Home' Greymouth Star : December 7th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
Monday, December 7, 2015 - 5
Colombia says it has found the shipwreck of
a Spanish galleon laden with gold and precious
stones, three centuries after it was sunk by the
British in the Caribbean.
“This is the most valuable treasure that has
been found in the history of humanity,” declared
President Juan Manuel Santos, speaking from
the port city of Cartagena, close to where
experts made the find.
It could reveal one of the great lost treasure
chests, with valuables worth as much as
$US17 billion ($25.22 billion).
Treasure hunters had searched for the ship
for decades, and although they found plenty of
other wrecks, the San Jose’s final resting place
had remained a mystery.
The San Jose was sunk in June 1708 off
Colombia’s Caribbean coast, during combat
with British ships in the War of the Spanish
The galleon was the main ship in a treasure
fleet carrying gold, silver and other valuable
items to Spain from its American colonies.
Only a handful of the ship’s crew of 600
sur vived when the San Jose sank.
A team of Colombian and foreign researchers
studied winds and currents of the Caribbean
307 years ago and delved into archives in Spain
and Colombia searching for clues.
Experts confirmed that they found the San
Jose on November 27, Santos said.
The experts confirmed that they located the
San Jose because the ship was carrying unique
bronze cannons with engraved dolphins.
“The amount and type of the material leave no
doubt of the identity” of the shipwreck, Ernesto
Montenegro, head of the Colombian Institute
of Anthropology and History, said.
A United States company, the Sea Search
Armada, claimed to have earlier found the
wreck, but the find was not confirmed and a
legal dispute broke out with the government
over ownership rights that was ultimately
resolved in a US court in Colombia’s favour.
There could be up to 1000 shipwrecks off the
Caribbean coast of Colombia, but of those only
between six and 10 had large treasure cargoes,
anthropologist Fabian Sanabria said.
When the San Jose set sail from South
America in 1708 she was carrying riches
destined for King Philip V’s war chest as he
fought Britain in the War of Succession.
She never arrived. She was sunk after a
90-minute battle with HMS Expedition, part
of a four-ship squadron hunting the Spanish
treasure fleet in the southern Caribbean.
Commodore Charles Wager described the
close quarters broadsides — and said the San
Jose exploded with such intensity he could feel
the heat from his own ship.
“I believe the ship’s side blew out, for she
caused a sea that came in our ports,” he wrote.
“S he immediately sank with all her riches. ”
Some reports said she was carrying 116
chests of emeralds, two tonnes of platinum and
the personal wealth of the Viceroy of Peru —
making her the richest treasure ship lost in the
The San Jose is estimated to be one of more
than 1000 galleons and merchant vessels to
have sunk among Colombia’s coral reefs.
Earlier this year, treasure hunters said they
had found $4.5 million of Spanish gold coins
off the coast of Florida, part of another of
King Philip’s treasure fleets shipwrecked in a
hurricane while sailing from Havana to Spain.
France’s far-right National Front pulled
off a historic win overnight, topping
the vote nationally in the first round of
regional elections, exit polls showed, and
potentially redrawing the political map
before national elections in 2017.
Boosted by fears over the Islamic State
attacks that killed 130 people in Paris
on November 13, as well as by record
unemployment and immigration, Marine
Le Pen’s party secured 30.2% of the vote
nationally, the interior inistry said, with
two thirds of the votes counted.
The FN came first in six regions out of
13, the ministry said.
“This is a historic, extraordinary result,”
FN lawmaker Marion Marechal-Le Pen
told TF1 television. “ The old system
died tonight.” Marechal-Le Pen, the
granddaughter of party founder Jean-
Marie Le Pen, led the first round in
southeast France with 40.9% .
Run-offs will be held on December 13,
with the FN well-placed to win one or
more regions. Even one outright victory
would be a major boost for Le Pen, who
wants a base of locally elected officials to
help her target power at national level.
Her eye is on the 2017 presidential and
parliamentary elections, with French
politics now clearly a three-way race,
after decades of domination by the
Socialists and conser vatives.
The FN’s success comes as an
uncontrolled wave of hundreds of
thousands of refugees from conflict and
poverty in the Middle East, Asia and
Africa boosts support for Eurosceptic
parties across Europe, from Germany ’s
AfD party to Britain’s anti-EU UK
Independence Party and the newly
elected Law and Justice government in
The FN, an anti-Europe, anti-
immigration party, has in the past won
control of less than a dozen French
towns, but has never taken an entire
Former president Nicolas Sarkozy
ruled out any pact with President
Francois Hollande’s Socialist party to
keep the far-right out.
Sarkozy ’s conser vative Republicans
party came second in the overall
national vote, on 27.4%, behind the far-
right National Front but ahead of the
Socialists on 22.7%, according to an
interim count of two thirds of the votes.
The conser vatives and their allies were
leading in four regions, including Paris,
and the Socialists in three.
The key question will now be whether
the Socialists, seen as lying third behind
the FN and the Republicans in regions
which the far-right could win over on
December13, will pull out of the race in
Any party that attracted at least 10%
of the vote will qualify for next Sunday ’s
run-offs but they could decide to drop
out of some regions to try to keep the
FN out of power. — Reuters
The Spanish galleon San Jose explodes during an attack by the British ship HMS Expedition.
Only 11 of the 600 crew and passengers aboard the ship sur vived.
Cannons from the San Jose, which
identified the wreck.
Toys that talk back are one of
the hottest holidays gifts this
year. They may soon be a hot item
for hackers too.
uncovered a number of major
security flaws in systems behind
Hello Barbie, an internet-
connected doll that listens
to children and uses artificial
Vulnerabilities in the mobile app
and cloud storage used by the
doll could have allowed hackers
to eavesdrop on even the most
intimate of those play sessions,
according to a report by Bluebox
security researcher Andrew Hay.
Mattel did not immediately
respond to a request for
comment on the report. Martin
Reddy, co-founder and chief
technology officer of Toy Talk
the company behind the
voice features in Hello Barbie
told the Washington Post
that the company has been
working with Bluebox and has
“already fixed many of the issues
The researchers say they
informed Toy Talk about the
issues in mid-November and the
company was very responsive.
But the news comes on the
heels of a major breach at V Tech,
a Hong Kong-based seller of toys
for toddlers and young children,
which exposed profiles on more
than six million kids around the
world. Hello Barbie’s security
issues are yet another sign that
internet-connected devices are
making their way into children’s
hands with problems that leave
privacy at risk.
“It’s really important that if
you want to use these connected
toys, no matter if it’s a doll or a
tablet, you be really careful about
what information are being sent
to and from the ser vers, and how
it’s secured,” Andrew Bleich, lead
security analyst at Bluebox, said.
“Once data is out of your control,
that ’s it — there’s no taking it
back, essentially. ”
Consumer advocates raised
alarm bells about Hello Barbie
before the security flaws were
uncovered. In fact, even before
Hello Barbie was released, they
circulated a petition that called
the doll “creepy ”.
The doll’s talking features work
by recording a child when it
presses a button on its stomach
and sending the audio file over
the internet to a ser ver where it is
processed. The doll then responds
with one of thousands of pre-
recorded messages. Parents must
and set it up via a mobile app.
But the researchers say they
discovered the app contained a
number of security problems,
including that digital certificates,
which are supposed to confirm
that the connection between the
doll and the app is legitimate,
used a “hardcoded” password.
That meant that every app used
the same password as part of
this verification process — so
if an attacker figured out that
password, he or she could create
a fraudulent app that could
potentially steal data, including
audio recordings, that passed
between the doll and Toy Talk’s
During the set-up process,
the researchers say the app
would connect the phone to any
unsecured wifi network with the
word “Barbie” in its name. That
would make it easy for an attacker
to create a Barbie-labelled wifi
hub and to steal data.
“ It ’s important to note that
this attack is only possible
during the few minutes that a
user takes to connect the doll
to their wi-fi network and, even
after circumventing this feature,
the attacker gains no access (to)
wifi passwords, no access to child
audio data, and cannot change
what the doll says,” Toy Talk’s
The researchers also say that
the secure connection between
the doll and the ser ver was
vulnerable to a highly publicised
attack disclosed last year. The
attack, known as poodle, allows
an attacker to trick ser vers into
using a weak form of encryption
that he or she could easily crack
after intercepting the data,
according to Hay. The company
has now fixed this problem,
Mattel and Toy Talk have
both gone to great lengths to
assure customers that they take
privacy and seriously. Toy Talk
has even started a “ bug bounty”
independent researchers who
come for ward with problems
they have found and work with
the company to fix them. — AP
Barbie may eavesdrop on children
Children’s well rescue bid fails to save dad
A 12 and 13-year-old drove 35km in a
desperate bid to save the life of their parents
who were trapped down a well on their remote
northern New South Wales property.
Police say their brave journey failed to save
their father who died after apparently becoming
over whelmed by fumes in the well.
The 29-year-old had been installing a
water pump at the bottom of the well near
Weilmoringle on Saturday.
His 28-year-old partner had tried to rescue
him but fell on to a ledge in the well when a
rope ladder broke.
It was then their two children took charge,
driving off the property to raise the alarm.
Their mother is in a serious condition at
Orange Base Hospital suffering from shock
and possible carbon monoxide poisoning.
Islamic State said yesterday that the
married couple who killed 14 people in
a mass shooting in Southern California
were its followers, and Federal Bureau
of Investigation agents raided a home
apparently belonging to a friend of the
Islamic State’s claim came in an on-line
audio broadcast three days after United
States-born Syed Rizwan Farook, 28,
and his Pakistani wife Tashfeen Malik,
29, opened fire on a holiday party for
civil ser vants in San Bernardino, 100km
east of Los Angeles.
The pair, who had left their six-month-
old baby daughter with relatives, were
killed two hours later in a shootout with
police SWAT team members.
Federal agents searched a home in
Riverside, a few kilometres south-west
of San Bernardino, on a street where
neighbours said Farook once lived. An
FBI spokeswoman confirmed the search,
but declined to give details. — Reuters
IS claims shooting
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