As the border with Pakistan continue to remain volatile with repeated ceasefire violations, the Indian Army will now be buying 41,000 Light-Machine Guns (LMG) and 3.5 lakh carbines for close quarter battle at an estimated cost of over Rs 7600 crore.These weapons are an essential to a soldiers fighting equipment and it will provide a major fillip to the fighting capability of the troops, the MoD said in a statement.Earlier today, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) the highest body in the defence ministry that decides on acquisitions headed by the Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman gave the go ahead for the purchases.Over 850 incidents of cross-border firing was reported last year – an all time high in many years. More than 300 incidents of ceasefire violations have already been reported in the first two months of 2018.The purchase will be made under the Make in India scheme and will leverage both the private sector and the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) Defence Public Sector undertakings.The private sector will be providing at least three-fourths of weapons while the rest will be manufactured by the OFB. The idea to split-up the supplies between the private and PSU sector is geared to acquire critical technologies to build indigenous capability in small arms manufacturing.The carbines will replace the existing personal weapons the Russian made AK-47s and the Indian made INSAS rifles.Earlier, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said instead of equipping every infantry solider, the Army was open to equipping only a certain component the key war fighting component of every battalion – with new rifles.advertisementThe new carbines acquired by the military will weigh less than 3 kilograms and will be effective up to at least 200 meters.Todays green signal for the military to acquire next generation carbines and LMGs is in addition to emergency purchases of at least 93,000 carbines that was cleared earlier this year. These were for fast track purchase, while today’s proposal is for Make in India.Is it time for India to cut off all sports, cultural connections with Pakistan?
zoom Members of the Maritime Union of Australia have protested in front of the headquarters of mining giant Rio Tinto over the company’s alleged “refusal to employ Australian seafarers for the vast majority of its interstate and intra-state shipping needs.”The MUA claims that Rio Tinto is employing foreign seafarers paid AUD 4 an hour to transport bauxite from Weipa to Gladstone and alumina to Newcastle from Gladstone.The union believes that Australian seafarers should be employed in these jobs.MUA Queensland Branch Secretary Bob Carnegie read out a letter to Rio Tinto chief executive Peter Manion outlining the ways in which Rio Tinto is derelict in its duties: “This demonstration held today (March 15) by Maritime Union of Australia Queensland Branch members and their supporters, call upon Rio Tinto to engage immediately with the Maritime Union of Australia Queensland branch and the Maritime Union of Australia National office to implement the standard of the 2010 MOU between Rio Tinto and our union.” “Australian merchant seafarers demand and expect to have the right to work in their own country, respected and acknowledged by employment on the vessels Rio Tinto owns and operates on the Australian coast,” he continued.Carnegie reportedly emphasized to the crowd that the MUA protest is not in any way against “people from other nations.”World Maritime News contacted Rio Tinto for a comment on the matter, however, the company is yet to reply.
KAMLOOPS, B.C. – An evacuation order affecting about 1,100 people living east of Kelowna, B.C., was issued Thursday because of the threat of a wildfire.Fire crews from the Joe Rich, Kelowna, Ellison and Lake Country departments along with the BC Wildfire Service were fighting the blaze that was reported shortly after 1:30 p.m.The wildfire service says the blaze located roughly 25 kilometres from Okanagan Lake has grown to about 380 hectares in size. It’s suspected to be human-caused.A reception centre for evacuees was being set up at a church in Kelowna.Elsewhere, calmer weather and continuing progress battling some of the other wildfires in the province means more people can return home while campers and hikers will be able to access more of the backcountry in the Interior.The Cariboo Regional District Emergency Operation Centre said evacuation orders in the Maeford Lake, Tatla Lake and Kleena Kleene areas were downgraded to alerts late Thursday.The B.C. government said select campsites and trails in the Cariboo fire centre were scheduled to reopen at noon on Friday.It follows a decision on Wednesday to rescind a sweeping ban on access to Crown land in the region.“We wanted to get a return to normalcy as soon as it was safe, as soon as it was practical,” said Kevin Skrepnek with the wildfire service.The sites were closed July 13, one week after a lightning storm tore across the central Interior, sparking dozens of separate wildfires that forced 45,000 people from their homes.The number of evacuation orders has declined over the last two weeks and Emergency Management BC said earlier Thursday about 2,500 people remained out of their homes as 154 fires continued to burn.Although some backcountry areas will reopen Friday, the ministry said other trails and recreation sites remain closed.People are encouraged to check the websites of the wildfire service, sites and trails, and BC Parks for the latest information on closures.The extent of the damage caused by a record-breaking year of fires that have scorched more than 10,000 square kilometres of land is still being tallied.But Chief Richard William of the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation said at least 10 wild horses were killed by a massive blaze in the Cariboo region that has consumed an area more than 2,300 square kilometres in size.A photo circulating on social media, taken by rangers in the area, shows the carcasses of several horses surrounded by blackened trees in the Chilcotin southwest of Williams Lake.William said the total number of wild horses lost is unknown, but the discovered carcasses have his community worried about loss of other wildlife, particularly moose that they rely on for hunting.As situation continues to be volatile, a campfire ban remains in effect throughout the Cariboo fire centre, which covers most of central B.C. including Williams Lake and Quesnel, the closest commutes to a 4,600 square kilometre wildfire that is the biggest ever recorded in the province.The campfire ban is also in effect for most of the southern half of the province.Skrepnek said although weather conditions have improved, dry conditions across the province are unprecedented, leaving it unclear when the campfire ban can be lifted.There are scattered showers in the forecast for some fire-affected areas, but Skrepnek said there is still no sign of significant rainfall coming.