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SporTale- Sports Literature Festival (representational image, source- Pixabay)

Jaipur, Jan 24, 2017: US President Donald Trump has called for a strong barrier on the country’s southern border, the British government wants a “hard Brexit” with full immigration control, but history teaches us that civilisations only flourish with free movement of people and walls eventually lead to the downfall of even powerful empires, says a British academician.

“Walls are not a sensible barrier. They stop the free movement of people and eventually civilisations collapse… Look at the case of the Roman empire,” Sir Barrington Windsor “Barry” Cunliffe, one of the world’s pre-eminent archaeologists, told IANS in an interview at the Jaipur Literature Festival, 2017.

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Cunliffe, who headed Oxford’s European Archaeology department for over three decades and is now a professor emeritus there, had in a session titled “By Steppe, Desert and Ocean: The Birth of Eurasia” at the litfest, stressed on the long “understated and underestimated” role of the steppe stretching from what is China’s Manchuria to the Great Hungarian Plain in the making of Europe and Asia.

He had also cited the effect of climate change in determining the course of human development and society, as well as geography — as Eurasian mountain ranges run east to west and close to the latitudes which determines climate as against the north to south chain on the American continents.

Cunliffe argued that it was the large-scale migrations of people from East to West (as well as southward into India and China), compelled by climate change (which has been well proved) as a major reason, that led to Eurasia becoming the centre of the world from the earliest times to the 13th century and guiding the course of human civilisation till now.

Among other things, he noted it was the steppe nomads that had domesticated the horse and learnt to ride it, enabling humans to cover more distances; invented the wheel and subsequently the chariot; and forms of subsistence and organisations that

allowed larger concentrations of people to live together.

The invasions of Mongol warlord Genghis Khan, which also demonstrates the effects of climate change on pastoral societies, was the last phase of these migrations, Cunliffe told IANS.

Cunliffe, who has also written about the Celts, a people of Western and Northwestern Europe from the Iron Age to around the medieval era and whose language is the root of Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, Irish and Breton (in France), said they were more important to European society.

“They are embedded in feelings of Europeans as a people, of their ancestry, to understand their roots. We can read stories about them, they feel real as peoples. On the other hand, they have been manipulated for political reasons, especially in Britain and France,” he said.

The Celts, encountered by the Romans when they invaded Western Europe and Britain in the 1st century BC, are most vividly known to most of us through one of their most prominent warriors, though in a comic book — Gaul warrior Asterix of the sole village to withstand Roman occupation. Cunliffe agreed.

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“Yes, the Asterix series… they are very clever, well-researched, full of insights and can be enjoyed by children and adults alike, and can be a good introduction.

“I am in favour of anything that can popularise the subject.” (IANS)



Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday asked the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) to prevent dumping of toxic wastes in India.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday asked the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) to prevent dumping of toxic wastes in India. Speaking at an event to celebrate DRI's 64th foundation day, Sitharaman lauded DRI's compact strength of about 800 officers for their relentless efforts despite the imminent risks. The Finance Minister stated that the officers may be keeping a low profile, but they are acting like the frontline defence forces, doing spectacular work in safeguarding the economic frontiers of the country. "The recent smuggling attempts of huge quantities of narcotics, gold, red sanders, ivory, cigarettes etc. unearthed by DRI were appreciated by the Finance Minister," the Ministry of Finance said in a statement.

"Sitharaman said that the message through such enforcement actions should be such that these acts of brazen attempts at smuggling are nipped in the bud," the statement added. The Finance Minister also said that better coordination among the law enforcement and intelligence gathering agencies and sharing of actionable intelligence are the way forward in protecting the frontiers of the country more efficiently. "Sitharaman also asked the DRI to focus on interdicting dual use technology items as well as preventing the dumping of toxic wastes in our country," the statement said. (IANS/ MBI)

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Photo by Brandon Romanchuk on Unsplash

Tech giant Amazon has expanded the sound detection capabilities of Alexa along with more features.

Tech giant Amazon has expanded the sound detection capabilities of Alexa along with more features. Alexa can now identify the sounds of running water and appliances beeping, reports Android Central. This means users can set up an Alexa routine to notify themselves when the washer beeps to indicate that laundry is finished, the report said.

When Alexa detects that the faucet has been left open, it will send users a notification as well so they can take appropriate action, it added. Amazon previously said at its event in September that it would add the ability to programme Alexa to recognise custom sounds, but that feature has yet to arrive. Having said that, the two new sound detection capabilities not only help users save energy, but they also make it easier to avoid paying for unnecessary charges on your home utilities, the report said.

The retail giant has also announced ultrasound motion detection, which will allow you to set up "Occupancy Routines" on additional Echo devices. This feature allows your smart speaker to detect nearby motion and initiate a routine, such as turning on the lights. It is compatible with many of the best Alexa speakers including the 4th-gen Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Dot with Clock. (IANS/ MBI)

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Comforting Christmas cocktails help you enjoy the celebrations and get into the festive spirit.

By Olivia Sarkar
It's the holiday season, which means it's time to be merry! As the month of December approaches, we're all in a festive mindset. With Christmas just around the corner, there will be plenty of parties and get-togethers with friends and family.

Comforting Christmas cocktails help you enjoy the celebrations and get into the festive spirit. The Leela Palaces, Hotels, and Resorts offer distinctive cocktails ranging from Hot Toddies to Decadent Egg Nogs. Sit back and enjoy one martini at a time to make the festive season a little brighter.

Dirty Chai Eggnog:

Eggnog is a Christmas favorite that is accustomed to toasts for good health and prosperity. It is an American tradition that has spread around the world. Historically, it has been made using eggs, milk, and alcohol. Our culinary artists have given an Indian twist to this winter drink, making it quintessentially desi!


30 ml Bourbon
30 ml Baileys
90 ml Hot milk tea
Whole Spices
Sweet cream foam to top up

Cinnamon powder and star anise.

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