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Sachin Tendulkar is a big scalp and to get him out is nice:Peter Siddle

MELBOURNE: Having claimed the prized wicket of Sachin Tendulkar in both the innings of the first Test at Melbourne, Australia pace spearhead Peter Siddle hopes to nail the iconic batsman again during the Test series.

"Sachin is a big scalp and to get him out is nice. There's a lot more cricket to be played and hopefully I can get him again and keep winning Tests," revealed Siddle.

Tendulkar looked in ominous touch in both the innings of the first Test, scoring 73 and 32, but Siddle struck him down each time as Australia thrashed India by 122 runs to take 1-0 lead in the four-match Test series.

"There's no big secret or plan. Both the dismissals were different. He was bowled in the first innings and caught off a slider in the second. A few good balls before that possibly put pressure on him," he said.

The 27-year-old pacer, who claimed six wickets in the match and scored a vital 41 in the first innings, denied that he tries extra hard when the batsman at the opposite end is Tendulkar.

"He is just another batsman. Be it openers or number 11, you just like to get wicket all the time. This time it was me, next time it could be little Patto (Pattinson) or (Nathan) Lyon," he insisted.

Siddle's first wicket incidentally was also of Tendulkar, back in 2008 and he now has three dismissals of the champion batsman to his name.

Even the spin legend Shane Warne could not do any better during his career.

Siddle said he remembers the second evening when Tendulkar walked out to take the first strike and upper cut his first delivery over slips for a six.

"It was the edge obviously. Jokes apart, it was a good stroke, you can't do much about it. It's a good shot he played, someday he could also edge it to wicketkeeper and on his day carry it over fence for six," he said.

The sturdy Victorian fast bowler needs just three wickets to complete his 100 in Tests. His 97 wickets have come from 28 Tests at an average of 30.78 with four five-wicket hauls.

He also has a hat-trick to his name, against England at Brisbane, on his birthday last year.

Siddle put down the success of Australia's bowling in recent times to the execution of plans that the bowlers are able to do in the middle as a unit.

"It's the pressure we build. You bowl a few short deliveries to build pressure and stop them moving their feet. It paid off but it can go either way. We need to stick together as a bowling unit and build up pressure."

In trying to build pressure, Siddle and Pattinson, in particular appear to go overtly aggressive but the former said everyone in the team knows where to draw the line.

"We are fired up and determined on the field. Like when Dravid was bowled off a no-ball, I was fired up. But we know how far we can go.

"We go out there and play hard and fair. It's just how it comes across. We look to get wickets all the time," he said.

Siddle believed his team had moved on from Hobart and is getting better as a unit.

"We had a disappointment at Hobart. But we are going forward. Batters are also getting there. We are working as a unit. The group is upbeat and comfortable with each other. There's still plenty to come.

"Presently, I am feeling good, strong and healthy. I really had a lot of injuries in the past. The big onus is on me at the moment to try and do things right," he said.

Ben Hilfenhaus, meanwhile, heaped praises on Siddle, especially applauding the Tasmanian fast bowler's ability to build up pressure while running into the wind.

"His consistency with his line and the pressure he builds from the other end is amazing. He bowled into the breeze throughout the match and build up pressure from other end."

Hilfenhaus picked up seven wickets from the match including a fiver in the first innings. He also made 19 and 14 from his two innings.

The teams now head to Sydney where, in all probability, a good grassy wicket will be there to help the hosts yet again.

Aussies, who have included fast bowler Ryan Harris in the 12, could even opt to play with four quick bowlers and drop off-spinner Nathan Lyon.

"The wicket has changed a bit and become better for the bowlers. But we still have to go out and do what we did here. We need to be patient, keep our lines. It has paid off for us in the last few months and we need to continue it.

"He (Lyon) bowled well, he's an attacking bowler. The MCG track didn't help spinners at all. He could take 5-6 wickets in the next innings."

India were "bounced and bruised at the MCG":Australian media

MELBOURNE: India were "bounced and bruised at the MCG", declared a gleeful Australian media which on Friday hailed their cricket team for their surprise humbling of the famed batting line-up of the visitors in the first Test.

The much vaunted Indian batting line-up came under attack from the Australian media as the visitors could post just 282 and 169 in the two innings against an inexperienced home side bowling attack to lose the Test by 122 runs.

Only Sachin Tendulkar seemed to be in control over the Australian fast bowlers as he top-scored in both innings with a fluent 73 and 32, the local media said.

'The Daily Telegraph' wrote that the pressure is now on India and their famed batting line-up would have to prove that they are not flat track bullies.

"MS Dhoni has conceded India's great weapon is now its weakness - a cast of batting flops who must prove they are not flat track bullies," the newspaper said.

"Former Australian skipper Mark Taylor identified India's easy run on placid sub-continent pitches as protecting ageing maestros such as and VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid, emerging number six Virat Kohli and opener Gautam Gambhir.

"The pressure is now on India, down 1-0 having been bounced and bruised on a bumper MCG strip," it added.

The local media was, however, in awe of Tendulkar, who yet again missed his 100th international ton.

"Australia effectively won the opening Test at the MCG when champion Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar was dismissed. In Don Bradman's day his dismissal influenced posters to proclaim: HE'S OUT," the 'Daily Telegraph' declared.

"Yesterday a similar poster could have been dispatched, with a sub-head announcing: IT'S OVER.

"The Little Master, dismissed for 73 in first innings, compiled an equally efficient and masterful 32 and looked the only batsman to be in control. He must wait for another day to notch his 100th century, but he was given a standing ovation going in and leaving MCG," it wrote.

A write-up in 'Sydney Morning Herald' about Tendulkar said, "Only Sachin Tendulkar looked of a mind to resist meaningfully. He is 38, but ageless; in this match, even the sound of his bat on ball was more formidable than any other's. While he was in, anything was possible for India, not least THAT hundred."

Meanwhile, the local media was effusive in its praise of the national cricket team for the surprise win over India, saying it has "rediscovered their mongrel" or fighting spirit after this month's shock defeat to New Zealand at Hobart.

"Test team's killer instinct is back, sharpened for the SCG (Sydney Cricket Ground)," 'Sydney Morning Herald' declared.

Praising paceman James Pattinson for his big role in the Test win, the newspaper said, "James Pattinson could not have channelled Dennis Lillee more convincingly without growing whiskers and wearing his shirt unbuttoned to the waist."

Under the headline 'Bowlers wreak havoc on Indian demi-gods', 'The Australian' described the first Test win against India as a giant leap from Bellerive Oval (at Hobart) to the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

"After being humiliated by eighth-ranked New Zealand in Hobart a fortnight ago, Michael Clarke's men maintained their maddeningly inconsistent recent form by dismantling the might of India to claim an extraordinary 122-run victory inside four days in the first Test," said the newspaper.

Google has been the most visited site of 2011 in US

LONDON: Google has been the most visited site of 2011 in US, with Facebook coming a close second, a new study has revealed.

The survey, conducted by Nielsen, suggests that more than 153 million visitors clicked onto Google branded pages each month, while Facebook attracted close to 138 million visitors.

As Yahoo came third with about 130 million visitors each month, analysts warned that the site's tally might be at risk if young people continued to turn away from web-based email, the BBC reported.

The study is based on data collected between January and October and included visits from home and work computers. It involved a sample from a global panel of 200,000 people.

Although Google trumped Facebook as the most popular web brand, it's Google+ network came far behind the social networking site in Nielsen's ranking of the most popular social networks and blogs.

Google+ came eighth in the list with 8.02m unique monthly visitors.

Google's YouTube was identified as the most popular destination for online videos, attracting more than three times the number of monthly visitors as the music video service Vevo.

The list, prepared by Nielsen, of the number of visitors to various websites is as follows -

1. Google: 153,441,000

2. Facebook: 137,644,000

3. Yahoo: 130,121,000

4. MSN/WindowsLive/Bing: 115,890,000

5. YouTube: 106,692,000

6. Microsoft: 83,691,000

7. AOL Media Network: 74,633,000

8. Wikipedia: 62,097,000

9. Apple: 61,608,000

10. Ask Search Network: 60,552,000


Lokpal Bill will "definitely" be brought before the Rajya Sabha during the Budget session

NEW DELHI: Putting up a brave front after it failed to muster the numbers in the Rajya Sabha, government today said the Lokpal Bill will "definitely" be brought before the Rajya Sabha during the Budget session even as Congress leader Digvijay Singh defended the move saying extension of the House last night was not possible.

"Definitely we will bring it in March in the Budget session...we have to study the 187 amendments brought by Opposition parties as most are overlapping. Some amendments relate to only a part of a clause and not the entire clause, some demand removing the entire part of the Bill," Minister of state for personnel V Narayanasamy said.

He said after going through the amendments, the government will take a call on what to accept and what to reject and get back to the Opposition parties.

Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh tweeted this morning saying "187 Amendments given till 6 pm on the day of debate and those too contradictory to each other. Extension of the House not within powers of RS (Rajya Sabha)."

He also said, now that government has time, it must "try and bring about consensus and pass a strong implementable Lokpal Bill."

Referring to the amendments moved by key UPA partner Trinamool Congress on the Bill in the Rajya Sabha, Narayanasamy said its reservations are regarding the appointment of Lokayuktas in the states and "they have no grievances against Lokpal."

But at the same time the minister said Trinamool was part of the Cabinet decision to clear the Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill introduced in Lok Sabha a few days ago.

"Thy voted with us in the Lok Sabha though they had some reservations about the Constitutional amendment...we are talking to them...there is still some time and we will bring them around," he said.

The very severe cyclonic storm, 'Thane', today crossed the Tamil Nadu coast

CHENNAI: The very severe cyclonic storm, 'Thane', today crossed the Tamil Nadu coast, leaving six persons dead and causing extensive damage to Cuddalore and the neighbouring Union Territory of Puduchery which remained cut-off from the nearby districts of the state.

Five persons died in Cuddalore in incidents of wall collapse and electrocution, officials said. A 45-year old man of Vanarampet village in Puducherry died in house collapse.

Train services from southern Tamil Nadu were hit as many of them ran late or were stopped in the nearby station while flights to international destinations by private carriers including to Kuwait and Malaysia from Chennai were cancelled.

Puduchery District Collector S B Deepak Kumar told PTI that rescue operations were in full swing in the union territory. Uprooted trees were being removed from the roads.

The regional weather office here said, "The very severe cyclonic storm 'THANE' over southwest Bay of Bengal moved further westward and crossed north Tamil Nadu coast between Cuddalore and Puducherry between 6.30 and 7.30 AM today."

It had now weakened into a severe cyclonic storm and lay about 30 km west of Cuddalore and 35 km southwest of Puduchery, it said, adding wind speeds of upto 140 kph was recorded during this period.

"Under the influence of this system, rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places would occur over north coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry during next 12 hours and over north interior Tamil Nadu during next 24 hours," a weather bulletin said.

Further, isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall would occur over south coastal Andhra Pradesh during next 12 hours and over Rayalseema, north Kerala and south Karnataka during the next 24 hours.

Cuddalore district in Tamil Nadu was the most affected, with damaged roads rendering it difficult for rescue teams including those from National Disaster Response Force and Fire and Rescue Services to reach the cyclone hit fishing hamlets.

District Collector Amuthavalli said even as communication lines remained affected, over 5000 houses of fishermen had been damaged.

I tore the Lokpal bill as it was a bad bill :Rajniti Prasad

New Delhi: Justifying his act of tearing a copy of the Lokpal bill in the Rajya Sabha, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) member Rajniti Prasad today said it was a "bad" piece of legislation and he did what was right.

"I tore the bill as it was a bad bill and against parliamentarians. We were passing a bill that is against us only," he told a TV channel.

Prasad said it was a spontaneous action and he had said earlier during his speech in the Rajya Sabha that the RJD would not let the house pass the bill in its present form.

"I did what was right. We were ready to sit overnight to discuss the bill but the government decided to avoid (it)," he said.

In an action that stunned his fellow MPs and those watching the debate on television, Prasad Thursday night tore a copy of the Lokpal bill after snatching it from Minister of State for Personnel V. Narayanasamy.

Prasad suddenly charged towards the minister's seat when he had begun speaking in reply to the daylong debate on the Lokpal bill, ignoring the directions of Chairman Hamid Ansari to return to his seat. As the minister looked on, the MP tore the document and flung it to the ground.

Manmohan Singh should step down ,government's defeat in parliament on the Lokpal bill:Gadkari

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should step down and assume moral responsibility for the government's defeat in parliament on the Lokpal bill, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Nitin Gadkari said today.

Calling it "unfortunate" and an "insult to parliament", the BJP president accused the government of running away from voting on the Lokpal bill in the Rajya Sabha.

"The government was defeated in the Lok Sabha on the constitutional amendment bill and they ran away from voting in the Rajya Sabha. UPA (United Progressive Alliance) was defeated in both the houses and has no right to retain power. The prime minister should tender his resignation, taking moral responsibility," he said.

According to Gadkari, the government was not ready to pass the Lokpal bill and had planned it in a way to avoid voting on the bill. "It is unfortunate that everything happened in front of the prime minister and the government has made fun of parliament."

He said the BJP's core committee would meet at 5 p.m. on Friday to discuss the party's future strategy. "We will hold a country-wide protest against the UPA government and will press for a strong Lokpal bill."

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) did not want to pass the Lokpal bill :V. Narayanasamy

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) did not want to pass the Lokpal bill in the Rajya Sabha and wanted to keep it in limbo, Minister of State for Personnel V. Narayanasamy said today and added that the legislation would again come to the house in the budget session.

"It will come to the house in the budget session after talking to all the parties and considering the amendments given by them. Several bills are pending in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha and as far as we are concerned we fulfilled our commitment by bringing the bill in the house," Narayanasamy told a TV channel, a day after the Rajya Sabha was adjourned on Thursday midnight leaving the fate of the Lokpal bill in limbo.

Labelling as "bogus" the BJP's allegation that the government choreographed the entire debate in the Rajya Sabha, Narayanasamy said: "Right from the beginning, the BJP's intention was to see that the bill is not passed in parliament … they want to keep it in limbo. It was a BJP-orchestrated drama."

"If the government was not clear then why did we pass the bill in the Lok Sabha despite objections by the BJP. The BJP and other party members disrupted proceedings of the house and did not allow the house to function."

He added that it was not Congress members who disrupted the house but BJP and some other parties.

"In Rajya Sabha when our members are not there we have to take along other party members and it is the duty of all the members to pass the bill but basic amendments which BJP gave are not acceptable to the government," he said.

Lokpal Bill issue:It is shameful, a sad day for democracy said Trinamool MP

New Delhi: The Trinamool Congress on Thursday said the adjournment sine die of the Rajya Sabha without vote on the Lokpal bill was shameful and a sad day for democracy.

"It is shameful, a sad day for democracy. Disappointment is a mild word for it," said Trinamool MP Derek O'Brien.

The Trinamool, a constituent of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA), was dead opposed to the bill's provision on Lokayuktas in states, and feared loss of their federal autonomy under it. Trinamool had moved around 37 amendments for complete separation of the Lokayuktas from the Lokpal bill.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni said the target was gettable but the batting let them down

Melbourne: India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni today attributed the team's 122-run loss in the first Test here to the failure of the batsmen and praised the Australian bowlers for maintaining a "nagging" line throughout the match.

India, chasing a 292-run target, were bowled out for 169 in their second innings on the fourth day of the Boxing Day Test for their eighth defeat on the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

Dhoni said the target was gettable but the batting let them down for the second time in the game.

"We thought if we could them get them out for 240 or 250 odd runs, that is a very gettable score. But even 290 was something we should have chased down. The wicket was pretty good, there wasn't much wear and tear on the pitch. So, it is just that our batting line-up flopped in both the innings," Dhoni told reporters at the post-match conference at the MCG.

"We had a decent start in the first innings, we had a partnership going but we were not able to capitalise on that and in the end we were 50 runs short of their total.

"In the second innings, wickets kept on falling at regular intervals, making it tougher for us to get close to the target. Looking ahead, we need to get consistent with our batting," said Dhoni about India's batting collapse in the second innings.

The visitors' inability to polish off the tail also had a telling effect on the outcome of the match. India let Australia make 240 in their second innings from the overnight total of 179 for eight with veteran Michael Hussey scoring a gritty 89 on a difficult wicket.

India had let the hosts off the hook even in their first innings where they managed 333 after being reduced to 214 for six.

Dhoni said they must find a way to run through the lower-order quickly.

"It (Australia tail wagging) didn't deflate us but it is something we need to keep an eye on. Even in the first innings, their lower order put on some decent runs and in close matches if tailenders end up making a contribution like this, it has a significant impact on the result of the match. We need to come up with ways to get the tailenders out quickly, especially if they are batting in the 65th or the 70th over," he said.

Gautam Gambhir (3 and 13) and Virat Kohli (11 and 0) looked out of sorts against a potent bowling attack. Dhoni, however, insisted there was no need to panic on the form of the two batsman.

"Gambhir's form is not a major issue. He is batting really well in the nets. He just needs to take that extra step and take the same form into the middle. Once you play 30-40 deliveries as an opener, everything is sorted out.

"As for Kohli, he is someone who has been doing well for us. If you want to rely on statistics, you can prove every batsman is good and every batsman is bad. We would have to wait on him."

Dhoni complimented the Australian bowlers who got the best out of a helpful wicket, particularly man of the match James Pattinson and comeback man Ben Hilfenhaus.

"We failed as a batting unit but you need to give credit to the Australian bowlers. The line and length they bowled. Some of the balls came in, some of them held its line. they made the batsmen play all the time."

He had a word of praise for his own bowlers as well.

"The bowlers did their job in this particular Test. We didn't start really well, but then we got quick wickets and put pressure on the opposition. Bowlers did their job, it is just that we need to post runs on the board.

"The big positive that we could take from here is that we took 20 wickets," Dhoni said of the pace trio of Zaheer Khan, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni said on-field umpires should be more consistent with their decisions

Melbourne: India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said the today on-field umpires should be more consistent with their decisions rather than relying on the contentious Decision Review System (DRS).

The lack of DRS went in India's favour in the first Test with some of the decisions going its way, especially in the first innings.

Michael Hussey was adjudged caught behind off Zaheer Khan by South African Marais Erasmus but TV replays clearly showed no contact with the bat. The dismissal of debutant opener Ed Cowan was also criticised in most sections of the Australian media.

"I was a big fan of Hot Spot before the England tour. I am not so sure now. Same with snickometer. I would rather show faith and rely on umpires who have been doing the job all these years. If umpires are consistent, I don't mind," said Dhoni.

Dhoni much like the Indian cricket board doesn't find the DRS foolproof and said he would respect the decision of the umpires.

"They don't need to go into their shell after giving a wrong decision. They should be consistent and give their decisions boldly. At the same time, we must understand that they are doing a tough job," he said.

Sanjay Dutt, to cut short his holiday for Colors' reality show "Bigg Boss 5"

New Delhi: Sanjay Dutt, who had planned to spend New Year's eve with his family, has decided to cut short his holiday in Bali to accommodate a shoot for Colors' reality show "Bigg Boss 5", which he hosts along with Salman Khan.

Sanjay's trip began Saturday, and he had planned to return home some time next year. But the makers of "Bigg Boss" planned a special episode for Dec 31, and the channel authorities requested him to be present for the same.

The professional that he is, Sanjay cut short his trip and is now returning to Mumbai Friday. He will go to Karjat Dec 31 morning via a chopper and will shoot for the special episode, said a source close to the 52-year-old.

In the meantime, the second theatrical trailer of Sanjay's forthcoming release "Agneepath" released with "Don 2: The King Is Back". In the film, a remake of the 1990 film of the same name, Sanjay plays the villain Kancha Cheena.

His fearsome look and sly smile in the promos has been the talk of the town ever since the film's first look was unveiled. "Agneepath", produced by Karan Johar and directed by debutant Karan Malhotra, features Hrithik Roshan and Priyanka Chopra in key roles.

In the new year, Sanjay will be on a roll.

He will play characters inspired by real life police officers in "Zila Ghaziabad" and Ram Gopal Varma's "Department". He will also be seen in another movie, tentatively titled "Thanedaar Returns", produced by Dharam Oberoi and TP Aggarwal.

Sanjay will also return as Munna in the third instalment of "Munnabhai", and he will also team up again with good friend Ajay Devgn in "Son Of Sardar".

Bollywood star Salman Khan turned 46 ,Preity Zinta wished him a wonderful year ahead

New Delhi: Bollywood star Salman Khan turned 46 today and celebrities like Sonakshi Sinha and Preity Zinta wished him a wonderful year ahead.

B-town took to twitter to express their love and fondness for Salman, who entertained his fans this year with movies like "Ready", "Bodyguard" and will continue to do so next year with "Dabangg 2" and "Ek Tha Tiger".

This is what the celebs had to say:

Sonakshi Sinha: Happy birthday Pandeji.

Sonu Sood: Wishing my bro Salman Khan a very happy birthday. Will see you today at the farmhouse bhai. Keep ruling..

Preity Zinta: Hey Salman, Here's wishing you a very very Happy Birthday ! May all things wonderful big and small always come your way. Love ya

Dia Mirza: Happy birthday!!! May you continue to further your dreams and help others realise theirs health, peace, happiness always.

Farah Khan Ali: Happy birthday to one of the most misunderstood person I know. Happiness, health, wealth success, and lots of love.

Sophie Choudry: Wishing one of the most amazing people I have the privilege of knowing a very happy birthday Love you. Wish you health, happiness always.

Karan Johar voices his resentment against piracy,

Mumbai: Filmmaker Karan Johar, who is busy with the post-production of his forthcoming project "Agneepath", voices his resentment against piracy, saying it is as an "unwanted guest", while Abhishek Bachchan feels government intervention may help.

"Ever since I was born and ever since I am in this industry, one word that has been in our life like a virus, which has refused to leave our industry and has constantly plagued us, has been piracy. Piracy is like that guest who is unwanted in your's there whether you like it or not," the producer-director said at a press conference held for the promotion of "Agneepath".

Karan feels piracy cannot be wiped out until people treat it as a moral war.

" is a moral war much more than a practical war or actual war," said the 39-year-old whose Dharma Productions is also ready with "Ek Main aur Ekk Tu", expected to release Feburuary next year.

On the other hand, actor Abhishek feels the only solution to the problem is government intervention.

"It's difficult to fight piracy. I think the only way we will be able to succeed in fighting piracy is that we have government support with us and with the film industry with very stringent laws and anti-piracy laws," he said Abhishek in an interview.

Ironically, piracy is a flourishing business. Though the Indian film industry has been struggling to erase it, the menace refuses to die down.

Ekta Kapoor and Karan Johar are now ready to co-produce a movie

New Delhi:He is known for his candyfloss movies and designer dramas, and she excels at making experimental and real life-inspired stories. Together, Ekta Kapoor and Karan Johar, once rumoured to be a couple, are now ready to co-produce a movie.

"Ekta and I are super excited about the script we are producing together... will announce details as we cast the film and title it!!!" Johar posted on his Twitter page today.

According to reports, the film will be a "love story with a twist", and it will be directed by Akshay Roy.

It will be interesting to see what Johar's Dharma Productions and Ekta's Balaji Motion Pictures will have to offer considering their different styles of filmmaking.

The rumour about Johar and Ekta's romance had reached its peak when news of their wedding started doing the rounds three years ago.

But they have been good friends since childhood, and have been looking forward to working together for a long time.

People in the Bhojpuri cinema are unwilling to expand their horizons:Ravi Kishan

Mumbai:Bhojpuri actor Ravi Kishan, who has managed to get recognition in Bollywood, feels people in the Bhojpuri cinema are unwilling to expand their horizons and feel happy the way they are.

"Everyone there is a singer, except me. I tell them that besides singing, they should also stress upon growing as an actor. But they don't want to... they are happy the way they are. They are juniors and I wish them all the best," the 40-year-old actor said here while promoting his latest film "Chaalis Chaurasi" at a radio station.

Ravi is a well-known star in Bhojpuri films and has also worked in Hindi films like "Tere Naam", "Luck", "Welcome To Sajjanpur" and "Well Done Abba".

The actor says his stint in the regional film industry helped him in understanding cinema.

"I have worked in Bhojpuri cinema and have learned everything here. I have been here for 20-22 years and was lucky. I always tried to grow here," said Ravi.

"Chaalis Chaurasi" is releasing on Jan 13 and Ravi will be seen sharing screen space with Naseeruddin Shah, Kay Kay Menon and Atul Kulkarni.

"Kolaveri Di" lyrics are a hotchpotch mix of English and Tamil

Mumbai: "Kolaveri Di" lyrics are a hotchpotch mix of English and Tamil, the singing style doesn't conform to any particular style and it was sung by a non- singer -- despite all that, it became a super hit. Tamil star Dhanush, who lent his voice to it, says his lack of comfort with the English language helped him in choosing the words to connect with people who are not fluent in the language.

Dhanush, who is refreshingly matter-of-fact about "Kolaveri Di", said: "It's just a song. Just a phase. It will pass. I am one of those people who don't know how to speak proper English. But I manage. Speaking English language was initially a huge problem for me, so I knew how to connect with people like me. I knew what words to choose so that they connect with people who are not fluent in English."

The video for "Kolaveri Di" was released on YouTube on Nov 16. Its peppy, catchy tune as well as funky lyrics, helped it go viral on the internet, and get more than a million hits on the website within a day of its release.

The song, composed by 18-year-old Anirudh Ravichander, will be a part of the film "3", directed by Dhanush's wife Aishwarya.

Dhanush has no illusions about the quality of the lyrics.

"It's not poetry. Whatever silly words came to my mind, I used it in the song. It's just like any composition, nothing special. A group of us gen-next kids -- me, Shruti Haasan, my wife Aishwarya and the composer Anirudh -- were open to ideas," he said.

"The tune was done in 20 minutes. As soon as I heard the song, the words simply came to my mind spontaneously. I wanted the words to be understood by everybody regardless of whether they know English or not," he added.

The young actor says that the film's script is equally good.

"It seems the song has become bigger than the film. But the film has a solid and novel script. Once people see the film they'll see the song as just a part of the narration," he said.

Earlier this month, Dhanush performed live in Mumbai at an award function, his first stage performance.

Talking about the experience, he said: "Earlier I had sung a song for my brother, filmmaker Selvaraghavan's audio release. That's my only live performance so far. I wasn't nervous about performing on Sunday. If I was a professional singer, I'd worry. But I'm an amateur, so it didn't matter if I went off-key."

Dhanush added to the Christmas celebrations in Kolkata when he performed his "Kolaveri Di" to thousands of screaming fans on Sunday.

"Kolkata was a great experience. It was an overwhelming experience."

Next, Dhanush will perform live in Delhi.

"God has been very kind to me. I had a great year. I couldn't have asked for more. Now I'm just going to focus on shooting the song for my wife's film. Let's see where it goes from there. It will be shot in the first week of January."

Agneepath:Priyanka Chopra asserts that her character is the soul of the movie

Mumbai: Actress Priyanka Chopra, who will be seen playing the female lead opposite Hrithik Roshan in "Agneepath", asserts that her character is the soul of the movie.

"The best thing about Kaali (her character in the film) is that she is Vijay's strength. She is the soul, happiness and naughtiness in the film... So to prepare, I had to just follow Karan," the 29-year-old actress said at the unveiling of the second look of the film.

Priyanka has tried her best to keep this Maharashtrian character as different as possible from the character of Sweety in "Kaminey".

"I was playing a Maharashtrian girl for the second time. When Karan Malhotra and I discussed the film, we were very clear that we have to try to keep this character as different as possible from my character of Sweety in 'Kaminey' because the personalities of both the girls are different.

"Karan was very clear-minded about Kaali's character. So, it was very easy for me," said Priyanka who was recently seen in "Don 2: The King is Back".

For 2012, besides "Agneepath", Priyanka has "Barfee", "Teri Meri Kahaani" and "Krrish 2" slated to release.

"Agneepath" will release on Jan 26 and it also features Sanjay Dutt and Rishi Kapoor in key roles.


"The Dirty Picture" got grabbed maximum eyeballs on the mobile platform

New Delhi:Thanks to Vidya Balan's oomph, content related to "The Dirty Picture" got grabbed maximum eyeballs on the mobile platform, while controversial Poonam Pandey took away the lion's share of views among models, says a survey.

The findings have been announced by Vuclip, an independent mobile video company.

Among the most watched Indian videos on mobile, cinema-related content reigned supreme and out of them "The Dirty Picture" was the most watched, with over 13,24,000 mobile views, said a press statement.

Content related to Shah Rukh Khan's mega production "RA.One" garnered over 8,00,000 video views, which is almost more than double the mobile video views received by content of the much-hyped "Kolaveri di" song from the upcoming Tamil movie "3".

Although Dhanush's "Kolaveri Di" was a super hit on youtube, but mobile users showed more interest in singer Sonu Niigaam's four-year-old son Nevaan's version of the same song.

Nevaan's version received over 2,86,000 video views compared to Dhanush's Tamil-English number, which just got over 56,000 views.

Among the models, Poonam who came into limelight after announcing that she would strip if India won the World Cup earlier this year, received over 100,000 mobile video views.

She pipped Pakistani model Veena Malik and Indo-Canadian porn star Sunny Leone. Veena received 18,697 mobile video views, propelled by the news for her controversial nude picture on a magazine's cover, while Sunny, who caused a flutter with her entry into the reality show "Bigg Boss 5", got less than 2,500 mobile video views.

Malayalam actress Mamta Mohandas got married to her family friend

Kozhikode (Kerala): Malayalam actress Mamta Mohandas today got married to her family friend and Bahrain-based businessman Prajith Padmanabhan.

The marriage was held at a hotel here and was attended by film personalities besides friends and relatives of the actress.

The couple got engaged at Muvattupuzha in Ernakulam district last month.

Mamta, 26, made her debut with "Mayookham" directed by veteran director Hariharan in 2005. She has acted in 30 films, including Tamil, Telegu and Kannada.

In a short span she created her space in the Malayalam industry and has acted alongside all the three superstars -- Mammootty, Mohanlal and Suresh Gopi -- besides other top stars including Jayaram, Dileep, Prithviraj and Kunchacko Boban.

Besides acting, Mamta is a trained singer as well and has rendered her voice in some Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam films.

Actress Dolly Bindra will now share screen space with Ronit Roy in "Adalat"

New Delhi:Actress Dolly Bindra, best remembered for her ranting and raving on "Bigg Boss 4", will now share screen space with Ronit Roy in "Adalat".

In a two-hour special episode, to be aired on Dec 31, Dolly will be seen as a hi-profile lady, Sweety Manchanda, who gets implicated in a double murder case that takes place at a New Year party thrown by her.

"I'm excited to share the screen with Ronit Roy. I find him very dashing and sexy and I have always wanted to work with him. I finally got a chance to work with him in Adalat. K.D. Pathak is really a fantastic lawyer," Dolly said in a statement.

Ronit said: "It was great working with Dollyji. She is an awesome and very humble person. We couldn't resist ourselves laughing during shoots as she cracks jokes every now and then."

Abhishek Bachchan is gearing up for the release of his new film "Players"

New Delhi: Abhishek Bachchan is gearing up for the release of his new film "Players", an official remake of Hollywood film "Italian Job", and the actor feels that remakes are more of a creative choice than just a trend.

"'Players' is the official remake of 'Italian Job'. The story of players is the same, but the screenplay is completely different because you have to make it for the Indian audience," Abhishek said.

"I don't think there is any trend. We make a thousand films a year and, out of this, may be four or five are remakes. I think it is more of a creative choice than following a trend. When Abbas-Mustan saw 'Italian job', they felt they want to make this for the Indian audience," he added.

Nowadays, social networking sites are becoming a prominent platform for actors and filmmakers for promoting their films, but Abhishek doesn't seem to be in favour of it.

"Social networking isn't just for promotions. It is a platform to exchange ideas and interact with our fans... A little bit of promotion is fine but I don't think promoting the whole film is advisable," said the actor.

Pakistan now has its own version of Kolaveri Di

Islamabad:Pakistan now has its own version of Kolaveri Di, the Indian song that is racing towards the 30 million YouTube mark. And it's hilarious.

"Where is democracy, democracy, democracy ji," asks the Pakistani version as five men swing to the tune that has made Indian superstar Rajinikanth's son-in-law Dhanush an internet sensation.

The song has become a big hit in a country that has seen a string of military strongmen, the last of whom was Pervez Musharraf. Speculation swirled earlier this month of a coup when President Asif Ali Zardari abruptly left for Dubai over a heart ailment.

The song says: "Corruption perfect".

The dancers then move around a lamp as the lyrics go "Distance la sakun sakun", a reference to the frequent power outages. Then it adds "Bill amount tight-u".

That's not all.

"Political money colour colour black-u."

There's more.

"Your palace light-u, light-u, my home black-u".

The video shows politicians and says "rise, rise-u, cheat, cheat-u, our future dark-u".

In the original video, Dhanush says "Super mama ready". The Pakistani take on that says: "Super drama ready."

Dhanush also uses a Tamil word "Kaila glass" and then quickly shifts to English "Hand-u glass". The Pakistani song says "Satyanas" and then corrects saying "Only English".

It also refers to "jungle law, qarza bojh...eyes full of tears".

Close to the end, the song says "God-u I am dying now-u" as the five men lie on the road and ask "Are you happy now-u".

"This song-u for poor-u public-u" says the group and signs off.

Karan Malhotra thanks Sanjay Dutt for his encouraging words that helped him sail

Mumbai:Working with actors like Sanjay Dutt, Hrithik Roshan and Priyanka Chopra in his debut project "Agneepath" has been a golden opportunity for director Karan Malhotra who thanks Sanjay for his encouraging words that helped him sail through the making of the film.

Sanjay plays Kancha Cheena in the film, while Hrithik essays the role of Vijay Dinanath Chauhan, which was played by Amitabh Bachchan in the original.

"Sanjay sir has been the strongest person in my life as far as this film is concerned. As an actor, he has been encouraging throughout the process and I don't think anybody else could have played Kancha the way he did it.

"Whether it was a scene, a shot or a song, the only words that came out from his mouth were of encouragement, and nothing else... full and final support," said Malhotra.

The film releases on Jan 26, 2012.

Actress Priyanka Chopra asserts that she doesn't stress easily

Mumbai:Actress Priyanka Chopra has been very busy of late, first promoting "Don 2" and now "Agneepath", but she still manages to look fresh. The actress asserts that she doesn't stress easily.

"Not really. It's easy to make me upset but not to stress me out," said the 29-year-old.

Next year is expected to be equally hectic for Priyanka who is working in "Barfee", "Teri Meri Kahaani" and "Krrish 2".

Indian batting crumbled against a lively pace attack as Australia won the first Test

Melbourne: The Indian batting crumbled against a lively pace attack as Australia won the first Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) by 122 runs here today to take a 1-0 lead in their bid to regain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

The Indian batting collapsed for the second time in the match. Chasing 292 to win, the visitors lost their top six batsmen for just 64 runs, before being bowled out for 169. Australia were bowled out for 240 in their second innings earlier in the day.

Opting to bat, Australia made 333 in the first innings and took a 51-run lead after bowling out India for 282 runs.

For India it was their fifth successive Test loss overseas, following their 0-4 whitewash during the summer in England.

India, however, had a good chance of winning the Test after the fine performance of the fast bowlers. They had more then five sessions to chase the target but started on a disastrous note, as they lost dashing opener Virender Sehwag (7) just before the the lunch break. Sehwag was sharply caught at gully by Michael Hussey off Ben Hilfenhaus.

This triggered a collapse as India slumped from 17 for no loss to 81 for six in the post-lunch session.

All the three Australian quicks bowled beautifully to draw movement at genuine pace and were were able to keep the momentum even after the break, taking wickets at regular intervals. James Pattinson picked up four for 53 and was adjudged as the Man of the Match with a Test haul of six for 108 runs.

Gautam Gambhir (13) was the first to fall after the resumption, caught at second slip by Ricky Ponting off Peter Siddle.

The dismissals of the openers brought world's two top highest run scorers, Sachin Tendulkar (32) and Rahul Dravid (10), to the crease but they did too little as India's hopes faded away.

Dravid (10) had his stump rattled and V.V.S. Laxman (1) was caught shortly after, both from the bowling of Pattinson. Hilfenhaus had Virat Kohli trapped on the crease lbw for a golden duck while Siddle picked up Sachin Tendulkar for the second time in the match, caught at gully by Hussey to leave India in desperate straits.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni (23) and Ravichandran Ashwin (30) made Australia wait with their 36-run stand, which was finally broken by Siddle, who got rid of Ashwin.

Dhoni and Zaheer Khan (13) added 24 runs for the eight wicket before Pattinson struck to remove them in the successive overs.

Earlier in the day, a crucial last-wicket stand of 43 runs between Pattinson (37 not out) and Hilfenhaus (14) took Australia to a comfortable 240 runs.

Overnight batsman Michael Hussey (89) had a difficult time with Zaheer Khan (3-53) and Umesh Yadav (4-70) bowling a great opening spell. Hussey was finally dismissed caught behind off an unplayable Zaheer delivery. Pattinson,however, battled it out and together with Hilfenhaus added a valuable 31 runs for the last wicket.

BJP leader Arun Jaitley said it was unfortunate that Pranab Mukherjee was not a lawyer and could not argue on both sides

New Delhi: Injecting a note of levity in the Rajya Sabha during the debate on the Lokpal bill, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley said it was unfortunate that Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee was not a lawyer and could not argue on both sides.

Jaitley said his respect for Mukherjee, the government's key troubleshooter and negotiator, was known. Mukherjee was the most senior parliamentarian in both houses, he said.

The leader of the opposition in the upper house, who initiated the debate on the anti-graft Lokpal bill, then went on to say that it was unfortunate that Mukherjee was not a lawyer and could not argue on both sides.

The comment by the lawyer-politician led to much mirth and the house and even the normally serious Mukherjee, listening intently, burst into laughter.

Government today tabled the anti-graft Lokpal bill in the Rajya Sabha

New Delhi: The government today tabled the anti-graft Lokpal bill in the Rajya Sabha, which had to be adjourned briefly as the opposition insisted on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh being present in the house.

The prime minister, the leader of the house, was in place when the Rajya Sabha met after the brief 10-minute adjournment.

The bill, passed by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday night was tabled by Minister of State for Personnel V. Narayanasamy as the government was still scrambling for numbers to pass the key legislation that will set up an all-powerful anti-graft ombudsman at the centre as well as in states.

Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley initiated the debate.

There is a sense of uncertainty prevailing over the fate of the Lokpal bill in the Rajya Sabha. The government is in minority in the upper house and its worries multiplied after the Congress' key ruling partner Trinamool Congress threatened to vote against the bill over a provision that makes it mandatory for states to set up an ombudsman.

The government expressed the hope that its allies would help in the passage of the bill to avoid the possibility of convening a joint session of parliament, in case the bill fails in the Rajya Sabha.

"I hope that everyone will come around. We will have to carry everybody and pass the bill," Narayanasamy told reporters outside parliament before moving the bill.

Earlier in the day, the opposition, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), demanded the prime minister's presence in the house.

Chairman Hamid Ansari tried to pacify members saying he was on his way. As the opposition continued to insist on its demand, the house was adjourned by the chairman for 10 minutes.

BJP wants a "strong" Lokpal bill and not the "weak" government version:Arun Jaitley

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wants a "strong" Lokpal bill and not the "weak" government version, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said in the house today.

Initiating the debate on the Lokpal bill in the house, Jaitley said: "We don't want the present bill but also don't want to go back today without passing a Lokpal bill. We want a strong Lokpal bill."

Calling for sense of the nation to prevail, he appealed to all the members of the house to support passage of a strong Lokpal bill.

"We could not pass the Lokpal bill eight times before and that has put a question mark on all of us. The whole country is watching our debate and people will not forgive those supporting a weak Lokpal bill," he said.

The BJP leader said that it was a test for all the members of the house -- would they allow a weak bill or support amendments to make it a strong bill? "Today we will see if they (MPs) are only willing to proclaim or are willing to strike," he added.


Virender Sehwag was on Tuesday involved in an altercation with James Pattinson,Peter Siddle

MELBOURNE: After the heat generated by the two controversial decisions on the opening day, the first Test just got spicier as Indian opener Virender Sehwag was on Tuesday involved in an altercation with Australian pacers James Pattinson and Peter Siddle during the visitors' first innings.

The incident happened in the fourth ball of seventh over - and fourth after lunch break - bowled by Pattinson.

Sehwag, who was on 16, played the ball down to fine leg and ran for a single. Pattinson stood at the middle on his follow through with his elbow stretched which Sehwag evaded.

After completion of the run, an angry Sehwag had a few harsh words for the bowler and he was also seen pointing his bat towards Pattinson. The big-bodied Pattinson answered back with equal aggression.

Siddle, who was stationed at mid-off, came to join the argument. Finally, it was umpire Marais Erasmus who spoke to Sehwag to calm down before the proceedings continued.

On Monday, the dismissals of Australian opener Ed Cowan and Michael Hussey had kicked up a controversy with the former questioning the ICC's failure to implement the Decision Review System for all Test series.

The Australian media blasted the Indian Cricket Board for refusing to use the DRS in the series while calling visiting coach Duncan Fletcher a "hypocrite".

Anna Hazare was greeted with black flags soon after he came out of a government guest house

Mumbai: Anna Hazare was greeted with black flags soon after he came out of a government guest house in Bandra here to proceed to Juhu beach to launch his three-day hunger strike today morning.Nearly two dozen people showed black flags and shouted slogans as security personnel whisked them out of his route.The protesters began waving the black flags when Hazare's motorcade halted at a traffic signal in Kala Nagar Chowk, Bandra east, near the guest house.The stage is set for Hazare's three-day agitation as the Maharashtra government and security personnel prepared to make it a hassle-free affair.

A Team Anna member said Hazare has already begun his fast in the morning but would first pray at the Gandhi statue in Juhu before proceeding in a rally to Bandra-Kurla Complex's MMRDA ground -- the protest venue.

Mumbaikars are expected to join Team Anna activists and supporters in the rally in large numbers.

Team Anna is not taking any chances with Anna Hazare's health

Mumbai: Team Anna is not taking any chances with 74-year-old Anna Hazare's health as he prepares to launch a three-day hunger strike here for a strong Lokpal today.

His medical coordinators have held detailed discussions with doctors at the Asian Heart Institute (AHI) in Bandra-Kurla Complex which is a stone's throw away from the strike venue -- the sprawling MMRDA ground -- in the past couple of days, an official from the hospital said.

Ratna Magotra, Hazare's medical coordinator for Mumbai, called on senior doctors at the AHI who have agreed to provide help during any medical emergency involving Hazare.

A full-equipped ambulance would remain on stand-by at the venue and the hospital would be prepared to assist with any emergency treatment if the activist needs it, the official said.

However, Hazare has made it clear that he would not avail any medical treatment during his hunger strike - unless absolutely necessary.

He arrived here late Monday evening. He will Tuesday lead a rally from the Juhu beach to the MMRDA ground where he will sit on the hunger strike.

Hazare has been complaining of cough and fever for the past few days, which prompted him to change the strike venue from Delhi to Mumbai, in view of the chilling cold in the national capital.

However, in the past couple of days, Mumbai has been experiencing unusually low temperatures with the minimum dipping to 12 degrees Celsius, and the weather office forecasting similar temperatures for the next two-three days.

The Indian parliament is also set for a debate on the contentious Lokpal bill starting today.

South Andhra and north Tamil Nadu coast is facing the threat of a cyclone

Hyderabad: The south Andhra and north Tamil Nadu coast is facing the threat of a cyclone later in the week with a cyclonic storm formation in the Bay of Bengal likely to intensify and hit the coast between Tamil Nadu and Andhra on Dec 30, the weather office said today.

The cyclonic formation named 'Thane' is likely to turn into a severe cyclonic storm and cross the coast between Cuddalore and Nellore by the morning of Dec 30, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

An early morning bulletin of IMD said the cyclonic storm remained practically stationary and lay centred about 800 km east-southeast of Chennai.

The system is likely to move northwestwards and intensify into a severe cyclonic storm during the next 24 hours.

Warning signal two has been hoisted at all ports on the Andhra coast and fishermen have been advised against venturing into the sea, said officials at the Visakhapatnam Cyclone Warning Centre.

Under the impact of the cyclonic storm, high tidal waves damaged over 200 boats along the coast in the Visakhapatnam and West Godavari districts on Monday night. Officials said the waves washed away 50 boats.

The incursion of sea water on land was as much as 15 metres in some coastal villages. Sea conditions have turned rough along the Andhra coast and are likely to remain so over the next two to three days.

Under the influence of the cyclone system, rainfall is likely at most places in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands during the next 24 hours. Rainfall is also likely to commence over north coastal Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and south coastal Andhra Pradesh from Dec 28.

A wind speed of 45-55 kmph is likely to prevail along and off the Andaman and Nicobar Islands during the next 24 hours and such winds are likely to commence along and off north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and south Andhra Pradesh coasts from Dec 28 night onwards.

Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha termed the Lokpal bill as "unconstitutional"

New Delhi: Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yashwant Sinha termed the Lokpal bill as "unconstitutional" ahead of today's debate in parliament over the contentious legislation.

"We can't knowingly and deliberately commit an unconstitutional act, make a bill which is against the constitution," Sinha said.

He however added that the BJP was in favour of a strong Lokpal.

The veteran leader accused the government of trying to derail the process of passage of the bill by moving a last minute addition on minority reservation.

"The manner in which the bill has been brought, the amendments moved by corrigenda, are all to my mind, efforts on the part of government to derail the process of passage of the bill," Sinha told NDTV.

The BJP leader also pointed out that independence of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) from government clutches was important and said the inclusion of state Lokayuktas in the act was unconstitutional.

The BJP is to move several amendments to the bill, which will include amendment against minority quota, against inclusion of Lokayukta under Lokpal, and for inclusion of the CBI under the anti-graft body.

Asked about Anna Hazare's three-day hunger strike in Mumbai, Sinha said the bill should be debated on its merits irrespective of the agitation.

"Parliament should consider it most objectively, irrespective of the fact that Hazare is protesting outside, they must debate it on merits, or defects and get the bill passed," he said.

Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj from the BJP will initiate the debate on the Lokpal bill in the lower house.

Several thousand people joined social crusader Anna Hazare

Mumbai: Several thousand people joined social crusader Anna Hazare today as he started a rally from Juhu beach to the MMRDA ground in Bandra-Kurla Complex here where he will sit on a three-day hunger strike for a strong Lokpal.

Hazare had come to Juhu beach to pay his respects at the statue of Mahatma Gandhi, signalling a symbolic start to his agitation. Surrounded by a posse of security personnel, he prayed at the Gandhi statue, and smiled and waved to his supporters.

Flanked by Team Anna members Kiran Bedi and Arvind Kejriwal, Hazare boarded an open truck decorated like a political 'rath' for the rally as several activists raised slogans in his name and cheered him.

The truck, led by a group of motorcyclists and many cars, besides hundreds of supporters walking in the morning chill, moved its way through the approximately 15-km route to the protest venue.

It moved through the busy roads of Juhu, Santacruz, Khar and other areas where some of the most glamorous and powerful people live.

Earlier this morning, Hazare was greeted with black flags soon after he stepped out of a government guest house in Bandra to proceed to Juhu beach to launch his strike.

The activists, numbering nearly two dozen, showed black flags and shouted slogans even as Hazare's security personnel whisked them away from his route.

Barring this protest incident, the stage was set for Hazare's three-day agitation for a strong Lokpal bill. The Maharashtra government and security personnel were ready to make it a smooth and hassle-free affair, an official said.

Lok Sabha began discussing the much-debated Lokpal bill

New Delhi: The Lok Sabha today began discussing the much-debated Lokpal bill that envisages setting up of an anti-corruption ombudsman in India.

Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj initiated the debate.

According to sources, various opposition parties have moved 56 amendments to the contentious bill that was introduced by the government last week.

The key amendments include giving the Lokpal an investigative wing, setting the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) free from the government's administrative and financial control and making it optional for states to set up Lokayuktas.

This is not the first time Lokpal bill has been introduced in parliament. Earlier, many governments have introduced similar legislations but they were opposed by MPs at the introductory stage itself.

The first time a Lokpal bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha was in 1968.

The government is confident of getting the Lok Sabha's nod for the bill as it enjoys majority in the lower house. However, the worry for the government is in the upper house where it doesn't have the requisite numbers.

All major parties have directed their MPs through issuance of whips to be present in the house for the debate and voting.

Parliament is meeting from Dec 27-29 in an extended session to debate the bill.

Lokpal Bill:A glance at the government and Team Anna's respective positions on key issues

New Delhi: A glance at the government and Team Anna's respective positions on key issues in the Lokpal bill.

Inclusion of prime minister:

Government's bill: Includes prime minister under Lokpal, but with his actions in international affairs, external or internal security, public order, atomic energy and space exempt from the ombudsman's purview. The full bench of the Lokpal consisting of the chairperson and all members will consider initiation of inquiry against the prime minister and at least 3/4th of its members will need to approve initiation of inquiry. The inquiry should be held in camera.

Team Anna: Want prime minister under Lokpal without any riders.

Inclusion of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI):

Government's bill: It does not include CBI under Lokpal and has instead given Lokpal a separate inquiry wing. It can also refer cases to CBI for further inquiry.

Team Anna: Wants CBI to be merged in the Lokpal and says Lokpal without investigative powers is useless.

Lower bureaucracy:

Government's bill: Lower bureaucracy has been brought under the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) with the superintendence of Lokpal.

Team Anna: Wants it under the Lokpal

Minorities' reservation in Lokpal:

Government's bill: Reservation for minorities in Lokpal was added in the government's bill at the last minute after political parties demanded it.

Team Anna: Team Anna's draft has been silent on reservation for minorities, but this demand has come from other quarters of civil society and MPs. Some members of the group have dismissed it as diversionary tactics of the government.

3-day fast for a strong Lokpal bill ,Anna Hazare arrived at the MMRDA ground

Mumbai: Social activist Anna Hazare arrived at the MMRDA ground here today where he is to observe a three-day fast for a strong Lokpal bill.

The crusader was joined on the stage by key Team Anna members Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi, who was waving a national flag, and others.

Hazare arrived at the fast venue in Bandra-Kurla Complex in suburban Mumbai after a rally from Juhu beach.

Hazare had gone to Juhu beach to pay his respects at the statue of Mahatma Gandhi, signalling a symbolic start to his agitation.

He prayed at the Gandhi statue.

Havells India has entered into a joint venture with China-based Shanghai Yaming Lighting

Mumbai: Havells India today said it has entered into a joint venture with China-based Shanghai Yaming Lighting to produce energy efficient and green lighting goods for global markets.

This 50:50 venture, called Jiangsu Havells Sylvania Lighting Co, will initially invest $50 million, with the possibility of raising this to $100 million over three years, Havells India said in a regulatory filing.

"The joint venture would facilitate constant innovation and quicker product release in international market, including a co-owned, stable supply source in China," the electrical equipment maker said.

Havells, which now exports products to China, was looking for a joint venture partner in China to boost sales and set up a manufacturing facility. It has a significant presence in the international lighting industry with its subsidiary SLI Sylvania of Germany.


Seventh anniversary of the tsunami !

Chennai: People of Akkaraipettai and Keechankuppam in Tamil Nadu's Nagapattinam district on Monday observed the seventh anniversary of the fateful day of Dec 26, 2004, when a tsunami swept away thousands of their relatives, neighbours and friends.

The anniversary of the catastrophe was made more poignant by the news of 22 people drowning in a lake near here on Sunday afternoon in a boat accident.

On Dec 26, 2004, the tsunami, triggered by an undersea quake off the island of Sumatra, Indonesia, hit the Tamil Nadu coast killing around 8,000 people in Nagapattinam, Cuddalore, Chennai and Kanyakumari.

"The boat accident reminded us of the tsunami and our escape. Today is my seventh birthday," Raghupathy Vaidyanathan, an executive in a software company who survived the wave, told the media.

Agreeing that the boat accident reminded him of the tsunami, V.Kumaravelu of Akkaraipettai recalled to the media his escape from the clutches of deathe. "I was at a fish landing centre when I became wonder struck watching a wall of sea rising. There were many like me who watched the spectacle. But better sense prevailed and we started running away. I ran like anything and climbed a wall to safety."

Fishermen on the other side of the wall stopped their boats and escaped and those who were near the shore were caught by the wave, added Kumaravelu, an advisor to the Bay of Bengal Fish Worker Union.

He said it took him around one year to recover from the tsunami impact.

"Nearly 50 percent of the 6,065 people who died in Nagapattinam district belonged to Akkaraipettai and Keechankuppam fishing villages," Kumaravelu said.

The giant wave has etched a permanent scar in the hearts of the people who survived it.

On Monday, relatives and friends of those who lost their lives in the tsunami held silent rallies and special worships in tearful homage to the victims.

At Akkaraipettai, state Fisheries Minister K.A. Jayapal led a procession of around 2,000 people and in Keechankuppam, member of parliament A.K.S.Vijayan led a procession, Kumaravelu said.

He said a "jyothi" (earthen lamp) was lit at the mass burial site where a memorial pillar has been constructed at Akkaraipettai.

As a mark of respect to the departed souls, fishermen in Nagapattinam district did not venture into the seas and shops downed their shutters.

In Cuddalore, the tsunami memory pillar was adorned with flowers.

Across the state, relatives of those who fell victim to the tsunami offered milk and flowers at the sea in homage to the departed souls.

2nd day of the first cricket Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)

Melbourne: India were 214 for three in their first innings at stumps, in reply to Australia's 333 all out, on the second day of the first cricket Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) here today.

Rahul Dravid was batting on 68 and night-watchman Ishant Sharma was yet to open his account at close of play. Sachin Tendulkar was the last wicket to fall in the day after having scored 73.

Bipasha Basu, all set to make her Hollywood debut with "Singularity"

Kolkata: Bollywood actress Bipasha Basu, all set to make her Hollywood debut with "Singularity", feels there is no hierarchy in Hollywood unlike the Indian film industry.

"The idea is to love films and to create films and that we are doing here and they are doing there. I have got my recognition here. So my loyalty stays here," Bipasha told reporters here late Monday evening.

"The experience is wonderful there and there is no system of hierarchy there which exists in Indian film industry," the actress said when asked about the major differences that she noticed after working in Hollywood and Bollywood.

"But also may be because we are a very populated country, we have to provide jobs to so many more people. So I understand why it's different," she added.

Bipasha would make her Hollywood debut with "Singularity" which is scheduled to release in 2012. The film also stars Hollywood superstar Josh Hartnett.

When asked about her chemistry with Hartnett, Bipasha said: "Josh is a wonderful actor, really good looking guy. I think everybody has a crush on him when we see his films. Even I did but I had to let my crush moment go, once I started filming as it was a very intense film."

"Singularity" is an epic romance time travel adventure film set against the backdrop of the first Anglo-Maratha war across two time periods and continents.

It revolves around four characters - a British officer in colonial India, an Indian woman, a present-day American marine biologist and his wife.

Sonam Kapoor takes pride in being her father Anil Kapoor's most favourite child

New Delhi:Actress Sonam Kapoor takes pride in being her father Anil Kapoor's most favourite child.

"Amongst all three kids, my dad is only concerned about my happiness!" Sonam said on an upcoming episode of UTV Stars' "Superstar Santa".

Sonam is the eldest of Anil's three children. She has a younger sister, producer Rhea, and a brother named Harshvardhan.

3 days fast:Anna Hazare expected to reach Mumbai today

Mumbai: Amid contradictory reports on his health, Anna Hazare was expected to reach Mumbai today evening where preparations for his three-day fast are on."He (Hazare) will start from his village Ralegan-Siddhi around 3 p.m. by road and is expected to reach Mumbai by 8 p.m," an aide told media."Hazare is running a fever and cough, so he skipped his morning walk today," he added.

"But there is no change in his plans for the agitation. Once he is determined to do something, nothing can stop him," the aide said.

However, another close aide, Suresh Pathare, said Hazare was fit and his fever had subsided.

Hazare will agitate for a strong Lokpal bill on Tuesday at the MMRDA Ground in Bandra-Kurla Complex where preparations are currently on by volunteers and his supporters.

There is tight security in and around the venue with police personnel deployed at the approach roads to the ground, which is situated in the vicinity of sensitive locations like Bharat Diamond Bourse, the US Consulate and the British Consulate.

Anna Hazare fit for the agitation:Doctor

Maharashtra: A day before Anna Hazare is to begin his three day fast in Mumbai to push for a strong Lokpal bill, a doctor attending on him said Monday the 74-year-old activist was fit for the agitation.

"Anna was suffering from cold and cough for the past three days. I prescribed him some antibiotics, he has been taking rest for the past two days. He will be fit for tomorrow's protest," Devlat Pote, who is treating him, told reporters.

Even his blood pressure and temperature is normal, the doctor added.

However, a close aide of Hazare said that the activist was running a fever and cough, "so he skipped his morning walk today".

"But there is no change in his plans for the agitation. Once he is determined to do something, nothing can stop him," the aide added.

Hazare will protest at the MMRDA Ground in Mumbai's Bandra-Kurla complex, where preparations are currently on by volunteers and his supporters.

"Hazare will start from his village Ralegan-Siddhi around 3 p.m. today by road and is expected to reach Mumbai by 8 p.m," an aide told media.

The activist first went on a five-day fast in April in support of an effective Lokpal bill, triggering nationwide solidarity protests. A worried government then held talks with him and his team.

Unhappy over the progress of events, Hazare launched his second and more successful fast spread over 12 days in Delhi's Ramlila ground, this time forcing the government to agree to some of his key demands.

Thereafter, he held a day-long protest Dec 11.

Lokpal:CPI-M would move two amendments to the "weak" and "deeply flawed" anti-graft bill

New Delhi: Advocating a strong Lokpal outside the control of the government, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) today said it would move two amendments to the "weak" and "deeply flawed" anti-graft bill introduced in the Lok Sabha last week.

"We are moving two amendments to the bill," CPI-M MP Brinda Karat told reporters here.

She said the amendments were based on the CPI-M's dissent note to the standing committee report on the Lokpal bill.

"We are asking for a full independent investigative agency under the total jurisdiction of the Lokpal which will have the sole prerogative to decide on all the cases that come under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

"The second important amendment is on the issue of selection and removal which at present the government was to keep full control of."

Strongly opposed to the Lokpal bill, Karat said the government had a "negative" approach towards the legislation that envisages the creation of an effective ombudsman.

"As far as my party is concerned, my party's opinion is that it is a very weak and deeply flawed bill. And it seems the government's approach itself is so negative that it has put so many ifs and buts in the bill that is only going to help the people who want to escape courts for corruption," the CPI-M leader said.

Mullaperiyar Dam: M. Karunanidhi urged Manmohan Singh to take steps to end attacks on Tamils

Chennai: DMK president M. Karunanidhi today called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at Raj Bhavan here and urged him to take steps to end attacks on Tamils in Kerala in the wake of the Mullaperiyar Dam row.

Karunanidhi presented a memorandum on the dam issue to Manmohan Singh during the 20 minute meeting.

The former chief minister highlighted the Supreme Court's 2006 order to increase the water storage level of the dam to 142 ft from the current 136 ft, urging the prime minister to ensure Kerala complied with the order.

Karunanidhi, accompanied by union minister M.K. Alagiri, MPs T.R. Baalu and Kanimozhi and party leader K. Anbazhagan, among others, requested the prime minister to advise Kerala to cooperate with Tamil Nadu.

Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been at loggerheads over the dam, built under an 1886 accord between the then Maharaja of Travancore and the erstwhile British Raj. While it is located in Kerala, its waters serve Tamil Nadu.

India vs. Australia:Umesh Yadav picked up three wickets

Melbourne: Indian pacer Umesh Yadav picked up three wickets but impressive half-centuries by debutant Ed Cowan and an under-pressure Ricky Ponting took Australia to 170 for three in the first innings at tea on the opening day of the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) today.

Cowan was batting on 58 with Australian skipper Michael Clarke on seven at the tea break. Cowan and the veteran Ponting (62) added a valuable 113 runs for the third wicket after Australia were reduced to 46 for two.

India's veteran pace spearhead Zaheer Khan and the Ishant Sharma went wicketless. Ishant, however, did create a bit of a scare but Yadav did most of the damge.

Clarke made a brave decision to bat first, despite heavy overnight rains, and Australian openers Cowan and David Warner (37) weathered a difficult first hour before settling down for 46-run opening stand.

Resuming at 68 for two after lunch break, Australia scored quickly to reach 170 for three.

The spotlight during the second session's play was on Ponting, who was struggling to retain his place in the side. Ponting was immediately struck on his helmet grille trying to pull a ball that then almost dropped onto his stumps.

The former Australian captain, however, quickly settled down and hit back at his detractors with a crafty half-century. His balance and timing were superb, perhaps helped by last week's batting camp. Ponting fell for 62, caught at second slip off a Yadav delivery that moved away from him and induced a sliced bat.

Cowan was cautious in his approach in both the sessions and allowed Ponting to take charge in the second. They ran well between the wickets and their 113-run stand came off 200 balls.

Earlier, Australia made a determined start after both Cowan and David Warner (37) batted well in tandem for their 46-run stand that came off 79 balls. Both the batsmen had contrasting approach. Cowan was watchful while Warne was forceful.

But a brief rain delay broke Warner's concentration and the dimunitive opener was caught behind gloving a short ball from Yadav's first delivery after the break.

Marsh survived just six balls before pushing hard at Yadav delivery outside off for an easy catch.

Dhanush added to the Christmas celebrations, performed his raging hit "Kolaveri Di"

Kolkata:Southern star Dhanush added to the Christmas celebrations in the city when he performed his raging hit "Kolaveri Di" to thousands of screaming fans today.

Dhanush and the song's music director Arvind Ravichander regaled the audience at City Center mall here.

The fans, both young and old, clearly couldn't have enough as they kept chanting "once more" when Dhanush finished.

He generously obliged.

Dhanush is perhaps the first Indian celebrity whose song "Kolaveri di" has gone viral on YouTube, with over 20 million hits so far. The number is increasing by the day.

The video for "Kolaveri di" was released online on Nov 16. It's peppy tune as well as funky lyrics helped it go viral and get more than a million hits on YouTube within a day of its launch.


Shah Rukh Khan's "Don 2 - The King is Back" has earned Rs.15.3 crore on the opening day

New Delhi:Shah Rukh Khan's "Don 2 - The King is Back" has earned Rs.15.3 crore on the opening day, which is the highest first day collection on a non-holiday Friday.

The film is a sequel to Farhan Akhtar's 2006 "Don", which was a remake of the 1978 Amitabh Bachchan starrer of the same name.

In overseas markets, "Don-2.." broke the record for the highest single day gross for a Hindi film in Australia with estimated earnings of US$82,000 on Friday. The earlier record was Reliance Entertainment's "Bodyguard" at US$74,000.

"Don 2", also starring Priyanka Chopra, Boman Irani, Kunal Kapoor and Lara Dutta earned $550,000 in North America, beating "My Name is Khan" opening day gross of $445,000

"Don 2" released with 3,000 movie prints in the domestic market and a 3D release on another 550 screens.