Welcome to Tuesday, where an encrypted messaging app leads to a major global organized crime bust, many of the world's biggest websites were hit by global internet outages and there's a new basketball-court-long dinosaur in town. Jeune Afrique also dives into the Rastafari ital diet, a precursor to some current food trends.
• Report: Intelligence breakdown prior to U.S. Capitol insurrection: A bipartisan Senate investigation has outlined how thousands of protestors were able to breach the Capitol building in January. New revelations show that intelligence agencies, including Capitol police, had greater prior knowledge than previously thought that violence could erupt.
• Global internet outage downs leading websites: A number of major websites such as Amazon, Target, CNN, Reddit and Twitch have been affected by global internet outages. Many of the impacted websites are displaying the error code: "Error 503 Service Unavailable." Early reports link the issue with the Cloud service, Fastly.
• Hundreds arrested in organized crime sting after cops enter encrypted app: More than 800 organized crime suspects have been arrested after communicating using ANOM, a messaging app infiltrated by the FBI. Law enforcement in the U.S., Europe and Australia were able to monitor encrypted messages on the app, many of which were related to organized crime.
• Killing of Canadian Muslim family premeditated, hate crime: A driver struck five people in Ontario, Canada, killing four of them on Monday. Police believe the attack was planned, and the victims are thought to have been targeted due to their Islamic faith.
• "Butcher of Bosnia" faces verdict: Ratko Mladic, the former Bosnian Serb warlord who took part in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2017 after being found guilty of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. A final decision on Mladic's fate will be made today when the Hague announces its verdict on his appeal against genocide charges.
• U.S. recovers most of ransom paid to hackers: After the Colonial Pipeline hacking last month which severely impacted oil and gas production, particularly for the U.S. east coast, authorities have been able to recover 63.7 Bitcoin ($2.3 million). The ransom had been paid to the hackers from the eastern European based group, DarkSide, with the seizure being viewed as a potential message to dissuade future cyber criminals.
• Basketball-court length dinosaur discovered in Australia: Palaeontologists in Australia have discovered a new species of dinosaur: the Australotitan cooperensis. The dinosaur is among the top five largest to ever be discovered, measuring two stories in height and 82-98 feet in length — the equivalent of a basketball court.
"Let's also vaccinate children," titles Slovakian daily Dennik as the country opens vaccination for children aged 12 or more.
The ital diet, a rastafarian recipe for eating right
For a combination of spiritual and political reasons, Rastas developed a diet based on healthy, local ingredients that was a precursor, it turns out, to some current food trends, reports Eva Sauphie in weekly news magazine Jeune Afrique.
The "ital diet" was born with the Rastafari movement in the 1930s. The word "ital" is a contraction of "vital" and "I" (the unifying English pronoun "I" favored by Rastafaris), and the diet that goes with it consists mainly of vegetables and unprocessed products. Homemade is the key word for ital followers. "For Rastas, preparing their own food means rejecting consumerist society," says Alexandre Grondeau, founder of reggae.fr. "We can see a political interpretation, because to consume what we produce is to be anti-Babylon, anti-colonial."
Cooking at home, cultivating and eating locally: a triptych that is reminiscent of the consumption patterns encouraged by environmental protection activists in the context of the current ecological crisis. Like vegans, followers of ital cuisine do not eat meat or animal products such as milk and eggs. Environmentally-friendly before its time, their approach is less political and social than spiritual.
At a time when being a city dweller in Western capitals is synonymous with chia seeds and yoga, the ital diet is slowly beginning to be accepted in practice. But for a long time it was an oddity, something associated with out-there 1970s eating habits. "Today, concert organizers no longer receive Jamaican artists the way they used to, by laughing at them and serving them platters of cold cuts," says Alexandre Grondeau. "Society has changed its view and has understood that Rastas were avant-garde in their way of eating."
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Russian scientists have discovered that microscopic animals called Bdelloid rotifers have gotten their fair share of beauty sleep — 24,000 years of it! Found in Siberia's deep permafrost, these tiny multicellular creatures were previously thought to only be able to survive 10 years when frozen.
Face masks for burping cows, a new way to fight climate change
For more than a year now, humans around the world have been masking up to limit the spread of COVID. Now, masks may be deployed among another species to combat a very different global ill: cow burps.
The agricultural multinational Cargill is inaugurating a new kind of face mask designed to absorb cows' gaseous emissions. The idea might sound odd, but as French radio station RTL reports, the blue masks could help cut down as much as half the world's farming gas emissions. Contrary to popular belief, it is indeed the belching part of a cow's digestive output that is responsible for most of its noxious methane (yes, bovine farts get more laughs, but cause less damage to the environment).
All in all, the methane produced by cows — whichever way — is said to be responsible for 14% of the greenhouse gas emissions in the world.
This led the British start-up Zelp to develop a muzzle-mask which relies on small ventilators, powered by solar batteries, able to absorb and filter the ruminants' burps. Fixed on the cows' nostrils, the masks allow them to keep grazing and drinking at leisure.
"Our research shows that these masks don't affect our milk production," Cargill France's director of technology additives Deplhine Melchior tells RTL.
Starting this summer, farmers will be able to start renting the masks deployed by Cargill, at 65 euros a piece, reusable for a year, with at least part of the cost covered by environmental subsidies. And if you hear extra moo-ing while driving past the pastures, it may just be the anti-maskers among the herd...?
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Exclusive: Russia hacked Dutch police systems in 2017
Russian hackers penetrated deep into the Dutch national police's digital system in 2017, during a period that Russian separatists were being investigated for the downing of a Malaysia Airlines flight that had departed from the Netherlands, Dutch daily De Volkskrantreports in an exclusive investigative probe.
The cyber attack, reportedly carried out by hackers belonging to the Russian security service SVR, was cause for great concern, De Volkskrant reports, because the police were working on the criminal investigation into the downing of flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur that was shot down on July 17, 2014 over eastern Ukraine.
Of the 283 passengers and 15 crew that were killed on July, 17 2014, when MH17 was shot down, 196 were Dutch. Multiple investigations have shown that MH17 was hit by a BUK missile, fired from a field in eastern Ukraine that was in the hands of pro-Russian separatists at the time. Russia has been blamed for consistently trying to undermine the enquiries.
The news of this new hack comes to light following the opening day of the Dutch MH17 criminal trial.
Do not come.
— U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris used her first overseas trip to warn would-be migrants in Guatemala not to try to enter the United States, saying they would be turned back at the U.S. border. The administration of President Joe Biden is under pressure to stem a surge in migrant arrivals from Central America since the start of 2021.
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