Los Angeles, Sep 19 (IANS) Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow says she is happy to take up smaller roles in films as it will help her in being a good wife and mother. She has scaled back the number of movies she does after becoming mother to her first child, daughter Apple, in 2004. Paltrow wants to to spend as little time away from her family as possible and she had no problem giving up her hectic work schedule to ensure she was the best wife to her rocker husband Chris Martin and the number one mother for her two kids, reports contactmusic.com. "When I started out acting, I was connected with the artist in me, but at some point, I got out of touch with why I was acting. Then my father died (in 2002), and I took time off to reassess and be with my kids," contactmusic.com quoted Paltrow as saying. Paltrow also has a son named Moses, 6. "I haven't starred in a movie since I was pregnant with my daughter. I can't be away from home that long. I look for an interesting supporting part I can do about once a year. "That's the most I can manage. Some women can do it and that's fantastic, but I can't. You make choices as a wife and mother, don't you? You can't have it all," said the 39-year-old. However, Paltrow may be returning to the spotlight as a leading lady sooner than she expected. She was recently reported to be in talks to star in a new movie based on the memoir of top New York chef Gabrielle Hamilton in "Blood, Bones & Butter".
Beijing, Sep 19 (IANS) A farmer in China made an aircraft, carried it to a road near his village and successfully flew it. Tian Shaoqiang, 39, a farmer from Linzhou in central China's Henan province, made his own dynamic delta-wing aircraft at home. With the help of relatives and neighbours, Tian transported the aircraft wings and body to a road near the village. He then took off on a stable 20-minute flight after which the aircraft landed safely, reported Global Times citing chinanews.com. The plane has white canvas wings, aluminium body and engine. The cockpit has necessary instruments showing altitude and speed. The farmer said the aircraft can fly at a speed of 100 km per hour. "Everyone has his own dream. Mine is to live my life to the fullest instead of wasting it. I know it is dangerous, but dangerous things are more challenging," Tian was quoted as saying. So, what's next? Tian wants to make a two-man aircraft so that he can bring his family and friends on flights.
Washington, Sep 19 (IANS) Math jitters grip bright students even as first or second graders and haunts them lifelong, says a study. Sian Beilock, professor in psychology at the University of Chicago and her colleagues, found most surprisingly that math anxiety harmed the highest-achieving students, who typically have the most working memory. "You can think of working memory as a kind of 'mental scratchpad' that allows us to 'work' with whatever information is temporarily flowing through consciousness," said Beilock, who co-authored the study with Chicago doctoral candidate Gerardo Ramirez and others. "It's especially important when we have to do a math problem and juggle numbers in our head. Working memory is one of the major building blocks of IQ," he added, the Journal of Cognition and Development reported. The team showed that a high degree of math anxiety undermined performance of otherwise successful students, placing them almost half a school year behind their less anxious peers, according to a Chicago statement. Less talented students with lower working memory were not impacted by anxiety, because they developed simpler ways of dealing with mathematics problems, such as counting on their fingers. Ironically, because these lower-performing students didn't use working memory much to solve math problems, their performance didn't suffer when worried. Researchers tested 88 first-graders and 66 second-graders from a large urban school system, to measure their academic abilities, their working memory and their fear of mathematics. They were asked, on a sliding scale, how nervous they felt to go to the front of the room and work on a mathematics problem on the board. The study found that among the highest-achieving students, about half had medium to high math anxiety. Math anxiety was also common among low-achieving students, but it did not impact their performance.
Colombo, Sep 19 (IANS) Ireland won the toss and elected to bat against Australia in their World Twenty20 Championship match at the R Premadasa Stadium here Wednesday. Teams: Australia: David Warner, Shane Watson, Michael Hussey, George Bailey (captain), Cameron White, Glenn Maxwell, Mathew Wade, Daniel Christian, Brad Hogg, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc. Ireland: William Porterfield (captain), Paul Stirling, Ed Joyce, Niall O'Brien, Gary Wilson, Kevin O'Brien, Alex Cusack, Trent Johnston, Nigel Jones, George Dockrell, Boyd Rankin.
Washington, Sep 19 (IANS) Scholars took 37 years to compile a dictionary recording the daily lives of ancient Egyptians, including what taxes they paid, what they expected in a marriage and how they worked. The ancient language is Demotic Egyptian, a name given by the Greeks to denote it was the tongue of the demos, or common people. It was written as a flowing script and was used in Egypt from about 500 B.C. to 500 A.D., when the land was occupied and usually dominated by foreigners, including Persians, Greeks and Romans. "Demotic was used for business and legal documents, private letters and administrative inscriptions, and literary texts, such as narratives and pieces of wisdom literature," said Janet Johnson, editor of the Chicago Demotic Dictionary and professor at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. "It was also used for religious and magical texts as well as scientific texts dealing with topics such as astronomy, mathematics and medicine. "It is an indispensable tool for reconstructing the social, political and cultural life of ancient Egypt during a fascinating period of its history," she continued. Johnson has worked with Demotic since she was a graduate student at the Oriental Institute. The advent of computer technology facilitated the assembly of the Demotic Dictionary. The language lives on today in words such as adobe, which came from the Egyptian word for brick. The word moved through Demotic, on to Arabic and eventually to Spain during the time of Islamic domination there, explained Janet Johnson, editor of the Chicago Demotic Dictionary. Ebony, the dark wood that was traded down the Nile from Nubia (present-day Sudan), also has Demotic roots. The name Susan is indirectly related to the Demotic word for water lily, according to a Chicago statement. "The University of Chicago is pretty much Demotic central," said James Allen, professor of egyptology at Brown University. "Besides the Demotic dictionary, the University also has some of the world's top experts on Demotic on its faculty." The work began in 1975 as a supplement and update to Wolja Erichsen's Demotisches Glossar, published in 1954. The dictionary is based on texts in Demotic that were published by scholars from 1955 to 1979, and lists new words not included in Erichsen's work as well as new uses of words included there.
Madrid, Sep 19 (IANS) Malaga midfielder Francisco Izco was the hero of the night as the Spanish side enjoyed a triumphant start to their Champions League football campaign with a 3-1 win over Zenit St Petersburg. The former Valencia player scored an early goal before Tuesday night adding a second 15 minutes from time to ensure a fine home win for a side with little European experience, reports Xinhua. The home side in their first Champions League appearance could hardly have dreamed of a better start as Izco scored a splendid opening goal. The former Valencia youngster cut in from the left wing and unleashed a stunning left foot shot into the far corner of the Zenit net after just three minutes. Hulk was close to levelling for the Russians barely a minute later, but his shot from the edge of the penalty area rebounded off the Malaga post. Details such as that can change the destiny of a match and instead of finding the scores level at 1-1, Malaga soon found themselves 2-0 ahead. New signing Javier Saviola brought the ground to its feet with his second goal in just two appearances for the club. Right back, Jesus Gamez sent in a pinpoint cross from the right and Saviola controlled and scored from the edge of the six-yard box. Malaga were flying and Saviola almost scored a second after 20 minutes, before Zenit began to find their feet and the game became more even. Malaga keeper, Willy Caballero made a good save from Alexander Kerzhakov four minutes from time and a minute later he did well to stop a header from Roman Shirokov. The home side started the second half brightly with Eliseu looking dangerous on the wing, although Caballero was the busier of the two keepers until Izco added Malaga's third with a magnificent shot from the edge of the Zenit area into the top corner of the net. The home fans celebrated by chanting the name of coach Manuel Pellegrini and enjoying the closing minutes of a historic night on the south coast of Spain.
London, Sep 19 (IANS) Actress Kelly Brook says she has put a lot of thought into each garment designed for her collection for high street retailer New Look, and kept the "real women" in mind while creating it. The 32-year-old wanted the line to be practical, flattering and affordable. "I wanted to design for real women with real budgets. Girls should celebrate their curves and feel confident and sexy," contactmusic.com quoted Brook as saying. "From the peplums to the sculpted bust details, everything is considered. I've catered for all body shapes. Even in the fittings I would say, 'How do I wear a bra with that?' I aimed for the ultimate flattering fit," she added.
London, Sep 19 (IANS) Pop star Madonna has helped "Fashion Police" host Kelly Osbourne drop a dress size by giving her exercise and diet tips. The two have worked together on the "Girl Gone Wild" hitmaker's clothing range Material Girl, and the singer has been advising Osbourne on diet and exercise to help her shed weight she gained earlier this year. "Madonna's helped Kelly get back to a size eight. Kelly does the Ballet Barre workout five days week - she loves the dance element and can see how it's changed her shape," contactmusic.com quoted a source as saying. "Madonna's also encouraged her to eat in a more macrobiotic way - cutting out wheat, artificial sweeteners and cheese. Kelly's avoiding carbs to beat bloating and has been eating boiled eggs for breakfast, grilled chicken salad for lunch and fish with steamed greens for dinner," added the source.
Hyogo (Japan), Sep 19 (IANS) Asian Tour stalwarts Jeev Milkha Singh of India and Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee are upbeat about winning the Asia-Pacific Panasonic Open despite struggling with injuries. Jeev has an injured trigger finger and Thongchai twisted his right ankle earlier but they will play at the US $1.9 million event sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour starting Thursday. Thongchai and Singh will make up a total of five Asian Tour Order of Merit winners this week, who include Juvic Pagunsan of the Philippines, Liang Wen-chong of China and Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand, who have a combined total of eight Order of Merit crowns. Title holder Tetsuji Hiratsuka, Gaganjeet Bhullar, who won his third Asian Tour title Monday, Ryo Ishikawa and Anirban Lahiri and current Order of Merit leader Marcus Fraser of Australia will also feature at the Higashi Hirono Golf Club. Jeev, who is a two-time Asian Tour Order of Merit winner, did not touch his golf clubs for four weeks as he injured his trigger finger in his play-off victory at the Scottish Open. Despite the lack of competitive golfing, he carded a tied 31st result in Japan last week and hopes to spring another surprise this week. "I was pleasantly surprised at how I played last week considering I didn't touch a club for four weeks," said Jeev, who has won four titles in Japan. "The finger still hurts and it is on the way to healing. Four weeks of not touching the golf clubs helped but I still have to tape it up," added the 40-year-old.
The appearance of China's presumptive leader Vice President Xi Jinping in the state media Sep 15 relieved the tension among many in China and abroad. It meant the consensus on the leadership transition at the 18th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) still holds to a large extent barring something unexpected. Xi vanished from public view Sep 1, with no official explanation. He missed two important meetings: with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Earlier in the year, Xi paid an extended tour to the US as an introductory trip for China's next top leader. The importance of the meeting with Clinton lay in that this may have been her last visit to China as Secretary. While China has opened up in many sectors, the CCP has not yet dared to break out from some of the old fixations considered related to the party's security. The health of senior leaders remains a top state secret. Former CCP chief Zhao Ziyang was charged with treason in 1989 for having discussed senior leader Deng Xiaoping's health with visiting Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev. Of course there were pressing ideological reasons to remove Zhao but Deng's health was equally important. The CCP had reasons to keep the health of top leaders secret. During the Mao era there was a constant power struggle. They believed that the common people had no business with senior leaders' health; this was considered a state affair. Under Mao's leadership top leaders were purged and vanished from public view without explanation. Marshal Peng Dehuai, one of China's 10 Marshals of the People's Liberation Party, was purged for opposing Mao in 1959, not to be heard again. Mao's putative successor, Marshal Lin Biao, died in an air crash after falling out with his mentor in 1971. It took years for people to know about it. Even now the full details are not known. Although the Cultural Revolution (1966-76) has been officially condemned as "wrong", the Chinese leadership does not want their people and the world to know about the follies of the Communist Party which led to the death of 30 million at least out of starvation. Many of Mao's excesses like the purge of Peng Dehuai are also taboo subjects, because Mao was assessed at 70 percent "good", 30 percent "bad" and remains relevant as the flag bearer of the revolution. Each Chinese leader and especially members of the Standing Committee of the Politburo wield considerable power and have dedicated constituency and powerful patrons. At the top of the pyramid, each is a brick joined by compromise and consensus. If one brick falls or weakens, the edifice weakens. Any sign of weakening of this edifice, the CCP, is dangerous and threatening. In the perception of CCP, if the party weakens or breaks up, China will disintegrate. The alternative to CCP is chaos. The Western system of multi-party democracy does not fit China. On this there is a consensus within China. The importance of being Xi Jinping is that he is to succeed Hu Jintao in two months. Xi will lead China for the next 10 years as per the laid down norms. An ill leader is also a weak leader, and a weak leader does not inspire confidence among the people and the party. Contrary to the Indian and other democratic systems, Chinese do look over their shoulders all the time to see who is about to stab him in the back. Hence Xi's absence from the spotlight created confusion, raised questions, and rumour mills had a field day. This was disturbing for the top authorities. The transition of power to the fifth generation of leadership was expected to be smooth. They are the inheritors of China in a global world. But the transition process saw some hiccups with very high level scandals. The top leadership is not one on economic policies, foreign policies and ideology. Xi and Hu belong to competitive camps, especially on domestic economic policies and politics. In the upcoming leadership, XI is expected to have greater say, since Hu's protege Li Keqiang had to be satisfied with the port of premier in the next leadership. China's external interlocutors have a fair idea of Xi's policy agenda though he has been very careful not to openly give access to his mind. The concern in China and outside still remains how healthy Xi is. Knowledgeable Chinese sources say he had a cardiac infarction - which ranges from a bypass to something much more serious that would need a retired life. This is where the fragility of the Chinese system lies. Xi would eventually head the party, the state and the military. And they are confused about what to do if Xi had to withdraw from public life. There would be another power struggle. How to deal with the people who have become internet active with their blogs rarely complimentary to the authorities? China has 5.5 million internet users. They have an equally strong internet censorship army. But the bloggers get past the censors somehow. The case of Xi's "absence" should make for some interesting studies of Chinese politics and its durability. At the same time it would be naive to expect multi-party democracy to come to China any time soon. (19.09.2012 - Bhaskar Roy is a China watcher. These views are personal, not of IANS. He can be reached at email@example.com)