REPORTER POST Ranchi Business/world In India visit, US media sees geopolitical implications By Arun Kumar Washington: Taking a generally positive view of US President Barack Obama's India visit, the US media has suggested that his personal chemistry with Prime Minister Narendra Modi had opened a new chapter in India-US relations. "After years of near misses and unfulfilled promises," Obama and Modi "appear to have set relations between their democracies on a deeper, perhaps even revolutionary, path," the influential New York Times commented. "Part of the improvement in bilateral relations has to do with the personal chemistry between the two, which by all accounts appears warm and genuine," it said in an editorial titled "A New Chapter for America and India." Apart from "plenty of colourful symbolism" the Times said "There are strategic imperatives at work as well." "Both leaders need to expand their economies, and both see the other as a crucial partner in offsetting China's increasingly assertive role in Asia," it said suggesting "The potential for cooperation is considerable." With their talk of an "enduring commitment," Obama and Modi "have raised expectations and set a firm basis for moving forward," the Times said. But "Building a true part- nership will take sustained efforts over many decades." The Wall Street Journal in a review titled "A US-India Nuclear Test" suggested "Obama's visit leaves Modi with a chance to show his reform chops." "Given the oncefrosty relations between the US and India, it is worth celebrating the bonhomie displayed by Messrs. Modi and Obama this week, along with the growing coop- eration between US and Indian defence planners," it said. "Yet protectionist policies and political dysfunction in New Delhi continue to limit India's growth as an economic and diplomatic power," the Journal said. "The latest US-Indian civil-nuclear pact is a test of Mr. Modi's ability to overcome political resistance to pro-market reforms," it said. CNN also wondered "Is Obama-Modi 'bromance' a turning point in US, Indian relations?" "The biggest takeaway from Obama's three days in India was the symbolism of the leaders of the world's two biggest democracies cozying up," it said. "But others would have seen greater geopolitical implications." "Unlike Obama's previous India visit in 2010, Pakistan was not a focus -- at least in public statements," the news channel noted. "Instead, India seems to be positioning itself for a more global role, playing a part in issues that go beyond its borders." Giving "symbolism its moment and its due," CNN suggested "Maybe it will make India a more prominent player in global issues, over time." "And maybe, just maybe, India and the US may move a little closer to forming the 'defining partnership' that Obama first promised in 2010," it said. Obama's visit to India had angered Pakistan, the Los Angeles Times suggested citing Islamabad's comments lambasting the US "selectivity and discrimination" favouring rival India. "The comments reflected deep concern in Pakistan that Obama's heavily choreographed embrace of India and its ambitious new prime minister could jeopardise Islamabad's lucrative but troubled relationship with Washington," it said. Myanmar to stop Master math via body movements York: Imagine your kid con- angle measurements by elemen- large Kinect screen. The screen recruiting child soldiers New torting his or her body and wav- tary school students who per- changed colours when the stu- Yangon: The Myanmar military has reiterated its strong commitment to end recruitment of children in the army, a media report said Wednesday. Forty-two child soldiers were recently released from military service and returned to their families, taking the total number of child soldiers released from the armed forces in the last one year to 418, Xinhua reported. Since June 2012, 595 children have been discharged, of which 70 percent were released in the last 12 months. Under the ministry of social welfare relief and resettlement, various partners provide immediate support for the reintegration of these children, with an access to education and vocational training, and income generating activities. "As children continue to suffer from the ongoing conflict in Myanmar, such efforts must continue, intensify and be more systematic to provide children with effective protection against any form of abuse," said Bertrand Bainvel, UNICEF representative in Myanmar and co-chair of the UN Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting (CTFMR). Under a programme to protect under-age children from taking military services, Myanmar signed a 18-month action plan with the CTFMR in 2012 and renewed it to another six months in Dec 2013. The country formed the Committee for Prevention against Recruiting Minors into Army in Jan 2005. Myanmar's National Committee on the Rights of Child has also pledged to protect the rights of children in the nation. Americans know nothing about Sikhism: Study Washington: Although more than half a million Sikhs live in the US, a majority of Americans are unaware of what Sikhism is and some admit wariness when seeing their Sikh neighbours, according to new study. Conducted by Washington-based Hart Research Associates, the study released here Tuesday, shows that there is enormous potential to increase awareness and enhance positive sentiments toward Sikhism within the broader American public. In particular, greater understanding can be achieved by sharing information that emphasizes Sikhism's belief in equality regardless of gender, race, or religion, highlighting the strong parallels between Sikh values and American values, and explaining the significance of the turban, it said. The report, "Sikhism in the US: What Americans know and need to know," was commissioned by the National Sikh Campaign (NSC) to analyse Americans' current view of Sikhism and identify key messages to increase their acceptance of Sikh Americans. The study was developed to provide Sikhs a foundation for awareness-based initiatives that dispel the misperceptions that have driven the dramatic rise of hatebased violence against Sikhs since 9/11. "This landmark study will help the Sikh community by giving us the ability to educate Americans in a way that is both relatable and effective," said Gurwin Singh Ahuja, Co-Founder of NSC. "We want to make sure that we pave a way for a conducive environment for our future generations so they don't have to take off their turban to hide or to feel sorry for their identity," said Rajwant Singh, a co-founder of the NSC. Researchers found that when survey respondents were given information about Sikh history and beliefs, their impressions grew from "neutral" to "warm." Groups with the most significant change in views included Republicans, Hispanics and Americans ages 65 and older. "When people learn this information, it creates a fundamental change in the way they think about Sikhs and it's transformative," said Geoff Garin, president of Hart Research Associates. Conducted in August and September 2014, the study included information from three focus groups consisting of white Americans with mixed levels of education. It also covered a nationwide survey of 1,144 non-Asian Americans conducted in August and September 2014. Key findings: . Most Americans have no knowledge of the religion. Many Americans have never heard of the religion and only 11 percent of Americans have a personal acquaintance or friend who is Sikh. . The majority of Americans (60 percent) admit to knowing nothing at all about Sikh Americans and knowledge of Sikhism is substantially lower than for other minority religious groups in the US. . With unawareness levels so high, many Americans make false assumptions when they see a Sikh. . While this lack of knowledge is a challenge, it also represents an enormous opportunity. Without much knowledge to form attitudes, most Americans rate their feelings toward Sikh Americans as generally neutral or non-existent. . Sikhs must tell their American story in familiar and positive terms, highlighting the value of equality. . For Millennials and other receptive audiences, explaining the significance of the turban is highly welcomed. The turban is most commonly associated with Sikh Americans, however it is also what makes many Americans uneasy around Sikhs. ing arms to master math. This is the future with body-based tasks while interacting with a Kinect for Windows mathematics program, researchers report. The team from University of Vermont found that students learned geometric principles more easily when they incorporated physical movements into maths lesson plans. The Kinect is a motion sensor input device that allows people to interact with computers based on their natural movements. The study by Carmen Petrick Smith, assistant professor of mathematics education, showed significant gains in the understanding of angles and formed body-based tasks while interacting with Kinect for Windows. "When students are acting out a math problem and using their body to help them explain the answer, that is another modality," Smith said . "Maybe they do not know the words quite yet but they have a way to express it using their body that they did not have before when they were sitting in a row of desks looking up at the teacher and searching for an answer," she noted. For the study, Smith and her team engaged 30 third and fourthgrade students in a series of tasks that involved moving their arms to form angles projected on a dents' arms formed acute, right, obtuse and straight angles. A protractor helped students measure and refine their movements. Students were asked to figure out the hidden rules that made each of the four colours appear on the screen. Smith's paper adds evidence to a developing area of cognitive science, known as embodied cognition. It says the brain alone does not generate behaviour but that it actually works in concert with physical movements and other environmental and neural processes such as perception, action and emotion. The paper was published in the Journal of Mathematical Behavior. Creativity depends on where you are from Montreal: When it comes to the creative juices, some people have a faster flow than others as creativity is closely tied to culture, new research at the Concordia University has found. The study compared nearly 300 individuals from Taiwan, a collectivist society, and Canada, a more individualistic country. Results show that those from individualist societies generate a greater number of ideas as compared to their collectivist counterparts - though the cultures were on nearly equal footing when it came to the quality of that creative output. "We found that the individualists came up with many more ideas. They also uttered more negative statements - and those statements were more strongly negative. They also displayed greater overconfidence,"said Gad Saad, professor at Concordia's John Molson School of Business. For the study, the team recruited students from two universities in Taipei and Montreal. When it came to the quality of ideas produced, the collectivists scored marginally higher than the in- dividualists. "This is in line with another important cultural trait that some collectivist societies are known to possess - namely being more reflective as compared to action-oriented, having the reflex to think hard prior to committing to a course of action," Saad explained. Studies like this one are instrumental in understanding cultural differences that increasingly arise as the globe's economic centre of gravity shifts towards East Asia, the authors concluded. The paper was published in the Journal of Business Research. 29 JANUARY 2015 6 THURSDAY NEWS IN BREIF Over 13 mn women abort in China every year Beijing: Over 13 million abortions are carried out in China every year with an increasing number of predominantly younger people choosing to end unwanted pregnancies, a media report said Wednesday. Among female adolescents who have premarital sex, more than 20 percent have unwanted pregnancies, of which up to 91 percent end in abortion. The repeat abortion situation is particularly serious, People's Daily said in a report. It cited data published by China's National Health and Family Planning Commission, according to which almost half of the reported abortions in China were conducted on women below the age of 25, the majority of whom were university students. Misled by deceptive adverting by some private hospitals promising "painless abortion", more and more young Chinese no longer take the matter seriously, as if abortion were "safe, affordable, and with no impact on work", the daily said. 85-year-old New Zealander survives cliff fall Wellington: An 85-year-old New Zealander fell on rocks from a 30-metre high cliff, but he survived with serious injuries, a media report said Wednesday. Stewart Rundle was cleaning his garden shed on the clifftop property in Auckland Monday when he plunged down the cliff while his wife was out for a quick trip to the market, New Zealand Herald reported. The pensioner was unconscious for several hours. He later used his mobile phone to raise an alarm. Rundle's property has a glass fence near the perimeter, but their land stretches just beyond it and is accessible by a gate. He went down the steep bank to tidy up the area when the ground gave way, the daily said. "He popped through and suddenly the ground gave way and down he went," Rundle's wife was quoted as saying. Rundle was rescued by a fire service team and was taken to the Auckland City Hospital. "He is in remarkably high spirits. He's a fit man. Okay, he's 85, but nobody ever thinks he's 85," his wife said. Syrian troops kill over 60 rebels: state media Damascus: The Syrian army at least 66 rebels in several Syrian areas, the state media reported. The government troops Tuesday killed 35 "terrorists" in the contested town of Sheikh Miskin in the southern province of Daraa, Xinhua reported. The Al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front has recently focused its attacks against Sheikh Miskin due to its strategic location in southern Syria. Moreover, the Nusra fighters recently captured a military base near Sheikh Miskin, prompting the Syrian troops to escalate their attacks against the positions of that terror group in Daraa, according to activist reports. Separately, 15 rebels were killed Tuesday by the bombardment of the Syrian troops against the rebel-held town of Douma in the eastern countryside of the capital Damascus, according to reports. The Syrian forces also killed 16 foreign fighters during "qualitative" operations in the towns Nahla and Sheikh Youssef and elsewhere in the countryside of the northwestern province of Idilb. Spain charges priests with child sex abuse Madrid: A judge in the southern Spanish city of Granada has charged 10 Roman Catholic priests and two Catholic lay workers with child sex abuse. The 12 are suspected of abusing four teenage boys between 2004 and 2007, the most serious offences occurring in a house used by the priests, BBC reported. Pope Francis telephoned one of the alleged victims, now 24, in November to offer his apologies. He acted after the man wrote him a letter about the alleged abuse. The pontiff, who has pledged zero tolerance of child sex abuse, then ordered a Church investigation. Several arrests were made in November but the suspects are now free on bail. It is alleged that they were invited by a priest to spend time at his parochial house and at another property, where the most serious assaults were committed. Many survivors of abuse by priests are angry at what they see as the Vatican's failure to punish senior officials who have been accused of covering up scandals. Obama wants to regulate Ancient star with five Earth-size drone use after White planets discovered London: After analysing over four House incident years of data from NASA's Kepler Washington: US President Barack Obama urged regulation of the commercial and recreational use of un-crewed aircraft -- or drones -- a rapidly growing industry, after one of those devices crashed on the White House grounds. In remarks released Tuesday in an interview with CNN recorded in India, Obama commented that drones can perform "incredibly useful" tasks and gave the example of their ability to monitor crops or the plan by Amazon to use them to deliver packages. "But we don't really have any kind of regulatory structure at all for it," he said. Obama said he communicated with the Federal Aviation Administration, which has already issued some guidelines on the use of drones, and with other government departments asking them to study how to regulate "this new technology." On Monday morning, a man operating a small drone known as a "quadcopter" apparently lost control of it and it crashed on the White House grounds. It was about 60 cm (2 feet) in diameter. The man -- who had been operating the drone recreationally -- called the US Secret Service Monday to "self-report" the incident and was questioned by agents. According to White House spokesman Josh Earnest, the incident posed no threat to anyone in the presidential residence. Obama and his wife Michelle were on an official visit to India at the time and their two daughters and the president's mother-in-law, Marian Robinson, who lives with the First Family, were in Washington but it has not been reported whether they were at the White House. spacecraft, a team of astronomers has discovered a star that is 11.2 billion years old and has at least five Earth-size planets. "The findings show that Earth-size planets have formed throughout most of the universe's 13.8-billion-year history, leaving open the possibility for the existence of ancient life in the galaxy," said Tiago Campante, research fellow at the University of Birmingham who led the research project. The paper describes Kepler-444, a star that is 25 percent smaller than our Sun and is 117 light years from Earth. The star's five known planets have sizes that fall between Mercury and Venus. Those planets are so close to their star that they complete their orbits in fewer than 10 days. At that distance, they are all much hotter than Mercury and are not habitable. "Kepler-444 is very bright and can be easily seen with binoculars. This is one of the oldest systems in the galaxy," added Steve Kawaler, an Iowa State University professor of physics and astronomy and co-author of the paper. Kepler-444 came from the first generation of stars. "This system tells us that planets were forming around stars nearly seven billion years before our own solar system," Kawaler noted. Planetary systems around stars have been a common feature of our galaxy for a long, long time. That discovery is going to help astronomers learn even more about the history of the Milky Way. "From the first rocky exoplanets to the discovery of an Earth-size planet orbiting another star in its habitable zone, we are now getting first glimpses of the variety of Galactic environments conducive to the formation of these small worlds," the astronomers wrote. As a result, the path toward a more complete understanding of early planet formation in the Galaxy starts unfolding before us, they concluded in the paper that appeared in the Astrophysical Journal.
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