From a Meltdown to a Spectre – This is World News in Focus


Iran: Thousands of Iranians took to the streets in more than 70 towns and cities, airing their anger over economic and livelihood issues.

The protests, which were apparently started by religious hardliners against reformist president Hassan Rouhani, began in Mashhad before the new year, and quickly spread to other parts of the country.

Many of the participants were young working class individuals who have faced economic hardship.

Some demonstrators have even chanted slogans that were targeted at the ruling clerics in the Islamic republic, including the religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The Iranian government responded by sending Revolutionary Guards Corps to the cities of Hamadan, Isfahan and Lorestan to suppress the uprising, and staged pro-government rallies throughout the country.

It has been reported that at least 21 people have died since the protests began on December 28.  Most of the casualties were civilians, but some security guards were also killed, according to officials.  Meanwhile, dozens of students have been detained and over 1,000 people have been arrested.

For more we go to


North Korea: Several international media outlets published reports suggesting that a Hwasong-12/KN17 intermediate-range missile flew off-course during a missile test last year and hit the North Korean city of Tokchon.

The city is inhabited by about 200,000 people, but no known casualties were reported. At press time, it was believed that only industrial or agricultural buildings were damaged.

Satellite images of the city taken from Google Earth between April and May last year appear to validate the missile strike claim, according to media reports.

The Diplomat, a Japan-based online magazine, broke the news, reporting the missile was launched from the Pukchang Airfield in South Pyongan Province, 40 miles north of Pyongyang.

According to a source, the missile’s first stage engines failed after approximately one minute of powered flight, and crashed in the district of Chongsin-dong in Tokchon, the magazine said.

The Diplomat’s report suggested the missile could have landed in the northern parts of the Sea of Japan if it had stayed on course.

For more we go to CNBC:


Technology: Bugs were discovered in processor chips that power most personal computers and could allow hackers to steal sensitive data, passwords, and banking information from the devices.

The hardware flaws, called Meltdown and Spectre, were discovered by academics and industrial experts.

According to the Guardian, Meltdown allows hackers to access the computer’s core memory, and hackers can exploit Spectre to trick software applications to give up secret information.

Nearly all Intel processors manufactured in the last decade contain Meltdown, whereas Spectre affects processors designed by Intel, AMD, and ARM.

Millions of computers, mobile devices, and servers running in cloud computer networks are vulnerable, regardless of what operating system they are running in.

Cloud service provides, including Google and Amazon, have updated their services.  Software developers, including Microsoft and Apple, have developed software patches or updated their systems to fix the issue, although the ad hoc solution will slow computers down by as much as 30 percent.

Intel has received at least three class-action lawsuits over the major processor vulnerabilities from plaintiffs in California, Oregon, and Indiana seeking compensation. More claims are expected to be on the way.

For more we go to Kristie Lu Stout and CNN:


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Lead-In Image (Meltdown and Spectre Icons) Courtesy of Jaiz Anuar /