US reality TV stars expecting their 19th child!

London, Sep 2 (ANI): The couple from reality TV show ’18 Kids and Counting’ have announced that they are expecting their 19th child.

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, from Tonitown, Arkansas, say that they are ‘thrilled’ to be expecting a new addition next spring, despite already having ten sons and eight daughters aged from eight months to 21.

“We are so thrilled. We just couldn’t believe it is happening,” the Telegraph quoted Michelle Duggar, 42, as having told People magazine.

Jim Bob, 44, added: “This never gets old. We are so grateful for each child. We are looking forward to our first grand baby and our 19th child.”

The couple’s eldest son Joshua, 21, and his wife Anna are also expecting a child next month.

The Duggars have confirmed that the new baby will be given a name beginning with the letter ‘J’, just like all the couple’s other children.

The existing Duggar children are called: Josh, 21, twins Jana and John-David, 19; Jill, 18; Jessa, 16; Jinger, 15; Joseph, 14; Josiah, 13; Joy-Anna, 11; twins Jedidiah and Jeremiah, 10; Jason, 9; James, 8; Justin, 6; Jackson, 5; Johanna, 3; Jennifer, 2, and Jordyn-Grace, 8 months.

If the Duggars continue to breed at the same rate the next generation will have 400 members, the third generation will have 8,000, the fourth 160,000, and the fifth 3.2 million.

This would mean that one in ever hundred people in America would be a Duggar, there would be more Duggars than Latvians, and there would be more Duggars than residents of America’s 21 least populous states. (ANI)

Musharraf relaxed after resurfacing of scandal involving Nawaz

London, Sep 1 (ANI): The resurfacing of the 20-year-old scandal of Nawaz Sharif accepting millions from the ISI for political shenanigans has thrown a fresh lifeline to besieged former President Pervez Musharraf, who feels that now the PML-N chief could end up in a dock for committing a crime against democracy.

A top aide of Musharraf disclosed that he strongly believes that those who were clamouring for his trial under Article 6 must also demand a similar course for three retired Army generals – General Aslam Baig, General Hameed Gul and General Asad Durrani, who distributed millions of rupees among politicians like Nawaz Sharif, “as it equally amounted to high treason.”

The aide insisted that Musharraf believed “that it had resurfaced at a time when Nawaz was acting all-holy and pious as if he was the only honest politician left in Pakistan who did not have any blot on his character.”

But now, it has turned out to be otherwise, as the only twice-elected Prime Minister of Pakistan who had been taking money from the ISI along with his fellow politicians now sitting in the ranks of the PML-N, the aide added.

Musharraf was made to believe that this scam would not only hurt Nawaz’s credibility but would also greatly neutralize the feeling of people of Pakistan who thought only he (Musharraf) was responsible for all the ills of the country, The News reported.

The aide said, “We must realize that it’s something totally new for the new generation of Pakistan which grew after 1988 and now they were helplessly watching the fall of their hero Nawaz who is not ready to even give any justification to people for this crime.”

Against this background, the aide said, General Musharraf who was under fire from PML-N circles quite recently, was now said to be feeling relaxed after the resurfacing of the scandal.

A greatly relieved Musharraf was told to have asked his political supporters in Pakistan to highlight this new scandalous aspect of Nawaz’s personality as to how he had been accepting money despite the fact that he was a billionaire. (ANI)

US to ensure ‘highest standards of accountability’ for Pak aid : US official

Islamabad, Aug.29 (ANI): The United States would like to ensure the ‘highest standards of accountability’ in utilization of aid being provided to Pakistan by the Obama administration in order to make sure that the funds are being utilized exactly for the purpose it is allotted for, a top US official has said.

Interacting with media persons at the US embassy here, the US Coordinator for Economic Development and Assistance to Pakistan, Robin Raphael, said ensuring transparency in the utilization of assistance would be a key benchmark.

“We want to ensure highest standards of accountability. We want to be clear where the money is going and how it is going,” The Daily Times quoted Raphael, as saying.

Commenting on the huge amount of administrative costs which is likely to be incurred, Raphael said every effort would be made to minimize the high intermediation charges.

She, however, highlighted that Washington would need foreign technical expertise in certain areas while working to lower the administrative costs.

According to an estimate, Pakistan would receive only the half of the actual monetary assistance promised by the United States, as a huge amount of money is likely to be deducted for administrative costs.

Commenting on the increasing energy needs of Pakistan, Raphael said US is considering investing hugely in the energy sector, including hydel power generation, to help the county overcome its energy crisis.

When asked about the reconstruction opportunity zones (ROZs) programme, she said America was also working to expand the area for ROZs, which were previously planned only for the war ravaged Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). (ANI)

Ballet dancer turned stockbroker Li Cunxin named Australia’s top dad

Melbourne, Aug 28 (ANI): International ballet dancer turned stockbroker Li Cunxin has been named Australia’s top dad at 2009 Shepherd Centre Australian Father of the Year.

The man, who is famous for his bestselling autobiography Mao’s Last Dancer, received the award at a ceremony at NSW Parliament House in Sydney.

“This is indeed a great privilege. I regard this award as recognition of the important contribution all Australian fathers have made for the well-being of our children,” quoted him as saying.

He added: I’m sure there are other fathers out there far more deserving than me.”

Li, whose father passed away earlier this year, said he was humbled to have received the award.

He said: “My values as a father and a family man have been passed down from generation to generation. My children are integral in my life.”is three boys, Joshua, Brandon and Cameron had nominated him for the award.

In his role as a father, Cunxin had helped his daughter Sophie overcome difficulties after she was diagnosed with profound hearing loss when she was just 18 months old.

She was one of the first Australian children to receive bilateral cochlear implants.

However, the brave girl went on to complete her Victorian Certificate of Education in 2008 and finished in the top five per cent of the state.

In his autobiography, Li has narrated his poverty stricken upbringing in Communist China.

He had fled from home when he was just 11 to become a ballet dancer.

Li was even locked up in the Chinese Consulate in Houston, causing a political standoff between Washington and Beijing before he was released.

He is married to Australian-born ballerina Mary McKendry. (ANI)

Hollywood celebs ‘to participate in India’s Kumbh Mela’

Nevada (US), Aug 27 (ANI): Rumour has it that some Hollywood celebrities will partake in the Haridwar Kumbh Mela, termed as biggest spiritual gathering on earth, in India during January-April next year.

The names of the celebrities, however, are being kept under wraps.

For international celebrities, business tycoons and other VVIPs, many luxury camps with all-weather cottages will be set-up on the banks of holy river Ganga.

The Mela is expected to see an influx of about 100 million people.

Some American tour companies are promoting the tour for about 9,000, excluding airfares.

Rajan Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, has suggested that Hollywood celebrities should go to the Mela as pilgrims and not as tourists.

In addition to immersing in holy Ganga waters, Zed has urged the celebrities to explore the rich philosophy, which Hinduism offers.

Kumbh Mela will be held from January 14 to April 28 and includes 11 bathing dates in between, at Haridwar.

A belief system in India is that all sins/evils committed by the Mela pilgrims and their ancestors back to the 88th generation will be washed away forever by a dip in Ganga during these dates and that they will achieve salvation and emerge regenerated and healed. (ANI)

‘Mobile ID’ devices herald next generation of biometric gadgets

Washington, August 27 (ANI): Reports indicate that a new generation of small, portable, versatile biometric devices, referred to as ‘Mobile ID’, are flourishing.

These devices gather, process and transmit an individual’s biometric data, which includes fingerprints, facial and iris images.

They were developed by NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) researchers working with first responders, criminal justice agencies, the military, industry and academia.

Previous work on standards for these biometric devices has focused primarily on getting different stationary and desktop systems with hardwired processing pathways to work together in an interoperable manner.

But, a new generation of small, portable and versatile biometric devices are raising new issues for interoperability.

“The proliferation of smaller devices including advanced personal digital assistants (PDAs), ultra-portable personal computers and high-speed cellular networks has made portable biometric systems a reality,” said computer scientist Shahram Orandi.

“While the portable systems have made leaps and bounds in terms of capability, there are still intrinsic limitations that must be factored into the big picture to ensure interoperability with the larger, more established environments such as desktop or large server-based systems,” he added.

The new mobile biometric devices allow first responders, police, the military and criminal justice organizations to collect biometric data with a handheld device on a street corner or in a remote area and then wirelessly send it to be compared to other samples on watch lists and databases in near real-time.

Identities can be determined quickly without having to take a subject to a central facility to collect his or her biometrics, which is not always possible.

Soldiers are beginning to use these devices to control access to secured areas, and first responders can use them to ensure that only approved workers are on-site during an incident or investigation. (ANI)

Photo exhibition showcasing 128-year-old past of heritage railway in Darjeeling

Siliguri, Aug 26 (ANI): To create awareness regarding the history and evolution of the heritage railway especially amongst schoolchildren, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) in collaboration with the Siliguri Science Centre has organised a week-long photo exhibition showcasing its glorious past of 128 years, in Siliguri.

The exhibition, which will conclude on August 30, depicts the evolution of the DHR from its inception to the modern times.

The DHR is an important landmark on the Indian tourism map especially after UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 1999.

The DHR’s 82 kilometres of journey from Siliguri junction to Darjeeling is an enchanting journey offering a majestic view of the Darjeeling Himalayas.

The organisers believe that the exhibition will make young generation aware of the history of the DHR, an important part of their heritage.

“We have tried to display through photographs, through charts and through maps, the evolution of the DHR and also the different milestones and important events of the DHR. For example, when the Tindharia workshop (the workshop that undertakes major servicing of steam locomotives and coaches of DHR) was formed, how the monsoon disaster took place, and even the cyclone AILA has been put in,” said Subrata Nath, Director, Darjeeling Himalayan Railways.

Children, from various schools of the region, are thronging the exhibition and have been enthusiastic about it.

“It is an awesome feeling, because I have never experienced such a thing .I came here and saw the railways and the natural beauty of Darjeeling Himalayas. It was a fantastic experience,” said Rahul Sharma, a student.

The DHR toy train was the brainchild of Franklin Prestage, an agent of the then Eastern Bengal Railway, who foresaw the utility of a rail link between the hills of Darjeeling and the plains.

It was started in 1896 by the then British Lieutenant Governor Ashley Eden, offering riders an opportunity to enjoy the majestic beauty of nature along the Darjeeling hills. At the beginning, this railway was named as the Darjeeling steam Tramway Co. Later when India gained independence in 1947, the railway was renamed as the DHR.

The DHR was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO on December 5 at its 23rd session. By Taruk Sarkar (ANI)

London council in dock for terming Pakistan origin pupil ‘Pakis’

London, Aug. 26 (ANI): A London council has come under fire for describing Pakistani origin pupils who attend the borough’s school as ‘Pakis’.

Conservative-controlled Redbridge Council in east London, however, has defended the usage of term in an official document that provides a breakdown of the ethnic background of pupils as a “computer error”.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission said that the document had been passed to its legal enforcement team, The Guardian reports.
“The council must know that a generation of Asians in east London grew up in the 1970s with the threat of violence from ‘Paki-bashing’ and with its association with skinhead gang culture. It is almost impossible to believe that anyone would fail to understand how racially charged the word Paki is,” said Kevin Blowe, of anti-racist organisation Newham Monitoring Project.

Following the criticism, the council officials had to issue a revised statement condemning the use of the word.
“Redbridge council fully accepts the use of this abbreviated term is wholly unacceptable and inappropriate and would never condone the use of such language.

“Having looked at the spreadsheet, in addition to the unacceptable term ‘Paki’ the document also contains a variety of abbreviations and spelling mistakes and was circulated in error.

“When this was realised at an away day, those present were asked to hand in the document so they could be destroyed. The author of the spreadsheet apologised,” a council statement said.
Keith Vaz, who chairs the Commons home affairs select committee, said: “It is important that councils are careful to avoid the use of offensive terms in both internal and external communications. I welcome the action the council has taken.” (ANI)

Pressmart delivers newspapers on Kindle and Sony eReader

London, Aug 25 (ANI/Business Wire India): Pressmart, a leading provider of multi-channel news publishing services, today announced the availability of eEditions compatible for reading on eReader devices like Kindle and Sony.

This unique technology enables news publishers to attract new subscribers who wish to read news and access their favorite newspaper content on the eReader screen in its original format.

With this latest addition to Pressmart on-demand digital delivery platform, publishers can go digital on web, mobile, eReader, podcast and RSS in a matter of minutes even if they do not have any technical knowledge.

Additionally, Pressmart offers access to state-of-art marketing, subscription and advertising tools using which publishers can start monetizing from digital delivery from almost day one.

Publishers can also benefit from Pressmart’s content delivery partnerships with news aggregators, telecom carriers, leading distributors and handset majors such as Motorola, Airtel, Curtis, BSNL, Spice and

Some of the leading publishing titles such as Philadelphia Inquirer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, Birmingham Post, Bangkok Post, theSun, Hindustan Times, Deccan Chronicle and Indian Express have partnered with Pressmart for repurposing content on new media delivery channels.

“Today’s product launch is an important milestone for Pressmart, reinforcing our position as a leading innovator in the digital publishing market and setting a new technology benchmark.” said Sanjiv Gupta, Chairman and CEO of Pressmart.

“It is our goal to continue to lead the evolution of the industry whilst delivering a first-class reading experience through our ‘Digital Editions’ in a format that today’s generation can use,” Gupta added. (ANI)

Kerala businessman’s murder mystery solved, claims police

New Delhi, Aug. 24 (ANI): The murder case of Kerala businessman Paul Muthoot George has been solved, Kerala Police claimed on Monday.

According to the police theory, a gang of nearly 22 men was behind the murder of Paul, 30, who was heading the Muthoot M George Group’s hospitality business.

The hired man who stabbed Paul has not been arrested so far, police said

Paul was killed last Friday night on the Alappuzha-Changanassery road. A friend who was with him was injured and is in hospital; both were stabbed.

On Sunday, police arrested 12 persons, including notorious criminals, identified as Om Prakash and Rajesh.

A team led by the IGP, Ernakulam Range, Vinson Paul, is interrogating the suspects.

The Muthoot Group is a major player in the financial services business in Kerala and has been slowly expanding its reach to other parts of the country. Paul is the chairman’s second son.

Earlier, media reports had suggested business rivalry could be a reason. Involvement of persons related to the narcotics trade was also not being ruled out.

The dead man and his friend were found by the roadside on Friday night. The vehicle they were travelling in was missing. The vehicle, a Ford Endeavour, was found abandoned this morning at Kollam, 40 km away.

Paul, who was based in Delhi, had recently returned to Kerala to take charge of the leisure and hospitality arm.

He was returning from an under-construction resort at Mararikulam when he was stabbed to death.

Paul was Chairman M G George Muthoot’s second son, while his two brothers, George Muthoot George and Alexander George Muthoot, are also associated with the group as executive director and as a director, respectively.

In addition, four of Paul’s cousins are part of the fourth generation of Muthoot directors, who had been inducted into the group. (ANI)

Nizami urges Pak teachers to promote two-nation theory among kids

Lahore, Aug 24(ANI): Pakistani journalist and Chairman Nazria Pakistan Trust (NPT) Majid Nizami has urged teachers in Pakistan to indoctrinate the new generation with the idea that Hindus and Muslims belong to two separate nations.

Nizam said the practice could only be defended by the two-nation theory.

Addressing the eighth ideological workshop for teachers organised by the NPT in collaboration with Punjab Education Department here on Saturday, Nizami said that Pakistan was created and has survived due to its ideology.

“If we consider Muslims and Hindus one nation, then there cannot be any justification of Pakistan,” The Nation quoted Nizami, as saying.

“Hindus are idol worshippers and we are idol- killers and this is the difference,” he added.

Nizam further said that East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) was separated due to stupidity and expressed a desire to see it back again with Pakistan. (ANI)

Kolkata cycle rally promotes environment awareness

Kolkata, Aug 24 (ANI): Hundreds of cyclists took to the streets here on Sunday in a cycle rally organized with an aim to promote environmental awareness.

The rally was organized by the state-run oil refinery, the Indian Oil Corporation.

“We want to spread awareness amongst the people regarding the global warming, the environmental friendly attitude, what we need and how we can protect the environment, why should you protect the environment, all these points we are taking through this walk and this rally,” said Aloke Kumar Singh, Indian Oil spokesperson.

The cyclists included participants young and old.

“Today’s rally is organised to bring pollution under control because if we check pollution it will be good for us, for our next generation and for the country as well,” said 60-year-old Amarjit Singh.

It is feared that the doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere within 50 years would raise global temperatures between 1.5 degree Celsius and 4.5 degree Celsius.

The WHO has warned that such environmental shifts could cause waterborne and parasitic blights, such as cholera and lyme disease, to spread to new areas. (ANI)

NASA successfully tests eco-friendly rocket propellant

Washington, August 22 (ANI): NASA and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, or AFOSR, have successfully launched a small rocket using an environmentally-friendly, safe propellant comprised of aluminum powder and water ice, called ALICE.

“This collaboration has been an opportunity for graduate students to work on an environmentally-friendly propellant that can be used for flight on Earth and used in long distance space missions,” said NASA Chief Engineer Mike Ryschkewitsch at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

“These sorts of university-led experimental projects encourage a new generation of aerospace engineers to think outside of the box and look at new ways for NASA to meet our exploration goals,” he added.

Using ALICE as fuel, a nine-foot rocket soared to a height of 1,300 feet over Purdue University’s Scholer farms in Indiana earlier this month.

ALICE is generating excitement among researchers because this energetic propellant has the potential to replace some liquid or solid propellants.

When it is optimized, it could have a higher performance than conventional propellants.

“By funding this collaborative research with NASA, Purdue University and the Pennsylvania State University, AFOSR continues to promote basic research breakthroughs for the future of the Air Force,” said Dr. Brendan Godfrey, director of AFOSR.

ALICE has the consistency of toothpaste when made. It can be fit into molds and then cooled to -30 degree Celsius 24 hours before flight.

The propellant has a high burn rate and achieved a maximum thrust of 650 pounds during this test.

“A sustained collaborative research effort on the fundamentals of the combustion of nanoscale aluminum and water over the last few years led to the success of this flight,” said Dr. Steven F. Son, a research team member from Purdue.

“ALICE can be improved with the addition of oxidizers and become a potential solid rocket propellant on Earth. Theoretically, ALICE can be manufactured in distant places like the moon or Mars, instead of being transported to distant locations at high cost,” he added. (ANI)

India befriends Afghanistan, irking Pakistan

Kabul, Aug.21 (ANI): India has become a major donor of Afghanistan, and its growing presence here is riling arch rival Pakistan.

From wells and toilets to power plants and satellite transmitters, India is seeding Afghanistan with a vast array of projects.

The 1.2 billion dollars in pledged assistance includes projects both vital to Afghanistan’s economy, such as a completed road link to Iran’s border, and symbolic of its democratic aspirations, such as the construction of a new parliament building in Kabul.

The Indian government is also paying to bring scores of bureaucrats to India, as it cultivates a new generation of Afghan officialdom.

India’s aid has elevated it to Afghanistan’s top tier of donors.

In terms of pledged donations through 2013, India now ranks fifth behind the U.S., U.K., Japan and Canada, according to the Afghanistan government.

Pakistan doesn’t rank in the top 10. (ANI)

Origins of ancient Chinese civilization under reconsideration

Washington, August 21 (ANI): Recent archaeological discoveries from far-flung corners of China are forcing scientists to reconsider the origins of ancient Chinese civilization.

A group of articles by Science news writer Andrew Lawler have explored how, over several millennia, China evolved from a much wider array of peoples and cultures than once imagined.

Lawler crisscrossed China recently for three weeks, traveling from the country’s steamy southeastern plains to the rugged westernmost province of Xinjiang, interviewing dozens of archaeologists at a host of sites.

This special news package puts a spotlight on how the various archaeological findings of the past decade are challenging what the Chinese people once thought about their country and themselves.

The wealth of these recent archaeological discoveries demands a re-write of some history books – and young scholars are even now questioning the existence of a legendary Chinese dynasty, the Xia.

Less willing to take ancient texts at face value than their predecessors, this new generation of Chinese researchers is relying on physical data – and more “Western” methods – in their attempts to accurately retrace Chinese history.

“The exciting discoveries made recently across China, coupled with the country’s fast-paced development, make this an opportune time to dig into new questions about China’s origins, the state of its threatened ancient sites, and the increasing expertise of its archaeologists,” said Lawler, author of the Science news package.

Lawler’s special news package on Chinese archaeology covers the accidental discovery and later excavation of Jinsha, an ancient site located near downtown Chengdu in Sichuan, and about 600 miles (1000 kilometers) from the traditional center of Chinese civilization along the Yellow River.

Long assumed to have been a cultural backwater, researchers have only recently gleaned the real history of Sichuan’s surprisingly ancient and rich culture, which is thousands of years older than they had once believed.

These recent discoveries have led Chinese researchers to acknowledge significant outside influence on their ancient culture, breaking an old taboo put in place when China was largely closed to the outside world. (ANI)

Handicraft industry in Rajasthan explores domestic market to beat recession

Jaipur, Aug 20 (ANI): Battered by the economic slowdown, handicraft exporters in Rajasthan now look to the domestic market to survive through the crisis.

The Indian domestic market remained largely unaffected by the global meltdown as compared with the rest of the world.

To tap the domestic market, the Federation of Rajasthan Handicraft Exporters (FRHE) for the first time organised a three-day handicraft fair in Birla Auditorium of Jaipur to provide a platform to sellers and buyers of handicraft.

Sunday is the last day of the expo in which about 100 exhibitors have showcased their world-class quality items, including blue pottery, ceramics, clay items, traditional furnishing items, textiles, jewellery, furniture artifacts.

All such items, which till now used to be destined overseas are being offered in the local market to whole sellers, retailers and even individual buyers.

Local market has been never been so attractive for these sellers.

“When we were earlier exporting, we did not pay any attention to the Jaipur or local market. This time because of the economic slowdown, we are attracted to domestic market and exploring it. We think if we tap the domestic market, our handicraft will survive and it will grow,” said Pradeep Kumar Chabra, an exporter.

Dilip Vaid, Chairman, FRHE, visualises the domestic market to grow big in the next five years and many exporters will shift focus to domestic market from the international market.

“I will not be surprised when many exporters who call themselves as exporters will be focusing on domestic markets rather than international market. The best thing about our industry even in this difficult time is that every piece sold here has got a background of livelihood generated,” said Vaid.

India has about 10.5 million artisans who solely rely on the handicraft industry for their livelihood. They carry with them the traditional know-how of making artifacts passed down from one generation to the other.

These artifacts which reflect Indian culture and tradition are quite often adapted to meet the requirements of changing lifestyle of people without losing their characteristics.

“We are in a period where people need things which are utilitarian. People need objects, which are lifestyle products. People also want products, which are part of our social culture. Still in India the wedding, the home, the community and festival and we need objects for each period of this time. And the handicraft sector can answer this need which is there,” said Sangeeta Shroff, Director, Indian Institute of Crafts and Designs.

This year, the handicraft Industry in Rajasthan exported items worth Rs200 billion rupees handicraft and textile Rs150 billion less compared with the last fiscal year.

Exporters now feel that the Indian market has a great potential and if explored properly they can sail through the economic meltdown and maintain their profits. By Lokendra Singh (ANI)

Winning The Ashes would be the greatest feat of my career, says Flintoff

London, Aug.19 (ANI): England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff has said that winning The Ashes this summer would be the greatest feat of his career.

Recalling England’s epic 2005 Ashes triumph, Flintoff, who scored 402 runs, took 24 wickets and was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year, said the difference back then was England believed they would win.

Now, as they head in the Fifth Test decider at The Oval tomorrow, he says the team’s expectations are lower because of the change and turmoil in the ranks.

England has had two coaches and four captains since June last year.

“If we win this one, it will be a far greater achievement than 2005. Our win then was fantastic but the side had performed well over a period of time and beaten everyone in the world.

We played Australia expecting to win. I’m not saying we’re not expecting to do it this time but the side has changed a heck of a lot over the past 12 months,” The Sun quoted Flintoff, as saying.

England was then protecting a 2-1 lead, but this time they are locked at 1-1 and Australia only need a draw to retain the little urn.

It is England’s biggest must-win match for a generation.

“Now, I’m just pleased to be here with an opportunity to play on Thursday – it is going to be an unbelievably good game,” Flintoff said,

He is sure to be given a rousing send-off because there is no player who enjoys a closer rapport with the fans. They view him as one of their own – a big lad with talent who enjoys a beer and a night out. (ANI)

World’s first new DeBakey heart assist device implanted successfully

Washington, Aug 18 (ANI): In a revolutionary surgery, cardiac surgeons at Heidelberg University Hospital for the first time implanted the HeartAssist 5 ventricular assist device, the modern version of the DeBakey VAD in July this year.

The device augments the pumping function of the left ventricle in an especially effective, gentle, and quiet manner.

The pump weighs 92 grams, and is made of titanium and plastic. It pumps blood from the weakened or failed left ventricle into the aorta.

New heart device is the smallest and lightest of all approved Ventricular Assist Devices in Europe

Professor Dr. Matthias Karck, Director of the Department of Cardiac Surgery at Heidelberg, who headed the surgery, said: “Following the 3.5 hour surgery, the patient is doing fine.”

The 50-year-old woman suffered from heart failure that could not be effectively treated with medication.

Since a heart transplant was not an option due to medical reasons, the implanted heart pump will now assist her heart permanently.

“The heart pump can also be used as a bridge-to-transplant while the patient waits for a matching donor heart,” says Dr. Arjang Ruhparwar, senior registrar in the Department of Cardiac Surgery in Heidelberg.

When a donor heart becomes available, the pump and the diseased heart are both removed and replaced by the new donor heart.

The DeBakey VAD was first developed in the 1990s in cooperation with NASA by Professor Michael DeBakey, the renowned American cardiac surgeon at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, who died in 2008 at the age of 99.

The modern version of the device, the HeartAssist 5, is manufactured by US company MicroMed Cardiovascular and is considered to be a fifth generation VAD because it can be implanted adjacent to the heart and has an exclusive flow probe that provides direct, accurate measurement of blood flow from the left ventricle to the aorta.

The new miniature device is light, easy-to-handle and can be monitored and controlled externally.

“The new device has great advantages – at only 92 g, it is the smallest and lightest approved VAD in Europe that can completely replace the function of the left ventricle and it works very quietly and effectively with a high flow coefficient,” said Karck.

Thus, patients are able to live a nearly normal life at home. (ANI)

Positive parental attitude can help stop child obesity epidemic

Washington, Aug 9 (ANI): An eminent obesity expert has said that parents can help to prevent obesity in children by helping them with their eating habits and building a healthy body image.

According to Edward Abramson, PhD and professor emeritus at California State University, parents can ward off obesity by getting their children to eat better food and exercise.

Dr. Abramson said childhood obesity has increased fourfold in the last 40 years, which may make today’s children to become the first generation to have a shorter lifespan than their parents.

Speaking at the American Psychological Associations’ 117th Annual Convention, the expert said that in the last decade, “we’ve seen a [tenfold] increase in Type-2 diabetes and psychological and social consequences, such as prejudice, rejection, discrimination and low self-esteem in children…More than 60 percent of overweight children have one risk factor for cardiovascular disease and 20 percent have two or more risk factors.”

Abramson said, “emotional eating” or eating when one is not hungry may trigger off obesity.

“This can lead to a weight problem or an eating disorder,” he added. “Parents’ attitudes and behaviours also have an influence on children’s eating, and mothers more than fathers affect children’s eating habits and body image.”

He noted that multiple factors contribute to a mother’s concern for her child’s weight problems.

“For example, there is evidence that minority parents (e.g., African-American, Hispanic) are less concerned about their children’s weight…. Often, when a mother is struggling with her own weight, she becomes more involved in regulating her daughter’s eating. In general, mothers are more concerned than fathers about their child’s weight, especially their daughter’s, and are more likely to restrict foods,” the expert added.

According to Abramson children are genetically coded with a tongue for sweet and salty tastes.

“For these children, it may take several repetitions (10 or more) to have a child try a new food, but parents should retreat gracefully and try again another day rather than get into a battle of wills when the child refuses a food,” he said.

He also spelled out a way to get children to try out new and healthy foods.

“If the child is in the kitchen cooking with Mom or Dad, it’s unlikely that he/she will refuse the food that they’ve helped prepare, ” he added.

Abramson pointed out that physical activity could prevent children to gain extra flab even if there is a familial tendency to gain weight. (ANI)

Sources of Earth’s “hum” pinpointed

Washington, August 9 (ANI): A new research has found that the Pacific coasts of North America and Central America are important sources of the Earth’s low-frequency vibration, or “hum”.

Previous studies had found that this hum is excited by infragravity waves, a type of ocean wave that originates in shallow water along coasts, but it was uncertain whether hum is generated primarily by infragravity waves in the deep ocean or along coastlines.

To pinpoint the sources of Earth’s hum, Peter D. Bromirski and Peter Gerstoft from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, US, correlated hum intensity data from the EarthScope US Array transportable array with ocean wave height measurements and model simulations.

Their results show that the hum is generated primarily along coasts, with no significant hum generation in the deep ocean.

In particular, they found that the Pacific coasts of North America and Central America are important sources of the hum, and the west coast of Europe is a strong secondary source region, while no significant hum was detected from the Southern Hemisphere during the study period, which is November 2006 to June 2007.

The study is the first to identify these specific source regions for Earth’s hum. (ANI)