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Singer-songwriter Bob Dylan receives Nobel Prize in Literature at a private ceremony in Stockholm

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This July 22, 2012, photo shows U.S. singer-songwriter Bob Dylan performing onstage at "Les Vieilles Charrues" Festival in Carhaix, western France, VOA

Stockholm, April 2, 2017: Singer-songwriter Bob Dylan finally received his Nobel Prize in literature at a private ceremony in Stockholm, according to a statement posted online by the head of the Swedish Academy.

The presentation on Saturday came five months after the academy announced Dylan, 75, was the winner and more than three months after the formal award ceremony, which Dylan didn’t attend because of “pre-existing commitments”, CNN reported.

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But Dylan was in Stockholm this weekend to perform concerts and the private ceremony was arranged.

However, it was not not known what Dylan had to say about the award. Swedish media reported no cameras were present at the ceremony.

There were no comments made to the media by Dylan, or any member of the academy, either before or after the event.

Upon the announcement of Dylan’s award in October, the academy’s permanent secretary, Sara Danius, said Dylan “is a great poet in the English-speaking tradition”, drawing parallels between his work and that of ancient Greek poets.

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Saturday, she issued the following statement on Dylan’s receipt of the award, reports CNN.

“Earlier today (Saturday) the Swedish Academy met with Bob Dylan for a private ceremony in Stockholm, during which Dylan received his gold medal and diploma. Twelve members of the Academy were present. Spirits were high. Champagne was had.”

Dylan — the first songwriter to win a Nobel Prize — was acknowledged by the Swedish Academy “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.” (IANS)

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Seven Safe Solo Female Travel Destinations To Check Out

Below are some travel destinations which you shouldn't miss out.

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Solo Female Travel Destinations
Travel destinations where women can go for solo trips. Pixabay

Oct 06, 2017: Women in the 21st century have achieved success in almost every professional. The Information Technology (IT) in India itself has more women than men. And now, the defense of this country is also being handled by a woman. If they can do so much then why to restrict from travelling solo? Shun the world and start a trend. After all; you are your best company. Below are seven solo female travel destinations to check out!

1. Reykjavik, Iceland

Solo female travel destinations
Reykjavik, Iceland. Wikimedia.

The Global Peace Index of 2016 notes Iceland the safest country in the world. This European country has got this title for six times. But, the safety reason is not just the only thing why one should visit this place. There is a lot more added to the place’s beauty. Along with the place’s attractive touristy points, there are a lot interesting outdoor activities one can catch-up with. This quality of Reykjavik makes undoubtedly makes it one of the best solo female travel destinations.

Attractive tourist spots/ restaurants:

National Museum of Island- Exhibition of materials from the settlement age to the current age can be seen in here.
Hallgrímskirkj- A sheer beauty and the largest church in Iceland.
Perlan- A revolving domed shaped classy and fine dining restaurant in the city.

2. Copenhagen, Denmark

Solo Female Travel Destinations
Copenhagen, Denmark. Pixabay.

Scandinavian countries have regularly been coming in the highest ranks`in the United Nation’s (UN) World Happiness Index. Along with being a happy country, the country is low on crime rates. The place is extremely safe for women. The Danish lifestyle is beautiful, and the people of the nation are amicable.

Attractive tourist spots:

The Little Mermaid- It is a beautiful bronze mermaid structure made by Edvard Eriksen.
Amalienborg- It is the home of the Danish royal family.
Strøget- The pedestrian street is one of the longest in Europe. The road is full of fantastic shops- from budget-friendly chains to the world’s most expensive brands.

Also ReadSeven Best Places To Visit In October In India

3. Stockholm, Sweden

Solo Female Travel Destinations
Stockholm, Sweden. Pixabay.

One of the most beautiful, safest and happiest spaces on Earth, Stockholm is one of the best solo female travel destinations. The city has beautiful shopping destinations. From costly brands to budget-friendly local shops, the place has it all.

Attractive tourist spots:

Vasa Museum-  It is a maritime museum, which is located on the island of Djurgården, and displays the only almost fully intact 17th century ship, which has ever been salvaged.
Stockholm Palace- The palace is the residence of the Swedish monarch

4. Bergen, Norway

Solo Female Travel Destinations
Bergen, Norway. Pixabay.

Norway is presently the world’s happiest nation, and the country witnesses the huge amount of tourists and travelling visiting the beautiful cities every year. Bergen is one such beautiful place in Norway where you can have a lovely vacation, and a peaceful one.

Attractive tourist spots:

Bergenhus fortress- It is located at the entrance to the harbor in the city, and is one of the oldest preserved castles of the country.

5. Melbourne, Australia

Solo Female Travel Destinations
Melbourne, Australia. Pixabay.

Melbourne city tops the country’s solo travel destinations list because of its exciting live music, museums, theatres, galleries and restaurants. Well, what else do you want in a vacation? The hipster haven of Brunswick Street is filled with bars, restaurants and vintage shops.

Attractive tourist spots:

Royal Botanic Gardens- One of the most renowned botanical gardens, the place’s beauty is wonderful.
Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium- It is a home to more than 10,000 Aquarius animals.

6. Queenstown, New Zealand

Solo Female Travel Destinations
Queenstown, Australia. Pixabay.

New Zealand is a beautiful oceanic country. It is one of the countries which have the lowest crime rates. You’ll be safe, happy and make the most your vacation in this land of beauty. This should definitely be added to the list of solo female travel destinations.

 Attractive tourist spots:

Skyline Gondola- Ride the skyline to catch some of the most stunning views of the city. You will definitely find heaven on Earth.
Glenorchy is a great place in the city to enjoy skydiving, horse riding, and kayaking. It is in a beautiful location.

7. Montreal, Canada

Solo Female Travel Destinations
Montreal, Canada. Pixabay.

The Multiculturalism which is found in Montreal can be nowhere else in this world. People here are known to be extremely friendly and happy-go-lucky. From its art, food, cuisine and architecture, to its scenic beauty, everything is just mind-blowing.

Attractive tourist spots:

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts- It is the most prominent art museum of Canada.
Saint Joseph’s Oratory- It is the country’s largest church.

-by Megha Acharya of NewsGram. 

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Can Flourishing Islamic State (ISIS) be Stopped in Afghanistan?

The truth about IS and Afghanistan is definitely no picnic

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Taliban fighters react to a speech by their senior leader in the Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan, May 27, 2016.
Taliban fighters react to a speech by their senior leader in the Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan, May 27, 2016. The rise of IS in Afghanistan has become such a priority that U.S. and Afghan forces sometimes support the Taliban while battling IS, VOA
  • Depending on the location, the proliferation of IS has drawn varied resistance from the Afghan military, U.S. air support and ground troops, local militias, Taliban forces and other militant groups
  • Afghan army planes on Wednesday night accidentally air dropped vital supplies of food and water to IS militants in the Darzab district of northern Jouzjan province instead of to their own besieged troops
  • In the Tora Bora area, where IS has made a strong stand in recent days, local villagers and militias joined with Taliban to rout IS

June 25, 2017: The Islamic State group is rapidly expanding in parts of Afghanistan, advancing militarily into areas where it once had a weak presence and strengthening its forces in core regions, according to Afghan and U.S. officials.

Depending on the location, the proliferation of IS has drawn varied resistance from the Afghan military, U.S. air support and ground troops, local militias, Taliban forces and other militant groups.

Attacking IS has become such a priority in the country, that disparate forces sometimes join together in the ad-hoc fight, with Afghan and U.S. forces finding themselves inadvertently supporting the enemy Taliban in battling IS.

Confusion leads to mistakes

All too often, officials say, mistakes are made due to confusion on the ground.

Afghan army planes on Wednesday night accidentally air dropped vital supplies of food and water to IS militants in the Darzab district of northern Jouzjan province instead of to their own besieged troops, provincial police chief, Rahmatullah Turkistani told VOA. The supplies were meant to help Afghan forces that are countering twin attacks by IS and Taliban militants but were used instead by IS.

“It’s not getting better in Afghanistan in terms of IS,” U.S. Chief Pentagon Spokeswoman Dana White told VOA this week. “We have a problem, and we have to defeat them and we have to be focused on that problem.”

Reinforcements for the IS cause reportedly are streaming into isolated areas of the country from far and wide. There are reports of fighters from varied nationalities joining the ranks, including militants from Pakistan, India, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Russia and Central Asian neighbors.

Confusing scenarios

Still, the Islamic State-Khorasan (ISK) as IS is known in Afghanistan remains a fragmented group composed of differing regional forces with different agendas in different parts of the country.

“IS-K is still conducting low-level recruiting and distribution of propaganda in various provinces across Afghanistan, but it does not have the ability or authority to conduct multiple operations across the country,” a recent Pentagon report said. But where it operates, IS is inflicting chaos and casualties and causing confusing scenarios for disparate opponents.

In the Tora Bora area, where IS has made a strong stand in recent days, local villagers and militias joined with Taliban to rout IS. IS regained ground after a few days, leading to U.S. military air attacks on IS positions in conjunction with Afghan intelligence instructions and army operations.

IS fighters reportedly have fled from mountain caves of Tora Bora, where al-Qaida’s leader Osama bin Laden hid from U.S. attack in 2001.

Families displaced

IS fighters were also reportedly advancing in neighboring Khogyani district, displacing hundreds of families, according to district officials. It is one of several areas in Nangarhar province, near the Pakistani border, where IS has been active for over two years.

Fierce clashes in the Chaparhar district of Nangarhar last month left 21 Taliban fighters and seven IS militants dead, according to a provincial spokesman. At least three civilians who were caught in the crossfire were killed and five others wounded.

“IS has overpowered Taliban in some parts of Nangarhar because the Taliban dispatched its elite commando force called Sara Qeta (Red Brigade) to other parts of the country, including some northern provinces to contain the growing influence of IS there,” Wahid Muzhda, a Taliban expert in Kabul, told VOA.

ALSO READ: Flashback to Terror: 1993 Mumbai Blasts Judgement to Hail on June 27 After 24 Years

Recruiting unemployed youths

IS has also expanded in neighboring Kunar province, where, according to provincial police chief, it has a presence in at least eight districts and runs a training base, where foreign members of IS, train new recruits.

Hundreds of miles from Nangarhar, IS is attempting to establish a persistent presence in several northern provinces where it has found a fertile ground for attracting militants and recruiting unemployed youths, mostly between the age of 13 and 20.

IS has been able to draw its members from the Pakistani Taliban fighters, former Afghan Taliban, and other militants who “believe that associating with or pledging allegiance” to IS will further their interests, according to the Pentagon report.

Hundreds of militants have joined IS ranks in northern Jouzjan and Sar-e-Pul province where local militant commanders lead IS-affiliate groups in several districts.

Darzab district

Qari Hekmat, an ethnic Uzbek and former Taliban militant who joined IS a year ago, claims to have up to 500 members, including around 50 Uzbek nationals who are affiliated with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) — previously associated with al-Qaida and Taliban in Afghanistan.

IS and Taliban are reportedly fighting over the control of Darzab district in Jouzjan which they stormed this week from two different directions and besieged scores of government forces. The Taliban has reportedly captured the center of the district while IS militants control the city outskirts.

Afghanistan faces a continuing threat from as many as 20 insurgent and terrorist networks present or operating in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, including IS, the Pentagon said.

“In areas where the government has limited influence and control, IS attempts to emerge and expand there,” Ateequllah Amarkhail, an analysts and former Army general in Kabul told VOA.

Hit-and-hide strategy

IS has also claimed responsibility for several recent attacks in urban areas, however, with a hit-and-hide strategy that is proving effective. And it is engaging too in more skirmishes with U.S. forces that initially were sent to the country to help Afghan forces halt the spread of Taliban.

Three American service members based in eastern Afghanistan were killed in April during operations targeting IS militants, according to the Pentagon.

“ISIS-K remains a threat to Afghan and regional security, a threat to U.S. and coalition forces, and it retains the ability to conduct high-profile attacks in urban centers,” the Pentagon said. (VOA)

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Satellite sends First Quantum Signal to Earth

This is a big step towards achieving a secure and developed way to encrypt communications because ever-improving computer algorithms can not crack them

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Micius
Micius satellite. wikimedia
  • An orbiting satellite has sent the first entangled pair of photons to Earth
  • It is a big step towards achieving a secure and developed way to encrypt communications
  • They can not be cracked by ever-improving computer algorithms

June 18, 2017: It was reported by scientists today that an orbiting satellite has sent the first entangled pair of photons to Earth. It is a big step towards sending quantum keys from satellites — an approach that has been heralded as a secure and developed way to encrypt communications because ever-improving computer algorithms can not crack them.

A laser on China’s Micius satellite, which was launched last year and is dedicated to researches related to quantum satellite communications, spit out pairs of entangled photons from its position, 500 km above Earth. Then two telescopes on Earth – about 1200 km apart — had 5 minutes each day to look for them as the satellite passed over both telescopes. It was found that paired photons survived the journey through Earth’s atmosphere. They detected 1 entangled pair per second out of the 6 million sent in that time.

So how exactly does all this work?

A quantum key needs to be generated first by two people who are looking to communicate. Then, one person receives one of the entangled photons in the pair, the other person receives the other. When the received photons have measured the photons, they obtain bits of information strung together to create a key that they both have. That key can be used to encrypt and decrypt a message. The users can also share a portion of the key publicly to check if it has been compromised. In case if someone tries to intercept the communication at any point, they would then notice a difference between their strings.

Also read: NASA’s Curiosity rover finds a Wide Variety of Minerals in Martian Rocks

There is a certain set of problems as well. Caltech’s John Preskill believes even though it is an important proof of concept, the feat doesn’t address one of the biggest problems with quantum communications. Currently, these messages can’t be sent long distances. Photons, using an optical fiber to carry a quantum signal, can only make it about 100 km before the dissipation of the light.

Quantum systems are similar to optical telecommunications here on earth and need repeaters that are able to amplify the message so it can be passed long distances. But amplifying a quantum message in the same way optical ones are done would effectively result in the destruction of the information. That is why satellite-based communication are being eyed by researchers. The reported 500 km from space is an improvement over optical. Quantum signals were measured in another study published today from a satellite 38,000 km away to a single point. But in deploying a global network which would likely be able to combine optical fiber and satellites, the repeater problem still stands.

Preskill has predicted that it is more likely we will first come up with another form of encryption for communication. “There will be other ways of doing classical public key cryptosystems that we won’t know how to break with quantum computers,” he added.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang