Smugglers ‘shot escaping migrants’ in Libya

People smugglers opened fire on a group of 100 migrants attempting to flee their clutches in northern Libya, aid agency MSF reports.

Twenty-five injured survivors received hospital treatment in the town of Bani Walid.

MSF says they reported at least 15 people were killed and dozens more, mostly women, were left behind.

Libya has become a key point on the route of sub-Saharan African migrants trying to reach Europe by sea.

The country has been in turmoil since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Power is dispersed between different militias and two rival governments, allowing illegal activities to thrive.

MSF says the survivors receiving treatment are mostly teenagers from Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia, who were attempting to seek asylum in Europe.

They reported being sold between groups of human traffickers during their time in captivity, which lasted up to three years.

The attempted breakout happened during the evening of 23 May, the agency reports.

Seven of the survivors required treatment for serious gunshot wounds and broken bones in Bani Walid General Hospital, while 18 received first aid for minor injuries.

They have now been transferred to detention centres or hospital in Tripoli.

“All necessary measures must be taken to ensure patients can access the required treatment and to protect these extremely vulnerable people from further harm after surviving such atrocities. Arbitrary detention cannot be a solution. They are in urgent need of protection and assistance,” said Christophe Biteau, MSF’s head of mission in Libya.

Afghan diplomats in Pakistan targeted by ‘state-backed hackers’

Afghan diplomats in Pakistan have been warned they are believed to be victims of “government-backed” digital attacks trying to steal their email passwords.

Afghan embassy sources told the BBC two staff members and a generic account received alerts from Google this month.

Last week Amnesty International detailed attempts to install malware on computers and phones of activists critical of Pakistan’s military.

The army did not comment on allegations intelligence services were to blame.

After the Google warning alerts were sent out, another Afghan diplomat’s email account was hacked and made to send out emails, without his knowledge, containing suspicious attachments.

The emails purported to contain photographs of rallies by protesters known as the Pashtun Protection Movement (PTM). In fact the attachments appear to contain malicious files, although it was not possible to download and examine them.

The PTM movement has accused the Pakistani military of committing human rights abuses in the country’s fight against terrorism. Protests have been non-violent but controversial due to their unusually direct criticism of the Pakistani intelligence services.

Why were the emails sent?

Supporters of the Pakistani military have accused the PTM of working on behalf of the Afghan intelligence services – the two countries regularly accuse each other of working to undermine the other’s security.

A source in the Afghan embassy told the BBC he was concerned that recipients of the emails sent out from the diplomat’s account could believe the Afghan embassy was linked to the movement.

The email was sent to addresses publicly linked to a number of political figures in Pakistan. They include a former information minister, and a former law minister.

It was also sent to a former senator from a Pashtun nationalist party, Bushra Gohar. Ms Gohar told the BBC: “I know for a fact that all my accounts are being observed… this is condemnable.”

She added: “Parliament needs to form a committee and look into what is going on.”

Have there been other cyber-attacks?

An employee of the Afghan embassy and a former member of staff were also both targeted by a fake Facebook profile linked to cyber-attacks.

A report by Amnesty International released last week revealed that the profile, “Sana Halimi”, had repeatedly sent malware to a human rights activist in Lahore.

One of the Afghan embassy staff members befriended by “Sana Halimi” told colleagues “she” had engaged him in conversation pretending to be an Afghan woman from the city of Herat.

The Facebook account also befriended a number of other human rights activists. One told the BBC it had messaged him in a “flirtatious” manner.

In a report released last week, mobile security company Lookout documented “Sana Halimi” sending out malware via Facebook Messenger on at least two occasions.

The incidents form part of an investigation they carried out into the successful hacking of devices by a team they describe as “likely” being run by the Pakistani military. Their report examined around 30GB of stolen data, a significant part of which appeared to have been taken from Afghan officials.

Who was ‘Sana Halimi’?

The BBC has learnt that the pictures of “Sana Halimi” were in fact stolen from the social media accounts of a 21-year-old chef in Lahore called Salwa Gardezi with no connection to Afghanistan.

Ms Gardezi is a close relative of a prominent political commentator, Ayesha Siddiqa, known for her work critiquing the Pakistani military. It is not clear if her photographs were used because of this connection.

Ms Gardezi said she had only realised her pictures had been copied from her Facebook and Instagram accounts after a BBC article on the malware attacks last week. She told the BBC it was “shocking” her images had been used in this way, and that she had “no connection” to political work at all.

She added that she is planning to lodge a complaint with Pakistan’s Federal Investigations Agency as she is concerned she could wrongly be mistaken as being linked to the cyber attackers.

“I want to clear my image,” she said.

North Korea’s Kim ‘set on’ Trump summit

It is North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s “fixed will” that a summit with US President Donald Trump in Singapore should go ahead, state media say.

Mr Trump cancelled the summit on Thursday, citing the North’s “hostility”, but then rowed back after conciliatory messages from Pyongyang.

Late on Saturday he again said the 12 June date for talks “hasn’t changed”.

Leaders of North and South Korea have also agreed to “meet frequently”, the North’s KCNA agency added.

It follows a surprise summit between Mr Kim and Moon Jae-in on Saturday.

President Moon’s spokesman said there had been a “candid” exchange of views in the two hours of talks between the two leaders.

Their second-ever meeting took place in the demilitarised zone between the two countries. It appeared to be an effort to put the proposed US-North Korea summit back on track.

“They shared the opinion that they would meet frequently in the future to make dialogue brisk and pool wisdom and efforts, expressing their stand to make joint efforts for the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula,” KCNA said.

It said Kim Jong-un had thanked Moon Jae-in for “much effort made by him” to arrange the Singapore summit and “expressed his fixed will” that it would take place.

The statement added that Mr Kim and Mr Moon had agreed to hold further high-level talks on Friday but no details were given.

The White House confirmed on Saturday that an advance team of officials would leave for Singapore this weekend, as originally scheduled, to prepare for the possible summit.

Mr Trump took to Twitter on Saturday to angrily dismiss media speculation that the summit, even if reinstated, could not now be held in Singapore in the existing time frame.

Nobody asks India to control nuclear assets, says former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf

Pakistan and India were on the path of peace and reconciliation under his regime, former Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf has said while claiming that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not an “advocate of peace talks”.

The former president and chief of All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) in an interview with Voice of America claimed that when he was in power, India and Pakistan were on the “path of reconciliation”, but that is not the case anymore, the Express Tribune reported.

“At the time, I spoke to both the prime ministers, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh, they were both from different political parties but we wanted to move forward from the disputes,” he said.

The 74-year-old retired general, who is facing high treason charges, has been living in Dubai since last year when he was allowed to leave Pakistan for medical treatment.

Musharraf claimed that a four-point initiation of peace was strategised by the former president and was put in implementation by the leadership of both countries.

The four points of contention included Siachen and Kashmir as well, he said.

“We were working on my strategy because both sides wanted to have peace. This is not the case anymore. They want to undo us,” he claimed.

“Incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to enforce supremacy in India and isn’t an advocate of peace talks,” he alleged.

He alleged that there exists an “inherent bias” towards India’s treatment as both possess nuclear arms, but no questions are raised on India.

“Nobody asks India to control their assets. Pakistan became a nuclear state because India posed an undeniable existential threat,” he said. “The US should have stopped them, we have been loyal to them throughout,” he said.

He said Pak-US relations have suffered quite a blow and are currently at “the lowest ebb”.

Answering a question as to why there are strenuous relations between the two countries, Musharraf said, “US has supported India very openly from the Cold War era. And now again, the US is aligning itself with India against Pakistan, this affects us directly. We would like the UN to examine India’s role in Afghanistan. A one-sided approach to the problem is negative.”

Govt works to develop living standard of Dalit people: Narayon

Livestock Minister Narayon Chandra Chanda yesterday said living standard of Dalit people has improved a lot because of the government’s different special measures for downtrodden people.

“Dalit people are not lagging behind now as the government ensures equal rights of all citizens,” he told a consciousness raising function on sexual and reproductive health at Shaheed Jobaed Ali auditorium at Dumuria upazila in the district.

Non-government development agency Dalit organized the function with its acting executive director Basanti Lata Das in the chair. Dumuria upazila parishad chairman Md Khan Ali Mansur attended it as the special guest.

The minister said the government has been implementing different programmes to engage downtrodden people with mainstream as they can contribute to economy.

Highlighting different development measures of the government, Narayon said community clinics have been set up in rural areas to reach health services to the doorsteps of people.

The countrywide community clinics have brought positive changes in the field of healthcare as the destitute and underprivileged rural people are getting health services free of cost, he added.

The minister said because of the government’s massive measures for women including education and health facilities, the country has become a role model in women empowerment.

DA for newsmen to be announced next week: Inu

Tribunal Desk :

Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu, MP, announced yesterday that the much anticipated Dearness Allowance (DA) for journalists, as recommended by the Wage Board, would probably be gazetted next week(week starting Sunday).

He made the announcement at a meeting at the Dhaka Reporters’ Unity (DRU) auditorium here.

The minister explained that they had completed the necessary formalities and now everything was ready for the promulgation.

Scoffing at the idea of proposals for across-the-board unity, he said “The idea of Razakars and Freedom Fighters marching together was preposterous.”

The meeting was also addressed by the Media Advisor of the Prime Minister, Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury.

Government decision on anti-drug drive is right; Amu

Tribunal Desk :

Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu yesterday said the decision that the government and the law enforcement agencies have taken to root out drug from the country, is right.

“Those who are involved with the dealings of drug will not be spared. The decision that the government and the law enforcement agencies have taken to root out drug from the country is right,” he said.

The Industries Minister was addressing a function while distributing stipends among the poor and meritorious students held at Jhalakati sadar upazila parishad auditorium as the chief guest.

Organised by Muslim Aid Bangladesh, Deputy Commissioner of Jhalakati M Hamidul Haque spoke on the occasion as special guest chaired by Muslim Aid Bangladesh Representative Iqbal Ahmed.

The Industries Minister also warned that none would be allowed to create anarchy in the country through forming political party in the name of religion.

“The people of Bangladesh is peace-loving. Conspiracies were hatched in the past to create militancy in the name of religion. But, our Prime Minister has rooted out militancy from the country keeping her life at stake. The same way, the Prime Minister will free the country from the clutch of drug,” he added.

During the function, Amu handed over cash to some 40 bright and meritorious students. Besides, he also handed over food items to some 250 poor and hapless people.

Apart from this, he handed over cheques for Taka 5.20 lakh to some 15 institutions and 27 individuals from his personal fund.

Drug peddlers to face tough punishment: Quader

Tribunal Desk :

Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader yesterday said every drug peddler will be punished if allegations are proved against him or her — no matter how big the drug peddler is.

“Even lawmaker from Cox’s Bazar-4 constituency, Abdur Rahman Bodi, will not be spared if allegations against him are proved. None will be spared even if he or she is a member of Awami League or BNP…Everyone will be punished,” he told journalists while inspecting the work on Nabinagar-Chandra highway in Ashulia.

“Anyone whose name is in the list of Department of Narcotics Control (DNC), will face the same consequence,” Quader said.

About the Prime Minister’s visit to India, Quader said the matter of Teesta agreement would be discussed during the visit though there is no agenda regarding the agreement.

Senior officials concerned were present on the occasion.

California judge affirms ruling for coffee cancer warnings

A court ruling that gave coffee drinkers a jolt earlier this year was finalized Monday when a Los Angeles judge said coffee sold in California must carry cancer warnings.

Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle said Starbucks Corp. and other roasters and retailers failed to show that benefits from drinking coffee outweighed any risks from a carcinogen that is a byproduct of the roasting process. He had tentatively made the same written decision in March.

A nonprofit group sued about 90 coffee companies, including Keurig Green Mountain Inc. and Peet’s Operating Co. Inc., under a state law that requires warnings on products and in places where chemicals that can cause cancer are present.

The coffee industry did not deny that the chemical acrylamide was found in coffee. But they argued it was at harmless levels and their product should be exempt from the law because the chemical results naturally from cooking necessary for flavor.

The final ruling clears the way for the Council for Education and Research on Toxics to seek a permanent injunction that would either lead to ominous warning labels or a commitment by the industry to remove the chemical from their product — as the potato chip industry did years ago when sued by the same group.

Attorney Raphael Metzger, who represents the nonprofit, said he hopes mediation will lead to some settlement of the case that has been brewing for eight years. If no agreement is reached, another phase of trial would determine civil penalties as high as $2,500 per person exposed each day since the suit was filed in 2010.

“In all the years I’ve been practicing, I’ve never had a case that got to this point,” Metzger said. “They’ve lost all their defenses and we proved our case. The only issues left are the nature and form of the injunction and the amount of penalties to be assessed. It’s not a pretty place for them to be.”

Berle had ruled about two years ago against the industry’s best defense before issuing the tentative decision March 29 that rejected a secondary defense.

At the time, the coffee industry said it was considering all options, including appeals. It said that cancer warnings would be misleading and said numerous studies have shown health benefits of drinking coffee.

The industry and lawyers in the case did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment sent after business hours.

Mithila in the new two TVC

Culture Desk :

Popular model and actress Mithila worked as a model for two new advertisements. She has participated in Photoshoot as a model of fashion designers Najia Hassan Aditi’s studio bootik ‘Adriana’. Mithila said that the clothes of photoshoot will be available in ‘Adriana’. Aslo new advertisements of Rangs Toshiba will soon be promoted. It has been directed by Sohag. In contrast to this, Riaz is the model. Meanwhile, Mithila will be seen acting in three new plays in the upcoming Eid she has already finished two plays. A play dramatist Ishtiaque Ahmed Rumel’s ‘voice down’ and the other were directed by Wasim Sitar, a six-episode drama ‘Destination Wading’. In the drama, Faisal Naeem played opposite Mithila and Ziaul Faruk Apurba played opposite him in the serial. Mithila will also play another b-drama under the direction of Tanim Parvez.