Four arrested over Taiwan’s first bitcoin robbery

Bitcoin is a virtual currency created from computer code that allows anonymous transactions and its value has soared since it came into being in 2009. (AFP)
Updated 22 February 2018
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Four arrested over Taiwan’s first bitcoin robbery

TAIWAN: Taiwan police have arrested four men over a bitcoin robbery worth 5 million Taiwanese dollars in what they said was the first case of its kind on the island.
Bitcoin is a virtual currency created from computer code that allows anonymous transactions and its value has soared since it came into being in 2009.
Taiwan police said three men in their early twenties lured a man surnamed Tai to the central city of Taichung, pretending to be interested in buying bitcoins.
After Tai showed proof of his bitcoins on his phone, the scammers assaulted him and his friend, then transferred 18 bitcoins worth 5 million Taiwanese dollars from Tai’s account via his phone.
The suspects attempted to pass off the heist as a drunken row by forcing the victim to drink Kaoliang, a strong Taiwanese liquor, Taichung city police said in a statement.
Police arrived at the scene after receiving a call about a dispute and one man was detained. The other two had fled.
“The police saw bloodstains at the scene ... after further investigation, it was discovered to be a bitcoin virtual currency robbery,” the statement released Wednesday said.
It described the case, which happened earlier this month, as “the first domestic case of bitcoin robbery.”
The two other suspects were later arrested, one on the outlying island of Kinmen where he had gone to escape police.
The fourth man, surnamed Shih, believed to be the mastermind behind the robbery, was also detained.
Britain saw its first Bitcoin armed robbery last month, according to reports, in which a virtual currency trader and his wife were threatened with a gun.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are independent of governments and banks and use blockchain technology, where encrypted digital coins are created by supercomputers.
But calls are mounting for virtual currencies to be regulated, and prices have fluctuated in recent months amid concerns over tightened control.


Clean water for all is still centuries away, aid group warns

Water, sanitation and hygiene is a global crisis. (AFP)
Updated 16 July 2018
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Clean water for all is still centuries away, aid group warns

  • By the 2030 deadline, “a significant number of people” in 80 countries are unlikely to have access to clean water, while poor sanitation is expected to persist in more than 100 nations
  • Namibians would have to wait until 2246 for everyone to have clean water, while all Eritreans would not get it until 2507 and Nicaraguans not until 2180

TEPIC, Mexico: Supplying clean water and toilets for all could take hundreds of years in countries like Eritrea and Namibia unless governments step up funding to tackle the problem and its harmful effects on health, an international development agency warned on Monday.
WaterAid — which says nearly 850 million people lack clean water — predicted the world will miss a global goal to provide drinking water and adequate sanitation for everyone by 2030.
Meeting it will cost $28 billion per year, the non-profit said.
“Water, sanitation and hygiene is a global crisis,” said Savio Carvalho, WaterAid’s global advocacy director.
“We’re really calling for governments to pull up their socks,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation from the United Nations in New York.
From July 9-18, governments are reviewing progress on the Sustainable Development Goals, which were agreed at the United Nations in 2015, with a focus on six of the 17.
Last week, UN officials said barriers to achieving the 2030 water and sanitation targets range from conflict and water pollution to climate change, urging more efficient water use.
By the 2030 deadline, “a significant number of people” in 80 countries are unlikely to have access to clean water, while poor sanitation is expected to persist in more than 100 nations, WaterAid said.
Drawing on UN data, the UK-based group calculated some countries will need hundreds of years to provide safe drinking water and toilets for all their people, meaning countries collectively are thousands of years off track.
At current rates, Namibians would have to wait until 2246 for everyone to have clean water, while all Eritreans would not get it until 2507 and Nicaraguans not until 2180, WaterAid said.
It could be 500 years before every Romanian has access to a toilet, and 450 years for Ghanaians, it added.
Governments should fund water and sanitation provision from their own budgets, and work with utilities and private companies to reach people in isolated areas, said Carvalho.
“There’s money around — it’s just not allocated in the right way,” he said, urging international donors to increase spending on water and sanitation.
Other global goals to ensure healthy lives, reduce inequality and end poverty will be jeopardized until access to water and sanitation is prioritized, noted Carvalho.
WaterAid quoted World Bank data showing the knock-on effects of inadequate sanitation — which causes child deaths from poor hygiene and preventable disease — cost $220 billion in 2015.
Some countries, including Rwanda and India, have made substantial headway toward the water and sanitation goal, but sustaining progress remains a challenge, said Carvalho.
“For the nations collectively to be thousands of years off track in meeting these human rights is shocking,” WaterAid Chief Executive Tim Wainwright said in a statement. (Reporting by Sophie Hares; editing by Megan Rowling. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, climate change, resilience, women’s rights, trafficking and property rights. Visit