Sunday, April 3, 2011

Dhoni`s six perfect end to match: Hrithik Roshan

Mumbai: Actor Hrithik Roshan was bowled over by the magnificent performance of Team India in the World Cup final against Sri Lanka and says skipper M.S. Dhoni`s winning six was the perfect end to the match.

"Last (Saturday) night, Indian team proved themselves to be the biggest heroes. They were up against one of the best teams. It`s the madness that carried them through. And the final winning six of Dhoni... I am a cinema guy so in my way I would say it was a perfect screenplay," Hrithik told reporters at the launch of Provogue`s new Spring Summer Catalogue at Novotel Hotel here Sunday.

India defeated Sri Lanka at the ICC World Cup final by six wickets to lift the World Cup after 28 years. India had last won the cup in 1983.

Actress Sonakshi Sinha accompanied Hrithik at the launch of the catalogue. The two endorse the brand`s respective female and male lines respectively. IANS

Lohan`s mother fumes over CCTV footage sale

London: Lindsay Lohan`s mother Dina has lashed out at a California jewellery store for selling surveillance footage of the actress trying on a necklace she later allegedly stole from the shop.

Clips of the video have also emerged online at Necklacevideo, with fans being asked to pay $2.99 to view more of the recording, reports

Lohan`s mother Dina is fuming about the release of the footage and she has branded the "pay-as-you-watch" scheme "ridiculous".

"It`s clear what this is about. It`s gotten to such a ridiculous point. They need to leave Lindsay alone," Dina told reporters.

Lindsay is also infuriated with the bosses at Kamofie and Company trying to cash in on her name. She has even threatened legal action claiming she never granted the store owners permission to use her image for profit. IANS

Magic Johnson is Abhishek Bachchan`s fan!

Mumbai: If Abhishek Bachchan has one idol besides his dad Amitabh Bachchan, it`s the basketball legend Magic Johnson. Imagine his surprise when he got to know that Johnson too shared the sentiment, and was Abhishek`s fan!

Not too many people know this, but Abhishek`s most prized possessions are two jerseys signed personally by Johnson.

Such is Junior Bachchan`s undying affinity to Magic Johnson`s magic, that the joke at the Bachchan residence Jalsa is that give Abhishek an Amitabh Bachchan classic and a recording of a Magic Johnson game, and you`ve lost him for the whole day.

Abhishek, when he got to know about Johnson being on micro-blogging site Twitter, was persuaded by those close to him to tweet to his childhood idol.

Says a source close to Abhishek: "At first, Abhishek was hesitant. He is never demonstrative about his likes and dislikes. He kept agonising over whether he should let Magic Johnson know on Twitter about what a fan he is. Finally, Aishwarya convinced him to go for it. Abhishek tweeted a simple message to Johnson saying what a fan he is."

To Abhishek`s surprise, Magic Johnson tweeted back saying he is a fan of Abhishek`s!

Says the source: "Abhishek still can`t believe Magic Johnson tweeted back saying he is a fan. He has been pinching himself and bragging to all his friends about the compliment. The two Magic Johnson jerseys are out of the cupboard again."

Abhishek was so thrilled he threw an impromptu party for all his close friends.

Still sounding zapped, Abhishek says: "I`ve been a, a fanatic of Magic Johnson from childhood. To get such a complimentary tweet from him in reply to my tweet is a dream come true. You have to excuse me now, I`ve to go back to iron my two most prized possessions, the Johnson jerseys."

42 dead, over 100 injured in Pakistan triple blasts

Islamabad: At least 42 people were killed and over a hundred injured on Sunday when three powerful blasts ripped through a crowded shrine in Pakistan's Punjab province. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has strongly condemned the attack.

Hundreds of Sufi Muslims from different parts of the country had gathered at the shrine, called Sakhi Sarvar, near the Deraghazi Khan city for a three-day festival.

The first blast, which has been confirmed as a suicide attack, occurred around 5.40 pm in the front side of the shrine, followed by a second blast at the rear end. The shrine is located on a mountain some 40 km from the city.

The third blast occurred near the shrine where people were busy helping the injured. It could not be determined immediately if the second and third blasts were suicide attacks. Scores of people were killed and injured in the blasts, sources told Xinhua. Geo TV said at least 42 people were killed and over a 100 injured.

Police had reportedly arrested two suspected terrorists near the shrine prior to the third blast. One of them was wearing a suicide jacket. Local media reports said that the bomber in the first blast was aged between 17 and 22.

Rescue workers had difficulty in shifting the injured down from the mountain. It took about two to three hours to shift them to the nearest hospital, said a rescue officer. Many people have died on the way to the hospital, he said.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has strongly condemned the attack and ordered an immediate probe.

Meanwhile, media reports said that Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has claimed responsibility for the attack.

This was the first terror attack on a shrine in Pakistan this year. Last year, several suicide blasts occurred at shrines in different parts of the country, killing and injuring many people. In one such attack, 37 people were killed and over 170 others injured in the eastern city of Lahore last year.

Two workers die at Fukushima plant

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) and the IAEA on Sunday announced the death of two workers at the site of the quake-and-tsunami-hit Fukushima Daiichi atomic energy plant. Neither side spelt out the exact cause of the deaths.

In a regular update on the Fukushima situation, the IAEA said, without comment, Japan's “Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency reported that the two employees were found dead” in the turbine building of Unit 4 on March 30. The plant was devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Tepco chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata said in a statement: “We lost two young employees who were working to protect the safety of the Fukushima power station after the earthquake and the tsunami …. We will work to avoid a similar tragedy in the future.” In yet another statement, the company said the two workers, assigned an inspection task, had been “missing” since the March 11 quake and tsunami. Tepco had previously reported an “explosive sound” and consequential damage at Unit 4 on March 15.

Continuous leakage of radioactive substances from the entire Fukushima Daiichi complex has been confirmed by the Japanese authorities for over two weeks now. And efforts to plug one of the detected outlets — a 20-cm. crack in the concrete wall of pit at Unit 2 — continued on Sunday, with senior officials expressing concern and declining to set a timeline for ending the radiation crisis.

2G Spectrum Charge Sheet Has Left Out Core Issues: Jaitley

Thiruvananthapuram : BJP today said the CBI charge sheet in the 2G spectrum case had left out "core issues" without significantly dealing with loss to the exchequer and alleged that the timetable of investigation was influenced by the April 13 Tamil Nadu Assembly polls.

Arun Jaitley, who is Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said, "The charge sheet has left out the core issues.  The issue of loss to the exchequer on account of allotting spectrum at 2001 price in 2008 has not been significantly dealt with."

Saying that there were serious allegations of favour shown to DMK, a UPA partner, he told a meet-the-press programme here that the timetable of investigation was influenced by the Tamil Nadu polls.

"I think CBI has bent backwards a little bit. They repeatedly said the Prime Minister was defied or misled. I don't think the charge sheet should give a political clean chit to anybody. It should deal with criminality," Jaitley, who was here to campaign for BJP candidates, said.

Jaitley said CBI had acted under legal compulsions as it was mandatory to file the charge sheet within 60 days after starting the investigation.

Claiming that "huge evidences" about large sums of money being transferred to the DMK channel (Kalaignar TV) had surfaced during the probe, he said there was no reason to postpone such vital issues.

Asked if he thought CBI had been politically influenced to leave out issues relating to DMK, he noted that CBI itself had taken up the case only after the Supreme Court intervention.

The investigating agency should avoid doing anything that would vindicate the charge of acting on political considerations, he said.

The CBI charge sheet filed in a Delhi court yesterday said former Telecom Minister A Raja had conspired with top bureaucrats, including a retired IAS officer, and corporate honchos in allocation of 2G spectrum that resulted in a loss of Rs 30,984 crore.

Raja was chargesheeted along with eight others and three Telecom companies in the scam. PTI

No Constitutional Bar On Introducing Vidhan Parishad : Pranab

Kolkata :  Union Finance Minister and senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee has said there was no constiutional bar on introducing Vidhan Parishad (Upper House) as suggested by Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee in the event of Congress-TC alliance coming to power in West Bengal.

“The proposal first needs to be passed and sent to the Centre thereafter. Subsequently a bill is introduced in both houses of Parliament and passed with simple majority,” Mukherjee said to a question after releasing the party manifesto.

“No two-third majority is required for passing the bill so far as my knowledge about the Constitution goes,” the veteran leader said.

On Friday, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee said if the TC-led alliance came to power she would revive the Vidhan Parishad.

“If we (Trinamool Congress and Congress alliance) come to power we will revive the Vidhan Parishad where eminent personalities from different walks of life - economists, litterateur, artists, journalists, teachers and those from the unorganised sector and self-help groups would be made members,” Banerjee told a TV channel.

Banerjee said she had already told Pranab Mukherjee of her plan.

West Bengal had a bicameral legislature earlier, but it was abolished in August, 1969.

Trinamool sources said Banerjee was toying with the idea of reviving the Upper House as a number of eminent personalities from different walks of life had been drawn into her movement since the days of Singur and Nandigram stir.

Many of them were not keen on contesting the assembly polls, but Banerjee wanted to have their advice in running the government. PTI

Gaddafi Envoy In Europe To Seek End To Crisis

Benghazi  :  An envoy of Muammar Gaddafi told Greece’s prime minister Sunday that the Libyan leader was seeking a way out of his country’s crisis two weeks after his government’s attacks to put down a rebellion drew international airstrikes, Greek officials said.

Abdul-Ati al-Obeidi, a former Libyan prime minister who has served as a Gaddafi envoy during the crisis, will travel next to Turkey and Malta in a sign that Gaddafi’s regime may be softening its hard line in the face of the sustained attacks.

“From the Libyan envoy’s comments it appears that the regime is seeking a solution,” Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas said in a statement after the meeting in Athens.

The foreign minister said the Greek side stressed the international community’s call for Libya to comply with the U.N. resolution that authorized the airstrikes and demanded Gaddafi and the rebels end hostilities.

The message, Droutsas said, was: “Full respect and implementation of the United Nations decisions, an immediate cease-fire, an end to violence and hostilities, particularly against the civilian population of Libya.”

Gaddafi’s government has declared several cease-fires but has not abided by them.

Few other details of the Athens talks were released publically.

On Friday, the Libyan envoy had said Gaddafi’s government was attempting to hold talks with the U.S., Britain and France in an effort to halt the international airstrikes that began March 19 and which have pounded Libya’s troops and armor and grounded its air force.

Gaddafi’s superior forces had been close to taking the rebel capital of Benghazi in eastern Libya before the international military campaign.

Rebel forces made up of defected army units and armed civilians have since seized much of Libya’s eastern coast, but have been unable to push westward toward the capital, Tripoli.

On Sunday, Gaddafi’s forces pressed on with attacks against Misrata, the last key city in the western half of the country still largely under rebel control despite a weeks-long assault.

Government troops besieged civilian areas for around two hours Sunday morning with Grad rockets and mortar shells and lined a main street with snipers, said a doctor in the city.

Two shells landed on a field hospital, killing one person and injuring 11, he said. The attacks, including tank fire, began again after nightfall, he said. He did not want to be identified by name out of fear for his security.

A Turkish ship carrying 250 wounded from Misrata docked in Benghazi Sunday. The boat, which carried medical supplies, was also expected to pick up around 60 wounded people being treated in various hospitals in Benghazi, as well as 30 Turks and 40 people from Greece, Ukraine, Britain, Uzbekistan, Germany and Finland.

A leader of the rebel movement, meanwhile, sought to ease concerns from Western governments about its character and goals, emphasizing in an interview that the rebels will not allow Islamic extremists to hijack their plans to install a parliamentary democracy in place of Gaddafi’s four-decade rule.

The issue takes on added importance as Western officials debate whether to send the rebels weaponry in an attempt to help them gain the upper hand over Gaddafi’s superior troops.

“Libyans as a whole—and I am one of them—want a civilian democracy, not dictatorship, not tribalism and not one based on violence or terrorism,” said Abdel-Hafidh Ghoga, vice chairman of the opposition’s National Provisional Council.

The council, based in Benghazi, was formed to represent the opposition in the eastern Libyan cities that shook off control of the central government in a series of popular uprisings that began Feb. 15.

In Washington, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee in the House of Representatives was among several key lawmakers cautioning that the U.S. and its allies needed to know much more about the rebel forces before providing them with weapons.

Mike Rogers, a Republican from Michigan, said on NBC television’s “Meet the Press” that there may be strains of al-Qaida within the rebel ranks and the NATO-led coalition in the campaign against Gaddafi should proceed with caution before arming them.

Libya’s opposition has said any extremists among their ranks would be few in number, and Gaddafi’s own punishing campaigns crushed Islamic militants in the country years ago.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Sunday that his country would neither arm the rebels nor send ground troops to Libya.

“We have taken no decision to arm the rebels, the opposition, the pro-democracy people—whatever one wants to call them,” he told the BBC.

A British diplomatic team arrived Saturday in the rebels’ de facto capital of Benghazi to speak to members of the opposition council to learn more about their aims, British officials said Sunday.

Other fighting Sunday was concentrated around the strategic oil town of Brega, as it has been repeatedly during weeks of back-and-forth battling along Libya’s eastern coast. The rebels, backed by airstrikes, made incremental advances.

Rebels fired truck-mounted rocket launchers, then moved to avoid government counter-strikes, suggesting improving tactics and training.

In Tripoli, an opposition supporter said Sunday that anxiety was spreading in areas of the capital as dozens of people disappear in pre-dawn raids, apparently carried out by Gaddafi’s security apparatus.

“They pick them up from their houses and they disappear. We don’t know if they’re still alive or dead,” said the activist who spoke on condition he not be identified to avoid arrest.

He also described the city as being locked down, saying many people were staying at home, shops were closed and hundreds of cars were lining up for hours at gas stations as people hoard supplies.

The U.S. was to have stopped flying strike missions in Libya as of Sunday after it passed control of the air operation to NATO last week. But alliance spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said the U.S. approved a request to extend that role until Monday because of “poor weather conditions over the last few days.” She did not elaborate. AP

Polling Begins on Brisk Note in Assam

Guwahati  :  Polling began on a brisk note in 62 constituencies in the first of the two-phase Assam Assembly elections at 7 AM today.Large queues were witnessed in front of many booths. An 85,09,011-strong electorate will decide the fate of 485 candidates in 62 of the 126 Assembly  constituencies.

Among prominent contestants are Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and several senior ministers, including Pradyut Bordoloi and Bharat Chandra Narah. The second phase of elections will be held on April 11 in the remaining 64 constituencies

IMF denies pressing Greece to restructure debt

"As we have said consistently, the IMF supports the Greek government's position of no debt restructuring and its determination to fully service its debt obligations. Any reports claiming otherwise are wrong," an IMF spokeswoman told Reuters.

Without citing any sources, Der Spiegel reported that the IMF had reversed its previous opposition to the idea of a Greek restructuring and now believed one was necessary soon.

It wrote that senior IMF officials were recommending this to European governments because Greece's debt mountain was now roughly one-and-a-half times its annual economic output.

Early in March, IMF European Director Antonio Borges told reporters he was "confident that Greek debt is sustainable", adding that the Greeks had made "quite a bit of progress on their banks" as well.

But since the IMF now believes current measures no longer suffice, it would like to see interest rates on Greek sovereign debt lowered, maturities extended or the amount of principal which Greece has to repay cut, Der Spiegel said.

European governments and the IMF are jointly contributing to and administering Greece's 110 billion euro ($155 billion) bailout, so a split between them on policy could be damaging to Greece's prospects for recovery.

Greek and European officials have long insisted that Greece can recover without restructuring its debt, and that even discussing a restructuring now would be counter-productive by damaging banks across Europe and causing panic in markets.

Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou, speaking to Reuters at a conference in Italy on Saturday, responded to the Der Spiegel report by saying: "There is absolutely no chance of a restructuring of Greek debt."

He added, "People (who talk about a restructuring) fail to understand that the costs would much outweigh the benefits."

European Commission spokesman Jens Mester said: "All support measures are in place, and there is no reason now to start thinking of this possibility of restructuring Greece's debt."

Der Spiegel reported that the IMF was still not willing to call openly for a Greek restructuring out of fear this could increase market pressure on Portugal. Portuguese bond yields have soared in the last several weeks because investors think Lisbon may soon be forced to seek a bailout.

Many investors and analysts think an eventual Greek restructuring may be inevitable. Cutting its credit rating of Cyprus on Wednesday, Standard and Poor's cited an "increasing likelihood that the Greek government will restructure its debt".

Former European Central Bank chief economist Otmar Issing told Der Spiegel last month that Greece's sovereign debt would have to be restructured as soon as other euro zone countries were out of danger.

Before any restructuring, however, Greece may try another strategy. Papaconstantinou said on Wednesday that Athens might use some proceeds from state asset sales to buy back outstanding bonds from the market; since market prices of its debt have dropped sharply below face value, this could have the effect of a restructuring in lightening Greece's debt load without requiring Athens to conduct difficult talks with creditors.

Q+A - What is the 2G spectrum scandal all about?


The CBI say that in 2007-08, when the government issued 122 new telecoms licences, several rules were violated and bribes were paid to favour certain firms.

Several licences were issued to firms with no prior experience in the telecoms sector or were ineligible or had suppressed relevant facts, an auditor said in its report.

The violations cost the exchequer $39 billion in lost revenue, the auditor said, equivalent to the country's defence budget.

The telecoms ministry's process of issuing licences "lacked transparency and was undertaken in an arbitrary, unfair and inequitable manner," the auditor said.

Police have accused A. Raja, the then-telecoms minister, of having taken bribes from two firms which are now the local joint venture partners of Telenor and Etisalat.


The report sparked political outrage and the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) all-but-shut an entire session of parliament demanding a special parliamentary probe.

Raja was forced to resign and was arrested over the report. The telecoms ministry is considering whether to cancel some 85 licences which the audit report says were issued to firms which were ineligible for them.

Many of India’s biggest business names have been questioned, including billionaires Anil Ambani, chairman of Reliance ADA group, and Prashant Ruia, chief executive of Essar Group.

A parliamentary panel probing the scandal will next week question Ratan Tata as well as Anil Ambani.


Singh and the ruling coalition have been weakened by the events, and the BJP is seen as having regained political momentum it had lost after defeat in the 2009 federal elections.

The Supreme Court criticised Singh for not acting quickly enough against Raja, a rare censure that was picked up by the BJP to accuse the government of shielding corrupt officials.

The attacks have nearly paralysed the government but it is not in danger of collapsing as its slim majority is not expected to see defections by coalition partners and no one, including the BJP, wants general elections now.

The scandal has also touched Raja's DMK party, a leading ally of the ruling Congress party. The CBI say some of the bribes were routed through the DMK's television channel, controlled by the wife and daughter of the DMK party chief.

DMK rules Tamil Nadu, which goes to polls in April. The corruption cases could affect the electoral performance of the DMK-Congress coalition there.


While corruption itself has been largely shrugged off by investors, the regulatory uncertainty from the review of past government decisions is a source of concern to investors.

The benchmark BSE Sensex ended the March quarter as the world's worst performer, weighed down in part by worries over fallout from a spate of scandals.

If the telecoms ministry does decide to cancel some or all of the 85 licences it is scrutinising, questions will be raised on whether foreign investors can trust Indian government contracts.

The licences under review include those now held by Telenor and Etisalat's local ventures.

It is too early to know whether licences will be cancelled, but pressure will be on the government not to do so because operators have invested millions of dollars in rolling out networks and cancelling them will inconvenience subscribers.

The telecoms ministry is also mulling imposing charges for spectrum it granted to telecoms firms in the past and has levied fines on newer firms for not rolling out networks quickly enough.

For years, the government gave operators spectrum beyond contracted levels free of cost as they added subscribers.

If the spectrum charges are imposed, market leaders Bharti Airtel and Vodafone would have to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in back-charges. For newer entrants, hefty fines could strain their finances and force them to exit.

Heart disease screens don't change treatment

"It is shocking how little evidence there is," Dr. Patrick O'Malley of the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Maryland, who wrote an editorial in the Archives of Internal Medicine, where the new report was published.

Looking at earlier studies, the authors found screening people with such tests didn't seem to change what drugs doctors prescribed, nor the patients' diet and exercise habits or whether they smoked.

These are all factors that could influence a person's risk of heart disease, which accounts for more than one out of every three deaths in the U.S., according to the American Heart Association.

The hope is that taking a piercing look at the heart will spot problems like calcium buildups that might one day block its blood supply. In principle, that would allow patients and their doctors to take steps to avert heart attacks, strokes and similar conditions down the road.

CT scans may cost anywhere between a few hundred dollars to a couple of thousand, and expose patients to radiation. But like other tests for heart disease, they have never been proven to improve health in patients without symptoms.

Still, the number of Americans who get these tests has been climbing fast in recent years. Every year, for instance, hundreds of thousands of people get CT scans, an imaging technique based high-dose x-rays. No one knows how many of those are done to look for heart problems in patients who don't have any symptoms.

O'Malley said the tests shouldn't be used on people without chest pain and other symptoms of heart disease outside of clinical experiments.

The report is based on a review of seven earlier studies -- all the authors could find -- that tested whether heart imaging had an impact on people's lifestyle and the treatment they got.

The original studies included a broad swath of people without symptoms of heart disease -- some had major risk factors like diabetes and some were healthy middle-aged people.

Across the board, Dr. Daniel Hackam of the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada, and colleagues found no differences between those who had their heart tested and those who didn't.

But they add the studies were so small -- most included only a few hundred individuals -- that a possible impact couldn't be entirely ruled out.

Along with CT, or computed tomography, researchers also looked at screening with echocardiography, ultrasound, and so-called myocardial perfusion imaging.

None of those tests are recommended for screening purposes by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a federal task force. On the other hand, several medical societies, including the American Heart Association, support their use.

Dr. Allen Taylor, a cardiologist at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., who wasn't involved in the new work, said the findings didn't mean the tests are no good.

"All you can conclude from that paper is we need some better evidence," he told Reuters Health. "Innovation will stop if there is an irrational demand for evidence beyond refute."

"It's completely about the way information is identified by clinicians and put into practice," he added. "The guidelines are not as clear and that's a gap."

Taylor, who said he has no ties to manufacturers of imaging equipment, explained the tests give a better idea of a patient's risk than traditional risk factors like blood pressure and obesity.

But other experts disagree about their usefulness.

"You get more false information than you get real information," Dr. Rita F. Redberg, a cardiologist at the University of California, San Francisco, told Reuters Health last year.

Yoga halves irregular-heartbeat episodes: study

Yoga, already proven to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, can cut in half the risk of a common and potentially dangerous irregular heartbeat, according to a U.S. study released on Saturday.

The small study was the first to examine the benefits of yoga on atrial fibrillation -- a problem that is a leading cause of stroke and is most common in the elderly.

In addition to halving the episodes of atrial fibrillation, the study found that yoga also reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression related to the condition.

"These findings are important because many of the current conventional treatment strategies for atrial fibrillation include invasive procedures or medications with undesirable side effects," said Dr. Dhanunjaya Lakkireddy, an associate professor with the University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, Kansas, who led the study.

He presented his findings at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology being held in New Orleans.

The study involved 49 patients with the heart rhythm disorder who had no physical limitations and no prior experience with yoga. Their episodes of irregular heartbeat were measured for a six-month period by researchers at the hospital.

During the first three months, patients were allowed to participate in any physical activity they liked.

For the remaining three months, they underwent a supervised yoga program that involved breathing exercises, yoga postures, meditation and relaxation.

Forty-five minute yoga sessions with a certified professional were held three times each week, and patients were encouraged to practice daily yoga exercises at home.

Heart monitors measured episodes of irregular heartbeat throughout the trial, and patients completed short self-administered surveys to assess their levels of anxiety, depression and overall quality of life.


On average, yoga cut episodes of the irregular heartbeat in half, while also significantly reducing depression and anxiety scores and improving scores in physical functioning, general health, vitality, social functioning and mental health, the researchers found.

"It appears yoga has a significant impact on helping to regulate patients' heartbeat and improves the overall quality of life," Lakkireddy said.

Atrial fibrillation causes blood to pool in the upper chambers of the heart, where it can clot and travel to the brain, causing strokes. Millions of patients with the condition take the blood thinner warfarin every day to lower the risk of such clots, and thereby prevent strokes.

Considering its low cost and benefits, Lakkireddy said yoga should be considered in overall treatment of atrial fibrillation and other heart rhythm problems.

But Lakkireddy cautioned that larger studies are needed to bear out the findings of his study, and that patients should continue with standard medical therapy.

"Based on my findings, one should not tell patients that yoga will fix everything and they can stop taking their anticoagulants. Yoga is strictly a supplement for everything else they are doing medically," he said.

A new wave of promising medicines to prevent such strokes is being developed by several drugmakers, one of which -- Xarelto being developed by Bayer and Johnson & Johnson -- will be highlighted at the heart meeting.

But the pills come with side effects, and are expected to cost thousands of dollars a year, when they reach the market.

10 Things That Simply Need To Be In iOS 5

WWDC. It’s like Christmas for OS X and iOS developers. Each year, they flock to San Francisco’s Moscone Center, anxiously awaiting the pair of gifts that Apple annually bestows: the new iPhone, and a bundle of new features upon which they’ll build their next big thing.

If whispers and hearsay hold true, this year’s WWDC will only feature the latter; the iPhone 5, says the rumor mill, won’t be showing its face until Fall. Instead, this show is purportedly going to be all about iOS and OS X. While Apple doesn’t come right out and say it, it’s pretty safe to assume that by “iOS” they mean “iOS 5″.

Given that we’re writing about iOS on a regular basis and talking about it with readers and friends even more, we’ve got a pretty finely-tuned wishlist for iOS 5. We also happen to know that a heaping handful of Apple folk read TechCrunch regularly — and with the feature lock stage of iOS 5′s development cycle (wherein they absolutely refuse to add anything new and just focus on what they’ve already started) presumably riiiight around the corner, we figured there was no better time than now to put it out there.

1) A Better Notifications System

We’ve brought this one up a billion times, but I’ll bring it up a billion more times if we have to. Compared to even the weakest competitors, iOS’ current notification system is absolutely friggin’ laughable. It was understandable, up to a point; back in the ol’ days before the App Store, the only notifications iOS really had to worry about were incoming text messages and the occasional alarm. Toss in a dozen third party apps all crying for your attention, though, and it becomes nigh-impossible to finish a single game of Tiny Wings without wanting to send your handset itself flying off a hill.

2) Free Turn-by-Turn Navigation

While the idea is likely one that scares the pants off of the likes of Telenav and Garmin, free turn-by-turn navigation on iOS is pretty much an inevitability. Back in October of 2009, Google turned the entire GPS market on its noggin by bringin’ free (not to mention, fantastically well built) turn-by-turn support to Android 2.0+ devices. Nearly a year and a half later, it’s still an easy argument to drop in any Android-vs-iPhone flamewar for massive damage.

Apple sort of backed themselves into a corner here. Google built the iOS Maps app, and they’re almost certainly not about to give up one of their platform’s finest, most easily pitched selling points by tacking in turn-by-turn. If Apple wants the voice guided goodness, they’ll likely have to build up a Maps app for their own — and with iOS users having grown accustomed to a Google-powered Maps for around 4 years and Apple having next to no experience in the area, they’ve got big ol’ shoes to fill. With all the recent chatter of Apple opening a $1 billion data center and hiring up Maps specialists, however, it looks like they plan on doing exactly that.

3) Custom Text Notification Sounds

Sometimes, when I’m bored enough to be wondering about hypothetical situations surrounding iOS in my off-work hours, I wonder if the absence of custom text alert sounds is a running joke amongst Apple’s iOS team. As in, I wonder if they’ve got a running list of features to build for iOS, with “Custom Text Sounds” hard-coded to always have the absolute lowest priority. Only once every other thing they’ve ever considered (including the built-in fart button and the hardware laser level) is checked off the list can they start working on custom alert sounds.

That has to be it. Otherwise, I simply can’t understand how this feature is still missing.

4) Proper Native Gmail Support

Back when it launched in 2004, its relatively monstrous storage allotment and Beta exclusivity made Gmail the “cool” e-mail service for the Geeky-but-not-too-geeky crowd. 7 years later, it still holds that label.

The crowd behind the iPhone — or any Apple product, really — is a strikingly similar one. OS X is for geeks (and the friends/relatives of geeks) who are geeky enough to want something beyond Windows but not geeky enough to swear their allegiance to Linux. iPhone is for geeks who want more out of their phone than what most offer, but don’t want to have to fight their phone to keep it working (Deep breath, Android users.) If you were to venn diagram out iOS users and Gmail users, I’d imagine the overlap would be pretty massive. And yet, iOS’ support for Gmail is pretty much bare bones.

You see, Gmail has a handful of features (like flagging, starring, labeling, and archiving for example) that really make the service worthwhile. Of those, only archiving is supported in iOS’ built-in Mail app — and even that has only been available since iOS 4. Android, meanwhile, offers Gmail support that rivals that found on the desktop. Whatever chunk of that cool-kid geek crowd Apple holds, it’s not one they want to lose.

5) Sideloading of Third-party Apps

Next to free turn-by-turn navigation, the ability to run just about anything you want on an Android phone (unless it’s an AT&T Android phone) is one of the easiest silver bullets to fire off in any iPhone-vs-Android nerd-war.

Apple’s shown time and time again that they’re willing to drop the App Store banhammer on any application that they deem offensive, or that dares use APIs that Apple reserves for their own use. And that’s fine: it’s their store, and they can moderate the content however they see fit. But when you’ve got the gall to lock down that store and make it the only way to get apps onto the device (especially when the other guy is saying “Hey, we’ll only let certain stuff on our store, but you can manually load whatever the heck you please!”), you become the bad guy.

At this point, loading otherwise unobtainable applications onto the device is one of the few remaining legitimate (read: not piracy) reasons to jailbreak. As exploit after exploit have proven, the jailbreakers will always find a way in. Rather than battling them, why not just make jailbreaking less enticing? Hide the option to enable sideloading away, and make them click through a dozen warnings. Is there some danger to letting users run whatever they want? Of course! But it’s more dangerous to leave them with running a bunch of tough-to-verify hacks as their only option.

6) Wireless Media Syncing:

The iPhone has WiFi. It has Bluetooth. It has 3G. It has so many means of connecting to other devices wirelessly that it’s almost ridiculous — and yet, transferring even a single song into the built-in music app requires a silly, chintzy cable.

With OS X Lion, Apple’s introducing a feature called “AirDrop” that allows you to drag and drop files to any other system in AirDrop mode. Hopefully, iOS 5 will get an AirDrop mode of its own. Tap a button (or launch an App) on the iPhone to drop into AirDrop mode, drag over the relevant media from your laptop, and away you go. No messy cable required.

7) Improved File Handling:

Once you’ve managed to get your files onto the device, iOS does all sorts of weird stuff to workaround the fact that there’s no real user-visible file system here. Want to put that photo you just took into an album? Nope. Want to attach a file after starting the e-mail? Nope!

8) Stop Wasting The Lockscreen

Jailbreak your iPhone, and your lockscreen can very well become one of your phone’s most important screens. See your latest e-mail at a glance! Scan blurps from your favorite RSS feeds! Check the weather forecast in an instant!

Don’t jailbreak your iPhone, and your lockscreen can show… erm, a clock.

By default, iOS’ lockscreen is pretty much just a means of keeping you from accidentally firing off garbled texts while the phone is in your pocket, with over 50% of the screen wasted. We get it: minimalism is cool. As the screenshot above (of the jailbreak-only modification, statusnotifier) show, things can be minimalist and useful.

9) NFC Support:

This isn’t so much an iOS thing as it is a hardware thing, and it’s still completely unclear whether or not the iPhone 5 will offer up NFC functionality.

With that said, NFC (the short range communication technology that will eventually allow us to pay retailers with a quick wave of our phones) is coming. With huge namesthrowing their weight behind the tech, this long promised pipe dream is closer than ever to becoming part of our daily lives.

The sooner that Apple jumps on the technology, the better. If Apple promises to support the technology — even if it’s just a promise to eventually support it — and to throw their army of iPhone users behind NFC, retailers will be that much more driven to adopt it quickly. Hardware manufacturers will be driven to add NFC to their own products, thereby driving down the cost for everyone. Developers will be able to build on the tech, taking things far beyond the standard tap-to-pay concept that everyone associates with it.

10) Automatic Content Syncing For Third Party Apps

It’s 3 A.M. Your iPad is plugged in. It’s on WiFi. It has more juice and bandwidth available to it than it will just about any other time.. and it’s doing absolutely nothing.

And yet, any time I open up an application that isn’t Mail — say, CNN, Instapaper, or an RSS reader — it has to sync all the way back to the last time the app was opened. Why make me wait when I do want to use my iPad, rather than doing the majority of syncing when I’m not using it?

There we have it — the top 10 things we’re hoping ‘ for in iOS 5. Think we missed anything? Drop us a comment and share what’s on your wishlist.

State Department Builds A Panic Button App

Imagine you are a pro-democracy protester on the streets of a repressive government. You’ve got your cellphone and you are messaging your friends. In the crowd near you, the police start making arrests. Fearing the government will confiscate your phone and investigate your contacts, you push a “panic button” on your phone. It deletes the contacts in your address book and sends out an alert. Such an app wasn’t readily available so the U.S. State Department, acting as a venture capitalist, decided to build one.

The State Department tells TechCrunch government funded work is underway to build an Android version of this “panic button” app. No release date has been set. Another version designed to work on low-cost Nokia phones, more common in the developing world, is being considered. No iPhone app is planned for now.

The special app, first reported by Reuters, is part of an initiative to promote new technologies for social activists. So far, the State Department has funded $22 million in “Internet freedom programming.” The money goes to innovators in the form of small grants ranging from a few to tens of thousands of dollars. TechCrunch asked who was getting the money, but due to the sensitive nature of the project, the government won’t disclose names.

An open, competitive bid process was used to award the grants. While the government isn’t looking for more help building these apps, they may have future projects designed to advance “Internet Freedom” in other ways. Keep an eye on for any additional info. Some of the past program objectives have included developing technology “to enable users in closed societies to get around firewalls and filters in acutely hostile Internet environments” and training bloggers and activists to safely and anonymously participate in online forums.

The effort is another example of how the administration sees the important role social media and technology has played in global politics. In 2009, the U.S. asked Twitter to delay maintenance work so real-time information about the Iranian protests could continue. The White House has also called on Egypt and Libya to restore internet blackouts.

The State Department says it’s not just writing checks. The government is trying to use venture capitalist techniques to produce the best results. No, the goal is not to make 10x on the investment. But, the government is supporting a diverse portfolio of innovation rather than just funding big established technologies. It’s providing knowledge and connections, not just cash. And they are investing to incubate a new community focussed on the intersection of technology and human rights.

Of course with any well intentioned program, there could be negative side effects. What happens if the panic button app gets into the wrong hands, such as drug dealers or terrorists? A State Department spokesperson tells TechCrunch it’s a legitimate concern and they are taking that into account when planning the distribution and publicity of the app. It seems TechCrunch readers won’t be a problem.

Motorola Milestone 2 up for grabs through

For elegance admirers who’ve been tracking down a sophisticatedly formed mobile device embedding all essential features, here’s something routed to answer their entertainment and multimedia needs. recently announced the availability of Motorola’s feature-rich Milestone 2 mobile phone that not only harmonizes with the style factor, but also caters to almost every need.

Along with this, the company has introduced the ‘Cash on delivery’ option through which’s customers can pay only after receiving the product. Powered by Android 2.2 with Adobe Flash Player 10 and 1GHz processor, the Milestone 2 enables an immersive, rich web experience.

For those inclined towards cherishing their good times, a 5 megapixel camera accompanied by image stabilization, real-time color effects, scene modes and location tagging has been incorporated. Users can also enhance their interaction by exploiting the device’s multimedia messaging, voice to text, a slider QWERTY keyboard and Google Mobile services.

Some other highlighting features include 3G mobile hotspot connectivity, improved Motoblur, up to 40 gigabyte memory, support for high-definition video, seven customizable screens, and access to thousands of applications.

Users can now purchase the stylish Motorola Milestone through for Rs. 20,999.

First 'journey to the centre of the Earth'

In a real-life replay of the classic sci-fi movie 'Journey To The Centre Of The Earth', British scientists claim to be planning to drill through five miles of solid rock to the Earth's mantle for the first time, and bring back samples.

A team led by Dr Damon Teagle of the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton says that the incredible feat would involve tunnelling through five miles of solid rock on the sea bed in temperatures as high as 298 degree Celsius.

Once there, the pressure on the equipment would be a staggering four million pounds per square inch - 285,000 times that of normal gravity, the scientists say.

They hope to take samples and get them back up to the surface so people can learn more about the origins of the planet; they chose the mantle because it contains most of Earth's rocks so would likely yield specimens of interest, the 'Daily Mail' reported.

According to Dr Teagle, the best place to drill to the mantle would be in the ocean as the crust is thinner there.

The technical challenges would be enormous and the drill would have to function without a riser, a common safety feature where double pipes are used to vent gasses. Instead, seawater would have to be pumped into the hole with enough pressure to force samples being dug up back up to the surface.

There have been previous attempts to drill to the mantle but Project Mohole in the 1960s failed due to poor organisation and cost overruns. Samples of rock from mantle have also found their way to the surface but they have been spouted out by volcanoes.

Dr Teagle and his team are now searching for a suitable site somewhere in the Pacific and hope to have the expertise, technology and funding in place by 2018.

Fossils of Chinese dinosaur related to T Rex found

Scientists have discovered what they say are the remains of a long-lost Chinese cousin of Tyrannosaurus Rex, one of the largest carnivores of all times which roamed the Earth some 65 million years ago.

The remains of this huge predator were found in a fossil quarry, which together with nearby sites in eastern China hold one of the largest concentrations of dinosaur bones in the world.

"We named the new species Zhuchengtyrannus Magnus, which means the 'Great Tyrant from Zhucheng,' because the bones were found in the city of Zhucheng, in eastern China's Shandong province," researcher David Hone, a paleontologist at the University College Dublin in Ireland, told LiveScience.

According to the researchers, Zhuchengtyrannus was a tyrannosaurine, a member of a group of huge theropods, or "beast-footed" dinosaurs, that included Tyrannosaurus Rex (T Rex) and its closest relatives, They were known for their small arms, two-fingered hands, and large, powerful jaws that could have delivered powerful, bone-crushing bites.

"It's the first China-only tyrannosaurine, and it's one of the biggest ever - there are only five carnivorous theropods bigger by my count," Hone said.

The researchers believe that the tyrannosaurines were likely both predators and scavengers, and lived in North America and eastern Asia during the late Cretaceous period, which lasted from about 99 million to 65 million years ago.

"Zhuchengtyrannus can be distinguished from other tyrannosaurines by a combination of unique features in the skull not seen in any other theropod," said Hone.

The Zhuchengtyrannus, the researchers estimated, was 36 feet long, about 13 feet tall and weighed close to 6,000 kg - the weight of a school bus.

"It's a smidge under T Rex-sized," Hone said. "With only some skull and jaw bones to work with, it is difficult to precisely gauge the overall size of this animal.

"But the bones we have are just a few centimeters smaller than the equivalent ones in the largest T Rex specimen. So there is no doubt that Zhuchengtyrannus was a huge tyrannosaurine."

Most of the other specimens recovered from the quarry where Zhuchengtyrannus was found, belong to a gigantic species of duck-billed dinosaur known as Shantungosaurus Giganteus, which might have been its prey, as well as some unidentified ankylosaurs.

The area was likely once a large floodplain where many dinosaur bodies were washed together during floods and then fossilised, Hone explained.

The bones of Zhuchengtyrannus were found in 2009.

"Ironically, they were found by a construction crew digging the foundations for a museum to put the other fossils in," Hone said.

The scientists detailed their findings online in the journal 'Cretaceous Research'.

'Engineered protein prevents AIDS virus from entering cells'

In a possible breakthrough in the fight against AIDS, scientists claim to have engineered a new protein that prevents the virus from entering cells.

The scientists say this protein is based on a naturally occurring protein in the body, called RANTES, which is part of the body's immune system and protects cells from viruses.

RANTES naturally defends the body against HIV/AIDS, but cannot be used as a drug or drug candidate because it has several other biological effects which could cause harmful inflammation.

After examining the precise molecular structure

of the RANTES protein, the scientists discovered that only a

small fragment of the RANTES protein is actually responsible

for blocking HIV entry into cells.

From there, they dissected the desired section of the RANTES protein and worked to stabilise it without compromising its protective effects, 'The FASEB Journal' reported.

After several sequential steps of molecular refinement and some virtual modelling, the researchers created a peptide with very high potency against HIV, with possible benefits for treating inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and lupus, as well as the prevention of transplant rejection.

"This is science fiction made reality. These researchers took a protein apart and removed the portion that causes harm, then stabilised and modified the section that has a therapeutic effect.

"Not only is this good news for people with AIDS, it's good news for all of us as this research paves the way for similar work for many, many other illnesses," said Gerald Weissmann, the Editor-in-Chief of 'The FASEB Journal'.

He added: "We're finally able to design smart anti-HIV drugs aimed at the right target. That's because scientists have spent decades figuring out the molecular details of how the virus enters cells, and the exact chemical structures involved."

Is it Gautham and Vikram?

Gautham Menon is busy with the Hindi remake of Vinnaithaandi Varuvaya and Vikram is on the verge of completing Deiva Thirumagan and it is said that he will move on to director Suseendiran’s project.

But the latest buzz is that Gautham and Vikram are planning to work together soon after their respective projects are over. Apparently Gautham had narrated a one-liner to Vikram and the star is eager to join Gautham’s camp.

Meanwhile, there is another rumor doing the rounds in Kollywood that Vikram is keen on donning the greasepaint for Karikalan, a film that is to be directed Kannan. It is still unclear which of these films will take off first.

Anu goes on a signing spree

Anu is a happy woman as she has just been signed on for three plum projects. She will play the lead in a period film based on the life of the famous Malayalam poet, Kunjiraman Nair. Directed by debutant P. Balachandran, an acclaimed script writer who has penned many hit movies and with Prakash playing the male lead, expectations are good. Anu will play the part of Thankamani, a folk singer who was a major influence in the poet’s life. The talented actress will also portray Ragini in Akam, which is drawn from a Malayalam novel of the same name. Akam takes a look at the power dynamics between a man and a woman.

Lastly, she is to do an entirely female oriented film called Chayilyam directed by Manoj Kana. The story revolves around a woman who fights destiny by struggling to preserve her identity and resist the process of incarnation. This intriguing film will be played out against the ritualistic art of Theyyam from North Malabar. Kudos to Anu, her star seems to be on the ascent!

Poonam Suggests Paris For Her Dare-Bare Show

Mumbai :  Mumbai model Poonam Pandey, who had offered to bare all for the Indian cricket team if it wins the World Cup, switched off her cellphone on Saturday  after the historic Wankhede win, reports Times of India.

 Sources say the 20-year-old model was being inundated with calls from people either begging her to strip for them or threatening her with dire consequences should she dare go against Indian culture.

A defiant Pandey, however, had told TOI on Thursday that if   BCCI gives her the permission to strip, she would go ahead with her plans.

 "Threats don't bother me," she had said. But the model may be facing arrest after R K Pandey filed a case against her in a Bhopal court. The BJP women's wing has also written to the Mumbai police commissioner Arup Patnaik to take action against her. Even the Shiv Sena strongly reprmanded her for this offer.

On Friday, Pandey issued a letter to the BCCI about her plans: "I write to you as a great fan of cricket and above all a patriotic Indian. I want India to win the Cricket World Cup, 2011 and I am willing to go the extra mileage"

She added that "going nude in private with consenting adults for a therapeutic purpose" is not an offence, and said that a contract for the same could be drawn up as the BCCI is not a government body. She suggested that the BCCI choose another country such as Paris for her striptease to avoid controversy.

Pandey goes on to add: "I am serious about it as many studies conducted by various universities abroad confirm such performances boost and inspire people to perform better in any field, be it sports or otherwise.''

Pak PM Congratulates India Over World Cup Win

Islamabad  ;  Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Saturday congratulated Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the Indian cricket team's victory in the cricket World Cup and expressed the hope that sports links between the two countries will be "fully restored in the near future".

In a message sent to Singh, Gilani said the World Cup has been "successful in bringing the cricketing fraternity even closer and making this sport more popular around the world".  PTI

At Least 7 Killed As Thousands Defy Assad In Syria

Damascus, :  Syrian security forces opened fire on protesters today north of Damascus and in the south of the country, killing at least seven people, a witness and a human rights activist told AFP.

The shootings came as thousands of Syrians staged demonstrations after Friday prayers.At least six protesters fell in Douma, 15 kilometres north of the capital when police opened fire after protesters emerging from a mosque pelted them with stones, the witness told AFP by telephone.

The death toll could be more than 10, said the witness, but he only provided AFP four full names for those killed: Ibrahim Mubayed, Ahmad Rajab, Fuad Ballah and Mohammed Alaya, as well as someone from the Khuli family and another from the Issa family.

A Syrian official was unable to confirm deaths in Douma.At least three people were killed in the southern village of Sanamen near the flashpoint city of Daraa, when
security forces opened fire on protesters, a human rights activist said.

But he could identify only one victim, Yasser al-Shumari, in his 20s, who was shot dead as he entered Sanamen with a group of protesters from two nearby villages,
Ankhal and Jassem.

There was no independent confirmation of the report. In Daraa itself, witnesses told AFP that thousands of faithful gathered outside the courthouse after leaving a
mosque."Death rather than humiliation," and "National Unity," they shouted.

Chants were also directed against President Bashar al-Assad, whose highly anticipated speech to parliament on Wednesday failed to match the demands of pro-reform protests that erupted more than two weeks ago.

Protests also took place for the first time in the mainly Kurdish populated northeast, a Kurdish rights activist said.

"Hundreds of people marched peacefully through the streets after Friday prayers in Qamishli and Amuda chanting 'We want freedom' and 'God, Syria and freedom'," Radif Mustafa told AFP.

The "Friday of Martyrs" protests were also held from the coastal city of Latakia to Homs and Darriya, near Damascus, where people chanted: "My beloved Syria, give me my freedom."

The official SANA news agency confirmed demonstrations took place without incident in Daraa and Latakia, where protesters paid tribute to martyrs and called
for speedier reforms.

In Damascus, hundreds of protesters locked themselves up inside Al-Rifai mosque in the city centre chanting "Freedom, freedom," as security forces tried to break in, a
demonstrator said, and a group of pro-regime loyalists gathered in the square opposite.

In Banias, 280 kilometres northwest of Damascus,about 1,000 people demonstrated without incident. A petition signed by 18 Muslim clerics said the sheikhs "back the
people's demands for reforms, liberty, the lifting of emergency law and the right to protest."

A little farther north, in the confessionally divided city of Latakia, around 200 people staged a protest without incident in the suburb of Sleibi.On Wednesday police intervened in Sleibi, killing four or five people, a rights activist said. The pro-Islamist London-based Syrian Committee for Human Rights put the toll at 25.

It was the third week in succession for protests following Friday Muslim prayers. Assad, facing domestic pressure unprecedented in his 11-year rule, failed to lift almost 50 years of emergency rule in his first address to the nation since the protests demanding greater freedoms broke out on March 15.

Instead, he said there was a "conspiracy" targeting unity in Syria.Assad blamed Syria's "enemies" for taking advantage of the needs of the people to incite division in the country ruled by emergency law since the Baath party seized power in 1963.

The Syrian Revolution 2011, a wildly popular yet anonymous Facebook group that has emerged as a motor of the protests, had called for rallies at all mosques after Friday prayers until demands for "freedom" are met.

Activists estimate that more than 160 people have been killed so far in clashes with security forces, mainly in Daraa, a tribal area on the Jordanian border, and in Latakia.

Officials put the death toll at about 30 and have accuse Muslim extremists and "armed gangs" of pushing peaceful rallies into violence with the aim of inciting sectarian unrest. (AFP)

Mamata Asks Govt To Declare National Holiday For World Cup Win

New delhi  : President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh  on Saturday night led the nation in hailing the Indian cricket team's World Cup triumph saying it is a testimony to the hard work of the players and the astute leadership of M S Dhoni.In a message to Dhoni, Patil said "the road to success has been long and hard. You and your team were tested at every stage."

"Dedication to the cause, the strength of character to stay the course and astute leadership have finally converted the potential of a talented group of youngsters, the experience of veterans and the hard work of the coach and his staff, into the reality of becoming world champions."All of you truly deserve the thanks of a billion plus Indians today," she said.

Prime Minister  Manmohan Singh said "the hard work and the effort of M S Dhoni and his men have been rewarded".

"I join the nation in congratulating the Indian cricket team on their victory. The hard work and the effort of M S Dhoni and his men have been rewarded. They have shown the world that India is at the top of the game of cricket", Singh said soon after watching the Indian skipper hitting the winning stroke with a huge six.

UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi said the victory of the Indian team "will be etched in gold for generations to come"."My heartiest congratulations to Team India, you have raised the level of national pride. This victory will be etched in gold for generations to come," Gandhi said in a message.

Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said "our team has done us proud."Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said "kudos to team India for the pride they have brought to all of us. Let us keep up this spirit of determination."Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah described the win as a "stunning victory".

Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee said the Indian cricket team "have conquered the world...The way our boys played it proves Indians can use their mind without fear and hold their heads high".She asked the governent to declare a national holiday to mark the victory.

The World in a Cup

He rushed out of the dressing room with tears in his eyes, before laughing hysterically on being engulfed by his team-mates. Draped in the Indian flag, Sachin Tendulkar rode high on Yusuf Pathan’s shoulders, his exhausted face displaying every single emotion on the happy side of the spectrum, shining with the flash lights of a thousand clicking cameras.

He may have achieved almost everything in the world of cricket, but on Saturday, Tendulkar threw the word ‘almost’ out of his vocabulary, drowning himself in a sea of unprecedented celebrations. As he took a lap of honour around his home ground, 33,000 fans screamed in pure ecstasy, congratulating him for finally achieving his holy grail at his sixth attempt — the coveted World Cup trophy.

The bandwagon passed Tendulkar from shoulder to shoulder, as they would do the shining golden trophy later, during their second lap around the ground. Tendulkar crouched over the broad shoulders of Harbhajan Singh, Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina along the way. It didn’t seem a very comfortable ride for Tendulkar, but he was far from complaining. Never before had Tendulkar taken a lap around a stadium as a World Cup winner, let alone his home ground in Mumbai.

Pawar granted many favours to Balwa: Uddhav

Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray alleged that tainted D B Realty managing director Shahid Balwa was granted many favours by Union Agriculture Minister and NCP chief Sharad Pawar.

"The relations between Vinod Goenka and Pawar are world known. Balwa's capacity to run the aviation services is due to Pawar. Balwa got his land deals, hotels and redevelopment project of Bandra government colony because of Pawar," he said.

"It is not a question of who travelled by Balwa's flight (Eon Aviation air services, a subsidiary of D B Realty) but the question is who travelled with Balwa," he said.

Pawar has consistently denied having any links with Balwa.

Thackeray lashed out at Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil for claiming that NCP leaders used the services of Balwa owned aviation company not without paying money.

"He has all the information on who travelled on Balwa's flight. But the same Home Minister was not aware of 26/11 terror attacks on the city which killed over 200 innocents."

Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly Eknath Khadse yesterday alleged in the House that Pawar had travelled with Balwa to Dubai.

Replying to Khadse's allegations, Patil had said that his party NCP had utilised the Eon Aviation services, for air travels of its leaders including Pawar but before Balwa's role in the 2G Spectrum scam came to light.

BJP leaders Gopinath Munde, Kirit Somaiya, Venkaiah Naidu used the company's services in 2009-10 and payments were made after Balwa's arrest on February 22, 2011, Patil claimed.

Uddhav Thackeray has used the company plane for his travels all over the state since 2009 but not a single penny has been paid, he had further claimed.

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