Facial Recognition Is Coming to U.S. Airports, Fast-Tracked by Trump

June 21st, 2017

Via: The Verge:

Soon, it may be hard for visa holders to board an international flight without submitting to a facial geometry scan. Customs and Border Protection began testing facial recognition systems at Dulles Airport in 2015, then expanded the tests to New York’s JFK Airport last year. Face-reading check-in kiosks will be appearing at Ottawa International Airport this spring, and British Airways is rolling out a similar system at London’s Heathrow Airport, comparing faces captured at security screenings with a separate capture at the boarding gate. Now, a new project is poised to bring those same systems to every international airport in America.

Called Biometric Exit, the project would use facial matching systems to identify every visa holder as they leave the country. Passengers would have their photos taken immediately before boarding, to be matched with the passport-style photos provided with the visa application. If there’s no match in the system, it could be evidence that the visitor entered the country illegally. The system is currently being tested on a single flight from Atlanta to Tokyo, but after being expedited by the Trump administration, it’s expected to expand to more airports this summer, eventually rolling out to every international flight and border crossing in the US.


How Just 14 People Make 500,000 Tons of Steel a Year in Austria

June 21st, 2017

Via: Bloomberg:

The plant, a two-hour drive southwest of Vienna, will need just 14 employees to make 500,000 tons of robust steel wire a year—vs. as many as 1,000 in a mill with similar capacity built in the 1960s. Inside the facility, red-hot metal snakes its way along a 700-meter (2,297-foot) production line. Yet the floors are spotless, the only noise is a gentle hum that wouldn’t overwhelm a quiet conversation, and most of the time the place is deserted except for three technicians who sit high above the line, monitoring output on a bank of flatscreens. “We have to forget steel as a core employer,” says Wolfgang Eder, Voestalpine’s chief executive officer for the past 13 years. “In the long run we will lose most of the classic blue-collar workers, people doing the hot and dirty jobs in coking plants or around the blast furnaces. This will all be automated.”


Michigan: Airport Police Officer Attacked in Possible Terror Incident

June 21st, 2017

Via: NBC:

An officer for Bishop International Airport was stabbed Wednesday in a possible terror-related incident in Flint, Michigan, sources told NBC News.

The attacker allegedly shouted “Allahu akbar” before stabbing Lieutenant Jeff Neville, who was bleeding from the neck, sources and witnesses at Bishop International Airport said.

Neville is a member of the airport’s Department of Public Safety and a retired Genesee County Sheriff’s Department lieutenant.

Law enforcement officials said the suspect is from Quebec and has a Canadian passport.


Fraud: Britain Charges Barclays, Ex-Bosses Over ‘Unlawful’ Qatari Deal

June 20th, 2017

Via: Reuters:

Barclays (BARC.L) and four former top executives have been criminally charged over undisclosed payments to Qatari investors during a 12 billion pound ($15 billion) emergency fundraising in 2008.

Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said on Tuesday it was charging Barclays with conspiracy to commit fraud and unlawful financial assistance, making it the first bank to face criminal charges over actions taken during the financial crisis.

Barclays said it was considering its position and awaiting further information about the charges, which follow a five-year SFO inquiry into how it avoided the fate of Lloyds (LLOY.L) and RBS (RBS.L) by staving off a state bailout.

The SFO also charged former top Barclays executives John Varley, Roger Jenkins, Thomas Kalaris and Richard Boath after investigating a two-part fundraising that included a $3 billion Barclays loan to the wealthy Gulf state.


London Mosque Attack: Man, 48, Arrested on Suspicion of Attempted Murder

June 19th, 2017

Via: Guardian:

A man has died and eight others have been injured after a van ploughed into a group of people near a north London mosque in an attack police are treating as terrorism.

A 48-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder. Two people hit by the van were said to be “very seriously injured”.

The prime minister, Theresa May, who was woken to be told of the early morning attack in Finsbury Park, said in a statement from Downing Street that the “hatred and evil” of the kind seen in the attack would never succeed.

May said the attack had “once again targeted the ordinary and the innocent going about their daily lives – this time, British Muslims as they left a mosque, having broken their fast and prayed together at this sacred time of year”.


U.S. Warplane Downs Syrian Army Jet in Raqqa Province

June 18th, 2017

Update: Russia to Lock SAMs on U.S. Fighter Jets and Drones Over Syria West of the Euphrates River

Via: Independent:

Russia has said it will treat US warplanes operating in parts of Syria where its air forces are present as “targets” amid a diplomatic row caused by the downing of a Syrian jet.

The country’s defence ministry said the change in position would apply to all aircraft, including those operating as part of the US-backed coalition.

It will also suspend a hotline between Russia and the US set up to prevent mid-air collisions.

The ministry said in a statement: “All kinds of airborne vehicles, including aircraft and UAVs of the international coalition detected to the west of the Euphrates River will be tracked by the Russian SAM systems as air targets.”

The warning followed after a US F-18 Super Hornet shot down a Syrian army SU-22 jet on Sunday in the countryside southwest of Raqqa.

Washington said the jet had dropped bombs near US-backed forces but Damascus said the plane was downed while flying a mission against Isis militants.

Via: Reuters:

A U.S. warplane shot down a Syrian army jet on Sunday in the southern Raqqa countryside, with Washington saying the jet had dropped bombs near U.S.-backed forces and Damascus saying the plane was downed while flying a mission against Islamic State militants.

A Syrian army statement released on Syrian state television said the plane crashed and the pilot was missing in the first such downing of a Syrian jet by the United States since the start of the conflict in 2011.

The army statement said it took place on Sunday afternoon near a village called Rasafah.

The “flagrant attack was an attempt to undermine the efforts of the army as the only effective force capable with its allies … in fighting terrorism across its territory,” the Syrian army said.

“This comes at a time when the Syrian army and its allies were making clear advances in fighting the Daesh (Islamic State) terrorist group,” it added.

The U.S. Central Command later issued a statement saying the Syrian plane was downed “in collective self-defense of Coalition-partnered forces,” identified as fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) near Tabqah.


Life and Death in Apple’s Forbidden City

June 18th, 2017

In other news, Taiwan’s Foxconn, Assembler of iPhones, Considering Wisconsin Plant.

Via: Guardian:

In an extract from his new book, Brian Merchant reveals how he gained access to Longhua, the vast complex where iPhones are made and where, in 2010, unhappy workers started killing themselves.

Research Credit: EG


Australia: Tesla Powerpack Trial on Transgrid Network

June 17th, 2017

Via: Electrek:

Now we learn that Tesla has won the latest contract with Transgrid, the company operating the NSW transmission grid, in order to deploy Powerpack stations at several sites across New South Wales.

They announced this week that the first installation will be a relatively small 250kW/500KWh Powerpack station at the City of Sydney’s Alexandra Canal Works depot. It should be completed in the coming months.


Amazon to Acquire Whole Foods for $13.7 Billion

June 16th, 2017

Via: Bloomberg:

Amazon.com Inc. will acquire Whole Foods Market Inc. for $13.7 billion, a bombshell of a deal that catapults the e-commerce giant into the supermarket business with hundreds of stores across the U.S.

Amazon agreed to pay $42 a share in cash for the organic-food chain, including debt, a roughly 27 percent premium to the stock price at Thursday’s close. John Mackey, Whole Foods’ outspoken co-founder, will continue to run the business — providing a lifeline to the embattled executive after a fight with activist investor Jana Partners.

The deal sends a shockwave across both the online and brick-and-mortar industries, uniting two brands that weren’t seen as obvious partners.


Advanced CIA Firmware Has Been Infecting Wi-Fi Routers for Years

June 15th, 2017

Via: Ars Technica:

Home routers from 10 manufacturers, including Linksys, DLink, and Belkin, can be turned into covert listening posts that allow the Central Intelligence Agency to monitor and manipulate incoming and outgoing traffic and infect connected devices. That’s according to secret documents posted Thursday by WikiLeaks.

CherryBlossom, as the implant is code-named, can be especially effective against targets using some D-Link-made DIR-130 and Linksys-manufactured WRT300N models because they can be remotely infected even when they use a strong administrative password. An exploit code-named Tomato can extract their passwords as long as a default feature known as universal plug and play remains on. Routers that are protected by a default or easily-guessed administrative password are, of course, trivial to infect. In all, documents say CherryBlossom runs on 25 router models, although it’s likely modifications would allow the implant to run on at least 100 more.


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