The Amos-4 communications satellite was successfully launched into space on Saturday night from Kazakhstan.
Posts Tagged ‘Kazakhstan’
Spacecom, operator of the AMOS satellite fleet, announced that Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has selected Space International Services, Ltd. (SIS) to launch the AMOS-4 commercial satellite. The launch is scheduled to take place this Saturday night from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
AMOS-4 will be the second AMOS satellite launched by SIS on its Zenit-3SLB launch vehicle. AMOS-3 was launched to its 4ºW orbital position in 2008 on the same vehicle. AMOS-4′s launch weight will be approximately 4.2 tons, demonstrating that SIS has significantly increased the Zenit-3SLB vehicle’s performance since the AMOS-3 launch.
The satellite is expected to have a lifespan of 12 years.
Here are some photos from its construction and transportation to the launch site.
Cool. I wish I was going with it.
Ten out of the 15 countries with the worst religious freedom abuses are Muslim, according to the recently released U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) 2013 Annual Report identifying the status of religious freedom throughout the world, and citing countries that are the least tolerant of religious freedom.
IRFA requires the President of the United States, who has delegated this authority to the Secretary of State, to designate as “countries of particular concern,” or CPCs, those governments that have engaged in or tolerated “particularly severe” violations of religious freedom.
IRFA defines “particularly severe” violations as ones that are “systematic, ongoing, and egregious,” including acts such as torture, prolonged detention without charges, disappearances, or “other flagrant denial[s] of the right to life, liberty, or the security of persons.”
After a country is designated a CPC, the President is required by law to take action to remedy the situation, or to invoke a waiver if circumstances warrant (As the late JFK put it: He may be an SOB, but he’s our SOB).
For the 2013 Annual Report, USCIRF recommends that the Secretary of State re-designate the following eight countries as CPCs: Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Uzbekistan.
USCIRF also finds that seven other countries meet the CPC threshold and should be so designated: Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam.
USCIRF also places countries on its Tier 2 list, where the country is on the threshold of a CPC status, meaning that the violations engaged in or tolerated by the government are particularly severe and that at least one, but not all three, of the elements of the “systematic, ongoing, egregious” standard is met.
The Tier 2 designation provides advance warning of negative trends that could develop into severe violations of religious freedom, thereby giving policymakers an opportunity to engage early and increasing the likelihood of preventing or diminishing the violations. USCIRF has concluded that the following eight countries meet the Tier 2 standard in this reporting period: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Laos, and Russia.
But not to worry – the State Department has issued indefinite waivers on taking any action against Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia. As a result of these waivers, the United States has not implemented any policy response tied to the CPC designation for either country.
Gives a whole new meaning to the slogan “Freedom must be earned.”
In Egypt, the government has failed to protect Coptic Christians, who comprise 10 percent of the country’s 90 million people. The Copts have been tortured and killed and individuals continue to be prosecuted, convicted, and imprisoned for “contempt” or “defamation” of religion (Islam).
Somebody should start boycotting Egyptian products…
In Iran, religious freedom for minorities has deteriorated over the last year, a bad year for the Baha’is, Christians, and Sufi Muslims. The Report details that, “physical attacks, harassment, detention, arrests, and imprisonment” intensified.
Jews, Armenian and Assyrian Christians, and Zoroastrians have faced harassment, intimidation, discrimination, arrests, and imprisonment. Anyone who has dissented against the government, a theocratic republic, including Majority Shi’i and minority Sunni Muslims, have been intimidated, harassed, and detained. Several dissidents and human rights defenders have been sentenced to death and executed for “waging war against God.”
Human sacrifice, that must be their god’s favorite pastime.
The European Union’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers have collapsed.
Ashton said on Saturday that the two sides “remain far apart on substance,” after a second and, apparently, final day of negotiations in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said there was no agreement further talks – neither a date nor a place have been set.
Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili admitted there were differences between the two sides. He reiterated Iran’s position that it has a right to enrich uranium, and complained that Tehran was not receiving recognition, as well as more concessions from world powers, before agreeing to curtail its uranium enrichment production. He also stated that the demands and the sanctions “are a sign of enmity towards the people of Iran.”
In the two days of meetings in Kazakhstan, the major powers had hoped to reach a compromise with Iran, whom they believe is engaged in a covert effort to produce nuclear bombs.
Delegates from the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany met with Iranian officials on proposals that would have allowed for exceptions to the international sanctions program against Iran, if the Iranians would shut down their nuclear facilities and turn over their stockpile of enriched uranium.
Earlier, a spokesman for Ashton urged Iran to take a “confidence-building step” and reassure the international community it is not engaged in a nuclear weapons program for military purposes.
Iran claims that its nuclear program has only peaceful purposes, namely power generation.
The United States attended the talks with the four other permanent members of the UN Security Council: Britain, France, Russia and China, as well as Germany.