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France Plans to Launch Mini Surveillance Satellites to Enhance Protection of French Satellites

Defense Minister Florence Parly said France was not being sucked into an arms race and that the creation

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France, Satellites, Protection
French Air Force General Philippe Lavigne attends a presentation by French Ministre of Defense on the new Defence space Strategy on July 25, 2019. VOA

France plans to launch mini surveillance satellites to enhance the protection and defense of French satellites from 2023, its defence minister said on Thursday, signalling an intensification in the race to militarize space.

Defense Minister Florence Parly said France was not being sucked into an arms race and that the creation of a new French “space command” announced by the president was central to a strategy to bolster defense capabilities, rather than offensive.

“If we want to be able to carry out real military operations in space, then we need to develop the ability to act alone,” Parly said, speaking at the Lyon-Mont Verdun air base.

The “space command,” Parly said, would fall under the air force’s control. With space fast becoming one of the greatest challenges to national security, the government would draw up new legislation to hand oversight of all French activities in space to the Defense Ministry.

France, Satellites, Protection
France plans to launch mini surveillance satellites to enhance the protection and defense of French satellites from 2023, its defence minister said on Thursday. Pixabay

President Emmanuel Macron’s desire to create a space command, which Parly announced will go live on Sept. 1, followed U.S. President Donald Trump’s plan to usher in a new space force that will form the sixth branch of the U.S. military by 2020.

Parly described the mini-satellites that will patrol space from 2023 as “fearsome little detectors that will be the eyes of our most valuable satellites.” Space and aeronautics company Thales had ambitions in the field, she said.

She called on France’s European partners to work together on space surveillance. “In particular I count on Germany to be at the heart of space surveillance.”

French convictions of the need to strengthen defense capacities in space were strengthened when a Russian satellite last year attempted to intercept transmissions from a Franco-Italian satellite used by both countries armies for secure communications in what it called an “act of espionage.”

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Oversight of French activities in space currently lies with the French Space Agency (CNES). (VOA)

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France to Block Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency: Report

The development of the Libra has raised grave concerns among lawmakers over how it will be regulated

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Facebook, Financial, Lawmakers
FILE - Representations of virtual currency are displayed in front of the Libra logo in this illustration picture. VOA

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on Thursday said the country cannot authorise the development of Facebook’s proposed Libra cryptocurrency on European soil as it threatens the “monetary sovereignty” of governments.

Le Maire also cited the potential for abuse of market dominance as well as systemic financial risks as the reason why the cryptocurrency cannot operate in Europe, Sputnik news agency reported.

“All these concerns about Libra are serious. I therefore want to say with plenty of clarity: in these conditions we cannot authorise the development of Libra on European soil,” Le Maire was quoted as saying at the opening of an OECD conference on virtual, cryptocurrencies.

Facebook announced its intentions to launch the digital coin in June. The new cryptocurrency is designed to assist billions of its social media users in conducting international transactions.

Corporate, America, Climate Change
FILE – In this April 30, 2019, file photo, Facebook stickers are laid out on a table at F8, Facebook’s developer conference in San Jose, Calif. The Boston-based renewable energy developer Longroad Energy announced in May that Facebook is building a… VOA

The digital coin will be operated by Facebook along with 28 partners, including Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, Uber, Lyft, and Spotify.

The development of the Libra has raised grave concerns among lawmakers over how it will be regulated.

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Earlier this month, a member of the board of the European Central Bank (ECB) cautioned that the Libra virtual currency could under certain circumstances negatively affect the bank’s ability to regulate the euro and the single market. (IANS)