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ISRO Announces Sending Three Indian Astronauts To Space In December 2021

New Delhi: Under India’s flagship human space mission programme Gaganyaan, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has announced sending Indian astronauts to space in December 2021, at a cost of Rs 100 billion. The crew, which is expected to have up to three members will include a woman and will orbit in space for up to a week.

ISRO chairperson K Sivan announced that a Human Spaceflight Centre will come up in Bengaluru to train crew and make systems safe for space missions, starting with Gaganyaan. “With the addition of this new aspect, this is a major turning point for ISRO. This programme will not end with just sending humans to space, but continue with sending humans to a space station and then, to the moon,” said Sivan.

236

Islamabad’s Push For Talks With Taliban In Backdrop Of US Troop Draw Down In Afghanistan Causing Anxiety In India

New Delhi: India’s concerns about Pakistan’s role in backing the Taliban figured in US special representative Zalmay Khalilzad’s discussions with his interlocutors in New Delhi on the US-backed peace process in Afghanistan.

Islamabad’s push for talks with the Taliban against the backdrop of a planned US troop drawdown in Afghanistan has been causing anxiety in New Delhi, especially since Pakistan’s efforts appeared to be aimed at minimising India’s influence in the war-torn country. Simultaneously, Afghan leaders have been hinting they would prefer India to take on a larger role in shaping the peace process.

235

Alok Verma Quits Accusing Natural Justice Denied To Him By High Powered Panel That Removed Him

New Delhi: Alok Verma has quit without spending even a day at work as director general of fire services, civil defence and home guards. He has used  his resignation letter addressed to C Chandramouli, secretary in the ministry of personnel, to complain bitterly that he had been denied “natural justice” by a high-level panel that removed him from the helm of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) one day ago based on a report by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) .

It was an unceremonious exit for the Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, who was stripped of his powers as CBI director and sent on forced leave by the government on the intervening night of October 23-24, reinstated conditionally by the Supreme Court on January 9 and two days later ousted from the agency and reassigned to the new job by the three-member selection committee, headed by the Prime Minister, which chooses the CBI chief.

234

Mamata Banerjee Says, If The Accidental Prime Minister Then Why Mot The Disastrous PM

New Delhi: In an apparent dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said if people were making such films, then there would also be films like “The Disastrous PM”.

Banerjee questioned the timing of the release of the film, The Accidental Prime Minister, ahead of the general election and wryly commented that all prime ministers were accidental. She also claimed that such films were made by twisting facts.

“All are accidental prime ministers”, Banerjee said, without naming anybody.

217

VHP And Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas Criticise Delay In Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid Title Suit Hearing

New Delhi: The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas have criticised the deliberate delay in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit hearing with the latter outfit blaming the Opposition.

The VHP, an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, said their “apprehensions that the opposite party shall raise any frivolous issues to secure an adjournment have come true”.

The comment came on a day the apex court set January 29 as the date for the constitution of a new five-judge bench after justice UU Lalit recused himself. The VHP has been demanding a hearing on a daily basis; they have also been pushing the government to bring a legislation for the construction of the Ram Temple.