Wednesday, September 30, 2009

At Least 200 Die as Quake Hits Indonesia Island

HONG KONG — The Indonesian city of Padang was in chaos on Thursday — fires burning, dazed residents wandering the streets, thousands of people reportedly trapped beneath the rubble of collapsed buildings — after a powerful earthquake struck the island of Sumatra.

The quake, which hit Wednesday evening just off Padang with a magnitude of 7.6, has killed at least 200 people, according to Priyadi Kardono, a spokesman for the National Disaster Management Agency. The death toll was almost certain to rise, he said, as rescuers dug into collapsed homes, hospitals, offices and a school.

On Thursday morning, just as the airport was reopening and rescue teams were setting to their heavy, horrible work, the city was rattled by another quake, this one registering 6.6.

The epicenter was 140 miles southeast of the Padang quake, according to the United States Geological Survey.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center quickly issued a bulletin saying that the quake had struck “too far inland to generate a destructive tsunami in the Indian Ocean.”

Padang, a port city of 900,000, is on the west-central coast of Sumatra, Indonesia’s largest island. The western coast is stippled with dozens of volcanoes, and Padang also sits alongside the Sunda Trench, part of the notorious Ring of Fire, the volatile network of volcanic arcs and oceanic trenches that partly encircle the Pacific Basin. The ring — and Sumatra in particular — is a zone of frequent earthquakes and volcanic activity.

Elsewhere in the basin, on Tuesday, an underwater earthquake measuring 8.0 created a tsunami that sent massive walls of water crashing into the islands of Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga.

Reports from government officials, the police, aid workers and news agencies showed Thursday that at least 122 people had been killed by the tsunami — 83 on Samoa, 30 on American Samoa and 9 on Tonga.

There also were reports of 145 people injured, some of them critically, and dozens of villages were demolished throughout the islands. Many beachside resorts were wiped out, along with homes, boats and businesses. Widespread devastation also was seen on television footage from the American Samoan capital, Pago Pago.

“It is the worst one we have had,” said Lilo Malava, the police commissioner of Samoa, in a telephone interview.

The tsunami — described by the governor of American Samoa as a series of four major waves — arrived with so little warning that many residents and tourists were caught unawares.

Filipo Ilaoa, deputy director of the American Samoa office in Honolulu, said that the tsunami struck the territory’s coast in “a matter of minutes” after the quake and that many residents would not have had much time to run for higher ground.

“American Samoa is a small island, and most of the residents are around the coastline,” he said. “There was no warning or anything at all. By the time the alert was out of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, it had already hit.”

New Zealand and Australia dispatched cargo flights and observation planes to the Samoas. And President Barack Obama authorized federal funds to supplement local relief and recovery efforts on American Samoa, a U.S. territory.

The epicenters of the Samoan and Indonesian quakes were located about 6,000 miles apart but brought back vivid memories of the horrific tsunami that ravaged South Asia and Southeast Asia on December 26, 2004. Nearly a quarter-million people across the Indian Ocean region were killed.

The undersea earthquake that caused the Samoan tsunami and the Wednesday-evening quake in Indonesia, while from similar causes, were not directly connected, according to Julie Dutton, a geophysicist at the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colorado.

Both occurred in spots where one plate of the earth’s crust is subducting, or sliding beneath another plate. In spots, the two plates can become stuck until accumulating pressure leads to a sudden heaving release of energy. Under the sea, if the quake is around a magnitude of 8.0 or stronger and the seabed shifts in a way that moves a lot of water, the result is the high-energy waves of a tsunami.

The deeper the epicenter under the seabed, the less potential there is for a tsunami. In Sumatra, the depth of the epicenter was 49.7 miles, according to the United States Geological Survey. In Samoa, it was just 11.2 miles below the seabed. For coastal areas close to the epicenter of a strong undersea earthquake, there is also little time for a formal tsunami warning to be sounded, Ms. Dutton said.

The United States was concentrating its rescue efforts on American Samoa, sending two cargo planes from Honolulu to the area on Wednesday, said Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“We’re looking at both an airlift and a sealift,” Mr. Fugate told reporters in a conference call. “This will not be a short-term response.”

Mr. Fugate said that it was clear the tsunami had caused a “major disaster” but that it was too early for his office to provide or confirm estimates of deaths, injuries or property damage.

In Sumatra on Wednesday, officials feared the death toll was likely to rise. Priyadi Kardono, a spokesman for the National Disaster Management Agency, said Thursday that at least 200 people had died.

News Source:

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tsunami slams Samoa islands after 8.0 quake

Dozens reported dead after temblor-generated waves strike

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa - A powerful Pacific Ocean earthquake spawned towering tsunami waves that swept ashore on Samoa and American Samoa early Tuesday, flattening villages, killing at least 39 people and leaving dozens of workers missing at devastated National Park Service facilities.

Cars and people were swept out to sea by the fast-churning water as survivors fled to high ground, where they remained huddled hours later. Signs of devastation were everywhere, with a giant boat getting washed ashore and coming to rest on the edge of a highway and floodwaters swallowing up cars and homes.

American Samoa Gov. Togiola Tulafono said at least 50 were injured, in addition to the deaths.

Hampered by power and communications outages, officials struggled to assess the casualties and damage. But the death toll seemed sure to rise, with dead bodies already piling up at a hospital in Samoa.

The quake, with a magnitude between 8.0 and 8.3, struck around dawn about 20 miles below the ocean floor, 120 miles from American Samoa, a U.S. territory that is home to 65,000 people. The country of Samoa is to the west of American Samoa.

Late Tuesday, President Obama declared a major disaster in American Samoa. The declaration provides federal aid to supplement local recovery efforts.

National park damaged
The territory is home to a U.S. national park that appeared to be especially hard-hit. Holly Bundock, spokeswoman for the National Park Service's Pacific West Region in Oakland, Calif., said the superintendent of the park and another staffers had been able to locate only a fifth of the park's 13 to 15 employees and 30 to 50 volunteers.

Mike Reynolds, superintendent of the National Park of American Samoa, was quoted as saying four tsunami waves 15 to 20 feet high roared ashore soon afterward, reaching up to a mile inland. Holly Bundock, spokeswoman for the National Park Service's Pacific West Region in Oakland, Calif., said Reynolds spoke to officials from under a coconut tree uphill from Pago Pago Harbor and reported that the park's visitor center and offices appeared to have been destroyed.

Bundock said Reynolds and another park service staffer had been able to locate only 20 percent of the park's 13 to 15 employees and 30 to 50 volunteers.
Residents in both Samoa and American Samoa reported being shaken awake by the quake, which lasted two to three minutes. The initial quake was followed by at least three aftershocks of at least 5.6 magnitude.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a general alert from American Samoa to New Zealand; Tonga suffered some coastal damage from 13-foot waves.

Japan's Meteorological Agency also issued a tsunami warning all along that country's eastern coast.

Mase Akapo, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in American Samoa, said at least 19 people were killed in four different villages on the main island of Tutuila. He had no additional details.
In neighboring Samoa, an Associated Press reporter saw the bodies of about 20 victims in a hospital at Lalomanu town on the south coast of the main island of Upolu, and said the surrounding tourist coast had been devastated. At least three villages were flattened.

‘It was very quick’
An unspecified number of fatalities and injuries were reported in the Samoan village of Talamoa.

New Zealander Graeme Ansell said the beach village of Sau Sau Beach Fale was leveled.

"It was very quick. The whole village has been wiped out," Ansell told New Zealand's National Radio from a hill near Samoa's capital, Apia. "There's not a building standing. We've all clambered up hills, and one of our party has a broken leg. There will be people in a great lot of need 'round here."

Barry Rose, the owner of the Coconuts Beach Club in Samoa, told NBC News that his hotel took a direct hit, with several buildings completely destroyed. He said one guest was unaccounted for and one member of his staff was in the hospital with minor injuries. All guests have been evacuated either to the hospital or to other hotels on the island, he said.

He said the wave hit less than a minute after warning sirens went off.

News Source:

Friday, September 25, 2009

Chandrayaan-1 was 110% success, says ISRO chief

A day after the path-breaking revelation by the international scientific community that India's maiden mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-I has succeeded in tracking presence of water on the lunar surface, ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair today said that the mission was 110 per cent success.

Disagreeing with the 'media version that Chandrayaan-I crashed or failed', Nair said, "Earlier, I had said the mission was a 95 per cent success. Now I say it is 110 per cent success."

The ISRO chairman said the Moon Impact Probe (MIP), one of the five Indian scientific instruments that were onboard the Chandrayaan spacecraft detected the presence of water on lunar surface which was confirmed by Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) instrument of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) which was also onboard the spacecraft. By establishing the presence of water signatures on moon, the country's maiden lunar mission made a "path- breaking" and "real discovery", Nair added.

Launched in October last year, India's first scientific mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-I was aborted prematurely last month when Indian space agency lost the communication link with the spacecraft. ISRO had to abandon the mission failing to establish radio contact with the orbiting spacecraft.

Even though ISRO had got the indications about the finding of water in June this year, the space agency had decided to wait till yesterday to make the announcement as they wanted to come out in a scientific journal first. Earlier on Thursday, M3 principal investigator Carle Pieters said that Chandrayaan-1 found evidence of water on the lunar surface in a paper published in Science Express, September 24 edition.

The analysis of the M3 data was carried out by a joint team of scientists from the US and India led by Pieters, a planetary geologist at Brown University in Rhode Island, and J N Goswami, principal scientist of Chandrayaan-I from Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) of the Department of Space.

Nair said, the discovery of water in lunar surface was 'very crucial' and could have implications in various future planetary missions, even though the amount of water was 'extremely small'. "That is a great finding as far as space community is concerned."

To a query whether the water can be extracted from the lunar surface, Nair said, it was possible using 'novel techniques'. "But we may get only half a litre of water from one tonne of soil, and that is a real challenge."

J P Goswami, principal scientist of ISRO said the MIP had picked up strong signals of water particles towards polar region from 70 degree latitude to 80 degree latitudes. "In the polar region, it might be more, but it is produced all over the lunar surface," he said, adding ""This is the first time in space research that the presence of water is confirmed. It has shattered the thought that the moon was bone dry."

The other instruments which were on board the Chandrayaan spacecraft have sent many valuable information about the chemical and mineral composition of the moon which are being analysed now and would be announced in due course. "The volume of data collected from Chandrayaan-I is phenomenal. Our computers in ISRO and NASA are filled up with information. It may take six months to three years to analyse it," Goswami said.

Meanwhile, ISRO is looking at a 'mid-course correction' of the Chandrayaan-II mission objective, following the findings from the first mission. Chandrayaan-II scheduled to be launched in 2013 will carry rovers which will drill the lunar surface and sent the data to the earth after analysing it.

News Source:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Adopt Windows 7 now, says Microsoft

Although the consumer release for Windows 7 by Microsoft is set for October 22, The giant can’t wait till the set date and is already marketing the idea of using Windows 7 to businesses.

Since the access to deploy Windos 7 already exists, Microsoft laid out on the Business blog, “No need to wait—begin your Windows 7 deployment now!”

“Deployments are happening right now and your company can begin deployment as well! Several of our early adopters are already having great success with Windows 7… We are happy to see so much excitement from early Windows 7 adopters, showing the real value Windows 7 provides enterprises… Now is the time to begin testing and deploying Windows 7 with MDOP and Windows Server 2008 R2!”

Microsoft punched the lines in the blog post conveying to the businesses to quickly upgrade themselves to Windows 7 by mentioning about the Total Cost of Ownership.
It mentioned that enterprise customer deployments: 2,200 users at Baker Tilly (Professional Services - UK), 2,235 users for the City of Miami (Local Government - US), and 14,300 users at Getronics (IT Services - Netherlands) are already users of this new Windows 7.

If your setup is similar to any of these, Microsoft wants you to check out the studies to see the savings you can be making by moving to Windows 7.

News Source:

Monday, September 14, 2009

Obama Urged to Ready Tougher Iran Sanctions, Military Strike

The U.S. should begin preparing crippling sanctions on Iran and publicly make clear that a military strike is possible should the Iranian government press ahead with its nuclear effort, a bipartisan policy group said.

“If biting sanctions do not persuade the Islamic Republic to demonstrate sincerity in negotiations and give up its enrichment activities, the White House will have to begin serious consideration of the option of a U.S.-led military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities,” said the study from the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington.

The report was written by Charles Robb, a former Democratic senator from Virginia; Daniel Coats, a former Republican senator from Indiana who also served as ambassador to Germany, and retired General Charles Wald, the former deputy commander of U.S. European command. Their assessment comes as the U.S. prepares to participate in preliminary talks with Iran on Oct. 1 designed to gauge its commitment to address concerns about its nuclear aims.

The report echoes the Obama administration’s conclusion that Iran’s atomic work is approaching a destabilizing point at which it may be able to build a bomb.

Coats, Robb and Wald write that Iran will have enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon by next year, “leaving little time for the United States to prevent both a nuclear- weapons capable Islamic Republic and an Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear facilities.”

Gasoline Sanction

The authors back a bill that would sanction foreign companies that export gasoline to Iran, if negotiations fail. They say the administration should have prepared “sufficient financial, political and military pressure” before agreeing to negotiations.

The U.S. will dispatch its undersecretary of state for political affairs, William Burns, to the Oct. 1 meeting with U.S. allies and Iran without conditions. Iran has said its nuclear program is closed for discussion. The State Department said yesterday it will use the meeting to outline the consequences of Iran proceeding with a nuclear program.

The U.S. and its allies on the United Nations Security Council plus Germany have pushed Iran to accept a suspension of sanctions in exchange for Iran’s halt to uranium enrichment.

Iran has expanded its nuclear stockpile to 1,430 kilograms of low-enriched uranium hexafluoride compared to 75 kilograms in December 2007, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. It has also almost doubled its number of centrifuges at its uranium enrichment facility at Natanz since 2007.

Deadline Proposed

The authors say a deadline of 60 days should be set for determining Iran’s seriousness once it commits to negotiations. If those negotiations fail, the administration should toughen sanctions and “prepare overtly for any military option.”

Such preparations could include deploying an additional aircraft carrier battle group to the waters off Iran and conducting joint exercises with U.S. allies.

In the absence of U.S. action, Israel is more likely to strike, the authors argue, saying that an Israeli strike “entails more risks than a U.S. strike.”

Israeli officials say that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose a threat to their country’s existence.

News Source:

Facebook launches Facebook Lite 11

Social networking site Facebook has launched a slimmed down version, called Facebook Lite available at that offers its users limited options like writing on their wall, posting photos and videos, viewing events and browsing other people's profiles, but no applications.

Lite doesn't run any of the tens of thousands of external applications built for Facebook's main site. More than 1 million developers and entrepreneurs from more than 180 countries have created about 350,000 active applications for Facebook, which has become the most popular social-networking site in the world.

According to Facebook, Lite could help attract new users. "We have found that people who are new to Facebook tend to be most interested in a simpler experience, and focus on establishing their network of friends and communicating with them by writing on their walls, sending messages, and looking at pictures. We have introduced the Lite site with these new users in mind," the company said in a statement. Lite lets people post and share videos, photos and events, as well as exchange one-on-one messages.

According to the company, Facebook Lite is for people with slow or poor internet connections and will be faster and simpler because it offers fewer services than the main site. Currently, the new service is available only in India and US.

Facebook has also announced a new feature that would allow its users to tag their friends in status updates using the @ symbol. According to Facebook, the new feature will be rolled out over the next few weeks and help users share in a more meaningful and engaging way.

News Source:

New Bin Laden Tape Calls Obama Powerless to Stop Afghanistan War

A new audio message, directed at the American people - purported to be from al-Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden - claims the President Barack Obama will find himself powerless to halt the American-led war in Afghanistan.

The latest audio recording, attributed to Bin Laden, again attempts to justify al-Qaeda's September 11, 2001, terror attack on the United States as being part of the group's quest for the liberation of Palestine.

The tape was provided by an American-based firm - IntelCenter, which monitors terrorist propaganda. It says the 11-minute video shows a still picture of bin Laden while audio of the address plays.

In the recording, the man identified as Bin Laden reiterates long-standing grievances including American support for Israel and "some other injustices."

He puts forward a reading list of recent books, including one by a former CIA agent, which the tape says will clarify the "message" of the terrorist attack eight years ago.

The recording notes that the Obama administration includes key figures from the previous Bush administration, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

The voice, believed to be that of Bin Laden, thus concludes President Obama is a weakened man and powerless to change course in Afghanistan because of "pressure groups." And, if he tries, the tape says "his fate will be feared" to be like that of the assassinated President John Kennedy and his brother, Robert.

It is the first message believed to be from the reclusive terrorist leader since one in June, in which bin Laden accused President Obama of sowing new seeds of hatred against America among Muslims.

The United States now has about 60,000 troops in Afghanistan - the largest contingent in the 42-nation international force.

Following the September 2001 attack, the United States invaded to oust the Taliban from power in Kabul.

The Taliban had given safe haven to al-Qaeda, which had carried out the hijacking of four airliners to attack New York and Washington, in which more than 3,000 people died.

Bin Laden is believed to be in hiding in Pakistan, along the remote mountainous terrain border with Afghanistan. Pakistani leaders have recently said they believe the terrorist leader is dead. But top American officials say there is no credible evidence to confirm that.

The audio recording, posted on the on an Islamic website, includes a undated photograph of the al-Qaeda leader. There is also a scene of a banner with an American flag in the background and the New York City skyline with the destroyed World Trade Center twin towers.

No fresh images of Bin Laden appear. He was last seen in video that coincided with the sixth anniversary of the 9/11 attack.

News Source:

Friday, September 11, 2009

Nehra bowls India into Tri-series finals

India left-armers Ashish Nehra and Yuvraj Singh shared six wickets on Friday to take their team to a six wicket win over New Zealand and a place in the Tri-series final against hosts Sri Lanka.

After dismissing New Zealand for 155 from 46.3 overs, India reached their target in the 41st over.

Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (35 not out) and Suresh Raina (45 not out) shared an unbroken 72-run stand for the fifth wicket after they had lost their first four wickets for 84. Sachin Tendulkar contributed 46 off 55 balls.

New Zealand, who won the toss, failed to find any momentum.

Man-of-the-match Nehra trapped openers Jessie Ryder and Brendon McCullum lbw off successive overs with McCullum's dismissal giving him his 100th wicket in one-day internationals.

After the initial damage had been done by Nehra, the left-arm spin of Yuvraj crippled the New Zealand middle order. Yuvraj ended with figures of three for 31 and Nehra with three for 24.

India will play Sri Lanka in their second match on Saturday in what will be a dress rehearsal for Monday's final.

News Source:

Thursday, September 10, 2009

5 students killed in stampede in Delhi; CM orders probe

Five children were killed and 27 injured on Thursday in a stampede in a flooded government school in the Capital. Thirty-one of the victims were girls. The stampede was sparked by rumours that electric current had leaked into the water that had flooded the school, police said.

The incident took place in a government-run school in Khajuri Khas in northeast Delhi in the morning.

The heavy rain from Wednesday evening had left the school premises flooded and when the children were inside a rumour went around that the ankle-deep water was charged with electricity. The children panicked and started running helter-skelter, leading to a stampede on a staircase, a police official said.

Confirming the number of dead and injured, Joint Commissioner of Police Dharmendra Kumar said the injured have been admitted to the Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital.

The Principal had asked the students to vacate the school building, causing panic among the kids. This led to a stampede in which five schoolgirls were killed and 27 injured. Shiela Dikshit visited the injured kids who have been admitted to Delhi's GTB hospital. She has ordered an independent enquiry into the stampede.

News Source:

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Obama Speech to School Children: Truth & Lies

As President Obama gets ready to address the US school children, many rumour-stricken parents, however, have decided not to let their children listen to the President's speech as its allegedly a propaganda to spread socialist ideals in the country.

The rumours became a deluge, when Jim Greer, who is the Florida Republican Party Chairman forewarned the citizens that Obama would be trying to use the speech to spread his socialist ideologies and liberal lies.

However, rumours always have a way of influencing and so many parents have requested the school to keep their runs away during the Obama speech, which will be telecasted live and schools have been asked to make arrangements for the screening.

The White House website, states that the speech is meant to welcome to American student back to school after the summer break and would be an extra motivation, as the president would urge the youngsters to work hard on their education.

"In this message he'll urge students to take personal responsibility for their own education, to set goals, and to not only stay in school but make the most of it," reads the White House website.

But as rumours started bouncing on the television
and the Internet, the Obama administration quickly made available a copy of the speech over the President's website dispelling all false claims. Even Jim Greer, who first speculated the rumors agreed after reading the speech found nothing to criticize and the speech is fine in its "current form."

Of the 50 million schoolchildren, however, many affected by the false won't be watching the speech. Meanwhile, some 15,000 school districts are preparing to air the speech to the children; the schools also have been asked to make other arrangements for those whose parents didn't want their children to view the speech.

News Source:

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Yuvraj, Aishwarya Dangerous for your PC

Cricketer Yuvraj Singh and Bollywood beauty Aishwarya Rai have overtaken Katrina Kaif as the most dangerous Indian celebrity to search in cyberspace, according to Internet security company McAfee, Inc.

Fans searching for "Yuvraj Singh downloads" or "Yuvaraj Singh wallpapers," "Yuvraj Singh photos," "Aishwarya Rai wallpapers", "Aishwariya Rai screen savers" and "Aishwarya Rai videos" have a one in five chance of landing at a website that's tested positive for online threats, such as spyware, adware, spam, phishing, viruses and other malware. Searching for the latest celebrity news and downloads can cause serious damage to one's personal computer, the security solutions provider has said.

Following Yuvraj and Aishwarya on the list are M. S. Dhoni, Namitha, Shriya Saran, Harbhajan Singh, Sania Mirza, Asin, Bipasha Basu and Shahid Kapoor.

Kartik Shahani, McAfee regional director - India, said, "It's very common for malware authors to take advantage of current hot topics luring consumers to malicious websites they have created. Users need to be cautious and should keep their antivirus/ security software updated with the latest versions."

News Source:

British mobile phone revolution as Orange and T-Mobile confirm merger talks

The British mobile phone landscape was today set for huge upheaval after the owner of T-Mobile said it wants to merge with Orange.

Deutsche Telekom, which was known to be considering selling T-Mobile outright, confirmed the exclusive talks between the two telecoms groups this morning.

Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom, which owns Orange, said they want create a new market leader in Britain, one of Europe's toughest markets, which will leapfrog its two main UK rivals Vodafone and Telefónica's O2.

A future with Orange would push Telefónica’s O2 off the top spot, with 37 per cent of the UK mobile market and a combined 28.4 million customers, excluding those of Virgin Mobile, which uses T-Mobile’s network.

In joint a statement, the companies said that both the T-Mobile and Orange brands will remain on the high street for 18 months after the deal is completed.

The companies said that during that period, they will review their “branding alternative”.
Analysts believe this is likely to mean scrapping one of the two brands in favour of the other. Orange is generally seen as the stronger brand in the UK.

As part of the 50:50 deal, Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom will each loan the venture £625 million, so that it will have total debt from its creation of £1.25 billion.
The companies also said today that by cutting overlapping operations, they can generate cost savings of £3.5 billion. Orange employs 13,000 staff in the UK and T-Mobile has 6,500 UK workers.

Cost savings will be generated by shutting down offices, decommissioning mobile masts, closing some retail stores and removing duplicated jobs in core support functions such as call centres.

Today’s deal is likely to be widely criticised by analysts and by Vodafone and Telefónica as a messy solution and it will need approval by competition regulators.

Telefónica and Vodafone had both tabled offers of about £3.5 billion for T-Mobile UK but the bids fell below the expectations of René Obermann, Deutsche Telekom’s chief executive.

Vodafone declined to comment. Telefónica was unavailable for comment.
A sale at £3.5 billion would have forced Deutsche Telekom to make another write-down on the division.

The group took a £1.6 billion hit on the business in May as it lost customers to rivals and its margins declined.

Deutsche Telekom wrote down the value of T-Mobile at that time to £4.5 billion, which included £1.2 billion of debt.

Tom Alexander, currently chief executive of Orange UK will become chief of the combined business while his opposite number at T-Mobile, Richard Moat, will be chief operating officer. The board of the venture will have "balanced representation" from Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom.

Timotheus Höttges, finance director of Deutsche Telekom, said: "In the second-biggest market in Europe, which is undoubtedly one of the toughest and most competitive, we are giving T-Mobile UK a clear and strong future.

“And, with our partnership, we have taken the most value enhancing strategy for Deutsche Telekom and its shareholders.”

Gervais Pellissier, finance director of France Telecom said: “By combining our operations in the UK, we anticipate the long-awaited consolidation in one of Europe’s most competitive markets, thereby creating a well positioned player.

Achieving savings will cost the venture £600 million to £800 million from 2010 to 2014. It also believes it will save £620 million in that period on capital expenditure by jointly expanding 3G coverage.

The deal is expected to be agreed by the two parties by the end of October, after due diligence is completed, and although it requires the approval of the supervisory board of Deutsche Telekom, the pair are not saying whether they will put the deal to their shareholders.

News Source:

Bomb scare in Delhi areas, Safdarjung Hospital evacuated

Panic spread in the national capital on Tuesday with bomb scares being reported from four crowded places, the New Delhi Railway Station, the Safdarjung Hospital as well as the high rise Palika Kendra and Vikas Minar.

The sprawling Safdarjung Hospital in south Delhi was being evacuated.

Intensive searches were also underway at the New Delhi Railway Station, Palika Kendra in Connaught Place and at Vikas Minar near ITO.

"Police got a call in the morning and all precautions were taken. The building was evacuated," NDMC spokesperson Anand Tiwari told IANS.

Police said the call at Safdarjung Hospital was received at 9.30 am and the bomb disposal squad was combing the complex, a police official said.

News Source:

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sri Lanka gives Pakistan clues to cricketers attack

Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani said the Sri Lankan president told him an attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore six months ago may have been financed from Sri Lanka.

Seven Pakistanis, including six policemen and the driver of a Sri Lankan team bus, were killed when gunmen ambushed them on the way to a stadium for a match in the eastern city of Lahore in March.

Six members of the Sri Lankan team and a British coach were wounded.

Gilani said late on Sunday that Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa told him during a recent visit to Libya that Colombo had found clues that "some finances had been made from Sri Lanka to Pakistan".

Gilani and Rajapaksa visited Libya last week to attend celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the Libyan revolution.

"We are sending interior ministry officials to Sri Lanka to get the clues that could help us to get to the attack on the cricket team," Gilani told reporters.

Pakistani officials suspect Taliban militants were responsible and police said in June they had arrested a suspect.

The attack -- parts of which were broadcast live by television channels with offices near the traffic circle where the gunmen ambushed the Sri Lankan team -- sent shockwaves through cricket-mad Pakistan and the rest of the cricketing world.

Relayed by international broadcasters, the chilling images compounded fears in the West over the stability of the nuclear-armed Muslim country, and reinforced doubts over its readiness to confront spreading militancy.

News Source:

Friday, September 4, 2009

Copying Twitter won't help Yahoo

For some time now, Yahoo Meme has been operational in two languages - Spanish and Portuguese. But it has bigger ambitions - to take on Twitter, the world's largest and most newsmaking microblogging service.

So, when Yahoo quietly launched its English language service for Meme, it was not surprising.

But was it really? Twitter already has a staggering following around the world, with around 44.5 million users recorded by June 2009, and a three-digit month-on-month growth rate. So to compete with a service that is so much ahead of the race that even the granddaddy of all social networks - Facebook - is forced to follow Twitter's design and user-interface (UI) ethic, would seem a bit odd. Especially when its Indian-developed social network SpotM died an unsung death last month and Yahoo 360 was shut down in July this year.

Social networks - like email or online photo sharing services - can be tricky business propositions. Facebook, even with its 220 million user base, has been able to make an estimated $ 300 million in revenue in 2008 according to Forbes magazine, mostly through banner ads and referral marketing. Twitter projected - according to leaked documents - that it would earn a grand quarterly revenue of $400,000 by the end of the year.

In the world of American business, both figures are insignificant (Google earns almost $22 billion a year and Microsoft earns thrice as much as Google).

But what Facebook and Twitter have done is what no other Internet company, including Google, has been able to do. Both have managed to integrate a large part of the world's Internet users under one service. So in terms of influence, both Facebook and Twitter are on par with Google and Microsoft. Ahem, and yes, Yahoo.

The Meme service in English has features similar to Twitter, according to TechCrunch, an Internet blog company that reports on, among other things, developments on the Web.
So the question arises why Yahoo, a company that pioneered so much on the Internet at one time, should just copy Twitter down to the last "Retweet" (although Meme calls it "Repost"), and behave as if it is reinventing the wheel?

The answer is simple - Yahoo has been desperately trying to reinvent itself after its crisisridden past few years, in which it lost a significant part of its workforce to retrenchment and organisational restructuring. Its email service, though still popular, has lost ground to Microsoft's Live (Hotmail) and Google's Gmail. In instant messengers, Windows Live messenger with 343 million users is way ahead of Yahoo's 285 million accounts (Yahoo does not give a breakup of individual services, but an agglomeration of all its services).

Its management problems have further dented its progress in several areas although CEO Carol Bartz's almost headmaster- like disciplining has brought the company back in the reckoning. One of her key decisions was the appointment of Arun Tadanki as the head of Yahoo for South Asia, Middle East and Africa.

Yahoo's strategic alliance with Microsoft for its search services to take on Google is another step that could hurt the latter's business plans.

To be sure, those are important business decisions. But it is innovation that Yahoo has lagged behind in pathetically.

For all its expertise, many of Yahoo's new services post 2004 (Flickr, Yahoo Voice, Jumpcut, to name a few) have come through acquisitions, and even though it has fantastic R& D teams based in Bangalore and in the US, a large part of their work still consists of upgrading its existing services, while innovations are few and far between.

For Yahoo to compete successfully with the rest of the world, that needs to change. Which is why, it is disappointing to hear about Meme's features being similar to Twitter's. It was only recently that Yahoo showed the gumption to take on erstwhile followers which have now become market leaders. Its investment in Meme would only pull back Yahoo further.

Now if only we were all proven wrong and Yahoo pulled a rabbit out of the hat.

That would be fun. But will Yahoo bite the bullet?

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

California wildfire declared arson, homicide

A huge wildfire burning in the mountains above Los Angeles, now the largest ever in the county, was started by arson and will be investigated as a homicide, authorities said on Thursday.

The so-called Station Fire has killed two firefighters, destroyed 64 homes and torched an area the size of Chicago in the nine days it has roared across the rugged San Gabriel Mountains overlooking Los Angeles.

"After a forensic examination at the point of origin, arson investigators have concluded that the Station Fire was the result of an act of arson," U.S. Forest Service Commander Rita Wears said.

The deaths of Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Ted Hall and firefighter Arnaldo Quinones, who were killed when their vehicle plunged 800 feet (244 metres) from a road, made the case a homicide, Wears said.

Authorities did not offer details about how the fire was started but an area near the city of La Canada-Flintridge, north of Los Angeles, has been cordoned off with yellow crime scene tape since Wednesday.

It was not clear if any suspects had been identified.

As of Thursday evening, the Station Fire had blackened 145,000 acres (59,000 hectares), or about 226 square miles (585 sq km), making it the largest wildfire recorded in Los Angeles county. It could ultimately become one of the top 10 in state history, in terms of size.

Authorities estimated containment of the massive conflagration at 38 percent, up from 28 percent a day earlier, according to fire commander Mike Dietrich, who said his force of more than 4,700 firefighters was making "great progress."

By Wednesday night, the all-clear had been given for the last of 6,400 evacuated households to return home.

But a flare-up in one canyon early on Thursday led officials to order a small cluster of homes evacuated, and crews were concentrating their attack on the southeastern flank of the blaze to prevent flames from spreading.

One town on the fire's southeastern fringe is Pasadena, known for its annual New Year's Day Rose Bowl college football game and Tournament of Roses Parade. Fire commanders planned to brief residents in a meeting Thursday night.

Fire commanders said Mount Wilson, an observatory and telecommunications and broadcasting hub, would be spared.

The Station Fire has cost $21 million so far to fight, making it the most expensive of several California wildfires in recent weeks that already have depleted the cash-strapped state's emergency firefighting budget by more than half.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has insisted the state has plenty of resources at its disposal for such emergencies. (Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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Garrido among many sex offenders in Calif. town

ANTIOCH, Calif. — At least three other registered sex offenders live within a block or two of the Northern California home where Phillip Garrido allegedly imprisoned Jaycee Lee Dugard for nearly two decades.

More than 100 sex offenders in all share his ZIP code in the hardscrabble, working-class neighborhood on the outskirts of this town about 40 miles northeast of San Francisco.

The kidnapping case has put a spotlight on the concentration of sex offenders and heightened concerns that laws to control some of the nation's roughly 686,000 registered sex offenders are pushing them to smaller communities such as Antioch

"We've got plenty of 'em around here," said Charles Mickelson, who lives a block from Garrido, next door to two other registered sex offenders.

Criminal justice experts say relatively isolated communities with low housing prices tend to attract sex offenders who are living on thin budgets and looking to keep a low profile.

"They want to operate under the radar, so that's another reason they move out there," said Joan Petersilia, co-director of Stanford University's Criminal Justice Center.

Smaller, less dense communities also tend to have more sex offenders because it's easier for them to comply with laws in many states that prohibit sex offenders from getting too close to schools, parks and other places where children gather.

Before the Garrido case made news around the world and TV trucks showed up in the neighborhood, residents knew from a state Web site of sex offenders and word of mouth that Garrido was one of many in their midst.

Mickelson said he and his wife have been monitoring the Web site since their boys, now 10 and 13, were babies. They also receive e-mail notifications when a new offender moves into the area and take precautions such as not allowing their boys to roam alone.

All 50 states have such databases. In California alone, under Megan's Law, information about the crimes and whereabouts of more than 67,000 sex offenders is accessible through the state attorney general's Web site. That information includes the full addresses of about half the group.

While such sites help alert residents, criminal justice experts say the listings may also be contributing to the movement of sex offenders to less populated areas as they search for places where community scrutiny may not be as great.

State officials said they do not know whether the concentration of sex offenders in Antioch is higher than elsewhere. The city does have more registered sex offenders per capita than San Francisco and at least several other San Francisco Bay area communities.

Contra Costa County sheriff's Capt. Daniel Terry says the concentration of sex offenders in eastern Contra Costa County, where Antioch is located, is significantly higher than other places.

Residents of Garrido's neighborhood have always known about the sex offenders nearby, but Garrido's arrest and the heinous nature of the allegations against him were too much to handle for Karen Walker, who lives two doors away with her daughter and four grandchildren.

"It was so close to home," she said. "We were thinking about moving before, but now there's no doubt about it."

In California, voters in 2006 approved Jessica's Law, which bars sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park and requires them to wear satellite tracking devices for the rest of their lives. The law is named after 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford, who was kidnapped, raped and buried alive by a convicted sex offender near her Florida home in 2005.

Experts, however, say such laws alone will not prevent offenders from committing other sex crimes.

"To be effective, legislation can't be the only strategy that we use," said Maia Christopher, executive director of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers. "It would be nice to have some more preventive kind of measures ... We need to tailor our strategies, based on risk factors."

Garrido, who was convicted of kidnapping in a Nevada rape case in the 1970s, was not subject to Jessica's Law, which state corrections officials say does not apply retroactively.

But he was registered as a sex offender in California. His name, address and offense were posted online. He also was under lifetime parole supervision, wore a tracking device, regularly reported to his parole agent and received parole visits at his home.

Authorities say he still managed to conceal Dugard and the two children he fathered with her for years behind a series of fences, sheds and tents in his backyard.

Garrido and his 54-year-old wife Nancy Garrido were charged with kidnapping Dugard from a bus stop in South Lake Tahoe in 1991 then raping and falsely imprisoning her. They pleaded not guilty.

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Some Parents Oppose Obama Speech to Students

HOUSTON — President Obama’s plan to deliver a speech to public school students on Tuesday has set off a revolt among conservative parents, who have accused the president of trying to indoctrinate their children with socialist ideas and are asking school officials to excuse the children from listening.

The uproar over the speech, in which Mr. Obama intends to urge students to work hard and stay in school, has been particularly acute in Texas, where several major school districts, under pressure from parents, have laid plans to let children opt out of lending the president an ear.

Some parents said they were concerned because the speech had not been screened for political content. Nor, they said, had it been reviewed by the State Board of Education and local school boards, which, under state law, must approve the curriculum.

“The thing that concerned me most about it was it seemed like a direct channel from the president of the United States into the classroom, to my child,” said Brett Curtiss, an engineer from Pearland, Tex., who said he would keep his three children home.

“I don’t want our schools turned over to some socialist movement.”

The White House has said the speech will emphasize the importance of education and hard work in school, both to the individual and to the nation. The message is not partisan, nor compulsory, officials said.

“This isn’t a policy speech,” said Sandra Abrevaya, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education. “It’s designed to encourage kids to stay in school. The choice on whether to show the speech to students is entirely in the hands of each school. This is absolutely voluntary.”

Mr. Obama’s speech was announced weeks ago, but the furor among conservatives reached a fever pitch Wednesday morning as right-wing Web sites and talk show hosts began inveighing against it.

Mark Steyn, a Canadian author and political commentator, speaking on the Rush Limbaugh show on Wednesday, accused Mr. Obama of trying to create a cult of personality, comparing him to Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong-il, the North Korean leader.

The Republican Party chairman in Florida, Jim Greer, said he “was appalled that taxpayer dollars are being used to spread President Obama’s socialist ideology.”

And Chris Stigall, a Kansas City talk show host, said, “I wouldn’t let my next-door neighbor talk to my kid alone; I’m sure as hell not letting Barack Obama talk to him alone.”

Previous presidents have visited public schools to speak directly to students, although few of those events have been broadcast live. Mr. Obama’s address at noon, Eastern time, at a high school in Virginia, will be streamed live on the White House Web site.

The first President George Bush, a Republican, made a similar nationally broadcast speech from a Washington high school in 1991, urging students to study hard, avoid drugs and to ignore peers “who think it’s not cool to be smart.” Democrats in Congress accused him of using taxpayer money — $27,000 to produce the broadcast — for “paid political advertising.”

This week, school officials were hearing from parents about the issue not only in Texas, but in other parts of the country as well — California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, South Carolina and Utah.

Herb Garrett, executive director of the Georgia School Superintendents Association, said many of his members felt that the controversy had put them in an awkward situation, vulnerable to attacks from conservative talk-show hosts if they open up instructional time for Mr. Obama’s speech, and open to accusations that they have disrespected the president if they do not.

“It’s one of those no-wins,” Mr. Garrett said.

In Texas, calls and e-mail messages flooded into the offices of many local school officials. “I didn’t get a positive call all day,” said Susan Dacus, a spokeswoman for the Wylie Independent School District outside Dallas.

School officials in Wylie decided to record the speech, review it and then let individual teachers show it, offering students the opportunity to avoid listening if they wished.
In Houston, teachers have been asked to tell parents if they intend to show the speech and the schools will provide an alternative class for those whose parents object, a spokesman for the district, Lee Vela, said.

Some Houston parents, however, said telling children they should not hear out the president of the United States, even if their parents dislike his policies, sends the wrong message — that one should not listen to someone with whom you disagree.

“It’s difficult for me to understand how listening to the president, the commander in chief, the chief citizen of this country, is damaging to the youth of today,” said Phyllis Griffin Epps, an analyst for the city who has two children in public school.

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Andhra CM YSR Reddy, 4 others killed in crash

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy and four other persons were killed in the helicopter that crashed in the Nallamala Hills in bad weather on Wednesday losing radio contact an hour after take off from Hyderabad.

The bodies of 60-year-old Reddy - who led his Congress party to a spectacular second consecutive victory in the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls - his Special Secretary P Subramanyam, Chief Secretary A S C Wesley, pilot Group Captain S K Bhatia and co-pilot M S Reddy were found on Rudrakonda Hill, 40 nautical miles east of Kurnool.
His Bell 430 chopper went down in bad weather.

Army commandos recovered the dead bodies of all the five people - including the Chief Minister - who were on board the twin-engine Bell chopper.

An Indian Air Force helicopter had on Thursday morning located the mangled remains of the helicopter.

The news of the tragedy filtered out after a meeting of the Congress core group at the Prime Minister's residence, but fears had been growing since Wednesday night when search operations to locate the missing chopper were unsuccessful.

The helicopter took off at 0835 hrs IST from the old Begumpet Airport in Hyderabad on Wednesday.

The Chief Minister was on his way to Chittoor, 588 km from Hyderabad, for a function when his helicopter went missing in inclement weather around 0930 hrs IST on Wednesday in the dense Nallamalla forests.

Reactions from political leaders started pouring in soon after the tragic news was announced.

"We are in total shock, it's a tremendous loss for the Congress party, for the entire state of Andhra Pradesh. We are yet to come to terms with this news. Sonia Gandhi is in constant touch with the family and is monitoring the situation closely. The senior leaders who have been deputed in this matter will brief the press shortly. He was an utterly practical human being, he was always moving on to achieve his goal, he was the man on the move, it's very sad that life has got him to such a tragic end. He was a dynamic Chief Minister. It is a tremendous loss to Andhra Pradesh and the Congress party. It's a terrible time because he could have achieved so much as the head of the state," said Congress Spokesperson Jayanti Natrajan.

State Congress Chief, D Srinivas said, "I don't think I will see another leader like him in this lifetime."

TDP leader Yerran Naidu said, "Today is a sad day. YSR Reddy was a great leader, I knew him for 30 years. We were really hoping that he would be found safe. We are very shocked."

"I had hoping till the last minute that some miracle will happen. If the party is feeling this way I can't imagine what the family is going through. He was the kind of leader who could turn probability into possibility," said Congress leader Renuka Chowdhary.


Andhra Pradesh plunged into gloom Thursday as it became known that Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy had died in a helicopter crash in the dense Nallamalla forests.
People cried inconsolably in the state secretariat, the chief minister's camp office and Gandhi Bhavan, the headquarters of the ruling Congress party.

"He is my God. I can't believe he is no more," wailed a Congress party worker.
"He gave life to several people through Rajiv Arogyasri (health insurance scheme for poor). Nobody had imagined he will lose his life this way," said another Congress worker.

The Congress flag will fly at half mast.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Rescue teams comb Naxal areas in search of YSR

India's biggest search and rescue operation to locate Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajashekhara Reddy in the dense Nallamalla forests and hills stretching across Kurnool, Prakasam and Kadapa districts resumed at the crack of dawn on Thursday.

Helicopter search operations had been called off in the night because of poor visibility and bad weather conditions. But state police and 5,000 personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) conducted search operations on foot throughout the night with help of forest officials.

Andhra's Greyhound commandos, raised to fight Naxals, are also helping in the search operation along with specialised anti-terrorist force Organisation for Counter Terrorism and Operations (Octopus) teams.

The newly-formed anti-Naxal force Combat Battalion for Resolute Action (Cobra), which are under the command of the CRPF have also been deployed for the search operations.

An Army column from Bangalore has also been also called in to assist in the search and rescue operations.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has also sent three helicopters from Bangalore for the search operation while one private helicopter from Nellore is also scouring the area for any signs of the missing Chief Minister and his entourage.

IAF will also press into service Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft with synthetic aperture radar for high resolution ground mapping in and around Kurnool.\

Satellite imagery is also being used to trace the missing helicopter. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has also provided special low flying aircraft and remote sensing equipment and satellite imagery to aide the search operation.

Search and rescue teams are also looking at the possibility of Reddy's helicopter landing at Sri Sailam Dam which is situated 98 km from Markapuram. The dam is across the Krishna River at Srisailam in the Kurnool district.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Obama hosts dinner for Islamic holy month

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Tuesday praised American Muslims for enriching the nation's culture at a dinner to celebrate the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

"The contribution of Muslims to the United States are too long to catalog because Muslims are so interwoven into the fabric of our communities and our country," Obama said at the iftar, the dinner that breaks the holiday's daily fast.

The president joined Cabinet secretaries, members of the diplomatic corps and lawmakers to pay tribute to what he called "a great religion and its commitment to justice and progress."

Attendees included Congress' two Muslim members — Reps. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., and Andre Carson, D-Ind., as well as ambassadors from Islamic nations and Israel's ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren.

Obama shared the story of Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, another invited guest, who broke a state record for most career points as a Massachusetts high school student.

"As an honor student, as an athlete on her way to Memphis, Bilqis is an inspiration not simply to Muslim girls — she's an inspiration to all of us," he said.

Obama also noted the contributions of Muhammad Ali, who was not in attendance, though the president borrowed a quote from famous boxer, explaining religion.

"A few years ago," Obama said, "he explained this view — and this is part of why he's The Greatest — saying, 'Rivers, ponds, lakes and streams — they all have different names, but they all contain water. Just as religions do — they all contain truths.'"

Ramadan, a monthlong period of prayer, reflection and sunrise-to-sunset fasts, began Aug. 22 in most of the Islamic world. It is believed that God began revealing the Quran to Muhammad during Ramadan, and the faithful are supposed to spend the month in religious reflection, prayer and remembrance of the poor.

White House dinners marking the holy month are nothing new. Former President George W. Bush held iftars during his eight years in office.

Obama has made a special effort since taking office to repair U.S. relations with the world's Muslims, including visits to Turkey and Cairo. In a June speech at the Egyptian capital, as well as in one to another important Muslim audience, in Turkey, Obama said: "America is not — and never will be — at war with Islam."

Obama also released a video message to Muslims before the start to Ramadan. In the video, he said Ramadan's rituals are a reminder of the principles Muslims and Christians have in common, including advancing justice, progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.

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Digvijay Singh beaten up by cops

AICC general secretary and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh got his head split in a clash between Congress workers and the police in Rajgarh district on Tuesday. Singh was rushed to a hospital where he was given two stitches towards the right temple.

While Congress maintained that Singh was injured in a police lathicharge, the local administration denied committing any excess on man who ruled the state from 1993 to 2003. Madhya Pradesh home minister Jagdish Deora claimed Singh was a victim of Congress indiscipline. "He was hit by a brick hurled by agitating Congressmen," he said.

"That's out of the question. Our workers did not throw any stone," Digvijay told TOI. "It was a peaceful demonstration. All I can say is that the state police has become insensitive to political demonstrations by Congress."

Digvijay was leading a demonstration in Rajgarh against the BJP government's failure to end severe power crisis and tackle the drought situation with more than 10,000 Congress activists on Tuesday. Around 2:30pm, Congress workers marched towards the district collector's office to submit a memorandum.

The police had barricaded the area outside the collectorate. When police prevented Congress workers from moving towards the collectorate, a scuffle occurred between the police and Congress workers.

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Swine flu continues on its upward spiral

Swine flu continued its upward spiral in the country with 144 fresh cases and one death being reported as the Union Health Ministry set about procuring vaccine from international companies which have manufactured it.

While the maximum number of 48 cases were reported from Maharashtra, Delhi reported 10, Karnataka 22, West Bengal 18 and Orissa three.

With the fresh cases, the total number of people affected by swine flu has touched 4,101. The number of people who have died due to the disease has reached 101, according to Union Health Ministry figures.

The lone death reported today was from Goa, the Ministry said.

The Government said it has asked four pharma giants to conduct human trials of their newly-developed swine flu vaccines in the country, paving way for their import.

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Nehru Cup: Nehru Cup Truimph Will Inspire Indians - Indian PM

India defeated Syria 6-5 in the penalty shootout and thus retained the Nehru Cup, they won two years ago by downing the same opposition at the same venue.

With this, India now has completed a hat-trick of titles in the last three years, which surely is a good sign for football in the country.

Dr.Manmohan Singh said, “Congratulations on your remarkable win last evening. It was a magnificent performance and the whole country is proud of you. The victory, I am sure, will inspire sports men and women across the country.”

Not often do you hear politicians congratulating Team India as they were never praised in the previous two triumphs of the AFC Challenge Cup 2008 and the Nehru Cup 2007.

Things are surely changing for good in Indian football.

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