Friday, April 28, 2006

Rescue & Adoption of Stray Dogs in Shelters.

While surfing I came across a site

A site for rescue and adoption of dogs who face "euthanasia" (how i hate that word) in shelter homes.

Based in San Francisco, the non-profit organization offers dogs for adoption.

The thing that is really sad is why does anyone need to kill animals in the first place. And it isn't even that these animals are sick.

Perhaps it is the fault of the kind of life-style we lead (or want to lead).

Many friends tell me about how impressed they are by the "cleanliness" they see when they visit abroad. and filth we have here in India. And i agree hundred percent that it is highly unclean here. With heaps of garbage and man and animal living in dire conditions in many quarters of cities in India, we do need a massive cleanup.

I shudder to think of the day though when we will "really" catch up with the West in terms of brandishing strays as outlaws.

I think many people around the world would be surprised to know that Indian people are the worst in the world when it comes to compassion for animals. For our much touted cultural superiority or Gandhian values; we as a people fail miserably when it comes to compassion for animals. Forget strays even pets are mal-treated here.

If we continue down the path of progress which we surely will, i just hope we have enough people out there who dont make dumb animals pay the price for what we think is progress.

Many Indians though blindly adopt all values of the West, which arent all bad. But the way we apply them here is really stark.

Innumerable times there are calls for rounding up dogs in Bombay to avoid spread of rabies and the mass growth in the dog population.

While i agree spread of rabies must be halted and dog population controlled, i havnt once read in any letters to the editors about people who would want to volunteer money or cost of rabies shots (even for strays in their own colony or locality) to the NGOs involved in vaccination and spaying/castration of animals.

Instead they cry fowl that it isnt their responsibility at all and the best solution would be to kill all the animals.

Little does anyone realise that till a few years back dogs were killed in the most horrifying manner.

Tied up in gunny bags that were doused in water and then a live wire was dropped on them! Sometimes dogs in gunny bags were bitten to death!

Very alarming indeed that we say we are progressing, educated, a country full of young people but want to go back to these barbarian ways!

And anyone who claims that this will never happen again is in for a shock, because contrary to the claims of the Municipal Corporation not much money is either allocated or worst allocated funds never reach the NGOs; the Municipal Corporation does indeed find such "low-tech, low cost and barbaric solutions" quite the norm.

Seeing the following page

I was reminded of all the strays i see around here in India and they shameful way we treat them.

I once read a quote by Gandhi in which he said

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." —Mahatma Gandhi.

In the land of the Mahatma where we have this enshrined in our constitutional Article 51A, which makes it a duty of every citizen of India "(g) to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife, and to have compassion for living creatures".
we still dont feel obliged to our moral and ethical duties.


If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Flintoff now to sing duet with Elton!!!

lol the world is really bizarre! MSN autofeed reports this.

London, April 27 : Singer Sir Elton John is set to sing a duet with cricket star Andrew Flintoff next month to raise money for charity.

According to, the pair became friends when Flintoff made John's song "Rocket Man" as England's unofficial anthem for the Ashes tournament last year. The duet will take place at Flintoff's benefit event in London's Battersea Park.

Elton says: "Andrew puts bums on seats, makes the game as exciting as it can be. And he plays the game in a sporting manner, the manner in which all sports should be played."

Of the duet, Flintoff says: "Appearing with the great man, at the moment, seems far more daunting than bowling to Ricky Ponting or facing Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne. I am really looking forward to Elton performing 'Rocket Man' - which became such a special part of last summer's Ashes success."

Quite funny to imagine Freddie singing. We would rather have Freddie "sing with his bat".

Picture credit:

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Mughal-e-Azam released in Pakistan

Great news for Hindi movie lovers in Pakistan with the unreasonable ban on Indian movies being removed to screen the all time classic movie Mughal-e-Azam.

Since Hindi movies were as it is watched in Pakistan with pirated music and DVD sales eating into the movie industrie's profit margins to the tune of billions of rupees.

By recognising the genuine industry in Pakistan, we have indeed come a long way since the ban on Indian movies in Pakistan after the 1965 war.

Part of the insecurity stemmed from percieved fear that Hindi movies would swarm the Pakistani market and leave their home grown talent at sea.

Which is truly sad cause Pakistani movie makers come out with good stories. Somehow the finishing and technical part is not upto the mark. Also cheaply made movies tend to leave a bitter taste in everyone's mouth.

Many Pakistanis might be surprised to know that we make movies of those kind too which are huge flops at the box-office.

The key to success for Bollywood has been the corporatisation of our movie making business with "movie making" getting industry status.

I dont know if many people are aware of the "Official Website of Mughal-e-Azam". But if you want to know more about this ever-green classic please visit following link:

Sections included are: Info on Cast & Crew, History, Restoration and Colourisation, Music, Synopsis, Trivia, Downloads, Bonus

Here is a report of screenings in Lahore.

Lahoris cold to 'Mughal-e-Azam'
Source: IANS.

Islamabad, April 26: Fear of what the media has dubbed "mullah trouble" has marred the running of "Mughal-e-Azam" in Lahore, Pakistan's second largest city, though people strongly backed the move to allow Indian films to be screened in Pakistan.

The first Indian film to be released in over four decades, Mughal-e-Azam is being screened at Gulistan Cinema on amid tight security. "It's an Indian film," a policeman said, "and we don't want any trouble, like the mullas attacking."

"Surprisingly, there was a whole bunch of bearded men wearing white shalwar kameez among the audience," said a report in the Daily Times newspaper.

The paper spoke to a number of people about the screening of Mughal-e-Azam in Pakistan.

"I think it is a fabulous thing! I would much rather watch these Indian films in cinema," said prominent artist Salima Hashmi. "It's about time we let go of the hypocrisy," she said, "since we all enjoy watching Indian films."

She said she remembered when President Pervez Musharraf went to India, he specifically wanted to meet the stars of film Veer Zara. "We all know who Rani Mukherjee or Shah Rukh Khan is!"

"It's a brilliant idea," said cultural icon Yousaf Salahuddin.

"It will help improve our standards of filmmaking and be an incentive to build more and improved cinemas. I don't think it will affect our Punjabi cinema," he said. Mughal-e-Azam is an immortal love story which can be enjoyed at any age or era."

Rock star Ali Azmat said allowing Indian films in Pakistan would give all producers a wake-up call.Mughal-e-Azam is a love story that represents the shared history of the subcontinent," he said.

However, Munaza Abbas, a beauty salon owner, said she knew the film was being screened but would not watch it because her family did not approve of going to cinemas. In any case, she preferred films with 'mirch masala'," she said.

"It was not given the publicity it should have been," the Gulistan Cinema gatekeeper said. "Most people have no clue it's being played but those who came have left raving about it."

"I would not go to watch it," said Muhammad Naveed, a candy vendor. "I prefer fun, love stories. Its not about money, I would spend 500 if I thought the movie was worth watching."

But Manat, a balloon vendor, said: "It's great that Indian films are being shown in Pakistan," he said. "I love Indian cinema and will definitely watch Mughal-e-Azam on a Sunday, when I'm free."

A family at the cinema hall was delighted at the film's screening.

"It's wonderful that the ban has been lifted for this movie," said a woman. "I hope we can finally enjoy Indian movies in our own cinemas, instead of buying DVDs."

"We wanted to see Madhubala and Dilip Kumar on the big screen. Not a single actress of today can compete with the stunning, classic Madhubala," she added.

The hall fell into silence as soon as the curtain rose and the movie began. The appearance of the enigmatic Madhubala with her gorgeous smile brought loud applause from the audience.

The audience sang along with the popular songs Pyar kiya to darna kya and Mohabat ka asar dekheingay.

More about the movie on Wikipedia:

on Internet Movie Database (IMDb)

What your "sneeze" can reveal about you!

Look what the world is coming to. Now we have studies to observe our styles of "sneezing"???!!!

A sneeze could give away your personality traits

Source: IANS.
New York, April 26 : "A-choo!" the sound that comes when you sneeze could reveal details about your personality, said a US body language expert.

Patti A. Wood, an Atlanta-based consultant who created the Achoo IQ Study for Benadryl, said a sneeze could offer a revealing look at someone's
personality, reported the online edition of ABC News.

Wood categorised sneezers into four categories: nice, be right, get it done and enthusiastic.

Wood classifies you as a "nice sneezer" if you are a single sneezer and turn away when you do so. People in the category are characterised as being warm, helpful, supportive and nurturing of others.

Or are you the type to let a big loud sneeze out? These sneezers, or "get it done" sneezers, are found to be fast, decisive and to the point. They typically make the best leaders.

Do you always keep tissues handy and cover your mouth when you feel a sneeze coming? These are the "be right" sneezers and are typically the careful, accurate, deep-thinking type, said Wood.

The last group are the enthusiastic sneezers. These are the people with sneezes you notice - such as your grandfather whose sneezes perhaps terrify you, or your co-worker who always sneezes five times.

The enthusiastic sneezers were found to be charismatic and social and have the ability to motivate others.


lol all this talk about "Achoo IQ" is making me yawn. oops Better close my mouth fast otherwise soon someone might come out with "Yawn IQ"

1st Indian to ski to North Pole:Ajeet Bajaj

Ajeet Bajaj is first Indian to ski to North Pole

Source: IANS.

Bajaj, 40, skied for nine days from a Russian weather camp in the Artic Ocean to reach the North Pole early morning (IST).

"He reached the North Pole at around 4.50 a.m. Wednesday and called us on satellite phone to give us the good news," said his wife Shirly Thomas Bajaj.

"He has overcome the sub-zero atmosphere and the rough terrain and we are really happy for him. Calls have poured in from relatives to congratulate us," Shirly told.

North Pole is close to the northern point at which the Earth's axis of rotation meets the surface. The pole is located in the Arctic Ocean.

Ajeet, the managing director of Snow Leopards adventure sports, had left India April 14 for Norway and later underwent three days of training in Russia.

He is part of a five-member cross-country skiing expedition team that has three Americans and a Briton.


Congratulations to Mr. Bajaj for doing India proud.

3 cheers for Team India!!! hip hip hurrah!!!

Music Directors Jatin-Lalit Depart

Music directors Jatin-Lalit have decided to part ways and "Fanaa" will be their last movie together.

In an interview to HT the duo speak about their music, Fanaa and life after.

Visit the link below for Jain and Lalit's interviews.

Internet Explorer 7

2:36 PM 4/26/2006
Vidhyut Kargutkar

In the latest attempt by Microsoft to revamp IE so that it isnt vulnerable to viruses and hackers (a big claim!); Microsoft will soon come out with the latest ver 7 of IE.

Facing stiff competition from Firefox, Netscape and Opera, the company has now made a test version available.

The new version is set for release by the end of the year.

Read about it here:

It remains to be seen however if Microsoft can now match its claims by its performance. Otherwise this could soon be just another "no show" in a long list of past failures and more updates to fix never ending problems.

Part of the problem also stems from Microsoft's need for domination and hegemony of the browser market as with other softwares including Operating Systems.

With a greater share of the market and vast numbers of users relying on IE, it becomes all the more vulnerable to mass attacks by viruses that now spread faster than anti-virus updates!

Adidas Logo War Against ITF and the 4 Slams

The Tennis World may be abuzz with news about the "inequality in pay at Wimbledon" but i think this piece of news warranted atleast a little view.

Henman, Sir Cliff and Wimbledon sued in logo war

By Paul Newman
Published: 26 April 2006

Tim Henman is used to receiving substantial backing from adidas, but if his sponsors have their way the four-times Wimbledon semi-finalist will soon be writing out a cheque to them.

Henman, along with Roger Federer, Venus Williams, Sir Cliff Richard, the Duke of Kent and their 1,000 fellow members of the All England Club, are being sued by adidas in a dispute over the use of the distinctive "three stripes" which the kit manufacturer uses on its sportswear.

In London next month adidas will go to the High Court to challenge a decision by Wimbledon and the French, Australian and US Opens to restrict the size of the three stripes on kit worn by players. Henman, Andre Agassi, Martina Hingis and Justine Henin-Hardenne are among the leading players sponsored by adidas, which is suing the International Tennis Federation, the four Grand Slam tournaments and the individual members of the All England Club.

Tim Phillips, the Wimbledon chairman, is sending out a letter this week to the club's 375 full members and 600-plus associate members informing them that adidas is seeking both an injunction to prevent the new rule being applied at this year's championships and damages incurred as a consequence of the rule. Henman is a Wimbledon member, as are all the men's and women's champions, including his fellow adidas players Hingis and Agassi.

Some other manufacturers have felt that adidas has enjoyed an unfair advantage. At last year's Masters Series tournament in Rome, Nike made a point when one of its players, Rafael Nadal, wore a shirt with a logo - the "swoosh" - many times larger than permitted.

Originally notified of the change in May last year, adidas were eventually given until 26 June this year - the first day of the Wimbledon championships - to comply. However, the company has now decided to go to court.

The company claims that the rule "discriminates against adidas and infringes elementary EU competition rights". The company said the three stripes running down shirt sleeves and shorts were not a standard logo. It said its official logo consisted of three stripes in a pyramid with "adidas" written underneath.


Maria Sharapova 19th birthday pictures

The pictures doing the round of the net these days.

pictures by: Todd Plitt

Message for Manny

hey Manfred check the links ;)

So i kept my promise. btw i wont login at night. i am busy for a few days now, so might not be online even.

i have to go shopping today.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Martina Hingis at Magdalena Maleeva's farewell event in Sofia

From Magdalena Maleeva's official site:

20 April 2006

A farewell event for Maggie to be held in Sofia

After 16 succesfull seasons in the tennis elite, Maggie has decided to retire from professional sport. Her last tournament was in Zurich in October 2005.

On April 28, in the Winter palace of sports in her home town Sofia, she will be the host of a great one night event celebrating her tennis career. Her guests for the big night will be her sisters Manuela and Katerina, Martina Hingis, Conchita Martines, Elena Likhovtseva, Natasha Zvereva, Liezel Huber.

The event's web site is here (in bulgarian only).Sponors of the event are vivatel and Toyota. All the profits will be used by Maggie for charity.


Upcoming sports season

A nice article i came across regarding what to look forward to this sporting season.


Manmohan Singh in Germany

Another DNA Article:

PM to flag off year of India in Germany
Arati R Jerath
Thursday, April 20, 2006 22:47 IST

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will flag off an “India Year” in Germany when he opens the Hannover Trade Fair with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday.

India is the partner country in the Fair and with participation by 300 top engineering firms, it intends to make a huge splash at the world’s biggest industrial exhibition.

But it’s not only the famed Hannover Fair that will fete India this year. In May, India will be the flavour at Bonn’s cultural festival. Then comes the Frankfurt Book Fair, the world’s largest exhibition of books. And India will be the focus country.

Finally, India will feature as a major destination at the World Travel Mart. Showcasing India will be at the top of the PM’s agenda on his three-day visit to Germany, beginning Saturday. He will also take the opportunity to further India’s strategic partnership with Germany.

The Indo-US nuclear deal will figure in his talks with Merkel. Germany has privately expressed some reservations on India’s efforts to join the elite nuclear club. Most of its queries revolve around the Iran nuclear controversy and India’s position on the issue.

MEA officials said the PM will use the trip to explain India’s position. He will particularly stress on India’s galloping energy needs while reiterating that India cannot support nuclear proliferation in the Iran context. On his way back, he will stop for a day in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan.


DNA article on Anna Kournikova

Some Russian sight-seeing

Tuesday, April 18, 2006 20:50 IST

The sad bit about Anna Kournikova’s legacy is that no one really remembers her for her tennis. In the self proclaimed “I am beautiful, famous and gorgeous” typecasting, Anna made for better copy on account of her lissome legs and pop singer boyfriend Enrique Iglesias.

The ironic bit is that, beyond the fluff, this woman helped propel a revolution that has borne 11 Russian women in the top 50 of the women’s tour for the first time ever.

Anna proved to be a shining beacon that lit the way to stardom for hundreds of Russian girls.

Dinara Safina, the sister of men’s star Marat and presently ranked 18 in the world said: “Women’s tennis, in Russia and around the world, is popular because of Kournikova. A lot of players want to be like her.”

But somehow, in being part of the 1998 People magazine “50 Most Beautiful People” list and close to the top 50 in the Forbes Power list which measures celebrity power vis-a-vis their visibility in the media, Kournikova the pioneer tennis player got lost. She became a victim of her own adulation and, since a 305 year-end ranking on the 2003 Tour list, has not figured on the tennis registers.

Wonder years

Sergei Kournikova was a former wrestler earning in the vicinity of $140 a month as a teacher in the Russian Physical Culture Ministry. Sergei and mom Alla chose to sell their TV to get their five-year-old a racquet so that she could attend a weekly tennis programme in Moscow.

By nine, the talent was obvious enough to be spotted by a sports agent who had discovered the agency’s youngest signatory.

The Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida followed where the coach, who had shaped the arsenal of Andre Agassi and Jim Courier, would groom her potence. “The only person I could compare her to is John McEnroe,” said the ex-paratrooper.

By end 1995, Anna was the number one ranked junior in the world. She was 14. On a surprising high of 57 on the WTA rankings, she was voted the most improved player next year. In 1997, she became only the second woman in the Open Era to reach Wimbledon semifinals on her debut.

Early autumn however, the initial promise failed to flower. Despite 16 doubles titles, Anna failed to win even one singles crown on the Tour. She would stoop to the lowly $400,000 events too to jettison the pesky monkey, but it persisted in keeping her back.

Google Anna Kournikova and you get 58 lakh plus hits.

The game became secondary for her largely male fans who made her picture one of the most sought-after on the net. In her book Hidden Side of Women’s Tennis, Nathalie Tauziat points to new found motivation amongst the ranks the queen had ruffled.

“Everybody in women’s tennis plays their hardest so they can beat her and prove her looks are useless,” she wrote. Pam Shriver found her attention to looking good irritating enough to suggest that Anna should focus on her game rather that at wearing down the locker room mirror.

Even as the game refused to sizzle, off court Anna certainly did. An alleged affair with NHL star Sergei Federov at 16 had her saying: “He wishes.” On the Jay Leno show she explained away her micro-minis: “It’s not that my skirts are any shorter than other players; my legs are longer. You cannot disagree with that, can you?”

Still only 24

A self-imposed withdrawal from the sport has left in Anna’s wake a lingering question mark. The sex symbol image by far outweighs her tennis exploits. But then she is all of 24. If Martina Hingis can have a second innings, why not Anna?

The prod of Russia’s miserable living conditions immediately after the end of Communism is but a far memory for Anna now; $3.5 million in prize money and much more from endorsements has ensured that. The years have not flown away but Anna’s spark sure has. Her millions of fans await a rekindling.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Silver fillings found kid-safe

Silver fillings found kid-safe

Traditional tooth care contains mercury but doesn't harm children, major studies indicate

By Jonathan Bor
Sun reporter
Originally published April 19, 2006

Wading into a dispute that is unlikely to die, two scientific teams have concluded that silver dental fillings containing mercury do not harm the memory, attention, coordination or kidney function of children who receive them.

Scientists who in each case randomly assigned about 500 children to receive traditional fillings with mercury or white "composite" fillings found that those receiving the old-style material excreted slightly more mercury in their urine -- showing that they had greater exposure to the potentially toxic metal.

But scientists found no differences between the two groups on a variety of tests.

"We can eliminate the hypothesis that there are large effects on the central nervous system and the renal systems from amounts that were used in these children," said Dr. David C. Bellinger, a neurologist with Children's Hospital of Boston and lead author of one of the studies.

The studies, appearing in today's Journal of the American Medical Association, "should be reassuring for parents, children and dental professionals," said Sonja McKinlay, an epidemiologist with the New England Research Institute and principal investigator of the Boston-based study.

But long-standing opponents of so-called silver amalgam fillings said the studies were unethical and not designed to detect problems that could take decades to emerge.

"To take a vulnerable subset of people and intentionally insult them with a known neurotoxin -- I don't think it's ethical to do that study," said Dr. David Kennedy, past president of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, a 500-member group that opposes amalgam fillings.

The group has filed complaints with officials at Harvard University and the University of Washington in Seattle, which oversaw the studies. Scientists who conducted the research said they did nothing unethical because they offered treatments that meet accepted standards of care.

Composite fillings, made of an epoxy resin and silica particles, have come into widespread use because they are white and blend into a person's smile. Fillings containing mercury have been used for at least 150 years, and scientists long assumed that a patient's only exposure occurred when the dentist packed a cavity with the material.

In the 1970s, however, scientists using more sensitive laboratory equipment discovered that the exposure continues, with people emitting minute amounts of mercury vapor each time they chew. Patients inhale some of the vapor into their lungs, and the metal enters the bloodstream.

Studies over the years have reached different conclusions about the possible health effects, with some finding a link to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and multiple sclerosis, and others finding no harm at all. Some have shown that dentists who handle the material in the course of their work suffer cognitive declines.

Mercury is one of the most toxic metals studied, and exposure can cause dementia, kidney failure, swelling and other health problems, experts say.

In recent years, controversy has swirled around the use of a mercury preservative in childhood vaccines, with some parents alleging that the vaccines triggered their children's autism. A recent review by the prestigious Institute of Medicine found no such link.

The studies appearing today are the first large, randomized safety trials of amalgam and composite fillings ever done. Considered the "gold standard" in medical research, such trials compare research subjects who are similar in every way except for the treatments being studied.

In the New England study, researchers enrolled 534 children ages 6 to 10 who had untreated decay in their rear permanent teeth and no previous amalgam fillings. The scientists, who designed their study to detect an IQ drop of at least 3 points, found no differences during five years of follow-up.

The scientists also looked for changes in memory, learning and motor skills -- finding none.

In the other study, scientists led by Dr. Tim DeRouen of the University of Washington in Seattle recruited 507 children ages 8 to 10 in Lisbon, Portugal, and tested them over the course of seven years. The scientists said they chose the region because children there have lots of untreated tooth decay and tend not to move out of the area, making their cases easy to track.

The scientists found no differences in memory, attention and physical coordination, as well as the ability of nerves in the legs to conduct signals.

In an editorial also appearing in JAMA, Dr. Herbert L. Needleman of the University of Pittsburgh wrote that the studies were limited in scope, because they were not designed to detect subtle changes that could occur over many years. He said some children might be genetically predisposed to react badly to small exposures to mercury.

Dr. Michael Baylin, a Pikesville dentist, said the studies won't change his belief that small amounts of mercury leaching into a patient's bloodstream over a lifetime can be injurious. He noted that dentists are urged to handle and dispose of the substance carefully so they don't harm themselves or the public.

"You can't throw it down the toilet, you can't pour it down the drain and you have to be very careful in the way you handle it," said Baylin, who stopped using amalgam 30 years ago. "I don't think I'd want to have mercury put in anybody's mouth I cared about."

But J. Anthony von Fraunhofer, director of biomaterials research at the University of Maryland Dental School, said he is convinced that the amount of mercury vapor released as a person chews is too small to hurt anyone. By his calculations, it would take 350 years for enough mercury from a single filling to reach concentrations capable of doing harm.

"In other words, we're talking about an unbelievably long time scale," he said. "Even then, you're not too sure you'd reach anything like a level of concern."


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

An MSN Special: Totally Tennis

"Totally Tennis" on MSN India

Sections included:

Player Profiles
Memorable Matches

Monday, April 17, 2006

Indian govt set to release regulatory codes for T.V. industry

1:46 AM 4/18/2006
Bombay, Maharashtra
Vidhyut Kargutkar

In a move planned to curb obscenity, vulgarity and violence on T.V. the Indian government is in the process of coming out with strict rules governing content shown on t.v.
While this is a welcome move as there isnt any self-regulation on the part of cable operators and t.v. channels wherein even adult content is sometimes shown during prime time hours.
The government is thinking pf appointing a separate content regulator to excute the task. The government will soon be coming out with a "broadcast regulatory bill".
Channels failing to comply with the new regime will face penalties or in extreme cases have their licenses revoked.
One point to note here will be that even "news channels" will come under the gambit.
Which could imply a so called stranglehold on the infamous "sting operations" which highlight government corruption and bigotry in bold terms and without fear of repercussions.
With a bill such as this one in the hands of the lawmakers; it could easily be misused to prevent flow of info about government activities.
Ban of violence from news channels could mean no or limited live coverage of terror attacks.
The need for flow of free and fair information is infact greater now instead of some half baked measures to curb it where it isnt needed substantially.

Maths now optional in Mumbai Schools?

Education Minster Prof Vasant Purke has come up with this "weird" proposal of making maths optional for students in school.

Maths for Std VIII, IX and X students
• Sets
• Real numbers
• Surds
• Algebraic expressions
• Linear equations
• Factorisations
• Polynomials
• Logarithms
• Indices

Mumbai Mirror article will shed more light on this:

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Cool Martina Pictures-part 4

Cool Martina pictures -part 3

Cool Martina pictures- part 2

Cool Martina Photos-part 1

I found these while surfing. While most of these i have seen before, a few were new to me, so here goes. ;)

All pictures are credited to their original cappers.

Roger Federer: UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador

By Sabine Dolan

NEW YORK, USA, 3 April 2006 – World tennis champion Roger Federer has been appointed UNICEF’s newest international Goodwill Ambassador. UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman welcomed the 24-year-old player today at UNICEF’s headquarters in New York.

Mr. Federer is already considered one of the all-time greats of professional tennis. He is known for a combination of power and finesse in competition, and grace and honour outside the world of sport.

“I may have achieved a lot on the court, but I would also like to try to achieve more now off the court,” he said. “That's one of my big goals in the future, and it's really a privilege for me to continue this great tradition of UNICEF.”

During the formal signing event this morning, Ms. Veneman explained why UNICEF had chosen the number-one tennis player to join the ranks of its Goodwill Ambassadors.

“Talent is not the only thing that sets Roger Federer apart from the rest of the sports world,” she said. “Our interest in appointing him as a Goodwill Ambassador was inspired by his personal story and the commitment he has demonstrated to using his fame to benefit children.”

Passionate advocate for children

The world’s current top-ranked player first teamed up with UNICEF over a year ago when the Indian Ocean tsunami struck. In the disaster’s aftermath, he made a significant personal donation to the relief effort, joined other athletes in raising funds and organized an all-star exhibition tournament with proceeds benefiting UNICEF’s tsunami-relief programmes. The exhibition launched a global partnership between UNICEF and ATP, the governing body of men’s professional tennis, aimed at harnessing the power of tennis to help ensure health, education and protection for every child.

Even before the tsunami efforts, Mr. Federer, a passionate advocate for vulnerable children, had used his high profile to bring the world’s attention to their plight. In 2003, he established the Roger Federer Foundation to fund projects benefiting disadvantaged children with a focus on his mother’s native country, South Africa.

“I believe all children deserve the chance to make something of their lives,” he said. “This is the mission behind my foundation, which provides schooling and meals for poor children and promotes sports for children and youth worldwide.”

Life lessons from sport

The newly minted ambassador has claimed 36 tennis titles to date, including seven coveted Grand Slam crowns. In 2005 he successfully defended his titles at Wimbledon and the US Open, becoming the first man in almost 80 years to win both events in back-to-back years. He believes that sport can be an ideal vehicle to raise awareness about the needs of vulnerable children.

Mr. Federer said he shares UNICEF's belief about sport teaching important life lessons about respect, leadership and cooperation.

“I believe that sport can help overcome injustice and build bridges between cultures and nations,” he explained at his Goodwill Ambassador appointment ceremony today. “As tennis players we have a unique opportunity. It is our responsibility to connect with the real world beyond our sport [and] use our fortune to make a difference in the lives of those who most need it.”

International Year of Sport and Physical Education

Sport was also a highlight today at the United Nations as it marked the International Year of Sport and Physical Education. As spokesperson for the Year, Mr. Federer took part in the event along with Chilean soccer legend Elias Figueroa, New York Marathon winner Tegla Loroupe of Kenya, Paralympics Gold medalist from Australia Katrina Webb and other renowned athletes. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who chaired the event, was presented with a report recognizing the positive values of sport and physical education as an essential component to achieve the internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals.

source: for pictures, audio and video please visit UNICEF's website

And thanx Sarfaty for pointing out to this picture.

Roger and Shakira!

Tennis Quiz: think you are upto it?

I was surfing blogs on where i found this "exclusive" quarterly tennis quiz blog.

Quiz archives date back to March 2003!

So if you think you are some hech of a smart tennis fan "go get it"

Martina Hingis related article i liked.

So this may be an "old" article but i hadnt read it before and now that i have gone through it i like it immensly; so much so that i am now posting it.

Hingis can relate to Agassi

Martina Hingis knows how Andre Agassi hurts.

Three years ago, she was in straits similar to those he is stuck in now. She was in pain. She was losing. She still loved tennis, but the game seemed to have betrayed her. It broke her body and mocked her identity.

At age 22, she declared that she was finished.

At age 35, Agassi isn't ready to retire.

Their careers continued to go in opposite directions Friday at the NASDAQ-100 Open. Agassi, immobilized by spasms in his bad back, withdrew from the tournament without hitting a shot. Hingis, progressing on a comeback that even Lance Armstrong would admire, defeated China's Tian Tian Sun 6-3, 6-2.

Their respective places in the sport accentuate the reckoning of mind and body that athletes must confront sooner or later. Mentally, Agassi is more insightful than ever. Physically, he's a wreck. Hingis has recaptured the clever flair that made her No. 1 for 209 weeks as a teenager, and has added muscle and speed. But after the 2002 season, when her feet failed her, she realized her head wasn't in it, either.

''I always liked the game, but when you have certain difficulties with your body and you can't play the game you want to play, it's no fun,'' she said.

Agassi is miserable right now. After three agonizing days of practice, he decided to leave the event he's won six times rather than embarrass himself.

''I love this game and I want to try and do it,'' Agassi said. ``I not only want to play, I want to win. I'm not really in a position to do that, so it's not fair to myself or the fans of tennis.''


A spinal condition called spondyloisthesis, combined with a bulging disk, make Agassi feel like an old man. If dog years are multiples of seven, then athlete years are approximately multiples of two. Which makes Agassi 35 going on 70 and, next month, 72.

He did a lot of hand-wringing and scalp-kneading as he talked about his uncertain future.

''It seems pretty dark at the moment,'' he said. ``When my body is right, there's still a considerable amount left in me. I believe that.''

We would hate to see one of the world's most beloved athletes drag this out like a boxer. Or like Michael Jordan. But Agassi is only six months removed from a magnificent run to the U.S. Open final, where he lost to Roger Federer. His back is telling him that was just an illusion.

''It gets in your mind,'' he said. ``You know you're not happy.''


As for Hingis, the grin is back. She grins when she hits a drop shot. She grins when she hits the ball in the net. She's glad to be here.

After several surgeries on heel spurs, Hingis gave up tennis for horseback riding and TV commentating. She had also been eclipsed by the power players, and was losing regularly to Jennifer Capriati, Serena and Venus Williams and Lindsay Davenport.

But look what happened. Since her January comeback, Hingis has risen from No. 349 to No. 24 while the Williams sisters and Davenport have gone down with injuries and Capriati delays her return from last year's shoulder surgery. Hingis left women's tennis when it was at a peak, and she returned when she realized that due to attrition and mediocrity, the number of contenders actually decreased. As Kim Clijsters put it, ``There is no Ms. Federer.''

It's great to see Hingis playing again. She hasn't lost her volley or her touch. And although it seems like she's older, because she won Wimbledon at 16, she's only 25. But now she understands the limited court-life of a tennis player. At an age when most people are just finding their stride in their careers, athletes are finished with sports. Her career was ended prematurely, and this time she's not taking it for granted.

''When you're 17, 18, you think it's ongoing, but it's not,'' she said. ``Now I try to do everything possible not to get any injuries. Be more disciplined. Go to bed early -- which is what I was fighting with my mom about all the time before.''

The cases of Hingis and Agassi should make the leaders of the sport think about how they can stop it from self-destructing. The injury inventory, just at NASDAQ alone, is starting to sound like reports from the NFL. Knees, shoulders, elbows, backs -- and then the mind gives out in frustration.

The season is too long. The players are locked into a 10-month globe-trotting marathon. The racquets are straining the capacity of human joints. Both the calendar and the equipment need regulation.

Hingis still deals with chronic pain, and the years she can't get back, while Agassi gets another shot and another pill in the hopes of one last run.


Thursday, April 13, 2006

Martina Hingis's WTT Tennis schedule


World TeamTennis Announces 2006 Schedule

NEW YORK, N.Y. (April 11, 2006) --- Ten of the 12 World TeamTennis teams will be in action on opening day when the 31st season of the WTT Pro League gets under way on Thursday, July 6. Pete Sampras, the top pick in last month's WTT draft will make his league debut when he and the Newport Beach Breakers host the St. Louis Aces on Monday, July 10.

The 2006 WTT schedule includes 84 matches in 12 markets beginning July 6 and running through July 26. The top two teams in both the Eastern and Western conferences will advance to the season-ending WTT Finals Weekend, set for July 28-30, at the Palisades Tennis Club in Newport Beach, Calif.

In addition to Sampras' July 10 debut against the Aces, he is scheduled to play July 12 at the Sacramento Capitals, July 18 at the Philadelphia Freedoms, July 19 at the defending WTT Champion New York Sportimes and July 21 at the Hartford FoxForce. He meets the St. Louis Aces for a second time on July 23 in St. Louis and joins the Breakers for their July 24 match at the Houston Wranglers.

Several other top names in professional tennis will be part of the 2006 WTT season. Anna Kournikova returns to the Sacramento Capitals and opens the first week with a three-match east coast swing (July 6 at the Delaware Smash, July 8 at the New York Sportimes and July 9 at the Boston Lobsters). Kournikova rejoins the Capitals for a July 17 match in St. Louis and returns home to Sacramento to take on the Springfield Lasers on July 19.

The top men's doubles team in the world, Bob and Mike Bryan, will once again play for the Kansas City Exporers and are scheduled for four matches during the season. The Bryans open their 2006 WTT campaign July 14 when Kansas City hosts Houston and then travel to Hartford on July 15 to take on the FoxForce. On July 17, the Bryans and the Explorers travel to Delaware and they move to St. Louis on July 19 to face the Aces.

WTT veteran Martina Navratilova returns for her 18th season and she will be joined by WTT rookie Todd Martin as they combine to make five appearances for the Boston Lobsters. Navratilova opens her season at home on July 14 when the Lobsters host the New York Sportimes. She will also play on July 24 in Boston against the Delaware Smash.

Martin will play two home matches, July 19 (Houston Wranglers) and July 22 (New York Buzz) and hit the road with the Lobsters for their July 21 road match against the New York Sportimes. 2005 WTT MVP Martina Hingis also makes her only appearance for the Sportimes this season on this date.

WTT veteran John McEnroe plays his only match of the season for the Sportimes when they travel to California to face off against Newport Beach on July 25.

Venus Williams will make three appearances with the Philadelphia Freedoms, playing July 19 in Schenectady, July 21 at home against the Delaware Smash and on July 22 when the Freedoms travel to Houston.

Anastasia Myskina, currently ranked No. 13 on the WTA Tour, returns to WTT action for the Springfield Lasers after a two season absence. Myskina will play three home matches with the Lasers, including July 10 against Hartford, a July 13 match against Kansas City and July 14 when the St. Louis Aces visit Springfield. Myskina will join her teammates for one road match on July 12 in Kansas City.

During the week of July 17th, Mardy Fish and Anna-Lena Groenefeld will each play a few matches for the Houston Wranglers, and teen sensation, Nicole Vaidisova will return to the Sacramento Capitals for one match.

Now in its 31st year of play, World TeamTennis is well known for introducing innovative elements to tennis. Instant replay, which debuted at WTT matches in 2005 as the WTT Coaches Challenge, marked the first time the technology had been used in a professional tennis match, will return to select WTT matches in 2006. Other WTT firsts include co-ed format, cumulative and no-ad scoring, on-court coaching, Supertiebreakers, multi-colored courts and player names on back of their shirts.

The unique gender-balanced team concept for WTT was created in the early 70s by League co-founders Billie Jean King and Larry King. The format used for a WTT Pro League match features teams comprised of two men, two women and a coach. Each match consists of five sets, with one set each of men's and women's singles, men's and women's doubles and mixed doubles.

Advanta is the presenting sponsor of the WTT Pro League and the official business credit card of World TeamTennis. Official WTT Pro League sponsors also include Gatorade, Geico and Wilson Racquet Sports. For more information on WTT including team rosters, visit

Marquee Player Appearances:

Bob/Mike Bryan (KC Explorers) Kansas City, Delaware, Hartford, St.Louis

Martina Hingis (NY Sportimes) New York Sportimes (Westchester)

Anna Kournikova (Sacramento) Sacramento, Delaware, Boston, St. Louis, New York Sportimes

Todd Martin (Boston) Boston (2 matches), New York Sportimes

John McEnroe (NY Sportimes) Newport Beach

Anastasia Myskina (Springfield) Springfield (3 matches), Kansas City

Martina Navratilova (Boston) Boston (2 matches)

Pete Sampras (Newport Beach) Newport Beach, NY Sportimes, Sacramento, Houston, Hartford, Philadelphia, St. Louis

Venus Williams (Philadelphia) Philadelphia, Houston, New York Buzz (Schenectady)

2006 Schedule - World TeamTennis Pro League presented by Advanta

Thurs., July 6
NY Buzz @ Boston
NY Sportimes @ Hartford
Sacramento @ Delaware (Kournikova)
Philadelphia @ Houston
Newport Beach @ Springfield

Fri., July 7
NY Buzz @ Hartford
Delaware @ Philadelphia
St. Louis @ Kansas City

Sat., July 8
Sacramento @ NY Sportimes (Kournikova)
NY Buzz @ Delaware
Houston @ Springfield
Hartford @ St. Louis
Kansas City @ Newport Beach

Sun., July 9
Sacramento @ Boston (Kournikova)
NY Sportimes @ NY Buzz
Springfield @ Houston

Mon., July 10
NY Sportimes @ Philadelphia
Hartford @ Springfield (Myskina)
Boston @ Kansas City
St. Louis @ Newport Beach (Sampras)

Tues., July 11
Philadelphia @ Boston
Delaware @ Hartford
NY Buzz @ NY Sportimes
Houston @ Newport Beach
St. Louis @ Sacramento

Wed., July 12
Philadelphia @ NY Buzz
Springfield @ Kansas City (Myskina)
Newport Beach @ Sacramento (Sampras)

Thurs., July 13
Boston @ NY Sportimes
Hartford @ Delaware
St. Louis @ Houston
Kansas City @ Springfield (Myskina)
Sacramento @ Newport Beach

Fri., July 14
NY Sportimes @ Boston (Navratilova)
Philadelphia @ Delaware
St. Louis @ Springfield (Myskina)
Houston @ Kansas City (Bryan Bro.)
NY Buzz @ Sacramento

Sat., July 15
Kansas City @ Hartford (Bryan Bro.)
Delaware @ NY Sportimes
Boston @ Philadelphia
Houston @ St. Louis
NY Buzz @ Newport Beach

Sun., July 16
Sacramento @ Houston
Springfield @ Newport Beach

Mon., July 17
Boston @ NY Buzz
Hartford @ NY Sportimes
Kansas City @ Delaware (Bryan Bro.)
Sacramento @ St. Louis (Kournikova)

Tues., July 18
Boston @ Hartford
Newport Beach @ Philadelphia (Sampras)
Delaware @ Houston

Wed., July 19
Houston @ Boston (Martin)
Philadelphia @ NY Buzz (V. Williams)
Newport Beach @ NY Sportimes (Sampras)
Hartford @ Delaware
Kansas City @ St. Louis (Bryan Bro.)
Springfield @ Sacramento (Kournikova)

Thurs., July 20
No matches scheduled

Fri., July 21
Houston @ NY Buzz
Newport Beach @ Hartford (Sampras)
Boston @ NY Sportimes (Hingis/Martin)
Delaware @ Philadelphia (V. Williams)
St. Louis @ Springfield
Sacramento @ Kansas City

Sat., July 22
NY Buzz @ Boston (Martin)
NY Sportimes @ Delaware
Philadelphia @ Houston (V. Williams)
Springfield @ St. Louis
Kansas City @ Sacramento

Sun., July 23
Newport Beach @ St. Louis (Sampras)

Mon., July 24
Delaware @ Boston (Navratilova)
Hartford @ NY Buzz
St. Louis @ Philadelphia
Newport Beach @ Houston (Sampras)
Springfield @ Kansas City
NY Sportimes @ Sacramento

Tues., July 25
Springfield @ NY Buzz
Philadelphia @ Hartford
Houston @ Kansas City
NY Sportimes @ Newport Beach (McEnroe)

Wed., July 26
Hartford @ Philadelphia
Boston @ Springfield
Kansas City @ St. Louis
Delaware @ Sacramento

Nadia Petrova interview in Qatar 06

I came across this great interview by Nadia Petrova!



q There was also Martina Hingis making a comeback...

a It’s incredible that anyone can think of making a comeback after three years in the wilderness with a serious injury, but Martina was a great player when she was winning all those tournaments. But the draw put her on a collision course with Mauresmo in Qatar and she lost in the semi-finals. However, she is playing well and I am sure she will reach the top level soon.

q You have been gifted a Harley Davidson apart from the $95,500 top prize...

aYes, it’s a wonderful gift. The Gulf is a wonderful place to play tennis. We are taken care of really well and I hope to come back next time.

For more please read the full interview at above link. ;)

Martina Navratilova comments about Martina Hingis



Sports2Day: Let's talk a little tennis. In women's tennis right now, there doesn't seem to be a rivalry like you and Chris Evert had. What are some of the rivalries that you like?

Navratilova: You know, the talent is sort of spread around and that means the rivalries are spread around. The Williams sisters aren't really playing now, but there could have been (a hot rivalry) in Serena and (Maria) Sharapova. But the Williamses are out of the picture for the most part right now. Of the crop that we have now, there are players that are injured so much and that makes it hard to get them all in the same tournament at the same time. There's also the depth of women's tennis, so you don't get to play each other as much. (Kim) Clijsters lost early (at the Nasdaq-100 Open), (Lindsay) Davenport didn't play. Because of all that, you don't have a solid rivalry. The potential is there for all kinds of rivalries - there's (Amelie) Mauresmo, Clijsters, (Martina) Hingis and Sharapova. There are some real contrasting styles out there, too. There are so many great matchups, but no rivalries at the moment. That doesn't mean there aren't fantastic matchups, though.

Sports2Day: Speaking of Hingis, what do you think of her comeback?

Navratilova: I think it's phenomenal. Once she gets a little more on her second serve, she'll be back. Maybe if she gets a little thicker, a little stronger. ... I think she can be phenomenal. I think she can win Grand Slams again."

Martina Hingis: Acupuncture devotee!

I was reading this article where in found this.


Acupuncture is no longer just for celebrities. An estimated 2.1 million adults in the United States had the treatment in 2001, according to the National Health Interview Survey, the largest survey of alternative medicine ever conducted in the nation.

Count among acupuncture's devotees a slew of athletes, from tennis champ Martina Hingis to golf's Fred Couples. Recently, tiny bandages on the ears of model Kate Moss evoked speculation in the British press that's she's turned to acupuncture for recovery from cocaine abuse. Actors taking up acupuncture are far too many to list. Michael Devitt, managing editor of Acupuncture Today, drops the names of Madonna, Sandra Bullock, Gwyneth Paltrow, Britney Spears, Cher and Demi Moore.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a part of the National Institutes of Health, says acupuncture is most accepted for pain relief, chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting, addiction, headache, menstrual cramps, arthritic knee pain, tennis elbow, stroke rehabilitation and pulmonary problems such as asthma. ( a Medline search of the National Library of Medicine's reputable database finds proof lacking that acupuncture is at least as good as many conventional treatments. Sometimes, too, patients rated it no better than sham acupuncture -- a look-alike therapy that doesn't use acupuncture principles. Hundreds of studies of acupuncture are listed in the database.

The full article can be read here:

Listening to MP3 players can cause deafness in young people

MSN India
Source: IANS/DPA.

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) recently warned youths about potential damage to the ears associated with MP3 players. The ASHA said having the volume up too loud and listening for too long were the main causes of hearing loss.

But that doesn't seem to worry Jessica Manks, a 15-year-old from Braunschweig, near here.

After class, she reaches immediately for her MP3 player. "I just have to hear music all the time," says Manks whose favourite music is hip-hop.

She also has the earpieces on at home to her mother's exasperation. "My mom's always saying, 'Not so loud,'" says Manks, who does not take her mother very seriously.

A lot of students use their MP3 players like Manks. More than half her classmates have one of the devices, which can hold thousands of songs in digital format. Many of her classmates do not even turn their players off during class prompting teachers to threaten to confiscate them.

The warnings by doctors seem to have had some effect on manufacturers. Apple Computer Co. has limited the volume of iPods sold in Europe to 100 decibels. However, that's about the same level of volume close up at a rock concert.

Young ears are not more sensitive than older ears, said Michael Deeg of the German professional association of ear, nose and throat doctors in Neumuenster. But when they listen through the earpieces that accompany the MP3 players, they tend too turn up the volume.

"Young people, therefore, should give their ears regular breaks," he said.

There's another danger that could affect iPod users, according to a group of British physicians. Music is selected on an iPod by turning a small wheel with the thumb.

British physicians recently said this could result in an injury they dubbed "iPod thumb." However, Kurt Juergen Schwarz of the Association of German Chiropracters in Berlin said it was "far-fetched."

For the thumb there is apparently little danger, but the ears are a different story, even if young people don't believe it.

"I have been listening to music this way for a long time and I don't have any hearing loss," said Manks. She refuses to listen to the radio because too much of the broadcasts are "news and boring stuff".

Oliver Perzborn of the Trend Bureau, a Hamburg marketing consultancy, seemed more concerned about "uncool sound" coming from an MP3 player rather than hearing loss.

"Whenever there's something new, there's always a broad movement against it," he said. When comics were new, they were supposed to make readers stupid, he noted. That did little to turn them away.

Perzborn said anyone without an MP3 player was not considered cool and, although doctors see it differently, volume is more important for young people than a threat that they could lose their hearing.

"I've got to show who I am," Perzborn said. "That's why I play music very loudly over my earpieces."

Now my mother often tells me not to listen to the walkman too much, but i never seem to listen to her!

And now that there is ample proof of the "truth" i think i must heed mom's advise a lot more. *cough*

And it also got me thinking "You have 2 ears and 2000 songs stored on your MP3 players! Which means 2000 divided by 2 = 1000 songs for each ear!!!

lol unless offcourse you think you will listen to all 2000 of them.

We live in the modern age of "2000 songs for 2 ears & 200 channels for 2 eyes"

Which must make all of us "Crazy" Frogs.

Chevron will by 5% stake in Reliance Petro

Chevron is set to buy a 5% stake in Reliance Petroleum at $300 million subject to government regulators.

Reliance is to setup a Rs.270 billion refinery at the special economic zone in Jamnagar, Gujarat.

The output generated by this refinery will make it the 6th largest refinery in the world. The refinery project is estimated to be completed by 2008.

Mukesh Ambani (chairman reliance industries) made the following statement, "The agreement between Chevron and Reliance will be the first step in establishing a strong partnership with one of the world's largest and most respected companies. I am happy that Chevron has taken the first significant step in participating in the growth story of India as a refinery destination in the world."

The Chevron-Reliance deal will rank as largest foreign direct investment in India.

Official Websites of Tennis Players - Part II

I found some more official websites of tennis players.

In addition to my earlier post which you can see here:

Here are some more official sites:

Vince Spadea

Mats Wilander

It contains a blog by Wilander himself!

Marcos Baghdatis

Fernando Gonzalez

James Blake

Nicolas Kiefer

Dmitry Tursunov

(ok i am not sure this is his official site or not but he has been recommending it on his ATP blog,

Education in India for American students.

More American students head for India

Ramnath Shenoy in Bangalore April 13, 2006 14:21 IST
Last Updated: April 13, 2006 14:34 IST

For decades, a significant section of Indian students' dream was to study in the United States and work there. And now, a 'reverse trend', albeit with a smaller number to begin with, may take shape with American students coming to India for learning.

An American delegation, led by Senator Michael B Enzi, and comprised of among others by US Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, is on a mission to India to study the educational system in India and how the country is able to churn out a large number of highly-skilled professionals.

"....As Secretary of Education I am anxious to see how you all and how others around the world develop human capital and talent. Certainly you (India) have done that and you are doing that. That's why so many industries and American companies are coming here to grow and expand," Spellings told PTI.

Spellings said the team was looking forward to learn about what India was doing on innovation and competitiveness.

Earlier, she, along with Enzi and other Senators Lamar Alexander and Johnny Isakson, visited Infosys, Texas Instruments, and the GE's R&D centre in Bangalore and also met some Google officials.

Spellings said the US would encourage American students to come to India to learn and the numbers are going to "accelerate". "Yes, absolutely," she said about the expected rise in the number American students.

According to one estimate, there are around 70,000 Indian students studying in the US, while about 780 American students are learning in India.

"That's going to change overnight (more American students will come to India to learn). At Infosys, there are 300 permanent employees who will come here for six months to two years from the US and then go back. These are growing programmes and will grow overtime".

On what are the areas that American students would be keen to study in India, Spellings said it's clearly information technology. "But also systems management...things you do collaborate, leveraging all of the various things that we saw at work today at the companies we saw".

Noting that India produces a large number of highly skilled people, she said: "That's one of the pages we want to take from your book...the high quality technical base, strength of the skills...your talent pool. We have work to do on that across our country as well".

According to her, India has a large and strong technical capability, while America's assets are in the areas of creativity, problem-solving and innovation.


Till some years back everyone was talking about getting educated in the US, especially with regards to degree cources such as MBA.

Even now the situation is some what similar with parents yearning to send their wards to the American Universities for higher education. Attached benefits are seen to be higher pay, a potential Green Card or US citizenship and also a comparable spouse being found for their highly educated children.

It is nice to see now that the trend is shifting a little bit and the process has actually been put into motion.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

HBO making documentary on Billie Jean King.

HBO documentary focuses on tennis great


NEW YORK -- Billie Jean King is in constant motion. She's gearing up for the inaugural "Billie Awards" with Elton John in California next week, the World Team Tennis season in July and the "Go Girl Go" fitness programs in Atlanta and Chicago.

And an HBO Sports documentary on her life, "Billie Jean King: Portrait of a Pioneer," premiered Tuesday night in Manhattan. King was unable to attend the event because her father was briefly hospitalized in Prescott, Ariz.

"At 62 you want to keep moving, that's important," King said in a recent phone interview with The Associated Press. She still plays tennis three times a week despite six operations on her knees.

"Go for it, dream big and go for it," she said.

That sums up the philosophy of King, whose fight for equal pay and equal rights for girls and women resonated with a generation during the 1970s and beyond. A winner of 39 Grand Slam titles, the champion and activist revolutionized sports and paved the way for female athletes.

"She just sped everything up as pioneers do, they bring about change," said Martina Navratilova, in New York recently for a book signing. "She changed opinions of people that had nothing to do with sports."

The film chronicles Billie Jean Moffitt's first tennis lesson at a public park in Long Beach, Calif., and her first Wimbledon win in 1961 en route to a record 20 titles. It highlights the infamous 1973 "Battle of the Sexes" match against Bobby Riggs viewed by a worldwide television audience of 90 million and her being outed as a lesbian eight years later by a former partner in a palimony suit.

In 1970, King and doubles partner Rosie Casals led seven others who broke away from the tennis establishment and its paltry prize money and signed symbolic $1 contracts with tennis promoter Gladys Heldman. The Virginia Slims Tour was born, along with the Women's Tennis Association and bigger pay checks.

The glory now goes to the younger generation, who are reaping the WTA rewards. King, who became the first female athlete to win more than $100,000 in prize money in 1971, retired in 1983 after earning $1.9 million in her 15-year pro career. By contrast, Maria Sharapova has won $5.6 million in five years on the tour.

King testified on behalf of Title IX, the federal law that banned sex discrimination in schools and created more opportunities for women in college sports. And she brought equal prize money to the U.S. Open in 1973. She co-founded World Team Tennis, the Women's Sports Foundation and Women's Sports magazine the next year.

"Women were coming into their own, seeking opportunities in business and careers," Casals said. "Billie Jean was in the forefront of sports and tennis changes, always fighting for equality."

The film, which debuts April 26 on HBO, uses rare footage, archival photos and interviews with Chris Evert, King's partner Ilana Kloss and sports journalist Frank DeFord. Her parents, now in their 80s, brother Randy Moffitt and ex-husband Larry King (not the CNN host) also get screen time along with Navratilova and Casals.

Mary Carillo, an HBO "Real Sports" reporter, helped push the film about her friend. King originally broached the idea of a documentary on women in sports during a rain delay at Wimbledon in 1993. That led to the 1999 Peabody award-winning film "Dare to Compete."

Executive producer Ross Greenburg wanted to paint a full picture of the tennis great.

"If we're going to do this, we'll do all of your story," Greensburg told King. "She fought so hard for women's rights and unknowingly came out of the closet and became a champion for gay rights. And now she understands how important she was in that campaign."

King lost millions in endorsements when former girlfriend Marilyn Barnett filed a palimony lawsuit in 1981. Barnett lost the suit, and soon after, King's husband granted a long-awaited divorce.

"I think she's in a good place now, quite comfortable with who she is," Casals said. "I don't think she's been comfortable with all the fame and glory. I think she finds that harder to accept than who she is in regard to her sexual orientation."

Kloss, a former tennis pro from South Africa, has been King's partner for more than 20 years. She's also the commissioner of World Team Tennis. Kloss didn't want to go public until about two year ago, King said.

"Everyone has got to go at their own pace," King said. "But I would never out somebody. It's up to them and their own pace, their own way. Everyone deserves that right of self expression."

Kloss thanked those at the premiere on behalf of Billie Jean, and said 88-year-old Bill King was released from the hospital Tuesday night after a bout with pneumonia.

"The good news is he is doing much better," Kloss said. "She does send her love and best wishes."

Navratilova picked up the championship mantle in the 1980s, first aware of King while watching Wimbledon on a black and white TV in Czechoslovakia.

"I was about 7 or 8 years old and watched Wimbledon, saw her play," Navratilova said. "I knew I wanted to be there."

They shared an aggressive serve and volley game, and Navratilova teamed with King at Wimbledon in 1979 to help her win a record 20th title.
Navratilova, still playing doubles at 49, is attempting to break that record.

"She was very creative, had a great tactical strategy," Navratilova said. "She did things in the middle of the match like no one else did."


Windows XP can now be installed by Mac users

Gone are days when Windows OS systems functioning on a Mac were unheard of.

Apple Computers has released beta version of "Boot Camp"; a program which allows Windows XP to run on a MAC.

Boot Camp which is free for download allows for installation of the Windows Service Pack 2 but requires a Windows XP installation CD.

Although there are problems involved with sharing of files as evident from this article:

it would seem there are more pros than cons in this venture.

So all you Mac users can look forward to working on all those Windows programs right from your "Mactop" :P

The Lowdown on Microsoft's much awaited IE patch!

So this doesnt make a flattering read for Internet Explorer users.

If you read the article on the above link, it would seem it is reasonable to now switch to other web browsers rather than stick with IE and its flaws and "flawed" update policies. :(

For those still in the dark about what new flaws are there in IE please read the following article from my archives:

Natalie Portman news with a twist!

I found a link to this article on

"Stalking Natalie" makes a very interesting read.

Here is an excerpt:

"Toronto has its own version of the star-tracking site, though it lacks the up-to-the-hour directness of Gawker Stalker.

It's called Chasing Natalie Portman Around Toronto ( and it names the local bars and clubs where Natalie Portman, who's here filming Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium with Dustin Hoffman, has been seen in recent days."

Vadnagar, Gujarat : Tourist Attraction

On the 11th i had gone with my mother for a visit to the dentist. I was reading the India Today magazine there and had a glance through the following article.

The Forgotten City

Author: Uday Mahurkar
Publication: India Today
Date: March 27, 2006

Introduction: Vadnagar, a repository of exquisite specimens of Indian architecture and antiquity, is waiting to be discovered.

Legendary Chinese traveller Hieuen Tsang had described his visit to this ancient town in his travelogue on India. Be it the magnificent Hatkeshwar temple, the Kirti Toran arch, or the beautiful step-well of Pancham Mehta, Vadnagar-a town in north Gujarat which has figured virtually in every period of Indian history over the past 2,000 years-waits to be discovered in this new heritage era.

The city, which found prominence during Gujarat's famous Solanki era, came closest to recognition when the Tourism and Culture Ministry of the previous NDA government decided to recommend it to UNESCO as a
world heritage site. But before things could move further, a new political
regime took over.

Apart from the Solanki era monuments, Vadnagar is also the town of origin of the Vadnagara Brahmins, an influential caste over the centuries.

The Hatkeshwar temple, whose Shivlinga is the presiding deity of the
Vadnagara Brahmins, is a perfect example of the treasures the city has to
offer. There are exquisitely carved tales from the Mahabharata and the
Ramayana on the walls, besides a host of other Hindu religious texts. One of the carvings depicts an apsara so immersed in dancing that she is oblivious to a scorpion climbing up her leg. The images of Dhata and Vidhata-the gods who draw up the life-course of new-borns-holding writing material in their hands, are the other attractions.

The temple's shikhar is adorned by a series of garlands, the hallmark of Solanki era architecture. The images of musicians playing instruments are
eyecatching. Vadnagar, which was earlier known as Anandpur, also finds
mention in the Nagarkhand chapter of the Skanda Purana. It used to be
famous as a hub of music and architecture. No wonder then that even today music fetes here draw an enthusiastic response from the locals.

Kirti Toran, a 40-ft-high arch possibly meant for a temple, never fails to
entrance visitors. Built by a Solanki ruler, perhaps to commemorate victory in a battle, the toran in red and yellow sandstone has carvings of battle
and hunting scenes. Many images of gods and goddesses on the arch now stand disfigured. They were, according to historians, vandalised by the armies of Allauddin Khilji, the first Muslim invader to raid north Gujarat
during the Sultanate period. Interestingly, dismantled parts of a similar
but much bigger arch lie in the vicinity. These two arches may have been
part of a big temple complex.

On Vadnagar's outskirts stands the dilapidated Pancham Mehta ni Vav, a
beautiful seven-storey step-well. It was built by a local leader, Pancham
Mehta, in the 16th century for providing drinking water to travellers.
Though step-wells were common in Gujarat and Rajasthan during the medieval period, this Vav is unique. It has two wells and is linked to a water channel with carved outlets from which to drink water. This
arrangement was for those who wanted to drink water but didn't want to
climb seven storeys down.

Yet another attraction is the Gauri-kund, a square-shaped holy pond with a resting pavilion, which, even today, is thronged by people for post-death
rituals. The steps leading to the pond bear carvings from Hindu scriptures. A stone stand with a tulsi plant atop completes this religious depiction.

The most famous place in Vadnagar is the spot with the samadhis of two legendary classical singers Tana and Riri, sisters who saved the life of
Tansen, Akbar's great court musician. Legend has it that Tansen's body
started burning after Akbar forced him to sing the Deepak raag, which was meant to invoke fire. Tana and Riri sang the raag Megh Malhar and saved Tansen by invoking rain. In gratitude, he composed the famous Tarana raag, named after Tana and Riri.

The samadhis of Tana and Riri, made of sandstone, were in a dilapidated state till recently, when at Chief Minister Narendra Modi's initiative restoration work was done. The samadhis are now part of a big complex,
complete with a garden and a cultural spot where the annual Tana-Riri music festival is held. Modi is also getting the Sharmishtha lake, around which Vadnagar is located, renovated in a more aesthetic fashion. His mother still lives in the city.

The entrance gates to Vadnagar, too, present a very interesting spectacle.
The Arjunbari gate has an A.D. 1151 inscription by Shripal, the court poet
of Kumarpala, one of the most dynamic Solanki rulers. All the gates have
the image of Lord Ganesh on one side and Kalbhairav on the other.

Several excavations have been carried out in this area, which have yielded copper plates of Maitraka and Solanki rulers, rare coins and hidden
structures and images from various periods. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. A lot more lies buried in this town, which cries for recognition
on the country's heritage map.

For maps, weather and information for airports close to Vadnagar, follow this link:

More tourist information at following sites:

Animation "Sita Sings The Blues" by Nina Paley

Today i saw news report on cnnibn. It was about a new animated show "Sita Sings The Blues" by Nina Paley.

It is an animation of the Ramayana focusing on the rejection of Sita by Rama.

So it is from a "womanly" perspective. Which offcourse appealed to me.

Here is the complete report on

You can read more about Nina Paley and the ongoing project at her website.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Sonali Kulkarni wins Award for Italian Film "Fuoco Di Su Me"

Sonali bags best actress award for Italian film

Source: IANS.

New Delhi, April 11: Talented actress Sonali Kulkarni has won the best actress award for her performance in Italian film "Fuoco Di Su Me" ("Fire At My Heart") at the Milan Film Festival and is delighted at the honour.

"I was absolutely unaware and least expecting it. The award was a big surprise. Now I feel proud and happy for myself and our country too," Sonali told IANS on phone from Mumbai.

Sonali plays a coral picker in Sergio Scapagnini's "Fire At My Heart" and shared screen space with the legendary Omar Sharif, who won the best actor award for the film at the March 30-April 10 festival.

"I play Grazeilla, a girl who lives on an island. She is a coral picker and is very passionate and poetic. The director told me he was looking for someone who can look real, transparent, convincing and traditional," she said discussing her role.

"The story is based on a war background. And Italian actor Massimiliano Verresse plays a prince who is fighting a war against 'war' and by accident he comes to my island and falls madly in love with me."

Sonali Kulkarni had earlier worked with Scapagnini in a film called "Vrindaavan Film Studio" and the director promised to cast her in his next project.

"I took it casually. I took it as a compliment and forgot about it. But I was really surprised when he called me for a screen test for the film. When I went there (Italy) - I was not ready for it and kept suggesting to him - 'Why don't you take the No. 3 or No. 7 girl for the role!' After the audition when they told me I was selected... the news was so special..."

Sonali also learnt the language to make her portrayal of an Italian girl look real.

"I went through a very painful time. I was speaking a language which was completely alien to me - it was nowhere near to English or Hindi or Marathi... but I gave my 100 percent to it. And thanks to my director for giving me two tutors. They taught me a lot and thanks to my patience as well. It was an eight weeks training session and after the first week I started feeling comfortable with the language."

The film was premiered at the Venice Film Festival and Sonali walked the red carpet with Sharif.

The actress, who hasn't signed any international project after her Italian film, said: "After 'Fire At My Heart' they have honoured me as an international ambassador of coral."

Very few know that Sonali loves writing short stories and poems, and these days she is writing a column for the Indian Express group's Marathi daily Loksatta.

"The column is called 'Sokool'. It's a short form of my name. I told them that my column should reflect my personality as young and vibrant and that's why I chose this name.

"It has given me different dimensions to express myself. I write about things that touch me. And it has got a lot of attention.

"Talking about her Bollywood films she said: "Right now I am riding high on 'Taxi No. 9211''s success. I was not expecting people to notice me. I am not underestimating myself but with Nana Patekar and John Abraham in the film, I didn't think anybody would bother to talk about me. But I am very happy that they did."

She has quite a few prestigious projects in her kitty including "Kaaran".

" 'Kaaran' is about a village girl who is sold and the emotional turmoil she goes through. The interesting part is that the director has yet to cast the male lead for the film."

"Kaaran" also has Deepti Naval and Seema Biswas in important roles.

Sonali is also working on eminent painter M.F. Hussian's next project, an autobiographical film, and also a Marathi venture.

Congratulations to Sonali Kulkarni. great going!