October 5, 2021 7:43:32 am
Here is a round-up of the top developments around the world today.
1. Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp reconnecting after nearly six-hour outage
Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp at least partially reconnected to the global internet late on Monday, nearly six hours into an outage that paralysed the social media platform. Facebook and its WhatsApp and Instagram apps went dark at around 1600 GMT, in what website monitoring group Downdetector said was the largest such failure it had ever seen.
Security experts said the disruption could be the result of an internal mistake, though sabotage by an insider would be theoretically possible. “Facebook basically locked its keys in its car,” tweeted Jonathan Zittrain, director of Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.
2. Taliban say forces destroy Islamic State cell hours after Kabul blast
Taliban government forces destroyed an Islamic State cell in the north of Kabul late on Sunday in a prolonged assault that broke the calm of a normally quiet area of the capital with hours of explosions and gunfire, officials and local residents said. The Taliban operation came after a bomb attack near a mosque in Kabul earlier on Sunday that was later claimed by Islamic State. That blast killed and wounded a number of civilians in what appeared to be the worst attack in the Afghan capital since the withdrawal of US forces at the end of August.
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said a special Taliban unit carried out an operation against ISIS elements in Kabul’s 17th district, in the city’s north, destroying their base and killing all those in it. Local residents said the Taliban forces cordoned off the area before beginning their assault at around 7.30 pm, before a firefight that lasted several hours, interrupted by at least two blasts as the suspected ISIS fighters detonated explosives. One local resident said a final blast occurred at around 11.30 pm when an explosives-packed car blew up, apparently killing all the ISIS fighters in the building where they were holed up. He said sporadic gunfire could be heard late into the night and early morning near the compound.
3. ‘Pandora Papers’ bring renewed calls for tax haven scrutiny
Calls are growing for an end to the financial secrecy and shell companies that have allowed many of the world’s richest and most powerful people to hide their wealth from tax collectors. The outcry came after a report published Sunday revealed the way that world leaders, billionaires and others have used offshore accounts to keep trillions of dollars out of government treasuries over the past quarter-century, limiting the resources for helping the poor or combating climate change. The report is being dubbed the “Pandora Papers.” Many of the tax dodges are legal, and analysts say one solution is to ban shell companies that help investors avoid paying taxes. World leaders mentioned include King Abdullah of Jordan, former British prime minister Tony Blair, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.
4. Malaysia protests presence of Chinese vessels in its waters
Malaysia summoned the Chinese ambassador to Kuala Lumpur on Monday to express its protest against the “encroachment” into its waters by Beijing’s vessels, the foreign ministry said. The protest was over the “presence and activities” of Chinese vessels, including a survey vessel, in Malaysia’s Exclusive Economic Zone off the coasts of the eastern states of Sabah and Sarawak, the ministry said in a statement on Monday. It did not say when the vessels were detected in Malaysian waters.
5. Catholic Church in France had 3,000 child abusers, says probe
An independent commission examining sex abuse within the Roman Catholic Church in France believes 3,000 child abusers, two-thirds of them priests, have worked in the church over the past 70 years.
The estimate was given by the commission president, Jean-Marc Sauv, in an interview published Sunday in the newspaper Journal du Dimanche. The commission has been investigating for two and a half years. Its full findings are scheduled to be released on Tuesday.
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