Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The no-kids-allowed movement is spreading

What's the matter with kids today and why doesn't anyone want them around? In June, Malaysia Airlines banned babies from many of their first class cabins, prompting other major airlines to consider similar policies.

Lately, complaints about screaming kids are being taken seriously, not only by airlines, but by hotels, movie theaters, restaurants, and even grocery stores.

Read more about restaurants around the country banning kids.

Earlier this month, McDain's, a Pittsburgh area restaurant that banned kids under 6 became a mascot for the no-kids-zone movement.

According to a Pittsburgh local news poll, more than half of area residents were in favor of the ban. And now big business is paying attention.

"Brat bans could well be the next frontier in destination and leisure-product marketing," writes Robert Klara in an article on the child-free trend in AdWeek.

Klara points to, a travel website for kid-free vacations, with a massive list of yoga retreats, luxury resorts and bargain hotels around the world that ban children.

"Call me a grinch, a misanthrope, a DINK (dual-income-no-kids), or the anti-cute-police, but I hate (hate a thousand times over) ill-behaved children/infants/screaming banshees in upscale restaurants (ok, anywhere, really, but I don’t want any death threats)," writes Charlotte Savino on Travel and Leisure's blog. She lists a slew of a popular destination restaurants with kid-free areas and policies for travelers looking for quiet vacation dining.

Traveling is one thing, but what about in kids' own hometowns? Should kids been banned from local movie theaters, like they were at a recent adults-only Harry Potter screening? In Texas, one cinema chain has even flipped the model, banning kids under six altogether, except on specified "baby days".

Even running errands with toddlers may be off limits.  This summer Whole Foods stores in Missouri are offering child-free shopping hours and in Florida, a controversy brews over whether kids can be banned from a condominium's outdoor area. That's right, some people don't even want kids outdoors.

When did kids become the equivalent of second-hand smoke? Blame a wave of childless adults with money to spare. "Empty nesters continue to wield a huge swath of discretionary spending dollars, and population dips in first-world countries mean more childless couples than ever," writes AdWeek's Klara.

Catering to the child-free community may be good for business but is it good for parents? It could help narrow choices and make kid-friendly environments even kid-friendlier.  And let's be honest, babies won't miss flying first class. They won't even remember it. But their moms and dads will.

Most parents with young children have self-imposed limits on spending and leisure. This new movement imposes limits set by the public. And the public isn't as child-friendly as it used to be.  As businesses respond to their new breed of 'first-class' clientele, are parents in danger of becoming second-class citizens?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Why didn't PM set up GoM if he found 2G wrongdoing: Raja

New Delhi: Hours after saying he did not seek to implicate Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram in the 2G spectrum case, former Telecom minister A Raja renewed his attack on Singh, saying the Prime Minister should have referred the matter to a Group of Ministers (GoM).
Raja told a special court in Delhi that he had sent back the 2G file to Singh and the latter should have called for a GoM if he had found any discrepancies.

Earlier today, Raja also pleaded before court that Chidambaram be made a witness in the 2G spectrum case. The 47-year-old Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) lawmaker, who has been behind bars for nearly six months, also sought his “forthwith release”, terming his judicial custody as an “illegal detention”.
Raja's counsel Sushil Kumar made the submissions before Special Judge O P Saini while opposing corruption and other penal charges against him for his alleged role in the scam.
Seeking a direction to CBI to make Chidambaram a witness in the case, Raja said the former Finance Minister was privy to the matter relating to dilution of equities by Swan Telecom and Unitech Wireless to foreign firms, Etisalat and Telenor, respectively.
“The matters relating to dilution of equities to foreign firms by Swan Telecom and Unitech Wireless were known to the Prime Minister and then Finance Minister Chidambaram,” the Times Now channel quoted Raja, as saying.
Raja clarified that his statement yesterday – about Manmohan Singh and Chidambaram being aware of the dilution of shares by telecom firms – did not amount to making any allegation against them.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Clinton seeks to reassure China amid U.S. debt stalemate

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks Monday during a luncheon hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong.
HONG KONG — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton tried to reassure China — the largest holder of U.S. treasuries — and other Asian countries Monday about the roiling debt debate in the Washington even as she urged them to adopt fair competition principles at the core of the American economy.

“Many have questions about how the United States is going to resolve our debt ceiling challenge,” Clinton said in a speech in Hong Kong, the financial hub of Asia. “Let me assure you we understand the stakes. We know how important this is for us and how important it is for you.”

Clinton’s talk was notable for its prodding tone, urging countries to adopt economic rules of transparency, openness and fairness. And while Clinton mostly avoided direct mention of China, much of her sharpest words seemed aimed at the country, whose rapidly growing economy embodies all the problems highlighted by Clinton — loose government regulation, unfair competition by state-owned enterprises and widespread intellectual property theft.

“We all recognize the temptation to bend them,” Clinton said, referring to fair trade principles. “Some nations are making short-term gains doing just that. ... And a number of nations — wealthy in the aggregate but often poorer per capita — might even think the rules don’t yet apply to them.”

Clinton’s words highlighted the complex, intertwined and sometimes antagonistic relationship between the U.S. and China. While China eagerly and aggressively competes with the U.S. in almost every field, it is also the largest foreign holder of U.S. dollar debt.

As a result, the current stalemate in Washington has not only threatened to push the U.S. government into default and downgrade its AAA rating but it has put an enormous pool of Chinese investment at risk.

“I’ve had several meetings where the Chinese have basically made clear that they’ve made a substantial investment in the U.S.,” said a senior State Department official, who was not authorized to speak by name. “And they expect, not hope, expect that U.S. will abide by its various financial international commitments.”

Hours after she spoke, Clinton crossed the border into mainland China to meet with China’s State Counselor Dai Bingguo.

According to U.S. officials accompanying her but not authorized to speak by name, Clinton planned to discuss the recent conflicts over disputed territories in the South China Sea, in which China has played an aggressive role, and the recent resumption of dialogue between North and South Korea over nuclear disarmament.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Witnesses describe scene of terror at Norway camp

Norway Bomb Blast Incidents - Witnesses describe scene of terror at Norway camp

- The man in the police uniform shouted for the campers to come closer. When they did, he killed them.

The gunman who killed at least 80 people at an island youth camp northwest of Oslo used his disguise to lure in his victims, then shot them twice to make sure they were dead, survivors said in the village of Sundvollen, where they were taken after the massacre.

"I saw many dead people," said 15-year old Elise, whose father, Vidar Myhre, didn't want her to disclose her last name. She just feet away from the gunman when he opened fire in the camp on Utoya island.
Elise said she had just come out from an information meeting in a nearby building when she heard gunshots. She saw a police officer and thought she was safe, but then he started shooting.
"He first shot people on the island. Afterward he started shooting people in the water," she said.
Elise said she hid behind the same rock that the killer was standing on. "I could hear his breathing from the top of the rock," she said. Read More...

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

President, GOP leaders in secret talks on deficit deal

WASHINGTON -- In secretive endgame negotiations, President Barack Obama and House Republican leaders reached anew on Thursday for an elusive grand bargain deal to cut deficits by $4 trillion or more and prevent a threatened Aug. 2 government default, officials said.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said his rank and file generally stood ready to compromise in order to reach an agreement as a way of "getting our economy going again and growing jobs." Obama, in a newspaper opinion piece, said the talks provided an "opportunity to do something big and meaningful." Read More...

India in England: A History

The 2000th Test match which is being played at Lords on 21st July is also the 100th Test between India and England. Their rivalry goes back to 1932 when CK Nayudu led the Indian team to England. India achieved their first Test win in England in 1971 thanks to a great bowling display from B S Chandrasekhar who took 6/38 at the Oval. They would have to wait for another 15 years before they secured a second series triumph in England. In 1986, Kapil Dev led India to their first victory at Lord's. This set the precedent for the remainder of the tour with India comfortably winning the Test series 2-0 and the ODI series 2-0.

Overall though, India have a poor record in England. They have played a total of 15 series there, with England winning 11 of them and India winning only three. From 1990 onwards, Sachin Tendulkar was a constant presence in the Indian sides to tour England. And it is perhaps fitting that the land where he scored his first century on his first tour, might be likely to see him score his 100th one too. More importantly, from 1990 onwards there has been a slow but steady improvement in every Indian side that has toured England. This is a look at how the series have gone since then.

1990 Tour
India started the tour on a disastrous note when Mohammad Azharuddin opted to bowl on a flat Lord's deck in the first Test. Graham Gooch made the Indians pay heavily for that decision by scoring 333. England notched up a huge 653/4 declared but the Indians fought back well. Gutsy centuries from Ravi Shastri and Azharuddin, followed by Kapil Dev's blistering 77 off 75 balls helped India avoid the follow-on. England declared again at 272/4, with Gooch notching up a classic 123. Chasing 472, India folded up for 224 to hand England a thumping 248 run victory.

In Manchester, Sachin Tendulkar announced his arrival in world cricket when he notched up his first Test century. Displaying immense maturity and calmness, he scored a dazzling 119 to save India from defeat in the second Test. India were denied victory in the final Test at the Oval thanks to a fighting 157 from David Gower. However, the tourists managed to end the tour on a high by winning the two match Texaco Trophy 2-0.

India Vs England Test Series –you can get India in England 4 Test Cricket Series 2011 Match schedule, match update, summary, records, Live Cricket Score & More -

Tests: England 1 India 0

ODIs: India 2 England 0

Highest run scorer (Tests): Graham Gooch- 752

Highest wicket taker (Tests): Angus Fraser- 16

Highest run scorer (ODIs): Sanjay Manjrekar- 141

Highest wicket taker (ODIs): Manoj Prabhakar- 6

1996 Tour
This was not a happy tour for the Indians. They were outclassed in the ODIs and questions were being raised about the leadership of Mohammad Azharuddin. All these distractions took a toll on India's performance at the start of the Test series when they lost by 8 wickets at Edgbaston. Despite a brilliant century from Tendulkar, the other batsmen failed to negotiate some high class bowling from Dominic Cork and Chris Lewis. However, the cricketing world witnessed the spectacular arrival of Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid in the second Test at Lord's. Ganguly became the third batsmen in history to score a century on debut at Lords while Dravid fell agonizingly short of his debut ton.

Their arrival was like a breath of fresh air for the Indians. Ganguly notched up another century at Trent Bride while Tendulkar capitalized on a flat track to score 177. England were rescued by tons from Michael Atherton and Nasser Hussain to secure a 1-0 series win.

Tests: England 1 India 0
ODIs: England 2 India 0
Highest run scorer (Tests): Sachin Tendulkar- 428
Highest run scorer (ODIs): Alistair Brown- 155
Highest wicket taker (Tests): Chris Lewis and Venkatesh Prasad- 15
Highest wicket taker (ODIs): Dominic Cork and Venkatesh Prasad- 5

2002 Tour
India approached this tour with confidence and aggression from the start. In the ODI tri-series featuring England and Sri Lanka, India started their campaign on a winning note by defeating England at Lord's thanks to fifties from Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh. The team performed consistently under the leadership of Sourav Ganguly. In the final, chasing a huge 325, India were staring down the barrel at 146/5. On the grand stage, two young men displayed a maturity shown only by experienced campaigners, and in a partnership that involved common sense, calmness and clean hitting, Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif dazzled away to a 121 run stand to get India to striking distance. Kaif held his nerve and managed to help India chase the target down by two wickets. Ganguly's shirt-waving celebration after achieving victory will be etched on the minds of Indian cricket fans for a long time.

In the Tests, India started off poorly by succumbing to defeat at Lord's. Rahul Dravid stepped up and helped India avoid defeat at Trent Bridge. In the Leeds Test, Dravid, Ganguly and Tendulkar all blasted centuries to propel India to 628-8. Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh spun India to their first Test win in England after 16 years to take the series to the deciding Test at the Oval. Michael Vaughan lashed 197 but Dravid's 217 gave India a chance. This was Dravid's third consecutive century in this series. Rain washed off the final day and the series was drawn 1-1.

Tests: England 1 India 1
Highest run scorer (Tests): Michael Vaughan- 615
Highest wicket taker (Tests): Anil Kumble and Matthew Hoggard- 14

2007 Tour
India managed to escape with a draw at Lord's thanks to rain and a gritty knock of 76 from MS Dhoni. In the second Test at Trent Bridge, they played aggressive cricket and Zaheer Khan bowled one of his best spells in England. His match haul of 9/117 helped India defeat England by seven wickets but the match was marred by an incident involving jellybeans being thrown at Zaheer Khan while batting. At the Oval, India notched up a mammoth 664 to secure India's first series victory in England after 21 years.

The seven match ODI series was a closely fought affair. England had dominated the early going and were leading 3-1. India fought back spectacularly and the sixth match at the Oval was a classic. Dimitri Mascarenhas clubbed five consecutive sixes in the final over bowled by Yuvraj Singh to help England reach 316. Tendulkar's 94 kept India in the chase but it was Robin Uthappa's 47 off 33 balls that steered India to a two wicket win with two balls to go. However, England managed to clinch the series 4-3 thanks to their win in the final ODI at Lord's.

Tests: India 1 England 0
ODIs: England 4 India 3
Highest run-scorer (Tests): Kevin Pietersen- 345
Highest wicket taker (Tests): Zaheer Khan- 18
Highest run-scorer (ODIs): Ian Bell- 422
Highest wicket-taker (ODIs): James Anderson- 14

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Best Hospitals 2011-12

Best Hospitals 2011-12: the Honor Roll:

List of Best Hospitals - 2011-12
For clinical excellence, these 17 hospitals possess a rare blend of breadth and depth.

A place on the Best Hospitals Honor Roll is reserved for medical centers that demonstrate unusually high expertise across multiple specialties, scoring at or near the top in at least six of 16 specialties.

Just 17 of the nearly 5,000 hospitals evaluated for the 2011-12 rankings qualified. Hospitals with the highest scores in a given specialty received 2 Honor Roll points; those with slightly lower scores received 1 point.* Honor Roll standing was determined by the total number of Honor Roll points across all 16 specialties. Read More....

British teenager bikes on top of water for charity, won’t say how

Matt Whitehurst - riding by bicycle
A British teenager raised awareness for flood victims in London's Lake District by riding his bicycle on a lake 75-feet deep.

Matt Whitehurst, 16, insists the pictures are real but won't reveal how he managed to perch his bicycle atop the waters of England's Lake Buttermere. He performed the stunt to promote an upcoming cycling event that will raise money to build bridges destroyed in 2009 flooding.

"I can't and won't say how I did it, but plenty of people saw me and they'll confirm it wasn't a camera trick," he said. "The photos are real."

I'm sure the photos are very much real. So is the platform in the water on which Whitehurt's bike is likely standing.