Posts Tagged ‘Portugal’

Portugal Asks for Help From Europe to Fight Fires — Thousands of firemen currently engaged — Portugal’s worst fire disaster in memory

August 13, 2017

LISBON — More than 3,000 firemen struggled to put out forest fires across Portugal on Sunday, after the country requested assistance from Europe to fight blazes that threaten to spread with more hot weather in the coming days.

Exceptionally dry and hot weather ignited Portugal’s worst fire disaster in memory early this summer, killing 64 people, and fires have continued to flare up in recent weeks with the arrival of each new hotter spell of weather.

Interior Minister Constanca Urbana de Sousa said the country sent the request for help to Europe late on Saturday because of concerns that high temperatures and high winds in the coming days could increase the number of fires.

Firefighters in June tried to bring a fire under control in a valley near Góis, Portugal. Credit Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

The minister said the request was carried out “because of a question of prudence” due to the weather forecast for coming days, according to news agency Lusa. It covered requests for firefighting airplanes and firemen and is part of a European mechanism for cooperation to fight fires.

Emergency services said 268 fires broke out on Saturday, the highest number for any single day this year, with 6,500 firemen fighting to put them out. There are fears that many of them could flare up again later on Sunday, with higher winds and temperatures that hit in the afternoon.

The central district of Coimbra adopted a local state of emergency to deal with fires, as did four smaller municipalities in the region.

While fires have burned through the summer none has had the tragic impact of the one in late June, as emergency services have gone to far greater efforts to evacuate villages and shut roads early in affected areas.

But the country could face many more weeks of fires before the end of summer.

More than 140,000 hectares of forest have burned this summer in Portugal, more than three times higher than the average over the last 10 years, according to European Union data.

(Reporting By Axel Bugge; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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Portugal Forest Fires Worsen, Fed by Poor Choices and Inaction

Portugal is likely to see more massive forest fires

June 19, 2017

AFP

© AFP / by Laurence COUSTAL | Heat waves have become more frequent in Portugal, say experts

PARIS (AFP) – Highly exposed to global warming’s climate-altering impacts, Portugal is likely to see more massive forest fires such as the one — still raging — that has killed at least 60 people this weekend, experts say.- Why Portugal, why now? –

The Iberian peninsula encompassing Portugal and Spain is experiencing a warmer, drier June than usual, explains Thomas Curt, a researcher at France’s Irstea climate and agriculture research institute.

Added to that, the country has vast expanses of highly inflammable plants, including forests of pine and eucalyptus trees.

“Hotter air is synonymous with drier and more inflammable vegetation,” said Curt. “The more the mercury climbs, so does the risk of fires and their intensity.”

Temperatures in the region have warmed by more than the global average over the past half century, according to a 2014 review of climate change impacts on Portugal.

Heat waves have become more frequent, and annual rainfall slightly less, said the review published in the journal WIREs Climate Change.

More frequent and pronounced heat waves are expected in future, accompanied by a “substantial increase” in fire risk — “both in severity and in length of the fire season,” it said.

– Does global warming boost forest fire risk? –

“It is certain — we are experiencing a rise in temperatures,” said Curt.

The Northern hemisphere summer has lengthened over the past 50 years from July-to-August, to June-to-October now — meaning a longer fire risk season.

There has been an increase in major fires of more than 100 hectares, and so-called “megafires” of more than 1,000 hectares, the researcher added.

“It is truly a growing problem everywhere in the world, and notably in Mediterranean Europe.”

These mega blazes remain rare — only about 2-3 percent of all fires — but are responsible for about three-quarters of all surface burnt.

“Many analyses of climate change show that these major fires will become more and more likely,” said Curt.

– What to do? –

In the short term, reinforce firefighting capacity, deploy patrols, set up watchtowers to raise the alarm, and ban fire-making everywhere.

Over the longer term, human settlements and green areas will need to be substantially redesigned, experts say.

Some forest will have to be cut back, undergrowth cleared, and residential areas moved further from scrubland and forest borders, to reduce the risk to life and property.

“The focus of efforts should shift from combating forest fires as they arise to preventing them from existing, through responsible long-term forest management,” green group WWF said.

“Responsible forest management is more effective and financially more efficient than financing the giant firefighting mechanisms that are employed every year.”

In the yet longer term, added Curt, “of course, we need to curtail global warming itself.”

by Laurence COUSTAL

Deadly wildfires around the world

June 18, 2017

AFP

© AFP | One of Australia’s worst wildfires killed around 173 people in 2009

PARIS (AFP) – Portuguese firefighters kept up the battle Sunday after one of the worst wildfire disasters in recent history killed at least 62 people.Here is a rundown of some of the deadliest wildfires around the world over the past two centuries.

– Australia –

In February 2009, at least 173 people die in brush fires in the south east, notably in the state of Victoria where entire towns and more than 2,000 houses are destroyed. The fires lasts several weeks before being contained by thousands of firemen and volunteers. It is one of the worst fires ever recorded in Australia.

– China –

In May 1987, the deadliest forest fire in recent Chinese history kills 119 in the northeast of the country, injuring 102 and leaving 51,000 homeless.

– France –

In August 1949, in the southwest Landes region, 82 rescue workers are killed. The victims — firemen, volunteers and soldiers — are caught in a ball of fire after the winds suddenly changed direction.

– Greece –

In 2007, 77 people die at the end of August in unprecedented forest fires that ravaged 250,000 hectares (2,500 square kilometres) in the southern Peloponnese and the island of Evia, northeast of Athens. The fires are the worst recorded in Greece in recent years.

– Portugal –

In June 2017, a fire roars through Portugal’s central Leiria region, killing at least 62 people and injuring over 50 more.

In 1966, a fire in the forest of Sintra, west of Lisbon, kills 25 soldiers fighting the blaze.

– Russia –

Around 60 people die between July and August 2010 as fires rage in over a million hectares of forest, bogs and brushwood, burning entire villages in the western part of the country during an unprecedented heatwave and drought.

– United States –

Likely the country’s deadliest, a wildfire struck Peshtigo, Wisconsin in October 1871, killing between 800 and 1,200 people. The fire had been burning for several days before it ripped into the forested village with a population of 1,700, destroying it in a matter of hours. It also damaged 16 other villages and destroyed 500,000 hectares of land.

Related:

Portugal forest fires kill 43, many burn to death in their cars

June 18, 2017

Portugal, like most southern European countries, is prone to forest fires in the dry summer months

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 June, 2017, 11:15am
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 June, 2017, 5:34pm

Raging forest fires in central Portugal killed at least 43 people, many of them trapped in their cars as flames swept over a road, in what Prime Minister Antonio Costa on Sunday called “the biggest tragedy of human life that we have known in years”

The death toll initially stood at 25 in the early morning and the updated figure was given by public broadcaster RTP said the death toll, citing Interior Ministry official Jorge Gomes.

The fatalities occurred in the Pedrogao Grande area, about 150 kilometres northeast of Lisbon, where about 600 firefighters have been trying to put out the fires since Saturday, Gomes said.

Gomes said that at least 16 people were killed when their vehicles were engulfed by flames on a road between the towns of Figueiro dos Vinhos and Castanheira de Pera, and three others died from smoke inhalation in Figueiro dos Vinhos.

 Firefighters rest during the wildfire. Photo: AFP

No information was immediately given on how the others were killed.

A huge wall of thick smoke and bright red flames towered over the top of trees near houses in the wooded region.

Spanish state television showed terrifying images from the neighbouring country of several people on a road trying to escape the intense smoke that had reduced visibility to a question of a few meters. A young man shared a bottle of water with a distraught woman as she stumbled down the road.

Local resident Isabel Brandao said that she had feared for her life.

 Firefighters work to contain the forest fire. Photo: EPA

“Yesterday we saw the fire but thought it was very far. I never thought it would come to this side,” she said.

“At 3:30 a.m., my mother-in-law woke me up quickly and we never went to sleep again. We were afraid the fire would reach us.”

RTP said there are at least another 20 people injured, including six firefighters. Fourteen of the injured were in serious condition, RTP said.

Dry thunderstorms could have been the cause of the fatal blaze, according to the prime minister.

A huge wall of thick smoke and bright red flames towered over the top of trees near houses in the wooded region.

 A firefighter helps a woman during the forest fire. Photo: EPA

“This is a region that has had fires because of its forests, but we cannot remember a tragedy of these proportions,” said Valdemar Alves, mayor of Pedrogao Grande.

“I am completely stunned by the number of deaths.”

Costa said that firefighting crews were having difficulties in approaching the area because the fire was “very intense.”

He added that Portuguese authorities were working on identifying the victims and that Spanish rescuers would assist in efforts to control the blazes.

 Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa (L) embraces Secretary of State of Internal Administration Jorge Gomes. Photo: EPA

Costa said that while investigations are ongoing to determine the cause of the fire, authorities believe that the high temperatures of 40 Celsius in recent days may have played a part.

Portugal, like most southern European countries, is prone to forest fires in the dry summer months.

Portugal was hit by a series of fires last year which devastated more than 1,000 square kilometres of the mainland.

Fires on the tourist island of Madeira in August killed three people, while over the course of 2016 around 40 homes were destroyed and 5,400 hectares of land burned.

Associated Press, Agence France-Presse

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The Latest: Portugal Forest Fire Death Toll Rises to 39 — “Still could be more dead”

June 18, 2017

LISBON, Portugal — The Latest on Portugal forest fires (all times local):

8:25 a.m.

A Portuguese interior ministry official says that the death toll in the forest fires raging in central Portugal has increased to 39.

Interior Ministry official Jorge Gomes has been quoted as giving the new figure on public broadcaster RTP. Government officials say many of victims died in their cars when flames swept over a road.

About 600 firefighters are fighting blazes that are raging in the Pedrogao Grande area about 150 kilometers (95 miles) northeast of Lisbon.

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This item has been corrected to show that Jorge Gomes is an Interior Ministry official, not interior minister.

___

4:35 a.m.

Portuguese radio station TSF says the Interior Ministry has confirmed that 25 people have been killed in forest fires in central Portugal.

Government officials say many of victims died in their cars when flames swept over a road.

About 600 firefighters are fighting blazes that are raging in the Pedrogao Grande area about 150 kilometers (95 miles) northeast of Lisbon.

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BBC News

A catastrophic forest fire in Portugal has claimed at least 43 lives, officials say.

Many died while trying to flee the Pedrógão Grande area, 50 km (30 miles) south-east of Coimbra, in their cars, according to the government.

Several firefighters are among the 59 people injured.

“Unfortunately this seems to be the greatest tragedy we have seen in recent years in terms of forest fires,” said Prime Minister Antonio Costa.

The death toll could rise further, he said.

Secretary of State for the Interior Jorge Gomes said that three people died from smoke inhalation and 18 people travelling in four cars died on the road linking Figueiró dos Vinhos to Castanheira de Pera.

Flames raging around a road in Pedrógão Grande

Media in Portugal said the fire is no closer to being contained despite about 600 firefighters working to put them out. EPA photo

Among the 59 injured was an eight-year-old girl with burns found wandering alone close to the fire, the Correio do Manhã newspaper reported.

Six firefighters are seriously wounded, national broadcaster RTP said, and two are reported missing.

The Correio do Manhã warned that many areas hit by the fire had not yet been reached by authorities, so the death toll was likely to increase.

A house on fire near Pedrógão Grande
A number of houses near Pedrógão Grande have been destroyed. EPA Photo

About 60 forest fires broke out across the country overnight, with close to 1,700 firefighters battling them across Portugal.

The flames spread “with great violence” on four fronts near Pedrógão Grande, Mr Gomes said.

Spain has sent two water-bombing planes to help tackle the fires.

It is not yet known what caused the fire, however Mr Costa said thunderstorms could have been one possible cause.

Portugal has been experiencing a heatwave, with temperatures of more than 40C (104F) in some areas.

“This is a region that has had fires because of its forests, but we cannot remember a tragedy of these proportions,” said Valdemar Alves, the mayor of Pedrógão Grande, was quoted as saying by the Associated Press agency.

“I am completely stunned by the number of deaths.”

Firefighters rest during a wildfire at Penela, Coimbra, central Portugal, on June 18, 2017
Firefighters pause as the wildfire continues behind them. AFP/GETTY IMAGES
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25 dead from huge forest fires in Portugal

June 18, 2017

AP and France 24

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© Screengrab, FRANCE 24 | Portuguese firefighters

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-06-18

At least 25 people have been killed in forest fires in central Portugal, many of them trapped in their cars as flames swept over a road, officials said early Sunday.

Interior Ministry official Jorge Gomes said the deaths occurred in the Pedrogao Grande area, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) northeast of Lisbon, where some 600 firefighters are trying to put out the fires since Saturday.

Gomes said 16 people were killed in their cars on a road between the towns of Figueiro dos Vinhos and Castanheira de Pera, and three others died from smoke inhalation in Figueiro dos Vinhos.

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19 people died on the road surrounded by fire and many more are injured.
People are losing their homes and memories.
Portugal needs help!

Public broadcaster RTP said there were about 20 injured, including six firefighters. Fourteen of the injured were in serious condition, RTP said.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa called it “the biggest tragedy of human life that we have known in years.” He said Portuguese authorities were working on identifying the victims and that Spanish rescuers would assist in efforts to control the blazes.

Televised images showed a huge wall of bright red flames leaping over the top of trees in the wooded region.

Portugal has suffered high temperatures that have reached 40 degrees Celsius (104 degress Fahrenheit) in recent days.

The southern European country is prone to forest fires in the dry summer months.

(AP)

Thousands greet Pope Francis in Portugal for canonisation

May 13, 2017

AFP

© PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP | Pope Francis prays in front of a figure representing Our Lady of Fatima during his visit to the Chapel of the Apparitions at the Fatima shrine, in Fatima on May 12, 2017

Pope Francis called for harmony “among all people” Friday after arriving at Portugal’s holy site of Fatima where he was greeted by thousands of pilgrims gathered to mark 100 years since child shepherds had visions of the Virgin Mary.

The Argentine pontiff flew into the central Portuguese town on board a helicopter, circling twice over a giant, 400,000-capacity, esplanade that faces the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima to enthusiastic cheering.

Disembarking in a nearby stadium, he set off in his “Popemobile” for a journey through town followed closely by hovering helicopters, ending up at the sanctuary where pilgrims from all over the world had been waiting eagerly for hours.

WHY IS POPE FRANCIS IN FATIMA?

The giant esplanade fell silent while he prayed privately in the Chapel of the Apparitions, built on the very spot where the Virgin Mary reportedly appeared six times between May and October 1917 to three impoverished, barely-literate children.

“I implore for concord among all people,” he then said in Portuguese, in comments broadcast across the holy site.

Pilgrims from countries as varied as China, Venezuela and East Timor listened intently, some crying, the flags they had been waving enthusiastically just moments before standing motionless.

“In the joy of the Gospel, we will be the Church robed in white, the whiteness washed in the blood of the Lamb, blood that today too is shed in the wars tearing our world apart,” he added.

Candle-lit blessing

“The pope is incredible — the way he talks and brings so many people together. It’s really moving,” said Mariana Teixeira, a 20-year-old student from Lisbon as the pontiff stepped into the Popemobile again.

As night fell, the esplanade and neighbouring streets lit up with candles held by the faithful as the pope blessed the crowd.

Unity and peace were the day’s themes in Fatima, where some Catholic faithful sought solace from the stress or violence of their daily lives.

“We are going to pray to Fatima and Pope Francis so that they can intervene for a peaceful solution for Venezuela,” said Jose Ornelas, a 59-year-old librarian who came all the way from Caracas, which along with other cities has been wracked by deadly anti-regime protests.

“We are living in a violent spiral with so much hate and so much helplessness.”

‘Miracle’ boy

Fatima has become a major holy site since the Virgin is said to have appeared in 1917 to Jacinta, seven, Francisco, nine, and their cousin Lucia, 10.

She apparently shared three major prophecies with them at a time marked by the ravages of World War I and persecution of the Church in a relatively new Portuguese republic.

These reportedly included a warning of a second war.

On Saturday — the 100th anniversary of the first reported apparition — Pope Francis will canonise Jacinta and Francisco, who have officially been credited with two miracles.

Tears and joy

Many pilgrims trekked to Fatima for days on foot — some finishing the last few metres on their knees.

And while the atmosphere was one of joy, emotions ran high and difficult memories bubbled to the surface.

Dung Lu, a refugee from Vietnam living in Denmark, said she and her mother fled their country in the late 1980s, partly because they were unable to practise their religion under the communist regime.

With tears in her eyes, she remembered praying to the Virgin Mary when she was still in Vietnam and her father was jailed after the war and then fled the country, leaving them behind. They were later reunited.

Standing nearby, her young daughter interrupted her, asking why she was crying.

“It’s difficult to tell them how hard it was. They (were) born in freedom,” she said.

Pope Francis is the fourth pontiff to make a pilgrimage to Fatima in half a century.

Arguably the most devoted was the late Pope John Paul II, who attributed his narrow escape from an assassination attempt at St. Peter’s Square on May 13, 1981 — the anniversary of the first reported apparition — to the intervention of the Virgin Mary.

(AFP)

Related:

Major cyber attack hits companies, hospitals, schools worldwide

May 13, 2017

Reuters

Sat May 13, 2017 | 2:18am EDT

By  Costas Pitas and Carlos Ruano | LONDON/MADRID
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A global cyber attack leveraging hacking tools believed to have been developed by the U.S. National Security Agency has infected tens of thousands of computers in nearly 100 countries, disrupting Britain’s health system and global shipper FedEx.

Image result for FedEx, aircraft, photos

Cyber extortionists tricked victims into opening malicious malware attachments to spam emails that appeared to contain invoices, job offers, security warnings and other legitimate files.

The ransomware encrypted data on the computers, demanding payments of $300 to $600 to restore access. Security researchers said they observed some victims paying via the digital currency bitcoin, though they did not know what percent had given in to the extortionists.

Researchers with security software maker Avast said they had observed 57,000 infections in 99 countries, with Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan the top targets.

Asian countries reported no major breaches on Saturday, but officials in the region were scrambling to check and the full extent of the damage may not be known for some time.

China’s official Xinhua news agency said some secondary schools and universities had been affected, without specifying how many or identifying them.

The most disruptive attacks were reported in Britain, where hospitals and clinics were forced to turn away patients after losing access to computers on Friday.

International shipper FedEx Corp said some of its Windows computers were also infected. “We are implementing remediation steps as quickly as possible,” it said in a statement.

FROM ARGENTINA TO SPAIN

Only a small number of U.S.-headquartered organizations were hit because the hackers appear to have begun the campaign by targeting organizations in Europe, said Vikram Thakur, research manager with security software maker Symantec.

By the time they turned their attention to the United States, spam filters had identified the new threat and flagged the ransomware-laden emails as malicious, Thakur added.

Infections of the worm appeared to have fallen off significantly after a security researcher bought a domain that the malware was connecting to, by chance undermining the malware’s effectiveness.

An ambulance waits outside the emergency department at St Thomas’ Hospital in central London, Britain May 12, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

Making the domain active appears to have stunted the spread of the worm, Thakur said on Saturday.

“The numbers are extremely low and coming down fast,” he said, while cautioning that any change in the original code could lead the worm to flare up again.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said late on Friday it was aware of reports of the ransomware, was sharing information with domestic and foreign partners and was ready to lend technical support.

Telecommunications company Telefonica was among many targets in Spain, though it said the attack was limited to some computers on an internal network and had not affected clients or services. Portugal Telecom and Telefonica Argentina both said they were also targeted.

An ambulance waits outside the emergency department at St Thomas’ Hospital in central London, Britain May 12, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
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Private security firms identified the ransomware as a new variant of “WannaCry” that had the ability to automatically spread across large networks by exploiting a known bug in Microsoft’s Windows operating system.

The hackers, who have not come forward to claim responsibility or otherwise been identified, likely made it a “worm”, or self spreading malware, by exploiting a piece of NSA code known as “Eternal Blue” that was released last month by a group known as the Shadow Brokers, researchers with several private cyber security firms said.

“This is one of the largest global ransomware attacks the cyber community has ever seen,” said Rich Barger, director of threat research with Splunk, one of the firms that linked WannaCry to the NSA.

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TECHNOLOGY NHS 160396

The Shadow Brokers released Eternal Blue as part of a trove of hacking tools that they said belonged to the U.S. spy agency.

Microsoft said it was pushing out automatic Windows updates to defend clients from WannaCry. It issued a patch on March 14 to protect them from Eternal Blue.

“Today our engineers added detection and protection against new malicious software known as Ransom:Win32.WannaCrypt,” Microsoft said in a statement on Friday, adding it was working with customers to provide additional assistance.

SENSITIVE TIMING

The spread of the ransomware capped a week of cyber turmoil in Europe that began the previous week when hackers posted a trove of campaign documents tied to French candidate Emmanuel Macron just before a run-off vote in which he was elected president of France.

On Wednesday, hackers disrupted the websites of several French media companies and aerospace giant Airbus.Also, the hack happened four weeks before a British general election in which national security and the management of the state-run National Health Service (NHS) are important issues.

Authorities in Britain have been braced for cyber attacks in the run-up to the vote, as happened during last year’s U.S. election and on the eve of the French vote.

But those attacks – blamed on Russia, which has repeatedly denied them – followed a different modus operandi involving penetrating the accounts of individuals and political organizations and then releasing hacked material online.

On Friday, Russia’s interior and emergencies ministries, as well as its biggest bank, Sberbank, said they were targeted. The interior ministry said on its website that about 1,000 computers had been infected but it had localized the virus.

Sberbank head office.jpg

Sberbank

The emergencies ministry told Russian news agencies it had repelled the cyber attacks while Sberbank said its cyber security systems had prevented viruses from entering its systems.

NEW BREED OF RANSOMWARE

Although cyber extortion cases have been rising for several years, they have to date affected small-to-mid sized organizations, disrupting services provided by hospitals, police departments, public transport systems and utilities in the United States and Europe.

“Seeing a large telco like Telefonica get hit is going to get everybody worried. Now ransomware is affecting larger companies with more sophisticated security operations,” said Chris Wysopal, chief technology officer with cyber security firm Veracode.

The news is also likely to embolden extortionists when selecting targets, Chris Camacho, chief strategy officer with cyber intelligence firm Flashpoint, said.

In Spain, some big firms took pre-emptive steps to thwart ransomware attacks following a warning from the National Cryptology Center of “a massive ransomware attack”.

Iberdrola and Gas Natural, along with Vodafone’s unit in Spain, asked staff to turn off computers or cut off internet access in case they had been compromised, representatives from the firms said.

The attacks did not disrupt the provision of services or networks operations of the victims, the Spanish government said in a statement.

(Additional reporting by Jim Finkle, Eric Auchard, Jose Rodriguez, Alistair Smout, Andrea Shalal, Jack Stubbs, Antonella Cinelli, Dustin Volz, Kate Holton, Andy Bruce, Michael Holden, David Milliken, Rosalba O’Brien, Julien Toyer, Tim Hepher, Luiza Ilie, Patricia Rua, Axel Bugge, Sabine Siebold and Eric Walsh, Engen Tham; Editing by Rob Birsel and Mike Collett-White)

Related:

NHS cyber-attack — Experts strive to restore NHS computers — Warnings of impending attacks ignored for months

May 13, 2017

BBC News

IT experts are “working round the clock” to restore NHS computer systems hit by Friday’s ransomware attack.

Ciaran Martin, head of the UK’s cyber security agency, said it was doing “everything in our power” to get “vital services” back up and running.

The BBC understands about 40 NHS organisations and some GP practices were hit in England and Scotland, with operations and appointments cancelled.

Theresa May said the NHS had been caught up in an international attack.

Similar computer infections have been reported in a range of organisations in about 100 countries.

Some British hospitals and GPs were unable to access patient data after their computers were locked by the malicious program.

The NHS has not been affected in Wales and Northern Ireland.

‘Highly technical’

NHS Digital said there was no evidence patient data had been compromised,

NHS England said patients needing emergency treatment should go to A&E or access emergency services as they normally would.

However, some ambulances have been diverted from affected hospitals and individual trusts have asked people not to attend unless it is urgent.

Mr Martin, who leads the National Cyber Security Centre – part of GCHQ – said “thousands of organisations and individuals in dozens of countries” had been hit by the attack.

Those responsible have not been identified yet.

He told the BBC: “It’s important to understand that cyber attacks can be different from other forms of crime in that their sometimes highly technical and anonymous nature means it can take some time to understand how it worked, who was behind it and what the impact is.

“But our commitment is we will be as open as we can be, as soon as we can be, as our investigation continues.

“NHS cyber-attack: How doctors and patients reacted.

 

NHS cyber-attack: How doctors and patients reacted
Video: http://www.bbc.com/news/health-39906019

The malware used in the attack is called WannaCry and attacks Windows operating systems.

The malware used in the attack is called WannaCry and attacks Windows operating systems.

It encrypts files on a user’s computer, blocking them from view, before demanding money, via an on-screen message, to access them again.

The demand is for a payment of $300 (£230) in virtual currency Bitcoin to unlock the files.

The virus is usually covertly installed on to computers by hiding within emails containing links, which users are tricked into opening.

Security chiefs and ministers have repeatedly highlighted the threat to Britain’s critical infrastructure and economy from cyber-attacks.

‘Hit the go button’

The former director for intelligence and cyber operations at GCHQ, Brian Lord, told BBC’s Newsnight that the NHS was particularly vulnerable to such attacks because of its ageing IT systems.

“Also [it has] very, very complex interconnectivity between surgeries, trusts, boards and so on,” he said.

“So, as a consequence, there is an awful lot of openings for delivery of this type of basic malware.”

Convicted hacker Jake Davis also told the programme: “The most terrifying thing about this is how simple it is.

“It might have been a sophisticated criminal organisation or it might have just been some kid who hit the go button and a worm has just spread when they went to take a nap.”

He said that two months ago Microsoft had issued a patch for the bug exploited by the virus, but some systems had not applied it.

In Russia, the Interior Ministry said about 1,000 computers had been hit.

Global impact

People tweeted photos of affected computers from other countries, including at a local railway ticket machine in Germany and in a university computer lab in Italy.

A number of Spanish firms – including telecoms giant Telefonica, power firm Iberdrola and utility provider Gas Natural – suffered from the outbreak.

Portugal Telecom, delivery company FedEx, a Swedish local authority and Megafon, the second largest mobile phone network in Russia, also said they had been affected.

Includes videos:

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-39906019

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U.K. Health Service, Targeted in Cyberattack, Ignored Warnings for Months

LONDON — Britain’s National Health Service ignored numerous warnings over the last year that many of its computer systems were outdated and unprotected from the type of devastating cyberattack it suffered on Friday.

The attack caused some hospitals to stop accepting patients, doctor’s offices to shut down, emergency rooms to divert patients, and critical operations to be canceled as a decentralized system struggled to cope.

At some hospitals, nurses could not even print out name tags for newborn babies. At the Royal London Hospital, in east London, George Popescu, a 23-year-old hotel cook, showed up with a forehead injury. “My head is pounding and they say they can’t see me,” he said. “They said their computers weren’t working. You don’t expect this in a big city like London.”

In a statement on Friday, the N.H.S. said its inquiry into the attack was in its early phases but that “at this stage we do not have any evidence that patient data has been accessed.”

Many of the N.H.S. computers still run Windows XP, an out-of-date software that no longer gets security updates from its maker, Microsoft. A government contract with Microsoft to update the software for the N.H.S. expired two years ago.

Microsoft discontinued the security updates for Windows XP in 2014. It made a patch, or fix, available in newer versions of Windows for the flaws that were exploited in Friday’s cyberattacks. But the health service does not seem to have installed either the newer version of Windows or the patch.

“Historically, we’ve known that N.H.S. uses computers running old versions of Windows that Microsoft itself no longer supports and says is a security risk,” said Graham Cluley, a cybersecurity expert in Oxford, England. “And even on the newest computers, they would have needed to apply the patch released in March. Clearly that did not happen, or the malware wouldn’t have spread this fast.”

Just this month, a parliamentary research briefing noted that cyberattacks were viewed as one of the top threats facing Britain. The push to make medical records systems more interconnected might also make the system more vulnerable to attack. Britain plans to digitize all patient records by 2020.

Several news reports have addressed the outdated systems of the N.H.S. that potentially left confidential patient data vulnerable to attack. Last November, Sky News did an investigation showing that units of the N.H.S., serving more than two million people, spent nothing on cybersecurity in 2015. Jennifer Arcuri, of Hacker House, which worked with Sky on the report, said then: “I would have to say that the security across the board was weak for many factors.”

Souce: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/12/world/europe/nhs-cyberattack-warnings.html?ribbon-ad-idx=5&rref=world/europe&module=Ribbon&version=context&region=Header&action=click&contentCollection=Europe&pgtype=article
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Pope Francis Tells Young Catholics To “Lead the Church’s Future” — Referred to his own mortality twice — Celebrated The Family

April 9, 2017

By NICOLE WINFIELD
Associated Press

ROME (AP) – Pope Francis urged young people to lead the church’s future Saturday even as he voiced doubts that he’d be around much longer to see it.

The 80-year-old pope referred to his own mortality twice in the span of a few minutes during a vigil service to rally enthusiasm for the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day, to be held in Panama in 2019.

“I don’t know if it will be me, but the pope will be in Panama!” he told the crowd at the St. Mary Major basilica.

(AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino). Pope Francis prays in front of a portrait of the Virgin Mary as he arrives in at St. Mary Major Basilica in Rome to preside over a vigil prayer, Saturday, April 8, 2017.
Pope Francis prays in front of a portrait of the Virgin Mary as he arrives in at St. Mary Major Basilica in Rome to preside over a vigil prayer, Saturday, April 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino).

A few minutes earlier, he drew gasps from the pews when he teased: “At my age, we (old people) are about to pass away.”

Sensing their pained reaction, he added: “Who guarantees life? No one. At your age, you have the future ahead of you.”

Francis is known for his casual, self-deprecating remarks and has said repeatedly he didn’t expect to be pope for very long. Early on in his four-year papacy he predicted two to five years would do it. He has also not ruled out the possibility of resigning like his predecessor, Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, did.

At the same time, there’s nothing indicating that Francis is slowing down.

Later this month, he begins the first of his 2017 foreign travels that are expected to bring him to Egypt, Portugal, Colombia, India, Bangladesh and perhaps South Sudan. He is also gearing up for the next big meeting of the world’s bishops this fall, dedicated to young people.

The Vatican has solicited direct input from young people to inform its work and participate in the synod. Francis took that request further Saturday, saying he wanted to involve not just dedicated Catholics but all young people, atheists included.

“The future is in your hands,” he said.

The synod lets bishops make proposals to the pope that inform a future papal document. Francis’ last synod on the family was highly divisive on the issues of marriage, divorce and access to the sacraments.

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Follow Nicole Winfield at http://www.twitter.com/nwinfield

(AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino). Pope Francis arrives in at St. Mary Major Basilica in Rome to preside over a vigil prayer, Saturday, April 8, 2017.
(AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino). Pope Francis arrives in at St. Mary Major Basilica in Rome to preside over a vigil prayer, Saturday, April 8, 2017.
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Catechism of the Catholic Church

“Honour thy father and thy mother”

ARTICLE 4
THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT

Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God gives you.4He was obedient to them.5

The Lord Jesus himself recalled the force of this “commandment of God.”6 The Apostle teaches: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother,’ (This is the first commandment with a promise.) ‘that it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth.”‘7

2197 The fourth commandment opens the second table of the Decalogue. It shows us the order of charity. God has willed that, after him, we should honor our parents to whom we owe life and who have handed on to us the knowledge of God. We are obliged to honor and respect all those whom God, for our good, has vested with his authority.

2198 This commandment is expressed in positive terms of duties to be fulfilled. It introduces the subsequent commandments which are concerned with particular respect for life, marriage, earthly goods, and speech. It constitutes one of the foundations of the social doctrine of the Church.

2199 The fourth commandment is addressed expressly to children in their relationship to their father and mother, because this relationship is the most universal. It likewise concerns the ties of kinship between members of the extended family. It requires honor, affection, and gratitude toward elders and ancestors. Finally, it extends to the duties of pupils to teachers, employees to employers, subordinates to leaders, citizens to their country, and to those who administer or govern it.

This commandment includes and presupposes the duties of parents, instructors, teachers, leaders, magistrates, those who govern, all who exercise authority over others or over a community of persons.

2200 Observing the fourth commandment brings its reward: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which the LORD your God gives you.”8 Respecting this commandment provides, along with spiritual fruits, temporal fruits of peace and prosperity. Conversely, failure to observe it brings great harm to communities and to individuals.

I. THE FAMILY IN GOD’S PLAN

The nature of the family

2201 The conjugal community is established upon the consent of the spouses. Marriage and the family are ordered to the good of the spouses and to the procreation and education of children. The love of the spouses and the begetting of children create among members of the same family personal relationships and primordial responsibilities.

2202 A man and a woman united in marriage, together with their children, form a family. This institution is prior to any recognition by public authority, which has an obligation to recognize it. It should be considered the normal reference point by which the different forms of family relationship are to be evaluated.

2203 In creating man and woman, God instituted the human family and endowed it with its fundamental constitution. Its members are persons equal in dignity. For the common good of its members and of society, the family necessarily has manifold responsibilities, rights, and duties.

* The Christian family

2204 “The Christian family constitutes a specific revelation and realization of ecclesial communion, and for this reason it can and should be called a domestic church.”9 It is a community of faith, hope, and charity; it assumes singular importance in the Church, as is evident in the New Testament.10

2205 The Christian family is a communion of persons, a sign and image of the communion of the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit. In the procreation and education of children it reflects the Father’s work of creation. It is called to partake of the prayer and sacrifice of Christ. Daily prayer and the reading of the Word of God strengthen it in charity. The Christian family has an evangelizing and missionary task.

2206 The relationships within the family bring an affinity of feelings, affections and interests, arising above all from the members’ respect for one another. The family is a privileged community called to achieve a “sharing of thought and common deliberation by the spouses as well as their eager cooperation as parents in the children’s upbringing.”11

II. THE FAMILY AND SOCIETY

2207 The family is the original cell of social life. It is the natural society in which husband and wife are called to give themselves in love and in the gift of life. Authority, stability, and a life of relationships within the family constitute the foundations for freedom, security, and fraternity within society. The family is the community in which, from childhood, one can learn moral values, begin to honor God, and make good use of freedom. Family life is an initiation into life in society.

2208 The family should live in such a way that its members learn to care and take responsibility for the young, the old, the sick, the handicapped, and the poor. There are many families who are at times incapable of providing this help. It devolves then on other persons, other families, and, in a subsidiary way, society to provide for their needs: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”12

2209 The family must be helped and defended by appropriate social measures. Where families cannot fulfill their responsibilities, other social bodies have the duty of helping them and of supporting the institution of the family. Following the principle of subsidiarity, larger communities should take care not to usurp the family’s prerogatives or interfere in its life.

2210 The importance of the family for the life and well-being of society13 entails a particular responsibility for society to support and strengthen marriage and the family. Civil authority should consider it a grave duty “to acknowledge the true nature of marriage and the family, to protect and foster them, to safeguard public morality, and promote domestic prosperity.”14

2211 The political community has a duty to honor the family, to assist it, and to ensure especially:

– the freedom to establish a family, have children, and bring them up in keeping with the family’s own moral and religious convictions;

– the protection of the stability of the marriage bond and the institution of the family;

– the freedom to profess one’s faith, to hand it on, and raise one’s children in it, with the necessary means and institutions;

– the right to private property, to free enterprise, to obtain work and housing, and the right to emigrate;

– in keeping with the country’s institutions, the right to medical care, assistance for the aged, and family benefits;

– the protection of security and health, especially with respect to dangers like drugs, pornography, alcoholism, etc.;

– the freedom to form associations with other families and so to have representation before civil authority.15

2212 The fourth commandment illuminates other relationships in society. In our brothers and sisters we see the children of our parents; in our cousins, the descendants of our ancestors; in our fellow citizens, the children of our country; in the baptized, the children of our mother the Church; in every human person, a son or daughter of the One who wants to be called “our Father.” In this way our relationships with our neighbors are recognized as personal in character. The neighbor is not a “unit” in the human collective; he is “someone” who by his known origins deserves particular attention and respect.

2213 Human communities are made up of persons. Governing them well is not limited to guaranteeing rights and fulfilling duties such as honoring contracts. Right relations between employers and employees, between those who govern and citizens, presuppose a natural good will in keeping with the dignity of human persons concerned for justice and fraternity.

III. THE DUTIES OF FAMILY MEMBERS

The duties of children

2214 The divine fatherhood is the source of human fatherhood;16 this is the foundation of the honor owed to parents. The respect of children, whether minors or adults, for their father and mother17 is nourished by the natural affection born of the bond uniting them. It is required by God’s commandment.18

2215 Respect for parents (filial piety) derives from gratitude toward those who, by the gift of life, their love and their work, have brought their children into the world and enabled them to grow in stature, wisdom, and grace. “With all your heart honor your father, and do not forget the birth pangs of your mother. Remember that through your parents you were born; what can you give back to them that equals their gift to you?”19

2216 Filial respect is shown by true docility and obedience. “My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching. . . . When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you.”20 “A wise son hears his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.”21

2217 As long as a child lives at home with his parents, the child should obey his parents in all that they ask of him when it is for his good or that of the family. “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.”22 Children should also obey the reasonable directions of their teachers and all to whom their parents have entrusted them. But if a child is convinced in conscience that it would be morally wrong to obey a particular order, he must not do so.

As they grow up, children should continue to respect their parents. They should anticipate their wishes, willingly seek their advice, and accept their just admonitions. Obedience toward parents ceases with the emancipation of the children; not so respect, which is always owed to them. This respect has its roots in the fear of God, one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

2218 The fourth commandment reminds grown children of their responsibilities toward their parents. As much as they can, they must give them material and moral support in old age and in times of illness, loneliness, or distress. Jesus recalls this duty of gratitude.23

For the Lord honored the father above the children, and he confirmed the right of the mother over her sons. Whoever honors his father atones for sins, and whoever glorifies his mother is like one who lays up treasure. Whoever honors his father will be gladdened by his own children, and when he prays he will be heard. Whoever glorifies his father will have long life, and whoever obeys the Lord will refresh his mother.24O son, help your father in his old age, and do not grieve him as long as he lives; even if he is lacking in understanding, show forbearance; in all your strength do not despise him. . . . Whoever forsakes his father is like a blasphemer, and whoever angers his mother is cursed by the Lord.25

2219 Filial respect promotes harmony in all of family life; it also concerns relationships between brothers and sisters. Respect toward parents fills the home with light and warmth. “Grandchildren are the crown of the aged.”26 “With all humility and meekness, with patience, [support] one another in charity.”27

2220 For Christians a special gratitude is due to those from whom they have received the gift of faith, the grace of Baptism, and life in the Church. These may include parents, grandparents, other members of the family, pastors, catechists, and other teachers or friends. “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you.”28

The duties of parents

2221 The fecundity of conjugal love cannot be reduced solely to the procreation of children, but must extend to their moral education and their spiritual formation. “The role of parents in education is of such importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute.”29 The right and the duty of parents to educate their children are primordial and inalienable.30

2222 Parents must regard their children as children of God and respect them as human persons. Showing themselves obedient to the will of the Father in heaven, they educate their children to fulfill God’s law.

2223 Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues. This requires an apprenticeship in self-denial, sound judgment, and self-mastery – the preconditions of all true freedom. Parents should teach their children to subordinate the “material and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones.”31 Parents have a grave responsibility to give good example to their children. By knowing how to acknowledge their own failings to their children, parents will be better able to guide and correct them:

He who loves his son will not spare the rod. . . . He who disciplines his son will profit by him.32Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.33

2224 The home is the natural environment for initiating a human being into solidarity and communal responsibilities. Parents should teach children to avoid the compromising and degrading influences which threaten human societies.

2225 Through the grace of the sacrament of marriage, parents receive the responsibility and privilege of evangelizing their children. Parents should initiate their children at an early age into the mysteries of the faith of which they are the “first heralds” for their children. They should associate them from their tenderest years with the life of the Church.34 A wholesome family life can foster interior dispositions that are a genuine preparation for a living faith and remain a support for it throughout one’s life.

2226 Education in the faith by the parents should begin in the child’s earliest years. This already happens when family members help one another to grow in faith by the witness of a Christian life in keeping with the Gospel. Family catechesis precedes, accompanies, and enriches other forms of instruction in the faith. Parents have the mission of teaching their children to pray and to discover their vocation as children of God.35 The parish is the Eucharistic community and the heart of the liturgical life of Christian families; it is a privileged place for the catechesis of children and parents.

2227 Children in turn contribute to the growth in holiness of their parents.36 Each and everyone should be generous and tireless in forgiving one another for offenses, quarrels, injustices, and neglect. Mutual affection suggests this. The charity of Christ demands it.37

2228 Parents’ respect and affection are expressed by the care and attention they devote to bringing up their young children and providing for their physical and spiritual needs. As the children grow up, the same respect and devotion lead parents to educate them in the right use of their reason and freedom.

2229 As those first responsible for the education of their children, parents have the right to choose a school for them which corresponds to their own convictions. This right is fundamental. As far as possible parents have the duty of choosing schools that will best help them in their task as Christian educators.38 Public authorities have the duty of guaranteeing this parental right and of ensuring the concrete conditions for its exercise.

2230 When they become adults, children have the right and duty to choose their profession and state of life. They should assume their new responsibilities within a trusting relationship with their parents, willingly asking and receiving their advice and counsel. Parents should be careful not to exert pressure on their children either in the choice of a profession or in that of a spouse. This necessary restraint does not prevent them – quite the contrary from giving their children judicious advice, particularly when they are planning to start a family.

2231 Some forgo marriage in order to care for their parents or brothers and sisters, to give themselves more completely to a profession, or to serve other honorable ends. They can contribute greatly to the good of the human family.

IV. THE FAMILY AND THE KINGDOM

2232 Family ties are important but not absolute. Just as the child grows to maturity and human and spiritual autonomy, so his unique vocation which comes from God asserts itself more clearly and forcefully. Parents should respect this call and encourage their children to follow it. They must be convinced that the first vocation of the Christian is to follow Jesus: “He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”39

2233 Becoming a disciple of Jesus means accepting the invitation to belong to God’s family, to live in conformity with His way of life: “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and sister, and mother.”40

Parents should welcome and respect with joy and thanksgiving the Lord’s call to one of their children to follow him in virginity for the sake of the Kingdom in the consecrated life or in priestly ministry.

http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a4.htm