Tag Archives: France

France: Windows 10 collects “excessive personal data”

Why I use Linux, part 3,443,4021: The French government has accused Microsoft of gathering “excessive personal data” from Windows 10 users, while also not insuring good security.

They have ordered Microsoft to comply with French privacy laws within three months.

French court rules against freezing Russian assets

In a complicated court battle involving multiple courts, multiple nations, multiple companies, and multiple industries (including Roscosmos), a French court has ruled in favor of Russia and against the shareholders of the liquidated Russian Yukos oil company.

The Ivry First Instance Court ruled in favor of Roscosmos in a dispute with Cyprus-based offshore company Veteran Petroleum, a shareholder in the former Yukos oil company, according to Roscosmos. “They have acknowledged that our arguments are correct and that there is no need to seize the money,” Roscosmos representative Igor Burenkov told the TASS news agency.

France has seized Russian assets worth $1 billion in total following the Kremlin’s refusal to pay damages to former Yukos shareholders. The seized assets included $400 million owed by French-based satellite provider Eutelsat to the Russian Satellite Communications company and $300 million owned by French space launch provider Arianespace to Roscosmos.

More details here. The dispute here is not just between Russia and the shareholders of Yukos. There is also a battle going on between the Hague International Arbitration Court and the French courts. Whether Russia will be able get its money however remains unclear at this moment.

Russian assets in France seized

Russia’s refusal to pay damages in a court case has forced France to seize $700 million owed to Russia’s aerospace industry.

In total, France has seized Russian assets worth $1 billion following the Kremlin’s refusal to pay damages to former Yukos shareholders.

In July 2014, The Hague international arbitration court ruled that Russia must pay $50 billion for expropriating the assets of Yukos. The seized assets include $400 million owed by French-based satellite provider Eutelsat to the Russian Satellite Communications company and $300 million owned by French space launch provider Arianespace to Russia’s Roscosmos space agency, the magazine reported, citing the Shearman & Sterling legal firm which represents the Yukos shareholders.

This story is similar to the Sea Launch court suit by Boeing, whom the Russians owe $300 million. In that case Boeing has moved to block Russia from selling Sea Launch.

Both stories suggest that the Russians are in big financial trouble, partly caused by a lack of understanding of capitalism. In both cases, they formed partnerships with western businesses and failed to realize that those partnerships placed financial obligations upon them. From its Soviet days Russia probably thought they could ignore those obligations if it became inconvenient, and they are now discovering that this is not really possible if they wish to sell their goods to the rest of the world.

I expect Russia’s space industry to increasingly become isolated from the rest of the world market, partly because of these events.

In related news, Roscosmos has revealed that after the initial launch at Vostochny in April, the second launch will not occur until 2017. This indicates that the first launch is merely a face-saving effort to hide the fact that construction is really more than a year behind schedule, not three months.

French Mars’ instrument repair looks good

The head of France’s space agency announced today that repairs to their instrument for NASA’s InSight Mars lander will be completed in time to ship the instrument to the U.S. in time for the scheduled March launch.

Briefing reporters here at the COP21 United Nations Climate Change Conference, Jean-Yves Le Gall said the leak, which compromised the required high-precision vacuum chamber carrying InSight sensors, was caused by a defective weld that is applied to close off the tank.

The leak’s cause has been identified and a new weld performed, Le Gall said. Tests to confirm the new weld’s integrity are underway and, assuming no problems, will be completed in time to ship the instrument to the United States in the first week of January. It will then be integrated into the InSight lander in preparation for the March launch.

Obama declares “we have contained ISIS” even as they execute an attack in Paris

Irony alert! Yesterday, in an interview with WABC’s Chief Anchor and Democratic Party operative George Stephanopoulos President Obama declared that ISIS has been “contained” by his policies.

“I don’t think they’re gaining strength,” the president told Stephanopoulos in an interview at the White House Thursday. “From the start our goal has been first to contain, and we have contained them. They have not gained ground in Iraq. And in Syria it — they’ll come in, they’ll leave.”

Today, a terrorist attack planned and executed by ISIS took place in Paris across seven different locations, killing dozens, including many of approximately 100 hostages in a concert hall, where the terrorists had been killing them one-by-one. Police moved in ahead of schedule because they had been getting texts from the hostages begging them to attack because they were going to be executed anyway and a police attack was the only way they had a chance of surviving.

Thank god Nobel Peace Prize-winning Obama has contained ISIS. Otherwise, we wouldn’t see them do this sort of stuff. And it’s a good thing that France has strict gun control laws so the country is gun-free. Otherwise, how would these terrorists get access to weapons?

Construction by helicopter

An evening pause: As noted on the youtube webpage, “The last two components of the Incity Tower spire were put in place by helicopter on Sunday 21 June [2015]. This metallic spire, which measures 50 metres and weighs 25.9 tonnes, took the building to its final height of 200 metres. This confirms its position as the highest tower in Lyon and the third highest in France. Three aerial beacons and a lightning rod will now be placed at the top.”

Hat tip Phill Oltmann.

France considers developing reusable first stage

The competition heats up: Two French government aerospace agencies have announced that they are researching the development of a reusable first stage.

It is very unclear how this research will be applied, since Europe’s replacement for the Ariane 5 is being built by Airbus Safran and they have made it clear that they only intend to recover their rocket’s engines, not the entire first stage.

Islamic attack in France

Peace in our time: Even as a jihadist attacked military recruiting offices in Tennessee this week, there was also a major terrorist attack in France, with all evidence pointing at Islamic terrorists as the attackers.

The attack, three separate explosions at a petrochemical plant, has interestingly not been reported in detail by a single mainstream news source in the U.S. I wonder why. Could it be that these events put the lie to President Obama’s Iran deal, that agreeing to this deal will only make our lives more dangerous and will empower the radical and violent Islamic movement, which is as virulent in Iran as it is in the Islamic State?

Nah. It’s all in my imagination. President Obama couldn’t be wrong. He wouldn’t lie to us.

France sells Arianespace to Airbus Safran

The competition heats up: In negotiations resulting from increased competition in the launch industry, France and its space agency have agreed to sell their stock in Arianespace to Airbus Safran, builders of the new Ariane 6, giving that private company 74% ownership.

I have reported on this deal earlier. This report makes it clear, however, that Arianespace will essentially become irrelevant after the deal is completed. Airbus Safran will build and own the rocket, and will be in charge.

Politicians in Paris do photo op rather than participate in demonstration

Why I pay very little attention to demonstrations: A wide shot of the big name politicians at Sunday’s Paris demonstration against Islamic terrorism shows that none of them were really at the demonstration.

Instead, the politicians were gathered together on a separate street, guarded by security, so that they could link arms just for a photo op. The march itself was elsewhere. I also suspect that they all just gathered very quickly to take the picture than scattered their own separate ways immediately afterwards.

This is why I don’t really care that Obama nor anyone important in his administration showed up. Maybe they should have, and in fact maybe it is another sign of Obama’s incompetence that he did not make sure there was an important U.S. presence there, but who really cares? This is just for show.

What would really mean something to me is if these political leaders actually used this meeting to organize some concrete action to deal with Islamic terrorism. Did they? I think not. As far as I can tell they have made no plans to do anything about it, other than maybe increase security in their own nations, which is merely another way of restricting the freedoms of their own citizens.

Hardly what I would call fighting back against tyranny, terrorism, and oppression.

Do not submit!

Mohammed Bomb cartoon

The cartoon on the right prompted the first Islamic riots. More recent ones in the French magazine Charlie Hebdo apparently prompted today’s violent murders.

The goal of these Islamic acts of violence: To stop people from criticizing Islam.

My goal in publishing this cartoon: To defy these thugs and to encourage people to criticize Islam. In the past two decades we have seen nothing but violence, terrorism, death, and destruction from this Arabic religion, fed by hatred and bigotry of Jews and Christians. It is time to say so, bluntly.

If Muslims wish this criticism to stop, they need to do something about it themselves, as the President of Egypt has, instead of demanding others to shut up.

Airbus attacked by French lawmaker for talking to SpaceX

The competition heats up: A French lawmaker lashed out at Airbus for daring to consider SpaceX as a possible launch option for a European communications satellite.

The senator, Alain Gournac, who is a veteran member of the French Parliamentary Space Group, said he had written French Economy and Industry Minister Emmanuel Macron to protest Airbus’ negotiations with Hawthorne, California-based Space Exploration Technologies Corp. for a late 2016 launch instead of contracting for a launch on a European Ariane 5 rocket. “The negotiations are all the more unacceptable given that, at the insistence of France, Europe has decided to adopt a policy of ‘European preference’ for its government launches,” Gournac said. “This is called playing against your team, and it smacks of a provocation. It’s an incredible situation that might lead customers to think we no longer have faith in Ariane 5 — and tomorrow, Ariane 6.”

Heh. SpaceX really is shaking up the launch industry, ain’t it?

Controversy surrounding IXV flight cancellation

Italian officials are suggesting politics or incompetence for the sudden cancellation Wednesday of the November test flight of Europe’s IXV experimental spaceplane.

ESA and CNES officials up to now have either declined to comment or, in the case of ESA, said they were at a loss to explain why a program whose mission profile has not changed in several years is now suddenly stalled for [range] safety issues that in principle should have been aired and resolved long ago.

One official, saying he could not believe that the two agencies simply forgot to evaluate the safety issues, said he preferred to suspect political motives. “Look, we are about to send a spacecraft and lander to Mars, in one year,” this official said. “Europe has rendezvoused with a comet a decade after the [Rosetta comet-chaser] satellite was launched. You want me to believe that somehow the agencies just forgot to evaluate safety? That is too far-fetched. I would rather believe there is some political motive.”

The claim is that no one ever evaluated the range issues in sending the Vega rocket to the east instead of its normal polar orbit trajectory. The Italian officials are suggesting that either the officials who cancelled the mission are incompetent, or that their competition with France within ESA over launch vehicles (Ariane 6 vs Vega) prompted the cancellation.

Europe’s lead launch-vehicle nation is France, which initially balked at participating in the Vega program. A French minister said that in Europe, launch vehicles are French. The French government declined to allow the export, to Italy, of the avionics suite that guides Vega, forcing Italy to develop its own. Italy has since done so and successfully flown it on Vega. As it stands now, one official said, France must accept the idea that with Vega, Italy has led development of a vehicle that at least in principle resembles an intercontinental ballistic missile. “Some people don’t like that,” this official said.

Either way, this cancellation combined with the difficult and extended disagreements within ESA over replacing Ariane 5 suggest that the future of this European partnership is becoming increasingly shaky.

“Finally, finally, finally! They had come!”

When American forces liberated Paris from Nazi occupation seventy years ago today, one Parisian schoolgirl described what happened.

An idea took hold – we needed flags; a collective idea, as if everyone had the same thought at the same time. We would make the flags and hang them at the windows. But how were we going to do it? Quick, tea towels, old sheets cut in strips. A piece of luck, there was a shop that sold dyes in the courtyard. We ran down and started boiling water in the tubs. Some red dye. Some blue dye. The red didn’t work very well, the material came out pinkish red, not the flamboyant red we had hoped for. Too bad. How many stars are there on the American flag? But never mind, we’ll have to just put some on, and that will be good enough.

Read it all. It is important to note that this has been the kind of reaction of practically every oppressed nation when American troops have arrived.

Islamic terrorism and bigotry for all to see.

The religion of peace: “In a sort of reverse Passover, ISIS activists have marked the homes of Christians with the letter N for “Nassarah,” an Islamic term for Christian, to identify the homes whose inhabitants were to be slaughtered.”

The article also shows, with pictures, the violent nature of the Muslim demonstrations against Israel in France, and the intolerant treatment of Christians by ISIS in Mosul, Iraq.

The European partnership building the new Ariane 6 rocket struggles to keep its costs down to compete with SpaceX.

The competition heats up: The European partnership building the new Ariane 6 rocket struggles to keep its costs down to compete with SpaceX.

Ariane 5 has been a huge triumph, orbiting half of the world’s communications satellites and claiming 60% of the 2012 world market for geostationary launches. But while the rocket is extremely precise and reliable it is also hugely expensive, with a single-payload flight costing €150-200 million. However, even at that price Ariane 5 launches are understood to be loss-making for ESA’s launch operator, Arianespace. Its high cost in in large part blamed on its industrial organisation; while private-sector SpaceX has tailored the Falcon programme for low cost production, the Ariane 5 project is organised in part to satisfy the demands of European multi-national politics.

Speaking exclusively to Flight Daily News, ESA’s Stefano Bianchi, who heads the Vega programme and now spends much of his time dedicated to Ariane 6 development, stresses that the programme is on course as set out by ESA’s member states, and any major change of configuration would require ministerial agreement.

But, he says, he and his colleagues are confident they can bring Ariane 6 to fruition at the target launch cost of €70 million – a level that would match or even undercut SpaceX. [emphasis mine]

This story is in connection with the conflict between France and Germany about how to build Ariane 6. I have specifically highlighted the cost figures to illustrate once again the reality that everyone in the industry knows (except for one commenter on my webpage), that the cost of a SpaceX launch runs in the neighborhood of $60 to $100 million, one third to half the cost of Arianespace and significantly less than the cost of practically every other launch company.

Any company that realistically wants to compete with SpaceX has to be totally honest about these facts. Their customers are honest about them, for certain.

Update: The CEO of ULA admits that the real cost of its military launches averages about $225 million per launch.

He claims they can get the cost down to $100 million per launch, but only if the military makes a bulk buy of 50 launches from them, but even that barely competes with SpaceX’s accepted launch fees ranging from $75 to $100 million, per launch. No need to buy 50 rockets from SpaceX to get these prices.

The battle between France and Germany on how to replace the Ariane 5 rocket continues.

The battle between France and Germany on how to replace the Ariane 5 rocket continues.

To save money and lower cost, France wants to build a rocket that mostly uses solid rocket motors. Germany however has a problem with this.

German government officials have said they will have difficulty supporting the current Ariane 6 design, which features four identical solid-fueled stages — two as strap-on boosters, and two as the vehicle’s first and second stages — topped by the cryogenic upper stage powered by the same restartable Vinci engine that is the main element of the proposed Ariane 5 upgrade. Germany, through its space agency, the German Aerospace Center, DLR, has said it would prefer a liquid-fueled first stage for Ariane 6 as such a stage could be built in Germany and thus assure a large German industrial role in the program. Without such a role, DLR has said, German support for Ariane 6 might not be forthcoming.

The story above says that France is willing to negotiate with Germany over this, but if they do, they guarantee that Ariane 6 will be a costly rocket to build, making it very unattractive to satellite customers.

France and Germany in the European Space Agency are at loggerheads about the best way to compete in the launch market.

The competition heats up: France and Germany in the European Space Agency are in serious disagreement about whether to replace the Ariane 5 or upgrade it.

The French space agency, CNES, quietly backed by Europe’s Arianespace launch consortium, has argued that the current Ariane 5 heavy-lift vehicle has only a fragile hold on its current 50 percent commercial market share. Just as important, according to the French reasoning, is that the entire Ariane 5 system, including its ground infrastructure, is expensive to operate and likely to remain so. Because money is short in Europe, it would be preferable to move immediately to a next-generation vehicle that would carry payloads ranging from 2,500 kilograms to 6,000 kilograms — with an extension to 8,000 kilograms — into geostationary transfer orbit, one at a time. This modular vehicle ultimately would replace not only today’s Ariane 5, but also the Russian Soyuz rocket that is now operating from Europe’s Guiana Space Center in French Guiana.

Set against this reasoning are industrial policy issues raised by the German space agency, DLR, and by Astrium, which is Ariane 5’s prime contractor. They say Europe needs to complete development of an upgraded Ariane 5 — at a cost of about 1.4 billion euros ($1.8 billion) — before embarking on a decade-long development of an Ariane 6 whose cost and industrial work-share distribution are unknown. [emphasis mine]

It is very clear that ESA has recognized that once Falcon 9 becomes completely operational, it will be difficult to get anyone to buy tickets on the very expensive Ariane 5. From the article it appears the battle centers on the fact that the French realize this, while the Germans are willing to look the other way.

The White House press secretary today “question[ed] the judgment” of someone publishing cartoons critical of Mohammad and Islam.

Cowards: The White House press secretary today “question[ed] the judgment” of someone publishing cartoons critical of Mohammad and Islam.

Carney said the White House supports free speech, but that is a lie if they are not going to defend the use that right in all cases.

The French prepare for a vibrant debate on free speech from the members of its Islamic community.

The French prepare for a vibrant debate on free speech from the members of its Islamic community.

The worst part of this story isn’t that we expect Muslims to riot because someone said something they don’t like. The worst part is how eager many liberals are to lend these violent thugs quisling support.

Update: If you want to see some of those new Mohammad cartoons from the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, go here.

The French magazine whose offices were firebombed last year after publishing an issue ridiculing Mohammad is about to do it again.

Go for it! The French magazine whose offices were firebombed last year after publishing an issue ridiculing Mohammad is about to publish another issue doing the exact same thing.

Charlie Hebdo’s latest move was greeted with immediate calls from political and religious leaders for the media to act responsibly and avoid inflaming the current situation. Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault issued a statement expressing his “disapproval of all excesses.”

The magazine’s editor, originally a cartoonist who uses the name Charb, denied he was being deliberately provocative at a delicate time. “The freedom of the press, is that a provocation?” he said. “I’m not asking strict Muslims to read Charlie Hebdo, just like I wouldn’t go to a mosque to listen to speeches that go against everything I believe.”

I say, good for the magazine Charlie Hebdo. And more publications should join in! If a lot of people make fun of Islam and Mohammad, it will make it very difficult for the religion-of-peace’s firebombing and rioting mobs to keep up.

More details unveiled describing the charges against the CERN scientist on trial in France.

More details revealed describing the charges against the CERN scientist on trial in France for consorting with al-Qaeda.

Adlene Hicheur is accused of compiling a “hit list” of targets that included French president Nicolas Sarkozy and his former interior minister, Brice Hortefeux. …

Officials said they intercepted e-mails he exchanged with al-Qaeda’s North African branch, in which he plotted to blow up a Total oil refinery and a French military base. In one e-mail to suspected Islamic terror chief Mustapha Debchi, Hicheur said he would “propose possible objectives in Europe and particularly in France”. He wrote in March 2009: “Concerning the matter of objectives, they differ depending on the different results sought after the hits. For example: if it’s about punishing the state because of its military activities in Muslim countries – Afghanistan – then it should be a purely military objective. For example: the airbase at Karan Jefrier near Annecy in France. This base trains troops and sends them to Afghanistan.”

So, if these emails are accurate, this guy did far more than simply correspond with terrorists. He plotted to aid them in terrorists attacks.

The French trial of a CERN physicist for associating with terrorists began today.

The French trial of a CERN physicist for associating with terrorists began today.

As much as I fear and oppose the intolerant Islamic world, I worry when we in the West beginning putting people on trial merely for talking to the wrong people. I wish the accusations against this man weren’t so vague.

The offices of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo have been destroyed by a petrol bomb, a day after it named the Prophet Mohammed as its “editor-in-chief” for this week’s issue.

The tolerance of Islam: One day after a French satirical weekly published an issue poking fun of Islam and naming Mohammed its “editor-in-chief”, its offices were firebombed and its website hacked with these words:

You keep abusing Islam’s almighty Prophet with disgusting and disgraceful cartoons using excuses of freedom of speech. Be God’s curse upon you!