While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, March 8 edition

A worker at the CIA sweeping the foyer clean at the CIA Headquarters, Langley, Virginia, USA, on March 3, 2005.
A worker at the CIA sweeping the foyer clean at the CIA Headquarters, Langley, Virginia, USA, on March 3, 2005.PHOTO: EPA

WikiLeaks says it has secret CIA hacking tools

Anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks on Tuesday (March 7) said it had obtained a secret trove of hacking tools used by the CIA to break into or circumvent the security of phones, communication apps and other devices, and published confidential documents describing those programmes.

Among the most noteworthy WikiLeaks claims are that the Central Intelligence Agency, in partnership with other US and foreign agencies, has been able to bypass the encryption on popular messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Telegram and Signal, by hacking phones that use Google Inc’s Android platform to collect audio and message traffic before encryption is applied.

Reuters could not immediately verify the contents of the published documents, but several contractors and private cyber security experts said the materials, dated between 2013 and 2016, appeared to be legitimate.

The information in what WikiLeaks said were 7,818 web pages with 943 attachments appears to represent the latest in a string of breaches in recent years of classified material from US intelligence agencies.  Experts differed over how much the disclosures will damage US cyber espionage.


Malaysia says it foiled attack on Arab royalty ahead of Saudi king's visit

Malaysia said on Tuesday (March 7) that suspected militants from Yemen arrested late last month ahead of a visit by Saudi King Salman had been planning an attack on Arab royalty.

A senior Malaysian police source said the four suspects belonged to Yemen's Iran-allied Houthi movement, which hails from a Shi'ite Muslim sect and has been fighting other Yemeni forces backed by a Saudi-led military coalition for two years.

Malaysian police had previously said the men were suspected of links to militant groups including Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which is Sunni Muslim and known by the Arabic acronym Daesh.


White rhino shot dead in French zoo, horn sawn off

Poachers broke into a French zoo, shot dead a rare white rhinoceros and sawed off its horn in what is believed to be the first time in Europe that a rhino in captivity has been attacked and killed.

The four-year-old male white rhino called Vince was found dead in his enclosure by his keeper at the Thoiry zoo and wildlife park about 50 km west of Paris on Tuesday (March 7) morning after an overnight break-in, the zoo said.

Police, who were investigating the crime, said the rhino had been shot three times in the head and one of its horns had been sawn off, probably with a chainsaw.


Olympics: IOC’s Frank Fredericks steps down as 2024 Games bid chief

International Olympic Committee member Frank Fredericks stepped down on Tuesday (March 8) as head of the team evaluating bids to host the 2024 Olympics, as an IOC ethics commission investigates alleged payments to him before the awarding of the 2016 Games to Rio.

Namibian Fredericks, a four-time Olympic sprint silver medallist over 100 and 200 metres, denied any wrongdoing and said he was moving aside so as not to be a distraction in the investigation, which was launched last Friday.

On Monday, he stepped down as head of a task force at the international athletics’ federation (IAAF).


Boxing: Mayweather taunts McGregor: 'Let's make it happen'

Floyd Mayweather taunted Conor McGregor over his failure to agree terms on their potential superfight on Tuesday (March 7), insisting once more he was ready to climb into a ring with the mixed martial arts star.

"If Conor McGregor really wants this fight to happen, stop blowing smoke up everybody's ass," Mayweather told ESPN, accusing the Irishman of stalling on a deal.

"Sign the paper. Sign the paper. You said you were boss, so just sign the paper and let's make it happen."