|N A T I O N|
|Decision on AJTs by March-end:
PUNE, Dec 4 The Indian Air Force (IAF) is likely to acquire advanced jet trainers (AJTs) soon as a final decision on the choice of the AJTs is likely to be taken by the end of March next year, Air Chief Marshal A.Y. Tipnis said today.
Indigenous cryo engine to be tested
MEHENDRAGIRI (TN), Dec 4 Engineers and scientists at the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (IPSC) of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) are busy giving finishing touches to Indias first indigenously developed cryogenic engine, slated to be hot-tested this month-end here.
President releases book on Indian
Indo-UK ties to be expanded
clue yet in gangrape case
films for French festival
blockade by JMM from today
Centre appoints 13 officers
of family die in fire
continues in Kannur
Shakti, JD (U), Samata Party merged
Decision on AJTs by March-end: Tipnis
PUNE, Dec 4 (PTI, UNI) The Indian Air Force (IAF) is likely to acquire advanced jet trainers (AJTs) soon as a final decision on the choice of the AJTs is likely to be taken by the end of March next year, Air Chief Marshal A.Y. Tipnis said today.
The Air Chief was talking to reporters at the National Defence Academy (NDA) after reviewing the passing-out-parade of the 97th course at Khadakwasla near here.
Stating that the AJTs were a critical requirement, he said: Acquisition of the trainers will help modernise IAF which is very important in the present scenario.
Asked about the increasing number of accidents involving IAF aircraft, he admitted that 1999 had seen some accidents which were a little more than normal. But the cause was not lack of training. One of the causes is technical flaws, he said.
The acquisition of AJTs would help optimise the training of IAF pilots and reduce the rate of accident.
Urbanisation around air fields was also posing danger to the IAF, he said. For instance, urbanisation results in more dumping of garbage near air fields which attracts birds and can cause bird hits to aircraft, the Air Chief said.
The Air Chief Marshal refused to divulge on the Air Force preference over the British aerospaces Hawks and French ALFA jets saying that the government would decide soon.
When pressed further if the air force had narrowed down its choice from the Hawks and the ALFA jests or from among the three contenders since the Russians too had been trying to push its MIG-AT, the Air Chief smiled away refusing to be drawn into any controversy.
Defence Minister George Fernandes, addressing the concluding session of the five-day Air Force commanders conference in Delhi last month had said for the Air Force AJTs were an immediate requirement and that a decision would be taken soon.
Earlier, the Air Chief
presented the Presidents Gold Medal to Academy
Cadet Captain Vikaram Singh Rai, Silver Medal to
Battalion Cadet Captain Dhananjay Kumar Singh and Bronze
Medal to BCC Vironeer Singh Salaria and the Chiefs of
Staff Banner to the champion G squadron.
Indigenous cryo engine to be tested
MEHENDRAGIRI (TN), Dec 4 (PTI) Engineers and scientists at the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (IPSC) of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) are busy giving finishing touches to Indias first indigenously developed cryogenic engine, slated to be hot-tested this month-end here.
Ninetynine per cent of the work is over. Only last minute checks like gas-leak check remain to be done, Mr Gnana Gandhi, deputy director in charge of the project, said.
Work has progressed as per schedule. A firm date for the test will be announced by the headquarters of ISRO. Anyway, the test is expected to take place before the year end, S. Vasantha, Director LPSC, told a team of visiting journalists here recently.
The 7.5-tonne thrust upper stage with liquid hydrogen and oxygen as propellants was expected to be used for the third launch of the GSLV around 2001, after the first two launches with Russian engines, he said.
The stage being developed here is 9.089 metre long, 2.8 metre in diameter with 12.5 tonne propellant loading capacity, the LPSC authorities said.
The engine was more or less identical to the Russian one but the fabrication process was different, Dr Vasantha said.
In certain features this is an improved version and has a higher specific impulse of 461 seconds, which could in laymans terms mean better fuel-efficiency, Mr Gandhi said.
What had been planned was a 1200-second test on the 24-metre high testing pad of 20 metre width and 10 metre breadth, said Mr D. Sarvesan, in charge of the test facility.
The integrated liquid hydrogen plant here, the only one of its kind in the country, was ready with the propellant needed for the test, he said.
Asked about the integration of the cryo-engine to Indias space programme, Mr Vasantha said from engine to a stage there is more than two years work.
President releases book on Indian Navy
NEW DELHI, Dec 4 (PTI) President K.R. Narayanan today released a book on the history of the Indian Navy, its growth and achievements on the occasion of Navy Day, presenting a detailed account of how it became a formidable force armed with missile systems.
The book, Transition to Triumph, was released in the presence of a distinguished gathering including Vice-President Krishan Kant, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Defence Minister George Fernandes, Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sonia Gandhi, Army Chief Gen V.P. Malik and Naval Chief Admiral Sushil Kumar.
Authored by Vice-Admiral G.M. Hiranandani (retd), the book chronicles the history of the Navy for the period 1965-1975 covering a vast canvas of events and brings out clearly the Navys achievements in the 1971 war.
Besides telling about creation of Submarine Arm, expansion of the Air Arm and production of modern warships fitted with latest equipment produced in the country with international collaboration, the 186-page history dispels misinformation that the growth of Indias Navy was driven by hegemonistic designs and on certain other issues.
Indian troops for Sierra Leone
NEW DELHI, Dec 4 (UNI) About 1700 troops will leave in batches for the strife-torn West African country of Sierra Leone on the UN Preacekeeping Mission, UNAMSIL, which will have an Indian Army officer, Maj-Gen V.K. Jetley, as the Force Commander.
Major-General Jetley, who is the second Indian to be entrusted with such a task in this decade, is leaving tonight to head the 6000-strong force which draw troops from Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Guinea.
The main responsibility of UNAMSIL will be to create a congenial atmosphere to restore peace in the country and make holding of elections possible. At present, ECOMOG, the military wing of the economic community of West African States, is stationed to bring the militant revolutionary United Front closer to the mainstream.
Our immediate tasks will be to establish reception centres (to receive those laying down arms) and demobilisation centres besides chalking out reintegrations plans, said Major-General Jetley who expects to put in place the multi-national forces at his disposal by the end of this month.
He will receive the charge from another Indian officer Brigadier S.C. Joshi, who is at present there as the Chief Military Observer (CMO).
With the participation in Sierra Leone, India will have the second largest number of troops in UN peacekeeping operations worldwide.
Our troops are one of the best trained in the world and they have exposure to all kinds of terrain and climatic conditions from the freezing temperatures of Siachen to the deserts of Rajasthan, said Major-General Jetley, an infantry officer from Dogra Regiment.
Addressing the troops today, Chief of the Army Staff Gen V.P. Malik said peacekeeping training has been provided by the Indian Army to enable the officers and soldiers to carry out the mandate of such UN missions.
He said the Indian Army had participated with distinction in UN peacekeeping operations world over since Independence including places like Korea, Congo, Cambodia, Somalia, Rwanda, Angola, Mozambique.
No clue yet in gangrape case
JAIPUR, Dec 4 A young Tibetan girl was abducted, gang-raped and left in the jungle, some 45 km away from here.
All this happened here on Wednesday when Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot was celebrating the first anniversary of his coming to power.
The girl, accompanied by her sister, was walking through the famous Ramniwas garden at about 10 pm with food for her parents in the temporary Tibetan market between the garden and SMS Hospital when three persons dragged her into a vehicle and sped away leaving her sister behind.
The spot from where the girl was abducted is about 150 metres away from a police chowki. Her sister said the vehicle had a blue light on its top.
After much persuasion her parents managed to get a case registered. Police posts around the state capital were subsequently alerted but no clue was found about the vehicle or the girl.
On Thursday, the victim returned home to her parents and revealed that she was abducted in a jeep by three persons who raped her in the moving vehicle and later in a lonely place. Later they left her in a jungle.
At a loss to understand as to where she was, she spotted a train a little distance away. she moved towards the same direction and started walking along the tracks. Reaching the railway station, she narrated her tale of woe to the station master who asked her to wait till the train to Jaipur arrived. He asked the ticket collector to leave her at Jaipur without ticket since she had no money. At Jaipur station, she hired a rickshaw and reached her parents who took her to a police station.
As the girl could not speak the local language she was not able to tell the name of the station from where she boarded the train. On the basis of the time of arrival of the train at Jaipur and the clue that the train had stopped at two places, a police party with the girl reached Jobner station where the station master confirmed her statement.
Indo-UK ties to be expanded
NEW DELHI, Dec 4 (PTI) India and Britain today underscored the need to expand bilateral ties in diverse fields.
This was highlighted during a 30-minute meeting British Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, here on a six-day official visit, had with Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.
The two leaders appreciated the high-level contacts which had taken place on both sides in recent months and expressed satisfaction over concerted efforts being made for further consolidation of cordial bilateral relations.
External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh will visit the United Kingdom next month as part of this process.
International and regional issues including developments in Pakistan figured during the parleys.
Mr Prescotts visit is mainly aimed at taking forward the process of normalising bilateral ties which had been derailed in the wake of the Pokhran nuclear tests in May last year.
Mr Prescott, who is also
in charge of the portfolios of Environment, Transport and
the Regions, will also have wide-ranging discussions with
External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh on issues of
mutual interest and concern.
8 films for French festival
NEW DELHI, Dec 4 Fourteen member companies of TV France International along with six film distribution companies will meet Indian television and cinema professionals at the French Film Festival here to explore possibilities of collaborative ventures.
The Ambassador of France to India, Mr Claude Blanchemaison told TNS here today that the week-long film festival being held in Delhi, Calcutta and Mumbai was unlike similar festivals held in India before. He pointed out that the festival had several novel features, including the screening of latest films and the presence of directors, actors, actresses and the host organisations, TV France International, a professional association of 150 TV companies and Unifrance, a French non-profit association aimed at promoting French cinema around the world.
The festival will screen eight acclaimed French films, including East West directed by Regis Wargnier, 1999 Madeleine directed by Laurent Bouhnik, Taxi directed by Gerard Pires, Dream Life of Angels directed by Erick Zonca and A Pornographic Affair directed by Frederic Fonteyne.
Other films to be screened during the festival are Time Regained directed by Raoul Ruiz, The New Eve directed by Catherine Corsini and The Sanguinaires directed by Laurent Cantet.
Prominent among those participating in the festival are the directors of East West, 1999 Madeleine and the New Eve and Marion Cottillard who features in Taxi.
The General Manager of TV France, Mr Olivier Rene Veillon, said about 20 television companies were here to establish contact with Indian channels.
Mr Veillon said that TV France was keen on building partnership with India in areas of animation and documentaries. He said that representatives of the TV companies were exploring the possibility of having production collaboration with DD 2 and the Sahara group which is likely to launch a channel in January.
Mr Daniel Toscan du Plantier, President, Unifrance said he would look forward to meeting members of the Indian audio-visual industry not only in terms of business but also cultural exchange.
In his message on the
occasion, Mr Blanchemaison expressed hope that the
French productions, in presence of famous artists, will
enhance our common interest for cinema and trigger a
renewed productive dialogue between India and
12-year-old gets M.Sc degree
PATNA, Dec 4 (PTI) Not yet 12 years of age, Tathagat Avtaar Tulsi may pass off as another boy next door, but the child prodigy is not as ordinary as he looks for he has already obtained a masters degree in physics.
At 11 years and 10 months, Tulsi, son of a lecturer in a Bihar college, is all set to re-enter the Guinness Book of World Records, becoming the youngest holder of M.Sc in physics from Patna University, his father claims.
Tathagat had already secured a place in the Guinness book having passed the class 10 exams of the CBSE at a tender age of nine-and-half years, following up this feat by getting a bachelors in physics from the prestigious Science College here when he was ten-and-half-year old.
His father, Tulsi
Prasad, like a "typical dad" expressed
unhappiness over his sons marks "a mere
71 per cent" saying he was confident his boy
would get at least 78 per cent. He said he would seek
re-evaluation of his sons copies and even
threatened to move court if it was not done.
Economic blockade by JMM from today
DUMKA (Bihar), Dec 4 (UNI) The two-day central committee meeting of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha beginning tomorrow at Dhanbad is likely to impose economic blockade and other agitational process to press for its separate statehood demand.
Senior JMM leader and Dumka district unit president Bijoy Kumar Singh told UNI here that they were also trying to unite all factions to ensure that the people in the Jharkhand area got a fair deal in all aspects claiming that the area was being neglected and the funds allocated for it were mostly looted. He said the people had remained where they were many years back in terms of facilities. Looting is going on in all fields and the people who are not interested for the development of the areas are enjoying the cake, he claimed.
He said no matter what others said the Bharatiya Janata Party was not interested for the creation of a separate Jharkhand or Vanachal. He said they were not worried about the name of the proposed state but doubted about the sincerity of the ruling party.
Mr Singh said that the party would also explore possibilities for having an electoral understanding with the like minded organisations to defeat the vested interests from the area. He said many political parties were now shedding crocodile tears for reaping political advantage by creating the new state pointing out that these organisations did not organise any movement or their leaders went to the jails for the sake of the people of the area.
He said these areas had
huge deposits of minerals and the state government was
getting sizeable amount as the royalty but the area
remained neglected. He alleged that the condition of
roads, health, education in the district was very poor.
Centre appoints 13 officers
NEW DELHI, Dec 4 (UNI) Mr Atul Sinha has been made Director- General, Tourism, in the rank and pay of Additional Secretary as part of 13 new appointments at the Centre.
Mr Sinha joined the Madhya Pradesh cadre of the civil services in 1968.
Mr D.T. Joseph is the new Director-General, Shipping, in the rank and pay of Additional Secretary, official sources said today.
Mr K.K. Jaswal has been appointed Additional Secretary and Financial Adviser, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion.
Mr Arun Kehetrapal will be the Additional Secretary, Department of Culture vice Mr M.M.K. Sardana.
Mr S.K. Tuteja has been made development commissioner, Small Scale Industries in the rank and pay of Additional Secretary, while Mr l.M. Mehta is the new DG, ESIC in the rank and pay of Additional Secretary.
Six of family die in fire
NEW DELHI, Dec 4 Six persons, of a family, including four girls, were killed in a devastating fire which broke out in their house in the Bhagwati Vihar area of West Delhi.
The incident occurred last night when the victims, Surender (35), Munni (32), Jyoti (10), Puja (7), Arti (4) and Yashodha (2) were asleep, the police said.T
he Delhi Fire Service was informed by the neighbours when they saw smoke coming out of the house. The fire fighters reached the spot immediately and recovered the charred bodies.
A short-circuit could have been the cause of the fire, the police said.
Violence continues in Kannur
KANNUR, Dec 4 (PTI) The situation in the violence-torn parts in Keralas Kannur district continued to remain uneasy today, with tension mounting following a bomb attack on a convoy carrying CPM leaders after the cremation of their slain worker, K. Kunjikannan at Kuttieri, near Panoor, this evening.
The police said a group of suspected BJP-RSS workers hurled bombs at the vehicles in which CPM district secretary E.P. Jayarajan and other party leaders who attended the cremation were travelling. The bombs, however, missed the target but hit a jeep carrying party workers.
A total of 13 workers suffered minor injuries in the attack. They had been admitted to the Thalassery Cooperative Hospital, the police said.
Lok Shakti, JD (U), Samata Party merged
BANGALORE, Dec 4 (PTI) Lok Shakti Chief Ramakrishna Hegde today announced the merger of his party, the Janata Dal (U) and the Samata Party (SP) in Karnataka but said merger at the national level could take "some time".
Mr Hegde, who made the announcement to reporters along with former Karnataka Chief Minister and JD (U) leader J H Patel, denied that delay in merger at the national level was due to his differences with SP leader George Fernandes.
He said Karnataka units of the three parties felt that there should be no further delay in the merger as it would only lead to "disenchantment and frustration among the rank and file". No state SP leader was present at the news conference.
Asked about merger at the national level, he shot back, "We will go step by step" and dismissed suggestions that he was deferring the issue because of "injustice" done to him in excluding him from the Vajpayee ministry.
"Who said injustice has been done to me? I have never complained of any injustice. It is nobodys birthright to become a minister or continue as a minister," Mr Hegde said.
Mr Hegde said for the merger to take place at the national level, several state units of the three parties had to decide. "We are the first to take such a decision. We have given a lead to other states."
The Lok Shakti National Executive committee he said, had "practically" decided in favour of merger with JD (U). To a query, he said he hoped the merger would take place before the Bihar Assembly Polls.
To repeated questions, he said, "if other state units also decide, we can merge at the national level".
Mr Hegde said there were "certain compulsions" for merger at the national level and added, "the main problem is polls in Bihar". Asked if he was giving up merger at the national level for now, he said, "That question does not arise. Otherwise, why should we call this (todays merger at Karnataka level) a first step".
He said he was never "annoyed" that he was left out of the ministry. "I am not a displaced person. I dont need rehabilitation".
Mr Hegde said there was no deadline for the merger at the national level. Queried if he would meet Mr Fernandes before the merger, he retorted, "we are not enemies".
|3 killed in gas cylinder
BHUBANESWAR: Three persons, including two school children, were killed and 14 seriously injured when a gas cylinder exploded at Nawarangpur in south Orissa, official sources said on Saturday. The cylinder used to blow balloons exploded on Friday, killing the balloon vendor on the spot and seriously injuring two school children who died at a local hospital, they said. PTI
yet to be held
award for 11
7 buses torched
Temple on Net
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