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New species of crested dinosaur identified in Mexico

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(Last Updated On: May 16, 2021)

A team of palaeontologists in Mexico have identified a new species of dinosaur after finding its 72 million-year-old fossilized remains almost a decade ago, Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) said on Thursday.

Reuters reported the new species, named Tlatolophus galorum, was identified as a crested dinosaur after 80% of its skull was recovered, allowing experts to compare it to other dinosaurs of that type, INAH said.

The investigation, which also included specialists from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, began in 2013 with the discovery of an articulated tail in the north-central Mexican state of Coahuila, where other discoveries have been made.

“Once we recovered the tail, we continued digging below where it was located. The surprise was that we began to find bones such as the femur, the scapula and other elements,” Alejandro Ramírez, a scientist involved in the discovery, told Reuters.

Later, the scientists were able to collect, clean and analyze other bone fragments from the front part of the dinosaur’s body.

The palaeontologists had in their possession the crest of the dinosaur, which was 1.32 meters long, as well as other parts of the skull: lower and upper jaws, palate and even a part known as the neurocranium, where the brain was housed, INAH said.

The Mexican anthropology body also explained the meaning of the name – Tlatolophus galorum – for the new species of dinosaur, Reuters reported.

Tlatolophus is a mixture of two words, putting together a term from the indigenous Mexican language of Nahuatl that means “word” with the Greek term meaning “crest”. Galorum refers to the people linked to the research, INAH said.

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Tiny creature comes back to life after 24,000 years in Siberian deep freeze

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(Last Updated On: June 10, 2021)

A microscopic organism has wriggled back to life and reproduced asexually after lying frozen in the vast permafrost lands of northeastern Siberia for 24,000 years.

Russian scientists found the tiny, ancient animal called the bdelloid rotifer in soil taken from the river Alazeya in Russia’s region of Yakutia in the far north.

The bdelloid rotifer, a multicellular organism found in freshwater habitats across the world, is known to be able to withstand extreme cold.

Previous research suggested it could survive for a decade when frozen at -20 degrees Celsius.

This new case, which was detailed in a study https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(21)00624-2 in the journal Current Biology, is by far the creature’s longest recorded survival period in a frozen state.

The organism was recovered from samples taken 3.5 metres below ground. The material was dated from between 23,960 and 24,485 years ago, the study said.

Land encased in permafrost – where the ground is frozen all year round – has for years thrown up startling scientific discoveries.

Scientists earlier revived microscopic worms called nematodes from sediment in two places in northern Siberia that were dated over 30,000 years old.

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Efforts underway to improve on telecoms services: ATRA

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(Last Updated On: May 27, 2021)

Officials of the Afghanistan Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (ATRA) on Thursday marked World Telecommunication and Information Society Day and said that Afghanistan has witnessed great achievements in this sector but that efforts are being made to roll out more services.

Omar Mansoor Ansari, head of ATRA, said that endeavors are underway to provide equal services to all citizens across the country.

“We want those who dominated on internet networks, whether it is ATRA or Ministry of Telecommunication to identify and block the accounts, and bring the perpetrators to justice,” said Shinwari.

A presidential adviser, meanwhile, raised the issue of fake social media accounts which he said should be blocked.

“We expect telecommunication networks, especially internet providers, to identify and block fake accounts, and see that the perpetrators are brought to justice,” said Malalai Shinwari, a presidential adviser.

To mark the day, Afghanistan telecommunication companies also showcased their services during an expo Thursday in Kabul.

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Twitter concerned about India staff safety after police visit

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(Last Updated On: May 27, 2021)

Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) said on Thursday it was worried about the safety of its staff in India, days after police visited its office as part of a probe related to the social media firm’s tagging of some ruling party posts as manipulated, Reuters reported.

Indian police on Monday visited a Twitter office to serve a notice to the micro-blogging firm’s country head for a probe into its tagging of a tweet by a ruling party spokesman as “manipulated media”.

Without directly referring to the Delhi police action, Twitter said: “We, alongside many in civil society in India and around the world, have concerns with regards to the use of intimidation tactics by the police in response to enforcement of our global Terms of Service.”

Leaders of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party recently shared portions of a document on Twitter they said was created by the main opposition Congress party and highlighted government failures in handling the COVID-19 pandemic, Reuters reported.

Congress complained to Twitter saying the document was fake, after which Twitter marked some of the posts as “manipulated media”.

Delhi Police declined to comment.

Twitter has been battling with the Indian government since February after the technology ministry asked it to block content alleging Modi’s administration was trying to silence criticism related to farmer protests in the country.

Following that showdown, India announced new IT rules that aim to make social media firms more accountable to legal requests for swift removal of posts, Reuters reported.

On Thursday, Twitter urged the technology ministry to give it three more months to comply with the new content regulation rules, which include the appointment of an Indian grievance officer to deal with complaints.

Twitter said it was very concerned the rules made the compliance officer criminally liable for content on the platform, adding the move represented a dangerous overreach.

India’s technology ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment, Reuters reported.

The new IT rules have spurred legal battles, including a lawsuit filed by Facebook-owned WhatsApp (FB.O) this week which calls out India’s government for exceeding its legal powers by enacting rules that will force the messaging app to break end-to-end message encryption.

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