Tuesday October 23, 2018

Swim in Chilly waters of Songhua! 33rd Edition of Harbin Ice and Snow Festival kicks off in China

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Snow Carving (Representative image), Pixabay
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Beijing, Jan 4, 2017: The Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, one of the largest in the world, kicked off its 33rd edition on Thursday with hundreds of sculptures, installations and leisure activities and a swimming contest in north-eastern China.

The ice sculptures, with colourful lights, attract millions of visitors to the former Russian colony in Heilongjiang province. Harbin’s temperatures can fall to minus 25 degrees Celsius, Efe news reported.

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The event, which has become among the major winter attractions of the country, is mainly based in the Zhaolin Park, located along the banks of the Songhua river that crosses the city.

It will also display ice sculptures in 21 squares, 32 streets and 56 other points of interest in Harbin. Around 180,000 cubic metres of ice and 150,000 of snow was used for the structures.

The swimming contest was held in the chilly waters of the Songhua, in which some 400 people took part.

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In this edition of the festival, tourists will be able to enjoy giant installations of temples, pagodas, palaces and buddha idols made from ice and snow and light and sound shows on European heritage-themed building installations.

This year the festival, which lasts until the spring heat melts the snow and ice, has also organised a competition in building ice sculptures for international university students. (IANS)

 

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USA: Everything you want to know about Security Clearance; Find out here!

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas.

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Former CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, March 11, 2014. President Donald Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance Wednesday. VOA
Former CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, March 11, 2014. President Donald Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance Wednesday. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan. We take a look at what that means.

What is a security clearance?

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas after completion of a background check. The clearance by itself does not guarantee unlimited access. The agency seeking the clearance must determine what specific area of information the person needs to access.

What are the different levels of security clearance?

There are three levels: Confidential, secret and top secret. Security clearances don’t expire. But, top secret clearances are reinvestigated every five years, secret clearances every 10 years and confidential clearances every 15 years.

All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance. VOA
All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance. VOA

Who has security clearances?

According to a Government Accountability Office report released last year, about 4.2 million people had a security clearance as of 2015, they included military personnel, civil servants, and government contractors.

Why does one need a security clearance in retirement?

Retired senior intelligence officials and military officers need their security clearances in case they are called to consult on sensitive issues.

Also Read: Governments Across The World Request Apple for 30,000 Device Information

Can the president revoke a security clearance?

Apparently. But there is no precedent for a president revoking someone’s security clearance. A security clearance is usually revoked by the agency that sought it for an employee or contractor. All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance, which can include criminal acts, lack of allegiance to the United States, behavior or situation that could compromise an individual and security violations. (VOA)