Newsletter XXIII 2024

June 2st to 8th

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Current news+ Background knowledge

The PDF file "Nuclear Power Accidents" contains a number of other incidents from various areas of the nuclear industry. Some of the events were never published through official channels, so this information could only be made available to the public in a roundabout way. The list of incidents in the PDF file is therefore not 100 % identical with "INES and the disturbances in nuclear facilities", but represents an addition.


June 4, 2008 (INES 0 Class.?) NPP Krsko, SVN

June 6, 2008 (INES 1) NPP Philippsburg, GER

June 8, 1970 (INES 4 | NAMS 3,6) Nuclear factory LLNL, Livermore, USA

June 9, 1985 (INES 4) NPP Davis Besse, USA

June 10, 2009 (INES 2) Nuclear factory Cadarache, FRA

June 10, 1977 (INES ? Class.?) NPP Millstone, USA

June 13, 1984 (INES ? Class.?) NPP Fort St. Vrain, CO, USA

June 14, 1985 (INES ? Class.?) nuclear center Constituyentes, ARG

June 16, 2005 (INES ? Class.?) NPP Braidwood, IL, USA

June 17, 1997 (INES ? Class.?Nuclear factory Arzamas-16, Sarov, RUS

June 17, 1967 China's 6th nuclear test Lop Nor/Taklamakan, Xinjiang, CHN

June 18, 1999 (INES 2) NPP Shika, JPN

June 18, 1988 (INES ? Class.?) NPP Tihange-1, BEL

June 18, 1982 (INES ? Class.?) NPP Oconee, USA

June 18, 1978 (INES ? Class.?) NPP Brunsbuettel, Germany

June 19, 1961 (INES 3 | NAMS 4) Nuclear factory Windscale/Sellafield, GBR

June 21, 2013 (INES ? Class.?) NPP Kuosheng, TWN

June 23, 2012 (INES 1 Class.?) NPP Rajasthan, IND

June 26, 2000 (INES 1 Class.?) NPP Grafenrheinfeld, DEU

June 28, 2007 (INES 0 Class.?) NPP Brunsbuettel, Germany

June 28, 2007 (INES 0 Class.?) NPP Krümmel, GER

June 28, 1992 (INES 2) NPP Barsebäck-2, SWE

June 29, 2005 (INES ? Class.?) NPP Forsmark, SWE

June 30, 1983 (INES ? Class.?) NPP Embalse, ARG

 

We are always looking for up-to-date information. Anyone who can help, please send a message to:
nuclear-world@reaktorpleite.de

 


8. June


 

European elections | Extreme rightFirewall

Firewall in the EU Parliament:

Too liberal towards the right

Europe's liberals argue over the Dutch government's lack of firewalls. The FDP is trying to keep the excitement down.

BERLIN taz | A dispute has broken out among Europe's liberals over how to deal with right-wing extremists. The Renew group in the EU Parliament wants to vote on the exclusion of the Dutch VVD from the alliance the day after the EU elections. It is “unacceptable” that the party of outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte is entering into a coalition with Geert Wilders’ right-wing extremist PVV in The Hague, Renew parliamentary group leader Valérie Hayer told the French broadcaster BFM.

“We have always respected the firewall against right-wing extremism, and after the election I will ensure that this value continues to be respected,” said the MEP from Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance Party in mid-May.

But their colleagues in Brussels and Berlin see no fundamental problem in the liberal cozying up to the Dutch right. “The Dutch and German Liberals are closely linked and look forward to future cooperation in the EU Parliament,” FDP politician Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann told the taz. “I will not comment on the national situation in the Netherlands from outside, especially since we did not accompany this process.” ...

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Administrative courtParking | Transport policy

The unrestricted dominance of cars in public spaces is over

Bremen is making history again in traffic: Until now, private cars have been able to occupy public spaces due to a Federal Administrative Court ruling. After 58 years, the court has now corrected itself.

The original sin of transport policy in Germany began with the Bremen Lantern Parker ruling in 1966. A businessman had permanently parked his car in public, the Bremen Senate unsuccessfully sued - and the Federal Administrative Court then allowed free parking in public spaces for everyone and everywhere.

In Bremen, as in many other cities, vehicles can therefore be parked anywhere and even on sidewalks ("surface parking"), and this is often with the toleration of the authorities - even if it inconveniences people.

Citizens had complained against it several times. However, the traffic authorities had avoided taking action against the parking practice - citing the many cars and the resulting parking crisis. In fact, the untenable conditions in Bremen and many other municipalities remained tolerated.

Now the highest German administrative court has decided: Citizens have the right to sue against this unrestricted privatization of public space and can force the transport authorities to intervene, but only where they are directly affected...

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European UnionHuman rights | Right-wing populists

They still act like it's a game

In Europe, right-wing radicals no longer have to use brutal violence to assert themselves. Instead, they are embraced by centrist politicians.

[...]

In a few days, the far-right will most likely be kingmakers in the European Parliament. At pan-European right-wing extremist summits, it already looked as if they could act as a unified front in the political institution that will determine how Europe will develop in the coming decade. They don't call themselves fascists, like in the Secret Hitler game, but for adults with open eyes, some of these traits are easily recognizable.

Europe without robust resistance

By this I don't mean the Mussolini greeting of the Italian Prime Minister and Fratelli d'Italia party leader Giorgia Meloni, or, as she herself says, her "untroubled relationship with fascism." The decisive steps in steering the European ship towards authoritarianism are less spectacular. But for those who need to see military boots to recognize a fascist, let it be clear: Fascism must use brutal force only when there is organized, robust resistance to it; but we don't have that today.

What we have is Ursula von der Leyen warmly embracing Meloni, who in turn ups her game and places herself at the head of far-right Europe. And we have a weak center that no longer adheres to the principle of not cooperating with the extreme right. Why shouldn't people hug each other when the dehumanization of foreigners by the right-wing extremists in Brussels and London is already shared?

Why shouldn't we work together when the right-wing extremists' disregard for human rights and their hatred of the left are also cautiously shared by the political center? Is there still a democracy that needs to be protected from right-wing extremists when all opinion polls show that trust in democracy has been broken? And who really cares?

[...]

As Europe sheds its image as a haven for the world's progressives, future history looks bleak - as bleak as hugging the wrong person or getting stabbed just because you thought this was a common game you were playing plays with eyes closed.

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Biden | NetanyahuPalestineTwo-state solution

Biden's speech and its implications

Joe Biden gave an important speech. What impact does it have on Israel's internal politics?

In a speech described as “significant” on Friday evening, May 31.5st, US President Joe Biden presented a three-stage plan to end hostilities in Gaza and free the remaining hostages from Hamas captivity, thus ending the war; Implicit were also (albeit more nebulous) regulations on future rule in the Gaza Strip and a fundamental orientation towards a new geopolitical order in the region.

What was confusing was that the plan was presented as an Israeli initiative, but Biden also urged Israel to accept the plan in his speech. This contradiction cannot be clearly explained, unless the (knowledgeable) president was concerned with what he also addressed in his speech, namely the expected resistance that this plan would cause in Israel, especially from the messianically inspired leaders the national-religious parties Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben Gvir.

It was no coincidence that Biden gave the speech on Friday evening, because this guaranteed that Smotrich and Ben Gvir would not be able to react until the end of Shabbat. They are not allowed to work on Shabbat. In fact, both announced on Saturday evening that this plan was unacceptable and that if it was approved, they would immediately dissolve the government coalition - for Benjamin Netanyahu an apocalyptic idea; He is concerned with the unconditional preservation of his rule, for the purpose of which he has created the most right-wing radical government coalition in the entire history of Israel's parliament. He didn't even shy away from making Kahanism, which had been taboo for decades, socially acceptable again and even using it in a prominent position in the Israeli power and violence establishment.

[...]

The hatred generated on both sides will cause problems for everyone involved in the disaster for a long time to come. But the essential problem is that when the two-state solution is envisaged, no one knows how to achieve it. For decades, Israel has undermined and even made this solution impossible through systematic Jewish settlement of the West Bank. On what territory should the Palestinian state be established? It can only be on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. But is there a real possibility for this?

For years, Netanyahu has swept this problem under the carpet, thus sweeping the Palestine problem off the world agenda and also from the internal Israeli agenda. And now he has to see how this “problem” has come back to life, largely because of his failure. Irony of fate? Trick of reason? More like a grimace of cynical ideology and a shocking tragedy.

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United StatesForest fires | Record temperatures

Historically early with 44 degrees

Heat wave melts Las Vegas

It's hot in the western United States: At a Trump campaign event in Arizona, several listeners suffered heat collapses. Hiking is banned in Phoenix and Las Vegas measures record highs of 44 degrees earlier than ever before.

New record temperatures have been reached in a historically early heat wave in the western United States. 44 degrees Celsius were measured in Las Vegas on Thursday - the highest temperature ever in a year. Libraries were converted into places to cool down, and some events had to be moved indoors. A warning of excessive heat is in effect in the casino metropolis in the state of Nevada until Saturday. In Nevada and the states of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, millions of people were warned about the heat this week.

[...]

Wildfires are ravaging California

The coastal regions were largely spared from the heat. However, a number of smaller wildfires broke out in California. In the largest fire, around 240 kilometers northwest of Los Angeles, more than 1450 hectares burned in the agricultural California Longitudinal Valley before the fire department was able to largely contain the flames.

Air pollution from wildfires in California has led to more than 52.000 deaths in XNUMX years, according to a study published Friday by the University of California, Los Angeles. The number of deaths caused by the fires is many times higher than the number of fire deaths.

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June 8, 1970 (INES 4 NAMS 3,6) Nuclear factoryINES Category 4 "Accident" LLNL, Livermore, USA

Approximately 10700 people were killed in this accident TBq released, the wind blew the cloud mainly in a southeasterly direction. Radiation levels were measured 200 miles away.
(Cost approx. US$60,1 million)

Nuclear Power Accidents
 

Watching out for the ecology of Livermore

Livermore Eco Watchdogs (This domain is no longer available.)

Historical Doses To The Public from Routine and Accidental Releases of Tritium

During its fifty-three years of operation, estimates were made at the Livermore site of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory 29300 TBq tritium released into the atmosphere; about 75% of it was accidentally released as gaseous tritium in 1965 and 1970. Routine emissions contributed just over 3700 TBq gaseous tritium and approximately 2800 TBq tritiated water vapor to the total dose at...

Translation with https://www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

The largest release in LLNL history occurred on January 20, 1965 and was 13000 TBq.

USE OF TRITIUM AT LIVERMORE LABORATORY:

Tritium and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Two of the three largest tritium accidents I have ever seen documented occurred here at the Livermore Lab headquarters. In 1965 and 1970, the Livermore Lab released approximately 650000 Curies (23700 TBq) Tritium released into the air from the chimneys of the tritium plant (Building 331).

Note: One curie corresponds to 37 billion radioactive decay processes per second, in becquerels 37 GBq.

After the 1970 accident, Livermore Labs scientists found elevated levels of tritium, which they linked to the 1970 accident, as far south as Fresno, about 200 miles southeast.

Translation with https://www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
 

Unfortunately there is in German Wikipedia no information on these incidents.

Wikipedia de

Lawrence_Livermore_National_Laboratory
 

Wikipedia en

Also in English Wikipedia only the usual court reporting can be found.

/Lawrence_Livermore_National_Laboratory#Public_protests

Public protests

The Livermore Action Group organized numerous mass protests against the production of nuclear weapons by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory from 1981 to 1984. On June 22, 1982, more than 1300 anti-nuclear weapons activists were arrested during a non-violent demonstration. More recently, there have been annual protests against nuclear weapons research in Lawrence Livermore. In August 2003, 1000 people protested against "new generation nuclear warheads" at Livermore Labs. 2007 people were arrested during the 64 protests. In March 2008, more than 80 people were arrested while protesting outside the gates.

On July 27, 2021, the Society of Professionals, Scientists, and Engineers - University of Professional & Technical Employees Local 11, CWA Local 9119 went on a three-day strike over unfair labor practices.

Translation with https://www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

 


7. June


 

Fossil | Climate catastropheDisinformationGuterres

Guterres warns of “climate hell”

António Guterres speaks plainly like no other top politician.

In a speech never before given by a world leader, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on December 1, 2020: “Making peace with nature is the defining task of the 21st century. It must be a top priority for everyone, everywhere.”

Following recent alarming reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Guterres said: “These reports must sound the death knell for coal and fossil fuels before they destroy our planet. If we join forces now, we can still avert the climate catastrophe.”

The UN Secretary General has just warned of “climate hell” at a UN climate summit: “We are playing Russian roulette with our planet... We need an exit from the highway to climate hell.” The highest-ranking politician in the world speaks plain language like no other politician, when it comes to the climate catastrophe.

May 2024 was the XNUMXth consecutive month in which the global average temperature reached a monthly record, according to the EU climate change service Copernicus.

In light of these warnings, Guterres even called for a global funding and advertising boycott of the gas, coal and oil industries. Governments should ban advertising from the entire fossil fuel industry, similar to tobacco advertising. Financial institutions should invest in renewable energy instead. Guterres called the fossil energy industry “the godfathers of climate chaos.” They have blocked progress towards climate-friendly energy for decades.

“Billions of dollars have been spent distorting the truth, deceiving the public and sowing doubt,”...

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Israel | War CrimesNetanyahu

Pressure on Netanyahu increases: Israel's attorney general calls for an investigation

Israel's judiciary is investigating individual cases of IDF war crimes in Gaza. The calls for large-scale investigations are becoming louder. Netanyahu blocked.

Tel Aviv - In view of the arrest warrants filed with the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Defense Minister Joaw Gallant, voices in Israel are growing louder calling for the allegations to be pursued independently. In addition, there is the ongoing trial regarding allegations of genocide in Gaza. Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara called on Netanyahu in a letter to pave the way for an independent investigative commission, the Times of Israel portal reported. But even if Netanyahu agreed to this, it would probably no longer protect him from a trial in The Hague.

Central to Netanyahu's indictment: Does the ICC trust Israel's justice system?

At the end of May, ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan requested that international arrest warrants be examined against Hamas leadership cadres as those responsible for the atrocities on October 7, 2023. At the same time, Khan also took action against Netanyahu and Gallant, who are ultimately responsible for Israel's conduct of the war in Gaza. In principle, for proceedings before the ICC, the court has jurisdiction if national judicial systems are unwilling or unable to prosecute crimes within the meaning of international criminal law...

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AgricultureLobbyists | Farmers' Association | Agricultural subsidies

EU agricultural subsidies:

Over 2,6 million for farmer bosses

The heads of farmers' associations receive high EU subsidies - much higher than average farmers. Does the association therefore prevent redistribution?

BERLIN taz | The European Union spends the impressive sum of 55 billion euros on agriculture every year. Most agricultural subsidies are paid per hectare of land - largely regardless of how environmentally friendly or harmful the farmers' work is. Agriculture is largely responsible for the extinction of plant and animal species. According to the Federal Environment Agency, the industry causes 13 percent of greenhouse gases in this country. And the farms that already have the most land get the highest subsidies. The German Farmers' Association (DBV) is currently fighting against all of this changing. But why?

The approximately 20 DBV executive committee members or their companies received a total of more than 2022 million euros in EU subsidies in the 23/2,6 financial year. This is shown by taz research in the agrarpayments.de database of the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food.

[...]

“The DBV is, to a large extent, essentially an arable farmers’ industry association. “So an association of large arable farms that serve the industry and the export markets,” said Nature Conservation Association President Jörg-Andreas Krüger when asked. “The taz research underlines this: profitable arable farms that defend their subsidies at all costs are also represented at the top of the DBV. “They have no desire to reduce their margins for purely personal and economic reasons,” said the head of Germany’s largest environmental organization.

That is one reason why the farmers' association is so against capping and degression, added Martin Schulz, federal chairman of the Working Group on Farmers' Agriculture (AbL), which primarily advocates for smaller and ecologically oriented farms. Companies with thousands of hectares do not have to rely on direct payments because they can manage their land more cheaply.

AbL federal managing director Xenia Brand criticized that the farmers' association was preventing the area bonuses from being reallocated in favor of payments for specific ecological services provided by the farmers. "Since important players at the top of the German Farmers' Association benefit greatly from the current area bonus, it is not surprising that they are so vehemently blocking the qualification of these funds." In doing so, the organization is harming the farmers who have already done a lot for the climate or biodiversity. .

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SMR | weapon capableHALEU

How dangerous is HALEU uranium?

Uranium fuel produced for small nuclear reactors could be weapons-grade

Quick way to the bomb? The uranium fuel produced for future small reactors could become a global security problem, researchers warn. This so-called HALEU uranium is enriched with up to 20 percent uranium-235 - and that is enough to make it weapons-grade, as the team reports in “Science”. A nuclear bomb could be constructed within days from the amount of fuel from a single small reactor. But so far there are no corresponding safety regulations for HALEU uranium.

How the radioactive element uranium can be used depends crucially on its properties Isotope composition away. Uranium-238, which dominates in nature, is not fissile and therefore in its pure form is neither suitable as nuclear fuel for nuclear reactors nor for the construction of nuclear weapons.

[...]

Small nuclear reactors need more “oomph”

But that could change in the near future. New types of small reactors could soon replace conventional nuclear power plants. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), there are already more than 80 of these worldwide Small Modular Reactors (SMR) in planning or under construction. These small nuclear reactors use less but more highly enriched nuclear fuel to generate heat and electricity.

However, Kemp and his colleagues now warn that this is exactly what could become a problem. Because the nuclear fuel used for the SMR systems, so-called High Assay Low-enriched Uranium (HALEU), contains between ten and 20 percent uranium-235. “Most small reactor developers favor 19,75 percent uranium-235,” the researchers said. This means that this nuclear fuel is not only on the threshold of highly enriched uranium, which is considered weapons-grade - even smaller proportions of uranium-235 could pose a security risk...

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India | Elections

Strike for Modi

Elections in India: Hindu nationalists rely on allies to govern. Left opposition on the rise

Things turned out differently than expected. Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the Indian People's Party (BJP), the leading force in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, had expected to win India's 18th general election with an overwhelming majority. In the end, the target of at least 400 mandates in the 543-seat parliament came to nothing. The BJP only got 240 seats, a loss of 63, and the NDA as a whole has 293. For a government majority, 272 seats are required, which means that the BJP is dependent on the support of its allies, which it won after some back and forth Her on Wednesday also received. Modi, who was first elected prime minister in 2014, is starting his third term in office.

The fact that Modi's party did not achieve an absolute majority, while the opposition alliance INDIA had 234 seats and the BJP also suffered losses in its core areas in northern and western India, led to a contradictory reaction: Modi won, but his supporters appear to see victory as defeat. The opposition failed to form a government, but their defeat almost seems like a victory...

 


6. June


 

Battery | Reach | E-carCharging time

E-mobility

Ten minutes of charging for hundreds of kilometers: new battery goes into production

The manufacturer Gotion, supported by Volkswagen, is declaring war on its competitor CATL with three performances

Something is happening in the battery market. After all sorts of promising technological advances, these are now slowly reaching end customers. The Chinese battery specialist Gotion High Tech, one of CATL's larger competitors, has presented new developments. The G-Current battery, announced in May, is intended to enable electric cars to be ready for long-distance journeys within a few minutes.

It is its so-called 5C battery. According to the definition of the C rating, 5C means, in simple terms, that a battery can be fully charged five times in one hour, provided the charging station provides the appropriate power. In tests, the charge level could be increased from ten to 48 percent within nine minutes and 80 seconds, which corresponds to a range of several hundred kilometers.

You went from five to 15 percent in 90 minutes, and a full charge from zero to 100 takes around 25 minutes. G-Current can be produced in three different chemical configurations of the cathode: lithium iron phosphate (LFP), lithium manganese iron phosphate (LMFP) and lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NCM). The first two variants are cheaper to produce and do not contain precious metals. They offer a capacity of 75 kWh and can therefore deliver a range of over 600 kilometers. The NCM version offers 100 kWh, which should cover a distance of 800 kilometers.

Mass production is underway

The improved charging capability was achieved with a new material mix that improves the conductivity of the electrolyte by 30 to 50 percent. In addition, 30 percent of the components could be saved and the battery could therefore be made thinner. The battery should be able to cover a wide range of applications. According to Gotion's head of research, mass production of G-Current for electric cars has already started...

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LobbyArmament | Hunger | Double standards

First comes the double standards, then the eating

Poverty has no lobby - unlike war and weapons. With double standards and a lot of money, this powerful lobby is threatening to overwhelm us.

"Each child. Those who die of hunger are murdered” – Jean Ziegler recently repeated this clear sentence on his 90th birthday. The United Nations estimates that five million children under five die every year from hunger and extreme poverty. That means: a child dies every five to six seconds. If you have read these few lines, another child will have starved to death. The number of people who are hungry and dying from poverty has been rising again for years. According to the UN, around 750 to 800 million people have been hungry in recent years. We don't like to hear such uncomfortable facts, let alone think about them.

On the contrary, wealthy and supposedly well-educated people keep talking and writing about the fact that we are outraged too much, and that overall people are hardly ever doing well, even internationally. The absolute numbers and total assets are always assumed - and the distribution is not taken into account. However, the depressing numbers of hungry people worldwide declined for a time; In the United Nations' sustainability goals, fighting poverty and hunger take first and second place. Hunger should be eliminated by 2030. From 2015 onwards, the numbers stagnated at a high level, only to rise again from 2019.

A scandal! But this is not being discussed, especially now, in times of rearmament...

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Freedom of the press | Radio Dreieckland | Acquittal

Karlsruhe Regional Court acquits Radio Dreyeckland editor

The trial has been debating for weeks whether placing a link in a journalistic report can be a criminal offense. Now the court has given an answer.

In the criminal trial against an editor of the Freiburg station Radio Dreyeckland, the State Protection Chamber of the Karlsruhe Regional Court announced its verdict and acquitted the defendant.

The 38-year-old defendant was accused of supporting further actions by a banned organization by linking to a website. The editor of the non-commercial broadcaster in Freiburg had published an article in which he linked to the archive of a banned organization. The prosecution alleges that he thereby promoted and promoted the association “linksunten.indymedia”.

The Karlsruhe Regional Court saw it differently: In its judgment, the court justified the defendant's acquittal as follows: You cannot advertise an association that no longer exists. And it was not possible to prove during the negotiation that the organization continued to exist.

According to the judge, journalists should be allowed to criticize bans

In addition, the linked archive does not meet the points that led to the platform being banned at the time. Therefore, the archive cannot be directly compared or equated with the banned site.

Furthermore, the presiding judge emphasized that journalists should be allowed to criticize bans without automatically being accused of supporting what was banned...

*

IsraelDisinformation campaign | Chat GPT

Disinformation from Israel

Campaign with AI-generated posts aimed to influence US lawmakers

“Because of this new information, I have to reevaluate my opinion,” fake accounts have been posting on social media since October, referring to pro-Israel or anti-Islamic news about the Gaza war. The government in Tel Aviv is behind this, now reports the “New York Times”

The Israeli organization FakeReporter had previously drawn attention to the unique troll campaign. Accordingly, the messages were aimed at the American public and were intended to attract US lawmakers to support Israel in the war against Gaza. The fake profiles were assigned to supposed people from Israel, Canada and the United States. The owners posed as students, concerned citizens and local voters.

The campaign apparently began with the recent Gaza war and used accounts on X as well as the Facebook and Instagram platforms belonging to the Meta Group. Many of the posts were generated by the AI-driven bot ChatGPT. In total, the fake accounts had amassed more than 40 followers. Additionally, three fake English-language news sites were created that published pro-Israel articles.

[...]

Meta said it removed 510 Facebook accounts, 32 Facebook pages, XNUMX Instagram accounts and one Facebook group in connection with the Israeli operation. However, many articles on X are still available, the New York Times has researched.

According to the report, Israel's government began the disinformation campaign shortly after October 7, inviting dozens of Israeli tech start-ups to urgent meetings to fight as "digital soldiers" for the country...

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Military-industrial complexArmaments | tax money

WiP

“Would have, would have, tank chain”

(In the translations, the rhyme “Hätte, hätte, Panzerkette” certainly doesn't work at all).

MiK, the military-industrial complex has really ripped us off. The arms industry is making more and more money and people all over the world are paying with their lives.

When the nuclear industry in Germany was allowed to buy its way out of responsibility for nuclear waste with 24 billion a few years ago, I... National nuclear activities and ambitions wrote the following:

By the way, "MiC" and the shareholders of the nuclear industry really enjoyed the party, the champagne, the dividends and the tears of joy flowed freely, and it went brilliantly well. The risk has been socialized!

Conclusion: The taxpayer is paying for yet another local round!

We, who are not shareholders in the nuclear industry, have no other choice. Either we pay the billions for the dismantling of the nuclear facilities and for the safe storage of the radioactive nuclear waste until the “Day of Saints” or we risk the gradual poisoning of future generations.

“You’re always smarter afterwards”

or

“If the dog hadn’t pooped, he would have caught the rabbit”

We shouldn't let these or similar sayings stop us from learning from the mistakes of the past.

Having seen the consequences and understanding the causes, we should thoroughly analyze the mistakes of the past and, based on these analyses, reconsider and, if necessary, change any wise plans for the future.

In the Weimar Republic the Democrats failed to stop the fascists, this time we should not let the opportunity pass by...

*

European electionsProperty damage | Election posters

Damage to election posters:

The Greens and the SPD in particular are targeted

Crimes occur again and again in the European election campaign. Politicians in Lower Saxony have been insulted and even physically attacked several times.

HANOVER dpa/taz | During the European election campaign, the police in Lower Saxony have already recorded hundreds of damages to election posters. Of the 385 cases up to May 31, 2024, 151 affected the Greens and 104 the SPD, as the Lower Saxony State Criminal Police Office (LKA) announced at the request of the German Press Agency. 87 times, the AfD was investigated because of smeared or destroyed posters, 34 times the CDU, 25 times the FDP, 21 times the Left and 8 times other parties were affected. The numbers are still preliminary, said an LKA spokeswoman.

There is still quality control when recording politically motivated crime, and according to the spokeswoman, changes often occur afterwards. In the past few days and weeks, a large number of crimes with a possible connection to the European elections have been reported.

[...]

In Herzogenrath near Aachen, two young men set fire to an election poster for the Left Party on Wednesday night. The police in Aachen said on Wednesday that the officers, alerted by a caller, first extinguished the burning election poster.

Two young men who were nearby seemed suspicious to the officers. However, the adolescents aged 18 and 19 denied involvement in the crime. A witness then showed a video of the crime, after which the two confessed to the crime. The state security agency is investigating them for property damage caused by fire.

*

June 6, 2008 (INES 1) NPP INES category 1 "disorder" Philippsburg, GER

Wikipedia de

list of events

According to the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of the Environment, on the night of Friday, June 6, 2008, a pressure drop that exceeded the permissible values ​​was detected in the containment vessel of Block I. The container, which encloses important parts of the reactor, has a slight overpressure of 20 millibars during normal operation. According to the ministry, the pressure drop determined was 1 millibar per hour and was due to a leak. The leak occurred when the system was started up after the overhaul and immediately after the container was flooded with nitrogen. On the international rating scale “INES” it belongs to class 1 (“disorder”).

Philippsburg nuclear power plant breakdowns and incidents
 

AtomkraftwerkePlag

Philippsburg (Baden-Wuerttemberg)

Philippsburg II was started up in August 2001 with a defective emergency cooling system. Although the defect was discovered two weeks later, the reactor remained in operation illegally. It was later discovered that the emergency cooling system had not been sufficiently filled for years. It should be added that the operator had not reported this incident to the supervisory authority in 2001. In November 2001, the Stuttgart Ministry of the Environment reported that contaminated water had leaked from Philippsburg I due to a fault in a valve for the plant drainage system.

Because a pump in reactor I was not turned off during the annual inspection of the rapid shutdown system, 2004 liters of radioactive water flowed into the Rhine in April 30.000. EnBW reported the accident to the nuclear regulator one day later...

 


5. June


 

Funding | Heat pumpheat

Changes in heating: New figures on heat pumps cause a surprise

More and more houses are heating with heat pumps. This is shown by current government figures. However, there are hurdles.

Wiesbaden – There has been a real hustle and bustle surrounding the heat pump recently. Due to previous major uncertainties regarding funding, which many citizens had apparently relied on, sales of heat pumps fell significantly in the first quarter of 2024. However, Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) is now optimistic. “The number of applications clearly increased again in April,” he recently told the Rheinische Post. Current figures prove him right – at least in the long term.

Long-term considerations show that heat pumps are becoming increasingly popular

Heat pumps are being used in more and more new residential buildings. As the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) reported today (June 5), around two thirds of all completed residential buildings used heat pumps for heating in 2023 (64,6 percent to be precise). Compared to the previous year, 2022, this represents an increase of eight percentage points and, on paper, more than double the figure for 2014. At that time, heat pumps were installed in 31,8 percent of new buildings.

[...]

Industry representatives regularly point out the debate within Germany that has gone wrong. “The debate is detached from the facts,” he said Enpal CEO and founder Mario Kohl told Ippen.Media (see below). The government still has a lot of homework to do both in terms of funding and the “massive misinformation” that was spread in 2023. Many consumers were unsettled by the debate about heat pump funding.

 

Disinformation | BureaucracyResearch funds

Manufacturer criticizes debate about heat pumps: “It would be enough if people understood the facts”

The heating law debate has shaken trust in heat pumps. However, this is too often about misinformation. A Berlin energy company wants to change that.

Berlin – At minus 52 percent, heat pumps suffered the sharpest drop in sales of all heat generators in the first quarter of 2024. The Federal Association of the German Heating Industry (BDH) announced this at the beginning of May 2024. Although the government is doing its best to promote heat pumps, Germans' trust in the new technology has been shattered.

[...]

Heat pumps are currently having a difficult time in Germany - but that doesn't seem to be the case with Enpal. What works better for you than the competition?

Mario coal: We were very surprised that the heat pump was said to have a difficult time. The funding gives you grants of up to 70 percent or up to 21.000 euros. The heat pump has become much more attractive than comparable products such as gas or oil heating. What sets us apart is that at Enpal we also specialize in explaining this to a customer and integrating different products into overall solutions.

[...]

Basically, the funding applications work surprisingly well, but there are some bureaucratic details. For example, to get an income bonus you need two income tax returns. Of course, many people who don't file income tax returns don't have this.

Politicians can help and reduce bureaucracy so that the funding reaches those who it is intended to reach. Of course, we help customers apply for funding. Things are going quite well at KfW so far. But if KfW funding doesn't come, we'll step in because of our funding promise for the state.

So politicians still have to do their homework.

Mario coal: Yes, firstly because of the funding and then because of the massive misinformation that has been spread over the last year. We have to do a lot of educational work.

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Arms industry | Space travel | Weapons production

Olaf Scholz promises support for the arms industry

For a long time, German politics “steered clear” of the arms industry, says the Chancellor. Given Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, that is now over.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz has assured the defense industry of long-term support from the Federal Government in building up their production capacities. "Today we see more clearly than ever how important it is to have a European and German defense industry that can continuously produce all important types of weapons and the necessary ammunition," he said.

Politicians in Germany “have given the industry too wide a berth in the past”. Scholz said: "This is over. Russia's attack on Ukraine, which violates international law, has presented all of Germany with a new security policy reality."

[...]

“The ability to act in space at any time and put satellites into orbit is essential commercially, but also from a defense perspective,” he said. Reliable and innovative small systems are also needed to bring satellites into space. The Chancellor referred to the first launches of German so-called micro-launchers this year. These bring small satellites into space. “Europe needs its own satellite mega-constellation – whether for the Internet of Things or for autonomous driving and flying of tomorrow,” said Scholz. The term Internet of Things stands for a networked world of “smart”, i.e. intelligent devices that behave like computers and are networked with other devices locally or via the Internet.

*

Gaza Strip | Drinking water | Desalination plants

Humanitarian emergency for Palestinians

Desalination plant shut down in the Gaza Strip – UN sounds the alarm

US President Biden is urging Israel and Hamas to negotiate with a roadmap. Recent fighting in the Gaza Strip signals new fronts. Now the supply of drinking water is becoming scarce.

The people trapped in the Gaza Strip rely on desalination plants to obtain sufficient drinking water from the sea. But now, according to the UN, the vital systems have been switched off due to a lack of fuel for power generators.

"People don't have enough water," warned the UN Palestinian Relief Agency on X. "Survival is a struggle." Families and children have to travel long distances in the heat to get water. The organization called on Israeli authorities to provide immediate access to water.

Israel said in April that a central water pipeline from Israel to the Gaza Strip had been repaired after it was damaged in the war against the Islamist Hamas.

“Bombings, forced displacement, lack of food and water”

“Children in Gaza are experiencing an endless nightmare,” said another X-Post from UNRWA. "Bombings, forced displacement, lack of food and water and no access to education are traumatizing an entire generation." ...

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Glyphosate | Monsanto | Penalty payment

Glyphosate verdict:

Bayer penalty drastically reduced

In Pennsylvania, the fine in a glyphosate lawsuit against Bayer was reduced from $2,25 billion to $400 million. Nevertheless, Bayer wants to appeal. 

A judge in the US state of Pennsylvania reduced the fine in a glyphosate lawsuit against Bayer from $2,25 billion to $400 million. In a ruling Tuesday, Judge Susan Schulman granted some of Bayer's objections and reduced compensatory damages to $50 million and punitive damages to $350 million.

Bayer nevertheless announced that it would appeal the verdict. “Although the court reduced the unconstitutionally excessive amount of damages, we continue to disagree with the liability verdict because the proceedings were marred by significant and remediable errors,” said a company spokesman.

[...]

In 2020, Bayer agreed to a settlement of up to $9,6 billion for most of the then-pending Roundup cases, but was unable to reach a settlement for future cases. More than 50 lawsuits are still pending. Bayer said decades of studies have shown that Roundup and its active ingredient glyphosate are safe. Authorities worldwide classify the drug as non-carcinogenic. The World Health Organization's Cancer Research Agency, however, rated the active ingredient as "probably carcinogenic" in 000.

 


4. June


 

Climate protection | Solar energyEEG

Solar energy has achieved record results, far, far exceeding forecasts from the 90s

A few days ago, the great successes of solar energy were celebrated in Berlin with many early solar enthusiasts.

In fact, the success of the expansion of solar energy in 2023 is at a level that the major global energy suppliers and their analysts did not believe possible in the 90s and even in the last decade.

IEA's solar energy forecast was always far too low

The International Energy Agency (IEA), which dominates the world in energy issues, has published many assessments on the expansion of solar energy in Paris, especially in its annual World Energy Outlooks (WEO).

In 2006, the IEA forecast around 3 gigawatts (GW) of photovoltaics (PV) expansion for 2023 in the World Energy Outlook (WEO). In 2012, it increased this forecast to approximately 25 GW for 2023 and in 2017 to approximately 75 GW.

In fact, over 2023 GW of PV was added worldwide in 400.

That's more than the nuclear industry has grown in 40 years. In 2023, 1 GW of new PV was installed on Earth every day...

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Phase-out | Election campaign | Committee of Inquiry

Committee of inquiry into the end of nuclear power plants:

Cheap populism

The Union does not want to accept that nuclear power plants are a thing of the past in Germany. A parliamentary committee of inquiry makes no sense.

This is what bad losers look like: The Union parliamentary group in the Bundestag seriously wants to set up an investigative committee that will examine the decision-making process in the wake of the shutdown of the last German nuclear power plants. The Christian Democrats simply cannot accept that the use of nuclear power in Germany is history - even though they themselves once decided to phase out it.

By setting up the investigative committee, they are abusing the opposition's most important instrument for cheap election campaign maneuvers. Because the Union is by no means interested in clarifying anything. She wants to introduce Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck and with him the Greens in the hope of making political capital out of it. If the Christian Democrats are not mistaken. Many conservatives also find cheap populism nasty...

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Climate protection | Super richWealth tax

Tax on the rich for climate protection and adaptation worldwide: According to economist, consensus soon

Rich individuals would have to pay more for the climate - be it through taxes or consumption taxes, says an architect of the Paris Agreement. 

The French economist Laurence Tubiana is considered an architect of the Paris Agreement of 2015, which stipulated that emissions-related global warming should ideally be limited to 1,5 degrees or at least below two degrees.

The former is now considered unattainable among climate scientists; the latter as ambitious. Tubinia therefore suggests that super-rich people around the world should be made more responsible in order to achieve this goal.

The rich should pay: pipe dream or realistic?

A kind of global wealth tax to deal with the climate crisis could soon become the consensus, reports the British Guardian. Brazil, which will host the World Climate Summit next year, is considered a strong supporter of the project.

Meanwhile, poor countries are struggling to raise the $785 trillion (£XNUMX billion) in external finance they need to cut their emissions, manage the necessary economic transformation and mitigate the already inevitable impacts of the climate crisis.

How frequent flyers should be asked to pay for the climate

Another suggestion is a frequent flyer levy, as the richest people tend to fly much more than average people even in the northern hemisphere - half of people in the UK don't fly every year, for example. With such a levy, Tubiana has business and first class seats in mind.

Other possible sources of revenue would be a carbon tax on international shipping, which, according to a World Bank study, could bring in billions without affecting global trade. Taxes on fossil fuels could also play a role...

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RenewablesFossil | Heat pump

Gas in second place

Heat pumps heat two thirds of new buildings

Oil heating no longer plays a role in new buildings. Gas, on the other hand, remains a central source of energy. Far before that, however, is the heat pump - the trend is increasing massively. Four out of five new residential buildings are already heated with renewable energy.

In Germany, new buildings are predominantly heated with heat pumps. Last year, electrically powered devices were installed in almost two thirds (64,6 percent) of the 96.800 completed residential buildings, as the Federal Statistical Office reported. Compared to 2014, the proportion of heat pumps in this segment has more than doubled. The trend continues, as the share of heat pumps in approved residential buildings is currently 76,3 percent.

The energy source is primarily used in single and two-family homes, but less frequently in new multi-family homes. The second most important primary source in new buildings last year was gas, which was used in 20,1 percent of the buildings. That's only half as many as ten years ago. In addition, 8,2 percent of buildings have district heating and almost 5 percent have other renewable energy sources such as pellets or biomass.

Oil heating hardly plays a role anymore, as it was only installed in 300 new buildings, which corresponds to a share of 0,3 percent...

*

BavariaFlooding | extreme weather

Failure to protect against flooding – will that pay off?

While people are still fighting against the floods in many places, anger is now also spreading. Some mayors criticize gaps in flood protection. Of the nine planned flood polders, eight are not even under construction yet.

The mayor of Rodingen, Alexandra Riedl, is examining a claim for damages. And not against anyone. She is angry with the responsible water management office in Regensburg. She also wrote many letters to her party colleague, the Bavarian Free Voters Environment Minister Thorsten Glauber, she says. Vain! The water management authorities are subordinate to his ministry.

The mayor is worried about residents

What is causing Alexandra Riedl to be upset: A flood protection wall on the Regen River that had already been promised has been postponed. The reason: a lack of money in the Free State. Although the city of Roding has already paid large amounts of money in advance to make the measure possible, says Riedl. Not only is she now afraid of being stuck with the costs, but she is also afraid of the flood.

[...]

Greens: If anyone delayed flood protection, it was Hubert Aiwanger

For Katharina Schulze, leader of the Green Party in the state parliament, it is clear that Economics Minister Hubert Aiwanger has slowed down flood protection: "When I think of Hubert Aiwanger, I think of a man who has not stood out for his flood protection measures in recent years, but much more sabotaged flood protection measures." The Greens made proposals in the Bavarian state parliament for technical flood protection with polders, but also for ecological flood protection. It was about the renaturation of moors and lakes. However, they failed because of the black-orange government coalition...

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Climate policy | SubsidiesTransport transition

Financial policy

Lindner should make savings suggestions for transport subsidies

An alliance of trade unions, environmental associations and a car club is calling on the Federal Finance Minister to reallocate funds in favor of the transport transition. Climate-damaging subsidies are also socially unfair.

Traffic has been a problem since climate policy began over 30 years ago. The sector has existed in Germany since 1990 practically nothing contributed to CO2 savings. The traffic light federal government has promised improvements here, but a real turnaround is not in sight.

An unusual alliance of unions, environmental and business associations as well as a car club fordert Now, with a view to the 2025 federal budget, Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) is calling for a reallocation of financial resources - away from climate-damaging subsidies and new road construction, towards investments in the transport transition.

[...]

Get out of the combustion engine trap

In total, the subsidies amount to tens of billions of euros, which, in the opinion of the eleven organizations, should be used for a social-ecological transformation. According to the Federal Environment Agency about half is accounted for of environmentally harmful subsidies in this country, which the office estimates at more than 65 billion euros annually, to the transport sector.

In a "Five-point plan" The alliance makes suggestions on what the money should be spent on instead. This includes renovating the road infrastructure instead of building new motorways, ending the rail investment backlog of 90 billion euros, expanding public transport financing, and more 49 euro ticket to secure it in the long term and to expand it with a cheaper social ticket...

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June 4, 2008 (INES 0 Class.?)INES Category 0 "Reportable Event" NPP Krsko, SVN

Regulators shut down the Krsko nuclear power plant after the primary cooling system failed and coolant leaked into the reactor containment.
(Cost approx. US$12 million)

Nuclear Power Accidents
 

Wikipedia de

Nuclear power plant Krško#incidents

On June 4, 2008 at 15, a loss-of-coolant accident occurred. Coolant had escaped in the main cooling system (primary circuit) and the reactor output was throttled as a result. The reactor was shut down and completely shut down at 07:20 ...
 

AtomkraftwerkePlag

Krško (Slovenia)#Risks and Incidents

Problems already arose during delivery in 1981: when the 322-ton steam generator was being transported from Rijeka to Krško, it crashed into the motorway. In the first eight years, operations at the $70 billion facility were disrupted XNUMX times...

 


3. June


 

Indian Point | Holtec | Muzzle

Old nuclear power plant doesn't go online due to safety reasons: But workers have to remain silent

The operators of a decommissioned nuclear power plant in the USA have contractually prohibited their ex-employees from testifying as witnesses against their former employer. There were probably security problems.

Holtec International, owner of the US Indian Point nuclear power plant, has muzzled its former employees: They are not allowed to discuss safety concerns with outsiders. This was the result of an investigation by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

The authority recently reprimanded the New Jersey-based power plant owner. The reason: clauses in the severance agreements of employees who left the company in 2022 and 2023. The clauses prevented or prevented employees from testifying as witnesses in proceedings that could harm Holtec, the news portal reports lohud.com.

[...]

Nuclear power plant operator Holtec already had a questionable reputation

This is the second time in recent months that Holtec has backtracked following a reprimand from the NRC for violating federal regulations. In February, the NRC reprimanded Holtec for using $63.000 of ratepayer funds earmarked for the demolition of Indian Point to support a high school fashion show, sports teams and a golf tournament.

Holtec had to return the money taken from about $2 billion in deconstruction trust funds.

*

Nuclear phase-out | Runtime | Decision-making

Atom runtime extension:

The leadership of the Union faction is pushing for a committee of inquiry

The leadership of the Union faction is calling for a committee of inquiry into the circumstances of the nuclear phase-out. The role of Robert Habeck will also be examined.

The head of the Union parliamentary group in the Bundestag wants to request a committee of inquiry to clarify the circumstances of the traffic light government's nuclear phase-out in 2022. This emerges from a letter from CDU leader Friedrich Merz and CSU regional group leader Alexander Dobrindt to the Bundestag faction, which is available to ZEIT ONLINE. The role of Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) should also be examined in a U-committee.

“The information available to us leads to the conclusion that the federal government has decided on a crucial issue of our national energy security not for the benefit of Germany, but solely according to the logic of Green party politics,” the letter says. The Federal Ministry of Economics only sent incomplete documents requested for the clarification. “We therefore recommend that the CDU/CSU parliamentary group set up an investigative committee on the ‘Habeck files’,” write the politicians. The group still has to vote on it.

[...]

Union says many questions remain unanswered

The dispute concerns the decision-making process surrounding the extension of the service life of nuclear power plants two years ago. The magazine Cicero had published files from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and the Federal Environment Ministry, which, according to the medium, could give the impression that assessments at the specialist level of the departments were changed in such a way that continued operation of the reactors for a longer period of time appeared impossible. In both ministries, internal concerns about the nuclear phase-out, which was still planned for the following year, were said to have been suppressed. Both ministries deny this.

[...]

Habeck had assured the opposition that he would provide the committee with all the data to assess the decision-making processes at the time. He pointed out that the Union and FDP had decided to phase out nuclear power many years before. Ultimately it was just a matter of continuing to operate three reactors for a few months.
 

IMHO

The strategists at the Adenauerhaus have come up with something really great with the investigative committee “Habeck and the nuclear phase-out”. The media will concentrate on the question “Why do I care about my chatter from yesterday?” and in this regard, the ladies and gentlemen of the CDU/CSU in particular should dress warmly despite the coming hot summer slump.

*

climate damage | Financing | Baku

nature and environment

Preparation for the climate summit: Who pays for climate damage?

Financing climate damage is an important topic at the next climate summit COP 29 in Baku. International experts are now discussing the basics at the preparatory meeting in Bonn.

Who should pay the growing costs of climate damage and climate adaptation? States have been arguing about this for years. Due to rising temperatures and the increase in extreme weather events, the topic is becoming increasingly important.

Against this background, several thousand government representatives, researchers and members of civil society are currently meeting in Bonn, Germany, until June 13th. They are discussing the negotiation templates for the next climate conference in Azerbaijan's capital Baku in November.

These are delicate questions: Which industrialized countries should pay? How much money should come from state coffers and how much from private companies? And how can countries make it transparent where the money is going?

[...]

Growing climate costs: from billions to trillions

In 2009, richer countries decided to allocate $2020 billion (100 billion euros) annually by 92 to help developing countries mitigate and deal with the climate crisis. However, this goal was achieved for the first time in 2022, according to the results of the OECD review.

[...]

Who should pay for climate damage?

The question remains who should pay the costs. Many industrialized countries that have committed to the financial goals are also calling on other countries with large industries to do their part. Countries with the highest emissions in the world, such as China and Saudi Arabia, have so far been exempt from this because the United Nations (UN) counts them as developing countries...

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Mexico | Elections

Election in Mexico:

Scientist with an eco-focus

Claudia Sheinbaum wrote about climate change, CO2 and wind energy. Now she is set to become the first woman to become president of Mexico.

MEXICO CITY taz | Anyone who looks at Claudia Sheinbaum's academic career would never think that the likely future Mexican president became the desired successor to incumbent head of state Andrés Manuel López Obrador. While the outgoing head of state pushed the use of fossil fuels with all his might, the physicist has been dealing with the problems that this energy production creates for decades.

The now 61-year-old has written in numerous publications about climate change, the possibilities for curbing CO2 emissions in Mexico City and the social consequences of using wind energy. The environmental engineer also devoted herself to these issues as a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

In her office as mayor of the capital, which she held from 2018 to 2023, she campaigned for sustainable development in the metropolis: she increased the use of rainwater, had numerous solar systems installed and expanded the public transport network.

Sheinbaum will now have to prove whether Mexico's first female president can go her own way despite her mentor's instructions. So far, her political career has been closely linked to that of López Obrador, or Amlo for short...

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Greenpeace | CO2 priceClimate money

Compensation for CO2 prices

Greenpeace warns against turning away from climate money

The federal government actually wants to offset the rising CO2 price with climate money - actually. We don't hear much about it anymore. According to Greenpeace, this circumstance poses a great danger to society.

According to a study, without financial compensation for the rising CO2 price for refueling and heating, households are at risk of significant additional burdens. The environmental organization Greenpeace is therefore calling for the rapid introduction of climate money. “A CO2 price without climate money is socially explosive,” says Greenpeace climate expert Bastian Neuwirth. Climate money could significantly reduce the burden right down to the middle of society, according to a study by the Ecological-Social Market Economy Forum on behalf of the environmental organization Greenpeace.

The legally anchored CO2 price makes, among other things, heating and refueling with fossil fuels more expensive and is intended to provide incentives for more climate-friendly consumption. It will increase in the coming years. The SPD, Greens and FDP had agreed in the coalition agreement: "In order to compensate for future price increases and to ensure acceptance of the market system, we will develop a social compensation mechanism beyond the abolition of the EEG levy (climate money)."

According to Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner, a per capita payment is technically possible from 2025. However, climate money would cost billions. It is unclear if and when the coalition will implement this...

*

Collaboration instead of Disinformation and Cyberattacks

Nuclear war by mistake: "Deepfakes and cyberattacks could have an impact"

AI increases the risk of military escalation. The complexity of the nuclear threat could become uncontrollable. Experts only see one solution. (Part 2 and conclusion - Part 1)

They are also co-founders of the “Accidental Nuclear War” interest group. Why do you see the need to warn about the danger of “accidental nuclear war”?

Karl Hans Bläsius: Back in the 1980s, I was already concerned with the risk of “accidental nuclear war,” for example as a result of a computer error. From around 2016 onwards, I had the impression that the risk of nuclear war was increasing again and in 2019 I set up the website atomkrieg-aus-versicht.de to point out these risks, as in my opinion they were far too little known.

My biggest fear was that over the next few decades climate change will cause many regions to become uninhabitable, people will have to go elsewhere, and this will lead to crises and conflicts, so that any failure in an early warning system will become more and more dangerous and this will eventually become one "Accidental nuclear war" could result.

In my view, the risk of an “accidental nuclear war” has now increased significantly due to the war in Ukraine.

September 26, 1983

Have there been situations in the past where a nuclear war came within a whisker of accident?

Karl Hans Bläsius: Yes, there were some situations like this where it was only through great luck that an "accidental nuclear war" didn't occur. There were some very dangerous situations, particularly during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

One incident on September 26, 1983 became particularly well known: a satellite of the Russian early warning system reported five attacking intercontinental ballistic missiles. Since the correct functioning of the satellite was established, the Russian officer on duty would have Stanislav Petrov must pass on the warning message according to regulations. However, he considered an attack by the USA with only five missiles to be unlikely, did not want to be responsible for a third world war and decided, despite the data, that it was a false alarm...

 


2. June


 

Bavaria | High waterDam breach

Several districts declare a disaster - the situation in Günzburg is getting worse

Due to the severe flooding in parts of southern Germany, eleven districts and municipalities have so far declared a disaster. So far, one death has been reported and numerous people have been injured. Emergency services continue to carry out evacuations. According to the district administrator, more than 1.000 people had to leave their houses and apartments in Günzburg alone.

Many towns are flooded. Evacuation measures were carried out in numerous Bavarian communities. The approximately 1.000 people affected in the Günzburg district were accommodated in gyms and some in the Legoland amusement park, the district administrator explained on Bayerischer Rundfunk. According to the state government, there are currently 20.000 helpers on duty in Bavaria, as well as hundreds of Bundeswehr soldiers. In the meantime there were even 40.000 helpers.

In Pfaffenhofen, a firefighter died when his boat capsized during a rescue operation. In nearby Schrobenhausen, a woman is missing who is said to have been in a cellar when the floods came. A boat carrying helpers also capsized in Offingen near Günzburg and a firefighter has been missing since then. A man was critically injured while working on electricity in the Upper Bavarian district of Freising. He was rescued from a flooded area at the town hall in Allershausen, the police said. It can be assumed that the work was related to the flood.

Fire brigade on dam bursts: “Repair not possible”

According to the fire department, repairs are not possible after the dam bursts in the area of ​​the municipality of Baar-Ebenhausen. Now people have to be saved, it was said. There is a risk of another dam bursting on the couple...

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Combustion engines | PopulismParty donation

Backlog due to technology

Only one German company really wants to sell combustion engines after 2035. BMW is supported by the Union and FDP. A fatal wrong turn, paved with embarrassing mishaps – and a lot of money.

The slogan was so successful that it entered pop culture. The title song of U2's 1993 album "Zooropa" began like this: "Zooropa: Advancement through technology / Zooropa: be all that you can be." The Audi slogan also appeared in “Park Life” by Blur (1994). It was considered the epitome of the German high-tech image of the nineties: innovative, sleek, ultra-modern.

In recent years, the image has taken a hit. First the diesel scandal, then the agonizing, dangerous indecision in moving away from a technology that must and will die: the internal combustion engine. Harmful to the climate and health, loud, vulnerable, absurdly inefficient.

The combustion engine market is shrinking, e-mobility is growing exponentially

The Audi brand seems determined not to give up the ideal of “advancement through technology”. Audi CEO Gernot Döllner wants to completely phase out gasoline and diesel engines by 2033. Most in the industry know that the future belongs to electric cars: combustion engines have sold worse worldwide since 2017 and in Europe since 2019. Electromobility, on the other hand, continues to grow exponentially globally, despite claims to the contrary.

Only for BMW boss Oliver Zipse does the “pleasure of driving” seem to be inseparably linked to the combustion engine: BMW is the only German manufacturer to oppose the EU goal of only registering vehicles that are CO₂-neutral from 2035 onwards.

[...]

BMW is supported in this stance by the CDU. There have been close – including financial – connections between the party and the manufacturer for years. The members of the Quandt and Klatten families, who own parts of BMW, have donated more than 3,7 million euros to the Union parties over the years You can check it out at “Lobbypedia”.. The BMW company itself donated over 2,8 million euros to the Union. The FDP got at least 1,3 million from the Klattens and the Quandts and almost 720.000 euros from BMW...

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Mexico | Electionsorganized crime

Voting after a bloody election campaign

For the first time, Mexicans could elect a woman as president. Two candidates were ahead in the polls - after an election campaign that was marked by violence. Because organized crime is pushing into politics.

"I want you, the women, to carry this message in your hearts: If a woman becomes president, not just one wins, but we all win," shouts top candidate Claudia Sheinbaum to her supporters at a campaign rally. If the polls are right, Mexico will most likely be led by a woman in the future - possibly Sheinbaum.

First female president with a feminist agenda?

According to polls, she has been ahead for months; shortly before the elections, she was awarded 54 percent of the vote, followed by Xóchitl Gálvez, who got around 36 percent. The 61-year-old former senator, entrepreneur and computer engineer is running for the right-wing conservative Acción Nacional party, part of the main opposition alliance Frente Amplio por México.

The alliance was formed by three parties, two of which dominated politics in Mexico for decades before being pushed out by the left-wing Morena Party of incumbent President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. At the bottom of the race for the highest office in the state is Jorge Álvarez Máynez, 38 years old, from the still young Movimiento Ciudadano party with scores around ten percent.

[...]

Organized crime pushes through candidates

Organized crime influences the balance of power, especially during election campaigns. There are now 200 criminal groups that are active in Mexico and defending their interests, explains Falko Ernst from the non-governmental organization International Crisis Group. It's no longer just about drugs; organized crime dominates the lucrative business with avocados, limes and chicken, makes money from human trafficking and migration, blackmails, kidnaps and, above all, collects protection money.

And that's not all: "It's now very much about legal markets - including agriculture, industry and global trade. Above all, the groups have noticed that once they have access to the state, they can skim a lot of money from public contracts " - for example in the construction industry or in infrastructure projects. The organized crime portfolio has become very diversified. And that's why, says Ernst, elections are so important...

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Thailand | Military coupRoyalists

Thai election winner on the verge of elimination

“It costs them more to kill us than to have us around.”

For the young he is a reformer, for the military and the royal family he is a radical: A year ago Pita Limjaroenrat won the elections in Thailand, but was not allowed to govern. Now he should be excluded from politics. 

Pita Limjaroenrat, 43, a former star of Thai politics, relaxes into an armchair at Soho House in central Bangkok, a few days before his political career could be over forever.

Just over a year ago, Limjaroenrat won the elections in Thailand as the top candidate of the progressive “Move Forward” party – far ahead of the other parties. It wasn't just the young people who voted for him who longed for a different Thailand: a more modern one with equal opportunities and more say. The votes for him and his party came from across society.

Limjaroenrat and his party had behaved differently than the government that has ruled the country since a military coup ten years ago. With young, often female staff, with demands for a fairer future in the Southeast Asian country. They wanted to reform the monarchy, the military and the so-called lese majeste paragraph - all ideas that are considered radical in Thaliand. And for which young people are still fighting today, ending up in prison and going on hunger strikes.

The conservative one The establishment of military loyalists and royalists therefore prevented the election winner from governing. This Sunday, the taking of evidence in a case opened against him by the Supreme Court of Thailand will conclude. “Move Forward” could be dissolved and the Limjaroenrat could be blocked from politics. The predecessor party experienced a similar fate after the 2019 election. It was also banned after the election...

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European Parliament | Martin Sonneborn

The Diogenes from Osnabrück

There is little diversity in parliaments. In the European Parliament, too, there is a culture of politicians in gray on gray. There is one exception. A citizen parliamentarian with a strong sense of comedy. 

His speeches in the European Parliament are short. But concise. He gets straight to the point. Whereby: Is humor a flourish? Because he is never left out in his short appearances. Yes, it is unthinkable without it. Despite his wit and esprit, his speeches are accusations - he often directly addresses the President of the Commission, who speaks his native language. Martin Sonneborn is standing for re-election these days. The politician from The Party is full of humor - and that is precisely why he is such a serious European politician.

He told Overton magazine that he considered it an advantage to have "learned his craft on Titanic." His work at the satirical magazine is the reason why his little polemics - he said "our little polemics" and certainly means his party and his staff - are more entertaining "than the lectures of most colleagues." They're not just entertaining. In the biting joke there is something that you can hardly find in many professional politicians anymore, not even in traces: sincerity - and therefore also truth.

[...]

The party was once a joke party. She still sees herself that way. But if you go to a local council meeting in Frankfurt, where the party is to be found, you won't notice any difference between the joke politicians and those who are dead serious in their communal shark tank. However, it is noticeable that the funny ones are more eloquent. What this says about the nature of our community is that the intellect takes refuge in sarcasm, indeed has to take refuge, if it wants to be able to endure this “rule of the lower mediocrity”. The fact that Sonneborn shines in Europe because everyone else appears in dull tones is a popular thesis among party political purists. It doesn't necessarily have to be right. Sonneborn ultimately brought the 2006 World Cup to Germany. Together with Franz Beckenbauer. There were two figures of light among themselves.

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Argentina | Freedom of the press | Javier Milei

Public broadcasting:

Argentina: How press freedom is shrinking

The government in Argentina is curtailing public broadcasting. Many fear for press freedom - also because President Milei regularly attacks journalists online.

Argentina's President Javier Milei became known throughout the country with his eccentric appearances, especially on social media. Whether through his wildly sticking-out hair, which he says he doesn't comb because he leaves it to the free market, or appearing in a superhero costume - Milei knows how to attract attention. His self-created image is his capital - and has led to conflicts with the press even before his election. Now, with Milei in office, the situation for the media in the country is getting worse.

Milei repeatedly attacks unpleasant journalists on social networks. Two days before he took office in December 2023, the organization Reporters Without Borders said that Milei's aggressiveness towards the press was a warning sign and that they would be watching him closely.

Argentine government cuts public broadcasting

As president, he is now creating facts: in mid-May, the government closed all public broadcasting websites and social media channels. Numerous live broadcasts and all weekend TV news were suspended.

The closure is a shot in the heart of the Argentine media system.

Agustín Lecchi, journalists' union SiPreBA

Agustín Lecchi makes the extent of it clear: "Public radio is the only station that reaches the entire country. Even areas in Patagonia where there isn't even an internet signal."

[...] 

Javier Milei insults journalists on social media

Javier Milei prefers to communicate directly via X, formerly Twitter. On some days, the president spends over four hours on the platform, measurements show. For Milei, most journalists are liars. On X he insults individuals by name. This year alone, 60 journalists have been physically or verbally attacked in Argentina. The journalists' association FOPEA counted almost 20 of them directly insulted by the president...

 


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Weapon systems | Artificial intelligenceEscalation spiral

Does artificial intelligence accidentally increase the risk of nuclear war?

AI weapon systems can drive escalation spirals. They lack the ability to make rational decisions. What this can lead to. (Part 1) 

Interview with Prof. Karl Hans Bläsius, Professor of Artificial Intelligence at Trier University and operator of the website atomkrieg-aus-accidental.de and ki-follow.de about AI in modern warfare and the dangers to humanity.

Prof. Bläsius, artificial intelligence plays a crucial role today in the conception of autonomous weapon systems. How do you assess this development? 

Karl Hans Bläsius: Autonomy in technical systems is fundamentally not bad. I also hope for autonomous cars so that I can drive even when I'm old. Autonomous robots can also be very useful in dangerous environments. Of course, militaries would also like to have more autonomy in weapon systems, as this allows them to achieve more impact in complex environments and tight deadlines.

However, these are weapons that serve to destroy and kill, so different standards should apply here. On the one hand, the aim should not be to automate killing, but on the other hand, more autonomy is possible for all weapon systems and there could be particularly dangerous developments, including in connection with nuclear weapons, for example in the case of autonomous submarines, aircraft or cruise missiles.

In high-frequency trading in the financial markets, unforeseen interaction processes often occur between different algorithms, which lead to massive price drops within seconds (so-called “flash crashes”). Can such unpredictable interactions between the automatic systems also occur with fully autonomous weapon systems, leading to an unforeseen chain reaction of autonomously guided attacks and counterattacks? 

Karl Hans Bläsius: Yes, this risk is also included in one October 2020 report entitled “Autonomous Weapon Systems” described by the Office for Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag. The term “flash war” is also used here. In very short periods of time, competing systems could launch attacks and counterattacks that are no longer controllable and controllable by humans, and could thus lead to an escalation spiral.

Such a chain reaction would also be conceivable with autonomous Internet agents. Such a “flash war” could also take place on the Internet. Some generative AI systems comparable to ChatGPT are already in use on the Internet and more will be added. Many companies and countries are currently working on generative AI systems. In addition to humans, bots could also ask questions and tasks to these systems. It is to be expected that there will soon be interactions between these systems themselves.

This can create new threats, especially if these systems have cyberattack capabilities. Tasked by humans, bots, or another generative AI system, a system like ChatGPT could carry out cyberattacks. Other generative AI systems with which there is already interaction could detect this and launch counterattacks.

Without people being involved, a chain reaction could quickly arise between these systems with increasingly powerful cyber attacks, i.e. a “flash war” on the Internet. These systems would then be de facto autonomous cyber weapons. Even if the current systems are not yet technically capable of this, it is to be expected that extensions will be activated at regular intervals that may have such capabilities sometime in the next few years or very soon.

Is artificial intelligence already being used today, for example, to determine military targets in wars? And if so, how do you assess this?

Karl Hans Bläsius: Yes, Israel uses such AI-based systems to determine Hamas fighters and suspected whereabouts. Extensive monitoring data is used and control targets are determined on a large scale. Telepolis has already reported on this several times (here, here and here).

It is extremely questionable whether such automatically determined goals are still checked by humans for correctness. Because it's obviously a larger number. If that is not the case, then a machine will ultimately decide who will be killed, including civilians who fall victim to these attacks. This is unacceptable.

Military actions often take place under extreme time pressure and in a highly complex situation. Therefore, the increasing use of artificial intelligence is of course actually an option in order to be able to master the unmanageable amounts of data and make a decision. Is this problematic from your point of view?

Karl Hans Bläsius: Due to complexity and short time spans, it will increasingly be necessary to use AI techniques. However, such decisions are usually made in an uncertain context. The data available to make a decision is usually vague, uncertain and incomplete.

For vague values ​​such as size or brightness of objects, there is a continuous spectrum between "does not apply" and "applies". Corresponding characteristics only apply to a certain extent and that is not always certain, but they may only apply with a certain degree of probability.

In addition, important information for a decision could be missing. AI also includes techniques for solving problems and making decisions based on vague, uncertain and incomplete data.

However, such decisions only apply with a certain degree of probability and can be wrong. This is a limit that applies in principle, no matter how good AI systems will be. Human decision-makers should always be aware of this problem.

You have already mentioned it: The frequently heard demand that the final decision about life and death must rest with a person can, however, turn out to be a sham control. It is questionable whether humans can evaluate the information themselves and reject the AI's decision in such a short amount of time, right?

Karl Hans Bläsius: Yes, that is very questionable. In many cases, automatic decisions made by humans are difficult to verify because they are often based on hundreds of weighted characteristics, from which an overall result is calculated using a special evaluation formula.

Such a solution, i.e. the justification for a decision result, is usually not easy to understand. A review could take a few hours or even days, which is usually not enough time. This will particularly apply in a military context.

If the decision result cannot be easily and quickly evaluated by humans, the only thing left for humans is to believe what the machine delivers. Successful and correct AI decisions will also lead to increased trust in such systems over time, making it increasingly difficult for people to resist the machine's decisions.

In particular, people could be held particularly accountable if they decide differently than what the machine suggested and this turns out to be wrong. The requirement that the final decision about life and death rest with a person, i.e. the principle of "man in the loop" must apply, could turn out to be a sham control. It is questionable whether people can evaluate the available information in the time available and thus have a suitable basis for their decision.

Specifically, perhaps with regard to the Ukraine war: to what extent do you see your fears regarding the use of AI confirmed there?

Karl Hans Bläsius: AI is used in the Ukraine war, for example for a detailed military situation report on the basis of which suitable attack targets can be determined. Software from the American company Palantir is used here. Telepolis had already reported on this too. Drones are also particularly important in this war, although I don't know to what extent AI and autonomy play a role here.

Do you see a danger of an escalation spiral in the Ukraine war?

Karl Hans Bläsius: Yes, I see a big risk here. Nuclear threats have existed since the beginning of the war. The effects of a nuclear war can be so serious that there is a high level of inhibition against the use of nuclear weapons, even in times of crisis and war.

Nevertheless, various scenarios are conceivable in which it could be used. The use of nuclear weapons cannot be ruled out if a nuclear power finds itself in a situation that is unacceptable to it, although it is difficult to estimate from the outside under which circumstances this will apply.

This will apply to Russia at least if the Russian Federation finds itself in an existential emergency, although it is not clear under what conditions such a situation will arise. However, the risk of nuclear war can also depend on coincidences, for example if, due to an error in an early warning system for nuclear threats, a nuclear attack is reported even though none has occurred, i.e. it is a false alarm.

Even in these cases, the data basis for detecting such attacks is vague, uncertain and incomplete. This is why automatic systems cannot make reliable decisions even in such situations. The context, i.e. the global political situation, must be taken into account for the assessment.

Other events that can be associated with such an alarm message could also lead to such a message being assessed as genuine.

Furthermore, in times of war like now, one might be more likely to trust an enemy to carry out such an attack. The supposedly attacked nation must consider launching its own nuclear missiles before the enemy's strike and make a counter-reaction more difficult.

This could then lead to an “accidental nuclear war.” Threats to use nuclear weapons are just as irresponsible as attacks on components of a nuclear power's nuclear force.

Such events can easily lead to misunderstandings and misinterpretations, leading to accidental nuclear war. This also applies to the attacks on Russian early warning systems that have become known in recent days, which have significantly increased the risk of escalation.

 


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Weapon systems | Artificial intelligence

March 3, 2024 - More courage would be good...

February 25, 2024 - AI and war: Are we humans losing control?

February 7, 2023 - Kim's hackers steal $1,2 billion

January 24, 2023 - Germany delivers tanks to Ukraine

July 31, 2022 - Turbo for France's military

November 1, 2022 - Don't fear progress and technology, fear capitalism

 

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Federal Academy for Security Policy (BAKS)

Artificial intelligence in the armed forces: The need for action regarding autonomy in weapon systems

Armed forces around the world have begun to explore the use of artificial intelligence (AI) for military purposes. The Bundeswehr is no exception. Areas in which AI can play to its strengths and optimize and accelerate processes in the Bundeswehr include, for example, logistics, predictive maintenance, operational support and management, but also the analysis of large data sets for early crisis detection. A much more sensitive area is the use of AI to increase “autonomy” in weapon systems – up to fully autonomous weapon systems that select and engage targets without human control. This paper explores the novelty and functional nature of “weapon system autonomy.” It then outlines the risks associated with fully autonomous weapon systems. Finally, the paper makes three suggestions as to how Germany should position itself internationally and nationally with a view to the Bundeswehr - avoiding risks and taking advantage of opportunities.

Scientists and representatives of civilian technology companies, the drivers of innovation in the field of AI, have been warning about a paradigm shift in warfare for years, with great media attention. These include the recently deceased Stephen Hawking as well as Elon Musk and Demis Hassabis and Mustafa Suleyman, the founders of Google's AI company DeepMind. They all draw attention to the international legal, security policy and ethical risks if weapon systems increasingly operate outside human control in the future. Promoted by these warnings from civil society, multilateral discussions about possible arms control for fully autonomous weapon systems, known in UN parlance as LAWS (Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems), have been taking place at the United Nations (UN) level since 2014 within the framework of the UN Weapons Convention in Geneva. instead of ...

 

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Wikipedia

Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI), also known as artificial intelligence, is a branch of computer science that deals with the automation of intelligent behavior and machine learning. The term is difficult to define because there is already a lack of a precise definition of “intelligence”. Nevertheless, it is used in research and development.

One attempt to define “intelligence” is that it is the quality that enables a being to act appropriately and proactively in its environment; This includes the ability to perceive environmental data, that is, to have sensory impressions and react to them, to absorb, process and store information as knowledge, to understand and produce language, to solve problems and to achieve goals.

Practical successes of AI are quickly integrated into the application areas and then no longer count as AI. Because of this so-called “AI effect”, AI research only seems to struggle with hard nuts that it cannot crack, which is also expressed by Tesler’s “theorem”: “Intelligence is what machines have not yet done”.
 

Weapon system

In general, the term weapon system refers to complex technical defense material, mostly modern large-scale military equipment from the industrial age. One component of the weapon system is the actual weapon.

Weapon systems can be of different sizes and can also build on one another. For example, an anti-aircraft missile in a short-range defense system on a warship that forms an anti-aircraft defense system with other ships. Each of these individual levels (missile, short-range defense, ship and air defense system) can be referred to as a weapon system.

[...]

Automation

Today's weapon systems can also respond to a threat completely autonomously and faster than human ability to react. Improving weapon systems also requires a corresponding response from defending systems, which may exceed human capabilities. A technological example is provided by so-called close-in weapon systems (CIWS) such as the Phalanx CIWS or the Goalkeeper, which can destroy several supersonic anti-ship missiles approaching the ship from different directions at short distances (short-range defense).

These forms of automation enable completely new concepts of defense. For example, the defense and combat system on a modern warship has numerous subordinate and tiered weapon systems at its disposal, which are deployed according to the threats. The weapon systems are controlled centrally by the so-called operations center (OPZ).

Unmanned systems

Unmanned aircraft (UAV; German drone), vehicles and boats are now also being equipped with weapons and becoming weapon systems of a new kind. While unmanned vehicles and boats are largely still in development or testing, unmanned and armed aircraft (UCAV, Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle) has already completed its first combat missions. They either fly a preset course or are remotely controlled. Even in the former case, constant intervention by a pilot is possible. For example, newly discovered targets can be attacked during deployment. A large number of ground targets in Iraq were destroyed using the MQ-1 Predator drone.

Development programs for unmanned combat aircraft are underway in numerous countries. While the US defense industry is primarily working on the X-45 (Air Force and Boeing) and Development of ETAP.

 

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