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ISRO chairman gets emotional, PM Modi consoles

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BENGALURU: Prime Minister Narendra Modi consoled an emotional ISRO chief K Sivan this morning, hours after the space agency announced it lost contact with Chandrayaan 2 lander during a historic moon landing attempt.
PM Modi, who flew to Bengaluru on Friday night to watch the planned touchdown of the Vikram lander, hugged the ISRO chief as he broke down and patted him on the back after a speech at the space agency headquarters where he said: “Our determination to touch moon has become even stronger and the best is yet to come.”

In a setback earlier today, contact was lost with the moon lander Vikram minutes before it was due to touch down near the lunar south pole. If the landing was executed successfully as planned, India would have become the fourth country  after the United States, Russia and China  to soft land on the moon.

In his nearly 30-minute long address to the ISRO scientists, PM Modi said “resilience and tenacity are central to India’s ethos”.
“In our glorious history, we have faced moments that may have slowed us but they have never crushed our spirit. We have bounced back again and gone on to do spectacular things. This is why our civilisation stands tall,” he said.

“As important as the final result is the journey and the effort. I can proudly say that the effort was worth it and so was the journey. Our team worked hard, travelled far and those teachings will always remain with us. The learnings from today will make us stronger and better,” PM Modi added.

PM Modi hugged the ISRO chief outside the space centre after the speech. Reacting to the visuals of Mr Sivan breaking down when he was hugged by PM Modi, BJP MP Tejasvi Surya tweeted: “That #ISRO Chief Shivan broke down into tears only shows how invested he was in success of the mission .”

Chandrayaan 2, the first expedition by ISRO to attempt a soft landing on the lunar surface with home-grown technology, is India’s third mission to a celestial body after Chandrayaan 1 mission in 2008 and the Mars Orbiter Mission in 2013.
While the contact with Vikram lander is lost, the orbiter can still take pictures of the moon and send it to the ISRO over the next year.

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Trump knew exactly what was going on: Giuliani aide

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Washington: An aide to Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, has said that the US President “knew exactly what was going on” regarding efforts to pressure Ukraine into investigating Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, it was reported on Thursday.

Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnass, who is facing separate criminal charges, made the comments in an interview with MSNBC on Wednesday after letters, phone records, notes and flash drives were obtained from him earlier this week, the BBC said in a report.

Documents show that the Ukraine-born Parnas was in regular contact with Giuliani as well as Ukrainian officials, and suggests that the businessman was directly involved in trying to have Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky look into the Bidens.

In the interview, Parnas said Trump was “aware of all my movements”.

“I wouldn’t do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani or the President. Why would President Zelensky’s inner circle or (Interior) Minister (Arsen) Avakov or all these people or (former) President (Petro) Poroshenko meet with me?

“Who am I? They were told to meet with me. And that’s the secret that they’re trying to keep. I was on the ground doing their work,” he added.

Parnas further said that the President was lying and knew that unless there was an investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who was a director of a Ukrainian gas company, military aid to Kiev would be withheld.

He also claimed that the investigation was about digging up dirt on Joe Biden.

Meanwhile, some of the materials obtained show Parnas and Giuliani discussing the removal of Marie Yovanovitch, the then US ambassador to Ukraine, said the BBC report.

In Wednesday’s interview, Parnas claimed the only motivation to get Yovanovitch removed from her post was because she was in the way of the effort to get Ukraine to announce an investigation into Joe Biden.

Trump was impeached by the Democrat-controlled US House of Representatives on December 18, 2019 and is accused of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The two articles of impeachment were sent to the Republican-majority Senate on Wednesday night, paving the way for the starting of a trial against the President.

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