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Russia Education

It did not make any sense to analyze the Saturday rally in Moscow as soon as it happened, but Monday appears to be just the right time to do it.  No one talks about the roots of the protest actions that took place in Moscow over the weekend. Most likely, they are not about the registration of certain individuals by the Moscow City Duma as candidates.The issue of the protest itself is broader. People took to the streets during the arrest of journalist Ivan Golunov, during the construction of an Orthodox temple in Yekaterinburg, etc. All those stories are symptoms of one and the same disease. One could see this disease spreading throughout Western Europe and the United States during the 1960s, but the causes of it were different. In the US, it was the Vietnam War and the killing of Martin Luther King. In Europe, there were protests against events in Czechoslovakia and other internal problems.But we remember that it was violation of social justice that defined all those protests. We also remember that many of those protests became "social elevators" for many politicians, who started coming to power in 15 or 20 years. For a very clear understanding of the situation, one may refer to two graffiti that students of the Sorbonne left in the streets of Paris in 1968: Since 1936 I have fought for wage increases. My father before me fought for wage increases. Now I have a TV, a fridge, a Volkswagen. Yet my whole life has been a drag. Don't negotiate with the bosses. Abolish them." "One cannot fall in love with industrial growth!" It appears that the Russian youth could chant the same slogans today, if the education system in Russia has not degraded since the years after the Soviet power. It was not only education that has degraded. The qualification of people who are responsible for the moderation of internal political processes has gone down the toilet as well. Kiriyenko's 'social elevators' serve primarily managers of large corporations, but in case of social upheavals they will humbly step aside to observe. Mass youth movements of Mr. Surkov, the Reaction newspaper and the Yoki website have been disposed of. If one looks at what  presidential grants are allocated to, one will see that they are not needed today, but could be good during the "lush" times. The United States eventually decided to pull out troops from Vietnam, abolish mandatory conscription and promote the PlayBoy technology (the protests are also known as 'sexual revolution' for a reason). Other countries had their own recipes.It is the internal essence of protests that plays the main role in the struggle that one can see in Russia developing today. If one doesn't know the essence, any struggle with external manifestations of protests will be useless.We know one thing. If the authorities remove all problems with the elections to the Moscow City Duma, the public protest will persist. The protest sentiment began to actively develop during the beginning of the pension reform, so it primarily involves the children of those people, whom the authorities have betrayed shamelessly. It has started snowballing for various reasons afterwards getting an increasing amount of citizens involved. It is 's time to open a tender for a team that would replace Sergei Kiriyenko with new ideas. The current political administrators under his leadership lack qualification to solve the issue of stability in the society.Photo: dw.com

Amazon Studios chief Jennifer Salke and her husband have released a statement addressing their connection to the college admissions scandal and its ringleader William “Rick” Singer, denying ever having participated in any wrongdoing or being contacted by investigators in the case.

In a joint statement with her husband Bert, Salke said her family “engaged the legitimate services of Rick Singer’s company, The Key Worldwide,” including college counseling and ACT Test tutoring for her daughters. The Salkes denied any connection with the college admissions fraud scandal which saw Singer plead guilty in court earlier this year.

“We never engaged in any discussion involving any illegal activity in any of those meetings,” the Salkes said. “Our daughters did not apply to college as athletes of any kind, nor did they apply to any of the since-exposed schools involved in the scandal. We have never written a check or sent any other type of payment to the fraudulent Key Worldwide Foundation. We have never been contacted by law enforcement (including the DOJ and the FBI) about this case.”

Also Read: Felicity Huffman Pleads Guilty in College Admissions Cheating Case

Singer admitted in court to orchestrating a conspiracy to help students gain admission into the college of their choice, charging parents for services ranging from allowing extra time on tests to faking student athletic records to get them into elite-level colleges and universities. The scandal led to dozens of indictments, including for “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman, who plead guilty earlier this year, and “Fuller House’s” Lori Loughlin, who did not.

On Friday, Variety reported that Salke and her husband had been investigated by federal agents because of their connection to Singer.  “The Salkes were never contacted by investigators, and the source says there does not appear to be enough evidence to prove wrongdoing,” the report said. “They are among the hundreds of parents who retained the services of Rick Singer, the Newport Beach college admissions consultant at the center of the scandal.”

Also Read: 'The People v OJ' Alum DV DeVincentis to Write College Admissions Scandal Series for Annapurna

Read the Salke’s full statement below:

We are releasing this statement to clarify an issue which has become increasingly of interest to
various members of the press.

Like many other families, we engaged the legitimate services of Rick Singer’s company, The Key Worldwide, to provide college counseling and tutoring services for our children.

Singer’s company provided our daughters with a tutor for ACT testing and guidance on the college application process. Our daughters took the ACT test in an official testing facility, which included a proctor. Neither were allotted extra time or required any assistance. Rick Singer provided periodic in person counseling, primarily related to college selection. We never engaged in any discussion involving any illegal activity in any of those meetings. Our daughters did not apply to college as athletes of any kind, nor did they apply to any of the since-exposed schools involved in the scandal. We have never written a check or sent any other type of payment to the fraudulent Key Worldwide Foundation. We have never been contacted by law enforcement (including the DOJ and the FBI) about this case.

Our girls graduated with outstanding academic records at the very top of their class from a highly competitive high school. They applied to college in a standard manner and the only payment we made to any university was for the processing of their applications. We are proud of their accomplishments.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Jimmy Kimmel Compares Trump-Russia to the College Admissions Scandal (Video)

Felicity Huffman Pleads Guilty in College Admissions Cheating Case

'The People v OJ' Alum DV DeVincentis to Write College Admissions Scandal Series for Annapurna

www.thewrap.com | 7/20/19
During the beginning of the 2000s, United Russia Party published a campaign leaflet that predicted the standard of living in the country in a few years. The average salary in Russia would be equal to $2,500 a month, while people would live in spacious houses (120 square meters per family). Vadim Gorshenin, the head of Pravda.Ru media holding, describes several options of how the situation may develop in Russia in the near future, after Vladimir Putin's presidency.Option oneThe presidential election will be canceled as unnecessary. The uselessness of the vote will consist in the fact that the successor will not gain enough support during his first term in the office. The country will develop according to the principle of historical spiral: it will develop, but we will find ourselves surrounded by unfriendly countries as was the case in 1930. China will turn its back on Russia as it will take everything from Russia by that time. Neighbouring countries will be lost because of Russia's foreign policy and paternalistic relations. Russia's budget will not be able to support them anymore. The Russian economy will develop according to the principle of "war communism." Social programs will be abolished, and it will be up to the able-bodied population to support children and the elderly.Russia will be running out of its oil reserves, while alternative energy will be on the rise in Europe. This will severely affect budget possibilities too. In order to save money, Russia will pull out from the Council of Europe, which will give the Russian authorities an opportunity to narrow the implementation of human rights.Option twoThe name of the third president after Vladimir Putin will be announced. He will be limited in power due to constitutional amendments and the transfer of powers to parliament.The State Duma will be fully elected by the majority principle, just like the Federation Council. Members of the Federation Council will act as representatives of regions in the center and take part in the management of power in regions. Amended principles of budget formation after 2024 towards greater funding for science and education, investments in technological development by reducing preferences for oil and gas companies will affect both military and civil areas of life. Other countries may take a different look at Russia, and this policy may eventually lead to what Trotsky and his followers dreamed of.The management staff will be dramatically reduced after the introduction of informational and other technologies. Everyone will only wonder why the number of jobs during modernization was decreasing, and the number of officials was growing. Option three The state of affairs in Russia after Vladimir Putin will look very much like that in Venezuela. People will rush from one political force to another. There will be no stability. The 1990s will return, and Russia will collapse into coalitions of "The Ural Republic", "The Far Eastern Republic" etc.

While the second Democratic debate didn’t feature any dueling Spanish or major technical difficulties like the first, it proved to be more heated as several candidates directly challenged the field’s frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden.

Rep. Eric Swalwell said Biden should “pass the torch” to the next generation, while Sen. Kamala Harris said she was hurt by Biden’s former position on racial issues in America.

Also Read: Democratic Debate's 5 Breakout Moments: From Mic Issues to Beto and Booker's Dueling Spanish

And yet there were also some moments of levity among the candidates, particularly from the political outsiders: former tech executive Andrew Yang and author/activist Marianne Williamson. Here are five of the biggest breakout moments from the second Democratic debate.

1. Joe Biden needs to “pass the torch,” and Kamala Harris doesn’t want a “food fight”

Rep. Eric Swalwell went on the offensive early Thursday night, saying when he was just six years old, he recalled seeing then-senator Joe Biden speak at the Democratic convention and said that it was important that the politicians in Washington “pass the torch” to the next generation. “Joe Biden was right,” Swalwell said, a comment that earned a big grin and a quick response from the former VP.

“I’m still holding on to that torch,” Biden said in response to Swalwell, explaining how education is the key to the future: aiding schools in distress, tripling Title I funding, having universal pre-K and providing for post-high school education.

At 76, Biden is twice Swalwell’s age. But it was 77-year-old Bernie Sanders who downplayed the generation gap between the candidates. “As part of Joe’s generation let me respond. The issue is not generational. The issue is who has the guts to take on Wall Street? To take on the fossil fuel industry. To take on the big money interests who have unbelievable influence over the economic and political life in this country. “

Also Read: Joe Biden Refuses to Step Aside for Younger Leaders: 'I'm Still Holding On to That Torch'

It was the first instance in which the candidates all began talking over one another, a notable difference from the previous evening’s debate. Kamala Harris rose above the cross-talk with a quick one-liner: “Hey guys, America does not want to witness a food fight, they want to know how we’re going to put food on their table.”

2. Kamala Harris got “personal” about race in America

One of the most intense moments during the debate came between Biden and Harris, in which Harris took Biden to task for recent comments in which he described his success working with segregationist senators.

Also Read: Kamala Harris Gets 'Personal' With Joe Biden as Democrats Spar Over Race

“I do not believe you are a racist,” the senator from California said, directly addressing Biden. “But it was personal, it was hurtful for you to talk about the reputation of two United States senators who built their reputations and careers on segregation of race in this country.”

Harris said she was specifically affected based on his position on integration when it came to bussing students to school, though Biden called Harris’s comments a “mischaracterization” and even took a shot back, saying that he was a public defender and not a prosecutor early in his career as she was.

3. Andrew Yang was very laid back

Andrew Yang already stands out from the rest of the Democratic field as something of a political outsider, a former tech executive rather than a career politician. And many viewers heard for the first time his plan to offer $1000 to every American as part of a “trickle up” approach to the economy. But his economic policies weren’t the only thing that made Yang stand out from the crowd.

Also Read: Bernie Sanders Says 3 People Are Wealthier Than Half of All Americans. Here's Who They Are

“Yang is blazing ground here … no tie,” MSNBC’s Brian Williams said as the candidates stepped onto the debate stage for their photo-ops, in which Yang appeared without a necktie.

He was so laid back in the evening, he even casually noted that Russia must be “laughing their asses off” at their ability to hack America’s electoral process.

4. Marianne Williamson says “love will win”

The Internet meme candidate of the evening was none other than Marianne Williamson. The author/activist didn’t get much screentime during the debate, but she made it count. During her closing remarks, she described her unusual strategy to beating Donald Trump.

Also Read: Trump Calls Democratic Debate's Technical Difficulties 'Truly Unprofessional'

“I’m going to harness love for political purposes,” Williamson said. “I’m going to meet you on that field, and sir, love will win.”

But her finest moment came when the candidates were each asked to give a brief, one- to two-word response about what they would do on Day 1 of their presidency. Williamson, curiously, said she would call the President of New Zealand, who Williamson claimed previously boasted that her country was the best place in the world to raise a child.

“Girlfriend, you are so wrong, because the United States of America is the best place in the world to grow up,” Williamson said.

Also Read: 2019 Democratic Debate: Beto O'Rourke Breaks Out in Spanish, Cory Booker Follows Suit

The Internet had a ball with that answer, imagining what else she might do on her first day in office. See a few of those reactions below:

Is this Marianne Williamson pic.twitter.com/EinFVSDkoT

— chicago trash 2.0 (@kirkeskid) June 28, 2019

Marianne Williamson on day 1 pic.twitter.com/EdUywmNKGl

— Charlotte Alter (@CharlotteAlter) June 28, 2019

Moderator: Marianne Williamson, as President, what would you do on day one in office?

Marianne: Look, you better believe that if you take an elevator while eating a moon pie, there's going to be frosting on the ceiling. I don't doubt it for a minute! What did you expect, honey?

— Lauren Duca (@laurenduca) June 28, 2019

Kamala Harris: Joe Biden is a racist.

Joe Biden: Kamala is police.

Marianne Williamson: The fifth Harry Potter book is really the glue that holds the entire series together. Do you recall the part where #DemDebate

— William (@weelyumeebokway) June 28, 2019

MODERATOR: In one or two words, what would your first act as President be?
BERNIE: Special interests
KAMALA: Immigration
MARIANNE WILLIAMSON: I was reading a wonderful article in GOOP about New Zealand,

— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) June 28, 2019

5. There was one technical “fake-out”

The night wasn’t without its mishaps. Though nothing was as disruptive as Wednesday’s microphone issues, in the last half-hour of the debate, moderator Rachel Maddow planned to toss to Lester Holt for an audience question, but the segment wasn’t ready.

“That was just a fake-out,” Maddow joked before quickly pivoting to another debate topic. Holt did however get in one audience question near the very end of the broadcast.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Loudest Voice' Showrunner on How Roger Ailes Miniseries Serves as a Prequel to the Trump Era

Watch Trevor Noah's Solid Impressions of Obama Giving the Sex Talk, Trump Smoking His First Joint (Video)

Stephen Colbert Hijacks Chuck Todd's Interview of 'Stone Cold Crazy' Donald Trump (Video)

www.thewrap.com | 6/28/19
Ahead of the 2020 elections, former Facebook chief security officer Alex Stamos and his colleagues at Stanford University have unveiled a sweeping new plan to secure U.S. electoral infrastructure and combat foreign campaigns seeking to interfere in U.S. politics. As the Mueller investigation into electoral interference made clear, foreign agents from Russia (and elsewhere) engaged […]
techcrunch.com | 6/6/19

SpaceX may be approaching debris detection as a machine-learning problem in which the entire constellation, not individual satellites, is learning to avoid collisions.

SpaceX delayed last Wednesdays Starlink launch due to high winds and on Thursday they decided to do a software update and postpone the launch until next week, but they revealed significant progress in their Starlink mission press release and in tweets by and a media call with Elon Musk.

Starlink size comparison – novel packaging accommodates 60 satellites in a single launch. (Source)

The mission press release said SpaceX has significantly reduced the size and weight of their satellites. Their initial November 2016 FCC filing specified 386 kg satellites that measured 4 x 1.8 x 1.2 meters. In February 2018, they launched two Internet-service test satellites — TinTin A and B — that measured only 1.1 x .7 x .7 meters with a total mass of approximately 400 kg. The mass of the Starlink satellites will be only 227 kg, about 43% that of the test satellites. (They are still heavier than OneWeb's 147.4 kg test satellites)

As far as I know, SpaceX has not previously commented on the number of satellites that might be launched at once, but the number was generally estimated as 25-30 after considering constraints on mass, volume, and numbers of satellites per orbital plane. As shown here, they will be launching a surprising 60 flat-packed satellites. Launching 60 satellites also demonstrates continued progress in rocket capability — this will be the heaviest SpaceX payload ever.

The speed and density of satellites in
low-earth orbit increase the likelihood
of a cascading debris collision. (Source)The current and planned proliferation of low-earth orbit satellites increases the likelihood of a Kessler Syndrome event — a cascade of collisions between satellites and the ensuing debris. The press release alluded to what may be a significant advance in debris mitigation, stating that:

Each spacecraft is equipped with a Startracker navigation system that allows SpaceX to point the satellites with precision. Importantly, Starlink satellites are capable of tracking on-orbit debris and autonomously avoiding a collision.

That would be a breakthrough if feasible, but on first consideration, it seems impossible. Low-earth orbit satellites move very fast and even if a satellite had the resolution and pattern-recognition capability to "see" debris in its path, it would not be able to maneuver quickly enough to avoid a collision. That point was raised in this online discussion and a possible solution suggested — the entire constellation could dynamically pool and share data from each satellite as well as use NORAD tracking data, which Musk mentioned during the media call.

SpaceX may be approaching this as a machine-learning problem in which the entire constellation, not individual satellites, is learning to avoid collisions using its shared data as well as data from other sources like NORAD. One can imagine sharing such data with competitors like OneWeb and Telesat or even with Russia, China or India. (Elon Musk is known to read science fiction — this speculation is reminiscent of Azimov's Gaia or Teilhard de Chardin's noosphere).

The prospect of launching 60 satellites at once and a shared-data approach to collision avoidance have grabbed my attention, but Musk's tweets and media call were also highly informative — a few examples:

All that and they have yet to launch the satellites — stay tuned.

Written by Larry Press, Professor of Information Systems at California State University

www.circleid.com | 5/17/19

The internet started to take on momentum in the 1990s. At that time many analysts, myself included, marveled at the opportunity of creating a platform that would boost grassroot democracy. There was no need for a middleman and there were few barriers to ordinary people becoming involved. This included organizing groups, discussions and events, sharing knowledge, insights and information, publishing opinions — just some of the potential attached to the internet. And for the first two decades, this basically was what happened, in a very positive and constructive way. It did disrupt several business, social and political models but that that was seen as 'a new broom sweeping clean.'

All of that is still happening — and as a matter of fact, it has only increased. However, at the same time, the ugly side of humanity has moved into this area as well. They all jumped on the bandwagon — cheats, plain criminals, misogynists, racists and bullies. This was very unfortunate, but it became serious when more organized misuse of the internet began to take place. This is undermining democracy and democratic processes; many people began to say enough is enough.

Most of the misuse is aimed at generating fake traffic that leads to extra advertising income or click income on YouTube for instance. In proportion to overall internet activity the other, serious political misuse is significantly less. It has, however, far deeper negative consequences. It is using manipulation to set people against each other. It interferes with democratic processes such as elections and undermines democratic institutions.

This criminal internet activity happens more or less in parallel with broader traditional forms of manipulations and is not limited to the internet. The fake news activities and the undermining of democratic institutions are for example carried out by President Trump without the internet. The same is happening in countries such as Britain, Turkey, Hungary, Poland and Italy, to name just a few.

There is no doubt that the internet has become an important tool to create division, hatred and conflict. This has more to do with human behaviour than with technology. Addressing only the technology element of this problem will not solve the much more serious underlying issues.

Division, lies, hatred, fake news, racism and conflict are being used by our leaders in public. It is then not difficult to understand that people perceive this as a license to do the same, with or without technology.

It is important to state that it is not the internet that is causing all of this. So far the internet has created far more positive than negative outcomes, and we need to preserve what's best about it. Most importantly, this includes the freedom for people to express themselves. Equally important is that entrepreneurs can innovate and build new business models. At the same time, we need to ensure that we protect society from broader harm.

We can look at what we have done with other tools that we use — tools like guns, cars, chemicals and drugs. All these products and services can have negatives associated with them. What we have done over the years to address this is to build elements into these products and services to limit the risk and increase safety.

This has been done through the hard work of everyone involved: the government and industry, as well as the users/consumers. As an example, look at cars in the 1970s. They killed 3 to 4 times more people than they do now, and our population has nearly doubled over that period. How did this change happen? Partly through regulation, partly through better products, and partly through human behaviour.

Have we, as a result, eliminated all the harmful elements of motor cars? No, of course not. But the risks have been reduced considerably over those years. This to such a level that the negative (e.g., death by car accidents) seems to be acceptable to most of us. Is that enough? No, it isn't. And so we are still trying to improve, through the combined efforts of government, industry and us, the people.

We will also have to begin to develop similar processes in relation to the internet. However, before we know what we need to do, we will first have to drill down to where the problems are and work out who can do what in addressing the issues.

Starting with the government, Mark Zuckerberg mentioned the need for a more active role for governments and regulators. He suggested the need for an update of the rules for the internet. In particularly in four areas: harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability.

In relation to the industry, he recommends starting with data manipulation aimed at defrauding the internet companies. Here the social media companies have a vested interest in tackling that problem themselves as fraud cost them money. The tools that they develop to minimize this can also be used to address other data manipulation issues — for example, interferences in elections and fake news. As Zuckerburg indicated, the government will also have to play a key role in setting up the rules for this. This will also need to be done at international levels.

It will remain a cat and mouse situation. New — more sophisticated — technologies to combat this will be developed, and they will be circumvented by criminals, and this process will continue. In the end, criminal interferences will be greatly reduced. The reason being that it simply becomes too costly for many of the groups to come up with their own tools to crack the ones developed by industry. The best hope here is for a managed situation, similar to those that have been created to manage other potentially dangerous tools, as in the motor car example.

A challenging issue here is the fact that what is harmful to one society, culture or religion is not necessarily the same for another group. A real threat — or even perhaps a reality — is that this would lead to a further regionalization of the internet. Countries such as China, Iran and North Korea have already created their own walls around the internet, and Russia is also trying to build its wall.

Another issue in relation to the industry is whether some of these companies are becoming too dominant and are showing monopolistic tendencies. A very human reaction to this is that we don't tolerate monopolies. We, therefore, need to start looking at industry legislation, be it anti-trust remedies, breaking up companies or other solutions.

Lastly, we also need to drill down on the people's side. We need to identify and address what causes the problematic behaviour of those misusing the internet before we can address these issues. Education and information at schools and elsewhere will be important. They will deliver longer-term positive outcomes.

Full-blown criminal behavior, racism, hate speech and the like are already punishable under existing laws. Our enforcement agencies, however, are still not well-equipped to address Internet-based crimes as effectively as they address similar crimes conducted in more traditional ways.

I am sometimes alerted by people who read my analyses to information or activities that are of an illegal or criminal nature. I report them to the appropriate authorities, but I have never received an answer from them. And if one goes to a police station to report internet abuse that will still too often elicit a blank look from the officer at the desk.

In order to get the people on board here, they need to be supported by well-functioning institutions. They should be able to take effective action against individuals that are crossing the line online. At the moment there is a feeling among the public that they are losing control over some of the central mechanisms of their lives. In the case of the internet, the lives of most people have been improved, and it has created lots of new economic activity. At the same time, it is also clear that the negatives of technology are such that people are not comfortable with the risks and safety issues. Comparing this with the example of motor cars, it is obvious that more work is needed. And whether we like it or not, people want action now.

So far this is resulting in some countries introducing broad and vague sweeping laws. Laws which are not implemented effectively, because it is impossible to do so while they are still being written. We clearly need to improve on that.

This will become increasingly apparent as time goes on. My colleagues in America say that the problems with the hastily introduced social media legislation will soon become evident in Australia. Other countries will learn from these mistakes and will adopt more realistic legislation to safeguard innovation, economic growth and freedom of speech. These core democratic elements seem to become the casualties of bad legislation. With a lack of effective self-regulation from the digital media giants, there is however no doubt that major changes to these negative elements in the use of the of the Internet will increasingly be regulated and legislated.

Written by Paul Budde, Managing Director of Paul Budde Communication

www.circleid.com | 4/24/19
NetDragon, a global leader in building internet communities, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on digital education with the leading Russian B2B-platform for cross-border e-commerce, Global Rus Trade, at the BRICS Business Council Midterm Meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa. Held from April 3 – 4, the conference gathers representatives from Brazil, Russia, India, China, and [&hellip

Inter-satellite laser links (source)I hope each of these companies has someone in charge of thinking about what might go wrong with a single, satellite-based network providing fast, low-cost links anywhere on the global Internet.

OneWeb, SpaceX, Telesat and Leosat all aspire to be global Internet service providers using constellations of low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites. Their success will require still-unproven technological innovation, but there are also political stumbling blocks.

OneWeb has already encountered significant political problems in Russia. Russia launched OneWeb's first test satellites and has a billion dollar contract for 20 additional launches, but Russian security officials are lobbying against OneWeb's offering service (see posts from Dec 27 & Oct 27, 2018) on the grounds that it might facilitate spying. When Anatoly Zak, an expert on the Soviet space program, investigated that claim, he concluded that "With the launch of the OneWeb constellation, the Russian rocket industry stands to earn millions, but the Kremlin is terrified at the prospect of unhindered access to the Internet by its citizens."

As far as I know, OneWeb is still planning to offer service in Russia, but they have had to make financial and technical concessions. They agreed to become a minority partner in the company that will market their service in Russia and, significantly, they agreed to drop the inter-satellite laser links (ISLLs) from their constellation and pass all Russian traffic through ground stations in Russia.

Dropping ISLLs, which are still unproven for this application, will simplify the design of their satellites and save development time and cost. It will also reduce satellite complexity, size, and weight and save power, but there will be costs.

OneWeb throughput simulation (source)They will need more ground stations if they offer global service without ISSLLs. OneWeb founder Greg Wyler says they will have more than 40 such gateways, each capable of "seeing" satellites up to 4,000 kilometers away. A team of MIT researchers ran a simulation of a 720-satellite OnWeb constellation and they estimate that 71 ground stations would be required to reach maximum throughput. (Anatoly Zak estimates that four to six gateways will be in Russia and speculates that hackers may be able to illegally connect to satellites in neighboring countries). Dropping ISLLs will also add latency, especially on long-distance links.

What about the other would-be global LEO projects?

Telesat will retain ISSLs, but accommodate countries on a country-by-country basis. Erwin Hudson, vice president of Telesat LEO, says we "have the flexibility in our network control system to route traffic all kinds of different ways. There are no rules that traffic has to go over the inter-satellite links."

SpaceX is going forward with ISSLs, and they are also aware of the political problems. During a recruiting talk at the opening of their Seattle satellite-design office four years ago, CEO Elon Musk said "I'm hopeful that we can structure agreements with various countries to allow communication but it is a country-by-country basis ... it's not gonna take longer than five years to do that and not all countries will agree at first ... that's fine."

Leosat is also prepared to build gateways to make accommodations. For example, CEO Mark Rigolle says they would be willing to build a gateway in China to accommodate the government; however, that would be inconsistent with their primary marketing focus of providing low-latency, secure, point-to-point links globally.

These companies are all thinking about concessions they need to make in order to operate in countries that want to surveil citizens and control their access to information, but what about guarding against aggression? I hope each of these companies has someone in charge of thinking about what might go wrong with a single, satellite-based network providing fast, low-cost links anywhere on the global Internet.

During the recruiting talk mentioned above, Elon Musk said "[the constellation design] is a really difficult technical problem to solve so that's why we need the smartest engineering talent around the world to solve the problem and, you know, to also make sure we don't create Skynet." At that time, I asked "Would global Internet service providers require unique regulation and, if so, what should it be and who has the power to do it?" and said I was "less worried about Musk creating SkyNet than creating Comcast on Steroids," but I was naive.

Follow these links for background on the four projects: SpaceX, OneWeb, Telesat and Leosat.

Written by Larry Press, Professor of Information Systems at California State University

www.circleid.com | 4/4/19

This agreement telegraphs a change in Cuban policy — now we need the cable.

Google and ETECSA have signed a memorandum of understanding agreeing to negotiate a peering agreement that would allow cost-free data exchange between their networks once an undersea cable physically connects them.

Google has worked hard to establish a relationship with ETECSA and the Cuban government. In recent years, Cuba, not the US, has limited the Cuban Internet. This agreement telegraphs a change in Cuban policy.

Today, nearly all of Cuba's Internet traffic is carried over an undersea cable at the south end of the island. A cable from the Havana area to Florida would reduce the load on their inter-city "backbone" network that today carries Internet traffic to the cable landing in the south. That would result in a faster Internet and save ETECSA money. The next generation of low-earth and medium-earth orbit satellite connectivity can have a similar effect.

ETECSA could use the savings from an undersea cable or next-generation satellites to cut prices, increase investment in infrastructure or increase profit. That would depend upon who is actually calling the shots at ETECSA.

Over three years ago, Daniel Sepulveda, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and U.S. Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy, said he knew of at least a half dozen proposals — from US and non-US companies — to construct a north-south undersea cable between the US and Cuba.

The cable has been stopped by politics, not economics or technical difficulty. It looks like Cuba is willing to relent on the politics. Trump's fighting this cable would solidify Cuba's political and commercial ties with China and Russia.

Written by Larry Press, Professor of Information Systems at California State University

www.circleid.com | 3/28/19

Greg Wyler, Founder and Executive Chairman, OneWebOneWeb is building a large constellation of low-Earth orbit (LEO) Internet-service satellites and Via Satellite has published the "definitive 2018" interview of OneWeb CEO Greg Wyler. The following are some of the quotes that caught my eye:

  • The system has been designed. The satellites have been tested. They are going through the final stages of testing now before the launches begin. The satellites have actually performed better than expected in many ways, especially with their Radio Frequency (RF) performance which is really positive.
  • I think we will have customers up and running in 2020.
  • Whether [our satellites] are $500 thousand (the estimate in 2015) or $1 million is virtually irrelevant because what they are not is $50 million, and that is where it started.
  • The initial customers will be in the mobility and emergency services markets (paraphrase).
  • Aviation is a big [market] for us.
  • Why not let Sprint, DT, roam onto the plane? You can give the customers 4G/5G on the same devices they are used to using in their car, at the gate, or in other places.
  • The plane itself can become a Local-Area Network (LAN) party! I have been in aviation my whole life so this is always something I have been interested in.
  • OneWeb with its first constellation will be able to make a big impact on health centers and schools.
  • I would like to keep [the number of satellites up in five years time] below 1,500.

The tone of the interview was positive, but the early emphasis on emergency and mobile services (where they will have competition from other, relatively focused LEO satellite companies like Telesat and Leosat) makes me wonder whether their goal of eliminating the digital divide by 2027 might be slipping.

If I could have asked one question, it would have been about the objection to OneWeb that has been raised by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB). If the FSB succeeds in stopping OneWeb in Russia, they will lose access to a potential market. Furthermore, it would jeopardize their contract for 21 launches with the Soviet space agency Roscosmos and perhaps cost and delay the project.

This has been a quick summary of a long interview — you should check out the full interview.

Written by Larry Press, Professor of Information Systems at California State University

www.circleid.com | 11/16/18

So let me get this straight.

The wide-eyed billionaires who run Facebook previously claimed they were simply unaware of how their platform was being used by bad people to sway the U.S. presidential election, foment hate and division and contribute to ethnic cleansing abroad.

That’s what they said. But as it turns out, they were delaying. They were denying. They were — what’s the word for it? Oh yes: dishonest.

Also Read: Mark Zuckerberg 'Didn't Know' Facebook Worked With Opposition Research Firm

And they were watching their stock price — no doubt, very very carefully.

The New York Times’ five-byline, 4,000-word investigation, published on Wednesday, brings hard facts and reporting to the charade we’ve been watching for years.

“As evidence accumulated that Facebook’s power could also be exploited to disrupt elections, broadcast viral propaganda and inspire deadly campaigns of hate around the globe, Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg stumbled,” the investigation concludes, referring to founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg.

“Bent on growth, the pair ignored warning signs and then sought to conceal them from public view,” the Times wrote. “At critical moments over the last three years, they were distracted by personal projects, and passed off security and policy decisions to subordinates, according to current and former executives.”

Also Read: Facebook Drops Conservative Consulting Firm That Targeted Critics and Competitors

I’ve been ringing the bell about Facebook for some time, after watching in horrified silence as the platform — which once promised to create a business model to promote and support the creators of news content — turned out to be dishonest about that, too. No financial support was ever forthcoming for those who reported the news and partnered with Facebook to share it. It turned out to be the other way around — publishers have to pay Facebook to access their own subscribers — surprise!

Too bad for newsrooms being decimated quarter by quarter.

Also Read: The Confused Ethics of Mark Zuckerberg - Let's Definitely Not Judge Those Holocaust Deniers

All this rotten fruit falls from the same poisoned tree.

I always thought — and have written — that manchild-CEO Mark Zuckerberg was tone deaf about the serious responsibilities that come with creating and maintaining a platform used as a tool of mass communication among hundreds of millions of people. This summer I pointed out that his lack of a humanities education as a Harvard drop-out was a real problem. In his heart, it seems, he does not accept that his platform gives him massive responsibility. The lip service he has paid publicly was not convincing before Congress, or in interviews like the one this summer with Kara Swisher in which he defended Holocaust deniers’ right to share their lies on Facebook.

So why should we trust this latest remark? “To suggest that we weren’t interested in knowing the truth, or that we were trying to hide what we knew, or that we tried to prevent investigations is simply untrue,” he stated today on a press call about Facebook’s latest content standards.

It is also disappointing to learn that Sandberg — beloved for her empathic air, her intellectual polish, her advocacy of women’s leadership — bought into this system.

Also Read: Mark Zuckerberg Is Russia, Trump and Cambridge Analytica's Useful Idiot

According to the investigation, instead of digging into the alarming revelations of Russian meddling and fake news on the platform in 2016, she chewed out Facebook’s head of security Alex Stamos for embarrassing her in front of the board.

I am particularly offended that we learned in the article that Facebook  — shame! — lobbied “a Jewish civil rights group to cast some criticism of the company as anti-Semitic,” and hired hired conservative opposition research experts to launch a counter-information campaign. Definers, the conservative group that reportedly wrote stories slamming Facebook critics, encouraged journalists to look into George Soros’s funding of those groups.

Facebook responded in a blog post: “Definers did encourage members of the press to look into the funding of ‘Freedom from Facebook,’ an anti-Facebook organization. The intention was to demonstrate that it was not simply a spontaneous grassroots campaign, as it claimed, but supported by a well-known critic of our company. To suggest that this was an anti-Semitic attack is reprehensible and untrue.”

But overall, it turns out that Facebook was more worried about appearances and stock price than fixing how the platform was being misused to undermine democracy. It seemed more worried about appearing pro-Democrat than about whether Russia had burrowed its way into our country: “If Facebook implicated Russia further, [advisor Joel] Kaplan said, Republicans would accuse the company of siding with Democrats.”

I called a Facebook spokesman who said he was offended that I said his company’s behavior and statements suggest a betrayal of public trust.

“You’re conflating things in an unhealthy and unproductive way,” Tom Reynolds, of the company’s policy and communications team, told me. “These are important issues. It’s important to be precise.”

“During the spring and summer of 2016, we found Russian hacking activity, we alerted the government, and campaign committees,” he said. “When we learned things, we tried to disclose it as much as possible. Where we can, we share as much information as we can.”

He pointed to tweets by Facebook security chief Alex Stamos spreading the blame for 2016 around to news outlets who reported on the hacked emails.

I asked: Do you think Facebook has a trust problem?

“That’s for other people to decide on,” he said. “We are working around the clock to do a better job when it comes to content moderation, reducing hate speech, reducing bullying . Reduce the bad, amplify the good.”

An admirable goal, to be sure.

www.thewrap.com | 11/15/18

President Trump picked an interesting time to go after Facebook, blasting the social network and other “biased” major tech companies on Thursday morning.

“Check out how biased Facebook, Google and Twitter are in favor of the Democrats,” Trump wrote … on Twitter.

“That’s the real Collusion!” The comment followed Trump’s skewering “highly conflicted” special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into improper Russian connections, saying the probe was being led by Mueller’s “gang of Democrat thugs.”

The only “Collusion” is that of the Democrats with Russia and many others. Why didn’t the FBI take the Server from the DNC? They still don’t have it. Check out how biased Facebook, Google and Twitter are in favor of the Democrats. That’s the real Collusion!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2018

Also Read: 'Infuriated' Mark Zuckerberg Told Facebook Staff to Use Android After Apple CEO's Diss (Report)

Trump’s Facebook barb comes a day after The New York Times reported the company used Definers, a Republican political consulting firm, to attack its critics and competitors. Definers tied Facebook protestors to financier George Soros, a longtime target of conservatives and anti-Semites for his financial contributions to left-wing causes, according to the Times.

On behalf of Facebook, Definers also posted several disparaging articles about Google and Apple on NTK Network, an outlet that’s routinely picked up by conservative sites like Breitbart. Facebook terminated its relationship with Definers on Thursday without giving a reason.

This wasn’t the first time President Trump has taken on Silicon Valley. Trump criticized Facebook and Twitter in August over their removal of Alex Jones. The online conspiracy theorist had been permanently suspended by Facebook and Google-owned YouTube that same month; Twitter later banned Jones in September for violating its “abusive behavior” policy.

Also Read: Facebook Watch Partners With Fremantle to Send Game Show 'Confetti' Global

“I won’t mention names but when they take certain people off of Twitter or Facebook and they’re making that decision, that is really a dangerous thing because that could be you tomorrow,” Trump told Reuters.

The president also tweeted last September Facebook is “always Anti-Trump.”

Despite his criticism, Trump has remained a prominent advertiser on Facebook. He was the platform’s biggest spender on political ads, a New York University study found in July.

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Sports Talk Radio Legend Mike Francesa to Launch 'Mike's On' Digital Platform

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www.thewrap.com | 11/15/18

Much of Google's traffic yesterday appeared to be re-routed through Russia and dropped at China Telecom. The issue raises serious concerns as a possible traffic hijacking incident but later linked to a network misconfiguration by a firm in Nigeria. Reuters reports: "Nigeria's Main One Cable Co took responsibility on Tuesday for a glitch that temporarily caused some Google global traffic to be misrouted through China, saying it accidentally caused the problem during a network upgrade. ... Main One said in an email that it had caused a 74-minute glitch by misconfiguring a border gateway protocol filter used to route traffic across the internet. That resulted in some Google traffic being sent through Main One partner China Telecom, the West African firm said."

"This incident further underscores one of the fundamental weaknesses in the fabric of the Internet," says ThousandEyes' Ameet Naik. ThousandEyes, a network monitoring firm, was one of the first companies to raise the alarm on Tuesday after noticing traffic to Google was getting dropped at China Telecom. Naik writes: "BGP was designed to be a chain of trust between well-meaning ISPs and universities that blindly believe the information they receive. It hasn't evolved to reflect the complex commercial and geopolitical relationships that exist between ISPs and nations today. ... Even corporations like Google with massive resources at their disposal are not immune from this sort of BGP leak or malicious hijacks. MainOne took 74 minutes to either notice or be notified of the issue and fix it, and it took about three-quarters of an hour more for services to come back up. Most enterprises who don't have Google's reach and resources may not be able to resolve the issue as quickly, which can significantly impact business."

www.circleid.com | 11/13/18

Two months ago, the Trump White House published its National Cyber Strategy. It was followed a few days ago with the release of its draft NSTAC Cybersecurity "moonshot."

The Strategy document was basically a highly nationalistic America-First exhortation that ironically bore a resemblance to China's more global two-year-old National Cybersecurity Strategy.

However, the Moonshot draft comes across as a Public Relations gambit meant to underpin the Strategy pronouncement by borrowing on the Von Braun project pitched to President Kennedy and implemented in the 1960s as the Apollo program. Apart from the rather ludicrous comparison, the draft itself serves up little more than another cybersecurity word salad found around Washington with six "strategic pillars" sprinkled on top. We are told that these pillars achieve "a more enduringly safe and secure Internet within the next 10 years [that] will require a holistic and multi-disciplinary approach." A "word salad" rendition of the draft is attached as an image.

These kinds of documents have appeared everywhere around the world over the past decade. Perhaps not unexpectedly, they all tend to have the same salad ingredients: Technology, Human Behavior, Education, Ecosystem, Privacy, and Policy. NATO has an extensive library of them.

And, almost every regional and global organization and intergovernmental body today have their own versions. The EU has several, and nearly two hundred Nation States at the ITU Plenipotentiary at the moment, are redrafting a bundle of them.

There is not much new in the NSTAC draft except the Moonshot packaging plus potentially creating a few new mini-government bureaucracies among existing government agencies to oversee the effort and lobby for additional funding. The last point — funding — figures prominently into the recommendations even as the document plainly offers nothing substantively new.

The report places considerable faith in "U.S. Government leadership" when the historical record in creating joint efforts like SEMANTECH and MCC have been problematic at best in sectors far less abstruse. Furthermore, as opposed to the UK's NCSC, the aversion within the U.S. to supporting its most valuable expert Information Assurance assets at NSA, creates an enduring institutional dysfunction. Additionally, scores of other national government agencies and thousands of companies and institutes scattered globally are pursuing similar well-funded initiatives that are largely unknown within the U.S. government, and with no ability to discover them and bring about convergence and harmonization.

What is most unfortunate is the model itself — which suggests there is some kind of achievable endpoint of cybersecurity. The complexities and dynamics of contemporary electronic components, code, and networks — coupled with business economics, adversarial incentives, legal constraints, and human foibles — result in an ecosystem where risk management and cyber-hygiene are the necessary courses of action.

On the positive side, the draft recommendations do harken back to a period when NSTAC hosted its own R&D;expert community and regular R&D;workshops. There are, however, several faux pax. While the draft repeatedly mentions that 5G is extremely important and that it will replace existing internets, it somewhat embarrassingly in the Glossary does not know where 5G work is done (i.e., 3GPP and NFV ISG) and that it is already being rolled out. The lack of engagement by U.S. government agencies in existing 5G industry technical developments has long been endemic.

More significantly, the report continues to push the politically motivated "open internet" when NSTAC was warned two decades ago by the DARPA Director who approved the TCP/IP platform development — that the "open internet" notion was flawed and meaningful cybersecurity is fundamentally impossible with open internets. Indeed, the dangers of open internets have come vividly home to roost over the past year courtesy of Russia's FSB and GRU.

Fortunately, the legacy DARPA internets are rapidly transitioning to a world of virtually instantiated network slices under a 5G aegis. While considerable attention is being devoted to 3GPP and related venues to security, it is unclear whether unknown and unforeseen vulnerabilities and attacks will not emerge.

Written by Anthony Rutkowski, Principal, Netmagic Associates LLC

www.circleid.com | 11/8/18

Facebook said on Friday that the release of thousands of private user messages wasn’t the result of a hack of its security system, but rather due to “malicious browser extensions.”

According to a BBC report Friday, hackers were offering to sell private messages for 10 cents apiece. The hackers said they had access to 120 million accounts, but cybersecurity firm Digital Shadows, working for the BBC, was only able to confirm 81,000 profiles had been breached.

“Based on our investigation so far, we believe this information was obtained through malicious browser extensions installed off of Facebook,” Guy Rosen, vice president of Product Management, said in a statement to TheWrap. “We have contacted browser makers to ensure that known malicious extensions are no longer available to download in their stores and to share information that could help identify additional extensions that may be related.”

Also Read: Facebook Bans Right-Wing Group the Proud Boys and Founder Gavin McInnes

A Facebook rep did not name specific malicious browser extensions when asked by TheWrap, saying the company’s internal investigation was still ongoing. Browser extensions can allow hackers to view whatever a user is seeing on their screen. In other words, Facebook is saying the private messages were lifted by hackers viewing someone’s screen, rather than a direct breach of its security system.

The rep added that most of the accounts impacted were from central and eastern Europe and that Facebook has a page dedicated to helping users remove malicious extensions.

The BBC contacted five users who confirmed the hacked private messages were theirs. All five users were from Russia. One of the private messages included vacation pictures, while another discussed a Depeche Mode concert, and a third included an “intimate correspondence between two lovers,” according to the BBC.

“We encourage people to check the browser extensions they’ve installed and remove any that they don’t fully trust,” Rosen said, adding that Facebook has contacted law enforcement and “local authorities” to remove the website displaying the private messages. “As we continue to investigate, we will take action to secure people’s accounts as appropriate.”

Also Read: Facebook Hits 1 Billion Daily Stories Users, Mark Zuckerberg Warns Revenue Growth Could Slow

Facebook last month announced up to 30 million profiles were vulnerable to a breach of its security system.

The 30 million users that were hit fell into three separate groups. There were 15 million users who had their name and contact info — either their phone number, email, or both, for some users — grabbed by the attackers. Another 14 million had their names and contact info lifted, as well as their “username, gender, locale/language, relationship status, religion, hometown, self-reported current city, birthdate, device types used to access Facebook, education, work, the last 10 places they checked into or were tagged in, website, people or Pages they follow” and their “15 most recent searches,” according to Rosen. The remaining 1 million vulnerable users did not have their information compromised by the attack.

Related stories from TheWrap:

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Facebook, Amazon 'Fundamentally Oppose' Trump Redefinition of Transgender Rights

Facebook Bans Right-Wing Group the Proud Boys and Founder Gavin McInnes

www.thewrap.com | 11/2/18

This case illustrates the fact that political, security, and financial negotiations may be as difficult as designing satellites and rockets for a would-be global Internet service provider.

OneWeb is investing billions of dollars in a constellation of low-Earth orbit (LEO) Internet-service satellites.

In 2015 they placed launch orders for 21 Russian-made Soyuz rockets.

In 2017, they formed a joint venture with Russian LEO satellite operator Gonets to develop the project in Russia. At that time, Gonets was a subsidiary of Roscosmos, the Russian State Corporation overseeing and implementing the Russian space industry. OneWeb had a 60% interest in the joint venture.

This week Reuters reported that OneWeb is relinquishing its majority stake in the venture — Gonets intends to increase its stake to 51 percent.

I wonder why.

Speaking at a conference in Moscow, Federal Security Service (FSB) official Vladimir Sadovnikov objected to the project for security reasons. He feared that "Some of Russia's regions would become totally dependent on a foreign satellite service" and added that Moscow had not received any conclusive evidence that OneWeb's satellites would not be used for intelligence gathering.

(He also revealed his ignorance by apparently not understanding the difference between Iridium and OneWeb).

I wonder if the security concern is genuine — OneWeb has decided to forgo inter-satellite links in favor of routing all traffic through a system of 40 terrestrial gateways, allowing a nation to know the path of traffic into and out of their territory. Are they concerned about the possible detection of sources of trolling and hacking?

Sadovnikov added a political dimension saying Russia favored setting up a similar network partnering with India, China and countries which he described as non-aggressive and China has pitched a 1,000 LEO satellite project to Russia.

An unnamed source at the FSB also mentioned politics, saying "OneWeb is an important project for Roscosmos and Russia's space industry, but national security issues come first. There are many doubts regarding that project, especially because of the sanctions against us."

Frequency is another stumbling block. OneWeb's request to receive a frequency band in Russia was refused and a source at the Ministry for Digital Development and Communications said they would be given permission after legal issues regarding the joint venture were completed. Given Russia's reputation, one can't help wondering whether the hangup has something to do with payoffs.

Another possibility is convoluted economic infighting within Russia. Gonets' Wikipedia page says it began as a Russian Federal Space Agency program, but in 1996 it was privatized and operated by Gonets SatCom, which was controlled by ISS Reshetnev. In 2017 Roscosmos acquired 80% of Gonets from ISS Reshetnev. Wikipedia is not a definitive source and I know nothing of the history of these organizations, but this sounds like it could be the kind of oligarchy-creation manipulation that occurs when state property is privatized. (The ownership of Cuban ISP Etecsa raises similar questions).

Perhaps there were management problems. Initially, launches of production satellites were planned to begin last May, then the date slipped to first quarter 2018. The current schedule calls for the launch of test satellites on February 7, 2019.

Regardless of the motivation for restructuring the OneWeb/Gonets venture, there is a mismatch in the aspirations of a global ISP and nationalistic governments. This case illustrates the fact that political, security and financial negotiations may be as difficult as designing satellites and rockets for a would-be global ISP.

For background on OneWeb and other low-Earth orbit satellite Internet service projects, click here.

Gonets home page, 8/10/2018. It was removed earlier this week.
The Russian home page has also been removed. Last archived copy 4/10/18.

Written by Larry Press, Professor of Information Systems at California State University

www.circleid.com | 10/27/18
On October 25, a court in Nizhny Novgorod will hear the case of Anatoly Moskvin. This man is known in Russia as the "doll master" - he is accused of making life-size dolls out of dead girls' bodies. Several years ago, the police found in his apartment 26 "dolls" made of mummified corpses of little girls. Moskvin, a local historian, an academic, a necropolist, a specialist on burials, remains under coercive treatment, but he is likely to be released. In September, doctors of the psychiatric hospital, where Moskvin is kept, initiated a procedure to switch him to outpatient treatment. According to them, the patient remains in a state of stable remission. An additional medical examination of the patient is to be conducted to see if Anatoly Moskvin is undangerous  for the society. Anatoly Moskvin was put on coercive treatment in 2012 after a psychiatric examination showed that the man was suffering from a mental disorder in the form of paranoid schizophrenia. In other words, psychiatrists concluded that the man could be unaware of the actual nature and social danger of his actions.His elderly parents, his lawyer and even a girlfriend have been visiting Moskvin at hospital for several years now. The girlfriend appeared after Moskvin was put under compulsory medical treatment. The woman learned about his story from the Internet, developed great interest in the man and came to Nizhny Novgorod from the Moscow region. The story of Anatoly Moskvin shocked all of Russia in 2011. In his apartment, police officers found 26 dolls made of the remains of deceased girls. Moskvin had been exhuming children's graves at various graveyards before mummifying them with a special solution of salt and soda.The man kept his dead dolls in his room. He would dress them in girls' clothes and put them on his couch where he would sit to talk to them. Sometimes, he would model certain situations, for example, tea-drinking, for his dolls: there was a set of toy cups and dishes on a table nearby. Inside the mummies, the man would place mechanisms from music boxes or music toys so that his dolls could produce sounds when he would touch them. Forensic experts found personal belongings and clothing inside some of the mummies. There was a piece of a gravestone with a girl's name inside one of the bodies. Another one contained a hospital tag stating the date and the cause of the girl's death. A dried human heart was found inside a third. Moskvin would stuff the decayed corpses with rags, wrap nylon tights around them, or attach toy heads to them. He would also insert buttons or toy eyes into the girls' eye sockets so that they could watch cartoons with him. During interrogations, the patient said that he loved his girls and cared for them as if they were alive. There were also a few dolls which he disliked and kept them in a garage. Moskvin said during interrogation that he would exhume the girls' bodies out of loneliness. The man was single and his biggest dream was to have children. Child protection services did not allow the man to adopt a child due to his low wages of a university teacher. The man came in sight of law-enforcement agencies soon after the terrorist attack at Moscow's Domodedovo airport. Moskvin went to a cemetery where he started painting over pictures of deceased Muslims without damaging anything else. The man was caught and accused of vandalism. The dolls were found when eight police officers came to search his apartment. It is hard to tell what Moskvin felt and thought after his secret life came into the public eye and attracted a lot of attention. However, the life of his elderly parents turned into hell. Everyone in the city stopped talking to them. Unidentified individuals would smash the windows in their apartment and write profanity and insults on the walls of their apartment building. After a series of interrogations and all the ensuing humiliation, Anatoly Moskvin's mother offered her husband to poison themselves with gas and die. However, the man refused to do it as such an act could cause an explosion. Anatoly Moskvin's father suffered a heart attack, while his mother developed diabetes. Update: The court decided not to release Anatoly Moskvin from hospital where he undergoes compulsory treatment. He will stay there till the next court hearing.
On October 25, a court in Nizhny Novgorod will hear the case of Anatoly Moskvin. This man is known in Russia as the "doll master" - he is accused of making life-size dolls out of dead girls' bodies. Several years ago, the police found in his apartment 26 "dolls" made of mummified corpses of little girls. Moskvin, a local historian, an academic, a necropolist, a specialist on burials, remains under coercive treatment, but he is likely to be released. In September, doctors of the psychiatric hospital, where Moskvin is kept, initiated a procedure to switch him to outpatient treatment. According to them, the patient remains in a state of stable remission. An additional medical examination of the patient is to be conducted to see if Anatoly Moskvin is undangerous  for the society. Anatoly Moskvin was put on coercive treatment in 2012 after a psychiatric examination showed that the man was suffering from a mental disorder in the form of paranoid schizophrenia. In other words, psychiatrists concluded that the man could be unaware of the actual nature and social danger of his actions.His elderly parents, his lawyer and even a girlfriend have been visiting Moskvin at hospital for several years now. The girlfriend appeared after Moskvin was put under compulsory medical treatment. The woman learned about his story from the Internet, developed great interest in the man and came to Nizhny Novgorod from the Moscow region. The story of Anatoly Moskvin shocked all of Russia in 2011. In his apartment, police officers found 26 dolls made of the remains of deceased girls. Moskvin had been exhuming children's graves at various graveyards before mummifying them with a special solution of salt and soda.The man kept his dead dolls in his room. He would dress them in girls' clothes and put them on his couch where he would sit to talk to them. Sometimes, he would model certain situations, for example, tea-drinking, for his dolls: there was a set of toy cups and dishes on a table nearby. Inside the mummies, the man would place mechanisms from music boxes or music toys so that his dolls could produce sounds when he would touch them. Forensic experts found personal belongings and clothing inside some of the mummies. There was a piece of a gravestone with a girl's name inside one of the bodies. Another one contained a hospital tag stating the date and the cause of the girl's death. A dried human heart was found inside a third. Moskvin would stuff the decayed corpses with rags, wrap nylon tights around them, or attach toy heads to them. He would also insert buttons or toy eyes into the girls' eye sockets so that they could watch cartoons with him. During interrogations, the patient said that he loved his girls and cared for them as if they were alive. There were also a few dolls which he disliked and kept them in a garage. Moskvin said during interrogation that he would exhume the girls' bodies out of loneliness. The man was single and his biggest dream was to have children. Child protection services did not allow the man to adopt a child due to his low wages of a university teacher. The man came in sight of law-enforcement agencies soon after the terrorist attack at Moscow's Domodedovo airport. Moskvin went to a cemetery where he started painting over pictures of deceased Muslims without damaging anything else. The man was caught and accused of vandalism. The dolls were found when eight police officers came to search his apartment. It is hard to tell what Moskvin felt and thought after his secret life came into the public eye and attracted a lot of attention. However, the life of his elderly parents turned into hell. Everyone in the city stopped talking to them. Unidentified individuals would smash the windows in their apartment and write profanity and insults on the walls of their apartment building. After a series of interrogations and all the ensuing humiliation, Anatoly Moskvin's mother offered her husband to poison themselves with gas and die. However, the man refused to do it as such an act could cause an explosion. Anatoly Moskvin's father suffered a heart attack, while his mother developed diabetes. Update: The court decided not to release Anatoly Moskvin from hospital where he undergoes compulsory treatment. He will stay there till the next court hearing.
Vladimir Putin said at a meeting of Valdai Discussion Club that the tragedy at the Polytechnic College in the city of Kerch was "a result of globalisation." However, he did not say who has drawn us into this globalisation."In social networks, on the Internet, we can see that whole communities being created. Everything started with well-known tragic events at schools in the United States," the President of the Russian Federation said. Well, it is easy to blame abstract "globalisation" for what happened. In fact, one may come to a completely different conclusion, and one needs to look for it in the policy of the elite, to which Mr. Putin belongs. Russia lacks youth organisations, like the ones we used to have during the Soviet times - Pioneer or Komsomol organisations. In the Soviet Union, there were no such tragedies, nor were there any security guards and metal detectors at schools - there were teachers and students instead. Sergei Komkov, President of the All-Russian Education Fund, Doctor of Pedagogical Sciences, told Pravda.Ru that the Kerch massacre came as a consequence of the educational reform which Russia had been conducting on the advice of American specialists. "We warned 15-20 years ago that a tragedy like the one that happened in Kerch would be possible in Russia by analogy with what was happening in America," the expert said. The expert referred to the book by Bel Kaufman, "Up The Down Staircase," in which the author talks about the morale at American school in the 60-70s. "I flew to the USA in the 1990s. I was observing how things were working there, and they deported me in 1997 after I told them what it would all end up with," the expert told Pravda.Ru. During the 1990s, in accordance with recommendations from Soros advisors, Russia started reforming its educational system on the American template. "They had eradicated the ideological component, the system of upbringing, and switched to the mere transfer of knowledge and skills," Sergei Komkov told Pravda.Ru.All school youth organisations were taken out of schools. In addition, on the advice of Westerners, all additional education could be received for money. The reform sharply divided the youth based on the income of their parents, Sergey Komkov said in an interview with Pravda.Ru. According to the expert, an army of hopeless children had appeared in Russia already in the late 1990s. Children did not know what to do as their parents were doing their best to try to survive during the time of the crisis," the expert told Pravda.Ru. The system of upbringing should be restored at Russian schools as well. "The first thing we need to do is to kick all Western advisers right out. One needs to close the Higher School of Economics, because this school is a nest of American and British advisers. It was them who introduced the Unified State Exam system, the testing system, the system of sex education - they are trying to prove it to us that the most important thing is the system of education, rather than upbringing.""Security guards cannot protect children. They can be protected if they get engaged in creative work, hiking trips, including to sites of military glory, if they sing in the choir, learn how to dance, how to draw, if they are busy with research activities and history studies. In this case, an idea to grab a rifle and go to school to kill other kids will not occur to them," the expert told Pravda.Ru. "We must have our own brains to do everything the Russian way and avoid the American template," Sergei Komkov told Pravda.Ru.
Vladimir Putin said at a meeting of Valdai Discussion Club that the tragedy at the Polytechnic College in the city of Kerch was "a result of globalisation." However, he did not say who has drawn us into this globalisation."In social networks, on the Internet, we can see that whole communities being created. Everything started with well-known tragic events at schools in the United States," the President of the Russian Federation said. Well, it is easy to blame abstract "globalisation" for what happened. In fact, one may come to a completely different conclusion, and one needs to look for it in the policy of the elite, to which Mr. Putin belongs. Russia lacks youth organisations, like the ones we used to have during the Soviet times - Pioneer or Komsomol organisations. In the Soviet Union, there were no such tragedies, nor were there any security guards and metal detectors at schools - there were teachers and students instead. Sergei Komkov, President of the All-Russian Education Fund, Doctor of Pedagogical Sciences, told Pravda.Ru that the Kerch massacre came as a consequence of the educational reform which Russia had been conducting on the advice of American specialists. "We warned 15-20 years ago that a tragedy like the one that happened in Kerch would be possible in Russia by analogy with what was happening in America," the expert said. The expert referred to the book by Bel Kaufman, "Up The Down Staircase," in which the author talks about the morale at American school in the 60-70s. "I flew to the USA in the 1990s. I was observing how things were working there, and they deported me in 1997 after I told them what it would all end up with," the expert told Pravda.Ru. During the 1990s, in accordance with recommendations from Soros advisors, Russia started reforming its educational system on the American template. "They had eradicated the ideological component, the system of upbringing, and switched to the mere transfer of knowledge and skills," Sergei Komkov told Pravda.Ru.All school youth organisations were taken out of schools. In addition, on the advice of Westerners, all additional education could be received for money. The reform sharply divided the youth based on the income of their parents, Sergey Komkov said in an interview with Pravda.Ru. According to the expert, an army of hopeless children had appeared in Russia already in the late 1990s. Children did not know what to do as their parents were doing their best to try to survive during the time of the crisis," the expert told Pravda.Ru. The system of upbringing should be restored at Russian schools as well. "The first thing we need to do is to kick all Western advisers right out. One needs to close the Higher School of Economics, because this school is a nest of American and British advisers. It was them who introduced the Unified State Exam system, the testing system, the system of sex education - they are trying to prove it to us that the most important thing is the system of education, rather than upbringing.""Security guards cannot protect children. They can be protected if they get engaged in creative work, hiking trips, including to sites of military glory, if they sing in the choir, learn how to dance, how to draw, if they are busy with research activities and history studies. In this case, an idea to grab a rifle and go to school to kill other kids will not occur to them," the expert told Pravda.Ru. "We must have our own brains to do everything the Russian way and avoid the American template," Sergei Komkov told Pravda.Ru.
Foreign companies will be able to access the Russian equivalent of the SWIFT payment system. The State Duma is preparing a bill designed to protect the companies that have fallen under Western sanctions in order to give them a possibility to conduct mutual settlements with foreign counterparties. Russian MPs believe that the system will function most effectively if the BRICS countries, as well as Iran and Turkey, join it. "Although they plan to use national currencies in settlements with Russia, but they do not exclude that settlements can be conducted through the Russian equivalent of SWIFT," Anatoly Aksakov, the head of the State Duma Committee on Financial Markets said. Earlier, first deputy chairman of the Central Bank, Olga Skorobogatova, said that connecting foreign companies to the financial messaging system would expand possibilities for mutual exchange of messages and settlements between sanctioned companies that do not have access to making payments through the original SWIFT system, and foreign contractors.The Russian equivalent to SWIFT is a financial messaging system known for the Russian initials as SPFS. The bill stipulates for direct messaging between both Russian and foreign legal entities.According to the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, there are more than 400 participants in the SPFS system, including banks, the federal treasury, legal entities, and corporate clients. "Inside the country, our system covers the exchange in financial messages completely," a source at the Central Bank of Russia said. "If we talk about cross-border operations, they can be implemented only on the basis of the agreement between several countries. There are such discussions happening already on the level of both the Eurasian Economic Union and BRICS."In the near future, SWIFT may have another competitor in Europe. The head of the German Foreign Ministry, Heiko Maas, said in August that the European Union was in need of its own and independent SWIFT system to protect the financial stability of European companies from US sanctions. Russia found such an intention of European partners quite natural. After the appearance of the European SWIFT system, Russia intends to offer European companies to incorporate a Russian analogue to SWIFT."The possibility to connect foreign countries to the Russian system depends on a number of factors. As for Iran, a lot depends on the volume of economic cooperation that is going to happen. So far, it has not been large at all, but there are reasons for it to grow, especially in the oil and gas sector," Nikolai Kozhanov, a researcher at the European University at St. Petersburg Energy Policy Research Center said. Turkey is already showing willingness to cooperate with the Russian SWIFT. "The Russian equivalent to SWIFT is a revolutionary innovation in the digital world. The possibility of its use by Turkish companies can provide an important development of trade relations between our countries," Mehmet Yolcu, chairman of the board of directors of FinExpertiza Turkey said.According to Dmitry Mosyakov, director of the Center for Southeast Asia, Australia and Oceania of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, China's position on the matter will depend on its relations with the United States. The worse China's relationship with the States goes, the better it is for the Russian SWIFT system. "The relations between China and the USA have been quite intense lately, but if the United States shows positive signs to China, then taking into account the volume of their trade ($500-600 billion) and China's trade volume with Russia ($100 billion as of 2018), China will demonstrate loyalty to the United States and will not connect to the Russian project," the expert said. SWIFT is an international interbank system for transmitting information and making payments. The system incorporates more than 11,000 financial institutions in 200 countries of the world. After 9/11 attacks, the United States gained access to SWIFT network in order to track possible transactions between terrorist groups. Thus, US authorities have access to information related to any payment that goes through SWIFT. Russia launched its own version of SWIFT - SPFS - for domestic financial operations in December 2014. Also read: SWIFT refuses to cut Russia off
Foreign companies will be able to access the Russian equivalent of the SWIFT payment system. The State Duma is preparing a bill designed to protect the companies that have fallen under Western sanctions in order to give them a possibility to conduct mutual settlements with foreign counterparties. Russian MPs believe that the system will function most effectively if the BRICS countries, as well as Iran and Turkey, join it. "Although they plan to use national currencies in settlements with Russia, but they do not exclude that settlements can be conducted through the Russian equivalent of SWIFT," Anatoly Aksakov, the head of the State Duma Committee on Financial Markets said. Earlier, first deputy chairman of the Central Bank, Olga Skorobogatova, said that connecting foreign companies to the financial messaging system would expand possibilities for mutual exchange of messages and settlements between sanctioned companies that do not have access to making payments through the original SWIFT system, and foreign contractors.The Russian equivalent to SWIFT is a financial messaging system known for the Russian initials as SPFS. The bill stipulates for direct messaging between both Russian and foreign legal entities.According to the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, there are more than 400 participants in the SPFS system, including banks, the federal treasury, legal entities, and corporate clients. "Inside the country, our system covers the exchange in financial messages completely," a source at the Central Bank of Russia said. "If we talk about cross-border operations, they can be implemented only on the basis of the agreement between several countries. There are such discussions happening already on the level of both the Eurasian Economic Union and BRICS."In the near future, SWIFT may have another competitor in Europe. The head of the German Foreign Ministry, Heiko Maas, said in August that the European Union was in need of its own and independent SWIFT system to protect the financial stability of European companies from US sanctions. Russia found such an intention of European partners quite natural. After the appearance of the European SWIFT system, Russia intends to offer European companies to incorporate a Russian analogue to SWIFT."The possibility to connect foreign countries to the Russian system depends on a number of factors. As for Iran, a lot depends on the volume of economic cooperation that is going to happen. So far, it has not been large at all, but there are reasons for it to grow, especially in the oil and gas sector," Nikolai Kozhanov, a researcher at the European University at St. Petersburg Energy Policy Research Center said. Turkey is already showing willingness to cooperate with the Russian SWIFT. "The Russian equivalent to SWIFT is a revolutionary innovation in the digital world. The possibility of its use by Turkish companies can provide an important development of trade relations between our countries," Mehmet Yolcu, chairman of the board of directors of FinExpertiza Turkey said.According to Dmitry Mosyakov, director of the Center for Southeast Asia, Australia and Oceania of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, China's position on the matter will depend on its relations with the United States. The worse China's relationship with the States goes, the better it is for the Russian SWIFT system. "The relations between China and the USA have been quite intense lately, but if the United States shows positive signs to China, then taking into account the volume of their trade ($500-600 billion) and China's trade volume with Russia ($100 billion as of 2018), China will demonstrate loyalty to the United States and will not connect to the Russian project," the expert said. SWIFT is an international interbank system for transmitting information and making payments. The system incorporates more than 11,000 financial institutions in 200 countries of the world. After 9/11 attacks, the United States gained access to SWIFT network in order to track possible transactions between terrorist groups. Thus, US authorities have access to information related to any payment that goes through SWIFT. Russia launched its own version of SWIFT - SPFS - for domestic financial operations in December 2014. Also read: SWIFT refuses to cut Russia off

Education in Russia is provided predominantly by the state and is regulated by the federal Ministry of Education and Science. Regional authorities regulate education within their jurisdictions within the prevailing framework of federal laws. In 2004 state spending for education amounted to 3.6% of GDP, or 13% of consolidated state budget. Private institutions account for 1% of pre-school enrollment, 0.5% of elementary school enrollment and 17% of university-level students. Before 1990 the course of school training in Soviet Union was 10-years, but at the end of 1990 the 11-year course has been officially entered. Education in state-owned secondary schools is free; first tertiary (university level) education is free with reservations: a substantial share of students is enrolled for full pay. Male and female students have nearly equal shares in all stages of education, except tertiary education where women lead with 57%. The literacy rate in Russia, according to the 2002 census, is 99.4% (99.7% men, 99.2% women). 16.0% of population over 15 years of age (17.6 million) have tertiary (undergraduate level or higher) education; 47.7% have completed secondary education (10 or 11 years); 26.5% have completed middle school (8 or 9 years) and 8.1% have elementary education. Highest rates of tertiary education, 24.7% are recorded among women aged 35–39 years (compared to 19.5% for men of the same age bracket).


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