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The shortest path to the Internet for some remote corners of the world may be through the skies.
That is the message from US tech giants seeking to spread the online gospel to hard-to-reach regions.
Google took a step in that direction this week with the acquisition of Titan Aerospace, a maker of solar-powered drones that can help boost Internet access to remote areas.
“It’s still early days, but atmospheric satellites could help bring Internet access to millions of people, and help solve other problems, including disaster relief and environmental damage like deforestation,” said a Google spokesman.
Titan’s drones are able to run for five years at an altitude of some 65,000 feet (20,000 meters).
Ukraine’s defence ministry said on Wednesday that pro-Russian militants had taken two of its soldiers “hostage” in the separatist eastern region of Lugansk.
The ministry said an officer and a soldier were seized by “extremists” on Tuesday and taken to an unknown destination after they pulled over to repair their vehicle.
It said several branches of Ukraine’s armed forces were involved in a search for the missing soldiers, and vowed a “firm response” against those who attack Ukrainian troops.
Ukraine on Tuesday launched what it called a “full-scale anti-terrorist operation” designed to flush out pro-Kremlin protesters and gunmen from state buildings across nearly 10 towns and cities in the heavily Russified east of the ex-Soviet state.
The Western-backed authorities in Kiev accuse Russia of coordinating the raids in an effort to destabilise the region in preparation for an invasion that could result in Moscow annexing more Ukrainian territory following its absorption of Crimea last month.
Ukraine’s security service said on Wednesday it had intercepted communications showing that Russian commanders in the separatist east had issued pro-Kremlin militants with “shoot-to-kill” orders.
The intercepted communications “show that sabotage operations in the east of Ukraine are being openly led by regular officers from the Russian military intelligence, who have issued cynical shoot-to-kill orders against Ukrainian soldiers,” the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) said in a statement.
Kiev television later played what it said was an intercepted conversation between two Russian commanders in eastern Ukraine ho appeared to be discussing ways to ensure that separatist gunmen open fire against federal soldiers if they are attacked.
Tuesday night on her MSNBC show, Rachel Maddow discussed the real threat of violence from right-wing extremists here in the U. S. as opposed to Islamic terrorism, which most Americans are much more afraid of.
She began by detailing the arrests in the late 1980s of several members of the Aryan Nation gang, a ring of counterfeiters and criminals who hoped to bring about an all-white homeland, or at least a section of the country devoted to the white race.
In 1987, 15 neo-Nazi leaders of the Aryan Nation were arrested and charged with sedition.
“So that was in 1987,” Maddow said.
Desperate Nigerian parents pleaded Wednesday for an end to their “nightmare” after Boko Haram Islamists kidnapped more than 100 girls from a secondary school in the embattled northeast.
The mass abduction by heavily armed insurgents from the Chibok area of Borno state late Monday came just hours after a bomb ripped through a packed bus station on the outskirts of Abuja, killing 75 people, the deadliest attack ever in the capital.
The bombing was also blamed on Boko Haram, a group whose five-year extremist uprising has shaken Africa’s most populous country and top economy.
“They took away my daughter,” said one woman from Chibok, who like several parents requested anonymity given the uncertain fate of the children.
“I don’t know what to do,” she told AFP, urging the government to find the kidnappers.