2008 Leisure Taiwan launched in Taipei World Trade Center
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2008 Leisure Taiwan launched in Taipei World Trade Center

Saturday, July 19, 2008

This year’s Leisure Taiwan trade show (a.k.a Taiwan Sport Recreation and Leisure Show) started yesterday, with 131 companies participating including sports media companies such as ESPN and VideoLand Television, businesses selling sports equipment and fitness clubs.

There were also a variety of sports being played in the arena built for the trade show. The events included a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, free style shooting, and bicycle test-riding. In addition, conferences discussed issues related to sports and physical education.

A major topic in the trade show was energy-efficiency and, as a result, bicycles and similar sports equipment were being heavily promoted.

Next Tuesday, companies from the electronics industry plan to promote their industry at “2008 Digital E-Park.” In previous years, organizations from the electronics industry have showcased their products at Leisure Taiwan instead of at the Digital E-Park, so this move has reduced the number of markets covered by Leisure Taiwan.

Digital security researchers publicly reveal vulnerability in WPA2 WiFi protocol
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Digital security researchers publicly reveal vulnerability in WPA2 WiFi protocol

Thursday, October 19, 2017

On Monday, digital security researchers Mathy Vanhoef and Frank Piessens of Belgium’s KU Leuven university publicly disclosed a security vulnerability in the WPA2 Wi-Fi (wireless local-area networking) protocol, which they called KRACK (for Key Reinstallation Attack). Their study claimed KRACK affects every modern device using Wi-Fi; it can be fixed by a software update, researchers said.

Vanhoef wrote, “Attackers can use this novel attack technique to read information that was previously assumed to be safely encrypted. This can be abused to steal sensitive information such as credit card numbers, passwords, chat messages, emails, photos and so on.” Vanhoef notified vendors about the flaw in July, including UNIX-like operating system OpenBSD. “If your device supports Wi-Fi, it is most likely affected. […] In general, any data or information that the victim transmits can be decrypted”, he wrote.

The study papers, which were submitted for review on May 19, were kept in confidence allowing companies to fix the security flaw. The United States-based Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) informed vendors on August 28. The Wi-Fi Alliance said it “could be resolved through a straightforward software update.” OpenBSD released their software patch on August 30.

Exploring the flaw which affected every device the researchers had tested, National Cyber Security Centre of the UK said “the attacker would have to be physically close to the target”. But due to this flaw, an attacker can send malware or ransomware on the websites, Vanhoef claimed.

Linux-based operating systems including Android v6.0 and higher are especially affected by this flaw, while Windows and iOS are not as vulnerable as Android by this flaw as they do not fully implement WPA2.

Microsoft reportedly has released security patches for Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10. Google said Android operating systems would receive the updates in the software update scheduled to be made available on November 6. Apple has implemented the patch in the beta versions of their operating system iOS, macOS, tvOS and watchOS, however it is yet to roll out patches for stable operating systems.

WPA2 protocol has been used for more than a decade, and has been compulsory for Wi-Fi since 2006. KRACK would also affect various home appliances which can be controlled over Wi-Fi, within the so-called “Internet of things”. Andrew Martin from Oxford University said, “We can be sure a lot of these devices won’t be patched[…] Whether that matters for this attack or only for some future attack is yet to be seen.”

The study and its findings are scheduled for presentation at the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) Computer and Communications Security conference on November 1.

Number of Zimbabwe cholera deaths nears 500
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Number of Zimbabwe cholera deaths nears 500

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A cholera outbreak in the African country of Zimbabwe has killed almost 500 people since August, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO said that the outbreak affected most areas of the country, and that some remote areas had seen fatality rates increase by as much as 30%. Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health reported 484 deaths from 11,735 cases since the outbreak began.

Zimbabwe has had annual outbreaks of cholera for nearly a decade, but this one was the most far-reaching. A report by the WHO stated that the last large outbreak was in 1992, with 3,000 cases recorded.

Cholera is frequently spread by contaminated, untreated water. The spread of the disease was expedited by the collapse of Zimbabwe’s health and sanitation systems; state media reported that most of Harare has been left without water after the city ran out of chemicals for its treatment plant. A resident of Mabvuku, a suburb located east of Harare, told APTV that electricity is not available most of the time, so water is consumed without being boiled first.

The medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) said that there have been cases of cholera reported in areas of Botswana, Mozambique, and South Africa that border Zimbabwe, indicating the sub-regional threat of the outbreak. The South African ministry of health confirmed that they had 160 incidents of cholera reported, as well as three deaths.

The European Commission said that it was providing 9 million (US$11.4 million) in funds to assist Zimbabwe with the crisis. “I’m shocked at the deteriorating humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe and call upon the authorities there to respond quickly to this cholera outbreak by allowing full assistance from international humanitarians and regional partners,” said the commissioner responsible for the European Union’s humanitarian aid, Louis Michel.

Other agencies providing aid to the country include the United Nations Children’s Fund, the WHO, and Doctors Without Borders.

Tasmanian miners rescued
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Tasmanian miners rescued

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

The two miners who had been trapped almost one kilometer beneath the surface in Beaconsfield, Tasmania in a collapsed gold mine for 14 days have now been rescued.

The men, Brant Webb and Todd Russell, were well enough to walk out from the lift onto the surface and threw their arms up in exultation. They then walked to a board and removed their location tags to indicate that they were no longer underground at approximately 5:59 a.m. AEST before embracing family and friends and making their way to the waiting ambulances. The vehicles slowly made their way through the crowds with a police escort and the miners waved to the crowds through the open rear doors. They will undergo medical supervision at Launceston Hospital for a period of time before being confirmed well enough to return home.

The last stages of the rescue, cutting the final sections of the escape tunnel had proceeded very slowly because very hard rock was encountered and work had to proceed gently to minimize the chances of further rock collapses.

The escape tunnel was completed at 4:47 a.m. AEST and it took another hour for the men to be transported to the surface via a “crib room” at “Level 375” (375 metres underground) where they were medically examined and were also able to shower.

A bell at Beaconsfield’s Uniting Church pealed just after 5 a.m. AEST to celebrate the rescue, and an air raid siren was sounded. This was the first time the church bell had been rung since the end of World War II. A local fire engine drove through Beaconsfield’s streets sounding the siren to wake residents for the good news.

A funeral will be held later today for a third miner, Larry Knight, who was killed in the collapse that trapped the miners on April 26.

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India: Maharashtra plastic ban comes into force
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India: Maharashtra plastic ban comes into force

Monday, June 25, 2018

On Saturday, the plastic ban in the Indian state of Maharashtra came into force. In an attempt to minimise pollution, the state government has introduced a ban on single-use plastics.

The leader of the Yuya Sena political party, Aaditya Thackeray, said on Twitter, “The ban on single use disposable plastic cups, plastic bags, plastic straws, plastic plates and cutlery, styrofoam cutlery and non woven bags”. He added, “these are global issues now and we have taken a step to combat it”.

Plastic pollution has led to the choking of drains, marine pollution and a risk of animals consuming plastics. This year, India’s motto for World Environment Day — June 5 — was “Beat Plastic Pollution”. People violating the plastic ban are to face a fine of 5,000 Indian Rupees (INR) for the first offence. For the second offence, the fine is INR 10,000 and the third time offence is INR 25,000 and a three-month prison term. Deputy municipal commissioner Nidhi Choudhary said, “To weed out corruption, we plan to give inspectors payment gadgets for electronic receipts of the fines”.

The Maharashtra government has given a 90-day period for manufacturers to dispose of existing polyethylene terephthalate (PET/PETE) plastic spoons and plates, while shopkeepers and citizens in general have six months to dispose of plastics. However, the ban does not prohibit plastic usage for wrapping medicines or milk cartons thicker than 50 microns.

The state government had announced the decision for the plastic ban on March 23. According to NDTV’s report, Maharashtra is the eighteenth Indian state to enforce a state-wide plastic ban. Aaditya Thackeray also said, “I congratulate the citizens for making this into a movement, even before the ban was enforceable, giving up single use disposable plastic.”

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Race to save Chilean miners trapped underground from spiralling into depression continues
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Race to save Chilean miners trapped underground from spiralling into depression continues

Thursday, September 2, 2010

It has emerged that the 33 Chilean miners trapped underground after the mine they were working in collapsed could be brought to the surface in a shorter time than was initially feared. While officials publicly announced that the men would not be brought to the surface until Christmas, sources inside technical meetings have revealed that they could in fact be on the surface by early November. The news comes as families were allowed to speak by radio-telephone to their trapped loved ones on Sunday. Over the weekend, video images filmed by the miners emerged showing the miners playing dominoes at a table and singing the Chilean national anthem. The miners also used the camera to send video messages to their families on the surface, saying that they regularly broke into tears, but were feeling better having received food and water.

The grainy nightvision images, filmed on a high definition camcorder that was sent down a small shaft to the mine, show the men in good spirits, chanting “long live Chile, and long live the miners.” They are unshaven and stripped to the waist because of the heat underground, and are seen wearing white clinical trousers that have been designed to keep them dry. Giving a guided tour of the area they are occupying, Mario Sepúlveda, one of the miners, explains they have a “little cup to brush our teeth”, and a place where they pray each day. “We have everything organized,” he tells the camera. Gesturing to the table in the center of the room, he says that “we meet here every day. We plan, we have assemblies here every day so that all the decisions we make are based on the thoughts of all 33.” Another unidentified miner asks to rescuers, “get us out of here soon, please.” A thermometer is shown in the video, reading 29.5C (85F).

As the film continues, it becomes evident that the miners have stuck a poster of a topless woman on the wall. The miners appear shy, and one man puts his hand to his face, presumably dazzled by the light mounted on the cameraman’s helmet. One miner sent a message to his family. “Be calm”, he says. “We’re going to get out of here. And we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your efforts.” Another said that the miners are “sure that there are people here in Chile that are big people, that are powerful people, that are intelligent people, and they have the technology and they will all work together to get us out of here.” Speaking to the camera, one says: “we have had the great fortune that trapped in this mine there are good, professional people. We have electricians, we have mechanics, we have machine operators and we will let you know that while you are working to rescue us on the surface, we are down here ready to help you too.” It has been reported that Mario Gómez, 63, has become the group’s “spiritual leader”, having worked in the mines for over fifty years. He has requested that materials to build a shrine be sent down to the cavern.

Upon seeing the video in a private screening, family members, who are living in a small village of tents at the entrance to the San José copper-gold mine—which they have named Camp Hope—were elated. “He’s skinny, bearded and it was painful to see him with his head hanging down, but I am so happy to see him alive”, said Ruth Contreras, the mother of Carlos Bravo, who is trapped in the mine. The video, of which only a small portion has been released to the public, shows the miners, many of them wearing helmets, cracking jokes and thanking the rescuers for their continued efforts. The supplies are being sent to the men through a small shaft only twelve centimeters wide, and a laboratory has been set up with the purpose of designing collapsible cots and miniature sandwiches, which can be sent down such a narrow space.

CNN reported on Friday that “officials are splitting the men into two shifts so one group sleeps while the other works or has leisure time .. On average, each man has lost 22 pounds (10 kilograms) since they became trapped three weeks ago, and dehydration remains a threat. But a survey of the men indicates that at least nine miners are still too overweight to fit through the proposed rescue shaft. Initially, the miners survived by draining water from a water-cooled piece of equipment. To stay hydrated in the 90-degree mine, each miner must drink eight or nine pints of water per day.”

But while there are jubilant celebrations on the surface that the miners are alive, officials are now nervous that the miners could become depressed, trapped in a dark room the size of a small apartment. Chilean health minister Jaime Mañalich said that, on the video, he saw the telltale signs of depression. “They are more isolated, they don’t want to be on the screen, they are not eating well”, he said. “I would say depression is the correct word.” He said that doctors who had watched the video had observed the men suffering from “severe dermatological problems.” Dr. Rodrigo Figueroa, head of the trauma, stress and disaster unit at the Catholic University in Santiago, Chile, explained that “following the euphoria of being discovered, the normal psychological reaction would be for the men to collapse in a combination of fatigue and stress … People who are trained for emergencies – like these miners – tend to minimize their own needs or to ignore them. When it is time to ask for help, they don’t.” NASA has advised emergency workers that entertaining the miners would be a good idea. They are to be sent a television system complete with taped football matches. Another dilemma facing Mañalich is whether the miners should be permitted to smoke underground. While nicotine gum has been delivered to the miners, sending down cigarettes is a plan that has not been ruled out.

With the news that drilling of the main rescue tunnel was expected to begin on Monday, officials have informed the media that they hope to have the miners out of the mine by Christmas—but sources with access to technical meetings have suggested that the miners could actually be rescued by the first week of November. A news report described the rescue plan—”the main focus is a machine that bores straight down to 688m and creates a chimney-type duct that could be used to haul the miners out one by one in a rescue basket. A second drilling operation will attempt to intercept a mining tunnel at a depth of roughly 350m. The miners would then have to make their way through several miles of dark, muddy tunnels and meet the rescue drill at roughly the halfway point of their current depth of 688m.” Iván Viveros Aranas, a Chilean policeman working at Camp Hope, told reporters that Chile “has shown a unity regardless of religion or social class. You see people arriving here just to volunteer, they have no relation at all to these families.”

But over the weekend, The New York Times reported that the “miners who have astonished the world with their discipline a half-mile underground will have to aid their own escape — clearing 3,000 to 4,000 tons of rock that will fall as the rescue hole is drilled, the engineer in charge of drilling said Sunday … The work will require about a half-dozen men working in shifts 24 hours a day.” Andrés Sougarret, a senior engineer involved in operating the drill said that “the miners are going to have to take out all that material as it falls.”

The families of those trapped were allowed to speak to them by radio-telephone on Sunday—a possibility that brought reassurance both the miners and those on the surface. The Intendant of the Atacama Region, Ximena Matas, said that there had been “moments of great emotion.” She continued to say that the families “listened with great interest and they both felt and realized that the men are well. This has been a very important moment, which no doubt strengthens their [the miners’] morale.” The phone line is thought to be quite temperamental, but it is hoped that soon, those in the mine and those in Camp Hope will be able to talk every day. “To hear his voice was a balm to my heart … He is aware that the rescue is not going to happen today, that it will take some time. He asked us to stay calm as everything is going to be OK … He sounded relaxed and since it was so short I didn’t manage to ask anything. Twenty seconds was nothing”, said said Jessica Cortés, who spoke to her husband Víctor Zamora, who was not even a miner, but a vehicle mechanic. “He went in that day because a vehicle had broken down inside the mine … At first they told us he had been crushed [to death].”

Esteban Rojas sent up a letter from inside the mine, proposing to his long-time partner Jessica Yáñez, 43. While they have officially been married for 25 years, their wedding was a civil service—but Rojas has now promised to have a church ceremony which is customary in Chile. “Please keep praying that we get out of this alive. And when I do get out, we will buy a dress and get married,” the letter read. Yáñez told a newspaper that she thought he was never going to ask her. “We have talked about it before, but he never asked me … He knows that however long it takes, I’ll wait for him, because with him I’ve been through good and bad.”

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Nine die in bush-fires in South Australia
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Nine die in bush-fires in South Australia

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Nine people have died in bush-fires in the region of the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. The fire has spread over 40,000 hectares of scrub, bushland and farmland so far and is still burning out of control. Hundreds of firemen have been fighting the fire, but conditions have been difficult because of strong winds and temperatures soaring well over 40 degrees Celsius. Of the nine who have died, eight were attempting to escape the advancing fire in their cars. Four children were among the dead. Locals of some rural towns fled to the ocean to escape the fires. Thousands of sheep and cattle have also been killed in the fires.

Separate fires have also been burning around Mount Osmond and Cleland National Park in the Adelaide hills. No fatalities have been recorded in this region. Fires also burn in country Victoria.

Bush-fires are annual occurrences in Australia, but these fires have been the worst in terms of deaths since the Ash Wednesday fires that killed 28 people in South Australia. Two years ago, over 400 houses were burnt down in a bush fire in the Australian capital city, Canberra.

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Dental Care If You Are Dreaming A Good Smile

Dental Care if you are dreaming a good smile

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News briefs:July 14, 2010
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News briefs:July 14, 2010
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Fiji Military Coup possibly underway
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Fiji Military Coup possibly underway

Monday, December 4, 2006

Fiji’s fourth coup in 20 years rose today as troops disarmed Fiji’s only armed police unit. This is the first step in the long expected military coup.

Fiji’s president dissolved parliament on Tuesday and sanctioned the military to remove embattled Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase, said New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark

Qarase, who is in his residence in Suva, said the military was staging a coup and he would not resign but would have to be forcibly removed from office.

“I am not going anywhere,” Qarase told Reuters.

“I am the democratically elected prime minister of the people of Fiji. They will have to move me by force.”

“I have been advised this morning that the president of Fiji has acted outside his constitutional powers and supported the removal of the democratic prime minister by the military,” Clark said in a statement to the New Zealand parliament.

Acting Police Commissioner Moses Driver denied that any take over had occurred. He said soldiers arrived to inspect police weapons, and were waiting for approval for that inspection. Troops later surrounding the Nasova Police Academy in Suva demanding the handover of weapons, and occupied the main police station in Suva. No shots were fired when the police were locked out.

At a news conference inside the main Suva barracks, Commander Frank Bainimarama said that police weapons were confiscated so that “dissidents” did not use them against the military.

There are also reports that military checkpoints are been set up around the capital. There are approximately four roadblocks with 20 soliders at each.

Troops tried to arrest the Prime Minister of Fiji, Laisenia Qarase, in the afternoon by setting up a roadblock between Suva and the province where Mr Qarase was attending a meeting, but he escaped in a helicopter, and has since been in hiding. The Prime Minister and his cabinet are understood to be in safe, secure places, and some of them separated for extra security.

The army kept up the pressure on Mr Qarase when he was later summoned to President Ratu Josefa Iloilo’s residence.

Mr Qarase drove to the estate, but was told by soldiers at a roadblock outside that he would have to walk the rest of the way. A witness inside the grounds said the prime minister, whose bodyguards were also disarmed by the military, refused and returned to his office.

Mr Qarase will make another attempt to meet President Iloilo on Tuesday morning.

Military chief Commander Frank Bainimarama had repeatedly threatened to remove Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase’s government unless it drops several pieces of legislation, including a bill that would grant amnesty to those involved in a coup in 2000. Commander Bainimarama has laid allegations on PM Qarase of stalling his pledge of ditching of the controversial legislation.

However Bainimarama is denying a coup is under way. “This is not a coup,” Bainimarama said today. “Everything is normal. Nothing is going on.”

He had earlier imposed a deadline of noon (0000GMT) on Friday, December 1 but that deadline was extended to today as there was the annual rugby game between the police and the military. Commander Bainimarama is both an avid rugby fan and active church goer. The police won the rugby game. “I maintain my demands and the deadline still stands and I will make a commitment to my stand after the rugby match,” he said.

Mr Qarase told Fiji radio on Monday morning that he remained in control and has called an emergency cabinet meeting for Tuesday.

Fiji’s Great Council of Chiefs called for calm on Monday and for the military to return to negotiations with the government.

Local radio reported seven government vehicles used by ministers and parliament’s Speaker had been confiscated by the military since Monday night.

World leaders have commended Commander Bainimarama actions. Including New Zealand which has banned Commander Bainimarama from entering New Zealand except if he is attending political crises talks. Helen Clark described the situation as “…it’s a very disturbing situation.” Some of Commander Bainimarama’s close family live in New Zealand.

Conditions on the street of Fiji are said to be mixed, with some apprehension.

The United Nations might discontinue use of Fijian soldiers in peacekeeping operations of which is a large source of Fiji’s income. Also the British army might not use Fijian soldiers. The International Community have said they will discontinue aid to Fiji which is worth millions annually.

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