Monthly Archives: June 2010

UN report says US dollar is unreliable for foreign currency reserve

New York, June 30, IRNA — The dollar is an unreliable international currency and should be replaced by a more stable system, the United Nations Economic and Social Council said in a report.
“The dollar has proved not to be a stable store of value, which is a requisite for a stable reserve currency,” the report said.

Many countries, in Asia in particular, have been building up massive dollar reserves. As a result, those countries’ currencies have become undervalued, decreasing their ability to import goods from abroad.

The World Economic and Social Survey 2010 is supporting a proposal long advocated by the International Monetary Fund to create a standardized international system for liquidity transfer.

Under this proposed system, countries would no longer have to buy up foreign currencies, as China has long done with the U.S. dollar. Rather, they would accumulate the right to claim foreign currencies, or special drawing rights, or SDRs, rather than the currencies themselves.

The U.N. report said that the special drawing rights would be backed by a basket of currencies, which would make them less susceptible to volatility in any one currency. And because the value of a special drawing right is defined by the IMF, changes in the value of any one currency could be adjusted for. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on June 30, 2010 in News


Studying Engineering Before They Can Spell It

In a class full of aspiring engineers, the big bad wolf had to do more than just huff and puff to blow down the three little pigs’ house.

First graders at Coleman Elementary School in Glen Rock, N.J. The district teaches 10 to 15 hours a year o f engineering from kindergarten through fifth grade.

Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times

To start, he needed to get past a voice-activated security gate, find a hidden door and negotiate a few other traps in a house that a pair of kindergartners here imagined for the pigs — and then pieced together from index cards, paper cups, wood sticks and pipe cleaners.“Excellent engineering,” their teacher, Mary Morrow, told them one day early this month.

All 300 students at Clara E. Coleman Elementary School are learning the A B C’s of engineering this year, even those who cannot yet spell e-n-g-i-n-e-e-r-i-n-g. The high-performing Glen Rock school district, about 22 miles northwest of Manhattan, now teaches 10 to 15 hours of engineering each year to every student in kindergarten through fifth grade, as part of a $100,000 redesign of the science curriculum.

Spurred by growing concerns that American students lack the skills to compete in a global economy, school districts nationwide are packing engineering lessons into already crowded schedules for even the youngest students, giving priority to a subject that was once left to after-school robotics clubs and summer camps, or else waited until college.

Supporters say that engineering reinforces math and science skills, promotes critical thinking and creativity, and teaches students not to be afraid of taking intellectual risks.

“We still hear all the time that little kids can’t engineer,” said Christine Cunningham, director of Engineering is Elementary, a program developed at the Museum of Science in Boston that offers ready-made lessons, for about $350 each, on 20 topics, and is now used in all 50 states, in more than 3,000 schools.

“We say they’re born engineers — they naturally want to solve problems — and we tend to educate it out of them.”

First  graders at Coleman Elementary School in Glen Rock, N.J. The  district  teaches 10 to 15 hours a year of engineering from  kindergarten through  fifth grade.First graders at Coleman Elementary School in Glen Rock, N.J. The district teaches 10 to 15 hours a year of engineering from kindergarten through fifth grade.

The Obama administration’s   Race to the Top competition, which will distribute $4.35 billion in education stimulus money to states, favors so-called STEM programs, which stands for science, technology, engineering and math. Read the rest of this entry »


Is laughter the Best Medicine? (Part 2)


How was the study carried out?

The study looked at how 10 healthy men and 10 healthy women responded to watching 15-minute long film clips. Their average age was 33 years; they didn’t smoke and had normal blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels.

They watched either a film clip that would make them laugh or a clip that would cause stress. Then, more than 48 hours later, they watched a film that produced the opposite response.

To stop other factors affecting the results, the volunteers ate nothing the night before viewing the films and watched them in a temperature-controlled room while lying down.

Before watching the film clips, the volunteers had their arteries tested using a test called flow-mediated vasodilatation. This test uses an ultrasound machine to measure how well the arteries respond to a sudden increase in blood flow. This test was then repeated at regular intervals after the film had finished.

Is this the first study to suggest that laughing is good for your heart?

No. The same research team published a study in 2001 that appeared to link reduced heart disease risk with having a strong sense of humor.

The researchers looked at 150 men and women who had heart disease and compared their reactions to difficult and embarrassing situations with 150 men and women who had no heart problems. They found that people with heart disease were more likely to react to stressful situations with anger or hostility and less likely to use humor to overcome their embarrassment. They were also less likely to laugh in positive situations and reported a reduced ability to laugh in general.

These findings led the researchers to believe that laughing may protect the heart. Many commentators suggested that a willingness to laugh at life’s woes could help to reduce a person’s risk of heart disease.

However, the design of the study meant that it was not possible to say whether laughing less increased the risk of heart disease or whether people with heart problems laughed less because of their illness. Because of this, the researchers carried out this new study to investigate the effects of laughter and stress on healthy people. Read the rest of this entry »


Is laughter the Best Medicine? (Part 1)


Laughter really may be the best medicine, according to research presented to the American College of Cardiology. Laughing appears to boost your blood flow and researchers say it may reduce your risk of developing heart disease.

But the benefits of laughing don’t stop with your heart: laughing has previously been found to help fight infections, relieve hay fever, ease pain and help control diabetes.

What did this study find?

The researchers found that laughing increased blood flow by more than 20 percent – a similar effect to that of aerobic activity.The positive effect of laughing lasted for 30-45 minutes. In contrast, stress decreased the flow by about 35 percent.

Almost everyone seems to benefit from having a good laugh: 95 percent of the volunteers in the study (19 out of 20) had better blood flow after watching a comedy movie clip. 70 percent (14 out of 20) had a worse blood flow after watching a stressful film sequence What do these findings mean for me? According to the researchers, regular laughter in your life could help to reduce your risk of developing heart disease.

They recommend 15 minutes of laughter a day as well as regular exercise to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Read the rest of this entry »

No tax on overseas capital inflows, says PM

By Arvind Padmanabhan, IANS,

On Board Air India One : In what should be music to the ears of foreign funds, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday ruled out tax on capital flows from overseas, saying a situation for that had not arisen.

Called the Tobin Tax, named after Nobel laureate James Tobin, such a levy seeks to discourage capital flows, especially from speculators, that has a destabilising effect on the domestic financial system.

“I think capital inflows into our country, both by way of direct investment and by way of portfolio investment, have been at reasonable levels,” the prime minister said.

“Tobin Tax has merit in particular situations but as far as India is concerned we have not reached a stage where capital flows have become a problem,” he told an on-board press conference on his return from the Toronto G20 Summit.

“We don’t face situations of the kind now which would require an imposition of Tobin Tax.”

While Brazil already imposes a 2 percent Tobin Tax, the matter also been under discussion both at the G20 and at the domestic level at the Reserve Bank of India.

During the press conference, the prime minister also ruled out any legislation to make it compulsory for corporate houses, especially those implementing state collaborative projects, to provide social services.

“I think good corporate houses are looking at what they can do in the non traditional key in providing social services, education, health facilities for their employees.

“I think that it’s a corporate responsibility which has to be shouldered by the corporate sector on its own. We are not contemplating any legislation in that area,” he said.

(Arvind Padmanabhan can be contacted at

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Posted by on June 29, 2010 in News


Best Daw’ah (Preaching) Activities: Harun Yahya – 18.01.2010 Egypt/Islam Online

Islamonline, one of the most visited Islamic web sites, founded by Egyptian Sheikh Yusuf Kardawi, organized a poll under the name of “IOL Stars of 2009”. In the poll, which was attended by thousands of people in more than 120 countries, the honor award in the field of Daw’ah Preaching Activities was given to Adnan Oktar by a vote of 70%.

The withstanding works of the author were cited on the Islamonline web site as follows:

* In a public poll organized by Reuters, Harun Yahya was nominated as the most influential Muslim in the world.
* He has interviewed with tens of world renown TV stations and newspapers.
* He made his lavish book, Atlas of Creation, reach Europe and America in order to expose the false basis of the theory of evolution. (You can read the impact of the Atlas of Creation from here).
* He calls for an EU alike system, called the Turkish-Islamic Union, which would unite all the Muslim countries and strengthen their economy and cultural interaction.
* He disclosed the false claims of the fossils Aida and Ardi, which are said to be discovered recently as the alleged proof of evolution, right from the beginning.
* He wrote more than 300 books about various subjects.
* He produced hundreds of documentaries in many languages in order to communicate the message of Islam.
* The Harun Yahya website was improved to promoting and publicizing the works of Harun Yahya. Visitors can download the works of Harun Yahya (books, videos, audio books) in more than 30 languages for free.
* His books have attracted great attention all over the world. Since the 90 especially, the works of Harun Yahya have conduced to an intellectual awakening.
* He is among the most well known Muslim Preachers and Intellectuals around the globe.


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