Mozilla is planning a BIG splash for its Firefox 3 on June 17th by attempting a Guinness world record of the largest number of downloads in a single day for any software. Nobody has yet said what is the current world record. but anyway it is a great opportunity to be a footnote in some obscure page of one of the most famous books in history.so go ahead and make a pledge right here.
Besides Tibet, two other important stories to watch while gauging Beijing’s newly discovered bent for openness and transparency are closely tied to the disaster in Sichuan. The Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development has launched a probe into the disproportionately large number of schoolchildren who were killed when their schools collapsed on them while other nearby buildings withstood the shock of the quake. If shoddy construction was involved, officials have vowed to punish those responsible.
Angry, grieving parents who have lost children are screaming for justice, but an honest and full investigation could lead to high places in Communist Party officialdom in the province. Its seems likely that so-called “tofu” construction was commonplace in the building of schools and that private contractors colluded with government officials to skimp on essential materials such as steel and concrete and pocket the savings. If these corrupt officials are truly brought to book for their malfeasance, that would be a major breakthrough in the country’s battle against graft. But beware the scapegoat: this investigation could turn out like a lot of others – punishing a few for the widespread practice of many.
The same is true of the central government’s pledge that all local and foreign donations to quake victims, which have surpassed 40 billion yuan (US$5.8 billion), will be strictly accounted for. This promise comes after numerous reports on the Internet of donated goods intended for quake victims winding up on sale in shops or in the possession of people not affected by the quake. Venal officials are allegedly selling items such as tents and rice by the truckload. If this is true, how many of these culprits, the latest symbols of China’s endemic corruption, will pay for their crimes?
Finally, of course, there are the Olympic Games and the 30,000 foreign reporters who will descend on the country to cover not just the athletes but also anything else of interest they can find. They will want to interview ordinary citizens and ask Chinese leaders tough questions about corruption and democratic reform. They have been promised great freedom. Let’s see if Beijing can deliver on that promise.
In the end, however, it will not be until the grand Olympic stage is packed away and the eyes of the world have turned elsewhere that any clear sense of China’s future as a budding civil society will become clear. [link]
In an interview to Karan Thapar back in February, 2008 Gen Kapoor had put his faith in detecting any Chinese troop buildup in the Tibetan plateau on satellite surveillance.
Karan Thapar: Just a moment ago you mentioned that their infrastructure allows them to move troops very quickly. Recently the Indian Express reported that with the result of roads and railways, the Chinese can move two divisions amounting to 10,000 troops within a space of 20-25 days. Earlier it would have taken three-six months. Does that worry you a little?
General Deepak Kapoor Well that is a matter of concern, but the fact is that if and when they move, there are also images available through the means of satellite when any such movements take place. So there is ample opportunity for sufficient notice to meet such a challenge, if and when it does arise.
Karan Thapar: So with satellites, you mean that every time China moves troops substantially, you know in advance and you can take counter measures.
General Deepak Kapoor The ability to look deeper across the Line of Actual Control is much greater.[link]
But the fly in the ointment was ofcourse that the Chinese had recently successfully conducted an Anti-Satellite Test by shooting down one of their own aging satellites in orbit and there is now an additional risk that during a period of crisis the Chinese might attempt to shoot down any Indian satellites which they deem might give away their troop buildup on the Tibetan plateau or elsewhere.
Now to arm itself against such a scenario the India defence ministry has in a timely manner decided to establish a Space cell to guard India’s space assets.
NEW DELHI: In view of the looming Chinese threat to its communication network and other space assets, India on Tuesday announced the setting up of its Integrated Space Cell (ISC).
The cell is designed to counter the Chinese Military Space Systems that comprises anti-satellite weaponry and a new class of heavy-lift and small boosters acting as catalyst in the next generation satellite warfare system.
The Space Cell will be put under the command of the Integrated Defence Services Headquarters and will act as a single window for integration among the armed forces, the department of space and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
Announcing this after inaugurating the two-day Unified Commanders’ Conference in the Capital, defence minister A K Antony on Tuesday expressed concern at the “offensive counter space systems and an improved array of military space systems emerging in our neighbourhood”.[link]
While this is a step in the right direction, India should also seriously consider conducting its own ASAT test as quickly as practicable. That would be a strong deterrent to any adversary against taking potshots at India’s space based assets.
If you are upset that your smooth talking neighbourhood shopkeeper put some rotten mangoes into your basket without your knowledge well this should really give you pause. some smart people in our “friendly” neighbouring country have found more creative uses for the humble fruit.
Twenty years after Pakistan’s military dictator General Zia-ul Haq died in a mysterious aircrash, Mohammed Hanif assembles a brilliant fictional account of the events leading to the likely assassination in his book “A Case of Exploding Mangoes”. Actually it is only a brand new conspiracy theory in the making narrated supposedly through the eyes of someone who had a lucky escape. because no one will ever know what really happened.The cover-up was as good as the Nepali Royal massacre more than a decade later.
You might have seen me on TV after the crash. The clip is short and everything in it is sun-bleached and slightly faded. It was pulled after the first two bulletins because it seemed to be having an adverse impact on the morale of the country’s armed forces. You can’t see it in the clip but we are walking towards Pak One, which is parked behind the cameraman’s back, in the middle of the runway. The aeroplane is still connected to an auxiliary fuel pump, and surrounded by a group of alert commandos in camouflaged uniforms. With its dull grey fuselage barely off the ground, the plane looks like a beached whale contemplating how to drag itself back to the sea, its snout dropping with the enormity of the task ahead.
The only witness to that televised walk, the only one to have walked that walk, would be completely ignored.Because if you missed that clip, you probably missed me. Like history itself. I was the one who got away.
Yes, sir, I was the one who got away.
The name Shigri didn’t figure in the terms of reference, the investigators from the FBI ignored me and I never had to sit under a naked bulb and explains the circumstances that led to me being present at the scene of the incident. I didn’t even figure in the stories concocted to cover up the truth. Even the conspiracy theories which saw un unidentified flying object colliding with the presidential plane, or deranged eyewitnesses who saw a surface-to-air missile being fired from a lone donkey’s back didn’t bother to spin any yarns about the boy in uniform with one hand on the scabbard of his sword, stepping forward, saluting, then smiling and walking away. I was the only one who boarded that plane and survived.
Even got a lift back home.
If you did see the clip you might have wondered what this boy with mountain features is doing in the desert, why he is surrounded by four-star generals, why he is smiling. It’s because I have had my punishment. As Obaid would have said, there is poetry in committing a crime after you have served your sentence. I do not have much interest in poetry but punishment before a crime does have a certain sing-song quality to it. The guilty commit the crime, the innocent are punished. That’s the world we live in.[link]
The Video on the Assassination of General Zia of Pakistan.