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Brazil’s Armed Forces Plan to Launch Geostationary Satellite in 2014

first_imgBy Dialogo July 22, 2011 Brazil plans to launch a geostationary satellite — GOES — that would connect all the country’s defense and security organizations and allow for more secure communications among them. In late June, Defense Minister Nelson Jobim announced that the satellite would be launched in 2014. The satellite will provide direct links between Brasília, the border platoons and submarines in the Atlantic Ocean, he said. It will also speed up the transmission of images from remote areas. Jobim, in a recent public hearing before the Brazilian Defense and Foreign Relations Commission, said the geostationary satellite is of vital importance for national security and will make Brazil self-sufficient in such matters. The hearing was especially important because of the presence of 10 senators who are also members of the Amazon and Border Sub-Commission — two areas that would benefit significantly from the new satellite, if all goes as planned. Borrowed images Currently, the Brazilian government leases satellite channels from a Mexican mobile phone group that sends the images per request and without exclusivity. This service costs around $28.3 million per year. “Today, when we want an image, the Mexicans send it to us in 36 hours,” Jobim said. Building, launching and maintaining Brazil’s new satellite will cost $443 million, but it also will link 1,800 isolated communities to the Internet for the first time. The Defense Ministry envisions GOES sending audio and images from remote locations to federal authorities, while permitting real-time communication with and among all branches of the Armed Forces and all units in mission — including those on foreign soil. “While Brazil has other satellites, none of them is under the control and for the exclusive use of the government,” said Defense Ministry spokesperson Roberta Belyse. “This satellite will have military transponders in Band X and transponders for government use in Band Ka.” What’s a GOES A geostationary satellite or GOES is anything but stationary. It actually circles Earth in the same direction and speed of the planet’s rotation; this way the satellite’s location is always above a specific spot on the globe. Since all geostationary satellites are positioned directly over the Equator, only a limited number of such satellites can be placed in orbit. They’re located in the geosynchronous plane about 22,300 miles above Earth, which offers an unobstructed view of the planet. GOES’ continuous monitoring is essential for intensive data analysis. Being fixed above a single point allows the satellites to chart atmospheric changes that precipitate tornadoes, floods, hurricanes and other severe weather conditions. Brazil’s space program began 50 years ago, making it the fourth country to enter the space race after the United States, the former Soviet Union and France. Even today, Brazil is one of the few countries with a comprehensive space program that includes the development of rockets, satellites and launching centers. Brazilians are, indeed, very proud of their space history. However, a recent study, Caderno de Altos Estudos, by the Senate’s Science, Technology, Communications and Informatics Commission, urged the government to invest more to keep pace with current needs, as well as with international partners. Between 2012 and 2016, Brazil plans to launch three satellites, the Cbers 3 and 4, for earth observation, and the Amazon 1. Total cost for all three launches: $200 million. Good neighbors share resources Jobim emphasized on how GOES will help Brazil collaborate with neighboring countries, particularly with respect to border security. “Some of the satellite’s capabilities would be shared with other nations,” said Jobim, who announced the plans for GOES in the context of a broader presentation to the commission of the government’s Strategic Border Plan. He also recounted his recent visit to Colombia, which resulted in the first steps towards a binational plan for border security between the two countries, with a focus on protection of the Amazon. The Brazilian military devotes significant efforts to protection of its rainforest, and satellite images are an invaluable resource. In early July, Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) released satellite images showing that 268 square kilometers of Amazon rainforest had been cut down in May 2011 — twice the amount of clearing as in May 2010. This follows reports that deforestation had increased to 593 square kilometers in March and April 2011 from 103 square kilometers in the same period a year earlier. “The GOES satellite would allow the sharing of security plans and real-time information of air, land and sea borders,” explained Belyse. In addition, she said, it will connect remote populated areas with emergency services and let them receive important government communications. In addition, these geostationary satellites serve other functions such as meteorological monitoring, feeding of GPS systems and provision of TV and mobile phone signals. Excellent information, today telematics will provide us with more security for our development on different socio-cultural level through geostationary satellites. I am sure that the Peruvian Government should take advantage of such benefits for the population. Hello, It’s a pleasure speaking with you, but I have a question. Why is Brazil so far behind in terms of security and technology?last_img read more

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Seeking justice for Haiti’s rape victims

first_img Share Share Sharing is caring! Share 40 Views   no discussionscenter_img NewsRegional Seeking justice for Haiti’s rape victims by: – April 28, 2012 Tweet CNN Hero: Malya Villard-AppolonPort-au-Prince, Haiti (CNN) — Three days after a massive earthquake threw Haiti into chaos, Alvana was homeless, along with her two children.But her nightmare was just beginning.“I was gang-raped while I was sleeping in the middle of the street,” she said. “And I got pregnant.”Alvana did not know her attackers. Depressed and unsure of what to do next, she was directed by a friend to a clinic run by KOFAVIV, a Creole acronym that translates into the Commission of Women Victims for Victims.“By the time I got to them, my belly was already big,” she said. “But they took care of me.”Alvana was given food, water, housing and prenatal care. She decided to keep her daughter, even though the psychological pain could be difficult — and still is, two years later.“It’s terrible,” said Alvana, 33. “I love my daughter … (but) I look at myself and see that I have a child that is a product of a gang rape.”Her story is, unfortunately, all too common in Haiti, said Malya Villard-Appolon, one of KOFAVIV’s co-founders.“After (the earthquake), the situation was inhumane and degrading,” Villard-Appolon said. “There was no security in the (displacement) camps. There was no food; there was no work. And now there is a rampant problem.”Accurate numbers are difficult, if not impossible, to find in the aftermath of such devastation, but KOFAVIV and other groups say they have seen a definite increase in rape cases after the January 2010 earthquake.“Victims became more vulnerable due to a range of things,” said Brian Concannon Jr., director of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti. “They lost their houses; there were no locked doors anymore. People lost family members who were a source of protection.”Terrible living conditions, including a shortage of food and water, contribute to the problem as well, said Charity Tooze, a senior communications officer with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ Washington office.“The conditions are so dehumanizing,” Tooze said. “Over months and months, it increases all forms of violence, including sexual violence.”There has also been a lack of prosecution in the country. In the first two years after the quake, not one person in Haiti has been convicted of rape, according to the UNHCR.“The big problem is, you can’t find justice,” said Villard-Appolon, 52.Even before the quake, she says, rape was an issue in Haiti, historically underreported because of social stigma, retaliation from perpetrators and a lack of legal support. That is what led her and Marie Eramithe Delva to start KOFAVIV in 2004. Since the group’s inception, it has helped more than 4,000 rape survivors find safety, psychological support and/or legal aid.“We tell people to come out of silence,” she said. “Do not be afraid to say that you have been victimized.”Villard-Appolon knows what it’s like to be a victim of sexual violence. She has been raped twice, and her husband died as a result of beatings he endured trying to save her from being raped. In 2010, her 14-year-old daughter was raped in a displacement camp.“I can’t describe to you how I felt when I heard about that, because I was a victim,” she said. “I started asking myself what kind of generation I came from. Am I cursed?”She escorted her daughter to two police stations and received no assistance, she said, just a lot of talk. One police officer told her that “girls are so promiscuous” and indicated that many young girls are asking for sex.But she carries on, “fighting with hope that I know there will be a change,” she said. Internationally, she has testified before the United Nations Human Rights Council, calling for increased security within the displacement camps and asking that women’s groups be included in decision-making processes.“I was a victim, and I did not find justice. But know I will get it for other women,” she told CNN.When the earthquake hit Haiti, KOFAVIV’s founders watched their clinic and their offices collapse along with their homes.Villard-Appolon lived in the dangerous Champ de Mars displacement camp for half a year. There, she said, she watched as conditions deteriorated.“It was all kinds of people who ended up in one area,” she said. “The jails were not destroyed, but their doors were opened, and all prisoners went free. Many of them … were armed, and they were notorious murderers.”One criminal held Villard-Appolon at gunpoint, demanding money. The police never showed up, she said, but she managed to escape after a group of supporters arrived to fight.Villard-Appolon said many single women had to leave their children with strangers in order to search for food, water or work. In some cases, the children were raped. The youngest victim, she says, was a 17-month-old.“I spent six months witnessing it,” she said. “Babies are not spared; adults are not spared; mothers are not spared; sisters are not spared.”Despite the escalating violence and the loss of its clinic, KOFAVIV regrouped to help victims in Haiti’s “tent city” camps, where about 500,000 people still live today. The group has 66 female outreach agents and 25 male security guards who work within the camps, organizing nighttime community watch groups and providing whistles and flashlights to women. All of them have been affected by gender-based violence, whether personally or through a family member or loved one, Villard-Appolon said.KOFAVIV also relies on more than 1,000 members to help share their stories, support the victims and urge them to come forward and fight for justice.It usually starts by accompanying the victims to the hospital within 72 hours of being raped. Once they undergo a test, they receive the medical certificate they must have to begin legal proceedings.“After that, we assign a lawyer to her,” Villard-Appolon said. There is no cost to the victims, and they receive support from KOFAVIV through the trial.Villard-Appolon says she is determined to keep fighting for a brighter future, even though justice has been elusive.“My dream is that we will get to a place where we stop talking about the number of rape cases,” she said. “We will stop talking about Haiti as a country where people are committing violence against others. One day, we have to be able to say that we have a country with people who respect each other.”By Allie Torgan, CNNlast_img read more

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