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Old February 21st, 2012, 11:10 PM   #81
romanSA
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Seems the winning site has already been recommended but final decision will be made in April if the vote was clear-cut...

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SKA host site recommended
By Farzana Rasool, ITWeb IT in Government Editor.
Johannesburg, 21 Feb 2012

SKA SA project manager Bernie Fanaroff says the recommended site is known to the SKA SA project office, but cannot be made public as yet.

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Site Advisory Committee (SSAC) has made a recommendation on the host site for the mega telescope and this will be presented to the SKA board of directors tomorrow.

SKA SA project manager Bernie Fanaroff says the recommendation was decided on last Friday by the SSAC. The recommended site is known to the SKA SA project office, but cannot be made public as yet.

The final decision will be announced on 4 April if there is a clear-cut decision, said SKA SA at a recent Parliamentary meeting. SA is bidding against Australia to host the telescope. It is a global science project to build the world's largest and most sensitive radio telescope.

Member decision

In September, SA and its eight partner countries submitted the African SKA bid. Factors considered were the scientific basis and the technical perspective, as well as the infrastructure and long-term operations, given that it's about a 40-year project. It is still unclear as to how the cost will feature.

Africa is an excellent potential site for the SKA and so the Department of Science and Technology (DST) says it has confidence in the bid.

If the board is happy with the SSAC report, it will then send it to the member countries, which are SA, Australia, China, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the UK. It is possible that Germany and Canada may join the member countries.

There will be a meeting of SKA members, excluding the candidates, on 4 April. The countries will look at the report, and if the report is clear-cut as to which bid won, a decision will be announced on 4 April. If there is no clear-cut decision between SA and Australia, there will be a prolonged process and a second round of voting will need to take place four to six weeks after 4 April.

Starry insight

The SKA will give astronomers insight into the formation and evolution of the first stars and galaxies after the Big Bang, the role of cosmic magnetism, the nature of gravity, and possibly even life beyond Earth.

“The SKA project will drive technology development in antennas, fibre networks, signal processing, software and computing, and power. The design, construction and operation of the SKA have the potential to impact skills development, employment and economic growth in science, engineering and associated industries, not only in the host countries but in all partner countries,” says the SKA Organisation.

It will consist of about 3 000 dish-shaped antennae and other hybrid receiving technologies that will be spread over a vast area of up to 3 000km.

The African SKA site bid is led by SA's DST, and includes Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Madagascar, Zambia, Mauritius, Kenya and Ghana.


http://www.itweb.co.za/index.php?opt...te-recommended
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Old February 21st, 2012, 11:14 PM   #82
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And the Aussies are really ramping up their campaigning. To be frank, their 'body language is not one of confidence; instead, it comes across as threatened and insecure. Just their reacion seems to suggest SA has this one in the bag...

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Aussie paper reports on SKA bid denied
February 20 2012 at 10:28am
By JOHN YELD


A leading Australian newspaper’s claim that negotiations with the preferred bidder for hosting the giant Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope are already under way, has been dismissed as “speculation”.

And SA’s two representatives on the SKA Organisation’s international board of directors both say they know nothing about it.

However, tensions are rising ahead of the scheduled board meeting on April 4, where there is the first possibility for a firm decision between sites proposed by SA and its eight African partners, and by Australia in partnership with New Zealand.

The Australians are upping the ante to counter what they apparently believe is political sympathy for the African bid.

Senator Chris Evans, Australia’s minister for science and research, will lead a high-level delegation to China and Italy next weekend to promote the Australasian bid. He will also visit the UK and the Netherlands early next month, just weeks before the first vote on the site.

The four countries he’s targetting – China, Italy, the UK and the Netherlands – are all founder members of the SKA Organisation and will between them effectively make the site decision.

Evans made it clear that he planned to counter what he perceived as sympathy support for the Africa bid with its developmental emphasis, and to push for a straight “scientific vote”. He also took a thinly disguised swipe at Africa’s economic and political stability.

According to an official transcript of a “doorstop” exchange with journalists, he said: “We’ll get the scientific recommendation in the next week or so, but we think there’ll then be a process where countries analyse not only the scientific recommendation, but other aspects of the bid. That’s why we need to, if you like, be in their faces, making it clear that we are serious...

“I think we’ve got to be realistic. I think we’ve got the best site and we’ve got the best scientific investment, if you like, and capacity. But I think it’s also the case that in Europe there is some sympathy for the need to help Africa develop.

“But I want to make it clear, this isn’t a development project. This is a 50-year science project and we’ve got to make sure we’ve got the best science and the best site. Australia’s got that, but we’ve got to convince people of that.”

He continued: “We think in addition to our site and science advantages, the fact that Australia-New Zealand is economically strong, is very politically stable, will allow us to say to people: ‘If you’re going to invest in a project that is of 50 years’ duration, then you’re going to make sure you’re investing in a place that can get a project of this size up and running and do it in an environment where there is low risk’.”

The Sydney Morning Herald carried a report which stated: “Australia and New Zealand are in a neck-and-neck race with South Africa... A recommendation on the preferred site was made in confidence to the project’s board of directors in London overnight. Negotiations with the preferred site are now under way, ahead of a final decision by April.”

But this was dismissed by SKA Organisation media spokesman Colin Greenwood, who told the Cape Argus: “I can confirm that the report to which you refer is speculation as no official announcement has been made. I can also confirm that the board of directors did not meet last night.”

SA’s two board members, Dr Val Munsami and Dr Bernie Fanaroff, said they’d not been aware of any board meeting. - Cape Argus


http://www.iol.co.za/scitech/science...nied-1.1237970
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Old February 22nd, 2012, 02:27 AM   #83
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Dont know why he keeps banging on about the science - if anything, South Africa are ahead there as well - from SALT to KAT-7 to Meerkat, plus our history in this area, we are probably the leaders here.
They are trying to make out as if it is a sympathy vote for Africa! Typical.

We have the science, the backing, the site, the logistics are better for us, and crucially, SKA is going to get WAY more bang for its buck in SA.
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Old February 22nd, 2012, 02:44 PM   #84
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SA's bid to host the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) has been given an "edge" over rival Australia.

Addressing Parliament during his budget speech this afternoon, finance minister Pravin Gordhan said the project would qualify for value-added tax (VAT) relief.

SA is bidding against Australia to host the Square Kilometre Array, which is an international collaboration to build the world's largest radio telescope.

"I am happy to confirm that the project will qualify for VAT relief, which will surely give [science and technology] minister [Naledi] Pandor the winning edge in this contest."

The project, in the Northern Cape, is a multibillion-rand endeavour. The winning country is expected to be announced by the end of the year. (I'm guessing they mean't MONTH)

The South African demonstration telescope, MeerKAT, is being constructed in two phases. The seven-dish array prototype was completed in 2010.

Government has allocated R894.6 million over the medium-term to complete MeerKAT, which should be fully assembled by 2013/14.

The SKA will be a mega telescope, about 100 times more sensitive than the biggest existing radio telescope. It will cost about €1.5 billion, with construction possibly starting as early as 2016, and is expected to be completed by 2024.

The telescope array will comprise about 3 000 dish-shaped antennae and other hybrid receiving technologies, with a core of about 2 000 antennae and outlying stations of 30 to 40 antennae each, spiralling out of the core.

itweb.co.za
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Old February 22nd, 2012, 03:46 PM   #85
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Damn we throwing everything but the kitchen sink at this bid, lol. If we get this, it will probably be our finest victory over the Aussies.
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Old February 22nd, 2012, 10:39 PM   #86
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I dont know...that record run chase at the wanderers is tough competition!
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Old February 22nd, 2012, 10:52 PM   #87
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I'll take any vistory against the Aussies
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Old February 23rd, 2012, 06:06 AM   #88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diggerdog View Post
I dont know...that record run chase at the wanderers is tough competition!

hahaha, they still smarting.
Perhaps we should also remind them - as I do here in Aus routinely - that the Green and Gold colours belong to us , and they should go back to the cowardly yellow colour for their cricket uniforms ! ;P
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Old February 23rd, 2012, 11:27 AM   #89
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hahaha, they still smarting.
Perhaps we should also remind them - as I do here in Aus routinely - that the Green and Gold colours belong to us , and they should go back to the cowardly yellow colour for their cricket uniforms ! ;P
Good man, keep it up.

Actually I was in Oz at the game when we chased down 400+ to win the test in Perth...to say I enjoyed it is something of an understatement!

And Mkaya is a champion I tell you...of all the players he was the only one to come over to us and chat and sign autographs. He saw us from the changerooms after the match, and got dressed just to come down. Awesome guy.
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Old February 23rd, 2012, 03:18 PM   #90
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Senator Chris Evans, Australia’s minister for science and research, will lead a high-level delegation to China and Italy next weekend to promote the Australasian bid. He will also visit the UK and the Netherlands early next month, just weeks before the first vote on the site.
Ooops.. this could be a bit of a fly in the ointment for them yellow Aussies..

http://www.news24.com/SciTech/News/C...A-bid-20120223
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Old February 23rd, 2012, 04:01 PM   #91
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Maybe Australia forget of the existance of the BRICS....
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Old February 23rd, 2012, 05:02 PM   #92
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NEWS ANALYSIS: PR disaster for Australia’s SKA bid

I know we should not get ahead of ourselves but it seems the Aussie bid is unravelling at an ungodly speed... I really think we got this, don't want to get too excited but seems like the stars are aligning for us (pun/wit intended)

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NEWS ANALYSIS: PR disaster for Australia’s SKA bid
While Africa appears united, the Australian-New Zealand bid for the Square Kilometre Array is taking a bit of a knock
SARAH WILD
Published: 2012/02/23 08:43:54 AM


APRIL 4 is the big day for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), but that target date might be rather ambitious.

Late on Wednesday night the SKA Founding Board deliberated over the site advisory committee’s recommendation. The recommendation will indicate whether South Africa’s site for the world’s largest radio telescope is technically superior to rival bidder Australia’s, and may signal which country is likely to win the bid.

While Africa appears united, the Australian-New Zealand bid is taking a bit of a knock.

South Africa has partnered with eight other African countries in its SKA bid, with the African Union throwing its weight behind an African SKA and encouraging all its members to support the initiative.


The SKA SA Project Office has routinely refused to comment on the Australian bid, saying that South Africa should focus on its own. It is worth noting that the Australians have not been as magnanimous, with numerous jibes about that country’s greater stability and continuing stereotypes about South Africa as politically unstable and thus unsuitable to host the world’s largest radio telescope.

However, this week Peter Vinney, the former co-chairman of Australia’s SKA co-ordination committee, wrote an open e-mail about the significant risks to Australia’s bid. But Australia’s SKA concerns date back further than what the current committee chairwoman, Patricia Kelly , has framed as a disgruntled former employee’s vitriol.

First, senator Kim Carr, the Australian minister in charge of that country’s SKA bid, was part of a cabinet reshuffle last year, removing him as head of the department of innovation, industry, science and research and making him the minister of innovation. Departments have now been amalgamated, with a new department of industry, innovation, science, research and tertiary education being established late last year. As a result, the Australian SKA has lost one of its main champions and the bid has become part of a bigger portfolio.

Meanwhile, funding for science projects in Australia has been cut.
The Canberra Times last year reported that there would be extensive budget cuts in astronomy to meet a A$15m shortfall at the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. This would see job losses at a number of its facilities, it was reported.
Mr Vinney’s e-mail — coming days before the SKA Founding Board deliberates on site suitability — does not look good.

Two of the issues he raises are serious stumbling blocks to Australia’s bid and cannot be disguised by polemic or hand-waving: siting and cost.

In terms of siting, Mr Vinney says: "The original siting of the proposed core of the SKA at Miluera station was fundamentally flawed because it was located about 40km away from a major iron-ore deposit … and a radio-quiet zone of at least 70km from the centre of the core site was required to ensure the performance of the proposed SKA."

He also notes Western Australia is experiencing a resources boom in iron ore and natural gas.


That boils down to a difficult question: which will the Australian government choose — mining or radio astronomy?

The cost aspect also links to mining and its associated infrastructure.

"This has fundamental implications for access to and the cost of skilled labour necessary to install and maintain SKA infrastructure in Australia," Mr Vinney writes. "Labour costs for occupations including truck drivers and electricians often substantially exceed $100000 a year."

Dr Kelly and Australian department of commerce director-general Brian Bradley were quick to highlight that Mr Vinney’s contract was not renewed, and that he had not been involved in SKA affairs in more than three years.


They both emphasised that the information given to the SKA Site Advisory Committee was correct, which raises the question of discrepancies between Mr Vinney’s data and the information submitted.

In short, it is a public relations disaster for Australia’s bid, following a series of unfortunate events.

The site recommendation has been circulated and was discussed by the board last night. However, the contents of that recommendation remain confidential, and SKA SA personnel have found innovative ways to say "No comment."

If one site is recommended as being better than the other, then the decision is straightforward and the April 4 deadline for the bid announcement is possible.

If the sites are similar, and the SKA could be hosted on either, then it could be a rather long and drawn-out process.
http://www.businessday.co.za/Article...aspx?id=165757
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Old February 23rd, 2012, 05:17 PM   #93
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Old February 27th, 2012, 03:46 PM   #94
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A very nice interactive page showing the SKA.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/in...011/sep/15/ska
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Old February 27th, 2012, 04:05 PM   #95
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SA, China collaborate on astronomy
By Farzana Rasool, ITWeb IT in Government Editor.
Johannesburg, 24 Feb 2012

SA foresees increasing collaboration between Chinese and local astronomers and scientists in the face of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope.

SA is bidding against Australia to host the mega telescope. A decision on the host site will be announced on 4 April, at the earliest. It will consist of about 3 000 dish-shaped antennae and other hybrid receiving technologies.

China has been a major player in the development of the SKA project and is a member of the board of directors of the SKA organisation. The SKA will be the largest radio telescope ever built and it will be constructed through a global collaboration of which China is part, says the SKA SA project.

Updating astronomy

A South African delegation led by deputy minister of science and technology Derek Hanekom is in Beijing to give an update on Africa's bid for the telescope and on SA's precursor radio telescope, the MeerKAT, to the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the National Astronomical Observatory of China and Chinese companies.

The South African government has already committed $300 million to build the MeerKAT telescope, which will consist of 64 antennas. It will be the most sensitive telescope in the Southern Hemisphere at centimetre wavelength. It is expected to be fully assembled by 2013/14.

"Our mission is to further develop the already excellent relationship between the South African and Chinese governments, scientists and business, especially in light of the decision by the BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China and SA] to make radio astronomy one of their main focus areas in science and technology," said Hanekom.

No lobbying

Bernie Fanaroff, director of SKA SA, said China is a key player in the SKA, which is a truly global project: "China is becoming a leader in radio astronomy and the FAST telescope being built by the National Astronomical Observatory of China will be a world-class and very important instrument. We look forward to China continuing to play a very important role in the SKA and to increasing collaboration between Chinese and South African astronomers and scientists in the other countries of the BRICS."

As a member of the signatories, China has voting right on the SKA site selection decision. Apart from SA and Australia, other signatories include Italy, New Zealand, the UK, the Netherlands and China.

"Africa's commitment to radio astronomy means there are rich opportunities for mutually-beneficial South African-Chinese science and industry partnerships, and these are not limited to the SKA project. This is not about lobbying. We have full confidence in the integrity and efficiency of the SKA Organisation's site selection process and the independent scientific and technical evaluation process of course remains paramount. At the same time, we are eager to foster cooperation with strategic partners such as China," said Hanekom.

At an estimated construction cost of $2.23 billion, the SKA is poised to be by far the largest radio telescope in the world. The SKA will give astronomers insight into the formation and evolution of the first stars and galaxies after the Big Bang, the role of cosmic magnetism, the nature of gravity, and possibly even life beyond Earth.


http://www.itweb.co.za/index.php?opt...nomy&catid=284
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Old February 27th, 2012, 06:02 PM   #96
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Originally Posted by waltjie View Post
A very nice interactive page showing the SKA.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/in...011/sep/15/ska
That site is awesome....

Shows VERY clearly how big this project is... saying 3000 dishes is all well and good until you see what that actually entails on a map.
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Old February 28th, 2012, 08:19 AM   #97
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China key player in SA SKA bid
2012-02-23 14:42

Duncan Alfreds

Cape Town - China has emerged as a key player in the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) bid and South African government officials are in the Asian country to give an update on the bid to host the instrument.

"Our mission is to further develop the already excellent relationship between the South African and Chinese governments, scientists and business, especially in light of the decision by the Brics [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa] to make radio astronomy one of their main focus areas in science and technology", said deputy minister of science and technology, Derek Hanekom.

South Africa and Australia are bidding to host the SKA which will consist of over 3 000 linked radio telescopes, estimated to cost about €1.5bn.

Hanekom is updating the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the National Astronomical Observatory of China and Chinese companies on the MeerKAT (Karoo Array Telescope) meant to be a test-bed for the SKA, but has become a serious instrument in its own right.

The MeerKAT will consist of 64 linked radio telescopes and the South African government has committed $300m to building it regardless of whether the country wins the SKA.

Astronomy boost

China is a member of the board of directors of the SKA organisation and the country has built its own telescopes.

"China is becoming a leader in radio astronomy and the Fast [Five hundred metre Aperture Spherical Telescope] telescope being built by the National Astronomical Observatory of China will be a world class and very important instrument," said Dr Bernie Fanaroff, director for the SKA Project Office of South Africa.

The proposed site for the SKA is near Carnarvon in the Northern Cape province and it is ideal for astronomy because the area is dry and underdeveloped.

In 2011, a design review praised the development of the MeerKAT as well as the site in the Karoo which has been designated a radio reserve by the Astronomy Geographic Advantage Act of 2007.

South Africa's bid for the SKA was unanimously endorsed by the African Union last year and Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zambia have joined SA in the bid for the instrument.

Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor said that the MeerKAT was a boost for astronomy in Africa.

"We will build MeerKAT, but we have an exciting initiative that we're currently trying to promote on the continent. That of building a VLBI [Very Long Baseline Interferometer] of radio satellites connected across the African continent and linking in to the VLBI network in Europe as well as the Americas," Pandor told News24.

Fanaroff said that the SKA, which is scheduled for completion by 2024, would also promote collaboration between regions.

"We look forward to China continuing to play a very important role in the SKA and to increasing collaboration between Chinese and South African astronomers and scientists in the other countries of the Brics."

A final decision on the country to host the SKA is expected by April 2012.


http://www.news24.com/SciTech/News/C...A-bid-20120223
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Old February 28th, 2012, 08:25 AM   #98
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SKA Organisation suffers document server breach
By Liz Tay on Feb 24, 2012 1:00 PM

A server managing documents for the $2 billion Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project has been breached, a week after organisers received confidential expert advice on where the telescope should be hosted.

The SKA Board is expected to choose to host the radiotelescope array in either Southern Africa or Australia and New Zealand in the coming weeks, after years of planning and negotiations.

The Board received a recommendation from its SKA Site Advisory Committee last Wednesday but according to interim director general Michiel van Haarlem, no details of the Committee's advice would be disclosed until a final decision was reached.

This morning, the SKA Organisation took its website offline, advising that "unauthorised access to the SKA document management server has occurred".

It advised registered website users to consider changing any login details that they also used for other sites, although it did not expect any registration details to have been breached.

Colin Greenwood, company secretary of the SKA Organisation, declined to comment on how the server was breached. The unauthorised person had not yet been identified, he said.

According to Greenwood, only "links to publicly available documents, such as the SKA research papers, were affected".

The organisation did not know the motivation of the attacker, he said.

Greenwood noted that nothing was stolen from the site, and the breach would "not impact the project in any way". No police or other external parties were involved in investigating the breach.

"There have been no previous incidents of unauthorised access to our IT systems," Greenwood told iTnews.

"Thorough diagnostic testing of our system has been carried out and we are in the process of implementing the appropriate changes.

"I expect the SKA website to be back online in the next day or so and apologise for any inconvenience caused by this incident."

Australia’s Federal Government last year committed $40.2 million over four years to its bid to host the SKA, which could attract some $670 million of ICT to the country.

Copyright © iTnews.com.au . All rights reserved.


http://www.scmagazine.com.au/News/29...er-breach.aspx

Last edited by romanSA; February 28th, 2012 at 09:11 AM.
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Old February 28th, 2012, 08:53 AM   #99
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Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Australia's bid continues to be plagued by problems...
It doesn't sound like the security breach is an Australian problem? Wasn't it a breach of the SKA Organisation as a whole's website?
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Old February 28th, 2012, 09:10 AM   #100
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I think you're right. Because it didn't pertain to SA I assumed if must have pertained to Oz, especially since it's an Oz website, and because the article ends with the Oz SKA budget. Thanks for pointing out. Will edit that header...
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