Bijay Bhuyan, a farmer in Odisha’s Bhadrak district, has been living with his family in their ancestral home for years, but he had no inkling that he was sharing it with cobras.To his utter surprise, he found 106 juvenile cobra snakes in the house in Paikasahi village on Friday. Efforts are on to retrieve more reptiles from an ant-hill that has come up adjacent to an earthen wall. Fellow villagers have thronged Mr. Bhuyan’s house to see the young reptiles.“Family members had come across snakes around their house on several occasions,” said Seikh Mirza, a member of Snake Helpline, a voluntary forum that helps rescue snakes in distress. “Their religious belief did not allow them to dismantle the ant hill.”“We have rescued 99 young cobras. Six snakes were found dead. As many as 19 eggs have also been spotted,” he said.
Counting for all the 42 Lok Sabha Seats in West Bengal has started at 8 a.m. amidst tight security in Kolkata and rest of the State.The postal ballots are being counted in the first hour and it indicates that Trinamool Congress (TMC) is ahead in six Seats as the first few hundreds of the ballots are being counted.The BJP and the Congress are ahead in three and two Seats respectively. Most of these Seats showing trends are in north Bengal.Left Front is not ahead in any of the 42 Seats.A total of nearly seven crore electors voted in Bengal of which nearly 12 lakh were first-time voters. Polling took place in seven phase in the State with a population of about 10 crore.Various pre-result polls – which are not always correct – indicated that Left Front’s votes will drop in 2019 Bengal election and BJP will gain in the State.Trinamool Congress bagged 34 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha poll while the BJP got two. The Congress and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) got two each.A clear trend is expected to emerge around mid day.
zoomImage Courtesy: Silversea Cruises Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri has received an order for another ultra-luxury cruise ship from Silversea Cruises.Under the contract, valued at over EUR 320 million (USD 381.3 million), the new cruise ship is scheduled for delivery in the fourth quarter of 2021. The unit is Silversea’s eleventh ship, and the third one in the Muse-class series.Named Silver Dawn, the new vessel will be a sistership of Silversea’s flagship, Silver Muse, which was launched from the Fincantieri shipyard of Sestri Ponente (Genoa) in April 2017.The order of Silver Dawn comes just months after the cruise line signed a contract with Fincantieri for the construction of Silver Moon, another sistership to Silver Muse, which is due to be delivered in 2020.“Following the extraordinary success of Silver Muse, we are delighted to announce Silver Dawn as the eleventh ship to join the Silversea fleet,” Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, Silversea’s Chairman, said.
OTTAWA — A shortage of sailors is making it hard for the Royal Canadian Navy to operate its ships and work on replacing them at the same time, according to a senior naval officer.The revelation by Commodore Steve Waddell, head of naval strategic readiness, follow similar concerns from the Royal Canadian Air Force about the difficult choices it is facing thanks to a shortage of experienced pilots.Taken together, they underscore the severe personnel challenges facing some parts of the Canadian Forces, which tend to be overshadowed by the numerous problems facing the military procurement system.In fact, Waddell indicated during a presentation to a defence conference this week that the navy’s personnel shortages could threaten the Trudeau government’s “ambitious” defence policy.That policy — entitled Strong, Secure, Engaged — says the military must be able to conduct several missions at the same time. It also sets aside billions of dollars for upgrades to the navy, including new warships and modernized submarines.Some of those projects have already been delayed, such as the construction of new support ships, though the blame for many of those delays rests outside of the navy and with private shipyards or other federal departments.The navy nonetheless has its work cut out for it, including imminent talks with U.S. defence giant Lockheed Martin and Irving Shipbuilding in Halifax to decide the final design for its new $60-billion fleet of warships.“In terms of delivering on Strong, Secure, Engaged, what I think is going to really fundamentally be a constraint in the next little while is the reality of the workforce,” Waddell said.While the navy is at least 10 per cent short of trained sailors, he said it is facing a shortfall of up to 40 per cent in some places when sailors it does have are unavailable because of training, medical problems or other reasons.“So when you’re trying to deploy and have a forward presence … while at the same time trying to account for the institutional needs of delivering on Strong, Secure, and Engaged, you can imagine the bit of a dance that’s in front of us.”The navy’s problem is different from the air force’s: the navy is struggling to simply recruit people while the air force is losing experienced pilots to civilian jobs.Yet there are also parallels, as Waddell said the navy, like much of the rest of the military, is fighting industry for employees at a time when unemployment is low, demographics are changing and there are other opportunities for people.Not that the navy is completely without a plan. Waddell and others have talked about using technology, particularly in its new ships, to ease the navy’s personnel requirements as well as attract a new generation of recruits.In a recent interview with The Canadian Press, navy commander Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd talked about using artificial intelligence to ease workload and the addition of wireless networks to ships as areas where change is coming.“What does it mean to be a digital navy is what we’re focused on,” he said. “I think that’s going to be key to our ability to attract (people) and then recruit them and then hopefully retain them.”— Follow @leeberthiaume on Twitter.Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press