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Friday, September 2, 2011

2020 Olympics: Six cities lodge bids for the games

2020 Olympics: Submitting bids to the International Olympic Committee by Friday's deadline were Rome; Madrid; Tokyo; Istanbul; Doha, Qatar; and Baku, Azerbaijan.

Six cities from Europe, Asia and the Middle East are competing to host the 2020 Olympics.
Submitting bids to the International Olympic Committee by Friday's deadline were Rome; Madrid; Tokyo; Istanbul; Doha, Qatar; and Baku, Azerbaijan.

There were no surprises, as all six cities had previously announced their candidacies.
IN PICTURES: Crazy Olympics Fans.

All six contenders have made previous bids, and two — Rome and Tokyo— have hosted the Olympics before.

Madrid is bidding for a third consecutive time, while Tokyo, Doha and Baku are making their second successive attempts. It is Istanbul's fifth overall bid.

Doha is proposing to hold the games in September and October, outside the traditional July-August dates, to avoid the blistering summer temperatures in the Gulf country.

National Olympic committees had until Friday to notify the IOC of the names of any applicant cities.

The IOC will select the host city by secret ballot on Sept. 7, 2013, in Buenos Aires.
The six candidates must first submit detailed application files and letters of guarantee to the IOC by Feb. 15. The IOC executive board will meet in May to decide whether to cut any of the cities and approve a list of finalists.

Final bid dossiers will be submitted in January 2013, followed by visits to the cities by an IOC evaluation commission from February to April.

The IOC panel will issue a report assessing the technical merits of the bids at least one month before the vote. The cities will also make technical presentations to the IOC ahead of the meeting in Buenos Aires.

"Clearly the bids that begin with the most strength are Madrid, Rome and Tokyo, cities that are consolidated as three great urban centers," said Spanish IOC member Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr., son of the former IOC president and a key figure in the Spanish capital's candidacy.

British bookmaker William Hill installed Tokyo as the 2-1 favorite, followed by Rome and Madrid at 9-4, Istanbul 6-1, and Doha and Baku 14-1.
IN PICTURES: Crazy Olympics Fans

Rome, which hosted the 1960 Olympics, was the first of the cities to announce its bid months ago. The Italian capital lost to Athens in the race for the 2004 Olympics and hopes to stage the games on the 60th anniversary of the '60 Games.

Alaska Earthquake: 7.1 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Alaska, Tsunami Warning Issued

A strong subsea 7.1 magnitude earthquake was recorded near the Fox Islands, a group of islands in eastern Aleutian Islands in Alaska on early Friday, September 2, 2011 at about 1:55 AM Alaska time (11:55 AM GMT), several international news sites reported that day.

According to United States Geological Survey (USGS), the earthquake struck at a depth of 35.5 km. Its epicenter was located 45 km (27 miles) SW of Amukta Island, Alaska; 85 km (52 miles) SW of Yunaska Island, Alaska; 1658 km (1030 miles) WSW of Anchorage, Alaska; and 2410 km (1497 miles) W of Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada.

Reports said that a tsunami warning has been issued which affects coastal areas of Alaska from Unimak Pass, Alaska (80 miles NE of Dutch Harbor) to Amchitka Pass, Alaska (125 miles W of Adak).

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries caused by this earthquake.

Update: The magnitude of this earthquake has been downgraded to 6.8 by USGS.

Audrina Patridge Not Planning Any More Reality Shows, Shoots Down Plastic Surgery Rumors

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Audrina Patridge is moving on from reality TV.

The bikini babe said it appears that her days as the star of the VH1 reality show, "Audrina," are over.

PLAY IT NOW: Audrina Patridge Bringing 'Tears,' 'Joy' & 'Boys' On New Reality Show

"No, I don't think we are," she told The Daily, of filming another season. "We finished in April and I kind of decided I wanted to take some time off from reality. I want to do something more like acting or hosting."

Audrina also addressed rumors she's had plastic surgery to look picture perfect.

"They always ask me about that because of Heidi [Montag] and there's all these rumors and they all say I've had, like, six procedures, and I'm, like, 'Where do you get that?' Look at the pictures. I fluctuate in weight a lot," she said.

"And as far as my face, I'd never had anything done," she said.

When asked if she's had breast implants, Audrina said, "I don't like to talk about that."

VIEW THE PHOTOS: Reality Stars In Their Swimsuits

"Well, see I have this chest problem," she added. "My bone right here, it's higher on this side? It's pectoralis something, so I've always struggled with that. You could see they look different sizes all the time."

Colourful world of Col Gaddafi

As the world rejoices the eclipse of the Gaddafi empire, one inescapable fact is that the Libyan leader led a colourful life that ranged from female bodyguards to underground bunkers to mammoth palaces. And, of course Condoleezza Rice’s photo album. Take a look.

Libya's leader Muammar Gaddafi arrives for the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Food Security Summit in Rome November 16, 2009. Government leaders and officials meet in Rome on for a three-day U.N. summit on how to fight global hunger, but anti-poverty campaigners dismissed the event as a missed opportunity.

Team Anna-government confrontation turns bitter

Anna aide Prashant Bhushan has become the latest within the team to have been targeted by the government, having been slapped with a privilege notice for alleging that MPs accept money and pass laws. Bhushan has been asked to respond to the notice by September 14.

An Income Tax notice slapped on Arvind Kejriwal for Rs.9 lakh dues saw Team Anna Friday launch a frontal attack on the government, accusing it of indulging in "dirty tricks" and not having "learnt any lesson" - within days of the Aug 28 peace overture.

Kejriwal, who was slapped the Rs.9 lakh dues notice from his years in government service till 2006, Friday said he had not violated any rules and the official claims were baseless.

"Instead of indulging in dirty tricks, the government should argue on the basis of the Jan Lokpal bill drafted by the civil society," said Prashant Bhushan, another Team Anna member and senior lawyer.

"First, they started a smear campaign when the joint drafting committee on Lokpal bill was constituted. Then came Manish Tewari's baseless allegation," added Bhushan.

Kejriwal denied violating any rule. "I have not violated any rule. In 2006, when I had resigned from the service, I had written to the government to deduct my dues from my general provident fund (GPF)," he told reporters.

Addressing newsmen, Kejriwal said he had gone for a sabbatical for three years from November 1, 2000. He signed a bond that he would refund the salary if he resigns or retires or fails to resume duty within three years of his study leave.

However, the government did not deduct the dues or settle the GPF payment, and instead served him a notice after four years and just ahead of Anna Hazare's fast for a stronger Lokpal bill, he said.

"The government, which did not send any letter for the past four years, sends the notice on Aug 5 ahead of Anna's fast. I don't think that the Income Tax department has sent it, but it has been sent by their political bosses," said Kejriwal.

"Government is interpreting the bond in a wrong manner. No employee can work without taking a single break. I have not violated the bond condition. The government should return (release) the GPF amount. I would donate the entire amount in the movement against corruption," he said.

Kejriwal alleged that his uncle and other relatives in Siwani in Haryana were probed and harassed by officials of the Intelligence Bureau and other agencies. Officials were asking people to give information about any irregularities by him or relatives, he alleged.

Prashant Bhushan said the manner of sending the notice shows that the government has "not learnt any lessons".

Meanwhile, Kiran Bedi, another member of Team Anna against whom a privilege notice was moved in parliament for mocking MPs, said: "I am sorry I will not say sorry to you. I will show a bigger mirror to them on what is happening in our parliaments."

Anna Hazare ended his 12-day fast on Sunday, a day after the two houses of Parliament at a special sitting agreed on the three key points of the Jan Lokpal Bill.

India Vs England: The great ODI rivalry

As India get set to take on England in the first ODI at Chester-le-Street on September 3, we take a look at some great images from their previous encounters in this collection.

Losing his shirt!

Andrew Flintoff removes his shirt at the Wankhede stadium in 2002 after England defeated India by five runs. Sourav Ganguly returned the compliment after India defeated England at Lord's in the final of the Natwest trophy.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Linda Ellerbee takes right approach in 9/11 special

Linda Ellerbee hosts "Nick News Report on 9/11," a special aimed at kids too young to remember the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and those who experienced them as children.

Linda Ellerbee is the calming voice of history in the "Nick News Report on 9/11," airing Thursday at 9 p.m. on Nickelodeon.

The half-hour special is aimed at kids too young to remember the events of Sept. 11, 2001, as well as the teens and young adults who experienced them as children. It begins with a simply stated description of what happened, evolving into what this means to America 10 years later.

Nickelodeon commissioned a study by Harvest Research and The Harrison Group that showed many of today's younger children learned about 9/11 from a parent, typically after hearing a reference to it on television or at school.

But "you may get a lot of information that's wrong," says Ms. Ellerbee at the outset of the show. She adds that the graphic images and details of that day were intentionally omitted from the program, yet "the simple fact of what happened is scary."

She suggests finding a trusted adult to watch the show with, and given the subject matter, it's an excellent suggestion.

Wearing jeans and red Chuck Taylors, Ms. Ellerbee looks casual, like a trusted friend. And after 20 years of talking to kids about serious matters, she is. She begins with facts, then segments that cut to first-person accounts by those who were there. They provide a compelling window into the fear and confusion of what went horribly awry on a bright, sunny Tuesday morning.

Lila Abramson was in her fifth-grade classroom five blocks away when the first plane hit the World Trade Center. Her teacher quickly closed the window blinds, she said. Later, after the towers fell, she remembers being carried by a firefighter trying to hasten the fleeing crowds.

Jamie Jones was 7 and a second-grader at Booker Elementary in Florida that morning. President George W. Bush was reading "The Pet Goat" to his class when informed of the incident by White House chief of staff Andrew Card.

"The president, he just sat there, and his face just went dead," Jamie said. "He had a blank stare."

Adults have their say in this program, such as journalist Aaron Brown, who was CNN's principal anchor that day, as well as Juliette Kayyem, former assistant secretary of Homeland Security, former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, and Tom Kean, chairman of the federal 9/11 Commission.

Like other Lucky Duck Productions specials, "Nick News Report on 9/11" addresses kids' questions head-on. Who were the pilots? Why did they hate America? Should we be worried it will happen again?

Ms. Ellerbee, who wrote the show and is an executive producer, reaches for a sense of perspective that might be a bit beyond some of the viewing audience. She notes that although nearly 3,000 people died at the World Trade Centers, 50,000 people worked there. More than 100 died at the Pentagon, but out of 23,000. Although 250 people on the airplanes died, "many more were not hijacked."

Kids might not find comfort in large numbers, hearing instead just the parts about people who died.

Because the special is aimed at children, it's short and written in plain English. Given the hysteria that exists even today in some quarters, it might not be a bad idea to make it required viewing for adults, too.

New Star Wars: Blu-Ray release of original trilogy contains yet more changes

George Lucas has altered the films of the original trilogy again. Many fans pray he doesn't alter them further.

This is not just one of the many alterations to the original Star Wars trilogy that will be released on Blu-Ray on September 16 – in this case a line uttered by Darth Vader in the climax of 'Return of the Jedi' – it's also the reaction of many fans to George Lucas's endless mucking about with their favorite films.

It started off innocuously enough. Back in 1981, when the original "Star Wars" was re-released, Lucas added the line "Episode IV: A New Hope" to the title crawl and made several changes to the audio track. Throughout the '80s and '90s, as the film was released on videocassette and laserdisc, additional small changes were made. But nobody seemed to mind.

Then came the 1997 Special Edition, which added extensive CGI effects, including, most controversially, the scene in which Greedo shoots first. Two years before the release of the first prequel, the era of Lucas-bashing had begun.

The new alterations are not nearly as extensive as the ones made in 1997, but they will be noticeable to hardcore fans. In "A New Hope," the Krayt Dragon howl that Obi-Wan uses to frighten away the Sandpeople from Luke's Landspeeder is noticeably different. In "Return of the Jedi," Wicket the Ewok's eyes have been CGI'd.

And then there's that scene at the end of "Jedi." See for yourself.

What other changes would you like made to the original trilogy? The metal bikini replaced with a burqa? Han and Greedo settling their differences amicably? Chewie replaced with a Gungan? Let us know in the comments.

Lionel Messi: Ready to roar in Kolkata

Take a look at some images of Lionel Messi practising ahead of Argentina's international friendly against Venezuela at Kolkata's Salt Lake stadium on September 2


Lionel Messi seen trying a bicycle kick at the Salt Lake stadium in Kolkata

An egg a day keeps the doctor away!

An egg a day… keeps many a disease away! Packed with minerals and nutrients, this food should definitely be included in your diet.

The humble egg is not just a symbol of creation, it is a wonder food. It contains nearly all the proteins, vitamins and minerals essential for good health.

Nutrients in an egg

Egg is known to be the best natural protein food for humans after mother's milk.

The nutrient density of egg is very high. It provides high amounts of vitamins and minerals along with high quality protein. On average, an egg contains between 70 to 100 calories. It is a complete protein food and has all nine essential amino acids, which cannot be produced by the body but are essential for growth and development. Amino acids are important as they are the building blocks of the body.

One egg contains about 6.3 grams of protein. The white contains 3.5 grams of protein while the yolk contains 2.8 grams. The white contains more than half the egg's total protein, niacin and riboflavin.

Eggs are an excellent source of 11 important minerals including chlorine, magnesium, potassium, sodium, sulphur and zinc, which are all present in the white of the egg.

The yolk contains approximately 190 mg of cholesterol and 5 gms of fat and 1.5 gms of saturated fat. Egg yolks are one of the few foods that naturally contain vitamin D. The yolk also provides vitamin B 12 and folic acid.

Egg yolk contains carotenoids, essential fatty acids, vitamins A, E, D and K and thiamin, B6, folate and B12.

Health benefits

- Eggs are good for the eyes and egg eaters have been found to have a lower risk of cataracts.

- Choline present in eggs gives a boost to the brain, nervous system and the heart.

- New research shows that regular consumption of an egg per day in fact, improves the good cholesterol in the blood. However, it should be noted that all the cholesterol in the egg is in the yolk of the egg. So if you're already suffering from high cholesterol, it might be a good idea to eat only the egg white.

- Eggs are one of the only foods that contain naturally occurring vitamin D.

- Eggs may prevent breast cancer. In one study, women who consumed at least 6 eggs per week lowered their risk of breast cancer by 44%.

- Eggs promote healthy hair and nails because of their high sulphur content and wide array of vitamins and minerals.


- Consuming raw eggs can lead to salmonella infection.

- Salmonella bacteria from the chicken's intestines may be found even in clean, uncracked eggs. To destroy the bacteria, eggs must be cooked at high enough temperatures for a sufficient length of time.

- Raw egg also contains avidin which prevents the absorption of B vitamins.

Truth about egg yolk and whites:

While egg whites may be considered a bodybuilder's best friend, the truth is that the minerals and vitamins are in the yolk. So to get real benefit from eggs it is best to eat it whole.

10 things to make your relationship better

Romance is a very small part of what makes a long-term relationship successful, it’s getting the other 98 per cent right that makes a couple last in the long haul.

It's too bad we don't have any days devoted to issues like communication, fighting fairly, and forgiving. Relationship change requires behaviour change, and this is far from easy. Fortunately there are certain, very specific things you -- yes, you -- can do over the year that may change your relationship for the better. Very often you'll find that your partner quickly and enthusiastically reciprocates, and the entire dynamic of your relationship changes. Focus on the following 10 steps and transform your good (or so-so or maybe even deeply troubled) relationship into a great relationship:

Ask yourself: Would I rather be right...or would I rather be happy?

She doesn't load the dishwasher the right way, you leave your socks on the bedroom floor, and she keeps squeezing the toothpaste tube in the middle. And these little, everyday toilet-seat-up-or-down issues are just the tip of the iceberg. Couples argue over almost everything -- and some do. In order to have a successful relationship, both partners need to accept that we all have our different ways of doing things. What's more, you both need to realise that accepting those differences is a key to a peaceful relationship. No one wants to be micromanaged, especially in their own home. If you just want to be right and prove your point on everything, your relationship is likely to fail. The fact is that often, there isn't a right or a wrong way, just different ways. Assuming that yours is the right -- and only -- way is arrogant and disrespectful. Think about the big picture. Does it really matter how chores are done or is this really just about control?

Master the fine art of communication

It sounds so simple: she speaks, you listen; and vice versa. But it's actually more complex than it sounds. Communication is at the root of the problems faced by almost every couple I've ever seen. Gender differences, contrasting thinking styles, and different personalities can all make communication inside a relationship especially difficult. If you can learn to communicate effectively with your partner, you are well on your way to a successful and happy partnership and also a better night's sleep for the both of you. The biggest mistake that couples make is not realising the need to create an environment that allows their partner to talk freely about their thoughts and feelings. If your wife doesn't reveal too much about herself, it may be that she is not very skilled at doing that -- or it may be that every time she tries to tell you something she gets shot down. People simply won't talk if they think they are going to get criticised in some way. Be respectful and listen. You may not understand or agree but you should always respect your partner's right their viewpoint.

Learn to fight fair

You've probably heard that couples argue most about Sex and Finances. But are these disputes really about sex and money or are they about something else? Emotional discussions by their very nature are about more important underlying issues, like trust, control, or jealousy. It's just that money and sex are the currency of control in many relationships; how you handle these conflicts will determine whether the underlying problem is exacerbated or resolved. So how do you fight fair? Well, there are some guidelines: calling time-outs when things get too heated, never fighting in front of anyone else, not dragging unnecessary skeletons out of the closet, and so forth; but for the most part, fighting fair means trying to solve the issue rather than trying to tally up who's better than who when it comes to you and your partner. Try to abandon the usual strategy of trying to win at all costs. Instead, work toward a productive resolution that you can both accept.

Commit, already. (And no, it has nothing to do with a wedding ring!)

Commitment is the glue that keeps a relationship together and yet most people haven't a clue what the word "Commitment" really means. They think in terms of marriage licenses or sexual fidelity, but real commitment goes beyond what goes on behind closed doors and wedding bands. The truth is, you can be totally faithful to your partner but still not be committed to the relationship. Commitment really means that you consider the other person in all matters -- you consider how any action you might take affects your partner and the relationship. This does not mean that you will always make personal decisions secondary to your relationship. It does mean, however, that you make every effort to consider the impact of your actions and treat the relationship and your partner with fairness, respect, and without harm. Various studies have shown commitment to be a predictor of long-term marital happiness and stability.

Be trustworthy

In a solid relationship, you need to be able to make the assumption that your "other half" is telling you what you need to know and doing what they say they're doing; and the feeling needs to be 100% mutual. That's what trust means. It isn't just about fidelity, It's about trusting that your partner will respect you, be honest with you (which includes avoiding secretive behavior and "lies of omission"), and not hurt you. Do not break trust with your partner. Lack of trust is corrosive. It eats away at the very fabric of a relationship and leads to disillusion and dissolution. Once trust has been broken, it is very difficult, often impossible, to regain it. Even a gullible person will wise up eventually to an untrustworthy partner. In order to make this part of your relationship better, you must learn how to deal with anger and conflict. If you, as a couple, can manage anger and disputes, then both of you are less likely to resort to lies and deceit to avoid confrontation.

Learn how to share unconditionally

This is much harder than it sounds. People are not very good at sharing. We fight hard for ownership and refuse to let it go once we have it. In fact, sharing is so foreign to most of us that we give up something only because we hope that giving up something we love will be beneficial for us in return. And that's not sharing at all -- it's trading. We all want unconditional love and yet we find it very difficult to give ourselves unconditionally and yet, successful relationships do require sacrifice. Someone has to give up something from time to time -- whether it's something big like a career or a hometown or something small like acquiescing to your partner on her choice of restaurant. Try giving your partner an unconditional surprise at least once a week. Do it without expecting anything in return. And if you've been holding out on giving up on something, consider letting it go. You may be surprised at just how good it makes both of you feel.

Nurture your partner's dreams and goals

In a nutshell, nurturing your partner means accepting their independence and doing whatever you can to encourage it. If your inclination is to be with your partner 24/7 and control their every move, you really need to take a step back and learn to be a self-sufficient, independent human being. What you are doing is the opposite of nurturing and is no way you can have a healthy relationship if you don't stop. On the other hand, if you're failing to nurture your partner because you don't know what their goals, dreams, and aspirations are, you simply need to ask. Then, devise three ways that you could assist in the realisation of those goals. It can be a total game changer for your relationship.

Forget the roses

Flying to Florida and boarding the cruise ship is not a romantic interlude if you then spend all your time in the casino and she becomes irremovably attached to the spa. Romance is, above all, about making your partner feel special, and you can do that only by paying attention. It will cost than time and staying in doors for awhile, which shouldn't be a problem. It is all too easy in the mayhem of everyday life not to make time for romance. In the heady stages of the early infatuation, romance was natural and an essential priority. However, as the relationship matures, you have to go out of your way to make sure that romance occurs at all. Without special attention and time alone together, intimacy will disappear. Realise that romance can happen at anytime, anywhere if you make it happen.

Embrace the F-word: forgiveness.

In the course of your most intimate relationship, conflicts and major disagreements will occur. But one of the secrets of a successful relationship is ensuring that these muddy waters of disenchantment and anger don't inevitably harden into bricks of resentment. To steer away, quickly, from resentment, you need to accept two facts that many couples struggle with:

- you cannot control another person unless they let you.

- Sometimes you have to give up, or modify, your dreams.

Unless you come to terms with these facts, you are going to have a rough time being successful in any close relationship. If you carry around resentment, you are the one who really suffers from the stress of the anger and frustration.

Don't make an "ass" out of "u" and "me." (Don't assume!)

Do you really understand your partner? Or do you at least think you do? One of our most important life skills is the ability to monitor our own instant judgments and automatic perceptions and measure them against reality. We all project our interpretations about others' -- especially our partner's -- behaviour. But such projections are a problem because most of the time we're wrong or missing some important detail. Learn to resist your natural tendency to interpret your partner's behaviour. Instead, actually talk to her to find out what's really going on. This is a crucial (and underused) relationship skill. Asking, instead of assuming, will result in a much more peaceful environment and trying to find out what your partner is really thinking and feeling and respecting it is a true act of love.

A good relationship shouldn't take a ton of hard work. However, it does take a certain amount of reflection, self-control, compromise, and vigilance. You can't just do what you want to do all the time and expect to be happy in your partnership. However, the time you put into creating and maintaining a healthy relationship is worth the effort.

Three Pakistan soldiers dead in India border firing

Three Pakistani soldiers were killed and one Indian trooper was hurt in an exchange of fire by the rival militaries across their sensitive border in divided Kashmir, authorities said Thursday.

Both sides accused each other of starting the hostilities in the first deadly incident across the de facto border in the Himalayan region in more than three months.

The incident comes as tentative diplomatic steps were being taken to make peace between India and Pakistan, who have fought two of their three wars over Muslim-majority Kashmir -- divided between them and claimed in full by both.

Cross-border fire breaks out sporadically across the border known as the Line of Control (LoC) and each side usually accuses the other of starting it.

Pakistan army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas told AFP that the Pakistani soldiers had been moving between posts when they got lost in bad weather in the Neelum river valley before the gunfire started.

"There was a fire exchange between the two sides. This was started by the Indian side -- completely unprovoked firing, breaking the ceasefire, and after search of 24 hours their bodies were recovered," he said.

Indian army spokesman J.S. Brar said the Pakistanis shot first.

"There was a ceasefire violation by Pakistani troops in (northern) Keran sector that left our soldier injured," he told AFP from Indian Kashmir.

Brar said the first shots rang out late Wednesday Pakistani troops had "again resorted to unprovoked firing" early Thursday morning.

"We have retaliated," he added.

At first Brar said the firing had stopped, but later he said some gunfire was continuing.
"Heavy fire including artillery and mortar is being used by the other side but not by us," he said, claiming it was the fourth violation of a ceasefire agreement along the border this year.

The injured soldier was taken to an Indian army base hospital in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian Kashmir, he said, adding that he had no knowledge of Pakistani casualties.
Abbas said a meeting had been requested with local Indian commanders and that the deadly incident was under investigation.

The Kashmir dispute has triggered two of the three wars fought by the neighbours since independence from colonial rule in 1947.

In May, India's military said one of its soldiers was killed when Pakistani snipers allegedly shot across the border, triggering a gunfight that shattered more than a year of calm.

India and Pakistan agreed to a ceasefire along the Line of Control in 2003, and a year later launched talks aimed at brokering a regional peace.

The process was suspended by India following the 2008 Mumbai attacks which killed 166 people and which New Delhi blamed on Pakistan-based militants.

Pakistan hotly denies Indian allegations that it helps Islamic insurgents in disputed Kashmir.

The latest firing came after Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna and his Pakistani counterpart, Hina Rabbani Khar, met in New Delhi last month and both vowed to fight militancy, boost trade and sustain the peace process.

A Muslim insurgency against New Delhi's rule has rocked the Indian zone and left more than 47,000 people dead since 1989, according to an official count.

Tensions are high along the border areas in summer. Unlike in the harsh Himalayan winters, passes are open, meaning rebels can attempt to infiltrate.

India can rise to second in ICC ODI rankings

DUBAI: They have lost the tag of number one Test team but injury-ravaged world champions India can climb to second in the ICC ODI rankings if they manage to beat England 4-1 or better in the upcoming five-match series starting on Saturday.

England made a clean sweep of the four-Test series to claim number-one ranking for the first time in 32 years.

Although a sweep of the ODI series will not be enough to dislodge Australia from the number-one position, it will provide England a lift of two places which will put them ahead of South Africa and India in third position, the ICC said in a statement.

England currently sit in fifth position on 107 ratings points - 10 ratings points behind third-ranked India and nine points behind fourth-placed South Africa.

A 5-0 series win will earn Alastair Cook's side nine ratings points and will dock India eight ratings points.

This will mean England will join South Africa on 116 ratings points but will be ranked ahead of the Proteas when the ratings are calculated beyond the decimal point whereas India will slip to fifth position on 109 ratings points.

In a sharp contrast, India also have an opportunity to leapfrog Sri Lanka into second position.

But to make this happen, they will have to win the series by 4-1 or better.

A 4-1 series result will put India on 120 ratings points while dropping England to 104 ratings points, a 5-0 win will take India to 122 ratings points - eight behind Australia - while leaving England on 101 points - just one ahead of Pakistan which will take on Zimbabwe in a three-ODI series on 8 September.

If India win the series 3-2, they will stay on 117 ratings points but will slip behind South Africa in fourth position if England win the series 3-2.

In the event of England winning 3-2, India will drop to 114 ratings points while England will rise to 110 ratings.

In the ODI player rankings, there will be pressure on India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and India's iconic batsman Sachin Tendulkar who will be looking to score his 100th international century.

India boasts three batsmen inside the top 10 - Virat Kohli (sixth), Dhoni (ninth) and Tendulkar (10th).

Dhoni trails eighth-ranked Michael Hussey of Australia by 18 points while 10th-placed Tendulkar leads injured India teammate Gautam Gambhir, who is in 12th position, by eight points.

Dhoni and Tendulkar, along with Kohli, will be aiming to produce strong performances in the ODI series which will not only help India to improve their current ranking but will also allow them to move in the right direction.

South Africa's pair of Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers is sitting on top of the batting table while Australia's Shane Watson is in third place.

Watson also leads the Reliance ICC Player Rankings for ODI all-rounders while the highest-ranked England all-rounder is Tim Bresnan.

Praveen Kumar - in 45th position - is the highest-ranked Indian all-rounder in the absence of Yuvraj Singh (fifth), Yusuf Pathan (24th) and Virender Sehwag (35th).

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Interesting Facts About Michael Jackson

It has been two years since Michael Jackson passed away but his glory has not at all faded from our hearts and minds.

Hailed all over the world as the 'King of Pop' Michael Jackson's fairytale life was always under the public scanner. Everything he did made it to the headlines while he lived, and he kept on making news even after his death. This can definitely be attributed to the impact he had and curiosity he generated on people.

On the eve of his 53rd birth anniversary, we take a look at some interesting facts about Michael Jackson.

1. Jackson was a vegetarian.

2. His iconic 'moonwalk' was inspired by street dancers. He had reportedly spotted them outside a hotel where he was staying.

3. Jackson's Billy Jean was the first video by a black artist to be aired on MTV.

4. Three of his albums, Dangerous, Thriller and Bad, are counted among the world's best-selling records of all time. Thriller still remains to be the biggest-selling album of all time.

5. He was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice. He was first inducted as a member of The Jackson 5 on May 6, 1997 and as a solo artist on March 19, 2001.

6. Jackson's famous pets were a chimp called Bubbles, a ram called Mr. Tibbs, a python called Crusher, a rat called Ben and a llama named Louie. The most famous of them all was Bubbles, who was adopted from a cancer research centre in Texas. Bubbles even sat in during Jackson's recording sessions for the album Bad and also accompanied the singer on his trip to Tokyo.

7. As a child, his favorite comics were 'Rip Van Winkle' and 'The Old Man and the Sea'. His favorite cartoon character was Pinocchio and his favorite superhero– Morph from the 'X-Men'.
8. Jackson allegedly used to sleep in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber in order to enhance his beauty and slow down the aging process.

9. In 1984, during the filming of a Pepsi advertisement, Jackson sustained second-degree burns to his scalp after his hair caught fire due to an explosion.

10. MC Hammer once challenged Jackson to a dance off. Michael retorted back saying, "I've seen your videos and every single dance move you use, you got off me."

11. Jackson's performance during the half-time of the 1993 Super Bowl attracted the largest TV audience in American history.

12. He had several nicknames like 'The Gloved One', 'Wacko Jacko', 'Jacko', 'The King of Pop', and 'MJ' given to him by the media. He was called 'Smelly' by his close friends. The one he detested was 'Wacko Jacko'.

13. Jackson drank Ricola candy dissolved in hot water as a pre-concert ritual. It apparently made his singing voice and throat clear.

14. An obsessed Jackson fan from France committed suicide in 1984 after his mother refused to allow him to undergo surgery in a bid to look like the star himself.

15. Michael Jackson owns the patent for the shoe device that allows performers to 'lean forward' appearing to defy gravity à la Smooth Criminal. (

Work less and eat more chocolate, say heart experts

Eat dark chocolate, watch funny movies, avoid stressful jobs, and pedal hard when biking are all ingredients in the recipe for a healthy heart, according to experts meeting in Paris this week.

Whether one is afflicted by a heart attack, high blood pressure or constricted arteries depends in large measure on a host of lifestyle choices.

But the ideal formula for avoiding heart problems remains elusive: it is hard to tease apart the factors that impact cardiovascular health, and the right mix of things to do -- or not do -- can vary from person to person.

Even commonsense measures such as exercise or a balanced diet must be fine-tuned.

It is not, for example, how long one rides a bike but the intensity of one's effort that matters most, according to research presented Monday at a five-day gathering, ending Wednesday, of the European Society of Cardiology.

The study, led by Danish cardiologist Peter Schnohr, showed that men who regularly cycled at a fast clip survive 5.3 years longer than men who pedalled at a much slower pace. Exerting "average intensity" was enough to earn an extra 2.9 years.

For women, the gap was less striking but still significant: 2.9 and 2.2 years longer, respectively, compared to slowpokes.

"A greater part of the daily physical activity in leisure time should be vigorous, based on the individual's own perception of intensity," Schnohr said in a statement.

The old adage "laughter is the best medicine" was proven true by another study which found that a good dose of humour helps blood vessels.

Michael Miller, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, had already shown in earlier research spanning a decade that men and women with heart disease were 40 percent less likely to see typical life events in a humorous light.

In the new study, he asked volunteers to first watch a stressful movie such as Steven Spielberg 1998 World War II film "Saving Private Ryan."

During harrowing battle scenes, their blood vessel lining developed a potentially unhealthy response called vasoconstriction, reducing blood flow.

But when the same subjects later saw a funny, heart-warming movie the blood vessel linings expanded.

Over all, there was "a 30-to-50 percent difference in blood vessel diameter between laughter and mental stress phases," Miller said.

Acutely stressful working conditions, both physical and mental, have long been associated with poor health.

But new research unveiled Monday shows that a mix of intense pressure to produce results coupled with conditions making it hard to meet those demands is a recipe for heart disease, and even early mortality.

Finnish researchers led by Tea Lallukka of the University of Helsinki, in a review of recent academic literature, concluded that "job strain and overtime are associated with unhealthy behaviours, weight gain and obesity," according to a press release.

At the same time, they noted, "employed people are generally better off."

Perhaps the most painless path to better cardiovascular health is one that comes all-too-naturally to many people: eating chocolate.

Earlier research had established a link between cocoa-based confections and lowered blood pressure or improvement in blood flow, often attributed to antioxidants, but the scale of the impact remained obscure.

Oscar Franco and colleagues from the University of Cambridge reviewed half-a-dozen studies covering 100,000 patients, with and without heart disease, comparing the group that consumed the most and the least chocolate in each.

They found that the highest level of chocolate intake was associated with a 37 percent reduction in cardiovascular disease, and a 20 percent drop in strokes, when compared with the chocolate-averse cohort.

No significant reduction was reported in the incidence of heart attack.

The findings, alas, come with an important caveat: the healthful molecules are found in the bitter cacao, not in the sugar and fat with which they are routinely combined.

"Commercially available chocolate is very calorific and eating too much of it could in itself lead to weight gain, risk of diabetes and heart disease."

Top 10 tips for a healthy diet

1. Drink lots of water. Take a 1.5-liter (50oz) bottle of water to work with you, and try to finish it all by home time.

2. Eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day. If you find this difficult, then remember that smoothies, juices and dried fruit all go toward your five-a-day quota.

3. Never skip breakfast, as it’s the most important meal of the day! Opt for something that will release energy slowly — porridge and a handful of blueberries are a great option!

4. Plan your meals for the week ahead. Write a shopping list and stick to it — and never shop when you're hungry, as this is a fatal error that inevitably leads you to stuffing your shopping trolley full of junk!

5. Keep a supply of healthy snacks to hand. Snacks can include fresh and dried fruit, wholesome cereal bars, rice cakes, low-fat fruit yogurts and wholemeal pitta and hummus.

6. Remove all visible fat from food before you cook it. Take the skin off chicken and trim the white fat off any meat. Also, try to avoid eating too many sausages (the fat's not visible from the outside, but it's certainly there!).

7. Limit your intake of stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol and refined sugar.

8. Limit the number of times you eat out to once a week. Take your own packed lunch to work or choose (non-creamy) soup in the canteen.

9. Eat properly. Don't cut out food groups — such as carbohydrates — altogether in a bid to lose weight quickly. Your body needs balance, so make sure you eat properly. And don't do denial — you'll only end up cracking!

10. Only eat things you like the taste of. Find what works for you, and don't force yourself to eat things just because they're good for you.

Delhi students discover new asteroid

New Delhi: Two Delhi students have made history by discovering a new asteroid as part of a unique astronomy project connected to US space agency NASA. The duo will also get an opportunity to name the asteroid.

Vaibhav Sapra and Sharanjeet Singh, Class 12 students of Bal Bharati Public School in Pitampura, discovered a main belt asteroid (2011 QM14) this month as part of the All India Asteroid Search Campaign (AIASC). About 60 schools from across India participated.

NGO Science Popularisation Association of Communicators and Educators (SPACE) along with the International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC), an international educational outreach programme, were behind the project involving students.

Both Vaibhav and Sharanjeet were on cloud nine after they received a communication in this regard from IASC director Patrick Miller August 27.

"I can't tell you how happy I am as I really wanted to discover an asteroid and name it. I had participated in the competition last year also but at that time I was not successful," Sharanjeet, who wants to pursue a career in mechanical engineering, told IANS.

Hazare discharged from hospital, reaches Pune

Gurgaon/ Pune: Social activist Anna Hazare was discharged from a hospital in Gurgaon on Wednesday evening three days after he was admitted after he broke his 12-day fast demanding a strong Lokpal bill. He left for Pune enroute to his native village of Ralegan Siddhi in Maharashtra.

A report from Pune said he reached the place late in the night. Shortly after he was discharged from Medanta Medicity, where he had been under treatment since Sunday, the 74-year-old Gandhian flew out of the capital in a scheduled commercial flight of a private airline.

The anti-corruption crusader will be in Ralegan Siddhi in time for the commencement of the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations on Thursday, nearly three weeks after he came to the Capital to launch his indefinite fast that shook the nation.

"Yes, he is out," Dr Yatin Mehta, who was attending on Hazare, said. Hazare left the hospital through the rear entrance apparently to avoid the the glare of the media which was present in strength outside the premises.

Fastest cars to 100 kmph

Welcome to the under-four-second club, where entry is strictly controlled to cars that can blitz the 0-100 kmph sprint in less time that it has taken you to read this sentence.

Audi R8 5.2 FSI -- 3.9 seconds

Launching this fast club is the Audi R8 V10, with the world's most sensible supercar bagging a 3.9 seconds thanks to a 525hp V10.

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