Sweden Current Affairs

Dawit Isaak selected for 2017 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize

Dawit Isaak, an imprisoned Eritrean-Swedish journalist was awarded the 2017 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.

He will be bestowed with this prestigious award in recognition of his courage, resistance and commitment to freedom of expression. He will be awarded on World Press Freedom Day (3 May 2017).

About Dawit Isaak

  • Dawit Isaak is a Swedish-Eritrean playwright, journalist and writer. He was born on 28 October 1964.
  • He had moved to Sweden in 1987, where he later became a citizen and went into self-imposed exile.
  • He had returned to Eritrea after its independence and became one of the founders and reporters of Setit, the first independent newspaper in the country.
  • Eritrean government has held him in prison in Eritrea since 2001 without trial and considered him a traitor. He journalist was arrested in a crackdown on the media. His present location is unknown.

About UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize

  • The award was established in 1997 by UNESCO’s Executive Board in honour of Colombian journalist Guillermo Cano Isaza.
  • It honours a person, organization or institution for their outstanding contribution to the defence and promotion of freedom of press anywhere in the world, especially achieved in the face of danger.
  • The award carries cash prize of $25000. It is funded by Colombia based Cano Foundation and Finland based Helsingin Sanomat Foundation.

Guillermo Cano Isaza: He was a Colombian journalist who was assassinated on 17 December 1986 in front of the offices of his newspaper, El Espectador in Bogota.


China opens first fully-owned satellite ground station near North Pole

China has launched its first fully-owned overseas satellite ground station near the North Pole enabling it to collect satellite data anywhere on the Earth at fastest speed in the world.

It is formally known as China Remote Sensing Satellite North Pole Ground Station. It is located about 200 kms north of the Arctic Circle in Sweden.

Key Facts
  • The Artic ground station is built and run by Chinese Academy of Sciences. It will allow China to collect satellite data anywhere on Earth at speeds that were more than twice as fast as before.
  • It will use best and most sensitive signal receiving devices ever built by China. It includes one with higher bandwidth, covering frequencies from 26.5 to 40 GHz. It has download speed of 6 Gigabits (billions of bits) per second, fastest in the world.
  • It will also play an important role in China’s Gaofen project, a network of observation satellites orbiting Earth to provide global surveillance capabilities which is due to be completed in 2020.
Advantages of this facility
  • This facility in Sweden can download data from satellites orbiting Earth in less than 3.5 hours, compared to domestic ground stations located in other part of world which require 7 hours.
  • The shorter time is because satellites orbiting North Pole are able to pass about 12 times each day around Earth while those satellites flying over China can orbit Earth only about 5 times each day.
Why this facility is important for China?

Previously, China had built ground satellite facilities in numerous foreign countries, mostly in Africa and South America, which all were joint ventures. But the fully owned overseas ground station in Sweden (in North Pole) will give China much greater freedom and security to operate its space projects, some of have military purposes.