Posts Tagged ‘computers’

Philippines could be hit worst in Southeast Asia by US-China trade dispute

April 7, 2018


In a research dated April 4, RHB Bank Berhad said the trade war’s impact on Southeast Asia will likely be felt through shipments to China that are used as inputs to Chinese exports.

File photo
Philippines could be hit worst in Southeast Asia by US-China trade spat

Ian Nicolas Cigaral ( – April 7, 2018 – 10:10am

MANILA, Philippines — Among Southeast Asian countries, the Philippines could be the most affected in the worsening trade tension between the U.S. and China.

In a surprise move that could further escalate the trade war between the two economies, President Donald Trump on Thursday said he has ordered the U.S. trade representative to consider imposing an additional $100 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods.

Trump’s pronouncement came after China said it plans to slap $50 billion in taxes on American products.

In a research note dated April 4, RHB Bank Berhad said the trade war’s impact on Southeast Asia will likely be felt through shipments to China that are used as inputs to Chinese exports.

The Malaysian bank then explained that the Philippines could be most at risk, as 16.9 percent of its total exports are part of China’s value chain, compared with countries like Malaysia (11.4 percent) and Indonesia (10.9 percent).





Philippines Most at Risk in Asean From China-U.S. Trade War

April 6, 2018


By Karl Lester M Yap

The Philippines could be the most at risk in Southeast Asia from the worsening trade conflict between China and the U.S.

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About 16.9 percent of the Philippines’ shipments abroad are part of China’s value chain; goods that serve as inputs to China’s exports, according to RHB Bank Bhd. That compares with 11.4 percent for Malaysia and just 2.2 percent for Vietnam.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday ordered his administration to consider imposing tariffs on an additional $100 billion in Chinese imports, dashing optimism that trade tensions could ease. Policy makers across Southeast Asia are focusing on bolstering domestic markets to cushion the fallout should the situation worsen.

 Image result for philippines, importing china goods, photos

Click to read: Southeast Asia Braces for Trade War by Bolstering Growth

The sectors that are likely to be hit badly are electronics, electrical machinery such as computers and industrial goods, RHB said in a note on Wednesday before the announcement of possible new U.S. tariffs.

China is the biggest trading partner for many Southeast Asian economies and an important source of investment and tourism in the region. While large domestic markets in Indonesia and the Philippines help to shelter those economies from a trade war, others in the region, like Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, are more reliant on exports.

Hackers could get even nastier in 2018: researchers

November 29, 2017


© AFP/File | Report by the security firm McAfee said hackers will develop new strategies in 2018 and target connected devices which offer less security than computers and smartphones

WASHINGTON (AFP) – After a year marked by devastating cyber attacks and breaches, online attackers are expected to become even more destructive in 2018, security researchers said Wednesday.A report by the security firm McAfee said the ransomware outbreaks of 2017 offer just a taste of what’s to come as hackers develop new strategies and “business models.”

McAfee researchers said that as ransomware profitability fades in the face of new defenses, hackers will turn to new kinds of attacks that could involve damage or disruption of computers and networks.

Attackers will also look to target wealthy individuals and aim at connected devices which offer less security than computers and smartphones.

“The evolution of ransomware in 2017 should remind us of how aggressively a threat can reinvent itself as attackers dramatically innovate and adjust to the successful efforts of defenders,” said Steve Grobman, McAfee’s chief technology officer.

McAfee also predicted wider use of cyber attacks “as a service,” allowing more hackers for hire to have an impact.

Raj Samani, chief scientist at McAfee, said the events of 2017 showed how easy it is to commercialize hacking services.

“Such attacks could be sold to parties seeking to paralyze national, political and business rivals,” Samani said.

McAfee’s 2018 Threats Predictions Report also said privacy is likely to be eroded further as consumer data — including data involving children — is gathered and marketed by device makers.

“Connected home device manufacturers and service providers will seek to overcome thin profit margins by gathering more of our personal data — with or without our agreement — turning the home into a corporate store front,” the McAfee report said.

The report said parents “will become aware of notable corporate abuses of digital content generated by children,” as part of this effort to boost profitability.

McAfee said it expects some impact for the May 2018 implementation of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, which limits how data is used and sold and which would affect companies with operations in the EU.

The GDPR regulation “makes 2018 a critical year for establishing how responsible businesses can pre-empt these issues, respecting users’ privacy, responsibly using consumer data and content to enhance services, and setting limits on how long they can hold the data,” said McAfee vice president Vincent Weafer.

Bain-Apple Group Sign Letter of Intent to Buy Toshiba’s Chip Business

September 13, 2017

Deal would be valued at more than $18 billion

Image result for Toshiba Corp, signage, photos

A group including private-equity firm Bain Capital and technology giant Apple Inc. signed a letter of intent to buy Toshiba Corp.’s chip business for more than $18 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

An agreement with the group, which also includes Seagate Technology PLC and Dell Inc., could be announced later Wednesday in Japan, the people said. It is unclear who else may be in the group and its membership could still change.

The agreement would be the latest twist in a contentious sale process that is likely far from over.

Toshiba is seeking to unload the chip unit as part of a survival plan in the wake of huge losses at its U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse Electric Co., which filed for bankruptcy earlier this year. The Tokyo company has said its plan centers around selling the profitable semiconductor unit, which makes NAND flash-memory chips used for data storage in smartphones, computers and other electronics products.

Write to Dana Mattioli at

Encourage children to spend more time online, says former head of British Intelligence — “The country is desperately short of engineers and computer scientists, and lacks the broad ‘cyber skills’”

August 8, 2017

The Guardian

Robert Hannigan says children developing cyber skills could ‘save the country’ as UK was falling behind competitors

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 Robert Hannigan, in 2015, when he was director of GCHQ. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA

Parents should be encouraging their children to spend more time online in order to “save the country,” the former head of GCHQ has said.

Robert Hannigan, who was head of Britain’s surveillance agency between 2014 and 2017, said that the UK was struggling to keep up with competitors when it came to cyber skills.

He said parents should not feel guilty if teenagers spend hours of their summer holidays in front of a screen.

“The assumption that time online or in front of a screen is life wasted needs challenging,” Hannigan said. “It is driven by fear.”

The call comes days after the children’s commissioner warned parents that they should intervene to stop their children overusing social media and consuming time online “like junk food”.

In an interview with the Observer, Anne Longfield said that parents should “step up” and be proactive in stopping their children from bingeing on the internet during the summer holidays.

Writing in the Telegraph, Hannigan disagreed. “If you are spending a disproportionate amount of your holiday unsuccessfully attempting to separate your children from wifi or their digital devices, do not despair.

“Your poor parenting may be helping them and saving the country.”

The opinions come after a report said that children in all age groups are spending ever-longer periods online, according to Ofcom. Children aged five to 15 are spending 15 hours a week online.

Hannigan argues that young people need to explore the digital world just as they explore the physical world, in order to fully develop the kinds of skills both the country and they as individuals will need in the future.

He said: “This country is desperately short of engineers and computer scientists, and lacks the broad ‘cyber skills’ needed now, never mind in the next 20 years. The baseline of understanding is too low and often behind our competitors.

“If we are to capitalise on the explosion of data that will come through the ‘internet of things’, and the arrival of artificial intelligence and machine learning, we need young people who have been allowed to behave like engineers: to explore, break things and put them together.

“Arguably that is what children always did in their summer holidays. The difference today is that they will want to explore, experiment and break things digitally.”

He also said that parents should attempt to catch up and improve their own cyber skills, suggesting they buy a Raspberry Pi.

“You could build it with your children and learn at least the concept of computer coding; there are plenty of free guides on the web,” he said.

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Children should be allowed to explore the digital world just as they explore the physical world, says Robert Hannigan

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By Ben Farmer
The Telegraph

Parents should encourage their children to spend more time online to improve their cyber skills and ‘save the country’, the former head of GCHQ declares today.

Rather than allowing youngsters to ‘mooch around on the streets’ during the holidays, it is families’ patriotic duty to encourage more screen time, according to Robert Hannigan.

Writing for the Telegraph today, the former head of the Government’s electronic spy agency, warns that Britain is struggling to keep pace with its digital rivals.

Without giving children more time to embrace and master the virtual world, the UK will fall further behind, he says.

His call comes just days after the children’s commissioner argued that children are already too attached to online devices.

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British Airways: Boss who outsourced 700 IT jobs to India may have to quit after computer failure hits 300,000 potential passengers — Airline could be liable for £150m compensation

May 29, 2017

No automatic alt text available.

  • BA boss Alex Cruz was blamed for IT meltdown that saw 1,000 flights disrupted 
  • Hundreds of skilled IT jobs at British Airways were outsourced to India last year 
  • Travellers queued out doors at Heathrow and Gatwick on Sunday to rebook trips 
  • Airline could be liable for £150m compensation – the largest ever such payment 

Alex Cruz (pictured) was appointed boss of British Airways last year

British Airways was accused of a ‘moronic’ cover-up last night after an IT meltdown brought misery to 300,000 passengers.

The systems failure caused mass flight cancellations over the weekend, ruining the half-term holiday plans of thousands of families and causing chaos at airports.

But the airline has kept travellers in the dark about its cause, denying a cyber attack and blaming only a ‘power failure’ at an undisclosed location.

Critics, however, blamed drastic cost-cutting – including a decision to axe 700 computer experts in the UK and contract out services to India.

There were calls last night for controversial BA chief executive Alex Cruz to resign amid condemnation of his ‘slash-and-burn’ approach to costs and service.

Yesterday, he sent a gagging email to staff in an unsuccessful attempt to stop them making public comments on the crisis. On a costly day for the airline:

  • There were chaotic scenes at Heathrow and Gatwick as families were forced to queue outside the terminal buildings;
  • Families condemned the ‘awful’ lack of communication from the airline;
  • Hotels near the airports were accused of cashing in on the crisis by hiking up their prices for desperate families;
  • BA’s compensation bill could reach a record £150 million;
  • MPs urged the airline to come clean about the cause of the IT failure;
  • Passengers were warned to brace themselves for further disruption this week.

Many families have lost their holidays, while others have been forced to sleep on the floor of Britain’s two biggest airports since the computer crash on Saturday.

Louise Wickham, who was travelling with her husband and two children, spoke for many. ‘There was no communication at all, it’s been a real shambles,’ she said.

While those without a booking were told not to come to the airports, that provided no relief for foreign passengers who found themselves stranded at the airport

While those without a booking were told not to come to the airports, that provided no relief for foreign passengers who found themselves stranded at the airport

Families who had dreamed of spending their bank holiday weekend away were instead left sleeping in a terminal building

Families who had dreamed of spending their bank holiday weekend away were instead left sleeping in a terminal building

‘We had no idea what was going on, there was no information, they just kept saying wait for the gate. We were trapped and kept against our will in conditions that were just awful.’ The airline and Mr Cruz have blamed the computer meltdown on a power failure. The vague explanation has been dismissed by aviation industry insiders as ‘moronic’. They said airlines made sure they survived power failures by using a system known as UPS – uninterruptible power supply. It means that if one mains power supply fails, the business switches automatically to a second supply.

Labour parliamentary candidate John Spellar called on BA and its boss to be honest with customers. ‘The failure to come clean on just where this problem occurred will fuel suspicions that it is linked to the decision to switch responsibility for computer systems to India,’ he said.

A letter, reportedly signed by a senior BA pilot, called on Mr Cruz to ‘take full responsibility for this calamitous day in BA’s history’. It adds: ‘Please stand aside and let the skilled staff of BA put some common sense back into our operation.’

Rival airline Ryanair poked fun at BA on Twitter by featuring an image from the BBC’s Little Britain comedy series with the caption ‘Computer says “No”.’

A 'power failure' with the airline's IT system at around 11am on Saturday caused all flights to be cancelled from both Gatwick and Heathrow (pictured on Sunday) for the rest of the day

A ‘power failure’ with the airline’s IT system at around 11am on Saturday caused all flights to be cancelled from both Gatwick and Heathrow (pictured on Sunday) for the rest of the day

At Gatwick (pictured) all scheduled flights departed on Sunday morning, though most were running with delays

At Gatwick (pictured) all scheduled flights departed on Sunday morning, though most were running with delays

Mr Cruz has refused to answer questions on the crisis. Instead he has been hiding behind video apologies issued on Twitter. Aviation workers, including BA staff, anonymously used a website called the Professional Pilots Rumour Network to vent their frustrations. Many were critical of Mr Cruz.

One wrote: ‘He is a slash-and-burn manager and his philosophy and aggressive cost-cutting has obviously been taken a step too far here and he has to go for the good of BA.’ Another said: ‘He is a rabid cost-cutter and frankly should be sacked.’

Industry analysts warned the computer failure will come with an enormous bill.

James Walker, chief executive of the Resolver claims website, said: ‘The average claim will be around £300. That’s £90 million – a monumental amount. But when you add in the cost of hotels the airline has to provide, the cost could top £150 million. It could be the biggest compensation payout ever.’

BA’s parent company IAG reported profits of £2.2 billion last year, and has said it expects an even higher figure this year.

The airline claimed flights out of Gatwick were returning to normal yesterday, albeit with long delays. Long-haul flights out of Heathrow were getting back on track, but short-haul flights to the Med were cancelled. A similar pattern is expected today.

Cost-cutting boss gags BA staff: Chief uses message to tell staff to refrain from ‘live commentary’ on the crisis

By Sean Poulter and James Burton

The beleaguered boss of British Airways tried to gag staff from commenting on the computer meltdown that has plunged hundreds of thousands of passengers into chaos.

Alex Cruz, who was brought in to cut costs at the airline, has so far refused to be publicly questioned on the crisis that has ruined families’ holidays.

Instead, the Spanish businessman has chosen to record a series of video messages issued via BA’s Twitter account.

Mr Cruz has been bombarded by messages from staff seeking an explanation for the chaos to pass on to passengers.

Mr Cruz’s email asking his workers not to comment

Alex Cruz pictured in a video on BA's internal social media system

Alex Cruz pictured in a video on BA’s internal social media system


either you are part of the team working to fix this or you aren’t. We are not in the mode of ‘debriefing on what happened’ but rather ‘let’s fix this mode’.

I have been answering some emails from colleagues (thank you for the support) and I just finished a video for media and another for all of us. I suppose you will have seen our Twitter account and

Now, your interest on today’s events is well noted. I am wondering if you would like to help out? Either LHR or LGW or anyone of our stations could use you, now. If you indeed can, drop me a message and I will connect you or go straight to the airport and make yourself available. I am sure they will appreciate your involvement.

In the meantime, if you do not want to get involved or cannot get involved, I would kindly ask you to refrain from live commentary, unless it is a message of support to the thousands of colleagues that love BA as much as you do.


People attempt to keep themselves occupied on phones and with a nap at Heathrow on Sunday as the BA travel chaos spilled over into a second day

People attempt to keep themselves occupied on phones and with a nap at Heathrow on Sunday as the BA travel chaos spilled over into a second day

But instead of coming clean, he issued an email for BA staff urging them not to speak publicly about the crisis.

In a message seen by many staff as a veiled threat, he wrote: ‘Guys, either you are part of the team trying to fix this or you aren’t. We are not in the mode of “debriefing on what happened”, but rather “let’s fix this mode”.’

He asked employees to volunteer to come in to work at Heathrow and Gatwick to tackle the backlog of flights and passengers but added: ‘If you don’t want to get involved or you cannot get involved, I would kindly ask you to refrain from live commentary.’

The airline has confirmed the email is genuine and said the intention is to encourage staff to volunteer to deal with the problems.

A source at BA said: ‘There was no intention to silence people. While we welcome open discussion our focus now is to help our customers and get our operation back to normal.’

Mr Cruz made a controversial decision last year to shut down the airline’s British computer department with the loss of 700 jobs around the country.

The £5billion Spanish merger

It is the UK’s flag carrier, and was once known as ‘the world’s favourite airline’.

But in 2010, British Airways joined forces with Spanish airline Iberia in a £5 billion merger to create IAG, Europe’s third largest scheduled airline.

British shareholders took 55 per cent of the business and the firm based its operational headquarters in London, although the parent company is officially registered in Madrid. Willie Walsh, who first went to BA as chief executive after turning around Aer Lingus, is chief executive of IAG and saw his salary rise from £735,000 to £825,000 following the merger.

With its roots in the pioneers of commercial flight soon after the First World War, British Airways came from a merger of British European Airways and BOAC in 1974.

He is thought to have been paid £830,000 last year.

The tasks of designing and managing the firm’s IT systems were contracted out to the Indian firm Tata Consultancy Services.

One of those made redundant said yesterday: ‘The failure of their website doesn’t surprise me at all.

‘When I was still working there, all the BA-employed IT people still had some pride in what they did.’

The comments echo those of the GMB union’s national aviation officer, Mick Rix, who said: ‘This could have all been avoided. BA in 2016 made hundreds of dedicated and loyal IT staff redundant and outsourced the work to India.’

Mr Cruz, 51, has long had a reputation for ruthlessness. As boss of the no-frills airline Vuelling, he outlawed colour printing, banned paper towels from washrooms and offered visitors to business meetings only tap water.

The married father-of-four’s penny-pinching talents were rewarded with the top job at British Airways 18 months ago. Out went free meals on every flight and in came extra seats to cram more passengers on to flights, severely reducing legroom.

Such moves provoked a backlash from customers who felt the airline – which once claimed to be the world’s favourite – was selling its elegant image for swift profits.

But Mr Cruz breezily denied there was a problem. ‘Consumers value what they get from BA,’ he said in February. ‘If they didn’t, you wouldn’t have customers or see the numbers growing.’

Mr Cruz was born in Spain but went to university in Michigan and Ohio in the US before joining American Airlines in 1990.

The businessman, who is thought to live in London, went on to become the founding chief executive of start-up budget airline Clickair and took over rival Vueling when the two firms merged.

There was steady growth during his time in charge, delighting the board at parent firm International Airlines Group, which also owns BA.

While British Airways IT systems are now running again, the airline has not said how long disruption will last for (pictured, people asleep on the floor at Heathrow on Sunday)

While British Airways IT systems are now running again, the airline has not said how long disruption will last for (pictured, people asleep on the floor at Heathrow on Sunday)


People checking in for flights at Heathrow also faced long queues on Sunday, as more flights were cancelled and delayed

People checking in for flights at Heathrow also faced long queues on Sunday, as more flights were cancelled and delayed

But his tenure was marred by customer complaints, with embittered travellers even launching a Facebook page. In an interview soon after taking over at BA, Mr Cruz scornfully dismissed BA’s heritage as ‘legacy practices’.

He said the company was ‘very slow’ and it was time to ‘take decisions quickly and take them to market quickly’.

He was obsessed with technology, frequently citing Google, Facebook and Uber, and stressed that he thought airlines could thrive only if they mastered IT.

‘We’re prisoners, in a way, of really old technology which is very difficult to change,’ he said.

Mr Cruz initially promised he was going to introduce new computer systems that would speed everything up – words that might be coming back to haunt him.

‘There’s new technology coming in that makes operations safer and faster,’ he said. ‘Lots of customers want to use this sort of technology to access the plane.’

Stranded passengers’ fury as hotels hike their prices 

By George Odling

Stranded BA passengers have spoken of their anger after hotels cashed in on their desperation by massively inflating room rates.

The only room available near Heathrow from its Hotel Reservations desk yesterday was a £600 double at the Park Inn hotel.

A member of staff said the rooms were normally priced between £100 and £150 but the huge demand had driven prices up. The only room available at the airport’s Sofitel Hotel was a luxury suite for £495.

Christophe Hurault, 37, had spent Saturday night sleeping on the airport floor with his wife and three children – aged between nine and 11 – after the family’s flight to Paris was cancelled.

The airline was unable to rebook flights yesterday after all of its IT systems went down, meaning the work had to be started afresh on Sunday (pictured, people asleep at Heathrow)

The airline was unable to rebook flights yesterday after all of its IT systems went down, meaning the work had to be started afresh on Sunday (pictured, people asleep at Heathrow)

Mr Hurault, who works for the French interior ministry, said: ‘When we tried to book a room on Saturday night we were told the only one available was at the Hyatt and it would cost £1,500. So no chance.

Mr Hurault and his family have been told they could fly to Barcelona last night and then to Paris this morning.

New Yorker Jose Duran, 37, also spent the night on the airport floor when his flight to Greece was cancelled on Saturday.

‘They said they could reimburse us £100 each for a hotel room,’ he said. ‘But I gave up checking because there was no chance of getting a room for anywhere near that price.’

Brazilian banker Eric Nakamura, 37, said he stopped at a guest house in Hounslow on Saturday after his flight home was cancelled and was told a room would cost £2,000.

He said: ‘Eventually we paid about £200 to stay in the Tower Hotel in London.

‘I think it’s awful that the hotels nearby were taking advantage when people were desperate.’

‘Trapped against our will in awful conditions’

The Wickham and Carleton families spent 12 hours at Heathrow on Saturday after their flight to Greece was cancelled.

Liz and Mark Carleton, their two children, Mrs Carleton’s parents, James and Cathy, and friends Louise and Steve Wickham and their two children, had paid £14,000 for a week-long Neilson holiday.

They arrived at the airport at 9.30am for their 1.45pm flight, passed through security, and were repeatedly told their flight was simply delayed. When they were eventually told it had been cancelled they were unable to leave for four hours, as they were stuck in a queue of thousands and had to have their passports checked again.

The families had to leave their luggage overnight and travel home to Guildford, Surrey, in two taxis, costing £50 each.

Liz Carleton, 41, James Carleton, 71 Steve Wickham, 44, Cathy Carleton, 71, Mark Carleton, 42 and kids Olive, Sam, James and Jack

Liz Carleton, 41, James Carleton, 71 Steve Wickham, 44, Cathy Carleton, 71, Mark Carleton, 42 and kids Olive, Sam, James and Jack

They returned at 9.30am yesterday, only to be told they were not allowed into Terminal 5 until 90 minutes before their 1.45pm flight. Mrs Wickham, 40, said: ‘There was no BA staff anywhere; all the information we got was from Twitter or the news … We were trapped and kept against our will in conditions that were just awful. I think they intentionally kept the BA staff away because people would have been screaming at them. It’s been a real shambles … there were people in tears in there yesterday.’

John and Zoe Attwood, both 60, were forced to cancel a trip to Corfu. They spent more than ten hours at the airport yesterday after arriving for a 5.50am flight. At 12.30pm they were told it was cancelled and there would not be another until Tuesday.

Mr Attwood, who works in the air freight industry, said: ‘It is so disorganised, it’s just disgusting. There are no BA staff around at all, no one explaining anything to us.’

Dozens more BA flights were cancelled from Heathrow on Sunday morning, adding to the passenger blacklog

Dozens more BA flights were cancelled from Heathrow on Sunday morning, adding to the passenger blacklog

The couple from Hounslow, west London, had rented a £2,000 villa they planned to share with others for ten days. Mr Attwood added: ‘We’ve been here since the early hours and no one has offered us an apology, just a leaflet about how to get compensation … What a shambles.’

American singer Patrick Schwarz had an audition in New York today but will be unable to attend after his flight was cancelled. The 26-year-old spent eight hours at Heathrow on Saturday and was turned away from Terminal 5 yesterday. He said: ‘They are saying to book with another airline, but it’s about £1,000 and I just can’t afford that.’

Herman and Catharina Rierink, both 64, slept on the airport floor on Saturday night and planned to do so yesterday after their flight to Amsterdam was cancelled. The Dutch couple found out via the BBC website, rather than updates at the airport.

Mr Rierink said: ‘We were told they would reimburse us up to £200 for a hotel but all the hotels nearby were either full or more than £300. We had to sleep on the floor … It’s incredibly uncomfortable. It was terrible.’


What should airlines offer travellers who are delayed?

If the delay is more than two hours, the airline should provide food and drink, usually through a voucher.

If the delay is overnight, the airline should provide hotel accommodation, and fund the cost of transport to and from the hotel.

Where the airline does not provide accommodation, travellers can arrange their own and reclaim the cost. The hotel costs must be ‘reasonable’.

Customers are urged to keep any food, transport or hotel receipts and can claim through the BA Customer Relations team.

What are the rights to compensation for a delayed or cancelled flight?

The EU Denied Boarding Regulation includes rights to compensation for delayed or cancelled services that depart within the EU or are operated by a European airline.

A delay of more than three hours for short-haul flights (up to 1,500km or 930 miles) equates to compensation of €250 (£219). The figure is €400 (£350) for medium-haul trips (1,500km to 3,500km).

For long-haul flights (more than 3,500km), delays of between three and four hours means compensation of €300 (£262). For delays longer than four hours the figure is €600 (£524).

Each traveller will be entitled to the compensation set out above. Consequently, a family of four travelling to the US who have been delayed more than four hours would be entitled to a full refund plus £2,096.

How to claim compensation?

BA says affected customers can claim a full refund or rebook to a future date up until the end of November 2017. It is legally required to compensate people whose flights have been delayed or cancelled.

However, the airline said it will deal with these on a ‘case by case’ basis, which means people will have to make a claim.

Advice and template letters to do this are provided by the consumer group Which? at

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May 15, 2017

Websites of several government agencies and private companies have been hacked in the recent past, so the news about a global cyber attack using a ransomware program called WannaCry should raise alarm bells.

The attack, which demanded ransom payments emailed by web link or attachment in 28 languages, hit 230,000 computers running Microsoft Windows in 99 countries when it was launched last Friday. WannaCry reportedly used an infection vector developed by the US National Security Agency. A kill switch was quickly found, but an updated version reportedly lacks the kill switch.

As news of the WannaCry attack spread, Philippine authorities reassured the public that cyber security measures were being stepped up. The government is also setting up a secure data center in Subic. Events in the recent past, however, have exposed the continuing high vulnerability of the country to cyber attacks.

Last year the vulnerability was exploited in laundering $81 million through two Philippine casinos and a commercial bank. The money was stolen by hackers, believed to be from North Korea, from the Bangladesh central bank’s account in the US Federal Reserve in New York. The cyber heist, still unsolved, prompted analysts to describe the Philippines as a “black hole” that could be exploited by cyber thieves and money launderers. The weakness in cyber security makes the country vulnerable to many other criminal activities that have been facilitated by the internet.

The country should not be lacking in tech-savvy individuals who can improve cyber security. Computer courses are among the most popular in the country, although many graduates are working overseas. In 2000, a Filipino computer graduate unleashed the “Love Bug” virus that wreaked havoc in at least 20 countries and caused losses estimated at up to $10 billion. Instead of using their skills for mischief, local techies can be tapped in fighting computer viruses and hackers. The WannaCry attack should give urgency to boosting cyber security.




Rigged Debates: Wikileaks Emails Confirm Media in Clinton’s Pocket


Singapore: New Smart Nation and Digital Government Office to be formed on May 1

March 20, 2017

Image may contain: one or more people and people standing

21 Mar 2017 00:18

SINGAPORE: Staff from digital and technology teams in several ministries will form a new office in charge of digital transformation in the public service on May 1, the Prime Minister’s Office announced on Monday (Mar 20).

The Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO), to be formed under the Prime Minister’s Office, will comprise staff from the Ministry of Finance’s Digital Government Directorate, the Ministry of Communications and Information’s Government Technology Policy department and the Smart Nation Programme Office.

The Government Technology Agency (GovTech) will also be placed under the Prime Minister’s Office as the implementing agency of SNDGO.

Together, GovTech and SNDGO will form the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (SNDGG).

The SNDGG’s responsibilities include driving digital transformation for the public service to strengthen the Government’s information and communications technology infrastructure and improve public service delivery.

The group will lead the development of a national digital identity framework to facilitate digital transactions as well as a national platform to support Government agencies’ use of Internet of Things applications, which link physical items such as cars, health devices and home appliances to the Internet.

It will work with other Government agencies, industries and the public to apply technologies to improve Singaporeans’ lives in areas such as urban mobility, the Prime Minister’s Office said. For example, the SNDGG will work with the Land Transport Authority on technologies to improve public transport, enhance urban logistics and reduce congestion.

It will also build on ongoing work by GovTech to enhance data sharing through the portal and collaborate with the Monetary Authority of Singapore to promote e-payments.


Permanent Secretary of Defence Development in the Ministry of Defence Ng Chee Khern will concurrently lead the SNDGG as Permanent Secretary from May 1.

The SNDGG will be overseen by a ministerial committee chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean. Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim will be the deputy chairman. Other committee members include Minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation initiative Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Higher Education and Skills Ong Ye Kung – who has been appointed to champion public service innovation – and Minister of State for Communications and Information and Education Janil Puthucheary, who will be the Minister-in-charge of GovTech.

Mr Ng will also retain his appointment as chairman of the GovTech Board, which will oversee GovTech’s operations and guide the agency’s efforts to support Smart Nation and digital government, the Prime Minister’s Office said.


Dr Balakrishnan said the reorganisation will put the Smart Nation’s master planning, policy and implementation together and “turbo-charge” the Government’s efforts towards this goal.

“This is not really a technical or technological issue per se. It requires a change in mindset, a change in relationships, the way we work together as a whole of Singapore,” he said.

For example, it requires a whole-of-Government effort to put together a common platform for e-payments, along with the cooperation of the whole private sector as well as banking and financial institutions, Dr Balakrishnan said.

Dr Puthucheary also said efforts to improve the way the Government is run will not work as well as desired without “excellent people”.

“A big part of what we want to do is to build a deep engineering talent in Singapore, bringing more people into engineering, into ICT engineering, cyber security engineering, data analysis, whether they’re here in Singapore or Singaporeans residing overseas.”

He added that there are many talented Singaporeans working in these fields overseas. “We’re hoping we can attract people back into Singapore to build that engineering team here.”

WikiLeaks Dump Adds to China’s Foreign-Tech Wariness

March 9, 2017

Revelation of purported CIA hacking methods hands ammunition to the country’s cyberspace hawks

While the purported CIA documents leaked this week by WikiLeaks focus on the likes of Apple and Samsung, Chinese companies like Huawei do get some coverage. 

While the purported CIA documents leaked this week by WikiLeaks focus on the likes of Apple and Samsung, Chinese companies like Huawei do get some coverage.  PHOTO: SADILEK JAN/ZUMA PRESS

BEIJING—The latest WikiLeaks trove hands fresh ammunition to China’s cyberspace hawks, already pushing to reduce dependence on foreign products that could be vulnerable to espionage, observers say.

“The level of alarm in China will certainly increase, and with it a renewed determination to clamp down still further on U.S. technology companies’ operations in China,” said Peter Fuhrman, chairman of Shenzhen-based advisory firm China First Capital, which follows China’s tech sector.

The documents released this week—more than 8,000 pages in all—purport to show how the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency breaks into computers, smartphones, TVs and other electronics for surveillance. Many documents deal with leading non-Chinese brands like Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co., though there is some coverage of Chinese products, including routers from Huawei Technologies Inc. and Baidu Inc.’s search engine.

The Chinese-product references are relatively sparse—and, in some cases, obscure. An undated list of CIA internal hacking demonstrations, for example, includes the “Panda Poke-Huawei credless exploit”—which one cybersecurity specialist says may be a method for taking advantage of vulnerabilities without logins or other “credentials.” There is also the “Huawei VOIP Collection,” a reference to “voice over internet Protocol,” making phone calls over the internet.

The document doesn’t say whether these methods were used for intelligence gathering. Huawei declined to comment.

A file titled “Small Routers Research-work in progress” lists router models from Huawei and ZTE Corp. It also mentions China’s three state-owned telecom companies and Baidu’s search engine, without further details.

The telecom companies and Baidu declined to comment.

The leak also offered what seem to be workaday notes among colleagues, including one CIA worker’s complaint about one piece of software’s default-language setting. “I don’t speak Chinese,” he griped.

WikiLeaks’ website is blocked in China, but Chinese state-run media reported the document leak, focusing on U.S. companies. Overall response has been muted, possibly because the official spotlight this week is on Beijing’s annual legislative gathering.

Cybersecurity experts say China maintains its own robust cyberhacking apparatus, though Beijing characterizes itself as purely a hacking victim, not a perpetrator.

“China is opposed to any form of cyberattack,” foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Thursday. “We urge the U.S. side to stop its wiretapping, surveillance, espionage and cyberattacks on China and other countries. China will firmly safeguard its own cybersecurity.”

In recent years, China has seized on leaks about U.S. surveillance to fan public support for its domestic tech products. U.S. tech brands felt a chill after former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed NSA surveillance methods in 2013.

“It is like snow on more snow,” one China executive of a U.S. technology company said of the potential sales impact of the latest leaks.

These leaks could help countries counter CIA tapping and develop their own capabilities, said Nigel Inkster, former deputy chief of U.K. spy agency MI6.

“China, Russia et al will now both be better attuned to the risks posed by these capabilities,” he said, “and will no doubt seek to use them themselves.”

Commentary: How ‘evolving’ technology leads to fewer choices and creates mountains of waste

February 22, 2017

Using older devices is constraining because of the limited support for its hardware and software. Hence, consumers have no choice but to upgrade or look for people with the skills to repair it.

Let me ask you a question. Are you periodically forced to buy a new laptop because the technology – hardware or software – in your current laptop is no longer supported even though it is fully functional?

The Microsoft Windows operating system is estimated to power about 90 per cent of world’s personal computers today. Newer versions of Windows appear every couple of years or so. Once that happens, many applications, such as your favourite web browser, rush to support the new version. Over a few years, these applications move away from supporting older versions to the same extent as the new one.

Google Chrome is a case in point. When it’s running on Windows Vista (a much older Windows operating system) on my laptop, it no longer receives updates from Google — that support has been removed. Microsoft has itself stopped support for Windows Vista.

Another example: I have found it very difficult to find an external hard drive – the device you use to back up your data, photographs of family and friends and songs – that works with my fully functional eight-year-old Windows Vista-based laptop.

Almost all easily available external hard disks now support some of the more recent versions of Windows. So, how can consumers like me get the required hard disk? The answer is that they probably can’t.


Companies design products with an expected lifespan, and they plan technical support and product warranty accordingly. A good rule of thumb to estimate a product’s lifetime is to look at its warranty period, as it can help you guess how often its manufacturer would be launching new products.

Apple provides a one-year limited warranty and launches a new iPhone almost every year. After the initial warranty period, you need to purchase an additional warranty for extended coverage.

The warranty period is clearly not the actual expected lifetime of a product. But it does mean that if you don’t care for your device, you will be paying extra money for additional coverage in the best case scenario, or buying a new and more expensive device in the worst.

After a few years, even your caring attitude will inevitably reach a point of diminishing returns because no matter how functional the hardware is, the software technology driving it evolves much faster.


New products are seen as new choices but, unless you have the financial means, you actually have fewer choices.

Using your older device constrains you because of the limited support for its hardware and software. And what happens when your old device runs into issues, even if they are minor ones? Since there’s no more support available for the hardware or the software, your options are to upgrade, or look for people with the skills to repair it.

An upgrade can be expensive and the people with the necessary skills may simply not exist. Technical repair skills have sadly been on the decline.

This is not just the case in the consumer electronics industry, where the US Bureau of Labour Statistics predicts a decline of 2 per cent from 2014 to 2024 for electrical and electronics engineering technician jobs, but also in the automobileand other industries. This is a trend seen across in advanced economies.

Developing countries tend to have secondhand markets and thriving repair bazaars, such as Nehru Place and Gaffar Market in New Delhi, Harco Glodok in Jakarta and 25 de Marco in Sao Paolo. You may have access to these markets, but the quality of their services is seldom guaranteed – and not all services are legal.


It is one thing to have purchasing power limited by financial means and another entirely to have it curtailed because of reduced choices.

While companies may claim that user expectations change market dynamics, it’s also true that many companies make tireless efforts through advertisements and promotions to influence user expectations. Some actually try to set user expectations.

The latter is typified in the idea that “customers don’t know what they want”, which is eschewed by many because of Steve Jobs. The goal of this idea is essentially to manoeuvre customers to satisfy a company’s goals.

When a large customer base moves towards a particular set of products, a company need not continue offering support for pre-existing products. Many people may not need the new product, but they sell in the name of technological ‘evolution’ even when this evolution is nothing more than feature enhancement.


In countries where a service provider also sells consumer devices on contract, reduced choices may not be apparent. Take for example, smart phones such as Apple’s iPhone, which are sold by mobile carriers. With the launch of every a new iPhone, customers may have the option to upgrade to the latest device at a cost. Many see this as an opportunity to get a new device every few years.

Some of the devices discarded as a result may find their way through vendor buyback programs, others may be recycled or refurbished versions in certain markets – but mostly without any warranty. Many others still, though, find their way to a landfill and thus contribute to electronic waste.

Even if we give consumers the choice to not contribute to e-waste or delay it as much as possible, will they be likely to exercise it? Probably not, given the rate of technological evolution. Devices discarded because of a lack of technical support (like my laptop) are likely to find their way to landfills.

A lot of the technological evolution in consumer electronics market today is not trying to solve a pressing need. Rather, it’s trying to fulfill desires, not all of which are innately human. And, in the process, it is reducing the choices we have.

This article first appeared in The Conversation. Author Sharad Sinha is a Research Scientist at the Computer Science and Engineering faculty of Nanyang Technological University. Read the original report here