Martyn Williams

Martyn Williams

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130505-dod

DOD on acts of war in cyberspace

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Friday’s news conference at the Department of Defense came before the FBI blamed North Korea for the attack on Sony, but Pentagon spokesman John Kirby did address issues surrounding cyber defense and the sticky question of what exactly is an “act of war” on the Internet.

“I’m not able to lay out in any specificity for you what would be or wouldn’t be an act of war in the cyber domain. It’s not like there is a demarkation line that exists in some sort of fixed space on what is or isn’t,” he said.

“The cyber domain remains challenging, it remains very fluid. Part of the reason why it’s such a challenging domain for us is because there aren’t internationally accepted norms and protocols, and that’s something that we here in the Defense Department have been certainly arguing for.”

Redeye, Chicago, IL

Harsh reaction follows Sony’s canceling of “The Interview”

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A day after Sony said it would not be releasing “The Interview” movie in theaters, on DVDs or online, reaction from Hollywood, politicians and TV commentators in the U.S. has been harsh.

The mood was perhaps summed up best by Rob Lowe:

Seth Rogen has been quiet, probably at the request of Sony Pictures, but Rob Lowe said he had bumped into him at the airport.

Movie and documentary director Michael Moore had this to say:

And actor Steve Carell, whose upcoming movie set in North Korea was also canceled, said it was a “sad day for creative expression.”

In politics, Newt Gingrich said “America has lost its first cyberwar”

And in the press, a couple of U.S. tabloids had memorable front pages on Thursday:

Redeye, Chicago, IL

Redeye, Chicago, IL

New York Post, New York, NY

New York Post, New York, NY

141207-sony-hq-1

Sony pulls ‘The Interview’

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So much for standing up to terrorists.

Bowing to the demands of hackers and handing them a major victory, Sony said Wednesday that it is pulling “The Interview” from movie theaters.

The movie, which was due to open on December 25, follows two American showbiz reporters offered the chance to interview Kim Jong Un. Before they leave, they are co-opted by the CIA to assassinate the North Korean leader.

Sony’s decision came a day after hackers released a database of emails belonging to Michael Lynton, CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment and with it a message threatening harm if the movie screening went ahead.

A message posted online by hackers on Tuesday, December 16, 2014.

A message posted online by hackers on Tuesday, December 16, 2014.

“We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places ‘The Interview’ be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to,” the message read in part.

“Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.),” it said.

The message certainly took the threats to a new level, but soon after that message was posted, the Department of Homeland Security told reporters that it didn’t believe the threat to be credible. Despite that, Sony followed by telling movie theater operators that it would understand if they declined to show the movie.

On Wednesday, four major movie chains said they wouldn’t be screening the movie and Sony followed by saying it would postpone the launch.

What might have persuaded the movie theater operators? According to Reuters, the FBI warned them on Tuesday that they might be the target of cyberattacks should they show the movie. With Sony’s corporate secrets laid bare by the hackers, it’s easy to see why other companies would want to avoid the same fate.

A scene from "The Interview"

A scene from “The Interview”

“We are deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees, and the American public,” Sony said in a statement. “We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome.”

But Sony didn’t show as much support for free expression later in the day, when it said it has no plans to release the movie at all — not in theaters, not on DVD or via on-demand platforms.

Another apparent casualty of the move: a thriller set in North Korean starring Steve Carrell and in development by New Regency. That studio has scrapped the project, reported Deadline.

Wednesday passed without a message from the hackers.

North Korean state media has yet to respond. It’s only comment so far, published on December 7, was a denial of involvement but admission that it’s not altogether sad the movie company was hacked.

141214-pueblo-3

US declassifies Pueblo incident narrative

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The U.S. Air Force has declassified part of a history of the Pueblo incident, the 1968 capture of the electronics and signals intelligence ship U.S.S. Pueblo by North Korean forces.

141214-pueblo-1

The document was prepared by the U.S. Air Force Security Service in April 1968 and provides a detailed narrative of the incident, with timings down to the minute, and is almost completely uncensored.

It was provided to The Government Attic website in November in response to a Freedom of Information request made in 2008. The website posted it this week.

141214-pueblo-2

There are lots of interesting parts to the story of the Pueblo, which was monitoring North Korean forces when it was challenged. The U.S. maintains to this day that it was in international waters, while the North Koreans maintain it was within the country’s territorial waters.

The document provides a little information about the incident itself, but is mostly concerned with the reaction and response to what happened

You can find the entire document on The Government Attic.

141207-sony-hq-1

Pyongyang breaks silence on Sony hack

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141207-sony-hq-2Two weeks after computers at Sony Pictures were taken offline by a major hack and just over a week since North Korea was mentioned as a suspect, the country’s state media has commented for the first time and denied any involvement in the attack.

In a report on Sunday, the Korean Central News Agency carried a statement from the National Defence Commission that also blamed South Korea for the suspicion.

It’s worth noting that the first report that mentioned North Korea as a suspect was published by Re/code, a San Francisco-based technology news website. South Korea doesn’t appear to have much to do with the suspicions and finger-pointing that have been going on for more than a week.

“We do not know where in America the Sony Pictures is situated and for what wrongdoings it became the target of the attack nor we feel the need to know about it,” KCNA quoted the NDC as saying.

“But what we clearly know is that the Sony Pictures is the very one which was going to produce a film abetting a terrorist act while hurting the dignity of the supreme leadership of the DPRK by taking advantage of the hostile policy of the U.S. administration towards the DPRK.”

That refers to “The Interview,” a Sony movie that is due for release on December 25. The movie’s plot sees two celebrity reporters travel to North Korea to interview leader Kim Jong Un, with a secret mission to kill him. North Korea previously complained about the movie to the United Nations.

The statement goes on to say the hack “might be a righteous deed of the supporters and sympathizers with the DPRK” who were responding to its earlier appeal to the U.S. to stop distribution of the movie.

That seems unlikely.

To-date, all of the messages published by hackers have hinted at arguments with Sony over restructuring.

But despite the lack of a North Korean link in the messages, there is a tentative and intriguing connection in some of the software used for the attack.

Several computer security agencies that have analyzed technical details of the hack say the code bears similarities to attacks conducted on the Korean peninsula last year that paralyzed the networks of TV broadcasters. Those attacks were blamed on North Korea — something the country also protested.

Here’s the full text of the NDC statement as carried on KCNA on Sunday:

Spokesman of Policy Department of NDC Blasts S. Korean Authorities’ False Rumor about DPRK

Pyongyang, December 7 (KCNA) — The spokesman for the Policy Department of the National Defence Commission (NDC) of the DPRK Sunday gave the following answer to the question put by KCNA as regards the fact that the south Korean puppet authorities spread a wild rumor while forcibly linking the recent extra-large hacking in the U.S. with the DPRK:
The SONY Pictures, a film producer in the U.S., has reportedly been attacked by hackers.
The hacking is so fatal that all the systems of the company have been paralyzed, causing the overall suspension of the work and supposedly a huge ensuing loss.
Much upset by this, the U.S. mobilized many investigation bodies including FBI, CIA and the Department of Homeland Security for urgent investigation and recovery of the system.
We do not know where in America the SONY Pictures is situated and for what wrongdoings it became the target of the attack nor we feel the need to know about it.
But what we clearly know is that the SONY Pictures is the very one which was going to produce a film abetting a terrorist act while hurting the dignity of the supreme leadership of the DPRK by taking advantage of the hostile policy of the U.S. administration towards the DPRK.
We already called upon the world to turn out in the just struggle to put an end to U.S. imperialism, the chieftain of aggression and the worst human rights abuser that tramples down the universal rights of people to peaceful and stable life and violates the sovereignty of other countries, as well as its followers.
The hacking into the SONY Pictures might be a righteous deed of the supporters and sympathizers with the DPRK in response to its appeal.
What matters here is that the U.S. set the DPRK as the target of the investigation, far from reflecting on its wrongdoings and being shameful of being taken unawares. And the south Korean group, keen on serving its master, groundlessly linked the hacking attack with the DPRK and floated the “story about the north’s involvement”, an indication of its inveterate bitterness towards its country fellowmen.
The U.S. and south Korean puppet group are all accustomed to pulling up others for no specific reason when something undesirable happens in their own land.
The south Korean puppet group went the lengths of floating the false rumor that the north was involved in the hacking that happened in the U.S., a country far across the ocean.
It should be well aware that it can not evade the severe punishment by the anti-U.S. sacred war to be staged all over the world if it blindly curries favor with the U.S. as now.
The U.S. should also know that there are a great number of supporters and sympathizers with the DPRK all over the world as well as the “champions of peace” who attacked the SONY Pictures.
The righteous reaction will get stronger to smash the evil doings. -0-

The second generation Arirang smartphone, pictured in October 2014 (Photo: Aram Pan)

New Arirang smartphone caught on camera

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North Korea’s Arirang smartphone has been upgraded. Recent photos of one of the phones show a new model that features an updated version of Google’s Android operating system.

The phone was spotted by Aram Pan, a Singapore-based photographer who has made several trips to North Korea. He first posted them on his DPRK 360 Facebook page.

The Arirang smartphone first received publicity in August 2013 when the state news agency reported on a visit by Kim Jong Un to a cellphone factory. The “May 11 Factory” reportedly produced the phone, but it was later identified as based on the U1201 produced by China’s Uniscope Communication.

Pan’s photos of the Arirang handset used by his tour guide show a new model but, like the last model, the phone doesn’t appear to be made in North Korea.

The second generation Arirang AP121 smartphone, pictured in October 2014 (Photo: Aram Pan)

The second generation Arirang AP121 smartphone, pictured in October 2014 (Photo: Aram Pan)

The new version can be identified by its model number, shown here in the “About” screen as “AP121.” The previous model was the “AS1201.”

The phone is also running an updated version of Google’s Android operating system. Version 4.2.1 is a variant of “Jelly Bean,” which first debuted in 2012. The last phone ran version 4.0.4, “Ice Cream Sandwich,” that came out in 2011.

And to confirm its recent status, the “build date” of the operating system is listed as August 27, 2014.

The second generation Arirang smartphone, pictured in October 2014 (Photo: Aram Pan)

The second generation Arirang smartphone, pictured in October 2014 (Photo: Aram Pan)

The phone shown in the photos is connected to a cellular network called “46706.”

This is the ID number that all cellular networks transmit. In this case, 46706 is used by the network Koryolink offers North Korean citizens. On it, users can call other local numbers and access the internal intranet.

A second network, 46705, is used by foreigners and allows international calling and Internet access, but not the ability to call local numbers.

It’s running on “HSDPA:8″ technology, which indicates a 3G network capable of running at up to 7.2Mbps.

The display also indicates the phone is roaming. The SIM card in the handset was supposedly a local one so it’s unclear why it would show as roaming on the local network.

The inside of the second generation Arirang smartphone reveals dual-SIM card slots (Photo: Aram Pan)

The inside of the second generation Arirang smartphone reveals dual-SIM card slots (Photo: Aram Pan)

A photo of the inside of the phone reveals dual SIM card slots and a third slot for a micro SD memory card. The phone pictured has a single Koryolink SIM card inserted. Dual-SIM phones are popular in other countries because they allow for two phone numbers to be used from a single phone, sometimes to reduce the cost of calls or sometimes to run numbers from two countries on a single device.

An obvious question with any North Korean electronics product like this is where does the phone come from? When North Korean media reports such new phones, tablet PCs or other electronic gizmos, it usually claims that they are domestically made but that is usually not the case.

This phone appears to very closely resemble the W200 handset produced by China’s Shenzhen Hongjiayuan Communication Technology, a Shenzhen-based manufacturing company that uses the THL brand name. (Spotted by Blog of Mobile)

Here’s the inside view of the THL W200. Note not just the general similarity but the specific details such as location of screws, lugs for the rear plastic cover and grill holes in the bottom of the phone.

The inside of THL's W200 smartphone

The inside of THL’s W200 smartphone

And here’s the W200 from the front.

THL's W200 smartphone

THL’s W200 smartphone

An immediate difference is the three small holes on the upper left of the phone’s face, adjacent to the earpiece. They don’t appear to be present on the photos of the new Arirang smartphone, so it’s possible the Arirang is a slightly different model or perhaps is missing a few features in the W200.

vok-logo

63 years of Voice of Korea in English

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141105-vokNorth Korea’s English-language broadcasting service marks its 63rd birthday on Thursday, November 6. Broadcast now under the name “Voice of Korea,” the radio station was for decades known as Radio Pyongyang.

Since 1951, it’s broadcast thousands of hours of English-language programming and today remains one of the few international radio stations that still uses shortwave as its primary method of dissemination. The transmitters occupy a huge site that can easily be seen on satellite images.

Listeners can expect to find each daily hour-long broadcast kick-off with the national anthem and the songs of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il then news, music and stories about the exploits of Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il or perhaps Kim Jong Un. Depending on the international situation, the station sometimes broadcasts strongly-worded editorials. Here’s one from 2010, when it threatened “all out war.”

To mark the 63rd anniversary, the station put together a panel discussion between staffers.

The discussion is a good representation of the kind of stuff broadcast everyday: the love of everyone to Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, the pursuit of justice and truth, the dastardly acts of the U.S. imperialists and the love of the Korean people to those of the world.

vok-logo

Voice of Korea schedule for winter 2014/2015

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Voice of Korea, North Korea’s international shortwave broadcasting station, adjusted its transmission schedule on October 26 for the winter 2014 and spring 2015 seasons.

The broadcasts follow the same basic line-up each day.

:00 Opening signal, station identification: “This is Voice of Korea”
:01 National Anthem
:03 Song of General Kim Il Sung
:06 Song of General Kim Jong Il
:09 News, editorials (approx 15 minutes, but can be extended to full broadcast), followed by music
:30 Reminiscences of Great Leader President Kim Il Sung of the century
:40 Music and features
:50 Editorial, special message (occasional)
:55 Frequency information
:57 Close

The Voice of Korea typically updates its broadcasts, including the news, once a day during the daytime in Korea.

The news output follows closely the text of English-language stories from KCNA with minor editing and is generally a day behind news being put out on the domestic service in Korean.

You’ll need a shortwave radio and good antenna to receive the broadcasts. If you don’t have these, many of the news items can be found on The Voice of Korea’s website. The music programming is not online.

In addition to English, the station broadcasts in French, Spanish, Arabic, German, Chinese, Japanese and Russian.

The full schedule for Voice of Korea is listed below and comes courtesy of Arnulf Piontek in Berlin.

The schedule shows the time in GMT (UTC), the language, the frequencies in kilohertz (kHz) and the target area of the broadcast. Korean-language programs are from the domestic Korea Central Broadcasting Station (KCBS) or Pyongyang Broadcasting Station (PBS).

First the schedule sorted by time, then by language.

0300 in Chinese on 13650, 15105 to Southeast Asia
0300 in Korean (PBS) on 7140, 9445 and 9730 to Northeast Asia
0300 in Spanish on 11735, 13760, 15180 to Central & South America

0400 in English on 7220, 9445, 9730 to Northeast Asia
0400 in English on 11735, 13760, 15180 to Central & South America
0400 in French on 13650, 15105 to Southeast Asia

0500 in Chinese on 7220, 9445, 9730 to Northeast China
0500 in English on 13650, 15105 to Southeast Asia
0500 in Spanish on 11735, 13760, 15180 to Central & South America

0600 in Chinese on 13650, 15105 to Southeast Asia
0600 in English on 7220, 9445, 9730 to Northeast Asia
0600 in French on 11735, 13760, 15180 to Central & South America

0700 in Korean (PBS) on 7220, 9445 to Northeast China
0700 in Japanese on 621, 3250, 7580, 9650 to Japan
0700 in Russian on 9875, 11735 to Far East
0700 in Russian on 13760, 15245 to Europe

0800 in Chinese on 7220, 9445 to Northeast China
0800 in Japanese on 621, 3250, 7580, 9650 to Japan
0800 in Russian on 9875, 11735 to Far East
0800 in Russian on 13760, 15245 to Europe

0900 in Japanese on 621, 3250, 7580, 9650 to Japan
0900 in Korean (KCBS) on 7220, 9445 to Northeast China
0900 in Korean (PBS) on 9875, 11735 to Far East
0900 in Korean (PBS) on 13760, 15245 to Europe

1000 in English on 6170, 9435 to Central & South America
1000 in English on 6185, 9850 to Southeast Asia
1000 in Japanese on 621, 3250, 6070, 7580, 9650 to Japan
1000 in Korean (PBS) on 7220, 9445 to Northeast Asia

1100 in Chinese on 7220, 9445 to China
1100 in French on 6170, 9435 to Central & South America
1100 in French on 6185, 9850 to Southeast Asia
1100 in Japanese on 621, 3250, 6070, 7580, 9650 to Japan

1200 in Japanese on 621, 3250, 6070, 7580, 9650 to Japan
1200 in Korean (KCBS) on 6185, 9850 to Southeast Asia
1200 in Korean (KCBS) on 6170, 9435 to Central & South America
1200 in Korean (PBS) on 7220, 9445 to Northeast Asia

1300 in Chinese on 6185, 9850 to Southeast Asia
1300 in English 9435, 11710 to North America
1300 in English on 7570, 12015 to Western Europe
1300 in Korean (PBS) on 6170, 9425 to Europe

1400 in French on 9435, 11710 to North America
1400 in French on 7570, 12015 to Western Europe
1400 in Korean (KCBS) on 6185, 9850 to Southeast Asia
1400 in Russian on 6170, 9425 to Europe

1500 in Arabic on 9890, 11645 to Near & Middle East; North Africa
1500 in English on 9435, 11710 to North America
1500 in English on 7570, 12015 to Western Europe
1500 in Russian on 6170, 9425 to Europe

1600 in English on 9890, 11645 to Near & Middle East; North Africa
1600 in French on 9435, 11710 to North America
1600 in French on 7570, 12015 to Western Europe
1600 in German on 6170, 9425 to Western Europe

1700 in Arabic on 9890, 11645 to Near & Middle East; North Africa
1700 in Korean (KCBS) on 9435, 11710 to North America
1700 in Korean (KCBS) on 7570, 12015 to Western Europe
1700 in Russian on 6170, 9425 to Europe

1800 in English on 7570, 12015 to Western Europe
1800 in French on 7210, 11910 to Southern Africa
1800 in French on 9875, 11635 to Near & Middle East; North Africa
1800 in German on 6170, 9425 to Europe

1900 in English on 7210, 11910 to Southern Africa
1900 in English on 9875, 11635 to Near & Middle East; North Africa
1900 in German on 6170, 9425 to Europe
1900 in Spanish on 7570, 12015 to Western Europe

2000 in French on 7570, 12015 to Western Europe
2000 in Korean (KCBS) on 7210, 11910 to Southern Africa
2000 in Korean (KCBS) on 6170, 9425 to Europe
2000 in Korean (KCBS) on 9875, 11635 to Near & Middle East; North Africa

2100 in Chinese on 7235, 9445 to Northeast Asia
2100 in Chinese on 9875, 11635 to China
2100 in English on 7570, 12015 to Western Europe
2100 in Japanese on 621, 3250, 7580, 9650 to Japan

2200 in Chinese on 7235, 9445 to Northeast China
2200 in Chinese on 9875, 11635 to China
2200 in Japanese on 621, 3250, 7580, 9650 to Japan
2200 in Spanish on 7570, 12015 to Western Europe

2300 in Japanese on 621, 3250, 7580, 9650 to Japan
2300 in Korean (KCBS) on 7235, 9445 to Northeast China
2300 in Korean (KCBS) on 9875, 11635 to China
2300 in Korean (KCBS) on 7570, 12015 to Western Europe
Arabic
1500 on 9890, 11645 to Near & Middle East; North Africa
1700 on 9890, 11645 to Near & Middle East; North Africa

Chinese
0300 on 13650, 15105 to Southeast Asia
0500 on 7220, 9445, 9730 to Northeast China
0600 on 13650, 15105 to Southeast Asia
0800 on 7220, 9445 to Northeast China
1100 on 7220, 9445 to China
1300 on 6185, 9850 to Southeast Asia
2100 on 7235, 9445 to Northeast Asia
2100 on 9875, 11635 to China
2200 on 7235, 9445 to Northeast China
2200 in Chinese on 9875, 11635 to China

English
0400 on 7220, 9445, 9730 to Northeast Asia
0400 on 11735, 13760, 15180 to Central & South America
0500 on 13650, 15105 to Southeast Asia
0600 on 7220, 9445, 9730 to Northeast Asia
1000 on 6170, 9435 to Central & South America
1000 on 6185, 9850 to Southeast Asia
1300 9435, 11710 to North America
1300 on 7570, 12015 to Western Europe
1500 on 9435, 11710 to North America
1500 on 7570, 12015 to Western Europe
1600 on 9890, 11645 to Near & Middle East; North Africa
1800 on 7570, 12015 to Western Europe
1900 on 7210, 11910 to Southern Africa
1900 on 9875, 11635 to Near & Middle East; North Africa
2100 on 7570, 12015 to Western Europe

French
0400 on 13650, 15105 to Southeast Asia
0600 on 11735, 13760, 15180 to Central & South America
1100 on 6170, 9435 to Central & South America
1100 on 6185, 9850 to Southeast Asia
1400 on 9435, 11710 to North America
1400 on 7570, 12015 to Western Europe
1600 on 9435, 11710 to North America
1600 on 7570, 12015 to Western Europe
1800 on 7210, 11910 to Southern Africa
1800 on 9875, 11635 to Near & Middle East; North Africa
2000 on 7570, 12015 to Western Europe

German
1600 on 6170, 9425 to Western Europe
1800 on 6170, 9425 to Europe
1900 on 6170, 9425 to Europe

Japanese
0700 on 621, 3250, 7580, 9650 to Japan
0800 on 621, 3250, 7580, 9650 to Japan
0900 on 621, 3250, 7580, 9650 to Japan
1000 on 621, 3250, 6070, 7580, 9650 to Japan
1100 on 621, 3250, 6070, 7580, 9650 to Japan
1200 on 621, 3250, 6070, 7580, 9650 to Japan
2100 on 621, 3250, 7580, 9650 to Japan
2200 on 621, 3250, 7580, 9650 to Japan
2300 on 621, 3250, 7580, 9650 to Japan

Korean
0300 (PBS) on 7140, 9445 and 9730 to Northeast Asia
0700 (PBS) on 7220, 9445 to Northeast China
0900 (KCBS) on 7220, 9445 to Northeast China
0900 (PBS) on 9875, 11735 to Far East
0900 (PBS) on 13760, 15245 to Europe
1000 (PBS) on 7220, 9445 to Northeast Asia
1200 (KCBS) on 6185, 9850 to Southeast Asia
1200 (KCBS) on 6170, 9435 to Central & South America
1200 (PBS) on 7220, 9445 to Northeast Asia
1300 (PBS) on 6170, 9425 to Europe
1400 (KCBS) on 6185, 9850 to Southeast Asia
1700 (KCBS) on 9435, 11710 to North America
1700 (KCBS) on 7570, 12015 to Western Europe
2000 (KCBS) on 7210, 11910 to Southern Africa
2000 (KCBS) on 6170, 9425 to Europe
2000 (KCBS) on 9875, 11635 to Near & Middle East; North Africa
2300 (KCBS) on 7235, 9445 to Northeast China
2300 (KCBS) on 9875, 11635 to China
2300 (KCBS) on 7570, 12015 to Western Europe
*PBS relay broadcasts appear in the schedule, but are reportedly not on-air

Russian
0700 on 9875, 11735 to Far East
0700 on 13760, 15245 to Europe
0800 on 9875, 11735 to Far East
0800 on 13760, 15245 to Europe
1400 on 6170, 9425 to Europe
1500 on 6170, 9425 to Europe
1700 on 6170, 9425 to Europe

Spanish
0300 on 11735, 13760, 15180 to Central & South America
0500 on 11735, 13760, 15180 to Central & South America
1900 on 7570, 12015 to Western Europe
2200 on 7570, 12015 to Western Europe
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