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Russia's space agency releases eerie footage of human-like android Fedor

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Russia's space agency has released eerie footage of its human-like android which will board the International Space Station next week. Nicknamed Fedor - which stands for Final Experimental Demonstration Research - the anthropomorphous machine was seen undergoing a battery of stress-tests at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Dubbed Putin's robo-naut, the machine can be seen determining targets and honing in on specific points, such as steering wheels, which will surely come in handy while they're in orbit. The scenes come ahead of its inclusion on the unmanned Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft on 22 August 2019. 'MMA fighter' loses temper and battles two revellers at once In action: Dubbed Putin's robo-naut, the machine can be seen determining targets and honing in on specific points, such as steering wheels, which will surely come in handy while they're in orbit On time: Putin's deputy premier, Dmitry Rogozin, claimed the war in Syria had shown Russia the importance of robots in difficult environments, and promised Fedor would make its space debut in five years - a deadline it will soon meet Fedor stands 6-foot tall, weighs no less than 233 pounds depending on extra equipment, and can lift up to 44 pounds of cargo.

Russia manipulates GPS signals to protect Vladimir Putin from rogue drones, report reveals

The Independent - Tech

Russia has been manipulating global satellite positioning (GPS) locations on a vast scale in order to protect Vladimir Putin from drones, according to a report. The Center for Advanced Defense Studies (C4ADS), a Washington-based research organisation, undertook a year-long investigation ending in November 2018 into the manipulation of GPS and other global navigation satellite systems (GNSS). Their report, which drew upon publicly available satellite data, found that the tactic was used in Russia, the Ukraine and Syria, with some incidents of spoofing, correlating closely with the movements of Putin. We'll tell you what's true. You can form your own view.

Syria air defenses target suspected 'hostile' drones over Russia base

The Japan Times

DAMASCUS - Syria state media said Sunday the country's air defense systems intercepted and destroyed three "hostile" targets over a Russian air base in the country's coastal region. There were no more details about the suspected attack or who was behind it, but it comes amid rising violations of a cease-fire in Syria's west negotiated by Turkey and Russia and in place since September. On Sunday, Russia Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said on state television that the agreement with Turkey is not fully implemented, leaving the situation there as a matter of concern "first of all, by the Syrian authorities and also Moscow." He didn't address the suspected drone attack. The Britain-based monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said explosions heard in the region were from air defense systems intercepting suspected attacking drones.

Russia Downs Drone Near Its Syria Air Base: TASS

U.S. News

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's military said it had shot down a drone that came close to its Syrian air base at Hmeimim on Saturday and was launched from the Idlib "de-escalation" zone controlled by what Moscow calls "illegal military groups", TASS agency reported.

WMD, political violence threats prompt most to think world is more dangerous than two years ago: survey

The Japan Times

LONDON – Most people think the world is more dangerous today than it was two years ago as concerns rise over politically motivated violence and weapons of mass destruction, according to a survey released on Tuesday. Six out of 10 respondents to the survey, commissioned by the Global Challenges Foundation, said the dangers had increased, with conflict and nuclear or chemical weapons seen as more pressing risks than population growth or climate change. The results come as NATO leaders prepare to meet in Brussels on Wednesday amid growing tensions between the United States and fellow members over defense spending, which some fear could damage morale and play into the hands of Russia. "It's clear that our current systems of global cooperation are no longer making people feel safe," said Mats Andersson, vice chairman of the Global Challenges Foundation, in a statement. Andersson said turbulence between NATO powers and Russia, ongoing conflict in Syria, Yemen and Ukraine and nuclear tensions with North Korea and Iran were making people feel unsafe.

Watchdog OPCW gets authority to assign blame in Syria chemical attacks despite Russia opposition

The Japan Times

BRUSSELS – Member nations of the global chemical weapons watchdog voted Wednesday to give the organization the authority to apportion blame for illegal attacks, expanding its powers following a bitter dispute pitting Britain and its Western allies against Russia and Syria. An 82-24 vote provided the two-thirds majority needed to enlarge the purview of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The organization was created to implement a 1997 treaty that banned chemical weapons, but lacked a mandate to name the parties it found responsible for using them. Many participating nations saw the inability to assign responsibility as a senseless hamstring, especially after fatal chemical attacks during the war in Syria. Russia opposed adding a new license to the agency's portfolio, saying that was a decision that belonged to the United Nations.

Watchdog Gets Authority to Assign Blame in Chemical Attacks

U.S. News

Britain made its proposal in the wake of the chemical attacks on an ex-spy and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury, as well as in Syria's civil war and attacks by the Islamic State group in Iraq. Britain has accused Russia of using a nerve agent in the attempted assassination in March of former spy Sergei Skripal, which Moscow strongly denies.

Drone Swarms Are Going to Be Terrifying and Hard to Stop

The Atlantic - Technology

"More than a dozen armed drones descended from an unknown location onto Russia's vast Hmeimim air base in northwestern Latakia province, the headquarters of Russia's military operations in Syria, and on the nearby Russian naval base at Tartus," The Washington Post reported. "Russia said that it shot down seven of the 13 drones and used electronic countermeasures to safely bring down the other six." And these drones appeared substantially less sophisticated and maneuverable than a DJI Phantom 4, the leading consumer drone. The National Academy notes that most of the counterstrategies that the Army has developed are "based on jamming radio frequency and GPS signals." The thinking was: Drones needed those information flows to navigate effectively.

Russia shows 'advanced terrorist drones' captured in Syria

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Drones used to attack two Russian military bases in Syria were so high-tech they were designed to offset jamming technology, were capable of launching precision strikes and could not have been made without foreign assistance, the defence ministry in Moscow has said .