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Out of space in outer space: Special report on NASA’s ‘space junk’ plans
August 16, 2018

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A 182-page report issued September 1 by the United States National Research Council warns that the amount of debris in space is reaching “a tipping point”, and could cause damage to satellites or spacecraft. The report calls for regulations to reduce the amount of debris, and suggests that scientists increase research into methods to remove some of the debris from orbit, though it makes no recommendations about how to do so.

NASA sponsored the study.

A statement released along with the report warns that, according to some computer models, the debris “has reached a tipping point, with enough currently in orbit to continually collide and create even more debris, raising the risk of spacecraft failures”. According to the Satellite Industry Association, there are now about 1,000 working satellites in Earth orbit, and industry revenues last year were US$168 billion (£104.33 billion,€119.01 billion).

The debris consists of various objects, such as decommissioned satellites and exhausted boosters, but the vast majority of the particles are less than one centimetre across. 16,094 pieces of debris were being tracked as of July, although estimates put the current number at over 22,000. The total number of fragments is thought to be as high as tens of millions. While most of the debris is very small, some of it is travelling at speeds as high as 17,500 mi h-1 (28,164 km h-1; 7,823.3 m s-1).

The International Space Station sometimes has to dodge larger fragments, and in June its crew was forced to prepare to evacuate due to a close encounter with debris.

The UK Space Agency told Wikinews that space flight “is likely to be made more difficult” by the debris. However, communications will “[n]ot directly” be affected, “but if the GEO ring became unusable, there is no other altitude at which objects appear [‘]geo-stationary[‘] and so all antennas on the ground would then have to move in order to track the motion of the satellites”.

Donald J. Kessler, the lead researcher and former head of NASA’s Orbital Debris Program Office, said that “[t]he current space environment is growing increasingly hazardous to spacecraft and astronauts,” and suggested that “NASA needs to determine the best path forward for tackling the multifaceted problems caused by meteoroids and orbital debris that put human and robotic space operations at risk.”

The current space environment is growing increasingly hazardous to spacecraft and astronauts

Two events are thought to be the largest individual sources of space debris. Kessler said that “[t]hose two single events doubled the amount of fragments in Earth orbit and completely wiped out what we had done in the last 25 years”.

The first of these was a controversial 2007 Chinese anti-satellite weapon test, which smashed the decommissioned weather satellite Fengyun-1C into approximately 150,000 fragments over a centimetre in size—making up roughly twenty percent of all tracked objects—537 miles above the Earth’s surface.

The Chinese government has so far failed to respond to Wikinews’s queries regarding the incident.

The other is a 2009 collision between twelve-year-old active satellite Iridium 33 and the defunct Russian Strela-2M satellite Kosmos-2251—both weighing in excess of 1,000 lbs (454 kg)—that occurred 490 miles over Siberia, the first such collision. The Iridium satellite was replaced within 22 days, according to Iridium Communications, who operated it.

We believe this is a substantial first step in better information sharing between the government and industry and support even more robust interaction which can provide better and more efficient constellation operation.

In a statement released to Wikinews, Iridium Communications said that they “received no warning of the impending collision. Although commercial projections of close encounters (commonly called conjunctions) were available, the accuracy of those projections was not sufficient to allow collision avoidance action to be taken.” They also made the assurance that the Air Force Space Command and United States Strategic Command now provide them with information through the Joint Space Operations Center, and that “when necessary, [they] maneuver [their] satellites based on this information to avoid potential collisions. [They] believe this is a substantial first step in better information sharing between the government and industry and support even more robust interaction which can provide better and more efficient constellation operation.”

Iridium expressed their support for “[l]ong-term investment to improve Space Situational Awareness” and “[i]mproved information sharing between industry and the U.S. government”, as well as more “[g]overnment support for policy and processes which would permit sharing of high-accuracy data as required to allow reliable assessment and warning” and “[i]ncreased cooperation between the government and U.S. and foreign commercial operators.”

They maintained that “the Iridium constellation is uniquely designed to withstand such an event. Because of the resilient and distributed nature of the Iridium constellation, the effects of the loss of a single satellite were relatively minor”, and that “any other system, commercial or military, which experienced the loss of a satellite, would have suffered significant operational degradation for a period of months if not years.” Nonetheless, the company is “concerned over the increasing level of risk to operations resulting from the debris in space.”

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The report makes more than thirty findings, and more than twenty recommendations to NASA. None of the recommendations regard how to clean up the debris. However, it does cite a report by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which suggested various possible techniques for catching and removing space debris, such as magnetic nets.

The Cold War is over, but the acute sensitivity regarding satellite technology remains

However, international law does not allow one country to collect another’s debris. George J. Gleghorn, vice chair of the committee, observed that “[t]he Cold War is over, but the acute sensitivity regarding satellite technology remains”.

The debris will, in time, be pulled into the earth’s atmosphere—where it will burn up—by gravity, but more debris is being created faster than this can happen.

The problem of space debris is similar to a host of other environmental problems and public concerns

The report recommends collaborating with the United States Department of State on “economic, technological, political, and legal considerations.” As already mentioned, international law does not allow one country to collect another’s debris.

It is best to treat the root cause, the presence of debris in orbit, and remove the large objects before they can break up into many thousands of uncontrolled fragments capable of destroying a satellite on impact.

According to the report, “[t]he problem of space debris is similar to a host of other environmental problems and public concerns characterized by possibly significant differences between the short- and long-run damage accruing to society … Each has small short-run effects but, if left unaddressed, will have much larger impacts on society in the future.”

A spokesperson for the UK Space Agency told Wikinews that the organisation “does not have any plans to get directly involved with [the clean-up] initiative but through its involvement with NASA in the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee, it is conducting studies to identify which objects present the biggest hazard and how many objects may need to be removed and from where.” It says that the viability of such an operation is “a question of treating the symptom or the cause of the problem. Building more physical protection is costly and if the environment deteriorates too far, becomes unviable. It is best to treat the root cause, the presence of debris in orbit, and remove the large objects before they can break up into many thousands of uncontrolled fragments capable of destroying a satellite on impact.”

The spokesperson also pointed out that “[u]nder current licensing regimes (such as in the UK), countries are now obliging operators to remove satellites from crowded regions of space at the end of operational life”.

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President Bush of the United States authorized NSA surveillance of citizens, bypassing court warrants
August 15, 2018

Friday, December 16, 2005

In 2002, as a part of ongoing anti-terrorist operations, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency (NSA) to spy on Americans and others in the United States making contact with persons in other nations. According to a The New York Times report, the NSA monitored the international telephone calls and international e-mail messages of “hundreds, and perhaps thousands of people” inside the United States over the past three years without warrants.

Specifically, the NSA performed wiretaps on international communications that included a U.S. participant. The authorization was kept secret until December 2005, when it was reported in The New York Times, engendering serious controversy over both the legality of the blended international/domestic wiretaps and the revelation of this highly-classified program in a time of war.

According to The New York Times, John Yoo, the former deputy in the Office of Legal Counsel, justified the domestic spying in a classified Justice Department legal opinion, arguing that these activities were covered by congressional approval of the war on terrorism. That legal argument was similar to another 2002 memo authored primarily by Yoo, which outlined an extremely narrow definition of torture. That opinion, which was signed by another Justice official, was formally disavowed after it was disclosed by The Washington Post.

President Bush insisted that he has not compromised civil liberties. “Revealing classified information is illegal,” he said during an unusual live, on-camera version of his weekly radio address, about this secret program that was revealed in media reports yesterday. Senior members of congress from both parties called for an explanation. Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Arlen Specter, stated that “there is no doubt that this is inappropriate”. Senator Trent Lott defended the NSA directive saying “I don’t agree with the libertarians. I want my security first. I’ll deal with all the details after that.”

Traditionally the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducts most domestic eavesdropping after obtaining warrants for it. The domestic mandate of the NSA has been traditionally limited to the surveillance of foreign nationals and embassies. The NSA has reportedly obtained court orders to undertake missions in Washington, New York and other cities.

Several national security officials say the jurisdiction granted the NSA goes far beyond the USA PATRIOT Act. Under the act, it’s necessary to seek a F.I.S.A. (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) warrant every time law enforcement eavesdrops within the U.S. Some officials say they consider warrantless eavesdropping inside the United States to be unlawful and possibly unconstitutional.

One government official involved in the operation said he privately complained to a Congressional official about his doubts about the program’s legality. But nothing happened. “People just looked the other way because they didn’t want to know what was going on,” he said.

The New York Times, the newspaper that broke the news, stated that it delayed publication of this story for a year after the White House said it could jeopardize investigations and alert would-be terrorists under surveillance.

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Fans worldwide queue for new iPhone
August 15, 2018

Friday, June 19, 2009

Fans throughout the world have been queuing up outside stores for the release of Apple’s new iPhone, titled the iPhone 3GS. The phone went on sale on Friday morning around the world. According to CNN, around 300 people were queuing outside Apple’s New York store while employees were briefed inside.

Lines however, were not as long as was anticipated, with surplus metal barriers outside stores. An Apple employee was quoted as saying that the lines were shorter than this time last year.

The new iPhone contains a faster processor, a digital compass and a video camera. Ever since the launch of the original iPhone two years ago, it has been praised for “making smartphones cool”, with over 17 million handsets being sold.

However, critics have said that the new update deals are too costly. The telecommunications company O2 has made owners of Apple’s current iPhone products buy out their contracts should they wish to purchase the new phone.

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Reviews On Hotels And Restaurants Of Dubai

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Davy Mark

The hotels and restaurants are one of the entertainment sources when we are moving in the city, especially when we are out of town, then the restaurants are a special focus. Dubai is a place which is full of luxuries and it has the best hotels and restaurants of the world. Here you will find some great restaurants reviews and reviews on hotels. Starting from the restaurants reviews, the first is Al Muntaha.

Al MuntahaHundreds of feet above the Persian Gulf, the restaurant Al Muntaha has the best location around Dubai. The service is exquisite and the windows give the customer the feeling of being on board an ocean liner. Al Muntaha satisfies at the cooking with starters such as lobster Caesar salad or main dishes like scallops and grilled Hammour (local fish) or rib roast with mustard. There is live music six times a week as well and it is located at Burj Al Arab Hotel.La BaieUnder the expert management and supervision of Chef Carl Stockenstrom, this fine restaurant and Its efficient service and fine dining can be competed with any of the high class European restaurant with its soft music piano. The food is also impressive, although prices are as bit high. A dinner in La Baie is always assured of the highest quality. One of the most exotic starters is the marinated sturgeon carpaccio with caviar and yoghurt sauce. Among the highlights main courses that are rumored to be the favorite of the boss is Hammour Grilled on a green lentil. The location is Ritz Carlton Dubai.SphinxSphinx has been among the best restaurants in Dubai for years and has a good reputation. It is situated at the spectacular resort, Wafi Pyramid, in complete Egyptian style as it is suggested by its name. It creates the perfect environment for a great evening with friend and family. The service is also very attentive and quick and the food presentation is truly impressive. In the starters lobster soup or sorbet, fried goat cheese and beet salad are served with walnuts and blue cheese.SignaturesIt is certainly worth visiting the area of Jebel Ali just to dine at this excellent French restaurant. Signatures has the view of an open kitchen which lets allows visitors see the chefs while cooking delicious entrees and starters like lobster salad with foie gras and scallops wrapped in pasta. The highlight of the main menu is the sea bass served on a cabbage. The cozy decoration with candles makes this restaurant the ideal place to enjoy a romantic evening with your partner.VerreGordon Ramsay’s company has proved a resounding achievement and has established itself as the best place to eat around Dubai. It is not surprising when you find that the chef has got many awards and stands as Michelin stars. The modest decoration might not be to everyone’s taste, but the simple frame and intelligent lighting focus attention on the food. One of the chef’s specialties is tasty snacks served main courses which include salmon with a fricassee of peas, horseradish or chicken on a noodle. The desserts are superb. The three-course menu is certainly first-rate value for money. It is located at Hilton Dubai Creek.These reviews on hotels are just some of the long list of restaurants reviews and hotels reviews which are situated in Dubai and you when you visit, you will find these restaurants and hotel with even better quality and service.

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British ISPs restrict access to Wikipedia amid child pornography allegations
August 13, 2018

Sunday, December 7, 2008

This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Wikinews has learned at least six of the United Kingdom’s main Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have implemented monitoring and filtering mechanisms that are causing major problems for UK contributors on websites operated by the Wikimedia Foundation, in addition to 1,200 other websites. The filters appear to be applied because Wikimedia sites are hosting a Scorpions album cover which some call child pornography. Scorpions are a German hard rock band who have used several controversial album covers and are perhaps best known for the song Rock You Like a Hurricane.

The measures applied redirect traffic for a significant portion of the UK’s Internet population through six servers which can log and filter the content available to the end user. A serious side-effect of this is the inability of administrators on Wikimedia sites to block vandals, and other troublemakers, without potentially impacting hundreds of thousands of innocent UK contributors who work on WMF sites in good faith.

The filtering is in response to the Internet Watch Foundation‘s list of websites that host content reported to contain inappropriate images of naked children. The IWF considers those images child pornography. However, in the United States, where the websites of the Wikimedia Foundation are hosted, it is not considered obscene under the criteria of the Miller test, which requires that an obscene work lack “serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value” – as album art is used to “brand” the album, it is considered to be artistic.

Contributors or individuals attempting to view an affected image or file, depending on their ISP, may get a warning saying, “we have blocked this page because, according to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), it contains indecent images of children or pointers to them; you could be breaking UK law if you viewed the page.” Other ISPs provide blank pages, 404 errors, or other means of blocking the content. Due to a configuration mistake at one Internet service provider, some users have reported being totally unable to access Wikimedia sites to the Wikipedia technical help desk.

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“The Protection of Children Act 1978 as amended in the Sexual Offences Act 2003, makes it an offence to take, make, permit to be taken, distribute, show, possess with intent to distribute, and advertise indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of children under the age of eighteen. The ‘making’ of such images includes downloading, that is, making a copy of a child sexual abuse image on a computer, so, in the UK, accessing such content online is a serious criminal offence,” says the IWF on their website in an article updated on November 28. The IWF say there are at least 800 to 1,200 websites on the list of those who host or contain offensive material. The list is not public and the IWF never notified Wikimedia Foundation about the blocking of Wikipedia content. The affected page does not display any message informing the user about blocked content on most ISPs, instead, a technical error message is shown.

However, Demon Internet redirects users to a block message on the IWF’s site explaining that the page was blocked as the organization suspects child porn or links to it to be present. The IWF states that, “we do not notify site owners that their websites are on our list.”

The concern for Wikimedia is for some images like an album cover from a 1976 record of the Scorpions titled Virgin Killer. It displays an underage girl, posing nude, with a lens crack crossing over her genitals, but nothing blocking out her breasts. The girl appears to be around ten years old. In the U.S., the band later replaced the image with one of the group. The cover was uploaded to Wikipedia in 2006, but Wikinews learned that on May 9, 2008 at (21:17 UTC), despite a result of strong consensus to ‘keep’ in a deletion request, the image was deleted, however for a different reason. It was deleted due to a claim by an administrator that it violated Wikipedia’s policy for dealing with copyrighted images, which require that any images used under the doctrine of fair use must alongside other criteria, “significantly increase readers’ understanding of the topic, and its omission would be detrimental to that understanding”, with the administrator claiming that the article “lacked meaningful discussion” of the album art. This result was overturned using the deletion review process. Earlier, on December 6, the image was put back up for a deletion request, but it was later closed as Wikimedia “does not censor”.

Another image that is questionable could be a screenshot from the 1938 film Child Bride. Its goal was to bring to light the attempts at banning child marriages. In the article on Wikipedia, a screenshot appears of then 12-year-old Shirley Mills partially naked after skinny dipping. In the photo, at least one of her breasts can be seen.

Other albums featuring nudity below the age of sixteen have previously caused controversy; Blind Faith attracted criticism as did Houses of the Holy, and Nirvana’s Nevermind.

Multiple companies have gone public stating that they implement the recommendations of the Internet Watch Foundation. Not all of these are known to have implemented measures against Wikimedia sites; the major UK ISPs thought to have affected Wikimedia sites are Telefonica O2/Be Unlimited, Virgin Media, Easynet, Plusnet, Demon, and Opal Telecommunications (TalkTalk).

Wikinews has contacted Wikimedia’s legal counsel, Mike Godwin and the IWF for a statement, but neither have replied as of this time.

 This story has updates See Wikimedia, IWF respond to block of Wikipedia over child pornography allegations 

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Cleveland, Ohio clinic performs US’s first face transplant
August 12, 2018

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A team of eight transplant surgeons in Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, USA, led by reconstructive surgeon Dr. Maria Siemionow, age 58, have successfully performed the first almost total face transplant in the US, and the fourth globally, on a woman so horribly disfigured due to trauma, that cost her an eye. Two weeks ago Dr. Siemionow, in a 23-hour marathon surgery, replaced 80 percent of her face, by transplanting or grafting bone, nerve, blood vessels, muscles and skin harvested from a female donor’s cadaver.

The Clinic surgeons, in Wednesday’s news conference, described the details of the transplant but upon request, the team did not publish her name, age and cause of injury nor the donor’s identity. The patient’s family desired the reason for her transplant to remain confidential. The Los Angeles Times reported that the patient “had no upper jaw, nose, cheeks or lower eyelids and was unable to eat, talk, smile, smell or breathe on her own.” The clinic’s dermatology and plastic surgery chair, Francis Papay, described the nine hours phase of the procedure: “We transferred the skin, all the facial muscles in the upper face and mid-face, the upper lip, all of the nose, most of the sinuses around the nose, the upper jaw including the teeth, the facial nerve.” Thereafter, another team spent three hours sewing the woman’s blood vessels to that of the donor’s face to restore blood circulation, making the graft a success.

The New York Times reported that “three partial face transplants have been performed since 2005, two in France and one in China, all using facial tissue from a dead donor with permission from their families.” “Only the forehead, upper eyelids, lower lip, lower teeth and jaw are hers, the rest of her face comes from a cadaver; she could not eat on her own or breathe without a hole in her windpipe. About 77 square inches of tissue were transplanted from the donor,” it further described the details of the medical marvel. The patient, however, must take lifetime immunosuppressive drugs, also called antirejection drugs, which do not guarantee success. The transplant team said that in case of failure, it would replace the part with a skin graft taken from her own body.

Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, a Brigham and Women’s Hospital surgeon praised the recent medical development. “There are patients who can benefit tremendously from this. It’s great that it happened,” he said.

Leading bioethicist Arthur Caplan of the University of Pennsylvania withheld judgment on the Cleveland transplant amid grave concerns on the post-operation results. “The biggest ethical problem is dealing with failure — if your face rejects. It would be a living hell. If your face is falling off and you can’t eat and you can’t breathe and you’re suffering in a terrible manner that can’t be reversed, you need to put on the table assistance in dying. There are patients who can benefit tremendously from this. It’s great that it happened,” he said.

Dr Alex Clarke, of the Royal Free Hospital had praised the Clinic for its contribution to medicine. “It is a real step forward for people who have severe disfigurement and this operation has been done by a team who have really prepared and worked towards this for a number of years. These transplants have proven that the technical difficulties can be overcome and psychologically the patients are doing well. They have all have reacted positively and have begun to do things they were not able to before. All the things people thought were barriers to this kind of operations have been overcome,” she said.

The first partial face transplant surgery on a living human was performed on Isabelle Dinoire on November 27 2005, when she was 38, by Professor Bernard Devauchelle, assisted by Professor Jean-Michel Dubernard in Amiens, France. Her Labrador dog mauled her in May 2005. A triangle of face tissue including the nose and mouth was taken from a brain-dead female donor and grafted onto the patient. Scientists elsewhere have performed scalp and ear transplants. However, the claim is the first for a mouth and nose transplant. Experts say the mouth and nose are the most difficult parts of the face to transplant.

In 2004, the same Cleveland Clinic, became the first institution to approve this surgery and test it on cadavers. In October 2006, surgeon Peter Butler at London‘s Royal Free Hospital in the UK was given permission by the NHS ethics board to carry out a full face transplant. His team will select four adult patients (children cannot be selected due to concerns over consent), with operations being carried out at six month intervals. In March 2008, the treatment of 30-year-old neurofibromatosis victim Pascal Coler of France ended after having received what his doctors call the worlds first successful full face transplant.

Ethical concerns, psychological impact, problems relating to immunosuppression and consequences of technical failure have prevented teams from performing face transplant operations in the past, even though it has been technically possible to carry out such procedures for years.

Mr Iain Hutchison, of Barts and the London Hospital, warned of several problems with face transplants, such as blood vessels in the donated tissue clotting and immunosuppressants failing or increasing the patient’s risk of cancer. He also pointed out ethical issues with the fact that the procedure requires a “beating heart donor”. The transplant is carried out while the donor is brain dead, but still alive by use of a ventilator.

According to Stephen Wigmore, chair of British Transplantation Society’s ethics committee, it is unknown to what extent facial expressions will function in the long term. He said that it is not certain whether a patient could be left worse off in the case of a face transplant failing.

Mr Michael Earley, a member of the Royal College of Surgeon‘s facial transplantation working party, commented that if successful, the transplant would be “a major breakthrough in facial reconstruction” and “a major step forward for the facially disfigured.”

In Wednesday’s conference, Siemionow said “we know that there are so many patients there in their homes where they are hiding from society because they are afraid to walk to the grocery stores, they are afraid to go the the street.” “Our patient was called names and was humiliated. We very much hope that for this very special group of patients there is a hope that someday they will be able to go comfortably from their houses and enjoy the things we take for granted,” she added.

In response to the medical breakthrough, a British medical group led by Royal Free Hospital’s lead surgeon Dr Peter Butler, said they will finish the world’s first full face transplant within a year. “We hope to make an announcement about a full-face operation in the next 12 months. This latest operation shows how facial transplantation can help a particular group of the most severely facially injured people. These are people who would otherwise live a terrible twilight life, shut away from public gaze,” he said.

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Toyota recalls up to 1.8 million automobiles
August 12, 2018

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The automobile manufacturer Toyota has said that it will recall up to 1.8 million cars across Europe, after a problem with the accelerator pedal was discovered.

According to the firm, eight models were affected by the problem — AYGO, iQ, Yaris, Auris, Corolla, Verso, Avensis, and RAV4 — after it was discovered that the accelerator may become stuck in a depressed position, resulting in uncontrollable speeding.

On Thursday, Toyota said it would recall 1.1 million cars in the US; a day previous, it had suspended eight models from sales. Last week, 2.3 million cars in the US were recalled due to the pedal issues.

The chief executive of Toyota Motor Europe commented on the recall. “We understand that the current situation is creating concerns and we deeply regret it,” said Tadashi Arashima. The firm, however, noted that it wasn’t aware of any accidents resulted by the malfunctioning accelerator pedals, and not many pedal problem incidents were reported in Europe. “The potential accelerator pedal issue only occurs in very rare circumstances,” Arashima added.

The National Automobile Dealers Association, meanwhile, commented that Toyota showrooms could lose as much as US$2.47 billion worth of revenue due to the incident.

“Toyota veterans will likely hear the news with disbelief and keep faith in the brand, but new customers could definitely be scared off,” remarked Robert Rademacher, who is the president of the trade group ZDK, as quoted by Business Week. “This recall has a dimension which we’ve never seen before.”

There are concerns that the problem may result in reduced consumer trust in Toyota. Hans-Peter Wodniok, an analyst for Fairesearch GmbH & Co. in Germany, noted: “If this is a one-time event, huge as it is, Toyota may be forgiven. But if something happens again in the next months and years, they will have gambled away customer trust in Europe as well.”

Analysts for Morgan Stanley, however, said they believed Toyota would not suffer much from the incident. “The company’s actions to correct the situation are timely enough to avoid major brand damage,” they remarked in a note to investors.

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US regulators approve new nuclear reactors for first time in 34 years
August 6, 2018

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approved Thursday, in a four to one vote, two new nuclear reactors at Southern Company’s Plant Vogtle in Burke County, Georgia. This is the first time a new reactor has been approved since 1978, the year before the Three Mile Island accident.

The only vote against the plant came from NRC chairman Gregory Jaczko. In a statement, he said “Right now we know there are things that need to be fixed, things that need to be changed, or at least things that need to be analyzed. For us to issue this license, and say ‘we’ll deal with them later,’ to me is kind of putting the cart before the horse.”

The CEO of Southern Company, Thomas Fanning, said the approval was a “monumental accomplishment.” In a conference call after the approval, he told reporters, “Anything that we learn from Fukushima, I assure you we will bring to bear”, referring to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. In an interview, he also said regulatory oversight “has been thorough, it has been thoughtful and it is complete.”

Environmental groups may bring a case to federal court in order to stop the completion of the new reactors. Wikinews contacted two environmental organizations, Greenpeace and the Union of Concerned Scientists. Greenpeace recommended a post about the approval on their staff blog, which said “Rather than expand the use of this dangerous and stupidly expensive technology, our government should stop subsidizing nuclear corporations’ bad investments and instead develop plans to phase out nuclear power and better secure the deadly radioactive wastes.” The Union of Concerned Scientists has yet to comment.

The new units are to be Westinghouse Electric AP1000 reactors. They would each have a net generating capacity of 1117MW. The construction cost is expected to be roughly USD14 billion (EUR10.6b, JPY1.1 trillion), and the reactors may be operational by 2017.

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Musharraf denies government involvement in death of Bhutto
August 2, 2018

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has denied accusations the security forces or intelligence services were involved in the assassination of former prime minister and opposition leader Benazir Bhutto.

President Musharraf, who blames al-Qaida for Ms. Bhutto’s death, told reporters he had warned the former prime minister about threats to her safety from Islamic militants as she campaigned for elections. He has also said that Bhutto’s death was partly her fault.

“I did warn her again that, ‘you must understand the environment. You are coming here after so many years. This Pakistan is a different Pakistan, which you don’t understand. Please understand the environment and the threat environment that we are living in,'” he said.

Ms. Bhutto’s supporters blame the government for failing to provide her with adequate security, while others believe elements within the government were responsible for her death as she was leaving a campaign rally a week ago.

When asked about this, Mr. Musharraf responded with visible anger.

“I have been brought up in a very educated and civilized family, which believes in values, which believes in principles, which believes in character,” he said. “My family, by any imagination, is not a family, which believes in killing people, assassinating, intriguing. And that is all that I want to say.”

Mr. Musharraf denied a security lapse was responsible for Ms. Bhutto’s death, telling reporters she had chosen her own police superintendent in charge of her security and had 30 officers with her. In addition, he said, more than 1,000 police, including rooftop snipers, were deployed at the Rawalpindi rally where a suicide bomber blew himself up near her vehicle after gunshots were fired.

Asked about the hosing down of the blast site just hours after Ms. Bhutto’s death, Mr. Musharraf said people cleaning the area did not realize they were destroying potentially crucial evidence.

Mr. Musharraf has invited investigators from the UK to help with the government’s probe into the assassination.

But Ms. Bhutto’s supporters, including her opposition party, the Pakistan People’s Party, demand the United Nations lead an independent investigation.

The government says she was not killed by gunshots or shrapnel, but that she hit her head on the sunroof of the car. Ms. Bhutto’s supporters say she was shot.

Ms. Bhutto narrowly escaped a previous assassination attempt last October on the day she returned to Pakistan after eight years in self-imposed exile. That attack claimed the lives of more than 140 people.

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Hard drive technology breaks storage density record
August 2, 2018

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, the San Jose, California-based joint venture of Japanese storage vendor Hitachi and U.S. technology giant IBM, has set a new record for storage density at 230 gigabits per square inch (Gb/in2). The company has developed technology to implement a recording method known as perpendicular recording, which allowed the increase in density above the current ~130 Gb/in2 limit.

Techworld claims there is a race between Hitachi and Toshiba for who will get the first drives to market which use the technology. According to Hitachi, they expect, “to ship [their] first perpendicular recording product in 2005 on a 2.5-inch hard drive”. Toshiba is also planning to ship a drive in 2005 that uses perpendicular recording.

According to Techworld, Toshiba will ship an 80 GB, 1.8″ drive in 2005. Toshiba’s 1.8″ drives are used in portable electronic devices such as Apple’s iPod, which is currently available in sizes 60 GB and smaller.

While all commercially available hard drives to date use longitudinal recording, perpendicular recording has roots in research done in academic circles over 100 years ago.

Hitachi Tech has produced a Flash animation that explains the rudiments of perpendicular recording in a music-video style.

Inspired by the 1970s Schoolhouse Rock series of educational animation shorts, the flash movie features whimsical moments with data bits and disk platters that speak and sing (not possible with today’s technology), it also contains realistic details. Of no importance to the viewer, but perhaps of interest to some, the animation shows Texas Instruments’ UC5608DWP chips visible briefly in the background. While TI’s UC5608DWP 18-line SCSI terminator chips have been made obsolete by the new UCC5618, the chips are indeed designed for use in hard drives.

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