KERCH: Putin to open Crimea-Russia bridge today, Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to unveil today a highly symbolic bridge linking southern Russia to the Crimea, four years after the peninsula was annexed from Ukraine.
The Crimean Bridge, at 19 kilometres (nearly 12 miles) will be Europe’s longest, overtaking Lisbon’s Vasco da Gama Bridge. Built at a cost of 228 billion rubles ($3.7 billion), the new structure, connects the southern Krasnodar region with the Crimean city of Kerch, spanning a strait between the Black and Azov seas.
Ukraine has condemned the project, which was personally championed by Putin, saying construction has damaged the environment and that larger ships will be unable to get through to its ports on the Azov Sea.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s security service raided the offices of Russian state media in Kiev and detained one journalist, moves the chief editor of Russia’s RT television suggested were linked to the bridge opening.
The chief editor of the Kremlin-funded channel, Margarita Simonyan, wrote on Twitter that “Kiev decided to take revenge on us for the Crimean Bridge,” after the raids on the offices of RIA Novosti state news agency, which is part of the same media group as RT.
European Union and US sanctions have targeted those involved in building the bridge, principally Putin’s close ally, businessman Arkady Rotenberg, whose company Stroygazmontazh won the construction contract.
Protests have been growing in recent months over the stench from landfill sites around Moscow, overflowing with millions of tonnes of rubbish. Authorities have now decided on a plan to tackle the problem — generating energy by burning the waste instead. But their course of action has also sparked public fears over pollution. Russia produces almost 70 million tonnes of rubbish per year, according to Greenpeace’s estimates. The sorting of trash only takes place in around 100 of the country’s 4,000 towns and cities, and most of the waste builds up for decades in tips. “Russia seems to be fulfilling the prediction… that mankind will die from choking on its own rubbish,” said Alexei Kiselyov, of Greenpeace Russia. The amount that Russians throw away has grown 30 percent in the last decade, Greenpeace says. Two percent is incinerated, seven percent is recycled and the rest is dumped in landfills. Around Moscow, 24 landfill sites have been closed over the last five years because they were outdated and dangerous, the regional authorities said, while the remaining 15 — enormous mountains of malodorous rubbish open to the elements — are still filling up with unsorted waste.
Facebook says data breach affected 29 million users
Cyber attackers stole data from 29 million Facebook accounts using an automated program that moved from one friend to the next, Facebook Inc (FB.O) announced as the social media company said its largest-ever data theft hit fewer than the 50 million profiles it initially reported.
The company said it would message affected users over the coming days to tell them what type of information had been accessed in the attack.
The breach has left users more vulnerable to targeted phishing attacks and could deepen unease about posting to a service whose privacy, moderation and security practices have been called into question by a series of scandals, cybersecurity experts and financial analysts said.
The attackers took profile details such as birth dates, employers, education history, religious preference, types of devices used, pages followed and recent searches and location check-ins from 14 million users.
For the other 15 million users, the breach was restricted to name and contact details. In addition, attackers could see the posts and lists of friends and groups of about 400,000 users.
Lawmakers and investors have grown more concerned that Facebook is not doing enough to safeguard data. Facebook cut the number of affected users from its original estimate after investigators reviewed activity on accounts that may have been affected. Still, cybersecurity experts warned that attackers could use stolen information in targeted phishing scams.
Facebook said it was continuing to investigate whether the attackers took actions beyond stealing data, such as posting from accounts but had not found additional misuse. Hackers did not steal personal messages or financial data and did not use their access to accounts to access users’ accounts on other websites, Facebook said.
Jetliner lands in the US after world’s longest flight
NEW YORK: An Airbus jetliner arrived in Newark on Friday after a nearly 18-hour trip from Singapore, completing the world’s longest commercial flight.
It marked the revival of a route that had been eliminated in 2013. Singapore Airlines Flight SQ22 arrived at 5:29 am (0929 GMT), having left Singapore’s Changi airport at 11:23 pm, the Newark Liberty International Airport website said. That made for a flight of 17 hours and 52 minutes. The flight had been scheduled to take 18 hours and 25 minutes.
The plane was carrying 150 passengers and 17 crew members as it traveled 10,250 miles (16,500 kilometers). “I feel perfectly well rested,” said Kristopher Alladin, a 37-year-old Canadian. “I’m lucky because I’m able to sleep on the plane.” Flying from New York to Singapore would be a longer journey, lasting an estimated 18 hours and 45 minutes. The first flight in that direction took off from Newark at 11:10 am Friday.
Singapore Airlines only offers premium economy and business seats on the flight – no regular economy seats. “Although you’re in premium eco, you feel like you’re in first class,” said Alladin, adding that he had taken the same flight in 2008. “The flight was very smooth, very quiet.”
Air India jet hits wall on takeoff
NEW DELHI: Air India today grounded two pilots after one of its jets carrying 136 people hit an airport perimeter wall on takeoff and then flew for almost four hours with a damaged body, officials said.
The Boeing 737 suffered the damage as it left Trichy in southern India bound for Dubai. Officials at the airport in Tamil Nadu state “observed that aircraft might have come in contact with the airport perimeter wall,” said an Air India statement.
“The matter was conveyed to the pilot in command. The pilot in command reported that the aircraft systems were operating normally. It was decided to divert the aircraft to Mumbai as a precautionary measure.”
The jet landed in Mumbai four hours later and pictures of the damaged aircraft went viral on social media soon after it landed safely. The 130 passengers were moved to a new flight to Dubai.