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China has successfully landed on the far side of the moon, something that no country has done before. This is a major step in challenging the United States' supremacy regarding space research and travel. President Xi Jinping has announced ambitious space travel goals, including a lunar base by 2025, the ability to man the facility by 2030, and a long-term goal of mining the moon for energy resources. With these announced plans, there is pressure mounting on the United States to continue to reach new solar milestones. Right now, the U.S. isn’t planning to return to the moon until 2023.

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Imagine a video where a Fortune 500 company's CEO confesses to fraud, and his company’s stock falls by 50%. Only to find out that the video was fake. With the advance of deepfake technology, things like this could occur. Scenarios like this could have huge ramifications and they are not far from our reality, artificial intelligence and deep learning technology is making it easier to make fake videos that look realistic.

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The number of firearms produced and sold in the United States has continued to rise, and according to the Firearms Commerce in the US report produced by the Justice Department, the amount of firearms that are manufactured in the country have tripled since 1968. This may be alarming considering the fact that in the time it took the number of manufactured guns to triple, the US population has only grown by 35%. In 2015 alone, there were about 9,360,000 firearms manufactured in the US. Out of the 9,360,000 firearms that were manufactured in the US, only about 343,000 firearms were exported from the US in 2015, which is less than 4% of the total.

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The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) is an independent organization that conducts research on global security. More specifically SIPRI collects data on military expenditures and the international arms trade. SIPRI released their latest data for 2016, this Monday, February 21st.

The headline of their latest data release is that global arms trade volume has reached its highest point since the end of the Cold War in 1990. While the overall global uptick is intriguing in its own right, there are also several interesting trends at both the region and country level.

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The United Kingdom recently announced that they could be leaping into space by 2020. Up until now, the UK has been dependent on countries such as the United States, India and Japan to help launch their satellites. However, the British have just announced a proposal, the Spaceflight Bill, which contains information on the establishment and operation of spaceports across the United Kingdom. This proposal is estimated to be worth over 30 billion dollars in the next 20 years, which will open up ample opportunities for British scientists to explore the possibilities of antibiotic and vaccine creation in a zero-gravity environment.  

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On Sunday, NASA issued a press release announcing they had just signed an agreement with the United Arab Emirates. The agreement signifies cooperation between NASA and the UAE Space Agency in aeronautics research, space exploration, and the peaceful use and habitation of outer space. Other objectives covered by the agreement include collaboration in Earth and space science research, the establishment of educational programs, and outreach to relate the global benefits of space travel. Possible future cooperative projects include the joint use of certain airspace technologies, ground-based research facilities, and antennas. Above all, the agreement seeks to strengthen the diplomatic and economic relationships between the United States and the United Arab Emirates.

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Many people have heard about or remember the great “Space Race” between the United States and the Soviet Union from 1955 to 1972. Both countries fought for supremacy in spaceflight capability for national security measures and as a sign of ideological superiority. New technology resulted from this space exploration age including satellites, micro-technology, and other products that were later sold and commercialized to be used in everyday life. Education in mathematics, engineering, and science rapidly expanded during this period. Times are rather different now as many governments, such as the United States, are cutting space exploration budgets in light of economic hardships. The Economist has even claimed that the current state of the world marks “the end of the Space Age.”

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Oregon-based High Impact Technology (HIT) is a company that specializes in making “smart” materials that are designed to seal up after being punctured. More than half of the company’s employees work on the international part of the business and exports are essential to HIT’s success. High Impact Technology’s products primarily have military purposes and its customers include Germany, Canada, and Russia. A recent blog post by the International Trade Administration (ITA) documents a discussion about HIT’s international business opportunities between HIT’s Director of Operations Russ Monk and ITA Senior International Trade Specialist Doug Barry.

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Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, or drones, are being used more and more in U.S. and U.K. military operations, where manned flight is considered too risky or difficult. Drones are making their way into everyday use as technology gets more sophisticated and regulators loosen restrictions on the usage of these unmanned aircraft vehicles. In the last month, over ten incidents have occurred where drones have interfered with a commercial flight in airspace. The Federal Aviation Administration has attempted to outlaw or limit commercial use of drones, but experts believe there are better ways to regulate usage in a safe manner.

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Within the last weeks, few news headlines have been as heart-wrenching as the loss of 298 lives on the Malaysian Airlines commercial flight that has been suspected of being destroyed by a missile fired by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine. Stemming from the Russian government's support of this group, many countries, including the United States and members of the European Union, have proposed increasing sanctions on Vladimir Putin's government. These sanctions would include banning people in the U.S. from banking with three Russian banks, as well as sanctions targeting the oil sector, defense equipment, and sensitive technologies.

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The Russian defense industry, despite its recorded 28% growth rate over the past decade, has shifted its sights towards Latin America due to the crisis in Syria and changing economic and ideological ties towards the European Union throughout former Soviet satellite states. Latin America, and especially Venezuela, has experienced a 61% growth rate of its military expenditures since 2004, which is great news for a needy Russian defense industry that has seen the disappearance of its primary trading partners of Eastern Europe, Iraq, Libya, Iran, and Syria.

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For centuries, Dubai has served as a key crossroads for global trade.  The convenient location of the United Arab Emirates between Europe, Asia, and Africa has positioned this growing city to serve as a major logistical intermediary between many foreign markets.  With the development of emerging markets such as China and India, there is a growing opportunity for Dubai to expand its logistical dominance in the modern world economy.  The construction of Al Maktoum International Airport, which will become the largest airport in the world, signifies Dubai’s commitment to this growth strategy. 

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It is a country already considered one of the biggest maritime arms smugglers, in addition to being accused of letting its military charge “protection fees”, akin to those of mobs, to companies operating within its borders. However, Yemen has devised a strategy for raising money that can be considered either ingenious or moronic. Already faced with corruption through the majority of military branches, it has decided to use its military for a more economic and productive purpose.

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Trends in the Aerospace and Defense Industry have been shifting lately; what was once a primarily domestic industry has started to become global in nature. As highly populated nations such as China and India become more open to global markets, international suppliers will seek to fill their demands. What are some of the things we can expect to see from the global Aerospace and Defense market in the near future?

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Two of Europe's airlines are about to merge in order to form one of the largest airlines in the world. The two comapnies, British Airways and Iberia, have been considering this merger for a long time now and it will not be final until the end of the year.

Due to the economic recession airline companies have been losing money and looking into different ways to cut costs. Is this merger of the two European airline compnaies a good business decision and will it be beneficial for the industry? A video from BBC answers these questions and points out some of the advantages and disadvantages of this merger.

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Did you ever wonder what happens to airplanes when they “turn in their wings?” Well, when airlines can’t fill seats or sell their old, inefficient jets, they send them to an airplane scrap yard.  Kemble Airfield, located in Cotswold, Britain, is now the hot spot for the dismantling, crushing, and recycling of aircrafts that are out of a job.

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Airline companies across the world are doing everything possible to cut costs and are taking other measures to ensure revenue increases. In Europe, German airline company Lufthansa is planning on expanding by overtaking Austrian Airlines. EC officials said that Lufthansa’s chances of attaining the regulatory approval it needs were fading because the company is failing to answer concerns that the merger might reduce choice and hike fares on some routes. The main concern with the merger is that the new company has the potential to become too powerful on certain flights. This is because Lufthansa is Germany’s largest airline company and Austrian dominates routes out of Austria.

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A while back I wrote a post on the recent upsurge in piracy. At the time, a Saudi supertanker carrying $100 million in crude oil had just been commandeered, and the global shipping industry was unwillingly thrust into news headlines worldwide. In the end, the tanker was released for an undisclosed ransom, but the incident served as a catalyst for discussions on how to deal with the threat of piracy.

Navies from around the world have responded by sending ships to the coast of Africa to stave off attacks and hunt down the buccaneers. Even Japan sent forces to the region in a rare, post-WWII military action. The pirates are operating in an area larger than 1 million square miles however, making it nearly impossible for these forces to ensure the safety of shipping vessels. Shipping companies, consequently, must address the question of how they will manage the risk of piracy.