As many as four oil tankers anchored in the Mideast were damaged in what Gulf officials described as a "sabotage" attack off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. While details of the incident remained unclear, it raised risks for shippers in a region vital to global energy supplies at a time of increasing tensions between the U.S. and Iran over its unraveling nuclear deal with world powers. An American military team's initial assessment is that Iranian or Iranian-backed proxies used explosives to blow large holes in four ships anchored off the coast of the UAE, a U.S. official said.
The official said each ship has a 5- to 10-foot hole in it, near or just below the water line, and the team's early belief is that the holes were caused by explosive charges. The team of U.S. military experts was sent to investigate the damages at the request of the UAE, but American officials have not provided any details about what exactly happened or any proof as yet about the possible Iranian involvement in the explosions.
Confirmation came that hackers were able to remotely install surveillance software on phones and other devices using a major vulnerability in messaging app WhatsApp. WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, said the attack targeted a "select number" of users, and was orchestrated by "an advanced cyber actor". A fix was rolled out this week. WhatsApp urged all of its 1.5bn users to update their apps as an added precaution.
The attack, discovered earlier this month, was first reported in the Financial Times. It involved attackers using WhatsApp's voice calling function to ring a target's device. Even if the call was not picked up, the surveillance software would be installed, and the call would often disappear from the device's call log. WhatsApp maintain their in-house security team was the first to identify the flaw, and shared that information with human rights groups, selected security vendors and the US Department of Justice earlier this month. The FT also reported that the attack was developed by Israeli security firm NSO Group, who have the market cornered when it comes to enabling states to spy on their citizens - including in Bangladesh.
China announced higher tariffs on $60 billion worth of American goods in retaliation for President Donald Trump's latest penalties on Chinese products. Duties of 5% to 25% will take effect on June 1 on about 5,200 American products, including batteries, spinach and coffee, China's Finance Ministry said. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 617 points, or 2.4%, and the technology-heavy Nasdaq plunged 270 points, or 3.4%, its biggest drop of the year. Earlier, stocks fell in Europe and Asia.
Beijing's move came after the U.S. raised duties Friday on $200 billion of Chinese imports to 25%, up from 10%. In doing so, American officials accused China of backtracking on commitments it made in earlier negotiations. The same day, trade talks between the two countries broke up without an agreement. On Twitter, Trump warned Xi that China "will be hurt very badly" if it doesn't agree to a trade deal. Trump tweeted that Beijing "had a great deal, almost completed, & you backed out!"