Get latest news from all over the world covering breaking news in Pakistan, world, business, sports, technology, entertainment, fashion, health and more.

Get latest news from all over the world covering breaking news in Pakistan, world, business, sports, technology, entertainment, fashion, health and more.

Get latest news from all over the world covering breaking news in Pakistan, world, business, sports, technology, entertainment, fashion, health and more.

Get latest news from all over the world covering breaking news in Pakistan, world, business, sports, technology, entertainment, fashion, health and more.

Get latest news from all over the world covering breaking news in Pakistan, world, business, sports, technology, entertainment, fashion, health and more.

August 31, 2012

10 Steps to Happiness

 Happiness isn’t about leading an obstacle-free life — your life will always have obstacles — instead, it’s about learning how to change what you focus on and how you react to circumstances, regardless of whether they’re good or bad. Happiness is a mental state of well-being that comes from focusing more often on the behaviours, people, and things that will enrich and inspire your positive physical, mental, and emotional growth. Here are 10 steps to begin living a happier life:

Step One: Exercise.
Yes, you’ve heard it before, but exercise is one small change that yields really big, life-changing benefits. For starters, it is a fantastic energizer, invigorating your mind and body. Exercise improves your sleep, and it’s a natural anti-depressant that will help your attitude and outlook. As time passes, you’ll gain the added bonus of being happier with your physical appearance as well. If working out is already a part of your life, great. If it isn’t, commit to walking just twenty minutes every other day to start out. You don’t have to join a gym, sign up for exhausting classes, and completely reorder your life to reap the benefits of this investment.

Step Two: Take Charge of Your Mind.
If you want your thoughts and attitudes to be positive, you must fill your brain with encouraging ideas. For this reason, you may consider making motivational books and audio recordings part of your daily ritual, too. It sounds incredibly hokey, but listening to a motivational CD during your morning commute or reading motivational messages for fifteen minutes can put you in a positive place all day.

Step Three: Celebrate Success.
Most people tend to focus a lot of mental energy on the things that went wrong rather than the things that went well. Instead of beating yourself up, start celebrating your many successes. Relax about the things that don’t go perfectly, and celebrate everything that does. The cycle of negativity that focuses on failures will keep you from becoming a truly relaxed, content, and happy person.

Step Four: Eliminate Excess Stress.
Stress prevents you from living in and enjoying life. It can also cause negative long-term effects ranging from high blood pressure and insomnia to depression and anxiety. If you can’t eliminate or change a stressor, such as a job you hate but can’t afford to quit, challenge yourself to handle it differently. Decide beforehand how you will react in a more enlightened way when certain stressful situations occur. Having a game plan in place beforehand can reduce your negative reactions to stressors—big time.

Step Five: Live in the Present.
If you’re ruminating on what’s already happened or fretting about what might come to pass, you’re not enjoying the moment. You’re exacerbating your anxiety and unhappiness by choosing to dwell on things you can’t change or control. Forgive others (and yourself) for any wrongs you might be holding on to and stop dreading the future. Over time, you’ll start to live the adventurous, wonderful life in the present you were always meant to.

Step Six: Hang Around Positive People.
We influence and are influenced by the people we hang around. Gradually, you need to gravitate more toward the ‘Positives’ and distance yourself from the ‘Negatives.’ This might mean calling a positive friend and asking to meet up for coffee or a beer, or walking away from the water cooler when your co-workers begin to gripe and complain. Negative people will inevitably pass their unhealthy attitudes on to you.

Step Seven: Strengthen Close Relationships.
It’s always worth putting work into improving close relationships because the quality of the relationships you have with the people you are the closest to can make or break the quality of your life. Loving, supportive relationships will improve your outlook and well-being. Address any unresolved grievances and apologize for the things you may regret. Most of all, put more work into the relationship with your significant other than you do into anything else: This can make such a great difference in your emotional health, your stress levels, and your overall happiness.

Step Eight: Be Friendly.
Extending simple human kindness to other people can make a huge difference in their lives…and in yours. Everyone on Earth is carrying some sort of burden. You can’t make their pain, stress, or grief just magically disappear but you can make others feel just a little bit lighter and happier on their journey, even if only for five seconds. When you make friendliness a habit, you’ll attract kindness and smiles in return, and you’ll feel great about yourself for making a positive difference in the world!

Step Nine: Give Back.
It’s true: It really is better to give than to receive. Giving doesn’t have to involve money, either; your time, talents, and compassion are just as valuable as cash, if not more so. We’re all busy—but as often as you can, make the effort to do something nice to help another person or organization. Whether you’re giving time, energy, money, or encouragement, being generous will build up your self-esteem, broaden your perspective, keep you anchored in reality, and connect you to your blessings.

Step Ten: Be Grateful.

Yes, living with an 'attitude of gratitude' is a clich├ęd concept. But across the board, grateful people are happier and healthier; yes, studies have actually shown that thankful individuals are healthier too! It’s extremely important to be aware of all of your blessings, and to honour and thank those whom you owe for them. The humility that comes from knowing you owe so much to so many others may, in turn, spur you to give back more often to those less fortunate than yourself.


10 Psychological Gender Differences

Though we would like to think males and females are fairly similar (except for the obvious physical or reproductive differences), we know that there are fundamental psychological differences. These differences do not mean that one sex is better than the other, but it does mean that your partner may gain a unique perspective, hold a unique view, or have distinct abilities in the world which are rooted in their gender.

Here are some interesting and, perhaps, fun facts on these differences based on neuro-scientific research.

Men are better at orientating objects
There is a marked brain difference in females which may explain why males (versus females) generally excel in certain areas and struggle in others. Because of the larger parietal cortex and amygdala, men generally tend to perform better at reading maps, spatially related tasks and mathematics.

Women are better at communicating
The frontal lobe (which is responsible for problem solving) and the limbic cortex of the female brain tend to be larger than in male counterparts, which appears to provide women with an advantage (over men) in problem solving and emotionality.

Men and women process information at different rates
The male brain contains more grey matter whereas the female brain contains more white matter. White matter basically increases the speed of transmission of all nerve signals which ultimately allows women to process thoughts more rapidly than their male counterparts.

Boys in blue
From the moment males are born, the gender role separation begins. It usually starts with something small, such as a simple blue blanket or various other masculine-type color schemes and themes (i.e. dinosaurs trucks etc). The socialization of males to not only favour a certain colour but to also act a certain way stays with them throughout their lives. This is the origin for the concepts of masculinity and femininity which are social constructs and not biologically determined.

Pretty in pink
Like males beginning their socialization in blue, females are traditionally gender socialized in pink. Little girls start their lives off with this concept of femininity and what that actually means. These messages are continuously reiterated to them over the course of their lives through various media outlets, parenting tactics and many other contributing factors in their daily environment.

Men and sex
There is an age-old idea that the male libido is much stronger than the female libido. Although this is not always the case, research has shown that it is not necessarily the libido itself which is stronger in males but rather the ease with which it is expressed. This can be traced back to the basic reproductive nature of males versus females. The simple fact that the male sperm to female egg ratio is extremely disproportionate in favour of males; females are naturally more selective in expressing their sexual desires.

Females and sex
Women tend to place more value on the emotional connection involved with sexual activity. Though the debate is still out as to whether this is due to socialization or biology, the reality is most women like to connect emotionally before succumbing to their sexual needs.

Men speak logic
Men often use logic when engaging in conversation. There is a lot of discussion on how much of this is nature and how much is nurture, but males generally have been taught (since childhood) not to openly express emotion, as this shows their vulnerability and can be interpreted as a sign of weakness.

Women speak emotion
Females speak from more of an emotional perspective. This is partially due to brain chemistry but also social learning. There is a stereotypical idea of females within the general public that has made it easier for women to openly cry, sympathize, laugh etc. without feeling judged or vulnerable like their male counterpart might feel in a similar situation.

Reaction to stress
Men have been known to take a 'fight or flight' approach to dealing with stress. Women, however, have been shown in studies to 'tend-and-befriend,' namely, creating and joining social groups for support and resources. Women generally tend to have larger social support networks which seem to help with relieving stress and aid in the confrontation of the stress source. It seems that the 'tend-and-befriend' behavior is likely is maintained by physiological factors and by social and cultural roles. Women are generally more open to expressing their emotions and communicating with others to resolve various stressful situations whereas men seem to prefer to deal with things on their own.


Is Your Partner Emotionally Cheating?

 Emotional cheating is actually a very common issue seen in couple’s therapy; it is very real and it is painful. While emotional affairs do not necessarily include physical contact (sexual encounters) they can be just as damaging to relationships and marriages, if not more so, and often can lead to sexual affairs. One of the main reasons that emotional affairs are so damaging is that they involve a deep connection, support and companionship that should instead be shared with your partner. These are the building blocks of a strong bond between romantic partners and the sense of betrayal felt by partners when this connection is made outside the relationship is palpable. You and your partner may be in a relationship but if either of you are not getting the emotional attention and connection that you each need then you are missing the glue that bonds a healthy relationship and you may both be at risk of seeking it outside your relationship.
The lack of physical intimacy involved in emotional cheating often keeps cheaters feeling guilt-free because it is just a 'friendship.' Indeed, the guise of friendship makes it difficult for most people to identify when lines have been crossed. Here are a few warning signs of an emotional cheater:

Hiding thoughts, dreams and fears
In a faithful emotionally bonded relationship, partners should discuss their deepest fears, hopes and dreams for the future. Sharing these intimate things is the crux of emotional intimacy. If your partner is consistently hiding these things it may mean your partner is consistently fulfilling those needs elsewhere. This is emotional intimacy which builds the platform of a romantic relationship not just a simple 'friendship.'

Secret meet-Ups

Meeting a 'friend' for lunch, dinner or any other type of outing without telling your partner is a cause for concern. If you can’t tell your partner, then there is something seriously wrong with what you are doing. One major difference between a platonic friendship and an emotional affair is that platonic friendships are not kept secret.

Avoidance and confusion

When someone has feelings for more than one person they will often feel conflicted or confused and likewise will come across as confused about their feelings. That confusion often results in avoidance of conversations about love and relationships, and even a diminishing interest in being intimate.

Changes in schedule
All of the sudden you or your partner may be working longer hours, on holidays or taking more business trips or company outings that require spending more time with the same colleague or 'friend.' At the same time, the amount of time you and your spouse spend together is less and, perhaps, increasingly uncomfortable or withdrawn.

Over criticizing

Another sign of emotional cheating is that emotional cheater will suddenly become more critical. How you look, how you talk, etc. This often happens when the emotional cheater's feelings for their 'friend' start causing them to make comparisons against their partner.

An unhappy relationship
Not all unhappy relationships will lead to emotional or physical affairs but keep in mind that an unhappy relationship does set the platform for any type of affair.

What to do if you have your suspicions
If you suspect your partner of having an emotional affair the best thing to do is to bring it to the table and state your feelings. You have the right to state your feelings of discomfort and if your partner values your relationship enough they should be willing to make the necessary changes. It is important to note that often times emotional cheaters will try to turn the situation around, shrug it off or even make you seem unreasonable. If they are unwilling to make the change then you may need to think about what your options are. The fact is that the emotional affair has to end which does mean ending the friendship and communication ties entirely. If the inappropriate 'friendship' doesn't end, your relationship will never reestablish trust.

Like any relationship, communication is the key. If you and your partner are unable to communicate, there is a serious issue. If it can’t be resolved through open honest communication then you may have to question whether this relationship is worth your time and energy.


Shanghai China from above

Grand Ice Canyon, Greenland

5 Absurd Scientific Myths People Believe

 Even the most unscientific of us have a repository of common-knowledge, scientific facts accumulated from media, friends, peers and colleagues. Unfortunately, however, some of these scientific 'facts' are not actually true. Many of these myths are so widespread and persistent in popular culture that despite being consistently dispelled they continue to be passed on with completely convinced sincerity. Here are some of the most common scientific myths that you, or someone you know, may have helped spread at one time or another.

'Fingernails and hair continue to grow after death'
There is something morbidly fascinating about death. As terrified as many of us are of death, we find that we still like to talk about it. This is probably one of the biggest factors that have helped this myth spread. However, it is entirely false. Fingernails and hair do not continue to grow after death. Nevertheless, it is easy to see why some people would think it is true. When we die, our bodies dehydrate thus making the skin and tissue around the nails and the hair line shrink away and recede. As a result, the hair and nails may seem slightly longer. And because we are more accustomed to hair and nail growing rather than skin receding, we are more likely to attribute this change to the hair and nails continuing to grow rather than the hands, feet and head shrinking. This recession creates the illusion of the hair and nails continuing to grow on a corpse when in fact the only thing that’s moving is the skin…and even then, it’s shrinking.

'Men think about sex every ten seconds'

The amount of time between such ‘daydreams’ varies from telling to telling of this popular myth but the point of this particular ‘fact’ is still the same: men are sex-obsessed. However, according to the Kinsey Institute, only 54% of men think about sex at least once per day and about 4% of men think about sex less than once a month. Other studies have suggested that men who do frequently think about sex only have sex on the brain about 10 times per day but think about sleep around 11 times per day. The same study even revealed that men may actually think about food an on an average of 18 times a day. That’s almost twice as often as they think about sex! Although it is difficult -- maybe impossible -- to accurately record the exact frequency of sexual thoughts, it is certain that men don’t think about sex as frequently as other things and certainly not as frequently as once every ten seconds.

'The Coriolis Effect determines the way the water flows down drains'
This myth is one famous example of applying an accurate and established scientific principle incorrectly to an everyday situation. Mainstream media (and even some schoolbooks) have been responsible for incorrectly popularizing the notion that the Coriolis Effect sets the direction that water drains down our bathtubs and sinks. The rotation of fluids (air and water) is indeed influenced by the rotation of the earth and on the scale of hurricanes the Coriolis force can actually be observed causing the hurricane to rotate in the same direction as the underlying Earth. Hurricanes spin counter-clockwise in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the southern hemisphere just like the Earth, itself. But, the Coriolis force is incredibly small because the rotation of the Earth is incredibly small: only one rotation per day. Water flowing down a drain might make a rotation every few seconds giving it a rotation rate thousands of times higher than that of the Earth. In fact, the Coriolis force is so many orders of magnitude smaller that it plays virtually no role in determining the direction of rotation of a draining sink. The direction of rotation of a draining sink is determined by the level of the basin, the way water is directed into the drain, the way the basin was filled and other immediate factors.

'The moon has a dark side that never sees sunlight'

Every once and a while you might hear someone talk about the dark side of the moon and the popularity of the phrase (and the song) means that there is plenty of opportunity for someone to draw the wrong conclusion. Part of the reason this popular myth continues to linger on is the fact that we always see the same side of the moon (a phenomenon known as Tidal locking or captured rotation) but it's mostly a problem with terminology. The term 'dark side' is confusing and hence problematic for many people. It leaves the impression that nightfall eternally covers the far side of the moon but, in fact, that's simply not true. Part of the moon is dark at any given time but it's not always the same part -- just as we experience here on Earth. Like Earth, the moon has a daytime and a nighttime meaning that all sides of the moon eventually see the sun rise and fall. A better and more accurate way to describe the side of the moon we see is to call it 'the near side' and the opposite side that we don’t see as 'the far side.'

'We only use 10% of our brains'
It is almost alarming just how popular this myth is. This myth has had a long existence in the public consciousness, partly due to its popularity with psychics and paranormal enthusiasts. Some proponents of this claim even tout that harnessing the remaining 90% of our brain’s power will unlock extraordinary abilities, talents and hidden potential. Aside from the fact that there is no scientific evidence to suggest that we possess hidden talents, brain imagining techniques show that we do indeed use every part of our brain at some point or another. It is true that some cerebral functions use only a small part of our brain at any given time, but that is vastly different from incorrectly concluding that any part of the brain goes unused or is redundant. Every aspect of the brain is needed for one reason or another. Another major problem with this myth is that it suggests that there is a localised area of the brain that is functional and that the remaining 90% is non-essential. This is, of course, nonsense. We are a long way away from truly understanding how it the entire brain works, but we know for certain that we do in fact use our entire brains.


10 Signs Your Girlfriend is ‘Crazy’

Does your girlfriend act a little crazy sometimes? A little crazy can be fun and keep things exciting, that is, depending on your idea of crazy. If your girlfriend is somewhat goofy, slightly eccentric, or mildly OCD, these traits may be viewed as endearing and more often than not overlooked, especially when in love. But where do you draw the line? When her behavior begins to affect either of your lives (or your friends and families lives) in a negative manner it’s time to take a step back and reevaluate whether or not it is a good idea to continue the relationship.
It is vitally important to note that the term 'crazy' is used colloquially for the purpose of this article to describe a partner who is acting in an unhealthy manner with regards to your relationship, who perhaps scares you or is a potential threat to your physical or mental well-being. There is no medical or psychoanalytical basis here to actually diagnose someone as mentally ill; simply heed the following 10 signs when deciding whether her actions are jeopardizing your relationship or creating an unhealthy environment for either of you.

1. Calls/Texts Constantly
When she calls or texts you, it should most acceptably be proportionate to your own efforts in contacting her. In any new relationship, it can be exciting and fun to be in frequent contact with one another since you are still getting to know each other. It becomes a problem when missing a call or text leads to multiple missed calls, ill-tempered voicemails, and multiple text messages, within an unreasonably short period of time, demanding to know where you are and why you are not answering, etc. When you do finally get a chance to return her messages, she may become outwardly hostile towards you or accuse you of ignoring or deceiving her. This may be due to an underlying personal insecurity -- perhaps due to past experience with an untrustworthy ex or even instability-- but it is no excuse for this type of obsessive, immature and erratic behavior, especially if you have done nothing to compromise your trustworthiness.

2. Extreme Mood Swings
You admire her for her zest for life and her radiating positivity, but suddenly she is a tearful mess or losing her patience and screaming over obviously trivial matters. Fluctuations in hormones, such as estrogen, do make some women more prone to mood-swings but if it becomes a problem where she is constantly shifting gears from one extreme to the next or you constantly feel as if you are walking on eggshells out of uncertainty due to her complete unpredictability, you can assure yourself that you are not a healthy relationship and it would be in your best interest to remove yourself from that environment.

3. Public Confrontation
Let’s be honest, nobody enjoys a scene. If you are out in public and she starts yelling at you, aggressively instigating an argument, crying out of control, or physically/verbally insulting you, this is completely unacceptable behavior (in private too, actually!). Mature, healthy relationships require patience and respect. If she embarrasses herself and you in this way, it is likely time you both parted ways.

4. Past Relationship Stories
When starting a new relationship, it’s practically inevitable that the topic of past relationships will come up. Be sure to listen carefully to what she has to say about hers. Were any or all of her exes abusive toward her (or vice versa), themselves (substance abuse), or all too eager to find another partner? These examples from her past could be strong indicators of her inability to function in a/as part of a healthy relationship. People can learn from past mistakes and grow, but it doesn’t always work out that way as many are downright resistant to change. Tread carefully.

5. Lying
Sometimes we lie to avoid hurting feelings or to maintain good rapport but even these ‘good-hearted’ lies, albeit understandable, should never be viewed as acceptable. If you catch her constantly lying to you about everything, even something as simple as certain plans with her friends or perhaps she frequently tells lies to everyone else in her life; how can you trust her at all?

6. Isolation
Does she make an effort to introduce you to her friends? Attend outings or have a social life with and without you? Encourage you to make other plans without her involvement (a night out with the guys)? These are all healthy aspects of a balanced relationship. If she always wants to stay inside alone with you, gets irritated when you socialize with others or make plans, or expects you to spend every waking moment with her, this is a sign of extreme possessiveness. Remember, nobody has a right to isolate you from living your own life.

7. Demands
In relationships, there are reasonable requests and then there are unacceptable demands, such as needing to know your passwords for email, social networking etc. Trust is a necessary factor in any healthy relationship. Demands for any of your personal information without just cause can be related to her own inability to trust or her struggle with anxiety or insecurities.This is an infringement on your privacy and your individual human rights. Anyone who cares for you and your overall well-being would not make such demands.

8. Jealousy
A little jealousy can be flattering and reaffirm the fact that you are appreciated. On the other hand, extensive jealous, such as feeling threatened by every single woman who crosses your line of vision, is unacceptable. Some women even go to the extremes of making constant unfounded accusations of cheating, and may not even ‘allow’ their partners to hang out with friends (male or female). In addition these extremists may even keeps tabs on your every move by checking phone records, receipts etc. This is crazier still when she has nothing to base her insecurities off of; you have never given her a reason not to trust you, in fact you incessantly reassure her of your loyalty to her.

9. Critical/Belittling
A healthy relationship should include mutual respect and support of each other’s life goals and ultimate happiness, whatever that may include. If she is constantly belittling your ideas or criticizing you in any way, this may be coming from a place of major insecurity or anxiety. Instead of risking your acknowledgement of her own faults, she is keeping you distracted by pointing out all of your own, whether they are true or downright wrong and rude. It’s crazy for her to deliberately discourage you just because she is not comfortable with herself or unable to properly handle such emotions.

10. Hateful
Does she spout off hateful (perhaps judgmental) comments regarding random strangers? How about those close to her, more specifically, her friends and family or even YOUR family? If you notice that she doesn’t have many good relationships in her life and on top of that, rarely finds something nice to say about the people involved, you may want to reconsider your relationship. this is sign that she will have difficulty positively contributing to a healthy relationships.


Secrets to a Long Distance Relationship

Relationships can be difficult and adding the considerable strain of long distance can make it considerably harder. But if two people love each other enough, then distance shouldn’t matter, right? Yet despite all the ways technology can help us stay in touch, long distance relationships frequently fail to work out. We sat down with leading relationship experts to find out the secrets to maintaining long distance love and why it so often fails.

Solving Communication
According to clinical psychologist, Dr. Rob Dobrenski, the largest barrier of long-distance relationships is lack of face-to-face communication. Couples invariably need not just emotional and physical intimacy, but also the ability to resolve conflicts. This is significantly easier when you can see your partner's facial expressions and non-verbal communication. Phone, text, email, Skype, Morse code, Instant Messaging, Facebook updates and carrier pigeons all still require a lot of guesswork to really gauge what's going on with your partner. This is especially true if couples aren't already the greatest at directly and confidently stating their feelings. Video chatting is a better option than a traditional phone call, as it allows you to read some of your partner’s non-verbal communication. Aside from just talking to each other regularly; use technology to do other things together, like play games online – this is a creative and fun exercise that can promote bonding. 'Loneliness will happen but it is important that you acknowledge and attempt to alleviate those feelings. Phone sex works wonders!'

Dr. Barton Goldsmith PhD, says 'one of the things that keep a relationship together is real chemistry. Touching keeps the brain chemicals, like Oxytocin (also known as the cuddle hormone) and Serotonin (as well as several others that make us happy and feel connected) flowing through our brains and bodies. When you don’t get to connect, it’s harder to feel the love because you’re not able to produce enough these happiness chemicals to make you feel good and most people start to look for ways to get their ‘brain-chemical fix’ from those who are physically available.' This is why it is essential to keep the physical chemistry just as alive as the emotional chemistry. Plan to see one another as often as possible. That may mean costly travelling every now and again so you can tend to your long-distance relationship. It’s not easy and both partners need to commit equally but in the end you might be grateful that you did.

Increasing Trust
Unfortunately, over time, many long-distance relationships experience a degradation of trust and confidence. As you and your partner develop increasingly independent tendencies, your roles in each other’s lives will change. New friends and colleagues will be entering both your lives and this can lead to partners quickly becoming jealous. Jealousy can lead to fights, resentment and eventually the demise of your relationship. It is important to prepare for these changes early on and commit yourself to becoming as trusting and as trustworthy as possible. The increased independence can be a good thing, if you let it, enabling you to continue growing as individuals while still remaining a couple. Eventually, the goal is for one or both of you to relocate to be together and, if you have trust in each other, you can get there.

Keeping a Plan
Maintaining a healthy long-distance relationship is all about establishing and sticking to regular achievable goals that you have mutually agreed upon so you both feel like you are working towards something. Never make promises or agree to goals you can't keep. Your word is your bond. A healthy plan and set of goals should include: a daily schedule for communication, a mandatory minimum on Snail mail and small gifts per month, frequency of virtual dates, a schedule for somewhat regular visits and, most importantly, deciding on your monogamy. Remember, things won’t always go according to the plan you’ve set so it is important to anticipate changes and deal with them together as they come up. While, absence may make the heart grow fonder, don't let your relationship linger in this state for years – have an end date in mind in case neither of you can relocate back to the other within a reasonable time frame.


Dental health linked to dementia risk

NEW YORK: People who keep their teeth and gums healthy with regular brushing may have a lower risk of developing dementia later in life, according to a US study.

Researchers at the University of California who followed nearly 5,500 elderly people over an 18-year-period found that those who reported brushing their teeth less than once a day were up to 65 percent more likely to develop dementia than those who brushed daily.'Not only does the state of your mind predict what kind of oral health habits you practice, it may be that your oral health habits influence whether or not you get dementia,' said Annlia Paganini-Hill, who led the study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Inflammation stoked by gum disease-related bacteria is implicated in a host of conditions including heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Some studies have also found that people with Alzheimer s disease, the most common form of dementia, have more gum disease-related bacteria in their brains than a person without Alzheimer s, Paganini-Hill said. It s thought that gum disease bacteria might get into the brain, causing inflammation and brain damage, she said. Paganini-Hill and her team followed 5,468 residents of a Californian retirement community from 1992 to 2010.

Most people in the study were white, well-educated and relatively affluent. When the study began, participants ranged in age from 52 to 105,with an average age of 81. All were free of dementia at the outset, when they answered questions about their dental health habits, the condition of their teeth and whether they wore dentures. When the researchers followed up 18 years later, they used interviews, medical records and in some cases death certificates to determine that 1,145 of the original group had been diagnosed with dementia. Of 78 women who said they brushed their teeth less than once a day in 1992, 21 had dementia by 2010, or about one case per 3.7 women.

In comparison, among those who brushed at least once a day, closer to one in every 4.5 women developed dementia which translates to a 65-percent greater chance of dementia among those who brushed less than daily. Among the men, the effect was less pronounced with about one in six irregular brushers developing the disease, making them 22 percent more likely to have dementia than those who brushed daily.

Statistically, however, the effect was so small it could have been due to chance, the researchers said. Paganini-Hill could only speculate on the reasons for the different outcomes among men and women.

Perhaps women wear their dentures more often than men and visit the dentist more frequently. The study has limitation. Paganini-Hill and her team looked at behavior and tooth numbers as a kind of proxy for oral health and gum disease and didn t carry out any dental exams.

While neglecting teeth might be a sign of early vulnerability to dementia, some other factor be having an impact too.

Head injury and malnutrition are also important causes of tooth loss in adults, and either of those might increase the dementia risk, said Amber Watts, who studies dementia at the University of Kansas and wasn t part of the study. 'I would be reluctant to draw the conclusion that brushing your teeth would definitely prevent you from getting Alzheimer s disease,' she said. (Reuters)

Variety could boost veggie eating

NEW YORK: Giving people a choice of vegetables at mealtimes got them eating more greens, but not fewer calories, says a new small study.Still, Dr. Barbara Rolls of Pennsylvania State University, who co-authored the study, told Reuters Health, 'it s exciting to show that you can use variety to increase the intake of healthy foods, find your favorites and enjoy.'During the new four-week study, Rolls and her team looked at what people ate during a weekly lunch of vegetables and pasta.For the first three meals, 66 study participants were offered 600 grams of pasta and tomato sauce, plus 600 grams of either broccoli, carrots or snap peas. The fourth meal included pasta, sauce and 200 grams of each of the three vegetables.The findings, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, showed that people ate 48 grams more vegetables, on average, when they were offered a variety, compared to a single serving of just one type.However, eating more vegetables didn t affect the amount of pasta that people ate, or reduce the overall amount of calories that they took in, researchers said in their report.According to the researchers, previous studies have shown that people need to eat at least 150 grams more vegetables before they start cutting back on other foods they enjoy.Women ate anywhere from 164 to 203 grams of a particular vegetable when they had only that vegetable. That jumped to 232 grams when they ate the varied meal.As Roll s team wanted to encourage people to eat more vegetables without piling on the pounds, they kept a close eye on mealtime calories.'We were giving large portions,' said Rolls of the meals, which added up to as much as 1,400 calories. 'We didn t want them to be limited in the amounts they were eating.'The broccoli was seasoned with a little butter, and Rolls said that adding flavoring and seasoning to vegetables is fine. But she cautions that 'you can take in too many calories from vegetables if they re fried or in rich sauces.'Carrots had the lowest calorie content. So when men ate the carrot-based meal they took in 687 calories, on average. That increased to 772 calories when they ate all three vegetables.Women ate 582 calories when offered just carrots and pasta, and 604 calories, on average, during the varied meal.Those differences were likely due to chance, the researchers said. (Reuters)

August 30, 2012

Hollywood brings thrills, chills, dramatic films this fall

LOS ANGELES: Fall brings colder weather across the Northern Hemisphere and Hollywood's major studios will usher into theaters cool action thrillers, chilly horror movies and some dramatic Oscar hopefuls looking for a head start on awards season.

From new James Bond flick "Skyfall" to another scary "Paranormal" installment and the long-awaited Paul Thomas Anderson Scientology drama, "The Master," there is plenty for cinephiles to dissect in the season, which begins after this weekend's U.S. Labor Day holiday and runs roughly to Thanksgiving.

The pace of movies is slower than the U.S. summer when the studios bring out blockbusters like "The Avengers" and "The Dark Knight Rises" weekly. But don't let the pace fool you; fall 2012 is neither short on quality nor quantity, experts say.

"Early fall can often be a little bit of a lull at the movies, but it can also be a time when real quality films can take advantage of a quiet marketplace and really stand out," Entertainment Weekly writer Dave Karger said.

The season kicks into high gear on September 21, with Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena playing Los Angeles police battling a ruthless drug cartel in "End of Watch," from writer/director David Ayer.

Ayer, whose previous LA cop flick, "Training Day," earned Denzel Washington a best actor Oscar, said the film shows "what it's like to work the streets in a way very few films have ever shown," pulling back the curtain on the cops' lives, personal and professional.

"It's not your typical Hollywood movie. It's very grounded, very real - almost a pseudo documentary. You'll walk out of this movie wanting to hug a cop," he said.

Guns continue to blaze on September 28 when Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt play the same person - only 30-years apart - in the time-travel flick "Looper" about assassins killing targets sent back from the future.

Liam Neeson is back as the CIA-trained, overly protective father in "Taken 2" (October 5) when the kidnappers who swiped his daughter in the first "Taken" movie return for revenge.

The best-selling Alex Cross crime novels get a reboot with Tyler Perry taking the lead role previously inhabited by Morgan Freeman in "Alex Cross" (Oct 19). This time, the detective psychologist takes on a hitman played by Matthew Fox.

On October 12, crime takes a comedic edge in "Seven Psychopaths," about a screenwriter (Colin Farrell) who gets involved in the Los Angeles underworld when his dog-snatching friend (Sam Rockwell) makes the mistake of kidnapping a Shih Tzu belonging to a crime boss (Woody Harrelson).

The season ends with a bang as the highly anticipated "Skyfall" comes out on November 9, amid a celebration of 50 years of Bond movies. This time around, Daniel Craig takes his third turn as 007 with Oscar-winning filmmaker Sam Mendes at the helm of the movie and Javier Bardem as the villain, Silva.


Fall is long on horror as the studios play to fears ahead of Halloween. On September 21, Jennifer Lawrence finds herself haunted in "The House at the End of the Street." On October 5, a ghostly entity threatens Ethan Hawke and his family in "Sinister."

If that's not enough haunted house-themed flicks, the hugely popular franchise "Paranormal Activity 4" returns on October 19.

For family frights, animated "Hotel Transylvania" (September 28) stars Adam Sandler as a hotelier to non-humans whose world turns upside down when an overexcited human shows up. And Tim Burton brings his usual ghoulish charm to the screen with the stop-motion animated "Frankenweenie" (October 5) about a young boy who resurrects his late dog, Sparky. Arf!

Then, there is the Oscar race. In recent years, as Academy Award organizers moved their top film honors up by a month, to February from late March, the studios have been bringing more award hopefuls to theaters in September and October.

Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" is creating Oscar buzz prior to its September 14 release. Set in the 1950s, the movie tells of a damaged alcoholic (Joaquin Phoenix) who is taken under wing by a charismatic leader (Philip Seymour Hoffman) of a spiritual movement not unlike the controversial Church of Scientology.

Also getting attention is "Argo" (October 12), directed by and starring Ben Affleck. Based on real events, the movie shows a CIA specialist's mission to free six U.S. diplomats in 1979 Iran by posing as a filmmaker and putting them among his bogus crew.

Actor John Hawkes gives a tour-de-force performance in "The Sessions" (October 26) playing a 38-year-old man who, having spent most of his life in an iron lung, decides to hire a therapeutic sex surrogate (Helen Hunt) to lose his virginity.

But Hawkes will see Oscar competition from Daniel Day Lewis starring as Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg's biopic, "Lincoln" (November 9).

Fans of the filmmaking Wachowski siblings (Lana and Andy of "The Matrix" movies) will try to wrap their heads around "Cloud Atlas" (October 26), starring Tom Hanks and Halle Berry in different roles throughout six interwoven tales.

"'Cloud Atlas' is the complete wild card," said Entertainment Weekly's Karger. "A two and a half-plus hour movie by the Wachowskis that looks so bizarre. It's probably going to be one of the most polarizing movies of the season."

Finally, there is sport-themed documentary "The Other Dream Team" ( S ept . 28), chronicling members of the 1992 Lithuanian Olympic basketball team as they go from life behind the Iron Curtain to newfound independence - with financial assistance from the Grateful Dead. --AGENCIES

Salman film "Ek Tha Tiger" biggest hit since "3 Idiots"

 MUMBAI: Salman Khan continues to bring in the big bucks for Bollywood. "Ek Tha Tiger", the actor's latest film, has netted over 2 billion rupees in global ticket sales, making it India's biggest box-office hit after "3 Idiots".
The film, starring the 46-year-old action hero as a secret agent, opened to mixed reviews on Aug 15 but Khan's mass appeal has ensured audiences flocked to cinemas.
The formula of releasing films around Eid al-Fitr also seems to be helping -- "Dabangg" and "Bodyguard" were blockbusters, as was Khan's 2009 film "Wanted".
"Ek Tha Tiger" reached the billion-rupee milestone in just five days although ticket sales did appear to taper off after the Eid holiday.
Trade analyst Taran Adarsh called the film an "all time blockbuster" on Monday, posting on Twitter that the combined domestic and international business of the film stood at 210 crore rupees (2.1 billion rupees).
Domestic receipts for "Ek Tha Tiger" have already crossed 1.7 billion rupees, making it Khan's biggest career hit. His previous best "Bodyguard" hauled in 1.48 billion rupees in domestic ticket sales while box-office leader
"3 Idiots" had grossed over 2 billion rupees in India.
Trade analyst Vajir Singh said second week collections for "Ek Tha Tiger" stood at 194 million rupees, slightly lower than the 234 million rupees Khan's 2010 hit "Dabangg" had pulled in during its second weekend.
Single-screen cinemas, which account for most of the tickets sold in India, also saw a drop in audiences, although the week's new release "Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi" wasn't expected to affect ticket sales for "Ek Tha Tiger".
"Yes, second week will always be slow compared to the first week, but this film is still doing well," said R R Vidhani, who owns one of Mumbai's oldest single-screen cinemas. "The crowds love Salman Khan." - AGENCIES

Samsung unveils Windows phone, new Galaxy Note

BERLIN/SEOUL: Samsung Electronics became the first handset maker to announce a smartphone using Microsoft's latest mobile software, making its surprise, hurried announcement just days before the highly anticipated launch of Nokia's version.

The brief announcement on Wednesday at a Berlin electronics show comes amid expectations that smartphone makers may turn increasingly to Windows devices after a U.S. jury decided many of Samsung's Google Android-based phones infringed Apple Inc patents.

"It looks like a good phone, and seems like a pre-emptive announcement ahead of Nokia," said Sid Parakh, an analyst at investment firm McAdams Wright Ragen, of the Samsung phone.

"Microsoft or Windows never got their best teams, never got their best designs, just because Android was doing so well. With the change in the legal environment, there's a case to be made that Samsung will likely shift some of those resources to broaden out or diversify their own exposure."

Nokia, the ailing Finnish mobile firm, once the world's leading producer of phones but now struggling to reverse losses, is due to unveil its new Lumia line of smartphones using Windows Phone 8 in New York on September 5.

Samsung's new phone called ATIV S -- tacked onto the end of a long news conference in Berlin that focused on other products -- may elevate expectations for the Lumia. Samsung's ATIV S Windows phone sports a high-end 4.8-inch display, Corning "Gorilla" glass, and an 8-megapixel rear camera and 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera, Microsoft posted on its official blog on Wednesday.

"Expectations for a 40 megapixel or possibly 20 megapixel camera model are running high. If Nokia does not unveil a monster camera handset next week, many will be disappointed," said Tero Kuittinen, analyst at mobile analytics firm Alekstra.

But "this leaves Nokia plenty of room to draw a clear contrast with its upcoming announcement."

Samsung's Windows-based smartphone, introduced on Wednesday, marks the first in a "big lineup of new hardware" from the South Korean company based on Microsoft's software, Microsoft executive Ben Rudolph said in a blog posting.

Analysts say the introduction of Samsung's Windows phone may be designed to assuage concerns that Microsoft will favor Nokia, whose Chief Executive Stephen Elop -- himself a former senior Microsoft executive -- has staked its future on the Windows platform.

"The fact Samsung was allowed to be the first to announce is Microsoft's backhanded way of letting other vendors know that Nokia is not getting special treatment," Current Analysis analyst Avi Greengart said.

But Jack Gold, an independent mobile consultant who runs J. Gold Associates, argued Samsung had signalled its commitment to Windows for a while, but Nokia will remain the primary driver of the new breed of Microsoft-powered devices.

"Samsung has crossed the start line first and set the bar for Nokia's launch," said Geoff Blaber, analyst at CCS Insight.


Microsoft gave a preview of its Windows Phone 8 software in June, and promised the first phones would be on the market by the autumn.

Windows Phone 8 looks similar to, and is built on the same core code as Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 operating system, but is not the same product. Windows 8, which will run on tablets and PCs, is scheduled to launch on October 26.

Samsung said the ATIV phone would hit stores in the October-November period but did not give an exact start date.

On Wednesday, the Korean corporation also showed off a slew of tablets using Windows 8 software and the second generation of its popular Google Android-based Galaxy Note phone-cum-tablet "phablet" in downtown Berlin.

Samsung has sold some 10 million of its original Galaxy Note devices, creating a new product category which has smaller screen than tablets, but bigger than smartphones.

"I am pretty confident it will even outsell its predecessor," said JK Shin, Samsung's chief of mobile business.

Samsung hopes the new device will take the focus away from its loss of the court case. Apple is now seeking speedy bans on the sale of eight Samsung phones, moving swiftly to turn legal victory into tangible business gain.

Samsung hopes the phablet upgrade will lift any post-Apple gloom. The new version of the Note features a thinner and slightly bigger 5.5-inch screen, quad-core processor, the latest version of the Android operating system called Jellybean, and improved stylus function.

"There won't be huge innovative changes in design, but the Note 2 will feature quite a few improvements and enable Samsung to carry on its strong sales momentum in the category," said Lee Sun-tae, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities. "With the launch, Samsung will also be trying to turn around downbeat sentiment after the U.S. legal defeat."

Apple did not include the Note and other newly unveiled Samsung products in its original lawsuit. But the company and its lawyers are expected by many legal experts to try and use last week's legal victory to go after future gadgets, especially because the jury found infringing features in Samsung phones such as pinch-and-zoom and bounce-back -- common in Android.

Shares of Microsoft finished up 2 cents at $30.65 on Wednesday. -- AGENCIES

August 29, 2012

Facebook co-founder Moskovitz sells more shares

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz is selling yet more shares in the one-time consumer-Internet darling, keeping up a steady but small flow of daily sales, according to a filing.

This week, Moskovitz has sold a total of 450,000 Class A shares at prices ranging from $19.19 to $19.22 a share, reducing the Facebook stake of his Dustin A. Moskovitz Trust to 6.15 million A shares, a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission showed.

His Dustin A. Moskovitz Trust also owns 106.8 million B shares, which can be converted to Class A shares on a one-to-one basis at any time. Class B shares carry more voting power.

Moskovitz has been selling shares at the rate of 150,000 a day since August 19, the first day since Facebook's initial public offering that certain insiders were allowed to sell shares.

Facebook's IPO has been one of the most troubled in recent memory, with the shares debuting in May at $38 but quickly falling. On Wednesday, shares in the social network were trading around $19, beset by concerns over issues ranging from its mobile strategy to its slowing growth.

Moskovitz, a roommate of Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg's at Harvard University, left the company in late 2009 to work on his own start-up, workplace software-service Asana.

Several Facebook insiders, including early backer Peter Thiel, have been selling shares at a rapid clip. Thiel, who sits on Facebook's board, sold 20 million shares earlier this month. AGENCIES

August 28, 2012

US troops punished over Quran burning

WASHINGTON: The US military said on Monday it was disciplining US troops over two incidents that provoked outrage in Afghanistan early this year, one involving burned copies of the Quran and another over a video depicting Marines urinating on corpses.
The administrative punishments -- which could include things like reduce rank or forfeiture of pay -- fell short of criminal prosecution, and it was unclear whether they would satisfy Afghan demands for justice.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai earlier this year branded the Marine's actions in the video as "inhuman," and he initially called for a public trial for the soldiers over the Quran incident.
A detailed US military investigation showed that up to 100 copies of Quran and other religious texts from a detention center library -- a previously undisclosed figure -- were burned on Feb. 20. The investigation found that warnings from Afghans, including a Afghan soldier, had been ignored and attributed the incident in part to distrust between Americans and Afghans.
"However, I absolutely reject any suggestion that those involved acted with any malicious intent to disrespect the Quran or defame the faith of Islam," the investigating officer, Brigadier General Bryan Watson, wrote.
The question of distrust between American troops and Afghans has come into sharp focus in recent weeks due to a surge of "insider attacks," in which Afghans believed to be friendly turn their guns against US forces. (AFP)

August 27, 2012

Four dead, 12 missing as typhoon pounds South Korea

SEOUL: Four Chinese crew members were confirmed drowned and 12 were missing after a strong typhoon battering South Korea pushed their ships onto the rocks Tuesday.
Officials issued an alert for almost the entire country as Bolaven -- the strongest typhoon for almost a decade to hit the country -- swept towards flood-affected North Korea.
Scores of flights were grounded, ferry services were suspended and schools in Seoul and several other areas were shut Tuesday, while almost 200,000 homes lost power.
No deaths were immediately reported, apart from at the shipwreck on the southern island of Jeju. Coastguard rescuers swam or waded through storm-tossed seas to link ropes to one of the boats and rescue 11 crewmen, a coastguard spokesman told.
Six others swam ashore of their own accord. One ship was pushed close to shore while the second was broken in two and sank, he added.
Dramatic video footage showed coastguards in wetsuits struggle through high waves to reach the first boat 50 metres (yards) offshore and connect ropes.
Crew members were then seen pulled to safety one after another. The ships were registered in Weihai city in China's Shandong province.
The transport ministry said all 87 sea ferry services had stopped running. A total of 247 flights -- 183 domestic and 64 international -- have been cancelled since Monday.
The typhoon -- packing winds of 144 kilometres per hour (90 miles per hour) -- brought heavy rain and strong winds to southern and western areas. It toppled street lights and signs, shattered windows, uprooted trees, tore off shop signs and even demolished a church spire.
On Jeju, TV footage showed homes with collapsed roofs and uprooted trees.
The US and South Korean armed forces called a temporary halt to a large-scale joint military exercise which began last week.
The weather service said Bolaven was passing over the Yellow Sea west of South Korea and would come closest to Seoul, a city of some 10 million people, around 2:00 pm (0500 GMT).
It was expected to make landfall in North Korea around 6:00 pm. The impoverished North is already struggling to recover from a devastating drought followed by floods earlier this summer.
In the South, the National Emergency Management Agency said 197,751 homes in Jeju and in the southwest and south-central regions had so far lost power.
A total of 54 people, mostly in the southwest, were evacuated from their homes and taken to shelters. Some 16 homes were damaged.
Weather officials said Typhoon Tembin was also threatening the Korean peninsula, moving at a speed of 16 kilometres an hour northward from Taiwan.
Tembin was forecast to be some 200 kilometres west of Jeju early Friday.

US arms sales to record $66.3bn in 2011

 WASHINGTON: Weapons sales by the United States tripled in 2011 to a record high, pumped up by $33.4 billion in sales to Saudi Arabia, but the international arms market is not likely to continue growing, according to a comprehensive new congressional report. 

The United States sold $66.3 billion of weapons overseas in 2011, accounting for nearly 78 percent of all global arms sales, which rose to $85.3 billion in 2011, the highest level seen since 2004. The previous US record was set in 2008, when arms sales reached $38.2 billion, measured in 2011 dollars.
"The extraordinary total value of US weapons orders in 2011 distorts the current picture of the global arms trade market," said the report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, calling $66.3 billion in US arms sales "a clear outlier figure."
While Washington remained the world's leading arms supplier, nearly all other major suppliers, except France, saw declines in 2011, according to the annual report prepared for Congress.
France signed arms sales valued at $4.4 billion in 2011, up from $1.8 billion a year earlier, but Russia, the world number two arms dealer saw its sales nearly halved to $4.8 billion in 2011. The four major European suppliers -- France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy -- saw their collective market share drop to 7.2 percent in 2011 from 12.2 percent a year earlier.
Saudi Arabia was the biggest arms buyer among developing countries, concluding $33.7 billion in weapons deals in 2011, followed by India with purchases of $6.9 billion and the United Arab Emirates with $4.5 billion.
Total annual global arms sales ranged between $42 billion and $67 billion in the period from 2004 to 2011, reaching a cumulative total of $467.9 billion in that 8-year period.
A weaker global economy, the European financial crisis and the slow international recovery from the recession of 2008 have dampened demand for new weapons, with many countries putting off or scaling back their purchases, the report found.
Washington, for instance, generates a steady stream of orders for upgrades, spare parts, ammunition and support services from year to year, even when it does not conclude big deals for new weapons systems, the report said.
Concerns about Iran continued to fuel arms sales to the Middle East and especially Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, but India, Taiwan and other Asian countries were important arms buyers as well, said the report, written by Richard Grimmett and Paul Kerr.
Key US weapons sales in 2011 included: - $33.4 billion to Saudi Arabia for 84 Boeing Co F-15 fighters, dozens of helicopters built by Boeing and Sikorsky Aircraft, a unit of United Technologies Corp, $3.49 billion for Lockheed Martin Corp's Terminal High Altitude Area Defence, an advanced missile shield, to the United Arab Emirates, and $940 million for 16 Chinook helicopters built by Boeing, $1.4 billion for 18 F-16 fighter jets built by Lockheed Martin, a $4.1 billion agreement with India for 10 C-17 transport planes built by Boeing, and a $2 billion order by Taiwan for Patriot antimissile batteries. - DAWN

August 26, 2012

Job stress doubles diabetes risk in women

 OTTAWA: Work stress doubles the risk of developing diabetes for women who have little or no control over what they do on the job, according to a new Canadian study.

The same is not true for men.
"Men and women react differently to workplace stress," Peter Smith, lead author of the nine-year study by researchers at the Institute for Work and Health and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto, said.

Smith suggested that women under stress may be "more likely to turn to foods with higher fat and sugar content than men," as one possible explanation for the results.

The primary reasons outlined in the study for the increased risk for women are the disruptions of neuroendocrine and immune system functioning and increased or prolonged cortisol and sympathetic hormone release in reaction to stress; and changes in diet and energy expenditure, possibly as coping mechanisms.

The researchers followed 7,443 women working in Canada's Ontario province with no previous diagnoses for diabetes.

Their results, published this week in the journal of Occupational Medicine, showed that 19 percent of cases of diabetes in women are due to "low job control," which is higher than that for smoking, drinking or low physical activity, but lower than for obesity. (AFP)

Asian stocks mixed on stimulus hopes, Samsung falls

HONG KONG: Asian markets were mixed Monday amid hopes of new easing measures by the United States and diplomatic manoeuvring on Greece, but Samsung shares plunged after a US court ruling in favour of rival Apple.
Tokyo climbed 0.34 percent, Sydney rose 0.28 percent, Hong Kong was flat, while Shanghai fell 0.99 percent.
Seoul was down 0.13 percent as shares of Samsung fell sharply after a US court fined the South Korean technology giant $1.05 billion for infringing on six of Apple's technology patents.
Samsung has said it would contest the verdict that analysts say could have huge market repercussions, but the stock opened 6.8 percent lower and at one point fell by as much as 7.7 percent, its lowest intra day level in a month.
Markets were rife with speculation over possible stimulus measures in the United States after minutes released last week from the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting showed US central bankers worried about slowing growth.
Investors are now looking ahead for further clues to Fed chairman Ben Bernanke's speech at an annual economic policy symposium to be attended by central bankers and economists later this week.
"We have got through a quiet August," Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy and chief economist at AMP Capital in Australia.
"And we are now coming up to a peak period in terms of events where the market patience might wear out if the policy action doesn't come out," he told Dow Jones Newswires.
Europe was also in the spotlight after Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras met German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, with both leaders affirming they wanted Greece to remain in the eurozone.
But markets were braced for further tough negotiations as Merkel said she was awaiting a report by global lenders reviewing the debt-burdened country's performance on reform targets before agreeing to revisit any terms.
The European common currency bought $1.2511 and 98.54 yen in Asian trade, compared with $1.2512 and 98.43 yen in New York late Friday.
The dollar bought 78.79 yen against 78.67 yen in US trade.
In oil markets, New York's main contract, light sweet crude for October delivery soared $1.35 to $97.50 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for delivery in October gained $1.40 to $114.99.
Gold was at $1,675.55 at 0305 GMT, compared to $1,665.90 on Friday.

Euro mixed in Asian trade

TOKYO: The euro was mixed in Asian trade on Monday amid renewed uncertainty over the eurozone debt crisis, as markets turn their focus to a speech by the US central bank chief later this week.

The European common currency bought $1.2511 and 98.54 yen in Tokyo morning trade, compared with $1.2512 and 98.43 yen in New York late Friday.
The dollar bought 78.79 yen against 78.67 yen in US trade.
Dealers said markets looked for concrete steps from the European Central Bank (ECB) to tackle the region's fiscal woes with bank chief Mario Draghi hinting at fresh measures.
There has been rising speculation that the ECB would restart a bond buying programme to tame borrowing rates among troubled eurozone countries, such as Italy and Spain.
But Draghi said details of any ECB measures still had to be worked out with member states amid persistent speculation that eurozone paymaster Germany opposed the measures.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Friday about the terms of aid for debt-hit Athens but "there was no progress as earlier expected", Hiromichi Shirakawa, analyst at Credit Suisse in Tokyo, said in a note

Floods leave 65 dead, 125,000 homeless in Niger

NIAMEY: Heavy flooding in Niger over the past few weeks has killed up to 65 people and left 125,000 homeless.
After appeals from the country's president for international aid, the first supplies, donated by Ireland to Plan International, have now arrived.
The southern Dosso region has been worst affected, with over 10,000 homes destroyed according to the UN.
The capital Niamey was also hit when the River Niger burst its banks, flooding the city's suburbs.
Plan International's Niger director Rheal Drisdalle said on 18-19 August, the river reached levels "not seen since the 1920s".
"As the river has not been this high for a very, very long time, people had built their houses near to the river - and then all the rice paddies along the river have been flooded," he told the BBC.
At last count, the United Nations' Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that the floods have destroyed 14,000 homes and 7,000 fields of cereal crops across the country.
The West African country is already suffering from severe food shortages caused by recent drought.
President Mahamadou Issou pledged 1,400 tonnes of food and £712,443 in aid for people affected by the flooding, but admitted that it would not be enough and called for international help.
The first international aid - 35 tonnes of supplies on a plane chartered by Ireland - arrived on Sunday.
Drisdalle said the United Nations and other aid agencies were trying to raise funds to send further supplies.
Other West African countries have also experienced higher than average rainfall and flooding this season, including Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso and Ghana.

India oust Aussies to lift Under-19 World Cup

TOWNSVILLE: Opener Unmukt Chand’s brilliant century and his 130-run unbeaten stand with Smit Patel helped India to become the ICC Under-19 World Cup champions defeating Australia by six wickets with 14 balls to spare here at the Tony Ireland Stadium on Sunday.

Chasing 226, India completed their victory against the defending champions in 47.4 overs losing four wickets in the final.
Chand remained not out on 111 and Patel was 62 not out as both made 130 for an unbeaten fifth wicket partnership.


August 24, 2012

People who failed to then succeeded

Natural phenomenon electric neon blue water - Maldives

PTI leaders declare assets

ISLAMABAD: Following Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) announcement of its economic policy, key leaders of the party on Friday declared their assets. The assets were uploaded on the party’s official website. 

Leaders who declared their assets include Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Javed Hashmi, Dr Arif Alvi, Jahangir Tareen, Asad Umar, Fauzia Kasuri, Nadir Leghari and Shireen Mazari.
Party chief Imran Khan had decaled his assets in December last year. Back then, Khan had said that PTI will only award party tickets to those who meet their transparency criteria, and that they would not commit anything to those joining the party.
Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s immovable property in Pakistan include 15 houses, out of which 13 are inherited, one was gifted and one house in Multan is worth Rs80,00,000. He has no immovable property outside Pakistan.
He also does not have any movable assets in Pakistan or elsewhere and neither has any investments.
Javed Hashmi neither owns any immovable property outside Pakistan nor any movable assets outside Pakistan. Movable assets (business capital) within Pakistan: Rs2,500,000. Investment (prize bonds): Rs 3,000,000.
Hashmi does not own any vehicle, according to his asset declaration document, and also has no liabilities. Jewellery (owned by wife): 100 tola worth Rs5,500,000. House in Multan Cantt: Rs25,000,000 Furniture, fittings and articles of personal use: Rs243,000 (after depreciation). - Online