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SAFARI MAGAZINE | ENGLISH EDITION

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Issue no. 96 | November 2020

Cover story

Nanda Devi Mystery
Where in the Himalayas is the missing radioactive ‘time bomb’ ticking?

For once, minds of the USA’s CIA and India’s IB converged and both joined hands to plant spying devices on Nanda Devi’s peak to monitor China’s nuclear tests.

After the first nuclear test by communist China in 1964, India and the USA undertook a joint mission to plant sensitive spying equipment atop Nanda Devi in the Himalayas. The aim was to monitor the energy yield of subsequent nuclear tests. As it happened, before the equipment could be placed on the peak, the power unit, a mini nuclear reactor, containing radioactive plutonium-238 slided into the valley. Fifty five years on, its whereabouts are still a mystery. Nanda Devi, 1,032 metre shorter than the Mount Everest of Garhwal Himalayas was believed to be the tallest mountain in the world until 1856. For the second time, this snow-capped mountain is centre of debate caused by a mystery. Earlier, it made headlines and a heated debate in our Parliament in 1978. An American magazine named Outside had lifted the shroud covering a secret Indo-American spy mission in a sensational revelation, sending shock waves across the diplomatic circles.

More interesting articles

Cone shells that fire venomous harpoon to kill

Years ago, a small group of men on the coral reef off Queensland, Australia, were looking for suitable material to photograph when they came upon the octopus. It was not too big, as such animals go—its tentacles were only 23 cm long. They captured it and dumped it into an enameled pail of seawater, where it swam about casually as if it had not been unduly disturbed. But now the question arose as to a suitable victim for their captive, for they thought that the attack of an octopus on its prey would make a fine motion picture.

Hero of Alexandria: The gadget wizard of ancient Greece

Ever heard about this man—Hero of Alexandria? Know who he was and what he was known for? It is possible that even his name may sound unfamiliar and therefore one may not have the faintest idea about his fabulous and famous inventions. Some of the inventions were so full of suspense that if magicians like David Copperfield or P. C. Sorcar were to present one of them on stage the audience would mistake it as pure magic. So don’t get the feeling that your G.K. is poor just because you have never read or heard about the works of Hero of Alexandria.

Tailor-made dogs: Bearing the burden of being man’s best friend

There is an oft-repeated idiom in English that ‘dog bites man is no news but man bites dog is.’ The reason for quoting this hackneyed usage is that the dogs of a cross-breed named ‘pit bull’ have proved it wrong. They are increasingly making news headlines in the USA by attacking human beings without provocation. They have become a subject of controversy because various cities have started outlawing pit bulls as domestic pets whereas many dog-lover Americans are vehemently protesting against this law.

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