BRUSSELS, May 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Lotus Development Corp. today announced an agreement between Lotus and the Ministry of Higher and Professional Education of the Russian Federation for the implementation of Internet, intranet and distance learning software throughout Russian schools and universities. The agreement, reached at the second annual Lotus Global Government Forum being held here this week, states the intention of both parties to implement a new information and communication technology infrastructure for the Russian Education system. Under the agreement, the Ministry will permit and approve purchase of up to 500,000 licenses of Lotus Notes and Lotus LearningSpace by state-financed primary, secondary or tertiary education institutions in Russia. The broad scope of this initiative has the potential to profoundly impact all Russian schools, universities and research institutions, which are substantially funded by the Ministry. The agreement will authorize Lotus, as a major developer of Web application software, to supply a wide range of products and services, integrating both Internet and Intranet technologies. Working through established software resellers who supply schools in the Russian Federation, Lotus may supply product licenses such as Lotus Domino Application Server, Lotus Domino Designer, Lotus Notes for Collaboration, LearningSpace Server and LearningSpace client software. "This agreement establishes Lotus as one of the primary partners in the creation of a new technology infrastructure for the Russian educational system, and is a major achievement for Lotus in the field of the world-wide academic markets," said Pierre Van Beneden, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Lotus EMEA. "In Europe, similar contracts were signed two years ago with the French Ministry of Education and Research and with the Ministry of Education in Latvia. This agreement is further recognition of the quality of our architecture and our commitment to help government organizations deploy a truly collaborative environment country wide." The objective of creating a new technology infrastructure is to allow pupils at such institutions to develop their capabilities in information technology and to learn how to use tools relevant to their private and professional lives; to contribute to the modernization of the education system by facilitating access to technology and promoting information sharing between educational establishments on national and international levels; and to promote equal opportunities within the educational system by granting all state-funded educational establishments equal access to the same resources. Lotus Notes is the industry-leading, integrated client for enterprise messaging and collaboration, with an installed base of more than 34 million users worldwide. Lotus Domino, the company's collaborative Web server, integrates with its latest release, R5, full Web standards support and an intuitive development toolset to maintain its global status as the industry's most robust Web application development platform available. The Lotus LearningSpace product family is the most comprehensive and scalable distributed learning software offering for conducting and managing learning over the Internet or within intranets. LearningSpace is uniquely flexible -- allowing people to learn the way they want either through self- paced materials, collaboration with others using structured groupware tools, or live collaboration in a virtual classroom. Hundreds of educational institutions world wide have taken advantage of the unique collaborative capabilities of LearningSpace both to increase their reach to geographically dispersed students and to supplement existing traditional face-to-face classes. For example, one of the most visible of these institutions is the Monterrey Institute of Technology in Mexico, which uses Lotus LearningSpace to support more than 2,500 courses in 81 remote sites to reach out to some 43,000 students in Central and South America. Lotus Development Corporation, founded in 1982, is a subsidiary of IBM Corporation. Lotus offers high-quality software products and services that reflect the company's unique understanding of the new ways in which individuals and businesses must work together to achieve success. Lotus' innovative approach is evident in a new class of applications that allows users to access and communicate information in ways never before possible, both within and beyond organizational boundaries. Lotus markets its products in more than 80 countries worldwide and provides numerous professional consulting, support and education services through the Lotus Professional Services organization. Lotus, Domino, Domino Designer, and LearningSpace, are trademarks or registered trademarks of Lotus Development Corporation. All other trademarks are owned by their respective companies.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- After President Clinton took office, the Energy Department allowed two of its most sensitive nuclear weapons labs to halt background checks on foreign guests to cope with soaring numbers of visiting Chinese and Russian scientists. Officials now concede the move was a security blunder. While direct evidence has not emerged of espionage by the visitors, congressional investigators found at least 13 scientists with suspected foreign intelligence ties were allowed into the labs without proper CIA or FBI scrutiny. Five of those scientists were allowed into the Sandia lab at Albuquerque, N.M., while eight visited the Los Alamos lab, also in New Mexico, that U.S. officials believe has been a target of Chinese espionage for more than 20 years, congressional investigators said. Security checks, mandatory before 1994, were reinstated last November amid growing Clinton administration worries about Chinese espionage at the government's premier weapons labs. While U.S. officials have no evidence that nuclear secrets were lost to any of the 4,409 Russian and Chinese visitors between 1994 and late 1998, when background checks were reinstated, they have no guarantee information did not escape."As far as I am concerned, the exemptions (for background checks) should never have been given," said Ed Curran, a veteran FBI official who last year took over counterintelligence at the Energy Department. "You have to have the information to make a decision (on access). The lab director has to know who is on his site," Curran said in an interview with The Associated Press. The administration made it a priority after the Cold War to open up the once highly secretive weapons labs and expand their nondefense research programs. The surge in Russian visitors stemmed from an urgent need to help improve Russia's safeguards on nuclear material to keep it from terrorists or antagonistic states. The increase in Chinese visitors was attributed largely to the labs pushing to expand nonweapons research and broaden links to scientists not only in the United States but abroad. According to government officials and documents, the request to end security checks originated in the fall of 1993 from the labs, which at the time were inundated with visitors. In 1994, the number of Chinese visitors to the Los Alamos and Sandia labs more than doubled, from 146 to 329, according to Energy Department figures. The number of Russian visitors rose from 201 to 364. "The number of foreign visitors was increasing, and in some cases it was taking months for the checks to get done," Energy official Joan Rohlfing said. "It was such an inefficient system that it simply was not enabling any of the programs to move forward." Energy officials agreed to the labs' request to end the background checks. Rohlfing said the exemption was supposed to be "only for visitors who were going to unclassified areas of the laboratory." The General Accounting Office, the investigatory arm of Congress, first found problems with the termination of background checks in a 1997 report. The GAO documented "13 instances where persons with suspected foreign intelligence connections were allowed access without background checks - eight visitors went to Los Alamos and five went to Sandia. "Available records also indicated that eight other persons with suspected connections to foreign intelligence services were approved for access to Sandia during the period; however, DOE and Sandia lacked adequate records to confirm whether the persons actually accessed the facility," the GAO added. GAO auditor Victor Rezendes said suspending background checks only invited trouble. "The safeguards you put on windows and doors may not stop a burglar, but you don't want to sleep with your door open," he said. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson reinstated the background checks in November as a congressional committee was finishing an investigation into reports of Chinese theft of U.S. technology, including alleged espionage at the weapons labs. In March, a longtime Los Alamos scientist, Wen Ho Lee, was fired and remains under suspicion of providing secrets to China. The FBI is investigating, but Lee denies any wrongdoing and has not been charged. The GAO repeatedly decried potential losses, even though visitors, with rare exception, are not allowed into the most secure sections of the research labs and are supposed to be monitored closely. GAO investigators in 1997 found classified or sensitive material in areas frequented by visitors. In one example, six boxes, marked "sensitive material" in red letters, were found in the hallway of a lab where foreign visitors walked. Classified information also was found in a newsletter available to visitors. Adding to the problem was little spending for counterintelligence. In 1996, according to GAO, Los Alamos spent $100,000, or $111 per Russian or Chinese visitor, to monitor possible espionage. That was less than one-fifth the amount spent by another lab, Lawrence Livermore, which had about half as many visitors. Asked recently whether foreign visitors posed a threat, John Browne, director of the Los Alamos lab, replied, "Yes, a potential threat. The potential is there." Still, he defended the visitor program, saying it is important to interact with international scientists. While reversing the decision on background checks, Richardson also has been an advocate of the program. "We've got to be careful that we don't penalize the foreign visitors program that so far has not been the source of the problem," Richardson said. "If we cut our foreign visitor program, it will hurt our national security."
©1999 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
CINCINNATI -- Chemical engineering associate professor Peter Smirniotis will be heading to Siberia later this year to team up with Russian scientists trying to find a safer way to degrade toxic chemical weapons. The international collaboration just received a $270,000, three-year grant to support the research through NATO's new Science for Peace Programme. Smirniotis was one of only three U.S. researchers funded under the program. It was designed to bring scientists and engineers from NATO countires together with researchers in countries like Russia which need help on industrial, environmental, or security-related problems. "This will have tremendous benefit from an environmental point of view, because it will minimize the release of toxic species to the environment," said Smirniotis. The UC team will work with Professor Eugenii Savinov and others at the Boreskov Institute in Siberia. Over the next three years, they will develop and test zeolite catalysts for their potential in degrading compounds which resemble chemical warfare agents. Smirniotis has already developed several novel zeolite catalysts for the petroleum industry and environmental applications, earning a prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER award along the way. Smirniotis emphasized that the researchers on the NATO project will not be working with actual chemical weapons. Instead, they will use "simulants," chemical compounds which react in a similar manner but are not as dangerous as the actual chemical weapons. According to previous reports, it is estimated that the U.S. has 25,000 tons of chemical warfare agents, and Russia has about 40,000 tons. If the project is successful, Smirniotis said it will go a long way toward helping demilitarize the U.S. and Russia. However, his greatest hope is seeing the technology used worldwide. "If Saddam and Iraq want to use this, go ahead," said Smirniotis. The next steps for Smirniotis will be to visit his collaborators in Russia and develop a research plan to be presented at NATO headquarters in Brussels this fall. Once approved, the actual research is expected to begin early in the year 2000. NATO also hopes the research will lead to a marketable product which can help Russia boost its economy in an environmentally sound manner.
VANCOUVER, BC May 26, 1999 -- Rhombic Corporation (OTC BB:NUKE) has acquired from Russian, German, and American scientists a method of manufacturing a high efficient disperse deposit material (DCM) or dust plasma, that is made up of a homogeneous interior covered with a thin and strong connective coating. Dr. Vladimir Fortov, Russian Minister of Science, and Dr. Reinhard Hopfl, a high ranking German physicist, head Russian and German teams joining Rhombic Corporation in producing DCM particles in the U.S. or possibly Russia. The DCM plasmas can be produced as catalysts, as abrasive wear-resistant grinding materials of high strength, and as intermediate material for soldering or welding of various ceramic and other nonmetal items with metals such as solder for the junction of high temperature superconductors and electric current leads. A special application is a coating that leads to a very low cost conversion of long lived nuclear wastes from nuclear reactors into stable nuclides or the elimination of the radio active plutonium by transmutation into uranium. This potential of DCM plasmas to neutralize radio active wastes opens the door for Rhombic Corporation to enter the billion dollar waste site clean up business that plagues the world with toxins. All the known manufacturing methods for these DCM materials are either insufficient in the continuity of the coating, or the coating does not adhere adequately to the particles of the initial material, resulting in a degrading of the strength of the product. Rhombic's DCM acquisition assures that the active components have strong adhesive qualities and a long DCM lifetime.
©1999 Business Wire
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Energy Secretary Bill Richardson is ready to support limits on foreign scientific exchanges at U.S. weapons laboratories, but he warned Tuesday that a sweeping moratorium would hurt America's interests. Richardson, touring an exhibit of anti-terrorist gadgets developed by scientists at the labs, said the kinds of restrictions being discussed by some in Congress would scuttle U.S. attempts to help Russia safeguard its nuclear material. "If adopted it would literally mean the closure of our Russia lab-to-lab program," said Richardson. He was speaking of a House proposal to impose a broad, unrestricted moratorium on foreign visits to the three weapons labs. The Russia program has been a top Clinton administration priority because its aim is to help Russia keep its nuclear material and top scientists from going into the service of dangerous governments. Last year, more than 1,200 Russian and Chinese visitors were logged in at the New Mexico's Los Alamos and California's Lawrence Livermore weapons labs, Energy Department records show. The General Accounting Office, Congress' auditing agency, recently said visits to all the labs by scientists from "sensitive" countries soared from 500 to more than 1,800 in the 1990s. The exchange program has become a focus of attention in Congress as lawmakers attempt to grapple with reports of years of lax security at the weapons labs and of theft by China of nuclear warhead secrets. A voluminous congressional report on Chinese technology thefts is expected to be released within days.
RAMAT GAN -- Once known mostly for its oranges and its fabulous antiquities, Israel is now turning into a high-tech powerhouse. Much of the credit for this must go to a vast wave of Jewish scientists from the former Soviet Union who began pouring into Israel 10 years ago and have reshaped Israeli science and industry, particularly in the areas of computers and information technology. But while industry and academe have profited by skimming the cream off the influx of immigrants, most new arrivals endure a brutal competition for tenuous postdoclike positions and, once employed, earn much less than their Israeli counterparts; many fail to find jobs in their fields.
©1999 by The American Association for the Advancement of Science
The escalating political crossfire over alleged Chinese spying at U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories has produced its first scientific casualties. This week, officials at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico said that new Department of Energy restrictions designed to prevent spying by foreign scientists have led to the departure of at least one highly regarded researcher, while several foreign-born scientists have turned down postdoctoral fellowships because of concerns about their working conditions. The new rules also have made it more difficult for scientists from "sensitive" nations, including China, India, and Russia, to obtain research funds, computing time, and visitation permits.
©1999 by The American Association for the Advancement of Science
STRATFORD, Conn. (AP) -- More than 80 years after aviation pioneer Igor Sikorsky fled his native Russia and was erased from official Soviet history, he will finally be acknowledged in Moscow this week as the father of the helicopter industry.
MUNICH -- Representatives of national space agencies involved in the Spectrum X collaboration, an ambitious and long-delayed X-ray astronomy mission, will meet in Moscow next week to discuss prospects for the project, now due for launch in 2001.
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