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US dollar falls amid diving oil

Sat, 02/20/2016 - 13:02
US dollar falls amid diving oil

New York, Feb 20 - The US dollar decreased against most major peers on Friday as plunging oil prices raised market demand for safe-haven currencies, including the Japanese yen and Swiss francs.

Oil prices declined sharply on Friday, with both the US oil and Brent crude slumping over three percent, after government data showed a rise in the US crude stockpiles.

The yen and Swiss francs climbed 0.55 percent and 0.26 percent respectively against the greenback during the session, as the falling oil renewed market worries about global economic growth, triggering demand for safe-haven assets.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against six other currencies, was down 0.33 percent at 96.634 in late trading, reports Xinhua.


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Want to win an argument on Facebook? Read on

Sat, 02/20/2016 - 11:09
Want to win an argument on Facebook? Read on

New York: If you have never won an argument on Facebook while reacting to burning social or relationship issues on your friends' timeline, don't fret. Here are certain simple rules which, if followed properly, can make you a winner in online arguments.

According to Chenhao Tan, a PhD candidate in computer science from Cornell University, the team followed 18,000 threads on social networking website Reddit under the subreddit "r/changemyview" over two and a half years to find out that people need to follow certain rules if they want to win online arguments.

"We find that persuasive arguments are characterised by interesting patterns of interaction dynamics such as participant entry-order and degree of back-and-forth exchange," Tan noted.


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President Obama along with the nation mourned Harper Lee's demise

Sat, 02/20/2016 - 10:10
President Obama along with the nation mourned Harper Lee's demise

Washington D. C., Feb. 20 : President Barack Obama was one of those many Americans whom honoured and mourned the demise of author Harper Lee, announced on February 19.

The author of 'To Kill a Mocking Bird', who died at the age of 89, was once declared by the US president as an author "who changed America for the better" with her works, reports the Guardian.

The Obama family in a statement said Lee never wrote 'To Kill a Mockingbird' for an award or famer, rather "she was a country girl who just wanted to tell an honest story about life as she saw it."

"But what that one story did, more powerfully than one hundred speeches possibly could, was change the way we saw each other, and then the way we saw ourselves," the statement added.


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Astronomers record rotation of cloudy 'super-Jupiter'

Fri, 02/19/2016 - 15:36
Astronomers record rotation of cloudy 'super-Jupiter'

Washington, Feb 19 - In a maiden attempt to decode the rotation of a massive exoplanet, astronomers using Hubble Space Telescope have measured the rotation rate of a cloudy "super-Jupiter" by observing the varied brightness in its atmosphere.

The planet called 2M1207b is about four times more massive than Jupiter. It is a companion to a failed star known as a brown dwarf, orbiting the object at a distance of five billion miles.

By contrast, Jupiter is approximately 500 million miles from the Sun. The brown dwarf is known as 2M1207. The system resides 170 light-years away from Earth.

“The result is very exciting. It gives us a unique technique to explore the atmospheres of exoplanets and to measure their rotation rates,” said Daniel Apai from University of Arizona in Tucson.


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Nole Marin sued for screwing couple of models

Fri, 02/19/2016 - 15:22
Nole Marin sued for screwing couple of models

Washington D. C., Feb. 19 : 'America's Next Top Model' judge Nole Marin is more of 'America's Top Swindler', claims a couple of models.

Marin has been sued by some models for screwing them over by faking gouts, reports TMZ. com.

Devon White, who models for Yves Saint Laurent, claims in a new lawsuit, Marin booked him for gigs but only made small cash payments so he could buy food and other necessities. When the model asked for his money, the latter had nothing but excuses.

Another model, Iana Khanashevich, claimed as her primary language is Russian; he used English to screw her over. She even claims to owe thousands.(ANI)


Don't know if America is ready for woman president: Hillary

Fri, 02/19/2016 - 13:09
 Hillary

Washington: Hillary Clinton has said she is not sure if the US is ready to elect its first woman president even as the Democratic presidential front-runner emphasised that there has been a "big improvement" in people's perception in this regard.

"I really don't know. I think it's gotten better. I think there still is a very deep set of concerns that people have, which very often they're not even aware of or they couldn't articulate," Clinton, 68, said.

The former First Lady and the top American diplomat who is aiming to create history by becoming the first woman president of the US was responding to question if the country is ready for it.


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Six Indian-Americans among early-career scientists honoured by Obama

Fri, 02/19/2016 - 12:42
Six Indian-Americans among early-career scientists honoured by Obama

Washington, Feb 19 - President Obama has named 106 researchers, including six of Indian origin, as recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, the highest US government honour for young independent researchers.

The winners will receive their awards at a Washington, DC ceremony this spring.

"These early-career scientists are leading the way in our efforts to confront and understand challenges from climate change to our health and wellness," Obama said.

"We congratulate these accomplished individuals and encourage them to continue to serve as an example of the incredible promise and ingenuity of the American people."


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Silicon Valley wants 'dramatic expansion' of H1-B visa: Veritas CEO

Fri, 02/19/2016 - 12:36
 Veritas CEO

Washington: With IT firms struggling to find quality and right number of professionals, a top American CEO has called for a "dramatic expansion" of the H-1B visa scheme -popular among Indian tech firms- to meet the growing demand.

"The entire Silicon Valley believes that the H-1B visa policy needs to be dramatically expanded," Bill Coleman CEO of Veritas told PTI in an interview.

"We can't hire enough good people. They are just not available here. The salaries here are going through the roof, because everybody is competing to hire from everybody else," he said. Coleman, a former chairman of Silicon Valley Leadership Group, is involved with the Silicon Valley for about 40 years.


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Why it's easy to get people to go bad

Fri, 02/19/2016 - 09:27
Why it's easy to get people to go bad

Washington D. C, Feb 19 : When it comes to convincing good people to do bad things, it is quite easy and now, a new study has provided new evidence that might help to explain why it is so.

According to the new work by researchers at University College London and Universite Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium, when someone gives us an order, we actually feel less responsible for our actions and their painful consequences.

Patrick Haggard said, "Maybe some basic feeling of responsibility really is reduced when we are coerced into doing something. People often claim reduced responsibility because they were 'only obeying orders.' But are they just saying that to avoid punishment or do orders really change the basic experience of responsibility?"


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Obama okays tougher sanctions on North Korea

Fri, 02/19/2016 - 08:44
Obama okays tougher sanctions on North Korea

Washington: US President Barack Obama has signed into law the legislation to impose more stringent sanctions on North Korea, the White House said Thursday.

The US House of Representatives on Friday overwhelmingly passed the bill with a 408-2 vote. The legislation was approved by the senate earlier last week, Xinhua news agency reported.

The legislation requires the Obama administration to sanction anyone involved with North Korea's nuclear program, luxury goods, money laundering and human rights abuses.

The move cones after North Korea said it had launched on February 7 a Kwangmyongsong-4 Earth observation satellite into orbit earlier this month and tested what it claimed was a hydrogen bomb last month.(IANS)


Recording, sharing videos now possible on Twitter's Direct Messages

Thu, 02/18/2016 - 16:43
Recording, sharing videos now possible on Twitter's Direct Messages

New York, Feb 18 - Aiming to take Twitter to a new level amid an existential crisis, the micro-blogging website is now bringing video support to Direct Messages.

"The company keeps plugging away at basic features to bring the service up to speed with competitors like Facebook Messenger. Following the addition of a GIF button on Wednesday, Twitter is rolling out this feature globally to iOS and Android smartphones," The Verge quoted the company as saying on Wednesday.

However, on twitter. com, user will be to send videos from within Direct Messages threads, but won't be able to record them directly on the website.

A GIF button and a video support don't do much to fix those longstanding issues but they may bring the website up to compete with Facebook and Google.


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Apple refuses to unblock iPhone used by San Bernardino shooter

Thu, 02/18/2016 - 14:36
Apple refuses to unblock iPhone used by San Bernardino shooter

Washington, Feb 18 - US technology giant Apple has vowed to fight an order to unblock an iPhone used by one of the perpetrators of the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, that left 14 dead.

In a statement, CEO Tim Cook said the court order sought and obtained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which is investigating the December 2015 attack, would pose a serious threat to data security.

"The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers," Cook said on Tuesday in a message on the company's website.

"We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand."


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Neanderthals had sex with modern humans much earlier: Study

Thu, 02/18/2016 - 13:29
 Study

New York: Before early modern humans migrated 'out of Africa' to spread across the world, they started having sex with the Neanderthals some 100,000 years ago and not 47,000-65,000 years ago as previously thought.

Using several different methods of DNA analysis, an international research team found strong evidence of an interbreeding event between the Neanderthals and modern humans that occurred tens of thousands of years earlier than any other such event previously documented.

More specifically, they provide the first genetic evidence of a scenario in which early modern humans left the African continent and mixed with archaic (now-extinct) members of the human family prior to the migration "out of Africa" of the ancestors of present-day non-Africans, less than 65,000 years ago.


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'Rise of African slaves as rulers, generals shows India's tradition of openness'

Thu, 02/18/2016 - 13:26
'Rise of African slaves as rulers, generals shows India's tradition of openness'

United Nations, Feb 18 - The history of Africans who came to India as slaves and rose to lofty heights as princes and generals shows the country's tradition of openness, India's UN Permanent Representative Syed Akbaruddin said here Tuesday.

Speaking at the inauguration of an exhibition, "Africans in India: From Slaves to Generals," he said India may have shortcomings, but it has always been and strives to be an open and welcoming society overcoming prejudice.


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Obama to visit Cuba in March

Thu, 02/18/2016 - 13:18
Obama to visit Cuba in March

Washington, Feb 18 - US President Barack Obama is set to visit Cuba in March, a move which would make him the first sitting US president to step foot on the island in over 80 years, the media reported on Thursday.

The White House is expected to announce the details of the trip later on Thursday, diplomatic sources told CNN on Wednesday.

"We can confirm that the administration will announce the President's travel to Latin America, including Cuba, in the coming weeks," a senior administration official said.

Officials said Obama could visit the island to witness a signing of a peace accord between the government of Colombia and the FARC rebel group. Obama committed $400 million to the Colombian government in his most recent budget proposal to implement the deal.


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Google's Sundar Pichai backs Apple over cracking shooter's phone

Thu, 02/18/2016 - 13:10
Google's Sundar Pichai backs Apple over cracking shooter's phone

Washington, Feb 18 - Google's Indian-American chief executive Sundar Pichai sided with rival Apple in its battle over a court order to help the FBI access information on the encrypted iPhone used by a Pakistani-American shooter in San Bernardino.

Pichai Wedenesday directed followers to Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook's open letter Tuesday night arguing that helping the FBI try to get into the phone used by Syed Rizwan Farook would sabotage the security of "tens of millions of American citizens."

Farook and his Pakistani origin wife, Tashfeen Malik, gunned down 14 people at a social services agency Dec 2 in San Bernardino, California, before being killed in a shootout with police.


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Nikki Haley endorses Rubio for race to White House

Thu, 02/18/2016 - 12:40
Nikki Haley endorses Rubio for race to White House

Washington: Indian-American South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has endorsed Marco Rubio, giving a major boost to the Florida Senator's presidential ambitions days ahead of the state's pivotal Republican primary.

"I wanted somebody with fight. I wanted somebody with passion. I wanted somebody that had conviction to do the right thing, but I wanted somebody humble enough that remembers that you work for all the people," Haley said yesterday at Chapin in South Carolina as she announced to endorse Rubio for president.


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Trump leads among Republican voters across US: Poll

Thu, 02/18/2016 - 08:55
 Poll

Washington: Republican presidential front- runner Donald Trump has secured a big lead among party voters nationwide, according to a latest US opinion poll.

The real estate tycoon has support of 39 per cent of Republican voters, his highest total so far, and is followed by Senator Marco Rubio of Florida with 19 per cent, who is almost locked in a tie with Senator Ted Cruz of Texas with 18 per cent, said the Quinnipiac University National Poll.

Ohio Governor John Kasich has six per cent with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson at four per cent each. Nine per cent are undecided, the university said releasing the details of the poll.


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Indian-origin scientist devises novel materials for solar fuel cells

Wed, 02/17/2016 - 17:55
Indian-origin scientist devises novel materials for solar fuel cells

New York, Feb 17 - An Indian-origin chemist from the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) has developed new high-performing materials for cells that harness sunlight to split carbon dioxide and water into useable fuels like methanol and hydrogen gas.

These “green fuels” can be used to power cars, home appliances or even to store energy in batteries.

“Technologies that simultaneously permit us to remove greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide while harnessing and storing the energy of sunlight as fuel are at the forefront of current research,” said Dr Krishnan Rajeshwar, distinguished professor of chemistry and biochemistry and co-founder of the university's centre of renewable energy, science and technology.


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Sale of F-16 jets should not be of concern to India: Pentagon

Wed, 02/17/2016 - 14:36
 Pentagon

Washington: The US' decision to sell eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan should not be a cause of concern for India as the regional security situation was taken into account at the time of sale, the Pentagon said today as it rejected India's disappointment over the move.

"We don't think it should cause concern for India," Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said when asked to comment on India's reaction to Obama Administration's decision to sell the sophisticated fighter jets to Pakistan.

"We think this is a capability that will help Pakistan in its counter-terrorism effort and we think that's in the national security interests of the United States," Cook said.


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