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Chinese scientists calculate the Milky Way's mass as 805 billion times that of our Sun

ALSO: Australia says offensive hacking is working; DJI hit with $279m patent suit; Philippines Police leak data; and more

Asia In Brief Chinese scientists have estimated the mass of the Milky Way.

To do so the authors considered 260,000 stars – a larger number than has previously been used for a study of this type – many of them identified by the European Space Agency's GAIA observatory. GAIA was designed to observe distant stars with greater precision than has previously been possible.

As detailed in a paper in The Astrophysical Journal, researchers from the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences conducted a survey of our galaxy and measured its rotation curve – the orbital speeds of visible objects compared to their radial distance from the galaxy's center.

The study also considered dark matter and came up with the figure of 805 billion solar masses as the likely mass of the entire Milky Way. Which is quite a lot and would ruin your appetite if you ate a whole one.

According to the National Observatories, the paper's reviewers hailed the research as the most accurate to date.

– Simon Sharwood

Australia hacks back, hard, attracting attention from other nations

Australia's home affairs minister Clare O'Neill last week revealed that the nation's offensive cyber ops are succeeding.

Speaking in a radio interview, O'Neil said she has authorized Australia's Federal Police and Signals Directorate to attack cyber criminals.

"We have set up hack the hackers," she said, "to turn their energies onto debilitating and degrading the ability of the hacking groups."

"That work is going really, really well. And it is a model that countries around the world are looking at."

O'Neil also said Australia will soon introduce defensive programs and requirements to help business and government defend against threats.

– Simon Sharwood

Chinese drone maker DJI whacked with $279 million patent infringement suit

Textron, a Fortune 500 conglomerate based in Rhode Island, last week won a $279 million lawsuit against Chinese drone maker DJI.

Textron, which is parent company to helicopter-maker Bell Textron, originally sought $376 million, according to local media.

The patents in question include a feature that allows aircraft to follow and land on moving objects, and an auto-hover feature.

DJI is currently one of the Chinese companies featured on the US Department of Commerce sanction list and is believed to be linked to the People's Liberation Army (PLA).

DJI has denied such affiliation and reportedly claimed it developed the disputed technology independently.

Singapore-based cyber security firm Group-IB cuts Russian ties

Singapore-based cyber security firm Group-IB announced last week that it will quit the Russian market as part of its regional business diversification plan.

The move out of Russia includes a change in ownership structure as co-founder Dmitry Volkov sold ten percent of his stake in the Russian business and co-founder Ilya Sachkov sold 37.5 percent of his stake in Group-IB Global Private Ltd. to members of the company's management.

Philippines National Police leaks 1.2 million HR records

The Philippine National Police (PNP) exposed employees' and job applicants' passports, birth and marriage certificates, drivers' licenses, and security clearance documents, in an 800GB trove of data comprising 1.2 million records that was available online thanks to a misconfigured database.

Security outfit vpnMentor spotted the hoard, leading the Philippines National Privacy Commission (NPC) to order researcher Jeremiah Fowler to appear before it to aid in the investigation.

Apple opens first Indian retail stores

As expected, Apple has opened its first two retail stores in India.

Apple CEO Tim Cook first launched a store in Mumbai, and a couple of days later cut the ribbon on another in Delhi.

The launch comes as Apple shifts more manufacturing to India.

Philippines telco staff depart after massive network overspend

Remember the Filipino telco, PLDT, that in March admitted blowing its networking equipment budget by $880 million? That mess last week claimed several senior execs. PLDT announced [PDF] the voluntary resignation of its chief procurement officer, and the early retirement of its network head, and chief financial officer. A vice president departed with the reason listed as "Availment of the Company's Manpower Reduction Program."

– Simon Sharwood

China commences trials of space sim facility

China has started trials of "a ground space station" according to state-controled media.

The large-scale space science and technology experimental platform – located in Harbin, the capital of the northeast Chinese province of Heilongjiang – is designed for studying space materials, devices, magnetospheric physics and more.

Reportedly, it can simulate space environment factors, including plasma, particle irradiation and solar electromagnetic radiation.

In other news …

Our regional coverage from last week included news that Hyundai has started development on a moon rover in conjunction with major Korean research institutes.

Chinese battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited (CATL) said it has created a battery dense enough to power electric airplanes.

Huawei announced it created a homegrown ERP in just three years, and that the app now runs its entire business flawlessly. Huawei's results this quarter revealed revenue well below 2018's peak, suggesting US and UK sanctions are hitting the Chinese tech giant hard.

Data storage vendor Seagate was fined $300 million for selling sanctioned storage to Chinese tech giant Huawei.

India's government earmarked $730 million to develop a 1000-qubit quantum computer by 2031.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled that India's tech import tariffs hurt buyers and exporters everywhere and that they must stop.

Foxconn founder Terry Gou is running for president of Taiwan for the second time.

The United States Department of Justice charged 44 people over using fake social media accounts to harass and intimidate PRC dissidents living abroad. The scheme was allegedly run by China's National Police.

The cause of an MRH-90 Taipan helicopter crash operated by the Australian Army was suggested to have been failure to apply a software patch, paired with pilot error.

Tencent cloud announced it is mass producing custom video chips.

TSMC revenues slid for the first time in four years.

Netherlands-based semiconductor equipment company Advanced Semiconductor Materials Lithography (ASML) beat its guidance for the first quarter.

The German government is evaluating all Chinese technology residing in the country's 5G networks out of concern for national security. ®

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