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Showing posts from January 27, 2014

Virgin Galactic bans Chinese tourists from space flights fearing espionage

Melbourne, January 27 : Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic space flights has banned Chinese nationals from boarding it, as the officials fear that their rocket technology might get stolen, it has been revealed.

Tycoons from China, who are willing to pay 250,000 dollars for the tickets, have been told that they cannot board the flights because of anti-espionage regulations in the US, News. com. au reported.

Virgin's craft has a rocket engine and is seen as a potential military technology by the US's International Traffic in Arms Regulations, which was introduced during the Cold War to bar people from China, Iran and North Korea from having access to weapons technology.

A Virgin Galactic salesman based in Hong Kong said that they have received calls from people in China, but they have told them that people with a Chinese passport won't be allowed to go on the space voyage.

The salesman added that the willing Chinese tourist have been advised to get another nationality's p…

Intensifying Cyber Threats

Not too long ago, the phrase "electronic army" would have conjured up visions of a 1980s cyber-dystopian film -- the kind featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger and a lot of fog machines. But today the idea of an electronic army has been adopted outside the realm of entertainment, as a group called the Syrian Electronic Army, which supports Bashar al-Assad's regime, has successfully managed to temporarily cripple the online operations of companies like Twitter and The New York Times.

Perceived digital warfare is escalating as a sophisticated breed of attack against corporations, governments and individuals. The Survey on the Global Agenda tells us that people over 50 are more worried about it than the under-50s, but the shift to the cloud and the rise of the "Internet of things" mean that virtually all of us could be affected.

Until quite recently, most people and organizations with a web presence were operating their own servers. That meant that as the web developed i…

Bayer Pharmaceutical CEO: Cancer drug only ‘for western patients who can afford it’

By Scott Kaufman

 - "Raw Story" - In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers said that his company’s new cancer drug, Nexavar, isn’t “for Indians,” but “for western patients who can afford it.”

The drug, which is particularly effective on late-stage kidney and liver cancer, costs approximately $69,000 per year in India, so in March 2012 an Indian court granted a license to an Indian company to produce to the drug at a 97 percent discount.

Bayer sued Natco Pharma Ltd., but in March of last year, the High Court in Mumbai denied its appeal. Bayer CEO called the compulsory license issued by the Indian court “essentially theft,” then said “[w]e did not develop this medicine for Indians…[w]e developed it for western patients who can afford it.”

Nexavar costs approximately $96,000 per year in the United States, but Bayer assures “western patients” that they can have access to the drug for a $100 copay.

The United States International Trade Commission said th…

NSA Engaged In Industrial Spying – Snowden to German TV


 - "RT" - The NSA agency is not preoccupied solely with national security, but also spies on foreign industrial entities in US business interests, former American intelligence contractor, Edward Snowden, has revealed in an interview to German TV.

Edward Snowden chose the German ARD broadcaster to make his first TV interview ever since he became a whistleblower. The interview was made in strict secrecy in an unspecified location in Russia, where Snowden is currently living under temporary asylum.

“There is no question that the US is engaged in economic spying,” said Snowden, from a teaser aired late on Saturday.
If an industrial giant like Siemens has something that the NSA believes “would be beneficial to the national interests, not the national security, of the United States, they will go after that information and they'll take it,” the whistleblower said, giving an example.

Edward Snowden disavowed participation in any future publications of the documents he withdr…

Spain's Shrinking Labor Force

On Jan. 23, Spain's statistics office announced that while 8,400 fewer people were registered as unemployed in the fourth quarter of 2013 compared to the third quarter, the country's unemployment rate remained essentially unchanged -- it rose slightly to 26.03 percent from 25.98 percent the previous quarter. This is because the Spanish workforce keeps shrinking. Several factors contribute to the shrinking labor force. Since the beginning of the European economic crisis, Spain has seen record levels of foreigners and nationals alike leaving the country. Also, as the Spanish population ages, many people are retiring, and the informal economy (which is extremely difficult to measure, but according to some studies represents 20-25 percent of Spanish gross domestic product) presents an alternative to joining the official workforce. Lastly, some people have simply stopped looking for a job.

This trend is important for the future of the Spanish economy, because a smaller workforce mea…

Russia: Expanding Its Influence Through Education

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a meeting in Moscow in January. (ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)


Moscow has reverted to an old Soviet strategy for expanding Russian regional influence: cultural education and language instruction. If its neighboring populations speak Russian and understand Russian culture, Moscow can more easily strengthen ties, promote propaganda and enhance business relationships, or so the theory goes. But many countries, particularly former Soviet states, which have substantial Russian communities, will not so readily oblige their eastern neighbor. In fact, on Jan. 23 Latvia prohibited Russia from establishing schools in the country, illustrating the difficulty Russia will encounter as it implements its plan.


As part of Russia's resurgence, the Russian Foreign Ministry has undertaken a plan called Russian School Abroad, the purpose of which is to open institutions for Russian language, customs and cultural education in some 50…