Lasha, Sept 4 (Xinhua/UNB) -- More than 1,500 new words and expressions have been added to Tibetan vocabulary since 2018, authorities from southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region said.
The list includes frequently used expressions in politics, finance, the internet, over 500 terms related to electric power and 150-plus terms involving Tibetan Opera and traditional Tibetan dances, according to the regional committee on the standardization of the Tibetan language translation.
Many of the expressions once largely emerged in Mandarin but were absent in Tibetan language, such as the famous gesture "finger heart," the short-video sharing app "Tik Tok" which is also known as Douyin, and the "rushing clan," a slang describing people born between 1975 and 1985 who work hard and play hard.
Currently, the list has been published to the public in various ways such as bulletins, mini dictionaries, websites, newspapers and magazines.
"Our job is to serve the grassroots. Take the translation of poverty-relief policies as an example. Only when ordinary Tibetans understand them can we better put these preferential policies into practice," said Gyayum Chogyal, deputy director with the committee.
Established in 2005, the committee has been collecting, translating and reviewing words that were absent in the existing Tibetan language. So far, the committee has reviewed and standardized around 10,000 new words and terms in Tibetan vocabulary.
Tibetan is a millennia-old language mainly spoken in Tibet Autonomous Region and Tibetan areas in four provinces, with subtle variations across the regions.
Berlin, Sep 2 (AP/UNB) — A zoo in Berlin is celebrating the arrival of two panda cubs, the first time one of the rare mammals has given birth in Germany.
Zoo Berlin said Monday that mother Meng Meng gave birth to a hand-sized pink cub at 6:54 p.m. Saturday.
According to the zoo, mothering came naturally to the 6-year-old panda: "She placed the tiny creature gently on her belly and began to warm it lovingly with her big paws, warm breath, and the soft fur of her cheeks."
An hour later, its twin was born.
Keepers only confirmed last week that Meng Meng was pregnant. She had mated with 9-year-old partner Jiao Qing in April, and was also artificially inseminated to increase the likelihood of pregnancy.
Meng Meng and Jiao Qing arrived from China in June 2017.
Chicago, Aug 30 (UNB/AP) — The largest study of its kind found new evidence that genes contribute to same-sex sexual behavior, but it echoes research that says there are no specific genes that make people gay.
The genome-wide research on DNA from nearly half a million U.S. and U.K. adults identified five genetic variants not previously linked with gay or lesbian sexuality. The variants were more common in people who reported ever having had a same-sex sexual partner. That includes people whose partners were exclusively of the same sex and those who mostly reported heterosexual behavior.
The researchers said thousands more genetic variants likely are involved and interact with factors that aren't inherited, but that none of them cause the behavior nor can predict whether someone will be gay.
The research "provides the clearest glimpse yet into the genetic underpinnings of same-sex sexual behavior," said co-author Benjamin Neale, a psychiatric geneticist at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
"We also found that it's effectively impossible to predict an individual's sexual behavior from their genome. Genetics is less than half of this story for sexual behavior but it's still a very important contributing factor," Neale said.
The study was released Thursday by the journal Science. Results are based on genetic testing and survey responses.
Some of the genetic variants found were present in both men and women. Two in men were located near genes involved in male-pattern baldness and sense of smell, raising intriguing questions about how regulation of sex hormones and smell may influence same-sex behavior.
Importantly, most participants were asked about frequency of same-sex sexual behavior but not if they self-identified as gay or lesbian. Fewer than 5% of U.K. participants and about 19% of U.S. participants reported ever having a same-sex sexual experience.
The researchers acknowledged that limitation and emphasized that the study's focus was on behavior, not sexual identity or orientation. They also note that the study only involved people of European ancestry and can't answer whether similar results would be found in other groups.
Origins of same-sex behavior are uncertain. Some of the strongest evidence of a genetic link comes from studies in identical twins. Many scientists believe that social, cultural, family and other biological factors are also involved, while some religious groups and skeptics consider it a choice or behavior that can be changed.
A Science commentary notes that the five identified variants had such a weak effect on behavior that using the results "for prediction, intervention or a supposed 'cure' is wholly and unreservedly impossible."
"Future work should investigate how genetic predispositions are altered by environmental factors," University of Oxford sociologist Melinda Mills said in the commentary.
Other experts not involved in the study had varied reactions.
Dr. Kenneth Kendler a specialist in psychiatric genetics at Virginia Commonwealth University, called it "a very important paper that advances the study of the genetics of human sexual preference substantially. The results are broadly consistent with those obtained from the earlier technologies of twin and family studies suggesting that sexual orientation runs in families and is moderately heritable."
Former National Institutes of Health geneticist Dean Hamer said the study confirms "that sexuality is complex and there are a lot of genes involved," but it isn't really about gay people. "Having just a single same sex experience is completely different than actually being gay or lesbian," Hamer said. His research in the 1990s linked a marker on the X chromosome with male homosexuality. Some subsequent studies had similar results but the new one found no such link.
Doug Vanderlaan, a University of Toronto psychologist who studies sexual orientation, said the absence of information on sexual orientation is a drawback and makes it unclear what the identified genetic links might signify. They "might be links to other traits, like openness to experience," Vanderlaan said.
The study was a collaboration among scientists including psychologists, sociologists and statisticians from the United States, United Kingdom, Europe and Australia. They did entire human genome scanning, using blood samples from the U.K. Biobank and saliva samples from customers of the U.S.-based ancestry and biotech company 23andMe who had agreed to participate in research.
Silver Spring, Aug 27 (AP/UNB) — Pet stores are suing to block a Maryland law that will bar them from selling commercially bred dogs and cats, a measure billed as a check against unlicensed and substandard "puppy mills."
The stores' federal lawsuit, filed Friday, challenges a ban set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2020. Maryland is the second state, after California, to pass such restrictions on the sale of dogs and cats.
The pet stores fear the ban will put them out of business. Their suit says animal welfare organizations have made unfounded claims that pet stores are fueling the growth of puppy mills.
Charm City Puppies manager Becky Schmidt, whose Columbia store is one of the plaintiffs, said it only uses breeders that are "quality-inspected" and federally regulated.
"If anything, if our doors close, it's going to force consumers to have to go to the unregulated, uninspected sources," Schmidt said Monday.
The lawsuit claims the ban effectively will do just that, shifting the sale of puppies from regulated retailers to unregulated sources, such as sellers placing ads on the internet or in newspapers.
"Internet pet sales have a notoriously high incidence of fraud and scams which will only increase against Maryland residents once the ban takes effect," the suit says.
Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, signed the legislation into law in April 2018.
The first law of this kind took effect in January in California. It prohibits pet stores from selling a dog, cat, or rabbit unless it came from an animal shelter or rescue group. Some local governments, including in Maryland, already have enacted similar measures. Maine's Legislature passed a bill limiting sales of dogs and cats by pet shops, but Gov. Janet Mills is holding it until January.
Maryland's law encourages animal welfare organizations to collaborate with retail pet stores to showcase cats and dogs for adoption or purchase from "local breeders," according to a summary of the legislation prepared by state analysts.
The pet stores' lawsuit claims the ban is unconstitutional, violating the Commerce Clause. The legislation's intent to facilitate sales from local breeders discriminates against out-of-state breeders and brokers, the suit says.
"The Maryland Pet Store Ban's purpose is to remove Maryland from the nationwide market of pet sales in stores in hopes of eradicating the so-called puppy mill industry. However, a State may not achieve a local economic goal by isolating itself from the national economy," the suit says.
State Sen. Ben Kramer, a Democrat who sponsored the legislation when he served in the state House of Delegates, said retail sales of dogs are keeping puppy mills in business.
"The puppy mills are just absolutely disgusting and barbaric," Kramer said. "The puppy mills don't exist without the retail stores that sell them."
Plaintiffs' attorney Jonathan Kagan said the sale of dogs and cats is the primary source of revenue for pet stores that are suing.
"These are smaller pet stores that have been around for a while," he said. "They are not going to be able to compete with PetSmart or Petco if they're just selling (pet) accessories."
John Goodwin, senior director of the Stop Puppy Mills campaign for the Humane Society of the U.S., said dog and cat sales account for a small fraction of the multibillion-dollar pet industry. "There are thousands of small independent pet stores that thrive on selling products and services," he added.
Kagan said Maryland already had strict laws "with high standards for stores" before the passage of the 2018 legislation. Kramer, however, said the pet stores "basically thumbed their noses at the new requirements that were in place."
The plaintiffs also include pet store operators Just Puppies Inc. and Today's Pet Inc. Also named as plaintiffs are a Missouri-based commercial dog breeder and a commercial dog broker that supply the Maryland pet stores with dogs.
The defendants include the state Senate's finance committee and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, whose office will be responsible for enforcing the ban.
Schmidt, the Columbia store's manager, said 20 employees will lose their jobs and customers will lose access to purebred puppies if the store has to close.
"There's a whole trickle-down effect," she said.
Paris, Aug 25 (AP/UNB) — Paris is celebrating the French resistance fighters, American soldiers and others who liberated the City of Light from Nazi occupation exactly 75 years ago.
A parade on Sunday will retrace the entry of French and American tanks into southern Paris on Aug. 25, 1944.
Firefighters will raise a French flag on the Eiffel Tower, recreating the moment when a French tricolor stitched together from sheets was hoisted atop the monument 75 years ago to replace the swastika flag that had flown for four years.
Paris suffered relatively little damage in World War II but its citizens were humiliated, hungry and mistrustful after 50 months under the Nazis.
The liberation of Paris was both joyous and chaotic, with nearly 5,000 people killed.