4 Mexican Bishops Referred to Superiors in Sex Abuse Cases

FILE – Archbishop Charles Scicluna, left, and Spanish Monsignor Jordi Bertomeu attend a meeting with the Catholic community at the Sacred Heart of Jesus church in Osorno, Chile, in this Saturday, June 16, 2018 file photo. The Vatican is sending its top two sex crimes investigators to Mexico on a fact-finding and assistance mission as the Catholic hierarchy in the world’s second-largest Catholic country begins to reckon with decades of clergy sex abuse and cover-up. (AP Photo/Fernando Lavoz)

(MEXICO CITY) — The Vatican’s representative in Mexico said Tuesday that four Catholic bishops had been referred to their superiors for alleged connections to cases of sexual abuse as part of the church’s efforts to gather information about the possible cover up of abuse.

Nuncio Franco Coppola did not provide details on the bishops’ possible roles, but noted that in January and December an email address opened to receive abuse allegations took in dozens of allegations, mostly accounts of cover ups.

Coppola made the comments at a news conference to announce that the Vatican would send its top sex abuse investigators to Mexico later in March. He acknowledged that the magnitude of the problem “eludes” them because while the Mexican Episcopal Conference says 217 priests are being investigated there are cases in which the religious order sent the complaint directly to Rome, meaning the number could be higher.

Victims of clerical sex abuse have expressed skepticism over the Vatican investigative commission that will collect statements and information about abuse in Mexico, though most said they would meet with Pope Francis’ investigators.

“Only by speaking with them can you demand results,” said Biani López-Antúnez, who was abused by a Legion of Christ school director in Cancun between the ages of 8 and 10 years old. “The results of this visit must be measured exclusively by the facts because I’m tired of the fake actions that operate at all levels of the Church.”

The Vatican announced Tuesday that two investigators — Charles Scicluna, archbishop of Malta and deputy secretary for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Jordi Bertomeu — will be in Mexico City March 20-27. They will meet with bishops, leaders of religious orders and victims who want to speak with them. They promise confidentiality.

Mexico, which has the second highest number of Catholics in the world, has been accumulating cases of abuse and cover-ups for years. Meanwhile more and more victims like López-Antúnez are speaking up in the face of Vatican claims of “zero tolerance” to say they are still waiting for justice.

The Mexican Episcopal Conference says the commission is coming at its request. It is made up by the same church officials who went to Chile in 2018 to investigate one case and returned with 2,600 pages of statements from more than 60 victims. It led Pope Francis to ask forgiveness and led to legal action.

Coppola said the investigators are coming because of the “seriousness” of the situation and because Mexico has such a large Catholic presence that it could become a model — “a good example or a bad example” — for other countries.

The investigators are allotting 30 minutes each to those who want to speak with them, so they recommend that they arrive with documents and written statements, Coppola said. The investigators will also meet with anyone from clergy to victims.

Rogelio Cabrera, president of the Mexican Episcopal Conference said the investigators will have total freedom. “We won’t even know who will go to speak with them or what topics they will discuss,” he said.

It was not clear what collaboration the church officials will have with Mexican authorities, but the conference’s secretary Alfonso Miranda said that they had met with Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero so “that each authority does its duty, the state prosecutors as well as each bishop in his diocese.”

“There has to be intervention from some other external authority to determine criminal responsibility because if it is only the ecclesiastic commission, it’s very difficult for something to happen,”said Alberto Athié, a former Mexican priest who has campaigned for more than 20 years for victims of clerical abuse. If not, the commission could become just another example of the Vatican going through the motions but not getting to the bottom of it.

For that reason, Athié believes a proposal before the Mexican Senate to create an independent investigative commission is critical, because it could “reconstruct the truth and turn over to the proper authorities all of those responsible,” including the abusers and those who covered up their actions.

The number of victims in Mexico is unknown.

The best known case in Mexico is that of Rev. Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legion of Christ religious order. The Vatican took over the Legion in 2010 after revelations that Maciel, sexually abused dozens of his seminarians, fathered at least three children and built a secretive, cult-like order to hide his double life.

The Mexican Episcopal Conference said in January that it was investigating 271 priests for abuse in the past decade, but it did not provide a number of victims.

Jesús Romero Colín, a psychologist and director of Inscide, a nongovernmental organization that supports victims of sexual abuse, said there could be thousands. Romero Colín himself was abused by a priest in his church when he was 11 years old.

“In my case, there were 20 victims and I was the only one who came forward,” he said. “Of 50 victims that have come to our organization, only two filed formal complaints and there are priests who abused 100 or 130 victims.”

Romero Colín’s case is an exception. His abuser, Carlos López Valdez was the first priest convicted in Mexico of pederasty and is currently serving a 63-year prison sentence.

He said he will meet with the investigators. “The important thing is that the survivors have a direct line to the Vatican, we skip all the intermediaries,” he said.

By MARÍA VERZA / AP March 3, 2020

Source: 4 Mexican Bishops Referred to Superiors in Sex Abuse Cases | Time

(7 Jun 2018) Some of the most prominent figures in the fight against sexual abuse in the Catholic Church are joining forces in a new international effort to end abuse and the impunity of bishops and religious superiors who enable it. The multinational initiative, End Clergy Abuse, was announced Thursday at a press conference in Geneva. More than a dozen members held up their national flags and denounced individual bishop who had allegedly mishandled a case, from the Americas to Africa and Europe. The initiative seeks to build on the momentum that clergy abuse survivors in Chile have recently obtained over the case of Bishop Juan Barros, accused of witnessing and ignoring abuse. Last month, every active bishop in Chile offered to resign for their collective failures in handling abuse cases. One of the founding members of ECA is Jose Andres Murillo, one of the Chilean abuse survivors who had denounced Barros and met with Pope Francis at the Vatican recently to discuss how to repair the damage in Chile and beyond. He told reporters that ECA recognised the progress that has been achieved in some countries thanks to the courage of victims coming forward to raise their voices. Murillo was joined by Peter Saunders, a British survivor of abuse and advocate for victims who was forced to take a leave from the pope’s sex abuse advisory commission because of his demand for greater activism. The group was in Geneva this week to meet with officials from the United Nations and received an invitation to meet with the head of the UN General Assembly later this year, suggesting their collective authority as abuse survivors and advocates had caught attention in the corridors of power. The UN committee that monitors implementation of the treaty protecting the rights of the child excoriated the Holy See in 2014 for its mishandling of abuse cases. Find out more about AP Archive: Twitter: Facebook: Google+:… Tumblr:​​ Instagram:


Researcher Who Gene Edited Babies Sentenced to Prison in China

FILE – In this Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018 file photo, He Jiankui speaks during the Human Genome Editing Conference in Hong Kong. On Tuesday, April 17, 2019, Stanford University said they had cleared three faculty members of any wrongdoing in dealings with He who claims to have helped make the world’s first gene-edited babies. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)

(BEIJING) — Three researchers involved in the births of genetically edited babies have been sentenced for practicing medicine illegally, Chinese state media said Monday.

The report by Xinhua news agency said lead researcher He Jiankui was sentenced to three years and fined 3 million yuan ($430,000).

Two other people received lesser sentences and fines. Zhang Renli was sentenced to two years in prison and fined 1 million yuan. Qin Jinzhou received an 18-month sentence, but with a two-year reprieve, and a 500,000 yuan fine.

He, the lead researcher, said 13 months ago that he had helped make the world’s first genetically edited babies, twin girls born in November 2018. The announcement sparked a global debate over the ethics of gene editing.

He also was involved in the birth of a third gene-edited baby.

The announcement sparked a global debate over the ethics of gene editing. He said he he had used a tool called CRISPR to alter a gene in embryos to try to help them resist infection with the AIDS virus.

The Xinhua report, citing court documents, said the researchers were involved in the births of three gene-edited babies to two women, confirming reports of a third baby.

The court said the the three researchers had not obtained qualification as doctors to practice medicine, pursued fame and profits, deliberately violated Chinese regulations on scientific research and crossed an ethical line in both scientific research and medicine.

It also said they had fabricated ethical review documents.

He studied in the U.S. before setting up a lab at the Southern University of Science and Technology of China in Shenzhen, a southern Chinese city that borders Hong Kong. The sentencing document accused him of colluding with Zhang and Qin, who worked at unnamed medical institutes in Guangdong province, where Shenzhen is located.

By Associated Press

Source: Researcher Who Gene Edited Babies Sentenced to Prison in China

8.06M subscribers
In a video posted on YouTube, Chinese scientist He Jiankui announced to the world that he successfully used the gene-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 to modify the DNA of two embryos before birth, essentially creating the world’s first genetically modified humans. #CNN #News



Exclusive: Hack Breaks Your Visa Card’s Contactless Limit For Big Frauds

Think that £30 limit on contactless payments is going to protect you from big thefts? Think again.

Security researchers have found a way to bypass that limit on Visa cards. Their hack, which isn’t limited to U.K. cards, could let opportunistic crooks drain accounts with a single tap, and they claim they don’t even need to steal the credit card. And little on Visa’s side is being done to address this fresh fraud threat.

Forbes let the researchers—Leigh-Anne Galloway and Tim Yunusov from cybersecurity company Positive Technologies—try it out on a personal Visa card. They extracted three successful payments of £31 ($38). On their own cards they made contactless payments as high as £101, though it’s possible more could be stolen with just a tap.

Their hacks show how contactless fraud could get a lot worse. Typically, if a bank sees multiple £30 contactless payments, the card will cease to work, as fraud detection systems suspect it’s in the hands of a thief. But if it’s possible to make large transactions in one tap, the potential for significant frauds rises.

Card thieves can now make larger payments than they could before. But now, they don’t even need to steal the card. Criminals could, for instance, take a payment from a card when the user wasn’t looking with their own mobile payments machine (though a malicious merchant would eventually be caught by banks’ fraud systems if they used the same terminal). Or even more dastardly, it’s possible to take a payment reading from a credit card using a mobile phone, send the data to another phone and make a payment on that second device going beyond the limit, the researchers claimed. For the hack to work, all the fraudsters need is to be close to their victim.

“So that means if you found someone’s card or if someone stole your card, they wouldn’t have to know your PIN, they wouldn’t have to impersonate your signature, and they could make a payment for a much higher value,” said Galloway.

There should be some limits on just how much a hacker could steal. Galloway said that while it may be that thieves could go much higher than the £101 they tested, into the hundreds or possibly thousands, fraud detection systems at the banks may be able to spot any wildly high transactions. “What we found is that actually, we can make reasonably high-value payments. So in the U.K., we’re able to make payments of £100 without any detection,” she added.

They’re still testing whether the hack would work elsewhere in the world, but Galloway confirmed it was not limited to a single country. The limit, of course, differs between nations. For instance, in the U.S., it’s considerably higher at $100.

No fix planned?

That doesn’t detract from the finding that the limit set on Visa cards can be broken. But Visa isn’t planning on updating its systems to deal with the hack. The financial industry giant argued that such a hack wouldn’t be likely to occur in the real world as the criminals would need to have their hands on the card and this doesn’t happen frequently. A spokesperson for the company went as far as to say that despite the research there wasn’t a security problem that needed addressing.

“One key limitation of this type of attack is that it requires a physically stolen card that has not yet been reported to the card issuer,” a Visa spokesperson told Forbes, noting that Visa was continually working on improving its fraud detection tech. “Likewise, the transaction must pass issuer validations and detection protocols. It is not a scalable fraud approach that we typically see criminals employ in the real world.”

Galloway disagreed that the fraudster would need to steal the card. As their tests showed, the hacker only needs to get close enough to the victim’s card for a short period of time to take a payment. This kind of “skimming” has long been proven possible, even if it relies on the card owner being caught unawares.

The Visa spokesperson also claimed that Visa’s global contactless fraud rate declined by 33% between 2017 and 2018 and in Europe by 40%. But data from UK Finance shows fraud using contactless caused £19.5 million of losses during 2018, up from £14 million in 2017. UK Finance did, however, note this was “low” in light of total spending of £69 billion over the same year. And neither UK finance nor Visa said they’d ever recorded a case of contactless fraud in which the card hadn’t been stolen.

How the contactless hack works

To carry out their hack, the researchers used a specialized piece of hardware to intercept and insert messages in the communications between the card and the reader. For instance, they could tell the card that verification—like a PIN—wasn’t needed, even though the requested amount was more than £30. They then told the terminal that verification has already been made by another means.

The researchers said these checks hadn’t been made mandatory by Visa, as they had been by its rivals. And as banks follow the guidelines laid out by Visa, it could be doing more to address the issue, Galloway said. Though Visa said that card issuers are ultimately responsible for validating transactions.

For the attack using two mobiles, Galloway explained that it was possible to use one smartphone to tap a card and effectively clone it for a short period. That first mobile takes what’s known as a “payment cryptogram” from the card. This is essentially a signature that is supposed to guarantee the authenticity of future payments. The cryptogram is sent to the second phone, which simulates the card as if it were making a mobile payment. The hackers can then go beyond the limit by doing the same interception attack as before.

Stephen Ridgway, cofounder and chief technology officer at cybersecurity startup, said that addressing such attacks at a technical level could be problematic. “There may be no ‘quick fix’ for this, even if the payment providers mandate authentication for payments over £30, if the card and reader are susceptible to a ‘man-in-the-middle’ attack that tricks the system into believing that authentication has already taken place,” he said.

As for what concerned cardholders can do to protect themselves, keeping cards physically secure is vital. For anyone worried about someone reading their card through their wallet, there are covers that can prevent such “skimming” from working. Ridgway said another cheap solution was to use a phone cover, as they often provide the same protection. And monitoring transactions could help consumers detect fraudulent transactions before banks do.

Improving bank security and fresh new regulation should also improve matters. Ridgway said that should contactless limit bypasses become common, it’s very likely that payment providers will quickly learn to recognize and block them. And incoming new EU rules could also prove a boon. From September 2019, banks will need to ensure a PIN is required once total contactless payments exceed a value of £130 or when five contactless transactions have been made in a day.

Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website. Send me a secure tip.

I cover security and privacy for Forbes. I’ve been breaking news and writing features on these topics for major publications since 2010. As a freelancer, I worked for The Guardian, Vice Motherboard, Wired and, amongst many others. I was named BT Security Journalist of the year in 2012 and 2013 for a range of exclusive articles, and in 2014 was handed Best News Story for a feature on US government harassment of security professionals. I like to hear from hackers who are breaking things for either fun or profit and researchers who’ve uncovered nasty things on the web. Tip me on Signal at 447837496820. I use WhatsApp and Treema too. Or you can email me at, or

Source: Exclusive: Hack Breaks Your Visa Card’s Contactless Limit For Big Frauds

Billionaire John De Mol Takes Facebook to Court Over Fraudulent Bitcoin Ads

John de Mol, a Dutch billionaire and media magnate, has recently sued Facebook over fraudulent bitcoin ads that showed him next to quotes about how much money he purportedly made investing in BTC with a company that was swindling users.

According to Reuters, De Mol’s lawyer has claimed the businessman, who created the reality show ‘Big Brother’ and is one of brains behind the Endemol entertainment studio, is suing the social media giant over damages to his client’s reputation, and over Facebook’s inability to stop the ads from appearing altogether.

De Mol’s lawyers would, as such, like to see Facebook automatically block ads featuring him and cryptocurrencies. The businessman’s lawyer further claimed consumers sent a total of €1.7 million (around $1.9 million) to the scammers, before Facebook reacted to complaints and removed the ads from its platform.

De Mol is also looking to get the names of those behind the fraudulent bitcoin ads, so he can hand them over to authorities. Jacqueline Schapp, one of his lawyers, argued that Facebook’s system of reacting to users reporting problems isn’t good enough.

I don’t know what reality Facebook lives in, but that doesn’t work.

Facebook’s lawyer, Jens van den Brink, revealed the company couldn’t be forced to monitor every ad that goes through it all the time, and that it’s “technically impossible” to block ads with De Mol’s name on it, as other people have the same name.

Van den Brink also added Facebook has met with Dutch financial market regulator AFM this month to discuss ways to combat scammers on its platform. It’s worth noting that Facebook banned cryptocurrency-related ads last year to stop them, but later on lifted the ban.

A judge at the Amsterdam District Court gave both parties two weeks to come up with a reasonable solution. If they fail to reach an agreement, the judge noted he would rule on the case.

This isn’t the first time celebrities are used to get users to buy into fraudulent cryptocurrency schemes through Facebook’s ads.

Source: CryptoGlobe

Crypto Dusting’ Attack Sends Illegally Obtained Bitcoin to Random Cryptocurrency Wallets

Crypto dusting attack, a hack on cryptocurrency wallets is used to distribute laundered money to the wallets of unsuspecting customers, which in turn, affects their reputation and draws the attention of law enforcement, reports DarkReading on January 8, 2019. According to DarkReading, crypto dusting is a new attack which distributes illegally obtained funds from an unknown source to the wallets of innocent cryptocurrency holders……

Source: ‘Crypto Dusting’ Attack Sends Illegally Obtained Bitcoin to Random Cryptocurrency Wallets

U.S. Trader Fined $1.1 Million and Sentenced to 15 Months for Commiting Bitcoin Fraud – Aisshwarya Tiwari


According to a report by Bloomberg, published November 13, 2018, U.S. resident named Joseph Kim has been fined $1.1 million and sentenced to 15 months in prison for orchestrating fraudulent schemes related to bitcoin (BTC), and litecoin (LTC), thus duping his employer and several other customers of their money. In 2017, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) found out that Kim had transferred $601,000 worth of bitcoin and litecoin from his employer’s cryptocurrency exchange wallet to his wallet. The misappropriation of funds was done sometime between September and November 2017, when Kim used to work for a Chicago based trading firm…………

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Florida Man Used Pinterest Template to Print Counterfeit Money, Tried to Sell It on Facebook, Police Say — INKLING LEAGUE


A Florida man looking to make a quick buck printed dozens of counterfeit bills at a library using a Pinterest template and then tried to sell the phony money on Facebook, police said. Levy Newberry, 29, printed counterfeit 5, 10, 20 and 50 dollar bills on resume paper he bought at Walmart, according to the […]

via Florida man used Pinterest template to print counterfeit money, tried to sell it on Facebook, police say — INKLING LEAGUE




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Billionaire Elon Musk’s $40 Million Tweet May Be A Blessing For Tesla After Settling Fraud Suit -Antoine Gara


A tried and true platitude for many entrepreneurs is they learn more from mistakes than success. The maxim may prove especially true when it comes to automotive and aerospace billionaire Elon Musk and his $45 billion electric car giant Tesla TSLA -13.96%. In August, Musk used his Twitter TWTR -3.26% account to float a buyout of the company for a price of $420 a share, stating he’d secured funding for the take-private and had shareholder support. The price, as it turns out, was a veiled drug joke to Musk’s then-girlfriend Grimes and was pulled mostly out of thin air……

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