Tel Aviv-based newspaper Haaretz has revealed how Toka, a company founded by the former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak and the Israeli military's cyber chief Yaron Rosen, has mastered terrifying technology capable of locating security cameras or webcams, hacking into them, monitoring their live feeds, and altering them without a trace.
Regulated by the Israeli ministry for military affairs, Toka has offices in Tel Aviv and Washington and works - currently at least - purely with state-level clients, including law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
The company has contracts with Tel Aviv alone valued at $6 million and is seeking to expand its operations further.
According to a company pitch deck obtained by Haaretz, Toka offers what it calls “previously out-of-reach capabilities” that “transform untapped IoT [Internet-of-Things] sensors into intelligence sources,” and can be used “for intelligence and operational needs.”
UK government cabinet minister Penny Mordaunt has called on the Church of England to wed same-sex couples in an unprecedented act of interference in church matters by a sitting UK government official.
Mordaunt, who serves as Leader of the House of Commons, urged the Church of England — which is headed by King Charles III — to recognise same-sex marriages ahead of a vote on the issue among the bishops of the church.
Ms Mordaunt addressed her demands to the Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Rev Dr Jonathan Frost, posting a letter to the bishop on Twitter on Sunday, the Telegraph reports.
The only way of preventing global warming is “money, money, money”, former failed presidential contender John Kerry said at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos on Tuesday.
US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry said that the world is not acting with enough urgency to “save the world” and prevent what he calls a climate crisis from occurring. The 79-year-old Democrat opened his remarks by questioning how “allegedly wise adult human” such as CEOs and Senators could, as he put it, “ignore our science and want to ignore mathematics and want to ignore physics and somehow cannot bring themselves to do what we need to do.”
The billionaire politician, who married into the wealthy Heinz family, heaped praise on those who attended the meeting in the Swiss ski resort town, saying how “extraordinary that we select human beings… are able to sit in a room and come together and actually talk about saving the planet.”
“I mean it’s so almost extraterrestrial to think about quote ‘saving the planet’. If you said that to most people, they think you’re just a crazy tree-hugging Lefty liberal do-good… but really that’s where we are.”
The House Republican Steering Committee on Tuesday selected several conservative firebrands to serve on the Oversight Committee during the 118th Congress, including multiple members who previously had their committee assignments stripped by House Democrats during the previous Congress.
The GOP-led House Oversight Committee will be composed of Reps. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Tim Burchett (R-TN), Eric Burlison (R-MO), Byron Donalds (R-FL), Chuck Edwards (R-NC), Russell Fry (R-SC), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Nick Langworthy (R-NY), Jake LaTurner (R-KS), Gary Palmer (R-AL), Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL), Scott Perry (R-PA), Lisa McClain (R-MI), Pete Sessions (R-TX), and William Timmons (R-SC).
Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed Denis Bećirović, member of the tripartite Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to NATO Headquarters on Monday (16 January 2023). Mr. Stoltenberg stressed that the stability of the whole region of the Western Balkans is of strategic importance to the Alliance, as mentioned in the Strategic Concept adopted at the Madrid Summit….
Mr. Stoltenberg and Mr. Bećirović discussed concerns about separatist actions and divisive rhetoric which can provide fertile soil for malign external activities….He stressed that NATO fully supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Patriot air defence systems will arrive in Poland in the coming days, Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak has said.
On Monday, the dpa press agency reported, quoting a German government source, that the Bundeswehr, the German army, had already started to relocate Patriot air defence systems to Poland.
The top U.S. military officer, Army Gen. Mark Milley, traveled to a site near the Ukraine-Poland border on Tuesday and talked with his Ukrainian counterpart face to face for the first time – a meeting underscoring the growing ties between the two militaries and coming at a critical time as Russia’s war with Ukraine nears the one-year mark.
Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met for a couple of hours with Ukraine’s chief military officer, Gen. Valerii Zaluzhnyi, at an undisclosed location in southeastern Poland. The two leaders have talked frequently about Ukraine’s military needs and the state of the war over the past year but had never met.
U.S. climate envoy John Kerry told a group of attendees Tuesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland that they were part of a 'select group of human beings' brought together by an 'extra-terrestrial' force to save the plan[et].
The climate czar opened by thanking Børge Brende, president of the World Economic Forum in Geneva for getting him the 'best room I ever had here in 35 years.'
Kerry then launched into a diatribe warning attendees that 'time is running out' to avoid climate change's 'worst consequences.'
'When you stop and think about it, it's pretty extraordinary that we select group of human beings because of whatever touched us at some point in our lives, are able to sit in a room and come together and actually talk about saving the planet,' Kerry mused.
Webmaster addition: Kerry has been drying his hair in the microwave again.
Kiev is unable to engage in peace talks with Moscow because the US and its allies forbid it from doing so, Russian spy chief Sergey Naryshkin has said.
“The overseas masters of the Ukrainian regime won’t allow getting [the Ukrainian] dossier off the ground,” Naryshkin told Tass on Tuesday.
He brought up the negotiations that took place between Russia and Ukraine in Istanbul in late March, when “certain basic agreements were reached.”
A record 38% of Americans had to put off their medical treatment in 2022 because of cost, a Gallup poll showed on Tuesday.
"The percentage of Americans reporting they or a family member postponed medical treatment in 2022 due to cost rose 12 points in one year, to 38%, the highest in Gallup’s 22-year trend," the pollster said.
Respondents noted that sometimes they had to postpone their treatment even in very difficult health situations.
With Peru's capital bracing for two days of anti-government protests starting Wednesday, President Dina Boluarte called on the demonstrators flooding into Lima to gather "peacefully and calmly" – even as they demand her resignation.
Thousands of protesters from rural areas are descending on Lima this week to keep up pressure against the government, often defying a state of emergency declared to try to maintain order.
With tensions mounting, many poor and Indigenous demonstrators were already making their presence felt Tuesday in the capital, where police used smoke canisters against marchers who gathered ahead of the larger mobilizations.
Now, though, in a scenario familiar to any sci-fi fan, the experiment seems to have run amok: The bots have betrayed the humans.
Specifically, it turns out the bots are no better at journalism — and perhaps a bit worse — than their would-be human masters.
On Tuesday, CNET began appending lengthy correction notices to some of its AI-generated articles after Futurism, another tech site, called out the stories for containing some “very dumb errors.”
An automated article about compound interest, for example, incorrectly said a $10,000 deposit bearing 3 percent interest would earn $10,300 after the first year. Nope. Such a deposit would actually earn just $300.
More broadly, CNET and sister publication Bankrate, which has also published bot-written stories, have now disclosed qualms about the accuracy of the dozens of automated articles they’ve published since November.
Webmaster addition: Next obvious step is an AI Editor!
“The idea of a neutral Ukraine under these conditions is no longer meaningful,” Kissinger, 99, told the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday. Kissinger, long an opponent of Ukraine’s membership of the organization, has softened his stance on the issue in recent months.
Kissinger, a former secretary of state and national security adviser, said he believes in maintaining dialog with Russia while the war continues, with a view toward ending fighting if Ukraine is able to recapture territory that President Vladimir Putin’s forces seized after the Feb. 24 invasion. He warned against direct conflict between the west and Russia and stressed the importance of allowing Russia to rejoin the international system.
The Kiev government is plotting new measures, aimed at discriminating and ultimately eliminating the canonic Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya said.
"By the available information, a bunch of further initiatives are being prepared at the moment, which aim at discriminating the communes and parishioners of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, depriving this Church of its historical and legal name, and even completely eliminating it," he told Tuesday’s session of the UN Security Council, initiated by Russia to discuss human rights in Ukraine.
The potential stablecoin aims to enable cross-border transactions instead of fiat currencies like the U.S. dollar, the Russian ruble or the Iranian rial...
The Central Bank of Iran is reportedly cooperating with the Russian government to jointly issue a new cryptocurrency backed by gold.
According to the Russian news agency Vedomosti, Iran is working with Russia to create a “token of the Persian Gulf region” that would serve as a payment method in foreign trade.
The token is projected to be issued in the form of a stablecoin backed by gold, according to Alexander Brazhnikov, executive director of the Russian Association of Crypto Industry and Blockchain.
The stablecoin aims to enable cross-border transactions instead of fiat currencies like the United States dollar, the Russian ruble or the Iranian rial. The report notes that the potential cryptocurrency would operate in a special economic zone in Astrakhan, where Russia started to accept Iranian cargo shipments.
Russian lawmaker Anton Tkachev, a member of the Committee on Information Policy, Information Technology and Communications, stressed that a joint stablecoin project would only be possible once the digital asset market is fully regulated in Russia. After multiple delays, the Russian lower house of parliament once again promised to start regulating crypto transactions in 2023.
Iran and Russia are among the countries that banned their residents from using cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and stablecoins like Tether (USDT) for payments. At the same time, Iran and Russia have been actively working to adopt crypto as a tool of foreign trade.
Russia is calling upon the United Nations to provide active assistance to efforts to release human rights activist Yelena Berezhnaya, held in custody in Ukraine, Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya said.
"Ukrainian rights activist Yelena Berezhnaya who had spent 8 years studying and documenting the evolvement of neo-Nazism in Ukraine and addressed the Security Council in March last year, was arrested by Ukrainian special services and still remains in custody on absurd charges of state treason. We repeatedly drew the attention of the Secretary-General and Security Council to this egregious case. We call on the UN leadership to step in and help set her free," he told Tuesday’s session of the UN Security Council, initiated by Russia to discuss human rights in Ukraine.
Nebenzya went on to say that "in the territories controlled by [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky’s regime, mass political repressions, detentions of civil activists and rights advocates are in full swing."
"Any expression of disagreement with the official position is extirpated," he added.
A Crimean senator said she could understand the rationality behind the resignation of Ukrainian Presidential Aide Alexey Arestovich that may prompt others from the Zelensky team to quit.
"Arestovich’s resignation was inevitable amid the growing social dissatisfaction with the country’s government. He was the first to go and he will be followed by others from the [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky team, because there will be increasingly more [social] unrest and distrust of the government," Russian Federation Council member for Crimea Olga Kovitidi told TASS.
However, Kovitidi added, Ukraine’s rhetoric on Crimea and Russia will generally remain unchanged in the wake of Arestovich’s departure and may only get tweaked as soon as Zelensky steps down.
Earlier on Tuesday, Arestovich announced his resignation. Writing on his Facebook page (owned by the US-based corporation Meta, outlawed as an extremist organization in Russia), he explained that he had made a fundamental error which, to him, spelled resignation.
After President Biden's lawyers found classified documents at an office he used at a DC think tank, His Justice Department considered, and then declined, a plan to have FBI agents monitor a search for classified documents at his residences, in order to 'avoid complicating later stages of the investigation,' and because Biden's attorneys 'had quickly turned over a first batch and were cooperating,' the Wall Street Journal reports, citing people familiar with the matter.
Instead, the DOJ decided that it would be just fine for Biden's lawyers to conduct the additional searches by themselves, and would agree to immediately notify the Justice Department if they found any other potentially classified records - after which law-enforcement authorities would take them.
The arrangement meant that FBI agents wouldn't bear witness to things such as the volume, or contents, of whatever might turn up. This is, of course, the same FBI that participated in a plan (and fabricated evidence) in a plot to frame former President Trump as a Russian asset, and then ran cover for the Bidens during the 2020 US election - telling social media companies that Hunter Biden's laptop, or anything like it, was likely Russian disinformation.
In the week since news reports first surfaced about the documents, the incident has drawn parallels to the discovery of a much larger number of documents at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida, which federal agents obtained a warrant to search in August after more than a year of negotiations between Mr. Trump’s lawyers, the National Archives and the Justice Department and after Mr. Trump’s lawyers said all documents had been returned. -WSJ
In the wake of the covid pandemic lockdowns and mandates, many western nations and states in the US witnessed a new eye opening level of government intrusion into the daily lives of citizens. Some, however, dealt with worse scenarios than others.
New Zealand in particular has popped up time and time again over the past couple of years with some of the most draconian restrictions on the public, and sadly the trend has not stopped just because the pandemic lockdowns stopped. The island nation seems to be intent on setting the standard for authoritarian policies and government micromanagement, and a series of recent laws are driving home the reality that they do not intend to relent.
Flashback: In 2018, New Zealand banned all offshore oil drilling exploration in the name of instituting a "carbon neutral future", meaning tight energy restrictions are forthcoming in NZ as the decade progresses.
In 2019, NZ banned all semi-automatic weapons after the Christchurch mosque shootings, punishing millions of law abiding citizens for the crimes of one man. Video evidence of the Christchurch shootings is suspiciously illegal in NZ, and anyone caught viewing or downloading the event can be prosecuted. The gun bans were enforced just in time for the pandemic lockdowns.
In 2020, the government introduced internet censorship legislation which would give them the power to selectively filter "dangerous content." Most of the provisions were ultimately scrapped after a public backlash, but future censorship remains a priority for the government.