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China to launch Beidou-3 satellites in 2020

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China nanosatellite
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Beijing, China will launch in 2020 the last two satellites of its Beidou-3 mapping system, an alternative to the US GPS, authorities have announced.

Ran Chengqi, a spokesman for the agency responsible for developing the system, on Friday told the media that the two satellites will be launched into space before June 2020, reports Efe news.

China has launched 10 Beidou satellites into space during 2019. Ren added that by 2035 a new navigation system and schedule of Beidou more ubiquitous, integrated and intelligent will be established.

The Beidou-3 system has been underway in China and parts of the Asia-Pacific region since December 2012, and began operating worldwide in December 2018.

The accuracy margin of the system is less than five meters, according to the authorities.China began building its own satellite navigation system in 2000 to end its dependence on the GPS system, and decided to call it Beidou, a name that ancient Chinese astronomers gave to the seven brightest stars of the Big Dipper or Plough constellation.

Beidou is one of the four space projects of navigation networks, together with the GPS by the US, Galileo from the European Union and GLONASS from Russia.

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‘Minorities have complete freedom in Pakistan’

According to the London-based Minority Rights Group International, ethnic minorities in Pakistan include Sindhis (14.1 per cent), Pashtuns (15.42 per cent), Mohajirs (7.57 per cent), Baluchis (3.57 per cent).

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PESHAWAR

Karachi, Feb 24 : Members of minority groups in Pakistan can practice their religion openly and move about with complete freedom in the Muslim-majority country, a Minister has clamed.

While visiting the Swami Narayan Temple in Karachi on Sunday, provincial minister Nasir Hussain Shah vowed to protect the rights of minorities, reports The Express Tribune.

He commended the role and contribution that minorities have played in the development and progress of Pakistan, adding that he had come to the temple with a message of peace.

On behalf of the government, he also announced that 10,000 copies of the Bhagavad Gita would soon be distributed.

According to the London-based Minority Rights Group International, ethnic minorities in Pakistan include Sindhis (14.1 per cent), Pashtuns (15.42 per cent), Mohajirs (7.57 per cent), Baluchis (3.57 per cent).

Religious minorities include Christians (1.59 per cent), Ahmadis (0.22 per cent), Hindus (1.6 per cent), Shias, Isma’ilis, Bohras, Parsis and Sikhs.

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Mahinda Rajapaksa’s son apologises over social media comments

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Mahinda Rajapaksa

Colombo, Feb 24 (IANS) Rohitha Rajapaksa, one of three sons of Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, has issued an apology over comments he made on social media that drew strong criticism, a media report said.

“I recently made a statement as a result of a targeted offensive comment. It was not my intention to deliberately cause distress to any individual and/or community. Therefore, I sincerely apologise,” the Colombo Gazette newspaper quoted Rohitha as saying in a tweet on Sunday.

The apology came after an individual had tweeted saying: “All what we have achieved is to see you three brothers get married in the same year with nine ceremonies and your in-laws become most eligible for state positions and you live out of public money…”

To this, Rohitha responded by saying: “There is no clause I have to declare my private assets and show off. But trust me no public fund is used for our personal benefits. Why don’t you get ur self a proper job and an education so you won’t be jealous of another persons success. Get a wife and make children.”

To another tweet, he replied: “You seem to know a lot more than the CID, please join and make them finish these cases soon so you can find ur self a boyfriend who can keep you company.”

The Prime Minister’s son received widespread criticism due to these two tweets.

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Trump will be seventh US President to visit India

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Donald Trump

New York, Feb 24 : When Donald Trump is greeted with a crescendo of “Namastes” when he lands in Ahmedabad he will be the seventh US President to visit India while in office.

He visited India in 2014 as a real estate businessman, but this will be a presidential visit.

President Dwight Eisenhower, a Republican, who came to India in 1959 at the height of the Cold War was the first to visit India as it was coming into its own as an independent nation and the laboratory of democracy.

The visits reflect in some ways the status of India in the US world view.

Eisenhower’s visit was to explore India as young democracy with hopes of closer cooperation, perhaps moving away from Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s nonalignment.

While there have been gaps of about a decade between some of the visits, since Bill Clinton in 2000 every president has come to India in a sign of its rising importance in world efforts.

There was a ten-year gap between Eisenhower’s visit and the next.

Democrats John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson had skipped India firmly ensconced in the nonaligned movement. (Johnson, however, had visited Pakistan, then a US ally.)

President Richard Nixon, another, Republican, visited India in 1969 and his successor Gerald Ford did not.

Nine years later, Democrat Jimmy Carter made the India trip in 1978 while Moraji Desai of the Janata Party was prime minister.

His mother, Lillian Carter, had been a Peace Corps volunteer in Mumbai.

Ronald Reagan and George Bush (the senior) skipped India.

Democrat Bill Clinton came to India in 2000, ending the 12-year gap in presidential visits.

Since then, every president has come to India.

The highlight of Republican George W Bush’s visit in 2006 was the signing of the landmark US-India Civil Nuclear Agreement – which was the only time a substantive agreement between the two countries was signed during a presidential visit.

The agreement, which he signed with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, virtually recognises India as a nuclear weapons power exempting it from some of the US nuclear nonproliferation restrictions in order for both the countries to cooperate in the nuclear field with access to some civilian nuclear technology and materials.

It effectively neutralised some of the stringent sanctions imposed on India after its 1974 nuclear test.

Barack Obama, a Democrat, is the only president to have visited India twice.

He first visited India in 2010 when Singh was the Prime Minister.

Modi was the Prime Minister during his second visit in 2015 when he was the chief guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations.

(Arul Louis can be contacted at [email protected])

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