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Astronauts break record for longest time in space by U.S.-launched ship

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The crew of four astronauts who arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) using a SpaceX Crew Dragon back in November have broken the record for most consecutive days spent in space by a U.S.-launched ship.

On Monday, The Washington Post reported that the Crew-1 astronauts beat the decades-long record Sunday after docking at the ISS on November 15. The previous record, set in 1974 by the Skylab 4 crew, was 84 days.

According to The Post, this mission is the first operational mission launched from the U.S. since the Space Shuttle was retired back in 2011. On top of that record, this mission has made history for also being the first time a privately owned spacecraft has ventured to the ISS.

The Crew-1 quartet launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida using a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and docked at the space station 27 hours later in the spacecraft they nicknamed “Resiliance.”

While there are three NASA astronauts part of Crew-1—Victor Glover, Michael Hopkins, and Shannon Walker—the fourth crewmate is Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi. They are scheduled to stay for about six months on the low-Earth orbital station.

Glover tweeted that the crew spoke over video chat with Edward Gibson, a member of the crew that in 1974 flew to Skylab, the United States’ first space station.

The news of this record being broken comes after a no-crew prototype of SpaceX’s Starship last week crashed and exploded while attempting to land during a test flight, after another crash in December. In response, the Federal Aviation Administration said it will oversee an investigation into last week’s crash, per The New York Times.

SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk plans to send the Starship to Mars as part of his longtime dream of eventually colonizing the Red Planet with humans, however, more work still needs to be done to perfect the technology.

RELATED: Elon Musk: I’m ‘highly confident’ SpaceX’s first crewed Mars mission will launch in 2026, maybe as early as 2024

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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REPORT: China has vast network of covert police stations around the world

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China has a vast network of covert police stations abroad, according to a recent report by Safeguard Defenders, an NGO that focuses on human rights violations in China and other Asian countries. These police stations serve consular functions, but are also used by China to crack down on what the CCP deems “illegal” activity of Chinese nationals abroad. The police stations include at least 38 run by the Fuzhou City police, and 22 run by the Qingtian City police. Cities housing these police stations include New York, Toronto (which has three stations), London (two), Paris (three), Buenos Aires, Rio De Janeiro, and Tokyo.

Key findings of the report are below.

“Persuaded to return”

According to China, China has “persuaded to return [to China]” 230,000 Chinese nationals living aboard from April 2021 to July 2022 alone to face charges of fraud and telecommunications fraud. A Yangxia police station set up in Mozambique, for example, persuaded a Chinese national to return to China after being accused of stealing money from his employer. Chinese authorities also put pressure on the accused family to convince the accused to surrender.

Roughly 54,000 Chinese nationals were persuaded to return from northern Myanmar alone, in the first nine months of 2021. In July 2022, the government of Wenchang City warned that its citizens living in northern Myanmar must check in with their local police stations or face multiple penalties including blocking their children from attending urban schools back in China. Similarly, in February 2022, the government of Liayang City stated that Chinese “illegally staying” in northern Myanmar must return or the bank accounts of their immediate family members could be frozen.

The Nine Forbidden Countries

China has claimed that nine countries contain serious levels of fraud and telecom fraud perpetrated by Chinese nationals. Since November 2021, China has declared that Chinese citizens living in these nine countries must return to China immediately unless they have an “emergency reason” or a “strict necessity” to travel or stay in those countries. Those countries are: Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, the UAE, and Turkey. However, the report questions whether these countries are truly awash in such fraud, as most of China’s oversees police stations are in the West, and only one of the nine countries (Cambodia) has such a police station. Chinese staying in the nine forbidden countries, as well as threats to family members as stated above, creates a “guilt-by-association” atmosphere intended to repatriate the Chinese nationals.

Conclusion

According to the report, Chinese police stations abroad serve to bypass “bilateral extradition treaties or other mechanisms of judicial cooperation” to cooperate with CCP-linked NGOs which effectively “[sets] up an alternative policing and judicial system within third countries.” Instead of using international judicial cooperation, which establishes due process, the presumption of innocence, and the right to a fair trial, China uses the above “persuade-to-return” methods and transnational police stations to circumvent international law and coerce Chinese nationals to return to China for trials. These policies show the power of China’s long-arm oppression over its own subjects.

You can follow Steve Postal on Twitter @HebraicMosaic

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