U.S. Drone MQ-9 was hit by Russian Fighter Jet Su-27

The unmanned drone, U.S. MQ-9 Reaper was hit by the Russian fighter jet Su-27 in the international airspace over international waters, at the Black Sea on Tuesday around 7 am (CET), Fox News reported. According to the U.S. defense official, one of two Su-27s flew in tandem when the collision happened in the international airspace over the Black Sea. The SU-27 landed in Crimea after the incident, and the situation of the fighter jet is unknown.

The State Department is summoning the Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Anatoly Antonov to express its “strong objections” to the intercept. “U.S. European Command and U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA) issued a statement on the incident in which they reported the events leading up to the collision and admonished the Russian military for a ‘pattern of dangerous actions’ in international airspace.”

Su-27 attempted to humiliate the unmanned drone by “fuel dumping, flying in front of the MQ-9 in a reckless, environmentally unsound, and unprofessional manner” before striking the propeller of the MQ-9. The statement said, “This incident demonstrates a lack of competence in addition to being unsafe and unprofessional,” According to Fox News.

“Our MQ-9 aircraft was conducting routine operations in international airspace when it was intercepted and hit by a Russian aircraft, resulting in a crash and complete loss of the MQ-9,” said Gen. James B. Hecker, commander, USAFE-AFAFRICA. “In fact, this unsafe and unprofessional act by the Russians nearly caused both aircraft to crash.”

The U.S. MQ-9 being downed by the Russian SU-27 in international airspace is a very sensitive issue under the Russia-Ukraine war and neighboring countries.

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Russia uses Hypersonic Missiles to attack Ukraine; Soil Ruined

On Thursday, Russia launched 81 missiles to attack multiple cities in Ukraine and 6 of them were hypersonic missiles, according to NPR. These hypersonic missiles, named Kinzhal or “Dagger” in Russian can accelerate to Mach 4 and may be capable of speeds of up to Mach 10, with a range of about 1,250 miles. These missiles also come with nuclear capabilities.

Kinzhal is not easy to detect with unpredictable course changes. So the opposite side is vulnerable when attacked by it. The Russian government also developed Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle that can fly up to Mach 27. Another high-tech-developed hypersonic missile developed by Russia could be a “game changer” in the war with Ukraine.

There is a debate between Mr. James Acton, co-director of the nuclear policy program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and Mr. Glen VanHerck, the U.S. Northern Command Chief Air Force General, about the Kinzhal’s capacity and capability of the weapon itself. Mr. Acton said, “The Kinzhal is launched from an aircraft and has a shorter range than Avangard,” and last year he told the BBC, “I don’t know how much of an advantage Russia is  getting from using hypersonic missiles.” On the contrary, General VanHerck stood at the Senate Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee and said Russia was having “challenges with some of their hypersonic missiles as far as accuracy” in Ukraine.

Victor Cha, Former National Security Council during the George W. Bush administration said that the hypersonic missile system was developed by North Korea and needed to be sophisticated, and the U.S. missile system is “good”. He said that the hypersonic missile was “geared towards stopping a handful of fairly primitive missiles from North Korea.” to NPR.

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Mary Queen of Scot’s Encoded Letters Deciphered by an International Cryptographers’ Team

This figure shows the cipher used to decode Mary Stuart's letters.The researchers deciphered the meaning of the symbols used in Mary Stuart’s letters. Credit: Lasry, Biermann, Tomokiyo

Five centuries of secrets have been unearthed by a team of international cryptographers. The protagonist of the 16-century significant political turmoil in Great Britain, Mary the queen of Scots had sent letters to the French ambassador that were decoded with the help of computers recently.

It was more than 50 letters from Mary the Queen of Scots, sent between 1578 and 1584 to the French ambassador, Michel de Castelnau Mauvissière during the rule of Elizabeth I. The letters from Queen Mary I called Mary Stuart, included concerns about her health issues and hopes for release from her imprisonment by Queen Elizabeth I. Mary Stuart was in the custody of the Earl of Shrewsbury because her sister’s political power collided with hers. A letter was written in 1586 that led to Mary’s doom.

One of Elizabeth’s spies, Sir Francis Walsingham, tricked Mary into believing her letters were secure and intercepted one supporting Elizabeth’s assassination. As a result, Mary would be beheaded for treason in 1587, according to ScientificAmerican.com.

Cryptographer George Lasry of the DECRYPT Project, which is a collaboration of historical ciphers at multi-universities around the globe, have been combing through the archives at BnF when they came across pages of ciphers mixed in with documents from Italy dating to the early 1500s. The ciphered letters were believed to be Italian, and the researchers began to try to crack the code. They found the letters used a homophonic cipher that used certain letters, “e” in particular symbols. Lasry says Mary’s cipher used symbols which it was high-frequency words and common word segments. “The cipher was quite complex, and we worked in phases,” Lasry says.

“It’s a stunning piece of research, and these discoveries will be a literary and historical sensation,” said Dr. John Guy of Clare College Cambridge, the leading historian of Mary Queen of Scots.

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MH17 Crash that Killed 298 Civilians Most Likely Due to Putin

An International team of investigators announced Wednesday that there are “strong indications” Russian president Putin was the person who approved the supply of anti-aircraft weaponry (Buk missile system) to Ukrainian separatists who shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in 2014, killing all 298 onboard. A Buk missile system from the Russian military’s 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade, based in the city of Kursk, was used to bring down MH17, according to FoxNews.

Four suspects were involved in the case but one was acquitted due to a lack of evidence, and three men: Two Russians and one pro-Russian-Ukrainian who didn’t present at the trial. The three men are charged with multiple murder charges.

The clearest evidence of Russian involvement presented for the MH17 downing was the Buk missile which came from a Russian military base indicating Moscow had a role in this case. Russia has always denied involvement.

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U.S. and International Cybersecurity partners Hack the Hackers

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on Thursday at the news conference that the FBI and international partners have hacked ransomware gangsters who have infiltrated schools and hospitals and held them hostages to extort significant amounts of money. At the conference, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco and other government officials stated the measure of how the sting operation worked. According to Yahoo Finance, “Simply put, using lawful means, we hacked the hackers,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said at a news conference.

Officials said that the targeted syndicate Hive is one of the top five ransomware networks that has attacked the healthcare system. FBI Director Christoper Wray stated that the FBI placidly accessed its control panel in July and was able to obtain software keys it used with German and other partners to decrypt networks of some 1,300 victims globally. Yahoo Finance cited the article from AP.

Officials didn’t say in detail how it plans to bring justice down upon the well-organized syndicate of ransomware gangs but continue to operate the mission to eventually succeed in prosecuting them. On Wednesday night, FBI agents seized computer servers in LA used to support the network. Two Hive dark websites were captured: One used for leaking data of non-paying victims, the other for negotiating extortion payments.

This infiltration saved at least $ 130 million and was one of the big successes of this sting operation. “Cybercrime is a constantly evolving threat, but as I have said before, the Justice Department will spare no resource to bring to justice anyone anywhere that targets the United States with a ransomware attack,” Garland said. He said the infiltration, led by the FBI’s Tampa office, allowed agents in one instance to disrupt a Hive attack against a Texas school district, stopping it from making a $5 million payment.

This Hive gang used ransomware as a service tool targeting a wide range of businesses,  critical infrastructure, government, manufacturing, and healthcare systems. Hive ransomware broke into 1,300 companies worldwide from June 2021 to November 2022, and obtained about $100 million in payments. Only 20% reported potential issues have been identifiable to law enforcement, Wray said. “Here, fortunately, we were still able to identify and help many victims who didn’t report. But that is not always the case,” Wray said. “When victims report attacks to us, we can help them and others, too.”

It has been announced that some entities would pay hackers for the stolen data without notifying public officials as revealing this information could often lead to decreased trust in the company’s cybersecurity safety and expose it to lawsuits and other backlashes by the public.

37 nations have begun to work for this global task force this week, and it is led by Australia which has been attacked by ransomware that hit major medical insurers and telecom in recent years.

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Modi’s Question by BBC Prohibited in India

The Indian government is oppressing people who watch a documentary called “Modi’s Question” released by the BBC. Many students, activists, lawyers, and members of rival parties have been watching multiple YouTube videos, and Twitter accounts have shared the links to the BBC’s new two-part documentary film, which have been blocked by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB).

According to Yahoo Finance, “Videos sharing @BBCWorld hostile propaganda and anti-India garbage, disguised as ‘documentary’, on @YouTube and tweets sharing links to the BBC documentary have been blocked under India’s sovereign laws and rules,” Kanchan Gupta, senior adviser at MIB, tweeted on Jan. 21—four days after the first part released on TV in the UK. The second aired there yesterday (Jan. 24) on its news website.

The Modi’s Question documentary shows the event of Gujarat riots in 2002 which was three days of inter-communal violence related to the burning of an express train. The coach number S-6 was set on fire, killing 59 passengers, including 27 women and 10 children.

The three days of riots left 1044 killed, 223 missing, and 2,500 injured. More than 75% of the dead were Muslim. By the time of the riots, Narendra Modi (72) (Oct.7, 2001-May, 22, 2014 incumbent at the office) was the chief minister of the Gujarat government, and critics have arisen against Modi since then.

A Special Investigation Team operated by the Supreme Court of India has been investigating Modi’s involvement in the three days riots and the death of many. However, despite all the efforts to investigate Modi, they were unable to find any evidence to initiate a prosecution proceeding against Modi in 2012.

However, the BBC is now covering an event and showing evidence of Modi’s involvement, which is seen as having a huge impact on his reelection in 2024 as Prime Minister. A secret UK department report pins Modi as being directly responsible for the event. According to Yahoo, widespread sexual attacks toward Muslim women in the Hindu region had also been occurring at the time, and considered the event as part of ethnic cleansing activities.

Now the Indian government detained the viewers as protestors. Even Elon Musk has allowed the removal of the links in the Twitter accounts as requested by the PM in India.

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US Plans, and Germany Finalizes, Plans to Send Tanks to Ukraine

The U.S. and German are ready to send their tanks to Ukraine soon. The plan will be executed accordingly. It is unclear how many tanks are being sent over to Ukraine. Ukrainian tank crews are needed to be trained on how to operate and maintain tanks ahead of time to transfer to Ukraine.

The U.S.-made Abrams tanks and The German-made Leopard tanks are going ahead to Ukraine and other countries including Poland. Poland had already requested Berlin for permission to export its own Leopard tanks to Ukraine. According to CBS, the U.S. didn’t answer right away on the request for the tanks by president Zelenskyy, but last Thursday, Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl, said that “We’re not there yet,” justifying the reason as “The Abrams tank is a very complicated piece of equipment. It [is] expensive. It [is] hard to train on… it is not the easiest system to maintain.”

The German-made Leopard 2 tanks account for more than 2,000 in Europe itself including more than 200 located in Germany, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

The U.S. has committed to training 500 Ukrainians per month for a different large scale and level of training between air and ground. The U.S. has committed more than $26.7 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden Administration.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has decided today to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine soon. The US is considering sending the AbramsX, the hybrid electric diesel engine which is more fuel-efficient than the current gas that uses Abrams tanks. Twelve countries have agreed to supply Ukraine with around 100 Leopard 2 tanks according to ABC News. The Leopard 2 tanks have a good reputation, and it is capable of hitting targets 5 km away while on the move. So far, this Leopard 2 tank is in the top-of-the-top tank worldwide. Currently, 19 countries use the Leopard 2 tanks.

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Zelenskyy Arrives at DC to meet Biden

The hero of 2022, Ukraine President Zelenskyy visited the US to meet with President Biden and addressed both chambers of Congress. President Zelenskyy visited the U.S. for the first time and is greeted by President Biden and first lady Jill Biden in the White House on Wednesday.

“It’s important for the American people and for the world to hear directly from Mr. President, about Ukraine’s fight and the need to continue to stand together through 2023,” Mr. Biden stated while standing right next to the Zelenskyy in the White House East Room.

President Biden added “as long as it takes” he will support Ukraine and help restore infrastructure that was ruined by the Russian missile attack. He said that “We should be clear about what Russia is doing, and it is purposefully attacking Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, destroying the systems that provide heat and light to the Ukraine people during the coldest, darkest part of the year. Russia is using winter as a weapon,”

President Zelenskyy stated “We really fight for our common victory against this tyranny. And that is real life. And we will win. And I really want [to] win together. Not want, I am sure,” with Ukraine.

The U.S. announced recently that it will help provide Ukraine with $1.85 billion in military aid with a total of $22 billion which will include a Patriot missile battery for the first time to send to repel Russian missiles and aircraft. The new aid package also includes hundreds of thousands of mortars and artillery shells, dozens of armored vehicles, and specialized kits for the fighter jets.

According to CBS, The two leaders of the world exchanged their thoughts. Biden said the U.S. “stands with the great people of Ukraine,” and he called Zellenskyy a “great leader.” Zelenskyy said it was a “great honor” to be welcomed to the White House, and he appreciated Mr. Biden and said “from my heart, from the hearts of Ukrainians, all Ukrainians” for Biden’s “support and leadership.”

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Argentina vs France Will Play for the World Cup on Sunday

(Photo from sportingnews.com)

Argentina’s Messi will meet France’s Mbappé this coming Sunday to find out who the real winner of the World Cup is. Lionel Messi (35) and the rising star of the globe, Kylian Mbappe (23) will be the hot topic under the Holiday season food table worldwide this year.

Argentina won over Croatia 3:0 and France won over Morroco 2:0, finally rapping up this month-long competition between continent to continent, country to country, and drama-filled event.

The funny thing is as always when the final comes, people bet on who the winner of the World Cup. This year, however, experts say that Argentina and France are going to go neck the neck, and a clear winner has not been predicted.

This coming Sunday, we are going to set a table in the living room to watch the momentum of the glory. This sensational 2022 World Cup will lead the world as a whole at the end of the Year 2022. Officially, the FIFA rankings No.3 and No.4 will be fighting to become the 2022 World Cup winners, a glory allowed only once every 4 years.

With these World Cup games, the US fans enjoyed when the US Men’s team went up to the Round of 16.

Throughout World Cup history, Argentina and France met 12 times, and Argentina beat France six times, drew three times, and lost three times to France since July 15, 1930, according to sportingnews.com.

This World Cup will be played at 3 pm GMT (6 pm Local time) on Sunday, December 18. The US viewers will be able to watch it at 10 am EST and 7 am Pacific time.

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At least a dozen coffins hanging in the air after Cemetery Building Collapse

It is the so-called Resurrection but much more troublesome. A building also operating as a cemetery collapsed in Italy, and this is the second time where a cemetery building has collapsed this year so far. After the collapse of the marble building, at least a dozen coffins were found hanging in the air bringing critics from the public. No visitors were at the cemetery at the time of the collapse on Monday, and the building had remained closed.

“The collapse was preceded by a bang and a dense cloud of dust,” said Vincenzo Santagada, a Naples councilor who has responsibility for the cemeteries. Families of the dead had a protest on Tuesday. According to The Guardian, A separate investigation is continuing after about 300 burial niches were destroyed in the collapse of a building in another area of the cemetery in January.

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