Daily Archives: January 25, 2019

YPO to Host Largest Annual Gathering of Global CEOs in Cape Town, South Africa, 6-7 March 2019

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, Jan. 24, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — YPO, the premier leadership organization for chief executives in the world, will host more than 2,000 business leaders at YPO EDGE in Cape Town, South Africa, 6-7 March 2019. YPO EDGE is YPO’s annual showcase of thought leadership and innovation, bringing together visionaries, talented leaders, subject matter experts and unique voices from around the world to engage and inspire all that attend this invitation-only event.

“Cape Town is the ideal host city for YPO EDGE,” said Paul Berman, YPO member and Host City Chair. “The city is a renowned gateway to the worlds of business, technology, culture and innovation, and we are delighted for this opportunity to showcase all that the city has to offer to the talented group of global leaders who will be attending this premier event. YPO EDGE presents a very tangible way to showcase our country and the exciting future we have ahead of us to some of the world’s most influential business leaders.”

During a time of radical economic, technological, and societal change, leadership methods are being redefined and retooled to adapt for the future. The theme of this year’s YPO EDGE, Life of RE_, aims to provide opportunities, support and inspiration for young leaders as they reinvent themselves and their industries.

“For two remarkable days, YPO members will lean forward into the future and get connected to new ideas and fresh perspectives,” said YPO CEO Scott Mordell. “We are so looking forward to hosting these extraordinary global leaders in the wonderful city of Cape Town.”

From business sustainability to food scarcity solutions, YPO EDGE will feature many hot topics and brilliant minds including:

After the event, YPO will create a real-world example of the Life of Re_ as it plans to repurpose structural elements from the event to be donated to community projects in Langa, historically known as Cape Town’s oldest township.

“We are purposefully reinvesting in the local community as a way to thank our host city,” added YPO EDGE Chair Ravi Naidoo. “We hope this important initiative will have both a positive impact and a lasting legacy on Langa long after the grateful leaders of YPO have left our shores.”

Beverley Schäfer, Minister of Economic Opportunities in the Western Cape said: “We are delighted to be hosting the YPO EDGE delegates in Cape Town this year. The conference will give us an opportunity to showcase Cape Town and the rest of our province as a tourism, events and investment destination to a network of chief executives and thought leaders from around the globe. As a province, our focus has been on growing an economy for the future with a focus on tech, innovation and the green economy. This year’s theme of the Life of Re_ is perfectly aligned to our focus on reskilling, redefining and recycling, and I believe the YPO delegates will find a lot to be excited about here.”

Paul Berman further shares, “We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to present South Africa to this group of business leaders and demonstrate, after a period of adverse international publicity, how we are overcoming our challenges. We have a chance to show that we are a nation at one, committed to work, to build, to change and to progress.”

About YPO:
YPO is the premier global leadership organization for more than 27,000 chief executives in over 130 countries and the global platform for them to engage, learn and grow. YPO members harness the knowledge, influence and trust of the world’s most influential and innovative business leaders to inspire business, personal, family and community impact.

Today, YPO member-run companies, diversified among industries and types of businesses, employ more than 22 million people globally and generate USD9 trillion in annual revenues. For more information, visit ypo.org.

YPO Media Contacts:
Natalie Naude, nnaude@ypo.org, +27836410429 (South Africa)
Amy Reid, areid@ypo.org, +1 646 678 0575 (United States)
Serena Marchionni, smarchionni@ypo.org, +34 699 903 472 (Europe)
Vickie Tikam, vtikam@ypo.org, +60 012 331 7411 (Asia)

YPO to Host Largest Annual Gathering of Global CEOs in Cape Town, South Africa, 6-7 March 2019

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, Jan. 24, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — YPO, the premier leadership organization for chief executives in the world, will host more than 2,000 business leaders at YPO EDGE in Cape Town, South Africa, 6-7 March 2019. YPO EDGE is YPO’s annual showcase of thought leadership and innovation, bringing together visionaries, talented leaders, subject matter experts and unique voices from around the world to engage and inspire all that attend this invitation-only event.

“Cape Town is the ideal host city for YPO EDGE,” said Paul Berman, YPO member and Host City Chair. “The city is a renowned gateway to the worlds of business, technology, culture and innovation, and we are delighted for this opportunity to showcase all that the city has to offer to the talented group of global leaders who will be attending this premier event. YPO EDGE presents a very tangible way to showcase our country and the exciting future we have ahead of us to some of the world’s most influential business leaders.”

During a time of radical economic, technological, and societal change, leadership methods are being redefined and retooled to adapt for the future. The theme of this year’s YPO EDGE, Life of RE_, aims to provide opportunities, support and inspiration for young leaders as they reinvent themselves and their industries.

“For two remarkable days, YPO members will lean forward into the future and get connected to new ideas and fresh perspectives,” said YPO CEO Scott Mordell. “We are so looking forward to hosting these extraordinary global leaders in the wonderful city of Cape Town.”

From business sustainability to food scarcity solutions, YPO EDGE will feature many hot topics and brilliant minds including:

After the event, YPO will create a real-world example of the Life of Re_ as it plans to repurpose structural elements from the event to be donated to community projects in Langa, historically known as Cape Town’s oldest township.

“We are purposefully reinvesting in the local community as a way to thank our host city,” added YPO EDGE Chair Ravi Naidoo. “We hope this important initiative will have both a positive impact and a lasting legacy on Langa long after the grateful leaders of YPO have left our shores.”

Beverley Schäfer, Minister of Economic Opportunities in the Western Cape said: “We are delighted to be hosting the YPO EDGE delegates in Cape Town this year. The conference will give us an opportunity to showcase Cape Town and the rest of our province as a tourism, events and investment destination to a network of chief executives and thought leaders from around the globe. As a province, our focus has been on growing an economy for the future with a focus on tech, innovation and the green economy. This year’s theme of the Life of Re_ is perfectly aligned to our focus on reskilling, redefining and recycling, and I believe the YPO delegates will find a lot to be excited about here.”

Paul Berman further shares, “We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to present South Africa to this group of business leaders and demonstrate, after a period of adverse international publicity, how we are overcoming our challenges. We have a chance to show that we are a nation at one, committed to work, to build, to change and to progress.”

About YPO:
YPO is the premier global leadership organization for more than 27,000 chief executives in over 130 countries and the global platform for them to engage, learn and grow. YPO members harness the knowledge, influence and trust of the world’s most influential and innovative business leaders to inspire business, personal, family and community impact.

Today, YPO member-run companies, diversified among industries and types of businesses, employ more than 22 million people globally and generate USD9 trillion in annual revenues. For more information, visit ypo.org.

YPO Media Contacts:
Natalie Naude, nnaude@ypo.org, +27836410429 (South Africa)
Amy Reid, areid@ypo.org, +1 646 678 0575 (United States)
Serena Marchionni, smarchionni@ypo.org, +34 699 903 472 (Europe)
Vickie Tikam, vtikam@ypo.org, +60 012 331 7411 (Asia)

AP Exclusive: Undercover Agents Target Cybersecurity Watchdog

NEW YORK The Associated Press has found that researchers who reported the role of Israeli spyware in the targeting of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s inner circle are in turn being targeted by international undercover operatives.

Twice in the past two months men masquerading as socially conscious investors have lured members of the Citizen Lab internet watchdog group to meetings at luxury hotels to quiz them for hours about their work exposing Israeli surveillance.

Citizen Lab Director Ron Deibert on Friday described the stunts as “a new low.”

Who these operatives are working for remains a riddle, but their tactics recall those of private investigators who assume elaborate false identities to gather intelligence or compromising material on critics of powerful figures in government or business.

Full story

The researchers who reported that Israeli software was used to spy on Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s inner circle before his gruesome death are being targeted in turn by international undercover operatives, The Associated Press has found.

Twice in the past two months, men masquerading as socially conscious investors have lured members of the Citizen Lab internet watchdog group to meetings at luxury hotels to quiz them for hours about their work exposing Israeli surveillance and the details of their personal lives. In both cases, the researchers believe they were secretly recorded.

Citizen Lab Director Ron Deibert described the stunts as “a new low.”

“We condemn these sinister, underhanded activities in the strongest possible terms,” he said in a statement Friday. “Such a deceitful attack on an academic group like the Citizen Lab is an attack on academic freedom everywhere.”

Who these operatives are working for remains a riddle, but their tactics recall those of private investigators who assume elaborate false identities to gather intelligence or compromising material on critics of powerful figures in government or business.

A leading role

Citizen Lab, based out of the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, has for years played a leading role in exposing state-backed hackers operating in places as far afield as Tibet, Ethiopia and Syria. Lately the group has drawn attention for its repeated exposes of an Israeli surveillance software vendor called the NSO Group, a firm whose wares have been used by governments to target journalists in Mexico , opposition figures in Panama and human rights activists in the Middle East.

In October, Citizen Lab reported that an iPhone belonging to one of Khashoggi’s confidantes had been infected by the NSO’s signature spy software only months before Khashoggi’s grisly murder. The friend, Saudi dissident Omar Abdulaziz, would later claim that the hacking had exposed Khashoggi’s private criticisms of the Saudi royal family to the Arab kingdom’s spies and thus “played a major role” in his death.

In a statement, NSO denied having anything to do with the undercover operations targeting Citizen Lab, “either directly or indirectly” and said it had neither hired nor asked anyone to hire private investigators to pursue the Canadian organization. “Any suggestion to the contrary is factually incorrect and nothing more than baseless speculation,” NSO said.

NSO has long denied that its software was used to target Khashoggi, although it has refused to comment when asked whether it has sold its software to the Saudi government more generally.

The first message reached Bahr Abdul Razzak, a Syrian refugee who works as a Citizen Lab researcher, Dec. 6, when a man calling himself Gary Bowman got in touch via LinkedIn. The man described himself as a South African financial technology executive based in Madrid.

“I came across your profile and think that the work you’ve done helping Syrian refugees and your extensive technical background could be a great fit for our new initiative,” Bowman wrote.

Abdul Razzak said he thought the proposal was a bit odd, but he eventually agreed to meet the man at Toronto’s swanky Shangri-La Hotel on the morning of Dec. 18.

The conversation got weird very quickly, Abdul Razzak said.

Instead of talking about refugees, Abdul Razzak said, Bowman grilled him about his work for Citizen Lab and its investigations into the use of NSO’s software. Abdul Razzak said Bowman appeared to be reading off cue cards, asking him if he was earning enough money and throwing out pointed questions about Israel, the war in Syria and Abdul Razzak’s religiosity.

“Do you pray?” Abdul Razzak recalled Bowman asking. “Why do you write only about NSO?” “Do you write about it because it’s an Israeli company?” “Do you hate Israel?”

Shaken after meeting

Abdul Razzak said he emerged from the meeting feeling shaken. He alerted his Citizen Lab colleagues, who quickly determined that the breakfast get-together had been a ruse. Bowman’s supposed Madrid-based company, FlameTech, had no web presence beyond a LinkedIn page, a handful of social media profiles and an entry in the business information platform Crunchbase. A reverse image search revealed that the profile picture of the man listed as FlameTech’s chief executive, Mauricio Alonso, was a stock photograph.

“My immediate gut feeling was: This is a fake,”‘ said John Scott-Railton, one of Abdul Razzak’s colleagues.

Scott-Railton flagged the incident to the AP, which confirmed that FlameTech was a digital facade.

Searches of the Orbis database of corporate records, which has data on some 300 million global companies, turned up no evidence of a Spanish firm called FlameTech or Flame Tech or any company anywhere in the world matching its description.

No records

Similarly, the AP found no record of FlameTech in Madrid’s official registry or of a Gary Bowman in the city’s telephone listings. An Orbis search for Alonso, the supposed chief executive, also drew a blank. When an AP reporter visited Madrid’s Crystal Tower high-rise, where FlameTech claimed to have 250 sq. meters (2,700 sq. feet) of office space, he could find no trace of the firm and calls to the number listed on its website went unanswered.

The AP was about to publish a story about the curious company when, on Jan. 9, Scott-Railton received an intriguing message of his own.

This time the contact came not from Bowman of FlameTech but from someone who identified himself as Michel Lambert, a director at the Paris-based agricultural technology firm CPW-Consulting.

Lambert had done his homework. In his introductory email , he referred to Scott-Railton’s early doctoral research on kite aerial photography — a mapping technique using kite-mounted cameras — and said he was “quite impressed.”

“We have a few projects and clients coming up that could significantly benefit from implementing Kite Aerial Photography,” he said.

Like FlameTech, CPW-Consulting was a fiction. Searches of Orbis and the French commercial court registry Infogreffe turned up no trace of the supposedly Paris-based company or indeed of any Paris-based company bearing the acronym CPW. And when the AP visited CPW’s alleged office there was no evidence of the company; the address was home to a mainly residential apartment building. Residents and the building’s caretaker said they had never heard of the firm.

Whoever dreamed up CPW had taken steps to ensure the illusion survived a casual web search, but even those efforts didn’t bear much scrutiny. The company had issued a help wanted ad, for example, seeking a digital mapping specialist for their Paris office, but Scott-Railton discovered that the language had been lifted almost word-for-word from an ad from an unrelated company seeking a mapping specialist in London. A blog post touted CPW as a major player in Africa, but an examination of the author’s profile suggests the article was the only one the blogger had ever written.

When Lambert suggested an in-person meeting in New York during a Jan. 19 phone call , Scott-Railton felt certain that Lambert was trying to set him up.

But Scott-Railton agreed to the meeting. He planned to lay a trap of his own.

Anyone watching Scott-Railton and Lambert laughing over wagyu beef and lobster bisque at the Peninsula Hotel’s upscale restaurant on Thursday afternoon might have mistaken the pair for friends.

Spy vs. Spy

In fact, the lunch was Spy vs. Spy. Scott-Railton had spent the night before trying to secret a homemade camera into his tie, he later told AP, eventually settling for a GoPro action camera and several recording devices hidden about his person. On the table, Lambert had placed a large pen in which Scott-Railton said he spotted a tiny camera lens peeking out from an opening in the top.

Lambert didn’t seem to be alone. At the beginning of the meal, a man sat behind him, holding up his phone as if to take pictures and then abruptly left the restaurant, having eaten nothing. Later, two or three men materialized at the bar and appeared to be monitoring proceedings.

Scott-Railton wasn’t alone either. A few tables away, two Associated Press journalists were making small talk as they waited for a signal from Scott-Railton, who had invited the reporters to observe the lunch from nearby and then interview Lambert near the end of the meal.

The conversation began with a discussion of kites, gossip about African politicians, and a detour through Scott-Railton’s family background. But Lambert, just like Bowman, eventually steered the talk to Citizen Lab and NSO.

“Work drama? Tell me, I like drama!” Lambert said at one point, according to Scott-Railton’s recording of the conversation. “Is there a big competition between the people inside Citizen Lab?” he asked later.

Working off cue cards

Like Bowman, Lambert appeared to be working off cue cards and occasionally made awkward conversational gambits. At one point he repeated a racist French expression, insisting it wasn’t offensive. He also asked Scott-Railton questions about the Holocaust, anti-Semitism and whether he grew up with any Jewish friends. At another point he asked whether there might not be a “racist element” to Citizen Lab’s interest in Israeli spyware.

After dessert arrived, the AP reporters approached Lambert at his table and asked him why his company didn’t seem to exist.

He seemed to stiffen.

“I know what I’m doing,” Lambert said, as he put his files � and his pen � into a bag. Then he stood up, bumped into a chair and walked off, saying “Ciao” and waving his hand, before returning because he had neglected to pay the bill.

As he paced around the restaurant waiting for the check, Lambert refused to answer questions who he worked for or why no trace of his firm could be found.

“I don’t have to give you any explanation,” he said. He eventually retreated to a back room and closed the door.

Who Lambert and Bowman really are isn’t clear. Neither men returned emails, LinkedIn messages or phone calls. And despite their keen focus on NSO the AP has found no evidence of any link to the Israeli spyware merchant, which is adamant that it wasn’t involved.

The kind of aggressive investigative tactics used by the mystery men who targeted Citizen Lab have come under fire in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse scandal. Black Cube, an Israeli private investigation firm apologized after The New Yorker and other media outlets revealed that the company’s operatives had used subterfuge and dirty tricks to help the Hollywood mogul suppress allegations of rape and sexual assault.

Steered toward controversial comments?

Scott-Railton and Abdul Razzak said they didn’t want to speculate about who was involved. But both said they believed they were being steered toward making controversial comments that could be used to blacken Citizen Lab’s reputation.

“It could be they wanted me to say, Yes, I hate Israel,’ or Yes, Citizen Lab is against NSO because it’s Israeli,”‘ said Abdul Razzak.

Scott-Railton said the elaborate, multinational operation was gratifying, in a way.

“People were paid to fly to a city to sit you down to an expensive meal and try to convince you to say bad things about your work, your colleagues and your employer,” he said.

“That means that your work is important.”

Source: Voice of America

Umvoti, Sheppards looking to cause upsets in Nedbank Cup

Following the exit of Limpopo ABC Motsepe League club, Boyne Tigers from the Nedbank Cup at the hands of Bidvest Wits, it is now up to KwaZulu-Natal’s Umvoti FC and Mpumalanga’s Tjakastad Junior Sheppards to represent the SAFA Leagues in the competition.

Tigers were no match for their more experienced opponents, Bidvest Wits who hammered them 4-1 in the opening fixtures of the competition. This was their first time appearing in the annual competition that sees the overall winners representing the country at the CAF Confederations Cup.

The action continues this weekend where SAFA ABC Motsepe League clubs will be hoping to live up to the tournament’s history of clubs from lower divisions causing upsets against their more fancied opponents.

Umvoti welcome NFD club, TS Galaxy at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium at 15h00 while Sheppards have a tough assignment against PSL side, Golden Arrows at Kanyamazane Stadium at 205.

Both matches will be played on Sunday, 27 January.

Umvoti will be looking at picking up from their recent victory over XI Experience where they won 2-0 away from home.

Sheppards on the other hand will be hoping to put their 1-0 league defeat against Bakone behind them as they aim to cause an upset against their more fancied opponents.

Source: South Africa Football Association

SOUTH AFRICA PASSES PARTY FINANCING LAW

PRETORIA, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has enacted a law on financing political parties before the May legislative elections, according to the Presidency.

The law prohibits the acceptance of donations from foreign governments, foreigners and public organizations as well as donations from criminal activity.

An NGO, ‘My Vote Counts’ has welcomed the move saying it will significantly enhance transparency in a country beset with corruption.

Spokesperson for ‘My Vote Count’s, Sheilan Clarke said that parties will now be required to disclose the names and organizations that donate more than 100,000 South African rand.

She said it takes about six months between the promulgation of the law and its implementation by the electoral commission.

The NGO regretted that South African electorates will once again go to the polls without access to crucial information on party funding.

South Africans will elect their deputies and members of provincial assembles, who will then elect the head of state within the party.

The ruling African National Congress (ANC) has been in power since the end of apartheid in 1994.

Source: Nam News Network