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Dominica Opposition party wants answers on Ross University departure

Dominica Opposition party wants answers on Ross University departure

While St. Vincent PM says no blame should be afforded to his regional colleagues on Ross University

ROSEAU, Dominica, Aug 14, CMC – The main opposition United Workers Party (UWP) is calling on the Dominica government to make public the recent 25 year agreement it signed with the US-owned Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) that still allowed for the school to be relocated in Barbados.

“Given the apparent support of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit for the relocation of Ross University to Barbados, the people of Dominica have a right to full disclosure of the 25-year agreement that allowed this to happen without notice. We need to know what are the unmet government obligations under the agreement that allowed Ross to relocate without breaching the agreement,” the UWP said in a statement.

Earlier this month, Skerrit announced Ross University, which had been forced to relocate its operations to St Kitts and the state of Tennessee in the United States following the passage of Hurricane Maria last September, would be leaving the Eastern Caribbean nation after 40 years.

His announcement was followed by a press conference in Bridgetown where Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley and the president Adtalem Global Education and chief executive officer at Ross University,  Lisa Wardell, announced that Bridgetown would be the new home of the American university by January 5, 2018.

The Skerrit administration said it had informed the RUSM that it could have resumed its operations on the hurricane struck island even before the start of the January semester in 2019.

The island’s ambassador to the United States and the Organisation of American States (OAS), Vince Henderson, speaking on a radio programme last Tuesday night, read from a three-page letter Prime Minister  Skerrit had sent to the university in July indicating that plans were advanced for the resumption of classes in Portsmouth, north of here.

“It is my fervent hope that all things considered there will be a much earlier re-opening of the campus that has been indicated in your earlier communication and during your visit in April 2018,” Skerrit wrote in the July 9 letter to Wardell.

Opposition Leader Lennox Linton

But in its statement, the UWP said that after 40 years of serving as a major engine of economic activity in Dominica, “the Prime Minister found it impossible to negotiate even a phased withdrawal that would give the country at least 12 months to cushion the devastating blow and prepare for adjustments”.

It asked “what exactly does the agreement provide?”

The party said that the circumstances of the termination “allow us to conclude that the Prime Minister failed to deliver on the investment support and public infrastructure improvements that had to be addressed satisfactorily within the context of the agreement to facilitate a return of Ross. What exactly does the agreement provide?

“There was a particular concern about accreditation by the Dominica Medical Board and the future of Ross in Dominica. What exactly does the agreement provide?”

It said that the National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation in the United States  is authorized to evaluate the standards of accreditation applied to foreign medical schools and to determine their comparability to standards applied to medical schools in the United States.

“This determination of comparability of accreditation standards by NCFMEA is an eligibility requirement for foreign medical schools to participate in the US government’s student financial assistance program and is therefore extremely important to Ross.

“Yet, under the watch of the Prime Minister who made himself directly responsible for Ross, there has been no determination, for more than 10 years, that accreditation standards in Dominica are comparable to those of the United States,” the UWP said.

The opposition party said “instead of coming clean with the people of Dominica to facilitate learning the lessons that will avert a similar catastrophe in the future, the Prime Minister is busy confusing the issue and creating distractions.”

The party said it has also taken note that both the chief economic and political advisor to Prime Minister Skerrit are Barbadian Avinash Persaud and Hartley Henry, both of whom serve in the same capacity to Prime Minister Mottley.

“These advisors had the inside track on the challenges faced by Ross in Dominica and were no doubt asked to advise both Prime Ministers. What was their advice to their Dominica boss about facilitating Ross to stay in Dominica?

“What was their advice to their Barbadian boss about facilitating Ross to relocate to Barbados? Did they even advise their bosses that they should, as CARICOM partners, meet with the owners of Ross to work out the best way forward for Dominica – a CARICOM Single Market and Economy country that stands to lose the significant development benefits of a 40-year investment relationship?

“Only Barbados is benefitting from this glaring conflict of interest in which the same political and economic advisors serve masters in Bridgetown and Roseau,” the UWP said.

On Monday, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said he would not blame either his Dominican or Barbadian counterparts for the controversy surrounding the decision of the US-owned Ross University to re-locate to Barbados.

Speaking at a news conference, Gonsalves told reporters that he had received information “from different sources” and he does not believe that ‘anyone can reasonably blame Prime Minister (Roosevelt) Skerrit (of Dominica) of losing Ross University neither can one reasonably blame Mia Mottley of poaching Ross University.

“The matter which comes out stark to me first of all is that the business entity has no loyalty to any country or any community if that loyalty conflicts with what they perceive to be their immediate, medium term long term interest,” Gonsalves said.

No blame should be afforded to regional colleagues on Ross University

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Aug 13, CMC – St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves Monday said he would not blame either his Dominican or Barbadian counterparts for the controversy surrounding the decision of the US-owned Ross University to re-locate to Barbados.

Speaking at a news conference, Gonsalves told reporters that he had received information “from different sources” and he does not believe that ‘anyone can reasonably blame Prime Minister (Roosevelt) Skerrit (of Dominica) of losing Ross University neither can one reasonably blame Mia Mottley of poaching Ross University.

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves

“The matter which comes out stark to me first of all is that the business entity has no loyalty to any country or any community if that loyalty conflicts with what they perceive to be their immediate, medium term long term interest,” Gonsalves said.

Over the weekend, the Dominica government called for an end to the “unwarranted verbal attacks” against the Barbados government as a result of the decision of the university to re-locate after 40 years there.

“The decision to relocate to Barbados was a decision taken solely by Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM). The relationship between Barbados and Dominica is longstanding and amicable. The people and Government of Barbados have always stood with us both in good times and most recently in difficult times,’ Skerrit said in a radio and television broadcast.

The Skerrit administration said it had informed the Ross University School of Medicine that it could have resumed its operations on the hurricane struck island even before the start of the January semester in 2019.

The island’s ambassador to the United States and the Organisation of American States (OAS), Vince Henderson, speaking on a radio programme last Tuesday night, read from a three-page letter Prime Minister  Skerrit had sent to the university in July indicating that plans were advanced for the resumption of classes in Portsmouth, north of here.

“It is my fervent hope that all things considered there will be a much earlier re-opening of the campus that has been indicated in your earlier communication and during your visit in April 2018,” Skerrit wrote in the July 9 letter to the Adtalem Global Education president and chief executive officer at Ross University,  Lisa Wardell.

“I wish to assure you that all the arrangements we discussed for the accreditation for Ross by the Medical Board have been acted upon to meet the desired expectation,” Skerrit added.

Last week,Prime Minister Mottley denied there was anything underhanded by her administration into accepting the Ross University School of Medicine’s move to the island.

“Barbados came into the picture, only when, for Ross University, returning to Dominica for the start of the January semester in 2019, was not an option. This is not and has never been a case of poaching or enticing anyone away from Dominica,” she said in a statement.

Earlier this month, Skerrit announced Ross University, which had been forced to relocate its operations to St Kitts and the state of Tennessee in the United States following the passage of Hurricane Maria last September, would be leaving the Eastern Caribbean nation after 40 years. Hours later, Mottley and Wardell held a press conference in Bridgetown indicating that Barbados would be the new home of the American university by January 5, 2018.

In her statement, Mottley said while she could not speak for or on behalf of Ross, “the hands of the Barbados Government are clean in this matter”.

Gonsalves said Ross University was built in Dominica, recalling that “when Ross went to Dominica in 1978 …they started with 80 students, they would have had a hurricane in 1979…that did not stop them, they were just up and running, they came back.

“They have had other hurricanes. The Barbados government, nobody could tell Ross that there will be no hurricane in Barbados. Barbados has had hurricane in the past.

“They (Ross) have assessed where they are. The back to back hurricanes were probably the occasion, the spark for them having consideration for moving. But they would have assessed that their immediate, long term interest is no longer with Dominica”.

Gonsalves said the decision by Ross was “clearly” not based solely on the weather.

“Look, Grenada is outside the hurricane belt more than Barbados. They say Grenada is south of the hurricane belt but what happened in 2004. Ivan blow down the whole place including the medical school and they build it back better because they saw their long term interest being there in Grenada….”

Gonsalves recalled that when the off shore medical schools were first coming into the region, some Caribbean countries campaigned against them saying “they are bad for the medical profession.

“Now their thinking is clearly different,” he said, adding he is unaware if the medical professionals in Barbados “are yet convinced about having it (offshore medical school).

“It is going to be interesting to see how those medical doctors going to work with the medical students at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. I am sure they would be working out all of those problems and I don’t want to be negative about that, but I come back to the fundamentals that you can’t reasonably blame Roosevelt Skerrit or Mia Mottley.

“The thing is this between the decision to leave somewhere and to go somewhere else is always some period of uncertainty and that has to be sorted out…and they decided they going to Barbados. But basically 40 years of Ross in Dominica, clearly they did not consider that to be of any importance to them,” Gonsalves told reporters.

 

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Caribbean broadcasters meeting in Jamaica

Caribbean broadcasters meeting in Jamaica

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Aug 14, CMC –Caribbean and international broadcasters are meeting here amidst calls for regional governments to adapt to the new media environment of which social media is now a critical part.

Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Ruel Reid, addressing the 49th annual General Assembly of the Barbados-based Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU), Tuesday, said that it was also necessary for Caribbean societies to guard against insularity as well as to take their place in the discourse in the global geo politics.

“I encourage our governments to adapt to our new media environment of which social media is now a critical part – embrace social media as an additional means to engage with our citizenry, encourage youth participation in our democracies and build trust in our systems.

Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Ruel Reid

“We see the power of the media in the #MeToo Movement – and it is from advocacy against gender based injustices in the West to campaigns for girls to access to education in the East that now cannot be muted given the coverage through multiple media platforms.”

But Reid said that the shift to the online world has also brought many new social problems.

“For example, children and young adults are particularly vulnerable to cyber-bullying, revenge porn, internet addiction disorder and other forms of deeply problematic internet use. One of the worst problems is that some gangs now record their criminal acts, including murders and rapes, which they then post on social media and share via WhatsApp in order to exult in their ‘success’, humiliate their victims, devastate their families and intimidate others. These posts/shares encourage imitation and retaliation, resulting in a vicious cycle of reciprocal violence. “

He said that a less-obvious but equally troubling problem is that as traditional news outlets have become less profitable, they are also losing some of their primary news-gathering and fact-checking capacity.

“The loss of authoritative and independent sources of news means that many people now obtain their information from closed loops of like-minded people, which encourages political tribalism and increases vulnerability to fake news and manipulation via social media.”

Reid said that a number of state agencies, criminal and terrorist organizations and mercenary hackers now have the ability to destabilize countries by penetrating their communications, compromising their infrastructure and manipulating elections with fake news.

He said the cost of a cyber-hack/fake news attack has fallen dramatically as the necessary skills have spread through the hacker community, which means that these attacks are likely to be much more common in future.

“So the critical issue for our countries now is that our regulatory framework must focus on protecting vulnerable persons such as children, adolescents and young adults against malign content; our States must take steps to improve national media literacy.

“Media must ensure that it maintains high media quality with particular regard to factual content, support national and citizen security, and protect the integrity of our democratic systems,” he told the delegates.

Reid recalled that while there had been the Ferguson riots in the United States against the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager Mike Brown in 2014, Jamaica was grappling with the Mario Dean tragedy.

Deane was reportedly beaten while in police custody and later died. That matter is still before the courts. Reid said that the ordinary citizen’s perspectives were amplified alongside traditional broadcast journalists and media houses’ coverage ensuring appropriate focus on the issues attendant on both security and justice.

He said tools available to journalists, civil society and the public at large, such as access to information (ATI) legislation must not be underused.

“Just recently, use of our ATI Act exploded the widely held view that women were not allowed to wear sleeveless shirts and or dresses to conduct business in government establishments, effectively proving a barrier to access timely government services.

“Human rights activist and blogger Susan Goffe utilized the Access to Information Act to request from a number of government Ministries, whether this enforced dress code was originated from any policy document. Following the request it was revealed that no policy prohibited women’s access to government buildings in sleeveless shirts or dresses. The national discourse again ignited, and this is where these discussions can influence policy,” he said.

Reid noted the challenges to the survival of indigenous Caribbean media recognising that the global media industry is in the middle of a profound transformation.

“We have left behind the era in which the media industry was organized and regulated by infrastructure -radio, television, telephone, print etc.-. Today, content flows over many different networks and technologies.”

He said that news, information, entertainment, education, directions, home management and shopping, translations and many other services are all now digital streams that can be directed to the nearest screen.

“Many different services can now be handled on the same networks, and different services can be transmitted on a number of competing networks using different and combined technology platforms. This means that the flow of content is no longer controlled by infrastructure.

“In addition, it is now possible to provide media services without the need to have any local presence at all, or ownership of any infrastructure – other than access to the internet- , which makes it increasingly difficult to regulate effectively within a single jurisdiction, let alone by a given technology.”

Reid said that these changes mean that the traditional divisions by region and infrastructure are becoming less and less relevant.

He said in the new era, consolidated content is the heart of the media world, while infrastructure and devices are delivery channels.

“This has implications for how we will regulate, paying particular attention to what flows through an increasingly diverse array of pipes.

“The media and communications sector today is in the business of conveying both specialized and mass information across the rapidly eroding borders of broadcasting. Television and radio, business and market information, education, entertainment, publishing, advertising, telecommunications, motion pictures, home videos, video games, computer databases, and other information products are all now digital streams which run across different networks, including many that flow through some of the currently unregulated spaces”.

Reid said that content, defined broadly, is now a most critical factor and it is where value is generated and added.

“Content is now the critical determinant of the economic dynamism and prosperity of an economy.

We in the Caribbean must take note that media firms are now competing against technology firms that can operate in unregulated and untaxed spaces while accessing advertising revenue. The traditional media organizations therefore are losing both audience and income.”

Reid said between  2012 -2014 the audience for radio fell from 21 per cent to 19.6 per cent; the audience for Free-to-Air TV fell from 25 to 23.2 per cent and newspaper readership fell from 22 to 20.6 per cent as people switched to the internet and international cable.

He quoted from a 2015 document by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) that argued that the creative economy of which Film and Television and Media Arts & Communications are apart, is an important part of global trade.

“The global market for traded creative goods and services totalled US$547 billion in 2012.  Growth rates stood at 8.6 per cent annually from 2003 – 2013, showing the strength and resilience of the sector despite the economic deceleration of the world economy,” the document stated.

But Reid said that there are advantages to some of the profound changes in the media landscape with one of the most significant gains being the shift from traditional to non-traditional platforms and stimulated many new creative and business ideas, as many people are now both consumers and providers of content.

“News, information and entertainment are no longer the sole province of the traditional creators and distributors of content, the broadcast and print media. In an era of citizen journalists, Facebookers, Tweeters, bloggers and vloggers, the average person is both consumer and creator of content. “

The Assembly which is being held under the theme “Building Resilience to Climate Change: Business, Technology & Content Options for Caribbean Media,” ends on Wednesday.

 

 

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Montserrat Innovation Days to Open this Week

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 By TMR staff

OCTA Innovation Newsletter – Montserrat Innovation Days reveals: The Government of Montserrat is organising Innovation Days in Montserrat on 16th and 17th of August 2018. Innovation Days will be held under patronage of the honourable Donaldson Romeo, Premier of Montserrat, who will personally open the Montserrat Innovation Days. That will be great occasion for local both public and private stakeholders to gather and to exchange relevant knowledge and best available practice in different aspects of sustainable development of the island.

Mrs. Janice Panton MBE

Mrs. Janice Panton MBE, UK and EU Representative for the Government of Montserrat and Chair of the OCTA Innovation will present Association of EU Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTA) and OCTA Innovation, EU funded project for propelling innovation in the OCTs. As an introductory speaker at the Montserrat Innovation Days, Janice Panton will particularly highlight her call upon the heads of the governments of the EU Overseas Countries and Territories to embrace Systemic Innovation for the sustainable development of their territories.

The Premier’s Office on Tuesday this week, provided some more details. The linkages between innovation and sustainable development will be the focus of discussions on Montserrat for the ‘2018 Innovation Days’, being organised by the Government of Montserrat with support from the local Innovation Advisory Board.

The ‘Innovation Days’ are scheduled for Thursday August 16 and Friday August 17 at the Montserrat National Trust starting at 9:00a.m. on both days.  The event will be launched on Thursday morning by Hon. Premiere Donaldson Romeo who will deliver opening remarks. Other speakers scheduled to deliver remarks at the opening ceremony include Government of Montserrat’s UK Representative and Chair of the Overseas Countries and Territories Association (OCTA) Innovation, Mrs. Janice Panton, and Brussels based OCTA Innovation Team Leader, Milan Jezic von Gesseneck.

The Brussels based OCTA Innovation Team Leader and the local Innovation Advisory Board explained that the ‘Innovation Days’ are intended to assist in enhancing sustainable development through innovation solutions for economic diversification.  The event targets both local public and private stakeholders, encouraging exchanges of relevant knowledge and best available practice in different aspects of sustainable development of the island.

During the sessions, Milan Jezic von Gesseneck, will lead a group of EU experts who will provide some lectures and transfer of knowledge on the best EU practices to Montserrat. Milan in particular will share his knowledge and experience in innovation and sustainable development; Innovation, entrepreneurship and green business expert from Trinidad and Tobago, Alan Cooper, will share his knowledge and regional experience in policy support for innovation, entrepreneurship and green business development; while development and tourism expert James McGregor, will bring the best worldwide practice and experience in visitor economy. Some members of the local Innovation Advisory Board will also deliver presentations based on their areas of specialisation.

In addition to the Innovation Days on August 16 and 17, a round-table discussion on the ‘Creative Industry’ is also being planned for Monday, August 20 starting at 9:00a.m. at the Cabinet Secretariat’s Conference Room.

The OCTA Innovation programme assists Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) in propelling innovation and creativity through the organisation of local ‘Innovation Days’. Innovation Days are events held in the OCTs, ranging from one day up to several days, with support from the Brussels based OCTA Innovation Team Leader, and features lectures and trainings from experts.

Creativity in Monserrat has been recognised: handmade craft items specific to Montserrat. Emerald Isle Ceramics won OCTA Innovation BIC Award 2017 in creativity field.

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Governments moving to ban plastics and Styrofoam

Governments moving to ban plastics and Styrofoam

NASSAU, Bahamas, Jul. 27, CMC – The Government has embarked upon a programme to ban the use of plastics and Styrofoam which are proving detrimental to the country’s eco and marine system.

In an effort to make the public aware of the planned policy, the first in a series of town hall meetings on Single-use Plastics & Styrofoam Ban was held earlier this week.

(file photo)

Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis underscored the importance of banning the use of plastics and Styrofoam.

The aim is to also simultaneously address marine pollution and waste management and to ban single-use plastics, such as shopping bags, food utensils, straws and Styrofoam food containers by 2020.

“Reducing harmful waste streams such as plastics and Styrofoam is one of the first steps we are taking in to implementing a more effective solid waste management strategy that prioritizes waste prevention and minimization, while utilizing waste disposal as a last resort,” he said.

The Prime Minister referenced the New Daily website about a video that went viral on the “world’s latest garbage emergency” showing 30 tons of plastic debris washing up on a beach in the Dominican Republic. 

The New Daily also reported “A huge clean-up operation began on Wednesday with more than 500 local public workers, navy and army support mobilized to collect and remove the massive floating stockpile of plastic bottles, takeaway food containers and Styrofoam.”

According to the Prime Minister, these “shocking” events dramatize why there is a global and his Government’s push towards reducing plastic pollution in the oceans.

More than 60 countries have already committed to introducing levies and bans to reduce single-use plastic waste, he said, adding that plastic pollution is extremely difficult to remove from the environment.

“These plastics break down into much smaller micro-pieces which are often mistaken for food by birds, turtles, and fish. Tiny particles of plastics have been found to build up in fish brains, altering their behaviour,” Minnis said.

He also noted that like other Small Island Developing States, The Bahamas is highly vulnerable to the impact of climate change.

“Coupled with this, we have the prevailing challenge of finding waste management solutions that suit our small size and growing economy.Due to our geographic location, we are besieged by marine debris from the United States of America, and from the many international marine vessels which pass through our waters. This pollution will have a terrible impact on our tourism and fishing industries.”

The Prime Minister said that his Government remains committed to ensuring that significant action is taken to mitigate natural as well as human-made pollution, including pollution resulting from the poor-functioning and poorly managed dump sites throughout our archipelago.

“As the Ministry of the Environment continues to host town hall and consultation meetings with businesses, I want to encourage all Bahamians to do their part in reducing their plastics and Styrofoam use,” he added.

Dominica bans Styrofoam and plastic items

ROSEAU, Dominica, Jul 27, CMC- The Dominica government says it will ban the use of Styrofoam and certain plastic items from January 1, next year.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit told Parliament that that the decision is in keeping with his administration’s vision to have the island become the first climate resilient country in the world.

“Madam Speaker, consistent with the Government’s vision to create the world’s first climate resilient nation, our designation as “The Nature Isle” and our commitment to protect Mother Earth, effective 1st January 2019, a number of items considered to be inimical to the environment will be banned.

“These will include the following: plastic straws, plastic plates, plastic forks, plastic knives, Styrofoam cups, Styrofoam containers,” Skerrit said, adding that that the necessary legislation to enforce the ban will soon be prepared.

“We must in every way deserve and reflect that designation,” he said of the island being known as the “Nature Isle”.

He said the issue of solid waste management affects the perception of Dominica as the Nature Island and his government continues to grapple with the problem.

“In a previous budget address, I announced a decision to restrict the importation of non-biodegradable containers and plastic implements used in food service. This matter has not proceeded as quickly as we would have liked, as we wanted to ensure that we implemented that policy without compromising our obligations under the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. (that governs the Caribbean Community (CARICOM))

“It is acceptable for a country to adopt measures which will help in the preservation of the environment,” he added.

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WhatsApp users should be careful when opening messages, after the discovery of a text bomb that can cause your handset to freeze. The glitch works by overloading systems with tens of thousands of hidden text characters, forcing affected users to reset their device

Warning over WhatsApp ‘text bomb’ that could crash your phone: Malicious message causes iPhone and Android handsets to freeze

Mail onLine

  • The glitch overloads smartphones with tens of thousands of hidden characters
  • This forces users who received the message to reset their iOS or Android device  
  • This come in two varieties, one featuring a black dot and a warning message
  • Another contains a crying while laughing emoji with instructions to ‘read more’
  • A full system reboot may be required if you are unlucky enough to activate it

WhatsApp users are being warned about a new ‘text bomb’ that can cause their iOS and Android handsets to freeze. 

It is being spread by messages sent via the popular app and comes in two varieties.  One reads: ‘This is very interesting’ with a crying while laughing emoji, followed by ‘Read more’. Tapping on ‘read more’ causes your handset to freeze. 

Another features a black dot and contains the words ‘if you touch the black point then your WhatsApp will hang’. Clicking on the black dot causes the crash to occur. 

The code powering the messages is being shared on Pastebin, meaning anyone can find it online, copy and paste it, then spread the text bomb via WhatsApp.

Its understood that the text message is being circulated by friends as a prank to their WhatsApp contacts, to deliberately crash their phones.

Anyone who is sent the text bomb is advised to delete the message in question. The safest way to do this is to delete the conversation thread it is part of, rather than clicking on the message itself.

Devices caught out by the bomb may need to be rebooted. To do this, hold down the power button on your handset until the restart option appears, or power down the device then power it back up if this option isn’t available.

WhatsApp has yet to issue a statement, but the Facebook-owned firm is likely to issue a software patch fixing the problem in the near future. 

Scroll down for video 

WhatsApp users should be careful when opening messages, after the discovery of a text bomb that can cause your handset to freeze. The glitch works by overloading systems with tens of thousands of hidden text characters, forcing affected users to reset their device

Another variant of the message is said to contain the words ‘if you touch the black point then your WhatsApp will hang’. Clicking on the black dot icon in the message causes the same issues to arise for Android users specifically
 

Another variant of the message is said to contain the words ‘if you touch the black point then your WhatsApp will hang’. Clicking on the black dot icon in the message causes the same issues to arise for Android users specifically

The bug has been hidden in the specially crafted messages according to Neowin, who first reported the text bomb after spotting claims made on Reddit.

In the first message, the code in question is hidden just after the emoji and clicking on ‘read more’ causes Whatsapp to expand this part of the message. In the second, the code is hidden after the dot icon.

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Darcy Boyce

COTED meeting agrees on CCREE full operationalisation

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Apr 20, CMC – The Special Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) on Energy has ended here with an agreement that work has advanced towards the full operationalisation of the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE) by the middle of this year.

Minister of State in the Office of the Barbados Prime Minister, Darcy Boyce, who chaired the one-day meeting on Thursday, said “we can then move forward with appointment of the executive board and staffing of the Centre”.

Darcy Boyce
Darcy Boyce

Montserrat became the latest Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country to have deposited its instruments of ratification of the agreement establishing the CCREEE.

Barbados, Dominica, Jamaica and Belize are the other CARICOM countries that have deposited their instruments of ratification.

The Centre is intended to function as the implementation hub for the CARICOM Energy Policy, as well as the Caribbean Sustainable Roadmap and Strategy (C-SERMS). I

n 2015, CARICOM leaders approved the establishment of the CCREEE and identified Barbados as the host country for its Secretariat. The COTED agreed to interim operations of the Centre in January, 2016 and on Thursday, the meeting agreed on decisions related to the transition from that interim stage to the first operational phase.

When fully operational, the Centre is expected to improve the quantity and quality of programmes and projects in sustainable energy within the region.

“We had a very useful meeting, and I expect that we would have put ourselves in a position to achieve a lot more in the energy sector, in renewable energy and energy efficiency over the next few years,’ Boyce said, adding that “good progress” had also been made on the matter of labelling of energy efficient equipment within the region.

He said this step would ensure that people knew “exactly what they were getting” when they bought equipment and sought to encourage them to acquire more efficient equipment and appliances for their properties.

The meeting also approved a pilot programme which will get underway shortly to promote energy efficiency in commercial and residential buildings. Substantial discussions were held on integrating climate resilience into the C-CERMS against the background of the region’s vulnerability to intense climate-related events.

The one-day meeting also discussed insurance and electricity disruption.

“We felt that we needed to discuss ways in which we could get the work done to guide us… to become more resistant to those situations, and to help us to recover faster” when there are natural disasters,” Boyce said.

He said the ministers also took stock of the availability of technical assistance under the CARIFORUM Regional Programme for Energy under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) to get the resources that were necessary for studies and to implement projects to grow the energy sector.

The ministers also had “robust” discussions on oil and gas in the Region. A working group is to be established to consider how there could be deeper cooperation and more advice available on the technical matters on that sector.

Boyce had at the start of the meeting made reference to the region’s oil and gas sector, and its potential to benefit the populace.

“While we are all determined to make sure that we benefit as best as we can from renewable energy and energy efficiency, we all also have to bear in mind that if we are the owners of resources, we ought not to let those resources stand there idly, but we should use them for the benefit of our countries and for the Region.

“So I am very glad that we are not shying away from the matter of oil and gas. It is a matter of balancing … oil and gas, with the natural resource of sunlight, and wind, and water. And this is what it is all about: optimising, getting the best mix of those resources to give our people and our economies what they need”, he said.

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Ambassador Perry Holloway

US diplomat urges Guyanese to neglect advice from “so-called experts”

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Mar 30, CMS – A  United States diplomat is urging Guyana to be cautious against what he termed the “so-called experts” who have been making negative comments about the country’s new found oil and gas wealth.

US Ambassador to Guyana, Perry Holloway, speaking on a radio programme here, said that he is impressed that the people of Guyana are getting “oil smart” but encouraged them to seek out the truth for themselves regarding the development of the oil and gas industry.

Ambassador Perry Holloway
Ambassador Perry Holloway

“I encourage everyone, experts and not, to continue to learn. A lot of stuff is available online including the contract, so I encourage people not just to take anyone, myself included, at their word to go out and investigate it and find out the truth,” Holloway said, in an apparent reference to the controversy that has erupted here following the production sharing contract between Guyana and the US-based oil giant ExxonMobil.

The diplomat had first called out these “‘so-called experts” during a business forum at the inaugural Innov8 Conference hosted by the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company.

But he told radio listeners that there is more than just gloom and doom stories from oil.

“When I see articles like that, I think, you could have also picked another 20 other countries that have been giant successes,’ he said, reiterating the need for the population to find out the facts for themselves.

“Cherry picking of data, whether it’s to sell newspapers or for political means, while that’s what you do …  I will just encourage everyone to go out and get the whole story,” he said, reminding all that it is the government and its people who determine how the oil revenues are spent.

“What a country does with their oil money is entirely up to the government and the people. So, if the government is corrupt well then you could imagine the results you would get. So, while everyone should hold ExxonMobil’s feet to the fire everyone is going to have to, in the future, hold whatever government is in power’s feet to the fire.”

He said oil revenue can provide “fantastic” education opportunities, security, food security and infrastructure which is the single biggest thing that most Guyanese need”.

The government has received support from the United States in the development of the oil and gas industry. The US had supported Guyana’s Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) bid and Guyana has since become a member of EITI.

Washington has also provided advice to Guyana in the revision of its regulations as it prepares for oil. The country is also working with the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) on how to audit large companies.

Guyana is set to begin oil production by 2020 after years of drilling for the commodity in its waters.

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Gonslaves for CMC

PM Gonsalves says he’s subject of SCL’s ‘nasty’ campaign

By Kenton X. Chance

Gonsalves: …entities associated with the SCL, such as the “bandits” who want to sell St. Vincent and the Grenadines citizenship and passports have paid the SCL to work on behalf of the NDP.

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Mar 28, CMC – Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves says he has been the  subject of a two-decade campaign by the Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL), the parent company of the British-based Cambridge Analytica, which has been accused of mining data to influence election outcomes around the world.

Gonslaves for CMC
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves

Gonsalves, whose Unity Labour Party (ULP) is celebrating 17th anniversary in government this year, condemned what he termed the way in which “backward political forces” in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and “elements overseas” wanted to undermine progress in the country for their own selfish purposes.

“And in this regard, I speak about an organisation like Strategic Communication Laboratories, which has been here since 1998 seeking to undermine the ULP and from 2001 and onwards. They have been very nasty towards the ULP on behalf of the NDP (New Democratic Party) and they have been particularly so to the leadership of the ULP, including comrade Ralph,” said Gonsalves, speaking on the party’s own radio station.

He said other entities associated with the SCL, such as the “bandits” who want to sell St. Vincent and the Grenadines citizenship and passports have paid the SCL to work on behalf of the NDP.

Gonsalves has repeatedly referred to citizenship by investment as selling of passports and the island remains the only independent Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) without such a programme, through which citizenship if granted to foreign investors in exchange for making a substantial financial contribution to the socio-economic development of the island.

The NDP says that citizenship by investment can help to improve the economic fortunes of the island, while not imposing any further tax burden on citizens.

In his radio interview, Gonsalves said that Cambridge Analytica had undertaken “a lot of nasty work — you notice I am repeating this word nasty, nasty work for Donald Trump against Hillary Clinton in the election [in the 2016 US presidential election]…”

He said special prosecutor in the United States, Robert Mueller, the US senate and Congress, and the British parliament are investigating Cambridge Analytica.

“The evidence has emerged of SCL doing the nasty work to undermine democracy in several Caribbean countries,” he said, adding this was done in Antigua and Barbuda, St. Lucia, Dominica, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“And I will be talking about their nefarious role,” Gonsalves said, adding that from the time they were formed in 1993, SCL proudly stated on their website and promoted themselves as “mind benders — bending minds of unsuspecting people, they trafficked in lies, distortions.

“They said that they can use behavioural analysis to twist people for them to vote particular ways if they didn’t want to vote that way,” Gonsalves said, adding that SCL once boasted on their website that they have learnt from and apply tactics used by Goebbels, Hitler’s minister of propaganda.

“That is the organisation which the New Democratic Party had working against the ULP from 1998,” he said, noting that in 2001, there was an offshore bank here called Grenadines Bank, whose owner, Douglas Lees, also owned an offshore bank in Barbados and an offshore financial institution in Bermuda.

Gonsalves said that when he arrived in office, Lees’ company from Bermuda was being used by the NDP to do due diligence on persons interested in investing here.

“Making a lot of money and doing very little work because can you imagine getting a company that is associated with an offshore bank doing due diligence for investors?” Gonsalves said.

He said that in 2001, Lees had hired SCL as his multi-million contributions to the NDP that year’s election campaign — in which the NDP was voted out of office, after 17 years.

Gonsalves said that in 2001, a young lady who was a supporter of the ULP and front desk worker at Mariners Hotel, had copied and given to Michael Hamlett — the ULP’s candidate for East Kingstown — a fax that SCL had given her to send on their behalf. The ULP used the fax as part of its campaign against the NDP.

In 2001, the SCL attempted to use race against him in the election campaign, said Gonsalves, who is of Portuguese descent.

By the 2005 election campaign, the SCL came only as advisors because then leader of the NDP, Arnhim Eustace, wanted to distance himself from prime minister and NDP founder, Sir James Mitchell Gonsalves said, adding that during the constitution referendum campaign of 2009, an entity associated with selling passports in other countries hired the SCL to work for the NDP.

 

“And they used every species of nastiness in that referendum,” he said.

The NDP was able to convince the electorate to reject proposed changes to the constitution. However, the ULP retained office one year later, winning the December 2010 general elections by an 8-7 margin.

Gonsalves said that the SCL was also present here in the 2015 election, which saw the ULP returned to office by the same 8-7 margin as in 2010.

“So when you see the NDP, I want the people of St. Vincent to see these nasty people from England, SCL — Strategic Communication Laboratories, who are bent on undermining democracy, bending people’s minds, having contempt for black people, having contempt for the people of the Caribbean, the leaders of the Caribbean, but they want money for themselves and their clients want to sell our passports and our citizenship,” Gonsalves said.

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Partner Series

March Full Moons 2018: When to See the ‘Worm Moon’ and a (Blue) ‘Sap Moon’

 
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The month of March opens and closes with a full moon this year, making this the second “Blue Moon” month in 2018.The moon becomes full on Thursday, March 1, at 7:51 p.m. EST (0051 GMT) and again on Saturday, March 31, at 8:37 a.m. EDT (1237 GMT). The first Blue Moon of 2018 was the spectacular Super Blue Blood Moon of Jan. 31.

For observers in New York City, the moon rises at 5:33 p.m. local time on March 1, so the moon will be well above the horizon when the satellite reaches its fullest phase. It will set the following morning (March 2) at 7 a.m. local time. On March 31, the almost-full Blue Moon will set at 7:03 a.m. local time, or about 1.5 hours before it is full. It will rise again at 7:37 p.m., and while the moon will be past full, the difference from a full moon will not be visible to the naked eye. [The Moon: 10 Surprising Lunar Facts]

The Super Blue Blood Moon rises behind a perched bird in this photo taken on Jan. 31, 2018 in Konya, Turkey. The second Blue Moon of 2018, the Full Sap Moon, will rise on March 31, following the Full Worm Moon on March 1.
The Super Blue Blood Moon rises behind a perched bird in this photo taken on Jan. 31, 2018 in Konya, Turkey. The second Blue Moon of 2018, the Full Sap Moon, will rise on March 31, following the Full Worm Moon on March 1.

Credit: Abdullah Coskun/Anadolu Agency/Getty

Not every month gets two full moons. The time between full moons (known as a synodic month) averages 29.53 days, so we usually see one full moon per month. About every two to three years on average, we see a “Blue Moon” — a second full moon in one month.

Two Blue Moons in a year is relatively uncommon. According to EarthSky.org, the next year when two calendar months will each have two full moons will be 2037, when January and March will have Blue Moons. The last time it happened was in 1999.

One effect of having a full moon on Jan. 31 and March 1 is that February has no full moon at all. February is the only month in which this can happen, because the month has only 28 days (while the phenomenon can happen in a leap year, it is rare). The next time a full moon will skip February will be in 2037, according to TheSkyscrapers.org, a site run by amateur astronomers, and the phenomenon is sometimes referred to as a “Black Moon.” 

Moons of many names

Moons in various months have sometimes-evocative names. The March full moon, for instance, was dubbed the Full Worm Moon by some Native American tribes, because it happens when temperatures rise and the earthworms emerge, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Other tribes have called the full moon of March the Sap Moon “as it marks the time when maple sap begins to flow and the annual tapping of maple trees begins,” the Old Farmer’s Almanac states.  [Full Moon Names 2018: From Wolf Moons to Cold Moons

A full moon is defined as the moment when the side of the moon that faces the Earth is fully illuminated. How much of the moon’s face appears to be illuminated from our perspective on Earth depends on where the moon is in its orbit.

For about half of the world, the moon won’t be visible at the exact moment when it is officially full. That’s why the full moon is sometimes listed as happening during the day, when the moon is below the horizon, as it will be for observers in New York City on March 31. On the other hand, skywatchers in Los Angeles, where the moon reaches its fullest phase at 5:37 a.m. local time on March 31, can see it happen about an hour and a half before the moon sets at 7:04 a.m.

See the moon phases, and the difference between a waxing and waning crescent or gibbous moon, in this Space.com infographic about the lunar cycle each month. <a href="http://www.space.com/62-earths-moon-phases-monthly-lunar-cycles-infographic.html"/>See the full infographic. ” data-src=”https://img.purch.com/w/640/aHR0cDovL3d3dy5zcGFjZS5jb20vaW1hZ2VzL2kvMDAwLzAwMC8zOTgvaTAyL21vb24tcGhhc2VzLTEwMTExMS0wMi5qcGc/MTI4OTg1MDkxMQ==” data-options-closecontrol=”true” data-options-fullsize=”true”></div><figcaption id=
See the moon phases, and the difference between a waxing and waning crescent or gibbous moon, in this Space.com infographic about the lunar cycle each month. See the full infographic.

Credit: Karl Tate, SPACE.com

The moon has phases because as it revolves around the Earth, we see it from different perspectives. Like planets, the moon appears to move against the background stars. Unlike the planets, however, it does so fast enough that one can see it happen over the course of a night. The moon moves approximately one lunar diameter (about half a degree) each hour, eastward relative to the stars even as it rises in the east and sets in the west. So, the moon can move some 6 degrees to the east of its position at moonrise over the course of a 12-hour night.

This is illustrated by where the March full moons will be in the sky: On March 1, the moon will be in the constellation Leo, the lion, and about 13 degrees above the eastern horizon when it is at maximum illumination. On March 31, the moon will be in Virgo when it hits full phase (and below the horizon in the eastern U.S.). It will still be in Virgo when it rises for New York City observers that evening, but as the moon sets the next morning at 7:34 a.m. local time, it will have moved several degrees east. By the next day, it will be in Libra. 

Moon Master: An Easy Quiz for Lunatics
For most of human history, the moon was largely a mystery. It spawned awe and fear and to this day is the source of myth and legend. But today we know a lot about our favorite natural satellite. Do you?
 
Full Moon over Long Beach, CA
 
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The full moon tends to wash out a lot of fainter objects in the sky, but one can still see some brighter planets when the moon is full. On March 1, for example, Jupiter will rise at 11:42 p.m. local time in New York and will be about 23 degrees above the southwestern horizon at moonset on the morning of March 2. You can find the giant planet in Libra — no telescopes or binoculars necessary. From city locations, in fact, Jupiter may be the only “star” visible in that portion of the sky, as most stars in Libra are not very bright.

Saturn will rise at about 3 a.m. local time (the wee hours of March 2) and by moonset will be about 26 degrees above the horizon in Sagittarius. Mars, which rises at 2 a.m., will be in Ophiuchus and appear nearly due south. Both planets should also be easily visible without telescopes or binoculars.

Venus and Mercury are both “evening stars” — on March 1, they will both set shortly after 6:30 p.m. local time in New York City. These two planets will be no more than 5 degrees above the horizon by the time the sky gets dark enough to make them visible, so they will be very difficult to see, especially from a city location.

By March 31, the situation for observing Venus will be markedly better. Venus will be a full 12 degrees above the western horizon at the end of civil twilight (which is at 7:47 p.m. in New York) and bright enough that it should be just visible. Mercury will have set by that time, but because it is only 3 degrees away from the sun, that planet will be difficult to observe under any circumstances (and dangerous to view, without proper protective equipment to block the light of the sun).

Other planets will join the Blue Moon in the sky later that evening. Jupiter will rise at 10:40 p.m. on March 31, followed by Mars at 2:21 a.m. on April 1. Saturn will rise just 3 minutes earlier and will appear quite close to Mars in the sky. The two planets will be only about 4 degrees apart in Sagittarius.

You can follow Space.com on Twitter @Spacedotcom. We’re also on Facebook & Google+

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SpaceX

Success! SpaceX Launches Falcon Heavy Rocket on Historic Maiden Voyage

 
 CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The first Falcon Heavy rocket built by the private spaceflight company SpaceX soared on its maiden voyage today (Feb. 6) — a historic test flight that also sent a car toward Mars and included two confirmed booster landings.

“I’m really excited about today,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk told reporters after the launch. “I’m really proud of the SpaceX team. They’ve done an incredible job of creating the most advanced rocket in the world, and the biggest rocket in the world.”

Standing 23 stories tall, the Falcon Heavy rocket is SpaceX’s largest rocket yet. Its first stage is powered by three core boosters based on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets, with 27 engines (nine per booster) firing in unison to produce about 5 million lbs. of thrust (22,819 kilonewtons) at liftoff. While SpaceX hoped all three boosters would return to Earth and land, the center core missed its mark – a minor hiccup in an otherwise successful launch, Musk said. [SpaceX’s 1st Falcon Heavy Rocket Test Flight in Pictures]

SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket takes off from Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on Feb. 6, 2018.

SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket takes off from Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, on Feb. 6, 2018.

Credit: SpaceX

The rocket will eventually launch payloads of up to 141,000 lbs. (64,000 kilograms) into orbit. That’s about twice the payload capacity of its nearest competitor, the Delta IV Heavy, built by United Launch Alliance.

“This is a test flight,”  Musk said yesterday (Feb. 5). “If the test flight works, I think we’d be ready to put satellites on the next mission.” That mission, Musk added, could occur within the next three to six months.

The Falcon Heavy rocket taking off from Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center on Feb. 6, 2018.

The Falcon Heavy rocket taking off from Launch Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Feb. 6, 2018.

Credit: SpaceX

 SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy test flight was arguably one of the most anticipated rocket launches in years, with an estimated 100,000 spectators expected to visit Florida’s Space Coast to witness the event. Among those in attendance was famed Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who watched as the Falcon Heavy launched from the same pad he used to fly to the moon in 1969.

 

 

Part of that allure is the mission’s novelty: This Falcon Heavy is the first of its kind, a new breed of reusable monster rocket.

The two side boosters of the first stage have flown before. One launched the Thaicom 8 communications satellite in May 2016, and the other lofted a Dragon cargo ship for NASA in July 2016, according to SpaceX. The center core stage was completely new for the Falcon Heavy. [SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy Rocket Explained (Infographic)]

The Falcon Heavy's two side boosters returned to Cape Canaveral to stick a historic double landing after SpaceX's new megarocket successfully launched on its first test flight on Feb. 6, 2018.

The Falcon Heavy’s two side boosters returned to Cape Canaveral to stick a historic double landing after SpaceX’s new megarocket successfully launched on its first test flight on Feb. 6, 2018.

Credit: SpaceX

In a sort of cosmic dance, the three first-stage core boosters returned to Earth much like SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets have in the past. Two boosters touched down at SpaceX landing sites at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station near KSC. The third was scheduled to land on SpaceX’s drone-ship landing pad “Of Course I Still Love You,” stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

Musk said the core stage hit the Atlantic Ocean at about 200 mph after two of three engines did not fire during the descent. The crash damaged the nearby drone ship, he added.

SpaceX has now successfully landed Falcon-family rockets 24 times — three on this mission alone. (The rocket family is named after another famously reusable spaceship, the fictional Millennium Falcon from “Star Wars,” Musk has said.)

But perhaps the biggest draw of today’s launch was the Falcon Heavy’s unique payload: a Tesla Roadster riding atop the rocket’s second stage.

A dummy passenger in a Tesla Roadster rode aboard the maiden flight of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy on Feb. 6.

A dummy passenger in a Tesla Roadster rode aboard the maiden flight of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy on Feb. 6.

Credit: SpaceX

Musk announced in December that the “midnight cherry red” convertible, which he owns, would be the first Falcon Heavy payload. Then, on Monday, he revealed another surprise: a spacesuit-clad mannequin called “Starman”(a reference to David Bowie’s song “Starman”) in the driver’s seat, with its right hand on the wheel and left arm resting on the door.

About 28 minutes into today’s test flight, the second stage carrying the Roadster shut down its engine, ending the main phase of the Falcon Heavy test flight. If all goes well, the second stage will coast for 6 hours through Earth’s Van Allen belts, regions of extremely high radiation, and then restart its engine to send the Roadster and Starman toward Mars.

That maneuver will send the Roadster into orbit around the sun and, in turn, eventually carry the car and Starman about 248 million miles (400 million kilometers) from Earth.

“It will essentially be an Earth-Mars cycler,” Musk said, adding that the orbit should bring the Roadster near Mars. There is an “extremely tiny” chance the car could hit the Red Planet, he added.

There are three cameras on the Roadster, Musk said, adding that they should capture “epic views” during the mission.

“I’m not worried about the car,” Musk said. “It’ll be fine.”

The Falcon Heavy outside SpaceX's facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The Falcon Heavy outside SpaceX’s facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Credit: Robert Pearlman/collectspace.com

When Musk first announced the Falcon Heavy in April 2011, he predicted that its first flight could occur by 2013. But that year came and went, followed by more, as SpaceX tackled the nuances of building a reusable heavy-lift rocket. Musk estimates SpaceX invested about $500 million of its own funds to develop the new rocket.

Now, with the first test flight in the books, SpaceX is ready to forge ahead with commercial satellite launches. Two missions are scheduled for 2018: the launch of the Arabsat 6A communications satellite, and the Space Test Program 2 mission for the U.S. Air Force, which also includes a solar-sail mission for The Planetary Society.

The Falcon Heavy’s raw power, combined with its reusable design, represents a giant leap forward for SpaceX.

“This would be a major milestone in heavy lift,” Scott Hubbard, editor of the peer-reviewed journal New Space and an adjunct professor of aeronautics and astronautics at Stanford University, told Space.com before the launch. “A successful test would really advance, in my view, the potential for planning commercially acquired launch services for deep space.”

SpaceX aims to sell Falcon Heavy launches for about $90 million per flight. (The single-core Falcon 9 launches sell for $62 million per flight.) By reusing the Falcon Heavy boosters, the company hopes to drastically reduce the cost of heavy-lift space missions to near that of its Falcon 9 missions.

“If we are successful in this, it is game over for all other heavy-lift rockets,” Musk said.

The Falcon Heavy is part of a growing list of SpaceX launch services and ongoing projects. The company already provides satellite launch services and Dragon cargo delivery missions for NASA using its Falcon 9 rockets.

SpaceX is also building a crewed version of the Dragon space capsule to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA, with the first flights scheduled for later this year.

Meanwhile, SpaceX is developing a launch system even larger than the Falcon Heavy, called the BFR (or Big Falcon Rocket). That booster, Musk has said, is designed to launch hundreds of people into space at one time and could be used to transport passengers around the world quickly for point-to-point travel.

Musk said he was thinking of the BFR on Monday while visiting the Falcon Heavy at the launchpad ahead of today’s launch.

“I’m looking at Falcon Heavy, and I’m thinking, ‘It’s a bit small,'” he said.

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 8 p.m. EST to include details about the Falcon Heavy core stage, which did not survive its landing attempt.

Space.com senior writer Michael Wall contributed to this report from San Francisco. Email Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com or follow him @tariqjmalik and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.

 

 

 

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