Saturn’s moon Titan has deep methane lakes
Washington: Saturn’s largest moon Titan has small liquid lakes that run more than 100 metres deep, perched atop hills and filled with methane, scientists have found using data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. The findings are the first confirmation of just how deep some of Titan’s lakes are (more than 300 feet, or 100 meters) and of their composition.
They provide new information about the way liquid methane rains on, evaporates from and seeps into Titan – the only planetary body in our solar system other than Earth known to have stable liquid on its surface.Scientists have known that Titan’s hydrologic cycle works similarly to Earth’s – with one major difference. Instead of water evaporating from seas, forming clouds and rain, Titan does it all with methane and ethane.
We tend to think of these hydrocarbons as a gas on Earth, unless they’re pressurised in a tank. However, Titan is so cold that they behave as liquids, like gasoline at room temperature on our planet. Scientists have known that the much larger northern seas are filled with methane, but finding the smaller northern lakes filled mostly with methane was a surprise.
Previously, Cassini data measured Ontario Lacus, the only major lake in Titan’s southern hemisphere. There they found a roughly equal mix of methane and ethane. Ethane is slightly heavier than methane, with more carbon and hydrogen atoms in its makeup. “Every time we make discoveries on Titan, Titan becomes more and more mysterious,” said Marco Mastrogiuseppe, Cassini radar scientist at California Institute of Technology in the US. –PTI
Pakistan army says India should accept no surgical strike happened in 2016
Islamabad: Pakistan Army took a jibe at India on Thursday after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj acknowledged that no civilian or soldier was killed in the Balakot attack, saying New Delhi should also take back its claim about the shooting down of a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet and the 2016 surgical strike.
The statement by army spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor came hours after Swaraj said that no Pakistani soldier or civilian died in the air strike on a terror camp at Balakot in Pakistan in February. “Hopefully, so will be about other false Indian claims i.e. surgical strike 2016, denial of shooting down of 2 IAF jets by PAF and claim about F16. Better late than never,” Ghafoor said in a tweet.
No Pakistani soldier or civilian died in Balakot air strike: Sushma Swaraj
Pakistan has denied that the Indian Air Force jets attacked terrorists in Balakot. In Ahmedabad, addressing BJP’s women workers, Swaraj said that the Indian military was given a “free hand” in the operation but was clearly told that no Pakistani civilian should be killed and also there be “not even a scratch” on the Pakistani army. “We told them (the international community) that our air strike was in self-defence…we had given a free hand to the Army but had also given two directions too – no civilian of Pakistan (Pakistan ka koi nagrik) should die. Pakistan’s Army should not be touched.
“Your target should is those terrorists of JeM which had taken responsibility for killing 40 persons in Pulwama,” she said. The IAF had struck a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terror training camp in Pakistan on February 26, in response to the February 14 Pulwama attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed. Pakistan had categorically said that no F-16 fighter jets were used and denied that one of its planes had been downed by the IAF.
Tensions between India and Pakistan escalated after the Pulwama attack. India launched a counter-terror operation against a JeM training camp in Balakot. The next day, Pakistan Air Force retaliated and downed a MiG-21 in an aerial combat and captured its pilot, who was handed over to India on March 1.
Notre-Dame esplanade to get ‘ephemeral’ wooden cathedral
Paris: Catholic worshippers feeling orphaned by the fire that ravaged part of Notre-Dame will be welcomed in an “ephemeral cathedral” of wood in front of the Paris monument until it reopens, Notre-Dame’s chief priest said Thursday. Speaking to France’s CNews television channel Monsignor Patrick Chauvet said: “We mustn’t say ‘the cathedral is closed for five years and that’s it’.
To give the faithful somewhere to congregate next to Notre-Dame, he suggested: “Can I not build an ephemeral cathedral on the esplanade (in front of Notre-Dame)?” Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo had backed the idea and agreed to give over part of the esplanade to the church for a wooden structure, he said. Chauvet said the wooden “cathedral” would host priests who could address some of the millions of tourists who throng the original 850-year-old Gothic cathedral each year. On Tuesday, President Emmanuel Macron said he aimed to rebuild Notre-Dame within five years.
The government said it would launch an international architecture contest to replace the burning steeple which came crashing down during Monday’s inferno, along with a large part of the roof. Chauvet said the surrogate “cathedral” would be erected quickly, as soon as the esplanade reopens after work to secure the cathedral is completed. The fire is believed to have been accidentally triggered by restoration work which was being carried out on the steeple.
YouTube accidentally links Notre-Dame fire to 9/11 terror attacks
Singapore: A YouTube fact-check feature which is meant to tackle misinformation accidentally tagged live broadcasts of a fire engulfing Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris with details about the 9/11 terror attacks.
The blaze erupted in the UNESCO world heritage landmark in the French capital Monday, sending its spire and roof crashing to the ground as flames and clouds of smoke billowed into the sky. The fire, which at one point threatened the entire edifice, was brought under control early Tuesday about nine hours after it broke out. News outlets began live-streaming broadcasts of the fire on YouTube, but below some of the clips an unusual text box popped up — an entry from the Encyclopedia Britannica about the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.
In those attacks, Al-Qaida militants hijacked two passenger planes and flew them into the towers of the World Trade Center in New York, causing them to collapse, while a third hijacked jet smashed into the Pentagon. Some 3,000 people were killed. A spokesman for YouTube, which is owned by Google, said the text box feature had been disabled for live streams related to the fire. “These panels are triggered algorithmically and our systems sometimes make the wrong call,” the spokesman told AFP. “We are deeply saddened by the ongoing fire at the Notre-Dame Cathedral.”
Also Read: Notre Dame cathedral fire under control, main structure saved
The feature, which also links to other outside sources such as Wikipedia, was introduced last year after YouTube faced intense criticism over videos containing misleading and extreme content. The panels are supposed to combat misleading videos about well-known events — such as the first successful manned landing on the moon — by presenting the true facts, in a bid to stop the spread of conspiracy theories.
YouTube, Facebook and Twitter came under fire last month after a horrific video of a gunman’s deadly rampage at two New Zealand mosques was circulated on the sites. The Christchurch massacre, in which 50 people were killed, was live-streamed on Facebook, which moved to block the footage. But it was then shared repeatedly on the other two sites.
Notre Dame cathedral fire under control, main structure saved
Paris: A devastating fire that engulfed the Notre Dame, the 850-year-old Unesco world heritage landmark in Paris, was brought under control on Tuesday, while the Cathedral’s main structure as well as its two towers has been saved, the city’s fire brigade has confirmed.
“The fire is completely under control. It is partially extinguished, there are residual fires to put out,” the Guardian quoted a fire brigade spokesman as saying on Tuesday morning. Some 500 firefighters worked to prevent one of the bell towers from collapsing, according to fire chief Jean-Claude Gallet, adding that several invaluable artefacts had also been rescued from the burning cathedral. The fire began at around 6.30 p.m., on Monday and quickly caused the collapse of the Cathedral’s spectacular Gothic spire and the destruction of its roof structure, which dated back to the 13th century.
Consumed by flames, the spire leaned to one side and fell onto the burning roof as horrified onlookers watched. Parisians raised their voices in song on Monday night outside the burning Cathedral which is one of the city’s most revered historic sites. French President Emmanuel Macron praised firefighters for saving the Cathedral’s iconic facade and towers, saying “the worst has been avoided”, CNN reported. Yet he lamented the damage already done to “the Cathedral of all French people”. He asked the country to commit to rebuilding Notre Dame together, announcing an international fundraising campaign to raise money for the repairs.
“Notre Dame is our history, it’s our literature, it’s our imagery. It’s the place where we live our greatest moments, from wars to pandemics to liberations… This history is ours. And it burns. It burns and I know the sadness so many of our fellow French feel.” A site taking online donations has been launched. The cause of the fire is not yet clear. Officials have said that it could be linked to the renovation work that began after cracks appeared in the stone, sparking fears the structure could become unstable, the BBC reported.
Paris prosecutor’s office said it had opened an inquiry into “accidental destruction by fire”. Several churches around Paris rang their bells in response to the blaze, which happened as Catholics celebrate Holy Week. The Vatican said the Holy See learned with “shock and sadness the news of the terrible fire that has devastated the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, symbol of Christianity, in France and in the world”.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has offered her support to the people of France, calling Notre-Dame a “symbol of French and European culture”. UK Prime Minister Theresa May said in a tweet: “My thoughts are with the people of France tonight and with the emergency services who are fighting the terrible blaze at Notre-Dame cathedral”. US President Donald Trump said it was “horrible to watch” the fire and suggested that “flying water tankers” could be used to extinguish the blaze. UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres said: “Horrified by the pictures coming from Paris with the fire engulfing Notre Dame Cathedral – a unique example of world heritage that has stood tall since the 14th century…”
The Notre Dame’s foundation stone was laid in 1163 by Pope Alexander III, and the Cathedral was completed in the 13th century. Today, with its towers, spire, flying buttresses and stained glass, Notre Dame is considered a feat of architecture as well as a major religious and cultural symbol of France. It is one of Paris’ most popular attractions, drawing an estimated 13 million visitors a year.
It was the site of Napoleon Bonaparte’s coronation as Emperor in 1804. The central spire was built in the 19th century amid a broad restoration effort, partly buoyed by the success of Victor Hugo’s novel “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame” in 1831. The Cathedral also houses the grand organ, one of the world’s most famous musical instruments, as well as the Crown of Thorns, a relic of the passion of Christ.
World’s first armed amphibious drone boat from China: Report
Beijing: China has successfully tested the world’s first armed amphibious drone boat which the Chinese military analysts claimed could be used in land assault operations and is capable of forming a combat triad with aerial drones and other drone ships, according to a media report. The drone ship, named Marine Lizard, has successfully passed delivery checks. Having a maximum operation range of 1,200 km, the Marine Lizard can be remotely controlled via satellites, an official said.
In ship form, the 12-meter-long Marine Lizard is a trimaran propelled by a diesel-powered hydrojet and can reach a maximum speed of 50 knots while maintaining stealth, it said. When approaching land, the amphibious drone ship can release four continuous track units hidden under its belly, and travel at 20 km an hour on land, an official said.
The Marine Lizard’s payloads include an electro-optical system and a radar system. In the weapon department, it is equipped with two machine guns and a vertical launching system for anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles, the official said. It can autonomously sail, avoid obstacles and plan routes, he said. This amphibious drone boat is suitable for island assault operations as a swarm of such drone ships could lead an attack following a first wave of artillery and air strikes, an anonymous military expert told daily.
Approaching land from the sea is a dangerous task, and the Marine Lizard can take advantage of its unmanned nature to discover enemy positions and provide suppressive fire as troops follow, the expert said. The drone boat is also a great choice for coastal defence.
Iran: Death toll in floods rises to 76
Tehran: At least 76 people were killed while hundreds were left injured due to the recent flooding in Iran. Officials have warned that even though floodwaters are receding, flood alerts remain in place across a few provinces, according to Xinhua.
There is a possibility that flash floods could still affect the southeastern provinces of Fars, Hormozgan, Sistan, and Baluchestan as well as the northeastern regions of South Khorasan and Khorasan Razavi provinces, Ahad Vazifeh, an official with Iran’s Meteorological Organization, said.
Apart from this, Khuzestan may be hit with a fresh spell of rains, he added. 25 out of 31 provinces in Iran have been affected by floods since March 19, with thousands of people being displaced from their homes.
Times Square inundates with Sikh culture as thousands tie turban on Turban Day
New York: A sea of colours and tradition of the Sikh culture inundated Times Square, the crossroads of the world, as members of the community tied turbans to thousands of New Yorkers and tourists in an annual fixture aimed at spreading awareness about the Sikh identity. Sikh organisation ‘The Sikhs of New York’ organised the annual Turban Day on Saturday in association with the Consulate General of India in New York. This year’s Turban Day also marked the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev and the festival of Baisakhi.
Deputy Consul General of India in New York Shatrughna Sinha said the Consulate is commemorating the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak with Gurubani recital programmes. As part of the commemoration of Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary as well as to mark Baisakhi, this year the Consulate associated with The Sikhs of NY on Turban Day, Sinha said. “This is a great environment and ambience and the crowd is fantastic,” Sinha said, sporting a blue turban as he took part in the commemoration. “There is no better way than this to raise awareness about Sikhism as well as propagating the message of universal brotherhood and humanity of Guru Nanak Dev ji,” he told PTI.
Turban Day was started in 2013 at Baruch College to promote and educate people about the Sikh religion and identity. Sikhs of New York co-founder Chanpreet Singh said in the seven years that Turban Day has been organised in the city, there has increasingly been awareness about Sikhism, not just through people who are getting turbans tied but by the thousands others on social media following the event. He said more than 38,000 turbans have been tied in the past seven years since the day started being organised in the city.
“Technically, by tying one turban we are educating 200 people who are following it on social media,” Singh said, adding that number of volunteers signing up for the event has increased multifold over the years. “We have people coming from California, Canada, Europe and some from India, especially planning their trip to the US around Turban Day,” he said. This year, the organisation also honoured Sikh personnel serving in the US Army and Navy. Singh said the organisation will continue in its endeavours such as Turban Day till “the day I walk on the streets and people don’t give me two looks,” noting that there is need to continue to spread awareness about the Sikh culture the organisation plans to take Turban Day to other cities across the US.
“The celebration was very special and important for us because we not only celebrated Turban Day, like every year, but this year it fell on Baisakhi Day and we are marking it with 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, our first Guru,” he said. Gabriella Vinetti and her friend Eri Banjahi from Argentina clicked selfies, donning their bright green and pink turbans. “We wore the turban in solidarity and in respect of another culture,” they said.
Last year, the Sikhs of New York had created a world record for tying thousands of turbans within a few hours on Turban Day. The organisation had won a certificate from the Guinness World Record for the “most turbans tied in 8 hours was achieved by Sikhs of NY (USA) in Times Square in New York, USA on April 7, 2018.” Every year, Turban Day brings together hundreds of volunteers from the the Sikh community who tie colourful turbans on New Yorkers, tourists and Americans from across the country visiting Times Square. While tying the turbans, they also talk about the Sikh heritage, identity and make those getting the turbans tied aware of the culture.
The event has been aimed at spreading awareness among Americans and other nationalities about the Sikh religion and its articles of faith, especially the turban, which has often been misconceived and misidentified, particularly in the years since the 9/11 terror attacks. The five-hour long event included cultural and musical performances by young children.
Nepal: 3 killed, 5 injured in plane crash in Lukla airport
Kathmandu: At least three people were killed when a small plane veered off the runway while taking off and hit two parked helicopters at Lukla airport in Nepal’s Everest region on Sunday, officials said. The incident occurred as the plane skidded off the runway while preparing to take off and hit helicopters parked at the Lukla-based helipad which is 30-50 metres from the runway, the Kathmandu Post reported. Co-pilot S Dhungana and Assistant Sub-Inspector Ram Bahadur Khadka, who was stationed at the helipad, were killed in the incident, Tribhuvan International Airport spokesperson Pratap Babu Tiwari was quoted as saying by the paper.
Assistant Sub-Inspector Rudra Bahadur Shrestha, who was injured in the incident and airlifted to Kathmandu, died while undergoing treatment at Grande Hospital, the paper said, citing hospital sources. Captain RB Rokaya who was flying the aircraft and Captain Chet Gurung of Manang Air, who was in the helicopter, were injured in the incident. They are receiving treatment at Grande Hospital and are said to be out of danger, it said. The uncontrolled aircraft had hit the helicopters of Manang Air and Shree Air.
Elon Musk makes big claims about Tesla Model 3 on Twitter
San Francisco: The body and drive unit of Electric Vehicle (EV)-maker Tesla’s Model 3 Sedan can last upto 1 million miles while the battery can last up to 500,000 miles, said company Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk. “Model 3 drive unit and body is designed like a commercial truck for a million mile life. Current battery modules should last 300k to 500k miles (1,500 cycles). Replacing modules (not pack) will only cost $5k to $7k,” Musk wrote on Twitter on Saturday.
The billionaire made this claim to his 25.7 million followers in context Model 3’s value being used in an autonomous ride-hailing fleet. “What he meant is that the vehicles would become revenue-generating assets as they integrate this autonomous ride-hailing fleet, which has been dubbed the ‘Tesla Network’,” Electrek reported. The value of the Model 3 on the Tesla Network would depend on how many miles it can put in it, which according to Musk is up to 1 million miles within two or three battery module replacements.
Even though Tesla would not replace a whole battery pack, the company is willing to offer battery module replacements for between $5,000 and $7,000. “Assuming that $5,000 to $7,000 for the battery modules means the cost for the Standard Range Plus and Long Range battery modules, it would mean a cost of roughly $100 per kWh at the battery module level, which makes sense,” the report added. “At a value of $1 per mile, we are talking about a potential of at least $300,000 in revenue before having to possibly replace the battery modules.”
The EV-maker recently announced big price cuts for its high-end Model S after shifting to online-only sales. The long-range Model S is now priced $83,000 down from $96,000 before savings. The huge price cut by the EV maker comes less than two months after it decided to stop manufacturing Model S with a 75kWh battery pack, opting instead to only sell versions with a 100kWh pack.