(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 2, 2018 shows the headquarters of the FSB security service in Moscow.
US President Donald Trump's administration on March 15, 2018 announced sanctions against Russians accused of trying to influence the 2016 election and of involvement in other separate cyberattacks. Senior security officials said the sanctions target five entities and 19 individuals."The administration is confronting and countering malign Russian cyber activity, including their attempted interference in US elections, destructive cyber-attacks, and intrusions targeting critical infrastructure," said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. 
 / AFP PHOTO / Mladen ANTONOV
The Moscow headquarters of Russia's FSB security service, which was among five entities sanctioned by the United States on March 15, 2018 over attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election and Show more

New US sanctions punish Russia for election meddling and cyber attacks



The Trump administration rolled out a new sanctions package against Russia on Thursday that for the first time addresses its meddling in the 2016 US presidential election and continued cyber attacks targeting the United States.

The Treasury Department in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Security Council and Department of Homeland Security sanctioned five Russian entities and 19 individuals, including 13 indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller last month. Speaking ahead of the announcement of the sanctions, US officials described Moscow's behaviour as "troubling", citing its continued attempts to disrupt western governments in the UK, in Ukraine, and by meddling in the 2016 US election.

They referred to renewed attempts by Russia to carry out cyber attacks in the United States, particularly the “NotPetya” attack last year that was targeted at the US energy grid and affected hospitals and shipping facilities.

The new sanctions were applied to the Internet Research Agency (IRA) and "Putin's chef" Yevgeniy Prigozhin. Both were indicted by the Justice Department last month as part of Mr Mueller's probe. The IRA is described as a "troll farm" and a part of Russia's propaganda effort to distribute fake news to help Mr Trump's presidential campaign.

The sanctions also apply to two Russian intelligence services, the Intelligence Directorate (GRU) and the Federal Security Service (FSB). The Treasury Department accused the GRU of being “directly involved” in 2016 election interference and “directly responsible” for the NotPetya attack. The FSB also carried a 2014 cyber attack that compromised millions of Yahoo accounts, it said.

The sanctions freeze any assets in the US and block any transactions in the country or through the US channels.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the US government was "confronting and countering malign Russian cyber activity, including their attempted interference in US elections, destructive cyber attacks, and intrusions targeting critical infrastructure”.

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Read more: 

Western leaders unite to condemn Russia over spy attack

House Democrats cite ‘evidence’ of Trump-Russia collusion

Putin 'doesn't care' about allegations of US election interference

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But because these entities and individuals have been previously sanctioned by the US, the effect of the latest sanctions is in question.

“They don’t mean much given that the Internet Research Agency, Mr Prigozhin and all of the dubious LLCs [limited liability companies] named in here were already indicted by Robert Mueller,” said Michael Weiss, a US expert who closely follows Russia.

"This is more a formality, although one could argue that the US Treasury is now accepting as fact the conclusions of the FBI [Mueller] investigation," Mr Weiss told The National.

Mr Trump had previously called Russian meddling “a hoax” and denies any collusion between his election campaign and Moscow.

US officials tried to draw a line between the political statements coming from Mr Trump and the Treasury actions, and referred to White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders for a comment on the president’s views.

The new sanctions meet requirements under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, a law passed overwhelmingly by Congress last August.

While Democrats criticised the "long delayed" implementation of the law, Noah Rothman, a political analyst at Commentary magazine, said the new sanctions "were never ignored" by the Trump administration. "They followed the letter of the law, which allowed for a 120-day grace period."

Mr Rothman cautioned, however, that “all of this is for naught, unless President Donald Trump himself personally and unequivocally names the threat posed by the increasingly reckless Russian President Vladimir Putin” rather than sending a mixed signal by criticising the FBI and the probe.

Abu Dhabi racecard

5pm: Maiden (Purebred Arabians); Dh80,000; 1,400m.
5.30pm: Maiden (PA); Dh80,00; 1,400m.
6pm: Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan National Day Cup (PA); Group 3; Dh500,000; 1,600m.
6.30pm: Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan National Day Cup (Thoroughbred); Listed; Dh380,000; 1,600m
7pm: Wathba Stallions Cup for Private Owners Handicap (PA); Dh70,000; 1,400m.
7.30pm: Handicap (PA); Dh80,000; 1,600m

Company profile

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Founder/CEO: Hosam Arab, co-founder: Daniil Barkalov
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Sector: Payments
Size: 40-50 employees
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Investors: Arbor Ventures, Mubadala Capital, Wamda Capital, STV, Raed Ventures, Global Founders Capital, JIMCO, Global Ventures, Venture Souq, Outliers VC, MSA Capital, HOF and AB Accelerator.

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE.

Part three: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part two: how climate change drove the race for an alternative 

Read part one: how cars came to the UAE

The specs: Lamborghini Aventador SVJ

Price, base: Dh1,731,672

Engine: 6.5-litre V12

Gearbox: Seven-speed automatic

Power: 770hp @ 8,500rpm

Torque: 720Nm @ 6,750rpm

Fuel economy: 19.6L / 100km

Company profile

Company name: amana
Started: 2010
Founders: Karim Farra and Ziad Aboujeb
Based: UAE
Regulator: DFSA
Sector: Financial services
Current number of staff: 85
Investment stage: Self-funded

Major matches on Manic Monday

Andy Murray (GBR) v Benoit Paire (FRA)

Grigor Dimitrov (BGR) v Roger Federer (SUI)

Rafael Nadal (ESP) v Gilles Muller (LUX)

Adrian Mannarino (FRA) Novak Djokovic (SRB)

Dubai works towards better air quality by 2021

Dubai is on a mission to record good air quality for 90 per cent of the year – up from 86 per cent annually today – by 2021.

The municipality plans to have seven mobile air-monitoring stations by 2020 to capture more accurate data in hourly and daily trends of pollution.

These will be on the Palm Jumeirah, Al Qusais, Muhaisnah, Rashidiyah, Al Wasl, Al Quoz and Dubai Investment Park.

“It will allow real-time responding for emergency cases,” said Khaldoon Al Daraji, first environment safety officer at the municipality.

“We’re in a good position except for the cases that are out of our hands, such as sandstorms.

“Sandstorms are our main concern because the UAE is just a receiver.

“The hotspots are Iran, Saudi Arabia and southern Iraq, but we’re working hard with the region to reduce the cycle of sandstorm generation.”

Mr Al Daraji said monitoring as it stood covered 47 per cent of Dubai.

There are 12 fixed stations in the emirate, but Dubai also receives information from monitors belonging to other entities.

“There are 25 stations in total,” Mr Al Daraji said.

“We added new technology and equipment used for the first time for the detection of heavy metals.

“A hundred parameters can be detected but we want to expand it to make sure that the data captured can allow a baseline study in some areas to ensure they are well positioned.”

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

THE SPECS

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THE BIO:

Favourite holiday destination: Thailand. I go every year and I’m obsessed with the fitness camps there.

Favourite book: Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. It’s an amazing story about barefoot running.

Favourite film: A League of their Own. I used to love watching it in my granny’s house when I was seven.

Personal motto: Believe it and you can achieve it.


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