.S. troops would withdraw from Afghanistan within 14 months. When this didn’t happen, the Taliban launched an offensive to take back the country. While the Taliban — run by a supreme leader, Haibatullah Akhundzada, and three deputies, Mawlavi Yaqoob, son of Mullah Omar, Sirajuddin Haqqani, leader of the powerful Haqqani militant network, and Abdul Ghani Baradar, who heads the Taliban's political office in Doha — now control three-quarters of Afghanistan, their capacity to govern is unclear.
    256 Posted by UniqueThis
  • Afghanistan's Taliban have tried to offer hope that the country - and the world - won't return to the 1990s hard-line regime. According to Al Jazeera, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said: "Our nation is a Muslim nation, whether 20 years ago or now." "But when it comes to experience, maturity, vision, there is a huge difference from 20 years ago." Both the United States, which invaded after the Taliban government sheltered Osama bin Laden and other Al Qaeda members, and the Afghans scarred by the militants' violent struggle for power and oppression have sided with skepticism. Burqa-clad women sit outside a door in Herat in 1999. Per-Anders Pettersson / Getty National security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters at the White House on Tuesday that it's "premature" to say whether the Biden administration recognizes the Taliban as governing power in Afghanistan. The Taliban must show the rest of the world who they are and how they plan to proceed, Sullivan said. "Track record isn't good." In the early 1990s, the Taliban were formed to fight the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. This group was led by Mullah Omar, who died in 2015, after the country plunged into civil war after many fighters who had expelled the Soviets turned on each other. The group, which adheres to a strict interpretation of Sunni Islam and ruled the country as an emirate without a parliament or elections from 1996 to 2001, was initially hailed for attempting to restore order. After the U.S. overthrew the Taliban, democracy and equal rights became enshrined in the constitution, if not in daily life for many Afghans, and the lives of minorities and urban women improved. The Taliban still controlled parts of Afghanistan during this time. So they took over state hospitals and schools and ran their own justice system. Afghans viewed the central government as corrupt and inefficient, so they preferred the Taliban. Taliban fought U.S.-backed governments in Kabul for 20 years. Since 2009, more than 100,000 civilians have been killed or injured. Other groups blame the Taliban for planting improvised explosive devices in public places, often injuring civilians, and for assassinating prominent Western and liberal figures.. In the first six months of this year, the group was responsible for nearly 40 percent of civilian casualties, more than any other party to the conflict, according to the United Nations. Taliban leaders have denied targeting civilians. In February 2020, the militants made a deal with the Trump administration that all U.S. troops would withdraw from Afghanistan within 14 months. When this didn’t happen, the Taliban launched an offensive to take back the country. While the Taliban — run by a supreme leader, Haibatullah Akhundzada, and three deputies, Mawlavi Yaqoob, son of Mullah Omar, Sirajuddin Haqqani, leader of the powerful Haqqani militant network, and Abdul Ghani Baradar, who heads the Taliban's political office in Doha — now control three-quarters of Afghanistan, their capacity to govern is unclear.
    Aug 22, 2021 256
  • 22 Aug 2021
    The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently exposed a scheme that hijacks social media and mobile phone accounts and nets criminals millions. According to the Department of Justice, criminals conspired to steal cryptocurrency through a practice called "SIM-swapping." Declan Harrington, 21, of Massachusetts, pleaded guilty to conspiracy, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft, according to the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney's Office. Due to crypto accounts worth millions of dollars, SIM-swapping has become a lucrative crime. Authorities say Harrington and his co-conspirators targeted people they thought had a lot of cryptocurrency and "high value" social media account names. DoJ says they stole (or tried to steal) more than $530,000 in cryptocurrency from 10 victims across the country. Two of the victims' social media accounts were also hacked by one of the conspirators. Sim swapping net millions With the rise of cryptocurrency accounts worth millions of dollars, SIM-swapping has become a lucrative crime. Mobile phone SIMs contain unique ID numbers for each subscriber. In SIM swap, the SIM (linked to the subscriber) is switched to the criminal's SIM. After that, the attacker resets the password for the mobile phone account. THWART TOP PHONE HACKERS WITH ONE SIMPLE STEP The DOJ said cybercriminals can then access the victim's account without authorization by resetting the victim's log-in credentials. Europol reports that several people were arrested for attacks that stole more than $100 million earlier this year. Millions of victims were targeted, including internet influencers, athletes, and musicians, Europol said. There have been other high-profile cases in the last few years of criminals netting millions.   Following are the final steps in a criminal SIM swap: Identify digital currency keys, wallets, and accounts held in the victim's accounts. Defeat SMS-based or mobile application-based two-factor authentication on any accounts with control of the victim's phone number. "Steal currency: Transfer the digital currency from the victim to the attacker's account."
    289 Posted by UniqueThis
  • The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently exposed a scheme that hijacks social media and mobile phone accounts and nets criminals millions. According to the Department of Justice, criminals conspired to steal cryptocurrency through a practice called "SIM-swapping." Declan Harrington, 21, of Massachusetts, pleaded guilty to conspiracy, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft, according to the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney's Office. Due to crypto accounts worth millions of dollars, SIM-swapping has become a lucrative crime. Authorities say Harrington and his co-conspirators targeted people they thought had a lot of cryptocurrency and "high value" social media account names. DoJ says they stole (or tried to steal) more than $530,000 in cryptocurrency from 10 victims across the country. Two of the victims' social media accounts were also hacked by one of the conspirators. Sim swapping net millions With the rise of cryptocurrency accounts worth millions of dollars, SIM-swapping has become a lucrative crime. Mobile phone SIMs contain unique ID numbers for each subscriber. In SIM swap, the SIM (linked to the subscriber) is switched to the criminal's SIM. After that, the attacker resets the password for the mobile phone account. THWART TOP PHONE HACKERS WITH ONE SIMPLE STEP The DOJ said cybercriminals can then access the victim's account without authorization by resetting the victim's log-in credentials. Europol reports that several people were arrested for attacks that stole more than $100 million earlier this year. Millions of victims were targeted, including internet influencers, athletes, and musicians, Europol said. There have been other high-profile cases in the last few years of criminals netting millions.   Following are the final steps in a criminal SIM swap: Identify digital currency keys, wallets, and accounts held in the victim's accounts. Defeat SMS-based or mobile application-based two-factor authentication on any accounts with control of the victim's phone number. "Steal currency: Transfer the digital currency from the victim to the attacker's account."
    Aug 22, 2021 289
  • 22 Aug 2021
    An "Olympic bat" the size of a human thumb flew over 1,200 miles from London to Russia before being killed by a cat. When a resident of the small Russian town of Molgino in the Pskov region saw the female Nathusius' pipistrelle bat on the ground, it had been damaged by the feline. According to the Bat Conservation Trust in the United Kingdom, she weighed only 8 grams (.28 ounces) and was rescued by a Russian bat rehabilitation organisation before succumbing to her injuries. Nathusius pipistrelle bat (Pipistrellus nathusii), Europe. (Photo by: Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images) The bat had "London Zoo" scrawled on it when it was discovered, indicating that it had traveled 1,254 miles. Brian Briggs, a bat recorder, had ringed the bat in 2016 in Bedfont Lakes Country Park near Heathrow in west London. "This is a thrilling prospect. It's wonderful to be able to help with international conservation efforts to conserve these magnificent animals and learn more about their interesting lives "Briggs stated. According to a news statement from the Bat Conservation Trust issued last Thursday, the voyage was one of the world's longest known bat migrations, the furthest known record from Britain across Europe, and the only long-distance movement documented "like this" from west to east. The journey was one of the longest known bat travels globally, the furthest known record from Britain across Europe, and the only long-distance movement recorded "like this" from west to east, according to a press release last Thursday from the Bat Conservation Trust.  
    256 Posted by UniqueThis
  • An "Olympic bat" the size of a human thumb flew over 1,200 miles from London to Russia before being killed by a cat. When a resident of the small Russian town of Molgino in the Pskov region saw the female Nathusius' pipistrelle bat on the ground, it had been damaged by the feline. According to the Bat Conservation Trust in the United Kingdom, she weighed only 8 grams (.28 ounces) and was rescued by a Russian bat rehabilitation organisation before succumbing to her injuries. Nathusius pipistrelle bat (Pipistrellus nathusii), Europe. (Photo by: Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images) The bat had "London Zoo" scrawled on it when it was discovered, indicating that it had traveled 1,254 miles. Brian Briggs, a bat recorder, had ringed the bat in 2016 in Bedfont Lakes Country Park near Heathrow in west London. "This is a thrilling prospect. It's wonderful to be able to help with international conservation efforts to conserve these magnificent animals and learn more about their interesting lives "Briggs stated. According to a news statement from the Bat Conservation Trust issued last Thursday, the voyage was one of the world's longest known bat migrations, the furthest known record from Britain across Europe, and the only long-distance movement documented "like this" from west to east. The journey was one of the longest known bat travels globally, the furthest known record from Britain across Europe, and the only long-distance movement recorded "like this" from west to east, according to a press release last Thursday from the Bat Conservation Trust.  
    Aug 22, 2021 256
  • 22 Aug 2021
    Caroline Clarin, who works from her rural Minnesota home and attempts to bring hope to those who convey heart-wrenching messages of desperation from a world away, has had her phone ringing for days with pleas for aid from Afghans. Ms. Clarin, who headed a US Department of Agriculture program in Afghanistan, and her wife, Sheril Raymond, have assisted in the immigration of five Afghans and their families from her program since 2017. They are now attempting to assist over a half-dozen more Afghans and their families in escaping Afghanistan. Americans around the country are scrambling to assist Afghans fleeing their homeland following the Taliban's quick takeover. Those pitching in are everyone from volunteers at refugee resettlement groups to individuals like Ms. Clarin and Ms. Raymond who are helping on their own, all motivated by compassion.   More than 2,000 Afghans have been transported to Fort Lee Army Base in Virginia since late July, with thousands more on the way. Afghan government employees and their families may be eligible for special immigrant visas. Due to a backlog of visa applications, tens of thousands of others who also qualified have been left behind. Nonprofit groups that operate on a combination of government grants and private donations provide temporary food and shelter help refugees during the first 90 days. Long-term services, such as language and citizenship programs, are available, but they are expected to become self-sufficient.  
    256 Posted by UniqueThis
  • Caroline Clarin, who works from her rural Minnesota home and attempts to bring hope to those who convey heart-wrenching messages of desperation from a world away, has had her phone ringing for days with pleas for aid from Afghans. Ms. Clarin, who headed a US Department of Agriculture program in Afghanistan, and her wife, Sheril Raymond, have assisted in the immigration of five Afghans and their families from her program since 2017. They are now attempting to assist over a half-dozen more Afghans and their families in escaping Afghanistan. Americans around the country are scrambling to assist Afghans fleeing their homeland following the Taliban's quick takeover. Those pitching in are everyone from volunteers at refugee resettlement groups to individuals like Ms. Clarin and Ms. Raymond who are helping on their own, all motivated by compassion.   More than 2,000 Afghans have been transported to Fort Lee Army Base in Virginia since late July, with thousands more on the way. Afghan government employees and their families may be eligible for special immigrant visas. Due to a backlog of visa applications, tens of thousands of others who also qualified have been left behind. Nonprofit groups that operate on a combination of government grants and private donations provide temporary food and shelter help refugees during the first 90 days. Long-term services, such as language and citizenship programs, are available, but they are expected to become self-sufficient.  
    Aug 22, 2021 256