UK to send Royal Navy warship through disputed South China Sea in challenge to Beijing

A Royal Navy warship will sail through the South China Sea in an effort to assert freedom of navigation rights in waters where Beijing is increasingly extending its control.

HMS Sutherland, a Type 23 frigate, will travel through the key trading lane after concluding a visit to Australia, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced.

China claims large areas of the South China Sea and has been bolstering its military deployments there, including reclaiming land on reefs and atolls to build air bases.

Mr Williamson made the announcement during a visit to Australia to meet his counterpart Marise Payne in Sydney, where they discussed North Korea, cyber warfare and terrorism. The trip was also designed to push Australia to buy the UK’s Type 23 replacement, the BAE-built Type 26.

He told The Australian: “[Sutherland] will be sailing through the South China Sea and making it clear our navy has a right to do that.

“World dynamics are shifting so greatly. The US can only concentrate on so many things at once. The US is looking for other countries to do more. This is a great opportunity for the UK and Australia to do more, to exercise leadership.”

The US Navy also conducts freedom-of-navigation cruises in the South China Sea as a way of disputing Chinese influence.

Asked whether Sutherland would sail within 12 nautical miles – the UN-defined distance indicating territorial waters – of disputed areas or artificial Chinese islands, Mr Williamson declined to comment but added: “We absolutely support the US approach on this, we very much support what the US has been doing.”

Last summer the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Stethem sailed within 12 nautical miles of Triton Island in the Paracel chain. China called the move a “serious political and military provocation” within its territorial waters.

Mr Williamson added in an interview with broadcaster ABC: “It’s very important that we demonstrate that these are seas anyone can pass through and we’ll be making sure that the Royal Navy will protect those rights for international shipping.

“Australia [and] Britain see China as a country of great opportunities, but we shouldn’t be blind to the ambition that China has and we’ve got to defend our national security interests.

“We’ve got to ensure that any form of malign intent is countered and we see increasing challenges – it’s not just from China, it’s from Russia, it’s from Iran – and we’ve got to be constantly making sure that our security measures, our critical national infrastructure is protected.”

The UK’s frigates, which specialise in anti-submarine warfare, also have a prominent role in drug interdiction and other policing at sea.

Sutherland, which entered service in 1997, has previously been tasked with shadowing Russian Navy vessels as they passed through the English Channel, and escorting the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth during her first sea trials.

She is currently on a seven-month deployment to Australia, the Far East and and the Gulf.

World news in pictures

World news in pictures

  • 1/48 13 February 2018

    North Korean cheerleaders are surrounded by media as they attempt to walk on Gyeongpo beach in Gangneung, South Korea


  • 2/48 12 February 2018

    Former US President Barack Obama unveils his portrait at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC


  • 3/48 9 February 2018

    US Vice President Mike Pence and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s sister Kim Yo-Jong attend the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games


  • 4/48 8 February 2018

    Bangladesh police charge towards activists of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party protesting following a verdict against opposition leader Khaleda Zia in Dhaka. The ex-Prime Minister of Bangladesh was jailed for five years on corruption charges.


  • 5/48 7 February 2018

    Rescue services search for people in a damaged building in eastern Taiwan after a magnitude 6.4 earthquake hit Hualien on the night of 6 February, 2018. Media reports said several buildings were damaged and at least four people were killed and some 100 were injured during the quake. Teams are trying to rescue people inside the buildings. Some bridges and roads are damaged and the main road to Hualien is closed. More than 100 earthquakes have hit off Taiwan’s east coast in the past three days. The Seismological Observation Center said they are cuased by the friction between the Philipine Plate and Eurasian Plate.


  • 6/48 6 February 2018

    Anti-North Korean protesters push against police as a ferry carrying a North Korean art troupe for the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games approaches the port of Mukho in Donghae. Around 120 North Korean art performers in matching red coats and fur hats left for the South, its state media said on February 6, the latest in the flurry of cross-border exchanges in the run-up to the Pyeongchang Olympics.


  • 7/48 5 February 2018

    Philadelphia Eagles’ Nick Foles celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl LII.


  • 8/48 4 February 2018

    Authorities investigate the scene of a fatal Amtrak train crash in Cayce, South Carolina. At least two were killed and dozens injured.

    The State via AP

  • 9/48 3 February 2018

    Members of security services react as a man in the crowd tries to shake hands with French President Emmanuel Macron, who walks next to Senegalese President Macky Sall in a street of Saint-Louis, Senegal.


  • 10/48 2 February 2018

    County Sheriffs restrain Randall Margraves, the father of three daughters who were abused by Larry Nassar, after he tried to attack the former team USA Gymnastics doctor who pleaded guilty in November 2017 to sexual assault charges, during victim statements of his sentencing in the Eaton County Circuit Court in Charlotte, Michigan.


  • 11/48 1 February 2018

    Abu Rabih, 65, walks through the rubble with his eight-year-old grandson Yahya following air strikes by regime forces which hit the building where they live in Arbin, in the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the Syrian capital Damascus. Arbin is in the Eastern Ghouta region which has been under government siege since 2013.

    AFP/Getty Images

  • 12/48 31 January 2018

    A ‘Supermoon’ shines its blood red colors during a full eclipse above the Big A Sign of Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. A ‘Supermoon’ commonly is described as a full moon at its closest distance to the earth with the moon appearing larger and brighter than usual.


  • 13/48 30 January 2018

    A man wears a mask among fellow supporters as Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga (not pictured) takes a symbolic presidential oath of office in Nairobi.


  • 14/48 29 January 2018

    Tractors are parked outside a meeting of European Union agriculture ministers during a protest by Belgian farmers in Brussels.


  • 15/48 28 January 2018

    Bruno Mars accepts Record of the Year for ’24K Magic’ with his production team onstage during the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Madison Square Garden in New York.

    Getty Images for NARAS

  • 16/48 27 January 2018

    Students with torches gather prior to a march in celebration of the 165th birth anniversary of Cuba’s independence hero Jose Marti, in Havana.


  • 17/48 26 January 2018

    A firefighter inspects a burnt hospital after a fire in Miryang, South Korea. 37 people were killed in the fire, with the number of casualties likely to rise further.

    Kyungnam Shinmun via Getty

  • 18/48 25 January 2018

    Rescue workers and police officers stand near derailed trains in Pioltello, on the outskirts of Milan.


  • 19/48 24 January 2018

    Afghan police officers take position during a blast and gun fire in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.


  • 20/48 23 January 2018

    Workers clean the beach of the coastal town of Zouk Mosbeh, north of Beirut, as garbage washed up and piled along the shore after stormy weather.


  • 21/48 22 January 2018

    A Free Syrian Army soldier takes a selfie as fighters join up with Turkish troops near the Syrian border at Hassa, Hatay province. Turkey shelled Kurdish militia targets in Syria and claimed progress in a cross-border offensive that has stoked concern among its allies and neighbours.

  • 22/48 21 January 2018

    Palestinians take part in a protest against aid cut, outside the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) office, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.


  • 23/48 20 January 2018

    Oscar Janicki, 6, participates in the Second Annual Women’s March in Philadelphia.


  • 24/48 19 January 2018

    Russian President Vladimir Putin bathes in an ice-cold water on Epiphany near St. Nilus Stolobensky Monastery on Lake Seliger in Svetlitsa village, Russia. Thousands of Russian Orthodox Church followers will plunge into icy rivers and ponds across the country to mark Epiphany, cleansing themselves with water deemed holy for the day.

    Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

  • 25/48 18 January 2018

    People protest to call for a new DREAM Act to replace DACA in Los Angeles, California.


  • 26/48 17 January 2018

    Pro-democracy activists Raphael Wong and Joshua Wong arrive at Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre after they were jailed on protest related charges following their sentencing at the High Court in Hong Kong.


  • 27/48 16 January 2018

    Skyscrapers Oriental Pearl Tower and Jin Mao Tower (L) are seen from the Shanghai World Financial Center on a hazy day in the financial district of Pudong in Shanghai, China.


  • 28/48 15 January 2018

    Martin Luther King III, US Secretary of the Interior and others wait to place a wreath during an event at the Martin Luther King Memorial on the National Mall.


  • 29/48 14 January 2018

    A boy stands with women loyal to the Houthi movement during a gathering held to show their support to the movement in Sanaa, Yemen.


  • 30/48 13 January 2018

    Diego Martin Duplessis of Argentina drives his Honda during the 2018 Peru-Bolivia-Argentina Dakar rally, 40th edition stage seven, La Paz to Uyuni.


  • 31/48 12 January 2018

    Angela Merkel speaks during a joint press conference after exploratory talks in Berlin. According to reports, the leaders of CDU, CSU and SPD parties after night-long talks agreed on a plan for formal coalition negotiations.


  • 32/48 11 January 2018

    A Pakistani girl holds a picture of Zainab Ansari, an 8-year-old girl who was raped and kidnapped in Kasur, during a protest in Karachi, Pakistan. Anees Ansari, Zainab’s father, accused the police of being slow to respond when his daughter went missing in the eastern Punjab province. Two people were killed and three others were wounded in clashes between angry Kasur residents and police after protesters enraged over her death attacked a police station in the city.


  • 33/48 10 January 2018

    India’s Border Security Force (BSF) ‘Daredevils’ women motorcycle riders perform during a rehearsal for the Republic Day parade on a cold winter morning in New Delhi.


  • 34/48 9 January 2018

    Members of the South Korea delegation (R) shake hands with members of the North Korean delegation (L) during their meeting at the border truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone dividing the two Koreas. North and South Korea began their first official talks in more than two years, focusing on the forthcoming Winter Olympics after months of tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme.


  • 35/48 8 January 2018

    Migrants in a dinghy are rescued by Libyan coast guards off the coast of Garabulli, east of Tripoli.


  • 36/48 7 January 2018

    French President Emmanuel Macron observes a minute of silence in front of the plaque commemorating late police officer Ahmed Merabet to mark the third anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack, in Paris.


  • 37/48 6 January 2018

    Nicolaos Solis from Greece kisses the wooden cross which was thrown into the waters by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, during the Epiphany ceremony to bless the waters at the Golden Horn in Istanbul.


  • 38/48 5 January 2018

    Women mourn the death of a family member following a landslide in Kinshasa. Thirty-seven people died overnight when torrential rain and mudslides swept though shanty homes.


  • 39/48 4 January 2018

    Mourners carry the body of Palestinian Mosab al-Tamimi, 17, who was shot and killed by Israeli troops, during his funeral near the West Bank city of Ramallah .


  • 40/48 3 January 2018

    People take part in pro-government rallies, Iran.

    Tasnim News Agency via Reuters

  • 41/48 2 January 2018

    Indonesian bus passengers watch as Mount Sinabung spews thick smoke in Karo, North Sumatra.


  • 42/48 1 January 2018

    People take part in the traditional New Year’s Day swim in Scheveningen, Netherlands.


  • 43/48 31 December 2017

    Fireworks explode over Sydney Harbour during New Year’s Eve celebrations.


  • 44/48 30 December 2017

    An Indian muslim lifts a stool with a metal rod pierced through his cheeks to commemorate the anniversary of the death of Rafai Papa Miyan Sai at the Shah-E-Alam Dargah shrine in Ahmedabad.


  • 45/48 29 December 2017

    A New York apartment fire killed at least 12 people, including a baby, with four more critically injured. Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press conference from the scene that ‘it is the worst fire tragedy we have seen in this city in at least a quarter century.’


  • 46/48 28 December 2017

    Afghan women mourn inside a hospital compound after a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan.


  • 47/48 27 December 2017

    Pope Francis greets newlyweds during his weekly general audience at Aula Paolo VI in The Vatican.


  • 48/48 26 December 2017

    Rohingya refugees walk next to a pond in the early morning at the Balukhali refugee camp near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.


Australia, the UK and the US, along with New Zealand and Canada, form the “Five Eyes” intelligence sharing alliance.

In December 2016 the US announced it would deploy its top-of-the-line stealth fighter, the F-22 Raptor, to Australia as part of a plan to maintain its “enduring interests” in the region.

Then-head of the US Pacific Command Admiral Harry Harris – now Donald Trump’s pick to be his ambassador to Australia – signed an agreement with Canberra to base enough US military assets in the country to constitute a “credible combat power” amid mounting tensions in the South China Sea.

Mr Harris has been outspoken about China’s “increasingly assertive” moves in the region while Mr Trump has previously accused Beijing of pursuing a “repressive vision” and designing economic policies to weaken America.


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BT steps up battle against cyber-crime by sharing malware data with ISPs

BT has become the first telecommunications provider in the world to start sharing information about malicious software and websites on a large scale with other ISPs, and has urged UK broadband providers to follow its lead.

BT has launched a free collaborative online platform to share its threat intelligence data across the ISP community in a secure and trusted way, as it continues its efforts to protect consumers and businesses from the global cyber-crime industry.

[Read more: What is ransomware? TIps on prevention]

This is in direct response to an initiative led by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to enable ISPs to share detection events, as outlined in its new report -‘Active Cyber Defence – One Year On’ – which details its ongoing efforts to disrupt millions of online commodity attacks against the UK.

This development sees BT alert other ISPs in the UK to any malicious domains associated with malware control that it identifies using its advanced threat intelligence capabilities. ISPs can then choose whether to take any action to protect their customers by blocking such harmful malware.

As a result of the growing industrialisation of cyber-crime, and the increasing complexity of malware, BT has identified and shared over 200,000 malicious domains since initiating the sharing of threat information at the end of last year. BT’s global team of more than 2,500 cyber security experts are currently preventing the delivery of 50 million malicious emails with 2,000 unique malicious attachments every month – that’s almost 20 malicious emails every second.

Domain Name System (DNS) filtering is a key plank of the Government’s Active Cyber Defence Strategy, and BT has been supporting this by automatically blocking tens of millions of malware infections which try to cross its infrastructure every week. Such action is preventing millions of BT’s customers from being harmed by malicious code and bogus websites. These everyday cyber threats can often result in the theft of personal data, financial losses, fraudulent activity and users’ computers being infected with ransomware.

Mark Hughes, CEO BT Security, said: “This is an important step in helping the Government achieve its aim of making the UK the safest place to live and do business online. We believe that only by working together with Government and the rest of the telecommunications industry can we collectively succeed in stemming the tide of cyber-crime. That’s why we’re urging other ISPs to join us in sharing threat information in a more open and collaborative way.

“We’ve been taking a more proactive and automated approach to blocking malicious code and harmful website content on our infrastructure for some time, in line with the NCSC’s Active Cyber Defence strategy. This allows us to mitigate a high volume of cyber threats before they have a chance to take hold and impact our customers. By sharing our malware data, we’re empowering other ISPs to provide their customers with the same level of protection, should they choose to take action.”

Dr Ian Levy, Technical Director for the National Cyber Security Centre, said: “This is a fantastic initiative that will help provide broader protection of cyber threats facing the UK.

“Networks will be able to exchange detections in real time so that UK citizens can be protected by their ISP by default and for free, as part of the National Cyber Security Centre’s Active Cyber Defence programme.

“This unprecedented level of sharing and exchange will have a positive impact across the whole security community by helping us to collectively understand our adversaries and reduce the impact of cyber attacks.”

BT has taken the step of sharing data relating to malware because it believes that the most effective way to bolster the UK’s defences against cyber-crime is through greater collaboration and the exchange of information. If other ISPs join BT in actively sharing threat intelligence data, this will help the entire industry to develop and strengthen a collective shield which will help to protect all customers by taking action within the UK’s communications networks.

BT combines threat intelligence data provided by the NCSC and its Domain Name System (DNS) security provider partners with its own data generated by its Cyber Security Platform, which uses big data analytics to proactively identify threats before they occur. This provides the business with a comprehensive view of the cyber threat landscape in the UK and globally.

In order to exchange this information with industry, BT has built a Malware Information Sharing Platform (MISP) which enables the data to be shared in a secure and trusted way with its partners and other ISPs. BT will also continue to share this threat information with the NCSC and with law enforcement organisations such as INTERPOL, as announced by the company in October.

Read more: What is the NCSC?


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Rolls-Royce Launches “IntelligentEngine” Concept

British engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce (Stand N23) is launching a new “IntelligentEngine” concept at the Singapore Airshow this week, continuing its push towards utilizing “Big Data.” The IntelligentEngine vision is based on a belief that the worlds of product and service have become so closely connected that they are now inseparable, said the company.

According to Richard Goodhead, senior v-p marketing for Rolls-Royce Civil Aerospace, the Intelligent Engine is “the confluence of three concepts—product, services and digital—coming together.” He said that when Total Care started for Trent engines, “the [three] circles started to overlap” and now Rolls is “taking far more data and doing far more with it.”

Goodhead also said it can be represented by the “Three Cs—connected, contextually aware and comprehending,” meaning the engine can learn from its own experiences and those of other engines.

“In addition to designing, testing, and maintaining engines in the digital realm, the IntelligentEngine vision sets out a future where an engine will be increasingly connected, contextually aware and comprehending, helping to deliver greater reliability and efficiency,” said Goodhead.

Dominic Horwood, Rolls-Royce director, customer and services–civil aerospace, said: “In the nearer term, it will focus us on developing the skills, tools and technology we need to deliver an engine that is connected, contextually aware and comprehending. In the longer term, our ambition is unbounded; we could be looking at engines that understand their own condition and can heal themselves, or even engines with interchangeable cores.”

In December 2017 Rolls-Royce launched R2 Data Labs, which it described as “an acceleration hub” for data innovation. Horwood said this is playing a key role in achieving the aims of the IntelligentEngine, “Using advanced data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning…to unlock design, manufacturing, and operational efficiencies within Rolls-Royce.” The launch of R2 Data Labs came after it formed a partnership with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), also complementing a preferred partner agreement with Microsoft for cloud solutions, “[Positioning] Rolls-Royce closely alongside two globally recognized digital service providers.”


Another recent development supporting the IntelligentEngine vision was the opening of the Airlines Aircraft Availability Centre in June 2017. The new center is situated at Rolls’s headquarters in Derby, UK, and is “ready for the transformation in volume and richness of datafrom kilobytes of data per flight to terabytes,” said the company. “This, when combined with our engineering teams’ expertise, creates new insights which allow better and faster services decisions to be made. That work is complemented by Rolls-Royce’s global network of customer service centers, created to work locally with customers, by providing in-depth expertise.”

Combining Rolls-Royce data with customer data will lead to “dramatic improvements to airline economics in terms of aircraft availability and fuel efficiency,” the company claimed.

R-R said the new approach would take the focus beyond maintenance services, and from activities representing only 4 percent of an airline’s direct operating costs to nearly 70 percent. “Those availability services involve a growing understanding of what ‘the perfect fuel-saving flight’ involves—one which accounts for weather, air traffic control restrictions and advises airlines on the most efficient way to fly in different conditions. This offers airlines the opportunity to save millions of dollars when a one percent fuel saving equates to a $250,000 saving per aircraft per year.”

Product Manufacturing

Digital capability also completes a loop within Rolls-Royce—not only informing product design and services, but also manufacturing. One example, it said, is the Joint Lab to develop Smart Manufacturing technologies set up by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Rolls-Royce, and Singapore Aero Engine Services Limited (SAESL).

The parties announced last year a plan to invest up to S$60 million (US$45.5 million) to set up a lab to develop next-generation aerospace manufacturing, as well as MRO capabilities enabled by advanced processes, automation and digital technologies.


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Perfect storm to hit telcos next year

  • Finances strained by increased capex demands, competition and falling ARPU
  • Total telecoms revenue in 60 biggest markets to fall by 2% to $1.2 trillion
  • Mobile ARPU will fall by 2.3% and fixed line by 11.5%
  • Time for a rethink of strategy and investment priorities?

We are now into the second full week of December and that means it’s the time of year when various organisations and enterprises pepper telecoms journalists with prognostications, divinations and auguries about what will happen in the global telecoms industry over the course of next year.

Depending on where and from whom they come the forecasts that waft on zephyrs of unseasonably balmy (or, in some cases, barmy) air on to the editorial desk range from the thoughtful, insightful and scientific, on through such ludicrous levels of corporate bombast and delusion as to be worthless and then forwards to the outer limits of bizarre but entertaining wackiness.

It is traditional for TelecomTV to report on at least a couple of such missives and we’ll start this time around with something from the top of the pile; something eminently sensible and considered from the London-headquartered Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), a venerable and trusted British business which is part of the Economist Group. The EIU provides forecasting and advisory services through research and analysis, such as monthly country reports, five-year country economic forecasts, country risk service reports, and industry reports.

In its latest special report, “Telecoms in 2018”, (ominously subtitled “Telecoms : Throttled?”) the EIU stresses that next year the finances of the global telecoms sector will come under sustained strain as the industry faces a perfect storm of differential pressures. In 2018 the push for 4G and 5G connectivity will continue unabated even as demand for mobile bandwidth reaches new levels of insatiability. This will require telcos and service providers to undertake massive (and massively expensive) programmes of capital expenditure at a time when intense competition and its attendant price wars will further diminish operator’s revenue streams.

To stay in the game and eventually to reap the promised and perceived rewards of the worldwide wave of network transformation and the commercial deployment of 5G (by 2020 or some time shortly thereafter), operators will, perforce, have to continues to expand their footprints and place even more emphasis on providing amplified mobile broadband coverage whilst introducing 4G to as many parts of the world’s developing countries as they possibly can.

This will be great for subscribers but operators will have to find fresh sources of revenues from innovative and compelling new services and apps or live with the fact that average revenue per user (ARPU) will continue to decline as operators are forced to offer discounted data-rich packages and bundled services – and that way, sooner or later, lies disaster.

The Economist Intelligence Unit report says, “In 2018 we expect ARPU across our 60 markets to fall by 2.3 per cent for mobile operators, and by 11.5 per cent for fixed line. ARPU can recover in time, at least in the mobile sector, but part of the problem for operators is the blurring of the boundaries between telecoms companies and IT. The days when operators could rely on revenue from a reliable voice and SMS service are long gone. Competition from over-the-top (OTT) providers such as WhatsApp, Skype and Netflix has backed the telecoms sector into a corner. Now it faces a new challenge from app developers, whose business interests are expanding rapidly.”


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NCC Group recruits new CEO

NCC Group recruits new CEO

Manchester-headquartered IT services provider NCC Group has recruited a new chief executive with an extensive track record in the professional services B2B and cyber security sectors.

Adam Palser, who will join the group on 1 December 2017, was previously the chief executive of public services provider NSL, which had more than 3,000 employees. He joined NSL in 2015 and led the transformation and sale of the business for its private equity owner, leaving in March 2017.

Before that, he held a number of senior roles at QinetiQ between 2003 and 2013, most recently as EMEA business development director. Prior to that, Palser had responsibility for QinetiQ’s cyber, information warfare and professional services businesses.

Palser will be paid an annual salary of £425,000, together with an annual bonus of up to 100 per cent of salary subject to achieving certain performance criteria, of which 35 per cent of any payment will be deferred in shares for two years. He will also be eligible for a long-term incentive plan award of up to 100 per cent of salary subject to achieving certain performance criteria.

With effect from Palser’s appointment, current executive chairman Chris Stone will become non-executive chairman and current interim chief executive Brian Tenner will resume his role as chief financial officer.

Palser said: “NCC Group is an exciting business with a wealth of talent in the cyber security and risk space. The $75bn global cybersecurity industry is growing rapidly as awareness increases of the external threats faced by all organisations; NCC Group is well-placed to protect them using its tools, skills and experience.”

“I am very much looking forward to working with Chris, the board and my new colleagues to ensure that NCC Group can fulfil its potential and play its role in protecting the systems and networks on which modern business and society relies.”

Stone said: “On behalf of the board I am delighted to welcome Adam as NCC Group’s new CEO. He comes with a wealth of business experience and a track record of success in the professional services B2B and cyber security sectors. I am confident that NCC Group will flourish under his leadership.”

Tenner took over as interim chief executive in March 2017. His appointment followed the surprise departure of chief executive Rob Cotton with immediate effect after 17 years with the business.


India-UK Future Tech Month to promote innovation ties

LONDON: The UK government’s Department for International Trade (DIT) will observe November as “India-UK Future Tech Month” and hold a series of technology-focused business activities in Britain and India.

The series of events are aimed at showcasing the very best UK technology and innovation to a high-quality Indian audience, including buyers, investors, and central and state- level government officials, the DIT said.

“November marks one year since British Prime Minister Theresa May led her first overseas trade mission to India, and two years since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s landmark UK visit.

“The time is right to redouble our commitment to matching India’s technology demands with the UK’s very best offer, encouraging UK companies to look to India and to encourage Indian companies to grow their businesses in the UK,” British High Commissioner to India, Sir Dominic Asquith said.

The diplomat expressed confidence that the ‘India-UK Future Tech’ month would inspire British businesses to “Think India” and expose India’s most ambitious businesses to the “breadth and depth of the UK’s tech expertise”.

As part of the initiative, the DIT would take more than 60 Indian companies in 10 sectors on a tour of UK-wide business hubs in Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Leicester, Coventry and London.

The move aims to inspire new partnerships, strengthen technical collaboration and land business deals, in areas as diverse as data analytics, Internet of Things, ICT services, advanced manufacturing, electric vehicles, automotive, healthcare, life sciences, food and drink and creative industries.

The centrepiece of the series has been highlighted as the India Zone at the Innovate 2017 summit, to be held next week in Birmingham.

It brings together partners from the Indian government, including Invest India, the Indian High Commission in the UK, and the Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, along with state governments of Karnataka and Kerala.

The focal theme of the programme is “India s Innovation and Technology Needs The UK s offer”.

“India’s technology sector is set to triple in the next 10 years. Our Prime Minister has listed ‘Digital India’ among his top priorities. We share longstanding deep commercial partnerships with the UK, which we are keen to build on even further. Together India and the UK have the potential to transform many areas including financial technology, cyber security, skill development and R&D,” said Amitabh Kant, CEO Niti Ayog.

He highlighted that India was in the midst of a digital revolution and was inching towards an “even more cost- effective digital economy”.

“We have one of the largest digital skilled work forces globally, and are keen to partner with the UK on domestic digital skill development and technology exchange. I see the UK’s potential as limitless; India is already the fourth- largest investor in the UK with a staggering 31 per cent of investments in the technology and telecom sector,” he added.

Innovate UK will comprise of a range of informative sessions to showcase market opportunities in India, launch the Birmingham element of Invest India’s ‘Access India’ programme, and provide information on professional services and ease of doing business in India. This will be supported by thought- leadership sessions on India s ‘trillion-dollar’ digital opportunity and a panel discussion on data analytics, internet of things and big data.

“Innovate 2017 is an excellent platform to showcase the existing strong UK-India innovation links and foster further important business collaborations for the benefit of both our economies. I look forward to welcoming the Indian delegation to our event in Birmingham and hope it will generate some significant business deals and partnerships,” said Innovate UK Chief Executive Dr Ruth McKernan.

In India as part of tech-month series, DIT is bringing innovative UK healthcare diabetes companies to the Research Society for the Study of Diabetes in India 45th Annual Conference in Bhubaneswar later this week and then taking them to meet Indian companies in Chennai.

DIT is also bringing an Oncology trade mission to the Indian Cancer Congress in Bengaluru and the same mission will participate in the India-UK Healthcare Forum in Mumbai later this month. AK SMJ


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Cyber-intelligence staff among nearly 2000 BAE Systems redundancies

The world’s tenth largest cyber-security consultants have axed 1,900 jobs in the UK, including over 100 in its cyber defence department. The vast bulk of the wide-spread redundancies will come from BAE Systems traditional military and defence line, as new CEO Charles Woodburn continues to push the professional services firm toward a streamlined approach and a renewed focus on digital technologies.

Over the course of 2016, British multinational defence, security, and aerospace company BAE Systems saw revenue in security consulting hit 14.2% to $290 million. The group, headquartered in London, was found to be the world’s tenth largest security and cyber-security consulting firm, while appearing to be successfully diversifying into the sector to add to its more traditional portfolio, which includes a number of state and private sector solutions. Despite this success, however, the new Chief Executive of Britain’s biggest defence contractor has announced plans for more than 1,900 redundancies in the UK.

Experts had anticipated that Charles Woodburn, who took the reins at BAE three months ago, would attempt to make expenditure reductions by scaling back on employment, however the job cuts are double what most had expected. The organisational changes were said to be targeted at delivering the company a more competitive edge, empowering it to renew its focus on technological innovation – a market of growing global significance across all industries – by ‘streamlining’ the organisation via the shaving away of whole layers of management. The job losses will be phased over the coming three year period, and will equate to almost 6%of BAE’s 34,600 British workforce.

Cyber-intelligence staff among nearly 2,000 BAE Systems redundancies

This new direction is partially motivated by slowing international demand for BAE Systems’ traditional military engineering services. The firm had been hoping for a large Typhoon deal with Saudi Arabia – which ordered 72 of the aircraft 10 years ago. The aircraft cost approximately £4.43 billion, and the full weapons system is expected to cost approximately £10 billion – however in 2010, BAE Systems pleaded guilty to a United States court, to charges of false accounting and making misleading statements in connection with sales to the Saudi regime. Since then, the Typhoon deal has so far failed to materialise, while smaller existing contracts with other Gulf nations are not enough to keep up full production. Subsequently, the largest cuts will hit BAE’s factories in Lancashire – where up to 750 jobs will go. Manufacturing in the North-West of England has been haemorrhaging jobs in recent years, seeing 77,000 jobs leave the region since 2006, and the latest news from BAE will further compound that decline.

Following the restructure, which also strips out levels of regional management, the company appears to be moving towards a greater focus on technological innovation. Alongside the redundancies, Woodburn announced the appointment of a Chief Technology Officer to the Board, with former Head of UK Programmes Nigel Whitehead being promoted to the new position. Conflictingly, however, the job cuts also include a number of roles disappearing from BAE systems cyber-intelligence operations.


With cyber-security at the forefront of business and governmental anxiety, thanks to high-profile attacks on the National Health Service in the UK, and the National Security Association in America – one of the world’s most controversial and powerful state surveillance operations, the segment looks to be a high priority for investment over coming years. Meanwhile, with the world’s biggest cyber-security consultancy Deloitte having themselves been the victim of a hack, the situation seems ripe for competitors such as BAE to siphon off business from the Big Four member. Regardless of this opportunity, the Applied Intelligence unit, which helps companies and governments fight cyber-warfare, will downsize by 150 personnel.

Britain’s largest trade union, Unite, which represents a portion of the BAE workforce, meanwhile pledged to fight what it called a “devastatingly short-sighted” move, while refusing to rule out potential industrial action. Mr Woodburn said BAE would be working “very closely” with the unions over a coming 30-day consultation period, adding, “We believe a good proportion of jobs will be voluntary redundancy.”

GMB, another large general union, meanwhile called for state intervention, with Ross Murdoch, a GMB National Officer, stating, “Given the ever increasing likelihood of no deal on Brexit, GMB calls on the Government to reverse this decision and prioritise this work.”

MPs in Parliament also joined calls for the Government to step in, and prevent job losses, but Business Minister Claire Perry told the House of Commons, “it would be wrong for the Government to interfere in the company’s restructuring.”


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BAE Systems awarded contract for Naval Warfare Center Aircraft Division equipment

BAE Systems has received a $76 million contract from the U.S. Navy to help create important communications and electronics.

The equipment for the Naval Warfare Center Aircraft Division allows for secure communications. The equipment is in use by several branches of the military, including the Army and Air Force, and other government and Defense Department agencies.

Over 22 months, the company will work to support “the rapid design, development, fabrication, customization and life-cycle maintenance of new and existing communication and electronic platforms for the Naval Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD),” according to a company announcement.

Additionally, BAE Systems will work to support tests, evaluations, installations, integrations and certifications of mission equipment and systems for NAWCAD’s Special Communications Mission Solutions Division.

“We perform expert, integrated engineering and sustainment support services that meet the development demands of the Navy,” Mark Keeler, acting president of BAE Systems’ Intelligence and Security sector, said in the announcement.

The work will reportedly take place in Fayetteville, North Carolina; Chesapeake, Virginia; and St. Inigoes, Maryland.

The mission of BAE systems is to deliver “a broad range of solutions and services including intelligence analysis, cyber operations, IT, systems development, systems integration, and operations and maintenance to enable militaries and governments to recognize, manage, and defeat threats. The company takes pride in supporting critical national security missions that protect the nation and those who serve,” according to the release.