Russia Current Affairs - Current Affairs Today


Russia hackers stole 1.2 billion usernames and passwords

As per Hold Security – a US firm with expertise in spotting breaches, a Russian group of hackers dubbed ‘CyberVor’ has stolen 1.2 billion usernames and passwords belonging to more than 500 million email addresses.

It claimed the hacked information belongs to over 420,000 websites, including many leaders in virtually all companies across the globe. It revealed that the hackers targeted every site that their victims visited. However the firm has not disclosed the names of those companies the accounts of which have been compromised.

Surprisingly, it has posted a message on its site saying it will charge $120 (£71) a month for a breach notification service. As claimed by Hold Security, the hackers also got access to data from “Botnets” – a network of computers infected with malware, to set off online scam and helped the hacking group identify more than 400,000 websites that were susceptible to cyber attacks.

World has only 3,200 tigers left: WWF report

In a sharp contrast to the 100,000 tigers that once lived in the wild a century ago, the number now has reduced to just 3,200. This was revealed by a latest report released by the World Wide Fund (WWF).

WWF has also expressed their willingness to assist the conservation efforts being made by the 13 tiger-range countries – India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand, and Vietnam – which in 2010 set the target of doubling of wild tiger population by 2022.

The report which coincided with the International Tiger Day on July 29 warns that the largest of all the Asian big cats could go extinct in the wild mainly due to poaching and habitat destruction.

WWF considers ‘poaching’ as the biggest threat to wild tigers since their parts are used for traditional medicine, folk remedies, and increasingly as a status symbol among some Asian cultures.

Ukraine’s PM submits resignation

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has resigned from the office. This means that Ukraine will have fresh elections that would mirror the country’s changed political picture after the ouster of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014.

Yatsenyuk, an advocate of closer relationship with Europe and a key participant in the protests that ousted Yanukovych, made the announcement after two parties said they would withdraw their support to the governing coalition.

The newly elected President Petro Poroshenko, praised the withdrawal of the two parties. Poroshenko’s calls for political renewal indicate that the resignation and new polls are the result of planning and political maneuvering, not chaos.

Yatsenyuk had assumed the PM office just five months back supported by a coalition of pro-European parties. They took power after Yanukovych was driven from office by months of street protests on Kiev’s Independence Square, or Maidan.

The protests triggered over Yanukovych’s denial to sign a sweeping trade pact with the European Union, but aggravated to include wider grievances such as the government’s attempts to crush the protests with riot police, corruption, and lack of progress in modernizing the economy.

The current Parliament was originally dominated by Yanukovych supporters in the pro-Russian Party of Regions. That group has reduced through defections and its members face an uncertain future in fresh upcoming polls.

After assuming office, Yatsenyuk was to run a government almost insolvent and facing the likelihood of taking up unpopular measures to fulfill conditions to get loans sanctioned from the International Monetary Fund. It succeeded in getting the IMF bailout.

The government faces tensions with Russia which termed Yanukovych’s ouster a coup, seized Ukraine’s Crimea region and cut off natural gas supplies in a price dispute.

It has also combated a pro-Russian insurgency in which rebels armed with heavy weapons have seized public buildings and battled government troops. Russia denies supporting the rebels.

The nationalist Svoboda party and the Udar party led by former boxer Vitali Klitschko withdrew their support from Yatsenyuk’s coalition.

MH-17 crash: EU extends sanctions on Russia

In the wake of the Malaysian Airplane MH-17 crash that happened over eastern Ukraine recently, European Union has extended the sanctions on Russia. The imposition of sanctions on Russia was started with the country’s annexation of Crimea in eastern Ukraine in February 2014.

The Committee of Permanent Representatives of the European Union (EU) approved the sanctions during a meeting held in Brussels, Belgium.

The extended sanctions include names of 15 individuals and 18 firms from Russia and Ukraine. These names have been added to the existing list of 72 individuals and two companies against whom visa bans and asset freezes have been imposed.

The high profile names include the head of the Russian Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov and Sergei Beseda, head of the FSB department that supervises international operations and intelligence activity. The names of four members of Russia’s Security Council have also been added to the list.