Four naxals were killed in the Dantewada District of Chattisgarh state, early in the morning on Wednesday, when an encounter took place between security personnel and the naxals. The incident left a jawan injured and four naxals dead, including a woman cadre of ‘commandant’ ranking.
According to Dantewada Superintendent of Police, Kamlochan Kashyap, The encounter happened when the joint team of CRPF, District Reserve Group and STF was out on an Anti-Maoist operation in the hilly village area of Dabba-Kunna. The operation was launched by security forces, based on specific inputs, with the motive of flushing out the ultras hiding in the dense forests around Dabba and Kunna villages in Dantewada district.
The two villages lie on top of a hill at the border of Dantewada and Sukma Districts and is surrounded by dense forests. The security personnel were yet to begin their search for the naxals, when a group of armed naxals opened fire at them after which, the gunfight started which killed the Maoists. A District Reserve Group Jawan was injured in the incident.
A search of the area after the encounter helped security forces retrieve seven firearms and a Huge cache of Naxal-related items.
The Indian Army and Air Force has been asked to deploy more Fighter Jets and Tanks along the Indo-Chinese border as part of the measures taken by India to crank up its military deterrence against China along its land border as well the strategic defence command located at the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Indian Army will be deploying more Tank troops near the Ladakh region.
India has resorted to this move in order to address the wide gap between the military strengths of both the nations, as Chinese defence equipment outnumbers that of India, nearly 3-to-1. The difference is huge.
The Indian Air Force will deploy additional Sukhoi-30MKI fighters, spy drones and missiles in the North-Eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh after the ALG(Advanced Landing Ground) at Pasighat, in West Siang region is activated on Friday. An ALG is a strategic asset – an air strip built with temporary buildings around it, capable of operating helicopters and aircraft. An officer was quoted as saying, “The ALG will not only improve our response time to different operational contingencies, but also the efficacy of the overall air operations on the eastern front”
The ALG in Pasighat is the fifth such facility, after the ones at Ziro, Along, Mechuka and Walong, in the North Eastern region. There are two more such ALGs at Daulat Beg Oldi and Nyoma, in the Ladakh region. The facility will be inaugurated by Junior Home Minister, Kiran Rijiju and Eastern Air Command Chief Air Marshal, C Hari Kumar. Two more ALGs which are currently being set up at Tuting and Tawang will be operational by December 31st, 2016 and April 30th, 2017 respectively.
The government has also approved defence infrastructure development projects in the Andaman and Nicobar islands, a territory which can prove to be a strategic position if there are chances of a war happening. India has been regularly deploying its Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jets, Poseidon-8I long range patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft and C-130J Super Hercules multirole transport aircraft to the Andaman and Nicobar Command, in order to counter China’s strategic moves in the Indian Ocean.
Images Source – Google Images
‘Freedom’. the word which is defined as, ‘the state of being free rather than in confinement or under physical restraint’, the word that was most celebrated on this day all across India 69 years ago and still continues to be celebrated by millions in this sub-continent. If there is something that has changed drastically in these 69 years, it is the way freedom is celebrated, and ‘The Freedom Ride 2016’ is probably the biggest example of the same.
Back in 1947, freedom was celebrated in a stately manner with happiness all across the country mostly being celebrated at home or in the neighbourhood, but over the years, people have found many ways to celebrate their freedom, and the motorcycle enthusiasts in Bangalore have found their own way of doing so. For a biker, the word freedom just means one thing – ‘Hitting the open road’ which is exactly what they have been doing for a few years now, including this year. More than 2500 people came together at dawn on August 15 2016, riding their motorcycles as a way of expressing their freedom.
Bangalore has the highest number of two wheelers for any city in the world, and the ever growing number of motorcycle clubs and groups in the city is a testament to that. Some of these biker groups such as, Riders of Bangalore, Bikers of India, BEST etc. are open to riders of a variety of motorcycles while a majority of the groups are for the riders of a particular brand or model, like United KTM, Jawa Namma Jeeva, Bangalore RD 350 Club, RX owners club, Club of Pulsarians etc. There are more than 50 biker groups in Namma Bengaluru and the trend is only increasing by the day.
The one factor commonly shared among all the groups is the love and passion for the motorcycles they ride and also for the open road, away from the hustle and bustle of the traffic in the city, which is why they often head out of Bangalore in order to find some breathing space. Bikers in Bangalore are blessed with many options for a quick getaway. Wildlife reserves, hillstations, beaches, riverside resorts, open highways etc. are all frequented by the bikers, but the most popular destination by far is, Nandi Hills.
Nandi Hills is an ancient hill fortress on the outskirts of Bangalore with great historical significance to its credit, but it is not the ‘British vs Tipu Sultan’ attack that brings the bikers here. Nandi hills, with a distance of 61 kilometers from the city centre, is the closest hillstation for Bangaloreans, and the good tarmac coupled with the steep winding curves is an absolute pleasure to ride on, making bikers love it and hence has been the obvious choice for the organisers of ‘The Freedom Ride’.
The freedom ride started off as a few biker friends inviting a few more friends to celebrate Independence Day like bikers, by casually riding to Nandi hills, but over the last few years, the number of motorcycles taking part in the freedom ride has been multiplying, with last year’s gathering of more than 2000 bikers entering the Limca Book of World Records for the highest number of motorcyclists gathered for a common social celebration. The entry into the book of records was the upside, but the downside to it was that the place was becoming too crowded, hence the destination of this year’s ride was the ‘Tribal Café’, a popular café at the foothills of Nandi Hills with ample parking space and open area for everyone to socialise.
There were three meet-up points for this year’s ride. At around 5.30am, a few bikers started gathering at the Town Hall, and at 6am, a larger group of bikers had gathered in front of the Shell Petrol station located near Isckon temple and the third meet-up point was in front of Palace Grounds’ Gate 7 where bikers had started gathering from 6am onwards though the time announced was only 7am. The happiness was clearly visible on the faces of all the people who had gathered, with the wide variety of motorcycles generating excitement. The Group which had gathered near Isckon temple would ride towards DD hills and the other two groups would ride towards The Tribal cafe.
Some of the Motorcycle Clubs present at the event were, Bangalore Exotic Superbike Team(BEST), Riders of Bangalore, RX Owners Club, Club of Pulsarians, Mojo Tribe(Bangalore), Bajaj Avenger Club – Bengaluru, Bangalore Thunderbird Club, Pulsar 220 Club, Brotherhood of Bikers etc. the bikers from all these clubs attending the ride, resulted in what was probably the best display so far, of the diversity of the motorcycling fraternity in Bangalore.
The BEST group brought in more than 33 exotic superbikes, which set hearts thumping and adrenaline levels soaring as they revved their motorcycles while leaving the destination at the end of the ride. The Mojo Tribe(Bangalore) has to be credited with the most disciplined group award as they were the only group which entered the starting point, left the starting point, rode to the destination and even left the destination while in Formation. These are all a testament to the unity of the biking community in Bangalore and in India.
IT professionals, corporate employees, doctors, engineers, lawyers, students, mechanics, Professional riders and Amateurs, young and old, male riders and female riders, crossing all boundaries of race, caste, religion etc. riding, Activas and Vespas, Pulsars and Apaches, KTM Dukes and RCs, Royal Enfields and Avengers, the legendary RD350s and the modified RX100/135s, Superbikes from Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Benelli, Triumph and even Aprilia and Ducati, from the most common Harley Davidsons to the rarest Indian Chief Vintage.
This ride had them all – A display of the diversity that is unique to the Indian subcontinent, and proof that we can have unity in diversity. That was The Freedom Ride, 2016.
All Images were captured by the Author, except those where attribution is given.
Author – Stephen Neil Gershom
National School of Journalism
Forest Fires have been burning down parts of Portugal since last Saturday when strong winds and high temperatures swept across the country. So far, 13 Major Wildfires have been reported and Firefighters have been trying to fight against it.
Woodland in the country’s northern parts were left dry after months of drought, which was one of the worst droughts faced by the country in recent times, has caused the fires to spread rapidly, and the dry land combined with the hot weather is making it difficult for firefighters to fight the fire. Adding to the firefighters’ misery is the wind and the difficult terrain, as they have together produced a “perfect fire”
Around 3900 firefighters, supported by 32 Water Dumping airplanes and helicopters and around 1150 vehicles have been struggling to fight the wildfire and yet have found no success, making the Portugese government call for help from other European Union countries even as a fire swept into Funchal, the capital of Portugal’s Madeira islands.
The wildfires have so far claimed 4 lives – 3 elderly people in Funchal and 1 Forest watchman who was sleeping in his caravan around 95 miles north of Lisbon. More than 300 people were treated for minor burns and smoke inhalation. The fires continue to spread, while France and Spain have sent their aircraft to help douse the fire in Portugal.
A wildfire also broke out in the southern part of France burning 20-25 homes and more than 6,000 acres of land on the outskirts of Marseille. 4 Firefighters battling the flames were seriously injured.
The Russian Secret Service has gone on to claim that Al-Qaeda is behind the forest fires all across Europe. The Telegraph reported that the warning was at a meeting of heads of security agencies, by Director of the Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov.
He stated: ‘One should note that setting fires to forests in the countries of the European Union is a new tendency in al-Qaeda’s strategy of a ‘thousand cuts.’ He explained that igniting fires allowed the terror group to inflict ‘significant economic and moral damage without serious preliminary preparations, technical equipment or significant expenses.’
Images Source – Google Images, The Dailymail
The South China Sea dispute was taken to a whole new level on Tuesday, 9th August, when a state-run Chinese news daily wrote in an article, asking India not to interfere in the South China Sea dispute.
“India may want to avoid unnecessary entanglement with China over the South China Sea debate during Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s New Delhi visit, if the country wishes to create a good atmosphere for economic cooperation, which would include reducing tariffs on made in India products being exported to china, amid the ongoing free trade talk” said an article in the state-run Global Times.
Tensions have been running high in the waters just south of China, with military presence of multiple countries increasing rapidly in the area. The entire South China Sea dispute arose due to multiple countries claiming authority in whole or in part over a particular territory in the South China Sea, comprising two chains of islands, namely the Paracels and the Spratlys. China, Vietnam, Mayasia, Brunei and the Philippines all have competing claims.
In recent times, china has supported its claims by building infrastructure on some of the islands and also by increasing Navy patrolling in the area. The United states on the other hand, has sent its military ships and aircraft near the disputed islands even though they claim not to take sides in territorial disputes. The US has reasoned that their military presence in the area is just to ensure freedom of navigation and access to key shipping routes. The US and china has accused each other of militarising the South China Sea.
India has previously supported the Philippines in many instances and last year, India had extended its support to the Philippines when Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Filipino Counterpart Co-Chaired India-Philippines Third Joint Commission meeting on Bilateral affairs. The statement issued after the meeting referred to the South China Sea as the West Philippine Sea, which miffed the Chinese government.
The Chinese government has made it clear that it wants India to stay out of the disputed waters just a few days before its Foreign Minister visits India to discuss economic cooperation between the two countries. The Foreign Ministers of the two countries will meet and discuss on ways in which the export tariffs on made in India products could be reduced.
Images Source: Google Images
Officials in Mexico have confirmed that at least 40 people have been killed in the country, owing to landslides which have happened in the aftermath of the tropical storm Earl. The tropical storm Earl had swept in from the Caribbean Sea at Hurricane strength on Wednesday last week, striking the coast just south of Belize’s Capital and wreaking havoc. There were power lines were torn own, roofs of houses sheared off and tress uprooted, as the level 1 hurricane Earl slowed down to a Tropical storm and sustained wind speeds of around 65mph while the town was still flooding.
The tropical storm eventually weakened as it headed westwards and became a tropical depression. Even though it was a tropical depression, it lashed the southern parts of Mexico with heavy rainfall and ended with heavy rainfall even in the central part of Mexico. In the aftermath of the storm, many landslides occurred in different parts of the country with the central state of Puebla and the eastern state of Veracruz taking a beating.
Landslides buried several homes located in the northern mountains of the state of Puebla, killing 29 people, including 15 minors. 11 more people were killed in similar circumstances in the state of Veracruz. Power supply was knocked out in several towns, highways were ripped apart and bridges collapsed as the tropical depression hit the eastern and central states of Mexico with heavy rainfall.
Moreno Valle, the Governor of the state of Veracruz had warned that the death toll could rise further as the search and rescue teams were still searching for missing people.
This comes amid rising tensions in the area as, a fresh storm has formed off the pacific coast, threatening the country with more heavy rainfall and high speed winds, which could only worsen the situation in the country.
Images Source – Google Images, Reuters
Dubai Based Airline, Emirates was in the news recently after one of its aircraft crashed upon landing at the Dubai International Airport. Emirates flight, EK 521 crash landed at the Dubai International Airport after an uneventful flight from Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, India. The Aircraft was carrying 282 passengers and 18 crew members and all of them were evacuated safely from the aircraft before it burst into flames.
The event happened at 12.45 PM on Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016 and the well trained employees of the Dubai International Airport and the crew members of the Emirates EK 521 handled the situation brilliantly and professionally, as they followed procedure and evacuated all passengers immediately using the emergency chutes built into the aircraft and the airport firefighting crew started dousing the flames. A dubai based firefighter died while trying to fighting the fire.
The aircraft involved in the crash was a Boeing 777-300 which is a long range, twin aisle, twin-engine jet airliner manufactured by Boeing. Often referred to as the “Triple Seven”, it was the world’s first commercial aircraft entirely designed by computer. It was introduced in 1994, and has since been highly successful, bagging a total of 1590 orders. It is Filled to the brim with advanced technology and is the first Fly-by-wire aircraft from the Boeing stable, meaning that it can be flown entirely by the electronic devices and computers on board, without any necessary intervention from the pilots.
The Boeing 777 is ETOPS 330 certified, meaning that it can fly for 330 mins on just one engine making it one of the safest aircraft in the world, since it can still fly even if one of its two engines shut down in an emergency. It has rigid and sturdier wings allowing it to withstand turbulence better than its main rivals, the Airbus 330 and 340.
In its 22 years’ service, the Boeing 777 has had a total of 5 hull loss crashes which is considered to be safe when compared to records of other aircraft, especially considering that at least two of those three fatal crashes had nothing to do with the airplane itself.
- MS667: On July 29th 2011, a Fire broke out in the cockpit of the EgyptAir Boeing 777 while it was still on the ground and the passengers were boarding the aircraft. The fire was due to electrical fault or short circuit and resulted in electrical heating of flexible hoses in the flight crew oxygen system. Zero injuries and Zero fatalities reported.
- BAW38: On 17th January 2008, the British Airways Boeing 777 flying from Beijing was about to land at the Heathrow International Airport in London, when it crashed Just before the Runway. Investigations revealed that the engines died at the last moment when thrust was required for landing because ice crystals in the fuel clogged the fuel-oil heat exchanger in both the engines. 47 injuries and Zero fatalities reported. The Heat exchanger in the Rolls-Royce Manufactured Engines were redesigned and fitted to all Boeing 777 aircraft in operation across the world.
- Asiana 214: On July 6th, 2013, Asiana Airlines’ Boeing 777, flying from Incheon International Airport and Flying to San Francisco International Airport crashed just short of the runway at the latter. The incident was attributed by National Transportation Safety Board investigation to poor airmanship by the crew, as the pilots did not follow airspeed orders given by air traffic control and approached the runway wrongly. 187 Injuries and 3 fatalities reported.
- MH17: On 17th July, 2014, the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down as an act of war. The plane, which was mistaken for an army transport aircraft, was shot down by Pro-Russian Insurgents using a Buk Surface-to-Air missile over the Ukranian-Russian border. 298 fatalities were reported as everyone aboard died.
- MH370: On 8th March, 2014, the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 flying from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Beijing International Airport disappeared mysteriously. The disappearance of MH370 with 239 people on board, is still unresolved, but may have been due to pilot suicide or hijacking. The possibility of a malfunction has not been ruled out, which, if proved, would make it the only 777 fatal accident caused directly by a fault with the airplane. 239 fatalities were reported.
Emirates has never had any of its aircraft involved in a crash before, and additionally, Emirates also has the largest fleet of Boeing 777’s in the world. Given that this aircraft has such a great reputation and Emirates swears by this aircraft, the question that arises is, Was the aircraft to blame, or was it pilot error once again?
Emirates EK521 had an uneventful flight from Thiruvananthapuram to Dubai with everything going as planned, including the approach to land at DXB, until the pilot announced that they had a problem with the landing gear and would be going around for another landing attempt, and the Air Traffic Control tower instructed the pilots to climb to 4,000 feet for another landing attempt after circling the airport, and the ATC also alerted the airport emergency services at the same time while instructing the other aircraft behind EK521 which was waiting for landing clearance to go around too.
At about the same time, wind shear was reported on the radar which is what might have caused the pilots to take the decision to go around.
Wind shear refers to a change in wind speed or direction with height in the atmosphere.
Wind shear can also refer to a rapid change in winds over a short horizontal distance experienced by aircraft, conditions that can cause a rapid change in lift, and thus the altitude, of the aircraft. Making air travel safer, Many airports now have wind shear detection equipment near the ends of runways to warn aircraft if it is too dangerous to land.
Eyewitness accounts had suggested that the landing gear on Emirates EK521 retracted when the Go-Around attempt failed, causing the aircraft to crash land and skid along its belly which in turn caused engine number 2 to shear off from the wing, in turn rupturing fuel lines and ultimately resulted in the fire which destroyed the aircraft.
Investigation into the incident is on at the moment, and the General Civil Aviation Authority(GCAA) is heading it. The GCAA is the body responsible for investigating all civil aviation accidents in the UAE. The GCAA will be assisted by Emirates, Boeing, and National Transportation Safety Board(NTSB) which is responsible for investigating Civil Aviation Accidents in the US, but has assisted investigations in all countries whenever a big aviation accident occurs.
The Investigators recovered the Black Box (Flight Data Recorder and Cockpit Voice Recorder) from the remains of the aircraft and will be analysing the same. The whole investigation would take between 3 to 5 months to complete.
Until the Investigation is completed, the theory that would remain is that, ‘The Pilots were warned about the wind shear by the Low Level Windshear Alert System at the Dubai International Airport and they decided to go around and retracted the landing gear, at which moment the wind shear cause the aircraft to drop altitude in milliseconds, giving the pilots no time to react, resulting in the collapsed landing gear and the aircraft belly scraping along the runway, causing the fire.’
The Dubai International Airport resumed normal operations on Sunday, after more than 3 days of operating under restricted capacity, using just one runway instead of two due to the crash.
Images Source – Google Images.
Information Source – Wikipedia, Team-bhp, Indian Express, CNN.
The augmented reality game, Pokemon Go is quite literally taking over the world and is making people do all sorts of stupid things like, rushing to find a rare Pokemon at the central park, in New York wile causing chaos, and two Canadian teens getting arrested for crossing the US border while trying to find Pokemon etc.
On Thursday, 4th August, the Pokemon madness was taken to a whole new level when residents in the Lower Garden District of New Orleans woke up to find a massive fiberglass statue of Pikachu in their locality, placed on top of an old unused fountain. Pikachu is one of the most well-known Pokemon from the famous TV series and is also present in the game. The Fiberglass state which was made to look like aged bronze seems to have appeared out of nowhere and surprisingly has not bothered residents, as it is drawing crowds to the area and has become a local attraction. It has begun to be dubbed as a ‘Pokemonument’ and people are posting selfies of themselves with the statue on various social networks such as Instagram and Facebook.
The fate of the statue though, lies in the hands of the city officials as it is considered vandalism even though it is not causing harm to anyone or anything. No Artist or Sculptor has come forward to claim it to be his or her creation which has sparked rumours of it being the work of Banksy.
Banksy is an English graffiti artist, political activist and film director of unverified identity. His satirical street art and subversive epigrams combine dark humour with graffiti, executed in a distinctive stencilling technique. His works of political and social commentary have been featured on streets, walls and bridges of cities throughout the world. There has also been speculation that Banksy is a woman or that Banksy is a team of seven artists, but no one actually knows who or what Banksy is.
The Pikachu Statue had also attracted some unwanted attention, as some vandals tried to deface the statue and graffiti was found on the statue, with the phrase “Pika F*** You” written on the Pokemon’s body in spray paint. Help was at hand as some local residents are working on getting the statue back to its original condition.
In other news, from a different part of the world, Pokemon Go has helped in saving a life. Anthony Pointon while playing the augmented reality game, was out hunting Pokemon at the Danes Moss nature reserve in Cheshire when a dog drew his attention and led him to a bog where a woman who had fallen into the swamp was stuck. Anthony then called for an air ambulance and guided them to lift the woman out. If Pokemon go had not led Anthony into the nature reserve that day, nobody wold have wandered there and the life of the woman might have been lost.
Images Source – Google Images
Bangalore! A city which was once known for its quiet, laid back life. A city known for its greenery, and was even nicknamed Garden City of India, is now quite the opposite. Bangalore is now known for its garbage menace, its traffic woes and its maddening crowd. Along with the crowds came expansion of area and formation of new areas on the outskirts. What was earlier known as the outskirts of Bangalore is now part of the city, and one such area is Hebbal. It was once the extreme north of Bangalore and anything beyond was considered to be out of Bangalore altogether. Jakkur was known only for the Aerodrome located there, amidst acres of greenery and nothingness, 15 years later, we see Jakkur completely developed, with shops, residences etc. built everywhere around.
The area once had many landmarks, and one of them was the Parsee Tower of Silence, which was in an apt location, as there were hardly any people around the place, and the whole area was eerie in itself.
A Tower of Silence is a circular, raised structure for excarnation built by Zoroastrians. Zoroastrian tradition considers a dead body to be unclean and hence they offer it to the Vultures and birds of the air so that the Food chain may be complete again. The modern-day towers, which are fairly uniform in their construction, have an almost flat roof, with the perimeter being slightly higher than the center. The roof is divided into three concentric rings: the bodies of men are arranged around the outer ring, women in the second ring, and children in the innermost ring and left for the vultures to come and feed upon.
The tower of silence in Bangalore, located beyond Hebbal, was the place where the Parsee community in the city would come to pay their last rites to the dead and leave them there for the vultures to feed upon. This tradition though, has faded into oblivion because of many reasons, the biggest of which is, Modernisation and expansion of population. The Vultures are of great importance in this system of excarnation and vultures like to be secluded, away from noise and human population, which is why we do not see any of these creatures in and around Bangalore now, which ultimately led to the closure of the Parsee tower of silence in Bangalore.
The Parsee tower of silence is dwarfed by many modern buildings on all sides. Right in front of the gate lies the jam-packed service road of the international airport road, with noises of engines and horns all the time, especially in the peak hours. At the northern side of the property lies the Godrej Woodsman Estate premium apartments from where the tower of silence is clearly visible, happening towards the east is the construction of a few premium apartment buildings and toward the south, lies the Kirloskar Tech park and Colombia Aisa Hospital. All these developments might have been good for Bangalore’s Infrastructure, but has led to the closure of one of the most important structures for the Parsee community in the city.
The Parsee’s are now resorting to burial and some are even considering captive breeding of vultures in remote locations, all of which is proving to be very difficult for which is possibly the smallest religious community in the nation.
Map source – Google Maps
Images – Photographed