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Rajanath Singh took first delivery of IAF’s Rafale RB001

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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh formally took delivery of the first of the 36 long-awaited French-made aircraft acquired by the Indian Air Force at a ceremony in Merignac, France, on Tuesday.

The three aircraft are named RB 001, RB 002 and RB 003 – denoting the initials of Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Bhadauria who played a key role in striking the deal for the jets in his previous role as IAF deputy chief.

Rajnath Singh attended the handover ceremony of RB 001 along with his French counterpart Florence Parly at aircraft maker Dassault Aviation facility in Merignac, southwestern France.

The minister performed a Shastra Puja on the new aircraft as he emblazoned it with an ‘Om’ tilak and laid flowers and coconut, just before he was to take off in it for a sortie in the newly-acquired two-seater jet.

Singh, who changed into combat flight gear for the sortie after Puja, said the aircraft will enhance the Indian Air Force combat capability massively — intended only for self-defence.

“We do not purchase arms and other defence equipment to threaten any country but to increase our capabilities and strengthen our defences,” 68-year-old Singh said.

“I had never imagined that I would be flown at supersonic speed; a very comfortable and smooth flight during which I was able to observe the many capabilities of the jet, its air-to-air and air-to-ground combat capabilities,” he said, describing his sortie as a memorable and once in a lifetime experience.

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Hazy morning in Delhi-NCR, air quality continues to be ‘poor’

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People residing in the national capital and its adjoining areas such as Gurugram, Faridabad, Noida, and Ghaziabad woke up to a hazy morning on Tuesday as the air quality index (AQI) dipped again to the poor category for the sixth consecutive day.

The data collated by the Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) showed the overall air quality of Delhi was docking at 252 at 8:30 am in the morning.

An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered ‘good’, 51 and 100 ‘satisfactory’, 101 and 200 ‘moderate’, 201 and 300 ‘poor’, 301 and 400 ‘very poor’, and 401 and 500 ‘severe’.

At Dhirpur, the AQI was 259 at 8:30 am, while at Mathura Road area it dipped to the ‘poor’ category at 296. Furthermore, the AQI near Pusa, Airport, Terminal 3 and Delhi University stood at 215, 293 and 241 respectively.

The air quality index is expected to plunge further around Diwali, if the availability of green crackers, as promised by the Central Government, is not ensured. Last year, during this festival, the apex court had banned conventional firecrackers and passed an order stating that only green crackers with reduced emissions will be allowed.

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Postpaid mobile phone services are restored but the Internet were still down

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Over 70 days after the Kashmir was put under an unprecedented lockdown and all communication lines were snapped, the government has restored postpaid mobile services in the Valley.

Postpaid mobile phone services have been restored on the state-run BSNL network in the Kashmir Valley.

Mobile internet and broadband still continue to be blacked out in the Valley since the August decision that saw a magnanimous shift in the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

On August 5, Home Minister Amit Shah had announced the government’s major decision to scrap Article 370 to strip Jammu and Kashmir of its special status and also bifurcate the strife-torn state into two Union Territories.

Ever since, the government has imposed an unprecedented lockdown on the Valley, including the blackout of all communication lines.

On Saturday the J&K administration announced that some 40 lakh postpaid mobile phones will become operational from Monday noon.

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SC rejects PIL seeking to link social media accounts to Aadhaar

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The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a PIL seeking to link all social media accounts to Aadhaar to stop fake, troll accounts from overpowering social media platforms. The court has said all matters need not come to the apex court.

While hearing a PIL on social media accounts, the Supreme Court said, Everything doesn’t need to come to Supreme Court. This issue is before the Madras High Court and you can go there.

The plea sought a direction to the Centre for appropriate steps to link social media accounts with Aadhaar card to ‘check the menace of fake and paid news’. It was filed by lawyer and BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay.

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