Briefs

Weekend Herald - - World -

$172m fine for robo­calls

Is­su­ing its largest fine to date, the United States’ Fed­eral Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion has handed out a US$120 mil­lion ($172.2m) fine on a mas­sive robo­call spoof­ing op­er­a­tion it deemed a threat to public safety. The FCC an­nounced it would lever­age the fine against Adrian Abramovich, a Mi­ami man who the com­mis­sion said made al­most 100 mil­lion spoofed robo­calls over a three­month pe­riod at the end of 2016. The FCC ar­gued that Abramovich’s op­er­a­tion made the phony calls to trick con­sumers into an­swer­ing and lis­ten­ing to his ad­ver­tis­ing mes­sages. The fine was based on 80,000 spoofed calls the com­mis­sion had ver­i­fied. In a writ­ten state­ment, FCC Chair­man Ajit Pai said Abramovich did not dis­pute that he placed more than 96 mil­lion robo­calls, or that the robo­calls were made with­out the re­cip­i­ents’ con­sent.

Key Isis mem­bers ar­rested

Iraq has ar­rested five se­nior mem­bers of Isis (Is­lamic State), in­clud­ing a top aide to the mil­i­tant group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Bagh­dadi, in an op­er­a­tion that in­volved US and Turk­ish in­tel­li­gence sup­port, au­thor­i­ties said. Ex­perts said yes­ter­day that the cap­ture of the men, two Syr­i­ans and three Iraqis, rep­re­sents a break­through in the hunt for Bagh­dadi. One of the men, Is­mail al-Ithawi, who goes by the alias Abu Zaid al-Iraqi, is con­sid­ered part of Bagh­dadi’s in­ner cir­cle and was re­spon­si­ble for fi­nan­cial, re­li­gious and se­cu­rity port­fo­lios across the group’s ter­ri­tory in Iraq and Syria, said Hisham al-Hashimi, an ex­pert on Isis who ad­vises the Iraqi Gov­ern­ment.

Ebola out­break in DRC

The Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo’s Min­is­ter of Health yes­ter­day an­nounced the first death since a new Ebola out­break was de­clared in the coun­try, as well as nine other cases of peo­ple sick­ened by a haem­or­rhagic fever that is sus­pected as Ebola. Health of­fi­cials de­clared an Ebola out­break in the coun­try’s north­west on Wed­nes­day af­ter lab tests con­firmed the deadly virus in two cases from the town of Bikoro in the Equa­teur prov­ince. Of­fi­cials from the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion and other in­ter­na­tional health agen­cies are in the area to help con­tain the out­break’s spread. This is the ninth Ebola out­break in Congo since 1976, when the deadly dis­ease was first iden­ti­fied.

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