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COVID-19: An update on the success of Coronavirus treatment

Izunna Okpala

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There is hope in the fight against Covid-19. New evidence now exist in the United States of America supporting this procedure. Physicians in the Kansas City area, including Joe Brewer, Dan Hinthorn and Dr. Jeff Colyer, continue to see a lot of patients and some have shown progress. Hydroxychloroquine has been applied to treatment options by major medical facilities including the University of Washington and Mass General.

In addition, before this, according to a study conducted by French researchers on 80 cases who recovered from the virus within six days of treatment, a combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin has been found effective in treating patients with the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Hydroxychloroquine is an anti-malarial and anti-inflammatory medication used to treat autoimmune conditions such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, although it has been tested against symptoms of the novel coronavirus with some results.

Bahrain is one of the first countries to study hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 medication, having first used the drug on 26 February, two days after the first case of coronavirus was reported.

Countries around the world are increasing access to hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, similar compounds that are synthetic versions of quinine, which derive from cinchona trees and have been used to treat malaria for decades.

Considering the urgent therapeutic need to control this disease with efficient and safe medicines, and considering the negligible cost of both hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, we believe that this therapeutic approach should be tested urgently by medical practitioners both to prevent the spread of the disease and to treat patients until serious irreversible respiratory complications.

Even now, medical experts are still questioning the use of chloroquine as a drug. Usage of chloroquine for symptomatic treatment of coronavirus has not been licensed by the World Health Organisation. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently researching a way to make the drug available for emergency use in the United States, but in a way that gives the government data about whether it is safe and effective.

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Malicious Virus Programmer, Hamza Bendelladj Sentenced To Death

Izunna Okpala

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Hamza Bendelladj

Recounting the ordeal of an Algerian hacker and developer of malicious SpyEye malware Hamza Bendelladj who was sentenced by a US court to 15 years in prison and three years of supervised release on charges related to his role in developing and distributing the virus.

Bendelladj, 27, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to commit wire and bank fraud, 10 counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiring to commit computer fraud and abuse, and 11 counts of computer fraud and abuse. He had faced 60 years prison and a $24m fine.

Bendelladj’s court-appointed attorney, Jay L. Strongwater of Atlanta, told Al Jazeera that his client pleaded guilty and accepted responsibility for his actions.

His crimes are estimated to have cost at least $100m.

Bendelladj and codefendant Russian Aleksandr Andreevich Panin formed a computer-hacking crime ring that set out to steal money from bank accounts of individuals and institutions by infecting millions of computers in the US.

Panin had also pleaded guilty to the charges against him and was sentenced on Wednesday to nine years and six months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release.

John Horn, US attorney for the northern district of Georgia, said in a press statement that “it is difficult to overstate the significance of this case, not only in terms of bringing two prolific computer hackers to justice, but also in disrupting and preventing immeasurable financial losses to individuals and the financial industry around the world”.

Bendelladj was travelling from Malaysia to Algeria when he arrested in transit in Thailand in 2013 and later extradited to the US.

The Justice Department statement quoted Horn as saying: “Until dismantled by the FBI, SpyEye was the pre-eminent malware banking Trojan from 2010-2012, used by a global syndicate of cybercriminals to infect more than 50 million computers, causing close to $1bn in financial harm to individuals and financial institutions around the globe”.

Source: Aljazeera

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Tim Cook explains to Apple employees why he met with Trump

Izunna Okpala

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trump and tim cook

In a series of answers to questions posted on Apple’s internal employee info service Apple Web today, CEO Tim Cook commented to employees on some hot-button topics

We obtained some of the answers to interesting questions about a few topics, including the fate of the Mac — but more on that later.

First up is probably the most topical: Why did he feel it was important to meet with President-elect Trump? The short answer: You have to show up to have a say.

Cook was part of a round table of tech leaders that met with Trump last week. The group included Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Larry Page of Google, Satya Nadella of Microsoft and others. There has been a lot of discussion about the event, but the most prominent difference of opinion among commentators was whether it was worth engaging Trump in this manner at all — given that the publicly expressed values of many of these leaders were at such odds with statements he has made during and after his campaign.

Cook’s case in the internal communication, which we verified is legitimate, is that there was more value in engaging than there was in not doing so. “Personally, I’ve never found being on the sideline a successful place to be,” writes Cook. “The way that you influence these issues is to be in the arena. So whether it’s in this country, or the European Union, or in China or South America, we engage. And we engage when we agree and we engage when we disagree. I think it’s very important to do that because you don’t change things by just yelling. You change things by showing everyone why your way is the best. In many ways, it’s a debate of ideas.”

So much for the “take your tech and stay home” camp. The response was given, specifically, to the following question: “Last week you joined other tech leaders to meet President-elect Donald Trump. How important is it for Apple to engage with governments?”

In his response, Cook says that there are specific issues that Apple cares about deeply and that it would need to become an advocate for those things.

“It’s very important [to engage]. Governments can affect our ability to do what we do,” he responded. “They can affect it in positive ways and they can affect in not so positive ways. What we do is focus on the policies. Some of our key areas of focus are on privacy and security, education. They’re on advocating for human rights for everyone, and expanding the definition of human rights. They’re on the environment and really combating climate change, something we do by running our business on 100 percent renewable energy.”

Though this is far from a statement of intent, and he doesn’t mention them specifically, Cook’s strong statement does touch on a variety of topics that abut controversial Trump stances.

“We very much stand up for what we believe in. We think that’s a key part of what Apple is about. And we’ll continue to do so,” he concludes.

During the close reading and aftermath of the meeting, Cook’s dour expression (seen above) at the table became a meme of the moment. His stoic mien somehow transmitting what most people hoped was the attitude at the table: “I can’t believe I have to be here but someone has to do it.” Cook’s statements to employees seem to back that up.

No one knows for sure whether President-elect Trump will in fact enact many of the sweeping changes to immigration policy, cybersecurity and environmental protection laws that he promised during the campaign — but his cabinet selections so far are not doing much to disabuse people of that notion. If there is going to be a healthy counter-balancing of those policies from the private sector, then CEOs like Cook must be willing to take a firm stance publicly.

I was able to get a hold of this internal posting and it’s out there now, but it would be encouraging (as argued well recently by Kara Swisher) to see these kinds of statements made “on the record” — and for them to be made by more people at that table. I await your calls.

Cook also talked about the future of the Mac desktop and Apple’s differentiating factor in a more and more crowded tech sector, but I’ll have more on that in a bit.

Here’s the posting in full:

Last week you joined other tech leaders to meet President-elect Donald Trump. How important is it for Apple to engage with governments? 

It’s very important. Governments can affect our ability to do what we do. They can affect it in positive ways and they can affect in not so positive ways. What we do is focus on the policies. Some of our key areas of focus are on privacy and security, education. They’re on advocating for human rights for everyone, and expanding the definition of human rights. They’re on the environment and really combating climate change, something we do by running our business on 100 percent renewable energy.

And of course, creating jobs is a key part of what we do by giving people opportunity not only with people that work directly for Apple, but the large number of people that are in our ecosystem. We’re really proud that we’ve created 2 million jobs, just in this country. A great percentage of those are app developers. This gives everyone the power to sell their work to the world, which is an unbelievable invention in and of itself.

We have other things that are more business-centric — like tax reform — and something we’ve long advocated for: a simple system. And we’d like intellectual property reform to try to stop the people suing when they don’t do anything as a company.

There’s a large number of those issues, and the way that you advance them is to engage. Personally, I’ve never found being on the sideline a successful place to be. The way that you influence these issues is to be in the arena. So whether it’s in this country, or the European Union, or in China or South America, we engage. And we engage when we agree and we engage when we disagree. I think it’s very important to do that because you don’t change things by just yelling. You change things by showing everyone why your way is the best. In many ways, it’s a debate of ideas.

We very much stand up for what we believe in. We think that’s a key part of what Apple is about. And we’ll continue to do so.

Source: Techcrunch

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Oracle senior staff resigns after CEO joins Trump Team

Izunna Okpala

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Safra Catz

A senior staff member of Oracle Corp., George A. Polisner, has resigned after the enterprise tech titan’s co-CEO, Safra Catz, joined the Trump transition team and stated her enthusiasm for the president-elect.

As we reported last week, Trump recently convened a meeting of tech leaders and his children at Trump Tower in New York.

Prior to the meeting Catz issued a public statement that said:

“I plan to tell the president-elect that we are with him and will help in any way we can. If he can reform the tax code, reduce regulation and negotiate better trade deals, the U.S. technology industry will be stronger and more competitive than ever.”

After the meeting, Catz accepted an invitation to join Trump’s transition team. 

A veteran of enterprise tech, and a progressive political strategist, Polisner previously held a wide variety of positions at Oracle. During different turns there since 1993, he had worked at Oracle in product development, customer advocacy, program management and most recently managed cloud services.

He made his resignation known yesterday to the company and the public by publishing his letter on LinkedIn. There he criticized Trump for: planning to dismantle social security and medicare; disrespecting Gold Star military families; and  “stok[ing] fear, hatred and violence toward people of color, Muslims and immigrants,” among other things.

Source: Techcrunch

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