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Sat-ND, 19.10.96




RupertWatch 96-10-19
By Dr Sarmaz <DrSarmaz@aol.com>

Once again welcome to our daily newsletter focusing on the global
activities of the Australo-American media mogul Rupert Murdoch. In this
issue: Who is Rupert Murdoch really? How powerful is he? What is his
billion-dollar partner MCI up to? Anyway, what is he doing in New
Zealand, and where do NBC's Asian channels end up?


Führer Murdoch bought New York government, claims Turner
Time Warner vice president Ted Turner had to explain his role in his
company's decision not to carry Rupert Murdoch's Fox News Channel on its
cable systems, especially that in New York. Yesterday, he was questioned
for three hours in an law office in Manhattan, and today interesting
details of the hearing were leaked. Turner, also known as the "Mouth of
the South," performed as expected.
"The late Führer, first thing he did was, like all dictators, was take
over the press and use it to further his agenda. Basically that is what
Rupert Murdoch does with the media," Turner reportedly said. He also
accused Mr Murdoch of using massive political contributions to promote
his business interests. "I was just appalled that he bought the
government of New York City," Turner said. "I read that he had
contributed [US]$100,000 to the Republican Party of New York."
The City of New York recently took Mr Murdoch's side, trying to air his
Fox News Channel (and other commercial all-news programming) on some
public access channels on Time-Warner's 1.1-million subscriber cable
network. A U.S. District Court Judge last week temporarily barred the
city from using the channels for either Fox or the Bloomberg News
service.
A lawyer for Mr Murdoch reacted to Turner's comments by calling them "an
affront to humanity and an insult." He obviously did not notice that
Turner did by no means compare Mr Murdoch to Hitler. What Turner wanted
to say might be something like this: It should be obvious that a
concentration of mass media in the hands of any however fine and decent
person (such as Mr Murdoch,) constitutes an inherent danger to freedom
of speech -- and by the way, to freedom of commerce, too.

Entertainment Weekly: Mr Murdoch is Number One
According to "Entertainment Weekly," Mr Murdoch is the most powerful
person in the entertainment business. For the first time, he leads the
annual chart of the 101 most influential personalities in entertainment.
Actually, this hasn't much to do with his world-wide media empire, but
with the success of 20th Century Fox's movie "Independence Day."
(Murdoch owns the company.) Murdoch is followed by Walt Disney chairman
Michael Eisner (2) and Time Warner vice president Ted Turner (3.) 
The chart shouldn't be taken too seriously, anyway. It lists Tom Hanks
(15) and Oprah Winfrey (20) before William Henry ("Bill") Gates III
(37). At least, Billy beats John Travolta (45.) Rank 101.5, ha ha, was
even reserved for Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon, new-born daughter of
Madonna (82.) The most-hyped band ever, R.E.M, slipped into the charts
ranking at 94 for selling millions of CDs despite lacking any musical
talent.

Mr Murdoch's MCI mega deal might crumble
According to a report in yesterday's Daily Variety, serious problems
have emerged in Mr Murdoch's joint venture with MCI Communications to
launch American Sky Broadcasting Corp. (ASkyB) and other services.
Sources within both companies were quoted as saying the US$2-billion
deal, which was announced last May, is likely to be scaled down. It
originally called for a 13-percent share of Mr Murdoch's News Corp. to
be held by MCI as well as both parties sharing the cost of launching
ASkyB, estimated at another US$1.4 billion.
MCI reportedly complained they had little influence on ASkyB, and Mr
Murdoch has meanwhile announced he was looking for another
telecommunications partner. Once again, rumours have emerged that U.S.
cable giant TCI may step in. After Mr Murdoch and MCI got hold of the
last available U.S. digital TV license, TCI teamed up with Telesat
Canada to transmit its direct-to-home service over Canadian satellites.
The deal is still pending clearance by licensing authorities in Canada
and the USA.

Murdoch's other Sky
Independent Newspapers (INL) of New Zealand plans to buy into Sky
Network Television, although 49.5 percent owned by Rupert Murdoch not to
be confused with BSkyB. INL chairman Sir Colin Maiden told shareholders
at the annual meeting in Wellington the company was negotiating with a
consortium of shareholders owning around 83.7 percent of Sky. Television
New Zealand owns the other 16.3 percent.
Analysts emphasised possible synergy effects between Sky and Mr
Murdoch's other pay-TV operations around the world. "This is another
brick in his global satellite pay-TV construction," an analyst said. The
planned deal is estimated at NZ$100 million, although additional funding
for capital expenditure would be required. INL said it would fund the
purchase by raising debt while maintaining the current level of
dividends paid out to shareholders.

NBC channels join Mr Murdoch's Star TV
NBC Asia has joined the digital TV service of Rupert Murdoch's Star TV
on ASIASAT 2 (100.5E.) Both their channels NBC and CNBC will be offered
in a multi-channel package to cable operators. NBC Asia provides an
English-language, international entertainment programming, while CNBC
offers business news at least during the day.
NBC also said is has entered an agreement with the country's leading
cable operator IN Cable, a unit of Bombay-based Hinduja Group, to carry
both channels on IN's cable networks.



Sat-ND 96-10-19 - Satellite and Media News

This service is provided free of charge for personal use. It may be
reproduced for non-commercial reasons only, provided the following
notice is included:
"(c) Copyright 1996 by Sat-ND, http://www.sat-net.com/pck/"
Please send money, news releases, contributions and comments regarding
Sat-ND to
Peter C. Klanowski, Fax +49-451-5820055, pck@LyNet.De

This issue is sponsored by TELE-satellite, Europe's Satellite Magazine 
Have a look at their homepage! >> http://www.TELE-satellit.com/ <<

=========================================================

Other uses for satellites
- Marine biologists aboard a research vessel in the Gulf of Mexico are
using maps of satellite gathered data to locate and count sperm whales
and dolphins. The data, delivered by NASA's ocean-observing satellite
TOPEX/Poseidon and the European Space Agency's ERS-2 earth
reconnaissance satellite, are faxed to scientists aboard the research
ship R/V Gyre to keep them informed of the latest ocean current
developments. "There is evidence whales prefer to feed in the edges of
cyclonic eddies, and the satellite data give us a good picture of where
those oceanographic features are located," said George Born, principal
investigator on the project from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
- China's first satellite doctor consultation system has become
operational in Shanghai Huashan Hospital with the help of a multimedia
computer network. Utilising APSTAR 1 (138E,) Shanghai doctors can now
make "face to face" diagnoses of patients thousands of kilometres away,
and provide treatment plans for local doctors through the new satellite
ground system. Shanghai doctors can get patients' case histories,
X-rays, scan reports and other medical material. They are even have a
visual consultation with a patient before making a diagnosis and
developing an effective treatment plan. Now the country's most advanced
remote diagnosis centre has established several branches in other
provinces, and is connected with an international remote medical
treatment network.
- China plans to introduce a hotel booking system that will enable
tourists to book rooms and air tickets from a number of locations
throughout the country. The "China Tianma Hotel Sales System," to become
operational in January 1997, will use ASIASAT 2 (100.5E) to link up
computer terminals in major hotels, airports, ports, railway stations,
airlines, travel agencies, large department stores and major tourist
attractions.

Another digital deal on ASTRA
I received a letter today from SES, operator of the Luxembourg based
ASTRA satellite system (or actually, from their German PR agency.) It
says that SES and Spain's Sogecable joyfully announce the Spanish pay TV
venture Canal Satellite España will use a total of seven transponders on
the digital ASTRA satellites 1E, 1F and 1G. 20 digital channels will be
beamed to the Iberian Peninsula initially from January 1997. The package
will later be expanded to comprise 40 channels. Sogecable said it was in
negotiations with Hughes Corp's DirecTV about a participation in the
service. The good news: the existing analogue Sogecable channels, so far
transmitted using Nagravision encryption, will phase out their existing
four analogue channels by the end of 1997.
(Thanks to Holger Zeissler who also sent me this stuff.)


Zeroes and Ones
By Grandpa Zheng <http://www.sat-net.com/pck/zheng/>

Internet bombs again
The mainstream media seem to become a bit saturated with child
pornography horror-tales recently. So why not try get back to the good
old bomb building instructions in order to discredit the Internet? The
last really big bomb story appeared almost one year ago (November 1,
1995) when Reuters reported that "Canadian police have defused a
potentially deadly bomb built by a teenager who gleaned the instructions
from the Internet computer network." Blah, blah.
In the Netherlands, no less than twelve children have suffered injuries
over the last weekend using "grenades" they built following instructions
they reportedly found on the Internet. It's unknown whether this was a
single incident or whether there was a sudden increase in "grenade"
building all over the country.
Those "grenades" actually consisted of slightly modified firecrackers.
So, shouldn't one first ask the question how children aged 8 to 13 years
get hold of this stuff which is dangerous even if not modified at all.
Then, if they really care about children, they should turn their
attention to other figures. For example, how many kids get killed in
traffic accidents -- that's actually much more a scandal.


Martyn Williams sent me something from the IETF mailing list, whatever
that is ;-) Anyway, here it comes.
>> Gentlemen!
>> Please, read this message over - this is not an ads [sic!] or
>> something like that.
>It's worse.
>> We are living in the South Urals, Russia and we are trying to connect our
>> society, our people to the Internet by new technologies - just to have
>> normal conditions to work with this Great Net. What we have now is just a
>> mockery - sometimes 25 bytes/sec (!!!).
>This is better than what German Telecom provides to their T-Online
>users.
>>So we are trying to collect  the sum we need by donations of persons holding
>>the same views. If you  sympathise our ideas and consider it  possible
>>to send us some money - it would be accepted with warm gratitude.
The original plea came from a certain Michael A. Sniggin with a .su
address (doesn't sound too Russian, does it?) while Wolfgang Schneider
of the German GMD (Gesellschaft für Mathematik und Datenverarbeitung)
provided an appropriate reply. Actually, T-Online often enough performs
at 0 bytes per second because downloads aren't possible at all. 
So, should I laugh or should I cry? Knowing the situation in Eastern
Europe, I fear that most people's problems isn't really about
transmission rates. 99.99 percent of them cannot afford a computer to
get on-line anyway, although many of the younger people know very well
what the Internet is and would like to participate.


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

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