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Monday, 4 April 2016

From Today's Papers - 04 Apr 2016
















http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/isro-gel-can-save-soldiers-in-siachen/217457.html
ISRO gel can save soldiers in Siachen
‘Silica aerogel’ acts as a great thermal insulator in extreme cold conditions
Pallava Bagla

Thiruvananthapuram, April 3
The bigger killer on the heights of Siachen Glacier is not enemy bullets from the Pakistan Army, but the extreme weather. Fewer soldiers would die if some of the technologies developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for use in space were quickly and effectively deployed for protecting our soldiers.

Recently, India’s main lab, that specialises in making rockets for the country, mastered the art of making the ‘world’s lightest artificial material’ called ‘silica aerogel’. This aerogel is actually a solid but within its complex matrix it encapsulates 99 per cent air. This gives it several unique properties— it is incredibly light, a great thermal insulator.

ISRO has also developed high-powered search and rescue beacon technologies that can touch and save lives of Indian soldiers serving on the world’s highest battleground.

Using the Global Positioning System (GPS), the exact location of the person who is in distress can be automatically pin-pointed. The battery-powered device sends up a signal, which can then be automatically tracked at ground stations in Lucknow and Bengaluru.

In the past three years, at least 41 soldiers have lost their lives at the Siachen Glacier, according to the Ministry of Defence. Since 1984, when India occupied the icy heights, about 1,000 soldiers have died on the glacier. As per the official records, only 220 of these have been felled by enemy bullets. At those heights of 6,000-7,000 m, extreme weather is a bigger killer.

If only our soldiers get access to some of the latest developments from Indian labs, many lives can be saved. Then there is lethargy on both sides, scientists find it hard to transfer technology to the industry and the industry complains that half-baked products are passed on, hence the failure rate is very high.

Despite upgrades, Indian soldiers still wear very heavy clothes. The scientists have developed an ultra-light weight material that acts as an effective insulator, and the hand-held ‘search and rescue’ radio signal emitter that can be detected by satellites.

K Sivan, Director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram, says with a little tweaking, these materials and technologies developed for hi-tech space applications can easily be spun off for societal use.

If some of these technologies were being used, possibly Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad and the nine other soldiers, who lost their lives earlier this year at the Siachen Glacier, could well have been saved.

If only these soldiers were using clothing made of the ‘silica aerogel’, they may possibly have been saved from freezing to death. Similarly, if the soldiers were equipped with suitable hand-held ‘search and rescue’ devices, their location could have been easily pin-pointed using Indian satellites and rescue efforts could have been speeded up. – PTI


http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/decks-cleared-for-disposal-of-four-militants-bodies/217387.html
Decks cleared for disposal of four militants’ bodies
Ravi Dhaliwal

Tribune News Service

Pathankot, April 3
The Pathankot civil hospital authorities can heave a sigh of relief as the Punjab Police will now have to dispose of the bodies of the four militants currently lying in the hospital mortuary.

For the past more than two months, the cadavers had become a problem for the hospital forcing civil surgeon Dr Ajay Bagga to send an SOS to his seniors asking for instructions on how to dispose them of.

The civil surgeon had even floated an option to shift them to the mortuary of any one of the three state-owed medical colleges in the state — Patiala, Amritsar or Faridkot.

Confabulations were still going on when the Pakistan government decided to dispatch a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to the Pathankot Airbase to have first hand information of the January 2 attack.

Following this development, the NIA asked the civil surgeon not to shift the corpses because the JIT “may decide to have a look at them during their March 29 visit to the city.”

However, the JIT, during its trip, refused to take cognisance of the bodies and even decided against visiting the hospital.

This, officials say, means that the Punjab Police will have to dispose of the bodies.

Sources say the bodies will be taken out from the mortuary in the night. “This is what happened to the Dinanagar terrorist bodies. Gurdaspur SSP Gurpreet Singh Toor was instructed by his Chandigarh-based seniors to keep the shifting a secret affair following which the SSP refused to share any information with the media. The final destination where the burial took place also remains a secret,” said an officer.

Days after the shifting took place, security remained deployed at the mortuary and this acted as a subterfuge.

Although Pathankot SSP RK Kaushal denied that there was any move to dispose of the bodies, senior officers disclosed that the burial might take any time now.

“We were just waiting for the JIT to have a look. Now that is over, we will initiate the procedure as soon as the NIA asks us,” he said.

The civil surgeon had many a time said he was facing space constraints. “We have space for just four bodies in the mortuary. In this case we have kept five. One of the bodies has been placed in a refrigerator in the mortuary. We have to keep the interests of the common people in mind who want to keep their dead in the mortuary,” averred a doctor.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/world/army-seizes-key-is-bastion-in-syria/217540.html
Army seizes key IS bastion in Syria
Damascus, April 3
Syrian troops today seized the key Islamic State group bastion of Al-Qaryatain, dealing the jihadists a new blow in the country's centre a week after expelling them from Palmyra, state television said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group however said fighting was still raging in the east and southeast of the town, which is located in the desert in Homs province.

"The army with backing from supporting forces (pro-regime militia) brings back complete security and stability to the town of Al-Qaryatain, after crushing Daesh terrorists' last remaining positions there," state television said, using an Arabic acronym for IS.

But the Britain-based Observatory said the army was still fighting the jihadists in about half the town. "Clashes are still ongoing in the east and southeast of the town," it said.

The advance came after the Russian-backed Syrian army dealt IS a major blow on March 27 by seizing the ancient city of Palmyra, known as the "Pearl of the desert", from the jihadists.

Al-Qaryatain is located some 120 kilometres southwest of Palmyra.

Its recapture will allow the army to secure its grip over the ancient city, where jihadists destroyed ancient temples and executed 280 people during their 10-month rule. Once Al-Qaryatain returns to government control, "of the whole of Homs province, IS will only hold its bastion in Sukhna" northeast of Palmyra, Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said. — AFP


http://www.dnaindia.com/scitech/report-is-the-isro-obligated-to-help-the-indian-army-2197569
Expert analysis: Is the ISRO obligated to help the Indian Army?
 ISRO's space technology like the world's lightest insulating material and a high-powered search and rescue beacon technologies can save lives of soldiers at Siachen.

The bigger killer on the heights of Siachen Glacier is not enemy bullets from Pakistan Army but the extreme weather. Fewer soldiers would die if some of the technologies developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for use in space are quickly and effectively deployed for protecting our soldiers.

ISRO has developed the world's lightest insulating material and also high-powered search and rescue beacon technologies that can touch and save lives of Indian soldiers serving on the world's highest battleground.

In the past three years, at least, 41 soldiers have lost their lives at the Siachen Glacier, according to the Ministry of Defence. Since 1984 when India occupied the icy heights, about 1,000 soldiers have died on the glacier and as per official records, only 220 of these have been felled by enemy bullets. At those heights of 6000-7000 m, extreme weather is the bigger killer.
If only our soldiers get access to some of the latest developments from Indian labs many lives could be saved. Then there is lethargy on both sides, scientists find it hard to transfer technology to the industry and the industry complains that half-baked products are passed on, hence the failure rate is very high.

Despite upgrades, Indian soldiers still wear very heavy clothes, now scientists at ISRO have developed an ultra-light weight material that acts as an effective insulator. Another game changer could be the handheld 'search and rescue' radio signal emitter that can be detected by satellites. This can help to effectively pinpoint the location of soldiers lost or buried in avalanches.
K Sivan, well-known rocket scientist and Director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram, says with a little tweaking, these materials and technologies developed for hi-tech space applications can easily be spun off for societal use.

"ISRO uses taxpayer’s money so it is answerable to the Indian public," he says.
ISRO's rockets and satellites certainly help people but there are many more developments hidden in the 'temples of technology' like the VSSC that can be used to save lives.


If some of these technologies were being used possibly Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad and the nine other soldiers who lost their lives earlier this year at the Siachen Glacier could well have been saved. If only these soldiers were using clothing made of the 'silica aerogel' they may possibly have been saved from freezing to death. Similarly, if the soldiers were equipped with suitable handheld 'search and rescue' devices, their location could have been easily pin-pointed using Indian satellites and rescue efforts could have been speeded up.

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