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ECCB donates to the elderly and children for FIM

The East Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) is celebrating its 35th Anniversary and also observing Financial Information Month (FIM) (during October). As part of its activities in Montserrat, the Bank through its resident agency representative Mrs. Claudette Weekes, at the office in Brades delivered financial support to two organisations.

Before making the delivery, Mrs. Weekes to note the theme for FIM 2018 which is, “Financial Empowerment Through Education with a focus on Conducting and Protecting your Business in a Digital Environment.”

She explained: “It challenges us to use the digital environment to create opportunities; to take advantage of the possibilities that these opportunities present, by optimising them i.e. make the best of them.”

She said, “It also challenges us to research, explore, and find new horizons everywhere. A lot of what we seek to know is buried in the life experiences of our senior citizens and the best person to tap these resources are the children and young people in general.”

It was because of this that the Bank took pleasure through her office to give and to announce that the sum of $1,000.00 had been deposited to the account of The Children’s Society at the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC); and equal sum of $1,000.00 deposited into the account of ‘The Senior Citizen’s Association’ at the Bank of Montserrat Ltd. (BOML). The gestures she said, “are a part of the Community Outreach effort for Financial Month 2018.

Mrs. Weekes noted further that the ECCB in collaboration with RBC, BOML, Montserrat Building Society (MBS), St. Patrick’s Cooperative Credit Union (SPCCU), Social Security Fund, Financial Services Commission and the (Govt.) Ministry of Finance, “is of the view that on Montserrat there are at least two associations with responsibility for protecting and caring for the vulnerable in our society.”

Mrs Claudette Weekes

She said the Bank had therefore identified the groups and selected them, “to be our FIM recipients this year.”

Following the brief remarks, she called on the presidents of the associations, Mrs. Helena Dorsett and Miss Bernadine Collins, to whom she said thanks, “for allowing us to contribute to your efforts.”

In handing over the symbolic pictures of the deposited checks, Mrs. Weekes told the two recipients, “we pray that you will experience successful outcomes as you continue to serve in this noble manner.”

Both Mrs. Dorsette and Miss Collins responded with thanks and appreciation on behalf of the associations.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Featured, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

Hon. Gregory Willock

Willock resigns from PDM puts 4 In opposition

MCAP calls for new polls

Hon. Gregory Willock

On Tuesday this week, following his rant last week during which he came out in support of the Hon. Dr. Ingrid Buffonge, Hon. Gregory Willock resigned all but his legislative seat in the Legislative Assembly.

Willock resigned his appointment as Parliamentary Secretary, and as a member of the questionable existence of the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM), sending a letter to the Hon. Premier Donaldson Romeo, copied to His Excellency the Governor Andrew Pierce and the Hon. speaker of the Legislative Assembly Shirley Osborne. (see letter here).

This new development comes after Dr. Buffonge, having returned from her one-year master’s degree studies in the UK as she described, said the island’s healthcare was in bad condition, citing the sudden departure of three medical doctors among other issues. But she had her own personal complaints as she found she had to wait for a contract to be concluded as was required, so she can work as a doctor.

Willock had followed this, throwing his already disgruntled position against the Minister, saying he supported Dr. Buffonge’s claims standing with Dr. Buffonge and supported her call for the premier to fire Minister Ryan. He said he was willing to cross the floor and sit as an independent member of parliament if this was not done.

The premier followed Buffonge’s statement by saying he stood behind his health minister, invoking an accusation from her when he quoted something out of scripture when he said: “He who must destroy others to succeed must know that destruction awaits him at the gate of his success.  In other words, be careful not to dig a hole for yourself.” Sounded much like, “What Goes Around Comes Around”. She said that it was a serious threat, and that the premier was attempting to suppress criticism.

In the meantime, Minister Ryan spent a long time on radio responding to Dr. Buffonge’s claims. She was adamant about not stepping down from her Ministry, and explained in some detail the state of the Health Ministry.

Willock then said he stood with Dr Buffonge and supported her call for the premier to fire Minister Ryan. He said he was willing to cross the floor and sit as an independent member of parliament if this was not done.

There has been no comment from the other members of the (PDM) government members, Minister Lewis, and deposed Minister Hogan, who has been off island, while news of a ‘motion of no-confidence’ in the government has reportedly been filed with the speaker.

There is a long and old background to the Gregory ‘Saga’ Willock sojourn in or with the Government. Speculations are that his actions are all part of a strategy for immediate changes in government or preparation for new parties to contest the due elections from September next year.

In September 2015 Willock had hit the ZJB air waves to clarify rumours that he had left the PDM party, which had already given indication that there was serious disunity among the government members.

Willock had explained he had been in discussion with the Hon. Premier Donaldson Romeo about stepping down from the position as parliamentary secretary to avoid some of the conflicts which were arising in the party over his desire to push for the ratification of a new legislators conditions of pay.

He claimed the current position is outdated and should have been adapted to suit the current requirements as laid out in the Montserrat Constitution Order of 2010; that the legislators conditions of pay in use does not deal adequately with issues of gratuity, pensions, vacation for legislators, he added.

Willock explained that due to some party members not in agreement with his push to have this document updated and approved to the benefit of all legislators, he said he would prefer to remain only as a member of Parliament. Currently, he supports the sectors of culture, youth and supports in his role as parliamentary secretary. A role he said he is not compensated for over and above what is the standard payment for members of Parliament.

“I’m not here all about Gregory as I have been working for over a year as Parliamentary Secretary without additional pay,” he said. “I want to work for the people.”

Premier Romeo had little to say then, regarding Willock’s position the Premier: “Please also do not think that there is anything wrong with the Honorable Gregory Willock proposing to step back from the Parliamentary Secretary post and remain a part of the PDM team,” he said, giving his commitment regarding his government’s position repeating his earlier comments regarding their forward movement as it relates to his government’s performance for the previous year.


Willock’s position then had come just after the announcement of Dr. Buffonge’s resignation from the party.

We reported it was a surprise move, though from the beginning “she had shown some restlessness in her relationship with the PDM.” She resigned a week after she had spoken on ZJB radio at length recapping her role in the first year of the PDM in office. She had said that people were somewhat impatient, but she declared at the end of her recap, having called for unity and togetherness: “…people can look forward to a stronger more assertive PDM in the future with better decision making and faster progress with some restructuring…, I am asking the public don’t give on the PDM just yet. This is still a strong red machine, there is a lot of positive to come in the near future.”

Her position this time in 2018 had been little different, but Willock thought it prudent, having had more than he can take working with or under Minister Ryan.

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Earthquake kills at least 10, injures more than 100, then minor earthquake rocks Jamaica

Earthquake kills at least 10, injures more than 100, then minor earthquake rocks Jamaica

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, Oct 7, CMC – At least 10 people were killed and several others injured after an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.9 rocked northwest Haiti on Saturday night, officials have confirmed.

The Directorate of Civil Protection (DPC) said that the quake was felt across several parts of the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country and that it created panic in several cities.

The DPC said that most of the deaths occurred in Port-de-Paix , north west of here, where seven bodies had been found and three others in the Gros Morne.

It said at least 135 people have been injured and taken to hospitals. “Many houses are destroyed or damaged,” it said.

The DPC said that rescue teams are working across the country especially in the north west where two slight aftershocks have been felt since.

“The Directorate of Civil Protection invites people to keep calm and not to rely on rumours. The earthquake did not require the launch of a tsunami warning,” the DPC said in a statement.

The DPC said that the 10 people killed after they were caught in collapsed buildings and that the earthquake shook the island late Saturday night.

“I urge the population to keep calm, following the passage of the earthquake whose epicenter is located in the northwest coast,” President Jovenel Moïse posted on Twitter.

‘The (disaster) risk management system and the regional branches of the Civil Protection are on standby to assist the inhabitants of the affected areas,” he added.

The earthquake occurred about 12 miles north of Port-de-Paix in northwest Haiti.

In 2010, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 killed an estimated 160,000 people and left more than a million others homeless in the French-speaking country.


On Sunday, rescue  teams in Haiti were working to provide relief in the aftermath of the 5.9 magnitude earthquake that rocked sections of the country late Saturday.

According Secretary of State for Communications Eddy Jackson Alexis, a preliminary report indicated that 11 people had died and 135  injured.

It’s reported that seven people died in the coastal city of Port-de-Paix and three people died in the community of Gros-Morne in the province of Artibonite.

The injured are being treated at medical centers in the northern part of the country.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake hit at 8:11 p.m. Saturday (local time) and was centered 12 miles  northwest of Port-de-Paix, which is about 136 miles  from here.

The quake was 7.3 miles below the surface.

The tremor was also felt in the neighboring Dominican Republic and in eastern Cuba.

The civil protection agency issued a statement saying that some houses were destroyed in Port-de-Paix, Gros Morne, Chansolme and Turtle Island.

Haiti President Jovenel Moise said civil protection brigades were working to clear debris and help victims. He also said the government had sent water and food.

Impoverished Haiti, where many live in tenuous circumstances, is especially vulnerable to earthquakes. A vastly larger magnitude 7.1 quake damaged much of the capital in 2010 and killed an estimated 300,000 people.

In 2010, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 killed an estimated 160,000 people and left more than a million others homeless in the French-speaking country.

Haiti rattled by several aftershocks

Haiti, Oct 8, CMC – An earthquake measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale rattled Haiti during the early hours of Monday, less than 48 hours after one killed 12 people and left more than 150 others injured.

The quake occurred at 1.04 am (local time) and was located 17 kilometers (km) north of Turtle Island, 32 km north-west of Port-de-Paix. It had a depth of 10 km.

Destruction caused by earthquake in Haiti last Saturday

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damages.

On Sunday, Turtle Island was also rocked by an earthquake with a magnitude of .5.2. The U.S. Geological Survey said the epicenter of the aftershock was located 9.8 miles north-northwest of Port-de-Paix.

Officials say the quakes are aftershocks from Saturday’s deadly 5.9 tremor that as felt across several parts of the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country and that it created panic in several cities.

The Directorate of Civil Protection (DPC) said that at least 12 people were confirmed dead and 188 injured and that most of the deaths occurred in Port-de-Paix , north west of here. It said that rescue teams are working across the country especially in the north west.

Meanwhile, the United Nations says it is prepared to assist the French-speaking Caribbean country following the earthquakes.

In a statement, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he ‘is saddened to learn of the tragic loss of life and injuries caused by the earthquake in north-west Haiti on 6 October”.

The UN chief extended his condolences to the families of the victims and to the government of Haiti.

“The United Nations stands ready to support the Government of Haiti in the response efforts,” the statement noted.

Saturday night’s quake is the strongest earthquake to hit Haiti since 2010, when the country was devastated by a 7.3 magnitude temblor, which killed more than 100,000 people.

Minor earthquake rocks Jamaica

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Oct. 8, CMC – An earthquake with a magnitude of 3.6 was felt in sections of the island late Sunday.

The United States Geological Survey says that the earthquake, with its epicenter west northwest of Hope Bay in the eastern parish of Portland was felt in the neighboring parishes of Kingston, St. Andrew and St Thomas.

There have been no reports of injuries or damages.

This is the third tremor to rock sections of the island in recent weeks.

Last month, two minor earthquakes were recorded.

This earthquake follows a 5.9 magnitude tremor   in Haiti on Saturday that left 11 dead and more than 30 injured .

Posted in Earthquake, Featured, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

The Washington Post

GOP’s Grassley says FBI probe finds no hint of ‘misconduct’ by Kavanaugh; Democrats dispute that, say White House restricted FBI

TMR: Here goes! Will the suppresion of truth and minimising of investigation convince those important to the fray and injustice (improper research and investigation and misguided attention to inability to prove supported ‘sexual misconduct’ forgetting or ignoring all the rest that points to underlying misbeliefs, win the day for America and the (western) world eventually? But, it didn’t start there, it just got hightened! Yet it is still unbelievable.
White House says it has received FBI report on Kavanaugh

The White House said Oct. 4 that it had received the FBI’s completed report on the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh.

October 4 at 10:56 AM

BREAKING NEWS: The dueling assessments on Thursday came as senators read the FBI background check of the Supreme Court nominee. Brett M. Kavanaugh had faced allegations of sexual misconduct, including an accusation from Christine Blasey Ford that he assaulted her when they were teenagers.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said in a statement that the “uncorroborated accusations have been unequivocally and repeatedly rejected by Judge Kavanaugh, and neither the Judiciary Committee nor the FBI could locate any third parties who can attest to any of the allegations.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the top Democrat on the committee, told reporters that the report was a “product of an incomplete investigation.” Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he disagreed with Grassley’s assessment.

The Senate is heading toward a procedural vote on Friday and if Republicans prevail, Kavanaugh would be on track to a lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court.

This a developing story and will be updated.

As the Senate began reviewing the new FBI report on Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh on Thursday, both Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley and the White House stood by President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, saying the investigation found nothing sufficient to corroborate allegations of sexual misconduct while Kavanaugh was a teenager.

“There’s nothing in it that we didn’t already know,” Grassley (R-Iowa) said in a statement after being briefed on the report by his staff. “It’s time to vote.”

Democrats have protested that the FBI probe was rushed and too limited in scope, and lawyers for Kavanaugh’s accusers say the bureau declined to interview multiple witnesses who could have backed up their accounts.

White House spokesman Raj Shah said Thursday that the FBI agents had reached out to 10 witnesses — nine of whom were interviewed — and that no one had corroborated the account of Christine Blasey Ford, the first woman to accuse Kavanaugh of sexual assault.

“The president, the White House are firmly behind Brett Kavanaugh,” Shah said during an appearance Thursday morning on CNN. “We believe that all the Senate’s questions have been addressed through this supplemental FBI investigation.”

In an earlier tweet, Shah said the White House is “fully confident” that the Senate will confirm Kavanaugh, whose nomination has been roiled by the allegations of three women about his behavior more than three decades ago.

‘Wrong, vile, appalling’: Trump mocking Ford spurs outrage

President Trump’s comments mocking Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony on her allegation against Brett M. Kavanaugh caused widespread backlash.

In anticipation of the FBI report’s arrival, on Wednesday night, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) teed up a key vote to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination for Friday.

Until that vote, senators will be rushing in and out of a secure facility at the Capitol to review the sensitive FBI report.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and other Democrats plan to hold a news conference at 11 a.m. to speak about the report.

In morning tweets, Trump decried what he said was “harsh and unfair treatment” of Kavanaugh, who has undergone previous FBI background checks for other federal jobs, and accused Democrats of obstructing the confirmation process.

“This is now the 7th. time the FBI has investigated Judge Kavanaugh,” Trump wrote. “If we made it 100, it would still not be good enough for the Obstructionist Democrats.”

In his statement, Grassley said that “this investigation found no hint of misconduct and the same is true of the six prior FBI background investigations conducted during Judge Kavanaugh’s 25 years of public service.”

In tweets starting around 4 a.m., Grassley announced that the panel had received the report from the White House and that he and its top Democrat had “agreed to alternating EQUAL access for senators to study content from additional background info gathered by nonpartisan FBI agents.”

The FBI’s report will be available at a sensitive compartmented information facility, or SCIF, in the Capitol Visitor Center, a secure room designed for senators to review sensitive or classified material, two Senate officials said. Just one physical copy of the report will be available, and only to senators and 10 committee staffers cleared to view the material.

The two parties will take turns having access to the FBI report in shifts, according to a senior Senate official. It will rotate throughout the rest of the day Thursday and potentially into Friday, with staff members simultaneously briefing senators.

But even before the report was formally sent to the Senate, lawyers for Ford criticized what they viewed as an incomplete FBI probe.

“An FBI supplemental background investigation that did not include an interview of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford — nor the witnesses who corroborate her testimony — cannot be called an investigation,” her legal team said in a statement. “We are profoundly disappointed that after the tremendous sacrifice she made in coming forward, those directing the FBI investigation were not interested in seeking the truth.”

On Thursday, a lawyer for Deborah Ramirez, who has accused Kavanaugh of exposing himself while in college, sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher A. Wray making the same claim.

The letter noted that Ramirez had been interviewed by the FBI for two hours Sunday in Colorado and later provided a list of 20 people who might corroborate her account of Kavanaugh’s behavior.

“Fewer than four days, later, however, the FBI apparently has concluded its investigation — without permitting its agents to investigate,” wrote Ramirez lawyer William Pittard. “We are deeply disappointed by this failure.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, also took issue Wednesday with the decision not to interview Ford and Kavanaugh, both of whom testified at a high-stakes hearing last week, suggesting that the White House had prevented the FBI from contacting them.

“Last week’s hearing is no substitute for FBI interviews, especially when you consider the tenor of Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony,” Feinstein said in a statement. “When he wasn’t yelling and demeaning senators, he was making misleading statements that cast doubt on his overall trustworthiness. I don’t think that would happen with FBI agents seated across the table.”

The reopened FBI investigation was prompted by reservations expressed last by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) about moving forward on a full Senate vote without further examination of the accusations of Ford and other “credible” accusers.

Even as the White House gave the FBI permission to broaden its examination, it continued to hold the bureau to a strict timeline.

Moreover, the inquiry focused mainly on the account of Ford, the research psychologist who alleges that a drunken Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were high school students in the Washington suburbs.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the White House had restricted the FBI from scrutinizing the nominee’s drinking habits, as well as possible disparities between his alcohol consumption as a young man and his account before Congress.

Much of the focus Thursday will be on the reactions of three Republicans whose votes are considered key to Kavanaugh’s fate: Flake, Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska).

On Wednesday, all three took issue with Trump’s mocking of Ford the night before at a political rally in Mississippi that drew laughs from his supporters.

“What I want is I want to see the report,” Murkowski told reporters last night. “That’s what I’m waiting for.”

Besides Flake, Collins and Murkowski, Democratic Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Joe Manchin III (W.Va.) also have yet to announce how they will vote.

While trying to round up votes on his side, McConnell has also taken sharp aim at Democrats, accusing them of trying to “move the goal posts” on Kavanaugh’s confirmation fight by suggesting that Friday would be too soon for a key vote on him.

Senate Democrats opened a new front Wednesday in their objections to the investigations of Kavanaugh’s conduct, suggesting in a letter to Grassley that past FBI background checks of Kavanaugh include evidence of inappropriate behavior, without disclosing specifics.

The letter, signed by eight of the 10 Democrats on the Judiciary Committee, challenged the accuracy of a tweet from the committee’s Republican staff on Tuesday that said: “Nowhere in any of these six FBI reports, which the committee has reviewed on a bipartisan basis, was there ever a whiff of ANY issue — at all — related in any way to inappropriate sexual behavior or alcohol abuse.” 

The Democrats said the information in the tweet is “not accurate,” urging the GOP to correct it.

“It is troubling that the committee majority has characterized information from Judge Kavanaugh’s confidential background investigation on Twitter, as that information is confidential and not subject to public release,” the Democrats, led by Sen. Richard J. Durbin (Ill.), wrote to Grassley. “If the committee majority is going to violate that confidentiality and characterize this background investigation publicly, you must at least be honest about it.”

The two committee Democrats who did not sign the letter were Sens. Christopher A. Coons (Del.) and Amy Klobuchar (Minn.). 

Grassley’s staff responded on Twitter that “nothing in the tweet is inaccurate or misleading.” 

“The committee stands by its statement, which is completely truthful,” the committee Republicans said. “More baseless innuendo and more false smears from Senate Democrats.”

Josh Dawsey, Mike DeBonis, Tom Hamburger and Isaac Stanley-Becker contributed to this report.

Posted in Court, Featured, International, Legal, Local, News, Politics, Regional0 Comments

Sunday Times

Aid used in Caribbean child sex inquiry

David Brandt, who led the Montserrat government from 1997 to 2001, is being investigated
David Brandt, who led the Montserrat government from 1997 to 2001, is being investigatedCHRIS BRANDIS


There is so much more to this story in several areas – but seen here taken from the angle which once again shows the bias about money being spent in Montserrat, a British Overseas Territory. There is however a more than suspicious nature of moneys spent as mentioned, which reportedly is more than the £230,000 mentioned in the story. In Montserrat the question regarding the money is, what about the case that warrants almost or over EC$1 million to be spent? Reports are that there is more money being spent in other unrelated matters which represents another situation involving what some refer to as overzealous behaviour, but which is really deeper than that. All matters which must be of concern and interest to the government and the tax payers. Yes there are many issues questions that are much better placed than why the money is spent here instead of there! The writer should note that the money is benefiting their own and not Montserrat. Their research is misplaced and shows the bias only.

Britain has handed more than £200,000 of its foreign aid budget to the National Crime Agency (NCA) to investigate the former chief minister of Montserrat on suspicion of child sex abuse.

Officers from the elite crime-fighting force, dubbed the “British FBI”, are making regular trips to the tiny Caribbean island, one of the UK’s overseas territories, to help police investigate David Brandt, who led the government there from 1997 to 2001.

The NCA inquiry in an outpost of Britain’s colonial past — which was devastated by volcanic eruptions in the 1990s — comes at a time when police chiefs in the UK are warning there is not enough money to investigate the “unprecedented” scale of child sexual abuse at home.

Tony Blair met David Brandt in Downing Street in 1997
Tony Blair met David Brandt in Downing Street in 1997 PAUL HACKETT

Simon Bailey, chief constable of Norfolk police and national lead officer for child abuse investigation, has previously called for increased rehabilitation and treatment for low-level sex offenders, rather than prosecution, in an attempt to meet swingeing budget cuts.

Documents seen by The Sunday Times show that the Foreign Office has assigned almost £230,000 of public money to the NCA inquiry, which is understood to have been active since 2016.

The news will raise fresh concerns over child sex abuse in British overseas territories following scandals on Jersey and St Helena.

The Foreign Office said: “All our funding programmes follow the government’s agreed standards and receive robust financial scrutiny.”


Posted in Court, Crime, Featured, International, Local, News, Politics0 Comments


Facebook breach put data of 50 million users at risk

The vulnerability had to do with the social network’s “view as” feature.


Facebook on Friday said a breach affected 50 million people on the social network. 

The vulnerability stemmed from Facebook’s “view as” feature, which lets people see what their profiles look like to other people. Attackers exploited code associated with the feature that allowed them to steal “access tokens” that could be used to take over people’s accounts. 

While access tokens aren’t your password, they allow people to log in to accounts without needing it. Facebook also said later Friday that the breach also affected third-party apps that you have linked to your Facebook account, including Instagram. As a precautionary measure, Facebook logged about 90 million people out of their accounts, the company said.

The social network said it discovered the attack earlier this week. The company has informed the FBI and the Irish Data Protection Commission. Facebook said the investigation is in the early stages and it doesn’t yet know who was behind the attacks. 

“This is a really serious security issue,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on a conference call with reporters Friday. “This underscores there are just constant attacks from people who are trying to take over accounts and steal information from our community. This is going to be an ongoing effort.” 

The news comes as Facebook has been under intense scrutiny for its ability to keep the data of its more than 2 billion users safe. The company is still reeling from its Cambridge Analytica scandal in March, in which a UK-based digital consultancy harvested the personal information of 87 million Facebook users.

The vulnerability disclosed on Friday came from a change issued in July 2017, when Facebook pushed a feature that prompted people to upload “Happy Birthday” videos, Facebook vice president of product management said on the call. The company is still investigating the attack, and doesn’t know how much information was stolen or who is behind the hack. Because it was access tokens stolen and not passwords, Facebook said that affected users don’t need to change their security settings, including their passwords.

Access tokens are a set of code granted to a user after logging in for the first time. They’re often used across websites so that you don’t have to log back in every time you go to a page. Facebook uses them for logins, and allows for secure access without needing a password.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “This is a really serious security issue.”

James Martin

Attackers carried out their attack with a series of steps that let them hop, skip and jump their way into generating access tokens for millions of Facebook users. They started by viewing a Facebook profile they had access to as another user. The “view as” feature is meant to allow users to see how their profile looks to the public or specific friends based on their privacy settings. 

But when hackers viewed a Facebook profile as another user, sometimes the tool for posting a birthday video would appear. That shouldn’t have happened, but did at times because of a bug, according to Facebook. Then, because of yet another bug affecting the video tool, hackers were able to generate an access token for the targeted user, giving them access to the user’s account.

With the access token, hackers had control over the user’s account. They could then “pivot,” Rosen said, and view their victim’s account as yet another user. Then they would repeat the process and generate an access token for that user, too.

The hackers were able to dramatically scale up this multi-step attack, so much so that Facebook noticed an unusual spike in user activity in Septermber and began investigating, Rosen said.

Fatemeh Khatibloo, an analyst at Forrester who focuses on consumer privacy, said in an email it appeared Facebook contained the damage from the breach at an early stage. She added that users probably heard about it sooner than they would have since new privacy regulations came into effect in the European Union earlier this year. The General Data Protection Regulation requires companies to tell users about a data breach no more than 72 hours after learning of it themselves.

“GDPR has forced [Facebook]’s hand in reporting the breach much earlier than they perhaps would have liked, and before they understand the full scope,” Khatibloo said.

Debra Farber, senior director of privacy strategy at tech firm BigID, said the increased speed in reporting data breaches will have a positive long-term effect for the company. “It may not be today or tomorrow, but such actions are sure to engender significantly more trust,” she said. BigID helps companies comply with privacy regulations.

The breach has also led to more criticism from lawmakers, who have already discussed introducing regulation to rein in big tech companies.

“A full investigation should be swiftly conducted and made public so that we can understand more about what happened,” Sen. Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia, said in a statement. “Today’s disclosure is a reminder about the dangers posed when a small number of companies like Facebook or the credit bureau Equifax are able to accumulate so much personal data about individual Americans without adequate security measures.”

As news spread of the data breach Friday, Facebook’s own platform blocked users from posting two articles about the hacking attack. One article was by the Guardian and the other was by the AP. Facebook confirmed that its system was blocking the articles, saying it was an error. “We fixed the issue as soon as we were made aware of it, and people should be able to share both articles,” the company said in a statement. “We apologize for the inconvenience.”

Facebook has been without a chief security officer since Alex Stamos Facebook security chief departing company for Stanford in August to teach and do research at Stanford University. His departure took place during a larger reorganization of the company’s security team that was ongoing when the cybersecurity attack began. 

The departmental shifts made the cybersecurity team stronger, Rosen said. “If anything, we think this means we were able to find and address this faster,” he said.

First published September 28, 9:52 a.m. PT.
Update, 2:52 p.m. PT: Adds information from a follow-up conference call with Facebook.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Entertainment, Featured, International, Local, News, Regional, Science/Technology, Technology0 Comments

Calm as he will be remembered

Thanksgiving Service and Mass for Bertrand B. Osborne who died on Tuesday, September 4, 2018

by Bennette Roach

Calm as he will be remembered

The following information has been confirmed and presented for the benefit of those who cannot otherwise attend the services but have access to radio, television and of course the miniature viewing provided by their tablets and smart phones. More specifically, overseas viewers worldwide will have their access.

The GIU will be bringing you live video coverage of the Service of Thanksgiving for the late Bertrand Osborne, starting at 10:30 a.m. today at the Montserrat Cultural Centre. This stream will be avialble on our facebook page ‘Government Information Unit Montserrat’. Our coverage will also be shared on  Radio Montserrat will also broadcast live audio of the Service.

Thanks to Digicel, this stream will also be carried live on local television, on channels 8 and 352.

The Mass of Thanksgiving at the Catholic Church starting at 2:30p.m. will be streamed by live islands events on both Facebook and websites. There will also be live video coverage of the military procession leading to the St. James Anglican Church where Mr. Osborne will be buried.

Posted in Featured, International, Local, News, Obituaries, Regional0 Comments

Police HQ flag at half mast in remembrance of former Chief Minister Bertrand Osborne.

A National Day of Mourning in honour of former CM Bertrand Osborne OBE, OD (declared a public holiday)

The Government Information Unit yesterday, informed that the Government of Montserrat has declared Friday, September 14, 2018,

Former Chief Minister of Montserrat Bertrand Osborne.

a National Day of Mourning, as a mark of respect for the late former Chief Minister, Bertrand Osborne OBE, OD.

Mr. Osborne will be laid to rest on Friday, September 14 and will be accorded a national funeral service by the Government of Montserrat.

The release also informed that National Day of Mourning will “therefore be observed as a public holiday.”

The Government has advised that “In accordance with Government of Montserrat’s standard practice for national mourning, persons observing national mourning and those wearing plain clothes when on duty should wear dark colours.”

The island’s fifth Chief Minister died at his residence on Tuesday, September 4, 2018.

Flags at Half Mast on Passing of Former Chief Minister Osborne

Police HQ flag at half mast in remembrance of former Chief Minister Bertrand Osborne.

Meanwhile, Her Excellency, Acting Governor Lyndell Simpson has instructed all flags (Union Flag and Montserrat Flag) to be flown at half-mast in observance of the passing of former Chief Minister, Bertrand Osborne OBE OD.

The flags around the Government Headquarters will remain at half-mast up to the end of the day of Mr. Osborne’s funeral, as a symbol on national mourning.

The islands fifth Chief Minister died at his home on Tuesday, September 4 2018. Bertrand Osborne served as Chief Minister from October, 1996 to August, 1997.

Half-masting of flags is a standard practice by the Government of Montserrat whenever the nation is mourning the loss of persons who have served Montserrat with distinction and at the highest levels.

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Bertrand Osborne dies at 83

It was by no means surprising on Tuesday, September 4, 2018. how quickly the word resounded worldwide that former Chief Minister, the Honourable Bertrand Osborne, OBE had died at his home, after a lengthy illness, which he endured mostly at his home. In 2014 he was honoured with the National Order of Distinction award

Not surprising, as the condolences and tributes kept pouring in over the internet and as announced on ZJB Radio, since the news.

Premier Donaldson Romeo

The Hon. Premier in a statement of condolences on behalf of the Government and people of Montserrat, “Premier the Honourable Donaldson Romeo expresses heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of former Chief Minister Honourable Bertrand Osborne.”

The statement reads, “It is with deep regret and profound sadness that the Government and people of Montserrat, express sincere condolences, on the passing of a former Chief Minister of Montserrat, Honourable Bertrand Osborne…”

The statement provides the information that Mr. Osborne, served as the Chief Minister of Montserrat from November 1996 to August 1997, but was a member of the Legislative Assembly continuously from 1987 until 2001 serving as the leader of the National Development Party (NDP).

Osborne at St Patrick’s Church Plymouth

As the Premier ends his condolences: “We all pray that God will bring comfort to his wife Lystra Osborne, his children and the entire Osborne family during this time of bereavement.

As we honour his legacy, may his soul rest in eternal peace.”

At the same time Leader of the Opposition Easton Taylor Farrell, while on behalf of the parliamentary opposition extending condolences to the Osbornes family assuring them that “our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time,” said: “On reflecting on the life  of Mr. Osborne it is safe to say that he was a man of integrity, a role model, an individual who has helped to shape the lives of so many who knew him.  He was truly a man who was dedicated to service to his people. His business and political contribution has helped to shape the future of this island.”

Ag. Governor and Deputy Governor the Hon. Mrs. Lyndell Simpson

 Ag. Governor and Deputy Governor the Hon. Mrs. Lyndell Simpson was also quick and in a press statement described Mr. Osborne as “a great man who maintained a deep sense of humility, integrity and dedication to the public service and the people of Montserrat.

She said “the many facets of his extraordinary life and legacy to include managing MS Osborne Limited for 46 years (1967 – 2013) will live on in the hearts and minds of all who had the privilege to know him, learn from him, and work alongside him.

“Montserrat has lost a leader,” she says, adding “an exemplary man of deep principles and patriotism.”

She, on behalf of the Montserrat Public Service “most respectfully conveys its sincerest condolences to Mr Osborne’s bereaved wife, children, family and loved ones.”

Osborne at Tree planting at Germans Bay with St Patrick’s club

TMR will memorialise in a next issue, the Hon. Mr. Osborne following a memorial service to be held in his honour on Friday, September 14, at the Montserrat Cultural Centre at 10.30 a.m. following which his funeral service will begin at 2.30 p.m. at the R. C. Church in Lookout.

Staff of The Montserrat Reporter derived from Montserrat Reporter founded by Mr. Osborne’s National Development party in 1985, offers their sincerest condolences.

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Trinidad and Tobago observing 56th anniversary of independence

Trinidad and Tobago observing 56th anniversary of independence

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Aug 31, CMC – Trinidad and Tobago observed its 56th anniversary of political independence from Britain on Friday with the traditional military parade and differing statements from the politicians regarding the socio-economic development of the oil-rich twin island republic.

While President Paula Mae Weekes noted that independence is a work in progress she urged citizens to continue ensuring the development of the country.

“Fellow citizens, on 31 August 1962, Trinidad and Tobago shook off the reins of colonialism and dared to go it alone. To the tolling of bells, the Union Jack was lowered for the final time and the red, white and black hoisted to signal the birth of our nation.”

She said since that time Trinidad and Tobago has enjoyed a relatively stable democracy, significant economic transformation and general improvement in the quality of life of its citizens.

But she said considering the current challenges of crime and the economy, plus the island’s use of the London-based Privy Council as its final court, the world economy and global climate change, she asked how independent Trinidad and Tobago is.

“Political separation from the United Kingdom was only the first step of our long journey of self-discovery.

“Independence has never been a static notion. It implies the constant working-out of identity and purpose, sovereignty over one’s decisions and taking responsibility for one’s actions.”

In his message Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley the anniversary of independence provides citizens with another opportunity to reflect on the meaning of citizenship and the value of its national identity.

“The world has brought us news of nations gripped by civil war, anarchy and terror. In many countries people do not enjoy the freedoms we may be tempted to take for granted. That our democracy has remained intact these 56 years is no small feat.

“This deserves celebration given our status as one of the most multi-cultural societies in the western world. We have largely used our diversity as a bridge to make connections with each other. We’ve enjoyed a deep harmony that is intrinsic to our identity as nationals of this beloved country. We must guard our unity zealously. This defence is especially needed in turbulent times,” he said.

Rowley said that it is times of difficulty that the urge to retreat to narrow interests and partisan lines can become the strongest.

“But we must resist this and seek instead an agreeable guidepost. But how do we find common ground in an often polarising environment?,” he asked suggesting that the country remember the words of the first prime minister Dr. Eric Williams who said “whatever the challenge that faces you, from whatever quarter, place always first that national interest and the national cause”.

Rowley said he has no doubt that “we will do what is needed to create sustainable growth and national development. It is our responsibility as loyal citizens to ensure that our children can be proud of the decisions that we must make today”.

However, Opposition Leader, Kamla Persad Bissessar said the independence anniversary provides an opportunity “to undertake a sober, piercing assessment of our progress and the difficulties that still lie ahead.

“The question must be asked: Have we achieved the Trinidad and Tobago which the leaders of our fight for independence envisioned more than half a century ago? In answering this question, we must decide whether we wish to maintain the status quo, or determine the future that we want for our children and grandchildren.

“There is no question that our country today faces significant issues, and there appear to be no moves by the current administration to deal frontally with the problems affecting people, including escalating crime, inadequate health care, reduced opportunities for education of our young people, job losses, high cost of living, and a declining economy,” she said.

She was critical of the government’s “silence” over the decision to shut down the oil refinery at the state-owned oil company, PETROTRIN, saying that the government had “failed to articulate a plan to address the issue of the state-owned company’s debt, and the long-term impact of the restructuring exercise on Trinidad and Tobago’s economy”.

Meanwhile, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary General, Irwin laRocque has in a congratulatory message paid tribute to the creativity and dynamism of the people of Trinidad and Tobago as well as recognising the “significant contributions” that the country has made to the regional integration process.

“Additionally, Trinidad and Tobago, as a founding member of the Community and lead Member State on regional security and energy issues, continues to make significant contributions to Caribbean integration and to the promotion and attainment of citizen and energy security,” he said.

United States Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, said that Washington and Port of Spain “have always enjoyed rich cross-cultural exchange, friendship, and the shared goal of building a more safe and secure region as underscored in the Caribbean 2020 strategy.

“We are grateful for the continued strong partnership as our countries work to deepen cooperation on trade, energy, and opportunity for all,” he said.

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