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An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.1 has struck eastern Indonesia.

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The US Geological Survey recorded a 6.1-magnitude earthquake off the coast of Indonesia’s remote Maluku islands on Thursday, but no tsunami warning was given. The powerful earthquake struck at a shallow depth of 31 kilometres (20 miles), about 127 kilometres southwest of Ternate. While shallower quakes are more likely to cause damage, there were no immediate reports of casualties. “There was a decent tremor, but no one panicked,” Ternate resident Nasarudin Amin said. “There have been alerts about the possibility of aftershocks.”

Due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of extreme seismic activity where tectonic plates clash that extends from Japan to Southeast Asia and around the Pacific basin, Indonesia experiences regular quakes.

The 6.2-magnitude quake that hit Indonesia’s Sulawesi island in January killed over 100 people and left thousands homeless, reducing buildings in the seaside city of Mamuju to a tangled mess of twisted metal and chunks of concrete.

In2018, a strong earthquake struck the island of Lombok, followed by several more tremors over the next few weeks, killing over 550 people on the holiday island and nearby Sumbawa. A 7.5-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Palu, Sulawesi island, killed or missing over 4,300 people later that year.

In 2004, a 9.1 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Sumatra, triggering a tsunami that killed 220,000 people across the country, including 170,000 in Indonesia. The Boxing Day tragedy was one of the worst natural disasters in history, raising the ocean floor by 15 metres in some areas.

Orbital debris collides with the International Space Station, piercing the robotic arm.

According to the Canadian Space Agency, a robotic arm of the International Space Station (ISS) is still operational despite being struck by orbital debris last month. On May12, Nasa and the CSA discovered the damage to Canadarm2 during a routine inspection. Both space agencies’ experts captured accurate photographs of the region and measured the effect on one of Canadarm2’s boom segments. The damage was limited to a small portion of the “arm boom and thermal blanket,” they discovered.

“Despite the damage, the arm’s output appears to be unaffected, according to the results of the ongoing study. Only a small part of the arm boom and the thermal blanket are damaged. The CSA said in a statement that a hole of around 5mm in diameter is visible.

According to a study co-authored by the European Space Agency and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, the amount of orbital debris is steadily rising as countries launch more space missions than ever before. The recent dramatic increase in the number of space launches, especially by private companies, has exacerbated the problem of space junk.

Thousands of tonnes of debris, made up of obsolete satellites, rocket bodies, and old satellite pieces, pose a threat to operational satellites, the International Space Station, and potential missions. In a January paper, Nasa estimated that at least 26,000 pieces of space debris the size of a softball or larger could kill a satellite if they collided.Over 500,000 bits of debris the size of a marble, large enough to damage spacecraft or satellites, and over “100 million the size of a grain of salt, large enough to puncture a spacesuit,” according to the study.

“We take the possibility of collisions very seriously. Nasa has a long-standing series of procedures in place to ensure the safety of Station crew members. “All Station partners continue to prioritise the safety of astronauts on board the orbiting laboratory,” according to the CSA.

The US will shortly announce plans to distribute 80 million vaccines.

According to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the US will reveal in the next two weeks how it will market and distribute the 80 million Covid-19 vaccine doses it has promised globally.

Blinken said the administration of US President Joe Biden would concentrate on equal distribution of immunisations rather than tying political strings to the mechanism during a press conference with Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado.

On Monday, Biden announced that his administration would send at least 20 million doses of Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines to other nations, in addition to the 60 million AstraZeneca doses he had already intended to send.

On his first trip to Latin America as US Secretary of State, Blinken said, “We will be announcing the mechanism by which we will distribute and sell those vaccines some time within the next two weeks.” The small number of heart inflammation cases observed mainly in young men who received Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine in Israel were likely related to their vaccination, according to Israel’s health ministry.

At least one shot was given to 75% of the adult population in the United Kingdom.

Three-quarters of the adult population in the United Kingdom has received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, according to British health authorities. According to the data, 75.2 percent of people aged 18 and up received a shot, with 49.5 percent receiving both doses.

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Prices of fuels continue to remain unchanged

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Price of fuels remains unchanged in metro cities

Akankshya Mukherjee, Mumbai Uncensored, 18th January 2022 :

The prices of fuels remained unchanged. The previous month the Delhi government reduced the Value Added Tax (VAT) which was earlier 30% to now 19.4%. Now the price of petrol in the capital is low as by Rs.8.56 per litre.

In Delhi, the price of petrol and diesel respectively are Rs. 95.41 and Rs. 86.67, while in Mumbai it is Rs. 109 and Rs. 94.14. Among all metro cities, Mumbai has the highest rates of fuels. State run Oil Refiners such as Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum, Hindustan Petroleum, have revised their fuel rates on a daily basis, up for considering the crude oil prices in international markets, and the dollar-rupees exchange rate. All changes in price are effective since 6am every day.

Internationally, the oil prices have grown higher since the last few years since the supply was disrupted because of an attack by the Yemen’s Houthi group over UAE which escalated hostilities, the involved ones were an Iraq aligned group and Saudi Arabian that led to a coalition. Brent Crude Futures went up to 0.5% that is $86.92 a barrel and US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures jumped 1 per cent or 81 cents in a settlement to $84.62 made on Friday.

High prices of crude oils have set up new prices of diesel and petrol records high in India since 2018. However, the Petroleum Ministry of India has stated that they have been trying to speak to the key oil exporting countries to increase the supply of crude and lower the official selling price for Asia. All this have breached the previous records, the rise in fuel price in domestic market is mainly because of the global resurgence.

The Oil Marketing Companies (OMC) have the prices of petrol and diesel unchanged in most cities across the country, there are no fluctuations and the prices stagnant for around 2 months now. In the latest round of meetings, Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC+) group the oil producing countries such as Russia, Iraq, UAE, Kuwait have re-affirmed that they will increase total crude oil supply by 4,00,000 barrels only, despite the sharp increase in prices.

India and other countries importing oil have called on OPEC+ for boosting oil supply faster, they have argued that increasing prices of crude oil can lead to undermining the recovery of Global Economy. Low crude oil supply from USA plays a keo role in keeping crude oil prices elevated.

The Central Government had increased levies in 2021 on petrol by Rs 13 per litre and diesel by Rs 16 per litre to shore up revenues due to the pandemic which forced a slowdown in the economic activity.

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Anusha Srinivasan Iyer, Lata Mangeshkar’s spokesperson is disappointed on seeing fake news spread about her health

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The singer was reported to be admitted in ICU after testing positive for COVID

AKANKSHYA MUKHERJEE – Mumbai Uncensored, 17th January 2022:

The legendary singer of Bollywood and many Tollywood songs, Lata Mangeshkar has been reported to be admitted in the Mumbai’s Breach Candy Hospital, she is currently under treatment in the Intensive Care Unit(ICU) after testing positive for COVID as told by the doctor, Dr. Pratit Samdani. The 92 years old singer continues to be under treatment and was also diagnosed with pneumonia. Her spokesperson slams the false news about her deteriorating health conditions and was disturbed by such a news being circulated.

The spokesperson, Anusha Srinivasan Iyer mentions that Lata ji is in a stable condition now and is under the treatment in ICU and observation for a speedy recovery. Also requests people to pray for her recovery. The previous week the veteran singer’s niece, Ms Rachana Shah has told that the singer is doing well and requested the media to provide some privacy to the family and singer.

Lata Mangeshkar ji doesn’t need any introduction, she is one of the musical gems of our country. She has sung songs in Hindi, Marathi, Bangla and various other regional languages. She was honoured with several awards including the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, Bharat Ratna, several National and Filmfare awards. Her last complete album was for the film Veer Zaara in 2004. She has sung over 30,000 songs in several languages till date.

Since 1942, she began her singing career at the age of 13 to support her family post the death of her father, late Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar. He was a classical singer and actor in theatre. Lata ji got her first major break with the song ‘Dil Mera Toda’ from a 1948 film called ‘Majboor’ in Bollywood. Her first major hit was ‘Aayega Aanewaala’ from ‘Mahal’ in 1949.

Her sister, Asha Bhosale spoke in the ETimes and reveals that special puja takes place at their Mumbai home for the singer’s speedy recovery. Lord Shiva Rudras have been placed in the house and pujas were organized for her recovery. The Health Minister of Maharashtra, Shri Rajesh Tope also confirms about her way to recovery and improving health conditions. She has been in the hospital for 28 days and was diagnosed with pneumonia as well. She is fondly known as the ‘Nightingale of India’, has her long-career in Bollywood for about 8 decades now!

Reports say that she has been infected with the virus from one of her home helps. Usha Mangeshkar adds that she was admitted due to health factors.

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The Philippines to acquire $375 million deal to buy BrahMos

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India finally bags a $375 million deal for exporting BrahMos supersonic missile to the Philippines

Akankshya MUKHERJEE – Mumbai Uncensored, 15th January 2022:

The Philippines confirms on Friday that they will be acquiring 3 Batteries of the BrahMos cruise missile, which was developed both by Russia and India. The deal is worth a $375 Million, it is viewed as a development which can boost India’s efforts to becoming a major exporter of Defence Hardware. The Philippine Defence secretary Mr Delfin Lorenzana has recently signed the “Notice of Award” which is the acceptance of this proposal for supplying this missile. It will be supplied for the Philippine Navy’s shore based anti-ship missile acquisition project.

The Government of India has negotiated to the delivery of 3 batteries, training for operators, maintainers and necessary Integrated Logistics Support package as mentioned in Mr Delfin Lorenzana’s Facebook post. The BrahMos dela was conceptualized as of 2017, the Philippine President’s office approved in the Horizon 2 Priority Projects in 2020 for inclusion. This is the first ever contract to export a 290km range BrahMos missiles, such a deal will also lead a way for more such deals from other ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) members such as Vietnam and Indonesia.

This deal also saw a strategical backdrop of China’s expansionism and strong arm-tactics with other nations in the South China Sea. This contract is for the Navy for the purpose of coastal defence, another contract expected can be for their military and similar talks continue for exporting BrahMos missiles to Indonesia is at an advanced stage.

Other countries have also shown their interest in acquiring the BrahMos Missile, it can be viewed on emerging as the precision strike weapon of choice. Countries such as UAE, Saudi Arabia and South Africa have shown their interests. India plans to sell the indigenously developed, Akash Missile systems which can interpret helicopters, drones, subsonic cruise missile and hostile aircrafts at the range of 25km to countries such as Kenya, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, and Algeria. The BrahMos missile have been deployed in eastern Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh during an on-going military confrontation with China, its being extended from 290km originally to 350/400km.

The Indian armed forces have placed orders of Rs.36000 crore for the BrahMos missile over years, the Army has 4 BrahMos regiments as of now and another one has been added. The Navy on the other hand has equipped 11 of its frontline warships, which includes destroyer INS Vishakhapatnam with the BrahMos vertical launch systems. THE IAF includes 2 land-based BrahMos squadrons, with a sleeker air launched version which progressively fits on the Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jets.

One of the potential areas to use BrahMos by the Philippines is South China Sea. The Permanent Act of Arbitration in Hague ruled that specific portion of the south China Sea has been claimed by China and Philippines which belonged to Philippines alone in 2016. China rejects this and continues to send their vessels into the disputed water. Former Indian Navy Chief, Admiral Arun Prakash says it was a long- delayed decision, this can alter the Indo-China strategic equation. By such deals India is helping to bolster their security and also give China a taste of their medicine. We are awaiting such confirmations form Vietnam and Indonesia.

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