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Apple supplier targeted by major ransom attack



Authorities in Taiwan say they are looking into a ransomware cyber-attack on a major technology firm within the region.

The hackers, known as Revil have published stolen blueprints for unreleased products and are threatening to release more.

It’s believed the anonymous hackers are attempting to extort a ransom from Apple directly.

It comes as the number of cyber attacks reported during the pandemic increase with hackers targeting banks, media firms and local governments.

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Global Politics

China launches crewed spacecraft Shenzhou-12 in historic mission



China has marked a major moment in space history

Launching a spacecraft carrying three astronauts, the mission is now on to complete the country’s space station by the end of next year.

It will be the longest stay in low Earth orbit by any Chinese national.

As part of its plans to have a fully crewed space station by December 2022, China successfully launched the first core module earlier this year.

There is no official announcement yet on when the other sections of the space station will launch, but the module is expected to operate for at least 10 years.

Chinese astronauts have long been excluded from the international space station, due to US political objections and legal restrictions.

The three-month stay for the three men will be the longest for any Chinese astronauts, and one focus will be seeing how they handle their relatively long time in orbit.

During their sojourn on the cylinder-like Tianhe, slightly bigger than a bus, the three men will test the module’s technologies, including its life-support system.

The Tianhe, which means “Harmony of the Heavens”, is a cylinder 16.6 metres long and 4.2 metres in diameter.

The men will also be monitored for how they fare in space physically and psychologically for an extended period of time.

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U.S, EU end 17-year Airbus-Boeing conflict



The US and Europe have ended an Airbus-Boeing dispute as they eye off threats from China.

The two sides will suspend tariffs imposed as part of a trade battle for the next five years.

The two sides have been battling since 2004 in parallel cases at the World Trade Organisation over subsidies for U.S. planemaker Boeing and European rival Airbus, which each argued exposed the other to unfair competition.

FILE PHOTO: An Airbus A350 takes off at the aircraft builder’s headquarters in Colomiers near Toulouse, France, September 27, 2019. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/File Photo

The move is set to improve trans-Atlantic relations between the US and Europe, as they seek to counter China’s rising economic influence.

The US says they struck the truce at a summit in Brussels to end ongoing disputes over government subsidies for the world’s leading commercial plane makers.

They agreed back in March to a four-month suspension of tariffs on $11.5 billion of goods from EU cheese and wine to U.S. tobacco and spirits, which the WTO had sanctioned. Businesses have so far paid more than $3.3 billion in duties.

“Grounding the Airbus-Boeing dispute delivers a major confidence boost for EU-U.S. relations,”

EU trade chief Valdis Dombrovskis told a news conference after an EU-U.S. summit with U.S. President Joe Biden.

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai stated both nations agreed to clear statements on what support could be given to large civil aircraft producers.

They would also work to counter investments in aircraft by “non-market actors” – referring specifically to China.

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Facebook vs Apple: Battle of the smart watch



Tension between the tech giants are heating up… and this time, it’s battle of the smart watches.

We know they’re called smartwatches for a reason, and there are rumours Apple’s version could become a vital tool for more than just your movement activity and of course, telling the time.

Future Apple Watches are likely to feature blood glucose and body temperature sensors.

The gadgets will automatically log blood sugar levels for diabetics without the need to prick a finger.

There are also reports a new body temperature monitoring feature is on the way… which peaked interest due to the pandemic.

The new watch will probably be dubbed the Series 7, and will also include a new screen and updated ultra-wideband support as-well.

What will Facebook’s smart watch look like?

Facebook is set to launch its first smartwatch, which the company hasn’t confirmed publicly but currently plans to debut next summer.

The device will feature a display with two cameras that can be detached from the wrist for taking pictures and videos that can be shared across Facebook’s suite of apps, including Instagram, according to the The Verge.

There are rumours the watch will be able to video call at 1080p, with an auto focus camera on the back.

It will also be detachable, so people can capture footage with better ease and directly upload to their Facebook accounts.

Facebook is tapping other companies to create accessories for attaching the camera hub to things like backpacks, according to two people familiar with the project, both of whom requested anonymity to speak without Facebook’s permission.

It’s part of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s plan to build more consumer devices that take on Apple and Google’s major stake in devices/accessories.

Facebook aims to release the first version of the watch in the summer of 2022 and is already working on second and third generations for subsequent years.

The price is unknown, but employees have recently discussed pricing the device at roughly $400 USD.

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