Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Priyadarshani Mattoo case: Online petition

Sixteen year old Aditya Kaul has started a site so that people may post their online petitions which will then be forwarded to the President of India.

Speaking to ndtv Aditya stated, "In my petition to the President APJ Abdul Kalam, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chief Justice, I have asked for some action to be taken in the Mattoo case".

The Mattoo case grossly highlights the state of the justice system in India and the urgent overhaul the laws need if we are to progess ahead. Merely double digit growth rates cannot uplift the society there must also be credible law and oprder system in place for people and businesses to thrive.

Indianexpress published the following article which makes for a shocking read:

Don’t tell this to Jessica Lall’s father

G Ananthakrishnan & Tanu Sharma
Posted online: Sunday, March 19, 2006

NEW DELHI, MARCH 18Another grieving father, Chaman Lal Mattoo, whose daughter was murdered — and the accused acquitted — is waiting for six years for hearings to begin in the Delhi High Court. The reason? The trial court’s papers haven’t been translated and typed. But that’s only one part of this story of how justice is denied when justice is delayed. The Sunday Express investigates

How many days should it take to translate three-year court records from Hindi to English—when the major chunk, the 449-page verdict is already in English? In a case that captured national imagination, a murder of a 22-year-old law student in the nation’s capital? Six months? One year? Two years? Three? Four? Five?

Make it six—and still counting.

That’s how long Chaman Lal Mattoo has been waiting.

His daughter, Priyadarshini Mattoo, was murdered on January 23, 1996. In December 1999, the lower court acquitted the accused, lawyer Santosh Kumar Singh, son of IPS officer J P Singh who retired as Joint Commissioner of Police that year. The CBI went into appeal to the Delhi High Court.

That appeal hasn’t even come up for hearing.

The story of the Mattoo case shows what lies behind Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chief Justice of India Justice Y K Sabharwal’s comments last week that the “justice-delivery mechanism” is in a state of “collapse.”

The Sunday Express sifted through trial court and High Court records to piece together the judicial timetable of the case. It shows, in shocking detail, how justice is denied when justice is delayed.

And the reasons behind the delay:

lights in the courtroom to a judge on leave, from the case being transferred to another judge by mistake to lawyers suspending work to even the tantrums of the accused. But first, the High Court. The appeal against the lower court acquittal was drawn up on March 7, 2000. As per the High Court’s official website, that appeal has figured only six times since it was admitted on July 18, 2000.

And on each occasion, it moved not one inch forward:

• March 5, 2002: Preparation of “paperbook” under process, listed for directions on April 9. The “paperbook” is a compilation of all papers from the trial by the High Court Registry—daily orders, witness statements, and the judgment. Papers in local languages—in this case, Hindi—are translated into English and re-typed. Mattoo’s father says that there are merely 300 pages in Hindi.
• April 9: Preparation of paperbook still under process.
• October 23: Registry directed to expedite preparation of paperbook and appeal listed for hearing.
• March 26 and May 21, 2003: Case listed. On both occasions, the paperbook wasn’t ready.
• In two days, it will be three years since then, no word yet on the paperbook.

The Sunday Express contacted former Additional Solicitor General of India Altaf Ahmed who represented CBI in the Mattoo appeal. Asked to explain why despite the October 23, 2002 order nothing has moved, he said: “The CBI did move the court for an early hearing but efforts did not fructify. The High Court Registry, despite clear orders from a Division Bench, failed to implement it timely.”

Asked why, he said: “There is so much congestion of work due to pendency which has snowballed into this kind of inefficiency.” The Registrar-General, the head of the Registry, was unavailable for comment. A Registry official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that given the backlog of cases, the fate of the appeal wasn’t “alarming.”

Agreed R K Naseem, counsel of the accused. “Preparation of paperbook is a time-taking procedure. The hearing can’t take off unless it is ready. Cases instituted before 2000 are pending. No special treatment can be given to this case.”
Priyadarshini’s father certainly knows that.

Visit the above link for more articles sheding light on the case so far.

About Ms Mattoo & the background of the case:

Priyadarshini Mattoo, a third-year law student was found raped and strangled to death in the bedroom of her South Delhi apartment with 19 injuries on her person.

Santosh Kumar Singh, a law student in the University of Delhi and the son of a senior officer of the Indian Police Service was charged with the rape and murder of Priyadarshini Mattoo.

The judge had this to say when he delivered the verdict: "Though I know he is the man who committed the crime, I acquit him, giving him the benefit of the doubt."

The court faulted the CBI on several counts, including for not following "official procedure", keeping away from the court evidence collected by it, fabricating documentary evidence on behalf of the accused; "fabricating DNA technology"; and keeping away the fingerprint report from the court, thus depriving the court of an opportunity to review it judicially. Responding to the CBI's failure to make available the chance fingerprint report to the court, Judge Thareja wondered "if the CBI during trial knowingly acted in this manner to favour the accused."

You can find information about the case on wikipedia:

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Coolwebsites Thread

Matt B recently posted the following link:

i enjyed it and i hope you do enjoy it as much.

and below is a link to the coolwebsites thread... he hee if you want to add your own please do! ;)

Afghan convert let off

U.S. propelled democracy in Afghanistan has its limitations. and it was evident in the "Afghan convert case".

That the case didnt take a violent turn must be due to backdoor pressure and behind the scenes diplomacy.
Read an article about the case above.

Democracy in Afghanistan is just taking shape, and there arent going to be pretty roses for anyone to see. Also the legacy of the Taliban age plus the hardline remnants of Taliban warlords who are ironically now part of the government machinery havent made it an easy journey for freedom to propagate.

Complete with a backward and illiterate society and hardline Shariat laws banning conversion of Muslims in that country to another religion is punishable by death. Even if this man's life was spared under international pressure, his life is still in danger in that country from people who think they are law unto themselves.

no wonder the fellow has applied for asylum!

Dangerous bug in Internet Explorer

Bug in IE could leave millions of users vulnerable to spyware and bot softwares being installed on their computers.

One must disable active scripting in IE to stop this problem. Alternately eEye Digital Security has come out with a patch to fix the problem. But it is only a temporary fix till Microsoft comes out with a patch which wont happen till April 11th!

So if you dont want to wait that long you can go here, and download the temporary patch yourself:

and the temporary eEye patch will automatically remove itself as soon as Microsoft's patch is delivered.

read more at:,10801,109974,00.html

Want to "bug" someone?

here is an idea by a very irritating person. thanx Leo Luis

click on the link and get bugged!!!

not that i was Luis, quite funny actually. he resembles you.

Nice he gets squashed under my foot!!! lol ;)

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Stars For Stars

Stars for stars Tennis Awards

Chirac walkout over use of English in EU Summit!

hey this is quite a funny development. i dont know how far one can protect one's lingo from what popular culture dictates. English is now the "choice" of communication. While love for one's language is understandable this reaction was a little too far out.

Surely Chirac could have done better than a walkout. But Chirac has done weirder things! lol

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Spams on Tamiflu: capitalising on birdflu fears

read a complete report about the problem on spam daily news. the link is here:

Hollywood's perception of Bollywood: Ashok Amritraj speaking at Frames 2006

Hollywood's perception of Bollywood: Ashok Amritraj Team
(23 March 2006 6:30 pm)

MUMBAI: More than just a Q& A session, it turned out to be a live session of Koffee with Karan at the Ficci Frames. Except that, this time around there were no Bollywood stars on the show. Karan Johar, one of the most successful Bollywood Producers had his frothy Koffee with Ashok Amritraj, the most successful Indian producer to have made a mark in Hollywood.

To begin with Johar got Amritraj talking about his initial struggle days in Hollywood. Taking the audience through his early days, this tennis star and now a Hollywood tycoon said, "In the early 1980s, I had gone to the U.S., to play tennis but I had always wanted to make movies. I soon realized that it was a very white world out there, and it wasn't really multicultural as it is today."

And, with time Amritraj managed to break into the Hollywood circuit and has produced more than 80 films in the past 20 years. Currently, he is the chairman and CEO of Hyde Park entertainment and some of his best known films are Bandits, Bringing down the House and Raising Helen.

Talking of how Hollywood perceives Bollwood, the film tycoon said, "There is a lot of hype being generated in the US about India as the country is slowly being recognized as a global economy. Also, there is a lot of curiosity about our culture and tradition, but, somehow that does not mean that Indian films are getting more eyeballs in America."

The discussion got more interesting as Johar queried Amritraj on how Indian film makers can penetrate the global markets and on the making of crossover films. "I think the European market is now more receptive to Indian movies, especially countries like Germany and France, but films like Parineeta , Kuch Kuch Hota could have been distributed better globally." said Amritraj. "But, somehow for Hollywood, Bollywood films still don't really exist. Americans are still not able to understand the ethos, emotions and drama which is the core of our movies."

On whether filmmakers need to make different kind of films for the international audience, Amritraj said, ""There is always a risk of losing out on the audiences back home. So, it is a clear choice which filmmakers have to make. One of solutions was maybe Indian producers need to have co-production treaties with the international studios for better distribution of Indian films globally."

The discussion turned to be not just informative, but, also brought home lessons for Indian filmmakers wanting to carve a niche in the international market.

Oldest tortoise in India dies at age 250!

Clive of India's tortoise dies aged 250

HE WAS reputedly owned by the imperial hero Clive of India, lived through the industrial revolution, the Napoleonic wars and the space age, but yesterday Adwaitya, the world's oldest tortoise, finally tired of life after more than 250 years.

The giant aldabra tortoise died in Calcutta Zoo of liver failure, taking all the secrets of an existence spanning three centuries with him.

"Historical records show he was a pet of British general Robert Clive of the East India Company and had spent several years in his sprawling estate before he was brought to the zoo about 130 years ago," said Jogesh Barman, the West Bengal forest minister.

"We have documents to prove that he was more than 150 years old, but we have pieced together other evidence, like statements from authentic sources and it seems he is more than 250 years old."

Details about the tortoise's early life showed that British sailors had brought him from the Seychelles and presented him to Clive, who was rising fast in the East India Company's military hierarchy, the minister said.

If Adwaitya's age is proved by planned carbon-dating of his shell, he will take the longest-lived crown from another tortoise with connections to empire.

Tui Malila, who was presented to the Tongan royal family by Captain Cook, in either 1773 or 1777, remained in their care until its death from natural causes in 1965. This means Tui Malila was at least either 188 or 192 years old.

Some believe Adwaitya's link to Clive of India to be a romanticisation. "It's rather thrilling to imagine that this ancient creature once belonged to someone as renowned as Clive, but there's little historical evidence to back this," said Bunny Gupta, a Calcutta historian.

She said it was possible that Adwaitya - whose name means The One and Only - was owned by the Ezras, a wealthy Jewish trading family who lived in lived in Calcutta from the 18th century. The Ezras were known for their philanthropy and interest in zoological matters.

When Calcutta Zoo was opened they donated several animals and there is still an enclosure named after them.

As befits his size and age, Adwaitya treated his admirers with benign aloofness.

Most of the time they would see him sitting in front of his favourite platter of vegetables and wheat bran, chewing on a choice titbit in a meditative fashion.

But for the last week or so he had been ailing and even his favourite greens did not seem to interest him much.

For Adwaitya's fans his demise is upsetting. "This is a sad day for us. We will miss him very much," a zoo keeper said.

One regular visitor said: "His was the first enclosure that we would go to when we came to the zoo. It was like paying our respects to the most venerable of creatures before going on to see the others."

Another woman said: "Thursday is a school holiday for my daughter and visiting the zoo on this day was a must."

She added: "Today, it's Thursday and we're at the zoo, but it's heartbreaking to see Adwaitya's empty cage. In fact, my daughter broke into tears as soon as she saw the cage."

Viv Richards and Nina Gupta

hey someone was at my blog looking for info here goes:

here is the part you are looking for out of above article:

Viv Richards is one of the greatest batsmen of all-time. He came from Antigua. I remember a brilliant 124 not out he made during a Sunday League match. He hit the major innings to enable one-day victories for Somerset. He broke all sorts of records playing for the West Indies.

It was rumoured that he had a girl near every County ground to stay with. I am sure that this saved on hotel bills. During the 1987 Cricket World Cup he actually found time to father a boy with the Indian actress Nina Gupta. I do not think that his wife was too pleased about it.


Irvin Kershner scounting for actors in India

Hollywood director turns to Bollywood for next film
Thu Mar 23, 2006 3:04 PM IST

By Krittivas Mukherjee

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Irvin Kershner, the Hollywood director of Star Wars and James Bond fame, is scouting for actors in India where he will shoot large parts of his next film.

"The Princess and Wizard' will be "a children's film that adults will also like," Kershner said during a stopover this week in Mumbai where he met the Bollywood set.

Kershner, the director of such blockbusters as "The Empire Strikes Back", "Never Say Never Again" and "Robocop-II", is looking for the female lead for his new film, and he says Bollywood is where he will find her.

"Indian women are of extraordinary beauty," the 83-year-old director said, adding several other key roles in the film will be played by Indian actors. He did not elaborate on his new movie's storyline.

The film's producer Arjun Daluvoy said they were considering Hollywood heartthrobs Johnny Depp or Orlando Bloom for the male lead.

Production begins in October and the film will span India, the United Kingdom, Egypt and the United States.

Kershner will travel to Rajasthan scouting for locales. Some filming will also be done in a studio in southern India.

"This is my first trip to India, but I have known the Indian film industry for long. Satyajit Ray was a dear friend of mine and he came and stayed with me several times," Kershner said, referring to the famous Indian filmmaker who was awarded the Oscar for lifetime achievement in 1992.
Kershner said he was contemplating putting some of Bollywood's exuberant song and dance sequences in his new film.

After years of being taken lightly for its kitschy, formulaic musicals, Bollywood has been trying to make the crossover with slicker productions and tailor-made scripts to appeal to an international audience, especially millions of Indians living abroad.

Bollywood beauties like Aishwarya Rai and Mallika Sherawat are gaining recognition in Hollywood and starring in international productions.
"Our film will try to bridge the Bollywood-Hollywood gap," Daluvoy said.

More Flowers :)

World Flower Day (25th March)

So you think there wasnt a special day for Flowers!

needless to say you are wrong. and i was pleasently surprised myself!!!

Lets us celebrate the beauty of flowers.....

They give us beauty, tenderness and above all joy and give us the oppurtunity to present others with our gifts of love.

Note: all pictures are credited to their original cappers.

Puppetry in India

i came across this great site on puppetry in India. Explore it and check out yourself...

World Puppetry Day march 21st

Now a World Puppetry Day on Mar 21

Puppeteers call for more fests on smaller scale for art promotion.
Express Features Service`

Lucknow, February 27: TO promote the dying art of puppetry, puppeteers from all across the country would observe March 21 as the World Puppetry Day. On this day, they would present atleast one show wherever they are to reach out to the masses and make them more aware about the art of puppetry.

This was decided by the Sangeet Natak Akademi award wining puppeteers, who came together at the Lalit Kala Akademi Regional Centre at Aliganj to speak out on the problems of puppetry and puppeteers. The discussion was held as a part of the ongoing National Puppetry Festival, organised by the Central Sangeet Natak Akademi alongwith the Uttar Pradesh Sangeet Natak Akademi.

The winners included Dadi D Pudumji from New Delhi, Puran Bhatt from Rajasthan, Suresh Dutta from Kolkata apart from Anurupa Roy from New Delhi and Pradeep Nath and Milan Yadav from Lucknow.

The experts said lack of state patronage would force this traditional art form to die a premature death, as the art form often receives a step motherly treatment in state schemes. They said the national festivals indeed bring such art forms into limelight, but the need of the hour is to have more and more regional festivals at smaller scale for continuos promotion and awareness amongst the masses.

Meanwhile, in the evening, two presentations were staged. The first one was ‘Bandhu’ staged by the Tripura Puppet Theatre which was directed by Pravitanshu Das and the second one was ‘Gardharbh Manushya Prahasan’ (you cannot change a donkey into a man) presented by the Baal Baalaga Puppet house of Karnatka and directed by Prakash Garun.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Canada's high court allows Sikh daggers in school

Canada's high court allows Sikh daggers in school

By Randall Palmer Thu Mar 2, 1:09 PM ET

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Multiculturalism and religious freedom trumped safety concerns in a Canadian Supreme Court decision on Thursday that will allow orthodox Sikh students to carry traditional daggers to school.

In its decision, the court noted that Sikh orthodoxy requires the wearing of the daggers, known as kirpans, even though they are banned from airplanes and some courtrooms.

"Religious tolerance is a very important value of Canadian society," Justice Louise Charron wrote in reasons for the decision after a court case that involved 12-year-old Gurbaj Singh Multani, who was prevented from carrying his kirpan at a Montreal school.

"If some students consider it unfair that Gurbaj Singh may wear his kirpan to school while they are not allowed to have knives in their possession, it is incumbent on the schools to discharge their obligation to instill in their students this value that is ... at the very foundation of our democracy."

Kirpans are already allowed in Ontario after a lower court order, as is the case in some other parts of Canada. Thursday's ruling now opens the door to the practice, with possible restrictions, across the country.

Canada banned kirpans on airplanes after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States. Some courts ban them as well, although Sikhs attending the Supreme Court hearing were allowed to wear them.

Charron said aircraft were unique environments, but schools had the ability to better control different situations.

Multani's school had originally allowed him to carry his kirpan in a wooden sheath sewn inside a cloth envelope inside his clothing. But the school board overturned this, and the boy's father turned to the courts.

His kirpan is about 20 cm (8 inches) long, with the blade roughly half that length, but kirpans can be longer.

The Quebec government argued unsuccessfully for zero tolerance for weapons in school, and some parents also opposed the idea.

"My first reaction as a parent is a feeling of insecurity," Claude Bouchard, a board member of the Quebec Federation of Parents' Committees, told Reuters after the decision.

"As a parent, is the life and safety of a child more important than religious freedom? I think so."

Charron said the boy had no history of violence, and rejected the idea that kirpans are inherently dangerous. She also noted that schools contained other objects that could be used as weapons, such as scissors or baseball bats.

Orthodox Sikhs have been been required to carry kirpans since the 1600s. Some say the original purpose was for defense but many insist it is not a weapon.

Multani is now 16 and about to graduate from school, but he told reporters in the foyer of the Supreme Court the battle was worth it.

"Everybody should stand for their rights. I got it. I'm happy," he said, wearing a black turban and surrounded by numerous Sikh supporters.

Sikhs struggled for the right to wear turbans while in uniform with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. That episode was decided by the federal government in 1990.

Around 250,000 Sikhs live in Canada, and about 10 percent of them are considered orthodox.

In the United States, a federal appeals court allowed kirpans in California, but the U.S. Supreme Court has not decreed a national policy.

as reported on yahoo news.

thanx Manny ! ;)

Too Thin Anna???

It seems Anna Kournikova is thining more then ever...

click on image for larger size!

pictures contd

more Doha 06 pictures

posted by Mark S. on

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

2006 Laureus World Sports Awards

Kelly Slater nominated for The Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 1 March, 2006 : - - LONDON, March 1, 2006 – Voting by the world’s media to select the nominees for the 2006 Laureus World Sports Awards has now opened and is promising to be the most competitive ever after a vintage year for sport. The 2006 Laureus World Sports Awards, which recognise sporting achievement during the period 1 February 2005 to 28 February 2006, are recognised as the premier honours on the international sporting calendar.

There is a two-part voting process to find the winners. Firstly, a Selection Panel of the world’s leading sports editors, writers and broadcasters from over 80 countries votes to create a shortlist of six nominations in five categories – Laureus World Sportsman of the Year, Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year, Laureus World Team of the Year, Laureus World Newcomer of the Year and Laureus World Comeback of the Year.

The members of the Laureus World Sports Academy then vote by secret ballot to select the Award winners. The Laureus Academy is the ultimate sports jury, made up of 42 of the greatest sportsmen and sportswomen of all time who have made an outstanding contribution to world sport.

The eventual winners, as voted by the Laureus World Sports Academy, will be unveiled during a televised Awards Ceremony staged in Barcelona, Spain, on the evening of May 22, 2006.

No fewer than three former winners are in contention again for the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award. American cyclist Lance Armstrong won a record seventh Tour de France in 2005, Swiss tennis ace Roger Federer won his third Wimbledon crown, plus the US Open, and the Australian Open, and Tiger Woods won the US Masters and the Open Championship to re-establish himself as the world’s No.1 men’s golfer.

They face a strong challenge from, among others, Spain’s new Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso, 10,000 metres World Athletics Champion Kenenisa Bekele, England cricket’s Ashes hero Andrew Flintoff, American sprinter Justin Gatlin, who won 100 metres and 200 metres gold in the World Athletics Championships, Barcelona’s Brazilian football star Ronaldinho, named FIFA World Player of the Year for the second straight time, Italian Valentino Rossi, who won his fifth World MotoGP World Championship, and Australian cricketer Shane Warne, who became the first man to take 600 Test wickets.

The world’s leading women’s golfer, Sweden’s Annika Sorenstam, who won ten times on the LPGA Tour in 2005, including two major championships, will be a strong contender to win her second Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award.

Opposing her will be five women who made the headlines in the World Athletics Championships: Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba, the first woman to win 5,000 metres and 10,000 metres gold; Russia’s Yelena Isinbayeva, who won pole vault gold and also in 2005 became the first woman to break the five metres mark; Sweden’s Carolina Kluft, who became the first woman to defend the heptathlon title; Britain’s Paula Radcliffe, who won the women’s marathon gold; and American Lauryn Williams, who won the 100 metres gold at the age of 21.

The four tennis Grand Slam titles in the qualifying year were shared out among Kim Clijsters (US Open), Justine Henin-Hardenne (French Open), Venus Williams, who won her third Wimbledon title, and Amelie Mauresmo (Australian Open). Clijsters, 22, was probably the most impressive of the four, winning the US Open in September after missing twelve months with a career-threatening wrist injury. She is also a contender for the Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award.

The Winter Olympics produced potential nominees in Croatia’s Janica Kostelic, who won a gold and a silver to make a career total of six medals to become the most decorated woman in Olympic Alpine skiing history, Austria’s Michaela Dorfmeister, who won downhill and super-G gold medals, and Germany’s biathlon ace Kati Wilhelm who won her third career Olympic gold medal.

Germany’s brilliant football striker Birgit Prinz, who was named FIFA Women's World Player of the Year for the third consecutive year, is also likely to be a strong contender.

Tennis provides one of the strongest contenders for the Laureus World Newcomer of the Year Award in Spain’s Rafael Nadal, who won the French Open at the age of 19. Among those who will be up against him will be Britain’s Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, 17, the first athlete to win 100m and 200m at the World Youth Games, American Paula Creamer, two-time winner on the LPGA Tour at the age of 19, American Tianna Madison, 19, who won the long jump gold medal in the World Athletics Championships, Barcelona’s Leo Messi, 18, star of Argentina’s victory in the FIFA World Youth Championships, Britain’s tennis prodigy Andrew Murray, who won his first ATP title, Danica Patrick, who finished fourth in the Indianapolis 500, the best ever finish by a woman, Kevin Pietersen, voted Emerging Cricketer of the Year for his performance in the England v Australia cricket series, and Pittsburgh Steelers Ben Roethlisberger, who became the youngest ever quarterback in a winning Super Bowl team.

The Laureus World Team of the Year Award will be one of the most competitive categories. American sport has pitched up three strong contenders, the San Antonio Spurs, who won the NBA basketball crown for the third time in seven years, Pittsburgh Steelers, who won the Super Bowl for a record-equalling fifth time, and Chicago White Sox, who won Baseball’s World Series for the first time since 1917.

Football offers World Club Champions Sao Paulo, who became the first Brazilian club to win the Copa Libertadores three times, English club Liverpool, coached by Spain’s Rafael Benitez, who were European Champions for the fifth time, and Egypt, who won the African Nations Cup for a record fifth time.

Also in contention are the Croatia Davis Cup Team, who won the trophy for the first time in their history, the England Men’s Cricket Team, who beat rivals Australia for the first time since 1987, the New Zealand Rugby Union Team, who won the Tri-Nations Championship and had an emphatic win over the British Lions and the Renault Formula One Team, who broke the Ferrari monopoly to win the Constructors World Championship.

The Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award includes sportsmen and sportswomen who have fought back from illness, injury or a chronic lapse of form to succeed. Among the possible nominees are Sweden’s Kasja Bergqvist, who came back from serious achilles tendon injury to win the World Championship high jump gold, Tedy Bruschi, New England Patriots linebacker, who returned to the team eight months after suffering a stroke, Belgium’s Kim Clijsters, who could be nominated in two categories, France’s Antoine Deneriaz, who won the Winter Olympics downhill gold despite a horrific training accident last year, Martina Hingis, who won the Australian Open Grand Slam mixed doubles title after an absence of three years, New Zealand rugby player Jonah Lomu, who made a comeback with Cardiff after a rare kidney disease, Scottish golfer Colin Montgomerie, who won the European Order of Merit for the first time since 1999, and surfer Kelly Slater, who won a record seventh world title after a gap of seven years.

The Selection Panel voting process for these five Awards is monitored by independent auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

There are also two categories - the Laureus World Alternative Sportsperson of the Year and the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability – for which the nominations come from Specialist Panels

Two other honours are selected by the Founding Patrons and the Academy. These are the Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award and the Laureus Sport for Good Award, presented to people who have made an outstanding contribution to society through sport. The Academy can, if it wishes, also bestow additional Awards, such as the Laureus Spirit of Sport Award, awarded for the first time in 2005.

The winners of the Laureus World Sports Awards will be revealed during a televised Awards Ceremony to be staged in Barcelona on the evening of May 22, 2006. Last year's Awards Ceremony, in the presence of His Majesty King Juan Carlos of Spain, was attended by members of the Laureus Academy and Hollywood stars Jackie Chan, Morgan Freeman, Teri Hatcher and Marcia Gay Harden. Among the award winners present were Roger Federer, Kelly Holmes and Greece football coach Otto Rehhagel.

Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, is a city with an enormous sporting tradition which has staged the most important sports events. The immensely successful 1992 Olympic Games gave a new impulse to sport in the city. Sport is a part of everyday life in Barcelona and during the past few years the number of high-level international championships staged in the city has multiplied. Therefore it is no surprise that Barcelona was chosen to host the Laureus World Sports Awards in 2006.

Barcelona is a Mediterranean and metropolitan city with the most modern facilities. Its unique architecture, artistic ambience and many tourist attractions have made Barcelona one of the most visited cities in the world. A business and leisure city, it is the ideal place to organise such an important moment of the sporting year - the Laureus Awards Ceremony.

Sania and Hingis find common bond in partner

Sania and Hingis find common bond in partner

Kolkata, Feb 26: Former Indian Davis Cup player Zeeshan Ali has been a huge draw as sparring partner among the top players at the ongoing Dubai Duty Free Women's Open, including Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis.

Zeeshan, a six time national tennis champion and son of celebrated coach Akhtar Ali, has been dividing his time for practice with the leading women stars at the Tier II WTA event.

"Practising with these players on the tour has given me the opportunity to interact with some of the best in the game," Zeeshan said from Dubai.

"Not only do I get a chance to interact with these players on a one-on-one basis, it also gives me the opportunity to know the practice and training method and the latest trends among those top players," he said.

Zeeshan has also helped Jennifer Capriati, Anna Kournikova, Venus Williams and Mary Pierce as practice partner.

Zeeshan, a member of the Indian Davis Cup squad from 1987 to 1994, moved to Dubai in 1995 on the personal invitation of the ruling al Maktoum family.

He said Hingis particularly had shown a personal preference for him as her practice partner on both occasions that she visited Dubai in 2001 and this year.

"Definitely, this is an added experience for me," he remarked.

Bureau Report . Zee News

England Cricket Team's stomach woes in India

A test of the gut

Akshay Sawai
February 27, 2006

The HT

Spinners may be India’s chief weapons against visiting cricket teams. But often, it is Delhi Belly that makes the first inroads into the opposition.

It’s just 12 days since Michael Vaughan’s England arrived here for three Test matches, seven one-dayers and a few dozen shrimp.

Already, Ian Blackwell, Monty Panesar, Shaun Udal and Simon Jones are down with stomach bugs.

A tour of India is, literally and metaphorically, a test of the gut and there have been spectacular instances of visiting players struggling with their tummies.

In 1993, Graham Gooch introduced us to designer stubble by sporting a gravitassy grey stubble (maybe the destruction wreaked by Vinod Kambli and the spin troika – Anil Kumble, Rajesh Chauhan and Venkatapathy Raju – drove him to the forlorn look).

Gooch also showed us what happens when you walk into the corridor of uncertainty that is the seafood section.

The captain had prawns of questionable quality in Chennai, and paid for it by being unable to play the second Test.

Gooch must have remembered countryman John Emburey then. About a decade earlier, the offspinner had repented for giving into his desire for curry as soon as landing in Bombay.

Emburey and his roommate, John Lever, placed their order almost the moment they kept their bags down.

The effects were just as prompt. Minutes after consuming the fare, Emburey leapt off his seat and onto the toilet.

Aussie leg-spinner Shane Warne likes to sample the local variety when he travels. But when it comes to food, he is known to maintain fidelity to a few things.

So when he flew to India in 1998, he brought with him cans of beans and Vegemite, the traditional Aussie bread spread.

That was a time when the culinary revolution in India was just starting, and Warne, not a spice enthusiast, thought it wise to not take chances.

The cricket scholar Ramachandra Guha remembers that when he went to see Bishan Singh Bedi in his hotel room during the series, a couple of empty bean cans were around. Warne had paid Bedi a visit for bowling tips.

One of the worst cases of India’s gastronomic forces, positive or negative, bowling a team through the gate was in 1988, the sufferers being New Zealand.

At one point the side was so ravaged by stomach problems that they were forced to use former skipper Jeremy Coney, on commentary duty, as a fielder.

Thankfully for them, Sir Richard Hadlee overtook Ian Botham’s then world record of 373 Test wickets in Bangalore and gave them some reason to smile.

It’s not just foreigners whose intestines are susceptible to the wrong ‘un from the dinner plate. Dilip Vengsarkar couldn’t control his culinary libido and pounced on mackerel (baangda) during the Reliance World Cup.

The morning after was awkward and the star was forced out of the semifinal in Mumbai.

India were favourites to beat England in that match and reach the final at the Eden Gardens. But they lost.

It is possible Vengsarkar then placed a picture of the fisherwoman who had procured the fish beside one of Malcolm Marshall in his Foes Gallery.

But just as some players are incompatible with food in India, some are able to enjoy it.

When New Zealand came in 1995, I took skipper Lee Germon for a ‘dinner with the Kiwi captain’ story to the Golden Dragon at the Taj.

Germon and manager Glenn Turner were in charge to bring a measure of discipline to a side with wild individualists such as Chris Cairns, Adam Parore and the enigmatic Martin Crowe.

But neither his class monitor role nor New Zealand’s fastidiousness for food stopped Germon from digging into pork that evening.

In a previous assignment of a similar kind, Mike Gatting forked in so many prawns that the colleague who had taken him out had to augment the office allowance with her own cash to pay the bill.

West Indian, Pakistani and even some Australian players find more angels than devils in food in India.

The great Viv Richards may not have been forthcoming about his romances here but admitted to a thing for custard apple ice-cream on the 80s television show – Sunil Gavaskar Presents.

Wasim Akram is said to be enamoured by the dal bukhara at Delhi’s Maurya Sheraton.

The left-arm swing artist, they say, often packs some of the famous creamy brown dal for his family in Pakistan. Matthew Hayden is a dal person too, except that he prefers the yellow version (is it because that is Australia’s colour in One-day cricket?). And being enthusiastic about cooking, he makes it himself.

Like Akram, his countryman Shoaib Akhtar is not averse to ordering take-out when in India. Except that he does it at Hyderabad’s Paradise, renowned for their biryani.

And a possible reason why Ian Chappell is particular about a vigorous swim in the morning is his fondness for gajar halwa. Hoping then that England, our current guests, get a respite from bathroom trips so that they can make some to the restaurant.

Indian Art

Bird Flu in Switzerland

Grippe aviaire: premier cas de H5N1 en Suisse

1 mars 2006 21:04

Le canard repêché il y a une semaine à Genève a été testé positif au H5N1, la forme la plus pathogène de la grippe aviaire.

Mercredi, un deuxième animal infecté a été découvert sur les rives du Lac de Constance, dans le canton de Thurgovie. Il doit encore être analysé.

Le laboratoire européen de référence, à Londres, a précisé mercredi le diagnostic pour le harle bièvre découvert le 22 février, près du jet d'eau de Genève. Le canard a été infecté par le H5N1, la forme la plus pathogène et la plus dangereuse pour l'homme.

La nouvelle de la contamination du canard plongeur ne surprend pas l'Office vétérinaire fédéral (OVF). La plupart des cas de grippe aviaire décelés en Europe appartiennent en effet à la variante virulente H5N1.

«Il n'y aucune raison de paniquer après ce premier cas avéré en Suisse», a réaffirmé mercredi Marcel Falk, porte-parole de l'OVF.

Cygne retrouvé en Thurgovie

La probabilité que le cygne, testé positif au H5 mercredi au bord du lac de Constance, soit aussi contaminé par le sous-groupe H5N1 est également très grande. Le laboratoire de Weybridge, spécialisé dans la recherche du virus pathogène, devrait donner son verdict dans une semaine.

Pour Cathy Maret, de l'OVF, il faut s'attendre à déceler de plus en plus de cas parmi les oiseaux sauvages. Pour prévenir la propagation du virus, le canton de Thurgovie et son voisin Saint-Gall ont pris des mesures de confinement des volailles et renforcé le contrôle des exploitations.

A Fribourg, en revanche, les volailles euthanasiées mardi dans une exploitation de Bossonnens n'étaient, elles, pas atteintes par le virus de la grippe aviaire. Les analyses menées par un laboratoire de Zurich ont permis d'écarter cette hypothèse.

Pas de danger pour la population

Alors que le H5N1 poursuit sa progression en Europe - de nouveaux cas ont été découverts en Roumanie, en Hongrie et en Grèce - les exploitations de volailles restent pour l'heure épargnées en Suisse.

Un état de fait qui pourrait ne pas durer. Rien ne permet d'affirmer qu'il n'y a pas déjà des milliers de bêtes contaminées, estime Thomas Zeltner, directeur de l'Office fédéral de la santé publique (OFSP) qui a reconnu mercredi que la grippe aviaire était arrivée plus vite que prévu.

Pour l'OVF, le H5 ne constitue toutefois pas un danger pour la population. Les balades au bord des lacs et dans la nature ne sont donc pas à proscrire. De même, les Genevois n'ont rien à craindre à consommer l'eau du robinet, assurent les Service industriels genevois (SIG).

Révision de la loi sur les épidémies

Pour faire face à la grippe aviaire notamment, l'OFSP estime que la Suisse doit réviser sa loi sur les épidémies afin d'accroître les compétences de la Confédération en cas de pandémie. Le projet devrait être prêt en 2007, selon Thomas Zeltner.

Selon lui, la loi actuelle n'est plus suffisante pour faire face à des virus hautement contagieux et globaux comme la pneumonie atypique SRAS ou l'actuelle grippe aviaire. Le principal problème réside dans le partage peu clair des compétences entre la Confédération et les cantons.

Par contre, parmi les mesures envisagées, pas question de vacciner la volaille en masse. L'OVF a expliqué mercredi, lors d'une réunion des éleveurs de volaille, que cela présentait deux désavantages considérables.

Tout d'abord, il n'y a aucune garantie qu'un vaccin puisse protéger efficacement les animaux du virus H5N1. Ensuite, cela brouillerait les pistes lors des analyses. En effet, comment faire la distinction entre infection et présence du virus en raison d'un vaccin.

swissinfo et les agences

Cool Tennis Pics

more doha pictures: Martina


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Doha Pictures

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