Sat-ND, 4.11.96

Sat-ND 96-11-04 - Satellite and Media News

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Tit for tat
In what might be regarded a retaliation for Time Warner's refusal to carry
Rupert Murdoch's Fox News Channel on its U.S. cable systems, BSkyB has
halted the launch of a Time Warner channel (WBTV) in the UK and Ireland. Mr
Murdoch holds a 40 percent stake in BSkyB.
WBTV's launch, which was to take place last Friday, was now officially
declared "delayed" by BSkyB without giving any further reason. The channel
had heavily been hyped by Sky but surprisingly wasn't mentioned in its
November programme journal anymore. According to Usenet postings, Sky tried
to make believe their customers WBTV would go ahead as planned until
October 31.
It was said that preparations for WBTV would continue, although a new
launch date hasn't been set.

Hot Bird 2 takes it to the limit
Eutelsat told me today that the Hot Bird 2 launch will be delayed again.
The new launch date is now November 15.
Note: the launch window goes from Nov. 11 to Nov 15. So the launch is now
scheduled for the very last day... if something goes wrong, we'll have to
wait at least another month.
(Marcello Berengo Gardin)

Leberwurst in China geplatzt!*
Usually, nobody would care if China retrieved a small remote sensing
satellite. However, observers seem to watch every Chinese move in space
nowadays, following a series of satellite launch failures.
A satellite, which main purpose was characterised as "for scientific
exploration and technological experiments," today successfully returned too
earth after having collecting data from a low-earth orbit during the past
two weeks. According to news agency Xinhua, "data acquired [...] are of
vital importance to national land surveys, geological and seismological
forecasting, mineral prospecting, agricultural and forestry development,
environmental protection and national defense in China." Wonder why they
put the defence bit last.
Anyway, although this mission has been closely observed, it does by no
means indicate that China is back on track as far as geostationary
satellite launches are concerned. Putting a small satellite into a
low-earth orbit cannot be compared to launching a heavy-weight
communications satellite.
* English translation: "Liver sausage exploded in China." Colloquial German
for "Nothing has really happened."

Russia plans to keep track of its environmental disasters
Other countries keep pointing out that their reconnaissance satellites may
serve useful purposes as well. According to news agency Itar-Tass, the
Russian Space Agency (RSA) and the Russian Defence Ministry have announced
plans to create a system to monitor possible emergency situations from
Satellite pictures were most effective to determine the scale of accidents
and disasters, RSA deputy director Yuri Milov told Itar-Tass. Using
aircraft was very expensive and took a lot of time, while data transmitted
from a satellite can be processed within several hours, he added.
The RSA and several research centres have been conducting environmental
monitoring of the country for some time now. Data are collected both from
civilian and military satellites, such as RESURS, OKEAN, and METEOR. 
There are plans to set up several regional downlink stations to gather
satellite data on the environmental situation. The first of these stations,
each costing 200 million roubles, will be established in oil-producing

Golden Words

"MCI Communications Corp., embracing merger partner British
Telecommunications Plc in a $20 billion match, is growing increasingly
distant toward media tycoon Rupert Murdoch [...]" 
(Reuters, November 4, 02:46)

"Rupert Murdoch's News Corp Ltd is likely to benefit from the planned US$20
billion merger of MCI Communications Corp and British Telecommunications
Plc [...]"
(Reuters, November 4, 08:32)

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

A mass mail attack has shut down the Email service of Germany's largest
online service T-Online for the recent days. A total of 3.4 million Email
messages were sent out using several T-Online accounts, praising some adult
services offered in T-Online's proprietary BTX area (which, of course, have
immediately been scrapped following the spam attack.)
"90 per cents of the mail was incorrectly addressed, charging the system
even more. Every computer must break down there," said a spokesman for
T-Online's operator, Deutsche Telekom. (The spammers probably exploited the
fact that every T-Online member can be reached under a numerical address
such as 012345678-0001@t-online.de. Of course, addresses like these can
easily be generated by a computer programme -- a method also used to flood
CompuServe members' mailboxes with junk.)
Meanwhile, T-Online seems to have succeeded in stopping the mail attack.
Officials said their Email service will be fully re-established by
tomorrow. They dismissed speculations that the attack was directly targeted
at state-owned Deutsche Telekom which is to go public in a few day's time.

Kuwait introduces "New World Order" to Internet
It certainly is no coincidence that China's news agency Xinhua today
dedicated quite a few lines to Internet censorship issues in Kuwait today.
China is one of numerous states to actively censor the Internet by allowing
no direct outside connections. It is also eager to demonstrate the outside
world that many countries aren't any better. Guess what -- they're right.
So, here's the latest entry to be added to the list of Internet censors:
Kuwait. A country that never could've been called a democracy, but
nevertheless was protected by a Western alliance when invaded by Iraqi
troops. A former U.S. president (sorry, I forgot his name) claimed back
then his "Operation Desert War" would create a New World Order. Well, did
it? It secured the free flow of oil, but it didn't even manage to keep up
the free flow of information. 
The New World Order looks like this, as far as the Internet is concerned:
the Kuwaiti government reserves the right to fully control any content. An
under-secretary of the Ministry of Communications told a local daily that
Internet access providers will have use a single hub connecting the country
to the outside world. It will, of course, be fully controlled by the
ministry: "This operation will give us full control of the Internet in
Kuwait, as well as full control of the necessary equipment," the
under-secretary stated.
He added that the ministry was also contemplating drafting a law enabling
it to control services available on the Internet: "If it is made possible
to control the flow of certain information, the ministry will formulate
this idea." The statement seems to indicate that Kuwait is still searching
for technical measures to filter out any unwanted content from the
Internet. Maybe they just should ask those Chinese experts.
According to Xinhua, "The effort in mounting control on Internet services
in Kuwait is amidst frequent appeals in the country for checking influence
of western satellite channels on the young generation." Oh well, wasn't it
just the West that pumped billions of dollars into "Desert War"? Would
Iraqi officials be ready to swap that filthy, rotten Western influence with
a double-dose of Saddam Hussein, even though he's still trying to get his
own satellite channel on the air? Just wondering...
"Gulfnet Kuwait is Kuwait's sole authorized provider of Internet
connectivity, and the first Internet provider in the Arab world."
It even has a contract with the Ministry of Communications:
Other Internet resources in Kuwait:

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

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