Google to use balloons to provide hurricane-hit Puerto Rico cellular service

Alphabet will provide emergency cellular service to Puerto Rico through its Project Loon balloons. (Reuters)
Updated 07 October 2017
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Google to use balloons to provide hurricane-hit Puerto Rico cellular service

WASHINGTON: The US Federal Communications Commission said late on Friday it had approved Alphabet’s application to provide emergency cellular service to Puerto Rico through its Project Loon balloons.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico has struggled to regain communications services. The FCC said on Friday that 83 percent of cell sites remain out of service, while wireless communications company are deploying temporary sites.
Alphabet, which announced the test project in 2013 to use solar-powered, high-altitude balloons to provide Internet service in remote regions, said in an FCC filing it was working to “support licensed mobile carriers’ restoration of limited communications capability” in Puerto Rico.


Westminster terror suspect in court over UK parliament ‘attack’

Updated 5 min 24 sec ago
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Westminster terror suspect in court over UK parliament ‘attack’

  • Sudanese-born British national Salih Khater is accused of driving into a group of cyclists and then police officers - charged with attempted murder
  • He appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court in London on Monday

LONDON: A terror suspect accused of crashing his car into the security barriers surrounding Britain’s Houses of Parliament appeared in court Monday charged with attempted murder.
Sudanese-born British national Salih Khater is accused of driving into a group of cyclists and then police officers last Tuesday.
He appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court in London on Monday where judge Emma Arbuthnot, England’s chief magistrate, remanded him in custody following a seven-minute hearing.
The 29-year-old is charged with two counts of attempted murder of members of the public and of police officers. He did not enter a plea on Monday.
Khater will next appear for another short hearing at the Old Bailey in London, England’s central criminal court, on August 31.
Wearing a grey t-shirt and white trousers, Khater confirmed his name, date of birth, nationality and home address in Birmingham, central England.
Prosecutor Samuel Main alleged that Khater “accelerated into a group of cyclists,” then, having driven through them, “veered off the open road, down a chute and toward police officers” guarding the parliament building.
The incident followed a “short but intensive period of reconnaissance,” he alleged.
Main said detectives had made extensive enquiries and had come up with “no evidence” of an accident, mechanical failure, a medical episode or disorder, intention to commit suicide or a crisis in Khater’s personal circumstances.
The prosecutor alleged it was a “deliberately calculated attack.”
Main said the choice of location and the attempt to kill police officers suggested “that the defendant intended to make a political statement.”
Prosecutors were therefore treating the case “as terrorism,” Main told Arbuthnot.
The location was close to that of another attack in March last year when Khalid Masood, a 52-year-old Briton, mowed down pedestrians, killing five people before fatally stabbing a police officer.