Tag Archives: launch

India Ready To Launch First Mars Mission

By Ryan W. Neal, International Business Times

India has begun a countdown towards the launch of its first spacecraft bound for Mars. The Indian Space Research Organization will launch a Mars Orbiter Mission probe named Mangalyaan in the next few weeks.

Mangalyaan recently arrived at the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota and will be loaded onto a launch vehicle that is just about ready for takeoff. Mangalyaan will orbit Mars and take photographs of the Martian surface and search for signs of methane in the Mars atmosphere. An array of senors aboard Mangalyaan will explore morphology and mineralogy of the Mars surface.

The Indian mission to Mars has a launch window between Oct. 28 and Nov. 19, which will get Mangalyaan to Mars in September 2014. It will orbit Mars for about six to 10 months.

If successful, India will become just the fourth nation to reach mars, along with the former Soviet Union, Europe and the US. Japan and China have both attempted Mars missions and failed.

The mission will cap off a successful year for ISRO. In 2013, India debuted environmental and communications satellites and a successful unmanned mission to the moon.

Mangalyaan will be joined by NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) orbital probe. Representatives of NASA told Space.com that having a diverse set of vantage points and sensors will contribute to a more complete understanding of the Martian geology and climate.

Courtesy: http://socialreader.com/me/content/U6xgl

US synagogue welcomes Muslims seeking a place to pray

Muslims around the world are gathering for Friday prayers, and in one neighbourhood in the US state of Virginia, the worshippers will enter a building that could hardly be further from a traditional mosque.

At a time when religious differences are sparking conflict in the Middle East and beyond – it is cooperation between two faiths which is allowing this unique programme flourish.

The BBC’s Katty Kay reports on how the Jewish community opened its doors because the area’s mosques could not accommodate all of the growing Muslim population.

Courtesy: BBC

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-19289226

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» →» Israeli, Pakistani news agencies launch joint media venture

Militants storm Kamra Airbase

ATTOCK: Unknown militants launched an armed attack on Kamrah airbase in the wee hours of Thursday where fierce gun-battle is underway while blasts are also being heard intermittently at the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) facility, Geo News reported.

There is a report of loss of life from both sides in the incident but it still remains unconfirmed.

According to Geo News correspondent, Saleh Zafir the army has been called out while the Pak army’s 111-brigade has already made it to the site of the incident to take part in the operation.

Sources told Geo News that the militants stormed the base from Pind Salman Makhan at 2:30 AM Thursday.

The sound of loud blasts at the base suggests that the militants are making use of the hand grenades they had on them as they made their way into the facility.

Sources also said that the security forces have managed to stop further advancement of the assailants into the base and presently an armed encounter between the two sides is underway.

The possible aim of the attack could be to cause damage to the parked aircraft of Pakistan Air Force or to hold the personnel present at the base hostage.

The attack is similar to that of Karachi Naval Base, PNS Mehran which took place on May 22, 2011. The militants had killed several Naval personnel besides destroying two P-3C Orion aircraft.

Continue reading Militants storm Kamra Airbase

Imran Khan launching a campaign against the resumption of Nato supplies, would cause a “financial loss” of $650 million to Pakistan

Imran to launch campaign against resumption of Nato supplies

LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan said on Wednesday that he was contacting other political parties for the opposition campaign against expected re-opening of the Nato supply routes to Afghanistan, DawnNews reported.

Talking to media representatives at the press conference at Zaman Park in Lahore, Khan criticised the parliament for its inability to implement the resolution regarding future rules of engagement with the United States.

He asked why Pakistan was compromising on its stand of not allowing the Nato supplies through its land-routes, ….

Read more » DAWN.COM

Pentagon successfully tests hypersonic flying bomb

By AFP

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon on Thursday held a successful test flight of a flying bomb that travels faster than the speed of sound and will give military planners the ability to strike targets anywhere in the world in less than a hour.

Launched by rocket from Hawaii at 1130 GMT, the “Advanced Hypersonic Weapon,” or AHW, glided through the upper atmosphere over the Pacific “at hypersonic speed” before hitting its target on the Kwajalein atoll in the Marshall Islands, a Pentagon statement said.

Kwajalein is about 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometers) southwest of Hawaii. The Pentagon did not say what top speeds were reached by the vehicle, which unlike a ballistic missile is maneuverable.

Scientists classify hypersonic speeds as those that exceed Mach 5 — or five times the speed of sound — 3,728 miles (6,000 kilometers) an hour. …

Read more » Google

Anna effect? Burney to launch anti-graft movement in Pakistan

Islamabad, Aug 22: Pakistani rights activist Ansar Burney said today (Aug 22) he would launch a campaign against corruption and terrorism in his country after Eid-ul-Fitr, mirroring an anti-graft drive by Anna Hazare in India that has gained thousands of followers.

Pakistan is confronting a “dire and painful period in its history, with rampant and continuously growing corruption and terrorism destroying every fabric of our nation and any prospects of a decent future for our children and grandchildren”, Burney said in a statement.

Burney made no reference to Hazare, whose movement has captured the public imagination in India, but said his movement would get underway after the Islamic festival of Eid-ul-Fitr that will be celebrated at the end of this month.

“It is now up to civil society to take steps to rid the country of this evil before it is too late, and the Ansar Burney Trust will kick-start a massive anti-corruption campaign and anti-terrorism movement following Eid as a first step towards saving our country,” he said.

Burney said his proposed movement is aimed at bringing “the nation together and making a stand that corruption will no longer be tolerated”. ….

Read more → oneindia

PPP govt. is doing nothing for recovery of 48 kidnapped Hindus and many murdered for ransom.

KARACHI, SINDH – The Pakistan Coalition for Religious Minorities (PCRM) will launch a protest campaign against Sindh Minority Affairs Minister Dr Mohan Lal Kohistani for “not taking any interest in the increasing kidnapping of Hindus throughout the province”.

The PCRM – a newly established representative body of Pakistani Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Ahmedis and other religious minorities of the country – termed these incidents as a conspiracy against religious minorities and expressed disappointment over the ministry’s silence even after 48 cases of kidnapping for ransom, murders, forced conversion in the last six months alone.

Continue reading PPP govt. is doing nothing for recovery of 48 kidnapped Hindus and many murdered for ransom.

The sham operation in Kurram – Dr Mohammad Taqi

A side benefit of the chaos created in the Kurram Agency is that it would be a lot easier to hide the jihadists in the midst of the internally displaced people, making the thugs a difficult target for precision drone attacks

On July 4, 2011, the Pakistan Army announced that it has launched an operation in the Central Kurram Agency with the primary objective of clearing the ‘miscreants’ and opening of the Peshawar-Thall-Parachinar Road (why Tal has become Thall in the English press beats me). The geographical scope of the operation is rather circumscribed, if the army communiqués are to be believed, and its focus, ostensibly, would be on the Zaimusht, Masozai and Alizai areas. But speaking to the Kurramis from Lower, Central and Upper Kurram, one gets a different sense.

At least one General has reportedly been heard saying during the recent operational meetings leading up to the military action that he intends to teach the Turis (in Upper Kurram) a lesson that they would never forget. The Corps Commander’s communication delivered to the tribal elders of the Upper Kurram literally ordered them to acquiesce in and sign on to the operation. But quite significantly, many other leaders among the Turis, Bangash and Syeds of Upper Kurram have vehemently opposed the military action as well as their own elders who seem to have caved in under duress.

The Turis and Bangash tribesmen are of the opinion that on the Thall-Parachinar Road, the only extortionists bigger than the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) are the officers of the army — and they specifically name two colonels — who have made life miserable for the people of Parachinar. These security officials levy protection money even on the supply of daily provisions and medicine to Upper Kurram, resulting in jacked-up prices and in many instances unavailability of life-saving drugs, resulting in deaths that otherwise could be preventable.

The more ominous and geo-strategically important aspects of the current army operation are twofold and are interconnected. We have noted in these pages several times that the Pakistan Army has no problem securing Central and parts of Lower Kurram for its jihadist asset, i.e. the Haqqani terrorist network, who have essentially had a free reign in this region for almost a decade using the Sateen, Shasho and Pir Qayyum camps. The army has also helped the Haqqani and Hekmatyar groups set up humungous compounds on the Durand Line such as the Spina Shaga complex.

The problem the security establishment has faced is to secure a thoroughfare between Central Kurram and the assorted jihadist bridgeheads along the Kurram-Afghanistan border, including but not limited to the Parrot’s Beak region. The key hindrance to such movement is the resistance by the Turi and Bangash tribesmen, which neither the security establishment nor its jihadist proxies have been able to neutralise, coerce or buy off. Projecting the Haqqani network and Hekmatyar’s operatives into Afghanistan from Tari Mangal, Mata Sangar, Makhrani, Wacha Darra and Spina Shaga and other bases on the border is a pivotal component of the Pakistani strategy to keep the US bogged down in Afghanistan and for the post-US withdrawal phase. But with the recent wave of drone attacks on the hideouts of these groups, their vulnerability to the US/ISAF — buoyed by the OBL raid — has also become evident and hence the need for secure routes to retract the jihadists back when needed.

Several attacks on the Turi and Bangash, including by Pakistan Army helicopter gunships last year killing several Pakistanis, have not dented the resolve of the locals to fight back against the jihadists. I had noted in these pages then: “The Taliban onslaught on the Shalozan area of Kurram, northeast of Mata Sangar, in September 2010 was part of this tactical rearrangement [to relocate the Haqqanis to Kurram]. When the local population reversed the Taliban gains in the battle for the village Khaiwas, the army’s gunships swooped down on them to protect its jihadist partners” (‘Kurram: the forsaken FATA’, Daily Times, November 4, 2010).

The option that the army wants to exercise now is to disarm the Upper Kurram’s tribesmen, especially the Turis. The security establishment has told them that they will have to surrender their “qawmi wasla” (an arms cache that belongs to a tribe as a whole). To disarm and thus defang the tribesmen, who have held their own against the disproportionately stronger and state-sponsored enemy for almost half a decade, is essentially pronouncing their death sentence.

Without their weapons, the Turis and Bangash will be at the whim of an army that had literally abandoned Muhammad Afzal Khan Lala and Pir Samiullah in Swat and the Adeyzai lashkar (outside Peshawar). Afzal Khan Lala lost several loyalists and family members and Pir Samiullah was murdered, his body buried but later exhumed and mutilated by the Taliban, while the army stood by and did nothing. My co-columnist and researcher, Ms Farhat Taj has highlighted the plight of the Adeyzai lashkar several times in these pages, including the fact that it was left high and dry by the security establishment against an overwhelming Taliban force. And lest we forget, it was this same army that made Mian Iftikhar Hussain and Afrasiab Khattak of the Awami National Party (ANP) negotiate with Mullah Fazlullah’s Taliban, with suicide bombers standing guard on each men and blocking the door along with muzzles of automatic rifles pointed into their faces.

A side benefit of the chaos created in the Kurram Agency is that it would be a lot easier to hide the jihadists in the midst of the internally displaced people (IDPs), making the thugs a difficult target for precision drone attacks. Also, the establishment’s focus has been to ‘reorient’ the TTP completely towards Afghanistan. The breaking away from the TTP of the crook from Uchat village, Fazl-e-Saeed Zaimusht (who now interestingly writes Haqqani after his name) is the first step in the establishment’s attempt to regain full control over all its jihadist proxies.

The offensive in Central Kurram is not intended for securing the road; it will be broadened to include the Upper Kurram in due course, in an attempt to bring the Turis and Bangash to their knees. After their arms have been confiscated, it could be a turkey shoot for the jihadists and Darfur for the Kurramis. It is doubtful though that the common Turi or Bangash tribesman is about to listen to some elder who is beholden to the establishment, and surrender the only protection that they have had. The Pakistan Army’s track record of protecting jihadists and shoving the anti-Taliban forces off the deep end speaks for itself.

Pakistan’s security establishment can perpetuate on the US and the world a fraud like the hashtag de-radicalisation on Twitter and buzzwords like de-programming suicide bombers by trotting out the so-called intelligentsia whose understanding of the Pashtun issues is woefully flawed. But it is unlikely that Kurramis are about to fall for this sham of an operation that paves the way for their genocide.

Courtesy: → Daily Times

Would GEO and Express TV disclose how much money they get from Americans?

By Farrukh Siddiqui
Editor, State of Pakistan blog
One of the objectives of Kerry-Lugar aid bill for aid to Pakistan is to “support for promotion of a responsible, capable,and independent media.”
According to this RT TV broadcast of March 10, 2010, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UQCki_nC9c ,  the US government planned to spend $50 million on this objective. According to another report  dated Feb. 27, 2010 by the examiner , “the Obama administration plans to spend nearly $50 million on Pakistani media this year to reverse anti-American sentiments and raise awareness of projects aimed at improving quality of life, confirms a Washington insider. “
The history of collaboration between the agencies of the US government and some “ independent “ Pakistani media organizations is old. But more recently it was GEO TV that went public with jointly produced programs with Voice of America.
The following press release  dated Nov. 13, 2005 ( http://islamabad.usembassy.gov/pakistan/h05111301.html) of the US Embassy in Islmamabad is self-explanatory:
VOA Launches Urdu TV For Pakistan

11/13/2005 Washington, D.C. – The Voice of America (VOA) will launch Beyond the Headlines-its new television program in Urdu-on Monday, Nov. 14. The half-hour program will air on GEO TV in Pakistan at 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and on selected international satellites, including AsiaSat (Virtual Channel 409) and IOR (Virtual Channel 420). …..

Read more : http://www.yousufnazar.com/?p=1219

Israel has ‘eight days’ to hit Iran nuclear site

WASHINGTON: Israel has “eight days” to launch a military strike against Iran’s Bushehr nuclear facility and stop Tehran from acquiring a functioning atomic plant, a former US envoy to the UN has said.

Iran is to bring online its first nuclear power reactor, built with Russia’s help, on August 21, when a shipment of nuclear fuel will be loaded into the plant’s core.

At that point, John Bolton warned Monday, it will be too late for Israel to launch a military strike against the facility because any attack would spread radiation and affect Iranian civilians.

“Once that uranium, once those fuel rods are very close to the reactor, certainly once they’re in the reactor, attacking it means a release of radiation, no question about it,” Bolton told Fox Business Network.

“So if Israel is going to do anything against Bushehr it has to move in the next eight days.”

Read more >> DAWN