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Mars Mission 2030: President Obama, NASA And White House Outline Next Steps

International Business Times

On Tuesday, President Obama laid out plans for the future of space exploration in a piece for CNN. The President reaffirms his commitment to sending man to Mars while also laying out the next steps. "We have set a clear goal vital to the next chapter of America's story in space: sending humans to Mars by the 2030s and returning them safely to Earth, with the ultimate ambition to one day remain there for an extended time," wrote the President. "Getting to Mars will require continued cooperation between government and private innovators, and we're already well on our way. Within the next two years, private companies will for the first time send astronauts to the International Space Station."


Is this the end of prison for profit in the US?

Al Jazeera

Last August the US Department of Justice released a statement that they would begin the process of phasing out private prison contracts in federal prisons, some 30 years after the Bureau of Prisons began its experiment contracting beds to for-profit facilities. The decision, according to the Justice Department, came in response to a declining prison population - down from 220,000 inmates in 2013 to fewer than 195,000 inmates today, as well as an acknowledgement of the often lower safety and security standards of the private prison industry (PDF). "Private prisons served an important role during a difficult period," says deputy attorney-general, Sally Quillian Yates, referring to the explosive US incarceration rates - an 800 percent increase from 1980 to 2013 according to the Justice Department - that led to the use of private companies to house federal inmates. "But time has shown that [private prisons] compare poorly to our own bureau facilities. They simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programmes and resources; they do not save substantially on costs," says Yates, referring to a memo from the Justice Department, which stated that private prisons "do not maintain the same level of safety and security".


Making Profits on the Captive Prison Market

The New Yorker

Earlier this year, I attended a prison trade show in Louisiana, which has the nation's highest rate of incarceration. Cheery representatives from CrossBar, a Kentucky-based company, demonstrated the bendable electronic cigarettes that are sold in prison commissaries. I chatted with employees of Wallace International, which makes the automated front gates for jails. Sentinel, which makes ankle bracelets to track parolees, distributed slick handouts. It was an education in the scale of the industry of profiting on America's incarceration system.


SpaceX launches classified spy satellite for US Department of Defense

Christian Science Monitor | Science

May 1, 2017 --On Monday morning, the private space company SpaceX launched their latest Falcon 9 rocket into orbit. But while the company has launched several payloads into space for a number of clients, this mission was a little bit different. Instead of the more typical communications satellite or scientific equipment, the rocket carried a spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). The NRO is an agency of the US Department of Defense. As such, the Monday launch marked the breaking of a 10-year monopoly on launching US military and national security satellites previously held by the United Launch Alliance (ULA), a partnership of Lockheed-Martin and Boeing.


Investor Interest in Chinese Tech Begins 2019 Not With a Bang but a Whimper

WSJ.com: WSJD - Technology

Thousands of private Chinese tech companies raised a record $69.4 billion in equity financings in 2018, up 63% from 2017, according to CB Insights. The sum was also more than triple the $21.4 billion that Chinese tech firms raised in a busy 2018 for initial public offerings, according to Dealogic. The volume of stock sales has dropped off sharply of late. While some companies are still moving forward with listing plans, many have scaled back their fundraising ambitions. At least a dozen Chinese tech IPOs have been downsized or postponed in the last couple of months, according to bankers, and companies that earlier aimed for larger IPOs have had to settle for fractions of their fundraising targets.