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After tolerating four years of tantrums, mood swings and fits, bad language, and the worst idiotic and overtly racist behavior when defeated by any US President, the world keenly awaited the change of power in the oldest democracy in the world when Joe Biden took over as the new American President.
Similarly, the world keenly looked forward to understanding the contours of the new administration’s internal and external policies, particularly its foreign policy. In a wide-ranging address at the US State Department last week, Biden outlined his new foreign policy vision, reiterating the catchphrase, “America is back”.
This stance was reflected in the words that Biden used, such as “re-build” (America’s alliances) and “re-engage” (with the world). He also sought to outline a clear vision of what the new administration aims to achieve in order to improve and stabilize international relations. It was a speech designed to re-establish order and global faith in the US; things that Biden clearly feels were lost under his controversial predecessor.
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Michelle Bentley, Reader in International Relations at the Royal Holloway University, London, opines that the US foreign policy will now focus more on multilateral diplomacy and working with other nations in a more positive way. But Biden hinted that this should not be considered a “soft approach”, insisting that diplomacy would be the best way to get what the US wants. He also tried to highlight the importance, which his administration attaches to democratic values, and described it as a key aspect of America’s identity and ethos.
During his first year in office, President Biden will bring together the world’s democracies to strengthen the global democratic institutions and forge a common agenda to address threats to common democratic values. Biden has explained that the so-called ‘Summit for Democracy’ he plans to convene later this year, will focus on fighting corruption and authoritarianism and protect human rights the world over.
The Summit will also issue a Call to Action for the private sector, including technology corporations and social media giants, to make their own commitments, recognizing their responsibilities and their overwhelming interest in preserving open, democratic societies and protecting free speech.
James Traub of the NYU’s Center on International Cooperation opines that in Asia, India has a geopolitical status of all its own. The world’s fifth-largest economy, India serves as a bulwark against China, which the Biden administration regards as America’s most dangerous adversary. And because China increasingly seeks to export its model of authoritarian, state-run capitalism, China also poses a unique threat to democracy, which the new administration will definitely try to weaken.
The Biden administration has inherited from Trump the premise of an ‘Indo-Pacific’ region with India at its core. In the recent past, as relations between New Delhi and Beijing soured, India strengthened its commitment to a multilateral partnership with the US, Japan, and Australia, known as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad.
China has castigated this forum as an Asian version of NATO, or one which is directly aimed against it. India, though cautious of formal alliances was initially hesitant to fully engage, as it also didn’t want to sour its trade relations with Beijing.
The US considers India as “one of the most important partners in the Indo-Pacific region” and says it welcomes its emergence as a leading global power. “India is one of the most important partners in the Indo-Pacific region to us. We welcome India’s emergence as a leading global power and its role as a net security provider in the region,” US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said during a press briefing earlier this week.
In addition, Kurt Campbell, the China hawk whom Biden recently appointed as the ‘Indo-Pacific Coordinator’ at the National Security Council, has reportedly proposed forging a new system of alliances binding South and East Asia, and Asia and Europe, as well as of incorporating India, South Korea, and Australia into the G-7 to form a new ‘D-10’, the 10 great democracies.
This further strengthens the importance which the US attaches to India but it will also keep a strict watch on the internal political developments in India, particularly related to minorities. Though the personal equation, which existed between Trump and Modi, might be missing under the new dispensation yet it may not afford to ignore India.
Also, the new administration will not be able to drastically alter its policy toward India as the US needs its help to counter China in the region and also increasingly values India as a military and trade partner.
Want to read an article in Hindi? Checkout: ट्रंप के खिलाफ ट्रायल में वारेन हेस्टिंग्स के महाभियोग का जिक्र
Biden, who once spoke optimistically of China’s emergence “as a great power”, has become increasingly tough on Beijing, and some analysts said his administration would most likely use the Quad as a way to ensure that the balance of power in the Indo-Pacific region does not tilt too far toward China.
Still, in New Delhi, there is a school of thought which feels that the new administration might not be as tough on China as the previous one and that Biden might be forced to adopt a more nuanced and less favorable position toward India.
In addition, the US has been trying unsuccessfully to increase arms sales to India, but the country’s history of buying weapons from France, Israel and Russia, has complicated that effort. There is an added US concern that providing military equipment to India might help the Russian military or other foreign agents to have access to the US technology.
Other issues, which might have an impact on the relationship, are the visa and climate change issues. The outgoing President had earlier this year suspended H-1B visas for high-skilled workers, a major setback for the American IT sector, which employs many Indians. The US will also require Indian support and cooperation on its initiative on climate change issues and in addition, both countries are trying to hammer out a mutually beneficial Trade Agreement, which has eluded the officials so far conducting the talks.
However, there are signs that the next phase of the US-India relations will be based more on substance and less on rhetoric as India, now is able to offer much more to us, both in military, security, trade, and technological terms. The ties might not be personality-oriented but focus more on changing hard realities and individual aspirations, particularly in the post-Covid changed the world. (IANS)
The US researchers have discovered a class of immune cells that plays a role in miscarriage, which affects about a quarter of pregnancies.
Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco found that the recently discovered subset of cells known as extrathymic Aire-expressing cells in the immune system may prevent the mother's immune system from attacking the placenta and fetus.
The researchers showed that pregnant mice who did not have this subset of cells were twice as likely to miscarry, and in many of these pregnancies fetal growth was severely restricted.
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"When you're pregnant, the immune system is seeing the placenta for the first time in decades -- not since the mother made a placenta when she herself was a fetus," said Eva Gillis-Buck, from UCSF.
"Our research suggests that this subset of immune cells is carrying out a sort of 'secondary education' -- sometimes many years after the better-known population of the educator cells have carried out the primary education in the thymus -- teaching T cells not to attack the fetus, the placenta and other tissues involved in pregnancy," she added. The findings are published in the journal Science Immunology.
The immune system has to be educated not to attack one's own tissues and organs to prevent autoimmune disease. But pregnancy presents a unique challenge since the fetus expresses proteins found in the placenta as well as proteins whose genetics are distinct from the mother.
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"It was a conceptual leap to link Aire-expressing cells, which are critical for preventing autoimmune disease, to pregnancy," said Tippi Mackenzie, Professor of Surgery at UCSF's Center for Maternal Foetal Precision Medicine.
In the thymus, Aire-expressing cells begin interacting with other immune cells very early in life to teach them what not to attack. The thymus begins to shrink and is nearly gone by adulthood, by which time most immune cells have been educated. But as the thymus shrinks, the population of eTACs in lymph nodes and the spleen expands, the researchers explained.
The study suggests a healthy pregnancy may depend on having these cells around, they added. (IANS/KB)
The tiny emojis being shared on billions of devices worldwide can play a major role in digital communication, with most people saying that emoji compels them to feel more empathy towards others, according to an Adobe report.
Adobe's global emoji study found that emoji even helps people overcome language barriers and form connections that would otherwise be difficult to do.
"We were surprised and delighted by the discoveries made in the survey, most notably how enthusiastic respondents were for emoji as a means to express themselves," the company said in a statement.
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Emojis sometimes get criticized for being overly saccharine, but this sweetness is key when it comes to diffusing some of the heaviness of online communication.
"Many of the emoji are focused on positive emotions, so it's easy to insert them into our conversations and lighten the mood," the Adobe study said.
It's not surprising that over half of those surveyed feel more comfortable using emojis than talking on the phone or in person.
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This applies to less intense situations too. Dating, for example, can be tricky — especially when it's online or via digital apps, as it often is now.
The study also found that emoji even helps people overcome language barriers and form connections that would otherwise be difficult to do.
In celebration of World Emoji Day on Saturday, Adobe's '2021 Global Emoji Trend Report' surveyed 7,000 people in the US, the UK, Germany, France, Japan, Australia, and South Korea. (IANS/KB)
Following the grand Richard Branson show where he carried Andhra Pradesh-born Sirisha Bandla and fellow space travelers on his shoulders after successfully flying to the edge of space, it is time for Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos to applaud Sanjal Gavande, one of the key engineers who designed the New Shephard rocket set to take Bezos and the crew to space on July 20.
Billionaire Bezos is set to fly to the edge of space aboard what is touted as the world's first unpiloted suborbital flight. Born in Kalyan, Maharashtra, Gavande is a systems engineer at Blue Origin who always dreamt of designing aerospace rockets.
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After completing Bachelor's in mechanical engineering from the University of Mumbai, she flew to the US in 2011 to pursue a Master's in mechanical engineering from the Michigan Technological University. She also applied for an engineering job at the US space agency NASA but finally landed her dream job at Blue Origin
Sirisha flew to the US in 2011 to pursue a Master's in mechanical engineering from the Michigan Technological University.IANS
Bezos, his brother Mark, aviation pioneer Mary Wallace 'Wally' Funk, and other passengers are set to liftoff from west Texas and travel just beyond the edge of space on July 20. Blue Origin announced this week that Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old high school graduate from the Netherlands, would join the crew.
Oliver is the son of millionaire Joe Daemen, Founder, and CEO of the Dutch investment company Somerset Capital Partners. Blue Origin, however, did not reveal how much Daemen paid for his son's trip to space. Bezos chose July 20 as the launch date to honor the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
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The launch site for Blue Origin's first human flight will be in a remote location north of Van Horn, Texas, from where the firm had launched New Shepard for previous flights. Blue Origin has received final approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to carry humans on the New Shepard rocket into space.
On July 12, Bandla touched the edge of space with three others, including Virgin Galactic's billionaire CEO Richard Branson. Bandla vaulted into space onboard VSS Unity 22. After the successful spaceflight, Branson carried the Indian-American on his shoulders while celebrating their flight to space, at Spaceport America in New Mexico. (IANS/KB)