Morning briefing: North Korea says it conducted successful hydrogen bomb test

GN Staff | January 6, 2016

#north korea   #hydrogen bomb   #atomic bomb   #shatrughan sinha   #lk advani   #winter   #hardik patel  

North Korea said Wednesday it had conducted a hydrogen bomb test, a defiant and surprising move that, if confirmed, would put Pyongyang a big step closer toward improving its still-limited nuclear arsenal. A television anchor read a typically propaganda-heavy statement on state TV that said North Korea had tested a “miniaturized” hydrogen bomb, elevating the country’s “nuclear might to the next level” and providing it with a weapon to defend against the United States and its other enemies. The statement said the test was a “perfect success.” While a hydrogen bomb is much more powerful than an atomic bomb, it is also much harder to make. In a hydrogen bomb, radiation from a nuclear fission explosion sets off a fusion reaction responsible for a powerful blast and radioactivity.

In the first indication of a possible test, the U.S. Geological Survey measured an earthquake Wednesday morning with a magnitude of 5.1. An official from the Korea Metrological Administration, South Korea’s weather agency, said the agency believed the earthquake was caused artificially based on an analysis of the seismic waves and because it originated 49 kilometers (30 miles) north of Kilju, the northeastern area where North Korea’s main nuclear test site is located. The country conducted all three previous atomic detonations there.

Shatrughan Sinha's biography to be released today, may cause heartburns for many

Shatrughan Sinha, the actor-turned-politician, is all set to drop bombshells with his biography "Anything But Khamosh", slated to be released today (Wednesday). The book will be launched in New Delhi in the presence of BJP veterans LK Advani and Yashwant Sinha as well as Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Some of the excerpts taken from his book:
If there is one regret that I have in politics, it is that I was made to fight Rajesh Khanna from Delhi in 1991...For this, in his lifetime, I had apologised to Rajesh Khanna both directly and indirectly. Under no circumstances should I have started my active political career with a bye-election. But I couldn't say no to (LK) Advani ji, who was my guide, guru and ultimate leader.
When I lost Delhi's bye-election, it was one of my rare moments of dejection. It was the one time I really cried. I also felt very let down because Advani ji had not come even for one day to campaign for me.
Politics showed its ugly profile in many ways. After I lost that election, I was so sharply sidelined that I would be made to feel distinctly unwelcome at our party office on Ashoka Road. People would stop talking when I entered, or change the topic and make me uncomfortable.
Not only Johnnies-come-lately but also some who had lost the (2014) Lok Sabha elections, perhaps humiliatingly, were rewarded with not one but two and three ministerial posts, marginalising those who'd won with a record margin. (The book takes no names but two prominent BJP leaders who got into the Narendra Modi Cabinet despite losing the Lok Sabha battle were Arun Jaitley and Smriti Irani)
The party was hijacked by some people in Bihar who conveniently played deaf-mute. They were not ready to listen to me or to speak to me. That's how they created an impression which the opposition seized an opportunity and the 'Bihari versus Bahari' slogan was coined.
I've always said, BJP is my first and perhaps my last party. Once a friend, always a friend. 'Ladte jhagadte hain' (we fight) but we remain family...A member's equation with the party is like the relationship between a husband and wife.
Couple claims Rs 10 lakh for being bitten by rats on train
A Ranchi couple claimed Rs 10 lakh as compensation, stating that they were bitten by rodents in the AC first class compartment of a Kolkata-bound train, reports Hindustan Times. Senior citizens PC Sinha and his wife Alka were travelling in the Kriya Yoga Express (Hatia-Howrah Express) from Ranchi to Howrah on December 30 last year when around midnight, the man was allegedly bitten by rats. “It is shameful that at a time when the Prime Minister is talking of Swachch Bharat, the Indian railways can’t even get rid of rats from the highest class of compartments,” Sinha said in a letter to the general manager of south eastern railways. Hindustan Times has a copy of the letter written on December 31, 2015.

A retired chief engineer in Bokaro Steel Limited, Sinha claimed that he had suffered a 3mm bite and was at the risk of contracting diseases as he was a diabetic. “There were four passengers in the compartment, and three were bitten… I have never seen such big rats in my life,” he said, adding he had to take rabies vaccines after reaching Kolkata. When the train halted at the Santraganchi railway station, about 30-minutes from Howrah, the couple lodged a complaint with the grievance redressal cell and asked for the compensation.

Temperatures rise marginally in North India; fresh snowfall in valley
There was slight respite from biting cold in north India as temperatures remained above normal in most parts of the region except in Kashmir which received fresh snowfall on Tuesday. With sun shining bright, it was a warm day in the national capital and the maximum temperature rose to settle at 26.5 degrees Celsius, seven notches above the normal. The minimum temperature was recorded at 11 degrees Celsius, four notches above the normal, said a MeT department official. The humidity levels oscillated between 97 and 51 per cent. Foggy conditions were witnessed in the several parts of the city which affected the visibility in the morning hours. There was welcome relief for people in Haryana and Punjab from the biting cold that prevailed across the two neighbouring states over the past few days as minimum temperatures rose a few notches above normal. The Union Territory of Chandigarh, the common capital of the two states, recorded a low of 9.8 degrees Celsius, which was five notches above the normal for this time of the season.

Hisar registered a low of 10.6 degrees, up five notches, while Ambala recorded a similar jump in the minimum, which stood at 10.5 degrees. Residents of Karnal and Narnaul, too, got respite from the winter chill as both towns recorded an identical minimum of 9 degrees, up two and four notches, respectively. Patiala in Punjab, too, registered an increase in the minimum by four notches from the average. Amritsar recorded a low of 7.2 degrees, a jump of four degrees, while the minimum in Ludhiana settled at 8.1 degrees, two notches above normal. However, the higher reaches of the Kashmir received fresh snowfall during the night while areas in the plains saw intermittent rainfall till this morning. The famous ski resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir had snow of a depth of 21 inches this morning, most of it received overnight. Gulmarg was the only place in the Valley where the minimum settled below freezing point and it was also the coldest recorded place in Jammu and Kashmir.

The south Kashmir tourist resort of Pahalgam, which also serves as a base camp for the annual Amarnath Yatra, recorded 6cm of fresh snowfall while the mercury there settled at zero degrees, the MeT official said. Srinagar, the summer capital of J&K, which yesterday experienced the season's first major snowfall, got 9.5mm of fresh snowfall and showers during the night. The minimum in the city dropped by over a degree to settle at 0.8 degrees, the official said. The mercury also dropped in the towns of Qazigund, Kupwara and Kokernag. Leh, in the frontier region of Ladakh, recorded a low of minus 5.2 degrees -- an increase by nearly three notches from the previous night's minus 7.8 degrees. The town of Kargil nearby registered an increase of over three notches in the minimum, which settled at minus 5.6 degrees as against the minus 9 degrees the night before. The Valley is in the midst of the 40-day harshest phase of winter, known as 'Chillai-Kalan' in local parlance, which commenced on December 21 and will continue till the end of this month. The chances of frequent and heavy snowfall is the highest during this period.

Hardik Patel’s release: Patidars on indefinite fast from today
The leaders of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) have decided to go on an indefinite fast in all the district headquarters of Gujarat from the first week of the new year in order to put pressure on the State Government to the release 22-year-old jailed PAAS convener Hardik Patel. “We are planning to go on an indefinite fast from January 6. Office bearers of all the district units of PAAS will join the agitation,” said a PAAS leader. Hardik’s father Bharat Patel too will fast and family members of other jailed Patidar agitators will be joining him at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar. The agitating PAAS leaders believe that even if Hardik and other jailed Patidar leaders would not be acquitted, they can be brought out of jail on bail. “But the State Government want them to be in jail,” said a PAAS agitator.

Hardik, his close aide Chirag Patel, Dinesh Bambhania, Ketan Patel and many other Patidar agitators are in jail on sedition charges and other cases since October this year. According sources in PAAS, the jailed Patidar agitators too joined them in fast agitation staying inside the prison. Meanwhile, the supreme court on Tuesday allowed the Gujarat police to file a charge sheet by Friday against Patel quota stir leader Hardik Patel for allegedly instigating the community to kill policemen and adopt violent means to wage war against the Gujarat government. A bench headed by Justice JS Khehar issued the direction after Gujarat government counsel Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi sought the court’s permission to file the final investigation report. The law officer said in case the local police failed, then Hardik should be entitled to get bail. The bench declined to look at the draft charge sheet and instead asked the police to submit the report on or before January 8, 2016.

Centre approves 33% quota for women recruits in central police forces

Home minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday cleared a plan to introduce 33% quota for women in central police forces.The quota rule, however, will only apply to fresh recruitment and the constabulary in the police forces. To begin with, the 33% quota would apply in the lead counter-insurgency force, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which is responsible for protecting key installations in the country. In the three border-guarding forces — Border Security Force (BSF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) — the quota for women initially is expected to be about 14-15%. Women account for just a little over 2% of the five central police forces, ranging from more than 4.8% in the CISF to less than 1.5% in the BSF. Between them, the five police forces have about 8.3 lakh personnel in the country.

Gauhati HC stays disqualification of 14 MLAs from Arunachal Pradesh
The Gauhati high court has stayed till Thursday the disqualification of 14 Congress MLAs in Arunachal Pradesh who had revolted against CM Nabam Tuki. Hearing a petition filed by T Norbu Thongdok, deputy speaker of Arunachal Pradesh assembly, the court granted reprieve for the 14 MLAs who were disqualified by speaker Nabam Rebia ahead of a controversial assembly session convened by governor JP Rajkhowa last month. On Thursday, the court will also hear the dissident Congress MLAs’ plea for vacating an earlier order that kept the assembly session in abeyance. “The proceeding on our state’s politics was going on for the second session today but couldn’t go till judgement owing to the death of a Supreme Court judge. But we got a temporary stay and are optimist,” dissident leader and former finance minister Kalikho Pul said on Tuesday.

Rs 25 lakh, job each for kin of Punjab martyrs

Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Tuesday announced a financial assistance of Rs 25 lakh and a government job each for the kin of the two Pathankot attack martyrs who hailed from the state. Interacting with the mediapersons during a sangat darshan programme at Qadian, Badal said the assistance was a “modest effort” by the government to pay tribute to Honorary Captain Fateh Singh and Havildar Kulwant Singh, who belonged to Jhanda Gujjran and Chak Sharif villages of Gurdaspur respectively.

Twitter considering 10,000-character limit for tweets
Twitter Inc is building a new feature that will allow users post messages as long as 10,000 characters, Re/code reported on Tuesday.The micro-blogging website, which currently has a 140-character limit, is considering launching the service toward the end of the first quarter but has not set an official date, Re/code reported, citing sources familiar with the plans. The company, in an attempt to keep a similar look for the timeline, is testing a version of the product which displays 140-character long tweets but expands to reveal more content when clicked on, the technology news website said.



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