Submarine ready for trials
The nation’s first home-built nuclear submarine is ready for sea trials in open waters, a step before it becomes fully operational, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced yesterday. The nation unveiled the indigenous 6,000-tonne INS Arihant (Destroyer of Enemies) in 2009 as part of a project to construct five nuclear armed vessels. Singh described the development as “a giant stride in the progress of our indigenous technological capabilities” and said he hoped to see the submarine commissioned soon. The navy inducted a Russian-leased nuclear submarine into service in April last year, joining China, France, the US, Britain and Russia in the elite club of countries with nuclear-powered vessels.
Zimbabwe, Iran sign deal
Zimbabwe has signed a secret deal to supply Iran with the raw materials needed to develop a nuclear weapon, in breach of international sanctions, the Times reported yesterday. “I have seen [a memorandum of understanding] to export uranium to the Iranians,” Zimbabwean Deputy Mining Minister Gift Chimanikire told the newspaper. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has publicly backed Iran’s nuclear drive. During a visit by Iran’s then-president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to Harare in April 2010, Mugabe said his guest should be assured of “Zimbabwe’s continuous support of Iran’s just cause on the nuclear issue.” Chimanikire is a member of Zimbabwe’s opposition and said the uranium deal had been made without his knowledge, and was only known to a handful of people at the top of the government. Despite the agreement, the Times reported analysts as saying that it was likely to be a long time before Zimbabwe’s uranium reserves were ready for export.
Trafficking suspects held
Local authorities have detained nine people, including an obstetrician, on suspicion of baby trafficking at a hospital in northwestern China, state media reported. Three government officials and three hospital managers at Fuping County Maternal and Child Health Care in Shaanxi Province were also fired over the baby trafficking scandal, Xinhua news agency reported on Friday. Among the detained suspects is Zhang Shuxia, an obstetrician at the hospital who abducted newborns by sometimes falsely claiming the infants were born with congenital problems, it said. Xinhua said police had received 55 reports of child abductions and that Zhang allegedly was involved in 26 of them. Despite severe legal punishments, including the death penalty, child trafficking is a big problem in China. It is very profitable for the traffickers, and demand is strong, driven partly by the traditional preference for male heirs, a strict one-child policy and ignorance of the law.
China’s ships in E China Sea
Four Chinese government ships entered disputed waters in the East China Sea at the center of a bitter row with Tokyo yesterday, the coast guard said. “We are telling them to leave the area,” an official spokesman said, after the ships sailed into waters around the Senkaku islands — known in Taiwan as the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) — shortly after 9am. The ships were among five vessels that have been sailing in and out of the disputed zone since last week. The foreign ministry summoned Beijing’s envoy on Thursday after the ships spent more than a day in Japanese territorial waters, marking their longest such incursion since the long-simmering dispute erupted again last year.