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Five weirdest things encountered in a foreign country that would be totally normal for locals

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Here are five anecdotes from travelers encountering the weirdest things other cultures do seemingly standard stuff. Well, let us see how funny some of these differences can be, especially when you look at them from both perspectives:-

(source: Reddit)

  1. In the country of Samoa, in the evening time around 7:00 in most villages, dozens of men go out to stand out in the road in front of their homes and blow on conches to mark the quiet prayer time. It is illegal to be anywhere walking in the village, to be loud, etc, for the length of the 5-10 min of prayer.So if you were already walking around in the village, what would you do? You will have sat down right there and start praying. (username:crappenheimers)

2.  Similarly in Costa Rica, If you want to go somewhere you have to know the landmarks around that area as there are no addresses. So in case you have to reach a hotel, the diresctions will be like, 7 km from Burger King. It  becomes a trouble sometimes for the tourists but thats how they function.(username: VicVictory)

3. In one more case, In a US military installation, when the national anthem plays. Everyone just freezes, faces the nearest flag, and salutes. Once it’s over we all resume our lives.(username: TheGuyWithThePie)

4. This one is an epic one as in South Africa they call traffic lights ‘robots’. So if you have to ask “How can i get to the grocery store?”, the reply would be ,”just drive straight till the next robot and take a right”. (username:hett)

5. And at last in the Middle East, men holding hands is a common sight,despite the extreme social taboo against homosexuality in most parts of the Middle East (it’s also usually a capital offence), men holding hands is a perfectly normal and acceptable sign of friendship, rather than the signifier of a romantic relationship that it would be in the West.(username:dog_not_god)

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“India Must Stop Buying and Depending on Foreign-Made Weapons”, Says India Defense Chief

Chief of Defence Staff of India General Bipin Rawat believes that India should boost ‘Make in India’ plan

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India Defense Chief
The barrel of an Indian paramilitary soldier's weapon is seen between partially closed doors of an armored vehicle as they drive towards the site of an operation in Awantipora area, south of Srinagar, Indian-controlled Kashmir, on Wednesday, May 6, 2020. (AP Photo/ Dar Yasin). VOA

India must stop buying and depending on foreign-made weapons and instead start manufacturing its own, India’s Chief of Defense Staff General Bipin Rawat told The Times of India in an exclusive interview Saturday. Indian Economy will be enhanced if we follow ‘Make in India’, as suggested by the Prime Minister.

Rawat wants to insure that “Make in India,” a favored slogan of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, becomes a reality.

“We are not expeditionary forces that have to deploy around the globe,” Rawat told the Times. “So, we should not go in for large amounts of imports by misrepresenting our operational requirements.”

India, like the rest of the world, is dealing with the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Bipin Rawat.
“We are not expeditionary forces that have to deploy around the globe,” General Bipin Rawat. told the Times. Wikimedia Commons

Read More: Young Indians Are At An Evergrowing Risk Of Hypertension

Only Saudi Arabia surpasses India in the purchase of foreign weapons, the newspaper reports.

Rawat said India has to support its domestic defense industrial base even if the produced weapons perform at “reduced technical specifications” or GSQRs (general staff qualitative requirements).

“We should boost ‘Make in India’ by hand-holding our domestic industry, even if they deliver weapons with only 70 percent of the GSQRs in the beginning,” the general said. (VOA)

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What is the Future of US-India Relations? Here’s the Answer

The US presidential elections and future of India-US relations

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India USA
Given the love fests of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Howdy Modi' event in Houston, Texas, in which Trump participated in September of 2019, and Trump's 'Namaste Trump' event hosted by Modi in India in February of this year, it might be assumed that the future for US-India relations is a splendid one. Wikimedia Commons

BY FRANK F. ISLAM

As the coronavirus pandemic dominates global news in the United States, progress toward the next presidential election scheduled to be held on November 3 moves slowly forward. President Donald Trump had no real opposition in the Republican party and is running for re-election. And it has now become apparent that former Vice President Joe Biden will be his opponent as the Democratic candidate for president.

What would a Trump victory bode for the future of US-India relations? What would a Biden victory bode? Let me answer each of those questions in turn.

Given the love fests of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Howdy Modi’ event in Houston, Texas, in which Trump participated in September of 2019, and Trump’s ‘Namaste Trump’ event hosted by Modi in India in February of this year, it might be assumed that the future for US-India relations is a splendid one. This would be an incorrect assumption.

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Both of these events were more symbolic than substantive. Trump’s participation in them undoubtedly helped to persuade some — perhaps many — Indian American Modi supporters who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 to cast their ballots for Trump in 2020. Trump’s campaign team took steps to ensure this by holding an event at his Mar-a-Lago resort in which a group of prominent Indian Americans announced their plans to work for his re-election and to mobilize Indian Americans on his behalf.

India USA
It is essential that India and the US develop a strategic relationship that enables them to become those indispensable partners. Wikimedia Commons

To understand the future potential of India’s relations with the US. with Trump as president, however, it is necessary to look beyond these political moves and to examine the present state of those relations and Trump’s personal style.

In a word, the best way to characterize the current relations between the US and India is “functional”. The relationship was relatively good for the first two years of Trump’s presidency. In fact, near the end of 2018, Alice Wells, the Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, was quoted in the media s saying: “This has been a landmark year for US-India ties as we build out stronger relationships across the board.”

Then, in 2019, the relations went off the track in the first half of the year after the US and India got into a tit-for-tat tariff war after the US terminated India’s Generalized System of Preferences which allowed India to send certain goods to the US duty-free. There have been continuing efforts to structure a “modest” trade deal since then. It was thought there might be some type of deal done in September of 2019 while Modi was in the US by year’s end, and then during Trump’s India visit. But, as of today, there is still no deal.

This inability to get any meaningful trade agreement in place speaks volumes about India’s potential future relations with India with Trump as president. So, too does Trump’s style.

Trump’s campaign slogans this time around are “Keep America Great” and “Promises Made, Promises Kept.” Trump is not a policy wonk and most of his effort will go toward “America First”. This involves making the US more isolated by withdrawing from international agreements, restructuring trade agreements, emphasizing building walls to stop immigrants at the border, using tariffs to block trade with countries who are taking away American jobs, and confronting businesses who are allegedlly stealing American trade secrets.

This perspective suggests what India can expect for its relations with the US if it has to deal with Trump for a second term as president. The relations will stay functional at best. As I have said before, that’s because the words partnership, cooperation and collaboration are not in Trump’s vocabulary. Nationalism, isolationism and protectionism are.

Joe Biden stands in stark contrast to President Trump both professionally and personally. Biden is a strategic thinker and doer with a solid eight-year track record of leadership experience as Vice-President in forging alliances that have made a difference around the world and he has also been a long-standing friend of India.

India USA
To understand the future potential of India’s relations with the US. with Trump as president, however, it is necessary to look beyond these political moves and to examine the present state of those relations and Trump’s personal style. Wikimedia Commons

He was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a leading advocate for the Congressional passage of the Indo-US civic nuclear deal in 2005. At a dinner convened 10 years later in 2015 by the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Vice President Biden discussed the tremendous joint progress that had been made by the two countries in the past and declared “We are on the cusp of a sea change decade.”

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Early in his campaign for the Democratic nomination for president in July of 2019, in laying out his foreign policy vision, Biden stated that the US had to reach out to India and other Asian partners to strengthen ties with them. The items on Biden’s foreign policy agenda for strengthening which are of importance for India include climate change, nuclear proliferation and cyberwarfare.

During his vice presidency, Biden worked side by side with President Barack Obama to do things that would contribute to achieving Obama’s vision stated in 2010 of India and America being “indispensable partners in meeting the challenges of our time.” In 2020, those challenges are even greater than they were a decade ago.

That is why it is so essential that India and the US develop a strategic relationship that enables them to become those indispensable partners. That can happen if Biden assumes the presidency on January 20, 2021. It cannot happen if Donald Trump remains as president for a second term.

Also Read- Apple to Display COVID-19 Testing Sites on Maps

The results of this upcoming election in the US matter greatly for the future of the United States. They matter greatly for the future of India-US relations as well. Time and the American electorate will tell what that future will be. (IANS)

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Microsoft Announces To Open xCloud Game Streaming Beta in 11 European Countries

Microsoft has started registration for Android customers in these countries and is asking players those want to participate in preview to sign up

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Microsoft
Microsoft has started registration for Android customers in these countries and is asking players those want to participate in preview to sign up. Pixabay

Microsoft has announced to open its game-streaming service xCloud game streaming beta to 11 more countries across Europe.

Originally, the xCloud preview was launched in the US, the UK and South Korea back in September, and it is expanding to Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden.

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“We know gaming is an important way for people to remain connected, particularly during these times of social distancing, but we also recognize how internet bandwidth has been impacted with strain on regional networks as large volumes of people responsibly stay home and go online,” Catherine Gluckstein, head of product for Project xCloud said in a statement on Tuesday.

Microsoft
Microsoft has announced to open its game-streaming service xCloud game streaming beta to 11 more countries across Europe. Pixabay

“It has been said too many times, but it is true we are living in unprecedented times due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Here at Xbox, we look to our products to bring joy and connection at all times and particularly during these weeks and months when we’re asked to stay at home,” Gluckstein added.

Microsoft has started registration for Android customers in these countries and is asking players those want to participate in preview to sign up.

ALSO READ: Bedroom Air Filters Can improve Breathing in Asthmatic Children: Study

The software giant also recently started testing xCloud for iPhone and iPad devices. (IANS)