Get subscribed to our newsletter
Get interesting updates to your email inbox.
August 4, 2017: Members of the Yazidi religious community in Iraq and around the world commemorated the third anniversary on Thursday of the massacre of thousands of civilians in their historic homeland, Sinjar, at the hands of Islamic State group militants.
Amid expressions of grief and calls for action by the international community, Yazidi officials said the tragedy their minority group suffered in Iraq in 2014 continues: Thousands who disappeared while IS extremists were in control are still missing, and large numbers of other Yazidis who fled for their lives have not been able to return.
“The IS genocide against our people continues to this day,” said Vian Dakhil, a Yazidi member of the Iraqi parliament. “We need the international community to support us in starting a new beginning.”
Ancient roots for Yazidis’ religious beliefs
Yazidis, an ethno-religious minority group of about 550,000 people, mostly reside in northern Iraq, in an area also populated by Kurds and Arabs. The extreme and rigid version of Islam that Islamic State professes regards the Yazidis as “devil worshippers” who must either renounce their religious views or die.
Yazidism is linked to ancient Mesopotamian religions and combines aspects of Zoroastrianism, Islam, Christianity and Judaism. As an ethno-religious group, most Yazidis marry only within their community; those who do not are considered to be Yazidis no longer.
According to international organizations, IS was responsible for the killing and abduction of roughly 9,900 Yazidis and destroying 68 Yazidi shrines in 2014.
When the terror group entered the Yazidi ancestral city of Sinjar, Aug. 3, 2014, they murdered roughly 5,000 men and boys and enslaved thousands of women and children. Those who managed to escape were trapped on Sinjar Mountain, leading to an international outcry and response, including U.S. airstrikes.
World decried ‘genocide’ against Yazidis
The United States, United Nations, European Union, Canada and other countries maintain that Islamic State’s all-out assault against Yazidis amounted to genocide.
Those who represent the religious minority say that recognition is welcome, but more action is necessary to rescue the Yazidis whose lives are still controlled by Islamic State.
“We have managed to rescue 3,054 people, but 3,360 people are still under IS,” Dakhil, the Yazidi member of Iraq’s parliament, said during an appearance this week at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington.
She said more than a thousand Yazidi children, ages 4 to 10, have been brainwashed and trained by IS to conduct suicide attacks.
“Those children now have forgotten their names, language, and parents. They have been trained to kill Yazidis and Christians,” Dakhil added.
Refugees live under harsh conditions
Dakhil appealed to the international community to help those who fled, to assist them in returning to their homes or resettling again in the Yazidi community.
According to Yazidi organizations and advocates, about 400,000 displaced Yazidis are living in refugee camps in Iraq’s Kurdistan region, and another 90,000 have emigrated to Europe and the United States.
Those who reside in refugee camps complain about harsh living conditions and a lack of basic services.
“We have been placed in those refugee camps without clean water or other basic services,” Kachal Jardo, a displaced Yazidi from Sinjar who lives in a camp north of Nineveh Plains, told VOA.
Jardo contends Iraqi officials have failed to protect 43 mass graves that hold the remains of Yazidis executed by IS. And Yazidis have not been allowed to exhume the remains for reburial, he said.
“Those mass graves are abandoned and no one knows what is going to happen to them. Only God and foreign countries can come to help us find our missing people and bring them home,” Jardo said.
Sinjar is still in ruins
Iraqi Kurdish officials estimate the mass graves hold the bodies of hundreds of Yazidis massacred by Islamic State fighters.
U.S.-backed Kurdish forces known as the Peshmerga removed IS from Sinjar in November 2015. But more than 80 percent of the city’s buildings and infrastructure are in ruins. Yazidi officials said residents have not been able to return, mainly because of disputes among anti-IS groups over control of Sinjar.
Experts say efforts to rebuild Sinjar and bring it back to life also should address issues such as who will govern the area and what will happen to its Arab population.
Yazidis claim Sinjar’s Arabs cooperated with IS and served as guides for the extremists during their bloody massacre.
“Sinjar could be a flashpoint for an internationalized tension … where you have the sensitivities between minorities themselves, and you have regional countries like Turkey and Iran who have a stake in this,” said Sarhang Hamasaeed, an Iraqi expert at the U.S. Institute of Peace.
Reconciliation a difficult goal
Restoring security to Sinjar and other territories in the post-IS era, Hamasaeed said, will ultimately depend on local communities’ reconciliation.
“Reconciliation for the minorities, at least in the first stage, would be for them to be able to go home. It touches on their security: Will our neighbors attack us again?’“ the Iraqi analyst said. “To prevent that, there have to be not only protective measures, of how do you put up a security parameter around those minorities, but how do you work on that relationship [so that] at least in the first stage it’s a nonviolent coexistence.”
Vian Dakhil of the Iraqi parliament said she recognizes the importance of reconciliation between Yazidis and other Iraqi groups, but such a task could be difficult and time consuming.
“How can I tell someone in my community who lost 68 people of his relatives to come back and trust the neighbor who reported him to IS?” Dakhil asked. (VOA)
As robots evolve to do more work around us, the UK-based humanoid robot manufacturer Engineered Arts has infused more human-like facial expressions into one of its robots, which may leave you with an eerie feeling.
In a video posted on YouTube, the robot called 'Ameca' displays various human expressions, like appearing to "wake up" from sleep, as its face shows confusion and frustration when it opens its eyes.
Follow NewsGram on Twitter to stay updated about the World news.
Once awake, 'Ameca' starts looking at its hands and arms, opens its mouth and raises its eyebrows, just like a human does.
At the end of the video, Ameca smiles and holds a welcoming hand out towards the viewer.
According to Engineered Arts, the humanoid bot is currently unable to walk and it is working towards giving it the ability in the near future.
"Designed specifically as a platform for development into future robotics technologies, 'Ameca' is the perfect humanoid robot platform for human-robot interaction," says the company.
The 'Ameca' hardware is a development based on its own research into humanoid robotics and built on its advanced 'Mesmer' technology.
Ameca' on display at the CES 2022 conference in Las Vegas in the US in January.Unsplash
Also read: NASA humanoid robot dances to technology
Engineered Arts is slated to put 'Ameca' on display at the CES 2022 conference in Las Vegas in the US in January.
"Human-like Artificial Intelligence needs a human-like artificial body. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning systems can be tested and developed on Ameca alongside our powerful 'Tritium' robot operating system," the company posted on its website. (IANS/PR)
(Keywords: Humanoid Robot, Ameca, Technology)
Microsoft has disrupted the activities of a China-based hacking group, gaining control of the malicious websites the group used to attack organisations in the US and 28 other countries around the world.
The Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit (DCU) said in a statement that a federal court in Virginia granted its request to seize websites of the hacking group called 'Nickel', enabling the company to cut off Nickel's access to its victims and prevent the websites from being used to execute attacks.
Follow NewsGram on LinkedIn to know what's happening around the world.
"We believe these attacks were largely being used for intelligence gathering from government agencies, think tanks and human rights organisations," said Tom Burt, Corporate Vice President, Customer Security and Trust at Microsoft.
Obtaining control of the malicious websites and redirecting traffic from those sites to Microsoft's secure servers will help the company protect existing and future victims while learning more about Nickel's activities.
Also Read : Fortnite : A Gold Mine for Hackers
"Our disruption will not prevent Nickel from continuing other hacking activities, but we do believe we have removed a key piece of the infrastructure the group has been relying on for this latest wave of attacks," Burt said late on Monday.
To date, in 24 lawsuits - five against nation-state actors -- Microsoft has taken down more than 10,000 malicious websites used by cybercriminals and nearly 600 sites used by nation-state actors.
"We have also successfully blocked the registration of 600,000 sites to get ahead of criminal actors that planned to use them maliciously in the future," the tech giant informed.
"We believe these attacks were largely being used for intelligence gathering from government agencies, think tanks and human rights organisations."Unsplash
In some observed activity, Nickel malware used exploits targeting unpatched on-premises Exchange Server and SharePoint systems.
"However, we have not observed any new vulnerabilities in Microsoft products as part of these attacks. Microsoft has created unique signatures to detect and protect from known Nickel activity through our security products, like Microsoft 365 Defender," the company noted.
Nickel has targeted organisations in both the private and public sectors, including diplomatic organisations and ministries of foreign affairs in North America, Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Europe and Africa. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : hacking, China, Microsoft, website, victim, intelligence, attack, malicious, traffic, server, company, disruption, lawsuits, cybercriminals, vulnerability.)
- Chinese Cyber Operations Scoop Up Data For Political, Economic ... ›
- Hackers Steal $120mn In Crypto From Blockchain-based DeFi ... ›
Chip manufacturer MediaTek on Monday announced that it is focused on making 2022 a year aimed at rapid growth, business success, substantial expansion in Research and Development capabilities.
MediaTek's plans to boost technology democratisation and enable access to disruptive connectivity with its range of mainstream to flagship 5G chips.
"We at MediaTek are focused on making 2022 a year aimed at rapid growth, business success, and substantial expansion in our R&D capabilities. For 2022, we are focused on further strengthening our presence in India, offering incredible experiences to customers, and supporting the country's technology initiatives with our expertise and collaboration with leading OEMs," Anku Jain, Managing Director, MediaTek India said in a statement.
Follow NewsGram on LinkedIn to know what's happening around the world.
In the flagship segment, MediaTek recently announced the Dimensity 9000 chip, which is a milestone of innovation and a rise to the incredible, built-to-power flagship 5G smartphones in the world, the company claims.
MediaTek Dimensity 9000 features a single Cortex-X2 performance core clocked at 3.05GHz, three Cortex-A710 cores at 2.85GHz and four Cortex-A510 efficiency cores at 1.8GHz.
It packs a 10-core Arm Mali-G710 that takes care of graphics processing, the report said.
The chipset also comes packed with MediaTek's fifth-generation APU with six total cores for AI processing.Unsplash
Also read: Realme Unveils First 5G Smartphone
The chipset also comes packed with MediaTek's fifth-generation APU with six total cores for AI processing.
The chipset can handle screens with up to a 180Hz refresh rate at Full HD+ resolutions. It is also the first chipset to have an 18-bit image signal processor, offering the ability to capture 4K HDR video using up to three cameras at the same time, or still photos using up to a massive 320MP sensor. (IANS/PR)
(Keywords: 5G, smartphones, Mediatek)