15 dead, 19 missing after Indonesian ferry sinks off Sulawesi island

15 dead, 19 missing after Indonesian ferry sinks off Sulawesi island
In this photo taken on July 5, 2018, rescuers search and examine a ferry  which ran aground off the coast of Selayar island in South Sulawesi. An overcrowded ferry that sank off of Sulawesi Island early Monday left at least 15 people dead. (AFP file) 
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Updated 24 July 2023
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15 dead, 19 missing after Indonesian ferry sinks off Sulawesi island

15 dead, 19 missing after Indonesian ferry sinks off Sulawesi island

KENDARI, Indonesia: At least 15 people were killed and 19 more were missing on Monday after a ferry sank off the coast of Indonesia’s Sulawesi island, search and rescue officials said.
The boat sank with 40 people onboard just after midnight local time (1700 GMT on Sunday), the local office of Indonesia’s search and rescue agency said in a statement.
Six people were rescued and taken to hospital for treatment, and the cause of the sinking was being investigated, it said.
“Provisionally, there are 19 people who are still being searched for,” Muhamad Arafah, head of the local search and rescue agency in Kendari city in southeast Sulawesi, said in the statement.
One search team will dive around the accident site, while another will search the water’s surface using boats, he said.
The ferry was crossing from Lanto village on Buton island to Lagili village on Muna island in Southeast Sulawesi, the agency said.
It shared images of rescuers mobilizing for the search effort, and several dead bodies covered by sarongs laid on tarpaulin at a local hospital.
It is common in Indonesia for the number of actual passengers on a boat to differ from the manifest.
Marine accidents occur frequently in the Southeast Asian archipelago nation of around 17,000 islands, where people rely on ferries and small boats to travel around despite poor safety standards.
In 2018, more than 150 people drowned when a ferry sank in one of the world’s deepest lakes on Sumatra island.
In May last year, a ferry carrying more than 800 people ran aground in shallow waters off East Nusa Tenggara province and remained stuck for two days before being dislodged.
No one was hurt in that accident.

 

 

 

 


Breaches by Iran-affiliated hackers spanned multiple US states, federal agencies say

Breaches by Iran-affiliated hackers spanned multiple US states, federal agencies say
Updated 7 sec ago
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Breaches by Iran-affiliated hackers spanned multiple US states, federal agencies say

Breaches by Iran-affiliated hackers spanned multiple US states, federal agencies say
  • Since the beginning of the Israel-Hamas war, the group has expanded and accelerated targeting Israeli critical infrastructure, said Check Point’s Sergey Shykevich

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania: A small western Pennsylvania water authority was just one of multiple organizations breached in the United States by Iran-affiliated hackers who targeted a specific industrial control device because it is Israeli-made, US and Israeli authorities say.
“The victims span multiple US states,” the FBI, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, known as CISA, as well as Israel’s National Cyber Directorate said in an advisory emailed to The Associated Press late Friday.
They did not say how many organizations were hacked or otherwise describe them.
Matthew Mottes, the chairman of the Municipal Water Authority of Aliquippa, which discovered it had been hacked on Nov. 25, said Thursday that federal officials had told him the same group also breached four other utilities and an aquarium.
Cybersecurity experts say that while there is no evidence of Iranian involvement in the Oct. 7 attack into Israel by Hamas that triggered the war in Gaza they expected state-backed Iranian hackers and pro-Palestinian hacktivists to step up cyberattacks on Israeli and its allies in its aftermath. And indeed that has happened.
The multiagency advisory explained what CISA had not when it confirmed the Pennsylvania hack on Wednesday — that other industries outside water and water-treatment facilities use the same equipment — Vision Series programmable logic controllers made by Unitronics — and were also potentially vulnerable.
Those industries include “energy, food and beverage manufacturing and health care,” the advisory says. The devices regulate processes including pressure, temperature and fluid flow.
The Aliquippa hack promoted workers to temporarily halt pumping in a remote station that regulates water pressure for two nearby towns, leading crews to switch to manual operation. The hackers left a digital calling card on the compromised device saying all Israeli-made equipment is “a legal target.”
The multiagency advisory said it was not known if the hackers had tried to penetrate deeper into breached networks. The access they did get enabled “more profound cyber physical effects on processes and equipment,” it said.
The advisory says the hackers, who call themselves “Cyber Av3ngers,” are affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which the US designated as a foreign terrorist organization in 2019. The group targeted the Unitronics devices at least since Nov. 22, it said.
An online search Saturday with the Shodan service identified more than 200 such Internet-connected devices in the US and more than 1,700 globally.
The advisory notes that Unitronics devices ship with a default password, a practice experts discourage as it makes them more vulnerable to hacking. Best practices call for devices to require a unique password to be created out of the box. It says the hackers likely accessed affected devices by “exploiting cybersecurity weaknesses, including poor password security and exposure to the Internet.”
Experts say many water utilities have paid insufficient attention to cybersecurity.
In response to the Aliquippa hack, three Pennsylvania congressmen asked the US Justice Department in a letter to investigate. Americans must know their drinking water and other basic infrastructure is safe from “nation-state adversaries and terrorist organizations,” US Sens. John Fetterman and Bob Casey and US Rep. Chris Deluzio said. Cyber Av3ngers claimed in an Oct. 30 social media post to have hacked 10 water treatment stations in Israel, though it is not clear if they shut down any equipment.
Since the beginning of the Israel-Hamas war, the group has expanded and accelerated targeting Israeli critical infrastructure, said Check Point’s Sergey Shykevich. Iran and Israel were engaged in low-level cyberconflict prior to the Oct. 7. Unitronics has not responded to the AP queries about the hacks.
The attack came less than a month after a federal appeals court decision prompted the EPA to rescind a rule that would have obliged USpublic water systems to include cybersecurity testing in their regular federally mandated audits. The rollback was triggered by a federal appeals court decision in a case brought by Missouri, Arkansas and Iowa, and joined by a water utility trade group.
The Biden administration has been trying to shore up cybersecurity of critical infrastructure — more than 80 percent of which is privately owned — and has imposed regulations on sectors including electric utilities, gas pipelines and nuclear facilities. But many experts complain that too many vital industries are permitted to self-regulate.

 


Ex-president barred from leaving Ukraine amid alleged plan to meet with Hungary’s Viktor Orban

Ex-president barred from leaving Ukraine amid alleged plan to meet with Hungary’s Viktor Orban
Updated 4 min 56 sec ago
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Ex-president barred from leaving Ukraine amid alleged plan to meet with Hungary’s Viktor Orban

Ex-president barred from leaving Ukraine amid alleged plan to meet with Hungary’s Viktor Orban
  • Officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have been monitoring safety at the Zaporizhzhia plant, which is one of the world’s 10 biggest nuclear power stations

KYIV, Ukraine: Former President Petro Poroshenko was denied permission to leave Ukraine for a planned meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Ukraine’s security service said Saturday.
Poroshenko announced Friday that he had been turned away at the border despite previously receiving permission from Parliament to leave the country. Under martial law, Ukrainian men between 18 and 60 years of age are not allowed to leave the country without special approval.
The 58-year-old, who lost his re-election bid in 2019 to current Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, said that he had planned to meet with US House Speaker Mike Johnson, and the Polish parliament during his trip.
But security officials said that Poroshenko had also agreed to meet Orban, who has previously praised Russian President Vladimir Putin and refused to support Kyiv’s bid for EU accession. In a statement on social media, they said such talks would make Poroshenko a “tool in the hands of the Russian special services.”
Poroshenko, who called his experience at the border an “attack on unity”, is yet to comment on the allegation that he planned to meet Orban.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was left on “the verge of a nuclear and radiation accident” Saturday after it was unable to draw power from two of the lines connecting it to the local energy grid, the country’s nuclear energy operator said.
It said that the plant switched to diesel generators to stop the plant from overheating before off-site power was restored by Kyiv.
Russia occupied the Zaporizhzhia plant in the early stages of the war. Over the past year, the station has become a focal point of concern for international observers, with both Moscow and Kyiv accusing each other of shelling the plant.
In a statement on social media, Petro Kotin, head of Ukraine’s nuclear energy operator, accused Moscow of “incorrect, erroneous, and often deliberately risky operation of the equipment” at the site.
The Associated Press was unable to independently verify the claims.
Officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have been monitoring safety at the Zaporizhzhia plant, which is one of the world’s 10 biggest nuclear power stations.
Although the plant’s six reactors have been shut down for months, it still needs power and qualified staff to operate crucial cooling systems and other safety features.
Elsewhere in Ukraine, Russia launched 11 Iranian-made Shahed drones and one guided cruise missile overnight Saturday, military officials said. The missile and all but one of the drones were reportedly destroyed by Ukrainian air defenses.
The Russian Defense Ministry also said that it had shot down two Ukrainian C-200 rockets over the Sea of Azov.

 


Tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian supporters stage events across Britain

Tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian supporters stage events across Britain
Updated 34 min 16 sec ago
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Tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian supporters stage events across Britain

Tens of thousands of pro-Palestinian supporters stage events across Britain

LONDON: Tens of thousands of people across the UK held protests on Saturday as part of a “Day of Action” against the resumption of Israel’s renewed attack on Gaza following a seven-day pause in fighting, organizers said. 

“Israel’s decision to resume its bombardment of Gaza flies in the face of international law, which prohibits collective punishment and attacks on civilians,” said Ben Jamal, the director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign — one of the organizers of the nationwide call. 

“Every humanitarian agency on the ground has indicated that the scale of destruction already wrought by Israel has pushed Gaza to the brink of catastrophe, where deaths from disease and lack of medical services could outstrip the current casualty figures,” he added.

“In that context not only is it unconscionable that Israel would renew its attacks, (but) it is also shameful and unacceptable that UK political leaders would give their support, tacitly or explicitly.”

At least 193 Palestinians have been killed since the cease-fire ended on Friday, according to Gazan health officials, adding to the more than 15,000 Palestinians killed since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas following a surprise attack on Oct. 7 in southern Israel.

“Ordinary people across the UK will come out again to show the vast majority of them support a permanent cease-fire, they will show their solidarity with Palestinians who are experiencing unbearable suffering, (and) they will also demand the root causes are not forgotten — Israel’s decades-long military occupation of Palestinian territories and its system of apartheid against Palestinians.

“We demand justice for the Palestinian people – their right to self-determination and to live in freedom, dignity and with equality,” he added.

PSC has organized weekly national marches in London since the war began, some of which organizers said drew around 800,000 people and was among the nations biggest demonstrations in history. The next scheduled national march is set to be held on Dec. 9.

Various events were held around the country as part of the call, including cease-fire rallies and vigils in places such as Brighton, Hull in the north of England, Coventry in the center, Canterbury in the southeast, and the Welsh capital Cardiff.


One dead, one injured after assailant attacks passersby in Paris: French police

One dead, one injured after assailant attacks passersby in Paris: French police
Updated 03 December 2023
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One dead, one injured after assailant attacks passersby in Paris: French police

One dead, one injured after assailant attacks passersby in Paris: French police
  • A police source said the attacker was known for psychiatric disorders

PARIS: An attacker stabbed one person to death and wounded another in Paris on Saturday, reportedly shouting "Allahu Akbar" before being arrested, a French police source told AFP.
The attacker was born in France and is French, the source said. The wounded person was receiving treatment.
A police source said the attacker was known for psychiatric disorders and had said he could not stand Muslims being killed in the world.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin is expected at the scene in the French capital's 15th district.
"Police officers have just bravely arrested an attacker going after passers-by in Paris, around the Quai de Grenelle," he wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
"One person dead and one wounded treated by the Paris firefighters. Please avoid the area."
An AFP journalist said a security cordon had been put in place near the Eiffel Tower.


Group of swing state Muslims vows to ditch Biden in 2024 over his war stance

Group of swing state Muslims vows to ditch Biden in 2024 over his war stance
Updated 03 December 2023
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Group of swing state Muslims vows to ditch Biden in 2024 over his war stance

Group of swing state Muslims vows to ditch Biden in 2024 over his war stance
  • More than 13,300 Palestinians — roughly two-thirds of them women and minors, according to the Health Ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza — have been killed in the Israel-Hamas war

CHICAGO: Muslim community leaders from several swing states pledged to withdraw support for US President Joe Biden on Saturday at a conference in suburban Detroit, citing his refusal to call for a cease-fire in Gaza.
Democrats in Michigan have warned the White House that Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war could cost him enough support within the Arab American community to sway the outcome of the 2024 presidential election.
Leaders from Michigan, Minnesota, Arizona, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania gathered behind a lectern that read “Abandon Biden, cease-fire now” in Dearborn, Michigan, the city with the largest concentration of Arab Americans in the United States.

Actors Renee Benton, left, and Cynthia Nixon speak alongside state legislators and faith leaders currently on hunger strike outside the White House to demand that President Joe Biden call for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023. (AP)

More than 13,300 Palestinians — roughly two-thirds of them women and minors, according to the Health Ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza — have been killed in the Israel-Hamas war. Some 1,200 Israelis have been killed, mostly during Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel that triggered the war.
Biden’s unwillingness to call for a cease-fire has damaged his relationship with the American Muslim community beyond repair, according to Minneapolis-based Jaylani Hussein, who helped organize the conference.
“Families and children are being wiped out with our tax dollars,” Hussein said. “What we are witnessing today is the tragedy upon tragedy.”
Hussein, who is Muslim, told The Associated Press: “The anger in our community is beyond belief. One of the things that made us even more angry is the fact that most of us actually voted for President Biden. I even had one incident where a religious leader asked me, ‘How do I get my 2020 ballot so I can destroy it?” he said.
White House spokesperson Andrew Bates previously said the Biden administration has pushed for humanitarian pauses in the fighting to get humanitarian aid into Gaza, adding that “fighting against the poison of antisemitism and standing up for Israel’s sovereign right to defend itself have always been core values for President Biden.”
Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania were critical components of the “blue wall” of states that Biden returned to the Democratic column, helping him win the White House in 2020. About 3.45 million Americans identify as Muslim, or 1.1 percent of the country’s population, and the demographic tends to lean Democratic, according to Pew Research Center.
But leaders said Saturday that the community’s support for Biden has vanished as more Palestinian men, women and children are killed in Gaza.
“We are not powerless as American Muslims. We are powerful. We don’t only have the money, but we have the actual votes. And we will use that vote to save this nation from itself,” Hussein said at the conference.
The Muslim community leaders’ condemnation of Biden does not indicate support for former President Donald Trump, the clear front-runner in the Republican primary, Hussein clarified.
“We don’t have two options. We have many options. And we’re going to exercise that,” he said.