Four human rights groups have released a tool that lets users check whether their computer has been infected with surveillance software.
Amnesty International says the tool released Thursday, called Detekt, is designed for right activists and journalists but will be freely available to anybody who fears their computer is being used to monitor them.
Developer Claudio Guarnieri, a security researcher based in Germany, says Detekt can currently find eight different pieces of spy software, including FinSpy.
FinSpy, made by German company FinFisher, is sold to governments for criminal investigations. It has also been found on computers used by human rights lawyers and activists in countries such as Bahrain and Ethiopia.
KUALA LUMPUR (AP) — Budget carrier AirAsia says it will launch a regional air pass next year to increase revenue and boost tourism in Southeast Asia, taking competition in low-cost air travel to a more intense level.
Chief Executive Tony Fernandes says the AirAsia ASEAN Pass will allow travelers to fly to 10 different destinations in one month for 499 ringgit ($148), excluding airport taxes.
He said Thursday that the new pass, which will be sold from Jan. 15, will bolster air travel within Southeast Asia and woo more foreign tourists to the region.
AirAsia, which has dominated cheap travel in the region for years, faces rising competition from a proliferation of discounts airlines in Asia, the world's biggest and fastest growing air travel market.News Topics: Business, General news, Travel, Lifestyle, Air travel, Budget travel
People, Places and Companies: Tony Fernandes, Southeast Asia, Malaysia, Asia
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
GENEVA (AP) — United Nations human rights investigators say the number of killings and people displaced by fighting in Ukraine continues to rise despite the Sept. 5 announcement of a cease-fire.
A new report by the U.N. monitoring team in Ukraine says at least 4,317 people have been killed — up from 4,042 deaths reported in October — in eastern Ukraine from mid-April until Nov. 18.
It says the number of internally displaced people sharply increased to 466,829 compared to 275,489 as of Sept. 18.
Thursday's report cites allegations of serious human rights abuses by armed groups including torture, detention, executions, forced labor and sexual violence that "are of a systematic nature and may amount to crimes against humanity."News Topics: General news, Human rights and civil liberties, Social issues, Social affairs
People, Places and Companies: Ukraine, Eastern Europe, Europe
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — New Zealand lost the key wicket of Tom Latham to reach 54-1 at tea on the fourth day of the second test after Sarfraz Ahmed led Pakistan's strong fightback with his third century of the year on Thursday.
Captain Brendon McCullum was unbeaten on 41 but Latham was caught in the leg slip for just 9 as New Zealand stretched its overall lead to 64.
Ahmed led Pakistan's recovery with a gallant 112 off 195 balls, hitting 16 fours before Pakistan was bowled out for 393 and conceded a 10-run lead.
Tim Southee's (3-67) twin strikes early had Pakistan reeling at 312-9 before Ahmed put on 81 runs with Rahat Ali to raise Pakistan's best 10th-wicket stand against the Kiwis.
Ahmed became McCullum's first test wicket when he was caught and bowled shortly after lunch.News Topics: Sports, Cricket
People, Places and Companies: Tom Latham, New Zealand, Dubai, Oceania, United Arab Emirates, Middle East
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
PARIS (AP) — US official: Kerry to travel to Vienna Thursday to join Iran nuclear talks as deadline looms.News Topics: Government and politics
People, Places and Companies: France, Western Europe, Europe, Vienna, Iran, Austria, Middle East
PARIS (AP) — Winger Teddy Thomas has been dropped from the France team to face Argentina at Stade de France on Saturday after he missed a training session.
The French rugby federation says Thomas, who scored four tries in his first two matches against Fiji and Australia this autumn, was replaced by Maxime Medard. Thomas is not even named among the replacements after his breach of discipline on Wednesday.
France coach Philippe Saint-Andre spoke with Thomas about the incident and says "I'm convinced it is going to help him grow up."
France plays its final November test against the Pumas on Saturday following victories over Fiji and Australia.News Topics: Sports, Rugby union, Rugby
People, Places and Companies: France, Western Europe, Europe
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Scores Thursday at tea on the fourth day of the second test between Pakistan and New Zealand at Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
New Zealand: 403 & 54-1 (Brendon McCullum 41 not out; Yasir Shah 1-15) leads Pakistan 393 (Sarfraz Ahmed 112, Azhar Ali 75, Younis Khan 72; Tim Southee 3-67, Trent Boult 2-69) by 64 runs.News Topics: Cricket, Sports
People, Places and Companies: Pakistan, New Zealand, Dubai, South Asia, Asia, Oceania, United Arab Emirates, Middle East
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso is leaving Ferrari after the final race of the season and will be replaced by four-time champion Sebastian Vettel.
The 33-year-old Spanish driver had said earlier this season that his future was elsewhere, likely at McLaren. Moments after Ferrari announced Alonso's departure on Thursday, the Italian team said Vettel will take over his seat next year.
"In the Scuderia Ferrari roll of honor of great drivers, Fernando Alonso will always occupy a special place," Ferrari team principal Marco Mattiacci said in a statement. "We offer him our heartfelt thanks for what has been an extraordinary adventure with the Scuderia, when in the past five years, he twice came so close to winning the world championship."
Alonso, who won the F1 title with Renault in 2005 and 2006, expressed his frustration with Ferarri last year after the Hungarian Grand Prix. That earned him a public rebuke from the team and fueled rumors that he was on his way out.
Alonso has won 11 races for Ferrari and secured 44 podium places. His final race will be on Sunday at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. He is fifth in the overall standings and has managed only two podium positions this season. His last win was at the Spanish GP last May.
Alonso came close to winning the title in the final race in Abu Dhabi four years ago, entering with an eight-point lead. But Vettel won the first of his four straight titles with Red Bull that year.
McLaren's seats are currently taken by former champion Jenson Button and promising driver Kevin Magnussen of Denmark.
On Tuesday, McLaren said it has decided to put off any announcement on its 2015 driver line-up until next month.News Topics: Sports, Automobile racing, Formula One
People, Places and Companies: Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button, Kevin Magnussen, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Middle East
MADRID (AP) — The Duchess of Alba, one of Spain's wealthiest and most colorful aristocrats and listed as the world's most titled noble, has died at the age of 88.
A spokesman for duchess' Duenas Palace residence in Seville said Maria del Rosario Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart y Silva died there Thursday from pneumonia. The spokesman declined to be identified, in line with palace policy.
The duchess was admitted to a Seville hospital Sunday but the family asked for her to be moved to the house Tuesday.
A relative of Winston Churchill, the duchess shared toys with England's future Queen Elizabeth while living in England as a girl.
Twice-widowed, the fabulously wealthy raised eyebrows in 2011 when at age 85 she wed her third husband, a civil servant 25 years her junior.News Topics: General news, Obituaries
People, Places and Companies: Winston Churchill, Spain, England, Western Europe, Europe, United Kingdom
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Sarfraz Ahmed smashed his third test century of the year in a record last-wicket stand as Pakistan conceded a 10-run first-innings lead to New Zealand in the second test.
Ahmed made a gallant 112, containing 16 boundaries, before he was caught and bowled by New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum on Thursday and Pakistan was bowled out for 393 soon after lunch on the fourth day.
Ahmed farmed the strike in raising Pakistan's best 10th-wicket stand of 81 runs against New Zealand with Rahat Ali (16 not out) in a frustrating 28 overs for the Black Caps.
Tim Southee's (3-67) two quick wickets and had Pakistan reeling at 312-9 before Ahmed took charge and brought Pakistan within touching distance to New Zealand's total of 403.News Topics: Sports, Cricket
People, Places and Companies: New Zealand, Dubai, Oceania, United Arab Emirates, Middle East, Pakistan, South Asia, Asia
TOKYO (AP) — Japanese police were looking for traces of poison in the home of a woman arrested on suspicion of killing her husband, one of six men who have died while in a relationship with her over the past 20 years.
Police say they suspect insurance claims or inheritance money could be the motive for the killings.
Chisako Kakehi, 67, was arrested Wednesday in Kyoto prefecture after cyanide was found in the body of her 75-year-old husband, a senior official at the investigative department told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Kyoto. He spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the pending investigation.
Kakehi has denied involvement in the deaths and has not been formally charged.
Her latest marriage lasted one month before her husband died in December.
Cyanide had also been found in the blood of a 71-year-old partner who fell while riding a bike in 2012, officials said. His death was initially attributed to a heart disease.
Kakehi had reportedly married three times and had relationships with three other men over the past two decades. All had died within a few years of marrying or starting relationships with her.
All the deaths occurred in the western Japan area, including Kyoto and Osaka.
On Thursday, police raided her apartment in Osaka following searches at her home in Muko city, and confiscated capsules and wafers to wrap powdered medicine as possible evidence, reports said.
Kakehi caught the attention of authorities after she called an ambulance to rush her latest husband to a hospital, saying he suddenly collapsed at home. An autopsy found cyanide in his blood, and investigators eventually ruled out a suicide, leading to Kakehi's arrest.
She was being questioned by the prefectural prosecutor before a decision is made whether to press charges.
Associated Press writer Ken Moritsugu contributed to this report.News Topics: General news, Homicide, Crime, Violent crime
People, Places and Companies: Japan, Osaka, East Asia, Asia
LONDON (AP) — British regulators have fined Royal Bank of Scotland PLC 56 million pounds ($87 million) for computer problems that made it impossible for customers to get access to their accounts.
The Financial Conduct Authority fined the state-owned bank for failing to put in place systems that could "withstand or minimize the risk of IT failures." The Bank of England's Prudential Regulatory Authority, also leveled a fine — its first since coming into existence in 2013.
The PRA says the breakdown had the "potential to have an adverse effect on the safety and soundness of RBS, Natwest and Ulster Bank."
The incident began on June 18, 2012, with some systems disrupted into July. Some 6.5 million customers were affected.
The bank was rescued by the taxpayer during the 2008 financial crisis.News Topics: General news, Banking and credit regulation, Financial industry regulation, Industry regulation, Government business and finance, Business, Government and politics, Government regulations
People, Places and Companies: United Kingdom, Scotland, Western Europe, Europe
Like Japan, the 18-country eurozone faces the real prospect of sliding back into recession, a closely watched survey indicated Thursday, in an another downbeat development that's is likely to ratchet up the pressure on the European Central Bank to enact further stimulus.
Financial information company Markit said its purchasing managers' index for the eurozone, a broad gauge of business activity, fell to a 16-month low of 51.4 points in November from 52.1 in October. Though anything above 50 indicates expansion, the survey suggests a recession isn't far away.
Markit's chief economist Chris Williamson said the decline "raises the risk of the region slipping back into a renewed downturn" and that quarterly growth in the last three months of the year is set to be just 0.1-0.2 percent. Figures last week showed the eurozone grew only 0.2 percent in the third quarter.
Once again, the survey showed France, Europe's second-largest economy, is a source of concern. Though last week's GDP data showed France growing a greater than anticipated 0.3 percent in the third quarter, that was largely due to government spending holding up, not the manufacturing and services sectors that Markit assesses in its survey.
Markit also found that growth in Germany, Europe's number one economy, has slowed to its weakest pace since the summer of last year, with demand stagnating. And though the rest of the region as a whole continues to outperform the two 'core' countries, Markit noted that even here the rate of expansion has cooled.
Analysts said the paltry pace of the eurozone recovery from recession over the past year and a half is likely to cement market expectations that the European Central Bank will do more to boost economic activity.
Earlier this week, ECB President Mario Draghi said outright purchases of government bonds remain an option for the bank. So-called quantitative easing, or QE, could help keep a lid on borrowing costs for businesses, households and governments as well as help reduce the value of the euro to the benefit of exporters.
"The survey confirms the continued weakness of the eurozone economy, which has spread from the periphery to the core, and clearly supports the case for further policy stimulus," said Jennifer McKeown, senior European economist at Capital Economics.
NEW YORK (AP) — Minimum and maximum temperatures in Fahrenheit, precipitation in inches and weather conditions as recorded for the previous day and forecast for the current and following day in each city as of 0900 GMT:
Rio de Janeiro;68;81;clr;0.00;68;82;cdy;70;86;pc
x - Indicates missing information.
clr - clear
pc - partly cloudy
cdy - cloudy
rn - rain
sn - snow
Source: Weather Underground
ENDNews Topics: Weather forecasts, Weather, General news
LONDON (AP) — A closely watched survey says the muted economic recovery in the 18-country eurozone lost ground in November and that the region faces the prospect of another recession.
Financial information company Markit says Thursday that its purchasing managers' index for the eurozone, a broad gauge of business activity, fell to a 16-month low of 51.4 points in November from 52.1 in October. Though anything above 50 indicates expansion, the survey suggests a recession isn't far away.
Markit's chief economist Chris Williamson says the decline "raises the risk of the region slipping back into a renewed downturn" and that quarterly growth in the final quarter is set to be just 0.1-0.2 percent. Figures last week showed that the eurozone grew by only 0.2 percent in the third quarter.News Topics: Business, Economy, Recessions and depressions
People, Places and Companies: Europe, United Kingdom, Western Europe
CAIRO (AP) — A security official says Egyptian authorities have arrested a leading Muslim Brotherhood member who played key role in negotiations between his now-banned group and the government.
The official says the arrest of Mohammed Ali Bishr early Thursday from his home in the Nile Delta was linked to a call for demonstrations. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.
The demonstrations he referred to were called by a hard-line Salafi group, and not the Muslim Brotherhood.
Egypt has waged a sweeping crackdown on the Brotherhood since the military ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in July 2013 following mass demonstrations demanding his resignation. Morsi is among tens of thousands of members who have been detained.News Topics: General news, Protests and demonstrations, Religion and politics, Arrests, Islamism, Political and civil unrest, Religious issues, Religion, Social affairs, Social issues, Law and order, Crime, Government and politics
People, Places and Companies: Mohamed Morsi, Egypt, Middle East, North Africa, Africa
NEW DELHI (AP) — The spectators are streaming in, the foreign players are sparkling on the pitch and the organizers are striking the right notes.
The Indian Super League seems to have added the zing that football needed in this country of 1.2 billion people, which FIFA chief Sepp Blatter once called "a sleeping giant."
But while the new eight-team league featuring big names like Nicolas Anelka, Alessandro Del Piero, Robert Pires and Luis Garcia has lifted the game to a level not seen here before, some football observers wonder whether it will be enough to help grow the sport in the long run.
The league, which began in October and finishes in December, has big money and sponsors behind it — it was organized by IMG-Reliance in collaboration with Rupert Murdoch's Star India group and the All India Football Federation.
And interest among fans has been high through the first half of the tournament, with attendance averaging 22,639 per match, the highest for a football league in Asia and fifth-highest globally after the Bundesliga, English Premier League, La Liga and Serie A.
"Indian football has never been packaged so well before," said Sukhvinder Singh, managing director of the football marketing consultancy Libero Sports. "It's reached even people who do not follow football and some 70 million watched it on the first day. I feel it's already the second best sports property here after cricket's Indian Premier League."
Part of the reason for its success has been the use of cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, as well as a handful of Indian film stars, to market the league across the country.
But despite the added glamour, some critics believe Indian football will not benefit greatly if the country's top domestic league, the I-League, is left to rot.
Brazilian great Zico, who helped lead the transformation of domestic football in Japan, said the existence of two separate leagues could be an impediment to the sport's growth.
"In Japan, the difference was that everyone was playing in one league only and not two leagues like in India," said Zico, who is coaching the Goa club in the ISL. "Here, some of the very good players are not playing in ISL."
Top football officials such as FIFA Secretary Jerome Valcke and AIFF President Praful Patel insist the I-League remains India's only league and the ISL is merely a tournament.
Narinder K. Bhatiafears, vice president of the Delhi Soccer Association, however, fears that a clash of systems could negatively impact the game in the long run.
"State associations are being sidelined. I fear the football culture will suffer rather than improve as even the present feeder system will collapse," he said. "On the one hand, people are getting to watch the likes of players like Messi on television, and on the other these semi-retired players. Do you think people will become fans of these players? They'll forget our own players and past stars."
Singh, too, is in favor of having just one league in the country.
"We have resourceful companies backing teams in either league and I would love to see them combined and play a six-to-eight month league," he said. "I would ideally like a situation where everyone is working toward improving the grassroots and instilling club culture."
Indian football journalist and author Mohammad Aminul Islam also doubts the new league will successfully raise the standard of football in India because it's dominated by foreign stars and in his opinion, the quality of the matches has so far been mediocre.
Brazilian midfielder Blumer is the leading scorer so far with eight goals, while players like Anelka and Del Piero continually dribble past Indian players with ease, despite being past their prime.
"The ISL should have only one or two active marquee players in each team instead of several over-the-hill stars," Islam said. "The ISL should've encouraged locals more than foreigners."
As for the fans, many are happy to shell out 200 rupees (about $3) for the spectacle, even if the level of play isn't so great.
"We're not really backing teams," said student Aryan Singh after watching a game in New Delhi. "It's only a matter of getting a feel of watching a football match live rather than cricket."News Topics: Sports, Cricket, Men's sports, Men's soccer, International soccer, Soccer
People, Places and Companies: Sepp Blatter, Rupert Murdoch, New Delhi, India, South Asia, Asia
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A Philippine court has convicted nine people for graft over a 1996 nightclub fire that killed 162 people, mostly students celebrating the end of the school year.
The Sandiganbayan anti-graft court on Thursday convicted seven former city engineering officials of suburban Quezon City and two operators of the Ozone disco and handed out sentences of up to 10 years.
About 400 people were packed in the disco when the fire broke out, but many were unable to escape because the emergency exit was blocked by a new building next door.
The court also disqualified the former city officials from ever holding public office for approving the nightclub's building permit despite non-compliance with the building code.News Topics: General news, Fires, Commercial fires, Bribery, graft and conflicts of interest, Accidents and disasters, Crime
People, Places and Companies: Philippines, Manila, Southeast Asia, Asia
With Turkey's government-run refugee camps operating at full capacity, more than 1 million Syrian refugees who have flocked to Turkey to escape fighting at home are struggling to survive on their own, according to an Amnesty International report released Thursday.
Turkey, which hosts half of the 3.2 million refugees who have fled Syria, is shouldering the heaviest burden of what the report calls the world's worst refugee crisis in a generation.
"In three days in September 2014, Turkey received some 130,000 refugees from Syria — more than the entire European Union had in the past three years," the report said.
It also detailed cases where Turkish border guards have abused — even killed — refugees trying to enter the country.
An estimated 1.6 million Syrian refugees have entered Turkey since the Syrian war began in March 2011. About 220,000 are living in 22 government-run camps that offer food and essential services, the report said. The remaining 1.38 million — more than 85 percent — are living outside the camps, mostly in communities along the Turkey-Syrian border. An estimated 330,000 live in Istanbul, the Turkish capital.
So far, Turkey has spent about $4 billion on Syrian refugees and granted free health care to all Syrian refugees in the country.
The report said while Turkey has an open-border policy for Syrian refugees, there are just two fully open crossings along its 900-kilometer (560-mile) border. Even at those crossings, the report said, people without passports are being denied entrance unless they have urgent needs. Other refugees trek into Turkey through often dangerous crossing points.
According to Amnesty, at least 17 people were shot and killed by border guards at unofficial crossing points between December 2013 and August. The report cited 10 other incidents in which 31 people were allegedly beaten by Turkish border guards. The organization has shared the information with Turkish authorities.
"Turkey is clearly struggling to meet even the most basic needs of hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees. The result is that many of those who have made it across the border have been abandoned to a life of destitution," said Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International's researcher on Turkey.
The report urged Turkey to "radically revise its border practices, ending the necessity for refugees to use dangerous irregular crossings."
Jordan is hosting 619,000 Syrian refugees and as of Oct. 14, Lebanon had registered 1.13 million, although the number in the country is believed to be far higher. Last month, Lebanon announced that it won't accept any more Syrian refugees except in special cases. Refugees already make up nearly a quarter of Lebanon's population of 5 million, stretching the tiny Mediterranean nation's already fragile infrastructure.
Of the United Nation's funding appeal for $3.74 billion to aid Syrians, only 51 percent has been received, the report said.
TALLAHASSEE, Florida (AP) — Officers shot and killed a suspected gunman after a shooting at Florida State University early Thursday that wounded three people and prompted an alert for students to take shelter, police said.
The shooting happened at a library on campus and officers opened fire after the suspect shot at them, Tallahassee Police spokesman Dave Northway said.
It was not immediately known if the wounded were shot by the suspected gunman.
Northway said authorities did not believe there were any other threats related to the incident. The lockdown was later lifted and the school said on its verified Twitter account that the area was secure.
Strozier Library, a multistory building at the center of the Tallahassee campus, was roped off with police tape.
John Ehab, a sophomore from Tampa, said he was on the library's third floor when he heard multiple gunshots.
"Everyone heard them," he said. People took cover in the book aisles to hide from the gunman in case he came onto the floor, Ehab said.
Freshman Nikolai Hernandez said he was in his dorm room across from the library when he heard five or six rapid gunshots.
"It was a consecutive bop, bop, bop, bop, bop," Hernandez said. "It makes me definitely a little bit nervous. I was supposed to be in the library. I had a paper to do and I got a little bit lazy and decided not to do it."
He said he has friends still locked inside the library two hours after the shooting.
A campus telephone alert urged people to take shelter in a nearby building and stay away from doors and windows. Campus and Tallahassee police declined comment.
Associated Press writer Jeff McMurray in Chicago contributed to this report.News Topics: General news, Shootings, School shootings, School violence, Violent crime, Crime, Violence, Social issues, Social affairs, School safety, Education issues, Education
People, Places and Companies: Florida, Tallahassee, United States, North America