Oceans: Blue heart of the planet

 

Almost three quarters of the earth’s surface is covered in water and around 90% of all the living space on Earth is contained in the oceans.

These vast reserves cradled early life and continue to be home to a wealth of extraordinary creatures. At least 230,000 unique species have been documented, although as humans have only explored a small fraction of the depths, there may be as many as two million.

As well as being home to everything from whelks to whale sharks, the oceans offer a range of critical services, including acting as a source of food and regulating the atmosphere.

In particular, the oceans are also vital as sponges for green house gases, taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere through two processes – dissolving straight into the water column and also through photosynthesis by phytoplankton.

Today, the oceans soak up around one third of all of human carbon emissions

But this comes at a terrible cost. The composition of the oceans is changing to become more acidic, threatening the tremendous diversity of creatures that call them home.

New York Times ‘hit by hackers from China’

 

Hackers from China have “persistently” infiltrated the New York Times for the last four months, the US paper says.

It said the attacks coincided with its report into claims that the family of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao had amassed a multi-billion dollar fortune.

The hackers used methods which have been “associated with the Chinese military” to target the emails of the report’s writer, the paper said.

China’s foreign ministry dismissed the accusations as “groundless”.

“To arbitrarily assert and to conclude without hard evidence that China participated in such hacking attacks is totally irresponsible,” said spokesman Hong Lei.

“China is also a victim of hacking attacks. Chinese laws clearly forbid hacking attacks, and we hope relevant parties takes a responsible attitude on this issue.”

Beijing has been accused by several governments, foreign companies and organisations of carrying out extensive cyber espionage for many years, seeking to gather information and to control China’s image.

‘China-based subterfuge’

According to the Times, the hackers first broke into their computer system in September, as the report on Mr Wen was nearing completion.

The report, which was dismissed as a “smear” by the Chinese government, said Mr Wen’s relatives had amassed assets worth at least $2.7bn (£1.7bn) through business dealings. It did not accuse the Chinese premier of wrongdoing.

China is sensitive about reports on its leaders, particularly when it comes to their wealth.

The New York Times said the hacking initially focussed on the computers of David Barboza, the paper’s bureau chief in Shanghai who wrote the report, and one of his predecessors, Jim Yardley.

Internet security firm Mandiant, which was hired by the Times to trace the attack, followed the hackers’ movements for four months, to try to establish a pattern and block them.

The hackers installed malware which enabled them to access any computer using the New York Times network, steal the password of every employee, and access 53 personal computers, mostly outside the Times offices.

They found the hackers began working for the most part at 08:00 Beijing time. They have not been able to establish how exactly the hackers broke into the system, but believe it may have been through a so-called spear-phishing attack, where an employee clicked on an email or link containing malicious code.

The security firm found that in an attempt to hide the origin of the attack, it had been routed through computers in US universities which, the paper said, “matches the subterfuge used in many other attacks that Mandiant has tracked to China”.

The Times said experts had found that the attacks “started from the same university computers used by the Chinese military to attack United States military contractors in the past”.

Mandiant’s chief security officer, Richard Bejtlich, said that “if you look at each attack in isolation, you can’t say, ‘This is the Chinese military’,” but that the similar patterns and targets of the attacks indicated a connection.

“When you see the same group steal data on Chinese dissidents and Tibetan activists, then attack an aerospace company, it starts to push you in the right direction,” he said.

The paper said no personal data of staff or customers was stolen and that no attempt was made to shut down its website.

“They could have wreaked havoc on our systems,” said chief information officer Marc Frons. But he said what they appeared to be looking for were “the names of people who might have provided information to Mr Barboza”.

There was also no evidence that sensitive emails or files on the Wen family had been accessed, or that the intruders had sought information unrelated to the Wen family, the paper said.

Patrice Motsepe giving half his family fortune to charity!

The richest black South African, Patrice Motsepe, is giving half his family fortune to charity. The mining tycoon, worth more than two-and-a-half- ­­billion dollars, is putting the money into a fund to help improve living conditions for poor South Africans. It’s part of acampaign initiated by two of the world’s wealthiest men, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

25-year-old Ehiz wins MTV Base VJ Search + N10m contract

PHOTOS: MTV VJ Search finalists riding around town in a limo

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MTV VJ Search finalists - Ehis, Kemi and Ada (6)

The three finalists for the MTV VJ Search competition, Kemi Owatemi, Ada Ogunkeye and Ehizojia Okoeguale are already living the life of celebs even before the big finals…

They were spotted last weekend in an MTV VJ Search Lincoln Navigator Limousine visiting major hangout spots in Lagos.

The finale which will take place this Friday, January 25, 2013 will see only one winner go home with a brand new car and a ten million naira contract BUT before then, its looks like MTV Base wants to give these contestants an experience of a lifetime.

Ada (1)

  Ehiz

 Kemi (2)

Ehiz (2)

Ehiz, BFS Vlogger, Stephanie and Kemi

MTV VJ Search finalists - Ehis, Kemi and Ada (7)

MTV VJ Search finalists - Ehis, Kemi and Ada (1)

MTV VJ Limo (1) MTV VJ Limo (2) MTV VJ Limo (3) MTV VJ Limo (4) MTV VJ Limo (5) MTV VJ Limo (6) MTV VJ Limo (7) MTV VJ Limo (8)  MTV VJ Limo (10)  MTV VJ Search finalists - Ehis, Kemi and Ada (2) MTV VJ Search finalists - Ehis, Kemi and Ada (3) MTV VJ Search finalists - Ehis, Kemi and Ada (5)

Genevieve relaunches clothing line?

Genevieve Nnaji - Aso Ebi by St. Genevieve (1)

After a short hiatus, top Nigerian actress Genevieve Nnaji might just be dabbling into fashion again, with her clothing line St. Genevieve.

The 33-year-old single mom posted photos of herself and four other ladies rocking similar ankara dresses, but it unclear if these are part of an upcoming collection or just besties hanging out.

Anyways, you’ve seen the ‘collection,’ are you feeling them or not?

Genevieve Nnaji - Aso Ebi by St. Genevieve (2) Genevieve Nnaji - Aso Ebi by St. Genevieve (3) Genevieve Nnaji - Aso Ebi by St. Genevieve (4) Genevieve Nnaji - Aso Ebi by St. Genevieve (5)

Ethiopia v Nigeria preview

Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi feels this year’s African Nations Cup is wide open as the perceived gap between the bigger and smaller teams continues to narrow.

The Super Eagles must beat Ethiopia at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium to ensure their progression from Group C, with previously unfancied Burkina Faso and reigning champions Zambia occupying the top spots going into the third round of group games.

Nigeria were held to draws by both nations and Keshi remains wary of Ethiopia’s potential to spring a surprise, especially considering Cape Verde’s shock win over Angola last night.

He told Nigerian newspaper Vanguard: “I am very impressed with what I have seen so far. You can no longer differentiate so much between which teams are better.

“In the old days you could predict how many goals one team was going to score against the other but now you don’t know what is going to happen.

“You might think one side will win but you don’t know. I think this is wonderful for African football.

“The competition is so tight, you look at the likes of Ethiopia and Cape Verde and some of the other countries.

“I am very impressed with their performances and the standard they are reaching.”

Ethiopia returned to the showpiece tournament for the first time since 1982 and gave themselves a slim chance of a quarter-final place by claiming a 1-1 draw with Zambia.

A 4-0 defeat to Burkina Faso followed, though, and coach Sewnet Bishaw knows the goals have to flow against Nigeria if the Antelopes are to turn the mathematics in their favour.

He told Vanguard: “We hoped that we would play again like the first game and take a point against Burkina Faso.

“We’re not going on to the field to defend, because defending will only give you one point. Now we must try to play against Nigeria to score goals and get three points.

“If we get three points, in total we’ll have four, and may qualify for the next stage.

“Not only will we just score one or two goals, we need to score lots of goals, otherwise it is a matter of dignity for our boys.”