India’s semi high-speed train breaks down a day after its launch

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) gets off a tain carriage during the flag off India's first engineless train Vande Bharat Express at New Delhi Railway station on February 15, 2019. (AFP)
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India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi flags off India's fastest train 'Vande Bharat Express' at a ceremony in New Delhi, India, February 15, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 16 February 2019
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India’s semi high-speed train breaks down a day after its launch

  • Cattle obstructions on roads and rail tracks are common in India, particularly in Uttar Pradesh state where Saturday’s collision happened
  • Since coming to office, Modi’s nationalist party launched a crackdown on the slaughter of cows — considered sacred by many Hindus — which has led to crisis numbers of stray and unwanted cattle in the state

NEW DELHI: India’s first semi-high speed train broke down Saturday after colliding with a cow on the tracks, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the new passenger service.
The Vande Bharat Express, touted as India’s fastest train and built under the Modi government’s flagship “Make in India” program, made its first journey Friday from New Delhi to the Hindu holy city of Varanasi.
But on its return to the capital the next day a collision with a cow disrupted electricity supply to four carriages and damaged the brake system, according to Indian Railways.
“The train later experienced technical issues and was stranded on the way to Delhi,” Indian Railways spokeswoman Smita Vats Sharma told AFP.
The train reached the capital “safely” ahead of its first commercial journey on Sunday, she added.
Cattle obstructions on roads and rail tracks are common in India, particularly in Uttar Pradesh state where Saturday’s collision happened.
Since coming to office, Modi’s nationalist party launched a crackdown on the slaughter of cows — considered sacred by many Hindus — which has led to crisis numbers of stray and unwanted cattle in the state.
India is struggling to upgrade its colonial-era railway system, which relies on creaking and outdated infrastructure to transport 23 million travelers each day.
The locally-made express train has a rated top speed of 180 kilometers (111 miles) an hour, 20 percent quicker than the next fastest train in service.
Railway authorities say the train is expected to reduce the 850-kilometer journey between the two cities from 14 to eight hours.
Saturday’s accident is the latest controversy for the express train — a pet project of Modi’s government, which has vowed to debut India’s first bullet train in 2022.
Last week India’s rail minister Piyush Goyal was left red-faced after he tweeted a digitally altered video of the train zipping by a station at lightning speed.
He was later accused of altering the video to make the train appear faster, triggering widespread social media ridicule.


Man arrested for London mosque shooting

Updated 18 min 7 sec ago
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Man arrested for London mosque shooting

  • The suspect was charged with possession of firearms with intent to cause harm or fear
  • Police say the suspect may have had a fight earlier in a nearby street

DUBAI: A man has been arrested after he fired a gun in a London mosque, UK daily The Metro reported.

The man entered the Seven Kings Mosque in London, on Thursday, May 9, while worshippers performed Ramadan prayers and fired a gun, the report added.

He was arrested on charges of possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
There were no reports of injuries or damages to the building, ballistic evidence suggests the detainee may have used a blank-firing handgun, police said.

Police investigations said it is possible the incident started after an earlier argument in a nearby street.

A mosque attendee, Ibraheem Hussain, said he heard the gunshot almost half an hour after prayers began, adding that he was concerned for the safety of worshippers.

“(Christchurch) comes to mind, it’s crazy to think this would happen in London, especially after everything that has happened,” he told Metro.