1. TALIBAN CAPTURES SEVERAL DISTRICTS IN AFGHANISTAN
- News: The Taliban’s march through northern Afghanistan gained momentum overnight with the capture of several districts in Badakhshan province from fleeing Afghan forces, several hundred of whom escaped across the border into Tajikistan.
- The insurgents also captured a key district in their former bastion of Kandahar after fierce fighting.
- The fall of Panjwai district in the southern province of Kandahar, the birthplace of the Taliban, comes just two days after the U.S. and NATO forces vacated their main Bagram Air Base near Kabul.
- The leader of the Taliban, Hibatullah Akhundzada, hails from Panjwai.
- The Taliban now control roughly a third of all 421 districts and district centres in Afghanistan.
2. PANCHMULI LAKE (DYKE 3)
- News: As many as 194 crocodiles have been relocated from a lake near the Statue of Unity in Narmada district, Gujarat, in the last two years for the safety of tourists who come to enjoy boat rides there.
- The Panchmuli lake, situated near the 182-metre tall statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Kevadia, a major tourist attraction, had a large number of crocodiles that posed a threat to visitors.
- The Panchmuli lake, also known as ‘Dyke-3’ of the Sardar Sarovar Dam, was developed for tourists visiting the Statue of Unity. Hence, the authorities decided to relocate crocodiles from the water body to prevent any harm to tourists.
3. CHINESE ASTRONAUTS FIRST SPACEWALK
- News: Chinese astronauts successfully performed the country’s first tandem spacewalk on Sunday, working for seven hours outside the new Tiangong station in orbit around the Earth.
- Tiangong’s construction is a major step in China’s ambitious space programme, which has seen the nation land a rover on Mars and send probes to the moon.
- Three astronauts blasted off last month to become the station’s first crew, where they are to remain for three months in China’s longest crewed mission to date.
- Their tasks involved elevating a panoramic camera outside the Tianhe core module, as well as testing the station’s robotic arm which will be used to transfer future modules around the station.
- About Tiangong Space Station:
- Tiangong is a space station placed in low Earth orbit between 340 and 450 km (210 and 280 mi) above the surface.
- The Tiangong Space Station, once completed, will be roughly one-fifth the mass of the International Space Station and about the size of the decommissioned Russian Mir space station.
- The Tiangong is expected to have a mass between 80 and 100 t (180,000 and 220,000 lb).
- Operations will be controlled from the Beijing Aerospace Flight Control Center in China. The core module, the Tianhe (“Harmony of the Heavens”), launched on 29 April 2021.
- The construction of the station marks the third phase of the Tiangong program, building on the experience gained from its precursors, Tiangong-1 and Tiangong-2.
- The space station will be a third generation modular space station.
- First generation space stations, such as early Salyut, Almaz, and Skylab, were single piece stations and not designed for resupply.
- Second generation Salyut 6 and 7, and Tiangong 1 and 2 stations, are designed for mid-mission resupply.
- Third generation stations, such as Mir and the International Space Station, are modular space stations, assembled on-orbit from pieces launched separately.
- Modularised design methods can greatly improve reliability, reduce costs, shorten development cycle, and meet diversified task requirements.
- The Tianhe Core Cabin Module provides life support and living quarters for three crew members, and provides guidance, navigation, and orientation control for the station.
- The module also provides the station’s power, propulsion, and life support systems. The module consists of three sections: living quarters, service section and a docking hub.
News: Cyprus said a deadly forest fire that was the worst to hit the island in decades was close to being brought under control on Sunday after water bombing by Greek and Israeli aircraft.
Map of Cyprus: