Monday, February 28, 2011

Sugar-sweetened drinks linked to higher BP

A new study has revealed that soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages such as fruit drinks are associated with higher blood pressure levels in adults.

In the International Study of Macro/Micronutrients and Blood Pressure (INTERMAP), for every extra sugar-sweetened beverage drunk per day participants on average had significantly higher systolic blood pressure by 1.6 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and diastolic blood pressure higher by 0.8 mm Hg. This remained statistically significant even after adjusting for differences in body mass, researchers said.

Researchers found higher blood pressure levels in individuals who consumed more glucose and fructose, both sweeteners that are found in high-fructose corn syrup, the most common sugar sweetener used by the beverage industry.

Higher blood pressure was more pronounced in people who consumed high levels of both sugar and sodium. They found no consistent association between diet soda intake and blood pressure levels. Those who drank diet soda had higher mean BMI than those who did not and lower levels of physical activity.

"This points to another possible intervention to lower blood pressure," said Paul Elliott, senior author and professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the School of Public Health at Imperial College London.

"These findings lend support for recommendations to reduce the intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, as well as added sugars and sodium in an effort to reduce blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health." Read More...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Obama: violence in Libya is 'outrageous'

U.S. President Barack Obama tells a news conference that the violent crackdown in Libya violates international norms.

Appearing at a press conference alongside his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Obama stopped short of calling for Gaddafi to step down and did not lay out any specific measures under consideration against the Libyan government.

He has faced criticism in some quarters for not speaking out sooner, but U.S. officials say they have tempered their response to ensure Americans in Libya are safely evacuated.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Apple May Unveil Updated IPad on March 2 in San Francisco

Apple May Unveil Updated IPad on March 2 in San Francisco
Apple Inc. , the world's biggest technology company by market value, may unveil its new iPad tablet computer at an event March 2 in San Francisco.

An Apple invitation sent to reporters today with the image of a corner of an iPad, says, "Come see what 2011 will be the year of." The event will be held at 10 a.m. local time.

The original iPad went on sale April 3, and Apple sold almost 15 million units through its first fiscal quarter , which ended Dec. 25. The device accounted for 17 percent of revenue in the period, compared with 39 percent for the iPhone, which first reached the market in 2007.

The timing of the March 2 event would put the iPad on an annual cycle of updates similar to those of the iPhone and iPod media player, and keep Apple ahead of competitors, said Scott Sutherland, an analyst at Wedbush Securities Inc. in San Francisco.

"The tablet becomes the next growth starter for the next two years for Apple," said Sutherland, who rates Apple shares "outperform" and doesn't own any. The company is releasing a second edition while many competitors are introducing their first tablets, he said.

Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc.'s Xoom tablet will be available tomorrow, and Research In Motion Ltd. plans to release four versions of its PlayBook this year.

Battery Life

Mike Abramsky , an analyst at RBC Capital Markets in Toronto, said in November that Apple may introduce a thinner iPad in the first half of 2011. Richard Doherty , director of consulting firm Envisioneering Group in Seaford, New York, said today he expects the updated iPad to offer longer battery life and front- and rear-facing cameras.

Apple is boosting its sales force to focus on burgeoning demand from business customers, particularly for the iPhone and iPad, Chief Operating Offic
er Tim Cook told a shareholders' meeting today.

"We've never seen anything like this before," Cook said.

Apple, based in Cupertino, California
, rose $4.01 to $342.62 at 4 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The shares have gained 6.2 percent this year.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New Zealand Starts Christchurch Curfew

6.3-magnitude earthquake wreaked havoc in New Zealand's
Rescuers picked through collapsed buildings after a 6.3-magnitude earthquake wreaked havoc in New Zealand's second-largest city, and officials said the death toll could rise into the hundreds as police imposed a curfew to prevent looting.

Prime Minister John Key declared a state of emergency Wednesday and said police have confirmed 75 deaths, with 55 of those identified. The toll from Tuesday's quake is expected to climb significantly as more bodies are found in the rubble, Mr. Key said, after a night when most of Christchurch went without electricity or running water. Christchurch's international airport, which closed after the quake, reopened Wednesday morning.

New Zealand Police said they had made six arrests in the central Christchurch area most affected by the earthquake and imposed a curfew in the area from 6:30 p.m. local time for "safety and security" reasons, according to a spokesman.

More than 1,000 police and military personnel have converged on the city to search for survivors.

"We have pulled people who have been trapped in the rubble for seven, eight, nine hours and they don't have a scratch on them. We've had other people where we've had to amputate limbs," Russell Gibson, the police superintendent in charge of the rescue overnight, told local media. Mr. Gibson said rescuers are getting texts and hearing tapping from trapped people.

Efforts focused Wednesday on rescuing people still trapped in collapsed offices such as the CTV Building in Madras Street. "Texts have been received from several people in the CTV building overnight but these have gone quiet in the last couple of hours," said Police Superintendent Dave Cliff.

Authorities also confirmed that two buses had been crushed by falling masonry.

Rescuers were working frantically Wednesday to free a woman trapped in the collapsed Pyne Gould Guinness office building. She was trapped under a desk and was able to move around slightly. "She is chirpy but wants to get out of there," said Grant Lord, responsible for operations at the site, who said her husband was onsite.

The police cordon around the building had to be extended, officials said, because they are worried it will pull down the building next to it.

Among the building's tenants are the local insurance unit of Marsh & McLennan Cos. and investment firm Pyne Gould Corp. A Marsh representative said a number of its workers were trapped in the building's several collapsed floors.

Among those trapped elsewhere in the city was a group of Japanese students and teachers believed stuck in the rubble of a school that collapsed, according to Japan's foreign ministry. Of the 23-member school group from Toyama prefecture that was on a foreign-language study program at King's Education College, 10 students remain unaccounted for, according to prefecture officials.

The quake struck six miles southeast of the city at midday Tuesday, adding to the panic and risk of injury, with the central district of the city full of shoppers, office workers and schoolchildren eating lunch.

Hospitals struggled to keep up with the numbers of injured, and emergency services warned they had run short of ambulances to ferry wounded survivors. International rescue teams were headed to the scene to help with recovery work. Japan's foreign ministry dispatched a three-member team Tuesday night to help coordinate relief efforts, and a 70-member disaster relief team, including Japanese coast guard officials, firefighters, police, doctors and nurses, was expected to depart Wednesday afternoon.

The quake comes as Christchurch recovers from a less violent but bigger seismic quake measuring magnitude 7.1 that hit last year, causing an estimated US$3.8 billion in damages. The city has since been hit by several so-called aftershocks that have continued to fray residents' nerves.

"Some people are really freaked out about it," said Brent Collins, a Christchurch resident. "Since September last year it has been pretty full on with loads and loads of aftershocks. It has been very unsettling."

Founded by Western settlers in the 1850s, Christchurch sits at the head of the fertile Canterbury plain region of New Zealand's South Island. The city, with a population of about 377,000, is a commercial center in the agricultural and tourism-dependent region and accounts for about 15% of the nation's economy.

The sight of the collapsed spire of the Anglican Christchurch Cathedral at the heart of the city epitomizes the scale of the disaster and the widespread damage to infrastructure and property.

Climbing Christchurch Cathedral's 117-foot tower—which was topped by the 526-foot spire—for a panoramic view of the city and the Port Hills beyond had been a must for the thousands of tourists who travel to the area every year.

The shock buckled roads, according to residents. "You can see where the liquefaction has happened and the road has bubbled up," said Rhys Morgan, a council worker who lives in the suburb of Riccarton, about two miles from the city's center.

Mr. Morgan said his home was without running water or electricity following the tremors, which were felt as far away as the city of Dunedin, 200 miles south of Christchurch.

The initial shock was followed by a series of violent but smaller earthquakes, a pattern that may continue to play havoc with the city for months ahead, experts warned.

Matthew Stevens, a geologist with GNS Science, said the quakes were occurring in the same fault line as September's shock. "This is technically an aftershock because it only happened because of the first earthquake," said Mr. Stevens.

The latest quake
is a blow for New Zealand's economy, and it sent the New Zealand dollar, known as the kiwi, sharply lower. Early Wednesday, it was trading at 74.89 U.S. cents. On Tuesday, it hit an intraday low of 74.91 U.S. cents, down more than one U.S. cent, and its lowest level in almost two months. The country's benchmark share index closed down 0.9% Tuesday and was down slightly in Wednesday morning trading.

Further destruction to Christchurch will add to Prime Minister Key's economic problems, as rebuilding costs are expected to be high.

The current-account deficit, which reached 5.93 billion New Zealand dollars (US$4.48 billion) in the year ended in September, and a decline in tourism income have added to the government's agenda. The Pacific nation depends heavily on tourism and agriculture.

The New Zealand islands straddle a geologically unstable area across the South Pacific, part of the so-called Ring of Fire, and the country is famed for its thermal gushers that provide a sense of its inherent geological instability.

In 1931, a quake measuring 7.9 in magnitude in Hawke's Bay on the North Island killed 256 people, the highest toll from a quake in the country's recorded history.

Pakistan look for flexibility in batting order

Pakistan look for flexibility in batting order
The emergence of Ahmed Shehzad has settled down Pakistan's opening partnership for the near future, but it has complicated matters for the rest of the batting order. Shehzad partnered Mohammad Hafeez at the top in the ODI series win over New Zealand coming into the World Cup. Both players had successful series, notching up a maiden century each but didn't put on a significant partnership in any of the five games they batted together.

Shehzad's return has meant Kamran Akmal moving down one spot to No. 3 in the order. But Akmal and Hafeez formed a successful partnership in the ODI series against England last September and would, in all likelihood, have been the first-choice pair here had it not been for Akmal's brief exile from the side in between. That absence allowed Shehzad to return to the side for the first time since 2009, an opportunity he has fully utilised.

Hafeez has also been a stabilising influence since his own return to the ODI set-up last summer, averaging 35.73 in 16 ODIs since then, with a hundred and three fifties. He has also turned in useful spells of offspin, picking up 11 wickets. Hafeez and Shehzad will start as the opening pair but the pushing down of Akmal and the return of Misbah-ul-Haq in a middle order that also includes Younis Khan often resulted in Pakistan not gathering enough momentum in the middle overs of an innings.

Pakistan are keen on keeping both Younis and Misbah in the XI as insurance against collapses. But batting them at four and five as happened in New Zealand has meant that Umar Akmal, potentially Pakistan's best batsman in the format, has come in with too few overs left to have an impact. It is an issue that will require flexibility, said Pakistan's captain Shahid Afridi ahead of their tournament opener against Kenya.

"If we lose the first wicket early, then Kamran, who has been an attacking batsman and has opened, comes in so we will have advantage with him and fielders in the circle," Afridi said. "After that it will depend on how many overs we have so Umar can come after Younis. We don't want Misbah and Younis batting together so that we can keep momentum and the scoreboard ticking."

Pakistan also look set to include Shoaib Akhtar in the line-up for Wednesday, despite concerns over his match fitness; only yesterday coach Waqar Younis said Shoaib was improving but not fully fit just yet. That means Saeed Ajmal is likely to miss out as Pakistan open up with three fast bowlers. Junaid Khan, the late call-up who impressed in a warm-up game against England in Dhaka and has experience of Hambantota, will also probably sit out. Irrespective of the opponent, Afridi said, Pakistan will be at full strength.

"I don't think it's an easier game for us," he said. "The first game is always very important for us. There are a number of examples where big teams have lost so we want to be at full strength."

Pakistan chose not to train on Tuesday, having arrived in Hambantota on Monday and undergone a distinctly energetic and enthusiastic practice session soon after arriving. Afridi acknowledged there was more attention on off-field issues surrounding the side but maintained that a semi-final place was a realistic target. "I take that as challenge that no one is considering us for the semi-final. I want to see my team in the semi-finals."


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Spectacular ceremony launches World Cup

Rock star Bryan Adams provided the sparks as a dazzling opening ceremony, showcasing a vibrant blend of sub-continental traditions and modernity, on Thursday launched the 10th edition of the cricket World Cup, setting the stage for 43 days of high-voltage cricketing extravaganza.

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina declared the event open amid thundering cheers from a packed crowd at the renovated Bangabandhu stadium, marking the return of the showpiece event to the sub-continent after a gap of 15 years.

The evening sky lit up with spectacular fireworks as the high-profile 14-team competition was declared open in front of a host of dignitaries and top ICC and Cricket Board officials.

Captains of all the 14 participating nations got an unforgettable ride on tri-cycles while music, folk songs and dances, breath-taking fireworks and the collective enthusiasm of the Bangladeshi capital ushered in the event in a two-hour spectacle.

Bryan Adams' mesmerising act was the highlight of the show that also had Indian musicians Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy belting out the World Cup theme song 'De Ghuma Ke' composed by the trio.

Indian playback singer Sonu Nigam and top Bangladeshi vocalists -- Runa Laila, Sabina Yasmin and Mumtaz -- also crooned in front of a capacity crowd which was treated to a musical extravaganza in three languages -- English, Hindi and Bangla.

Singer Ebrar Tipu and others set the tone for the evening as he arrived in a bedecked car to sing the welcome song, "O Prithibi, Ebar Eshey Banglake Nao Chiney" (Hey world, come and know Bangladesh).

All the 14 captains came into the arena on decorated rickshaws with Australian captain Ricky Ponting coming in first followed by the other captains.

Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni drew a loud applause while the biggest cheer was reserved for host captain Shakib Al Hasan as he waved to the crowd.

After all the captains assembled on the specially erected dias, Indian singer Sonu Nigam then rendered the "Spirit of Cricket
' song.

After the speeches by top officials, including ICC President Sharad Pawar who spoke a few lines in Bangla, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina declared the event open, setting the stage for Adams and other celebrated artistes to enthrall the audience.

A breath-taking aerial cricket match, played horizontally on a building, kept the spectators spellbound.

Nearly 2,100 school and college students and 350 members of the Armed Forces presented a cultural programme depicting the glorious Language Movement, War of Liberation, Bangladesh's founder Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's historic March 7 speech, Bangla New Year and traditional dance of the indigenous communities.

Adams then took centrestage with some of his all-time hits like "Lets make it a night to remember", "Summer of '69", and "18 till I die" among others.

Barely 10 years after being given the Test status, it was a giant leap for Bangladesh as a nation as the minnows, known to pull off stunning wins in big events, hosted perhaps the biggest sporting show so far in their history.

Two days later, Bangladesh and co-hosts India will clash in the inaugural game at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur to herald the beginning of 43 days of action spread across 13 venues in three countries.

The other host country, Sri Lanka start off their campaign against lowly Canada in a Group A encounter in Colombo on Sunday.

The sub-continent had its first date with the World Cup when India and Pakistan hosted it in 1987 before Sri Lanka joined them in 1996.

Sub-continent, for all practical purposes, is the nerve centre of the game now, though 1992 champions Pakistan could not be one of the co-hosts due to the terror attacks that targetted touring Sri Lankan cricketers in 2009.

But Bangladesh will be having one big party in their silver jubilee year of initiation into one-day cricket.

The tenth edition of cricket's quadrennial showpiece, featuring 14 teams and 49 matches -- 29 in India, a dozen in Sri Lanka and eight in Bangladesh -- was not devoid of controversies.

It had a nightmare of an initial road as Pakistan was stripped of the right to host 14 matches due to the volatile condition in the country though the country will get its share of revenue even without holding games.

There were minor hiccups even after that when Kolkata's historic Eden Gardens lost the hosting rights for the February 27 India-England clash after the ICC found the venue ill-prepared.

With any marquee match involving India not scheduled in the Eden after the ICC shifted teh India-England match to Bangalore, cricket lovers will not see the stadium at its magnificent best as not many can be expected in the one lakh-capacity venue for non-India match.

On current form and considering the conditions, India have been billed favourites by cricket experts and it would be a huge celebration for Indian fans if Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men lift the trophy on April 2 at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

It would add to India's muscle-flexing power as cricket's financial centre.

A World Cup win by India will also ensure the iconic batsman Sachin Tendulkar the only success that has eluded him in his illustrious over-two-decade-long international career, besides India bringing home the trophy after 28 years.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Egypt forms panel to rewrite constitution

The Egyptian military today constituted a panel of legal experts, including a member of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, to suggest amendments to the Mubarak-era constitution while firing two top security officials for their handling of the anti-regime protests.

The eight-member committee that has been entrusted with the task of studying the constitutional reform would be headed by Tareq al-Bishry, a retired judge known for his independent views and support for a free judiciary during the reign of Hosni Mubarak.

"I have been chosen by the Higher Military Council to head the committee for constitutional amendments," al-Bishry said.

The Supreme Military Council has vowed to rewrite the constitution within 10-days and submit it to a public referendum within two months time.

The Council said in a statement on television that the panel must finish its work in a period of no longer than 10 days after the date of this decision.

The inclusion of a former lawmaker of the largest opposition group Muslim Brotherhood, Sobhi Saleh, in the panel is a significant message by the new military leadership that has chosen to begin the political reform process from scratch.

A Muslim Brotherhood leader, meanwhile, said that the group will apply to become an official party in the near future once the time is ripe.

The step to set up a panel comes two days after a parliament packed with Mubarak loyalists was dissolved and the constitution suspended in line with the demands of the protesters.

The constitution, that now stands suspended, had provisions that helped Mubarak and his allies in power, and a major demand of the protesters was the scrapping of such guarantees and putting term limits for presidential tenure.

As Egypt took baby-steps towards establishing a democracy, political unrest mounted in other Arab nations, with Egypt-inspired rallies witnessed in Algeria, Bahrain, Yemen and Iran.

Clashes were witnessed between police and protesters in Iran, where one person was reported killed, while in Bahrain another person was killed when security forces used force on mourners gathered for a funeral procession for a man killed in an earlier protest.

The Egyptian military also sacked two top security officials for their role in decisions to open fire on anti-Mubarak protesters during the 18-day uprising.

The caretaker government fired the director of public security at Egypt's interior ministry, Adly Fayed, and Cairo's security chief, Ismail El Shaer, Al Jazeera reported.

The dismissals came as the military tries to calm public anger against the state''s security forces that were used by Mubarak to stifle dissent.


GOP had a chance to shape health law

The reforms in the Affordable Care Act made it possible for my daughter, with pre-existing diverticulosis, to get a health insurance policy. It's expensive, but now she's covered.

The Republicans in Washington want to take that coverage away from her and others in her situation. Besides ignoring unnecessary human suffering, they don't seem to realize that health insurance coverage saves money. When people without insurance need hospital care, we all pay their bills through higher premiums and taxes.

When people without insurance get sick and miss work because they've put off regular preventive checkups, businesses pay through lower productivity. Furthermore, the Congressional Budget Office predicts repeal of the health care act would add $230 billion to the national deficit over the next few years.

Rather than helping to fix problems in the current law, GOP politicians say they want to repeal it and start over. If they had participated in the process that led up to the law, those problems might have been avoided. Instead the GOP refused to contribute and spent its time talking about socialism and death panels.

In 2006, 2008 and 2010, the nation voted for change in the way Washington operates. We want people in government to work together to find solutions to the many serious problems we face. The GOP missed the message.



Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Egypt protests: US call to Hosni Mubarak's government

Egypt protests: US call to Hosni Mubarak's government
The US has called on the Egyptian government to immediately lift the country's emergency laws, which have been in place for 30 years.

Vice-President Joe Biden made the call during a telephone conversation with his Egyptian counterpart Omar Suleiman.

He also said the police should immediately stop arresting and beating journalists and activists.

Tuesday saw one of the biggest anti-government rallies in Cairo since the protests began on 25 January.

It came despite the government's announcement of its plans for a peaceful transfer of power.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Hurt by IPL snub, Ganguly hangs up his boots

Snubbed by the Indian Premier League franchisees, an apparently hurt Sourav Ganguly has decided to retire from all forms of cricket.

The former India skipper's decision, it is understood, was prompted by all-round rejection by IPL teams, even after the governing body tried to explore several avenues to sneak him in.

Ganguly, with a base price of $ 400,000 was left unsold in the players' auctions for IPL 4.

After the governing body tried a back-door entry for him, three franchisees – Royal challengers, Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals – objected to Team kochi's move to pick up Ganguly.

In IPL, Ganguly represented Kolkata Knight Riders.

Ganguly became the Indian captain after the match-fixing scandal in 2000. He led the team to a series triumph against Australia in 2001, and drew the series against Australia in 2003-04.

Friday, February 4, 2011

World Cup chances look dim for kiwis compare than other teams

New Zealand Players are worrying about them Performance 
What chance New Zealand's hopes of an eye-catching run at this month's World Cup?

Frankly you wouldn't give them a prayer on the evidence of the last three months.

They look fragile, soft in the mind and unable to put together a decent batting and bowling display within the same seven-hour period.

The squad fly out to the sub-continent on Tuesday.

At that point, depending on the outcome of the final Pakistan ODI at Eden Park today, they'll either have won two of their last 16 50-over games, or one.

If one half of their game is solid, the other is a dud.

In Hamilton on Thursday, the bowlers did a reasonable job, restricting Pakistan to 268 for nine. But the batsmen botched a highly gettable target. "Confidence is low and we have got to look within," stand-in captain Ross Taylor said.

"We can't look anywhere else. We've said this over and over: winning is a habit and at the moment we're getting ourselves into good positions but just not capitalising.

"I don't think we're far away. We keep losing wickets at crucial times, whether with brain explosions or what."

It has to be said when New Zealand's batsmen have a shortwiring in the brain it's a corker.

Most recent evidence? Scott Styris' two run outs in the last two games; Jesse Ryder's first-ball run out in Hamilton; Jamie How out playing the same shot, caught in the same area in his last three innings. That'll do for starters.

The New Zealand players spent an hour and a half in their Seddon Park changing room on Thursday night. Management was excluded. Hard talking was done.

"There was a lot said and that's going to stay within the changing room," senior allrounder Jacob Oram said yesterday.

"But it's basically about guys doing their jobs, not looking for excuses or explanations and just winning matches for New Zealand."

Things have been going wrong "too often for it to just be a coincidence", he added.

Some arguments were forceful, "but we needed to get a lot of things out in the open".

"There was some serious honesty, but it will mean nothing if we don't win tomorrow and go on to do well at the World Cup.

"It will just be another chat that we've had. We've got to make sure it means something," he said.

It's a moot point whether a win at Eden Park today will necessarily indicate a corner has been turned.

Pakistan could be forgiven for taking the foot off the accelerator. They've won the last three ODIs. The series is theirs, to go with the two-test rubber.

Coach Waqar Younis said the tourists might look to use a couple of players who haven't had a chance earlier in the series, such as spinners Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman and young batsman Asad Shafiq. Then again ...

"We'd like to give them a bit of a chance, maybe. The aim is to win the next game and go on a wining note.

"It's important to keep the momentum going and make sure when we go to the World Cup we are nice and ready," he said.

New Zealand captain Dan Vettori is out, with the hamstring he tweaked at Napier on Tuesday necessitating sitting out a second consecutive game.

But New Zealand's problems are far deeper than whether the skipper plays or not, although his absence stymies the idea of fielding the first choice XI even once in the five games against Pakistan (the sixth was washed out).

Tim Southee returns, at the expense of Hamish Bennett. Jamie How is also dropped, his carbon copy mode of dismissal wearing thin.

Either Luke Woodcock or Kane Williamson will be omitted this morning.

Brendon McCullum could be bumped up to No 3 in the order today, which would be an acknowledgment that, for a range of reasons, trialling him in the middle order hasn't worked.

Right now, it has a feel of a deckchair rearrangement.

A win today will help.

They all do, but it won't suddenly shove all the dark clouds over the horizon.

6th ODI Between NZ v Pakistan - Eden Park, noon today

New Zealand (from) Ross Taylor (c) Martin Guptill, Jesse Ryder, Kane Williamson, Scott Styris, Brendon McCullum, James Franklin, Nathan McCullum, Jacob Oram, Luke Woodcock, Kyle Mills, Tim Southee.

Pakistan (from) Shahid Afridi (c), Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Kamran Akmal, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, Umar Akmal, Asad Shafiq, Abdul Razzaq, Abdur Rehman, Wahab Riaz, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Shoaib Akhtar.

Egypt Protests Taking Toll on Its Economy, People & Protests Pictures

Demonstrations that have plagued the streets of Egypt for nearly three weeks have taken a toll on the country's economy and have made commodities scarce and expensive for its people.

Egypt depends on tourism for a large part of its financial revenue, and since the protests began on Jan. 25, it's estimated that one million tourists have fled Cairo.

The country's vice president, Omar Suleiman, told ABC News in an exclusive interview that the protests have severely hurt Egypt's people and economy.

"[Our people] want to express to the others in Tahrir Square that now we have no work," he said. "I hope they will recognize that they are not doing well to the country."

Meanwhile on a smaller scale, Egyptians are struggling to survive amid the demonstrations. ABC News correspondents in the country report that everyday foods like rice and lentils are available to the public but they are now 80 percent more expensive. Other commodities like gasoline are available but on the black market.

Ahmed, a college student in Egypt, told ABC News, "Water, milk are available. Bread is also available, but has limits."

Neighbors are said to be helping one another as they try to get through the unrest in the country.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Tharanga steers Sri Lanka to victory over West Indies

Tharanga steers Sri Lanka to victory over West Indies
Upul Tharanga hit an unbeaten century to steer Sri Lanka to an eight-wicket win over West Indies in the second one-day international in Colombo.

The opener scored 101 as the hosts chased down a rain-affected target of 197 in 47 overs, to finish on 199-2.

West Indies had posted 203 all out in their 50 overs, Darren Bravo (39) and Dwayne Bravo (39) the top scorers.

Lasith Malinga took 3-30 as Sri Lanka went 1-0 up in the three-match series, the first game having been rained off.

Having been put into bat, West Indies struggled to build any significant partnerships as wickets fell regularly despite several batsmen enjoying good starts, including former captain Chris Gayle (28) and Carlton Baugh (28).

Muttiah Muralitharan and Nuwan Kulasekara both finished with two wickets apiece in support of Malinga.

West Indies had an early boost in the field, Ravi Rampaul removing Tillakaratne Dilshan for only 11 runs before rain stopped play with the score at 45-1 after 14.4 overs.

Tharanga came to the fore after the delay, adding 70 runs with Kumar Sangakkara (20) and then partnering Mahela Jayawardene (48 not out) as Sri Lanka eased past the target.

The teams meet in the third and final match of the series on Sunday.

Shehzad helps Black cats set target

Ahmed Shehzad's maiden century helped Pakistan post a 269-run target for New Zealand in the fifth one-day international at Hamilton.

Put into bat under overcast conditions, Shehzad set the tone with a 109-ball 115 helped along by three 40-plus partnerships in tandem with Kamran Akmal (17), Younis Khan (21), Misbah-ul-Haq (25) and a 43-run stand between skipper Shahid Afridi (24) and Umar Akmal (32).

New Zealand's bowlers fought back well in the slog overs picking up five wickets to slow the scoring rate, with Scott Styris, Kyle Mills and Jacob Oram grabbing two each.

The Kiwis managed to subdue Pakistan in the early exchanges, and with just seven overs gone, Mills sent back Mohammad Hafeez (14) caught at mid off.

Shehzad hit back with two boundaries off Mills in his next over, and set up a 53-run stand with Kamran Akmal that ended with the latter's run out off a direct hit.

Shehzad, however, looked in brilliant touch as he hit seven boundaries and a six to reach his maiden ODI fifty. Younis Khan played the patient role for his 21 - the third-wicket partnership reached 47 - but fell to the lure of the big shot and his sweep off Nathan McCullum only found Styris' hands at square leg.

Pakistan's hero from the fourth ODI Misbah-ul-Haq helped keep the momentum going while Shehzad raced away to his hundred with a six off Hamish Bennett and a single off Oram.

Pakistan's best partnership at 77 was finally ended by Styris as Shehzad's lofted shot to deep midwicket was caught by James Franklin and Styris struck again in his next over, as Misbah's aggressive pull was well caught by Oram at deep square leg.

Afridi showed flashes of aggression but Oram had him caught by Martin Guptill at mid on, while Abdul Razzaq departed off Mills for just three, caught at deep extra cover.

Umar Akmal fought hard for his run-a-ball 32 before being run out by Brendon McCullum and Umar Gul (one) fell on the last ball of the innings, leaving Wahab Riaz unbeaten on two.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

2G scam: Raja to be produced in court today

2G scam: Raja to be produced in court today
Former Telecom Minister A Raja is expected to be produced in court today after his arrest on Wednesday to facilitate the government's inquiry into the 2G spectrum scam.

The former Minister and his his ex-associates R K Chandolia and Siddharth Behura were arrested by the CBI on Wednesday on charges that they allegedly did not follow right procedures in the grant of 2G licences and spectrum to telecom companies, thereby causing the national exchequer losses running into thousands of crores.

According to the CBI, Raja and his associates abused their official position to manipulate the tendering process by advancing cut-off dates, asking licencees to deposit fees within a week, and introducing an arbitrary first-come-first-served principle that benefited some firms.

The 47-year-old five-time MP was arrested after daylong questioning at the CBI headquarters in New Delhi. His former personal secretary R K Chandolia and former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura were questioned along with him, at the end of which all three were arrested.


Indian police 'arrest ex-telecom minister'

NDTV television and the Press Trust of India reported that Raja and two aides had been arrested by federal police from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

A spokesman for the CBI confirmed that Raja had been questioned at police headquarters in the capital since 10:00am (0430 GMT) on Wednesday, but said he had not been formally arrested.

"We are questioning Raja. We will continue our interrogation for two more hours," spokesman R.K. Gaur told AFP.

Raja was forced out of the government in November over the cut-price sale of second-generation (2G) mobile phone licences that India's government audit watchdog estimates cost the treasury as much as 40 billion dollars.

The licences were sold on a first-come, first-served basis instead of at auction and the telecom ministry is suspected of changing the bidding rules to favour certain companies, many of which were ineligible, according to the auditor.

In November, India's Supreme Court queried why the police had failed to question Raja, a low-caste politician from south India, over what could be India's biggest ever corruption scam.

The rules for selling the second-generation (2G) telecom licences had been changed "arbitrarily," said Supreme Court judge A.K. Ganguly at the time.

Police have since raided the homes of Raja, who denies any wrongdoing, and other senior telecom ministry officials and questioned them at length.

India's left-leaning government, led by the Congress party, has been on the backfoot over the so-called 2G scam for months and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has promised to punish the guilty.

Raja belongs to the regional Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party which draws support from the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sushma not to move Supreme Court on CVC

BJP leader Sushma Swaraj
The Opposition senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday, Feb 1 announced she would not file an affidavit on the CVC PJ Thomas' appointment issue in the Supreme Court.

Swaraj said, “The Home Minister has now admitted that I had raised the Palmolein case in the meeting and recorded my disagreement precisely for this reason.”

Swaraj made the decision after Home Minister P Chidambaram on Monday accepted the fact following a long discussion on Thomas’ involvement in the Palmolein case at the meeting,

Thomas' appointment as CVC was carried-out by a three-member panel, comprising PM Manmohan Singh, P Chidambaram and Sushma Swaraj.

Last week, the SC had questioned the government, if papers related to the chargesheet against Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) Thomas in Palmolein oil scam were circulated among the three-members of the current news committee that appointed Thomas.

Swaraj claimed that as a member of the panel she personally brought the scam charges against Thomas to the notice of PM and Home Minister. But the Attorney General GE Vahanvati contradicted Swaraj's statement by stating that during CVC's appointment the committee was ignorant regarding the chargsheet against Thomas.

Immediately, Swaraj slammed it by calling it a fake and told that she will file an affidavit on this issue as the government is misdirecting the SC. “Now there is no dispute on facts. Therefore, there is no need for my affidavit,” she said.