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Graduation selfies lead to fake degree rise

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LONDON: Freshly graduated students are urged not to share the images of themselves posing with their degrees on social media, so as to avoid fuelling the multi-million-pound trade in fake degrees, warned experts here today.

Higher Education Degree Datacheck (Hedd), the UK’s official service for verifying degrees, said that the growing trend for documenting degree-success online is giving fraudsters access to the latest logos, crests, signatories, stamps, holograms and wording, fuelling the booming business of selling fake certificates.

The most accurate fake version can be sold online for over 200 pounds and can be used to deceive prospective employers, the organization said. Research conducted by Hedd shows that more than two-thirds of students plan to take “graduation selfies” to document their achievement this year, while up to 74 percent of students were unaware that images of their degree certificates could be used to produce fakes.

Jayne Rowley, chief executive of Hedd, said universities like Oxford and Cambridge were among the main targets. She warned the students, “You wouldn’t share a picture of your passport or your driving license. Degree certificates are no different.

Degree fraud affects everyone. After investing time and money in a degree, genuine graduates should not be at risk of losing out in the jobs market to a candidate using a fake certificate.” Considering the threat, some 20 universities in Britain are offering digital diplomas that can not be faked, according to Hedd.

A piece published earlier: US Department of Justice (DOJ) has said that a Pakistani man working on behalf of Axact in the United States pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with an international “diploma mill” scheme. The announcement was made by Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, during a hearing on Friday where Umair Hamid, aka Shah Khan, admitted to the charges before US District Judge Ronnie Abrams. Umair Hamid, a/k/a “Shah Khan,” a/k/a “Shah,” pled guilty yesterday before U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with an international “diploma mill” scheme that collected tens of millions of dollars from thousands of customers,” Kim said in a statement on the website of DOJ. The statement said: “Operating from Pakistan, Umair Hamid and his co-conspirators helped fraudulently rake in millions of dollars from unwitting American consumers who paid to enroll in, and get degrees from, high schools and colleges that did not exist. As a result of his fraud, people who thought they were investing in an education received nothing more than worthless diplomas and a harsh lesson in the worldwide reach of deceit. Together with our partners at the FBI and the Postal Service, we will continue to work to protect consumers from scams that victimize our citizens.” (Published on 8th of April, 2017)

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Asia

Malaysia pardons three Mexicans on death row

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COAS confirms death sentence to 15 hardcore terrorists

MEXICO: The Sultan of the southern Malaysian state of Johor has commuted the death sentences of three Mexican brothers who were set to be hanged for drug trafficking crimes, Mexico said.
After years of lobbying by Mexican diplomats, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar of Johor – one of Malaysia’s most powerful and wealthiest state rulers – commuted the men’s death sentences to life in prison, Mexico’s foreign ministry said Thursday.
“This was the result of a long process and intense dialogue with Malaysian federal authorities,” it said in a statement.
The brothers — Simon, Luis Alfonso, and Jose Regino Gonzalez Villarreal – were arrested in a raid on a methamphetamine lab in Johor in March 2008.
The brothers, who hail from the Mexican state of Sinaloa — home to jailed drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s Sinaloa cartel — insisted they were innocent, saying they had been hired to clean the building and were unaware what was being made inside.
But a Malaysian court sentenced them to hang to death in May 2012. The conviction was upheld on appeal the following year.
Mexico, which does not use capital punishment, neither accepted nor rejected the court’s guilty verdict, but pushed for the death sentence to be commuted.

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Crime

Journalist murdered in Mexico, ninth of 2018

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Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Mexico: Gunmen shot and killed a Mexican journalist as he left his home in the southern state of Chiapas, his newspaper said Saturday, at least the ninth reporter murdered in the country this year.
Mario Gomez, a reporter with El Heraldo de Chiapas, is the latest victim in a wave of violence against the press in Mexico, the second-deadliest country in the world for journalists after war-torn Syria, according to the watchdog group Reporters Without Borders.
“He had recently filed a complaint because he was receiving threats,” a colleague at the paper told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The newspaper said Gomez, a general news correspondent in the town of Yajalon, was leaving for work when two unidentified men arrived and “murdered him in cold blood” with a series of shots to the abdomen.
Gomez, 35, was taken to the hospital but died of his wounds, it said.
“We call for an exhaustive investigation to find those responsible for this crime,” his colleagues wrote in an editorial published on the newspaper’s website.
The state prosecutor’s office said in a statement it would “follow all lines of investigation to shed light on this reprehensible crime and bring those responsible to justice.”

 

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Asia

Pakistan condemns terror attack on military parade in Iran

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ISLAMABAD, Sep 22 (APP):Pakistan on Saturday strongly condemned a terrorist attack on military parade in Ahvaz province of Iran in which several lives were reportedly lost.
“Our deepest condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones in this heinous attack. Pakistan condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations,” said the Foreign Office spokesperson in a statement.

 

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