Prayagraj Gears Up For Kumbh Mela, World’s Largest Religious Festival


Millions of pilgrims will plunge selves into Prayagraj’s icy waters during the first Shahi Snan.

PRAYAGRAJ: 

Pilgrims from across the world are gathering in Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj for the Kumbh Mela, a mix of spirituality, politics and tourism that begins on Tuesday, garnering extra attention ahead of the Lok Sabha elections this year.

During the eight-week festival, authorities expect up to 150 million people, including a million foreign visitors, to bathe at the Sangam, or confluence of the Ganges, the Yamuna, and a mythical third river, the Saraswati.

“Kumbh is a conglomeration of spiritual consciousness and cultural heritage,” Mahesh Sharma, who heads the culture ministry, said in a statement. “We are also showcasing here India’s rich traditions, as visualised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”

On Tuesday, millions of pilgrims led by ash-smeared ascetics will plunge themselves into the icy waters during the first Shahi Snan, or Royal Bath, that begins around 4 am.

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Authorities expect up to 150 million people, including a million foreign visitors, to bathe at the Sangam.

With less than 24 hours until the festival starts, the last of the arriving ascetics paraded towards temporary ashrams built of corrugated steel and canvas on the eastern banks of the Ganges, many decked in fairy lights.

Pilgrims poured in to the site, which is closed to traffic around bathing days, carrying bundles on their heads, while vendors peddled neon balloons and cotton candy, as security men stood guard, with priests and armed police seated side-by-side.

Authorities have set up temporary bridges, 600 mass kitchens and more than 100,000 portable toilets in a pop-up city at the Sangam.

Those with cash can make their pick of luxury campsites on the river banks that offer Ayurvedic spas and yoga that cost up to Rs 32,000 each night.

Most of the pilgrims make do with more modest lodgings, sleeping in vast tents or out in the open.

“I don’t know where I will stay yet, but you do not often get to meet these saints and sadhus,” said Rajendra Singh, a retired soldier now working as a security guard, who rode a bus from Lucknow.

This year’s event comes at a critical time for PM Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), expected to face a tough contest in a general election due to be held by May.

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Most of the pilgrims make do with more modest lodgings, sleeping in vast tents or out in the open.

It lost power in three key states in assembly elections in December, and will want to avoid a similar result during the general election in Uttar Pradesh, a state of 220 million where a good showing can often decide the contest.

This year, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has transformed a smaller Ardh, or “half” Kumbh Mela, into a full version of the festival.

He has also renamed several cities – including Prayagraj, which used to be known as Allahabad until it got its new name in October.

PM Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi are both expected to attend the festival before it wraps up in March.





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World’s Largest Cricket Stadium Is Coming Up In Ahmedabad


The Motera stadium, Ahmedabad is currently being revamped in a bid to make it the world’s largest stadium. In a tweet by Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) Vice-President Parimal Nathwani, the pictures of the stadium under construction were released for the first time. Talking about the “dream project”, Nathwani said that the stadium will be larger than the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). He also said that once the construction of GCA’s dream stadium completes, it will become a matter of pride for the entire nation.

See the first pictures of the world’s largest stadium under construction:

The Motera stadium, before being revamped, had hosted 23 One-Day Internationals (ODIs) till December 2011.

The stadium was also host to some historic events in cricketing history, which includes former Indian cricketer Sunil Gavaskar completing 10,000 runs in Test cricket.

Among other important events, cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar had scored his first Test Match double-hundred against New Zealand in this very stadium.

The Motera stadium was first constructed in the year 1982, with a seating capacity of 49,000. The stadium hosted its first Test in the year 1983, between India and the Windies.

Meanwhile, the MCG currently holds a seating capacity of 90,000. It was established in the year 1853.

India recently won a Test match against Australia by 137 runs, which was hosted at the MCG. The visitors later went on to clinch the Border-Gavaskar series 2-1.





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Tesla Set To Become America’s Largest Premium Automotive Company


Tesla has sold over 90,000 units globally in the final quarter (Q4) of the calendar year 2018 out of which around 13,000 units are estimated to be sold in overseas markets.




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Tesla is targeting to increase the production of the Model 3 to 6000 units per week.

2018 hasn’t been a cakewalk for Tesla and the Electric carmaker has had its share of challenges in the previous year. For instance, the deliveries of Tesla Model 3 were delayed due to sluggish production and the company has also been penalised by SEC over the infamous tweets of its CEO- Elon Musk about taking Tesla private and both Musk and Tesla will have to pay $ 20 million. Despite legal and financial hurdles, Tesla is afoot to become America’s number-one premium automotive company as it has sold more units than most of the other premium carmakers in the States like Lexus, Infiniti and Acura. However, the electric carmaker is still few thousand units behind of Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

Tesla has sold over 90,000 vehicles globally in the last quarter or Q4 of the calendar year 2018 and has witnessed a Quarter-on-Quarter growth of 8 per cent. The company was already at its all-time high in the third quarter and had dispatched 63,150 units of Model 3, 13,500 units of Model S and 14,050 units of Model X. After outperforming other premium carmakers in the US, Tesla is inching closer to the German rivals- Mercedes-Benz and BMW. According to analysts’ reports, BMW has sold 80,000 units in the last quarter of the calendar year 2018 in America while Tesla is estimated to have sold around 77,000 units in America in the same period. Out of its overall sales ticking to over 90,000 units, Tesla is believed to have sold around 13,000 units in other foreign markets such as U.S., Canada, Europe and China.

In 2018, Tesla sold over 245,000 units which constitute of 145,846 units of the Model 3 and 99,394 units of Model S and Model X. The Model 3 is the most affordable Tesla and the company has been witnessing strong demand for it not only in America but also in the global market which is also the reason why Tesla has been trying to increase the production of the Models 3 in a bid to reduce its waiting period. However, once Tesla is able to meet the demand for the product, the gap between the competitors will come really close and there is a good chance that Tesla will outperform every other luxury carmaker in the US to be at the top on the leaderboard.

tesla model y renderTesla Model Y is also in the pipeline.

Tesla has also got some tricks up its sleeve to take on the competition. It has already announced to ramp up the production of the Model 3 to 6000 units a week in a bid to avoid cancellation of bookings due to the long waiting period. The Palo Alto based carmaker has also announced to launch a base and more affordable variant of the Model 3 in America and the Model Y crossover is also in the pipeline. Moreover, it is also planning an all-electric Pick-up truck for America after observing their prominence in the country.

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Moving ahead, the American Electric Vehicle Policy is also becoming favourable for Tesla as the US government has reduced the federal electric-vehicle tax credit from $ 7500 to $ 3750 following which Tesla has announced to reduce the prices across the range by $ 2000. The price reduction has been absorbed partially by the electric carmaker in a bid to make its realizations better along with diluting the cost burden on the customer which in-turn could push its demand. The company will also be able to push the production of the Model 3 by investing the money it will procure through improved margins.

For the latest auto news and reviews, follow CarAndBike on Twitter, Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.





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CES 2019: What to Expect at the World’s Largest Tech Fair


CES is just around the corner and like every year, the tech industry will be present in Las Vegas next week to give us a glimpse at what to expect over the 2019 and in the coming years. Even though the big tech names like Apple, Google, and Samsung prefer to show their wares at the fancy standalone events, CES 2019 won’t be a barren land. The event is expected to be filled with the companies from all sorts of the industries like smartphones, PCs, TVs, drones, telecom, transportation, smart home, and a lot more. CES 2019 opens January 8 and will continue till January 11. The first media events however, will start from Sunday, January 6 itself.

Here’s a quick look at what we are expecting to see at CES 2019.

Smartphones
The big smartphone brands traditionally avoid the CES to focus more on the Mobile World Congress in February and this year is unlikely to be any different. However, we expect to see some quirky devices, niche phones, as well as a few affordable and mid-range phones from the smaller players. Sony particularly has been rumoured to be unveiling the Xperia XA3-series and Xperia L3 phones at its CES event.

Foldable smartphones are also likely to generate some buzz at the event. Pretty much every big smartphone company has been rumoured to be working on a foldable device, however the likelihood of an official announcement is slim. Sony is holding its CES press conference on Monday.

5g 5G  CES 2019

Photo Credit: CES

 

5G
Even though 2019 is the first year that consumers will start getting to experience 5G, the technology will have a significant presence at this year’s CES. Everyone from the chipmakers to device makers to telecom operators are going to showcase their implementations of the technology. There are at least three conference sessions on 5G technologies as well as five major exhibitors that are going to talk about the next-generation network.

We also expect to see implementations of 5G in other industries like auto, PC, home automation, and IoT.

Transportation
Over the last couple of years, CES has become one of those places where automotive industry likes to showcase what they are working on in regard to the future of the industry, like the self-driving tech, transport drones, smart vehicles, electrics cars, and more. This year is expected to be quieter, but we still expect to see a number of things from the industry.

The likes of Yamaha, BMW, Audi, Hyundai, Kia, and Mitsubishi are coming to the expo to show their concept vehicles as well as any crazy things that they are working on.

Among the specific products, Hyundai is bringing a concept vehicle to the CES, which the company claims could not only drive like a car, but also walk and climb. Dubbed as Hyundai Elevate, it doesn’t look like your typical car. Electric vehicle start Byton will also talk a little more about its concept car, whereas Kia wants to talk about the post-autonomous driving era. The company will have a ‘Space of Emotive Driving’ exhibit at the expo, which it claims will showcase the world-first emotional AI-based optimised and interactive in-cabin space centred on human senses. Hyundai is holding its press conference on Monday.

TVs
In terms of the televisions, bigger and better screens is likely to be the mantra of this year’s CES expo. Despite the paucity of 8K content, the 8K TVs will continue to dominate the exhibits from the major television brands. LG has already announced an 8K TV model that the company plans to showcase at the expo, and Samsung can also be expected to showcase 8K models. 4K TVs and lifestyle-focused TVs from the likes of LG, Samsung, Panasonic, and TCL will also make their presence felt – all of these manufacturers are holding press conferences on Monday, and we can expect their announcements then.

As for any major display technology improvements, don’t keep your hopes up, but the software is certainly expected to see some announcements. More TVs are likely to pack support for at least one of the leading voice assistants as well as other smart features.

Virtual assistants
Apart from their presence in the smart televisions that we just mentioned, virtual assistants are expected to show up at all sorts of places during the expo. Both Amazon and Google have reportedly planned big exhibits for the CES. While Amazon will talk about Alexa and its ever-increasing integration in the home appliances and other devices, Google will like to draw the attendees’ attention to the Google Assistant. It is quite possible that we will see some consumer electronics companies announce smart speakers with one or more digital assistants. Samsung is already rumoured to be coming with a smaller version of its Bixby-powered smart speaker and it might show up at the expo.

Smart homes
Connected devices have always been a big part of the CES and this year is not going to be any different. Don’t expect any big announcements though. It is most likely going to be the routine stuff like more refrigerators with smart features, ovens with voice assistant support or some other household appliance that is now connected to the Internet. Expect to see a new generation of products like smart doorbells, smart locks, and smart lights. C by GE has already revealed that its plans to triple its smart home products and will be showing them off at CES. Additionally, Whirlpool has stated that it is integrating Wear OS by Google in its ovens, washers and dryers and this is just one part of their CES smart home announcements.

cr CES 2019  VR

Photo Credit: CES

 

AR/ VR
Virtual reality devices used to be a staple of CES for many years but there is no longer the case. The consumers are still waiting for a truly mobile affordable VR product and until that happens, the segment is unlikely to generate any serious buzz. So, we are not expecting any major VR-related announcements this year, but like the last year, HTC will be present at the expo as the token major VR company to announce something new. The company has teased a new product for the event, however it is unclear what exactly we are going to see.

AR, on the other hand, is likely to have a comparably bigger presence at the trade fair. We are hoping to see interesting AR applications and new hardware.

AMD, Intel, and Nvidia
Although we have no confirmations on any actual products, the chip giants like AMD, Intel and Nvidia are expected to have a decent presence at CES 2019. The other big chipmaker Qualcomm has already shown most of its new tech at its own Snapdragon Tech Summit last month, but is also holding an event on Monday that may contain a few announcements.

It is rumoured that Nvidia may unveil the GeForce RTX-graphics for laptops at its event on Sunday. On the other hand, AMD is said to be bringing the Ryzen 3000-series with a new 16-core Ryzen 9 CPU. Also, Dr. Lisa Su, AMD President and CEO, is making a keynote speech on Wednesday, which would be a good place to reveal the company’s some of the major upcoming products. Lastly, Intel is not expected to make a big splash, but may have one or two announcements up its sleeves on Monday or Tuesday.

We needn’t remind you that Gadgets 360 will be present at CES to bring you all the details right from Las Vegas. You can follow along with our continuing coverage of the event at CES Hub.


We discussed 5G, 8K TVs, Keyboards for Xbox One, and everything else you can expect to see at CES 2019 on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.





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Ebola is the second largest epidemic of all time – World Health Organization


जोहान्सबर्ग : विश्व स्वास्थ्य संगठन का कहना है कि कांगो में फैली इबोला बीमारी अब तक के इतिहास में दूसरी सबसे बड़ी महामारी है. कुछ साल पहले फैली ये महामारी पश्चिमी अफ्रीका में हजारों लोगों की जान ले चुकी है.

426 पहुंची मामलों की संख्या
विश्व स्वास्थ्य संगठन के आपातकालीन मामलों के प्रमुख डॉ. पीटर सलामा ने गुरुवार को इसे मुश्किल की घड़ी बताया. कांगो के स्वास्थ्य मंत्रालय के मुताबिक इबोला के मामलों की संख्या 426 पहुंच गई है. इनमें 379 मामलों की पुष्टि कर दी गई है जबकि 47 लोगों के इसकी चपेट में आने का संदेह है. 

रोकथाम के लिए संयुक्त राष्ट्र मिशन कर रहा काम 
विद्रोही समूहों के हमले और स्थानीय लोगों के विरोध के चलते स्वास्थ्य कार्यकर्ताओं को इबोला से निपटने के लिए अब तक की गंभीर चुनौतियों का सामना करना पड़ रहा है. इबोला की रोकथाम के लिए कई कोशिशों को संयुक्त राष्ट्र शांति मिशन के साथ अंजाम दिया जा रहा है, लेकिन रोजाना होती गोलीबारी से इन प्रयासों में बाधा उत्पन्न हो रही है. 

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क्या है इबोला के लक्ष्ण
इबोला एक संक्रामक और घातक बीमारी है जो विषाणु के जरिए फैलती है. तेज बुखार और गंभीर आंतरिक रक्तस्राव इस बीमारी के प्रमुख लक्षण हैं. यह इबोला से संक्रमित व्यक्ति के संपर्क में आने से फैलता है. संक्रमित व्यक्ति के कपड़े, थूक, लार आदि से यह बीमारी तेजी से फैलती है.

क्या करें, क्या ना करें…
इबालो के लक्ष्ण जैसे कि सिरदर्द, बुखार, दर्द, डायरिया, आंखों में जलन और/अथवा उल्‍टी की शिकायत हो तो तुरंत डॉक्टरों की सलाह लेनी चाहिए. विशेषज्ञों का मानना है कि इबालो का सही समय पर पता चलने पर और मरीज को उपचार मिलने पर इसे जड़ से खत्म किया जा सकता है. अगर आपके परिवार में किसी शख्स को यह बीमारी हो जाती है तो उससे थोड़ी सी दूरी बनाकर ही रखिए. जहां तक संभव हो मुंह पर मास्क, हाथों में दस्ताने पहनने के बाद ही मरीज के पास जाएं.





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Gas Could Overtake Coal As Second Largest Energy Source By 2030: Study


US would account for 40 percent of total gas production growth to 2025, IEA said.

London: 

Natural gas is expected to overtake coal as the world’s second largest energy source after oil by 2030 due to a drive to cut air pollution and the rise in liquefied natural gas (LNG) use, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Tuesday.

The Paris-based IEA said in its World Energy Outlook 2018 that energy demand would grow by more than a quarter between 2017 and 2040 assuming more efficient use of energy – but would rise by twice that much without such improvements.

Global gas demand would increase by 1.6 percent a year to 2040 and would be 45 percent higher by then than today, it said.

The estimates are based on the IEA’s “New Policies Scenario” that takes into account legislation and policies to reduce emissions and fight climate change. They also assume more energy efficiencies in fuel use, buildings and other factors.

“Natural gas is the fastest growing fossil fuel in the New Policies Scenario, overtaking coal by 2030 to become the second-largest source of energy after oil,” the report said.

China, already the world’s biggest oil and coal importer, would soon become the largest importer of gas and net imports would approach the level of the European Union by 2040, the IEA said.

According to Reuters calculations, based on China’s General Administration of Customs data, China has already overtaken Japan as the world’s top natural gas importer.

Although China is the world’s third-biggest user of natural gas behind the United States and Russia, it has to import about 40 percent of its needs as local production cannot keep pace.

Emerging economies in Asia would account for about half of total global gas demand growth and their share of LNG imports would double to 60 percent by 2040, the IEA report said.

“Although talk of a global gas market similar to that of oil is premature, LNG trade has expanded substantially in volume since 2010 and has reached previously isolated markets,” it said.

LNG involves cooling gas to a liquid so it can transported by ship.

The United States would account for 40 percent of total gas production growth to 2025, the IEA said, while other sources would take over as U.S. shale gas output flattened and other nations started turning to unconventional methods of gas production, such as hydraulic fracturing or fracking.

Global electricity demand will grow 2.1 percent a year, mostly driven by rising use in developing economies. Electricity will account for a quarter of energy used by end users such as consumers and industry by 2040, it said.

Coal and renewables will swap their positions in the power generation mix. The share of coal is forecast to fall from about 40 percent today to a quarter in 2040 while renewables would grow to just over 40 percent from a quarter now.

Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions will continue to grow at a slow but steady pace to 2040. From 2017 levels, the IEA said CO2 emissions would rise by 10 percent to 36 gigatonnes in 2040, mostly driven by growth in oil and gas.

This trajectory was “far out of step” with what scientific knowledge says would be required to tackle climate change, the report said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)





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World’s largest Mosaic: This Mumbai artist shows his love for Kohli by making his portrait with diyas


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Plans For World’s Largest Ocean Sanctuary In Antarctic Blocked


Antarctica is home to penguins, seals, toothfish, whales and krill, a staple food for many species.(File)

Sydney: 

A plan to create the world’s largest marine sanctuary in Antarctic waters was shot down when a key conservation summit failed to reach a consensus, with environmentalists on Saturday decrying a lack of scientific foresight.

Member states of the organisation tasked with overseeing the sustainable exploitation of the Southern Ocean failed at an annual meeting Friday to agree over the a 1.8 million square kilometre (1.1 million square miles) maritime protection zone.

The proposed sanctuary — some five times the size of Germany — would ban fishing in a vast area in the Weddell sea, protecting key species including seals, penguins and whales.

Consensus is needed from all 24 members of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) and the European Union.

But environmental groups say Russia and China — whose concerns over compliance issues and fishing rights have proved key stumbling blocks in the past — along with Norway, played a part in rejecting the plan.

“This was an historic opportunity to create the largest protected area on Earth in the Antarctic: safeguarding wildlife, tackling climate change and improving the health of our global oceans,” Greenpeace’s Frida Bengtsson said in a statement on Saturday.

“Twenty-two delegations came here to negotiate in good faith but, instead, serious scientific proposals for urgent marine protection were derailed by interventions which barely engaged with the science and made a mockery of any pretence of real deliberation.”

Antarctica is home to penguins, seals, toothfish, whales and huge numbers of krill, a staple food for many species.

They are considered critical for scientists to study how marine ecosystems function and to understand the impacts of climate change on the ocean.

Plans were set out in 2009 to establish a series of marine protected area (MPAs) in the Southern Ocean allowing marine life to migrate between areas for breeding and foraging, but it has been slow going.

The CCAMLR summit, held in each year in Hobart, Australia, was able in 2016 to establish a massive US and New Zealand-backed MPA around the Ross Sea covering an area roughly the size of Britain, Germany and France combined.

As well as the huge Weddell Sea sanctuary, proposals to estbalish two further MPAs in East Antarctica and the Western Antarctic Peninsula were also dashed this year. Together, the three zones would cover close to three million square kilometres.

Andrea Kavanagh, head of The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Antarctic and Southern Ocean work, described the failure to achieve an MPA designation as “discouraging”.

“Without an East Antarctic MPA, critical foraging grounds for emperor and Adelie penguins, toothfish, and many other species will not be safeguarded,” she said in a statement.

The CCAMLR released a statement saying the new MPAs were the “su

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)





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India Will Become Fifth Largest Economy In 2019


Arun Jaitley said Aadhaar, which was criticised by the opposition, has actually helped the government

New Delhi: 

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday said India would become the world’s fifth largest economy in 2019 and among the top three in the coming years.

Speaking at the ‘Support and Outreach Initiative for the MSME sector’ event in New Delhi, the minister said since the Narendra Modi-led government took over about four years ago, India has moved from the ninth to sixth position in the global economic landscape.

“Next year, India will become the fifth largest economy,” he said, adding hopefully in the coming years the country would be among the top three economies of the world.

India emerged as the world’s sixth largest economy in 2017, surpassing France, and is likely to go past the United Kingdom, which is at the fifth position, according to an analysis of data compiled by the World Bank.

In 2017, India became the sixth largest economy with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of USD 2.59 trillion, relegating France to the seventh position.

The United Kingdom, which is facing Brexit blues, had a GDP of USD 2.62 trillion, which is about USD 25 billion more than that of India, the data showed.

The US is the world’s largest economy with a size of USD 19.39 trillion, followed by China (USD 12.23 trillion). Japan (USD 4.87 trillion) and Germany (USD 3.67 trillion) are at the third and fourth places, respectively.

Referring to India’s significant jump in the World Bank’s ease of doing business index, Mr Jaitley said it has improved 65 notches to the 77th position during the four years of the NDA government.

He said the Prime Minister has set a target of taking India among the top 50 nations in the World Bank’s ease of doing business ranking.

“We are very near the target,”Mr  Jaitley said, as he criticised the Congress-led UPA government for “policy paralysis” and “corruption”, which discouraged domestic as well as foreign investors.

He said during the last five years of the UPA government, inflation averaged around 10.4 per cent, whereas all economic parameters are now stable.

Mr Jaitley further said that Aadhaar, which was criticised by the opposition, has actually helped the government in saving Rs 90,000 crore annually, which is enough to fund four schemes like Ayushman Bharat.

The minister also said the MSME sector has benefited from implementation of GST, under which taxes were reduced on 334 items in the first year of its rollout.





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Explosion And Fire Reported At Canada’s Largest Oil Refinery


The company confirmed on Twitter that a “major incident” occurred at the refinery.

Montreal: 

An explosion and fire ripped through Canada’s largest refinery Monday in what the company that owns it called a “major incident.”

It was not known if there were casualties from the blast and fire at the Irving Oil refinery in St. John’s, New Brunswick.

Images posted on social media networks showed intermittent flames and a column of black smoke rising from the refinery, the country’s largest with a production capacity of 300,00 barrels of refined products a day.

Rob Beebe, who lives near the refinery, told Radio Canada he felt his house shake, followed by a blast.

The company confirmed on Twitter that a “major incident” occurred at the refinery.

“We are actively assessing the situation at this time and will share more information when available,” it said.





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