Saturday, May 31, 2008

Ponting passes Test run milestone

Australia captain Ricky Ponting became the seventh batsman to make 10,000 Test runs as his side dominated the first day of the second Test in Antigua.Ponting needed 61 to become the third Australian to reach the milestone after Allan Border and Steve Waugh.He reached the target after tea with a drive off Ramnaresh Sarwan but was dismissed soon afterwards for 65.Ponting was playing in his 118th Test for Australia and he is third fastest to reach this landmark.Though he has around for nearly 14 yrs but he is still not considered among the greats of modern day cricket.He is not too stylish or elegant when compared to Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar who are the greats of the modern day cricket.Still he has to prove lot to prove his critics wrong.

Celtics top Pistons, return to NBA finals

Paul Pierce and P.J. Brown of the Boston Celtics celebrate after defeating the Detroit Pistons to advance to the NBA Finals in Game Six of the Eastern Conference finals during the 2008 NBA Playoffs at the Palace of Auburn Hills on May 30, 2008 in Auburn Hills, Michigan.

Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce walked together, sporting black hats with green four-leaf clovers, and tried to soak up the moment when both superstars became conference champions for the first time.

Boston got past an old nemesis to set up a matchup with another rival.

The Celtics, who locked up with Detroit many times in the 1980s, will now rekindle another classic series in the NBA finals against the Los Angeles Lakers .

The Celtics are in the NBA finals for the first time since losing to the Lakers in 1987, the third meeting in a four-year span.

The Pistons blew a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter and lost in Game 6 of the conference finals for the third straight year. They were eliminated on their home court for the first time during a six-year run that included a trip to the conference finals each year and the 2004 title.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Signal From Mars Is Restored

A satellite radio that carries signals and commands to the Mars Phoenix lander restarted last night, ending a one-day delay in the robotic explorer’s deployment on the Martian surface.

The UHF radio on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter satellite shut down on Tuesday, blocking communications between mission controllers and the newly arrived spacecraft.The balky orbiter “successfully received information from the Phoenix lander and relayed the information to Earth. The relayed transmission included images and other data collected by Phoenix during the mission’s second day after landing on Mars.”

The cause of the glitch is undetermined, according to the NASA statement. During the radio silence, the lander carried out instructions that had been sent on Monday.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Patch-up telescope sees first detail of star beyond galaxy

Garching, Germany - Scientists in Germany who devised a way to hook up two powerful telescopes in stereo have observed for the first time the details of a star outside our Milky Way galaxy, they said Tuesday.

They trained the two telescopes on a red supergiant named WOH G64 in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a neighbouring galaxy. WOH is about 2,000 times larger than the sun and is 163,000 light years away.

Keiichi Ohnaka of the Max Planck Radio-Astronomy Institute in Bonn Germany led the research, which is described in a new science article.

He and his team worked with the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Garching, a suburb of Munich, remotely using the ESO telescope complex, which is built on a desert mountain in Chile.

They used two 8-metre-reflector scopes to create a virtual 60- metre telescope.

The observations show the ageing star blowing much of its substance into space. It has lost 40 per cent of its original mass already, developing a shroud of dust around it. An explosion as a supernova is inevitable.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Hillary apologises for 'Kennedy reference'

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton quickly apologised after citing the June 1968 assassination of Robert F Kennedy as a reason for her to remain in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination despite increasingly long odds.
''I regret that if my referencing that moment of trauma for our entire nation - and in particular the Kennedy family - was in any way offensive. I certainly had no intention of that whatsoever,'' the former first lady said on Friday.

The episode occurred as Clinton campaigned in advance of the June 3 South Dakota primary.

Responding to a question from the Sioux Falls Argus Leader editorial board about calls for her to drop out of the race, she said, ''My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. You know I just, I don't understand it,'' she said, dismissing the idea of abandoning the race.

Colombia quake: Death toll rises to 11

The Red Cross said the death toll from a powerful earthquake in central Colombia has risen to 11, as aftershocks shook the region.

Walter Cote, director of the country's aid organization, on Sunday told reporters that 54 people were seriously injured as a result of Saturday's 5.5 quake, which also badly damaged about 400 homes.

Among the dead were five people killed on the road between Bogota and the city of Villavicencio, capital of the Meta department. Three of the five were members of the same family -- a father, mother and son -- whose car was struck by falling rocks.

The road knocked out by the quake is an important connection that links the center of the country with the eastern region and is heavily used by tourists.

The earthquake struck at 0050 IST on Saturday with the epicenter in El Calvario in the department of Meta.

A total of 4,181 were injured in the departments of Cundinamarca, Boyaca, Meta and Casanare, according to the Red Cross.

Since Saturday's quake, the state seismological service registered numerous aftershocks, with the strongest at 4.1 on the open-ended Ricther scale at 4:39 am local (1509 IST) with the epicenter 50 kilometers from Bogota.

The earthquake, which shook this Andean capital for several seconds, was the strongest temblor to jolt the capital in a decade.

Bogota Mayor Samuel Moreno said on Saturday the capital city of seven million people suffered only minor damage and he considered the emergency over, although police and firefighters remained on alert.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Mukesh Ambani's pay cheque is over Rs 44 cr

Mukesh Ambani, the country's richest person and presumably top-paid executive, a hefty pay hike of about 45 per cent to take his annual remuneration to over USD10 million.

Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries, got a total payout of Rs 44.02 crore in 2007-08, marking an increase of about Rs 13.5 crore from the previous fiscal.

In fiscal 2006-07, Ambani's annual remuneration had increased to Rs 30.46 crore, from Rs 24.77 crore previously.

However, a large part of Ambani's full-year pay cheque comes in the form of commissions that the company pays to select executives as a ratio of its profits.

According to the company's annual report being sent to shareholders, Ambani got a salary of Rs 60 lakh (Rs 5 lakh per month) and another Rs 48 lakh (Rs 4 lakh per month) in the name of "perquisites and allowances".

In addition, he got Rs 18.75 lakh under the head of "retiral benefits" and Rs 4,275.44 lakh toward commission on net profit, taking his total to Rs 4,402.19 lakh for 2007-08.

RIL Chief was the top-paid executive in fiscal 2006-07, followed by Madras Cement's Chairman and MD P R R Rajha, who had an annual payout of about Rs 24.8 crore.

However, Ambani, who was ranked as world's fifth richest by Forbes magazine earlier this year with a net worth of USD 43 billion, may not find a place even among the 200 most paid chiefs globally.

In a separate list, Forbes named Oracle's CEO Larry Ellision at the top of 500 most paid CEOs in the US with a pay cheque of USD 192.9 million. A total 177 CEOs in the list had a salary of over USD 10 million.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Chinese Flee Flood Threat From Quake

Thousands of earthquake survivors fled tent camps and villages across the ravaged landscape of southwestern China on Saturday after the government warned that several lakes and rivers were getting dangerously close to overflowing because landslides have blocked water flow.

Early on Sunday, a tremor with a magnitude of 6.0 struck northern Sichuan, one of the largest quakes since last Monday. Other tremors over the past several days have caused new landslides.The danger of flooding on Saturday was so severe that some rescue workers had to abandon their efforts, at least temporarily, to find people buried beneath rubble in Beichuan, one of the hardest-hit counties. Such interruptions could doom the relatively few who could be expected to be alive under debris.

Landslides continue to pose one of the greatest threats across the mountainous terrain of Sichuan. Daily aftershocks and tremors — at least 168 significant ones since Monday — set off new slides. At least 13 rivers and lakes have been dammed up by the quake

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008)

In this unenchanted world of ordinary moviegoing, it has been about two and a half years since "The Lion,the Witch and the Wardrobe,"the first installment in Walt Disney and Walden Media’s mighty “Chronicles of Narnia” franchise.

So “Prince Caspian” is quite a bit darker than “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” both in look and in mood. It is also in some ways more satisfying. Its violent (though gore-free) combat scenes and high body count may rattle very young viewers, but older children are likely to be drawn into the thick political intrigue. The relative scarcity of digital effects in the first part of the movie allows the director, Andrew Adamson, and the director of photography, Karl Walter Lindenlaub, to explore the beauty of the Narnian landscape by more traditional cinematic means. Its lush glades and rocky escarpments provide a reminder that the supernaturalism of fairy tales originates in the magic of the natural world.

“Prince Caspian” is named for its square-jawed, rather bland hero (played by Ben Barnes), but its major source of dramatic energy is the villain, Caspian’s uncle Miraz, who is played with malignant grandeur by the great Italian actor Sergio Castellitto. Miraz is a classic royal usurper, who has taken the throne from Caspian’s father, the rightful king, and who plans to pass it along to his own newborn son once Caspian is out of the way. His court is a viper’s nest of double-dealing and shifting allegiance.

UK demands repayment of climate aid to poor nations

Britain's £800m international project to help the poorest countries in the world adapt to climate change was under fire last night after it emerged that almost all the money offered by Gordon Brown will have to be repaid with interest.

The UK environmental transformation fund was announced by the prime minister to international acclaim in November 2007, and was widely expected to be made in direct grants to countries experiencing extreme droughts, storms and sea level rise associated with climate change.

But the Guardian has learned that the money is not additional British aid and will be administered by the World Bank mainly in the form of concessionary loans which poor countries will have to pay back to Britain with interest.

A letter signed by two government ministers and seen by the Guardian shows that Britain has been pressing other G8 countries to also give money to the new fund, which will be launched in July in Japan at the G8's annual meeting.

According to the government, the £800m will be spent over the next three years, focusing on projects that support development through environmental protection and which help poor countries to tackle climate change. Of the money, £50m has been earmarked for helping 10 countries in central Africa to tackle deforestation in the Congo basin.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Califfornia apex court backs gay marriage

The California Supreme Court ruled on Thursday the state cannot bar same-sex marriages marking a major victory for gay rights advocates that may have national implications. Massachusetts is now the only US state to allow gay marriage. Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Vermont permit same-sex civil unions that grant largely the same state rights as married couples but lack the full, federal legal protections of marriage. Opponents of gay marriage are planning to ask state voters to override any court ruling allowing same-sex nuptials.

Legal recognition of
same-sex relationships
Same-sex marriage


South Africa

Recognized in some regions
United States (MA, CA eff. 6/14/2008)

Foreign marriages recognized

Neth. Antilles
United States (NM, NY, RI)

Civil unions and
registered partnerships

Czech Republic
Hungary (eff. 1/1/2009)

New Zealand
United Kingdom

Recognized in some regions

Argentina (C, R, VCP)
Australia (TAS; VIC eff. 1/12/2008 and ACT eff. 15/11/2008)
Brazil (RS)
Canada (QC)
Mexico (Coah., DF)
United States (CA, CT, DC, HI, ME, NH, NJ, OR, VT, WA)

Food prices are not going to get cheaper

Falling productivity and high oil prices are likely to keep global food prices at elevated levels for another decade. The effective measure in the South Asian region will be a pro-poor and pro-agriculture approach with "coordinated and cohesive" policies and implementation. The global bank has already increased its South Asian commitment for agriculture to $ one billion from $ 300 million last year.
A substantial part of these funds will be diverted towards R&D to improve the farm productivity and developed high quality seeds.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Fears for Amazon rainforest as Brazil's environment minister resigns

Fears for the future of the world's largest tropical rain forest grew yesterday, after the sudden resignation of Brazil's environment minister, Marina Silva.

As a result of the opposition to the construction of hydroelectric dams and roads in the Amazon, and her attempts to combat illegal deforestation, Silva became a hate-figure to many Amazonian ranchers and loggers. Last year there were repeated rumours in the Brazilian media that president Lula was on the verge of sacking his outspoken minister.

Henin announces retirement from tennis

Today's announcement by Belgium's Justine Henin, the current world No1, of her immediate departure was both precipitous and shocking, the more so because it happened less than two weeks before the start of the French Open which she has won for the last three years and four times in total.

"I am leaving as the world No1 and that is important as it is always better to go out at the top," she said. "I leave without any regrets and I know it is the right decision."

Roger Federer said that he was "totally shocked" that Henin had retired, "a shock for the whole tennis world", and that "she must have her reasons but it is a surprise given that it is before the French Open".

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Woman scientist to head Agni project

Tessy Thomas (45) will be the first woman scientist to head a crucial DRDO project, to upgrade the 2000-km range Agni II missile that can also carry warheads. An expert on solid system propellants, Dr. Thomas was entrusted with analysing the earlier failure of Agni III. It was the examination of the data of the failed launch that helped the Defence Research and Development Organisation overcome shortcomings and launch the missile successfully. She did her bachelor’s degree in technology in Kerala and master’s in Maharashtra. It is a great for our country to have a woman head a mission like this.

Einstein's letter makes view of religion relatively clear

"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." So said Albert Einstein, and his famous aphorism has been the source of endless debate between believers and non-believers wanting to claim the greatest scientist of the 20th century as their own. In the letter, he states: "The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this."
Einstein, who was Jewish and who declined an offer to be the state of Israel's second president, also rejected the idea that the Jews are God's favored people.

Marlon Samuels found guilty of bookmaker link

West Indies batsman Marlon Samuels has been provisionally suspended after he was been found guilty of breaching regulations after a probe into allegations of links with a bookmaker, the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) said on Monday. The committee looked into charges that Jamaican Samuels passed on team information to a bookmaker during a one-day series in India in January 2007. An aggressive right-handed batsman and useful off-spinner, Samuels has played in 29 tests and 107 one-day internationals

Serial blasts in jaipur

Jaipur has been rocked by five bomb blasts in the heart of the city.The blasts took place at crowded market places of the city including Hawa Mahal, Johri Bazar and Sanganeri Gate. It has been reported that nearly 12 people have been dead in the blasts and many more are being reportedly seriously injured.Nobody has till now taken responsibility for the blasts. It will be great challenge for the police to grab the suspects as no one has officially taken any claim.

China hit by massive earthquake

Nearly 10,000 people have been rendered homeless due to the massive earthquake which was reported .The 7.8-magnitude of the quake that struck 57 miles north-west of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan. Tremors from the quake, which struck at 2.28pm (6.28am BST), were felt as far away as Thailand and Vietnam.Rescue teams were trying make contact with cut-off areas. Thousands of army troops and paramilitary People's Armed Police were taking medical supplies to the region.The showpiece Bird's Nest Olympic stadium, which is built to withstand a 8.0 quake was unscathed.The quake is the worst to hit China in 32 years since the 1976 Tangshan earthquake in north-eastern China which claimed up to 300,000 lives.