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Facebook Changes Its Name To 'Meta' In Rebranding Exercise

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 28: Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday announced the parent company's name is being changed to "Meta" to represent a future beyond just its troubled social network.

"We've learned a lot from struggling with social issues and living under closed platforms, and now it is time to take everything that we've learned and help build the next chapter," Zuckerberg said during an annual developers conference.

"Our apps and their brands, they are not changing," he added.

Rajinikanth receives Dadasaheb Phalke Award

NEW DELHI, Oct 25: Superstar Rajinikanth on October 25 received the prestigious 51st Dadasaheb Phalke Award at the 67th National Film Awards ceremony for his outstanding contribution to the world of Indian cinema.

Vice President Venkaiah Naidu handed the prizes to the awardees. Union Minister for Information Broadcasting Anurag Thakur and Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting L Murugan were also present at the ceremony.

Rajinikanth dedicated the award to his Guru, mentor K Balachander and his long-time friend Rajbahadur.

“I am extremely happy to receive this most prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award. My thanks to the honourable central government. I dedicate this award to my mentor, my guru K Balachander. This moment, I remember him with great gratitude, and my brother Satyanrayan Gaikwad who’s like my father who brought me up by teaching me great values, and spirituality," he said.

He further added, "My friend in Karnataka, bus transport driver, my colleague – Rajbahadur. When I was the bus conductor, he identified the acting talent in me and encouraged me to join the cinema. All my producers, directors, co-artistes, technicians, distributors, exhibitors and the media, press and all my fans. Tamil people – without them I am no body. Jai Hind!”

The winner list of the National Film Awards was announced in March this year. Late actor Sushant Singh Rajput's film Chhichhore won the Best Hindi Film award while Kangana Ranaut won her fourth Best Actress award for her performances in Manikarnika (2019) and Panga (2020). Earlier, she was felicitated for her performance in Queen (2013), and Tanu Weds Manu Returns (2015). She had also won the Best Supporting Actress Award for her performance in Fashion (2008).

Best Actor award was shared by Manoj Bajpayee and Dhanush for their roles in Bhonsle and Asuran respectively.

The National Awards 2021 were announced in March this year. The prestigious awards show recognised the best of cinema in 2019, the annual awards were delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Here is the full winners' list:

Best Feature Film: Marakkar Arabikadalinte Simham (Malayalam)

Best Direction: Bahattar Hoorain

Best Actress: Kangana Ranaut (Manikarnika, Panga)

Best Actor: Manoj Bajpayee for Bhonsle and Dhanush for Asuran

Best Supporting Actress: The Tashkent Files, Pallavi Joshi

Best Supporting Actor: Super Deluxe, Vijaya Sethupathi

Best Children Film: Kastoori (Hindi)

Indira Gandhi Award for Best Debut Film of Director: Helen (Malayalam)

Special Mention: Biryani (Malayalam), Jonaki Porua (Assamese), Lata Bhagwan Kare (Marathi), Picasso (Marathi)

Best Stunt: Avane Srimannarayana (Kannada)

Best Choreography: Maharshi (Telugu)

Best Special Effects: Marakkar Arabikadalinte Simham (Malayalam)

Special Jury Award: Oththa Seruppu Size-7 (Tamil)

Best Lyrics: Kolaambi (Malayalam)

Best Music Direction Songs: Viswasam (Tamil)

Best Tulu Film: Pingara

Best Paniya Film: Kenjira

Best Mishing Film: Anu Ruwad

Best Khasi Film: Lewduh

Best Haryanvi Film: Chhoriyan Chhoron Se Kam Nahi Hoti

Best Chattisgarhi Film: Bhulan The Maze

Best Telugu Film: Jersey

Best Tamil Film: Asuran

Best Punjabi Film: Rab Da Radio 2

Best Odiya Film: Sala Budhar Badla and Kalira Atita

Best Manipuri Film: Eigi Kona

Best Malayalam Film: Kalla Nottam

Best Marathi Film: Bardo

Best Konkani Film: Kaajro

Best Kannada Film: Akshi

Best Hindi Film: Chhichhore

Best Bengali Film: Gumnaami

Best Assamese Film: Ronuwa- Who Never Surrender

India Falls To 101 From 94 In Hunger Index Behind Pak, Nepal: Report

NEW DELHI, Oct 15: India has slipped to 101st position in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2021 of 116 countries, from its 2020 position of 94th and is behind its neighbours Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.

Eighteen countries, including China, Brazil and Kuwait, shared the top rank with GHI score of less than five, the website of the Global Hunger Index that tracks hunger and malnutrition said on Thursday.

The report, prepared jointly by Irish aid agency Concern Worldwide and German organisation Welt Hunger Hilfe, termed the level of hunger in India "alarming".

In 2020, India was ranked 94th out of 107 countries. Now with 116 countries in the fray, it has dropped to 101st rank. India's GHI score has also decelerated - from 38.8 in 2000 to the range of 28.8 - 27.5 between 2012 and 2021.

The GHI score is calculated on four indicators -- undernourishment; child wasting (the share of children under the age of five who are wasted i.e who have low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition); child stunting (children under the age of five who have low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition) and child mortality (the mortality rate of children under the age of five).

The share of wasting among children in India rose from 17.1 per cent between 1998-2002 to 17.3 per cent between 2016-2020, according to the report.

"People have been severely hit by COVID-19 and by pandemic related restrictions in India, the country with highest child wasting rate worldwide," the report said.

Neighbouring countries like Nepal (76), Bangladesh (76), Myanmar (71) and Pakistan (92) are also in the 'alarming' hunger category, but have fared better at feeding its citizens than India, according to the report.

However, India has shown improvement in other indicators such as the under-5 mortality rate, prevalence of stunting among children and prevalence of undernourishment owing to inadequate food, the report said.

According to the report, the fight against hunger is dangerously off track. Based on the current GHI projections, the world as a whole - and 47 countries in particular - will fail to achieve a low level of hunger by 2030.

Food security is under assault on multiple fronts, it said, adding that worsening conflict, weather extremes associated with global climate change, and the economic and health challenges associated with the COVID19 pandemic are all driving hunger. "Inequality -- between regions, countries, districts, and communities -- is pervasive and, (if) left unchecked, will keep the world from achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) mandate to leave no one behind," the report said.

Further, the report noted that it is difficult to be optimistic in 2021 because the forces now driving hunger are overpowering good intentions and lofty goals. Among the most powerful and toxic of these forces are conflict, climate change, and COVID-19 - three Cs that threaten to wipe out any progress that has been made against hunger in recent years, it added.

Uttarakhand girl to head Canada’s Mission on International Day of the Girl

By Deepak Arora

NEW DELHI, Oct 10: Canadian Missions in Delhi and Mumbai will mark the International Day of the Girl (IDGC) on Monday with a range of activities to empower girls and highlight the need for equal rights for all girls.

Ms. Deepika, a 21-year-old from Kishanpur village in Uttarakhand, will virtually take over as Canada’s High Commissioner for a day. In this capacity, she will engage with the followers of the High Commission of Canada on social media about empowerment of women and equal rights for women and girls.

Deputy High Commissioner for Canada to India Amanda Strohan will participate in a virtual interactive session with young change makers on October 11, to discuss their path to achievements. Consuls-General from Switzerland, Sweden, Japan and Belgium as well as representatives of UNICEF will participate in the session.

Earlier on October 7, the Consulate General of Canada in Mumbai partnered with Avid Learning and FICCI FLO to present a virtual panel discussion ‘Women Create for Change: Stories of Empowerment’, featuring inspirational speakers, mentors and practitioners active in the creative industry. The panelists discussed how art has been a key enabler in their journey of empowerment.

In addition, the Consulate-General of Canada in Mumbai will collaborate with several government and private institutions to light up prominent buildings in Mumbai and Gujarat in pink, to highlight the message of equal rights for the girl child.

Acting High Commissioner for Canada to India, Ms. Deirdre Kent said: “The International Day of the Girl is an opportunity to highlight the needs and rights of girls. Canada continues to champion gender equality and equal opportunities for girls and boys in collaboration with other governments and civil society. Let us all continue to work together to make the world a better, fairer and equal place for everyone.”

Journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov win 2021 Nobel Peace Prize

OSLO, Oct 8: Journalists Maria Ressa, of the Philippines, and Dmitry Muratov, of Russia, have won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, recognised “for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression”, which the prize-giving committee described as being under threat worldwide

The two were given the prestigious award “for their courageous fight for freedom of expression in the Philippines and Russia,” Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said on Friday.

“At the same time, they are representatives of all journalists who stand up for this ideal in a world in which democracy and freedom of the press face increasingly adverse conditions,” she told a news conference in Norway’s capital, Oslo.

The prize is the first for journalists since German Carl von Ossietzky won it in 1935 for revealing his country’s secret post-war rearmament programme.

“Free, independent and fact-based journalism serves to protect against abuse of power, lies and war propaganda,” Reiss-Andersen said.

Ressa, who founded investigative journalism website Rappler, has focused much of her work on Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial and violent war on drugs. She and Rappler “have also documented how social media is being used to spread fake news, harass opponents and manipulate public discourse,” the Nobel committee noted.

“I’m a little shocked. It’s really emotional,” Ressa said after learning of the award.

“Journalism has never been as important as it is today,” she said, adding that journalists had “lost our gatekeeping powers to technology platforms” and called for nations to come together to stop the rise of misinformation.

She also said that despite her news website being under “the possibility of shutdown on a daily basis” she continues striving for fact-finding journalism.

The award-winning journalist was convicted last year of libel and sentenced to jail in a decision seen as a major blow to press global freedom. She was the first woman awarded a Nobel this year.

“If you keep the North Star ahead of you, you protect the facts, you hold power to account. You exercise the rights that is in the Philippine Constitution. That’s what we did, and that’s what we’ll keep doing,” she said.

Muratov founded the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta in 1993 and has been its editor-in-chief for 24 years. It is today one of the very few independent media outlets in Russia, and has seen six of its journalists murdered during that time.

“I can’t take credit for this. This is Novaya Gazeta’s. It is that of those who died defending the right of people to freedom of speech,” Muratov was cited by Russian news agency TASS as saying.

Muratov said he would use his win to help independent journalists who have faced growing pressure from the authorities, including those whose organizations were declared “foreign agents” — a designation that threatens to bring more government scrutiny.

“We will use it to shore up Russian journalism that has faced repressions,” he said in comments carried by a Russian messaging app channel. “We will try to help the people who have been designated as agents, have faced persecution and have been forced out of the country.”

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 17 media workers were killed in the Philippines in the last decade and 23 in Russia.

Soon after the announcement, the Kremlin congratulated the Russian journalist despite the fact that his newspaper has often criticised Russian authorities.

“We can congratulate Dmitry Muratov,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. “He persistently works in accordance with his own ideals, he is devoted to them, he is talented, he is brave,” he added.

Last year’s prize went to the World Food Programme for its efforts to combat hunger and food insecurity around the globe.

The award is accompanied by a gold medal and 10 million Swedish kronor (over $1.1m). The prize money comes from a bequest left by the prize’s creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who died in 1896.

On Monday, the Nobel Committee awarded the prize in physiology or medicine to Americans David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian for their discoveries into how the human body perceives temperature and touch.

The Nobel Prize in physics was awarded Tuesday to three scientists whose work helped explain and predict complex forces of nature, including expanding our understanding of climate change.

Benjamin List and David WC MacMillan were named as laureates of the Nobel Prize for chemistry on Wednesday for finding an easier and environmentally cleaner way to build molecules that can be used to make compounds, including medicines and pesticides.

The Nobel Prize for literature was awarded on Thursday to Tanzanian author Abdulrazak Gurnah, who was recognised for his “uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee”.

Still to come on Monday is the prize for outstanding work in the field of economics.

Nuakhai Festival Celebrates Harvesting In Odisha

By Bikash Narayan Mishra

Bikash Narayan MishraNEW DELHI, Sept 11: Nuakhai and Baisakhi are two important festivals of Odisha and Punjab respectively and both are celebrated to mark the harvesting of crops.

Nuakhai is the most important social festival in Western Odisha and adjoining areas of neighbouring states; Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. More than 10 million people celebrate the occasion with lots of fanfare and merry making.

The word nua means new and khai means food, so the name means the farmers are in possession of the newly harvested rice.

The festival is seen as a new ray of hope, held the day after the Ganesha Chaturthi festival. It has a big significance for farmers and the agricultural community.

The festival celebrated at a particular time of day which is called lagan. When the lagan, particular time decided by the village priests or the community comes, the people first remember their village God or Goddess and worship and offer Nus. Then they have their nua at homes. Goddess Samaleswari Patneswari, Manikeswari and Sureswari are mainly worshipped by the people on this occasion.

According to researchers Nuakhai is of fairly ancient origin. It can be traced back to Vedic times when the rishis (sages) had talked of panchayajna, the five important activities in the annual calendar of an agrarian society.

These five activities have been specifiedas sitayajna (the tilling of the land), pravapana yajna (the sowing of seeds), pralambana yajna (the initial cutting of crops), khala yajna (the harvesting of grains) and prayayana yajna (the preservation of the produce).

Sambalpuri danceIn view of this, Nuakhai may be seen as having evolved out of the third activity, namely pralambana yajna, which involves cutting the first crop and reverently offering it to the mother goddess.

There are reasons for observing the festival in the month of Bhadrava(August/ September)even though the food grain is not ready for harvesting. The idea is to present the grain to the presiding deity before any bird or animal pecks at it and before it is ready for eating. Raja Ramai Deo of Patna state is understood to have made lot of efforts to popularise and institutionalise the festivals in 14th century.

The preparations begin some 15 days prior to the date of the festivalis and it’s celebrated both at the community and domestic level. The rituals are first observed at the temple of the reigning deity of the area or to the village deity. Afterward, the people worship in their respective homes and offer rituals to their domestic deity and to Lakshmi, the deity of wealth in the Hindu tradition. People wear new clothes for the occasion.

It is a tradition that after offering the nua to the presiding deity, the eldest member of the family distributes nua to other members of the family. After taking the nua, all the junior members of the family offer their regards to their elders. Thereafter follows the nuakhai juhar, which is the exchange of greetings with friends, well-wishers, and relatives.

This symbolizes unity. This is an occasion for people to lay their differences to rest and start relationships afresh. Towards the evening people meet one another, exchanging greetings. All differences are discarded and elders are wished nuakhai juhar. The elders bless their juniors and wish them long life, happiness, and prosperity. Even the partitioned brothers celebrate the festival under one roof.

In the evening, folk dances and songs are organized called "Nuakhai Bhetghat". People dance to the foot tapping traditional Sambalpuri dance forms like Rasarkeli, Dalkhai, Maelajada, Chutkuchuta, Sajani, Nachnia, and Bajnia.

These days people from this part of country have also become mobile and can be seen in all parts of the country in sizeable numbers. They can also also be found in other parts globally. In most of the important towns in cities in towns all over the world people from this origin celebrate the occasion amidst much fanfare.

BaisakhiBaisakhi is a harvest festival for the people of Northen India especially Punjab. It’s Thanks Giving day for farmers who thank God for the abundant harvest. They also pray for their future prosperity.

The harvest festival is celebrated by Sikhs and Hindus. Apart from them people from other religions participate in the celebration. The harvest festival is characterised by a folk dance, Bhangra which traditionally is a harvest dance.

Fairs and meals are held in many places in Punjab on this occasion to celebrate the formation of Khalsa. Large gatherings take place in Harmandar Sahib in Golden Temple of Amritsar and at Talwandi Sabo in the gurudwara at Anandpur sahib.

Celebrating the unity in the diverse culture of India has been the main motto of Odias and Punjabis. Though both the states are away from each other by a distance of over 2500 kilometres there are some cultural bonding.

It is widely believed that Guru Nanakji had visited Puri in 1506. The famous Mangu Math at Jagannath Temple (Puri) has many things to tell in this regard.

Punjab’s Bhangra and Odisha’s Sambalpuri dance have many commonalities. During the live performance of a Bhangra or a Sambalpuri dance one cannot help stretching one’s legs and arms or for that matter body in celebration/dance mode.

It doesn’t require any settings or even a stage for the performance of both the dances. They can be performed on the streets, in the fields and in the hearts anywhere. After all the English alphabets O and P are close to each other; so are Odisha and Punjab!

Nuakhai Juhar ��

@ Bikash Narayan Mishra is a senior advisor with Indian Bank Association. He was earlier with Punjab National Bank and has served in Odisha and Punjab.



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