Friday, 6 January 2012

Breaking News

Breaking News

Bob Holness, former Blockbusters host, dies aged 83

Posted: 06 Jan 2012 06:08 AM PST

Former Blockbusters host Bob Holness has died at the age of 83.

His family said in a statement he had "died peacefully in his sleep" early on Friday morning.

Holness, who had suffered from a series of strokes, had been in a nursing home. He is survived by his wife Mary, three children and seven grandchildren.

South African-born Holness joined the BBC in the 1960s and hosted Late Night Extra on Radio 1 and Radio 2 alongside presenters including Terry Wogan.

It went on to air on Radio 2's AM frequency only until 1975 before Holness moved to commercial station LBC, co-hosting the morning show with Douglas Cameron.

He was also the second actor to portray James Bond, starring in a radio adaptation of Moonraker in 1956.

But he is best known for hosting ITV gameshow Blockbusters, from 1983 to 1993, complete with its hexagonal board, gold runs and the classic double entendre contestant request: "Can I have a P please Bob?"

3 Air Force Academy cadets charged with sexual assault

Posted: 06 Jan 2012 04:46 AM PST

( -- The Air Force Academy is charging three cadets with sexual assault just a week after a Department of Defense report found a sharp increase in such attacks at the nation's military academies.

Three cadets were charged in three unrelated cases that occurred at different times over a period of 15 months at the academy near Colorado Springs, Colorado, according to a statement released Thursday by the academy.

The announcement follows news that the report found the number of sexual assaults at the academies rose by nearly 60 percent during the 2010-2011 academic year. A total of 65 sexual assault reports were made involving cadets and midshipman compared to 41 during 2009-2010, the report found.

Cadet Stephan H. Claxton is charged with the November 2011 attempted rape of a fellow cadet while she was intoxicated, according to charging documents released by the academy. Claxton is a member of the graduating class of 2013, according to the academy.

Cadet Kyle A. Cressy faces charges in connection with the May 2011 rape of a woman while she was intoxicated, the documents said. Cressy is a member of the class of 2012, the academy said.

Cadet Robert M. Evenson Jr. was charged with wrongfully engaging in a relationship with another cadet and the assault and rape of another cadet from March to May 2010, the documents said. Evenson is a member of the class of 2011, the academy said.

The three men, whose ages and hometowns were not released, are presumed innocent pending the outcome of court proceedings.

"The fact that the charges in all three cases are being preferred at this time is due to the near simultaneous completion of each individual investigation," said Col. Tamra Rank, the academy's vice superintendent.

The announcement comes at a delicate time for the nation's military academies.

The Defense Department report released last week was unable to cite definitive causes for the increase, it did say efforts by the academies to encourage victims to report incidents of sexual assault could have played a role in the swell of cases.

As part of the review, site visits were conducted at the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Air Force Academy. Policies, training and procedures at the academies also were reviewed, and focus groups were held with cadets and midshipmen.

Despite the increase in reports, Defense Department officials found that most of the academy programs satisfied, and in some cases exceeded, the requirements of existing policies.

The Defense Department also announced two new policies in an effort it said to support sexual assault victims: Victims who have filed an unrestricted report can now request an expedited transfer from their unit, and sexual assault records will now be kept for 50 years in unrestricted cases and five years in restricted cases.

Automakers rush to offer apps in cars

Posted: 06 Jan 2012 01:51 AM PST

Just as apps have transformed smartphones and tablets, car console screens are the next frontier. While thousands of apps are available for download for personal devices, automakers have so far allowed only a select few to show up while you are driving.

Ford Motor will announce it is doubling the number of apps available for its Sync in-car infotainment system to 10 at next week's International Consumer Electronics Show. Mercedes-Benz and Kia are going to reveal the first apps for their respective infotainment systems at the same Las Vegas trade expo.

As revolutions go, this one started fitfully with just a handful of apps. Drivers can activate the car's controls to make dinner reservations through Toyota's Entune system or use the car's voice-command system to select music over Ford Sync. But the number of available apps is expected to multiply to dozens or perhaps hundreds over the next few years, just as they proliferated for Apple's iPhone or Google's Android smartphones.

"It's much more about extending the digital lifestyle to the vehicle," says Thilo Koslowski, automotive practice leader for Gartner, a research and consulting company. The car becomes "the ultimate mobile device."

Using apps behind the wheel, however, isn't the same as ambling down a sidewalk with a smartphone. Automakers are being careful to roll out only those they don't think will raise issues about driver distraction.

Most of the existing apps are automotive versions of ones available to all smartphone users. Many in the next wave will be specifically aimed at enhancing the driving experience.

Some possibilities:

•Instead of receiving generic Groupon-style local deal offers, imagine getting location-specific discounts as you drive near a business and then being given turn-by-turn directions to get there.

•If you're a news radio fan, you could get a tailored newscast in which you hear only the stories or topics of most interest to you — instead of listening to the standard fare.

•Accidentally leave the printout of the party invitation on the kitchen table? No problem if you can transfer e-invites and calendar items directly to your car, which would then direct you to your destination with turn-by-turn instructions.

Why apps? Because automakers say they are trying to fill in a big gap in their customers' electronic lives.

"When people get in their cars, they feel like they are not connected anymore. We want to change that," says Alfred Tom, a researcher and investment analyst at General Motors' Silicon Valley outpost. "That's what apps are going to do: Make people feel connected."

Lots of ideas

In the pursuit of new apps, automakers are being bombarded by developers pitching ideas.

Of the thousands of Web developers who have approached Ford Motor about creating apps for cars, only a relative few will make it through the development process, says Julius Marchwicki, Sync AppLink product manager.

"We are moving forward as best we can," he says, noting the complications of finding apps that can be used at 70 miles per hour. "Our solutions, as they are today, are much safer than using a handheld device."

Among major automakers, Ford Motor has shown arguably the greatest interest in apps, making them the focus of its Sync system developed in conjunction with Microsoft.

Ford already has five apps — music services Pandora, Stitcher, Slacker Radio, iHeartRadio and Twitter interface OpenBeak. Besides the ones being announced next week, Ford says to expect a slew of new ones in the next three years.

"If we don't have more than 50 to 75 apps, I will be disappointed," says Doug VanDagens, global director of Ford Connected Services.

To find new ones, Ford held a contest at the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon last year in San Francisco, where about 100 teams labored 24 hours to try to come up with realistic apps for cars, then made a presentation about them.

The winner: Roximity, a Denver start-up that has developed an app to present real-time deals to motorists, then directs them to the location for that cheap burrito or pair of Nikes.

"We left that day knowing we had won," says Danny Newman, one of Roximity's founders.

The deal app was developed initially for mobile phones, but cars soon became a natural target when developers figured out they could combine the discount deals with GPS directions to deliver customers literally to a business' front door.

For the car, simplicity is the key: A deal will pop up on the car's dashboard display as a driver motors along. Pushing a single button will direct the car to the location, Newman says.

Or a driver can initiate a search. Craving Thai food? Roximity will be able to direct a driver to the closest restaurant that's part of its deal network.

Each automaker is taking a different approach. Mercedes-Benz, for instance, is creating an app-studded infotainment system that doesn't require drivers to bring their smartphones into the car.

Ford has distinguished itself with a system based on voice commands so drivers don't have to become distracted fiddling with the car's controls.

Kia's voice-activated system is going to focus on a single app that acts as an umbrella over a suite of services, such as one that informs parents if their teenagers drive outside of a zone that they had approved.

"You have 18 different car manufacturers and 18 different approaches," says GM's Tom.

Keeping image in mind

Each also wants its own distinctive look, incorporating apps that look and feel compatible with the heritage or image of the brand, says Derek Kuhn, vice president for QNX Software Systems, which creates software for auto infotainment systems.

BMW has developed apps for both its mainline German luxury brand and its quirky Mini brand. For Mini, it has taken an open approach, allowing such popular services as Facebook, Twitter and Google searches.

Now, as the company looks to its next choices, it sees myriad options. "There is no one winner right now," says Rob Passaro, head of the BMW AppCenter, also in Silicon Valley. "You are going to see a lot more experimentation."

But Mini will clearly keep its orientation toward youthful automotive fun as it scouts for apps, he says.

Passaro points out that since your car knows the current weather, why couldn't an app suggest music to play based on a sunny day or a foggy one?

No wonder that music services are flocking to developing their own apps.

Music service Slacker is working to draw automakers to its apps "because there's a great advantage for us to be a first mover," getting out ahead of other apps, says Jonathan Sasse, senior vice president of the customizable music service.

Others see apps as a way to extend the brand. IHeartRadio, a digital service created by Clear Channel, one of the nation's largest radio broadcasters, is aimed at allowing motorists to listen to content from its 800 stations and be able to customize it.

While 93% of Americans listen to radio, only 5% listen to digital radio. Now they will be able to, says Brian Lakamp, president of Clear Channel Digital.

Essay:Government schools are better than private schools due to following reasons.

Posted: 05 Jan 2012 09:17 AM PST

Essay:Government schools are better than private schools due to following reasons.
1.there is unity of course and syllabus in all government schools.
2.In government schools fee is affordable for middle school and sometimes education is free in govt schools.
3.Govt policies can be well propogate through govt schools.
4.govt schools pay good to their employees.the future of teacher is secured by different allowances like pension etc.
5.Buildings are vast and spacious.while in private schools children are packed in small and suffocated buildings.
6.In private schools teacher always remain tensed and snubed due to over work and low salary.
7.In private schools ,sometimes the attitude of head can be partial to some teacher.
there can be favouritism among teacher.
8.In private school head is all in all and he is to make all the policies of school.his knowledge can be limited,and there can be some loop holes while in govt schools there are committies that are consisted of country's eminent ,scholars make the policies for schools. activities can be arranged on large scale,while in private schools there is lack of space and equipment,