TIME South Korea

South Korean Nuclear Operator Holds Cyberattack Drills After Hack

Kori nuclear power plant in Ulsan, South Korea
Kyodo/AP The dome-type Advanced Power Reactor 1400 reactors at the Kori nuclear power plant in Ulsan, South Korea, on Feb. 5, 2013

Hackers threaten people to "stay away" from three nuclear reactors unless they are closed by Christmas

South Korea’s sole nuclear operator will conduct a series of large-scale security drills at four of its power plants after threats of a cyberattack.

Hackers have posted a series of blueprints of plant equipment owned by Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co. (KHNP) since Dec. 15 and made a threat that unless three reactors were closed by Christmas, people should “stay away from them,” the BBC reports.

KHNP says that the leaked data does not undermine the safety of their reactors, since the information does not relate to core technologies, but they will hold drills testing their ability to withstand a cyberattack on Monday and Tuesday.

Authorities say that they’ve launched an investigation into the hack.

In a post on social media on Friday, the hacker used an account named “president of the antinuclear reactor group.” It is unknown if the attack has any connection to the hack on Sony Pictures last month.

[BBC]

TIME central african republic

Hundreds of Muslims Are Trapped in Enclaves in the Central African Republic

Those trapped "face a grim choice: leave and face possible attack from anti-balaka fighters, or stay and die from hunger and disease," reports HRW

Hundreds of Muslims are trapped in enclaves in atrocious conditions in the Central African Republic, fearing attacks if they leave and blocked from fleeing abroad by the interim government, reports Human Rights Watch (HRW).

“Those trapped in some of the enclaves face a grim choice: leave and face possible attack from anti-balaka fighters, or stay and die from hunger and disease,” said Lewis Mudge, Africa researcher at HRW. “The government’s policy of no evacuations is absolutely indefensible.”

HRW also deplore U.N. peacekeepers for alleged complicity in hindering Muslims to seek safety. Camp leaders in the western Muslim enclaves of Yaloké, Carnot and Boda told researchers earlier this month that an estimated 1,750 people, many of them ethnic Peuhl herders, are desperate to flee.

Most of the Muslims in the west of the country escaped brutal attacks by Christian and animist anti-balaka militants between late 2013 and early 2014. More than 5,000 people were killed between December 2013 and September this year, the Associated Press reports.

TIME Australia

Bail Revoked for Partner of Sydney Gunman Accused of Killing His Ex-Wife

Australia Police Operation
Rob Griffith—AP A woman places a floral tribute at a temporary memorial site close to the Lindt Chocolat Cafe in Sydney, Australia, Friday, Dec. 19, 2014.

Amirah Droudis is charged with stabbing the ex-wife of Man Haron Monis 18 times and setting her on fire

The partner of the gunman who stormed cafe in Sydney, leading to the deaths of two hostages, has had her bail revoked by a local magistrate, a week after the attack spurred concerns about the nation’s justice system.

A Sydney court on Monday ordered Amirah Droudis sent to jail to await trial for allegedly murdering the ex-wife of her companion, Man Haron Monis, who last week held staff and patrons of the city’s Lindt cafe hostage for 16 hours, reports the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). At the time of the attack on the cafe, Monis had also been out on bail on charges of being an accessory to the same murder.

After the siege, Sydney authorities had called for inquiries into how the couple had received bail, with Brad Hazzard, Attorney General of New South Wales, asking “whether every aspect of her [Droudis] being on bail has been examined in all possible detail.”

The attack has raised questions about the degree to which Monis’ evasion of authorities’ surveillance could represent systemic flaws in Australia’s policies, including not just its bail system, but also its gun laws and terrorism prevention capabilities.

[ABC]

TIME Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia Won’t Cut Oil Production to Boost Prices

Ali Ibrahim Naimi
Kamran Jebreili—AP Saudi Arabia's Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali al-Naimi attends the opening day of 10th Arab Energy Conference in Abu Dhabi on Dec. 21, 2014

Global oil prices are tanking, but OPEC is holding firm on not slashing production to buoy prices

Saudi Arabia will not cut oil production to boost depressed prices, a reversal in the kingdom’s usual policy of moderating supply to control prices and sending a strong message about the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) strategy for dealing with a slumped oil market.

Saudi Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali al-Naimi told reporters on Sunday that even if non-OPEC countries cut production, Saudi Arabia would not follow them, Reuters reports. Other ministers, including from Kuwait and Iraq, repeated the Saudi minister’s insistence on retaining steady production levels.

A boom in U.S. shale-gas production has flooded the global oil market and sent gas prices tanking.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Saudi Arabia’s refusal to cut oil production has led to speculation that the world’s top petroleum exporter could be seeking to knock gas prices even lower, testing U.S. shale-gas producers resolve to keep pumping. Saudi Arabia has denied any such plot and American officials have reiterated that the U.S. maintains close and friendly relations with the kingdom.

[Reuters]

TIME Argentina

In Argentina, a Court Grants Sandra the Orangutan Basic Rights

An orangutan named Sandra, covered with a blanket, gestures inside its cage at Buenos Aires' Zoo
Marcos Brindicci—Reuters An orangutan named Sandra, covered with a blanket, gestures inside its cage at Buenos Aires' Zoo, December 8, 2010.

The ape has spent the last 20 years in a zoo

An orangutan named Sandra has been granted certain legal rights by a court in Argentina.

Lawyers for Argentina’s Association of Professional Lawyers for Animal Rights (Afada) argued that Sandra was a “non-human person” and was being detained illegally in Buenos Aires’ zoo, the BBC reports.

The case rested on whether the court decided the orangutan was a “person” or a “thing” and after judges rejected the writ several times, they finally ruled the ape had rights that needed protecting.

In a similar case earlier this month, a New York court decided that a chimpanzee did not have legal personhood and therefore was not entitled to human rights.

If Sandra’s case isn’t appealed, the orangutan will live out her days enjoying greater freedom in a sanctuary in Brazil.

[BBC]

TIME Tunisia

Veteran Tunisian Statesman Claims Win After Presidential Run-off

Tunisia Elections
Ilyess Osmane—AP A man holds up a picture of Tunisian presidential candidate Moncef Marzouki, as supporters gather to hear his speech after the second round of the country's presidential election, in Tunis, Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014.

Of all the countries whose leaders were felled by the Arab Spring, Tunisia is alone in that it is hailed as a model for democratic reform

Veteran Tunisian politician Beji Caid Essebsi, who served in ousted autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali’s regime, claimed victory after a presidential run-off vote on Sunday.

Essebsi’s rival, incumbent president Moncef Marzouki, did not concede defeat, though, and official results will not be released until Monday, Reuters reports.

Marzouki has argued that electing Essebsi, who served as speaker of Parliament in the government ousted in 2011, as well as in the government of Tunisia’s autocratic first president, would rewind Tunisia’s democratic progress.

Yet Essebsi, of the newly formed Secular Party, is thought to represent a turnaround from Marzouki’s Islamist-led coalition government, which has led the country since the Jasmine Revolution. The government has been criticized for not doing more to quell extremist Islamist movements in Tunisia.

[Reuters]

TIME France

Driver Shouting ‘Allahu Akbar!’ Runs Down 11 French Pedestrians

The driver hit pedestrians in five parts of the city of Dijon before being arrested

A driver screaming “Allahu Akbar!” (Arabic for “God is great”) appeared to deliberately mow down about a dozen pedestrians in the French city of Dijon before being arrested on Sunday, officials said.

The driver, who was in his forties, hit groups of pedestrians in five parts of the eastern city before being arrested, a spokesman for the Ministry of the Interior said on French television.

Eleven people in all were injured, two of them seriously, officials said.

According to testimonies on the scene, the driver also invoked “the children of Palestine”‘ to explain his actions, the ministry’s spokesman said…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME Jordan

Jordan Hangs 11 Men After 8-Year Execution Ban Ends

Since the 2006 ban, 122 people have been sentenced to death

Eleven men were hanged in Jordan on Sunday, bringing the country’s eight-year moratorium on executions to an end.

The 11 criminals, all Jordanian, had been charged in different murder cases in 2005 and 2006, Al Jazeera reported. The country’s last executions had taken place in June 2006, and since then 122 people have been sentenced to death, though none of the sentences had been carried out until Sunday.

Interior Minister Hussein Majali had stated recently that the execution ban might end, citing a “major debate” in the country on whether to reinstitute the death penalty. According to Majali, the public believed that Jordan’s rising crime was a result of the death penalty’s absence.

Several countries in the Middle East, like Saudi Arabia, allow the death penalty. China had executed thousands of people last year, more than any country, according to an estimate by Amnesty International. And capital punishment remains legal in many states in the U.S.

[Al Jazeera]

TIME Crime

Witness the Aftermath of Police Shooting in Brooklyn

Two New York Police Department officers were shot and killed Saturday afternoon, unprovoked, by a gunman who later killed himself. 

TIME Cuba

Castro Hails Thaw in US Relations, But Reasserts Communist Rule

Raul Castro
Ramon Espinosa—AP Cuba's President Raul Castro points to the press during the closing of the twice-annual legislative session at the National Assembly in Havana, Cuba, Dec. 20, 2014.

“Every country has the inalienable right to choose its own political systems"

Cuban president Raul Castro hailed “a new chapter” in U.S.-Cuban relations on Saturday, but insisted the diplomatic thaw will not break Cuba from its Communist past.

“In the same way that we have never demanded that the United States change its political system, we will demand respect for ours,” Castro said in a Saturday speech before Cuba’s National Assembly, Reuters reports.

The speech comes as U.S. officials prepare for a historic visit to Havana in January, where they are expected to push their Cuban counterparts to allow a greater measure of political freedom in exchange for an easing of the U.S. embargo.

“The only way to advance is with mutual respect,” Castro said.

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