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Monday:  October 6, 2014

When Will Chile's Post Office's Re-open? 

(PHOTO: Workers set up camp at Santiago's Rio Mapocho/Mason Bryan, The Santiago Times)Chile nears 1 month without mail service as postal worker protests continue. This week local branches of the 5 unions representing Correos de Chile voted on whether to continue their strike into a 2nd month, rejecting the union's offer. For a week the workers have set up camp on the banks of Santiago's Río Mapocho displaying banners outlining their demands; framing the issue as a division of the rich & the poor. The strike’s main slogan? “Si tocan a uno, nos tocan a todos,” it reads - if it affects 1 of us, it affects all of us. (Read more at The Santiago Times)

WHO convenes emergency talks on MERS virus

 

(PHOTO: Saudi men walk to the King Fahad hospital in the city of Hofuf, east of the capital Riyadh on June 16, 2013/Fayez Nureldine)The World Health Organization announced Friday it had convened emergency talks on the enigmatic, deadly MERS virus, which is striking hardest in Saudi Arabia. The move comes amid concern about the potential impact of October's Islamic hajj pilgrimage, when millions of people from around the globe will head to & from Saudi Arabia.  WHO health security chief Keiji Fukuda said the MERS meeting would take place Tuesday as a telephone conference & he  told reporters it was a "proactive move".  The meeting could decide whether to label MERS an international health emergency, he added.  The first recorded MERS death was in June 2012 in Saudi Arabia & the number of infections has ticked up, with almost 20 per month in April, May & June taking it to 79.  (Read more at Xinhua)

LINKS TO OTHER STORIES

                                

Dreams and nightmares - Chinese leaders have come to realize the country should become a great paladin of the free market & democracy & embrace them strongly, just as the West is rejecting them because it's realizing they're backfiring. This is the "Chinese Dream" - working better than the American dream.  Or is it just too fanciful?  By Francesco Sisci

Baby step towards democracy in Myanmar  - While the sweeping wins Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy has projected in Sunday's by-elections haven't been confirmed, it is certain that the surging grassroots support on display has put Myanmar's military-backed ruling party on notice. By Brian McCartan

The South: Busy at the polls - South Korea's parliamentary polls will indicate how potent a national backlash is against President Lee Myung-bak's conservatism, perceived cronyism & pro-conglomerate policies, while offering insight into December's presidential vote. Desire for change in the macho milieu of politics in Seoul can be seen in a proliferation of female candidates.  By Aidan Foster-Carter  

Pakistan climbs 'wind' league - Pakistan is turning to wind power to help ease its desperate shortage of energy,& the country could soon be among the world's top 20 producers. Workers & farmers, their land taken for the turbine towers, may be the last to benefit.  By Zofeen Ebrahim

Turkey cuts Iran oil imports - Turkey is to slash its Iranian oil imports as it seeks exemptions from United States penalties linked to sanctions against Tehran. Less noticed, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the Iranian capital last week, signed deals aimed at doubling trade between the two countries.  By Robert M. Cutler

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Monday
Aug202012

Building the Quantum Internet

(PHOTO: An artist's depiction of the two-quantum bit created by researchers/Science,AAAS)(HN, 4/2/2012) - Communications networks are vital for day-to-day lives, & now the 1st prototype of a quantum one has been developed based on interfaces between single atoms & photons. For a quantum network to be useful, the exchange of quantum information must be reversible; difficult, because quantum information is very fragile, & the no-cloning theorem prevents the copying of a different quantum state. A breakthrough in solving this problem has been achieved by a group led by professor Gerhard Rempe of the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Germany, using individual atoms to store information & transfer data by the controlled exchange of photons; the 1st elementary quantum network for secure communications.

(PHOTO: Single atoms form the nodes of an elementary quantum network in which quantum information is transmitted by the controlled exchange of single photons/Andreas Neuzner, MPQ)What it means? Information can be transmitted, bit by bit, from 1 atom to a 2nd atom by mapping its quantum state onto individual photons. The photons travel through a fiber optic cable & are absorbed by the 2nd atom which can then send information back to the 1st atom, or act as a hub to any number of networked atoms - proving that the quantum states can be transferred much better than is currently possible with any classical network. The group also demonstrated `entanglement', or a correlated state, between 2 physically separated network nodes which researchers believe could serve as a model for the teleportation of quantum information over very large distances, & might enable an entire quantum internet. (Read more at CNET)

Monday
Aug202012

"Space, For the Rest of Us" 

(Video: IBNTIMES/NASA) 

(HN, 5/22/12) - "Space is hard & unforgiving & there is still a lot of challenging work ahead for the SpaceX Dragon team. I would not pop the champagne corks just yet. But this is a moment to savor," says long-time space correspondent Miles O'Brien.  For the 1st time since the US space shuttle Endeavour's wheels came to a halt on July 21, 2011, a US built spacecraft is back in motion, on its way to meet up with the International Space Station.  It's now been more than 50 years since human beings 1st flew to space & little more than 500 of them have been there. Talk about the ultimate elite club.  But things started looking a little brighter in the wee hours of this morning when entrepreneur Elon Musk's `SpaceX' developed Falcon 9 left launch pad 40 at Cape Canaveral in Florida, so the Dragon capsule can rendezvous with the ISS, fly in formation safely & then sidle up close enough to be grasped by the space station's robot arm - the 1st time ever a private entity (tho administered by NASA) will make such a visit. Dragon's 1st close encounter with ISS will happen on Friday, May 25th - a fitting moment as it will be the 51st anniversary of John F. Kennedy's audacious, historic speech to a joint session of Congress that set the US on its course to the moon.  (Read more at PBS)

Monday
Aug202012

Africa Connects to the World 

 (MAP: Internet penetration worldwide, 2012; dark is most/Wikipedia)(HN, 4/8/12) - Slow Internet connections could soon become a thing of the past in West Africa when 2 underwater fiber-optic cables are laid from Europe down the western coast of Africa in mid-2012. The cables will bring faster, more reliable & likely cheaper broadband Internet to Cameroon, Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone & 15 other countries along the Atlantic coast of Africa; several getting broadband access for the first time.  8 West African countries, are already connected via the older, slower SAT-3 cable & the Nigeria-based MainOne cable, which came online in mid-2010.  Governments & private telecoms, like MTN & France Telecom, are paying the bill of more than $600-million bills for each cable.  Eastern & Southern Africa are a few years ahead as a 2nd underwater cable, SEACOM, went online on that side of the continent in July 2009.  Hundreds of millions of dollars of terrestrial cables must also be built to connect rural areas and landlocked countries, like Mali & Niger, to the submarine network.  The Africa Coast to Europe, or ACE, cable will stretch 17,000 kilometers & land in 20 countries on its way from France to South Africa. The West Africa Cable system, or WACS, will measure 14,000 kilometers & hit 13 countries between London & South Africa.  The WACS cable alone is expected to increase connectivity by more than 20% on the continent. (Read more at VOA)

Wednesday
Mar072012

Raspberry Pi Goes on Sale 

(PHOTO: Raspberry Pi Device/Raspberry Pi Foundation) 6 years in the making, the credit card-sized gadget was created by volunteers at the charitable organization, the Raspberry Pi Foundation founded by Eben Upton. The $25 & $35/US devices - `Models A & B' - are aimed at encouraging children to learn how to programme & code.  It has neither a keyboard nor a monitor & is a skeleton of a computer, showing the inner components of the mini PC.  Launched in London on Wednesday via 2 suppliers, Premier Farnell & RS Components, and sold out just after 8am amid overwhelming demand.  Raspberry Pi devices include a remix of Fedora Linux, 256MB of RAM, an Ethernet port & USB ports, among other enhancements.

Monday
Mar052012

Interpol arrests Anonymous hacktivists

(PHOTO: `Anonymity is Dead'/AFPYesterday, Interpol conducted arrests in Europe & South America, nabbing 25 suspected hackers from the group Anonymous. `Operation Unmask' - launched in mid-February cited what is said to be a coordinated series of `denial of service' cyber-attacks originating from Argentina, Chile, Colombia & Spain, against key government websites, such as Colombia's Ministry of Defense & presidential page; Chile's national library, & electric company Endesa were named.  The raids netted 250 computers & mobile phones from 40 locations in 15 cities worldwide, along with credit cards & cash from suspects aged 17 to 40 totalling 4 people in Malaga, Spain; 10 in Argentina, 6 in Chile, 5 in Colombia. 1 of the suspects went by the nicknames `Thunder' & `Pacotron' & was said to be running the computer network used by Anonymous in Spain & Latin America, via servers in the Czech Republic & Bulgaria.   If found guilty, the accused hackers could face sentences of 541 days to 2 years in prison.  (Read More at News.com.au)