December 12, 2016 Whidbey Island marines train with Portuguese counterparts in Lisbon View post tag: US Navy View post tag: USS Whidbey Island Authorities U.S. marines aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41) completed a successful port visit to Lisbon, Portugal, on December 10.The embarked 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) welcomed members of the Fuzileiros- the Portuguese Marine Corps – aboard Whidbey Island for a visit and joint training.“We also demonstrated Marine Corps marital arts program moves, did some fast-roping exercises, and finished with a mud run over a series of obstacles with them,” said Sgt. Jonathan Swaffer, 3rd section leader for amphibious assault vehicle platoon. “It was a bit of a change of pace for us. It was a good time.”While in Lisbon, Whidbey Island’s sailors and marines took part in two community relations projects and tour the Portuguese countryside on a morale, welfare and recreation (MWR) trip.During the visit Whidbey Island took on fuel, supplies and mail.The ship and its embarked Marines departed Norfolk, Virginia, on June 25, 2016, for a regularly scheduled deployment as part of the Wasp Amphibious Ready Group (ARG). View post tag: Portugal View post tag: US Marines Back to overview,Home naval-today Whidbey Island marines train with Portuguese counterparts in Lisbon Share this article
WASHINGTON (AP) — The interim chief of the Capitol Police has apologized for failing to prepare for what became a violent insurrection despite having warnings that white supremacists and far-right groups would target Congress. Yogananda Pittman, in prepared testimony before Congress on Tuesday, said that the Capitol Police “failed to meet its own high standards as well as yours.” She listed several missteps: not having enough manpower or supplies on hand, not following through with a lockdown order she issued during the siege and not having a sufficient communications plan for a crisis. Five people died in the Jan. 6 riot.
Somali President Mohamud visits Dadaab refugee camp World’s largest refugee camp won’t close, Kenyan court rules Security a Major Concern in Dadaab refugee camp Related Kenyan authorities gave the UNHCR three months to relocate more than 600,000 Somalis from Dadaab.With an estimated population of 600,000 the Dadaab Refugee Camp is the world’s largest and dismantling it in three months would be a mammoth task. CCTV’s Susan Mwongeli takes a look at the camp
Facebook5Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Saint Martin’s UniversityThe dedication of a new flag pavilion built at Saint Martin’s University to honor active-duty and veteran members of the military will kick off the Saint Martin’s Homecoming 2014, set for Feb. 7-9 on the Lacey campus.“We have planned a wide variety of activities to give our alumni plenty of opportunities to interact with their former classmates, as well as meet new people who share their passion for Saint Martin’s,” says Katie Wojke, interim vice president of the Saint Martin’s Office of Institutional Advancement and Alumni Relations. “They will be able to enjoy these fun events while they learn more about what’s happening now at the University.”The flag pavilion was constructed to recognize military veteran and active-duty students, alumni, faculty, staff and members of the community for their service to the nation. The pavilion is located at the base of the Grand Staircase, adjacent to the Jan Halliday Memorial Plaza, a setting that offers tremendous views of the campus and beyond. Saint Martin’s alumni Mary Louise ’60 and Terence Monaghan ’62, who is also a member of the Saint Martin’s University Board of Trustees, sponsored the pavilion project.The dedication, which is expected to be “standing room only,” begins at 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7, and will be held outdoors at the base of the Grand Staircase. A tent and limited seating will be provided. Attendees are strongly encouraged to bring umbrellas!To register for the dedication and the other Homecoming events listed below, please visit www.stmartin.edu/alumni or call Bianca Galam, fundraising event coordinator, at 360-486-8885.Friday, Feb. 7, following the flag pavilion dedication:5 p.m. Evening Mass – Saint Martin’s Abbey Church7 p.m. Homecoming Welcome ReceptionAll alumni and their guests are invited to join the celebration at O’Blarney’s Irish Pub, 4411 Martin Way, Lacey, WA 98516, with an all-class reunion. This will be a relaxing get-together with complimentary appetizers and a no-host bar.Saturday, Feb. 88 a.m. Mass – Saint Martin’s Abbey Church10 a.m. – noon Department drop-ins, at the following locations:School of Business – 3rd floor, Old MainCollege of Education and Professional Psychology – 4th floor, Old MainCollege of Arts and Sciences – 3rd floor, Old Main near room 318Hal and Inge Marcus School of Engineering – Cebula Hall10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Alumni pick-up basketball game – Charneski Recreation CenterHosted by Mary Conley Law, registrar emeritus, take to the courts for a friendly game of hoops with fellow Saints alumni.Noon Saints baseball home opener – Saint Martin’s University baseball fieldIn their first home game of the season, the Saints meet the University of Puget Sound. Come cheer on the team!1 p.m. Coffee with the Monks – Harned Hall loungeRelax and enjoy a cup of coffee with the monks of Saint Martin’s Abbey. Don’t miss out on your chance to catch up with your favorite monk and to meet with new members of the monastic community. Complimentary coffee and snacks. Espresso and smoothie drinks will be available for purchase at the Monk’s Bean café in Harned Hall from 1 – 3 p.m.2 p.m. Benedictine Institute Lecture Series – Cebula Hall, third floor, space is limitedKen Butigan, Ph.D., HS ’72, director of the Pace E Bene Nonviolence Service, will be the second speaker of the Benedictine Institute Lecture Series. Contact Father Marion Nguyen, O.S.B., for more information at 360-412-6155 or fr_mario[email protected]:30 p.m. Hall of Fame / Hall of Honor celebration | $15 per person – Norman Worthington Conference Center. Join us as we honor and celebrate our 2014 inductees!Hall of Honor: Joe Alongi HS ’62 ‘66Hall of Fame: Beth Layton ’06, Brad Hooper, Chris McGeeHigh School Hall of Fame: Dale Behles5:15 p.m. Saints vs. University of Alaska – Hal and Inge Marcus PavilionThe Saints double-header kicks off with the women’s basketball team taking on the University of Alaska Nanooks in GNAC action.6 p.m. Alumni pep rally and reception – Norman Worthington Conference CenterRally around our Saints! Meet new friends, reconnect with old friends and show your support for our men’s and women’s basketball teams. Don’t forget to wear your Saints gear to show off your Saints spirit!7:30 p.m. Saints vs. Central Washington University – Hal and Inge Marcus PavilionCheer on the men’s basketball team against GNAC opponent, the Central Washington University Wildcats, in the second half of the Saints double-header.Sunday, Feb. 911 a.m. Mass – Saint Martin’s Abbey ChurchHomecoming Weekend closes with Mass at the Abbey Church. Come celebrate with us!
You shower, you put on clean clothes, you wash your hands with antibacterial soap, you keep the house spic and span, you work in a clean office – and you set yourself up for disease and depression. That’s what some scientists are proposing with the “hygiene hypothesis.” By depriving yourself of access to your bacterial helpers, you’re living unnaturally. Dr. Charles Raison of Emory University explained the Hygiene Hypothesis in a short video interview on PhysOrg. Earlier studies had implicated allergies and other problems with over-cleanliness, but now he is conducting experiments with the hunch that genetic dispositions to depression are also linked to deprivation of “ancient relationships with microorganisms in soil, food and the gut” that our ancestors had that helped keep inflammation at bay. Science Daily reported on studies at Michigan University that suggested antibacterial soaps can make you sick. Triclosan and BPA could “play a role in changing the micro-organisms to which we are exposed in such a way that our immune system development in childhood is affected.” One of the researchers remarked, “It is possible that a person can be too clean for their own good.” In another article on PhysOrg, Professor Mark Viney at the University of Bristol has conducted experiments with mice to show that the immune system is boosted by life in the wild. And if you can handle the yuck factor of a story on Science Daily, New York University researchers are studying a new treatment for inflammatory bowel disease: “worm therapy.” These articles suggest that we need to reduce our hesitancy to the elements and ecology of the out-of-doors a little, and while not rolling in the mud with pigs, understand that we have a living environment that can do us good. For more on the hygiene hypothesis, see 01/13/2010 bullet 3, 03/09/2008, 04/11/2007, and 08/02/2006. On a different but somewhat related subject, why are African nations so far behind in food production? Don’t they have more exposure to the outdoors and their fellow creatures? Some westerners can only think of malaria, ebola, guinea worms, lion attacks, starvation and other horrific trials the inhabitants of the African continent face in their struggle to survive. But the BBC News reviewed a new book called The New Harvest, by Harvard University professor Calestous Juma, that points the blame on something else: the lack of political will. There would be no need for those endless appeals to feed the starving children; Africa could feed itself in a generation, Juma says, and even export food to other countries. With modern equipment, better roads, crop improvements and other factors, African agriculture could grow like it has in the west, rather than fall, like it has 10% since 1960. What is “needed above all else was the political will at the highest level.”“Political will” is a euphemism for “getting rid of tyrannical, selfish dictators.” Africa has tremendous natural resources, but is held in its grip of poverty by lack of benevolent leadership based on Judeo-Christian principles. Get rid of the Mugabe types and the continent could prosper every bit as much as other countries. Do you get outdoors enough? Take more walks outside. Enjoy the trees, plants, animals more – they are your fellow creatures. Evolutionists explain that we evolved with them, and that’s why we need them; but creationists can better explain that God gave us the ecology we need to be healthy. While it has run amok since the original creation due to judgment on sin, the creation still exhibits God’s sustenance and providence (e.g., Psalm 104). There are still roles for our bacterial travelers, both inside and outside, to give us healthy balance, buffer against stress, and keep our immune systems well trained in the recognition of good and bad agents. We could not even digest our food without their help. Think of how many people for millennia worked closely with the earth, camped out of doors, and got more exercise. We neglect those things at risk of loss of not only good health but good attitudes. Looking at our world as a purposeful creation enhances the experience of connection with nature.(Visited 14 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
27 October 2009An information centre targeting local and international business tourists is to open at Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport next week.The Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency (Mega) plans to use the centre to inform business owners about investment opportunities available in the province.“The purpose of this centre is to collect, consolidate and disseminate business-related information to local and international businesses that come in and out of the province through the airport,” Mega spokesperson Linah Ledwaba said in Nelspruit this week.Maximising potentialLedwaba said an estimated 25 000 people passed through the airport each month, which added up to around 300 000 visitors a year, half of whom were foreigners.Ledwaba said the centre would market Mpumalanga as an investment destination and international trade hub, and would link domestic suppliers, investors and buyers with their international counterparts.The centre is also expected to maximise potential stemming from the 2010 Fifa World Cup, especially because some games will be hosted at the Mbombela Stadium outside Nelspruit.Promoting business activityNational Federated Chamber of Commerce (Nafcoc) provincial CEO Twice Gweu welcomed the opening of the centre, saying that any initiative promoting business activity and the generation of income for aspiring business owners deserved support.He said the chamber would attend the opening, and would also discuss with Mega the possibility of operating similar centres in local municipalities to support small businesses in the province.“Nafcoc has 15 branches across the province,” he said. “Small business owners are free to use our offices, and we are ready to work with Mega to turn those into similar information centres.”Source: BuaNews
Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#e-commerce#Features#NYT#Recommendation Engines#Trends#web A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Open Web: More Data About You, Better PersonalizationAnother aspect of personalization is the increasing prevalence of open data on the Web. A lot of companies make their data available on the Web via APIs, web services, and open data standards. And as we discussed in the first post in this series, much of that data is structured – allowing it to be inter-connected and re-used by third parties.How does open data lead to personalization? Simply put, the more data about you and your social graph that is available to be used by applications, the better targeted the content and/or service will be to you. There are non-trivial privacy issues about this, however the personalization benefits can be significant.There are a whole host of open data standards on the Web now. They include:Data portability – taking your data and friends from one site to another.OpenID – portable identity; single sign-on.OpenSocial – Google initiative for social networks, enabling developers to create widgets with one set of code; MySpace a member, Facebook isn’t.APML – growing ‘Attention’ standard; Your Attention Data is all the information online about what you read, write, share and consume. Recommendation EnginesMany consumer products on the Web aim to recommend you things that you may like. A couple of years ago, Alex Iskold outlined what he saw as the 4 main approaches to recommendations:Personalized recommendation – recommend things based on the individual’s past behaviorSocial recommendation – recommend things based on the past behavior of similar usersItem recommendation – recommend things based on the item itselfA combination of the three approaches above Amazon is probably still the best example of recommendations on the Web, but an example of something new from 2009 was Netflix launching better personalization features in March. They included new taste preferences, allowing users to (for example) choose between movies that are romantic, suspenseful, or dark. Other additions included a personalized homepage and a feature enabling users to mix and match genres.ConclusionPersonalization has shown slow but steady progress in 2009. It hasn’t been as wild a ride as Structured Data or Real-Time Web, but we consider personalization to be a key facet of the evolving Web.ReadWriteWeb’s Top 5 Web Trends of 2009:Structured DataThe Real-Time WebPersonalizationMobile Web & Augmented RealityInternet of ThingsImage credit: davepatten richard macmanus 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market This week ReadWriteWeb is running a series of posts analyzing the five biggest Web trends of 2009. Our first post was about Structured Data, our second about The Real-Time Web. The third part of our series is on Personalization. Personalization has long been a buzzword on the Internet. With the glut of information on the Web circa 2009, personalization in this era means providing effective filters and recommendations. Ultimately personalization is about websites and services giving you what you want, when you want it. That’s the long-standing dream anyway. Let’s see if the products of 2009 are fulfilling it.Editor’s note: This story is part of a series we call Redux, where we’ll re-publish some of our best posts of 2009. As we look back at the year – and ahead to what next year holds – we think these are the stories that deserve a second glance. It’s not just a best-of list, it’s also a collection of posts that examine the fundamental issues that continue to shape the Web. We hope you enjoy reading them again and we look forward to bringing you more Web products and trends analysis in 2010. Happy holidays from Team ReadWriteWeb!All of the trends that we’re profiling overlap. This is particularly so with personalization, as we’ll see.Filtering the Real-Time FirehosePersonalization is often used to provide an organization layer for users on top of real-time data. As Ken Fromm put it in his primer on the Real-Time Web: “The Internet is shifting from discrete units of websites and Web pages to discrete units of information […] organized in ways that are relevant and personal to each individual, using data gleaned from social graphs as well as recommendation and personalization services that allow users to set their preferences.”If you use a dashboard product like TweetDeck, Seesmic or Peoplebrowsr to use Twitter, then you’re able to group people, keywords and topics. This is effectively personalization at work. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…
By Barbara O’NeillAre the children of service members covered by the federal health care law that allows adult children to stay on their parent’s health care plan until age 26?Yes. Congress passed legislation requiring TRICARE, the health insurance program for active and retired service members, to adopt the provision required for health insurance offered by civilian employers to extend health care insurance for young adults until age 26. An annually adjusted fee ($176 or $201 per month in 2012, depending on the type of plan selected) is charged for each young adult covered through a parent’s insurance. Young adult TRICARE premiums are based on recent medical expense data.Browse more military personal finance blog posts and webinars by experts.Follow Dr. O’Neill on Twitter!This post was published on the Military Families Learning Network Blog on May 6, 2013.
Rajiv Gandhi assassination: Explosive revelations from mastermind Sivarasan’s notes of the plot to kill former prime minister
Chinna Santhan an LTTE intelligence operative disguised as a Congress worker, greets Rajiv Gandhi minutes before a human bomb moved in and assassinated him. Santhan is one of the three accused sentenced to death in the case, whose sentence was commuted to life by the Supreme Court.In July 1991, LTTE,Chinna Santhan an LTTE intelligence operative disguised as a Congress worker, greets Rajiv Gandhi minutes before a human bomb moved in and assassinated him. Santhan is one of the three accused sentenced to death in the case, whose sentence was commuted to life by the Supreme Court.In July 1991, LTTE intelligence operative Jayakumar let CBI’s Special Investigation Team in on a secret. The Sri Lankan Tamil, who was a suspect in the May 21, 1991 assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, told CBI’s chief investigator, K. Ragothaman, of a hole in the kitchen floor of a Tiger safe house in Chennai. Jayakumar, one of several men planted in safe houses in Tamil Nadu by LTTE’s intelligence wing in September 1990, didn’t know what was in the hole. But it was clearly very important because Sivarasan, 33, the key suspect, would frequently send him out of the room whenever he used it. The SIT, set up a day after the assassination, descended on the house on 158 Muthamil Nagar, Kodungaiyur, and ripped open the floor.Inside the damp three-foot deep trench, neatly cut under a two foot-by-two foot kitchen tile, was a thick Tamil-English dictionary with a cavity carved inside to conceal a 9 mm pistol. There were also two small pocket diaries, a notebook and a fake glass eye. At first, the tiny pages, scrawled in Tamil and English in Sivarasan’s distinctive forward-slanting running hand, didn’t seem to add up to much. It was a jumble of telephone numbers, addresses, contact persons, aliases, code names and payments.But each of these entries, when carefully analysed and followed up, fitted another piece into the jigsaw puzzle that had initially baffled CBI. The small notebooks were a key to unlock what became possibly the most intricate assassination plot of the 20th century. “The notebooks were our most important seizures. They showed us how Sivarasan was linked to the other co-accused,” says Ragothaman.advertisementSivarasan maintained these tiny notebooks from May 1, 1991, when he landed in Tamil Nadu leading a nine-member hit squad, right until May 23, two days after the assassination when he hid it and fled with his team to Bangalore, where he killed himself to avoid capture.The pages from these diaries have formed crucial court evidence to implicate the accused but have never been revealed before. The diaries were crucial in implicating all the seven persons accused of Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination-Murugan, Santhan, Perarivalan, Nalini, Jayakumar, Ravichandran and Robert Payas-now at the centre of a bitter political stand-off between Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa and the Central Government. On February 24, the Centre moved the Supreme Court against her February 18 decision to set them free. “We will do whatever is necessary legally,” Jayalalithaa said on how she proposed to respond to the Centre’s plea to stall the Rajiv killers’ release. A cryptic promise of a long tussle that will last at least until the Lok Sabha polls in May.Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination on May 21, 1991, on the eve of the Lok Sabha election that he fought with Jayalalithaa as an ally, remains India’s most sensational political murder. The idea was born in the mind of the battle-scarred Tamil Tigers’ leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran, who emerged from the jungles of Sri Lanka in early 1990. Prabhakaran wanted revenge. The Indian Army’s controversial three-year deployment in the island nation to enforce the July 1987 India-Sri Lanka Accord had ended. The Army had fought against LTTE, ironically a group trained by India’s external intelligence agency RAW. The Tamil Tigers had lost hundreds of cadre and Prabhakaran himself had come close to being killed by the Army at least once.Tiger treacheryNow, it was time for vengeance. The prime minister, who Prabhakaran felt had betrayed him, was out of power and hence, at his most vulnerable. Almost straightaway, CBI investigators say, he embarked on his deadly plan. RAW, which still had ties to the Tigers, completely misread this simmering anger within the LTTE leadership.Prabhakaran and his intelligence chief Shanmugalingam Sivashankar, 29, aka ‘Pottu Amman’ identified three women suicide bombers from their Black Tiger suicide squad. They entrusted the plan to Sivarasan aka Pakiachandran. The swarthy, thick-set operative who stood only five feet four inches tall, was fluent in all south Indian languages and had lost his left eye in a 1987 firefight with Sri Lankan army. He had risen rapidly through the Tamil Tigers’ ranks following his June 1990 raid in Chennai to kill Padmanabha, leader of pro-India Tamil group Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front, and 13 of his associates. It was a classic intelligence-led operation where Tiger spies embedded in Chennai had zeroed in on Padmanabha. Now, Sivarasan was to not just steer a suicide bomber towards Rajiv Gandhi but also ensure that the assassination was never traced to the Tamil Tigers. It was what is known in intelligence terms as a ‘plausibly deniable operation’. Like the unsolved 1988 killing of Pakistan’s President Zia-ul-Haq in an airplane explosion, the blast would wipe away every trace of the crime or criminals.The LTTE leadership was alarmed by the Congress manifesto for the 1991 Lok Sabha polls which spoke of its commitment to the 1987 Indo-Sri Lankan accord. Sivarasan and his hit squad landed in Tamil Nadu on May 1, 1991 and almost immediately set to work. Elections had been notified and would begin on May 20.A ‘wedding’ in Tamil NaduadvertisementRajiv Gandhi would almost certainly campaign in Tamil Nadu, where LTTE would strike. Two key people in Sivarasan’s squad were Dhanu, the suicide bomber, and Shubha, a back-up bomber. They were participants in ‘the wedding’, the Tigers’ code for the assassination. Sivarasan used a radio set and coded communications to stay in constant touch with the Tamil Tiger base in the jungles of Sri Lanka. LTTE cadres like Jayakumar and his brother-in-law Robert Payas had already rented homes in and around Chennai. Sivarasan frequently switched homes to avoid detection even as he looked for a chance to strike at the former prime minister. His coded transmissions frequently updated Prabhakaran and Pottu Amman on ‘wedding preparations’. The Tigers smuggled 5 kg gold into Tamil Nadu which Sivarasan sold for Rs 19.36 lakh. This money financed the entire operation: Hotel rent, payments to informants and the hit squad’s travel and living expenses for about two months. Sivarasan noted telephone numbers, reminders for crucial appointments with conspirators and payments made to them. His operatives got their first breakthrough when they gained access to the inner circle of the late Maragatham Chandrasekar, Congress parliamentarian from Sriperumbudur, a Lok Sabha constituency nearly 40 km north of Chennai, and a close family friend of the Gandhi family.The Delhi plotSivarasan also scrawled details of a second plot in his diaries. This was the LTTE’s back-up plan in case his suicide bombers missed Rajiv in Tamil Nadu. On April 28, Athirai, a slim, striking 18-year-old girl with a mop of curly hair, landed at the clandestine Tiger port of Kodiakarai in Tamil Nadu from Jaffna. She was escorted to a safe house in Chennai where she would wait for LTTE to roll out Plan B: To kill Rajiv Gandhi in his own backyard, New Delhi. Athirai had been chosen not for the irony of her LTTE name, Sonia, but apparently for her light skin that would allow her to blend with the crowd in New Delhi. Sivarasan had already recruited Kanagasabapathy, a retired Sri Lankan government servant, for this task. Kanagasabapathy, in his late 70s, was the father of a deceased LTTE commander.Now the most senior member of the plot travelled to Delhi and connected with an LTTE sympathiser associated with a prominent Tamil Nadu politician, MDMK chief Vaiko. The duo located a safe house in the Capital for their mission: House number A 233 in north Moti Bagh. LTTE identified it through a real estate broker in nearby Shanti Niketan. The two-room Central government quarter, illegally sublet by its allottee, offered the perfect cover. It was located in the sprawl of single-storey government accommodation in the heart of the national capital and was just eight km away from Rajiv Gandhi’s 10 Janpath home.Kanagasabapathy paid Rs 5,000 as advance to the broker. “My granddaughter will come and stay here in a few days,” he told the broker. Athirai, he said, wanted to study Hindi and computer applications in the Capital. Though Sivarasan had created a separate hit squad for the Delhi plot, he was confident of assassinating the former prime minister in Tamil Nadu. Pottu Amman favoured Delhi. “Why don’t we try Delhi?” he asked Sivarasan in a coded message in May 1991. “I am confident that I can do it here (in Tamil Nadu),” Sivarasan replied. But Pottu Amman overruled him and insisted he continue with the Delhi operation.advertisementThe Delhi plot was abandoned because the Tamil Tigers were successful in Sriperumbudur. Kanagasabapathy and Athirai were arrested from a hotel in Paharganj in June 1991 as they attempted to flee to Nepal. They were released in 1999 after an eight-year jail term because the Supreme Court did not link them to the Sriperumbudur plot. They migrated to Switzerland.The plot was left unfinished but it told the investigators of LTTE’s fanatical determination to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi. “Once Prabhakaran gave the order to kill Rajiv,” says Ragothaman, “it was difficult for him to escape.”Attack in SriperumbudurOn May 21, the squad boarded a state transport bus to the venue of Rajiv Gandhi’s poll rally and gained access to the lightly-guarded venue. Sivarasan was disguised as a journalist in a white kurta-pyjama and carried a cloth bag over his shoulder and a notepad in his hand. Dhanu wore a loose-fitting green-and-orange salwar kameez. During the hour-long journey to Sriperumbudur, Nalini recoiled in horror when Dhanu asked her to feel what was under her clothes.There were no metal detectors and no frisking at the venue. Nalini was confident, articulate. A postgraduate in English, she worked as the personal assistant of an executive at a private firm in Chennai and had fallen in love with Murugan. She and Subha escorted the human bomb Dhanu.At twenty minutes past 10 p.m., Rajiv Gandhi walked down a red coir carpet laid at the temple grounds at Sriperumbudur. He was exhausted from a hectic campaigning tour across Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. He was welcomed by an enthusiastic crowd of supporters. Among them was Santhan, stubble-faced, in white and sporting Congress’ trademark tricolour around his neck. Dhanu garlanded Rajiv with a sandalwood necklace and bent down as if to touch his feet. She flicked a switch on the right side of her garment to trigger off half-kilo plastic explosives in her bomb jacket. The blast instantly killed Rajiv Gandhi as well as 17 others around him. In the melee, Sivarasan and his hit squad melted away. D.R. Karthikeyan, an IPS officer who led the SIT that eventually solved the case, calls it “cunning in conception, meticulous in planning and ruthless in execution”.A camera and diariesThe assassination would have gone off exactly as it had been planned but for one critical clue: Haribabu’s 35 mm Chinon camera. Haribabu, a photographer hired by Sivarasan, had died in the blast. His last photographs recovered by police revealed Sivarasan and the entire assassination squad. By July 1991, Karthikeyan’s sit had rounded up most of the key suspects. The chase culminated in a single-storeyed house in Konanakunte on the outskirts of Bangalore. It was surrounded but the entire LTTE assassination team killed themselves on August 19.Sivarasan had left his diaries in the Chennai safe house two days after the assassination, taking only the 9 mm pistol. He was confident of returning to reclaim the diaries. With commandos closing in, Sivarasan shot himself in the head with the pistol. The SIT also found a heap of ashes, burnt film negatives and documents. Many of these were step-by-step pictures of Dhanu wearing nothing but her lethal belt bomb. SIT examined 1,044 witnesses, more than 10,000 pages of witness statements, as many as 1,477 documents produced in court as evidence and 1,180 material objects produced in court during the trial which began in January 1994. Among them were Sivarasan’s diaries.Why would LTTE operatives leave behind a wealth of documentary evidence? SIT investigators point at LTTE’s obsessive need for propaganda and documentation of their struggle. It had a well-developed ‘Nitharsanam’ battlefield camera unit that filmed and photographed their cadres in action. “The group kept meticulous accounts of all their financial transactions and used the photographs for motivating their cadres,” Ragothaman says. It was this compulsive need for documentation that would unravel their deadly plot.The assassination also sealed Prabhakaran’s fate. It ended the use of Tamil Nadu as a Tiger sanctuary. In May 2009, LTTE cadres were encircled and its leadership, including Prabhakaran and Pottu Amman, destroyed by the Sri Lankan army. This happened even as India was busy with a Lok Sabha election. The surviving LTTE cadres had mingled among civilian refugees corralled into a shrinking no-fire zone in north-eastern Sri Lanka. Ironically, the fate of Prabhakaran’s surviving foot soldiers is poised to become an issue on the eve of another general election in India.Follow the writer on Twitter @SandeepUnnithanTo read more, get your copy of India Today here.
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