Portuguese Is The Latest To Have Its Own Space Agency

Portugal has now become the newest country to get an agency of national space. The country has announced its plans on March 18 when the country’s minister’s council signed a charter at formal ceremony that was held at Ponta Delgada which is its capital city.

The new agency of national space will be based in Azores archipelago. Located to the west of Portugal, Azores will be soon hosting the country’s first spaceport and infrastructure of satellite monitoring and tracking. The headquarters of the agency is being constructed on the island Santa Maria. This organization is planning to start its launch of small satellites by the year 2021.

The minister of technology, higher education and science, Manuel Heitor said that Azores has a suitable strategic position for considering operation and installation of space infrastructure to launch satellites. He wrote this in a report that was titled Portugal Space (2030), which talks about the agency’s priorities over the first decade. Heitor wrote that Santa Maria is close to European continent as it is close to American continent with a huge coverage of ocean of 1500 kilometers in any direction.

It offers unique benefits for development and promotion of new space through which reinforcement of monitoring the satellite’s infrastructure and installation of launch services of new satellites, he added. Santa Maria is home to the tracking stations of ESA. Known as Hill of Flowers, the station contains a 18 feet telescope   which can look at rockets launched from spaceport of Europe in Kourou and can transmit telemetry between ground controllers and spacecraft.  Santa Maria’s is out of the 10 stations that make up the network of Estrack. Until now Portugal did not have an agency of national space, but the country’s FCT funds research of science and it has had Space Program from 2019.


LIGO Is Back And Busy With Identifying Gravitational Mergers Every Week

Scientists of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory or popularly known as LIGO detected its first set of gravitational waves. Shortly after that multiple accounts of such phenomenon were detected which were a result of the merger of two bulk mass objects, in general known as Black holes.

Like the Cosmic Microwave Background or CMB, even GWs are relics of the past universe as these energy from the effects of the mergers of two bodies had to travel billions upon billions light years to reach at our current position. Gravitational waves were first predicted over a century ago by Einstein’s Theory of general Relativity.

Shortly after achieving initial success, LIGO was taken offline to prepare it for upgrades over its range of sophisticated equipment. This change would allow for detections to take place weekly or even more casually. After completing its upgrade by April 1st, the observatory came back online and achieves results as expected by the team, Detecting two major gravitational waves in the space of just two weeks.

By observing the source point of these waves in different wavelengths such as optical, X-ray, ultraviolet and radio. Researchers hope to gain more insights of what actually happens during the events and about the dynamics behind them.

As mentioned by a graduate in physics at Penn State, they are finding near real-time detections of these phenomena produced by two blackholes colliding. They were able to detect the first signal within just 20 seconds of its arrival to Earth. They even have an automatic alert to receive phone calls and texts when a viable candidate is identified.

With increased sensitivity in their detectors, the LIGO team hopes to find many more detections. So far, the events detected have been resulted by the merger of Black Holes or neutron stars. Scientists hope to gather more details over such event as they make their progress towards more sophisticated detections.


Beyond Meat Eyes To Become A Unicorn Firm

Beyond Meat which is the United States plant-based, meat-maker is raising its money by giving out shares which will worth Beyond Meat at over $1bn in the debut of the firm’s stock market. Last November, Beyond Meat got launched in the UK and is expecting to price its 8.75 million shares in between each of $19 and $21. The debut at the upper price range would value Beyond Meat at $1.2bn.

The company stated that it wants to knock into the increasing acceptance of veganism and expectations to lift research and development and magnify manufacturing facilities. Beyond Meat, which is supported by investors including Microsoft founder Bill Gates and US meat producer Tyson, believes to obtain gross earnings of about $175m from the proposal. The valuation makes Beyond Meat a unicorn firm which refers to the privately possessed tech start-ups worth at $1bn or even higher. The term was coined by Aileen Lee, the venture capital investor. Unicorn firm was originally termed after the mythological creatures, as they were so rare. At present, the overall count of such unicorn firms has quickly increased and it comprises of Uber, Lyft and Pinterest.

Last August, the company’s Beyond Burger was formerly in line to get announced into 350 Tesco stores, but it got postponed by three months due to supply related issues. The company has entered a jam-packed UK market with added suppliers heading into supermarkets out of which many of them are making their own-label vegan foods. The company stated on its website that they don’t need an animal for creating meat, as they can build it straight from the plants. In Britain, veganism is becoming very popular. As per the research directed by the Vegan Society, in 2016 it projected that there were nearly 540,000 vegans across the country and it was just 150,000 in 2006.


U.S. Political Power Is Restricting Huawei To Expand Its 5G-Tech Globally

Last week, the U.N. internet and telecoms agency’s head stated that the concerns raised by the Trump’s Administration against the global leading 5G network technology developer Huawei appear to be influenced by politics rather than any relevant evidence.

The secretary-general of ITU (International Telecommunication Union), Houlin Zhao told that for sure, privacy wouldn’t be violated by the introduction of 5G-technology, but so far, not even single valid evidence has yet been identified to verify the claims about Huawei.

The U.S. has advised its allies to bar Huawei from launching 5G networks, mentioning it could act as a surveillance tool. Huawei disagreed to the allegations raised by the U.S.

Zhao has been encouraging other countries for offering equal opportunities to Huawei in launching 5G-technology. Zhao suggested that during the whole process, if any type of security breach is identified, then they would be penalized and accused. However, without any kind of evidence, it is not fair to put the company on the blacklist.

The telecom companies would have to decide wisely to incorporate secure hardware and technology in the devices.

Zhao said it is in the interest of telecom companies to ensure that they have been using secure hardware otherwise, they will have to face a threat from national authorities, or even their services can be barred owing to public criticism.

A meeting will be held by ITU to confirm the optimum 5G spectrum standards, and will not be affected by concerns about Huawei.

Huawei 5G-technology supporter UK is also appearing to change its decision, as all the four UK-established operators are preparing to launch their 5G plans in the current year. This has generated hope that the UK could become a global 5G leader.

Huawei 5G tech could be excluded from the UK market if the operators would predict any sort of fear related to the deterioration in innovation and an increase in costs by the incorporation of Huawei in the market.


U.S. Lifts Sanction Waiver On Iranian Crude Oil Supply

On Monday, the U.S. has announced that all waivers on the sanctions imposed on Iranian oil will be eliminated from May 1.

Sanctions were initially imposed on Iranian crude oil. However, the sanction was waived for select countries. But, now the waiver has been canceled.

The eight countries include India, China, Turkey, Japan, Italy, South Korea, Taiwan, and Greece. They were able to purchase crude from Iran without paying penalties. Of these, China and India are the largest importers of crude oil.

But now, the waiver has been lifted. The waiver that was allowed last year on select countries was to expire on May 2. But these waivers have been lifted and will not continue, says President Trump.

China now opposes the recent announcement made by the Trump administration on the sanctions imposed. We have open and transparent trade with Iran on crude oil says Geng Shuang, the spokesperson for the foreign ministry of China. He calls it as a long-arm jurisdiction that has been imposed by the U.S. on Iran.

All the countries have rebuked the American President for the sanctions imposed. Apart from China, Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has also shown his concern, for the attitude taken by the U.S. on removing the sanction waiver.

However, Mike Pompeo the U.S. Secretary of State has said that if countries continue to purchase Iranian crude, those countries will have to face the consequence.

After Iraq and Saudi Arabia, Iran is the next largest country to supply crude oil. Iran has not responded to the announcement made on the sanction waiver.

Meanwhile, U.S. crude prices have gone up by 3 percent on Monday. Brent crude has shot up by 3.4 percent. It has hit $74 per barrel, a level touched last, in November. It is expected that there will be a further surge in crude prices with the sanction waiver on Iran.


Sacklers Seek Global Settlement In Opioid Case

Mary Jo White from Debevoise & Plimpton is representing four of the members of Sacklers family. The family is controlling Purdue Pharma that marketed and developed OxyContin the painkiller.

Purdue and other makers of opioid, distributors and wholesalers is facing 2,000 suits by the officials of city, state and county who are stating that prescription opiates is the reason behind the drug abuse epidemic. On Sacklers behalf, White said why the Sacklers believe that the litigation against their company is dubious legally and factually, and is politically motivated and misleading. White also added that Sacklers are not interested in litigating the cases to a bad end. She said the family wants to settle. The former US Attorney and SEC chairman, White said that the aim is to try and get a resolution globally. She added that the members of Sackler family and Purdue would want to resolve with plaintiffs in such a way so as to get monies to communities who are in  need of them, to people who are addicted, rather than pay the fees of attorneys for many years in future.

The co-lead counsel, Joe Rice from Motley Rice said the family has never before said that it is wishing to settle globally the litigation. He added that White has made it now public that the family wants to settle. He said that the main issue is who these people are and for what will they settle and what the consideration is.

White said that settling 2,000 cases won’t be that easy. White added that in these matters the municipalities, counties, and state AGs are involved. Getting the plaintiffs in resolution globally is difficult, she said. White is not representing all the members of Sacklers in the litigation. But a representative said that the whole family is sharing White’s viewpoint.


Gamut Of Investigation Airbag Failure Expanded To Include 12.3mn Vehicles

The safety regulators of US auto have expanded their investigation into the airbag controls which are malfunctioning to include vehicles of 12.3 million as the bags do not inflate when the vehicle crashes. It could be responsible for eight deaths.

The vehicles produced by brand like Honda, Toyota, Fiat, Hyundai, Kia, and Mitsubishi from 2010 – 2019 would be included in the investigation revealed on Tuesday through documents by NHTSA. The investigation involves units of airbag control produced by ZF-TRW installed in vehicles. As per the documents of NHTSA, the units could fail in crash because of unnecessary electric signals made by crash itself. This can disable the circuit of airbag control in the compartment of passenger. The signals could damage the circuit of control said the documents.

The German producer of auto parts ZF that acquired in 2015 TRW Automotive said that the company is committed to safety. It also added that the company would cooperate with the automakers and NHTSA in investigation. Airbag control unit is one of the problems that the industry’s auto airbags which include deadly and faulty inflators of airbags. 24 people have died worldwide and 200 people have been injured due to inflators that explode with much force and throw shrapnel into passenger cabin. In the history of US, the inflators were the reasons for most of the auto recalls, which involved 70 million inflators that would be recalled by next year. Worldwide 100 million inflators would be recalled.

NHTSA upgraded investigation of ZF-TRW on April 19 from preliminary probe to engineering analysis. Only Fiat, Kia and Hyundai have recalled cars in this case. Around four people have died due to this problem in Hyundai-Kia cars and three in vehicles of Fiat. NHTSA is investigating TRW parts of Kia and Hyundai in M arch 2017.


Top Auto Brass Under Stress Of Declining Auto Sales

The New York International Auto Show is supposed to be held this week. Almost 2 dozen new crossovers, cars, trucks and concept automobiles will be showcased at this show. These new set of vehicles are expected to boost the US car market. The show will run till April 28, 2019.

Amidst all these hopes and big promotions at the automobile show, the experts are still concerned about the US automobile market. Steve Rich, who is the Vice President for automobile supplier Autoneum informed that 2019 car market might be stagnant for America. The automobile market was quite disappointing for the US economy in January and February. The automobile experts tried to blame the bad weather conditions across the country for this slow down. Even in March the demand for car was down by 4%. General Motors and Toyota even could not gain much from the US market. Just 4 automobile companies witnessed increase in car sales in the 1st three months of 2019.

Amidst these frustrating economic conditions, the car manufacturers are still hopeful. Reid Bigland, who is the director for sales in United States for Fiat Chrysler, commented that 1st quarter was tough for the brand. He stated that they are hoping that the car sales will increase in spring. This season generally witnesses maximum number of car sales.

The optimist car manufacturers state that after the recession period of 2007-2008, there was slight slow down in the market of car sales in 2017; the sale percentage reduced by 2% in this year. Last year the US car market saw increase in car sales by 17.27 millions. On the other hand, many feel that this hike in car sales in 2018 was a fluke. Joe Philips, who is heading the AutoTrends Consulting states that a downturn in the car sales is not surprising.


Very Small Amounts Of Bacon Too Raise Cancer Risk

A study printed in the International Journal of Epidemiology has confirmed the link between red and processed meat consumption and incidence of colorectal cancer, as per the experts.

The study which was undertaken by Oxford University and financed by Cancer Research UK offered an insight into the quantum of risk and the level of consumption quantities that increased the risk of colorectal or bowel cancer as it is better known as.

The study which involved analysis of about half a million people spread over a period of six years found 2069 individuals affected by colorectal cancer. As per their estimate, consumption of three bacon rashers per day hiked the bowel cancer risk by 20%. About 40 out of 10,000 people eating 21g of red and processed meat daily were detected with colorectal cancer and this number increased to 48 when the consumption increased to 76g on a daily basis. Processed meat contained in a single bacon rasher amounted to about 23g.

Though the study failed to determine a number as the cut-off level for red meat consumption it showed a link between higher consumption and higher risk level. Department of Health issued a guidance asking people to contain their consumption of processed and red meat to 70g per day.

The benefits of consuming such meat can be obtained only if the consumption quantities were such that they outweighed the risk exposure. Processing and the consequent chemicals involved as well as the methods of cooking such meat increased the cancer risk for eaters.

The study further promoted the consumption of dietary fiber as that helped to bring down the occurrence of bowel cancer and hence, that component had to be encouraged in the daily diet. Several other life style factors such as genetics, age, absence of dietary fiber, high consumption of alcohol and sedentary living also played an important role in determining the risk of bowel cancer.


US To Weaken Demand That China Cut Subsidies Amid A Trade Deal

The U.S. negotiators have toughened demands that China cut industrial subsidies as a situation for a trade contract following strong resistance from Beijing, as per to two sources, marking a recoil on a central US aim for the trade talks. The two largest economies globally are into a trade war for 9 Months that have cost them billions of dollars, agitated financial markets, and turned over supply chains. The U.S. President Donald Trump’s government has enforced tariffs on $250 Billion worth of Chinese goods to reinforce demands for an end to regulations—counting industrial subsidies—that Washington asserts impact US firms competing with Chinese companies. China countered with its own retaliatory tariffs on the U.S. goods.

The problem of industrial subsidies is thorny since they are interleaved with the Chinese administration’s industrial policy. China grants tax breaks and subsidies to state-owned companies and to sectors considered as strategic for long-term growth. Xi Jinping—China’s President—has reinforced the state’s function in parts of the economy. In the attempt to secure an agreement in the next month or so, the U.S. negotiators have become submissive to securing lower than they will wish on cutting those subsidies and are centered instead on other areas where they believe demands are more attainable, the sources said.

Speaking of the ongoing trade war, recently, it was stated that Europe might be playing spoiler to the subtle U.S.-China trade deal. Washington is declaring that has largely settled on an enforcement system with Beijing to check bilateral trade while China persists to build up soaring surpluses on the sales of its products to the U.S. China’s customs proofs show that the nation’s surplus with the U.S. increased by 40% in March from the past month to stand at $62.66 Billion for the first-quarter of 2019.