FINS Bulletin March Second Half 2017

Google is fighting with Symantec over encrypting the internet

Google, which has accused Symantec and its partners of misissuing tens of thousands of certificates for encrypted web connections, quietly announced Thursday that it’s downgrading the level and length of trust Chrome will place in certificates issued by Symantec.
Symantec is a giant in the world of CAs — its certificates vouched for about 30 percent of the web in 2015. But Google claims that Symantec hasn’t been taking its responsibilities seriously and has issued at least 30,000 certificates without properly verifying the websites that received them. It’s a serious allegation that undermines the trust users can place in the encrypted web, and Google says it will begin the process of distrusting Symantec certificates in its Chrome browser. Symantec lashed out at Google’s claims, calling them “irresponsible” and “exaggerated and misleading.”
“Since January 19, the Google Chrome team has been investigating a series of failures by Symantec Corporation to properly validate certificates. Over the course of this investigation, the explanations provided by Symantec have revealed a continually increasing scope of misissuance with each set of questions from members of the Google Chrome team; an initial set of reportedly 127 certificates has expanded to include at least 30,000 certificates, issued over a period spanning several years,” Google software engineer Ryan Sleevi wrote in a forum post outlining the case against Symantec. “This is also coupled with a series of failures following the previous set of misissued certificates from Symantec, causing us to no longer have confidence in the certificate issuance policies and practices of Symantec over the past several years.”

Source: Techcrunch, March 27, 2017

Suicide attack near Dhaka airport ahead of Bangladesh PM’s India visit

Suicide bomber on Friday night struck near the Dhaka airport triggering red alert fortnight ahead of PM Sheikh Hasina’s April 7-10 India visit. Senior Bangladeshi officials said that a ‘suicide attacker’ exploded a bomb apparently in an attempted offensive on a police box at the entrance to Dhaka’s international airport, killing only himself. The attacker, described as a young man by an airport police officer, could not be identified immediately. However, the incident triggered prompt action by the Bangladeshi authorities who announced a red alert in the area.
The terror attack comes close on the heels of several counter-terror operations against JMB and HuJI terror operatives launched by the Hasina government across Bangladesh in last few weeks ahead of her India trip. Security cooperation including new mechanisms will be put in place when Hasina meets PM Narendra Modi on April 8 here. Bangladesh has been a steadfast partner for India in counter-terror actions since 2009.
A counter-terror operation is currently ongoing in the Shylet region of Bangladesh against den of terrorists, officials said, adding the local forces have launched several counter-terror actions across the nation in last few weeks. HuJI commander Mufti Hannan is slated to be hanged by the Hasina government reflecting the PM’s resolve on zero tolerance against terror, her aides claimed.

Source: The Economic Times, March 26, 2017

China, SriLanka agree to deepen cooperation in all fields

China and Sri Lanka will continue to join hands in promoting development in each other’s country and deepen cooperation in all fields, President Maithripala Sirisena and visiting Chinese State Councilor, Defense Minister Chang Wanquan have agreed here.
Chang, who arrived in Colombo Sunday, met with President Sirisena and his Sri Lankan counterpart respectively on Monday.
Sri Lanka will energetically follow through joint cooperation projects with China and continue to make great efforts in deepening pragmatic cooperation with China in all fields, he said.
Sri Lanka will, like as usual, steadfastly support China’s stance in international and regional affairs as well as on issues of great concern to China, the president said.
Chang noted that the two presidents had agreed to promote the “strategic partnership of cooperation featuring sincere mutual support and long-lasting friendship” between the two countries.
He conveyed President Xi’s greetings to President Sirisena and also expressed appreciation for Sri Lanka’s support for China, especially in matters concerning China’s core interests.
He noted that Sri Lanka is an important country along the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, saying China would like to work together with Sri Lanka in promoting each other’s development so as to benefit their two peoples.
Chang also held talks with Sri Lankan State Minister of Defense Ruwan Wijewardene. The two exchanged ideas on promoting relations between their two militaries and pledged to maintain high level contacts, deepen cooperation in all aspects to bring the military ties to a new high.

Source: Xinhua, March 20, 2017 

Over 2,000 heavily armed ‘jihadis’ have entered India, Bangladesh warns India; patrolling increased

The government of Bangladesh has warned of an increase in infiltration of militants into India from across its eastern border, raising an alarm for the security and intelligence mechanism.
According to ‘The Times of India’, the Bangladesh government has informed the Home Ministry    that over 2,000 Hujl and JMB militants had possibly crossed into the Indian side from the Bangladesh border and are hiding in West Bengal, Assam and Tripura. 
The Bangladesh government’s report also suggests a marked increase in the number of infiltrators, which the intelligence agencies pegged between 800 and 659 for 2014-15.
The development comes on the back of findings by National Investigation Agency, which had found terror links and the direct role of JMB in the October 2014 Burdwan blast at Khagragarh in which two suspected terrorists were killed.
An alert has been sounded in view of the report and patrolling has been increased on the eastern borders.
Speaking on the matter, Additional Director-General of Police (SB), Assam, Pallab Bhattcharyya, said, ‘There is certainly an increase in terrorist activity because over the last six months, we have arrested 54 JMB operatives… We have formed a high-powered committee of top police officers and MLAs to check infiltration. They visit the border regularly and conduct meetings with security forces.”
However, what is baffling the Indian authorities is a report that JMB secretary Iftadur Rehman had entered India on 12 January this year on a fake passport and has established contact with other militants in Assam and Bengal.
Besides this, a meeting between jihadis from Assam, West Bengal and New Delhi and the top JMB and HuJI leadership also took place in the Mymensingh district of Bangladesh on January 18, a senior official said.

Source: Zee News, March 21, 2017

Over 100 kgs of drugs suspected to fund Naxals seized in Mumbai

Around 110 kg of cannabis worth Rs 22 lakh, suspected to fund the Naxal movement, was seized by Mumbai police’s Anti-Narcotics Cell (ANC) when it was on its way to the city. The ANC has arrested five men and one woman.

Source:  MidDay, March 21, 2017 

Hizb says ‘focus on enforcing Sharia, not Kashmir nationalism’

A top Hizbul Mujahideen militant Zakir Bhat alias Musa has indicated a change in the militant group’s goal — focus on Islamic Sharia and not on Kashmiri nationalism. In a 12-minute long video, Musa urged his supporters to stop looking at the United Nations (UN) or United States (US) for a resolution to Kashmir issue. Instead, he appealed to people to turn to hardline Islam, a hint at the outfit’s change in stance. The militant outfit’s stand till now has been “preparing the ground for the implementation of UN resolutions” in Kashmir.
“Don’t pick stones for a nation or Kashmir. They (youth) should think before taking up stones in their hands that they are not doing it for nationalism or democracy. Both are not allowed in Islam,” Musa said while urging youth to shun Kashmiri ‘nationalism’. “Musa said, implying that attacking with stones during Jihad is allowed in Islam.”
Burhan Wani’s successor Musa joined militant ranks in 2013 after leaving his engineering degree midway. Musa has again threatened Jammu and Kashmir policemen and informers while warning of an “upcoming war” in the region through social media.
“Many people say the local policemen are our own. Don’t think they (cops) are our brothers. They are supporting infidels and this is my last warning before the beginning of war,” Musa said.
Sporting a Chitrali cap, the 22-year-old Musa also thanked locals for supporting militants and disrupting counter-insurgency operations. He appealed to youth to inform about movement of security forces in their neighbourhoods.

Source: The Times of India, March 16, 2017

Nepal to sign MoU with China on Belt and Road Initiative

Nepali Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal said on Wednesday that Nepal will formally sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China to become a part of the Belt and Road Initiative, which was proposed by China.
The prime minister, who returned home from his China visit on Wednesday, informed reporters that his country would become the part of the Belt and Road Initiative as early as possible and reap benefits from the initiative.
“We are going to sign the deal with China as early as possible to ensure our participation in the Belt and Road Initiative,” the prime minister said, adding that Nepal is keen to develop cross-border railway networks, roads, transmission lines, industrial parks as well as other infrastructures under the Belt and Road Initiative.
He expressed confidence that Nepalese people will benefit from Nepal’s participation in the Belt and Road Initiative. “We agreed to cooperate more in jointly building the belt and road,” he added.
Nepal initially signed a framework MoU with China in December 2014 though the Himalayan nation has yet to finalize cooperation projects to be developed under the initiative.
“I expressed commitment on behalf of the government of Nepal that we would like to become the part of the Belt and Road Initiative during my meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing recently,” he said.
The Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by China in 2013, aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes.
Dahal, who attended the Boao Forum for Asia Conference last week in Hainan province of China, said the forum was important for South Asian countries including Nepal to discuss on promotion of regional cooperation, connectivity and trade.
“High level meetings between the two governments during my visit help to take our bilateral ties to a new height. I believe that the goodwill and incessant support from China in Nepal’s socio-economic development will continue in future,” he said.
“My visit to China was productive on multiple areas of cooperation such as energy, tourism, trade, commerce, connectivity, investment and physical infrastructure development,” Dahal told reporters.
During the high-level meetings in China, the two sides agreed to deepen mutual trust and explore possible areas and opportunities in future, he said.

Source: CCTV, March 29, 2017