FDA clears first weight-loss pill in 13 years

Arena pharmaceutical’s anti obesity pill Belviq is the first to be approved by The Food and Drug Administration for a long time. Though the results were moderate during the trials, it has proved itself safe to be approved by FDA. It has been approved at a good time while doctors are waiting a new weight loss treatment.

The pill was cleared on Wednesday for adults who are obese and overweight along with one or more health problems such as high cholesterol or diabetes.

Though the FDA did not approve the drug in 2010 due to concern raised by the doctors about tumors that developed in animals during trials. The company again submitted early this year with all necessary data and FDA is convinced that there is very less risk of humans getting a tumor. The drug if used with doctor’s advice combined with healthy food and lifestyle, it will be a great option for the Americans who are obese. The drug is expected to launch in early 2013 by Arena and its partner Eisai Inc. of Woodcliff Lake, N.J.

With U.S. obesity rates nearing 35 percent of the adult population, many doctors have called on the FDA to approve new weight loss treatments. But a long line of prescription  drugs for weight loss  have been associated with safety problems, most notably the fen-phen combination, which was linked to heart valve damage in 1997. FDA never approved Phentermine and fenfluramine though they were recommended by doctors and were very popular for weight loss.

How to keep your kids entertained during summer holidays

Summer holidays brings in a lot of enjoyment for kids who are usually loaded with studies and other extracurricular activities in their schools. However, these holidays are also testing times for parents who are apprehensive about how to keep their kids entertained during these summer holidays that may be of two weeks duration or may even extend to seven weeks. Therefore, some tips are given for the parents who want to entertain their kids within their budgets during these holidays and these are:

  •  A tour to local attractions- In almost all the cities and metros there are so many local attractions that most of the people living in these cities do not have time or inclination to visit them due to their busy schedules. Therefore, now it is the time to get ready to see and visit these places with your kids and the first thing to be done is to browse information in city guides and directories to find theme parks, zoos, shopping malls, historic places, museums etc in order to get on to these places with the kids.
  • Low cost activities for kids: Another way to entertain your kids is to take them to places that do not involve spending more money and these include a tour to nearby sea beaches if your city is located in a coastal area. Going to river banks, hill stations and other natural and environmental spots that bring awareness among the kids about how the natural environment is an important aspect towards the human development.

China celebrates its space mission with its first female astronaut

China reached another milestone towards its space mission with the return of China’s Shenzou-9 spacecraft that included the country’s first woman astronaut Liu Yang. This mission aptly named as Shenzou-9 posted a series of first rankings in the Chinese space history. In addition to Liu-Yang’s presence as the first woman astronaut the other milestones covered are related with engineering marvels. For instance it is the first manned automatic and manual dockings, the first long duration space flight that is nearly for duration of two weeks in space, and the first crew to live abroad a permanently orbiting module – Tiangong-1.

This space mission is also the second space trip for the first astronaut veteran – Jing Haipeng. China did made rapid strides in developing its space program over the past decades such as sending its first astronaut into space, completing its first spacewalk and launching two lunar orbiters. Shenzhou-9 docked with the orbiting Tiangong-1 space laboratory last week. Tiangong-1 was a prototype for a full fledged space station that was launched into space this September. The crew of Shenzhou-9 executed a manual docking with Tiangong-1 on Sunday.

It can be said that China has repeated these space feats which were earlier achieved by Americans and the erstwhile Soviet Union way back in 1960’s and 1970’s but that mirrors the fact that China is capable of achieving the sophistication of modern space technology as a developed Asian nation. The mastering of the technique of joining spacecraft together manually can be considered as an important step in achieving the goal of building a space station in 2020 by China.

Gene mutation- Culprit behind the tomatoes loss of flavor

A major breakthrough in plant genetics occurred with the scientists discovering an answer to the question about why tomatoes are so tasteless and lack flavor even if the fruit is picked ripe and stored in moderate temperatures. Now researchers have discovered a genetic reason behind such occurrences in the form of genetic mutation that happened by chance and was discovered by tomato breeders.

This discovery was made by an international research team headed under the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences and one of the lead authors of the study Dr. Ann Powell – a biochemist at UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences said that they made this discovery by accident. The scientists started studying about the ripening process of the tomatoes and how they get their color some ten years ago and after working on it for about three to four years they had to stop the research due to lack of funding.

However, with some funding from the UC’s Discovery program, the USDA, The National Science Foundation and few other groups the research team started up again some 18 months ago. This time the university partnered with the researchers from Cornell University who then were mapping regions of the tomato genome in Spain. This was the time when they discovered that the genetic mutation as the main factor that made the tomatoes luscious scarlet when ripe.

Google’s Jelly Bean jar

Google has been designing operating systems starting from the android beta in the year 2007 and each one of these operating systems was nicknamed after something. One of the latest versions of these operating systems was named ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’ and version that is next in line to this one is the latest Android operating system Jelly Bean v4.1. This version of the new operating system ‘Jelly Bean’ launched by the search giant improvises in many aspects than its predecessor and has many new features which are already a hit among the people.

Jelly Bean OS lately has been making headlines, but all the credit may not be given to its remarkable features but also to the giant sculpture of the ‘Jelly Bean Jar’ shaped like the android mascot on the Google campus. It may be taken that this is an attempt by Google to promote its new operating system in a way no one has ever done before, except Google itself, and also bring to the notice of the people that these versions of the OS are worth all these efforts. It had a magnificent journey from the place it was manufactured with chunks of Styrofoam in New Jersey its current position. The interesting thing about this sculpture is that it was prepared in a single week. All the workers were assigned this work with a deadline of one week and they have worked relentlessly to prepare this remarkable sculpture and it sure is making which was the major motive.

Entire village of Tuscan up for sale on eBay

The 800 years old Pratariccia – a medieval village perched on the hilltops above the Tuscany’s Casentino Valley has been put on sale on eBay for a price of 2.5 million Euro or about $3.1 million. This beautiful village is located 22 miles east of Florence in Italy and is nestled among oak trees at 850 meters altitude with the panoramic view of the Casentino Valley. The village of Pratariccia has been uninhabited and is one of the hundreds of abandoned and semi-abandoned hilltop villages in the stunning locations of Italy that have been now became an attractive business options for real estate developers.

Now the owners of this remote village who are reportedly a religious order are seeking to cash in with an online sale. Earlier they had tried to sell this village through other agencies but failed to get the buyers for this price. The price tag of €2.5 million may seem a little expensive for most of the holiday home buyers but the deal comes with an offer of 25 cottages and nearly 20 acres of land. The village of Pratariccia remains abandoned since 1960’s as most of youngsters moving out in search of better opportunities and time taking its toll on elderly. Now this village resembles a ghost town with its traditional Tuscan stone homes lying in dilapidated condition and at worst on the verge of collapse.

British Rock Band – Muse – unveils the official Olympic Games Song

The song named “Survival” has been announced as the first official Olympic Games Song by the British rock band Muse. The sound track for this song has been written and composed by the lead singer of the band Matt Bellamy keeping in mind the spirit of the London Olympic Games – 2012. The song “Survival” will be one of the five official songs that have been selected by the London Olympic Committee.

This song will be played throughout the July 27 –August 12 games period including the time when athletes enter the stadium and as a lead in to the medal ceremonies. The song will also broadcast as a theme for international television coverage.

The song will be aired for the first time on the BBC Radio 1’s Zane Lowe show after 19:00 BST on Wednesday along with an interview with the band. The song then will be available for sale to the general public online. This rock band was also nominated for three Grammy Awards in 2011, under the category of the Best Rock Album of the year for the song “The Resistance”.

Norah Ephron dies at 71

Acclaimed screen writer Norah Ephron famous for her romantic comedies “When Harry met Sally” and “Sleepless in Seattle” as well as other books and essays died at the age of 71 in New York while battling with leukemia. She was suffering from acute myeloid leukemia and succumbed to the disease on Tuesday evening at the Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York whilst being surrounded by her family.

The reactions from the arts and entertainment community poured in and people expressed their sadness over the talented screenwriters’ demise. She had captured the hearts of millions with her flair for comedy and romance. She had the ability to tackle serious subjects with insight and according to actress and writer Carrie Fisher she was “inspiring, intimidating, and insightful”. Her Publisher said in a statement, “She brought an awful lot of people a tremendous amount of joy. She will be sorely missed”.  New York Mayor called her death ‘a devastating one’ for the arts and cultural community while the LA based Directors Guild of America called her and inspiration for women filmmakers at a time when there were just a few. She used to portray her love-life in movies like “Heartburn” and had given her take on aging in her 2010 essay collection “I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections”.  She had kept her illness private except for close friends and family and constantly used to urge her aging friends and readers to make the most of their lives.

Get ready for jelly bean

This is the age of notebooks and tablets and every few days we get to see a new version of a notebook or a tablet being launched into the market. It’s sort of a race between varied companies who manufacture these products and they come up with new and varied designs and try to lure in as much people as they can. There is a kind of rage about these products in the market and many people look forward to their favorite brand of manufacturers to launch a product according to their likes and preferences.

The latest update is that Google has launched a new tablet named  Nexus 7 which is powered by the latest android 4.1(jelly bean) operating system. This attempt of the search titan is to make a mark in the already crowded market of tablets and notebooks which is currently being dominated by the giant of technology, Apple. Majority of the people are aware of the operating systems being upgraded from the time they were launched in 2007. The interesting thing that one has to notice here is that these operating system versions are moving up not only in the technology but also in the alphabetical order. The latest name of the operating system which powers the Google’s Nexus 7 is ‘Jelly bean’ which was preceded by ‘ice cream sandwich’ operating system.

Spice Girls Unite again!

The spice girls have come together yet again but this time it’s not for a music album but for a musical. They gave their fans ‘what they really really want’ on Tuesday by reuniting to announce on stage the release of a musical which is based on their songs.

The musical called ‘Viva Forever’ according to its producers will not be a biography of the band but they will be a lot of real life resonances for the 1990’s “Girl Power” group in its stage adaptation of female empowerment and friendship which was tested by the demands of fame. At the media launch Victoria ‘Posh Spice’ Beckham announced alongside Emma Bunton, Geri Halliwell, Melanie Chisholm and Melanie Brown and said, “We’re going to be introducing a whole new generation to ‘Girl Power”. The band aims to tap into the vast female fan-base similar to the world conquering ABBA musical which has been produced in 14 languages and later incorporated into a hit-film called ‘Mamma-Mia’ starring Meryl Streep. The Spice Girls show is a story about four friends whose relationship becomes strained when their band enters a TV talent show. The score included famous hits such as ‘Wannabe’, ‘Spice Up Your Life’, ‘Mama’ and the title track written by comedian Jennifer Saunders and produced Judy Craymer. According to Craymer the musical which focuses on female friendship and mother-daughter bond is a “heartwarming family tale”. Speaking about the show Saunders said that it aimed to catch “the joy they brought, their energy and their positivity”. The Spice Girls were delighted at the unveiling of the show at The Grand Neo-Gothic Hotel where the video for their 1996 debut hit “Wannabe” was filmed. Halliwell said, “Sixteen years ago when we were writing the words ‘zig-a-zig-ah,’ we could never have imagined they would be in a West End show”.


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