World News - part 8

Happy 100 Years Parks Canada!

Happy 100 Years Parks Canada!

WORLD

  • Canada’s national parks have grown from one park in Banff, Alberta, in 1886, to 36 national parks and 6 park reserves
  • Parks Canada is in the midst of a 5-year, $90-million plan to reintroduce native species and plants to certain sites, and treat polluted water
  • Parks Canada has launched Explora GPS, mobile apps and other solutions to teach visitors about park sites and outdoor survival skills

Having celebrated its 100th birthday a month ago on May 19, 2011, Parks Canada will continue its mandate of presenting and protecting “nationally significant examples of Canada’s natural and cultural landscapes” for the benefit of current and future generations.

With a total area of 9.9 million square kilometers, Canada is known for its beautiful scenery. Parks Canada, the first official national parks system in the world, oversees the gravesites of ex prime ministers, 167 historical sites, 42 national parks and 4 marine conservation areas.

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Citigroup Added to the List of Latest Cyber Attack Victims

Citigroup Added to the List of Latest Cyber Attack Victims

WORLD

  • Hackers accessed account information for 200,000 Citigroup customers in North America
  • Attack on Sony PlayStation exposed over 100 million user accounts
  • Sony Pictures security breach touched more than 1 million user accounts
  • Classified data from the Canadian government was stolen at the start of the year

The account details for nearly 200,000 Citigroup customers – or close to 1% of the bank’s total client base – in North America were exposed in the latest cyber attack.

During a routine check, Citigroup realized that hackers were able to access the bank’s online account services and view customer account numbers, names and contact details (email, etc). While hackers were able to see pertinent information, they were unable to access birth dates, social security numbers, card security codes or card expiry dates.

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US May Reduce Security Checks For Low-Risk Passengers

US May Reduce Security Checks For Low-Risk Passengers

WORLD

  • Reduced security checks may be available for low-risk passengers; High-risk passengers would have to undergo extensive screening
  • Strict security discouraging to travelers; $85 billion loss from fewer trips
  • No date is set for the launch of the new speedier airport screening measures

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that travelers who are a low security risk may be able to get through airport security faster.  

The new measures proposed include a line set aside for travelers who are low risk and a special program that allows passengers to be screened faster. However, these changes would require authorities to identify passengers who they feel pose a greater risk, which would mean more extensive screening for those selected.

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OECD Survey: Canadians Pay Highest Roaming Rates Worldwide

OECD Survey: Canadians Pay Highest Roaming Rates Worldwide

WORLD

  • Canada has the highest international roaming rates out of 34 OECD countries, with prices at $24 for one megabyte of data
  • US ($21) ranks 2nd, with Mexico ($20) in 3rd place
  • Lack of competition has driven prices up; leaders need to adjust offers and find new solutions

Based on a recent survey of 34 countries, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reports that Canadians pay the highest fees for international data roaming in the world.

Examining average data roaming prices from two major wireless operators in each of the countries polled, the report found that Canadians traveling outside of North America paid over CDN$24 to use one megabyte of data – or almost three times the OECD average of $9.27.

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Germany Searches for Origin of Deadly E. Coli Outbreak

Germany Searches for Origin of Deadly E. Coli Outbreak

WORLD

  • German authorities step up efforts to find source of deadly E. coli strain in Europe
  • European trade ties under pressure following Germany’s premature accusations of contaminated Spanish cucumbers and Russia’s ban on import of EU fresh produce
  • Spanish President expected to seek compensation for farmers

German health officials have set up a taskforce in an attempt to determine the origins of an unusually toxic strain of E. coli that has killed 19 people and infected over 1,700 in Europe.

Authorities are still unclear as to the source of the outbreak that has dented Spain’s agriculture industry and heightened health concerns in Europe with people unsure as to the safety of eating raw vegetables.

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Europe’s First Green High-Speed Train Hits the Tracks

Europe’s First Green High-Speed Train Hits the Tracks

WORLD

  • High-speed Paris-Amsterdam rail link fitted with solar panels to power train networks and stations
  • 16,000 solar panels to generate 3,300 MWh of power/year
  • Carbon emissions cut by 2,400 tons

The Paris-to-Amsterdam train route has become the greenest stretch of high-speed rail link in Europe, thanks to a 3.4-kilometer tunnel that has been fitted with solar panels.

The tunnel was originally built to protect trains from falling trees as they pass through an ancient forest located just outside Antwerp, Belgium. With 16,000 solar panels now lining its roof, the tunnel will generate power for some 4,000 suburban and high-speed trains, as well as lighting and heating installments in the region. It will also provide sufficient energy to power Antwerp Central Station.

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iPhone 4 to Join Astronauts in Space Shuttle Mission

iPhone 4 to Join Astronauts in Space Shuttle Mission

WORLD

  • First time iPhones will enter space; mission scheduled for July 2011
  • iPhone 4 “SpaceLab” app will run experiments related to altitude, sensor calibration, position and radiation
  • Modified version of app will be available to the general public

Two iPhone 4s are set to join the crew on board NASA’s final space shuttle mission tentatively scheduled for launch July 8th. It will be the first time an iPhone enters space.

Odyssey Space Research LLC created a “SpaceLab” application for the phones that will allow the astronauts to carry out four specific experiments while on board the U.S. National Laboratory on the International Space Station (ISS).

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Digital Publishing Shines at BookExpo America

Digital Publishing Shines at BookExpo America

WORLD

  • Digital publishing gains popularity; e-book sales up nearly 160%
  • Vook, BlueFire and BookBaby showcase new digital publishing products and services
  • Trend shows authors are more often choosing self-publishing and digital

Participants at the BookExpo America convention, which took place at the end of May, came to a consensus that the publishing industry is floundering but the rise of digital publishing may save the market.

E-book sales rose by close to 160%, hitting $233 million during the first quarter of 2011, reports the Association of American Publishers. In comparison, sales for print books have declined by over 23% compared to 2010.

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Hackers Humiliate Sony with New Cyber Attack

Hackers Humiliate Sony with New Cyber Attack

WORLD

  • Lulz Security steals personal information from over 1 million user accounts on Sony website
  • Experts say method used was a well-known hacking technique and could have easily been blocked
  • Experts criticize Sony for not encrypting passwords

Sony’s Internet security has once again failed to protect user data following another successful cyber attack on their website.                                                                                         

Hackers gained access to personal information from over a million account holders on the Sony Pictures website by means of a simple technique, claiming their intention was to highlight the poor standard of security employed by the Japanese company.

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FIFA Votes Blatter For President Amid Bribery Scandal

FIFA Votes Blatter For President Amid Bribery Scandal

WORLD

  • FIFA president Blatter re-elected; unopposed as rival pulls out amid corruption allegations
  • Other Executive Committee members are suspended, including Asian Football Chief Mohamed Bin Hammam and CONCACAF president Jack Warner
  • FIFA partners express concern over the damage done by corruption scandal

FIFA president Sepp Blatter was re-elected in Zurich for a fourth term as head of football’s global governing body.

The 75-year-old Swiss was the sole candidate in the election and received 186 votes out of 203. He will remain in charge until 2015. After the announcement, he vowed to restore the credibility of the body in the wake of a corruption scandal surrounding the presidential election and the World Cup bidding process.

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