Tuesday May 21, 2019
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Gunmen Attack Shi’ite Shrine in Kabul, Killing 14 Worshippers

Shi'ites comprise 15 percent of the country’s estimated 30 million people

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Afghan policemen stand guard near the site of an attack on a shrine in Kabul, Afghanistan October 11, 2016. (VOA)
  • Gunmen, reportedly wearing Afghan police uniforms, stormed a packed shrine for Shi’ite Muslims in Kabul late Tuesday and opened fire, killing at least 14 people and wounding more than 30 others
  • Officials and witnesses said a suicide bomber blew himself up as the assault began in the Kart-e-Sakhi area of the capital city, while two others were shot and killed by security forces, ending an hours-long siege
  • On Wednesday, the Shi’ite community will mark Ashura, the peak of Moharram. Attacks against Shi’ites are not uncommon in Afghanistan. Shi’ites comprise 15 percent of the country’s estimated 30 million people

Gunmen, reportedly wearing Afghan police uniforms, stormed a packed shrine for Shi’ite Muslims in Kabul late Tuesday and opened fire, killing at least 14 people and wounding more than 30 others.

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Officials and witnesses said a suicide bomber blew himself up as the assault began in the Kart-e-Sakhi area of the capital city, while two others were shot and killed by security forces, ending an hours-long siege.

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Health officials confirmed at least 16 women were among those wounded and taken to hospitals.

Tuesday was the ninth day of Moharram, the first month on the Muslim calendar.

Shi’ites around the world conduct processions and gather in large groups to mourn the killing of the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad on the ninth and 10th of the month.

Security was particularly tight in Kabul for the annual Shi’ite religious rituals. Afghan authorities, fearing an attack, had requested the community not carry out large street processions but to gather inside their mosques or shrines.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the deadly assault.

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On Wednesday, the Shi’ite community will mark Ashura, the peak of Moharram. Attacks against Shi’ites are not uncommon in Afghanistan. Shi’ites comprise 15 percent of the country’s estimated 30 million people.

Militants, including the Taliban and Islamic State, consider Shi’ites apostates and are blamed for the sectarian violence. (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?