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20101009

Shiv Sena attacks Rahul Gandhi, Omar Abdullah

Breaking news! Mumbai: In a sharp attack on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah over their recent controversial utterances, the Shiv Sena today said both "crown princes" needed to get their "heads examined at mental hospitals". In a no-holds barred editorial in the party mouthpiece Saamna, the Sena has said that the manner in which the two youthful leaders have been shooting off their mouths, they pose "a threat to the nation's integrity". It said that both "need to get their heads examined at government expense in government mental hospitals". Starting with Rahul Gandhi, the editorial said that he has completely lost his mental balance and must be immediately shunted to his "mother's land" (Italy). It suggested that there they could carry out a research on his brain for its "rotten thinking" and the utterance that there is not much difference between the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI ) and the Rahtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

The editorial said that the SIMI has been banned for indulging in terrorist and anti-national activities with its involvement in many terror incidents around the country, including Mumbai.

"It is functioning like a 'chhote miya' (junior) of the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Al-Qaeda in India. On the other hand, the RSS is the fountainhead of nationalism, the Sangh symbolises sacrifices and selfless service to society - How could Rahul compare the two?" the editorial demanded.

Hinting at a hidden agenda, the Sena said that Rahul is trying to please the Muslim vote-bank by his utterances.

"It will be better if the Muslims themselves put an end to his statements. The difference between SIMI and RSS is the same as the difference between Italian scamster Quattrochi and Shahid Bhagat Singh, or the distance between India and Italy," the editorial noted sarcastically.

In a below-the-belt remark, the editorial pointed out that the reason Rahul is making such statements is he is not getting settled in life though he is 40, though his younger cousin Varun's marriage has already been fixed.

Going on to tackle Omar Abdullah, the edit said that the statements of this crown prince also could not be ignored by anybody.

Terming as "kiddish" Omar's reported remark that Jammu and Kashmir was compelled to join India and that India and Pakistan must discuss the Kashmir issue, the Sena demanded his outster.

"His (Omar's) views are blatantly anti-national and he deserves to be kicked out as the chief minister," the edit thundered.

It reminded how Indian soldiers have been waging a war against Pakistani infiltrators and terrorists on the borders since the past 60 years and over 25,000 Kashmiris have laid their lives so far.

"Someday, Pakistan will have to pay the price for all this," the editorial warned.
source: agency

India to build cyber attack proof operating system

Breaking news! Bangalore: The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is developing a futuristic operating system to protect its sensitive data from cyber attacks, including hacking, a top official said today.

"We initiated the indigenous computing project in September and a road map is being drawn to implement the programme," DRDO director general V.K. Saraswat told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.

To be located in Bangalore and New Delhi, the operating system would be similar to systems used worldwide.

"Though it will be a real-time system with Windows software, source code and architecture will be proprietary, giving us the exclusivity of owning a system unknown to foreign elements and protect our security system," Saraswat said after unveiling a training facility at the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR), a defence lab in this tech hub.

The new operating system will also reduce the organisation's vulnerability and susceptibility to cyber attacks from internet.

The first of its kind initiative will be used to secure the defence systems for computing in various research areas such as molecular computing and bio-molecular computing, used by the security formations, Saraswat, who is also security advisor to the defence minister, pointed out.

"We have pooled 50 scientists from various defence labs in Bangalore and New Delhi to work on the project," the official said.

The defence laboratory tied up with the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chennai and other universities.

"We have also roped in private firms to develop the project," Saraswat added.
source: agency

Anil Kapoor to star in 'Mission Impossible 4'

Breaking news! Mumbai: It's Hollywood calling for Anil Kapoor. The Indian actor has been signed to essay an important role in one of the biggest film series of Hollywood, "Mission Impossible".

Anil landed in multiple Oscar winning film "Slumdog Millionaire" following which he got a major role in "24", one of the most watched television series in the US. He will now be seen in "Mission Impossible 4" alongside Hollywood's top actors Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton, Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg.

"At this point I can only say that I have been contacted for 'Mission impossible 4' and I have said yes for the role," Anil said in a statement.

CWG volunteers say they're having whale of a time

Breaking news! New Delhi: Clad in red and white tracksuits and flaunting snappy Commonwealth Games (CWG) identity cards slung around their necks, a chirpy group of students was the centre of all attraction in a crowded Delhi Metro coach today morning.

The young men and women were on their way to Rajiv Chowk Metro station for the Commonwealth Games road events, enthusiastic as ever since they started on the volunteers' "job" months before the Games opened.

"We are from the Indian Railway School in Gujarat. Till now, our job has been full of fun and a learning experience," Priyanka Dholakia, a CWG volunteer, told the media.

The volunteers, mostly college students, are involved with man-management tasks during the mega sporting event.

"The Games have given us immense exposure, apart from making us proud," a smiling Swati Shah chipped in.

Nearly 30,000 volunteers went through a multi-tier process of interviews and training before being declared fit for the Games.

"My job as a volunteer is proving to be of great help as I see myself working in media after my studies," said Sonam Chawla, a student of Amity University working as a press operations volunteer at the Games media centre.

"I have to interact with the foreign press too. An internship also can't give me such an experience," Chawla added.

Press operations volunteers are deployed in the press blocks of the stadia and venues to provide factual information to media persons.

With just five days left for the closing ceremony, the volunteers seem to be having the time of their lives.

"I am too excited for the closing ceremony. I am sure it is going to be as spectacular as the opener. And our job is going to be tough too," said Sachin Manaktala, a volunteer deployed in Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the venue for the closing ceremony.
source: agency

CWG: Tickets for major events sold out, now rush for leftovers

Breaking news! New Delhi: With no Commonwealth Games (CWG) tickets available for the finals of popular sports like tennis, badminton and hockey, the spectators are making a dive for tickets for lesser popular athletics, rugby sevens, squash, netball, and even lawn ball.

According to the Commonwealth Games tickets' helpline, the spectators are now asking for any available ticket irrespective of the events.

"The sale of tickets of squash, netball, athletics, lawn ball, rugby has increased. We have already sold out tickets of final matches of hockey, badminton, tennis. Tickets of swimming, boxing, wrestling and gymnastics are also in great demand," said the helpline manager.

There were long queues outside the ticket counters and spectators started arriving to buy tickets since 7 a.m., when the counter opens, although many had to settle with tickets of other events.

"I wanted to watch tennis but tickets for the event are not available. So I have bought a ticket for squash. I am happy that I am watching something in the Commonwealth Games," said Rishika Gupta, a school student.

"The ticket counters are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and being a weekend there was huge rush Saturday," said a Delhi Police officer who was managing crowds at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

For spectators, it's all about being part of the mega sporting event.

"You never know when India will host any major sporting event like this ... so this is the time and I don't mind watching any event. All my friends have bought tickets for netball at Thyagraj Stadium and we are gonna have fun," said Ranjeet Singh, a college student.

Many spectators were buying tickets just to see the venues about which there was so much reporting in media in the days before the Games opened.

"I have heard a lot about the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and was eager to see how it has been renovated. So I have bought a ticket of athletics for Sunday."
source: agency

Audi's September sales zoom 47 percent

Breaking news! New Delhi: German luxury car manufacturer Audi's Indian subsidiary today said that its sales in September 2010 grew at 302 cars as against 205 cars in the same period in 2009 year - an increase of 47 percent.

"Our successful run in India continues in September 2010. We are confident that we are well poised to achieve annual sales of 3,000 cars this year, which exceeds our revised annual target of 2,700 cars," said Michael Perschke, head of Audi India.

According to the company, it has sold 2,178 cars from January to September this year, recording a growth of 63 percent over the same period last year.

"Our focus on network expansion and the introduction of new and energetic products over the next few months is in line with our growth strategy for India," Perschke said.

The company also said that its limousine car A8 LWB will be launched towards the end of this year.

"Our product offensive will begin with the launch of the much-awaited Audi A8 LWB, towards the end of this year, with the renewal of our limousines beginning with the Audi A8, we are extremely bullish on the year 2011," he added.

Currently the A4, A6, Q5, Q7, TT and the super sports car Audi R8 are available at Audi's dealerships across the country.
source: agency

Karnataka crisis 99 percent over: BJP spokesperson

Breaking news! Panaji: The Karnataka crisis is almost 99 percent solved and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders would make a joint statement to the media today morning, a party spokesperson said on Friday night. Speaking to reporters outside the five star resort in which the 14 dissenting Karnataka legislators are camped, north Goa BJP MP Shripad Naik said: "The crisis is almost over. The issues are almost 99 percent settled." The former state president of the BJP also said that three of the party's legislators who had been dropped as ministers by Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa earlier, would be reinstated as ministers as part of the "arrangements" worked out during negotiations.

"An independent legislator who had been demanding a ministerial berth will also be accommodated in the ministry," Naik said, without disclosing any names.

Naik said both the BJP and the dissenting group of legislators would be holding a joint press conference Saturday morning.

Earlier in the day, Janata Dal-Secular leader H.D. Kumaraswamy, who was camped in the five star resort in south Goa since Thursday, expressed confidence that Yeddyurappa's government would not last the Monday trust vote.

"Just wait till then. You will realise. All the dissenting MLAs are together and they are united," Kumaraswamy told reporters, before heading for Bengaluru in the afternoon.

The JD-S leader also refused to reply to questions on whether his party would support a Congress-led government in Karnataka in the near future.

Kumaraswamy also termed as false the allegations by Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa about him indulging in horse-trading. "You will realise soon who is doing horse-trading," he said.

Earlier in the day, Manohar Parrikar, BJP's emissary who is engaged in dialogue with the rebels, described the crisis as "a dispute within the party".
source: agency

Commonwealth Games: Swimmer calls Indian spectators monkeys

Breaking news! Melbourne: A swimmer participating in the Commonwealth Games(CWG)in New Delhi has accused Indian spectators of acting like "monkeys".

South African swimmer Roland Schoeman on Friday night also called the Games a "joke".

"Its an absolute disgrace. There's a guy in the stands just shouting, shouting, shouting. Somebody like that needs to be ejected," the media quoted Schoeman as saying.

"It's unacceptable to be at a professional event like this and have people going on like monkeys. Someone like that doesn't deserve to be here," Schoeman said.

"It's a joke. It's an absolute joke this event."

Schoeman spoke out after narrowly avoiding being disqualified when he and England's Simon Burnett had a false start when they heard a noise in the stand at the second semi-finals for the men's 50m freestyle.

Officials, however, did not disqualify them.

Schoeman later said: "I'm experienced enough not to make a stupid blunder like that."

The term "monkey" has taken on new meaning in recent years, with Indian cricketers sledging Australia's Andrew Symonds with taunts during Australia's 2007 tour of India.

"Monkey-gate" then returned when India toured Australia the following summer, with Symonds alleging that spin bowler Harbhajan Singh had called him a "monkey" in Sydney.
source: agency

RSS prefers out of court settlement on Ayodhya

Breaking news! New Delhi: The Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) will prefer an out of court settlement in the Ramjanmabhumi-Babri Masjid dispute in the light of the recent Allahabad High Court judgment, RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav said on Friday. "Of course, we will prefer an out of court settlement. The court has upheld the main contention of the Hindu litigants, that the site is the birth place of Lord Ram," Madhav told the media here.

Asked whether attempts have begun for an out of court settlement by the RSS or other parties, Madhav said it was premature to comment.

"Now, all parties are studying the voluminous verdict. It is too early to say anything," he added.

"Our chief (RSS sarvsangh chalak Mohan Bhagwat) had said that we would welcome a settlement. There are some feelers, but it is premature to comment upon the developments," Madhav said.

According to him, with the judgment, the movement for construction of a temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh has found judicial acceptance now.

On Sep 30, a three-member Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court, in a unanimous verdict, said that the site where the Ram idols were placed in Ayodhya was the birthplace of Hindu god Ram.

In a majority judgment, the court further ordered the division of the disputed site into three equal parts among the litigants - two Hindu litigant parties and the rival Sunni Wakf Board.

The Wakf Board, which had filed a title suit for the site in 1961, has said that it will appeal in the Supreme Court against the high court judgment.

The RSS - a hardline cadre-based Hindu organisation - had been in the forefront of the Ram Mandir movement to claim the disputed site where the Babri Masjid stood till 1992, and build a temple there.

Activists of Hindu radical groups demolished the 16th century mosque on Dec 6, 1992, claiming it was built after razing a Hindu temple there. The mosque razing triggered countrywide riots in which more than 2,000 people were killed.
source: agency

Akshay Kumar set to turn DJ for retro night

Breaking news! Mumbai: It's finally happening. Akshay Kumar is all set to turn DJ at the the retro music-and-dance night at suburban retro club Polyster and will play all his favourite songs from the 1970s as part of the promotional campaign for "Action Replayy".

Akshay has already selected his favourite 1970s songs but he is not willing to reveal the chosen playlist.

But filmmaker Vipul Shah reveals a little more. "A lot of the songs Akshay has selected are from Rajesh Khanna films. So, we can expect a lot of R.D. Burman tracks."

Further probing reveals that Akshay has zeroed in on songs like "O mere dil ke chain" ("Mere Jeevan Saathi"), "Roop tera mastana" ("Aradhana"), "Yeh jo mohabbat hai" ("Kati Patang") and "Yeh kya hua" ("Amar Prem") as his top-of-the-line dance tracks for the evening.

Akshay has been calling up DJ s of two prominent night-spots in Mumbai to understand how to conduct himself in the evening. Wife Twinkle Khanna would be looking into Akshay's look and wardrobe -- in the 1970s' retro style like in the movie in which he is paired opposite Aishwarya Rai.

Said Akshay: "I don't think any Indian actor or any actor anywhere has been a DJ at a night spot before. I'm quite excited."

The doors at the club will be open to all initially but closed after the place fills up.

Said Vipul Shah: "After all, not too many youngsters would've the chance to get Akshay to play DJ while they dance. I suspect after a while there will be a stampede in there."

The retro tonight would, however, be sadly incomplete without Akshay's leading lady Aishwarya, who has gone to the Pusan Film Festival.

Vipul Shah explained his leading lady's absence on the important night. "The retro-music night was to happen on September 30. But that turned out to be the date for the Ayodhya verdict. When now Aishwarya has committed her time for such an important international festival, I can't expect her to set aside her plans. And she has promised she would try to fly back to Mumbai for the evening and then return to Pusan."

Akshay, however, is reconciled to his solitary star appearance as a DJ though he will now be accompanied by Aditya Roy Kapoor, the veejay turned actor who plays Akshay and Aishwarya's son in "Action Replayy".
source: agency

Priyadarshan should stop making comedies: Ajay Devgn

Breaking news! Mumbai: Versatile Priyadarshan should move away from comedies and focus on other genres, says Ajay Devgn of his "Aakrosh" director who, he feels, is one of the few filmmakers equally adept at handling issue-based serious dramas and fun films.

Priyadarshan, who has given us classic rib-ticklers like "Hera Pheri", is actually better with intense dramas, says Ajay.

"I think Priyadarshan is better with these kinds of films. He had earlier made films like 'Virasat', 'Kala Pani' and also some southern films," Ajay, who plays one of the main leads in "Aakrosh", told media in an interview.

The actor couldn't be more right. Priyadarshan, who is constantly moving base depending on what project he is working on, is the one director who has not only worked in different languages but also won critical acclaim for a varied range of films.

In 1988, Priyadarshan wielded the megaphone for the Malayalam films "Vellanakalude Nadu" about corruption and the land mafia with Mohanlal in the lead role as well as the action-based underworld drama "Aryan".

In 2008, he highlighted the trials and tribulations of silk weavers with his National Award-winning Tamil film "Kanchivaram".

"In fact, I have even told Priyadarshan that he should stop making comedy films and concentrate on such films, because I think he has a very good hold on action and drama. Even he feels that 'Aakrosh' is one of the best films of his career," said Ajay.

With "Aakrosh", the director deals with the burning issue of honour killings. Set in Jhanjhar in Bihar, the film revolves around three Delhi University students who go missing in a village. Ajay plays a CBI officer who is called on special duty to help another officer, played by Akshaye Khanna, to solve the case.

The cast also includes Bipasha Basu, Paresh Rawal and Reema Sen. Releasing on Oct 15, "Aakrosh" has been produced by Kumar Mangat Pathak under the banner Big Screen Entertainer.

Ajay describes it as an action drama. "'Aakrosh' is basically an action film and every action film has a story. This film's story is about honour killings and it gives it an effective and real look. Two heroes try to solve a problem. Through the film we are not giving any solution, but it is a very hard-hitting film," said Ajay, who has had a wonderful year this year in terms of box-office collections.

The actor has had three releases this year -- "Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge?", "Raajneeti" and "Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai". All three set the cash registers ringing.

So what worked in his favour?

"I think the right choice of films and a little bit of luck did wonders and that's why everything fell into place. I'm very happy, but I've not been able to enjoy the success because I have just been working with back to back releases. Still it's a wonderful feeling," said the 41-year-old.

When asked about his favourite genre, he said: "I don't have a favourite genre. If I do just one genre again and again, I'll get bored. It's good to keep doing different kinds of roles.

"I like balancing it out because even the audience will not like it if I keep doing the same thing."

Any plans of getting back to direction after his 2008 "U, Me Aur Hum"?

"Not any time soon, but I might get back to it end of next year," revealed the actor, who is married to Bollywood actress Kajol. The couple has been recently blessed with son Yug. The two already have a daughter.
source: agency

Siddharth Malhotra goes back to TV after 'We Are Family'

Breaking news! New Delhi: The big screen experiment over, "We Are Family" director Siddharth Malhotra is back to his first love, television, and says he will bring four serials by the end of the year.

Siddharth, son of actor-producer Prem Kishen, worked in television for 15 years and produced serials like "Sanjivani", "Ssshhhh...Koi Hai....", "Ayushmaan" and "Krishna-Arjun" under his banner Cinevistaas Limited.

"It's not just one show on Sony that I am coming up with. Two of my shows are already on air in the south and three more are ready to come by the end of this year in collaboration with the STAR networks," Siddharth told media in an interview.

"The shows in collaboration with the STAR network are in the pipeline; of the three, two are romantic-comedies and one is a thriller."

Asked what the difference was in the formats of the show, he said: "Earlier television was progressive, now it is regressive. The concept of the one-hour show has vanished in the present time. There is a lot of emphasis on the pre-production stage, which was never done on such a big scale though it is very important."

His latest offering for the small screen is a thriller titled "Tera Mujhse Hai Pehle Ka Nata Koi". Shot in Manali, the show is about a damsel-in-distress with a suspense angle and will go on air on Sony from Monday.

"It's about a girl who finds her partner in the wrong person, who is supposedly her enemy. She eventually discovers that she has a past with him, which has been kept away from her," he said.

In terms of content and technology, Siddharth claims his serial is no less than a film.

"This show is not less than a movie because it's edgy and fast in its approach. The use of digital format and high definition quality techniques have widened its scale. Also, the team behind the camera is very qualified and strong."

There were reports that he would bring together real life uncle-niece Rishi Kapoor alongside Kareena Kapoor in his next big screen project.

But Siddharth denies it saying: "It's all made up. It's rubbish. I haven't approached Rishiji or Kareena for any film. Though I would love to cast if the script demands in future. But the reports which are rotating as of now are all false.

"I am currently working on a script which will at least take six months to get completed. I am not working on any movie as of now and have put everything on hold till year-end."

However, he confirms his contract with filmmaker Karan Johar hasn't expired yet.

"Yes, I will be working with Karan Johar; that is because I am in contract with him."
source: agency

'Ishqiya' to be screened at Cairo film fest

Breaking news! New Delhi: Acclaimed film "Ishqiya" has been chosen to be screened at the 34th Cairo International Film Festival to be held on Nov 30-Dec 9.

The dark drama, co-produced by Vishal Bharadwaj and Shemaroo Entertainment, features Vidya Balan, Naseeruddin Shah and Arshad Warsi in key roles.

Set in eastern Uttar Pradesh, it is a tale of romance between individuals caught in a web of crime, suspense, passion and deceit. The film received a warm response in India, and is now also reaching out to international audiences.

"We are getting an overwhelming response from people worldwide. The film has already participated in around five international film festivals and is appreciated by all," Hiren Gada, director, Shemaroo Entertainment, said in a press statement.

"Ishqiya", debut directed by Abhishek Chaubey, has earlier been showcased at various film festivals, including the Munich Film Festival, Melbourne Film Festival as well as the Indian Film Festival of London.
source: agency

Second appeal under Hindu Marriage Act allowed, rules court

Breaking news! Gandhinagar: A second appeal under the Hindu Marriage Act is maintainable, the Gujarat High Court has ruled.

Deciding the case of Varshaben Suthar vs Jayshankar Mistri, Justice K.A. Puj ruled, in a judgment made available today, that the second appeal against the judgment and decree of the first appellate court under the 1955 act would be maintainable under its section 28 as it stands after the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Act, 1976, and not under Section 100 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

However, the appeal would be regulated by Section 100 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

Mistri had challenged the maintainability of the second appeal on grounds that it is not provided under section 28(1) of the Hindu Marriage Act. He contended that it only provides for one appeal against the decree passed by the court in exercise of its civil jurisdiction. However, the court disagreed.

The court also rejected Suthar's contention that the first appellate court had passed the decree for divorce only on the ground of irretrievable breakdown of marriage.

Justice Puj observed that the court had discussed various issues including desertion, living adulterous life with another person, the appellant having pregnancy when she was not living with the respondent husband, abortion and so on. It then came to the conclusion that it was not possible for them to live together and there was an irretrievable breaking down of marriage and divorce was the only solution.

Suthar had filed the second appeal in the high court challenging the order of the Sabarkantha district judge in January 2007, allowing the appeal filed by Mistri and granting divorce by quashing and setting aside the order of additional civil judge of Himmatnagar.

Mistri had been asked to pay Rs.2 lakh as permanent alimony, but had also filed a cross objection challenging the said order.

However, Justice Puj dismissed both the second appeal and cross objection.

Theft in Games Village: FIR registered

Breaking news! New Delhi: A First Information Report (FIR) regarding a theft in the Pakistan chef de mission's room in the Commonwealth Games Village has been registered, a Delhi Police officer said.

"An FIR has been registered under section 380 of the Indian Penal Code. The police are looking into the matter," said Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat.

Around 10 a.m. today, Pakistan chef de mission Muhammad Ali Shah went for breakfast leaving Rs.25,000 in his jacket at his room in the Games Village, which he left unlocked.

On his return, he found the money missing.
source: agency

India needs to open up financial sector: IMF chief

Breaking news! New Delhi: The Indian economy has performed very well in the last few years, especially during the global economic crisis, but it needs to further open up its financial sector and public debt to sustain growth momentum, IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn said today.

"There are several problems including the openness of the economy, especially the openness of financial sector, the public debt which is still in discussion that we have with Indian authorities," Kahn told private television channel.

He said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) keeps advising Indian authorities and its policies had worked well for the economy.

"I think the Indian Economy is doing really well. Of course, with a lot of problems. You cannot manage over a billion people economy without problems but it's doing really well, has done well during the crisis and is coming out of the crisis in rather good shape," he said.

The IMF chief said Indian economic growth would be influenced by the situation in the world economy because a large part of it was linked to the global economy.
source: agency

CWG medals results: Day Five

New Delhi: The following are results on the fifth day of the Commonwealth Games here on Friday.

Archery: Yamuna Sports Complex

Men Recurve Team: Gold: Australia Silver: Malaysia Bronze: India

Women Recurve Team: Gold: India Silver: England Bronze: Canada

Athletics: Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium

400m women final: Gold: Amantle Montsho (Botswana) 50.10 secs Silver: Folashade Abugan (Nigeria) 51.39 secs Bronze: Tabitha Pompey (Guyana) 51.65 secs

Decathlon: Gold: Jamie Adjetey (Canada) 8070 points Silver: Brent Newdick (New Zealand) 7899 points Bronze: Martin Brockman (England) 7712 points

10,000 metres women: Gold: Kwamboka Momanyi (Kenya) 32:34.11 min Silver: Chepkwemo Changeywo (Kenya) 32:36..97 min Bronze: Kavita Raut (India) 33:05.28 min

1,500 metres women Gold: Jebet Lan'gat (Kenya) 4:05.26 min Silver: Nikki Hamblin (New Zealand) 4:06.15 min Bronze: Stephanie Twell (Scotland) bronze 4:06.15 min

Women triple jump: Gold: Kaye Smith (Jamaica) 14.19 metres Silver: Ayanna Alexander (Trinidad and Tobago) 13.91 metres Bronze: Tabia Charles (Canada) 13.84 metres

Men hammer throw Gold: Johannes Harmse (South Africa) 73.15 metres England: Alex Smith (England) 72.95 metres Bronze: Mike Floyd (England) 69.34 metres

Men 110m hurdles Gold: Andy Turner (England) 13.38 seconds Silver: William Sharman (England) 13.50 seconds Bronze: Lawrence Clarke (England) 13.70 seconds

Badminton: Siri Fort Sports Complex

Mixed Team event: Gold: Malaysia Silver: India Bronze: England

Gymnastics: Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium

Vault (men) Gold: Luke Folwell (Aus) Silver: Ashish Kumar (Ind) Bronze: Ian Galvin (Can)

Shooting: Karni Singh Shooting Range

Trap (Women Pairs): Gold: Laetisha Scanlan and Stacy Roiall (Australia) Silver: Abbey Burton and Anita North (England) Bronze: Sue Nattrass and Cynthia Meyer (Canada)

Trap (Men pairs): Gold: Michael Diamond and Adam Vella (Aus) Silver: Manavjit Singh Sandhu and Mansher Singh (Ind) Bronze: Aaron Heading and Dave Kirk (Eng)

50m Rifle 3 positions (Men pairs) Gold: Gagan Narang and Imran Hasan Khan (Ind) Silver: James Huckle and Kenny Parr (Eng) Bronze: Jonathan Hammond and Neil Stirton (Scot)

25m Rapid Fire Pistol (Men individual): Gold: Vijay Kumar (Ind) Silver: Hasli Izwan Hasan Amir (Mas) Bronze: Gurpreet Singh (Ind)

10m Air Pistol Gold: Gold: Omkar Singh (Ind) Silver: Bin Gai (Sin) Bronze: Daniel Repacholi (Aus)

Wrestling: Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium

59kg: Gold: Alka Tomar - India Silver: Tonya Verbeek - Canada Bronze: Tega Tosin Richard - Nigeria

67kg: Gold: Anita - India Silver: Megan Buydens - Canada Bronze: I Iheanacho - Nigeria

51kg: Gold: Ifeoma Christiana Nwoye - Nigeria Silver: Babita Kumari - India Bronze: Jessica Macdonald - Canada

Upbeat India looks to wrap up two-Test series

Breaking news! Bangalore: After a sensational win in the first Test at Mohali, an upbeat India is keen on maintaining the pressure on the Australians in the second and last Test, beginning here today, to sweep the current series and claim the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni is betting on the promising Chennai lad Murali Vijay and Kerala seamer Shantakumaran Sreeshanth in place of opener Gautam Gambhir and pacer Ishant Sharma both of whom were injured at Mohali.

As for V. V. Laxman's back spasms he suffered in Bangalore, the skipper said though he was recovering, his availability would be known only tomorrow morning.

"Though he seems to be fit, we don't want to take a chance as it is a five-day match and we cannot put undue pressure on him," Dhoni said.

Ponting, however, made it clear that he would not allow Laxman to have a runner again as in the last Test when the stylish Hyderabad batsman scored an unbeaten 73 in the second innings and saw India cruise through the match.

"I expect him to play. But will have to run between the wickets. You can't always come into a match with injuries and then ask for a runner," Ponting said.

Clarifying that his team was not unduly worried about Laxman's presence in the team, Ponting said with the kind of strong batting line-up India has, it was hard to overlook others like (Virender) Sehwag, Sachin (Tendulkar) and (Rahul) Dravid.

"Every Indian batsman is tough on these familiar conditions. Until you get all of them out, you aren't sure. They showed how dangerous they can be at Mohali," Ponting added.

The once mighty Australia, though down 0-1, are raring to go all-out to square the series, as evident from the body language of its defiant skipper Ricky Pointing at the nets at the M. Chinnaswamy stadium in city centre.

"We will play with the same intensity as we did in Mohali and use all the resources to level the series," Ponting told reporters on Friday after a two-hour-long practice session.

Though the Bangalore pitch has been lucky for India against Australia, as it won two of the four Tests played here and drew the other two over the years, Dhoni admitted that they needed to improve in a few areas.

"We need to improve a lot in a few areas, especially in fielding as we cannot afford to give away too many runs with the new ball and not lose wickets when chasing the target," Dhoni said at a news conference after the Indian team's practice at the nets.

Recalling the adage 'catches win matches', Dhoni said that the mantra of 'don't drop a catch' continued to hold good.

"Not dropping catches still holds strong. Similarly, stopping singles and running between the wickets are equally important as they can change the course of the game," the wicketkeeper pointed out.

Australian left-arm fast bowler Doug Bollinger is doubtful to play as he had not recovered from a side strain.
source: agency

Dalai Lama to open World Peace Festival in Pune

Breaking news! Pune: Retired super cop and social activist Kiran Bedi and some of the eminent scientists and educationists will participate in the World Peace Festival at Pune on Oct 10, which Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama will inaugurate, organisers said.

The Tej Gyan Foundation, a Pune-based charitable trust, has organised the programme -- "World Peace...Piece by Piece" to champion the cause of peace.

As a part of this movement, the Tej Gyan Foundation had organised ten events for the first ten months of the year in various parts of India to promote the cause of peace, its official said.

"All actions and thoughts have a bearing on peace, personal as well as social. Without peace, no human aspirations can be realised. It is no more a choice but is a human necessity," Bedi said.

The end of the initiative -- "Happy Thoughts - World Peace Festival" -- will be organised across more than 50 cities in the country on the same day.

The flagship event in Pune shall be inaugurated by the Dalai Lama and is expected to attract an audience of over one lakh people.

Bedi will highlight the role of women in world peace.

"Woman is the cradle of the 'first lesson' of peace. She is the one from whose lap peace is born. And if that lesson is well given and well taught, peace prevails," she said.

Bedi stressed the importance of learning the art of peace and peacekeeping early in life.

"Each person contributes as a member of the nation to the world peace. Indians will contribute to world peace by remaining a civilised country," she said.

Padmashree awardees former special CBI director D.R. Kaarthikeyan, computer scientist Vijay Bhatkar, Symbiosis International University chancellor S.B. Mujumdar, and founder of Sounds True, a multi-media publisher dedicated to disseminating spiritual wisdom, Tami Simon will also speak at the programme.
source: agency

Video shows Chandrababu Naidu hitting tribal woman

Breaking news! HYDERABAD: Did former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu assault a tribal woman during a meeting in East Godavari district? Yes, says a television channel, which repeatedly telecast the scene but Naidu's Telugu Desam Party (TDP) denies it.

The visuals show TDP chief raising his hand to beat a woman, snatching the mike from her and even hitting her on her arm to force her to sit down. The main opposition party, however, clarified that Naidu was only trying to restrain her.

The incident took place late on Friday at Prattipadu in East Godavari district when Naidu was meeting people after visiting laterite mines in Vantada village.

During the interaction, a woman supporting the mines criticised politicians for frequently visiting the area. She snatched the mike from another woman to express her views. Fuming at her action, Naidu admonished her and raised his hand as if to hit her. The leader of opposition then snatched the mike from her and hit her arm to force her to sit down.

Sakshi television channel, owned by Congress MP Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, repeatedly telecast the visuals, claiming that Naidu attacked a tribal woman. It said Naidu lost his cool as the woman wanted to pose a question to him.

Leaders of the ruling party demanded Naidu's arrest and that he be booked under the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes Atrocities (Prevention) Act. They also demanded that Naidu immediately resign from the post of leader of opposition.

"It is shameful for a man who served as chief minister for nine years and leader of opposition for over six years to raise his hand on a woman," said state Minister for Tribal Welfare P. Balarju.

Congress legislators and tribal leaders demanded action against the TDP chief.

The TDP, however, clarified that Naidu was only trying to pacify two groups of women who were quarrelling with each other. TDP leader Ramesh Rathod alleged that the television channel spread false propaganda against Naidu as the latter was on a campaign to expose illegal mining.
source: agency

IPL governing council to meet in Mumbai on Sunday

Breaking news! NEW DELHI: Indian Premier League governing council will have an emergency meeting in Mumbai on Sunday to discuss issues relating to three franchisers, according to cricket board sources.

The three franchise teams -- Rajasthan Royals, Kings Eleven Punjab and newly-bought Kochi -- were given show cause notices by BCCI on September 29 as they had not complied with the rules governing the franchisers.

The governing council is expected to take a final decision on these three franchisers at the meeting.
source: agency

Racist scandal: Australian cops joke about Indian's electrocution

Breaking news! MELBOURNEL In a shocking incident, top Australian police officers have been caught in a racist e-mail scandal joking about the electrocution of an Indian train passenger and suggesting that it could be "a way to fix the Indian student problem" in Melbourne.

The police officers of the Australian state of Victoria circulated sickening video footage showing the death of the man, who was travelling on the roof of a crowded train in India, 'The Herald Sun' reported on Saturday.

When the train stopped at a station the man stood up and touched an overhead power cable. Onlookers screamed as he was electrocuted, showed the clip contained in one of the offending e-mails.

The e-mail containing the shocking video began circulating in the Victoria Police computer system and racist comments were added, suggesting "this might be a way to fix the Indian student problem".

The paper said it has discovered some of the force's highest-ranked officers have been implicated in the scandal, which also involves pornographic material.

Three superintendents were nabbed during an investigation into the circulation of inappropriate e-mails through the police computer system and several inspectors have also been caught, the report said.

E-mails probed by the Ethical Standards Department's (ESD's) Operation Barrot contain pornographic, homophobic, racist and violent material.

Reacting to the scandal, Chief Commissioner Simon Overland described the e-mails as "disturbing, offensive and gross".

The scandal involving "sick" Victorian police officers came at a time when the force's command was trying to ease racial tension after a number of assault cases involving Indian students living in Melbourne.

Victorian Premier John Brumby criticised the actions of the police who circulated the racist material.

"This is completely offensive and contrary to the views and values at the heart of the Victorian community - tolerance and respect," he said.

A police spokesman said the e-mails were offensive. "These are matters which demanded we took action. Some of the content was extremely offensive and we can't tolerate that within the ranks of Victoria Police," he said.

Federation of Indian Students spokesman Gautam Gupta said he was appalled. "It is outrageous that police officers would joke about the death of anyone. I am really shocked. This is humour in very, very bad taste," he was quoted as saying.

None of the superintendents or inspectors caught during the sweep have been interviewed by ESD yet, the paper said, adding it believes it has been unofficially suggested to two long-serving superintendents that they should retire as soon as possible to avoid disciplinary action.

A sergeant, two leading senior constables and a senior constable have already been sacked and six other low-ranking police have been demoted or fined.

Healesville sergeant Tony Vangorp took his life in March after being suspended and being told he faced the sack over inappropriate e-mails, the report said.

Fifteen officers will be dealt with at disciplinary hearings in the next fortnight, it said.

In an editorial, 'The Herald Sun' said there is no excuse for the appalling behaviour of some Victoria Police members.

These police circulated e-mails containing video footage showing the death of an Indian man who was travelling on the roof of a crowded train, it noted.

"Horrible enough - but then made even worse by being circulated in the Victoria Police computer system with added racist comments along the lines of: 'This might be a way to fix the Indian student problem," the editorial commented.

It noted that both Chief Commissioner Simon Overland and Premier John Brumby have condemned the actions of the police involved.

A number of police officers have been sacked and still more face disciplinary hearings in the next two weeks, the editorial said, adding they should also immediately go if found guilty.
source: agency

20101008

CWG: Delhi cheers for Saina Mirza

Breaking news! New Delhi: The centre court at the R.K. Khanna Tennis Stadium reverberated with the cries of "Go Sania!" and "C'mon Sania" as the Indian struggled to find her rhythm in her semi-final match against the sixth-seeded Olivia Rogowska of Australia before hurtling to a win which ensured India at least a silver in the CWG women's singles.

Even second-seeded Sania was surprised by the vociferous support from the nearly-packed stands.

"I have played a lot in Delhi and I know how the crowd here is like. But today the turnout was very unlike the usual. I was trailing in the match and for the first time I heard someone saying, 'Let's cheer her up!' This is the first time I have heard anyone saying that. It was exceptional," Sania said after making a place in the final.

"Maybe it is because of Commonwealth Game, everyone is patriotic and excited. It was not a complete tennis crowd, they were not aware that they are not supposed to cheer when the points are being played. But they were behind me and that's what matters."

The 23-year-old Indian felt for her Australian opponent, who put up a brave face against a heavily partisan crowd.

"I am it sure was tough for her. It is hard not to be distracted. But she never showed that she was affected. I don't know whether she was just pretending to be calm but she actually came fighting whenever she was down."

It was a forgettable outing for Sania, who struggled with her game. But she hoped to get her act together for the final.

"I definitely did not play my best tennis. But there are days when you struggle and it is important to come through such matches. She (Rogowska) also played very well. She was seeing everything which I was not. If she plays like this consistently, she could be in top-50. But taking no credit from her, even I allowed her to play like this," Sania said.

Sania, watched by husband, former Pakistan cricket captain Shoaib Malik, parents Imran and Nasima and sister Anam, feels she has matured as a player and the manner in which she clawed her way back into the match reflects that.

"Earlier, I would be stubborn and insist on attacking with my forehand even when I am trailing in the match. But today I was thinking to shift gears and first putting the ball in court. Today I knew I have to get the ball into court whatever the speed may be. This is where the experience counts," she said.

Sania was elated that India's No.1 men's singles player Somdev Devvarman has also made it to the final of the competition and hoped they will win gold for India.

"It is an exciting time for Indian tennis and a great achievement. A few years ago, no one would have expected India to be in the final of men's and women's singles. Somdev is in great form, he loves wearing down his opponents. He is the top seed and expected to win. Hope we can win the gold for India," she said.
source: agency

Sony TV to host Big B's birthday bash

Breaking news! Mumbai: Megastar Amitabh Bachchan had no major plans for his 68th birthday on Oct 11, but Sony TV has now decided to throw a bash for the "Kaun Banega Crorepati 2010" host at a hotel here.

It will be a double celebration as the fourth season of "Kaun Banega Crorepati" has been scheduled to go on air on Sony TV on Bachchan's birthday. The bash will be held at the J.W. Marriot and will be attended by Amitabh's family as well as some well-known personaities, including film stars and others.

"His family, actors John Abraham, Bipasha Basu and even cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni are expected to attend the party. Dhoni might fly down to Mumbai to wish him personally and be a part of the celebrations," a source from the channel told IANS.

Amitabh's son Abhishek and daughter-in-law Aishwarya are currently at the Pusan International Film Festival in South Korea, where their film "Raavan" is being showcased. But they will be back in time for Big B's birthday.
source: agency

Watch CWG events live and free of cost!

Breaking news! New Delhi, Oct 8: Want to watch a sports event of the Commonwealth Games live and that too free of cost? Then get set for the road races - cycling and walk events- which will kick off Saturday in central Delhi. The Delhi Police today issued a traffic advisory restricting movement in the area for the events.

Starting from Saturday at 6.30 a.m., the 20 km race walk will traverse Sansad Marg and Rajpath. The men's race will begin followed by the women's, which will be participated by 55 athletes -- 23 women and 32 men.

The cycling competition will be held Oct 10. As many as 83 women cyclists will be in action from Sansad Marg at 9 a.m. for the 112-km race. This will be followed by the men's 168-km version at 1 p.m. This line-up will include 167 cyclists.

The two races will begin and end in front of the Free Church on Sansad Marg and will cover Red Cross Road, Rajendra Prasad Marg, Janpath, Rajpath, Vijay Chowk apart from Outer Circus Connaught Place, Barakhamba Road, Bhavabhuti Marg and Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg.

For a hassle-free movement, the advisory said that there will be traffic restrictions on these routes from midnight of Oct 9 to 7 p.m. of Oct 10.

The people in Noida will also get a taste of the Games Oct 13 when 45 athletes will compete in the women's 29-km Individual Time Trial at 10.30 a.m. on the Noida Expressway. This will be followed by the men's event at 1 p.m where 83 athletes will be in action.

On Oct 14, the last day of the Games, there will be a marathon beginning at 6.30 a.m. in central Delhi. The 42.195 km circuit, beginning and ending at Sansad Marg, will see 35 athletes in action.
source: agency

Rahul Gandhi devoid of good etiquettes and manners: Navjot Singh Siddhu

Breaking news! Rajkot: BJP leader and MP Navjot Singh Siddhu strongly criticized Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi's statements on RSS, and replied that Rahul should learn some good manners first before commenting on any political party mindlessly.

Siddhu claimed that one learns proper etiquettes and manners while he is in school. But perhaps Rahul have missed that opportunity. He suggested that the young politician must return to school once again and learn such manners and the way of talking to others.

On Oct 6, Rahul Gandhi equated RSS with the banned terrorists group SIMI, stating that both the groups have similar views and outlook.

The cricketer-turned politician Siddhu then also praised Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for his contribution to the state's development. Siddhu came to Rajkot on Thursday for campaigning in favour of BJP ahead of the assembly elections in Gujarat.
source: agency

Dalai Lama asks China to free Nobel winner Liu

Breaking news! Dharamsala: Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama today urged the Chinese leadership to release jailed dissident leader and writer Liu Xiaobo, who has been named for this year's Nobel Peace Prize, and "other prisoners of conscience".

Congratulating Liu for getting the Nobel, the Tibetan spiritual guru, himself a Nobel Peace Prize winner, said in a statement: " Awarding the peace prize to him is the international community's recognition of the increasing voices among the Chinese people in pushing China towards political, legal and constitutional reforms."

"I would like to offer my heart-felt congratulations to Liu Xiaobo for being awarded the Nobel prize."

"I have been personally moved as well as encouraged by the efforts of hundreds of Chinese intellectuals and concerned citizens, including Liu, in signing the Charter 08, which calls for democracy and freedom in China... I believe in the years ahead, future generations of Chinese will be able to enjoy the fruit of the efforts that the current Chinese citizens are making towards responsible governance," said the Tibetan leader, who was awarded the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize.

The Dalai Lama observed that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's recent comments on freedom of speech being indispensable for any country and people's wish for democracy and freedom being irresistible are a reflection of the growing yearning for a more open China.

"I would like to take this opportunity to renew my call to the government of China to release Liu and other prisoners of conscience who have been imprisoned for exercising their freedom of expression," the Dalai Lama, 75, added.

Liu is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence on charges of inciting subversion of state power in China.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has announced in Oslo that Liu was unanimously chosen for his long-standing struggle for human rights in China.
source: agency

Bigg Boss's Sakshi in MMS scandal

Breaking news! Sakshi Pradhan may be locked up in the Bigg Boss house but out in the real world, she seems to be locked in controversy.

According to a report in Mumbai's tabloid, Mid-Day, Sakshi has a new MMS scandal credited to her name. She is seen flirting and kissing a man in the 14-second clip.

'The MMS apparently shows Sakshi auditioning for a role and is heavily searched for on the web,' the report states.

Though the MMS is quite an old one, it has re-surfaced on the Internet at the time Sakshi has entered Bigg Boss.

Last year, Sakshi had posted on her Facebook account that the MMS clip was not true. She claimed that she was shocked that people believed it to be her.

Looks like we have to wait for the MTV Splitsvilla winner to get out of Bigg Boss to know the truth.
source: mid day

20101007

I asked mom before accepting 'Bigg Boss 4': Salman Khan

Breaking news!New Delhi: He has learned to take media gossip with a pinch of salt and now finds rumours amusing. Salman Khan, whose latest love is the small screen, says he will display his "unadulterated" side as the host of Colors' "Bigg Boss 4", a reality show he accepted only after consulting his mom.

"I asked mom (Salma) before considering it and she instantly said yes," Salman, 44, told the media in an e-mail interview from Mumbai. "I am going to be myself, 100 percent unadulterated Salman. I will call a spade a spade and have lots of fun," he added.

The show started on Sunday and has already run into controversy because of the presence of two Pakistani contestants.

Excerpts from the exclusive interview:

Q: Back as a host on the small screen with "Bigg Boss 4" after hosting two seasons of "Dus Ka Dum" - has Salman Khan taken a fancy to TV or hosting reality shows?

A: You can say I have taken a fancy to TV or reality shows, but for me, my fans are most important. When I appear on TV, they don't have to go out, buy tickets and watch the show. They can enjoy watching me on their television sets in the comfort of their homes for free. My family enjoys "Bigg Boss"; they discuss it all the time. I asked mom before considering it and she instantly said yes.

Q: So how different was it from "Dus Ka Dum"?

A: "Dus Ka Dum" was a game format, "Bigg Boss" is completely different. Here you can be more upfront, it has a lot to do with others' actions as well as emotions.

Q: How are you going to add more spice to "Bigg Boss" considering the participants already promise the same thanks to their controversial track records?

A: I am going to be myself, 100 percent unadulterated Salman. I will call a spade a spade. I am a very straightforward person and I will not take any hypocrisy and politics lightly. For those housemates who play clean, they will always find their best friend in me. Those who don't, be ready to expect the worst. But I can promise that viewers will have the most amazing time. They can expect as much fun outside the house as is expected inside.

Q: Any favourite contestant who you can bet your money on?

A: 'Sab ek se badhkar ek hain boss'... this show is quite unpredictable, so you never know who manages to survive and who gets to meet me on Friday when the next eviction happens.

Q: You are sporting a completely cool look for the show. Did you contribute any inputs for the same?

A: Thank you, but all credit goes to Ashley Rebello and my sister Alvira (Agnihotri).

Q: What do you have to say about your controversies'-favourite-child tag in Bollywood?

A. Controversies are fuelled and at times created by the media. I don't react to it and no one around me does either. Since I have come on Twitter, even my fans have stopped reacting to it as they have direct access to me.

Q. Do you think hosting reality shows has made you more comfortable both with the common man and the press?

A. I have always been comfortable with my fans. TV only helps me to be more accessible to them and we all have fun in the process. Regarding media, you guys discuss my life without even knowing it and I find it very amusing.

Q. Do we also see a third season of "Dus Ka Dum" some time in the future? What about the sequel to "Dabangg"?

A. I am currently working on "Ready". Then we have two scripts for "Dabangg" and it could either be a prequel or a sequel. Regarding television, I am on "Bigg Boss" season four now and enjoying it a lot... will let you know what next on TV when I decide something.
source: agency

Sheila Dikshit slur to cost New Zealand TV show dear

Breaking news! Wellington: A migrant services group has called on companies to withdraw advertising from a New Zealand TV show after the on-air "racist remarks" against the country's Governor General Anand Satyanand and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit. Breakfast show host Paul Henry was suspended for two weeks after asking Prime Minister John Key if Sir Anand Satyanand was "even a New Zealander" and whether the next governor general would "look and sound like a New Zealander". The comment sparked a record number of complaints to New Zealand TV (TVNZ) and has drawn criticism from the Race Relations Commissioner, politicians, ethnic and community organisations and thousands of people who have posted comments on websites, media reported on Thursday.

Complaints have also been received about another Breakfast episode where Henry worked himself up into a fit of laughter over the name of Sheila Dikshit.

He also appeared to make a slur against Indians in general.

The Auckland Regional Migrant Services (ARMS) said Henry's "insensitive and xenophobic comments" would be viewed negatively by many migrants to New Zealand.

Acting executive director of ARMS Lawton Hakaraia called on people to write to companies that advertised on Breakfast, to ask them to withdraw their advertising if Paul Henry kept his job.

"TVNZ must take full responsibility for what has happened and investigate and address the comments made by Henry, to ensure that such bigoted, ethnocentric remarks have no place on state-funded television," Hakaraia said.

He said Sir Anand had been a patron of the ARMS Charitable Trust since 2005, and had generously supported and contributed towards the services it provided to migrants and refugees across the Auckland region.

"This kind of statement is demeaning to the office of the Governor-General," he said.

Meanwhile, a TVNZ public relations manager has apologised to colleagues for her response to media after Henry's comments.

In a leaked email Andi Brotherston apologised and admitted she had "made an horrendous error of judgement".

Brotherston said Henry was prepared to say the things "we quietly think but are scared to say out loud".

In the leaked email she said: "In hindsight it seems unbelievable that I didn't seek a second opinion ... or even pause for breath but I didn't and only have myself to blame."

Brotherston said her comments were wrong and she accepted full responsibility. She offered to resign but her boss declined to accept.

Henry apologised on air after making the comment and, while he has shown some remorse, he lost his cool when he came across reporters waiting outside his North Shore property Tuesday, directing a tirade of expletive-laden abuse at them.

Sir Anand, who was born, educated, worked and lived in Auckland, has been diplomatic about the incident, but agreed Henry had crossed the line.

The slur against the Delhi chief minister prompted the Indian ministry of external affairs (MEA) to summon the New Zealand high commissioner in the national capital. The envoy issued an apology.
source: agency

Kingfisher flight makes emergency landing in Mumbai

Breaking news! Mumbai: A Kingfisher Airlines Mumbai-New Delhi flight made an emergency landing after a suspected bird-hit here today morning, an official said.

The flight IT-331 had taken off and was into flight for nearly 15 minutes when the incident occurred and the aircraft returned as "a precautionary measure", the official said.

There were 120 passengers plus crew members aboard. No casualties were reported.

They were later accommodated in an alternate aircraft that left for the national capital.
source: agency

India has 20-70 million housing shortage

Breaking news! Washington: India has an estimated housing shortage ranging from 20 million to 70 million, yet as much as half of this excess demand can be profitably serviced by the housing and housing finance markets, says a new World Bank report.

High economic growth coupled with rapid urbanisation and a rising middle class have created considerable demand for housing and housing finance in South Asia, says the report entitled "Expanding Housing Finance to the Underserved South Asia".

South Asia's housing and housing finance markets have grown at an impressive 30 percent rate in the past decade, but are limited to upper-income groups, it says.

Around 30 million middle- and lower- class households in South Asia - which accounts for 11 percent of the region's population - have the willingness to pay, but unable to have access to mortgages.

The report examines housing shortages in South Asia, as well as outlines shortcomings of the market for home financing. It highlights the need to make mortgages available to the poor and broaden its reach among the middle- and lower- class.

"Going forward, mortgage product innovation and customisation to client needs would make housing affordable to an increasing number of families." said Janamitra Devan, The World Bank's Vice President for Finance and Private Sector Development.

"There is a considerable potential to expand housing and housing finance to middle- and lower-income households, provided appropriate market institutions, enabling policies, and a varied range of innovative housing and mortgage products are in place. In some countries such as India, this shift is already afoot."

In India, it may be commercially viable to build housing for 23-28 million households (35-45 percent of urban India) whose monthly household incomes are in the range of Rs 5,000-11,000 ($110-$250).

One in every 4 people on the planet live in the South Asia region, and more than 14 percent of South Asians have no home, not counting a further 45 percent living in overcrowded conditions.

The region's future economic growth, social development, and employment are tied to providing housing and the funding for home-ownership, the report noted.

"The good news is that housing and housing finance services have the potential to expand to middle- and lower- income families," said Tatiana Nenova, the World Bank's Senior Economist, Private and Financial Sector Development for the South Asia Region and author of the report.
source: agency

India seeks consensus over currency imbalances

Breaking news! Washington: Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has called upon world leaders to resolve global tensions over imbalances in the global currency markets through consensus-building negotiations rather than confrontation.

"We must try to engage the countries into negotiations and try to build consensus so the matter could be resolved," he said in response to questions after a speech at the Woodrow Wilson Centre here today.

"It cannot be resolved through confrontation, but through consensus it could be possible," he said ahead of the Annual International Monetary Fund (IMF)-World Bank meetings, where imbalances in the global foreign-exchange market are likely to be a hot topic.

"For sustained growth and stability, global structural imbalances have to be addressed sooner rather than later," he said. "The huge build-up of reserves in some countries and deficits elsewhere, massive trade surpluses in some and deep trade deficits in others, are not sustainable."

Earlier, IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn also said the global financial institution needs to launch a "systemic stability initiative" to build international consensus on global currency policies.

Mukherjee also hoped for more cooperation between global leaders in reforming financial regulation, noting excessive risk-taking, as well as institutions that are "too big to fail," are harmful for the system. He also called for an early conclusion to the stalled Doha Round of world trade talks.

Downplaying the effects that sharp foreign institutional investment and foreign direct investment into India have had on the rupee and the economy, Mukherjee said. "The inflow of FII and FDI has not distorted market sentiments" and so therefore there is no need for intervention,.

It is the Reserve Bank of India's duty to monitor the situation and "when it is necessary to intervene appropriately," "But ... I do not consider that situation has arisen in the Indian economy today."

Mukherjee said high inflation continues to be of concern but that he is "more concerned with inflationary pressures on food items."

However, the finance minister was hopeful that steps taken to open up import of food items in short supply, as well as, recent interest rate increases by the Reserve Bank of India would bring inflation down to 6 percent by the end of the fiscal year.

Mukherjee also expressed the hope India will become a permanent member of the United Nation's Security Council "when the expansion of the Security Council along with the general reforms of the UN take place."
source: agency

Reality check on Sensex and India's realty industry

Breaking news! Mumbai: After the trough of 8,160 points, the recent turnaround in Indian stock markets that has lifted the 30-share sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) past the magical 20,000-point mark may cheer up India Inc - but it has certainly not lifted the spirits of the real estate market.

What's significant to note is that many real estate companies made fortunes during the earlier bull run of 2006-08. But the present run has bypassed these companies. This is clearly established by the BSE's realty index which registered a double-digit increase during the previous rise but has dived over 4 percent this year.

Despite the buoyancy in stock markets and the overall economic growth, the real estate sector is unable to match the pace of upturn. Stocks of the many companies that made their debut public issue during the previous boom time are trading below their offer price today. In some cases, there's an erosion of as much as 40-50 percent, while in some others, the peak stock prices have crashed up to 300 percent.

So much so that even the wealth of real estate barons has been considerably eroded. The wealth of K.P. Singh, the chief of India's number one real estate company DLF, has gone down from around $30 billion to a little over $10m billion between October 2007 and now - a fall of over nearly 65 percent.

Similarly, the personal wealth of Ramesh Chandra, the promoter of the country's second largest real estate firm Unitech, has plummeted from nearly $10 billion to a little under $2.25 billion during this period - a fall of over 77 percent.

The scenario is not favourable for a number of real estate public offers in the pipeline forcing the dozen-odd realty companies to defer their offers despite getting regulatory approvals, while the fate of another half-a-dozen players awaiting final nod is no less uncertain.

If these initial public offerings, meant largely for clearing past high-cost debt and to fund purchase of land, fail to materialise, it will spell more trouble for these realty players that are struggling to cope with serious debt problems.

Despite some revival, cash flows of developers have also not yet stabilised. And to make matters worse, banks are cautious in either giving new loans, or restructuring the old ones, due to mounting bad debt. As a result, developers are going for the high cost non-banking funding options to meet their capital requirements.

Amid these funding woes, the developers are further hit by drop in demand due to rising property and mortgage prices. While the maximum demand of 85-90 percent is for the mid-to-affordable housing, this latent demand has also been adversely hit by sharp increase in home prices in the last six months.

A findings of a survey by leading financial services firm HDFC Securities already shows that the realtors have pressed the panic button. Its survey report states that a sharp increase in property prices is adversely impacting the absorption of over 260 million sq ft of residential property in key metros. So much so that analysts are also questioning the sustainability of the real estate market amid investor-driven sales and over-supply in some pockets.

Are we heading for a double-dip situation in the realty industry? There is a real danger of it considering that all the ills which are currently plauging the sector are the ones responsible for the slowdown in 2008-09. Real estate analysts are cautioning against the possibility of a property bubble developing by the middle of next.

Analysts also maintain that the national capital and cities and townships around it, where the residential property prices are ruling way above their 2008 peak levels, are specially vulnerable. And it is these largely investor-driven markets that had led the the recent real estate slowdown.

Surely, it is time for a reality check on the realty sector, especially as home buyers are taking a cautious stance and experts are openly questioning the sustainability of unrealistically high home prices. To sustain the newly-generated demand for residential property, the market needs to undergo price correction, expected in a couple of months.

Real estate players also have to put their house in order, lest they fritter away the gains of this nascent realty revival and head for another round of recession. Clearly, end-users and long-term investors hold the key to sustain the market.
source: agency

New banks' minimum capital should be Rs.1,000 crore: CII

Breaking news! Mumbai: A leading industry lobby today suggested to India's central bank that the minimum capital of the private entrants to the banking sector be pegged at Rs.1,000 crore and non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) also be considered if they meet the guidelines.

The Reserve Bank of India held a meeting with the Indian Bank Association and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) as part of a consultative process on the issue of allowing new players in the banking space.

"Lower capital could result in relatively small banks, which could potentially lead to higher risk taking and more volatile earnings. This in turn could result in lack of focus to financial inclusion and defeat the very purpose of this round of licensing," said a CII statement.

The RBI had in August released a discussion paper, seeking views of stakeholders on various issues such as minimum capital requirements for new banks and promoters contribution, minimum and maximum caps on promoter shareholding and other shareholders, and foreign shareholding in the new banks.

The industry representative also said foreign investment could be allowed in the private banks provided "a level playing field is applied to both foreign shareholders as well as domestic promoters".

The central bank had sought views on whether industrial and business houses could be allowed to promote banks and should non-banking financial companies be allowed conversion into banks or to promote a bank.

"CII proposed that the industrial and business houses that have predominant presence and experience in the financial sector could be allowed to set up banks subject to the due diligence process," said the statement.

With regards to NBFCs, CII said it was not in favour of automatic conversion of such entities into banks, but added that NBFCs, whether part of an industrial group or not, should be treated at par with other applicants and should be allowed to promote a bank with fresh capital.
source: agency

'No crisis among Kochi IPL franchise partners'

Breaking news!Kochi: There is no crisis among the Kochi IPL team franchise partners and talks are going on among them, Vivek Venugopal of the Rendezvous Sports World, which won the franchisee rights for the team, said today.

"We have not received any show-cause notice from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)," Venugopal told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.

Rendezvous Sports World won the bid for Rs.1,500 crore.

Congress parliamentarian Shashi Tharoor, who resigned as minister of state for external affairs for allegedly dabbling in the affairs of bringing this team to Kerala, is the mediator among the partners.

Rendezvous Sports World is owned by a consortium that includes Venugopal, a businessman based in and out of the state. Shailendra Gaekwad is also one of the owners.

Venugopal with other five companies has formed a group called Kerala Consortium. The others are Anchor Earth, Parani Development Pvt Ltd, Anand Shah Developers and Film Waves.

Meanwhile, time is running out for the team which has to register as per the Companies Act in 10 days to take part in the next edition of the Twenty20 league.
source: agency

CWG hockey: Lack of fitness led to defeat, says skipper Rajpal

Breaking news! New Delhi: India's skipper Rajpal Singh attributed his team's 2-5 defeat to Australia in the hockey competition of the Commonwealth Games (CWG) today to lack of fitness.

Australia beat India by an identical margin in the 2010 World Cup played at the same venue, after leading 2-1 at half-time, and Rajpal felt that the Indian team needed to be much fitter if they hoped to compete on equal footing with the World champions.

"We have to get to their (Australia's) fitness levels first before even talking about tactics and strategies," said Rajpal during the post-match Media conference.

On the other hand, coach Jose Brasa took pride in saying that for the first time in many months, Australia were indeed stretched like never before.

"If you look at Australia's performance when they won the Champions Trophy this year, they won all their matches against other top teams by a big margin. But tonight, we showed that we can match them, even if it was just 35 minutes," said the Spaniard.

Responding to a query on fitness levels, Brasa asserted that India's focus was not so much on Commonwealth Games as the next month's Asian Games in China.

"We are trying to peak at the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games is just a stepping stone. It is impossible to maintain the same fitness levels at two major tournaments, especially when there is a gap of just four weeks," he said.

On India's failure to convert any of the six penalty corners they received against Australia, Brasa said: "We are the best in the World at penalty-corner conversions in training, but worst in the World in a match.

"We were lucky to convert two against Malaysia (one by Dhananjay Mahadik and the other by Sandeep Singh). Sandeep had three other attempts in that match and all his tries stuck the goalkeeper in the body. That never happens in practice."

Brasa pointed out that the first two goals that Australia scored tonight were gifts and so also their third goal that he said was due to a mistake that is not usually seen in international competition.

Earlier, Australian team coach Richard Charlesworth opined that the Indian play was rather predictable and it helped his team to control the game in the second half.

"Indians usually steal the ball in the defence and counter-attack. We gave them too much space in the first half but in the second, we took risks and won the match," he said.

The fact that Indians kept up this tactic was to Australia's advantage and they proceeded to dominate the second-half, Charlesworth observed.

The Aussie coach said that in the World Cup game, his team had dominated the entire 70 minutes unlike tonight when only in the second-half did they take control of the proceedings.
source: agency

CWG tennis: Paes-Sania crash out, Somdev advances

Breaking news! New Delhi: Second seeds Leander Paes and Sania Mirza crashed out of the mixed doubles quarterfinals in the biggest upset of the Commonwealth Games (CWG) tennis competition here today. However, it was a happy day for India in the singles with both Somdev Devvarman and Sania romping into the semifinals with straight set victories.

Rushmi Chakravarthi, who had created a flutter a day before with a sensational win over third seed Katie O' Brien of England, could not repeat her good performance and went down 5-7, 4-6 to sixth seeded Australian Olivia Rogowska.

However, it was a successful outing for India in men's doubles with Somdev and Rohan Bopanna and Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi moving into the semi-finals.

In women's doubles, Poojashree Venkatesha and Nirupama Sanjeev shocked second seeds Sarah Borwell and Anna Smith 7-5, 6-4 to reach the semifinals where they now square up against Australian Jessica Moore and Rogowska.

Somdev and Bopanna beat Australian Matt Ebden and Greg Jones 7-6 (5), 6-4 to set up a semifinal clash with third seeds Ross Hutchins and Ken Skupski. Paes and Bhupathi were stretched by England's Josh Godall and James Ward, before the Indians prevailed 6-2, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (4). They will next meet fourth seeds Australian Peter Luczak and Paul Hanle.

In singles, men's top seed Somdev doused a spirited effort from sixth-seeded Rubin Statham of New Zealand 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 41 minutes while women's second seed Sania disposed off another New Zealander, Maria Erakovic, seeded eighth, 6-2, 6-3.

A lot was expected from Paes and Sania, who won gold at the 2006 Doha Asia Games and a packed stadium did everything to spur them on. But the gruelling schedule of playing two matches in a day took a toll on the Indians, who were playing together after four years and lost to Scotland's Colin Fleming and Jocelyn Rae 5-7, 4-6.

"It was a tough ask, playing two matches in a day. But in professional tennis you have to live up to these demands. I was a bit tired but our opponents also played quite well," said Paes, who had finished his match with Bhupathi barely an hour before the start of the mixed doubles.

In singles, it was again a wobbly start for Somdev. The world's 97th-ranked Indian's serve somewhat troubled him in the first set, which saw the two players sharing five breaks of serves. Statham, ranked 353, on the other hand, looked dangerous with his powerful forehand but perished in his attempt to go for quick winners.

Somdev had earlier beaten Statham in straight sets in the qualifiers in the $50,000 Lexington enroute his maiden Challenger title.

"I am happy to be in the semi-finals. The court is a bit slow, but I am feeling really fit, thanks to my coaches," said Somdev, who next plays third seeded Australian Ebden.

"I have never played him (Ebden) before. But he is a very good player and I will have to play well against him, I can't afford to give him too many chances."

Sania looked in a hurry to wrap up her match against an off-colour Erakovic, once a top-50 player. The Indian was in her element as she smashed powerful groundstrokes and even sent down three aces during a nearly hour-long tie.

Sania next plays Rogowska.
source: agency

Kolkata is safe corridor for terrorists: Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee

Breaking news! Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today said that terrorists are using Kolkata as a safe corridor.

"Terrorists are coming and going through the city. Besides there are also communal forces and big criminals who have to be uprooted," Bhattacharjee, who is also in-charge of home (police) department, said on the issue at a function of the city police here.

Maintaining that the Kolkata Police had less personnel compared to the police-public ratio in cities like Mumbai, he said there were 26,000 personnel in 48 police stations in the city which had a population of over 60 lakh. "This ratio is higher in Mumbai and other metropolises of the country."

He also said that criminals operating in cities like Mumbai could not commit crimes in Kolkata because of the efficiency of the city police. "It is a credit of the Kolkata Police," he said.

The chief minister urged citizens to be alert against terrorists, communal forces and criminals operating in the metropolis.

Altogether, 48 police personnel and 16 civilians were awarded under different categories at the function for their courage and dedication to the service.
source: agency

IAF celebrates Air Force day in style

Breaking news! HINDON (Uttar Pradesh): The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Friday celebrated 78 years of its existence with an elaborate parade and aerobatics display at the air base here.

On display were MIG-21s, MIG-29s, Jaguars, Mirage 2000s, and Sukhoi-30 MkIs and helicopters.

The celebration at the Hindon airbase, close to the national capital, was marked by aerobatics by the Sarang Advanced Light Helicopter team followed by synchronised low level manoeuvring by the Surya Kiran Aerobatics Team (SKAT).

The air show was coordinated with precision from five different bases like Ambala, Halwara and Adampur of the New Delhi-based Western Air Command.

The IAF was founded on Oct 8, 1932 as a tactical force.
source: agency

Saina Nehwal leads India to historic first final

Breaking news! NEW DELHI: Top-seeded champions Malaysia will face a noisy and emotion-charged combination of opponents after India reached the final of the Commonwealth Games badminton team event for the first time.

The home country turned on an outstanding performance, outplaying the former champions England 3-0 without even dropping a game.

It is into a similarly powerful mixture of decibels and adrenaline that Malaysia will now be pitched as an entirely contrasting reward for their fairly relaxed 3-1 win over Singapore.

Strong favourites though the champions are, they cannot be quite as certain as four years ago in Melbourne that everything will go smoothly.

India started strongly and grew stronger.

The opening encounter, in which Jwala Gutta and Dija Valija Veetil won 21-17, 21-17 against former world champion Nathan Robertson and his current partner Jenny Wallwork, was a mighty blow.

The English had to win that to avoid disappointment, and, apart from a brief spell in the second game they never looked likely to manage it.

It was followed by a good victory for Kashlak Parupalli, who won 21-13, 21-17 over Rajeev Ouseph, who has recently climbed into the world's top 20 for the first time, but could not cope with the speed and appetite of the man from Hyderabad.

It was a torrid return to India for the English national champion whose family come from in Thrissur in Kerala and whom he visits from time to time.

India's winning lead was completed by their star, Saina Nehwal, who meandered along with a one-point deficit until 16-17 in the first game before accelerating to a 21-18, 21-11 win over Liz Cann, the other English national champion.

"Playing in a team event in India before an Indian crowd feels quite different from what I am used to on tour," said Nehwal. "I do like that aspect of it very much. It's a proud feeling."

It is one the Malaysians are aware of.

They were mostly able to conserve their energies against the Singaporeans, and they are unlikely to underestimate the final hurdle.

"We thought India against England would be quite a close match," said Rexy Mainaky, their doubles head coach.

"But the mental spirit of the Indians was important.

"They are strong in mixed doubles, women's singles and women's doubles, and we will be up against not just the players but the crowd.

"Of course our players have been in this situation in the past so hopefully they will show a good fighting spirit too. But it will still be quite difficult."

It was an oustanding doubles player who both started and finished the Malaysian semifinal success.

Koo Kien Keat, world number one in men's doubles, paired up with Chin Eei Hui, ranked six in the world in women's doubles, and did so well, winning in straight games against Chayut Triyachart and Yao Lei in the mixed doubles.

And then Koo completed the 3-1 success when he and his list-topping partner Tan Boon Heong trounced Triyachart and Hendra Wijaya 21-7, 21-13.

In between, Lee Chong Wei, the world number one, strolled through a 21-19, 21-18 win over Wong Zi, the 20-year-old Singaporean number one, after which there was a slightly surprising women's singles defeat for Wong Mew Choo.

Wong, a top 20 player, was beaten 21-12, 7-21, 21-16 by Xing Ailing, once the youngest player, at 15, to win a Grand Prix title.
source: agency

Indian women archers win gold in recurve team competition

Breaking news! NEW DELHI: India won their 15th gold medal in the Commonwealth Games when the hosts' women archers beat England in the final of the Recurve team competition.

The Indian team, comprising Dola Banerjee, Bombayala Devi and Deepika Kumari, beat England in the final at the Yamuna Sports Complex. India beat England 207-206 to clinch the gold.

Later in the day, the race for grabbing the immediate spot behind Australia is expected to become hotter.

With Australia seemingly having taken an unassailable lead with 32 golds in their kitty, the race for finishing No. 2 in the Games has narrowed down to a three-horse race between second-placed India, No.3 England and No. 4 Canada.

While India, dominating the shooting range and also doing well in disciplines like wrestling and weightlifting, had 14 gold going into the day's events, England were two behind the hosts while Canada were one gold further adrift.

India would once again depend on their shooters, who provided 50 per cent of their gold medals in the first four days, to help them stay ahead of England and Canada.

In tennis, Somdev Devvarman and Sania Mirza would aim to reach the finals of the men's and women's singles events.

Somdev and Rohan Bopanna are also set to play the men's doubles semi finals along with the "Indian Express" duo Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi while Nirupama Sanjeev and Pooja Venkatesha would be striving to make the women's doubles final.

In table tennis, the Indian women are up against Singapore in the tie for the gold medal and the men are up against England for a spot in the final. Preliminary rounds of the individual events are to commence.

In badminton India are up against Malaysia in the mixed team final to settle the gold and silver medals.

The members of the strong boxing squad would look to advance further in their endeavour to attain medal standard.
source: agency

We are disappointed with CWG officials, want apology: Uganda sports minister

Breaking news! New Delhi: Ugandan Sports Minister Charles Bakkabulindi today sought an apology from India over a freak accident at the Commonwealth Games (CWG) Village that left three Ugandan officials injured.

"We are disappointed at the turn of events. We want an apology from the Indian officials. The fact that they are ill-treating us and playing down the whole incident is shocking," Bakkabulindi told the media.

"The injured were not treated well at the Games and we want an apology from the Organising Committee. We don't treat people like this in our country and here the officials are not owning up for their mistake. We expect better treatment," he said.

Uganda's chef de mission William Tumwine, administrative officer Iren Matovu and press attache Juliet Achom were injured on Tuesday night when a tyre killer malfunctioned at the Village when they were entering the complex, police said.

While Matovu suffered severe eye injuries and required extensive facial stitching, Tumwine suffered a slight head injury. Acom had a whiplash.

"Our concern is why (the Indian) government has not come with an official apology," Bakkabulindi said.

Security officials at the Village maintained it was a technical fault that the radio barrier got activated.
source: agency

At least 4 killed in twin blasts in Karachi

Breaking news! KARACHI: Two explosions hit a famed Sufi shrine in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi on Thursday, killing at least four people and wounding 20 others, police said.

The exact cause of the blasts were not immediately clear, but Pakistani shrines and mosques have frequently been attacked by Islamist militant groups wreaking havoc on the South Asian nation, a key US ally. Thursday's blasts appeared to echo a twin suicide bombing at a well-known Sufi shrine in the eastern city of Lahore earlier this year.

Police official Jam Tariq said the blasts occurred in Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine compound in the evening Thursday, a time of the week when the site is particularly crowded.

TV footage showed pools of blood at the scene, while people helped two wounded victims get to an ambulance. Police were cordoning off the area. A young boy with blood-stained clothes cried for help in a police vehicle.

A witness, Hassam Uddin, said two blasts occurred near the main entrance before the electronic walk-through gate, and that he saw 18 to 20 critically wounded people lying on the ground.

Abdullah Shah Ghazi was an 8th century saint credited with bringing Islam to the coastal region.
source: agency

Erotic calendar wishes 'Happy Birthday, Mr Putin'

Breaking news! MOSCOW: Lingerie-clad students from Moscow's most renowned university have posed in an erotic calendar proclaiming their love for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who turns 58 tomorrow.

The calendar, called "Vladimir Vladimirovich, We love you. Happy Birthday Mr Putin," features 12 women wearing only underwear and pouting at the camera with saucy slogans.

The women are all named as journalism students at the Moscow State University and a spokeswoman for the faculty confirmed that the models study there.

Clad in a black lace negligee, Miss March, Lena Gornostayeva, wishes Putin a happy birthday with the message: "You put out the forest fires, but I'm still burning."

Journalism faculty spokeswoman Larisa Bakulina slammed the calendar as a "work of erotic tastelessness."

"We are not happy that they used the brand of the journalism faculty," she said. "It is tactless on the part of the publishers."

One of the creators of the calendar, Maxim Perlin, 22, a producer at a patriotic Internet television channel, said that he put it together with a publisher, Vladimir Tabak.

The models posed for free, he told AFP, claiming the calendar had an empowering message.

"The idea of the calendar was to show girls who are not simply models who turn up for USD 100, but girls who have some political opinion, who have already achieved some success," he said.

Asked why the models were in underwear, he said: "In my opinion it's more beautiful and more interesting."

Fifty thousand copies of the calendar went on sale yesterday at Auchan hypermarkets, Perlin told AFP. Today a stack of the calendars, costing 260 rubles each (USD 8.71) was on sale at a hypermarket on Leninsky Prospekt in southern Moscow.
source: agency

New Zealand 'sorry' for comments against Sheila Dikshit

Breaking news! NEW DELHI: Outraged over a New Zealand TV anchor ridiculing Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, the foreign office on Thursday summoned its High Commissioner who is believed to have profusely apologized for the incident.

The anchor Paul Henry, who had earlier made a racial slur against Indian-origin Governor-General of New Zealand Sir Anand Satyanand for which he was already suspended, had deliberately twisted Dikshit's name to make fun of her.

Upset over this, external affairs minister S M Krishna today directed the ministry to convey India's unhappiness over the conduct of the anchor to the High Commissioner Rupert Holborow.

Halborow was summoned to the ministry and told that such remarks were unacceptable. On his part, the envoy is believed to have apologized and said he would convey the same to the Delhi chief minister.
source: agency

16 students suspended over Facebook posts on teacher

Breaking news! CHANDIGARH: Indecent and abusive comments posted on social networking site Facebook about a female mathematics teacher saw 16 students of a leading private school suspended from their institution.

The students, all from Class 12 of Vivek High School in Sector 38 here, were suspended for three months, school authorities confirmed on Thursday.

The incident took place earlier this week when a Class 12 student, who got low marks in his mathematics exam, posted his answer sheet on Facebook with rude and abusive comments about the female teacher. Fifteen of his classmates also chipped in with their comments.

All the comments against the teacher were nasty, rude and abusive.

A teacher of the school, who also had an account on the website, saw the comments and reported the matter to the school management which took the indiscretion of the students very seriously.

"This kind of behaviour is unacceptable on a public platform. We had to take action to ensure that the right message goes to the students," said Vivek High School chairman HS Mamik.

Parents of the suspended students agreed with the school authorities that what they (students) did was wrong.

"It was a mistake what the students did. We have urged the school authorities to review the decision as suspending them for three months in a crucial class is too harsh," the mother of one of the suspended students said.
source: agency

Bigg Boss: War Begins!

Breaking news! Veena takes up the responsibility of preparing the breakfast on day 4. She is busy preparing eggs for the housemates.

Hrishant is unhappy with excess oil in the breakfast and passes nasty comments across the table criticizing Veena's cooking. Post breakfast, Veena has a confrontation with Hrishant and admitted to the fact that he should have told her if he had complaints with her food. Hrishant's nasty comments and care-a-damn attitude irks her even more and Veena is left to console on others shoulders.

Sakshi too gets emotional as she is accused of not doing household work by Hrishant and Ashmit. While Sakshi defends herself and thinks she has been contributing enough!

Bigg Boss calls Sameer in the confession room to hand over the letter on the conclusion of the hour-glass task. The letter also states the task was done successfully. Based on this a budget limit is set for the housemates to earn luxury items for a week. Sara's much awaited coffee is noted first on the list of things required for the house.

Aanchal who had the power on nominating one housemate as the captain and the HOH room give 2 names to Bigg Boss for the nomination.

Day 4 ends on a quiet note...
source: tnn

No curfew in Srinagar despite protest shutdown

Breaking news! Srinagar: For the first time in almost a month, no curfew or restrictions were imposed in Jammu and Kashmir's summer capital today despite a protest shutdown called by separatists. Markets, however, were deserted and normal life was affected due to unavailability of public transport. "There shall be no curfew or restriction anywhere in Srinagar city today. We have, however, deployed security men on the ground to thwart any attempt by miscreants to disturb peace in the city," a senior police officer told media here.

Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani, who has been spearheading the Quit Kashmir campaign for nearly four months now, has called a Valley wide shutdown today.

Geelani's breakaway Hurriyat group has been issuing protest calendars on a weekly basis as part of the group's Quit Kashmir campaign for the past four months.

Shops, other businesses, public transport and attendance at banks, educational institutions and post offices was affected because of the non-availability of public transport in Srinagar.

Some private transport, however, plied on the roads in Srinagar city although the markets wore a deserted look here.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who concluded a debate on the prevailing situation in the Valley in state legislative assembly on Wednesday, maintained that peace and normal life would return only after the separatists stopped issuing these protest calendars.

Abdullah also held the separatists responsible for the volatile situation in the Valley in which 109 people have lost their lives after the cycle of violence started here June 11.
source: agency

Ruckus over Omar speech in assembly, BJP MLA injured

Breaking news! Srinagar: There was chaos in the Jammu and Kashmir assembly today as opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Panthers Party legislators tore papers and snatched mikes to protest Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's speech a day earlier.

The legislators, who gathered near the speaker's podium, were marshalled out of the house. In the process, BJP legislator Durga Das was injured and received stitches in a hospital. He said he was hurt by the 'kada', or steel bangle, worn by one of the marshals. Two other BJP legislators also claim to have been injured.

The BJP, Panthers Party and the Jammu Morcha have now decided to boycott the rest of the assembly session.

The opposition legislators were protesting Abdullah's speech Wednesday where he had said Kashmir had acceded to India under an agreement and not merged with it. He had also asked why the BJP was repeatedly stating that Kashmir was an integral part of India, as it meant they had doubts about their own statement.
source: agency

US very bullish on India: Hillary Clinton

Breaking news! Washington: As India assumes a more global leadership role, the United States is "very bullish" on India, says Secretary of State Hillary Clinton describing President Barack Obama's upcoming visit as "yet another very clear statement" of US support.

The US relationship "is going from strength to strength" she said at the 12th annual Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit here on Wednesday when asked by HSBC India chief Naina Kidwai about her expectations of Obama's India visit in early November.

She expected "more warmth and more intellect," quipped Clinton amid laughter as Kidwai recalled that former president Bill Clinton and she herself had led the relationship with India "with a lot of warmth and intellect."

"Look, I think our relationship with India, which I was very pleased to open up in the '90s and then followed by the work of my husband and his visit and then the follow-on work by the Bush Administration on the civil nuclear agreement, is going from strength to strength."

"We are now implementing a very comprehensive Strategic Dialogue between us," Clinton said.

"And by that, I mean it's not just the visits and the meetings at high levels between the President and myself and our counterparts, but really getting into our respective bureaucracies, which, as you know in both of our countries, pose problems to actually getting things done."

Clinton said the US was also "looking for ways to network our business communities, our academic institutions, our NGOs - we are very bullish on India."

"We think that India's growth rates and India's commitment to lifting people out of poverty and doing the necessary economic reforms is essential for further development for India," she said.

"And at the same time, India is assuming more of a regional leadership role and a global leadership role, which we welcome and encourage," Clinton noted.

"So the President's visit in November will be yet another very clear statement of our support and our commitment to the relationship," she said.
source: agency