US will send Ukraine another Patriot missile system after Kyiv’s desperate calls for air defenses

US will send Ukraine another Patriot missile system after Kyiv’s desperate calls for air defenses
Rescue workers clear the rubble of a building which was destroyed by a Russian airstrike in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Monday, June 10, 2024. (AP)
Short Url
Updated 12 June 2024
Follow

US will send Ukraine another Patriot missile system after Kyiv’s desperate calls for air defenses

US will send Ukraine another Patriot missile system after Kyiv’s desperate calls for air defenses

WASHINGTON: The United States will send Ukraine another Patriot missile system, two US officials said Tuesday, answering Kyiv’s desperate calls for more air defenses as it battles an intense Russian assault on the northeastern Kharkiv region.

The officials said President Joe Biden has approved the move. It would be the second Patriot system that the US has given to Ukraine, although the Pentagon has routinely provided an undisclosed number of missiles for the system. Other allies, including Germany, also have provided air defense systems as well as munitions for them.

The two US officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision has not been publicly announced. The decision was first reported by The New York Times.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky late last month pleaded for additional US-made Patriot systems, arguing that they will help his forces fight the close to 3,000 bombs that he said Russia launches into the country every month.

Speaking in Madrid, Zelensky said Ukraine still urgently needs another seven of the systems to fend off Russian strikes against the power grid and civilian areas, as well as military targets, with devastating glide bombs that wreak wide destruction.

He said Ukraine needs two of the systems to protect Kharkiv, where Russia launched a cross-border offensive on May 10 that still has Ukrainian troops reeling.

“If we had these modern Patriot systems, (Russian) airplanes wouldn’t be able to fly close enough to drop the (glide) bombs on the civilian population and the military,” Zelensky told a news conference in the Spanish capital.

The decision comes as defense leaders from the US, Europe and other nations prepare for their monthly meeting on Ukraine’s security needs. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will host the meeting in Brussels on Thursday.

The US has routinely pressed for allies to provide air defense systems to Ukraine, but many are reluctant to give up the high-tech systems — particularly countries in eastern Europe that also feel threatened by Russia.

The US also is wary of giving too many away, since they are used all over the world to protect US forces and allies.

Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters on Monday that Ukraine’s need for air defense will be a topic at the meeting.


Britain will resume funding to UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA

Britain will resume funding to UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA
Updated 19 min 7 sec ago
Follow

Britain will resume funding to UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA

Britain will resume funding to UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA
  • Britain was one of several countries to halt their funding to UNRWA following accusations by Israel

LONDON: Britain’s new Labour government said on Friday it would resume funding to the UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA and called on Israel to allow more aid to enter Gaza.
Britain was one of several countries to halt their funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) following accusations by Israel that some agency staff were involved in the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel that triggered the Gaza war.
British foreign minister David Lammy told parliament he was reassured that the agency, which provides education, health and aid to millions of Palestinians, had taken steps to “ensure it meets the highest standards of neutrality” and the government would now provide 21 million pounds ($27.1 million) in new funding.
Lammy said malnutrition in Gaza was now so severe that mothers could not produce breast milk for their children and the rates of diarrhea were 40 times their normal rates and polio had been detected.
“Humanitarian aid is a moral necessity in the face of such a catastrophe, and it is aid agencies who ensure UK support reaches civilians on the ground,” he said.
“UNRWA is absolutely central to these efforts. No other agency can deliver aid at the scale needed.”
Other countries including Japan, Germany, Italy, Australia and Canada have resumed funding to the agency.
Israel accuses UNRWA of complicity with Hamas, saying the militant Islamist group was embedded within the UN agency’s infrastructure.
A review, led by former French foreign minister Catherine Colonna, published in April said Israel had not provided evidence for its accusations that hundreds of are members of militant groups.
In February, Britain’s then-foreign minister David Cameron said he wanted an “absolute guarantee” that UNRWA would not employ staff who were willing to attack Israel.
Cameron was replaced by Lammy as foreign minister following the Labour Party’s July 4 election win.


South Korea restarts blaring propaganda broadcasts after Pyongyang flies trash balloons anew

South Korea restarts blaring propaganda broadcasts after Pyongyang flies trash balloons anew
Updated 19 July 2024
Follow

South Korea restarts blaring propaganda broadcasts after Pyongyang flies trash balloons anew

South Korea restarts blaring propaganda broadcasts after Pyongyang flies trash balloons anew
  • The South Korean broadcasts could trigger an angry response from North Korea

SEOUL: South Korea said Friday it has restarted blasting propaganda broadcasts into North Korea to retaliate against the North’s latest round of trash-carrying balloon launches, a resumption of Cold War-style tactics that are raising animosities between the rivals.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said it used front-line loudspeakers to blare anti-Pyongyang broadcasts over the border between Thursday evening and Friday morning. It said the South Korean military turned on loudspeakers again later Friday as it found out the North was preparing to fly more balloons.
The broadcasts were the first of their kind in about 40 days. The contents of the broadcasts were not immediately known, but previous ones last month reportedly included K-pop songs, weather forecasts and news on Samsung, the biggest South Korean company, as well as outside criticism of the North’s missile program and its crackdown on foreign video.
The South Korean broadcasts could trigger an angry response from North Korea because it is extremely sensitive to any outside attempt to undermine its political system. In 2015, when South Korea restarted loudspeaker broadcasts for the first time in 11 years, North Korea fired artillery rounds across the border, prompting the South to return fire, according to South Korean officials. No casualties were reported.
South Korea’s military said North Korea must be blamed for heightened tensions because it ignored South Korea’s repeated warnings and continued its “despicable” balloon campaigns. The Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement that the South Korean military will conduct loudspeaker broadcasts in a fuller manner and other stronger steps if North Korea continues provocations like balloon launches.
South Korea’s military earlier said North Korea’s launch on Thursday afternoon was its eighth balloon campaign since late May. About 200 North Korean balloons were found on South Korean soil as of Friday morning, and they mostly carried waste papers, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Previous North Korean-flown balloons carried scraps of cloth, cigarette butts, waste batteries and even manure, though they caused no major damages in South Korea. North Korea said they were sent in response to South Korean activists sending political leaflets to the North via their own balloons.
South Korea responded by suspending a 2018 tension-reduction deal with North Korea, conducting propaganda broadcasts for two hours on June 9 and front-line live-fire military drills at border areas.
Earlier this week, the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un hinted at flying rubbish-carrying balloons again or launching new countermeasures, saying South Korean balloons have been found again at border and other areas in North Korea. In her statement Tuesday, Kim Yo Jong warned that South Korean “scum” must be ready to pay “a gruesome and dear price.” That raised concerns that North Korea could stage physical provocations, rather than balloon launches.
South Korea’s military said Wednesday it has boosted its readiness to brace for any provocation by North Korea. It said North Korea may fire at incoming South Korean balloons across the border or floating mines downriver.
It wasn’t immediately known whether groups in South Korea have recently scattered leaflets in North Korea. For years, activist groups led by North Korean defectors have used helium-filled balloons to drop anti-North Korean leaflets, USB sticks containing K-pop music and South Korean dramas and US dollar bills in the North.
North Korea views such activities as a serious security threat and challenge to its ban on foreign news for most of its 26 million people. In 2020, North Korea destroyed an unoccupied South Korean-built liaison office on its territory in a furious response to South Korean civilian leafleting campaigns. In 2014, North Korea fired at balloons flying toward its territory and South Korea returned fire, though there were no casualties.
Tensions between the Koreas have heightened in recent years because of North Korea’s missile tests and the expansion of U.S-South Korean military drills that North Korea calls invasion rehearsals. Experts say North Korea’s expanding ties with Russia could embolden Kim Jong Un to stage bigger provocations, particularly ahead of the US presidential election in November.
North Korea’s state media said Friday that Kim met a visiting Russian delegation led by Vice Defense Minister Aleksey Krivoruchko. During the meeting, Kim stressed the need for the two countries’ armies to unite more firmly to defend international peace and justice, according to the North’s official Korean Central News Agency.
In June, Kim met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Pyongyang and signed a deal requiring each country to provide aid to the other if it is attacked and vowed to boost other cooperation. Analysts say the accord represents the strongest connection between the two countries since the end of the Cold War.


Widespread technology outage disrupts flights, banks, media outlets and companies around world

Widespread technology outage disrupts flights, banks, media outlets and companies around world
Updated 19 July 2024
Follow

Widespread technology outage disrupts flights, banks, media outlets and companies around world

Widespread technology outage disrupts flights, banks, media outlets and companies around world
  • DownDectector, which tracks user-reported disruptions, recorded growing outages in Visa, ADT security and Amazon
  • News outlets in Australia, including the ABC and Sky News, were unable to broadcast on their TV and radio channels

WELLINGTON: A widespread Microsoft outage was disrupting flights, banks, media outlets and companies around the world on Friday.
Escalating disruptions continued hours after the technology company said it was gradually fixing an issue affecting access to Microsoft 365 apps and services.
The website DownDectector, which tracks user-reported internet outages, recorded growing outages in services at Visa, ADT security and Amazon, and airlines including American Airlines and Delta.
News outlets in Australia reported that airlines, telecommunications providers and banks, and media broadcasters were disrupted as they lost access to computer systems. Some New Zealand banks said they were also offline.
Microsoft 365 posted on X that the company was “working on rerouting the impacted traffic to alternate systems to alleviate impact in a more expedient fashion” and that they were “observing a positive trend in service availability.”
The company did not respond to a request for comment. It did not explain the cause of the outage further.
Meanwhile, major disruptions reported by airlines and airports grew.
In the U.S., the FAA said the airlines United, American, Delta and Allegiant had all been grounded.
Airlines, railways and television stations in the United Kingdom were being disrupted by the computer issues. The budget airline Ryanair, train operators TransPennine Express and Govia Thameslink Railway, as well as broadcaster Sky News are among those affected.
“We’re currently experiencing disruption across the network due to a global third party IT outage which is out of our control,’’ Ryanair said. “We advise all passengers to arrive at the airport at least three hours before their scheduled departure time.”
Widespread problems were reported at Australian airports, where lines grew and some passengers were stranded as online check-in services and self-service booths were disabled. Passengers in Melbourne queued for more than an hour to check in.
Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport said on its website that the outage was having a “major impact on flights” to and from the busy European hub. The outage came on one of the busiest days of the year for the airport, at the start of many people’s summer vacations.
In Germany, Berlin Airport said Friday morning that “due to a technical fault, there will be delays in check-in.” It said that flights were suspended until 10 a.m. (0800GMT), without giving details, German news agency dpa reported.
At Rome's Leonardo da Vinci airport, some US-bound flights had posted delays, while others were unaffected.
Australian outages reported on the site included the banks NAB, Commonwealth and Bendigo, and the airlines Virgin Australia and Qantas, as well as internet and phone providers such as Telstra.
News outlets in Australia — including the ABC and Sky News — were unable to broadcast on their TV and radio channels, and reported sudden shutdowns of Windows-based computers. Some news anchors broadcast live online from dark offices, in front of computers showing “blue screens of death.”
Shoppers were unable to pay at some supermarkets and stores due to payment system outages.
The New Zealand banks ASB and Kiwibank said their services were down.
An X user posted a screenshot of an alert from the company Crowdstrike that said the company was aware of “reports of crashes on Windows hosts” related to its Falcon Sensor platform. The alert was posted on a password-protected Crowdstrike site and could not be verified. Crowdstrike did not respond to a request for comment.


Indian soldiers kill two suspected militants in Kashmir

Indian soldiers kill two suspected militants in Kashmir
Updated 19 July 2024
Follow

Indian soldiers kill two suspected militants in Kashmir

Indian soldiers kill two suspected militants in Kashmir
  • Kashmir has seen a string of battles between insurgents and Indian security forces in the past two months
  • Five Indian security personnel were killed on Monday during a firefight with gunmen in Doda forest

SRINAGAR, India: Two suspected militants were killed in a firefight with soldiers in Indian-administered Kashmir, the defense ministry said Friday, following a spate of attacks in the disputed territory.
The two men were killed on Thursday while trying to cross the de facto frontier that divides the Himalayan region between Pakistan and India.
Troops saw the pair crossing over from the Pakistani side through thick foliage, a defense spokesman said in a statement.
“The infiltrating terrorists were challenged, following which they opened fire leading to an intense firefight,” he said.
Kashmir, particularly its southern Hindu-majority region Jammu, has seen a string of battles between insurgents and Indian security forces in the past two months.
Five Indian security personnel were killed on Monday during a firefight with gunmen in Doda forest.
Last month, nine Indian Hindu pilgrims were killed and dozens more wounded when a gunman opened fire on a bus carrying them from a shrine in Reasi district.
Muslim-majority Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since their independence from British rule in 1947, and each side claims it in full.
Rebel groups have waged an insurgency since 1989, demanding independence or merger with Pakistan, in fighting that has killed tens of thousands of civilians, soldiers and rebels.
New Delhi and Islamabad accuse each other of stoking militancy and espionage to undermine each other, and the nuclear-armed rivals have fought multiple conflicts for control of the region.


Fix found after major airlines grounded over IT outage, affecting thousands of passengers

Fix found after major airlines grounded over IT outage, affecting thousands of passengers
Updated 5 sec ago
Follow

Fix found after major airlines grounded over IT outage, affecting thousands of passengers

Fix found after major airlines grounded over IT outage, affecting thousands of passengers
  • A faulty update or misconfiguration by cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike had led to international tech outages
  • Cybersecurity agencies said there was no information to suggest the outage was a cyber attack

WASHINGTON: Air passengers across the Arabian Gulf and around the world faced delays, cancellations and problems checking in as airports and airlines were caught up in a massive IT outage that also affected industries ranging from banks to media companies.

The travel industry was among the hardest hit with airports around the world, including Tokyo, Amsterdam, Berlin and several Spanish airports reporting problems with their systems and delays.

Saudi airline, flynas, reported disruptions in some flights, which led to take-off delays and slow online services.

“The airline is currently working with the service provider and all concerned parties to fix the issue and provide alternative systems to ensure that operations resume as soon as possible,” flynas said in a statement.

A spokesperson for the Dubai-based national carrier Emirates said they were aware of the global IT disruption and are monitoring the situation closely.

“At this time, there has been no impact on Emirates’ flight operations,” she added.

But warned: “There may be delays to some flight timings later today, due to knock-on effects from delayed departures from some airports around our network.”

“Customers can check our website and app for the latest flight information, and are advised to update their contact details on their booking.”

International airlines, including Ryanair, Europe’s largest airline by passenger numbers, warned of problems with their booking systems and other disruptions.

In  a statement, Crowdstrike holdings said it was actively working with customers impacted by a defect found in a single content update for windows hosts. “Issue has been identified, isolated and a fix has been deployed,” the statement said.

According to an alert sent by Crowdstrike to its clients and reviewed by Reuters, the company’s “Falcon Sensor” software was causing Microsoft Windows to crash and display a blue screen, known informally as the “Blue Screen of Death”.
The alert, which was sent at 0530 GMT on Friday, also shared a manual workaround to rectify the issue.

The Swiss Federal Office for Cyber ​​Security (BACS) confirmed that a faulty update or misconfiguration by cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike had led to international tech outages. “The BACS is aware of the outages mentioned and has received corresponding reports from various companies and critical infrastructures,” the BACS said in a statement.
“A faulty update or misconfiguration by CrowdStrike is leading to these system outages. The BACS is in contact with the companies affected.”

However, cybersecurity agencies said there was no information to suggest the outage was a cyber security incident.

The office of Australia's National Cyber Security Coordinator Michelle McGuinness and France’s cybersecurity agency said there was no evidence that a global IT outage was caused by a cyberattack.

“The teams are fully mobilised to identify and support the affected entities in France and to understand... the origin of this outage,” the national cybersecurity agency (ANSSI) said, adding “There is no evidence to suggest that this outage is the result of a cyberattack.”
The outages rippled far and wide, wreaking havoc on global computer systems. Microsoft users worldwide, including banks and airlines, reported widespread outages, hours after the technology company said it was gradually fixing the issue which affected access to Microsoft 365 apps and services.

The UAE foreign ministry said the global cyber outage had affected some of its electronic systems and it advised users to avoid any transactions till the issue has been resolved. It urged citizens abroad to contact their airlines before heading to the airports to avoid delays.

The UAE’s Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority issued a statement, warning Crowdstrike users of a “technical issue” with the “software update.”

“We advise users of the program to hold off on any updates or downloads of CrowdStrike software until the issue is resolved.”

 

Major travel disruptions

Major US air carriers including Delta, United and American Airlines grounded all flights early on Friday over a communication issue, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

“All... flights regardless of destination” were grounded due to the “communication issues,” the FAA said in a notice to airlines.

The UK’s largest rail franchise was facing “widespread IT issues” on its four train lines said, warning of possible cancellations.
“We are currently experiencing widespread IT issues across our entire network”, the four lines operated by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) posted on X.

Other transport systems across the UK and Ireland faced similar IT issues, with Ryanair experiencing disruption due to “a global third party IT outage”.

British airports including London Luton and Edinburgh warned of longer waiting times for passengers because of the glitch, while Sky News television was temporarily off air.

Passengers at Britain’s Edinburgh Airport were unable to use automated boarding pass scanners, and monitors at security displayed a message saying “server offline”, a Reuters witness reported.

Edinburgh Airport was checking boarding passes manually, the witness said.

A health booking system used by doctors in England was also offline, medical officials said on X on Friday.

The global outage was not being treated as a malicious act, a UK government security source said.
The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said security experts were not treating it as a cyber-related security issue.

Similarly, passengers at Dusseldorf airport are facing disruptions to Eurowings’ check-in and boarding processes due to the malfunction.

Hong Kong Airport Authority said airlines affected by a Microsoft outage had switched to manual check-in and flight operations have not been affected.

Three Indian airlines announced disruptions to their booking systems on Friday, matching widespread technical problems reported by flight operators around the world.

“Our systems are currently impacted by a Microsoft outage,” budget carrier IndiGo said in a post on social media platform X, with airlines Akasa Air and SpiceJet also reporting technical issues.

Turkish Airlines cancelled 84 flights after the IT outage, while Air France said it also suffered IT disruption, but not at Paris airports.

Spanish airport operator Aena on Friday also reported a computer systems “incident” at all Spanish airports which may cause flight delays.

“We are working to solve it as soon as possible. Meanwhile, operations are continuing with manual systems,” the airport operator said in a post on X platform.

In Berlin, airport authorities have halted all flights until 10 a.m. (0800 GMT) due to a technical fault, a spokesperson said.

Earlier on Friday, airport operator BER said in a post on social media platform X that check-ins were delayed due to the error.

The spokesperson did not give details about the nature of the problem.

Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, one of Europe’s busiest hubs, was also affected by the global cyber outage, a spokesperson said.

“The outage has an impact on flights flying from and to Schiphol,” he said, adding that it was not yet clear how many flights were affected.

The outage also wrought havoc on IT systems across Australia on Friday, with the country’s national broadcaster, its largest international airport, and a major telecommunications company reporting issues.

Australia’s National Cyber Security Coordinator said the “large-scale technical outage” was caused by an issue with a “third-party software platform.”

National broadcaster ABC said its systems had been crippled by a “major” glitch.

Photos posted online showed large queues forming at Sydney Airport, which said some airline operations and terminal services had been affected.

Some self-checkout terminals at one of the country’s largest supermarket chains displayed error messages.

Telecommunications firm Telstra also said some of its systems had been disrupted.

Major companies report outage

The website DownDectector, which tracks user-reported Internet outages, recorded growing outages in services at Visa, ADT security and Amazon, and airlines including American Airlines and Delta.

Microsoft 365 posted on X that the company was “working on rerouting the impacted traffic to alternate systems to alleviate impact in a more expedient fashion” and that they were “observing a positive trend in service availability.”

Australian outages reported on the site included the banks NAB, Commonwealth and Bendigo, and the airlines Virgin Australia and Qantas, as well as Internet and phone providers such as Telstra.

News outlets in Australia — including the ABC and Sky News — were unable to broadcast on their TV and radio channels, and reported sudden shutdowns of Windows-based computers.

An X user posted a screenshot of an alert from the company Crowdstrike that said the company was aware of “reports of crashes on Windows hosts” related to its Falcon Sensor platform. The alert was posted on a password-protected Crowdstrike site and could not be verified. Crowdstrike did not respond to a request for comment.