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Chinese Space Station in Argentina Suspected of Military Use

first_imgBy Eduardo Szklarz/Diálogo October 26, 2018 The Argentine province of Neuquén is known for its lakes, volcanoes, ski slopes, and oil fields. Its latest feature, however, clashes with the Patagonian landscape: a 450-ton, 48-meter high by 35-meter wide antenna, operated by the Chinese military. The huge antenna is part of the Far Space Station of the China Satellite Launch and Tracking Control General (CLTC), a division of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. The complex was built on 200 hectares of land the Argentine government ceded China for 50 years. Negotiations led to an agreement with secret provisions signed in 2014 between the governments of former Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Argentine Congress ratified the deal with China in 2015. Soon after, the Argentine Ministry of Planning denied there were secret provisions in the agreement. According to the ministry, “the station is exclusively for scientific and civic purposes, focused on monitoring, control, and data download of Chinese interplanetary exploration missions under the Chinese Lunar and Mars exploration programs.” However, the $50 million mega-project, which became fully operational in late 2017, stirs mixed feelings in Argentina. Scientists of Argentina’s National Space Activities Commission (CONAE, in Spanish) will have access to the antenna about two hours and 40 minutes a day. Security analysts warn about risks of military use of the antenna, despite China’s pledge to use it for peaceful purposes to the government of Argentine President Mauricio Macri. “It stands out that the agency in charge of the project is a military agency of the Chinese Army’s Directorate-General of Armaments. In other words, one cannot doubt the double purpose in this matter,” Juan Belikow, professor of International Relations at the University of Buenos Aires, told Diálogo. “The main problem is that there is no mechanism that guarantees Argentina or the international community any monitoring of exactly what goes on in that unit.” According to Belikow, the issue is whether the station is part of a Chinese network similar to the global surveillance program known as the ECHELON Network, which uses similar technology to intercept communications. “They have the capacity. The agency that controls this antenna engages in these activities. And since there is no oversight, there’s no way to ensure that they’re not doing it [intercepting communications],” he said. “That is, the civil use promise is a verbal agreement, and we know the words of China in this sense were never very meaningful.” According to Argentine international analyst Fabián Calle, Argentina is a benchmark in space matters, with an advanced technological industry in satellites and nuclear energy. “The explanation of scientists without ideological preferences is that the antenna, considering how it was mounted, is particularly useful to the Chinese space program,” Calle told Diálogo. “No technician I spoke with depicted the antenna as a key element in China’s strategic ballistic missile program,” Calle said. “This doesn’t mean it won’t have some kind of dual use, or that it can’t obtain information useful to the Chinese military structure.” BeiDou: The GPS made in China Located in Bajada del Agrio, Neuquén, the interplanetary station is the first China built outside its territory. The station will allow for a lot more than prepare for a moon-landing mission. With this facility, Beijing seeks to level with other world powers and stop relying on GPS. The U.S. Department of Defense developed the navigation satellite system, operational since 1995, in the 1970s. Since then, Europe developed the Galileo system, while Russia built its global navigation satellite system GLONASS. China currently develops BeiDou, also known as Compass. To gain independence from the GPS system requires a significant geostationary presence, Belikow said. Moreover, installing the antenna in Neuquén province makes sense, because of Patagonia’s location on the other side of the globe from China. “This gives the Chinese an opportunity to make up for the dark side of the planet they haven’t covered,” the analyst said. “But we know this is not enough. China probably knows that they need to triangulate [the signals], so they could install similar antennas in other parts of the world to make their system complete. We can expect other similar stations to be built in Africa or in another part of Asia.” Belikow believes that six to 12 stations would be advantageous, yet three should allow for three dimensions. “There might be two stations in China, which means they would already have enough. Anyway, its accuracy is relatively low,” he said. “For now, the Chinese military will at least use the premises as a base for their satellite positioning system. We know that GPS is basically geared toward military use, then civil use. So it’s ridiculous to think that the Chinese military won’t use their own GPS system.” Context of the accord The long process to build the antenna started in 2012, when CLTC and CONAE signed a cooperation treaty. At the time, Argentina—still suffering from the aftermath of the 2008-2009 recession and without access to international markets with $100,000 million in sovereign bonds that defaulted in 2002—saw the Asian power as a solution to its economic problems. Politics also factored in. “Kirchner’s government, especially from 2008 onward, made a very anti-American turn that sharpened during Cristina Fernández’s first term and even more so in the second term,” Calle said. “Therefore, the agreement signed [in 2014] is framed in this foreign policy of moving away from the United States, Europe, and the democratic countries on the Pacific coast and the Americas, and relying more on Russia and China.” Argentina claimed that the antenna in Neuquén was very similar to the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Deep Space Antenna 3 (DSA 3), inaugurated in 2012 in the Argentine city of Malargüe, Mendoza province. The result of another agreement with CONAE, DSA 3 completed the network of three ESA deep space stations, with antennas in New Norcia, Australia, and Cebreros, Spain. “As such, the Chinese antenna was thought to be similar to the European Union’s [EU]. And if EU was there, including the British until Brexit, why wouldn’t we sign an agreement with China, who is the main buyer of Argentina’s soy and minerals and has important investments in ports?” Calle said. The agreement between CLTC and CONAE raised suspicions from the beginning. Section 10, for instance, indicates that “both parties shall maintain confidentiality regarding technology, activities, and programs of data tracking, control, and acquisition.” The subsequent bilateral agreement was also criticized for its secrecy, despite denials from the Kirchner administration. When Macri assumed the presidency, he asked China to include an amendment stating the station would be used exclusively for peaceful purposes. Belikow, however, thinks the “peaceful purposes” amendment has a catch. “If they [the Chinese] say all their activities onsite are to defend China, and they consider these peaceful, they can frame spying on communications as peaceful use,” he said. The Argentine government faces a delicate situation with access to the deal’s secret clauses, yet unable to reveal them. International agreements between two countries are legally binding documents that carry over even with a new administration. “Also, even if there were technical reasons that would warrant cancellation [of the agreement], Argentina is going through a very complex financial crisis. Exposing the treaty now would have an immediate effect on the Argentine economy,” Belikow said. Calle doesn’t think Argentina will cross the line with China. “Macri’s government wants to move closer to the United States, Europe, Japan, Israel, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico. But at the same time, Argentina is realistic and maintains a smooth economic, political, and commercial relationship with China,” he said. “It would be very difficult not to be involved with such an emerging power, which in turn needs the commodities we export.” Calle highlighted Argentina’s recent agreement with the United States to conduct humanitarian activities with the armed forces, precisely in Neuquén. The province also counts with the strong presence of U.S. oil companies, which started exploring one of the largest unconventional reserves of gas and oil in Vaca Muerta. “This will create a strategic strong bond between Argentina and the United States in terms of energy. The government made the clear decision to give U.S companies an important place,” Calle said. Chinese incursion The 16-floor parabolic antenna that rises from the Patagonian desert is just one sign of the growing Chinese influence in Latin America. In 2015, Xi promised to invest $250 billion in the region by 2025. During a Beijing-meeting with leaders of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC, in Spanish), Xi estimated trade between China and CELAC members to reach $500 billion in the next decade. Combined military exercises between China and South American countries, such as those conducted in Rio de Janeiro with the Brazilian Navy in 2013, also testify to China’s expanding reach in the region. “China’s incursion in the region is indeed worrisome,” Belikow said. “We have to admit that the Chinese are fast learners. China entered Africa when the United States was focused on wars happening in the former Yugoslavia and Iraq. Today, Africa is controlled by a Chinese incursion Africans resist, because it was very aggressive, with situations that bordered slavery,” he said. The expert doesn’t rule out that China might use the Neuquén station’s structure—its main and supplemental antennas—to interfere with local communications. This could include spying on oil activities and intercepting messages from fishing and military vessels in the South Atlantic. “Don’t forget that nowadays information isn’t sent by cable, but by satellite. And no matter how encrypted it is, we know the Chinese aren’t bad at hacking communications.” For Belikow, the secret clauses of the agreement and the secrecy around the station’s operations are a source of concern. For example, what does access of two hours 40 minutes a day consist of? Is the access physical or remote? “That’s not defined, either. I suspect they will give [Argentine scientists] remote access to information generated onsite. Because nowhere does it say—as far as we know—that the access will be physical,” he said. “It would be more reasonable if we were given that timeframe to access the station at any time. Either way, from the moment we go through checkpoints until we get into the room, they can close programs they shouldn’t use, so there is no way to monitor. It’s a strange situation,” he said.last_img read more

Before, during & after a hurricane – ensuring your credit union is prepared

first_imgTis the season… Hurricane season that is. Have you reviewed your credit union’s hurricane disaster recovery plan?Even though the hurricane season spans from June through November the three peak months are August, September and October. It’s during these three months that a large majority of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes occur. The middle of September is usually the peak time for major hurricane activity.Hurricanes can cause damage in different ways and we need to review and update our credit union disaster recovery and business continuity plans. The two main damaging effects of a hurricane are the wind and water. The wind force varies from different categories of hurricanes but can be destructive tearing apart buildings, knocking down trees and power lines. The water from the driving rains can seep into buildings and create flooding and later cause mold issues. Storm surge is the most devastating part of a hurricane. The surge causes more deaths and covers a larger area than the winds alone.Some strategies for surviving a hurricane are listed below. Most of the strategies can be implemented prior to the actual event happening. continue reading » 8SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Freeport Man Charged With Murdering Father

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A 24-year-old man was arrested Tuesday for allegedly stabbing his father to death following a heated dispute inside their Freeport home, Nassau County police said.Jordan JohnsonJordan Johnson, 24, charged with second-degree murder, will be arraigned Wednesday at First District Court in Hempstead. His father, 55-year-old Russell Johnson, was pronounced dead just before 4 p.m. Tuesday, police said. Investigators have yet to determine what the dispute was over and what prompted it to turn violent.“I don’t have a motive,” Det. Capt. John Azzata, commander of the Homicide Squad, told reporters during a news conference Wednesday at police headquarters in Mineola. “Obviously, it was something that disturbed both of them severely for it to end like this.”Russell Johnson’s sister was talking on the phone with her brother when she heard an altercation at his house and called 911. Freeport Village police responded at 3:45 p.m. and placed Jordan Johnson under arrest.The elder Johnson was stabbed multiple times, Azzata said, adding that the pending autopsy report would determine the number of stab wounds. He declined to identify the murder weapon and did not say if it was recovered.Tuesday was not the first time police had been called to the Loretta Lane home where father and son lived alone. From 2007 to 2013, police came to the residence eight times to respond to domestic disputes involving either another one of Russell Johnson’s sons or an ex-wife, Azzata said. Only one arrest was made over the six-year period, and in that case it was Johnson’s other son who was taken into custody for unspecified reasons.“All others were closed after an investigation,” Azzata said.Aside from Tuesday’s call, the most recent incident was in June, when Jordan Johnson was removed from the home and taken to a local hospital, Azzata said. He was not charged with any crimes.“He does have a medical history,” Azzata said of Jordan Johnson. The homicide detective declined to elaborate. Jordan Johnson has no prior arrest record.last_img read more

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorses Joe Biden for president

first_imgUS House Of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has endorsed Joe Biden for president, according to a video statement released by her on Monday.Pelosi’s endorsement of the Democratic presidential candidate and former vice president follows that of US Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, former president Barack Obama and former presidential candidate Al Gore, who all threw their support behind Biden earlier this month.Biden had hinted he might choose a woman as his vice presidential running mate if he is picked as the party’s nominee, committed to doing so during his debate with rival Bernie Sanders on Sunday.”If I’m elected president, my Cabinet, my administration, will look like the country, and I commit that I will in fact appoint and pick a woman as vice president. There are a number of women who are qualified to be president tomorrow. I would pick a woman as my vice president,” Biden said.Topics :last_img read more

This Newport home showcases modern living at its best

first_imgMore from newsLand grab sees 12 Sandstone Lakes homesites sell in a week21 Jun 2020Tropical haven walking distance from the surf9 Oct 201918 Freya Court, Newport.“We don’t lock the door but if someone wanted to, they could,” Mrs Vella said.“Someone may want to buy the house and have someone rent it out.”She said it was the perfect living arrangement for their family because everyone had their own quiet space. 18 Freya Court, Newport.It was what enticed Lyn and Jim Vella to buy the property more than seven years ago.Mrs Vella said she and her husband had been using the apartment, while their daughter and grandson shared the house.There is a door between the two living areas, with access to a shared laundry and the three-car garage and carport. 18 Freya Court, Newport.SPACE and tranquillity make this modern home ideal for big families or buyers wanting to rent out part of the house.The 765sq m property, at 18 Freya Court, offers dual living, with five bedrooms in the main two-storey house and two in the attached apartment. 18 Freya Court, Newport.She said the suburb was a lovely area to live, with the beach, parks, Peninsula Fair Shopping Centre and train station close by.“I think this area has got the best of everything,” she said.“The beach is only five minutes away, and we can (see) the Glass House Mountains.“I’m sure someone will love it just as much as we do.”The home also has a shed in the backyard, solar power and a solar powered hot water system. 18 Freya Court, Newport.But the saltwater swimming pool with a spa and outdoor entertaining area were her favourite features of the property.“I do love the pool area because it’s a nice, big pool … and our outdoor area (because) it’s all screened,” Mrs Vella said.“It’s wonderful during seven months of the year when we love to eat out there on a balmy night.”last_img read more

How Gold Coast pets are helping sell properties

first_img“It definitely works and the big thing is, it gets engagement from children,” he said.“I think it’s something that will become more the norm.”Most of the time the agency uses owners’ pets but Mr Willcox said they partnered up with the Animal Welfare League at one point to help find pooches a permanent home.A Palm Beach property PDR Nationwide agent Michael Power is marketing includes two dogs in its photos but he said it wasn’t planned. MORE NEWS: Could this home set a new trend for Aussie backyards? MORE: Gone in five days as investors surge Finding Narnia without stepping into the wardrobe The curly critter featured in the photos for 12 Winch Court, Mermaid Waters, blends into its surroundings.He swore by the strategy, explaining puppy power had attracted a lot of attention to, and even helped sell, some properties. How an apartment fetched a premium despite price falls More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa10 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag1 day ago MORE NEWS: Have your smashed avo and eat it tocenter_img Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 1:38Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -1:38 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels720p720pHD540p540p360p360p270p270pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreen5 tips for first home buyers01:39 The dogs in the marketing photos for 137 Allambi Ave, Broadbeach Waters, helped sell the property.STAGED photos are supposed to show off the best features of a property when it hits the market but furry friends are increasingly stealing the show.Whether it be a marketing tactic or purely coincidental, more Gold Coast agents are including cats and dogs in their listings.Lambert Willcox Estate Agents director Jesse Willcox said his team had been doing it for years.“The general ethos was … how do you make a property look as comfortable and inviting as possible?” he said.“Pets are like family, why not put them in the photos.“For us, it’s a lot of fun.” This tiny pooch at 96 Mallawa Drive, Palm Beach, makes the house look comfortable and welcoming.“It’s one of those things where we had to make a decision at the time,” he said.“We made the decision on the spot seeing that (the dogs) were already there and wanted to be in the photos.“We could have not included them but we thought they looked cute.”He said some vendors preferred traditional photos while others wanted their beloved pet pooches to be the star of the show.It is not just canines getting all the attention though.A Bengal cat has stolen the limelight in photos for a Tweed Heads apartment Sophie Carter Exclusive Properties director Sophie Carter is marketing.“She was just happy to be there,” she said. In true cat style, the Bengal photographed at 12/2-4 Boundary Lane, Tweed Heads, wants the spotlight.After struggling to move a labrador for photos a few years ago, Ms Carter has learnt to embrace family pets.“He just wouldn’t move,” she said.“The owners loved the photos and the buyers as well were really receptive to it.“There sort of seems to be something about family pets that softens photos.”last_img read more

New laws affect drivers, students, teachers

first_img3News 4 January 2014Kiwis need to be aware of new law changes from today, including new Warrant of Fitness (WoF) rules, along with changes to the Education Act which allow teachers to search students for dangerous items.Changes to the Education Act also come into force today, allowing teachers to search students they suspect are carrying dangerous items.“They will be able to search bags if they have reasonable belief that there’s something there that could cause harm,” says search and seizure working party chair Patrick Walsh.Teachers will be able to search students’ lockers, bags and outer garments for dangerous items, but that doesn’t include pat-downs.“We have had issues in schools where a minority of students have brought drugs into the schools, we’ve had weapons, and we’ve also had the scourge of cyber-bullying which has led to a number of suicides,” says Mr Walsh. read more

Xi Jinping’s visit presents great potential for cooperation

first_imgChinese President Xi Jinping is on a visit to the United states, one that is widely seen as a move to strengthen relations between the two countries.Global attention has been put on the possible cooperation between China and the United States as well as on how they will address their differences.Xi Jinping has expressed his country’s readiness to cooperate with the US on various issues and to ensure the two work together.last_img

Ex-rebels in NegOcc, Panay get P50-K livelihood grant

first_imgBACOLOD City – Around 579 members of the Kapatiran para sa ProgresibongPanlipunan Inc. (Kapatiran) have received P50,000 each as livelihood assistancefrom the national government during a ceremony in Talisay City, Negros Occidentalon Friday. As part of the former rebels’ socio-economic reintegration, theLivelihood Settlement Grants provide each profiled member P50,000 to supportthe establishment and continuity of one’s livelihood. Colonel Inocencio Pasaporte, commander of the Philippine Army’s 303rdInfantry Brigade, said the release of the livelihood assistance to the formerrebels clearly manifests the government’s commitment to fulfill its peaceagreement with the group.  The RPM-P/RPA-ABB, which signed a peace agreement with the governmenton Dec. 6, 2000, split into two – the TPG led by Veronica Tabara and StephenPaduano, and the Nilo dela Cruz Group. Only the TPG continued the process offinalizing a draft closure agreement with the government. He was joined by Tabara, who chairs the Kapatiran, in witnessing thedistribution of the livelihood grants with Galvez, Social Welfare undersecretaryRene Glen Paje and Defense undersecretary Cesar Yano.(With a report from PNA/PN) Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. said the nationalgovernment has plans and programs for the organization after going through along and difficult journey toward peace. “Our government aims to give a better life for the members of theKapatiran,” he added. Paduano, former national commander of the RPA-ABB and now arepresentative of Abang Lingkod Party-list, urged the Kapatiran members tosustain the gains of the peace process.center_img “It took us 23 years, and today is the first phase of the livelihoodassistance of the government. We cannot afford to lose this opportunity to showthe world that indeed, we can achieve lasting peace in the country,” Paduano saidin a statement released by the OPPAP. In Feb. 1996, breakaway members of the New People’s Army (NPA) NegrosRegional Party formed the RPM-P, and in April, the group announced theformation of the RPA as its military arm. The following year, the Nilo delaCruz-led ABB joined forces with the RPA. The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Officeof the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) released a total of P30.65million in livelihood grants – of which P24.85 million went to 463 recipientsfrom Negros Occidental, and P5.8 million for the 116 members from the PanayIsland. The RPM-P/RPA-ABB TPG took on the name Kapatiran para sa ProgresibongPanlipunan Inc. as part of its institutional transformation. The recipients are former combatants of the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ngManggagawa-Pilipinas/Revolutionary Proletarian Army/Alex Boncayao Brigade(RPM-P/RPA/ABB) under the Tabara-Paduano Group (TPG) based in Negros Occidentaland Panay Island, which is finalizing the closure of its peace agreement withthe government. During their decommissioning in Capiz last September, the formercombatants also received immediate cash assistance of P25,000 each.last_img read more

P54,000 ‘shabu’ seized

first_imgThe suspect was detained in the lockup facility of the Talisay City police station, facing charges for violation of Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002./PN Resident Andro Medel, 42, yielded the suspected illegal drugs, a police report showed. BACOLOD City – Suspected shabu weighing about eight grams valued at around P54,000 was seized in a buy-bust operation in Barangay Barangay E. Lopez, Silay City, Negros Occidental.center_img Medel was caught after he sold suspected shabu to an undercover cop for P4,000 around 2:05 p.m. on July 1.last_img