Iran to introduce local alternatives to Google, Gmail

Updated 01 October 2012
0

Iran to introduce local alternatives to Google, Gmail

TEHRAN: Iranian officials announced that they would soon introduce local alternatives to Google and its Gmail e-mail service, even as the country’s media and even some officials stepped up complaints over Tehran’s decision to enact a ban on Gmail in response to an anti-Islam film, newspapers reported yesterday.
Last week, Iran blocked Gmail — but not the search engine of the parent company Google — in response to a court order linked to the distribution of a low-budget, US-produced film on YouTube, also owned by Google.
In a country with 32 million Internet users out of a population of 75 million, according to official statistics, that ban has caused widespread resentment. Even many pro-government newspapers have complained of the disruptions.
“Some problems have emerged through the blocking of Gmail,” Hussein Garrousi, a member of a parliamentary committee on industry, was quoted Sunday by the independent Aftab daily as saying. He said that parliament would summon the minister of telecommunications for questioning if the ban was not lifted.
The deputy minister, Ali Hakim Javadi, told reporters that Iranian authorities were considering lifting the Gmail ban, but also wanted to introduce their own domestic alternatives: the Fakhr (“Pride“) search engine and the Fajr (“Dawn“) e-mail services, Aftab reported.
On Saturday, Asr-e Ertebat weekly reported that Iranians had paid a total of 4.5 million US dollars to purchase proxy services to reach blocked sites over the past month.


Daesh threatens Iraq polling stations ahead of parliamentary vote

Updated 24 April 2018
0

Daesh threatens Iraq polling stations ahead of parliamentary vote

BAGHDAD: Daesh has threatened to attack Iraqi polling stations and voters during parliamentary elections next month.

In a message posted to the Telegram messaging app on Sunday, Daesh spokesman Abu Hassan Al-MuHajjir called on Sunni Iraqis to boycott the May 12 polls, the first since Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi declared victory over Daesh in December.

Extremist groups in Iraq have targeted every election since the 2003 US-led invasion that deposed Saddam Hussein and paved the way for Shiites to dominate every government since.

Under a system of checks and balances designed to avoid a return to dictatorship, the winner of the May 12 elections will have to form alliances with other Shiite, Sunni Arab and Kurdish lists to secure a majority.

An incumbent prime minister, his ousted predecessor and a paramilitary chief instrumental in defeating Daesh are the three favorites vying for Iraq’s premiership.

Two of the favorites topping the lists were among the architects of victory against Daesh, which in 2014 seized a third of Iraq’s territory in a lightning offensive.

The incumbent prime minister, 66 year-old Abadi, took over the reins from Nuri Al-Maliki in September 2014 at the high watermark of the security crisis.

The fightback which allowed Abadi to declare Iraq’s victory over Daesh in December, has silenced critics of his lack of military experience.

An engineering graduate and holder of a doctorate from the University of Manchester in Britain, Abadi is from the same Dawa party as his predecessor Maliki.

As the official head of Iraq’s military, Abadi has bolstered morale by drafting in foreign trainers, who have helped professionalize tens of thousands of soldiers.

Under his watch and backed by a US-led international coalition, the army has banished Daesh from all its urban strongholds in Iraq. 

The Iraqi military has also pushed back the Kurds in the north’s oil-rich Kirkuk province, bolstering Abadi’s status as frontrunner going into the election.

“He has a popular base which transcends confessional and ethnic lines. He offers a narrative as a statesman and he is not tarnished by corruption,” said Iraqi political scientist Essam Al-Fili.

Haddad said: “Abadi remains the single strongest contender but not strong enough to win anything close to a majority.”

His main contender is Hadi Al-Ameri — a leader of Hashed Al-Shaabi, a paramilitary network that played a pivotal role in defeating Daesh.

During Maliki’s 2010-2014 term as premier, Ameri was a lawmaker and then transport minister, but he was blocked in a bid to head the Interior Ministry by an American veto.