Robert De Niro refuses to take photo with Schwarzenegger

Los Angeles, Nov 6  Hollywood icon Robert De Niro refused to take a photograph with Arnold Schwarzenegger over election politics.

“If you’re supporting (Donald) Trump, I want nothing to do with you,” said De Niro, after refusing to pose for a photograph with Schwarzenegger.

The incident happened at the VIP cocktail reception for the annual Friends of the Israel Defense Forces Western Regional Gala on Thursday at the Beverly Hilton here, reports variety.com.

“Are you voting for Trump?” De Niro kept asking Schwarzenegger. Later, he rebuffed the former California governor’s efforts to explain before backing off toward the other side of the room.

Schwarzenegger, a career Republican, publicly tweeted in October that he would not be voting for Trump, but he still hasn’t made clear for whom he will be voting.

In the tweet, the actor-turned-politician wrote: “For the first time since I became a citizen in 1983, I will not vote for the Republican candidate for President.”

“If you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem,” said De Niro.

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‘US more backward than India in leadership roles for women’

New York, Nov 3 (IANS) The US is “more backward” than India when it comes to leadership role for women, according to H R Shah, the CEO of TV Asia, the largest South Asian TV network in America.

Endorsing Hillary Clinton for president, he said on Wednesday that US voters now had a chance to remedy this failing of the US by electing a woman and Indian Americans should back her.

Speaking at a news conference held by ‘Indian Americans for Democrats and Friends of Hillary for President’, he said that the US was so “backward” that in its 240-year history it had not had a woman president while India, in its short history of about 70 years, has had a woman Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, in office for 15 years.

The US has the opportunity to elect Hillary Clinton as its first woman president and Indian Americans should be a part of the historic effort, he said.

Mike Patel, who served under Bill Clinton as a member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asians and Pacific Islanders and is a former chairman of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, said that contributing to election funds of politicians alone did not matter and Indian Americans should also vote and get involved in community affairs.

He said that hotel owner were provide free rooms to volunteers who were working to mobilise voters in several key states as part of their involvement in the civic life of the US.

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Australian zoo’s Komodo Dragon ‘acts more like dog than land crocodile’

Sydney, Nov 1 (IANS) A five-year-old Komodo Dragon in Australia’a Queensland zoo has been described to be more like a puppy dog than a man-eating land crocodile, media reported.

Port Douglas-based Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures zoo operations manager Michael O’Brien told Xinhua news agency that the 1.9 metre long reptile named Kozzie was an intelligent lizard that genuinely took interest in its surroundings and was not a threat to humans.

“When we work in his enclosure he tries to climb on you and that is very un-reptile like,” O’Brien said.

“He seeks out human attention,” he added.

O’Brien believes that the daily contact that Kozzie has with the zoo keepers has made it impossible for him to look at humans as food.

“It’s very pretty rare occurrence for Komodo’s (to eat humans) as their diet includes goats and water buffaloes,” O’Brien said.

“Kozzie has never bitten anyone and has acclimatised being around people.”

“He recognised that his food is rats, beef, chicken and not its keepers that he wants to make a meal of, which is good,” he said.

Kozzie, along with his seven brothers and sisters, was imported into Australia five years ago from a Los Angeles zoo.

“We have had Kozzie for three years and we are planning a premium product in the next few weeks which will allow the public to interact with him,” he said, adding that the new attraction will be opened to children above 10 years of age.

Komodo dragons which are native to Indonesia are capable of reaching lengths of up to 3.1 metres.

The reptiles are protected under Indonesian law with the government setting up the Komodo National Park in 1980 to protect the animal from extinction.

Also known as land crocodiles, these carnivores are known to live till about 60 years.

O’Brien said although Kozzie seemed friendly towards his keepers, they were aware that he was still a reptile that could attack and always had their guard up in case of an unwanted situation.

 

Image credit- STEWART McLEAN

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Water Crisis in Central Asia

Water crisis is one of the main debatable question in the world because water scarcity affects more than 40% of globally; by 2025 1.8 billion people will be living in regions with absolute water scarcity that is particularly acute in Central Asia.

In Central Asia water has long been a major cause of conflict. Central Asia broke free from the Soviet Union in 1991 without a regional water management strategy. The division of the area into five countries i.e. Turkmenistan, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan was not done keeping in mind the possibility of such a crisis in the future. Total population on these countries was about 66 million in 2013–2014.

Image result for central asia physical map
photo:freeworldmap

At the time of Soviet Union, there was a simple principle that energy rich Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan provide energy to Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan in the winter.

On the other hand, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, both rich in water resources, were supposed to provide water to the three countries.

Without water in the region’s two great rivers – the Syr Darya and the Amu Darya – the downstream agricultural powerhouses would cease to exist. Without power, life in the upstream countries would be torture in the crippling winters.

“The potential for disagreements always existed,” says Kazakh political scientist Rasul Jumali. “But disputes were always resolved by Moscow.”

Then with the downfall of USSR, the countries were left to face these water-energy crisis on their own.

They could have continued to share and for a few years they did but the energy-rich downstream countries found it economically better to sell surplus energy to other countries who gave them a higher price than their poor upstream neighboring countries.

So, in 2009 Uzbekistan started selling electricity to Afghanistan and pulled out of the Central Asian supply system altogether.

 

Image result for Water Crisis in Central Asiaphoto:crisisgroup

Another event that made matters worse was that Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan had started using more water to generate electricity in the winter, this caused an acute water shortage in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan as they didn’t get enough water for their population or crops.

When Uzbekistan withdrew from the central power supply system in 2009, Kyrgyzstan had to install expensive new power lines, and the cost of electricity roughly doubled at the start of 2010 in order to pay the bill. Domestic heating costs rose even more steeply.

There have been shortages in Uzbekistan too, in the wake of the decision to sell gas and electricity to foreign buyers.

Now, the current situation of central Asia is many small towns and villages people now live with just a few hours of power a day and the water scarcity.

 

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Tiger Roaming Free In Russian City Sedated

Moscow, A Siberian tiger, roaming freely in a Russian city, was tranquillised on Friday after a driver on a busy road spotted the big cat and alerted the police. The tiger was found at night, close to Shamora suburb, and has been removed and delivered to a rehabilitation centre at Alekseevka village, with hopes it would be released in the wild next spring, the Siberian Times reported.

A huge search had been underway in Vladivostok city for the tiger, involving police and hunting supervisors with machine guns. Parents were frightened to allow their children to go out, or attend school. Fearful residents were told by an expert the hunt for the wild cat was like “a needle in a haystack”, and it was likely that there were two or more tigers on the rampage.

The Siberian tiger is one of the rarest big cats, but rising species numbers in recent years, due to better wildlife protection spearheaded by Russian President Vladimir Putin, was seeing them roam more widely, the Daily Mail reported on Thursday.

One social media posting read: “It is scary. We need to cancel all kindergarten, schools and not go to work. Declare a state of emergency. And let them catch the tiger.” Meanwhile, a female tiger was plaguing the village of Solontsovy, about 200 km from Vladivostok, said residents.

“It is impossible to go out at night because you can’t be sure she is not waiting somewhere in the bushes,” said a resident. We are afraid of taking children to school in the morning,” the resident added.

The tiger has left prints in the snow. The village shops close early amid concerns the tiger was active at night. Siberian tiger numbers had dwindled to an alarming level in the Soviet era due to over-hunting and poaching. The species have recovered significantly in recent years, and there were now at least 562 tigers in the country’s Far East.

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House where Hitler was born to be demolished, says Austria

Vienna, Oct 17 The Austrian house where Nazi leader Adolf Hitler was born is scheduled for demolition, Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka announced on Monday.

Deliberations in Austria about what to do with the building, located in Braunau am Inn in the state of Upper Austria, have been long-standing, Xinhua news agency reported.
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An expert team including jurists, historians, interior ministry staff, and local officials put together for the specific purpose of reaching a decision, have now concluded that the best course of action would be to bring the building down, which they passed on to Sobotka.

The cabinet is to pass a bill on Tuesday for the dispossession of the house from the current owner as well as for relevant financial compensation. This will pave the way for the demolition to begin, expected to occur in early 2017.

In its place, an entirely new building is to be constructed that will be used for either administrative or charitable purposes.

In response to questions over whether the house would not have served as a historical reminder of the era, Sobotka said other sites for this purpose already existed, such as the Mauthausen concentration camp memorial site, also in the state of Upper Austria.

Moreover, he additionally said he did not want the building to be a “pilgrimage and memorial site” for Neo-Nazis.

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Top 10 tweeted food list has just one healthy item!

New York, Oct 17 (IANS) If tweets can reveal something about our health, researchers have some bad news. In a list of top 10 tweeted foods in the US, they found only one item – chicken – that could be considered healthy food.

Image result for fried chicken

photo:foodnetwork

Coffee was the most tweeted food in the US between mid-2014 to mid-2015 followed by beer then pizza, the study revealed.

Chicken, the only food that can be considered healthy, came seventh in the list.

For the study, scientists at University of Utah surveyed nearly 80 million Twitter messages — a random sample of one percent of publicly available, geotagged tweets — over the course of one year.

They then sorted through about four million tweets about food to prepare a top 10 tweeted foods list.

Image result for coffe

photo:wikimedia

The researchers found that tweets from poor neighbourhoods, and regions with large households, were less likely to mention healthy foods. Also, people in areas dense with fast food restaurants tweeted more often about fast food.

“Our data could be telling us that certain neighbourhoods have fewer resources to support healthy diets,” said lead author of the study Quynh Nguyen, Assistant Professor at University of Utah College of Health.

These types of comparisons could provide clues as to how our surrounding neighbourhood – the environment that we live, work, and play in — impacts our health and well-being, suggests the study published online in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) Public Health and Surveillance

Perhaps neighbourhoods laden with fast food restaurants could benefit from having more supermarkets or farm stands that sell fresh produce, Nguyen noted.

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Creepy clown sightings spread to Australia

Sydney, Oct 10 (IANS) The creepy clown phenomena that has terrified residents across the US has now landed on Australian shores with sightings reported by several people in Western Australia over the weekend. News Corp reported on Monday that a man dressed as a clown had allegedly chased a group of teenage girls to a West Australian police station on Saturday night, Xinhua news agency reported.

The 19-year-old man had allegedly scared the group of girls near a shopping centre in Northam, northeast of Perth, and chased them for about 700 metres before arriving to a police station. He has been charged with disorderly behaviour. In another Perth incident, a woman reported hitting a pedestrian dressed as a clown on Tonkin Highway in Champion Lakes about midnight on Sunday.

But the person ran into nearby bushland and could not be found despite a search by the air wing and canine units. A police spokesman said other incidents involving clowns were reported on Sunday but none were found when officers visited the areas. “It is important to remember that dressing as a clown isn’t against the law. However should a person engage in activity that is criminal, anti-social or threatening toward other people, police will investigate,” he said.

The clown craze began with reports of clowns trying to lure children into woods in the US state of South Carolina, which led to clown groups sprouting across America and mass clown hunts in other areas.

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Google celebrates 18th birthday with Doodle

New York, Sep 27 As Google celebrated its 18th birthday with an animated, festive-balloon Doodle on Tuesday, there were some confusion regarding the date as the search engine giant has celebrated its birthday on other days in the month of September in the past.


The company was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1998. The company’s own history lists its incorporation date in 1998 as September 4.

Since 2006, Google has celebrated its birthday on September 27, but the year before that, had it as September 26.

“In 2004, its 6th birthday Doodle went online on September 7 and in the year before that, it was September 8,” the Telegraph reported.
Google's 13th Birthday
Google has celebrated its birthday with a Doodle every year since its fourth birthday in 2002.

In fact, Google has spent much of the month of September, celebrating its birthday with sending out posts and decorating Googleplex – the corporate headquarters complex of Google and its parent company Alphabet Inc at Mountain View, Santa Clara county, California. 14th Brithday

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Robots patrol Chinese airport!

Beijing, Sep 26 (IANS) Chinese Shenzhen International Airport has employed robots to patrol one of its terminals, making it the first public place in the country to be so guarded.

The Anbot robots are oval-shaped and resemble the Star Wars ‘R2D2’ robot or the Daleks from Doctor Who, EFE news reported. The bot’s face has a digital display and a high-definition camera to take pictures of travellers at one of the country’s busiest airports for analysis.

The role of these devices, for now, is similar to that of a security camera, but with greater mobility as they can move at speeds of up to 18 kph. They are also equipped with a defence mechanism: an extendable arm that produces an electrical current.

AnBot was developed by a university in the central city of Changsha and may be used to patrol schools and banks. The robots can also look for explosives, weapons and drugs and are priced at $15,000.

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