‘Ring of Fire’ Sees 144 Major Earthquakes in a Week

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(Photo Credit: Astroskiandhike via Creative Commons 4.0)

 

Attention is turning to the potential for a West Coast ‘big one’ hitting California, Oregon, or Washington.

The Pacific Ocean’s “Ring of Fire” has seen 144 major earthquakes—those in excess of magnitude-4.5 intensity—in the past week as concern grows that another “big one” could be coming soon. Continue reading

Mexican Radio to Beam Chinese Propaganda

Phoenix-TV

 

U.S. probes links between buyer of Tijuana station and China’s Phoenix TV

A large Spanish-language radio station in Mexico will soon begin broadcasting in Chinese in a deal critics say will bring Beijing propaganda to Chinese Americans throughout Southern California.

A Federal Communications Commission filing on the sale of radio station XEWW AM 690 radio near Tijuana reveals the buyer has ties to Phoenix Satellite Television US, a subsidiary of Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing Phoenix TV. Continue reading

Radioactive Cesium-137 From Fukushima Found In California Wine

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Following the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan – which left Japanese residents contending with toxic water and radioactive wild boars, World Health Organization (WHO) officials said that particles of radioactive fallout which made its way to the Western United States and elsewhere was no biggie and didn’t pose a health risk.

California wine lovers will get to test that theory, after researchers at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) discovered cesium-137 in several golden-state vintages. The researchers tested 18 bottles of California rosé and cabernet sauvignon from 2009 onward – finding increased levels of the radioactive isotope in bottles produced after the Fukushima disaster. The cabernets had double the radiation of the other wine, according to the study. Continue reading

The NSA’s Hidden Spy Hubs in Eight U.S. Cities

A VERY long read that is worth your while.

It reminds you of how well you don’t know your city if you’re living in one of these eight.

 

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420 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles

 

The secrets are hidden behind fortified walls in cities across the United States, inside towering, windowless skyscrapers and fortress-like concrete structures that were built to withstand earthquakes and even nuclear attack. Thousands of people pass by the buildings each day and rarely give them a second glance, because their function is not publicly known. They are an integral part of one of the world’s largest telecommunications networks – and they are also linked to a controversial National Security Agency surveillance program.

Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. In each of these cities, The Intercept has identified an AT&T facility containing networking equipment that transports large quantities of internet traffic across the United States and the world. A body of evidence – including classified NSA documents, public records, and interviews with several former AT&T employees – indicates that the buildings are central to an NSA spying initiative that has for years monitored billions of emails, phone calls, and online chats passing across U.S. territory.

The NSA considers AT&T to be one of its most trusted partners and has lauded the company’s “extreme willingness to help.” It is a collaboration that dates back decades. Little known, however, is that its scope is not restricted to AT&T’s customers. According to the NSA’s documents, it values AT&T not only because it “has access to information that transits the nation,” but also because it maintains unique relationships with other phone and internet providers. The NSA exploits these relationships for surveillance purposes, commandeering AT&T’s massive infrastructure and using it as a platform to covertly tap into communications processed by other companies. Continue reading

China Industrial Policy Seeks to Steal ‘Crown Jewels’ of U.S. Tech

Xi Jinping

Getty Images

 

White House exposes Chinese economic aggression

China’s government is using a multi-pronged strategy to systematically steal advanced American technology as part of economic aggression against the United States, according to a White House report.

The report, based in part on declassified intelligence from the Pentagon and intelligence agencies, provides some of the first public details on China’s industrial policies that have produced the world’s second largest economy, often at the expense of American companies. Continue reading

Plan to Split California Makes Ballot

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(Photo Credit: Cal3.com)

 

Even if the proposal wins a majority of the votes Nov. 6, it faces a steep uphill climb in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.

The November 6th general election ballot in California will now include a proposition that could break up the cash-strapped state, home to the sixth-largest economy in the world, into three separate states. Continue reading

Lockheed Martin Awarded $929 Million Contract For Hypersonic Weapon To Counter Russia, China

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Lockheed Martin, the defense company behind F-35A Lightning II, a fifth-generation combat aircraft, won a $928 million contract April 18 to develop a hypersonic missile for the U.S. Air Force that will travel more than five times faster than the speed of sound to overcome Russian and Chinese missile defense systems.

According to Lockheed Martin, under the indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract, the company will design and manufacture the Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon (HCSW), a new air-launched weapon system. The missile will be capable of speeds higher than Mach five and could render Russian and Chinese ballistic missile defense interceptors useless. Continue reading

DNA of every baby born in California is stored. Who has access to it?

SAN FRANCISCO — You probably know where your Social Security card, birth certificate and other sensitive information is being stored, but what about your genetic material? If you or your child was born in California after 1983, your DNA is likely being stored by the government, may be available to law enforcement and may even be in the hands of outside researchers, CBS San Francisco’s Julie Watts reports.

Like many states, California collects bio-samples from every child born in the state. The material is then stored indefinitely in a state-run biobank, where it may be purchased for outside research.

State law requires that parents are informed of their right to request the child’s sample be destroyed, but the state does not confirm parents actually get that information before storing or selling their child’s DNA.

KPIX has learned that most parents are not getting the required notification. We’ve also discovered the DNA may be used for more than just research. Continue reading

Pentagon: Missile threats increasing

(Photo by: Jacquelyn Martin) John Rood, undersecretary of defense for policy, told lawmakers that the threat posed by advanced missiles is increasing. (Associated Press/File)

 

Senior Pentagon and military officials this week outlined the growing array of missile threats facing the United States from China, Russia and other states, including maneuvering hypersonic weapons.

John Rood, undersecretary of defense for policy, told a House Armed Services subcommittee hearing that the threat posed by advanced missiles is increasing.

“The United States, allies and partners confront a security environment that is more complex and volatile than any we have experienced in recent memory,” Mr. Rood told the subcommittee on strategic forces, in a likely preview of the Pentagon’s forthcoming Ballistic Missile Review, a major study that will highlight missile threats and the Trump administration’s plan for a multilayered missile defense network to counter them.

Adversaries including China, Russia, North Korea and Iran are expanding their missile forces in three ways, Mr. Rood said. They include increasing the capabilities of current missile forces; adding new and unprecedented types of missiles to their arsenals; and better integrating missiles into foreign states’ use of coercive threats, military exercises and war planning.

Continue reading

Trump: ‘We Have the Air Force. We Will Have the Space Force’

 

President Donald Trump said Tuesday he wants to create a military force for outer space during an address to members of the U.S. Marine Corps at Miramar Air Station in California.

Trump said he has developed a national strategy for space that recognizes it is a “warfighting domain.” He likened his proposed space force to other branches of the U.S. armed forces. Continue reading

Seeking to outsmart US, China races ahead on artificial intelligence

Chinese students work on the Ares, a humanoid bipedal robot designed by them with funding from a Shanghai investment company, displayed during the World Robot Conference in Beijing on Oct. 21, 2016. China’s goal is to transform the country into a global leader in artificial intelligence in just over a decade. (Ng Han Guan AP)

 

When a Google computer program beat the world’s best player of an ancient Chinese board game last May, it might have seemed like an incremental milestone.

But for some, the success of the program known as AlphaGo marked more than a man vs. machine clash. It set up a broader race between China and the United States over artificial intelligence, a competition that could mold the future of humankind just as the widespread arrival of electricity did in the last century.

The Go tournament took place in Wuzhen, a city of canals that is more than 1,300 years old, a fitting venue for a competition involving the strategy board game Go that has been played for several thousand years. Go is renowned for its complexity, and it is said that there are more variations to the game than there are atoms in the universe.

Perhaps it was a coincidence of timing, but the AlphaGo competition kicked off events that demonstrated China’s resolve to close the gap with — and quickly surpass — the United States in deploying artificial intelligence, or AI. Goals Chinese authorities announced last July are ambitious: Reach parity with the United States by 2020, achieve major breakthroughs by 2025, and “occupy the commanding heights of AI technology by 2030” as the world’s undisputed leader.

Continue reading

What is really scarce in a water drought

A communal tap runs as people collect water in an informal settlement near Cape Town, South Africa, Jan. 23. While the city urges people to restrict water usage, many living in poor areas already have limited access to water, and the day that the city runs out of water, ominously known as \”Day Zero,\” moves ever closer for the nearly 4 million residents. (AP Photo)

 

Earlier this year, the South African city of Cape Town was told that it would make history by April 16. On that date, dubbed Day Zero, it was expected to become the world’s first major city to run out of water because of an extended drought. More than 1 million households would face extreme rationing or no water at all as reservoirs went dry.

But then something happened. The date was pushed back to June 4. And this week, Day Zero was set for July 9. Continue reading

California City May ‘Experiment’ with UBI

 

 

Sitting in between the enormous economic opportunities of the San Francisco Bay and Silicon Valley, yet unable to break free of its largely agriculturally based economy, the City of Stockton, Calf., is now planning to “experiment” with Universal Basic Income.” The city went bankrupt just five years ago. Continue reading

US risks losing advantage in space to China and Russia, warn top Pentagon officials

The US advantage in space over countries such as China and Russia is being eroded, and the US military “must move faster to maintain a lead in this critical warfighting domain”, the Department of Defense (DoD) in Washington quoted Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson and General John E Hyten, commander of US Strategic Command (STRATCOM), as saying on 2 December at the Reagan National Defense Forum in California. Continue reading

Exclusive: Pentagon evaluating U.S. West Coast missile defense sites – officials

FILE PHOTO: A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor is launched during a successful intercept test, in this undated handout photo provided by the U.S. Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency. U.S. Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency/Handout via Reuters/File Photo

 

SIMI VALLEY, Calif (Reuters) – The U.S. agency tasked with protecting the country from missile attacks is scouting the West Coast for places to deploy new anti-missile defenses, two Congressmen said on Saturday, as North Korea’s missile tests raise concerns about how the United States would defend itself from an attack.

West Coast defenses would likely include Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missiles, similar to those deployed in South Korea to protect against a potential North Korean attack.

The accelerated pace of North Korea’s ballistic missile testing program in 2017 and the likelihood the North Korean military could hit the U.S. mainland with a nuclear payload in the next few years has raised the pressure on the United States government to build-up missile defenses. Continue reading