शनिवार, 20 सितंबर 2008

Damage forces Hadron Collider to close for two months

Geneva (AP): The new particle collider that was launched with great fanfare earlier this month has been damaged worse than previously thought and will be out of commission for at least two months, its operators said on Saturday.
Experts have gone into 27-km circular tunnel housing the Large Hadron Collider under the Swiss-French border to examine the damage that halted operations about 36 hours after the September 10 startup, said James Gillies, spokesman for CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research.
"It's too early to say precisely what happened, but it seems to be a faulty electrical connection between two magnets that stopped superconducting, melted and led to a mechanical failure and let the helium out," Gillies told The Associated Press.
Giles said the sector that was damaged will have to be warmed up well above the absolute zero temperature used for operations so that repairs can be made.
"A number of magnets raised their temperature by around 100 degrees," Gillies said. "We have now to warm up the whole sector in a controlled manner before we can actually go in and repair it."
The $10 billion collider, in the design and construction stages for more than two decades, is the world's largest atom smasher. It fires beams of protons from the nuclei of atoms around the tunnels at nearly the speed of light.
It then causes the protons to collide, revealing how the tiniest particles were first created after the "big bang," which many theorise was the massive explosion that formed the stars, planets and everything.
He said such failures occur frequently in particle accelerators, but that it was made more complicated in this case because the Large Hadron Collider operates at near absolute zero, colder than outer space, for maximum efficiency.
"When they happen in our other accelerators, it's a matter of a couple of days to fix them," Gillies said. "But because this is a superconducting machine and you've got long warmup and cool-down periods, it means we're going to be off for a couple of months."
He said it would take "several weeks minimum'' to warm up the sector.
"Then we can fix it," Gillies said. "Then we cool it down again."
CERN announced on Thursday that it had shut down the collider after a successful startup that had beams of protons circling in both clockwise and counterclockwise directions in the collider.
It was at first thought the failure of an electrical transformer that handles part of the cooling was the problem, CERN said. That transformer was replaced last weekend and the machine was lowered back to operating temperature to prepare for a resumption of operations.
But then more inspections were needed and it was determined that the problem was worse than initially thought, said Gillies.
The CERN experiments with the particle collider hope to reveal more about "dark matter," antimatter and possibly hidden dimensions of space and time. They could also find evidence of a hypothetical particle -- the Higgs boson -- which is sometimes called the "God particle" because it is believed to give mass to all other particles, and thus to matter that makes up the universe.
Smaller colliders have been used for decades to study the makeup of the atom. Scientists once thought protons and neutrons were the smallest components of an atom's nucleus, but experiments have shown that protons and neutrons are made of quarks and gluons and that there are other forces and particles.
The LHC provides much greater power than earlier colliders.
Its start came over the objections of some who feared the collision of protons could eventually imperil the Earth by creating micro black holes -- subatomic versions of collapsed stars whose gravity is so strong they can suck in planets and other stars.

बुधवार, 17 सितंबर 2008

Walk out of nuclear deal, CPI(M) tells PM

New Delhi (PTI): Claiming that India could face fuel supply blockade as experienced in the case of the Tarapur nuclear power plant, the CPI(M) on Wednesday asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to walk out of the Indo-US nuclear deal saying it had almost the same conventionalities.
Maintaining the 123 Agreement as being "almost identical" to Tarapur accord where India was "forced to run from pillar to post for fuel after the US unilaterally terminated the Tarapur 123 Agreement," the CPI(M) Polit Bureau said India was now seeking fuel supply assurances and other terms, including the right to reprocess spent fuel, based only on this experience.
But the documents accompanying the US Presidential Determination have made the American "intentions" clear -- this 123 Agreement is no different from the earlier Tarapur one, with all the Tarapur problems.
"And India can again land into the Tarapur mess, as the right of the US to terminate the agreement is an unfettered one," the Polit Bureau said in a statement here.
Maintaining that a "different interpretation" of the 123 Agreement by India would "in no way bind the US as a supplier", it demanded that the Prime Minister "fulfil his pledge to the nation that he will walk away from the nuclear deal if it does not meet India's expectations".
Asserting that all points raised by the Left parties have been confirmed by the documents accompanying the US Presidential Determination, it said these have "exposed the hollowness of the claims made by the Prime Minister in Parliament."
The CPI(M) Polit Bureau claimed that the Presidential documents submitted to the US Congress have made it amply clear that the terms of the 123 agreement are fully in conformity with the Hyde Act and "violate" the crucial commitments made by the Prime Minister in Parliament.
"The time has come for the Indian government to repudiate the 123 Agreement, which is not in India's national interest," it said, adding that the argument that India has a different interpretation for it was "meaningless".
"The US as a supplier of nuclear equipment and material will undertake such supply only under the terms of what it calls a 'framework agreement'," the party said.
While India would place its civilian nuclear facilities under the IAEA Safeguards permanently, President Bush has "made it clear that the fuel supply assurance in the 123 Agreement is not legally binding".
The documents also showed that India would never be able to withdraw is civilian nuclear facilities from IAEA Safeguards unilaterally, even its indigenously built reactors, in the event of a disruption in fuel supply or if the 123 Agreement itself was terminated, the CPI(M) said.
Quoting the Prime Minister's statement in Parliament and the US Presidential Determination, it said "clearly, India will not have access to the full fuel cycle and all sensitive technologies are also denied. ... thus India is being asked to place its civilian reactors under IAEA Safeguards in perpetuity without all restrictions being lifted."
Referring to the "extraneous issues tied with nuclear cooperation", the major Left party said the Prime Minister had categorically assured that India would not accept the tying of any issue with civil nuclear cooperation.
"It is clear from the documents accompanying the Presidential Determination that extraneous issues have been coupled with the nuclear deal, which have also been accepted by India," the CPI(M) claimed.
In this context, it said the report pursuant to Section 104(c) of the Hyde Act "approvingly talks" about New Delhi aligning with the US on the Iran question both in the IAEA and the United Nations.
The report, quoted by the party, said India "maintained a strong public line of support for P5+1 and US diplomatic efforts to resolve international concerns with Iran's nuclear program".
The CPI(M) said with the External Affairs Minister's statement, "India has formally changed its position and opposed Iran's fuel enrichment, a right which Iran has under Article IV of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty".

Delhi blasts: Police release sketches of suspects

New Delhi, September 16, 2008: The Delhi police on Tuesday released five sketches of three persons suspected to have planted the bombs in the national capital on Saturday।
One of the sketches was that of the person who purportedly planted the bomb in Ghaffar market in Karol Bagh, while two sketches each were of the two men who placed the bombs near a building in Barakhamba road।
"We appeal to the people to inform police if they happen to find those resembling to these sketches। Informer's identity will be kept secret," Delhi police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said.
The sketches were prepared with the help of at least five eye-witnesses, who claimed to have seen ‘planting of bombs’ in Ghaffar market and Barakhamba Road।
The eye-witnesses, including a teenaged balloon seller, who saw suspected persons placing packets in dustbin at Central Park and Barakhamba Road were called to the Police Headquarters on Sunday to assist them in making sketches।
Besides the teenaged boy, a father-son duo who sells breadrolls at Barakhamba Road were also among those called to the headquarters.

शनिवार, 6 सितंबर 2008

N-deal ready for US Congress: Mulford

New Delhi, September 06, 2008: Hailing the "historic" waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) as "a triumphant day for India," the US Saturday said the nuclear cartel's exemption will strengthen global non-proliferation and that it was ready to "accomplish the final step with Congress।"
"This is a triumphant day for India। The NSG consensus reached in Vienna today is the culmination of years of hard work and cooperation between India and the US to bring India into the global nuclear mainstream," Mulford, one of the key US interlocutors on the nuclear deal, told reporters here.
The US envoy congratulated the government and people of India on this "historic agreement" ending New Delhi's nearly three and a half decades of nuclear isolation and lauded US President George W। Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for achieving "this remarkable breakthrough."
Underlining that the NSG's waiver will strengthen global non-proliferation, the US envoy said it will enable India to address its critical energy requirements and contribute importantly to protecting global environment।
"We will now move forward to accomplish the final step with our Congress," Mulford assured।
The US Congress is likely to consider the 123 India-US bilateral agreement when it convenes Monday। The Congress is expected to approve the 123 pact before during the forthcoming session that ends Sep 26.
Manmohan Singh and Bush are expected to sign the bilateral pact towards the end of this month in Washington that will mark the final step leading to the restoration of civilian nuclear cooperation between the two countries after a gap of more than three decades.

शुक्रवार, 5 सितंबर 2008

Work stops at Nano unit, staff evacuated

Kolkata, August 29, 2008: Work at the Tata Motors factory in Singur finally came to a complete halt on Friday। All those inside were evacuated on Thursday night, and none of its 850 odd employees reported for duty in the morning.
"No decision has been taken on when work will be resumed," said a company official, insisting on anonymity। "Some of our employees were afraid. Our top priority is to ensure their safety."
Although the Mamata Bannerjee-led agitation outside the gates of the plant, demanding that 400 acres of the land acquired for the project be returned to farmers who had never wanted to sell, began last Sunday, the plant continued to function। Bannerjee had pledged that her struggle would remain 'a peaceful satyagraha'.
But from Thursday evening, some of the radical groups supporting Mamata began obstructing people from entering or leaving the plant, prompting the Tatas to take this decision।
Sapoorji-Pallonji, the firm entrusted with the civil construction of the plant, similarly decided that its 150 engineers deputed at Singur would stop work as well, leading to a complete shutdown।
Insiders revealed that the likelihood of Tata Motors pulling out of Singur altogether, as Ratan Tata had threatened at a press conference last week, was growing increasingly strong, and that an announcement is likely next week। Company officials have prepared estimates to show that though the company had so far invested around Rs 1500 crore in the Nano, the loss it would incur, in case it pulled out, would not be more than Rs 400 crore.
"We have received offers to set up the Nano plant not only from other Indian states, but also from foreign countries," a top official told HT over telephone from Mumbai. "We are considering them all."

गुरुवार, 4 सितंबर 2008

Central Assistance for Flood-Hit Areas of Bihar

New Delhi, September 4 2008: Government of India continues to extend all possible assistance to the Govt। of Bihar for supplementing their efforts in managing the ongoing flood situation. The National Crisis Management Committee reviewed the situation today.
37 Army Columns, 13 helicopters, 599 boats, 783 NDRF personnel, 7695 tents, 10 satellite phones, 4 lakh drinking water bottles, 10 water purifying plants have been deployed/ provided by the Government of India for assisting the State in rescue and relief operations।
Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries has informed that 66 wagon-loads of dry fodder on rail from Amritsar and Karnal to Saharsa have reached Bihar। Additional 41 wagon-load of fodder are being sent by the Government of Haryana to Purnia. The requirement of procurement of vaccines is being met through Centrally sponsored Scheme ‘Assistance to States for Control of Animal Diseases’. The State has been asked to indicate the specific requirements of medicines and vaccines they need. 71 Veterinary centres have been set up to provide treatment to the sick animals.
Two crore halogen tablets to purify water are being supplied by the Ministry of Health as per the requirement of the State Government। Thirty-lakh halogen tablets have already reached. Other medicine/medical store viz. Measles vaccine, DPT, oral Polio, TT, Vaccine logistics have also been provided. On the request of State Government, 100 Fogging machines and 50 Ambulances are being organized.
Ministry of Home Affairs is in constant touch with the State Government and closely monitoring the situation round the clock.

बुधवार, 3 सितंबर 2008

NSG Meet to Decide On India Specific Waiver Begins Today

New Delhi,September 4 2008: Amid continued reservations of some member countries over granting waiver to India, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) will hold a crucial two-day meeting in Vienna from Thursday to consider the initiative।
The NSG will consider a revised draft that is being presented before the 45-nation grouping after amendments following demands by at least 15 countries during the August 21-22 meeting।
Countries like New Zealand and Austria, which are still not satisfied with the revised draft, are expected to voice their concerns over non-proliferation issues.
On studying the draft circulated to them by Germany, the current Chair of the NSG, these countries feel that the amendments in the text are only cosmetic in nature and conditions are not attached।
Earlier, Prime Minister Dr। Manmohan Singh held a Congress Working Committee meeting late last night with his senior colleagues to discuss issues in the wake of the reported 26-page document that contains an assertion by the Bush Administration that its assurances of nuclear supplies to India are not meant to insulate it against the consequences of a nuclear test.
Dr. Singh told the meeting that “we have the right to test and the US has the right to react”.
New Delhi made it clear there is no change in its stand on the issue of nuclear testing। External Affairs Ministry Spokesman Navtej Sarna said, India’’s position on this issue is well known.
External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee told that the Government can’t go beyond the commitment made to Parliament on the Indo-US civil nuclear cooperation।
India has maintained that if conditions are attached to the waiver, it could walk away। However, New Delhi refused to be drawn into a controversy over its agreement on civil nuclear cooperation with the US after the secret document.
“We do not, as a matter of policy, comment on internal correspondence between different branches of another government,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna।
“We will be guided solely by the terms of the bilateral agreement between India and the United States, the India Specific Safeguards Agreement and the clean waiver from the NSG, which we hope will be forthcoming in the meeting of the NSG on September 4-5, 2008,” he added।
Washington too down played the disclosures made in the US State Department document and said that there was nothing new in it which has not been shared with India or the US Congress।
“This letter contains no new conditions and there is no data in this letter which has not already been shared in an open and transparent way with members of the Congress and with the Government of India”" US Ambassador to India David C. Mulford said in a statement.