Tag Archive | United Arab Emirates

U.S. Bans Most Electronic Devices on Flights from 8 Muslim Countries*

U.S. Bans Most Electronic Devices on Flights from 8 Muslim Countries*

They are not the same nations targeted in the failed “Muslim Ban.”

By Kenrya Rankin

Less than a week after two federal courts blocked the Trump Administration’s second attempt at restricting entry to the United States for the nationals of six predominately Muslim countries, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a mandate that regulates the travel of people from another set of mostly Muslim countries.

As of today (March 21), people flying into the U.S. on direct flights from 10 airports in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates must check electronic devices larger than a phone—including tablets, laptops, e-readers, cameras, gaming devices and portable DVD players—before boarding. Travelers will still be allowed to carry smartphones and essential medical devices on board. The eight countries are different from the ones targeted in the “Muslim Ban.”

Per CNN, the impacted airlines are Egyptair, Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways, Kuwait Airways, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines and Turkish Airlines. U.S. officials said that no U.S. carriers are included in the indefinite ban because they do not fly directly to the States from the impacted airports. The carriers have 96 hours to comply, or they risk losing permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly into the country. The rule will be “reviewed” on October 14.

CNN reports that officials say there is no specific terrorist plot that they are trying to thwart, but that: “the move is partly based on intelligence that they believe indicates Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is close to being able to hide explosives with little or no metal content in electronic devices in order to target commercial aircraft.”

Reuters reports that on a press conference call, DHS spokesperson Gillian Christensen said the agency “did not target specific nations. We relied upon evaluated intelligence to determine which airports were affected.”


U.K. joins U.S. electronics ban on flights from several Middle East, African countries

U.K joined the U.S large electronics ban on some flights from Middle East and African countries. The U,K has announced a cabin baggage ban on laptops on passenger flights from six Middle East and North African countries.

According to a statement issued by the U.K government:

Phones, laptops and tablets larger than 16.0cm x 9.3cm x 1.5cm not allowed in the cabin on flights to the U.K. from Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Tunisia.

KTG understands that the U.K. ban will affect also the British Airways.

The U.K. restrictions, which also apply to tablets, DVD players, portable game consoles and phones over certain size, come after a similar U.S. Department of Homeland Security ban.

Passengers will not be able to fly from these countries with phones, laptops, tablets larger than 16cm in length, 9.3cm width & 1.5cm depth.

— Jack Moore (@JFXM) March 21, 2017

Flights on nine airlines from 10 airports in eight Muslim-majority countries are subject to the U.S. move.

U.S. officials said bombs could be hidden in a series of devices.

The ban affects large electronic devices including laptops, tablets and DVD players. They would not be permitted in aircraft cabins but would be allowed in checked baggage.

Phones are exempt from the U.S. restrictions.

Passengers on some 50 flights a day from some of the busiest hubs in the Middle East, Turkey and North Africa would be required to follow the new U.S. rules.

The airlines affected by the ban are:

Royal Jordanian, Egypt Air, Turkish Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Kuwait Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways.

They have been given 96 hours, beginning at 07:00 GMT on Tuesday, to ban devices bigger than a mobile phone or smartphone from cabins, US officials said, adding that the ban had no end date.

According to BBC, the U.K. announcement and would affect direct flights from several Middle East cities. The BBC home affairs correspondent said that  the move was “obviously part of co-ordinated action with the U.S.”.

The Department of Homeland Security said extremists were seeking “innovative methods” to bring down jets.

The attempted downing of an airliner in Somalia last year was linked to a laptop device, and it appears the security precautions are an attempt to stop similar incidents.

Turkey seeks reversal of laptop ban

The Turkish government has said the U.S. ban is wrong and should be reversed.

Turkey said Tuesday it would ask the United States to reverse a ban on electronic devices larger than mobile phones in the cabin of flights from 10 airports in Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa.

“We particularly emphasise how this will not benefit the passenger and that reverse steps or a softening should be adopted,” Transport Minister Ahmet Arslan told reporters, saying the decision was not right for Turkey or the US.

Airlines hit by the ban include flag-carrier Turkish Airlines, which has the highest foreign sales of any Turkish company. The airline’s profits have already been hit by a slew of terror attacks in Turkey in 2016.

Arslan said Turkish officials were speaking to their relevant American counterparts regarding the ban, which applies to direct flights to the US.

The minister said he hoped there would be a “positive” outcome from the talks, which began Monday.

“Annually, 80 million flights take off from Istanbul and in my opinion, people should not confuse it” with less high-profile destinations, Arslan added.

“In that sense, we already take all kinds of security measures.”

Arslan said that passengers head to the U.S. for many reasons including developing bilateral trade, adding that the ruling could negatively affect travellers’ comfort.

It comes back to the old world and the planes was carrying them again! #electronicsban #flighttravel pic.twitter.com/oIvAM9G0bi

— George Robert (@mertennikell) March 21, 2017

Of course, many now wonder why the ban affects few selected countries and airlines and it is not global.

Experts say the new electronics ban seem illogical and at odds with basic computer science.

The ban affects flight to US and UK not the other way around.

As if a terrorist would not think to fly X airline from a high risk country to an A city, buy a laptop there and catch a flight to the high security countries.

The economic impact on the travel business will be immense. Sounds rather like an airlines war, imho.

Related Topics:

San Francisco Police Department Cut Ties with FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force*

If Terrorism is Such a Grave Threat, Why Does the FBI Keep Manufacturing Plots?

U.S. Government Agents ‘directly involved’ in many U.S. Terror Plots*

U.S. Moves to Arm Terrorists in Syria with Anti-Aircraft Weapons*

Trump Will Sign Order to Build Wall, Ban Refugees, Muslims*

Trump To Continue Bankrupting The U.S. Through Foreign Wars*

Trump Signs New Travel Ban Executive Order*

Only $3 billion Declared of the $39.5 billion in Gulf Aid to Sisi*

Only $3 billion Declared of the $39.5 billion in Gulf Aid to Sisi*

Egyptian President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi received more than $39.5 billion in aid from Gulf states, leaked recordings aired on Mekameleen satellite channel yesterday revealed.

The funds came following the July 2013 coup and were sent by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. The total included $25 billion in cash and $14.5 billion worth of petrol. Saudi Arabia alone contributed $22.5 billion.

In the recording, Al-Sisi seems to be telling Abbas Kamil, his office manager: “The country is ours.” Kamil seemed very happy because of the billions that were flowing into the military in Egypt.

In the new leaked recording, Sisi asks Al-Kamil to press Khaled Al-Tuwaijri, the then head of the Saudi Royal Court, to pay them in cash rather than in material aid such as wheat or oil.

Mekameleen aired the leaked audio clip, recorded in Al-Sisi’s office, under the headline “Sisi robs the Gulf”. The channel called on the Egyptian president to travel immediately to Saudi Arabia to confess to the new Saudi monarch that he has been a thief.

Former member of the budget committee in the Egyptian parliament Ashraf Bader Eddin commented to the channel that the coup government only declared $3 billion in its budget donated by the Gulf states and about $6 billion in petrol aid. That leaves $30 billion unaccounted for. Last night, social media and political commentators were asking one question: Where did these billions go?

In the first segment of the recording, the conversation takes place between Al-Sisi’s office manager Brigadier Abbas Kamil, Assistant Chief of Staff Brigadier Ahmad Abdel Halim and former military spokesman Ahmad Ali. The three men discuss Saudi’s financial assistance, how to grab as much of it as possible and how to dispense of it.

Kamil says: “When you come to ask from Saudi Arabia don’t ask for change,” hinting that Al-Sisi should ask for large sums of money and not modest amounts.

The three discuss the Saudi medical aid provided to Egypt. Under Al-Sisi’s command, the army seized the aid. When Ahmad Ali asked if the aid was intended for the army or for Egypt, Kamil answered: “The army is Egypt.”

In the second segment of the recording, Kamil and Al-Sisi talk about businessmen in Egypt calling them “the kids” and saying that “he goes around collecting funds from them”. The two men were apparently discussing the significance and mechanism of fundraising.

In the third segment, Al-Sisi admits that he obtained $39 billion from the Gulf States.


Related Topics:

Will Sisi Make it Post-Elections?

As Actor and Singer Could be Charged for Treason, a Leak inside Sisi’s Office Take the Truth Further*

Egypt: Israel to Support Sisi’s Regime*

Members of Egypt’s Elite Admit to Planning and Financing the Coup as they Conspired to Bring Down Sisi*

Egyptian Military Dissent Comes to the Surface after Assassination Attempt on Sisi*

Five Reasons Why the Gulf Stopped Funding Al-Sisi*

Sisi: Cleaning Up his Image*

Sisi’s offer of Kicking People out of their Own Land Welcomed by Israel*

Saudi Prince Calls for Prosecution Of Officials Who Backed Egyptian Coup*

$45 Million Stolen from Banks Worldwide Shows How Easy It is in a Cashless Society*

$45 Million Stolen from Banks Worldwide Shows How Easy It is in a Cashless Society*

Easy  Money

By Luis Miranda

In one of the biggest bank robberies in history, a global network of hackers seems to have stolen 45 million dollars (34 million euros) in two banks from the Middle East after they violated the security of a business’ credit card processing and withdrawal of money at ATMs in 27 countries, prosecutors said Thursday in the United States.

The Department of Justice charged eight men who allegedly formed a cell of the organization based in New York, and said that seven of them had been arrested. The eighth, supposedly the leader of the cell, was killed in Dominican Republic on April 27.

It is believed that the leaders of the network are outside the United States, but prosecutors declined to elaborate, citing the ongoing investigation. What is clear is the wide range and speed of the crimes: in one of the attacks, in only 10 hours, $ 40 million were withdrawn from ATMs in 24 countries in 36,000 transactions.

“Instead of guns and masks, this organization used computers and Internet cybercrime,” said Loretta Lunch, the Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, in a press conference. “Moving as fast as the data on the Internet, the organization made its way from the computer systems of corporations to the streets of New York,” she added.

The case demonstrates the great threat that cybercrime poses worldwide. It also shows how criminal gangs have become increasingly international and sophisticated, especially those who use the Internet.

Prosecutors highlighted the “surgeon precision” used by the hackers and the global nature of its organization, coordination and speed with which the operations were executed in 27 countries. According to the people in charge of the case, the band broke the computers security of two companies that process credit cards, one in India in December 2012 and another in the United States in February.

The companies were not identified. Hackers increased the balance available and the cash withdrawal limit on prepaid Mastercard credit cards issued by Bank of Muscat in Oman and National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah PSC (RAKBANK) UAE.

The hackers then distributed counterfeit credit cards to people in charge of taking cash worldwide, allowing them to take millions of dollars from ATMs in a few hours. In New York, for example, members of the cell were distributed around town in the afternoon of February 19, armed with cards that have a unique account number from Bank of Muscat.

Ten hours later, 2,904 had completed money orders for $ 2.4 million, the final transaction occurred at about 1:26 am prosecutors said. The teams that withdrew money in other countries were busy doing the same, taking about 40 million from the Bank of Muscat, in addition to the $ 5 million that they stole from RAKBANK in December.

In total, 40,500 withdrawals were conducted in 27 countries during the two incidents. Prosecutors said the method of attack is called “unlimited operations” in the digital underworld. It was not possible to contact representatives of the two banks for comment outside regular business hours.

In a statement, MasterCard said it had cooperated with law enforcement agencies during the investigation and stressed that their systems were not involved or engaged in the attacks. In February,  Bank Muscat revealed it would receive a fee of up to $ 39 million because it had been defrauded overseas with 12 prepaid debit cards used for travel.

An investigation is ongoing to determine if there are other cells operating in the country, said Lynch, adding that law enforcement agencies in the United States have worked with their counterparts in Japan, Canada, Germany, Romania, United Arab Emirates, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Italy, Spain, Belgium, France, United Kingdom, Latvia, Estonia, Thailand and Malaysia to learn more about the  network that carried out the withdrawals. According to authorities, there were no personal bank accounts involved in the heist.


Related Topics:

 Quaking in their Boots!?

Towards a Cashless Society!

Hurricane Sandy Challenges a Cashless Society!

Canada Prepares for Bankers to Dip into Personal Accounts!*