24 December 2017

World's largest amphibious aircraft takes off in China

The AG600's flight capabilities put all of China's island building projects in the South China Sea well within range
China's home-grown AG600, the world's largest amphibious aircraft in production, took to the skies on Sunday for its maiden flight.

The plane codenamed "Kunlong" according to state news agency Xinhua, took off from the southern city of Zhuhai and landed after roughly an hour long flight.

With a wingspan of 38.8 metres (127 feet) and powered by four turbo-prop engines, the aircraft is capable of carrying 50 people and can stay airborne for 12 hours.

22 December 2017

Modern-day Mowgli: Indian toddler forges bond with monkeys

Samarth Bangari, 2, feeds langur monkeys in a field near his home in Allapur village in Karnataka. He is still too young to talk, but the boy has become a subject of local intrigue after befriending a gang of langur monkeys.
He is still too young to talk, but a two-year-old Indian boy has become a modern-day Mowgli and a subject of local intrigue after befriending a gang of langur monkeys.

Samarth Bangari's unusual friendship was discovered when the youngster was spotted alone in his village in southern India playing with nearly two dozen grey langurs.

The infant's uncle Barama Reddy said it was "strange" for the monkeys to behave like that, and villagers feared the boy would be attacked while his parents worked in a nearby field.

In India, some fear lawmakers are stoking anti-Muslim fervor

In this April 10, 2016, file photo, members of Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), or National Volunteer Organization, stand during Varsh Pratipada festival, the Hindu New Year in Ahmadabad, India. A series of incidents this fall have reinforced fears that anti-Muslim sentiment has hardened in India in the three years since a right-wing Hindu nationalist party led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi swept to power.
A lawmaker from India’s ruling party called the Taj Mahal a blot on Indian culture, saying in October that the famous tourist site had been built by Muslim traitors. In November, another party member offered a bounty for the heads of two people involved in a movie featuring a Muslim sultan. Then, this month, a laborer was hacked to death and set afire while his alleged attacker ranted against Muslims.

The series of incidents this fall has reinforced fears that anti-Muslim sentiment has hardened in India in the three years since a Hindu nationalist party led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi swept to power. Some say it has reached a point where Hindu extremists believe they can get away with murder. Others worry that hard-line Hindu leaders want to rewrite the country’s rich Muslim history.

12 December 2017

India says Chinese construction on river dirtying water

In this Monday, Dec.11, 2017 photo, Indian women wash their clothes in the river Brahmaputra in Gauhati, India. Officials in India’s northeast are complaining that Chinese construction activity on the upper reaches of one of the largest rivers that flows into India are likely turning the waters downstream turbid and unfit for human consumption.
Officials in India’s northeast are complaining that Chinese construction activity on the upper reaches of one of the largest rivers that flows into India are likely turning the waters downstream turbid and unfit for human consumption.

Over the weekend, Sarbananda Sonowal, the chief minister of India’s Assam state, said the Brahmaputra river was contaminated with bacteria and iron, with laboratory tests declaring its waters unfit for human consumption. Sonowal asked that the Indian government take up the matter with Beijing.

2 December 2017

Strong cyclone kills at least 12 in southern India

An Indian fisherman who was stranded in the Arabian Sea is escorted down from an Indian Navy helicopter after being rescued in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala state, India, Friday, Dec.1, 2017. Dozens of fishermen were rescued from the sea which is very rough under the influence of Cyclone Ockhi.
A strong cyclone over the southeast Arabian Sea has triggered heavy rains and strong winds, damaging hundreds of huts, power lines and trees in southern India and killing at least eight people, officials said Saturday.

More than 1,000 people have taken shelter in relief centers in Kanyakumari and Tirunelveli districts in Tamil Nadu state, officials said.

The India Meteorological Department said heavy rains and strong winds lashed Lakshasweep, a group of 36 islands, on Saturday.

6 October 2017

British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro wins Nobel Literature Prize

British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro gestures during a press conference at his home in London, Thursday Oct. 5, 2017. Ishiguro, best known for “The Remains of the Day,” won the Nobel Literature Prize on Thursday, marking a return to traditional literature following two years of unconventional choices by the Swedish Academy for the 9-million-kronor ($1.1 million) prize.
Kazuo Ishiguro, the Japanese-born British novelist who in “The Remains of the Day,” ″Never Let Me Go” and other novels captured memory’s lasting pain and dangerous illusions in precise and elegant prose, won the Nobel Literature Prize.

The selection of the 62-year-old Ishiguro marked a return to citing fiction writers following two years of unconventional choices by the Swedish Academy for the 9-million-kronor ($1.1 million) prize. Friday’s selection also continues a recent trend of recognizing British authors born elsewhere — V.S. Naipaul, the 2001 winner, is from Trinidad and Tobago; the 2007 honoree, Doris Lessing, was a native of Iran who grew up in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).

30 September 2017

Indian theater actor Tom Alter has died at age 67

In this Wednesday, April 18, 2007, file photo, Indian theater personality Tom Alter poses for a photograph in New Delhi, India. Alter, a well-known Indian theater, television and Bollywood actor of American descent, has died in Mumbai Friday after a brief illness. He was 67.
Tom Alter, a well-known Indian theater, television and Bollywood actor of American descent, has died in Mumbai of cancer. He was 67.

A statement issued by his family on Saturday says Alter died Friday night at home with his family around him in Mumbai, India’s financial and entertainment capital. He had been diagnosed with skin cancer last year.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his grief and recalled Alter’s contribution to the film world and theater.

29 September 2017

Stampede on crowded Indian pedestrian bridge leaves 22 dead

A slipper of an injured commuter is seen stuck on the railing of a pedestrian bridge where a stampede took place at the Elphinstone station, in Mumbai, India, Friday, Sept. 29, 2017. The stampede broke out on a crowded pedestrian bridge connecting two railway stations in Mumbai during the Friday morning rush, killing a number of people police said.
A stampede broke out on a crowded pedestrian bridge connecting two railway stations in Mumbai during the Friday morning rush, killing at least 22 people and injuring 32 others, Indian officials said.

Police were investigating what caused the stampede on the bridge, which led some commuters to leap over the railing. Others were crushed or fell underfoot and were trampled.

“There were too many people on the bridge, and the people were in hurry and wanted to move out,” said Brijesh Upadhyay, one of the many caught in the crowd. “There was nobody helping, it was very suffocating, and we just wanted to get out of there — and fell on each other.”