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Two Iranian government institutions became the targets of massive cyberattacks earlier this week, but the relevant Iranian agencies reacted quickly and repelled them, an official in Tehran has disclosed.

The attempts to hack the unspecified government bodies were made on Monday and Tuesday, Abolghasem Sadeghi, the deputy head of security of Iran’s IT Organization (Maher), said.

The attacks were “important and on a large scale,” but they failed to inflict any significant damage due to being swiftly identified and eliminated, he claimed.

However, Sadeghi stopped short of naming the party that Tehran considered responsible for the attacks.

Iran had earlier blamed the US, Israel and some other countries of trying to break into its networks, saying that the country’s agencies have been placed on high alert for hacking attempts.

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In 2019, the US officials confirmed a cyberattack on Tehran, carried out in response to drone strikes on Saudi oil facilities by Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who receive backing from Iran.

In May, the operations of a major Iranian port on the strategic Strait of Hormuz were disrupted by hackers, with sources saying that Israel was likely behind the incursion. The incident was preceded by three major cyberattacks on Iranian institutions in December, with at least one of them being “state-sponsored,” according to Tehran.

The country’s cybersecurity wall, Dezhfa, repelled a total of 33 million cyberattacks last year, Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi, the Islamic republic’s technology minister, announced earlier.

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The US and its allies, for their part, are accusing Tehran of malign activities in cyberspace. Sources told Reuters that government-backed Iranian hackers tried to access the personal email accounts of World Health Organization (WHO) staff at the peak of the Covid-19 outbreak. Iran has denied the claims.

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Mossad reportedly brought Chinese coronavirus vaccine to Israel for ‘study’





Israel’s secret service organization, Mossad, has obtained China’s Covid-19 vaccine, taking the medicine for “study,” local media reported. Israel has already developed a vaccine of its own, which is undergoing human trials.

Mossad brought the vaccine to Israel in recent weeks, Israel’s Channel 12 reported on Monday. It was not immediately clear how exactly the agency obtained the medicine.

Multiple government sources have “indirectly” confirmed the report to local media. The goal of the procurement is said to be study of the Chinese compound and further exploring vaccination options. Apart from that, a senior health ministry official confirmed that the country is seeking to purchase Covid-19 vaccines from other countries.

“There are several diplomatic efforts going on behind the scenes,” the official told the Jerusalem Post. “We are trying everything we can to ensure Israeli citizens have access to a vaccine as soon as possible.”

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Israel has already developed a Covid-19 vaccine of its own, yet its testing process remains at an early stage. Last week, the Israel Institute for Biological Research in Ness Ziona announced the name of its vaccine, which has been dubbed ‘Brilife’.

The vaccine has already received all the necessary approvals and its Phase 1 human testing is expected to begin next week. At first, the medicine will be trialed on some 100 volunteers, and if everything goes well, a further 1,000 people will partake in the Phase 2 trials next spring.

In recent weeks, Israel has endured a sharp increase in new coronavirus cases with the disease tally currently standing at the 310,000 mark. While the figure appears to be relatively small compared to the worst-affected countries, it’s rather sizable for the 8.9 million nation and constitutes some 3.4 percent of the whole population.

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Bolivian court drops ‘terrorism’ charges against ex-President Evo Morales, withdraws arrest warrant – judge





Bolivia’s regional court in La Paz has dismissed “terrorism” charges and dropped the arrest warrant issued against former President Evo Morales, arguing that his rights were violated and judicial procedures breached.

The ex-president’s rights, including his right for judicial protection, have been violated, Judge Jorge Quino, the head of the Departmental Court of Justice in La Paz, said as he explained the court’s decision to grant a request filed by Morales’ lawyers.

He also said that judicial procedures were violated in this case since Morales was not properly summoned. The charges were dropped as the prosecutors did not comply with the procedures established by law, Quino told Bolivia’s Unitel TV Network.

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The ruling does not mean though that the currently exiled former president, who was indicted for inciting riots and “terrorism” in the wake of his ousting last year, can safely return home just yet. The decision is yet to be approved by the nation’s Plurinational Constitutional Court which can still reverse it.

An arrest warrant against Morales was issued by the Bolivian prosecutor general back in December 2019 under a ‘provisional’ government formed in the wake of a coup. The interim government, led by right-wing Senator Jeanine Anez, argued that his calls for protest amounted to “sedition and terrorism,” and vowed to jail the ex-president “for the rest of his life.”

Morales, who ruled the nation for 14 years, resigned from the presidency and went into hiding in November 2019, under pressure from the military. Earlier that month he was accused of election fraud by the opposition after a controversial vote.

Following his resignation, Morales first traveled to Mexico and eventually arrived in Argentina where President Alberto Fernandez granted him political asylum.

Still, even in absence of its leader, Morales’ Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) party secured majorities in both chambers of the Bolivian parliament in the latest general elections held on October 18. Socialist Luis Arce, who served as an economy minister under Morales and was allegedly handpicked by the former leader as a presidential candi

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NASA discovers WATER spread out across Moon’s sunlit surface





The US space agency confirmed it has found indisputable proof of something that was previously considered impossible – “massive hydration” of the Moon’s sunlit surface by water, that still only exists as separate molecules.

NASA announced that its latest study has helped to resolve the mystery of whether water exists on the Moon once and for all. It is not that claims about the discovery of water on Earth’s natural satellite have never been made before but, until recently, the scientists were not entirely sure if it was really water they were talking about.

Now, thanks to the space agency’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), this issue is finally clear. An infrared camera of SOFIA’s telescope mounted on a modified Boeing 747SP aircraft has detected a specific wavelength unique to water molecules while surveying the Moon’s surface. The study results were published in Nature Astronomy.

“Prior to the SOFIA observations, we knew there was some kind of hydration,” said Casey Honniball, the study lead author and a postdoctoral program fellow at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. “But we didn’t know how much, if any, was actually water molecules – like we drink every day – or something more like drain cleaner.”

Even more surprisingly, the scientists were able to discover some unusual concentrations of water in the Clavius Crater on the Moon’s sunlit side, where water was not expected to even exist in principle.

“Without a thick atmosphere, water on the sunlit lunar surface should just be lost to space,” said Honniball. “Yet somehow we’re seeing it. Something is generating the water, and something must be trapping it there.”

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A possible explanation suggests that water could be carried to the lunar surface by meteorites. Another one says that hydrogen brought by the solar wind could mix with oxygen-bearing minerals in its soil to form a substance called hydroxyl and later turn into water as a result of micrometeorite bombardments.

The data collected by the researchers suggest that one cubic meter of the lunar soil in the crater could contain roughly an equivalent of a 12-ounce (355 milliliter) bottle of water. Still, do not rush to declare the Moon’s surface “wet” just yet since even the sands of the Sahara Desert contain 100 times more water. The scientists also say that water molecules are so spread out that they cannot form even ice particles, not to mention liquid water.

Possible explanations for water molecules’ existence on the sunlit side of the Moon include possibilities of them being hidden between the soil grains or even embedded in tiny glass beads created by micrometeorite impacts.

As important as it could be for science, this discovery is unlikely to be of any use for NASA’s more practical goals that involve potential extraction of water from the Moon’s surface to be used by astronauts and processed into hydrogen fuel. The water molecules are just not abundant enough to be effectively used, Honniball admits.

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Fortunately for NASA, another study, which was also published in Nature Astronomy, says that future Moon explorers could potentially collect ice from what its authors call “mi

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