News Flash – 28 June 2017

National News



India’s largest container port JNPT hit by ransomware

Cargo containers stacked outside the container terminal of JNPT in Mumbai.



MUMBAI: Operations at one of the three terminals of India’s largest container port JNPT (Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust) were impacted on Tuesday night as a fallout of the global ransomware attack , which crippled some central banks and many large corporations in Europe. AP Moller-Maersk, one of the affected entities globally , operates the Gateway Terminals India (GTI) at JNPT, which has a capacity to handle 1.8 million standard container units. “We have been informed that the operations at GTI have come to a standstill because their systems are down (due to the malware attack). They are trying to work manually,” a senior JNPT official told PTI tonight. The official explained that JNPT is trying to help the company, but there is little that others can do as the problem is with the systems. Fearing some clogging up of cargo, additional parking space is being made available, the official said, promising to help in any way that is possible. The Hague-based APM Terminals also operates the Pipavav terminal in Gujarat. Foreign media reports from the Netherlands capital The Hague quoting the pubcaster RTV Rijnmond said a new ransomware virus called Petya has hit 17 APM terminals, including two in Rotterdam and 15 in other parts of the world. APM Terminals is a subsidiary of shipping giant Maersk, which has confirmed it is suffering from a cyberattack.


When contacted, an APM spokesperson refused to comment on the India impact of the attack. “We can confirm that Maersk’s IT systems are down across multiple geographies and business units due to a cyberattack. We continue to assess the situation. The safety of our employees, our operation and our customer’s businesses is our top priority. We will update when we have more information,” the spokesperson said in a written statement issued globally. The current attacks come weeks after the Wannacry ransomware attack , which impacted systems of many companies. Companies that affected today include Russia’s biggest oil company Rosneft, global advertising giant WPP Group and multiple institutions in Ukraine including its central bank and an international airport. An AFP report quoting the Ukrainian central bank said a cyberattack hit several lenders in the ex-Soviet republic, hindering operations and leading the regulator to warn other financial institutions to tighten security measures. The Moscow-based cyber-security firm Group IB traced the origins of the malware and the hackers to a code developed by the US National Security Agency (NSA) which was leaked and then used in the WannaCry ransomware attack that caused global disruption last month, according to an AFP report. The global wire quoted a Ukrainian media company, which was hit, as saying its computers were blocked and it had received a demand for $300 worth of the Bitcoin crypto-currency to restore access to its files.



Okhla fire: Tragedy hits family ahead of wedding

On Monday night, someone tried to light the burner to heat food. The entire house caught fire in seconds, killing five.



NEW DELHI: A family gaily preparing for a wedding was jolted by tragedy when a gas leak sparked a blaze that killed five of its members and seriously injured four others in Okhla. On Monday night, as the family was getting ready for dinner, someone tried to light the burner to heat the food. In a matter of seconds, the entire house caught fire before anybody could react. Help didn’t take long to arrive, but by then, the fire had already claimed five lives. “We were standing in front of the house when fire broke out. One second, the house was fine; the other second, everything was gone,” said one Raj Kumar who called the fire brigade and the police. Police said the house had a common entry and exit, which is why the people inside got trapped. Police also said that the house was constructed illegally. The victims were taken to a hospital where four people — Lalsa (the groom’s aunt), Santra (another aunt), Shashikant (younger brother) and Khushi (Lalsa’s daughter) — were declared dead on arrival. Usha, the groom’s mother, died during treatment, police said. The groom, Ravikant, his father Surender, and cousins Guddu and Jitender were injured. The family belongs to UP and had been staying in the house for 13 years. Surender and Ravikant both drove a mini truck and transported goods.



6 men drugged on Lucknow Express, rescued in Kazipet

The unconscious men at Kazipet



KAZIPET: Six passengers on the Lucknow Express who fell unconscious after consuming soft drinks offered by unidentified persons in the train on Monday night, were taken off the train by the police here on Tuesday afternoon. They were taken to Mahatma Gandhi Medical Hospital in Warangal for treatment. Police said though the condition of the six men was out of danger while five of were not able to speak coherently. According to the railway and general police, the railway protection force received information about six persons in a general compartment in an unconscious condition on Tuesday. The police informed Kazipet station which was the next station on the trains route. The local unit of RPF along with the law and order police had ambulances on the ready. The victims are from Lucknow and Allahabad and were identified as Indrajeet, Sanjay Karthik, Rajnarayana, Ranjith, Mahesh Saketh and Susheel Jashwanth. They were taken to MGM hospital.


The police said some of the men were drifting in and out of consciousness and were not in a physical position to say what happened to them. One victim, Susheel Jaswanth was recovering faster than the others. He informed the police that the group boarded the train at Yeswanthpur after completing a painting contract in Bangalore. Once they boarded the train, they consumed a cold drink shared by a fellow passenger and woke up only on Tuesday afternoon after the police helped them disembark the train. Jaswanth reported that he was unable to find `1,100 cash and his ID cards, the police said. A case has been registered by the Kazipet railway police.



Rain damages drone cam keeping eye on protest-hit villages



KALYAN: A drone camera being used by Thane police to keep surveillance in seven villages of Kalyan and Ambernath talukas in Thane district were damaged in rain on Tuesday. After a farmers’ protests against the defence ministry’s turned violent last week, police had begun using a drone camera for surveillance and to trace the accused who during the protest on Thursday had attacked policemen. On Thursday, farmers had staged a protest as they were unhappy with defence ministry’s move to take over 1,600 acres of land at Nevali village in Kalyan and Ambernath talukas for a defence airport requisitioned during World War II. The protest turned violent as they set 10 vehicles on fire. Over 25 people were injured. Police will now use another drone camera as repairing the damaged one take a couple of days. Deputy commissioner of police (zone 4) of Thane police Sunil Bhardwaj confirmed that the drone camera fell to the ground due to rain and got damaged.


Meanwhile, on Tuesday, a farmers’ delegation, along with state minister Ravindra Chavan and MP Kapil Patil, met to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis at his residence. The CM has reportedly assured the villagers that he will speak to defence minister Arun Jaitley about the land issue. During the meeting, the farmers also complained that police, in the name of arresting miscreants who attacked policemen on Thursday, are harassing innocent villagers. The CM has also assured that no innocent will be harassed by police. The farmers have suggested that the CM sets up a committee of officials from the Indian Navy, revenue department, local representatives and villagers to sort out the land issue.



7,290 drink-driving cases booked this year, only 1,834 sent to prison



HYDERABAD: As many as 7,290 cases of drink driving have been booked by Hyderabad traffic cops and an amount of 0.73 crore have been collected as fine amount towards the same till May this year, reveals data available with the police. The number of imprisonments, however, stands at 1,834. The figures also indicate a year-on-year hike in cases of drink driving within Hyderabad over the last three years. From 15,389 in 2014, the number of drink driving cases jumped to 16,633 in 2015 and 17,452 in 2016. While the total number of imprisonments were relatively low in 2014 (2,569) and 2015 (2,940), it saw a jump in 2016 with the count touching 7,323. Road safety experts point to the lack of stricter punishments as a reason for the steep rise in drink driving cases every year. “When compared to other metros in India, Hyderabad traffic cops fare better in terms of enforcement action to curb drink driving. A large number of cases are being booked on a daily basis. However, drink driving has not yet become a serious offence in the city. This is because most violators are still able to get away with the offence by paying a paltry fine amount. Small fines are no deterrent when it comes to traffic related offences. Stricter punishment must be doled out in drink driving cases and there must be a fast-track system to deal with such offences.



Also, the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) bill which is pending approval will hike the fines and make punishments stricter. A fine amount of `500 will be hiked to “2,000 if the bill is passed,” said Vinod K Kanumala, CEO of the Indian Federation of Road Safety. Commuters also pointed to a lack of seriousness when it comes to drink driving. ” Although cops have started conducting random tests during the night, mostly right outside the entrance of popular bars and pubs, drink driving is still not taken very seriously by people in the city. There are alternate routes that people take to avoid running into cops. Also, if caught, the consequence is not very severe. Friends of mine, who are repeat offenders, have been able to get away with simple counselling and social service,” said a pub-hopper on condition of anonymity. A V Ranganath, deputy commissioner of police (traffic), Hyderabad stated that many drink driving cases booked since April this year, are still `pending disposal in courts’. “This is because many judges have been transferred and substitute judges have not been appointed in their place. We have made a request with the Chief Justice who responded on a positive note. Judges are likely to be appointed in a few days’ time,” said Ranganath.



Delhi government sets up control room for rainy days



NEW DELHI: The Delhi government has set up a central flood control room that is expected to monitor any trouble arising in the city as a result of the monsoon. The control room will be under the supervision of the east district magistrate and will remain functional till October 15, 2017. “All concerned agencies met the cabinet members on Tuesday and made presentations of their preparedness for the monsoon. The control room will be staffed by representatives of various agencies like irrigation & flood control, DDA, PWD, NDMC, the three corporations, Delhi Police among others”. On desilting of drains, CM Arvind Kejriwal said that the process of cleaning of drains used by PWD and the corporations “is very primitive” and modern technology like super suckers should be put to use.



Two private firms using chemicals in milk: K T Rajenthra Bhalaji



CHENNAI: State dairy development minister K T Rajenthra Bhalaji on Tuesday accused two private milk companies of adulterating their products with chemicals before selling them. “These two brands are using caustic soda and bleaching powder in spoilt milk. After using these chemicals in the milk, they convert it to powder which is consumed by children. How safe is it for children to drink this milk?” asked the minister during an interaction with journalists at his residence. It is only because of such adulterated milk that people get sick. “I am not accusing all private milk companies. But, apart from these two brands, there are others that use chemicals and I will share their names after we get the reports,” he said.


The minister shared the lab reports with journalists. The milk samples, he said, were sent to a Chennai-based private lab on June 12 and the report was released on June 13. Last month, Bhalaji set off a controversy by alleging that toxic preservatives in milk and milk products of private producers were the cause of cancer in many children. Bhalaji praised the milk brands of the state milk marketing federation Aavin and said it was “as good as mother’s milk”. “The milk samples were not sent by us. The person who sent the samples to the lab had also sent Aavin milk samples. Aavin milk samples did not throw up any negative results. It proves that Aavin milk is the best,” said Bhalaji. Asked whether he would ban the two brands, Bhalaji said he would discuss the reports with chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and take a decision. “The reports will have to be shown to the health department and also discussed with our department secretary. The chief minister will take a final decision,” said the minister.



International News



‘GoldenEye’ cyber-attack goes global, exploits known code flaws

An employee sits next to a payment terminal out of order at a branch of Ukraine’s state-owned bank Oschadbank after Ukrainian institutions were hit by a wave of cyber-attacks earlier in the day, in Kiev.



MOSCOW/KIEV/WASHINGTON: A major global cyber-attack dubbed “GoldenEye” or “Petya” on Tuesday disrupted computers at Russia’s biggest oil company, Ukrainian banks and multinational firms with a virus similar to the ransomware virus that last month infected more than 300,000 computers. The attack underscores growing concerns that businesses have failed to secure their networks from increasingly aggressive hackers, who have shown they are capable of shutting down critical infrastructure and crippling corporate and government networks. “Cyber-attacks can simply destroy us,” said Kevin Johnson, chief executive of cyber security firm Secure Ideas. “Companies are just not doing what they are supposed to do to fix the problem. The ransomware virus crippled computers running Microsoft Corp’s Windows by encrypting hard drives and overwriting files, then demanded $300 in bitcoin payments to restore access. It included code known as “Eternal Blue,” which cyber security experts widely believe was stolen from the U.S. National Security Agency and was also used in last month’s ransomware attack, named “WannaCry”. Victims could have protected themselves from attack by updating computers with security patches from Microsoft and configuring their networks to stop viruses targeting a widely used Windows networking protocol, said Symantec Corp researcher Eric Chien. “This shouldn’t be that big a deal because people should have already patched,” he said. Some 2,000 attacks were observed as of midday in New York on Tuesday, according to Kaspersky Lab. Russia and Ukraine were most affected, with other victims spread across countries including Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and the United States, the security software maker said.


Security experts said they expected the impact to be smaller than WannaCry since many computers had been patched with Windows updates in the wake of WannaCry last month to protect them against attacks using Eternal Blue code. Following last month’s attack, governments, security firms and industrial groups aggressively advised businesses and consumers to make sure all their computers were updated with Microsoft patches to defend against the threat. A Microsoft spokesman said the company was investigating the attacks. The US. Department of Homeland Security said it was monitoring the attacks and coordinating with other countries. It advised victims not to pay the extortion, saying that doing so does not guarantee access will be restored. The NSA did not respond to a request for comment. The spy agency has not publicly said whether it built Eternal Blue and other hacking tools leaked online by an entity known as Shadow Brokers. Several private security experts have said they believe Shadow Brokers is tied to the Russian government, and that the North Korean government was behind WannaCry. Both countries’ governments deny charges they are involved in hacking.


‘DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME’ : The first attacks were reported from Russia and Ukraine. Russia’s Rosneft, one of the world’s biggest crude producers by volume, said its systems had suffered “serious consequences,” but added oil production had not been affected because it switched over to backup systems. Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Pavlo Rozenko said the government’s computer network went down and the central bank reported disruption to operations at banks and firms including the state power distributor. Danish shipping giant AP Moller-Maersk said it was among the victims, reporting outages at facilities including its Los Angeles terminal. WPP, the world’s largest advertising agency, said it was also infected. A WPP employee who asked not to be named said that workers were told to shut down their computers: “The building has come to a standstill”. A Ukrainian media company said its computers were blocked and it was asked to pay $300 in the crypto-currency bitcoin to regain access. “Perhaps you are busy looking for a way to recover your files, but don’t waste your time. Nobody can recover your files without our decryption service,” the message said, according to a screenshot posted on Ukraine’s Channel 24. Russia’s central bank said there were isolated cases of lenders’ IT systems being infected. One consumer lender, Home Credit, had to suspend client operations. Other companies that identified themselves as victims included French construction materials firm Saint Gobain , U.S. drug maker Merck & Co and Mars Inc’s Royal Canin pet food business.


India-based employees at Beiersdorf, makers of Nivea skin care products, and Reckitt Benckiser, which owns Enfamil and Lysol, told Reuters the ransomware attack had impacted some of their systems in the country. Western Pennsylvania’s Heritage Valley Health System’s entire network was shut down by a cyber-attack on Tuesday, according to local media reports. Last’s month’s fast-spreading WannaCry ransomware attack was crippled after a 22-year-old British security researcher Marcus Hutchins created a so-called “kill-switch” that experts hailed as the decisive step in slowing the attack. Security experts said they did not believe that the ransomware released on Tuesday had a kill switch, meaning that it might be harder to stop. Cyber intelligence firm Flashpoint said it believed the outbreak began in Ukraine, where attackers loaded the ransomware onto computers when they requested updates of a widely used accounting software program. An adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister said earlier in the day that the virus got into computer systems via “phishing” emails written in Russian and Ukrainian designed to lure employees into opening them. According to the state security agency, the emails contained infected Word documents or PDF files as attachments.



Over 8,000 migrants rescued in Mediterranean in 48 hours



ROME: More than 8,000 migrants have been rescued in waters off Libya during the past 48 hours in difficult weather conditions, Italy’s coastguard said today. “On Monday, we rescued about 5,000 people from four large boats, one smaller one and 18 rubber dinghies,” a spokesman told AFP. People were pulled to safety by coastguard vessels, military ships operating under the EU’s border agency Frontex and aid boats run by privately funded organisations. Their efforts were coordinated by the coastguard. “Together with Sea Watch and Sea Eye our crew was able to save more people last night under bad weather conditions,” the German NGO Jugend Rettet tweeted on Tuesday, referring to two other nonprofit groups. It said that “three people died”, though it was not clear whether the victims were found dead or died during the rescue. Italy’s coastguard said it was seeing “a lot of activity” on Tuesday, “but not at the same level as on Monday”. Spain’s Civil Guard said one of its vessels serving under Frontex’s anti-trafficking Operation Triton had rescued 133 people found on an inflatable dinghy off Libya.


Those rescued included 17 minors, two babies and 23 women, seven of whom were pregnant, it said. The crew was coming to the assistance of two other dinghies and had been asked to assist three others, it said, adding that the vessel expected to end up with 1,300 migrants on board, “its maximum capacity”. Traffickers on the North African coast take advantage of periods of good weather to set large numbers of migrants seeking passage to Europe out to sea, a notoriously dangerous crossing. On Sunday, over 3,300 people were rescued in 31 separate operations, while two bodies were recovered. The record for migrants rescued on a single day stands at 7,000, plucked from their unseaworthy vessels on August 29, 2016. Over 73,300 migrants have landed in Italy since January, a 14 percent increase from the same period last year. Just over 2,000 people have died attempting the crossing or are missing feared drowned since the beginning of 2017, according to the UN’s refugee agency.



57 dead in US-led strikes on IS Syria prison: Monitor



BEIRUT: US-led coalition air strikes on a jail run by the Islamic State group in eastern Syria killed at least 57 people, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Tuesday. “The strikes hit an IS jail in Mayadeen at dawn on Monday, killing 42 prisoners and 15 jihadists,” Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP. Mayadeen lies in the Euphrates Valley some 45 kilometres (28 miles) southeast of the provincial capital of Deir Ezzor. The Britain-based Observatory said that according to its sources IS had paraded the bodies of the dead in the streets of the town. Most of Deir Ezzor province is controlled by the jihadists and it has been the target of air strikes by both the coalition and the Syrian army and its Russian ally. The US-led coalition said last week that it had killed IS’s top cleric Turki Binali in a May 31 strike on Mayadeen. Russia said earlier this month that it had killed about 180 IS jihadists, including two field commanders, in June 6 and 8 air strikes on Deir Ezzor.

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