October 12, 2016: U.S. fast-food giant McDonald’s is putting its popular mascot on hiatus while reports of creepy clown sightings increase across the U.S.
Ronald McDonald, the red-haired, floppy-shoed clown will limit public appearances until further notice.
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McDonald’s Corporation said Tuesday that it is being “thoughtful in respect to Ronald McDonald’s participation in community events” as a result of the “current climate around clown sightings in communities.”
McDonald’s decision comes after a spate of pranks and threats nationwide that have involved eerie clowns. The trend began during the summer with unconfirmed reports in South Carolina. Since then, reports elsewhere have involved costumed hoaxsters frightening people on the street or people terrorising others via social media.
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The sightings in the U.S. appear to have sparked copy-cat acts in Australia and New Zealand, with police issuing stern warnings for would-be clowns.
Ronald McDonald has helped promote the company for decades and has become the namesake for a series of animated videos produced for the chain and a charity that helps sick children and their families. (VOA)
New York, Nov 26: Even a 10-month-old infant can tell how badly you want something by observing how hard you work to achieve it, says new study that suggests that babies learn to infer motivations of others much earlier than previously thought.
The ability to assess how much someone values a particular goal requires integrating information about both the costs of obtaining a goal and the benefit gained by the person seeking it.
The study published online in the journal Science also suggests that babies acquire very early an intuition about how people make decisions.
“This study is an important step in trying to understand the roots of common-sense understanding of other people’s actions,” said study co-author Josh Tenenbaum, Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US.
“It shows quite strikingly that in some sense, the basic math that is at the heart of how economists think about rational choice is very intuitive to babies who don’t know math, don’t speak, and can barely understand a few words,” Tenenbaum said.
Previous research had shown that adults and older children can infer someone’s motivations by observing how much effort that person exerts toward obtaining a goal.
The new study wanted to learn more about how and when this ability develops.
In the experiment, the researchers showed 10-month-old infants animated videos in which an “agent,” a cartoon character shaped like a bouncing ball, tries to reach a certain goal (another cartoon character).
In one of the videos, the agent has to leap over walls of varying height to reach the goal.
First, the babies saw the agent jump over a low wall and then refuse to jump over a medium-height wall.
Next, the agent jumped over the medium-height wall to reach a different goal, but refused to jump over a high wall to reach that goal.
The babies were then shown a scene in which the agent could choose between the two goals, with no obstacles in the way.
An adult or older child would assume the agent would choose the second goal, because the agent had worked harder to reach that goal in the video seen earlier.
The researchers found that 10-month-olds also reached this conclusion.
When the agent was shown choosing the first goal, infants looked at the scene longer, indicating that they were surprised by that outcome.
Length of looking time is commonly used to measure surprise in studies of infants.
“Across our experiments, we found that babies looked longer when the agent chose the thing it had exerted less effort for, showing that they infer the amount of value that agents place on goals from the amount of effort that they take toward these goals,” lead author of the study Shari Liu, a graduate student at Harvard University, said. (IANS)
You must have been advised to quit eating fast food, and soda beverages. Here we provide you with reasons that will convince you to switch from high caffeinated beverages to green tea for a healthier lifestyle!
Green tea is a healthier option in comparison to fizzy and caffeinated drinks
Green Tea is known to relieve stress and solve several health problems
Researchers claim it can help alleviate insulin resistance, cognitive impairment, and fight allergies
New Delhi, August 30, 2017: Coffee and black tea have long featured as preferred beverage options for a lot of people. However, rising awareness about the need to improve lifestyles has led to increased consumption of healthier alternatives such as green tea. The antibacterial, antifungal and antioxidant properties of green tea address several health issues – ranging from bad breath to blood pressure. There are many health & skin benefits of green tea, let’s tal about it.
In fact, given our sedentary lifestyle and increased intake of fast foods, green tea is today more important than ever. A recent study published online in The FASEB Journal suggests that green tea could help alleviate insulin resistance and cognitive impairment induced by high-fat and high-fructose diets. Some studies also suggest that it can help fight off allergies.
Here are some additional benefits of green tea:
Curbs cholesterol: A high level of cholesterol in the body can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Green tea contains catechins that are known to reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the body which causes plaque in the arteries, leading to a blockage. This is one of the best benefits of green tea
Promotes healthier skin: Green tea is known for its rich content of antioxidants and anti-aging elements. These can help delay signs of skin aging such as fine lines, wrinkles and sun damage. Regular consumption of green tea flushes out unwanted toxins from the body, thereby helping you have healthy skin. one of the skin benefits of green tea.
Relieves physical and mental fatigue: According to estimates by the World Health Organisation (WHO), over 450 million people suffer from stress worldwide. Green tea contains polyphenols that help reduce stress, boost energy and improve mental focus. The various antioxidants that are present in green tea also have a calming effect on the mind and body, which helps in creating a positive mood.
Builds immunity: Green tea contains compounds such as polyphenol and flavonoids which boost your immune system. These phytoconstituents act as antimicrobial agents, thereby helping the body fight against infection as well. Moreover, the antioxidants in green tea strengthen and protect the immune system against compounds known as free radicals, which are known to harm living cells and tissues.
Helps in removal of phlegm: Green tea contains polyphenols which have potent anti-bacterial properties that fight against infections and reduce the formation of phlegm. For best results, prepare some green tea and add a little honey to it before drinking it.
Helps detox your body: Detoxing one’s body helps improve metabolism. Green tea refreshes, hydrates and cleanses the body of unhealthy toxins. The catechins in green tea improve the fat metabolism and reduce toxic effects on the liver. It reduces pressure on the liver, which is the body’s major detoxing organ. Moreover, it also detoxifies and purifies the whole body because of its rich antioxidant properties.
So now that you are aware of the all vital benefits of green tea, it is time to switch from high caffeinated beverages to green tea for a healthier lifestyle. (IANS)
Depending on the location, the proliferation of IS has drawn varied resistance from the Afghan military, U.S. air support and ground troops, local militias, Taliban forces and other militant groups
Afghan army planes on Wednesday night accidentally air dropped vital supplies of food and water to IS militants in the Darzab district of northern Jouzjan province instead of to their own besieged troops
In the Tora Bora area, where IS has made a strong stand in recent days, local villagers and militias joined with Taliban to rout IS
June 25, 2017: The Islamic State group is rapidly expanding in parts of Afghanistan, advancing militarily into areas where it once had a weak presence and strengthening its forces in core regions, according to Afghan and U.S. officials.
Depending on the location, the proliferation of IS has drawn varied resistance from the Afghan military, U.S. air support and ground troops, local militias, Taliban forces and other militant groups.
Attacking IS has become such a priority in the country, that disparate forces sometimes join together in the ad-hoc fight, with Afghan and U.S. forces finding themselves inadvertently supporting the enemy Taliban in battling IS.
Confusion leads to mistakes
All too often, officials say, mistakes are made due to confusion on the ground.
Afghan army planes on Wednesday night accidentally air dropped vital supplies of food and water to IS militants in the Darzab district of northern Jouzjan province instead of to their own besieged troops, provincial police chief, Rahmatullah Turkistani told VOA. The supplies were meant to help Afghan forces that are countering twin attacks by IS and Taliban militants but were used instead by IS.
“It’s not getting better in Afghanistan in terms of IS,” U.S. Chief Pentagon Spokeswoman Dana White told VOA this week. “We have a problem, and we have to defeat them and we have to be focused on that problem.”
Reinforcements for the IS cause reportedly are streaming into isolated areas of the country from far and wide. There are reports of fighters from varied nationalities joining the ranks, including militants from Pakistan, India, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Russia and Central Asian neighbors.
Still, the Islamic State-Khorasan (ISK) as IS is known in Afghanistan remains a fragmented group composed of differing regional forces with different agendas in different parts of the country.
“IS-K is still conducting low-level recruiting and distribution of propaganda in various provinces across Afghanistan, but it does not have the ability or authority to conduct multiple operations across the country,” a recent Pentagon report said. But where it operates, IS is inflicting chaos and casualties and causing confusing scenarios for disparate opponents.
In the Tora Bora area, where IS has made a strong stand in recent days, local villagers and militias joined with Taliban to rout IS. IS regained ground after a few days, leading to U.S. military air attacks on IS positions in conjunction with Afghan intelligence instructions and army operations.
IS fighters reportedly have fled from mountain caves of Tora Bora, where al-Qaida’s leader Osama bin Laden hid from U.S. attack in 2001.
IS fighters were also reportedly advancing in neighboring Khogyani district, displacing hundreds of families, according to district officials. It is one of several areas in Nangarhar province, near the Pakistani border, where IS has been active for over two years.
Fierce clashes in the Chaparhar district of Nangarhar last month left 21 Taliban fighters and seven IS militants dead, according to a provincial spokesman. At least three civilians who were caught in the crossfire were killed and five others wounded.
“IS has overpowered Taliban in some parts of Nangarhar because the Taliban dispatched its elite commando force called Sara Qeta (Red Brigade) to other parts of the country, including some northern provinces to contain the growing influence of IS there,” Wahid Muzhda, a Taliban expert in Kabul, told VOA.
IS has also expanded in neighboring Kunar province, where, according to provincial police chief, it has a presence in at least eight districts and runs a training base, where foreign members of IS, train new recruits.
Hundreds of miles from Nangarhar, IS is attempting to establish a persistent presence in several northern provinces where it has found a fertile ground for attracting militants and recruiting unemployed youths, mostly between the age of 13 and 20.
IS has been able to draw its members from the Pakistani Taliban fighters, former Afghan Taliban, and other militants who “believe that associating with or pledging allegiance” to IS will further their interests, according to the Pentagon report.
Hundreds of militants have joined IS ranks in northern Jouzjan and Sar-e-Pul province where local militant commanders lead IS-affiliate groups in several districts.
Qari Hekmat, an ethnic Uzbek and former Taliban militant who joined IS a year ago, claims to have up to 500 members, including around 50 Uzbek nationals who are affiliated with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) — previously associated with al-Qaida and Taliban in Afghanistan.
IS and Taliban are reportedly fighting over the control of Darzab district in Jouzjan which they stormed this week from two different directions and besieged scores of government forces. The Taliban has reportedly captured the center of the district while IS militants control the city outskirts.
Afghanistan faces a continuing threat from as many as 20 insurgent and terrorist networks present or operating in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, including IS, the Pentagon said.
“In areas where the government has limited influence and control, IS attempts to emerge and expand there,” Ateequllah Amarkhail, an analysts and former Army general in Kabul told VOA.
IS has also claimed responsibility for several recent attacks in urban areas, however, with a hit-and-hide strategy that is proving effective. And it is engaging too in more skirmishes with U.S. forces that initially were sent to the country to help Afghan forces halt the spread of Taliban.
Three American service members based in eastern Afghanistan were killed in April during operations targeting IS militants, according to the Pentagon.
“ISIS-K remains a threat to Afghan and regional security, a threat to U.S. and coalition forces, and it retains the ability to conduct high-profile attacks in urban centers,” the Pentagon said. (VOA)