World Times 24 Leading Online News Portal! Fri, 23 Jun 2017 16:39:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Lailatul Qadr , Jumatul Wida observed Fri, 23 Jun 2017 16:31:15 +0000 WT24 Desk

The holy Lailatul Qadr, the night of divine blessing and benediction, was observed across the country last night with due religious fervor, Agencies report .
Special prayers were offered at all mosques, seeking blessings of Allah for continued peace and progress of the Muslim Ummah. Devotees also visited the graves of their near and dear ones and offered munajat (prayer) for the salvation of the departed souls.
They also joined milad, qurankhwani and religious discussions at mosques and their houses.

Special munajat will be offered at all mosques of the country after Jumma prayers where the devotees will seek divine blessing for peace, progress and prosperity of the nation.

The holy Quran was revealed on this night to show the mankind the path of worldly and eternal emancipation.
Meanwhile, Jumatul Wida, the last Juma in the holy month of Ramadan, was observed across the country yesterday.

Thousands of Muslims thronged different mosques especially Baitul Mokarram National Mosque to offer Jumma prayers as the day was very significant for devotees.

Prayers were also offered at different mosques seeking peace and prosperity of the nation as well as the Muslim Ummah.
The Jumatul-Wida was also observed as Al-Quds Day at different countries.


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England U21 3-0 Poland U21: Young Lions roar into semi-finals Fri, 23 Jun 2017 07:15:29 +0000 WT24 Desk

England roared into the European U21 Championship semi-finals after their 3-0 win over Poland was enough to finish top of Group A, Sky Sports reports.

Aidy Boothroyd’s side knew a victory would enough for a guaranteed place in the last four and wasted no time in getting the job done, with Demarai Gray netting with just six minutes on the clock.

England peppered the Poland goal with plenty of efforts and got their deserved cushion through further goals in the second-half from Jacob Murphy and a Lewis Baker penalty, after Tammy Abraham was taken down by Jan Bednarek, who was sent-off for a second yellow card.

England will now play in Tuesday’s semi-final against an opponent yet to be decided.

Gray broke the deadlock in emphatic fashion. The Leicester forward received the ball after some good work from Ben Chilwell on the left flank. He shaped to shoot and fired a clean strike into the far corner, providing England with the perfect start.

Keeping the pressure on throughout the first-half, the Young Lions may have been out of sight if it were not for the heroics of Poland’s Jakub Wrabel in goal.

 Two corners in quick succession saw Nathaniel Chalobah and Alfie Mawson’s downward headers beaten away smartly and, shortly after, John Swift’s 30-yard drive looked destined for the top corner, but Wrabel’s acrobatics rescued Poland once more.Boothroyd’s side continued to dominate after the restart, with James Ward-Prowse, in particular, delivering some inviting set-pieces, but despite enjoying a greater share of the possession, England’s lead remained slight.

Player ratings

England: Pickford (7), Holgate (6), Chilwell (7), Chambers (8), Mawson (9), Chalobah (7), Ward-Prowse (7), Baker (6), Gray (8), Redmond (6), Swift (6). Subs:Murphy (8), Hughes (7), Abraham (7)

However, that crucial second came in the 69th minute. A rare Poland attack broke down in the England penalty area fifteen minutes before time and Mawson’s clearance found its way out to goal scorer Gray. He drove at the defence before squaring to Murphy, who guided the ball into an empty net.

Substitute Abraham had just enough to time to make an impact, his slaloming run forced a foul in the Polish area and Bednarek was shown a second yellow. Baker stepped up and hammered the ball into the bottom corner to send the Young Lions to within 90 minutes of a major final.

Man of the match – Ben Chilwell

Alan Smith: “He was sensational in the opening 45 minutes and played a big part in the crucial opening goal. He slalomed up and down the left wing and was strong in possession.”

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Russian auto enthusiasts weld three cars into a massive fidget spinner Fri, 23 Jun 2017 07:11:12 +0000 WT24 Desk

A group of experimental mechanics in Russia created an enormous fidget spinner by combining portions of three cars, UPI reports. The YouTube group Garage 54 welded together three hatchback Lada Samara vehicles into the shape of the popular spinning toys.

Garage 54 attached the front half of the three vehicles together and attempted to drive them in a circle to mimic the toy’s spinning motion. Drivers were stationed behind the wheel of each car as they attempted to the vehicles in unison, nearly tearing the absurd collection of vehicles apart.

Eventually the group decided a single driver would be more effective and the mechanical fidget spinner managed to complete a few rotations, sending smoke into the air before the test came to an end.

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Multitasking brain mechanism examined Fri, 23 Jun 2017 07:09:30 +0000 WT24 Desk

Multitasking is the holy grail of all efficient workers. Recent research, published in the journal Current Biology, lifts the lid on how we might all manage this feat more efficiently, according to MNT

Although multitasking is a highly sought-after ability, many of us fail to achieve it. Rather than conducting two jobs in parallel, we flit between them, having to refocus our concentration each time we switch.

Shifting focus in this way has been shown to reduce productivity by around 40 percent, which is certainly not ideal.

It has been shown that if the human brain learns a new task and then quickly afterward learns another, the two memories “compete” and neither task is learned as efficiently; this is referred to as interference.

The two tasks demand the same brain resources, which are then split between the two tasks, significantly impairing the ability to learn either. This phenomenon can severely disrupt true multitasking.

Interfering with interference

Recently, a study was designed to investigate a potential way of negating interference and allowing two memories to stop competing and be learned more efficiently. The research was led by student Jasmine Herszage and Dr. Nitzan Censor, of Tel Aviv University’s School of Psychological Sciences and Sagol School of Neuroscience in Israel.

Specifically, the researchers examined a method referred to as “reactivating the learned memory.”  Our research demonstrates that the brief reactivation of a single learned memory, in appropriate conditions, enables the long-term prevention of, or immunity to, future interference in the performance of another task performed in close conjunction.”  Dr. Nitzan Censor

In the experiment, the participants were taught to perform a sequence of finger movements with one hand. They were required to tap out a specific string of digits that appeared on a computer screen in the shortest possible time.

Once this task had been learned, the memory was reactivated on a different day, and, as they briefly carried out the task, they were also asked to perform the same process but using the other hand.

In this instance, the participants were able to do the two tasks without interference. So, by reactivating the original memory, two distinct tasks could be carried out without the effects of interference.

Impressively, the prevention of interference lasted for 1 month after the first task had initially been learned. 

Dr. Censor explains, “The second task is a model of a competing memory, as the same sequence is performed using the novel, untrained hand.” This model has previously been studied in animal models.

He continues, “Existing research from studies on rodents showed that a reactivation of the memory of fear opened up a window of several hours in which the brain was susceptible to modifications – in which to modify memory.”

“In other words, when a learned memory is reactivated by a brief cue or reminder, a unique time-window opens up. This presents an opportunity to interact with the memory and update it – degrade, stabilize, or strengthen its underlying brain neural representations. We utilized this knowledge to discover a mechanism that enabled long-term stabilization, and prevention of task interference in humans.”

The mechanism is intriguing and has a range of real-world implications. It could also have clinical implications, potentially being of use for people who are undergoing rehabilitation following brain injuries that impact memory and motor functions.

The current study throws out many more questions, so Herszage and her team are eager to carry out more tests. They plan to dig a little deeper into the underlying brain circuitry that allows this interaction to occur. What brain regions are involved? And does the effect hold true for tasks other than motor-related ones?

As we steadily unpick the mechanisms behind reactivating a learned memory, society at large might benefit from a new ability to multitask more efficiently.

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Delhi University may soon be a ‘hub of sporting excellence’ Fri, 23 Jun 2017 07:07:19 +0000 WT24 Desk

Delhi University may soon be a hub of sporting excellence, The Hindustan Times reports

The institute is likely to be one of the 10 universities the ministry of human resource development (MHRD)— in consultation with the department of sports, the University Grants Commission (UGC) and others—has been trying to identify to promote as hubs of sporting excellence, a source said.

“Seeing the performance, facilities, infrastructure and the long legacy of sporting excellence that the students of DU have exhibited, we are hopeful that DU may soon be identified as a sporting hub,” said Anil Kumar Kalkal, the director of DU sports Council, when asked about the proposal.

DU has a rich history of sports with many students performing well in many activities. “Last year, 10 students from DU had participated in the World University Shooting Championship, and six out of them came back with medals. Three students from DU participated in the Rio Olympics,” said Kalkal.

However, officials claimed there are certain other requirements to ensure universities can function as hubs of sporting excellence.

“Students who do well in sports may not always do well in academics. They may have to attend practices or go for matches and may not be able to attend examinations in time. There should be a provision of a ‘self-paced’ mode of study, where these students can attempt examinations according to their schedule,” said CS Dubey, chairman of the DU sports council.

Kalkal suggested that there has to be a provision to transfer credits from sports to academics to help the students get their degrees in time.

Kalkal emphasized the importance of funding for the students to participate in the various competitions. “The Delhi University usually funds students who go for World University games and championships,” he said.

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Tom Cruise, Rebecca De Mornay had an ‘intense affair’, reveals co-star Fri, 23 Jun 2017 07:05:04 +0000 WT24 Desk

Actor Curtis Armstrong has claimed that actor Tom Cruise had an “intense affair” with his co-star Rebecca De Mornay on the sets of the film Risky Business, IANS reports.

Armstrong appeared alongside Cruise, who was 19 at the time, in the 1983 Paul Brickman movie. In his new memoir, he has revealed the Top Gun actor had a massive affair with De Mornay, reports

In his soon-to-be-released memoir Revenge of the Nerd, the 63-year-old star wrote: “It’s no secret that Tom engaged in an intense affair during the shooting with De Mornay. Returning late one night, I found three or four young girls — late teens, I suspect — lined up in the hall outside of Tom’s room.

“I remember thinking ‘Tom’s going to be really upset if these hot girls interfere with his Bible reading’. So I asked them, with all the stern gravitas of my 28 years, if there was something I could do to help them.

 “They just stared at me and at that moment, Tom’s door opened and another girl came out adjusting her hair and taking off down the hall, while the first girl in line slipped into Tom’s room.

“This was a young man who knew something about time management and understood how to successful juggle Bible study with blow jobs,” the memoir further read.

Risky Business follows Joel Goodsen (Cruise) who hires Lana (De Mornay) for a night of delight when his parents go on holiday.

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Lightning kills farmer in Jessore Fri, 23 Jun 2017 07:02:29 +0000 WT24 Desk

A farmer was killed after being struck by a streak of lightning in Monirampur upazila on Thursday afternoon, Agencies report The deceased was Mujibur Rahman, 38, son of late Moshiur Rahman Mujib, a resident of Durbadanga village of the upazila.

Durbadanga union parishad chairman Sardar Bahadur Ali said the thunderbolt hit Mujibur while he was working at the field, leaving him dead on the spot.

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Afghan ‘hill of widows’ live in a world apart Fri, 23 Jun 2017 07:01:29 +0000 WT24 Desk

The first women settled on this stony slope outside Kabul in the 1990s hoping to escape the stigma those like them are forced to endure, AFP reports.

Today it is known as Afghanistan’s ‘hill of widows’, home to a cluster of women who have eked out independence in a society that shuns and condemns them as immoral.

The rocky summit 15 kilometres south-east of the capital has gradually been swallowed by the city, becoming a distant Kabul suburb. But for its residents, it remains “Zanabad”, the city of women.

The matriarch of Zanabad, Bibi ul-Zuqia, known as “Bibikoh”, died in 2016. Her eldest daughter, 38-year-old Anissa Azimi, has a husband — but in a rare step for married women in conservative Afghanistan, has taken up the matriarchal torch.

Their house is one of the first when you arrive in Zanabad by a broken track, at the bottom of a passage barred with a tarp to protect privacy. “My mother arrived here 15 years ago” with her five children, Anissa says, sitting on carpets and assaulted by a swarm of children.

Bibikoh lost a first husband, killed by a rocket, before being remarried to a brother-in-law, who then died from an illness. She was scratching a living doing laundry for others, but found Kabul rents too expensive.

In Zanabad, Anissa says, land was cheap.

The first widows had already begun to lay down their belongings and their grief in the largely deserted suburb to form a tightly-knit community — though no one any longer knows exactly who began it, and when.

‘Safe and cheap’

“They encouraged the others (widows) to join them,” says Anissa. “The main idea was to get a cheap and safe place … a permanent address.” Soon it became a haven for destitute and desperate women who had lost their husbands.

Bibikoh organised literacy classes, sewing workshops and food distributions with the support of an NGO, says researcher Naheed Esar, who studied the community for several years for the Afghan Analysts Network.

Women are perceived as being owned by their father before becoming their husband’s property. Widows are often rejected as immoral or regarded as burdens: they suffer violence, expulsion, ostracism and sometimes forced remarriage, often with a brother-in-law, as reported by the UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in a rare study published in 2014.

Alone, they are vulnerable.

A small military post guards the hill. It’s good for protection, Anissa says. The Taliban are not very far down the road. But these women have learned those in authority cannot always be relied upon.

Anissa recalls policemen coming to tear down the houses the women had painstakingly built together in Zanabad. The only way to put them off was with bribes. “They destroyed our house like eight or nine times,” says Anissa, who is now herself a police officer. “The only option at the end was to give them little money.”

It is estimated there are as many as 2.5 million widows in Afghanistan today. Often uneducated and cloistered at home, the women have few options if their husbands die.

At best, they receive $150 a year from the government if their husband was killed in fighting. They survive by doing household chores, a little sewing, or by sending their children to beg in the bazaar.

– Misery and solidarity –

“In Afghanistan, men usually provide financial support for women, so it is hard for women to lose this support,” says women’s ministry spokeswoman Kobra Rezai.

A policy providing aid for poor women was approved in 2008 but never ratified, she adds. A few non-governmental programs help the widows find a little autonomy.

In front of the former royal palace in Kabul, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) created a small gardening cooperative where some 100 particularly poor women learned to work the land. Eighty percent of them are widows.

Their destinies have been invariably cruel: Marghooba Jafary, a widow at 35 with four children, had to marry her 13-year-old daughter to a forty-year-old man as she was unable to feed her. He has since abandoned his teen bride.

As Marghooba tells her story to AFP, she bursts into tears. The other women sitting around her — many depressed and unused to having someone listen to their woes — join in.

Sixteen years after the end of the Taliban regime, families are bereaved every day by an intensifying conflict. More than 11,500 civilians were killed in 2016, and at least 800 soldiers and police in three months this winter.

Nawzi Fakiri, who says she has been a widow “since Baba Karmal” — the former pro-Soviet president in power from 1979 to 1986 — has taken in one displaced mother, Nouria, with her five children.

The family fled Kunduz city in the north after it was assaulted by the Taliban last summer and found a safe place staying with Nawzi in Zanabad.

In exchange for their room, Nouria helps care for Nawzi, who is almost blind from her cataracts.

Zanabad has been home to as many as 500 widows. Anissa is trying to keep the list up to date, but as insecurity spirals more and more displaced families are seeking refuge in the outskirts of Kabul.

She says: “Everywhere there is war. People are joining us.”


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9 Bangladeshis released from Indian jail Fri, 23 Jun 2017 06:58:50 +0000 WT24 Desk

Nine Bangladeshi women and children returned home after languishing in an Indian jail for nearly four years, reports UNB.

Indian immigration police handed them over to Bangladesh authorities through Benapole check-post on Thursday.
The returnees are Zohura Khatun, Rina Bibi, Jannatul Ferdous, Rozina Khatun, Sagarika, Salma Khatun, Josna Begum, Rabiul and Shamim. All of them hailed from different parts of Jessore, Narail, Sunamganj, Chuadanga, Satkhira, Khagrachhari and Chittagong districts.

Omar Sharif, officer-in-charge of Benapole check-post immigration police, said all the nine had gone to India illegally in search of job four years back.

Later, they were arrested from Mumbai and Alipur and sent to jail. The decision to return them was taken following an intervention of the home ministries of the two countries.

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Mad rush home for Eid Fri, 23 Jun 2017 06:57:27 +0000 WT24 Desk

Commuters leaving the capital for home ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr are suffering as traffic appears very slow at key exit routes of the city. Police said the excessive number of buses on the Dhaka-Tangail, Dhaka-Mymensingh and Dhaka-Aricha highways are causing the Eid goers so much suffering, Agencies report.

Buses on the Dhaka-Aricha highway from Jahangirnagar University to Nabinagar were seen moving very slowly.

Savar traffic police inspector Abul Hossain said three vehicles broke down on the Dhaka-Aricha highway between Savar and Bishmai areas, causing long tailbacks.

Konabari highway police officer-in-charge Hossain Sarkar said vehicular movement was normal on the Dhaka-Tangail highway. But, buses were moving slowly in some areas of Gazipur due to excessive numbers of buses on the highway. If weather remains good, holidaymakers could go home hassle-free, the police officer observed.

Kaliakair upazila police station inspector Masud Alam said as many as 1000 members of police and community police have been deployed on the highways.

He also told Prothom Alo that buses were moving slowly on the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway between Tongi and Gazipur areas, but no there were no tailbacks there.

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