US funded Wuhan Lab
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Chief Medical Advisor to the US President, has accepted that the US National Institutes of Health funded the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
It is turning out to be a matter of great concern as this Wuhan lab is blamed for creating Coronavirus. During a Senate hearing on the issue, Sen. John Kennedy questioned Dr. Fauci asking him to explain how does he know that the Chinese didn’t misuse the money to develop biological weapons. Dr. Fauci replied that there was no way to guarantee it or know it. Opposition Republicans have thus demanded Dr. Fauci’s resignation. At the same time, US President Joe Biden has stalled the undercover inquiry into the link between Wuhan lab & Covid origin started by Trump administration. Biden has reportedly cited “poor quality work, its politicization and selective use by Trump & his allies to blame the pandemic on China.” While stalling the undercover investigation, President Biden has asked US intelligence agencies to submit a report in 90 days on the origin of Coronavirus after public pressure started to mount on him with these happenings.
India-France ties set to deepen further
French President Emmanuel Macron held a telephonic discussion with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They discussed the commitment of both nations to deepen strategic cooperation in defence, civil nuclear energy and maritime issues especially the Indo-Pacific.
Also, French opposition leader, Marine Le Pen has said that the threat posed by China needs addressing not Russia. Her stance exactly echoes the Indian stand. Meanwhile, France is helping India in a big way with medical supplies to fight the pandemic. France has also honoured all the timelines with respect to deliveries of Rafale fighter jets when India is standing eye to eye with China. Besides Rafale, France is one of the largest suppliers of nuclear fuel and reactors to India. Also, the Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft which were used to bomb the Balakot terror camp and the advanced Scorpene-class submarine symbolize a long and glorious history of defence cooperation between India and France. Overall, Indo-French ties are set to deepen further even as French presidential elections are due next year.
Ransomware hits health services in US, Ireland
According to ransomware recovery firm Coveware, ‘Conti’ is the second-most prevalent ransomware currently.
This Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) accounts for 10.2% of all the attacks. According to the FBI, Conti has hit 16 emergency and health services in the United States. At the same time, Ireland had to shut down their health IT systems due to these attacks. In Ireland, the shutdown has caused disruptions at hospitals and Covid-19 testing centres. Hackers are increasingly turning their focus to healthcare systems as the pandemic continues. Of late, ransomware has become a widely used weapon of hybrid warfare. It is a sort of cyberattack which not only brings operations of crucial assets to halt but also threatens to destroy critical data. Recently, Colonial Pipeline, the largest pipeline system in the US, paid $4.4 million to end the ransomware attack against them. Likewise, in another instance, the cyberattack on Iran’s nuclear plant has reportedly set back their nuclear programme by a considerable time period. It has come as a major blow to Iran’s national security.