Nations are accelerating efforts to control data produced within their perimeters, disrupting the flow of what has become a kind of digital currency.
Control of the internet is increasingly part of any modern conflict.
Through crowdsourcing, rights groups say they are documenting a campaign of beatings and torture “on a massive scale.”
Nursultan Nazarbayev, the autocratic former president, all but vanished after violent protests this month. But with his legacy so pervasive, will anything change?
The United States, NATO and Russia have been engaged in a whirlwind of diplomacy aimed at averting the largest military action in Europe since World War II. Here’s a guide to what’s at stake.
Nursultan Nazarbayev, who had been absent during the recent unrest that gripped the country, said he supported the country’s leader and the economic reforms he has proposed.
The force was deployed a week ago to stabilize the Central Asian country after political unrest that left dozens dead and thousands injured.
The Russian leader is fighting fires on multiple fronts, illustrating the danger of his strategy of relying on force to aid his autocratic neighbors.
The military response to recent unrest appears to be a win for President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and his Kazakh counterpart, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who solidified his grip at a time when it was most shaky.
Blaming “internal and external forces” for the unrest in the resource-rich Central Asian country, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia set no deadline for the withdrawal of the forces his country sent there.
The United States, its NATO allies and Russia meet this week in a whirlwind of diplomacy aimed at averting the largest military action in Europe since World War II.
Protests that began last weekend over a hike in fuel prices spread across the country, leaving at least 2,000 injured, government officials said. Dozens of deaths also appeared likely.
With his government under siege, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Kazakhstan’s president, turned to Russia’s Vladimir V. Putin for support. The choice could realign Central Asia’s politics.
Since the Cold War’s end, most dictatorial governments have collapsed after their ruler’s departure.
President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said on Friday that “bandits” were responsible for the unrest and must be “destroyed.” He thanked Russia for sending troops to help establish order.
But a series of revolts against a pro-Russian strongmen could also plant the seeds of rebellion at home, analysts say.
A revolt sparked by anger over a surge in fuel prices is convulsing the Central Asian nation on Russia’s doorstep. As protests turned deadly, troops from a Russian-led military alliance began arriving in the country.
A revolt inspired by anger over a surge in fuel prices has since spread across the country. A Russia-led military alliance has sent troops to help quell the violence in what it described as a temporary peacekeeping effort.
As protests in the oil-rich Central Asian country gain momentum, the events threaten to reverberate across the region.
Anger sparked by a gas price increase in the resource-rich Central Asian nation has swelled despite concessions from the ruling party and a strict state of emergency.
In a rare show of dissent in the authoritarian country, thousands took to the street as gas prices doubled. The government responded with curfews and tear gas.
English courtrooms have become a battleground — and a source of powerful weapons — in fierce disputes between the tycoons and the politicians of the post-Soviet world.
Android shared information today about six features that will roll out this summer. Some of these are just quality of life upgrades, like starring text messages to easily find them later, or getting contextual Emoji Kitchen suggestions depending on what you’re typing. But other aspects of this update emphasize security, safety, and accessibility.
Last summer, Google added a feature on Android that basically uses your phone as a seismometer to create “the world’s largest earthquake detection network.” The system is free, and since testing in California, it’s also launched in New Zealand and Greece. Now, Google will introduce this feature in Turkey, the Philippines, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The company says that they’ll continue expanding the feature this year, prioritizing countries with the highest earthquake risk.
Google is also expanding on another feature released last year, which made Google Assistant compatible with Android apps. In the initial update, apps were supported like Spotify, Snapchat, Twitter, Walmart, Discord, Etsy, MyFitnessPal, Mint, Nike Adapt, Nike Run Club, eBay, Kroger, Postmates, and Wayfair. Today’s update mentioned apps like eBay, Yahoo! Finance, Strava, and Capital One. These features are comparable to Apple’s support of Siri with iOS apps, which includes the ability to open apps, perform tasks, and record a custom command.
When it comes to accessibility, Google is ramping up its gaze detection feature, which is now in beta. Gaze detection allows people to ask Voice Access to only respond when they’re looking at their screen, allowing people to naturally move between talking with friends and using their phone. Now, Voice Access will also have enhanced password input — when it detects a password field, it will allow you to input letters, numbers, and symbols by saying “capital P” or “dollar sign,” for example, making it easier for users to more quickly enter this sensitive information. In October, Google Assistant became available on gaze-powered accessible devices, and in the same month, Google researchers debuted a demo that made it so people using sign language could be identified as the “active speaker” in video calls. Apple doesn’t have a comparable gaze detection feature yet that’s widely available, though they acquired SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI), an eye-tracking firm, in 2017. So, hopefully similar accessibility features will be in the works at Apple, especially as Google continues to build out theirs.
Today’s Android update also lets Android Auto users customize more of their experience. Now, you can set your launcher screen from your phone, set dark mode manually, and more easily browse content on media apps with an A-Z scroll bar and “back to top” button. Messaging apps like WhatsApp and Messages will now be compatible on the launch screen – proceed with caution and don’t drive distracted – and EV charging, parking, and navigation apps will now be available for use.
Apple announced a handful of privacy-focused updates at its annual software developer conference on Monday. One called Private Relay particularly piques the interest of Chinese users living under the country’s censorship system, for it encrypts all browsing history so nobody can track or intercept the data.
As my colleague Roman Dillet explains:
When Private Relay is turned on, nobody can track your browsing history — not your internet service provider, anyone standing in the middle of your request between your device and the server you’re requesting information from. We’ll have to wait a bit to learn more about how it works exactly.
The excitement didn’t last long. Apple told Reuters that Private Relay won’t be available in China alongside Belarus, Colombia, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkmenistan, Uganda and the Philippines.
Apple couldn’t be immediately reached by TechCrunch for comment.
Virtual private networks or VPNs are popular tools for users in China to bypass the “great firewall” censorship apparatus, accessing web services that are otherwise blocked or slowed down. But VPNs don’t necessarily protect users’ privacy because they simply funnel all the traffic through VPN providers’ servers instead of users’ internet providers, so users are essentially entrusting VPN firms with protecting their identities. Private Relay, on the other hand, doesn’t even allow Apple to see one’s browsing activity.
In an interview with Fast Company, Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, explained why the new feature may be superior to VPNs:
“We hope users believe in Apple as a trustworthy intermediary, but we didn’t even want you to have to trust us [because] we don’t have this ability to simultaneously source your IP and the destination where you’re going to–and that’s unlike VPNs. And so we wanted to provide many of the benefits that people are seeking when in the past they’ve decided to use a VPN, but not force that difficult and conceivably perilous privacy trade-off in terms of trusting it a single intermediary.”
It’s unclear whether Private Relay will simply be excluded from system upgrades for users in China and the other countries where it’s restricted, or it will be blocked by internet providers in those regions. It also remains to be seen whether the feature will be available to Apple users in Hong Kong, which has seen an increase in online censorship in the past year.
Like all Western tech firms operating in China, Apple is trapped between antagonizing Beijing and flouting the values it espouses at home. Apple has a history of caving in to Beijing’s censorship pressure, from migrating all user data in China to a state-run cloud center, cracking down on independent VPN apps in China, limiting free speech in Chinese podcasts, to removing RSS feed readers from the China App Store.
Space startup Astroscale has launched ELSA-d, the demonstration mission for its End-of-Life Services by Astroscale (ELSA) technology, which aims to dock with, and then safely remove, orbital debris. Astroscale’s demonstrator package includes two separate payloads, a servicer that represents its future production spacecraft, and a ‘client’ satellite that’s meant to represent the debris satellites it’ll be de-orbiting on behalf of customers in future.
The Astrocale payload was launched via a Soyuz rocket that took off early this morning from Kazakhstan carrying 38 commercial satellites from 18 countries. It’s the first Astroscale spacecraft to reach orbit, since the startup’s founding in 2013 by Japanese entrepreneur Nobu Okada. Astroscale had launched a micro satellite designed to measure small-scale debris in 2017, but all 18 of the satellites on that particular mission failed to reach orbit, due to human error in the launch vehicle’s programming.
This ELSA-d mission is a much more ambitious effort, and involves what amounts to an active on-orbit demonstration of the technology that Astroscale ultimately hopes to commercialize. The mission profile includes repeat docking and release maneuvers between the servicer satellite and the simulated client satellite, which is equipped with a ferromagnetic plate to assist the servicer with its magnetic docking procedure.
Astroscale hopes to prove out a range of its advertised capabilities with this demonstration, including the servicer’s ability to search out and located the client satellite, inspect it for damage, and then dock with it as mentioned, in both non-tumbling and tumbling scenarios (ie., a payload that’s maintaining a stable orbit, and one that’s spinning end-over-end in space with no ability to control its own attitude).
There’s a lot riding on this mission, which will be controlled from a ground center established by Astroscale in the UK. Aside from its long-term commercial ambitions, the startup is also contracted to partner with JAXA on the Japanese space agency’s first orbital debris removal mission, which aims to be the first in the world to remove a large object from orbit, representing the spent upper stage of a launch rocket.
Oil prices rose to levels not seen since February. The two major oil producers had been moving in lock step since an April agreement to cut output.
Imagery from the Cold War’s Corona satellites is helping scientists fill in how we have changed our planet in the past half century.
Japanese startup Astroscale is aiming for March 2021 for a launch of its first-ever active orbital debris removal mission. This demonstration of its technology, which it hopes to use to help ensure that low-Earth orbit becomes a sustainable environment for commercial activity as it becomes increasingly crowded thanks to the rapid pace of new spacecraft launches.
This demonstration mission, which is called the “End-of-Life Services by Astroscale-demonstration” (ELSA-d for short) will take off from Kazakhstan, launched via a Russian Soyuz rocket. The actual demonstration itself will see Astroscale’s payload, which includes both a ‘servicer’ (which represents the actual debris removal component) and a ‘client’ (which represents any potential satellite or space junk that Astroscale might eventually be tasked with removing).
The servicer unit will use magnets to ‘capture’ the client, docking with it multiple times to show its efficacy, while the client remains stationary and while it emulates an end-over-end tumbling motion that is common for a lot of defunct orbital debris. The purpose of the mission is to show that Astroscale’s technology for seeking out and finding targets for removal, as well as proper target identity verification and docking/release procedures all work as the startup intended.
Low-Earth orbit space junk removal is half of Astroscale’s approach to making space more sustainable for commercial and research activities – the other is on-orbit servicing of geostationary satellites, which tend to be larger and more expensive and occupy an orbital band deeper out in space. The company recently acquired assets of an Israeli company focused on that endeavor in order to bolster that parallel mission.
After banning the first Sacha Baron Cohen satire, the country has created tourism ads adopting its catchphrase.
Typically, there’s a bit of a delay between when astronauts launch from Earth to the International Space Station, and when they actually dock with the orbital lab. This has to do with the relative orbits of the launch spacecraft and the ISS, as well as their takeoff point from Earth. Expedition 64, which launched today, however, docked with the station just around three hours after leaving Earth from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The Soyuz spacecraft carrying NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov took off at just before 2 AM EDT, and docked with the ISS at 4:48 AM EDT – three hours and two minutes after liftoff. The hatches between the capsule and the station opened at 7:07 AM EDT, officially beginning the operational duty roster stint for the three new ISS crew members. Coincidentally it’s also Rubins’ birthday.
For a sense of that speed, consider that Demo-2, the last crewed launch to the ISS, docked with the station a full day following its liftoff from Florida in May. Typically, the crew capsule requires a few more orbits to match velocity and altitude with the station, but in this case, the timing and conditions were right to get the spacecraft in the correct spot after just two super fast orbits around the Earth.
There are now six crew members staffing the ISS, including cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, as well as NASA astronaut Christopher Cassidy who were already on the station.
Imanbek was working at his local train station when he stumbled onto a Saint Jhn song ripe for a dancey redo. The result boosted both artists to a new level.
Frozen dumplings as skulls and A/C ducts as fashion accessories. A Facebook group for art re-enactors has gained 540,000 followers across the locked-down globe.