Russia and China want to build a lunar station together

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Both nations have signed a letter of intent to build a “complex of facilities for experimental research on the surface and/or orbit of the moon,” announced the Russian space agency Roskosmos Tuesday, adding that the program that the program be open to “all interested states and international partners.”

By Milan Sime Martinic

Big Government Protest in Moscow

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Alexei Navalny has organized one of the largest public demonstrations against the Russian government this week, with thousands showing up.

Although Navalny was given permission to hold a demonstration, he moved the protest to another area where he did not have permission. Clashes with police followed.

Navalny sent out a video message at night telling his supporters to go to the location near Red Square and to “go nowhere else.” Navalny was arrested before he could go to the location.

Navalny has only 2% support in Russia, while Putin has widespread support.

World’s First Hybrid Aeroboat

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It’s capable of travelling over water, snow, sand and land, it can carry 10 people, and it has no problem with steep slopes and embankments … and it’s about to be unveiled at the Skolkovo Foundation’s Startup Village in Russia this week. … By the way, its very different from hovercraft, and it goes way faster (keep reading).

Who will end up buying these boats? Government agencies (for emergencies and surveillance), corporations (for transporting passengers and cargo to infrastructure sites such as oil and gas rigs in shallow waters), and individuals (for transport and recreation).

“They can be used for a whole variety of applications, including search and rescue operations, transportation of people and cargo, leisure, sports, fishing, monitoring of ports and surveillance,” according to the designers.

The Aeroboat was made as a joint Russia-India project, and was designed by IIAAT Holding. The St. Petersburg firm designed the Aeroboat in order to do what is currently impossible: Shallow water, dry patches, and marine plant-life in marshy or flooded areas pose a problem for traditional boats and other vehicles, and nevermind that terrain sometimes changes drawstically with the seasons.

So how is it different from hovercraft?

Besides being more robust, cheaper to maintain and fuel, the company explained, “Hovercrafts work on static air-cushion, whereas Aeroboats work on dynamic air-cushion. This feature gives Aeroboats a huge advantage in terms of speed and maneuverability.

“While hovercrafts on average move at around 45-50 kmh, Aeroboats are capable of going at around 150 kmh and even more on water, These speed levels are critical, especially during search and rescue operations, where sometimes every minute of swiftness can result in saving lives, as well as frequency in transportation of both passengers and cargo.”

Other interesting things about the Aeroboat: IIAAT developed nanomaterial-based anti-friction technology for the engine and selected mechanical parts, which greatly reduces friction and energy losses. The Aeroboat comes with either a standard gas or a hybrid gas-electric engine for increased efficiency and reduced pollution.

“Additionally, we are equipping our Aeroboats with [Internet of Things] technology, which allows us to remotely monitor and control/diagnose the equipment, as well as troubleshoot selected faults,” commented Sukrit Sharan, a senior board member of IIAAT. IIAAT is working with InfoWatch Group (Russian cybersecurity) in order to ensure its IoT tech stays secure.

India has already bought 25 units, and 5 have been delivered, and its expected the Aeroboats will be used in India’s vast regions of rivers and canals, which are sometimes dry land, sometimes monsoon flood. A similar but different use is predicted for Russia, where there is also government interest, because parts of the country with rivers and canals that are sometimes frozen, and so boats can’t transport year-round.

And guess what? They’re already working on a new version: an electric-only one Aeroboat with tandem wings.

Russian Gov Wants Control of Big Data

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Big Data is the “new oil” of the digital economy, according to speakers at Russia’s 2017 SPIEF economic forum.

In order to prevent uncontrolled sales of this valuable and important info, the government should streamline and oversee it, according to the participants.

The chips haven’t yet settled in the global understanding of how we should treat Big Data. Is it private information or public domain? is one of the most pressing questions around which laws and regulations will be made.

“Right now we are undergoing a major revolutionary upheaval in the society,” noted residential aide Igor Shchegolev, “not only a technological revolution, but a revolution of moral standards as well.” He said that sometimes ordinary citizens don’t understand what they’re doing, and inadvertently give away too easily things like personal information.

“Maybe some of the users will do what Native Americans did, when they traded their land for glass beads, unaware of its true value,” he added.

“Today, a vast amount of Internet companies offer software for free, but collect Big Data on users in return,” commented Alexander Zharov, the head of Russia’s communications watchdog Roskomnadzor. “Currently, the Russian legislation and international laws do not mention the notion of Big Data. We need to codify approaches toward the processing of Big Data, terms of its storage, transfer and secondary use.”

“My forecast is that a law on the issue will inevitably appear,” maybe in 2018 or 2019, he told reporters on the sidelines of the forum.

Russia’s Oil Sector Should Be Privatized in 8 Years – Ex-Finance Minister

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According to Alexei Kutrin, speaking at the SPIEF economic forum this week, “The oil sector should be fully privatized in the next 7-8 years. No state companies are required there now as the statehood brings more harm than benefit to those companies.”

He added that oil companies are able to deal with business issues without assistance from the state.

Russia’s Central Bank to Develop National Cryptocurrency

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The popularity and value of dealing in cryptocurrency has been established over the past couple of years, with Bitcoin the most prominent of many new digital moneys.

The Russian Central Bank’s Deputy Chairman Olga Skorobogatova spoke at SPIEF 2017 spoke about Russia’s interest in developing their own.

“Regulators of all countries agree that it’s time to develop national cryptocurrencies, this is the future,” said Skorobogatova. “Every country will decide on specific time frames. After our pilot projects we will understand what system we could use in our case for our national currency,”

She wasn’t the only Russian banking official to speak in favor of it at this year’s economic forum. Part of the interest comes from the current state of cryptocurrencies, including that transactions can’t be traced to any person, and that recently there have been new legislative restrictions imposed by various countries.

Paradigm Shift From Industrial to Knowledge City

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In 2017, the idea has come to the fore that there has been a shift towards a knowledge/creative class, and the new method of production is knowledge. Recently, the subject featured large at the 2017 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

Cities that have developed lately into strong knowledge economies are considered to have had seeds decades ago in investment in education.

The new drivers of competitiveness of cities: No power losses, evolution and dynamics of the city’s economy, higher disposable income, personal wealth, and high technologies.

According to Roberto dos Reis Alvarez, Executive Director, Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils, who spoke at SPIEF on these ideas, “First, the Seamless City. Cities should operate in a way that we are not wasting energy-created heat, but just light. A second key idea … was really about evolution. And how could cities be adaptive to … all these transformations… A third conversation was about the Wellcity, this is really about wellness at the personal level. … And finally, this concept of the free city.”

Russia’s place in the future knowledge economy was highlighted by Alexey Kudrin, Chairman of the Board, Center for Strategic Research Foundation: “By 2025, 60% of the world’s GDP will be produced in 600 major cities. … In Russia, only two cities – Moscow and St. Petersburg – can somehow take part in this global competition. The first two cities produce 27% of Russia’s GDP; it is 13% in the US and 9% in Europe.”

The speakers talked about building new cities, but with modern technology, because current infrastructure is lagging behind tech. “When Russia will create … large cities and agglomerations which will become the hubs bringing together technology and intellectual potential, social capital and quality of life, it is only then that it will be competitive on a global scale,” said Kudrin. “Those 15 cities with a population of more than a million people, and another five cities that would be able to gather more than a million people around taking the agglomeration into account, should receive special support and, perhaps, a special status,”

The goal of these new cities is one that would require special civil workers, another speaker noted. “There is a need to have such a mayor who would have his own vision of the future and would be working hard in their position, and for a long time.”

And these would also require new transportation — airports and high-speed railways.

Bilderberg Group to Meet on Russia, Trump and “Information War”

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This year’s meeting, taking place in Chantilly, Virginia, near the White House, includes the following topics: ‘Russia in the international order,’ China, ‘The Trans-Atlantic defence alliance: bullets, bytes and bucks,’ ‘The war on information,’ ‘Direction of the EU’ and ‘Why is populism growing?’

It’s the 65th meeting of the secretive group. Kissinger, Thiel, and upper level staff of news organizations like Bloomberg, The Economist, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera and the London Evening Standard will also be among the 130 so far confirmed.

2017 Attendees

Gotland Remilitarized

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Sweden is fortifying its island against potential incursion by Russia. They are conducting military exercises on the island.

The island was demilitarized 12 years ago, assuming then that Russia had become weak or non-threatening. But in light of recent Russian military activity in Crimea and Ukraine, Sweden has stepped up defenses.

Gotland has a strategic location, near to Russian Kaliningrad and also Latvia. From the island, both air and sea can be affected by military forces.

Sweden, one of the non-NATO European countries, is going to re-introduce conscription and will increase military spending 11% over the next 5 years.

Putin Vows Support for Islamic World

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He sent a message to the third meeting of the Russia – Islamic World strategic world group in Grozny, Chechnya (held there for the first time), which was later published by the Kremlin website. The message included the following statement:

“Today, many Muslim countries are facing serious challenges, including terrorism and violent extremism, growing ethnic and religious contradictions, economic and social difficulties. I would like to stress that the Islamic World can fully count on Russia’s support and cooperation.”

He also said Russia would help search for peaceful means of resolving crises. “I am confident that by joining our efforts, we can do much to strengthen global security and stability, as well as to build a fair and democratic world order, free of any kind of intolerance, discrimination and military dictate,” he stated.

Trump Revealed Classified Info to Russian Ambassador and Foreign Minister, WP Reports

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The reports are being denied by the White House, but The Washington Post broke the story today that in a meeting the president told the Russians highly classified security information about ISIS (something about airline safety and laptops).

Among the questions being raised is how this will effect the relationship with the unnamed U.S. partner (later reported by the New York Times to be Israel, although this was not confirmed) from which the U.S. received the information.

The Washington Posts sources for the story are “current and former U.S. officials.” They withheld most of the details of the information, but to quote their original piece:

“In his meeting with Lavrov, Trump seemed to be boasting about his inside knowledge of the looming threat. ‘I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day,’ the president said, according to an official with knowledge of the exchange.

“Trump went on to discuss aspects of the threat that the United States learned only through the espionage capabilities of a key partner. He did not reveal the specific intelligence-gathering method, but he described how the Islamic State was pursuing elements of a specific plot and how much harm such an attack could cause under varying circumstances. Most alarmingly, officials said, Trump revealed the city in the Islamic State’s territory where the U.S. intelligence partner detected the threat.”

The White House struck details of the meeting from the official transcripts for a “sort of memo summary” to be used in-house, and controlled dissemination of the transcripts for the wider public as well as immediately contacting the CIA and NSA.