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India takes down Cambridge Analytica site

Gorkha Post

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NEW DELHI — With the row over Cambridge Analytica snowballing into a major political slugfest, the website of Ovleno Business Intelligence (OBI), the Indian affiliate of UK-based Cambridge Analytica (CA) firm at the center of the Facebook data breach row, was suspended on Wednesday night following

Cambridge Analytica, a political data-mining firm, has been accused of stealing data from 50 million Facebook users and used it to manipulate elections.

The British data analytics firm uses predictive analytics and behavioural sciences to map trends based on user data, thus influencing voters.

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Founded in 2013, the firm’s parent company Strategic Communications Laboratories tied up with Ovleno, an Indian firm, to provide services like ‘political campaign management’.

It had also worked with Donald Trump during his US Presidential election campaign in 2016.

Before it was taken down, Ovleno’s site had a page listing the BJP, the Congress and the JD(U) among its clients. But both the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and main opposition Congress deny links with SCL India but have accused one another of utilising the services of the company.

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China conduct live fire drill along southeast coastline

Thompson Reuters

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BEIJING — China’s military has conducted live-fire drills along the southeast coastline, state television reported, but it was unclear if these were the same exercises that had been flagged as taking place in the sensitive Taiwan Strait.

The government had said the drills would happen on Wednesday off the city of Quanzhou, in between two groups of islands close to China’s coast but that Taiwan has controlled since 1949 when defeated Nationalist forces fled to the island at the end of the Chinese civil war.

Chinese state media has said the drills were a direct response to “provocations” by Taiwan leaders related to what China fears are moves to push for the self-ruled island’s formal independence. China claims Taiwan as its sacred territory.

Late on Wednesday, Chinese state television showed footage of helicopters firing missiles during an exercise it said was happening on China’s southeast coast.

State television only showed pictures of helicopters, with no mention of ships or other military equipment such as tanks or amphibious assault vehicles.

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The exercises took place from 8 a.m. (0000GMT) until midnight, the report said, giving the same time frame for the previously announced drills in the Taiwan Strait.

The Defence Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the exercise, and whether it was the same ones previously reported to be happening in the Taiwan Strait.

Taiwan on Wednesday denounced the exercises, saying Beijing was using “cheap verbal intimidation and saber rattling” to threaten the island.

Taiwan is one of China’s most sensitive issues and a potential military flashpoint. China has ramped up military exercises around Taiwan in the past year, including flying bombers around the island.

Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said on Wednesday afternoon two Chinese H-6K bombers had flown around the island, passing first through the Miyako Strait to Taiwan’s northeast and then back to base via the Bashi Channel between Taiwan and the Philippines.

The latest Chinese military movements come during a time of heightened tension between Beijing and the island and follows strong warnings by Chinese President Xi Jinping against Taiwan separatism last month.

China claims Taiwan as its own and considers it a breakaway province.

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