India pays more to U.N. budget India, Brazil, China and other emerging nations will pay more to the U.N. after the General Assembly approved a five per cent increase to the budget for 2012-13 to $5.4 billion. Capping days of intense negotiations, the Assembly adopted a range of Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) resolutions, covering the scale of assessing Member States’ dues, the U.N. pension system and the proposed 2013 budget for 33 political missions. In a consensus vote, the 193-member forum increased the budget for regular operations by about $ 243.3 million from the $5.15 billion agreed in December 2011. The income was revised upwards by $3.99 million to $511.74 million for the current biennium. It approved $566.48 million to keep the 33 special political missions running in 2013. These missions include those for Syria, Yemen, Libya and Sudan-South Sudan and large operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

American mathematicians solve Ramanujan’s “deathbed” puzzle American researchers claim to have solved a cryptic formula that renowned mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan believed came to him in dreams while on his deathbed. The formula was contained in a letter he wrote to his mentor, the English mathematician G.H. Hardy, from his deathbed in 1920 outlining several new mathematical functions that had never been heard of before, together with a theory about how they worked. It had baffled mathematicians for more than 90 years, but new findings presented at a conference at the University of Florida last month reportedly show that Ramanujan’s “hunch” about his formula was right that it could explain the behaviour of black holes. No one was talking about black holes back in the 1920s when Ramanujan first came up with mock modular forms, and yet, his work may unlock secrets about them. No kidding with parents China legislature has amended its law on the elderly to require that adult children visit their aged parents “often” or risk being sued by them. The amendment does not specify how frequently such visits should occur. The clause will allow elderly parents who feel neglected by their children to take them to court. The move comes as reports abound of elderly parents being abandoned or ignored by their children. A rapidly developing China is facing increasing difficulty in caring for its aging population. Three decades of market reforms have accelerated the breakup of the traditional extended family, and there are few affordable alternatives, such as retirement or care homes, for the elderly or others unable to live on their own. US Congress approves wire-tapping of foreigners for 5 years The US Congress has approved a five year extension of sweeping Surveillance laws to allow American spy agencies to wire-tap suspicious foreign citizens without warrants. The classified George Bush era Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was approved by the Senate by a 73-23 vote after lawmakers shot down attempts to add oversight and transparency safeguard clauses. The extension of the act was cleared when it was on the brink of expiry by year's end. The House of representative has already passed the bill, which now goes to President Barack Obama for signature. The warrantless wire-tapping was brought as an emergency measure by then President George Bush post 9/11, without Congressional authorisation. The law also provides for keeping tabs on Americans, if they are found to be in communication abroad with foreigners designated as potential terror suspects by agencies like the CIA and the National Security Agency.

Business & Economy:
Iran to relocate airport after oil found under runway Iran plans to relocate an airport in the southwest of the country after discovering oil deposits under its runway. National Iranian Oil Company “intends to buy Ahvaz airport due to the existence of oil deposits under the airport’s tarmac,’’ the state broadcaster’s website quoted Mohammad Rasoulinejad, Managing Director of the Iranian Airports Company.

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Apple drops ‘patent claim’ against Samsung Galaxy SIII Mini Apple has agreed to drop its patent claims against Samsung's Galaxy S III Mini after the South Korean mobile maker said it would not sell the gadget in the United States. According to court documents, the iPhone maker has agreed to withdraw the claims without prejudice.

Alien-like skulls found at 1,000 year old cemetery A number of alien-like skulls have been discovered in a 1,000 year old cemetery in Mexico. The finding initially stunned the researchers, however, upon closer inspection the skulls were found to be human skulls warped into strange, alien-like shapes. Scientists said the practise of deforming skulls of children as they grew was common in Central America, and these findings suggest the tradition spread farther north than had been thought. The cemetery was discovered by residents of the small Mexican village of Onavas in 1999 as they were building an irrigation canal. The site, referred to as El Cementerio, contained the remains of 25 human burials. Thirteen of them had deformed skulls, which were elongate and pointy at the back, and five had mutilated teeth. Dental mutilation involves filing or grinding teeth into odd shapes, while cranial deformation involves distorting the normal growth of a child's skull by applying force.

Britain honours Olympic heroes Cyclists Bradley Wiggins and Sarah Storey, sailor Ben Ainslie and a host of Olympic and Paralympic athletes have received awards in a highly patriotic New Year honours list, specially expanded to reflect Britain’s sporting success at London 2012. Wiggins, who claimed his fourth Olympic gold days after becoming the first British winner of the Tour de France, receives a knighthood so he will be Sir Bradley as does Ainslie, a gold medallist at four consecutive Games. Storey becomes Dame Sarah in recognition of her Paralympic career, in which she has won a record equalling 11 gold medals in swimming and cycling. Sebastian Coe, already a Lord, becomes a Companion of Honour in recognition of his work as chair of the Olympics organising committee, Locog, and the chief executive of the Games, Paul Deighton, is knighted. The unprecedented expansion in the number of honours awarded to sporting figures 123 gongs compared to 44 in 2011 means every British gold medallist at London 2012 has now been awarded an honour Djokovic triumphs Novak Djokovic won World Tennis Championship final against Spanish tennis player Nicolas Almagro. Novak Djokovic got his season off to a perfect start by defeating Nicolas Almagro 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-4 in the final of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition tournament held in Dubai.

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