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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Polish state archive releases secret file on Lech Walesa

February 22, 2016

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — An informant codenamed "Bolek" provided information on the views and actions of his colleagues at the Gdansk shipyard to Poland's communist-era secret police, according to documents released Monday that purport to show that national hero Lech Walesa collaborated with the regime in the 1970s.

Photocopies of the documents, from the secret police's file on Walesa, were released by the state National Remembrance Institute. They include details of the information that Bolek provided, receipts for money signed by him, and finally his discharge from collaboration when he was no longer considered a valuable source.

Walesa, 72, the founder of the pro-democracy Solidarity movement that eventually helped topple communism, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Poland's first popularly elected president, claimed Monday that the documents were forged.

The papers include a one-page handwritten note declaring readiness to provide information to the secret police, signed by hand with the name Lech Walesa and the codename "Bolek." "I commit myself to cooperate with the secret police in exposing and fighting the enemies of the PRL (Polish People's Republic)," the document said, using the official name of Poland during the communist era. It was dated Dec. 21, 1970, a time when Walesa was a leader of worker protests at the shipyard in Gdansk where he worked as an electrician. The protests ended in bloodshed.

But another note, from three days later and also signed "Lech Walesa," is in different handwriting. The author says he is afraid that an upcoming meeting required by the security police is a "trap." The documents show that at first Bolek eagerly provided information on opinions and actions by his co-workers and took money for the information. With time, he tried to avoid meeting the secret police officers or provided valueless information and demanded the contacts stop. The collaboration was terminated in 1976.

Allegations against Walesa are not new and he has long acknowledged that he signed a document in the 1970s agreeing to provide information to the much-hated secret police, though he insisted he never informed on anyone and never took any money. Breaking away from such a commitment required courage because it usually led to dismissal from a job and other persecution. In 2000, Walesa was cleared by a special court, which said it found no evidence of collaboration.

Walesa founded Solidarity in 1980 out of a worker protest. The pro-democracy movement helped bring down communism after nine years of struggle. In 1983 he was honored with the Nobel prize and in 1990 he was elected president in a national vote.

The last document in the released files, dated February 1976, says a secret police officer reprimanded Bolek for having criticized the communist party and threatened he would lose his shipyard job. Walesa lost his job that year.

The institute says the documents are authentic papers produced by the secret police of the time, although it is still possible that the police fabricated them — a common practice then. They surfaced last week at the home of the last communist interior minister, Gen. Czeslaw Kiszczak, who died last year. His widow offered to sell them to the institute, but authorities immediately seized them, acting on a law that gives them the right to important historical documents.

The files contain a note from Kiszczak requesting they not be made available until five years after Walesa's death. A 1973 report by a secret police officer who regularly met with Bolek says he refused any further cooperation, arguing he was "getting nothing, no money out of it." According to the report Bolek agreed to collaborate in 1970 out of fear of persecution after the workers' protest.

There were more reports from meetings with Bolek through February 1976, but in their comments the secret police officers said they found them of no value. The move to open the files so quickly — allowing journalists to see them before historians can analyze them — has proven hugely controversial. Walesa supporters accuse authorities of trying to tarnish the legacy of a man widely considered one of Poland's greatest national heroes. Many people have come to his defense, including former Solidarity activists who recalled how the police used brutal tactics to coerce regime critics to sign agreements to collaborate, as a tool for future blackmail, whether they acted on it or not.

Others, including members of the new government, say it's important to clarify Walesa's role. The head of the ruling party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, has long been a bitter political foe of Walesa's — and Walesa has recently been denouncing the new government as a threat to democracy.

"I think that above all we need to know the truth," Prime Minister Beata Szydlo said Monday. "Poles deserve this truth and the most important thing is to dispel all doubts."

Greece: Macedonia has closed its borders to Afghan migrants

February 21, 2016

THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — Greek police say Macedonia has closed its southern border with Greece to Afghan migrants, allowing entry only for Iraqis and Syrians. Macedonian authorities reportedly said that Serbia has done the same on its southern border with Macedonia.

Macedonian police started restricting the flow of migrants across the Greek-Macedonian border Saturday, conducting body searches and demanding passports. Earlier, they had accepted Greek police's official documents attesting that an individual had been processed.

The moves have led to a buildup of migrants waiting at the Greek side of the border. Greek police said 800 were stranded at the border Sunday and another 2,750 were waiting in 55 buses nearby. In the 24 hours to 6 a.m. local (0400 GMT) Sunday, only 310 migrants had been allowed into Macedonia.

Germany mulling military training mission in Tunisia: report

Berlin (AFP)
Feb 21, 2016

Germany is considering sending troops to Tunisia to help train soldiers in the fight against the Islamic State group, a newspaper report said on Sunday.

Bild am Sonntag said that representatives of the defense and foreign ministries would hold talks in Tunis on Thursday and Friday about how the German military could lend support in a training mission.

It said the engagement envisaged training Tunisian soldiers first and could eventually be extended to setting up a training camp in Tunisia for Libyan soldiers, run with other international partners.

"The IS terror is threatening all of North Africa," German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen told the newspaper.

She said it was thus crucial "to make every effort to support countries struggling with democracy such as Tunisia".

Von der Leyen told the newspaper that a training camp in Tunisia would be a contribution toward regional stability.

"And if its direct neighbor Libya manages to put in place a unity government one day, its security forces could also benefit from established training facilities in Tunisia," she said.

A defense ministry spokesman told AFP he had no further details beyond the minister's remarks.

A foreign ministry spokesman confirmed the planned talks in Tunis "on further cooperation on security" but declined to provide more information.

German forces are currently engaged in the international alliance against the Islamic State group, including by arming and training Kurdish forces in northern Iraq and flying reconnaissance missions over Syria with Tornado jets.

Since 2013, Germany has provided Tunisia with more than 100 million euros ($111 million) in programs to improve its economy. It also provides its security forces with equipment and training.

However the country's defense commissioner Hans-Peter Bartels warned in a report last month that the German military was overstretched and underfunded and had reached "the limit of its capacity for interventions".

Tunisia suffered two devastating attacks targeting its vital tourist sector last year, in the beach resort of Sousse and on the National Bardo Museum in Tunis, that together left 60 people dead. Both were claimed by IS.

IS has also been gaining ground in Libya amid the unrest that has gripped the country since longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi was ousted in 2011.

Source: Space War.
Link: http://www.spacewar.com/reports/Germany_mulling_military_training_mission_in_Tunisia_report_999.html.

Britain buying solar-powered Zephyr 8 drones from Airbus

Toulouse, France (UPI)
Feb 18, 2016

Airbus Defense and Space has received an order from Britain's Ministry of Defense for its solar-powered Zephyr 8 unmanned aerial vehicle.

The Zephyr 8, described by Airbus as a high-altitude pseudo-satellite craft that provides persistent surveillance and communications links for about a month at a time before it needs to land for refurbishment.

Its altitude ceiling is about 65,000 feet. Its wing span is about 72 feet, and it weighs about 30 percent less than its predecessor, the Zephyr 7.

Solar panels on the aircraft charge its batteries from sunlight during the day and maintain the aircraft's high altitude at night.

Airbus said Britain ordered two of the aircraft. Other contract details were not disclosed.

The first Zephyr 8 ordered is being built at an Airbus facility in England and is due to fly in mid-2017.

Source: Space War.
Link: http://www.spacewar.com/reports/Britain_buying_solar-powered_Zephyr_8_drones_from_Airbus_999.html.

US military kept nukes on Okinawa

Washington (AFP)
Feb 19, 2016

The US government has declassified the fact it held nuclear weapons on Okinawa in Japan during the Cold War, though the matter had long been an open secret.

A Department of Defense website states the Pentagon has declassified "the fact that US nuclear weapons were deployed on Okinawa prior to Okinawa's reversion to Japan on May 15, 1972."

The National Security Archive at George Washington University welcomed the disclosure, but pointed to US Air Force photos depicting nuclear weapons on the island that have been publicly available for more than 25 years.

"However welcome the release may be, its significance is somewhat tempered by (that) astonishing fact," the non-governmental research group said in a statement Friday.

The group added that the US government had wasted an "inordinate" amount of time and resources by delaying the declassification.

Japan is the only nation to have been attacked with nuclear weapons. The United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, killing more than 210,000 people and leading to Japan's surrender in World War II.

Japan has since campaigned to abolish the weapons. Former prime minister Eisaku Sato won the Nobel Peace Prize largely for his "three principles" -- that Japan will not possess, produce or allow nuclear weapons on its soil.

Okinawa remained under US control until 1972, and many parts of the archipelago are still used for US bases...

Source: Space War.
Link: http://www.spacewar.com/reports/US_military_kept_nukes_on_Okinawa_999.html.

Vietnam decries Chinese missile deployment on island

Hanoi (AFP)
Feb 19, 2016

Vietnam on Friday hit out at China's deployment of missiles on a disputed island chain, saying Beijing had "seriously violated" its sovereignty as international censure mounted over the apparent militarisation of the hotly-contested zone.

Chinese state media on Thursday confirmed the presence of unspecified weapons on Woody Island, part of the Paracels chain.

The admission came after Fox News reported that surface-to-air weapons had arrived there in the past week -- although Chinese media suggested they have been in place for longer.

Vietnamese authorities handed "a note of objection" to the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi on Friday, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"These were moves that seriously violated Vietnam's sovereignty over the Hoang Sa archipelagoes," spokesperson Le hai Binh said Friday, using the Vietnamese name for the Paracels.

"Threatening peace and stability in the region as well as security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation. Vietnam requests China to immediately end those wrongful acts."

China claims all of the Paracels, though Hanoi and Taipei have overlapping claims.

Earlier on Friday Australia urged China to refrain from the "militarisation of islands", a day after the United States slammed Beijing for deploying missiles in the disputed South China Sea.

Tensions in the sea -- through which a third of the world's oil passes -- have mounted in recent months after China transformed contested reefs in the Spratly islands further south into artificial islands capable of supporting military facilities.

Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines also lay claim to parts of the sea.

US President Barack Obama this week hosted Southeast Asian leaders for a summit.

The US wants to shore-up its regional alliances with a view to avoiding flashpoints in the seas and keeping shipping lanes open.

The US and Australia have carried out several so-called "Freedom of Navigation" overflights and sail-bys in the region, which China has described as "provocations".

Source: Space War.
Link: http://www.spacewar.com/reports/Vietnam_decries_Chinese_missile_deployment_on_island_999.html.

FA Cup: World soccer's oldest cup competition not aging well

February 22, 2016

LONDON (AP) — World football's oldest cup competition isn't aging well. Once, FA Cup fixtures were highlights on the English calendar. For many teams, it now seems an inconvenient distraction. Not even a trip to Chelsea was enough to convince Manchester City to take the competition seriously on Sunday. City's weakened lineup, packed with youngsters even the club's fans would struggle to identify, was the latest blow to the cup's prestige.

The 5-1 humiliation was little surprise once the teamsheets were distributed. It could take a long time for the confidence of City's losing youngsters to recover. Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink did not revel in City's misery. The Dutchman was, instead, mournful about the undermining of the cup he grew up watching.

"It's the temple of football," said Hiddink, who won the cup during his first spell as Chelsea manager in 2009. "If the FA Cup winning is beautiful worldwide, so we must be careful not to devalue this (competition)."

That's just what City did to prioritize the Champions League, a competition it started playing in only five years ago. City blamed the need to target resources at Wednesday's game at Dynamo Kiev. But Manuel Pellegrini's team would not have rested its strongest players had Sunday's game been a Premier League encounter, and should have a strong enough squad to fight on multiple fronts.

"If we continue in the FA Cup we don't have the time, if the games are postponed, to play (them) from now until the end of the season," Pellegrini said. "We have an option for the first time in our club to try to reach the quarterfinal of the Champions League, (and) with 13 players (injured) it's not our priority. It's a sensible decision."

Winning the FA Cup is worth less than 4 million pounds ($6 million). City collected 46 million euros ($51 million) just for reaching the round of 16 of the Champions League last season. But can the club afford to be so blase?

City went 35 years without winning a major honor before an Abu Dhabi-funded reboot of a mid-ranking club led to FA Cup glory in 2011. It lacks the history of silverware to match ambitions to become one of the world's biggest teams and catch up with English football's most successful team: Neighbor Manchester United.

United's relationship with the FA Cup, though, is more troubled than City's. When United withdrew from the 1999-2000 competition to throw its resources at the Club World Cup in Brazil, the FA Cup was undermined at the expense of an upstart competition where participation was about furthering English power within FIFA.

The FA sacrificed the integrity of its competition for the sake of futile brownnosing with an organization now shown to have been rife with corruption. Now the FA remains on a constant PR offensive, trying to convince the world the so-called "magic of the cup" endures. Dubai-based airline Emirates was still convinced to sign a three-year sponsorship from this season worth 30 million pounds ($42 million).

But Arsenal, the team sponsored by Emirates, doesn't seem to value the competition so highly. Despite chasing a third consecutive FA Cup title, Arsene Wenger prioritized the Champions League round of 16 game against Barcelona on Tuesday, and saw a much-changed lineup held by second-tier Hull to 0-0 on Saturday.

Perhaps losing like City would have been more preferable, given that Arsenal has to find the space for a replay in its congested schedule. Winning the FA Cup still carries more kudos than lifting the League Cup, which doesn't feature non-league teams like the FA Cup. But the League Cup is over by February — Liverpool faces Manchester City in the final on Sunday at Wembley — rather than dragging on to the end of May like the FA Cup.

And the ultimate prize is the same for both cups: A place in the Europa League. The much-touted solution to elevating the status of the FA Cup is handing a Champions League place to the winner. "It would add luster to the competition," FA chief executive Martin Glenn said last week. "You can't solve things in isolation. It's a Rubik's Cube. That might be one possibility, Of course, running the FA, I'd love it.

"It just needs to be set up and weighed up against all the other criteria and the desires of the competition owners, the Premier League." And the Premier League will not readily sacrifice one of its four guaranteed Champions League places, and no additional spot will be offered by UEFA.

For now, too often the 145-year-old FA Cup resembles a glorified competition for reserve teams. And when even lower-league teams rest first-choice players, the FA knows it has a fight on its hands to make its cup a prize worth chasing.

Norway's Tande sets ski jump record, leads team to win

February 22, 2016

KUOPIO, Finland (AP) — Daniel Andre Tande eclipsed the 1998 record for a ski jump on Puijo hill in eastern Finland and spearheaded Norway to only its second World Cup team victory in 11 years on Monday.

Tande landed after 136 meters as the second jumper of four. He maintained the high standard with 132 meters in the second jump. The previous record, 135.5 meters, was set by Japan's Masahiko Harada in 1998.

Norway amassed 1,057.2 points with the team of Kenneth Gangnes, Tande, Anders Fannemel, and Johann Andre Forfang. Germany was second at 1,002.8 points, and Japan third on 935.4. All eight of Norway's jumps were high class. Tande's 136-meter record jump was scored low in style, but the second of 132 meters was rewarded for its style. After his first jump, the starting gates were lowered and the chances of another record were diminished.

Tande scored 276.4, Forfang 267.1, Fannemel 262.7, and Gangnes 251.0. Gangnes was third overall in the ski jumping, Forfang fifth, Tande seventh, and Fannemel 10th. Germany, which won the first two of the season's team events, was second with Andreas Wank, Richard Freitag, Andreas Wellinger and Severin Freund.

Japan clinched its podium finish when 43-year-old Noriaki Kasai jumped 125 meters on the team's last attempts to hold off Austria by 3.3 points. Japan's starting man, Taku Takeuchi, led in the second round with 132.5 meters. He has lived for long spells in Finland, and in Kuopio, and speaks Finnish fluently. Unlike most jumpers, who dislike the Puijo hill for the shape of its takeoff zone, Takeuchi speaks well of it.

"I like this hill very much, and it is my home hill," he said. The event on Monday was moved on short notice from Lahti, where it was cancelled on Saturday. On Tuesday, Puijo hosts an individual competition, where the favorite will be World Cup leader Peter Prevc of Slovenia. He jumped 133.5 and 129.5 meters, and his 139.5 and 139.4 points were the best among all last jumpers on the nine teams.

Tourists could soon benefit from direct flights to Baikonur Space Center

Moscow (Sputnik)
Feb 22, 2016

The Center for Operation of Space Ground-Based Infrastructure of Russian space agency Roscosmos has announced a tender for air carriers interested in conducting regular flights to the Baikonur space center, the Russian Izvestia newspaper reports.

The newspaper said that the tender was announced after the modernization of the Krayniy Airport in Baikonur. Five airlines, including Kazakhstan's SCAT carrier, have expressed their interest in the tender.

Currently, there are no direct flights to Baikonur, apart from special flights that serve the needs of the space industry.

According to Izvestia, launching regular flights to Baikonur will contribute to the inflow of tourists and will also benefit staff working at the space center.

The Baikonur Cosmodrome is an international facility in Kazakhstan for operating Russian and multinational space programs. Russia has leased the Baikonur space center until 2050.

Source: Space Daily.
Link: http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Tourists_could_soon_benefit_from_direct_flights_to_Baikonur_Space_Center_999.html.

Footprints of a martian flood

Paris (ESA)
Feb 22, 2016

Water has left its mark in a variety of ways in this martian scene captured by ESA's Mars Express. The region lies on the western rim of an ancient large impact basin, as seen in the context map. The image shows the western part of the Arda Valles, a dendritic drainage system 260 km north of Holden Crater and close to Ladon Valles.

Vast volumes of water once flowed from the southern highlands, carving Ladon Valles and ponding in the large Ladon Basin seen in this image.

The plan views show the striking dendritic drainage pattern of the valleys (left). Many contributing streams merge into tributaries of the main channels before flowing down into the smooth-floored impact basin towards the right.

In the upper center of the main image - also clearly identified in the topography and anaglyph images - a large mound is seen with an 8.5 km-wide impact crater at its foot. The mound is possibly the remnant of an older impact basin but may also have been influenced by sediments transported by the surrounding streams, building up a fan deposit.

In the center right of the image, a large 25 km-wide impact crater has also been filled by thick muddy sediments that later collapsed into the chaotic terrain seen in the crater floor. The jumbled nodules in the crater rim probably indicate the former level of the infilling sediments.

To the top right of the scene, the surface has also broken up into a number of giant polygons, likely linked to the loss of underground ice and the slow evaporation of water that was once ubiquitous in this area.

The more concentric fracture-like features seen within the smooth floor of the large basin are likely also related to stresses in the surface resulting from the compaction of the vast amount of sediments that infill the basin.

Some of the fractures seem to join the central crater to the smoother basin floor, particularly evident in the perspective view. They could be a later manifestation of stresses due to subsidence or compaction of surface materials.

Finally, in the lower center of the image, just above the crater at the bottom of the scene and towards the end of the dendritic channels, light-toned and layered deposits have been identified. These are clay minerals, known to be formed in the presence of water.

Source: Mars Daily.
Link: http://www.marsdaily.com/reports/Footprints_of_a_martian_flood_999.html.

Alpha Centauri: Our First Target for Interstellar Probes

by Tomasz Nowakowski for Astro Watch
Los Angeles CA (SPX)
Feb 22, 2016

With the completion of New Horizons' primary mission of Pluto fly-by, should we now set our sights even much higher, ambitiously taking aim at other star systems? If so, Alpha Centauri would be probably considered as the best target for an interstellar spacecraft due to its "proximity" to Earth.

This system, consisting of three stars and possible planetary companions, is the nearest to solar system, located "only" about 4.3 light years from us. The problem is, getting there in our lifetime is still a mission impossible, or maybe not?

The neighboring system hosts a pair of stars named Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B. Alpha Centauri C, also known as Proxima Centauri is a small and faint "red dwarf" - a small and relatively cool star - and may be gravitationally bound to the duo.

However, what still baffles astronomers is the existence of exoplanets in this system. In 2012, the discovery of a planet orbiting Alpha Centauri B was announced, but three years later a new research debunked this theory calling the previous finding a "ghost in the time series". Moreover, in 2015, another study proposed the existence of other alien world accompanying the "B" star.

What is interesting, the two hypothetical exoplanets would be Earth-like if they really exist. This could be another motivator to send our spacecraft there. But before any mission concepts are prepared, a deeper look into the system could be very helpful. Now the trick is that we currently don't even have a telescope that could directly image a planet in this system.

"This would have to be done from space - even then, it would be hard. We don't have a space telescope that can do this right now, especially for small planets. There are no gas giant planets there, if there were any, we would have detected them," Debra Fischer, astronomer and exoplanet hunter at the Yale University, told Astrowatch.net.

4.3 light-years equals 25 trillion miles, so knowing at least some basic information about this destination is quite essential before embarking on such a demanding trip. With current technology, a robotic probe send from Earth would require some 40,000 years to reach Alpha Centauri, making the mission totally useless for us.

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft which is the fastest-moving spacecraft ever launched from Earth, currently travels at about 36,400 mph. If the probe was aimed at the Alpha Centauri system, it would reach it 78,000 years after launch!

A huge technology advancement is required to make interstellar journeys feasible. Unless new propulsion system would be developed, every concept of mission to other stars could be doomed to fail.

"Once we have the ability to accelerate a probe to 10 percent the speed of light, that is the first place we'll go! It's the closest star system and therefore a great target," Fischer said.

In the past, there were projects that included sending unmanned interstellar spacecraft with a velocity of 4.5 or even 7.1 percent the speed of light. Between 1973 and 1978 a study was conducted by the British Interplanetary Society to send a probe using a fusion rocket that would reach Barnard's Star located 5.9 light years away.

The study, named "Project Daedalus" aimed to develop a spacecraft capable of reaching up to 7.1 percent the speed of light, thus the whole journey would take only 50 years.

Similar study, the "Project Longshot" was developed by the U.S. Naval Academy and NASA, from 1987 to 1988. The project would use a spacecraft powered by nuclear pulse propulsion to reach an average velocity of approximately 30 million mph (4.5 percent the speed of light). That would allow the mission to arrive at Alpha Centauri some 100 years after launch.

There is really a long list of concepts and projects tasked with designing a propulsion system of the future that would allow interstellar travel. In contrary to the ideas based on conventional propulsion, many concepts include using antimatter rockets, warp drive or wormholes.

A laser-powered interstellar sail ship is a very original concept that seems feasible in the near future. It was presented by Geoffrey A. Landis of NASA's Glenn Research Center in 2002. Landis described a starship with a diamond sail, a few nanometers thick, powered by solar energy, which could achieve 10 per cent of the speed of light.

Using this type of propulsion, it would take 43 years to reach Alpha Centauri, if it passed through the system. However, slowing down to stop at our neighboring system could increase the trip up to 100 years. Thus it would be more appropriate for a fly-by performed by an unmanned probe.

When will we be able to develop such a propulsion allowing us to travel at least at a speed of 10 percent the speed of light? That remains disputable.

"We have to have the probe travel faster than 10 percent the speed of light and we need high gain antenna in the outer solar system to pick up the signal that the probe sends back. This is a technology horizon that currently seems far away. 50 years? 100 years? Hard to say!" Fischer concluded.

Source: Space Daily.
Link: http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Alpha_Centauri_Our_First_Target_for_Interstellar_Probes_999.html.

Deadly north India protests lead to New Delhi water shortage

February 21, 2016

NEW DELHI (AP) — As thousands of members of an underprivileged community in northern India continue to protest to demand government benefits, the more than 16 million people in India's capital are facing a water shortage as a result of the violent demonstrations, which have left at least 10 dead.

The protesters have damaged equipment that brings water from Munak canal in Haryana state to New Delhi, depleting the capital's water supply. New Delhi gets about 60 percent of its water from the neighboring state.

Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi's chief minister, announced Sunday that schools in the capital would be closed Monday due to the water shortage. He also ordered the rationing of water to people's homes. At least 10 people have been killed in firing on protesters by Indian security forces since the weeklong protests turned violent on Friday, Yashpal Singhal, the state's top police officer, told reporters on Sunday. Another 150 protesters have been injured in clashes in various parts of Haryana.

Sporadic violence was reported in Haryana on Sunday, with protesters setting a bank ATM and bank records on fire. Singhal said no major incidents of violence were reported in the state. He also said paramilitary forces and irrigation engineers were trying to restore the water flow from Munak canal to New Delhi.

The protesters, members of the lower-caste Jat agricultural community, are demanding benefits both at the federal and state levels, including guaranteed government jobs or university spots. Talks Friday between community leaders and state government representatives failed to lead to an agreement.

The protesters are demanding 27 percent government job quotas or university spots for their community. India's constitution includes a system of affirmative action for people in the lowest castes to help them overcome discrimination. The government has expanded the number of groups, including the Jat, qualifying for quotas.