Sat-ND, 26.9.96

Sat-ND 96-09-27 - Satellite and Media News

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EKSPRESS launched
Russia yesterday successfully launched its second EKSPRESS satellite aboard
a Proton-K rocket that blasted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in
Kazakhstan. The day before, the launch had been postponed by 24 hours after
a fault in the launching vehicle was discovered. The satellite has
meanwhile reached its geostationary transfer orbit.
EKSPRESS as well as GALS satellites are going to replace the well-known
GORIZONT satellites over the next few years. The last GORIZONT will be
launched in 1997, reported news agency Itar-Tass. The next two EKSPRESS
launches are also expected in 1997. 
The EKSPRESS spacecraft was designed and developed by the Scientific
Production Amalgamation of Applied Mechanics (Krasnoyarsk-26) and is said
to be four times better than the outdated GORIZONT, regarding its technical

MEASAT goes up in November
Malaysia's second satellite, MEASAT 2, will be launched on November 13
using a European Ariane 4 rocket. The date was announced by the space
consortium Arianespace today.
The launch comes ten months after MEASAT 1 was put into orbit. The
satellite will begin transmitting a 22-channel digital TV package next
month in addition to providing telecommunications services. Both MEASATs
were built by Hughes Space and Communications at a price of US$235 million

WavePhore's sweet secret
Yesterday, shares of WavePhore Inc., a leading provider of data
broadcasting services and equipment, gained 13 percent with traders.
Company officials said they didn't have any clue why this had happened,
offering diffuse explanations like "The company continues to have positive
news." Complete rubbish, of course. It was quite clear that some kind of
deal was under way, and it was revealed today.
WavePhore, just 24 hours after playing the immaculate fool, announced it
has entered into an additional agreement with Intel Corporation which will
immediately purchase 500,000 common shares of WavePhore for a total
investment price of US$4 million. "Expanding the Intel relationship is a
significant step toward WavePhore's successful entry into the broad
consumer market segment," stated David E. Deeds, Chairman, President and
CEO of WavePhore.
WavePhore's data broadcasting services include the transmission of data via
satellite; FM radio subcarriers, television in-band (TVT1/4) and Vertical
Blanking Interval, or "VBI" for seveeral companies such as Dow Jones,
Reuters, The Associated Press, Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News, Thomson
First Call, Comtex and Federal News Service. WavePhore's VBI technology is
a component of the Intercast technology offered by Intel, whereby data is
transmitted using television signals.

Auntie B. talks to Discovery now
New rumours have emerged concerning the British Broadcasting Corporation's
negotiations with Discovery Communications, Inc. to set up a long-term
venture that may be worth more than US$500 million. The complex deal would
for the first time provide the BBC with an own US cable channel for
programming such as drama and performing arts. BBC and Discovery would also
set up a number of non-fiction channels outside the USA, probably under the
BBC brand while at the same time using Discovery's international
distribution and programming expertise, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Discovery would at the same time get access to the vast BBC library,
compensating for the fact that Discovery would have to take over most of
the financing. The BBC is not allowed to spend domestic license fees for
foreign ventures like this, although the deal might even affect programming
on its two nation-wide terrestrial channels in the UK. 
Earlier, the BBC was reported to have been in discussions with Flextech Plc
about a joint venture that would include a US cable channel outlet for the
Beeb. Flextech, controlled by US cable giant TCI, also holds 49 percent of

MTV India offers Hinglish lessons
What, might you ask, is Hinglish? It's the Hindi version of Germish.
Germish, of course, is what's left of the German language after the (mostly
televised) invasion of the so-called American culture. Never mind, the same
seems to happen all over the world. Hinglish, hence, is a term for a
mixture of English, Tamil and Hindi. That's what MTV India, which is
programmed in Singapore by the way, will offer its viewers. The new channel
will be the third Asian MTV outlet, mainly competing with Channel V, a part
of Rupert Murdoch's Star TV that so far has attracted twice as much viewers
as MTV which is being criticised as still being too American.
MTV is reported to double the number of programmes it produces for India to
at least eight for the new channel by the end of the year. Local language
channels in Hindi or Tamil are also being considered. "But for now,
Hinglish works. It's what young people are speaking," said Peter Jamieson,
president of MTV Networks in Asia.

By Dr Sarmaz <DrSarmaz@aol.com>

Is Mr Murdoch Hitler?
Time Warner will swallow many of similar businesses of Turner Broadcasting
Systems (TBS) following the merger of both companies which is expected to
be completed over the next few weeks. A spokeswomen for Time Warner said
that there were no forecast of job cuts, read: there will be quite a few.
Time Warner also said it was considering selling some of Ted Turner's
recent acquisitions such as New Line Cinema, Castle Rock and even Turner
Pictures, all related to the production and distribution of movies. Time
Warner will, of course, keep TBS's TV operations which include the TBS,
CNN, Cartoon, Turner Movie Classics and TNT cable networks. Time Warner
holds the rights for Hanna-Barbera Cartoons and a vast library of old MGM,
RKO and Warner Bros. movies. The combined TBS and Time Warner libraries
consist of more than 6,000 feature films, 28,500 television titles, 6,500
episodes of animation and 600 animated shorts.
Time Warner will, after the buyout, become the largest media company in the
world with estimated US$20 billion in annual revenues. Disney/ABC follows
with US$19 billion.
Yawn!, I hear you say, and: "I want my Rupert now!" Here he comes.
Meanwhile, several US newspapers have reported Ted Turner compared Mr
Murdoch to the "late Führer" Adolf Hitler after a private luncheon to
celebrate the imminent merger with Time-Warner. Mr Murdoch was also using
his New York Post to smear Time Warner, Turner reportedly said. 
An editor of the newspaper, Ken Chandler, responded in today's issue by
claiming the Post was known for its aggressive coverage, and in reporting
about the Time Warner-Turner merger "we obviously have touched a raw
On the other hand, Time Warner seems to have touched a raw nerve of Mr
Murdoch's empire when it decided to carry MSNBC instead of his Fox News
channel on their cable systems. Mr Murdoch's News Corp. seems ready to
fight back, considering to "pursue legal remedies for breach of agreement,"
an company executive told the Wall Street Journal.
There are even further implications of the latest clash between Mr Murdoch
and Time Warner. Mr Murdoch's UK operation BSkyB has sacked plans for a
Time Warner entertainment channels which was planned to be distributed as
part of the pay-TV package. According to the Wall Street Journal, this
decision was taken by Mr Murdoch himself who refused to be more specific on
the issue. Regarding the Hitler comparison, Mr Murdoch just had this to
say: "Ted Turner will say much worse before it's through."
Both had clashed verbally before. "I'm looking forward to squishing Rupert
like a bug", Turner said last November. Mr Murdoch replied by saying "I
don't know whether it happened with my friend Ted marrying Jane Fonda or
giving up lithium, but one thing or another, (CNN) has changed very greatly
in the last couple of years." Turner was known to take lithium as a
medication against depressions.

Zeros and ones
By Grandpa "Can you believe this?" Zheng

Buy a modem, get in jail
Well, let's forget all the kiddie-porn hubbub for a while, and all those
European politicians that are not only computer illiterates but also
complete Internet idiots who don't even know what they're talking about. I
could tell you more on them, but there's no good news to expect from such
morons. Instead of fighting crime itself, these boring old farts are still
fighting the Internet, claiming to protect minors from unsuited material
(shouldn't they start to clean up TV programming first, then?) while
preparing to censor virtually any content they dislike by exerting pressure
onto Internet access providers who, foolishly enough, seem to be willing to
obey in order to save their business.
No language could be foul enough to characterise those swines which I will
no longer comment upon because it's even worse in other places of the
World. No, not China, not Singapore -- they're mostly harmless in
comparison to this.
Myanmar, the country formerly known as Burma, has imposed a new law
according to which the very possession of a fax machine or a computer modem
may be punished with a jail term of up to 15 (fifteen) years. 
Yes, that's right. I'll say it again. Buy a modem, get in jail for a
quarter of your life. The government newspaper "New Light of Myanmar" said
the same punishment applies to anyone who sets up a link with a computer
network without the prior permission of the government. Anybody who imports
or exports computer software or information banned by the Myanmar Computer
Science Council is definitely better of: He or she faces just up to ten
years in prison.
Analysts were reported to say the country's military junta wanted to
modernise the country's fledgling computer industry while restricting the
flow of political information. Tell you what, guys: It won't work that way,
and you don't deserve it any better. Get back to the Middle Ages, that's
where you belong.

Copyright 1996 by Peter C. Klanowski, pck@LyNet.De. All rights reserved.

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