Germany busts international child porn site used by 400,000

Germany busts international child porn site used by 400,000

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Germany’s former national soccer player Christoph Metzelder arrives at the court for the opening of his trial in Duesseldorf, Germany, Thursday, April 29, 2021. The former defender of Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid and Schalke 04 stands trial on charges of … more >

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By Kirsten Grieshaber

Associated Press

Monday, May 3, 2021

BERLIN (AP) — German prosecutors announced Monday they have busted one of the world’s biggest international darknet platforms for child pornography, used by more than 400,000 registered members.

Frankfurt prosecutors said in a statement together with the Federal Criminal Police Office that in mid-April three German suspects, said to be the administrators of the “Boystown” platform, were arrested along with a German user. One of the three main suspects was arrested in Paraguay.

They also searched seven buildings in connection with the porn ring in mid-April in Germany.

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The authorities said the platform was “one of the world’s biggest child pornography darknet platforms” and had been active at least since 2019. Pedophiles used it to exchange and watch pornography of children and toddlers, most of them boys, from all over the world.

Prosecutors wrote that they found “images of most severe sexual abuse of toddlers” among the photos and video material.

A German police task force investigated the platform, its administrators and users for months in cooperation with Europol and law enforcement authorities from the Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, the United States and Canada, the statement said.

The three main suspects were a 40-year-old man from Paderborn, a 49-year-old man from Munich and a 58-year-old man from northern Germany who had been living in Paraguay for many years, the prosecutors’ statement said. They worked as administrators of the site and gave advice to members on how to evade law enforcement when using the platform for illegal child pornography.

A fourth suspect, a 64-year-old man from Hamburg, is accused of being one of the most active users of the platform having allegedly uploaded more than 3,500 posts.

Germany has requested the extradition of the suspect who was arrested in Paraguay.

No names were given in line with Germany’s privacy regulations.

After the raids in mid-April, the online platform was shut down.

Germany’s top security official thanked the authorities for their success.

“This investigative success has a clear message: Those who assault the weakest aren’t safe anywhere,” German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said. ”That’s what investigators work for day and night, online and offline, globally.”

“We’ll do everything within our power to protect the kids from these disgusting crimes,” he added.

Impact of devastating Indian virus surge spreads to politics

Impact of devastating Indian virus surge spreads to politics

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Elimination of ‘qualified immunity’ a stumbling point in policing reform talks

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A counting agent stands in protective suit during the counting of votes of Assam state assembly election in Gauhati, India, Sunday, May 2, 2021. With Indian hospitals struggling to secure a steady supply of oxygen, and more COVID-19 patients dying … more >

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Associated Press

Monday, May 3, 2021

NEW DELHI (AP) — India recorded 368,147 new coronavirus cases on Monday and 3,417 deaths as a catastrophic surge sweeps through the country.

The latest numbers came after leaders of 13 opposition parties urged the government to launch a free vaccination drive and ensure uninterrupted flow of oxygen to all hospitals. Several hospital authorities over the weekend sought court intervention over oxygen supplies in New Delhi, where a lockdown has been extended by a week in an attempt to contain the wave of infections.

“Water has gone above the head. Enough is enough,” said the New Delhi High Court, adding it would start punishing government officials if supplies of oxygen allocated to hospitals are not delivered.

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On Monday, 24 COVID-19 patients died at a government-run hospital in the southern state of Karnataka amid reports of an oxygen shortage. It was unclear how many died due to a lack of oxygen, but the chief minister ordered a probe into the incident.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has been severely criticized over its handling of the surge, which has pushed India’s already fragile and underfunded health system to the brink. Massive election rallies organized by his Bharatiya Janata Party and other parties as well as a giant Hindu festival on the banks of the Ganges may have exacerbated the spread, experts said, adding that new variants could also be increasing cases.

Modi’s party on Sunday suffered a resounding election defeat in a key state, West Bengal, failing to dislodge its firebrand chief minister, Mamata Banerjee. It retained power in northeastern Assam state but lost in two southern states.

While the four states were already stiff election challenges for Modi’s party apart from the pandemic, analysts said the results weaken Modi’s position as surging infections cripple the already fragile health system.

Meanwhile, the world’s biggest cricket tournament, the Indian Premier League, said Monday’s match between the Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders would be rescheduled after two players tested positive for the coronavirus. The two players have self-isolated and medical personnel were tracing their contacts.

Despite rising cases, the league has held matches every evening behind closed doors since it kicked off in April.

India has confirmed 19.9 million COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, behind only the U.S., which has counted more than 32.4 million. More than 218,000 people in India have died, according to the health ministry. Both figures are thought to be vast undercounts.

India opened its vaccination campaign to people ages 18-44 on Saturday, a mammoth task undermined by limited supplies. India is the world’s biggest producer of vaccines, but even the ongoing effort to inoculate people above 45 is stuttering. Since January, 10% of Indians have received one dose but only around 1.5% have received both required doses.