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World News headlines – Late 2020 edition

illustrated map of Suadi Arabia and surrounding land

Researchers discovered 120,000-Year-Old human footprints in Saudi Arabia

In the Nefud Desert of Saudi Arabia, researchers have uncovered 120,000-years-old footprints. Somebody discovered almost 376 fossilized footprints. During the survey of a dried lake named Abiathar. What’s intriguing that seven of these footmarks are said to be of humankind.

The Discovery

According to an analysis published in the journal Science Advances, seven identified footprints might be 112,000 and 121,000 years old. If the research endorses this estimate, these would be the traces of the earliest humans living in the Arabia Peninsula.

In a statement, Mathew Stewart, a research lead authors from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, said 

“We instantly realized the potential of those findings. Footprints are a distinct type of fossil proof in that they supply snapshots in time, sometimes representing a couple of hours or days, a decision we have a tendency not [to] get from different data.”

The archeologists found footprints of other animals such as elephants, horses, and camels beside the human footmarks. The lake is dry without any water traces, but these footprints suggest that it was once fertile with ample water resources. 

What experts say

As Michael Petraglia, an archaeologist at the Max Planck Institute for Science and Human History said, 

“The presence of large animals such as elephants and hippos, together with open grasslands and large water resources, may have made northern Arabia a beautiful place to humans moving between Africa and Eurasia.”

According to researchers, these footprints date back to the last interglacial period when the conditions were humid. During that period, humans and animals migrated to the Levant from Africa to survive arid conditions. 

“It is only after the last interglacial [period] with the return of cooler conditions that we have definitive evidence for Neanderthals moving into the region,” Stewart said. “The footprints, therefore, most likely represent humans or Homo sapiens.”


After examining the footfalls, the experts believe that the lake attracted animals and humans due to dry arid conditions. The many footprints near the lake were due to these animals’ congregation and humans around the lake.

“We know people visited the lake, but the lack of stone tools or evidence of the use of animal carcasses suggests that their visit to the lake was only brief,” Stewart added.

PDSA Awards Magawa Rat Gold Medal For Detecting Landmines In Cambodia

British veterinary charity People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) has awarded a Gold Medal to an African giant pouched rat, Magawa. 

They declared Magawa a hero as it saved many Cambodian lives by detecting the landmines. 

“Magawa’s work directly saves and changes the lives of men, women, and children who are impacted by these landmines,” PDSA director general Jan McLoughlin said while commending the services of Magawa.

Magawa is heralded as a hero because it has sniffed about 39 land mines and cleared an area of 141,000 square meters in Cambodia. The first time a rat is awarded such a prestigious accolade for “life-saving devotion to duty.”

“Magawa is a hero rat. We’re thrilled to celebrate his life-saving devotion by awarding him the PDSA gold medal,” PDSA’s Director General Jan McLouglin said in a virtual presentation of the medal.

Cambodia, a Southeast Asian country, had a long history of war and conflicts. The civil wars of the 1970s and 1980s left millions of landmines and explosive materials in Cambodia.

Though Cambodia got assistance from many countries to clear land mines, they could not succeed.   Cambodian Mine Action Center estimated over 6 million hidden land mines in Cambodia.  These explosive remnants of wars are still a threat to people’s lives and kill dozens of people every year.   

Mine -clearing NGO the Halo Trust reported about 25000 amputees in Cambodia since 1979, and the number of deaths is far greater, reaching up to 64000 thousand. 

Magawa was trained by the Anti-Personnel Landmines Detection Product Development organization to smell explosive materials. Not only rats but also the organization trains several rodents to detect chemicals that the workers can’t.  

The organization trains the rats for one year, during which they are prepared to detect the ammunition material and send the signal to the workers. 

These rats weigh about 1.2 kg, making them small and light enough to find landmines without exploding them. These rats quickly get a hint of the landmines and send signals to the workers by scratching the mine’s surface.

vladimir puting at a speaking engagement

Putin Proposes To Conclude The Russia-US Pact To End The Election Interference

Before the U.S. presidential elections 2020, Putin proposes to conclude a pact between the U.S. and Russia that prevents each country from meddling the vote in the other. 

The word from Russia

In a statement read by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Vladimir Putin said, “One of today’s major strategic challenges is the risk of a large-scale confrontation in the digital field. “A special responsibility for its prevention lies in the key players in the field of ensuring international information security.

He suggested the pact to ‘guarantee’ the “non-interference in each other’s internal affairs and electoral processes, including using information and communication technologies and high-tech methods. We would like to once again appeal to the United States with a proposal to approve a comprehensive program of practical measures to reset

The U.S response

The news comes after the FBI director Christopher Wray accused Russia of interfering in the elections 2020. Christopher said Russia has been ‘very inactive’ to influence the upcoming elections and that their prime target is to ‘denigrate’ the Democratic nominee Joe Biden. 

“We have not seen that second part yet this year or this cycle, but we certainly have seen very active, very active efforts by the Russians to influence our election in 2020.” 

But, this is not the first time the U.S. intelligence has leveled such claims against Russia.

Previously,  it had accused Kremlin of interfering in the elections in 2016. A year later, in 2017, the U.S. intelligence committee concluded that Russia conducted covert attacks to put Donald Trump in the White House. 

Besides America, western countries have also accused Kremlin of directing cyber attacks. Lately, Britain claimed that a group of hackers reportedly connected with Russia conducted attacks to steal information about the COVID-19 vaccine. German Chancellor Angela Merkel revealed in May that Russia had targeted her in hacking attacks and concrete proof of the “outrageous” spying attempts.


But, Russia denied all the allegations. It responded that these accusations are baseless, and the western leaders have launched a disinformation campaign against Kremlin. As of this writing, the United States has not responded to Russia’s retort.

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