Monday, December 15, 2008

Shoe thrown on President Bush

An Iraqi journalist threw a shoe at US President George W Bush at a Baghdad news conference.

The Iraqi TV reporter who threw his shoes at President Bush during a news conference remained in custody Monday, while judicial officials decided whether to charge him with assault. Muntadhar al-Zaidi, a reporter for the TV channel Al-Baghdadia, faced testing for alcohol and drugs to determine his state of mind, said a government official, who requested anonymity.

At Sunday's news conference, the journalist whipped off his shoes and hurled them at Bush during the president's unannounced stop in Baghdad. The reporter called his shoe-throwing, a traditional insult in Arab culture, a "farewell kiss" to a "dog" who launched the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Bush swiftly ducked the shoe missile and later told reporters aboard Air Force One that the "bizarre" incident was not a sign of popular opinion in Iraq.

Watch the Video of shoe thrown at Bush:

Miss World 2008 winner from Russia

Kseniya Sukhinova was crowned the 58th Miss World on Saturday. The 21-year-old blue-eyed blonde beauty, who is pursuing an engineering degree, was crowned Miss World 2008 in an extravagant African-themed pageant held in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The second runner up was Gabrielle Walcott of Trinidad and Tobago and the first runner up Parvathay Omanakuttan of India. The other two finalists were South Africa and Angola.

She said her immediate ambitions included meeting Russia's president, and that she planned to return soon to her studies at the Tyumen Oil and Gas University in her home region of northwestern Siberia.

"I am so happy to be here," Kseniya Sukhinova said of South Africa, which was hosting its sixth Miss World final. "I am so excited. It's amazing."

Sukhinova, who in a biography on the Miss World website listed becoming a supermodel as a goal, also had won the contest's top model award and was third in the swimsuit competition. She was a crowd favourite - though not as popular as hometown beauty Miss South Africa, Tansey Coetzee. Coetzee made the final five.

Miss World 2008 Bathing Suit Contest:

The winners of the Miss World bathing suit contest: Miss South Africa, Tansey Coetzee won third place; Miss Mexico, Anagabriela Espinoza won first place and Miss Russia, Kseniya Sukhinova won second place in Miss World 2008 Swim Suit competition in Durban, South Africa.

Miss India in swim suit contest

Winners of Miss World 2008 Bathing Suit Contest

Miss World 2008 Bikini parade.

Miss Venezuela, Hannely Quintero Ledezma, parades before the judges in the 2008 Miss World bathing suit contest in Durban.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Laura Bush killed a guy in car accident

In May 2000, a two-page police report pertaining to a fatal accident that had taken place near Midland, Texas, in 1963 was made public, according to which Laura Bush killed a guy in a car accident.

According to a public police report, Laura Bush (then known as Laura Welch) was involved in a fatal car accident in 1963. According to the report, Laura Welch allegedly had been driving when her car passed a stop sign and struck a sedan driven by 17-year-old named Michael Douglas. No charges were filed as a result of the accident. There was another female teenage passenger in Laura (Bush)Welch’s car.

News reports stated that Michael Douglas died after suffering a broken neck in the car accident with Laura Bush. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Midland Memorial Hospital.

There have been numerous rumors over the years regarding Laura Welch’s conduct at the time and whether she was at fault for the accident. Some have insinuated that Laura Welch was criminally negligent and/or she had been drinking. However, no lawsuits or charges were ever filed. There is no evidence of wrongdoing on her part.

Laura Welch was taken to the hospital after the accident and treated for minor injuries. Michael Douglas was a star athlete at Laura Welch’s high school. According to news reports, he was very popular among his peers.

''It was a very tragic accident that deeply affected the families and was very painful for all involved, including the community at large,'' said Mrs. Bush's spokesman, Andrew Malcolm. ''To this day, Mrs. Bush remains unable to talk about it.''

Laura Bush, asked at a campaign stop about the crash said, ''I know this as an adult, and even more as a parent, it was crushing ... for the family involved and for me as well.''

There had been published accounts of the accident, but city officials had declined to release the records because those involved were under 18. The police report was released in response to an open-records request that was submitted to Midland officials in March.

According to the two-page accident report, Laura (Bush) Welch was driving her Chevrolet sedan on a clear night shortly after 8 p.m. on Nov. 6, 1963, when she drove into an intersection and struck a Corvair sedan driven by 17-year-old Michael Douglas.

Although previous news accounts have reported Douglas was thrown from the car and broke his neck, those details were not in the report.

The speed of Laura Bush's car was illegible on the report. The speed limit for the road was 55.

Laura Bush and her passenger, Judy Dykes, also 17, were taken to a hospital and treated for minor injuries, according to an accident account printed at the time in the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

O.J. Simpson trial and sentence

O J Simpson who was acquitted of double murder in 1995 was sentenced Friday to up to 33 years in prison for robbing two memorabilia dealers.

He will not be eligible for parole before 2017 and that means atleast nine years behind the bars.

Simpson delivered a tearful five-minute apology to a packed courtroom. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry for all of it," Simpson said.

Simpson, 61, told the judge that he went to a down-market Las Vegas hotel on Sept. 13, 2007, to recover family heirlooms—including his slain ex-wife's wedding ring—to pass down to his children.

"This was the first time I had an opportunity to catch the guys red-handed who had been stealing from my family," said O J the NFL Hall of Fame running back, dressed in navy jail garb.

"In no way did I mean to hurt anybody, to steal anything from anybody. I just wanted my personal things," he said. When Simpson finished, his shoulders slumped and his face fell.

According to O.J.Simpson's lawyer what O J was doing truly was a retrieval of his own property. What it was was a highly emotional, stupid act that violated the law.

"Stupidity," he added, "is not criminality."

But the judge Jackie Glass had other ideas and said,"When you take a gun with you and you take men with you in a show of force, that is not just a 'Hey, give me my stuff back.' That's something else, and that's what happened here,"

The Judge Glass also made is clear that the sentencing of O. J. Simpson was not "payback" for the double-murder acquittal that devided the Americans into for and against O.J.Simpson camps.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Jennifer Aniston Nude calender makes a splash

Jennifer Aniston nude photos from the much anticipated scene from the 'Break Up' have been splashed online despite legal threats from Jennifer's attorneys. At the time the movie was being filmed Jen said that she didn’t panic over the scene although she admits it was the one of the few times she ever watched the dailies. “Luckily I had been hitting the gym before that already,” said Aniston. “No, you don’t panic about your physical shape. You panic that you just need to be naked, period.”

Jennifer Aniston Nude Photos Hit the Web

Jennifer Aniston did not use a body double for the picture. “No, I definitely didn’t. The problem is because the way it was shot, it was so specifically me. They wanted to make it a tricky camera so you saw the face and then you go to the back. It was hard to cut, unless you did it. You don’t want to do a butt double really. That’s iffy.”

Now the photos are making the rounds on the Internet. The photos appear to be scanned from French magazine Choc. She looks absolutely fabulous in the film and even though the images are a bit blurry, Jennifer Aniston also looks great on the cover of the magazine.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

IPL team Deccan Chargers' stake sale

The IPL bidding wars have begun. The first team on the block is Deccan Chargers with at least 10 firms, including a few media houses and some of the leading private equity funds in the race to acquire a majority stake in Hyderabad’s Deccan Chargers, the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket team currently owned by the Deccan Chronicle group.

According to highly placed sources, KPMG, the advisors for Deccan Chronicle Group on the stake sale of Deccan Chargers, is currently in talks with at least 8-10 ‘interested parties’.

“There are a couple of leading media houses and some private equity funds (including some international funds) that have shown interest in Deccan Chargers. We should be closing the deal quickly,” a source close to the development said on conditions of anonymity.

The Hyderabad IPL cricket team has been on the block since last month after the Deccan Chronicle group acquired it earlier this year by paying $107 million (about Rs 502 crore) to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

Deccan Chargers is the second IPL team hunting for investors after Rajasthan Royals, which represents Jaipur and won the maiden tournament, has been on the lookout, sources said.

It might be a bit tough to sell the stake in Deccan Chargers in times of financial turmoil in the economy, however, sources in KPMG say that IPL, as a television property, generated high viewership ratings consistently between April and June and therefore has proved to be an event that attracts both viewers and advertisers.

“The fact that IPL ratings beat the ratings of several leading entertainment channels confirms that the format worked. Investors and all interested parties believe that there is a lot of return value in owning an IPL team,” a source close to negotiations with the potential investors said.

Deccan Chargers was the most expensive IPL team after Mumbai and Bangalore and the Deccan Chronicle group paid $107 million over ten years to the BCCI. Later, Group M, the leading advertising agency group, acquired 20 per cent in it, sources said.

The team spent over $5.88 million (Rs 28 crore) acquiring 11 players (both domestic and international). Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds was one of the highest-paid IPL players, with a fee of $1,350,000, almost double Adam Gilchrist’s and over four times captain VVS Laxman’s earnings.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Surfing the net stimulates your brain functions

Those of you who think you are losing your marbles here is some cheerful news for you (provided you are reading this on the net and not with a printout handed to you by your exasperated spouse)

Reading books and paper is not the only way to stimulate your mind, for a new study has suggested that surfing the Internet boosts the brain more than going through a book.(That includes reading stuff on the net dude and not just ogling at porn sites. Although that is pretty stimulating too, but not for the brain, if you get my drift)

Researchers at California University have found that browsing the web triggers centres in the brain that control decision-making and complex reasoning, particularly in older and middle-aged adults.(Study will also show those are the ones who ogle at porn sites the max)

In fact, the study, which looked at brain activity during web searches, resulted in a fascinating finding: Middle -aged to older people who know their way around the Internet had more stimulation of decision-making and complex reasoning areas of the brain than peers who were new to web surfing.

What's more is that reading didn't stimulate the same number of brain areas as Internet searching.(and that finally, includes porn sites as a surf on dude)

The first of its kind to access the impact of Internet searching of brain performance, the study is to appear in an upcoming issue of 'American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry', according to the University.

"The study results are encouraging, that emerging computerised technologies may have physiological effects and potential benefits for middle-aged and older adults.

"Internet searching engages complicated brain activity, which may help exercise and improve brain function," said lead researcher Dr Gary Small of the University's Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behaviour.

He added: "A simple, everyday task like searching the web appears to enhance brain circuity in older adults, demonstrating that our brains are sensitive and can continue to learn as we grow older."

Alas the body does not cooperate with the brain as you go along...and that includes with or without Viagra.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Twenty 20 cricket inventor concerned about sport

The marketing man credited with inventing Twenty20 cricket has some concerns about the super-shortened format's effect on the sport.

Stuart Robertson was marketing manager of the England and Wales Cricket Board in 2000 when he devised the format for the 20-overs-a-side game, trying to overcome dwindling crowds at county matches.

Now star players having come out of retirement to sign lucrative contracts with the cashed-up Indian Premier League and the game, packaged perfectly for three hours of television or an afternoon or night away at a stadium, could spread to the United States and even China.

Robertson said on Thursday that he's not sure whether the sport and its stars can be stretched so many ways in a schedule full of international commitments.

"That's going to be a really tricky and interesting one going forward," Robertson, now the commercial director of English country Hampshire, said at a Cricket Victoria lunch.

"If the model is to replicate the IPL, the IPL is so powerful because it has all of the world's stars playing in it, I guess you're going to come to a point where it gets saturated."

England will next year host the second world championship and England, Australia and South Africa are also planning to improve their domestic competitions by attracting foreign players.

India will also host the inaugural Champions League competition later this year, featuring eight domestic Twenty20 teams representing five countries.

Robertson urged the International Cricket Council to monitor the amount of Twenty20 tournaments played, to prevent the risks of too much cricket and players getting burned out. "I kind of wonder if the ICC should be playing a stronger role perhaps in managing it," he said.

Robertson admitted the priorities of elite cricketers could change if Twenty20 continued its popularity. "If you ask a current player, they've been brought up since they were 5, 6, 11, 12 knowing test cricket is the pinnacle of their sport," said Robertson, who remains a supporter of test and 50-over matches.

"It would be interesting to ask a young Indian player who's now 16 or 17 who is breaking into a Twenty20 environment, and ask them in five years what the most important part of their sport is."

Friday, October 3, 2008

57% of men and 64% of women unhappy with sexlife

If you have been wondering about your sex life lately, then let me assure you that you are not the only one . According to a survey as many as 57% of men and 64% of women in the Asia Pacific region are not very satisfied with their sex lives.

This was revealed in an Asia Pacific survey conducted in India and 12 other countries. ( have you ever wondered who are the people surveyed, cause no one ever asks you!)

The AP SHOW survey reveals that in India discussion about sexual experience is still a major concern among couples ( Men discuss sex with men and women with women and I am not talking about gays). Sex ranks seventh out of the seventeen life priorities for men(r u wondering what are the other six priorities), while for women it ranks near the bottom at fourteen(always knew that).

Family life is clearly the most important aspect of life for both men and women. Other life priorities include being a spouse, work or career, being a parent, financial well-being and physical health. The same life priorities appear on the top of women’s list.

The survey reveals that sexual satisfaction is strongly associated with satisfaction in overall physical health, and love and romance.

The key findings of the survey are:

· As much as 57% of men and 64% of women in the Asia Pacific region are not very satisfied with their sex lives

· Greater satisfaction with sex is strongly associated with greater satisfaction with life overall

· For men and women, greater satisfaction with erection hardness is linked to greater satisfaction with sex (Thats why all those fake viagras)

· Satisfaction with erection hardness is associated with satisfaction with sex, love & romance, family life, and role as spouse/partner – for men and women

· Men with suboptimal erections have sex less often, are less satisfied with sex and other aspects of the sexual experience, and are less positive about life overall

India, the survey showed that adults who are less than satisfied with sex are less likely to be satisfied with life overall.

There is also a clear link between satisfaction with erection hardness and satisfaction with sex for people in India.

The AP SHOW survey confirms the importance of sexual health to overall wellness in life. The survey also reveals that sexual dissatisfaction is high among men and women.

The survey, conducted among 3,957 sexually-active men and women (2,016 males and 1,941 females) from the general public aged between 25 and 74 years, was designed to gather information on attitudes towards sexual health in Asia Pacific, a region characterized by diverse cultural beliefs and practices.

Ask for help if you are not happy with your sex life. Talk and discuss it with your partner, find out their needs and desires and if nothing works, get professional help.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Human Jet Croses English Channel

Human Jet, Swiss adventurer Yves Rossy, known as Fusionman, successfully crossed the English Channel using his homemade jet-propelled wing Friday, the first man to perform the feat.
Yves Rossy makes a safe landing after successfully crossing the English Channel.

Yves Rossy makes a safe landing after successfully crossing the English Channel.

Rossy leapt from a plane more than 8,800 feet or a mile and a half from the ground, before firing up his jets.He had postponed his flight earlier because of poor visibility. "It's not so safe to fly across water if you can't see," Rossy told National Geographic Channel in a live television interview Thursday. "I don't have any instruments, and I need to be able to see the landing site."

The human jet made the 22-mile trip from Calais in France to Dover in England in a little under 15 minutes.

He began the Friday flight just before 1207 GMT; by 12:15 GMT, Rossy was above British soil and looped over onlookers before opening his parachute, with his wings still strapped to his back.

He touched down in a field near the famous white cliffs of Dover.

The trip across the Channel is meant to trace the route of French aviator Louis Bleriot, the first person to cross the narrow body of water in an airplane 99 years ago.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Google phone in India by December

High Tech Computer (HTC), a Taiwanese handset manufacturer, is planning to launch the Android platform-powered phone (popularly referred to as the Google phone) in India by December

The phone is priced Rs 8,200 ($179) in the US, but in India the price will be much higher. The main reason for this is that these handsets (Apple iPhone, T mobile Google Phone) are subsidized in the US by the operators.

HTC (India) is keen on tie up with some local operator for the Google phone.

Android is a Linux-based operating system for mobile devices that was announced in November last year and developed by the Open Handset Alliance — a group comprising players like Google, HTC, Intel, Motorola and Samsung.

To spur the growth of third-party applications, Google recently announced the Android Market, similar to Apple's App Store, where consumers can buy and download content for its mobile platform.

Labelled as competition to Apple’s iPhone, which is priced at Rs 31,000 for the 8GB model, the HTC G1 could be priced cheaper to maintain an edge in India. Currently, HTC has smart-phones in the Indian market priced between Rs 10,000 and Rs 35,000.

HTC’s device is a 3G phone with a touch-screen, slider keyboard, GPS and Wi-Fi.

HTC India hopes to sell 600,000 mobile devices in 2009, having doubled sales this year from 100,000 in 2007. Research firm Strategy Analytics has predicted that the G1 could sell 400,000 units by the end of 2008, accounting for 4 per cent of the smart-phone market.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Nokia N96 Vs iPhone

The top end slot in phones is getting crowded and it is difficult to pick and choose any clear winner. Yesterday TMobile Google phone was in news and today let us compare the Nokia N96 and iPhone 3G from Apple

Both Nokia N96 and Apple iPhone 3G have their pluses and minuses and no clear winner emerges in a comparison between the two. The two phones are neck to neck on a host of applications available or bundled. If N96 fails in terms of an impressive interface, the iPhone stumbles on security and storage.

Let us take the comparison a bit further:

Looks and Interface:
The iPhone wins hands down from Nokia N96 as far as the looks are concerned. N96 though a smart slider phone, has bleak black looks which reveal none of the phone's power and capability. There’ is hardly any design innovation on Nokia’s part.

Multimedia and Applications:
Nokia N96 screen (diagonally) is 2.8 inches; the iPhone’s is 3.5 inches and here size matters. Being a video-oriented phone, the N96 adds support for more video formats, including H.264, Flash video, ensuring you can watch YouTube clips on the phone, and Windows Media Video version 9. The N96 includes dedicated DSPs and video acceleration chips.

The picture quality on the iPhone is good and you can watch in either vertical or horizontal mode.

The iPhone has a 2 megapixel built-in camera, but it takes adequate photos in daylight. Compared with N96’s 5 megapixels camera (with flash support) it seems inadequate.

Nokia has included three great games to begin with, but the iPhone offers more variety in games.

Nokia has taken a lot of pains to make the GPS simpler and detailed, even adding a pedestrian mode. Apple’s newly-added assisted GPS offers pinpoint locations with the help of Google maps, but is nowhere close to Nokia’s accuracy.

Apple iPhone 3GInternet and Mail:
On the iPhone mail can be configured to ‘fetch’ (iPhone term) mail every 15 minutes, 30 minutes, hourly, or manually. N96’s symbian OS is a familiar one, with web security and remote lock features weaved in.

Nokia N96 packs in attention-grabbing features like inclusion of DVB-H digital TV and strikingly high specifications. It comes with 16 GB of onboard and 8 GB of replaceable flash storage, and has a pronounced focus on video and music.

Even the form factor and bundled kick-stand suggest this model is a TV-phone, let alone the numerous hardware specifications like the STMicroelectronics chipset that make it video-relevant.

Battery life:

Nokia has invested a lot in making the battery life longer and one can happily dismiss the fear that the low-capacity battery used in Nokia N96 (950 mAh) won’t be enough for comfortable operation. N96 averages a solid 6 hours while iPhone battery fizzled out in about 5 hours.


The Nokia N96 (16 GB) is now available for 34,999 while Apple iPhone (16 GB) retails at Rs 36,100 and the 8GB iPhone for Rs 31,000 with Airtel and Vodafone. Nokia’s phone is operator independent.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

T-Mobile Google Phone

How long did you think that Google will take to enter the mobile communications market? Well, if you ask me they are bit late already, but like they say "better late than never". All you gizmo freaks are going to love this bit. tmobile Google Phone looks snazzy and with Google parentage it might pack a punch.

T-Mobile will be the first carrier to offer a mobile phone powered by Google’s Android software, according to people briefed on the company’s plans. The phone will be made by HTC, one of the largest makers of mobile phones in the world, and is expected to go on sale in the United States before Christmas, perhaps as early as October.

The t-mobile Google phone is expected to match many of the capabilities of Apple’s iPhone and other so-called smartphones that run software from Palm, Research in Motion, Microsoft and Nokia to access the Internet and perform computerlike functions.

The HTC phone, which many gadget sites are calling the “dream,” will have a touch screen, like the iPhone. But the screen also slides out to expose a full five-row keyboard.

Apps in the gizmo

Google Maps Street View

With Google Maps, Google's groundbreaking maps service, T-Mobile G1 users can instantly view maps and satellite imagery, as well as find local business and get driving directions, all from the phone's easy-to-use touch interface.

The TMobile G1 also includes Google Maps Street View, allowing customers to explore cities at street-level virtually while on the go. Without taking a step, customers can tour a far-away place as if they were there -- standing on the street corner. Even better, the Google Maps feature syncs with the built-in compass on the phone -- an industry first -- to allow users to view locations and navigate 360 degrees by simply moving the phone with their hand. Google Maps Street View is available today in many U.S. locations and soon in European countries.

Communicating on the Go

The tmobile g1 features a rich HTML e-mail client, which seamlessly syncs your e-mail, calendar and contacts from Gmail as well as most other POP3 or IMAP e-mail services.

The tMobile G1 multitasks, so you can read a Web page while also downloading your e-mail in the background. It combines Instant Messaging support for Google Talk, as well as AOL, Yahoo! Messenger and Windows Live Messenger in the U.S. With access to high-speed Web browsing and a 3-megapixel camera with photo-sharing capabilities, the T-Mobile G1 is ideal for balancing a busy lifestyle, whether sharing pictures, checking the latest sports scores or accessing social networking sites.

Embracing User-Generated Content

Customers can use the T-Mobile G1's 3G and Wi-Fi connection to attach and share pictures over e-mail and MMS or download music from their favorite Web sites, and soon, upload and post pictures to their personal blog.

Built-in support for You Tube allows customers to enjoy You Tube's originally created content, easily navigate through You Tube's familiar video browsing categories or search for specific videos.

Music at Your Fingertips

The T-Mobile Google Phone comes pre-loaded with a new application developed by that gives customers easy access to Amazon MP3,'s digital music download store with more than 6 million DRM-free MP3 tracks.

Using the new application, T-Mobile Google phone customers are able to search, sample, purchase and download music from Amazon MP3 directly to their device (downloading music from Amazon MP3 using the T-Mobile G1 requires a Wi-Fi connection; searching, sampling and purchasing music can be done anywhere with a cellular connection). The T-Mobile Google Phone will be the first device with the Amazon MP3 mobile application pre-loaded.

Android Market

The T-Mobile Google Phone is the first phone to offer access to Android Market, which hosts unique applications and mash ups of existing and new services from developers around the world. With just a couple of short clicks, customers can find and download a wide range of innovative software applications -- from games to social networking and on-the-go shopping -- to personalize their phone and enhance their mobile lifestyle. When the phone launches next month, dozens of unique, first-of-a-kind Android applications will be available for download on Android Market, including:

ShopSavvy: an application designed to help people do comparative shopping. Users scan the UPC code of a product with their phone's camera while they are shopping, and can instantly compare prices from online merchants and nearby local stores.

Ecorio: a new application developed to help people keep track of their daily travels and view what their carbon footprint looks like. With access to tips and tricks, Ecorio allows users to record the steps they take throughout their day to help offset their impact on the environment.

BreadCrumbz: a new application that enables people to create a step-by-step visual map using photos. Customers can create their own routes, share them with friends or with the world.

A video of the T-Mobile Google phone on YouTube.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Bangla Players to Play in Indian Premier League (IPL )

The next Indian Premier League season is to begin on April 10, 2009 but things have started stirring up a bit already. The auction of IPL teams is to take place in January 2009, two months before the IPL twenty twenty 2009 season begins.

More players will be included from different regions. For example the BCCI has promised the Bangladesh Cricket Board to rope in more cricketers from the neighboring country into the lucrative Indian Premier League in its second season April next year.

IPL Chairman Lalit Modi said the Indian Cricket Board will help Bangladesh recover from the exodus of 13 top players to 'rebel' Indian Cricket League by also including a team from Bangladesh in the 2010 Champions Twenty20 League. It looks like that BCCI and politicians are already playing a tournment of one up man ship between Indian Premier League (IPL) and Indian Cricket League (ICL).

"We will definitely play an active role in helping them out. We are looking at adding a few Bangladesh players for the next IPL auction. And we are also looking at a team from Bangladesh participating in the Champions League from 2010 onwards," Modi told cricinfo website.

Left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak is the only Bangladesh player currently in the IPL, signed up by Bangalore Royal Challengers for $50,000.

National Boards will receive a significant sum for participating in the Champions Twenty20 League, along with a separate participation fee for the domestic Twenty20 teams that are invited.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

End of the World or a New Dawn

They are going to fire up that particle accelerator called Large Hadron Collider (LHC) [no dude , it is not hard on] on Wednesday and many people are afraid it might be the end of the world. Why ? Because mini black holes will be created in that experiment.

I don't think the earth will be destroyed but yes, it will be an end of an era in human evolution (yes dude, I'm sure it is not hard on collider).

In the most complex scientific experiment ever undertaken, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will be switched on Wednesday, accelerating sub-atomic particles to nearly the speed of light before smashing them together.

Deep underground on the border between France and Switzerland, the world's largest particle accelerator complex will explore the world on smaller scales than any human invention has explored before.

The test, which takes place Wednesday, is a major step toward seeing if the the immense experiment will provide new information about the way the universe works, or why it is there in the first place and what is the basic building block.

The collider consists of a particle accelerator buried more than 300 feet near Geneva, Switzerland. About $10 billion (yes, that could have given you many a hard ons instead of just one hadron) have gone into the accelerator's construction, the particle detectors and the computers, said Katie Yurkewicz, spokewoman for CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, which is host to the collider.

In the coming months, the collider is expected to begin smashing particles into each other by sending two beams of protons around the tunnel in opposite directions. It will operate at higher energies and intensities in the next year, and the experiments could generate enough data to make a discovery by 2009, experts say.

Although renowned British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking has bet 100 dollars (70 euros) that this experiment will not find an elusive particle seen as a holy grail of cosmic science. (you think those guys spent $10 billion to win $ 100!!!)

Experts say the collider has the potential to confirm theories about questions that physicists have been working on for decades including the possible existence of extra dimensions. They also hope to find a theoretical particle called the Higgs boson, which has never been detected, but would help explain why matter has mass.

The collider will recreate the conditions of less than a millionth of a second after the Big Bang, when there was a hot "soup" of tiny particles called quarks and gluons, to look at how the universe evolved, said John Harris, U.S. coordinator for ALICE, a detector specialized to analyze that question.

Why should the layperson care about this particular exploration? Years ago, when electrons were first identified, no one knew what they were good for, but they have since transformed our entire economy.

Fears have emerged that the collider could produce black holes that could suck up anything around them -- including the whole Earth. Such fears prompted legal actions in the U.S. and Europe to halt the operation of the Large Hadron Collider, alleging safety concerns regarding black holes and other phenomena that could theoretically emerge.

Although physicists acknowledge that the collider could, in theory, create small black holes, they say they do not pose any risk. A study released Friday by CERN scientists explains that any black hole created would be tiny, and would not have enough energy to stick around very long before dissolving.

On Wednesday the first protons will be injected into a 27-kilometre (16.9-mile) ring-shaped tunnel, straddling the Swiss-French border at the headquarters of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN).

Physicists have long puzzled over how particles acquire mass. In 1964, a British physicist, Peter Higgs, came up with this idea: there must exist a background field that would act rather like treacle.

The standard quip about the Higgs is that it is the "God Particle" -- it is everywhere but remains frustratingly elusive. This is what they are hoping to find.

And yes, it might give some scientists a hard on if they find it. Good luck!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Google to launch Internet Browser "Chrome"

To end the dominance of Microsoft, Google Inc. is releasing its own Web browser which will ensure easy access to its own search engine.

The free browser, called "Chrome," is supposed to be available for downloading from Tuesday . Google said it's still working on versions compatible with Apple Inc.'s Mac computer and the Linux operating system when it announced its latest product on the Labor Day holiday.

Microsoft is unveiling of a test version of its latest browser update Internet Explorer 8 which will include tools for Web surfers to cloak their online preferences, creating a shield that could make it more difficult for Google and other marketing networks to figure out which ads are most likely to appeal to which individuals.

Google's lead in the lucrative Internet search market is nearly as commanding, with its engine processing nearly two-thirds of the Web's queries.

Google has been trying to take advantage of its search engine's popularity to compete with Microsoft in software for word processing and spreadsheet applications.

Google has tried to make its alternatives more appealing and accessible by hosting them for free over Internet connections instead of requiring users to pay a licensing fee to install them on individual computers, as Microsoft typically does.

Microsoft has also tried, though unsuccessfully, to invade Google's realm by investing billions in the development of its own search engine and making an unsuccessful attempt to buy Yahoo Inc. for $47.5 billion.

Until now, Google had been trying to undermine Internet Explorer by supporting Firefox, a Web browser developed by the open-source Mozilla Foundation. Bolstered by an advertising partnership with Google's search engine, Firefox ranks as the second most popular browser, with a market share of more than 10 percent. Google recently extended its advertising alliance with Firefox through 2011.

Bearing the stamp of Google's renowned brand, Chrome could be an even more formidable rival to Explorer.

Still, Google's name is no guarantee of success. For instance, Google's instant messaging service hasn't made come close to catching up to the market-leading products made by Yahoo, Microsoft and Time Warner Inc.'s AOL.

In a blog post Monday, Google touted Chrome as a more sophisticated Web browser better suited for displaying the dynamic and interactive content blossoming on the Web as people migrate from television, radio and newspapers.

"The Web gets better with more options and innovation," Sundar Pichai, Google's vice president of product management, and Linus Upson, Google's engineering director, wrote in the posting. "Google Chrome is another option, and we hope it contributes to making the Web even better."

Only time will tell if the new browser from Google becomes popular with surfers.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Killer Hurricane Gustav to Hit US Coast today

Three years after hurricane Katrina now comes the mother of all storms “Hurricane Gustav”. The Category Three storm is due to make landfall soon from the Gulf of Mexico

Maps of Gustav's path show that it could strike southern Louisiana and other areas battered by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.

Katrina, a Category 3 storm, flooded most of New Orleans, flattened beach towns in Mississippi and killed more than 1,800 people.

The exodus of an estimated 1.9 million people from the Louisiana coast is said to be the largest evacuation in state history. An estimated 95 percent of Louisiana's 2 million coastal residents had fled ahead of Hurricane Gustav by Sunday evening in the largest evacuation in state history, Louisiana's governor said.

Roads out of New Orleans - much of which lies below sea level - were crammed with traffic throughout Sunday.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal appealed to residents: "If you're hearing this, seeing this, if you've not evacuated, please do so. There's still a few hours left."

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin told local TV only about 10,000 residents remained in the city, where rain began falling at sunset on Sunday.

A dusk-to-dawn curfew is in force in New Orleans, which is described as being like a ghost town. The mayor has warned looters will be sent to jail.

Crime was a major problem in the New Orleans area in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which hit the city three years ago, causing disastrous floods.

He said the first storm winds could hit New Orleans at daybreak on Monday and Hurricane Gustav could reach Category Four strength.

Dangerous storm surges of 10 to 14 feet above normal tides are expected near and to the east of Hurricane Gustav's center, forecasters said. Rain accumulations between 6 to 12 inches are possible over parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas, with isolated amounts of up to 20 inches, through Wednesday morning, according to forecasters.

Gustav killed at least 51 people in southwestern Haiti and eight in the neighboring Dominican Republic last week before moving to Cuba. It was in the Caribbean on Friday and intensified just before it hit Cuba.

The US Republican party's convention has been scaled back as nearly 2m people flee Hurricane Gustav, which is now nearing New Orleans.

Senator John McCain, due to accept his party's nomination for president, said it was no time for party politics.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Do emails Stress you out?

Have you checked your email today? Do you check email every few minutes? What is your response time to emails in your in box? Do emails in your in box stress you out?

The speed at which you reply to an email could reveal whether you're stressed, driven or relaxed, say researchers.

The familiar "ding" of an email landing in a colleague's inbox has become as common a sound in offices today as the ring of the telephone.

But, according to researchers, the speed at which workers respond to a new message provides a fascinating insight into their character.

In a recent survey, experts discovered that email users fall into three categories: relaxed, driven and stressed.

Dr Karen Renaud, a lecturer at the University of Glasgow, who carried out the research, said that while some people were happy to respond to emails in their own time, others felt compelled into reacting as soon as they arrived and became stressed if they had too many to deal with or were delayed in responding.

Women, in particular, felt more pressure to respond quickly to a new email than men, she said.

"The relaxed group don't let email exert any pressure on their lives," The Daily Telegraph quoted her, as saying.

"They treat it exactly the way that one would treat the mail: 'I'll fetch it, I'll deal with it in my own time.'

"The second group felt driven to keep on top of email, but also felt that they could cope with it. The third group, however, reacted negatively to the pressure of email," she added.

To reach the conclusion, researchers found 34 per cent of workers, who fell into the "stressed" category, felt overwhelmed by the sheer number of emails they received each day and obliged to respond quickly to meet the expectation of the sender.

A further 28 per cent were "driven" email users because they saw them as a source of pressure, while around 38 per cent were "relaxed" because they felt comfortable not replying until up to a week later.

So, Chill out dude. There will be time enough to reply to that email or better still "hit delete" and exhale.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Gabriel Garcia Marquez, famous writer from Colombia, and Nobel Peace Prize winner for literature, has retired from public life for reasons of health. He has a form of cancer, which is terminal. He has sent a farewell letter to his friends.

It is recommended reading because it is moving to see how one of the best and most brilliant of writers expresses himself & with sorrow. (Even as I'm SURE this would have sounded TWICE as good in Spanish, let us enjoy the English version nonetheless....)

He says:

If God, for a second, forgot what I have become and granted me a little bit more of life, I would use it to the best of my ability.

I wouldn't, possibly, say everything that is in my mind, but I would be more thoughtful of all I say. I would give merit to things not for what they are worth, but for what they mean to express.

I would sleep little, I would dream more, because I know that for every minute that we close our eyes, we waste 60 seconds of light.

I would walk while others stop; I would awake while others sleep.

If God would give me a little bit more of life, I would dress in a simple manner, I would place myself in front of the sun, leaving not only my body, but my soul naked at its mercy.

To all men, I would say how mistaken they are when they think that they stop falling in love when they grow old, without knowing that they grow old when they stop falling in love.

I would give wings to children, but I would leave it to them to learn how to fly by themselves.

To old people I would say that death doesn't arrive when they grow old, but with forgetfulness.

I have learned so much with you all, I have learned that everybody wants to live on top of the mountain, without knowing that true happiness is obtained in the journey taken & the form used to reach the top of the hill.

I have learned that when a newborn baby holds, with its little hand, his father's finger, it has trapped him for the rest of his life.

I have learned that a man has the right and obligation to look down at another man, only when that man needs help to get up from the ground.

Say always what you feel, not what you think. If I knew that today is the last time that that I am going to see you asleep, I would hug you with all my strength and I would pray to the Lord to let me be the guardian angel of your soul.

If I knew that these are the last moments to see you, I would say 'I love you'.

There is always tomorrow, and life gives us another opportunity to do things right, but in case I am wrong, and today is all that is left to me, I would love to tell you how much I love you & that I will never forget you.

Tomorrow is never guaranteed to anyone, young or old.

Today could be the last time to see your loved ones, which is why you mustn't wait; do it today, in case tomorrow never arrives. I am sure you will be sorry you wasted the opportunity today to give a smile, a hug, a kiss, and that you were too busy to grant them their last wish.

Keep your loved ones near you; tell them in their ears and to their faces how much you need them and love them. Love them and treat them well; take your time to tell them 'I am sorry';' forgive me',' please' 'thank you', and all those loving words you know.

Nobody will know you for your secret thought. Ask the Lord for wisdom and strength to express them.

Show your friends and loved ones how important they are to you.

Send this letter to those you love. If you don't do it today...tomorrow will be like yesterday, and if you never do it, it doesn't matter either, the moment to do it is now.

For you,
With much love,
Your Friend,

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Shilpa Shetty to marry Raj Kundra

Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty, who became an international celeb following her success in the UK-based reality show Big Brother, has revealed that she plans to marry her year-long boyfriend Raj Kundra in another year and a half.

Asked to comment on her relationship and whether marriage is on the cards, Shilpa told The LondonNews, "I normally don't talk about my personal life, but his name is Raj Kundra. We met a year ago."

"For the next 18 months, I've got my hands full with work, so I can't really think of marriage yet but, after that, I definitely want it to culminate in marriage. And, of course, I'm dying to have a family - at least two children," she said.

Earlier Shilpa had been spotted with Raj a number of times and it was rumoured that she is responsible for the divorce between Raj and his former wife. Shilpa’s publicist, on the other hand has denied any reports of any kind of a romance brewing between the couple as he says that they are just “good friends”.

Now it seems that the cat is out of the bag with Shilpa herself admitting the marriage plans.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hillary Clinton Speech

Hillary Clinton sent out a strong and clear message in her speech at the Democratic National Convention that she was fully behind the presidential nominee.

Sen. Hillary Clinton introduced herself as a "proud supporter of Barack Obama" at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday as she called on her party to rally behind her former rival.
Sen. Hillary Clinton, with daughter Chelsea Clinton, received a standing ovation from the Democratic delegates.

"Whether you voted for me, or voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose. We are on the same team, and none of us can sit on the sidelines. This is a fight for the future. And it's a fight we must win together," she said.

Leading up to her address, there was a lot of speculation about what she would say and whether she would make a strong enough call for unity. But she made a very strident case for Obama's candidacy.

"No way. No how. No McCain. Barack Obama is my candidate. And he must be our president," Clinton said. Her speech, which was the last of the night, followed a line up of other Democrats who used their time at the podium to attack President Bush's record and McCain's policies.

Appearing strong and energized, Clinton thanked her voters for supporting her historic campaign as a female candidate and reached out to those wary of Obama by telling them they weren't in this for her, but for her cause. That cause, she said, is the same thing that Obama and the rest of the Democratic Party are fighting for.

Monday, August 25, 2008

How the iPhone will raise your phone bill by 30 percent

The long wait for iPhone fans is over now. The much sought after iPhone is finally available in India, though for a steep price. (There is no subsidy on iPhone in India unlike USA where the price is subsidized by the telcos)

Many agree that the iPhone is a touch above the rest, what many do not know is that this touch-screen handset from Apple Inc is also expected to raise its users' monthly bills far more than other hi-end mobiles in the market.

In fact, according to telecom industry experts , an iPhone might increase billing charges by up to 25-30 per cent. And that's where Vodafone and Bharti Airtel - the two service providers who launched the gizmo in India on Friday - would make the killing.

Both telecos have come up with special iPhone-specific data plans that are basically aimed at promoting net-surfing on their networks.

While Vodafone is giving 250 MB and 600 MB data usage free per month on a plan of Rs 799 and Rs 999, respectively, Bharti Airtel is offering free 500 MB per month on iPhone-specific plans that will have a basic rent of Rs 600 per month.

You will need to change your current plan.

But telecom analysts feel that these plans are not economical enough, as the iPhone will encourage users to spend more through its value added services (VAS) and bundling stratergies.

"iPhone will increase its owners' bills by more than 25-30 per cent of what they used to pay earlier, especially if he uses all the functions that the phone offers in the country ," said Romal Shetty, Executive Director of the research firm KPMG.

He further pointed out that this latest gizmo, even otherwise , is too expensive, putting it out of the reach of most Indians. For Manoj Mohta, head of another analysis firm CRISIL Research, it's the lack of 3G services that makes the iPhone too expensive for too little in return. "Only after 3G comes in will the service providers launch more of data-oriented plans. But until then it will remain an expensive proposition," said Mohta.

He even hinted that this may actually disappoint iPhone owners, especially when there is also not sufficient Indian-specific content available for such a phone.

Also, iPhone users will need to repeatedly use iTunes (the copyrighted software created by Apple for its products and which has to be paid for) to download content. This is because the iPhone does not have any Bluetooth services that can transfer or get music from another phone.

Sanjay Gupta, chief marketing officer for mobile services at Bharti Airtel , told Mumbai Mirror that 98 per cent of people who use the iPhone globally have heavy data usage.

"Our aim will be to promote that data usage here too. The iPhone is already known for its VAS like GPRS, maps and iTunes," said Gupta.

So if you finally managed to acquire the gizmo be ready to part with cash every month for its upkeep. Sounds like marriage, where upkeep is higher than the acquisition cost.

US Open Tennis

Top Tennis players have arrived for the US Open and are looking forward to the fourth Grand Slam tournament of the year (Other three being the Australian Open , French Open and Wimbeldon).

Rafael Nadal, the new world No. 1 and Olympic gold medalist, arrived in New York on Monday from Beijing and has been enjoying some off-court activities since he arrived, including seeing "Phantom of the Opera" one night and visiting Central Park.

“All tournaments are very important. Here is the last Grand Slam of the season, so it is going to be important, very important for everybody,” he said of the US Open. “If I play a good tournament here, I am going to have chances to continue to be No. 1 for more time. For sure, New York is an important city and one of my favorite cities. To be here is a pleasure, (and) New York is big motivation.”

The 2008 US Open is Nadal’s first Grand Slam with the No. 1 world ranking and the No. 1 seed, but it has not changed the Spaniard’s preparation or focus entering the tournament, where he plays qualifier Bjorn Phau in the first round.

This year, Roger Federer, the four-time defending champion, is the No. 2 seed after a tough year for the Swiss. He lost to Nadal in the finals of both Roland Garros and Wimbledon.

“Maybe it's nice to go into a Grand Slam for a change maybe not having No. 1 next to me, and it should be interesting,” he said.

The Americans, Andy Roddick and James Blake, could not agree more about how special the US Open is. Roddick, the 2003 US Open champion, has battled a shoulder injury since the spring, but he said it is feeling much better now, and after playing a few tournaments in the Olympus US Open Series the past few weeks, feels like he is getting back into match shape after not playing much since Wimbledon.

Roddick faces 35-year-old Fabrice Santoro in the first round – not any easy opening match – who lost a tight five-set match to Blake last year in the second round.

Blake, who is originally from nearby Yonkers, N.Y., and grew up in Fairfield, Conn., is entering the 2008 US Open with a lot of confidence after defeating Federer for the first time in his career at the Olympics last week, where he lost to Novak Djokovic in the bronze-medal match.
Djokovic, who lost to Federer in the 2007 US Open final, enters the tournament this year now as a Grand Slam champion, having won his first major at the 2008 Australian Open.

And as far as Djokovic bringing the entertainment this year with his famous impressions of fellow players – stay tuned – if he does them, it is a spontaneous decision.

Serena and Venus found themselves in the same section of the draw when it was released on Thursday, meaning they could meet as early as the quarterfinals.

In the first round, Venus plays Samantha Stosur, and Serena plays Kateryna Bondarenko. The two feel like they are playing great, with Venus winning her fifth Wimbledon title in July – defeating Serena in the final – and winning the doubles gold medal at the Olympics.

Dinara Safina has had one of the best seasons on the WTA Tour, including winning the Olympus US Open Series and winning 15 of her last 16 matches. She reached her first Grand Slam final at Roland Garros and is now looking to win her first at the US Open, where her older brother Marat Safin won the men’s title in 2000.

She will play a qualifier in the first round and is in the same section of the draw as Ana Ivanovic, to whom she lost in the Roland Garros final. But Safina is playing the best tennis of her career this year, and the turning point for her was capturing the title in Berlin in the spring.

For Jelena Jankovic, who reached the No. 1 ranking for the first time in her career recently but is now No. 2, battling jet lag was an issue after the Olympics, and she went home to Serbia after to see her doctors about a calf injury she struggled with in Beijing. She has battled several injuries this season but is feeling better now and doing her best to train as usual as she pursues her first Grand Slam title.

US Open begins on August 25 and finishes on September 7. players are competing for a prize money of US $ 2.5 million-the largest in the tennis history.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Rita Rudner Quotes

Some of the more famous quotes from Rita Rudner.

A man will go to war, fight and die for his country. But he won't get a bikini wax.
Rita Rudner

Before I met my husband, I'd never fallen in love. I'd stepped in it a few times.
Rita Rudner

I don't plan to grow old gracefully. I plan to have face-lifts until my ears meet.
Rita Rudner

I got kicked out of ballet class because I pulled a groin muscle. It wasn't mine.
Rita Rudner

I know I want to have children while my parents are still young enough to take care of them.
Rita Rudner

I love being married. It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.
Rita Rudner

I love to shop after a bad relationship. I don't know. I buy a new outfit and it makes me feel better. It just does. Sometimes I see a really great outfit, I'll break up with someone on purpose.
Rita Rudner

I think men who have a pierced ear are better prepared for marriage. They've experienced pain and bought jewelry.
Rita Rudner

I want to have children, but my friends scare me. One of my friends told me she was in labor for 36 hours. I don't even want to do anything that feels good for 36 hours.
Rita Rudner

I was a vegetarian until I started leaning toward the sunlight.
Rita Rudner

I was going to have cosmetic surgery until I noticed that the doctor's office was full of portraits by Picasso.
Rita Rudner

I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult.
Rita Rudner

In Hollywood a marriage is a success if it outlasts milk.
Rita Rudner

It wasn't that no one asked me to the prom, it was that no one would tell me where it was.
Rita Rudner

It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.
Rita Rudner

Marriages don't last. When I meet a guy, the first question I ask myself is: is this the man I want my children to spend their weekends with?
Rita Rudner

Men reach their sexual peak at eighteen. Women reach theirs at thirty-five. Do you get the feeling that God is playing a practical joke?
Rita Rudner

Men who consistently leave the toilet seat up secretly want women to get up to go the bathroom in the middle of the night and fall in.
Rita Rudner

Men who have a pierced ear are better prepared for marriage - they've experienced pain and bought jewelry.
Rita Rudner

Most turkeys taste better the day after, my mother's tasted better the day before.
Rita Rudner

My boyfriend and I broke up. He wanted to get married and I didn't want him to.
Rita Rudner

My grandmother was a very tough woman. She buried three husbands and two of them were just napping.
Rita Rudner

My husband and I are either going to buy a dog or have a child. We can't decide whether to ruin our carpet or ruin our lives.
Rita Rudner

My husband gave me a necklace. It's fake. I requested fake. Maybe I'm paranoid, but in this day and age, I don't want something around my neck that's worth more than my head.
Rita Rudner

My mother buried three husbands - and two of them were only napping.
Rita Rudner

Neurotics build castles in the air, psychotics live in them. My mother cleans them.
Rita Rudner

Some people think having large breasts makes a woman stupid. Actually, it's quite the opposite: a woman having large breasts makes men stupid.
Rita Rudner

Some women hold up dresses that are so ugly and they always say the same thing: 'This looks much better on.' On what? On fire?
Rita Rudner

Someday I want to be rich. Some people get so rich they lose all respect for humanity. That's how rich I want to be.
Rita Rudner

The time you spend grieving over a man should never exceed the amount of time you actually spent with him.
Rita Rudner

The word 'aerobics' came about when the gym instructors got together and said: If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it Jumping up and down.
Rita Rudner

They usually have two tellers in my local bank, except when it's very busy, when they have one.
Rita Rudner

To attract men, I wear a perfume called "New Car Interior."

We've begun to long for the pitter-patter of little feet - so we bought a dog. Well, it's cheaper, and you get more feet.

When I eventually met Mr. Right I had no idea that his first name was Always.

Whenever I date a guy, I think, 'Is this the man I want my children to spend their weekends with?'
Rita Rudner

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sherlyn Chopra in Big Boss

The Big Boss TV show has suffered a set back with the exit of Jane Goody but it might recoup its ratings through the entry of sexy Sherlyn Chopra.

With Jade Goody on her way back to Britain from Indian reality show Bigg Boss after she was diagnosed with cancer, speculations are rife that item girl Sherlyn Chopra will take her place.

"For Sherlyn to say 'yes' to Bigg Boss, she needs a great incentive," her publicist Dale Bhagwagar said in an official release. "She will agree to be on the show only if she gets what she deserves to be away for a full three months from the promotions of her latest musical success Dard-e-Sherlyn," he added.

Sherlyn was earlier approached for the show, but she was dropped because she had asked Endemol India, the production house, to pay her Rs 30 million for her stay in the Bigg Boss house.

She had even asked the production house to allow cameras to be installed in the bathrooms of the house so that she could flaunt her vast collection of colourful bikinis and inner wear while bathing.

To this, Bhagwagar said: "With her characteristic boldness and flamboyance, she is capable of making the Television Rating Points (TRPs) of any TV programme hit the roof." The publicist, however, made it clear that "Sherlyn won't be interested in the show without the perks."

Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty, who won the Celebrity Big Brother in Britain, is hosting the show. The show is facing protests from conservative sections of the society with some political leaders gaining cheap mileage by inciting people.

It might boomrang on them as it is bringing more publicity for the Big Boss.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Abhinav Bindra wins Gold for India

World champion Abhinav Bindra created history today by winning the Gold Medal at Beijing olympic.

The 24 year old won a gold medal for India and ended a 28 year drought. India last got a hockey gold in 1988. This is a great individual effort and makes the entire nation proud.

Abhinav Bindra ended the poor run of Indian shooters at the Beijing Olympics by qualifying for the men's 10m air rifle event finals here today and finally winning the gold medal for the event.

Bindra's final score was 700.5 and the seilver medalist had 699.7.

This gold medal by Bindra is a proud moment for the entire nation which had been starved of any medal leave aside gold medal. This is a proud and happy moment for the entire nation.

Bindra, a Khel Ratna awardee, finished the qualifying event joint fourth with Romania's George Alin Moldoveanu after the duo shot a score of 596/600.

The bespectacled shooter managed a series of 100,99,100,98,100 and 99.

Meanwhile, Finland's Henri Hakkinen qualified first for the event with a score of 598/600 after shooting a series of 100,100,99,100,100 and 99.

China's Qinan Zhu was a point adrift of Hakkinen with a series of 100,100,100,100,99 and 98.

Congratulations to Abhinav Bindra, his family and the nation for winning the first gold medal at Beijing Olympics. This is a proud moment for the nation as we get our first individual gold medal at Olympics.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

J.K. Rowling at Harvard

We all know that J.K. Rowling the author of the famed Harry Potter series has a vivid imagination which helped her create her master pieces. Many of you might be aware of the Rowlings life story from rags to riches before and after Harry Potter publications.

This lecture she delivered at Harvard describes in her own words how these factors; "imagination and failure in life" contributed to make her what she is today; a rich world famous writer of unparalleled genius. A must read for everyone who is dealing with life (that includes you too dude)


President Faust, members of the Harvard Corporation and the Board of Overseers, members of the faculty, proud parents, and, above all, graduates,

The first thing I would like to say is 'thank you.' Not only has Harvard given me an extraordinary honour, but the weeks of fear and nausea I've experienced at the thought of giving this commencement address have made me lose weight. A win-win situation! Now all I have to do is take deep breaths, squint at the red banners and fool myself into believing I am at the world's best-educated Harry Potter convention.

Delivering a commencement address is a great responsibility; or so I thought until I cast my mind back to my own graduation. The commencement speaker that day was the distinguished British philosopher Baroness Mary Warnock. Reflecting on her speech has helped me enormously in writing this one, because it turns out that I can't remember a single word she said. This liberating discovery enables me to proceed without any fear that I might inadvertently influence you to abandon promising careers in business, law or politics for the giddy delights of becoming a gay wizard.

You see? If all you remember in years to come is the 'gay wizard' joke, I've still come out ahead of Baroness Mary Warnock. Achievable goals: the first step towards personal improvement.

Actually, I have wracked my mind and heart for what I ought to say to you today. I have asked myself what I wish I had known at my own graduation, and what important lessons I have learned in the 21 years that has expired between that day and this.

I have come up with two answers. On this wonderful day when we are gathered together to celebrate your academic success, I have decided to talk to you about the benefits of failure. And as you stand on the threshold of what is sometimes called 'real life', I want to extol the crucial importance of imagination.

These might seem quixotic or paradoxical choices, but please bear with me.

Looking back at the 21-year-old that I was at graduation, is a slightly uncomfortable experience for the 42-year-old that she has become. Half my lifetime ago, I was striking an uneasy balance between the ambition I had for myself, and what those closest to me expected of me.

I was convinced that the only thing I wanted to do, ever, was to write novels. However, my parents, both of whom came from impoverished backgrounds and neither of whom had been to college, took the view that my overactive imagination was an amusing personal quirk that could never pay a mortgage, or secure a pension. They had hoped that I would take a vocational degree; I wanted to study English Literature. A compromise was reached that in retrospect satisfied nobody, and I went up to study Modern Languages. Hardly had my parents' car rounded the corner at the end of the road than I ditched German and scuttled off down the Classics corridor. I cannot remember telling my parents that I was studying Classics; they might well have found out for the first time on graduation day. Of all subjects on this planet, I think they would have been hard put to name one less useful than Greek mythology when it came to securing the keys to an executive bathroom.

I would like to make it clear, in parenthesis, that I do not blame my parents for their point of view. There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you.

What is more, I cannot criticise my parents for hoping that I would never experience poverty. They had been poor themselves, and I have since been poor, and I quite agree with them that it is not an ennobling experience.

Poverty entails fear, and stress, and sometimes depression; it means a thousand petty humiliations and hardships. Climbing out of poverty by your own efforts, that is indeed something on which to pride yourself, but poverty itself is romanticised only by fools.

What I feared most for myself at your age was not poverty, but failure.

At your age, in spite of a distinct lack of motivation at university, where I had spent far too long in the coffee bar writing stories, and far too little time at lectures, I had a knack for passing examinations, and that, for years, had been the measure of success in my life and that of my peers.

I am not dull enough to suppose that because you are young, gifted and well-educated, you have never known hardship or heartbreak. Talent and intelligence never yet inoculated anyone against the caprice of the Fates, and I do not for a moment suppose that everyone here has enjoyed an existence of unruffled privilege and contentment.

However, the fact that you are graduating from Harvard suggests that you are not very well-acquainted with failure. You might be driven by a fear of failure quite as much as a desire for success. Indeed, your conception of failure might not be too far from the average person's idea of success, so high have you already flown academically.

Ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure, but the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria if you let it. So I think it fair to say that by any conventional measure, a mere seven years after my eduation day, I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain , without being homeless. The fears my parents had had for me, and that I had had for myself, had both come to pass, and by every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.

Now, I am not going to stand here and tell you that failure is fun. That period of my life was a dark one, and I had no idea that there was going to be what the press has since represented as a kind of fairy tale resolution. I had no idea how far the tunnel extended, and for a long time, any light at the end of it was a hope rather than a reality.

So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had already been realised, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea.

And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.

You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all - in which case, you fail by default.

Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above rubies.

The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more to me than any qualification I ever earned.

Given a time machine or a Time Turner, I would tell my 21-year-old self that personal happiness lies in knowing that life is not a check-list of acquisition or achievement. Your qualifications, your CV, are not your life, though you will meet many people of my age and older who confuse the two. Life is difficult, and complicated, and beyond anyone's total control, and the humility to know that will enable you to survive its vicissitudes.

You might think that I chose my second theme, the importance of imagination, because of the part it played in rebuilding my life, but that is not wholly so. Though I will defend the value of bedtime stories to my last gasp, I have learned to value imagination in a much broader sense. Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathise with humans whose experiences we have never suffered.

One of the greatest formative experiences of my life preceded Harry Potter, though it informed much of what I subsequently wrote in those books. This revelation came in the form of one of my earliest day jobs. Though I was sloping off to write stories during my lunch hours, I paid the rent in my early 20s by working in the research department at Amnesty International's headquarters in London . There in my little office I read hastily scribbled letters smuggled out of totalitarian regimes by men and women who were risking imprisonment to inform the outside world of what was happening to them. I saw photographs of those who had disappeared without trace, sent to Amnesty by their desperate families and friends. I read the testimony of torture victims and saw pictures of their injuries. I opened handwritten, eye-witness accounts of summary trials and executions, of kidnappings and rapes.

Many of my co-workers were ex-political prisoners, people who had been displaced from their homes, or fled into exile, because they had the temerity to think independently of their government. Visitors to our office included those who had come to give information, or to try and find out what had happened to those they had been forced to leave behind. I shall never forget the African torture victim, a young man no older than I was at the time, who had become mentally ill after all he had endured in his homeland. He trembled uncontrollably as he spoke into a video camera about the brutality inflicted upon him. He was a foot taller than I was, and seemed as fragile as a child. I was given the job of escorting him to the Underground Station afterwards, and this man whose life had been shattered by cruelty took my hand with exquisite courtesy, and wished me future happiness.

And as long as I live I shall remember walking along an empty corridor and suddenly hearing, from behind a closed door, a scream of pain and horror such as I have never heard since. The door opened, and the researcher poked out her head and told me to run and make a hot drink for the young man sitting with her. She had just given him the news that in retaliation for his own outspokenness against his country's regime, his mother had been seized and executed.

Every day of my working week in my early 20s I was reminded how incredibly fortunate I was, to live in a country with a democratically elected government, where legal representation and a public trial were the rights of everyone.

Every day, I saw more evidence about the evils humankind will inflict on their fellow humans, to gain or maintain power. I began to have nightmares, literal nightmares about some of the things I saw, heard and read. And yet I also learned more about human goodness at Amnesty International than I had ever known before. Amnesty mobilises thousands of people who have never been tortured or imprisoned for their beliefs to act on behalf of those who have. The power of human empathy, leading to collective action, saves lives, and frees prisoners. Ordinary people, whose personal well-being and security are assured, join together in huge numbers to save people they do not know, and will never meet. My small participation in that process was one of the most humbling and inspiring experiences of my life.

Unlike any other creature on this planet, humans can learn and understand, without having experienced. They can think themselves into other people's minds, imagine themselves into other people's places. Of course, this is a power, like my brand of fictional magic, that is morally neutral. One might use such an ability to manipulate, or control, just as much as to understand or sympathise. And many prefer not to exercise their imaginations at all. They choose to remain comfortably within the bounds of their own experience, never troubling to wonder how it would feel to have been born other than they are. They can refuse to hear screams or to peer inside cages; they can close their minds and hearts to any suffering that does not touch them personally; they can refuse to know.

I might be tempted to envy people who can live that way, except that I do not think they have any fewer nightmares than I do. Choosing to live in narrow spaces can lead to a form of mental agoraphobia, and that brings its own terrors. I think the wilfully unimaginative see more monsters. They are often more afraid. What is more, those who choose not to empathise may enable real monsters. For without ever committing an act of outright evil ourselves, we collude with it, through our own apathy.

One of the many things I learned at the end of that Classics corridor down which I ventured at the age of 18, in search of something I could not then define, was this, written by the Greek author Plutarch: What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality. That is an astonishing statement and yet proven a thousand times every day of our lives. It expresses, in part, our inescapable connection with the outside world, the fact that we touch other people's lives simply by existing.

But how much more are you, Harvard graduates of 2008, likely to touch other people's lives? Your intelligence, your capacity for hard work, the education you have earned and received, give you unique status, and unique responsibilities. Even your nationality sets you apart. The great majority of you belong to the world's only remaining superpower. The way you vote, the way you live, the way you protest, the pressure you bring to bear on your government, has an impact way beyond your borders.

That is your privilege, and your burden. If you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on behalf of those who have no voice; if you choose to identify not only with the powerful, but with the powerless; if you retain the ability to imagine yourself into the lives of those who do not have your advantages, then it will not only be your proud families who celebrate your existence, but thousands and millions of people whose reality you have helped transform for the better.

We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.

I am nearly finished. I have one last hope for you, which is something that I already had at 21. The friends with whom I sat on graduation day have been my friends for life. They are my children's godparents, the people to whom I've been able to turn in times of trouble, friends who have been kind enough not to sue me when I've used their names for Death Eaters. At our graduation we were bound by enormous affection, by our shared experience of a time that could never come again, and, of course, by the knowledge that we held certain photographic evidence that would be exceptionally valuable if any of us ran for Prime Minister.

So today, I can wish you nothing better than similar friendships. And tomorrow, I hope that even if you remember not a single word of mine, you remember those of Seneca, another of those old Romans I met when I fled down the Classics corridor, in retreat from career ladders, in search of ancient wisdom:

As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.

I wish you all very good lives.

Thank you very much.

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