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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

California boosts anti-Trump resistance by becoming 'sanctuary' state

California declared itself a “sanctuary" state over the weekend, showing the world that resistance to the Trump administration continues to gain traction throughout the United States.

US President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the Paris climate accord and his crackdown on illegal immigration have divided the United States and fostered a robust opposition, of which California is a prime example.
On Saturday, lawmakers in the “Golden State” approved the California Values Act, legislation designed to protect immigrants without legal residency in the US that is the most far-reaching of its kind in the country.
 The law limits how much state and local law enforcement have to communicate with federal immigration authorities. It comes hot on the heels of the US government’s announcement earlier this month that it was scrapping the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, which shields illegal immigrants who arrived as children from deportation.
First sanctuary state
California is the first state to adopt this “sanctuary” status, but more than 400 sanctuary cities and jurisdictions throughout the United States have already adopted new policies on how much local authorities will cooperate with federal immigration agencies. Although sanctuary cities are not new – they started in Los Angeles in the 1980s to encourage immigrant communities to cooperate with the police – the number of sanctuary jurisdictions has risen since Trump was elected

On this day Sep 19,1957, the United States detonates a 1.7 kiloton nuclear weapon in an underground tunnel at the Nevada Test Site (NTS)

On this day in 1957, the United States detonates a 1.7 kiloton nuclear weapon in an underground tunnel at the Nevada Test Site (NTS), a 1,375 square mile research center located 65 miles north of Las Vegas. 
The test, known as Rainier, was the first fully contained underground detonation and produced no radioactive fallout. 
A modified W-25 warhead weighing 218 pounds and measuring 25.7 inches in diameter and 17.4 inches in length was used for the test. 
Rainier was part of a series of 29 nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons safety tests known as Operation Plumbbob that were conducted at the NTS between May 28, 1957, and October 7, 1957.
In December 1941, the U.S. government committed to building the world’s first nuclear weapon when President Franklin Roosevelt authorized $2 billion in funding for what came to be known as the Manhattan Project.
 The first nuclear weapon test took place on July 16, 1945, at the Trinity site near Alamogordo, New Mexico. 
A few weeks later, on August 6, 1945, with the U.S. at war against Japan, President Harry Truman authorized the dropping of an atomic bomb named Little Boy over Hiroshima, Japan. 
Three days later, on August 9, a nuclear bomb called Fat Man was dropped over Nagasaki. Two hundred thousand people, according to some estimates, were killed in the attacks on the two cities and on August 15, 1945, Japan surrendered to the Allied Powers.
1957’s Operation Plumbbob took place at a time when the U.S. was engaged in a Cold War and nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union.
 In 1963, the U.S. signed the Limited Test Ban Treaty, which banned nuclear weapons testing in the atmosphere, underwater and outer space. 
A total of 928 tests took place at the Nevada Test Site between 1951 and 1992, when the U.S. conducted its last underground nuclear test. 
In 1996, the U.S signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty(CTBT), which prohibits nuclear detonations in all environments

2017 Emmy Awards - British Pakistan Actor Riz Ahmed is first Muslim to win Emmy Sunday Sep 17,2017

British Pakistan actor Riz Ahmed became the first Muslim actor as well as the man of Asian descent to win an Emmy award at the TV's biggest night on Sunday and spoke about the "systematic issue of inclusion".
The actor took home the trophy for the outstanding lead actor in a limited series for "The Night Of", in which he plays, Nasir Khan, the son of a Pakistani cab driver from Queens who becomes a murder suspect.
Ahmed is the second Asian actor ever to receive the honour, following "The Good Wife" star Archie Panjabi, who won the supporting actress award in a drama series in 2010.
In his speech, he talked about the importance of the Innocence Project and the New York-based South Asian Youth Action organisation.
"I want to say it is always strange reaping the rewards of a story that's based on real world suffering, but if this show has shown a light on some of the prejudice in our societies, Islamophobia, some of the injustice in our justice system, then maybe that is something.
"I don't know if any one person's win changes something that's a systemic issue of inclusion. In this industry, that's something that happens slowly over time," he said in his powerful speech on stage.
Ahmed, 34, praised Ed Skrein's decision to step away from the part of an Asian character in "Hellboy" reboot to give chance to a more deserving actor.
Ahmed said it was important to represent cultural authenticity in roles and Skrein's example will lead to more awareness around the conversation.
Born in London to a British Pakistani family, Ahmed was initially known for his work in independent films, such as "The Road to Guantanamo", "Shifty", "Four Lions", "Trishna" and Mira Nair's "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" before his breakout role in "Nightcrawler" in 2014, alongside Jake Gyllenhaal. 

BBC launches services for Ethiopia and Eritrea

The BBC World Service has launched three websites for Ethiopia and neighbouring Eritrea as part of its biggest expansion since the 1940s.
The sites would be a "source of truth" in a region with limited independent media, said BBC editor Will Ross.
The Amharic, Afaan Oromo and Tigrinya sites' launch will be followed in a few months by the launch of radio programmes in the three languages.
The UK government announced a funding boost for the World Service in 2015.
It paved the way for the expansion drive in Africa and Asia.
"We know that there is a great deal of hunger for audiences in Ethiopia and Eritrea to access a broad range of high quality content in Amharic, Afaan Oromo and Tigrinya," said Ross, head of the new services.
Eritrea won independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after a 30-year war.
Tensions with Ethiopia remain high across a closed and heavily fortified border.
An estimated 80,000 people died during a 1998-2000 border war between the two states.

African languages:

  • Afaan Oromo: Language of Ethiopia's biggest ethnic group
  • Amharic: Ethiopia's official language
  • Tigrinya: The main working language of Eritrea, along with Arabic. Also spoken in Ethiopia
  • Igbo: Spoken in south-eastern Nigeria, and also in Equatorial Guinea
  • Yoruba: Spoken in south-western Nigeria and some other parts of West Africa, especially Benin and Togo
  • Pidgin: A creole version of English widely spoken in southern Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea

Asian languages:

  • Gujarati: Native to the Indian state of Gujarat but found around the Indian subcontinent and the world
  • Marathi: From the Indian state of Maharashtra, including India's commercial capital Mumbai
  • Telugu: Huge numbers of speakers, like many Indian languages, primarily in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
  • Punjabi: One of the world's most populous languages, it is widely-spoken in Pakistan and parts of India
  • Korean: Spoken in North and South though the dialects have diverged. Pop culture slang and foreign loan words are notably more common in the South

Controversial Nobel Peace Prize winners

1948: No-one. Unwilling to alter rules that the prize could not be awarded posthumously, the committee declared there to be ‘no suitable living candidate’ in the year Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated.
1961: Dag Hammarskjold. Despite its Gandhi stance, the committee awarded the prize to the Swedish diplomat, the second secretary general of the United Nations, after his death months earlier in a plane crash en route to ceasefire negotiations in Zambia. He remains the only posthumous laureate.
1973: Henry Kissinger. The former US secretary of state, national security adviser and architect of the Richard Nixon administration’s policies in Vietnam was awarded the prize jointly with Vietnamese revolutionary Le Duc Tho for a ceasefire that would ultimately prove short-lived.
1994: Yasser Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres. In an award meant to celebrate the prize’s commitment to honouring those who turn from a path of violence to peace, Kare Kristiansen, a Norwegian member of the committee, resigned in protest, dubbing Palestinian leader Arafat a terrorist
2002: Jimmy Carter. The one-term US president was awarded the prize for what the committee described as decades of peaceful solutions to conflicts. The prize coincided with the then US president George Bush making preparations for the invasion of Iraq.
2004: Wangari Maathai. The Kenyan activist was honoured for promoting sustainable development, democracy and peace, but had been accused of claiming HIV/Aids was spread deliberately in Africa by Western scientists.
2007: Al Gore. The former US vice-president and presidential candidate shared the prize with the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, but attracted controversy on the grounds the environmental work was not related to conflict.
2008: Martti Ahtisaari. The committee was largely tipped to award the prize to a Chinese dissident (it eventually did two years later) but threw a traditional curveball to honour the Finnish diplomat and former prime minister instead.
2009: Barack Obama. The US president received the prize months into his first term for commitments to reduce nuclear proliferation. Mindful of how detractors back home could use the prize as a stick to beat him with, Obama gave an acceptance speech extolling the power of the US military to do good.
2010: Liu Xiaobo. The Chinese government said dissident Liu did not promote international friendship, disarmament and peace meetings, the stated goals of the prize. The political prisoner was also criticised for supporting the US invasions of Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan

United Nation(UN)'s Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urges Kurds in Iraq to scrap referendum

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged Kurds in Iraq to scrap plans to hold a referendum on independence on Sep 25,2017, arguing it would detract from the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group.

Guterres said in a statement on Sunday that any dispute between the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government should be resolved through dialogue and "constructive compromise". 
Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq plans to hold the referendum on support for independence on September 25 in three governorates that make up the region, and in disputed areas controlled by Kurdish forces, but which are claimed by Baghdad.
Guterres said, "any unilateral decision to hold a referendum at this time would detract from the need to defeat ISIL".
It would also undermine reconstruction efforts and the return of refugees, he added

2017 Amazon India Great Indian Festival Sale - All you need to know

The Amazon Great Indian Festival Sale will commence from September 21 and end on September 24,2017
For the first time ever, the Great Indian Festival will start early at 12 noon on September 20, but only prime members are eligible to participate during the addition time window.
During the period of four days, 40,000 plus offers would be introduced with more than 500 offers on mobiles, 2,500 offers on electronics, above 10,000 home and kitchen offers and more than 3,00,000 offers on apparels
A buyer can get 10 percent cash back via HDFC debit and credit cards and also avail Rs 500 cash back via Amazon Pay balance (up to Rs 500) .
As usual there will be bunch of no cost EMI offers throughout the sale.
Amazon India would also be running a contest on their official app under Amazon App Jackpot wherein consumers could win prizes worth Rs 2,00,000.