News for the day July 22, Saturday
China made cheap spares used in Bofors gun: CBI reports
China-made parts camouflaged as ‘Made in Germany’ found their way to the production line of indigenised Bofors guns used by the army, prompting the CBI to file a case against a Delhi-based company. Besides Sidh Sales Syndicate, the CBI also registered a case against unidentified officials of the Guns Carriage Factory (GCF), Jabalpur, under criminal conspiracy, cheating and forgery for supplying fake and cheap China-made spares passing off as Made in Germany for Dhanush guns, the FIR alleged. Dhanush is the indigenised version of the Bofors artillery guns which performed exceedingly well during the Kargil conflict in 1999. The CBI alleged that the supplier entered into criminal conspiracy with the unidentified GCF officials to supply duplicate spare parts (bearings) used in the manufacture of Dhanush guns.
Sarah Sanders takes over after Sean Spicer resigns
Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, resigned Friday after telling President Trump he vehemently disagreed with his appointment of Anthony Scaramucci, a New York financier, as his new communications director. After offering Mr. Scaramucci the job on Friday morning, Mr. Trump asked Mr. Spicer to stay on as press secretary, reporting to Mr. Scaramucci. But Mr. Spicer rejected the offer, expressing his belief that Mr. Scaramucci’s hiring would add to the confusion and uncertainty already engulfing the White House, according to two people with direct knowledge of the exchange. Mr. Spicer’s top deputy, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, will serve as press secretary instead. The long-anticipated resignation rattled an administration already reeling from the most trying two-week stretch of Mr. Trump’s presidency. The president’s health care effort foundered in the Senate last week, and next week promises no respite, with his son Donald Trump Jr. and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, due to testify before Congress on questions about their contacts with Russia.
‘Jio phone’ launched; is practically free
After much speculation and plenty of leaks, Reliance Jio announced its ultra-affordable 4G-enabled feature phone today. Called JioPhone, the device promises to bridge the digital divide in India once and for all. RIL chairman and MD Mukesh Ambani announced the Jio Phone at the company’s annual general meeting today, and declared that the combination of low hardware cost, low service subscription cost, and high-speed connectivity will empower over 50 crore users in India who cannot afford even today’s least expensive smartphones and data plans. The JioPhone is effectively free, since buyers have to pay only a deposit of Rs. 1,500 which is refundable after three years. The lowest subscription cost is Rs. 153 per month, which gives users unlimited data, voice calling, and text messaging. The fine print is that while data is unlimited, speed is capped after 500MB each day. For Rs. 309, Jio Phone subscribers can get 1GB per day for 56 days, which works out to better value. On the other hand, users who can’t pay even that much upfront can buy mini “sachet” Jio packs for Rs. 24 or Rs. 54, which offer similar benefits but only have two days/ one week of validity respectively.
Minneapolis police chief steps down after Justine Damond incident
Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau has resigned at the city mayor’s request after the fatal shooting of Australian woman Justine Damond by a police officer. Ms Harteau had been criticised for remaining on holidays for four days in the aftermath of Ms Damond’s shocking death. The chief’s departure comes less than a week after the fatal police shooting of the 40-year-old Australian woman. Last Saturday, Damond called 911 to report a possible sexual assault near her home in south Minneapolis, and one of the responding officers, Mohamed Noor, shot her from the squad car. The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the shooting.
Hubble Space Telescope captures Mars’ Phobos moon
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has beamed back images of the tiny Martian moon Phobos in its orbital trek around the red planet. Over the course of 22 minutes, Hubble took 13 separate images, allowing astronomers to create a time-lapse video showing the diminutive moon’s orbital path. The Hubble observations were intended to photograph Mars, and the moon’s cameo appearance was a bonus, scientists said. A football-shaped object just 26x21x17 kilometres, Phobos is one of the smallest moons in the solar system. The moon completes an orbit in just seven hours and 39 minutes, which is faster than Mars rotates. Rising in the Martian west, it runs three laps around the Red Planet in the course of one Martian day, which is about 24 hours and 40 minutes. It is the only natural satellite in the solar system that circles its planet in a time shorter than the parent planet’s day.