Category Archives: General

Metro cruises on test run

The dreams of tens of thousands of traffic-weary commuters in Bangalore to travel by the metro rail came closer to reality on Monday when Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) conducted the longest yet technical test run of the train.

People looked up to see the train, with three coaches in tow, cruise on the new tracks between the Byappanahalli and C.M.H. Road stations, a distance of about 2 km, on Monday afternoon, marking a major milestone on the road to the metro in Bangalore.

Agni-II Prime missile launch fails

The maiden launch of the Agni-II Prime missile from the Wheeler Island, off the Orissa coast, on Friday failed.

Within moments of takeoff from a specially designed truck at 10.05 a.m., the missile plunged into the Bay of Bengal following a deviation in its trajectory. As the consoles in the Block House showed that the mission failed, gloom engulfed missile technologists of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

The two-stage, surface-to-surface missile has a range of about 2,500 km. The 17-tonne missile is 20 metres long, capable of carrying nuclear warheads of one tonne.

The DRDO originally planned to test-fire Agni-II Prime on Thursday. But rain off the State’s coast forced it to put off the launch.

V.K. Saraswat, Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister, told The Hindu: “During the liftoff, a control problem could have occurred.” He said the failure was nothing unusual. “We have to check many things. We have to check whether there was any component failure,” said Dr. Saraswat, who is also DRDO Director-General and missile technologist himself.

The DRDO had built Agni-II Prime, earlier called Agni-II+, to fill the gap in the range between Agni-II and Agni-III. While Agni-II has a range of more than 2,000 km, Agni-III can target places more than 3,000 km away. All the three were strategic missiles, capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

Agni-II Prime was an improved version of Agni-II, boasting several new technologies. While both stages of Agni-II were made of metal casing, the second stage of Agni-II Prime was made of fibre reinforced plastic (FRP), or composite casing. The FRP reduced the missile’s structural weight, enabling it to carry more propellants, and to have a better range than Agni-II’s.

Agni-II Prime also had a better stage separation system, efficient propulsion, high-energy propellants, more efficient batteries to provide better power supply and sophisticated retro rockets. It had a good configuration which meant the user (the Army) could move it around easily.

Meanwhile, the DRDO is preparing to launch an interceptor missile from the Wheeler Island between December 18 and 20. It will intercept in mid-flight another ballistic missile that takes off from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur, near Balasore, also off Orissa. The interception will take place at an altitude of 15 km, in what is called the endo-atmosphere.
The Hindu

Wikileaks: LeT plotted to assassinate Narendra Modi

Terrorist organisation Lashkar- e-Taiba was plotting to assassinate Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and discussions to carry out the attack took place between Pakistani handlers and Indian members in June last year, intelligence reports released by whistle blower website wikileaks have revealed.

Expressing concern over a WikiLeaks report that Lashkar-e-Toiba had planned to assassinate Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, BJP today accused the US of “inaction on the issue” and wanted to know how the government intends to handle it. “It is a matter of serious concern. He (Modi) is the target of both – those who call themselves secular in this country and also from Pakistan agencies,” BJP leader Balbir Punj told reporters outside Parliament.

According to Information coming out of a secret State Department cable dated June 19, 2009, Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba had planned to assassinate Modi. “The US should have convened it (information) to India. There was total inaction on the part of the US even after having the information,” he charged.

Seeking a response from the government over the issue Punj said, “Government has not taken any tangible steps even after this has come to light. We will like to know from the Prime Minister that how we intend to take up the issue with the USA.”

The sensational Wikileaks disclosure that the terrorist organisation, Lashkar-e-Toiba, had planned to assassinate Narendra Modi has not come as a surprise to the Gujarat police who have, however, further fortified the CM’s security.

“This is old news as the Gujarat police had received intelligence inputs warning of a possible terror attack on the chief minister,” said a senior police officer who does not want to be identified.

The police officer said the input was received around 1.5 years back after which the Gujarat police had further intensified security around the chief minister. “We have been receiving intelligence inputs that indicate that the LeT had planned an attack on the chief minister,” the officer said. “We have enhanced the security accordingly.”

However, the police are taking no chances this time either and have taken measures to further reinforce the chief minister’s security. “We are treating this as fresh information and have taken serious note of it. We will initiate further investigations.” said Gujarat DGP-in-charge Chitranjan Singh.

The police are trying to get more details about Hussain and Sameer, who are allegedly the local people the LeT is banking on for help in carrying out an attack on the chief minister.

The worry about a threat to Modi was revived when the website Wikileaks leaked US embassy cables, some of which revealed that the US government had received information about the LeT planning an attack on the chief minister

Sources: DNA NDTV

New Delhi denies visa to Musharraf

India has denied visa to the former Pakistan President, Pervez Musharraf. He wanted to attend a seminar here this weekend.

The decision was taken as the Home Ministry had serious reservations over allowing him to visit the Capital in view of his recent anti-India statements, sources in the Ministry said on Wednesday.

The government also did not want to be seen encouraging a gathering and activities here of those elements opposed to the present regime in Pakistan.

Somali Muslims face backlash after capture of a Muslim terrorist

The Salman Al-Farisi Islamic Center in Corvallis, Ore.

A Somali Muslim caught before blowing up explosives in Portland. Islamic center, where he worshipped, was set fire in backlash. Police don’t know who started the blaze or exactly why, but they believe the Islamic center in Corvallis was targeted because terror suspect Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, occasionally worshipped there.

Seattle’s Somali community is afraid of a backlash after the holiday bomb threat was uncovered in Portland.  Somalis fear people will retaliate against the Somali community, one of the fastest growing immigrant groups in Seattle.

Some Somali Muslims were harassed after 9/11 and in September of last year, when a Somali-American suicide bomber from Seattle was accused of killing 21 peacekeepers in Mogadishu, Somalia. Last month, a woman was arrested after allegedly attacking two Muslim women from Somalia at a Tukwila gas station. According to court documents, Jennifer Jennings called the women “terrorists” and “suicide bombers.” She has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Arslan Bukhari of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which works to improve relations between non-Muslim Americans and Muslims, also worries about the potential for more violence. “We don’t want a backlash by persons who are driven to believe that somehow the Somali-American community, or the Muslim-American community, had something to do with this,” Bukhari said.

Sources:               Seattlepi                              CBSnews

EU asks China and India to support Suu Kyi

The European Union Parliament has asked China , India and Russia to stop supporting the junta regime in Myanmar and exert pressure on the government to bring positive change in the country.

The parliament has adopted a resolution welcoming the recent release of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi but expressed concern about her safety, saying that her freshly regained freedom must be “unconditional” and “unrestricted”, EuAsiaNews reported.

The resolution called on the EU’s 27 member states to use economic and political influence to bring about freedom and democracy in Myanmar, but urged them to continue to provide funding for refugees on the Thailand-Myanmar border.

Commenting on the Nov 7 elections in Myanmar, the parliament said they were conducted “in a climate of fear, intimidation and resignation, with hundreds of thousands of Burmese (Myanmarese) citizens, monks and political prisoners being banned from voting”.

Suu Kyi, 65, was released Nov 13 on the completion of an 18-month house arrest, which was added to a previous term of six years.

Source: Economictimes