14.08.2019

Indian dailies have commented on the 100th birthday of Vikram Ambalal Sarabhai, one of India’s greatest scientists; who is regarded as the father of India’s space programme. Newspapers have commented on the situation in Yemen. Print media has opined that flights in Hong Kong have been cancelled as thousands of protesters have laid a siege on the airport after violence.

FINANCIAL EXPRESS in an editorial ISRO’S SUCCESS IS SARABHAI’S LASTING LEGACY writes the 100th birth anniversary of Vikram A Sarabhai, the doyen of space research in India, has just passed, and the lander in Chandrayaan-2, India’s ambitious lunar mission that puts it in the elite club of space-exploring nations, has been named Vikram, an apt tribute. It is indeed ISRO’s success that the most befitting tribute to the vision of the Cambridge-trained scientist who, at 28 years of age, laid the foundations of India’s space programme way back in 1947, by persuading a handful of prominent business people to fund a research institution near his home. That is how the Physical Research Laboratory in Ahmedabad, the cradle of India’s space research, was born. Sarabhai, a contemporary of Homi J Bhaba, the father of India’s nuclear programme, served as the chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission. Buoyed by the vision they shared on nation-building Sarabhai and Bhaba put India on the path to developing the technological muscle it has today. Some of India’s top institutions—the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and the Space Application Centre (under the aegis of ISRO), to name two—owe their existence to Sarabhai’s vision and efforts.

THE HINDU in an editorial WAR WITHIN WAR says the Saudi-led coalition’s intervention in Yemen is proof of how things can go wrong with an ill-conceived, poorly strategized and geopolitics-driven military interference that cares little about human lives. After four years of war, the Saudis have not met their declared goal — pushing back the Shia Houthi rebels from the capital Sana’a and restoring the ousted government which is now temporarily headquartered in the southern city of Aden. The war has pushed Yemen into what the UN calls the worst humanitarian crisis. Thousands have been killed, tens of thousands displaced and about two thirds of the country’s 28 million people do not have enough to eat. Now, there is a rebellion within the coalition. Last week, the Southern Transitional Council (STC), a militia group that was fighting the Houthis as part of the Saudi-led coalition, turned against their masters and captured the presidential palace in Aden as well as the city’s main port. In return, Saudi jets targeted STC fighters before a tenuous ceasefire set in. It now looks like a three-way conflict. Houthis, who the Saudis claim are backed by Iran, are controlling much of the country’s north including Sana’a. Yemen’s internationally-backed government of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, the Saudi ally, is controlling the south. The STC wants the south to be an independent entity, like it was till the Yemeni unification in 1990.

THE STATESMAN in an editorial HK’S UNSPLENDID ISOLATION opines street riots have hit the skies. There is little doubt that harsh measures over the past few weeks have only inflamed the unrest that has roiled China’s protectorate. China has felt compelled to intervene thought not with PLA’s boots on the ground. The closure of the island nation’s international airport lends a new dimension to the upheaval over the extradition bill, albeit kept in abeyance to defuse the crisis. In the net, Hong Kong cut itself off from countries further afield even risking a state of isolation amidst the turmoil unprecedented since Britain handed over the island nation to China in 1997. Fears that the disruption will be felt worldwide are not wholly unfounded. One of Asia’s biggest airports was forced to cancel all passenger flights after thousands of demonstrators swarmed into the main terminal building. Closure is the biggest blow struck on the third occasion that the protests have hit the airport. As an international financial hub, the stability of the protectorate is crucial to China’s economy.