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INDIAN (E)

Chandrayaan-2 mission: Rover to spend 14 days on moon's surface, says Isro chief

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NEW DELHI: Gearing up for its most challenging space mission, Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) is leaving no stone unturned to make the Chandrayaan-2 (lunar-2) mission a success. Unlike the first lunar mission when a PSLV rocket carried the spacecraft to the moon’s orbit, this time heavy-payload lifter GSLV Mk II will launch the spacecraft weighing 3,290kg as the module will carry an orbiter, a rover and a lander to the moon.

Giving exclusive details about the mission, Isro chairman Dr K Sivan told TOI, “Chandraayan-2 is a challenging mission as for the first time we will carry an orbiter, a lander and a rover to the moon. The launch date schedule is sometime in April. Once the GSLV rocket carrying the spacecraft is launched from Sriharikota, the orbiter will reach the moon’s orbit in one to two months. (The moon’s orbit is 3,82,000km away from the earth’s surface).”

Dr Sivan said, “After reaching the moon’s orbit, the lander will get detached from the orbiter and do a soft-landing near the south pole of the moon. The 6-wheeled rover fixed within the lander will get detached and move on the lunar surface. The rover has been designed in such a way that it will have power to spend a lunar day or 14 Earth days on the moon’s surface and walk up to 150-200 km. It will do several experiments and on-site chemical analysis of the surface.”

graphic-ed

The Isro chairman said, “The rover will then send data and images of the lunar surface back to the Earth through the orbiter within 15 minutes.

After spending 14 earth days, the rover will go in a sleep mode. We are hoping the rover will again come alive whenever that part of the moon (where the rover will land) gets sunlight and recharges the rover’s solar cells. Besides the rover, the orbiter will also capture images of the moon while orbiting it.”

On testing of lunar components, Dr Sivan said, “All three components of the lunar module are almost ready. Currently, there integration is going on. Once the module is ready, it will have to go through rigorous tests.” On fixing launch date, he said, “The launch date will depend on various factors like the moon’s relative position with respect to the Earth.

Once the GSLV is launched, it will put the spacecraft in the 170 km x 20,000 km elliptical orbit. From the elliptical orbit, the craft will be manoeuvred towards the lunar orbit by firing thrusters. Therefore, we expect it to reach the lunar orbit in two months.”



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In Maharashtra, planes get too close for mid-air comfort

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The latest ‘airprox’ happened on January 28, 2018, in Nagpur airspace when IndiGo A-320 flying as 6E 334 (possibly Hyderabad to Raipur) and the Emirates Boeing 777 was on its way from Singapore to Dubai. The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) is probing this scare in the skies.

| TNN | Feb 5, 2018, 03:31 IST

Highlights

  • An aircraft of IndiGo and Emirates breached the minimum distance that has to be kept between airborne planes.
  • The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) is probing this scare in the skies.
  • The role of air traffic controller (ATC) handling these planes is also being probed.

Representative imageRepresentative image

NEW DELHI: An aircraft of IndiGo and Emirates breached the minimum distance that has to be kept between airborne planes, in yet another scare of this kind in the Indian skies.

The latest ‘airprox’ happened on January 28, 2018, in Nagpur airspace when IndiGo A-320 flying as 6E 334 (possibly Hyderabad to Raipur) and the Emirates Boeing 777 was on its way from Singapore to Dubai. The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) is probing this scare in the skies.

Modern aircraft have airborne collision avoidance systems (ACAS) equipment that issue two types of advisories to pilots: traffic advisories (TAs) and resolution advisories (RAs).

In the first step, a TA is issued to give an advance warning to crew of two planes that they are headed in the same direction. In the second stage, RA is issued which asks crew to take evasive action to avoid mid-air collisions. In this case, RA was issued.

A team of AAIB officials headed by its senior officer Jitender Loura is probing the matter. The role of air traffic controller (ATC) handling these planes is also being probed.

Emirates and Airports Authority of India, parent organisation for ATC, did not comment.

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    EC backs joint polls but says 5 changes in statute needed

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    NEW DELHI: Aligning national elections with state polls faces significant hurdles as the move — strongly backed by PM Narendra Modi — may need amendments to not less than five Articles of the Constitution, including those relating to duration and dissolution of the Lok Sabha and assemblies.

    While giving its views after getting advice on the matter from the Election Commission, an internal note of the Union law ministry has spoken about the constitutional challenges to paving the way for simultaneous polls — an issue raised by Modi as also the President.

    Though the EC has supported simultaneous polls, its riders are significant, even as the EC said terms of state legislatures could be extended, or curtailed, to coincide with LS polls. Article 83, dealing with duration of Houses of Parliament may need amendment.


    EC: Additional EVMs/VVPATs worth Rs 2,000 crore will be needed



    Other Articles that may need amendment include Article 85, regarding dissolution of the Lok Sabha by the President; and Article 172, relating to duration of state legislatures, Article 174 relating to dissolution of state assemblies; and Article 356, the law ministry report said.

    It also made a firm pitch for widespread consultations with political parties, noting, “Having regard to the federal structure of our system of governance, it is imperative that consensus of all state governments is obtained.”

    This is an important point of view that only serves to underline the need for a two-thirds majority in both Houses of Parliament for any sweeping changes in the electoral calendar. “Additional EVMs/VVPATs worth about Rs 2,000 crore will be required. Considering that the life of a machine is only 15 years, this will imply that the machine be used about three or four times in its lifespan, entailing a huge expenditure in its replacement after every 15 years,” the EC said.

    “The EC has examined the issue and supported the idea of simultaneous elections,” a source told TOI. The EC’s views were sought by the government in response to a private member’s bill in Rajya Sabha and it has set out possible amendments to the Constitution to ensure that Lok Sabha and state assemblies complete their full terms and are not brought down by political uncertainty.

    Giving its observations, the EC said, “In order to avoid premature dissolution, it may be provided that any ‘no-confidence motion’ moved against the government in office should also necessarily include a further ‘confidence motion’ in favour of a government to be headed by a named individual as the future PM and voting should take place for two motions together.”



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    Captain among 4 soldiers killed as Pakistan pounds J&K's Rajouri sector

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    SRINAGAR: An Army officer was among four soldiers killed in cross-border shelling by Pakistani troops in Rajouri district of Jammu region on Sunday evening. Two others were injured. Captain Kapil Kundu was the second Army officer to have died in Pakistani fire in the last 40 days.

    Pakistani forces also violated the ceasefire in the Sunderbani area, injuring a BSF assistant sub-inspector. Firing was on at both places when reports last came in.

    Earlier in the day, two teenagers and a jawan were injured in the Shahpur sector of Poonch district in shelling from across the border.

    Rajouri deputy commissioner Shahid Iqbal Choudary ordered closure of all 84 schools close to the border, from Sunderbani to Manjakote, for the next three days. Deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh said the administration had already evacuated people to safety. “There is heavy firing and shelling going on along the LoC in my Nowshera assembly constituency,” he said.

    Apart from Kundu, others who died were identified as riflemen Ram Avtar and Shubam Singh, and havaldar Roshan Lal. Another soldier, Niak Iqbal Ahmed, is being treated for his injuries in hospital.

    Official sources said the Pakistani army opened unprovoked fire on the Army’s 15 J&K Light Infantry posts in the Bhimber Gali sector on Sunday. “The Indian Army retaliated strongly and effectively, and heavy damage has been inflicted on Pakistani posts,” an Army spokesperson said, vowing “a befitting response”.


    Officer was 6 days short of 23rd b’day



    Captain Kapil Kundu, who was killed in Pakistani shelling along the LoC on Sunday, was six days short of his 23rd birthday, a senior Army official said. Captain Kundu was from Ransika village in Gurgaon district.

    J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti expressed anguish over the killings. “Pained to hear that three soldiers were killed & two injured along the Line of Control in Rajouri. My condolences to the deceased’s families,” she tweeted.



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    Six days short of turning 23, Army Capt killed in Pak firing

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    An Army Captain, who was among those killed in the heavy Pakistani shelling along the LoC in Poonch and Rajouri districts of Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday, was six days short of his 23rd birthday, a senior Army official said.

    | Feb 4, 2018, 23:30 IST

    JAMMU: An Army Captain, who was among those killed in the heavy Pakistani shelling along the LoC in Poonch and Rajouri districts of Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday, was six days short of his 23rd birthday, a senior Army official said.

    Captain Kapil Kundu from Ransika village of Gurgaon district was killed when the Pakistani forces opened unprovoked firing and shelling along the LoC in the Bhimbher Gali sector of Rajouri district this evening.

    He would have turned 23 on February 10, the official said.

    In the shelling, three jawans were also killed, senior Army officials said.

    Earlier in the day, two teenagers and a jawan were injured in the Shahpur sector of Poonch district in the shelling from across the border, a police official said.

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    BJP govt doing divisive politics to distract people: Akhilesh Yadav

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    MUMBAI: Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday lashed out at the BJP and RSS for “divisive politics”, and said if the current government is not ousted, it would be harmful for the country.

    Yadav addressed a rally organised by his party here.

    “First, this government came to power by fooling the masses with a false promise of depositing Rs 15 lakh in everyone’s account. And after taking over the reins, it has indulged in divisive politics and is raking up communal issues so that people forget the issues of unemployment, starvation, farmer suicides,” he said.

    The government, guided by the RSS, is trying to distort the tenets of Constitution, he said.

    “It is trying to create a divide between Hindus and Muslims, between castes. This is harmful, and we know how to deal with it. We will dethrone these people in 2019 and 2022,” Yadav said, referring to the next Lok Sabha and Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls, respectively.

    During his 5-year term as chief minister, he got built roads where even an Air Force plane can land, and no other state including Maharashtra could do this despite having better financial resources, Yadav said.

    Referring to the BJP-led Maharashtra government’s decision to build a grand memorial of warrior king Shivaji in the Arabian Sea, Yadav said when his party comes back to power in UP, it will create a grand park in Shivaji’s name, spread over thousands of acres.

    The BJP-led governments in both Maharashtra and UP have miserably failed in tackling farmers’ issues, and loan waivers are empty assurances, the SP leader said.

    “I fail to understand why farmers in a financially sound state like Maharashtra are continuing to commit suicide The same trend is now seen in Uttar Pradesh too,” Yadav said.

    Narendra Modi government’s demonetisation was a “complete failure”, the former UP chief minister said.

    “GST and demonetisation have been duds. Corruption and black money still prevail. If you (the government) think that it (demonetisation) worked, then I suggest you repeat it once again. Perhaps it will work better this time,” he quipped.

    Yadav also said he still have doubts about the electronic voting machines (EVMs), and will continue to back the paper ballot system.

    “When an out-of-order EVM can be repaired, then can it it not be tampered with?” he asked.



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    Sushma Swaraj to visit Saudi Arabia from tomorrow

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    NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will visit Saudi Arabia from February 6-8 during which she will inaugurate a prestigious festival of the Gulf nation, the external affairs ministry said on Sunday.

    Swaraj will inaugurate the Janadriyah festival on February 7, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

    Addressing a joint press conference with Saudi Minister of National Guard Prince Khalid bin Abdulaziz bin Muhammad bin Eyaf al-Muqrin Al-Saud, Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh said India’s participation in the festival will be multi-faceted.

    “We will have an Indian pavilion where we will project a number of Indian themes and projects. The pavilion will comprise glimpses of traditional and modern India,” he said.

    India has been invited to the festival as a guest country.

    “We greatly value our close and deep rooted civilizational and strategic relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia…I have no doubt that India’s participation in this festival will take our relationship to new heights,” Singh said.

    Saudi Arabia is home to more than 3 million Indian people and ties between the two countries are on an upswing in the last few years.

    Saudi Arabia is India’s fourth largest trade partner after China, the US and the UAE.

    The country is a major source of India’s energy requirement as it accounts for almost one-fifth of India’s crude oil requirement.

    The volume of bilateral trade during 2016-17 was recorded at USD 25.079 billion, a slight decrease from the USD 26.71 billion in 2015-16.

    While Swaraj will head to Saudi Arabia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be on a state visit to Palestine, the UAE and Oman from February 9-12.



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    Three jawans killed in Pakistani shelling along LoC in J&K's Rajouri

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    NEW DELHI: Three Army personnel were martyred and two others were injured in Pakistani shelling along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district on Sunday.

    Pakistani troops violated ceasefire and resorted to heavy firing and
    shelling
    in Rajouri district’s Bhimber Gali sector this evening and the Indian casualties occurred in the ensuing exchange of fire. The Army was giving a befitting reply as heavy exchanges were on, reported PTI quoting a senior army official.

    Earlier, a jawan and two civilians were injured as Pakistani army targeted forward posts and villages in Poonch and Rajouri districts.

    The injured civilians were identified as Shahnaz Bano (15) and Yasin Arif (14), residents of Islamabad village, a police official told PTI. Both of them were hospitalised.

    A Defence spokesman said Pakistan Army initiated unprovoked and indiscriminate firing from small arms, automatics, and mortars around 1110 hours. The Indian Army retaliated strongly and effectively, he said.

    With these casualties, 17 people, including nine security personnel, were killed and over 70 injured in intense shelling and firing by Pakistan along the LoC and International Border in the Jammu region this year.

    While there were no ceasefire violations by Pakistan reported along the IB since January 22, intermittent shelling has taken place along the LoC.

    (With PTI inputs)



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    CBI decision to move court on Bofors act of malice: Congress leader

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    NEW DELHI: Congress leader and former law minister Ashwani Kumar has alleged that the CBI’s decision to move the Supreme Court in the Bofors case was “politically motivated” and a “gross act of malice”, and held that the matter will be decided in the “peoples’ court”.

    With the government deciding to go ahead with an appeal in the case against the legal opinion of the Attorney General, yet another constitutional institution had been weakened, he alleged.

    “The politically-motivated decision of the government is a gross act of malice. The question that begs itself is whether this is a case of lawful prosecution or political persecution. The matter will finally be decided in the peoples’ court,” he said in a statement.

    The former law minister said the decision of the CBI to move court in the Bofors case was an “unprecedented negation” of the “sanctity of the considered legal opinion” of the Attorney General.

    “Yet another constitutional institution stands weakened,” he said.

    The move, he said, was a “brazen infraction of judicial norms” and the settled principle of jurisprudence that criminal prosecution must not be allowed to go on endlessly and that there should be a finality to litigation.

    The law of limitation cited by the Attorney General in support of his opinion was based on this principle, he noted.

    “The reason given for reopening a case 12 years after the high court decision is utterly untenable,” Kumar said, adding that the “ex-facie self serving statement” by a foreign private detective to a TV channel could not displace the voluminous record of investigation and the well considered judicial verdict in the matter.

    Michael Hershmam, president of the US-based private detective firm Fairfax, had alleged in a television interview last year that the Rajiv Gandhi-led Congress government had sabotaged his investigation into the case.

    The CBI had on Friday filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the 2005 order of the Delhi high court quashing all charges against those accused in the Bofors pay- off case.

    Sources had said the CBI in its appeal stated that a further investigation was necessary in view of reports relating to Hershman’s interview.



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    NIA arrests Bihar man in probe related to LeT operative Sheikh Abdul Naeem

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    NEW DELHI: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested Mahfooz Alam, a resident of Gopalganj, Bihar, in its probe related Lashkar-e-Taiba operative Sheikh Abdul Naeem, who was recently arrested three years after he escaped from the custody.

    Naeem, a close aide of 26/11 Mumbai attacks accused Syed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, was preparing to revive Lashkar’s activities in India the directions of his Pakistan based handler and LeT Commander Abdul Rehan. Naeem was also accused in 2006 Aurangabad arms haul case.

    NIA says that 22-year-old Mahfooz Alam was assisting Naeem by facilitating and providing logistics, financial support and shelter. Mahfooz Alam also facilitated raising, receiving and collecting funds through international money transfer services such as Western Union by providing his identity documents. These funds were to be used later for carrying out terrorist activities by Naeem.

    Earlier, apart from Naeem and Alam, NIA had arrested two more persons – Dhannu Raja from Gopalganj and one Touseef Ahmed Malik of Pulwama, Kashmir.

    In last three years, NIA says, Naeem had visited and established bases in Bihar, Odisha, UP and Jammu and Kashmir on the advice of his handler Abdul Rehan.

    “In the same case, searches have been conducted at four locations in Muzaffarnagar, UP including residences and shops of two suspected Hawala operators. During the search of the shop and residence of one Dinesh Garg, we seized cash around Rs 15 Lakh, two currency note counting machines, one Indian made a pistol with ammunition, a laptop, four mobile phones and incriminating documents. From another hawala dealer Adesh Kumar, we recovered Rs 32.84 Lakh cash, a Chinese pistol, some documents containing mobile numbers of associates, currency notes of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, USA, Japan, Thailand, Oman, and electronic devices,” said Alok Mittal, Inspector General of Police, NIA.

    Being labelled as a ‘dangerous’ man, Naeem was arrested in 2007 but escaped police custody in 2014 while being taken to court and reportedly sneaked into Bangladesh. He was caught on November 28 last year again.

    He did reconnaissance of several tourist destinations in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh for the purpose of carrying out terror attacks, NIA says.



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