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From The Asian Reporter, V30, #06 (May 4, 2020), page 2.

Ash, lava shoots from Indonesia’s Anak Krakatau volcano

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia’s Anak Krakatau volcano last month spewed a column of ash 1,640 feet into the sky in the longest eruption since the explosive collapse of the island caused a deadly tsunami in 2018, scientists said. Closed-circuit TV from Indonesia’s Center for Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation showed lava flares. A level 2 alert status was put in place, the second-highest on a scale of four. There were no casualties reported. The 2018 eruption caused a tsunami along the coasts of Sumatra and Java, killing 430 people. Anak Krakatau, which means Child of Krakatau, is the offspring of the famous Krakatau volcano, whose monumental eruption in 1883 triggered a period of global cooling.

Filmmaker Obayashi, who portrayed war’s horrors, has died

TOKYO (AP) — Nobuhiko Obayashi, one of Japan’s most prolific filmmakers who devoted his works to depicting war’s horrors and singing the eternal power of movies, has died. He was 82 years old. The official site for his latest film, Labyrinth of Cinema, confirmed his passing in a statement. Obayashi was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2016, and was told he had just a few months. But he continued working, appearing frail and often in a wheelchair. Labyrinth of Cinema had been scheduled for release in Japan on the day of his death. The date was pushed back because of the coronavirus pandemic, which closed theaters. "Director Obayashi fought his sickness to the day of the scheduled release of his film. Rest in peace, director Obayashi, you who loved films so much you kept on making them," the website said. The film was showcased at the Tokyo International Film Festival last year, which honored him as a "cinematic magician" and screened several of his other works. Obayashi stayed stubbornly true to his core pacifist message through more than 40 movies and thousands of TV shows, commercials, and other video. His films have kaleidoscopic, fairytale-like imagery repeating his trademark motifs of colorful Japanese festivals, dripping blood, marching doll-like soldiers, shooting stars, and winding cobblestone roads. Obayashi is survived by his wife Kyoko Obayashi, an actress and film producer, and their daughter Chigumi, an actress. A ceremony to mourn his death was being planned, according to Japanese media, but no details are available. The Tokyo city and central government have requested that public gatherings be avoided because of the pandemic.

Sailors become biggest cluster of infections in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sailors at a Sri Lankan naval base have become the biggest cluster of coronavirus infections in the Indian Ocean island nation with 248 testing positive for the disease, authorities said. Sri Lanka’s army chief Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva said that out of 30 cases discovered within 24 hours, 22 were navy sailors and another seven had close contact with them. The virus is believed to have entered the camp on the outskirts of the capital, Colombo, when sailors were deployed to hunt down a group of drug addicts who had contact with a COVID-19 patient and were evading quarantine. The virus then spread to different parts of the country when sailors went on home leave. About 4,000 navy troops are being quarantined inside the camp while 242 relatives have been taken to four quarantine centers run by the navy. According to the newspaper Lankadeepa, with the largest circulation in the country, at least six villages were sealed off in different parts of Sri Lanka because of exposure to the sailors who returned home. About 1,300 other people have been asked to self-quarantine, the paper reported. In a bid to control the spread of the virus, the government has cancelled home leaves for troops and ordered them to return to camps.

Zoom stopped for online education as hackers strike

HONG KONG (AP) — Singapore suspended the use of Zoom for online education after hackers hijacked a lesson and showed obscene images to students. In what is known as "Zoombombing," two hackers interrupted a geography lesson a day after Singapore closed schools in partial lockdown measures to help curb local transmissions of the coronavirus. Lessons have moved online, with some teachers using video conferencing tools such as Zoom. Singapore’s Ministry of Education said it was investigating the "serious incidents" and may file police reports. "We are already working with Zoom to enhance its security settings and make these security measures clear and easy to follow," said Aaron Loh, director of the ministry’s Educational Technology Division. "As a precautionary measure, our teachers will suspend their use of Zoom until these security issues are ironed out," Loh said. Singapore is not the only country to be affected by the teleconferencing disruptions. The FBI issued a warning on March 30 advising users to avoid making Zoom meetings public after it received multiple reports of teleconferences and online classrooms being disrupted by hackers displaying hate messages or shouting profanities. Part of the "Zoombombing" problem occurs because users tend to create public meetings out of convenience. That allows anyone to join a meeting as long as they have a link for it, according to Michael Gazeley, managing director and co-founder of cybersecurity firm Network Box. "Details of conferences are often given out in a public manner, because organizers want as many attendees as possible," said Gazeley. Zoom has implemented stronger security measures, such as enabling passwords and virtual waiting rooms for users. Security researchers previously found software vulnerabilities in Zoom, particularly for Mac users, where hackers could take over a user’s webcam feed. Zoom has since fixed the issue.

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