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Switzerland Deploys Two Fighter Jets For 24/7 Protection Of Airspace

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Switzerland will get round-the-clock airspace protection starting this week, the military said Tuesday, nearly seven years after the country was unable to scramble fighter jets to respond to an hijacking outside of business hours.

Starting on December 31, two F-18 fighter jets will be operational 24/7 to protect the airspace over the small, landlocked country, the armed forces said in a statement.

“From now on, the air police service will be on call 24 hours a day to guarantee the security and the sovereignty over Swiss airspace,” the statement said.

The plan to increase Swiss airspace surveillance was proposed to parliament in 2009, but it was boosted by an incident five years later that cast a spotlight on the lack of round-the-clock protection.

In February 2014, an Ethiopian Airlines co-pilot, Hailemedehin Abera Tagegn, hijacked his own plane, carrying 202 passengers and crew from Addis Ababa to Rome, and forced it to land in Geneva.

When Tagegn locked himself in the cockpit while the pilot went to the bathroom, Italian and French fighter jets were scrambled to escort the plane through their respective airspaces.

But although the co-pilot-turned-hijacker quickly announced he wanted to land the plane in Switzerland, where he later said he aimed to seek asylum, Switzerland’s fleet of F-18s and F-5 Tigers remained on the ground.

The Swiss airforce explained at the time that this was because its planes were only available during office hours.

Following the embarrassing incident, the Swiss parliament set a plan in motion to gradually scale up the airspace protection, with the aim of eventually ensuring that two fighter jets be constantly on call and capable of taking off with 15 minutes’ notice.

The plan “has successfully been completed within the expected timeframe,” Tuesday’s statement said.

To finalise the project, nearly 100 additional jobs have been created across the airforce, army logistics and command centres, it said.

The new system will cost an additional 30 million Swiss francs ($34 million, 28 million euros) a year, it added.

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Rwanda Partners With Tek Experts To Recruit, Train 1000 Technical Support Engineers For Its Kigali Support Center

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The Government of Rwanda, through Rwanda Development Board (RDB), has partnered with Tek Experts, a global provider of deep technical IT support services and professional services, to set up a technology support center in the country. 

The partnership with Tek Experts will support Rwanda’s goal of talent development in the ICT sector as the company will recruit and upskill professionals at scale.

Tek Experts has a target to employ 1,000 technical support engineers and management staff at the new Kigali center.

From this location, Tek Experts’ team of engineers will provide technical support services internationally to customers of some of the world’s largest technology brands.

The government will support Tek Experts to widen access to technical jobs for existing talent that require additional skills gap training to align with world-class standards.

In combination, this collaboration will develop the country’s IT ecosystem by adding a new segment to its IT offerings.

This new segment will focus as much on deep technical skills as it will on excellent customer experience. 

RDB CEO, Clare Akamanzi said that global outsourcing, and in particular, IT enabled services is a key sector for Rwanda’s economic transformation. While still a nascent sector in Rwanda, it holds significant potential for the creation of decent jobs and service export revenue.

She added that it is a constantly evolving, multi-billion-dollar industry.

“Developing the sector to its full potential in Rwanda is a key priority to RDB and receives the necessary government support and attention to increase competitiveness, remove barriers and bring in frontier investors, such as Tek Experts,” Akamanzi said.

Steve Heffron, Tek Experts’ CEO, expressed the company’s enthusiasm for the strategic partnership with the Rwandan government. 

He said Tek Experts is committed to making a meaningful difference in the lives of our employees and the communities where we operate. This agreement with the Rwanda Development Board directly supports that objective.

“We will continue to invest in Rwanda because of the incredible pool of diverse technical talent and infrastructure which allows us to support the largest tech brands in the world. With the addition of our new office in Kigali, we intend to create up to 1,000 new technology jobs. We will also conduct a mass digital upskilling initiative, in partnership with our sister training company Elev8, to have an even greater impact.” (www.elev8.com)

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MTN To Invest US$1.5B To Expand Broadband Access Across Nigeria

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MTN Nigeria plans to invest 640 billion naira, approximately US$1.5 billion, over the next three years to expand broadband access across the continent’s most populous country, in line with the federal government’s 2020-2025 National Broadband Plan and in support of MTN Group’s strategy, Ambition 2025: Leading digital solutions for Africa’s progress.

“Nigeria is one of our most important markets. We have a proud history of partnering with Nigeria and Nigerians to drive faster and more inclusive growth through digital transformation,” said MTN Group President and Chief Executive Officer Ralph Mupita after a three-day visit to Abuja and Lagos, in which he met a number of key stakeholders.

These included President Muhammadu Buhari; Vice President Oluyemi Oluleke Osinbajo; Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Dr Isa Ali Pantami;  Executive Vice Chairman Prof Umar Garba Danbatta; as well as Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Godwin Emefiele.

The MTN Group President – who was accompanied by MTN Group Chief Financial Officer Tsholo Molefe, MTN Nigeria Chairman Ernest Ndukwe and MTN Nigeria CEO Karl Toriola – reiterated MTN’s support for Nigeria’s plans to secure 90% broadband population coverage by 2025.

This aligns with MTN Group’s belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life and our work to extend digital and financial inclusion across Africa.

The delegation welcomed Nigeria’s plans to auction 500MHz of 5G spectrum: five blocks of 100MHz in the 3500MHz band, which Mupita said would facilitate accelerated broadband access.

He said MTN Group’s plans to sell down 14% of MTN Nigeria to Nigerian investors were well advanced and this would happen as soon as conditions were conducive. MTN Nigeria, in which MTN Group has a 78,8% stake, sought to have the largest retail shareholder base on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, where it has a market capitalisation of 3.4 trillion naira (US$8.2 billion).

“To mark the 20th anniversary of MTN’s operations in Nigeria, MTN Nigeria plans to build a new flagship headquarters in Lagos,” concluded Mupita.

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Pegasus Spyware Can Access Everything On Your Phone

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Pegasus is a software that can directly hack into your phone and access all information stored there and thereby enabling the attacker to track their targets.

This sofrware Developed by NSO Group Technologies, an Israeli technology cybersecurity firm.

Pegasus spyware allows the controller (a person who has injected the spyware) access to the infected smartphone’s microphone, camera and one can even gain access to messages, emails, and collect location data too.

According to a Kaspersky report, Pegasus even allows you to listen to encrypted audio streams and read encrypted messages. Basically, the hacker has access to the entire phone.

The Kaspersky report also mentions that Pegasus was discovered in 2017 thanks to Ahmed Mansoor, a UAE human rights activist, who happened to be one of its targets.

He received several SMSs which he believed to contain malicious links and then took his phone to cybersecurity experts from Citizen Lab who, with the help of another cybersecurity firm Lookout, found it to be spyware (later dubbed Pegasus).

However, the origin of the spyware can be traced back to 2016. It affects both Android and iOS devices.

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