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Updated: Jan 22 2013, 07:06am hrs
Putin orders protection from hacking attacks

President Vladimir Putin has ordered Russian authorities to protect state computers from hacking attacks, the Kremlin said on Monday, after an Internet security firm said a spy network had infiltrated government and embassy computers across the former Soviet bloc. Dubbed Red October, the network used phishing attacks or unsolicited emails to intended targets to infect the computers of embassies and other state institutions with a programme designed to harvest intelligence and send it back to a server. Putin signed a decree on January 15 empowering the Federal Security Service to create a state system for the detection, prevention and liquidation of the effects of computer attacks on the information resources of the Russian Federation. State computer and telecommunications networks protected by the cyber security system should include those inside Russia and at its embassies and consulates abroad, according to the decree, which was published on a Kremlin website on Monday.

Pearson sees another tough yr as earnings fall

British education and media group Pearson warned on Monday it expects tough market conditions to continue in 2013 after a weak fourth-quarter hit earnings last year. The owner of the Financial Times newspaper and Penguin books publisher said it now expects to report on February 25 adjusted earnings per share of around 84 pence for 2012, below the 84.9 pence it had predicted in October, due to weaker educational funding in developed markets and sluggish advertising. The result had already expected to be down on the previous years earnings of 86.5 pence a share due to the sale last year of its 50% stake in the FTSE International market indexes business to the London Stock Exchange, which it said contributed 2.2 pence a share to earnings in 2011. The rare downgrade knocked its share price down 3.6% to 1193 pence by 1004 GMT, slightly below the level they were trading at the start of the year following a jump last week.

Taliban attack Kabul traffic police HQ

Suicide bombers and gunmen launched an eight-hour assault on the headquarters of the Kabul traffic police on Monday, Afghan officials said, in the second coordinated attack on a government building in less than a week. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the operation In which all five attackers and three traffic police officers were killed, interior ministry officials said. The attack raised the possibility that insurgents were shifting tactics, testing Afghan security forces in Kabul after a series of high-profile attacks on Western targets last year. Violence across the country has been increasing over the last 12 months, sparking concern about how the 350,000-strong Afghan security forces will be able to manage once foreign troops withdraw by the end of 2014.

BoJ holds policy meet amid calls for easing

Japans central bank has convened a two-day policy meeting that is widely expected to end with fresh measures to stimulate the economy. The government pushed Monday for more action by the Bank of Japan to ease monetary policy to help the recession-struck economy escape from years of debilitating deflation. Trade minister Toshimitsu Motegi told reporters the government is determined that the central bank set a 2% target for inflation. He refuted accusations, however, that such demands were aimed at eroding the central banks independent status. He said the government would leave it up to the central bank to decide what measures to adopt, while insisting something more be done. The Bank of Japan is expected to opt for new asset purchases to help encourage bank lending.

Iran official says West launched currency war

Irans intelligence ministry says the West has launched a currency war against Tehran to destabilise the Islamic Republic. The director of the ministrys economy department, who was unnamed in the report, says that expanding domestic production can help counter Western sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear programme. Sanctions include an oil embargo and banking restrictions that make it difficult for Iran's Asian customers to pay.