Sunday, January 1, 2012

Japan Developing Cyber Weapon

TOKYO: Japan has been developing a virus that could track down the source of a cyber attack and neutralise its programme, the daily Yomiuri Shimbun reported Sunday.

The weapon is the culmination of a 179 million yen ($2.3 million) three-year project entrusted by the government to technology maker Fujitsu Ltd to develop a virus and equipment to monitor and analyse attacks, the daily said.

The United States and China are reported to have put so-called cyber weapons into practical use, Yomiuri said.

Japan will have to make legal amendments to use a cyber weapon as it could violate the country's law against the manufacture of a computer virus, the daily said.

In November a computer system run by about 200 Japanese local governments was struck.

In October, Japan's parliament came under cyber attack, apparently from the same emails linked to a China-based server that have already hit several lawmakers' computers.

It was also reported that Japanese computers at embassies and consulates in nine countries were infected with viruses in the summer.

Currently, the virus is being tested in a "closed environment" to examine its applicable patterns. (AFP)

India's PM Worried by Budget Deficit

NEW DELHI - India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in his New Year's message to the nation Dec. 31 that controlling the government's budget deficit was a priority for 2012 to avert another crisis.
In a lengthy address from the beleaguered premier, whose cabinet has suffered from corruption scandals and policy setbacks this year, Singh laid out his vision for the next 12 months.
"I am concerned about fiscal stability in the future because our fiscal deficit has worsened in the past three years," Singh said in a statement sent to AFP.
After heavy borrowings over the last three years to fund a stimulus package to counter the effects of the 2008 global financial crisis, he accepted the budget now needed to be rebalanced with new taxes and cuts to subsidies.
"We have run out of fiscal space and must once again begin the process of fiscal consolidation," he said.
Recalling the country's financial crisis in the 1990s, he added: "This is important to ensure that our growth process is not jeopardized and, equally important, our national sovereignty and self respect are not endangered."
He said the government "must ensure that the country does not go down that road once again", referring to the 1991 bailout of the country by the International Monetary Fund.
The Indian economy has hit headwinds in the last six months, with high inflation coupled with sharply lower growth forecast to be 7.0 percent by economists for this financial year - low by recent standards.
The rupee has also fallen sharply this year and is at record lows against the dollar.
Singh also stressed the importance of the expensive task of modernizing India's defense forces, something he described as "my most important task as prime minister.
"India's economic and energy security require this," he said.

Maliki Declares 'Iraq Day' to Mark U.S. Pullout

BAGHDAD - Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki declared "Iraq Day" on Dec. 31 to mark the end of a pact allowing U.S. forces to stay in the country, two weeks after they left and with Iraq mired in a political row.
IRAQI PRIME MINISTER Nuri al-Maliki delivers a speech Dec. 31 during a ceremony at Al-Shaab stadium complex in central Baghdad. Maliki declared 'Iraq Day' to mark the withdrawal of U.S. forces. (Ali Al-Saadi / AFP via Getty Images)
Maliki called for Iraqis to unite, and said the country's days of dictatorship and one-party rule were behind it, even as rival politicians have accused him of centralizing decision-making power.
Speaking at a ceremony attended by several ministers and top security officials at the Al-Shaab stadium complex in central Baghdad, Maliki said Dec. 31 was "a feast for all Iraqis" and marked "the day Iraq became sovereign".
"I announce today, the 31st of December, which witnessed the completion of the withdrawal of U.S. forces, to be a national day," Maliki said. "We call it Iraq Day."
"Today, you are raising the Iraqi flag across the nation, and unifying under that flag. Today, Iraq becomes free and you are the masters."
He continued: "The withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq returns the country to normality. That makes targeting civilians, police, the army and other security forces, or carrying out any sabotage against infrastructure a huge betrayal, and that puts those who commit these acts in the corner of the enemy."
U.S. troops completed their withdrawal from Iraq on Dec. 18, nearly nine years after Washington launched a controversial war to oust dictator Saddam Hussein.
At their peak, American forces in Iraq numbered nearly 170,000 and had as many as 505 bases. Now, just 157 remain, under the authority of the embassy, to train Iraqi forces to use equipment purchased from the United States.
In 2008, Baghdad and Washington signed a deal which called for all U.S. soldiers to leave Iraq by the end of 2011.
Efforts to keep a significant American military training mission beyond year-end fell through when the two sides failed to agree on a deal to guarantee U.S. troops immunity from prosecution.
The Iraqi premier also told his countrymen that they should "be totally confident that Iraq has rid itself forever of dictatorship and the rule of one party, one sect, and one ruler."
Maliki's remarks came amid a festering political standoff in Iraq, with authorities having charged Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi with running a death squad and Maliki calling for Sunni Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlak to be fired.
Mutlak and Hashemi's Sunni-backed Iraqiya party has boycotted parliament and cabinet meetings. Hashemi, who is holed up in the autonomous Kurdish region, rejects the accusations, while Mutlak has decried the Shiite-led government as a dictatorship.
The support of Iraqiya - which narrowly won a 2010 poll and garnered most of its seats in Sunni areas, is seen as vital to preventing a resurgence of violence.
The Sunni Arab minority dominated Saddam's regime and was the bedrock of the anti-U.S. insurgency after the 2003 invasion.