Sensex rallies over 300 points in early trade; Nifty tops 11,550

Agencies
September 14, 2020

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New Delhi, Sept 14: Domestic equity benchmark Sensex jumped over 300 points in early trade on Monday tracking gains in index majors Reliance Industries, HDFC twins and HCL Tech amid positive global cues and fresh foreign fund inflow. The 30-share BSE index was trading 340.10 points or 0.88 per cent higher at 39,194.65; while the NSE Nifty rose 89.15 points or 0.78 per cent to 11,553.60.

HCL Tech was the top gainer in the Sensex pack, surging around 5 per cent, followed by Tech Mahindra, HDFC duo, Reliance Industries, TCS, SBI and IndusInd Bank. On the other hand, HUL, Asian Paints, Maruti, Bajaj Auto and Nestle India were among the laggards.

In the previous session, Sensex ended 14.23 points or 0.04 per cent higher at 38,854.55, while the broader Nifty rose 15.20 points or 0.13 per cent to close at 11,464.45. Exchange data showed that foreign institutional investors bought equities worth Rs 1,175.81 crore on a net basis on Friday. Domestic equities opened on a positive note tracking positive cues from global markets and persistent foreign fund inflow, traders said.

Bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul and Tokyo were trading with gains in mid-day deals after Biopharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford on Saturday resumed trials for their coronavirus vaccine in the UK after the Medicines Health Regulatory Authority's approval. The human trials resumed days after a pause was announced in the trials after an adverse reaction in one of the participants. Meanwhile, global oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 0.35 per cent lower at USD 39.97 per barrel. 

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Agencies
October 22,2020

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Thane, Oct 22: At least 25 people were injured when lightning struck a residential area at a village in Maharashtra's Thane district, an official said on Thursday.

During heavy rains in Thane on Wednesday evening, lightning stuck Palaspada hamlet in Umbarmali village under Sahapur taluka around 7 pm, regional disaster management cell chief Santosh Kadam said.

A house in the locality was completely destroyed while some adjoining houses also suffered damages, he said.

"At least 25 people, including women and children, were injured due to the lightning strike and were rushed to the Sahapur rural hospital," Kadam said.

Their condition was reported to be stable, Thane's resident deputy collector Dr Shivaji Patil said.

Sahapur MLA Daulat Daroda visited the injured people in the hospital late Wednesday night.

Heavy rains along with thunder and lightning were experienced in Thane and neighbouring areas on Wednesday evening.

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Agencies
October 11,2020

New Delhi, Oct 11: A new report estimates that 29 million women and girls are victims of modern slavery, exploited by practices including forced labour, forced marriage, debt-bondage and domestic servitude.

Grace Forrest, co-founder of the Walk Free anti-slavery organisation, said on Friday that means one in every 130 women and girls is living in modern slavery today, more than the population of Australia.

The reality is that there are more people living in slavery today than any other time in human history, she told a UN news conference.

Walk Free defines modern slavery as the systematic removal of a person's freedom, where one person is exploited by another for personal or financial gain, she said.

Forrest said the global estimate of one in 130 women and girls living in modern slavery was made based on work by Walk Free, the International Labour Organisation and the International Organisation for Migration, both UN agencies.

What this report has shown is that gender stacks the odds against girls from conception throughout their lives," she said.

According to the report, titled Stacked Odds, women account for 99 per cent of all victims of forced sexual exploitation, 84 per cent of all victims of forced marriage, and 58 per cent of all victims of forced labour.

Forrest said the face of modern slavery has radically changed. We're seeing normalised exploitation in our economy in transnational supply chains and also in migration pathways, she said.

The world's most vulnerable people have been pushed even further into this practice of modern slavery because of COVID-19.

She said the estimate of women and girls in modern slavery is conservative because it doesn't account for what's happened during the pandemic, which has seen sharp increases of forced and child marriage and exploited work conditions around the world."

Forrest said Walk Free and the UN's Every Woman Every Child program are launching a global campaign to demand action to eliminate modern slavery.

The campaign urges an end to child and forced marriage, which 136 countries have yet to criminalise.

It urges the elimination of legalised systems of exploitation such as kefala, which legally binds a migrant worker's immigration status to an employer or sponsor for their contract period.

The campaign also urges transparency and accountability for multinationals.

We know that women and girls are experiencing unprecedented levels of exploitation and forced labour in supply chains of the goods we buy and use every day clothing, coffee, techncology," Forest said

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Agencies
October 21,2020

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Bikaner, Oct 21: Researchers have found the evidence of a "lost" river that ran through the central Thar Desert, near Bikaner, as early as 172 thousand years ago, and may have been a life-line to human populations enabling them to inhabit the region.

The findings, published in the journal Quaternary Science Reviews, represent the oldest directly dated phase of river activity at Nal Quarry in the central Thar Desert.

The study by researchers from The Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany, Anna University in Tamil Nadu, and IISER Kolkata indicates that Stone Age populations lived in a distinctly different Thar Desert landscape than we encounter today.

This evidence indicates a river flowed with phases of activity dating to approximately up to 172 thousand years ago, nearby to Bikaner, Rajasthan, which is over 200 kilometres away from the nearest modern river.

These findings predate evidence for activity in modern river courses across the Thar Desert as well as dried up course of the Ghaggar-Hakra River, the researchers said.

The presence of a river running through the central Thar Desert would have offered a life-line to Paleolithic populations, and potentially an important corridor for migrations, they said.

The researchers noted that the potential importance of 'lost' rivers for earlier inhabitants of the Thar Desert have been overlooked.

"The Thar Desert has a rich prehistory, and we've been uncovering a wide range of evidence showing how Stone Age populations not only survived but thrived in these semi-arid landscapes," said Jimbob Blinkhorn from The Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.

"We know how important rivers can be to living in this region, but we have little detail on what river systems were like during key periods of prehistory," Blinkhorn said.

Studies of satellite imagery have shown a dense network of river channels crossing the Thar Desert, according to the researchers.

"These studies can indicate where rivers and streams have flowed in the past, but they can't tell us when," explained Professor Hema Achyuthan of Anna University.

"To demonstrate how old such channels are, we had to find evidence on the ground for river activity in the middle of the desert," Achyuthan said.

The team studied a deep deposit of river sands and gravels, which had been exposed by quarrying activity near the village of Nal.

The researchers were able to document different phases of river activity by studying the different deposits.

"We immediately saw evidence for a substantial and very active river system from the bottom of the fluvial deposits, which gradually decreased in power through time," Achyuthan said.

The researchers used a method called luminescence dating to understand when quartz grains in the river sands were buried.

The results indicated that the strongest river activity at Nal occurred at approximately 172 and 140 thousand years ago, at a time when the monsoon was much weaker than today in the region.

River activity continued at the site between 95 to 78 thousand years ago, after which only limited evidence for the presence of a river at the site, with evidence for a brief reactivation of the channel 26 thousand years ago, the study found.

The river was flowing at its strongest during a phase of weak monsoonal activity in the region, and may have been a life-line to human populations enabling them to inhabit the Thar Desert, the researchers said.

The timeframe over which this river was active also overlaps with significant changes in human behaviour in the region, which have been linked with the earliest expansions of Homo sapiens from Africa into India, they said.

"This river flowed at a critical timeframe for understanding human evolution in the Thar Desert, across South Asia and beyond," said Blinkhorn.

"This suggests a landscape in which the earliest members of our own species, Homo sapiens, first encountered the monsoons and crossed the Thar Desert may have been very different to the landscape we can see today," he added.

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