The Curious Case of the Imploding Windows

first_imgIn 2008, a Dutchman named L. Korn found himself in Toronto buying windows for a house he was building back in the Netherlands. Unavailable at the time in Europe, the quad-pane insulated glass he wanted could be ordered from a Canadian manufacturer, and Korn was ready to do business. Korn placed an order for 193 insulated glass units — just the glass, no frames — with Eco Insulating Glass Inc. of Mississauga, Ontario in April 2009. The $40,400 order went to a warehouse in New York and from there was shipped by sea to his house in the Netherlands. Carpenters inserted the glass into frames that had been made in Guatemala and installed them. The krypton-filled insulated glass units (IGUs) consisted of two sheets of glass and two sheets of Heat Mirror film. The high-performance windows were part of Korn’s plan to use only the best green building materials he could find in the construction of his 3,000-square-foot, €1.2 million home. He also bought one spare unit and stored it in a garage, just in case something happened to one of the windows in the house.RELATED ARTICLESAdvances in WindowsAre High-Performance Windows Worth Their High Cost?Installing High-Performance WindowsAll About Glazing OptionsWindow Reflections Can Melt Vinyl Siding And by 2016, something did start to happen to the windows in his house. They began imploding. “The first IGs imploded in 2016,” Korn said in an email. “It made a big bang. I had no idea what happened. I reported the problem to Eco Insulating Glass on 29 November 2016.” Now, two years later, a total of nine windows have imploded. The manufacturer blames the problem on Korn’s decision to glue wood grilles on the outside faces of the glass and has voided its warranty. An engineer hired by Korn says the practice is common in Europe and that a manufacturing defect, not the grilles, is the most likely reason that the glass panels are failing. In the meantime, Korn is left with a number of shattered windows and a €135,000 estimate to replace them. The problem is not unknown Insulated glass units consist of two or more panes of glass, with the sealed space between them typically filled with gas, often argon or krypton. After the units are manufactured, the outer panes of glass are susceptible to some distortion as temperature and air pressure change, says Dutch engineer Walter Frank Westgeest. The phenomenon is well known in the glass industry, but it rarely results in a problem. “Yes, I’ve seen many glass panes that are curved by air pressure differences or other causes, but it hardly ever results in breaking,” Westgeest said in a telephone call. “If you look at buildings, you can see all kinds of curvature in the glass panes, especially with a certain ratio of length and width.” An exasperated Korn hired Westgeest to find out what happened after an extended exchange of emails with the manufacturer got him nowhere. Westgeest, who works for the Dutch firm Bouwkans, is a building scientist who spent 10 years working solely for a glass consultancy. In a report on Korn’s windows last year, Westgeest said that all of the IGs he inspected, except for one, appeared to be concave, with interior panes always distorted more than the exterior pane of glass. The wood window grilles that had been glued onto the glass were often detached, meaning they had pulled away from the glass and could no longer impede movement. Westgeest said that he measured distortion with a straight ruler and a sliding gauge. The distortion ranged from 2mm to 8 mm (0.06 inch to 0.31 inch) on the inside pane, and from 1 mm to 4 mm (0.03 inch to 0.157 inch) on the outside pane. The uninstalled spare unit also showed an inward distortion: 3.8 mm (0.149 inch) on the inside pane. Why do glass surfaces deflect? Westgeest cites three reasons why insulated glass units become concave or convex in shape: The gas content inside the IG is constant, but the ambient air pressure where the window is installed varies. The IGU is convex at low ambient air pressure and concave at high ambient air pressure. He describes this as a “dynamic process whereby the IGU will eventually return to its original flat shape …” It is not, he adds, enough to break glass panes, but the effect is magnified when the unit was manufactured under air pressure conditions significantly different than where the windows are put into service. Sealants and spacers are designed to contain the gas inside the IGU, but the gas can still leak out. Argon and krypton have a tendency to move from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration, and materials used for sealant barriers let some molecules go through more easily than others. Krypton and argon can get out, but larger oxygen and nitrogen molecules in the atmosphere can’t get in to replace it. Westgeest calls this a “molecular sieve.” In time, the sealed space inside the window is at a much lower pressure than ambient air pressure. A dessicant is placed inside the sealed space to absorb moisture, but when a dessicant with the wrong specifications is used, gases like argon, krypon and nitroten are absorbed instead. “Because these gases are the main content of these IGUs, the absorption or ‘disappearance’ leads to a lower pressure in the unit, which will lead to concave shaping of the IGU,” his report says. Westgeest said the insulated glass industry has, in time, learned to cope with these problems and that reports of glass failure now are unusual. For example, IGUs can be subjected to big differences in air pressure when they are shipped from a low-altitude manufacturing plant to a house high in the Swiss Alps. Manufacturers counter the problem by inserting very small tubes that vent the interior of the window and let excess pressure escape. When the windows arrive at their destination, the tubes are sealed. Westgeest believes that either a faulty dessicant or a faulty sealant is to blame for Korn’s window problems. “I can’t imagine anything else,” he said. “That’s the only thing I can really think of. It can be worsened by transport, but I don’t think that’s the primary cause.” In the U.S. early IGU makers learned to tweak the internal pressure of the windows so they wouldn’t rupture on the trip from a manufacturing site in the Denver area (elevation of 5,000 feet) to the Houston area, one expert who didn’t want to be quoted by name told GBA. Early on, windows failed. Then manufacturers learned how to adjust. These days, failures on the scale of Korn’s experience are rare indeed. The manufacturer blames the applied grilles Glenn MacEachern, vice president for sales at Eco Glass,  believes the problem with Korn’s windows stems from the decision to glue wood grilles to the outside of the glass, not a manufacturing defect. That was the basis of a letter from Eco attorney Stephen Walters to Korn last year in which the company disavowed any responsibility for the breakage. Walters said the 20-year warranty on the window units excludes “glass breakage from any cause” and exempts units that have been retrofitted with “any type of solar film or tinted film or any other added covering to the original glass surface.” “We have inspected the unit you shipped to Eco for review and note that your complaint is in respect of the breakage of the glass and that, in addition, the glass had an added covering to the original glass surface,” Walters wrote. “As such, the products supplied are exempted from any warranty coverage. The glass breakage is excluded from coverage, and the glass was covered with a non-factory covering and excluded from coverage.” Bottom line: “Eco has no obligation pursuant to the warranty or otherwise to replace the glass.” In a telephone call, MacEachern said the grilles could interfere with the “pumping action” that any IGU undergoes with changes in ambient air pressure. “It’s a violation of the warranty,” he said. “A unit has to be able to change with changing environmental conditions.” He said he suspects Eco’s warranty is no different on that point than a “vast majority” of IGU manufacturers. Moreover, Eco has not had any other complaints of this kind in the more than 30 years it’s been making IGUs with the Heat Mirror film developed by Southwall Technologies. “If this problem were going to be across the board, we would have had a similar situation exist in production other than Mr. Korn’s,” he said. “This one example is the only one that we’re aware of … If there’s a problem with our production methodology then why is it just this one specific job? That’s it. I’ve not seen it anywhere else.” The privately held company manufacturers IGUs, but not finished windows, for the North American market. MacEachern declined to be specific about production volume or sales. A long string of emails goes nowhere Korn has posted his tale of woe online, including a series of email exchanges with MacEachern, another Eco Glass executive named Jim Larkin, and officials at Eastern Chemical, which owns the Heat Mirror technology. The emails trace Korn’s repeated requests for an explanation and help, from the early days following the initial implosion in 2016 through his frustrated accusation last month that Eco Glass was refusing to take responsibility for its production errors and didn’t seem to care about damaging its reputation. Eco at first seemed eager to help. In January 2017, MacEachern wrote that he was trying to find an engineer in Europe who could help assess the problem. He offered possible causes for the breakage — the frames around the units were too tight, or the sealant on the window edges was not sufficiently protected from UV light. “Please rest assured that we are working diligently to address your situation,” he said in an email. In a followup email in April 2017, MacEachern told Korn that he was waiting to hear from Eco’s gas supplier as well as suppliers of polyurethane and silicone, who might also have some ideas. “I’ve always been a proponent in assessing the root cause for failures so that we simply do not repeat the problem again for you,” MacEachern said. “I want to get to the bottom of things and correct the situation.” But as time went on, the correspondence became less cordial. By last month, Eastman was asking to be dropped from any further inquiries, and Eco made it clear it was at the end of its efforts to help. “The bottom line here is that Eco Insulating Glass Inc. simply cannot be responsible for the mishandling or misuse of our product after delivery,” Larkin wrote. Next steps uncertain Korn, 56, said he originally found Eco through a Google search. No one in Europe was using Heat Mirror film at the time, so he piggybacked a visit to the Eco factory with a family trip. The visit went well. “It was all OK,” he said, “they’re not a big company.” Separately, Korn had selected a Guatemalan firm at a building fair to manufacture the frames. He also visited that company before placing his order. The window frames were shipped separately to Holland where they were married up with the glass from Canada and installed in the house. The windows were installed without incident, and it wasn’t until 2014 that someone pointed out to Korn that one of the windows seemed to have a concave shape. The following year, the first of the windows imploded, he said in a telephone call, but the window was in a room that didn’t get much use and he put the problem out of mind. But the following year, two others went and Korn’s concerns grew. At Eco’s request, Korn removed a damaged window and sent it to the company for testing.  On the advice of his engineer, he declined to send Eco the only uninstalled unit he had. But, Korn says, he never was told what the tests revealed. Eco’s did not follow through on its initial offer to find an engineering firm in Europe to look into the problem, and the company did not comment on the results of Westgeest’s €1,200 report, he said. In short, Korn doesn’t seem to have much leverage with Eco, and not much of a way forward without hiring a lawyer, a move he recognizes as an expensive next step. “If you start talking to a lawyer, the first thing he says is, ‘Well, send me 10,000 Euros and I’ll have a look into it.’ That’s the first thing they say,” Korn said. “… I’m looking into it but first I want to try if I could convince Eco Glass to handle this in a normal way. “They have tried to get around it, and of course that has made me very upset and angry,” he continued. He hopes the website he has created will prompt others who have experienced the same problem to step forward, but so far none has. “I have no idea,” he said when asked what he will do next. “I’m just waiting and hoping.”last_img read more

Letting Go Of Superkids

first_imgMy friend’s daughter, a sixth grader, came home, at the end of her school year, with a straight A report card. “Did the FAME results come out?” her mother inquired, “Who won the first prize?”The girl looked down and mumbled the name of the winner. She had tried hard, spent many nights on her essay, but had failed to “win.”“Oh,” said, her mother, looking disappointed. Somehow, I had the feeling that the excellent report card was a bare minimum expectation. The real unasked question was, “What else do you excel at?”Many times, I’ve done the same thing — greeted my son’s attempts with regret or disappointment, simply because he didn’t “win.” But watching someone else gave me a new perspective. High expectations from parents are nothing new to me. After all, I’m Indian. I was expected to work hard in school and get good grades, period. No excuses. But that expectation seems to pale in comparison to what the current generation of Indian American kids goes through. It’s not just about academics anymore. Every child is expected to be highly talented, nothing short of a prodigy.We see Superkids all around us. And as parents, we start to worry if we’re not on this bandwagon. We relentlessly seek membership in the Superkid club, pushing our kids to achieve. If our sons and daughters are not chess champions or tennis aces, we can’t look people in the eye.Who are these Superkids, you wonder? You see them everywhere, but you may not spot them. On the surface, they look like, well, kids. Their lives however, are anything but kid-like. They work longer and harder than the average adult. They compete in Math Olympiads and take advanced piano lessons. They play soccer in the fall, and learn web design in the summer. And in between, they work hard to move up through the zillion belts in Taekwando.This is not to say that it’s all bad. You can’t contain real talent, or mask true genius. There will always be kids who were born to do calculus in the 5th grade or play the violin like a pro at 8. And they have our admiration, no doubt. But what about the rest of us?What if our children do not want to learn piano, let alone excel at it? What good can come from forcibly turning them into maestros? Will they derive any pleasure from it?What if a child’s talents lie elsewhere? What if she was meant to help animals or fly airplanes or save rainforests? This part of her will never be discovered. She will never get a chance to find out who she is, or what she loves to do.There’s my son’s friend who sometimes comes over to play table tennis in our garage. As they play, I can hear them talking and laughing about books they’ve read, people they’ve met. I can tell he’s a bright kid. But somehow, Math does not seem to be his forte. “You need to work harder,” his mom pesters him, “look at Abhay, I barely ever see him come out. He gets a perfect 600 on his Star testing!”This boy doesn’t talk back, but I can see his expression, “Yes I suck at Math.”But what if he were to change that over time to “Yes I suck (in general)?”Why do we parents do this to our kids? We love them, that’s for sure. But somehow, somewhere, we’ve managed to shut down our antennae to their signals.These children have already altered their goals in life. To them, the goal is to make others happy; it’s no longer about discovering how they can make a unique contribution to the world. What if our children were taught to enjoy their hobbies, rather than work at them, what if they are encouraged to explore their interests, rather than being handed them down? Imagine their life, if they succeed at what they choose to do because they enjoy it. This success will give them confidence, which in turn breeds more success.Every kid can be a super kid and achieve her potential, once she knows what motivates her. But as a parent, you need to give her a chance to find out.My son came home very excited one day and announced that he had to pick a planet for his science project. “Go with Venus!” I suggested.“Why?” he asked.“Because it’s so interesting. It’s about the same size as Earth, but has a very hostile environment. Sulphuric acid clouds, extreme pressure and temperatures, extreme greenhouse effect…..”“I want to do Pluto,” he said sullenly.“But we know the least about Pluto. And some scientists don’t even consider it a planet.”“That’s why I want to do it. We know very little about it. It’s the most mysterious one.”“But it may be hard to get a good grade, if you don’t have enough material …..”He began to walk away, with his head down, his shoulders drooping.I reluctantly let him choose Pluto. It wasn’t easy for me. I’m always telling him what he needs to do. He was so excited about it. He worked hard on it, needed no reminders, and when he finally presented, he did so with passion, confidence, and style. I even learnt a thing or two about Pluto.Recently I found him browsing in the library. To my surprise, he was reading a book about Venus. “Mom, isn’t it funny that Venus is the Roman Goddess of love? And it is the brightest and most beautiful object in the night sky …. and yet, this is in sharp contrast to its harsh environment?”“Yes, that’s true!” I said, delighted at his observation.He was opening up to my ideas, because I had opened up to his!It was the right thing to do — letting him choose — even if I haven’t always done it. I’m still learning.   Related Itemslast_img read more

Jhansi youth death: Conflicting accounts on encounter add doubt to police version

first_imgWhile the family of Jhansi resident Pushpendra Yadav have alleged that he was killed in a staged encounter, the police version has come under further scrutiny after conflicting statements issued by two district police officers.According to the statement by Jhansi SSP Om Prakash Singh on the night of the incident, the Station House Officer of Moth, Dharmendra Singh Chauhan, was returning to Jhansi from Kanpur in his private car on October 5 after a two-day leave, when he received a call from a local resident, purportedly Pushpendra Yadav. The person on the other end of the phone asked Mr. Chauhan to meet him at an intersection, the SSP said. Mr. Chauhan was “alone” and in plainclothes, the SSP said, adding that as soon as the SHO stopped his car and rolled down the window to look around, the accused fired at him.The SHO’s description of the incident, however, does not tally with the SSP’s statement. Talking to the media from his hospital bed, where he is recovering from injuries allegedly suffered during the encounter, Mr. Chauhan said he had gone out from his police station to patrol and check duty on the night of the incident. He said he was accompanied by a constable, Saurabh, and both of them were in a private car. “At the Bamrauli intersection around 9 p.m., a person waved (at us) and I stopped the car. He came close and pulled out his country pistol and fired,” said Mr. Chauhan, not mentioning any phone call.When asked whether he was returning from his leave, as stated by the SSP, the SHO said he had returned from leave the same day and gone out for patrol. The SHO claimed the accused shot and fled with his mobile phone and vehicle.Meanwhile, amid questions over the authenticity of the encounter, the police released a list of crimes attributed to Pushpendra Yadav to establish his criminal record as an alleged mining mafia member. However, all the five cases listed by the police related to inter-personal disputes, village-level offences or prohibitory action to prevent law and order disturbances. All cases pertain to 2014 and 2015.The charges against Pushpendra Yadav included enticing or taking away or detaining with criminal intent a married woman, criminal intimidation, voluntarily causing hurt and verbal threats. The police also claimed that Pushpendra Yadav’s truck was fined twice in 2018 for illegal mining. It was served a fresh challan on September 29 and seized.Pushpendra Yadav’s body was cremated by police on October 7 night after his family refused to take his body till a murder case is lodged against the police officer who shot him. The family accused the police of cold-blooded murder. His brother, Rabindra Yadav, a CISF jawan, claimed Pushpendra Yadav did not have any criminal record and never owned any weapon.Pushpendra Yadav’s wife Shivangi on October 9 alleged that her husband was killed because he had threatened to expose the local SHO for demanding bribe from him in return for promising to free his seized truck. She said her husband had already paid the police ₹1.5 lakh but they were harassing him for more. Pushpendra Yadav had threatened to make the recordingss of their bribe dealing to go “viral”, she said. “If he was at fault, you could have summoned him or taken him to jail. The police had his phone number,” she said.Ms. Shivangi Yadav further said that if her husband had shot the SHO and escaped with his car, as claimed by police, he would have been shot in the back and not in the head. “They caught hold of him and killed him,” she alleged.Akhilesh demands high-level probeSamajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, after meeting the family of the deceased, said a probe monitored by a sitting High Court judge would bring out the facts, as he questioned the police version. “This is not an encounter. The police committed a murder,” Mr. Akhilesh Yadav said.“No one believes the police story. Nobody is satisfied with the story and sequence of events narrated by the Jhansi Police administration,” he said.The SP chief also demanded that a murder case be lodged against the SHO, as demanded by the family. “You can estimate how big the conspiracy is when all officials and the government come together to save the station officer,” Mr. Akhilesh told reporters in Jhansi.last_img read more

Yuvraj Singh in Parliament to invite PM Modi for his wedding: Has he managed to withdraw Rs 2.5 lakh?

first_imgIndia’s 2011 World Cup hero Yuvraj Singh, who is set to marry fiancee and Bollywood actress Hazel Keech, reached Parliament today to invite Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other ministers for his wedding scheduled to be held on November 29-30.Yuvraj and Hazel got engaged in a low-key affair in Bali, Indonesia earlier this year. But according to reports, the star cricketer has planned a grand wedding, wherein all the who’s who from the field of Bollywood, sports and politics are expected to be in attendance. (Watch: Harbhajan Singh shows how he wants to dance at Yuvraj Singh’s wedding)Delhi: Cricketer Yuvraj Singh reached Parliament to meet PM Narendra Modi pic.twitter.com/cVj1LYXthS ANI (@ANI_news) November 24, 2016Yuvraj last played for India in the ICC World T20 held at home earlier this year.The 34-year-old has also been part of India’s title-winning campaigns in the 2007 ICC World T20, where he famously hit England’s Stuart Broad for six sixes in an over. The dashing all-rounder then played a stellar role in the 2011 World Cup, where he was adjudged the Man of the Series as India lifted the Cup for the second time.The Punjab southpaw is a champion in his own right, having fought and defeated cancer. He inspired a whole generation of youngsters by making a comeback to international cricket after a battle with the deadly disease.However, the important question is whether Yuvraj has been able to withdraw Rs 2.5 lakh from the bank for his wedding. The Government of India, in its demonetisation move, has placed a daily cap on withdrawals from ATMS and banks. Only those getting married can withdraw up to Rs. 2.5 lakh.advertisementYuvraj is soon set to join the league of married Indian cricket stars. The likes of Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh and Rohit Sharma tied the knots with their respective partners pretty recently.last_img read more

Bigs wins for Bengaluru, Puducherry in Hockey Nationals

first_imgImphal, Jan 8 (PTI) Bengaluru Hockey Association and Hockey Puducherry registered emphatic 15-0 and 13-1 wins respectively on the second day of the 8th Senior Mens National Championship here today.Central Secretariat, Chhattisgarh Hockey also won their matches.In the opening match of the day, Central Secretariat registered their second victory in as many days as they beat Assam Hockey 3-1 in a Pool A match.It was a closely fought first quarter of the match but Central Secretariat struck twice in the second quarter and then once again in the third to take a 3-0 lead.Assam Hockey, on the other hand, tried their best to make a comeback but were only rewarded with a consolation goal towards the end of the third quarter as captain Harvir Singh struck in the 44th minute.The match ended 3-1 in Central Secretariats favour with Dharambir Yadav (20), Thimmanna S. Puliyanda (27) and Shankar Patil (43) getting on the score sheet.In the following Pool C match, Chhattisgarh Hockey came back from a goal down to secure a 4-2 victory over Sashastra Seema Bal.In a Pool E encounter, Hockey Puducherry outclassed Goans Hockey 13-1. Hockey Puducherry scored early in the 2nd minute but their lead was cut short as Goans Hockey equalised two minutes later to make it 1-1. However, Hockey Puducherry showed their class from thereon as they scored 12 more goals to put Goans Hockeys defence through the mill in the latter three quarters of the match. Ayyaz Khan (4) scored for Goans Hockey while Hockey Puducherry scored through captain N Sellamuthu (9, 17, 44, 52, 57), R Ranjith (2, 5, 28, 29), T Arunkumar (28, 41, 53) and A Tamilarasan (33).advertisementIn another Pool E match, Bengaluru Hockey Association produced an emphatic display to defeat Hockey Bihar 15-0. HT Ramesh (5, 53, 55, 57, 59), Stalin Abhilash C. (27, 29, 39, 56), Manikanth Bejawad (12, 41, 48) and N Honnur Swamy (13, 22, 37) scored for Bengaluru Hockey Association.In the sub-junior nationals in Hojai, Assam, Hockey Rajasthan beat The Mumbai Hockey Association Ltd 2-0 in a Pool A clash.In another Pool A clash, Telangana Hockey lost 1-4 to Hockey Madhya Pradesh. In a Pool D match, Sports Authority of Gujarat ? Hockey Academy beat Hockey Gujarat 6-1. PTI AH AHlast_img read more

Macron, Trump in show of unity after row over Europe’s defence

first_imgParis, Nov 10 (AFP) US President Donald Trump and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron sought Saturday to ease tensions caused by a defence row that risked clouding World War I centenary commemorations in Paris.Trump was one of dozens of world leaders taking part in events to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the war.On Saturday, he and his wife Melania cancelled a trip to Belleau Wood battlefield and cemetery in northern France, citing “scheduling and logistical difficulties” caused by the rainy weather.Coming on the eve of Veteran’s Day in the United States, the decision drew criticism on social media, where many noted that the rain had not stopped Macron, Germany’s Angela Merkel or Canada’s Justin Trudeau from paying their respects to the dead.”They died with their face to the foe and that pathetic inadequate @realDonaldTrump couldn’t even defy the weather to pay his respects to The Fallen,” Nicholas Soames, a British Conservative member of parliament and grandson of Winston Churchill tweeted.Ceremonies have been held across the world this week in honour of the 18 million soldiers and civilians who perished in World War I.In one of the high points, Macron and Chancellor Merkel on Saturday unveiled a plaque to the Franco-German reconciliation in the forest clearing in northeast France where the armistice ending the conflict was signed.Macron, a centrist advocate of open borders and multilateralism, has repeatedly invoked the war in recent weeks to hammer home his message that rising nationalism is again destabilising the world.advertisementHe will host Trump, Merkel, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau, among others, for dinner at Orsay Museum on Sunday evening.On Sunday morning, they will be joined by President Vladimir Putin of Russia for the main ceremony at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Paris, which will draw in 70 world leaders.On Saturday, Macron and Trump downplayed their divisions after a tumultuous start to the weekend, which saw Trump fire off a tweet slamming Macron’s proposals for a European army just as his plane was touching down in Paris.The spat was the latest between Trump and Macron, who struck up a warm relationship initially but have clashed over a growing list of issues, including Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the 2015 Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal.”President Macron of France has just suggested that Europe build its own military in order to protect itself from the US, China and Russia,” the US president tweeted, referring to remarks made by Macron in an interview three days earlier.”Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of NATO, which the US subsidizes greatly!” he added.In the interview, Macron had cited Trump’s plans to pull the US out of a Cold War-era nuclear treaty and said a joint European Union force was needed to end Europe’s reliance on US military might.”We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States,” he said, listing various threats including cyberattacks.During talks later at the Elysee Palace Macron said his call for greater European autonomy on defence was not intended as a snub towards the US and backed Trump’s calls for EU members to boost their defence spending.”We need a much better burden-sharing within NATO,” he said, patting his counterpart’s knee affectionately.Trump described himself and Macron as “very good friends” and expressed support for “a strong Europe”.The US leader has however ducked out of a peace conference Sunday in Paris, which Macron and Merkel intend to use as a platform for promoting multilateralism.The WWI commemorations come at a watershed moment for the liberal post-war order, with anti-immigration populists at the helm in the US and Brazil, sharing power in Italy, and making strong gains in Germany, where Merkel has announced her resignation in 2021 after a series of electoral setbacks.On Saturday, she visited the site of Germany’s capitulation at the end of the World War I, the first German leader to do in 78 years.The forest in Compiegne is doubly symbolic as Adolf Hitler chose the same train carriage in the same clearing to sign the surrender of the French on June 22, 1940 at the start of World War II.Macron, sporting a cornflower in his lapel — the French equivalent to Britain’s remembrance poppy — and Merkel reviewed grey-clad soldiers from the Franco-German brigade, before unveiling a plaque to Franco-German reconciliation.They also visited a replica of the carriage which was destroyed during World War II.advertisementThe visit underscored the close ties between two countries that fought three wars between 1870 and 1945 but are now seen as the lynchpins of peace in Western Europe. AFP NSANSAlast_img read more

Tarakeswar tense after National Flag found lying on the ground

first_imgKolkata: Trinamool Congress leaders from Hooghly’s Tarakeswar alleged that BJP-backed goons have dislodged the National Flag from the top of a Panchayat office and dumped it on the ground.Trinamool Congress district leaders also alleged that some goons put up a BJP flag on top of the Panchayat office. The district BJP leaders have, however, denied the allegation saying that it was a handiwork of the Trinamool Congress workers instead. The BJP leaders also said that they never dumped the Tricolour. Also Read – City bids adieu to Goddess DurgaThe incident has triggered tension in the area. It was said that Naita Malpaharpur Gram Panchayat, run by Trinamool Congress, had the National Flag on the top of the building. In order to capture the Gram Panchayat the BJP leaders are carrying out hooliganism, alleged the Trinamool Congress leaders. Some local residents spotted the National Flag lying on the ground on Sunday morning. After being informed, police reached the spot and brought the situation under control. The district police have started a detailed probe into the incident. The police officers have assured that stern action will be taken against those who will be found responsible for the incident.last_img read more