FINS Bulletin December Second Half, 2016

Iran and Kyrgyzstan signed a document on Friday setting the roadmap for a ten-year cooperation.

Iranian President Rouhani along with a number of his ministers, aides, businesspersons made a trip to Bishkek after concluding their trips to Armenia and Kazakhstan. During a meeting between the high-ranking Iranian and Kyrgyz officials, Rouhani said that Iran is willing to expand ties with Kyrgyzstan in various areas.

He added the two countries are determined to remove obstacles to expansion of relations.

Rouhani also said Tehran attaches great importance to increasing banking relations in line with easing economic ties. Undoubtedly a promotion of economic relations depends on efficient “banking ties”, Rouhani explained. Rouhani also said that Iran is determined to expand relations with Eurasian Economic Union member states, including Kyrgyzstan.

During Rouhani’s stay in Kyrgyzstan, two countries signed five cooperation documents in the fields of telecommunication and information technology, fighting drug smuggling, cultural and art exchange program, health and medical equipment, and a memorandum of understanding in social field.

In a joint press conference with the Kyrgyz president, Rouhani also said a new chapter has been opened in relations. He said that the two countries have plans to waive visa requirements.

Source : Tehran Times, Dated Dec 23, 2016


NIA arrests fake currency racket mastermind deported from Saudi Arabia

NIA arrested ring leader of a fake Indian currency note racket who was deported from Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has deported a ring leader of a fake Indian currency note racket, Abdul Salam, who was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) upon his landing at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi on Thursday.

Abdul Salam alias Podi Salam, a resident of Malappuram in Kerala, was wanted in a case of smuggling of fake Indian currency notes (FICNs). The NIA had taken over investigation into the case on July 13, 2014 from Kerala Police and filed a charge sheet against five accused including Abdul Salam on July 23, 2015.

The agency alleged that Salam was part of the criminal conspiracy to smuggle high quality counterfeit notes to India from the UAE and had facilitated its smuggling through Abid Chullikulavan Hassan.

Source : DNA,  Dated – Dec 23, 2016


Obama moves to split cyberwarfare command from the NSA

US President Barack Obama on Friday moved to end the “dual-hat” arrangement under which the National Security Agency and the nation’s cyberwarfare command are headed by the same military officer.

Pressure had grown on Obama to make such a move on the grounds that the two jobs are too large for one person to handle, that the two organizations have fundamentally different missions and that U.S. Cyber Command, or Cybercom, needed its own leader to become a full-fledged fighting force.

“While the dual-hat arrangement was once appropriate in order to enable a fledgling Cybercom to leverage NSA’s advanced capabilities and expertise, Cybercom has since matured” to the point where it needs its own leader, Obama said in a statement.

Cybercom’s mission is, when ordered, to disrupt and destroy adversaries’ networks. It is also to defend against incoming threats to critical systems and to protect the military’s computers from cyberattack.

The NSA also has a defensive mission — to protect the government’s classified networks — but is better known for its role in conducting electronic spying on overseas targets to gather intelligence on adversaries and foreign governments.

Source : Washington Post, Dated Dec 23, 2016


ISIS planning Maoist-type attacks in India, confirms NIA

In a chargesheet filed against ISIS operatives, the NIA has said: “In September 11, 2015, during the coordination meeting in Sharanpur in Uttar Pradesh regarding expansion of base of the ISIS in India, one of the accused Md Azhar Khan alias Ikrama of Madhya Pradesh has suggested that, since their fight was against the security forces, they should adopt the guerrilla tactics as done by the Maoists.”

“In the said meeting, it was discussed that they should purchase a piece of land in a remote area to operate in clandestine manner”.

Maharashtra-based ISIS suspect Mudbabir Shaik also took part in the meeting, the chargesheet says. Around 17 persons were named as being part of the module, including four from Hyderabad. To train themselves in guerrilla warfare the terror suspects led by Nafees Khan visited Vikarabad and Naraspur forest area in Telangana state, according to the chargesheet.

Source : Asian Age, Dec 19, 2016


Japan, Indonesia to set up maritime forum

The Japanese and Indonesian governments are set to establish the Japan-Indonesia Maritime Forum, in which the two countries will discuss maritime co-operation. Under this framework, Japan will support Indonesia’s efforts to protect its maritime sovereignty in the South China Sea and other areas.

The forum will comprise meetings of relevant ministers of the two countries and working groups. In particular, Japan will likely assist the development of ports and other infrastructure projects – part of Indonesia’s national strategy – as well as the development of remote islands and the enhancement of maritime security capabilities, among others.

Source : Asia One, Dec 20, 2016


40 bank accounts of Maoists with Rs 55 crore frozen

At least 40 accounts of Maoist operatives containing Rs 55 crore have been frozen by the banking authorities in Jharkhand, police said. Official sources said it was being probed as to how these Maoists were operating their accounts with such freedom. The accounts which have been frozen were spread across Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Chaibasa districts.

“The bigger names of the Maoists ranks whose bank accounts have been frozen included Akramanji, Brajesh Ganju, Bindu Ganjhu, Rakesh and Shekhar Ganjhu. Apart from them, the accounts of Maoists like Kohram, Arif, Karampal and Kabir’s, who carry awards on their heads, have also been frozen,” the police said.

Post demonetization, several Maoists who deposited their money into the accounts of their family members or other relatives have also been debarred from carrying out financial transactions. Since the wives of many Maoists were either Mukhiyas or Zilla Parishad members, their accounts were being strictly monitored.

Source : Business Standard, December 20, 2016


2700 more mobile towers to be installed in 10 Naxal-hit states

Aiming to improve telecom network in 10 Naxal-affected states, the Centre plans to install 2,700 additional mobile towers in these areas. The proposed 2,700 mobile towers will be installed in addition to the 2,199 towers recently installed in some of the worst Maoist-hit regions.

106 districts across 10 states have been identified by the government as naxal-affected. The states are: Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

The objective of the USOF is to provide widespread and non-discriminatory access to quality ICT services at affordable prices to people in rural and remote areas.

The already installed 2,199 mobile towers were put up by the BSNL and mostly in close proximity of security force establishments. The new towers will be spread over all 10 Maoist-hit states, the official said.

Source : Business Standard, Dec 21, 2016


Russian Android malware tracked Ukrainian military

Russian hackers likely affiliated with the country’s military used malware on Android phones to track Ukrainian artillery personnel, a report from security firm CrowdStrike said.

The malware, from a group dubbed Fancy Bear, was hidden within legitimate software from a Ukrainian artillery officer and used by Ukrainian forces, CrowdStrike said in its report (PDF). It was distributed through online military forums. The app was supposed to help with artillery targeting operations, but included malware called X-Agent that could access phone communications, rough location data and contacts.

“A tool such as this has the potential ability to map out a unit’s composition and hierarchy, determine their plans, and even triangulate their approximate location,” the report said. “This type of strategic analysis can enable the identification of zones in which troops are operating and help prioritize assets within those zones for future targeting.” The infected app was distributed from 2014 through 2016, CrowdStrike said.

Source : CNET, Dec 22, 2016


Philippines to ‘set aside’ South China Sea tribunal ruling to avoid imposing on Beijing

The Philippine President has said he would “set aside” a ruling by an international arbitration tribunal that invalidated Beijing’s claims to most of the South China Sea, because he doesn’t want to impose on China. “In the play of politics, now, I will set aside the arbitral ruling. I will not impose anything on China,” Rodrigo Duterte said at a news conference on Saturday.

Source : The Guardian, Dec 17, 2016


India, Tajikistan to step up anti-terror, defence cooperation

Stating that they live in an extended neighbourhood that continues to face multiple security challenges, India and Tajikistan today decided to strengthen defence cooperation and inked a pact to share financial intelligence to counter money laundering and financing of terrorism.

The pact was among three signed by the two countries after comprehensive talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Tajik President Emomali Rahmon on strategic issues including threats posed by radicalisation and extremism, trade and investments.

“We appreciate Tajikistan’s role in the Central Asian region as a mainstay against forces of extremism, radicalism, and terrorism. President Rahmon and I agreed today to strengthen action on this front based on mutually agreed priorities,” said PM Modi.

Modi and Rahmon reaffirmed their resolve to work for early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism by the UN General Assembly.

Apart from MoU concerning Cooperation in the Exchange of Financial Intelligence related to money laundering, related crimes and financing of terrorism, the two sides also inked pacts on broadcasting of audio visual programmes and protocol amending the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion and announced initialling of document on Bilateral Investment Treaty.

Source : Deccan Herald, Dec 17, 2016


Chinese President Xi urges new media outlet to ‘tell China stories well’

The relationship between China and the rest of the world is undergoing historic changes. China needs to know better about the world and the world needs to know better about China,” Xi said in a congratulatory letter to the China Global Television Network (CGTN).

Set up by China Central Television (CCTV) as a rebranding of CCTV news, CGTN will integrate resources as part of the trend in media convergence, and be a multi-language, multi-platform media group. It will consist of six TV channels, three overseas branches, a video content provider and a digital media division.

The president said CGTN should be culturally confident, news-focused, audience-aware, and to use integrated media. CGTN should tell stories about China well and spread China’s voice well; enable the world to see a multidimensional and colorful China; present China as a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, and an upholder of international order; and make efforts to build a community of common destiny, Xi said.

Liu Yunshan, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, said CGTN should take responsibility for bridging China with the rest of the world.

CGTN should put news content first, highlight new ideas and strategies of state governance with Xi as the core, tell stories about China’s development, explain China’s path, theory and contribution, and have a voice in major global affairs and international issues, Liu said.

Liu called on CGTN to encourage media integration and use new technology to become a media brand with global influence.

In February 2016, Xi called for innovation in concepts, content and methods while visiting the country’s three leading media institutions — the People’s Daily, the CPC’s flagship newspaper; Xinhua News Agency, the state news agency; and CCTV, the country’s broadcaster.

Xi told media groups to use the new media’s edge in reaching people, turn up their voice on the international stage, tell stories about China well, and build flagship media groups with strong global influence.

Source : CCTV, Dec 31, 2016


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