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Tensions Rise as Protesters in Argentina clashed with Police during marches over government Austerity Measures

The strike came as President Macri welcomed hundreds of potential investors and foreign officials to a meeting of the World Economic Forum in Buenos Aires

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Protestors are sprayed with water by Argentine police as they block a road during a 24-hour national strike in Buenos Aires, Argentina, April 6, 2017, VOA
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Buenos Aires, April 7, 2017: Protesters in Argentina clashed with police during marches over government austerity measures on Thursday as labor unions challenged President Mauricio Macri in the first general strike since he took office 16 months ago.

Security forces used high-powered water cannon and tear gas to control picketers who had blocked the Pan-American Highway, the main road leading from the north to capital city Buenos Aires, where normally bustling streets were half-empty and businesses were closed.

Truck and bus drivers, teachers, factory workers, airport employees and the government customs agents who run Argentina’s all-important grains export sector walked off the job at midnight for 24 hours.

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“No customs officials are here, so there will be no exports or imports today,” said Guillermo Wade, manager of the maritime chamber at Argentina’s main grain hub of Rosario. The country is the world’s top exporter of soymeal livestock feed and the third-largest supplier of soybeans.

Macri took office in December 2015. He eliminated currency and trade controls and cut government spending, including gas subsidies, a move that steeply pushed up home-heating bills.

The strike came as Macri welcomed hundreds of potential investors and foreign officials to a meeting of the World Economic Forum in Buenos Aires. Blocks away from the hotel where the meeting was held, protesters clamored for wage increases in line with inflation, which was 40 percent last year and expected to be about 20 percent in 2017.

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“The situation is dramatic,” Julio Piumato, a spokesman for labor umbrella group CGT, said in a telephone interview.

“Wealth is being concentrated in the hands of a few at the same rate that poverty is growing,” he said. “Urgent measures are needed to create employment. One out of every three Argentines is poor.”

The one-day work stoppage came ahead of an October congressional election that will gauge Macri’s strength going into his 2019 re-election bid. The market is concerned about a political comeback by previous President Cristina Fernandez, who boosted the government’s role in the economy during her eight years in power.

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Macri took office promising a wave of foreign investment that has been slow to manifest itself. Investors want to see that his Cambiemos coalition remains the biggest vote-getter in heavily populated areas like Buenos Aires, which will be key to the 2019 election.

He was elected after Fernandez left Argentina with rampant inflation, dwindling central bank reserves and a wide fiscal deficit. (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 Along with Other SSocial Media Giants will Face The Lawmakers, Wikimedia Commons
Google Along with Other SSocial Media Giants will Face The Lawmakers, Wikimedia Commons

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?