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Passengers evacuated after threat
Sydney, August 17
Australian police were investigating reports that a suspicious device may have been found aboard a Pacific Blue flight which landed at Sydney Airport from Fiji today.

Chandigarh youth dies of heat stroke
Dubai, August 17
A 20-year old Indian sailor, who arrived in the UAE only two days ago, died in a hospital following severe heat stroke.

Three more planets in solar system
Prague, August 17
The question of whether Pluto is a real planet, hotly debated by scientists for decades, came to a head on Wednesday when the global astronomers' body proposed a definition of a planet that raises their number to 12 from nine.

A woman inspects her destroyed apartment in a southern suburb of Beirut on Thursday. A woman inspects her destroyed apartment in a southern suburb of Beirut on Thursday. — Reuters


 

EARLIER STORIES


Malik to be new Pak envoy to India
Islamabad, August 17
Mr Shahid Malik will be Pakistan’s new High Commissioner to India, reports here said.

LTTE’s bid to seize Jaffna foiled
Colombo, August 17
Sri Lankan security forces today repulsed a pre-dawn attempt by Tamil Tigers to advance into the northern Jaffna peninsula and killed at least 50 rebels.

Video
Female robot to work as a receptionist or tour guide in museums. 
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Passengers evacuated after threat

Sydney, August 17
Australian police were investigating reports that a suspicious device may have been found aboard a Pacific Blue flight which landed at Sydney Airport from Fiji today.

An unspecified number of passengers and crew were safely evacuated from the Boeing 737 airliner which landed at 5.45 p.m. (1.15 p.m. IST) in Sydney from Nadi, Fiji’s main international hub.

‘’Emergency services and airport authorities are currently examining an aircraft at Sydney Airport following unconfirmed reports that a suspicious device may be on board,’’ New South Wales state police said in a statement.

A spokesman for Sydney Airport, Australia’s largest, said the plane had been parked away from the main terminal buildings while the threat was being investigated.

No other details of the threat had been confirmed.

Australian media reported that the east-west runway at Sydney airport had been closed.

Seven Network television said the threat against the flight had been called in from the Philippines while the aircraft was in the air.

Australia, a staunch US ally with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, has never suffered a major peacetime attack on home soil.

But Australia has been targeted in recent attacks in Indonesia, including the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings in which 202 people died, including 88 Australians. — Reuters

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Chandigarh youth dies of heat stroke

Dubai, August 17
A 20-year old Indian sailor, who arrived in the UAE only two days ago, died in a hospital following severe heat stroke.

Swaranjith Singh, hailing from Chandigarh, was working on MV Nancy, a vessel currently docked in the Sharjah creek.

His fellow sailors alleged that the ship supervisor forced him to work under the sun even after he complained of being sick. He was not taken to hospital after falling unconscious on the deck, they added.

But later at night when Swaranjith’s condition deteriorated, he was rushed to the hospital where doctors confirmed his death due to heat stroke.

Singh’s brother told Khaleej Times that Swaranjith left for Dubai through an agent in Mumbai who charged him Dh17,000.

An official from Kasab Shipping Company, which owns the vessel, said they had informed the agent in Mumbai about the sailor’s death and denied having charged money from job seekers. The Mission to Seafarers in the UAE, which appealed to the authorities to send the body back home as early as possible, said it was not sure the vessel was insured with P&I (Protection 
and Indemnity) insurance so the family would receive the insurance claim. — UNI

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Three more planets in solar system

Prague, August 17
The question of whether Pluto is a real planet, hotly debated by scientists for decades, came to a head on Wednesday when the global astronomers' body proposed a definition of a planet that raises their number to 12 from nine.

The definition set out by a committee of the International Astronomers’ Union (IAU) answers the key question: How small can a body be and still be called a planet? in a way that leaves Pluto's status intact -- but modified.

Some 2,500 astronomers and scientists from round the world, attending an IAU conference in the Czech Capital, have to weigh the committee's two-part definition, on which IAU members will vote on Aug. 24.

To be called a planet, a celestial body must be in orbit around a star while not itself being a star, and must be large enough in mass for its own gravity to pull it into a nearly spherical shape, the seven-member committee said yesterday.

The need to define, for the first time, what it takes to be a planet stems from technological advances that enable astronomers to look further into space and to measure more precisely the size of celestial bodies in our solar system.

Pluto would remain a planet but would fall into a newly created category called Plutons, which are distinguished from classical planets in that they take longer than 200 years to orbit the sun.

Pluto would be joined in this category by two other celestial bodies, Xena and Charon, while another, Ceres, would be known as a dwarf planet.

In all, 12 planets would be listed in our solar system, at least for the time being.

Debate over Pluto's status intensified in 2003 when astronomers at the California Institute of Technology discovered UB 313.

Nicknamed Xena after the warrior princess in the television show, UB 313 is one of more than a dozen celestial bodies in our solar system found to be larger than Pluto. — Reuters

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Malik to be new Pak envoy to India

Islamabad, August 17
Mr Shahid Malik will be Pakistan’s new High Commissioner to India, reports here said.

Mr Malik, currently High Commissioner to Canada, will replace Mr Aziz Ahmed Khan, whose term is ending this month, The Dawn today reported, citing government sources.

Mr Malik’s name had been approved by the President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, they said, adding that Islamabad was in the process of approaching the Indian government.

Mr Khan, who was appointed High Commissioner to India in June 2003, will continue until Mr Malik gets the green signal from New Delhi, the sources said.

“The whole process could take a month or so,” they said.

Meanwhile, Ms Riffat Masood, currently Director SAARC at the Foreign Ministry, will be posted as Counsellor (Political) at the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi, in place of Mr Rafique Ahmed, who was recently asked to leave after Islamabad expelled Indian diplomat Rakesh Kaul on charges of “indulging in undesirable activities.”

Ms Masood is expected to proceed to India next month. — UNI

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LTTE’s bid to seize Jaffna foiled

Colombo, August 17
Sri Lankan security forces today repulsed a pre-dawn attempt by Tamil Tigers to advance into the northern Jaffna peninsula and killed at least 50 rebels.

The LTTE launched a sea-borne attack on army positions at Kilali on the peninsula in the wee hours but were beaten back by dawn, Defence spokesman Upali Rajapakse said. “We have successfully repulsed the attack and killed at least 50 rebels,” he claimed.

Defence sources said at least six soldiers were feared dead and 60 others wounded. — PTI

 

 

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