Putin signals a coming escalation



News Desk, Barta24.com
Putin signals a coming escalation

Putin signals a coming escalation

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Vladimir Putin accelerated his war effort in Ukraine yesterday and announced a new campaign that would call up roughly 300,000 additional Russian troops.

In a rare address to the nation, the Russian president made a veiled threat of using nuclear weapons. “If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people,” Putin said. “This is not a bluff.”

His comments appeared to be a shift in his domestic strategy to the war. Ukraine said Putin’s remarks reflected his desperation: Russia’s military has suffered humiliating setbacks this month.

It also seemed to be an effort to startle the U.S. and its Western allies into dropping their support. But at the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Western leaders looked undeterred. President Biden said the U.S. and its allies would “stand in solidarity” against Russia and accused Moscow of violating the U.N. charter.

Protests erupted across Russia in response to the “partial mobilization,” and at least 1,252 people have been detained. Russians also rushed to buy one-way flights out of the country.

Experts say Russia currently has 200,000 troops, or fewer, in Ukraine. Putin’s campaign would more than double that, but those called up need training and weapons.

Jonathan, world's oldest living tortoise, celebrates his 190th birthday



Newsdesk, barta24.com
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

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Jonathan, the Seychelles giant tortoise, is having the biggest animal party this weekend as he prepares to ring his 190th birthday on Sunday in Saint Helena which has been his home since 1822, where the defeated French emperor Napoleon died a year before.

Since the time he came as a gift to the south Atlantic island's governor, Jonathan has garnered a lot of fame and made his place in the Guinness World Records as the oldest living land animal along with the oldest chelonian, which is an order that comprises of terrapins, tortoises and turtles. Living a celebrity life, he was also featured on the reverse side of the local five-pence coin.

Based on shell measurements, it is believed that Jonathan was hatched around 1832 and was brought from Seychelles to the UK overseas territory 50 years later.

“Jonathan’s age is an estimation based on the fact that he was fully mature, and hence at least 50 years old when he arrived in Saint Helena from Seychelles in 1882. In all likelihood, he is even older than we think,” the Guinness World Records notes.

He has been living a comfortable retirement life in Plantation House, which is the St Helena governor's official residence, where different events are being organised all weekend, which includes the issue of a special stamp, to mark his birthday.

The birthday celebrations will end with a "birthday cake", which will be cooked using favourite food items of Jonathan. As per his caretakers, the oldest living tortoise has a special love for lettuce, carrots, pears, cucumber and apples.

In the initial months of 2022, Jonathan was given the title of world's oldest living land animal by the Guinness World Records and in December, he was also mentioned as the oldest tortoise ever.

"When you think, if he was hatched in 1832 - the Georgian era - my goodness, the changes in the world. The world wars, the rise and fall of the British Empire, and the many governors, kings and queens that have passed, it's quite extraordinary. And he's just been here, enjoying himself,” Jonathan's main care taker and retired veterinarian Joe Hollins said.

Living through such historic world events, the old Jonathan is now covered in wrinkles, has no sense of smell and is blind with cataracts. After his precise birth date remained unknown for so many years, the governor of British overseas territory Nigel Phillips finally took the step of granting him an official birthday on December 4, 1832, in November of this year.

While the residents of Saint Helena continue to pray for Jonathan's long life, the authorities have already planned to preserve the shell of the oldest chelonian for posterity after his demise.

Source: WION

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai Receives Padma Bhushan



International Desk, Barta24.com
Google CEO Sundar Pichai Receives Padma Bhushan

Google CEO Sundar Pichai Receives Padma Bhushan

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Sundar Pichai one of the most renowned CEOs in the world has been awarded Padma Bhushan, one of India's highest civilian awards.

India's ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu awarded the civilian award to Google and Alphabet CEO in San Francisco.

Sandhu on Twitter said, "Delighted to hand over Padma Bhushan to CEO @Google& Alphabet @sundarpichai in San Francisco. Sundar's inspirational journey from #Madurai to Mountain View, strengthening India-US economic and technology ties, reaffirms Indian talent`s contribution to global innovation."

After receiving the honorary award, the Google CEO in a blog post expressed his gratitude and thanked Sandhu. According to the blog post, Pichai said he is fortunate to grow up in a family that cherished knowledge. He said that he is blessed to have parents who sacrificed a lot to make sure that he gets opportunities to explore his interests, ANI reported.

Pichai added, "India is a part of me. I carry it wherever I go. (Unlike this beautiful award which I will keep somewhere safe)."

The Google CEO also appreciated Indian PM Modi's Digital India vision, saying that the has certainly been an accelerator in the process. He said that he felt proud of the investment that he had made in the digital vision project. They recently announced an investment of $10 billion in India to make internet access easy and build products for India's unique needs using AI.

Talking about India, he said that out of 24 languages on Google Translator, 8 of them are native to India.

He added, "We're also investing deeply in digital skilling, and have trained over 1 million women through our WomenWill Entrepreneurship Program and over 55,000 teachers in partnership with the government and local organizations. We`ve also sponsored over 100,000 Google Career Certificate sponsorships in collaboration with the NASSCOM Foundation and Tata Strive."

Pichai said that he is looking forward to continuing a great partnership between Google and India.

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Protests in China over Covid restrictions



News Desk, Barta24.com
Protests in China over Covid restrictions

Protests in China over Covid restrictions

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Police in Shanghai on Sunday (November 27) dragged and detained demonstrators who were protesting strict coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions. Protesters were seen singing the national anthem as they gathered in the streets of Shanghai.

China has been marred by rare protests against Covid measures that are part of the nation's strict zero-Covid policy. Police face the unusual task of maintaining law and order as people express anger over recent restrictions.

Amid the protests, demonstrators were seen clashing with the police in Shanghai on Sunday as the protests continued for a third day, further spreading to several cities. This comes after the deadly apartment fire in the country's far west.

On Thursday, a fire at a residential high-rise building in the city of Urumqi, reportedly led to the death of at least 10 people. Urumqi is the capital of the Xinjiang region.

China has implemented stringent policies, including lockdowns, mass testing, etc. in order to curb the spread of the deadly virus, which was first reported in China in late 2019.

Now, nearly three years into the pandemic, the authorities in China are still imposing the zero-Covid policy that has caused frustration among people.

Besides Shanghai, protesters also took to the streets in the cities of Wuhan and Chengdu on Sunday. Peaceful vigils were held in Beijing. Meanwhile, the students on several university campuses around China demonstrated over the weekend.

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President signs off on top military appointments; Lt Gen Asim Munir to be next army chief



News Desk, Barta24.com
President signs off on top military appointments; Lt Gen Asim Munir to be next army chief

President signs off on top military appointments; Lt Gen Asim Munir to be next army chief

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President Dr Arif Alvi on Thursday formally approved Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s nominations for the next army chief and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC), hours after receiving a summary in this regard.

Lt Gen Asim Munir has been named as the chief of army staff and Lt Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza has been named as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.

The confirmation of the president’s approval was given by Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, putting an end to weeks’ long speculation. However, an official handout from the President’s office is still awaited.

Talking to media persons in Islamabad, Asif said that the advisory sent to President Alvi by the government has been approved. “The president has signed [the summary],” he said, calling it a “good omen”.

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