Mig-21 phase-outs

Mig-21 phase-outs

In the last two years, there have been six MiG-21 Bison crashes, five in 2021 and one in 2022. These crashes have claimed the lives of five pilots. Although it is the first fatal MiG-21 Bison crash for quite some time, this is the first fatal MiG-21 Bison crash in many years.

Two pilots aboard a MiG-21 Bison trainer aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) were killed in a crash in Barmer, Rajasthan, on Thursday night (July 28). An overview of the MiG-21 Bison fleet in India, its vintage, and what lies ahead.

This was a trainer kind of fighter aircraft with two pilots on board, according to the IAF. Typical of training missions, Wing Commander M Rana and Flight Lieutenant Adivitya Bal were on board, along with one senior pilot. The typical mission of such sorties is to provide operational training to junior pilots and test their skills in an effort to keep their skills and knowledge current and suggest improvements if necessary.

The cause of the crash is still unknown, and a Court of Inquiry will investigate. IAF fighter aircraft accidents have been caused by technical defects, human errors (aircrew), and bird strikes in the past. Even during night sorties, spatial disorientation can occur, but IAF pilots are trained to overcome it.

In the last two years, there have been six MiG-21 Bison crashes, five in 2021 and one in 2022. These crashes have claimed the lives of five pilots. 

MiG-21: 'Flying Coffin', 'Widow Maker'; the many names of India's  controversial Soviet-era fighter jet | Aviation News | Zee News

Nevertheless, this is the first fatal crash of a MiG-21 Bison trainer in a long time.

Currently, four squadrons of MiG-21 Bison aircraft are in service in the IAF, each with 16-18 aircraft, including two trainers. Srinagar-based No 51 Squadron will be retired from service or ‘number plated’ in IAF jargon on September 30 of this year, leaving three squadrons in service. One squadron will be number plated each year, so the MiG-21 Bison will be phased out of the IAF by 2025. These squadrons will be reactivated using the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas.

The MiG-21 Bison is an upgraded type of the MiG-21bis, which first entered service in 1976. Its older version, the MiG-21 FL, which entered service in the early 1960s, was phased out of service in 2013.

The first upgraded MiG-21 Bisons were delivered to the IAF in 2001, followed by the last upgraded fighters in 2008.

A Mig-21 Bison piloted by Wing Commander (now Group Captain) Abhinandan Varthaman shot down a Pakistani F-16 on February 27, 2019, a vastly superior aircraft.

The Bison version of the MiG-21 has also seen the induction of women fighter pilots into the IAF, with Flying Officer Avani Chaturvedi becoming the first woman to complete a solo flight on the aircraft.

IAF’s MiG-21 aircraft, in all their versions, formed the backbone of its fighter aircraft fleet. The IAF had the highest number of crashes in this category. The majority of these versions were produced in India under license.

According to data released by the Defence Ministry in the past, more than 170 pilots have lost their lives in accidents as a result of poor safety records of these aircraft. Over 20 aircraft have crashed since 2010, and 38 aircraft crashed between 2003 and 2013. As a result of its high accident rate, the aircraft was nicknamed the “Flying Coffin.”

A MiG-21bis crash in Suratgarh in September 2001 claimed the life of Flight Lieutenant Abhijeet Gadgil shortly after takeoff. During the investigation, the pilot’s mother, Kavita Gadgil, raised technical defects in the aircraft and argued that her son was being wrongfully blamed for the crash. She received a letter from the then Inspector General of Flight Safety of the Indian Air Force, Air Marshal Ashok Goyal, accusing her of demoralizing the IAF. S P Tyagi, the then Air Chief, apologized for the tone of the letter and wrote to Kavita Gadgil, absolving her son of all responsibility.

It was Kavita Gadgil’s efforts to highlight safety issues with the MiG-21 aircraft that led to the inclusion of her story in the blockbuster Hindi film Rang De Basanti in 2006.

BGMI was taken down from stores

Krafton to release localised BGMI webtoon content in Indian languages

Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI), a rebranded version of PUBG banned in India two years ago, has been pulled out from Apple and Google app stores. What is the reason for its delisting?

After a government order, Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI), the rebranded version of PUBG Mobile from Korean publisher Krafton, has been removed from Apple and Google app stores in India.

The Krafton spokesperson said: “We are clarifying how BGMI was removed from Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store and will inform you as soon as we receive specific information.”.

Google confirmed removing the game from its Play Store in India after informing Krafton. In response to the order, we notified the affected developer and blocked access to the app that remained on the Play Store in India, a Google spokesperson said.

Despite the government’s refusal to comment on why the game was taken down, a 16-year-old boy allegedly shot his mother last month after she prevented him from playing “online games like PubG.

In a question to the IT Ministry last week, Rajya Sabha MP V Vijayasai Reddy noted that “some children had also committed crimes when they were restrained from playing the game.”

There are various different reports and grievances received in the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) that said that apps that were blocked are appearing with new avatars by using similar sounding names or rebranded with the same functionality. A copy of all such reports and grievances has been forwarded to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the requesting agency. In accordance with the 2009 Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Public Access to Information) Rules, MeitY follows due process.

In the media, a child was reported to have killed his mother because he was playing PUBG. An investigation is being conducted by LEAs to find out what the cause is. MeitY blocked the PUBG gaming app in 2020, and the game has not been available in India since then,” Chandrasekhar said.

It is the second time the game has been removed from app stores in India after its predecessor PUBG was banned there earlier.

In 2020, PUBG Mobile was banned in India, along with 117 other applications believed to be made by Chinese-based companies, for allegedly being engaged in activities that were “prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of state and order of the people.”

It was announced in September 2020 that the PUBG Corporation, a subsidiary of Krafton, would not authorize the PUBG Mobile franchise in India to Tencent Games and took over all publishing responsibilities there. The popular video platform TikTok, along with 58 other apps of Chinese origin, was banned in India in June 2020 at a time when tensions were brewing between India and China.

Case against Shakira 

Shakira faces up to 8 years in prison for not paying taxes in Spain |

On Friday (July 29), Spanish prosecutors sought a prison sentence of more than 8 years and a charge of more than €23 million for Colombian superstar Shakira.

With three Grammy awards and over 60 million records sold worldwide, this wildly popular “Queen of Latin Music” is known for hits like “Hips Don’t Lie,” “Beautiful Liar,” and “Waka Waka (This Time For Africa).”

Spanish officials have accused the singer of defrauding the country’s tax office out of around €14.5 million by avoiding paying personal income tax and estate tax, El Pa*s reports.

Prosecutors allege Shakira failed to pay taxes between 2012 and 2014 while in a relationship with soccer player Gerard Piqué and living in a house she purchased in Barcelona while officially maintaining a tax residence in the Bahamas. Earlier this year, Shakira and Piqué announced that they were splitting up.

Her finances were first investigated by Spanish authorities in 2018. El Pa*s reported that the prosecution had based its case on records kept by the Spanish tax agency, which recorded her visits to hairdressers, beauty salons, a medical clinic she visited while pregnant, and a recording studio she rented in Barcelona, to prove that she spent more than 183 days in Spain, which constitutes Spanish residency.

According to a Spanish judge in July 2021, there was enough evidence that she had committed tax fraud. Shakira rejected a settlement deal offered by Spanish prosecutors on Wednesday (July 27), instead choosing to go to trial, which will likely begin soon.

It has been argued by Shakira’s defense team that she did not reside in Spain long enough between 2012 and 2014 to qualify for Spanish tax laws. She only officially resided in Spain in 2015. Shakira on Wednesday accused the prosecutors of using “abusive methods” by insisting on claiming money earned from her international tours and the show “The Voice,” for which she was a judge.

Reuters reported that Shakira had already paid €17.2 million in taxes and owed nothing more. It has been reported that she is completely confident of her innocence and that she is willing to “resolve any differences” if the allegations are proven true.

As part of the Paradise Papers and Pandora Papers global media investigations published in November 2017 and October 2021, Shakira’s name appeared. After the Panama Papers investigation, the Paradise Papers were a cache of 13.4 million corporate records. They primarily came from Appleby in Bermuda, Asiaciti Trust in Singapore, and 19 secrecy jurisdictions often referred to as “tax havens.”

A German newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung, obtained the Paradise leaks and shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

There were 11.9 million files leaked from 14 global corporate services firms that set up 29,000 off-the-shelf companies and private trusts in countries including Singapore, New Zealand, and the United States for clients around the world.

Do you know about Victor Bout?

Who is Viktor Bout, Russian man at centre of US prisoner 'swap'? |  Russia-Ukraine war News | Al Jazeera

For years, Viktor Bout was considered one of the most prominent figures in the shadowy world of illicit arms smuggling, famous for fueling violence across the globe with his weapon supplies.

In exchange for Brittney Griner and a former US Marine Paul Whelam, the United States has offered a prisoner swap deal to Russia. Griner and Whelam are believed to have been wrongfully detained in Russia by the US. According to news agency reports citing sources familiar with the matter, the US is ready to trade Viktor Bout, dubbed the ‘merchant of death and currently serving a 25-year prison sentence.

For years, Viktor Bout was considered one of the most prominent figures in the shadowy world of illicit arms smuggling, famous for fueling violence across the globe with his weapon supplies.

Bout’s operational network extended to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Sudan, Angola, Congo, Liberia, the Philippines, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone before he was captured in 2008. As a result of his exploits, he earned the moniker ‘merchant of death and inspired the character played by Nicolas Cage in the Hollywood film ‘Lord of War.

An ex-Soviet air force officer with a military intelligence background, Bout acquired a fleet of old but durable Antonov, Ilyushin, and Yakovlev cargo planes after the fall of the Soviet Union. GRU, the Russian military intelligence service, gave him his first three planes to help him launch his new company, according to one account.

He soon began channeling weapons into the world’s most dangerous conflict zones through his air freight business. Since he operated with impunity, the world remained unaware of his activities until after 9/11, according to a 2007 book on him.

It was stated by the US Department of Treasury in 2005 that Bout could transport tanks, helicopters, and weapons by the ton to virtually anywhere in the world. In addition to arming different sides in the same conflict, Bout used his network to fly UN peacekeepers to Somalia and ship World Food Program aid to the Democratic Republic of Congo – trips that illustrated his ability to integrate “operations with governments and global organizations.”

Furthermore, he was accused of money laundering and arms trafficking for the Taliban and Al Qaeda, as well as having a list of clients that included Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi.  

In 2006, the US government froze Bout’s assets (he had 12 shell companies incorporated in the US out of 30) and prohibited transactions between him and American citizens. However, he would not be arrested for another two years. In an interview with The Guardian before his arrest, a European intelligence official said the sanctions were intended to “keep him in line” because “everyone needs him at some point, or might need him in the future.” In 2008, however, that changed.

The US Drug Enforcement Agency lured Bout into a trap laid in Thailand where they posed as Colombia’s FARC rebels and agreed to sell them arms. Specifically, the weapons were to be used to attack US helicopters in Colombia, according to the US Department of Justice. FARC, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia, is a terror organization designated by the United States. Bout was extradited to the US in November 2010 following his arrest in March 2008.

His sentence in 2012 was 25 years in prison for conspiring to sell millions of dollars worth of weapons to the FARC rebels, including hundreds of surface-to-air missiles and over 20,000 AK-47s.

Justice Department officials said in 2012 that he was arrested for offering the Colombian rebels 10 million rounds of ammunition, five tons of C-4 plastic explosives, and ultralight airplanes with grenade launchers.

While Bout has been convicted, he maintains that he is innocent and a legitimate businessman. According to Russia, his case is a human rights issue that would bolster its narrative of the “persecution” of innocent Russians.

A four-day exhibition of his prison paintings selected by his wife was held at Russia’s Civic Chamber building in Moscow last year as a mark of support. Its mission is to protect citizens’ rights during the development and implementation of state policies.

According to an Associated Press report, Bout’s defense lawyer claims that the US vindictively targeted him after it was revealed that one of his companies flew supplies to American military contractors during the Iraq war despite UN sanctions being in place. Several times, Bout himself has reiterated that the case against him is political.

edited and proofread by nikita sharma

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