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?Trump’s phone: A cybersecurity threat

Reports that President Donald Trump has resumed using his Android-powered smartphone are prompting security experts to warn that his Twitter addiction could open up vulnerabilities inside the Oval Office

The New York Times reported Wednesday that Trump is still using “his old, unsecured Android phone, to the protests of some of his aides,” even after a story last week said he had been supplied with “a secure, encrypted device approved by the Secret Service.” That alarms experts who note that Android, an operating system developed by Google, is notoriously insecure, especially on older phones that no longer receive software updates from their manufacturers or wireless carriers

The website Android Central cited photographic evidence to claim that Trump’s go-to phone is a Samsung Galaxy S3, a model released in 2012 that has not received software updates since mid-2015. Researchers later uncovered one of the most dangerous Android vulnerabilities, the so-called Stagefright bug, which lets hackers take control of a phone using only a text message

“It’s just crazy that the president is interacting with such an out-of-date and likely insecure device,” Matthew Green, a computer science professor at Johns Hopkins University, told POLITICO

“His off-the-shelf Android could potentially become a room bug without his knowledge, said Bruce Schneier, one of the world’s foremost cybersecurity experts. “An attacker could certainly hijack his apps

The White House and the Secret Service did not respond to requests for comment. A spokeswoman for the Defense Information Systems Agency, which helps secure the president’s communications, declined to comment on protective measures

The continued questions about Trump’s phone use come after a presidential campaign in which he and his allies repeatedly accused Hillary Clinton of endangering national security by using a private email server when she was secretary of State. They also alleged, without evidence, that foreign governments had breached the server

For Trump and his phone, “the real issue is what he does with it,” Schneier said in an email. If he’s using it to send and receive classified information, we have a real problem

That might be unlikely for Trump, who once proclaimed that “no computer is safe” and has suggested that sensitive documents should be sent by courier. News reports say he doesn’t use email and that he communicates with aides by scribbling comments on printed documents — rather than tapping out feedback on a smartphone keyboard the way former President Barack Obama often did

But even if Trump isn’t using the phone to send and receive sensitive messages, it still could open up security risks if hackers infect it. For example, they could use the phone to covertly track his location, tweet out fake news about terrorist attacks, or even eavesdrop through the camera and microphone. Depending on how securely the computer networks in the White House have been hardened, any malware already implanted on the phone could possibly roam to other officials’ devices

Even a phone running the latest, most secure version of Android available would still be at risk of being penetrated by foreign intelligence agencies, especially those of Russia and China. While these spies would similarly target an iPhone, security experts say the Apple device is more capable of repelling hackers

“All of these attacks are possible, and even probable by the big national intelligence agencies,” Schneier said

Weak pound ‘could raise supermarket prices’

Publish Date: Wed, 29 Jun 2016 17:24:02 GMT

Supermarket prices could rise if the pound’s fall continues, retail analysts have said

Some 40 percent of food consumed in the UK is imported meaning “any long term change in exchange rates may threaten the current period of cheaper groceries,” according to Kantar Worldpanel.

Online supermarket Ocado also said the weaker pound could lead to ‘inflationary pressure’.

The pound has fallen about 11 percent against the dollar since the Brexit vote.

Tough competition from discount chains has helped to pushed the price of groceries lower over the past two years.

Kantar’s comments came as it said like-for-like grocery prices fell 1.4 percent in the 12 weeks to 19 June compared with a year earlier, marking the 23rd consecutive period in which prices have fallen.

In the 12-week period, the combined market share of German discounters Aldi and Lidl hit a record 10.5 percent as they continued to attract customers from traditional supermarkets.

The ‘big four’ grocers — Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons — continued to shed market share, according to Kantar.

Kantar’s data reflects the period ahead of the referendum vote. The company’s head of retail and consumer insight, Fraser McKevitt, said: “The immediate economic uncertainty is unlikely to cause a substantial fall in grocery volumes, as demonstrated by the 2008 financial crisis when basic food, drinks and household sales proved resilient.

Historically, higher prices have led to consumers looking for less expensive alternatives such as own-label products, seeking out brands on promotion or visiting cheaper retailers.”

Changing sentiment

Kantar’s comments came as Ocado’s chief executive Tim Steiner also said that a weak pound could see prices rise.

Currency weakness may bring some inflationary pressure in the food market, which wouldn’t be such a bad thing given the deflation we’ve seen,” he said.

Steiner was speaking after the online supermarket reported an 18 percent rise in pre-tax profits to £۸٫۵ million in the six months to May 15.

He said the referendum vote had not affected demand so far, and he did not expect ‘a significant impact’ on the business.

Research firm Nielsen, which reported year-on-year supermarket takings rose 0.4 percent in the four weeks to the end of 18 June, marking the first rise in almost a year, said the Brexit vote could change shoppers’ behavior in the long term.

We can expect some change in consumer sentiment and, possibly, a return to low inflation next year — should sterling’s depreciation continue and global commodity prices strengthen,” added Mike Watkins, Nielsen’s UK head of retailer and business insight.

Jon Copestake, chief retail and consumer goods analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, said he expected the outcome of the vote to hit supermarkets sales due to higher import prices and consumers cutting spending.

He said discounters were best-placed to cope with the changes, while mainstream supermarkets would be hit the hardest.

It is difficult to anticipate anything but a worsening retail scenario along the same lines as what has come before,” he said.

Saudis set strict conditions for Iran only: Hajj official

Publish Date: Tue, 28 Jun 2016 15:07:25 GMT

Some Saudi ambassadors to Islamic countries had claimed the content of the Hajj document Iranian and Saudis negotiators were trying to work out was the same, preemptively seeking to put the ball in Iran’s court for the cancellation of this year’s Hajj ritual for Iranians.
Tension between Tehran and Riyadh has been escalating since 464 Iranians lost their lives in a stampede in the area of Mina in September 2015 during the last Hajj.
Following the incident Tehran has been seeking assurances from Saudi Arabia to show strong commitment to safety of Iranian pilgrims.
Earlier in May, a six-member Iranian delegation departed Tehran for Saudi Arabia for a new round of talks on performing the annual Hajj. However, after several rounds of negotiations to hash out discrepancies over the issue, Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization of Iran announced on May 29 that it won’t dispatch pilgrims this year to Mecca because of inconsistency at decision-making level by Saudis.
“We studied meticulously texts of memorandums of understanding Saudis had finalized with other countries, and none of restrictions considered for Iranian pilgrims had been included in the manuscripts,” Saeed Ohadi, head of the Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization of Iran, said in an interview with Tasnim on Sunday.
Prior to the remarks, Ohadi had threatened to publish the Hajj contract, which could come as a blow to Saudis’ international face.
Previously, Iranian officials had called the limitations “contrary to the dignity of Iranians”.
This is while Ministry of Hajj and Umrah of Saudi Arabia announced that the Iranian delegation had refused to sign an agreement regarding the planned arrangements for this year’s pilgrimage season.
The Saudis had demanded that all Iranian pilgrims must not carry the Koran and prayer pamphlets with themselves, Ohadi revealed.
“The differential memorandum of understanding that they (Saudis) emphasized that we should sign included items such as a ban on flying Iran’s flag, carrying the Koran and prayer books, as well as consular services.”
The row over hajj has been indirectly affected by differences between Iran and Saudi Arabia over other issues, most notably the conflicts in Syria and Yemen.
While Saudi Arabia and certain Arab states have launched attacks on Yemen and been backing the militant groups in Syria to overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad, Iran has strongly criticized the Saudi-led attack on Yemen and been supporting the Syrian government nonstop.
“The MOU had been drafted under the direct influence of the interior and foreign ministries of Saudi Arabia,” Ohadi noted, blaming Saudis for sabotaging this year’s Hajj for Iranians for political reasons.
The prospect of an immediate solution seems distant as Tehran has announced it will file a case against Riyadh over the death of hundreds of Iranian pilgrims in the Mina stampede.
As recently as June 9, Iran’s Justice Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi said Tehran is intent on filing a lawsuit at international courts against Saudi Arabia, citing complaints from the families of victims of the Mina tragedy.

Ayatollah Khamenei urges firm action on inflated salaries

June 24, 2016

Citing remarks from Imam Ali (AS) about how to deal with sedition, Ayatollah Khamenei said: “Hadhrat Ali (AS) recommends that under conditions of sedition, where it will become very difficult for people to distinguish right from wrong, we have to act such that nothing will be in the interest of sedition.”

The Leader of the Islamic Revolution noted: “Under conditions of sedition, like the issue of the [calendar] year 1388 [post-election riots], words, silence, action and even viewpoints should not boost sedition.”

Ayatollah Khamenei added: “Of course some people may have no inclination for adopting firm and explicit position against sedition due to their own special views, but one should not be exploited in favor of sedition either.”

The Leader of the Islamic Revolution cited another point from Nahj al-Balagha regarding exploitation of an official post for accumulating wealth and special advantages, saying: “Holding such a view vis-à-vis responsibility, which is in fact a sort of trust, will belittle and humiliate human being.”

On this issue, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution referred to the recent issue of inflated salaries received by some officials, saying: “The issue of astronomic salaries is, in fact, an infringement upon values, but everyone must know that this issue is one of exceptions and most organs’ directors are clean-handed people, but even this few number is still very inappropriate and must be dealt with.”

Referring to President Rouhani’s order to First Vice-President Es’haq Jahangiri to follow up on the issue, Ayatollah Khamenei said: “This issue must not be a matter of time. It must be seriously pursued and the public must be kept abreast of its result.”

The Leader of the Islamic Revolution said: “According to information I’ve received, most directors of organs have received reasonable pays and inflated salaries are related to a few number of directors, and even these few cases must be deal with firmly.”

In the concluding part of his speech, Ayatollah Khamenei again cited Imam Ali (AS)’s wise pieces of advice in Nahj al-Balagha, saying: “One must always watch out for his tongue because many problems of mankind stem from the tongue.”

“The problems emanating from the failure to watch out for the tongue may sometimes have only personal aspects, but in some cases it also gives rise to social problems. One has to be careful on this issue,” the Leader of the Islamic Revolution said.

Prior to Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech, President Rouhani presented a report about the most important measures and activities of his administration.
At the end of this meeting, evening prayers were led by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution. Then the guests broke their fast along with Ayatollah Khamenei.

Daily Newspaper

Publish Date: Fri, 24 Jun 2016 07:29:48 GMT

Iran thwarts bomb attacks in several cities

Iran’s Intelligence Ministry, in a statement on Monday, said that security forces had recently foiled several bombing plots by Takfiri-Wahhabi groups in Tehran and several other provinces.

The statement added that Iranian forces also arrested a number of terrorists and seized bombs and a large cache of explosives, Press TV reported.

Another senior Iranian official said on Sunday that authorities had apprehended several people suspected of planning bomb attacks in the capital Tehran.

Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani made the remarks during a speech in the capital.

Noting that the arrests were made over the last few days, Shamkhani added that the attacks were planned for the holy month of Ramadan.

“Wherever it may occur in Iran, any suspicious move will be swiftly detected; this is thanks to the presence of the people and capable and experienced organizations,” he said.

In May, Iran’s Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi announced that 20 terrorist groups that had planned to detonate bombs and cause insecurity across the country had been dismantled.

Zarif and Kerry meet in Norway, talk a bit more about JCPOA and Syria

TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met each other in Oslo on Wednesday to talk a bit more on the nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

The appearance was scheduled on the sidelines of the 2016 edition of the Oslo Forum, an annual international conference of armed conflict mediators and peace process actors.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday he had discussed ways to revive a “frayed” Syrian truce and get aid into besieged communities with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who had indicated “how this can be achieved,” according to Reuters.
The 70-minute meeting with Zarif took place soon after Kerry’s arrival in Norway from the Dominican Republic. The two also discussed the implementation of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and related sanctions relief for Tehran, the U.S. State Department said.
Iran has complained that concerns among banks about breaking remaining sanctions had deterred investment since the deal was signed in July. Washington has said Iran needs to do more to make itself attractive to Western companies.
On Syria, where the war is in its sixth year, Kerry said he still hoped to be able to fully stop the fighting. The February agreement has largely collapsed and there has been little progress in negotiating a political transition that is supposed to begin on Aug. 1.

Backed militarily by Iran and Russia, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has shown no willingness to compromise, much less step aside to allow a transition Western powers maintain is the solution to the conflict.
At Wednesday’s meeting Zarif had “indicated to me possibilities of how this can be achieved”, Kerry said.
“It is very clear that the cessation of hostilities is frayed and at risk,” Kerry told delegates at the forum near Oslo.
Also, Foreign Minister Zarif is quoted as having said in Oslo that he believes that the United States has removed sanctions on paper but that it needs to do more to remove the psychological remnants that prevent banks from going ahead to lend.
Earlier on Tuesday, top foreign policy decision-makers of Iran and EU sat together to clear away obstacles hindering full implementation of the nuclear deal.
Iran expects to reap economic gains from the deal with West and strong banking ties with international partners is key to fulfilling the goal.
Iran and the 5+1 group of countries, including five permanent members of the UN Security Council members plus Germany, forged a deal in July 2015 on Tehran’s nuclear program, resulting in removal of sanctions against Iran in exchange for constraints on the country’s nuclear activities.

Heads of 3 branches of Government meet in Majlis

Heads of three branches of the Government in the country held a meeting at Majlis (Parliament) building on Wednesday.

The meeting was attended by President Hassan Rouhani, Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani and Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani.

The meeting, being the first after the new Iranian Majlis started work on May 28, focused on issues related to the country.

Majlis elections were held nationwide on February 26.

Ayatollah Khamenei warns of enemy plots to stop Iran progress

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has warned of enemy plots to hinder Iran’s progress.

“The agenda of the enemy today is to stop or eliminate the capabilities of the Islamic Republic or at least to prevent their growth,” the Leader said in a meeting with the heads of the three branches of the Iranian government and the country’ senior officials in Tehran on Tuesday.

Ayatollah Khamenei stressed the importance of increasing the country’s capabilities.

“I have repeatedly reiterated that the country must grow in power and that we must promote our potentialities,” the Leader pointed out, adding that it is only then that Iranian officials can expect the nation to have peace of mind.

Ayatollah Khamenei pointed to the threats by some US presidential hopefuls to scrap last year’s nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries, saying the Islamic Republic will strongly respond to any such move.

“We will not violate the JCPOA, but if the opposite side violates it – as US presidential candidates are currently threatening to tear up the JCPOA – if they tear up the JCPOA, we will burn it,” the Leader stated.

Ayatollah Khamenei said the US has so far failed to fulfill a major part of its obligations under the JCPOA but Iran has abided by its commitments such as regarding its 20 percent uranium enrichment as well as Fordow and Arak nuclear facilities.

“Under the JCPOA, the other side was duty-bound to lift the sanctions which it has not done. The banking issues have not been solved. The issue of the insurance of oil tankers is implemented at a limited level,” the Leader said.

“The oil payment and our assets which we have in other countries are not returned to us,” Ayatollah Khamenei added.

The Leader said emphasized that it is a “misconception that we [the Islamic Republic] can come to terms with the US. We cannot rely on illusions.”

Ayatollah Khamenei said Washington’s issue with Iran is the very existence of the Islamic Republic which cannot be negotiated.

Zarif: Economy of Resistance not equivalent to cutting ties with world

Publish Date: Tue, 14 Jun 2016 10:01:22 GMT

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Economy of Resistance never meant cutting ties with world.

Addressing a gathering of Iranians living in Norway on Monday, he said Iranians living in foreign countries truly represent their homeland and function as a bridge connecting their motherland and the land they are presently living in.

He said Economy of Resistance was in its essence built on policies which looked inward but sought outward reflections.

He said all Iranian expatriates living abroad, regardless of their political, ethnic affiliations, represent the rich culture of Iran.

The foreign minister believed the best instrument for enhancing dialogue among civilizations is to encourage mutual understanding among people who retain their cultural and personal identity and use it to interact with the country which is hosting them.

He said thanks to the rich culture of the Iranian nation, the country managed to achieve a remarkable result which the whole world acknowledges as a win-win game.

Zarif further highlighted the public resistance during eight years of war as well as bright participation in elections and great achievements of Iranian youth in different areas like nano-technology and said this very sense of massive contribution in social issues will help the nation overcome economic problems as well.

Zarif arrived in capital of Norway on Sunday evening.

In Oslo, the Iranian foreign minister is planned to meet with a number of top Norwegian officials .

After Norway, the Iranian foreign minister will embark on a visit to German capital, Berlin, on Wednesday to meet his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

He will also visit Paris too.

It is less than two weeks that Zarif has returned home from his four-nation tour to Europe .

Poland, Finland, Sweden and Latvia were the four countries to which Zarif had travelled recently.

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