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A drone strike is reported to have killed five people in Yemen, including al-Qaeda leader Qaeed al-Dhahab, commander of the Radaa district. (Al-Jazeera)
Four militants were said to be killed in the first drone strike in Pakistan in over a month. The Long War Journal reports that the militants were members of the Turkistan Islamic Party, an al-Qaeda affiliate. (New York Times)
Meanwhile, the government of Pakistan announced that it had tallied 339 U.S. drone strikes in the country in the past 11 years. (Dawn)
The U.S. has reportedly offered to sell the German armed forces four unarmed military drones. (DW)
A Predator drone flown by the 163rd Wing of the California National Guard helped monitor the spread of the massive Rim Fire in Yosemite National Park. Captain Will Martin told Mercury News that the drone provides information about where the fire was most intense, offering “an advantage we don’t have as far as being able to fly (human-operated aircraft) into the more dangerous areas of the fire.”
George Cardenas, an alderman in Chicago, tweeted this week that drones could help protect schoolchildren in the city against gang-related gun violence. (Front Page Magazine)
Commentary, Analysis and Art
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism claims to have found evidence that last year the U.S. briefly revived “double-tap” drone strikes. The strikes target rescuers who come to the scene of an earlier missile strike.
Kokab Farshori considers whether the recent drop in U.S. drone strikes signifies a broader move away from drone operations and explores the possible reasons for the reduction, including pressure from U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. (Voice of America)
The French band Phoenix, who are from the town of Versailles, used a drone to shoot their latest music video at the local palace. (Youtube)
Human rights advocate Naureen Shah speaks for Drone U about the current and future legal implications of drone warfare. (Slate.com)
Know Your Drone
A German nonprofit has proposed plans to deploy quadcopter drones equipped with defibrillators to attend to heart attack victims. The Defikopter, as the drone is called, can be summoned by by emergency responders using a GPS smartphone app. (The Verge)
The world’s smallest autopilot for unmanned vehicles has been made available to the public as open-source technology. The Lisa/S chip, which is about the size of a large coin, contains everything from a gyroscope to a GPS. Bart Remes, the leader of the project at Delft University in the Netherlands, told Wired Magazine, “before, only the military had access to this type of technology. My vision is that within a few years, every fireman [will have] a drone in his pocket.”
NBC News reports on the efforts made by the University of Alaska in Fairbanks to improve drones for use in the Arctic. Ro Bailey, the deputy director of the Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration at the University of Alaska Fairbanks told NBC News, “We’ve done work for oil companies, but it’s also research because they and we are trying to figure out if unmanned aircraft are effective and good for the job.”
Researchers are using drones to monitor melting ice in the polar regions in Norway, Greenland and Antarctica. Chris Zappa of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory told The Guardian, “We are at that stage with unmanned aerial vehicles where we are just figuring out how to put things on them, and use them, and it is just going to burgeon into a capability to look at the world in a new way.”
Archaeologists in Peru are deploying drones to map archaeological sites. (Reuters)
At The Center for the Study of the Drone
Dan Gettinger interviews peace activist and Code Pink founder Medea Benjamin. “We don’t really know,” Benjamin explained, “what the commercial uses of drones might be but I think it’s so important also to recognize that, when we talk about commercial uses of drones, who’s going to have the biggest baddest drones? It’s going to be the biggest baddest corporations.”
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Image: Firefighter rests at the Yosemite Rim Fire. Justin Sullivan/ GETTY