Zinc futures shed 0.52 pc on weak overseas trend

NEW DELHI, Dec 16: Zinc futures prices declined by 0.52 per cent to Rs 104.60 per kg today, largely in tandem with a weak trend in the base metals pack in global markets.At the Multi Commodity Exchange counter, zinc for delivery in February fell by 55 paise, or 0.52 per cent to Rs 104.60 per kg, with a business ......more

Crime unit to probe abduction of Indian youth in S Africa

PRETORIA, Dec 16: The alleged abduction of an Indian national in South Africa has been referred to the country’s elite Directorate ....more

US missile-defense test fails over Pacific

WASHINGTON, Dec 16: A test of the sole US defense against long-range ballistic missiles failed the second failure in a row involving the system managed by Boeing Co, the Defense Department said......more

US missile-defense test fails over Pacific

WASHINGTON, Dec 16: A test of the sole US defense against long-range ballistic missiles failed the second failure in a row involving the system managed by Boeing Co, the Defense Department said."The Missile Defense Agency was unable to achieve a planned ......more

US and China sign trade deals, Beijing seeks more

WASHINGTON, Dec 16: The United States and China agreed to pursue free trade in areas from agriculture to technology, but Beijing insisted that Washington needed to loosen its own export controls.Top officials from the world...more

US House votes to let open gays serve in military

WASHINGTON, Dec 16: The House of Representatives has for the second time this year voted to dismantle the US military’s so-called "don’t ask, ....more

US welcomes China move to embrace IPR enforcement initiatives

WASHINGTON, Dec 16: China on Wednesday agreed to take significant steps with regard to enforcement of intellectual property rights, opening its markets and revising its .....more.

     

 

Zinc futures shed 0.52 pc on weak overseas trend

NEW DELHI, Dec 16: Zinc futures prices declined by 0.52 per cent to Rs 104.60 per kg today, largely in tandem with a weak trend in the base metals pack in global markets.

At the Multi Commodity Exchange counter, zinc for delivery in February fell by 55 paise, or 0.52 per cent to Rs 104.60 per kg, with a business turnover of three lots.

Similarly, zinc for January delivery also shed 20 paise, or 0.19 per cent, to Rs 103.60 per kg, with a business turnover of 134 lots, while December contract shed 15 paise, or 0.15 per cent to Rs 102.45 per kg, in a turnover of 1,960 lots.

Market analysts said a weak trend in base metals pack at the London Metal Exchange as a firm dollar reduced appeal for raw materials as an alternative investment and subdued domestic demand, led to the fall in zinc futures prices here. (PTI)

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Crime unit to probe abduction of Indian youth in S Africa

PRETORIA, Dec 16: The alleged abduction of an Indian national in South Africa has been referred to the country’s elite Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), the Indian High Commission here has said.

Nidhin Baby, 28, the son of a retired school-teacher from Kerala, was reportedly abducted by unknown persons while on his way home to Pretoria following a function he attended with friends in neighbouring Johannesburg on Monday night.

Nidhin’s father has reportedly received a ransom demand of Rs one crore soon afterwards.

The case has been referred to DPCI, popularly known as the Hawks.

Baby Kalleppara, Nidhin’s father, received a telephone call from Nidhin at 2 AM on Monday informing him of his abduction. Nidhin said his life would be in danger if the family could not provide the ransom, Baby had claimed.

Initially, reports indicated that Nidhin was a restaurant owner in Pretoria, but the High Commission told PTI yesterday that he was merely an "acquaintance" of an Indian restaurant owner there.

His family in India defied a warning from the abductors and contacted Indian authorities, including Union Minister for Overseas India Affairs Vayalar Ravi, the Chief Minister of Kerala and the India Embassy, requesting urgent intervention.

Friends of Nidhin, who preferred to remain anonymous, said they were baffled by his abduction as he had very little to his name and was not involved in any business deals involving huge amounts. They also expressed concern that his family in India were unlikely to be able to afford such a large ransom.

No comment could be obtained from local investigators on the matter. (PTI)

US missile-defense test fails over Pacific

WASHINGTON, Dec 16: A test of the sole US defense against long-range ballistic missiles failed the second failure in a row involving the system managed by Boeing Co, the Defense Department said.

"The Missile Defense Agency was unable to achieve a planned intercept of a ballistic missile target during a test over the Pacific Ocean today," Richard Lehner, an agency spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. No preliminary explanation of the failure was provided.

The miss brought the so-called ground-based midcourse defense’s batting record to eight intercepts out of 15 tries, as reckoned by the Missile Defense Agency.

"This is a tremendous setback for the testing of this complicated system," Riki Ellison, head of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, a booster group, said in a statement. He said it raised troubling questions about the reliability of the 30 or so interceptor missiles deployed in silos in Alaska and California.

The test was a repeat of a January 31 exercise in which an advanced sea-based radar had not performed as expected.

In the test on Wednesday, an intermediate-range ballistic missile target flew successfully from a test site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, as did a long-range interceptor launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the agency said.

The sea-based X-Band radar and all sensors performed as planned, and the interceptor successfully deployed a "kill vehicle" designed to collide with the target, the statement said.

It said officials will conduct an extensive investigation to pin down the cause of the failure to intercept. The next flight test will be determined after the failure’s cause is identified, it added.

A Boeing spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a reqeust for comment.

The multibillion-dollar ground-based bulwark is designed to shoot down a limited number of long-range ballistic missiles that could be tipped with chemical, biological or nuclear warheads. The system is part of a layered hedge against countries such as North Korea and Iran.

It networks systems on land, at sea and sensors in space and is meant to counter ballistic missiles of all ranges. The United States has spent more than $10 billion a year on a range of missile defense programs in recent years.

In October, a converted Boeing 747 jumbo jet equipped with a chemical laser failed to knock out a target ballistic missile over the Pacific, marking that system’s second such failed intercept test in a row. The flying laser has been scaled back to a kind of science experiment, no longer a development program aimed at eventual deployment.

Boeing’s chief subcontractors on the ground-based midcourse defense include Raytheon Co, Northrop Grumman Corp and Orbital Sciences Corp.

A team led by Lockheed Martin Corp and Raytheon is competing to oust Boeing next year and take over continued development, manufacturing, test, training, operations support and sustainment of the ground-based defense. The contract is worth about 4.2 billion dollar over seven years. (AGENCIES)

US missile-defense test fails over Pacific

WASHINGTON, Dec 16: A test of the sole US defense against long-range ballistic missiles failed the second failure in a row involving the system managed by Boeing Co, the Defense Department said.

"The Missile Defense Agency was unable to achieve a planned intercept of a ballistic missile target during a test over the Pacific Ocean today," Richard Lehner, an agency spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. No preliminary explanation of the failure was provided.

The miss brought the so-called ground-based midcourse defense’s batting record to eight intercepts out of 15 tries, as reckoned by the Missile Defense Agency.

"This is a tremendous setback for the testing of this complicated system," Riki Ellison, head of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, a booster group, said in a statement. He said it raised troubling questions about the reliability of the 30 or so interceptor missiles deployed in silos in Alaska and California.

The test was a repeat of a January 31 exercise in which an advanced sea-based radar had not performed as expected.

In the test on Wednesday, an intermediate-range ballistic missile target flew successfully from a test site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, as did a long-range interceptor launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the agency said.

The sea-based X-Band radar and all sensors performed as planned, and the interceptor successfully deployed a "kill vehicle" designed to collide with the target, the statement said.

It said officials will conduct an extensive investigation to pin down the cause of the failure to intercept. The next flight test will be determined after the failure’s cause is identified, it added.

A Boeing spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a reqeust for comment.

The multibillion-dollar ground-based bulwark is designed to shoot down a limited number of long-range ballistic missiles that could be tipped with chemical, biological or nuclear warheads. The system is part of a layered hedge against countries such as North Korea and Iran.

It networks systems on land, at sea and sensors in space and is meant to counter ballistic missiles of all ranges. The United States has spent more than $10 billion a year on a range of missile defense programs in recent years.

In October, a converted Boeing 747 jumbo jet equipped with a chemical laser failed to knock out a target ballistic missile over the Pacific, marking that system’s second such failed intercept test in a row. The flying laser has been scaled back to a kind of science experiment, no longer a development program aimed at eventual deployment.

Boeing’s chief subcontractors on the ground-based midcourse defense include Raytheon Co, Northrop Grumman Corp and Orbital Sciences Corp.

A team led by Lockheed Martin Corp and Raytheon is competing to oust Boeing next year and take over continued development, manufacturing, test, training, operations support and sustainment of the ground-based defense. The contract is worth about 4.2 billion dollar over seven years. (AGENCIES)

US and China sign trade deals, Beijing seeks more

WASHINGTON, Dec 16: The United States and China agreed to pursue free trade in areas from agriculture to technology, but Beijing insisted that Washington needed to loosen its own export controls.

Top officials from the world’s two largest economies met yesterday for two days in Washington to try to iron out persistent tensions—including over the value of China’s currency, which the United States says is artificially low.

President Barack Obama’s administration, which has been hit hard by economic worries, offered an upbeat take on the talks and highlighted China’s willingness to restart talks on resuming US beef imports.

The United States said China also pledged to remain "neutral" on the technological standards for third-generation telephones along with smart grids, so as to permit market access for American companies.

"We were able to make progress on significant issues in a number of areas, and on other issues we have established channels that will allow us to continue our robust engagement and pursue timely solutions," Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said.

Vice Premier Wang Qishan, who headed the 100-strong Chinese delegation, said the two sides had a "candid exchange of views on China-US economic cooperation."

"We’ve reached many agreements and produced positive outcomes," he told reporters.

But the Chinese side also called for the United States to relax its export controls—turning the tables on the United States, which frequently presses Beijing to open its markets.

"In our efforts to increase our imports, we very much hope that those countries still having a trade deficit vis-a-vis China could lift or relax export controls towards China," Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming said.

"Therefore if the United States could offer substantial export facilitation to China, and allow an increase of its exports to China, this would be a help against the high unemployment rate in the United States today," he said.

The United States restricts a range of goods to China that are "dual-use"—meaning that the technology could be put to military use. US businesses have also long worried about counterfeiting of products in China.

US Trade Representative Ron Kirk said that China agreed to do more to crack down on theft of intellectual property theft.

"We expect to see concrete and measurable results, including increased purchase and use of legal software, steps to eradicate the piracy of electronic journals, more effective rules for addressing Internet piracy and a crackdown on landlords who rent space to counterfeiters in China," Kirk said.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack pointed to "progress" over US beef, which was banned by China among other countries in 2003 over concerns about mad-cow disease.

"Technical talks will resume as soon as possible with the goal of reopening China’s market in early 2011," Vilsack said.

US officials said that China also pledged to keep off the books rules on "indigenous innovation," which state that high-tech goods must hold Chinese intellectual property rights. China rescinded such guidelines early this year after an international outcry.

Topping other concerns, US officials—and particularly members of Congress—have pressed China to let its currency appreciate, accusing Beijing of keeping its yuan low to pump out more exports.

Chen said China "has stated again and again its firm position" that it will reform its yuan "to improve the flexibility of the exchange rate regime and also to stabilize the value of the currency."

But Chen questioned if the size of the US trade surplus had been overestimated, saying that China often exports back finished products made of components imported from the United States.

Such trade "is hardly affected by the fluctuations of currencies," he said.

Many analysts believe that China is determined to move methodically on its currency rates, fearing that any sudden revaluation would jolt its manufacturing hubs and trigger social instability. (AGENCIES)

US House votes to let open gays serve in military

WASHINGTON, Dec 16: The House of Representatives has for the second time this year voted to dismantle the US military’s so-called "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy, giving the Senate a final shot in the waning days of this Congress at changing a law that forces thousands of uniformed gays to hide their sexual orientation.

The strong 250-175 House yesterday’s vote propels the issue to the Senate, where supporters of the repeal say they have the votes but it is uncertain whether they will have the time to get the bill to the Senate floor.

It could be the last chance for some time to end the 1993 law that forbids recruiters from asking about sexual orientation while prohibiting soldiers from acknowledging that they are gay.

Democratic leaders in the Senate say they are committed to bring the bill to the floor before Congress adjourns for the year before Christmas.

They are challenged by opposition from some Republicans and a daunting agenda that includes finishing work on legislation to pay for government operations and to ratify a nuclear arms treaty with Russia.

No time has been set for a Senate vote.

Senate Majority Leader Democrat Harry Reid said after the House vote that there is clear evidence that an overwhelming majority of Congress wants to repeal the law.

"We are very quickly running out of days in this Congress," Reid said in a statement. "The time for weeklong negotiations on amendments and requests for days of debate is over.

Republican senators who favor repealing this discriminatory policy need to join with us now to stand against those who are trying to run out the clock on this Congress."

Failure to overturn the policy this year could relegate the issue to the back burner next year when Republicans, who are far less supportive of allowing openly gay individuals to serve in the military, take over the House and gain strength in the Senate.

"Now is the time for us to act," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and "close the door on a fundamental unfairness in our nation."

Gaveling the end of the vote was Democratic Rep. Barney Frank, one of the House’s few openly gay members. Frank, in his floor speech, said it was "bigoted nonsense" that "the presence of someone like me will so destabilise our brave young men and women that they will be unable to do their duty."

"This vote," said Rep Patrick Murphy, also a Democrat and the Iraq War veteran who sponsored the bill, "is about whether we’re going to continue telling people willing to die for our freedoms that they need to lie in order to do so." (AGENCIES)

US welcomes China move to embrace IPR enforcement initiatives

WASHINGTON, Dec 16: China on Wednesday agreed to take significant steps with regard to enforcement of intellectual property rights, opening its markets and revising its indigenous innovation policy—all of which the United States said will boost its exports to Asia’s largest economy.

"We were able to make progress on significant issues in a number of areas and on other issues, we have established channels that will allow us to continue our robust engagement and pursue timely solutions," Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said at the end of the 21st session of the US-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT), which concluded in Washington on Wednesday.

"China agreed to a series of intellectual property rights (IPR) commitments that will protect American jobs. The commitments build on China’s recently announced special campaign against counterfeiting and piracy," said US Trade Representative Ron Kirk.

Specifically, China agreed to adopt significant initiatives in several areas, including intellectual property rights enforcement, open and neutral technology standards, clean energy and government procurement, an official US statement said.

Importantly, on the issue of ‘indigenous innovation’, China has agreed not to discriminate against technologies based on the origin of the intellectual property in government procurement contracts, or for selection of industrial equipment suppliers.

China has also agreed to resume talks on market access for American beef, it said.

"These commitments will have systemic consequences for the protection of US innovation and creativity in China. We expect to see concrete and measurable results, including increased purchase and use of legal software, steps to eradicate the piracy of electronic journals, more effective rules for addressing Internet piracy and a crack down on landlords who rent space to counterfeiters in China," Kirk noted.

China’s announcement that it will not favour home-grown companies for government procurement orders is also a valuable outcome for America’s innovators and entrepreneurs, who can continue to create American jobs and selling to the Chinese government without concern that they will be unfairly kept out of the market, he said.

"We were also able to obtain China’s commitment to accelerate its accession to the WTO’s Government Procurement Agreement. China agreed to work with provincial and local governments and to submit a robust revised offer of coverage in 2011," Kirk said. (PTI)

Despite bloodshed, US to cite Afghanistan progress

WASHINGTON, Dec 16: A White House review of President Barack Obama’s Afghanistan war strategy being released today will report that foreign forces are making headway against the Taliban but that hefty challenges remain.

The review, which the administration has indicated will not result in major strategy changes, is expected to cite hurdles including the need to strengthen Afghan governance and goading Pakistan to eliminate insurgent safe havens.

In what could be a preview of the report, Obama, who is aiming to demonstrate enough progress to start bringing troops home next year, told lawmakers yesterday his war strategy was yielding gradual progress and US-led forces would stick with his approach.

Despite the cautious optimism from military commanders a year after he ordered an extra 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, Obama must overcome skepticism on Capitol Hill and among Americans tired of the long, expensive conflict.

Casualties have reached a record high this year as the Taliban insurgency expands.

"There have been isolated security successes, but there’s no overarching progress," said Caroline Wadhams, an expert on South Asia at the Center for American Progress. "All the dynamics that are enabling the insurgency remain."

A US and NATO force of 150,000 troops, including 100,000 Americans, has pushed back the Taliban in cities like Kandahar, an encouraging sign as allied troops hope to start putting Afghan soldiers in the lead on security. Officials say that overall, the insurgency’s momentum has been halted.

But in the absence of major strides by Afghan forces, who are growing rapidly in numbers but still learning to shoot and, in many cases, to read, those gains "cannot be maintained without continued US involvement, both military and financial," Wadhams said.

It has been the bloodiest year since Western forces ousted the Taliban in 2001, with almost 700 foreign troops killed in 2010. Afghan civilians bear the biggest brunt of the conflict as insurgents expand from traditional strongholds into once peaceful areas in the north and west.

The war in Afghanistan, which now costs at least 113 billion dollar a year, is a fiscal drain as Obama struggles to revive the US economy and create jobs. He appears set on beginning to withdraw US forces next July.

MORE COOPERATION SOUGHT FROM PAKISTAN

While the troop increase is bearing fruit in some areas, the picture is more troubling overall.

In some areas, Taliban intimidation has brought local government to a halt. Western suspicions that President Hamid Karzai has failed to crack down on corrupt officials have helped widen a rift with the Afghan leader. After nine years of aid efforts, poverty and illiteracy remain widespread.

Obama’s strategy overhaul a year ago included a "civilian surge" of aid workers, diplomats and other experts sent to Afghanistan.

But Andrew Exum, a scholar at the Center for a New American Security, a think tank close to the White House, said even more needed to be done to ensure weak governance did not undermine the gains made on security.

"If governance is one of our Achilles’ heels, we have to weight our resources there," he said.

The White House review is expected to note that more cooperation is needed from Pakistan, which the United States is pressuring to go after militants operating in border areas.

The New York Times reported this week that two recent classified intelligence reports said the Afghanistan strategy had little chance of success unless Pakistan prevented insurgents from launching attacks from border sanctuaries.

The war has become a source of tension between Obama and some fellow Democrats who see little chance of quick success.

It threatens to become more of a political liability for Obama next spring, when Taliban fighters could pick up attacks after a winter lull.

"I think there’s a willingness to allow the strategy some more time, but in the spring we may see some more crucial decisions being made," said Lisa Curtis, a scholar at the conservative Heritage Foundation.

(AGENCIES)

TNT reaches lay-offs deal with unions, ending strikes

AMSTERDAM, Dec 16: Dutch mail company TNT said today it had reached an agreement in principle with unions reducing its planned number of involuntary lay-offs and ending rolling strike action.

TNT workers have held a series of strikes in the past month in protest against the number of forced lay-offs at TNT, which plans to cut 11,000 jobs at its mail unit to adjust to the rise electronic communication and increased domestic competition.

The company had said in the summer the number of forced job cuts could amount to 4,500, but agreed yesterday night to reduce that number by 1,700. That is more than an earlier compromise offer of 1,400 that had been rejected by unions.

"The unions will present the agreement in principle to their employees with a recommendation for acceptance and will not undertake any further industrial action," TNT said in a statement.

On top of the reduction in forced lay-offs, TNT said it would study ways of keeping an extra 200 jobs at its auto unit during future restructuring. The company will also be offering 300 employees temporary employment up to the end of 2013.

TNT’s mail unit has faced serious disruptions in the past month with a series of rolling strikes in the Netherlands, the first such industrial action at TNT since 1983. (AGENCIES)

Japan couples eye low-key Christmas dates:Survey

TOKYO, Dec 16: What’s your idea of a romantic Christmas? For Japanese couples it’s often dinner and a movie—yet many will likely forego a big evening on the town this year in favour of a silent night at home, a survey showed.

That’s a big change from the go-go days of Japan’s bubble economy 20 years ago when couples preferred to splash cash on fancy dinners, go driving and even visit Tokyo Disneyland, according to the survey by Internet research firm Macromill.

Christmas Eve is traditionally a big couples night in Japan and seen as a key romantic event—akin to Valentine’s Day in some countries—with many women expecting to be wined and dined by their partners in a lavish night on the town.

But Christmas, a mostly secular affair in Japan where businesses stay open as usual, has had a lower-key feel in recent years as couples seek out inexpensive date options in these thrifty economic times.

To compare dating rituals between the generations, Macromill asked single people in their 20s and 30s how they have spent Christmas in the past few years, and asked those over age 40 how they passed the holiday during the years 1986-1990.

Only 39 per cent of those in their 20s and 30s have been out for a fancy Christmas dinner, down sharply from 67 per cent in the late 1980s for the over-40 group, the survey showed.

Meanwhile, 32 per cent in their 20s and 30s have had a "home date"—cooking and watching a movie at home with their partner—up from 22 percent in the late 1980s.

And 54 per cent of those in their 20s cited staying at home as their ideal Christmas date, far outpacing going to a pricey restaurant, shopping for presents and staying at a hotel.

Regardless of the economic climate, however, some things never lose their romantic spark. About half of the 20- to 30- somethings have been on recent dates to see Christmas illuminations around town, unchanged from two decades ago.

Macromill conducted the poll in late November. It based the results on a sample of responses from 500 people from the greater Tokyo area in their 20s through their 50s. (agencies)

Ban’s homage to Holbrooke

UNITED NATIONS, Dec 16: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has led other officials in paying tribute to top US diplomat Richard Holbrooke, who died after a heart surgery earlier this week.

The UN officials praised his skills as a key negotiator, peacemaker and champion of global causes.

Holbrooke, who died on Monday at the age of 69, helped broker the 1995 Dayton agreement that ended the Bosnia war.

More recently, he was US special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The UN chief yesterday called him "a giant and a legend in his time" in a letter he wrote to Holbrooke’s family upon hearing the news of the death.

"His drive was immense. His desire to do good in the world was fierce, and he pursued all he set out to do with a resolution and tenacity that were second to none," wrote Mr Ban.

"He was there, a man of history: from architecting the Dayton peace accords, to working so hard to bring peace to the people of Afghanistan. His legacy will be his works, an inspiration to so many around the world," Mr Ban added.

Staffan de Mistura, the top UN envoy in Afghanistan, issued a statement highlighting the "energy, vision and drive" that Holbrooke brought in particular to his role as the US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"Ambassador Holbrooke has been a friend of the United Nations here in Afghanistan and a first-class diplomat," said Mr de Mistura, adding that the US statesman’s efforts will always be remembered.

Holbrooke’s vast diplomatic experience also included a posting as US Ambassador to the UN from 1999 to 2001 under former President Bill Clinton.

Voicing sadness at the passing of an "extraordinary American diplomat", members of the Security Council expressed admiration for his contributions as US Ambassador to the UN, as well as for his "energetic and unrelenting" commitment to promoting peace and strengthening international cooperation at the world body.

They noted that Ambassador Holbrooke’s service spanned decades and continents, confronting profoundly difficult issues in global affairs," according to a statement read out to the press by Ambassador Susan Rice of the US, which holds the Council’s rotating presidency for this month.

Robert Orr, who served as Holbrooke’s deputy during his tenure at the UN, lauded not only his diplomatic skills but also the relationship he had with the media as it relates to diplomacy.

"Ambassador Holbrooke understood probably better than any individual I ever worked with the importance of the media," Mr Orr, who is the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Strategic Planning and Policy Coordination, told reporters at UN Headquarters.

"So I think it’s not just the United States and the UN that has lost an important figure. I think the media has also lost someone who not only gave them a lot of good quotes but someone who really understood the importance of your profession as well," Mr Orr added. (UNI)

The beauty of a good night’s sleep!

LONDON, Dec 16: If you want to look attractive and healthy, the best thing you can do is get a good night’s sleep, say researchers, backing the "beauty sleep" concept.

A new study by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden has found people who have a good night’s sleep, eight hours of shut-eye daily, look more beautiful and healthy than those who don’t, the ‘British Medical Journal’ reported.

For the study, the researchers recruited 23 healthy adults aged 18 to 31 -- all young enough to get away with the odd bad night. The subjects were photographed after some eight hours of sleep and again after being kept awake for 31 hours after a few hours’ sleep.

The pictures were shown to 65 untrained observers, who ranked them on a scale of how healthy, attractive or sleep -deprived the subjects looked. Those who went short of sleep were rated as less healthy and scored an average of 63 points, compared to 68 points after a full night’s sleep.

They were also seen as more tired and less attractive, leading the researchers to conclude that there really is such a thing as beauty sleep.

"The concept of beauty sleep has lacked scientific support, but the biological importance of sleep may have favoured a sensitivity to perceive sleep-related cues in others.

"Sleep disorders are increasingly common in today’s 24-hour society and often co-exist with some common health problems, such as hypertension and inflammatory conditions," the researchers were quoted by the ‘Daily Express’ as saying. (PTI)



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