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Category Archives: NSA

National Security Agency warns that VPNs could be vulnerable to cyberattacks – CBS News

Posted: July 6, 2020 at 5:50 pm

The National Security Agency issued a new cybersecurity advisory on Thursday, warning that virtual private networks, or VPNs, could be vulnerable to attacks if not properly secured. The agency's warning comes amid a surge in telework as organizations adapt to coronavirus-related office closures and other constraints.

A VPN allows users to establish private, encrypted connections to another network over the internet. They are used widely by corporations and other organizations to protect proprietary data from hackers while employees work remotely.

A senior NSA official who briefed reporters Wednesday said the increase in remote work had attracted the attention of potentially malicious cyber actors.

"We certainly see adversaries focused on telework infrastructure," the official said. "We've seen exploitation and as a result, have felt that this was a product that is particularly helpful now."

VPN gateways in particular are "prone to network scanning, brute force attacks, and zero-day vulnerabilities," the NSA's advisory said. "[N]etwork administrators should implement strict traffic filtering rules to limit the ports, protocols, and IP addresses of network traffic to VPN devices."

The senior official said the NSA, whose employees deal daily with highly classified materials and systems, had taken its own steps to adapt to the pandemic, reducing some of its workforce to "mission-essential" for several weeks and introducing social distancing measures within its outposts.

The advisory was issued by the agency's Cybersecurity Directorate, which launched last October. Its mandate involves reinvigorating a set of missions the NSA has long had protecting government and private sector systems by accelerating, broadening and "operationalizing" its dissemination of unclassified threat information, according to officials.

The directorate has now issued over a dozen public advisories since its launch. In October, it warned that nation-state actors were targeting VPN devices. In January, it was behind the disclosure of a "critical vulnerability" in Microsoft's Windows 10 software something the agency might have once exploited, instead, as a hacking tool. And in May, in another rare move, it named a Russian military hacking unit that was secretly accessing commonly used email software.

"Attribution is always interesting," the senior NSA official said Wednesday. "We do it if we believe it creates a sense of urgency to address a vulnerability."

The directorate's emphasis on information-sharing stems from a recognition that nation states are getting more aggressive and more sophisticated in going after government and non-government targets. Its leadership has said it is also a conscious effort to move away from stubborn perceptions that the agency is a secretive black box or "No-Such-Agency," as the NSA has been labeled. (Its foreign intelligence mission which involves intercepting signals and communications overseas is likely to continue avoiding the public eye.)

The agency has also broadened its presence on social media, launching an Instagram account, a dedicated Twitter account for the directorate, and even bringing its notoriously circumspect director to the platform. (Paul Nakasone has tweeted three times in three weeks.)

"General Nakasone has looked at the environment and said, 'We see adversaries increasingly using cyber to achieve national security objectives below the level of armed conflict,'" the senior official said. "'We're seeing rapid technological change, which just brings in a whole new set of vulnerabilities.'"

"It led him to say, 'We really need to up our game.'"

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NSA warns that VPNs could be vulnerable to cyberattacks – WTOP

Posted: at 5:50 pm

The National Security Agency issued a new cybersecurity advisory on Thursday, warning that virtual private networks, or VPNs, could be vulnerable to attacks if not properly secured.

The National Security Agency issued a new cybersecurity advisory on Thursday, warning that virtual private networks, or VPNs, could be vulnerable to attacks if not properly secured. The agencys warning comes amid a surge in telework as organizations adapt to coronavirus-related office closures and other constraints.

A VPN allows users to establish private, encrypted connections to another network over the internet. They are used widely by corporations and other organizations to protect proprietary data from hackers while employees work remotely.

A senior NSA official who briefed reporters Wednesday said the increase in remote work had attracted the attention of potentially malicious cyber actors.

We certainly see adversaries focused on telework infrastructure, the official said. Weve seen exploitation and as a result, have felt that this was a product that is particularly helpful now.

VPN gateways in particular are prone to network scanning, brute force attacks, and zero-day vulnerabilities, the NSAs advisory said. [N]etwork administrators should implement strict traffic filtering rules to limit the ports, protocols, and IP addresses of network traffic to VPN devices.

The senior official said the NSA, whose employees deal daily with highly classified materials and systems, had taken its own steps to adapt to the pandemic, reducing some of its workforce to mission-essential for several weeks and introducing social distancing measures within its outposts.

The advisory was issued by the agencys Cybersecurity Directorate, which launched last October. Its mandate involves reinvigorating a set of missions the NSA has long had protecting government and private sector systems by accelerating, broadening and operationalizing its dissemination of unclassified threat information, according to officials.

The directorate has now issued over a dozen public advisories since its launch. In October, it warned that nation-state actors were targeting VPN devices. In January, it was behind the disclosure of a critical vulnerability in Microsofts Windows 10 software something the agency might have once exploited, instead, as a hacking tool. And in May, in another rare move, it named a Russian military hacking unit that was secretly accessing commonly used email software.

Attribution is always interesting, the senior NSA official said Wednesday. We do it if we believe it creates a sense of urgency to address a vulnerability.

The directorates emphasis on information-sharing stems from a recognition that nation states are getting more aggressive and more sophisticated in going after government and non-government targets. Its leadership has said it is also a conscious effort to move away from stubborn perceptions that the agency is a secretive black box or No-Such-Agency, as the NSA has been labeled. (Its foreign intelligence mission which involves intercepting signals and communications overseas is likely to continue avoiding the public eye.)

The agency has also broadened its presence on social media, launching an Instagram account, a dedicated Twitter account for the directorate, and even bringing its notoriously circumspect director to the platform. (Paul Nakasone has tweeted three times in three weeks.)

General Nakasone has looked at the environment and said, We see adversaries increasingly using cyber to achieve national security objectives below the level of armed conflict,' the senior official said. Were seeing rapid technological change, which just brings in a whole new set of vulnerabilities.'

It led him to say, We really need to up our game.'

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Former American NSA John Bolton says Indias reaction on Balakot airstrike was appropriate – MyNation

Posted: at 5:50 pm

Bengaluru: Lauding Indian government for the way it handled the Balakot airstrike, former US National Security Advisor (NSA) John Bolton has added it was a crisis well handled by the Indian side, reports India Today, in its exclusive.

Also Read:All about Balakot airstrike you need to know

John Bolton, who has recently released his book 'The Room Where it Happened', said that during the India-Pakistan crisis in 2019, India showed restraint and acted in a balanced way.

The website adds that among a host of other things, John Bolton's book mentions the Balakot airstrikes conducted by the Indian Air Force in February last year. When asked why he did not write about it in detail, Bolton said Donald Trump, him and other officials of the US government were caught up with the meeting with North Korea.

In this regard, he said, "This was potentially a very significant military confrontation, very risky behaviour on the Pakistani side. The US spoke to India as it is a part of expanding and deepening bilateral US-India relationship. We have many common threads. We have some issues which need to be resolved between the US and India, but there's no underestimating the stronger India-US connection.

Also Read:How Balakot was planned

About Americas intelligence on the issue, he said, I won't get into what the US intelligence revealed to us of course, but the US authority had a very good conversation with his counterpart. We came away from the crisis feeling that the Indian side had exercised appropriate kind of restraint and it was a real incentive for deepening communication in the future crisis. If we are prepared for it, there are chances that it can be resolved more easily.

He also gave this reaction on what US felt about it. He said, We were pleased by the way the crisis played up and the restraint showed by the Indian side and that it was resolved peacefully. We had a similar conversation with the Pakistani side. These things have different versions depending on what capital city you are sitting in. But it showed something of the enhanced communication with New Delhi in particular.

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NSA urges Government to stand by UK farmers during trade talks – The Scottish Farmer

Posted: June 20, 2020 at 10:56 am

AS THE UK begins trade talks with New Zealand and Australia, the National Sheep Association has urged the government to consider the 'potential ramifications' of what will be agreed.

NSA chief executive Phil Stocker said: Trade deals are always going to be complex by nature, with each presenting different challenges and opportunities. With the addition of Australia, New Zealand and the CPTPP, the UK is now undertaking six major new trade deals running alongside each other. Having come from a position of not negotiating our own deals for many years, the UK is undertaking a big challenge, particularly when our future trading relationship with the EU is so uncertain.

NSA is concerned about several factors with the new trade deals that are underway: Every country that we negotiate with is unique, and for the farming industry, sheep farming in particular, deals with New Zealand and Australia create unique challenges," said Mr Stocker. "This is due to sheep farming, and the export of sheepmeat, being such large parts of their industry. We are talking here about the three largest sheepmeat exporting nations in the world, with the UK being additionally unique by having such a large population and consumer market.

You can be sure that sheepmeat would only travel in one direction, in part because of population numbers, but also because our high production standards mean we can be undercut even though the product is travelling across the globe. It is not uncommon for nations to protect their agriculture industries for sound strategic reasons and this is exactly what we will expect from the UK Government," he said.

NSA been clear with our Government from day one, when seeking free trade agreements, the UK must not be willing to sacrifice our farming industry or undermine our values and standards for the sake of a deal that might benefit other British industries.

The UK currently has a fine balance with lamb and mutton exports, imports, and domestic consumption," added Mr Stocker. "There is very real concern that increasing Tariff rate quotas (TRQs) for either New Zealand or Australia will damage this balance and make no common sense at all. We would have that concern in normal times but now, with future trade with the EU being uncertain, getting these deals wrong would have catastrophic effects for our industry and for the environments and communities that benefit from it.

We have heard Government commit to not compromising the UK market and our production standards time and time again, yet they wont commit to it in legislation and as such it just leaves you feeling very nervous.

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S Africa reaffirms support for India and other members elected to UN Security Council – Outlook India

Posted: at 10:56 am

By Fakir Hassen

Johannesburg, Jun 20 (PTI) South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has congratulated India, Kenya Ireland, Mexico and Norway on their election as non-permanent members of the UN Security Council and pledged to work with them in ensuring collective multilateral action to maintain international peace and security.

India on Wednesday overwhelmingly won the election to the Security Council for a non-permanent seat. Along with India, Norway, Ireland and Mexico will join the Security Council as the non-permanent members for a two-year term beginning January 1, 2021.

As South Africas two-year term will come to an end on 31 December 2020, we will continue to work closely with the existing and newly elected members of the Security Council, in ensuring collective multilateral action to maintain international peace and security, President Ramaphosa said on Friday.

South Africa wishes the elected members a successful tenure on the Security Council and assures them of its support in resolving regional and global conflicts, addressing the root causes of conflict and promoting inclusive political dialogue and peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with the United Nations Charter and International Law.

Ramaphosa said South Africa remains deeply concerned about the emergence of unilateralism and its attendant threat to the International rules-based system.

South Africa, therefore, reaffirms the centrality of the United Nations Charter and the primacy of the UNSC on issues of international peace and security, Ramaphosa said. PTI FH NSA AKJ NSA

Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI

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Pope welcomes medics from hard-hit Italy region – Outlook India

Posted: at 10:56 am

Rome, Jun 20 (AP) Pope Francis has welcomed doctors and nurses from Italy''s coronavirus-ravaged Lombardy region to the Vatican to thank them for their selfless work and sacrifice.

Francis told the delegation on Saturday that their example of professional competence and compassion would help Italy forge a new future of solidarity.

Francis said Lombardy''s medical personnel became angels helping the sick recover or accompanying them to their death, given their family members were prevented from visiting them in the hospital.

He said they gave witness to God''s proximity to those who suffer; they were silent artisans of the culture of proximity and tenderness. The northern region of Lombardy, Italy''s financial and industrial capital, was the hardest-hit region in the onetime European epicenter of the pandemic. It has counted more than 92,000 of Italy''s 232,000 infections and half of its 34,500 dead. (AP) NSA

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How Bill Barr Became Trumps Generalissimo – The Nation

Posted: June 18, 2020 at 12:45 pm

Attorney General William Barr at a White House press briefing. (Win McNamee / Getty Images)

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On the afternoon of June 1, as President Donald Trump raged about the Black Lives Matter protests outside his gates, reporters noticed a familiar figure in Lafayette Park across from the White House. William Barr, Trumps attorney general, was scoping out the scene with top military and law enforcement officers. It was an ominous sight, coming just hours after the president promised the nations governors that we will activate Bill Barr and activate him strongly.1Ad Policy

What happened next would transform the outcry and anger about racial injustice into a national uprising against Trump and his white nationalist agenda. Over the next few days, starting with Barrs brazen order to clear the park, Washington experienced an unprecedented military operation and occupation. Nearly 8,000 troops from the Armys National Guard and an astounding array of federal security forces and intelligence assets were assembled to confront the protesters.2

With US military leaders hesitant to use their troops against Americans, Barr has emerged as Trumps wartime consiglierean attorney generalissimo for the times. There are few people in Washington more suited for this task: Servility to presidential power, mixed with fealty to the institutions of government control, have long been hallmarks of Barrs career.3

You can rise fast when youre willing to tell your boss whatever he wants to know, says Michael German, a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice who spent 16 years in the FBI before leaving in 2004. Barr spent a lot of time working in these agencies, so his knowledge of how they operate is helpful to using them in an aggressive manner.4

In fact, a deep look into Barrs career exposes a deep commitment to what Dick Cheney called the dark sidethe insidious world of covert operations, executive action, and mass surveillance. Moreover, his experiences in the national security state and the private telecommunications industry reveal a man who has operated at the pinnacle of Americas privatized intelligence system since the dawn of the digital age.5No Intel

As attorney general for President George H.W. Bush in 1992, Barr authorized one of the nations first domestic spying operations. The Department of Justice (DOJ) program, first disclosed by USA Today in 2015, was a giant database that amassed logs of virtually all telephone calls from the USA to as many as 116 countries linked to drug trafficking. The bulk collection system was operated secretly by the DOJs Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) until it was suspended in 2013.6

The DEA program ultimately became a model for the NSAs phone records collection program, which the agency used to collect the domestic calls and e-mails of millions of American citizens after 9/11, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) wrote last year in a critical analysis of Barrs career.7Current Issue

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Barr was part of the NSA spying program, too, not as a government official but as a top executive with Verizon, the company formed from a merger with NSA contractor GTE, where Barr worked for many years. Like Cheney, who was instrumental to the NSAs secret operation, Barr seems to know every lever of power available to a president willing to use them. (The DOJ did not respond to questions about Barrs career.)8

William Barr is one of four sons of Donald Barr, a former member of the Office of Strategic Services, the precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency. In 1968, he enrolled at Columbia University, where his father taught for many years. There, he had his first experience in confronting the American left when a group of radicals seized campus buildings to protest Columbias role in gentrifying black neighborhoods and the universitys close ties to the Institute for Defense Analysis.9

The Institute is a military think tank that, according to an insiders account of the Columbia struggle, developed weapons for the counterinsurgency wars the United States was fighting in Vietnam and across the world. Barr hated the protests. In a recent profile, the historian Paul Cronin remembered Barr as part of a gang of upper-class thugs called the Majority Coalition that physically fought and threatened anti-war demonstrators.10

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From Columbia, Barr went straight into the CIA, where he worked from 1973 to 1977 as an analyst and assistant legislative counsel. After a stint working on domestic policy for President Reagan, he joined the first Bush administration, where he rose from deputy AG to attorney general. He quickly became known as a determined advocate for the expansive use of presidential and military power. This was also his entre into the early surveillance state, which began with the domestic spying program he ordered at the DEA.11

In 1993, Barr was hired as general counsel and executive vice president of GTE, the worlds third-largest telecommunications network. After GTE merged in 1999 with Bell Atlantic, it was renamed Verizon, and Barr stayed on as general counsel, where he remained until 2008. This period of his careerwhere he made the bulk of his $40 million fortuneis typically described as a shift toward antitrust and industry regulation issues.12(Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty Images)'>

President Donald Trump walks with US Attorney General William Barr (L), US Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper (C), Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark A. Milley (R), and others from the White House to visit St. John's Church on June 1, 2020, after the area was cleared of people protesting the murder of George Floyd. (Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty Images)

But thats only part of the story. When Barr joined GTE, he also became counsel for GTEs government services division. Created in 1984, it had become, through a series of acquisitions, one of the Pentagons largest contractors, providing secure communications systems to the Army, Navy, and Air Force as well as the NSA. Barr hinted at GTEs classified work in 1996, when he testified before a hearing of a commission on the roles and capabilities of US intelligence after the Cold War.13

Theres never been a greater need for a robust intelligence capability in this country than now, he said. I would include not only the function of collection of intelligence, but also my view that we need a very strong covert action capability. It was an illuminating choice of words, because both collection and covert were key to one of the programs that Barr inherited when he took over in 1993.14

In the mid-1980s, GTEs government unit was tapped by NSAs Operations Directorate to develop a digital storage system for voice communications collected by NSA listening posts. At the time, of course, the NSAs secret work and its system of global surveillance were little known to Americans.15Outside Agitators

MINSTREL, its code name, was the largest Automated Data Processing contract to date for NSA at that time, says Tom Drake, the prominent whistle-blower, who worked on the project as a contractor and later exposed corruption at an NSA program run by military giant Science Applications International Corporation. (See Obamas Crackdown on Whistleblowers, The Nation, March 2013.)16

Drake was hired by GTE in 1989 and soon discovered that MINSTRELs costs were out of control. The award was for $144 million, but with lots of cost overruns, NSA ended up spending closer to $250 million.17

Much of that, he believed, was due to outright fraud. Moreover, the program didnt work, forcing the NSA to keep extending the contract. When Drake asked a top GTE executive about its failure to deliver MINSTREL on time, he said he was told that were under no obligation to show anythingall we need to show is best effort.18

In 1991, disgusted at what hed seen, Drake took his complaints to the Pentagons Office of Inspector General as well as GTEs general counselBarrs immediate predecessor. Thats how I became a whistle-blower, Drake told me. This is where, to my horror, I really began to appreciate how run amuck the military-industrial complex had become.19

MINSTREL, which was just one of the contracts GTE held with the NSA, was eventually canceled, partly because of Drakes IG complaint. In 1996, Barr helped orchestrate the government units merger with General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT). Following its recent acquisition of CSRA Inc., GDIT is now one of the nations five largest intelligence contractors, with a strong presence at the NSA.20

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After he moved from GTE to Verizon, Barr turned his knowledge of the mechanics of intelligence collection to domestic surveillance. In 2001, the phone giant was one of a handful of companies that participated in Stellar Wind, the massive warrantless-surveillance program launched by the George W. Bush administration.21

Under Barrs watch, Verizon allowed the NSA without any court approval to intercept the contents of Americans phone calls and emails and to vacuum up in bulk the metadata associated with Americans phone calls and internet activities, the ACLU wrote in 2019.22Related Article

Some of Barrs hard-line policies on dissent may have come into play in recent weeks. On May 31, he activated a network of 56 FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces to confront what he called the violent agenda pursued by anarchistic and far left extremists using Antifa-like tactics. Basically, this was Barrs attempt to mollify Trump, said German, the former FBI agent.23

Meanwhile, reports that surveillance drones and airplanes were observed over both Minneapolis and Washington have sparked concerns in Congress that federal agencies might be conducting illegal surveillance. In response, on June 11, a top Pentagon official informed the House that none of the collection agencies, including the NSA, had been asked by the White House to undertake any unlawful or inappropriate intelligence activities.24

With Barr in charge, theres a good possibility that the DEA might be up to its old tricks again. On June 2, Buzzfeed News obtained a memorandum from the agencys acting administrator, Timothy J. Shea, stating that the DEA had been granted sweeping new authority to conduct covert surveillance of the protests. That prompted Representative Jerrold Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, to ask Barr to immediately rescind the authorities, which he called unwarranted and antithetical to civil rights.25

Meanwhile, the protests in Washington continue day after day, and the crossroads near the White House where Barrs security forces attacked demonstrators and reporters has been named Black Lives Matter Place. Chances are good that the new title will last much longer than Barrs ugly legacy of providing legal cover for Trump, arguably the most hated president in the citys history.26

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Police IG, NSA, others, visit Katsina over growing attacks – TV360

Posted: at 12:45 pm

Katsina state Governor, Aminu Masari has met with the Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Adamu and the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, to find a lasting solution to recent attacks by bandits and other criminal elements across communities in the state.

Also present at the meeting was the Director-General of the Department of State Services, Yusuf Magaji as well asother security stakeholders led by the Commissioner of Police in the state, Sanusi Buba.

The closed door meeting which lasted for about two hours was held at the state Government House, Katsina.

According to the NSA, the purpose of the meeting was to identify the underlining causes of the recent attacks from a collective point of view.

Addressing journalists, Monguno expressed optimism that security agencies can effectively deal with the criminal elements behind the attacks.

He said, We need to build and restore the confidence of the local community and we had necessary reassurance from the state governor.

In the past weeks dozens of people have been killed with property worth millions of naira destroyed in bandit and criminal attacks in several parts of Katsina state

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Watch | ‘This Could Be Massive Escalation by China to Fundamentally Alter Status Quo’: Former NSA – The Wire

Posted: at 12:45 pm

New Delhi: One of Indias most renowned China experts has said the present border skirmishes and tension between India and China are very worrying.

Although what we know is based on unverified newspaper reports which quote unnamed officials but, importantly, have not been denied by the government turns out to be actually true then we are seeing a massive escalation by China and an attempt to fundamentally change the status quo, says former National Security Advisor, Shivshankar Menon.

Menon, who demitted office as NSA in 2014 and also served as foreign secretary (2006-2009) and Indian ambassador to China (2000-2003), says the present situation is very different to the past and not comparable to the sort of incidents that happened in 2013 or 2017. As he put it, On this occasion China is occupying what it has never occupied before.

In an interview to The Wire, Shivshankar Menon spoke specifically about developments in the Galwan River Valley and Pangong Lake. He said the situation in Galwan has not changed since 1962 but now if reports that suggest there are a few thousand Chinese soldiers occupying Indian territory, backed up with artillery and heavy vehicles and satellite images of tented accommodation, are true, this represents a fundamental change in the status quo. He pointedly added that these newspaper reports have not been officially denied. We may be in a situation where China is trying to change the situation on the ground, he said.

Speaking about Pangong Lake, where reports suggest the Chinese have built defence structures and stopped India patrolling in a 50 square kilometre area where previously it had access are true, Menon said this is extremely serious. It means the Chinese are patrolling where India used to patrol in the past. This is another instance of China changing the status quo. He said reports that China has built permanent defence structures are worrying.

Menon told The Wire that the Indian government must absolutely insist on the restoration of the status quo ante i.e. the position on the ground prior to the present developments which, perhaps, date back to April. However, he pointedly added that this looks like another instance of Chinas two-step-forward-one-step-back strategy which permits China to retreat one step, thus suggesting a concession to the Indian side, while ending up with a net gain of one step.

Menon said this is precisely what happened in Doklam in 2017. After a 72-day face off, both sides withdrew but after that China occupied the rest of the Valley and has since then built 36 structures, three helipads and a number of metal tarred roads. Menon said he was worried that a similar outcome could be the end result of the present stand-off between India and China.

Menon said that he was concerned the government has not made its position clear even though the present situation has continued since April. Its silence suggests that everything is negotiable and that is not a good strategy for the Indian side. He said the government needs more and better strategic communication both internally and to the rest of the world so that China too could read and hear the message.

Menon made clear he had no doubt President Xi Jinping was aware of what was happening and, additionally, that it was happening with his approval. He added that this has serious implications for Indias relationship with China. He also pointed out that how the present problem is solved will affect the future course of the relationship.

Asked about reports in Fridays newspapers that both armies have moved their soldiers closer to the LAC right across its 3,500 kilometres length from Ladakh in the west and Arunachal Pradesh in the east, Menon said that the army can handle the military situation. He said the effective military balance has improved in Indias favour since 1962. However, he emphasized that this would have political and diplomatic repercussions that would significantly affect Indias relationship with China.

Asked by The Wire if he was worried that the situation, if not quickly resolved, could lead to conflict, Menon replied not yet. When it was put to him that this meant that there was a potential for the situation slipping out of control and an unintended accident happening, he replied You said it, not me.

However, Menon underlined that what China has done is fundamentally different to the Depsang problem of 2013. He pointed out Depsang was localised and only lasted for two or three weeks. Now it seems there is military activity possibly right across the 3,500-km LAC. He also added the wider relationship between Beijing and Delhi has altered over the past seven years. He said there are more points of contention today than common points between the two countries.

Asked for his assessment of the way the Modi government has handled the situation, Menon said it was difficult to comment because he did not know what the government has done. He said we are all relying on unverified newspaper reports based on interviews with unnamed officials.

Questioned about reports in several papers that the Indian army might have dropped its guard, either because it delayed annual exercises usually held in March because some soldiers got COVID-19 or because it was taken by surprise by the Chinese army, Menon said that now was not the time to go into this issue. At the moment we have a crisis that must be resolved. However, he added that afterwards we need an analysis of what happened, of what was done right and what was done wrong. He said we needed a proper post-mortem along the lines of what happened after Kargil in 2001.

Speaking to The Wire about why the Chinese had acted in the way they have and at this time when there is a pandemic alongside an economic crisis Menon suggested that this was part of a general shift in Chinas behaviour. He said for a variety of internal and external reasons, China was behaving more assertively and its response relies on ultra-nationalism. In this context, he cited Chinas tariff war with Australia, its various disputes with the US, its behaviour in Hong Kong, its attitude to Taiwan and its action in the South China Sea. What was happening on the India-China border was part of this general pattern.

Menon said he did not believe that this was just signalling by China because its a most inefficient way of doing so We are all guessing what the signal is.

Menon said some people hold the view that China senses this is her moment because the rest of the world has been weakened by COVID-19. However, he added, this is not a view he subscribes to.

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Dalit houses burnt in Jaunpur: Day after UP CM invoked NSA, SP leader Javed Siddiqui and 34 others held – Times Now

Posted: at 12:45 pm

File picture: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath  |  Photo Credit: ANI

Lucknow: A day after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath ordered the invoking of the National Security Act (NSA) against those responsible for setting ablaze 12 hutments of Dalits in the Jaunpur district, the state police on Friday arrested Samajwadi Party leader Mohammad Javed Siddiqui and 34 others in connection with the incident.

"Thirty-five people, including local Samajwadi Party leader Mohammad Javed Siddiqui, husband of the local village head, Aftab alias Hitler, and Noor Alam have been arrested. Fifty-seven people have been named in the FIR besides 27 others," said SP Ashok Kumar.

Javed Siddiqui is one of the main accused in the incident that took place in Bhadethi village on June 9.

The UP Chief Minister had yesterday directed the police officials to invoke NSA against the accused and take action against the Station House Officer (SHO) for laxity.

He had further instructed the district officials to provide new accommodation to those whose houses had been burnt underthe Awas Yojana. A compensation of Rs one lakh each will be provided to the affected by the UP government's social welfare department.

On Tuesday night, seven persons were left injured when a number of houses in the Sarai Khwaja locality had been set on fire following a dispute amongst children of the area.

As per a resident, "some children had taken their goats and buffaloes to graze in the field. The other group started attacking the animals. When objected, they resorted to arson and violence."

The Uttar Pradesh government has intensified security and stationed additional police force in Bhadethi village.

As per the UP Police, an argument between the two communities over plucking mangoes from an orchard by children had led to harassment of each otherover livestock.

Varanasi Division Commissioner Deepak Agarwal and IG Vijay Singh Meena had on Wednesday visited the village and examined the damage toproperty.

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Dalit houses burnt in Jaunpur: Day after UP CM invoked NSA, SP leader Javed Siddiqui and 34 others held - Times Now

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