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The Islamic State Militant Group has Recaptured Syria’s Ancient City of Palmyra

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Islamic State militants flaunt an armored vehicle seized from Iraqi security forces in the northern Iraq city of Mosul on June 23, 2014.(Representational image). VOA
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Damascus, December 12, 2016: The Islamic State militant group has recaptured Syria’s ancient city of Palmyra, just nine months after losing it to the government forces, a monitor group has reported.

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Following four days of clashes with the Syrian army, the group on Sunday successfully recaptured the millennia-old oasis city of Palmyra in the eastern countryside of Homs province, Xinhua news agency quoted the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights as saying.

The city as well as its airbase, ancient part and citadel fell to the Islamic State, said the observatory.

Over 120 Syrian soldiers lost their lives during the offensive and tens of IS militants were also killed.

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The Syrian army withdrew to the desert in southern Palmyra, amid intense Russian and Syrian airstrikes on the IS positions there, SANA news agency reported.

Meanwhile, Homs Governor Talal Barazi said the army had withdrawn from the city.

The IS started its offensive on Palmyra on Thursday, after bringing in around 4,000 fighters for retaking the city, SANA reported.

The Syrian army captured Palmyra on March 27 this year, after losing the city to the IS last year.

Palmyra contains the monumental ruins of a great city that was one of the most important cultural centres of the ancient world.

The city has an importance to the IS as it connects areas under the terror group’s control in Deir al-Zour province with the central province of Homs.

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The recapture of Palmyra is also important as the group’s fighters in Iraq have started entering Syria recently after suffering great losses in battles against the Iraqi army and the US-anti-terror coalition. (IANS)

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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 adds support for hashtags on Maps for Android devices. 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?