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Morning radar: Three things we're talking about this morning

Stricter = stronger? Yale Professor Amy Chua says Chinese parents raise more whiz kids than their Western counterparts, and explains why in a new book out tomorrow.

In the Wall Street Journal, Prof. Chua says the Chinese don't coddle their children's self-esteem, they override their young desires and believe their children owe them everything.

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She describes forcing her daughter Louisa, then 7, to perfect a piano piece called "The Little White Donkey" -- this involved calling the girl "pathetic" and threatening to give her toys away to the Salvation Army. (It worked, eventually.)

Here's a shortlist of the things her daughters, Sophia and Louisa, were never allowed to do:

• attend a sleepover

• watch TV or play computer games

• get any grade less than an A

• play any instrument other than the piano or violin

She explains: "There are all these new books out there portraying Asian mothers as scheming, callous, overdriven people indifferent to their kids' true interests.

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For their part, many Chinese secretly believe that they care more about their children and are willing to sacrifice much more for them than Westerners, who seem perfectly content to let their children turn out badly. I think it's a misunderstanding on both sides. All decent parents want to do what's best for their children. The Chinese just have a totally different idea of how to do that."

Parents, weigh in: Is a childhood spent toiling a childhood? Share your views in the comment field

He's at it again: No sliced cows this time, but Damien Hirst has dismayed groups for bereaved parents with his diamond encrusted baby skull.

The child was less than two weeks old and died in the Victorian era. The skull was part of a 19th-century pathology collection Mr. Hirst acquired.

Said the artist in a predictably airy artist's statement: "What's the maximum I could do as a celebration against death? When you look at a skull, you think it represents the end, but when you see the end so beautiful, it gives you hope."

Geriatric feline: A British family has discovered their cat Lucy is the oldest in the world after she reached her 39th birthday -- that's 172 in human years.

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Lucy's deaf and a bit tubby but still catches mice in the garden.

Because she was passed down, it took a visit from an elderly aunt to reveal that the cat had been around since 1972, beating out Creme Puff from Texas, who had lived for 38 years and three days.

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