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Telescope Group chooses Canary Islands as an alternative to Hawaii

The Canary Islands was selected as the site after the Hawaii Supreme Court blocked construction of the telescope on the Big Island.

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The Gran Telescopio Canarias, one of the the world's largest telescopes, is viewed at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos on the Canary Island of La Palma, Spain. The designation of the Canary Islands as an alternative site for the TMT comes nearly a year after the Hawaii Supreme Court blocked construction of the telescope on the Big Island. VOA
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November 1, 2016: The team behind a project to build one of the world’s largest telescopes said on Monday it has chosen Spain’s Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean as a possible alternative to Hawaii.

The decision follows opposition from Native Hawaiians and environmentalists to plans for constructing the so-called Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), which would cost $1.4 billion, at the Mauna Kea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island.

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Henry Yang, chair of the TMT International Observatory Board, said in a statement the board explored a number of alternative sites for the telescope.

Ultimately, the board selected La Palma, the most westerly of the Canary Islands off the coast of Morocco, as the primary alternative to Hawaii, Yang said.

His statement did not say what made that particular site ideal for the project.

The designation of the Canary Islands as an alternative comes nearly a year after the Hawaii Supreme Court blocked construction of the telescope on the Big Island.

The court found state officials acted improperly when they issued a building permit without holding a process known as a contested case hearing where opponents could speak out.

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On Oct. 20, the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources opened a new set of hearings on the project, with a retired judge overseeing those proceedings.

The New York Times reported a decision on the latest application to build the telescope in Hawaii could be made next year.

Yang said the Big Island continues to be the preferred choice of the team behind the telescope and the group will continue “intensive efforts to gain approval” for it in Hawaii.

The area around the summit of Mauna Kea, the volcano, already has 13 working telescopes, according to the website of the University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy.

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Astronomers consider the site ideal for observing outer space because of the dry atmosphere above the volcano and because of its distance from urban lights.

Native Hawaiians who oppose the project have said the proposed site for the new telescope on the Big Island is considered a spiritual temple and also is a burial ground, adding the project could harm those sacred lands. (VOA)

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Aadhaar Helpline Mystery: French Security Expert Tweets of doing a Full Disclosure Tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App

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Google, Facebook face greater scrutiny in Australia. Wikimedia Commons

Google’s admission that it had in 2014 inadvertently coded the 112 distress number and the UIDAI helpline number into its setup wizard for Android devices triggered another controversy on Saturday as India’s telecom regulator had only recommended the use of 112 as an emergency number in April 2015.

After a large section of smartphone users in India saw a toll-free helpline number of UIDAI saved in their phone-books by default, Google issued a statement, saying its “internal review revealed that in 2014, the then UIDAI helpline number and the 112 distress helpline number were inadvertently coded into the SetUp wizard of the Android release given to OEMs for use in India and has remained there since”.

Aadhaar Helpline Number Mystery: French security expert tweets of doing a full disclosure tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App, Image: Wikimedia Commons.

However, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended only in April 2015 that the number 112 be adopted as the single emergency number for the country.

According to Google, “since the numbers get listed on a user’s contact list, these get  transferred accordingly to the contacts on any new device”.

Google was yet to comment on the new development.

Meanwhile, French security expert that goes by the name of Elliot Alderson and has been at the core of the entire Aadhaar controversy, tweeted on Saturday: “I just found something interesting. I will probably do full disclosure tomorrow”.

“I’m digging into the code of the @Google SetupWizard app and I found that”.

“As far as I can see this object is not used in the current code, so there is no implications. This is just a poor coding practice in term of security,” he further tweeted.

On Friday, both the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as well as the telecom operators washed their hand of the issue.

While the telecom industry denied any role in the strange incident, the UIDAI said that he strange incident, the UIDAI said that some vested interests were trying to create “unwarranted confusion” in the public and clarified that it had not asked any manufacturer or telecom service provider to provide any such facility.

Twitter was abuzz with the new development after a huge uproar due to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R.S. Sharma’s open Aadhaar challenge to critics and hackers.

Ethical hackers exposed at least 14 personal details of the TRAI Chairman, including mobile numbers, home address, date of birth, PAN number and voter ID among others. (IANS)

Also Read: Why India Is Still Nowhere Near Securing Its Citizens’ Data?