Names written on pieces of pottery, clay and stone agree not only that Bible characters existed, but confirms the dates they lived.Moabite Stone NewsThe Mesha Stele, sometimes called the Moabite Stone, has been in the news this week, because there is a dispute about the translation of a name. The stone had been rescued in the 19th century from local Bedouins who cracked it to pieces intentionally over a political dispute, but the pieces were purchased and reassembled in mostly complete condition. It is housed now in the Louvre Museum. Before it was cracked, a paper impression, called a “squeeze,” had been made, but that is torn. For years, some archaeologists believed that a portion of barely-legible text referred to the “house of David.” A new rendering translates it as “house of Balak.” Either way, it refers to a king known from the Bible. Here are some of the articles discussing the controversy:New reading of Mesha Stele could have far-reaching consequences for biblical history (Phys.org). This article says that Balak lived two centuries before Mesha, so if the inscription refers to him, the author of the stele would have had to refer to Balak as a historical character for some reason. Incidentally, the name Balaam, the false prophet who also appears in the Numbers 22 account, is known from a separate inscription.Smashed Ancient Tablet Suggests Biblical King Was Real. But Not Everyone Agrees (Live Science). One of the proponents of the new rendering “Balak” is Israel Finkelstein, who for years has doubted that David and Solomon were as powerful and wealthy as the Bible describes. King Mesha, however, dates from David’s time, so having “Balak” inscribed on the stone represents an anachronism. Ronald Hendel, a professor of archaeology at UC Berkeley, calls the ‘Balak’ rendering tentative.Ancient 3,000-year-old tablet suggests Biblical king may have existed (Fox News). This article says that Finkelstein’s team only “cautiously suggests” that the line refers to Balak instead of David.High-tech study of ancient stone suggests new proof of King David’s dynasty (The Times of Israel). Discussing the “dueling papers” that argue for one name or the other, this article gives evidence that the ‘David’ reading cannot be ruled out.Other Archeological NewsRare ancient treasures bearing Biblical names discovered in Jerusalem’s City of David (Fox News). A rare clay seal, or bulla, has been found in Jerusalem bearing the Biblical name “Nathan-Melech” (II Kings 23:11). The seal dates from 586 BC, when Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem. This is the first archaeological evidence bearing that name. Nathan-Melech is described as chamberlain in King Josiah’s time. Whether or not the seal belonged to the actual character in II Kings, it corroborates use of the name in that period. James Rogers mentions other inscriptions found in Jerusalem. John Stonestreet of BreakPoint discusses the apologetic value of this inscription at CNS News.In biblical archaeology, it’s often the big players we look for—Moses and David and Paul. Last year’s announcement of a ring bearing Pontius Pilate’s name was big news, and rightly so. It’s a name we say every time we recite the Apostles’ Creed, proclaiming that Jesus’ redeeming work happened in real history.Still, names like Nathan-Melech, Servant of the King, may offer an even stronger confirmation that the events recorded in the Bible actually happened. The seemingly insignificant name from 2 Kings reminds us that King Josiah, who rediscovered the Law in the Temple and cleansed the nation of idols, isn’t just a character from a mythical story. He was a man in history; he had court officials and administrative headquarters; and he was part of the lineage that led to another King—the Lion Who sits on the throne of Judah and is ushering in a Kingdom—one that, unlike ancient Jerusalem—will never be conquered.The Oldest Writing in Jerusalem (Watch Jerusalem). This article features Eilat Mazar, archaeologist in the City of David portion of Jerusalem. It says, “Two of the oldest pieces of writing found in Jerusalem leave their mark on the archaeological and biblical worlds.” Mazar holds an Akkadian fragment bearing an inscription that has not been fully deciphered. “Dating to the 14th century b.c.e., it is the oldest text ever discovered in Jerusalem.” The date of the fragment corresponds with Israel’s entrance into Canaan. Another fragment, the “Pithos inscription,” corresponds to the time just before King David. It represents “the oldest alphabetical writing ever to be discovered in Jerusalem, and possibly in all Israel.”Inscriptions: The Biblical Figures That Nearly Were (Watch Jerusalem). This article by Christopher Eames catalogs some of the amazing artifacts that mention Biblical names, like Elisha, Isaiah and Jeremiah. He mentions the Moabite Stone. Eames is concerned about the “nearlies,” the inscriptions that are nearly but not quite complete. He says there have been attempts throughout history to destroy artifacts, like in recent years when ISIS blew up the ancient city of Nimrud, so it is not surprising that some artifacts show damage to the most tantalizing spots. Although some of the fragmentary remains could be questioned, Eames gives reasons why, from context and date, the names pass muster:Alongside these general scientific rediscoveries, archaeologists have also been rediscovering proof of dozens of biblical individuals over the past couple of hundred years. Individuals that were thought to have been mythical. This wasn’t necessarily a case of information being lost, but rather of historical information not being believed.And so today, we now have multiple dozens of biblical individuals re-proved. Added to that, we have a whole host of “nearlies.” Individuals, again, still not yet believed—although the weight of evidence makes them virtually certain. And—at least in a court of law—that weight of evidence dictates the verdict.Todd Bolen, a Bible history professor at The Master’s University and author of an extensive collection of photographs of Bible lands, keeps record of archaeology news. His Bible Places Blog is a good place to look for facts and analysis of archaeology claims. Bolen doubts the ‘Balak’ translation from the Moabite Stone, noting that it would be anachronistic. According to his Weekend Roundup for May 4, Michael Langlois is preparing a paper to defend the ‘House of David’ rendering. 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Man Utd, Juventus target Rakitic closer to Barcelona exitby Paul Vegas10 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveIvan Rakitic is edging closer to a Barcelona exit.Rakitic has put Manchester United and Juventus on red alert as reports suggest the Croatian has his eye on a January exit from Barcelona, having previously stated: “I need to play”.Marca says the midfielder is seriously weighing up the possibility of ending his five-year association with the Spanish giants. “It’s tough because I want to play and not just be part of the team,” Rakitic told 24sata last week while on international duty.”I will do everything possible to change my situation. I have two years left on my deal and there’s no better place to play than Barcelona.”It’s the best club in the world, but I need to play and not just enjoy walks around the city and the beach.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
New Delhi: Realty major DLF has settled the entire Rs 8,700 crore amount payable to DLF Cyber City Developers Ltd (DCCDL), its joint venture with Singapore-based GIC, by transferring various completed commercial properties and land parcels as well as cash payment. With settlement of this dues, the company said it has completed the exercise of transforming its balance sheet and consolidation of all rental assets under the DCCDL. DLF holds 67 per cent stake in DCCDL, while Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC holds 33 per cent. Also Read – Commercial vehicle sales to remain subdued in current fiscal: IcraAt the end of 2018, DLF owed Rs 8,700 crore to DCCDL and the amount payable came down to Rs 5,600 crore by July 1, 2019. In a filing to the BSE on Wednesday, DLF said the “inter-company payables have now been fully settled”. As part of the settlement, DLF has transferred its shareholding in its arm DLF Info Park Developers (Chennai) at an enterprise value of Rs 1,000 crore. This subsidiary holds nearly 27 acres of land. That apart, it has transferred its shopping mall in Saket, South Delhi for an enterprise value of Rs 1,012 crore. Also Read – Ashok Leyland stock tanks over 5 pc as co plans to suspend production for up to 15 daysDLF also transferred its shareholding and compulsorily convertible debentures (48.2 per cent of the fully diluted capital) in Fairleaf Real Estate Pvt Ltd, a joint venture company that owns One Horizon Center commercial project in Gurugram, for an enterprise value of Rs 1,700 crore. According to sources, DLF has settled around Rs 2,000 crore through cash. “This has been a major restructuring exercise and has now resulted in a larger alignment of the Group’s rental assets under the DCCDL platform,” DLF said. After these transfers and consolidation of commercial assets, DLF said DCCDL is positioned even more strongly to continue its growth journey. “The total settlement of receivables (net of values received for transfer of shareholding / dividend received from DCCDL and other inter-company adjustments) will result in an increase in the company’s net debt by only Rs 475 crores approx,” the filing said. DLF said it has completed the final chapter of its balance sheet transformation. Earlier, DLF had transferred Mall of India project at Noida, Uttar Pradesh to DCCDL at an enterprise value of Rs 2,950 crore. The realty firm had also transferred 3.05 acres land parcel at Gurugram, Haryana. DCCDL currently holds nearly 30 million sq ft of rent-yielding commercial assets, largely in Gurugram, with annual rental income of about Rs 3,000 crore. In December 2017, DLF entered into this joint venture with GIC when DLF promoters sold their entire 40 per cent stake in DCCDL for nearly Rs 12,000 crore. This deal included sale of 33.34 per cent stake in the DCCDL to GIC for about Rs 9,000 crore and buyback of remaining shares worth about Rs 3,000 crore by DCCDL.
Kolkata: A Durga Puja committee in North Kolkata has roped in a combination of Indo-Spanish artists to provide pandal-hoppers a sneak peek into the Spanish culture.The colourful Durga Puja pandal, a replica of Indo-Spanish pavilion depicting chess, has two entrance — one for common people and other for especially-abled people. There is only one exit. “World famous Spanish artist Antonyo Marest has joined hands with Indian artist Malay Das for Durga Puja festival 2019. The theme of our Puja is Chaturanga. 1500 years ago in India, the game of chess was known as Chaturanga. The theme has been suggested by both of them. Both the artists have expressed their art in a unique concept Chaturango. It will spread the message towards positivity between the people of the two countries. We are thankful to Basu Foundation for Arts for helping us to connect with Marest,” said Subhendu Chowdhury, secretary of M S G L Duer Palli (Old) Sarbajanin Durgotsav Samity. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaAntonio Martinez Estevan, professionally known as Antonyo Marest, is a Spanish painter, sculptor and designer. He was in Calcutta last month and designed the structure of the Durga Puja mandap. The Puja pandal, situated at the intersection of B K Paul Avenue and Kali Prassana Banerjee Road, will showcase similarities between the people of both the countries. “This is for the first time we have roped in an international sculptor. Spanish people love different colours. That is why the pandal is colourful. The most peculiar thing is that the idol at the pandal is made of mirror. The idol of Maa Durga will reflect different colours,” said Raja Chakraborty, member of M S G L Duer Palli (Old) Sarbajanin Durgotsav Samity.
New Delhi/Berne: As India steps up its crackdown on suspected black money stashed abroad, Switzerland has issued public notices to former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi and his wife Minal following requests made by Indian authorities about Swiss bank details of the couple.In its latest federal gazette notification on assistance sought by foreign jurisdictions under bilateral treaties for exchange of information on matters concerning suspected financial irregularities, Switzerland’s Federal Tax Administration (FTA) has named Lalit and Minal Modi (alias Minalini Modi) among such individuals. The former IPL commissioner, who is said to have left India for London in 2010, is already facing a money-laundering probe also, though he has denied any wrongdoing. The two separate notifications dated October 1 did not disclose any further details, besides giving Lalit and Minal Modi ten days’ time to designate authorised persons to respond to the assistance request received by the FTA from India. Interestingly, similar notices were issued against the two in 2016, but it could not be ascertained whether the Swiss authorities eventually shared the details with India in that case. That time also, the two were given time for “exercise of the right to be heard”. In recent months, several other Indian nationals have been named in such notifications after Indian authorities approached the Swiss FTA for information about those people concerning the pending tax-related probes against them.
Mumbai: Superstar Akshay Kumar on Thursday shared his first look from the upcoming film “Laxmmi Bomb”, saying he is both “excited and nervous” about the project. The actor took to Twitter to unveil his first look as the titular transgender character Laxmmi. It also features Kiara Advani in a pivotal role. “Navratri is about bowing to the inner goddess and celebrating your limitless strength.On this auspicious occasion, I am sharing with you my look as Laxmmi. A character I am both excited and nervous about… but then life begins at the end of our comfort zone…isn’t it? #LaxmmiBomb” Akshay posted. Also Read – ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ has James Cameron’s fingerprints all over it: Arnold Schwarzenegger The movie, to be be directed by Raghav Lawrence, will release on Eid next year. It is a remake of 2011 Tamil horror comedy “Kanchana”. In May, Lawrence had exited the project over “disrespect” and creative differences. The filmmaker, however, reconsidered his decision and again came on board after a meeting with the producers. “Laxmmi Bomb” is produced by Cape of Good Films, Fox Star Studios, Tusshar Kapoor and Shabina Khan.
The much-speculated plastic ban on October 2, 2019, did not live up to the hype created. The government made it clear that it never meant to ban single-use plastics (SUP) but insisted on raising awareness and pushing for recycling. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) directed all states and Union territories (UTs) that there would not be any immediate ban on plastic items. Instead, the ministry asked state urban departments and urban local bodies to strengthen plastic waste management by improvising on existing waste management systems. Also Read – Hijacking Bapu’s legacyThis can be done by investing heavily in improving source segregation of waste and supporting end-to-end segregation of waste to strengthen processing, said the Centre. The ministry gave states the freedom to look into introducing prohibitive action on SUP by identifying a clear list of products that need to be targeted. This majorly includes single-use disposable cutlery and carry bags. It asked states/UTs to play a key role in promoting eco-friendly alternatives, projects that look into upscaling or recycling single-use plastics and small-scale or micro-enterprises. Additionally, states must focus on behavioural change and raising awareness. Also Read – The future is here!While it is clear that a ban is not entirely a solution, the government must move quickly on measures to phase out and finally impose a plastic ban on problematic SUP items. It is clear that we cannot lose the momentum. What then should be the focus now? First, we need to list and define single-use plastics. It is important to identify the most problematic SUP items and assess the extent of their impacts before imposing bans. Also, it must be understood that it is not just carrying bags that are a major SUP contaminant. Items such as wrappers of sweets, multi-layered packaging items, straws and stirrers, disposable cutlery and styrofoam items are some of the most common SUPs that form a major part of the litter. What we need is a clear definition of SUPs based on the Indian scenario. There is also a need for a National Action Plan or guidelines that focus on implementing the plastic ban in a phase-wise manner in terms of urgency. This means products that have alternatives available should be phased earlier than the items which do not have alternatives, simultaneously reinforcing research and development funding for different alternatives and eco-friendly products. Second, we need to push for effective waste management with a focus on segregation, collection and recycling. Currently, most municipalities are struggling to implement existing plastic waste and solid waste regulations. In many cases, NGOs, CSR funds and initiatives by private companies, citizen activists and in particular the resourceful informal sector of waste pickers, have filled the gap. But this is not enough. Better waste management systems with a focus on segregation incentive models can help achieve long-term impacts. If cities segregate waste into three fractions — wet, dry and domestic hazardous waste — and if municipalities create infrastructures such as material recovery facilities or sorting stations, dry waste can be sorted into different fractions. We need to source segregate end to end. For instance in Ambikapur, Chhattisgarh segregated waste from households is brought to 17 solid-liquid resource management centres where dry waste is further segregated into 155 fractions at the secondary and tertiary centres, most of which is channelised for recycling. We have examples of cities such as Panaji, Trichy, Mysuru, Panchgani, Vengurla, Karjat, Muzaffarpur that have invested in effective dry waste management. In these cities, dry waste is not a challenge, it is a resource. Third, effectively implement Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). We need to be very clear about which items should be included in EPR. Ideally, it should include all plastic packaging items that are not collected and become waste instantly, such as multi-layered plastics, PET, milk pouches, sachets, etc. The MoEF&CC is currently formulating a national framework to implement EPR under Rule 9 of the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016. Currently, plastic companies are expected to work with ULBs and strengthen waste management. What’s better: A credit or offset mechanism that lets companies obtain credits for plastic waste management if they support municipalities in implementing waste management approaches. This will provide the industry with the necessary push. Under this mechanism, plastics collected and recycled will count for offsetting the EPR targets for the company. All accounting of EPR targets should be met at the national level, irrespective of the state/UT where products are sold or consumed. Also, companies are getting together and setting up their own plastic waste collection and recycling schemes for items such as PET that have a high recycling value (about 90 per cent), but an approach that integrates industry, informal sector and ULB would lead to better implementation of EPR. Fourth, the focus should be on innovation in designs that incorporate waste reduction. India has to strengthen its rules for producers and enforce effective systems of EPR. To begin with, the government should invest money in encouraging the setting up of ventures that provide sustainable products as an alternative to current non-recyclable products. It should accelerate business-driven innovations and help scale circular economies that focus on systemic stalemates in global material flows so that the need for disposal of materials is delayed. Last, there needs to be a plan for remaining plastics. The non-recyclable dry waste fraction and contaminated plastics, etc., are suitable for incineration-based technologies. Also, in scenarios where materials are so degraded from repeated recycling that they are of no further use or comprise low-value contaminated plastics that cannot be recycled, deriving energy from them is preferable to discarding them at a landfill site. (The author is a Programme Manager, Environmental Governance (Municipal Solid Waste), Centre for Science and Environment, Delhi. The views expressed are strictly personal)
Paris: Investigators combed an IT staffer’s computer Friday for clues to his motive for stabbing four colleagues to death at police headquarters in Paris, as his wife said he had been “agitated” before going on the rampage with a kitchen knife. The 45-year-old computer expert killed three men and a woman — three police officers and an administrative worker — in a frenzied 30-minute attack that ended when he was shot dead. Two others were injured in the Thursday lunchtime stabbing spree that sent shock waves through an embattled French police force already complaining of low morale. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince Salman ‘snubbed’ Pak PM Imran, recalled his private jet from US: ReportOfficials said there was no indication that the rampage was an act of terror but emphasised that no theory was being ruled out at this stage. The man, named as Mickael H, was born on the French overseas territory of Martinique in the Caribbean and was a recent convert to Islam. He had worked for the police for over a decade-and-a-half without ever arousing suspicion. The attacker’s widow told investigators her husband, who had a severe hearing disability, displayed “unusual and agitated behaviour” the night before his crime, a source close to the investigation told AFP. Also Read – Iraq military admits ‘excessive force’ used in deadly protestsA search of the couple’s house in a low-income Paris suburb near Charles de Gaulle airport yielded no evidence that the man, who became a Muslim about 18 months ago, had been motivated by radical religious ideology, the source added. Computer equipment seized in the search was still being examined. AFP correspondents saw investigators — faces concealed by balaclavas — lead out from the house late Thursday a man and a woman who hid behind hoods. The possibility of a terror motive “has clearly not been ruled out,” government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye told Franceinfo radio on Friday. “But it is important to emphasise — you are not a terrorist because you are Muslim and converting to Islam is not an automatic sign of radicalisation. The facts need to be looked at carefully” she said. One motive investigative sources mooted was a personal conflict at work. The man was employed as a computer scientist in the intelligence branch at police headquarters, a stone’s throw from the Notre-Dame cathedral in the historic heart of Paris. He had worked for the police since 2003 before committing the deadliest attack on police in France in years. Shortly after the killings, Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz said anti-terror investigators were not involved in the murder probe. “He was a very quiet person. I used to see him going to the mosque but he practised (his religion) in a normal way,” a neighbour, who asked not to be named, told AFP. Locals said the man had two children aged three and nine. Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said Thursday the assailant had “never shown any behavioural problems” and never aroused the “slightest reason for alarm”. The man used a kitchen knife to stab two policemen and a male administrative colleague in two offices on the first floor of the building, before attacking two women on the staircase on his way to the courtyard outside. One was a police officer who died at the scene. The other, an administrative worker, was seriously injured. The assailant wounded another policeman in the courtyard before he was shot in the head by a colleague, sources told AFP. The lives of the two injured colleagues are not in danger, a source said Friday. Tension has been growing in police ranks, stretched to the limit after months of weekly “yellow vest” anti-government demonstrations and years of high alert following a string of terror attacks in France. “The police are a big family and the fact that police headquarters were hit like this is something that is pretty traumatic,” a spokeswoman for the force, Laetitia Vallar, told BFM-TV.
Banda (UP): Three persons, including a child, were burnt alive when a bike hit a truck and caught fire in Kabrai area in Mahoba district, police said on Sunday. The incident took place on Saturday when Anil Prajapati (25), his friend Bijju (17) and a four-year-old boy were going somewhere on the bike. The bike driver lost control over the vehicle and hit a truck due to which its petrol tank caught fire, killing three on the spot, Circle Officer Jatashankar Rao said. Later a team of the fire department doused the fire and charred bodies were sent for postmortem. A probe is on in the matter.