Tourists flock to Australia’s Uluru for last ever climb

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Tourists are seen climbing Uluru, formerly known as Ayers Rock, at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in the Northern Territory on October 25, 2019. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch/via REUTERS)
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A man wearing a T-shirt saying "I chose not to climb" stands next to tourists lining up to climb Uluru, formerly known as Ayers Rock, at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in the Northern Territory, Australia, October 25, 2019. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch/via REUTERS)
Updated 25 October 2019

Tourists flock to Australia’s Uluru for last ever climb

  • A permanent ban on scaling Uluru — also known as Ayers Rock — comes into place on Oct. 26
  • This is in line with the long-held wishes of the traditional Aboriginal owners of the land, the Anangu

ULURU, Australia: Hundreds of tourists flocked to Uluru on Friday for one last chance to climb the sacred site ahead of a ban, despite heavy winds preventing early attempts to scale the giant red monolith.
A permanent ban on scaling Uluru — also known as Ayers Rock — comes into place Saturday in line with the long-held wishes of the traditional Aboriginal owners of the land, the Anangu.
This has led to a surge of climbers in recent months.
Hundreds were left waiting for hours early Friday due to safety concerns over heavy winds, before rangers allowed climbers to head up the rock at 10 a.m. local time.
Parks Australia said they would reassess the weather conditions throughout the day to determine if climbers could continue to mount the rock.
More than 395,000 people visited the Uluru-Kata National Park in the 12 months to June 2019, according to Parks Australia, about 20 percent more than the previous year.
Around 13 percent of those who visited during that period made the climb, park authorities said.

Uluru has great spiritual and cultural significance to indigenous Australians, with their connection to the site dating back tens of thousands of years.
Indigenous Affairs Minister Ken Wyatt likened the surge of people rushing to climb Uluru with “a rush of people wanting to climb over the Australian War Memorial.”
“Our sacred objects, community by community, are absolutely important in the story and the history of that nation of people,” he told national broadcaster ABC.
Saturday marks 34 years since that the park’s title was handed back to the traditional owners.


Hackers attempt to take down UK Labour Party’s web services ahead of election

Updated 20 min 16 sec ago

Hackers attempt to take down UK Labour Party’s web services ahead of election

  • Britain’s security agencies have warned that Russia and other countries could use cyberattacks messages on social media to attempt to disrupt the election
  • The nature of such attacks often made it difficult to attribute responsibility to any particular group, a NCSC spokesman said

LONDON: Hackers attacked Britain’s opposition Labour Party, bombarding its web services with malicious traffic in an attempt to force them offline just weeks ahead of a national election, party and security officials said on Tuesday,
“We have experienced a sophisticated and large-scale cyberattack on Labour digital platforms,” Labour said in a statement. “We took swift action and these attempts failed due to our robust security systems.
The party was confident data breach occurred, it said.
Britain’s security agencies have warned that Russia and other countries could use cyberattacks or political messages on social media to attempt to disrupt the Dec. 12 election.
Moscow has repeatedly denied Western allegations of election interference and a person with knowledge of the matter said an initial investigation had found nothing to link the Labour Party attack to a foreign state.
Britain’s National Cyber Security Center, part of the GCHQ signals intelligence agency, said the attack was a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack — a technique used by hackers to take down websites by overwhelming them with malicious traffic.
“DDoS attacks are a common form of attack used by a very wide range of attackers. Mitigation techniques are available and worked in this case,” a NCSC spokesman said.
The nature of such attacks often made it difficult to attribute responsibility to any particular group, he said.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the attack was very serious but was successfully repelled by the party’s defense systems when the digital assault began on Monday.
“But if this is a sign of things to come in this election, I feel very nervous about it all,” he said. “Because a cyberattack against a political party in an election is suspicious and something one is very worried about.”
A Labour spokesman said that while the attack had slowed down some campaign activity, they were restored on Tuesday.
The person with knowledge of the matter said any Labour Party web services currently offline were not directly connected to the attack.
Britain goes to the polls on Dec. 12 in an election called by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to try to break the Brexit deadlock in parliament more than three years since the country voted to leave the European Union.
A report by parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee has investigated Russian activity in British politics and reportedly includes charges of spying and interference in polls, including the 2016 Brexit referendum and the 2017 national election.
The government, however, has declined to publish it before the upcoming election.