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Showing posts from February 2, 2014

The price of a T-shirt

Switzerland: Foreign firms can't bid computer and communication tenders and agencies February 5, 2014 - 18:55 The Swiss cabinet has decided that foreign firms will no longer be able to bid for important government computer and communication tenders, reacting to allegations that foreign intelligence services have been carrying out illegal activities in Switzerland. Invoking state security, cabinet said that service contracts for “vital” central infrastructure would only be awarded when possible to Swiss-based companies with a majority of local shareholders and providing those services from Switzerland. The new rules cover contracts with the army as well as for mobile phones and computers. The decision is the result of talks within the cabinet about potential risks to government infrastructure, announced by the finance ministry on Wednesday. The decision comes after the Federal Prosecutor's Office launched in November a full-blown inv

What Links the Threat of a U.S. Default with the Destabilization of Ukraine? Nikolai MALISHEVSKI | 05.02.2014 | 00:00 At the Munich Security Conference the Ukrainian opposition and the U.S. essentially agreed on a plan to force Viktor Yanukovich to capitulate. Arseniy Yatsenyuk told of this plan of action, which was worked out with the direct participation of Western representatives, after a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and EU officials. While the «Euromaidan» is shoring up its tents, showing that it is there for the long haul, the State Department has appointed a time by which the regime change operation in Ukraine is to be finished: March 24. That is how the message which appeared on the official site of the U.S. State Department on January 24 could be interpreted: «Ukraine Travel Alert. The U.S. Department of State alerts U.S. citizens of the potential risks of travel to Ukraine due to the ongoing political unrest a

Governing the Geostationary Orbit: Orbital Slots and Spectrum Use in an Era of Interference

Guilhem PENENT Note de l'Ifri, January 2014 DOWNLOAD THE DOCUMENT Executive Summary Outer space, particularly in the telecommunication sector, is benefiting and becoming accessible to more and more actors. But with this trend comes also a reality that is every day more compelling: no meaningful development can be achieved without a clear, stable and predictable interference-free environment for the use and control of all satellites that depend upon ready access to radio frequencies and appropriate geostationary orbital slots to function properly. The increasing incidence of harmful interference these recent years, including intentional ones implying a deliberate purpose to obstruct reception of specific information against which no technical efficient counter measure exists, is putting in danger this capacity to continue operating safely. Despite itself, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in charge of the rational, equitable, efficient and economical managemen

Unmanned Air Systems: The Future of Air & Sea Power?

  Paul ROGERS Focus stratégique, No. 49, January 2014 DOWNLOAD THE DOCUMENT Since their early use for primitive ISR and combined operations, UAS have developed into increasingly multipurpose instruments performing a wide array of missions (from limited strike operations, search and monitoring to time-sensitive targeting) and offering new maneuver options to the armed forces. These improvements in range, speed, endurance, situational awareness and payload, achieved through adaptive use of new information technologies, were catalyzed by the Afghanistan and Iraq testing grounds that proved critical in breaking institutional resistance.  Yet for all their contribution to the shaping of a quick learning curve, these developments have occurred in permissive airspace. After tracing back the history of UAS development, this paper argues that the US can overcome the different challenges to UAS brought by contested and denied airspace, as traditional power threats constrain force proj

India-US ties face new test over Devyani's legal war

Chidanand Rajghatta,TNN | Feb 3, 2014, 03.32 AM IST READ MORE Washington|US Attorney Preet Bharara|Khobragade episode|Indian diplomat|Immunity India-US ties face new test over Devyani's legal war The State Department last week legally backed the insistence of its law-enforcement brigade that Devyani Khobragade did not enjoy diplomatic immunity at the time of her arrest, and therefore US authorities were not wrong in arresting and detaining her. WASHINGTON: Any expectation that New Delhi and Washington would tide over and quickly heal from the so-called Khobragade episode involving immunity relating to an Indian diplomat's alleged criminal infractions are being laid to rest. The two sides are in for a long, ugly, bruising battle, some of it already being played out in a New York courtroom. The State Department last week legally backed the insistence o

A More Assertive German Foreign Policy

Geopolitical Weekly TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2014 Stratfor By George Friedman and Marc Lanthemann The Ukrainian crisis is important in itself, but the behavior it has elicited from Germany is perhaps more important. Berlin directly challenged Ukraine's elected president for refusing to tighten relations with the European Union and for mistreating Ukrainians who protested his decision. In challenging President Viktor Yanukovich, Berlin also challenged Russia, a reflection of Germany's recent brazen foreign policy. Since the end of World War II, Germany has pursued a relatively tame foreign policy. But over the past week, Berlin appeared to have acknowledged the need for a fairly dramatic change. German leaders, including the chancellor, the president, the foreign minister and the defense minister, have called for a new framework that contravenes the restraint Germany has practiced for so long. They want Germany to assume a greater international role by becoming more involve