Sunday, August 18, 2013


Countdown for GSLV-D5 launch begins

The 29-hour countdown for the launch of GSLV-D5, powered by indigenous cryogenic upper stage and carrying communication satellite GSAT-14, from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh has begun at 11.50 AM on Sunday.

It will be launched at 4:50 PM on Monday.
Sindhurakshak tragedy: Navy divers open second access to submarine

Bodies of five naval personnel got recovered from INS Sindhurakshak while efforts are on to rescue possible survivors and the Navy said DNA test will be conducted to ascertain identity of the bodies.

Battling the odds, divers from the Navy continued their search for more bodies on board submarine INS Sindhurakshak without any success but managed to open a second access to the sunken vessel during an overnight "challenging but critical" operation.

The rescue team had extricated badly charred bodies of five of the 18 personnel trapped in the craft on Friday after gruelling efforts as naval authorities voiced worst fears that others on board might have been incinerated too.

"The divers have gained a second access to the submarine late last night when they successfully prised open the rear
escape hatch which was submerged below and jammed due to high
temperature," a release from the Navy said, terming the operation as "challenging but critical."

Also, opening of the jammed forward escape hatch is being attempted for an entry to the front portion of the submarine, it said.

Sources said the Navy divers are carrying out the task of searching within the submarine by "feeling each inch" due to zero visibility within flooded compartments to locate the missing bodies and mark a probable route to be used for further rescue operations.

The identification of the five bodies recovered so far is being given high priority and all means including DNA
profiling is being carried out, a Defence spokesman said.

Doctors at the state-run J J Hospital have completed post-mortem on the bodies recovered from the submarine.

"DNA samples and dental marks have been taken (to ascertain identity)," said an official, adding all these will
 be sent for forensic analysis.

Doctors have opined that prima facie the cause of death was burning and drowning. However, other details will be known only after receiving the forensic report, the sources said.


 Jaiswal admits files missing

Union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal has admitted that some files related to coal block allocation were not with the Coal Ministry.  

The CBI, on 31st July had said at least five crucial files related to allotment of coal blocks during 2006-09 have not been received by it, despite providing specific details.
A committee headed by an Additional Secretary of the ministry is inquiring into how the files have gone missing.
It will also coordinate with other government departments for tracing their copies of the missing files.
The opposition parties have meanwhile, expressed serious concern over the missing files while Congress said that missing files will not hamper the investigations.

  Hundreds missing in Philippine ferry disaster

Rescuers in helicopters and boats were on Saturday desperately searching for nearly 300 people missing after a ferry sank in the Philippines, with at least 24 already confirmed killed.

The Thomas Aquinas ferry was carrying 870 passengers and crew when it collided with a cargo ship yesterday night in calm waters near the port of Cebu, the Philippines' second biggest city, authorities said.
While 572 people had been rescued by today morning, 274 were still unaccounted for and 24 bodies had been retrieved,
Rear Admiral Luis Tuason, vice commandant of the Philippine coastguard said.
The accident occurred in the mouth of a narrow strait leading into the port between two and three kilometres (1.2-1.8 miles) from shore at 9.00pm (1300 GMT), authorities said.
One survivor, Maribel Manalo, 23, recounted to her brother the horror of suddenly being plunged into the cold water in darkness, and emerging from the chaos without her mother.
"She said there was a banging noise then the boat suddenly started sinking," the brother, Arvin Manalo said.
"They quickly strapped on life jackets and then jumped into the dark sea. She said they felt like they were pulled under.
"My sister said she pushed our mother up, but they got separated. My sister was rescued. My sister knows how to swim, but my mother does not."
He said their mother, 56, remained missing. Fifty-eight babies were among the passengers on board the ferry, according to the coastguard, and it was unclear how many of them survived.
Tuason told DZMM radio just after sunrise there were hopes that some of the missing had been picked up by fishermen who had joined in the rescue effort, or were still at sea.
"We are planning to deploy airforce choppers so there can be an aerial survey so we can find those still on the life rafts," he said.
But Tuason said he expected the death toll would climb substantially.
"Yes, that will still be a big number," he said.
Rachel Capuno, a security officer for the ferry's owners, told Cebu radio station DYSS that the vessel was sailing into port when it collided head-on with the cargo ship.
"The impact was very strong," she said, adding that the ferry sank within 30 minutes of the collision.
Cebu coastguard commander Weniel Azcuna told reporters the cargo ship, Sulpicio Express 7, had 36 crew members on board, but it did not sink.

Egypt considers disbanding Muslim Brotherhood

Egypt's prime minister has proposed disbanding the Muslim Brotherhood of ousted President Mohamed Mursi, the government said on Saturday, raising the stakes in a bloody struggle between the state and Islamists for control of the country.

Live television showed a gunman firing at soldiers and police from the minaret of a central Cairo mosque, with security forces shooting back at the building where Mursi followers had taken shelter.
The interior ministry said 173 people died in clashes across Egypt on Friday, bringing the death toll from three days of carnage to almost 800.
Among those killed was a son of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie, shot dead during a protest in Cairo's huge Ramses Square where about 95 people died in an afternoon of gunfire and mayhem on Friday.
Egyptian authorities said they had rounded up more than 1,000 Islamists and surrounded Ramses Square following Friday's "Day of Rage" called by the Brotherhood to denounce a lethal crackdown on its followers on Wednesday.
Witnesses said tear gas was fired into the mosque prayer room to try to flush everyone out and gunshots were heard.
Army foils infiltration bid along LoC in Kupwara

Army on Sunday foiled an infiltration bid by militants near the Line of Control in Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir but there was no report of any casualty.

"Alert troops noticed movement of heavily armed militants along the Line of Control in Keran sector of Kupwara at around 2.30 am. The militants were challenged, triggering off exchange of firing between the two sides," an army official said.
"We are not leaving anything to chance and combing operations are going on in the area. So far no recoveries have been made from the scene of the gun battle," he said.
The official said there were no casualties reported in the operation.

EU to review relationship with Egypt

The EU will review its relations with Egypt, according to a joint statement by President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso. The leaders of the 28-member bloc have called for an immediate halt to violence in Egypt, for the resumption of political dialogue and a return to democratic rule. “While all should exert maximum restraint, we underline the particular responsibility of the interim authorities and of the army in bringing clashes to a halt,” the statement reads.

US ‘ready for female president’ - Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama waded into the debate about the 2016 US election, saying that America was “ready” for a woman as president. “It’s just a question of who’s the best person out there,” the First Lady said in an interview to Parade magazine. “Children born in the last eight years will only know an African-American man being president of the United States. That changes the bar for all of our children, regardless of their race, their sexual orientation, their gender. It expands the scope of opportunity in their minds. And that’s where change happens.” Michelle Obama refused to speculate, however, on whether former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would run for the presidency in 2016.


Leader of powerful drug cartel arrested in Mexico

The leader of the cocaine-trafficking Gulf Cartel was arrested by Mexican security forces on Saturday, according to local media. Mario Ramirez Trevino, known as X-20 or “The Bald One,” was reportedly apprehended in Tamaulipas state by the military. Washington estimates that the Gulf Cartel controls most of the cocaine and marijuana trafficking to the United States. The US had offered a $5 million bounty for Ramirez. The previous head of the illegal organization, Jorge Costilla - otherwise known as "El Coss" - was arrested in September 2012.

​Weapons smuggled from Syria destabilize Iraq - PM Maliki

Weapons and militants are crossing the Syrian border into Iraq, adding to the overall instability in the country, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki said on Saturday. He added that weapons provided by foreign nations for Syrian rebels and other fighters are ending up in Iraq. "The weapons provided to those killers in Syria have been smuggled to Iraq and those wolves that came from different countries to Syria are now sneaking into Iraq," Maliki said

Israel strikes Syrian military position after shells hit Golan Heights

Israel has carried out a “pinpoint strike” on Syria after three shells hit Golan Heights on Saturday, a military spokesman said. Israeli military “forces carried out a pinpoint strike, targeting the source of the shooting. A hit was confirmed.” Army radio said the strikes destroyed a Syrian military position.

New information on Princess Diana death reviewed by UK police

British police on Saturday said they are examining newly received information relating to the deaths of Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed. According to Scotland Yard, the information’s “relevance and credibility” is currently being assessed by its specialist crime and operations unit. However, the police force stressed that it was not reopening the investigation into the deaths of Diana and Fayed, who were killed in a Paris car crash in 1997. In 2008, a British jury ruled that Diana, the Princess of Wales, and her companion, Fayed, were unlawfully killed due to “grossly negligent” speeding and drink-driving by their driver, as well as by the reckless pursuit of paparazzi which were chasing them.

Thousands in Turkey take to the streets to protest Egypt ‘massacre’

Thousands rallied across the streets of Turkey on Saturday denouncing the “massacre” of ousted Egyptian leader Mohamed Morsi’s loyalists. Some 4,000 protesters gathered at an Istanbul mosque chanting, “Down with [army chief Abdel Fattah] al-Sisi” and “Morsi in power!” according to an AFP photographer. Demonstrators asked the Muslim world to help the Egyptian people “who are being massacred.” In the central Turkish city of Konya, almost 10,000 turned up in solidarity with the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies, Dogan news agency reported.

CNN, NBC blocked from hosting Republican primary debate over Clinton programs

The Republican National Committee (RNC) has approved a resolution to block CNN and NBC from hosting the party’s presidential primary debates in response to plans by both networks to host programs about Hillary Clinton. The unanimous vote consolidated RNC Chairman Reince Priebus’s threat against both TV stations. “That’s a network that won’t be hosting a single Republican primary debate,” Priebus said about CNN, adding that the network has an “obvious bias.” Clinton is a possible 2016 Democratic presidential contender.

50 killed as flash floods and lightning devastate Yemen

Lightning and flash flooding have killed 50 people in Yemen since Friday, according to local officials. Flash floods have killed 41, including a wedding convoy of 27 who were washed away by a gushing torrent of water. Three women and four children were among those killed. The storms which triggered the flooding have been responsible for the deaths of a further nine people, who died after being struck by lightning. Many motorists in Udayn district, in the central-western province of Ibb, remain missing after their cars were carried away by floods

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