Yoga Day in China: 9 Indian teachers train 10,000 people in final event

Participants strike a pose during a group yoga session at a park in Beijing. Several hundred Chinese yoga enthusiasts participated in a mass yoga session to mark International Yoga Day, which falls on June 21. Photo: PTI

More than 10,000 people took part in the final event marking the third International Day of Yoga in China today, the largest participation of enthusiasts in a yoga programme organised in the communist nation this year.

The event – the final in a series of programmes organised in 12 cities – was held in Wuxi in Jiangsu province in eastern China. The setting to celebrate the grand finale was the scenic Lingshan Dafo (Buddhist Temple in Wuxi) and the Buddhist Palace.

Spread over 10 practice venues, with nearly nine Indian yoga teachers taking the stage, a mass yoga session was held concurrently for the 10,000 participants, according to a statement from the Consulate General of India, Shanghai.

The record number of participants turned up from Wuxi and its neighbouring cities for the event jointly organised by the consulate and Wuxi Municipal People’s Government.

A large number of Indian students, pursuing medicine at Suzhou and Yangzhou, also travelled to Wuxi for the event.

Mayor of Wuxi, Wang Quan, said that yoga is another facet of the long-standing cultural cooperation between India and China, and with today’s massive event he expects that yoga will become the “signature name card” for his city.

Since Buddhism came from India to China, it was ideal for Lingshan Dafo Buddhist Temple to host the event, he added.

Stanley Tong, Director of ‘Kung Fu Yoga’ – a Chinese- Indian co-production movie, also attended the event and urged greater cultural exchanges between the peoples of India and China.


1.9-km long pizza cooked by over 100 chefs sets Guinness world record

Photo: Twitter (@ODulainne)

A new Guinness record for the world’s longest pizza has been set in the US where over 100 chefs cooked a pizza measuring a whopping 1,930 metres in length.

The attempt saw volunteers in California gather to help beat the previous record of 1,853.88 metres, which was achieved in Italy – the birthplace of pizza.

Pizzaovens.Com, a US-based restaurant equipment company managed to achieve a total length of 1,930.39 metres – just surpassing the former record holder.

Dozens of chefs were in charge of crafting the enormous pizza, which was made using 3,632 kilogrammes of dough, 1,634 kilogrammes of cheese and 2,542 kilogrammes of sauce.

As the dough was stretched for the record, it ran along a conveyer belt which passed through three industrial ovens, which cooked the pizza nonstop for eight hours.

Volunteers helped to shift the oven every 17 minutes so as to not burn the dough, according to the Guinness World Records.

Following the event, all pizza slices were donated to local food banks and homeless shelters.


AirAsia flight ‘shaking like washing machine’ had technical faults


An AirAsia flight to Malaysia was forced back to Australia on Sunday due to a technical problem, with one passenger saying the plane was “shaking like a washing machine”.

The Airbus A330 from Perth to Kuala Lumpur experienced problems about 90 minutes into the journey.

It landed safely, with Perth Airport reporting a “technical issue”.

“The pilot identified technical issues, turned around and returned,” an airport spokesman told AFP, adding that emergency crews were put on standby but not needed.

The Malaysian low-cost carrier said only that “flight crew are taking precautionary measures to check the aircraft”.

It was the second scare involving an Airbus A330 in Australia this month, with a China Eastern plane making an emergency landing in Sydney after a huge hole appeared in one of its engine casings.

Terrified passengers on that flight described a very loud noise soon after it left Sydney for Shanghai. No one was hurt.

The West Australian newspaper cited passengers on Sunday’s flight as saying they heard a bang and then the plane started shuddering.

“You could tell by the cabin crew’s reaction that it was really bad,” said Sophie Nicolas, who said she heard a small explosion from the left wing. “It was terrifying.”

Another passenger, Brenton Atkinson, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation the whole plane started shaking, far more than standard turbulence.


SpaceX’s successful Friday launch opens weekend doubleheader

SpaceX's successful Friday launch opens weekend doubleheader

The year’s not half over, and Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies is about to launch more missions than it completed in all of 2016.


SpaceX successfully fired up a Falcon 9 rocket for the eighth time this year on Friday, matching its flight total for all of last year. Its next launch is scheduled just two days later, with the ramped-up cadence putting the company on track to achieve the 20 to 24 total missions it’s targeting for the year.

The quickening pace of launches illustrates how SpaceX has bounced back after one of its rockets and a customer’s satellite blew up on a Florida launch pad in September. The company was grounded for four months in the midst of an investigation into the incident before returning to flight in January. By racking up more successful launches, the closely held company has positioned itself again as a driving force in the new-age space race.


The rocket that took off Friday carried BulgariaSat-1, a communications satellite destined for geostationary orbit. It launched from the historic 39A pad at NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where Neil Armstrong left from before landing on the moon in 1969.


The launch used a “flight proven” Falcon 9 rocket booster, which means it’s flown to space previously and been returned and refurbished. SpaceX Chief Executive Officer Musk has championed reusability — once derided as a crazy idea — to drive down launch costs and win a growing roster of customers, including the US military. Friday marked the second time it’s used a pre-flown booster. “It’s starting to feel kinda normal to reuse rockets. Good. That’s how it is for cars and airplanes and how it should be for rockets,” Musk tweeted earlier this month.


SpaceX successfully recovered the booster from this mission on an unmanned drone ship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean, though it had been bracing for a less favourable outcome.


China landslide: At least 15 confirmed dead, over 118 still missing

China landslide

At least fifteen bodies have been retrieved by hundreds of rescuers trying to find survivors among 118 people who are still missing a day after a huge landslide engulfed a village in China’s Sichuan Province.

Rescuers had retrieved 15 bodies from the debris by 10 pm, the rescue headquarters said.

The search and rescue operation was underway overnight and people have been sent to observe potential secondary disasters.

Geological experts at the site said the chance of survival for the people buried was really slim.

Rescuers were combing the area with life detectors and sniffer dogs but no new signs of life have been found.

“We won’t give up as long as there is a slim of chance,” said one rescuer.

Xu Zhiwen, executive deputy governor of the Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Aba said the identities of 118 missing will be soon made public on the government’s website.

Xu also cleared up worries that some tourists might be among the buried as the village is a tourist site.

All 142 tourists who entered the site Friday have reached to safety, said Xu.

The landslide from a high part of a mountain in Aba prefecture hit Xinmo Village in Maoxian County at about 6 am yesterday blocked a 2-km section of the river and buried 1,600 meters of road.

The provincial government has launched the highest level of disaster relief response and sent rescue teams to the site.

Currently, more than 3,000 workers with life-detection instruments are engaged in the search for survivors.


Nasa-Isro $1.2-bn project: Suspense on joint satellite as Modi meets Trump

Donald Trump, Narendra Modi

Space scientists in India and America are on tenterhooks as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald J Trump meet for the first bilateral in Washington on Monday.

At stake is the world’s most expensive Earth-imaging satellite till date being jointly made by the Nasa and the Isro.

Climate change seems to be a red rag for the current American administration.

If there is one thing that divides India and America big-time today, it is climate change. In all likelihood, climate change would be a point that would figure in the Trump-Modi discussions.

Trump calls climate change a hoax created by China by adhering to his views that “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive”.

On the other hand, Modi has penned a pictorial book — “Convenient Action: Continuity for Change” — that compiles his actions and beliefs on climate change.

Recently, the US walked out of the Paris Climate Change Treaty while India continues to honour its commitments.

Trump said, “India makes its participation contingent on receiving billions and billions and billions of dollars in foreign aid from developed countries”, while Modi said failing to act on climate change would be “a morally criminal act”.


Oil tanker explosion: At least 100 burnt to death, 75 injured, in Pakistan

Image via Shutterstock

At least 100 people were on Sunday charred to death and 75 others severely injured after an oil tanker caught fire and exploded on a highway in Bahawalpur district of Pakistan Punjab Province, according to media reports.

The tanker caught fire and exploded apparently after fuel leakage from its damaged containers. People had gathered around the tanker after it overturned to collect oil that had leaked out.

The fire brigade arrived on the site of the incident shortly after the blaze started and rescue operations were initiated.

Two fire engines battled the fire and eventually gained control over it.

At least six cars and 12 motorcycles were burnt in the blaze.

The injured have transferred to District Headquarters Hospital, rescue officials said.


US shot down Syrian plane that bombed coalition-backed forces fighting ISIS

A US Navy guided-missile destroyer conducts strike ops against Syria on Friday. Photo: Reuters

A US fighter jet shot down a Syrian regime plane after it dropped bombs on forces fighting the Islamic State in northern Syria, the American-led coalition said.

“At 6:43 pm (local time), a Syrian regime SU-22 dropped bombs near SDF fighters south of Tabqah and, in accordance with rules of engagement and in collective self-defense of Coalition partnered forces, was immediately shot down by a US F/A-18E Super Hornet,” the Combined Joint Task Force said in a statement yesterday.

It said that two hours earlier, forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad attacked Syrian Democratic Forces in the town of Ja’Din south of Tabqah, “wounding a number of SDF fighters and driving the SDF from the town.” Coalition aircraft then stopped the pro-regime forces’ initial advance with a “show of force,” the coalition added.


An American fighter jet shoots down Syria warplane after allies bombed

F15, US fighter jet

An American fighter jet shot down a Syrian warplane that the US-led coalition said attacked its allies in the fight against the Islamic State group in the war-torn country.

The escalation comes as Syria’s six-year-old war becomes ever more complex, with US forces and their allies converging on the northern IS bastion of Raqa in close proximity to Russian-backed regime troops.

Further complicating matters, Iran said it launched missile strikes Sunday against “terror bases” in Syria’s northeastern Deir Ezzor province in revenge for deadly attacks on its capital claimed by IS.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces — an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters — is battling to oust the jihadists from Raqa, and broke into the IS stronghold city last week.

Government forces are not involved in the battle for Raqa, but they are advancing in an area southwest of the city, skirting around SDF fighters, their eyes set on the oil-rich province of Deir Ezzor.

“Aircraft from the ‘international coalition’ targeted one of our fighter planes in the Resafa region of southern Raqa province this afternoon while it was conducting a mission against the terrorist Islamic State group,” said the army.

It warned of “the grave consequences of this flagrant aggression”.

The US-led coalition later confirmed it shot down the Syrian warplane it said had dropped bombs near SDF forces.

“At 6:43 pm (1743 GMT), a Syrian regime SU-22 dropped bombs near SDF fighters… In accordance with rules of engagement and in collective self-defence of Coalition partnered forces, was immediately shot down by a US F/A-18E Super Hornet,” the Combined Joint Task Force said in a statement.

Corporate manslaughter: Could it bring justice for London fire victims?

London fire, tower

The disaster at Grenfell Tower has been described by David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham, as a case of “corporate manslaughter”. According to English law, companies and organisations can be found guilty of corporate manslaughter as a result of serious management failures, resulting in a gross breach of a duty of care.

Amid calls for arrests, it’s time to consider whether the failings that led to the Grenfell disaster could possibly justify the use of the label “corporate manslaughter” – and what this would mean for victims who seek justice.

Prosecutions for this offence are of a corporate body (defined broadly enough to include public authorities) and not individuals – so we probably won’t see any pictures of executives being led away in handcuffs. That said, directors, board members and others may still be liable to prosecution under health and safety law or general criminal law. The offence also covers contractors and sub-contractors, so long as they owe a duty of care to the victims.

A duty of care is an obligation, whereby an organisation must take reasonable steps to protect a person’s safety. Legally, it is broadly understood as avoiding negligence by not placing people in danger. These duties also exist in relation to workplaces and equipment, as well as to products or services supplied to customers. This suggests that when an entity exercises control over people and spaces it has a responsibility to protect them.

The corporate manslaughter offence uses the same definitions of duty of care as the common law offence of gross negligence manslaughter. This means that the threshold for the offence is high – the way that activities were managed or organised must have fallen seriously far below reasonable standards.