G20 to jointly fight bank sector hacking

UNTV News   •   March 21, 2017   •   3450

A general view shows the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting in Baden-Baden, Germany, March 17, 2017. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

The world’s biggest economies will pledge to jointly fight cyber attacks on the global banking system, one of the biggest coordinated efforts yet to protect lenders since an $81 million heist of the Bangladesh central bank’s account last year.

Meeting in the German resort town of Baden-Baden, G20 finance chiefs will agree to fight attacks regardless of their origin and promise cross-border cooperation to maintain financial stability, according to a draft document seen by Reuters.

“We will promote the resilience of financial services and institutions in G20 jurisdictions against malicious use of information and communication technologies, including from countries outside the G20,” it said.

However, it dropped an earlier reference for enhanced security requirements for financial services.

Cyber crime became a top priority after an elaborate heist on the Bangladesh central bank’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York last year, an unprecedented theft that exposed the vulnerabilities of the system.

The agreement, set to be finalised on Saturday, will come just days after the United States charged two intelligence agents from Russia, another G20 member, with masterminding the 2014 theft of 500 million Yahoo accounts.

The indictment was the first time U.S. authorities have criminally charged Russian spies for cyber offences including for computer fraud, economic espionage, theft of trade secrets, and wire fraud.

The charges came amid a swirl of controversies relating to alleged Kremlin-backed hacking of the 2016 U.S. presidential election and possible links between Russian figures and associates of U.S. President Donald Trump.

In the banking world, attacks through the global SWIFT bank transfer system have continued to increase with the network recording a “meaningful” number of attacks with about a fifth of them resulting in stolen funds since the Bangladesh heist, the firm said late last year.

In other highly publicized attacks, retailer Tesco Plc’s banking arm said 2.5 million pounds ($3 million) had been stolen from 9,000 customers last year while hackers also stole more than 2 billion rubles ($34 million) from correspondent accounts at the Russian central bank and from accounts in commercial banks.

The European Union is considering testing banks’ defenses against cyber attacks with concerns growing about the industry’s vulnerability to hacking. —
By Balazs Koranyi | BADEN-BADEN, Germany

(Editing by Julia Glover)

PH declares temporary import ban on pigs from Germany

Marje Pelayo   •   September 12, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Saturday (September 12) announced a temporary ban on the importation of domestic and wild pigs, pork products, and by-products from Germany.

In a press release, the agency explained that the ban was imposed after the confirmation of the first case of African Swine Fever (ASF) in Schenkendöbern, Spree-Neiße, Brandenburg, affecting wild boar, as confirmed by Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (National laboratory). 

The import ban followed a report submitted by chief veterinary officer, Dr. Dietrich Rassow of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture in Berlin, to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), on September 10, 2020. 

Likewise, Agriculture Secretary William Dar also issued an immediate suspension of the processing and evaluation of the application and issuance of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) import clearance to domestic and wild pigs, pork products, and by-products from Germany.

Following the announcement of the temporary import ban, all shipments of pigs, pork, and pork products from Germany into the Philippines will be confiscated by all DA-Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) veterinary quarantine officers at all major ports of entry, the DA said.

US donates 100 ventilators to Philippines

Robie de Guzman   •   August 28, 2020

U.S. Ambassador Sung Kim, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque, and USAID Philippines Mission Director Lawrence Hardy II lead the handover of the ventilators at Malacañang Palace on Friday, August 28.

MANILA, Philippines – The United States on Friday donated 100 ventilators and associated supplies to the Philippines in support of its fight against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, its embassy in Manila said.

US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, and Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III led the turnover of the medical supplies at the Malacañang on Friday.

“These ventilators are part of the continued partnership between the American people and our Philippine friends, partners, and allies.  We will continue to work together to overcome COVID-19,” Ambassador Kim said in a statement.

In addition to the ventilators, the embassy said the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will provide clinical training and technical assistance to support health facilities to operate ventilators. 

This donation brings the total U.S. contribution to the Philippines’ COVID-19 response to more than Php1 billion ($22.6 million), provided through the U.S. State Department, USAID, and the U.S. Department of Defense. 

The embassy said the DOH will facilitate the delivery of the ventilators to hospitals located across the Philippines in coordination with USAID and the Office of Civil Defense.

DFA condoles with US Pres. Trump on the passing of his brother Robert

Marje Pelayo   •   August 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Sunday (August 16) expressed its heartfelt sympathies to US President Donald Trump and Anne Marie Pallan on the passing of Trump’s younger brother Robert.

Trump expressed his message on the passing of Robert, 71, in a statement released by the Office of the Press Secretary on Saturday (August 15).

“It is with heavy heart that I share that my wonderful brother, Robert, peacefully passed away tonight. He was not just my brother, he was my best friend. He will be greatly missed, but we will meet again. His memory will live on in my heart forever. Robert, I love you. Rest in peace,” Trump said in the statement.

Robert Trump was three years younger than the 74-year-old president.

Unlike his celebrity older brother, Donald, Robert silently prospered as a business executive and real estate developer.

He died a day after President Trump paid an emotional visit on Friday (August 14) at a New York hospital before leaving for New Jersey.

There was no information about the cause of Robert’s passing but speaking before the press on Friday, Trump said his brother was “having a hard time” with an undisclosed illness.

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