Category Archives: News

Could Your Experiment Fly On The International Space Station?

Researchers, universities and businesses will compete to get their science into space, in a new funding call announced today by the UK Space Agency

International Space Station. Credit: NASA

International Space Station. Credit: NASA

There is a growing community of scientists looking to experiment in microgravity – where astronauts and objects float weightlessly. The UK Space Agency will select a number of ideas for development which could then be flown on board the International Space Station.

The UK can propose national experiments through the European Space Agency’s European Exploration Enveloped Programme, ensuring UK science benefits directly from human spaceflight.

The unique environment of the ISS offers a great opportunity to investigate novel materials, life in space, the human body, fluid physics, new technologies and many other things. Previous experiments with UK involvement have created new metal alloys, studied microorganisms and analysed changes to the human voice.

The European Space Agency announced in December 2016 that it intends for all of the astronauts that were selected in Tim Peake’s 2009 class to be assigned a second mission.

Libby Jackson, Human Spaceflight and Microgravity Programme Manager at the UK Space Agency, said:

“This programme gives UK researchers and businesses the chance to do real science in space.

“Microgravity provides a unique facility for scientific research, allowing us to gain new knowledge that will improve life on Earth.”

Ideas are welcomed from all UK organisations, including university-led academic research proposals and industry-led commercial research proposals.

Applications ideas will then be invited to provide full detailed experiment proposals. Subject to confirmation must be received by 28 February 2018. Selected of future funding, a number of these experiments will be selected for development and nomination to ESA for flight.

View full details of the call

Chilean Presidential Elections

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

We congratulate Sebastián Piñera on his election as the next President of Chile. We congratulate the Chilean people for participating in another successful election and demonstrating their commitment to democratic values.

The United States and Chile share a strong partnership based on our commitment to shared democratic ideals, human rights, and economic opportunity. We are confident the United States and Chile will continue to work closely to promote security, prosperity, and good governance within our hemisphere and across the globe. We value the close relationship we have had during President Bachelet’s administration and we look forward to working with President-elect Piñera when the new administration takes office in March.

Telephone Conversation With US President Donald Trump

Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of the United States Donald Trump

Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin thanked Donald Trump for the information passed on by the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that helped detain the terrorists who plotted to set off explosions at Kazan Cathedral in St Petersburg and other public places in the city. The information received from the CIA was enough to locate and detain the criminals.

The Russian President asked the US President to convey his appreciation to the Central Intelligence Agency director and the operatives of US intelligence services who received this information.

Vladimir Putin assured Donald Trump that in the event that Russian intelligence services receive information that concerns terrorist threats to the US and its citizens, they will promptly pass it on to their US colleagues via partner channels.

Inclusive Technology: The Gender Digital Divide, Human Rights & Violence Against Women

Violence against women and girls both offline and online undermines global growth and stability

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

America’s 21st century diplomacy relies on science, innovative technology, and access to an open, interoperable, reliable and secure Internet. However, with 250 million fewer women online globally than men,[i] and over 1.7 billion women not owning a mobile phone,[ii] the gender digital divide poses a threat to economic, social, and political progress. Restrictive social norms and structural inequalities offline and online contribute to discrimination and violence against women and girls. Globally, this exacerbates the gender digital divide and threatens human rights.

Defining the Problem

The Gender Digital Divide refers to women and girls lack of access to, use and development of information communication technologies (ICTs). Social norms refer to responsibilities, roles and behaviors associated with being a man or a woman. Commonly around the world, these tend to restrict women and girls’ full participation in formal economies, constrain equal access to legal and financial institutions, limit their access to education, or control their social interactions outside the home. These norms can widen the digital divide, and contribute to gender-based violence (GBV).

Gender-based violence, including violence against women and girls, is violence that is directed at a person based on their sex, gender identity, or perceived adherence to socially defined norms of masculinity and femininity.[iii] It is characterized by the use or threat of physical, psychological, sexual, economic, legal, political, social and other forms of control or abuse. It can occur in public and private settings, such as digital and online spaces, schools, the home, workplaces, and in transit.

Some specific examples of violence facilitated by ICTs includes stalking, threats, hate speech, breaches of privacy, blackmail, account hijacking, impersonation, non-consensual sharing of explicit images, human trafficking, and terrorist recruitment.

Connecting offline and online violence

Online violence perpetuates existing offline gender inequality between men, women, boys and girls, spanning the continuum from physical to digital spaces. For example, in-person stalking is often accompanied by stalking online or via text message, and women commonly face sexualized threats offline through ICTs.

Human Rights, Rule of Law and Transparency

Offline and online violence is a barrier to women and girls’ access to ICTs and the internet, and their broader human rights, stifling freedoms of expression, association and assembly. Human rights apply equally offline and online,[iv] yet, in 74% of countries, law enforcement and courts are not taking appropriate actions when web-enabled ICTs are used to commit acts of GBV. [v] Likewise, the private sector has a role to play. For example, Internet service providers took action in less than one third of reported cases of online violence.[vi]

Human rights and the digital divide are negatively impacted by restrictive social norms, discrimination, and violence against women.

Multi-stakeholder Action Needed

To build a more democratic and prosperous world, the private sector, governments, and civil society can work together to enhance women and girls’ access to, use and development of technology. Offline or online, multi-stakeholder focus on GBV prevention, protection for those targeted, and accountability to perpetrators, is key to bridge the global gender digital divide.




Kazakhstan’s Independence Day

Rex W. Tillerson

Rex W. Tillerson

On behalf of the Government of the United States of America, warm congratulations to the people of Kazakhstan as you celebrate 26 years of your nation’s independence.

Today, the United States and Kazakhstan are closer partners, working together to expand our economic, energy, science, and technology cooperation, and to promote regional security and stability. Our cooperation on global issues has deepened during Kazakhstan’s term as a member of the United Nations Security Council. We congratulate Kazakhstan on the success of Astana Expo 2017, which showcased Kazakhstan’s commitment to energy resource development across the globe.

We look forward to strengthening our partnership over the coming years and we send the people of Kazakhstan our best wishes as you celebrate this special day.

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