Tag Archives: ‘Crack

Police crack down on protesters in the streets of Myanmar after military takeover

Police in Myanmar escalated their crackdown on demonstrators against this month’s military takeover, deploying early and in force on Saturday as protesters sought to assemble in the country’s two biggest cities and elsewhere.

Security forces in some areas appeared to become more aggressive in using force and making arrests, utilizing more plainclothes officers than had previously revealed themselves. Photos posted on social media showed that residents of at least two cities, Yangon and Monywa, resisted by erecting makeshift street barricades to try to hinder the advance of the police.

Myanmar’s crisis took a dramatic turn on the international stage at a special session of the United Nations General Assembly on Friday when the country’s UN ambassador, Kyaw Moe Tun, declared his loyalty to the ousted civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi and called on the world to pressure the military to cede power by “any means necessary.”

State television reported Saturday that the ambassador had been fired because he had “betrayed the country and spoken for an unofficial organization which doesn’t represent the country and had abused the power and responsibilities of an ambassador.”

There were arrests Saturday in Myanmar’s two biggest cities, Yangon and Mandalay, where demonstrators have been hitting the streets daily to peacefully demand the restoration of the government of Suu Kyi, whose National League for Democracy party won a landslide election victory in November. Police have increasingly been enforcing an order by the junta banning gatherings of five or more people.

Many other cities and towns have also hosted large protests against the Feb. 1 coup.

A riot police officer fires a teargas canister to disperse pro-democracy protesters taking part in a rally against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, on Saturday. (Reuters)

Police in Dawei, in the southeast, and Monywa, 135 kilometres northwest of Mandalay, used force against protesters. Both cities, with populations of less then 200,000 each, have been seeing large demonstrations.

Social media carried unconfirmed reports of a protester shot dead in Monywa. The reports could not immediately be independently confirmed but appeared credible — with both photos and identification of the victim — though later accounts said the woman had not died. The reports from Monywa also said dozens more people were arrested.

The military takeover reversed years of slow progress toward democracy after five decades of military rule. Suu Kyi’s party would have been installed for a second five-year term in office, but the army blocked parliament from convening and detained her and President Win Myint, as well as other top members of her government.

Ambassador dismissed from post

At the General Assembly in New York, Myanmar’s UN ambassador, Kyaw Moe Tun, declared in an emotional speech to fellow delegates that he represented Suu Kyi’s “civilian government elected by the people” and supported the fight against military rule.

He drew loud applause from many diplomats in the 193-nation global body, as well as effusive praise from other Burmese on social media, who described him as a hero. The ambassador flashed a three-finger salute that has been adopted by the civil disobedience movement at the end of his speech, in which he addressed people back home in Burmese.

UN Special Rapporteur Tom Andrews said he was overwhelmed as he watched the ambassador’s “act of courage.”

“It’s time for the world to answer that courageous call with action,” Andrews said on Twitter.

Monks prominent at protests

In Yangon on Saturday morning, police began arrests early at the Hledan Center intersection, which has become the gathering point for protesters who then fan out to other parts of the city. Police took similar action in residential neighbourhoods.

Security forces also tried to thwart protests in Mandalay, where roadblocks were set up at several key intersections and the regular venues for rallies were flooded with police.

WATCH | Widespread strikes in Myanmar in protest of military coup:

Protests and strikes in Myanmar against the military government following a coup three weeks ago have become so widespread the regime is using soldiers to try to fill workers’ jobs. People are demanding the elected leaders, including Aung San Su Kyi, be released from detention and their democracy be restored. 2:02

Buddhist monks were prominent in Saturday’s march in Mandalay, as they have been regularly, lending moral authority to the civil disobedience movement that is challenging the military rulers.

Mandalay has been the scene of several violent confrontations and at least four of eight confirmed deaths linked to the protests, according to the independent Assistance Association of Political Prisoners. On Friday, at least three people there were injured, including two who were shot in the chest by rubber bullets and another who suffered what appeared to be a bullet wound to his leg.

In this image from video, anti-coup protesters shout at police in Yangon, Myanmar, on Saturday. Myanmar police moved to clear protesters from the streets of the country’s biggest city. (The Associated Press)

According to the association, as of Friday, 771 people had been arrested, charged or sentenced at one point in relation to the coup, and 689 were being detained or sought for arrest.

The junta said it took power because last year’s polls were marred by massive irregularities. The election commission before the military seized power had refuted the allegation of widespread fraud. The junta dismissed the old commission’s members and appointed new ones who on Friday annulled the election results.

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The Nvidia RTX 3090 GPU Can Probably Crack Your Passwords

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The new Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 is a gaming powerhouse, but that’s not all it can do. According to the makers of a popular password recovery application, the RTX 3090 is also good at brute-forcing passwords. That’s great if you forget an important password, but that’s probably not why people are using such tools. The latest Nvidia cards could make cracking someone else’s files almost trivially easy. 

The RTX 3090 is Nvidia’s latest top-of-the-line GPU with a GA102 graphics processor sporting 10,496 cores and 24GB of GDDR6X memory. It is monstrously, obscenely powerful by today’s gaming standards, and comes with a correspondingly high price of $ 1,500, give or take a few hundred depending on supply. With a focus on high core counts, GPUs are also great for parallel computing. That’s why you couldn’t even buy a GPU for several months when Bitcoin was at its peak. In the same vein, GPUs are very good at cracking passwords. 

Passcovery recently updated to add support for RTX cards like the 3090, and it vastly increased the speed of brute force attacks. In the past, it wasn’t practical to guess every possible password until you hit on the right one — computers just weren’t fast enough. However, a GPU can do that quickly enough to find passwords in certain instances. With v20.09 of the Passcovery suite, a relatively modest GTX 1060 can go from 3.4 million guesses per second to 669 million per second. This version of the software added support for RTX 3000-series cards, which might be a problem for your weak passwords. The RTX 3090 is almost seven times faster in GPU compute benchmarks than the 1060 — that’s a lot of guesses per second. 

This testing was carried out on a ZIP file with classic encryption, but brute force is a danger to any encrypted file given enough time and power. A password we might have considered “strong” a few years ago could collapse under the assault of a 3090 in no time. These GPUs are very expensive currently, but prices will come down and make brute force attacks more common, and that’s a problem. This is just one password “recovery” suite, and more will surely add support for the latest Nvidia cards in the future. 

We’ve reached the point that anything important enough to be encrypted needs to be secured with a very, very strong password if you have any hope of keeping it safe. You should always use a generator to create random strings for passwords. Programs like Passcovery are designed to grind away at local encrypted files, so keeping those files out of nefarious hands is also a vital part of security in the age of GPU password cracking.

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Police crack down on protesters, detain dozens in Belarus during demonstrations against leader

Security forces in Belarus detained dozens of protesters on Sunday and used force, including water cannon and batons, to break up crowds demanding a new presidential election, TV footage showed.

Footage published by local news outlets showed police officers wearing black balaclavas dragging protesters into unmarked black vans and beating them with their batons at a rally that drew thousands onto the streets of Minsk, the capital.

One sequence showed a police van unleashing a powerful jet of water from a cannon into crowds, visibly pushing them back.

Belarus, a former Soviet republic closely allied with Russia, has been rocked by street protests and strikes since authorities announced that veteran leader Alexander Lukashenko had won an Aug. 9 vote by a landslide.

People have since taken to the streets every week to demand that Lukashenko step down and allow for a new election to be held.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne condemned the crackdown.

“Violence is never the answer to the legitimate wishes of the people for democracy & freedom,” Champagne said in a tweet, adding he will be discussing the ongoing situation in Belarus with “key partners” during his upcoming trip to Europe.

Lukashenko, a former collective farm manager who has been in power since 1994, denies his win was the result of cheating.

Security forces have detained more than 13,000 people during a post-election crackdown, some of whom have been later freed.

Lukashenko’s key political opponents are either in jail or have fled abroad.

Law enforcement in riot gear are seen in Minsk on Sunday. (Reuters)

Sunday’s violence followed a meeting Lukashenko held on Saturday in a Minsk jail with detained opposition leaders, an unusual event that prompted some opposition activists to believe he was preparing to make concessions.

In a rare concession, two people who had taken part in the meeting with Lukashenko — businessman Yuri Voskresensky and Dmitry Rabtsevich, director of the Minsk office of PandaDoc software maker — were released late on Sunday, Belarus state television reported.

The United States, the European Union, Britain and Canada have imposed sanctions against a string of senior officials in Belarus accused of fraud and human rights abuses in the wake of the presidential election.

Demonstrators react as a stun grenade explodes in Minsk on Sunday.. (BelaPAN via Reuters)

Opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who is now based in Lithuania, has called for new elections and for all political prisoners to be freed.

“We will continue to march peacefully and persistently and demand what is ours: new free and transparent elections,” Tikhanovskaya wrote on her Telegram channel on Sunday.

Similar rallies were held in other cities across the country on Sunday.

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Moh Ahmed shatters Canadian 5,000-metre record to crack all-time top-10 list

Moh Ahmed shattered his own Canadian record in the 5,000 metres at the Portland Intersquad Meet.

The 29-year-old from St. Catharines, Ont., won the race in 12 minutes 47.20 seconds, bettering his previous mark of 12:53.16 set last summer in Rome.

WATCH | Moh Ahmed shatters his own 5,000m Canadian record:

29-year-old Moh Ahmed of St. Catharines, Ont., ran the 5,000 metres race at the Portland Intersquad Meet in 12 minutes 47.20 seconds, bettering his previous mark of 12:53.16 set last summer in Rome. 18:09

Ahmed, who became the first Canadian to dip under the 13-minute mark when he broke his previous record last summer, cracked the world’s top-10 all-time list of 5,000 runners with Friday night’s result.

He won bronze in the 5,000 last Oct. 3 at the world track and field championships in Doha, Qatar.

The Canadian runner worked his way to the front of the pack with 500 metres left at a hot and humid Khalifa International Stadium.

Ahmed stumbled 100 metres later after being clipped, dropped to fifth with 150 to go before surging on the straightaway to finish in bronze position in 13:01.11. his first medal in the event at a major championship.

WATCH | Ahmed battles back to win world bronze in 5,000:

Canadian Moh Ahmed reaches the podium with a time of 13 minutes 1.11 seconds. 3:03

Athletics Canada honour

“Third is good. This is a stepping stone,” added Ahmed, who was looking ahead to 2020 and the Tokyo Olympics before it was postponed in March due to the coronavirus pandemic and rescheduled to July 2021.

A month ago, Athletics Canada recognized Ahmed’s feat as the most outstanding performance of 2019 by awarding Ahmed the Cal D. Bricker Memorial Trophy

Ahmed was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, and moved to Canada at the age of 11. He trains with the Bowerman Track Club in Portland.

WATCH | Ahmed says he’s excited for Olympics next summer:

Moh Ahmed of St. Catharines, Ont., discusses his Canadian record-breaking run at the Portland Intersquad Meet in Portland, Ore. 3:10

CBC Sports analyst Dave Moorcroft, who ran a world-record 13:00.41 in 1982, noted Ahmed has arrived as a serious medal contender and wondered if he was on the verge of “something special” come Tokyo.

“Medal contenders have a different mindset and aura, and I believe Moh has that,” Moorcroft said. “He is now not just a fast runner but also a great racer and he has to believe he can take that to the next level.”

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Davies set to depart Whitecaps but faces battle to crack elite Bayern lineup

After parts of three seasons, 81 senior team appearances and at least 10 goals scored, Alphonso Davies' Vancouver Whitecaps career will draw to a close on Sunday afternoon.

Davies, 17, will soon be bound for Bayern Munich, one of Europe's elite clubs, after a record summer transfer that will see him join the German giants in a move that could amount to more than $ 22 million US.

Davies combination of speed, ball control and potential for growth drew the eye of Whitecaps fans as well as of top European scouts.

"Not only is this kid fast, and  humble, and eager for the ball, he's also very versatile which will be huge for him," said Artikas Keschvari a Vancouver-based Bayern fan who supports both teams.

"It was a great signing,"  Keschvari said. "Unbelievable."

Davies, seen posing in a Bayern Munich jersey after his summer transfer was finalized, will join the German team in January. (Bayern Munich / Twitter)

In Vancouver, Davies' name was a regular one on the team sheet, but the teen will face much tougher competition for playing time at Bayern, where expectations are high even as the team endures an early-season slump.

Europe's Elite

In Bayern, Davies joins one of Europe's elite teams.

The club has won 28 German league titles, more than any other team, including the last six titles in a row.

Only two clubs have appeared in the final of the Champions League, Europe's premier continental club competition, more than Bayern has, with the Germans winning the prestigious event five times, most recently in 2013.

Its current roster reads as a miniature who's-who of international soccer: prolific Polish goal scorer Robert Lewandowski, veteran German international Thomas Muller and Colombian playmaking attacker James Rodriguez are just some of the stars on Bayern's roster.

But that lineup is also aging rapidly, and new manager Niko Kovac has so far struggled to find a consistent, winning lineup combination.

"It is a crisis in Bayern's terms," said Mark Lovell, a soccer journalist who covers the team for ESPN. "They're just not playing very well."

Bayern Munich's veteran star wingers Franck Ribery, left, and Arjen Robben, right, have played for the club since 2009 and 2007 respectively. (Carmen Jaspersen / The Associated Press)

The team has won just one of its last four league games, and entered the weekend sitting in fourth place in the league standings.

"They're slow and ponderous, they need the pace and dynamism that we see from Alphonso Davies," said Lovell. "They definitely need someone like [him] to breathe new life into their season."

Cracking the lineup

To make an impact, Davies will need playing time, which means taking an established veteran off the team sheet to put his name on it.

Typically deployed as a wide attacking midfielder, he'll have to unseat one of Dutchman Arjen Robben and France's Franck Ribery, two of the squad's longest-standing and most internationally-seasoned members who both play in the wide attacking role.

But they are also among the oldest of the team's aging core: Robben is 34, and Ribery is 35.

"Both those players are brilliant players on their day, but their best days may be behind them," said Lovell.

While the opportunity is there, Bayern isn't in the business of handing regular roles based on reputation alone.

Bayern midfielder Renato Sanches, left, fights for the ball during a 2018 Champions League group match. The Portuguese teen was a star signing for the German club in the summer of 2016. (The Associated Press / Armando Franca)

The team signed Portuguese midfielder Renato Sanches as an 18-year-old after a glowing performance for his native Portugal at the 2016 UEFA European Cup.

Amid high expectations, Sanches struggled to perform amid limited playing time and was shipped out on loan for a season.

"That is the benchmark for Alphonso Davies. Can he really break through?"

Lovell added indications are that Davies has the temperament and skill to succeed at Bayern,, but added nothing is for sure.

He'll get his shot once he joins the team in January.

"He's going to have to be exceptional," Lovell said. "I think we're all looking forward to seeing how he can do."

Teenager Alphonso Davies could be Canada's first men's soccer superstar. Ian Hanomansing sat down with Davies to talk about what's ahead. 9:20

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B.C. to crack down on extra fees billed by health-care providers

The B.C. government is planning to fine doctors who charge extra user fees and reimburse patients who are improperly billed, Health Minister Adrian Dix announced Wednesday.

The province will make it an offence to charge extra fees for publicly insured services, and introduce fines of up to $ 10,000 for a first offence and $ 20,000 for a second offence for anyone convicted, Dix told reporters.

“Our public healthcare system is meant to provide high quality healthcare to everyone, based on need, regardless of where they live or their ability to pay,” he said.

The news comes after a Health Canada audit of three private clinics in B.C. Based on that audit, the federal government estimates that $ 15.9 million in extra fees were charged to British Columbians in the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

This year, federal health-care funding to B.C. was reduced by the same amount. The Canada Health Act specifically forbids patient payments for “medically necessary” services covered by the public health-care system.

In response, Dix says the province will bring into force the full Medicare Protection Amendment Act, which was passed by the legislature in 2003 but not fully implemented. The full act would have given government the authority to take action against clinics and doctors charging illegal fees.

“We’ve had this system of don’t ask, don’t tell, ever since,” Dix said.

Patients to be reimbursed

Right now, the Medical Services Commission only has the power to audit and ask for court injunctions against providers who are found to have billed improperly.

The health ministry says that when the full act is brought into force in October, patients will not be liable for any extra fees they have been charged.

Practitioners who have charged those extra fees will be required to reimburse them, and if they refuse to do so, the Medical Services Commission will provide the refund.

Apart from fines, doctors and clinics who charge illegally could also be delisted from the Medical Services Plan.

“We are taking strong action today and will be asking the federal government to restore funding to B.C. in the coming year as a result,” Dix said.

He added that the changes will not prevent patients from seeking private treatment for services that aren’t covered under MSP, or end the practice of public funding for procedures provided through private clinics.

Federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said she was delighted by the news from B.C., but it was too early to say whether the province would be reimbursed for the funding that was clawed back this year.

“In no way do we want to take money away from provinces, just the opposite, but we certainly want to make sure that the extra billing fees and user fees stop,” she told CBC News.

B.C. has high rate of improper billing

Edith MacHattie, co-chair of the B.C. Health Coalition, welcomed the changes and described them as long overdue.

“We at the B.C. Health Coalition do hear often from patients who have been extra-billed and who are facing real hardships from these for-profit clinics that are profiting off of their illness and their need for treatment,” she told CBC News.

There are six audits of private clinics planned for this year, and three are already underway, according to the province.

Last year, a study from the Ontario Health Coalition found that B.C. had one of the highest rates of improper billing in the country. 

For example, the researchers found that some private B.C. clinics had billed patients between $ 650 and $ 995 for MRI scans and more than $ 8,000 for knee surgery to repair a torn ACL — services that are covered through MSP.

In a few cases, those clinics also asked people for their health cards, suggesting that both MSP and patients were being billed for the same services.

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Voicemail emerges reporting Miami bridge crack before collapse, 4 victims ID'd

Police have officially released the names of four people killed following the Miami bridge collapse after recovering two vehicles from the wreckage Saturday.

Authorities continue to look for bodies as word emerged that an engineer’s voicemail reporting cracking in the structure wasn’t discovered until Friday, one day after the collapse.

The Miami-Dade Police Department said Navarro Brown, who was among several people injured in Thursday’s collapse, died in hospital. 

Fire and construction crews also extracted two vehicles containing bodies on Saturday from underneath the debris. The victims have been identified as:

  • Rolando Fraga Hernandez, who was in a gold jeep.
  • Oswald Gonzalez, 58, and Alberta Arias, 54, who were in a white truck.

Although other media have been reporting the names of apparent victims, police released only these four Saturday. Hernandez’s and Brown’s ages weren’t immediately available. 

Authorities continued to remove debris Saturday in attempt to extract at least four cars still trapped since the span fell.

Police used cameras to locate five bodies in the ruble of the pedestrian bridge under construction at Florida International University. Authorities were carefully trying to get to remaining victims. At least six people were killed when the structure fell onto a busy highway.

“Right now we’re just chipping away,” said Miami-Dade police director Juan Perez.

Perez said DNA evidence, fingerprints and family photos might be needed to identify the victims.

Authorities continue to investigate the collapse and whether the cracking that was reported contributed to the bridge failure.

An engineer left the voicemail two days before the bridge collapsed, saying some cracking had been found at one end of the concrete span, but the voicemail wasn’t picked up until Friday, one day after the collapse, Florida Department of Transportation (DOT) officials said Friday.

The voicemail left on a landline wasn’t heard by a state DOT employee until Friday because the employee was out of the office on an assignment, the agency said in an email.

Pedestrian bridge collapses onto a busy Miami highway1:15

In a transcript released Friday night, Denney Pate, with FIGG Bridge Group, says the cracking would need repairs “but from a safety perspective, we don’t see that there’s any issue there, so we’re not concerned about it from that perspective.”

On Saturday, FIU released a statement saying representatives from the university and DOT met with a FIGG engineer for two hours Thursday morning to discuss the cracking and determined there wasn’t a safety issue. The bridge fell soon afterward.

“The FIGG engineer of record delivered a technical presentation regarding the crack and concluded that there were no safety concerns and the crack did not compromise the structural integrity of the bridge,” FIU said.

Too soon to say if cracking linked to collapse

At a news conference Friday night, officials from the National Transportation Safety Board said they have just begun their investigation, and cannot yet say whether any cracking contributed to the collapse. They also said workers were trying to strengthen a diagonal member on the bridge when it collapsed.

Robert Accetta, the investigator-in-charge for the NTSB, said crews were applying post-tensioning force, but investigators weren’t sure if that’s what caused the bridge to fall.

In a news release late Friday, FIGG Bridge Engineers said it “continues to work diligently” to determine the cause of the collapse, and is examining the steps its team has taken. It added, “The evaluation was based on the best available information at that time and indicated that there were no safety issues.”

It also asked for time to accurately determine what led to the accident.

Florida university bridge collapse

Authorities were removing bodies from the wreckage of the collapsed bridge in Miami, but several cars were still trapped underneath the debris. (Joe Skipper/Reuters)

A college student who narrowly escaped from a car that got smashed in the collapse said he watched helplessly as the structure tumbled down atop the vehicle and killed his friend Alexa Duran, who was sitting next to him in the driver’s seat.

‘I looked up, and in an instant, the bridge was collapsing on us completely.’– Richie Humble, FIU student who survived bridge collapse

Richie Humble, who studies at FIU, was riding in a car under the pedestrian bridge when he heard a long creaking noise coming from the structure that spanned a busy Miami-area highway. It sounded different from anything he had ever heard before.

“I looked up, and in an instant, the bridge was collapsing on us completely. It was too quick to do anything about it,” Humble said Friday in a phone interview with The Associated Press.

Once Humble realized he was alive, he also realized that he could not get to Duran. He called to her but got no response. A group of men outside the car started yelling at him to try crawling through the rear window.

He couldn’t squeeze through because the window was crushed. The men outside grabbed a wooden plank and pried open the rear door to pull him free, he said.

“I was trying to get people to realize my friend was still in there,” he said.

He suffered cuts to his leg from glass and a slight fracture to a vertebra, but he was able to walk away from the scene.

Did bridge cables undergo ‘stress test’?

While families waited for word on their loved ones, investigators sought to understand why the 862-tonne bridge gave way during construction. The cables supporting the span were being tightened following a “stress test” when it collapsed, authorities said.

The Florida DOT said in its Friday release that it had not been notified of any stress test.

Scheduled to open in 2019, the bridge would have provided safe passage over a canal and six lanes of traffic and created a showpiece architectural feature connecting the campus of FIU with the community of Sweetwater, where many students live.

The $ 14.2-million project was supposed to take advantage of a faster, cheaper and safer method of bridge-building promoted by the university.

Authorities have not confirmed the victims’ names. Duran’s family has said she died. The fatalities included a student at FIU. One person died at a hospital.

Florida bridge collapse

The death toll from the collapse rose to six from four on Friday morning. Several other people were sent to hospital. (Joe Skipper/Reuters)

In a Facebook post, Chelsea Brownfield said she was awaiting any information about her husband, Brandon. According to a GoFundMe page set up for the family, Brandon Brownfield was driving home from work when the collapse happened.

“The outpouring of love we have received is incredible,” Chelsea Brownfield wrote. The post ended with the hashtag “praying for a miracle.”

Brownfield declined to comment in a message to The Associated Press.

When finished, the bridge would have been supported from above, with a tall, off-centre tower and cables attached to the walkway. That tower had not yet been installed, and it was unclear what builders were using as temporary supports.

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