Forgotton box may hold the key to Egypt’s pharaoh without a face

ALL names were erased. The death-mask was defaced. Now a forgotten box may help reveal who was buried in the Valley of the Kings’ most mysterious tomb — KV55.

The tomb has no name. Just a number. The desecrated sarcophagus found within has had its face and names chiselled away.

It must have been made for someone significant: It is the Valley of the Kings, after all.

But who?

It’s been an enigma ever since its discovery in 1906. For years speculation has abounded. Was it the ‘heretic’ king Akhenaten? One of his wives? A son?

No conclusive fragment of evidence has ever been produced. Now Egypt’s Antiquities Ministry Museums Department head Elham Salah has told local mediathat this most controversial of Egypt’s ancient burial sites will be the subject of a new specialist study.

The glint of gold and an old note sparked interest in this box, found sitting long forgotten in an Egyptian museum.

The glint of gold and an old note sparked interest in this box, found sitting long forgotten in an Egyptian museum.Source:Supplied

BOX OF MYSTERIES

Behind the move is a long-forgotten box recently found in storage at the Egyptian Museum of Tahrir.

In it were 500 scrunched-up gold sheets, the remains of a skull — and an old note scribbled in French with the date the tomb was found.

The note simply states the gold sheets were recovered from inside tasarcophagus within KV55.

EXPLORE MORE: Whose face really belongs in King Tut’s famous mask?

Analysis of the gold sheets in recent months has linked them to the sarcophagus itself — an otherwise well preserved royal relic with gold leaf ripped from its bearded face and the place which once bore its cartouche — or royal name.

Now Egyptian archaeologists are set to carefully examine each of the 500 sheets for any trace of a name, or any other sign of identity.

The skull fragment is also being prepared for further analysis.

The sarcophagus found within KV55 had its face and name panels obliterated. Picture: Ministry of Antiquities

The sarcophagus found within KV55 had its face and name panels obliterated. Picture: Ministry of AntiquitiesSource:Supplied

ROYAL DUMPING GROUND

KV55 has presented something of a puzzle since it was excavated. Initially thought to have contained just one body, the relics have since been determined to have come from several different individuals.

Some archaeologists have speculated that the tomb was dug in a hurry to house royal remains transferred from elsewhere. In comparison to other tombs in the area it is small, simple and unadorned.

IN SEARCH OF NEFERTITI: The hunt for a heretic queen

Speculation as to the identity of the skeleton interred within the sarcophagus has ranged from Queen Tiye (Akhenaten’s mother), King Smenkhkare (a poorly understood identity that may have been a son of Akhenaten), or even Akhenaten himself.

All that was found by archaeologist Edward R. Ayrton in 1907 were four Canopic jars, a gilt shrine, some furniture, a silver goose head, bricks and a vase holder.

The tomb dates from the era of Pharaoh Akhenaten, Egypt’s ‘heretic’ king who threw the country into turmoil by establishing a new religion.

The tomb dates from the era of Pharaoh Akhenaten, Egypt’s ‘heretic’ king who threw the country into turmoil by establishing a new religion.Source:Supplied

COLLECTING THE CLUES

The Canopic jars — which contain caps in the form of young women — were empty. They would normally contain preserved internal organs.

The shrine may have been made for Tiye, Akhenaten’s mother.

Akhenaten’s own name was found on two clay bricks.

The skeleton, initially assessed as being female because of the positioning of its arms, has since been determined to have been a male aged about 20.

Akhenaten was Egypt’s most controversial Pharaoh. He abolished the old religions and imposed the worship of a single god — the sun-god Aten — upon his people. He moved with his queen Nefertiti to a new capital at Armana, where he is believed to have died several years later.

His death brought about a bitter dynastic struggle, possibly resulting in the murder of his son Tutankhamun, whose famous — largely untouched — tomb was found by Howard Carter in the 1920s.

 

 

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Urgent work has begun to stablise the Tomb of Christ inside Jerusalem’s Holy Sepulchre

JESUS would be spinning in his grave! Centuries of neglect has left the chapel built over the 1600-year-old tomb of Christ in Jerusalem teetering on the edge of ruin.

Now urgent repair work has begun.

The ornate edifice is buckling under its own weight.

First built above a burial cave as a tourist attraction in the Dark Ages, the stone blocks are now caked in a millennia’s worth of soot from incense burners, candles and offerings.

Christian nuns watch as renovations begin on Jesus' tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Picture: AP

Christian nuns watch as renovations begin on Jesus’ tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Picture: APSource:AP

Archaeologists say there is evidence the grotto had been revered as the burial place of Christ since the 4th Century.

The shrine itself — known as the Edicule — sits within a much larger basilica known as the Holy Sepulchre. This imposing Medieval edifice is crammed full of chapels, Crusader tombs — and elaborate icons.

Restorers have had to overcome longstanding religious rivalries to carry out the first repairs at the site in over 200 years. Picture: AP

Restorers have had to overcome longstanding religious rivalries to carry out the first repairs at the site in over 200 years. Picture: APSource:AP

It’s also not the first such shrine. There were likely at least three others, two of which were destroyed in religious wars.

It’s the first work to be done on the current incarnation since it was rebuilt after a severe fire in 1810. Nobody has seen what’s inside since.

A Greek team of experts has begun a historic renovation at the spot where Christians believe Jesus was buried. Picture: AP

A Greek team of experts has begun a historic renovation at the spot where Christians believe Jesus was buried. Picture: APSource:AP

The $4.5 million restoration is expected to take between eight and 12 months and will involve titanium bolts being inserted among stonework to restabilise the structure.

It took decades of squabbling among the many Christian factions that lay claim to the site, but now a team of conservation experts from National Technical University of Athens have finally made a start.

Some of the centuries of soot and grime is carefully brushed from a rock to reveal the state of the stone beneath. Picture: AP

Some of the centuries of soot and grime is carefully brushed from a rock to reveal the state of the stone beneath. Picture: APSource:AP

Drones have been flown within the enormous hall of the Holy Sepulchre to photograph the shrine and the arched cupola on its roof from every angle.

These images have revealed a deep fracture in the structure’s stonework.

“We equally decided the required renovation was necessary to be done, so we agreed upon it”, said the Rev. Samuel Aghoyan, the top Armenian official at the church told Associated Press.

Christian nuns supervise experts renovating Jesus' tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Picture: AP

Christian nuns supervise experts renovating Jesus’ tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Picture: APSource:AP

Catholic Franciscan monk Athanasius Macora said disputes had prevented any changes to the 200-year-old structure.

“I personally would have liked to maybe contemplate some alternative to simply restoring the current structure. But because the status quo is so conservative in its nature, we had to more or less accept the fact that there would be no change whatsoever to the current structure, and it would be restored as it is now,” he told Associated Press.

The Greek renovators have committed to keeping the holy site open to tourists while undertaking their work.

Greek renovation experts erect scaffolding around the shrine. Picture: AP

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Team discovers ancient naval base off the coast of Athens

A TEAM working off the coast of Athens has uncovered the remains of an ancient naval base, estimated to be about 2,500 years old.

Alongside a team of Greek colleagues, Danish Marine archaeologist Bjorn Loven from the University of Copenhagen located the remains of six ship sheds, used to protect vessels from shipworm and from drying when they weren’t out at sea.

On the University of Copenhagen’s website, Loven said the team used pottery and carbon-14 dating on a piece of wood and dated the sheds to around 520-480 B.C.

Moreover, the sheds are thought to have housed ships that were used to fight Persian invaders during the Battle of Salamis, which took place in 480 B.C. between an alliance of Greek city-states under Themistocles, and King Xerxes’ Persian Empire.

Depiction of how it would have looked. Picture: University of Copenhagen

Depiction of how it would have looked. Picture: University of CopenhagenSource:Supplied

Although the Greeks were outnumbered, they won the battle, which took place in the straits between the Greek mainland and the island of Salamis.

“This naval battle was a pivotal event in Greek history; it is difficult to predict what would have happened if the Greek fleet had lost at Salamis, but it is clear that a Persian victory would have had immense consequences for subsequent cultural and social developments in Europe,” said Loven.

“The victory at Salamis rightly echoes through history and awakens awe and inspiration around the world today.”

The sheds were discovered as part of the Zea Harbour Project, which took place from 2001 to 2012.

 

 

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Book extract: Has Australian researcher Lynne Kelly discovered the secret to Stonehenge?

I HAD no idea that indigenous animal stories from around the world would lead me to a new theory for Stonehenge.

I had a PhD scholarship as a science writer and was looking forward to three years of gentle research leading to a natural history book about animal behaviour and indigenous stories. Eight tumultuous years later and that book now bears only scant resemblance to the confident outline that started my journey.

It was only weeks into the PhD in the English program at La Trobe University that I glimpsed the complexity of Australian Aboriginal elders’ knowledge, the first group of cultures I explored in depth.

They memorised a vast amount of information about animals, their identification and behaviour, habitats and uses. A huge number of species of birds, mammals, reptiles and invertebrates were accurately described in stories, even when they had no apparent practical use.

I realised that the elders could identify all the animals across a wide landscape, when I was struggling with just the birds in my local area. I had a field guide; they had only memory.

I started asking the question which soon became an obsession: how could they remember so much stuff?

I soon discovered that elders use song, story, dance and mythology to help retain vast stores of factual information when the culture had no recourse to writing. It was the first step to understanding how they could remember so much stuff.

The definition of ‘stuff’ was growing rapidly to include not only the animal knowledge I was researching, but also the names and uses of plants; resource access and land management; laws and ethics; geology and astronomy; genealogies, to ensure they knew their rights and relatives; navigation, to ensure they could travel long distances when there were no roads or maps; ideas about where they had come from; and, of course, what they believed.

Indigenous cultures memorised everything on which their survival — physically and culturally — depended.

I wasn’t far into my research when I began to understand that songlines were key to the way Indigenous Australians organised this vast store of information so that it would not be forgotten.

Songlines are sung narratives of the landscape, singing tracks that weave across the country and enable every significant place to be known. At each location, rituals are performed that enact the knowledge associated with that specific place.

Uluru, in Central Australia, from the air. Every notch and crevice around the perimeter of the rock is used as a location by Indigenous Australians to memorise information. Picture: Ian Rowland

Uluru, in Central Australia, from the air. Every notch and crevice around the perimeter of the rock is used as a location by Indigenous Australians to memorise information. Picture: Ian RowlandSource:Supplied

In this context, rituals are repeated acts and no more should be implied by that word. The degree to which they are religious ceremonies depends entirely on the specific ritual. One elder explained to me how singing the names of the sacred sites along the songlines created a set of subheadings to the entire knowledge base, a place for knowing about every animal, plant and person.

The songlines could be sung when moving through the space in reality or in imagination.

By repeating the stories of the mythological beings through songs and dances at sacred landscape sites, information could be memorised, even if it was not used for tens, hundreds or thousands of years.

Songs are far more memorable than prose. Dances can depict animal behaviour and tactics for the hunt in a way no words can do. Mythological characters can act out a vivid set of stories that are unforgettable.

I recognised that Aboriginal elders were using their songlines in a similar way to the Ancient Greek orators who mentally walked through their buildings and streetscapes from location to location to help them memorise their speeches.

They called it ‘the method of loci’. Modern memory champions memorise shuffled decks of cards using the same method, walking through their homes or churches, grand buildings or public spaces in their imaginations as they recall each card. They call them memory palaces.

An aerial view of Stonehenge.

An aerial view of Stonehenge.Source:Supplied

A few months later, I was walking around Stonehenge, tourist earphones providing commentary. The disembodied voice with the perfect English accent told me about the various theories but didn’t mention memory or anything about the builders’ system of knowledge. There was a great deal of very important information, but I was immune to it, listening only for my pet topic.

Stonehenge was initially a simple stone circle built at the very start of the transition from a mobile hunting and gathering lifestyle to settling and farming.

What would happen, I asked myself on Salisbury Plain that day, to the knowledge that these people had acquired over thousands of years and embedded in the landscape?

Farming doesn’t happen rapidly. The transition takes time. How would the settlers avoid forgetting all their songs and stories and knowledge of the animals and plants if they were no longer visiting the memory locations their ancestors had spread across the broad countryside?

How clever of them, I decided. They’ve replicated a series of landscape sacred places in their local environment. What could be more perfect than a circle of stones, each stone representing a former sacred location, each stone acting as a memory aid?

I didn’t realise that this had never been suggested before.

I was soon back at university, half-jokingly telling my supervisor that I thought I had solved the mystery of Stonehenge. Any normal supervisor would have pointed out that I had a PhD scholarship for my original topic and a publisher interested in publishing it. To abandon all that to chase some wild idea when I didn’t even have a background in archeology was clearly foolhardy.

Sue Martin, however, was not a normal supervisor. She wanted the idea evaluated so I would not be constantly distracted by my latest enthusiasm. We decided it required external checking by somebody quite dispassionate about my research. Being so early in the PhD process, she suggested that I run my two themes parallel — keep reading on animals in indigenous stories and take six months to see whether there was any validity to my claims about Stonehenge.

Australian researcher and author Lynne Kelly.

Australian researcher and author Lynne Kelly.Source:Supplied

The librarian attached to our faculty, Lisa Donnelly, did numerous convoluted searches, the sort that only academic librarians know how to do. She constantly checked my sources and searched for anything which could indicate that the theory had been proposed before and been rejected for fairly obvious archaeological reasons.

At the end of six months she reported that the theory appeared to be totally original and all my sources sound.

I approached three archaeologists at the university, only to be dismissed by each of them. I could understand. For an archaeologist, someone from the English program with a new theory for Stonehenge must represent a stereotypical nightmare.

Sue asked me to outline the theory in writing. She sent the dozen or so pages to the archeology department explaining that we were perfectly happy for this to be dismissed, but could we please have the reasons why. It was only then that I would be able to get back on track with my gentle PhD topic.

The response was rapid. In essence it said the archeology appeared sound, the theory appeared original, and the anonymous archaeologist wanted nothing to do with me.

I was devastated. I needed help. I needed to sit down and talk about my ideas with somebody who would be able to guide me in the archeology. Over the next few months, we approached two other members of the faculty, to no avail.

Logic told me that if these ideas explained Stonehenge and all the stone circles of the British Neolithic, then I should be able to see similar patterns in any archaeological site in the world that represented the early stages of settlement.

The list of archaeological sites matching the pattern was growing daily. Two in particular had attracted my attention: Chaco Canyon in New Mexico and Poverty Point in Louisiana.

The great Kiva at Chetro Ketl, in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, showing central hearth, post holes for roof supports, and what are thought to have been storage vats for foot drums. The regular niches around the walls are found in all great kivas.

The great Kiva at Chetro Ketl, in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, showing central hearth, post holes for roof supports, and what are thought to have been storage vats for foot drums. The regular niches around the walls are found in all great kivas.Source:Supplied

I gained a university travel grant to visit these sites, which included funding for two days to hire American archaeologist Larry Baker to take me to Chaco Canyon and the surrounding Ancestral Puebloan sites. I had a captive archaeologist at last; he was stuck in a car with me for two whole days. He loved the theory.

I submitted articles to journals. An archeology journal said it was too much anthropology for them. An anthropological journal said it was much more about archeology. An interdisciplinary journal rejected it within twelve hours.

The niggling voice in my head started to yell that there was no way someone as ordinary as me should be trying to solve one of the world’s great mysteries.

By 2010, I was becoming more and more stressed keeping two PhD topics running. I just needed to pinpoint exactly what was wrong with the Stonehenge theory so I could return to my straightforward thesis about animal behaviour and indigenous stories. I was struggling to sleep and my health was deteriorating.

My husband Damian announced that psychiatric bills would be far more expensive than a trip to England and he was booking flights. I was to make contact with a British Neolithic archaeologist, gain time for an interview, and then we would fly there and settle the matter.

Dr Rosamond Cleal is lead editor and contributing author of English Heritage’s seminal book Stonehenge in its Landscape. I imagined that she would do all she could to avoid yet another Stonehenge theory.

She offered an hour. It stretched to four, followed by an invitation to return the next day. A few more hours’ discussion finished with Dr Cleal stating that I could quote her publicly saying “This theory is well worth pursuing”. After that encouragement, nothing was going to stop me.

Stonehenge at sunset.

Stonehenge at sunset.Source:Supplied

It was to be another three years before the thesis was formally assessed by archaeologists and passed. After further review, it was published as a book for Cambridge University Press.

During those years I started implementing in my everyday life the memory methods that I had learnt from indigenous cultures. I was creating songlines in my own neighbourhood and linking to them vast amounts of information about every country in the world, about all of prehistory and history.

At the same time, I was copying an African memory board to encode the more than four hundred birds found in my state and assigning the hundred native mammals to a wooden post.

As somebody who struggled to remember what others would consider general knowledge, I was rapidly gaining an encyclopaedic knowledge base beyond anything I could have imagined possible.

Lynne Kelly’s memory board in the style of the Luba lukasa, made from wood, beads and shells.

Lynne Kelly’s memory board in the style of the Luba lukasa, made from wood, beads and shells.Source:Supplied

With the doctorate finished, I invested more and more time into these memory experiments, adding knowledge daily as I walked the dog. It was fun, and nothing like the stressful memory work required for exams in the past.

Why hadn’t I been taught these methods at school? After a year or so, I was starting to see patterns in the information even though I was not actively searching for them.

I found my stories starting to take on the form of the indigenous stories I’d read from all over the world. I was seeing familiar knowledge in a different way — vivid, visual and emotional. I gained insight and pleasure from the process.

This book is about indigenous memory, about Stonehenge and archaeological sites all over the world, and about a journey I took from the moment I stumbled across a simple idea standing on Salisbury Plain.

Stonehenge was a memory space. The world is full of ancient memory spaces. My world is now full of contemporary memory spaces and so much the richer for it.

The Memory Code, by Lynne Kelly.

The Memory Code, by Lynne Kelly.Source:Supplied

This is an extract from THE MEMORY CODE by Lynne Kelly, published by Allen & Unwin, RRP $32.99, available now.

 

 

[source :-news]

Neanderthals left behind evidence of cannibalism and bone toolmaking

NEANDERTHALS that walked the Earth tens of thousands of years ago butchered the bodies of other Neanderthals, leaving behind evidence of both cannibalism and bone toolmaking, researchers from a German university report.

The 99 bones came from a cave in Goyet, Belgium, and experts were able to date them to be between 40,500 and 45,500 years old. Genetic analysis of the ancient species’ mitochondrial DNA shows that the Neanderthals represented by the bones were related to each other closely.

But most interesting is the markings on the bones, which show evidence of butchering. According to a statement released by the University of Tübingen in Germany, it’s the “cut marks, pits and notches” found on the bones that suggest the butchering and point toward cannibalism. Not only that, the scientists found evidence of “skinning, cutting up, and extraction of the bone marrow” from the remains, according to the University of Tübingen.

These indications allow us to assume that Neandertals practised cannibalism,” Hervé Bocherens, a professor at the University of Tübingen and co-author of a new study announcing the results, said in the statement. He also said that the butchering could have been not for food, but part of a ritual.

In addition, the researchers discovered evidence that Neanderthals used bones from their same species as tools, which were employed in turn to modify stone tools. Three shinbones and a thigh bone functioned as tools, the scientists report. Bocherens said that it’s rare to see such bone tools made from Neanderthals.

Neanderthals went extinct about 30,000 years ago.

The study of cannibalism and bone tools is published in the journal Scientific Reports.

 

 

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ABC pundit Antony Green says Australia needs to consider electronic voting to avoid long wait for results

AUSTRALIA’s top election pundit has thrown his weight behind the introduction of electronic voting saying it could avoid the interminable wait for election results.

ABC election analyst Antony Green said consideration should be given to postal and absentee voting heading online.

“If you could do that electronically, most of the paperwork disappears,” he said on Wednesday.

Mr Green’s comments come as new research has revealed 75 per cent of Australians would be willing to vote electronically. Cutting out the long station queues to vote was cited as the chief benefit.

Four days after the election, neither major party is currently in a position to claim victory.

According to Mr Green’s ABC forecast the Coalition currently has 70 seats, Labor 67 and the independents four with eight seats up for grabs. The Australian Electoral Commission puts the Coalition on 70 and Labor on 71 with six seats close.

The delay in calling the remaining seats is due to the pre-poll, absentee and postal votes which have to be collated and distributed before being counted.

On Tuesday, Malcolm Turnbull said it was unlikely a result would be known any time soon.

“I know many Australians find this sort of frustrating, the wait, and you can imagine that we are among them. I’d be amazed if it wasn’t resolved within a week.”

Yet, in many countries, the option of electronic voting has taken the wait out of elections. In Estonia, more than 30 per cent of voters opted to cast their votes online at the most recent general election. In the Philippines, voters still head to polling places but their votes are recorded electronically with the result known within hours.

ABC election analyst Antony Green says electronic voting needs to now be considered. Picture: ABC

ABC election analyst Antony Green says electronic voting needs to now be considered. Picture: ABCSource:ABC

VOTES WOULD COME QUICKLY

Talking to ABC News Breakfast on Tuesday, Mr Green said e-voting should be introduced in Australia for some voters.

“The clearest thing you can do is introduce electronic voting for pre-poll.

“You have got voting in multiple electorates which is a very time consuming to reconcile the ballot papers afterwards. If you could do that electronically, most of the paperwork disappears,” he said.

“On election night, the giant postal votes would come through quickly.”

Voting electronically for absentee votes, where people vote at a polling booth outside of their electorate would do away with reams of ballot papers.

While some countries shave embraced electronic voting, others — including Norway and the Netherlands — have gone back to pen and paper due to concerns about security and vote tampering.

A 2015 federal parliamentary report ruled out introducing e-voting declaring,“Australia is not in a position to introduce any large scale system of electronic voting in the near future without catastrophically compromising our electoral integrity.”

A survey conducted by the University of New England’s Mobile Voting research program, seen by news.com.au, showed fears that hackers could alter votes was the number one public concern when it came to online voting with 75 per cent of respondents raising it as a concern.

A team led by PhD student Phillip Zada interviewed 300 people during the 2015 NSW state election.

Counting the votes could continue for days, or even weeks, officials have said. Picture: AFP

Counting the votes could continue for days, or even weeks, officials have said. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

NO MORE QUEUES
But despite security fears, three quarters of people said they would consider voting online with 71 per cent saying a paper receipt, detailing their vote, would reassure them their vote would not be tampered.

Nine-out-of-10 of respondents said the ability to vote anywhere was the chief benefit of online voting while 73 per cent said ditching the long election day queues would be welcome.

“Respondents were in favour of using mobile internet e-voting with more respondents requiring greater information about the technology than being against its use [altogether] which we found to be quite positive,” said Mr Zada.

One of the world’s largest electronic voting companies has also weighed into the Australian election debate.

Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, chairman of Smartmatic, a company that provides electronic voting systems to countries including Estonia, the US and Brazil, claimed its systems would have revealed the final result by now.

“The failures we are seeing in elections from Austria to Australia are further proof of the urgent need to modernise how democracies across the world vote.

“The introduction of simple technology such as electronic counting or online voting could boost turnout, eliminate the possibility of error or fraud and help to ensure speedy results,” he said.

“There is no question this works. The real question is how many more failed elections do we need to see before action is taken to bring them up to speed?”

A survey by the company, following the UK’s EU referendum, found 45 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds and 28 per cent of 25 to 34 year olds who did not vote in the Brexit poll said they would have been more likely to do so if they had been able to vote online.

This amounted to 1.1 million votes that weren’t cast. The eventual gap between the leave and remain sides was only a little higher at 1.3 million votes.

 

 

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Donald Trump has a powerful new weapon, thanks to Hillary Clinton

DONALD Trump must be licking his lips.

The Republican presidential candidate just got all the ammunition he needed to revive his deeply troubled campaign, thanks to the one person Americans dislike almost as much as him — his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Overnight, the FBI announced that Clinton wouldn’t be indicted for being “extremely careless” with classified information during her tenure as Secretary of State. On one level, it’s a relief for the Democratic nominee, because she won’t go into the election facing criminal charges. That’s always a plus.

But the good news for Clinton ends there. While the FBI’s investigation won’t hurt her legally, it could be the devastating political weapon Trump needs to take her down.

Hillary Clinton spent the day campaigning with President Barack Obama for the first time.

Hillary Clinton spent the day campaigning with President Barack Obama for the first time.Source:AP

HOW THE SCANDAL UNFOLDED

When she became Secretary of State in 2009, Clinton set up a private server for her emails instead of using the official government system. The Associated Press first revealed its existence to the public in March of 2015, long after she left the State Department.

The revelation prompted an investigation from Barack Obama’s Justice Department, as Clinton’s political opponents accused her of violating government rules and making classified information vulnerable to hackers. In response, Clinton repeatedly said no email she sent or received through the server was classified, before later altering her language to claim none of the emails were “marked” classified at the time.

Clinton handed over tens of thousands of work-related emails to the department — but deleted tens of thousands more from the server, because she deemed them “personal”. Some of those emails were recovered by the FBI after it joined the investigation, but many weren’t.

In May, the State Department’s internal watchdog said Clinton and her team had ignored clear warnings from officials that her email setup violated federal standards and could leave sensitive material vulnerable. The audit said Clinton had feared “the personal would have been accessible” if she had used a government email account, meaning she wanted to keep her personal emails out of reach.

On Friday, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said she would accept whatever recommendations were presented to her at the conclusion of the FBI’s investigation. Her statement came days after she met with former president Bill Clinton, leading to questions about her impartiality.

Then, on Saturday, FBI agents finally interviewed Clinton herself at the agency’s headquarters. They had earlier interviewed Clinton’s top aides, including her former chief of staff Cheryl Mills and longtime aide Huma Abedin.

Clinton’s top aide Huma Abedin (left) was also pulled into the controversy.

Clinton’s top aide Huma Abedin (left) was also pulled into the controversy.Source:AFP

Finally, after a year of digging into the case, the FBI announced its findings overnight. Director James Comey said there was no proof that Clinton or her aides had intended to break laws governing the handling of classified information, and therefore “no charges are appropriate”. Apart from that, he was harsh.

“There is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information,” Comey said.

“There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position … should have known that an unclassified system was no place” for sensitive conversations, he added.

Comey directly contradicted many of Clinton’s past statements, including her assertion that she’d turned over all her emails and that she had never sent or received any that were classified at the time.

The FBI chief said 113 emails were determined to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received. He also found that “several thousand work-related emails” were not among the group of 30,000 Clinton turned over in 2014. And he raised the possibility that people hostile to the U.S. had gained access to her personal email account.

FBI Director James Comey.

FBI Director James Comey.Source:AP

‘RULE OF LAW TURNED UPSIDE DOWN’

Donald Trump savaged the FBI’s decision not to recommend charges against Clinton.

“Hillary Clinton compromised the safety of the American people by storing highly classified information on a private email server with no security,” Trump said in a statement. “Her email could easily have been hacked by hostile actors.

“Clinton lied when she said that she did not send classified information . On top of it all, Hillary Clinton’s lawyers wiped the servers clean to delete another 30,000 emails, hiding her corrupt dealings from investigators.

“Because of our rigged system that holds the American people to one standard and people like Hillary Clinton to another, it does not look like she will be facing the criminal charges she deserves.”

Never one to talk around the issue.

Never one to talk around the issue.Source:AFP

Trump’s criticism was echoed by other Republicans, who were almost as bellicose in their condemnation of Clinton.

“This announcement defies explanation. No one should be above the law,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said. Declining to prosecute Secretary Clinton for recklessly mishandling and transmitting national security information will set a terrible precedent.”

Florida Senator and former presidential candidate Marco Rubio called Clinton’s actions “grossly negligent” and said she “put lives at risk”.

“Hillary Clinton’s conduct as Secretary of State and her mishandling of classified information was disgraceful and unbecoming of someone who aspires to the presidency.”

The harshest critic of all was America’s foremost libertarian, Senator Rand Paul.

 

[source :-news]

A phishing scam being sent via ISPs is targeting GoT downloaders

INTERNET service providers are reportedly being targeted by a new phishing scam related to Game of Thrones pirates that is more extensive than previously thought.

The fraudsters are peppering various ISPs around the world, including Australia, with copyright infringement notices and settlement demands in hope the ISP will pass it on to its customers.

According to Torrent Freak, the fake notices are being sent to ISPs in the US, the UK and Australia with the scammers claiming to be working on behalf of right holders, including HBO.

Phishing scams are attempts by criminals to trick people into supplying their personal information such as bank account numbers, address, passwords and credit card numbers.

The tactic has become increasingly popular among cyber criminals and is a technique used with growing sophistication.

In recent weeks more than 22,000 Telstra customers have received a convincingphishing scam in the form of a fake e-mail bill telling customers they paid a bill twice and are therefore eligible for a refund.

Such scams typically aim to get people to volunteer their personal information or otherwise can urge targets to click a link infected with malicious software known as malware.

This latest Game of Thrones scam was first detected last month when US internet service providers notified authorities.

According to Torrent Freak, while most ISPs realised it was a scam others have forwarded the notices on to their customers.

The website published a copy of the phishing e-mail. The professional looking document accuses an account holder connected to an IP-address of illegally downloading the show.

“You have 72 hours to access the settlement offer and settle online. If you fail to settle, the claim(s) will be referred to our attorneys for legal action. At that point the original settlement offer will no longer be an option and the amount will increase as a result of us having to involve our attorneys,” the e-mail reads.

The scam has reportedly caused confusion because HBO’s piracy monitoring firm IP-Echelon do send take down notices, however they are not accompanied by settlement threats.

“They seemed believable at first because they were sending notices about customers who we are accustomed to seeing a high volume of torrenting complaints about,” an IP-Echelon employee said.

For the past decade copyright holders have become increasingly vigilant in monitoring illegal downloads of their content. Initially this resulted in take-down notices demanding ISPs remove access to the unauthorised content.

But rights holders have been ramping up the fight and are increasingly inclined to bundle such notices with automated fines.

In Australia, this practice culminated in a long fought legal battle when the rights holders of the film Dallas Buyers Club tried, and failed, to get ISPs to hand over the personal details of customers who had been identified as having illegally downloaded the film.

 

 

[source :-news]

Alex Gibney film gives chilling insight into the world of state sponsored cyber warfare unleashed by Stuxnet

IN 2010 a then unknown actor managed to disrupt a uranium enrichment plant in Iran by using an unprecedented and incredibly powerful cyber virus.

The world now knows it as Stuxnet and it has ushered in a whole new era of cyber warfare.

For those who have never heard of it, Stuxnet is a computer worm that targets industrial control systems that are used to monitor and control large scale industrial facilities like power plants, dams, waste processing systems and similar operations.

Such weapons have the potential to bring a modern society to its knees.

Once news of Stuxnet became public, it was long suspected the US was behind its creation. Former NSA contractor and infamous whistle blower Edward Snowden previously told German magazine Der Spiegel the US, along with Israel, created Stuxnet to destroy nuclear centrifuges in Iran.

It’s now known that the weapon was first commissioned under the Bush administration and then again during the Obama years.

Of course the US, or any other country, has never claimed responsibility but a new film by Oscar winning documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney delves into the nefarious creation of Stuxnet and the secret cyber arms race it ignited.

For him, the now infamous Stuxnet virus is the atomic bomb of cyber warfare.

It’s a comparison that is made continually in Zero Days which was released globally in cinemas and online this weekend.

It may sound like hyperbole but those at the cross section of computer science and warfare understand the significance of Stuxnet — which is considered the first act of cyber warfare by one country against another — can’t be overstated.

As former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden put it in a foreboding piece of footage used in the film: “This has the whiff of August 1945. Somebody just used a new weapon and this weapon will not be put back in the box”.

Alex Gibney who has tackled WikiLeaks, Enron, Scientology and won an Oscar forTaxi to the Dark Side which depicted the torture of prisoners by US military personnel at Abu Ghraib believes the secret world of state sponsored cyber warfare has Hiroshima-like consequences for humanity.

“The potential threat from these kinds of cyberweapons is huge, especially when you start talking about shutting down electric power grids,” he said. “I’m not talking about the threat to me personally, but the threat to all of us. We’re just at a point where everyone is starting to recognise the potential calamity.”

Alex Gibney, director of the Film Zero Days answers questions during an interview with The Associated Press.

Alex Gibney, director of the Film Zero Days answers questions during an interview with The Associated Press.Source:AP

THE STORY OF STUXNET

The top secret computer worm was designed by the US and Israel and first made its way to a nuclear enrichment facility in Natanz, Iran.

The film includes interviews with two cyber-sleuths from Symantec who were chiefly responsible for identifying the code and following the trail back to its authors.

The code infected the specific industrial control systems used by the Iranians without showing any signs of infiltration.

About 13 days after infection, the virus turned itself on and was able to speed up or slow down the centrifuges causing them to destroy themselves. The sabotage was so sophisticated it was able to unfold without showing any sings of problems on monitoring systems used by officials at the Iranian facility.

But sometime afterwards, the destructive computer code escaped due to a programming error and spread throughout internet, infecting computers around the world.

It was then that the Iranian government discovered that it had in fact been clandestinely attacked and computer researchers around the world were able to study the virus and eventually give it its name: Stuxnet.

According to a detailed New York Times investigation in 2012, after the code escaped US president Obama consulted with the pentagon about shutting it down but instead chose to deploy an updated version which temporarily took out nearly 1000 of the 5000 centrifuges Iran were using at the time to purify uranium.

An Iranian security man stands next to journalists outside the reactor building at the Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran. Picture: Atta Kenare

An Iranian security man stands next to journalists outside the reactor building at the Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran. Picture: Atta KenareSource:AFP

Despite some extensive reporting on Stuxnet, there is still plenty we don’t know about what many view as the starting line of global cyber warfare.

The subject remains highly classified for US government officials and as such Gibney’s film continually runs into a wall of silence.

When asked about Stuxnet, the response of former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden was to be expected.

“I don’t know, and if I did, we wouldn’t talk about it anyway,” he told the filmmaker with a wry smile.

However Gibney’s film paints a harrowing picture of the new frontier of state warfare and the filmmaker was happy with the pieces of the puzzle he was able to unearth.

“We ended up finding out some things in Israel that we didn’t really know. We went to Moscow. Slowly, but surely, we got stuff,” he told the Associated Press.

“I just really wasn’t able to figure out how the original version of Stuxnet got into the Iranian nuclear facility. We think it was a spy, but we don’t know exactly how it happened.”

 

[source :-news]

With Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten backing electronic voting, how would it happen in practice?

MALCOLM Turnbull and Bill Shorten may not agree on much but there appears to be at least one subject upon which they are united: just how annoyingly long it took to work out that the bloke who was already in the Lodge would be staying in the Lodge.

Mr Shorten used his speech on Sunday, conceding Labor’s electoral defeat, to call for an investigation into electronic voting.

“I will be writing to Mr Turnbull and saying, ‘Really, we are a grown-up democracy — it shouldn’t be taking eight days to find out who has won.’

“It’s long overdue to look at electronic voting.”

Mr Turnbull said he had been an “advocate of electronic voting for a long time” and it was something he would look at.

The problem is, there has already been an investigation into e-voting in Australia and it didn’t exactly end up in a glowing seal of approval.

In fact, a 2014 parliamentary committee concluded its introduction could “catastrophically compromise our electoral integrity”.

But with the most recent election seared into the memory banks don’t be surprised if the issue is looked at again.

Divisional Materials Manager for Herbert Jason Blake inside one of the two shipping containers full of Senate Ballots, Pre-polling votes, and Out of State Declarations to be posted in Townsville. Picture: Wesley Monts

Divisional Materials Manager for Herbert Jason Blake inside one of the two shipping containers full of Senate Ballots, Pre-polling votes, and Out of State Declarations to be posted in Townsville. Picture: Wesley MontsSource:News Corp Australia

So, Australia doesn’t have electronic voting?

Actually, some people are already voting electronically.

In 2015, 280,000 people used NSW’s iVote system to cast their ballot in the state election. Primarily designed for people who would be unable to get to a polling station it allows people to vote online.

Does the system work?

It depends who you speak to. A team from the University of Melbourne found “severe vulnerabilities” in the system that could be used to cast multiple votes, reveal voter’s identities and subvert the verification process.

“We’ve been told repeatedly that votes are perfectly secret and the whole system is secure … and we’ve shown very clearly that’s not true,” Dr Vanessa Teague told the ABC.

The NSW Electoral Commission said it fixed any issues prior to polling day and was confident of iVote’s capabilities.

Would you be happy voting on a machine?

Would you be happy voting on a machine?Source:Getty Images

Hardly a ringing endorsement, what did the 2014 parliamentary committee say?

They weren’t brimming with enthusiasm for electronic voting either. Worried by experiences overseas, where online voting systems have been hacked, they recommended Australia stick to good old-fashioned pencils and paper.

The committee’s chair, MP Tony Smith said, “Australia is not in a position to introduce any large scale system of electronic voting in the near future without catastrophically compromising our electoral integrity.”

Despite this, electronic voting has its fans?

Absolutely. Dr David Glance, the director of the Centre for Software Practice at the University of Western Australia (UWA) admitted e-voting might not be 100 secure, but then no one ever suggested the current system was either.

“People can stroll into any polling booths without any ID, a vote is accepted and we have no idea if they are who they say they are, but those things aren’t discussed as issues and failings.”

New voting technology based on blockchain — as the UWA-based Perth start up veri.vote was developing — could be the answer.

“It has all sorts of clever aspects to it and it’s all based on cryptographic keys and the system is hard to abuse.”

Dylan Johnston, llyas Ridhuan, Rick Newnham, Cam Sinclair and Adrian Petersen of veri.vote, a Perth-based electronic system of voting that, the designers say, could end the tedium and time-consuming nature of our current political voting system.

Dylan Johnston, llyas Ridhuan, Rick Newnham, Cam Sinclair and Adrian Petersen of veri.vote, a Perth-based electronic system of voting that, the designers say, could end the tedium and time-consuming nature of our current political voting system.Source:News Corp Australia

What other reasons are there for introducing e-voting?

It makes voting easier and increases the number of people casting a ballot.

According to Smartmatic, a company that makes voting machines, 1.1 million young people in the UK who didn’t vote in the recent EU referendum would have done so if they could have performed the task online rather than trekking to a dusty school hall.

So, if we did vote electronically, how would we do it?

First off, there is the full online model pioneered in Estonia. Here, voters slide their ID cards into their laptops to identify themselves and then vote online following some security checks.

In the US state of Utah, Republicans party members were allowed to vote online in March for the presidential caucus. Voters were sent an online key that gave them access to the site.

But while convenient, these online voting methods alarm some politicians concerned about hackers breaking in and changing votes.

Are there other ways to electronically vote?

A halfway house is to still head to a polling place, fill in your vote and grab a sausage sanger. But the votes are counted electronically there and then so the results are almost instantaneous.

In India, the world’s largest democracy, voters cast their ballots not on paper but on electronic machines within each polling station.

Even with electronic voting, you might still have to queue at a polling place.

Even with electronic voting, you might still have to queue at a polling place.Source:News Corp Australia

What might happen in Australia?

Dr Glance thinks polling places will remain for some time to come but pencils will be gone. Instead people will vote electronically, most likely on an iPad. These might then spit out a receipt with a confirmation of the vote which would popped into the ballot box as now.

The e-result would come out as the polls close but that would then be verified against the receipts to ensure there wasn’t a glitch in the system.

Are Australians likely to accept e-voting?

Probably. A 2015 survey conducted by the University of New England’s Mobile Voting research program, revealed three quarters of people said they would consider voting online with 71 per cent saying a paper receipt, would reassure them their vote would not be tampered.

But will it happen?

It’s expensive but weighed against the cost of the masses of staff needed at counting centres it could be worth it. And, besides, if it saves Australia more than a week of uncertainly maybe it’s worth looking into.

 

 

[source :-news]