ATLANTA – A major U.S. fuel distributor headquartered in metro Atlanta has halted all operations after being targeted in a cybersecurity attack, the company said Friday night. Alpharetta-based Colonial Pipeline said it proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat, which affected some of its information technology systems. The company describes itself as the largest refined products pipeline in the United States, and says it’s responsible for transporting more than 100 million gallons of fuel daily through a pipeline system spanning more than 5,500 miles between Texas and New ...
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Twitter owner Elon Musk said he met with Apple chief Tim Cook on Wednesday and "resolved the misunderstanding" that prompted him to declare war on the iPhone maker's App Store.
"Among other things, we resolved the misunderstanding about Twitter potentially being removed from the App Store," Musk tweeted.
"Tim was clear that Apple never considered doing so."
Musk also tweeted a video clip of "Apple's beautiful HQ" in Cupertino, California, noting that he had had a "good conversation" with Cook.
Apple did not reply to AFP requests for comment.
The world's richest person opened fire on the planet's most valuable company early this week over fees and rules at the App Store, saying Apple had threatened to oust his recently acquired social media platform.
The billionaire CEO had tweeted that Apple "threatened to withhold Twitter from its App Store, but won't tell us why."
Apple, which has not issued a public statement on the matter, typically tells developers if fixes need to be implemented in apps to conform to App Store policies.
Analysts told AFP the clash may have came down to money, with Musk irked that the App Store takes a commission on transactions such as subscriptions.
Musk has delayed the relaunch of the Twitter Blue subscription tier intended to have users pay for perks such as account verification check marks.
Twitter rolled out Blue early in November, but pulled the plug after impersonators paid for check marks to appear legitimate in what former head of safety and security Yoel Roth referred to as "a disaster."
Both Apple and Google also require social networking services on their app stores to have effective systems for moderating harmful or abusive content.
But since taking over Twitter last month, Musk has cut around half of Twitter's workforce, including many employees tasked with fighting disinformation, while an unknown number of others have quit.
He has also reinstated previously banned accounts, including that of former president Donald Trump.
Describing himself as a "free speech absolutist," Musk believes that all content permitted by law should be allowed on Twitter, and has described his actions as a "revolution against online censorship in America."
© 2022 AFP
Stephanie Frappart's appointment as match referee for Thursday's crunch World Cup clash between Germany and Costa Rica is a step forward for women in a "sexist sport", according to Costa Rica manager Luis Fernando Suarez.
Frenchwoman Frappart will make history as she leads the first all-female refereeing team at a men's World Cup in the Group E match which Germany must win to keep alive their hopes of progressing to the last 16.
Suarez said it "spoke volumes" for Frappart's commitment to reach the top level in a profession dominated by men.
"I am a great admirer of everything women have conquered and I like the fact they want to keep on conquering things," the 62-year-old Colombian told reporters.
"This is another step forward. This speaks volumes for this woman, of her commitment, especially in this sport which is a very sexist one. It's very difficult to reach the point that she has reached, I think it's good for football and a positive step for football, to show that it's opening up for everyone."
The 38-year-old Frappart will be joined by Brazil's Neuza Back and Mexico's Karen Diaz as she puts down another marker for female officials having also been the first woman to referee a men's World Cup qualifier in March.
Last week, she became the first female official at a men's World Cup when she was fourth official for the Poland v Mexico Group C tie, but on Thursday she will be more in the spotlight.
Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges also welcomed her appointment for such a high-profile game.
"I think it's great and it's a huge achievement for women globally," Borges, who is playing in his third World Cup for the Costa Ricans, told reporters.
"If she is there it's because she has all the capabilities to perform on this stage. She has done it before in big matches so I don't see why tomorrow should be an exception.
"I just hope she has a good match and that we can help her make it an easy match."
Her appointment was also backed by Germany manager Hansi Flick who said he had "100% confidence" in Frappart.
"She deserves to be here based on her performance. I hope she is equally looking forward to the game just like we are, and I hope she can deliver a good performance," he said.
Germany defender Lukas Klostermann also welcomed the move, which he described as "the most normal thing in the game."
"I have never looked prior to the game if it is a man or a woman that will be with the whistle, and I hope it will remain a normality," he said.
In the town hall of Has, in Albania's mountainous northeast, the Union Jack flag has pride of place next to a framed photo of the late Queen Elizabeth II.
It is an expression of gratitude towards the United Kingdom as the small town, dubbed 'Little London', owes everything to residents who left to find work across the Channel.
Like their Prime Minister Edi Rama, people in Has are outraged by accusations from London that they are part of a migrant "invasion".
Has residents say leaving for the UK allows them to earn a living -- but comes with the pain of uprooting, dangerous journeys and hard work which also benefits their British employers.
Albanians are now the largest single group making small-boat crossings of the Channel, according to the UK's official statistics.
More than 12,000 arrived in Britain this year compared to 50 in 2020.
Nationals of the Balkan country of 2.8 million people have been fleeing unemployment to Britain for decades.
Speaking in his office where British and Albanian flags stand side by side, Has mayor Liman Morina told AFP that 80 percent of his constituents "survive thanks to the hard and honest work of their relatives in Britain".
Klodian Kastrati, a sociologist who works in Has, said: "Emigration is an epidemic that affects all young people here contaminated by the idea of leaving for Britain in the hope of creating a better future".
The Has region is Albania's poorest and "emigration is the only real resource to support its inhabitants", he added.
In the region, which has a population of around 22,000, numerous houses owned by emigrants are being built.
There are tributes to their adopted homeland -- a bar named "Britain", cars with UK registration plates, and even a replica of a famous red telephone booth.
Mayor Morina has recently launched a tender for projects to build a statue of Queen Elizabeth.
Since Albania opened its borders in the 1990s, residents have left en masse, desperate to escape hardship and isolation after weathering brutal oppression at the hands of the country's communist dictatorship.
Nearly 1.7 million Albanians have departed, notably for Italy, Greece and the UK, official figures show.
In the first six months of the year emigrants sent home 376 million euros ($389 million), according to the national bank.
About 140,000 Albanians live in the UK where some joined Kosovo Albanians who found refuge there during the war against Serbian forces in late 1990s.
While the richest can send their children to British universities, most Albanians work in catering or construction.
Has residents put the recent peak in Channel crossings down to word of mouth.
"Rumors about the need for labour in the UK" under the combined effect of the pandemic and Brexit "have been circulating at lightning speed", Granit Gojani told AFP.
After living in London for a decade, the 31-year-old recently returned to Has to open his own bar.
"Social networks also offer more favorable prices (to cross the Channel) in inflatable boats", he said.
"The desire to believe rather than to know quickly unleashed the crowds", he added, saying the idea had spread "like a virus".
This year, the high school in Has had 40 fewer students than in 2021.
French authorities have confirmed the increase in the number of Albanians on their side of the Channel, including among smugglers, although Iraqi Kurd gangs still dominate the market.
Ani, a young man who asked to use a pseudonym, bitterly regrets having made the trip from Dunkirk in northern France.
He described it as a "hellish crossing of more than six hours aboard a full boat in a hostile sea".
Ani left in late September hoping for a well-paid job in the construction industry in London.
He held out for a month before returning home, yielding to the pleas of his mother -- who closely followed unpleasant comments about Albanians made by some British politicians and media.
"I'm not a criminal, I just dreamt of a better life in a big country", Ani told AFP, disgusted by what he described as an anti-immigrant atmosphere in Britain.
"To hell with the £4,000 ($4,789) that this trip cost me", he said.
Now, he plans to continue studying law at the University of Tirana.
Britain's Home Secretary Suella Braverman has spoken of an "invasion" of migrants and singled out "Albanian criminals", sparking anger in Tirana.
"Albanians in the UK work hard and pay tax," Prime Minister Rama tweeted in early November.
Rama said the UK should "stop discriminating... to excuse policy failures".
Some migrants are involved in illegal activities, in particular to reimburse smugglers.
But a "handful of people having problems with the law can't harm an entire community, including businessmen, teachers, doctors, construction workers and children aspiring to grow up", Gojani said.
For all the money it has brought, red phone booths and royal photos, emigration to the UK has also left a legacy of pain in Has.
Drita Meshi's family suffered a devastating loss in 2016, and she has since made it her life's aim to convince young Albanians to stay.
Her son, who moved to England to seek a better life, was killed by two British teenagers, who hurled a flare into the car where he had been sleeping. He was 32.
Every day, she mourns at his grave.
Meshi, a Has town hall employee, has two other children still living in London. She wants to attract investment so young people will have an incentive to build their lives closer to home.
"For me, emigration is a wound that is still bleeding", Meshi told AFP, with tears in her eyes.
© 2022 AFP