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ISRO chief Sivan confirms hard landing of module

Chandrayaan-2’s lander Vikram has been located on the lunar surface and it must have been a hard-landing, ISRO Chairman K. Sivan said on Sunday.

“Yes, we have located the lander on the lunar surface. It must have been a hard-landing,” Dr. Sivan told PTI.

The image of the rover Pragyan, housed in the lander, was captured by the camera on the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter, which is safe and functioning normally in the intended orbit around the moon.

The orbiter camera is the highest resolution camera (0.3m) in any lunar mission so far.

The pictures are among the early images sent later on Saturday by the main Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft, which continues to orbit the moon from pole to pole from a 100-km distance.

The lander was spotted some distance away — possibly half a kilometre — from its intended touchdown point. The originally chosen region was about 70° south of the lunar equator and about 600 km from the lunar South Pole.

The lander module had lost communication with ground stations, just 2.1 km from the lunar surface during its final descent early on Saturday.

Considered the “most complex” stage of the country’s second expedition to the moon, the lander was on a powered decent for a soft landing when it lost contact.

The data on the last moments of the lander is being analysed, ISRO had said soon after the failure of the mission.

Damage likely

Asked if the lander was “damaged” during the “hard landing”, Dr. Sivan said, “That we do not know.”

However, space experts have said the lander suffering damage in the hard landing could not be ruled out.

“It may not have landed at a desired level of velocity. It may not have landed on its four legs. Impact shock may have caused damage to the lander,” an official at the space agency said.

“When the system does not work well, it [the lander] will go and hit the moon. There is no ambiguity in that,” another veteran space expert said.

(With inputs from

Madhumati D.S.)

U.S. President criticises bomb attack in Kabul

A trigger: A U.S. soldier was one of the victims of the car bomb explosion in Kabul on Thursday. APAP

President Donald Trump said on Saturday that he had cancelled a secret meeting at Camp David with Taliban leaders and the President of Afghanistan and was calling off months-long negotiations that had appeared to be nearing a peace agreement.

“Unbeknownst to almost everyone,” Mr. Trump wrote in a series of tweets, Taliban leaders and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani were headed to the United States on Saturday for a meeting at the President’s official Camp David retreat in Maryland. But Mr. Trump said that “in order to build false leverage,” the Taliban had admitted to a suicide car bomb attack on Thursday that had killed a U.S. soldier and 11 others in Kabul. “I immediately cancelled the meeting and called off peace negotiations,” he wrote.

“If they cannot agree to a ceasefire during these very important peace talks, and would even kill 12 innocent people, then they probably don’t have the power to negotiate a meaningful agreement anyway,” Mr. Trump added. “How many more decades are they willing to fight?”

A senior official said the meeting had been planned for Monday. NY Times

Ram Jethmalani, twice Law Minister, criminal lawyer, jurist, teacher, litigant and parliamentarian who relished the epithet “unchanged and unrepentant maverick”, passed away at 95 on Sunday.

Mr. Jethmalani remains an enigma in modern times as he was a man who spoke and acted out of personal conviction.

“I do not claim to be infallible, but even my most trenchant critics would not deny that I speak and act out of personal conviction. I write also to stir debate and have the humility to retract my views when bested in such debates,” he wrote in Maverick Unchanged and Unrepentant.

Targeted for factual reporting: mediapersons

The Uttar Pradesh police booked five journalists in Bijnor on Friday for allegedly circulating fake news reports. In an FIR filed by the Bijnor police, two journalists, one working with a local daily and another engaged with a TV news channel, have been named, along with three unidentified reporters.

The FIR said Ashish Tomar and Shakil Ahmed tried to vitiate social amity by circulating fake news about a Valmiki family from Titarwala Basi village by putting up their house for sale after not being allowed to collect water from the village hand pump by an influential Dalit family from the same village.

The police said the issue had been resolved by the police and the village ‘pradhan.’

One journalist had put the “house for sale” message on the wall to present the local administration in a bad light.

The FIR quoted Lokesh Devi, wife of Gopal Valmiki, stating that the journalists had asked her to paint the “for sale” information.

When she said she was illiterate, one of them wrote it on the wall with a wooden stick and coal powder. However, the news report mentioned Premchand Valmiki as the head of the family.

The journalists have been booked under Sections 153 A (promoting enmity), 268 (nuisance) and 503 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC and Section 66A of the IT Act.

Protest police action

The journalists stand by their story and on Saturday several local mediapersons held a meeting against the police action, alleging that the scribes were being targeted for factual reporting.

When it was pointed out that the name that appeared in the news report and the one in the FIR did not match, Bijnor SP Sanjeev Tyagi told The Hindu that the house on which the “for sale” message was written belonged to Lokesh Devi.

Mr. Tyagi admitted that there was a clash between two groups over collection of water from the hand pump, adding that the investigation was on.

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