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China hands over two ships to Pakistan Navy for Gwadar Port security

China has handed over two ships to the Pakistan to safeguard the strategic Gwadar port and trade routes under the ambitious China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

These ships have been named as Hingol and Basol, after two rivers near Gwadar. They will be part of Pakistan Navy and are equipped with state-of-the-art guns. They will be used to protect the sea-lanes in the Arabian Sea.

Besides, China will also provide two more ships to Pakistan Navy which have been named Zhob and Dasht after two districts in Balochistan.

Background

In recent times, China has actively started extending its help and cooperation to Pakistan for security along the $46 billion CPEC’s land and sea routes. As a follow up, Pakistan Army already has raised a new division of the army to ensure security along the CPEC route and around the strategic Gwadar port. The security of Gwadar city also has been handed over to the Pakistan Army’s new division raised during the tenure of former army chief Gen Raheel Sharif. In the past, China restrained itself from deploying its naval ships in Gwadar, as it could had raise alarm in US and India.

Gwadar port

The strategic Gwadar port is located in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province. It has been developed under CPEC which link western China through Pakistan with the Middle East, Africa and Europe.  The revamped port became operational in November 2016 after two cargo ships laden with containers set off for Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the UAE and European Union.

For more information: China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

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SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Rocket successfully places 10 satellites into orbit

US based rocket manufacturing company SpaceX successfully launched constellation of 10 satellites into orbit on board of its two stage Falcon 9 Rocket from the Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

The satellites were deployed into the designated to low-Earth orbit about an hour after launch. Besides, rocket’s first stag also landed upright on a so-called droneship in the Pacific Ocean south of Vandenberg.

Key Facts
  • The constellation of 10 satellites was launched as part of McLean, Virginia-based Iridium’s project to replace its existing network of satellites that provide global voice and data communications.
  • This was SpaceX’s first launch since September 2016 accident of similar rocket on a Florida launch pad which exploded after its launch along with $200 million Israeli communications satellites Amos-6.

About SpaceX

  • SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies Corporation) is aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company headquartered in Hawthorne, California, US.
  • It was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and former PayPal entrepreneur with the goal of creating the technologies to reduce space transportation costs and enable the colonization of Mars.
  • SpaceX has developed the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 launch vehicles, both designed to be reusable. It also has developed Dragon spacecraft to supply cargo to the International Space Station (ISS). It is also developing a manned version of Dragon is in development.
  • SpaceX’s achievements: First privately funded, liquid-propellant rocket Falcon 1 to reach orbit in 2008. First privately funded company to successfully launch, orbit and recover a spacecraft (Dragon) in 2010. First private company to send a spacecraft (Dragon) to the ISS, in 2012.
  • As of July 2016, it has flown nine missions to the ISS under a cargo resupply contract with NASA signed in 2006.

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New fault in Indian Ocean may trigger earthquakes in future: study

According to scientists, a new plate boundary may be forming on the floor of the Indian Ocean in Wharton Basin as a result of the 2012 earthquake that shook the Andaman-Sumatra region.

The discovery was based on the study of seismic data recorded before, during and after the 2012 quakes and sea floor depth analysis by venturing into the ocean aboard a research vessel.

Key Facts
  • Scientists created a high-resolution imagery of the sea floor by using data which unveiled deformations that had occurred on the tsunamilgIndo-Australian Plate.
  • It showed that the plate had broken along a 1,000 km fracture zone due to 2012 earthquakes, resulting in a new plate boundary and likely to be the site of future fault-slip earthquakes.
  • The analysis showed a new fault system had developed in the area off the coast of Sumatra that was involved in the 2012 earthquakes. The new fault system can trigger more quakes in the future.
  • Slip-strike earthquake occurs when two plates slide horizontally against one another. As a result, earthquake causes deformations that occur in plates distant from fault lines as pressure builds up across a plate.
  • These earthquakes can lead to inter-plate earthquakes and cause a plate to break, resulting in a new boundary and this in turn can lead to even more quakes.
  • This similar scenario is believed to happened in 2012 when two earthquakes struck the Andaman-Sumatran regio (north-west part) of the Indian Ocean which was the largest inter-plate earthquakes ever recorded.

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