TIME Security

Hackers Hit Malaysia Airlines Website

The airline says no customer data at risk

Malaysia Airlines said Monday that its website had been “compromised,” though it denied reports that hackers had actually infiltrated the site itself and said no customer information was at risk.

Beginning late Sunday night, users going on the airline’s website were directed to a page touting messages from a group claiming to be aligned with Islamist extremism. The browser window, reading “ISIS WILL PREVAIL,” stood over a page displaying the image of an aircraft along with the message “404- Plane Not Found.” Malaysia Airlines is still suffering from the fallout of two downed planes in the last year, one of which was shot down over Ukraine and the other that has yet to be recovered.

Others were shown similar messaging over the image of a reptile donning a monocle and top hat.

A hacker group called Lizard Squad, also going by Cyber Caliphate, has taken credit and boasted about the alleged hack on Twitter.

Malaysia Airlines released a public statement on its Facebook page assuring customers that although its site “has been compromised where users are re-directed to a hacker website… Malaysia Airlines assures customers and clients that its website was not hacked and this temporary glitch does not affect their bookings and that user data remains secured.”

Although Malaysiaairlines.com was down Monday morning, the company had created a separate site where customers could check into their flights.

Lizard Squad still claimed that data has been compromised.

 

TIME

Turkey Censors Facebook Pages That ‘Insult’ the Prophet Muhammad

Turkish islamists protest Charlie Hebdo in Istanbul
Turkish islamist protestors hold placards in front of Fatih Mosque during a rally against the French magazine 'Charlie Hebdo' over the publiction of a depiction of the Prophet Muhammad in Istanbul, on Jan 25, 2015. Sedat Suna—EPA

The court also threatened to block access to Facebook as a whole

(ANKARA, Turkey) — Turkey’s state-run news agency says a court has ordered authorities to block access in the country to Facebook pages that “insult” the Prophet Muhammad, in the latest move to censor the Internet.

The Anadolu Agency says a court in Ankara issued the order late Sunday. The court also threatened to block access to Facebook as a whole, if its order isn’t implemented.

The decision comes days after another court ruling to ban access in Turkey to web pages featuring the controversial cover of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo depicting the prophet.

Last year, Turkey closed down access to YouTube and Twitter after a series of leaked recordings suggested corruption by people close to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkey’s highest court later overturned the ban.

TIME england

Church of England to Ordain First Female Bishop

Church of England's First female Bishop Named As The Reverend Libby Lane
Libby Lane smiles during a visit to St. Peter's Church, where she has been a vicar since 2007, in Hale, England, on Dec. 17, 2014 Nigel Roddis—Getty Images

The Reverend Libby Lane will be the first to wear the title

(LONDON) — Male domination in the leadership of the Church of England is coming to an end, as the 500-year-old institution consecrates its first female bishop.

The Rev. Libby Lane becomes the eighth Bishop of Stockport in a service Monday at York Minster. Her consecration comes after the church ended a long and divisive dispute by voting last year to allow women to serve as bishops.

Lane has dismissed criticism that her appointment is merely a symbolic gesture, saying that she may be “the first, but I won’t be the only.”

A saxophone player and soccer fan, Lane was one of the first women to become a Church of England priest. She was ordained in 1994. Her husband is also a priest.

TIME Greece

Greece’s Syriza to Form Government After Election Victory

Parliamentary elections in Greece
Alexis Tsipras, leader of radical leftist Syriza party, greets supporters after the initial election results for the Greece general elections in Athens, Greece, on Jan. 25, 2015. Orestis Panagioto—EPA

Suprise alliance between two staunchly anti-bailout parties

(ATHENS) — Left-wing Greek election winner Syriza gained key support from an anti-bailout party Monday, allowing it to form a new government.

The right-wing Independent Greeks party said it would back Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras to be the next prime minister, after he fell just short of the majority needed to govern alone, following Sunday’s poll.

The suprise alliance between two staunchly anti-bailout parties, spooked markets and triggered a loss of nearly 4 percent on the Athens Stock Exchange as well as elsewhere in Europe.

Tsipras has promised to renegotiate Greece’s massive bailout agreements, but has promised not to take any unilateral action against lenders from other eurozone countries.

With 99.8 percent of the vote counted, Syriza had 149 seats in the 300-member parliament with 36.3 percent of the vote. The ruling conservative coalition was on 27.8 percent, and the extreme right Golden Dawn party in third place with 6.28 percent.

Tsipras’ choice to negotiate with the Independent Greeks rather than the centrist Potami caused concern that he could take a tough line in negotiations with rescue lenders.

Syriza’s financial planning official, Giorgos Stathakis, confirmed Monday that the new government had no plans to meet with negotiators from the “troika” of the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund and would instead seek talks directly with governments.

Greek voters swung to the once-marginal left-wing party after five years of punishing austerity measures demanded under 240 billion euro ($268 billions) bailout deals threw hundreds of thousands of people out of work and left nearly a third of the country without state health insurance.

Thousands of supporters turned out to watch the 40-year-old Tsipras speak in central Athens after his opponents conceded.

“The Greek people have written history,” he said, to cheers. “Greece is leaving behind catastrophic austerity, fear and autocratic government.”

Outside the party’s campaign tent in central Athens, supporters hugged each other and danced in celebration.

“It’s like we’ve been born again and finally feel some hope,” said Litsa Zarkada, a fired government cleaning worker. “We were thrown into the street just before we could take our pension. We have been through so much.

The new government faces an immediate cash shortage, with a dwindling primary surplus, upcoming loan repayments, and limits on the money it can raise using treasury bill auctions.

Megan Greene, chief economist at Manulife Asset Management, said the government will be unable to afford to run its day-to-day operations and pay back debt that falls due in March in the absence of additional cash from international creditors.

“Syriza and its creditors are stuck in a Gordian Knot, and both sides will need to cave on something. Neither Greece nor its creditors want Greece to default or exit the eurozone, so a compromise will probably be found,” Greene told the AP.

“If Syriza forms a coalition with the Independent Greeks, that suggests the new government will engage in dangerous brinkmanship with Greece’s creditors as it tries to negotiate funding to stave off utter bankruptcy over the next few months.”

TIME Egypt

Officials Say 2 Sons of Egypt’s Mubarak Freed From Prison

Gamal Mubarak, Alaa Mubarak
Combination Jan. 6, 2011 file images show Gamal Mubarak, left, and Alaa Mubarak, right, attending a Christmas Eve Mass at the Coptic cathedral in Cairo AP

Brothers will still face a retrial on corruption charges, like their father, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak

(CAIRO) — Egyptian security officials say two sons of ousted President Hosni Mubarak have been released from prison, nearly four years after they were first arrested along with their father.

The officials said the two, wealthy businessman Alaa and Mubarak’s one-time heir apparent Gamal, walked free from Torah Prison in a southern Cairo suburb shortly after daybreak on Monday and were believed to have headed to their respective homes in the capital.

The two along with their father still face a retrial on corruption charges. The two sons separately face trial on insider trading. They had been acquitted of other charges.

Mubarak stepped down in February 2011 in the face of a popular uprising. He and his two sons were arrested in April that year.

TIME India

India Pulls Out All the Stops for Obama at Republic Day Parade

Indian soldiers march in formation down the ceremonial boulevard Rajpath during the Indian Republic Day parade in New Delhi on Jan. 26, 2015.
Soldiers march in formation down the ceremonial boulevard Rajpath during the Republic Day parade in New Delhi on Jan. 26, 2015. Prakash Singh—AFP/Getty Images

One of the South Asian nation's biggest occasions was made even more momentous by the choice of chief guest

Gloomy skies and a steady downpour were not enough to dampen New Delhi’s spirits on Monday, as thousands turned up to watch U.S. President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle and a sizable American delegation witness a display of India’s military might, economic achievements and diversity at the country’s 66th Republic Day parade.

Obama became the first U.S. President ever to attend the annual event, an invite for which is considered one of the greatest honors India bestows on foreign dignitaries. The President rolled up to the viewing platform in his armored limousine, known as The Beast, eschewing the tradition of riding in the Indian president’s vehicle over security concerns. He then took his place between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with whom he announced a “breakthrough” on a civil nuclear deal Sunday evening, and Indian President Pranab Mukherjee (whose choice of headgear caused a bit of a flutter on social media).

While the U.S. has become India’s biggest military supplier in recent times, the South Asian nation’s armed forces have traditionally been equipped with Soviet hardware, a fact Obama was reminded of as Russian-made T-90 and T-72 tanks rolled down the main stretch, along with a mobile launcher for the BrahMos missile jointly developed by India and Russia.

The parade-ending flyovers by the Indian Air Force did have American P-8 Poseidon naval planes, and although these too were flanked by Russian MIG-29 and SU-30 fighter jets, officials on both sides expressed hope and confidence in the 10-year bilateral defense agreement that Obama and Modi renewed on Sunday.

“None of these things should be considered small in terms of just what it means for working together as two defense industrial bases and what we can share with each other,” Phillip Reiner, Obama’s top South Asia advisor, told the New York Times.

“It’s a huge step forward,” Indian lawmaker Baijayant Panda agreed, even though other analysts remained skeptical but hopeful.

Between the displays of military might came a series of marches — including multiple all-female contingents and even a camel troop — followed by floats and dance performances representing various Indian states, as well as government initiatives like Modi’s “Make in India” and “Swacch Bharat” (Clean India) campaigns.

Finally, there were the motorcycles of the Border Security Force. Known as “Janbaz,” or Dare Devils, they showcased feats of amazing balance, focus and agility — all while tapping on laptops and dressed as peacocks and lotuses.

Judging by Obama’s reaction, one of his most animated during the course of the parade, they got the White House seal of approval.

TIME Japan

Japan Seeks Jordan’s Help in Gaining Hostage’s Release

Video of one hostage's death remains unverified as Japan scrambles to save another

(TOKYO) — Japan sought help from Jordan and other countries Monday in its race to save a hostage held by the extremist Islamic State group, with no signs of progress on securing his release.

The chief government spokesman refused direct comment on the contents of talks with Jordan, where a Japanese envoy is coordinating regional efforts to save hostage Kenji Goto.

The Islamic State group said in an online video on Jan. 20 that it had two Japanese hostages and would kill them within 72 hours unless it paid $200 million.

Over the weekend, a new, unverified video showed a still photo of Goto, a 47-year-old journalist, holding a picture of what appears to be the body of fellow hostage Haruna Yukawa. It included a recording of a voice claiming to be Goto, saying his captors want a prisoner exchange instead of ransom.

Asked if the latest demand, which brings Jordan into the picture, makes the situation more complex, Suga avoided a straight answer. But he said, “Naturally, Jordan has its own thoughts.”

“The government is doing its utmost as the situation is still developing,” he told reporters. “We are seeking cooperation from every possible party toward a release (of the remaining hostage).”

Japanese officials have indicated they are treating the video released over the weekend as authentic and thus accepting the likelihood that Yukawa, a 42-year-old adventurer captured in Syria last summer, was killed.

“It was an extremely dastardly act,” Suga said.

In Amman, Yasuhide Nakayama, the Japanese deputy foreign minister in charge of the crisis, emerged from meetings with no fresh progress to report.

“Due to the nature of is problem, please understand why I cannot disclose information such as with whom I had meetings,” he said.

Nakayama vowed to “absolutely not give up until the end.”

The Associated Press could not verify the contents of the weekend video message, which differed from earlier videos released by the Islamic State group, which now holds a third of both Syria and Iraq.

News of the likely killing of Yukawa drew international condemnation, and outrage in Japan. Goto is thought to have been seized in late October after going there to try to rescue him.

Some in Japan are critical of the two men for taking such risks. Some Japanese also are criticizing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for pursuing a more assertive foreign policy, saying it may have contributed to the crisis.

Abe has pushed to expand the role for Japan’s troops — one that has remained strictly confined to self-defense under the pacifist constitution adopted after the nation’s defeat in World War II.

While on a visit to the Middle East earlier this month, Abe announced $200 million in humanitarian aid to the nations fighting the militants.

TIME United Kingdom

A Prank Caller Got Through to British Prime Minister David Cameron

100 days to go to general election
100 days to go to general election. File photo dated 08/01/15 of Prime Minister David Cameron as the countdown begins on Tuesday of the final 100 days to a general election which is shaping up to be unlike any other in recent history Peter Byrne—PA Wire/Press Association Images/AP

But a government spokeswoman says no sensitive information was disclosed

A prank caller managed to get through to British Prime Minister David Cameron on Sunday, prompting a security review at 10 Downing Street.

The caller claimed to be Robert Hannigan, the director of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), a U.K. intelligence agency, according to the Guardian.

Another hoax was reported on Sunday when a caller managed to reach GCHQ and obtain the phone number of Hannigan.

A government spokeswoman said “Following two hoax calls to government departments today, a notice has gone out to all departments to be on the alert for such calls.”

The spokeswoman added that the phone call was “quite brief” and no sensitive information was disclosed.

Mr. Cameron has been duped before. In 2013 he tweeted at a spoof account for work and pensions minister, Iain Duncan Smith, without apparently realizing the account was a fraud.

[The Guardian]

TIME Qatar

Qatar Has Asked a U.S. Family if They Want Their Daughter’s Alleged Killer Executed

Prince Charles Visits Qatar - Day 2
A general view of the skyline in Doha, Qatar, on Feb. 20, 2014 Chris Jackson—Getty Images

They also have the option to pardon him or get financial compensation

A Pennsylvania family is being asked to decide on whether the alleged killer of their daughter should be put to death in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar.

A Kenyan security guard reportedly confessed to murdering English teacher Jennifer Brown, 40, who was found dead in her company apartment in November 2012, Agence France-Presse says.

Qatari authorities have now asked Brown’s family whether they want to pardon the guard, get financial compensation from him, or have him executed.

Brown’s case has languished in Qatar’s courts because of slow witness testimony, eliciting disappointment from her family. An announcement of their decision is expected on March 8.

[AFP]

TIME Philippines

Retrieval of More Than 30 Slain Filipino Commandos Under Way

At least 21 bodies found in southern Philippines, where separatist Islamic insurgency rages

(MANILA) — Philippine police have recovered at least 21 bodies of the dozens commandos who were mowed down by Muslim rebel gunfire in a far-flung southern village where they moved in over the weekend to hunt down one of southeast Asia’s most-wanted terrorists, officials said Monday.

Army-backed police and villagers also helped take 11 wounded members of the national police’s elite Special Action Forces away from the battle scene in and around the village of Tukanalipao in Mamasapano township, where the government suffered its biggest single-day combat loss in many years, officials said.

Mayor Tahirudin Benzar Ampatuan told The Associated Press by telephone that village leaders saw the bodies of at least policemen in a clearing following Sunday’s fighting. Many of the dead were stripped to their underwear, with their assault firearms missing.

“What they described to me was gruesome,” Ampatuan said.

The commandos had sneaked into the Muslim rebel community in two groups, but apparently had “misencounter” with members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the main Muslim insurgent group, which signed a peace deal with the government in March and has had a relatively successful cease-fire agreement with government troops in recent years, Ampatuan said.

Under the truce, government forces are required to coordinate anti-terror assaults and other law enforcement operations with the Moro rebels to prevent accidental fighting. But the aapproximately 100 police commandos did not notify the rebels before they arrived in the dark, Moro rebel leader Mohagher Iqbal said.

“If somebody barges into your house, what will you do?” Iqbal said by telephone.

He said the 11,000-strong Moro group would file a protest over the action of the police commandos, but added the incident was not likely to undermine the peace process, a view shared by Philippine officials.

“The peace process will not be affected because we’re not dealing against the MILF here,” Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said, referring to the Liberation Front.

“We are up against the enemies of the state,” Gazmin said, referring to breakaway Muslim rebels, called the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, who also have a presence in Tukanalipao and reportedly helped subdue the outnumbered commandos.

Gazmin said the police were trying to arrest Zulkifli bin Hir, a Malaysian terror suspect, and a Filipino bomb-making expert, Abdul Basit Usman. U.S. and Philippine authorities have blamed them for several deadly bombings in the south.

Washington has offered up to $5 million reward for the Malaysian’s capture.

Ampatuan said the fighting ended when members of a cease-fire committee and foreign truce monitors intervened.

The peace pact, signed in March, aims to establish a more powerful and better-funded autonomous region for minority Muslims in the south and end a decades-long rebellion. The conflict has left 150,000 people dead and helped stunt development in the country’s poorest region.

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser