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Archive for February 2013

Indian Air Force : Jet crash again!

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You may recall that on the 12th February an Indian Air Force Jet had crashed and the pilot had ejected safely, I wrote a news report about the incident and here is the link from the article titled Indian Fighter Jet crashes.

Here are a few excerpts from the latter:

“The Fighter Jet was a MiG – 27 part of the Indian Air Force and the crash took place on Tueday 12/02/2013, the fighter jet was being piloted by Wing Commander Nishikant Singh who after ejecting was rushed to the Jodhpur’s Military Hospital. Pilot Singh’s condition was said to be stable and that he was in no danger.”

“Eye witnesses have reported that a young boy sustained injuries, although minor, which was inflicted through the debris which was sent in all directions, a house near the air base was also damaged.”

Well now another aircraft has crashed, in the same state, Rajasthan, in a different district, Rajasthan’s Jaisalmer district, and the incident happened on 19/2/2013 a Tuesday. The Jet was an Indian Air Force Sukhoi 30, which is of Russian origin, both pilots managed to eject safely and there was no damage to anyone or anything as a defence spokesman summarised.

As for some stats:

This is the second crash involving IAF aircraft since January this year and the fifth since April last year. Since their induction into IAF in the late 1990s, this is the fourth crash involving an SU-30 fighter plane.

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The Sukhoi 30 had planned to participate in IAF’s day-night exercise ‘Iron Fist’ on February 22 the defence spokesman mentioned. The crash more specifically took place in Jaisalmer, Chandan firing range (Pokhran).

The Iron Fist will be the biggest air power demonstration in the history of the Indian Air Force and will begin on 15th February 2013. The display will be a nine-day exercise with fighter planes and helicopters, which will be firing missiles and dropping bombs on dummy targets.

Nearly about 100 fighter planes and helicopters will be taking part in this huge event that will certainly be a spectacle to watch. India’s Prime-Minister Manmohan Singh will be there to watch this powerful display on the first day as will Prime-minister Pranab Mukherjee and Defence minister AK Antony.

“The mammoth fire power exercise will witness the debut of indigenous light combat aircraft (LCA) ‘Tejas’ and light combat helicopter (LCH) ‘Rudra’.”Source : (Economic Times.)

I know I will be watching this mass scale exhibition of Indian Aerial might, where there will be fly-by’s and the latest in Indian Air Force technology on display! IRON FIST will certainly be a historic point in India and the exhibition if all goes well will be marked as a celebration of the Indian Air Force.

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Flying High! Largest Airline Merger worth $11billion!

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US Airways and American Airlines are merging to create the biggest airline in the world. The deal is worth $11 billion!

The initial talks between the two airlines had begun in August 2012 and the merging of the two airline companies was confirmed on the 15/02/2013; the merger will see the airline market become more competitive and close the gap between competitors such as  Delta airlines. The company will be operating under American Airlines whose creditors will hold 72% of the merged company, although the Chief executive of the company will be US Airways boss Doug Parker.

Mr Parker said of the merger “Our combined network will provide a significantly more attractive offering to customers, ensuring that we are always able to take them where they want to go”, the merger will see savings of $1 billion a year for the two companies, he also said: “The combined airline will have the scale, breadth and capabilities to compete more effectively and profitably in the global marketplace.”

For the public this merger should be good, as ticket prices should drop with the airlines being able to afford dropping their prices in return for more members of the public flying with the merged company and this is certainly likely due to more consistency being provided in flight times and availability which there will be much more of as the merged company will together have a total of 900 planes and operating more than 3,000 flights with over 100,000 employees and will be aiming to increase on all the numbers stated.

American Airlines has seen bankruptcy in the past whereas US airways has seen profits in the past few years, the US airways boss Mr Parker also seems positive on the revenue for the future saying that the “Combined airline will compete more effectively and profitably in the global marketplace.”

The new merger will be offering more than 6,700 daily flights to 336 destinations in 56 countries.

Although the two companies would like to see the merger happen, they are still to be subjected to the competition regulators of the US and the US bankruptcy court and their approval.

The BBC report on the merger and quote the Senate Commerce Committee chairman Jay Rockefeller and his concern about the two airlines joining forces: “Industry consolidation has created stronger and more financially viable airlines, which are necessary for our country’s long-term economic growth, but it has also resulted in fewer choices for consumers, higher air fares, and reduced air service to small-and-medium sized communities.”

This is the argument on the other side about airline mergers and although they may be positive for the airline and the public, it will mean more power to the airlines and whether they choose to misuse this power by hiking up airline prices is something everyone will be watching carefully.

Other mergers in the airline industry that have taken place are Delta airlines with Northwest airlines and Continental airlines with United airlines.

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General Motors: Pontiac G6’s Stop Short with Bad Brakes to Blame!

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550,000 Pontiac G6’s are to be investigated for an apparent problem of faulty brake lights and the way in which they are working. The investigation takes place amid reports from members of the public that the brake lights are not working when the brake pad is depressed and often on when the brake pads are not depressed, with this malfunctioning taking place, there is a danger of an accident taking place, which is why US Safety regulators have stepped in.

There was a recall for these cars several years ago when 8,106 G6’s were recalled and now it seems the problem has cropped up again. Mainly in models from 2005 to 2009. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are in charge of the investigations. Another problem that has been filed with the NHTSA is that the cruise control function on the G6’s do not function properly and disengage when the driver has not disengaged it.

Pontiac was a former brand of GM Motors when the G6 was produced and it is GM who have agreed to co-operate with the investigations of the NHTSA.

GM of course was the company that was bailed out by the US government from the verge of bankruptcy, the other companies that were bailed out were Chrysler and Ford. There has recently been reporting of GM’s year on year losses in the European and Asian markets although a slight profit in the US.

The latest from GM is the Corvette Stingray, GM says of the dashing vehicle “The 2014 Corvette Stingray is the most powerful standard model ever, with an estimated 450 horsepower (335 kW) and 450 lb.-ft. of torque (610 Nm). It is also the most capable standard model ever, able to accelerate from 0-60 in less than four seconds and achieve more than 1g in cornering grip. It is expected to be the most fuel-efficient Corvette, exceeding the EPA-estimated 26 mpg of the current model.”

The Corvette Stingray, is another article however, for another day, and the brakes are sure to work on this speed monster… let’s hope!

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Rock N Rolls with Ministry of Defence Nuclear Submarine deal worth $1.3 billion

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Computer generated image of the new Astute Class Submarine, due to enter service in 2007.

Rolls Royce Limited have agreed to a submarine nuclear contract with the Ministry of Defence (UK) worth $1.3 billion.

The nuclear submarine contract is a ten year one and will help greatly with the Ministry of Defence department, as it will be sustaining up to 2000 jobs in the UK and the department will be saving up to 200 million pounds as this agreement is a consolidated cost long term agreement with Rolls-Royce of which 800 million has been awarded to Rolls-Royce and it focuses on efficiency and sustainability through all of Rolls-Royce’s business operations.

And with a thorough restructuring of the UK nuclear submarine industry the MoD are looking to save 900 million pounds. The choice of Rolls-Royce will also assist the UK economy as they are a UK originated company and “Rolls-Royce employs over 40,000 people in offices, manufacturing and service facilities in over 50 countries. Over 11,000 of these employees are engineers.”Source: Rolls-Royce website.

The MoD website states their target to save under Submarine enterprise performance programme (SEPP) they say: “This contract goes a long way towards meeting the government’s commitment to SEPP, as announced in the 2010 Strategic defence and security review, to make at least £900 million of savings by restructuring the UK’s nuclear submarine industry.”

On the MoD website it has been stated that: “The MoD has awarded an £800 million contract to Rolls-Royce to deliver and maintain the UK’s nuclear propulsion capability for submarines.”

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Jason Smith, Rolls-Royce President Submarines and Chief Operating Officer – Nuclear said: “I am pleased that we have agreed this enabling contract with the MOD which delivers significant savings to them over the next ten years and provides us with the stability to deliver these activities efficiently. It further reinforces the commitment to the submarine programme.”

Rolls-Royce are producers of the finest luxury cars, yet they also specialise in being a world leader in the departments of power systems in the use of air, land, sea, and nuclear technology. Focusing on the Marine aspect they have been leading in vessel design, the use of complex systems and power and propulsion equipment.
There website states: “Our marine business serves more than 4,000 customers and has equipment installed on over 30,000 vessels, including those of 70 navies.”

The maintenance spoken of will be of the Royal Navy’s Astute Class submarines and the contract extends further to the future successor submarines which will be acting as deterrent submarines.

Mr Dunne Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology said of the agreement: “Rolls-Royce’s work in the production of submarine propulsion systems is an important national strategic capability. It is necessary in order to meet the present and future defence and security needs of the UK and this contract ensures the MOD can continue to benefit from this unique capability on the best possible business terms.”

The MoD have constantly backed their nuclear deterrent policy for their submarines attack and deterrent subs, operation trident has been a matter of controversy as many have said it costs too much and also that it is out-dated in today’s world.  Operation trident is the UK’s nuclear weapons development, procurement and operation of current generation weapons and the ability to use them in extreme cases.

A quote from Trident is “the minimum effective nuclear deterrent as the ultimate means to deter the most extreme threat”.

The legality of having nuclear weapons has also been questioned internationally by many Non-governmental organisations and the questioning has arisen in relation to Human Rights Law and International Customary Law.

On 25 January 2007, Des Browne, UK Defence Minister, defended the use of Trident:

“I do not believe it makes sense to say that nuclear weapons are inherently evil. In certain circumstances, they can play a positive role – as they have in the past. But clearly they have a power to do great harm,” he said. “Are we prepared to tolerate a world in which countries which care about morality lay down their nuclear weapons, leaving others to threaten the rest of the world or hold it to ransom?”

Despite opposition to Trident, the MoD will go ahead with this contract with Rolls-Royce and it is certain that over the next 10 years UK submarines will be at the forefront of deterring a nuclear threat.

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Indian Fighter Jet Crashes

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Rajasthan’s Barmer district was where the jet fighter went down, the pilot managed to eject safely before the crash which left debris over a radius of 300 metres.

The Fighter Jet was a MiG – 27 part of the Indian Air Force and the crash took place on Tueday 12/02/2013, the fighter jet was being piloted by Wing Commander Nishikant Singh who after ejecting was rushed to the Jodhpur’s Military Hospital. Pilot Singh’s condition was said to be stable and that he was in no danger.

The pilot was on a standard Indian Air Force operational flight and an inquiry is to take place as to what caused the crash of the plane which is from a Russian origin and now with the Indian Air Force. The flight was not long lived and lasted two minutes, the MiG-27 took off at 3.55pm from Uttarlai air base and by 3,57pm it had crashed 3km from the base. “The aircraft was on a routine sortie when it crashed near a hamlet, Allawani- Ki- Dhani, 30 km from Barmer, in the Western sector”, said defence spokesman Colonel S D Goswami.

Eye witnesses have reported that a young boy sustained injuries, although minor, which was inflicted through the debris which was sent in all directions, a house near the air base was also damaged. The appropriate authorities were informed by villagers when they saw the MiG-27 losing altitude and looking as if about to crash, due to the speedy reporting of the imminent danger, the fire brigade were able to reach the pilot and the crash site quickly and put out the fire.

The MiG-27 Jet Fighters have been controversial, as the Russian sourced air-crafts have seen quite a few crashes above twelve crashes since 2001.

It has been built by Hindustan Aeronautics after obtaining the license to produce the ground attack air-craft. The Indian Air Force refer to the MiG-27 as Bahadur (Valiant). The Air-craft is to be retired in 2017.

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Himalayan Lake Bursting: Risk Very High!

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South Lhonak Glacier

A scientific study reveals that a lake may fall from the sky, well … from a very serious height … about 7,000 metres from the top of the Himalayan mountains, this lake poses a serious and dangerous threat.

The location of the Lake is The South Lhonak Glacier on the Himalaya’s, which drains east from Lhonak Peak into Sikkim from the Nepal-Sikkim border.

This lake will cause a lot of destruction if it bursts and flooding will be inevitable on the ground. The risk of this happening has been put at highly likely. The Lake has formed at the top of a mountain through melted water from the ice which is atop of the mountain in Sikkim. This is said to be evidence of global climate change and the rising temperatures around the world which is also happening in India causing ice to melt in the Himalaya’s at what is said to be an alarming rate.

“The rate of growth of the lake indicates possible developments of the hazard situation” the study report says and this may come as a surprise when places like Jammu and Kashmir have seen record levels of snowfall and India in places such as Delhi has become chilled and foggy at times; it would seem that the world is certainly bringing about some spectacular changes such as dust storms in Australia and frozen over landscapes in Europe due to rising temperatures, sea levels, and wind.

The study has been conducted by The National Remote Sensing Centre in Hyderabad and researchers say in a report published in the journal Current Science that the glacial lake is approximately 630 meters wide and 20 meters deep. It covers an area of 98.7 hectares and is filled with 19.7 billion liters of water. It is said that a sudden outburst “can create devastating floods downstream”.

Although the researchers have given warning of a highly likely outburst of water, further studies are to be conducted via the same method of using satellite technology. It has been discovered also that in the past century the glaciers on the North Side of Mount Everest have lost 100 metres of height due to the disappearance of the glaciers which have been melting (also said to be quickened by soot particles); where there used to be a lot of snow topped covered mountains in the Himalaya’s there is now rock and dirt.

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“Experts worry that climate change is at work here and could, eventually, reduce freshwater supplies for billions of people who use the Ganges, the Yangtze, the Indus and other rivers fed by the glaciers.” Source: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=a-sherpas-view-of-melting-himalayan-glaciers

It is feared by many that the Sacred Himalaya’s believed by Hindu’s to be a residence of Lord Shiva and by Buddhists to be the God of all females will soon be without snow all together. If the glaciers disappear there will inevitably be an effect on the eco-system and people who go to the rivers will not be able to have access to freshwater supplies as they do now. Based on the study the scientists according to estimates knew that the Lhonak glacier had receded 1.9 km between 1962 and 2008.

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Sikkim where this Lake waiting to burst is situated, was where an Earthquake (6.9 magnitude) took place in 2011 and affected India, Nepal and Tibet killing more than 90 people through landslides and huge boulders falling from the mountains. The Himalayas have over the past few years been subjected to earthquakes, however it was the latter one that caused most damage, it is believed that if more earthquakes are to occur they could cause lakes to burst and thus cause flooding, this is a situation which is being looked at closely by scientists, especially as the lake is only bound by loose soil and debris and is expanding all the time due to the glacier melt.

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Eye on the Tiger!

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WWF work towards Saving Tiger Numbers

in the Terai Arc with the

help of India and Nepal

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India has revered the Royal Bengal Tiger for a long time and the tiger is affectionately referred to as the Indian Tiger. The Royal Bengal Tiger’s scientific name is Panthera tigris tigris.

The conservation of Tigers in the wild has been a difficult fight and a constant struggle for Conservation groups like the World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Indian government. The fight is not off as yet though, as India and Nepal backed by the WWF keep their eyes on the tiger! The trio are planning on a census to document the amount of Royal Bengal Tigers within India and Nepal through the use of planted trap cameras in both India and Nepal. The Royal Bengal tiger’s numbers have said to be dwindling and therefore they have been given the status of an endangered species since 2010 which was the year of the tiger in the Chinese horoscope, the next year of the tiger is 2022 and WWF’s gobal tiger campaign aims to have doubled the number of Tigers by then, the global campaign is being led by Hollywood actor Leonardo Di Caprio.

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The WWF, India and Nepal are all set to meet their objectives of putting a number on the tigers and also helping in a conservationist aspect through many objectives such as:

  • Protect, restore and manage corridors to ensure connectivity between tiger habitats while ensuring that human-tiger conflicts are reduced.
  • Reduce pressures on tiger habitats by promoting alternative livelihoods for local communities.
  • Create incentives for local communities as well as state and regional government and opinion-makers to support tiger conservation.
  • Enhance capacities of the Forest Department to control poaching of tigers and prey species.
  • Promote the political will as well as popular support within all sectors of society for tiger conservation.

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Source : WWF

WWF began in 1960 and in 2010 they had been around for 50 years, they are a prestigious organisation and global in their efforts being present in 100 countries where they have offices working at a local level to ensure conservation for the countries’ species.

India’s Project Tiger was launched in 1972 by WWF, and saw a six-year national tiger conservation plan and 15 new tiger reserves. The county’s tiger population increased by 30% in just seven years.

Although due to poaching and encroachment upon the tigers habitat by man, tiger conservation is important as ever as numbers are said to be low and the Indian Tiger an endangered species. The following video is WWF’s Indian Save the Tiger campaign video:

WWF’s mission statement on the joint partnership between India and Nepal for Tigers is:

“WWF-India’s goal is to restore and maintain tiger habitats, protect the tiger and its prey base in important tiger landscapes in India.”

WWF have been working to conserve the tiger since on a large scale since 1972 and throughout their campaigns they have always sought to raise awareness of the danger of the Royal Bengal tiger becoming an extinct species. The following is a poster by WWF highlighting the danger of extinction to the tiger in the countries listed below (where they can be found), extinction is a possibility that is very real if tigers do not stop being hunted and their habitat being continually destroyed by Humankind:

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The announcement for the joint tiger survey was made on the 8th January at the 6th Indo-Nepal consultative meeting organized between the two governments, India started work on the project in November 2012 and Nepal are working on the project between January 2013 to March 2013. The project will cover 15 areas within the Terai Arc located between the two countries and at the bottom of the Himalaya’s.

The names of the Protected Areas in India in the Terai Arc are as follows:

Sonanadi Wild Life Sanctuary, Corbett National Park, Kishanpur WLS, Dudhwa National Park, Katarniaghat WLS, Sohagibarwa WLS, Valmiki National Park and Valmiki Sanctuary, those are a few of the main tiger territories. The Survey will also look at the availability of prey for the tigers, which will also be captured by motion sensitive camera’s of which there will be many hundreds in both India and Nepal. There will be a more accurate census for the tigers as the teams working alongside WWF will ensure that no tiger is counted twice as this will be confirmed by photographs on both sides. India is said to have the most densest of Royal Bengal Tigers with the number at around 500.

The names of the Protected Areas in Nepal in the Terai Arc are:

Three national parks (Chitwan, Bardiya, Banke) and two wild life reserves (Shuklaphanta and Parsa).

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Source: Report by : The Terai Arc Landscape in India:  Rajeev L. Semwal

In India the Terai Arc Landscape is an 810-km stretch that extends from the river Bhagmati in the east in the state of Bihar to river Yamuna in the west near India’s Capital Delhi.

After the consultation meeting between India and Nepal took place Dr S. P. Yadav, Deputy Inspector General of the Government of India’s National Tiger Conservation Authority said of the strengthening partnership to save the tiger that the – “bilateral meetings between India and Nepal have resulted in positive outcomes for wildlife conservation. Our governments need to continue strengthening trans-boundary ties for protecting tigers and enabling their free movement between India and Nepal.”

The number of Royal Bengal Tigers in the wild has been put at approximately a minimum of 1,576 to a maximum of 1,875, this number comes from The National Tiger Authority and included numbers of tigers within 17 states within India from 41 tiger reserves. India has the largest population of the Indian Tiger and as for the estimated remaining population within the World that number is at a meagre 3,000, when 100 years ago there were 100,000 tigers in the wild.

The problems that have caused tiger numbers to decline are due to many reasons and those that have mainly been responsible are those who have in the past culled tigers, and consumers of tiger products, there is also the problem of poachers/criminal networks who deal in selling tiger products to places like China where tiger parts are highly prized. Another few key responsible parties are tiger farm operators who breed tigers and sell their parts, which leads to a higher demand for tiger products, also Governments that are not working hard enough to protect tigers from poachers and their habitat and they’re not upholding the laws against illegal trafficking. Even the everyday person is responsible as people who waste paper are often responsible for the loss of the tigers forest habitat where trees are cut down for the demand of paper, of course this responsibility also lies with large corporations who are not considerate of the tigers habitat and cause deforestation on a mass scale.

The ones that are responsible are up against the non-stop global scale tiger campaign to preserve the tiger with the help of pro-active governments and organisations such as WWF who are working to bring about solutions to the problems posed (mentioned above).

The solutions to these problems are simple although require action to solve the problem there needs to be an end to the tiger killing for their skins and other parts and countries like China are where these products are often in high demand for traditional believed to be healing medicinal reasons and as status symbols of power, these are some reasons as to why some tigers have been driven to extinction and numbers have fell. Poaching is a major part of the problem which needs to be met head on and stopped governments like India and China are looking at ways to stop this with options such as armed tiger personnel, tigers should be monitored more closely and effectively in the wild and in captivity. There needs to be a continuity in maintaining tiger reserves and new ones should be established to ensure successful flourishing of tiger numbers. Sustainable living is another solution which will save the trees and thus the tiger habitats and it is not just individuals who need to do this but also corporations. Educating people about tigers and their dire situation is an essential part to the tigers success, an increase in political campaigning and will and funding is as always ever needed.

A good reason to protect the tigers is that their environment is just as essential to us as it is to them and if there were no tigers that would it is suggested more than likely lead to deforestation and the loss of the important features of the forest such as cleaner air and countering climate change and fresh clean water. Tiger tourism can benefit poor communities by providing a source of income through local tourism consumerism.

SOURCE:  http://www.savetigersnow.org/problem

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The following is a map of where the tigers can be found roaming, it has been produced by the Wildlife Protection Society of India:

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The compilation of the results is said to take up to about 4 months and then an accurate census on tiger numbers should be available. WWF India says:

“The shared monitoring results between India and Nepal will enable the development of a comprehensive management approach for tigers across the TAL for the first time.”

As for both governments this initiative for the tiger will continue to be focused on the aim to double tiger numbers by 2022. Mr. Bishwo Nath Oli, head of the Nepal delegation and Joint Secretary of the Government of Nepal’s Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation said “The survey results will play an important role in shaping strategies to get us to our ultimate goal of Tx2, doubling the number of wild tigers, which was set during the historic Tiger summit in 2010.”

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

India spends about US$75 million a year to provide protection for its tigers.

The Bengal can live as long as 15 years in the wild.

The five surviving subspecies are:
1. Bengal Tiger – Panthera tigris tigris
2. Siberian (Amurian) Tiger – Panthera tigris altaica
3. Sumatran Tiger – Panthera tigris sumatrae
4. Indo-Chinese Tiger – Panthera tigris corbetti
5. South China Tiger – Panthera tigris amoyensis

The three extinct subspecies are:
1. Javan Tiger – Panthera tigris sondaica – extinct since early 1980’s
2. Bali Tiger – Panthera tigris balica – extinct since the 1940’s
3. Caspian Tiger – Panthera tigris virgata – extinct since the early 1970’s

Source: http://www.wpsi-india.org/tiger/tiger_facts.php

Earth: In the Dark on Matter

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darkmatter

Dark Matter is a term used to describe matter that can be inferred to exist from its gravitational effects, but does not emit or absorb detectable amounts of light, is not a planet, star, gas, dust or protons or neutrons, . It is mainly an invisible force which is under scientific investigation and is said to have formed in a fraction of a second from the beginning of the big bang.

It has been reported that there is a possibility that Dark Matter walls may exist within the Universe and that at some point Earth may drift through these gigantic walls or may have been doing so already.

Scientists are looking forward to detecting these walls made of the infamous Dark Matter which are said to make up about 86% of all matter within the Universe.

The New Scientist generated an article entitled “Is Earth Bashing through walls of Dark Matter?” and sets out in the article the possibility that Earth may be subjected to exotic force fields made up of Dark Matter which the Earth is bashed by.

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Not much is known about Dark Matter although it has certainly become the subject of much attention amongst Physicists and Science fanatics. The Dark Matter is believed to be made up of Weakly Interacting Massive Particles, this is the leading and most prominent theory about, on Dark Matter, however, there has been no detection of these WIMPs to date. “We’ve looked for WIMP Dark Matter in so many ways, at some point you have to ask, are we totally on the wrong track?”

So Scientists have been open to this new theory (exotic fields/walls of Dark Matter) that would be a breakthrough if detected and discovered. So how do Scientists intend to go about detecting these exotic walls? The theory suggests that the Earth passes through these walls every few years as it drifts through space, as yet it has not been detected, but this all looks to change with a focus on using magnetometer technology, to try and discover when the Earth has passed through one of these walls.

This is an open-minded theory and not everyone is sure about the existence of these walls, which are said to be rich in energy.

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In the New Scientist magazine, a quote from Scientist Maxim Pospelov of the University of Victoria – Canada says “I feel like it’s time to broaden the scope of our search”, they report further on Mr Pospelov saying “He is focusing on the idea that some dark matter may be tied up in domain walls – structures separating areas of the universe where an exotic force field in the early cosmos settled down with different values.” It is these values that are said to be distinct and in order for them to remain special they must be rich in energy, which is a fascinating prospect for the future of science discovery.

“Earth may pass through a domain wall every few years as it drifts through space. We wouldn’t feel it”, says Pospelov.  The New Scientist features a piece from the ‘Physical Review Letters’ : “but if a worldwide network of magnetometers simultaneously saw an unusual signal, it could signify that Earth has pierced a dark matter wall.”

Evidence for Dark Matter is:

“Observations of the rotational speed of spiral galaxies, the confinement of hot gas in galaxies and clusters of galaxies, the random motions of galaxies in clusters, the gravitational lensing of background objects, and the observed fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background radiation require the presence of additional gravity, which can be explained by the existence of dark matter.” Source: Chandra/NASA

NASA provides one take on the Universe Dark Matter and Dark Energy it says:

By fitting a theoretical model of the composition of the Universe to the combined set of cosmological observations, scientists have come up with the composition that ~70% is dark energy, ~25% is dark matter, and ~5% is normal matter.”

NASA’s understanding of Dark Energy is also a wonderful one, they explain that Dark Energy is the force that is accelerating the universe to expansion and this is depicted in the following diagram by NASA:darkmatterdiagram

Dark Energy is again a hot topic of discussion and like Dark Matter there is no definitive explanation about how they work, here, however is NASA’s take on Dark Energy:

“In the early 1990’s, one thing was fairly certain about the expansion of the Universe. It might have enough energy density to stop its expansion and recollapse, it might have so little energy density that it would never stop expanding, but gravity was certain to slow the expansion as time went on. Granted, the slowing had not been observed, but, theoretically, the Universe had to slow. The Universe is full of matter and the attractive force of gravity pulls all matter together. Then came 1998 and the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) observations of very distant supernovae that showed that, a long time ago, the Universe was actually expanding more slowly than it is today. So the expansion of the Universe has not been slowing due to gravity, as everyone thought, it has been accelerating. No one expected this, no one knew how to explain it. But something was causing it.

Eventually theorists came up with three sorts of explanations. Maybe it was a result of a long-discarded version of Einstein’s theory of gravity, one that contained what was called a “cosmological constant.” Maybe there was some strange kind of energy-fluid that filled space. Maybe there is something wrong with Einstein’s theory of gravity and a new theory could include some kind of field that creates this cosmic acceleration. Theorists still don’t know what the correct explanation is, but they have given the solution a name. It is called dark energy.”

darkenergywhatispiechart(Most of the universe seems to consist of nothing we can see. Dark energy and dark matter, detectable only because of their effect on the visible matter around them, make up most of the universe.) SOURCE NASA

Here’s NASA’s take on Dark Matter:

“We are much more certain what dark matter is not than we are what it is. First, it is dark, meaning that it is not in the form of stars and planets that we see. Observations show that there is far too little visible matter in the Universe to make up the 25% required by the observations. Second, it is not in the form of dark clouds of normal matter, matter made up of particles called baryons. We know this because we would be able to detect baryonic clouds by their absorption of radiation passing through them. Third, dark matter is not antimatter, because we do not see the unique gamma rays that are produced when antimatter annihilates with matter. Finally, we can rule out large galaxy-sized black holes on the basis of how many gravitational lenses we see. High concentrations of matter bend light passing near them from objects further away, but we do not see enough lensing events to suggest that such objects to make up the required 25% dark matter contribution.

However, at this point, there are still a few dark matter possibilities that are viable. Baryonic matter could still make up the dark matter if it were all tied up in brown dwarfs or in small, dense chunks of heavy elements. These possibilities are known as massive compact halo objects, or “MACHO’s”. But the most common view is that dark matter is not baryonic at all, but that it is made up of other, more exotic particles like axions or WIMPS – Weakly Interacting Massive Particles.”

Dark Matter will be like something that has never been seen before and it may assist in further understand time, space, and matter.

The latest in Dark Matter investigations is looking at exploding gamma rays, which are apparently caused by two concentrated clouds of dark matter colliding. Nothing as yet is conclusive on this subject and further Science investigations will have to take place before some light is shed on Dark Matter and Dark Matter walls!

darkmatterwallsthroughearth

Additional Links:

Did Albert Einstein predict Dark Energy?

http://hubblesite.org/hubble_discoveries/dark_energy/de-did_einstein_predict.php

Swedish owned IKEA: the introduction of another global giant within India

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IKEA

IKEA the home-furnishings company are to open 25 stores across India. The Swedish company had initially been set back by India’s foreign investment agency, the foreign investment promotion board (FIPB), and after putting forward an appeal to their proposal, the company was given access to the Indian market which they have been trying to enter for years. Currently IKEA are present in 40 countries with 338 stores. It is owned by the richest man in Sweden, Ingvar Kamprad, who started the company when he was just 17 in the year 1943. IKEA will be approximately investing Rs 10,500 crore (€1.5 billion – euros).

IKEA are also known in India for the ‘IKEA Foundation’ which has partnered up with UNICEF in India. “For more than ten years, UNICEF has partnered with the IKEA Foundation to deliver tangible results for millions of children and women in India.  By the end of 2012, funding from the IKEA Foundation will have enabled UNICEF to help over 74 million children in India create a better future for themselves and their families.”

The delay for IKEA stores to enter the Indian market has been that the Indian Foreign investment board (and The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion in India) November 2012 had cleared the IKEA proposal to operate in India, yet however put restrictions on IKEA selling only furniture and not products it does not brand such as office supplies, food and beverages, textiles, books and a cafeteria. IKEA sells these products all around the world without any restrictions and may have found this restricted proposal unusual. They appealed to the board with a re-submission of their proposal.

India soon accepted the proposal due to changes in their Foreign Investment Law which has been amended to counter the slowing economy, Juvencio Maeztu, IKEA country manager said of the accepted proposal and new venture in India “We consider this as a very positive development.”

“After FIPB’s clearance, the proposal will have to be finally approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) as the board can clear investment applications worth up to Rs 1,200 crore only.” Source: economictimes.indiatimes.com

IKEA still had concerns about going through with the proposal even though they were being given a 100% subsidiary (ownership was previously capped at 51%) as India had a 30% sourcing clause, the government however relaxed the mandatory 30 per cent sourcing clause in September to attract more foreign investment and keep the economy growing. The final proposal which went through was sent by IKEA in November 2012.

The argument on the other side of IKEA being good for the Indian economy is that it could damage the income of farmers and local businesses who do not have the means to compete with the global giant IKEA. The Swedish company are also a cause of concern as they may make workers work unfair amounts of hours, as the story goes, and with little pay, this remains to be seen, the rumours have stemmed from other stories that IKEA is an unfair company in many aspects, including their charity work (they are seen as not giving even a little amount of the massive profit they total).

IKEA2012

The Indian venture is not the only development on IKEA‘s global strategy, in August 2012, they announced the plan to open 100 hotels in Europe, which will be operated by a group of anonymous hoteliers, and the hotels will not carry the IKEA name. IKEA also have a few hotels in Scandinavia bearing the IKEA name.

IKEAFoundationSmall

IKEA have a campaign every holiday season, since 2003, which has seen IKEA selling soft toys, the funds from these sales have gone to helping children all over the world in 40 countries. “To help educate children around the world – already helping 8 million children with over 35.2 million EUROS raised.”

“These funds support UNICEF and Save the Children projects aimed at creating child-friendly schools with well-trained teachers for all children, girls and boys, including those from ethnic minorities and those with special needs.” IKEA have 338 stores in total around the world in 40 countries.

IKEA have a sustainability policy which involves taking care of people and the planet a recent example of this is “a plan to install solar panel arrays on 150 stores. They also use geo-exchange heating and cooling systems on several stores to reduce energy consumption.”Source: http://www.buildingmygreenlife.com/is-ikea-sustainable/

IKEA have made a statement on their policy and also a list of 77 improvements they have made to be more sustainable:

We have decided to help create a world where we take better care of the environment, the earth’s resources, and each other. We know that sometimes we are part of the problem. So, we are working hard to become a part of the solution. We are weighing the pros and cons, continually examining and changing things. All these steps, in lots and lots of areas, add up to something big … and noticeable. The job has already started, and it is a never-ending one.

The list of improvements can be found on this link:

http://www.ikea.com/ms/en_US/about_ikea/our_responsibility/the_never_ending_list/index.html

This decision by India to allow foreign investors in the form of multi-branding superstores is certainly a first and announcements have been made by Commerce and Industry Minister, Anand Sharma, that the Indian government will see them through their entry into India with clarity and assurance on the Indian policy of Foreign Direct Investment. Whether the country will move in a new direction with this policy and whether it works is what the government will be hoping for.

Additional Information & Links:

Walmart is a US superstore already within India although it is under investigation for corruption. Walmart entered a 50:50 joint venture with Bharti Enterprise.

Tesco’s is set to enter the Indian market too.

IKEA may see legal battles in India due to copycat companies who have used the IKEA name, of which there are three. “There is IKEA Home Decor Private Limited, which carves out a living by making and selling furniture in India. Then, there is IKEA Constructions and IKEA Furniture Private Limited.” Source: blogs.wsj.com

“Thanks to IKEA’s dedicated co-workers and customers, 100 million children will benefit from our currently funded programmes by 2015. In 2011 alone, we:

  • donated €65 million
  • supported 15 partners with 47 grants benefitting children in 33 countries
  • raised €12.4 million through our Soft Toys for Education campaign for UNICEF and Save the Children.”

http://www.ikeafoundation.org/About-Us

IKEA is the 3rd largest consumer of wood in the world.

To view IKEA’s different advertising campaigns in different countries follow this link: http://adhibition.tumblr.com/post/17950628838/ikeas-internationalization-advertising-in-different-coun

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