Archive for the ‘communications’ Category

Death On The Rails: Text Messaging, Poor Signals Played A Role

December 3, 2008

The train engineer was text messaging just seconds before a deadly crash.  Now it seems the traffic signals he saw could have been missed too….

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Investigators find the station’s red signal was not as clear as the yellow and green ones, and continue probing whether the engineer and conductor followed communication rules.
By Rich Connell and Robert J. Lopez
The Los Angeles Times
A critical red light that a Metrolink train ran just before slamming into a freight train in Chatsworth was not as visible as green and yellow signals displayed by the same trackside warning device, investigators probing the disaster have found.

The clarity of the stop light, as well as possible violations of communication rules by the commuter train’s crew, have become key focus points in the federal inquiry into the deadliest rail accident in modern California history.

Read the rest:
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-
metrolink3-2008dec03,0,1876430.story

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Vietnam: Japanese investors worry about inadequate infrastructure

December 2, 2008

Some 78% of Japanese businesses said roads in Vietnam need to be improved while 60% said the power supply and 45% said seaports need to be upgraded.

VietNamNet Bridge – The Japan Bank for International Cooperation’s (JBIC) survey in the 2008 fiscal year reveals that Japanese investors continue to worry about underdeveloped infrastructure in Vietnam, particularly roads, ports and power systems.

JBIC’s survey was compiled based on 620 questionnaires collected from Japanese companies overseas. According to the survey, 2008 is the third consecutive year that Vietnam ranks third among countries and regions that have medium-term business potential, after China and India.

 

Low labour cost is still the main reason why Japanese investors see Vietnam as a country with investment potential. Other elements include market development potential, risk diversification, and abundant human resources.

 

However, according to Matsuda Noriyasu, chief representative of JBIC in Vietnam, many Japanese investors say labour costs in Vietnam have increased and become a new concern.

 

Notably, only 48% of Japanese businesses appreciate the “market development potential” of Vietnam, compared to 53.4% last year.

 

Matsuda Noriyasu said Japanese companies continue to worry about underdeveloped infrastructure in Vietnam, especially roads, ports and power. “This is the most serious matter to Japanese producers,” JBIC’s survey noted.

 

Some 78% of Japanese businesses said roads in Vietnam need to be improved while 60% said the power supply and 45% said seaports need to be upgraded.

Read the rest:
http://english.vietnamnet.vn/politics/2008/12/816504/

In Georgia, Russia saw its Army’s shortcomings

October 10, 2008

By Fred Weir
Christian Science Monitor

The global perception of the Russia-Georgia war this summer is that an armored juggernaut of old Soviet military proportions rolled over its puny rival after a five-day conflict.

But the view from Moscow is different. Many Russian military experts are still shaking their heads in dismay over a catalog of delays and mistakes that plagued the Russian Army’s thrust into South Ossetia.

Russian peackeeping soldiers drive military vehicles out of ...

“The war made it clear that we have all kinds of shortcomings in equipment, training, battlefield coordination, and intelligence,” says Alexei Arbatov, a military expert with the Carnegie Center in Moscow.

The Russian Army’s questionable performance has prompted urgent debate here over Russia’s need for a modern, mobile, professional army capable of rapidly responding to challenges that might erupt along Russia’s long borders with its unstable post-Soviet neighbors. In fact, the August conflict is giving fresh impetus for a 30 percent jump in defense spending, and a military modernization plan.

Read the rest:
http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/1010/p01s01-woeu.html

Thailand: “Haven for Criminals”

March 9, 2008

The Bangkok Post
March 9, 2008

By Wassayos Ngamkham

A comprehensive network of communications, transport facilities and hospitality have made Thailand a sanctuary for the world’s criminals and other fugitives, said police.

Panaspong Sirawongse, the head of Interpol’s Liaison Office Bangkok, said foreign criminals pick Thailand as a hide-out or a venue to negotiate illegal deals apparently because the country is a hub of communications and transport.

Also, Thailand is a world tourist destination where fugitives from crime can easily slip in and mingle with foreign tourists, he said.

“I believe they chose us because it is convenient for them to make contacts here,” Pol Col Panaspong said.

He referred to the latest arrest involving Russian Viktor Bout, 41, dubbed the ”Merchant of Death”, on Thursday at a Bangkok hotel. The fugitive was wanted by the US Drug Enforcement Administration for allegedly selling arms to terrorists.

Police escort international arms dealer Viktor Bout as he arrives ...
Police escort international arms dealer Viktor Bout as he arrives at the Bangkok Criminal Court March 8, 2008. Bout, dubbed the “Merchant of Death” of the clandestine arms trade and who was arrested in a U.S. sting operation in Thailand, has told police he was in Bangkok for a holiday and not to transact any weapons business, a police officer said on Saturday.
REUTERS/Sukree Sukplang (THAILAND)

Before that, Thailand was also in the spotlight for the much-publicised arrest of Nurjaman Riduan bin Isomuddin, better known as Hambali, in Ayutthaya in 2003. Hambali was suspected of being Southeast Asian terrorist organisation Jemaah Islamiyah (JI)’s operations chief and the architect of the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people.

His capture, according to a recent US report on terrorism, suggested that Thailand was a transit point for regional terrorists.

Following Hambali’s arrest, a number of other wanted fugitive criminals have been apprehended in the kingdom. They include Christopher Paul Neil, 32, who was arrested days after Interpol issued an unprecedented worldwide public appeal for help in identifying the suspected paedophile.

In mid-February, Morgan Michelle Hoke, 21, known as the ”ponytail bandit”, was arrested at a guesthouse in the Bang Lamphu area. She was wanted by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for a series of armed bank robberies.

Crime Suppression Division (CSD) deputy chief Petcharat Saengchai agreed with Pol Col Panaspong that communications and transport facilities are among the factors criminals consider before they choose to flee to Thailand.

Pol Col Petcharat, the head of the task force involved in the arrest of Mr Bout, is chief of a new crime suppression division which has been specially set up to tackle international crimes.

He said Thai people’s friendliness and hospitality are also a drawcard.

“Thailand is their heaven. Thai people are also friendly so the criminals like Thailand, especially Bangkok, which is a large and complex city. It is an ideal hideout, even for local criminals,” he said.

CSD commander Pongpat Chayaphan agreed that the character traits of local people can be a double-edged sword.

“Thai people are kind and friendly. So the criminals feel at ease here,” he said.

Weapons In Space? U.S. Yes; U.N. No, No, No

March 6, 2008

By Mike Moore
The Washington Times
March 6, 2008

For more than 25 years, the United Nations General Assembly has been on record, nearly unanimously, favoring a ban on all space-related weapons. The United States has oppsed such a treaty.

An undated image of Earth as seen from space. The U.S. Navy ... 
Last October, for example, former New York Gov. George Pataki, a U.S. public delegate to the world body, explained America’s position. Though the United States is fully committed to the “peaceful uses of space,” he said, it believes “discussions regarding the merits of treaties to prevent the so-called ‘weaponization’ of outer space would be a pointless exercise.”
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Every presidential administration since the early 1980s has taken a similar position. And yet, while asserting there is no need for a treaty, the United States has been actively developing both the doctrine and hardware needed to “control” space in a time of conflict and — possibly — to place weapons into orbit.
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Peter B. Teets, then Air Force undersecretary and director of the National Reconnaissance Office, which operates intelligence-gathering satellites, presented the classic rationale for such a policy in 2002: The U.S. military needs space for “collection of all kinds of intelligence, precision navigation and… for weapons delivery, communication and transmission of information to users worldwide.”

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080306/COMMENTARY/347252906

Blizzard Strikes: What Happens in China Different From in the U.S.?

February 2, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

When a major snowstorm hits; what are the differences between China and the U.S.?

Answer: Everything.

China is experiencing its worst winter storm in 50 years or more. The event has turned into a near-disaster as tens of millions of travelers have been stranded and more than a million troops have been mobilized both to provide peace and security and to remove snow.

Soldiers shovel snow at a square outside the Nanjing Railway ...
Soldiers shovel snow at a square outside the Nanjing Railway Station in Nanjing, Jiangsu province February 2, 2008. Emergency crews struggled on Saturday to restore power to parts of southern China blacked out for a week by heavy snow as forecasters warned of no quick end to the worst winter weather in 50 years.
(Jeff Xu/Reuters)

In one of China’s train stations, more people are stranded than the entire population of Boston.

At Shanghai’s Hongqiao airport, soldiers were sent out to remove the snow and ice from acres of runways and tarmacs: armed only with shovels.

Snow removal in the U.S. is difficult and costly yet relatively routine due to long term investment in plows, trucks, sand, chemicals and other things.

In China, snow is being removed by anything from brooms made from branches to hundreds of shovel wielding troops. There are virtually no modern American-style snowplow trucks.

In China today, the Prime Minister, all his top communist party dignitaries and President Hu Jintao are on the road ordering local party functionaries to remove snow and ice and trying to apologize to massive hoards of people with bullhorns.

In a howling blizzard with 200,000 people before you, how many people do you think you can reach with a battery powered bullhorn?

In many parts of China today, the electrical grid is broken and disrupted due to ice which brought down power lines.

When three electrical workers were killed while attempting repairs, the Prime Minister met with the families and state-controlled communist TV made the workers into national heroes.

In China today, we see the impact of millions of migrant workers with limited or no human rights. Sure, they produce a wonderment of goods for Good Old Communist Red China and we buy it. But now we see how it is all possible.

China’s economic boom is on the backs of the poor and abused.

China is, in a word, crippled by snow, ice and cold. Vital normal services are paralyzed: like coal delivery, electricity, water service and the food supply and distribution system.

We pray for our Chinese brothers and we also say to the centrally controlled communist government: what gives?

Related:
China Confirms Man Killed in Stampede; Winter Chaos Continues

Monday: China Covered in Snow, Fog, Displaced People

Air Force trains warriors to defend cyberspace

January 29, 2008
WASHINGTON — Ready. Aim. Click.

The military relies on computers and electronic communication to launch precision weapons, spy on its enemies and communicate with troops in combat.
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The Air Force is revamping its training to prepare its 320,000 airmen to protect its frontlines in cyberspace, Air Force Brig. Gen. Mark Schissler said. The battlefield includes the Internet, cellphone calls and signals that trigger roadside bombs.

Read the rest:
http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/computersecurity/2008-01-28-cyber_N.htm?loc=interstitialskip

Google “hugely dangerous” and coming after local press next

November 6, 2007

Google is “hugely dangerous” and is one of the major preoccupations of News Corp, according to the editor-in-chief of Times Online.

Anne Spackman, speaking as part of a panel about the future of newspapers at the Society of Editors conference, said “the number one topic of conversation at News Corp is Google.”

“Its move into DNA is a massive threat and I wonder whether we will all start feeling that they are behaving a bit too much like big brother,” she said.

Talking afterwards to Press Gazette Spackman said: “Google now affects everything we do online”.

Because it drives such an enormous proportion of search traffic, newspapers are paying careful attention to optimising their sites for Google. This means that sites’ traffic is highly susceptible to minor changes to the way Google’s search algorithm works. She noted that when Google tweaked its search algorithm last month, WashingtonPost.com was one of several major sites whose pager rank temporarily dropped. Google also controls a large amount of advertising online, particularly since its acquisition this year of online advertising firm DoubleClick.

Spackman said she expects local newspapers would be the next to face the effects of the search giant as its Google Maps service transforms the market for local listings and advertising.

• Also responding to the question about how newspapers should deal with online aggregators, Mail on Sunday editor Peter Wright said: “To get traffic on a web site you have to publish free and encourage as many people as possible to read it. We encourage people like Drudge to aggregate our content because it means more people are see it and come back to browse the site. Whether that is the correct answer I can’t tell you, but it’s what we’re doing a the moment.”

Related:

Internet Death For “Print” Newspapers?

Blockbuster Video: Headed For Extinction?