While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, April 15 edition

The NSA was able to monitor money flows among some Middle Eastern and Latin American banks, the files allegedly show.
The NSA was able to monitor money flows among some Middle Eastern and Latin American banks, the files allegedly show.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

Hackers release files indicating NSA monitored global bank transfers

Hackers released documents and files that cybersecurity experts said indicated the US National Security Agency had accessed the Swift interbank messaging system, allowing it to monitor money flows among some Middle Eastern and Latin American banks.

The release included computer code that could be adapted by criminals to break into Swift servers and monitor messaging activity, said Shane Shook, a cyber security consultant who has helped banks investigate breaches of their Swift systems.

The documents and files were released by a group calling themselves The Shadow Brokers.

Shook said criminal hackers could use the information released on Friday to hack into banks and steal money in operations mimicking a heist last year of US$81 million (S$113 million) from the Bangladesh central bank.


Palestinian stabs 23-year-old female British tourist to death in Jerusalem

A Palestinian man stabbed a British woman to death near Jerusalem’s Old City, where thousands of Jewish and Christian pilgrims were gathered for religious holidays.

The 23-year-old student was rushed to hospital with serious wounds but later died, according to the emergency services.

The attack took place on a tram close to the Old City, where thousands of Christians from around the world marked Good Friday as Jews marked the week-long Passover holiday.


Sri Lanka garbage mountain buries 40 homes, kills six

At least six people were killed and 10 others injured in Sri Lanka’s capital after a massive rubbish dump buried an estimated 40 homes during the traditional new year.

A 12-year-old boy and two teenaged girls died at the Colombo National hospital where 10 others were being treated after they were rescued, hospital spokeswoman Pushpa Soysa told AFP.

She said three other people who were pulled from the wreckage of homes were already dead by the time they arrived at the hospital on Friday night, raising the confirmed death toll to six.


Afghans react to huge US bomb with shock, awe and mixed feelings

Qari Mehrajuddin first saw "lightning like a thunder storm" followed by the roar of an explosion, an all-to-familiar sound for residents in Afghanistan's war-torn Nangarhar province.

"I thought there was a bombing just outside my home," he said. In reality, the blast was around 5km away, its massive impact bigger than any before seen in the region.

American forces had dropped one of the largest conventional bombs ever used in combat on what they described as a tunnel complex used by Islamic State militants in Nangarhar's Achin district.


Disney drops first trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Disney debuted its highly-anticipated first trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi at a fan event in the United States, sending the Internet into a frenzy of excitement.

The footage from the eighth installment in the blockbuster space opera, due for release on Dec 15, was shown at the Star Wars Celebration gathering in Orlando marking the 40th anniversary of the original movie.

The 132-second clip teases Luke Skywalker’s first meeting with Rey, as he teaches her the ways of the Force, opening with the young apprentice played by Daisy Ridley on the island where fans saw her find Luke at the end of The Force Awakens.