Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Madrid, Chelsea march on in Champions League

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ronaldinho were the heroes for AC Milan as their goals helped the seven-time champions secure a 2-0 victory over Auxerre in the Champions League to progress to the tournament’s knockout stages.
Already qualified Real Madrid cruised to a 4-0 victory away to Ajax Amsterdam to top Group G despite finishing the game with nine men while Chelsea beat MSK Zilina to be also assured of finishing top of their group.
Shakhtar Donetsk and Marseille booked their places in the last 16 with comfortable away victories while AS Roma beat already qualified Bayern to stay in strong contention for making it to the next phase.
Milan needed a victory against Auxerre to be guaranteed of making it to the next round from Group G and went ahead through Ibrahimovic, who has now scored four times in five Champions League games.
Ronaldinho secured the win with Milan’s second in time added on.
Ajax’s hopes of making it to the next round from the same group evaporated as they were thumped 4-0 at home by already qualified Real Madrid, with Cristiano Ronaldo netting a brace.
However, the Spanish side’s celebrations were marred by the late dismissals of Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos, who were both sent off after picking up second yellow cards for time wasting.

Chelsea posts win
Chelsea ensured themselves of top spot in Group F with a 2-1 win at home to MSK Zilina. Babatounde Bello gave the Slovaks a surprise early lead at Stamford bridge after some neat build-up work with Robert Jez but second-half goals from Daniel Sturridge and Florent Malouda gave Carlo Ancelotti’s side victory.
Olympique Marseille enjoyed a 3-0 win away to Spartak Moscow to secure second spot in the group and book their place in the tournament’s knockout stages. Mathieu Valbuena put the visitors in front after 18 minutes at the Luzhniki Stadion with Loic Remy doubling the French side’s lead nine minutes after the restart.
Spartak were reduced to 10 men on 64 minutes after Welliton received his marching orders for a push on Souleymane Diawara and Brandao secured Marseille’s place in the last 16 four minutes later with a firmly struck shot from the edge of the area to make it 3-0.
The victory means Marseille are assured of second place with nine points from five matches, four points adrift of Chelsea ahead of the final group match between the two sides on December 8.

Arsenal stunned
In Group H, Matheus struck twice in the final nine minutes to give Sporting Braga a 2-0 win over Arsenal to put Arsene Wenger’s side’s qualification for the last 16 in doubt.
Braga pulled level with Arsenal on nine points, three behind Shakhtar Donetsk, who beat Partizan Belgrade 3-0 to advance to the next phase. The tie was scoreless at the break but second-half goals from Taras Stepanenko, Jadson and Eduardo ensured a comfortable win for the Ukrainians.
Last year’s finalists Bayern Munich went down 3-2 to AS Roma but are still guaranteed to finish top of Group E. The German champions raced into a two-goal lead through a first-half double from Mario Gomez but second-half goals from Marco Borriello, Daniele de Rossi and a penalty from substitute Francesco Totti turned the game in the home side’s favour.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 460 X2

Model ZOTAC GeForce GTX 460 X2 is built on a non-standard layout of a black printed circuit board with a bus PCI Express 2.0 x16, and is equipped with power system, involving three phases for each chip and the two phases to the total volume of GDDR5 memory 2 GB with 256-bit interface. For supplementary feeding is provided a pair of special 8-pin connectors. In addition, the board contains a chip NVIDIA nForce 200 with respect to implementation of technology NVIDIA SLI, as well as a film capacitor NEC Proadlizer.

Turkish star Türkoğlu scores six in Suns debut

Turkish forward Hidayet “Hedo” Türkoğlu made a slow start to his career with the Phoenix Suns, scoring only six points off a pair of threes in his team’s 106-92 loss at the hands of the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night.
Portland's Nicolas Batum scored 19 points, including three late 3-pointers, and had 11 rebounds to lead the Trail Blazers to the victory.
Brandon Roy scored 24 points for the Blazers, who fell to the Suns in the first round of the playoffs last season.
Canadian star Steve Nash had 26 points for the Suns, who trailed most of the first half before going ahead in the third quarter.
Türkoğlu, who spent the summer with the Turkish national team in camps and helped Turkey to second place at the FIBA 2010 World Championship on home soil, was in the starting five and played for 27 minutes.
The 31-year-old Hedo left the Toronto Raptors for the Suns in the off-season following a bitter season with the Canadian NBA team.
In Tuesday’s other game, the Los Angeles Lakers were indebted to bench players Shannon Brown and Steve Blake as they launched their title defense with a nail-biting 112-110 win over the Houston Rockets.

World Cup oracle Paul The Octopus dies

Paul the octopus, who shot to fame during this year's football World Cup for his flawless record in predicting game results, has died peacefully in his sleep, his German aquarium said Tuesday.
"Management and staff at the Oberhausen Sea Life Centre were devastated to discover that oracle octopus Paul, who achieved global renown during the recent World Cup, had passed away overnight," the aquarium said in a statement.
"He appears to have passed away peacefully during the night, of natural causes," said Sea Life manager Stefan Porwoll.
"His success made him almost a bigger story than the World Cup itself . . . We had all naturally grown very fond of him and he will be sorely missed."
Paul, who was nearly three, beat the odds during the World Cup by correctly forecasting all eight games he was asked to predict, including Spain's 1-0 win over the Netherlands in the final.
For the prediction, two boxes were lowered into the salty soothsayer's tank, each containing a mussel and the flags of the two opposing teams.
Watched by a myriad of reporters, Paul would head to one box, wrench open the lid and gobble the tasty morsel, with the box he plumped for being deemed the likely winner.
His astonishing ability made him a global media phenomenon. His later predictions were carried live on rolling news channels in Germany.
Within two hours of his death, more than 250 messages of condolence were posted on Paul's "official" Facebook page.
"Paul, we will never forget you. We love you," wrote one. "There will never be an octopus as cool as you again," wrote another.
"RIP in octopus heaven," wished a third member of Paul's nearly 60,000-strong Facebook fan club.
One user of microblogging site Twitter wrote: "Paul the octopus is dead. Bet he didn't see that coming."
Meanwhile Paul himself "wrote" from beyond the grave on his Facebook page: "It seems, my time has come, finally. Take care everybody. Hugs and don't forget me."
The eight-legged oracle became a media superstar for his skills, but he naturally fell out with fans whose teams he failed to tip.
He was slammed in the British press for treason after tipping Germany to beat his "home country" which they duly did, 4-1.
He then fell offside with bitter German fans who threatened to turn him into sushi after he correctly predicted a semi-final defeat for the Mannschaft against Spain.
Stung by Paul's "treachery", some sections of the 350,000-strong crowd watching the game on giant screens in Berlin sang anti-octopus songs.
The honour of Paul's mother was also called into question in the stands, and Paul's home aquarium received death-threat emails saying "we want Paul for the pan."
No less an authority than Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luiz Rodriguez Zapatero called for octopus bodyguards.
But Paul's fans need not despair too much at his death. The aquarium has already been grooming a successor, to be named Paul like his mentor.
Paul's body is now in cold storage while the aquarium decides "how best to mark his passing."
"We may decide to give Paul his own small burial plot within our grounds and erect a modest permanent shrine," said Porwoll.
"While this may seem a curious thing to do for a sea creature, Paul achieved such popularity during his short life that it may be deemed the most appropriate course of action."

Thursday, October 7, 2010

France warns citizens about Britain travel

Amid a high alert over an alleged al Qaeda plot to attack cities in Europe, France has warned its citizens about travel to the United Kingdom, saying British authorities believe a terror attack is "highly likely."
The move follows a United States warning that Americans be careful about traveling in Europe because of the risk of terror attacks.

Neither the Britain nor France raised threat levels in response to the American warning, but each has now warned its citizens about travel elsewhere on the continent.

Europe remains on edge after the warnings, based at least partly on intelligence about a plot obtained from a German-Afghan in U.S. custody in Afghanistan.

Police in France seized 12 people for suspected terrorist ties Tuesday, but it is not clear whether they are connected to the plot that prompted the warning.

Those arrests came a day after a suspected drone strike in Pakistan left five German nationals dead, adding to the unease.

French national police said the 12 suspects were seized in the south of France.
Three have links to a French man -- identified as Riahd Hennouni -- arrested in Italy last month, authorities said. Two of them were arrested in Marseilles and the third was arrested in Bordeaux.

The nine other arrests happened throughout southern France, including some in Marseilles and at least one in Avignon, police said. Police in Marseille said the nine have links to an Islamist movement and are suspected of trying to obtain arms and explosives.

It is unclear whether the 12 are French citizens. None of them has been charged. Under French law, police can detain and question suspects for up to six days without filing charges.

Meanwhile, Italian police said Sunday they detained a French citizen of Algerian origin who is suspected of being a member of al Qaeda. The man was arrested last month by Italian police in Naples, Italy, on a European arrest warrant requested by France, the chief prosecutor in Naples told CNN Monday. The arrest was not announced at the time.

Dollar falls to 15-year low against yen

The dollar continued to lose ground on Wednesday, hitting a 15-year low against the yen, as the prospect of more quantitative easing from the Federal Reserve kept the U.S. currency under pressure.

Central banks across Asia were suspected of intervening to stem gains in their own currencies, with authorities in South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, Malaysia and the Philippines all active in the market.

But dealers said the Bank of Japan did not intervene to weaken the yen, even as the currency rose to a 15-year high of Y82.76 against the dollar, an event which last month sparked Tokyo's first foray into currency markets since 2004.

While traders noted that several Japanese government-backed institutions were active in the market buying dollars against the yen around Y83, analysts said the BoJ was likely to hold back from intervening before this weekend's meeting of finance ministers and central bank chiefs from the Group of 20 leading nations.

They reasoned that Tokyo would not risk further action that could attract criticism at the meeting, given the heightened tensions over exchange-rate policy, which have triggered much talk of currency wars.

Elsa Lignos, at RBC Capital Markets, said Japan would be hard pushed to justify intervention on the grounds of smoothing volatility in the currency markets. "This has not been a sudden jump in the yen, but a steady grind higher," she said. By late in the day in New York, the dollar was 0.4 per cent weaker at Y82.92 against the yen.

Meanwhile, the prospect of further QE from the Fed kept the greenback under pressure elsewhere. The dollar index, which tracks the U.S. currency's progress against a basket of six leading currencies, fell 0.5 per cent to 77.38 -- its weakest level since late January.

The euro was the biggest winner among leading currencies, rising 0.7 per cent to an eight-month high of $1.3937 against the dollar.

Analysts said the performance of the euro, which has risen more than 9 percent since the start of September, reflected the fact that the European Central Bank was the only large central bank not putting pressure on its currency by announcing or considering QE.

"On the back of the European Central Bank not complaining or participating in the race for the weakest currency, the euro has continued its majestic rise," said Ankita Dudani at Royal Bank of Scotland.
The dollar also lost ground elsewhere, falling 0.5 per cent to a record low of SFr0.9610 against the Swiss franc and losing 0.6 per cent to a 26-month low of $0.9771 against the Australian dollar. The greenback was flat against the British pound at $1.5889.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Nigeria: West Africa’s economic powerhouse

Nigeria is Africa's most populous country and the political and economic powerhouse of West Africa.
Home to 150 million people, this is a land of extremes: it is the world's seventh largest exporter of oil, yet the oil wealth has not filtered down to the vast majority of the population, with 70 percent living below the poverty line, according to the CIA World Factbook.
The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office praises Nigeria's "active civil society and free and vibrant press", yet statistics for the health of its population make grim reading.
The CIA World Factbook estimates that 170,000 Nigerians a year die from HIV/AIDS, the world's third highest number behind India and South Africa; life expectancy is the world's ninth lowest at less than 47 years; and infant mortality is 11th highest in the world, at 9.4 percent of all live births.
As a country, Nigeria is a British colonial creation; formed in January 1914 by the amalgamation of three separate colonial territories.
It gained independence from Britain 50 years ago on October 1, 1960. Since then the country has veered between civilian and military rule, with several coups, counter coups and one civil war (1967-1970).
Nigeria has now had civilian rule since 1999, its longest period so far, although the most recent elections in April 2007 were heavily criticized by foreign and domestic observers for poor organization and large-scale rigging, according to the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The election was won by Umaru Yar'Adua with 70 percent of the vote. He died in May 2010 after a long illness and was succeeded by his vice president Goodluck Jonathan. Elections are due to take place early next year.
The largest state in the south is Lagos with some 18 million people, according to the Lagos State government website. It was previously Nigeria's capital before it was moved to Abuja in the center of the country. Lagos, however, is widely regarded as the country's economic capital.
Half Nigeria's population is Muslim, 40 percent is Christian and 10 percent have indigenous beliefs, according to CIA World Factbook. Although other sources such as the Pew Forum on Religion, put the number at 50.5 percent Muslim and 48.2 percent Christian.
The north of the country is largely Muslim, and the Christian population is centered in the south. Nigeria has more than 250 ethnic groups.
Twelve largely Muslim states in the north of the country introduced Sharia law in 1999, sparking tensions between Muslims and Christians and outbreaks of violence that left thousands dead, according to the FCO. It said punishments, including amputations, carried out by Sharia courts have caused international disquiet.
Nigeria has a tropical climate, a 900km coastline along the Atlantic Ocean and boundaries with Cameroon, Niger, Benin and Chad.
It has seven National Parks and two UNESCO World Heritage sites: Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove and Sukur Cultural Landscape, both listed for their cultural importance.
Osun Sacred Grove is one of the last remaining primary high forests in southern Nigeria, regarded as the home of Osun, the goddess of fertility, to the Yoruba people. The area is dotted with sanctuaries, shrines, sculptures and art works dedicated to Osun and other gods.
The Sukur Cultural Landscape has the palace of a Hidi, or chief, terraced fields and the remains of a former flourishing iron industry, according to UNESCO.
Despite its scenic and historical attractions, beaches and abundant wildlife, Nigeria has remained largely off the tourist map.
The World Travel Guide, which describes itself as the "bible" of the travel industry, writes: "Nigeria is blessed with hundreds of miles of coastline, national parks and fascinating ancient sites. However, it is a shame that the country is not currently able to entice visitors other than those seeking a slice of the oil dollar."
The Lonely Planet travel guide said: "We shouldn't beat about the bush: Nigeria has an image problem. It dominates West Africa economically and politically, and has produced music and literature whose influence spreads far beyond the continent. But for all this clout, mention the country's name to the person on the street and they're more likely to come up with a litany of woe: corruption, ethnic violence and email scams. As a travel destination, Nigeria seems more a place to avoid than to book a flight to."
The government is trying to give its tourist industry a push. The Nigerian Sunday Observer reported this September that the tourism minister Alhaji Abubakar Mohammed had stressed the need to develop tourism to improve the economy and was in the process of drawing up a master plan for attracting foreign visitors.
This could help wean the country off its reliance on oil to its economy.
The CIA World Factbook said: "The government continues to face the daunting task of reforming a petroleum-based economy, whose revenues have been squandered through corruption and mismanagement, and institutionalizing democracy."
Some Nigerians who have made their mark on the world stage include Wole Soyinka, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986, Ben Okri, winner of the 1991 Booker Prize, Chinua Achebe, nominated for the 1987 Booker Prize, musicians King Sunny Ade, the late Fela Kuti and NBA basketball player Hakeem Olajuwon.

Internet Explorer 9 Beta

September 15, 2010 at the specially prepared events Beauty of the Web in San Francisco, Microsoft has presented a beta version of Internet Explorer 9

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Plane crash in Pakistan kills 152 people

ISLAMABAD – A government official says all 152 people on board a plane that crashed in the hills surrounding Pakistan's capital were killed.
Imtiaz Elahi, the chairman of the Capital Development Authority, told The Associated Press that earlier reports of five survivors from the crash were wrong and that all aboard died. The Capital Development Authority has a group that responds to emergency situations.
The cause of Wednesday's Airblue crash was not immediately clear. It attempted to land in rainy and cloudy conditions.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
ISLAMABAD (AP) — A passenger jet carrying 152 people crashed Wednesday into the hills surrounding Pakistan's capital amid poor weather, killing at least 50 people and stoking fears nobody could have survived the disaster.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik said five people survived the crash of the Airblue plane and were airlifted to a hospital in Islamabad. But doctors reported no sign of survivors at the city's two largest hospitals, and rescue workers at the scene expressed skepticism that anyone could have survived.
"Now we are pretty sure that there is not a single survivor," Hanif Khattak, the director general of Pakistan's Civil Defense, told The Associated Press near the crash site.
Local TV footage showed twisted metal wreckage hanging from trees and scattered across the ground on a bed of broken branches. Fire was visible and smoke rose from the scene as a helicopter hovered above. The army said it was sending special troops to aid the search.
"I'm seeing only body parts," Dawar Adnan, a rescue worker with the Pakistan Red Crescent, told The Associated Press by telephone from the crash site. "This is a very horrible scene. We have scanned almost all the area, but there is no chance of any more survivors."
The search effort was hampered by muddy conditions and smoldering wreckage that authorities were having trouble extinguishing by helicopter, Adnan said.
The cause of the crash was not immediately clear, said Pervez George, a civil aviation official. The plane left the southern city of Karachi at 7:45 a.m. for a two-hour scheduled flight to Islamabad and was trying to land during cloudy and rainy weather.
Airblue is a private service based in Karachi, Pakistan's largest city, and Wednesday's flight was believed to be carrying mostly Pakistanis.
Rescue workers scouring the heavily forested hills recovered 50 bodies from the wreckage, said Ramzan Sajid, spokesman for Capital Development Authority, which reports to the Interior Ministry and has a group that deals with emergencies.
"The plane was about to land at the Islamabad airport when it lost contact with the control tower, and later we learned that the plane had crashed," said George, adding the model was an Airbus 321 and the flight number was ED202.
At the Islamabad airport, hundreds of friends and relatives of those on board the flight swarmed ticket counters desperately seeking information. A large cluster of people also surrounded a passenger list posted near the Airblue ticket counter.
"We don't know who survived, who died, who is injured," said Zulfikar Ghazi, who was waiting to receive four relatives. "We are in shock."
Saqlain Altaf told Pakistan's ARY news channel he was on a family outing in the hills when he saw the plane looking unsteady in the air. "The plane had lost balance, and then we saw it going down," he said, adding he heard the crash.
Officials at first thought it was a small plane, but later revised that. George said 146 passengers were on the flight along with six crew members.
The Pakistan Airline Pilot Association said the plane appeared to have strayed off course, possibly because of the poor weather.
Raheel Ahmed, a spokesman for the airline, said an investigation would be launched, but for now the focus was to find survivors. The plane was no more than eight-years old, and it had no known technical issues, Ahmed said. The pilots did not send any emergency signals, he said.
The last major plane crash in Pakistan was in July 2006 when a Fokker F-27 twin-engine aircraft operated by Pakistan International Airlines slammed into a wheat field on the outskirts of the central Pakistani city of Multan, killing all 45 people on board.
Airblue flies within Pakistan as well as internationally to the United Arab Emirates, Oman and the United Kingdom.
The only previous recorded accident for Airblue, a carrier that began flying in 2004, was a tail-strike in May 2008 at Quetta airport by one of the airline's Airbus 321 jets. There were no casualties and damage was minimal, according to the U.S.-based Aviation Safety Network.
The Airbus 320 family of medium-range jets, which includes the 321 model that crashed Wednesday, is one of the most popular in the world, with about 4,000 jets delivered since deliveries began in 1988.
Twenty-one of the aircraft have been lost in accidents since then, according to the Aviation Safety Network's database. The deadliest was a 2007 crash at landing in Sao Paolo by Brazil's TAM airline, in which all 187 people on board perished, along with 12 others on the ground.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

For a comfortable gameplay in StarCraft 2 will need a powerful computer

To run StarCraft 2 will need a computer with at least the following characteristics:

* OS - Windows XP / Windows Vista / Windows 7;
* Processor - 2.6 GHz or equivalent Pentium IV AMD Athlon;
* Graphics card - NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT or ATI Radeon 9800 PRO;
* Hard drive - 12 GB of free space;
* RAM - 1 GB.
To play with maximum graphics quality is recommended the following configuration:

* OS - Windows XP / Windows Vista / Windows 7;
* Processor - Dual-Core with a frequency of 2.4 GHz;
* RAM - 2 GB;
* Graphics card - NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX or ATI Radeon HD 3870.

North Korea warns of nuclear 'sacred war'

North Korea says it will use its "nuclear deterrent" in response to joint US-South Korean military exercises this weekend.
Pyongyang was ready to launch a "retaliatory sacred war" at any time, the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.
Washington and Seoul say the war games are to deter North Korean aggression.
Tensions between the two Koreas have been high since the sinking of a South Korean warship in March.
An international investigation said the ship was sunk by a North Korean torpedo, a claim strongly denied by Pyongyang.
Responding to Pyongyang's warning, US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said that Washington was "not interested in a war of words with North Korea".
"What we need from North Korea is fewer provocative words and more constructive action," the spokesman added.
The BBC's John Sudworth, in Seoul, says this is not the first time that North Korea has issued such a warning.
Although it is likely to be dismissed as the usual diplomatic brinkmanship, the rising tension will cause concern among governments in the region, he adds.

'War of words'

The North's powerful National Defence Commission said the war games were "nothing but outright provocations aimed to stifle the Democratic People's Republic of Korea [North Korea] by force of arms," the KCNA reported.

"The army and people of the DPRK will start a retaliatory sacred war of their own style based on nuclear deterrent any time necessary in order to counter the US imperialists and the South Korean puppet forces deliberately pushing the situation to the brink of a war," it added.

In response, the White House said it was not interested in a "war of words" with North Korea.

State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said the US wanted "more constructive action and fewer provocative words" from Pyongyang.

The North had already promised a physical response to the military exercises during an Asian regional security forum in Vietnam on Friday.

North Korea's delegation spokesman at the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) regional forum said the exercises were an example of 19th century "gunboat diplomacy".

"It is a threat to the Korean peninsula and the region of Asia as a whole," he said.
China warning

The war games - which begin on Sunday - will involve the aircraft carrier USS George Washington, 20 other ships and submarines, 100 aircraft and 8,000 personnel.

China has criticised the plans and warned against any action which might "exacerbate regional tensions".

But Japan is sending four military observers, in an apparent endorsement of the drills.

The US announced on Wednesday that it was to impose new sanctions on North Korea, aimed at halting nuclear proliferation and the import of luxury goods. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

July inflation seen around 11%: Official

India's headline inflation in July could be around 11 per cent, Chief Statistician of India T C A Anant told reporters on Monday.

Anant also said higher farm production and monetary tightening are needed to tame headline inflation and that he expected prices to cool by November.

The Reserve Bank of India is widely expected to raise its repo and reverse repo rates by 25 basis points each, for the fourth time since mid-March, at its monetary policy review on Tuesday.

"All the measures that the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) has been taking in this regard and may take in the future also, should also have shown by then (third quarter). All this means that you would have softening of prices."

The Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council headed by former central bank governor C. Rangarajan had said last week that the RBI needs to take strong monetary action to tame high inflation.

Rangarajan said that he expected the central bank to carry out a series of small policy tightening steps.

An improvement in farm output and initiatives by the government to rein in the fiscal deficit would also have an impact on lowering prices, Anant said.

Wholesale price index, India's main inflation gauge, rose 10.55 per cent in June from a year earlier, holding in double digits for the fifth straight month.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is facing strong criticism over handling of the inflation issue, said on Saturday that headline inflation could come down to 6 per cent by December.

The opposition parties have said they would seek a special discussion and vote in parliament over high prices this week.

But there is little threat to government stability, and the move will only distract from pushing key reform bills in the current session of parliament that began on Monday.

Key policymakers have been saying that food prices will moderate by the end of this year, betting on good monsoons and strong harvest to cool the prices from the high levels touched towards the end of last year, when the worst drought in 37 years hit farm output.

India, Asia's third largest economy, is expected to grow at around 8.5 per cent in the 2010/11 fiscal year.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

'Most wanted' militant killed in Kashmir: army

SRINAGAR: One of Kashmir's "most wanted" militants has been killed during a fierce gunbattle, dealing a blow to the insurgency in the volatile Himalayan region, the military said Wednesday.

A Pakistani identified as Nouman, the commander of the Pakistan-based Harkat-ul-Mujahedin rebel group in Indian Kashmir, was killed in an overnight firefight with soldiers, army spokesman J.S. Brar told AFP.

Harkat-ul-Mujahedin is one of a number of groups fighting against New Delhi's rule in Muslim-majority Kashmir, which is divided between India and Pakistan. The most powerful group is thought to be Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

Brar claimed Nouman was "Kashmir valley's top most militant" wanted for a number of attacks, including master-minding a nearly 24-hour siege at a hotel in the centre of Indian Kashmir's main city Srinigar in January.

"His death is a big jolt to insurgency in Kashmir," he said.

The gunbattle took place in Sopore town, about 50 kilometers (31 miles), north of Srinagar, and also left an unidentified accomplice to Nouman and an Indian soldier dead.

More than 47,000 people have died in Kashmir since anti-India militants launched an insurgency in the scenic region in 1989.

The violence has declined sharply since India and Pakistan started a slow-moving peace process in 2004. Both nuclear-armed rivals hold the region in part but claim it in entirety.

Oil hovers above $77 in Asian trade

SINGAPORE: Oil rose slightly in Asian trade on Wednesday as investors stayed on the sidelines ahead of a closely watched inventory report on US energy supplies, analysts said.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in September, gained five cents to $77.63 a barrel, while London's Brent North Sea crude for September was nine cents higher at $76.31.

Investors were waiting for a weekly inventory report due Wednesday from the US Department of Energy, analysts said.

"We're in sort of a holding pattern. Most people are waiting for the inventory report for their next move," said David Johnson, a Hong Kong-based oil analyst with Royal Bank of Scotland.

Market sentiment was also cautious following mixed economic data and disappointing US corporate earnings reports, he said.

"There's nothing coming that people can latch on to that's proof that the world economy is getting better so prices are just slightly holding back," he said.

Computer giant IBM and Wall Street investment bank Goldman Sachs yesterday announced their profits had slumped in the second quarter.

The disappointing earnings reports hit market sentiment, which was further weakened by a mixed report on the embattled US housing market.

Oil prices, however, edged higher yesterday on expectations of a drawdown in inventories, indicating higher demand for crude. The weekly snapshot is considered a key indicator of demand in the world's biggest economy.

The average analyst forecast is that US crude oil stockpiles fell by 1.1 million barrels last week, according to a Dow Jones Newswires survey, suggesting stronger consumption.

Investors were also watching a tropical system brewing near the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, which could head towards the Gulf of Mexico, home to roughly 30 per cent of US petroleum production.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Spain wins World Cup

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa | Exhaustion etched on their faces, fatigued bodies ready to betray them, the players knew just one goal would be enough to win the elusive World Cup for their nation.
As the clock ticked toward penalty kicks Sunday night, the shivering crowd at Soccer City Stadium grew anxious.
Spain or the Netherlands would win its first championship if only someone could find the net.
Andres Iniesta did, and Spain rules the soccer world at long, long last after a 1-0 extra-time victory.
“We have all done an incredible job,” Iniesta said. “I don’t think we even realize what we have done.”
This final was a physical test of attrition that sometimes turned dirty — a finals-record 14 yellow cards were handed out and the Dutch finished with 10 men. In the end, it was Iniesta breaking free in the penalty area, taking a pass from Cesc Fabregas and putting a right-footed shot from 8 yards just past the outstretched arms of goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg with about 7 minutes left to play, including injury time.
“When I struck it, it just had to go in,” Iniesta said.
For the Dutch and their legions of orange-clad fans wearing everything from jerseys to jumpsuits to clown gear to pajamas, it was yet another disappointment.
Even with their first World Cup title tantalizingly within reach, they failed in the final for the third time. This one might have been the most bitter because, unlike 1974 and 1978, the Netherlands was unbeaten not only in this tournament but also in qualifying for the first World Cup staged in South Africa.
Soccer City was soaked in Oranje, from the seats painted in that hue throughout the stadium to pretty much everyone seated in them, including crown prince Willem-Alexander. It was different when they lost to hosts West Germany and Argentina in previous finals; this time, the Dutch were something of a home team. And the visitors won.
Spain had pockets of supporters, too, with fans dressed in red and scattered throughout the stadium. Among those cheering were Queen Sofia, Rafael Nadal and Pau Gasol.
Spain’s fans might have been in the minority, but when the final whistle blew, they were tooting their vuvuzelas with a vengeance in tribute to their champions.
A second straight World Cup final headed into extra time, and the goalkeepers were unbeatable. Stekelenburg, relatively inexperienced on the international level, made a spectacular left leg save when Fabregas broke free early in overtime.
The goal in the 116th minute came off a turnover by the Dutch defense that Fabregas controlled just outside the penalty area. Iniesta stayed on the right and sneaked in to grab the pass and put his shot to the far post. Stekelenburg barely brushed it with his fingertips as it soared into the net.
And with that, Iniesta tore off his jersey and raced to the corner where he was mobbed by his teammates.
Several Dutch players wiped away tears as they received their runners-up medals — yet again. They had won every qualifying match and all six previous games in South Africa before the bitter ending.
The Netherlands now has more victories in World Cup games without a title than any nation: 19. Spain held that dubious record with 24.
Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk took off his silver medal as soon as he left the podium, a look of disgust on his face.
The winners struggled but managed to lift their coach, Vicente del Bosque, in the air in celebration.
“They made it very difficult for us to play comfortably,” Del Bosque said. “It was a very intense match.”

After three months trying, BP poised to stop Gulf oil flow

NEW ORLEANS: After more than three months of trying, BP engineers said Monday that they were finally on the verge of capping the ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico that created America's worst-ever environmental disaster.

Doug Suttles, BP's chief operating officer, said at a press briefing that the oil giant had nearly finished installing a massive oil containment cap that could slow the flow of oil to a trickle, or even stop it altogether.

Over the weekend, BP removed one containment cap from the Deepwater Horizon oil well and said Monday they were just hours away from replacing it with a tighter-fitting one.

"We'll be attaching the cap later this morning," Suttles said.

"After that we'll begin the well integrity test, which is to close the stack in, which will stop flow coming from the well and monitor that," he said.

"I think at this point our confidence is growing" that the oil flow will be contained.

If engineers keep to their timeline, BP could be on the brink of containing the worst environmental disaster in US history.

The breakthrough comes after 13 weeks in which up to half a million barrels of crude has poured into the US Gulf, and after successive weeks of "top kills," "top hats," "junk shots" and other oddly-named procedures meant to choke off the flow of oil.

BP said however that with this latest device, they have finally found one that seems likely to contain all of the oil for the first time since the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon rig on April 22.

Expected to take between four and seven days, the round-the-clock work on installing the new containment cap began at midday on Saturday when the old, less efficient cap was ripped off a fractured pipe a mile down on the sea floor by robotic submarines.

The new containment system is designed so that it can be disconnected and reconnected more easily in the case of a hurricane and has a built-in device that should give the first precise estimate of the overall flow.

Suttles also announced that by late Monday, a third container ship, the Helix Producer, could be attached to the oil well's blowout preventer, allowing BP to siphon an additional 20,000 to 25,000 barrels a day to the surface.

BP says the Helix Producer will raise capacity to between 60,000 and 80,000 barrels a day, enough to contain the whole leak.

The effort to attach the vessel had been delayed after engineers over the weekend encountered leaks and problems with the hydraulic system, which now have been resolved, Suttles said.

The former Coast Guard commander who is heading the US government's response effort on Monday hailed the progress made over the weekend in stopping the gusher.

"This could lead to the shutting of the well," Admiral Thad Allen, told US television Monday.

He added that officials are also considering sealing the well with cement, depending on the outcome of an "integrity test" -- an analysis on the amount of pressure building within the containment cap.

"This containment cap will have the ability to actually close down valves and slowly contain all the oil. Once we do that, we'll know how much pressure is in the well," Allen told CNN during a round of morning television interviews.

"It could tell us that the well is with holding the pressure and we can shut the well in or just cap it, if you will. Either way, those are two pretty good outcomes," Allen said.

Officials said work is continuing in the meantime on two relief wells to permanently seal the ruptured pipeline. That would likely occur in mid-August when the first of the two wells is due to be completed, allowing drilling fluids and cement to be injected into the well.

That operation could be ready "towards the very end of this month," Suttles said.

Meanwhile, a seven member presidential commission was starting its work Monday, meeting in New Orleans as it prepared a report to be delivered in six months' time on the cause of the oil rig disaster and how to prevent a similar occurrence in the future.

The feverish work in the Gulf, on the containment caps, relief wells, and skimming and burning cleanup efforts, come as officials race to take advantage of a stretch of fine weather in the midst of the Atlantic hurricane season.

Oil has washed up on beaches in all five Gulf states, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, forcing fishing grounds to be closed and threatening scores of coastal communities with financial ruin.

BP said Monday the disastrous oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico has cost 3.5 billion dollars (2.78 billion euros), although the petroleum giant's shares rose sharply on reports it was poised to sell some of its assets.

About 46,000 personnel, more than 6,400 vessels and dozens of aircraft were engaged in the expensive response effort, BP said.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Germany vs Uruguay : Germany 3:2 Uruguay

The Germans won 3:2, and as four years ago, again took third place.

For a few seconds before the final whistle Forlan almost turned the game into extra time. A ball thrown to them from the penalty area rounded the wall and made ringing the crossbar. Still, Uruguay team had to surrender and leave the field defeated.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Google expects China to clear its license

The CEO of search engine giant Google, Eric Schmidt, has said that he expects China to renew the company's license to allow it to operate in the mainland.

Talking with reporters at the annual media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, hosted by investment bank Allen and Co, Schmidt said, "We now expect a renewal."

Google, based in Mountain View, California, does not hold the kind of dominant position in China's search market that it does in the US.

The search engine operated by mainland competitor Baidu has about 60 percent of the market to Google''s 30 percent.

Schmidt did not say when he expects Beijing to give it the OK.

Google''s license runs though 2012 but needs a renewal each year.

Solar powered plane completes 24-hour flight

A solar powered aircraft has become the first to complete a 24-hour flight, using batteries charged during the day to keep it aloft at night.

The aircraft touched down on runway at Payerne airfield, Switzerland at exactly 8:00 a.m., The Telegraph reports.

Helpers rushed to stabilize the pioneering plane as it touched down, ensuring that its massive 207-foot (63-meter) wingspan didn't touch the ground and topple the craft.

The team behind the project says it has now shown the single-seat plane can theoretically stay in the air indefinitely, recharging its batteries using 12,000 solar cells.

Pilot Andre Borschberg had flown over the Jura mountains west of the Swiss Alps since daybreak yesterday, absorbing sunlight to charge the batteries.

Four electric motors and propellers power the single-seater plane. It weighs about the same as a small car, despite having a 207-foot wingspan, similar to a large commercial jet. 

Puyol sends Spain into the Final

First Europe and now, possibly, the world for Spain, who won through to the Final of South Africa 2010 with a 1-0 victory over Germany in Durban. Carles Puyol's 74th-minute header repeated the single-goal triumph over Germany that secured La Roja the European title two years ago and now only the Netherlands stand between them and a first FIFA World Cup™ title.

Whatever the outcome at Soccer City on Sunday, there will be history made with a new name on the Trophy after Spain produced their best performance of these finals to end Germany's hopes of an eighth Final appearance and secure their first. Joachim Low’s men, by contrast, missing the suspended Thomas Muller, were unable to repeat the scintillating displays with which they swept aside England and Argentina and, as in 2006, suffered the anguish of semi-final defeat.

While Germany were playing in their 12th FIFA World Cup semi-final, this was Spain's first, although it was business as usual for Vicente del Bosque's side, who dominated possession. Indeed Spain might have had an early goal when Pedro, making his first start of the finals in place of Fernando Torres, slipped a through-ball to David Villa after just six minutes. Clear of the Germany defence, Villa produced a sliding finish but Manuel Neuer was out of his goal fast to deny the Spaniard.

There was another nervy moment to follow for Low's men after 14 minutes. From a short corner, Andres Iniesta drove in a centre that Puyol met with a flying header that, to the relief of the Germans, cleared the crossbar. Spain had more than 60 per cent of the ball in the game's first quarter but Germany, happy to sit deep and continue the counter-attacking game that had brought them such reward in previous matches, began to offer a threat. Lukas Podolski played in Mezut Ozil on the left and he duly supplied Miroslav Klose on the edge of the box, but the Bayern Munich forward was crowded out.

Iker Casillas was called into action for the first time just after the half-hour to turn behind a low 30-yard drive from Piotr Trochowski, the man brought in to replace Muller. On the stroke of half-time, Germany finally picked a hole in the Spain defence when Ozil broke into the box on to a pass from Klose. As Sergio Ramos challenged, the German midfielder went to ground but referee Viktor Kassai waved play on.

The second half began like the first, with Spain threatening Neuer's goal as Xabi Alonso drove narrowly wide from 25 yards, then Villa curled another attempt wide of the same post. The pressure intensified with the hour approaching and Germany's goal was lucky to survive intact. Pedro's low shot drew a fingertip save from Neuer and as Per Mertesacker dawdled over his clearance, Iniesta nipped in and drove a low ball across goal that the lunging Villa was within a whisker of reaching at the far post. With Germany still unable to clear their lines, Pedro then fired wide.

Low sought to change things, sending on Marcell Jansen in place of Jerome Boateng and, later, Toni Kroos for Trochowski. It was Kroos who had Germany's first attempt of the second half in the 69th minute, meeting Podoski's far-post cross with a side-footed shot that Casillas beat away.
Instead, with 16 minutes remaining, the decisive goal came at the other end. From a corner by Xavi, Puyol leapt above team-mate Gerard Pique and powered a header past Neuer. Pedro could have ensured a bigger margin of victory in the closing stages but he allowed Arne Friedrich to dispossess him after bursting through in a two-on-one with substitute Torres. It did not matter in the end, Spain's third successive 1-0 win carrying them into their first Final.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Corporate tax collections rise 21.7% in Q1

NEW DELHI: The government’s corporate tax collections grew a strong 21.7% in the first quarter of the current fiscal, confirming that economic recovery was beginning to translate into better profits for companies.

The Sensex was up 1% on the expectation of improved corporate performance.

Overall direct tax collections were up 15% to Rs 68,675 crore in the April-June quarter, data released by the finance ministry on Tuesday showed. India’s manufacturing had grown a strong 19.4% in April, suggesting a strong industrial recovery.

Corporate tax collections for the quarter added up to Rs 43,439 crore while personal income tax grew marginally by 1.24% to Rs 24,075 crore.

However, part of the buoyancy in direct tax collections was due to the base effect. Hit by the slowdown , corporate tax collections had grown only 3.3% in the first quarter of last fiscal while personal income tax had grown 4.4%.

The government has budgeted an overall tax mop-up of Rs 7.46 lakh crore during this fiscal, out of which Rs 4.3 lakh is to be realised from direct taxes, an increase of 13% over the amount realised last year.

The robust tax collection will help the government prune its fiscal deficit even more. It is already sitting on a Rs 65,000 crore excess windfall from 3G and broadband auction.

The fiscal deficit for current year is pegged at 5.5% of GDP. Better then budgeted realisation will help reduce government borrowing, leaving more funds for the private borrowers.

However, the realisation from the securities transaction tax (STT) declined to Rs 1,094 crore, from Rs 1,462 crore in the first quarter of previous fiscal reflecting possibly lower volumes because of the volatility in the stock market.

Advance tax collection in the first quarter was up by 31.4% to Rs 26,876 crore as against Rs 20,456 crore in the same period last fiscal.

The victory of the Dutch national team

Last Tuesday evening, more than 40 thousand fans watched the victory for the Netherlands soccer match with Uruguay, which ended with the score 3:2.

Across the country, fans are met out of the national team to the finals of the World Cup with fireworks, music, car honks and the universal rejoicing. In Rotterdam, football fans bathed in the fountains.

Obama has promised to withdraw troops from Iraq before the end of 2011

President of the United States Obama starts to fulfill its election promises. He stated that prior to August 31, 2010 will end all military operations of American troops in Iraq.

Obama has promised to withdraw troops from Iraq before the end of 2010

16 more H1N1 deaths in India in past one week

As many as 16 people have died of influenza A (H1N1) in India in the week ended July 4, taking the toll in the country since the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the swine flu as a pandemic in mid-June last year to 1601.

Of these, ten deaths occurred in Kerala, four in Maharashtra and two in Andhra Pradesh, an official statement said.

Besides, one death that occurred earlier in Gujarat had been reported to the Centre by the State Government, it said.

A total of 370 fresh cases of the flu were reported during the week, including 222 in Kerala and 72 in Maharashtra, the statement added.

Friday, July 2, 2010

USAID compound attacked in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan – Six suicide bombers attacked a USAID compound Friday in northern Afghanistan, killing at least four people and wounding several others, officials said. Two of the dead were foreigners.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which began about 3:30 a.m. when a suicide car bomber detonated a sports utility vehicle at the compound's entrance. An Afghan security guard was killed in the blast, said Gen. Abdul Razaq Yaqoubi, chief of police in Kunduz province.

Five other attackers then stormed a building used by Development Alternatives Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based global consulting company that has a contract with the United States Agency for International Aid, or USAID, to work on governance and community development in the area.

An Afghan policeman and two foreign workers — one from Germany and the other from the Philippines — were killed in the fighting, said Gen. Murad Ali Murad, a commander for the Afghan National Army.

The bodies of five suicide attackers were recovered from two floors of the building.

In Berlin, a spokesman for Germany's Foreign Ministry confirmed a German citizen had been killed in the Kunduz attack but did not elaborate. He was speaking on condition of anonymity in line with government policy.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told The Associated Press that six suicide bombers attacked a "training center" for Afghan security forces in Kunduz and killed 55 foreigners. The Taliban often exaggerate their claims.

The attack appeared part of a Taliban campaign against development projects at a time when the U.S. and its allies are trying to bolster civilian programs to shore up the Afghan government. On Wednesday, militants rocketed a base for South Korean construction workers in Parwan province but caused no casualties.

In April, a gunman killed an 18-year-old woman working for Development Alternatives, as she left her job in the southern city of Kandahar. Police believed the killing was part of a Taliban campaign against Afghans working for foreign development organizations.

"This attack shows the insurgents' desire to prevent progress, and draws attention to their true goal of serving themselves rather than the people of Afghanistan," Navy Capt. Jane Campbell, a spokesman for NATO, said, referring to the Kunduz attack.

Coalition troops provided assistance to Afghan security forces and helped wounded civilians at a nearby NATO base, she said.

Violence is rising in Afghanistan, and concern is growing in Washington and other allied capitals over the direction of the war. The 120,000-member NATO-led force is awaiting the arrival of a new commander, Gen. David Petraeus, who has warned of hard fighting this summer.

The United Nations is relocating a few dozen of its 300 foreign-hired staff because of fears about rising violence.

Last October, three gunmen with automatic weapons and suicide vests stormed a guest house used by U.N. staff in Kabul, killing at least 11 people including five U.N. workers.

NASA delays shuttle finale until 2011

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - NASA on Thursday postponed the final two missions of the space shuttle program until November and February due to delays preparing the last load of spare parts for the International Space Station.

Shuttle Discovery’s launch on a cargo resupply mission will be postponed from September to Nov. 1, under a plan approved by NASA managers.

Sister ship Endeavour, carrying the $1.5 billion Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer particle detector, is now set to fly on Feb. 26 on the program’s 134th and final mission.

NASA initially planned to retire its three-ship fleet by the end of 2010. Congress is, however, expected to give the space agency a $600 million cushion to ease its deadline pressures.

NASA has also managed to trim the program’s $200 million monthly costs to extend shuttle operations into March 2011.

The United States is retiring the shuttles primarily due to high operating costs. The Obama administration is pushing for Congress to approve a controversial plan to fly astronauts on commercial spacecraft, freeing NASA to focus on developing bigger rockets and new technologies needed for future missions to asteroids, Mars and other destinations in the solar system.

NASA also had to pick launch dates that did not conflict with Russian, European and Japanese missions to the station or previously scheduled rocket launches and other activities at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, which provides critical support services for shuttle flights.

"There’s so much traffic around the station it ultimately made the most sense to pick Nov. 1," said NASA spokesman Kyle Herring. Discovery’s delay, in turn, bumped Endeavour’s flight from November to February.

A proposal for an additional station cargo run on shuttle Atlantis, which will be prepared as an emergency rescue vehicle for the Endeavour crew, is pending, with a decision expected in August, Herring said.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Villa the difference as Spain beat Portugal 1-0

Villa the difference as Spain beat Portugal 1-0

CAPE TOWN, South Africa: Spain's David Villa scored off his own rebound, finally breaking down Portugal's defense in a 1-0 victory that put the European champs in the World Cup quarterfinal.

Villa took Xavi Hernandez' heel pass in the 63rd minute, but his left-footed shot was saved by Portuguese goalkeeper Eduardo. He then fired the rebound with his right foot off the underside of the crossbar and into the net.

It was Villa's fourth goal of the tournament.

Spain will play Paraguay in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

While Villa is tied for the lead in scoring at the World Cup, it was a disappointing tournament for Cristiano Ronaldo, the world's most expensive player. His only goal came late in Portugal's 7-0 rout of North Korea in group play, and he had a quiet night against Spain.

His best attempt Tuesday came from a free kick in the 28th minute when he launched the ball from 35 yards with such a dipping swerve that all Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas could do was block it with his body and see the ball bounce free.

Otherwise, Portugal could rely little on its captain. As he was pointing left and right where his teammates should go, he often walked.

This was 33rd time the Iberian neighbors have met in soccer, but the first time in the World Cup. Spain has won 16 of the matches to Portugal's five.

Portugal went out of the tournament after conceding its first goal in four games.

Prince of Persia: Forgotten Sands

Ubisoft today announced that Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands video game is in development and is scheduled to be released May 2010 for consoles and handhelds.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Storm to slow US oil spill containment ramp-up

NEW YORK: High winds and large waves expected in the Gulf of Mexico as the first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season passes to the west are likely to slow efforts to contain the largest oil spill in US history.

As costs associated with the spill mount, shares in London-based energy giant BP Plc(BP.L) are languishing near 14-year lows, prompting the New York Federal Reserve to investigate potential systemic risks posed by the company.

The Gulf oil crisis is in its 71st day with no firm end in sight. The economic and ecological costs -- to tourism, wildlife, fishing and other industries -- continue to mount for four states along the US Gulf coast.

Tropical Storm Alex, forecast to reach hurricane strength on Tuesday, is projected to travel well west and south of the undersea gusher about 50 miles off the Louisiana coast.

But plans to move a third containment vessel to the leaking well could be pushed back by about a week by high waves associated with Alex, a BP spokesman said on Monday.

US government officials estimate that 35,000 to 60,000 barrels are leaking from the blown-out well each day.

BP's current containment system can handle up to 28,000 barrels daily. The planned addition would have raised that to 53,000 bpd, said Kent Wells, a senior vice president with BP.

Deep below the ocean floor, drilling of a pair of relief wells intended to plug the leak for good by August will continue "unless, unfortunately, a storm heads directly our way," Wells said.

The first relief well is now tantalizingly close to the blown out well -- just 20 feet (6 meters). But BP said on Monday it will be drilled another 900 feet (275 meters) before an attempt is made to intercept the rogue well.

BP's market capitalization has shrunk by hundreds of billions of dollars since the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig sunk in 5,000 feet (1,525 meters) of water on April 22, two days after an explosion and fire killed 11 workers.

The company continues to publicly stand behind Tony Hayward, its embattled chief executive.

On Monday, sources said that the New York Federal Reserve has been monitoring firms' exposure to BP to ensure that if the oil giant buckles it will not put the global financial system at risk.

"The Fed gave banks' exposure to BP a passing grade," said one of the sources, on condition of anonymity.

Still, some of BP's trading partners, such as Credit Suisse, are tightening collateral requirements imposed on the company, CNBC reported on Monday.

Top US officials continue to beat a path to the Gulf region, responding to criticism that President Barack Obama and his administration responded too slowly to the crisis. Vice President Joe Biden heads to the region on Tuesday.

Polls have given Obama low marks for his handling of the disaster, although not as low as those given to BP.

On Monday, former president Bill Clinton told CNN that Obama was getting "a bum rap." The failed well is a "geological monster" and if efforts to cap the leak should fail, the US Navy might have to blow it up, Clinton added.

As crude oil and dispersants float on the surface of the Gulf, crews are battling to keep filth off beaches and away from wildlife breeding grounds. Rough weather created by Alex would be just the latest blow to the hard-hit region.

Parts of the Louisiana shoreline are under a coastal flood watch through Wednesday evening. High tides could be two to three feet above normal in some locations.

Skippers and deckhands at the public marina in Pointe-a-la-Hache, Louisiana, said they were worried about what impact the water's already high level will have if Alex pushes foul weather toward them.

"If a storm comes with the tide, then it's going to be an issue," said Robert Whittington, who has worked at the marina for 20 years. "We're just waiting to see what happens."

In Ocean Springs, Mississippi, residents angry about BP's slow spill clean-up took it upon themselves to pick up tar balls making landfall. After waiting hours for clean-up crews, young children and their parents began digging up large patches of the oil with sand toys and shovels.

"That is all we had to use and we were not going to sit around and wait for BP to pick this mess up. It is our home," said area resident Marty Wagoner.

PIECE of the Mary Rose is to be taken into space

During a gala dinner on board HMS Warrior, the Atlantis space shuttle crew, who are visiting Portsmouth, were presented with a wooden ball bearing from the Tudor warship which was used to hoist the yards carrying the sails up the mast.

It was fundamental to the propulsion to the warship.

It will be taken back to Houston where it will hopefully be taken on a space mission.

John Lippiett, chief executive of the Mary Rose Trust, said: 'It is really tremendous to have the opportunity to present this little piece of the Mary Rose to the visiting shuttle crew to take back to Houston, in the hope that it will be taken into space on a future mission.

'The Mary Rose was as revolutionary in technological advances 500 years as the space shuttle.

'Both have helped pioneer exploration and advanced the sciences.'

Also on board HMS Warrior last night was astronomer Sir Patrick Moore.

The purpose of the gala dinner was to raise money to send a child from Portsmouth to one of the NASA centres in Florida.

The Atlantis space crew were today rocketing around the city in a whirlwind tour to meet thousands of youngsters.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Brazil's beautiful game now has spine of steel

Johannesburg, June 29 : Brazil sent out an ominous warning to their World Cup rivals Monday with a clinical 3-0 defeat of Chile to set up a quarter-final clash with the Netherlands.

The Selecao seemed capable of scoring at will against Chile at Ellis Park in Johannesburg, and coach Carlos Dunga said he would now reduce the length of training sessions so his players can continue to produce a more expansive game than seen in the group stages.

The laborious victory against North Korea in the opening game, when Dunga faced accusations of betraying Brazil's footballing heritage, seemed an age away as goals from Juan, Luis Fabiano and Robinho simply blew away the Chileans.

More frighteningly for the Dutch, who face Brazil Friday in Port Elizabeth for a place in the last four, is that Brazil barely moved out of second gear, and Dunga sees considerable room for improvement.

"We've already said that in these World Cup games, that we have to play an open game, and that is what we saw," he said. "As we go along, game by game, our confidence is growing."

Dunga revealed that Brazil are leaving nothing to chance in South Africa, with nutrition, training and recovery times for his players all coming under the microscope to ensure the South Americans go home with a sixth World Cup title.

Kaka is one player who has experienced Dunga's attention to detail and is following a strict regime to ensure he is soon capable of playing a full 90 minutes, as he continues his comeback from a troublesome groin injury.

The Real Madrid star managed to last 81 minutes against Chile and set up the second goal for Fabiano, but Dunga admitted concern about the playmaker picking up another booking following his sending off against Ivory Coast, calling it "a problem".

But Dunga saw enough glimpses of quality from the 28-year-old to know that Kaka is on the right track, while the coach's no-nonsense attitude has even succeeded in turning the often enigmatic Robinho into a complete team player.

The Santos striker left Manchester City under a cloud but has fulfilled the role required by Dunga in South Africa, swapping positions with Kaka when needed.

"I only need to say a few words, and the players know what they should do and where they should play," Dunga said. "I have told them that they have the liberty to play. I try to give them advice to guide them, so that they put in the best performance possible."

Dunga's only concern is that Brazil must now leave their base in Johannesburg and travel to Port Elizabeth for the quarter-final tie against the Dutch before a possible semi-final match in Cape Town.

"We were very well settled in our hotel in a very favourable atmosphere, and we are now going to have to move from city to city and hotel to hotel, and this causes its own confusion," he said.

"It would be better to remain where we are."

G20 summit backs UK Budget, says David Cameron

World leaders at the G20 summit in Canada have backed the UK's "tough but fair" Budget, David Cameron has said.

The prime minister said his measures to slash spending and rein in Britain's deficit were endorsed in a communique.

Leaders of the world's major economies ended the meeting in Toronto by reaffirming an earlier commitment to halve their deficits by 2013.

Their final agreement allows countries to adopt differing economic policies to match their own priorities.

It also lets individual nations decide for themselves how to deal with the banks.

'Tough and courageous'

The communique acknowledged that countries with large budget deficits, like the UK, needed to "accelerate the pace of consolidation".

It stated: "It is clear that consolidation will need to begin in advanced economies in 2011 and earlier for countries experiencing significant fiscal challenges.

"There is also a risk that the failure to implement consolidation where necessary would undermine confidence and hamper growth."

In a reference to England's exit from the football World Cup, Mr Cameron told a press conference that it had been a "busy weekend... one which has brought many positive outcomes for Britain, if not on the football field then here at the summit".

He said the talks were designed to co-ordinate growth across the world.

"For some people, particularly countries like Britain with the biggest budget deficit in the G20, that action has to be fiscally consolidated, it has to be sorting out our debts and our deficit so we get confidence in our economy," he said.

"What the G20 has agreed is that this is not an alternative to growth, this is part of the global growth package.

"It's important that the countries with the biggest budget deficits accelerate that action... that is specific backing for the budget we have introduced."

He also said he did not expect the plans to be universally popular, and it was "tough and courageous... but necessary".

Mr Cameron came first face-to-face with US President Barack Obama at the summit for the first time since becoming prime minister.

He said: "I hope you will know what I mean when I say I thought the special relationship took off during the time we spent together."

He then played down suggestions that the US had clashed with Europe over the global economic recovery plans.

"It's a mistake to think this summit has been about a different approach between the Americans and Europeans," he said.

Chancellor George Osborne was also positive about the summit, saying there had been a "change of tone".

"People have understood the impact of the sovereign debt crisis and the necessity of countries to prove not just to international investors but to their own domestic populations that they have got serious, credible plans to live within their means," he said.

Last week the UK coalition government's first Budget announced a two-year pay freeze for public sector workers earning over £21,000 and substantial welfare savings including a three-year freeze in child benefit, a cap on housing benefit and a reduction in tax credits for families earning more than £40,000.

Mr Osborne also said the main rate of VAT would rise from 17.5% to 20% from next January, but he raised the personal income tax allowance by £1,000.

Apple Iphone 4 supply for UK gets worse

THREE WEEKS from the date of a fanbois' order seems to be the Apple online store's latest shipment delay minimum while the London Regents Street Apple Store has run out of stock and staff there tell The INQUIRER that they don't have a date for a delivery.

Continuing the supply troubles that the fruit themed company has had, the official launch date for the shiny new toy was 24 June, but even before then the UK Apple online store had July dates for shipment. Supply problems have also impacted mobile network operators wanting to offer the handset, as the launch date came and went and the companies were unable to stock any. Apple has said that delays are due to an unexpected volume of orders, with 600,000 handsets having been pre-ordered on the first day.

Fanbois queued around the block all day last Thursday to buy the Iphone 4 from the London Regents Street outlet and it sold out. The store's staff told The INQUIRER that customers will now have to register their email to go on a "priority list" and that they will be informed when a handset is available. Apple media relations was not available for comment on the online or retail supply situation.

The US company S3 Graphics has initiated legal action against Apple through the US International Trade Commission. If the ITC concludes that Apple has infringed S3 Graphics patents as the company claims then Steve Jobs' Iphones could be stopped from reaching the US market until any actual infringement is resolved.

Friday, June 25, 2010

UPDATE 2-Canada makes 3rd security-related arrest before summit

TORONTO, June 25 (Reuters) - Toronto police arrested a man near the G20 meeting site on Thursday whose car contained a chainsaw, crossbow and fuel containers, but officials said later the case did not appear to be tied to the summit.

The 53-year-old man was pulled over just a block from where tall steel fences have been erected to protect leaders of the Group of 20 advanced and emerging economies who meet on Saturday and Sunday in Canada's most populous city.

The battered silver sedan had a large crate strapped to its roof. Also found in the car was the man's dog.

"We do not believe it is G20-related," G8/G20 spokeswoman Catherine Martin said on Thursday night.

Toronto Police Constable Hugh Smith told local television the suspect had "no reasonable explanation for the weapons that we observed that were in physical plain view."

It was the third security-related arrest in recent days before the G20 and G8 summits. Canada is spending C$1 billion on security, deploying thousands of police from across the country to protect two summit sites surrounded by 10-foot-high (3-metre) steel fences set in concrete.

Earlier this week, police arrested a man and his wife in an upscale neighbourhood in north Toronto on explosive and firearms charges.

The Integrated Security Unit, which is overseeing security for the summits, did not say what, if any, direct threat the two may have posed, but said there was "no risk to public safety at this time."

On Friday and Saturday, leaders from the Group of Eight industrialized nations will meet in Huntsville, Ontario, about two hours' drive north of Toronto. The G20 will then gather in Toronto on Saturday and Sunday.

The summits will focus on the global economic crisis and are expected to attract thousands of protesters who plan to press anti-poverty and pro-environment agendas.

Police hope to avoid clashes like the 1999 "Battle of Seattle" that disrupted trade talks in that city, and protests during the Summit of the Americas in Canada in 2001 that police used tear gas to disperse.

Police have already arrested a number of protesters this week in Toronto, although marches have generally been peaceful.

Thousands of protesters demonstrating for aboriginal rights marched through the heart of downtown Toronto on Thursday, flanked by police on bikes and followed by others on horseback.

"No tar sands on sovereign Native land," the group chanted in reference to the oil sands projects in the western Canadian province of Alberta.
(Additional reporting by Allan Dowd and David Ljunggren; Editing by Peter Cooney)

MS Office Web Apps - office moves to the Internet

Using online services, you can handle photos, edit videos, recognize text, translate words from one language to another and perform many other operations that were previously impossible without installing special software. Online office packages have also not surprising. Web-office is at Google and Adobe, and most recently - and from Microsoft.

June 9 the official presentation of the final version of Office Web Apps - a service that makes it possible to work with documents Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, without referring to desktop applications. Although the service has yet officially launched only in the U.S., UK, Canada and Ireland, and the presentation of a version for Russian users is scheduled for the fall, working with an online office from Microsoft can now. Simply go to the site and logged in using an account Windows Live. If you do not have such an account, it’s very easy to create.

Office Web Apps are working within the service Skydive. Launched over two years ago, this service also owned by Microsoft, and allows you to store files online experience. Each user can store the service documents, totaling 25 gigabytes.

Service exists as an add-on to Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010. Users can upload documents to the corporate server and a web browser to access files that were uploaded by other employees.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

iPhone 4: The first problems

Smartphone Apple iPhone a new generation just went on sale, as users have already started to record problems in the work.

The first thing that was discovered - the phone loses network, if you hold hands for housing in the area of the antenna. While the machine quietly on the table, with a link from him everything is fine but should take it in hand as the relationship begins to gradually disappear. Many users have reported that encountered the same problems. At the moment the exact reason is not, but most likely hands on the metal shell, change the resonant frequency of the antenna, which apparently has a narrow bandwidth and loses connection. Nevertheless, this is only speculation, in addition, after the communication devices were discovered happy owners who do not have this problem, which casts doubt on this theory.

iPhone 4 drop test broken

RBI diktat may queer FII pitch

Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) and banks are keeping their fingers crossed on a Reserve Bank of India (RBI) rule effective July 1 that could increase capital needs, leading to higher transaction costs and temporary liquidity issues.

The central bank has said from July, the irrevocable payment commitments, or IPCs, by custodian banks to institutional funds should be treated as capital market exposure. But custodian who offer back-end services to funds maintain that their guarantees are not exposure to equities. Banks issue such payment guarantees in favour of stock exchanges on behalf of FIIs to facilitate transactions done by these clients.

"We have given our feedback and have also told RBI individually as banks that in the current format it will become difficult to confirm trades, which could cause a liquidity issue in the market," said a custodian privy to the meetings with the central bank who did not want to be identified.

Implementation of the rule first announced in 2007 has been deferred many times in the past and the latest deadline
is July 1. Some believe it may be deferred again. Deutsche Bank, Citibank, HSBC, JPMorgan and Standard Chartered Bank are some who act as custodians. RBI, in its efforts to reduce the risk in the banking system, had suggested the rule after its inspection revealed that banks were not setting aside enough capital for equity risks. The probe revealed that some banks extended loans to mutual funds and issued guarantees to stock exchanges on behalf of institutional investors.

"IPCs are in the nature of non-fund based credit facility for purchase of shares and are to be treated on a par with guarantees issued for the purpose of capital market operations,’’ RBI said on December 14, 2007. ``Such exposure of banks will, therefore, form part of their Capital Market Exposure. Banks were also advised that entities such as FIIs are not permitted to avail of fund or non-fund based facilities such as IPCs from banks."

But custodians believe that there was little risk in their business and that they could recover the funds in case of a default. "In a cash equity settlement, a custodian exposure is only to the extent of the price risk of the securities,’’ said another custodian. ``If there is a default on the purchase obligation, a custodian offsets it by disposing of the security. The risk arising out of the price movement is also taken care of by the margin framework in place."

13 mln Downloads Done from Airtel App Central

Ever since Bharti Airtel launched its App Central in February, subscribers have been on a downloading spree. A solid testament to this fact is that there has been a record download of 13 million in just four months, which roughly translates to 1.2 download every second, according to a report on

While making this announcement, Atul BindalBindal, President-Mobile Services, Bharti Airtel said, "4 months since it opened Airtel App Central continues its triumphant march, transforming into Smartphones the basic devices of an increasing number of Airtel mobile customers across the country. Airtel customers have identified our Easy Single-ClickSingle-Click Purchase Mechanism as the most popular aspect of the Store. With over 32% of downloads paid for, App Central is also emerging as the preferred destination for existing and upcoming developers in India and the world over"

There are currently over 71,000 apps in the Airtel App Central, which is the highest in India according to the operator. These are divided into 25 different categories including social networking, games, news, business, sports, travel, education and health. Also, more than 780 devices are supported at present as against 550 supported initially during the launch of the store. Now, while this may be very far off from the achievements of Apple's App Store, every small step counts and also it will be like comparing apples to oranges.