Indian team shines at global robotics Olympiad

Tuesday 25th July 2017 13:14 EDT

WASHINGTON: A group of seven Indian students shined at the first global robotics Olympiad by bagging two awards. A total of 157 countries participated in the event. The students, who hail from Mumbai, won gold in the Zhang Heng Engineering Design Award category and bronze in the Global Challenge category at the event organised by FIRST Global in Washington. The Global Challenge award is presented to three teams that have achieved the most combined match points throughout the duration of the contest. The Indian team was led by 15-year-old Rahesh, the youngest member of the group. The others in the team were Aadiv Shah, spokesperson; Harsh Bhatt, alliance strategist; Vatsin, alliance analyst; Adhyyan, robot tactician; Tejas, robot controller, and Raghav, robot driver.

Afghan girls honoured: An Afghan all-girl team was able to participate in the event due to last minute intervention by US President Donal Trump. The girls were earlier denied visa by the US state department twice.

Two Indians plead guilty in US call centre scam

WASHINGTON: Two Indians- an Indian national and an Indian-American - have pleaded guilty to the charges of their involvement in a massive telephone impersonation fraud and money laundering scheme in the US perpetrated by India-based call centres. Montu Barot, 30, an Indian national who was till recently residing in Illinois, and Indian-American Nilesh Pandya, 54, from Texas, have pleaded guilty in the multi-million call centre scam in which as many as 54 individuals and five India-based call centres have been charged. Co-defendants Bharatkumar Patel, Ashvinbhai Chaudhari, Harsh Patel, Nilam Parikh, Hardik Patel, Rajubhai Patel, Viraj Patel, Dilipkumar A Patel, Fahad Ali, Bhavesh Patel and Asmitaben Patel earlier pleaded guilty for their involvement.

Salvador Dalí’s remains exhumed for paternity test

Figueras (Spain): The remains of the famed surrealist Spanish artist Salvador Dalí were exhumed last week following a paternity claim by a tarot card reader. Dalí, who died in 1989 at the age of 84, is buried under the crystal dome of the Dalí Theatre Museum in Figueres in the north of Spain, around 90 miles outside of Barcelona. His tomb lies where the theatre's stage used stand. Experts successfully removed biological samples from the surrealist artist's body, a court spokeswoman said. The woman who says Dalí was her father, Maria Pilar Abel, was born in 1956, and claims her mother had an affair with the painter in the 1950s while she was working for his family. She has been fighting to have Dalí recognized as her father since 2007. The court ruled that DNA test were necessary to make genetic comparison with Dalí due to a lack of other biological or personal remains. Dalí has no children and bequeathed his estate to Spain after his death.

Bieber banned from China for 'bad behaviour'

Beijing: The Chinese authorities have banned the entry of Canadian singer Justin Bieber because of his on and offstage antics. According to reports, Bieber will return to Asia later this year as part of his Purpose World Tour with shows scheduled in Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore and Hong Kong. Beijing's Culture Bureau said: "Justin Bieber is a gifted singer but he is also a controversial young foreign singer. As far as we are concerned, he has engaged in a series of bad behaviour, both in his social life and during a previous performance in China, which caused discontent among the public." The singer performed in China in 2013, raising eyebrows when he was photographed being carried up the Great Wall of China by his bodyguards.

Student likely to become Australia's youngest senator

Canberra: A university student is likely to become Australia's youngest senator after the resignation of a politician he calls his "mentor", the media said. UK-born Jordon Steele-John, 22, has agreed to replace Scott Ludlam in the Senate for the left-wing Greens party. Ludlam quit last week, becoming the first of two senators to resign for holding dual citizenship - a status which bars politicians from office. Steele-John, who has cerebral palsy, says he will be a disability advocate. He is tipped to replace Ludlam because he was next in line on last year's election ballot paper, and he has the backing of his party. The politics and history student came to Australia as a young child. A wheelchair user, Steele-John says he is ready to be a "strong voice" for people with disabilities. "The future belongs to young people. We need to be represented in our parliament," the BBC quoted Steele-John as saying.

66-year-old Australian wine bottle sold for $41,000

Melbourne: A 66-year-old bottle of Australian wine has sold for more than $41,000 in Melbourne, it was confirmed. The bottle of 1951 Penfolds Grange Hermitage was auctioned off by MW Wines and an unnamed collector taking the piece of history home for $41,110, reports Xinhua news agency. The vintage, Penfold's first, was produced by Max Schubert, the prestigious company's chief winemaker at the time, and was never made publicly available. It is believed that around 1,800 bottles of the wine were produced, 20 of which still exist today. It is the first sale of the 1951 wine since another bottle was sold for $39,870 in 2004. Nick Stamford, managing director of MW Wines, said it was a "staggering" price for "a piece of history".

5 die in Bangladesh landslide

Dhaka: At least five members of a family were killed and another was reported missing when a landslide hit their house in Bangladesh's Chittagong region. According to a senior police official, five bodies have been recovered after the rain-triggered landslide hit the remote hilly area of Sitakunda. According to experts, unplanned urbanisation and illegal constructions, mainly on the outskirts, have increased the chances of landslide and other disasters in Chittagong hill tracts. They said hundreds of families, particularly those who have migrated from other parts of the country due to natural disasters, have settled on such foothills. At least 153 people were killed and hundreds injured in landslides that devastated a large number of houses in Chittagong on June 11.

Egypt court sentences 28 to death

CAIRO: A Cairo criminal court has sentenced to death 28 people over the 2015 killing of Egypt's top prosecutor and handed 15 others jail sentences of 25 years each. The court had in June recommended passing the death penalty to Egypt's top religious authority, the Grand Mufti, who can approve or reject the recommendation. The sentences, confirmed by the court after the Grand Mufti's approval, can be appealed. Public prosecutor Hisham Barakat was killed in a car bomb attack on his convoy in Cairo, an operation for which Egypt blamed the Muslim Brotherhood and Gaza-based Hamas militants. Both groups have denied it.

US airstrikes mistakenly kill 16 Afghan policemen

Gereshk (Afghanistan): At least 16 Afghan policemen were mistakenly killed and two others injured in US airstrikes in southern Helmand province's Gereshk district. According to reports, Afghan security forces have asked for the air strike to support its ground forces in retaking a security outpost in the district but the area was retaken before the air strike took place and that the US air strike targeted the Afghan forces gathered in the area. The United States Forces in Afghanistan confirmed the casualties resulting in the air strike. "We can confirm local security personnel aligned with Afghan government forces were killed in an air strike in Greshk district of Helmand province," the US Forces in Afghanistan (USFOR-A) statement said. "We would like to express our deepest condolences to the families affected by the unfortunate incident," the statement added. The US forces have ordered an investigation to determine the specific circumstances that led to the incident.

Emergency declared in New Zealand due to floods

Wellington: New Zealand has declared a state of emergency in several parts of South Island that have been affected by heavy floods. Emergency has been declared in Christchurch, Dunedin, Selwyn and Otago region, which has received the highest rainfall, measuring some 200 mm in 24 hours, according to the Ministry of Civil Defence. In Timaru, a port city with nearly 29,000 inhabitants, the state of emergency was active earlier in the day and lifted once the water level receded. Authorities have evacuated the residents from areas considered dangerous, such as in the case of some 100 families from Outram, in Dunedin. Evacuations have also been carried out in Christchurch, the most populous city on South Island, where the waters of the Avon and Heathcote rivers have overflowed their banks in several sections.

26 killed in Kabul car bomb claimed by Taliban

Kabul: At least 26 people were killed and 41 others wounded after a Taliban-claimed car bomb struck a bus carrying government employees through a Shiite neighbourhood in Kabul, raising fears of sectarian violence in the Afghan capital. The assault came as a presidential spokesman said the Taliban also killed at least 35 civilians in an attack on a hospital in central Ghor province over the weekend. The deadly attacks underscore spiralling insecurity in Afghanistan as the resurgent Taliban ramp up their offensive across the country, while security forces struggle to contain them. "It was a huge explosion, my house nearly collapsed," a neighbourhood resident who gave his name as Mostafa said, adding that the street was "filled with human flesh and blood". "It was horrible," said shopkeeper Momin. "It is a crowded area - many of my friends and other shopkeepers are either killed or wounded."

Pak Taliban attack kills 27 near CM house in Lahore

ISLAMABAD: At least 27 people, including nine police personnel, were killed and more than 50 injured in a Taliban suicide attack near the office and residence of Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif in Lahore. The attack took place about 300m away from the CM's office-cum-residence. "An anti-encroachment drive was underway at the time of explosion. Several among the dead were policemen as an operation against land encroachers was going on," Pakistan interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said in Islamabad. Lahore police chief Capt (R) Amin Wains said, "A suicide bomber on a motorcycle approached the police contingent deployed at the anti-encroachment drive outside the Arfa Karim Tower, near the CM's Model Town residence, and blew himself up," The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed the responsibility for the attack. "Fida Hussain Swati - a member of our suicide squad - today attacked the infidels on a motorcycle," TTP spokesman Muhammad Khurasani said in a statement.

Nepal launches Chinese classes to boost tourism

Kathmandu: In a bid to attract more Chinese tourists, Nepal and China have jointly launched a programme to offer free training to tourism entrepreneurs in Mandarin. Chinese envoy to Nepal Yu Hong inaugurated a new batch of tourism entrepreneurs who would be trained in the Chinese language in Kathmandu. A group of 40 people, consisting of tour operators and tourism entrepreneurs, will be trained during the six-month programme by the Chinese embassy. The training would also strengthen people-to-people relations, Yu said. Nepal could generate $22 billion every year if the country can attract one million Chinese tourists, she added.

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