Sharjah Ruler says education key in fight against terrorism

Sharjah Ruler Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, second left, visits the Abu Dhabi tourist pavilion at the Frankfurt International Book Fair. Abu Dhabi Culture and Tourism

Sharjah Ruler Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, second left, visits the Abu Dhabi tourist pavilion at the Frankfurt International Book Fair. Abu Dhabi Culture and Tourism

It is through education, the Sharjah Ruler said, that we can rid the region of the scourge of terrorism.

“The most effective way to face negative forces is through education and upbringing from an early age, all the way through to university,” said Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi as he addressed attendees of the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany.

“This will empower individuals and develop their critical thinking and decision-making skills.”

Sheikh Sultan praised the constructive role Sharjah Youth and Sajaya Young Ladies of Sharjah organisations have played in encouraging education and creativity in the emirate’s young minds as he talked up the value of international book fairs.

“Taking part in different international fairs and exhibitions provides a platform to communicate with other cultures, enhance dialogue and promote the literary and scientific values of the Arab and Islamic world, as well as draw on international experience and expertise,” he said.

Concerned at the lack of appreciation shown to Arabic culture and literature in general, Sheikh Sultan hopes his visit to the Frankfurt Book Fair and his spearheading of the forthcoming Sharjah edition to be held on November 1 will act as a sign that writers’ and publishers’ work is valued.

“It is important that we are supporting authors, illustrators, publishers and other experts to develop the quality and quantity of literature,” he said.

“Sharjah’s cultural initiatives restore confidence and support intellectuals in the Arab world, many of whom had been disheartened with a lack of respect and recognition, in addition to the launch of children’s programmes, to build a new generation of writers, poets and intellectuals.”

Read more: Sharjah named World Book Capital for 2019 by Unesco

Sheikh Sultan also used the occasion to launch the German edition of his book, The Conflict between Power and Trade in the Gulf, which this year also received its English and French translation.

The event was part of a range of initiatives run by UAE cultural bodies in Frankfurt, led by the Sharjah delegation.

Wednesday also saw Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, as the founder of publishing house Kalimat Group, address a panel on the opportunities that literature translation presents.

She said international collaboration was key for regional publishers to evolve.

“The initial idea of using partnerships to have rights deals with different publishers really opens doors as a publisher, not only for cultural exchange but also to make sure that children in other parts of the world can understand more about our stories,” she said.

“It can act as an agent of soft diplomacy and make this world a better place.”

Abu Dhabi Culture and Tourism was also present at Frankfurt, hosting a series of seminars emphasising German and Arabic cultural organisation and challenges facing the regional publishing industry.

Thursday saw Emirati author and academic Saeed Hamdan Altunaji and German literary scholar Klaus Reichert discuss the value of translating German literary classics to Arabic. Also on Thursday, the pavilion hosted a discussion on book piracy and intellectual property rights in the Arab world.

On the international front, blockbuster author Dan Brown launched the German translation of his latest novel Origins.

With the latest novel finding his hero, the symbologist Robert Langdon, solving a case involving clues found in modern art pieces, Brown told The National that the planned Guggenheim Abu Dhabi would have been an ideal setting for Origin.

“I have to admit that I saw the proposed blueprint for the Guggenheim in Abu Dhabi and it will be one of the most spectacular buildings in the world,” he said.

“I think if that building was finished when I started this book there would have been a good chance the plot would have moved to Abu Dhabi. Call me when [The Louvre Abu Dhabi] is done. I want to see it.”

[“Source-thenational”]

Key Consumer Sector Insights

Market and consumer sector’s performance last week

The second quarter earnings season ended on a productive note. The S&P 500 Index (SPY) (SPX-INDEX) finished the week ending September 1 on a positive note with a 1.4% gain. Brown-Forman stock rose last week and benefited the consumer staples sector with its strong 1Q18 results. On the other hand, Campbell Soup stock (CPB) pulled down the staples sector. Its earnings and revenues missed its fiscal 4Q17 results. Overall, the S&P 500 Consumer Staples Index rose 0.51% last week.

Key Consumer Sector Insights for August 28–September 1, 2017

In the consumer discretionary sector, Best Buy (BBY), H&R Block (HRB), and Dollar General (DG) fell last week after their earnings results. However, automakers General Motors (GM) and Ford (F) rose. Their August sales results benefited the sector. The S&P 500 Consumer Discretionary Index rose 1.6% last week.

Other events last week that impacted the market included the US August jobs report on Friday. The United States Department of Labor said that the US economy added 156,000 jobs in August—lower than economists’ expectations of 180,000 jobs. The unemployment rate in the US rose to 4.4% from 4.3%. Average hourly wages rose 2.5% in the past 12 months. The disappointing jobs report might reduce the chances of another Fed rate hike this year. The jobs report had a subdued impact on the S&P 500 because automakers’ stock rose.

Consumer ETFs were productive last week. The Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLY) rose 1.6% on a weekly basis—the highest among consumer ETFs. The SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT) rose 1.0% and the Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLP) rose 0.55% last week.

Consumer Sector Overview: August 28–September 1, 2017 PART 2 OF 6

Analyzing the Consumer Sector’s Performance Last Week

Index performance last week

As of September 1, the S&P 500 Index (10.6%) (SPY) (SPX-Index) has outperformed the S&P 500 Consumer Discretionary Index (10.4%) (XLY) and the S&P 500 Consumer Staples Index (6.1%) (XLP) on a YTD (year-to-date) basis.

Analyzing the Consumer Sector’s Performance Last Week

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Key updates

On September 1, General Motors (GM) released its August sales report. In August, US retail sales recorded 275,552 vehicles—7.5% higher YoY (year-over-year). The company’s commercial sales have risen 19% YoY. General Motors gained domestic commercial market share for 13 consecutive months. Its commercial market share was driven by strong crossover sales at all four of the company’s brands. General Motors stock rose ~5.0% last week.

On September 1, Ford (F) released its sales results for August. The company’s overall sales fell 2.1% to 209,897 vehicles in August. It was mainly impacted by lower fleet sales, which fell 0.2%. Ford’s retail sales for August fell 2.7% to 164,067 vehicles. Its stock rose ~5.0% in the week ending September 1.

L Brands (LB) released its August 2017 sales report on August 31. Its net sales for the four weeks ending August 26, 2017, fell 1.0% YoY to $842.1 million. Its comparable sales also fell 4.0% in August. The company’s exit from the swim and apparel categories impacted comparable store sales for Victoria’s Secret by three percentage points and overall sales by two percentage points. As of September 1, the stock rose 2.4% last week.

[“Source-Market Realist”]

 

Secure Boot Key Flaw Exposes Windows Devices to Attack: Report

Secure Boot Key Flaw Exposes Windows Devices to Attack: Report

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Secure Boot policies are signed and validated by Microsoft
  • The leaked golden key can bypass operating system checks
  • Golden key allows attackers to boot any OS or self-signed binary

A leak has gone horribly wrong for Microsoft and the company is scrambling to fix the mess. Microsoft unwittingly leaked a ‘golden key’ that can unlock Windows-powered PCs, tablets, and phones protected by Secure Boot.

For the uninitiated, Secure Boot, a part of Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI), secures every component of a device’s boot process by checking it is validated and signed by Microsoft. This protects the system from being booted by any other OS (malicious or non-malicious) an attacker or user wants to install. Secure Boot, once enabled, cannot be disabled by the user due to policies that are also validated by Microsoft and are loaded and obeyed once the Windows startup process is executed.

Microsoft, however, allowed an exception to the rule that has since become a nightmare for the company. The tech giant signed a special Secure Boot policy that disables the operating system checks, meant to allow developers to test new operating systems without having to sign each one. This policy essentially bypasses the standard checks.

Understandably, the special policy isn’t available on commercial products. However, it has been leakedonline – where it is now available for attackers to misuse. A curious person may find this ‘golden key’ – which essentially allows a backdoor into a Secure Boot-enabled Windows system – load it into a Windows firmware and trick Microsoft into believing the person is loading a valid and verified OS while actually installing a malicious one, even a self-signed binary. In simple terms, the golden key can unlock Secure Boot, and gives attackers unfettered access to install bootkits or rootkits alongside.

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Security researchers my123 (@never_released) and slipstream (@TheWack0lian) were the ones to warn Microsoft that its Windows machines products were vulnerable due to the leak. After months of ignoring the issue, the researchers said Microsoft issued a bug bounty award and created two patches (one in July, and another in August). The Register claimed even the second patch does not actually resolve the vulnerability, only removing access to certain boot manager systems while leaving the policy flaw intact.

A third patch is expected to come out in September. However, the researchers believe the vulnerability cannot be completely fixed. Until the third patch comes out, the only thing users can do to protect their systems is to make sure their Microsoft patches are up-to-date on all Windows devices.

The leak of the golden key signals a bigger threat, one which puts into question the safety and security of devices and the need for such backdoor entries that can render your phones and computers vulnerable to hacks. To this effect, one of the researchers, Slipstream, issued a statement to the FBI:

“About the FBI: are you reading this? If you are, then this is a perfect real world example about why your idea of backdooring cryptosystems with a “secure golden key” is very bad! Smarter people than me have been telling this to you for so long, it seems you have your fingers in your ears. You seriously don’t understand still? Microsoft implemented a ‘secure golden key’ system. And the golden keys got released from MS own stupidity. Now, what happens if you tell everyone to make a ‘secure golden key’ system?”

Share a screenshot and win Samsung smartphones worth Rs. 90,000 by participating in the #BrowseFaster contest.

Tags: Hack, Hacking, Microsoft, Microsoft Windows, Secure Boot, Security, Security Flaw, UEFI, Windows

 

[“Source-Gadgets”]

Iraq ousts defence minister as forces retake key town near de facto capital Mosul from Islamic State

Iraqi Defence Minister Khaled al-Obeidi was ousted on Thursday after the Parliament voted 142 to 102 to remove him from his position. The vote of confidence followed accusations of corruption against al-Obeidi, The Washington Post reported. His impeachment follows theresignation of Iraq’s interior minister Mohammed al-Ghabban, which now leaves two important security positions in Iraq vacant.

Al-Obeidi’s ousting comes at a time when Iraqi forces recaptured the town of Qayyarah, near the country’s de facto capital Mosul, from the Islamic State group. “We control all parts of the town and managed, in very limited time, to root out Daesh [Islamic State],” said Lieutenant General Riyadh Jalal Tawfik, who heads the ground forces. With the support of tribal fighters and coalition airstrikes, they seized the city that is considered a key location to plan any future military attacks against the terror outfit’s last stronghold of Mosul, according to Al Jazeera.

While officials do not expect al-Obeidi’s removal to have a major impact on the fight against the Islamic State, it indicates the state of political instability that the country is in. The top minister had been questioned about weapons contracts earlier in August.

[“source-Scroll”]