Archive for August 13th, 2006

India terror warning hypothetical: US

August 13, 2006

In a strange twist to a US embassy statement in New Delhi that Al Qaeda was planning attacks in India, the State Department has said that the advisory was in “hypothetical terms.”

The advisory issued on Friday that terror attacks might take place in Delhi and Mumbai in the run-up to Independence Day had created a sensation in India although the government had dismissed it as a “very innocuous” warning.

“I really don’t have much that’s beyond what’s in the warden message (issued by the US embassy). But this does speak in somewhat more hypothetical terms,” State Department Acting Spokesman Tom Casey said.

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Dos and Don’ts for air travel

August 13, 2006

The world has woken to a new terror regime and travelling by air is never going to be the same. Passengers will have to check in 90 minutes early to catch a domestic flight and three hours early if they are flying abroad. If you’re planning to fly anytime soon, CNBC-TV18 has a list of dos and don’ts.

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Aviation industry bracing up for difficult times

August 13, 2006

Nearly five years after the global civil aviation industry suffered its worst jolt in the form of the 9/11 terror attacks in the United States, air travellers, airlines and travel trade are once again bracing themselves up for uncertain times.

Though international flights, particularly those passing through the United Kingdom, and the ones headed for U.S., are delayed by stricter security checks, cancellations have not yet been reported. Travel and aviation sector sources said the impact, though marginal, would be felt by airlines flying to the U.K. and U.S. cities because of massive delays and some cancellations of flights.

With the Government enforcing tight security at all airports and airlines closing their counters 30 minutes before the scheduled departure of flights, a number of passengers found themselves grounded there.In yet another precautionary step, all civilian aircraft flying in the Indian skies will be identified and brought under the scanner of Air Force radars, which have extended their reach.

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Army vigil at Kalpakkam

August 13, 2006

Villages and fishermen hamlets within 15-km radius of the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) have been brought under the surveillance of Defence and State police following a red alert by the Union Home Ministry.

The Navy has been entrusted with the responsibility of providing security to the atomic power plant. Two ships were positioned in the vicinity of the IGCAR. Enquiries reveal that Central intelligence agencies received information that international terrorist organisations planned to attack important institutions, such as the IGCAR and the Bhaba Atomic Research Centre (BARC).

On Thursday, senior officials of the Central Industrial Security Force rushed to Kalpakkam to review internal security measures.

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Fears of a missile attack on BARC in Mumbai

August 13, 2006

It’s a terror alert that’s sent the defence of the realm on to a war footing: the intelligence agencies believe missiles have been smuggled into Mumbai to attack the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC).

After the Thursday warning to the Mumbai police, the Army, Navy and Coast Guard were pressed into action to virtually seal BARC from both land and sea. A combing operation of the BARC campus and scrapyards in Trombay, northeast Mumbai, for hidden explosives took place on Saturday.

Only research is conducted at BARC, where the country’s top nuclear brains are at work. It has four reactors — Apsara, Cyrus, Zarlina and Dhruv. “Though three are ageing, they are safe and there is no internal or external threat to them,” said a Maharashtra home department official. “But we won’t take any chances.”

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Higher security may drive up air travel costs

August 13, 2006

The heightened state of security at airports around the world following the detection of the plot to blow up aircraft mid-flight between the UK and the US earlier this week is likely to push up travel costs in the coming months.

However, a cross section of international airlines operating from India when contacted by Business Line felt that it was unlikely that the industry would immediately levy any additional surcharge to offset increased operating costs brought about by the security drill that passengers have to go through now or to pay for additional security gadgets that may have to be installed.

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`Airline industry may be under pressure’

August 13, 2006

According to Mr John Bussey of Wall Street Journal, the markets are fairly resilient and stocks in the US actually rose during the Heathrow crisis. European and Asian stocks also saw a rebound on Friday.

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Coming soon: MRDL Airlines!

August 13, 2006

A new full service start-up airline, run by a real estate entrepreneur, would begin operations from New Delhi to some northern hill towns by October.

The MRDL Airlines, which has plans to acquire five RJ-70 aircraft from British Aerospace and an equal number of Mi-172 helicopters, would launch flights from Delhi to Kullu Dharamsala and Dehradun in the next three months, once the aircraft start being inducted, chairman of MRDL group of companies, Gopal Kumar Goyal said.

While the RJ-70, to be inducted on lease-purchase basis, would be about 8-years old with a capacity of 70 seats in executive and economy configuration, the helicopters to be acquired from Russian firm Kazan Helicopters would be 27-seaters.

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First flags of free India missing

August 13, 2006

I-Day is just two days away. There will be thousands of fluttering flags all over India — on masts, cars, houses, in the hands of joyous children… And yet, the real flags used on this historic occasion in 1947 are missing. Three of them, in fact. Shocking, but true.

On August 14, 1947, at the stroke of midnight, India’s first PM Jawaharlal Nehru hoisted the first tricolour in the Central Hall of Parliament. The next day, the Union Jack was lowered and the tricolour hoisted in its place at India Gate at 8.30 am. It was hoisted also at Red Fort on August 16 at 8.30 am. One historic occasion, three flags. But no one knows where these flags are.

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IAF aircraft to carry relief supplies to Lebanon

August 13, 2006

An IL-76 cargo aircraft of the Indian Air Force will leave here on Independence Day carrying the first batch of relief supplies from India for the war-torn people of Lebanon.

The aircraft carrying 50 tents, 5,000 blankets and 6,000 bedsheets, pillows and covers would be flying directly to Beirut, Defence Ministry sources said here.

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