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Archive for March, 2012

Clinton offers Gulf states joint AMD shield against Iran

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 31, 2012

From left to right: Omani Minister of Foreign Affairs Yussef bin Alawi bin Abdullah, Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled al-Hamad Al-Sabah, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal attend a US- Gulf Cooperation Council forum at the Gulf Cooperation Council Secretariat on March 31, 2012 in Riyadh. (AFP Photo / Fayez Nureldine) 

From left to right: Omani Minister of Foreign Affairs Yussef bin Alawi bin Abdullah, Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled al-Hamad Al-Sabah, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal attend a US- Gulf Cooperation Council forum at the Gulf Cooperation Council Secretariat on March 31, 2012 in Riyadh. (AFP Photo / Fayez Nureldine)

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has proposed improved strategies with Arab Gulf states on maritime security and missile defense to counter the threat of Iran.

Clinton told a security conference in Saudi Arabia on Saturday that US commitment to the Gulf is “rock-solid and unwavering.” She stressed the US and Gulf governments share concerns about Iran’s nuclear activity and that partnership with the US has “enormous potential” to advance common interests.

Raising security ties from a bilateral to a multilateral level, Clinton is breaking new ground by taking part in the first strategic cooperation forum between Washington and the six-country Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

She said the US and Gulf States should take “practical and specific steps to strengthen mutual security, such as helping militaries improve interoperability, cooperate on maritime security and missile defense, and coordinate responses to crises.” US officials have said it is a US “priority” to help the GCC build a “regional missile defense architecture” against what they see as a looming ballistic missile threat from Iran. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Happiest Countries Are in Northern Europe

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 31, 2012

By John Halliwell, Richard Layard and Jefferey Sachs

Is it possible to measure the happiness of the world’s population? Remarkably it is, and the first World Happiness Report published today does just that.

Even more remarkable is next Monday’s United Nations conference on happiness, for which the report was prepared. Last July the UN General Assembly invited all member governments to give more importance to happiness as a goal of public policy and mandated this conference as part of the process.

This means that there is now high world-level support for the demand that governments pay more attention to the happiness of their peoples when they form their policies. This is not, we emphasize, a matter of following the whims, fads, and consumer urges of the population. These do not, according to the evidence, lead to happiness. It is, rather, a matter of helping societies to find a path to what really matters more deeply and lastingly for well-being.

So what does matter in determining the happiness or life satisfaction in a nation? Income of course matters to everyone, especially the poorest. As the report shows, the richest countries are a lot happier than the poorest. The four happiest are all in Northern Europe (Denmark, Norway, Finland and the Netherlands) and the four least happy are in Sub-Saharan Africa. On a 0-10 scale, the average life evaluation score is 7.6 in the first four countries and only 3.4 in the last four. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pyongyang, North Korea, Rebuilds On The Home Front

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 31, 2012


“Split and rule” – everywhere the same principle in the politics:

PYONGYANG, North Korea — The sprawling site, which buzzes in the shadow of a giant bronze statue of North Korea founder Kim Il Sung, looks at first like a high-security military installation.

Scores of soldiers march through a zone sealed off by green mesh fencing and checkpoints. A crew of about 1,000 soldiers and 2,000 police officers works around the clock, along with thousands more civilians in street clothes and hard hats, spurred on by billboards that rate their performance.

But they are not building tanks here at the foot of Mansu Hill, or weapons, except perhaps for a propaganda war. They are building 3,000 new apartments, a department store, schools and a theater, in the hope of selling a modern version of Pyongyang to the people of North Korea – albeit one that most will never get to see.

North Korea has long been known for its military-first policy, which in effect translated into a military-only policy with little room left for investment anywhere else. But now, without abandoning its focus on what it calls defense and the world calls defiance, it also appears to be trying to revive a dying economy and rebuild on the home front.

The stated aim of the reconstruction sweeping Pyongyang is to put North Korea on the path of being a “strong and prosperous nation” in time for the 100th anniversary of the birth of founder and president Kim Il Sung on April 15. But the campaign also serves another political purpose: It sets up Kim Jong Un as the new leader of a great people, just as a construction frenzy heralded his father’s ascension before him. Read the rest of this entry »

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Archbishop Of Canterbury Rowan Williams: Lord’s Prayer Should Be Taught In Schools

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 31, 2012


Yes these days discipline is lacking everywhere. Without discipline we can not think about wonderful world. And this could be helpful to be there:

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said that the Lord’s Prayer should be taught in school, as a survey reveals that almost 50% less children know the Christian orison than their parents did at a similar age.

Dr Williams told the BBC that the Lord’s Prayer should be taught to children, stressing that the litany was “not a very big or complicated thing.”

“I’d like to see schools introducing children to the Lord’s Prayer, so that they know it’s there, they know what it means and why it matters and then they can make up their minds later about whether they want to use it.”

“Not that you’ve got to pray this, but that it’s something that’s really, really important to lots and lots of people, and it can change their lives.” Read the rest of this entry »

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A Personal Mission: Define Your Wellness (Part 2)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 31, 2012

   

By Deepak Chopra, Author, ‘War of the Worldviews’; Founder, The Chopra Foundation

 Step 6: Realistically Plan for Setbacks

No one walks a straight line on the journey to wellness. Most studies of lapses in fitness, nutrition and recovery programs show that you can get back on track more easily if you have scripted the way you will recover. It’s also known that those who are successful in breaking highly addictive habits, such as chain smoking, tried and failed any number of times before finally succeeding. So persistence counts, and so does avoiding the familiar excuse of “I’ve tried everything.” The answer is to go back and try everything again.

In planning for setbacks in a realistic frame of mind, the Mayo Clinic recommends taking these steps:

  • Take charge. Accept responsibility for your own behavior.
  • Buy time. If you’re tempted to keep indulging, wait a few minutes and see if the desire passes. Try distracting yourself — call a friend or take the dog for a walk.
  • Be gentle with yourself. Practice self-forgiveness. Try not to think of your slip-up as a catastrophe.
  • Ask for and accept help. Asking for help is a sign of good judgment, not weakness.
  • Work out your guilt and frustration with exercise. Use it to elevate your mood and recommit to your goals — never use it as punishment for a lapse.
  • Problem-solve as you go. Identify the problem and create a list of possible solutions. If you try one that doesn’t work, try the next solution.
  • Recommit to your goals — review your goals and make certain that they are still realistic.

Step 7: Reaching Your Goal

Reaching a wellness goal, once it has happened, is a big deal. Make sure you mark it accordingly. If you have given up smoking for a long period of time, treat yourself to new shoes or a great book. If you’ve lost weight, buy yourself a new outfit. You deserve to be rewarded, while making sure that you don’t rationalize going on a credit card binge or eating a huge meal as some kind of false reward. Read the rest of this entry »

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CLIMATE CHANGE: A three-degree warmer world by 2050?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 30, 2012

JOHANNESBURG, 27 March 2012 (IRIN) – The apocalyptic vision presented on cinema screens of a world devoid of food (Hunger Games) or with too much water (Waterworld) as a result of climate change, is not as far-fetched as some may think. 

The results of a new study by the world’s biggest climate modelling system show that not only could global temperatures cross the two degrees Celsius barrier, but may warm by three degrees Celsius by 2050 if we emit atmosphere-warming gases at the current rate. 

The study, led by Oxford University’s Dan Rowlands posits a substantial increase in global temperatures within little more than a generation. Most recent warnings, including those by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), are more ambiguous, saying a two-degree hike is almost certain “by the turn of the century”.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Government Plans for Kathmandu Metro Railway

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 30, 2012

Korean consulting firm Chungsuk Engineering Company to prepare a Detail Project Report (DPR) for the construction of Bardibas-Birgunj section of Mechi-Mahakali Electrical Railway system and negotiations with the same firm are underway for the feasibility study of the proposed metro train service in the Kathmandu valley.
The committee is engaged in final negotiations with the same Korean firm (Chungsuk Engineering Company) to finalize the contract agreement after evaluating its technical and financial proposals for the feasibility study of metro railway – a Mass Rapid Transit (underground and elevated railway) system for the capital.
The government pushed for a Mass Rapid Transit system in the valley about two years ago in a bid to manage the worsening traffic conditions in the capital due to unchecked rise in the number of vehicles and poor transport infrastructure. An estimated Rs 80 million is needed to complete the feasibility of the Metro railway line.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Survey: People Aren’t Happiest Until They Reach Age 33

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 30, 2012

JACLYN SOLLARS / FLICKR SELECTS / GETTY IMAGES

It’s true: 30 really is the new 20. A study by Friends Reunited, a British social-networking site, found that 70% of respondents over the age of 40 claimed they were not truly happy until they reached 33.

“The age of 33 is enough time to have shaken off childhood naiveté and the wild scheming of teenaged years without losing the energy and enthusiasm of youth,” psychologist Donna Dawson said in the survey’s findings. “By this age innocence has been lost, but our sense of reality is mixed with a strong sense of hope, a ‘can do’ spirit, and a healthy belief in our own talents and abilities.”

(LIST: Top 10 Things Today’s Kids Will Never Experience)

Conversely, only 16% of the survey’s respondents pined for their childhood, while 6% said they were happiest while in college.

Many respondents claimed that their happiness at 33 came from fulfillment in their professional lives, as well as having a support system of family and friends. Not surprisingly, 36% said they were happiest when they had children. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Mighty Mathematician You’ve Never Heard Of

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 30, 2012

By 
Scientists are a famously anonymous lot, but few can match in the depths of her perverse and unmerited obscurity the 20th-century mathematical genius Amalie Noether.
SPL/Photo Researchers

GROUNDBREAKING Emmy Noether’s theorem united two pillars of physics: symmetry in nature and the universal laws of conservation.

Albert Einstein called her the most “significant” and “creative” female mathematician of all time, and others of her contemporaries were inclined to drop the modification by sex. She invented a theorem that united with magisterial concision two conceptual pillars of physics: symmetry in nature and the universal laws of conservation. Some consider Noether’s theorem, as it is now called, as important as Einstein’s theory of relativity; it undergirds much of today’s vanguard research in physics, including the hunt for the almightyHiggs boson. Yet Noether herself remains utterly unknown, not only to the general public, but to many members of the scientific community as well.

When Dave Goldberg, a physicist at Drexel University who has written about her work, recently took a little “Noether poll” of several dozen colleagues, students and online followers, he was taken aback by the results. “Surprisingly few could say exactly who she was or why she was important,” he said. “A few others knew her name but couldn’t recall what she’d done, and the majority had never heard of her.” Read the rest of this entry »

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How to feed the world in 2050: actions in a changing climate

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 30, 2012

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Albert Einstein’s brain on public display in London

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 29, 2012

By JohnThomas Didymus

London – Sections of the brain of the famous Nobel Prize-winning physicist Albert Einstein, were put on public display on Thursday at the Wellcome Collection museum in London, as part of the exhibition “Brains: Mind as Matter.”
The exhibition that runs from March 29 to June 17, displays preserved samples of Einstein’s brain on slides on loan from the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia, The Guardian reports. On display are brains of other famous persons such as English mathematician Charles Babbage and some infamous persons such as the murderer William Burke. Also on display is the brain of 19th century killer Edward Rullof, one of the largest known. Visitors will also see on exhibition the brain of U.S. suffragette Helen Gardener, who donated her brain to science to help disprove theories about her gender. The brain of an Ancient Egyptian, the oldest on display, and another with a bullet wound are also on display.

IB Times reports a statement by the museum said, “[The Exhibition] explores what humans have done to brains in the cause of medical intervention, scientific enquiry, cultural meaning and technological change.”

According to Ken Arnold, head of public programs at Wellcome Collection, commenting on the exhibition themed on the human brain: “We all recognise its outline and know that it is the most important part of us, but for many, the brain remains as mysterious as it is beguiling. This exhibition presents brains of extraordinary people among other intriguing specimens and showcases remarkable tales from more than 500 years of scientific investigation into the physical matter of the mind.”

The human brain.

Gutenberg Encyclopedia
The human brain.

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The $2 trillion question

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 29, 2012

PUTTING a price on something that is priceless is, well, tricky. It is, however, possible to assign a number to how much damage is being done to that thing. In the case of the oceans, a conservative estimate of the cost of climate change is that by the year 2100 it will amount to nearly $2 trillion annually in 2010 dollars, or about 0.4% of global GDP. Any number that purports to describe an economy nine decades hence must be taken with a dollop of salt, of course. But it should not be dismissed out of hand.

Frank Ackerman and Elizabeth Stanton, economists at the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), a non-profit research organisation, arrived at their figure by looking at five measures: how much fisheries and tourism stand to lose and what the economic impact would be of rising sea levels, more storms and less carbon being absorbed by oceans. If the world continues to warm at its present rate and temperatures rise by 4°C by 2100, they reckon, the total will come to $1.98 trillion. If drastic measures are taken to cut emissions and they rise by only 2.2°C, it will be $612 billion. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Fall of Bo Xilai and the Future of Chinese Growth

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 29, 2012

MARK RALSTON / AFP / Getty Images

MARK RALSTON / AFP / GETTY IMAGES
Bo Xilai, the charismatic but controversial Communist Party leader of China’s Chongqing municipality, was removed from his post.

The fall of Bo Xilai, the former head of the Chinese Communist Party in the sprawling mid-Western city of Chongqing, is the stuff of movies.  A member of the party elite and supposed corruption fighter who was seen to have brought order to a Blade Runner-esque sprawl with a population the size of Belgium, Bo was not only poised to enter the top rungs of the Politburo this year, he was the first Chinese celebrity politician since Deng and Mao. In a country where the Party likes to speak with one voice, and tall poppies are often cut down, he stood out. He dressed well; he cultivated the media; he had his own one page Comment and Analysis piece in the Financial Times.

But in March, he was abruptly dismissed as the Party head of Chongqing, after his police chief, Wang Lijun, sought asylum in the U.S. consulate in Chengdu, a city several hours northwest of Chongqing. Wang had provided evidence of crimes allegedly involving Bo, according to reports in the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal, including murders carried out on his order. Wang also claimed that a dead British businessman, Neil Heywood, who was said to be close to Bo’s wife Gu Kailai, had been in a business dispute with her, and had been poisoned. Rather than being a tough-but-honest politician fighting corruption in China’s Wild West, a very different picture of Bo began to emerge — one of a man who his critics say was an entitled “princeling” (his father was Bo Yibo, a revolutionary general who had fought alongside Chairman Mao), and who was corrupt himself; someone willing to torture, frame, and even murder anyone who got in his way. Read the rest of this entry »

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Double Dip: Britain Back In Recession, Say OECD Forecasters

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 29, 2012

Britain is likely to be back in a recession, according to international forecasters.

A recession is typically defined as two successive quarters of negative economic growth.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said GDP – a broad measure for the total economy – is on course to have fallen by about 0.1% in the three months to the end of March.

The OECD also warned the recovery for the world’s biggest economies would be fragile, with the outlook for Europe “very weak”.

In its latest interim assessment of the global economy the OECD estimated the UK economy experienced an annualised retraction of 1.2% in the last quarter of 2011 and of 0.4% in the first quarter of 2012. Read the rest of this entry »

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12,000 year old city of Lord Krishna found…

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 29, 2012

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