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Germany warns the tensions between Moscow and the West more dangerous than during the Cold War

Germany warns the tensions between Moscow and the West are more dangerous than during the Cold War

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  • Russia’s Iskander missiles have a range of around 500 kilometers, and their deployment in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania, has rattled the West
  • Russia caused further alarm with its deployment of an S-300 missile defense system to its naval base in Syria. Moscow’s Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov denied Russia is saber rattling
  • Germany warns the tensions between Moscow and the West are more dangerous than during the Cold War.

London,October 12, 2016: Russia’s deployment of nuclear-capable missiles its enclave of Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea is a “wake-up call” for the West of the current dangers, according to analysts. Germany warns the tensions between Moscow and the West are more dangerous than during the Cold War.

Russia’s Iskander missiles have a range of around 500 kilometers, and their deployment in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania, has rattled the West.

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“The dramatic reaction of the West about Iskander [missiles] now is that it is just a wake-up call, it is just a very clear message. It is that ice-cold bucket of water that says, ‘Wake up, you are not living in a safe world,” said Igor Sutyagin, a Russian military analyst at London’s Royal United Services Institute.

Moscow says the deployment is part of a regular military exercise.

Kaliningrad Oblast (region), Russia (VOA)
Kaliningrad Oblast (region), Russia (VOA)

Psychological warfare

During the Cold War larger missiles were deployed in what was then East Germany and Czechoslovakia. This time round, the strategy is psychological, says Sutyagin.

“The idea is to intimidate the West. Because Russia does not have any other tools to fight for its competitiveness in the international arena but psychology. Even the Russian military are comparatively weaker than NATO’s forces,” he said.

Russia caused further alarm with its deployment of an S-300 missile defense system to its naval base in Syria. Moscow’s Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov denied Russia is saber rattling.

FILE – Russian cadets pass an S-300 surface-to-air missile system during a military exhibition in St. Petersburg, Feb. 20, 2015.(VOA)
FILE – Russian cadets pass an S-300 surface-to-air missile system during a military exhibition in St. Petersburg, Feb. 20, 2015.(VOA)

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He told reporters last week the missile battery is intended to ensure the safety of Russia’s Tartus naval base and its naval task force. He said it was unclear why the deployment of the S-300 caused such alarm among Moscow’s Western partners.

Worse than Cold War

But writing in the German Bild newspaper this week, Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called the tension between the West and Russia more dangerous than during the Cold War. Analyst Igor Sutyagin agrees.

“It is calculated unpredictability on the Russian side because that is part of psychology,” he said. “You need to be mad, or present yourself as mad, as crazy, so everybody thinks that ‘this guy is really crazy so it is better to step away from his path.”

That unpredictability is played out in the skies of Europe. In April, Russian jets buzzed a U.S. warship in the Baltic Sea, one of scores of such incidents in recent months.

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Last week, Finland scrambled its fighters to intercept Russian SU-27 jets that is says breached its airspace, a charge Moscow denied.

Picture of Russian SU-27 fighter said to have violated Finland's airspace near Porvoo, Finland, early Oct. 7, 2016.(VOA)
Picture of Russian SU-27 fighter said to have violated Finland’s airspace near Porvoo, Finland, early Oct. 7, 2016.(VOA)

Non-aligned Finland shares a 1,300-kilometer border with Russia, and has fostered closer ties with NATO to counter Russian aggression. U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work visited Helsinki last week to sign a deal on closer military training and information sharing.(VOA)

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Aadhaar Helpline Mystery: French Security Expert Tweets of doing a Full Disclosure Tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App

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Google comes up with a new feature

Google’s admission that it had in 2014 inadvertently coded the 112 distress number and the UIDAI helpline number into its setup wizard for Android devices triggered another controversy on Saturday as India’s telecom regulator had only recommended the use of 112 as an emergency number in April 2015.

After a large section of smartphone users in India saw a toll-free helpline number of UIDAI saved in their phone-books by default, Google issued a statement, saying its “internal review revealed that in 2014, the then UIDAI helpline number and the 112 distress helpline number were inadvertently coded into the SetUp wizard of the Android release given to OEMs for use in India and has remained there since”.

Aadhaar Helpline Number Mystery: French security expert tweets of doing a full disclosure tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App, Image: Wikimedia Commons.

However, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended only in April 2015 that the number 112 be adopted as the single emergency number for the country.

According to Google, “since the numbers get listed on a user’s contact list, these get  transferred accordingly to the contacts on any new device”.

Google was yet to comment on the new development.

Meanwhile, French security expert that goes by the name of Elliot Alderson and has been at the core of the entire Aadhaar controversy, tweeted on Saturday: “I just found something interesting. I will probably do full disclosure tomorrow”.

“I’m digging into the code of the @Google SetupWizard app and I found that”.

“As far as I can see this object is not used in the current code, so there is no implications. This is just a poor coding practice in term of security,” he further tweeted.

On Friday, both the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as well as the telecom operators washed their hand of the issue.

While the telecom industry denied any role in the strange incident, the UIDAI said that he strange incident, the UIDAI said that some vested interests were trying to create “unwarranted confusion” in the public and clarified that it had not asked any manufacturer or telecom service provider to provide any such facility.

Twitter was abuzz with the new development after a huge uproar due to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R.S. Sharma’s open Aadhaar challenge to critics and hackers.

Ethical hackers exposed at least 14 personal details of the TRAI Chairman, including mobile numbers, home address, date of birth, PAN number and voter ID among others. (IANS)

Also Read: Why India Is Still Nowhere Near Securing Its Citizens’ Data?