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Dubai ruler hacked ex-wife’s phone, UK court finds

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The British High Court found the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum, hacked the phone of his ex-wife, Princess Haya of Jordan, during their high-profile custody battle.

The phones of Princess Haya’s lawyers, Baroness Fiona Shackleton QC and Nick Manners, were also targeted during the divorce custody case, according to the court.

The court findings are the latest in a series of allegations brought against the sheikh in recent years. Last year, he was charged with abducting his two daughters, Latifa and Shamsa, and was then accused this year of holding them against their will.

The sheikh denies all allegations of wrongdoing, claiming the courts findings were based on evidence not disclosed to him, and were “made in a manner which was unfair”.

“Hunted and and haunted”

The hacking took place in July and August 2020 “at a time of significant events” in the court proceedings when hearings were taking place over the welfare of the children.

Princess Haya told the court she is living in fear of her life after receiving threatening messages from agents of her former husband.

Now her legal team is accusing agents of the Emirate of Dubai of acting on the sheikh’s behalf in hacking the phones of her solicitors, Baroness Shackleton and Nick Manners, as well as her personal assistant and two members of her security staff.

It was also alleged the sheikh had attempted to buy property next door to Princess Haya’s estate near London. The court heard that “if anyone chose to use it, it is in prime position for direct or electronic surveillance”.

Significant amount of data “covertly extracted”

The surveillance software used to hack the phones of the Princess and her attorney’s can expose substantial amounts of data, from the person’s location to their texts and photographs.

The ‘Pegasus spyware’ is alleged to have been deployed by Saudi government agents working on the orders of the Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, against dissidents living abroad, including associates of the murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

It also allows the hacker to activate the target’s phone without their knowledge, recording their activity and even taking photographs and screenshots.

The court concluded that the hacking attempts resulted in more than 265 megabytes of data extracted from Princess Haya’s phone.

Although this is a serious blow to the sheikh’s international reputation, it is very unlikely it will result in police questioning.

As Dubai’s sovereign ruler and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates – he and the wider UAE government remain close allies of the UK.

World

North Korea’s five biggest missiles

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North Korea has flown a missile over Japan for the first time in five years

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris did not mince her words when she paid a visit to the demilitarised zone last week.

“In the North, we see a brutal dictatorship, rampant human rights violations and an unlawful weapons program that threatens peace and stability,” she said.

North Korea’s latest missile launch is the latest in a string of tests following Harris’ visit.

U.S. President Joe Biden spoke with Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida following Tuesday’s long-range missile. The pair condemned the test in the “strongest terms,” as they described it as a danger to the Japanese people.

Associate Professor Tilman Ruff from the University of Melbourne believes the threat of nuclear war has increased.

“This is clearly the time of greatest danger of nuclear war since the at least the Cuban missile crisis.”

North Korea has carried out over 30 missile tests this year, as authorities brace themselves for bigger weapon, which could reach the U.S. east coast.

in response to Tuesday’s test, South Korea and the U.S. fired a string of missiles into the East Sea.

5. The Musudan

The Musudan, or the Hwasong-10 is a medium-range ballistic missile, which has an estimated range of more than 4,000km.

The missile was first tested in October 2016 and is believed to be capable of reaching South Korea and Japan.

4. The KN-08

The KN-08 is a long-range ballistic missile, which boasts an estimated range of more than 6,000km.

While North Korea had two unsuccessful tests of this weapon in 2016, it was successfully tested in 2017.

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un inspects his weaponry.

3. The Pukguksong-2

The Pukguksong-2 is a medium-range ballistic missile, which has an estimated range of more than 2,000km.

This is a land-based variant of the Pukguksong-1 weapon, which is submarine-launched.

The missile was first tested in February of 2017 and is believed to be capable of reaching South Korea and Japan.

2. The Hwasong-14

The Hwasong-14 is North Korea’s first intercontinental ballistic missile. It is also one of their most powerful missiles, with an estimated range of more than 8,000km.

The missile was first tested in July 2017 and is believed to be capable of reaching New York.

1. The Hwasong-12

The latest missile test over Japanese territory is understood to be an intermediate-range Hwasong-12.

This ballistic missile has an estimated range of more than 4,500km, and is believed to be capable of reaching the U.S. territory of Guam in the Pacific.

The long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12.

North Korea’s missile tests have risen under the rule of its current leader, Kim Jong-Un. In fact, there have been more test launches this year, than in the previous decade alone.

“If anybody thought that the risk of nuclear war went away with the end of the Cold War, then these current concerns should put an end to any such complacency.”

Associate Professor Tilman Ruff, the University of Melbourne

There are also a range of other weapons in the North Korean inventory, including a nuclear bomb, which is believed to be six times bigger than what the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.

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Rolls Royce CEO slams aviation for failing on climate targets

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Aviation needs to act on net-zero targets, that’s according to the CEO of Rolls Royce

Warren East says the sector needs to move towards bio-fuels like hydrogen and electric aircraft.

Travellers can even look forward to flying on planes that has a gas turbine that’s burning hydrogen.

Speaking at a conference in London, East says transitional technology is the answer that plane-makers are searching for.

Some companies are already looking at sustainable fuels that can offer 80 per cent off carbon emissions across their lifetime.

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World

Damming report reveals China ran smear campaigns against Australia and the U.S.

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A new report has taken aim at China’s response to a series of riots in the Solomon Islands last year

The new damming report has found China ran a smear campaign against western nations in the Solomon Islands.

After riots back in November 2021, the Chinese Communist Party published a number of false stories, blaming the unrest on Australia and the U.S.

The report says Chinese diplomats intensified their criticisms of western leaders, while state media tried to paint Australia and the U.S. as bullies.

It analysed Chinese state information campaigns in the Solomon Islands over a period spanning 18 weeks.

But the campaign had limited success.

Of the 67 articles published by China, only 11 were shared on public Facebook pages, and this is where the vast majority of Solomon Islanders access their news content.

However, the researchers warn this isn’t an excuse for Australian and American officials to relax.

Urging the two western nations to increase their engagement with media in the Pacific on-cam  to further counter China’s influence in the region before it’s too late.

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