Archive for July, 2012

LOMROG III 2012

July 30, 2012

The Danish-Swedish expedition LOMROG III will take place in the Arctic Ocean north of Greenland 31 July–14 September 2012. The expedition will be carried out by the Danish Continental Shelf Project, in cooperation with the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat and the Swedish Maritime Administration. LOMROG III is a follow-up to the previous Danish-Swedish LOMROG expeditions that took place in 2007 and 2009. The Swedish icebreaker Odin will once again serve as the research platform.

The task of the Continental Shelf Project is to acquire the necessary data in order to document an extension of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles in accordance with article 76 of the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). During the expedition bathymetric data will be acquired using Oden’s advanced multibeam echosounder, as well as collection of seismic and gravimetric data.

Danish scientists in biology, oceanography and marine microbiology will also participate in the expedition.

Research leader: Christian Marcussen, GEUS

Swedish research projects

Three Swedish research projects in paleoceanography and marine ecology will also participate in LOMROG III:

PAWS: Palaeoceanography of the Arctic – Water masses, Sea ice, and sediments

Researchers from Stockholm University are going to study the governing processes and feedback mechanisms of the sea ice and deep water circulation in the Arctic Ocean. Several new methods will be used to reconstruct how Arctic sea ice extent and circulation patterns have varied since the latest warm period around 125,000 years ago.

Research leader: Richard Gyllencreutz, Stockholm University

Marine diazotrophic diversity in the polar oceans and its contribution to global nitrogen cycling

Researchers from Stockholm University will collect water samples to analyse and measure nitrogen fixation in hypersaline brine, seawater, and melting ponds on ice and snow. Marine diazotrophs (nitrogen-fixing bacteria and cyanobacteria) are of documented significance in global nitrogen cycling. However, their significance in polar regions are largely unknown, despite the fact that nitrogen fixation is a major source of nitrogen input in polar terrestrial and freshwater systems.

Research leader: Pauline Snoeijs, Stockholm University

CHRONOLOGY

20 July: Icebreaker Oden departs Helsingborg, Sweden, for transit to Longyearbyen

30 July: Oden arrives in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen, Norway

31 July: The expeditionen begins

14 September: The expedition ends

The expedition will begin and end in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen.

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ISRAELI PAPER: U.S. BRIEFED ISRAEL ON PLANS FOR IRAN ATTACK

July 30, 2012

The Washington Times on July 29, 2012, published an AP report that an Israeli newspaper reported that the Obama administration’s top security official has briefed Israel on U.S. plans for a possible attack on Iran, seeking to reassure it that Washington is prepared to act militarily should diplomacy and sanctions fail to pressure Tehran to abandon its nuclear-enrichment program. Excerpts below:

A senior Israeli official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential talks, said the article in the Haaretz daily was incorrect.

Haaretz said National Security Adviser Tom Donilon laid out the plans before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a dinner on a visit to Israel earlier this month.

RUSSIA WANTS NAVAL BASES ABROAD

July 29, 2012

Washington Times on July 28, 2012, reported that Russia is talking to Cuba, Vietnam and the Indian Ocean island country of Seychelles about housing Russian navy ships, the nation’s navy chief said. Excerpts below:

Vice Admiral Viktor Chirkov told the state RIA Novosti news agency that Russia is in talks about setting up maintenance and supply facilities for Russian ships in those countries but wouldn’t give any further details.

Russia’s only existing naval base outside the Soviet Union is located in the Syrian port of Tartus. A squadron of Russian navy ships, including several assault ships carrying marines, is currently heading to Tartus in a show of support for a longtime ally whom Moscow protected from international sanctions and continued to supply with weapons.

Chirkov’s statement marked a sharp about-face for Russia, which closed a Soviet-era naval base at Vietnam’s Cam Ranh Bay and a spy base in Lourdes on Cuba in the early 2000s during President Vladimir Putin’s first term.

Russia doesn’t have the naval resources at the moment for a permanent presence outside its territorial waters, with only about 30 major warships split between five fleets, so the possibility of opening resupply bases doesn’t mean an expansion of Russian maritime power, said Pavel Felgenhauer, an independent defense analyst in Moscow.

DANISH LEFTIST POLITICIANS ATTACK U.S. PRESIDENT OBAMA

July 25, 2012

Jyllandsposten on July 25, 2012, reported that several leading Danish politicians are now in dramatic verbal confrontation with U.S. President Barack Obama and U.S. use of unmanned and remotely controlled so-called drones to attack targets in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. Excerpts below:

The The Danish Radical Party’s foreign policy spokesman, Rasmus Petersen, told the Danish newspaper Politiken that he did not believe that America can, as he said, “execute suspected political opponents”.

According to Politiken, Obama has endorsed 261 bomb attacks against suspected terrorists in Pakistan alone.

Also Danish Liberal Party foreign affairs spokesman, Soren Pind, is critical of Denmark’s most important ally.

– Obama is neglecting western principles and it will in the long run be harmful, Soren Pind said to Politiken.

FINLÄNDSK PROFESSOR ARBETADE FÖR STASI

July 22, 2012

Uppgifter i Stasiarkivet bekräftar att en finländsk professor ska ha spionerat för DDR:s räkning, rapporteraade Helsingin Sanomat och Yle i januari 2012. Några utdrag nedan.

Lassi Päivärinta, professor i matematik vid Helsingfors universitet, ska ha rekryterats när han studerade på universitetet i Jena i dåvarande Östtyskland. En kollega på universitetet ska ha varit hans kontaktperson. Fallet uppdagades i ett dokumentärprogram på tysk tv.

Päivärinta säger att han skickade vetenskapliga publikationer till kollegan i Jena, men han förnekar att det skulle ha varit frågan om spioneri.

– Det handlade om publicerat material som fanns på vanliga bibliotek, sade Päivärinta.

CHINA ARMING FISHERMEN IN SOUTH CHINA SEA?

July 19, 2012

The Washington Times on June 19, 2012, reported that a leading Chinese fishing-industry official is urging the Chinese government to provide arms and military training for 100,000 Chinese fishermen to roam the South China Sea and defeat Vietnam and other countries in the region that are challenging China’s sweeping claims of sovereignty in those waters. Excerpts below:

He Jianbin, chief of the state-run Baosha Fishing Corp., based in Hainan province, urged the Chinese government to make fishermen into Chinese militiamen.
“If we put 5,000 Chinese fishing ships in the South China Sea, there will be 100,000 fishermen,” Mr. He stated in a June 28 commentary in the state-controlled Communist Party newspaper the Global Times.

“And if we make all of them militiamen, give them weapons, we will have a military force stronger than all the combined forces of all the countries in the South China Sea,” he said.

The fisheries official confidently disclosed that at present, China would have no problem deploying that many fishing ships. “In Hainan province alone, we now have over 23,000 fishing ships, with over 225,000 experienced and mature captains,” Mr. He said.

China’s government has been using fishing vessels in recent weeks to ratchet up tensions with almost all its maritime neighbors, including Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines. In several high-profile skirmishes, most noticeably with the Japanese and Philippine maritime vessels, Chinese fishing vessels have played a central role, followed by vessels belonging to the government’s China Maritime Surveillance bureau [Haijian] and Bureau of Fishery [Yuzheng].

The People’s Liberation Army’s Navy is poised in the region but so far has not been directly involved in initial confrontations with several foreign vessels in an apparent effort to avoid direct challenges from the navies of other countries, including Japan, South Korea and possibly the United States.

China, in particular, regards the U.S. Navy as its main obstacle and the most formidable enemy in its South China Sea gambit.

SVENSKA PASS ANVÄNDBARA FÖR IRANSKA SPIONER

July 16, 2012

Tidningen Expressen, Stockholm, publicerade den 16 juli 2012 en artikel om en misstänkt terrorist, som gripits på Cypern. Utdrag nedan:

Gripandet av den misstänkte svenske terroristen på Cypern är en del av det hemliga kriget mellan Iran och Israel.

Båda sidor använder agenter med “rena”, neutrala pass.

– I den här verksamheten finns inget bättre än ett svenskt pass, säger den israeliske underrättelseexperten Yossi Melman.

U.S., CHINA FACE EACH OTHER ON CLAIMS TO SOUTH CHINA SEA

July 15, 2012

The Washington Times on July 12, 2012, published an AP report that the U.S. administration wants Beijing to accept a code of conduct for resolving territorial disputes in the resource-rich South China Sea, a difficult U.S. mediation effort that has faced resistance from the communist government – although it has endeared the U.S. to once-hostile countries in Southeast Asia. Excerpts below:

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations‘ annual conference…

Neither side spoke about the South China Sea while reporters were allowed in the room.

Several Asian governments have expressed worry about China’s expansive maritime claims. Tensions have threatened to boil over in recent months, with a standoff between Chinese and Philippine ships, and sharp disagreements between China and Vietnam.

China claims virtually the entire area and has created an entirely new city to administer it, sparking deep concern from rival claimants. The sea hosts about a third of the world’s cargo traffic, has rich fishing grounds and is believed to store vast oil and gas reserves.

Later Thursday, Mrs. Clinton told delegates the U.S. is “intensely focused” on how countries are handling the different claims, singling out “confrontational behavior” in the disputed Scarborough Shoal off the northwestern Philippines, including the denial of access to other vessels.

According to Filipino officials, at different points earlier this year the Chinese attached fishing nets to ropes held by buoys to block entry to the sprawling lagoon at Scarborough Shoal, or tied several dinghies together with ropes.

One official said the barriers were washed away by waves in recent storms. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations‘ 10 members announced this week that they have drafted a set of rules governing maritime rights and navigation, and procedures for when governments disagree. But China is not a member of the group, and it hasn’t agreed to anything.

BRANSON’S VIRGIN GALACTIC TO LAUNCH SMALL SATELLITES

July 13, 2012

Wall Street Journal on July 11, 2012 reported that for less than $10 million, Virgin Galactic, a division of British billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Group can launch satellites. Excerpts below:

At the Farnborough International Air Show, Mr. Branson revealed plans to revolutionize the market for small satellite launches by making them easier on the pocketbook. “Until now, the costs for sending satellites to space have been astronomical,” Mr. Branson said.

Small satellites will be sent into space using the carrier system known as LauncherOne. The transport will be up to five times cheaper than current prices, said George Whitesides, chief executive of Virgin Galactic.

Thanks to the financial support of Virgin Galactic shareholder Aabar Investment — a state-run investment company from Abu Dhabi that holds around a 32% stake in the Virgin space shuttle company — the first satellite launches should begin by 2016.

The advantage of this system is it needs less infrastructure, according to Virgin Galactic. In constrast to satellites that are launched with ground-based rockets, the mid-air launch allows customers to begin their space journeys from many more locations.

Mr. Whitesides said the most important components of SpaceShipTwo’s rocket engines have proven functional. This summer the space shuttle will undergo a test flight and — assuming all goes according to plan — the first rocket flight will take place at the end of the year.

But this sort of flight is not cheap and the customers — 529 have registered and made prepayments — are expected to fork out around $200,000.

META-GEOPOLITICS OF OUTER SPACE: AN ANALYSIS OF SPACE POWER, SECURITY AND GOVERNANCE (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012)

July 11, 2012

Meta-Geopolitics of Outer Space: An Analysis of Space Power, Security and Governance looks at geopolitics of outer space through the prism of an innovative multidimensional Meta-geopolitics framework.

Meta-geopolitics is an all-encompassing analysis of space power, security and geopolitical actors. In comparison with traditional geopolitical approaches, deeply grounded in geography, demography and economics, the Meta-geopolitics framework includes space and broadens the definition of space power to include additional state capacities like health, social, and domestic politics and environmental dimensions in its key components.

The new space governance model proposed is however unacceptable. The present system of space law will most likely be transformed in some way.