Briefing:- 15/02/17

1. India launches a record 104 satellites in one go, breaks Russia’s record :-

Image result for 104 satellites
ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV C-37) takes off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), Sriharikota, India

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scripted history today by successfully launching a record 104 satellites, including India’s earth observation satellite, on a single rocket from the spaceport in Sriharikota. This is the highest number of satellites ever launched in a single mission.

The space agency’s trusted workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C37, on its 39th mission, took off in the morning, at 9.28 am, today, from Sriharikota space centre with the 104 satellites, of which 101 belongs to international customers.

The first to be let off was India’s high resolution CARTOSAT-2 series satellite made to especially monitor activities of India’s hostile neighbours at a resolution less than a meter keeping a bird’s eye view on both Pakistan and China.

As the scientists at the Mission Control centre broke into cheers, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman A S Kiran Kumar announced: “All 104 satellites successfully placed in orbit. My hearty congratulations to the entire ISRO team for the wonderful job they have done.”

2. Trump campaign had repeated contact with Russia before election: NYT :-

Trump campaign had repeated contact with Russia before election: NYT
US President Donald Trump repotedly knew about NSA Flynn’s phone calls with the Russian ambassador.

Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, the New York Times reported on Tuesday, citing four current and former US officials.

US law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said, according to the Times.

The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election, the newspaper said.

The officials interviewed in recent weeks said they had seen no evidence of such cooperation so far, it said.

However, the intercepts alarmed US intelligence and law enforcement agencies, in part because of the amount of contact that was occurring while Trump was speaking glowingly about Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The intercepted calls are different from the wiretapped conversations last year between Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, and Sergei I. Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States, the Times said.

During those calls, the two men discussed sanctions that the Obama administration imposed on Russia in December. Flynn misled the White House about those calls and was asked to resign on Monday night.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request from Reuters for comment on the Times story.

The Times reported that the officials said the intercepted communications were not limited to Trump campaign officials and included other Trump associates.

On the Russian side, the contacts also included members of the Russian government outside the intelligence services, the officials told the Times. All of the current and former officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the continuing investigation is classified, the newspaper reported.

The officials said one of the advisers picked up on the calls was Paul Manafort, who was Trump’s campaign chairman for several months last year and had worked as a political consultant in Russia and Ukraine, the Times said. The officials declined to identify the other Trump associates on the calls.

Manafort, who has not been charged with any crimes, dismissed the accounts of the US officials in a telephone interview with the Times on Tuesday.

Several of Trump’s associates, like Manafort, have done business in Russia. It is not unusual for US businessmen to come in contact with foreign intelligence officials, sometimes unwittingly, in countries like Russia and Ukraine, where the spy services are deeply embedded in society, according to the Times.

Law enforcement officials did not say to what extent the contacts may have been about business, the Times said.

Officials would not disclose many details, including what was discussed on the calls, which Russian intelligence officials were on the calls, and how many of Trump’s advisers were talking to the Russians. It is also unclear whether the conversations had anything to do with Trump himself, the Times said.

3. Russia deploys missile in apparent treaty violation:-

The guided-missile destroyer USS Porter sails in the Black Sea in October 2015.
The guided-missile destroyer USS Porter sails in the Black Sea in October 2015.

Moscow has deployed a cruise missile in an apparent treaty violation, a senior military official told CNN Tuesday.

The move is just the latest in a string of Russian provocations in the early days of the Trump administration, which has called for warmer relations with the Kremlin.

The traditional US adversary has also positioned a spy ship off the coast of Delaware and carried out flights near a US Navy warship, concerning American officials. The administration has not officially drawn any links between the three events.
The ground-launched cruise missile seems to run counter to the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, the senior military official said. The New York Times first reported is deployment.
While declining to speak on intelligence matters, a spokesman for the US State Department did draw attention to Russian violations of the treaty.
“The Russian Federation remains in violation of its INF Treaty obligations not to possess, produce or flight-test a ground-launched cruise missile with a range capability of 500 to 5,500 kilometers, or to possess or produce launchers of such missiles,” acting spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement issued Tuesday.
Russia is believed to have tested one such missile in 2014.
“We have made very clear our concerns about Russia’s violation, the risks it poses to European and Asian security, and our strong interest in returning Russia to compliance with the treaty,” Toner added.
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