Friday, 22 December 2017

Pence on Afghanistan visit

US Vice President Mike Pence surpirse trip to Afghanistan to meet its leaders and underscore America’s commitment to the country four months after President Donald Trump agreed to an open-ended war against insurgents here.
Pence said; “Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our efforts in Afghanistan. The days to shelter terrorists have gone. It has much to lose by continuing to harbour terrorists.”
He said President Trump has “put Pakistan on notice for providing safe haven” to the terrorists on its soil.
“For too long Pakistan has provided safe haven to the Taliban and many terrorist organisations, but those days are over.. President Trump has put Pakistan on notice,” Pence told American troops at the Bagram airbase in Afghanistan.
Pence arrived on a military plane at Bagram Airfield on Thursday night after leaving Washington on Wednesday night.
He then flew by helicopter to Kabul, where he met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah at the presidential palace.
Pence told the leaders he hoped his presence there was tangible evidence that the US was “here to see this through”.
Trump in August pledged a stepped-up military campaign against Taliban insurgents and signalled the US would send more troops to fight in what is the longest war in its history against his election campaign.At the end of August, there were some 11,000 US troops in Afghanistan and more have since arrived.
Ghani expressed gratitude to the US government and said Afghanistan’s partnership with the United States was cemented in sacrifice.
Pence told reporters the strategy of increased troops on the ground and greater authorities for military leaders was paying dividends.
“The results are really beginning to become evident around the country,” he said, adding that Ghani and Abdullah had said, “they’ve begun to see a sea change in the attitudes among the Taliban”.
Pence said their hope was that “eventually the enemy will tire of losing” and be willing to talk peace.
Asked if more troops would be needed, Pence said that would be a decision for Trump in the days ahead.
Pence said he pressed the Afghan leaders for political reforms and Ghani assured him that an election commission was developing a framework for parliamentary elections in 2018.
Pence had originally planned to travel to Israel and Egypt this week but he postponed that trip to remain in Washington while Congress passed legislation to overhaul US tax law.

Brain work,neurons actually fire

22 DEC 2017
The human brain contains a little over 80-odd billion neurons, each joining with other cells to create trillions of connections called synapses.
The numbers are mind-boggling, but the way each individual nerve cell contributes to the brain’s functions is still an area of contention. A new study has overturned a hundred-year-old assumption on what exactly makes a neuron ‘fire’, posing new mechanisms behind certain neurological disorders.
French neuroscientist named Louis Lapicque proposed a model to describe how the voltage of a nerve cell’s membrane increases as a current is applied.
Once reaching a certain threshold, the neuron reacts with a spike of activity, after which the membrane’s voltage resets.
What this means is a neuron won’t send a message unless it collects a strong enough signal.
Lapique’s equations weren’t the last word on the matter, not by far. But the basic principle of his integrate-and-fire model has remained relatively unchallenged in subsequent descriptions, today forming the foundation of most neuronal computational schemes.

Peru tread on as Vote to Impeach Kuczynski Falls

Pedro Pablo Kuczynski whiskers to an impeachment vote late Thursday by lawmakers accusing him of graft in relation to disgraced Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht.
Pedro Pablo Kuczynski denies receiving illegal payments from Brazilian building giant Odebrecht.
“The demand for vacancy on grounds of permanent moral incapacity has not been approved,” the speaker of the opposition-dominated chamber, Luis Galarreta, said after the motion received 79 votes in favor, 19 against and 21 abstentions.
The motion failed by eight votes, as at least 87 votes were required to approve an impeachment.
“Peruvians. Tomorrow begins a new chapter in our history: reconciliation and reconstruction of our country. One single force, one single Peru,” a triumphant Kuczynski wrote on his Twitter account.

FAC:Food scare in conflict-hit Mid East, N. Africa

Food security in the Middle East and North Africa “is fast deteriorating” because of conflicts, the UN’s food agency said Thursday. Violence in Syria, Yemen, Libya, Iraq and Sudan are leading to “a widening gap in well-being” compared with other parts of the region, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said. “The level of undernourishment in the conflict countries is now six times larger than that in non-conflict countries,” it said, as cited by AFP. Yemen is suffering the worst food insecurity and malnutrition of all the conflict-hit countries in the region, followed by Syria and Sudan, according to the FAO’s report.

Bomb explodes outside Athens court

A crude bomb exploded near the Athens Court of Appeal on Friday morning, causing damage to the building, police say. Officers found a bag outside the building which contained explosive material. There are no reports of injuries. Greek media groups received warning calls nearly an hour before the blast, according to police.

Pro Independence way ahead in Catalona Election

Media reports play various exit polls,counting in progress results are in favour of  Catalan pro independence leaders.
Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, are on course to win 70 of the 135 parliamentary seats.
Media report parties opposing the region’s independence are likely to gain 57 seats.
Observers say if secessionist forces regain their majority, they could step up pressure for independence, dealing a heavy blow to the administration of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.
The Catalan election was conducted after Rajoy’s central government dissolved the regional parliament as it approved the unilateral declaration of regional independence in October.

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