Stone Tools from India Fan Debate over Origins of Cultural Complexity

Sometime around 400,000 years ago human ancestors went on an innovation bender. No longer content to make do with only the large hand axesand other hefty cutting tools that they and their predecessors had manufactured for more than a million years, they began fashioning sophisticated new kinds of stone tools. The novel tool types made more efficient use of raw material and were smaller, more portable, among other desirable traits. The shift was, by most accounts, a major technological advance, one that may have helped its makers push into previously impenetrable lands. For decades experts have debated which human species invented this new tool-making tradition—during what is called the Middle Stone Age in Africa and the Middle Paleolithic in Eurasia—and how it came to replace the preceding Acheulean tradition at locales across the globe. One theory holds that our own species, Homo sapiens, masterminded this technological revolution in its birthplace, Africa. From there, our forebears c..

A Lavish Bollywood Musical Is Fueling A Culture War In India

Enlarge this image A cyclist rides past a poster of the controversial film Padmaavat in Bangalore on Thursday. Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images hide caption toggle caption Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images Padmaavat, India's first 3-D IMAX spectacle, is a lavish, operatic Bollywood musical set in the 14th-century palaces and deserts of Rajasthan. It has elephant processions, kaleidoscopic tableaus of Indian palaces and gorgeous actors in bejeweled costumes. It was directed by one of India's most celebrated filmmakers, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, and stars one of the country's most popular actresses, Deepika Padukone. The film opens in India on Thursday, but from the moment it went into production, it's been plagued by violent protests over its depiction of Padukone's character, Queen Padmavati, a legendary Hindu royal. "It's a historic film," Padukone told NPR in 2017. "And the character that I play is someone who, historically, there's a certain section of..

Startup Lessons from Israel for Indian Army to help build innovation culture

By Maj. Sunil Shetty,SM (retd) Founder & CEO, AskMentor This week a barbershop conversation on Israel and its farming techniques set me thinking about the impact this middle eastern nation has created across the world. A chit-chat between barber and client is not new. It has been on-going for ages across cultures. Barbershops are "popular centres for daily news and gossip", and they have been that way since the Roman period. For over a decade now Vinod, a Hyderabad based hairstylist, has been helping me with a crewcut that I have carried from my days in the Indian Army. Whenever I am back in India from my business travels overseas; he wants to hear my adventure stories. He sometimes tests me on my political opinion, cricket and at times also seeks my advice. This week, he wanted to know about Israel and its farming techniques. Just to give a background; Vinod and his brother hail from the barber community in India. The young entrepreneurs have kept their family tradition alive by succe..

Zoroastrains in India to explore cultural boundaries

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O-Level results: Fewer score at least 5 passes in exams

SINGAPORE: A smaller percentage of students who took last year’s O-Level examinations scored at least five passes, according to results released by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) on Friday (Jan 12). Out of 29,112 candidates who sat for last year’s exams, 83.4 per cent – or 24,287 students – scored at least five passes compared to the record 84.3 per cent, or 25,551 students, who sat for the exams in 2016. A total of 29,090 students – 99.9 per cent – were awarded certificates for passing at least one subject, the same proportion of the cohort as the previous year. In addition, 28,058 students (96.4 per cent) passed at least three subjects in the exams, slightly lower than 96.5 per cent in 2016. Last year, 1,570 private candidates sat for the O-Level examinations, compared to 1,865 in 2016. Of these, 90.8 per cent passed at least one subject, up from 90.2 per cent the year before. The first batch of Normal (Academic) students who w..

'India Remixed': IU launches second Global Arts and Humanities Festival

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Beginning in February, IU Bloomington will host the largest Indian arts and culture festival ever mounted in the Midwest when it kicks off its second Global Arts and Humanities Festival. The 2018 festival, "India Remixed: A Global Arts and Humanities Festival," is sponsored by the IU Bloomington Arts and Humanities Council with support from various units and departments across campus. Most of the more than 30 events -- which include exhibits, performances and films -- are free and open to the public. "Indiana University has a rich history of friendship and partnership with individuals and universities in India," said IU Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel. "We have a thriving gateway office in India, and many of our faculty and students come to us from India. 'India Remixed' invites the Bloomington campus and community to celebrate India's contemporary cultural and humanistic contributions in areas including film, literature..

Jammu and Kashmir's accession to India was people's will, says Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma

New Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir's accession to India was the will of the people of the state, Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma said on Thursday. Sharma was inaugurating an exhibition at the National Archive Museum commemorating 70 years of the state's accession to India. The exhibition has on display war diaries with operational details of the India-Pakistan war of 1947-48, original letters, telegrams, documents, and citations. File image of Union minister Mahesh Sharma. PTI All these have been publicly shared by the Ministry of Defence for the first time. "The purpose of curating this (exhibition) is to show the young generation how Kashmir became a part of India. It (The accession) was the will of the people of Kashmir," Sharma said. "Maharaja Hari Singh, when he signed this instrument (of accession), only after that, I repeat, only after that, the Indian forces went to that area. This needs to be showcased," he said. Sharma said the people of Kashmir have been "sometimes questi..

Round up my ride! Bulgarian returns Singapore's damaged rental bikes

SINGAPORE: A sea of yellow and orange bicycles in Singapore's public spaces shows how quickly the city-state has embraced the shared-bike culture since major operators such as Chinese firms Ofo and Mobike first rode in a year ago. Bulgarian piano teacher Zhivko Girginov, who has lived on the island for nine years, has not been impressed by the broken bicycles he has encountered abandoned by roads and footpaths. An oBike ditched along a pedestrian path."My friends complained there were damaged bikes scattered everywhere and there was nothing that can be done," he said. "But I did not agree." The 32-year-old decided to take matters into his own hands, pulling together a team of like-minded individuals to round up and return the bikes to the warehouses of the respective companies. AdvertisementAdvertisementStarted in September, Girginov's Volunteer Bike Patrol initiative has taken off, collecting over 400 damaged bikes in about seven trips. The group gathers the broken bicycles..

Could K-Film Ever Be As Popular As K-Pop In Asia?

BTS attends the 2017 American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on November 19, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images) We all know about the growing popularity of South Korean cultural products in Asia, first with K-drama, and then K-pop – which reached a new peak in 2017 thanks to boy band BTS. What’s next? It's likely to be K-films. In Hong Kong, for example, the South Korean film Train to Busan was the second-top earner in the box office in 2016, after the Marvel superhero movie Captain America: Civil War. Train to Busan, a zombie movie, earned about $93 million globally, including $8.5 million from Hong Kong, while its total production cost was only about $11 million. And soon, there will be another test for K-films. A heavily computer graphic-assisted fantasy film called Along with the Gods: Two Worlds is scheduled to be released on 11 January for Hong Kong and Singapore audiences. The movie has already been performing well in other overseas ..

Analysis: The challenge of turning inter-Korean thaw into longer-term detente

SEOUL: A day of smiles and jokes at the first inter-Korean talks in two years quickly evaporated Tuesday night when the North's chief negotiator threatened to walk out after the South Korean side brought up Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programmes. "We had started in a good spirit but this came to an icky mood," North Korea's lead delegate Ri Son Gwon complained in closing remarks. His rebuke highlights the challenges that lie ahead for Seoul after the 11 hours of talks yielded agreements to hold military talks and facilitate North Korea's participation in next month's Winter Olympics in South Korea. South Korean President Moon Jae-in attained his immediate goal of getting North Korea to participate in the games - and reducing the chance its leader Kim Jong Un would disrupt the event with another missile or nuclear test. But turning the winter thaw into a longer-term detente will be far more daunting. To do so, Moon must navigate a volatile mix of mutually ex..

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