World News India's Chandrayaan-3 attempts first ever south pole Moon landing today (23/08)

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India is hoping to make history on Wednesday by becoming the first nation to land near the Moon's south pole.
One of the mission's major goals is to hunt for water-based ice, which scientists say could support human habitation on the Moon in future.
If Chandrayaan-3 is successful, India will be only the fourth country to have achieved a soft landing on the Moon.

India's attempt comes just days after Russia's Luna-25 crashed while trying to touch down in the same region.

The south pole of the Moon holds special promise in the search for water ice. The surface area that remains in permanent shadow there is huge, and scientists say it means there is a possibility of water in these areas.

The US, the former Soviet Union and China have all achieved a soft landing near the Moon's equator - but none have led successful missions to its south pole.
India's attempt to land its Chandrayaan-2 mission near the south pole in 2019 was unsuccessful - it crashed into the lunar surface.
So all eyes are now on Chandrayaan-3 - its third mission to the little-explored Moon.

The spacecraft with an orbiter, lander and a rover lifted off on 14 July from the Sriharikota space centre in south India.
The lander - called Vikram after Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) founder Vikram Sarabhai - carries within its belly the 26kg rover named Pragyaan, the Sanskrit word for wisdom.

What time will the Chandrayaan-3 lander arrive at the Moon?

  • Chandrayaan-3's lander is scheduled to start its descent at 17:45 India time on Wednesday (13:15 BST)
  • The lander will attempt touchdown at 18:04 local time (13:34 BST)
  • Scientists say the few minutes prior to landing will be the most crucial as the lander attempts to make touchdown on an area that is "very uneven, full of craters and boulders", with some predicting it will be "15 minutes of terror"
  • If the landing is successful, Isro is expected to start releasing images from the lunar surface at a later stage.
Follow live landing HERE, and it's also being broadcasted on TV channel, BBC News.
 
And we are still sending aid money to them
Britain is set to boost aid to India by 70 per cent, it has emerged, just days after the country launched a rocket into space.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), which distributes aid, sent India £33.4 million in aid cash in 2022/23.

But the FCDO’s annual report, published this week, reveals that the total is set to rise to £57 million in 2024/25.

This will be topped up by an as-yet-unknown amount from the business department, which usually gives more than £10 million.

The report also reveals that the department is funding the controversial Great Britain China Centre to the tune of £340,000 a year.

Funding for the centre, which is accused of having close links to the Chinese Communist Party, is set to rise to £350,000 next year.

Details of the huge amount spent on Indian aid come just days after the country launched a spacecraft to the far side of the moon.

Chandrayaan-3 will make India only the fourth country in the world to land an object on the lunar surface.

Critics say it is wrong that Britain is increasing its aid budget to the country when it is wealthy enough to afford its own space programme.

‘Foreign aid debacle’
John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “The foreign aid debacle has been allowed to carry on for far too long.

“Arbitrary spending targets have seen untold millions sent abroad to fund spurious projects in countries with larger economies than our own.

“To create a fairer deal for taxpayers, ministers should scrap the target and make aid available when truly needed.”

The huge increase comes as the UK and India try to reach a trade agreement. Kemi Badenoch, the Business Secretary, has been warned not to give too much away to the country in her eagerness to strike a deal.

In 2012, Pranab Mukherjee, the then finance minister of India, sparked anger when he described British aid money as “peanuts”.

In the same year, the British government pledged to end bilateral aid to India by 2016 as part of a move away from funding middle-income countries.

But despite ministers giving the impression that the country would receive no more money, millions have continued to flow into the country in the form of technical assistance, research grants and investments through the Government body British International Investment (BII).

‘Aid impact score the second-worst available’
Last year the Independent Commission on Aid Impact gave the UK’s India aid programme a score of amber red - the second-worst available.

The £2.3 billion of aid spending between 2016 and 2021 is made up of £441 million in bilateral aid, £1 billion of investments through BII, £129 million in FCDO investments, and £749 million through multilateral channels such as the World Bank.

The report highlighted one of BII’s investments in a midsize Indian bank, which it cannot name.

The investment body gave the bank £160 million between 2014 and 2020 to support microfinance lending - that is, lending to poor customers.

However, BII’s investments were not ring-fenced for microfinance and were instead used to fund the expansion of the bank’s entire business.

By March 2022, microfinance accounted for just 9.8 per cent of loans, and credit cards accounted for 36 per cent of loans.

“This is an example of an investment without a convincing link to poverty reduction,” the report said.
 
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