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North Korean cryptocurrency heists net estimated $2 billion: UN report

(CNN)North Korea earned as much as $2 billion dollars through large-scale cyber attacks to help fund its weapons programs, a United Nations panel alleges in a new report. The allegations were published in an early draft of a biannual report authored by a panel of independent experts that work for the UN monitoring sanctions on North Korea. Previous reports from the panel have also accused regarding Pyongyang of evading sanctions through illicit behavior. A summary of the report was obtained by CNN and its content verified by a UN diplomat…

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Odds and Ends 

Alibaba to help Salesforce localize and sell in China

Salesforce, the 20-year-old leader in customer relationship management (CRM) tools, is making a foray into Asia by working with one of the country’s largest tech firms, Alibaba. Alibaba will be the exclusive provider of Salesforce to enterprise customers in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, and Salesforce will become the exclusive enterprise CRM software suite sold by Alibaba, the companies announced on Thursday. The Chinese internet has for years been dominated by consumer-facing services such as Tencent’s WeChat messenger and Alibaba’s Taobao marketplace, but enterprise software is starting to garner…

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South Korea fires 360 warning shots at Russian military aircraft

Seoul (CNN)South Korean fighter jets fired more than 300 warning shots at a Russian military aircraft Tuesday after it twice violated the country’s airspace, defense officials said. The South Korean military said the Russian A-50 flew above islands claimed by both South Korea and Japan, first at 9.09 a.m. local time and then again at 9.33 a.m., each time for just a matter of minutes. The two, small disputed islands are known to the Koreans as Dokdo and to the Japanese as Takeshima. They’re situated about halfway between both countries.…

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Asia’s meth trade is worth an estimated $61B as region becomes ‘playground’ for drug gangs

(CNN)Deep in the jungle in Thailand’s northern Chiang Mai province, a unit of armed border officers were on duty late last month when they stumbled on a cave stuffed with drugs. A UNODC report published Thursday found the methamphetamine trade is now worth between $30 billion and $61 billion per year in East and Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Bangladesh. The UNODC report noted that it has found “large quantities” of meth are also being trafficked through Laos — which also borders Myanmar — to Vietnam, which has ample…

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Bali volcano: Flights canceled after Mount Agung erupts

(CNN)A volcanic eruption on the Indonesian island of Bali has resulted in the cancellation of some flights overnight, Reuters reports. Mount Agung, which stands at 3,031 metres (9944 feet) tall, has now erupted three times in May with six days between each eruption, according to the BNPB. The volcano’s alert level remains at level three — the second-highest level — and a 4 kilometer exclusion zone has been established. Nearby settlements are not at risk, the BNPB said. In 2017, authorities raised Mount Agung’s alert level to four, the highest…

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India’s minorities fear return of Modi

Alwar, Rajasthan, India (CNN)“It’s not even been one year. I really miss him,” says Sahila Khan, her head bowed and sitting in a small room that belonged to her father, Rakbar, a Muslim farmer who was lynched by a group of Hindu men in India’s Rajasthan state. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), Hindu vigilante groups have killed dozens of people in recent years, many of them Muslims, for allegedly slaughtering or transporting cows — an animal that is considered sacred by many Hindus. The attacks have sparked concern about…

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Chinese marathon official directs race winner the wrong way

(CNN)A Chinese marathon official has been banned for a year after he redirected an elite runner away from the finish line, in a mistake that almost changed the outcome of the race. On May 10, the Chinese Athletic Association (CAA) penalized marathon official Huang Jianyi, banning him from overseeing marathons for a year. Huang broke the guidelines by riding in the guide car and leading the runners, the CAA said in a notice on May 10. “At a critical position in the race route, he did not guide properly, which…

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China denies having ‘concentration camps,’ tells US to ‘stop interfering’

Hong Kong (CNN)Beijing has rejected US accusations of operating “concentration camps” in its Xinjiang region, with a government spokesman telling Washington Monday to “stop interfering in Chinese domestic affairs.” In recent years, the government has detained large numbers of Uyghurs in what former detainees describe as re-education centers with prison-like conditions, aimed at eradicating Uyghur cultural and religious practices and instilling Communist Party propaganda—a practice described by one as “cultural genocide.” However, Beijing has repeatedly denied the Uyghur citizens are being held in such large numbers and against their will,…

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The Sunday school children: The little-known tragedy of the Sri Lankan Easter attacks

Batticaloa, Sri Lanka (CNN)The first church Mohammed Nasar Mohammed Azar tried to blow up had already finished its service by the time he arrived. The Easter Sunday mass there had started early. It was then that Azar seemingly decided to cut his losses and detonate his bomb outside, where the children who had just finished Sunday school were gathering. He killed 29 people, including the two men who had held him back, Raju and Sasikumar — now hailed as heroes for saving the lives of many others. “If he had walked inside and made his way…

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The Thai King has been ruling for over two years, but he’s only just getting crowned

(CNN)Thailand is preparing to crown its new king in a $31 million three-day celebration that comes almost 69 years to the day since the last coronation. Although Thailand’s monarchy hasn’t held absolute power in 86 years, it remains an influential part of Thai life.Pictures of the royals are widely displayed around Thailand and the country’s strict lese majeste laws make it illegal to defame, insult or threaten the king, queen, heir-apparent or regent. The coronation comes amid an ongoing period of political instability in the country, which has had two…

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Missing Chinese student found days after being kidnapped in Canada

(CNN)A Chinese student who was attacked with a stun gun and kidnapped in Canada has been found unharmed, police said. “Investigators have been in close contact with Mr. Lu’s family and have provided them with the updated information,” the statement said. Lu and a female friend were exiting his car in an underground parking lot on Saturday night in the Ontario city of Markham when four masked men grabbed him, police said. One was carrying a taser, and used it on Lu as he attempted to resist. Lu’s friend was…

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Running among the ruins: seeing Cambodia at a trot

A dawn jog around the magnificent temples of Angkor is the perfect way to meet an ancient country with deep roots Temple Run is a relentlessly addictive computer game. The concept is simple enough. Youve stolen a cursed idol from an ancient crumbling temple and now you have to run for your life to escape the evil monkeys gnashing at your heels. The temple run I am doing, however, is much slower, far less frantic and it only features a handful of snoozing macaques. But it is so infinitely more…

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Odds and Ends 

Skymind raises $11.5M to bring deep learning to more enterprises

Skymind, a Y Combinator-incubated AI platform that aims to make deep learning more accessible to enterprises, today announced that it has raised an $11.5 million Series A round led by TransLink Capital, with participation from ServiceNow, Sumitomo’s Presidio Ventures, UpHonest Capital and GovTech Fund. Early investors Y Combinator, Tencent, Mandra Capital, Hemi Ventures, and GMO Ventures, also joined the round/ With this, the company has now raised a total of $17.9 million in funding. The inclusion of TransLink Capital gives a hint as to how the company is planning to…

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Xinjiang human rights activist Serikzhan Bilash arrested by Kazakhstan police, lawyer says

(CNN)A prominent human rights activist and China critic based in Kazakhstan, has been arrested by Kazakh police and charged with inciting ethnic strife, according to his lawyer. Kazakhstan authorities could not be reached for comment. According to the US State Department, citing reports from international rights groups, scholars, and media organizations, as many as 800,000 to 1.1 million individuals have been detained in camps in Xinjiang since around April 2017. Bilash and other critics argue the facilities are re-education camps for political indoctrination and are an attempt to erase any…

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Toxic moonshine kills at least 94 in India and lands 150 in the hospital

New Delhi, India (CNN)At least 94 people have died and more than 150 have been hospitalized after consuming tainted alcohol in India, officials said. “It is a case of alcohol poisoning, and it has affected a few tea gardens and villages surrounding them in this district,” Saikia said. People are still arriving at Jorhat hospital for treatment, with extra medical staff called in to help handle patients, Baruah told CNN. “Doctors from nearby districts and other medical colleges have been rushed in to deal with the crisis,” Assam Health Minister…

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