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Cab driver leaves Indian-descent woman to die after the vehicle catches fire

The driver was seen weaving in and out of traffic before his 2007 Infiniti G35 car hit the road divider and caught fire, according to witnesses.

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The Indian descent woman was left inside the car and burnt to death (Representative image) Piaxabay

New York, October 15, 2017 : A woman of Indian-descent was left to die in a car by the driver who left her behind after the vehicle caught fire in New York, according to media reports.

Firefighters found the charred body of 25-year-old Harleen Grewal early Friday morning, the New York Daily News reported.

The driver of the car, Saeed Ahmad, 23, whom the daily described as “heartless”, flagged down a taxi near the scene of the incident to go to a hospital.

WABC TV broadcast a chilling video showing Ahmad stopping the taxi saying, “Can I get a ride?” while the vehicle was in flames.

The police caught him at the hospital, where he was being treated for burns to his arms and legs, and charged him with homicide and several other offences relating to the incident.

His driving licence had been suspended prior to the accident making it illegal for him to drive.

Police sources told the New York Daily News that Ahmad had a few drinks before the crash but a blood test showed he was not legally drunk.

He was seen weaving in and out of traffic before his 2007 Infiniti G35 car hit the road divider and caught fire, according to witnesses.

Ahmad told the police that he was dating Grewal, the daughter of Punjabi immigrants.

Ahmad’s brother, Waheed, claimed that he had tried to rescue Grewal. (IANS)

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Millennials join FIRE Revolution to make more Savings but Retire Early

Realising that economic slowdown can hit them anytime, millennials in India have joined the global FIRE movement

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FIRE (financial independence, retire early) believes in saving early, living in a financially-restricted regimen and keeping a substantial portion of its income aside in order to take control of things after retiring young. Pixabay

At 23, Bhopal-based Prateek Jain is the CEO of lifestyle startup Sttago and part of FIRE. By some smart saving and wise investment, he aims to retire by the age of 35.

His plan is simple: save early aggressively and invest wisely, cut down on expensive lifestyle and put a significant chunk of the income into instruments that will give timely returns towards his golden years.

He feels proud to be part of the global community of FIRE (financial independence, retire early) that believes in saving early, living in a financially-restricted regimen and keeping a substantial portion of its income aside in order to take control of things after retiring young.

“I want to experience life in its myriad forms rather than waiting for a seven-day family holiday in an entire year. I want to do things I am passionate about, and not be constrained by funds which most of us face in our golden years,” Jain told IANS.

The thumb rule is to spend only on bare, basic necessities and save the rest. “I spend on basics like fuel, food and simple living. One has to stop living a luxurious life in the initial years to enjoy later,” he said.

Gone are the days when young adults used to spend all their earnings in partying and shopping. Realising that economic slowdown can hit them anytime, millennials in India have joined the global FIRE movement.

It was popularised by husband-wife duo Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung, who decided to retire at 31 to traverse the world, and has now reached India.

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Realising that economic slowdown can hit them anytime, millennials in India have joined the global FIRE movement. Pixabay

FIRE is dedicated to a wishlist of extreme saving and investment that allows proponents to retire far earlier than traditional budgets and retirement plans would allow.

The idea of the movement was initiated by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez in their 1992 best-selling book “Your Money or Your Life”, and seconded by Jacob Lund Fisker in his 2010 book “Early Retirement Extreme”.

These works provide the basic template of combining simple living with income from investments to achieve financial independence.

FIRE is achieved through aggressive saving, far more than the standard 10-15 per cent typically recommended by financial planners.

Today, several young Indians are joining the movement, sharing their stories on various social media platforms and encouraging others to be part of the revolution.

Ashish Sawlani, 22, who is from Raebareli and working at a start-up in Gurugram, said the millennial revolution is a solid retirement strategy.

“It lays emphasis on the idea of ‘savings’, as our parents taught us. I am making use of this strategy and trying to cut down my daily expenses like travelling and ordering food online. I have shifted to public transport and I cook my own food. It is working for me,” Sawlani told IANS.

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FIRE is achieved through aggressive saving, far more than the standard 10-15 per cent typically recommended by financial planners. Pixabay

“I can’t see myself working at age 50 and still struggling for financial independence. I want a peaceful retirement as early as 40 so that I can enjoy the rest of my life,” he said.

Sarah (32), who owns a cafe in Old Manali, said, one cannot retire from what one loves to do.

But early investment planning for the long-term is the key, said Jain.

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“You need to invest in a business that earns money for you, even if you stop working after some years. Initially, you need to give everything you’ve got. Invest in mutual funds and assets which gives you passive income on a regular basis,” he suggested. (IANS)

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Spacecraft Test Runs into Serious Problems, Smoke All Over SpaceX in Florida

"Ensuring that our systems meet rigorous safety standards and detecting (issues) like this prior to flight are the main reasons why we test"

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Federal oversight authorities warned NASA last year that more delays could leave US astronauts stranded if the new capsules were not ready to fly in 2019. Pixabay

Thick plumes of smoke rose over a SpaceX facility in Florida during a test fire of a Crew Dragon spacecraft and the issue was serious, it could derail plans to fly astronauts aboard the capsule later this year, the media reported.

SpaceX, which was founded by billionaire businessman Elon Musk in 2002, said the craft was undergoing a “series of engine tests” at a facility in Cape Canaveral on Saturday, and something went wrong during the final stretch, CNN reported.

SpaceX will work with NASA to determine what caused the issue. No injuries were reported.

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The US has not had the technology to fly humans to orbit since the space shuttle programme ended in 2011. Meanwhile, NASA has paid Russia about $80 million per seat to send astronauts to the International Space Station aboard Soyuz capsules. Pixabay

“Ensuring that our systems meet rigorous safety standards and detecting (issues) like this prior to flight are the main reasons why we test,” SpaceX said in a statement.

Crew Dragon is already overdue and more delays could make things tricky for NASA.

It was scheduled to conduct a key test of its emergency abort system in June. And its first crewed mission, which will carry astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, was slated for July, though NASA recently said that timeline was under review.

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Federal oversight authorities warned NASA last year that more delays could leave US astronauts stranded if the new capsules were not ready to fly in 2019. Pixabay

The US has not had the technology to fly humans to orbit since the space shuttle programme ended in 2011. Meanwhile, NASA has paid Russia about $80 million per seat to send astronauts to the International Space Station aboard Soyuz capsules.

NASA has also decided to ask the private sector to design and build a new generation of spacecrafts.

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SpaceX and Boeing, which is building a vehicle called Starliner, were awarded contracts worth up to $2.6 billion and $4.2 billion, respectively, in 2014. Both capsules were supposed to start flying in 2017, but they have been hampered with delays.

Federal oversight authorities warned NASA last year that more delays could leave US astronauts stranded if the new capsules were not ready to fly in 2019. (IANS)

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Notre Dame Cathedral Will Be Rebuilt ‘Within 5 Years’ As Fire Causes Major Damage

The medieval Catholic cathedral is one of the most visited historical monuments in Europe, welcoming millions of people each year. It dates to the 12th century and is famous for featuring in Victor Hugo's classic novel, "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame."

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Experts inspect the damaged Notre Dame cathedral after the fire in Paris, April 16, 2019, assessing the blackened shell of Paris' iconic cathedral to establish next steps to save what remains after a devastating fire destroyed much of the almost 900-year-old building. VOA

French President Emmanuel Macron promised Tuesday to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral “within five years” after a fire caused extensive damage to the Parisian landmark.

French President Emmanuel Macron addresses the French nation following a massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral, at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, 16 April 2019.
French President Emmanuel Macron addresses the French nation following a massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral, at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, 16 April 2019. VOA

Macron said in a nationwide televised address the 850-year-old structure would be rebuilt “even more beautifully” and called on citizens to “change this disaster into an opportunity to come together.”

The fire is out and experts are assessing the damage. Paris fire department spokesman Gabriel Plus said building specialists and architects are “surveying the movement of structures and extinguishing smoldering residues.”

Men work on a statue on a facade at Notre-Dame Cathedral after a massive fire devastated large parts of the gothic structure in Paris, France, April 16, 2019.
Men work on a statue on a facade at Notre-Dame Cathedral after a massive fire devastated large parts of the gothic structure in Paris, France, April 16, 2019. VOA

Although the fire caused massive damage to the famed Gothic edifice in central Paris, the city’s fire chief, Jean-Claude Gallet, said firefighters saved the building’s two iconic towers and stone structure.

The flames, which at one point burned 10 meters into the air above the roof, destroyed much of the cathedral’s roof and caused its central spire to collapse.

The Notre Dame Cathedral spire collapses during a fire in Paris, France April 15, 2019 in this image taken from social media video. (Instagram/@nicolas_marang)
The Notre Dame Cathedral spire collapses during a fire in Paris, France April 15, 2019 in this image taken from social media video. (Instagram/@nicolas_marang) VOA

Cathedral spokesman Andre Finot said Monday the entire wooden interior of the cathedral was likely to have been destroyed.

Paris officials said firefighters worked to save as much art work and holy objects from the 12th-century cathedral as they could. Paris Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Gregoire said pieces of the purported Crown of Christ was salvaged and transported to “a secret” location.

The world-famous 18th century organ also survived, officials said, as did statues removed just days ago for restoration and other treasures inside the cathedral.

Consultant Patrick Palem (R) checks statues that were removed from the spire of Paris' Notre-Dame Cathedral in a workshop at the Socra company for restoration work in Marsac-sur-L'Isle, France, April 16, 2019.
Consultant Patrick Palem (R) checks statues that were removed from the spire of Paris’ Notre-Dame Cathedral in a workshop at the Socra company for restoration work in Marsac-sur-L’Isle, France, April 16, 2019. VOA

It is not clear what caused the blaze, although fire officials said the blaze may be linked to renovation work at the building.

Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz said 50 investigators are involved in the “long and complex” effort to find the cause. Heitz said investigators would interview workers from five companies working on the restoration. A spokesman for one of the companies, Julien le Bras, said “all the security measures were respected” by its 12 workers who he said are “participating in the investigation with no hesitation.”

A Vatican statement expressing shock and sadness and called Notre Dame a “symbol of Christianity in France and in the world.” Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said Tuesday on Twitter Pope Francis is praying “for those who are trying to cope with this dramatic situation.”

Smoke rises around the alter in front of the cross inside the Notre Dame Cathedral as a fire continues to burn in Paris, France, April 16, 2019.
Smoke rises around the alter in front of the cross inside the Notre Dame Cathedral as a fire continues to burn in Paris, France, April 16, 2019. VOA

The fire occurred during the holiest week of the year for Christians. It occurred less than a week before Easter and during Catholic Holy Week commemorations. An Easter Mass had been planned at the cathedral on Sunday.

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The medieval Catholic cathedral is one of the most visited historical monuments in Europe, welcoming millions of people each year. It dates to the 12th century and is famous for featuring in Victor Hugo’s classic novel, “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.” (VOA)