17 January 2022

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16 January 2022

Tennis star Novak Djokovic deported after losing Australia visa battle.

Novak Djokovic has been deported from Australia after losing a last-ditch court bid to stay in the country.

Judges rejected a challenge by the unvaccinated tennis star after the government cancelled his visa on "health and good order" grounds.

Djokovic said he was "extremely disappointed" but accepted the ruling. He has left on a flight to Dubai.

It marks the end of a 10-day saga, in which the Serb fought to stay to defend his title in the Australian Open.

Djokovic's supporters fell silent outside the courtroom as the decision was announced on the eve of what would have been his opening match in the tournament.

Source: www.bbc.com

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Myanmar's Suu Kyi sentenced to 4 more years in prison.

A court in Myanmar sentenced ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi to four more years in prison after finding her guilty of illegally importing and possessing walkie-talkies and violating coronavirus restrictions, a legal official said.

Suu Kyi was convicted last month on two other charges and given a four-year prison sentence, which was then halved by the head of the military-installed government.

The cases are among about a dozen brought against the 76-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate since the army seized power last February, ousting her elected government and arresting top members of her National League for Democracy party.

If found guilty of all the charges, she could be sentenced to more than 100 years in prison.

Suu Kyi's supporters and independent analysts say the charges against her are contrived to legitimize the military's seizure of power and prevent her from returning to politics.

Source: www.npr.org

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Comedian and “Full House” star Bob Saget dies.

Bob Saget, the comedian and actor arguably known best by audiences as wholesome patriarch Danny Tanner on the sitcom "Full House," has died, his family confirmed in a statement to CNN. He was 65.

Saget was found dead in a hotel room on Sunday at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes, according to a statement from the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

The cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner, the Sheriff's office added.

Saget was in Florida as part of his comedy tour. According to tour dates pinned to his Twitter account, he performed Saturday night at Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

Source: https://edition.cnn.com


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Olympic medal-winning Athlete Deon Lendore passes away.

Olympic athlete Deon Lendore, who participated in the 400 meters race at the 2020 Olympics, passed away at the age of 29 years due to a fatal car accident in Texas, United States (US). 

He was born on 28 October 1992 in Trinidad and Tobago (the Caribbean Islands, South America), was an expert of 400 meters championships. 

He participated in the London Olympics in 2012 and won a Bronze medal in 4×400 meter relay. He also participated in the Tokyo Olympic 2021 and in 2016 Rio Olympics.

Source: www.independent.co.uk

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UK’s Prince Andrew stripped of royal and military links.

UK’s Prince Andrew stripped of royal and military links amid sex abuse scandal.

Queen Elizabeth’s second son, Prince Andrew, was on Thursday effectively stripped of his position in royal life, in a dramatic move as he faces a US civil case for sexual assault.

British media quoted an unnamed royal source as saying he would no longer use the “His Royal Highness” (HRH) title, which designates senior members of the royal family, in any capacity.

The move came after Buckingham Palace announced that he had given up his honorary military titles and charitable roles as the US case looms.

Source: www.scmp.com

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US and Japan warn on tsunami.

The US and Japan have advised people on their Pacific coastlines to get away from the shore as a precaution against tsunami waves caused by a volcano eruption in the South Pacific.

Japan has warned of waves as high as three metres, and waves of 1.2 metres hit the south of the country.

The US warned of strong currents and waves, and coastal flooding.

The huge underwater volcanic eruption caused waves of more than a metre to crash into Tonga.

The eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haʻapai volcano was heard across the South Pacific, and eventually as far away as the US.

Many parts of Tonga, whose capital is just 65km (40 miles) south of the eruption, are covered in ash and are experiencing a near-total blackout of power, phone lines and internet services. The extent of any injuries or damage is still unclear.

Source: www.bbc.com

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Turkmenistan plans to close its 'Gateway to Hell'.

Turkmenistan's president has ordered the extinguishing of the country's "Gateway to Hell", a fire that has been burning for decades in a huge desert gas crater.

Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov wants it put out for environmental and health reasons, as well as part of efforts to increase gas exports.

Mystery surrounds the Darvaza crater's creation in the Karakum Desert.

Many believe it formed when a Soviet drilling operation went wrong in 1971.

But Canadian explorer George Kourounis examined the crater's depths in 2013 and discovered that no-one actually knows how it started.

According to local Turkmen geologists, the huge crater formed in the 1960s but was only lit in the 1980s.

There have been numerous attempts to end the fire, including in 2010 when Mr Berdymukhamedov also ordered experts to find a way to put out the flames.

In 2018, the president officially renamed it the Shining of Karakum.

Source: www.bbc.com

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15 January 2022

Prime Minister Imran Khan launches public version of first-ever National Security Policy.

Prime Minister Imran Khan unveiled on Friday a public version of the country's first-ever National Security Policy (NSP) on 14 January 2022, saying the country was in dire need of a multi-pronged strategy for the future to ensure the protection of its citizens and guard economic interests.

The NSP was approved by the federal cabinet on December 28, a day after it got the nod of the National Security Committee.

The policy defines the direction the country should take in the coming years. Its makers are said to have taken a citizen-centric approach to national security and placed a special emphasis on economic security.

The country was blessed to have well-trained and disciplined security forces who protected the territorial boundaries against belligerent neighbours, he added.

Source: www.dawn.com

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World Hindi Day - 10 January.

World Hindi Day is observed on January 10 to honour the language. The theme of this day is to make Hindi a part of public opinion, although it doesn’t necessarily mean that one has to leave their mother tongue.

The first World Hindi Day conference was organised on January 10, 1975, in Nagpur, a city in the state of Maharashtra. The grand event registered the participation of 122 representatives from 30 countries. The day is observed in India from the year 2003. The Ministry of External Affairs began the tradition of celebrating World Hindi Day in other nations in 2006 with an aim to promote this language across the world.

The language got its name from the Persian term ‘Hind’ which means ‘the land of Indus’. The language is spoken in India, Trinidad, Nepal, Guyana, Mauritius and other countries.

Both the occasions respect and honour the Hindi language but their dates are different. While we observe World Hindi Day on January 10, the National Hindi Diwas is celebrated on September 14.

Source: www.news18.com

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China's Chang'e 5 lunar lander is first to find water on the moon.

China's Chang'e 5 lunar lander just marked a historic first: The spacecraft became the first to detect water on the moon at its landing site in real time.

Chang'e 5 found water at its landing site near Oceanus Procellarum on the moon's near side, using an instrument that detects water by determining spectral reflectance measurements of regolith (soil) and rocks.

Water was first definitively detected on the moon from orbit, by India's Chandrayaan-1 mission using NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper instrument (following several tentative detections beforehand by other missions and telescopes). The Chandrayaan-1 findings were announced in September 2009, and water has since been extensively mapped from orbit by missions such as NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been operating at the moon since 2009.

Source: www.space.com

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O Yeong-su, of 'Squid Game,' wins South Korea's first Golden Globe Award.

South Korean actor O Yeong-su claimed the country’s first Golden Globe Award on Sunday for his role in the hit Netflix drama “Squid Game,” drawing cheers at home and abroad despite criticism for ceremony organizers over a lack of diversity.

O, 77, won for his portrayal of Oh II-nam, besting, among others, Billy Crudup of “The Morning Show” and Kieran Culkin of "Succession."

O’s win came after Youn Yuh-jung became the first South Korean to win an Oscar last year, taking best supporting actress for her role in the immigrant tale “Minari.”

Source: www.nbcnews.com

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Discovery of another new type of corona, the "Delta Cron".

Just a mere two months after detection of the highly contagious Omicron Covid-19 variant last November, and the threat of another big lockdown from taking over the world, there is now new evidence that another new variant has now appeared in Cyprus.

This new variant has been named 'Deltacron', for being a combination of the Delta and Omicron variants. According to the professor of Biology at the University of Cyprus, Leondios Kostrikis, there are some people infected with Omicron and Delta, but in the case of this variant known in the Cypriot country, it is "a combination of both". Kostrikis declared that the new variant has "the genetic signature of Omicron and the genomes of Delta."

Source: www.marca.com

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Rafael Nadal beats Cressy to win Melbourne Title.

Top seed Rafael Nadal has defeated American qualifier Maxime Cressy 7-6(6) 6-3 to win the Melbourne Summer Set 1 ATP 250 event and build up momentum heading into the Australian Open.

The Spaniard, playing his first competitive tournament since August, was largely untroubled on Sunday as he wrapped up the win in an hour 48 minutes.

Cressy was put under serious pressure by Nadal from the off, having to defend three break points in his first service game, but there was little to separate the two for the rest of the first set, which required a tiebreak.

Nadal stepped on the gas late in the tiebreak, saving a set point at 5-6 down and then earning a set point of his own with a forehand winner, which he converted to take the first set 7-6(6).

Cressy responded by breaking first in the second set to take a 2-1 lead, but Nadal immediately shut down a potential comeback with a break of his own to bring the set back on serve.

Source: www.trtworld.com

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World No.1 Ash Barty Wins Adelaide International.

World No.1 Ash Barty had a perfect start to the new season ahead of the home Grand Slam — the Australian Open –, winning the Adelaide International in dominant fashion by crushing world No. 14 Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-2 in Sunday night’s final.Also Read - Adelaide International: Ashleigh Barty Storms Past Iga Swiatek, To Meet Elena Rybakina in Final

This was Barty’s 14th career singles title and second in Adelaide. The victory underlined Barty’s status as the favourite to win the Australian Open, where she is aiming to become the first home-grown champion since 1978. Also Read - Tennis: Novak Djokovic, Ash Barty Named ITF World Champions

Barty, 25, beat American prodigy Coco Gauff, 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin and 2020 French Open winner Iga Swiatek of Poland en route to the title in Adelaide, without dropping a set or a service game against Rybakina, Kenin or Swiatek. Also Read - Tokyo Olympics 2020: Novak Djokovic, Ash Barty, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Naomi Osaka Headline Tennis Revised Olympic List

It takes Barty’s record against fellow top-20 players to 17-1 since the start of 2021 and means she has won 21 of her last 25 matches on Australian soil.

Source: www.india.com

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14 January 2022

Award-winning lyricist Marilyn Bergman dies.

Award-winning lyricist Marilyn Bergman died Saturday morning at her home in Los Angeles, according to her daughter Julie Bergman. She was 93.

Along with her husband and collaborator Alan, Bergman was nominated for 16 Academy Awards over the course of her career and won three, including for the song "The Way We Were" from the 1973 film that shared its name and starred Barbra Streisand. The song -- with music by composer Marvin Hamlisch -- also won two Grammys.

The Bergmans won two other Oscars for their song "Windmills of Your Mind" in 1968's "The Thomas Crown Affair" and for the score of 1983's "Yentl," which was also directed by and starred Streisand. The couple also won four Emmys and two Golden Globe Awards, among others.

Source: https://edition.cnn.com

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Daniel Ortega sworn in for 4th straight term as Nicaragua’s leader.

Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega was sworn in for a fourth consecutive term Monday following elections considered rigged and on a day marked by sanctions from the United States and European Union against members of his government.

Alongside him was first lady Rosario Murillo, sworn in for her second term as his vice president.

Ortega, 76, and Murillo, 70, oversaw the jailing of opposition leaders, including seven potential challengers for the presidency, months before the November election. They have remained defiant under foreign pressure.

Source: www.nbcnews.com

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European Parliament President David Sassoli passes away.

European Parliament President, David Sassoli has passed away due to health issues. He had served as the President of the European Parliament from July 2019 until his death in January 2022. He was first elected as a member of the European Parliament (MEP) in 2009.

Later in July 2014, Sassoli was elected Vice-President of the European Parliament. In the 2019 European Parliament election in Italy, he was elected as new president with 128,533 votes. European Parliament is one of the seven branches of the EU. Its headquarter is at Strasbourg, France.

Source: www.helsinkitimes.fi

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NASA begins long process of focusing James Webb space telescope.

NASA’s ground team will handle adjusting the Webb’s mirrors, an alignment process that’s expected to take about three months.

One of the world’s most powerful telescopes successfully reached space and now scientists will be tasked with carefully maneuvering the engineering marvel to begin capturing the cosmos. 

The James Webb space telescope was sent to space late last month, and last week NASA was able to fully deploy the telescope’s 21-foot, gold-coated primary mirror, successfully completing the final stage of all major spacecraft deployments.  

Though a major feat, work for NASA engineers is just beginning as the Webb telescope will require alignments that will take months to complete. That includes adjusting Webb’s 18 primary mirror segments to align the telescope optics and create one big mirror. 

NASA’s ground team will handle adjusting the mirrors, an alignment process that’s expected to take about three months.  

Source: https://thehill.com

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Justice Ayesha Malik to be Pakistan’s first woman Supreme Court judge.

The Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) - headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed - approved Malik's elevation by a majority of five votes against four.

Pakistan on Thursday moved closer to appoint the first woman judge of the Supreme Court, after a high-power panel approved the elevation of Lahore High Court judge Ayesha Malik to the apex court.

The Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) – headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed – approved Malik’s elevation by a majority of five votes against four, Dawn newspaper reported.

Source: https://indianexpress.com

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Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas appointed as next IMF’s Chief Economist.

French-born economist Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas has been named as the next chief economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). 

He will succeed Gita Gopinath, the first woman to serve as the Fund’s chief economist. 

He will take over as first deputy managing director of IMF from January 21 2022. 

Initially, Gourinchas will join the IMF on a part-time basis from January 24, 2022. He will take upon a role on a full-time basis from April 1, 2022.

Source: www.dailymirror.lk

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New Zealand spinner Ajaz Patel wins ICC Player of the Month Award.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced Ajaz Patel as the winner of the ICC Men’s Player of the Month Award for December 2021.

New Zealand’s, Ajaz Patel made history in December, when he picked up 10 wickets in an innings against India at Wankhede, becoming only the third player in Tests to achieve that feat after Jim Laker and Anil Kumble. The left-arm spinner played just one Test in the month, where he picked up 14 wickets at an average of 16.07. 

Patel picked up all 10 wickets in the first innings against India and in the second innings, he picked up four wickets, including that of openers Mayank Agarwal and Cheteshwar Pujara. Patel finished with figures of 14/225, which are the best bowling figures in a Test match in 2021.

Fans can continue to vote every month for their favourite male and female cricketers across all formats of international cricket as part of the ICC Player of the Month initiative by registering at www.icc-cricket.com/awards.

Source: www.icc-cricket.com

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Chris Morris retires from all cricket at 34.

South Africa all rounder Chris Morris has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket. While declaring his decision to hang his boots after a 12-year career, the 34-year-old Morris also said that he would be taking up a coaching role with South African domestic side Titans.

Morris last represented South Africa during the 2019 ODI World Cup, a tournament where he was South Africa's highest wicket-taker. He turned out for his country 69 times across the three formats, taking 94 wickets in all.

A bowling allrounder who often sent the speedgun beyond 140kph, Morris was also a hard-hitting lower-order batter. Morris made his international debut in a T20I in December 2012, and an ODI debut followed next year, in June 2013. He had to wait for his Test debut though, finally earning the first of his four Test caps in January 2016.

Morris' all-round skills meant he was in high demand in T20 leagues earning high paychecks, particularly in IPL auctions. 

Morris' Test career lasted only four matches, where he took 12 wickets at an average of 38.25. His Test debut against England also provided his highest Test score of 69.

In ODIs, Morris played 42 matches and took 48 wickets at an average of 36.58 and an economy rate of 5.56. His batting average of 20.30 perhaps did not reflect his skills as a batter, but his strike-rate of 100.43 showed his abilities to be a gamechanger with the bat.

However, Morris leaves his greatest legacy in the shortest format. He played 234 T20s, including 23 for South Africa between 2012 and 2019. In all T20s, he took 290 wickets at an average of 22.21 and economy of 7.78, while with the bat finished with a strike-rate of 150.04.

Morris has played cricket all around the world, apart from his time spent with Nelson Mandela Bay Giants, North West, Lions and the Titans at home. In England, he played for Surrey and Hampshire, in West Indies for the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots and Sydney Thunder in Australia.

Source: www.espncricinfo.com

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Kazakh President Tokayev appoints Alikhan Smailov as Prime Minister of Kazakhstan.

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev appointed Alikhan Smailov as Kazakhstan’s prime minister, the presidential press service reported.

On January 5, against the background of escalating protest rallies, the Kazakh president accepted the resignation of the previous government led by Askar Mamin. First Deputy Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov became the interim prime minister. Smailov, 49, has been Kazakhstan’s first deputy prime minister since May 2020.

Earlier, the Kazakh leader nominated Smailov as a candidate for the post of prime minister to the Mazhilis (lower house) and the lower house of Kazakhstan’s parliament approved his candidacy.

Source: https://tass.com

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Man gets genetically-modified pig heart in world-first transplant.

A US man has become the first person in the world to get a heart transplant from a genetically-modified pig.

David Bennett, 57, is doing well three days after the experimental seven-hour procedure in Baltimore, doctors say.

The transplant was considered the last hope of saving Mr Bennett's life, though it is not yet clear what his long-term chances of survival are.

Doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center were granted a special dispensation by the US medical regulator to carry out the procedure, on the basis that Mr Bennett - who has terminal heart disease - would otherwise have died.

The possibility of using animal organs for so-called xenotransplantation to meet the demand has long been considered, and using pig heart valves is already common.

Source: www.bbc.com

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The Henley Passport Index: Q1 2022 Global Ranking.

The Henley Passport Index includes 199 different passports and 227 different travel destinations. Updated quarterly, the Henley Passport Index is considered the standard reference tool for global citizens and sovereign states when assessing where a passport ranks on the global mobility spectrum.

If no visa is required, then a score with value = 1 is created for that passport. The same applies if you can obtain a visa on arrival, a visitor’s permit, or an electronic travel authority (ETA) when entering the destination.

Where a visa is required, or where a passport holder has to obtain a government-approved electronic visa (e-Visa) before departure, a score with value = 0 is assigned. This also applies if you need pre-departure government approval for a visa on arrival.

The total score for each passport is equal to the number of destinations for which no visa is required (value = 1).

Sri Lanka ranked at 102nd position and Japan and Singapore hold the first rank on the passport index.

Top 5 countries in the Index:

  • Rank 1: Japan, Singapore
  • Rank 2: Germany, South Korea
  • Rank 3: Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain
  • Rank 4: Austria, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Sweden
  • Rank 5: Ireland, Portugal

World’s 5 least powerful passports:

  • Yemen
  • Pakistan 
  • Syria 
  • Iraq 
  • Afghanistan

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Astronomers witness the explosive death of a giant star for first time.

For the first time, astronomers have observed the final days and death throes of a red supergiant star before its final collapse and massive explosion into a supernova.

Supernovas are usually only detected after they happen, although a few of a different type have been caught in the act of exploding. In this case, scientists detected the star in its final stages about 130 days before it detonated, and they were able to watch it grow progressively brighter and, at last,  blow up.

Source: www.nbcnews.com


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Cannabis Compounds prevented Covid Infection in a Laboratory Study.

Some of the compounds in cannabis may prevent the entry of the coronavirus into healthy human cells, according to a study published in the Journal of Nature Products. 

The research was conducted at Oregon State University and led by Richard van Breemen, a scientist with Oregon State’s Global Hemp Innovation Center, College of Pharmacy, and Linus Pauling Institute.

The study suggests two compounds found in commonly found in hemp -- cannabigerolic and cannabidiolic acid -- prevent coronavirus from entering cells that typically line internal organs and skin in a lab setting.

In the study, these acids were able to bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein -- the same target used in COVID-19 vaccines and antibody therapy. Once bound, this step could block a critical step in the pathogen process used to infect the cell.

Both cannabis compounds were found equally effective against the SARS-CoV-2 alpha and beta variants.

Source: www.nbcnewyork.com

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Novak Djokovic faces fine or prison for breaking isolation while Covid positive.

Novak Djokovic could face a fine or even prison in Serbia after his admission that he broke isolation while he had Covid last month, lawyers have said, as the Serbian prime minister warned his behaviour appeared to be “a clear breach” of the rules.

The 34-year-old Belgrade-born tennis player is chasing a record-breaking 21st grand slam victory at the Australian Open beginning on Monday 17th, but could yet be deported by the government which is unhappy with his medical exemption from inoculation.

Lawyers in Serbia told local reporters that breaking the country’s strict isolation rules was an offence under article 248 of the criminal code, and subject to a fine or prison sentence of up to three years – although community service was more likely.

Source: www.theguardian.com

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11 January 2022

Bitcoin hits longest losing streak since 2018 as Key Sell-Off Level Approaches.

Bitcoin is currently experiencing its worst price slump in nearly four years, having lost nearly 40 per cent of its value in just two months.

The cryptocurrency fell in price for seven days in a row over the last week, CoinDesk noted, marking the longest losing streak since August 2018.

Source: www.independent.co.uk

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09 January 2022

Earth’s Rotation Day - 08 January.

On January 8th, Earth’s Rotation Day celebrates the discovery that our planet rotates on its axis every 24 hours. It’s also a day to learn more about the French physicist, Leon Foucault.

The axis on which the Earth rotates is an imaginary line that is drawn straight through the earth. The axis connects the North Pole to the South Pole. The Earth rotates on this near-vertical axis every 24 hours. For this reason, there are 24 hours in one day. Additionally, it takes just over 365 days to revolve around the sun. Because of this, 365 days equals one year.

The earth’s rotation doesn’t just determine how long our day or year is, however. The earth’s rotation also determines the seasons. As the earth rotates, the sun intensifies at various angles. The Earth’s various positions in space throughout the year also allows us to see different constellations.

The earth’s rotation is even responsible for the Coriolis Effect, which is the defection of air currents. Air gets deflected to the right (clockwise) in the Northern hemisphere and to the left (counterclockwise) in the Southern hemisphere. Trade winds occur when the high-pressure wind gets blown to the west from 30 degrees N. Westerly winds occur when air currents are deflected to the east.

It’s not known when people began observing this day. It is known, however, that the day is celebrated on January 8th to mark an important scientific event. It’s on this day in 1851 that Leon Foucault proved that the Earth rotates on its axis. Foucault is a French physicist who is also known for inventing the gyroscope and coming up with Foucault’s pendulum.

Source: https://nationaldaycalendar.com

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World Typing Day - 08 January.

Every year on January 8th, World Typing Day celebrates this written form of communication that ensures speed, accuracy, and efficiency. It’s also a day for typists to enter typing contests.

History of the Typewriter

Typewriting machines have been around since Christopher Latham Sholes patented one in 1868. Sholes was a printer and journalist from Wisconsin. Practically ever since its invention, the typewriter has contained the QWERTY keyboard layout. QWERTY means the order of the first six keys on the top left part of the keyboard.

Throughout the late 1800s, many famous authors used the typewriter to write their manuscripts. Some of these authors include Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, and Ian Fleming. It wasn’t just writers who used these handy little machines. Office personnel found the typewriter an indispensable tool for writing and communication. Through the years, typewriters became less cumbersome, lighter, and easier to use. Improvements to the typewriter helped increase a typist’s speed and accuracy.

In 1935, IBM developed the first successful electric typewriter. In 1964, IBM made more improvements on the typewriter by developing the first word processor. During the 1980s, computers began to replace typewriters. However, typing skills were, and continue to be, useful for writing and working on the computer.

World Typing Day began in Malaysia in 2011. The day commemorates the Malaysian Speed Typing Contest in 2011. During the contest, two typing records were broken in the Malaysian Book of Records (MBR). The day is co-organized by the Speed Typing Contest Team from Junior Chamber International (JCI) and Team Typo Auto Corrector.

Source: https://tbharticles.com

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Philippines bans child marriage.

In the Philippines, one in every 6 girls get married before the age of 18. But on Thursday 06th, child marriage became illegal in the country as a new ban went into place. The Philippines is saddled with gender inequality and a culture that has long accepted child marriage as a common practice.

In fact, Plan International, a British rights group, said that the Philippines has the 12th highest amount of child marriage in the world. But now President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law the new ban on child marriages with harsh consequences for violators.

Those caught marrying or living with someone under the age of 18 can be sentenced to up to 12 years in prison, and those who assist by arranging a marriage or officiating a wedding ceremony with an underage bride can receive the same prison term.

The new law reframes child marriage not as a cultural tradition but a form of child abuse, saying that it “debases, degrades, and demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of children.” The Philippine government says this new law brings the country in line with international standards regarding the rights of women and children.

The United Nations Children’s Fund issued a report last year that last year more than half a billion girls were involved in child marriages around the world. Though the tradition of child marriages is declining in popularity in most parts of the world, it’s still a significant problem in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

While the law went into effect on Thursday, there have been some parts of the law that have been delayed from going into effect right away, allowing for a one year transitional period for child marriages in indigenous communities and amongst Muslim people, two demographics where children being married is fairly common.

Source: https://thethaiger.com

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Sea Dragon 2022 Exercise: India joins ‘Sea Dragon’ exercise.

India and its partners in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or Quad along with Canada and South Korea are participating in the multinational exercise Sea Dragon 2022 at Guam in the Western Pacific. The six nations that are participating in the exercise are the United States, Australia, Canada, India, Japan and South Korea.

About the exercise:

The exercise, primarily focused on anti-submarine warfare (ASW) training, will involve more than 270 hours of in-flight training and activities ranging from tracking simulated targets to tracking a US Navy submarine. Each event will be graded and the country scoring the highest points will receive the Dragon Belt award.

The focus of the exercise:

Sea Dragon 22 focuses on anti-submarine warfare (ASW) training and excellence, which includes everything from tracking simulated targets to tracking a genuine US Navy submarine. Pilots and flight officers from all around the world develop strategies and discuss tactics in training sessions that take into account their individual countries’ skills and equipment.

Source: www.prepareexams.com

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Sri Lanka, India ink agreement to jointly develop Trinco oil tank farm.

The agreement to jointly develop the Trincomalee oil tank farm with India has been signed this evening (06), according to Energy Ministry sources.

Sri Lanka’s Treasury Secretary, the Commissioner General of Lands, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), Lanka ICO and the subsidiary company Trinco Petroleum Terminal Pvt. Ltd are among the signatories of the deal.

The Cabinet of Ministers on Monday had given its approval to the proposal tabled by the Minister of Power, for the implementation of Trincomalee Oil Tank Farm development project with India.

Thereby, 61 tanks at the oil storage complex will be jointly developed by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and Lanka IOC as a joint venture.

Lanka IOC is a subsidiary of the Indian Oil Corporation which is under the ownership of India’s Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

A subsidiary company named Trinco Petroleum Terminal Pvt. Ltd. is slated to be established for the joint development of these 61 oil tanks.

According to the government, the CPC will retain 51% of the shares from this joint venture while Lanka IOC holds on to 49%.

Source: www.adaderana.lk

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JC Chaudhry gets first ever Guinness World Record in Numerology.

India’s one of the top numerologists, JC Chaudhry has achieved the first-ever Guinness World Record in Numerology and the first world record of 2022 by educating about ancient science to around 6000 participants, enthusiasts of numerology joined from the United States, the United Kingdom, Middle East, and India. The Guinness World Record London office has opened a new category, “Numerology” for this achievement.

The initiative was organised by CNPL (Chaudhry Nummero Pvt Ltd) and the Indian Institute of Numerology to create awareness regarding numerology, which is prevalent across ancient cultures like Greece, Egypt, China, Chaldea and India.

Source: www.hindustantimes.com

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08 January 2022

Chinese scientists build factory robot that can read minds.

Researchers in China say they have developed an industrial robot that can read a human co-worker’s mind with 96% accuracy.

The robot not only monitored the worker’s brain waves, but also collected electric signals from muscles, as it worked seamlessly together to assemble a complex product, according to its developers at China Three Gorges University’s Intelligent Manufacturing Innovation Technology Centre.

The co-worker did not need to say or do anything when they needed a tool or a component, as the robot would recognise the intention almost instantly, picking up the object and putting it on the workstation, according to the developers.

Source: www.scmp.com


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First black man to win Best Actor Oscar, Sidney Poitier passes away.

Bahamian-American actor Sidney Poitier, who won an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1964, has died at the age of 94. In 1963, Poitier had made a film in Arizona, Lilies of the Field. The performance led to a huge milestone making him the first black winner of a lead-acting Oscar. He was awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009 by President Obama for his work.

Sidney Poitier started his career as an actor in theatre in the 1940s before his breakthrough film role in the 1950 release No Way Out. Over a five-decade career in films, he worked both as an actor and director. His last appearance on screen was in the 1997 film Jackal.

Source: www.cbsnews.com

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OPEC appoints Kuwait’s Haitham Al Ghais as new Secretary General.

OPEC appointed Kuwaiti oil executive Haitham Al Ghais as its new secretary general on Monday 03 January 2022, as demand for oil continues to improve amid a mild recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Al Ghais, a veteran of the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation and Kuwait’s Opec governor from 2017 to June 2021, will take the group’s reins in August, replacing Mohammad Barkindo, delegates at Monday’s Opec meeting said.

The move comes as the oil exporters’ group and its allies prepare to meet on Tuesday to decide on a future course for oil production. Opec+ is expected to stick to the plan and increase production by 400,000 barrels per day in February.

At its last meeting in December, Opec+ kept to plans to boost output for January by 400,000 barrels per day despite fears over the Omicron variant of coronavirus.

Source: www.thenationalnews.com

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Google acquires Israeli cybersecurity company Siemplify for $. 500m.

Google has acquired another Israeli company, threat detection firm Siemplify, for a reported $500 million, nine years after its $1 billion purchase of navigation app Waze. The purchase will mark Google’s fourth acquisition of an Israeli company and its first in the cybersecurity industry outside the US.

Last summer, Google committed to investing $10 billion in cybersecurity over the next five years to “strengthen cybersecurity, including expanding zero-trust programs, helping secure the software supply chain, and enhancing open-source security” and to train 100,000 Americans in fields like IT support and data analytics.

Source: www.timesofisrael.com

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Capt. Harpreet Chandi becomes first Indian-origin woman to trek solo to South Pole.

Captain Harpreet Chandi, an Indian-origin British Sikh Army officer, has scripted history by completing a solo unsupported trek to the South Pole. Chandi announced her history-making feat on her blog at the end of Day 40 after travelling 1,127 kilometres while pulling a pulk or sledge with all of her kit and battling temperatures of minus 50 degrees Celsius and wind speeds of around 60mph..

British Sikh Army officer and a physiotherapist, Harpreet Chandi has created history by becoming the first woman of Indian origin to complete a solo unsupported trek to the South Pole. 

Source: www.deccanherald.com

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07 January 2022

Rumesh Ratnayake named Sri Lanka's interim coach.

Former fast bowler Rumesh Ratnayake has been appointed the Sri Lanka men's national side's interim coach for their three-ODI series against Zimbabwe, later this month. Sri Lanka have been without a head coach since Mickey Arthur's contract ended on December 4. Ratnayake will be assisted by former first-class batter Ruwin Peiris, who will be with the team as interim batting coach.

Ratnayake has taken on the role of interim coach before, usually when the team was in between permanent appointments. He has also repeatedly served as the side's bowling coach. His current permanent role with SLC is as fast bowling coach at the high-performance centre. Peiris, meanwhile, is also presently a coach attached to the high performance centre.

Mahela Jayawardene, who was recently appointed as consultant coach to all the national sides, is unlikely to be part of the men's senior side's backroom during the Zimbabwe series, as he will be with the Sri Lanka men's Under-19 side, for their World Cup campaign in the Caribbean.

Zimbabwe's tour of Sri Lanka runs from January 16 to January 21. Sri Lanka's next major assignments are the T20I tour of Australia, in mid-February, closely followed by a two-Test tour of India. The board is expected to have named a permanent head coach by then.

Source: www.espncricinfo.com

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Petition to block Tony Blair's knighthood tops 700,000 signatures.

More than 700,000 people have signed a petition calling for former Prime Minister Sir Tony Blair to have his knighthood removed.

The ex-Labour leader, who was in power from 1997 to 2007, was given the title as the New Year's Honours were awarded.

But the petition complains that his role in the Iraq war makes him "personally responsible" for many deaths and accuses him of "war crimes".

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said Sir Tony had "earned" a knighthood.

And a government minister said it was "only right" to reward the former prime minister, who had done "many good things" for the UK.

On 1 January, Sir Tony became a member of the Order of the Garter, England's oldest and most senior order of chivalry.

Source: www.bbc.com

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Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement to enter into force on 1 January 2022.

As of 2 November 2021, the ASEAN Secretariat has received Instruments of Ratification/Acceptance from six ASEAN Member States – Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam – as well as from four non-ASEAN signatory States – Australia, China, Japan, and New Zealand.

As provided by the Agreement, the RCEP will enter into force sixty days after the date at which the minimum number of IOR/A is achieved. This means that the RCEP Agreement shall enter into force on 1 January 2022.

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Russia, China, Britain, U.S. and France say no one can win nuclear war.

In a rare joint statement, the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council said it was their primary responsibility to avoid war between the nuclear states.

China, Russia, Britain, the United States and France have agreed that a further spread of nuclear arms and a nuclear war should be avoided, according to a joint statement by the five nuclear powers published by the Kremlin.

It said that the five countries — which are the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — consider it their primary responsibility to avoid war between the nuclear states and to reduce strategic risks, while aiming to work with all countries to create an atmosphere of security.

Source: www.reuters.com

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06 January 2022

World Day of War Orphans 2022 - 06 January.

World Day of War Orphans is marked on 6 January to create awareness about the plight of children who have lost their parents due to conflict. In any conflict, children are one of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups present. Children who have been injured in a gunfight or separated from their families require particular care in order to heal the mental wounds of war, begin school, and restart normal life.

World Day of War Orphans was started by the French organisation SOS Enfants en Detresses, which aimed to help children affected by conflict. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), an orphan is defined as a “child under 18 years of age who has lost one or both parents to any cause of death”.

On World Day of War Orphans, several awareness programmes are organised to create awareness about the trauma endured by orphaned children. The coronavirus pandemic has further led to issues like food insecurity and access to basic health and sanitation facilities for many children worldwide. World Day of War Orphans is marked as a reminder of the issues faced by such children and to remind the world of its responsibility to ensure that such kids also get equal access to health and educational opportunities.

Source: www.worldorphansday.org

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