The Indians were taken hostage in ISIS-held Mosul in 2014; however, no demand has been made so far for their release
The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said over 100,000 civilians were trapped there and the ISIS was using kids as human shields
New Delhi, June 16, 2017: Three years after they went missing, the government on Friday said that 39 Indian construction workers mostly from Punjab, who were taken hostage by ISIS terrorists in Iraq’s war-torn Mosul, were alive and “everything possible” was being done to ensure their safe return.
“The information we have so far is that they are alive because we have no other information to prove that they are not alive,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay told reporters.
He said the government was in touch with all the countries “which can help us and are helping us in this matter”.
“What steps have been taken in this regard are sensitive. I do not want to say anything more about it,” Mr Baglay said, adding that the government “is doing everything possible” in this matter.
The Indians were taken hostage in ISIS-held Mosul in 2014. However, no demand has been made so far for their release.
Earlier this month, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met the family members of the 39 Indian men in Delhi and told them that a source of the government in Iraq had information about a group of Indian men holed up in a “church” in Mosul that is yet to be liberated from ISIS terrorists.
Mosul is witnessing one of the fiercest fights between ISIS terrorists and joint Iraqi and US forces. The US-backed military offensive to recapture the Iraqi city entered its ninth month on Friday.
ISIS terrorists overran the city in 2014 and imposed brutal Islamist law there. The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said over 100,000 civilians were trapped there and the ISIS was using kids as human shields. (IANS)
Washington, October 20, 2017 : North Korea is likely just months away from being capable of striking the United States with a nuclear missile, according to two top U.S. officials.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo told a forum in Washington on Thursday he is “deeply worried” about the advancing threat from North Korea and the possibility it could spark a nuclear arms race across East Asia.
“We ought to behave as if we are on the cusp of them achieving that objective,” Pompeo said when asked about Pyongyang’s pursuit of missile technology that could launch a warhead to targets in the U.S.
“They are so far along in that it’s now a matter of thinking about how do you stop the final step?” he added.
McMaster: We’re running out of time
U.S. National Security Adviser, Gen. H.R. McMaster said later on Thursday that Washington was racing to resolve the situation, short of using military force.
“We’re not out of time but we’re running out of time,” McMaster said, speaking at the same event. “Accept and deter is unacceptable.”
The comments by Pompeo and McMaster come as tensions between the U.S. and North Korea have been steadily rising following Pyongyang’s latest nuclear test last month, it’s sixth overall, and repeated tests of what intelligence officials have assessed to be both intermediate and long range ballistic missiles.
But despite warning that North Korea is just months away from being able to target the U.S., the CIA’s Pompeo cautioned there are still questions about just how “robust” the North Korea nuclear threat has become, and whether Pyongyang will be able to deliver multiple nuclear warheads to nuclear targets.
“There’s always a risk. Intelligence is imperfect,” Pompeo said, adding there is evidence Pyongyang may be getting help from Iran, citing “deep conventional weapons ties as between the two countries.”
He also warned that each North Korean test makes an arms race ever more likely.
“You watch as North Korea grows ever closer to having its capability perfected, you can imagine others in the region also thinking that they well may need that capability,” he said.
Putin suggests force won’t work against North Korea
On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned against the use of force to eliminate the North Korean nuclear threat, suggesting it would not work.
“Talks about a preventative, disarming strike — and we hear both hints and open threats — this is very dangerous,” Putin said during a speaking engagement in Sochi.
“Who knows what and where is hidden in North Korea? And whether all of it can be destroyed with one strike, I doubt it,” he said. “I’m almost sure it is impossible.”
North Korean officials have also repeatedly warned the U.S. against any provocations.
Pyongyang’s deputy envoy to the United Nations, Kim In Ryong, warned Monday that war could break out at any moment.
Other North Korean officials have accused the U.S. of making preparations for war, citing the presence of the USS Ronald Reagan, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, conducting exercises to the east of the Korean Peninsula.
China, October 16, 2017: An out of control Chinese space station, weighing 8.5 tonnes, is falling towards the Earth and will crash land on the surface within a few months, experts say.
The Chinese space laboratory, Tiangong-1, or the ‘Heavenly Palace’ was launched in 2011, symbolic of the hopes of the Chinese ambitions in space. It was also believed to be a stepping stone to establish China as a global ‘space’ superpower.
Tiangong-1 was used for multiple space missions, some of which even included astronauts – the space station was also visited by the first female astronaut from China, Liu Yang, in 2012.
Harvard astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell has now revealed that the space station is descending quickly to the earth and will crash on the planet’s surface ‘soon’.
The ‘Out of Control’ Tiangong-1
Scientists had long speculated the strange behavior of Tiangong-1. Finally, in 2016, officials at China’s CNSA space agency had confirmed that they had lost complete manned control of Tiangong-1 and that the space station would now be descending towards the Earth.
According to The Guardian, McDowell was quoted as saying “(we) expect it will come down a few months from now – late 2017 or early 2018.”
Where Will Tiangong-1 Crash?
At the moment, is practically impossible for scientists and engineers to confirm about the precise landing site as the capsule is completely beyond human control.
Researchers believe the descent is now going to be guided and influenced by the wind.
The industry enthusiast Jonathan McDowell had previously told The Guardian that even a slight change in the atmospheric conditions could push the landing site “from one continent to the next.”
Does The Crash-Landing of Tiangong-1 Pose A Threat To Life?
Tiangong-1 is expected to hit the Earth’s surface is late 2017 or early 2018.
Scientists are also examining the possibility of the debris from the craft causing casualties upon landing. While most of the craft is expected to burn up in the atmosphere, parts weighing as much as 100kg can be expected to crash on the Earth’s surface.
The possibility of the debris from Tiangong-1 falling in populated regions cannot be precisely calculated, however authorities believe that is likely to not happen.
In May this year, China had additionally informed the United Nations “Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space” that the descent of the space craft will be closely monitored and the United Nations will be duly informed when it takes it final plunge.
Tiangong-1 will not be the first to descend from the space with parts of the debris falling on the Earth. Previously,
1979: NASA’s gigantic Skylab space station, weighing 77-tonne uncontrollably shot down to the Earth with large chunks of the craft landing near Perth in Western Australia.
1991: Soviet Union’s Salyut 7 space station, weighing 20-tonne had crashed to the Earth while it was still docked to another spacecraft called Cosmos 1686 and had broken up over Argentina, throwing debris all over the town Capitán Bermúdez.
Tiangong-1 had been launched on 29 September, 2011, as a long-term mission, with an aim to establish a Chinese outpost in space. However, the out of control Chinese space station is now expected to crash land on the Earth ‘soon’.
Somalia, October 15, 2017 : Somalia’s president has declared three days of national mourning following a deadly truck bombing Saturday in the capital, Mogadishu, which left many people dead and dozens injured, including a VOA reporter.
President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo said the country “will observe three days of mourning for innocent victims and flags will be flown at half-mast.”
Farmaajo also called on citizens to unite against terror, saying it is “time to unite and pray together. Terror won’t win.”
Earlier Saturday, the blast occurred near Zobe, a busy intersection in Somalia’s capital, killing more than 50 people, health officials and witnesses said.
Mahad Salad Adan, a Somali lawmaker who sustained a slight wound from the blast, told VOA that more than 100 people, most of them civilians, were killed in the explosion. He said more 200 others were wounded as Mogadishu hospitals struggled to treat the wounded.
Abdulkaidr Mohamed Abdulle, a VOA Somali correspondent in Mogadishu, was among the injured. His wife, Samira Abdirahman Sheikh Adam, confirmed to VOA that he had sustained injuries to his neck, head and right hand.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing, but similar attacks have been carried out by the Islamic extremist group al Shabab. The group, which is linked to al-Qaida, is trying to overthrow the government in an effort to establish strict Islamic rule.
The United States and the United Nations strongly condemned Saturday’s blast and offered condolence to the lives lost and those wounded in the attack.
Buildings around the area were leveled by the explosion from a truck bomb, and dozens of destroyed cars littered the streets.
Health officials said Saturday’s bombing was the largest blast in recent memory in Mogadishu. They also called for residents to donate blood to help with the wounded.
“For 10 years, I have been in the emergency service. … I cannot tell the exact death toll, but together I can say we have transported hundreds of people on our 10 ambulances,” said Dr. Abdulkadir Abdirahman Adem, director of the Amin ambulance service. “And economically, I think this is the worst (bombing) ever in Mogadishu in a single day.”
Government soldiers had cordoned off the area, and officials said the death toll is expected to rise as rescue workers find bodies in the rubble.
Most of the victims were civilians. The exact target of the blast remains unclear, though there are several hotels frequented by government officials and members of various diaspora communities.
“This is a disaster. We ask all Somalis to reach us, to help us in the search of dead bodies under the debris. We appeal to the doctors, to those who have digging machines,” Mogadishu Mayor Tabid Abdi Mohamed said on government radio.
Saturday’s blast came hours after al-Shabab militants regained control of Barire, a strategic Somalian town in a farming area along the Shabelle river, 45 kilometers from Mogadishu.
The explosion also comes two days after Somalia’s defense minister and military chief, who were leading the fight against Islamist militants, both resigned from the government, citing personal reasons.
Some analysts believe militants tend to carry out such attacks when there are security lapses.
“The resignation of the country’s defense and military chiefs gave the militants a gab [opening] to carry out such disastrous attack,” said Mogadishu University’s Dr. Abdul Kadir Liban Isse. (VOA)