Posts Tagged ‘The NamoLeague Times’

WikiLeaks has been firing up popular imagination by suggesting that the round-the-corner leaks will have serious consequences on the world. Its strategy is to get and post on the Internet, secret documents flying out of the wraps of Governments and businesses.

WikiLeaks is a website that is used for publishing sensitive documents and news. It established an editorial policy that accepted only documents that were ‘of political, diplomatic, historical or ethical interest’. The website run by The Sunshine Press, was launched in 2006. It is a non-profit media organization that works with the objective of publishing submissions of otherwise unavailable documents from anonymous news sources and leaks. The idea was relatively simple: given the viral nature of the Internet – and the ease of duplicating digital documents – once secret information was published, it could never become secret again.

WikiLeaks describes itself as “an uncensorable system for untraceable mass document leaking”.

A very common misconception prevails: Wikipedia and WikiLeaks are affiliated to each other. But this is NOT the case. These are two different entities that share the same ‘wiki’ prefix. Wiki is the abbreviation of WikiWikiWeb, which was the first wiki software. It’s actually a Hawaiian word that means “fast.” As a noun, wiki means a collaborative website that can be directly edited using only a web browser.

Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia editable by any user. Whereas, WikiLeaks was formerly a wiki, but and has turned into a more traditional website. Also, wiki is a generic word that anyone can use; it is not a brand name.

The domain name was registered on October 4, 2006. The website was unveiled, and published its first document in December 2006. The site claims to have been “founded by Chinese dissidents, journalists, mathematicians and start-up company technologists, from the US, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa”.
WikiLeaks has been in the eye of the storm due to the controversial nature of content published by it. They really do not have any permanent website due to a number of denial-of-service attacks and its division from different Domain Name System (DNS) providers. Formerly, the website was

It was launched as a user-editable wiki site, where any person can submit sensitive data without the fear of being tracked by Government agencies or organizations. However, a team of reviewers – volunteers from the mainstream press, journalists and WikiLeaks staff – decides what is published.

The creators of WikiLeaks have not been formally identified. It has been represented in public since January 2007 by Julian Assange and others. He has been called “the Robin Hood of hacking.” As the founder and public face of WikiLeaks, Julian Paul Assange is best known as the spokesperson and editor-in-chief for the whistleblower website. He is an Australian journalist, publisher and internet activist.

Assange was reportedly born in 1971 in the city of Townsville, northeastern Australia. When he turned 16, he began hacking computers, reportedly assuming the name Mendax – from the Latin splendid mendax, or “nobly untruthful.”

Before working with the website, Assange was a physics and mathematics student as well as a computer programmer. He has lived in several countries and has told reporters he is constantly on the move. He makes irregular public appearances to speak about freedom of the press, censorship, and investigative journalism.

The soft-spoken Assange is almost as opaque as the website he edits. He declines to release personal details and leads a somewhat nomadic lifestyle.
And the information war continues. The super power US v/s the whistleblower WikiLeaks is the biggest cyber war the world has witnessed.

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The Constitution of India claims India to be a sovereign state. It propagates the people of India to be the supreme authority. In simple terms, it means a State’s powers to take decisions without any influence, control or interference from any other power, both, internal and external. It, however, does not mean that the State’s decisions are not affected by events in the international politics, decisions made by people or groups, suggestions or advice given by people, leaders or organizations.

Basically, a sovereign state is one that governs itself independent of any foreign power. To live in such a state of freedom does not though imply that such a state would have no political or economic ties with any other countries. Sovereignty is the power of a state to do everything necessary to govern itself, such as making, executing, and applying laws; imposing and collecting taxes; making war and peace; and forming treaties or engaging in commerce with foreign nations.

Sovereignty, though its meanings have varied across history, also has a core meaning, supreme authority within a territory. The state is the political institution in which sovereignty is embodied. An assemblage of states forms a sovereign states system.

When analyzed, sovereignty is naturally divided into three great powers; namely, the legislative, the executive, and the judiciary; the first is the power to make new laws, and to correct and cancel the old; the second is the power to execute the laws both at home and abroad; and the last is the power to apply the laws to particular facts; to judge the disputes which arise among the citizens, and to punish the crimes.

By sovereignty in its largest sense is meant supreme, absolute, uncontrollable power, the absolute right to govern. And as per the clear declaration of the Indian Constitution, the ultimate sovereigns in India are its people.

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To celebrate the 5th anniversary of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005, the Ahmedabad-based Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel (MAGP) announced its plans to pioneer an effort to protect RTI applicants against any perceived or real threat. It added a service in its ‘whistleblower’ helpline for the RTI users.

The MAGP helplines: +919924085000 and 07926821553 (fax) will now take details of the applications, nature of threats and addresses from such applicants and forward them, along with a complaint, to the concerned Police Station, the Superintendent of Police, the District Collector and the State Information Commission.

MAGP Coordinator, Pankti Jog, expressed her concern over the activists being threatened and harassed in Gujarat. She said that the move is partly due to the murder of seven RTI activists across the country. Also, RTI users have to face oppositions from both the Government departments and anti-social elements that go to any extent to force applicants to withdraw their applications. Another concern is the limited awareness among the rural areas of Gujarat about RTI.

The helpline was launched on 11th May, 2006 and has not stopped ringing since then! Till date, it claims to have received 58,307 calls from both within and outside Gujarat. MAGP claimed that 75% of these calls were made by citizens, a little less than a quarter by Government officials, PIOs (11%), retired Government officers curious about their retirement dues (7%), deemed PIOs (5%) and other Government officers (2%). The statistics also mention that information on land entitlements contributed to the maximum (14%) of the calls, followed by retirement dues (10%) and development work (8%).The helpline was flooded with calls on the financial and performance details of trusts and NGOs.

This move is commendable as RTI in Gujarat is being strangled deliberately and getting weaker at various levels of governance.

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Abbas Tyabji with Gandhiji

A very unique example of voluntary riches to rags – Abbas Tyabji was a nationalist and an Indian freedom fighter from Gujarat.

Born in Baroda before the Indian Revolt of 1857, Tyabji was a Sulaimani Bohra Muslim and the grandson of the Merchant Prince Mullah Tyab Ali Bhai Mian. He was an England-educated barrister, brought up in an atmosphere covered with loyalty to the Empire. He lived in England for eleven years and then moved on to the princely state of Baroda to become the Chief Justice of the (Baroda) Gujarat High Court.

During those days, Tyabji was seen as a model of Britishness, leading a Western lifestyle and wearing impeccably tailored English suits. Though a nationalist at heart, he would not stand adverse criticism of the British as people, or of the Raj. His moderate but simmering nationalism and his absolute integrity and fairness as a judge were widely recognized and lauded.

Tyabji’s life changed when he chaired an independent fact finding committee of the Congress to look into the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre. He decided to leave behind all the comforts when he was in his late 60s – a time when people usually take a backseat. He dumped his ‘British lifestyle’ and plunged himself whole heartedly into the freedom struggle. His first hand experience of the British atrocities committed by General Reginald Dyer turned him to become an ardent follower of Gandhiji.

Tyabji’s changed lifestyle included burning his English clothes and adopting Khadi as his clothing. He travelled around the country in third class railway carriages, stayed in simple dharamshalas and ashrams, slept on the ground and walked miles to preach non-violent disobedience against the British Indian government. He continued this new lifestyle well past the age of seventy, including several years in British jails.

Abbas Tyabji was also a key ally of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel during the 1918 Kheda Satyagraha, and the 1928 Bardoli Satyagraha. In the hot summer of 1928, when Tyabji was nearing 80, he went around Gujarat’s villages in a bullock cart popularizing “the livery of freedom”. After these, in early 1930, the Indian National Congress declared Purna Swaraj or independence from the British Raj. As a first act of civil disobedience, Gandhiji launched the well-known Salt Satyagraha. Tyabji was then chosen as the immediate successor in case of Gandhiji’s arrest. On May 4, 1930, after the Salt March to Dandi, Gandhiji was arrested and Tyabji was placed in charge of the next phase of the Salt Satyagraha. On May 7, 1930, Tyabji led the Dharasana Satyagraha with Gandhiji’s wife, Kasturba by his side. This was a raid on the Dharasana Salt Works in Gujarat. On May 12, before reaching Dharasana, Tyabji and 58 Satyagrahis were arrested by the British. After Tyabji, Sarojini Naidu was appointed the leader of the Satyagraha.

Tyabji’s was a household name in the 1930s. One popular slogan then went like this: “Khara rupaiya chandi ka/ Raj Tayab-Gandhi ka”. Tyabji had an affectionate relationship with Gandhiji and they exchanged an unending stream of letters. The ‘ever-smiling’ Tyabji kept poor health in the later years. Advised to spend more time in the hills, he moved to a cottage, ‘Southwood’, in Mussoorie, where he died in the night of June 9-10, 1936. After his death, Gandhiji wrote an article in the Harijan newspaper titled “G. O. M. of Gujarat” (Grand Old Man of Gujarat), including the following praise for Tyabji: “At his age and for one who had never known hardships of life it was no joke to suffer imprisonments. But his faith conquered every obstacle. He was a rare servant of humanity. He was a servant of India because he was a servant of humanity. He believed in God as Daridranarayana. He believed that God was to be found in the humblest cottages and among the depressed of the earth. Abbas Mian is not dead, though his body rests in the grave. His life is an inspiration for us all.”

With the polarization between the communities growing at a fast rate in our country, the common heritage of the legacy of people like Abbas Tyabji seems to have no place in our memories.

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Coalition Government is a cabinet of a Parliamentary Government in which several parties cooperate. They are usually formed as no party can individually achieve a majority in the parliament. However, a Coalition Government may also be created during the times of national difficulty or crisis. For e.g. during wartime, high level of political authority is desired and also there cannot be any room for internal political discord. So, in such times, examples of parties having formed all-party coalitions are observed.

To deal with a situation in which no clear majorities appear through general elections, parties either form coalition cabinets, supported by a parliamentary majority, or minority cabinets which may consist of one or more parties. Generally, the majority based coalitions as well as majority Governments are more stable and long lived. Coalition cabinets are common in countries in which a parliament is proportionally representative, with several organized political parties represented.

India has had coalition governments at the Centre as well as in individual states since the last two decades. Due to the diversity in India, the benefit that a coalition has is that it leads to more agreement based politics and reflects the popular opinion of the electorate. The current UPA-Left arrangement had been formed after parliamentary elections in 2004. It consists of 13 separate parties. Though they have main adversaries in three states, this Government was still a stable one till Left withdrew support on matters of nuclear deal.

If a coalition collapses, a confidence vote is held or a motion of no confidence is taken.

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The official website of the Delhi Commonwealth Games, 2010 ( was targeted heavily by the cyber attackers. There were around 5,000 such attacks in a period of 12 days and 1,000 out of them were potential attacks – this comes to more than three cyber attacks every hour. All the six networks running for CWG games were attacked. But India backed itself with a strong cyber security command room. There was a 3 layer security set up to stop any cyber attack on official site of CWG 2010.

The experts of the Cyber Crisis Management Group (CMG) did a commendable job and monitored the website networks round the clock. They mentioned that roughly three-fourths of these attempts to breach and paralyze the Games networks originated from China. Whereas, a group of attacks that took place between 3 and 5 October originated in Pakistan. Some attempts to penetrate CWG circuits were made from Mumbai as well, top sources in the CMG said.

The CMG, which operated from an out-of-bounds Cyber Command Centre set up on the seventh floor of the Games Organizing Committee (OC) headquarters, included cyber experts from the intelligence agencies, Delhi Police and the Government of India’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In). The credit for the success in cyber security also goes to team work of ECIL (Electronics Corporation of India Ltd), NTRO (National Technical Research Organization) and IB, as well to vendors like MTNL, and TCIL (Telecommunications Consultants India Ltd).

The six networks, including those of Games data, security, venues, Internet services and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL), were linked to the Command Centre, which constantly monitored over 3,000 computers, 3,000 CCTVs and 1,800 network switches. Special software detected and mapped all “deviant behavior” on logs. The intensity of the attacks was so high that many times a day, the log files were checked.

The computer networks that were targeted included the ticketing, entry checking etc. Many of the attacks were ‘denial-of-service’ attacks which, if successful, would jam entire networks. Also, if the computerized system for entry at the CWG venues would have broken down, it would have put the entire event in danger. But, fortunately none of these attacks could even clear the first layer of the security check.

India boasts as the cyber security initiative proved to be a huge success. It would also serve as a model which can be replicated in major national networks, and used for cyber security in critical sectors such as railways, aviation and telecommunications.

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The project that was put on back foot due to the priority given to Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) has now gained momentum. The go-getting Ahemdabad Metro Project will be on the fast track as the first phase is believed to start from the next year. However, it will take 2-3 years for the line to get operational.

It all started when Ahmedabad had proposed to build five metro corridors spread over 219 km. The Gujarat Infrastructure Development Board (GIDB) had prepared a DPR (Detailed Project Report) to identify the solutions for the Urban Transport problems in the city. The project report was initiated by GIDB through Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES) & DMRC (Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd.) in 2003. It was submitted in June, 2005 with cost estimates worked out to be Rs 4,925 crore (Rs 49.25 billion). But, it was decided not to go ahead with Metro Rail project to give priority to the BRTS and Regional Rail System Projects.

Ahemdabad was developing at a fast pace, but it lacked a credible public transport system in the beginning of 2001, when local city bus service was in awful straits. Following this, the BRTS project was implemented that got thumbs up from the public. Further, considering the developments in and around the city, it was decided to go ahead with the Metro Rail Project in 2008.

The state government plans to set up a Rs. 200 crore company for the execution of the project. The company is likely to be named the MetroLink Express for Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad (MEGA). “A company has been set up for undertaking the metro project, MetroLink Express Ahmedabad Gandhinagar and a newly appointed Managing Director would join later this month. Work on the first phase of the project would start in the middle of 2011,” said GIDB Chief Executive Officer, A K Sharma.

The 1100 crore first phase of the metro rail project will cover a distance of 32.65 km in the north-south direction between Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad and 10.90 km east-west corridor between Kalupur and Thaltej. Also, in Phase I, the state government has planned to connect the airport and the Gift city with the metro rail network. The details of the second phase are not worked out yet, but it is believed to connect Ahmedabad with Dholera, the site of a Special Investment Region. This will add another 125 km to the north-south line. Ahmedabad has already got the BRTS, and with the Metro Rail on the anvil, the mass transport system will surely get a further boost.

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“After ten years of hard work, this time the four main constituencies of the state – the minorities, women, tribals and poor, have voted for us in this election,” Narendra Modi was quoted as saying after the landslide victory in the Gujarat Elections 2010. Addressing jubilant BJP supporters who had gathered outside the State party headquarters, Modi said it was a victory of developmental politics and heralds the end of ‘vote bank’ politics pursued by the Congress.

The Modi Government was busy celebrating its urban sweep, when other reasons for celebrations came up. BJP won at all the 6 major municipal corporations viz. Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Rajkot, Surat, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar. Victory seemed to be in the air as the party also clean swept in the local body elections. The series of BJP’s victories this year began with the party wresting the hitherto Congress stronghold of Kathlal Assembly seat in a by-election.

Overwhelmed with this victory, LK Advani posted his feelings on his blog: “I do not recall the election result of civic bodies in any state causing such a political upheaval as has occurred in Gujarat. The BJP had made a clean sweep in the first round elections to the six Municipal Corporations and won all the six Corporations handsomely. In the second round too, which covered partly urban, but predominantly a rural population, BJP had the upper hand. The BJP had hoped to win these elections. But I must admit that the results have surpassed all our expectations. This time’s outcome is not just a defeat; it is a decimation of the Congress in Gujarat. New Delhi would do well to understand that such results do not indicate just a preference for some party, they are pointers also to the electorate’s passionate rage against some party.”

Amidst tight securities, the vote counting took place for 24 districts, 208 talukas and 53 municipalities of Gujarat. And the results came as an icing on the cake for Narendra Modi, as he had personally led the promotion campaigns of BJP. In the final tally, out of the 24 district panchayats the BJP won clear majority in 21 with Congress got majority in Gandhinagar and Tapi. The district panchayats of Bharuch got a hung verdict.

Out of the 208 taluka panchayats, results of 157 were declared, in which BJP has own 122, Congress 20 and Janta Dal(U) 2, while in the 3 taluka panchayats the verdict was hung.

In the 53 municipalities’ elections, the BJP has won 42 seats while the Congress and others had to be satisfied with four seats respectively. In Porbandar and Botad, both the BJP and Congress won 21 seats each out of the total 42 seats.

As the Congress slipped to perhaps its worst ever showing, state party president Siddhartha Patel sent his resignation to party Chief Sonia Gandhi, accepting moral responsibility for the dismal results. The Gujarat Congress Legislature Party leader Shaktisinh Gohil also sent in his resignation to Gandhi, accepting joint responsibility for the party’s poor performance.

The polls had high stakes for the main parties of the state. The result has come as a major boost to Modi and his party, which is looking at this elections keeping in mind the December 2012 polls. The main twist in the voting pattern was that a large group of tribals and minorities voted for BJP, unlike expectations. BJP won in places such as tribal district Dangs and Anand in central Gujarat, which were Congress strongholds. The party also won in other tribal dominated districts such as Narmada, Dahod, Panchamahal and Sabarkantha.

“This is the first election in which 100 Muslim candidates of the BJP have emerged victorious. This makes it clear that in the country, Muslims and Christians have realized that vote-bank politics have so far not benefited them,” Modi said in his victory speech. He said the image that BJP is pro-rich and an urban party would be dispelled with today’s victory.

This indigestible victory was blamed by Congress as they alleged that the EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines) used in Gujarat Elections were tampered with. Adding fuel to the controversy, even the Election Commission stated that the EVMs were not provided by them, but procured by the State itself. ”After being totally wiped out in the civic body elections as well as panchayat polls in Gujarat, the Congress is now trying to put the blame on EVM. Instead of blaming the EVMs the Congress should really find out why the people did not vote for them,” BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said, justifying the stand of BJP.

Those in the know of politics are wondering at the enormity of the Congress’s loss, considering that these results are worse than even those at the polls that followed the 2002 Hindutva wave. The Saffron Party has emerged a clear winner and most of the ‘Political Pundits’ remain astonished with the drastic change in the voting pattern and preferences of the people. This indeed, can be called a turning point in India’s political history.

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How do you define the term ‘Infrastructure Development’?
Infrastructure is actually the key element of development. It has a large connotation that includes urban planning as one of its element. Roads, water supply, solid waste management are some of the major issues of infrastructure development. However, ports, airports, highways, industries etc. are other mega issues related to the term. We can say that infrastructure is directly proportional to development, better the infrastructure, more the development in any said state. India is growing at a fast rate due to its manpower, but to sustain this growth, we will need better infrastructure.

What are the main elements that support the overall infrastructure development?
For any city, roads, water supply, electricity and solid waste management are the most important elements. However, landscaping is the decorative element of infrastructure development. The other essentials like the trees, footpaths and cleanliness are the areas where we highly lag behind. Probably this is the only difference between the developing and the developed countries. We need to learn the management skills of the public land and other properties and change the mindsets of the people on a larger scale.

How does CEPT play its part?
CEPT is basically an educational institute. So, due to the need of the hour, we offer various educational programs in the fields related to infrastructure. This includes transportation, industrial development, urban planning etc. In addition to this, CEPT has been declared the ‘Anchor Institute’ in the field of infrastructure. It’s a three tier process, funded by the Government of Gujarat. We identify nodal institutes and the availability of manpower. The teachers of various colleges are trained. Also, uneducated people who wish to work in the field of construction are trained for their livelihood. Because, after all, without them infrastructure cannot be possible. It is believed that in future 70% of the manpower will be absorbed in the field of infrastructure. There are tie-ups with NGOs and also foreign universities for the sharing of knowhow.

What are your views on the heritage of Ahmedabad and Gujarat as a whole?
Ahmedabad itself is a huge heritage. Talking about Gujarat, its heritage and climate are very much similar to that of Rajasthan. But the economy of Gujarat is related to trade and commerce. While that of Rajasthan and places like Kerala are tourism oriented. I strongly believe that heritage and tourism go hand-in-hand. If we have a grand legacy and heritage, but there is no one to appreciate and admire, it does not make sense. Gujarat emphasizes on trade more and so tourism is sidelined. People too, are not much bothered; they travel to almost entire India and even abroad but do not care to see their own Gujarat.

Do you think that restoration damages the originality of the heritage?
Restoration has a set guideline and standard procedures. Unless and until, those are not followed, one cannot even touch the monuments. Also, it is a matter of pride that India is an expert on the world level in this field. Countries like China and Bhutan depend on the Indian experts for the restoration of their heritage. However, the problem here too, is the limited availability of resources and the available resources are being pulled in every possible direction. The economy is growing and gradually importance is being given to culture and heritage.

What are the trends coming up in the field of infrastructure?
Public-Private partnership is the recent trend. Initially, the Governmental budget was not enough to cater to all the necessary developments. The need was much more than the supply. Also, people believed that since they have gained independence, they need to pay taxes and tolls for the public services that they use. On the other hand, private parties have huge funds. So the Government shifted from ‘Control’ to ‘Encouragement’ and joined hands with the private players.

How do you foresee Gujarat in 2020?
Gujarat will be termed as an Urban State by 2020. It has already achieved the status of 35-40% of its people living in the urban areas. This is the ‘Urban Age’ wherein most of the parts of the world have more than 50% of its population living in the urban areas.
Gujarat is a progressive state. It will have enough of land and power, but water supply can be an issue to be tackled in 2020. Also, instead of focusing on the industrial development, Gujarat will move to the next phase that will involve IT and other trade related services.

(Prof. Utpal Sharma, Dean, Faculty of Planning & Public Policy, CEPT University)

Neutrino lab site

India’s Department of Atomic Energy has been given clearance to build a multi-million dollar underground facility to study particles called neutrinos. The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has given the consent to set up a neutrino observatory in Bodi West Hills reserved forest in Theni district in south Tamil Nadu. The thick layer of over 1,000m rocks will act as a natural filter allowing only the neutrino particles to reach the laboratory. A site located in Nilgiri Hills at Singara in southern India was originally chosen for the project, but did not get clearance after some protests and due to the danger to the local elephants and tigers.

India’s particle physicists are rejoicing as they have cleared a major hurdle for their project called the Indian Neutrino Observatory (INO). This is one of the biggest and most ambitious scientific projects ever undertaken by India and it could help gain a leading role in the field of particle research. According to Naba K Mondal, INO spokesman and a scientist with TIFR, India will be the fourth country to execute such a massive project after Canada, Japan and Italy. “We expect to begin construction for this project by March 2012 after clearance from the Atomic Energy Commission and the central cabinet,” he said.
The INO project, entailing the study of neutrinos or sub-atomic particles present in the atmosphere, will be executed by the Mumbai-based Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) and 20 other scientific institutions in the country. A massive detector made of iron, weighing 51 kilotons, will be used to detect neutrinos. The lab will be housed in a cavern built at a depth of one km from the surface, at the end of a two-km long tunnel. It is expected to be completed by 2015 at a cost of Rs 1,200 crore.

However, the MoEF approval is subject to conditions. The project should neither encourage cutting down of trees nor cause any damage to the forest cover. The MoEF has also insisted on measures to minimize the effect of tunneling to create an underground lab that would be located 1,000 meters below the surface and to properly dispose of the rock debris resulting from it.

The project will enhance the understanding of the universe and the Earth’s structure, as well as the volcanic activity and how tsunamis are formed. Also, when completed, this project is believed to house the world’s most massive magnet.

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