Global Autonomous Corporation (GAC), a Subsidiary of Alpine 4 Holdings Nasdaq: (ALPP), Establishes a Presence in the United Arab Emirates

PHOENIX, AZ / ACCESSWIRE / May 8, 2023 / Alpine 4 Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:ALPP), a leading operator and owner of small market businesses, announces that its subsidiary, Global Autonomous Corporation (GAC) has selected Dubai, United Arab Emirates, as its first international point. The Company is working towards the deployment of the GAC Fulfillment Delivery Network in and around Dubai, dubbed “The City of the Future,” as they have a proven willingness to adopt new and emerging concepts and technologies. The Alpine 4 Executive Team are in Dubai May 8th-15th to establish a new office in the heart of Dubai’s technology epicenter, near the Burj Khalifa, that will support strategic business functions, including kiosk operations, flight management and business infrastructure. Additionally, Alpine 4 /GAC’s UAE based consultants, Ghani Consulting, have set up meetings with top officials within several agencies and authorities including: the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Dubai Smart City and Silicon Oasis, Dubai Roads and Transportation Authority, Dubai Police Ports, Dubai Small Medium Enterprise, H.E Helal Saeed Almarri, General Manager of Dubai’s Economy and Tourism Authority, and the Dubai Future Foundation to further the initiatives of GAC. As GAC expands into Dubai and throughout the UAE, the Company seeks to add Dubai’s highly skilled local workforce as it aims to immediately add executives and support staff to meet GAC’s growth initiatives, subsequently supporting the local economy of Dubai.

Kent Wilson, CEO of Alpine 4 and Global Autonomous Corporation had this to say, “After visiting Dubai in late September 2022, the Company concluded that Dubai, and by a larger part, the UAE, represents an ideal host city and country for the inaugural deployment of the GAC Mesh Fulfillment Network due to their regulatory desire and potential user base to see these technologies deployed. We also understood the magnitude of choosing Dubai as the first city to receive the GAC Mesh Fulfillment Network, as the City’s commitment to embracing new technologies is second to none around the world. This is the perfect environment to showcase our Vayu Aerospace American Made G1 Drones to the UAE and future US-2’s. I want to personally say thank you to all the hard-working groups that have brought us to this point; we look forward to a long and prosperous relationship with Dubai and the UAE.”

To lean more about the various agencies and authorities the Alpine Team will be meeting with, visit:

https://www.dcaa.gov.ae/

https://www.dubaifuture.ae/

https://www.dsoa.ae/

https://www.rta.ae/wps/portal/rta/ae/home?lang=en

https://sme.ae/Default/en

https://www.dubaitourism.gov.ae/en/

About Global Autonomous Corporation: Global Autonomous Corporation’s (GAC) mission is direct and resolute. Create a simple, pleasant, and meaningful user experience to deliver goods autonomously.

https://gacusa.global/

About Alpine 4 Holdings: Alpine 4 Holdings, Inc. is a Nasdaq traded Holding Company (trading symbol: ALPP) that acquires business, wholly, that fit under one of several portfolios: Aerospace, Defense Services, Technology, Manufacturing or Construction Services as either a Driver, Stabilizer or Facilitator from Alpine 4’s disruptive DSF business model. Alpine 4 works to vertically integrate the various subsidiaries with one another even if from different industries. Alpine 4 understands the nature of how technology and innovation can accentuate a business, focusing on how the adaptation of new technologies, even in brick-and-mortar businesses, can drive innovation. Alpine 4 also believes that its holdings should benefit synergistically from each other, have the ability to collaborate across varying industries, spawn new ideas, and create fertile ground for competitive advantages.

Four principles at the core of our business are Synergy. Innovation. Drive. Excellence. At Alpine 4, we believe synergistic innovation drives excellence. By anchoring these words to our combined experience and capabilities, we can aggressively pursue opportunities within and across vertical markets. We deliver solutions that not only drive industry standards, but also increase value for our shareholders.

Contact: Investor Relations

investorrelations@alpine4.com

www.alpine4.com

Forward-Looking Statements: Certain statements and information in this press release may constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), and the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The information disclosed in this press release is made as of the date hereof and reflects Alpine 4 most current assessment of its historical financial performance. Actual financial results filed with the SEC may differ from those contained herein due to timing delays between the date of this release and confirmation of final audit results. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements including, without limitation, the risks, uncertainties, including the uncertainties surrounding the current market volatility, and other factors the Company identifies from time to time in its filings with the SEC. Although Alpine 4 believes that the assumptions on which these forward-looking statements are based are reasonable, any of those assumptions could prove to be inaccurate and, as a result, the forward-looking statements based on those assumptions also could be incorrect. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements contained in this release are made as of the date hereof, and Alpine 4 disclaims any intention or obligation to update the forward-looking statements for subsequent events.

Other factors that may affect our businesses include global economic trends, competition and geopolitical risks, including changes in the rates of investment or economic growth in key markets we serve, or an escalation of sanctions, tariffs or other trade tensions between the U.S. and China or other countries, and related impacts on our businesses’ global supply chains and strategies; market developments or customer actions that may affect demand and the financial performance of major industries and customers we serve, such as secular, cyclical and competitive pressures in our Technology, Construction and Manufacturing businesses; pricing, the timing of customer investment and other factors in these markets; demand for our products or other dynamics related to the COVID-19 pandemic; conditions in key geographic markets; and other shifts in the competitive landscape for our products and services; changes in law, regulation or policy that may affect our businesses, such as trade policy and tariffs, regulation and the effects of tax law changes; our decisions about investments in research and development, and new products, services and platforms, and our ability to launch new products in a cost-effective manner; our ability to increase margins through implementation of operational changes, restructuring and other cost reduction measures; the impact of actual or potential failures of our products or third-party products with which our products are integrated, and related reputational effects; the impact of potential information technology, cybersecurity, or data security breaches at Alpine 4, our subsidiaries or third parties; and the other factors that are described in “Risk Factors” in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2022, as updated in our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q.

SOURCE: Alpine 4 Holdings, Inc.

Recursion Enters into Agreements to Acquire Cyclica and Valence to Bolster Chemistry and Generative AI Capabilities

SALT LAKE CITY and TORONTO and MONTRÉAL, May 08, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Recursion (NASDAQ: RXRX), a leading clinical stage TechBio company decoding biology to industrialize drug discovery, today announced it has signed agreements to acquire two companies in the AI-enabled drug discovery space: Cyclica and Valence.

“Recursion has pioneered the massive, parallel generation of -omics data with machine learning in order to map and navigate biology to discover new medicines faster. The strategic acquisitions of Cyclica and Valence add industry-leading capabilities in digital chemistry, as well as machine-learning and artificial intelligence, which combined with our large-scale automated wet-laboratories and supercomputing capabilities, enables us to deploy what I believe is the most complete, technology-enabled drug discovery solution in the biopharma industry. We look forward to showing the world proof of the compounding benefit of this full-stack approach through the rapid acceleration of our pipeline and partnerships. Amidst a rapidly accelerating global race for technology talent, these acquisitions cement Recursion as the center of gravity for the best and brightest in ML and AI who want to reimagine how drugs are discovered,” said Chris Gibson, Ph.D., Co-Founder and CEO of Recursion. “I am so excited to welcome the Cyclica and Valence teams to Recursion, especially at such a dynamic moment in history when machine learning and artificial intelligence are creating so much rapid change across every industry.”

Cyclica, headquartered in Toronto, has built two highly differentiated products in the digital chemistry space which will be integrated into the RecursionOS. MatchMaker™ is an AI-enabled deep learning engine that predicts the polypharmacology of small molecules as the foundation for small molecule drug discovery. It is able to generalize across the proteome and uses both AlphaFold2 structures and homology models. POEM™ (Pareto Optimal Embedding Model) is a unique similarity-based property prediction model. In contrast to other AI prediction models, POEM uses multiple types of molecular fingerprints to describe molecules, providing a much richer measure of similarity that leads to greater accuracy.

“Cyclica and Recursion both believe in the value of industrializing drug discovery,” said Naheed Kurji, CEO and Co-Founder of Cyclica. “Combining our proteome-wide prediction of small molecule-target interactions into Recursion’s data universe will create one of the largest fit-for-purpose biological and chemical datasets in the drug discovery space. Together, I believe Recursion will have an immense impact on human health in the years to come.”

Valence, headquartered in Montréal at Mila, the world’s largest deep learning research institute, is committed to unlocking the full potential of deep learning in the drug discovery process. The company has pioneered the application of low-data learning in drug design, unlocking the ability to design differentiated small molecules with improved properties and function from datasets too small, sparse, or noisy for traditional deep learning methods. Valence has an unparalleled track record of innovation in molecular machine learning, including best-in-class methods for AI-enabled structural biology, generative chemistry, and multi-parametric optimization, ultimately enabling the design of best-in-class or first-in-class chemistry against challenging biology.

“The integration of Valence’s powerful AI-based chemistry engine into Recursion’s diverse and data-rich operating system will help unlock the true power of AI-first digital chemistry and drug discovery,” said Daniel Cohen, CEO and Co-founder at Valence Discovery. “Recursion is a leader in technology-enabled drug discovery with a proven track record of leveraging data to uncover novel biology, and I’m thrilled for our teams to join forces and combine our respective strengths to rapidly advance new medicines to patients who need them.”

Joining forces with Recursion’s Montréal deep learning research office, Valence will become an artificial intelligence and machine learning research center to be led by Daniel Cohen with continued advisory from Yoshua Bengio.

“The acquisition of Valence gives Recursion the opportunity to create a true center of excellence for some of the most compelling AI/ML research in the world,” said Yoshua Bengio, deep learning pioneer and scientific advisor to both Recursion and Valence. “With this newly integrated group housed in the Mila ecosystem, Recursion’s team of researchers in AI and ML for drug discovery reaches a critical mass at a crucial time in the development of new AI algorithms for scientific discovery.”

Terms of the Acquisitions

Recursion has entered into agreements to acquire Cyclica for a purchase price of $40 million and Valence for a purchase price of $47.5 million, in each case subject to customary closing and post-closing purchase price adjustments. The purchase price in the acquisitions will be payable in the form of shares of Recursion Class A common stock, shares of a subsidiary of Recursion exchangeable for shares of Recursion’s Class A common stock and the assumption of certain outstanding Valence and Cyclica options. In certain limited circumstances, Recursion may pay nominal cash consideration to Valence and Cyclica shareholders in lieu of such exchangeable shares or Recursion Class A common stock. Recursion expects no material change to its cash runway as a result of these acquisitions. Recursion expects both acquisitions to be completed in the second quarter of 2023, subject to applicable closing conditions.

About Recursion
Recursion is a clinical stage TechBio company leading the space by decoding biology to industrialize drug discovery. Enabling its mission is the Recursion OS, a platform built across diverse technologies that continuously expands one of the world’s largest proprietary biological and chemical datasets. Recursion leverages sophisticated machine-learning algorithms to distill from its dataset a collection of trillions of searchable relationships across biology and chemistry unconstrained by human bias. By commanding massive experimental scale — up to millions of wet lab experiments weekly — and massive computational scale — owning and operating one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world, Recursion is uniting technology, biology and chemistry to advance the future of medicine.

Recursion is headquartered in Salt Lake City, where it is a founding member of BioHive, the Utah life sciences industry collective. Recursion also has offices in Toronto, Montréal and the San Francisco Bay Area. Learn more at www.Recursion.com, or connect on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About Cyclica
As a neo-biotech, Cyclica is efficiently advancing an industry-leading, robust and sustainable drug discovery portfolio focused on CNS, oncology, and auto-immune diseases. Cyclica has built the only generalizable platform across the entire proteome, expanding the target space for low-data targets, including AlphaFold2 structures, PPIs, and mutant oncogenic targets. Cyclica has brought together a diverse and experienced team of biologists, chemists, computer scientists, and business professionals who are collectively passionate about changing the drug discovery paradigm. By exploring the unexplored, and drugging the undrugged, Cyclica strives to impact patient health like never before. For more information, please visit: www.cyclicarx.com.

About Valence Discovery
Valence is harnessing a revolution in computation to improve human health. The company is a leader in developing and deploying AI and physics-based technologies to enable the design of differentiated small molecules with improved properties and function. Following successful partnerships with leading biotech and pharmaceutical companies, and an unparalleled track record of innovation featured in top AI journals and conferences, Valence has built a team of interdisciplinary industry veterans and computational experts focused on rapidly advancing a portfolio of internal drug discovery programs. Valence launched publicly in 2021, is supported by leading biotech and deeptech investors, and is headquartered in Montréal. To learn more, please visit www.valencediscovery.com.

Media Contact

Media@Recursion.com

Investor Contact
Investor@Recursion.com

Forward-Looking Statements
This document contains information that includes or is based upon “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including, without limitation, those regarding the timing and completion of the Cyclica and Valence acquisitions and the outcomes and benefits expected from such acquisitions; Recursion OS and other technologies; business and financial plans and performance, including cash runway; and all other statements that are not historical facts. Forward-looking statements may or may not include identifying words such as “plan,” “will,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “believe,” “potential,” “continue,” and similar terms. These statements are subject to known or unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in such statements, including but not limited to: challenges inherent in pharmaceutical research and development, including the timing and results of preclinical and clinical programs, where the risk of failure is high and failure can occur at any stage prior to or after regulatory approval due to lack of sufficient efficacy, safety considerations, or other factors; our ability to leverage and enhance our drug discovery platform; our ability to obtain financing for development activities and other corporate purposes; the success of our collaboration activities; our ability to obtain regulatory approval of, and ultimately commercialize, drug candidates; our ability to obtain, maintain, and enforce intellectual property protections; cyberattacks or other disruptions to our technology systems; our ability to attract, motivate, and retain key employees and manage our growth; inflation and other macroeconomic issues; and other risks and uncertainties such as those described under the heading “Risk Factors” in our filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including our Annual Report on Form 10-K. All forward-looking statements are based on management’s current estimates, projections, and assumptions, and Recursion undertakes no obligation to correct or update any such statements, whether as a result of new information, future developments, or otherwise, except to the extent required by applicable law.

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8833750

Italy calls for ‘clearer’ apology from France

Rome has called for a “clearer” explanation after French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said last week that Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni had been “lying” about her government’s capacity to handle mass migration.

“Clearer words are needed,” Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani told RAI broadcaster on Sunday. “I hope that the French government changes its position and that an apology comes that represents a contrast to the position adopted by the interior minister.” He added that if such comments come, he would be “happy to accept them.”

The political fracas between the two EU nations was sparked by comments from Darmanin on Thursday, in which he told RMC Radio that Italy’s right-wing prime minister had proven to be “unable to solve the migration problems on which she was elected.”

Darmanin said he believed Meloni had been “lying” to voters when she campaigned for election last year on a platform which included a pledge to drastically reduce migration. Meloni – Italy’s first female prime minister – assumed office last October after a right-wing bloc led by her Brothers of Italy party won a solid majority in both houses of the country’s parliament.

Tajani, a member of the conservative Forza Italia party, canceled a scheduled diplomatic visit to Paris on short notice on Thursday in a gesture of protest against what he described as an “insult” to Italy.

French government spokesperson Olivier Veran attempted to extinguish the political firestorm on Friday, telling CNews that Darmanin’s comments had not been intended to provoke Rome. A day earlier, Paris also issued a statement in which it underlined its desire to work closely with Italy’s government on various issues, including migration.

In November, Darmanin warned of “extremely severe consequences” for France’s bilateral relations with Meloni’s government. His comments came after Paris suspended an agreement to take in 3,500 refugees that were in Italy at the time after Rome refused to permit a migrant rescue ship to disembark on its coastline.

Italy, however, maintains it has taken in its fair share of migrants. In April, Rome declared a six-month state of emergency following a rise in migrants crossing the Mediterranean from North Africa. Italian Sea and Civil Protection Minister Nello Musumeci estimated last month that there has been a 300% rise in migrant flows into the country, which he described as an “absolute emergency.”

Source: Russia Today

OPINION – The challenge of the migrant problem in Europe

*The author is a faculty member at Sakarya University's International Relations Department and works at the Center for Diaspora Studies. ISTANBUL The largest migration movement in the modern period occurred during World War II. More than 50 million people were forcibly uprooted from their habitats and forced to migrate between 1939 and 1950. In 2014, for the first time since World War II, the number of displaced people worldwide exceeded 50 million. In 2023, more than 90 million people were forced to migrate due to conflicts, violence, human rights violations, and torture. After the establishment of the UNHCR, in 1951, the legal foundation for these efforts was provided by the Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees. In addition to the primary texts regulating international forced migration and refugee rights such as the Geneva and New York Conventions, many other regional or national conventions provide complementary protection. With the collapse of the Soviet regime and the acceleration of globalization, a series of conventions such as the Dublin Regulation (1990), the Amsterdam Treaty (1997), the Tampere Summit (1999), and the Malta Declaration (2002) have been implemented in the EU region to regulate the asylum claims emerging in Europe. Although the EU does not have a common migration and refugee policy, many joint agreements were signed between 2000 and 2020. The international migration regime, which emerged on humanitarian grounds in 1951, had become insufficient to serve human rights and the security of people, especially after the 2000s, when migration was seen as a security problem and securitized in the EU region. EU member states have introduced a series of new regulations that have tried to turn the EU region into an insular, almost protected fortress. The divergence between Universal Human Rights Law and European Law On the one hand, the EU is trying to establish a Common European Asylum System (CEAS) that is relatively respectful of human rights, such as the Malta Declaration (2002), the European Refugee Fund (2007), and the Lisbon Treaty (2007). On the other hand, EU countries such as Germany, France, the Netherlands, Hungary, and Greece are trying to deprive people of their fundamental human rights such as asylum, shelter, and protection through their national regulations. The erection of barbed wires and walls on borders, the abduction of asylum seekers by land with rubber bullets, gas bombs, and masked persons, the return of asylum seekers after being beaten, or the pushing back or capsizing of boats by coast guards at sea have become among the daily routine border practices of EU states. The European Border and Coast Guard Agency (FRONTEX) was established in 2004 to ensure border security. Its budget increased from pound 6 million in 2005 to pound 254 million in 2016 and pound 845 million in 2023. Rather than helping regulate migration, the security measures taken have become an obstacle to asylum seekers even submitting asylum requests to EU member states. Asylum seekers who leave their homes out of fear for their lives may lose their lives in the search for safety. Between 2014 and 2023 alone, 26,689 asylum seekers died in the Mediterranean Sea. NGOs and their staff who rescue drowning asylum-seekers in the Mediterranean and try to deliver humanitarian aid risk being accused of human trafficking, breaking the law, and facing prison sentences. As long as development took place, European countries respected international migration, human rights, and refugee law, and took policy steps by the law. The 1973 oil crisis, the economic contraction in the 80s, the economic volatility that followed the collapse of the Eastern bloc in the 90s, and the 2008 financial crisis, which still continue to have an impact, pushed the EU to impose limitations on the universality of human rights and refugee law. Adding to the economic crises of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the actions of al-Qaeda and Daesh, and the waves of Syrian, Iraqi, and Afghan migration, EU politics and society have tended to feel under a new attack. The EU's critical political actors believe that the EU itself is under attack by Muslim migrants and will collapse, just as the Roman Empire collapsed due to the migrations of Germanic and Hun tribes. With this in mind, far-right and racist political views and parties are rising and gradually becoming the central parties in European politics. Even parties that position themselves as egalitarian, respectful of human rights, and libertarian produce right-wing populist discourses and political discourse that excludes immigrants, refugees, and foreigners. The future of migration problem caught between globalization and regionalization For the EU, migration policy is two sides of the same coin. On the one hand, there is the increasingly popular far-right racist discourse that sees itself under siege and even invasion by Muslim and Black migrants. On the other side, there is the necessity to continue the blood renewal that the EU needs from outside the EU to ensure economic growth and a stable presence in the world technology market due to its aging and declining population. In this respect, the EU's common migration policies, border security strategies, the establishment and upgrading of FRONTEX, the 30 readmission agreements with states near and far, and the UK's attempts to abolish asylum applications are issues that need to be carefully considered. In the last days of 2022, Rishi Sunak, the prime minister of the United Kingdom and the child of an immigrant family, announced that asylum seekers who come to the country through irregular migration and seek asylum would be arrested and sent to their country or a third country, in violation of the international human rights convention, and that these people will not have the right to come to the UK for life. Although it is guaranteed by international texts to process all asylum claims without any discrimination and to provide protection to asylum seekers, similar statements have started to emerge from many EU member state politicians. There have been not only readmission agreements but also bilateral agreements with countries of origin or neighboring countries where the demand for asylum is high in exchange for money and economic support to establish concentration camps violating human rights. Libya is one of the places where this is done in violation of human rights. The EU provides money, ships, and equipment to restructure and equip Libya's coast guard to stop asylum seekers' movement to Europe via Libya. In return for this aid, which amounts to pound 200 million annually, the Libyan coast guard has established a "Search and Rescue Zone" in the Mediterranean. Asylum seekers caught during regular checks are arrested and taken to prisons in Libya. Despite the living conditions in these prisons, the torture and rape they are subjected to, the violation of human rights and dignity, and the calls of international human rights organizations, the EU continues to maintain this partnership with Libya. Similarly, with the new refugee law, the UK plans to send asylum seekers to a refugee camp in Rwanda before their asylum applications are received. Accordingly, asylum claims will not be processed in the UK but will be processed in Rwanda. Rwanda will be paid £120 million for the costs of asylum seekers. The UK has implemented a similar readmission agreement with Albania. In April 2023, the parliament of EU member Lithuania voted to reject asylum seekers at the border and push them back. Similarly, EU member states such as Spain, Poland, Latvia, Greece, and Hungary continue to use daily push-backs, classified as torture by the Council of Europe, and seek to legalize them. 2 fundamental problems There are two fundamental problems with international migration and refugee law. The first is that the right to seek asylum is limited to the five articles of the 1951 Geneva Convention, which include persecution on race, religion, ethnic origin, political opinion, or membership of a social group. Secondly, the right to protection and non-refoulment is limited to persons whose refugee status has been recognized. These two situations prevent asylum-seekers, especially those fleeing torture, murder, and death, from being quickly secured. International legal texts treat asylum and refugee rights equally regarding protection. However, in practice, countries such as the UK, Greece, Libya, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, and Spain discriminate between asylum seekers and refugees and deny people the right to apply for asylum by preventing them from crossing borders through push-back practices. They claim these people are not refugees and do not violate human rights and international agreements. Although there are still reactions from international organizations such as the European Court of Human Rights and the UNHCR, these reactions remain weak, and many political moves are made to prevent their implementation. Thus, Western states and societies, which claim to be the defenders of human rights and dignity, increasingly see human rights as a right that belongs only to Western states and societies, dehumanizing the rest of the world. Finally, the issue of acceptance and non-refoulment of asylum seekers who can apply to EU member states will become increasingly complex. EU member states accept a high proportion of applications from asylum seekers threatened by conventional war and civil war. Nevertheless, asylum claims due to terrorism, invasion, epidemics, famine, economic depression, and climate disasters are much less accepted. However, more than 25 million people face climate-related forced migration today. Therefore, international human rights and refugee law must be reformed, considering the new global problem areas and the EU's regulations and practices that violate human rights. **Opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Anadolu.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Iran’s Foreign Ministry confirms cyberattack but denies leak of documents

Iran's Foreign Ministry late on Sunday confirmed a cyberattack on its information website but denied reports about the leak of documents and data. Nasser Kanani, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, said the ministry's information website was hacked, but "necessary measures" were taken immediately to restore the website. He, however, denied claims circulating on social media about the leak of documents and databases as well as the hacking of servers and systems of the ministry. The spokesman also stressed that the information and images published in the name of Iran's Foreign Ministry in cyberspace are "fake and unsubstantiated." Earlier on Sunday, an Iranian hacker group calling itself "Ghiam Sarnegouni" (Uprising Till Overthrow) claimed to have attacked the ministry's servers and databases, taking down 210 websites and leaking 50 TB of data. The hacker group, according to reports, is affiliated with the Albania-based Iranian opposition group Mujahideen e Khalq (MEK). The group is designated as a "terrorist organization" by the Islamic Republic. Hackers published a large cache of documents, identity cards, minutes of meetings as well as phone numbers of ministry employees on the group's Telegram channel. The documents released included correspondence between Iranian and European officials on the prison swap deal between Iran and Belgium, which will see the release of Iranian diplomat Asadollah Assadi and Belgian aid worker Olivier Vandecasteele, respectively. It is not the first time this hacker group has claimed cyberattacks on websites belonging to Iranian government institutions. In June 2022, it claimed to have hacked thousands of security cameras as well as websites belonging to Tehran Municipality.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Israel’s Ben-Gvir wants to reverse policy on releasing bodies of dead Palestinians

Far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has called on the Israeli government to halt the release of the bodies of Palestinians accused of carrying out attacks against Israelis. The call came shortly after Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said holding the bodies of Palestinians involved in attacks does not influence Palestinian armed groups. On Friday, the Israeli government handed over the bodies of three Palestinians killed in a shootout with Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank last March. In a statement, Ben-Gvir termed the government's decision to return the bodies of Palestinians as 'a serious mistake that will cost us dearly.' 'It is still not too late to lead a powerful and offensive security policy,' Ben-Gvir added. On Sunday, Ben-Gvir boycotted the weekly Cabinet meeting in protest of government policies, in the latest rift between the far-right minister and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. On Thursday, Ben-Gvir announced that his party, which has six lawmakers in the 120-member Knesset, will not vote on the government decisions as a sign of protest against the Cabinet policies. Ben-Gvir was particularly angry with what he considered a weak response by the Israeli army to rocket fire from Gaza following the death of a Palestinian hunger striker in an Israeli prison last week.

Source: Anadolu Agency

China blames US for ‘undermining’ bilateral ties

China on Monday blamed the US for 'undermining' the bilateral relations, urging Washington to 'push' China-US relations 'back on track.' The Sino-US relations are of 'great significance' not only to China and the United States, 'but also to the world,' Qin Gang, the Chinese state councilor and foreign minister, told US Ambassador Nicholas Burns during a meeting in Beijing. Qin said it was 'necessary to prevent accidents' between the world's top two economies through a 'calm, professional, and pragmatic manner.' "We should promote dialogue and cooperation on the basis of mutual respect, reciprocity, and mutual benefit." Referring to the November meeting of Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Joe Biden in Indonesia, which had 'reached important consensus,' the Chinese top diplomat, however, blamed Washington for 'a series of erroneous words and deeds ... (which) have undermined the hard-won positive momentum' of relations since then. 'The agenda of dialogue and cooperation agreed by the two sides has been disrupted, and the relationship between the two countries has once again hit the ice,' Qin said. A readout from Beijing and Chinese state media quoted Qin as saying that the top priority for the two sides was 'to stabilize Sino-US relations, avoid a downward spiral, and prevent accidents between China and the United States.' 'This should be the most basic consensus between China and the United States.' Assuring the US that Beijing will adhere to the principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and win-win cooperation, Qin said: 'It is hoped that the US side will reflect deeply, meet China halfway, and push China-US relations out of the predicament and back on track.' However, he noted: 'It is not possible to talk about communication on the one hand, but to keep suppressing and containing China on the other hand.' 'You cannot say one thing and do another,' the Chinese foreign minister told the US ambassador in Beijing. Urging Washington to 'stop undermining China's sovereignty, security, and development interests,' Qin particularly pointed out the issue of Taiwan. He said the two sides 'must correctly handle the Taiwan issue.' 'Stop hollowing out the one-China principle, and stop supporting and condoning 'Taiwan independence' separatist forces,' he told Burns. China considers Taiwan as its 'breakaway province' while Taipei has insisted on its independence since 1949. Washington has in recent few years accelerated its communication, and visits by lawmakers, to the island nation of around 24 million people.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Iran executes two men for blasphemy

Iran executed two men sentenced to death for committing acts of blasphemy, according to state media on Monday. Yousef Mehrdad and Sadrollah Fazeli Zare were sent to the gallows for insulting Islamic sanctities, including the Quran, Islam's holy book, and the prophet, the judiciary-affiliated Mizan News reported. The two men were arrested in May 2020 for running a Telegram channel called 'Critique of Superstition and Religion,' which regularly posted images deemed sacrilegious of the Quran and Islamic figures. In April 2021, a court in central Arak province sentenced the two men to death for insulting Islamic sanctities. Mizan News said the two men had through their activities in cyberspace "attacked the sanctities of Muslims of the world" as well as "the cultural and religious values of the people of Iran." Mehrdad was arrested in his hometown, the northern city of Ardabil. He was described as the "creator and manager of a virtual network" that was engaged in "anti-Islamic activities and insults to Islamic sanctities." His activities in cyberspace, Mizan News said, aimed at "promoting atheism" in Iran, citing that he managed a total of 15 virtual "anti-Islamic channels" with different names. Mehrdad was also accused of burning the Holy Quran, Mizan said, citing a "documentary film" that investigators found. Both acts of blasphemy and insults to Islamic figures carry the death sentence in Iranian law. The duo's execution came two days after a Swedish-Iranian dual national was executed after being convicted of heading a separatist group in southwestern Khuzestan province.

Source: Anadolu Agency

Indian air force jet crash kills 3 civilians

A MiG-21 jet of the Indian air force crashed in the western state of Rajasthan on Monday morning, killing three civilians on the ground, the air force and officials said. In a statement, the air force said: "The aircraft had got airborne for a routine operational training sortie from the Air Force Station at Suratgarh. Soon thereafter, the pilot experienced an onboard emergency, following which he attempted to recover the aircraft as per existing procedures." 'Having failed to do so, he (pilot) initiated an ejection, sustaining minor injuries in the process," the statement said. It said that the aircraft wreckage fell on a house in the Hanumangarh district, killing three people. An inquiry has been initiated to ascertain the cause of the accident, the statement said. Confirming the death toll, Sudheer Choudhary, the district police chief, told Anadolu that three people were also injured and taken to the hospital. In January, two air force fighter jets - Sukhoi-30 and Mirage 2000 - crashed during training exercises in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, killing at least one pilot and injuring two others. In recent years, there have been several accidents involving the Russian-made MiG-21, dubbed the "flying coffin," in India. The Indian Air Force has planned to phase out all remaining squadrons of MiG-21s by 2025, local media reported last year.

Source: Anadolu Agency