FBI shuts down Silk Road website: The hidden internet marketplace for drugs and illegal services, which is known as the Silk Road, has been shut down by the FBI. The owner of the site, which also advertises computer hacking, has been arrested in San Francisco.
4 October 2013
The Silk Road is a website that exists in a hidden part of the internet known as Tor, which allows people anonymous access by hiding their computer’s identity and location.
For two and a half years the site has featured thousands of adverts for illegal drugs, services to hack into people’s computers, counterfeiters and even hitmen for hire. Buyers pay using Bitcoin, an online currency not tied to any government, rather than credit cards, to protect their identity and make transactions untraceable.
The FBI has closed the site down and arrested the owner, named as Ross William Ulbricht, who is 29 and also known as Dread Pirate Roberts, in San Francsco.
The FBI said undercover officers used the Silk Road to buy illegal narcotics and services, and have charged Ulbricht with conspiracy to traffic drugs and conspiracy to hack and to launder money. More than $3.5m of Bitcoin currency was also seized.
The criminal papers, issued in New York, described the Silk Road as the most sophisticated and extensive criminal marketplace on the internet today.
Sochi Olympic flame: The longest ever Olympic torch relay for the Winter Games in Sochi has begun. The flame was lit in Greece using the sun’s rays. It will travel 65,000 kilometres, including a visit to the International Space Station in November.
30 September 2013
Dressed in cream-coloured, shoulderless, pleated dresses, 21 high priestesses perform an elaborate dance routine. The actresses were surrounded by the ruins of the Temple of Hera in Olympia – the site of the ancient Olympics.
As they moved in carefully choreographed routines, the torch for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi was lit.
Tall construction cranes still hang over Sochi’s Olympic stadium. There are concerns over whether the venues will be ready for February. Despite recent backing from a leading IOC official, locals are split.
By the time the Olympic flame arrives at Sochi’s opening ceremony, it will have taken its first ever trip to space and visited nearly 3,000 different places in Russia. But questions remain as to whether it can truly inspire equality for all.
Dealing with Venezuela’s food crisis: The Venezuelan government has announced new economic measures to tackle the country’s shortages of essential goods, such as flour, milk and toilet paper. Earlier this month, Finance Minister Nelson Merentes acknowledged the government’s economic policies had been unsuccessful.
27 September 2013
It’s become common for Venezuelans to go to different supermarkets in order to buy all the items on their shopping list. Central bank figures show that out of 100 basic products, 20 are not available.
With Christmas coming, the Venezuelan authorities are worried shortages may increase. The vice-president, Jorge Arreaza, said the government was going to ensure that citizens have access to food, toys and artificial trees in order to celebrate during their holidays.
The government accuses businessmen of holding back basic products in order to force customers to buy more expensive alternatives. President Nicolas Maduro has set up a telephone hotline, 0-800-SABOTAGE, for Venezuelans to report on such illegal activities.
But analysts say cutting red tape to facilitate imports is too little, too late. They blame shortages on the government’s currency controls and inadequate domestic production of staples.
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