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Egyptian reconnaissance satellite launched by Russian Soyuz

Egyptian reconnaissance satellite launched by Soyuz

A Russian Soyuz-U rocket was launched from Site 31/6 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday. In what is expected to the last “non Progress” launch of this variant of Soyuz, an Egyptian spacecraft – known as EgyptSat-2 – enjoyed a ride uphill on the Russian workhorse. Launch occurred on schedule at 16:20 UTC. The EgyptSat-2 satellite – which has seen its launch delayed several times – was built by RKK Energia and is destined for an operational orbit of 435 x 435 miles with a 51.6 degrees declination to the equator.

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Update: DARPA to Set Sea-based Electronic Ambushes for Enemies

DARPA to Set Sea-based Electronic Ambushes for Enemies

U.S. military researchers are moving forward with a program to hide ruggedized electronic devices at the bottom of the world’s oceans that when called on will float to the surface to jam, disrupt, and spy on enemy forces. Sparton and Zeta experts designed UFP concepts that not only would float sensors to the ocean’s surface, but also potentially launch a wave of distracting light strobes, blinding lasers, electronic warfare jammers, or other kinds of non-lethal weapons able to pop up without warning in the middle of an adversary’s naval battle group.

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Iran to Set Up Naval Zone in Eastern Caspian Sea

Iran to Set Up Naval Zone in Eastern Caspian Sea

Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari announced on Wednesday that the Navy will establish a naval zone east of the Caspian Sea. Iranian military officials have repeatedly announced that strong naval presence in the Caspian Sea (the world’s largest lake and a resource-rich body of water) is as a way to safeguard national interests and marine resource there.The maritime and seabed boundaries of the Caspian Sea have yet to be demarcated among the five countries bordering the sea.

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USPS Wants to Mine Your Data and Network With Retailers For Better Business Opportunities

USPS Plans to Open Hubs to Retailers Competing with Amazon

In 2020, when your supplies of milk and butter start to run low, your refrigerator will know to send out a call to the grocery store and, later that day, the Postal Service will show up at your door with fresh provisions. Appropriately, Manabe was speaking in future tense in a presentation here at PostalVision 2020, a conference focused on imagining how the Postal Service can reinvent itself in the face of dramatic shifts in consumer behavior.

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NATO Bolsters Defenses With Air, Sea Patrols on Russia’s borders

NATO Bolsters Defenses Against Russia With Air, Sea Patrols

The U.S.-led alliance will upgrade contingency plans, hold more military drills in eastern Europe and step up air and naval policing on its flanks, Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said. “We will have more planes in the air, more ships on the water and more readiness on the land,” Rasmussen told reporters in Brussels today after the 28 North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies approved the bulked-up defense posture.

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Israeli intelligence predicts collapse of the Egyptian regime in 2015

Israeli intelligence predicts collapse of the Egyptian regime in 2015

The Israeli Directorate of Military Intelligence (Aman) has predicted that the year 2015 will be a decisive one for the fate of the Egyptian regime and the coup that was led by outgoing Defence Minister Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, according to Palestine 48 news site. Colonel Roital, who heads the Egypt and Jordan Front at Aman’s Research Department, reportedly said that unless huge financial support is provided to Al-Sisi’s regime after he assumes power as president, the regime will likely collapse.

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Cash-rich global firms face calls to crack open war chests to prop up the global economy

Cash-rich global firms face calls to crack open war chests

Impatient shareholders are calling on the world’s top firms to start spending some of the eye-popping $2.8 trillion in cash built up since the financial crisis, as analysts warn that their thriftiness could be holding back global growth. Companies now need to rethink their cash strategy to create growth opportunities. Mark Carney, current head of the Bank of England, was more blunt in a 2012 speech as he derided unused corporate cash as “dead money”.

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Where Genocide Is Most Likely To Happen Next

Where Genocide Is Most Likely To Happen Next

Twenty years after the horrors of the Rwandan genocide, researchers at The University of Sydney have created a model predicting which countries will experience targeted mass violence across the globe. Known as the Atrocity Forecasting Project, the model plugs in more than a dozen “instability variables,” which include statistics on civil wars, regime changes, assassinations, neighboring state conflicts, infant mortality rates, and instances of previous genocides.

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China Planning ‘To Militarise Space’ Against US Anti-Satellite Weapons

China Planning 'To Militarise Space' Against US Anti-Satellite Weapons

China is planning to increase its military capabilities in space in reaction to US and other world powers developing astronomical weapons. At the time, US Air Force space analyst Brian Weeden said: “If true, this would represent a significant development in China’s anti-satellite [ASAT] capabilities. “No other country has tested a direct ascent ASAT weapon system that has the potential to reach deep space satellites in medium earth orbit, highly elliptical orbit or geostationary orbit.”

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Exclusive: P-8 Poseidon Flies With Shadowy Radar System Attached

Exclusive: P-8 Poseidon Flies With Shadowy Radar System Attached

The LSRS has been quietly flying on a small number of Navy P-3C Orion’s for some years, and the results have been described as “game changing.” It is said the sensor is so sensitive that it can even pick up a formation of people moving over open terrain. Also, the speed of the system’s double sided AESA array allows for multi-mode operations at one time with near 360 degree coverage, meaning that scanning, mapping, tracking and classifying targets can all happen near simultaneously.

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Power of the Purse: OFAC, The most powerful government agency you’ve never heard of

Office of Foreign Assets Control Director Szubin and his staff meet at U.S. Treasury Department in Washington

By turning to sanctions in response to Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, Obama reinforced a trend: He – and George W. Bush before him – increasingly have used financial warfare, rather than the overtaxed U.S. military, in crises from North Korea to Iran to Syria. It has made OFAC’s war room something of a front line for the United States and its allies. In interviews, current and former top OFAC officials offered insight into some of the often-secret agency’s inner workings.

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G20 gives US an ultimatum on IMF reform: But is it a bluff?

U.S. Treasury Secretary Lew arrives for a G20 ministerial meeting, during the IMF/World Bank 2014 Spring Meetings in Washington

The G20′s frustration centres on US failure to ratify the IMF quota and governance reforms agreed by the G20 in 2010. While countries representing nearly 80% of IMF votes have approved the reforms, the required threshold is 85%. The US has a veto with its 16.75% shareholding and the US Congress continues to block the reforms. Joe Hockey said the 2010 IMF reforms are a top priority because they would ‘double the IMF’s permanent resources and lead to a major realignment of voting shares’.

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Tiny camera brings big league applications to petite satellites

Tiny camera brings big league applications to petite satellites

The European Space Agency has developed a tiny spectrum-revealing camera that can fly inside tiny satellites known as CubeSats making it ideal for many applications from agriculture to environmental research. The hyperspectral camera could fit in the palm of your hand and works by dividing-up hundreds of narrow, adjacent wavelengths which reveal ‘spectral signatures’ of particular features, crops or materials, providing valuable data for fields such as mineralogy, agricultural forecasting and environmental monitoring, the ESA stated.

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FBI to have 52 million photos in its NGI face recognition database by next year

FBI to have 52 million photos in its NGI face recognition database by next year

NGI builds on the FBI’s legacy fingerprint database—which already contains well over 100 million individual records—and has been designed to include multiple forms of biometric data, including palm prints and iris scans in addition to fingerprints and face recognition data. NGI combines all these forms of data in each individual’s file, linking them to personal and biographic data like name, home address, ID number, immigration status, age, race, etc.

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EU QE?: ECB Will Turn On Its Money Printing Machine To Fuel Needed Inflation

ECB Will Turn On Its Money Printing Machine To Fuel Needed Inflation

Sunday, a top European Central Bank policymaker described how the bank will approach an asset purchase plan to tackle low inflation in the single currency bloc, saying that such a program “would not be about quantity, but about price.” Eurozone inflation is running at 0.5% far below the ECB’s target of just under 2% over the medium term. Several ECB policymakers have deep reservations about pursuing a US Fed style program of sovereign asset purchases.

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Social media helping destabilize world, strategist says at War College

Social media helping destabilize world, strategist says at War College

Failed, collapsed or weakened states pose a regional security problem and even a national security threat for the U.S. and its Army, Kaplan said, defining a weak or failed state as one where travel outside the capital can be dangerous — places like Syria, Iraq, South Sudan and Yemen. Social media is not the only factor that will increasingly destabilize the world in the next 20 years, he said.Ethnic and religious sectarian problems will continue to fester and create failed states in places like Africa and the Middle East.

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French spy ship FS Dupuy de Lôme with COMINT/ELINT equipment Passed Through Turkish Straits

French spy ship FS Dupuy de Lôme with ELINT equipment Passed Through Turkish Straits

But by far the intelligence gathering ship FS Dupuy de Lôme will be the most controversial one. She is fitted with COMINT and ELINT equipment. Her helicopter pad might be used to launch and recover unmanned air vehicles which can carry additional intelligence gathering sensors. The ship is available for 350 days a year and active for 240 days. May be France is better in making strategic communication at a level that can be correctly interpreted by Russians by sending two spy ships to the back yard of the Russians.

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Concern that Turkey might turn into ‘Pakistan of the Mediterranean’ rises

Concern that Turkey might turn into ‘Pakistan of the Mediterranean’ rises

Turkey’s active support for the rebels in the war ongoing right next to it in Syria is increasing concerns that the country might end up like Pakistan, which actively participated in the Afghan-Russian war and the ensuing civil war. The first person to ever express such a concern was President Abdullah Gül, who said in an interview with the Guardian in November that Syria is turning into an “Afghanistan on the shores of the Mediterranean,” a statement which has led experts to this question: If Syria is Afghanistan, who is Pakistan?

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Eurasian Corridor Project: China to Invest $5Bln in Russia’s Far East

China to Invest $5Bln in Russia's Far East

Amid increasing tensions with the West, Russia is making progress on long-awaited deals with its eastern neighbor, China. The China Development Bank has confirmed its plans to invest $5 billion in Russia’s Far East, news reports said Friday. Investments will be channeled to regional economic zones and will finance large infrastructure projects, Russia’s Far East Development Ministry said. Russia is ready to take on the transit cargo coming from the Asia-Pacific region to Europe.

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Ukraine to Launch ‘Full-Scale’ Offensive Involving Army Against Rebels

Ukraine to Launch 'Full-Scale' Offensive Involving Army Against Rebels

Ukraine’s government said on Sunday it was sending security forces into the eastern city of Slaviansk where pro-Russian militants have seized control in what Kiev describes as an act of aggression by the Kremlin. Any operation to dislodge the armed militants risks tipping the stand-off into a new, dangerous phase because Moscow has warned it will act to protect eastern Ukraine’s Russian-speakers if they come under attack.

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Israel’s army chief says a military operation in Lebanon is realistic and necessary scenario

Israel's army chief says a military operation in Lebanon is realistic scenario

Israel’s army chief of staff General Benny Gantz said an Israeli military operation in Lebanon is not only a realistic scenario but a necessary one. Gantz told Israel’s Channel 2 that threats against Israel from Lebanon and Gaza are not a mere campaign of intimidation but a reality pointing out that Israel is considering an increase in the level of its preparedness to emergency level to answer these threats. Commenting on the Syrian civil war Gantz said that Israel must prepare for all variables that could change at any time.

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Dumping the Dollar: Russian oil firm Gazprom Neft says Asian buyers willing to use euros

Russian oil firm says Asian buyers willing to use euros

Russian state-controlled oil producer Gazprom Neft said it had received positive responses from Asian clients about the possibility of using euros as a settlement currency instead of the dollar. Company head Alexander Dyukov said this week Gazprom Neft had broached the idea of dropping the dollar, traditionally the currency of choice for the global energy sector, in response to a possible new round of Western sanctions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

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Inside the FBI’s secret relationship with the military’s special operations

Inside the FBI’s secret relationship with the military’s special operations

With the war in Afghanistan ending, FBI officials have become more willing to discuss a little-known alliance between the bureau and the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) that allowed agents to participate in hundreds of raids in Iraq and Afghanistan. The relationship benefited both sides. JSOC used the FBI’s expertise in exploiting digital media and other materials to locate insurgents and detect plots, including any against the United States.

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Rampant inflation triggers nationwide strike in Argentina

Rampant inflation triggers nationwide strike in Argentina

Argentina is struggling with a weakening economy and rapidly rising inflation, which currently stands at roughly 30 percent. Labor leaders are therefore calling for higher pay and lower taxes. A nationwide 24-hour strike, called by the powerful CGT Union, brought large parts of the country to a standstill, public transport came to a halt, flights were canceled, hospitals provided emergency services only and rubbish was left uncollected. Many schools and businesses also remained shut.

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