Iraqi MPs vote to expel U.S. troops

  • The Iraqi Parliament on Sunday called on the government to work to end all foreign troop presence in the country as the backlash grew against the killing of top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi alMuhandis in a U.S. strike in Baghdad.
  • A resolution passed by a special session of Parliament said the government should cancel its request for assistance from a U.S.­led coalition. Parliament resolutions, unlike laws, are non­-binding. But this one is likely to be heeded: Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi had earlier called on Parliament to end foreign troop presence as soon as possible.


Karnataka’s Challakere to be ISRO’s astronaut training hub

  • India’s world-­class facility for training astronauts will come up not in the space headquarters in Bengaluru, nor in any glitzy metropolis. It will be established in three years at Challakere, a shrub- by, arid oil seeds town on the Bengaluru­-Pune NH4 in Chitradurga district of Karnataka.
  • The Indian Space Re- search Organisation (ISRO) has proposed a ₹ 2,700­ crore master plan to create top infrastructure that will house its young Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC).


NAL wants govt. push for Saras takeoff

  • The government needs to be the “launch customer” to make Saras Mk2 commercially viable, the National Aerospace Laboratory (NAL), which has developed the first indigenous light transport aircraft, told the Parliamentary Standing Commit- tee on Science and Technology.
  • The 19­-seater aircraft, developed with a target cost of ₹50 crore, is at least 20-­25 % lower in cost than other air-craft in the similar category.