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Geneva, December 6, 2016: A global survey has found a major shift in public attitudes toward torture, with growing numbers of people approving the use of this forbidden practice to obtain “important military information.”
The survey, which was conducted by the International Committee of the Red Cross, questioned more than 17,000 people in 16 countries between June and September about a range of issues regarding the conduct of war.
Ten countries in conflict participated in the survey, along with respondents from Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — all permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, or P5 — and Switzerland.
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The survey found that an overwhelming number of respondents in both groups of countries — 80 percent — believed that wars should have limits, that combatants should not target civilians, and that combatants should avoid striking civilians as much as possible when attacking the enemy.
The survey said the same number “thinks attacking hospitals, ambulances and health care workers, in order to weaken the enemy, is wrong.”
Peter Maurer, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said he was encouraged by the responses, but was troubled that the number of people who considered torture a useful tool had increased since a similar survey in 1999.
“The percentage of those who think it is acceptable to torture a captured enemy combatant in order to obtain important military information has risen from 28 to 36 percent today in the poll,” he said. “Even more shocking, only slightly less than half of the people — 48 percent as of this year — believe this behavior is wrong compared to 66 percent in the 1999 survey.”
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An analysis of the data shows that people in the United States and Israel were among those most willing to accept torture as a part of war. Both of these countries, with 46 percent and 50 percent of their respective populations approving of the use of torture, were behind Nigeria, which polled 70 percent, but higher than Iraq, Afghanistan, the Palestinian territories and Britain.
“Torture is wrong,” Maurer said. “It achieves nothing apart from pulling everyone down in the darkest gutter. We demonize the enemy at our peril. It brutalizes societies for generations and must be made taboo.”
Talks with U.S., Russia
Torture is forbidden under the Geneva Conventions, which set out the rules of war, and international human rights law.
The controversy erupted during the U.S. presidential campaign when President-elect Donald Trump promised “to bring back waterboarding.”
Last week, the ICRC president was in Washington, where he took part in many discussions with the current administration, congressional, military and security officials, as well as people likely to become members of the Trump administration.
“I have not felt any appetite whatsoever to go back on the issue of torture and to change the policy in this regard. I did not find any advocate,” he said. “Many thought that this was a debate, which was over and a place to which the United States would not return.”
Maurer, who recently also held discussions with officials in Russia, told VOA that he did not find any military personnel either in Moscow or Washington who thought “that torture works.”
He said torture “is not only morally wrong, but also not effective with regard to finding out the truth. That is the basic line you get in Moscow and in Washington, which is encouraging.”
Inevitabilities of warfare
In another important finding, the survey indicated that in P5 countries, an increasing number of people were more resigned to civilian casualties and believed that suffering was an inevitable part of warfare.
This was in stark contrast to what was gleaned from people living in countries affected by war, 78 percent of whom said it was wrong to attack enemy combatants in populated areas, “knowing that many civilians would be killed.” In P5 countries, only 50 percent of people said it was wrong.
Maurer observed that the closer people were to the front lines, the more they believed in the relevance of international humanitarian law and respect for it.
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Separately, “the more you watch wars only in movies and on screen and you are far away from the battleground,” he said, “the more casual you become with regard to fundamental provisions of international humanitarian law — again like torture, attacking civilians, accepting collateral damage in a military operation.”
Maurer said the survey showed an increasing number of people living in P5 countries appeared to be resigned “to casualties and ill-treatment” as an inevitable part of warfare.
“Living far from the realities of warfare makes it easier to be disconnected” than it is when faced with “constant gruesome images from the world’s front line,” he said.
Maurer said the main takeaway for him from this survey was that “we must not lose our empathy and become numb to human suffering.” (VOA)
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.
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"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.
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"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.)
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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.
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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)
If the US loses Chinese companies, Wall Street will gradually alienate itself from the world's most prosperous market and the US will no longer be the true global financial centre, Chinese state media claimed.
Didi Chuxing, the Chinese ride-hailing giant, announced on Friday that the company is starting the work of delisting from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and initiating preparations for listing in Hong Kong.
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One day before Didi made the statement, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a mandate requiring foreign companies listed in the US to provide audits for inspection. Otherwise, they could be delisted from NYSE and Nasdaq in three years.
"The new SEC regulation clearly targets Chinese companies listed in the US. Analysts believe that it could lead to more than 200 companies being kicked off US exchanges," Global Times reported.
Also Read : The forgotten Indo-China War
Didi is the first Chinese company, which announced that it would delist from the NYSE after the SEC issued its new regulation. The company got listed in the US in June without the approval of Chinese regulatory authorities, sparking concerns that the information of hundreds of millions of Chinese users would be leaked to endanger China's national security. More than 20 apps linked to the company were subsequently removed from mobile stores. The SEC's new regulation has compressed Didi's space for financing in the US from the other direction, the report said.
It will become more difficult for Chinese digital technology and application companies to get listed in the US in the future.Unsplash
There have already been voices in the US demanding most of the "China concept stocks" be removed from the US. Scrutiny of "China concept stocks" is expected to get stricter. The US provides various excuses such as "financial security" and "national security" for such scrutiny, the report said.
It will become more difficult for Chinese digital technology and application companies to get listed in the US in the future. This will cause losses to both sides. But the tendency shows that China has greater initiative to adjust and adapt to new conditions, the report said.
Global Times said Chinese companies have other alternatives, and if they go back to China, they will greatly enhance the attractiveness of the mainland and Hong Kong capital markets, creating the possibility of gradually changing the global financial landscape. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : Wall street, China, stocks, companies, businesses, losses, regulations, prosperous, technology, authorities, delisting.)
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