Wednesday, February 24, 2010

12 YEAR OLD SARFARAZ KHAN - another TENDULKAR?

My all time favourite Sachin Tendulkar smashed One Day Cricket's first ever double hundred today against South Africa.  A great landmark indeed.  However my hero of the day is 12 year old Sarfaraz Khan from Springfield Rizvi School, Mumbai who scored 439 runs in 421 balls against Indian Education Society in a three day Harris Shield match.

It was in this tournament in 1988 when a 15 year old prodigal Tendulkar had scored 329 in a 664 run partnership with his childhood friend Vinod Kambli.

So, another star is rising on the horizon of Sub-Continent cricket.  He is reported to have said "I swear I will never hit another 400 in my life", "slogging on the field is a way easier than posing".

Whether he becomes another Little Master Blaster is yet to be determined but take my word for sure this guy is going to make a big mark in the history of cricket.

I have got another hero in the making.

God take care of him.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

SCAM CLAIMS AGAINST FAMED RABBI GRIPS ISRAEL

Saturday, February 20, 2010


OCCUPIED-AL-QUDS: Israeli police said on Friday they were looking into allegations of sexual abuse against one of the country’s most famous and politically influential rabbis, in a case that has triggered dramatic headlines this week.

Mordechai Elon — known as “Rabbi Motti” by viewers of his popular TV show and by many young men in the West Bank settler movement — has vehemently denied the accusations by a group of fellow rabbis who say their aim is to combat sexual harassment by authority figures. 

But that has not stopped a wave of soul-searching, which has some parallels with recent turmoil in the Roman Catholic Church. 

At issue is the power of charismatic clerics over young people in their care, as well as questions about the extent to which religious communities should regulate their own affairs without involving the Jewish state’s secular authorities. 

A Justice Ministry spokesman said the attorney-general had asked police to consider whether there was sufficient evidence to mount a formal criminal investigation, after the organisation Takana alleged Elon had broken a promise made to fellow rabbis some years ago to limit his contacts with young men and youths. 

Elon, 50, gave up his regular TV show and retired as head of a major yeshiva religious school in Jerusalem three years ago. 

A police spokesman said on Friday no investigation had yet been launched but officers were considering the request. 

Since Monday, when Takana issued a statement saying Elon was the subject of complaints about “acts at odds with sacred and moral values” and that it wanted to “protect the public”, supporters and critics of the rabbi, a scion of a prominent religious Zionist family, have poured out emotions in the media. 

Former students have rallied to his home, some telling of the “fatherly hugs” he was wont to bestow. Others have spoken of “heartbreak” at the division sown within their community. 

Columnist Nahum Barnea of Israel’s top-selling newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth said: “Every word in this story becomes an emotional atom bomb when it happens in a religious society — sex, homosexuality, charisma, minors, a rabbi’s power. 

“This is not a storm in a teacup. This is a typhoon. No wonder many in the national-religious public felt this week that their world had collapsed,” Barnea wrote on Friday. 

Elon’s father sat on Israel’s Supreme Court and one brother was a cabinet minister. The leftist Haaretz newspaper called the Elons “the Kennedys of the religious Zionist camp”. 

While many of Israel’s founders were secular socialists, the religious, nationalist right has a growing role, notably in settlements in occupied land Israel seized in its 1967 war with the Arabs. 

Religious Zionists are distinguished from more traditional ultra-Orthodox groups which tend not to share the same focused commitment to building up Israel’s state power and territory. 

Mordechai Elon was an outspoken critic of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s move in 2005 to pull settlers and troops out of the Gaza Strip and was once spoken of as a future chief rabbi. But he has had a much lower public profile in the year’s since.

Source : The News International

LAW MINISTRY BLOCKING SWISS CASES


Despite SC demand, Law Ministry blocking Swiss Cases

By Ansar Abbasi

ISLAMABAD: While the NAB chairman is facing the wrath of the Supreme Court for not implementing the two-month-old NRO verdict, the Law Ministry, led by the close confidant of the president, is still determined to block the reopening of Swiss corruption cases.

Sources in NAB told The News on Friday that despite being formally approached and reminded, the Law Ministry is sitting on the issue of reopening of foreign cases and is not responding to NAB’s pending request on the matter.

These sources said that after being warned by the Supreme Court on Friday over the non-implementation of the NRO decision, the NAB chairman approached the Law Ministry to take a decision on the Bureau’s pending request for the reopening of foreign and Swiss cases against President Asif Zardari and others.

The Supreme Court’s observations on Friday emphasised on the reopening of all the cases without any exception, thus giving strength to the view that cases against President Asif Ali Zardari are also required to be reopened both within the country and outside unless the government or the president’s counsel seek from the apex court the cover of the constitutional immunity.

The question of presidential immunity was never discussed in the NRO case, therefore, the apex court in the NRO case directed NAB and other authorities to reopen all corruption cases both within the country and outside without any exception.

After the Supreme Court’s decision on the NRO, the NAB sources said the Bureau formally wrote to the Law Ministry to issue the required directions for the reopening of foreign cases, but the Law Ministry has yet to take any decision.

“We have even given some reminders that are part of official record but still the Law Ministry has not taken a decision,” a senior NAB source said, arguing that placing NAB under the Law Ministry has made the bureau ineffective.

NAB sources also admit that the prosecution of NAB cases is ineffective and almost a fraud because of the very reason that the brigade of prosecutors, appointed by Farooq H Naek during his tenure as law minister, are all from the People’s Lawyers Forum.

“We discuss the cases in our headquarter and resolve to contest them and pass on the same directions to our prosecutors, but what can we do if the prosecutors do not speak in the courts or do not present crucial evidence against the selected accused,” the NAB source said, admitting that the same is happening in the court on NAB cases.

NAB officials are frustrated with the present situation and seek the kind of autonomy that is required for effective prosecution. Babar Awan, one of those generally held responsible for the recent government debacle on the judges’ appointment, is the political master of NAB as the minister for law. Awan was given the Law Ministry after the Supreme Court handed down its decision on the NRO and despite the fact that in the Bank of Punjab fraud case one of the directors of Harris Steel alleged that Babar Awan had taken bribe of Rs35 million from Harris Steel to get a favourable decision from the Dogar supreme court.

SOURCE : The News International
Saturday, February 20, 2010

People's Republic of Hacking


'Panda' Exploit Offers Rare Inside Look at China's Cybercrime Networks

FEBRUARY 20, 2010

WUHAN, China—Some of today's biggest cybersecurity worries trace their roots to this central Chinese city, where a hacker with a junior high school education slapped cartoon pandas onto millions of computers to hide a destructive spy program.

The Panda Burns Incense computer worm, created by 27-year-old Li Jun, wreaked havoc for months in China in 2006 and 2007, eventually landing Mr. Li in jail. Jumping one computer to another by tricking users into opening what appeared to be a friendly email message, the Panda funneled passwords, financial information and online cash balances from game Web sites to Mr. Li's cohorts—leaving a panda as its calling card.
China rejects as nonsense that it is a hacker haven. "The government has never supported or been involved in cyber attacks, and it will never do so," Peng Bo, an official with the State Council Information Office's Internet Bureau, told state media in mid-February. "In fact, China is the country worst hit by worldwide hackers."
"As for Chinese hackers, their overall technological skill isn't as good as American or Russian hackers," Mr. Li said in an email, answering questions from the Wall Street Journal. "However, China has the biggest population of hackers in the world." Noting his own communication with foreign hackers, he added, "I often downloaded hacker software from their sites to compare them with programs I wrote or other Chinese hackers wrote."
SOURCE : The Wall Street Journal - Asia Edition

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It’s Not Political, but More Canadians Are Lefties

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — What is the difference between a Canadian and an American? The old question is coming up again here at the Olympics, with answers involving eagerness for war, ketchup, the pronunciation of toque or the ability to identify poutine and the Tragically Hip.



Most Canadians, like most Americans, are naturally right-handed, so the discrepancy has nothing to do with national brain-wiring. And how you hold a pencil, say, has little or no bearing on how you hold a stick. A left-handed shooter puts his right hand on top; a right-hander puts the left hand there.


SOURCE : The New York Times


Published: February 15, 2010

As Saudi Women Meet Clinton, No Talk of Rights


JIDDA, Saudi Arabia — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clintonspoke to young women at a Saudi women’s college here on Tuesday, the site of a spirited exchange five years ago with a female official of the Bush administration over the rights of women in Saudi Arabia.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton signed autographs at the Dar al-Hekman College on Tuesday in Jidda, Saudi Arabia.

But despite Mrs. Clinton’s invitation to raise the issue, none of the women in the audience asked her about it. The discussion, while lively, focused on the same foreign-policy and security themes that have dominated her visit to the Persian Gulf, notably Iran and the Middle East peace process.

Mrs. Clinton said she wanted to hear the views of the students on women’s rights, noting that “American media presents a very unidimensional portrayal of Saudi women,” focusing on the black veils most wear.

None of the students picked up on Mrs. Clinton’s observation about how the American media portrays Saudi women, which had been a point of contention when Karen Hughes, the under secretary of state for public diplomacy in Bush administration, visited this college in 2005.

In that session, Ms. Hughes raised the hackles of some in the audience when she said the image of Saudi Arabia in the United States had been tarnished by the country’s refusal to allow women to drive.

SOURCE : The New York Times

Published: February 16, 2010

Palin, daughter lash out at 'Family Guy' episode


JUNEAU, Alaska – Sarah Palin is lashing out at the portrayal of a character with Down syndrome on the Fox animated comedy "Family Guy." In a Facebook posting headlined "Fox Hollywood — What a Disappointment," the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee and current Fox News contributor said Sunday night's episode felt like "another kick in the gut." Palin's youngest son, Trig, has Down syndrome.
The episode features the character Chris falling for a girl with Down syndrome. On a date, he asks what her parents do.
She replies: "My dad's an accountant, and my mom is the former governor of Alaska."
Palin resigned as Alaska governor last summer.
Palin's oldest daughter, Bristol, also was quoted on her mother's Facebook page, calling the show's writers "heartless jerks."
SOURCE : Associated Press
By BECKY BOHRER, Associated Press Writer – 1 hr 27 mins ago

Israeli Hit Squad? Dubai Police Issue International Warrants


11-Person Team Used Disguises, Fake European Passports in Plot To Kill Top Hamas Leader


All signs point to an Israeli hit squad, using fake passports and elaborate disguises, in theassassination of a top Hamas leader in a Dubai hotel room, according to current and former intelligence officials.

Police in Dubai have issued international arrest warrants for eleven people wanted in the murder of Mahmoud al Mabhouh, a Hamas military commander, who was found dead in his room at the five-star Al Bustan Rotana Hotel in Dubai.
Police made public surveillance footage from inside the hotel showing members of the group disguised in wigs, with false facial hair. Two members of the group can be seen dressed in shorts, with tennis rackets, as part of their cover as tourists, police said.
SOURCE :  ABC News
By LARA SETRAKIAN and BRIAN ROSS  - February 16, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

IAF MiG-27 fighter jet crashes in Bengal, pilot killed


An IAF MiG-27 fighter jet on Tuesday crashed near Hashimara in West Bengal killing its pilot in the first such mishap this year.



"The MiG-27 crashed today and a pilot was killed in the mishap," an IAF officer said.

The aircraft had taken off from Hashimara air base where a fighter squadron is based and was doing a sortie to Bagdogra when the mishap happened.

Wing commander Oswald who was flying the aircraft was killed in the aircrash, the officer said.  The Eastern Air Command headquarters in Shillong has ordered a probe into the incident.

Last year, there were 11 air crashes including a couple of MiG 27s, denting the IAF's air safety record.

SOURCE : Press Trust Of India

New Delhi/Shillong, February 16, 2010

Unknown Pak Group Claims Responsibility for Pune Attacks

Laskhar-e-Taiba Al Alami, a hitherto unheard terror outfit, on today claimed it carried out the Pune blast because of India's "refusal" to discuss the Kashmir issue with Pakistan.


SOURCE : Hindustan Times - 



Tuesday, February 16, 2010 | Last Updated 23:15 IST 

Hatoyama says no hike in consumption tax now


Vow to wait four years stands despite Kan wanting talks now  - Kyodo News

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama pledged again Monday that he will not raise the 5 percent consumption tax during his four-year term through summer 2013, even though Finance Minister Naoto Kan is saying he wants to launch debate on a possible increase.

"I will not raise the consumption tax as I said during campaigning for the Lower House election" last August, Hatoyama said. "I believe that Minister Kan understands that this (promise) must be kept.

"I have said that we have to be cautious about the consumption tax . . . as it could contribute to slowing down our efforts to eliminate wasteful spending."

SOURCE : The Japan Times online -

Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2010

Anonymous video of Neda Aghan - Soltan's death wins Polk award

The George Polk Awards, one of the most important annual journalism prizes, has honoured the anonymous video of the death of Neda Aghan-Soltan during the 2009 Iranian election protests.

The new videography category reflects the increasing importance of user contributions to journalism in an era where cameras are commonplace. It is the first time in the 61-year history of the awards that a work produced anonymously has won.

"This award celebrates the fact that, in today's world, a brave bystander with a cellphone camera can use video-sharing and social networking sites to deliver news," said the New York Times' John Darnton, the curator of the Polk Awards.

(via journalism.co.uk, NYTimes.com)

SOURCE : http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/pda/2010/feb/16/george-polk-awards -

Posted by
Mercedes Bunz Tuesday 16 February 2010 11.46 GMT
guardian.co.uk

*******************************************
Note :


Who is Neda Agha Soltan?



It seems that every revolution or military conflict has a human face. Everyone is familiar with the video or still photograph from the Vietnam conflict showing a VC soldier shooting a civilian point blank in the back of his head, or the video of a single civilian standing up to a line of tanks at Tianenmen Square. Then there is the famous “Afghan girl” whose face was on the cover of National Geographic during the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. The current revolution in Iran now has its image, its video that represents all the pain and struggle in that country — in a very graphic way.

Neda Agha Soltan is a young girl whose grisly death was captured on video and immediately posted all over the internet. In the video, we see Neda (whose name means “Voice” or “Call” in Farsi) lying on the ground, dying from an alleged sniper’s gunshot which struck her in the heart. The video is graphic, so for the sake of our readers I’ll provide a link to CNN’s milder, censored version, found here — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4wSD04NU7k Other, more graphic videos can be easily found by searching the internet for “Neda Death Video”. Watch at your own risk.

Over the course of the short video, shot on a mobile phone and uploaded to the internet, we see Neda gasping for breath, clutching her wound, looking up at the camera, and eventually dying as blood pours from her mouth and nose. In the background, her father’s screams and desperate cries punctuate the horror of the moment. The video of the death of Neda Agha Soltan will no doubt be the image that most of us remember from the Green Revolution, and may be powerful enough to turn the world’s attention to the crisis in Iran.

What was Neda’s crime? Neda Soltan was a bystander, watching a peaceful pro-democracy protest in the ironically named Freedom Square in the center of Tehran.

Neda Salehi Agha Soltan, 26, has become a national symbol — posters of her face can be seen all over Tehran, and even here in America. Iranian authorities have gone as far as to order citizens to remove the posters — Iranian Revolutionary Guard soliders have even ordered Soltan’s family to take down traditional mourning posters. It is clear that the powers that be in Iran hope to stop Soltan from becoming a martyr, or a rallying figure for protestors already angry about the results of the recent presidential election.

In fact, the family of Soltan has already been forbidden from holding a public funeral or wake for Soltan and are not allowed to hold gatherings in her name. Even worse, the media in Iran (controlled by the government) have made no mention of her death. The government was concerned that any mourning posters would become a place of pilgramage for revolutionaries, and hope to prevent any further gathering of people presumed to be dissidents. To add insult to injury, the family of Neda Agha Soltan will not be allowed to hold a funeral service at a mosque.

Even though it is forbidden by the state, posters of Soltan are as common as green armbands.
We’re learning more about the circumstances surrounding the death of Soltan as her friends and family come forward to detail her last moments.

For instance, her friend and music teacher, a man named Hamid Panahi, spoke with several Western media sources, including the Los Angeles Times, to clear up the mystery of her death. According to Panahi, the car that he and Soltan were riding to Freedom Square in became stuck in traffic and they got out out of the car for some fresh air.

With moments, there was a loud crack, and Panahi saw Soltan collapse to the ground. One bullet, one shot to the chest, and Soltan was near death.

Bystanders claim to have seen the sniper, saying that he was a plainclothes militiaman known in Iran as a Basiji.

Mr. Panahi said that Neda’s last words before she closed her eyes and went unconscious were: “I’m burning! I’m burning!”

What do we know about Soltan? Neda was born in Tehran. She was the second of three children. Her father work for the government earning a modest salary, and her mother is a stay at home mom. Soltan studied Islamic philosophy at Azad university in Tehran before deciding to work in the tourism industry, even taking private lessons in Turkish in order to become a tour guide and lead tour groups abroad.

Friends of Soltan say she loved travelling, having visited Thailand, Dubai, and Turkey. A talented singer, she was a fan of Persian pop music and was taking piano lessons.

Neda Agha Soltan was in no way an activist, according to friends, but was angry about the result of the elections. Her anger drove her to the streets to watch Saturday’s protests in Freedom Square. Though her family begged her not to go, Soltan said she “was not afraid to die”. In fact, a quote from Soltan making the rounds of the internet, whether true or false, is chilling. She told her mother “Don’t worry, it’s just one bullet, and then it’s over.”

Her music teacher, Mr. Panahi, is quoted as saying that Soltan ” . . . couldn’t stand the injustice of it. All she wanted was the proper vote of the people to be counted. She wanted to show with her presence that, ‘I’m here, I also voted, and my vote wasn’t counted’. It was a very peaceful act of protest, without any violence.”

After Soltan was shot, a doctor who was standing nearby attempted to help, ordering Panahi to cover the wound with his hand and apply pressure. In the video, you can see Panahi doing just this, although almost as soon as he applied pressure, her blood begins to flow. A cab driver in the area pulled up and offered to take her to hospital in his car, but Soltan was dead before they could get to the hospital.

Because Soltan was denied any sort of public funeral or mourning, her mourners were forced to travel in groups to the cemetery where Neda was laid to rest on Sunday afternoon. Futher frustrating her friends and family, government officials were standing by to make sure the mourners didn’t “sing her praises loudly or mourn her loss”. To lose a daughter and a friend is one thing, but to be forced not to mourn her is simply wrong.

Mr. Panahi says he is not scared to speak to the media, saying that “they know where I am” and “when they want me, they’ll take me.” His final quote about Soltan speaks volumes about the revolution itself, and the people carrying it out –

“When they kill an innocent child, that is not justice. That is not religion. In no way is this acceptable.”

Secret Joint Raid Captures Taliban’s Top Commander

WASHINGTON — The Taliban’s top military commander was captured several days ago in Karachi, Pakistan, in a secret joint operation by Pakistani and American intelligence forces, according to American government officials.


SOURCE : http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/16/world/asia/16intel.html?hp -

By MARK MAZZETTI and DEXTER FILKINS
Published: February 15, 2010

Has PM thrown down the gauntlet?

By Rauf Klasra

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s dramatic announcement in the National Assembly on Monday that his March 16 decision to restore the sacked judges is yet to be endorsed by parliament has not only given a new twist to the ongoing tug-of-war between the judiciary and the government, it has instantly raised several questions on the survival of important power players of the great game, which has just begun.

SOURCE : http://www.thenews.com.pk/top_story_detail.asp?Id=27270 -

Tuesday, February 16, 2010, Rabi-ul-Awwal 01, 1431 A.H

I went to bed with pneumonia, and woke up a 'murderer'

On Monday night, Melvyn Adam Mildiner, a British Israeli man who made aliya from London nine years ago, went to bed suffering from what he said is pneumonia.

When he woke up the following morning, Mildiner said, he was stunned to discover that one of the members of an alleged hit squad who assassinated senior Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel last month went under an alias which was identical to his name.

"I have no idea how to clear my name. Interpol has a warrant out for my arrest. I don't know how I will travel. I went to bed with pneumonia and woke up a 'murderer," Mildiner told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

SOURCE :

http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=168862 -

Tuesday, February 16, 2010 2 Adar, 5770 18:56 IST