Virgin Galactic gets NASA contract, prepares for test flight

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Frankfurt Pharma Hub Prepares For Covid Vaccine Task

As a string of Covid-19 vaccines near approval, Frankfurt Airport staff are gearing up to handle the unprecedented logistical challenge of transporting millions of life-saving doses worldwide.

Frankfurt is Europe’s largest hub for transporting pharmaceutical goods, and will be key to the success of inoculating millions of people against the deadly coronavirus.

“The stress is increasing now that we’re entering the ‘hot’ phase,” Karin Krestan, Lufthansa Cargo’s director of operations, told AFP during a tour of the temperature-controlled “Cargo Cool Center” terminal.

Krestan, who uses her skills as a former nurse, is sure her team is ready for the task.

The Frankfurt airport has 12,000 square metres (129,000 square feet) of temperature-controlled warehouses, essential for storing medicines The Frankfurt airport has 12,000 square metres (129,000 square feet) of temperature-controlled warehouses, essential for storing medicines Photo: AFP / Thomas Lohnes

“The processes have been established, we’re very confident and we feel well prepared,” she said.

In fact, Max Philipp Conrady, head of freight infrastructure at Fraport, told AFP:

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China Economy Revving Up As Western World Prepares For Crises

China’s economy is revving up as the entirety of the Western World — from Australia to the United States — is either bracing for a ‘dark winter’ or dealing with small business closures by the thousands.

Earlier this month, Dr. Anthony Fauci said SARS 2 death rates could easily surpass 400,000 by March.

According to Yelp, an online review forum for businesses, some 60% of the 163,735 businesses that are on Yelp have closed since March. Nearly 97,9oo of them said they were going out of business, according to a Yelp report in September.

Other data points about the pandemic’s impact on American businesses are more sanguine.

A study by researchers at the University of

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SpaceX Prepares Starship SN8 For Launch, But Elon Musk Gives 1-in-3 Chance Of Landing Intact

KEY POINTS

  • Starship prototypes SN5 and SN6 completed short hop tests in earlier this year
  • Elon Musk said a lot of things need to go right with this launch
  • Starship’s orbital launch will not be before 2021

Elon Musk revealed on Tuesday that SpaceX could launch its latest Starship prototype as early as “next week.” 

The Serial Number 8 Starship prototype, also called SN8, has already passed a test firing of its three engines. In its next launch, SpaceX is hoping the rocket will reach an altitude of around 50,000 feet, which would be quite a liftoff considering both the SN5 and SN6 flights only reached 500 feet.

For Musk, the Starship mission has become SpaceX’s main focus, following the successful launch of four astronauts into space in its Crew Dragon capsule earlier this month.

Musk has said that the Starship mission needs to be pushed forward “dramatically and immediately,” 

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China prepares to impose new limits on its tech giants.

Shares in Chinese internet titans like Alibaba, Tencent and Meituan recovered on Thursday after Beijing unveiled sweeping new proposals earlier this week to rein in their power. But their market values remain well below where they were before the announcement, suggesting the longer-term effects of the rules will be harder to shake, the DealBook newsletter notes.

China’s potential new rules take aim at online platforms, proposing limits on exclusivity requirements, selling products below cost and different treatment of partners based on algorithms. They follow new regulations on financial technology companies like Ant Group, the Alibaba affiliate whose blockbuster I.P.O. was abruptly derailed last week by Chinese regulators.

Chinese regulators may continue tightening control. “We should learn from international experience, strengthen our antimonopoly examinations and ensure that a fair market order is maintained,” Liang Tao, the vice chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, said at a conference on

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Microsoft prepares to avoid scrutiny under Biden

(Reuters) — Microsoft, which has largely evaded Washington’s scrutiny of Big Tech companies and has scored a lucrative $10 billion government contract under U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration, has emerged as a significant backer of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s campaign.

The Redmond, Washington-based software company is the fourth largest contributor to Biden’s candidate campaign committee, according to data from OpenSecrets, a website that tracks money in politics and campaign finance records.

Microsoft president Brad Smith has played a key role behind the scenes, including hosting a fundraiser for Biden last year in Medina, Washington. He is also a big dollar bundler — someone who helps raise more than $25,000 for a campaign — and played a public role during the Democratic National Convention, similar to Amazon policy chief Jay Carney.

Microsoft CTO Kevin Scott and wife Shannon Hunt-Scott have contributed over $50,000 and supported committees to help

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Microsoft quietly prepares to avoid spotlight under Biden

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp, which has largely evaded Washington’s scrutiny of Big Tech companies and scored a lucrative $10 billion government contract under the Trump administration, has emerged as a significant backer of the Biden campaign.

FILE PHOTO: Silhouettes of mobile users are seen next to a screen projection of Microsoft logo in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

The Redmond, Washington-based software company is the fourth largest contributor to Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden’s candidate campaign committee, according to data from OpenSecrets, a website which tracks money in politics and campaign finance records.

The company’s President Brad Smith is playing a key role behind the scenes, hosting a fundraiser for Biden last year in Medina, Washington. He is also a big dollar bundler – people who help raise more than $25,000 for the Biden campaign – and had a public role during the Democratic National

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Facebook Prepares Potential Emergency Measures for the Election: Report

In preparation for possible unrest related to the election, Facebook is planning for a potential rollout of internal tools designed to slow the spread of misinformation in “at-risk” countries, according to a new Wall Street Journal report.



Mark Zuckerberg wearing a suit and tie: Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Financial Services Committee in October 2019. Getty Images


© Getty Images
Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Financial Services Committee in October 2019. Getty Images

While executives have stated that they would only enact such a plan if something as serious as election-related violence were to occur, the measures reportedly include “slowing the spread of viral content and lowering the bar for suppressing potentially inflammatory posts,” as well as

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“tweaking the news feed to change what types of content users see.”

In the wake of the platform’s decision to slow the spread of spuriously sourced New York Post reports on Hunter Biden’s business connections in Ukraine, a potential platform-wide action to slow misinformation would certainly amplify Republican complaints of

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Army prepares robotic air assault technology for wars of the future

It’s called a “wet gap crossing,” the point wherein armored forces, infantry and tactical vehicles need to cross a body of water such as a river while on attack. This naturally occurring circumstance, often encountered in combat, not only causes logistical challenges for maneuvering forces but also increases vulnerability to enemy attack. 

How quickly could a mechanized unit build a bridge? What if a known route had to be abandoned due to changing threat circumstances, requiring units to traverse water? 

“Getting units over rivers is a very dangerous operation because you are exposed. We can use robotics and have launched a focused excursion looking at robotic air assault drones,” Col. Stephanie Ahern, Secretary of the Army Initiatives Group Chief, told reporters Oct. 14.

The challenges, Ahern continued, include ensuring that forces and platforms can survive the landings, sustain movements, protect dismounted units and ensure safe passage for follow on forces.

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