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Geopolitics

Chinese Hackers Target New York Times In Payback For Article On Prime Minister

NEW YORK TIMES, REUTERS, ATLANTIC WIRE (US)

Worldcrunch

BEIJING –The New York Times says that it has been repeatedly targeted by Chinese cyber-attacks over the past four months, following a report the newspaper had published detailing allegations of hidden wealth of China’s Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.

The American Newspaper claimed that these hacking attempts failed.

“Security experts hired by The Times to detect and block the computer attacks gathered digital evidence that Chinese hackers, using methods that some consultants have associated with the Chinese military in the past, breached The Times’ network,” Reuters reported Thursday.

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NY Times headquarters (Haxorjoe)

The hackers managed to retrieve the passwords of the newspaper’s employees, granting them access to personal computers, and therefore “sensitive” material. In the end, the computer security experts couldn’t find any evidence of stolen information – and more particularly any compromised emails or files related to the investgiation of the family of the Prime Minister.

The Chinese Ministry of National Defense retorted that “to accuse the Chinese military of launching cyber-attacks without solid proof is unprofessional and baseless,” relays the Atlantic Wire.

The hacking attempts started in October, just as the New York Times bureau chief for Southwest Asia and India, David Barboza, published the article which stated that Wen Jiabao had covered up the fact that he and his family were sitting on a $2.7 billion fortune.

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Geopolitics

Cilia Flores de Maduro, How Venezuela's First Lady Wields A Corrupt "Flower Shop" Of Power

Venezuela's first lady, Cilia Flores, is one of the country's chief power brokers and a consummate wheeler-dealer who, with the help of relatives, runs a voracious enterprise dubbed the Flower Shop.

Photo of Cilia Flores (left) and her husband Nicolás Maduro (middle)

Cilia Flores (left) and her husband Nicolás Maduro (middle)

Mauricio Rubio

-OpEd-

One of the clearest signs of tyranny in Venezuela has to be the pervasive nepotism and behind-the-scenes power enjoyed by President Nicolás Maduro's wife, Cilia Flores de Maduro.

In Venezuela, it's said that Flores works in the shadows but is somehow "always in the right place," with one commentator observing that she is constantly "surrounded by an extensive web of collaborators" — including relatives, with whom she has forged a clique often dubbed the floristería, or the "Flower Shop," which is thought to control every facet of Venezuelan politics.

She is certainly Venezuela's most powerful woman.

From modest origins, Flores is 68 years old and a lawyer by training. She began her ascent as defense attorney for the then lieutenant-colonel Hugo Chávez, who was jailed after his failed attempt at a coup d'état in 1992. She offered him her services and obtained his release, which won her his unstinting support for the rest of his life.

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