First News
Volume:7, Number:26
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India to Spend Rs.36 Billion on Shivaji’s Statue

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Indian prime minister Narendra Modi on December 24 laid the foundation stone for what is set to be the world’s tallest statue, as its projected multi-million-dollar cost sparked criticism and an online petition against the project. The statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji, a 17th-century Hindu ruler who fought the Muslim Mughal dynasty and carved out his own kingdom, will be more than twice the size of the Statue of Liberty and five times higher than Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro. The structure, a pet project of Hindu nationalist Modi, will rise 192 meters from an island off the western coast of Mumbai in the Arabian Sea. When finished, it will tower over the 128-metre Spring Temple Buddha in China’s Henan province that is currently the world’s tallest statue.

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Atheist China Could Have Largest Number of Christians by 2030

The Amity Printing Company in Nanjing city in eastern China is the world’s largest producer of Bibles. Between 1987 and July 18 this year, it produced 150 million copies in 90 languages languages and sold them in 70 countries. If that is surprising, here is the controversy: Officially atheist China, according to an estimate sharply criticized by Beijing, could have the largest number of Christians in the world by 2030. A 2011 Pew survey said around 5 percent of China’s population in 2010 – or around 67 million – were Christians. Of the 150 million Bibles that Amity Print has sold till now, more than 76 million were bought in China through official channels. That demand is unlikely to ebb soon; neither the gatherings at home churches in sitting rooms, attics and garages.

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Venezuelan Women Getting Sterilized to Cope With Economic Crisis

Food shortages, inflation and crumbling medical sector have become such a source of anguish that a growing number of young women in Venezuelan are reluctantly opting for sterilizations rather than face the hardship of pregnancy and child rearing. Traditional contraceptives like condoms or birth control pills have virtually vanished from store shelves, pushing women towards the hardto- reverse surgery. While no recent national statistics on sterilizations are available, doctors and health workers say demand for the procedure is growing. The local health program for women in Miranda state, which includes parts of Caracas, offers 40 spots during these "sterilization days", but as recently as last year did not usually fill them. Now all the slots are scooped up and some 500 women are on the waiting list, according to program director Deliana Torres.

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This New Year’s Eve Was One Second Longer

Scientists at the Parisbased International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS) have added an extra second on December 31, to compensate for the slowing of the Earth's rotation. According to timekeepers, this means that the world’s clocks will go from 11:59:59 to 11:59:60 before turning to 00:00:00. In astrophysics, this event is referred to as a leap second. As leap seconds can pose a threat to computer systems, the IERS – the group responsible for administering international time – typically give a six months’ notice about the time changes,and only places them at the end of December or June. However, according to the UK-based New Scientist journal, there have been calls to stop adding leap seconds and to let the earth’s rotation gradually diverge from the time.

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Study Reveals Loneliness May Kill Elderly People Early

Loneliness, especially in older years, is a predictor of early death. There is a lot of evidence linking loneliness to physical illness and to functional and cognitive decline. Research in both London and the US shows that up to 46 percent of those over 60 report feeling lonely. Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology identified a ”loneliness center” in the brain, a center best known for its link to depression. Professor John Cacioppo of Chicago University has shown that loneliness over stimulates the body’s stress response. The findings indicated that those affected had higher rates of declining mobility, difficulty in performing routine daily activities and death during six years of followup than those who didn’t complain of loneliness.

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