Thursday, December 29, 2011

Bollywood blockbusters we hated in 2011

Contrary to box office results, here’s why we hated some of the biggest Bollywood blockbusters this year 2011 has been the year of many disappointments, especially in Hindi cinema. In most cases, the hype generated before the release rarely lived up to the promise. While many of these films actually managed to pull in the audience purely for their star appeal, in retrospect, we still can’t get ourselves to see them in a different light. Here’s our list Bollywood blockbusters that failed to impress


Science fiction is an oxymoron. And when this genre is sprinkled with moronic humour and logic takes a beating from hell, you know you've punched your tickets for 'R.A.One'. With metallic blue and red costumes right out of Falguni Pathak's wardrobe, this out-of-console experience offers laughs, dances and androids touching humans in more ways than considered socially acceptable.  Insert coin to read more.


The beauty of a Salman Khan film is that it doesn't claim to be anything but just that. But when you pack in sappy melodrama, clichéd characterisation, a pathetic love story and action scenes choreographed in outer space, not even a Katrina Kaif item number can save the day. Read more


This film says that depression, apart from making one horny, ignites the artist in one. But our lead, Janardhan Jakhar/JJ (Ranbir Kapoor) was neither adopted, nor abused as a child to feel down enough to become like his idol, Jim Morrison. So, to pursue pain, JJ flirts with college hottie and serial heart-breaker, Heer Kaul (Nargis Fakhri). He hopes to be dumped, shattered and consequently become a musical genius. But following several awkward proposals, JJ and Heer actually bond over doing wild things, which they trigger off by saying, ‘gandh machaate hain!’ Read more
Desi Boyz

Movies on recession focus on two things: the trying state of affairs on being sacked or career options that are recession-proof. 'Desi Boyz' combines the two. Ironically, our lead duo lose their shirts to the global meltdown and then end up becoming male escorts, a profession that thrives on shedding of clothing. And since this could make our censor board a bit queasy, the filmmaker provides enough moral policing to almost seem like a statutory warning on how disgraceful this career choice can be. Read more

Monday, December 26, 2011

Pope Benedict Denounces Christmas Attacks in Nigeria

Pope Benedict has condemned the Christmas day attacks at churches in Nigeria, calling them an absurd gesture. Militants of the radical Islamist sect Boko Haram have claimed responsibility for the bombs. 

For the second consecutive year, the extremist group Boko Haram has staged Christmastime attacks at Christian houses of worship in Nigeria. The group claimed responsibility for three church bombings on Sunday, Christmas Day.

Security forces in Nigeria also blamed the group for two other explosions in the north of the country.

Speaking from his study window overlooking Saint Peter’s Square on Monday, Pope Benedict condemned the bombings that killed dozens of people. 

The pope said he learned with deep sadness of the attacks, which again this year, on the day Jesus was born, have brought mourning and pain in some churches of Nigeria. The pope expressed his closeness to the Christian community and to all those affected by this absurd gesture. Read More...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Explained: Why Jaya expelled Sasikala’s ‘Mannarkudi Mafia’

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, who is also the general secretary, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, expelled her close aide Sasikala, her husband Natarajan and 12 of their close relatives from the party’s primary membership on Monday.
An AIADMKrelease issued by Jayalalithaa said Sasikala, her husband Natarajan, relatives Ravanan, M Ramachandran, Kulothungan, Divakaran, Dinakaran, Bhaskaran, Sudhakaran, S Venkatesh, Adyar Mohan, Mahadevan and Thankamani have been expelled from the party.
While Sasikala was a member of the AIADMK executive committee, others do not have any party or official positions. Sasikala and her associates are known in Tamil Nadu as the ‘Mannargudi Mafia’. Mannargudi in Tanjavur district is Sasikala’s village. She belongs to the Thevar community.
Jayalalithaa has asked her party cadre not to have any dealings with the expelled members. Though no reasons have been given for the ouster, political observers and intelligence officials are of the view that the action was a result of unprecedented interference in government and party affairs by Sasikala and her relations. Read More...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Aakash tablet goes on sale for Rs 2500 online

The tablet was to be made available in retail stores by the end of November.
DataWind, the Canadian company that is manufacturing Aakash, has started the online booking and pre booking of the much anticipated low cost Android tablet. Online booking is for students' version of the tablet and pre booking is for UbiSlate 7, the upgraded version of Aakash.
Students' version of Aakash will be available for Rs 2,500 and will be delivered in seven days. The commercial version, UbiSlate 7 is priced at Rs 2,999. The payment mode for both the tablets is cash on delivery.
The commercial version of Aakash tablet will be powered by Android 2.3 and will have a resistive touchscreen, Cortex A8-700 MHz processor and graphics accelerator HD video processor, 256 MB of RAM and 2 GB of internal memory.
Other specifications are a one standard USB port, 3.5 mm audio jack, a 7 inch display with 800 x 480 pixel resolution, resistive touchscreen, GPRS and WiFi support. Read More...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Canada to evacuate citizens from troubled Syria

The Canadian government has laid out its plans to get its citizens out of troubled Syria.
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird encouraged Canadians still in Syria to get out while commercial means are still available.
Baird told CTV's Power Plan Thursday afternoon that Canadians in Syria should leave while they still can.
Syrian Charge d'Affaires to Canada
"The risks to our embassy folks are obvious," Baird said. "With respect to the Canadians that are there we might not be able to get them out. The airport is closed, Damascus is not on a port, so that obviously makes the means of getting them out tougher."

Baird and Minister of State Diane Ablonczy detailed the voluntary evacuation plan in a news conference on Thursday morning, following an escalation of violence in that country as its government tries to quell an ongoing uprising.
"We find it increasingly difficult to make air travel arrangements as the security situation continues to deteriorate," Baird said. He explained that the Canadian embassy in Damascus would "open an express lane" between now and Jan. 14 to help Canadians, their spouses and their children obtain the necessary documents in order to leave.
"If Canadians stay in Syria we cannot guarantee services at our embassy… will remain available," he said. "We strongly encourage Canadians in Syria to apply for travel documents... The time to leave Syria is now." More...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

20 feared dead in Kolkata hospital fire: Minister

Kolkata, Dec 9 (IANS) At least 20 people were feared to have suffocated to death in a massive fire that broke out at the AMRI hospital in Dhakuria of south Kolkata early Friday, West Bengal Municipal Affairs minister Frihad Hakim said.
'From whatever information I have got from the fire department officials, there is a possibility that at least 20 people may have died,' said Hakim, who was at the spot.
* Mamata Banerjee reaches AMRI Hospital
* West Bengal Health Minister Sudip Bandhyopadhyay says death toll is between 20-40
* Rescue operations are still on. Almost 99 per cent of the people have been rescued: Fire Services Minister Javed Khan Read more about this story....

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Planet found orbiting habitable zone of sun-like star

MOFFET FIELD, California (Reuters) - The most Earth-like planet ever discovered is circling a star 600 light years away, a key finding in an ongoing quest to learn if life exists beyond Earth, scientists said on Monday.
The planet, called Kepler-22b, joins a list of more than 500 planets found to orbit stars beyond our solar system. It is the smallest and the best positioned to have liquid water on its surface -- among the ingredients necessary for life on Earth.
"We are homing in on the true Earth-sized, habitable planets," said San Jose State University astronomer Natalie Batalha, deputy science team lead for NASA's Kepler Space Telescope that discovered the star.
The telescope, which was launched three years ago, is staring at about 150,000 stars in the constellations Cygnus and Lyra, looking for faint and periodic dimming as any circling planets pass by, relative to Kepler's line of sight.
Results will be extrapolated to determine the percentage of stars in the Milky Way galaxy that harbor potentially habitable, Earth-size planets.
This is the first detection of a potentially habitable world orbiting a Sun-like star, scientists reported in findings to be published in The Astrophysical Journal.
Kepler-22b is 600 light years away. A light year is the distance light travels in a year, about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion km). Read More...

Monday, December 5, 2011

Asia stocks fall as S&P warns euro nations on debt

BANGKOK (AP)Asian stocks sank Tuesday after Standard and Poor's warned 15 countries using the euro that it could downgrade their credit ratings. Skepticism over a new plan to prevent a breakup of the common currency also dragged markets lower.
Trader Edward Curran, right, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Monday, Dec. 5, 2011. Stocks rose broadly in early trading Monday on hopes for a plan to restore long-term confidence in the euro
Benchmark oil fell to near $100 per barrel while the dollar rose against the euro and was steady against the yen.
Japan's Nikkei 225 dropped 1.3 percent to 8,583.46. South Korea's Kospi fell 1.5 percent to 1,893.33 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 1.5 percent to 18,889.76. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 shed 1.4 percent to 4,263.10. Benchmarks in Singapore, Taiwan and mainland China also gave up ground. Malaysia and Thailand rose.
The S&P announcement came only hours after French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday unveiled sweeping plans to change the European Union treaty in an effort to keep tighter checks on overspending nations. Read More...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Japan, Russia See Chance To Clone Mammoth

Mammoths became extinct about 10,000 years ago

Scientists from Japan and Russia believe it may be possible to clone a mammoth after finding well-preserved bone marrow in a thigh bone recovered from permafrost soil in Siberia, a report said Saturday.

Teams from the Sakha Republic's mammoth museum and Japan's Kinki University will launch fully-fledged joint research next year aiming to recreate the giant mammal, Japan's Kyodo News reported from Yakutsk, Russia.

By replacing the nuclei of egg cells from an elephant with those taken from the mammoth's marrow cells, embryos with mammoth DNA can be produced, Kyodo said, citing the researchers.

The scientists will then plant the embryos into elephant wombs for delivery, as the two species are close relatives, the report said.

Securing nuclei with an undamaged gene is essential for the nucleus transplantation technique, it said.
For scientists involved in the research since the late 1990s, finding nuclei with undamaged mammoth genes has been a challenge. Mammoths became extinct about 10,000 years ago.

But the discovery in August of the well-preserved thigh bone in Siberia has increased the chances of a successful cloning.

Global warming has thawed ground in eastern Russia that is usually almost permanently frozen, leading to the discoveries of a number of frozen mammoths, the report said.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Egypt's election results expected Saturday

Egyptians await election results
Cairo (CNN) -- Results from this week's election in Egypt are expected Saturday, the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces said.

Voter turnout was last reported by the country's election board at 62%, but the board said it would recalculate the figure after reporters raised questions about the number of registered voters used in the calculation, suggesting the true figure was lower.

However, Egyptians were eagerly awaiting the results, not the turnout figures, of voting that took place on Monday and Tuesday in the first election since February's ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. Those results could catapult Islamists into powerful government roles.

Al Noor Salafi, a hardline Muslim group, and the Muslim Brotherhood, a more moderate entity, have each claimed a lead in ballot counting.

If they prevail, their success would be the latest for Islamist-oriented parties in North Africa and the Middle East, where popular discontent and winds of change have swirled this year. Read More....

Top News Today - 02.12.2011

US News: Obama commits to $2B in energy upgrades to federal buildings
The White House is placing a $2 billion marker down to improve the energy efficiency of federal buildings. President Barack Obama today will announce a commitment by the federal government to enter into Energy Savings Performance Contracts over the next 24 months as part of his broader effort to create jobs. Read More...
Business News: Chilly November? Not for U.S. car sales
DETROIT -- People are finally replacing the cars and trucks they held on to during the economic slump, giving a big boost to U.S. auto sales in November.
Chrysler, Ford, Nissan and Hyundai were among the companies reporting double-digit gains from last November, which is normally a lackluster month because of colder weather and holiday distractions. This November, buyers were lured by good deals, improving confidence in the economy and the need to trade in older cars. Read More...
Technology News: Carrier IQ defends itself as Apple confirms it’s no longer in iOS
In a statement Apple said: “We stopped supporting Carrier IQ with iOS 5 in most of our products and will remove it completely in a future software update.”
The company added that “With any diagnostic data sent to Apple, customers must actively opt-in to share this information, and if they do, the data is sent in an anonymous and encrypted form and does not include any personal information. We never recorded keystrokes, messages or any other personal information for diagnostic data and have no plans to ever do so.” Read More...
Entertainment News: 'X Factor': Astro And Drew Sent Home
It was double the loss for "X Factor" on Thursday night (December 1) as Astro and Drew were eliminated from the competition, following Wednesday night's Michael Jackson-themed performance episode.
Halfway into the broadcast, host Steve Jones announced pint-size MC Astro's immediate departure from the competition. Taking his bottom-vote position better than previous weeks, the teen rapper appeared indifferent about the news and immediately hugged it out with the fellow contestants and mentor L.A. Reid. Read More...