Fugitive to leak secret airstrike video

A SECRET Pentagon video showing a bloody airstrike in Afghanistan which killed dozens of children is set to be released by the fugitive founder of online iconoclast WikiLeaks.The Australian-born Julian Assange, the face of the web group, has been in hiding since last week amid claims US authorities were hunting him.US media reported that Pentagon investigators were trying to find him and discourage him from publishing confidential diplomatic cables allegedly leaked to him by a disillusioned intelligence analyst.While Assange’s location is unknown – he may still be in Australia – he has continued to send email and Twitter messages to supporters.In an email sent on Tuesday, he suggested he would soon release a secret Pentagon video of a US airstrike on Granai, a small town in western Afghanistan, in May last year.The US President, Barack Obama, and the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, have apologised for the bombing, which left as many as 100 people – mainly children and teenagers – dead.In the email, Assange confirmed the website was ”still working on” the ”Garani [sic] massacre”.This year WikiLeaks, which has posted on its website more than 2100 confidential documents and videos in its three-year existence, published footage of a US army helicopter gunning down civilians in Iraq in 2007.In late May the US Army arrested one of its soldiers based in Iraq after he boasted online about leaking the so-called ”Collateral Murder” video.In a series of online conversations with a former hacker, Private Bradley Manning said he had also sent the Granai video and hundreds of thousands of confidential State Department cables to Assange.”i cant believe what im confessing to you,” Private Bradley wrote. ”ive been so isolated so long […] smart enough to know whats going on, but helpless to do anything … no-one took any notice of me.”The jailing of Private Manning was also referred to in an article last week in The New York Times, which suggested the Obama administration was proving to be the most aggressive in US history in seeking out and punishing whistleblowers.WikiLeaks has published a 2008 US Army report which described the site as a ”potential … threat to the US Army”.The report discussed exposing the site’s ”insiders, leakers and whistleblowers”[email protected]南京夜网.au
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PM’s anger no mine of laughs

At last year’s press gallery ball the then opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull stole the show with his veiled threats to the Labor staffer Andrew Charlton about the perils of lying about what became the OzCar scandal. At this year’s ball, with Turnbull away at another function, the threats, this time even more thinly veiled, were left to the Prime Minister. ”Can I say, ‘Guys, we’ve got a very long memory,” Rudd told guests from the mining industry, apparently in jest, although the joke, like much of Rudd’s speech, seemed to fall strangely flat. Rudd devoted much of his speech to trying to debunk through self-deprecating humour the thesis of the Herald writer David Marr, in a recent Quarterly Essay, that the Prime Minister is singularly motivated by anger. ”A few people have asked me … what I think about David’s analysis … I’ve told them to get stuffed. Each and every one of them.” The speech by the Opposition leader Tony Abbott seemed to be received a little better, particularly a gag about his days training for the priesthood. ”As a journalist I was a frustrated politician; as a politician I’m a frustrated journalist; in the seminary I was just frustrated,” he said. Abbott used precisely the same line when interviewed by Annabel Crabb at the Sydney Writer’s Festival. With that in mind, we are thinking of asking readers to give generously to help buy Abbott a new joke.COLD ON ABBOTT… In another matter related to Tony Abbott and midwinter balls, the Afghan refugee Riz Wakil had to ask what budgie smugglers were before his surfing date with Abbott – the highest-priced item at the Midwinter Ball’s charity auction. ”When I got the explanation I said, ‘No way’. I will just wear the wetsuit and that will be fine,” Wakil said yesterday. The lobby group GetUp! raised $16,100 for his private lesson and breakfast with the Opposition Leader, writes Yuko Narushima. Wakil arrived in Australia by boat in 1999. He spent nine months in Curtin detention centre, in Western Australia, before he was released on a temporary protection visa, since abolished. Abbott has pledged to bring them back. ”The main issue is to talk to Tony Abbott about what he’s planning to reintroduce,” Wakil said. ”I spent time in a detention centre. I ended up getting a temporary protection visa which did not allow me to study, which did not allow me to reunite with my family.” Wakil is now an Australian citizen and runs a printing company in Fairfield. For his part, Abbott was eager to hit the surf. ”Look, I’m always happy to have a conversation. I try to be open and collegial, and I’m looking forward to the day.”GORE AFFAIR DEBUNKEDA woman said to have had an affair with Al Gore, the former US vice-president, has denied the claim. Laurie David, a prominent climate change campaigner and the former wife of the Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm creator Larry David, said the story was ”completely untrue”, London’s Daily Telegraph reported. The claim had been made by the US tabloid magazine Star. Gore announced two weeks ago that he and his wife, Tipper, were separating after 40 years of marriage and said no one else was involved. The Gores, who have four children, said that they had made a ”mutually supportive decision following a process of long and careful consideration”. In a statement to the website Huffington Post, Laurie David said: ”The story is completely untrue. It’s a total fabrication. ”I adore both Al and Tipper. I look at them both as family. And I have happily been in a serious relationship since my divorce.” A source close to the Gore family told the website that Gore and his wife were still ”very close” and would be together with their family this summer. Another friend of the Gores, quoted by the New York Daily News, rubbished the report. Laurie David worked as a producer on Gore’s Oscar-winning climate change documentary An Inconvenient Truth.GRAVE CONCERNSThe NSW Minister for Lands, Tony Kelly, announced yesterday that he would be opening Sydney’s first natural burial ground at St Francis Field, within the grounds of Kemps Creek Cemetery, in Sydney’s west. It will use, he said, ”’biodegradable coffins and will not be marked by traditional headstones”. That is, it will be a field. Not to worry though: ”The latest GPS technology is used to ensure the location of the deceased is noted and recorded.” (Otherwise you’ll be using a metal detector, presumably, to find Grandma). With tenure ”limited to 30 years” Kelly said he hoped ”St Francis Field might become a sustainable burial ground for Sydneysiders for generations to come.” The state MP for Liverpool, Paul Lynch, added: ”No doubt natural burial grounds will become a popular option for many families over time.” We just wonder if ”popular” is quite the right word.A BIG DAY FOR RICHARD BRANSONExtravagance did not reward the billionaire Richard Branson yesterday when a gaudy celebration of the 10-year anniversary of his airline’s London-to-Las Vegas flight route backfired. Riding a jet ski to a pontoon in front of the Bellagio resort in sin city (where he was just going to, y’know, conduct the fountains), Branson lost control of the vehicle and took a dive along with Virgin stewardess Vicky Lewis. It capped off a relatively quiet week for the mega-mogul who fondled burlesque star Dita Von Teese on the wing of a Virgin Atlantic plane, unveiled a new video gaming company in Los Angeles and joined the cast of Cirque du Soleil’s Viva Elvis.STAY IN TOUCH  …WITH ABBA’S SECRETSTWO weeks ago an important letter arrived in the mailbox of the Australian author Christopher Patrick from Abba HQ in Sweden. Agnetha Faltskog, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Frida Lyngstad had given his book, Abba: Let the Music Speak, a rarely given approval to be part of the band’s official merchandise for Abbaworld, a multimillion-dollar touring exhibition which opens in Melbourne tomorrow. The only other official book is a children’s story by Bjorn. In what he believes is a world first, Patrick, 47, spent four years pulling apart every Abba song to determine how the group put them together in the first place. He hoped it would help him understand the band’s universal and long-lasting appeal. The secret is simple, he says. ”The songs are joyful but there is an underlying melancholy because of the long, dark, cold Swedish winters,” he says. ”That combination of joyful painted with a melancholy brush is what makes them so irresistible.” The band also typically used ”musically economical” hooks that only involved a couple of notes and  would add much more elaborate verses and arrangements. The chorus to S.O.S uses three notes, Dancing Queen uses four, and the same four as Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On. While the glittery jumpsuits and ”revolutionary” album production added to their fame, the foundation was a simple musical formula. Frida was enamoured with the book. ”I am so happy to at last read a book that mainly concentrates on our music, and not on gossip,” she wrote to Patrick. He said he was proud as punch.WITH ALTERNATIVE WORLDSTHERE will be much ”cosplay” and ”glomping” going on today when the Supanova Pop Culture Expo kicks off at Sydney Olympic Park. Fans of sci-fi, anime, comic books, video gaming and fantasy will congregate for ”a big melting pot of alternate, imaginary worlds,” said the event’s organiser, Daniel Zachariou. Many will be in cosplay, which is short for ”costume play”, which is the alternative-world term for ”fancy dress”. It is common for fans to dress in elaborate costumes to pay homage to their favourite characters such as Star Wars storm troopers and Sailor Moon. Glomping – a greeting that is a cross between a hug and a gentle tackle – is also common, particularly among anime fans. Zachariou stressed that Supernova would not tolerate unauthorised glomping. ”We have rules about glomping,” he said. ”You must know the person you are glomping and they must be of the type of person who allows glomping. You can’t have random strangers glomping. Sometimes people will wear placards saying ‘glomping allowed’. That’s acceptable. And heaven forbid anybody who gets in the way between a glomp.” Genre and cult celebrities such asDollhouse’s Eliza Dushku and Twilight’s Chaske Spencer will appear but have not confirmed whether they will glomp.WITH COOL KIDSSOMETIMES kids really do need to chill out. Finley Burton was 16 weeks old when he underwent surgery on his heart. The baby, from County Durham in England, then developed a potentially fatal heart rate of about 200 beats a minute. To bring it down, he was cooled in a special blanket filled with chilled air for four days, while he was still sedated. He was treated a month ago, and since then has made a ”super” recovery, said Paddy Walsh, a specialist children’s cardiac nurse at the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle. Finley’s parents, Donna Link-Emery and Aaron Burton, were first concerned when he was 10 weeks old because he was not putting on weight. His mother told reporters: ”Now he’s doing really well and has already put on lots of weight.” Aaaah.GOT A TIP?Contact [email protected]南京夜网.au or 92822350
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Mediation to be pushed in childcare court cases

MORE childcare and protection cases will be resolved through mediation and conferences, sparing vulnerable children and families the trauma of court hearings, the state government will announce today.Alternative dispute resolutions will be introduced into the Children’s Court so families and children can be involved in decisions that affect them.The initiatives follow recommendations from the special commission of inquiry into child protection services conducted by the former NSW Supreme Court judge James Wood in 2008.The initiatives will promote alternatives to court hearings at every step of the process, including family group conferencing, dispute resolution conferences and Legal Aid external child protection. Five new children’s registrars will be appointed to four courts: Broadmeadow, in Newcastle; Wagga Wagga; Lismore; Parramatta.Associate Professor Judy Cashmore, who was part of an expert working party into alternative dispute resolutions said: ”It’s really tough on families when a child is going to be removed from them, and if it can be done where they feel they are not being blamed or ostracised it does make a difference.”The aim is to get the family engaged in the process and not get their back up because someone’s imposing something on them that’s completely unfair or unreasonable.”These practices are actually consistent with a move pretty much across the Western world to work towards mediation both with family courts and across the board, trying to avoid getting to the court process, A, because it’s adversarial and difficult for the people involved and, B, because it’s expensive.”The NSW Attorney-General, John Hatzistergos, said the initiatives would empower children and families, leading to better informed outcomes accepted by all parties.The family group conferencing will be run by an independent facilitator, allowing families, relatives and community elders to plan together for child protection concerns before a case is considered for court.The Community Services Minister, Linda Burney, said: “Family group conferencing originated in New Zealand and variations of the model are operating in most Australian states and territories, with results showing that many child protection issues are being resolved without the need to go to court.”The Legal Aid external child protection pilot will begin in Bidura Children’s Court, in Glebe, with 100 cases initially, the family law director of Legal Aid NSW, Kylie Beckhouse said.A neutral mediator would facilitate discussions between Community Services, parents or guardians, lawyers and other parties, Ms Beckhouse said.”Particularly with care and protection issues, you’re looking at people who are socially and economically disadvantaged; they might have impairments, like an addiction, and are challenging people to work with,” she said.The dispute resolution conference is an opportunity for parties to agree on an action to be taken and allow for family participation.Both pilot programs will begin in the second half of the year.
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Legislative delay threatens to put issue before voters

LEGISLATION to split Telstra could be stalled until late August, possibly exposing it to a federal election, unless the bill is given priority next week.Federal Parliament has four sitting days left before an eight-week winter break begins. Parliament resumes on August 24, but the government could call an election before that date.As the federal Opposition has promised to scrap the national broadband network and abandon the legislation to structurally separate Telstra, this would make telecommunications a key election issue.The Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Bill has passed the House of Representatives and the Senate committee process, but the second reading has been adjourned four times.The proposed change gives the government authority to prevent Telstra from buying the wireless spectrum it needs to offer new mobile phone services, unless it separates its wholesale and retail companies and sells a 50 per cent stake in Foxtel. The government still needs to persuade two independent senators and five Greens senators to vote for the bill.A spokeswoman for the Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, said the government hoped the bill would reach debate next week.”Passing the bill and delivering the important consumer reforms it contains remains a priority. There are always challenges with the Senate legislative program, with so many important bills to be considered.”The bill was fifth on Monday’s agenda, but a spokesman for the Family First senator Steve Fielding said it was unlikely to reach debate. Senator Fielding had yet to be contacted by either of the two main parties and he usually received calls lobbying his vote days before a bill was debated, the spokesman said.The Greens senator Scott Ludlam said the delay affected the government’s talks with Telstra over its role in the national broadband network. ”The effect [of delay] is we have negotiations going on with no legislative framework and no accountability.”A select committee report on the network tabled yesterday reiterated calls for a cost-benefit analysis, and recommended that an offer by Professor Henry Ergas to conduct the analysis free be accepted.”The lack of such an analysis remains a significant barrier to being able to assess whether the project will provide value for taxpayers’ money,” the report said.”The committee believes the public are not in a position to test whether the government’s NBN project is the most appropriate model for delivering effective, affordable broadband services to Australians.”❏ Telstra issued $150 million worth of 10-year bonds yesterday, its first domestic issuance since 2006. The issuance was led by National Australia Bank and sold at 7.75 per cent at $99.47.
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FFA denies player rift with Verbeek

Pim VerbeekAS BORED journalists fire up the predictable rumours of a split in the Socceroos’ camp, midfield enforcer Vince Grella has a typically forthright message to his teammates on how to deal with the tension: ”Be a man about it.”
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After being routed and humiliated by Germany in Durban, Australia’s World Cup hopes – not to mention the reputations of coach Pim Verbeek and his players – go on the line against Ghana in Rustenburg on Saturday night. Anything less than a win and the Socceroos will be heading home into a firestorm of recriminations.

Fact is, there is no split in the camp – only a coach looking into the mirror for the first time, and a group of players dealing with bruised egos. But there’s little doubt the team is under pressure, and it’s how they deal with it that matters.

Be a man … midfielder Vince Grella attempts to tackle Germany’s Thomas Muller in Durban. Photo: Steve Christo

Reports on Wednesday indicated there was a rift between Verbeek and a group of players, including Harry Kewell, Mark Bresciano and Grella. The players had allegedly complained to FFA about Verbeek’s selections and tactics. But the FFA has denied the rumours and said Kewell in particular was upset at the reports.

Grella, hooked at half-time against the Germans as Verbeek essentially admitted he had got his tactics wrong, has never been one to hide from responsibility.

”We’ve all got to be men about it, forget the bullshit and get on with it,” he said. ”Of course we can turn it around. That’s the beauty of football, and that’s what we’ve got to look to do. We have to fix the wounds and play a massive game against Ghana. If your maths is as good as mine, we can still get six points, and then we go through. Simple.”

Pressed on Verbeek’s surprise tactical switch against Germany, Grella replied: ”Hindsight is an easy thing. Whether the players were OK with it or not, it’s the manager’s call. We follow the game plan the coach’s put out there, and we have to respect his decision.”

While Verbeek hasn’t conceded he got his tactics wrong against the Germans – it was the first time he had started with a 4-4-2 structure since his first game in charge 2½⁄ years ago – there’s little doubt he will revert to his usual 4-2-3-1 against Ghana.

But while the formation will be familiar, the personnel might not be. Grella is one of several senior players under scrutiny, and for the first time the shadow players are applying genuine selection pressure.

Three regular starters unused against Germany – Josh Kennedy, Mark Bresciano and Harry Kewell – are also clamouring for a recall but it’s the so-called ”second-tier” players, among them Brett Holman, Mark Milligan and Mile Jedinak, who are leading the charge. With no margin for error, the media tasting blood and disillusioned fans agitating behind the scenes, the heat is on Verbeek to get it right.

Defender Luke Wilkshire, one of the few to emerge with any credit in Durban, is convinced the team can turn it around.

”We’ve definitely got the character in the team and the spirit,” he said. ”We know that we can do better. We know there’s a possibility there, and we’re going to be fighting to the end.”

Midfielder Brett Emerton, who also had a good game, added: ”I still feel we’ve got a good team but for some reason against Germany we weren’t at it. That’s football. The best thing we can do is try and forget about it, learn from our mistakes and try to improve on that next time.”

Cranky Harry slams media

A livid Harry Kewell hoped to confront Michael Cockerill at Socceroos training following an article the Fairfax football writer wrote criticising the striker’s commitment.
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Socceroo Harry Kewell slammed media criticism of his role in the team, lashing critics who have questioned his fitness and recent performances and claiming that suggestions of a rift between Australia’s star player and coach Pim Verbeek were a fabrication.

Kewell was in a combative mood as he arrived for training last night, demanding that Fairfax football writer Mike Cockerill – who was not present – show himself.

Cockerill had written a column questioning Kewell’s fitness and commitment and the Galatasaray player – who has been recovering from a groin injury and did not play in the humiliating loss to Germany last Sunday – was desperate to fire back.

“Why isn’t he here?” Kewell said. “He’s the one making all these accusations. I want him to know about it. I want to know why is he doing it?”

“Does anyone have any answers for me?”

The Socceroos looked dangerously like a team under siege. Football Federation Australia chief executive Ben Buckley had earlier called a press conference to deny rumours of a rift between senior players Kewell and Mark Bresciano and the coach. An open training session at Ruimsig Stadium was abruptly changed to a closed one.

Neither Kewell nor Bresciano played a single minute in Durban as the team chosen by Verbeek was humbled by Germany.

Kewell also denied any rift between players and coach but admitted he had been disappointed not to at least be given minutes off the bench against Germany.

“Of course I was disappointed,” he said. “But that’s the manager’s choice. He had a plan and stuck with it. We all agreed to it. And it’s unfortunate that we lost.”

Kewell said he was fit and ready to play on Saturday against Ghana and accused reporters of “slagging off” himself and the team’s medical staff who have battled to get him fit for World Cup duty.

“It’s a shame,” he said. “Youse are all supposed to be on our team and it’s a shame that youse are all having a go at us.”

Asked if he felt he was under attack, Kewell continued his tirade.

“I think there are people that are just making things up,” he said. “They are just trying to get scoops.”

Kewell has been criticised for not warming up with the rest of the Australian team in Durban, with the suggestion being he could not possibly have been fit to play but incapable of warming up.

“I was told by my physio not to do it, to do my own preparation,” he said. “Again there’s speculation that there is a rift, there is no rift. We are all disappointed in the game… we take it on the chin and we go prove it in the game against Ghana.”

Kewell said he fully supported Verbeek and would live “by his rules”. He said it was not up to him to demand that he play against Ghana in a must-win clash for the Socceroos.

“I don’t think any footballer would ever go up to a manager and say ‘put me on’,” he said. “You can’t do that. It’s his rules and his way. You accept that.”

Livid Kewell demands Fairfax football writer shows himself

A livid Harry Kewell hoped to confront Michael Cockerill at Socceroos training following an article the Fairfax football writer wrote criticising the striker’s commitment.
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Socceroo Harry Kewell slammed media criticism of his role in the team, lashing critics who have questioned his fitness and recent performances and claiming that suggestions of a rift between Australia’s star player and coach Pim Verbeek were a fabrication.

Kewell was in a combative mood as he arrived for training last night, demanding that Fairfax football writer Mike Cockerill – who was not present – show himself.

Cockerill had written a column questioning Kewell’s fitness and commitment and the Galatasaray player – who has been recovering from a groin injury and did not play in the humiliating loss to Germany last Sunday – was desperate to fire back.

“Why isn’t he here?” Kewell said. “He’s the one making all these accusations. I want him to know about it. I want to know why is he doing it?”

“Does anyone have any answers for me?”

The Socceroos looked dangerously like a team under siege. Football Federation Australia chief executive Ben Buckley had earlier called a press conference to deny rumours of a rift between senior players Kewell and Mark Bresciano and the coach. An open training session at Ruimsig Stadium was abruptly changed to a closed one.

Neither Kewell nor Bresciano played a single minute in Durban as the team chosen by Verbeek was humbled by Germany.

Kewell also denied any rift between players and coach but admitted he had been disappointed not to at least be given minutes off the bench against Germany.

“Of course I was disappointed,” he said. “But that’s the manager’s choice. He had a plan and stuck with it. We all agreed to it. And it’s unfortunate that we lost.”

Kewell said he was fit and ready to play on Saturday against Ghana and accused reporters of “slagging off” himself and the team’s medical staff who have battled to get him fit for World Cup duty.

“It’s a shame,” he said. “Youse are all supposed to be on our team and it’s a shame that youse are all having a go at us.”

Asked if he felt he was under attack, Kewell continued his tirade.

“I think there are people that are just making things up,” he said. “They are just trying to get scoops.”

Kewell has been criticised for not warming up with the rest of the Australian team in Durban, with the suggestion being he could not possibly have been fit to play but incapable of warming up.

“I was told by my physio not to do it, to do my own preparation,” he said. “Again there’s speculation that there is a rift, there is no rift. We are all disappointed in the game… we take it on the chin and we go prove it in the game against Ghana.”

Kewell said he fully supported Verbeek and would live “by his rules”. He said it was not up to him to demand that he play against Ghana in a must-win clash for the Socceroos.

“I don’t think any footballer would ever go up to a manager and say ‘put me on’,” he said. “You can’t do that. It’s his rules and his way. You accept that.”

No fuel but it’s plain sailing for solar spacecraft

IT HAS been a busy week for JAXA, the Japanese space agency. While most eyes were on the spectacular return of the Hayabusa asteroid sample probe, which parachuted into the Woomera rocket range on Sunday after the second fastest re-entry in history, another craft was ever-so-slowly picking up speed in the void between Earth and Venus.The experimental spacecraft Ikaros, after many weeks of delicate maneuvering, has successfully deployed the first solar sail. For researchers interested in sending missions into the far reaches of the solar system, Ikaros is a dream come true – a spaceship that doesn’t need fuel to generate thrust.If all goes according to plan, all the heavy work will be done millions of kilometres away, on the sun. All previous spacecraft have had to carry enormous amounts of fuel – the overwhelming bulk on NASA missions to the outer solar system was simply the gas tank and the booster engines, all of which were thrown away once the probes were up to speed, an expensive and inherently wasteful way of getting about.Ikaros needed chemical rockets to escape the Earth’s gravity (it actually piggybacked a ride on the Akatsuki mission, now on its way to study the atmosphere of Venus), but now the sail has been unfurled it will be pushed along by the light of the sun.This is a fragile machine. ”Ikaros has a square sail approximately 14 metres long on each side,” explains Osamu Mori, the project’s leader. ”The sail, and the solar collectors that will generate electricity, are only 7.5 micrometres thick. Human hair is 100 micrometres thick, so you can imaging how thin this is.”Consequently, the unfurling of a sail packed into the confines of a small spacecraft is undertaken with great care. Two previous American attempts, in 2001 and 2005, have failed at this crucial hurdle.The Japanese had the idea of a square sail with a small weight on each corner which was set spinning – very slowly – on a turntable which forms the centre of the vehicle. Eventually centrifugal force stretches the sail into its desired configuration, and the latest word is so far, so good – the sail reached full extension last weekend.Now to the business end – learning how to sail a yacht, millions of kilometres away, using sunlight. How, for instance, do you steer such a vessel? Ikaros incorporates some very clever technology to control direction and speed.”The solar-powered attitude control system uses technology that controls the reflectivity of the sail,” said Mr Mori. ”It works just like frosted glass: normally the entire area of the sail will reflect sunlight, but by ‘frosting’ part of the film, we can reduce the reflectivity of that area. When the reflectivity is reduced, that part of the sail generates less power. So by changing the reflectivity of the sail, we can control its attitude.”So, assuming these subtle changes in reflectivity work as intended, where is Ikaros headed?At first it will travel side by side with the Venus mission, and then head off on its own.”Akatsuki will decelerate to enter Venus’s orbit,” said Mr Mori, ”but Ikaros will pass by Venus and navigate around the sun. Where it heads will really depend on how the solar sail’s orbit control function performs.”Ikaros does not have a destination – as an experimental craft its major objective is is to establish whether solar sailing is feasible at all. But the implications of a successful flight are profound. While sunlight transfers very little propulsion to Ikaros, it never stops doing so, and over time solar sails can, in principle, build up enormous speeds.So if you’re not in a hurry, and want to go a long way without spending a fortune at the bowser, they might be just the ticket. Osamu Mori and his team at JAXA certainly hope so.
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Mexican cash control

CULIACAN, Mexico: In an attempt to thwart money-laundering by drug cartels, the Mexican government has announced strict limits on the deposit and exchange of US dollars in banks.The money helps traffickers buy military-grade weapons used to kill tens of thousands of people and recruit small armies who battle rival gangs and government forces around the country.Failure to intercept the money has long been singled out as a serious flaw in the military-led offensive against the cartels.In response, the government announced it would limit individual bank account holders to deposits of $US4000 ($4650) monthly, while others without accounts would be allowed to exchange up to $US1500.Drug traffickers have long taken advantage of lax rules and the preponderance of cash transactions in Mexico to launder multibillion-dollar annual profits in banks and currency exchange houses. It is routine to see all-cash purchases of real estate, aircraft, farms and art.The new measures were announced by the Finance Minister, Ernesto Cordero, who said they were designed to reduce laundering by ”closing the path to illicit resources” funnelled into Mexican banks. He said about $US10 billion in surplus – and probably illicit – money has been detected annually in the banking system.A recent US-Mexican government report estimated traffickers send between $US19 billion and $US29 billion a year from the US to Mexico, slightly under half via banks. The rest stays in the cash economy; about 75 per cent of all transactions in Mexico are in cash.The measures do not apply to electronic transfers and are not likely to have an effect on average Mexicans, Mr Cordero said, because the monthly limit on dollar transactions is far above the earnings of 98 per cent of Mexican households.Los Angeles Times
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Court will decide if sailor, 14, is too young

WELLINGTON: A 14-year-old girl fighting Dutch authorities over her desire to sail around the world solo wants to move to New Zealand to continue her dream.A Dutch court will decide today whether to allow New Zealand-born Laura Dekker to become the youngest person to attempt to sail solo around the world.Child protection services are seeking to prolong her court-ordered official supervision.She needs to complete the trip – which she expects to take two years – before she turns 17 on September 20, 2012, to set the record.Child welfare experts have previously raised concerns about her being cut off from parents and peers and other social stimulus or interaction.Last year she raised plans for the voyage to start when she turned 14, and the District Court in Utrecht granted temporary custody of her to the Dutch Council for Child Protection.She asked her municipality to deregister her as a resident so that she could move to New Zealand, where she was born on a yacht while her parents were sailing round the world.”I was born in Whangarei,” she said. ”And of course I have a New Zealand passport.”In December she breached the court order, running away to the Dutch Caribbean island territory of Saint Martin. Police had to escort her back home.An appeals court in May, citing ”great and unacceptable risks”, upheld the first ruling that barred her from setting sail until at least July 1, when the school year ends, and ordered her to remain under supervision.The court said her father ”has a limited appreciation of the risks involved and ”overestimates” her abilities.In a closed hearing on Monday, child authorities asked the Middelburg District Court to extend the supervision by another two months.An Australian, Jessica Watson, completed the voyage in May, arriving in Sydney days before her 17th birthday.Abby Sunderland, 16, an American, was rescued in the Indian Ocean last week after her yacht was dismasted.Agencies
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