Sahitya Akademi winner Debesh Roy passes away

Agencies
May 15, 2020

Kolkata, May 15: Veteran Bengali author Debesh Roy, who was conferred the Sahitya Akademi award for his novel 'Teesta Parer Brittanto', died at a private hospital in Kolkata on Thursday, his family members said.

Roy was 84 and he is survived by his son. His wife had died earlier.

He was admitted to the hospital near his residence at Baguihati, in the eastern fringes of the city, on Wednesday after having symptoms like sodium potasium imbalance, sugar problem and breathing problem, his family members said.

He suffered a massive cardiac arrest and died at 10.50 PM.

A regular contributor to a number of Bengali dailies, he was a staunch critic of the attacks on liberals by in the country in recent times and attended protest meetings despite his failing health.

He was born in Pabna in present-day Bangladesh on December 17, 1936. He had five decades of career as a writer.

Besides Teesta Parer Britanta', he will be remembered for books like Borisaler Jogen Mondal , Manush Khun Kore Keno and Samay Asamayer Brittanto . His first book was Jajati.

His last rites will be performed tomorrow.

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Agencies
October 28,2020

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Mumbai, Oct 28: Equity benchmark Sensex plunged 600 points on Wednesday, tracking heavy losses in index majors Reliance Industries, HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank amid a massive selloff in European markets.

After hitting a low of 39,774.60 during the day, the 30-share BSE index ended 599.64 points or 1.48 per cent lower at 39,922.46.

Similarly, the broader NSE tanked 159.80 points or 1.34 per cent to close at 11,729.60.

IndusInd Bank was the top loser in the Sensex pack, shedding over 3 per cent, followed by HDFC, ICICI Bank, Tech Mahindra, Bajaj Finance, UltraTech Cement and Tata Steel.

On the other hand, Bharti Airtel was the top gainer, rallying more than 4 per cent, after the country's second largest telecom operator reported its highest-ever quarterly consolidated revenue, helping it narrow losses in the July-September period.

Consolidated revenue rose 22 per cent to Rs 25,785 crore in the September quarter, while net loss narrowed to Rs 763 crore.

M&M, Maruti and L&T also ended with gains.

According to analysts, Indian equities faced intense selloff after European markets opened with heavy losses amid spiking COVID-19 cases.

Extremely volatility was also witnessed ahead of monthly derivatives expiry and US presidential election, they said.

Benchmarks in Europe plunged up to 3 per cent in early deals.

Bourses in Hong Kong and Tokyo ended on a negative note, while Shanghai and Seoul were in the positive territory.

Meanwhile, international oil benchmark Brent crude was trading 3.20 per cent lower at USD 40.28 per barrel.

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Agencies
October 15,2020

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Washington, Oct 15: Twitter locked the personal account of White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany after she shared a news report regarding alleged corruption by the son of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, President Donald Trump has said.

Trump and his campaign alleged that this was because of a story from the New York Post which made allegations against Biden's son Hunter Biden that he leveraged access to his father in exchange for payments through his position on the board of a Ukraine company.

Twitter has locked the personal account of White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany for sharing news Democrats don't like, the Trump campaign tweeted.

Addressing an election rally in the battleground state of Iowa, Trump said, They closed down her account. She's the White House press secretary. Because she's reporting the truth, they closed down her account. So let's see what's going to happen.

We've just learned through explosive documents published by a very fine newspaper, the New York Post that Joe Biden has been blatantly lying about his involvement in his son's corrupt business dealings, Trump told his supporters in Iowa.

And this is a big, smoking gun. The newly uncovered e-mails revealed that a top executive from the highly questionable Ukrainian company it's an energy company, which paid Hunter at least USD 50,000 a month but it's now looking like it could be USD 183,000 a month that's a lot of money, he alleged.

Despite the fact that he had absolutely no experience and knew nothing about energy, he wrote to Hunter, arranging for a meeting to meet with Vice President Joe Biden, he claimed.

The same Ukrainian energy executive even sent Hunter an email saying 'we urgently need your advice on how you could use your influence'. In other words, Hunter was being paid for access to his vice president father who was specifically put in charge of Ukraine and Russia, he alleged.

On her official White House account, McEnany tweeted censorship should be condemned and that it was not the American way .

Attacking the former vice-president, Trump said that the e-mails published by The New York Post shows that Biden's repeated claim that he has never spoken to Hunter about his business dealings were a "lie".

Was a total lie. He lied to you over and over cause he's trying to cover up a massive pay-for-play scandal at the heart of his vice presidency. And everybody knows it. Everybody in Washington knows it, he said.

We've known it for a long time. the fact is, there was never an administration more corrupt than the Obama-Biden administration. There was never. Never. Just weeks ago, Joe stood before the American people in a presidential debate and told you that these claims had been totally discredited and that his son did nothing wrong. But now that turns out to be a total lie. Now we can see clearly that Biden is a corrupt politician who shouldn't even be allowed to run for the presidency, he said.

Trump alleged that he was pressing Biden to tell the truth because "the corrupt mainstream media refused to write the story".

There wasn't one time in almost four years during my presidency, during the greatest political scandal in US history a witch hunt, a horrible, horrible, disgusting witch hunt that should never, ever happen to another presidency again and people should pay for the crimes they committed, he said.

Trump earlier threatened to remove protections for tech platforms after Twitter and Facebook censored The New York Post's reporting of e-mails from Hunter Biden.

Twitter announced earlier that it was taking action to block any URLs, links, images or material by removing tweets that violated its Hacked Materials Policy .

In a tweet later in the evening, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said that the move to block The New York Post article on alleged e-mails on Hunter Biden's laptop was "unacceptable".

Our communication around our actions on the @nypost article was not great. And blocking URL sharing via tweet or DM with zero context as to why we're blocking: unacceptable, he said in a tweet.

Twitter in a series of tweets gave its explanation. We want to provide much needed clarity around the actions we've taken with respect to two NY Post articles that were first Tweeted this morning, it said.

The images contained in the articles include personal and private information - like email addresses and phone numbers - which violate our rules, Twitter said, adding that it is also currently viewing materials included in the articles as violations of its Hacked Materials Policy.

We know we have more work to do to provide clarity in our product when we enforce our rules in this manner. We should provide additional clarity and context when preventing the tweeting or DMing of URLs that violate our policies, Twitter said.

The policy, established in 2018, prohibits the use of our service to distribute content obtained without authorisation. We don't want to incentivise hacking by allowing Twitter to be used as distribution for possibly illegally obtained materials, it said.

Noah Mansker, a business reporter with the New York Post said that the daily's Twitter account has also been locked because the Hunter Biden stories violate its rules against "distribution of hacked material."

Meanwhile, Trump's son, Donald J Trump Jr, released a video, attacking the Biden family, calling it the "most corrupt political family" in the American history.

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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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