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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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‘C’ Division League Football tournament set for February

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KATHMANDU— The Martyrs Memorial ‘C’ Division League Football Championship is set to take place in the third week of February 2019.

On Thursday the meeting held between the representatives of All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) and ‘C’ Division clubs at ANFA Complex in Satdobato, Lalitpur set the date for the tournament, shared ANFA Spokesperson Kiran Rai.

League Director Sanjeeb Mishra said, “The ANFA and Club’s representatives have agreed to conduct the competition in the final week of February (second week of Falgun). We will finalize the specific date for the tournament in near future”.

Eleven ‘C’ Division clubs will take part in the Division League.

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