Tuesday, 06 August 2019
North Korea has generated an estimated $2 billion for its weapons of mass destruction programs using “widespread and increasingly sophisticated” cyberattacks to steal from banks and cryptocurrency exchanges, according to a confidential U.N. report seen by Reuters on Monday.
Pyongyang also “continued to enhance its nuclear and missile programmes although it did not conduct a nuclear test or ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile) launch,” said the report to the U.N. Security Council North Korea sanctions committee by independent experts monitoring compliance over the past six months.
The North Korean mission to the United Nations did not respond to a request for comment on the report, which was submitted to the Security Council committee last week.
The experts said North Korea “used cyberspace to launch increasingly sophisticated attacks to steal funds from financial institutions and cryptocurrency exchanges to generate income.” They also used cyberspace to launder the stolen money, the report said.
“Democratic People’s Republic of Korea cyber actors, many operating under the direction of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, raise money for its WMD (weapons of mass destruction) programmes, with total proceeds to date estimated at up to two billion US dollars,” the report said.
North Korea is formally known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). The Reconnaissance General Bureau is a top North Korean military intelligence agency.
The experts said they are investigating “at least 35 reported instances of DPRK actors attacking financial institutions, cryptocurrency exchanges and mining activity designed to earn foreign currency” in some 17 countries.
The U.N. experts said North Korea’s attacks against cryptocurrency exchanges allowed it “to generate income in ways that are harder to trace and subject to less government oversight and regulation than the traditional banking sector.”
The Security Council has unanimously imposed sanctions on North Korea since 2006 in a bid to choke funding for Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs. The Council has banned exports including coal, iron, lead, textiles and seafood, and capped imports of crude oil and refined petroleum products.
U.S. President Donald Trump has met with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un three times, most recently in June when he became the first sitting U.S. president to set foot in North Korea at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between the two Koreas.
They agreed to resume stalled talks aimed at getting Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons program. The talks have yet to resume and in July and early August, North Korea carried out three short-range missiles tests in eight days.
When asked about the U.N. report a U.S. State Department spokeswoman said: “We call upon all responsible states to take action to counter North Korea’s ability to conduct malicious cyber activity, which generates revenue that supports its unlawful WMD and ballistic missile programs.”
The U.N. report was completed before last week’s missile launches by North Korea, but noted that “missile launches in May and July enhanced its overall ballistic missile capabilities.”
The U.N. experts said that despite the diplomatic efforts, they found “continued violations” of U.N. sanctions.
“For example, the DPRK continued to violate sanctions through ongoing illicit ship-to-ship transfers and procurement of WMD-related items and luxury goods,” the U.N. report said.
Published in Telecoms
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Monday called on the U.S. to adopt stricter arms control, following a shooting that killed more than 20 people, including eight Mexicans, in El Paso, Texas, over the weekend.
Lopez Obrador made the call in his daily press conference.
“We very much respect what other governments decide, but we think the unfortunate events that occurred in the U.S. should lead to reflection, analysis and the decision to control the indiscriminate sale of weapons.
“In the two main parties of the United States, there has been little attention to gun control,” he added, in reference to the Republicans and Democrats.
“They will find the most convenient solution and I do not rule out possible modifications to their constitution and legislation.
“These are new times, it is necessary to always be adjusting the legal framework to the new reality.
“I hope this happens,” he added.
The president said that the problem affected Mexico as well as the U.S.
According to government data, about 70 percent of the weapons used in criminal acts in Mexico are brought in across the northern border.
Mexico registered a record 36,000 killings last year.
Mexican Foreign Ministry Marcelo Ebrard tweeted that the death toll of Mexicans in the El Paso “terrorist act” had risen to eight.
U.S. President Donald Trump, in his address on Monday, sent condolences to the Mexican president and the Mexican people.
Ebrard travelled to El Paso on Monday to lend support to the injured victims, several of whom were Mexicans, and to the victims’ family members.
The Mexican government announced on Sunday that it may seek the extradition of the shooting suspect and take legal action against the person who sold him his weapon.
Published in World
China warned Tuesday it would take some unspecified countermeasures if the United States goes ahead with plans to deploy ground-based missiles in the Asia-Pacific region.
China’s reaction followed US Defence Secretary Mark Esper statement that the US was now free to deploy the weapons following its withdrawal last week from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty with Russia.
“China will not stand idly by and will be forced to take countermeasures should the US deploy intermediate-range ground-based missiles in this part of the world,” said Fu Cong, the director of arms control at the Chinese foreign ministry.
“And we also call on our neighbours, our neighbouring countries, to exercise prudence and not to allow a US deployment of its intermediate-range missiles on (their) territory,” he added, naming Australia, Japan and South Korea.
“That would not serve the national security interest of these countries,” he said.
Fu said it was important to recognise the US is proposing to install the weapons at China’s “doorstep”.
“Especially for a country that has experienced the Cuban missile crisis, I think the American people should understand China’s feelings.”
Australia on Monday ruled out the possibility of the missiles being deployed on its soil, saying Canberra had not even been asked to host them.
The INF treaty was considered a cornerstone of the global arms control architecture but the United States said the bilateral pact had given other countries — namely China — free rein to develop their own long-range missiles.
Esper, the new Pentagon chief, said Saturday that Washington would like to deploy the missiles “sooner rather than later,” speaking to reporters on a plane to Sydney at the start of a week-long tour of Asia.
“I would prefer months… But these things tend to take longer than you expect.”
Published in World
US Treasury Department accuses China of being a currency manipulator. Above, the Chinese Yuan and US dollar
The US Treasury Department on Monday labelled China a currency manipulator, escalating the U.S.-China trade war.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin designated China a currency-manipulating country a day after the nation’s central bank allowed the Chinese yuan to fall to a new low against the U.S. dollar and trigger the biggest slump this year of US stocks.
“Secretary Mnuchin, under the auspices of President Trump, has today determined that China is a Currency Manipulator,” the department said in a statement.
“As a result of this determination, Secretary Mnuchin will engage with the International Monetary Fund to eliminate the unfair competitive advantage created by China’s latest actions.”
The devaluation of the yuan reduces the relative price for Chinese goods purchased abroad, making U.S. products comparatively more expensive for foreign buyers.
The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) typically holds the yuan within a certain stabilizing range, though the nation has long been accused of devaluing its currency to gain an edge in trade.
Trump had long promised to label China a currency manipulator, which opens the country to potential international penalties.
And on Monday, he accused Beijing again of devaluing its currency to gain an unfair edge in trade after the yuan-to-dollar exchange rate fell to a low of 7 to 1. The move was widely seen as a response to new U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods slated to go into effect on September 1.
Trump expressed rage on Twitter: “China dropped the price of their currency to an almost a historic low. It’s called “currency manipulation.” Are you listening Federal Reserve? This is a major violation which will greatly weaken China over time!
Based on the historic currency manipulation by China, it is now even more obvious to everyone that Americans are not paying for the Tariffs – they are being paid for compliments of China, and the U.S. is taking in tens of Billions of Dollars! China has always used currency manipulation to steal our businesses and factories, hurt our jobs, depress our workers’ wages and harm our farmers’ prices. Not anymore!”
Published in Bank & Finance

The Board of Directors of Keystone Bank Limited has announced the appointment of three new Executive Directors.

This is in line with strategic business intent and corporate realignment of the bank to sustain continued business growth.

At its 49th, Annual General Meeting held in Lagos, the Board approved the appointments of Tijjani Aliyu, Olaniran Olayinka and Lawal J. Ahmed as Executive Directors, subject to the approval of the Central Bank Of Nigeria (CBN).

A statement by the Divisional Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications of the bank, Mrs. Omobolanle Osotule, said that the three new executive directors would join the executive management office to pursue and deliver on the bank’s strategic business objectives bringing to bear their in-depth wealth of banking experience garnered over the years across various sectors.

Commenting on the development, the Chairman of Keystone Bank, Alhaji Umaru Modibbo noted that the promotion of the three former General Managers to Executive Directors was in line with the bank’s corporate governance and culture of maximizing her human capital through consistent leadership development and training.

‘’Since we restructured, we have intentionally and proactively nurtured our talent in readiness for future leadership opportunities that will arise in the organisation. It is therefore a major feat for us that we were able to appoint the three new Executive directors from our internally groomed executives’’ said Modibbo.

Tijjani holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Bayero University, Kano and an MBA from the Bangor Business School, UK. His experience spans over two decades in both regulatory and top financial institutions in Nigeria. He is a member of various professional bodies and has attended various courses within and outside Nigeria including INSEAD Business School and the US Federal Reserve Bank in Washington.

He is a consummate Risk professional and a member of Risk Managers Association of Nigeria (RIMAN), Chartered Institute of Bankers (ACIB, HCIB). His experience in the financial services sector covers operations, treasury, Banking Supervision, Finance, Mergers and Acquisitions, and Risk Management. Until his elevation, he was the Chief Risk officer of Keystone Bank.

Olaniran holds a First Class Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s Degree in Economics from the prestigious University of Lagos. He has attended several executive courses and programs in Banking Operations, Credit, Risk Management, Business Process Re-engineering, Change Management among others.

He had a 4 years stint with PricewaterhouseCoopers and 25 years banking experience covering Operations, Human Resources Management, Corporate Banking, Commercial Banking, Retail Banking and Institutional Banking.

Until his elevation, he was the Regional Head Corporate Bank and West, Keystone Bank Limited.

On his part, Lawal, holds an LL.B Degree from the University of Jos, and an LL.M Degree from University of Dundee, United Kingdom. He has over 19 years post-call experience that cuts across Legal Practice, Banking Regulation, Process Improvement, Conflict Resolution, Project Management and Regulatory Compliance.

He is a Fellow of the Compliance Institute of Nigeria (FCIN) and has attended top global educational and professional institutions including the London School of Economics (LSE), UNESCO-IHE, Institute for Water Management Delft, Netherlands, the Clingendael Institute for International Relations, Den Haag, Netherlands, US Federal Reserve, Washington DC, USA and Financial Stability Institute of the Bank for International Settlements. Until his elevation, he was the Chief Compliance Officer of Keystone Bank Limited.

Keystone Bank is a technology and service-driven commercial bank offering convenient and reliable solutions to its customers.

Published in Bank & Finance
Minnesota prosecutor on Monday charged the disgraced singer with prostitution and solicitation over an allegation that he invited a 17-year-old girl to his hotel room in 2001 and paid her $200 to dance naked with him.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced the charges against the performer, whose legal name is Robert Sylvester Kelly.
Court documents revealed that while the singer was on tour in 2001, he held an autograph session at the city center in Minneapolis where he met a 17-year-old fan. But instead of just his signature, he gave the girl his phone number. The girl later called and was directed to a downtown Minneapolis hotel where Kelly was staying.
“After some discussion, she was offered $200 to take her clothes off and to dance before him,” Freeman said. “She accepted $200. He got naked and they proceeded to dance.”
“According to the victim, the defendant was rubbing her body” and fondling himself. She also stated that the defendant touched all over her body.”
The complaint said the girl attended Kelly’s concert “as a guest who did not have to pay,” and told her brother what had happened in Kelly’s hotel room.
“We felt we had more than enough to charge based on her testimony and corroboration from her brother,” Freeman said. “I don’t like buying sex from minors, and I don’t think most other people do either.”
The charges are felonies, each punishable by up to five years in prison.
The new charges add more legal problem for Kelly, who is currently in jail in New York after pleading not guilty to charges that he sexually abused women and girls who attended his concerts.
Published in World
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