Part of human brain stays ‘youthful’ into older age

News4u-Features Desk-At least one part of the human brain may be able to process information the same way in older age as it does in the prime of life, according to a new study.

The research conducted at the University of Adelaide compared the ability of 60 older and younger people to respond to visual and non-visual stimuli in order to measure their “spatial attention” skills.

Spatial attention is critical for many aspects of life, from driving, to walking, to picking up and using objects.

“Our studies have found that older and younger adults perform in a similar way on a range of visual and non-visual tasks that measure spatial attention,” said Dr Joanna Brooks, who conducted the study as a Visiting Research Fellow with the University of Adelaide’s School of Psychology and the School of Medicine.

“Both younger (aged 18-38 years) and older (55-95 years) adults had the same responses for spatial attention tasks involving touch, sight or sound.

“In one task, participants were asked to feel wooden objects whilst blindfolded and decide where the middle of the object was - participants’ judgements were significantly biased towards the left-hand side of the true object centre. This bias is subtle but highly consistent,” Brooks said.

“When we think of ageing, we think not just of the physical aspects but also the cognitive side of it, especially when it comes to issues such as reaction time, which is typically slower among older adults.

“However, our research suggests that certain types of cognitive systems in the right cerebral hemisphere - like spatial attention - are ‘encapsulated’ and may be protected from ageing,” she said.

Brooks, who is now a Research Fellow in Healthy Ageing based at the Australian National University, presented her results at the International Cognitive Neuroscience Conference in Brisbane.

“Our results challenge current models of cognitive ageing because they show that the right side of the brain remains dominant for spatial processing throughout the entire adult lifespan,” Brooks said.

“We now need to better understand how and why some areas of the brain seem to be more affected by ageing than others,” said Brooks.

The research could also be helpful in better understanding how diseases such as Alzheimer’s affect the brain.PTI


Part of human brain stays ‘youthful’ into older age

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Sai Baba : The controversy rages on

News4u-Features Desk- The controversy about Sai Baba’s status as a God, rages on. We even had a Dharam Sabha which ended in proclaiming that Sai Baba was not a God and if worshiped, his idol can not be or should not be accommodated inside Hindu temples.

There have been hundreds of questions relating to the true identity of this holy man. There are also the same number of episodes telling how this Godman miraculously solved the problems of poverty, decease and even death. These stories of divine miracles lead common man to believe that he was someone above ordinary and deserves to be worshiped like other Hindu Gods. Slowly and gradually his idols appeared throughout the country and unobtrusively made way into temples already housing established Gods and Goddesses.

The controversy that rose from Shankracharya’s objection to the presence of Sai Baba’s idols in Hindu temples smells of a sense of insecurity and a blurred vision. When a Hindu temple can give place of honor to a Bull, a Rat or a Snake, just because they are associates of renowned Gods and Goddesses, then why can’t a human being devoted to the service of humanity get a place in a temple. Indeed the God is one who has godly qualities of putting others before self and devote all his or her life for the good of the human soul. Sai Baba, no doubt was endowed with these godly qualities and his idols have every right to be in the places of worship.

As for me, I believe that it is much better to be called a good human being and respected by all than put on a pedestal and called a God. It is safe to call one a God and absolve ourselves from the duty of following in his footsteps as he is a God and can not be imitated by common man. As for a good human being such arguments do not hold water.

By :  Veera Chaturvedi

veera@news4u.co.in


Sai Baba & Shankarachrya

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Life of Crime (Movie-Review)

News4u-Entertainment Desk- Two hustlers set out on a get-rich-quick scheme involving the kidnapping of a rich man’s socialite wife followed by a fat ransom demand that they hope will net them a big cash bonanza. However, things can go wrong and indeed, they do in this comedic caper of double-crosses and deceit.

Frank Dawson (Robbins) is a real estate big shot who accumulated his wealth by some questionable means. Nonetheless, he has pretty much everything in life including the trophy wife Mickey (Aniston) who is also, as mentioned earlier, a flighty socialite.

Two criminals - Louis (Hawkes) and Ordell (Bey) - who have ambitions that are higher than their cerebral capabilities decide to not only kidnap the missus and ask for a ransom, but to also blackmail him by exposing his shady business dealings.

But a spanner is thrown in the works when in a surprising turn, Frank chooses to not pay any ransom. Unknown to the crooks is that things have not exactly been good between Frank and Mickey and that the divorce he was filing for would be coming through. So what then is the need to have her back, he reasons. Besides, Frank already has moved ahead in matters of the heart and other areas, with his young mistress Melanie (Fisher).

This isn’t something that Louis and Ordell factored in their plans and now, they’re also lumped with Mickey and have to find a way out of the muddle. Ordell and Louis are actually pretty harmless and show a better sense of humanity than the intended target of their devious little enterprise - Frank. Aniston, however, takes the icing on this comedic cake. Her character has been fleshed out the most and keeps you engaged with the movie’s narrative.

The film is adapted from Elmore Leonard’s The Switch. His other movie adaptations include the Tarantino-directed Jackie Brown and Get Shorty. The film stops short of being something truly memorable but has just the right amount of witty turns, deft plot twists, funny situations and interesting characters.Courtesy toi…


Life of Crime

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Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For (Movie-Review)

News4u-Entertainment Desk- Starting with the story of Marv (Rourke, from the previous movie) who tries to piece together various events, Sin City’s shadowy, gritty and bloody tales are graphically spread over a group of stories or chapters, told using the neo-noir aesthetic in an ultra-stylish, ultra-violent fashion.

Almost a decade has passed since the first Sin City but without missing a beat, ADTKF presents the same palette of light and shade, this time with a deeper darkness. The monologues mouthed through clenched teeth by tough men in a gravelly drawl, the deliberately cliched lines and characterizations are also present in this part-adaptation of Miller’s second novel in the Sin City series. There’s something similar to the first one, as well as something different this time around, again with strong cast.

Marv awakens dazed, next to a highway seemingly with a case of amnesia (again) and tries to piece together how he got there. The trail, of course, leads to various violent encounters. Johnny (Levitt) makes his debut in the series as a gent who is a card sharp and is also lucky with slot machines. With lady luck Marcie (Garner) by his side, he buys into a poker round with the Senator (Booth), but his good luck at the table though earns him a brutal beating.

Apart from the other ‘chapters’, the highlight of course is Eva Green’s Ava Lord portrayed with strategically-placed splashes of colour. With a seeming dislike for clothing, she’s also a temptress who knows how to use her barely-clad body with Dwight (Brolin) in this case, to get what she desires. And then, there’s the stripper Nancy Callahan (Alba, also returning from the first film) who manages to mix sex, sleaze and pathos in an intoxicating cocktail.

Miller and Rodriguez do not seek narrative complexity, despite the large cast list, so don’t look for linearity and strict structure in this movie. With its simple dialogues and also because it is in essence a gorgeous-looking tableaux, enjoy this slick slice of cinema more for its visuals rather than anything else. Courtesy toi…


Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For

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EPFO may launch portable PF A/c number this month

News4u-Business Desk- Retirement fund manager EPFO’s ambitious project to provide portable universal PF account numbers (UAN) to its subscribers is likely to be launched this month.

The UAN project is likely to be launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, no date for the formal launch has been fixed as yet.

The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) and the Labour Ministry are in touch with the Prime Minister’s Office for the purpose, a senior official said.

EPFO completed seeding of 2.5 crore portable PF accounts with KYC details by August end, the official said, adding that the PF body is aiming to seed 1 crore UANs till September 15.

UAN will give the facility of collation of accounts, viewing of updated accounts as well as downloading the same and collation of pensionable service.

The universal number will be portable throughout the working career of members and can be used anywhere in India.

Thus, workers in organised sector would not need apply for transfer of PF account claim on changing jobs.

The body had issued 4.17 crore UANs in last week of July and had asked its field staff to complete the seeding of portable PF account number with KYCs like Aadhaar, bank account and PAN by September 15.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his budget speech had said that UAN would be allotted to EPFO subscribers.

The Labour Ministry had said that the seeding of KYCs to the UAN number would be completed by October 15.

Meanwhile, EPFO in a statement said that it has settled 53.94 lakh claims this fiscal till August end. Out of total claims, about 68 per cent were settled within 10 days.

It said that 4,700 firms used online facility for registration and got their PF codes online in the months of July and August.

Besides, now employers can deposit PF dues online through 56 banks other than State Bank of India.

Earlier, firms were allowed to deposit PF contributions online through SBI only.

The Social Security agreement of EPFO with the Czech has been notified on September 1.

This will enable workers to avoid double contribution towards social security schemes while on foreign assignments.


EPFO

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110 killed in torrential rains in Pakistan

News4u-News Desk-At least 110 people have been killed and 148 others injured in torrential monsoon rains in Pakistan that have wreaked havoc across the country as troops raced to evacuate people from deluged areas.

Premier Nawaz Sharif on Saturday chaired a meeting to review rain and flood situation in the country and the damage caused to life and property by incessant showers.

“Death and destruction caused by rains and floods is a great loss for Pakistan and the government would leave no stone unturned to help the people in distress,” Sharif said.

The downpour, termed as one of the heaviest ever, started on Wednesday and has since continued to lash certain parts of the country.

Chairman National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Major General Muhammad Saeed Aleem briefed the Prime Minister about the ongoing relief activities and measures being taken at the district, provincial and national levels to cope with the emergent situation.

“So far rains have caused 110 deaths…148 people have been injured while 650 houses completely destroyed,” Aleem said.

Areas in Punjab, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Gilgit-Baltistan have been affected by the rains and flooding.

Lahore and Rawalpindi divisions are experiencing serious urban flooding. There is also flooding in Chenab and Jhelum while canals, especially in Gujranwala and Rawalpindi, are also flooded, Aleem said.

Flood level in Jhelum river and Mangla reservoir is exceptionally high while the flood level at Rasul Headworks, a dam in Punjab, is at medium level. The Prime Minister was informed that Palandri (in PoK) had received 668 mm of rain, Islamabad got 316 mm, Rawalpindi 440 mm, Lahore 350 mm while Sialkot received 316 mm of rainfall during the last 48 hours, resulting in flashfloods in PoK and northeast Punjab.

The Prime Minister directed that evacuation of people and livestock should be carried out immediately while all national highways be opened for traffic by tonight.

The incessant rains have wreaked havoc, affecting the urban infrastructure in Pakistan that regularly suffers from flooding during the monsoon season.

The floods of 2010 were the worst in the country’s history, with 1,700 people killed and 21 million affected. In 2013, 178 people were killed and around 1.5 million affected by flooding.


110 killed in torrential rains in Pakistan

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No bitter feelings, says Ajay Sharma after court clears him

News4u-Sports Desk- After a fight of 14 long years, former Delhi captain Ajay Sharma can finally look forward to beginning a new chapter in his life after a District Court cleared him of all charges related to match-fixing which had led the BCCI to impose a life ban on him.

“It’s been a turbulent phase in my life for the past 14 years. It’s hard for anybody but now that the (District) court has cleared my name of any wrongdoing, I can look forward towards starting a meaningful chapter in my life after all these years. Hope the stigma goes away,” 50-year-old Sharma told a news agency on Friday.

“I have no bitter feelings against anyone. No regrets that my first-class career came to an abrupt end. I just want to look forward. Now can at least I can come and watch my son Mannan (Sharma) play from the stands during Ranji Trophy and other domestic tournaments. I would like to contribute meaningfully in Delhi cricket,” said Sharma, a Delhi stalwart who scored 38 centuries and 10,120 runs from 129 first-class centuries.

His India career was a short one though as he played a Test and 31 ODIs and was a member of the victorious Hero Cup winning squad.

The copy of the court order states that BCCI will need to disburse his dues and he will be entitled to monthly pension.

“Hopefully, I will be getting all my dues as the court has cleared my name. Manoj Prabhakar, Ajay Jadeja all have returned to the mainstream. I would also like to now share my experiences and technical inputs with juniors. I would be available if DDCA wants to use my services in any manner,” said Sharma.


Ajay Sharma

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Sania wins US Open with Bruno Soares

News4u-Sports Desk- Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza clinched her third mixed doubles Grand Slam title as she and her partner Bruno Soares overcame a few anxiuous moments in the Match Tie break to win the US Open in New York on Friday.

The top seeded Indo-Brazilian pair squandered five straight championship points before scoring a 6-1 2-6 11-9 win over Abigail Spears from the USA and Santiago Gonzalez from Mexico in exactly 60 minutes.

Spears sent a backhand volley long after making it 9-9 from 4-9, as Sania and Soares heaved a sigh of relief.

It was first time that Sania and Soares were playing together as a pair.

“Playing with him is a lot of fun. He did not play with me all these years not sure why?,” Sania gushed after the win and confirmed that the pairing will continue for the Australian Open.

Sania’s previous titles came with compatriot Mahesh Bhupathi. They won Australian Open in 2009 and French Open in 2012.

The 27-year old had reached the Australian Open mixed doubles final this year also but ended runners-up with Romanian partner Horea Tecau.

Sania played well in the women’s doubles also, making the semifinals with Zimbabwe’s Cara Black.


Sania Mirza & partner Bruno Soares

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Alert sounded as River Sindh swells following cloudbursts

News4u-News Desk- Authorities on Saturday sounded a red alert asking people living close to River Sindh in central Kashmir to move to safer places following cloudbursts and flash floods in the higher reaches triggered by incessant rains for the past five days.

The River Sindh flows through most part of Ganderbal district and people in many areas live near the banks of the river.

“We have sounded a red alert in the district and asked people living near River Sindh to move to safer places as the water level in the river is increasing fast,” Deputy Commissioner, Ganderbal, Sarmad Hafeez said.

Hafeez said cloudbursts in some areas in the upper reaches of the district during the night have resulted in flash floods and increase in the water levels of the river.

“We have sounded the alert in the whole Kangan Tehsil and from Wayil to Shadipora areas covering many tehsils of the district.

We want to make sure there is no loss of life,” he said. The official said a few bridges and bunds have been washed out, but the administration is trying its best to contain the damage.

The Srinagar-Leh route has been submerged at many places.

He said people living in many areas in the main town of Ganderbal have also been told to be ready for any eventuality which may arise due to the increase in water levels.


AWater level rises in all places

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The Religion of War

News4u-Features Desk- American and European leaders are “shocked” that the Islamic State (IS) barbarians beheaded two American reporters, Steven J. Sotloff and James Foley. Their “shock” is disingenuous and troubling.

They react as though such barbarism is something new among Islamists. It is anything but. And if not earlier, then certainly in the aftermath of al Qaeda’s attacks on the U.S. on September 11, 2001, a spike in Islamic groups’ and individuals’ barbaric crimes has been reported worldwide.

Islamist beheading is nothing new. Open a Quran in any translation to find the instructions

that the IS and other jihadists groups are following, in the name ‘the Beneficent, the Merciful Allah.’ Bloody fighting as prescribed in the Quran serve as the foundation of their religion of War.

Here are a few examples: The Book of Muhammad, verse 4 (47:4) – “Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), strike off their heads; at length; then when you have made wide Slaughter among them, carefully tie up the remaining captives: thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom: Until the war lays down its burdens.”

According to the Book of Al-Maeda, verse 33 (5:33) -“The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter.”

And the Book of Al-Anfal, verse 12 ( 8:12) – “I (Allah) will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off.”

The IS and other jihadists are doing their best to follow the Quran’s barbaric instructions, using machetes, the popular modern version of the Prophet’s 7th-century sword. Indeed, a sword features in the national flags of Iran–the center of Shia radicalism, and Saudi Arabia–the center of Sunni/Wahhabi radicalism. The sword is not merely a symbol. The sword represents WAR. the most important value for this radical regimes.

The Saudi kingdom carries out barbaric physical punishments today as they have done since Ibn Saud founded it in 1932. Cutting off hands of thieves, stoning to death, beheading and crucifying those who violated the sharia, are carried out regularly.

Under Hassan Rouhani’s, the new “moderate” Iranian president, the number of officially reported executions increased from 580 to 687 (by the end of 2013 and in a more rapid pace since), the majority of which (68%, or 458) were carried out after Rouhani ascended to power, according to Iran’s Human Rights organization. The mullahs seem to prefer hanging, though the sword is

When American politicians and talking-heads point out that even Wahhabi Saudi Arabia and Qatar (47% Salafi/Wahhabi) are warning of the more radical Islamic State, take it with a grain of salt and keep in mind that the Saudis fear for their kingdom and Qatar has been funding Al Qaeda, al- Nusra, Hamas, and the like for many decades..

Yet the West’s thirst for Saudi, Qatari and Iranian oil and gas blinded them to the atrocities and barbaric nature of the religion of war and destruction. And when Western greed was oiled by Muslim Brotherhood hooked their lies in familiar Western democratic terminologies, the liberals in the US and Europe swallowed the bait.

The question now is how deep has the bait penetrated and whether the West can unhook itself long enough to realize that it’s time to call the enemy by its name everywhere it manifests itself and then take the necessary steps to defeat it, much like Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has been dealing with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Perhaps he can help Obama with a pragmatic strategy to stop the spread of a sect of a barbaric jihadi murderers before it spells over across the ocean.Courtesy AC Democracy

By Rachel Ehrenfeld


The Religion of War

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