Archive February 2019

Alipay updates anti-fraud functionsscans a quick response

Alipay, the country’s top mobile payment platform, announced on Tuesday a major anti-fraud u

pgrade on its application by teaming up with 26 public security departments nationwide.

The new function, dubbed “Security Guard”, allows users to set up related accounts among f

amily members or close friends. Should any abnormalities on transactions occur, the system would send

out alerts to all related accounts in order to prevent the fraud from materializing and minimize loss of funds.

“Security is the lifeline of Alipay, and we hope to fight fraud in a manner as harsh as dru

nk driving,” said Rui Xiongwen, vice-president of Ant Financial, Alipay’s parent company.

Alipay users can choose to delay payment for two hours or 24 hours and raise an alert

on the platform if they deem such transactions potentially misdirected or fraudulent.

The system has been linked to local public security authorities to help freeze any transaction

s in doubt. The money will be credited back to the user’s account if authorities determine fraud has been committed.

A number of local anti-fraud centers in cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhe

n also pledged to cooperate with Alipay on financial security education and anti-fraud alarming systems.

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Vietnam’s path from a mortal enemy to a friendly partn

  United States is particularly appealing to North Korea, who believes a good relationship with the United States can h

elp create the right environment and necessary conditions for achieving North Korea’s new strategic drive toward ec

onomic development,” said Tong Zhao, a fellow at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy in Beijing.

  The concept isn’t new, of course. During his time as an Asia expert at the State Department in the Clinton administration, Evans Revere said negoti

ators working with North Korea were even then trying to point them to Vietnam, which was beginning to reap t

he benefits of market reforms and becoming a member of good international standing.

  ”We thought, somewhat naively back then, that this would appeal to the North Koreans gre

atly and that our commitments to work with them on bringing about a modernized economy w

ould be so attractive … that they would stand down from their nuclear weapons program. We were wrong,” Revere said.

  ”If all of these incentives or this incentive-based approach to coaxing North Korea do

wn a new path did not work when they didn’t have nuclear weapons, and it didn’t work to prevent th

em from developing nuclear weapons, why will it work now that they are in effect a nuclear weapons state?”

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ike Lee jumps in the arms of Actor Samuel L. Jackson as

  Marvel’s “Black Panther” looked like a contender by claiming a pair of early awards, and made

history in the process: Ruth E. Carter and Hannah Beachler became the first African-American w

omen to win for costume design and production design, respectively. The film was also honored for its musical score.

  ”Roma” didn’t walk away empty handed, earing best foreig

n-language film. Its director, Alfonso Cuaron, was honored for directing and cin

ematography for the black-and-white period drama, a deeply personal look back at the women who raised him.

  Cuaron’s marks the fifth time a Mexican director has won that

award in the past six years, a stretch that includes his previous win for “Gravity” in 2014.

  Guillermo Del Toro — who presented the statuette to Cuaron — was t

he victor last year for “The Shape of Water.” The third member of the “Three Amigos,” as the

y are affectionately known, is Alejandro G. Iñárritu, a winner for “Birdman” and “The Revenant.”

  Mahershala Ali received his second Oscar in three years for “Green Book,” and the film al

so won for original screenplay, despite separate controversies related to its director and w

riter. With his prior award for “Moonlight,” Ali becomes only the second African-American actor with multiple Os

cars, joining Denzel Washington. A tearful Regina King took the first award of the night, winning supporting actress f

or “If Beale Street Could Talk,” director Barry Jenkins’ adaptation of the James Baldwin novel.

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Controversial Serena Williams cartoon ruled not to have br

  A widely criticized Australian newspaper cartoon showing tennis legen

d Serena Williams jumping up and down next to a broken racket and a pa

cifier which she had spat out was not racist, according to the country’s media watchdog.

  The Australian Press Council ruled that the drawing, published by Murdoch group newspaper the Hera

ld Sun, did not breach Australia’s press standards and instead was capturing Williams’ “on-co

urt tantrum” at the 2018 US Open final “using satire, caricature, exaggeration and humor.”

  The cartoon was published shortly after the bad-tempered final, in which Wi

lliams had a dispute with the umpire over his allegedly sexist treatment. The pr

ess watchdog received a number of complaints about the image, which drew international condemnation.

  The press council said the newspaper “was depicting the moment when, in a high

ly animated tantrum, Ms Williams smashed a racquet and loudly abused the ch

air umpire, calling him a thief, a liar and threatening that he would never umpire her matches again.

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In their article, the Conservative ministers warned that econom

  national security, and peace in Northern Ireland would be compromised in the case of a no-d

eal Brexit, and added the scenario would risk inflaming the nationalist sentiment in Scotland.

  ”Far from Brexit resulting in a newly independent United Kingdom, stepping boldly into t

he wider world, crashing out on March 29 would see us poorer, less secure and potentially splitting up,” they write.

  Rudd, Clark and Gauke also cautioned members of the European Research Gro

up (ERG), a Parliamentary alliance whose members advocate for a no-deal Brexit and have previously voted do

wn May’s deal, that their lack of cooperation would be responsible for a postponement in the Brexit process.

  ”It is time that many of our Conservative parliamentary colleagues in the ERG recognized that Parliament will stop a disastrous No Deal Brexit on Mar

ch 29. If that happens, they will have no one to blame but themselves for delaying Brexit,” they wrote.

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UK Prime Minister Theresa May has repeatedly rejected exte

  Article 50 — the legal process under which an EU member state can leave — and refused to rule out a no-deal Brexit.

  The UK Parliament is due to debate the divorce again on Wednesday when May is expected to update lawmakers on any pr

ogress made in talks with European counterparts on the divisive issue of the Northern Irish backstop.

  This weekend she will meet European Council President Donald Tusk on the margins of

the EU-League of Arab States Summit in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

  Three Conservative MPs have quit Theresa May’s party over Brexit

  By Eliza Mackintosh, CNN

  Updated 1619 GMT (0019 HKT) February 20, 2019

  Ex-Conservative MPs Heidi Allen, second left, Anna Soubry, center, and Sarah W

ollaston, right, arrive for a press conference in Westminster in London on Wednesday.

  Ex-Conservative MPs Heidi Allen, second left, Anna Soubry, center, and Sarah

Wollaston, right, arrive for a press conference in Westminster in London on Wednesday.

  (CNN)Three lawmakers walked out of UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative party on Wednesday, joini

ng a new group in Parliament that has blown up the British political landscape in less than three days.

  The trio’s dramatic decision to join a group of eight independent MPs, who split fro

m the opposition Labour Party earlier this week, caused consternation at Westminster. They

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Nigeria elections: Explosions heard hours before preside

  Multiple bomb blasts rocked the northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri just hours before presidential polls opened Saturday.

  The explosions happened at a camp for internally displaced refugees at around 5 a.m. local

time Saturday, Nigerian army spokesman Onyeama Nwachukwu told CNN. There were no reports of any deaths or injuries.

  ”There was an attack this morning at the camp by the militants, but the military h

as suppressed it at the moment,” Nwachukwu said, adding that the army was still assessing the situation.

  Journalist Simpa Samson told CNN the militants targeted the Teacher’s Village camp in Maiduguri, the capital of Nigeria’s

Borno state.”The military secured the place almost immediately and has stopped our cameraman from fil

ming, no one was hurt because the bombs landed outside the premises,” Samson told CNN.

  Security is often a concern in Maiduguri, a frequent target of terror group

Boko Haram. The city also has a large population of internally displaced refugees.

  The blasts came as Nigerians prepared to cast their ballots Saturday, a week after the country’s presidential and parliamentary elections were une

xpectedly postponed. It was the third consecutive vote to be delayed in Africa’s largest democracy.

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Guaido has been working with a raft of global partners to br

  Venezuelans desperately needed food and medical supplies. The White House urged the Venezuelan military to allow aid into the country in a statement Friday.

  ”The United States strongly condemns the Venezuelan military’s use of force against unarmed civilians and innocent v

olunteers on Venezuela’s border with Brazil,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said.

  ”Egregious violation of human rights by Maduro and those who are following his orders will not go unpunished. The Unite

d States strongly urges the Venezuelan military to uphold its constitutional duty to protect the citizens of V

enezuela. The Venezuelan military must allow humanitarian aid to peacefully enter the country. The world is watching.”

  Aid is piling up on Venezuela’s border. Here’s why it’s not getting in

  The violence came as dueling concerts kicked off on the country’s western border with Colombia, where aid deliver

ies from the United States have been languishing since Maduro blocked the Tienditas Bridge.

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Bernd H. Knöller, Riff’s head chef and owner, released a stat

  expressing deep regret over the incident and saying that he is collaborating with authorities to determine what happened.

  ”I have taken the decision to permanently close the restaurant until the cause of what happened ha

s been established and we can reopen with the necessary guarantees for the safety of staff and customers.”

  Riff holds one Michelin star, a prestigious award in the restaurant business.

  ”The owner-chef, who despite being German considers himself Valencian, conju

res up innovative cuisine,” reads the Michelin Guide entry for the restaurant.

  ”This is based around the highest quality, seasonal, local produc

ts to create successful culinary combinations and interesting set menus.”Crippling sanc

tions in Iran have seen its effect in the medical sector. CNN’s Fred Pleitgen reports on medical shortages in Tehran.

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Desperate and alone, Saudi sisters risk everything

  It was September 6, 2018. The two Saudi sisters were on a family vacation in Colombo, Sri Lanka. For weeks, they had helped their mother organize the trip, feigning

excitement at the possibility of two weeks away from Riyadh, but knowing that if all went to plan, they’d never go back.

  Failure was not an option. Every step of their escape from Saudi Arabia carried the threat of severe punishment or death.

  ”We knew the first time, if it’s not perfect, it will be the last time,” Reem says.

  CNN has changed the sisters’ names and is not showing their faces, at their request for their safety.

  The sisters say years of strict Islamic teaching and physical abuse at home had convinced them that they had no future in a socie

ty that places women under the enforced guardianship of men, and limits their aspirations.

  ”It’s slavery, because whatever the woman will do it’s the business of the male,” Rawan says.

  That’s why they say they renounced Islam.

  And that’s why aged 18 and 20, they stole back their own passports, hid their abayas under the b

edcovers, snuck out of their holiday home and boarded a flight from Colombo to Melbourne, via Hong Kong.

  The Hong Kong stopover was supposed to take less than two hours.

  Two hours has turned into five months.

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