Cyclone hits Lakshadweep
Cyclone Ockhi yesterday barreled into the southwestern Lakshadweep Islands after drenching the neighboring states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, claiming at least 14 lives with many fishermen still feared trapped at sea. Authorities including the National Disaster Management Authority, the coast guard and navy have rescued about 223 fishermen and evacuated thousands of people from cyclone-hit areas, officials said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken to the chief minister of Tamil Nadu, assuring him of support operations, including emergency funds, local media reported. Ockhi was forecast to travel north toward Mumbai and Gujarat in the next 48 hours, India Meteorological Department Director S. Sudevan said, but added that it is likely to lose intensity.
NCSC warns over Kaspersky
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) on Friday warned government agencies to avoid using anti-virus software from Russian companies, the latest in a series of moves targeting Moscow-based security software maker Kaspersky Lab. In a letter to departmental permanent secretaries, NCSC CEO Ciaran Martin said Russian-made anti-virus software should not be used in systems containing information that would harm national security if it was accessed by the Russian government. He said the agency is in talks with Kaspersky Lab to develop a system to review its products for use in the nation. Kaspersky’s anti-virus software was banned from US government networks earlier this year over concerns the company has close ties to intelligence agencies in Moscow and that its software could be used to enable Russian spying. Kaspersky Lab said in a statement that it looked forward to working with the agency on the issue.
Do-gooders stop erratic car
Police said two Good Samaritans used their cars to stop a suspected drunken driver swerving all over a Pennsylvania highway. State police said the driver was traveling west on Interstate 76 in Butler County, north of Pittsburgh, at about 10pm on Thursday, when two people in separate vehicles saw him seemingly unable to keep his car in the lane and nearly hit a concrete barrier. Police said they managed to use their vehicles to box in the driver and bring him safely to a stop on the shoulder in North Sewickley Township. Frank Ray Blackmon, 53, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, police said. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that the charge is pending lab results. Police said his license has been suspended.
Mom jailed for fastening son
A woman accused of taping her two-year-old son to a wall so she could get housework done and streaming it live on social media has been sentenced to nine months in prison. Prosecutors said 19-year-old Shayla Rudolph was on Friday sentenced for attempted child endangerment. She was indicted in January on charges of child endangerment and abduction, but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge in October. Her attorney did not immediately return a message seeking comment. Prosecutors said the video streamed live on Jan. 1 showed the crying boy with his arms, head and ankles taped to the wall of their Reynoldsburg home in suburban Columbus, Ohio. Prosecutors said the boy’s mouth was covered by tape. Authorities said a TV station contacted police after receiving a copy of the video from an anonymous tipster.
The onset of summer has sparked a rise in incidents of “mask rage” in South Korea as more hot and bothered commuters either refuse to wear face coverings or leave parts of their faces exposed. In South Korea, Japan and other countries in East Asia, widespread mask wearing has been cited as one possible explanation for the region’s relative success in bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control. South Korea, one of the first countries outside China to be affected by the virus, flattened the coronavirus curve in April, although it is now struggling with dozens of daily cases, mainly in and around
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
‘FIGHT FOR FREEDOM’: Hong Kongers will never bow to Beijing, the advocate said, while the US’ envoy to the territory called China’s new security law a ‘tragedy’ The world must stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory, advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said yesterday, vowing to continue campaigning for democracy. Wong, one of the territory’s most prominent young advocates and a figure loathed by Beijing, was speaking outside a court where he and fellow advocates are being prosecuted for involvement in last year’s pro-democracy protests. China last week enacted sweeping security legislation for the restless territory, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation has sent a wave of fear through the territory, and criminalized dissenting
CHANGING PERCEPTIONS: In its tender, the Hong Kong administration said that it had failed to ‘mobilise the community to support law enforcement actions’ The Hong Kong government has agreed to pay millions of pounds to a discreet London-based PR firm to counter coverage of the territory in the international media. Consulum, which has also represented Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was on Monday awarded the ￡5 million (US$6.2 million) one-year contract to improve Hong Kong’s reputation — the same day that China passed national security legislation targeting the territory. The Mayfair-based PR business was founded by Tim Ryan and Matthew Gunther Bushell, two former employees of Bell Pottinger, an agency that has been criticized for representing some governments and leaders that other businesses