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Beirut Explosion : All you need to know

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Jaw dropping moment for world. An explosion in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, a country in western Asia, was Tuesday caught on camera and widely circulated on social media. The footage showed smoke billowing near the port area of the city, shortly before a powerful blast sent up a bigger cloud of smoke and a shockwave across the city, throwing the videographer off his feet.

The vibrations of the blast, which was initially misconstrued by some as detonation of some nuclear device, were even felt around 240 km away in Cyprus.At least 100 people were killed and nearly 4,000 injured in a massive explosion at Lebanon’s capital Beirut. The explosion, according to the Lebanon government, was of over 2700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored for six years in a warehouse in the port. Multiple reports suggest that a huge tremor-causing explosion was preceded by a fire, possibly of firecrackers.

Where did the ammonium nitrate come from?

In 2013 a Moldovan-flagged ship, the Rhosus, entered Beirut port after suffering technical problems during its journey from Georgia to Mozambique, according to Shiparrested.com, which deals with shipping-related legal cases.The Rhosus was inspected, banned from sailing onward and was shortly afterwards abandoned by its owners, sparking several legal claims.

Its cargo included the ammonium nitrate, which is used as a fertiliser and as an explosive.It was stored in a port warehouse for safety reasons, the report said, and it remained there for the next six years.

There are a lot of rules around storing ammonium nitrate, particularly around fire-proofing, because it is so highly explosive if it comes into contact with flames.

What is Ammonium Nitrate?

Ammonium nitrate is a chemical compound .It is a white crystalline solid consisting of ions of ammonium and nitrate. It is highly soluble in water and hygroscopic as a solid, although it does not form hydrates. It is predominantly used in agriculture as a high-nitrogen fertilizer. Global production was estimated at 21.6 million tonnes in 2017.

Pure ammonium nitrate is not an explosive on its own. It is classified as an oxidiser (Grade 5.1) under the United Nations classification of dangerous goods. If mixed with ingredients like fuel or some other contaminants, or because of some other external factors, it can be very explosive.

However, for combinations to explode, triggers like detonators are required. Many Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) used by terrorists around the world have ANFO as the main explosive, triggered by primary explosives like RDX or TNT. In the majority of terror attacks in India, including those in Pulwama, Varanasi, Malegaon, Pune, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Mumbai, ammonium nitrate has been used along with initiator explosives like RDX.

Impact of explosion :

In Beirut, the blast affected residents living as far as 10 kilometres away from the site. It even damaged the Baabda Palace, the residence of the Lebanese President. “Doors and windows in several of the palace’ wings were dislocated,” NNA reported. However, no one was injured.

Meanwhile, the explosion was felt nearly 250 kilometres away, in the neighbouring island of Cyprus, according to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC). CNN reported that the blast created seismic waves equivalent of a magnitude 3.3 earthquake.

Other countries reactions towards blast:

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday expressed shock at the loss of lives in a massive explosion that rocked Beirut and said India’s thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved families and the injured.

US President Donald Trump in his briefings to the press on Tuesday called the incident to be an ‘attack’, something which has since been denied by US officials, as reported by the US media. The blast casualties have overwhelmed the health system of the country which has been in a serious financial crisis and because medical facilities have themselves been hit by the explosion.

UK’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab put out a tweet expressing solidarity with Lebanon. “My thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the devastating explosion in Beirut today. The UK stands in solidarity with the people of Lebanon and is ready to offer help and support including to those British nationals impacted,” he said.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he would send “rescue and aid” to Beruit, while Angela Merkel said Germany would offer Lebanon its help.

Why blast complicated condition in Beirut

Already, the country was suffering through Covid 19 pandamic. Economic condition of country was not stable, the blast created worst situation. There was huge loss of properties and many of people became homeless.

Lebanon’s economy minister said Wednesday that the nation has less than a month’s reserves of the grain but enough flour to avoid a crisis, the economy minister said on Wednesday. Raoul Nehme told Reuters that the country’s needed reserves for at least three months to ensure food security and was looking at other storage areas.

Latest information related to Beirut Lebanon:

1.There are numerous reports of children who have been separated from family members, some of whom are still missing;

2.At least 12 primary healthcare facilities, maternal, immunization and newborn centres in Beirut have been damaged, impacting services for nearly 120,000 people;

3.A children’s hospital in the Karantina area, which had a specialized unit treating critical newborns, was destroyed. One newborn died;

4.The remaining operational hospitals are over-stretched and have been depleted of critical medical supplies;

5.10 containers stocked by the Ministry of Public Health with personal protective equipment were destroyed;

6.Five out of seven UNICEF-supported vaccine cold rooms were destroyed in the blast, affecting critical vaccination programmes;

7.Many schools have reported damage in Beirut and the surrounding area, with assessments ongoing into the level of damage;

8. Many colonies and countries helped Beirut by giving away donations.

9.In the past 72 hours, 464 new cases of Covid-19 were registered.

………………………….. According to report !

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International

Neuralink: a deeper introspection

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6th sense of Human beings the Neuralink- Neuralink is a medical device developed in order to track and enhance brain activity. Moreover, it is like a Fitbit that tracks brain activities like neuron spike. Elon Musk said that the device will also be able to help regain someone’s eyesight even if they’ve lost their optic nerve. He said that this technology will be able to fix everything that’s wrong with the brain. With complete symbiosis of the tech, humans will be able to interact with each other without the need to talk.

It will be surgically implanted into the brain and with it, one will be able to communicate with machines and control them. For now, human trials are not yet begun but would start at the end of 2020. Furthermore, it will also help study the electrical signals in the brain and help cure various medical problems. Before testing on humans, Neuralink prototypes have been tested on rodents, monkeys, pigs, etc.

Before peeping deeper into Neuralink let’s understand the human brain first.


There are 86 billion Neurons in our Brain. These neurons consist of 3 parts: a dendrite that receives the signal, a cell body that computes the received signal, and an axon that sends the signal out.


Neurons are connected through Synapses. The neurons of your brain connect each other to send and receive signals through axon-dendrite connections called synapses. Neurons communicate through Electric Signals. These signals can be recorded in the brain. Recordings from many neurons allow us to decode the information and it represents intended movements.


To understand how Neuralink works, we must understand how our brain sends information to different parts of our body using neurons. These neurons in our brain connect to form a large network and communicate using chemical signals called neurotransmitters.

This reaction generates an electric field to record the reactions. These electrodes translate electrical signals into an algorithm that a machine can read. This is how Neuralink will be able to read what one is thinking and find a way to talk to machines without uttering a single word. It’s all your thoughts and link’s action.


The neural implant will let you control a computer or mobile device anywhere you go. Micron-scale threads are inserted into areas of the brain that control movement. Each thread contains many electrodes and connects them to an implant, the Link.


The link:

It’s a sealed, implanted device that processes and stimulates, and transmits neural signals.


Neural threads:

Each small and flexible thread contains many electrodes for detecting neural signals.


Charger:

A compact inductive charger that connects to the implant wirelessly to charge the battery; same as a smart-watch or fit bit.

Precision Automated Neurosurgery.


The threads on the Link are extremely fragile and flexible that they can’t be inserted by a human hand. Hence neurosurgeons would be provided with a robotic system that can reliably and efficiently insert these threads. The robot would be able to insert the link within an hour without general anesthesia and the patient would be able to leave the hospital on the same day.

Robots will do everything from the incision, removing the skull, inserting electrodes, placing the device, and then closing it up. These robotic systems were tested on numerous pigs used to test the device. This system has no room for errors. The Head of the machine holds and guides the needle that performs the operation and contains a large number of cameras to capture the whole brain.

How Neuralink will help to overcome mental disorders?


The Neuralink aims to fight neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and epilepsy, spinal cord injuries, and other medical problems. The link is expected to even fight with common anxiety and depression yet that’s not proven. By taking primitive measures of implementing the Neuralink slowly and gradually we can hope best for it. There are high abilities and possibilities that Link could help fight a large number of medical illnesses and aims to create an affordable solution for people who lack the essential needs of medical treatment. At its level best, it will help to control the number of suicides that end lives before help can be received.


For now, those goals are very much out of reach. Scientists need to learn far more about the brain and how it works for any of those ideas to become reality. The brain is still mysterious and the neurological causes of addiction and anxiety are still unclear.


Why is Elon Musk testing his implant on Pigs?


In August 2020, Elon Musk’s 3 pig trial got rearing spotlight. The Neuralink implant was tested on 3 pigs; on 1st with no implant, on 2nd with an implant for some days and later it was removed and the 3rd pig still has the implant in her brain. The experiment of 2nd pig was done to show that if someone wanted to remove the link, they should be able to live a happy and healthy life after that. 3rd pig’s implant is active to track down all neural movements and to list down moments of snout and sniffs.


Hiring engineers for neurotechnology firm Neuralink


Neuralink is almost done dealing with a neuroscience background. The chip is an electrical device that requires mechanical/software engineers to deal with. It would be easier for these engineers to sort out problems like processing, indictive charging, power mgmt, etc. Most importantly, great problem-solving skills, solving high-volume, high-reliability, low-cost production problems are especially valued.

In the end, let’s hope best for the future of brain interfaces and inventing new technologies that will expand our abilities, our community, and our world.


-Anushka Sharad

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International

The Presidential elections.

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How are presidential elections held in the USA?
Unlike India where citizens directly vote for their preferred party, the USA’s election system
is more complicated and distinctive from that of India.
In the USA, the electoral college system exists which means that voters are adjudicating
upon state-level contests, rather than the national one. These are called electoral
colleges, they initialize a representative of trump or Biden, often acknowledged as
Electors
There are 538 electors present, who further vote for the resident on behalf of the voters in
their state — the winning candidate is whoever gets a majority of 270 or more.
Presidential elections: 2020
The product of the US presidential elections is not obtrusive as of now, both candidates
claim to possess a potential path to victory,
Mr. Trump has even lawsuits in the two states where Mr. Biden holds a lead, several
substantial states are contemplated to conclude the counting by the end of Friday, but the
election result may remain in the state of irresolution for days.
Mr. Biden is still holding slim leads in several key states if the trend continues, Mr. Biden
may propel to gain the Electoral college and the presidency.

Mr. Trump’s prospect of acquiring his second term is attributed to his capability of holding
on to states like Georgia and Pennsylvania.
Results so far
Let’s disintegrate the convoluted election results,
Mr. Trump has encompassed a win in Florida, Ohio, Texas, and Lowa respectively, Mr.
Biden has entrenched a win in Michigan and Wisconsin and the results remain uncertain
in Arizona, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Georgia.
In Arizona, Joe Biden has received 500,000 votes and still counting and it even
accounts for 60% of the population of the state.
In Nevada, reports say that Mr. Biden has achieved a very narrow lead and the
counting is going at an adequate pace.
In Georgia, Mr. Trump has a very attenuate lead over Mr. Biden, the Secretary of state
has announced that results will be announced by midday Thursday(local time).
In Pennsylvania, there are more than 580,000 ballots left to count, but so far Mr.
Trump leads Biden

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All you need to know about the Armenia-Azerbaijan Clash

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All you need to know about the Armenia-Azerbaijan Clash
Armenia and Azerbaijan is a small country located in between Turkey, Russia and Iran. Armenia is mostly a christian majority country with 95% of it’s 30 million population practising christanity and Azerbaijan comprises 99% of muslim population. This conflict can escalate into a full fledged war according to experts.The population of Azerbaijan is 10 million and both are secular countries. The conflict is about a small region called Nagorno-Karabakh region. Both of these countries were part of the USSR till 1990. Both these countries attained independence from the USSR in 1991. This Nagorno-Karabakh region is partially occupied by both Armenia and Azerbaijan. This region is a heavy mountainous region and it is tough to access this region. According to the 2015 census only 1.5 lakh people live in this Nagorno-Karabakh region in an area of 4400 square kilometers. This population of this region is ethnically Armenian.
This region has been disputed since 1920 when both these countries were part of the erstwhile Soviet Union. This region belonged to Azerbaijan till 1990 and it was an autonomous region controlled by Moscow directly. When the USSR split then Moscow decided to hand over this region to Azerbaijan but then the local provincial assembly voted to stay with Armenia. This voting was opposed by Moscow and Azerbaijan governments. After this the Armenian separatists occupied a part of the Nagorno-Karabakh region and they have been running the government in that part backed by the government of Armenia. But according to the International law this region is part of Azerbaijan because when this region was split up in 1991 then Moscow had decided to merge this territory with Azerbaijan.
This region has seen heavy ceasefire violations since 1991 up till 2020. Recent clashes have continued over several days. You can understand this territory similarly like Kashmir where both India and Pakistan claim Kashmir. In May 1994 USA, France and Russia had tried to implement a ceasefire so that these countries could talk and negotiate but all in vain. This conflict started on 27 september 2020 and since then both countries have said that the other one broke the ceasefire first. Russia plays a very important role here. Russia has a military base in Armenia and it supplies weapons to Azerbaijan but it has not said a word over this conflict.
Turkey on the other hand supports Azerbaijan openly since Turkey and Azerbaijan have strong relations and Armenia does not have good relations with Turkey. In the first week of October Turkish F-16s were seen in Armenian airspace thus, adding fuel to the fire. Turkey has openly said that it will provide military support to Azerbaijan if needed and it is trying to flex its muscle power in the region. Turkey and Azerbaijan being muslim countries are natural allies. Armenian foreign minister has said that this conflict is a preplanned strategy of Azerbaijan with Turkish support.
Turkey is a bigger country and it wants to influence a smaller nation like Azerbaijan. Turkey buys crude oil and gas from Azerbaijan and similarly Azerbaijan is one of the main investors of Turkey. So it is natural that they will come together. Their economic ties are stronger than ever. On the other side Turkey and Armenia have strain relations. During the ottoman empire a genocide was conducted over the armenians by the turks. This charge is denied by the Turkey government and so does Azerbaijan deny it in the support of its ally.
Azerbaijan is a republic just for namesake. Actually it is a dictatorship. After its split from the USSR their first president was Heydar Aliyev in 1991. He was president till 2003 then his son Ilham Aliyev succeeded him in 2003 and he has been the president since then. Ilham Aliyem has won every successive election since 2003 with over 80% vote share and it shows that there is no opposition in the country. Foreign journalists are not allowed to work freely and there are over 160 political prisoners. There is no free media in this country. So you can imagine if it is really a democracy. Whoever raises voice against the president then he/she is thrown into jails. Recently, in 2016 Aliyev held a controversial referendum according to which the minimum age to become the president of Azerbaijan has been brought down to 18 from 35. According to political experts this has been done so that his son can succeed him in 2025. There is no free press and this country ranks 146/157 in the global democracy index. You can imagine the scenario.
On the contrary Armenia ranks 86/167 and it is in a better position than Azerbaijan. Till 2018 Armenia was itself a dictatorship. In 2018 25 lakh people had protested on roads out of its 30 lakh odd population. The protestors were protesting over the election fraud conducted by the then PM. 2.50 lakh people were on roads and not a single bullet was fired. It was a huge success. The Velvet revolution led to the establishment of democracy in Armenia. The then opposition leader Nikol Pashniyan under whom this revolution was initiated had been elected as the PM in 2018 and he is the PM currently. You can understand the situation yourself.
Azerbaijan kids are taught to hate Armenians naturally on account of nationalism. This is the propaganda being spread by the Azerbaijan government. Their economy is in turmoil because of low crude oil prices. But people are taught to think about nationalism. According to a 2012 poll 91% Azerbaijan people think that Armenians are their natural enemy and similarly 63% Armenians agree the same. Armenians are described as Bandits, hippocrates in the Azerbaijan books. In 2011, famous Azerbaijani chess player Taimur Radjabov had said that he hates armenians. Such is the scale of hate in between these 2 nations. In 1988 and 1989 3.5 lakh people were affected due to this conflict.
In July a major protest occurred in Azerbaijan and people marched to the parliament of their country and demanded that their president declare war on Armenia. Such is the scale of nationalism. They protested not on account of depreciating economy or dictatorship but to declare war. Such is the propaganda that Azerbaijani people are taught to hate Armenians. Nothing concrete will come out of it. You decide. What should be done?
Amid covid 19 is it okay to fight?

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