Tuesday, August 23, 2011

PM writes letter to Anna to halt fast

Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh today writes a letter to Anna Hazare and requested to halt his 8 days fast against corruption.

Arvind Kejriwal says Pranab Mukherjee is to negotiate with Team Anna and will mediate on behalf of the government. Anna will decide who will represent Team Anna.

Anna Hazare's fast is in its eighth day now, he is weak, and the government is pulling out all stops to find a solution to the Lokpal impasse. Tuesday has been a day of meetings and confabulation, of talking permutations and combinations. The latest in a series of closed-door discussions on the Lokpal Bill brings the hint of compromise. Arvind Kejriwal, a key member of Team Anna met Law Minister Salman Khursheed - the first such meeting between the two sides.

US based freelance journalist William Malony has been in India since the past three weeks. He is making a documentary on the entire episode braving the scorching heat and sporadic rains in the city.

"It's actually amazing to see the crowd gathering in such large numbers. Though it's quite hot but I won't mind capturing this historic moment," Malony said.

Michale Nauman from Germany's ARD news channel said: "I know that you people have a problem but it does not mean that you will go on a hunger strike. In Germany, people put pressure on government by assembling in large numbers but they don't go for hunger strikes."

More news soon..

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Anna Hazare Release Not Confirmed Yet?

anna hazare
Hazare, who is in the Tihar Jail, has refused to leave the jail unless he is allowed to continue with his indefinite fast, and the curbs are lifted.

He demanded that either agree to all our 40 demands or disagree the whole Jan LokPal Bill.

Anna Hazare is likely to be granted permission for holding his indefinite fast in Ramlila Maidan but with conditions that there will be no fast-unto-death and no use of loudspeakers beyond 10 pm.

Delhi Police on Wednesday relaxed conditions for Anna Hazare's fast, including giving him permission for seven days that could be extended.

Delhi Police agreed to relax six of the 22 conditions for the social activist to hold his indefinite fast against the government version of the Lokpal bill.

"We have relaxed six conditions on which Team Anna had objected. We have given permission for seven days which can be extended," said Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat.

He said the venue of the fast has been shifted from J.P. Park to Ramlila Ground in central Delhi.

There would also be no limit on the number of people gathering at the venue in support of Hazare or the number of vehicles parked at the site, the police said.

Nationwide protests continued for the second consecutive day today against the arrest of Anna Hazare, with political parties holding rallies in various states to press their demands that included a strong Lokpal Bill.

Protests were held in Mumbai as supporters of the Gandhian thronged the Azad Maidan in the southern part of the city, protesting the "undemocratic" manner in which the 73-year-old was taken into custody.

TDP supporters demonstrated across Andhra Pradesh against his arrest with the party chief former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu leading a dharna at a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Secunderabad.

Thousands of students in Karnataka skipped classes as they thronged Freedom Park in Bangalore at a rally, with former Supreme Court judge Santosh N Hegde, also joining the dharna.

In Indore, BJP workers staged a sit-in waving placards against the police action against Hazare.

Lawyers observed a one-day token strike in all the six district courts in Delhi protesting non-inclusion of judiciary in the Lokpal Bill among other issues, interrupting the proceedings in the 2G case.

The Orissa Assembly was adjourned twice amid uproar as BJP and ruling BJD MLAs condemned the police action.

In Tamil Nadu, a large number of people observed fast and more than 300 activists assembled at Adyar in Chennai under the banner of "India Against Corruption", an umbrella body of the citizen's movement fighting for a powerful Lokpal Bill.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Powerful Earthquake Hits Japan, Causes Tsunami

Japan got hit by a 8.9 magnitude earthquake today at around 2:30pm. Epicenter was 290 miles north-east of Tokyo.

An earthquake of the magnitude 8.8 on Richter Scale rocked Japan on Friday morning, leading to buildings in capital Tokyo shaking in the impact and people rushing out to the streets.

Japanese television showed heavy damage caused by a tsunami that followed the massive quake.

National broadcaster NHK Television showed images of people getting medical treatment and footage of a tsunami engulfing a warehouse in Kamaishi in Iwate prefecture, with cars and trucks submerged. Ships were shown smashing into harbour walls on NHK.

Japan's meteorological agency has reported that the quake, which was earlier reported to be of magnitude 7.9, struck at local time of 2.46 pm, some 80 miles off the country's east coast and at a depth of around eight kilometers.

Officials were trying to assess possible damage from the quake but had no immediate details.

In downtown Tokyo, large buildings shook violently and workers poured into the street for safety, media agencies said, adding that television footage showed a large building on fire and bellowing smoke in the Odaiba district of Tokyo.

In central Tokyo, trains were stopped and passengers walked along the tracks to platforms. NHK footage from their Sendai office showed employees stumbling around and books and papers crashing from desks.

Japan's northeast Pacific coast, called Sanriku, has suffered from quakes and tsunamis in the past and a 7.2 quake struck on Wednesday. In 1933, a magnitude 8.1 quake in the area killed more than 3,000 people. Last year fishing facilities were damaged after by a tsunami caused by a strong tremor in Chile.

Earthquakes are common in Japan, one of the world's most seismically active areas. The country accounts for about 20 percent of the world's earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Facebook To Shut Down Permanently from 15 March 2011

PALO ALTO, CA –Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook will be shut down in March. Managing the site has become too stressful.

“Facebook has gotten out of control,” said Zuckerberg in a press conference outside his Palo Alto office, “and the stress of managing this company has ruined my life. I need to put an end to all the madness.”

Zuckerberg went on to explain that starting March 15th, users will no longer be able to access their Facebook accounts.

“After March 15th the whole website shuts down,” said Avrat Humarthi, Vice President of Technical Affairs at Facebook. “So if you ever want to see your pictures again, I recommend you take them off the internet. You won’t be able to get them back once Facebook goes out of business.”
Zuckerberg said that the decision to shut down Facebook was difficult, but that he does not think people will be upset.
“I personally don’t think it’s a big deal,” he said in a private phone interview. “And to be honest, I think it’s for the better. Without Facebook, people will have to go outside and make real friends. That’s always a good thing.”

Some Facebook users were furious upon hearing the shocking news.

“What am I going to do without Facebook?” said Denise Bradshaw, a high school student from Indiana. “My life revolves around it. I’m on Facebook at least 10 hours a day. Now what am I going to do with all that free time?”

However, parents across the country have been experiencing a long anticipated sense of relief.

“I’m glad the Facebook nightmare is over,” said Jon Guttari, a single parent from Detroit. “Now my teenager’s face won’t be glued to a computer screen all day. Maybe I can even have a conversation with her.”

Those in the financial circuit are criticizing Zuckerberg for walking away from a multibillion dollar franchise. Facebook is currently ranked as one of the wealthiest businesses in the world, with economists estimating its value at around 7.9 billion.

But Zuckerberg remains unruffled by these accusations. He says he will stand by his decision to give Facebook the axe.

“I don’t care about the money,” said Zuckerberg. “I just want my old life back.”

The Facebook Corporation suggests that users remove all of their personal information from the website before March 15th. After that date, all photos, notes, links, and videos will be permanently erased.

source: funddistraction

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Friday, December 3, 2010

WikiLeaks dropped by domain name provider

STOCKHOLM – WikiLeaks' American domain name system provider, EveryDNS, has withdrawn service to the wikileaks.org name after the secret-spilling website once again became the target of hacker attacks.

EveryDNS said in a statement that it dropped the website late Thursday because the attacks threatened the rest of its network.

"Wikileaks.org has become the target of multiple distributed denial of service attacks. These attacks have, and future attacks would, threaten the stability of the EveryDNS.net infrastructure," it said in a statement. EveryDNS provides access to some 500,000 websites.

WikiLeaks confirmed the drop on its Twitter account, saying "WikiLeaks.org domain killed by US everydns.net after claimed mass attacks."

WikiLeaks has angered the U.S. and other governments by publishing almost half a million secret documents about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The latest batch contains thousands of classified U.S. diplomatic cables.

On Wednesday, Amazon.com Inc. — who had provided WikiLeaks with use of its servers to distribute embarrassing State Department communications and other documents — evicted it. The site remains on servers of a Swedish host, Bahnhof.

The ouster from Amazon came after congressional staff questioned the company about its relationship with WikiLeaks. Sen. Joe Lieberman praised Amazon's action and said it should "set the standard" for companies WikiLeaks is using to distribute "illegally seized material"

source: yahoo news

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

10-year-old gives birth in southern Spain

MADRID — A 10-year-old girl has given birth in southern Spain and authorities are evaluating whether to let her and her family retain custody of the baby, an official said Tuesday.

The baby was born last week in the city of Jerez de la Frontera, said Micaela Navarro, the Andalusia region's social affairs minister.

Navarro told reporters the father of the baby is also a minor, and both the mother and the baby were in good health. Her department declined to give details, including the sex of the baby, but said authorities do not consider this a case of rape and that no criminal investigation is under way.

Under Spanish law, having consensual sex with someone under age 13 is classified as child abuse, an official with the Spanish Justice Ministry in Madrid said. But this particular case is complicated by the fact that the father of the baby is also a minor and it is not clear if he could be charged, the official said.

Spanish newspapers said the mother is of Romanian origin.

The daily Diario de Jerez reported the girl was already pregnant when she arrived in Spain, but did not say when she came to this country. It is not clear if the father is in Spain.

Medical experts warn that because young girls are still growing, they are at higher risk during pregnancy. Studies have shown that teenage girls are more likely to give birth to premature babies and their infants have a higher chance of dying by age one.

source: msnbc

Monday, October 25, 2010

Singapore Stock Exchange Splashes $8 Billion On Sydney Counterpart

SBX, Singapore's main stock exchange, has just sealed a deal to buy ASX, the Australian Securities Exchange, in a deal valued at $8.4 billion AUD ($8.3 USD), the Sydney Morning Herald reports. This is the first major consolidation of Asian stock exchanges.

There's many angles to this deal:

* China, of course. Singapore's economy is all about trade, and trade in the region increasingly means trade with China. Meanwhile Australia's economy is handcuffed to China, for better or worse. And commodities. Commodities for China.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mukesh Ambani Moves Into New Billion-Dollar Home

mukesh new home
Mukesh Ambani, India's richest man and the man who is predicted to be the world's richest man by 2014, has finally moved his family into the $1 billion Mumbai skyscraper he has been building as a private residence. The home, which is named Antilla after a legendary island once believed to lie in the Atlantic Ocean, has 27 stories. Our sibling blog Housing Watch reports that the 53-year-old tycoon's new home is larger than the Palace of Versailles.

It has underground parking for 160 cars, three helicopter pads and a theater that seats 50. The first few floors are given over to garage space and housing for staff takes up much of the middle section. The home also has a ballroom, several lounges, a health club, a dance studio and an elevated garden.

The home has a total of 400,000 square feet of space, room enough for Ambani, his wife Nita, their three children, his mother and plenty of household help. Business Insider has renderings from Hirsch Bedner Associates which show a home that looks more like one of the luxury hotels the firm has designed.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Peepli Live nominated for Oscars

Peepli Live
Aamir Khan has done it again. His latest release Peepli [Live] has been selected as 2010's India's official entry to the Oscars in the Best Foreign Language Film category. After Lagaan, this is the second time that an Aamir Khan Production's film has been selected to compete at the prestigious Academy Awards. However, now it remains to be seen whether Peepli [Live] will get short listed by the Academy to compete at the Oscars.

Peepli [Live] is the story of Natha, a poor farmer from Peepli village who is about to lose his plot of land due to an unpaid government loan. A quick fix to the problem is the very same government's program that aids the families of indebted farmers who have committed suicide. As a means of survival, Natha can choose to die. However, Political bigwigs, high-ranking bureaucrats, local henchmen and the ever-zealous media descend upon sleepy Peepli to stake their claim of this situation.

Peepli [Live] is written and directed by Anusha Rizvi.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Earth is headed for MAJOR havoc in 2013

2013 is being heralded as the year that might see catastrophic events wreaking havoc with our planet, say scientists.

They fear a huge solar flare is due to erupt in 2013.

It is expected to cause power grids to crash, communication systems to collapse, planes to be grounded, food supplies to be hit and the Internet to be shut down.

A solar flare is a large explosion of magnetic energy in the Sun's atmosphere which causes an intense burst of increased brightness.

They cannot be detected by the naked eye from the surface of the earth but can be observed through telescopes, space x-rays and thermal imaging equipment.

British Defence Secretary Liam Fox called an emergency conference in London on Monday where he warned of potential damage if an explosion similar to the one in 1859 occurred in modern times.

Occurring only once about every century, the solar flare could cause massive power surges.

While the last major flare in the mid-nineteenth century disrupted the early telegraph system, a similar event now could disable modern life, with computers, telephones, water and food supplies affected, media agencies reported.

The amount of energy released by a flare can be equivalent to millions of 100-megaton hydrogen bombs exploding at the same time -- ten million times greater than that released by a volcanic eruption.

Often lasting just a few minutes, solar flares heat material to many millions of degrees and produce a burst of radiation across the electromagnetic spectrum, including from radio waves to x-rays and gamma rays.

Monday's conference also heard that a hostile power could cause a similar effect by exploding a nuclear weapon in space.

"While we all benefit from scientific advances, so we also create vulnerabilities that can be exploited by our enemies," The Sun quoted Fox as saying.

"However advanced we become, the chain of our security is only as strong as its weakest link," he added.

And former US government defence adviser Dr Avi Schnurr warned, "A geomagnetic storm could shatter nations all over the earth. We cannot wait for disaster to spur us to action."

In 1989, a more common smaller solar flare took out power stations in Quebec, Canada.

Professor John Brown, the Astronomer Royal for Scotland, said: "Dr Fox's summary of the advice he has received is essentially correct.

"The risk of it happening is small, and probably far less than the risk of rogue attacks, most likely on software like power grid controls than by the vastly more difficult nuclear explosion in space," The Scotsman quoted him as saying.

"However, a solar incident could happen and be much more widespread, and there is no doubt our communications, food chains and medical care are fragile as well as sophisticated," he added.

source: rediff

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Be Careful! - Some Facebook Pages Are Traps

There’s a new kind of ‘scam’ on Facebook that won’t do you any harm but it is likely to embarrass you in public. I have lately seen some of my tech-savvy friends on Facebook fall for such scams and you should be careful as well.

The scam work something like this. You land on a unsuspecting Facebook page and there’s a pop-up saying that you need to confirm that you are an adult in order to view the underlying content. You click confirm and the dialog disappears.

Facebook Page Traps
The problem is that the ‘pop-up’ you just clicked was not actually a pop-up but some sort of a hidden script that executes itself as soon as you hit the ‘Confirm’ button.

The script, in most cases, will automatically post a link on your Facebook wall thus broadcasting to the world that you just tried visiting an ‘adult’ site. This will almost create a viral effect because now your other friends will be eager to see that page and some of them may fall in the trap as well.


source: labnol.org

Friday, September 17, 2010

New Internet Explorer 9 goes BETA

Internet Explorer 9

Microsoft are being consistent and have released the latest Internet Explorer in BETA. The latest release will be known as Internet Explorer 9 and will hopefully rectify issues that almost every developer has with Internet Explorer.

One of the major issues with Internet Explorer has always been compliance but they are speaking a different tune this time and actually were involved in the development of HTML5 and CSS3. This is what they say on their site:

Through our investments in standards and interoperability, we hope to help bring predictability to web programming. Because when you can spend less time rewriting your sites to work across browsers, you can spend more time creating amazing experiences.

It does look promising, although it still appears (to me at least) that Microsoft are playing catch up with Internet Explorer and not really innovating. Many of the new features have been available in Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox for a few months now.

Here is a complete breakdown of the new features:

* Pinned sites. With pinned sites, a user’s favourite websites can be accessed directly from the Windows taskbar with having to first open the browser, making it quick and easy to get to the content you care about.

* One Box. Whether you want to search or enter a web address, the One Box provides a single simple place to start and minimises the space the browser takes up keeping the focus on your sites.

* Enhanced tabs. Internet Explorer 9 provides improvements to the New Tab page, and the ability to “tear off” a tab from within a browsing session allows you to easily comparison-shop online or watch a video while scanning the news.

* Download manager. This integrated Download Manager includes a streamlined user interface and provides security for downloaded content.

* Reliability features. Tab isolation, automatic crash recovery, hang recovery, and Add-ons Advisor help ensure your information isn’t lost and keep you browsing when a website isn’t working correctly.

* Automatic Updates. Getting the latest browser updates helps keep users protected over time. After Internet Explorer 9 is installed, users can choose to have important updates installed automatically, once they are made available.

I’m not holding thumbs for Internet Explorer 9 and I don’t think I will make the move just yet but I do hope that this removes the hate some people have for Internet Explorer.

To get a taste of Internet Explorer 9 BETA and to actually download it, click here.

source: techdaily

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Huge Natural Gas Pipeline Explosion In San Bruno CA

A massive explosion followed by a huge fireball in the sky have set the San Francisco suburb of San Bruno CA ablaze in fire injuring over 20 people and destroying over 50 homes. The flames from the blaze are still spreading fast and out of control in the neighborhood – Terrorists?

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that a massive explosion rocked the San Francisco suburb of San Bruno shortly after 6:00 PM PDT setting the entire neighborhood ablaze.

The explosion resulted in a massive fireball shooting up hundreds of feet into the air sending smoke into the air that could be seen from miles away.

From the latest live video footage the fast spreading fire appears to have spread over several miles of the neighborhood.

The source of the fire has now been confirmed to be a high pressure natural gas pipeline between 24 and 36 inches wide that runs through the neighborhood near the San Francisco airport.

The local coroner’s office has refused to comment on whether or not they have been called to the scene so it is unknown if there are any fatalities at this time.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Toshiba to introduce world's fastest SDHC UHS-I cards

Toshiba has announced what it claims will be the world's fastest SDHC UHS-I and the world's first microSDHC UHS-I compliant memory cards. To be available in 32GB, 16GB and 8GB capacities, the SDHC cards will offer read and write speeds of up to 95MB/s and 80MB/s respectively. The microSDHC cards will be available in 4GB, 8GB and 16GB capacities with read and write speeds of up to 45MB/s and 20MB/s. The company says mass production of the SDHC UHS-I cards and sample shipments of the new microSDHC UHS-I cards will begin from November 2010.

TOKYO and IRVINE, Calif., - Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. and its parent company Toshiba Corporation (TOKYO: 6502), a leading innovator in NAND flash memory technologies and solutions, today announced the launch of 8GB (gigabyte)*1 16GB and 32GB SDHC UHS-I cards compliant with the SD Memory Card Standard Ver. 3.0 (SD 3.0), UHS104. These new SD cards offer the world's fastest*2 SDHC data read and write speeds. Toshiba also extended its industry leadership in memory card solutions by unveiling the world's first 4GB, 8GB and 16GB microSDHC UHS-I cards compliant with (SD 3.0), UHS50.

Mass production of the new SDHC UHS-I cards and sample shipments of the new microSDHC UHS-I cards will start this November.

The new SDHC UHS-I Memory Cards are the world's first memory cards compliant with SD 3.0, UHS104. With a maximum read speed of 95MB per second*2, and a write speed of 80MB per second, the products introduce a new level of ultra-fast read and write speeds to NAND flash based memory cards.

Toshiba's new microSDHC UHS-I cards are the world's first microSDHC memory cards compliant with SD 3.0, UHS50. They, too, offer the world's fastest read and write speeds in their class: a maximum read speed of 40MB per second and a write speed of 20MB per second.

The specifications of the new cards combine increased data capacity with the fast data transfer rates essential for applications such as high speed continuous shooting of high resolution digital still cameras, video, and high speed transfers of HD content.

The high performance specifications announced by Toshiba will enable developers to use HD content in future generations of consumer products. By further enhancing the performance of its SD Memory Card line-up, Toshiba continues to lead the NAND flash memory market in removable card storage.

The expanded new card series will be featured at IFA 2010, in Berlin, Germany from September 3, and PHOTOKINA 2010, in Koln, Germany from September 21.

source: dpreview

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mount Sinabung volcano erupts after 400 dormant years

Indonesia volcano

An Indonesian volcano has erupted, causing panic in villages and delays to flights to the immediate area.

Mount Sinabung, in the north of Sumatra island, started emitting lava and ash early on Sunday, followed by another eruption on Monday, sending plumes of ash two kilometres into the air.

So far about 21,000 people have been evacuated from the area and are living in temporary accommodation.

The volcano had previously been dormant for 400 years.

source: bbc news

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Google's Amazing New Technology - Free Voice Calls via Gmail

google voice
Google is taking on internet telephone companies like Skype by allowing users to call from its free web-based email service.

The service allows users to make calls to landlines and mobiles from inside their Gmail account.

Phoning anywhere in the US and Canada will be free until the end of the year, while calls to the UK, France, China and Germany will cost 2 cents a minute.

Until now Google offered computer-to-computer voice and video chat services.

"This is a real big deal because now hundreds of millions of Gmail users can make phone calls right from their Gmail page," Craig Walker, product manager for real-time communications told BBC News.

"They don't need to download an additional application or anything to start making really high-quality low-cost calls. For the user it means much more efficient and low-cost communications."

The product will initially be rolled out in the US, the firm said However, for a brief time, international users were also able to use the feature becuase of an error.

"Unintentionally we briefly made the service available to non-US English users," a spokesperson said. "We do hope to bring it to our international users soon"

When it rolls out the product link will appear on the left hand of the Gmail page within the "chat" window. A "call phone" option will pop up along with a number pad to let you dial the number of the person you want to talk to.

Google said money raised from international calls will pay for the free US and Canadian calls.

"What surprised me was that they actually said they hope to make money off the calls," said Danny Sullivan, editor-in-chief of technology blog SearchEngineLand.

"Normally Google is like 'We don't know how we are going to make the money' or 'We will make money down the way, don't worry about it' and this stands out as a big benefit that they get actual revenue early on."


Skype, which is the most successful internet phone offering, claims to have over 560 million registered users. The firm said 124 million used the service at least one a month while 8.1 million were paying customers.

The company is planning to offer shares to the public later this year. Observers said that it is too early to say whether companies like Skype should be worried.

"Skype is a well known company in this place and they are almost like a verb in the internet calling world in the way Google is with search. You Skype someone. So I think there is some inertia there to get over and I am interested to see how Gmail users respond," said Tom Krazit, senior writer with technology news site CNET.com.

"But you always have to worry when Google comes after what you do. They don't do things half way and bring a lot of resources to any problem they try to tackle. It doesn't mean you are doomed.

"Google's product won't work on your mobile browser so Skype has an advantage there but I don't think it is a stretch to assume Google will come out with a mobile version pretty soon," said Mr Krazit.

The company plans an eye catching way to get non-Gmail users to give the product a go. It is in negotiations with a number of university campuses and airports to install red telephone boxes around the country to give users the chance to dial and try.

source: BBC NEWS

Monday, August 23, 2010

Philippines Bus Hijack: Dismissed cop kills most of Chinese hostages

MANILA, Philippines—Hostage-taking cop, Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza has reportedly killed most, if not all of the Chinese tourists he had held hostage after seeing cops arrest his brother and son.

The information came from the driver of the tourist bus who was able to get away during the carnage.

Gunshots were heard coming from the bus earlier.

Mendoza was thought to have fired warning shots anew as he saw his brother, Senior Police Officer 2 Gregorio Mendoza and a young man said to be Rolando’s son, being hauled away by police.

Superintendent Ike Gutierrez of the Manila police said Senior Police Officer 2 Gregorio Mendoza was arrested for bringing a gun to the hostage scene without coordinating with the police.

A young man, said to be a son of Senior Inspector Mendoza, who had helped SPO2 Mendoza resist arrest earlier was also seen being hauled away by the policemen.

At past 6 p.m., a single gunshot was heard coming from the bus. Reporters at the scene learned that Mendoza fired a warning shot after rejecting a letter from the Office of the Ombudsman regarding his dismissal from the service on charges of torturing and extorting from a suspect.

But the Manila police earlier would not confirm if the loud shot was gunfire.

Chief Inspector Erwin Margarejo, spokesperson of the Manila Police District, evaded questions about the bang, saying they were still checking what happened.

He said the police remained optimistic that the hostage crisis would end peacefully.

The loud bang was heard at about 6:20 p.m. Moments later, SPO2 Gregorio Mendoza, the brother of the hostage-taker, came back with the negotiators from the bus after another apparent attempt at an agreement.

But the brother and the negotiators were tight-lipped and would not say what happened, and what the shot was all about.

source: newsinfo.inquirer.net

Thursday, August 19, 2010

One in Five Americans Think Obama is Muslim


WASHINGTON — Americans increasingly are convinced -- incorrectly -- that U.S. President Barack Obama is a Muslim, and a growing number are thoroughly confused about his religion.

Nearly one in five people, or 18 per cent, said they think Obama is Muslim, up from the 11 per cent who said so in March 2009, according to a poll released Thursday. The proportion who correctly say he is a Christian is down to just 34 per cent.

The largest share of people, 43 per cent, said they don't know his religion, an increase from the 34 per cent who said that in early 2009.

The survey, conducted by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center and its affiliated Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, is based on interviews conducted before the controversy over whether Muslims should be permitted to construct a mosque near the World Trade Center site. Obama has said he believes Muslims have the right to build an Islamic centre there, though he's also said he won't take a position on whether they should actually build it.

In a separate poll by Time magazine/ABT SRBI conducted Monday and Tuesday -- after Obama's comments about the mosque -- 24 per cent said they think he is Muslim, 47 per cent said they think he is Christian and 24 per cent didn't know or didn't respond.

In addition, 61 per cent opposed building the Muslim centre near the Trade Center site and 26 per cent said they favour it.

The Pew poll found that about three in 10 of Obama's fiercest political rivals, Republicans and conservatives, say he is a Muslim. That is up significantly from last year and far higher than the share of Democrats and liberals who say so. But even among his supporters, the number saying he is a Christian has fallen since 2009, with just 43 per cent of blacks and 46 per cent of Democrats saying he is Christian.

Among independents, 18 per cent say Obama is Muslim -- up from 10 per cent last year.

Pew analysts attribute the findings to attacks by his opponents and Obama's limited attendance at religious services, particularly in contrast with Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, whose worship was more public.

Andrew Kohut, the Pew Research Center's director, said the confusion partly reflects "the intensification of negative views about Obama among his critics." Alan Cooperman, the Pew Forum's associate director for research, said that with the public hearing little about Obama's religion, "maybe there's more possibility for other people to make suggestions that the president is this or he's really that or he's really a Muslim."

Obama is the Christian son of a Kenyan Muslim father and an American mother. From age 6 to 10, Obama lived in predominantly Muslim Indonesia with his mother and Indonesian stepfather. His full name, Barack Hussein Obama, sounds Muslim to many.

White House officials did not provide on-the-record comments on the survey, but they prompted Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell of Houston to call The Associated Press.

Caldwell, who said he has known Obama for years, said the president is a Christian who prays every day. He said he was not sure where the public confusion about the president's religion came from, but he called false media reports about it "a 24-hour noise box committed to presenting the president in a false light."

Six in 10 of those saying Obama is a Muslim said they got the information from the media, with the largest portion -- 16 per cent -- saying it was on television. Eleven per cent said they learned it from Obama's behaviour and words.

Despite the confusion about Obama's religion, there is noteworthy support for how he uses it to make decisions. Nearly half, or 48 per cent, said he relies on his religion the right amount when making policy choices, 21 per cent said he uses it too little and 11 per cent too much.

At the same time, the poll provides broad indications that the public feels religion is playing a diminished role in politics today, with fewer people than in 2008 saying the Democratic and Republican parties are friendly toward religion.

With elections for control of Congress just over two months away, the poll contains optimistic news for Republicans. Half of white non-Hispanic Catholics, plus three in 10 unaffiliated with a religion and a third of Jews, support the Republican Party -- all up since 2008.

The poll, overseen by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, involved landline and cellphone interviews with 3,003 randomly chosen adults. It was conducted July 21-Aug. 5 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

source: CTV Toronto

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Why PM Jawaharlal Nehru lighting ciggarette for Homai Vyarawalla?

Just found this pic on rediff.com, was surprised to see respected Prime Minister of India Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru lighting a cigarette.

Homai Vyarawalla, India's first woman photojournalist and the founder member of WNCA, turned 94 this year.

Her camera has captured some of the defining moments in the country's political history.

This black and white picture of Nehru lighting a cigarette for the then British high commissioner's wife is an absolute stunner.

source: rediff
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