Payment system attacks trail other kinds

Written by admin on 30/07/2019 Categories: 佛山桑拿网

While Target’s massive data breach last year caused consumers to panic and drew attention to internet crime, a new study finds breaches of retailer payment systems are less common than other kinds of attacks.


More than twice as many of last year’s internet data breaches resulted from various small online acts, including people clicking on malicious web links and choosing easy-to-guess passwords, according to a worldwide report from Verizon.

The report, considered to be one of the top annual looks at internet-related crime, includes information from 50 organisations ranging from law enforcement to security companies.

Target’s breach, one of the largest in history, resulted in the thefts of 40 million credit and debit card numbers, along with the personal information of up to 70 million people.

Other companies including fellow retailers Neiman Marcus and Michaels Stores later announced breaches to their systems.

But while such large-scale attacks grab headlines, the number of breaches of payment systems has fallen in recent years.

In 2013, there were 198 recorded breaches of payment systems, representing 14 per cent of the year’s 1,367 confirmed data breaches.

By comparison, web applications data breaches accounted for 490, or 35 per cent, and cases of online espionage covered 306 attacks, or 22 per cent.

Verizon says its numbers are not comparable with those from previous reports because its research methods and the number of contributors to the report have changed.

Wade Baker, Verizon’s managing principal of research and intelligence, said researchers saw a big increase in attacks on smaller retailers a few years ago.

But now, he says, it appears that criminals are going after major retailers that handle millions of debit and credit card numbers and leaving the smaller companies alone, even though they are easier to target.

And regardless of the type of attack and the motivation behind it, cybercrime has gone from a game to a big business.

“It’s very industrialised and very sophisticated,” he says.

“You can buy software packages that are customised.

“It’s never been easier to turn data into money.

“Those changes are what drive every big-picture trend that we see.”

Other findings in the report:

– Web application attacks continue to be popular. Those attacks generally stem from the theft of an authorised person’s credentials by cracking an easy password or users clicking a dodgy link in an email. Criminals also sometimes exploit coding flaws in a system to gain entry.

– Of last year’s recorded cyber espionage attacks, 54 per cent targeted US victims and 87 per cent involved foreign governments. In almost half the cases, the people behind the attacks were from Eastern Asia and 21 per cent from Eastern Europe.

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Djokovic plans to play in French Open

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Saying his right wrist is not as badly hurt as he feared, Novak Djokovic plans to be back on the tennis tour in two weeks – and at the French Open later next month.


The right-handed Djokovic said in a statement on Tuesday he’s been “assured” by doctors that he will be ready for upcoming clay-court tournaments, starting with the Madrid Masters on May 5. He would head to Rome the following week, and then to Paris, where play in the year’s second grand slam begins on May 25.

“Fortunately, the situation with the injury is better than it first seemed,” said Djokovic, who is No. 2, behind Rafael Nadal, in the ATP rankings.

Djokovic has won six major singles championships and needs a French Open title to complete a career grand slam. He lost to eight-time champion Nadal at Roland Garros in the 2013 semifinals and the 2012 final.

Djokovic complained about pain in his right wrist last week while playing as the defending champion at the Monte Carlo Masters, and he wondered aloud whether he might have trained too hard on clay right after switching from hard courts, where he won Masters titles at Miami and Indian Wells.

He wore a thick white bandage on his wrist while losing 7-5 6-2 to Roger Federer on Saturday in the semifinals at Monte Carlo. After that match, Djokovic said he knew he did not need surgery but that he was going to have an MRI exam and get checked by doctors to see where things stood with the injury.

On Tuesday, Djokovic said he’ll “need to continue with the recovery process and full medical treatments.” He also said he “will have to take a short break in order to recover as soon as possible.”

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Antarctica a dream destination

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As the sun sets, the cloudy sky melds with the glaring white of the frozen terrain.


Tourists trudging in single file marvel over blue glaciers in Antarctica.

The group paid a small fortune – $US3,000 ($A3,213) per head – for a quick five-hour visit to the frozen continent, arriving by plane.

“Coming to Antarctica was a dream for me and my wife,” American John Reiss, 81, said as he stood beside his wife Sharon, 73.

“We signed up a couple years ago, but we couldn’t get on it, so we went on a waiting list. This year we signed an year in advance and we made it.”

The couple caught a two-hour flight to Antarctica from Punta Arenas in the south of Chile.

The tourists visited the island of King George, in the South Shetlands archipelago and the neighbouring Russian station of Bellingshausen with its out-of-place Orthodox church.

They also saw the small Chilean hamlet of Villa Las Estrellas home to just 64 people and colonies of penguins.

Another option is to tour Half Moon Island, a habitat of seals and penguins that is home to the Argentine base of Teniente Camara.

There they can sip a hot cup of coffee, send a postcard and get their passport stamped with a picture of a krill, the symbol of the base.

“It was a fantastic experience. The first thing that makes this trip special is being able to visit such a well-preserved, untouched continent,” said Canadian Maureen Malone, 69.

“The second is being able to see the penguins. Everybody loves the penguins. Also, I was able to see around the bases, see how the different countries are sharing the region.”

Tourism is one of the few economic activities allowed by the Treaty of the Antarctic and the Madrid Protocol, which bans mineral extraction on the white continent.

The Antarctic draws more than 30,000 tourists per year, from November to March, when there is no problem landing on the frozen sea.

Most arrive on ships that cross Drake Passage in the Southern Ocean, which has some of the world’s worst weather, setting off from Ushuaia in southern Argentina and from Punta Arenas.

“Ninety per cent of the tourists from around the world who come to Antarctica leave from Ushuaia. The cruises last an average of 11 days. The cheapest ones cost $US5,000. The most expensive, which last 15 days and go to the South Pole, cost $US12,000,” Brazilian Gunnar Hagelberg, owner of Antarctica Expeditions, say.

More than 35,350 people will have visited Antarctica by the end of this year – 1,000 more than last season and 8,000 more than in 2011-2012, according to the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators.

“We carry from 120 to 130 people per season. We have seen a 15 to 20 percent increase in the number of tourists who want to see the continent,” said Nicolas Paulsen, deputy commercial director of the Chilean airline Dap, which offers logistical and tourist flights.

Paulsen said tourism in Antarctica is rising three per cent more per year than tourism to Chile, which is up seven per cent. Most visitors come from the United States, Australia, China, Russia and, more and more, from Brazil.

“Antarctica is vital for us. It affects the climate, the sea currents. Tourism is important because the more people get to know it, the more they will want to protect it,” said Paulsen.

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Will Malaysia Airlines be liable for compensation for MH370?

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By David Hodgkinson, University of Western Australia and Rebecca Johnston, University of Notre Dame

However, just what Malaysia Airlines’ legal liability might be is not clear cut, depending largely on determining the circumstances of the disappearance of the plane and whether this was an accident, as well as a raft of complex legal treaties that could see some families treated more favourably than others.


Acts of terrorism, including bombings and hijackings, have been held to constitute accidents on the basis that terrorism is a risk characteristic – or a hazard – of air travel.

Which treaty applies?

Since 1929, liability for passenger injury or death on board an international flight has been determined by a number of international treaties. The Warsaw Convention was the first of these treaties, and the latest – 70 years and many treaties later – is the 1999 Montreal Convention, considered the most passenger friendly treaty in the regime.

Determining which treaty applies to a particular journey can be tricky. The key is finding the same treaty in place at the point of departure and the passenger’s final destination. Most likely that will be the Montreal Convention which has to date 105 state parties.

And, in terms of a passenger’s journey, passengers on board MH370 may well be subject to different liability regimes. MH 370 disappeared while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Bejing. The Montreal Convention would apply to passengers on that ticketed one-way or return flight; both Malaysia and China are parties to that Convention.

We understand that 227 passengers were on board from 14 nations, and that most passengers lived in either Malaysia or China. However, it may be that, for some passengers on that flight, and regardless of residence, their “ticketed” journey – was more extensive than that KL-Beijing leg.

For those passengers, other less favourable liability regimes may apply. Again, one looks for the same treaty in place at the beginning and end of a passenger’s total journey.

States, not airlines, are parties to air carrier liability treaties.

Potentially unlimited liability?

So what are the Montreal passenger compensation limits? Or is MH’s liability potentially unlimited?

Article 17 of Montreal provides that a carrier:

is liable for damage sustained in case of death or bodily injury of a passenger upon condition only that the accident which caused the death or injury took place on board the aircraft or in the course of any of the operations of embarking or disembarking.

Death or injury must be caused by an accident. The most widely accepted definition of an accident is set out in the decision in Air France v Saks, in which the US Supreme Court stated that liability under Article 17 “arises only if a passenger’s injury [or death] is caused by an unexpected or unusual event of happening that is external to the passenger …”.

Article 21 of Montreal provides that, for damages arising under Article 17 not exceeding 113,100 SDRs (or about A$186,000) per passenger, the carrier cannot exclude or limit its liability. An SDR or “special drawing right” is an IMF-created international reserve asset based on a basket of four international currencies.

And a carrier’s liability – MH’s liability – is potentially unlimited unless it can prove that damage “was not due to the negligence or other wrongful act or omission of the carrier or its servants or agents” or that such damage was “solely due to the negligence or other wrongful act or omission of a third party”. Burden of proof lies with the carrier.

Scores of judicial decisions have considered Articles 17 and 21.

Relatives of the victims of Air France Flight 447, the flight which crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in 2009, each received direct compensation of US$177,000 from Air France. And reports suggest that, in terms of compensation for the MH 370 accident, more than US$110 million has been placed in an escrow account.

Bringing an action

Finally, in terms of jurisdiction, passengers (or their relatives or next of kin) can bring an action in a place which is the domicile of the carrier, the principal place of business of the carrier, the place where the carrier has a place of business through which the contract of carriage was made, the place of destination, or the principal and permanent residence of the passenger and to or from which the carrier operates services for the carriage of passengers (either on its own or through an agreement with another carrier).

In other words, Montreal is a passenger-friendly treaty.

Any action must be brought within two years from the date of arrival at the destination, or from the date on which the aircraft ought to have arrived, or from the date on which the carriage stopped.

With no “hard evidence” to verify what happened to missing flight MH370 or its final resting place, it is difficult to determine the extent of MH’s liability. With no new pings heard, the batteries in the plane’s black box may already be dead, further complicating the search for MH370 and making it harder for authorities to ascertain exactly who or what was responsible for the flight’s disappearance.

The authors do not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article. They also have no relevant affiliations.

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RSL clubs continue to support veterans

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The local RSL, simply a place to go and enjoy a cheap beer, meal or punt, right?

While it’s true RSLs have increasingly become clubs for the wider community over their near-100 year history, many veterans still rely on the league for support.


RSLs help veterans procure pensions, compensation payments, medical treatment and even aged-care housing.

The clubs can also help veterans dealing with the mental trauma often experienced by those returning from combat.

It’s those services in particular that Joe Gates from Currumbin RSL’s veterans’ support centre is hoping the latest generation of veterans returning from modern conflicts such as Afghanistan utilise.

“The younger veterans, they really aren’t into the RSL scene. They seem to be of the opinion that an RSL is a place where a mob of old farts hang around together at the bar and tell each other war stories,” Mr Gates told AAP.

“That’s a concept that we’re trying to get out of people’s heads.

“It’s a constant battle to try and get the message out there.”

Mr Gates, who undertook two tours of duty in Vietnam, says the Department of Veteran Affairs has improved markedly in the services it offers veterans since his own service.

But in the rush for many to return to civilian life, Mr Gates believes veterans need to realise the RSL is there to help them, whether they are club members or not.

“When I accepted my discharge, all I wanted to do was get home, get my uniform off and forget all about it. It’s just the nature of the beast,” Mr Gates said.

“What we need to make sure of is that when the time comes for younger veterans … they need to know there is a place they can come to get help.”

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Founder of ‘Russian Facebook’ pushed out

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Pavel Durov, the maverick founder of Russia’s top social network, says he has left the country after being pushed from the company against his will.


Durov told US website TechCrunch that he was no longer in Russia and had “no plans to go back” after social network VKontakte (In Touch) announced on Monday he had left the company.

His dramatic announcement was the latest episode in an acrimonious wrangle between Durov and a major shareholder in VKontakte.

Durov said this month he had came under pressure from the Russian security services to reveal data on VKontakte users, and that his refusal led to his losing his stake in the company.

The 29-year-old, who is often compared to Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg, told TechCrunch that “I’m out of Russia and have no plans to go back.”

“Unfortunately, the country is incompatible with the internet business at the moment,” he said, adding he planned to create a new mobile social network.

With more than 100 million users concentrated in the ex-Soviet Union, VKontakte is Russia’s most popular social network, far outstripping Facebook.

Durov, who founded the company after leaving university, wrote on his VKontakte page on Monday evening that he heard he was leaving the company from news reports.

“The shareholders weren’t brave enough to say it directly and I find out about my mysterious dismissal from media.”

Durov had initially announced his resignation in a message on April 1 that many took for an April Fool’s joke.

He later posted a message on VKontakte saying he had not been serious.

But VKontakte said Monday he had not formally retracted his resignation handed in on March 21, and since a month had passed, he was out of the company.

“Durov made a joke too far,” business daily Vedomosti wrote Tuesday.

Durov claimed the company had been effectively taken over by Kremlin allies.

He referred to Alisher Usmanov, Russia’s richest man, who partly controls the group, the majority shareholder in VKontakte.

He also named chief executive of Russia’s largest oil firm Rosneft, Igor Sechin, seen as one of President Vladimir Putin’s closest confidants.

“VKontakte is passing under the total control of Igor Sechin and Alisher Usmanov,” Durov wrote.

Durov had previously announced he had sold his stake, effectively giving control of the firm to, which now controls 52 per cent.

The remaining 48 per cent is controlled by investment group United Capital Partners, which Durov has accused of being tied to the security services and gaining the stake through a hostile takeover.

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Domestic workers in Qatar face abuse

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In Qatar, which is due to host the 2022 World Cup, domestic workers suffer physical and sexual abuse and exploitation, Amnesty International said in a new report Wednesday.


The rights group – in a report entitled My Sleep is my Break – says foreign workers are often lured to the country through false promises about salaries and working conditions.

Many end up working seven days a week and have no real way to complain about their conditions to the authorities.

“At the more shocking end of our findings, we see people who have been through horrendous cases, and they get no justice,” says James Lynch, a researcher with Amnesty.

One woman showed Amnesty researchers a scar on her chest, the result of her employer branding her with a hot iron. When the woman tried to run away from the house, she was detained by police and sent to a deportation centre.

“It was as if she had committed an offence, rather than her being seen as a victim,” says Lynch.

In many ways, this is the norm, according to the report. If the domestic workers, often women, try to run away from abusive employers they often end up deported from the natural-resource rich Gulf country.

Hundreds of Filipino maids fled to their embassy since last year, citing abusive conditions, according to reports and the government in Manila.

Amnesty said there were no signs Qataris are being held to account for abusing their staff, even in cases of rape.

Incidents of sexual abuse reported to the police are often closed due to a “lack of evidence”.

Women who try to report rape can even end up charged themselves with morality violations in the conservative monarchy.

There are at least 84,000 women migrant domestic workers in the Gulf state, mainly from South and South East Asia, according to Amnesty.

All are tied, under a sponsorship programme, to their specific employer, and cannot easily change jobs. Also, there is no legislation offering the workers protection.

“The government says it is working on a domestic worker law. But they have been saying this for several years and it is time for action,” says Lynch.

Amnesty has previously highlighted the cases of migrant construction workers in Qatar.

Hundreds of construction workers are said to have died in Qatar in the past two years, drawing international criticism.

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UN inquiry holds few terrors for a Sri Lanka used to impunity

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By Kasun Ubayasiri, Griffith University

The Sri Lankan government is hoping to ride out a diplomatic storm after failing to thwart a UN Human Rights Council vote approving an international investigation of alleged war crimes.


The US-sponsored resolution targeted both the Tamil Tigers and government troops, but such objectivity failed to impress a Sri Lanka bristling with indignation.

The brutality of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is beyond doubt. The massacre of civilians in border villages, large-scale bombings, political assassinations and the alleged use of civilians as human shields during the final stages of the war have been well-documented by analysts, academics and observers for decades.

But the prima facie evidence seeping out of the government’s tightly censored and controlled battle zone – be it satellite images showing no-fire zones pockmarked by artillery fire, or grainy video of troops executing Tamil Tiger prisoners – also casts a potential war crimes shadow over the military’s so-called “decisive victory over terrorism”.

In the face of international criticism, Sri Lanka recycles its “ends justifies the means” argument. It underscores its defence with repeated reminders about LTTE brutality.

Sri Lanka’s dismissive attitude to a long record of war crimes is more than just political arrogance. It should be viewed through the prism of four decades of political violence. This includes the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) insurgencies (1971 and 1987-90), Tamil militancy (1975-2009) and the systemic failure to bring perpetrators to justice.

Righting human rights wrongs has never been high on the Sri Lankan agenda. Until recently, Sri Lanka’s human rights record was also not high on the international agenda.

The JVP insurgencies

The 1971 insurgency staged by the predominantly Sinhala Marxist JVP rebels and the extrajudicial reprisal strategy adopted by prime minister Sirima Bandaranaike’s government irrevocably changed the political landscape of Sri Lanka. It created a culture of state-sponsored abductions, torture and killing. This first foray into broad-scale political violence resulted in the slaying of between 6000 and 15,000 insurgents.

The United National Party (UNP) governments of J. R. Jayawardena and Ranasinghe Premadasa used even greater force ­to crush the JVP’s second and more violent insurrection in the late 1980s. As many as 60,000 people were killed or “disappeared”. JVP leaders Rohana Wijeweera and Upatissa Gamanayake were summarily executed.

This insurrection saw the rise of state-sponsored paramilitaries and of illicit government-backed torture chambers. These included the Batalanda Detention Centre operated by the government’s Counter Subversive Unit.

Chandrika Kumaratunga set up a presidential commission into Batalanda mass graves in the late 1990s. The findings implicated senior police and even then opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. In 2013, president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s brother, defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, was linked to a JVP-era grave in Matale containing the remains of more than 200 people.

No alleged perpetrators have ever been held to account.

Tamil rebels and state paramilitaries

Fuelled by the first JVP insurrection, Tamil youth in the country’s north formed a number of fledgling militant groups. These included the Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP), People’s Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) and the LTTE.

In 1975, Velupillai Prabhakaran, who would become the leader of the lethal LTTE, committed his first assassination when he gunned down pro-government Jaffna mayor Alfred Duriayappah.

From these beginnings the LTTE emerged as the dominant militant group in the north. It eliminated rivals though absorption or violent eradication. Those who survived the purge found refuges or niches of convenience operating within government-sponsored paramilitaries in the Tamil-speaking north and east.

While EPDP paramilitants abducted and allegedly killed scores of civilians at the government’s bidding, their leader, Douglas Devananda, comfortably slipped onto the front bench of both the Kumaratunga and Rajapaksa governments.

Successive government were also quick to collude with Karuna Amman, the LTTE’s once-feared eastern commander. He now sits as a cabinet minister and a party leader. The man implicated in the massacre of 113 police officers who had surrendered to the LTTE and in many terrorist attacks, including the Temple of the Tooth bombing, now tours those same temple grounds as a government minister inspecting the restoration.

Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa knows the UN call for ‘justice’ lacks commitment and the threat of investigation is hollow. (EPA)

Riding out the storm

Rajapaksa is no political dunce. He knows the UN call for “justice” lacks commitment and the threat of investigation is hollow. He has seen similar gestures before in a domestic setting and nothing he has seen of the UN suggests things will be different internationally.

Rajapaksa knows China and Russia will shield Sri Lanka, as they have done previously. He also knows that some allegiances can be bought with the right domestic bait – in Australia’s case, with a promise to stem the flow of refugees.

Yet as long as the threat of intervention hangs over Sri Lanka, Rajapaksa can tug at his countrymen’s nationalist heart strings, rally ultra-nationalists and galvanise support for a government seemingly under attack from foreign interests. His government can deploy an “us-and-them” framework and brand broader anti-government views as anti-nationalist.

This, coupled with the glacial pace of international justice and an almost pathological ability by mainstream Sri Lanka to overlook violent abuses of power, means Rajapaksa’s political opponents will gain little traction for a campaign based on alleged war crimes.

Rajapaksa, like so many before him, enjoys an impunity no international bellowing is likely to overcome.

Kasun Ubayasiri does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

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Israel rejects Abbas conditions for talks

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Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has said he will extend faltering peace talks with Israel only if it agreed to conditions, including a settlement freeze – terms that were promptly rejected.


“He who makes such conditions does not want peace,” a senior Israeli official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Abbas listed his demands during a meeting with Israeli journalists at his headquarters in the West Bank just a week before a nine-month target for a peace deal.

His comments came as US envoy Martin Indyk went into a new meeting with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in a bid to save the US-sponsored talks from collapse.

Abbas said he would agree to an extension of negotiations beyond the April 29 deadline if Israel frees a group of prisoners as previously earmarked for release and discusses the borders of a future Palestinian state.

“There must be a total freeze of settlements,” by Israel in the occupied West Bank including annexed east Jerusalem, Abbas said.

“The borders between Israel and the state of Palestine must also be defined within a month, two or three”, if the talks are to be extended, he said.

The peace process was engulfed by crisis last month after Israel refused to free a fourth and final group of 26 veteran Arab prisoners which would have completed an agreement that brought the sides back to negotiations last July.

But the senior Israeli official told AFP that settlement building in Jerusalem would not be frozen and that Israel had never agreed to discuss the border issue separately from other core issues.

These include Palestinians refugees, the fate of Jerusalem, which both sides claim as a capital, security and mutual recognition.

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Shake-up in pharma world

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Drugmakers Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline have announced an extreme makeover, unveiling multi-billion-dollar deals also involving US group Eli Lilly in a major shakeup of the pharmaceutical sector.


The string of takeovers and ventures by the three giant healthcare groups will see Novartis sharpen its focus on the high-grossing cancer sector, GSK boost its share in vaccines and Eli Lilly strengthen its animal health unit.

The mega deals come as the global pharmaceutical industry is quickly shifting to deal with a raft of challenges, including deep cuts in government healthcare spending worldwide.

The fast-changing sector was also abuzz with speculation that the biggest deal in pharma history could be in the making after a report that US giant Pfizer was interested in buying its British competitor AstraZeneca for a reported $100 billion, sending the latter’s share price soaring more than six per cent.

While that remains a rumour, market observers said Thursday’s deals were a logical rejigging of the market.

In the biggest of the deals announced Thursday, Novartis said it plans to buy GSK’s oncology (cancer treatment) business for $US16 billion ($A17 billion) in cash, including $1.5 billion that would depend on future performance.

In exchange, the Swiss group would sell its vaccines division, excluding flu vaccines, to the British company for up to $7.1 billion, also in cash.

The two groups further announced a joint venture to create “a world-leading consumer healthcare business,” focused on wellness, oral health, nutrition and skin health and expected to book around $10 billion in annual sales.

Non-prescription drugs like Novartis’s Nicotinell products aimed at helping people stop smoking and its Voltaran Dolo back pain relief medication, and GSK’s Panadol pain-relief tablets will fall under the joint venture.

“The geographic footprint would span all regions, with scale and commercial presence in the developed world as well as in key emerging markets, such as Brazil, China, Mexico and Russia,” Novartis said.

Novartis would also sell its animal health division to Eli Lilly for $5.4 billion – turning the US group into the world’s second biggest market of such products in terms of revenue.

“We believe the divestment of our smaller vaccines and animal health divisions will enable us to realise immediate value from these businesses for our shareholders, and those divisions will benefit from being part of large, global businesses that are also leaders in their segments,” Novartis chief executive Joseph Jimenez said.

But more importantly for the Swiss group, the deals enable it to secure ownership of a range of top-line cancer drugs, as it bids to catch up with world leader Roche in oncology treatment.

Two recently approved drugs for treating skin cancer – Tafinlar and Mekinist – are among the medication that Novartis would own following the takeover.

Analysts at Vontobel Bank called the changes a “long-awaited simplification of (Novartis’s) corporate footprint,” while the Notenstein private bank said the Swiss group had managed to find a solution for virtually all of its weaker units in one fell swoop.

Analysis firm ETX Capital said GSK shareholders also had reason to celebrate as the British firm’s oncology business had been struggling to remain competitive.

GSK chief executive Andrew Witty said the moves accelerate the British firm’s “strategy to generate sustainable, broadly sourced sales growth and improve long-term earnings”.

The group said it would use proceeds from the deals to return $US4 billion to its shareholders.

Expected to be completed by the middle of next year, the deals require approval from the British firm’s shareholders.

Lilly meanwhile said its purchase of Novartis’ animal health division – which posted revenues of about $1.1 billion for 2013 – is expected to conclude during the first quarter of 2015.

Investors welcomed the deals, which come amid signs Europe’s mergers and acquisition market is finally rebounding after years of doldrums.

Shares in Novartis soared 2.61 per cent to 76.65 Swiss francs in late afternoon trading on a Swiss stock exchange, outperforming the main SMI index which was up 1.33 per cent.

In London, shares in GSK rose by 5.64 per cent to 1,647 pence.

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Lot of work to do for World Cup: FIFA

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FIFA’s top World Cup official has visited the delayed stadium that will host the opener in less than two months and says there is “not a minute” to waste to get the venue ready.


FIFA Secretary-General Jerome Valcke said there’s still a lot of work to do at the Itaquerao stadium, but added that it will be ready for the opening match between Brazil and Croatia on June 12.

He said local organisers are “running against time,” but they know there is “no choice” and understand they have to come through with their promise to finish all the work in time.

At the beginning of his latest tour of host cities, Valcke said there are “potential issues” with two other stadiums, one still being built in the southern city of Curitiba and the other in nearby Porto Alegre. He will visit Curitiba this week to receive updates from local organisers.

The Socceroos will face world champions Spain on June 23 in Curitiba, and Football Federation Australia boss David Gallop is among those who have expressed concern over the stadium’s condition.

The other stadium yet to be completed is the Arena Pantanal in the wetlands city of Cuiaba, where officials said that the official inauguration will not happen this weekend as scheduled because of a delay in the delivery of 5,000 seats. The venue’s opening should happen only in mid-May.

“There is not a single minute we can waste, because there is still a lot of work to do to,” Valcke said after checking the construction work at the Itaquerao. “We are running against time, but yes, the stadium will host the opening game and, yes, we will organise the opening game and all the other games in this stadium.”

There will be five other World Cup matches in Sao Paulo, including one of the semi-finals.

Work at the Itaquerao was significantly delayed last November after a crane collapse killed two workers. Earlier this year, another accident killed one of the workers helping install the 20,000 temporary seats that will be needed for the opener.

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VICE reporter ‘held in occupied Ukrainian town’

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Reporter Stephen Ostrovsky has been detained in the city, just days after a shootout reportedly killed as many as five people.


The US-based news organisation released a statement on its website confirming Ostrovsky had been detained in recent days.

“VICE News is aware of the situation and is in contact with the US State Department and other appropriate government authorities to secure the safety and security of our friend and colleague, Simon Ostrovsky.”

We are aware of @SimonOstrovsky’s situation and are working to ensure the safety and security of our friend and colleague.

— VICE News (@vicenews) April 22, 2014

Ostrovsky had been covering the “Invasion of Ukraine”, filing dispatches from across the country over recent weeks.

In a dispatch dated April 20, Ostrovsky covered a failed campaign against the pro-Russia forces in Slavynansk.

“So far, the campaign hasn’t been going so well,” he wrote.

Journalists based in Slavynansk have posted reports of their colleague’s detention online.

Telegraph reporter Roland Oliphant said little information had been provided so far, but the mayor had confirmed Ostrovsky’s capture.

The mayor of Slavyansk & his press sec have confirmed @SimonOstrovsky is in custody in Slavyansk. I was at the presser.

— Roland Oliphant (@RolandOliphant) April 22, 2014

Another journalist, Graham Phillips, said he had been told Ostrovsky was being treated well but would not be released in the coming hours.

Ok, seems no chance of release tonight, mayor tells me they are expecting attack on building, no one leaves.

— GrahamWPhillips (@GrahamWP_UK) April 22, 2014

Ostrovsky’s detention follows violence in the town on Sunday, when a shootout at a checkpouint reportedly killed as many of five people.

Ukraine’s acting president has now ordered the military to resume an operation against pro-Kremlin separatists, after the “brutally tortured” bodies of two people, one a kidnapped local councillor, were discovered in the restive east.

Oleksandr Turchynov said the bodies of two people were found in the rebel-held town of Slavyansk on Tuesday, both bearing signs of torture.

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