Revealed: the Pentagon’s secret UFO-hunting program

This file photo taken on April 23, 2015 shows the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia outside Washington, DC. (AFP)
Updated 17 December 2017
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Revealed: the Pentagon’s secret UFO-hunting program

WASHINGTON: The Pentagon has acknowledged funding a secret multi-million dollar program to investigate sightings of UFOs.
The shadowy program ended in 2012, according to the Defense Department, but the New York Times reported that it is still up and running — with officials continuing to study incidents brought to their attention by US military service members while performing their regular duties at the Pentagon.
The so-called Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program operated from 2007 to 2012 and had $22 million a year in funding tucked away in the Pentagon’s gargantuan budget, the Times said, quoting program participants and records.
The program yielded documents describing sightings of unidentified flying aircraft that apparently moved very fast with no visible sign of propulsion or hovered with no apparent means of lift, the Times said.
Program officials also examined video of encounters between unknown objects and US military aircraft.
This included one released in August of a whitish oval object about the size of a jetliner, being pursued by two Navy fighter jets from an aircraft carrier off the California coast in 2004, the paper added.
The Department of Defense said in a statement the program is now over.
“The Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program ended in the 2012 timeframe. It was determined that there were other, higher priority issues that merited funding and it was in the best interest of the DoD to make a change,” it said.
It added: “The DoD takes seriously all threats and potential threats to our people, our assets, and our mission and takes action whenever credible information is developed.”
The program was initially funded at the request of then Senator Harry Reid, the chamber’s majority leader at the time and a long-time enthusiast of space phenomena, the Times said.
Most of the money in the program went to an aerospace research company run by Robert Bigelow, a billionaire entrepreneur and longtime friend of Reid, the Times said.
“If anyone says they have the answers, they’re fooling themselves,” Reid, who retired from Congress last year, said in a tweet Saturday night.
“We don’t know the answers but we have plenty of evidence to support asking the questions. This is about science and national security. If America doesn’t take the lead in answering these questions, others will,” Reid wrote.


Celebrities flock to Indian business scions’ lavish wedding

A view of the illuminated City Palace, one of the venues for the pre-wedding celebrations of Isha Ambani, daughter of the Chairman of Reliance Industries Mukesh Ambani, is seen in Udaipur, in the desert state of Rajasthan, India, December 9, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 9 min 24 sec ago
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Celebrities flock to Indian business scions’ lavish wedding

  • The extravagant wedding of Indian actress Priyanka Chopra and American singer Nick Jonas earlier this month — attended by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi — was straight out of a Bollywood film

NEW DELHI: In a season of big Indian weddings, the marriage of two business scions on Wednesday is set to be the biggest of them all.
Isha Ambani is the Ivy League-educated daughter of Mukesh Ambani, chairman and majority stakeholder in oil and gas giant Reliance Industries, whose net worth Forbes estimates at over $43 billion.
Her groom, Anand Piramal, is the son of Indian industrialist Ajay Piramal, whose namesake conglomerate is estimated to be worth over $10 billion.
At one of the couple’s pre-wedding events on Sunday, Beyonce performed for a star-studded gathering at a 16th-century palace in the Indian city of Udaipur. Guests included Hillary Clinton and a host of Bollywood A-listers.
The competitiveness of India’s wintertime wedding season is growing more extreme, exacerbating the pressure on regular Indians to go into debt to finance elaborate weddings, according to Archana Dalmia, a social activist in New Delhi.
“A farmer might commit suicide because he can’t save enough money to get his daughter married,” she said.
The extravagant wedding of Indian actress Priyanka Chopra and American singer Nick Jonas earlier this month — attended by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi — was straight out of a Bollywood film.
So-called dowry deaths — brides killed when their families fail to meet in-laws’ dowry demands — constitute a substantial share of all female homicides in India, a 2018 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime report found.
While opulence has always been a feature of Indian weddings, families used to hand down bridal saris as heirlooms. No more, Dalmia said.
“This generation is very different. Priyanka Chopra will never be able to wear it again and she won’t be able to pass it down,” Dalmia said.