By Philem Dipak SinghParacas (Peru), Jan 9 (PTI) Indias top endurance biker C S Santosh feels that his sport is so tough that life is not guaranteed and he does not know whether he will go back home after a days race.34-year-old Santosh is one of the two Indians competing in the 2018 Dakar Rally, considered as the toughest off-road race in the world.He is competing in the bike category for Hero MotoSports team. The other Indian is KP Aravind who is representing TVS Racing.”In a race like this, nothing is guaranteed. I might start but the first kilometre itself anything can happen. It is not say like a tennis match that after the match I am going to go home. For me, I dont know I am going to make home everyday. So, I keep a lot of faith with the man upstairs (God),” Santosh told PTI.”Motorsport is different. You put your life on the line. I have some belief and faith on the higher power,” he added.Santosh had a brush with a near fatal accident in May 2013 during the third stage of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. On an extremely hot day, the heat ignited to the fuel spilling from his bike and that left him with third degree burns.That is why he is superstitious and always wears his gear starting with the right boot and also carries his mothers watch as a lucky charm.”Yes, I am superstitious but I need to do that. Not only me, all the riders do something or the other like that,” Santosh said.advertisementHe also said that he does not speak to his parents and other people at home during this rally so that he keeps focus on the job at hand.”I dont speak to anybody, I am just here myself to do my job and enjoy in doing that. Here the mindset changes. Home reminds me of comfort. I want to suffer for two weeks and go back home. Then I will have my whole lot of people to enjoy with but now I need to these two weeks,” he said.”Dakar is very tough, especially the sand dunes here (in the Peru part of the rally). In India I only race in dirt tracks. Here there are no roads. I have never experienced conditions like this.”The weather is hot. The dunes like over here I have never experienced. They were massive, huge and soft. I dont think a lot of cars can finish. There were some places in the dunes where there are massive rocks immediately after that. “Dakar is such a tough event, the body takes a beating. One thing is to work but also to work smart and bring your game to the competition. I want to get out of Peru safely. That is my first priority. Bolivia is going to be hot and wet and that will be a different challenge.”The 9000-km long rally will enter Bolovia in the next few days and it will end at Cordoba in Argentina on January 20.Santosh had finished 36th in 2015, his best so far. He did not finish in 2016 while he was 47th last year. PTI PDS ATK ATK
ADC AUTHOR The Senate is expected to consider two separate spending bills Thursday, but they are both likely to fail.The House again on Wednesday passed a stopgap spending bill, as well as six of the spending bills House and Senate negotiators had worked out last year. Senate Republicans are unlikely to follow suit without a promise of border wall funding President Trump wants.House Democrats were contemplating an immigration counter-offer to the President.Among the federal employees working without pay during the partial government shutdown are more than 40,000 Coast Guard members.“I find it unacceptable that @USCG members must rely on food pantries & donations to get through day-to-day life,” Admiral Karl Schultz, the Coast Guard commandant, said in a video on Twitter.
YouTube: CBS DenverLocal residents in Denver were all pulled to a state of shock when a mysterious black ring appeared in the sky. The incident apparently happened two weeks ago, and the news was soon reported by local media outlets. After seeing the mysterious sighting, many people claimed that it might be either fireworks or a volcanic activity which might have created the sky right.As the image went viral on online spaces, self-proclaimed extraterrestrial researcher Scott C Waring analysed it and outlandishly claimed that the black ring in the skies could be actually an alien UFO. Waring also added that Denver is a hotbed of UFO activities, and made it clear that a faulty alien cloaking technology might be the result of this weird sighting.”Denver is a UFO hotspot with most of its citizens have seen UFOs in the area. It is totally possible that this ring is actually the outline of an alien cloaked craft that is having difficulties keeping cloaked. It is also possible that a UFO shot off so fast that it left a black ring around it. Lots of white glowing balls have been seen over the Denver area near the Rocky Mountains for decades, so its no surprise to see such oddities in the sky above Denver,” wrote Waring on his website ET Data Base.A few weeks back, a series of images snapped from Mount Shasta mountain, California had gone viral on the internet. These images showed a cigar-shaped UFO with light emanating from its body leaving the mountain ranges. The eyewitness who captured this strange incident passed on the images to Mutual UFO Network (UFO) and the non-profit organization is now apparently busy checking whether these photographs are authentic.Waring who operates from Taiwan strongly believes that aliens are continuously visiting the earth to monitor human activities. A few months back, he even went a step ahead and urged the United States president to make him the head of NASA, so that he can unveil more crucial secrets regarding alien life.Interestingly, Dr Young-hae Chi, a top Oxford researcher had also recently revealed that interbreeding between aliens and humans are quite common. The researcher also made it clear that alien hybrids born from mixed parentage are capable of surviving climate change easily, and thus they will emerge as the most dominant species on earth.
The discovery of an unexploded World War II bomb will force a mass evacuation around Berlin’s central railway station Friday, covering several government ministries and a hospital, police said.Buildings and streets in a radius of 800 metres (875 yards) around the site north of the busy train station will be cleared from 0700 GMT until the 500-kilogramme (1,100-pound) explosive is safely defused, they said on Twitter Wednesday.The evacuation zone covers the central railway station, the economy and transport ministries, an army hospital and the embassies of Indonesia and Uzbekistan, a police spokesman told AFP.Police said it was not yet clear how many thousands of people would be affected but predicted to local media that “it will be big, it will be a major hassle”.The Deutsche Bahn rail company and urban transport operators prepared for large-scale disruptions around the central hub for trains, trams and buses.The bomb, which was discovered during construction work on Heidestrasse in the district of Mitte, was “safe for now”, police said, reassuring nearby residents that “there is no immediate danger”.Allied planes blasted Nazi Germany during the Second World War, and vast urban and industrial areas remain littered with unexploded bombs and other ordnance often found during construction projects.Last Friday in the state of Bavaria, an ordnance disposal team defused a 500 kilogramme bomb which had forced the evacuation of 12,000 people in the city of Neu-Ulm-the third unexploded bomb to be disarmed in recent weeks in the city of 50,000 people.
Chief election commissioner KM Nurul Huda. File photoElection commission lifts the restriction on plying of buses on the city thoroughfares on the elections to two city corporations on Thursday, reports UNB.”Buses can ply the main roads (of the Dhaka city),” chief election commissioner KM Nurul Huda told a press conference at the Nirbachan Bhaban in the city on Wednesday.The EC initially imposed restriction on the plying of all sorts of motorised vehicles except emergency and permitted ones in the capital for the elections to two city corporations.The press conference was arranged over the by-election to the mayoral post of Dhaka North City Corporation and polls to councillor posts in its 18 new wards and 18 other new wards of Dhaka South City Corporation, which will be held on Thursday.The CEC said though no personal vehicle can ply the city roads for roaming unnecessarily, but examinees can use their private cars showing their admit cards.Huda said the EC has already issued directives to police in this regard.The balloting in the elections will begin at 8:00am and continue till 4:00pm without any break in the entire DNCC and DSCC extended areas.In DNCC, five candidates are vying for the mayoral post, while 116 contenders for 18 general councillor posts and 45 aspirants for six reserved seats which are exclusively for women. Of them, one general councillor candidate has been elected unopposed in the city.The five mayoral candidates are Awami League’s Atiqul Islam (Boat), Jatiya Party’s Shafin Ahmed (Plough), NPP’s Anisur Rahman (Mango) and PDP’s Shahin Khan (Tiger) and independent runner Abdur Rahim (Table Clock).In DSCC, there are 125 contestants for 18 general councillor posts and 24 women for six reserved seats.About the EC’s preparations for the elections, the CEC said the commission has completed all preparations to arrange the elections in a fair manner.”We want a free, fair and lawful election,” he added.Replying to a query, he explained why the voters and candidates are not so much enthusiastic over the elections. “One of the reasons is that they’ll be elected for only one year…. Besides, all the parties have not joined the elections though we’ve nothing to do here,” he added.About boycotting the polls by BNP, the CEC said, “We don’t have any failure. We don’t have any weakness. We’ve taken all preparations to arrange fair elections… they don’t participate in the elections, it’s their political decision.”In reply to another question, he said had all the parties joined the election, the commission would have been happier.
This combination of file pictures created on 26 October, 2018 shows jailed Catalan separatist leaders (TOP L-R) Raul Romeva, Joaquim Forn, Jordi Turull, Oriol Junqueras, Josep Rull (BOTTOM L-R) Jordi Cuixart, Carme Forcadell, Dolors Bassa and Jordi Sanchez. Photo: AFPWith vigils and concerts outside prisons, Catalan independence supporters for months have shown their backing for 12 separatist leaders who go on trial on Tuesday over their bid to break the region away from Spain.Now that the highly anticipated trial is finally about to get underway at Spain’s Supreme Court in Madrid, they have vowed to step up their protests in another show of solidarity.While just 12 leaders will sit in the dock over their role in the failed 2017 independence bid, many Catalan separatists feel they are also being put on trial for having taken part in a banned referendum held on 1 October that year.”I’m a lifelong separatist and I voted on 1 October, it’s as if I was being tried,” said retired teacher Eugenia Fernandez at a recent vigil held for the detained Catalan leaders at the picturesque Plaza de la Vila de Gracia square in Barcelona.”We’re here because of the huge injustice that our government is in jail or exile for doing what we asked them to do — fight to set up a Catalan republic,” the 67-year-old said.The vigil Fernandez took part in has been held every Monday evening for the past 15 months at the square in Gracia, a bohemian district of the Catalan capital which is also its most pro-separatist.People held up large black and white images of the Catalan leaders, as well of those who fled abroad after the failed independence bid, along with the word “freedom” in Catalan and English.Only the chime of a clock on top of an imposing 19th century tower in the centre of the square broke the silence.Nine of the leaders have been charged with rebellion, with some also accused of misuse of public funds. They have all been in pre-trial detention for months, some of them for more than a year.Unifying cause “This is a reaction against the brutality of this trial, which is not against a few people but is instead against Catalan political feeling,” said award-winning Catalan writer Ramon Solsona, who read some poems at the vigil.Similar events have been held across the northeastern region, where the leaders have obtained near-martyr status among many separatists who see them as “political prisoners”.The 12 defendants face prison sentences of between seven and 25 years if convicted, with former Catalan vice president Oriol Junqueras at risk of the longest sentence.Catalonia’s president at the time of the secession bid, Carles Puigdemont, is not among those on trial since he fled to Belgium where he regularly receives visits from top Catalan separatists.With Catalan separatist parties divided over strategy — some calling for more civil disobedience while others favour dialogue with Spain’s central government — the cause of the jailed Catalan leaders helps keep them united.Judging all of usPolls show the region remains split over the issue of independence, and separatist protests — which in the past drew over a million people — appear to have lost strength.Pro-independence groups have responded by holding smaller events to show support for the detained separatist leaders.The defendants were moved from prisons in Madrid to jails in Catalonia shortly after Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez came to power in June in what was seen as a goodwill gesture.Since then separatists have gathered regularly outside of the Catalan jails where they were being held, holding concerts, camping outside overnight and forming human pyramids, called “castells”, a Catalan tradition.Separatist parties and associations have vowed to stage a wave of protests during the trial, starting with demonstrations on 12 and 16 February in Barcelona, followed by a general strike across Catalonia on 21 February. A major protest is scheduled in Madrid on 16 March.Protests are also planned outside of Spain, in Berlin, Paris, Brussels and London.”In the end, they are judging all of us. They are judging an entire people and its right to self-determination,” Catalan president Quim Torra said last month at an event with relatives of the jailed leaders.
Andrew Harnik/APEnergy Secretary Rick Perry was sworn in Thursday, apparently having come to terms with heading the agency he once wanted to abolish.Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is now the 14th U.S. Secretary of Energy, despite having once pledged to eliminate the Department of Energy.Or at least, he tried to pledge to eliminate the department — including once when he couldn’t think of its name.Perry was confirmed Thursday by the Senate in a 62-37 vote.During his confirmation hearing, Perry said, “My past statements made over five years ago about abolishing the Department of Energy do not reflect my current thinking.”That was not the only thing that Perry appeared to have changed his mind about. As NPR’s Jeff Brady has reported, “At various times, Perry has questioned the role of human activity in climate change. At one campaign event, he accused scientists of manipulating data to continue gaining funding on research.”During his confirmation hearing, though, he said he believed that both natural and man-made activity were contributing to climate change.That hasn’t reassured environmental group 350.org. Executive Director May Boeve said in a statement: “Trump just added one more unqualified fossil fuel shill and climate-denier to his cabinet. As governor, Perry doled out millions to oil corporations while silencing the science that tells us our future depends on keeping fossil fuels in the ground.”Other statements Thursday night were supportive though. The American Wind Energy Association praised Perry’s “leadership on wind energy infrastructure” as governor of Texas.There was plenty of “color,” according to the press pool at the swearing in ceremony. Vice President Pence noted that it was an important day for Texas, “the country,” being Texas Independence Day.Perry mentioned the new Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s arrival at work Thursday on horseback, and joked that Perry would be commuting Friday on a “single-stage rocket… what could go wrong.” Perhaps doubting that the press pool would have a sense of humor, he added that he would, in fact, just “quietly drive over and go to work.”Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Share