Germany launches space command: The German military on Tuesday launched a “space command” tasked with overseeing satellites, watching for dangerous space junk and analyzing other countries’ activities. Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer launched the new operation during a visit to its base at Uedem in western Germany. The minister said space operations for Germany “are always defensive operations” – for example to ensure that infrastructure isn’t endangered. The military is “responding to the increasing significance of space for our state’s ability to function, the prosperity of our population and the increasing dependency of the armed forces on space-supported data, services and products,” Kramp-Karrenbauer’s ministry said in a statement. The aim is to bring together existing capabilities in one place, where the military’s center for air operations is already based, and add new ones.
Kabul urges Europe to halt forced deportations of Afghans: The commander of US and NATO troops in Afghanistan stepped down Monday afternoon, nearly three years after he took over the war. Army Gen. Austin “Scott” Miller, who took command in 2018, led US forces longer than any of his predecessors, and he was at the helm when President Joe Biden announced that all US troops would leave by 11 September, 2021. As the US military has departed, however, the Taliban have taken over more territory all around the country, creating concern that the weak Afghan central government could fall once the US and NATO troops are completely gone. Afghanistan has urged European countries to halt forced deportations of Afghan migrants for the next three months. Finland has announced that it will temporarily halt deportations to Afghanistan.
nbcnews.com, france24.com, reuters.com
Germany arrests suspected double agent accused of spying for China: German authorities arrested a former spy for Germany’s secret service on suspicions that he conducted “intelligence agent activities” for China, the federal prosecutor’s office said. According to a press release from the prosecutor’s office, the man allegedly supplied the Chinese secret service with information for almost a decade, starting in 2010. At the same time, however, he was an informant for the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND). German public broadcaster ARD reported that the man provided the BND with information for 50 years, leading a double life. According to ARD, the suspect — whose home was searched in November 2019 — did not deny that he had spied for China, but insisted that he had told the BND about his contacts to the Chinese, at least initially.
Submarine order for ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems: Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems has officially been commissioned to build six identical Type 212CD submarines. The procurement organizations of Norway and Germany signed the corresponding contracts on July 8. Worth approximately 5,5 billion euros, the order comprises the delivery of two submarines to the German Navy and four to the Norwegian Navy. Industrial cooperation between Germany and Norway is a cornerstone of the 212CD project – thyssenkrupp Marine Systems relies on the Norwegian company Kongsberg for this project and for other projects on the world market.
49 killed in jihadist attack in Niger: Five civilians, four soldiers, and 40 armed attackers were killed Sunday in a clash in Niger’s restive southwest region near the border with Mali, the government said. Around 100 heavily armed “terrorists” riding motorcycles attacked the Tchoma Bangou village, striking around 3 pm Sunday, Niger’s Ministry of Defense said in a statement read on public television that did not identify who it suspected was behind the latest deadly incident. Tchoma Bangou is located in the Tillaberi region, bordering Mali and Burkina Faso, an area known as “the three borders” that has been regularly targeted by jihadist groups.
World Hunger Report: World hunger was dramatically worse in pandemic year apnews.com
Dispute over the Nile: Egypt goes to the UN Security Council sueddeutsche.de
Somalia: Two terrorist attacks in Mogadishu zeit.de
South Africa unrest: Six dead after protests – government sends in military reuters.com
Exhibition on the Thirty Years‘ War: „Bellum et Artes“ in the Green Vault in Dresden sueddeutsche.de
NUMBER OF THE WEEK
According to the Taliban, the Islamist group once again controls 85 percent of Afghanistan after the withdrawal of international forces.
Independent report details anti-Roma discrimination in Germany: The German parliament asked the Independent Commission on Antigypsyism to analyze the situation of Sinti and Roma in Germany. Its report shows that the ethnic minority groups still face discrimination in Germany and sets out how to tackle the problem. The Commission calls for a policy that aims to make good for the injustices meted out to Roma Holocaust survivors and their offspring even after World War Two. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer urged the German parliament and the future government to continue the fight against discrimination and racism. Seehofer said in Berlin during an assessment of the report that he considered such initiatives to be particularly important and necessary for internal peace in the country. Combating racism and antiziganism, he said, was his ministry’s most important work in sociopolitical terms, along with the protection of the population. He also called on his successor to continue to devote himself to this area. The minister pointed out that unfortunately, it was always the case that issues were only addressed once something happens.
EU mission in Mozambique: On Monday, EU foreign ministers decided that the European Union will set up a military training mission in Mozambique to help the government tackle a growing Islamist insurgency and to protect civilians. Mozambique, which has called on the EU for help, has been grappling with a rebellion in its northernmost province of Cabo Delgado since 2017. Violence has grown significantly in the past year. The aid agency „Brot für die Welt“ („Bread for the World“) strongly criticized the EU’s planned anti-terrorism mission and appealed to the German government to influence France and Portugal to abandon their military plans in Mozambique. Even a military training mission of the European Union for the Mozambican army would not solve the conflicts in the country, said President Dagmar Pruin. According to Pruin, it would be much more important for the EU to name the land rights issue as one of the central causes of the conflict. In addition, she said, the local population must be given a fair share of the income from mineral resources and other concessions. Young people in particular need prospects so that they do not have to seek their salvation in armed struggle due to poverty, lack of education and unemployment.
UN can continue to deliver aid to Syria: The UN Security Council voted unanimously Friday to extend the delivery of humanitarian aid from Turkey to rebel-held northwest Syria for a year after a US-Russia deal, a move the UN says will provide lifesaving aid to 3.4 million people are in desperate need of food and other assistance. The key issue had been whether the council should authorize deliveries through the Bab al-Hawa crossing to northwest Idlib for another year, which the West, UN and humanitarian groups said was critical — or for six months as Russia, Syria’s closest ally, had insisted on. The current one-year mandate for aid through Bab al-Hawa expires on Saturday. The Security Council approved four border crossings when aid deliveries began in 2014, three years after the start of the Syrian conflict. But in January 2020, Russia used its veto threat in the council first to limit aid deliveries to two border crossings in the northwest, and then last July to cut the crossings to just Bab al-Hawa.
„For Germany, space operations are always defensive operations.“
Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer during a visit to the command’s site at the Center for Air Operations in Uedem, North Rhine-Westphalia.
New drones to predict meteorite impacts: Planetary scientists estimate that each year, about 500 meteorites survive the fiery trip through Earth’s atmosphere and fall to our planet’s surface. Most are quite small, and less than 2% of them are ever recovered. While the majority of rocks from space may not be recoverable due to ending up in oceans or remote, inaccessible areas, other meteorite falls are just not witnessed or known about. A team of researchers is now taking advantage of technology advances by testing out drones and machine learning for automated searches for small meteorites. The drones are programmed to fly a grid search pattern in a projected „strewn field“ for a recent meteorite fall, taking systematic pictures of the ground over a large survey area. Artificial intelligence is then used to search through the pictures to identify potential meteorites.