Sunday, April 24, 2011

Large Hadron Collider rumoured to have found God Particle

Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider are rumoured to have found the elusive so-called "God Particle".

A leaked internal memo contains unconfirmed reports that one of the detectors at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, near Geneva, had picked up signals that could be the long sought after particle, called the Higgs boson.

One of the main scientific goals of the huge £6 billion atom smasher was to prove the existence of the Higgs boson, a theoretical particle believed to give everything in the universe mass.

The particle is a key part of the standard model used in physics to describe how particles and atoms are made up.

Rumours that scientists working on the LHC had found evidence of the Higgs boson began to circulate after an supposed internal memo was posted on the internet.

But physicists were quick to urge caution over the claims as many candidates for the particle that appear in collision experiments at the LHC are subsequently dismissed on further examination.

New Tools To Tackle A Solar Data Storm

So great is the wealth of data about the Sun now being sent back by space missions such as SOHO, STEREO and the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) that scientists back on Earth can struggle to keep pace.

To combat this data overload, scientists from the Visual Computer Centre at Bradford University are developing advanced imaging tools to help scientists visualise what's happening at the Sun, make sense of the data and predict the extreme solar activities that could affect our life here on Earth. Dr Rami Qahwaji will present the tools at the RAS National Astronomy Meeting at Llandudno.

"These techniques are very important," said Qahwaji.

"We are now able to process images on the ground so that the resolution is double that of the source images. Most satellites are limited by the amount of data that they can store and download. The ability to turn medium resolution images into high resolution in the lab means that satellites can take smaller images but more frequently, which will help with real-time monitoring of the Sun and predicting space weather. It also means that scientists can zoom in on the features that interest them, without downloading huge files. There is lot of potential for this technology. For example, it can help overcome small information loss caused by noise and can be used to generate high-definition 3D images."

In addition to enhancing image resolution, the Bradford group has been developing 2- and 3-dimensional visualisation tools to help scientists understand the complex processes that drive solar activity.

By processing multiple of solar images, they have created automated maps that summarise solar activity over an entire solar rotaion and models of magnetic field lines, generating 3-D visualisations of magnetic loop locations on the Sun's rotating globe.

"This is the first time that SDO data has been used to create these synoptic maps and we have also created the first automated 3-D model of magnetic loops," said Qahwaji. "As well as being a useful tool for scientists, we hope that the public will find the 3-D model an interesting way of finding out what's happening on the Sun."

The group is now collaborating with Trinity College Dublin on the development of a new flares predictions system called SMART-ASAP. This computerised system analyses recent images to extract physical properties from solar magnetic features that are analysed further using artificial intelligence techniques to predict whether extreme solar activities will occur.

"Extreme solar activities, such as flares, can affect our life on Earth since we rely more and more on space-based communication and extended power distribution systems, both of which are vulnerable to such activities. The satellite and electrical power industries generate hundreds of billions of dollars in annual revenue and, if we are to protect these assets, we need accurate solar weather forecasting," said Qahwaji.

New Injection for Alzheimer's

A new injection which could halt the progress of Alzheimer's is expected to be ready within 2-years. The 'bapineuzumab' injection has entered the final stages of testing. This injection has been proved to stop and even reverse the damage caused by the illness.

Existing medications temporarily delay the progress of Alzheimer's but they do not treat the underlying causes. However, this injection prevents the chemical build-up (amyloid plaque) that affects the brain and causes damage. Early tests have shown that the injection can cut the build up of these amyloid plaques by about 25%. Patients will have to take this injection at regular intervals for the rest of their lives. Scientists have also stated that this jab might not work for every patient, especially those who carry a gene that raises the odds of the disease. Some side-effects like vasogenic cerebral edema (swelling of the brain) were seen in some patients who were given higher doses of the injection.

Although it will not be a cure, this vaccine is being cited as one of the greatest hopes for a breakthrough in Alzheimer's which affects millions of people across the world. Drug firms Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Elan Corporation have supported the development of the injection. Â

New concerns over swine flu jab after children given it 'hit by sudden sleep syndrome'

A swine flu vaccine which has been given to thousands of children in Britain may cause the sleep disorder narcolepsy.

Symptoms include excessive daytime sleepiness and nodding off suddenly without warning.

All packets of the vaccine Pandemrix will have to carry a warning about the risk following a ruling by the EU regulator, the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

The EMA, which is currently investigating the effects of the vaccine, has also told doctors to weigh up the potential risks before injecting children against the deadly H1N1 virus.

There have been seven reported cases of narcolepsy in the UK linked to the GlaxoSmithKline vaccine – four of them children.

The condition can also cause temporary muscle paralysis, hallucinations and problems concentrating.

Caroline Hadfield, of Frome, Somerset, believes her five-year-old son Joshua contracted narcolepsy after being vaccinated with Pandemrix last January.

Within weeks of having the jab, Joshua began sleeping 18 hours a day and Mrs Hadfield says his personality completely changed.

Mrs Hadfield, 40, said: ‘I believe this link will eventually be confirmed. I’m very angry about it.

‘I researched the vaccine carefully before agreeing to let Joshua have it and thought I was protecting him. Now he’s saddled with this for life.

‘There should have been more testing before it was rolled out and it should have been destroyed at the first suggestion of any problems.’

Pandemrix is the main vaccine used in this country to protect against H1N1. It was introduced in the swine flu pandemic of 2009. It has been given to six million people and the Government recommended all children under the age of five should have the immunisation during the initial outbreak.

Pandemrix is still being used as the virus remains in circulation, and doses from the Government’s stockpile were rolled out this winter after supplies of the seasonal flu vaccine ran low.

Children were not included in the list of at-risk groups who automatically received the vaccine during the 2010/11 winter, but many parents elected to pay privately for their youngsters to have the vaccine because of a large number of severe swine flu cases in under-fives.

Narcolepsy is a rare condition which affects just 30,000 people in the UK, including 400 children.

The EMA investigation was launched in August last year after a surge in cases of narcolepsy on the Continent following swine flu vaccination campaigns. In France,
25 cases were reported, including 11 in children under the age of 16.

Experts in Finland revealed last month that children who had the vaccination were nine times more likely to develop narcolepsy.

And in Sweden research found the risk was four times greater.

The same effect has not been witnessed in adults given the injection.

The EMA has now ruled that leaflets in Pandemrix boxes must include the words: ‘Preliminary reports from epidemiological studies in two countries have indicated a four to nine-fold increase of narcolepsy in vaccinated as compared with unvaccinated children and adolescents – corresponding to an absolute risk increase of about three to four additional cases in 100,000 vaccinated subjects.’

The label updates are intended as an ‘interim measure’ until the investigation is completed in July, the EMA said.

A spokesman for GlaxoSmithKline said 247 cases of narcolepsy had been reported worldwide.

He added: ‘Further information must be gathered on a potential likelihood of a causal relationship between Pandemrix and narcolepsy before any conclusions can be drawn. GSK is committed to patient safety.’

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: ‘Flu vaccines have an excellent safety record.’

Recess, Not Ritalin, Can Help Kids With ADHD

Imagine a treatment that would help kids deal with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), make them smarter and healthier, and improve their mood.  And best of all, it's free!

Nature And Exercise Can Improve ADHD

It’s called nature. A growing body of research is revealing the positive effects that exercising outdoors can have on kids with ADHD.

From Dr. David L. Katz, writing at

When my colleagues and I  conducted a study of our school-based physical activity program, ABC for Fitness, one of the findings was a 33% reduction in medication use for ADHD! I have long said that rambunctiousness in kids is normal and should be treated with recess, not Ritalin.

Get Active At Least Twice A Week!

Associate Professor Wendy Oddy, of the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in Perth, Australia,  says that exercise of any sort or duration was protective against ADHD in a recent study that she conducted, provided that children engaged in it at least twice a week. She suggested that if children aren't athletic sorts, they could find other activities that get them active, whether it's riding a bike or simply walking to school.

And Then There's The Question Of Diet


There are studies suggesting that food additives—colorings, flavorings, etc.—are associated with behavioral disorders in young people, and that the substitution of “pure” foods may help alleviate them. In general, the available studies indict highly processed foods and suggest benefits from foods close to nature.
Association Between ADHD And Diet

Oddy's study, published online in the Journal of Attention Disorders suggests that sugar, along with other types of unhealthy processed foods, could have more subtle effects on a child's mental health. The study found an association between Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and diet, specifically Western diets that include too many processed meats, full-fat dairy, and unhealthy carbohydrates.

The authors noted that certain foods were also more likely to influence ADHD risk. For instance, kids who had the highest intakes of fast food, sweets, red meat, processed meats, and high-fat dairy products were the most likely to have ADHD, and kids who at a lot of potato chips and drank more soft drinks had an elevated risk as well.

Ritalin May Not Be The Answer

All in all, there are plenty of good reasons to rethink the use of Ritalin to treat kids with ADHD, and replace it with a healthy diet and plenty of exercise.

We are too small as artists to disrespect Dev or Zeenat—Abhishek

The Abhishek Bachchan-starrer Rohan Sippy’s ‘Dum Maaro Dum’, which has been the hottest controversial subject of discussion ever since its making started, has managed to gross around 6.2 crores on the opening day, reports IANS.

Besides the storyline, DMD’s item number ‘Mit Jaaye Gham’ featuring the hot Deepika Padukone, was also a much talked about issue before the release of the film.

Apparently, ‘Mit Jaaye Gham’, which is a remixed version of the 70s song ‘Dum Maro Dum’ from the movie ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna’, had offended Dev Anand and Zeenat Aman, the legendary stars on whom the original song was featured.

In an exclusive interview with the TOI, the ‘Dum Maaro Dum’ protagonist Abhishek Bachchan articulated that the remixed item song ‘Mit Jaaye Gham’ was in no way intended to disrespect the veterinary superstars Dev Anand and Zeenat Aman, who has been legends in their own lunchtime.

Abhishek, who plays ACP Kamath in the movie, also said that they had owned the rights of the song, and as for including the remixed version of the song in the film, it’s the moviemakers, who decide on what to be included in a film script and what not to.

While addressing the TOI, Abhishek said, "We are too small as artists to even dare to disrespect Dev Sahab or Zeenat aunty. How can we? They are legends. As far as the song is concerned, we owned he rights of the song. As far as remixes are concerned, its upto a filmmaker to decide if he thinks its needed."

Well, Abhishek’s interview must have cheered up Dev sir and Zeenat mam now!

Miss India wants to work with both SRK and Aamir

After winning the Miss India International crown, Ankita Shorey has set her sights on the Bollywood and has both Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan on her wish-list of co-stars.

The 24-year-old model says films are her first love, and she wants to live out her life in front of the cameras. “Acting is and will always be my first love. Even before I won the pageant, I was working towards becoming an actress, and the crown will hopefully ease my way a bit,” Ankita told PTI.

Ankita, who has already shared screen space with King Khan in an advertisement for a cosmetics brand, said Shah Rukh had an immense commercial appeal, while Aamir had an “experimental edge.”

“I want to live my entire life on the big screen and want to work with all the top names in the industry. I love both Shah Rukh and Aamir. Aamir is a fearless actor who experiments a lot, while Shah Rukh has an unparalleled commercial success. SRK just sweeps you off the feet with his charm,” she said.

She reckoned that it was the best time to be a newcomer in the Bollywood as the industry had spawned various genres to choose from.

“We have everything from typical ‘masala' song and dance to experimental films coming out of the industry. That gives an aspiring actor a lot of opportunity, and more than anything I want to prove my versatility,” Ankita said, citing the example of the former Miss India, Priyanka Chopra.

“She has done everything, from a Dostana to a Saat Khoon Maaf, and I aspire to do the same.”

Ankita, who attended a Buddhist monastery after studying history, said her early years equipped her well for life in the fast lane.

Facebook's Like button celebrates its first birthday

Exactly one year after its launch, the Facebook Like button has become ubiquitous across the web and is still installed on thousands of new websites every day.

Facebook first introduced the Like button at its F8 developer's conference, along with Facebook Open Graph and instant personalization. Through the "Like," Facebook spread its social footprint across the web; 50,000 websites installed the Like button in its first week, and that number rose to 100,000 in less than a month.

That number hasn't stopped rising since. Facebook said Thursday that 10,000+ websites add the Like Button every day — identical to what COO Sheryl Sandberg said in October last year. In other words, the growth of the Like button hasn't slowed down in the past six months. The social network says more than 2.5 million websites have integrated with Facebook so far, including more than 80% of the top 100 websites in the U.S.

Facebook's success hasn't gone without notice. Google recently launched +1, its answer to Facebook's Like button, and a study last month by Eventbrite concluded that a "Like" is more profitable than a tweet.

Your Phone, Yourself: When is tracking too much?

SAN FRANCISCO — If you're worried about privacy, you can turn off the function on your smartphone that tracks where you go. But that means giving up the services that probably made you want a smartphone in the first place. After all, how smart is an iPhone or an Android if you can't use it to map your car trip or scan reviews of nearby restaurants?

The debate over digital privacy flamed higher this week with news that Apple Inc.'s popular iPhones and iPads store users' GPS coordinates for a year or more. Phones that run Google Inc.'s Android software also store users' location data. And not only is the data stored -- allowing anyone who can get their hands on the device to piece together a chillingly accurate profile of where you've been -- but it's also transmitted back to the companies to use for their own research.

Now, cellphone service providers have had customers' location data for almost as long as there have been cellphones. That's how they make sure to route calls and Internet traffic to the right place. Law enforcement analyzes location data on iPhones for criminal evidence -- a practice that Alex Levinson, technical lead for firm Katana Forensics, said has helped lead to convictions. And both Apple and Google have said that the location data that they collect from the phones is anonymous and not able to be tied back to specific users.

But lawmakers and many users say storing the data creates an opportunity for one's private information to be misused. Levinson, who raised the iPhone tracking issue last year, agrees that people should start thinking about location data as just as valuable and worth protecting as a wallet or bank account number.

"We don't know what they're going to do with that information," said Dawn Anderson, a creative director and Web developer in Glen Mills, Pa., who turned off the GPS feature on her Android-based phone even before the latest debate about location data. She said she doesn't miss any of the location-based services in the phone. She uses the GPS unit in her car instead.

"With any technology, there are security risks and breaches," she added. "How do we know that it can't be compromised in some way and used for criminal things?"

Privacy watchdogs note that location data opens a big window into very private details of a person's life, including the doctors they see, the friends they have and the places where they like to spend their time. Besides hackers, databases filled with such information could become inviting targets for stalkers, even divorce lawyers.

Do you sync your iPhone to your computer? Well, all it would take to find out where you've been is simple, free software that pulls information from the computer. Voila! Your comings and goings, clandestine or otherwise, helpfully pinpointed on a map.

One could make the case that privacy isn't all that prized these days. People knowingly trade it away each day, checking in to restaurants and stores via social media sites like Foursquare, uploading party photos to Facebook to be seen by friends of friends of friends, and freely tweeting the minutiae of their lives on Twitter.

More than 500 million people have shared their personal information with Facebook to connect with friends on the social networking service. Billions of people search Google and Yahoo each month, accepting their tracking "cookies" in exchange for access to the world's digital information. And with about 5 billion people now using cellphones, a person's location has become just another data point to be used for marketing, the same way that advertisers now use records of Web searches to show you online ads tailored to your interest in the Red Sox, or dancing, or certain stores.

Autumn Bradfish, a sophomore at the University of Iowa, said she doesn't see a problem with phone companies using her location to produce targeted ads, as long as they deliver relevant offers to her. She said she would not disable the tracking feature on her iPhone because she enjoys using a mapping app that helps her find new restaurants.

"I'm terrible with maps," she said.

The very fact that your location is a moving target makes it that much more alluring for advertisers. Every new place you go represents a new selling opportunity. In that sense, smartphone technology is the ultimate matchmaker for marketers looking to assemble profiles on prospective customers.

That profiling is what makes some users uneasy.

At a technology conference in San Francisco this past week, security researchers disclosed that iPhones and iPads keep a small file of location data on their users. That file -- which is not encrypted and thus vulnerable to hacking -- is transferred when you sync your phone to your computer to back up information. Security firm F-Secure Corp. said the iPhone sends users' location data to Apple twice a day to improve its database of known Wi-Fi networks.

The data that is available goes back to last year's launch of Apple's new iOS 4 operating software. Researchers say the tracking was going on before that, though the file was in a different format and wasn't easy to find until the new system came out. In June, Apple added a section to its privacy policy to note that it would collect some real-time location data from iPhone users in order to improve its features.

While Apple has been silent about the latest findings, it has noted that its practice is clearly spelled out in user agreements. Other phone makers say the same. Google acknowledged this past week that it does store some location data directly on phones for a short time from users who have chosen to use GPS services, "in order to provide a better mobile experience on Android devices." It too stressed that any location sharing on Android is done with the user's permission.

But consumer advocates warn that too many people click right through privacy notifications and breeze over or ignore such legalese. Case in point _some iPhone users who found about this past week about the data storage say they didn't know anything about Apple's tracking.

"It's like being stalked by a secret organization. Outrageous!" said Jill Kuraitis, 54, a freelance journalist in Boise, Idaho. "To be actively tracking millions of people without notification? It's beyond unacceptable."

It's easy to tell smartphone users that turning off tracking is as easy as finding their way to the settings menu. But to opt out of GPS service means preventing the software on your phone from using any information about where you are. That means cutting yourself off from the vast array of mobile apps that offer discounts and ads, allow you to connect more easily with friends who use social media, and simplify your life with map directions. Not a great trade-off.

And if you thought there were laws that curbed tracking, think again.

The government prohibits telephone companies from sharing customer data, including location information, with outside parties without first getting the customer's consent. But those rules don't apply to Apple and other phone makers. Nor do they apply to the new ecosystem of mobile services offered through those apps made by third-party developers.

What's more, because those rules were written for old-fashioned telephone service, it's unclear whether they apply to mobile broadband service at all -- even for wireless carriers that are also traditional phone companies, like AT&T Inc. and Verizon.

Both the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission have said they are looking into the issue. But for now, it's up to smartphone users to decide: Is it privacy they are most concerned about, or convenience?

Get a refurbished 16GB iPad for $349 shipped

I'll be the first to admit this isn't news--Apple has been selling the refurbished 16GB iPad with Wi-Fi for $349 shipped (plus sales tax in some states) for the better part of a month.

So why am I posting it now? Because I have some thoughts to share, and because I don't think this deal will be around for much longer.

Indeed, now that the iPad 2 has arrived, Apple has only a finite number of original iPads left to sell. When they're gone, they're gone, meaning your only option will be the $499-and-up iPad 2.

I've always felt that price point was too high, and I made no secret of my disappointment with Apple's failure to make the iPad 2 more affordable.

But $349? That's a lot more palatable, and I'm willing to cut the iPad some slack because I think it's the best tablet on the market today, bar none. (I like some of the Android-powered hardware, but the overall user experience just isn't the same. Especially when it comes to downloading music and movies.)

I use mine in many eclectic ways, including solving the "hidden" crossword puzzles in the USA Today app, sharing e-books with my kids, playing awesome games like Back to the Future and World of Goo, attending remote meetings, and even doing a little instructor-guided yoga in the privacy of my own home. (I don't like people gawking at my Downward Dog.)

For what it's worth, I have no trouble getting by on 16GB of storage, though it might be worth an extra $70 to get the 32GB iPad with Wi-Fi (which is $429 shipped). As for 3G, I rarely have a need for it; if you do, the refurbished iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G starts at $479.

Should you worry about the "refurbished" part? Absolutely not. Apple provides the same one-year warranty that new iPads get, and every refurbished iDevice I've ever purchased (and there have been several) looked indistinguishable from new. Worked like new, too.

Bottom line: a $349 iPad is too good to pass up. I don't think the prices will get any lower, but I do think Apple will run out of them soon. Just saying.

Bonus deal: Speaking of massive sellout potential, sellout.woot has a refurbished Philips 32-inch LCD HDTV for $239.99, plus $5 for shipping. I've never seen a TV of that size for anywhere near that price. It's today only, and it will not last, I guarantee it.

Bonus deal No. 2: By now you've probably heard the news about the Kindle with Special Offers, the ridiculously named Wi-Fi Kindle that's $25 less than the regular model. Do I have some thoughts about that? You better believe it.

CWG scam: Kalmadi to be questioned by CBI today

New Delhi:  The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will today question former head of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, Suresh Kalmadi, for the fourth time in connection with irregularities in the contract for the Queen's Baton Relay.

On April 20, Kalmadi had skipped an interrogation session with the CBI citing medical reasons and appointments related to his constituency in Maharashtra.

Investigators say the CBI may have finally gathered enough evidence to prove that Mr Kalmadi manipulated the rules when he was Chairman of the Organising Committee of the Commonwealth Games to give a sweetheart deal to London based AM films.

AM Films was hired in September 2009 to provide services like taxis and public-display television screens for the Queen's Baton Relay which kickstarted the Commonwealth Games.

The rates agreed upon were exorbitant. Mr Kalmadi said in an interview to NDTV last year that because the services that AM Films provided were commissioned at a very late stage, there was no time to sign a contract with the company. AM films is owned by Ashish Patel, a businessman with a dubious financial track record.

Sources say Mr Patel has been asked to turn approver in the case by the CBI.

Different members of the Organising Committee who were believed to be close to Mr Kalmadi had earlier told investigators that other companies had bid for the Queen's Baton Relay but were rejected because their prices were not as competitive as those of AM Films. The bids attributed to three London-based companies - have turned out to be forged. The three firms, all based in London - SD Displace, 3 Dots Vision and Movie Tech - have now given statements saying that they never bid for the function and were not contacted at any point by the Organising Committee.

In recent weeks, some of Mr Kalmadi's closest aides have been arrested for their role in the seemingly-ubiquitous corruption of the Commonwealth Games that were held in India last year.

Investment Focus: HCL Technologies - Buy

Investors with a two-year horizon can buy the shares of HCL Technologies in the light of the improvement in its operating metrics, continuous reduction in forex losses, and the revival in its BPO business.

At Rs 518, the stock trades at 17 times its likely per share earnings for FY12. This is at a discount to its peers. Investors may consider accumulating it on declines.

Forex losses that ate into profits earlier have steadily been on the decline with the recent quarter witnessing just over Rs 11-crore erosion. Even for the whole year, losses are likely to be only a fifth of earlier levels. In 2008-09 and 2009-10, HCL had to contend with forex losses of Rs 529 crore and Rs 475 crore, due to hedges taken earlier.

HCL has been ahead of its peers in terms of revenue growth and over the last three-four quarters has been optimising costs. It is set to grow its profits too at a healthy clip. This is to be done through levers such as utilisation, increasing offshore component and focusing on higher yielding fixed-price contracts. While volume (man-months billed) growth has been robust at over 5 per cent for the past several quarters, realisations too have improved recently.

The company's service-mix too is changing in favour of higher-billed services. Infrastructure services (23.4 per cent of revenues), where the company is well ahead of peers, and thanks to the Axon acquisition, enterprise application services (21.4 percent) have increased contribution, which is likely to show up on the margin front as well.

HCL has also managed to cross-sell or up-sell to Axon's clients, its other bouquet of services, which additionally allows the company to optimise selling expenses.

In terms of segments of operations too, HCL has increased its focus on the BFSI segment. From accounting for less than a quarter of revenues, it now contributes 26.2 percent to the overall pie. It has also grown its manufacturing vertical at a healthy pace, though telecom continues to be anaemic (as with most IT peers). Client addition continues to be robust with 39 clients added over the last one year in the $10-50 million category. With attrition levels at 17 per cent, wage hikes may have to be ahead of peers such as TCS that have announced 12-14 per cent increase. This could have some impact on margins.

CBI to file second charge sheet on 2G scam this week

The CBI is likely to file charge sheet against DMK-owned Kalaignar TV and others in the 2G scam later this week for allegedly receiving pay-offs for allocation of spectrum to certain telecom firms in January 2008 by jailed former telecom minister A Raja.

Agency officials said the charge sheet will give details of illegal routing of over Rs 200 crore by his two close aides -- former Managing Director of DB Realty Shahid Usman Balwa and Sadiq Batcha (now dead), MD of Greenhouse Promoters -- to Kalaignar TV Pvt Ltd of which Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi's wife Dayaluammal is one of the owners.

They said Karunanidhi''s daughter and DMK MP Kanimozhi, Dayaluammal and Sharad Kumar, Managing Director of Kalaignar TV, have 20, 60 and 20% shares in the channel respectively.

The CBI has informed the Supreme Court that the supplementary charge sheet will be filed before April 25 in the special court of Justice O P Saini and the probe in the case will be completed by May 31.

Raja and eight others including former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura and three telecom companies were on April 2 indicted in the 2G spectrum allocation scam by CBI, which pegged the loss to the exchequer at Rs 30,984 crore.

The charge sheet has named former telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura, Raja''s former PS RK Chandolia, Unitech MD Sanjay Chandra, Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Reliance ADA group''s Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair, Reliance Telecom, Unitech Wireless and Swan Telecom.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has put the presumptive loss to the exchequer at Rs 1.76 lakh crore in wrongfully leasing spectrum to telecom companies.

Pak Army Chief Says 'Terrorist Backbone Broken'

Islamabad : Pakistani army has “broken” the backbone of terrorists and will soon prevail over them, its powerful chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said today in an apparent riposte to US concerns about his force’s capability to take on militants.

“The terrorist backbone has been broken and Inshaallah we will soon prevail,” Kayani said in his address at a passing out parade at the Pakistan Military Academy at Kakul in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

“Let me assure you that we in the Pakistan Army are fully aware of the internal and external threats to our country. In the war against terrorism, our officers and soldiers have made great sacrifices and have achieved tremendous success,” he said.

Kayani’s comments came three days after Admiral Mike Mullen, America’s top military official, warned that the ISI’s longstanding links with the Haqqani militant network are at the core of Pakistan’s strained and problematic relations with the United States.

Earlier this month, a White House report had noted that Pakistan’s fight against militancy was making little progress.

The report further said that Pakistan had “no clear path to defeating the insurgency ... despite the unprecedented and sustained deployment of over 147,000 forces”.

However, Kayani said in his address that the people of Pakistan “value their freedom and independence more than anything else and consider no sacrifice too great to preserve it.”

“It is therefore for the people of Pakistan to remain optimistic and keep the dream of a strong and prosperous Pakistan alive. We must never forget that we all owe it to our future generations. I have no doubt that all of us together can achieve it,” he said.

“People of Pakistan have the capacity and the will to do it, whatever the difficulties and challenges. Let us revive our promise once again to make Pakistan a strong country worthy of its name and aspiration of its people,” he said.

Kayani called on the cadets who passed out of the military academy to fulfil their responsibilities despite the grave dangers and difficulties they would face. PTI

NATO Initiates Drone Attacks In Libya

Tripoli/Washington  : Intensifying its air attacks on Gaddafi’s forces, NATO fired its first Predator drone strike today, destroying a Libyan government multiple rocket launcher near Misurata.

The NATO strike came as a big boost to rebels who were coming under fierce attack Gaddafi’s forces which were forcing them to retreat with heavy shelling and firing, using human shields, the BBC reported.

The Western nations have pledged to fight hard to see the end of the 41-year rule of 68-year-old Muammar Gaddafi.

Forces loyal to Gaddafi have decided to withdraw from the western besieged city of Misurata in a bid to allow the local tribes to find a solution to the deepening civil war.

“The situation in Misurata will be dealt with by the tribes around Misurata and Misurata’s residents and not by the Libyan army,” Khaled Kaim, Libya’s deputy foreign minister, told reporters.

“We will leave the tribes around Misurata and Misurata’s people to deal with the situation, either using force or negotiations,” he said late last night.

Kaim said the Libyan army had been given an “ultimatum” to stop the rebellion in Misurata, 200 km east of the capital Tripoli.

“There was an ultimatum to the Libyan army: if they cannot solve the problem in Misurata, then the people from (the neighbouring towns of) Zliten, Tarhuna, Bani Walid and Tawargha will move in and they will talk to the rebels. If they don’t surrender, then they will engage them in a fight,” he was quoted as saying by Al-Jazeera news channel.

Amid the looming humanitarian crisis, fighting between the rebels and Gaddafi’s forces raged in Misurata, with reports saying that at least 10 people were killed.

Hours after the announcement of a shift in tactics in Misurata by the Libyan regime, NATO pounded what appeared to be a bunker near Gaddafi’s compound in central Tripoli.

Government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim said three people were killed by the “very powerful explosion” in a car park near the embattled leaders Bab al-Aziziyah compound.

Adm Mike Mullen, chairman of the US military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, has admitted that while the NATO air strikes had weakened the Libyan forces, the conflict was moving into “stalemate”.

Mullen, speaking to US troops in Iraq yesterday, said the fighting in Libya is “moving towards stalemate”, even though US and Nato air strikes have destroyed 30-40 person of Gaddafi’s ground forces.

US Senator John McCain, who became the most high-profile Western politician to visit Benghazi yesterday,praised the rebels as his “heroes” and sought international recognition for the opposition’s Transitional National Council (TNC). PTI

17 Killed In Beijing Building Fire: State Media

Beijing  : At least 17 people were killed and 24 injured in a building fire today, China’s official Xinhua news agency reported, quoting local police.

The fire broke out about 1 am (1700 GMT yesterday) in a four-story building in the Daxing district in the capital’s southern suburbs, the agency quoted police as saying, adding that the blaze had been put out.

It gave no other details, such as what might have caused the fire.

A woman official who answered the phone at the local government headquarters in Jiugong town, where the fire took place, said she could not confirm Xinhua’s casualty count, but added that an investigation had been launched.

Deadly fires are common in China and are typically blamed on lax observation and enforcement of fire-safety measures.The government routinely orders nationwide safety crackdowns after particularly deadly fires, but such disasters continue to occur.In November, a fire engulfed a high-rise apartment building in Shanghai, leaving 58 people dead.

A preliminary investigation blamed that inferno on careless work by unlicensed welders who ignited nylon netting swathing the building, which was being renovated to improve energy efficiency. (AFP)

All Eyes On 7 Key Members of Sathya Sai Trust

Puttaparthi : With the death of Sathya Sai Baba, all eyes are on seven key people associated with his powerful Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust (SSSCT), who may call the shots from now on. With Baba leaving a huge spiritual empire of an estimated Rs 40,000 crore ($9 billion) but not a successor, the following people may decide on the coming events at Puttaparthi in Anantapur district.

Trust secretary K Chakravarthi: A former Indian Administrative Service(IAS) official and the only trust member with cheque signing power. A former district collector of Anantapur, Chakravarthi, who hails from Tamil Nadu, quit the IAS on Baba's advice and joined him in 1981. Considered an authority on financial matters, he served as the registrar of the Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning till 1994, when Baba made him the trust secretary.

Trust members - S V Giri: Former IAS official who served as chief vigilance commissioner. He too resigned his job in 1998 to join as the vice chancellor of Sri Sathya Sai University. He was instrumental in building a network of Sai educational institutions.

PN Bhagwati: A former chief justice of India, he is the most well-known and respectable face of the trust. A staunch devotee of Baba, he joined the trust as its member on Baba's advice.

Indulal Shah: A chartered accountant turned entrepreneur. He is the founder and international advisor of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations and runs the global network of Sai institutions.

Venu Srinivasan: The chairman and managing director of TVS Motors heads the Indian chapter of the Sai network of institutions.

RJ Ratnakar: The only family member of Sai Baba on the trust. Baba made his nephew a member in 2010 in place of his father Janakiram, who died in 2005. The 39-year-old runs a cable TV network in Puttaparthi and owns a petrol bunk.

Baba's personal caregiver Satyajit: Though not a member of the trust, he was very close to Baba as his personal caregiver. Last year, Baba is believed to have suggested that Satyajit should become a member of the trust. The 33-year-old, also hailing from Tamil Nadu, has done his MBA from Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. He had joined the Sathya Sai school at the age of five.

The Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations were founded in 1960.  The organisation, from small beginnings in a remote little hamlet in Puttaparthi, has grown into a well-knit global organisation. It has its units across the country and in over 170 countries.Prasanthi Council, headquartered in Prasanthi Nilayam in Puttaparthi, oversees the functioning of Sai Organisations worldwide.

It consists of the All-India president, the chairman of the overseas organisations and a few senior members of the Sai family appointed by Baba himself.

The policies, decisions and directives of the Prasanthi Council are handed down through the state-level units and central coordinators to the entire organisation, right down to the grass-roots levels for assimilation and implementation.

Structure of Sai organisations :

* All-India president guides and supervises activities of organisations in all states

* All-India president assisted by all-India coordinators of spiritual, educational and service wing and also zonal coordinators for eastern, western, southern and northern regions of the country

* Every state has state president who appoints district coordinators who in turn selects convenors of Sai Samithi (centre). Every Samithi has own spiritual, educational and service coordinator

* The overseas organisation is structured into regions. Every region has one or more central coordinators appointed by overseas chairmen of International Sai Organisation. Central coordinators disseminate policies, directives and messages received from the Prasanthi Council.

* Every country which has 10 or more Sai Centres has a central council which selects the head of every Centre.

* Each Sai Centre has a minimum of nine members.

Vaastu Dosham In Hospital That He Built, Says Sai's Relative

Puttaparthi  : Sathya Sai Baba had the 220-bed Sri Sathya Sai Baba Institute of Higher Medical Sciences (SSSIHMS) set up in 1991 in a record 11 months over an area of 80 acres to offer free specialized medical treatment to the poor.However, the hospital's tryst with Sai Baba and his family members continues to be jinxed.

The godman was the fifth person from the family to die in the hospital.''We always felt that the hospital had 'vaastu dosham' (problems) and this was proved yet again with the death of Sai Baba. We had asked doctors to shift him to another ICU or Bangalore super-specialty hospital but our pleas were turned down,'' said a relative not wanting to be named.

Immediate relatives and family members, who rushed to the hospital in Prasanthi Gram around 7.30 am as soon as they were told about his passing on, said they cannot come to terms with the fact that he died in the same hospital which he had got built. ''There's a lot of negativity in the hospital. But no one believed us,'' said an inconsolable family member.

Sai Baba's elder brother Ratnam Sesham Raju died in 1984.Venkamma, second among Sai Baba's siblings, died in the ICU in 1993. His second sister Parvathamma died four years later. Sources said that until sometime ago, food used to be cooked in the house of Parvathamma's granddaughter Chetana Raju, who heads the Eswaramma Women's Welfare Trust.

In 2003, Baba's younger brother Janakiramiah also died in the hospital. Janakiramaiah played a key role in the Sai Central Trust affairs till he was alive.

His son R J Rathnakar is a member of the trust. ''Among all family members, Rathnakar's mother Meenakshamma is very close to Sai Baba. He used to take 'ragi mudda' and groundnut chutney made at her home,'' a relative recalled.While another cousin died of heart attack in 2005, some distant relatives also passed away in the hospital.

Meanwhile, some angry relatives complained that Sai Baba was not given proper treatment.

Abandoned Baby Shall Reincarnate As Prema Sai

Puttaparthi,  If the words of Halagappa, ardent devotee of Sathya Sai Baba, are to be believed, it was in the early 60s itself that Baba had broached the issue of his reincarnation as Prema Sai, in a village on the banks of Cauvery,  near Srirangapatna.

Though Baba did not reveal the name of the village, he said it would be called Gunaparthi, Halagappa claimed, adding that he did not insist on knowing the village name as he was under the impression that the village may be called Gunaparthi after Baba's reincarnation.

Even Puttaparthi got its name after Baba's birth there, he adds.According to Halagappa, Sai Baba's reincarnation will be found deserted on the banks of the river Cauvery. A fisherman will take this baby home and groom him, and he will be named Prema Sai.

This will be the third avatar of Sai Baba in this world, he said, pointing out that the claim of reincarnation by Sathya Sai Baba dates back to 1963.

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | Grocery Coupons