Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched a record 20 satellites in a single mission from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota this morning. Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C-34, carrying India’s latest earth observation satellite Cartosat-2 along with 19 co-passengers, lifted off at 9:26 AM. These satellites include those from US, Germany, Canada and Indonesia. With 20 satellites, the ISRO has beaten its previous record of placing 10 satellites into orbit in a single mission in 2008.
The primary satellite in this mission is Cartosat-2. The images sent by satellite will be used for drawing maps, urban and rural applications, coastal land use and regulation, road network monitoring and water distribution. ISRO Chairman AS Kiran Kumar said, the mission has been a resounding success. Addressing news persons in Sriharikota, Mr Kumar said the earlier-planned SAARC Satellite would be developed as the South East Asian Satellite as Pakistan has opted out of the SAARC project. The South East Asian Satellite will be launched in the window period between December to March. He also said, the ISRO is willing to help institutions in developing their own small satellites based on a selection process and a new scheme will be announced to that effect very soon. Director, Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Kunhikrishnan said, PSLV is proving its ultimate reliability with the success of its 36th flight today which is 35th continuously successful one. It is a historic double record for the ISRO’s proven workhorse PSLV C34 today. It has inserted a record number of 20 satellites into space and also proved to be reliable for double ignition while in space to take multiple satellites into different orbital heights in a single mission. Earlier, ISRO used to have an exclusive launch mission for putting satellites in the same orbital height.
For varying orbital heights, different launch missions were needed. But today’s success with the re-ignition experiment has given confidence to launch payloads into different heights in a single launch. The PSLV in its category thus proves to be one of the most sophisticated and highly versatile launch vehicles in the world in its class and set to garner a large pie of the global launch market, apart from boosting the image of the nation.
President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have congratulated ISRO on the launch. In his message, Mr Mukherjee said, the nation is proud of the achievement which has demonstrated, yet again, India’s increasing space capabilities. He said, images received from the Cartosat-2 satellite will be useful in providing scene-specific spot imagery that can be used for detailed mapping and other cartographic applications as well as applications in Land Information System and Geographical Information System.
In a series of tweets, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, the country’s space programme has time and again shown the transformative potential of science and technology in people’s lives.
Terming the launch as a monumental accomplishment, Mr Modi said, over the years, India has developed expertise and capability to help other nations in their space initiatives and this is the skill of the Indian scientists.
Mr Modi expressed happiness to see the youngsters excelling and taking so much interest in science. The Prime Minister said, he is touched that students from institutions in Pune and Chennai played a role in the making of satellites.
Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore has also congratulated ISRO for the achievement. In a tweet, Mr Rathore praised the ISRO team for devising novel engineering technology to make this possible.
Large scale NATO exercises Gelezinis Vilkas 2016 (Iron Wolf 2016), involving forces from seven NATO member-states, accounting for 5000 personnel, have ended in Lithuania, TASS reports citing the Lithuanian Defense Ministry. The exercises were a part of the NATO Saber Strike 2016 drills led by the US European Command that have been taking place in the Baltic countries annually since 2011. This year, 10,000 military personnel took part in the drills.
Lightening has claimed 100 lives in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand. In Bihar, the death toll in various parts of the state has risen to 56 while in Uttar Pradesh it has reached 40. Four deaths have also been reported from Jharkhand.
Lightening had struck several places including Patna, Rohtash, Kaimur, Aurangabad and Buxar districts. The State Disaster Management Department has instructed District Magistrates of the affected areas to assess the extent of damage.
Principal Secretary of the Department told AIR that they have been told to send detailed report about natural calamity. He said, ex-gratia of four lakh rupees will be paid to the next of the kin of deceased who killed in the lightning. Injured have been admitted in local hospital where free treatment is being given.
The MeT department has predicted, there will be lightning in next 48 hours in several parts of the state. It said, there will be heavy rain in northern parts of Bihar as monsoon is active. There will be rain in Southern parts of the state after 24 hours.
In Uttar Pradesh, the number of people killed in lightning and rain related incidents across the state has reached 40. 24 people were reportedly killed in Varanasi and Azamgarh divisions while 11 died in Basti and Gorakhpur divisions which also included several children in rain related incidents.
Reports of deaths have also received from various other districts. Relief operations being undertaken in affected areas. Compensation, as per laid down norms and rules in cases of death due to natural calamities, will be paid to the families of those killed. Azamgarh, Gonda, Amethi, Sitapur and Chitrakoot districts are among those areas experiencing moderate to heavy rain intermittently since yesterday.
In Jharkhand, 4 tribals were killed in lightning at Haldia tand in Chatra district. All of them were of one family. Four others were injured in the incident who were admitted to Chatra Sadar hospital.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed deep anguish over the loss of lives due to lightning in parts of UP, Bihar and other parts. In a tweet, Mr Modi said, his thoughts and prayers are with those who lost their near and dear ones due to the lightning. Mr Modi also wished for the speedy recovery of the injured.
Lightning has killed 56 people, mostly farm laborers working in fields, across the state of Bihar over the past 24 hours, a state official said Wednesday. At least 24 others were injured when thunderstorms and monsoon rains lashed 14 districts of the state. Disaster management official Vyasji said scores of cattle also perished after being struck by lightning. The dead included at least eight shepherds watching their sheep.
A former Spanish judge who is defending WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Tuesday urged Sweden to recognize a UN working group opinion that his confinement amounts to arbitrary detention. “We are trying to ensure that the Swedish justice system recognizes the resolution and its binding nature,” Baltasar Garzon, who leads Assange’s legal team, told reporters in Quito. Assange, 44, recently marked the start of his fifth year inside Ecuador’s UK mission in a bid to avoid extradition. The anti-secrecy campaigner is wanted for questioning over a 2010 rape allegation in Sweden. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued a legal opinion in February saying Assange’s confinement in the Ecuadoran embassy amounted to arbitrary detention by Sweden and Britain. (AFP)
Russia will take adequate measures to counter NATO’s increasingly “aggressive rhetoric,” President Vladimir Putin told MPs at the closing session of the State Duma. He called to create an international security system open to all countries.
It’s necessary to create a collective security system void of “bloc-like thinking” and open to all countries, Putin said on Wednesday in Russia’s parliament.
“Russia is ready to discuss this extremely important issue,” he said, adding that such proposals have been so far left unanswered by Western countries.
“But again, as it was at the beginning of WWII, we don’t see any positive response,” he continued. “On the contrary, NATO ups its aggressive rhetoric and aggressive actions near our borders.”
“In this environment, we must pay special attention to strengthening our country’s defense capabilities,” he concluded.
Terrorism has become the major threat to international security, Putin said, comparing it to the rise of Nazism before WWII. Facing this challenge, the international community should work together rather than remain separated and divided, he said.
“What kind of lessons are needed to get rid of old-fashioned ideological discord and geopolitical games and unite in the fight against international terrorism? This common threat is rising right in front of us,” Putin said.
NATO’s former deputy military chief in Europe says his book, a fictional story which describes a nuclear war with Russia over the Baltic nations taking place in 2017, is based on an “entirely plausible” scenario.
General Sir Richard Shirreff, from Britain, served at the second-highest NATO military office in Europe between 2011 and 2014. He says his experience acquired in the alliance of war-gaming future conflicts helped him model the narrative for the book.
According to his scenario, starting next year Russia would first occupy Ukraine to secure a land route to Crimea and then invade the three Baltic nations, all of which are members of NATO. The move, Shirreff argued, would be driven by the perception of NATO’s weakness and Russia’s opposition to what it sees as the alliance’s attempts to encircle it.
The supposed invasion of Ukraine in 2014 was Russia’s use of its troops, which were legally deployed in Crimea under a treaty with Ukraine, to prevent hostilities after an armed coup in Kiev. The Crimean people, who overwhelmingly opposed the new Ukrainian government and its nationalistic leanings, voted in a referendum to part ways with Ukraine and rejoin Russia.
If Russia used military force against any NATO members, the entire alliance would be obliged to declare war on Russia. The US is the most powerful member of NATO and has the world’s biggest military force. According to Shirreff, Russia would use its nuclear arsenal to counter NATO’s response.
Sweden has not been at war since 1814, when it crushed Norway and forced it to enter a union together. It maintained neutrality during the two world wars of the 20th century and remained unaligned during the Cold War, relying on a system of so-called “total defense” to discourage a possible Soviet invasion.
Since the 1990s the Nordic country has been downsizing its military and in 2010 it abolished peacetime conscription in favor of a volunteer-only force.
In 2014, the trend was reversed as Russia’s stand-off with the US over the Ukrainian crisis sparked concerns about security in Europe. In 2014 Swedish Navy conducted a costly search for an alleged Russian submarine amid a media hysterics, which ended with no such boats found. The military eventually acknowledged that the photo of the ‘Russian sub’ that triggered the hunt was actually of a workboat.
The failure didn’t stop the Swedish military from requesting a US$696 million boost to its budget between 2016 and 2020 to counter the perceived threat of spying Russian submarines.
In a few years Sweden may be engaged in a war with a “qualified opponent” after two centuries of peace, a senior Swedish commander has told soldiers in an internal brochure.
The alarming message was reportedly sent by Major General Anders Brännström, the Army chief, in a brochure distributed among the participants of a major annual event that is to open in Boden next week. At the gathering senior military and government officials, scholars and other major players are to discuss the future development of the Swedish military.
“The global situation we are experiencing and which is also made clear by the strategic decision leads to the conclusion that we could be at war within a few years. For us in the army we have to, with all force we can muster, implement the political decisions,” Brännström wrote in the brochure, which was leaked by the Expressen tabloid Wednesday.
Sweden also indicated that it wants to develop closer ties with NATO or even become a member of the alliance, which Moscow sees a threat to its national security.
The possibility of a Russian invasion touted by Brännström remains disputed in the Swedish military. His boss, Supreme Commander Micael Bydén, stated that there was no military threat to Sweden.
“We should be aware that we are continuously being exposed to intelligence gathering and campaigns. We also know that areas in our region, the Baltic and increasingly the Arctic, constitute areas of friction between Russia and the West,” he told a military conference in Sälen earlier this month.
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