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Winter Olympics: Dutch athletes warned to keep phones, laptops out of China

Dutch athletes competing in Beijing Winter Olympics will leave their phones and laptops at home in an unprecedented move to avoid Chinese surveillance.

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Winter Olympics: Dutch athletes warned to keep phones, laptops out of China
GNN Media: Representational Photo

Beijing: Authorities have directed Dutch team members to be equipped with unused devices, in a bid to protect their personal data from Chinese espionage, Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant reported.

Dutch athletes competing in Beijing Winter Olympics will leave their phones and laptops at home in an unprecedented move to avoid Chinese surveillance.

The newspaper citing sources said that the urgent advice to athletes and supporting staff to not bring any personal devices to China was part of a set of measures proposed by the Dutch Olympic Committee (NOCNSF) to deal with any possible interference by Chinese state agents.

The committee issued the advisory to prevent interference by Chinese state agents.

NOCNSF spokesman Geert Slot said cybersecurity was part of the risk assessment made for the trip to China, but declined to comment on any specific measure.

“The importance of cybersecurity of course has grown over the years”, Slot said. “But China has completely closed off its internet, which makes it a specific case.”

At least 30 Dutch athletes are set to compete in Beijing Olympics, mainly in the speed and short track skating events.

However, China is removing its internet censorship, known as the Great Firewall, for the athletes so that they can use social media platforms, but experts warn that the authorities will still be monitoring social media. 

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Mehak Javed is immensely creative and an enthusiastic journalist, contributing in the publication of timely and accurate news. She is a skilled writer along proven history of achievement in the field with several years of professional experience. Mehak is working with GNN since 2020.

Sports

Nadal beats Khachanov, qualifies for 4th round in Australian Open

Olympic runner-up Khachanov had lost all seven previous meetings with 2009 Australian Open champion Nadal but briefly looked capable of mounting a comeback

Published by Faisal Ali Ghumman

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Nadal beats Khachanov, qualifies for 4th round in Australian Open

MELBOURNE: Sixth seed Rafa Nadal dropped his first set at this year's Australian Open but still powered through to the fourth round with a 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-1 defeat of Karen Khachanov on Friday.

The Spaniard, seeking to claim a record 21st Grand Slam title in the absence of great rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, was sensational as he took a two-set lead.

But Khachanov, seeded 28th, threw caution to the wind in the third set, stalling Nadal's charge with some ferocious hitting.

Olympic runner-up Khachanov had lost all seven previous meetings with 2009 Australian Open champion Nadal but briefly looked capable of mounting a comeback.

Nadal seized back control with a break of serve at the start of the fourth, however, and with the clock having ticked past midnight on Rod Laver Arena he finished it off in a hurry.

Nadal, who has reached the last-16 in Melbourne for the 15th time in 17 appearances, will face another Russian, 18th seed Aslan Karatsev, or Frenchman Adrian Mannarino next.

 "I played a great player tonight and happy that this was my best match since coming back," the 35-year-old Nadal, who missed the second half of 2021 with a foot injury, said on court.

"I've been going through some tough times in the last year but night's like tonight mean everything."

With Federer still injured and nine-time Australian Open champion Djokovic deported after a visa row, Nadal has a chance to edge ahead of that duo with whom he shares the record for most men's Grand Slam titles.

 After routine wins against 66th-ranked American Marcos Giron and German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann in rounds one and two, Khachanov represented a step up in class for Nadal despite the Russian having only ever won one set off the Mallorcan.

Nadal was primed though and won 12 of the first 13 points to stamp his authority all over the court.

Khachanov had no answer to Nadal's intensity and managed to win only one point on Nadal's serve in the opening set.

Nadal broke serve at the start of the second set but Khachanov won an incredible point in the fourth game, picking himself off the floor to crunch a backhand winner and then winning another incredible rally to earn a break point.

He could not convert that and Nadal immediately broke in the next game on his way to a two-set lead.

Khachanov began to hit closer to the lines and with more menace in the third set, which he took after breaking the Nadal's serve for the first time for a 3-1 lead.

Nadal simply found another gear though, firing a stunning backhand winner to break Khachanov's serve, and spirit, in the second game of the fourth set.

SOURCE: REUTERS

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Business

Increase in US rates could ‘throw cold water’ on global economic recovery: IMF chief

"Higher US interest rates could make it more expensive for countries to service their dollar-denominated debt"

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Increase in US rates could ‘throw cold water’ on global economic recovery: IMF chief

Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, has said that interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve could “throw cold water” on already weak economic recoveries in certain countries.

Georgieva, speaking via videoconference at The Davos Agenda virtual event on Friday, said an increase in US rates could have significant implications for countries with higher levels of dollar-denominated debt.

She said it was therefore “hugely important” that the Fed was clearly communicating its policy plans to prevent surprises. Higher US interest rates could make it more expensive for countries to service their dollar-denominated debt.

On a panel moderated by CNBC’s Geoff Cutmore, Georgieva said the IMF’s message to countries with high levels of dollar-denominated debt was: “Act now. If you can extend maturities, please do it. If you have currency mismatches, now is the moment to address them.”

She added that her biggest concern is for low income countries with high levels of this debt, highlighting that two-thirds were now either in “debt distress” or in danger of falling into it — that’s twice as many as in 2015.
‘Losing some momentum’

The IMF expects the global economic recovery to continue, Georgieva said, but stressed that it was “losing some momentum.”

As such, she suggested that a New Year’s resolution for policymakers should be “policy flexibility.”

“2022 is like navigating an obstacle course,” she said, given risks such as rising inflation, the Covid-19 pandemic and high debt levels. The IMF warned in December that global debt hit $226 trillion in 2020 — the largest one-year rise since World War II.

With regards to inflation, Georgieva stressed that the problem is country specific. Prices are rising at startling speeds in a number of countries: euro zone inflation hit a record high of 5% in December, the U.K. inflation rate hit a 30-year high in the same month and the U.S. consumer price index rose at its fastest pace since June 1982.

“That country specificity is what makes 2022, in a way, even more difficult than 2020,” Georgieva said.

“In 2020, we had similar policies everywhere because we were fighting the same problem — an economy in standstill. In 2022, conditions in countries are very different, so we cannot anymore have the same policy everywhere, it has to be country specific and that makes our job in 2022 so much more complicated.”

SOURCE: CNBC

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World

8 Afghan resistance fighters killed in firefight with Taliban

Fighters from the National Resistance Front (NRF)had fought Taliban forces in Balkh province

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8 Afghan resistance fighters killed in firefight with Taliban

The Taliban killed eight resistance fighters from a national opposition group in a firefight in the north of Afghanistan, police said on Friday.

Since storming back to power in August the Taliban have flatly denied facing organised resistance, but the gun battle on Thursday night may demonstrate that armed opposition is building against their hardline rule.

Fighters from the National Resistance Front (NRF), a group led by the son of legendary late anti-Taliban commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, fought Taliban forces in Balkh province.

Eight NRF fighters were killed in a “direct clash” with the Taliban, provincial police spokesman Asif Waziri told reporters in an audio message.

Waziri said Taliban forces also seized ammunition and machine guns from the NRF fighters. An NRF spokesman was yet to respond to a request for comment from AFP.

The fighting comes less than two weeks after Taliban foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi held talks with Ahmad Massoud, the son of Ahmad Shah Massoud, in Tehran.

After that summit an official for the resistance faction said the NRF and Taliban remained on “separate pages” with no prospect of reconciliation.

Massoud's NRF forces were the last to hold out against the Taliban takeover last year, retreating to the Panjshir Valley which fell in September, weeks after government troops capitulated.

The Panjshir Valley is famed as the site of resistance to Soviet forces in the 1980s and the Taliban in the late 1990s, during their first stint in power.

Its most revered figure is Ahmad Shah Massoud, known as the “Lion of Panjshir”, who was assassinated by Al Qaeda in 2001, two days before the 9/11 attacks.

His son has since picked up the mantle and there have been reports of his efforts to organise a resistance with other exiled Afghan leaders, which Taliban authorities had so far denied.

The Taliban have also faced resistance from the regional chapter of the militant Islamic State group, IS-Khorasan, an extremist group which aims to create a global caliphate.

SOURCE: AFP

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