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Category Archives: Life Extension

The Military’s E-6 Mercury Is Far Deadlier Than The F-35 Stealth Fighter – The National Interest

Posted: April 11, 2020 at 3:49 am

Key Point:The Mercurys abundant communications gear allows it to perform nonnuclear Command, Control and Communications (C3) operations as well. For this reason, E-6s have at times been deployed to Europe and the Middle East to serve as flying C3 hubs.

In a military that operates Raptor stealth fighters, A-10 tank busters, B-52 bombers and Harrier jump jets, the U.S. Navys placid-looking E-6 Mercury, based on the 707 airliner, seems particularly inoffensive. But dont be deceived by appearances. Though the Mercury doesnt carry any weapons of its own, it may be in a sense the deadliest aircraft operated by the Pentagon, as its job is to command the launch of land-based and sea-based nuclear ballistic missiles.

Of course, the U.S. military has a ground-based strategic Global Operations Center in Nebraska, and land-based transmitters for communicating with the nuclear triad. However, the E-6s sinister purpose is to maintain the communication link between the national command authority (starting with the president and secretary of defense) and U.S. nuclear forces, even if ground-based command centers are destroyed by an enemy first strike. In other words, you can chop off the head of the U.S. nuclear forces, but the body will keep on coming at you, thanks to these doomsday planes.

The E-6s basic mission is known as Take Charge and Move Out (TACAMO). Prior to the development of the E-6, theTACAMOmission was undertaken by land-based transmitter and laterEC-130Gand Q Hercules aircraft, which had Very Low Frequency radios for communication with navy submarines. Interestingly, France also operated its ownTACAMOaircraft until 2001, four modifiedTransallC-160HAstarttransports, which maintainedVLFcommunications with French ballistic-missile submarines.

The first of sixteenE-6sentered service between 1989 and 1992. These were the last built in averylong line of military variants of the venerable Boeing 707 airliner, in particular the707-320BAdvanced, also used in theE-3 Sentry. Bristling with thirty-one communication antennas, theE-6Aswere originally tasked solely with communicating with submerged Navy submarines. Retrofitted with more fuel-efficientCFM-56turbojets and benefiting from expanded fuel tanks, theE-6Acould remain in the air up to fifteen hours, or seventy-two with inflight refueling.

To use its Very Low Frequency radios, an E-6 has to fly in a continuous orbit at a high altitude, with its fuselage- and tail-mounted VLF radios trailing one- and five-mile-long wire antennas at a near-vertical attitude! The VLF signals can be received byOhio-class nuclear ballistic-missile submarineshiding deep underwater, thousands of miles away. However, the VLF transmitters limited bandwidth means they can only send raw data at around thirty-five alphanumeric characters per secondmaking them alotslower than even the old 14k internet modems of the 1990s. Still, its enough to transmit Emergency Action Messages, instructing the ballistic-missile subs to execute one of a diverse menu of preplanned nuclear attacks, ranging from limited to full-scale nuclear strikes. The E-6s systems are also hardened to survive the electromagnetic pulse from nuclear weapons detonating below.

Between 1997 and 2006, the Pentagon upgraded the entire E-6A fleet to the dual-role E-6B, which expanded the Mercurys capabilities by allowing it to serve as an Airborne Nuclear Command Post with its own battle staff area for the job. In this role it serves as a backup for four huge E-4 command post aircraft based on the 747 Jumbo jet. The E-6B has ultra-high-frequency radios in its Airborne Launch Control system that enable it to remotely launch land-based ballistic missiles from their underground silos, a task formerly assigned to U.S. Air Force EC-135 Looking Glass aircraftyet another 707 variant. The E-6s crew was expanded from fourteen to twenty-two for the command post mission, usually including an onboard admiral or general. Additional UHF radios give the E-6B access to the survivable MILSTAR satellite communications network, while the cockpit is upgraded up with new avionics and instruments from the 737NG airliner. The E-6B can be distinguished in photos by its additional wing-mounted pods.

The Mercurys abundant communications gear allows it to perform nonnuclear Command, Control and Communications (C3) operations as well. For this reason, E-6s have at times been deployed to Europe and the Middle East to serve as flying C3 hubs. For example, VQ-4 was deployed in Qatar for three years from 2006 to 2009, where it relayed information such as IED blast reports and medical evacuation requests from U.S. troops in Iraq who were out of contact with their headquarters.

Two Navy Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadrons currently operate the E-6: VQ-3 Ironmen and VQ-4 Shadows, both under the Navy Strategic Communications Wing 1. These have their home at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma, but also routinely forward deploy out of Travis AFB in California and Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland. At least one E-6 is kept airborne at all times. E-6s on the submarine-communication mission often fly in circles over the ocean at the lowest possible speedfor as long as ten hours at a time. Those performing the nuclear command post mission typically remain on alert near Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. The E-6s nuclear mission has also made its operations occasional fodder for conspiracy theorists and foreign propaganda outlets.

The E-6 platform should remain in service until 2040 thanks to a service-life extension program and continual tweaks to its systems and radios. While the Mercury has demonstrated its usefulness as an airborne communication hub for supporting troops in the field, the airborne command post will be considered a success if it never has to execute its primary mission. The heart of nuclear deterrence, after all, is convincing potential adversaries that no first strike will be adequate to prevent a devastating riposte. The E-6s are vital component in making that threat a credible one.

Sbastien Roblin holds a masters degree in conflict resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history forWar Is Boring.

This first appeared in December 2017. It is being republished due to reader interest.

Image: Wikipedia.

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The Military's E-6 Mercury Is Far Deadlier Than The F-35 Stealth Fighter - The National Interest

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Extend New START — The World Can’t Afford a U.S.-Russia Nuclear Arms Race Too – Just Security

Posted: at 3:49 am

The unrelenting and rapid spread of the novel coronavirus underscores the cost of neglect and indecision by the Trump administration in the face of serious threats to U.S. and global security. This reckless abandonment of leadership also characterizes Americas response to other transnational challenges, including the potential for conflict on the European continent and the threat posed by nuclear weapons.

For example, The Guardian reported on April 5 that the Trump administration may withdraw the United States from the Open Skies Treaty this fall. The treaty allows for short-notice, unarmed, observation flights over the territory of treaty parties to collect data on military forces and activities, and is staunchly supported by U.S allies. Nothing screams the U.S. absence in a world starving for leadership during a pandemic than moving forward with plans to withdraw from a treaty that continues to benefit U.S. and European security and that our allies want us to continue to support.

In addition, and even more consequentially, the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), which was signed a decade ago this week, expires in just 10 months. New START is the only remaining arms control agreement limiting the worlds two largest nuclear arsenals. However, as the novel coronavirus emerged earlier this year, the administration continued to stiff-arm Russian overtures to prolong the life of the agreement by five years, as permitted by the accord. Instead, the administration has pursued the idea of striking an entirely new, trilateral arms control agreement that would include China in addition to Russia.

The chances of successfully negotiating such a new, complex deal were already slim before the coronavirus pandemic. Now, in the midst of what clearly will be an extended crisis, the odds are nigh nonexistent.

As the Brookings Institutions Thomas Wright wrote recently, the virus underscores the importance of cooperation with rivals on shared interests even as they compete ferociously in other spheres. We can ill-afford to lose the only remaining limits on the worlds two largest nuclear arsenals, which would open the door to a quantitative arms race.

With the stroke of a pen, President Donald Trump could avert that danger. Extending the treaty can be secured by a simple exchange of diplomatic notes between him and Russian President Vladimir Putin and without the approval of the U.S. Senate.

Indisputable Security Benefits

Signed on April 8, 2010, New START caps U.S. and Russian strategic arsenals to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed delivery systems. It also established a rigorous verification and monitoring regime, including regular notifications and data exchanges. A nuclear exchange involving just a portion of these massive arsenals could kill hundreds of millions of people.

Extending New START would retain these limits and sustain the flow of information about Russias strategic forces for another five years. An extension would also continue to aid U.S. military planning by reducing the need to make worst-case assessments that could prompt additional costly nuclear force investments. Every dollar spent on more nuclear weapons is a dollar that cant be spent on addressing higher priority national and health security challenges.

Conversely, if New START expires next February, there would be no legally-binding, verifiable limits on the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals for the first time since 1972. The risk of unconstrained nuclear competition and an even more fraught U.S.-Russian bilateral relationship would be acute.

For these reasons and more, U.S. allies strongly support extension of New START. Extension also enjoys bipartisan support in Congress.

Since last December, Moscow has communicated its willingness to extend the accord immediately, without preconditions. The Trump administration, however, has yet to accept that offer.

Instead, the White House has continued to prioritize the pursuit of the new and more sweeping arms control agreement that covers additional types of Russian nuclear weapons and also includes China.

Bringing other nuclear actors and all types of nuclear weapons into the arms control process is an important and praiseworthy objective. But the administrations vision for a trilateral arms control deal with China and Russia remains a mystery. Roughly a year after first proposing such an approach, Trump has yet to put forward even the semblance of a framework for such a deal.

Out of Time

Moreover, China, which has a much smaller nuclear arsenal than the United States and Russia, consistently states that it has no intention of participating in a trilateral process, and Moscow has declared that it will not try to convince Beijing to come to the table.

Even if China were interested in trilateral talks, negotiating such a deal would be unprecedented, complex, and time-consuming. The New START negotiations took more than 10 months, from the first round of talks in May 2009 to the treatys signing a decade ago (a relatively short amount of time, as far as arms control agreements go). And Russia, according to officials from Russias Foreign Ministry, might need months to process a technical extension of the treaty.

With the virus disrupting practically all diplomatic exchanges and meetings for at least the next several months it has also halted the usual on-site inspections mandated by New START there is simply not enough time for the dozens of face-to-face negotiating sessions that would be necessary to develop a first-of-its-kind arms control agreement.

All of which makes extending New START even more of a no-brainer. Prolonging the treaty would buy five additional years with which to pursue negotiations on more ambitious nuclear arms control measures.

Critics of New START extension argue that we have plenty of time to make a decision on an extension and that waiting provides leverage to bring Russia and China to the negotiating table on a broader agreement. But there is no evidence that holding out on extension will coerce Russia and China to come to the table and capitulate to U.S. demands.

Regardless, New START is too important to be gambled away in a high-stakes poker game with Russia and China.

Extending New START will maintain a cap on the Russian nuclear arsenal and is a necessary condition for follow-on talks with Russia and new negotiations with China. As the world girds for a long fight against the coronavirus pandemic, the preservation of New START represents the best immediate option that Trump has to reduce the risks of instability and insecurity posed by the still-bloated and dangerous U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals.

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Extend New START -- The World Can't Afford a U.S.-Russia Nuclear Arms Race Too - Just Security

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Brandon Scherff’s excited to be in Washington, looking to be Redskin for life – Redskins Wire

Posted: at 3:49 am

Though the Washington Redskins didnt make any major splashes in free agency this offseason, their first roster move of the period may have been more significant than anything else they did all year.

The Redskins placed the franchise tag on right guard Brandon Scherff, keeping him around for the next 12 months at a minimum. Beyond that time period, though, Scherff has desires to be a member of the Redskins for life, and the team is reportedly working to make that happen.

Im excited, Scherff said, via Redskins.com. Im still living out this dream, and Im just glad Im back with the Redskins again.

There were reports ahead of the franchise tender being signed that two sides were working to reach an extension that would save Washington from having to tag Scherff. Though it didnt get done in time, there is still nothing to suggest that those talks arent still being had.

Its gone well, Scherff said when discussing contract talks. Just pretty much sat down and talked to my agent thats what hes there for and I want to sign a long-term deal with them, too. I love it there, and Ive always said I wanted to be a Redskin for the rest of my career. So, hopefully, we can work towards that.

Its unclear when an announcement on that future deal will come; it could be ahead of the 2020 season, or it could be later in 2021 as the current deal nears its end. However, it seems like we can confidently say that its not a matter of when that extension comes, not if.

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Brandon Scherff's excited to be in Washington, looking to be Redskin for life - Redskins Wire

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"Life Won’t Be Same Ever": Odisha First To Extend Lockdown Till April 30 – NDTV News

Posted: at 3:49 am

Coronavirus lockdown: Odisha became the first state to extend the lockdown over COVID-19

The Odisha government today announced it has extended the lockdown over the COVID-19 pandemic till April 30, becoming the first state to do so as the number of patients infected by the novel coronavirus continues to rise across the country.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has asked the centre not to start train and air services till April 30. "Odisha cabinet decides for extension and also recommends to union government to do the same," the state government said in a statement.

"Coronavirus is the biggest threat that the human race has faced in more than a century. Life will not be the same ever. All of us must understand this and face it boldly together. With our sacrifice and with the blessing of Lord Jagannath, this too shall pass," Mr Patnaik said in the statement.

"Educational institutions will remain closed till June 17. Food security of people is of outmost importance. Agriculture, animal husbandry, MGNREGS related activities to be facilitated following social distancing norms," the state government said. "As earlier, free movement of goods transport will be allowed," it said.

At least 42 people have been infected by the novel coronavirus in Odisha. Two have died.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday suggested that the lockdown to check the spread of coronavirus will be extended and restrictions will not be lifted in one go after April 14. Several hotspots have been singled out in cities across the country for greater effort on isolating them completely.

Odisha is among the states that have made face masks compulsory for people stepping out of their homes. The others are Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh and Nagaland.

In a video meeting with leaders of all parties, PM Modi reportedly said he would consult with chief ministers but by all accounts the lifting of the lockdown "is not possible". He will hold a meeting with chief ministers on Saturday.

Many states and experts have requested an extension of the lockdown, given the rapid spread of virus cases and warnings that the infection could peak in the coming weeks.

16,98,424Cases

12,18,861Active

3,76,800Recovered

1,02,763Deaths

Coronavirus has spread to 185 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 16,98,424 and 1,02,763 have died; 12,18,861 are active cases and 3,76,800 have recovered as on April 11, 2020 at 8:41 am.

7,447 1035Cases

6,565 856Active

643 139Recovered

239 40Deaths

In India, there are 7,447 confirmed cases including 239 deaths. The number of active cases is 6,565 and 643 have recovered as on April 11, 2020 at 8:00 am.

DistrictCases

Mumbai496

Pune131

Mumbai Suburban65

Thane31

Sangli24

Ahmednagar20

Nagpur16

Aurangabad8

Latur8

Palghar7

Raigad6

Satara5

Yavatmal4

Buldhana4

Osmanabad4

Kolhapur2

Hingoli2

Ratnagiri2

Washim1

Nashik1

Sindhudurg1

Amravati1

Jalna1

Jalgaon1

Gondia1

Details Awaited*732

1574 210

1276 134

188 63

110 13

DistrictCases

Chennai151

Coimbatore60

Dindigul44

Tirunelveli38

Erode32

Tiruchirappalli30

Namakkal28

Ranipet27

Tiruppur27

Theni24

Madurai24

Karur22

Chengalpattu19

Villupuram16

Thoothukudi16

Cuddalore13

Thiruvallur12

Thiruvarur12

Nagapattinam11

Salem11

Thanjavur11

Virudhunagar11

Tiruvannamalai9

Kanchipuram7

Vellore6

Kanniyakumari6

Sivaganga5

The Nilgiris4

Tirupattur4

Ramanathapuram2

Kallakurichi2

Perambalur1

Ariyalur1

Details Awaited*225

911 77

859 54

44 23

8

DistrictCases

South170

Central99

North64

New Delhi55

Shahdara53

South West23

West18

South East17

East15

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"Life Won't Be Same Ever": Odisha First To Extend Lockdown Till April 30 - NDTV News

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Get Growing: Good news, good riddance to gypsy moth caterpillars this year – The Recorder

Posted: at 3:49 am

Editors note:This column,Get Growing, appears regularly in the Greenfield Recorders sister paper, the Daily Hampshire Gazette. Its appearing here because of its local relevance and because we all need a little bit of good news.

Many of you undoubtedly recall that between 2015 and 2018, our region experienced a dramatic increase in the population of gypsy moth caterpillars (Lymantria dispar). These voracious critters munched their way through vast amounts of foliage in the summer, denuding our treescape and showering us with tiny black pellets of excrement called frass. I wrote about this unpleasant infestation in a Get Growing column dated June 29, 2017, the year the gypsy moth infestation was at its peak.

We have plenty to complain about these days, but this week the UMass Extension Service issued a piece of good news: We can expect to see little or no evidence of gypsy moth caterpillars this year. According to Tawny Simisky, an Extension entomologist, the decline in the gypsy moth population is mostly due to the recent surge in Entomophaga maimaiga, an airborne fungus that kills gypsy moth caterpillars. This fungus overwinters in the soil and leaf litter and is activated by damp spring weather. Because we had spring drought spring 2015 and 2016, the fungus declined, allowing the caterpillar population to soar. In 2017, gypsy moth caterpillars defoliated 923,000 acres of forest in Massachusetts alone. Fortunately, damp spring conditions have returned, increasing the fungus population and putting a serious dent in the number of gypsy moth caterpillars.

But Entomophaga maimaiga is not the only enemy of the gypsy moth caterpillar. Simisky said we can also thank the nucleopolyhedrosis virus (NPV) for curtailing the gypsy moth population. According to Wikipedia, the virus was first reported in 1891 as Wipfelkrankheit, which is German for treetop disease.This name comes from the fact that while unaffected larvae feed at night and hide during the day, larvae infected with the virus climb up toward the tree canopy and basically turn into goo. As Simisky explained, the liquid from the infected caterpillars leaks onto other caterpillars, spreading the disease. NPV is density dependent, meaning that it kills more caterpillars in areas where the caterpillar population is higher.

In the early 20th century, NPV was aptly known as caterpillar cholera.Ill spare you further gory details, except to say Wikipedia also notes that infected larvae have been referred to as zombie caterpillars because of the gruesome way in which they die. I admit that the phrase is new to me. Im happy that I probably wont need to use it this year.

At a time when just the word virus makes us shudder, its good to be reminded that not all viruses are bad. NPV is spread through the droppings of birds and other animals that prey on gypsy moth larvae, but it is harmless to all but the gypsy moth larvae.

Most gardeners I know are fascinated by insects:the good, the bad and the just plain weird. The UMass Extension Service recently launched an online video series produced by Simisky called InsectXaminer.Simisky said she hopes to increase the visibility of the beautiful world of insects, even those we consider to be pests in our managed landscapes. We want to showcase the complexity of insect life cycles, cataloging as many life stages for each species as possible.

The aim of the Extension Service is to provide professionals and land managers with footage that is helpful for learning the identification of insects throughout the season, rather than at any single point in their life cycle.

If youre already missing gypsy moths, or if you just want to know more about them, youre in luck. Episode 1 of the series examines the fascinating life cycle of the gypsy moth. Simisky got the videos lively soundtrack free from YouTubes audio library. Its a little funny, a little goofy, she said. It matches the insects theme. She added, Maybe when InsectXaminer gets really big, we can get local artists to offer us free clips.

This is three minutes of video wont want to miss. I promise. Heres the link: ag.umass.edu/landscape/education-events/insectxaminer

Mickey Rathbun, an Amherst-based lawyer turned journalist, has written the Get Growing column for the Daily Hampshire Gazette since 2016.

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Alkane Resources regional drilling south of TGO returns further broad, high-grade gold – Proactive Investors Australia

Posted: at 3:49 am

The results will be included in a maiden resource estimate for the San Antonio prospect, which is expected shortly.

Alkane Resources Limited () has received further broad, high-grade gold results from resource definition drilling on San Antonio and Roswell prospects south of the Tomingley Gold Operations (TGO) in Central West NSW.

Assays from the final 6,608 metres at San Antonio of the overall initial 60,000-metre program have been received and will be incorporated in a maiden resource calculation at the prospect, which is expected shortly.

Best of the latest results are 18 metres at 12.7 g/t gold from 117 metres, including 5 metres at 35.5 g/t from 120 metres, and 19 metres at 4.90 g/t from 104 metres, including 6 metres at 10.8 g/t from 113 metres.

The San Antonio resource is expected to add to the Roswell inferred resource of 7.02 million tonnes at 1.97 g/t gold.

Roswell and San Antonio are immediately south of the TGO mine and processing facility.

Tomingley Gold Project covers about 440 square kilometres stretching 60 kilometres north-south along the Newell Highway from Tomingley in the north, through Peak Hill and almost to Parkes in the south.

The project contains Alkanes operating TGO, initially an open pit mine with a 1 million tonnes per annum processing facility that has now transitioned to underground.

For the past two years Alkane has conducted an extensive regional exploration program with the objective of defining additional resources that have the potential to be mined via open pit or underground operations and fed to TGO.

This has yielded broad, shallow high-grade intercepts that demonstrate potential for material project life extension and show that a return to open pit mining and/or underground extension is possible with appropriate resource confirmation, landholder agreement and regulatory approvals.

Alkanes 60,000-metre resource definition drilling program has been designed to define initial inferred resources at both prospects and the company has received highly encouraging results.

Other San Antonio results:

The company assayed 3-metre composite reverse circulation (RC) samples, however, where strong mineralisation was observed by the site geologist, it was directly assayed at 1-metre intervals.

Assaying of 1-metre re-split samples of 3-metre composites is ongoing.

These results are from 30 RC drill holes for 5,461 metres and two diamond cored drill holes for 1,147 metres at the San Antonio prospect.

The second phase of infill resource drilling across Roswell and San Antonio comprising a further 50,000 metres is continuing.

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Alkane Resources regional drilling south of TGO returns further broad, high-grade gold - Proactive Investors Australia

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He gave so much of himself to improving life in Douglas: Tributes paid to Billy Coleman – Echo Live

Posted: at 3:49 am

BILLY COLEMAN, Chairman of Douglas Community Association (DCA) passed away on Friday, April 3.

We wish to offer our respect and condolence to his bereaved family, his wife, Antoinette and his eight children, John, Maureen, Grace, Claire, Barry, Orla, Thomas and David, his adored 15 grandchildren, his sister Jenny, brothers Tommy and Sean. He was predeceased by his sisters Ina and Maureen and brothers Francis and Fannin.

He will also be sadly missed by his sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, partners, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces, relatives, and all his friends in The Douglas Community Association (DCA) and Kinsale Golf Club.

A larger than life, enthusiastic character, Billy was the Chairperson of DCA, involved in the association with this community project over forty years and had been chairman for many years.

He was a builder by trade and was a practical man, with a great intellect, and a wonderful ability in his interaction with people.

The original community building was up and running in 1986, built by Billys building company. This facility was key in providing the Douglas area with a community pre-school, an outstanding achievement at the time. The provision of the then new Meals-on-Wheels kitchen allowed for this service, which commenced in 1980, to flourish and is a huge success to this date.

Nearly 30 years on, he and the committee could see the need for expanding the community centre to update the Meals-on-Wheels service which had been operating in a small kitchen since 1986, a new office/reception for the public to engage, a meeting room, toilet facilities, and a big space upstairs that would be used by lots of groups, youth and others and he set his mind on doing that around 2008. Most of those facilities are now in place, except for the upstairs area which needs more funding to be completed.

One of his favourite projects at DCA was the Douglas Tidy Towns Group, of which he was a founder member. They met in the Community Park every Saturday morning, and ever hands-on, Billy looked forward to the Saturday morning clean-up around the area.

Last year was their best year ever, getting over the 300 marks in the National TT competition, and he was delighted.

Among many achievements, Billy was very proud of Douglas Community Assoc. winning IPB Pride of Place for Regions with 5,000 plus people in 2016 and being presented with a beautiful trophy and a cash prize in Belfasts Waterfront Hall.

Cork County Council had selected the association to represent Cork in the Douglas area and subsequently honoured all the participating groups with a reception in Vertigo, Cork County Hall.

The Pride of Place award was a testament to Billys mission in life which was essentially to make our community a better place and he did this through fostering and collaborating with those subgroups of DCA such as Meals-on-Wheels, Tidy Towns, Pre-School & Toddler Group and Events in the Park Committee but with neighbouring community groups, Douglas Seniors Group-Young at Heart, Lions Club, ICA and Douglas and St Fin Barres Scouts.

Always in good humour, Billy was available and willing to talk to people in the community, to discuss their ideas and to help out when he could. At every monthly meeting, he publicised that if anyone had an issue of a community nature, if they needed help, they could document it and it would be discussed at the meeting.

People confided in Billy, and he would always do what he could.

Our new extension, funded by SECAD, Dept of Health, the National Lotto, Cork County and City Councils, HSE Community South, local fund-raising activities and events and generous contributions from the local community, was a huge success story for the area and not alone Billy, but his Co-Directors, Nuala Keating, Bill Perrott and former Director Sheila Fitzgerald with the committee at DCA helping out along the way.

Billys family members were always willing to help him out too, especially on days when there were big events in the park run by the Events Group of volunteers. His wife, Antoinette, was always in tune with Billys dreams for the community and gave him her full backing. They were a very solid, loving pair.

Billy will never be forgotten for his service to the people of Douglas and we, at DCA, will miss him but will continue to keep his work going.

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WAIVER EXTENSION, REVISED TIMING OF ENFORCEMENT – pa.gov

Posted: March 24, 2020 at 5:25 am

Updated Business GuidanceBusiness Waiver Application FormFAQ on Business Guidance

Harrisburg, PA Due to the high volume of waiver requests, the Wolf Administration is delaying enforcement of Governor Tom Wolfs order and the Secretary of Healths order that all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania must close their physical locations to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Per Governor Wolfs and Dr. Levines orders, businesses that were non-life sustaining were ordered to close their physical locations on March 19, at 8:00 PM. This order stands, only the enforcement timing will change and become effective on Monday, March 23, at 8:00 AM.

Those businesses requesting clarification on whether they are defined as life-sustaining should check this list, email the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) customer service resource account at ra-dcedcs@pa.gov, or call 1-877-PA-HEALTH and select option 1 to reach DCED staff. For businesses that determine from the list that they are non-life sustaining, but would like to seek a waiver, there is an online waiver application.

When a business completes a waiver form, a team of professionals at DCED will review each request and respond based on the guiding principle of balancing public safety while ensuring the continued delivery of critical infrastructure services and functions. Those requesting a waiver will be notified via email if their operations may re-open. Businesses applying for a waiver must remain closed until a decision is made about their application.

DCED offers working capital loans that could be of assistance to businesses impacted by COVID-19. Resources and information will be posted to http://dced.pa.gov/resources as they become available. Yesterday, Governor Wolf announced the availability of low-interest loans for small businesses and eligible non-profits in all 67 counties in Pennsylvania through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, Pennsylvanians should follow http://www.governor.pa.gov and http://www.doh.pa.gov.

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The U.S. Military’s Behind-the-Scenes Moves To Protect Nuclear Readiness Amid Coronavirus – Newsweek

Posted: at 5:25 am

The Defense Department shifted many of its domestic bases to "health protection condition" Charlie on Sunday, the latest in a series of moves to protect military forces, families and bases from coronavirus. HPCON Charlie also known as "substantial threat of sustained community transmission" is the fourth highest of five levels.

Though Pentagon officials continue to insist that the coronavirus pandemic has had no impact on operational readiness of the armed forces, behind the scenes military exercises and deployments are being scaled down and canceled, and plans are being put in place to sustain essential operations. That includes the so-called triad of bombers, land-based missiles and submarines that make up the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

Last week, the head of U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), Adm. Charles A. "Chas" Richard, said that nuclear readiness was unaffected by coronavirus. The nuclear forces, he said, "remain ready to execute" their war plans despite coronavirus and that the pandemic has had "no impact to our ability" to carry out missions.

Adm. Richard said that his Omaha, Nebraska-based command "had plans in place that we have updated and are executing,'' to deal with a pandemic. The nuclear force, he said, was designed to operate isolated for long periods of time.

But an active force that is constantly kept on alert is also one that is more exposed. According to a military tally compiled as of Sunday and reviewed by Newsweek, units feeding STRATCOM have a cumulative 106 uniformed personnel not on duty due to coronavirus, either because of confirmed cases or "protective self-quarantine." Six bases are listed where bombers, missiles, aerial refueling tankers and supporting command and communications units that support the nuclear force are reporting coronavirus cases, according to the data compiled by the Defense Department.

One positive case of coronavirus was reported Saturday at Whiteman air force base in Johnson County, Missouri, where the B-2 stealth bomber force is deployed. Three of those bombers returned to base over the weekend from a "deterrent" mission deployment to Europe. That mission, observers say, was cut short in comparison with previous bomber deployments.

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The United States currently has a total of about 850 nuclear warheads on alert 400 nuclear-armed land-based intercontinental missiles in three western states, and 450 warheads on five ballistic missile submarines in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. These are the weapons that are ready to instantly respond to presidential commands, according to the Federation of American Scientists. An additional 1,300 warheads can be brought up to alert status quickly on four or five additional submarines and on 60 nuclear-configured B-2 and B-52 bombers at bases, all in a matter of a few days.

Last week, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein said that the nuclear deterrent has had no changes in its operations due to coronavirus.

An example of those operations is the deployment of the three B-2 stealth bombers to Europe on March 8, the bombers and their maintainers first landing at Lajes Field in the Azores, an archipelago of nine islands 850 miles off the coast of Portugal. The next day, the bombers flew to RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire in the southwest U.K. There, they conducted various practice missions over the North Sea on March 12, an Icelandic Air Policing mission on March 16 and 17, over the North Sea on March 18, and then over the Arctic Ocean on March 20. The bombers practiced flying with British, Dutch and Norwegian fighter planes, practicing escort and the procedures for the bombing of Russia.

"A credible deterrent for the high North region," Lt. Gen. Steven Basham said, in describing the operations. "Operating B-2s in the Arctic allow us to shape that environment by demonstrating our resolve to deliver combat power anywhere in the world if called upon."

"The world expects that NATO and the U.S. continue to execute our mission with decisiveness, regardless of any external challenge," said Gen. Jeff Harrigian, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe.

As for the nuclear arsenal itself, the Department of Energy, which is responsible for the nuclear warheads, said last week that it would continue "its National Essential Functions, Primary Mission Essential Functions, and Mission Essential Functions" despite coronavirus shifts to telework and other social distancing operations.

No nuclear warheads are currently being produced, the production run of the W76 Trident submarine missile warhead life extension program ending last December. The nuclear warhead producers were to have shifted the production line to producing a new bomb the B61 Mod 12 starting this month, but because of technical hold-ups, production of that warhead has now been delayed until late 2021.

Instead, the Department is in a constant cycle of keeping the existing stockpile of bomber and missile warheads healthy. Nuclear weapons expert and observer Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists says that includes "taking apart and surveying existing warheads in the stockpile" at the rate of about a dozen or so warheads per month. This is primarily accomplished at the Pantex plant in Amarillo, Texas, though the two nuclear laboratories Los Alamos in New Mexico and Livermore in California also get involved in more complex and problem cases discovered in what are called "surveillance" activities. The current U.S. nuclear stockpile is made up of seven different basic types of warheads, and some sampling of each is shipped from active bases back to Pantex and the laboratories in a complex and secret ongoing process.

Kristensen says that though there have been few signs of how coronavirus is impacting nuclear forces, the B-2 mission in Europe was "dramatically shortened" in comparison with previous years. "Last fall when they deployed the B-2s, they were there [at RAF Fairford] for a month," he says. Kristensen is been closely following bases where nuclear weapons are deployed, as well as the operations of the force, expecting that there will be significant changes if the virus persists in its growth.

Though U.S. European Command says its readiness remains high "for the foreseeable future," it admits it is already curtailing numerous military exercises due to coronavirus. In the coming months, Gen. Tod Wolters, overall European commander says, it is likely that between 30 and 65 percent of exercises will be reduced or canceled. Other commands have similarly canceled or postponed Russia-oriented military exercises, including a Red Flag exercise planned for Alaska and a high-profile test of a new all-domain warfighting system planned for next month, one that would have practiced the integration of nuclear, conventional, cyber and space weaponry.

"My organization is designed to be able to operate isolated for long periods of time," STRATCOM commander Adm. Richard insists.

The 3,000 person headquarters in Omaha has taken steps to institute social distancing, and it has shifted some people and functions to alternate and subordinate commands, improving redundancies and guarding against spread of the virus.

Though alerts, exercises, and the shuffling around of warheads continues, a senior officer at U.S. Strategic Command (who requested anonymity because he is not authorized to public speak on the matter) says that everyone is anticipating that there will be significant changes are coming. "There isn't a command headquarters, including STRATCOM," the senior officer says, "where there aren't people with coronavirus symptoms or in self-quarantine."

For now, Kristensen says, "probably the healthiest people in America are those who are coming back from the longest submarine patrols," which currently last as long as 78 days.

They've been underwater since almost the beginning of the year.

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The U.S. Military's Behind-the-Scenes Moves To Protect Nuclear Readiness Amid Coronavirus - Newsweek

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Mine life extension puts Kisladag back on the map – Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly

Posted: February 24, 2020 at 5:43 am

Canadas Eldorado Gold has announced a 15-year mine life at Kisladag, in Turkey, to 2034, following the completion of long-cycle heap leach testwork and the replacement of the tertiary crushing circuit with a high-pressure grinding roll (HPGR) circuit.

The new mineral reserve for Kisladag includes proven and probable reserves of 173.2-million tonnes of ore at 0.72 g/t, containing four-million ounces of gold.

The mine is forecast to produce an average of 160000 oz/y at an average cash cost of $675/oz to $725/oz and an average all-in sustaining cost (AISC) of $800/oz to $850/oz.

Kisladag has been the cornerstone asset of Eldorado for over a decade, producing over three-million ounces of gold and generating significant value for all stakeholders during that period. Following the resumption of full operations last spring, and the significant work and testing undertaken by the Eldorado team over the past 18 months, we are pleased to announce a mine life extension at Kisladag that puts this asset back in the core of our portfolio, said president and CEO George Burns.

Eldorado reported that the project self-funds all development capital for waste stripping and the HPGR circuit. The cost for the HPGRcircuit, about $35-million, is spread over 2020 and 2021, while the cost of capitalised waste stripping, about $260-million, is spread over the life of the project, with heavier stripping in the first several years.

Meanwhile, Eldorado said it would produce 520000 oz to 550000 oz of gold in 2020, a substantial increase ofon the 395331 oz produced in 2019.

Average cash operating costs are forecast to decline from $608/oz of gold sold in 2019, to $550/oz to $600/oz of gold sold in 2020. The AISC for 2020 is forecast to be $850/oz to $950/oz of gold sold, down on the $1033/oz of gold sold in 2019.

With the extension of Kisladags mine life and continued operations at Lamaque, in Canada, Efemcukuru, in Turkey, and Olympias, in Greece, Eldorado is forecasting five-year production from its four current operations to average over 450 000 oz/y. In addition to the updated Kisladag technical report, the company is in the process of updating technical reports for Olympias and Efemcukuru, which will be published by the end of the first quarter.

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