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Space chief suspects satellite sabotage

MOSCOW — Some of the recent failures of Russian satellites may have been the result of sabotage by foreign forces, the nation’s space chief said.

Roscosmos chief Vladimir Popovkin stopped short of accusing any country of disabling Russian satellites.

But in an interview published Tuesday in the daily Izvestia, he said some Russian craft had developed “unexplained” malfunctions while flying beyond the reach of his nation’s tracking facilities.

Mr. Popovkin said he didn’t want to proportion blame, but modern technology makes spacecraft vulnerable to foreign influence.

“I wouldn’t like to accuse anyone, but today there exist powerful means allowing to influence spacecraft, and their use can’t be excluded,” he said.

Mr. Popovkin added that Russia will launch three communications satellites next year that will be able to retransmit signals from other spacecraft as they fly over another hemisphere.


Rainfall causes deadly flooding, mudslides

JAMAPARA — A mudslide caused by two days of downpours has killed at least 13 people in a small town in southeastern Brazil, and another 11 are listed as missing, the head of the Rio de Janeiro state civil defense department said Tuesday.

Sergio Simoes told CBN radio that five bodies were pulled from beneath tons of mud and debris on Tuesday, bringing the death toll in the Jamapara district of Sapucaia city to 13. Eight bodies were found Monday.

Among the missing are five members of a family whose car was caught in the mudslide as they were trying to escape.

Floods elsewhere in the state have forced more than 30,000 people to flee their homes.

In neighboring Minas Gerais state, officials say, more than 14,000 people have left their homes and 15 have died in floodwaters or mudslides.

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