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Washington (CNN)US investigators believe Russian hackers breached Qatar’s state news agency and planted a fake news report that contributed to a crisis among the US’ closest Gulf allies, according to US officials briefed on the investigation.
The FBI recently sent a team of investigators to Doha to help the Qatari government investigate the alleged hacking incident, Qatari and US government officials say.
Intelligence gathered by the US security agencies indicates that Russian hackers were behind the intrusion first reported by the Qatari government two weeks ago, US officials say. Qatar hosts one of the largest US military bases in the region.
The alleged involvement of Russian hackers intensifies concerns by US intelligence and law enforcement agencies that Russia continues to try some of the same cyber-hacking measures on US allies that intelligence agencies believe it used to meddle in the 2016 elections.
US officials say the Russian goal appears to be to cause rifts among the US and its allies. In recent months, suspected Russian cyber activities, including the use of fake news stories, have turned up amid elections in France, Germany and other countries.
It’s not yet clear whether the US has tracked the hackers in the Qatar incident to Russian criminal organizations or to the Russian security services blamed for the US election hacks. One official noted that based on past intelligence, “not much happens in that country without the blessing of the government.”
READ FROM FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: http://edition.cnn.com/2017/06/06/politics/russian-hackers-planted-fake-news-qatar-crisis/index.html
Trump may turn to Vietnam for help on South China Sea
Hanoi could emerge as a key player in Washington’s long-term Southeast Asia push that’s aimed at neutralizing Beijing’s influence in the South China Sea.
On Wednesday, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc will be the first ASEAN leader to visit the White House since President Donald Trump‘s election and the U.S. may look to tap into the emerging market’s friction with China.
“Vietnam sits in a very interesting position in Southeast Asia,” said Rodger Baker, vice president of strategic analysis at geopolitical intelligence firm Stratfor. Because Hanoi maintains a strong position against Beijing’s activities in the South China Sea, Trump may eye Vietnam as a potential counter to China in the disputed area, Baker explained.
The world’s second-largest economy claims 90 percent of the sea, home to over 250 islands and rich natural gas reserves, while Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan assert ownership of certain parts. And as Beijing ramps up island-building and military construction in the maritime region — reports recently emerged of Chinese rocket launchers in the Spratly Islands — Hanoi has not shied away from publicly denouncing the mainland.
READ FROM FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/31/trump-may-turn-to-vietnam-for-help-on-south-china-sea.html
Even without an embassy, Manila was still Pyongyang’s third-largest trading partner in 2016 and remains a hub for North Korean methamphetamine, Boydston noted. In 2001 and 2008, Philippine authorities seized large meth shipments, and an international crime syndicate claimed in 2013 to have stashed a ton of the illicit drug on the archipelago state.
“The world should be concerned about these non-proliferation and otherwise criminal behaviors as they relate to the Philippines-DPRK relationship, although in (President Donald) Trump’s call with (Philippine President Rodrigo) Duterte last month, these specific issues weren’t discussed.”
READ FROM FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/30/china-isnt-the-only-country-propping-up-north-korea.html
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Saturday disputed the conclusion of authorities that the incident in Resorts World Manila on Friday had been a simple case of armed robbery and arson, saying it was a “clear example of a ‘lone wolf’ terrorist attack.”
In a statement, the leader of the House of Representatives said he disagreed with law enforcement officials who concluded that the early Friday attack, which left 38 people killed including the lone gunman, was not a terrorist act.
(CNN)Gunfire and explosions have been heard at the Resorts World Manila in the Philippines, CNN Philippines reported.
MANILA, Philippines – The Makati city government, along with Ayala-led Globe Telecom and iBayad Online Ventures Incorporated, have launched an all-in-one card for Makati City residents and government employees.
Dubbed the Makatizen Card, it allows the city’s estimated 500,000 residents to access city government services, pay fees and taxes, as well as receive cash allowances, stipends, and other monetary benefits.
City government employees, meanwhile, can use their Makatizen Card to receive salaries and allowances.
Beyond that, the card also functions as an automated teller machine (ATM) card and carries with it all the features of Globe’s GCash digital payments platform.
“[The card] takes us a step nearer to achieving our goal of empowering everyone, including those in the marginalized sectors of society, to enjoy a better quality of life,” said Makati City Mayor Abigail Binay at the launch of the card on Tuesday, May 30.
“We view this unsolicited project proposal from Globe, GCash, and iBayad as the springboard for the rapid transformation of Makati into the country’s first digital city, where citizens and civil servants are able to experience the optimum benefits of the latest innovations in information technology,” she added.
Globe subsidiary G-Xchange Incorporated (GXI), which operates GCash, will serve as the financial service provider for the Makatizen Card, while iBayad will deploy the mobile point of sale (mPOS) terminals and build the merchant network where the cards will be accepted.
The Makatizen Card is also considered a valid government-issued ID. It comes with a near-field communication (NFC) feature that allows city offices equipped with iBayad machine readers to verify the identity of residents and city government employees. No additional documents will be needed for identification.
Makatizen Card users will also be able to pay for items included in iBayad’s merchant network, which is planned to include Jollijeeps, sari-sari stores, and roving vendors for easier and safer transactions.
iBayad will also be implementing the Makatizen Loyalty and Rewards Program, where users earn loyalty reward points that can be used to purchase items.
“Each Makatizen Card carries the features of the GCash mobile wallet but is also customized to be used in the city-wide local merchant network. All services that they will get in Makati City, whether it is payment of taxes, cash allowances for health and other benefits, etc, will be directly credited to this GCash wallet that is linked to the card. They don’t have to carry anything except this ID and their mobile phone,” explained GXI president Albert Tinio.
RECOMMEND READ FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: http://www.rappler.com/business/171455-makati-city-globe-ibayad-makatizen-card