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U.S. uses tech companies controlling internet to spy on world: report

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CAIRO, March 30 (Xinhua) — While pushing for a ban on TikTok over claims that China uses the popular app to spy on Americans, the U.S. government itself spies on the world by using tech companies that effectively control the global internet, said a report published on the English news website of Al Jazeera.

The U.S. government allows its intelligence agencies to “carry out warrantless spying” on foreigners’ emails, phones and other online communications, said the report published on Tuesday.

Compared with other countries, Washington has the advantage of having jurisdiction over the small number of companies that effectively run the modern internet, including Google, Meta, Amazon and Microsoft, it said.

“It is a case of ‘rules for thee but not for me,'” Asher Wolf, a tech researcher and privacy advocate based in Australia, was quoted as saying.

The U.S. targeted 232,432 “non-U.S. persons” for surveillance in 2021, when the most recent year for which data is available, the report said.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) estimates that the U.S. government has collected more than 1 billion communications per year since 2011, according to the report.

There have been some indications that U.S. officials see China, rather than TikTok itself, as the ultimate concern, it noted.

The U.S. moves to restrict TikTok appeared to be “more political than good policy,” Vedran Sekara, an assistant professor at the IT University of Copenhagen, was quoted as saying.

Source(s): Xinhua

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Met Maldives predicts heavy rain through Monday

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The Maldives Meteorological Service (MMS) has forecasted heavy rain showers across most parts of the Maldives through June 24. Central and northern atolls are expected to experience significant rainfall and rough seas, while islands in the southern atolls will mostly enjoy fine weather with scattered showers and generally slight seas.

In response to the adverse weather conditions, MMS has issued several alerts, including a recent one for heavy rain and thunderstorms from Haa Alifu Atoll to Baa Atoll. The forecast predicts strong winds ranging from 19-24 miles per hour, with gusts reaching up to 50 miles per hour, resulting in rough sea conditions.

Over the past 24 hours, the Maldives has seen heavy rainfall, with Gaafaru Island in Kaafu Atoll recording the highest amount at 67.6 millimeters. Goidhoo Island in Baa Atoll also experienced significant rainfall, recording 49.4 millimeters.

MMS advises seafarers in the central and northern atolls to exercise caution due to the severe weather conditions. For the next three days, strong winds of 12-22 miles per hour, with gusts up to 50 miles per hour, are predicted across the country. The showers are expected to subside by Monday, but strong winds are likely to continue into Tuesday and Wednesday.

Source(s): PsmNews

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Tourism minister announces development plans for abandoned resorts

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Minister of Tourism Ibrahim Faisal has announced strategic decisions to expedite the development of abandoned islands leased for resort development.

In an exclusive interview with PSM News, Minister Faisal revealed that the Economic Council has approved two key measures from a proposal aimed at accelerating the development of these islands.

One approved measure involves reclaiming the islands that have seen no development activity, returning them to the state without any conditions. The tourism ministry will collaborate with the Ministry of Finance and the Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) to negotiate concessions on the substantial fees owed by lessees to the state.

The second measure focuses on finding solutions for islands where development has stalled due to various issues. The tourism ministry will assist in securing the necessary funds or facilitate the sale of these islands to new developers.

The tourism minister emphasised that accelerating the development of these islands will require legal adjustments. He noted that the state incurs significant financial losses when leased islands remain undeveloped.

According to the ministry’s statistics, there are 63 islands leased for resort development that have yet to be developed. Some of these islands have been leased for over 30 years.

The minister also highlighted that more islands will be developed and opened as resorts during this tenure. He projected that 12 to 15 new resorts will be opened over the next five years.

Source(s): PsmNews

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Fishers continue protest over unpaid dues

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The protests, by local fishers that kicked off on Friday at Maldives Industrial Fisheries Company (MIFCO)’s Addu harbor, are still ongoing.

Maldives Police Service confirms a total of 80 fishermen are still at the harbor, who have warned to shut the factory down if senior officials fail to respond to them.

Some protesters have warned to interrupt the factory’s kitchen operations as well.

Addu City Hulhudhoo’s council member Hussain Faizurrahman confirms the fishers were protesting about the money MIFCO owed them.

He also added since the protests are proceeding at a MIFCO-managed venue, it was not creating any difficulties for the general public of the city.

Owing to significant delays in outstanding payments to fishers, the Bodu Kanneli Masvering Union (BKMU) – a union representing yellowfin tuna fishers – organized a protest earlier on June 12, making multiple demands from the government.

The BKMU-led protests in early June were called-off the following day’s midnight, after the government agreed to slice fuel prices for fishers.

The state made its last disbursement on June 13, which was a payment of MVR 46 million out of the MVR 80 million government owed to fishers, and promised to settle the remainder soon.

MIFCO confirmed to ‘Sun’ there have been no significant accruals to the pending total, adding it was because fisheries activities had slowed down currently.

The company however, did not confirm how much it owed to fishers in pending total now.

Source(s): sun.mv

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