Tag Archives: Diplomacy / Foreign Policy

‘Payment sent’ – Travel giant CWT pays cybercriminals $ 4.5 million ransom | Instant News

LONDON (Reuters) – US travel management firm CWT paid $ 4.5 million this week to hackers who stole tons of sensitive company files and said they took 30,000 computers offline, according to an account rendering of ransom negotiations seen by Reuters. Part of the payment negotiations between ransom-seeking cybercriminals – marked “Support” – and a representative of travel giant CWT – marked “You” can be seen in this photo taken in Washington, DC, USA, on July 30, 2020. REUTERS / Raphael SatterThe attackers used a strain of ransomware called Ragnar Locker, which encrypts computer files and renders them unusable until the victim pays for access to be restored. The ensuing negotiations between the hackers and a representative from CWT remained publicly available in an online discussion group, offering rare insight into the strained relationship between cybercriminals and their victimized businesses. CWT, which reported $ 1.5 billion in revenue last year and claims to represent more than a third of companies in the US S&P 500 stock index, confirmed the attack but declined to comment details of what she said was an ongoing investigation. “We can confirm that after temporarily shutting down our systems as a precaution, our systems are back online and the incident has now ceased,” he said in a statement. “Although the investigation is at an early stage, we have no indication that any personally identifiable information / customer and traveler information has been compromised.” CWT said it immediately informed US law enforcement and European data protection authorities. A person familiar with the investigation said the company believed the number of infected computers was significantly lower than the 30,000 hackers told CWT they had infected. DIGITAL RANSOM NOTE The hackers initially demanded a payment of $ 10 million to restore CWT’s files and remove all stolen data, according to messages reviewed by Reuters. “It’s probably a lot cheaper than the legal costs (sic), the loss of reputation caused by a leak,” the attackers wrote on July 27. CWT’s representative in the negotiations, who said they were acting on behalf of the company’s chief financial officer, the company said. had been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and agreed to pay $ 4.5 million in bitcoin digital currency. “Okay, let’s get things done. What are the next steps? “Said the representative after accepting the ransom. A public ledger of digital currency payments, known as blockchain, shows that an online wallet controlled by hackers received the requested payment. of 414 bitcoins on July 28. Messages sent to email addresses used by hackers went unanswered. In a ransom note left on infected CWT computers and screenshots posted online, hackers claimed to have stolen two terabytes of files, including financial reports, security documents, and employee personal data such as email addresses and salary information. It was not clear whether the data belonged to any of the CWT customers, including Thomson Reuters, was compromised Slideshow (3 Images) Western security officials say ransomware attacks are a constant and serious threat to businesses and private companies, despite the increased attention generally paid to the antics that make the headlines of state-sponsored hackers. These attacks are believed to cost billions of dollars each year, either in extorted payments or in collection costs. Cyber ​​security experts say the best defense is to keep data backups secure, and paying ransoms encourages further criminal attacks with no guarantee that the encrypted files will be restored. Additional reporting by Raphael Satter in WASHINGTON; Edited by Gareth Jones Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles. .

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Germany warns against trips to three regions of Spain hit by the virus | Instant News

FILE PHOTOS: People enjoy fine weather on the coast of Barceloneta, after regional authorities of Catalonia and the city council announced restrictions to restrain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Barcelona, ​​Spain July 19, 2020. REUTERS / Nacho Doce / Photo File

BERLIN (Reuters) – The German foreign ministry on Friday advised people not to travel to the northern Spanish region of Catalonia, Navarre and Aragon, because of fears that travel could bring a second wave of COVID-19 infections.

The Robert Koch Institute, a German public health agency, places all three regions of Spain on a list of high-risk locations, which means people returning to Germany are required to quarantine for 14 days or give a negative corona virus test.

With the increasing number of viruses in Germany, concerns are growing that tourists returning from destinations experiencing a surge in new cases can spread the infection quickly. Germany reported 870 cases of the corona virus on Friday, the highest daily total since mid-May.

Starting next week, Germany plans to make a mandatory corona virus test at the airport for all tourists returning from high-risk areas to slow the spread of infection.

The travel warning is the latest blow to the Spanish economy, which is already in a steep recession and is dependent on tourism for 12.3% of its economic output. Germany makes about 5% of tourists to Catalonia’s main city, Barcelona in 2019, according to the city’s tourism activity report.

Germany’s travel warnings are following in the steps by other European countries to limit travel from Spain, especially Britain, which is the largest share of foreign visitors. It has introduced a 14-day quarantine on all arrivals from Spain and recommends it to all but important trips to mainland Spain. Norway also enforces a 10-day quarantine.

France has advised against traveling to Catalonia.

Reporting by Caroline Copley; Additional reporting by Emma Pinedo Gonzalez in Madrid; Editing by Michelle Martin and Peter Graff


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There is no ‘zero risk’ in relaxing travel restrictions, WHO says | Instant News

(Reuters) – There is no ‘zero risk’ strategy for countries easing restrictions on international travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, and essential travel for emergencies should remain the priority, the organization said World Health Organization (WHO). FILE PHOTO: A traveler walks through Tegel Airport, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Berlin, Germany, July 29, 2020. REUTERS / Axel Schmidt In an update Long-awaited from its travel advice, the UN agency for global health said cross-border travel for emergencies, humanitarian work, transfer of essential personnel and repatriation would constitute essential travel. “There is no ‘zero risk’ when considering the potential import or export of cases in the context of international travel,” he said in the updated guidance posted on its website Thursday. A wave of new infections in many parts of the world has prompted some countries to reintroduce certain travel restrictions, including screening and quarantining incoming passengers. The WHO announced in June that it would update its travel guidelines before the summer vacation in the northern hemisphere. WHO guidance can be used by governments and industries to help shape policy, but it is not applicable. The updated travel advice is little changed from the previous advice, which also included infection control advice applicable to other parameters such as social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands, and doing so. ‘avoid touching the face. WHO has urged each country to conduct its own risk-benefit analysis before lifting any or all travel restrictions. Authorities should take into account local epidemiology and transmission patterns, he said, as well as national health and social distancing measures already in place. Countries that choose to quarantine all travelers upon arrival should do so after assessing the risks and taking into account local circumstances, the WHO said. “Countries should plan and continually assess their peak capacities to test, track, isolate and manage imported cases and quarantine contacts,” he said. The WHO said this week that international travel bans cannot stay in place indefinitely and that countries will need to do more to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus within their borders. Reporting by Bhargav Acharya and Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Written by Kate Kelland, edited by Diane Craft, Marguerita Choy, Grant McCool and Timothy Heritage Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles. .

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EU air leaders, airlines urge Canada to restore safe travel | Instant News

MONTREAL (Reuters) – Executives of European airlines and airports urged the Canadian government this week to allow a “safe travel restoration” between Canada and Europe, adding industry pressure on Ottawa to that it remove the coronavirus restrictions that have discouraged international air travel. FILE PHOTO: A passenger wears a mask which is now mandatory as a ‘Healthy Airport’ initiative is launched to travel, taking into account social distancing protocols to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to the Toronto Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Ontario, Canada June 23, 2020. REUTERS / Carlos Osorio In a letter dated July 27, senior executives from nearly a dozen European airlines and airports warned that “since de many countries in the EU (European Union) and Switzerland require reciprocity to restore access, Canada’s entry restrictions and quarantine requirements become problematic. The contents of the letter, sent to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other government ministers, have been reviewed by Reuters. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) air trade group has also called on Ottawa to replace quarantine restrictions with multi-pronged measures, including testing, to reduce the transmission of travel. “We urge the Canadian government to remove general travel restrictions for travelers from countries whose successful control of COVID-19 has significantly reduced risks to Canada,” the IATA CEO said Wednesday , Alexandre de Juniac. The EU has taken steps in recent weeks to ease travel conditions both internally and for citizens of some other countries, including Canada, although Britain has reintroduced a quarantine this week. 14 days for arrivals from Spain. Canada’s borders are closed to all non-citizens except essential workers. Canadians entering the country from abroad must self-isolate for two weeks. Trudeau has rejected repeated calls by Air Canada to ease air travel restrictions in some countries. Experts say Canada is reluctant to ease restrictions on European travelers while maintaining strict rules against citizens of the United States, the country’s largest trading partner, where cases of the coronavirus are on the rise. The July 27 letter was signed by executives from Air France-KLM and the German group Lufthansa, among others. The Trudeau office and Air France-KLM were not immediately available for comment. “Canada should seek to remove restrictions on travel to European Union and Swiss nationals and allow safe, prudent and sensible restoration of travel between two major trading partners,” the leaders said in the letter. . The leaders stressed that the EU and Switzerland are “safe jurisdictions”, with many countries having lower infection rates than Canada. “Canada has made tremendous progress during the pandemic, but it cannot remain isolated forever. Reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal; Additional reporting by Laurence Frost in Paris and Steve Scherer in Ottawa; Edited by Paul Simao and Bernadette Baum Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles. .

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Britain says the first round of New Zealand trade talks is “positive and productive” | Instant News

PHOTO FILE: State Secretary for International Trade and British Minister for Women and Equality Liz Truss seen outside Downing Street, as the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) continues, in London, England March 17, 2020. REUTERS / Henry Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) – The first round of UK trade negotiations with New Zealand is positive and productive, trade minister Liz Truss said on Wednesday.

“We are one step closer to reaching a comprehensive trade agreement with like-minded friends and allies,” Truss said in a statement.

“The first round talks are positive and productive, with the common goal of being very ambitious in fields including digital commerce and sustainability.”

The next round of talks is planned for October.

Reporting by William James; editing by Guy Faulconbridge


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Italy will help tourism, the automotive sector in the next stimulus-administration push | Instant News

ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s latest stimulus package, which aims to help the economy cope with the coronavirus pandemic, will include assistance to the tourism and automotive sectors, Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: Italian Finance Minister Roberto Gualtieri attends the Italo-Franco summit one day in Naples, Italy 27 February 2020. REUTERS / Ciro De Luca

The government said it would propose such measures, totaling 25 billion euros ($ 29.32 billion), in an emergency decree in early August.

A source told Reuters this month that a little less than 1 billion euros would be allocated to strengthen current incentives to drive sales of sophisticated combustion engine cars and electric and hybrid vehicles.

Speaking to the parliamentary committee, Gualtieri did not give details.

The automotive industry accounts for 6.2% of Italy’s gross domestic product, data provided by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCA) (FCHA.MI) shows. Tourism contributes around 13% to GDP, according to the World Trade and Tourism Council.

Gualtieri told lawmakers that part of the additional expenditure would be used to expand funding for the temporary layoff scheme “for a further 18 weeks on a selective basis”. The hardest hit companies in the first half of 2020 will be entitled to ask for further assistance, he added.

The latest stimulus will push the 2020 budget deficit to 11.9% of national output, compared to the 10.4% target set in April, while the country’s public debt will rise to 157.6% of GDP this year.

New steps coming on top of around 75 billion euros Rome has been mobilized to help businesses and families.

Overall, Rome plans to promise up to 212 billion euros in economic assistance to families and companies, including state guarantees for bank loans, although only a part of this amount is expected to be spent.

Italy’s economy has been damaged by the coronavirus pandemic, with the European Commission forecasting a 11.2% contraction this year – the sharpest decline in the 27-nation bloc.

Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte; Editing by Crispian Balmer


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Brazilian steelmakers say the US is pressing to reduce export quotas | Instant News

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazilian steelmakers trading group Iabr said on Monday the United States is pressing Brazil to reduce steel exports that are not yet finished, part of a long struggle between the two countries.

“They have threatened us,” President Iabr, Marco Polo, said of the United States. “If we don’t agree with the tariffs, they will reduce our quota,” he told reporters.

Brazil and the United States were involved in a trade dispute last year when US President Donald Trump said he would impose tariffs on Brazilian steel and aluminum in an effort to protect local producers.

Washington has been trying to reduce quotas for Brazilian steel exports since at least 2018, Reuters previously reported.

Under the quota system, Brazilian steelmakers represented by Iabr, such as Gerdau, Usiminas and ArcelorMittal operations in Brazil, can export up to 3.5 million tons of uncompleted steel in a year, to be completed by US producers.

But Polo said the United States now wants to reduce its fourth-quarter quota from 350,000 tons today. Quota for the end of the year is lower than for other quarters.

Iabr also revealed production estimates for this year.

The group expects crude steel production to fall 13.4% for the whole year and for domestic sales to fall 12% by the end of the year compared to 2019.

Reporting by Alberto Alerigi; Editing by Chris Reese and Dan Grebler


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Britain quarantined travelers from Spain in a big blow to the rise of Europe | Instant News

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain abruptly imposed a two-week quarantine on all travelers arriving from Spain after a surge in coronavirus cases, a dramatic and sudden reversal on Saturday for the opening of the European continent to tourism after months of being locked.

PHOTO PHOTO: Signs of social distance are seen on the floor at Manchester Airport, after an outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), Manchester, England, 8 June 2020. REUTERS / Phil Noble

Quarantine requirements will take effect from midnight (2300 GMT on Saturday), making it impossible for travelers to avoid it by rushing home.

The British foreign ministry also announced recommendations for all but important trips to mainland Spain. The Canaries and the Spanish Balearic Islands are not covered by advice to avoid traveling, but will still be subject to quarantine.

Britain’s sudden move followed the steps this week by other European countries. On Friday Norway said it would re-impose 10-day quarantine requirements on people arriving from Spain starting Saturday, while France advised people not to travel to the northeastern region of Catalonia Spain.

But British tourists accounted for more than 20% of foreign visitors to Spain last year, the largest group by nationality. Tourism usually accounts for around 12% of the Spanish economy.

Spain is on the list of countries the British government says is safe for tourists to visit – meaning returning tourists do not have to go into quarantine.

The announcement of the list just a few weeks ago has enabled the European tourism sector to begin its revival after a total shutdown that was almost triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Responding to British measures, Spain said on Saturday it was a safe country with a localized, isolated and controlled coronavirus outbreak.

A Spanish Foreign Ministry spokesman said Spain “respects Britain’s decision” and has contacted authorities there.

The British move will affect not only the Spanish tourism sector but airlines and travel companies struggling to get back into business.


On Friday, Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya told CNN television that like many countries in the world that had managed to control the disease, Spain “had an outbreak but the government – both national and regional – worked to isolate cases as soon as they appeared”.

Spain is one of the worst countries in Europe by a pandemic, with more than 290,000 cases, and more than 28,000 deaths. This imposed very strict locking measures to restrain the spread, gradually alleviating it earlier this summer.

But there has been an outbreak in recent weeks, with Catalonia one of the hotspots.

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Catalonia, which includes many popular tourist resorts as well as the city of Barcelona, ​​reported 1,493 new cases of corona virus and three deaths on Saturday. The local government has urged Barcelona residents to stay at home.

Regional officials have also ordered all discos in Catalonia to close from Saturday for the next 15 days, while bars, restaurants and casinos must close at midnight.

Britain itself has become the worst country in Europe by this pandemic, with more than 328,000 cases and the official death toll of more than 45,600.

Reporting by David Milliken; Additional reporting by Graham Keeley in Barcelona; Writing by Peter Graff and Frances Kerry


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Vietnam back on coronavirus prevention after the first local infection in three months | Instant News

Hanoi (Reuters) – Vietnam has returned to a state of high alert for coronavirus on Saturday, after medical officials in Central da Nang city have discovered the first case of transmission of the virus for three months.

File photo: a donor carries sacks of rice to distribute to poor people in the coronavirus in Hanoi, Vietnam, on 16 April 2020. Reuters/Kham/file photo

Due to the strict quarantine measures, as well as aggressive and widespread testing programs in Southeast Asia country have kept their virus at an impressively low total of 415 cases and has not reported any locally transmitted infections within 100 days.

Vietnam has reported no cases of death from the virus.

But on Friday, the health Ministry said 57-year-old man from da Nang, tourist hotspots, were positive, inducing the secretion of 50 people he came in contact.

The Ministry said 103 people connected to the patient has been tested for the virus, but everything comes back negative.

The government said on Saturday, a new test confirmed the person with the infection, bringing the total number of cases in Vietnam to 416.

He did not say how the man contracted the virus, but he didn’t leave da Nang for nearly a month. He was initially diagnosed with pneumonia.

The case comes at a time when Vietnam was ready to resume international commercial flights on domestic tourism is growing.

Late Friday night, authorities in the capital, Hanoi, restored recommendations to wear masks in crowded places as the index of Chinese EXT .Downward closed 3.22%.

Prohibition Vietnam on international flights is still in place, but the foreign experts and skilled workers can enter, provided that they are subject to mandatory centralized quarantine.

Of the nearly 150 cases reported in the last three months, all were imported in people quarantine on arrival.

Earlier this week, Vietnam said it will repatriate around 130 Vietnamese citizens infected with the virus from Equatorial Guinea.

In March, da Nang has reported six indigenous cases of coronavirus as the us aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, which reported the cases on Board the vessel spent in the port. There was no confirmation of six cases were associated with the vehicle.

Reporting Han and vu Phuong Nguyen; editing by James Pearson


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Italy imposes quarantine on travelers from Romania, Bulgaria | Instant News

ROME (Reuters) – Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza said on Friday he had signed quarantine orders for people who had been in Romania and Bulgaria in the past 14 days, in a move aimed at preventing imports of COVID-19 cases from outside the country. .

“The virus is not inferior and continues to circulate. For this reason we still need to be careful, “Speranza wrote on Facebook.

Italy, one of the European countries worst affected by the new corona virus, has banned the entry of people from 16 countries including Brazil which was hit hard.

Reporting by Angelo Amante; Editing by Hugh Lawson


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