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Posts Tagged ‘Accident’

The Gods must be crazy: Metal ‘Teletubby head’ falls near Namibian village

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 23, 2011

Namibia, Desert Region : A handout photo provided by the National Forensic Science Institute shows a giant metallic ball of 1,1 metre in diameter weighing some 6 kilograms that fell out of the sky on a remote grassland in Namibia, prompting baffled authorities to contact NASA and the European space agency (ESA) on December 21, 2011. AFP Photo / National Forensic Science Institute)

Mystery surrounds a 13-pound unidentified flying object which fell from the skies in northern Namibia. Despite efforts by researchers to identify its composition and origins, nobody has been able to establish where the metal sphere came from.

Mystery surrounds a 13-pound unidentified flying object which fell from the skies in northern Namibia. Despite efforts by researchers to identify its composition and origins, nobody has been able to establish where the metal sphere came from.

The ball, weighing 13 pounds (5.9 kilograms) and measuring 14 inches (35 centimeters) in diameter hit the ground next to the Namibian village of Omanatunga in the Omunsati region in the north of the country.

Locals reported hearing a series of loud explosions before the sphere was found by a farmer sometime between November 15 and November 20. The metal ball was found some 60 feet (1.5 meters) away from a small crater it is assumed to have created when it fell.

Ever since, local officials and researchers have been kept busy investigating the origins and make-up of the mysterious ball. Local police chief Vilho Hifindaka was quick to calm everyone down by saying the object did not pose any danger, as it was hollow inside.

The director of the Namibian National Forensic Science Institute, Paul Vidik, said the two sides of the ball appear to be welded together and that the sphere contains a metal alloy used in spaceships. He rejected the idea that it could be an extraterrestrial object and said such findings are commonplace throughout the southern hemisphere – in South America, Africa and Australia.   Read the rest of this entry »

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Cyber war leads to capture of CIA spy in Iran

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 19, 2011

A grab taken from a video aired by the official Iranian state TV on December 18, 2011 shows one of several photos of a young man alleged to be a captured CIA spy of Iranian origin confessing to a "mission" to infiltrate the intelligence ministry, wearing a traditional Arab garb (AFP Photo)

The budding cyber war between America and Iran could be quickly transcending off of computer networks and into the real world, with the US allegedly putting boots on the ground. Iranian state television is reporting that they’ve captured a CIA spy.

Overseas media reported over the weekend that Amir Mirza Hekmati, a 20-something American man of Iranian heritage, was abducted by Iranian forces, to whom he confessed that he has been in cahoots with the Central Intelligence Agency.

According to a taped confession offered up by Hekmati, the spy was apprehended by Iranian intelligence after being dispatched into the country from a US base in neighboring Afghanistan. The spy says he had been working out of Bagram near the country’s border with Iran in preparation for a CIA-led mission that has been years in the making, but despite assurance from American authorities that his cover would not be blown, Iranian intelligence intercepted him and is now holding him captive.

As RT reported last week, Israeli news agency Debka is suggesting that Iranian intelligence has managed to not just crack into the computer networks of at least one American spy drone but also CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia outside of Washington DC. Following the downing of a top-secret RQ-170 Sentinel stealth drone aircraft over Iran earlier this month, military officials speaking under condition of anonymity to Debka say that such a take-down could only have been conducted by infiltrating the command center inside the actual CIA compound.

Insiders suggest that it would take the exact coordinates and times of the dispatched drone for Iranian intelligence to hijack the craft, which went down on December 4. With Hekmati now being apprehended after a decade of briefing by way of the Department of Defense, it only further establishes that Iran has indeed infiltrated the American intelligence community, causing concern for all involved that the cyber war between nations is quickly escalating to a battle involving not just robotic planes but soldiers, spies and international, undercover attacks. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pakistan to down American drones, US promises more strikes

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 12, 2011

Pakistani paramilitary soldiers arrive to cordon off an area during an operation against criminal gangs in a troubled area of Karachi (AFP Photo / RIZWAN TABASSUM)

The Pakistani military are under orders to take down any UAV they locate in the country’s air space. So far, the only drones making incursions into Pakistani skies have been US Predators used to attack Taliban insurgents.

In a speech to troops on the border, Pakistan’s Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kiani told them to use all means at their disposal to give a “shattering answer” to any aggression – whatever the price or consequences.

For his part, the Commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, American General John R. Allen, said he did not rule out the possibility of a repeat of last month’s NATO strike on Pakistani soldiers.

The news appears to be a development of the notorious friendly fire incident on November 26 on Mohmand frontier territory, when 24 border guards died and over 30 were injured after an American assault helicopter entered Pakistan territory and devastated a block post, taking servicemen for mujahedeen.

Pakistan has called the accident a well-planned, premeditated assault, whereas the American command insists the incident was a tragic and unintentional mistake.

As a result of the incident, a love-hate relationship has turned openly hostile. Read the rest of this entry »

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Russia breaks Qatar strings after envoy attack scandal

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 5, 2011

Russia has down-scaled the level of diplomatic relations with Qatar following an incident with the Russian ambassador to the country, who was physically attacked by Qatari customs and security officers.

Ambassador Vladimir Titorenko suffered an assault at Doha Airport on November 29, on his return from a mission to Jordan. While passing through customs control he was attacked by customs security, who made an attempt to confiscate his diplomatic pouch. Titorenko resisted and was beaten, together with two other Russian diplomats who were there to welcome the ambassador.

The next day Russian Foreign Ministry filed a note of protest to Qatar, demanding that official Doha apologize, but no such apology followed.

On December 4, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov officially informed Qatari Prime Minister and concurrently Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al-Thani that Moscow is suspending diplomatic relations with Doha until demands of the Russian side are completed in full. Read the rest of this entry »

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Iran attack: UK embassy stormed in Tehran

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 29, 2011

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Mission to Mars impossible?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 12, 2011

Almost no hope left to save Russia’s Phobos-Grunt interplanetary mission to Mars

Almost no hope left to save Russia’s Phobos-Grunt interplanetary mission to Mars, as attempts to re-establish contact with it failed. Some say, in theory it may be destroyed by a rocket to prevent it falling back to Earth.

Last night witnessed several unsuccessful attempts to contact the spacecraft, a source in the Russian space industry told Interfax. According to the source, specialists are expected to try again on Friday, using Earth-based stations of the European Space Agency and NASA, including those located in South America and Australia.

In the evening further attempts will be made from the Baikonur and Moscow region sites. However, the source admits, the chances of saving the mission are practically equal to zero. Still, not exactly zero – otherwise, Roscosmos says, they would have already stopped trying to save the mission by now.

Following a successful launch from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and the subsequent separation of the Phobos-Grunt probe from its booster rocket on Wednesday morning, its own engine failed to generate two impulses which were necessary to direct the spacecraft onto a path to Mars. As a consequence, the probe became stuck in a low transitory orbit above Earth.

The great fall: where exactly?

So, the latest reports say Phobos-Grunt is most likely to fall back to earth. But where? That is still a question to be answered. If the engine fails to run, the fragments that do not burn in the dense atmosphere, may fall down almost anywhere on Earth – in the US, China or somewhere in Africa or the Middle East, as well as in Europe or Australia, Japan or Russia. That is according to a Russian ballistic expert who spoke to the Ria Novosti news agency on conditions of anonymity. Read the rest of this entry »

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Martian curse: Russian probe may crash in populated area

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 11, 2011

Russian scientists are struggling to get the country’s first interplanetary mission in 15 years back on track. Should they fail, the probe that was due to head to the Martian moon Phobos may well turn into the “most toxic falling satellite ever.”

Following a successful launch from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and the subsequent separation of the Phobos-Grunt probe from its booster rocket on Wednesday morning, its own engine failed to generate two impulses which were necessary to direct the spacecraft onto a path to Mars. As a consequence, the probe became stuck in a low transitory orbit above Earth.

Before scientists from Russia’s space agency Roscosmos could solve the problem and “reboot” the mission, they would have to find out what exactly has caused the failure. Some say a problem with the probe’s software is the likely culprit, while others speculate that the worst-case scenario – a problem with the hardware – is also possible.

Most issues with the software could potentially be fixed remotely. One of the theories put forward suggests that a problem could have occurred with the navigation system. When launched, spacecraft initially use the sun as the main reference point for navigation, switching later to the stars. Therefore, it is thought the probe could have failed to position itself relative to the constellations.

Should that be the case, specialists say, they could try to upload a software package to the probe, and if everything goes fine, the entire mission could still be put back on track, with a minor delay of a few days. Read the rest of this entry »

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Iraqi money: biggest theft in US history

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 14, 2011

If you’re wondering where the government is putting all of their money, so would they.

Auditors investigating a missing $6.6 billion in cash that was airlifted to Iraq to help rebuild the country after the 2003 invasion believe the huge sum may have been stolen.

Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, Stuart Bowen, special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, says the missing $6 billion-plus may be “the largest theft of funds in national history.” 

In May of 2004, the US sent 21 planeloads of cash, shrink-wrapped and hauled in C-130 Hercules cargo crafts, into Iraq. That was the plan, at least. The $12-billion haul was believed to be the biggest international cash airlift of all time, but over half of the loot disappeared. Now federal auditors are saying this might not have been just a tiny accounting error but rather a major heist.

If you’re having a hard time picturing what 21 cargo planes of cash looks like, think about this: that’s enough money to launch around ten US space shuttles. Or, as the LA Times puts it, enough money to run the Chicago Public School system for an entire year.

After being flown out of Andrews Air Force Base, US officials say the money was stored in a basement vault at one of the palaces that once belonged to Saddam Hussein, as well as some military bases. The money was apparently distributed among Iraqi ministries and contractors as part of the Development Fund for Iraq, though the Pentagon has been unable to locate the $6-billion during the last six years. They have contended that they could account for the money if given enough time to leaf through all of their records, but documentation and the denominations have yet to be located. Now auditors are thinking the money was just plain stolen. Read the rest of this entry »

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American suggests building new Japan in Russia

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 21, 2011

An American woman has suggested that the disaster-hit Japanese people buy a part of Russia to build a new country instead of staying in the ruined one.

The Japan Times newspaper has published a letter by Gwendolyn Maddy from Rapid City, Michigan, in which she advises the Japanese to “resettle” Japan on Russia’s territory and use their home island as a resort to visit rather than as a place to live. As Maddy writes in her letter, “Consider a land deal with Russia.”

She apparently fell in love with the Land of the Rising Sun after visiting it some time ago.

“I loved my visit to Japan. I traveled all over the country and enjoyed the ryokans, department stores, shrine cities, bullet train, dolls, Noh and Kabuki, tea ceremony and, most of all, the people. I love Japan! It grieves me that Japan is suffering all these earthquakes and that the country is ruined in the Tohoku-Pacific region, with so much death and destruction,” writes Maddy in her letter.

Maddy also says that “the Japanese deserve a less volatile, dangerous and uncertain place to live,” but because of geological activity, neither earthquakes nor tsunamis will go away.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Fukushima operator to start compensation payouts with $600 million

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 16, 2011

TEPCO will pay up to $12,000 to each of over 50,000 families residing in the 30km evacuation zone around the

Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant (AFP Photo / HO / TEPCO)

disaster-stricken nuclear plant.The company has also decided to dispense a radiation absorbing mineral along the coastline near the facility.

Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO), the operator of the Fukushima-1 nuclear plant, announced on Friday it will advance up to one million Yen of urgent compensatory damages to every household within the 30km evacuation zone around the plant. Families will be entitled to the whole sum, while single residents will receive 750,000 Yen each ($9,000).

The final compensation packages are yet to be defined and the current payouts will not be regarded as a settlement of the damages claims, said TEPCO president Masataka Shimizu, as reported by NHK news agency.

The decision was taken by the company after Banri Kaieda, Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, voiced his recommendation to swiftly provide short-term living expenses to those who have been ordered to evacuate from the hazardous zone or to stay indoors. Most people who chose to flee from the area are now staying in emergency centers and have lost their jobs, according to ITAR-TASS news agency. Read the rest of this entry »

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Breaking ice: trapped ships finally moving

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 9, 2011

An icebreaker off the far eastern coast of Russia, the Admiral Makarov, has started to rescue the second of three ships that had been stuck in freezing waters for a week.

At midnight local time the Admiral Makarov approached the stranded vessel, the Bereg Nadezhdy, and by 2am they had started to navigate out of the icy trap.

“We are following the icebreaker Admiral Makarov. It’s breaking our way through the ice,” the captain of the Bereg Nadezhdy told RT. “We are moving bow to bow, so to speak. We are going slow. It’s a long way and we are at the very beginning. At a distance of one or two miles, there is going to be a thick layer of ice. After we pass that, it’ll be easier. It’s too early to make any predictions.” Read the rest of this entry »

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