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Top UN court to rule on landmark Israel Gaza genocide case
The top UN court hands down an initial decision Friday in a case against Israel over alleged genocide in Gaza, a landmark ruling closely watched in the Middle East and around the world. The top UN court hands down an initial decision Friday in a case against Israel over alleged genocide in Gaza, a landmark ruling closely watched in the Middle East and around the world. The International Court of Justice could order Israel to stop its military campaign in Gaza, sparked by the unprecedented October 7 attacks by Hamas, or to facilitate humanitarian aid. The court will not however pass judgement on whether or not Israel is actually committing genocide in Gaza. At this stage, the ICJ will hand down emergency orders before considering the wider accusation of genocidal acts in Gaza -- a process that will likely take years. The case has been brought by South Africa, which says that Israel is in breach of the 1948 UN Genocide Convention, set up in the ashes of World War II and the Holocaust. "South Africa does not need to prove that Israel is committing genocide," said Juliette McIntyre, international law expert from the University of South Australia. "They simply need to establish that there is a plausible risk of genocide occurring," she told AFP. Over two days of hearings earlier this month in the gilded halls of the Peace Palace in the Hague, a world away from the violence in Israel and Gaza, robed lawyers argued over the technicalities of the Genocide Convention. "Genocides are never declared in advance," declared Adila Hassim, a top lawyer for South Africa. "But this Court has the benefit of the past 13 weeks of evidence that shows incontrovertibly a pattern of conduct and related intention that justifies a plausible claim of genocidal acts," she added. - 'World is upside down' - The case has sparked fury in Israel, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declaring that "the world is upside down". Israel's lawyer Tal Becker dismissed Pretoria's case as a "profoundly distorted factual and legal picture" and a "decontextualised and manipulative description of the reality" on the ground. Showing the court images of the brutal Hamas attack, Becker said that "if there have been acts that may be characterised as genocidal, then they have been perpetrated against Israel". Becker denied that Israel's operations were aimed at the citizens of Gaza. The army's aim was "not to destroy a people, but to protect a people, its people, who are under attack on multiple fronts", he said. The ICJ's rulings are binding on all parties, but it has no mechanism to enforce them. Sometimes they are completely ignored -- the court has ordered Russia to stop its invasion of Ukraine for example. Netanyahu has already suggested he does not feel bound by the court, saying "no one will stop us -- not The Hague, not the Axis of Evil and no one else". - 'Huge' symbolic impact - "It is conceivable that an order by the court would not have any significant influence on Israel's military operation," said Cecily Rose, assistant professor of public international law at Leiden University. But if the court decides there is a risk of genocide in Gaza, it could still have a ripple effect, notably on other nations that back Israel politically or militarily. "It makes it much harder for other states to continue to support Israel in the face of a neutral third party finding there is a risk of genocide," said McIntyre. "States may withdraw military or other support for Israel in order to avoid this," she added. In addition, she noted the "huge" symbolic impact of any ruling against Israel under the Genocide Convention, given its tragic history. In its submission to the court, South Africa acknowledged the "particular weight of responsibility" of accusing Israel of genocide but said it was bound to uphold its duties under the Convention. Israeli lawyer Becker retorted that "there can hardly be a charge more false and more malevolent than the allegation against Israel of genocide". The October 7 Hamas attack resulted in the death of around 1,140 people in Israel, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures. At least 25,700 Palestinians, around 70 percent of them women, young children and adolescents, have been killed in the Gaza Strip in Israeli bombardments and ground offensive since then, according to the Hamas government's health ministry.
Ode to Sunlight
When it was the time of Covid_19, everything was bolcked and people were in quarantine, isolated, and lonely.Every individual became isolated within four walls,just like a cave.In that time vaccine became the hope, the Sunlight.Sunlight entered in every room and from that very moment, It was realized the hope of Sunlight and written this poem. Ode to Sunlight -Ahalul Jannat Oh my light, how bright! May I take you in my heart? You guy, how fresh! May I drink you? I know you came to rescue me From the dark curse, In My little cave, out of light, full with you. You came to me to spread love. I know— You are righteous, Your heart is so kind, can not leave anyone but giving the light. Come, come to my hut, Fill my little cave with joy. Wont you give me your flame? So I can burn my all diffidence. Please, come to me I wanna take bath in you!
A New Year for Us
A New Year For Us a satirical verse form, which expresses One's sole understanding about our pretentious social culture and this also focuses on the society’s pride or social face and not the real soul. And the rush that our generation feels to cope with time. It is tried to find the solution for this situation, which we feel inside. A New Year for Us -Afia Fahmida It’s probably the new year, not for a soul trapped in an old shell. It’s a new year, but not for the child trapped in the box. It’s probably a new year, not for the tired soul. The soul, which has to endure many adventures, And everyone of them changes it. It's probably a new year for the rest of the world, but not the best time for the trapped soul; he'll needs some time to get through the storm. It will be a new year’s dawn for all, like this one. May be the year will start for him in the autumn in the city of Sakura. Maybe it will start with the first snow. Maybe on a summer morning with Skylark’s song. Or maybe, with the Lost of some major part in it, waking up from the tired nap, which is not longer than seventeen minutes. In the new year, the lost, trapped soul will start its new dawn. And that is perfectly okay. It will be perfectly okay, even if it’s not okay with others. We will start like Murakami’s Kafka, with new features gifted by the storms.
Neuralink's telepathy brain chip: How 'weird' is it?
Brain implant devices could have a transformative impact on human health. Now Elon Musk's company Neuralink has tested its implants in a human trial. Neuralink has implanted its first "brain-computer interface" (BCI) chip inside a human brain, according to the company's co-founder Elon Musk. On January 29, Musk wrote on his social media platform, X, that results were "promising." It's been eight years in the making: Since it was founded in 2016, the company has been developing a computer chip designed to be implanted into the brain, where it monitors the activity of thousands of neurons. The chip — called Telepathy — consists of a tiny probe, containing 1,024 electrodes, attached to flexible threads thinner than a human hair. Each electrode records the electrical activity of neurons in the brain, but does not "control" neurons. Neuralink has said it aims to help patients overcome neurological conditions such as blindness and paralysis. However, Musk has described other ambitions for the brain chip that are reminiscent of science fiction. "The future is going to be weird,ʺ said Musk in 2020. As well as treating health issues, Musk has said he wants to link the brain with computers to allow information and memories from deep inside the mind to be downloaded, like in the 1999 science fiction film "The Matrix." Musk has also said he wants to provide people with "super vision" and achieve human telepathy, which he said would help humanity prevail in a war against artificial intelligence. Sci-fi or reality? But are any of Musk's sci-fi ideas feasible? Short answer: no. ʺWe cannot read people's minds. The amount of information that we can decode from the brain is very limited,ʺ said Giacomo Valle, a neural engineer at the University of Chicago in the United States. Juan Alvaro Gallego, a brain-computer interface researcher at Imperial College London, agreed, arguing it's hard to imagine BCIs reading our minds in this lifetime. ʺThe fundamental problem is that we don't really know where or how thoughts are stored in the brain. We can't read thoughts if we don't understand the neuroscience behind them,ʺ Gallego told DW. Clinical uses of BCIs grounded in reality Musk first showcased the Neuralink technology in 2019, introducing a pig with a Neuralink chip implanted in its brain and a video of a monkey controlling a pong paddle with its mind. But the potential for BCIs goes far beyond animals playing games. Gallego said the technology was first developed to help people paralyzed with spinal injuries or conditions like Locked-in syndrome — when a patient is fully conscious but can't move any part of the body except the eyes — to communicate. ʺIf you [could] translate their internal communication into words on a computer, it would be life-changing,ʺ said Gallego. In these sorts of cases, BCIs are designed to record electrical signals from neurons in the motor cortex, then send the signals to a computer where they are displayed as text. The motor cortex isn't typically thought to be involved in thinking. Instead, it's where instructions to move are sent out to the body, like the tongue and jaw muscle movements for speech. What the electrodes are really recording is a motor plan — more precisely, the end result of all the processing in different parts of the brain (sensory, linguistic, cognitive) required to move or speak. So BCIs aren't really recording your thoughts, but rather the brain's plan to move a finger here, a leg there, or to open your mouth to make an "aah" sound. ʺScientists also showed they can read the motor cortex's intent to draw a letter,ʺ said Gallero. ʺUsing complex modelling [with the connected computer], this allowed paralyzed participants to type 90 characters per minute, which was a breakthrough.ʺ BCIs help people feel and walk again Another breakthrough occurred in 2016 when Barack Obama, the US president at the time, shook Nathan Copeland's robotic hand. Copeland, who was paralyzed after a car accident, felt Obama's handshake as if they were touching skin to skin. ʺThis demonstrated a different capability of BCIs. Rather than using electrodes to record from the brain and interpret intended movements, they instead stimulated the brain with tiny currents to produce sensation,ʺ said Gallego. In Copeland's case, a BCI called the Utah array was implanted into his brain to improve the functioning of a disabled part of his nervous system. The device, produced by a Neuralink rival, was implanted into his sensory cortex and connected with sensors on the end of his robotic hand. When Copeland shook hands with Obama, those sensors sent signals causing electrodes in the sensory cortex to stimulate the "hand" region of the brain, allowing Copeland to "feel" the president's hand. More recently, a patient with a spinal cord injury caused by a bike accident was fitted with a brain-spine interface which enabled him to walk naturally again. The device enabled signals from the brain to connect with motor regions of the spinal cord below the level of the damage, thereby bridging the injury. These new capabilities of BCIs represent the next generation of deep brain stimulation, a treatment that involves implanting electrodes into areas of the brain to help people with movement disorders. ʺThese technologies have been around for a while. Deep brain stimulation has been used to help many thousands of people with Parkinson's disease since the 1990s,ʺ said Gallego. Brain surgery for everyone? Really? For now, BCIs like Neuralink and the Utah array are only being used in special one-off cases. ʺAll the clinical applications of BCIs are still at the research stage and not implemented in clinical practice yet,ʺ said Valle. Neuralink tried to receive approval from US federal drug regulators to test its technology in human trials last year, but suffered a blow when authorities rejected the application, citing major safety concerns. FDA approval was finally granted in May 2023. The device consists of 96 tiny, flexible probes that must be individually inserted into the brain. Brain surgery is no joke. Even if the invasive procedure required to wire a BCI up to the brain goes well, the potential for infection or immune ʺrejectionʺ of the device remains long after implantation. The birth of neuroethics In the long term, Valle said, BCIs raise "a variety of ethical concerns" that will need to be considered carefully by researchers, companies, funding agencies, regulators and users themselves. The technology is giving birth to a new field of moral inquiry: neuroethics. It's here where discussions turn more sci-fi. ʺFor example, what are the consequences of privacy breaches when the data in question relate to people's thoughts? How can we ensure that a lack of access does not exacerbate societal inequity? What happens when this information can be directly input into the brain?" said Valle. After all, it's the role of science fiction to prepare us for what might come in the future. Warnings about surveillance and technological control were all there in early 20th-century novels, such as Brave New World and 1984. Have we listened to them?
Stress management 101: Navigating academic pressure with poise
In the bustling realm of Bangladesh, a smaller world is hidden, one that encompasses students striving to reach their own finishing lines of success in a fiercely competitive race of academics. Expectations, deadlines, exams, and comparisons cause students to grapple with their abilities in an attempt to reach their finishing lines of this race. This ordeal of academia often establishes a daunting duo: stress and anxiety, with our minds frequently echoing their relentless affirmations of "what-ifs."—what if the A* is unachievable? What if I fail? What if I disappoint my parents? What if I can't? While we students are trapped in this world of ours surrounded with uncertainties and a myriad of possibilities, it’s impossible to avoid the stress that comes with it. Nevertheless, we possess the power to alleviate its impact. If you're anything like me, scouring countless YouTube videos and self-help books for strategies, look no further. I've outlined some practical strategies below that, if correctly applied, can uplift you when stress threatens to overpower. Read forth with a mindset that is ready to accept and adapt. 1: Eradicating the nefarious duo: anxiety and stress In the pages of my very own lexicon, anxiety is that mischievous cozener which hinders my progress and is accompanied by none other than stress; anxiety’s closest companion. This nefarious duo tries to not let me pick up the pieces of myself that have fallen to the depths of a dark abyss, aka procrastination. To be more precise, I used to put an exemplary amount of effort in focusing on the negatives rather than being determined to attain the positives. But here's the gist of it all: Tackling anxiety isn't some prearranged fate; it's a conscious choice you get to make. Watching motivational content all day is not at all a profound way of tackling them, but taking regular, consistent actions and maintaining them certainly is. Staying composed and concentrating on the task at hand instead of focusing on ‘stress’ may even eradicate the feeling completely. This strategy may sound simple and even futile to many to an extent, but its results are far from trivial. 2: Mr. Lucius Annaeus Seneca’s prediction Further elaborating on strategy 1, proactively pondering upon your stress and anxiety in the first place shows that you worry for your academic well-being, it reflects on your commitment towards your goals. This should assure you that you are not as lost as your mind would have you believe. A quote from Seneca reads, “We suffer more often in our imagination than in reality”, which is a perfect example of what we, students, face on a daily basis. 3: Thank yourself Although it's hard, as a student, you must also learn to show gratitude to yourself. While preparing for my O levels, I used to often question myself, overthink, and overstress, no matter how punctiliously I studied or how many past papers I solved. It almost felt felonious to get questions wrong. In those fleeting instances, taking deep breaths and meditating caused nothing but a brief lung expansion extravaganza! Well, if you find yourself in a similar situation, then instead of taking deep breaths; close your eyes, and reflect upon all the time and energy you’ve invested into whatever you’re fearing won’t work. Tell yourself that doubting yourself is a major setback and one of the contributing factors to your anxiety and stress. So, instead of scolding yourself mentally, applaud for how far you’ve come, and how much you’ve endured even if it is as far as just trying. 4: The role of those who teach & provide Remember that having an outlet is important. After receiving quite a blow during one of my O levels, I was appalled. And with 10 more exams to go, I lacked the energy to withstand them all, in other words, I was simply drained. The sadness I felt was strongly correlated with disappointing my parents. Most students in Bangladesh face such crises often. The best thing I did at that moment was talk to my strict Bengali mother about it. Although most would not, remember that it is your loved ones who understand you the most. Letting my dread out made it all lighter. This may seem trivial coming from a stranger, but confiding in those who teach and provide would be the wisest decision you could make. Amidst innumerous tips and strategies, the aforementioned ones had the most impact in developing me to a less stressed student and individual. All in all, stress management is a personal journey. How you approach yours is dependent on you. Explore these tips and employ them so that you can avoid the mishaps I got into and eventually, learn to tackle stress like a pro! This article is written by: Shreyoshi Sharbojoya Student of class XI, Scholastica
10 get death sentence in Subarnachar gang rape case
A Noakhali court sentenced 10 people to death including six others to life term imprisonment in a case over raping a woman in Subarnachar upazila in 2019. The judge of Noakhali Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal-2, Fatema Ferdous, has delivered the judgment today (Feb 5). The court also fined the accused Tk 50,000 each. If they fail to fulfill the fine, they would have to stay in jail for two more years. 15 accused were present in court at the time of pronouncement of verdict and one accused was absconding. The assaulted woman alleged that the attack and rape happened because she did not vote for their preferred symbol. The incident was widely discussed at home and abroad.
Secondary schools to remain open during Ramadan
The government has decided to keep the government and private secondary schools open for 15 days during the month of Ramadan. The academic activities of secondary schools will continue from March 11 to 25, said a notification of the Ministry of Education signed by Public Relations Officer Mohammad Abul Khayer. As per the notification, the government has brought some changes the holiday list of the educational institutions in 2024.