Dec 24 2015

Six In The Morning Thursday December 24

Saudi Arabia hospital fire: 25 killed and over 100 injured

An overnight fire at a hospital in southern Saudi Arabia has killed at least 25 people and injured more than 100 others, officials said.

The blaze broke out in the intensive care and maternity departments of the Jazan General Hospital, the Civil Defence Agency tweeted.

The fire is now over and those injured have been transferred to other hospitals in the area, it added.

An investigation is under way to find out the cause of the blaze.

Some 21 civil defence teams helped extinguish the fire, according to the agency.

Photographs published in Saudi daily Okaz showed rooms inside the hospital charred deep black, debris hanging from the ceiling.

Jazan is near the border with Yemen, which has seen months of fighting between Houthi rebels and Saudi-backed forces.

Earlier this week a rocket fired from Yemen towards Jazan was intercepted by Saudi Arabia, reports said, although there is no indication Thursday’s fire is related to the conflict.



Rescued migrant wins €400,000 in Spain’s Christmas lottery

An unemployed Senegalese man scooped a share in El Gordo – the annual lottery which handed out more than €2bn this year

An unemployed Senegalese man who was rescued by the Spanish coastguard after making a risky journey from Morocco eight years ago on a packed wooden boat won 400,000 euros ($437,000) in Spain’s annual Christmas lottery, local media reported Wednesday.

The man, identified only by his first name Ngame, was one of the holders of one of the 1,600 tickets with the winning number – 79140 – in Tuesday’s massive draw, regional daily newspaper La Voz de Almeria reported.

The tickets had been sold in the southern beach city of Roquetas de Mar in the province of Almeria where the 35-year-old lives with his wife, who joined him on the crossing to Spain.

“I just can’t believe this, I can tell you that on some days we do not have five euros between the two of us,” he told the newspaper which published a photo of Ngame holding his winning ticket.


Refugee crisis: Inside the Dunkirk camp where 2,500 refugees live in conditions ‘far worse’ than the Calais Jungle

At the Grande-Synthe camp, children are forced to play in the mud as a sanitation crisis looms


In front of a tent pitched beside a growing mound of rubbish, a small boy takes refuge in the only amusement available: kicking a discarded tin can through the thick mud.

As he pauses to stare at the world around him, half the biscuit on which he has been munching breaks loose from his small fingers, and flops into the muddy slime below.

Here, it seems, everything gets swallowed by the mud.

The thin strips of corrugated metal laid down in the boggier areas are half walkways, half futile gestures. They collect large puddles of muddy rainwater, but are marginally more navigable than the quagmires either side. Some of the tents are so thin you would think twice about taking them on a summer camping trip, and when the area floods, which it does regularly, the water can rise well above ankle height.


2015: A year of debunking fake ‘news’


Team Observers

In 2015, the Observers team debunked more fake “news” relayed on social media than any other year. From claims that Saudi Arabia bulldozed bodies in Mecca, to using photos of innocent people and describing them as the Paris attackers, a huge amount of misinformation was circulated on social networks – and some of it was even repeated by news outlets. We take a look at just a few of the most striking cases.

Conspiracy theories following the Charlie Hebdo attacks

After the January attacks on Charlie Hebdo and on a kosher supermarket in Paris, conspiracy theorists had a field day on social networks. Their goal: to show that the truth was being hidden, either by the authorities or by the media.

A few hours after the first amateur images of the Charlie Hebdo attack started to circulate, conspiracy theorists started “analysing” them. Among the details they used as “proof” of a conspiracy, one was particularly popular: the “inconsistent” colour of the rearview windows of the car used by two of the attackers, the Kouachi brothers. As they brothers fled, several people managed to film their car, a black Citroën C3 of the model Sélection.


Newly released documents reveal U.S. Cold War nuclear target list


U.S. plans for nuclear war in 1959 included the “systematic destruction” of major urban centers like East Berlin, Moscow and Beijing — with the populations of those cities among the primary military targets.

The National Archives and Records Administration has released a detailed study produced in 1956 that includes a list of the United States’ targets were nuclear war to break out between the superpowers in three years.

The Strategic Air Command’s study offers new insight into the Cold War planning — and worries that United States warplanes would have to unleash overwhelming destruction in an all-out war with the Soviet Union.

The list was made public as a result of a 2006 records request by William Burr, a senior analyst at George Washington University’s National Security Archive who directs the group’s nuclear history documentation project. It is titled the “SAC (Strategic Air Command) Atomic Weapons Requirements Study for 1959.”

Is the Cybersecurity Act really government spying in disguise?

The Cybersecurity Act of 2015, signed by President Obama last week, promises to expand information sharing on digital threats between the private sector and government. Critics, however, call it privacy-killing surveillance legislation.

After years of debate over how Washington and the private sector should cooperate on confronting cybersecurity threats, last week President Obama signed into law the Cybersecurity Act to vastly expand the flow of information on digital threats into federal agencies.

While the law signed as part of a $1.1 trillion omnibus package aims to boost the exchange of data between the private sector and the government, the information sharing act has been maligned by critics as a Patriot Act in disguise, another mechanism for government spying on citizens, and an overall detriment for cybersecurity. Before its passage, the Electronic Frontier Foundation launched a petition campaign against the measure, calling it a “privacy invasive surveillance bill that must be stopped.”