Six In The Morning Wednesday 13 September 2023


Derna: Flood-hit Libyan city living through ‘doomsday’

People in the flood-hit city of Derna are living through “doomsday”, a Libyan reporter has told the BBC.

More than 5,300 people died after floods burst two dams in the eastern city and swept away homes.

Speaking to the BBC’s Today programme, Johr Ali said survivors had reported scenes of utter devastation.

He said entire families had been washed away by powerful waters. One friend found his “nephew dead in the street, thrown away by water from his rooftop”.

Exiled Russian journalist reportedly hacked using NSO Group spyware

Galina Timchenko, head of media outlet declared ‘undesirable’ by Moscow, targeted in February while living in Berlin

An award-winning Russian journalist living in exile in Europe was hacked using Israeli spyware made by NSO Group, according to a joint investigation by the Citizen Lab and Access Now.

Galina Timchenko was hacked on or around 23 February, at a time when she was based in Berlin, Germany, marking the first time that an independent Russian journalist – whose media outlet has been targeted by Moscow and ldeclared an “undesirable organisation” – is known to have been hacked with spyware.

China denies reports of ban on iPhones

Chinese officials have dismissed reports of a ban on state employees using iPhones and other foreign-made communication equipment. However, Beijing does say it has concerns about Apple devices.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Wednesday said it had not banned iPhones and other foreign mobile devices in government and state companies, in response to recent media reports.

However, the ministry did say it had noted media exposure of security incidents related to the Apple smartphones.

What the Foreign Ministry said

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told a regular press conference there was no ban on officials purchasing or using foreign phones, including iPhones.

Death of Mahsa Amini: ‘The silent crowd came to life and began shouting’

Diako Alavi, a high-school teacher from Mahsa Amini’s hometown of Saqqez, witnessed the first protests following Amini’s death in police custody after she was arrested for improperly wearing the veil. Alavi, who knew Amini’s family, took part in the demonstrations alongside his students before he was also arrested by the Iranian authorities.

I was a high-school English teacher in Saqqez (in Iranian Kurdistan), where Mahsa Amini lived. We called her “Jina” (her Kurdish name). I know her family well. Saqqez is a small city of 50,000 people, and her father is retired from the local social services; everyone respects him. When I learned that his daughter was in a coma after having been hit in the head repeatedly by the morality police, I was immediately worried. The news began to travel around the town and emotion spread. Her parents asked us all to pray for her.

I learned that Jina had left us on Friday, September 16. We were waiting for her body to be returned for the funeral the next day. Several groups seemed to have been sent to the four corners of the city to make sure her body would be returned to her family. I went to the cemetery at 8:30am. There were so many people. Thousands and thousands of people were prostrating themselves in absolute silence. You couldn’t even hear them breathe. It was startling and frightening at the same time. Then a man began to shout: “She could have been my daughter! She could have been your sister! How much longer are we going to put up with this?” The silent crowd came to life and began shouting. Within a few minutes people started calling for the death of [Iran’s Supreme Leader] Ali Khamenei. Security officers who were on site began filming the scene from the roof of the cemetery mosque.

Kishida matches record by picking 5 women in Cabinet reshuffle


September 13, 2023 at 15:14 JST

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has appointed Yoko Kamikawa as foreign minister, one of five female members of his new Cabinet that was formed on Sept. 13.

The increase from two female ministers to five ties the record set by the Cabinet of Junichiro Koizumi in April 2001 and the second Cabinet of Shinzo Abe in September 2014.

Kamikawa, a former justice minister who belongs to the Kishida faction of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, replaced Yoshimasa Hayashi.

‘Disguised as tourism’: Colombia’s ‘VIP’ migration routes

A surge in migration from Latin America to the US has led to new routes north, billed by human smugglers as ‘VIP’ options.

Under the cover of darkness, a small team from the Colombian Coast Guard climbs on board a speed boat equipped with radar and a high-tech detection system.

It is 11pm, and the group, composed of a half-dozen young marines, is setting off to patrol the tiny coral island of San Andrés in the Caribbean Sea.

As they zip over the waves, sheets of heavy rain begin to hammer their boat, clouding their vision. But the team continues its mission, scanning the island’s east coast in search of a particular target: human smugglers, otherwise known as coyotes.

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