Life-saving gifts from fans and supporters of the World Baby Shower that singer-songwriter and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Shakira and FC Barcelona star Gerard Piqué threw ahead of the birth of their second child has so far raised almost $150,000 – and climbing, UNICEF said today.UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Shakira and FC Barcelona’s Gerard Piqué hosted a World Baby ShowerCredit/Copyright: UNICEF/Jaume de la Iguana “Gerard and I are so happy to know that so many kids will benefit from the generosity of all of those who have participated in the World Baby Shower movement—and that we’ve raised 130,000 polio and measles vaccines and enough therapeutic food packets to feed 15,000 children – among other things that will now go to children in need,” said Shakira. “What is most exciting is that more than 500 mothers have organized their own baby shower which has also helped even more children all around the world.”UNICEF confirmed that the gifts from the supporters of the World Baby Shower, which launched in January, will benefit tens of thousands children by protecting them against disease and malnutrition, and providing essential items for their survival.Some 71,000 doses of polio vaccines and 65,000 doses of measles vaccines will immunize young children against two potentially deadly diseases. From therapeutic food – to treat severe malnutrition in children – to vaccine carriers for health workers, to midwifery kits, the donations will continue to benefit children for some time to come. Fans have also donated hundreds of blankets – proven to aid the survival of vulnerable newborns by keeping them warm.These gifts, along with family water kits, will help to prevent children from succumbing to the various diseases that threaten them and led to some 6.3 million child deaths in 2013.Additionally, 500 people signed up to host their own showers, giving gifts for other children instead of receiving them for their own. Partners such as The Bump and Baby List have even incorporated UNICEF’s inspired gifts to their registry offerings permanently.“This is an extraordinary show of generosity on the part of Shakira and Gerard, but also by the thousands of people who went out of their way to share in this event by giving to others,” said Shanelle Hall, head of UNICEF’s global supply operations, based in Copenhagen. “You could say this is Shakira’s biggest hit, and Gerard’s most spectacular goal. These gifts will reach tens of thousands of children with life-changing supplies.”This World Baby Shower is the second for the couple, who welcomed the birth of their son Milan two years ago with a shower to benefit children in need. This second baby shower has already surpassed the total donations reached with the last endeavor.“There is still a lot to do,” said Shakira. “Our greatest hope is that the world baby shower continues moving forward and that more mothers organize their own baby showers until every new mother and newborn worldwide can access the same vital life-saving tools to enjoy a safe and healthy childhood.”Those wishing to donate, or to host their own baby shower can visit www.worldbabyshower.org.Source:UNICEF
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the air raids overnight took place in four provinces: Aleppo, Raqqa, Hassakeh and Deir el-Zour. The entrance to Syria’s largest gas plant, Conoco in Deir el-Zour, was among the targets. The Observatory says there were casualties in the airstrikes, but that it has no concrete figures. A resident on the Turkish side of the Syria-Turkey frontier says strikes Monday morning also struck the Islamic State-controlled town of Tel Abyad. The town is home to a border crossing. The resident, Mehmet Ozer, says the strikes hit an abandoned military base and an empty school. Air raids believed to have been carried out by U.S.-led forces hit three makeshift oil refineries in northern Syria on Sunday as part of a campaign against Islamic State, a human rights group said. Also Read – Pro-Govt supporters rally as Hong Kong’s divisions deepenThe United States has been carrying out strikes in Iraq since Aug. 8 and in Syria, with the help of Arab allies, since Tuesday, with the aim of ‘degrading and destroying’ the militants who have captured large areas of both countries.Barack Obama has been seeking to build a wide coalition to weaken Islamic State, which has killed thousands and beheaded at least three Westerners. In a potential boost for the United States, a jihadist Twitter account said the leader of an al Qaeda-linked group had been killed in a U.S. air strike in Syria, the SITE service said.A U.S. official said on Sept. Also Read – Pak Army ‘fully prepared’ to face any challenge: Army spokesman24 that the United States believed Mohsin al-Fadhli, leader of the Khorasan group, had been killed in a strike a day earlier, but the Pentagon said later it was still investigating.But in a tweet on Sept. 27, a jihadist offered condolences for the death of Fadhli, SITE, a U.S.-based organisation that monitors militant groups online, said on Sunday.In Washington, Tony Blinken, deputy White House national security adviser, said on Sunday that officials could not yet confirm the death.United States officials have described Khorasan as a network of al Qaeda fighters with battlefield experience mostly in Pakistan and Afghanistan that is now working with al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, the Nusra Front.
Kolkata: The Trinamool Congress leadership has been reaching out to its disgruntled leaders to thwart any poaching bid by rival BJP ahead of the general elections, TMC leaders said. However, opposition parties in West Bengal, including the BJP and Congress, have alleged that it was the TMC that poached elected representatives. Besides, the TMC has also taken a tough stand to curb infighting in the party. The infighting had left many party workers unhappy, they said. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killed BJP president Amit Shah last year had set a target of winning at least 22 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal and the party has been pulling out all stops to achieve the target.The BJP has just two seats in the state. With the target in mind, the state BJP leadership has been wooing TMC leaders and workers at various levels into the party.For the TMC, the biggest jolt came when its sitting MP from Bishnupur Lok Sabha seat in Bankura, Soumitra Khan, switched over to the BJP recently. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata Bose The defections from the TMC had resulted in windfall for the BJP in panchayat polls held last year and also in several bypolls, where the saffron party witnessed a sharp rise in vote share and cemented its place as the main challenger to the TMC in West Bengal. Though the TMC was quick to expel Khan and another MP — Anupam Hazra — for anti-party activities, it had said Khan’s joining the BJP would not affect its prospects in Bankura in the Lok Sabha polls. However, according to TMC insiders, the party leadership has decided to keep a tab on dissident leaders and workers at various levels, and is trying to ensure they do not join the saffron camp. Sources in both the TMC and the BJP said there are several MPs, MLAs and district level leaders with whom the BJP is in touch. “We are in touch with several MPs and MLAs, and they will switch over to the BJP very soon,” senior BJP leader Mukul Roy, once a close associate of Chief Minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee, said. TMC Secretary General Partha Chatterjee, however, said the people of West Bengal firmly stands by Banerjee and her policies. Those who have switched sides would get a “befitting reply” from the masses, he said. According to a senior TMC leader, who did not wish to be named, the party has reached out to several workers and leaders, and is trying to pacify them for their grievances against the party’s local leadership. “When we speak to these workers or leaders who for some reasons have distanced themselves from party activities, (but) we have seen that their respect for the party is intact. “They are angry with the local leadership which has either mistreated or sidelined them. So, we are trying to reach out to those disgruntled leaders and bring them back,” the TMC leader said. Requesting anonymity, another senior TMC leader, who is also a minister, said despite his best efforts, he has not entirely succeeded in keeping the flock together in his area due to “several provocations”. “There is a need for political schooling of the party cadre for better understanding of the present political situation,” he said. Besides dissidence, another crucial factor has been infighting in various levels of the party, another senior TMC leader pointed out. “If you try to unite everybody, someone or the other will say he will only follow the local MLA or MP. He or she won’t pay heed to what others are saying and this, in turn, has also impacted our assessment of ground level situation,” the TMC leader said. Much to the dismay of the TMC leadership in districts like Coochbehar, Alipurduar, Malda, West Midanpore, East Midnapore, Purulia, Jhargram and Bankura, the BJP has made steady inroads, said a TMC leader, adding that their local leadership was “not well informed” about the ground situation. Once hit by Maoist insurgency, the three districts of “Jangalmahal” – West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura — have been the beacon of Banerjee’s developmental policies in the state. But the BJP during the last panchayat polls have won several seats in the belt. BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said the people of West Bengal are “fed up” with the TMC’s misrule and this was why people are joining the BJP to fight the TMC. “Party (TMC) leaders who are disgruntled and have no voice in that party, want to join BJP which has a democratic set up,” Ghosh said. The opposition leaders in West Bengal, including the BJP, have accused the TMC of being the first party which has mastered the art of defection and poaching of elected representatives. “The TMC should not crib over defection because they are just getting a dose of their own medicine. It is the TMC which has destroyed secular forces in Bengal by poaching on MLAs and MPs,” Leader of Opposition and senior Congress leader Abdul Mannan said. More than 15 MLAs and a sitting Lok Sabha MP had switched over to TMC since 2016 assermbly polls. The most recent is Congress Malda North MP Mausam Noor.
Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Register Now » 6 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag October 26, 2016 This past weekend, the U.S. Internet slowed to a crawl thanks to a distributed denial of service attack, or DDOS. It was an interesting attack for two reasons. First, the attackers — whoever they are — did not flood a single website with junk requests, as is the usual MO for DDOS attacks. Instead, they went after DNS provider Dyn, which caused numerous websites to slow to a crawl or cease operations entirely. Warnings about the over-centralization of DNS infrastructure suddenly became very interesting.The second, and more important point, is that a sizable chunk of the devices involved in the DDoS attack were so-called smart Internet of Things devices. Usually, attackers spread malware through computers that will then follow the attacker’s command and simultaneously request information from websites until the site buckles under the load. But this time, the shambling digital zombie hoard included security cameras and wireless routers.The teapot did itAt the heart of the attack was Mirai, which is not a particularly exotic piece of malware. It scans for devices connected to the web for what appear to be Linux-powered IoT devices, apparently favoring security cameras and home routers from Hangzhou Xiongmai Technology. It then looks up the default passcode on a table and logs in. Once inside, it hands over control of the device to a central command and control server.While this attack was shocking in what it accomplished, it’s unfortunately nothing we didn’t see coming. At the Black Hat conference in 2013, Craig Heffner demonstrated the ability to easily take over network connected security cameras. His demonstration included big-name companies you’d recognize, including D-Link, Linksys, Cisco, IQInvision and 3SVision. When asked what devices were vulnerable to attack, he said he hadn’t found a brand that couldn’t be controlled.For his demo, Heffner tricked the camera into displaying a looping video, like in a heist movie. But the actual substance of his talk was far more dire. IoT devices like security cameras, tea kettles, fridges and yes, even wireless routers are just tiny computers connected to the internet. If attackers want to target a person or a company specifically, he said, they can attack these poorly defended devices and use them as a beach head to explore the rest of the victim’s network. And because they are tiny computers, they can conceivably be coaxed into executing whatever code the attacker desires.Think of it this way: you can buy the strongest doors with the best unpickable locks to protect your house, but a thief can still break in through the windows.IoT is differentIn the security industry, we like to blame people, not computers. If people had been more alert, they might have caught the Heartbleed bug before it was even introduced. A popular saying is that the biggest point of failure in any security system is between the computer and the chair. Case in point: the hack of Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta’s Gmail account — which introduced us to his risotto recipe, among other things — apparently began with a phishing scam.But in the case of IoT security, consumers cannot be held accountable in the same way. As a car owner, for example, you are required to use caution while driving and provide reasonable maintenance. The car company, in turn, is required to provide you a product that will not actually kill you.As our society changed, so did the expectations of consumers. Consumer advocates point out that some cars were “unsafe at any speed.” And like an evolving creature, cars sprouted new appendages: seat belts, airbags and less obvious features like crumple zones and specially engineered materials designed to keep consumers reasonably safe in a changing world.The same is true for consumer technology. The proliferation of malicious software, and the dangers presented to any device that merely connects to the internet, have pushed manufacturers to take a more active role in protecting consumers. Windows, for example, now ships with antivirus installed and maintained by Microsoft. The company also issues patches on a regular basis, because the challenges facing consumers are too complex for them to deal with on their own.When smartphones began to take off, manufacturers and developers learned from the trials of the PC years. While mobile security has had some bumps along the way, it’s been a cakewalk compared to the history of the PC. We haven’t had that kind of widespread infection on smartphones that we saw with Conficker, and hopefully we never will.The history of IoT charted a different course, perhaps one that used a goldfish as a navigator. Instead of controlling access to the device, and employing best practices learned from connecting billions of computers and phones over the course of decades, manufacturers rushed cheap products to market. Ones that were designed, in some cases, to never be serviced, upgraded or patched. And even if problems could be addressed, it is, arguably, not reasonable to expect individuals to treat labor-saving devices the same way they do computers. The vast majority of consumers assume, and rightly so, that if a device does not have a screen or some kind of input method, it is not intended to be serviced by them.This didn’t have to happenThe most frustrating part of the recent DDoS attack is that IoT manufacturers only needed to look at 30 years of consumer technology to see the proverbial writing on the wall. And if they couldn’t do that, they could have heeded the warnings spouted by security researchers (corporate and hobbyist hacker alike). These people have told anyone who would listen how putting billions more devices on the internet without careful consideration of how they will be used is a bad idea. In 2014, Dan Geer opened the Black Hat conference by saying that the IoT is already upon us and could lead to trouble.Despite my best efforts to remain cynical, IoT feels inevitable and compelling. Sci-fi has promised us talking computers and futuristic appliances for decades, and maybe that’s why the prediction by Gartner that there will be 6.4 billion devices connected to the internet by 2020 sound feasible. These devices are already in our homes: streaming boxes, gaming consoles, wireless routers. In the eyes of attackers and automated attacks, these are just more IP addresses to exploit.As we hurtle towards the holidays and lurch forward into a new generation of IoT devices, let’s put security that is designed to be understood by users at the forefront. If by 2020 the best advice I still have to offer people is to disconnect their smart devices, then this industry does not deserve its reputation for innovation or even intelligence. Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box.