While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, June 25 edition

The Union Flag flies near the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, June 7, 2017.
The Union Flag flies near the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, June 7, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

British lawmakers hit by 'sustained' cyber attack

Britain’s parliament was hit by a “sustained and determined” cyber attack designed to identify weak e-mail passwords, just over a month after a ransomware worm crippled parts of the country’s health service.

The House of Commons said it was working with the National Cyber Security Centre to defend parliament’s network and was confident it had protected all accounts and systems.

“Earlier this morning, we discovered unusual activity and evidence of an attempted cyber-attack on our computer network,” an e-mail sent by parliamentary authorities to those people affected said.

“Closer investigation by our team confirmed that hackers were carrying out a sustained and determined attack on all parliamentary user accounts in an attempt to identify weak passwords.”

Britain’s National Health Service was hit by a massive global ransomware worm in May which crippled the computer system and forced some hospitals to turn away patients.


Pakistan issues first transgender passport

Pakistan has issued its first third-gender passport to a transgender activist, who hailed the move as a step forward for the marginalised community in the deeply conservative South Asian country.

Farzana Riaz, a transgender in northwestern Peshawar city, said the new passport would help her campaign globally on behalf of her community, who are also known as khawajasiras – an umbrella term in Pakistan denoting a third sex that includes transsexuals, transvestites and eunuchs.

“I have received my passport which mentions my gender as X and not as a male or female,” Farzana told AFP on Saturday.


Saggy mastiff Martha named World’s Ugliest Dog

A lumbering canine with deep-set wrinkles and a gas problem, Martha the Mastiff is no beauty queen – but as the newly crowned World’s Ugliest Dog, she is still a winner.

While images of cute dogs regularly make the social media rounds, this weekend pooches with more unusual features got their moment to shine at the World’s Ugliest Dog Competition in Petaluma, California.

With an air of languid confidence Martha pawed her way past her 13 competitors, with judges saying they were impressed by what appeared to be “300 pounds of skin” hanging off her big-boned, 57kg body.


Formula One: ‘Fantastic’ Hamilton leaves Lauda stunned

Mercedes team boss Niki Lauda said he had never seen anything like it after watching Lewis Hamilton scorch to pole position in the final seconds of Saturday’s qualifying for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The three-time champion Austrian, who is Mercedes’ non-executive chairman, also praised the team for their work in turning around a car that had struggled on Friday, when Hamilton was 10th, into the fastest just 24 hours later.

“The team really did a fantastic job to set the car up in the right way and Lewis with his lap here – I have never seen anything like it,” said the 68-year-old Austrian.


Football: Demotivated Spanish defender Arbeloa quits

Spanish international defender Alvaro Arbeloa revealed he was quitting football despite the possibility of playing in China or the United States.

The 34-year-old former Real Madrid, Liverpool and West Ham player told Spanish sports daily Marca he has lost his motivation.

“The time has come to say goodbye. I’ve decided to hang up my studs and quit football,” Arbeloa, who won the World Cup and two European championship titles with Spain, told Marca.