Japan launches new satellites to boost surveillance

Updated 27 January 2013
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Japan launches new satellites to boost surveillance

TOKYO: Japan Sunday launched two satellites to strengthen its surveillance capabilities, including keeping a closer eye on North Korea which has vowed to stage another nuclear test.
One of them was a radar-equipped unit to complete a system of surveillance satellites that will allow Tokyo to monitor any place in the world at least once a day.
The other was a demonstration satellite to collect data for research and development.
The H-IIA rocket blasted off from the southern island of Tanegashima around 1:40 p.m. (0440 GMT) and released the satellites as planned, according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
“The rocket flew as planned and released both satellites,” JAXA said in a statement, confirming its success.
From an altitude of several hundred kilometers, the radar satellite will be able to detect objects on the ground as small as a square meter, including at night and through cloud cover.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has taken a hard-line stance on North Korea, hailed the successful launch.
“The government will make the most use out of the system... in order to enhance our country’s national security and crisis management,” he said in a statement, according to national broadcaster NHK.
Japan developed a plan to use several satellites as one group to gather intelligence in the late 1990s as a response to a long-range missile launch by Pyongyang in 1998.
The space agency has said the radar satellite would be used for information-gathering, including data following Japan’s 2011 quake and tsunami, but did not mention North Korea by name.
But the launch came as Pyongyang has vowed to carry out more rocket launches and a third nuclear test in protest at tightened UN sanctions over its banned launches.
The North last year launched two long-range rockets. The first failed in April but the second in December flew over the southern Okinawa island chain, jangling nerves in Japan.


Rights court dismisses Breivik’s complaint about jail conditions

Breivik is serving a 21-year sentence for the July 2011 massacre of 77 people. (Lise Aaserud via Reuters)
Updated 3 min 23 sec ago
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Rights court dismisses Breivik’s complaint about jail conditions

  • Norwegian officials have repeatedly rejected allegations that Breivik is isolated, arguing that he is treated as a “VIP prisoner” and has regular contact with prison staff, his lawyer and visitors
  • Breivik has the use of three cells, each measuring more than 10 square meters and equipped with a television, computer, DVD player and gym gear

STRASBOURG: The European Court of Human Rights on Thursday dismissed a complaint by Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik over his prison conditions, ending a long-running saga that kept him in the public eye, tormenting his victims.
Breivik is serving a 21-year sentence for the July 2011 massacre of 77 people, most of them teenagers gunned down while attending a Labour Party youth camp on the small island of Utoeya.
The far-right, anti-Islam extremist took his case to the ECHR after Norway’s Supreme Court refused to hear his appeal last year against a ruling that his near-isolation in a three-room cell respected his human rights.
His lawyer argued that the prison conditions breached articles 3 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights: the former prohibits inhuman or degrading treatment, the latter guarantees a right to privacy and family life.
“His state (of mind) is deteriorating,” his lawyer Oystein Storrvik told AFP. “He is no longer able to study for example.”
But the court based in Strasbourg said that “its examination of the case did not reveal any violations of the Convention, and rejected the application as inadmissible for being manifestly ill-founded.”
Norwegian officials have repeatedly rejected allegations that Breivik is isolated, arguing that he is treated as a “VIP prisoner” and has regular contact with prison staff, his lawyer and visitors.
He has the use of three cells, each measuring more than 10 square meters and equipped with a television, computer, DVD player and gym gear. He has no Internet connection, however.
Survivors of the Utoeya massacre expressed satisfaction at the ruling.
“It’s a relief. We’re hoping not to hear his name again for many years to come,” Lisbeth Kristine Royneland, the head of a victims’ support group whose 18-year-old daughter was killed by Breivik, told AFP.
Writing on Twitter, a survivor of the massacre, Tore Remi Christensen, wrote: “The Breivik case is rejected in Strasbourg. Delighted. May he and all those who share his shitty message rot in hell.”
Breivik’s killing spree began on July 22, 2011, when he set off a bomb outside a government building in Oslo, killing eight people.
Disguised as a police officer and armed with a semi-automatic rifle and pistol, he then went to Utoya where the Labour Party was holding a youth camp, killing 69.
During his trial the extremist, who has changed his name to Fjotolf Hansen, repeatedly addressed the courts with Nazi salutes and complained about the cold coffee and frozen meals served in prison, among other things.
His sentence can be extended indefinitely if judges determine he remains a threat to society.