Punjab Times

New research on avian response to wildfires

New research explores the effects fire has on ecosystems and the wildlife species that inhabit them. Scientists examined the impacts of fires of different severity levels on birds and how that changes as the time since fire increases. Scientists looked across 10 fires after they burned through forests in the Sierra Nevada. A key finding was that wildfire had strong, but varied, effects on the density of many of the bird species that were studied. …read more

Netflix PR chief fired for repeatedly using the n-word

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has fired his chief public relations executive, Jonathan Friedland, after his repeated use of the n-word, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Friedland, who’s been with the company for seven years, reportedly used the racial slur in a meeting with employees, leading some to report the incident to upper management. Then, in a follow-up meeting with Netflix’s human resources department regarding his use of the n-word, Friedland reportedly used the word again.

“The second incident confirmed a deep lack of understanding, and convinced me to let Jonathan go now,” reads an email Hastings sent to employees that was obtained by THR. “As I reflect on this, at this first incident, I should have done more to use it as a…

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Actress Soha Ali Khan opens up about how Yoga helped her during pregnancy

Soha Ali Khan opens up about how yoga helped her during her pregnancy

Yoga is garnering importance day by day. With Prime Minister Narendra Modi promoting it with due diligence, Yoga has turned into a fitness mantra in itself.

Not just the PM, but Bollywood celebrities including Shilpa Shetty, Kangana Ranaut and Soha Ali Khan propagate the vitality of yoga nad the benefits it beholds.

On the occasion of International Yoga Day on June 21, actress, recently turned author, and now a mother, Soha Ali Khan opened up about how she would always pick yoga over working out in the gym.

She has valid reasons for pursuing yoga devotedly, and it would be cloddish to miss it.

In an interview with Vogue India, Soha discloses why she turned to yoga.

“I first embraced yoga six years ago when I found my gym workout had become monotonous. I found that even though I was trim and toned, I was stiff and inflexible, especially my lower back and my hamstrings. I had read somewhere that the health of the body is in the elasticity of the spine, and so I turned to a qualified yoga instructor three times a week to increase my range of motion …read more

George and Amal Clooney donate $100,000 to support migrant children separated from families

George and Amal Clooney

George and Amal Clooney pledged their support to the migrant children at the US-Mexico border who have been torn away from their families.

The Clooney Foundation for Justice will be donating $100,000 to the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, the Hollywood power couple said in a statement to People magazine.

“At some point in the future our children will ask us: ‘Is it true, did our country really take babies from their parents and put them in detention centres?’ And when we answer yes, they’ll ask us what we did about it. What we said. Where we stood.

“We can’t change this administration’s policy but we can help defend the victims of it,” the Clooneys, who have one-year-old twins Ella and Alexander, said.

The Young Center’s Executive Director, Maria Woltjen, thanked the couple for their support during this “vital” time.

“This administration’s policy disregards international law and basic principles of human decency. To treat children in such a cruel manner not only violates their legal rights but also their basic needs.

“We are doing everything we can to advocate on behalf of the thousands of children who are separated and alone, and we are grateful for the generous support of George …read more

Stamped by bigotry: Passport officer asks Muslim man to convert to Hinduism, MEA promises action

Mohammad Anas Siddiqui and Tanvi Seth

Bigotry appears to be in vogue. A few days after a customer demanded a Hindu service executive from Airtel another shocking incident of religious narrow-mindedness has come to light.

An inter-faith couple claims they were humiliated by a passport officer in Lucknow, where the person reportedly asked the Muslim man to convert to Hinduism. The couple took to Twitter to express their displeasure and asked External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and the Prime Minister’s Office to intervene. The MEA has taken note of the incident and the officer has been transferred and an internal investigation has commenced.

Mohammed Anas Siddiqui and Tanvi Seth, who have been married for 11 years, applied for passports on June 19 and booked an appointment for the next day at Lucknow’s Passport Office. The couple successfully cleared the first two stages of the interview without any hick-ups until they ran into an officer for whom the concept of free will seemed to be too hard a concept to comprehend.

Anas told News 18: “My wife’s turn came before me and as soon as she reached counter C5, an officer named Vikas Mishra started to go through her documents. When he read the spouse’s name as Mohd Anas Siddiqui, …read more

Bihar Deputy CM Sushil Modi reacts to reports of JD(U) skipping International Yoga Day

 Sushil Modi

Amidst lukewarm relations between allies JD(U) and BJP, has Nitish Kumar’s party skipped International Yoga Day celebrations? This question gained currency with no show from top JD(U) leaders in the International Yoga Day event in Patalipura Complex in Patna.

Reacting to the development, senior BJP leader and Bihar Deputy CM Sushil Modi told ANI, ” It is not a question about JDU. I know more than dozen people present here who are from JDU. Don’t people from RJD & JDU practice Yoga? It is not necessary that everyone comes out to participate:”.

Sushil Modi’s face-saving measure came after senior JD(U) leaders didn’t exactly warm up to the idea of public display of Yoga skills on International Yoga Day, one of the pet projects of PM Modi. TOI quoted JD(U) state chief Bashishth Yadav as saying, ” People have been doing yoga in their homes as well. Yoga has been a part of India’s culture and PM Modi’s appeal is also appreciable. However, yoga can be done anywhere”. He essentially said that it can be practiced indoors too.

While Sushil Modi too said the same thing, but political corridors are likely to be abuzz with speculation about JD(U) keeping distance from …read more

Virtual assistants experiment with online banking services

amazon alexa

Hey Alexa, what’s my bank account balance? Big banks and financial companies have started to offer banking through virtual assistants Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Google’s Assistant in a way that will allow customers to check their balances, pay bills and, in the near future, send money just with their voice.

And with the rapid adoption of Zelle, a bank-to-bank transfer system, it soon could be possible to send money to friends or family instantly with voice commands. But the potential to do such sensitive tasks through a smart speaker raises security concerns. Virtual assistants and smart speakers are still relatively new technologies, and potentially susceptible to being exploited by cyber criminals. Regional banking giant US Bank is the first bank to be on all three services Alexa, Siri and Assistant. The company did a soft launch of its Siri and Assistant services in early March and this month started marketing the option to customers.

Other financial companies have set up virtual assistant features. Credit card companies Capital One and American Express both have Alexa skills that allow customers to check their balances and pay bills. There are other smaller banks and credit unions that have set up Google Assistant or Alexa …read more