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First rocket launch from Russia’s Vostochny after delay

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MOSCOW — Russia has launched its inaugural rocket from another cosmodrome, a day after a technical glitch foiled the much-publicised event and led to President Vladimir Putin criticising the program’s officials.

The unmanned Soyuz-2.1A rocket carrying three satellites roared off into a clear blue sky from the launch pad at the Vostochny cosmodrome in the remote Amur Region near China’s border at 5:01am Moscow time, state television showed.

The satellites separated from the rocket’s third stage about nine minutes into the flight, heading to their designated orbits, Russian media quoted officials from the space agency Roscosmos as saying.

The launch was called off less than two minutes before the lift-off on Wednesday, upsetting President Vladimir Putin, who had flown thousands of kilometres to watch what the media and officials touted as an historic event.

“I want to congratulate you. There is something to be proud of,” local media quoted Mr Putin telling cosmodrome workers after watching Thursday’s launch at Vostochny.

“In principle, we could have held the launch yesterday, but the equipment overdid its job and stopped the launch. This is a normal thing.”

The Vostochny spaceport, the first civilian rocket launch site on Russian territory, is intended to phase out the nation’s reliance on the Baikonur cosmodrome it leases from Kazakhstan at a cost of nearly $151 million a year.

Delays and corruption have blighted work on the cosmodrome, which Mr Putin has hailed as Russia’s biggest current building project, with a budget of between $6 and $8 billion.

AFP

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Nirmala Panta rape, murder case : Locals protest after wrong suspect paraded

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BHIMDUTTANAGAR — Locals who were protesting against the rape and murder of Nirmala Panta of Kanchanpur’s Bhimdatta Municipality, have enforced shutdown in Bhimduttanagar Bazaar on Tuesday, protesting police’s failure to reveal facts behind the murder of 13-year-old girl and parading wrong suspect on Monday.

The District Police Office, organising a press conference on Monday,had made public Dilip Singh Bista (41), of Baghphanta, Bhimdatta Municipality-19 as Nirmala’s murderer.

Locals have shut down the market area stating that police were not being able to make public the true murderer(s) as they are not convinced by the findings of police citing that Bista was mentally unsound, according to the District Police Office.

Transportation has also been halted.

Bista, a resident of Khanna Chauraha area in Bhimdutta Municipality-19, was apprehended near the scene of crime on Sunday, according to police.

Police making public the wrong suspect has infuriated the locals and fueled the protest.

The agitators including various civil society organisations and human rights defenders have been picketing the District Administration Office and staging rally on the street mounting pressure on the police to reveal the facts behind the heinous crime.

Meanwhile, it had been learnt that police have fired rounds of teargas shells to contain the agitated mob.

Nirmala was found murdered in a sugarcane field on July 27, a day after she had gone to her friend’s home to get a notebook.

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