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20101030

BSF, Pakistani Rangers agree on minimum detention of fishermen

Breaking news! Islamabad: The directors general of Indian Border Security Force (BSF) and Pakistani Rangers have agreed to press their respective government for release of fishermen held on either side after minimum detention and paperwork.

BSF Director General Raman Shrivastava, heading a 19-member delegation, was in Lahore for a strategic meeting to discuss issues pertaining to border security between the two neighbours. Major General Yaqub Ali Khan, director general of Pakistan Rangers (Punjab) headed the host delegation.

The directors general answered questions from the media after the conclusion of their five-day meeting today.

Shrivastava said that fishermen, crossing the sea borders, were taken into custody by different security agencies on different occasions.

"Once they are arrested, the process of law has to take its course," he said, adding that "mostly they don't have any documentation to authenticate their whereabouts".

"We only have to rely on their names most of the times and even this does not match with the official records provided by the respective government later on," he added. He also denied the impression that "the fishermen arrested by Indian authorities were treated badly".

"The last time, we brought all Pakistani fishermen all the way from Rann of Kutch in our vehicles. The only delay was because we received the documents from Pakistani embassy late on account of Eid holidays," Shrivastava pointed out, adding that efforts were underway to simplify the process even further.

To a question regarding cross-border smuggling, he alleged that "fake Indian currency and narcotics were being smuggled from Pakistan". "We have brought this to the notice of the Pakistani authorities and remain hopeful of an improvement in the situation," he said.

Regarding the tension between both countries on the borders, the BSF official said that "the situation at ground level was much better than what it was two years ago".

"The situation was better last year, it has improved this year and we are confident that it will improve further in future," he said referring to the bitter bilateral relations after the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attack in 2008.

Maj Gen Khan said that "smugglers had contacts on either side of the border and both agencies are trying to find a joint mechanism to get rid of it". "Indian liquor is being smuggled into Pakistan in huge quantities and it needs to be checked," he said.

"We will also share lists of foreign prisoners in Indian and Pakistani jails to provide relief to them through the relevant foreign ministries," he said with reference to Indian fishermen. More than 100 Indian fishermen were released from Karachi jail last month following the intervention of the Indo-Pak Fisher Folk Forum.

"We have proposed that firing would only be opened by the forces on either side in their own territory instead of attacking the border posts or villagers across the border," he informed.

Both India and Pakistan have regularly been exchanging allegations of "cross-border firing without any provocation". The border security forces on both sides hold these meetings every quarter to discuss issues of conflict and try to devise a mechanism to resolve them.
source: agency

I'll surely call RGV for my show: Karan Johar

India news! Mumbai: Karan Johar says he would like to call filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma on the third season of his talk show "Koffee with Karan" to clear the air but added that it was "fun to be sarcastic" through the media.

"I will surely call Ram Gopal Varma. I don't know what would be the rating of that show but I just want to clear the air. We are fun loving people. It's fun to be sarcastic through media," Karan said as the third season of his show was unveiled.

"I was searching for two-three more directors who I can go against, but I am not getting anyone. Like season three of ‘Koffee with Karan", it's third season with Ram Gopal Varma also. It's continuing," he added.

Asked if the show would have been as popular if he hadn't been the host, Karan said:"Never. No one would have come...."

The third season of "Koffee with Karan" will be aired on STAR World from Nov 7.
source: agency

When Bradman stumped Tendulkar and Warne

India news! London: A quip by Sir Don Bradman stumped Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne when the two cricketing greats paid a visit to the legend on his 90th birthday.

Tendulkar tells a lovely story about him and Warne visiting the Australian.

"We went to see him on his 90th birthday. It was very special. We were talking about averages and I said, 'Sir Don, if you were playing today, what would you have averaged?' And he said, '70 - probably.' I asked, 'Why 70 and not your actual average of 99?' Bradman said, 'Come on, an average of 70 is not bad for a 90-year-old man,'" Tendulkar reveals in an interview to the media.

"This is what I tell my son. Whether you're an 11-year-old boy or Don Bradman we should never forget it's just a game we can all enjoy."

Tendulkar is the only modern player Bradman included in his best-ever XI.
source: agency

Native-born Americans lost jobs, but Asians, Indians did not

India news! Washington: With the exception of Asian Americans, native-born Americans lost more than a million jobs while foreign-born workers gained hundreds of thousands of jobs as USA emerged from a painful recession, according to a new report.

In April, May and June this year, compared with the same period last year, foreign-born workers gained 656,000 jobs, while native-born workers lost 1.2 million jobs, according to an analysis of economic trends issued on Friday by the Pew Hispanic Centre.

But Asian Americans, including Indians, had a different experience. In their case, employment of the native born increased by 208,000 from the second quarter of 2009 to the second quarter of 2010, and employment of immigrants decreased by 102,000.

The unemployment rate for native-born Asians fell from 9.9 percent to 8.7 percent; for foreign-born Asians, it increased from 6.7 percent to 7 percent.

"There is a substantial difference in how the economic recovery is working out for the native-born and the foreign-born," said Rakesh Kochhar, associate director of the centre and co-author of the new report.

"Only the immigrant experience has been a positive one," he said. "The native-born experience - the best that can be said is, 'They bled less than in the last year'."

Key findings foreign born and native born:

The foreign-born working-age population (ages 16 and older) in the US increased by 709,000 from the second quarter of 2009 to the second quarter of 2010. That marks a reversal from the preceding year, when the foreign-born working-age population shrank by 95,000.

The construction sector was a leading source of job losses in the recession, and it remains a leading source of unemployment for native-born workers during the recovery.

Of the 1.2 million jobs lost by native-born workers from the second quarter of 2009 to the second quarter of 2010, 645,000 jobs were lost in construction alone.

Median weekly earnings of both native-born and foreign-born workers inched up 1.0 percent from 2008 to 2009 -- from $651 to $657 for the native born and from $544 to $550 for immigrants, in 2010 prices.

In the recovery from 2009 to 2010, median weekly wages of foreign-born workers fell to $525, a loss of 4.5 percent. The wages of native-born workers were virtually unchanged, standing at $653 in the second quarter of 2010.
source: agency

Baba Ramdev flays government for turning blind eye to corruption

India news! Lucknow: Claiming to have launched a war against corruption, yoga guru Swami Ramdev today trained his guns on the central government for allegedly turning a blind eye to rampant corruption in the administration.

"I am a marked man simply because I have been raising the issue of corruption in high places. My life is in danger, it is simply because I have been taking the bull by its horns for which I have no regrets," he told a press conference here.

Holding the central government responsible for inaction against corruption, he said: "I am terribly disappointed with the central government's passive attitude towards corruption. Let me declare here that if anything happens to me, the central government would be solely responsible for it."

Dismissing the theory that corruption was a "social menace", he said it was "a misnomer created by the people in power and the fact remains that corruption is a political problem which travels from the top".

Claiming that he has a ready solution to contain the corruption menace, Ramdev suggested a three-point formula.

"I am strongly of the view that demonetisation of high currency notes like Rs.1,000, Rs.500 and perhaps even Rs.100 could bring down levels of corruption and bribery to a large extent," he said.

"The second requirement is to bring a new legislation whereby corruption is made punishable with death penalty," he added.

"And last, but not the least, the government needs to take necessary steps to retrieve India's black money that is stashed in Swiss Bank and other foreign banks," he pointed out.

"Mind you, with all the black money coming back to the country, I can assure you India will become economically as strong as the US," he added.

Even as he alleged that the corporate sector was hand-in-glove with politicians and bureaucrats who were jointly plundering the system, Ramdev's programme was hosted by a well-known business house.

Earlier in the day, he inaugurated the 10th annual show of a Bonsai Club sponsored by the same business house.
source: agency

20101029

'Credible threat' unlikely to affect Obama's India trip

Breaking news! Washington: US President Barack Obama called the discovery of some suspicious packages with "explosive material" as "a credible threat against our country," but officials considered it unlikely to affect his trip to India next week.

"Whenever the President travels, we take a very careful look at what the threat environment might be and look at what the terrorist environment is," White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan told reporters on Friday.

"So we're taking this into account, but at this point there is no effect," he said at a White House briefing on discovery of suspicious packages in at least two locations abroad that were bound for Jewish organizations in the United States.

Asked if New Delhi had been briefed as India is the first stop on his four-nation swing through Asia, Brennan said: "We share on a regular basis with the Indian government. The Indian government is one of our best counter terrorism partners."

The packages led to increased searches of cargo planes and trucks in several US cities, the media said citing law enforcement sources with detailed knowledge of the investigation.

US officials believe that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, commonly referred to as AQAP, is behind the incident.

Obama confirmed that the packages originated in Yemen, the stronghold of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

"We also know that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula ... continues to plan attacks against our homeland, our citizens, and our friends and allies," he said during a press briefing on the incident.

One suspicious package, found in the United Kingdom, contained a "manipulated" toner cartridge and had white powder on it as well as wires and a circuit board, the media said citing a law enforcement source. A similar package was discovered in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, it said.

Both packages were bound for the United States, "specifically two places of Jewish worship in Chicago," Obama said.

"Initial examination of those packages has determined they do apparently contain explosive material," he said assuring the nation counterterrorism officials are taking the threat "very seriously."

Brennan said that "the materials that were found and the device that was discovered were intended to do harm."

Brennan, while declining to provide specifics, also said intelligence officials were specifically looking for such suspicious packages when the first discovery-the package in the United Kingdom-was made.
source: agency

PM announces visa on arrival for four ASEAN countries

Breaking news ! Hanoi: Nationals from Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Laos would be given visa on arrival from Jan 1, 2011, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced here today.

Addressing the 8th India-Asean summit, the prime minister looked forward to the conclusion of services and investment agreement between the two sides.

"We hope that all formalities for implementing the India-Asean Trade in Goods Agreement by all Asean states are completed at an early date.

"The conclusion of a Services and Investment Agreement will be an important step in our goal of comprehensive economic cooperation," he told the gathering and stressed that India hoped to "sustain a growth rate of 9-10 percent per year which will offer many opportunities for trade and investment".

He also announced that India would set up a Centre for Tracking and Data Reception and an imaging facility for Asean countries.

Proposing a meeting of heads of space agencies in India to work out exact details of cooperation, he said: "This centre would utilise data provided by Indian remote sensing satellites and harness it for multiple developmental applications."

Under the Initiative for Asean Integration, India would also upgrade the level of youth exchanges as well as establish vocal training centres in each of the grouping's countries.

"Connectivity is another important area of our cooperation. As a further measure to support the Asean Master Plan on Connectivity, we will offer 100 IT scholarships to each of the 10 Asean countries over the next five years," he said.

The prime minister, who noted in his speech that the summit was taking place in the backdrop of the 1,000 year anniversary of Hanoi and condoled the recent deaths in floods in Vietnam and tsunami in Indonesia, said the India-Asean partnership had initiated cooperation in a diverse range of sectors.

"For the past five years the achievement of the India-Asean partnership has been to initiate cooperation in a diverse range of sectors covering political and security ties, economic cooperation and the promotion of socio-cultural links," he said.

The Plan of Action to implement the Asean-India Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity for 2010-15, he said, was "an ambitious road map and the 82 action points reflect the vast potential and desire to develop a multi-faceted India-Asean relationship".

He also invited Asean Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan to visit India to review the mechanisms and procedures in place so that the pace of implementing agreed projects could be speeded up.

The prime minister urged further efforts to identify concrete projects for cooperation under the India-Asean Science & Technology Fund, India-Asean Green Fund and the $50 million India-Asean Fund announced last year.

Noting that the tourist exchange between India and the Asean countries was "well below the potential", he said that the text of of the Asean-India memorandum of understanding (MoU) for cooperation in tourism had been finalised.

Asean would also establish a promotional chapter for tourism in Mumbai, he announced.

"As a concrete measure, I am happy to announce that we will extend our visa on arrival facility to nationals of Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines and Laos with effect from 1st of January 2011."

Referring to cooperation in political and security matters, the prime minister said: "These are important areas of our cooperation not only because of the common threats that we face but also because such cooperation helps to built mutual trust and understanding."

India would be hosting the commemorative India-Asean summit in India 2012.

"This will be a landmark event and we must begin preparations early. The Eminent Persons Group should be set up quickly so that it can formulate a vision statement towards a long term strategic partnership between Asean and India that could be the theme of the summit," he said.
source: agency

TRS warns centre against making Hyderabad a union territory

Breaking news! Hyderabad: Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao on Friday warned the central and Andhra Pradesh government against any proposal to make Hyderabad a union territory.

He made it clear that a separate Telangana state without Hyderabad as the capital would not be acceptable to people of Telangana. "Telangana state without Hyderabad will be a body without head. I am warning the prime minister and chief minister that any such proposal will have disastrous consequences," he said while addressing a party meeting.

The Mahabubnagar MP's warning came amid reports in a section of media that the centre could accept a proposal by the Srikrishna committee, which is looking into the demand for Telangana statehood, to make Hyderabad a union territory while bifurcating Andhra Pradesh.

The Srikrishna committee is scheduled to submit its report to the central government by Dec 31.

"We want Telangana state as it existed in 1956. We will not accept an inch less than our territory," said KCR, as the TRS chief is popularly known.

Telangana, part of the erstwhile princely state of Hyderabad, was merged with Andhra State to form Andhra Pradesh, a state for Telugu speaking people with Hyderabad as its capital.

Meanwhile, Telangana leaders of the main opposition Telugu Desam Party met the Srikrishna committee in New Delhi and made it clear that Telangana without Hyderabad as its capital would not be acceptable.

Telangana leaders of the ruling Congress have also strongly opposed the proposal to make Hyderabad a union territory.
source: agency

Gowariker's new film took inspiration from Bengali music

Flash news!Mumbai: Sohail Sen, who has composed music for "Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey", says he referred to various genres of Bengali music for the soundtrack of the period film by Ashutosh Gowariker.

"A lot of people asked me whether or not I was inspired by Rabindra Sangeet for this film? Rabindra Sangeet is compositions of Rabindranath Tagore and in Bengal there are many other genres too. So you can't select one genre and make songs on that. I took the basic vibes from every genre and then started composing," Sohail told media.

Based on Manini Chatterjee's book "Do and Die: The Chittagong Uprising 1930-34", Gowariker's period film is a true story of the revolution of 1930 against the British that happened in Chittagong, then a district of undivided Bengal. Abhishek Bachchan is playing freedom fighter Surya Sen in it and Deepika Padukone the role of Kalpana Dutt.

The composer said that selecting the instruments was very important to get the feel of that era.

"You have to keep in mind the sounds because it is a 1930 film. It was important to see what instruments were mainly used that time in Bengal to lend the right feel to the film. To compile those instruments and design sounds keeping that in mind was an interesting experience."

Sen worked with Gowariker in "What's Your Rashee". Which film was more challenging?

"In 'What's Your Rashee' I was supposed to churn out contemporary music, but here It was a different experience. However, you can't decide what is difficult or what is not. It is always difficult to compose. It mainly depends on your approach to your work," he said.

He composed music on the sets in Goa.

"The shooting was happening in a small town in Goa. I went there and stayed with them for a month and a half. In the morning, I used to go to the sets and interact with all the actors, then I used to come back to the hotel and create tunes.

"That was a nice experience because I got a chance to see the locations, the cast and crew. I used to take all those vibes and compose the tracks. After pack up Ashutosh sir used to come and we used to select tunes," said Sen.

The film has 12 tracks across various genres. Sen, however, got stuck while composing "Sapne salone".

"I did face certain problems while composing 'Sapne salone', which is a romantic number in the film between Abhishek and Deepika's characters. The age difference between Kalpana (Deepika) and Surjya (Abhishek) is quite a bit; so you have to keep a maturity level in the song and at the same time you have to keep a little mischief too. So while composing the song, I did face a little bit of problem," he said.
source: agency

Toonz Animation sets up merchandising division

Flash news: Chennai: Thiruvananthapuram-based Toonz Animation has set up a merchandising division, hoping to cash in on the characters in its feature film "Twinergy" starring Amitabh Bachchan.

"We have decided to focus on animated feature films. In order to cash on the animated characters we have started a merchandising division. We will start the business with the characters of Twinergy," Chief Operating Officer Hari Varma told media here.

The Rs.20-crore Twinergy is the first animated movie in which Bachchan would be cast as a cartoon character. It is also the first animated movie for director Priyadarshan.

"The pre-production work on Twinergy is over," said Varma.

About other projects, he said a cartoon series "Little Kalari Warriors" had been given to an international kids channel. He declined to name the channel.

Also, "Howzaat", a cricket-based series, Tales of Lord Shiva and Hanuman the Immortal are ready to be aired by leading kids channels.

Varma said the company is now focussed on creating its own intellectual property rights (IPR) to go up in the value chain.

"We have decided to focus on making feature films for studios in the US, Canada and here."

Asked about getting into advertising film market where the cash realizations are immediate, he said: "One has to be in Mumbai for that. But the rental costs are very high there as compared to what we pay here."

He said the company has around 400 employees and the headcount increase would happen depending on the need.
source: agency

iPhone outsells BlackBerry globally

Breaking news! Toronto: Within a week after Apple boss Steve Jobs declared victory over BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM), new numbers released on Friday have confirmed that the iPhone has indeed surpassed BlackBerry smart phone in worldwide sales.

According to the data for the third quarter of 2010, the iPhone has dethroned BlackBerry from the fourth position in global popularity.

In releasing the latest numbers, IDC, a global IT research firm based in Massachusetts, said that with 4.1 percent share of the global smart phone market, the iPhone has surpassed BlackBerry which now has a share of 3.6 percent.

Thhus, the iPhone has made a gain of about 1.6 percent since last year.

With 32.4 percent share of the world smart phone market, Nokia still remains the global leader, followed by Samsung with 21 percent, and LG Electronics 8.3 percent.

Worldwide sales of smart phones during the third quarter rose to 340.5 million from 297.1 million units during the same period last year.

While Nokia sold 110.4 million units during the third quarter, Samsung 71.4 million, LG 28.4 million, Apple 14.1 million, and BlackBerry 12.4 million.

"The entrance of Apple to the top 5 vendor ranking underscores the increased importance of smart phones to the overall market. Moreover, the mobile phone makers that are delivering popular smart phone models are among the fastest growing firms,'' said IDC senior research analyst Kevin Restivo.

"Vendors that aren't developing a strong portfolio of smart phones will be challenged to maintain and grow market share in the future,'' he said.

The report said Apple, RIM, and the vendors producing Android-based smart phones are now putting a huge pressure on Nokia, the market leader.

According to Ramon Llamas of IDC's Mobile Devices Technology and Trends team, "Nokia's grip on the traditional mobile phone market has been somewhat loosened, as multiple Chinese vendors have gained ground, especially within emerging markets.''

Just last week, Apple CEO Steve Jobs had told Canadian journalists, "We have now passed RIM, and I don't see them catching up with us in the foreseeable feature.''
source: agency

Cricket Australia launches its own IPL-style league

Flash news !Melbourne: Cricket Australia (CA) today approved an eight-team Twenty20 league on the lines of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

CA's chief executive officer James Sutherland said the board has approved a new Big Bash League to be launched in the 2011-12 season.

"It will be an eight-team competition, six of which will be coming out of the cities that our current state teams play in. They will be city-based teams, not state-based teams and that will in turn be a real change in format. The two additional teams and the venues at which those two teams play will be decided in due course as we work through the process," said Sutherland.

"The competition will be owned, controlled and managed by Cricket Australia and everyone in Australian cricket is excited about this new Big Bash League; we see it as a fantastic opportunity for the game to grow off the back of the incredible popularity of Twenty20 cricket and to bring new fans to the game of cricket," he said.

Sutherland said the Board has also considered the position of private investment into these teams and taken a view that the board is amenable to that situation.

"It will, over the coming months, consider the terms under which that private investment may take place but the Board is certainly open to that. At the moment our plans are for the competition to be played through the prime competition summer period in December and January. There are various models that we have talked about that could see an expansion of that competition over a longer period but in the short-term it will be played over a five to six-week period through December, January and perhaps creeping into February in some years," he said.

"Twenty20 cricket should compliment and not compromise international cricket and that's really the balance that the Board needs to strike in working through fixturing issues. There's certainly no consideration at this stage for any exclusive windows for the Big Bash League."

Sutherland said that each team plays seven or eight matches and as the competition grows, not only more matches but more teams will join the competition.

"Perhaps, in three, four or five years' time expanding from an eight-team competition to a 10-team competition. There are various models (for private ownership) on the table in terms of how that might work but the considerations and detail that needs to be worked through is quite considerable and complex in order to make sure it works for everyone," he said.

Sutherland said that there will be opportunities (from private investors) on the table and they are opportunities that will be explored over the coming weeks once the details have been worked through.

"I think it's interesting to see the sort of values one might place on these teams based on the investor interest; certainly compared to other sporting franchises or teams around this country it puts these Big Bash teams at an all new level and as high a value as any sporting team in the country," he said.

Sutherland also said that the league will not be a competitor of the IPL (in terms of player earnings) and certainly the revenues that the Cricket Australia Big Bash League can generate.

"In a small market such as Australia it's not going to be the same as the Indian Premier league. But at the same time this league is on the international stage and the teams that play-off in the finals will qualify for the Champions League," he said.

On participation of international players, Sutherland said: "It's another factor of the Big Bash League that it is already an international competition in the qualification for the Champions League, but having international players play in it - mindful of the fact that international players have international playing commitments for their country - there will hopeful be opportunities for international players to play in the league."

Sutherland also said that the tradition Boxing Day Test is safe from Twenty20 cricket.

"The Boxing Day Test is safe. From an international programming point of view, our priority rests with international cricket but all of the research we have done very strongly indicates that the enjoyment that people get from the game of cricket can be spread over the three formats of the game or discretely held with one format of the game," he said.
source: agency

Why can't food be given to poor, asks Supreme Court

Flash news! New Delhi; The Supreme Court today asked the central government why foodgrains it had procured but could not preserve because of inadequate storage capacity could not be given to the poor.

"Procurement of adequate foodgrains is essential to provide food security and to protect the interest of the farmers. All through our anxiety has been that the procured foodgrains be properly preserved," said the bench of Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Justice Deepak Verma.

However, the court said: "The amount of foodgrains which cannot be preserved because of lack of storing facility, at least that much wholesome foodgrains be allocated to the BPL (below poverty line) population forthwith."

The court also recorded the submission by senior counsel Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the petitioner People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), that 150 of the poorest districts in India be also given the same amount of foodgrains as distributed to the BPL population.

The court also took note of the submission by PUCL that though in 2010 India's population was estimated to be 117.67 crore, the foodgrains being distributed to the BPL families was on the basis of the 1991 census.

The petitioner said that since the last census of 2000, there has been an addition of another seven crore families to the BPL category who were being kept of the targeted public distribution system.

While stating that the foodgrains should be supplied to the BPL families based on 2010 population estimates, the court asked Attorney General G. Vahanvati to state why the remaining BPL families should not be given the same quota of foodgrains.

According to the 2000 census, the population of the country stood at 99.69 crore.

The court also took note of the submissions by some states that even going by the central government's parameters of BPL families, the number of people living below poverty line was much larger than being put out by New Delhi.

The court said that all those states who have not filed their affidavit so far should do so by Nov 8, 2010 when the matter would be taken up for further hearing.
source: agency

David Beckham gives sex education to son

Flash news! LONDON: Just like an intelligent father, David Beckham had a talk about sex with his 11-year-old son Brooklyn.

The 35-year-old soccer player who is married to singer-turned-fashion designer Victoria Beckham, sat down with his eldest child to discuss the facts of life because he has started at a new school and has begun attracting interest from girls, reports femalefirst.co.uk.

However, David found the conversation so awkward he had to leave the room and leave it to his wife.

"Brooklyn is going to a new school. He is noticed and is getting attention from girls and he likes it, so we had the sex talk," said David.

"I had to walk out of the room because Brooklyn's looking at me at the corner of his eye, kind of laughing. It was a serious talk and I had to get out! I couldn't take it," he added.
source: agency

Hitler liked bread & marmalade for breakfast, new files reveal

Flash news! LONDON: Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler liked to have bread and marmalade for breakfast and was described as mild-mannered during personal exchanges, according to newly released documents.

Britain's national archives made public a previously classified account of Hitler provided by a 19-year-old Austrian deserter, who described him as paranoid about being watched by others and short-tempered during meetings.

"He is mild on personal contact but apt to bang tables and shout during conferences,'' according to the account given by a prisoner of war identified as SS Schuetze Obernigg. He was said to have been at Hitler's retreat in Obersalzberg in the Bavarian Alps between 1943 and 1944.

Obernigg provided a detailed description of Hitler's daily routine at the retreat. Hitler was said to favor waking up at 10 am, breakfasted on coffee, bread and marmalade shortly afterward, and received visitors including his doctor in the afternoon. The accounts show he apparently worked until late in the night.
source: agency

Day after Moroccan bombshell, Berlo says 'I love women'

Flash news! ROME: Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi said he loved life and women and would not apologise for enjoying himself after new reports of girls and parties at his home were splashed across front pages.

Italian newspapers have reported that a 17 year-old Moroccan known as "Ruby" told Milan magistrates she had attended parties at Berlusconi's residence in Arcore, triggering a fresh scandal over the prime minister's private life.
Berlusconi said he did not want to add to what Ruby had said but he did not deny entertaining her at his villa."I am a playful person, full of life. I love life, I love women," he said.

The 74-year-old said he was entitled to some relaxation after strains of office. "If, every now and then, I feel the need for a relaxed evening, to tell some jokes, for mental therapy, to clear my brain from all worries, I think that is part of my personality," he said.
source: agency

Vijay Mallya offers $4m apartments in Bangalore

Breaking news! MUMBAI: Billionaire Vijay Mallya, owner of world's second-largest liquor company, is razing his ancestral home in Bangalore to build $4 million apartments as the number of people rich enough to afford them grows.

United Breweries Holdings, which owns controlling stakes in Mallya's liquor, beer and airline units, and Prestige Estates Projects are jointly developing the 4.5 acre (1.8 hectare) plot in the technology hub, home to Google Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Infosys Technologies Ltd. Construction will start in December, Irfan Razack, chairman of Prestige, said on Wednesday after the developer's shares debuted.

Demand for luxury apartments in India is rising as the biggest rally in stocks in 18 years in 2009 boosted the ranks of the affluent in the thirdfastest growing major economy.

Mukesh Ambani, India's richest individual, will move into a 27-storey skyscraper in south Mumbai that cost $2 billion to build and is the world's most expensive home, according to Forbes Magazine. "There is now considerable demand for high-end apartments in Bangalore, and it is led by the senior management class, corporate houses, non-resident Indian businessmen and high-networth individuals," said Anuj Puri, Mumbai-based chairman of Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj, the local unit of the world's second-largest commercial property broker .

The combined net worth of the nation's 100 wealthiest people climbed to an all-time high of $300 billion this year, equivalent to a quarter of the country's gross domestic product, according to Forbes. India's wealthy may almost double their assets to $6.4 trillion over the next five years as economic growth swells their ranks, Credit Suisse Group AG said in its global wealth report.
source: bloomberg

Would like to take one series at a time: Tendulkar

Breaking news!NEW DELHI: Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar said on Friday that he would like to focus on one series at a time rather than thinking too far ahead including the World Cup that will be held in the sub-continent, next year. "I am not yet thinking about the tour of South Africa and the 2011 Cricket World Cup. My immediate focus is on the upcoming New Zealand series and only when that is over, I will start talking about South Africa," Tendulkar said on the sidelines of a function that marked his association as a brand ambassador with a high-end watch manufacturer Audemars Piguet.

However, Tendulkar admitted that he would be happy if India can maintain the winning momentum in the coming series.

"The momentum is with us right now and we should not let it go. We are not taking anything for granted and want to be on our toes. We would be looking to keep on producing competitive cricket and stick to the basics."

When asked whether he is currently enjoying the form of his life, the iconic batsman who recently completed 14,000 Test runs said that although he is happy but he is still not satisfied.

"There is always room for improvement. I am happy with my current performance but not satisfied. I want to get better. In fact, in any profession one must strive to get better and better," said Tendulkar, adding, "I always want to remain a student of the game because that is when you grasp more and is always keen to improve."

The 37-year-old, who had one of the most fruitful years of his career in 2010 as he won his first ICC's Player of the Year Award and returned to the top of the world batting rankings for the first time since 2002.

In February, he scored centuries in successive Tests against South Africa before becoming the first man to reach 200 in an ODI against the same opponents.

When asked what all has remained in his wish list which he still want to achieve, Tendulkar said, "There is no wish list. I play because I always love playing cricket. The only thing I ever wanted to do was to play for my country.

"Now, my track is only cricket, where a lot of stations come and I cherish arriving at all of them. But I personally just want to do something for my country and go on playing. In this journey I want to achieve whatever I can till the time remains," said the man, who remains just one short of scoring 50 Test centuries.

"It was a fantastic win the Test series against Australia. In fact, it was great to see some guys produced special cricket. (VVS) Laxman is definitely one such special guy, who snatched the victory for us. He was struggling to even jog as he was injured but he went out there and produced such a brilliant innings.

"Even Ishant Sharma, who shared a valuable partnership with him must get a lot of credit. I am extremely glad that we stuck to our No 1 position in Tests."

Talking about the ICC award that he finally bagged this year by beating South African Hashim Amla, England's Graeme Swann and teammate Virender Sehwag, the Mumbaikar said, "Whenever an award comes it always feels good."

He further added, "But no one plays for awards. You always set goals and want to achieve those goals as individuals. And in cricket you always want to achieve goals as an individual and as a team.

"And when you succeed in achieving your goal and get appreciated for your efforts it always feels good."

The cricketer, who was conferred with the Indian Air Force's honorary rank of Group Captain to honour his sporting achievements and contribution to the nation last month, said that "it was a great honour."

"Becoming the group captain with the Indian Air Force was a great honour. It is extremely special because I am associated with a force who protect us. I salute them."
source: agency

Sachin's bat fetches Rs 42 lakh at glittering auction

Breaking news! MUMBAI: Indian batting icon Sachin Tendulkar's willow fetched the highest bid of Rs 42 lakh at a glittering sports auction that saw personal items donated by 25 top sportspersons from the country and overseas go under the hammer.The champion batsman had scored an unbeaten 163 against New Zealand at Christchurch last year, his fourth highest one day score, with this bat.

Tied at second spot was the rifle used by India's only individual Olympic gold medallist, shooter Abhinav Bindra, when creating history at the Beijing Games two years ago and the bat of Rahul Dravid, with which he had scored a century in each innings in the Kolkata Test of 2005 against Pakistan. Both were successfully bid for Rs 20 lakh.

The bat signed by all team members of the 1983 World Cup winning team and donated by former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar's willow went under the hammer for Rs 17.5 lakh.

Anil Kumble's jersey which he wore when he equalled Jim Laker's ten-wicket in a Test innings record against Pakistan in New Delhi in 1999, and his Test cap that he wore between 2004 and 2006 went for Rs 11.5 lakh.

Among the other items auctioned off were Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer's shoes, a bat donated by 1983 World Cup winning skipper Kapil Dev with the autographs of all the team members and sports gear donated by Indian top racquet sports exponents - shuttler Saina Nehwal and tennis player Sania Mirza.

Doners Dravid, Kumble, tennis ace Leander Paes, national football captain Baichung Bhutia, 1974 hockey World Cup winning skipper Ajit Pal Singh, former hockey captain Viren Rasquinha and Bindra were present at the auction on Friday night.

Leander's 12th Grand Slam winning racquet at Wimbledon this year in mixed doubles was the second piece to be auctioned and received a bid of Rs 7 lakhs.

Also gracing the function were world champion wrestler and Delhi Commonwealth Games gold medallist Sushil Kumar and hockey great Dhanraj Pillay.

The auction was held by NGO 'The Foundation' founded by actor and ex-rugby international player Rahul Bose in association with Raheja Universal and the proceeds were donated to Bose's NGO.
source: agency

One in six people at risk of stroke, say experts

New Delhi: One in six people around the world suffer from stroke, making it the second leading cause of death worldwide, doctors said today on World Stroke Day.

"The main problem is that people are not able to recognise the symptoms of stroke. If the patient is brought to hospital in time there are chances of full recovery. Awareness is needed," said Anand Kumar Saxena, consultant neurologist, B.L. Kapur Memorial Hospital in the capital.

The theme for the World Stroke Day campaign this year is 'One in Six', as it emphasises on awareness creation, prevention and recovery for a stroke patient.

The need is to be aware of the causes and symptoms of the disease in order to act in time, say experts.

"The warning signs of stroke are sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arms or legs, visual loss, trouble in walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination, severe headache with no known cause and sudden loss of consciousness," Saxena added.

The disorder is now shaping up into a lifestyle related problem as it is also striking young people, say experts.

"The young are also vulnerable to lifestyle-related disorders. Strokes attack this strata as they are high on junk food consumption," said P.N. Renjen, senior neurosurgeon at Apollo Hospital, Delhi.

Also known as Peripheral Arterial Diseases (PAD), strokes are caused due to blockage of arteries in the body.

"Stroke can be prevented by keeping a check on high blood pressure, diabetes, and high blood cholesterol. Be physically active and exercise regularly to keep weight under control," warned Renjen.
source: agency

Rahul not in 'Jism 2': Pooja Bhatt

New Delhi: Actress-turned-filmmaker Pooja Bhatt, who will be helming the sequel to "Jism", has denied rumours that her younger brother Rahul will be a part of the film.

"Amused to see news of Rahul Bhatt being cast in 'Jism 2' being splashed everywhere. Nothing could be further from the truth," Pooja posted on micro-blogging site Twitter.

Rahul came into the limelight for his acquaintance with David Coleman Headley who was charged with scouting targets for 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

He is currently a part of "Bigg Boss 4" and before entering the show he said that he had turned down a movie offer.
source: agency

Sonam Kapoor loves buying books!

New Delhi: Clothes and accessories aren't the only things that Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor loves shopping for. She even likes to buy books!

"I love buying books at the fair… real books still somehow beat the Kindle and iPad for me," Sonam posted on her Twitter page.

The 25-year-old's favourite authors are Rohinton Mistry, Chitra Banerjee, Jhumpa Lahiri, Vikram Seth, Salman Rushdie and Amitav Ghosh.

"I have a signed copy of Amitav Ghosh's 'Sea of Poppies' and I met Salman Rushdie once and was completely tongue tied," she added.
source: agency

Big B takes a break in Goa

New Delhi: Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan decided to take a sudden sabbatical in Goa and is thoroughly enjoying his stay there.

"It is a boon at times to just spring out of circumstances and travel to just anywhere! I just did that and find it most invigorating to be able to not be specific or scheduled. And Goa it is," Amitabh posted on his blog bigb.bigadda.com.

The 68-year-old says he loves Goa.

"Quiet and peaceful, green and warm, sea and sunshine! The silence whispers gently in the ears, time takes time to pass and nothingness has no value at all," he wrote.
source: agency

Aishwarya dances like a dream: 'Slumdog' choreographer

Mumbai: Indian choreographer Longinus Fernandes made actors in "Slumdog Millionaire" dance to his tunes and also directed a sequence in Hollywood film "Eat, Pray Love", but it is Bollywood diva Aishwarya Rai who bowled him over with her "dream" like dance moves.

He has choreographed the song "Udi udi" in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's forthcoming film "Guzaarish".

"It's very unusual. We have never seen Aishwarya doing these steps. It's very different from what she has done in the past and she has done a brilliant job with it. She is a wonderful dancer and dances like a dream," Longinus told the media in an interview.

"It did not take her long to learn the dance but it did take her some time to perfect it and to get into the mood of the character," he added.

The song is slowly becoming a rage especially because of Aishwarys's impressive and graceful moves in a black and red long dress.

"Sanjay wanted to make the song different and unique. I asked him if we can add a little bit of Spanish to it and give it a raw, earthy feel. He liked the idea, so we gave the whole dance a look which is very rustic to make it look as natural as possible," said the dance director.

Longinus, who won a Filmfare Award for best choreography for the song "Pappu can't dance sala..." in "Jaane tu Ya Jaane Na", had assisted Farah Khan for a couple of years.

It was on the set of dance reality show "Jhalak Dikhla Jaa", where Longinus was a contestant and Bhansali a judge, that the two met.

"It was not very difficult for me to get this break because Sanjay Leela Bhansali has always been very fond of me. He was a judge with 'Jhalak...' and he told me that time that he will work with me for sure. And he kept his promise.

"I did a small piece in 'Saawariya' too, but that went unnoticed. But with this one Sanjay and I are so happy that people are actually liking the sequence," he said.

Also starring Hrithik Roshan as paraplegic patient, "Guzaarish" is slated to hit screens Nov 19.
source: agency

Bigg Boss 4: Veena, Ashmit, Sara In Love Triangle Tryst?

Bigg Boss 4, the house with almost all controversies that one can ever imagine in the wildest of dreams, has suddenly been transformed into a love nest.

It is probably due to the nip in the air, the sudden change in weather conditions, which are hinting of more pleasant days ahead which has simply got into the house inmates, as it seems like a love triangle is about to form in the house.

In the initial days, a love streak was being seen between the two young inmates, Ashmit Patel and Sara Khan, however, as time has passed, it seems as though there is a third angle to the love lorn couples tales, with the Pakistani celebrity Veena Malik, getting some real attention and interest from the cool Ashmit Patel .

Now, this love triangle tryst is going to get bigger or not is only for time to decide, but then if there is only a temporary attraction between Sara and Ashmit or Veena and Ashmit (as past season’s of Bigg Boss have shown, with the inmates only having the attraction till they were in the house!), then all we can say is may God help them!

However, the Bigg Boss house is getting more and more congested with new entrants coming in through the wild card entry, now can this be any reason for the original inmates to feel a bit out of place and getting closer to each other, so as to feel more at home? Well, whether it is love or just friendly interaction, inmates Veena, Ashmit and Sara are surely going in for a lot of masala entertainment for the audiences!

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Not so funny: Obama gets serious on comedy show

WASHINGTON: Laughs were in short supply as a somber President Barack Obama braved Comedy Central's biting 'Daily Show' while his Democrats braced for a hammering from voters amid tough economic times.

Obama became the first sitting president to face off with Jon Stewart, host of the cable comedy show, in an attempt to reach out to his legions of young voters ahead of congressional polls on Tuesday that could see big Republican gains.

The show regularly skewers top politicians with withering humor and delights in exposing hypocrisy and insincerity, but the mood was mostly serious on Wednesday, despite a studio audience that gave Obama a delirious reception.

"When we promised during the campaign 'change you can believe in', it wasn't change you can believe in, in 18 months. It was change you can believe in, but you know what, we are going to have to work for it," he added.

Obama's appearance was part of a run-up to Stewart's next big venture — a "Rally to Restore Sanity," in American political life.
source: agency

PM meets Wen Jiabao

HANOI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao on Friday agreed that there was enough space in the world for both the countries to grow as they met here in the first top level contact since the high- level defence exchanges were suspended in July following the row over stapled visas issued for people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Wen also said that he would be visiting India by the end of this year before which he wanted a "strong foundation" to be laid to make it successful.

The Chinese premier is expected to visit India on December 16.

As he met Singh here on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit, the Chinese Premier talked about the "shared history" of India and his country.

In his opening remarks at the meeting, he said there was space in the world for both the countries to grow for which "cooperation" was needed.

Singh, while expressing happiness over meeting Wen for the 10th time in the last six years, reiterated that India and China could grow as there is enough space for the ambitions of both the countries.

The meeting took place in the backdrop of China's refusal to relent on its policy of issuing stapled visas to people of Jammu and Kashmir, an action which is seen as questioning India's sovereignty.

China started the practice of issuing the stapled visas about two years back and the issue triggered a major row in July this year when Beijing wanted to give such a visa to India's Northern Area Commander Lt Gen B S Jaswal.

India responded by suspending high-level defence exchanges for which Lt Gen Jaswal was travelling to Beijing and has repeatedly made it clear that these will remain on "pause" till China reverts to its earlier position on Jammu and Kashmir.

The two leaders are understood to have discussed economic aspects of the relationship amid India's concerns over trade imbalance in favour of China.

Trade between the two fast-growing economies has been increasing and is targeted to be USD 60 billion. However, it is in favour of China to the tune of about USD 15 billion, particularly because of lack of adequate access to India's pharmaceuticals and services in China.

India has been pressing China to give more free access and has been assured that it would be considered.
source: agency

Berlusconi gave me cash after sex: Moroccan model

LONDON: A teenage Moroccan model has apparently claimed that she had sex with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in return for a cash 'gift'.

According to Italian press reports, the girl - identified only as Ruby and allegedly an illegal immigrant - has claimed that she had consensual sex with the prime minister at his luxury villa in Arcore, outside Milan, reports the Telegraph.

Prosecutors have reportedly opened a dossier on the claims but not a formal investigation. They stressed that Berlusconi is not under investigation and that they are trying to verify the woman's account of the alleged encounter.

However, Il Giornale, the newspaper owned by Berlusconi's brother, described the allegations as a potential "sex scandal" and another "D'Addario case" - a reference to Patrizia D'Addario, the prostitute who last year claimed that she slept with the prime minister at his mansion in Rome.

Magistrates cautioned that the Moroccan woman's claims might be without foundation and could be part of a plot to blackmail the 74-year-old premier, or an attempt at self-promotion by the aspiring showgirl.

The teenager, who is now 18, claims that she attended several private parties thrown by Berlusconi at his home between last year and this Spring, at a time when she was trying to break into modelling or television.

She was part of a circle of aspiring models and actresses who were allegedly introduced to the prime minister by a prominent show business agent, Lele Mora, although he has denied all knowledge of the case.

Investigating magistrates said her accounts were sometimes contradictory and that she had made claims, which she subsequently retracted.

The story emerged when she was thrown out of an apartment in Milan after an argument with her Brazilian flatmate in May, the Italian press reported.

She was stopped by police, who found she had no residence permit, but pleaded for leniency on the basis that she knew the prime minister, and proceeded to tell them of her alleged encounter.

One of the magistrates in charge of the case, Antonio Sangermano, has experience in investigating prostitution and extortion cases, but on Wednesday refused to comment on the claims.

A member of Berlusconi's People of Freedom Party dismissed the story and predicted that it would prove to be untrue.
source: agency

Kiwis 'played like dicks' in Bangladesh, says Greatbatch

WELLINGTON (New Zealand): New Zealand's batting coach Mark Greatbatch has issued a stinging criticism of his batsmen as the team leaves for India, saying that they played like dicks during the recent one-day tour of Bangladesh.

Greatbatch didn't single out anyone, but the comments appeared to be directed at the ODI top order. Brendon McCullum, Jesse Ryder, BJ Watling and Ross Taylor are all part of the Test squad.

"I think some aren't good enough. I think some think they are better than they are and the third one, I think, is the mind. We've got to get our mind right and sometimes that requires patience, sometimes it requires being aggressive. What it requires is actually sorting out the cricket smarts and weighing up the situation that you're playing in an we've got some work to do in all those areas," Greatbatch told RadioLive.

It maybe recalled that New Zealand lost the series four nil, and Greatbatch said in a radio interview that some of the batsmen had inflated opinions about their abilities.

Heath Mills, the head of the New Zealand Cricket Players Association, felt the players would take the criticism on the chin and seek to improve their performance.

"Paddy (Greatbatch) is an emotional guy, he cares passionately about New Zealand and the Black Caps and I know he is as gutted as anyone else at the results in Bangladesh," the Dominion Post quoted Mills, as saying.

He added: "It's been a difficult time and a lot of people have been rightly upset about the performance. There is always going to be some harsh words spoken, so I think everyone's got to focus on being constructive and getting the job done in India and getting the team back performing where it can."

New Zealand's Test squad has little time to prepare in India, with no warm-up match before the first of three Tests starting in Ahmedabad on Thursday.
source: agency

Most popular name for UK boys? Mohammed

LONDON: Mohammed was the most popular name for newborn baby boys in England and Wales in 2009, according to official data released on Thursday.

But 12 different spellings of the name, each listed separately , meant that Oliver officially topped poll. The name, given to 7,364 children, ended Jack's 14-year reign at number one, with Harry, Alfie and Joshua rounding out the top five in the figures published by the Office for National Statistics. The two most common spellings of the Muslim name came in at 16th and 36th place, a total of 7,549 baby boys, making it the most popular name overall.

The most common spelling , Mohammed, was the number one name in its own right in the West Midlands region of central England which includes the city of Birmingham, and number four in London.

Olivia, meanwhile, remained the most common girls' name with 5,201 children of that name, followed by Ruby, Chloe, Emily and Sophie.
source: agency

Wen Jiabao to visit India, Manmohan Singh `delighted'

Hanoi: Chinese premier Wen Jiabao said he would be visiting India this year in his opening remarks ahead of his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today. The prime minister responded by saying that he was "extremely delighted" to hear about it.

The 30-minute meeting, also attended by National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and Secretary (east) Lata Reddy as well as four cabinet ministers from the Chinese side, saw Wen talking of strong sense of history of the two countries.

Wen told Manmohan Singh that he had said on many occasions that there was enough space for China and India. "To that I add that there is enough space in the world for India and China to have cooperation."

On this 60th year of the anniversary of India-China diplomatic relations, he said: "I will be visiting India this year."

Manmohan Singh responded by saying they had met on 10 occasions in the last six years.

He said he was "extremely delighted" to hear that Wen would be coming. He also said he there would need to be a consensus to lay the foundation of a very successful visit.
source: agency

Asia to play key role with rise of India, China: US

Washington: The United States believes given the rise of India and China as global powers, emerging Asian nations are going to play a fundamental role on issues like Iran, non-proliferation, terrorism and nuclear security.

Apart from the "broader Asia context that includes relationship with China and India," the US also sees "direct engagement with the 10 ASEAN countries as having its own merit and not simply being in the context of our relationship with China," US deputy national security adviser for strategic communications Ben Rhodes said on Thursday.

"...when you look at the rise of India and China as global powers and you also look at the emergence of regional powers like Indonesia that are in the G20, these countries are going to play a fundamental role" in all priority issues, "whether it's Iran, non-proliferation, terrorism, nuclear security," he said at a White House briefing on President Barack Obama's Asia trip.

At the CEO business summit attached to Nov 13-14 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Yokohama, Japan, will speak about the economic advances made throughout his Asia trip, he said

Rhodes, who had on Wednesday described India as the cornerstone of US foreign policy in Asia, noted Obama's four-nation Asia swing "obviously begins with a fairly robust economic component of our India visit."

The theme of US "efforts to expand our exports into India and deepen our engagement with India's economy, will proceed through the meetings and at the G20" summit in South Korea to put in context "our aggressive efforts to increase our economic engagement and our exports in Asia," he said.

The US commitment to combat climate change will continue no matter what the results of the Nov 2 mid-term election are, Rhodes said in response to a question.

The new framework for reducing emissions framework needs to include the United States, "but it also needs to include emerging economies like China and India and Indonesia," he said.

Asked about Obama's plans to visit a mosque in Indonesia, Rhodes said Obama would underscore the themes that he's made in terms of outreach to Muslim communities around the world.

He would also speak about "Indonesia's rise as a democracy, Indonesia's rise as an emerging economy, and the pluralism that its story represents-similar to India's, in that respect."
source: agency

Fire breaks out at Presidency University in Kolkata

Kolkata: A major fire broke out early today at the newly formed Presidency University housed at the erstwhile Presidency College here which cradled the Bengal renaissance in the 19th century.

There were no reports of any casualties as the institution was closed for holidays, police and university sources said.

Eleven fire tenders were rushed to control the blaze in the chemistry department on the third floor of the Derozio building, they said.

"The fire started at around 4 a.m. It is yet to be controlled. The reasons are not yet known. There is a cause for concern as chemicals are stored in the chemistry department," acting principal Amitabha Chattopadhyay said.

Founded in 1817 as Hindu College, the institution was christened Presidency College in 1855.

Earlier this year the West Bengal assembly passed a bill upgrading the 193 years old Presidency College into a university.

The college's alumni include nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore, social reformer Swami Vivekananda, freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, filmmaker Satyajit Ray, Marxist legend Jyoti Basu, economist Amartya Sen and scientist Satyendranath Bose.
source: agency

'The Chronicles of Narnia 3' to release in India Dec 10

New Delhi: The third in the Narnia series, "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader", for the first time in 3D format, is being released Dec 10 in India with over 800 prints.

The film will be released in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.

Releasing simultaneously with the US, it is being distributed by Fox Star Studios here.

"The Narnia series has a huge fan base in India and this time, with the enthusiastic support of our partners, we are aiming to reach an even larger number of audiences through a wider distribution reach in multiple Indian languages," Vijay Singh, chief operating officer, Fox Star Studios India, said in a statement.

The Narnia franchise features in the top five Hollywood film franchises in India of all time.

Directed by Micheal Apted, it is the big-screen adaptation of the third published novel in C.S. Lewis's epic fantasy series. It stars Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, Will Poulter, Ben Barnes, Liam Neeson and Simon Pegg.

The latest Narnia extravaganza will see Edmund and Lucy Pevensie, who along with their pesky cousin Eustace Scrubb find themselves swallowed into a painting and on to a Narnian ship headed for the very edges of the world. Joining forces once again with their royal friend Prince Caspian and the warrior mouse Reepicheep, they are whisked away on a mysterious mission to the Lone Islands, and beyond.

On the voyage, the trio face magical Dufflepuds, sinister slave traders, roaring dragons and enchanted merfolk. However, only an entirely uncharted journey to Aslan's Country - a voyage of destiny and transformation for each of those aboard the Dawn Treader can save Narnia, and all the astonishing creatures in it, from an unfathomable fate.
source: agency

Mumbai Film Festival honours Oliver Stone at closing ceremony

Mumbai: The eight-day gala affair at the 12th Mumbai Film Festival concluded on Thursday night in a grand way with active participation from Bollywood and presence of legends like Manoj Kumar and Hollywood filmmaker Oliver Stone.

The closing ceremony of the fest witnessed an award ceremony that was attended by Yash Chopra, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Ashutosh Gowarikar, Sudhir Mishra, Madhur Bhandarkar, Arunoday Singh, Satish Kaushik, Prem Chopra, Hrishita Bhatt, Rituparno Sengupta, R Ojha and Aamir Bashir among others. The event was hosted by Fardeen Khan and Raima Sen.

The lifetime achievement awards were bestowed on two veterans Manoj Kumar and Oliver Stone, who received standing ovations by the audience.

After receiving the award Manoj said: "I'm happy to receive this award. I must salute all for wonderfully handling this festival. I want to tell the organisers that anytime they need me, I will always be there for them."

The other lifetime achievement award winner, Stone, who has won Academy Award thrice, said in his acceptance speech that he is honoured to get this award.

"Thank you Mumbai. India has great culture, you make great movies and I am honoured to accept this award," he said.

The festival, organised by the Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI), included 215 feature films, 15 documentaries, 24 short films on nine screens across Mumbai and over Rs. 1 crore in prize money.

It also had a 49-film Japanese retrospective, including five in the competition section. Supported by the government of Maharashtra, the fest was a Reliance Big Entertainment initiative.

The other awards that were announced at the closing event included the Golden Gateway Award for the best film in the international competition category, which was presented to Turkish film "Majority" directed by Seren Yüce.

The Silver Gateway Award (SGA) Jury Grand Prize in the international competition category was presented to the Danish film "R" directed by Michael Noer and Tobias Lindholm.

The SGA for best director was presented to Thai director Anocha Suwichakornpong for her film "Mundane History". Anocha was the only female director competing in the international competition category.

The SGA for best actor was presented to Bartu Kucukcaglayan for his performance in the film "Majority". The silver gateway award for best actress was presented to Marie Helène Bellavance for her performance in Canadian film "Vital Signs".

The jury award for technical excellence was presented to a Greek film "Black Field" directed by Vardis Marinakis.

The audience choice Silver Gateway Award was presented to Spanish film "Biutiful" directed by Alejandro González Inárritu.

In the Dimensions Mumbai section the best film award was won by "Mumbaikar Ganesh" directed by Collin D'cunha. The runner up position was shared by two films -- "Tee" directed by Avinash Medhe and "Mera Ghar" by Abhay Kumar.

"Mumbai Retina" directed by Narayan Vijay Thakur won the special mention award. Dimensions Mumbai was juried by Dev Benegal, Vishaka Dutta, Ashim Ahluwalia, Brahmanand Singh and Manish Acharya.

The ceremony was followed by the screening of director Robert Schwentke's "Red" starring Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Mary Louise Parker and John Malkovich.
source: agency

Aishwarya dances like a dream: 'Slumdog' choreographer

Mumbai: Indian choreographer Longinus Fernandes made actors in "Slumdog Millionaire" dance to his tunes and also directed a sequence in Hollywood film "Eat, Pray Love", but it is Bollywood diva Aishwarya Rai who bowled him over with her "dream" like dance moves.

He has choreographed the song "Udi udi" in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's forthcoming film "Guzaarish".

"It's very unusual. We have never seen Aishwarya doing these steps. It's very different from what she has done in the past and she has done a brilliant job with it. She is a wonderful dancer and dances like a dream," Longinus told the media in an interview.

"It did not take her long to learn the dance but it did take her some time to perfect it and to get into the mood of the character," he added.

The song is slowly becoming a rage especially because of Aishwarys's impressive and graceful moves in a black and red long dress.

"Sanjay wanted to make the song different and unique. I asked him if we can add a little bit of Spanish to it and give it a raw, earthy feel. He liked the idea, so we gave the whole dance a look which is very rustic to make it look as natural as possible," said the dance director.

Longinus, who won a Filmfare Award for best choreography for the song "Pappu can't dance sala..." in "Jaane tu Ya Jaane Na", had assisted Farah Khan for a couple of years.

It was on the set of dance reality show "Jhalak Dikhla Jaa", where Longinus was a contestant and Bhansali a judge, that the two met.

"It was not very difficult for me to get this break because Sanjay Leela Bhansali has always been very fond of me. He was a judge with 'Jhalak...' and he told me that time that he will work with me for sure. And he kept his promise.

"I did a small piece in 'Saawariya' too, but that went unnoticed. But with this one Sanjay and I are so happy that people are actually liking the sequence," he said.

Also starring Hrithik Roshan as paraplegic patient, "Guzaarish" is slated to hit screens Nov 19.
source: agency

Animation sector yet to get support, rues industry

Chennai: The animation industry in India has been termed the sunrise sector for nearly a decade but little has been done for it, said speakers at a conference on entertainment and media here today.

"There is no separate government policy for the animation sector. We have been talking about the potential of this sector the past ten years and it is time to act now," Artery Animation and FX CEO Yunus Bhukari said at Focus 2010 organised by Assocham.

Even though there are several kids channels in India, their consumption of locally produced animation programme is low and what they are willing to pay for the animation producers is also very low, he added.

Toonz Animation COO Hari Varma said: "The sector needs the industry status to get bank loans. It also needs tax breaks and incentives to grow. On the human resources side, there is a need for standardised curriculum for people to get trained."

He said it is a feel good factor to hear about the industry numbers projected by consultants but nothing has changed over the years.

Urging the Indian animation companies to move up in the value chain, Ghanshyam Hemdev, managing director of Pyramid Infotainment, said Japan has created a brand for itself in global animation sector while the Indian animation has not gained much acceptance.

He said the Indian animation industry should integrate itself with the Indian film industry instead of being two distinct entities.

According to Assocham and Deloitte joint study released at the conference, the Indian animation industry is currently at $122 million and is expected to grow at compounded annual growth rate of 20 percent to reach $253 million by 2013.

The study stated that the industry will be shaped by both domestic demand of around 25 percent and 75 percent outsourcing.

The Indian animation industry is primarily catering to the US and Britain and its share in animation revenues was only 30 percent, the conference was told.

The global animation and gaming industry is growing at 12 percent per annum and is a $115 billion industry and is estimated to continue to its growth rate of 10 percent per annum to reach $170 billion by 2013, the study noted.
source: agency

Electronics can drive inclusive growth in India: expert

Bangalore: Electronic goods and services can drive inclusive growth in India by providing affordable healthcare, education, water management and energy, a top industry expert said today.

"Electronics can also contribute to inclusive growth by impacting affordable healthcare, education connectivity, water management and energy sources," Texas Instruments (TI) India managing director Biswadip Mitra said.

The US-based global design and chip major (TI) was the first multinational to set up its research and development (R&D) centre with its own dedicated satellite link in this tech hub 25 years ago.

In a power-starved country like India, Mitra said energy could also play a vital role in achieving energy efficiency through innovations in electronics, semi-conductor and ultra low-power technologies.

"The potential in saving energy is equivalent to many power plants in the country. Electronic systems design and manufacturing (ESDM) is a major opportunity for India to leverage its talent pool and resources," Mitra told about 600 delegates at a premier IT trade event "Bangalore IT.Biz 2010" here.

Noting that the electronics market growth in India had been impressive over the years, Mitra said that the ESDM could create a major market impact, as witnessed in telecom, industrial, consumer, defence and aerospace and automotive.

"About 1,000 Indian and overseas firms are powering the growth of electronics by excelling in systems design innovation. We are at an important juncture in electronics," Mitra said.

The Indian Semiconductor Association and as well as consulting firm Frost and Sullivan's report estimate the electronics market to reach $58.4 billion in 2011 and grow strongly thereafter.
source: agency

Choppy trading continues in Indian stock markets

New Delhi: Indian equities opened slightly higher today but soon entered a session of choppy trading on the first day of the new series of futures and options, pulling down a key index.

The benchmark sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) began the day at 19,986.32 points, as against the previous close at 19,941.04, with a gain of 45.28 points, or 0.23 percent.

Even though it briefly scaled the 20,000-point mark at 20,005.50 points, it soon fell to 19,903.75 points to log a loss of -37.29 points, or 0.19 percent. The index had slipped below the 20,000-point mark on Thursday on expiry of October futures and options series.

The mid-cap index was down 0.11 percent, while that for small caps fell 0.34 percent. This apart, nine out of the 13 sector-specific indices were ruling in the red, while four others, led by that for oil and gas, were in the green.

At the National Stock Exchange, the broader S&P CNX Nifty was ruling at 5977.80 points, with a loss of 9.90 points, or 0.17 percent over the previous close, data available with the bourse showed.

In the Mumbai bourse, Reliance Industries was the top gainer among the 30 Sensex shares, up 1.76 percent at Rs.1,102.15, while Tata Motors was the top loser, falling 2.36 percent at Rs.1,162.40.

Reliance Power, which had announced the award of a $10-billion contract to a Chinese firm for supply of equipment, was up 3.40 percent at Rs.157.40.

The company said Shanghai Electric Corp has been contracted to provide boilers, turbines and generators to Reliance Power's coal-based power plants, including the supply of 42 units of 660 MW each using what is called super critical technology.
source: agency

Obama to visit Humayun's Tomb, described as 'cultural marvel'

New Delhi: US President Barack Obama will visit the Humayun's Tomb, a World Heritage site that was the first garden tomb in the subcontinent built in the 16th century in memory of the second Mughal emperor by his wife.

He will be the first US president to visit the monument that is a big tourist draw.

"I don't think any US president has visited Humayun's Tomb in the last 20 years. But the visit depends on security arrangements," Archaeological Survey of India Joint Director-General B.R. Mani told the media.

According to Ben Rhodes, Obama's official speech-writer and spokesperson, "the tomb is one of the great cultural marvels in New Delhi".

"The president felt it was important, given the rich civilization that India has, to pay tribute to it through this stop," Rhodes said.

Obama is arriving in Mumbai on Nov 6, and will fly to Indonesia after a four-day visit of India.

The Humayun's tomb was commissioned in 1562 AD by the emperor's wife Hamida Banu Begum and designed by Mirak Mirza Ghiyath, a Persian architect. It was the first garden tomb in the sub-continent with landscaped lawns and orchards.

Built in red sandstone and marble, it is located in Nizamuddin East. The Humayun's Tomb was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1993.

"The ASI is renovating the tomb with the Aga Khan Trust. The first phase of the project that envisages to revive the ancient water channels in the mausoleum complex is nearing completion," Mani said.

"The second phase will focus on the domes and the main tomb structure while the third phase will refurbish the complex and the surrounding areas. Architects will revive the ancient connection between the Nila Gumbad (a blue domed mausoleum located adjacent to the complex) and the main tomb," Mani said.

The ASI hoped to complete work by next year, Mani said.

The renovation work is spearheaded by conservation architect Ratish Nanda from the Aga Khan Trust.
source: agency

Barack Obama looking forward to private dinner with Manmohan Singh

Washington: In a gesture that will highlight a "very close personal relationship" between the two leaders, US President Barack Obama will have a private dinner with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at his residence, a US official said here.

"And then that night, the president will have a private dinner with -- the president and the First Lady will have a private dinner with Prime Minister Singh and his wife," US Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communication Ben Rhodes told reporters here while unveiling Obama's itinerary during his Nov 6-9 visit to New Delhi.

Manmohan Singh will host the dinner for the Obamas at his 7 Race Course Road residence on Nov 7, a day before the two leaders sit down for wide-ranging talks that is expected to infuse a new vigour in the India-US strategic partnership. Obama begins his four-day visit to India from Mumbai on Nov 6.

Rhodes stressed that Obama had "a very close personal relationship" with Manmohan Singh from his first meeting in London at the G20 meeting in April last year.

"As much as any leader in the world, I think he's somebody who has had a close intellectual connection with the president on a range of issues surrounding economic growth and development," he said while highlighting special chemistry that is said to exist between Manmohan Singh and Obama.

"He's very much looking forward to this opportunity to have a private dinner with the prime minister," he said.

Obama hosted the first state dinner of his presidency in honour of Manmohan Singh under a sprawling white tent on the lawns of the White House in November last year that brought together the who's who of Washington and the Indian-American community. The two leaders have met several times on the sidelines of multilateral summits ever since Obama became the US president last year.
source: agency

US Air Force ferries security tonnage ahead of Obama visit

Mumbai: Hectic last-minute preparations have started in Mumbai with two US Air Force aircraft bringing in tonnes of security equipment for US President Barack Obama's visit, beginning here on Nov 6, an official said today.

The two aircraft arrived, unloaded the cargo for the presidential trip and left during the past couple of days.

Current indications are, at least 15 such aircraft are expected in the next eight days before Obama himself lands at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, the official said.

Another couple of aircraft carrying more officials and equipment are expected during the next couple of days, the official told the media.

Though details of the aircraft, their origin and subsequent destination are not revealed, they have brought an advance team of Obama's security team and a large quantity of equipment.

The entire fleet will fly down carrying the tiniest personal, official and security items needed during Obama's visit, the official said.

These would include dismantled helicopters, armoured vehicles and cars and sophisticated communication equipment, most of them originating from different US air bases in Asia.

President Obama is expected to land in Mumbai on Nov 6 on the first leg of his India visit, before proceeding to New Delhi.

He will be staying at the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel opposite Mumbai's Gateway of India.

It was one of the sites where Pakistani gunmen created mayhem during the Nov 26-28, 2008, Mumbai terror attack.
source: agency

Abhishek Bachchan hits back at Prahlad Kakkar for his comments

New Delhi: Bollywood star Abhishek Bachchan has hit back at ad-man Prahlad Kakkar's comment that the actor should be in the Guinness Book of World Records for standing strong despite delivering 17 flops.

"I love Prahlad Kakkar, he should be a stand-up comic not an ad-filmmaker. Maybe then someone will take him seriously! This coming from a man who makes commercials with his own son," Abhishek posted on micro-blogging site Twitter.

Kakkar, who made Abhishek's wife, actress Aishwarya Rai, famous as Sanju in a 1993 TV commercial for Pepsi, took a jibe on Abhishek at the Mumbai Film Festival.

Taking a potshot at Abhishek, the adman said: "Abhishek Bachchan has 17 flops in a row and is still going strong. He is unique and should be in the Guinness Book of Records."

In return, Abhishek commented: "Oh ya, Prahlad, I'm already in the Guinness Book of World Records and a very proud son. I hope you give your sons an opportunity to say the same someday."

In February 2009, Abhishek broke the Guinness' world record for maximum public appearances in 12 hours while promoting Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's "Delhi 6".
source: agency

Dino wants to play basketball with Obama

New Delhi: It seems model-actor Dino Morea is really looking forward to US President Barack Obama's trip to India in early November. He says he would love to play basketball with him.

"Wonder if Obama will have time to chill and play some basketball. Would love to shoot some hoops with the prezzz," Dino posted on his Twitter page.

Dino was last seen among the top three contenders on Colors' adventure reality show "Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi 3".
source: agency

Salman Khan to enter 'Bigg Boss' house!

New Delhi: Bollywood star Salman Khan will be entering the "Bigg Boss 4" house as the Diwali bonus for the housemates.

The actor, who is currently hosting the popular reality show, will spend a day with the housemates, said a source from channel Colors.

It would be for the first time that the host himself would enter the house, where over 10 celebrities are locked without any communication with the outside world.

Salman may treat the housemates to home-cooked biryani and other delights. He will also announce that there will be no eviction this week, much to the cheer of the nominated contestants -- Sara Khan, Sameer Soni, Khali and Seema Parihar.

The special episode will be aired on Saturday.
source: agency

Javed Akhtar translates 'Vande mataram' for 'Khelein Hum…'

Mumbai: Veteran lyricist Javed Akhtar has translated the national song "Vande mataram" from Sanskrit to Hindi for director Ashutosh Gowariker's forthcoming period film "Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey".

"I think if you are inspired, if you have that high energy created by the original text then it becomes easier for a writer to do something," the 65-year-old told media when asked how easy or difficult was the whole process.

"So I won't say it was difficult although I was obviously and terribly over-awed by the responsibility. But somehow it happened very quickly and to the satisfaction of the music director (Sohail Sen) and the director," he added.

"Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey", slated to hit the screens Dec 3, stars Abhishek Bachchan and Deepika Padukone in lead roles. Set in Chittagong in pre-independent India, the true life story revolves around a series of attacks executed April 18, 1930 and their aftermath.

The music of the film was launched Wednesday and apart from the male lead, other B-town celebs like Jaya Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Anupam Kher and Kirron Kher were there.

The story develops in a part of Bengal, so what all did Akhtar have to keep in mind while penning the lyrics?

"When you take the background of a film, which is in a way alien to Hindi and Urdu - you have to still write the songs in Hindi or Urdu only, but it should somehow put the impression that perhaps this song has come from that language or that state or that era."

"There are many words which cannot be used and there are many words that will help you create that literary illusion. In this film, the characters are Bengali, if I use chaste Urdu with them, that will sound false. So it should sound as if it has just been translated from Bengali. That effect should come in the album and that's what we have taken care of," he said.

He has penned lyrics for many films, but says despite so many years of experience even he gets stuck sometimes.

"In most of the films, more often than not, you are writing songs for the same kind of situations and to be different every time is a challenge.

"Someone has defined an expert saying that an expert is a person who knows about less and less. This is how we film people are, we tend to know more about less and less. To create variety, to keep your diction fresh, to get something new, new words, new metaphors, is challenging and the first thought that comes to you is generally cliched, you have to reject that and then move further," he added.

This is not for the first time that Akhtar has collaborated with Gowarikar - he worked with him in "Lagaan", "Swades", "What's Your Rashee?" and "Jodhaa Akbar".
source: agency

Punjab, Haryana procure over 10 mn tonnes of paddy

Chandigarh: Punjab and Haryana have procured over 10 million tonnes of paddy in the first 28 days of the procurement season, food and supplies officials said here today.

In Punjab, government agencies and private millers procured over eight million tonnes of paddy, the officials said.

In neighbouring Haryana, nearly 2.1 million tonnes of paddy have arrived in grain markets so far.

Over 98 per cent of the total procurement in Punjab has been done by the government agencies in over 1,700 procurement centres in grain markets across the state. The rest has been purchased by private rice millers.

Farmers in different parts in recent days have been claiming that the procurement process was slow as officials were not purchasing paddy with a little higher moisture content.

They said some of the produce have higher moisture content and discoloration owing to heavy rainfall in September this year and also the thunderstorm that hit Punjab on Oct 22.

Ferozepur district with over 831,569 tonnes was leading in procurement operations followed by Patiala with 777,083 and Ludhiana with 653,205 tonnes.

In Haryana, out of the total arrival, nearly 1.72 million tonnes were procured by government agencies while the rest was purchased by private millers.

Haryana Food and Supplies Minister Mahender Partap Singh said today that Kurukshetra district was leading in paddy arrival with over 472,000 tonnes, followed by Karnal with 397,000 tonnes and Fatehabad with over 322,000 tonnes.
source: agency

Pakistan keen on reviving hockey series with India

Karachi: Pakistan's hockey chiefs plan to push for the revival of bilateral matches against India during next month's International Hockey Federation (FIH) meet in Switzerland. Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Secretary Asif Bajwa today said he will be meeting his Hockey India counterpart Narinder Batra in Montreux (Switzerland) to explore the possibilities of holding a Pakistan-India test series in the near future.

"We are all for reviving bilateral hockey series with India," Bajwa said.

"Such matches, if held on a regular basis, will benefit hockey in both the countries."

Pakistan and India have exchanged bilateral tours in the past but sporting ties between the two nations are suffering because of an unofficial freeze following the Nov 26, 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

In the last couple of years, Pakistan and India have played against each other on the hockey field but only in international tournaments run by the FIH or the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF).

Even though hockey which was once a very popular sport in the sub-continent has lost its gloss, matches between Pakistan and India continue to draw huge crowds.

Earlier this month, a packed stadium witnessed an electrifying clash between the former Asian giants during the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. Even the event's final failed to produce a similar atmosphere.

Bajwa, a former Olympian, believes that unless Pakistan and India resume exchanging home-and-away matches on a regular basis, hockey will find it difficult to regain its lost glory in the sub-continent.

"For hockey to regain its lost popularity we have to attract fans and one great way to do that is to have regular Pakistan-India matches," he told the media.

The problem, however, is that the Indian government seems unwilling to allow its team to travel to Pakistan, the PHF secretary said. Security of players is a concern, especially after the March 3, 2009 attack by terrorists on a bus carrying Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore.

Bajwa is of the view that the two teams can play at neutral venues like Dubai, Doha or Kuala Lumpur.

"It would be great if we can have Pakistan-India matches in Lahore, Karachi, Delhi or Chandigarh but if that's not possible then we can stage the series on neutral soil.

Even though the costs will be higher, it will still be a win-win option for both the countries."

Bajwa said that he will discuss the possibility of reviving the series with his Indian counterpart in Montreux.

"We will have a detailed meeting and the idea of reviving bilateral matches will be on the top of the agenda," he said.

Top officials from around the hockey world will be assembling in the Swiss city for a series of meetings starting from Nov 7.

The 42nd Statutory Congress of the FIH will take place on Nov 13 in the Fairmont Le Montreux Palace Hotel.
source: agency

NASA planning one-way mission to colonise Mars

London: This NASA mission will boldly go where no man has gone before - to Mars. But then do forget about coming back to the Earth.

NASA is investigating the possibility of humans colonising other worlds such as the Red Planet in an ambitious project named the Hundred Years Starship.

The settlers would be sent supplies from the Earth, but would go on the understanding that it would be too costly or too time-consuming for them to make the return trip.

NASA Ames Centre director Pete Worden revealed that the centre has received one million pounds' funding to start work on the project, the Daily Mail reported.

The research team has also received an additional 100,000 pounds from NASA.

"You heard it here," Worden said at 'Long Conversation', an event in San Francisco in the US. "We also hope to inveigle some billionaires to form a Hundred Year Starship fund."

Worden said he has discussed the potential price tag for one-way trips to Mars with Google co-founder Larry Page, telling him that such a mission could be done for $10 billion.

"His response was, 'Can you get it down to $1 [billion] or $2billion?' So now we're starting to get a little argument over the price," Worden said.

The most recent unmanned mission to Mars was Nasa's Phoenix lander, which was launched in August 2007 and landed on the planet's north polar cap in May the following year.

Experts said a nuclear-fuelled rocket could shorten the journey to about four months.

Of all the planets in the solar system, Mars is the most likely to have substantial quantities of water, making it the best bet for sustaining life.

Worden claims that humans could be on Mars' moons by 2030.

Mars is half the size of Earth, has two polar ice caps and has similar seasons to our planet. The Martian day is only 41 minutes longer than the day on Earth.
source: agency

Left will not be ruling any state in 2013, claims Congress

Agartala: There will be no Left government in any Indian state by 2013 and the existing Left Front governments in West Bengal and Kerala would be voted out next year, a senior Congress leader said here today.

All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary V. Narayanaswamy said the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left Front government in Tripura would be ousted by the people in the 2013 assembly polls.

"The recent civic poll results make it evident that the CPI-M-led Left Democratic Front government in Kerala has lost the people's confidence," the Congress leader said on the issue.

Talking about Tripura, he said: "Crime against women, corruption and cases of murder are the highest in Left-ruled Tripura as compared to the rest of the country."

"The state government is very inefficient, crores of rupees of central funds have remained unspent," he said.

Narayanaswamy, also the union minister of state for culture, planning and parliamentary affairs, said: "To monitor the implementation of central schemes and use of related funds, separate central teams from the Planning Commission and the rural development ministry would visit Tripura soon."

The union minister said that due to the incompetence of the Left Front government in Tripura and non-utilisation of central funds, the number of people below poverty line (BPL) has been increasing in the state.

"The unauthorised assets of the Left parties in Tripura have risen to Rs.5,000 crore," said the Congress leader, accompanied by state party chief Surajit Datta and Leader of Opposition Ratan Lal Nath.

The AICC general secretary warned: "If any Congress leader is found having any clandestine links with the ruling CPI-M in the state, he or she would be removed from the party."
source: agency

Salman Khan-Aishwarya Bachchan to face off on Bigg Boss 4?

What will happen when actor Salman Khan and actress Aishwarya Bachchan will confront each other? Woowoo!!! well yes, there is a lot of possibilities in the above statement. It is reported that the Guzaarish team have wished to use the 'Bigg Boss' platform to promote their film.

During the promotions the lead cast of the film, Aishwarya Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan, with the director Sanjay Leela Bhansali will have a brief entry in the 'Bigg Boss 4' house. However, it will definitely be an awkward situation for both, the host of the show, Salman Khan and Aishwarya Bachchan, to face each other on the national television.

When Salman learned about the proposal, he straight away opposed the idea and was adamant on not promoting Guzaarish on the show. Even after considering the fact that Sanjay Bhansali and Hrithik are very close to Salman, the star avoided to consider the promotions of the film on 'Bigg Boss'.

Though the decision is still pending in the hands of the Colors channel authorities, it is sure that if possibly this meet happens, it will be an eye treat for all the 'Bigg Boss' fans. More updates on this will come shortly.

Trouble for Shweta Tiwari " coming soon to BIGG BOSS "

With reports of Raja Chaudhary’s present girl friend Shradha Sharma possibly entering the Bigg Boss house as a wild card entry to counter Raja Chaudhary’s ex-wife Shweta Tiwari and business associate Dolly Bindra, Shradha Sharma’s publicist reportedly commented. “Shweta Tiwari is a liar. I can’t share the same roof with her. I don’t know about the Bigg Boss house, but we can’t stand each other. There will be a maha yudh if we come face to face. I am sure Colors and Endemol doesn’t want the Bigg Boss house to be damaged. It’s a really nice house. If I am put in there with Shweta Tiwari, then Colors should be ready for some heavy duty damage to the house as it is likely that we may start flinging things at each other, the moment we come face to face. Unless of course, Colors gives each of us separate rooms and bathrooms.”

We think all of us would like to see this maha yudh. Salman Khan should be made the referee and WWE champ, the great Khali could be the personal coach of the devilish ladies. What a fight that would.

Fashion conscious? Think neutral hues and khaki

New Delhi: Winter is yet to set in, but in case you are planning way ahead, here's what to wear next summer. Dump the shocking pinks, yellows and oranges and go for neutral colours, especially khaki, to make a style statement when the mercury shoots up.

"I personally believe 2011 is the colour of khaki. You can also call it a year of safari look; so anything to do with it - safari pockets, hats, trousers in khaki colours - will be one of the trends of the season. The fashion in the 1970s is coming back," designer Reynu Taandon of the label Mynah told the media.

Taandon's collection is mostly offwhite, khaki colours and she has used special laser fabric for her line.

Designer Namrata Joshipura says neutral shades like sand, grey and ivory will also be "in" next season.

"I won't say there is going to be one particular colour that would be popular; in fact the truth is a lot of neutral colours will do the round," said Joshipura, whose line is dominated by neutral shades.

"Apart from neutrals, some colours like watermelon red, mauve and lime green will also be popular," she added.

This time at the ongoing Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW), the majority of designers are staying away from bright colours and displaying more neutral or subdued hues in their collections to make it impressive and different.

Designer Kallol Dutta shifted from his favourite black to the lighter tones of green and mauve, designer duo Gaurav and Ritika have used subtle, muted tones of grey, beige and offwhite.

Roma Narsinghani, who is debuting at the WIFW, says a lighter grey tone has an edge over other neutral colours because it makes a person look slimmer and that is why not-so-summery slatey greys are dominating the ramp.

Other designers like Aneetha Arora of Pero and Gaurav Jai Gupta of Akaaro, who made their debut at the fashion week, showcased a line of hand-woven cotton garments in subtle tones of grey, white and black.

While Gupta doesn't believe in any trends, Arora says striped garments would also be a big draw in the coming season and grey stripes have the potential to be used most as they go well with any body shape.

Dev of label Dev R. Nil believes layering will be another popular trend in the coming season and neutral shades do justice to such designs.

Most designers are forecasting that natural hues will dominate next season.

Gaurav Jagtiani of designer duo Gaurav-Ritika said, "Trend forecasting is like a cycle, if this season was all bright and colourful, we (designers) can't repeat the same in the next. So that is why a lot of designers are showcasing neutral colours.

"Every designer has to do something new every time, it is all about taking new direction. If the last season was a riot of colour, this time it's subtle colours - so we are maintaining a balance," he said.
source: agency