India successfully launches first privately made rocket

India successfully launches first privately made rocket
The 545-kg rocket, developed by space startup Skyroot, took off from the Indian space agency’s launch site near Chennai and hit a peak altitude of 89.5 kilometers (km). (File/Shutterstock)
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Updated 18 November 2022

India successfully launches first privately made rocket

India successfully launches first privately made rocket
  • The Skyroot rockets are named after Vikram Sarabhai, an Indian physicist and astronomer

BENGALURU: India successfully launched its first privately developed rocket, the Vikram-S, on Friday, a milestone in the country’s effort to create a commercial space industry and to compete on cost.
The 545-kg rocket, developed by space startup Skyroot, took off from the Indian space agency’s launch site near Chennai and hit a peak altitude of 89.5 kilometers (km).
The rocket has the capability of reaching Mach 5 — five times the speed of sound — and carrying a payload of 83 kg to an altitude of 100 kilometers, the company said.
The Skyroot team had set a target of 80 km for its first launch, a benchmark some agencies define as the frontier of space. The Karman line — set by an international aeronautics body as defining the boundary between the Earth’s atmosphere and space — is at 100 km altitude.
Video footage showed the rocket taking off from the space center, leaving a plume of smoke and fire in its trail. It splashed down in the Bay of Bengal about 5 minutes after launch, officials said.
“I’m happy to announce the successful completion of Mission Prarambh, the beginning,” said Pawan Goenka, who chairs the Indian government agency that coordinates private-sector space activities.
Skyroot, which was started by Pawan Chandana and Bharath Daka, has set a target of cutting development costs by up to 90 percent versus existing platforms to launch small satellites.
It expects to achieve that cost savings by using a rocket architecture that can be assembled in less than 72 hours with composite materials. It plans launches capable of delivering satellites starting next year.
“Innovation and cost efficiency should be the two drivers for the industry. Cost efficiency has already been achieved, and now we should look at cutting edge technology,” Chandana said.
The Indian government has been pushing to develop a private space industry to complement its state-run space program known for its affordable launches and missions.
India’s unmanned Mars mission in 2014 cost only $74 million, and made headlines for costing less than the Academy Award winnning film “Gravity.”
Until now, the state-run ISRO has had a monopoly on launching rockets in India.
The Skyroot rockets are named after Vikram Sarabhai, the Indian physicist and astronomer considered the father of India’s space program.
Hyderabad-based Skyroot, founded in 2018 and backed by Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC, was the first space startup to sign an agreement to use Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) launch and test facilities after the government opened the door to private companies in 2020.
It has raised 5.26 billion rupees ($64.42 million) so far and employs about 200 people. Close to 100 people have been involved in its maiden launch project, the company said. ($1 = 81.6550 Indian rupees)


Michigan man says 6-year-old son ordered $1K in food from Grubhub

Michigan man says 6-year-old son ordered $1K in food from Grubhub
Updated 04 February 2023

Michigan man says 6-year-old son ordered $1K in food from Grubhub

Michigan man says 6-year-old son ordered $1K in food from Grubhub
  • Keith Stonehouse said his son ordered food from so many different places that Chase Bank sent him a fraud alert declining a $439 order from Happy’s Pizza

CHESTERFIELD TOWNSHIP, Michigan: A Michigan man says he was left with a $1,000 bill after his 6-year-old son ordered a virtual smorgasbord of food from several restaurants last weekend, leading to a string of unexpected deliveries — and maybe a starring role in an ad campaign.
Keith Stonehouse said the food piled up quickly at his Detroit-area home Saturday night after he let his son, Mason, use his cellphone to play a game before bed. He said the youngster instead used his father’s Grubhub account to order food from one restaurant after another.
The boy’s mother, Kristin Stonehouse, told The Associated Press on Thursday that Grubhub has reached out to the family and offered them a $1,000 gift card. The company also is considering using the family in an online promotional campaign, she said. Grubhub officials did not immediately respond to a message from the AP seeking comment.
Keith Stonehouse said he was alone with his son while his wife was at the movies when Mason ordered jumbo shrimp, salads, shawarma and chicken pita sandwiches, chili cheese fries and other foods that one Grubhub driver after another delivered to their Chesterfield Township home.
“This was like something out of a ‘Saturday Night Live’ skit,” Keith Stonehouse told MLive.com.
He added: “I don’t really find it funny yet, but I can laugh with people a little bit. It’s a lot of money and it kind of came out of nowhere.”
Keith Stonehouse said his son ordered food from so many different places that Chase Bank sent him a fraud alert declining a $439 order from Happy’s Pizza. But Mason’s $183 order of jumbo shrimp from the same restaurant went through and arrived at the family’s house.
Stonehouse said it took the arrival of a few orders of food for him to realize what was going on. By that time, there was nothing he could do to stop the orders from coming.
Kristin Stonehouse told the AP that Mason is extremely intelligent and has been reading since he was 2 1/2 years old.
“He’s very smart,” she said. “He’s not your average 6-year-old.”
She said her husband had just used the Grubhub app on his phone to order dinner before she left and probably just left the app open. She said her son took the phone, hid in the basement and proceeded to order his feast.
She said she and her husband had a talk with Mason on Sunday morning and told him what he did was akin to stealing.
“I don’t think he grasped that concept at first,” she said.
To drive the point home, she and her husband opened up Mason’s piggy bank and pocketed the $115 he had gotten for his birthday in November, telling him the money would go to replenish their accounts. That didn’t seem to faze the boy.
“Then he found a penny on the floor and said he could start all over again,” she said.
Keith Stonehouse said most of the food went into the family’s refrigerators. He said he also invited some neighbors over to eat some of it.
He said he’s heard of things like this happening to other parents, but not at the level he experienced last weekend. He recommends making sure important apps are not readily available for children to click on when they’re using a parent’s phone. He said he’s changing his password.
“I knew this could happen, but you just don’t think your kid is going to do something like this. He’s definitely smart enough, I just didn’t expect it,” Keith Stonehouse said.

 


Sushi conveyor belt pranks spark outrage in Japan

This picture shows plates of sushi on a conveyor belt at a sushi chain restaurant in Tokyo on February 3, 2023. (AFP)
This picture shows plates of sushi on a conveyor belt at a sushi chain restaurant in Tokyo on February 3, 2023. (AFP)
Updated 04 February 2023

Sushi conveyor belt pranks spark outrage in Japan

This picture shows plates of sushi on a conveyor belt at a sushi chain restaurant in Tokyo on February 3, 2023. (AFP)

TOKYO: A handful of unhygienic pranks at sushi conveyor belt restaurants in Japan have sparked stock slumps, venue overhauls and legal action, along with furious social media commentary.
Several videos dubbed “sushi terrorism” have emerged on social media including Twitter and TikTok in recent days, some of them apparently weeks or even years old.
In one, viewed nearly 40 million times on Twitter, an apparently teenaged customer licks the top of a communal soy sauce bottle and the rim of a teacup he then places back on a shelf, before licking his finger and touching a piece of sushi as it goes past on the belt.
The video, filmed at a branch of the Sushiro chain in the central Japanese city of Gifu, prompted stocks in the restaurant’s parent company to plunge nearly five percent Tuesday.
Other videos emerged showing customers at different chains putting wasabi on passing pieces of sushi or licking the spoon in a communal green tea powder container.
Though the incidents appear to be confined to just a few videos, they have caused an uproar in Japan, a country with famously high standards of cleanliness.
“This is sickening,” one Japanese Twitter user wrote in response, with another adding: “I can’t go to conveyor belt sushi restaurants anymore.”
In a statement, Sushiro said the teen behind the viral video had apologized, along with his parents, but that the firm had filed a formal police complaint.
“As a company, we will continue to respond firmly with both criminal and civil cases,” it said.
It said all the soy sauce bottles at the affected store had been replaced and all the cups cleaned, and announced new restaurant policies.
At the Gifu branch and others nearby, customers will now take utensils and condiments to their tables from a serving point, and nationwide, diners will be able to request disinfected tableware.
Two other affected chains, Hama-sushi and Kura Sushi, have also said they plan to take legal action, with the latter planning to install cameras above conveyor belts to monitor customers, Jiji press agency reported.
In Tokyo, 20-year-old musician Luna Watanabe said she was appalled by the videos.
“Omotenashi (hospitality) is an important selling point in Japan, so I think it’s unforgivable,” she told AFP in Tokyo’s upscale Ginza district.
“It’s harmful to customers and employees.”
But others largely shrugged off the incident, including Tetsuya Haneda, a photographer.
“As far as I’m concerned, it only happened once, so that doesn’t mean it happens all the time,” he said.
“It’s not a problem — on the contrary, now there will be fewer people waiting in line, so I won’t need to make a reservation anymore to go and eat, even on the weekend.”
Online too, after the initial outcry, there was something of a wave of support for the affected companies, with some tweeting their backing under the hashtag #saveSushiro.
“I’ve always wanted to go to Sushiro but haven’t been able to because it’s always crowded,” Japanese singer Yuya Tegoshi tweeted.
“But the situation now is the absolute worst for them, so I’m definitely going to visit.”
Sushiro president Kohei Nii said on Twitter he had been overwhelmed by “an outpouring of support.”
“I’m so grateful I could cry.”

 


Daughter charged after mom’s body found in Chicago freezer

Daughter charged after mom’s body found in Chicago freezer
Updated 03 February 2023

Daughter charged after mom’s body found in Chicago freezer

Daughter charged after mom’s body found in Chicago freezer

CHICAGO: A Chicago woman has been accused of keeping her mother’s dead body in a freezer for nearly two years while living in a nearby apartment.
Eva Bratcher, 69, appeared in court Thursday on charges of concealing her 96-year-old mother’s death and possessing a fraudulent identification card.
Regina Michalski’s body was discovered this week in a freezer in the garage near the apartment they had shared, police said. Investigators believe she died in March 2021. The cause won’t be determined until the body is thawed.
The allegations are “very disturbing,” Judge David Kelly said in setting a $20,000 bond for Bratcher.
Kelly turned down a defense lawyer’s request for a lower bond to get Bratcher out of jail.
She has past convictions for forgery, and investigators said they were trying to determine if Bratcher was collecting her late mother’s Social Security benefits, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Bratcher’s daughter, who lives in Kentucky, asked police to check the home after losing contact with her grandmother.
“What could go wrong? Apparently, everything,” Sabrina Watson said.


Jordan’s Queen Rania, US First Lady Biden meet in Washington

Jordan’s Queen Rania and US First Lady Dr. Jill Biden are pictured at the White House. (Queen Rania)
Jordan’s Queen Rania and US First Lady Dr. Jill Biden are pictured at the White House. (Queen Rania)
Updated 03 February 2023

Jordan’s Queen Rania, US First Lady Biden meet in Washington

Jordan’s Queen Rania and US First Lady Dr. Jill Biden are pictured at the White House. (Queen Rania)
  • The two have now met twice since US President Joe Biden took office

AMMAN: Jordan’s Queen Rania met with US First Lady Dr. Jill Biden at the White House on Wednesday.

The queen is accompanying King Abdullah II and Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah on a working visit to Washington DC.

During their meeting, Queen Rania and the first lady discussed issues of mutual interest, Jordan News Agency reported.

Queen Rania donned a royal blue long-sleeve dress and pointed heels while Biden opted for a belted red short-sleeve dress with heels in the same colour.

The queen posted a picture of the two of them on Instagram, with the caption: “It was a pleasure catching with the US First Lady Dr. Jill Biden yesterday.”

The pair have now met twice since US President Joe Biden took office, Jordan News Agency reported.

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Inside Saudi Arabia's war against the drug destroying lives across the Arab world
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Not voting for Saudi Arabia to host 2027 Asian Cup was ‘a mistake’, says Palestinian official

Not voting for Saudi Arabia to host 2027 Asian Cup was ‘a mistake’, says Palestinian official
Jibril Rajoub, the head of the Palestinian Football Association. AFP
Updated 03 February 2023

Not voting for Saudi Arabia to host 2027 Asian Cup was ‘a mistake’, says Palestinian official

Not voting for Saudi Arabia to host 2027 Asian Cup was ‘a mistake’, says Palestinian official
  • Palestine was criticized on social media for failing to vote for Saudi Arabia in its bid to host the AFC Asian Cup in 2027

RIYADH: Jibril Rajoub, the head of the Palestinian Football Association, has apologized after his country was criticized on social media for failing to vote for Saudi Arabia in its bid to host the AFC Asian Cup in 2027.

The Kingdom will be hosting the competition for the first time in its history in an outcome confirmed on Wednesday during the 33rd Asian Football Confederation Congress held in Manama, Bahrain.

Rajoub admitted the decision not to vote for Saudi Arabia’s bid was a “mistake.”

According to Asharq Al-Awsat, he said: “It is clear that a technical issue occurred from our representative’s side during the voting process.

“I, personally, left after electing the representatives of West Asia at the executive office, for urgent health reasons.

“Palestine was and still is biased towards any Arab candidate in the matter of hosting [the Asian Cup], let alone if it was Saudi Arabia.”

Rajoub added that he believed it must have been the Palestinian representative’s first time participating in the conference.

Saudi TV channel Al Ekhbariya later announced that the Iranian Football Association had voted for Saudi Arabia while the Palestinian organization had not, sparking reactions on social media.

Twitter user Mohammed Alzahrani posted: “Let him apologize. Saudi Arabia won with 43 votes. We don’t need their vote. It won’t make any difference.”

Abdullah Alsaeed, another Twitter user, said: “Almost everything they do is wrong — historically. Their alliances are wrong, their media is misdirected, their policies towards the Palestinian cause are wrong.”

The user added that the problem was with Palestinian leaders and not its people.

Others on social media demanded the dismissal of the head of the Palestinian delegation at the vote.

 

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