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US Firms May Soon Be Allowed to Restart New Huawei Sales

The U.S. may approve licenses for companies to restart new sales to Huawei in as little as two weeks, according to a senior U.S. official, in a sign President Donald Trump’s recent effort to ease restrictions on the Chinese company could move forward quickly.Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker, was added to a Commerce Department list in May that prohibits U.S. companies from supplying it with new American-made goods and services unless they obtain licenses that will likely be denied.But late last month, after meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping, President Donald Trump announced American firms could sell products to Huawei. And in recent days, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said licenses would be issued where there is no threat to national security.Chip industry, China pressureTrump’s reversal, and rapid implementation by the Commerce Department, suggests chip industry lobbying, coupled with Chinese political pressure, may well reignite U.S. technology sales to Huawei.Two U.S. chipmakers who supply Huawei told Reuters in recent days they would apply for more licenses after Ross’s comments. They asked to remain anonymous.A customer response management company and a firm that simulates cross-sectional radar for Huawei are also likely to file applications in the coming days, according to Craig Ridgley, a trade compliance consultant in Washington.Out of $70 billion that Huawei spent buying components in 2018, about $11 billion went to U.S. firms, including Qualcomm, Intel and Micron Technology.“Since there’s no downside, companies are absolutely submitting applications, as required by the regulations,” said Washington lawyer Kevin Wolf, a former Commerce Department official.A Huawei spokesman said “the Entity list restrictions should be removed altogether, rather than have temporary licenses applied for US vendors. Huawei has been found guilty of no relevant wrongdoing and represents no cybersecurity risk to any country so the restrictions are unmerited.”Not all sales need OKU.S. companies can currently sell goods in order to maintain existing networks and provide software updates to existing Huawei handsets, but are prohibited from making new sales of American-made goods and services.Furthermore, not all U.S. sales to Huawei hinge on government approvals of license requests. Some U.S. chipmakers’ sales to Huawei may not need licenses because their products could be beyond the scope of U.S. export controls since many are manufactured abroad with few U.S. components. U.S. officials have sought to clarify the new policy in recent weeks, saying they will allow sales of non-sensitive technology readily available abroad if national security is protected. But they have also reiterated that Huawei remains on the entity list, and relief would be temporary.The U.S. semiconductor industry has been lobbying for broader relief, arguing that U.S. security goals should be advanced in a way that does not undermine the ability to compete globally and retain technological leadership.Suppliers want to be allowed to provide customer service support for chips they build and sell overseas, or the approval to ship new American-made equipment to Huawei and its subsidiaries around the world.Chip suppliers unclearStill, it is unclear which products will be granted licenses. Some U.S. suppliers sought clarity at a conference the Commerce Department held in Washington this week. One manufacturer’s representative was told by the senior U.S. official that licenses could be granted in two to four weeks at the conference on Thursday.The person, who did not want to be identified, said the official did not delineate the criteria for license approvals, but she came away believing they would be made on a case-by-case basis, at least at first, as the agency seeks to form more broad opinions.When asked about the guidance from the senior official, a Commerce Department spokesman said the agency is “currently evaluating all licenses and determining what is in the nation’s best national security interest.”The United States has pending cases against Huawei for allegedly stealing American intellectual property and violating Iran sanctions. It also has launched a lobbying effort to persuade U.S. allies to keep Huawei out of next-generation 5G telecommunications infrastructure, citing concerns the company could spy on customers. Huawei has denied the allegations. Eric Hirschhorn, a former undersecretary of Commerce, said the problem for government officials now reviewing the licenses is that they don’t know where the administration is going. “The policy two minutes ago may not be the policy two minutes from now,” Hirschhorn said.
 

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India to Launch Mission to Land on Moon 

In the early hours of Monday, India is set to launch a mission to an uncharted area of the moon, marking a significant milestone in its steadily expanding ambitions in space.If successful, India would become the fourth country to land a probe on the moon after the United States, Russia and China and secure its place as a leading space-faring nation.India’s most powerful rocket launcher is scheduled to carry the Chandrayaan-2, which means “moon vehicle” in Sanskrit, from Sriharikota in eastern India. It will have a lunar orbiter, lander and rover.The real test of the mission will come about 50 days later, around Sept. 6, when the lander will attempt a controlled landing on the lunar surface at the South Pole of the moon, which no country has attempted so far.This July 2019, photo released by the Indian Space Research Organization shows its Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle MkIII-M1 being prepared for its July 15 launch in Sriharikota, an island off India’s southeastern coast.South Pole“The challenge is to demonstrate our capacity to undertake such a complex mission for the soft and precise moon landing on the South Polar region for the first time,” according to P. Kunhikrishnan, director, UR Rao satellite center at the Indian Space Research Organization.Space scientists say that the moon’s South Pole is interesting because it holds the promise of water.The lunar rover will operate for 14 days, mapping the moon’s surface and through experiments look for signs of water and assess its topography and geology.“From a technological perspective it is very relevant because it will be a leapfrog as far as India’s technology level is concerned,” says Ajay Lele at the Indian Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses in New Delhi, pointing out that the orbiter, lander and rover have been indigenously designed. “You want your robotic equipment to function on the surface of the moon.”The Chandrayaan-2 was originally planned as a collaboration with Russia’s space agency, but Indian scientists went it alone after the tie-up was shelved.Decade after first missionMonday’s mission is being launched a decade after India’s first in 2008 placed an unmanned spacecraft in an orbit around the moon. That mission helped confirm the presence of water on the lunar surface.The Chandrayaan-2 mission comes amid a resurgence of interest in the exploration of the moon both in the United States and in Asia and is seen as a signal that India does not want to be left behind in a growing space race. China made a soft landing on the moon in early January and has announced plans for more missions.“India has a much smaller space program and has limited capacities when you compare it to the U.S. and so on,” said Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, head of the Nuclear and Space Policy Initiative at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi. “So the kind of things India is trying to do if it becomes successful one with the Chandrayaan 2 mission, that will be a significant achievement for India.”An employee playfully hugs a cutout of a crescent moon at the Nehru Planetarium in New Delhi, India, July 11, 2019. India is preparing its second unmanned mission to the moon, this one aimed at landing a rover near the unexplored south pole.India, which prides itself on its low cost space missions, is spending around $141 million on the mission. Although the country was a relative latecomer to the space race, it has developed a reputation for conducting its space explorations at a fraction of the cost spent by countries like the United States.Among other goalposts India has set in the coming years is to put a space station in orbit, an astronaut in space by 2022, a robotic mission to Mars and a mission to explore the sun.
 

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Wood: Tomorrow’s Skyscraper Construction Material?

Tall buildings made of wood are beginning to pop up around the world, from the United States and Canada to Norway and soon England. Builders say wood may well be the construction material of the future. VOA’s Kevin Enochs reports.
 

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Harmful Bacteria and Cancer’s Worst Nightmare May Be a Microscopic Drill

A team of researchers across three universities is working on a cell-killing machine invisible to the naked eye.“We want to be bacteria’s worst nightmare,” said James Tour, T.T. and W. F. Chao Professor of Chemistry at Rice University in Houston. He is also a professor of materials science and nanoengineering, and computer science.Antibiotic-resistant bacteria pose one of the biggest threats to global health, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers at Rice University, Durham University in Britain and North Carolina State University may have discovered a way to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Harmful Bacteria’s Worst Nightmare May Be a Microscopic Drill video player.
Embed” />CopyHarmful Bacteria’s Worst Nightmare May Be a Microscopic DrillThey’re experimenting with tiny, manmade nanomachines that can drill into a cell, killing it. The machines are single molecule motors that can spin at about 3 million rotations a second when a blue light shines on them. As they spin, they drill into the cell. Harmful bacteria cannot mutate to overcome this type of weapon, Tour said.“We may have found something that the cell could never build a resistance to,” he added.The nanomachines are so small that about 50,0000 of them can fit across the diameter of a human hair. In comparison, only about 50 cells can take up that amount of space.Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are not the only enemies this weapon can fight.Cancer killerThe nanomachines can drill into cancer cells, causing the cells’ nucleus to disintegrate into fragments.“We’ve tried four different types, and every cancer cell that it touches is toast,” said Tour, whose team tested the nanomachines on a couple strains of human breast cancer cells, cancerous skin cells and pancreatic cancer cells.The way it works is that a peptide, also a molecule that consists of amino acids, is added to the nanomotor. That peptide recognizes specific cells and binds the nanomachine to that cell so that only cancer cells, not healthy cells, are targeted. A blue light activates the machine.“Generally, it’s not just one nanomachine, it’s 50, and each cell is going to get 50 holes drilled in it generally,” Tour said.The nanomachines can fight cancerous cells in the mouth, upper and lower gastrointestinal tracts and bladder “wherever you can get a scope in, a light, apply it right there, and use the light” to activate the motors, Tour said.It would only take a few minutes to kill cancerous cells with nanomachines, in contrast to days or longer using radiation or chemotherapy, Tour said.Sculpt away fatIn another application, nanomachines could be used to sculpt away fat cells when applied onto the skin through a gel.“You just take a bright light and just pass it over and these start attacking the adipocytes, which are the fat cells and blow those open,” Tour said.Next stepsResearchers have only worked with nanomachines in a lab, so using this method in a clinical setting is still some time off. Later this year, researchers will start testing nanomachines on staphylococcus bacteria skin infections on live rodents.One challenge scientists will have to overcome as nanomachine research progresses is how to get the blue light deep into the body if the motors are to fight bacteria or tumor cells that are well below the skin’s surface.

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Harmful Bacteria’s Worst Nightmare May Be a Microscopic Drill

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria pose one of the biggest threats to global health, according to the World Health Organization. Some researchers say they may have discovered a way to fight this type of bacteria without the microorganisms ever becoming resistant to treatment. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee has more from Rice University in Houston.

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Report: FTC Approves Roughly $5 Billion Fine for Facebook

The FTC has voted to approve a fine of about $5 billion for Facebook over privacy violations, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday. The report cited an unnamed person familiar with the matter. Facebook declined to comment; the FTC did not immediately respond to messages for comment. The Journal said the 3-2 vote broke along party lines, with Republicans in support and Democrats in opposition to the fine. The FTC report has been moved to the Justice Department for review, per the report. It is not clear how long it will take to finalize.The fine would be the largest the FTC has levied on a tech company. But it won’t make much of a dent for Facebook, which had nearly $56 billion in revenue last year. The report did not say what else the settlement includes beyond the fine, though it is expected to include limits on how Facebook treats user privacy.Since the Cambridge Analytica debacle erupted more than a year ago and prompted the FTC investigation, Facebook has vowed to do a better job corralling its users’ data. Nevertheless, its controls have remained leaky. For example, it also acknowledged giving big tech companies like Amazon and Yahoo extensive access to users’ personal data, in effect exempting them from its usual privacy rules. And it collected call and text logs from phones running Google’s Android system in 2015.  

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India Prepares to Land Rover on Moon in Global Space Race

India is looking to take a giant leap in its space program and solidify its place among the world’s spacefaring nations with its second unmanned mission to the moon, this one aimed at landing a rover near the unexplored south pole.
 
The Indian Space Research Organization plans to launch a spacecraft using homegrown technology on Monday, and it is scheduled to touch down on the moon Sept. 6 or 7. The $141 million Chandrayaan-2 mission will analyze minerals, map the moon’s surface and search for water.It will boldly go where no country has ever gone before,'' ISRO said in a statement.
 
With India poised to become the world's fifth-largest economy, the ardently nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is eager to show off the country's prowess in security and technology.India successfully test-fired an anti-satellite weapon in March, which Modi said demonstrated the country's capacity as a space power alongside the United States, Russia and China. India also plans to send humans into space by 2022, becoming only the fourth nation to do so.
 
The country's ambitions are playing out amid a resurgent space race.
 
The U.S. _ which is marking the 50th anniversary this month of the Apollo 11 mission that made Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin the first humans on the moon _ is working to send a manned spacecraft to the lunar south pole by 2024. In April, an unmanned Israeli craft crashed into the moon in a failed attempt at the first privately funded lunar landing.
Decades of space research have allowed India to develop satellite, communications and remote sensing technologies that are helping solve everyday problems at home, from forecasting fish migration to predicting storms and floods.India's first lunar mission, Chandrayaan-1, whose name is Sanskrit for
moon craft,” orbited the moon in 2008 and helped confirm the presence of water. In 2013-14, India put a satellite into orbit around Mars in the nation’s first interplanetary mission.Some have questioned the expense in a country of 1.3 billion people with widespread poverty and one of the world’s highest child mortality rates. But author and economic commentator Gurcharan Das said that the cost of the second moonshot is small compared with India’s overall budget and that the project could have a multiplier effect on the economy.He called on India to get the country’s private sector more involved in research and development, which he said could yield huge benefits'' beyond the realm of space travel.The spacecraft will have a lunar orbiter, lander and a rover. The lander will carry a camera, a seismometer, a thermal instrument and a NASA-supplied laser retroreflector that will help calculate the distance between the Earth and the moon.The lunar south pole is especially interesting because a much larger portion of it is in shadow than the north pole, presenting a greater possibility of water. Water is an essential ingredient for life, and finding it is part of science's broader goal of determining whether there is life elsewhere in our solar system.
 
This will be the first rover to look for water at the south pole.
These days, it has become the place to go,” said space expert N. Rathnasree.