World News Briefs For Sunday, 14 May 2017
Hello Australia!! - How a lone researcher stopped the global ransomware attack on computers - The Pope gives sainthood to a pair of Cold War kids - A cop fights bigotry to become chief - And more in your CareerSpot Global News Briefs:
The global ransomware attack that impacted computers and systems in a hundred countries was brought to a halt by accident. A 22-year-old man security blogger in the UK who goes by the online moniker "MalwareTech" found what amounted to a kill switch in the "WannaCry" malware that locked people and organizations out of their systems unless a ransom was paid via Bitcoin. The discovery doesn't repair the damage done (that's up to your IT person), but it did stop the malware from advancing around the globe. The good news: Since he did this on his vacation, his boss gave him an extra week off to enjoy himself. The bad news: There's still a lot of money to be made in ransomware, and it's likely that some entity will just tweak the code a little bit and do it again.
Australia appears to have been largely unaffected by the ransomware attack. Out of the 57,000 reported infiltrations, the worst were in the UK's National Health. Chemotherapy treatments, operations, and other medical procedures had to be postponed from Friday because hospitals could not access patient records. For instance, Patrick Ward was a patient at St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London and had already been prepped for surgery when he was informed he'd be going home without the life-saving operation: "It is very serious," he said, "I've been waiting for it for many, many, many months now." All but six NHS hospitals were back to normal by Saturday night, although furious rescheduling of patient services continues.
Thailand's junta is giving Facebook until Tuesday to remove 131 pages it considers to be in violation of the country's strict lese majeste laws, which forbid any criticism of the king - real or perceived. "If even a single illicit page remains, we will immediately discuss what legal steps to take against Facebook Thailand," said Takorn Tantasith, chief of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission. Facebook has already removed 178 of 309 pages deemed unacceptable by Thai courts.
Pope Francis canonized two new saints in the Catholic Church at a mass in Fatima, Portugal attended by at least a half-million people. On 13 May 1917, Jacinta and Francisco Marto were young children who claimed to see the Virgin Mary and apocalyptic visions several times while attending their flock of sheep. The two died in 1918, and their cousin - who also claimed to have seen the same visions - became a nun and died in 2005 at age 97. The farm town became an important pilgrimage site for Catholics, but the tale of the visions became an rhetorical bludgeon used by the Catholic Church and conservative governments to shore up the faithful and preach against Communism.
More than 2,000 marched in Tunis to protest an amnesty law that would let corrupt businessmen off the hook for crimes committed before the first (and best) of the Arab Spring revolutions of 2011. "Today we are saying the defenders of the revolution are still here," said protester Sabra Chrifa, wearing a t-shirt with the slogan "No Forgiveness". The controversial bill would allow the accused businessmen to reveal stolen money and repay the amount without fear of prosecution, potentially putting US$3 Billion back into the economy.
A tourist bus plunged off of a cliff near the seaside resort of Marmaris in southern Turkey, killing 23 people and injuring eleven more. The victims appear to have been mostly women and children en route to a Mother's Day event in the resort.
Angry soldiers in Ivory Coast have cut off access to the second largest city Bouake in a pay dispute. Each soldier was to get two payments of around AU$10,000 to end a rebellion in January, but the payments have been late. Ivory Coast's ten-year civil war ended in 2011, but the unrest is provoking fears of a return to violence.
Russian-backed rebels fired off artillery shells in Eastern Ukraine, killing four civilians in the government-held town of Avdiyivka. Ukrainian officials say the attack violated the terms of the Minsk peace deal signed in 2015.
Analia Pasantino is back on Argentina's police force, as deputy police commissioner in the judicial communications department. It's remarkable, because she served 20 years as a cop as a man before coming out as transgender in 2008, and she was forced out. But Argentina at the time had a progressive government and has since become Latin America's leader in 2012 recognizing peoples' freedom to change their legal and physical gender identity simply because they want to, without having to undergo judicial, psychiatric and medical procedures. The government also legalized gay marriage in 2010. "The world has changed," Pasantino said. "You can live a life of gender identity and it's no longer necessary to live a double life."