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Tag Archives: #fighter

#Inked: India and France to push ahead with multi-billion dollar fighter jet deal


India and France have agreed to overcome differences and finalize the sale of 126 fighter jets to India in a deal worth an estimated $15 billion, the Indian defence ministry said.

France's Dassault Aviation has been trying to clinch a deal to sell India its Rafale jets since New Delhi chose the company over other foreign plane manufacturers in 2012.

But disagreements over cost and work-sharing have slowed talks, while India's weak economy has stretched government finances.

On Monday, French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian met his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar, who was appointed defence minister last month.

"Both sides agreed to take forward the strategic co-operation between the two countries. They discussed all issues including Rafale. It was decided that whatever differences still existed would be resolved in a fast-track manner," said Indian defence ministry spokesman Sitanshu Kar.

Under the deal, which would provide a major boost to French domestic defence manufacturing, the first 18 planes will be made in France and shipped to India, while the remaining 108 will be produced by state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.

Rival manufacturers including the makers of the Eurofighter aircraft are hoping that the stalled Rafale deal will collapse, possibly opening the door to negotiations with a new vendor.

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#Fighter: After the Taliban, Pakistan’s ‘Burqa Avenger’ turns her attention to Polio


A sharp increase in the number of Polio cases in Pakistan has caused widespread concern among health authorities around the world.

85 percent of all global cases of the crippling disease this year were recorded in Pakistan with the World Health Organization blaming Islamic extremists - who believe that medical teams carrying out vaccinations are western agents sent to "sterilize" the country's children - as well as government ineptitude.

Health authorities however, have now received support from a rather unlikely source, the 'Burka Avenger', Pakistan's first animated female superhero, whose previous foes have included (animated versions) of Taliban insurgents. 

The cartoon - created by Pakistani pop star Aaron Haroon Rashid - features 'Jiya', school teacher by day who dons a full-body Burka by night to fight extremists trying to shut down girl's schools.

Her main foes are a corrupt politician and Baba Bandook, an evil magician with a bushy black beard meant to look like a Taliban commander and who raises the question, "What business do women have with education?"

After the Taliban, animators have turned their attention to polio, a disease that is endemic in Pakistan and mainly affects children under the age of five.

It is transmitted through contaminated food and water and infects patient's central nervous system, causing paralysis and often, death.

Haroon Rashid said: "We always have a social issue or a social message that is the centerpiece of each show.  And of course, with the rising number of polio cases…the situation is alarming."

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#FIGHTER: Seema Jaya Sharma launches website to support cancer families

She’s been described as the new ‘poster girl’ for the fight against cancer and was even chosen to front a new ad campaign for Cancer Research UK earlier this year.

Now, breast cancer survivor Seema Jaya Sharma – whose music videos and video diaries have inspired thousands – is taking her campaigning to another level.

Tuesday saw the launch of www.canmates.com, an online “friend finder” service aimed at the friends and family of cancer sufferers struggling to cope with the horrific diseases that is becoming increasingly prevalent but remains little understood within the British Asian community in the UK.

36-year-old Sharma, a mother of two, set up the website after seeing the impact her diagnosis had on her mother and two young children.   

“When I was diagnosed with cancer everyone’s focus was on me and my well being and my comfort.  But what about my mother?  What about my friends?

It’s important for these people to be able to connect with others who can empathize with their situation and understand what helps and what doesn’t.  That’s what we aim to achieve with canmates.com”, Sharma said.

It’s not merely virtual interaction between people going through a harrowing experience.

On a more practical level, the website offers people the opportunity to offer and exchange various skills to help individuals and families coping with cancer. 

Sharma, a single mother, says it would have been virtually impossible for her two young children, now aged 15 and 7, to be looked after as she underwent treatment and is thankful to her mother who took over childminding duties.

With canmates.com’s ‘Skills Bank’, people can offer to help out sufferers with everything from doing the school run to preparing a meal.  All volunteers will be vetted and CRB-checked.

Among those pledging their support to Sharma at the launch were Raj ‘The Hitman’ Hundal, the World Pool Masters Champion who said Sharma was “re-defining” the very meaning of a champion; and well-known British Asian media mogul Terry Mardi, who described canmates.com as “revolutionary”.

www.canmates.com is the latest way-point in a remarkable journey that began back in 2009 when the effervescent Sharma was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She had found the lump in her left breast whilst playing with her young daughter and she received a letter confirming cancer around Diwali that year. 

“I cried for a second but then that was it”, Sharma later said in an interview.

I was going to fight my hardest, irrelevant of what stage the cancer was in.” 

It was a fight that she shared with the rest of the world with video diaries and music videos that have racked up thousands of hits and inspired multitudes.

Her latest video is 'Diagnosed'.

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