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Coffee Lovers Sensitive to Caffeine's Bitter Taste: Study November 17, 2018 12:00

People who are more sensitive to coffee's bitter taste indeed drink more of the brew, a study suggests.The study which is published in the journal Scientific Reports found that the sensitivity is caused by a genetic variant."You'd expect that people who are particularly sensitive to the bitter taste of caffeine would drink less coffee," said Marilyn Cornelis, assistant professor at Northwestern University in the United States."The opposite results of our study suggest coffee consumers acquire a taste or an ability to detect caffeine due to the learned positive reinforcement (ie stimulation) elicited by caffeine," Cornelis said."People who have a heightened ability to taste coffee's bitterness - and particularly the distinct bitter flavor of caffeine - learn to associate good things with it," she said.In the study group, people who were more sensitive to caffeine and were consuming a lot of coffee consumed low amounts of tea.The study also found people sensitive to the bitter flavors of quinine and of PROP, a synthetic taste accompanying the compounds in cruciferous vegetables, avoided coffee.Related content: 5 Vigorous Ways to Maintain Your PhysiqueFor alcohol, a higher sensitivity to the bitterness of PROP ensued in lower alcohol consumption, particularly of red wine."The findings suggest our perception of bitter tastes, informed by our genetics, contributes to the preference for coffee, tea, and alcohol," Cornelis said.Scientists applied Mendelian randomization, a technique very often used in disease epidemiology, to trial the causal relationship between bitter taste and beverage consumption in over 400,000 men and women in the United Kingdom.The genetic variants linked to caffeine, quinine, and PROP perception were previously identified through genome-wide analysis of solution taste-ratings collected from Australian twins.These genetic variants were then tested for associations with self-reported intake of tea, coffee, and alcohol in the current study."Taste has been studied for a long time, but we don't know the full mechanics of it," Cornelis said. -Sowmya Sangam

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Facebook Investors Want Mark Zuckerberg to Resign November 17, 2018 11:58

Facebook investors have increased pressure on Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg to step down after a New York Times investigation suggested that the social network hired a Republican-owned political consulting and PR firm that "dug up dirt on its competitors".According to a report in The Guardian on Saturday, Jonas Kron, Senior Vice President at Trillium Asset Management which owns a substantial stake in Facebook, "called on Zuckerberg to step down as board chairman in the wake of the report"."Facebook is behaving like it's a special snowflake. It's not. It is a company and companies need to have a separation of chair and CEO," Kron was quoted as saying.The New York Times report suggested that Facebook hired Definers Public Affairs, a Washington, D.C.-based conservative firm which did PR work for Facebook "and dug up dirt on the company's competitors and its critics".In a press call, Zuckerberg contradicted he had any previous cognition about this firm.Related content: Facebook Blocks 30 Accounts Ahead of Midterm Elections"After reading the article, I got on the phone with our team and we are no longer working with this firm," he said.Definers allegedly "encouraged the depiction of Facebook's critics as anti-Semites and had published news articles criticizing Facebook's competitors".Another Facebook investor Natasha Lamb from Arjuna Capital said the combined role of chairman and chief executive means that "Facebook can avoid properly fixing problems inside the company", said the report.According to TechCrunch, founded by a Republican campaign manager known for his dirt-digging prowess, Definers is far from a normal, politically neutral contractor.In a statement, Facebook COO (Chief Operating Officer) Sheryl Sandberg also denied any knowledge of the firm.Facebook said that it used the consultant Definers Public Affairs to look into the funding of "Freedom from Facebook" to demonstrate that it was not simply a spontaneous grassroots campaign, as it claimed, "but supported by a well-known critic of our company," presumably liberal financier George Soros."To suggest that this was an anti-Semitic attack is reprehensible and untrue," the company added.Facebook has also denied the allegation that it knew about Russian activity as early as the spring of 2016 but was slow to investigate it at every turn.As a consequence of the report, Facebook stocks fell 3 percent on Friday to $139.53, the lowest since April 2017.-Sowmya Sangam

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Indian-Origin Can Become U.S. President Eventually: Diplomat November 17, 2018 10:05

The United States might one day have an Indian-origin President, said a former Ambassador, Surendra Kumar."There are so many talented and resourceful Indian-origin educated youths in the U.S. that sooner or later one of them can become the President of the U.S. One good thing in the U.S. is that in that country, you can see your dream come true," said Kumar, India's former Permanent Representative at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), apart from serving in a number of foreign capitals.While delivering a speech on "70 years of India's Relations with the U.S." at the Tripura University on Friday evening, the diplomat dwelt upon the U.S. President Donald Trump's "America First Policy" and felt that it might pose some "difficulties" for the Indian youngsters who would want to settle in the country.The address was part of a program sponsored by the Public Diplomacy Division of India's External Affairs Ministry."Look at the universities and academia in the U.S. Some of the most prestigious universities and schools have Indian-origin deans. In institutions like Harvard and Carnegie, many Indians or Indian origin academics are making their name."In this regard, he referred to former Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan and former Vice Chairman of Niti Aayog Arvind Panagariya.Kumar has also served as India's Ambassador to Libya, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Eritrea and as a High Commissioner to Kenya, Swaziland, and Malta.The diplomat, who also served as the Consul General of India in Chicago, in 2010 founded the Indo-American Friendship Association in New Delhi - a non-profit organization aspiring enlarging the horizon of friendship and understanding between India and the U.S.Kumar detailed on the U.S. policy on Southeast Asia, Asean and Pakistan, besides India.On America's relations with Pakistan, he said that the U.S. could not cut Islamabad off altogether unless the Afghan problem was resolved."The U.S. needs Pakistan but at the same time they still did exert pressure on them as far as terrorism was concerned."He as well referred to the emergence of several Indian-origin women in America.Tripura University Vice-Chancellor V.L. Dharurkar said that if ever an Indian-origin would become the American President, it would definitely be a woman."Americans trust Indian women more. Anandi Gopal Joshi was the first Indian woman who went to the U.S. to pursue a degree in medicine and graduated from Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania," Dharurkar said.-Sowmya Sangam

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Deepika, Ranveer's Inside Nuptial Photos Set Social Media on Thrill November 17, 2018 09:25

The newlyweds Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh on Thursday released first photos of their wedding in Italy after a long wait and since then, the guests and actors' friends have been posting endearing clicks from the wedding on their social media handles. On Friday, stylist Nitasha Gaurav shared a group picture from DeepVeer's Konkani wedding. Seen in the photo was Ranveer Singh's team including Sumana Ghosh, Susan Rodriguez, Anju Bhavnani, Darshan Yewalekar, Jayesh Kishanchandani, Aditi Sapre among others.         View this post on Instagram Us and ours #MrsandMrRanveerSingh #deepveerkishaadi #ranveerkishaadi A post shared by Nitasha Gaurav (@nitashagaurav) on Nov 16, 2018 at 5:45am PST Another photo from the wedding presenting Deepika's team is likewise doing the rounds and this one features Sandhya Shekhar, Shaleena Nathani, Gabriel Georgiou among others. (Source: The Indian Express) A photograph from Ranveer and Deepika's 'Chooda ceremony' was also shared on designer Sabyasachi's Instagram. In the photo, Ranveer and Deepika were glowing with happiness as they posed with the wedding guests. (Source: The Indian Express) Ranveer and Deepika are expected to return to the country on November 18 after which the two will host a reception for friends and relatives on November 21 in Bengaluru. They will also host a reception in Mumbai for their Bollywood friends and colleagues on November 28. -Sowmya    

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Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Protect Work Authorization of H-1B Spouses November 17, 2018 09:04

The H-4 Employment Protection Act, a legislation seeking to stop Trump administration from revoking the work authorization of spouses of H1-B visa holders, which include Indians, has been introduced in the United States Congress by two lawmakers. The lawmakers said eliminating this benefit would force many foreign workers to use their talent to compete against American businesses.H-4 visas are given to the spouses of H-1B foreign workers. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa through which many Indians workers are employed in the U.S. companies. It allows the U.S. firms to hire foreign workers in specialty occupations that need theoretical or technical expertise and is the most sought-after visa among Indian tech professionals.H-4 visas are issued solely to very close or immediate family members of the H-1B visa holders.Related content: U.S. Says Will Take Public Opinion On H-4 Visa Revocation ProposalThe move by lawmakers Anna G Eshoo and Zoe Lofgren to introduce the legislation come amid resolution by the Trump administration to revoke an Obama-era rule that lasts work authorization to the partners of H-1B visa holders.Since the rule was implemented, more than one lakh workers, chiefly women from India, have received employment authorization, improving the American competitiveness and lessening the economic burden on thousands of H-1B workers and their families, the two lawmakers said after presenting the bill in the house.The H-4 Employment Protection Act prohibits the Trump administration from revoking this important rule, which it is expected to do by the end of the year, they said. "Protecting work authorization for these H-4 visa holders is a matter of both economic fairness and family unity," Eshoo said."Eliminating this benefit would create a painful choice for many immigrants to either split up their families or return to their home countries and use their talents to compete against American businesses," Eshoo said. "These are American citizens-in-waiting, stuck in line for their number to come up," Congressman Lofgren said."Prohibiting H-1B dependent spouses from working is of no benefit to our country, and if allowed to move forward, many of these families that can contribute so much to our workforce will simply move to countries with a more sensible approach to immigration. This much-needed bill will block the Trump administration from needlessly harming our economy and the lives of skilled immigrant families," Lofgren said.-Sowmya Sangam

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Infosys Begins Building of U.S. Education Center in Indianapolis November 17, 2018 05:43

India's second largest IT (Information Technology) services company Infosys on Friday announced that is has started construction of its United States education center in Indianapolis, entailing the first investment of USD 35 million.In a statement, Infosys said that the training campus and residential center for its staff, as well as employees of select clients, aim to prepare the American workforce for the technology jobs of the future."The company is providing an initial investment of $35 million to create the first 125,000 square feet of development, transforming the 70.5-acre site into an innovative training center," the company said.The initial phase of the project is expected to be complete by 2020 end.In March 2018, Infosys opened its first U.S. Technology and Innovation Hub in Indianapolis and after a month the firm expanded its hiring plans for Indiana from 2,000 to 3,000 new jobs by the end of 2023.Earlier this year, Infosys proclaimed plans to hire 10,000 Americans by 2019.Related content: U.S. Lobby Group Restates Indian IT's H-1B WorriesIndian IT companies have been ramping up local hiring in offshore markets to tackle visa-related challenges.-Sowmya Sangam

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Caravan Influx to Last at Least 6 Months, Says Tijuana Mayor November 17, 2018 05:39

With more or less 3,000 Central American migrants had reached the Mexican border across from California and thousands more anticipated, the mayor of Tijuana, a city in     Mexico, said Friday that the city was preparing for an influx that will last at least six months and may have no end in sight.Juan Manuel Gastelum said there were 2,750 migrants from the caravan in Tijuana and that estimates by Mexico's federal government indicate the number could approach 10,000."No city in the world is prepared to receive this - if I'm allowed - this avalanche," he said during a news conference at City Hall. "It is a tsunami. There is concern among all citizens of Tijuana."The United States border inspectors are handling only about 100 asylum claims a day at Tijuana's main crossing to San Diego, creating long waits. Asylum seekers register their names in a worn notebook managed by migrants themselves that had over 3,000 names even before the caravan arrived.Along the just about 3,000 miles (nearly 5,000 kilometers) from the caravan's origin in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, to this city on the Pacific Ocean, the migrants have stopped in most places for only a single night, with some exceptions.That overpowered small towns in southern Mexico particularly - but only briefly. The migrants' expected long stay in Tijuana has elevated concerns about the ability of the teeming border city of over 1.6 million to handle the influx.Pleading for financial assistance from the Mexican government, Gastelum severely warned migrants against criminal behavior, though authorities reported only seven arrests up to now - five for drug consumption and two for disorderly conduct."Supposedly they are fleeing catastrophe, mistreatment in their countries of origin. How is it possible that they arrive here and, if they want, create disorder?" the mayor said. "It's not right." His language linking the latest arrivals to crime marks how the caravan is already testing Tijuana's proud history as a melting pot for immigrants, a tradition that Gastelum also highlighted.A municipal gymnasium and recreational complex that has been converted to a shelter were expected to register up to 1,000 people Thursday night but ended up housing more than 2,000, including more than 400 children.Tijuana officials said they opened the shelter as part of an effort to keep migrants out of public spaces. The city's privately run shelters are meant to have a capacity of 700.At the municipal shelter, long lines formed for showers and meals of tuna casserole or noodle soup with coffee. Outdoor canopies covered rows of mattresses and blankets.A woman singing Mexican "ranchera" music on a loudspeaker drew a small crowd, while men congregated in circles to play cards. Eighteen new portable toilets on a grass field made bathroom lines disappear.The U.S. President Donald Trump, who sought to make the caravan a campaign issue in last week's elections, took to Twitter on Friday to aim some new criticism at the migrants.Related content: Trump to Ban Entry of Migrants at Southern Border: Washington Post"Isn't it ironic that large Caravans of people are marching to our border wanting U.S.A. asylum because they are fearful of being in their country - yet they are proudly waving … their country's flag. Can this be possible? Yes, because it is all a BIG CON, and the American taxpayer is paying for it," he said in a pair of tweets.Migrant Ronald Calderon, who picked coffee beans back in Honduras, said he would seek asylum in the U.S. if he felt there was a 90 percent chance of success. But he figures the odds are long and doesn’t want to risk being deported, so he hopes to find work and settle in Tijuana."I see that Donald Trump talks about us as criminals and killers, and I don’t think an opportunity may present itself," said Calderon, 23.Andrea Ramirez, 42, said that her siblings were killed by gangs in Honduras and that she registered her name Friday to seek asylum in the U.S."The only thing we want is not to go back to Honduras," Ramirez said.Likewise Friday, another caravan set out from Mexico City heading toward the border.Gastelum, the mayor, wondered why the migrants chose Tijuana instead of other Mexican cities on the U.S. border, vaguely suggesting a sinister plot without elaborating."There is an intention to do things badly. There is an intention to prejudice Tijuana, and we cannot allow that," he said.His remarks marked an opposition to a more welcoming tone from other officials. Francisco Rueda, the top deputy to Baja California Governor Francisco Vega de la Madrid, said Thursday that the state had 7,000 jobs available for any migrants who obtain legal status in Mexico.Gustavo Magallanes, director of Baja California's migrant attention agency, said Friday that the state is doing the best it can at a difficult time and that, near the end of the year, agencies at all levels of government lack funds.The governor had also asked federal officials to speak to their U.S. counterparts about possibly accelerating asylum processing, he said.Magallanes said the governor had not ordered that more migrants be prevented from arriving in Tijuana but said state officials were telling people in the caravan they might get processed faster in the city of Mexicali because the list in Tijuana is so long.Magallanes said it was "likely" the migrants could be waiting in Tijuana for four to six months. The state government plans to push them to regularize their immigration status in Mexico so they can be offered work.He said he could not speak for Tijuana's mayor but believed his comments had been misinterpreted."We are looking for the best way for these Central American migrants … to be able to be in the best situation in this state," Magallanes said.-Sowmya Sangam

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Indian-American Thomas Kurian to Lead Google Cloud November 17, 2018 05:13

Former Oracle product chief, an Indian-American Thomas Kurian will succeed Diane Greene as head of the cloud division at Alphabet's Google in the approaching weeks, Greene announced in a blog post on Friday, after a tumultuous year for the business.Greene said she had joined Google three years ago with plans to leave after two years and will move into investing and philanthropy in January, however, she will remain on Alphabet's board.Serving for 22 years at Oracle, Kurian, who had been a close associate of its founder Larry Ellison, resigned in September after striving to expand its cloud business.Greene has served as chief executive of Google Cloud, while Kurian will be senior vice president for Google Cloud, a company spokesman said.Google proclaimed in February that the cloud division, which sells computing services, online data storage and productivity software such as email and spreadsheet tools, was generating more than $1 billion in quarterly revenue.It faced a reversal months later when thousands of Google employees revolted against Greene's unit supplying the United States military with artificial intelligence tools to aid in analyzing drone imagery. Greene responded by announcing the deal would not be renewed.Related content: Google Announces New Sexual Misconduct Policies After Global StrikeThe recoil over military work induced an internal committee of top employees to issue company wide principles to regulate the use of Google's artificial intelligence systems, including a ban on using them to develop arms. The move essentially constricted the cloud unit's potential customer base.Google also bowed out from bidding for a $10 billion military cloud computing contract, citing its absence of certifications to manage sensitive data.Closing and extending such deals would have given Google Cloud a major boost as it tries to catch up to rivals Amazon and Microsoft. Oracle's cloud business trails Google's.Steve Koenig, a financial analyst following Oracle for Wedbush Securities, said Kurian is better positioned at Google to drive business sales growth than at his former employer."Like Diane Greene, Kurian has serious enterprise chops," Koenig said. "Google clearly remains serious about scaling up its enterprise business."Greene said Kurian interviewed with her, Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai and long-time infrastructure chief Urs Holzle and will join Google on November 26.-Sowmya Sangam

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Jamal Khashoggi Murdered With Overdose of Drugs: Saudi Probe November 16, 2018 12:26

Saudi Arabia's Public Prosecution revealed on Thursday that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered with "overdose" of a drug injected by a group of Saudi agents. Khashoggi was "forcibly restrained and injected with a large amount of a drug resulting in an overdose that led to his death," the Public Prosecution said in a detailed press briefing on the results of the investigation into Khashoggi's death, Xinhua reported. The investigation comprised 21 suspects, including five key offenders, who were urged by the Public Prosecution for the death penalty as a punishment for their direct roles in the slaying. The statement said that the plot began on September 29 on an order to bring back Khashoggi by means of persuasion and if persuasion fails, to do so by force. The former Deputy President of the General Intelligence Presidency (GIP) issued this order. The mission's leader formed a 15-member team which incorporates three groups for dialogues, intelligence, and logistics to carry and return the victim. The leader likewise asked a forensics expert to join the team for the intent of removing evidence from the scene in case force had to be used. The expert joined the team without the cognition of his superiors, said the statement. A collaborator in Turkey was as well contacted to secure a safe location for transferring the slain journalist. After surveying the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the negotiation team concluded it would not be possible to transfer Khashoggi to the harmless location. Then, the head of the negotiation team decided to murder the journalist if the negotiations fail, said the statement. Five individuals killed Khashoggi with an injection of a large amount of a drug consequent in an overdose. Then the victim's body was dismembered by the individuals that committed the murder and transferred outside the consulate building, it added. The investigation also identified the individual who wore Khashoggi's clothes after the murder and disposed of the victim's belongings in a trash receptacle, including his watch and glasses, after leaving the consulate building. The investigation revealed that the leader of the mission agreed with the negotiation group to write a mendacious report that stated the victim had left the consulate after the failure of dialogue or forcing his return. In a statement issued earlier on Thursday, Saudi Public Prosecutor requested death penalty for the five prime suspects in the case over charges accompanying ordering and committing the murder. Khashoggi, a journalist for The Washington Post and a beefed-up critic of Saudi regime, disappeared on October 2 after getting into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey to acquire documents for his marriage, sparking a probe by the Turkish government and international pressure on Riyadh to reveal about his whereabouts. Saudi authorities after initial denials admitted late earlier this month that Khashoggi was dead inside the consulate and 18 individuals in connection to the case were arrested. By Sowmya

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Indians Among World's Highest Spenders Abroad: Report November 16, 2018 11:45

Over the next five years, the number of Indian visitors traveling to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations will create an extra 10.8 million room nights, since Indians are among the world's highest spenders per visit made abroad, according to new data. The latest research published by Colliers International, ahead of Arabian Travel Market 2019 (ATM), foretells that around nine million Indians will travel to the GCC states by 2022 - 37 percent of India's total outbound market with the place of work, business, and leisure underpinning this demand. Indian outbound tourists will account for 22.5 million worldwide tourists in 2018, with reports from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) estimating this figure will increase by 122 percent to reach more than 50 million by 2022. The ATM is scheduled to happen from April 28-May 1, 2019. In addition to this, Indian tourists are among the world's highest spenders per visit made overseas, with visitor spend expected to increase from USD 23 billion in 2018 to USD 45 billion by 2022. Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director, Arabian Travel Market, said, "Despite recent weak rupee exchange rates, which have seen the rupee lose around 14 percent of its value against the U.S. dollar over the last 12 months, the Indian outbound market has continued to grow at an average annual growth rate of 10-12 percent over the last seven years". She said, "The GCC has benefited from this trend with Indian travelers' willingness and ability to spend on outbound travel supported by the country's pace-setting seven percent GDP growth and a new generation of leisure attractions in the GCC as well as increased business opportunities and relaxed visa regulations for Indian nationals. We are witnessing this growth first hand with Indian visitors to ATM increasing 27 percent year-on-year between 2017 and 2018". In 2017, the United Arab Emirates welcomed 2.3 million Indian tourists, accounting for 13 percent of its entire yearly visitors, with this figure expected to rise at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of seven percent by 2022. India retained top spot on Dubai's list of source markets for inbound tourism, with more than a million Indian tourists getting in the emirate during the first half of 2018, registering a three percent growth over the same period in 2017. Laid-back visa limitations and the introduction of a free two-day transit visa have contributed to this growth. "The influx of Indian visitors to the GCC shows no sign of abating, with every reason to believe India will maintain its position as a top source market, moving forward. Supporting this demand, in the UAE alone, there are currently 1,065 weekly flights to India corresponding to 130,000 seats per week. Meanwhile, ongoing bilateral talks are continuing to take place to increase airline frequency between India and all GCC countries," Curtis said. The Colliers research suggests India will rank as the world's youngest country demographically, with 65 percent of the entire population categorized as Gen X or Gen Y by 2025. "A rapidly growing younger population combined with a burgeoning middle class currently representing 350 million of India's total population who have an increasing amount of disposable income, provide strong indications that the country will continue to see a steep rise in the number of nationals traveling abroad over the coming years," Curtis added. By Sowmya

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