The 21st century space race

Any satellite orbiting the Earth – there are currently 1,300 of them and counting – can become a space weapon. This is the sobering message of our cover story. We rely on satellites more and more for navigation, communications and countless aspects of modern life, but their safety has been neglected.

The World Today Published 12 February 2016 Updated 30 September 2020 1 minute READ

Alan Philps

Former Editor, The World Today, Communications and Publishing

As Patricia Lewis writes, satellites are vulnerable to many forms of attack. They could be taken under hostile control, causing collisions and producing a cloud of space debris that makes the orbital environment unusable. A Star Wars future is not inevitable, writes Jill Stuart, but preventing it will require careful, informed diplomatic work.

David Miliband, the former Foreign Secretary now in charge of the International Rescue Committee, outlines how donors can best use funds to help victims of the Syria crisis. The neighbouring states need long-term support to enable adult refugees to work and children to go to school.

Climate change is complex, but Walt Patterson sums up the issue in a four-letter word: fire. Humanity has flourished thanks to the use of fire, but now he says it is time to put it out.

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