17 July 2014, 19:11

Lunar simulation experiment kicks off in Moscow

Lunar simulation experiment kicks off in Moscow

Lunar simulation experiment kicks off in Moscow, OSCE experts come to Rostov, Hamas proposed cease-fire conditions, Gambling remains unpopular in Russia, Russia to reopen intelligence base in Cuba, Airstrikes in Pakistan kill at least 50 people. These issues in Voice of Russia's daily Press Review.

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Space Medicine Research Institute of the Federal Medical Biological Agency has launched a new experiment simulating life on the Moon, Moskovskiy Komsomolets writes. The daily notes that researchers hope to analyze physiological changes to the bodies of 12 volunteers, who were placed into special beds which shift the body along horizontal axis, imitating weak lunar gravity. Representatives of the Agency told the newspaper that the experiment, codename Selena-T, is a necessary step before launching long-range expeditions to bodies of the solar system with low gravity. The first test group of twelve participants will remain strapped to their simulated gravity beds for 21 days. This way scientists will be able to monitor human bodies in conditions similar to the low gravity of Earth’s satellite. The daily notes that the experiment requires personnel to make sure that the participant’s physiological needs are satisfied. The main objective of the experiment is to research the effect on cardiac and respiratory system as well as the musculoskeletal system. This experiment is the first of five planned for the next several years.

 

OSCE representatives from the United States, United Kingdom and Russia have arrived to Rostov in order to monitor the situation on the Russia-Ukraine border, Rossiyskaya Gazeta writes. Observers will stay in the area until July 19 throughout this period they will meet with the local authorities and representatives of the customs service and border patrol; officials will also visit Donetsk and Gukovo checkpoints. According to the article, monitoring will be done in part by unmanned aerial vehicles. The newspaper cites a statement made by OSCE representatives, according to which members of the conflict prevention center, border security and transnational threats departments participate in the mission. Following the visit they will compile a report due to be published early next week. The article reminds that July 13 a citizen living in a village adjacent to Donetsk died; investigators have discovered 70 fragments of shrapnel in the vicinity. Another shell which exploded in the area injured two women.

Izvestia reports that Islamists group are prepared to stop rocket bombardment of Israel in exchange for certain conditions. Representatives of Hamas-affiliated groups have voiced requirements which included traditionally voiced terms, the daily notes, such as release of Palestinians incarcerated in Israel’s prisons and creation of a buffer zone adjacent to the Gaza sector border. Moreover, Islamists demanded recognition of the border between the Gaza sector and Egypt a national border, construction of international and sea ports under international control, development of an industrial zone and creation of new jobs. The newspaper reminds that based on previous experience, the majority of Palestinian demands will be rejected by Israel as unacceptable. On the other hand, the country will be ready to free some of the prisoners and satisfy some of the less important demands, such as creation of an expanded fishing zone for Gaza sector residents from three miles from the shore to six. The bottom line, the newspaper writes, is that the public opinion in Israel shifts to a more radical solution – abandoning negotiations and more so any concessions in favor of a full-scale military operation.

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A survey published Wednesday found that gambling remains unpopular among a vast majority of Russians, five years after the adoption of legislation sharply limiting the number of authorized gambling establishments. The Moscow Times reports that the poll, conducted by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center, found that 94% of Russians do not gamble, the same percentage found in a 2009 poll. The survey also found that only 4 percent of Russian admitted that they bet on the outcome of their card games. Less than 1 percent of the population admitted to gambling in casinos, which were confined to specially designated areas in the Kaliningrad, Altai, Primorye and Krasnodar regions. The newspaper reminds that in January, Russian police shut more than 61,000 underground gambling establishments, facilities that have surfaced since the adoption of a law banning them in populated areas in 2009. More than 70 percent of the poll's respondents said they thought the ban on casino had had positive effects. A mere 11 percent thought the legislation had not been beneficial.

 

Russia has quietly reached an agreement with Cuba to reopen a Soviet-era radar base amid souring relations between Moscow and Washington, The Guardian writes. The deal to reopen the signals intelligence facility in Lourdes, south of Havana, was agreed in principle during Russia’s president Vladimir Putin's visit to the island as part of a Latin American tour last week. The daily reminds that opened in 1967, the Lourdes facility was the Soviet Union's largest foreign base, and only 155 miles from the US coast. It employed up to 3,000 military and intelligence personnel to intercept a wide array of American telephone and radio communications. Putin announced its closure in 2001 because it was too expensive – Russia had been paying $200m a year in rent – and in response to US demands. The article suggests that the move is part of Moscow's campaign to reassert itself as a geopolitical rival to the United States and comes as the west is set to expand sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine conflict.

 

Airstrikes killed at least 50 people in northwestern Pakistan on Wednesday, officials said. The Washington Post reports that one strike targeted a house in North Waziristan as well as a vehicle passing nearby. Although authorities said 15 people were killed in the strike, some officials said at least 20 died. Several local officials said they thought the strike was carried out by a U.S. drone. However, the CIA declined to comment. “The compound was being used by foreign militants, and some local terrorists were present in the vehicle that got targeted,” said one of the Pakistani intelligence officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media. Also Wednesday, a separate Pakistani airstrike killed 35 suspected terrorists who were trying to flee North Waziristan, military officials said. Since the start of the military operation, at least 450 militants have been killed in the region according to officials, the newspaper writes, reminding that there have been at least two U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan since the military offensive began.

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