$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.