Thursday, 19 January 2012

Breaking News

Breaking News

Pakistan crisis: Have always respected court, says Gilani in SC

Posted: 18 Jan 2012 09:57 PM PST

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Thursday appeared before the Supreme Court in a contempt of court case and said he had always respected the institution.

Gilani, who had been issued a contempt notice for not implementing a directive to act against President Asif Ali Zardari for corruption, said he had spent six years in prison and had never been reluctant to appear before the court that shows that he always respected the court, Geo News reported.

On Jan 16, he had been directed to appear personally before the apex court bench.

Zardari, accused of graft, had been granted amnesty under the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), which was issued in 2007 by then president Pervez Musharraf to facilitate the return of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and her husband Zardari. The NRO was struck down as void by the Supreme Court in 2009.

Prominent Pakistani lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan is representing Gilani.

It is the latest blow for the civilian administration which also faces pressure from the military over a mysterious memo seeking US help to avert an alleged coup last year.

Some question whether the government that is seen as corrupt and inept can survive and which is already widely accused of failing to deal with the basic issues of poverty, crippling power cuts, dilapidated infrastructure and a struggling economy.

The tensions could bring down Gilani, who until recently had smooth ties with all of Pakistan's power centres.

Downfall of the government could plunge the strategic US ally into a full blown-political crisis and further hamper badly-needed economic and political progress.

Pakistanis got a taste of what may come - more delays in everything from economic reforms to investment in the troubled power sector - even before the session started.

Traffic crawled to a halt after police blocked off parts of the city to impose tighter security facing homegrown Taliban militants blamed for many of the suicide bombings that have kept foreign investors away.

Hundreds of policemen were stationed outside the Supreme Court as every car was checked. Gilani's security men, in dark suits, combed the premises.

While Gilani is the one facing a contempt hearing, most observers say the court's real target is Zardari.

During the 1990s, Zardari had multiple cases of corruption and even murder lodged against him, all of which he says are false and politically motivated.

An amnesty deal that protected him from prosecution was nullified in 2009 and the court has been pushing for the government to re-open and investigate the corruption cases against Zardari.

The government refuses to do so, saying Zardari enjoys immunity as the head of state.

While Gilani is not considered to be in immediate danger and the case is expected to be drawn out, he could have to step down eventually if he were to be held in contempt of court.

Gilani won a unanimous vote of confidence in parliament when he became prime minister nearly four years ago, and has been known as a peacemaker even among the ruling Pakistan People's Party's most bitter enemies. Unlike Zardari, he was seen as having smooth ties with the military before the latest turmoil.

But his diplomatic skills may not be enough to fend off both the Supreme Court and Pakistan's generals, who have ruled the country for more than half of its 64 years history through coups, and from behind the scenes.

"The fact is that it's not just the anger of the judges against the PM, it's the anger of the army against the PM as well," said Ayesha Siddiqa, a prominent defence analyst.

‘Urban Turban’ : Sikh is mayor of historic US city

Posted: 18 Jan 2012 09:53 PM PST

WASHINGTON: A turbaned Sikh-American has been elected mayor of a historic US city most famously associated with founding father Thomas Jefferson, attesting both to the town's embrace of diversity and the efforts of the Sikh community to be a part of the American mainstream. 

Satyendra Huja, 70, was voted mayor of Charlottesville by the City Council this week, capping a three-decade long public service record in the 50,000-strong community that is home to three American presidents - Jefferson, Monroe , and Madison (from nearby Orange), and the University of Virginia (UVA), which Jefferson founded in 1819. 

Sikh activism in the US has been an inspiring story for other minorities. The community has worked strenuously after racial and ethnic profiling setbacks post-9 /11 to educate Americans about the religion and its adherents and the pay-off has been handsome and visible. 

"There are not too many communities in America where a guy with a beard and turban who doesn't look mainstream can get elected," Huja, who was once dubbed "Urban Turban" by resident businessmen , told a local newspaper after his victory. "And I think people realize that I do have some skills and qualities of use that are more important than what I look like." 

Indeed, resident activists speak highly of Huja's involvement in city and community planning for more than 30 years, including during his years as director of strategic planning for the city from 1998 to 2004. An adjunct professor in the Architecture School at the UVA, he was elected to city council in 2007 and 2011 and is its senior most and longest serving member. 

Born in Kohat in presentday Pakistan, Huja came to the US in 1966 as an undergraduate and studied at Cornell and Wesleyan before earning a master's degree in urban planning from Michigan State University. He moved to Charlottesville in 1973, when he was hired as the director of city planning. After retiring in 2004, he made his first run for council in 2007 as a Democrat, and he was reelected to another four-year term on council last year, polling more votes than any other council member. 

Everyone knows Jackie’s on remote control: Mukesh Bhatt

Posted: 18 Jan 2012 09:50 PM PST

Jacqueline Fernandez is acquiring a reputation for losing films faster than she is signing them - apparently on her boyfriend and director Sajid Khan's advice. She recently walked out of Krissh 3. 

On Monday morning, she was dropped from Vikram Bhatt's Raaz 3 and replaced by newcomer Esha Gupta (who is debuting in Jannat 2 this year). 

Jackie was signed for Raaz 3 post the release of Murder 2. She was aware that she had to wear revealing clothes in the film. Apart from donning bikinis and sexy outfits, Jackie was to be given a glamorous makeover as the Bhatts wanted to project her as the next sex symbol after Bipasha Basu (who incidentally plays Jackie's older sister in the film). 

With the shoot starting this month, Jackie even signed a contract with the Bhatts to go sexy for the part. However, an insider says, "She kept going back and forth on the outfits for several weeks. The hemlines kept getting longer and the necklines higher. Last week, Jackie communicated to the Bhatts that she wasn't willing to wear revealing outfits. Apparently, Sajid has advised her against doing the role. He told her it was time to stop doing sleazy B-grade roles if she wanted to become an A-list actress. The Bhatts had had enough of Jackie's nakhras by this time, and decided to drop her instantly. On Monday morning, they communicated the same to her." 

When we quiz her, Jackie confirms, "I'm not a part of Raaz 3 anymore. The decision was mutual and we parted amicably." 

However, producer Mukesh Bhatt rants, "I don't know what success has done to Jacqueline; she can't handle it. She'd heard the script well in advance, but for reasons best known to her, she backtracked. If she only wants to play the innocent virgin, all the best to her. Filmmakers are not going to sign Jacqueline to wear a sari! She didn't want to do certain things so we replaced her with Esha." 

NASA spaceport breaks ground for shuttle display

Posted: 18 Jan 2012 09:46 PM PST

CAPE CANAVERAL: NASA's retired space shuttle Atlantis is a step closer to completing its final journey. 

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex broke ground yesterday for Atlantis' permanent home, a USD 100 million exhibit due to open in summer 2013. 

Schoolchildren waved red, white and blue Atlantis flags 33 flags representing each of Atlantis' space missions as state and local dignitaries joined former shuttle staff at the construction site. 

The astronaut who commanded Atlantis' final spaceflight, Christopher Ferguson, told the more than 100 guests that Atlantis will serve as "a reminder of the limitless potential" of Americans and also inspire children, some of whom will become future space travelers. 

Ferguson, who now works for Boeing on new space vehicles, made note of the effort to preserve the past while working toward the future: "I'd like you all to stay tuned as we turn to the next chapter of the journey that will never end." 

Shuttle Discovery will actually be the first to ship out to museums. 

In April, it will head to the National Air and Space Museum's display hangar outside Washington. 

Shuttle Endeavour will travel to the California Science Center in Los Angeles in the second half of the year. 

NASA's 30-year shuttle program ended last July with the voyage of Atlantis. Since then, workers have been getting them ready for display by draining hazardous fuel, disconnecting or removing some systems and replacing the main engines with replicas.

Rupee up 6th day on rising inflows

Posted: 18 Jan 2012 09:42 PM PST

MUMBAI: The rupee rose for a sixth consecutive session in early trades on Thursday, boosted by sustained foreign investor interest in debt and equity, while dollar demand from oil companies is likely to temper gains.

At 9 am, the rupee opened at 50.20 to the dollar. It closed up 0.7 per cent on Wednesday at 50.3750/3850, after hitting 50.38 -- its strongest since November 14.

Risk-on sentiment globally with Asian shares rising to a 2-month high and a firm euro after news that the International Monetary Fund was seeking to boost its resources to tackle the euro zone debt crisis aided sentiments.

Being sexy is just a state of mind: Hrithik Roshan

Posted: 18 Jan 2012 09:37 PM PST

Everyone - from Hrithik Roshan's wife Sussanne to his friends and publicist - advised him against showing his "fat" picture to the public. Then he asked me, "What do you think?" I wondered which actor in his right mind would want to share an "ugly, repulsive picture" (his words, not mine) of himself.

Actors are vain by nature; it's part of their job to look good. "You are a brave man to even consider doing this," I told him. He explained, "Everyone thinks I am genetically blessed with good looks and a good body. I want to show people the real picture. I want to share my story and tell people that they too can change their lives. Ten weeks ago, I was terribly unfit, and now I look like this (pointing to his fit and fab picture) This picture was clicked yesterday." And he did this with a slipped disc. Read on to find out how he went from fat to fab.

When did you put on all that weight?
Two-and-a-half months ago. I started out from a very dark place. I was in deep depression because I was laid up in bed thanks to my back. I was eating all kinds of junk food - all the cupcakes and brownies that people were sending me to make me feel better. I was in a very bad state emotionally. With all the education I have about health and fitness, I didn't see a way out in the short time I had to prepare for "Krrish 3". Which is why I want to share this transformation tale with the world. I want to break the myth and tell people that we are all the same. We all can get in that state of rut, we all can get unhappy, but there is a way to bounce back. Being sexy is just a state of mind. My aim when I woke up that morning and took that "fat" picture of myself was to get so healthy that I would never be in pain again. I've lived through so many injuries and so much pain, that I can count on my fingers the days when I was pain free. I decided I needed to explore this possibility of the human body in a way that has not been done. My goal was to be pain free; the aesthetics is just a by-product of me wanting to be healthy.

Who is responsible for your transformation and how did you find them?
It's thanks to a couple called Kris Genthin and Maraica Johnson. Kris is a trainer and Maraica is a nutritionist. I searched on the internet, talked to friends, trainers, doctors, physiotherapists and told everyone that I needed help. There was a bodybuilding show being organised here by Sheru, and he got in touch with my managers and told me about this couple. Everybody gave the same feedback that they would be the right people. I thought I knew a lot about fitness, but what they brought to the table was incredible. What I have achieved in these 10 weeks was done in the easiest possible way. I haven't starved myself, I haven't been killing myself working out. In fact, I am eating more food than I ever have. It hurts me to see that people who want to get into shape or be fit, starve themselves and do all the wrong things. I want the truth to be out there and I want people to identify with me and learn from my experience.

Share the details. Now!
I do cardio for half-an-hour in the morning, and a one-hour workout during the day. I have a slipped disc so I don't do heavy weights at all. I've lost ten-and-a-half kilos, and my waist has gone down from 36.5 cm to 29.5 cm, all in 10 weeks. It's quite mind-boggling, as I eat eight meals a day! Basically, we eat the wrong foods in the wrong way. There are so many myths about food intake that need to be broken. I am eating more food now than ever, so this information needs to be out there. I feel like we are living in a matrix and we are being fed all unhealthy food through advertising, but there are tastier and healthier foods available here. I've been eating more organic food. I don't miss desserts. I've never had a craving. I was smoking for two-and-a-half years and I've given that up too.

You make it sound so easy!
It's not a sacrifice! In fact, all you have to do is take a little bit of time. You know, your body gives you feedback. The magic word is initiative. We all know we need to feel a certain way, but we don't take that initiative. It's not about being fit, it's about being healthy. If you just take that first step, it can change your entire life. This entire journey has been so inspiring that I want to do something with it. I want to make it available to the common man. Whether that means investing in infrastructure, building transformation centres... I want to make something big out of this. The idea is that even through nutrition you can get healthy if you do half-an-hour of cardio. I can't remember the last time I was so inspired. I feel like I can fly and I want everyone to know that they can fly too. I want to change the health and fitness scene in the country. It's so easy to be in the best shape of your life, but we just don't have access to the right information.

Isn't eight meals a day too much? Your metabolism needs rest, no?
You need seven-and-a-half hours of rest, that's it. And you get that when you are sleeping. The body is a machine, but an organic one. It' not made of iron, it is growing and changing at the same time. If you eat every two hours, your body gets used to digesting food more quickly and burning calories, and your metabolism stays high. I wake up with a lot of energy now. Initially, I would think I'll loll in bed for five more minutes, but now I wake up feeling refreshed. It's like I am in 'ready to attack' mode, but I need to calm down now as it's become a bit too much!

Please continue!
How many people complain about being unfit and unhealthy? They suffer, they starve. They have just one grape a day! I have seen my sister struggle with her weight all her life, and she too has lost two kilos in one week thanks to this method. She is allowed to eat all day. Your body is intelligent. So when you starve yourself, it thinks there is a famine and no more food is coming, so your metabolism slows down and starts saving fat for survival. So never starve if you want to lose weight. The most important thing to do is keep eating the right food every 2-3 hours and cut off the carbs in your meal. It keeps your metabolism high. I am concerned for my kids, my friends, and everybody who is soaking up all the myths around us. People look at me and think that I was born this way, that it's easy for me because it's genetic, but I want to tell them that it's not genetic. If I can do this when I had a double slipped disc and was smoking three packets a day, then you can change too.