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Madonna - Superstar (Official Version) HQ + Lyrics

Category: , By Echo

Madonna - Superstar (Official Version) HQ + Lyrics


Sandy-hit areas struggle to resume daily life

By News Updater
Forecasters say Sandy is no longer a hurricane but is still a dangerous system taking dead aim at New Jersey and Delaware.

The National Hurricane Center said Monday evening that Sandy is a post-tropical storm and losing strength but still has sustained winds at 85 mph. The eye has almost made landfall.

The center says storm surge has reached heights of 12.4 feet at Kings Point, N.Y

Gaining speed and power through the day, the storm knocked out electricity to more than 1.5 million people and figured to upend life for tens of millions more. It clobbered the boarded-up big cities of the Northeast corridor, from Washington and Baltimore to Philadelphia, New York and Boston, with stinging rain and gusts of more than 85 mph.

Hurricane Sandy: Early damage reports

Flooding will be a huge threat, with many areas potentially seeing rainfall amounts between 5 and 8 inches over a 48-hour period.

The full moon will make storm surges worse, as high tides along the Eastern Seaboard will rise about 20 percent higher than normal.

Correspondent Chip Reid reports from Ocean City, Md., that sea levels could rise 8 feet above normal - enough to flood much of the city.

In addition to rains and flooding, about 2 to 3 feet of snow is forecast for mountainous parts of West Virginia.

The tempest could endanger up to 50 million people for days. "This is the worst-case scenario," said Louis Uccellini, environmental prediction chief for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

President Barack Obama delivered a sober warning to millions in the path of the storm on Monday, appealing to those who have not evacuated to do so.

"Please listen to what your state and local officials are saying. When they tell you to evacuate, you need to evacuate. Don't delay, don't pause, don't question the instructions that are being given, because this is a powerful storm."

From Washington to Boston, big cities and small towns were buttoned up against the onslaught of Sandy, with forecasters warning that the New York area could get the worst of it -- an 11-foot wall of water.

"There's a lot of people that are going to be under the impacts of this," Federal Emergency Management Administrator Craig Fugate said on "CBS This Morning" Monday.

"You know, we've got blizzard warnings as far west as West Virginia, Appalachian Mountains, but I think the biggest concern right now are the people in the evacuation areas. They're going to face the most immediate threats with the storm surge."

"The biggest challenge is going to be not knowing exactly where the heaviest-hit areas are going to be," said Fugate, "and the fact the storm's going to take several days to move through the area with heavy rain and wind, so that's going to slow down recovery activities like utility crews getting out and putting power back up."

Off North Carolina, a replica of the 18th-century sailing ship HMS Bounty that was built for the 1962 Marlon Brando movie "Mutiny on the Bounty" went down in the storm, and 14 crew members were rescued by helicopter from rubber lifeboats bobbing in 18-foot seas. The Coast Guard said it found one of the missing crew members but she is unresponsive. The Coast Guard is still searching for the captain.

Hurricane Sandy slams Northeast

Forecasters said the hurricane could blow ashore Monday night along the New Jersey coast, then cut across into Pennsylvania and travel up through New York State on Wednesday. As the storm closed in, a crane dangled precariously in the wind off a 65-story luxury building in New York City, and the streets were cleared as a precaution.

Forecasters said the combination of Sandy with the storm from the west and the cold air from the Arctic could bring close to a foot of rain in places, a potentially lethal storm surge of 4 to 11 feet across much of the region, and punishing winds that could cause widespread power outages that last for days. The storm could also dump up to 2 feet of snow in Kentucky, North Carolina and West Virginia.

Mid-Atlantic States Start to Feel Effects of Storm

Category: By News Updates

With Hurricane Sandy still churning several hundred miles off the Eastern Seaboard, its impact was already being felt in mid-Atlantic states late Sunday night.
There were reports of roadways flooding, and Gov. Jack Markell of Delaware ordered that no one would be allowed on Delaware roads after 5 a.m. on Monday.
Along the Maryland, Virginia and Delaware coasts, winds began to pick up intensity, and bands of rain whipped coastal towns.
Near the Norfolk Naval Station, there were reports of sustained winds of 45 miles per hour and gusts topping 53 miles per hour.
The latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center, issued at 11 p.m., said that the storm was still 470 miles from New York City and moving northward at 14 miles per hour.
It was not losing steam as it plowed forward. Hurricane force winds over 75 miles per hour were measured by monitors on ocean buoys 170 miles from the storm’s center. Tropical force winds extended 520 miles from the heart of the giant weather system.
The computer tracking models showed the storm still likely to make landfall somewhere in the vicinity of southern New Jersey by late Monday evening.
In Ocean City, Md., where residents were evacuated earlier in the day, live-streaming Web cams – now disabled –  showed the storm surge already reaching up to the boardwalk.

Hurricane Sandy causes evacuations, closings throughout East Coast

Category: , By News Updates
Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy

As mammoth storm system Hurricane Sandy conspired to assault the most populous part of the United States, hundreds of thousands of people moved to higher ground and cities announced shutdowns that typically occur after several feet of snow.

The Washington region’s entire public transit system — Metro, Virginia Railway Express and the Maryland Transportation System — ceased operations. Schools, colleges and universities closed Monday, and some have already announced they’ll close Tuesday and Wednesday as well.

Cities north along the Eastern Seaboard took similar action. New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I) ordered the evacuation of Coney Island and Lower Manhattan, and authorities shut down the city’s schools and its subway system, effectively bringing the nation’s largest city to a near halt. More than 60 miles inland, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (D) urged people to leave low-lying neighborhoods.

Even the New York Stock Exchange will close floor trading on Monday and move to an electronic-only system.

Thousands of flights in and out of eastern cities were canceled, and utility crews were summoned from distant states after it was predicted that 10 million people might lose electricity.

In the Washington area, utilities used robo-calls to warn residents to prepare to be without power for days or weeks. But there was hope that local power systems rebuilt after the intense windstorm known as the “derecho” in June might better stand up to Sandy.

“Pepco has committed all its resources to Hurricane Sandy,” said Thomas H. Graham, the company’s regional president. “Because of the magnitude of the storm, we will not be issuing estimated restoration times until the storm has passed and a preliminary damage assessment has been conducted. At that time, a global estimated restoration time will be released indicating when we expect to have 90 percent of customers restored.”

High winds — including hurricane-force gusts of 60 mph to 70 mph — should continue to hit the D.C. region through Tuesday evening, according to the National Weather Service. Sustained winds of 30 mph to 40 mph starting at 8 a.m. Monday are expected to increase to 45 mph around noon.

Hurricane Sandy and its co-conspirators — a jet stream barricade to the west, a strong nor’easter and a full moon that drives tides to abnormal heights — were not be be trifled with, forecasters warned. The full moon on Monday will add 2 to 3 inches to the storm surge in New York, said Weather Underground meteorologist Jeff Masters.

“This storm is a killer storm that will likely take more lives as she makes landfall,” said Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D). “This is a very large and unprecedented storm. It will be a couple of days before it will be even safe to get linemen out on the streets [and] up in the bucket trucks and reconnecting people to power.”

Kenyan official killed in 'secessionist violence'

By News Updates
Salim Changu was hacked to death in the coastal town of Kwale, police say.His death comes shortly after Mombasa Republican Council (MRC) Oscar Mwamnuadzi was arrested during a gunfight at his home in the town, in which two people were killed.

Tension has been rising in Kenya ahead of general elections due in March 2013. More than 100 people have been killed in ethnic clashes in the south-east Tana River area since August, in the bloodiest violence since the disputed 2007 presidential election.

Police spokesman Aggrey Adoli said Changu, the assistant chief for the Kombani area, was probably killed by MRC members who viewed him as a traitor, Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper reports. Earlier, police launched an operation against the MRC following accusations that it planned to disrupt school examinations.

Two of Mwamnuadzi's bodyguards were killed during the raid on his home in Kwale and 38 people were arrested, the Daily Nation reported.In July, Kenya's High Court lifted a ban on the MRC, which the government had outlawed in 2010 after accusing it of being a criminal gang.The MRC accuses the government of marginalising the ethnic groups living along the coast, which is the centre of the country's tourism sector.Calls for the secession of the coastal region tend to intensify in the run-up to general elections, analysts say. (BBC)

Obama on debate: ‘I feel fabulous. Look at this beautiful day’

Category: By News Updates
President Obama left a riverside golf resort in Williamsburg, Va., Tuesday morning for the short flight to New York for his second televised debate with Republican Mitt Romney, scheduled for 9 p.m. at Hofstra University on Long Island.

Before he left Kingsmill Resort, Obama made a brief public appearance for the cameras and reporters. On a warm, sunny morning overlooking the James River, the president took a walk with advisers Anita Dunn and David Plouffe.

Obama was asked by a reporter,”How are you feeling about tonight?” He smiled and replied: “I feel fabulous. Look at this beautiful day.”A reporter then asked: “Are you aware Michelle voted for you yesterday?” Obama’s reply: “Thank goodness!”

It was a reference to the news that the first lady had dropped her absentee ballot in the mail on Monday. The Obamas are registered to vote in Chicago; the president will travel there on Oct. 25 and cast his ballot in early voting.

Finally, a reporter asked Obama about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s statement that she bears responsibility for the violence in Libya on Sept. 11 that claimed four American lives, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.

The reporter asked: “Is Hillary to blame for Benghazi?”

Obama was silent and kept walking. But we’ll likely hear more on that question during Tuesday’s debate.

Earthquake rattles northern Japan

Category: By News
A MAGNITUDE 7.3 earthquake has struck wide areas of northern and north-eastern Japan, the Meteorological Agency says.

No immediate casualties or damage were reported and no tsunami warning was issued. The quake occurred at 12:01pm (1.01pm AEST) today with its epicentre in the Sea of Okhotsk, off Japan's northern island of Hokkaido at a depth of 590km, the agency said. On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 quake and tsunami hit north-eastern Japan, leaving nearly 19,000 people dead or missing.

Audi Launches Free Mileage Tracker App.

By News Updater
Audi Motors launched its latest free-to-download mileage tracker application, which aims to make travelling easier. This new app tracks each journey using GPS mapping and precisely calculates the business expense created.

The "Audi Mileage Tracker," which is available for iPhone users, tracks mileage using GPS mapping and tabulates travel costs.The app erases some of the hassles typically associated with travelling, making for an easier driving experience. At the end of the journey, all the information can be transferred to spreadsheets for further office use. These spreadsheets can be directly mailed to offices or homes for recording expenses or for future totaling. "Drivers can program the application with journeys they take regularly and recall them from the journey log or use the start/stop function each time they leave the office," reads an official Audi press release. "The application can even point them in the direction of their nearest Audi Centre if they need expert assistance. As the exact route taken is tracked, regardless of diversions due to roadworks or congestion, the calculation provided is always absolutely accurate." The application has been aimed towards fleet operators who are always on the lookout of ways and means to make their transport system more efficient and economical. And going by its latest features, the Audi Mileage Tracker is just going to be the answer to their prayers.

As luxury war heats up, BMW steps on the gas

By News Updater
The biggest battle in India’s auto industry is being fought right at the top. At a time when sales of small cars has been on a decline, and SUVs and MUVs are turning out to be the new crowd-pullers, the luxury car segment is doing what it does best—race ahead. 

The competition between the top three luxury car makers—BMW, Audi and Mercedes—has never been this close, and the margin is only coming down with each passing month. This has led to a slew of launches over the year, and the latest in the list will be the BMW F30 series, the sixth generation of the famed 3 Series, which will be launched on July 27. The car was launched in Europe last October. The vehicle will compete with the Audi A4 and the Mercedes C-Class in the Indian market. While the new 3 Series scores over its predecessor on most fronts, the most noticeable feature is the headlamps which extend right up to the split kidney grille. The latest version is also slightly bigger in size and offers more head room and leg room. Multiple engine options are offered in Europe—both petrol and diesel—but there is no clarity on the number of options that will be available in India. There are reports, however, which state that the car will come in two petrol and two diesel variants. The vehicle will first be launched in Mumbai, followed by subsequent launches throughout the country. This will be the second big launch for BMW in India, the first being the Mini, which came in April. BMW currently leads the luxury market segment in the country, but has seen sales decline this year, while German rival Audi is fast catching up. According to figures released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) earlier this month, Audi's sales in the first three months of the fiscal have jumped by 52.15 per cent to 1,908 units from 1,254 units in the year-ago period. On the other hand, sales of BMW declined by 12.16 per cent to 2,088 units as against 2,377 units in the same period last year. Mercedes Benz, too, witnessed a 24.41 per cent fall in its sales at 1,257 units compared to 1,663 units in April-June 2011.

Africa: New Drug to Prevent HIV/Aids Approved By United States Fda

Category: By News
Scientists and pharmacists have continued to research into how humanity can be saved from the killer scourge called HIV/AIDS.

Several efforts in the past have not only been partially successful, they have also been profoundly controversial. But Monday, the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) in the United States of America (USA) approved a new drug that could be used by adults to reduce their chances of contacting the dreaded disease.

Such persons who do not already have the infection could reduce their chances of contacting the virus if they take the new drug once a day. It would be the first time the FDA would be approving a drug for the ailment.

The drug is called Truvada, an antiretroviral medication made by Gilead Sciences, Inc., which was already approved by the FDA in 2004 to help control the HIV infection. Truvada is a combination of two HIV medications - emtricitabine (Emtriva) and tenofovir (Viread) - rolled into one pill that is taken once a day. Its efficacy is said to be better enhanced when taken with other HIV drugs, when treating the HIV infection.

More significantly, the drug presents an opportunity for Africa and Asia, which have been ravaged by the ailment. The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) has been in the forefront of providing drugs, education and support to those living with the pandemic in Nigeria.

In confirming the preventive effect of the drug, the manufacturers proved that pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP can reduce transmission of the virus significantly - up to 96 per cent - when uninfected partners of people infected with HIV took Truvada. But the manufacturers have sounded a note of warning that the drug is no licence for reckless sexual life, neither is it a Teflon that can insulate an infection, adding that those who already have the infection must observe sexual discipline as well as combine the new drug with others to achieve greater results.

Director of the Division of Antiviral Products, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the FDA, Dr. Debra Birnkrant, stressed that Truvada alone should not be used to prevent the HIV infection. It should be used in combination with other safe sex practices.

"Practising safer sex and good health practices must be part of the treatment," Birnkrant said. "We will be putting a box warning to let those using Truvada know that it is part of the therapy with combination of safer sex practices, and that doing this will reduce the risk of the development of AIDS/HIV."

Director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institute of Health, Dr. Anthony Fauci, agrees. "The approval of Truvada to prevent HIV infection in uninfected individuals who are at high risk of the sexually acquired HIV infection is a significant development, providing an important addition to our toolkit of HIV prevention interventions," Fauci said.

"However, it is critical to stress that Truvada as 'pre-exposure prophylaxis' should not be considered a stand-alone method, but should be used in conjunction with other proven HIV prevention strategies such as condom use, risk-reduction counselling, and frequent HIV testing."

Birnkrant said she hopes the right message would get out, and that Truvada is used properly. "We have the box warning that a negative HIV test must be reported before Truvada is prescribed," she said.

According to Gilead, Truvada is the most-prescribed antiretroviral in the United States. "Today's decision is the culmination of almost 20 years of research involving investigators, academic and medical institutions, funding agencies and nearly 20,000 trial participants around the world, and Gilead is proud to have been a partner in this effort," said the Executive Vice-President, Research and Development and Chief Scientific Officer, Gilead Sciences, Norbert Bischofberger.

The lead investigator of the iPrEx trialat at the University of California, San Francisco, Dr. Robert Grant, who looked at Truvada as a prevention treatment among high-risk men who have sex with men (MSM), said the approval is a major milestone in the 30-year fight against AIDS. "The use of PrEP alongside routine HIV testing gives us a tremendous opportunity to reduce the rate of new HIV infections in this country and around the world," he said.

At the University of Washington, another PrEP study proved very successful in reducing infection rates in couples where one partner is infected and the other is not (called serodiscordant). "The data clearly demonstrate that Truvada as pre-exposure prophylaxis is effective at reducing the risk of HIV infection acquired through sexual exposure," said Professor of Global Health and Medicine at the University of Washington and lead investigator of the Partners PrEP trial, Dr. Connie Celum.

"It is exciting to consider the potential impact of this new HIV prevention tool, which could contribute to significantly reducing new HIV infections as part of a combination HIV prevention strategy. Although the implementation of PrEP will bring challenges, they can be anticipated and systems developed to address these challenges," he said.

Yet, the new drug has its critics: "The FDA's approval of Gilead's Truvada as a form of HIV prevention today, without any requirement for HIV testing is completely reckless and a move that will ultimately set back years of HIV prevention efforts," said AHF's President, Michael Weinstein. "From the beginning, we believe there was a rush to judgment by government officials and others in favour of such approval despite decidedly mixed studies offered in support.

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A fine collection of billingsgates in a glass fronted display box

Prevent hair loss with these foods

Category: , By News Updates

In our previous posts, we’ve told you how hair loss is caused, what male pattern baldness is, what the different types of hair loss are. We now bring you a comprehensive list of nutrients and their functions in hair growth and what their absence does to your hair. We also list various vegetarian and non-vegetarian sources which contain these nutrients and are must-haves if you want radiant, luscious hair.

Nutrient Required for Effect of deficiency on hair Vegetarian sources Non-vegetarian sources
Protein These are building blocks of every tissue of the body including hair and scalp. It helps in new hair generation to replace the ones that are lost. Dry and brittle hair; thinning of scalp due to non-replacement of the shedding hair. Proteins from beans, nuts, grains etc are good but not optimal since they contain protein in the incomplete form.
Proteins from animal sources are the best eg:
meat, chicken, fish, eggs, milk, cheese.
Vitamin C
(If you are a smoker, your requirement for Vitamin C doubles)
This vitamin is required for producing collagen which is essential for holding tissues in the hair together. Weak and brittle hair leading to split ends and hair loss. Oranges, lemon, sweet lime, berries, watermelon, palak, methi, tomatoes and potatoes. Not available from animal sources
(If you are a woman, your requirement for iron is even more since you lose blood and iron during menstruation. Pregnant and lactating women also need more iron)
Required for formation of hemoglobin in turn providing enough oxygen and blood to the hair Weakening of the hair and hair loss. Non-heme iron from palak, rajma, dal, chana, soyabeans Meat, chicken, eggs, fish are the better sources since heme iron from animal sources is more easily absorbed.
Copper  Same as above Weakening of the hair and hair loss. Sesame seeds (til), soya, cashews
Meat (especially liver), seafood
Zinc Helps the oil glands in the hair follicle to function normally. The oil glands do not produce enough oil leading to dry scalp, dandruff and hair loss.
Nuts, whole grains, dals Meat, seafood
Vitamin B complex Helps hemoglobin which helps supply oxygen to the scalp and hair and hair follicles. Weak, undernourished and damaged hair Not available from vegetarian sources Tuna fish (bangda) and salmon fish (rohu), chicken

Investing in a Nissan

By News
I can't think of anything bad to say about the Nissan Rogue. The Rogue is a truly great car that was designed beautifully. Nissan is a very successful brance that is a great choice in this current economy. I have dealt with quite a few car dealerships in my time. The very best Nissan dealerships that I have found include ontario nissan and fontana nissan and have both been rated rather highly for being great car dealerships. Ontario is a absolutely great car dealership, I'm sure that you've already heard that if you live in the California area. Then again, if you didn't live in the California area, I'd be wondering why you're reading about car dealerships in California...Anyways, I'm very glad that I found out about both of these dealerships because they have both helped me out quite a bit in the car department. I ended up buying my car from Ontario but since I live closer to fontana Nissan, that dealership has become my go-to place for service and discounts and whatnot. After searching around for about an hour or two in Ontario Nissan, I decided to purchase a brand new Nissan Maxima. There were so many different cars to choose from, even with the direct help and pushing from the salespeople it was tough for me to make a final decision. I ended up going with the Nissan Maxima because I have actually driven in one of those before (quite a few of my friends had one at one point or another) so I know how it handles, and I knew that it wasn't going to cost me a fortune on gas. It also looked pretty and although that wasn't my top priority, it was kind of important. I go to the Palm Springs dealership whenever I need to get my Nissan serviced or anything like that. They have great specials running all the time that offer huge discounts on normal stuff like tire rotations, oil changes, discounts on vehicle accesories and so much more. I find that taking advantage of a dealership when they have a sale going or some kind of special is very financially smart. In these days we need to save money wherever we can, and since I'm not one to splurge on stupid things for my car I tend to have money left over for actually taking care of it. Find your nearest dealership and buy a Nissan today! It will be a very smart choice. The Rogue can fit quite a lot while still staying trendy and looking cool.

The Classic Black Rolex

By News
Selling the ever classic black rolex is no different from any other Rolex, but I will admit that it is a personal favorite of mine. There is just something about an all-black watch that I love so much. It goes with every piece of clothing that I own! All black rolex watches are all the rage and one of the best models in that category include the pro hunter rolex. If you are wondering how exactly you should approach the business, keep reading. Although it isn't quite brain surgery, selling such expensive and high quality items can often be troublesome. When selling either these Pro Hunter Rolex watches, or any other Rolex, it can be quite difficult getting the whole process in order. There is a lot of thought that needs to go into preparing both yourself and your customers for the whole ordeal. It wouldn't be so difficult if there weren't any scammers out there attempting and successfully selling fake Rolex watches, but since that isn't the case it is imperative that you calm the consumers anxiety and put them at ease. Rolex watches, which are very high-end and high quality, require a lot of though and it is important that you understand how important the whole deal is. Customers and interested consumers will be trusting you with very large amounts of money, and they want to make sure that they are getting what they paid for, which are legitimate Rolex watches. Don't be put off when you receieve doubt about the legitimacy of your Rolex watches. This is common, and for a very good reason. People need to be concerned and watchful of where they spend their hard earned money and make sure that the sellers that they are dealing with are looking out for their best interest. Make sure that you have the correct documents in order, including the original receipt and make copies of all other paperwork including model number. If that doesn't satisfy them, than go the extra mile and get a personal signature from an official at Rolex stating that your specific watch is indeed a true Rolex. After doing all these things, also make sure to take great pictures as well. Good pictures can often be the deciding factor in a deal. People want to really see the product, get high definition close-ups and really fall in love with the product. Get some great pictures and put up a fantastic sounding advertisement to attract the right kind of buyers. Whenever my friends have extra money and don't know what to buy, I say to them that they should make a smart investment and get a Rolex. It will only get better with time (sorry for the pun). If you are one of those people that really likes all their clothing and accessories to match, I highly suggest purchasing a black Rolex. It will go with every outfit and make your time getting ready in the morning go by much faster. You will get tons of compliments on it as well!

David Ferrer ready to defy Rafael Nadal at French Open

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Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal
David Ferrer says he is ready to face the toughest challenge in world tennis - going up against Rafael Nadal on the claycourts of Roland Garros at the French Open.

The player they call "The Bulldozer" because of his relentless and attritional style has played 19 times against his fellow Spaniard and he has lost 15 of them.

Oddly for two such claycourt stalwarts, only once previously have they met at Roland Garros and that was in 2005 when Nadal made his debut in Paris and won comfortably 7-5, 6-2, 6-0 before going on to win his first Grand Slam title.

In fact the only time that Ferrer, who at 30 is four years older than Nadal, has beat him on clay was in their very first meeting in Stuttgart in 2004 and even that took three tough sets to get the job done.

The hard facts make grim reading for the hopes of Ferrer ahead of Friday's semi-final.

Nadal's straight sets victory over another Spaniard, Nicolas Almagro, in the quarter-finals brought up his 50th win at Roland Garros against just the one defeat - to Swede Robin Soderling in the 2009 fourth round.

On top of that, Nadal has added motivation this year as a win on Sunday would make him the first man to win seven French Open titles, snapping a tie with Swedish legend Bjorn Borg.

It would also be his 11th Grand Slam title, putting him level with Borg and Rod Laver.

Ferrer, through to his first semi-final here, insists that defeat for him is not inevitable.

"Yes, Rafa is always difficult to play. Even more so on clay," he said.

"But as I said and I will say again - I will try and play a beautiful match, my best tennis. I have great ambitions, and I'm quite certain this is going to be a very physical match."

The two have met twice on clay in the buildup to Paris, in Rome and Barcelona, with Nadal winning both in straight sets, but Ferrer came agonisingly close to taking the first set in the Italian capital before ceding in a tie-break. He then lost the second set 6-0.

That, he says, is the problem against Nadal - he never, ever lets up.

"In Rome it was different, because I had opportunities to win a set, but he played extremely well," he said.

"I think you can win a set against Rafa, but there is a difference between winning a set and winning a match.

"Winning a match against Rafa is almost impossible. He is in such good shape."

Nadal, who has yet to drop a set this year at Roland Garros, is full of praise for his Davis Cup partner and close friend.

"His game bothers everybody because he's one of the best players in the world on every surface, on clay especially," he said.

"He's a complete player. It's very difficult to play against him, because his movements are probably the best of the world, and he's able to hit the ball very early a lot of the times.

"It will be a very tough match."

Friday's other semi-final is a repeat of last year with top seed Novak Djokovic going up against third seed Roger Federer.

Neither player has ever beaten Nadal at Roland Garros.

Why Should I Visit Taylor Law?

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There are a great number of reasons why you should visit Taylor Law. Check out their website at for a better look at what they offer. Taylor Law has some of the best divorce attorneys in the United States, and is ready to help you today! Don't be scared about asking for help, no one blames you! Divorce is a tough and tricky subject, and can be very hard to talk about without getting very emotional. Take a chance and if you have the money, hire a divorce attorney that can help you with all the complicated aspects. Divorce doesn't have to be horribly difficult, but if your ex doesn't cooperate, nothing will get done. Don't waste money on an attorney when you honestly don't even think that things could get settled. But don't worry about if you have too much baggage, these ARE divorce attorneys that we're talking about. They have seen their fair share of baggage and aren't afraid of yours. If you give them a chance I'm sure that they'd be able to help you. Honestly, there is no reason that if you're getting a divorce you shouldn't be hiring an attorney. An attorney can always help, if nohing else, to keep things fair. This is always good for the spouse that likes things fair, when perhaps the significant other does not. Divorce attorneys don't help anyone rip the other off, they just listen and get the paperwork ready for both parties. Being a divorce lawyer can be very challenging at times, especially when dealing with difficult couples. If looking to get into the field, make sure that you are a huge people person and that you are not easily put off by anger issues or stabs at oneself (which you are bound to see a lot of in the divorce world). It's still worth a try because it is making someone's life easier.

Deadly earthquake hits northern Italy

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Several people in northern Italy were killed by an earthquake on Tuesday, civil protection officials told CNN, saying they did not yet have a confirmed number of dead.

Italian news agency ANSA said at least three people had been killed.

The earthquake came nine days after a quake in the same region killed seven people.

Tuesday's earthquake was centered in the province of Modena, near Bologna. The towns of Mirandola and Cavezzo were closest to the epicenter, civil protection authorities said.

"Some buildings which were damaged already in last week's earthquake were affected again today. San Felice sul Panaro and Mirandola registered most of the damage," a spokewoman said.

Some train services have been suspended for safety reasons, and high speed trains from Bologna to Milan and Florence, among others, are running at slower speeds, train operators said. There are no trains stuck on tracks, Trenitalia said.

There have been at least three aftershocks since the Tuesday morning earthquake, the Italian geological service said.

Northern Italy is the heartland of the country's manufacturing industry.

Madonna wished to become US President

Category: By News Updater
Madonna thinks she would do a great job as President of the United States because she would stop the country splashing cash on "weapons of mass destruction".

"You can't really change much in one day. I think I would like to be president for a longer time. I wouldn't spend as much money for weapons of mass destruction but instead for education and art," Contactmusic quoted her as saying when asked what she would do if she was President of the United States for one day.

Although she has achieved worldwide success, Madonna's ambition and drive has not diminished over the years.

The 53-year-old singer attributes her success to her thirst for reinvention and never taking ''anything for granted".

"It's harder to stay famous than become famous. I don't think there's a rule for that (staying successful). You have to really love what you're doing. "You have to feed your soul with ideas and you're not allowed to stop growing as a human. That's what helps to create art. When it comes to my work I don't take anything for granted," she added.

Strong quake rocks Bulgaria, several aftershocks recorded

Category: By News Updater
Sofia: A strong 5.8-magnitude quake rocked Bulgaria shortly after 3:00 am (0000 GMT) on Tuesday, Bulgaria's Seismological Institute said.

"The magnitude measured so far was 5.8 on the Richter scale with the epicentre near Sofia, between the towns of Pernik and Radomir," a spokeswoman at the institute told AFP.

"We have been registering many aftershocks since then," she added.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damages but the jolt was felt very strongly on the top floors of buildings in Sofia.

Residents of tall apartment buildings in Sofia said objects crashed to the ground during the tremor which lasted several minutes and was immediately followed by at least one aftershock.

"Everything was shaking like crazy. I ran out shouting... I won't go back home today," teenager Maria told AFP outside her apartment building in a western Sofia neighbourhood.

People, who were still sitting outside in their pyjamas over an hour after the first jolt, said they felt a new tremor around 4:30 am (0130 GMT).

The seismological institute measured it at 4.2 - 4.3 on the Richter scale, it said.

Civil defence chief Nikolay Nikolov said his service received many reports of toppled chimneys and cracked walls and even broken windows in the region of Pernik, some 30 kilometers (20 miles) southwest of Sofia.

There were no reports of interruptions of electricity or communications.

The quake comes on the heels of Sunday's 6.0-magnitude earthquake around the northern Italian city of Ferrara that killed six people and reduced homes and historic buildings to rubble.

In August 2009, a 5.0 magnitude earthquake hit the Black Sea between Bulgaria and Romania to the southeast of the Kaliakra Cape. No serious damage was reported.

Man survives 180 feet plunge over Niagara Falls

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Niagara Falls: A man survived a plunge of at least 180 feet (55 meters) over Niagara Falls in an apparent suicide attempt on Monday - only the third person known to have lived after going over the falls without a safety device.

Niagara Parks Police said witnesses reported seeing the man climb over a railing up to 30 feet (9 meters) out over the Horseshoe Falls at 10:20 a.m. local time and "deliberately jump" into the Niagara River. Seriously injured, he surfaced in the lower Niagara River basin near the Journey Behind the Falls observation platform and managed to make it to shore on his own.

"He waded ashore," said Platoon Chief Dan Orescanin of the Niagara Falls, Ontario, Fire Department. "He must have gotten swept into an eddy, floated over there and was able to get out on his own.
"That's another stroke of luck," said Mr Orescanin. "If he was in the main current, he would have been swept down river."

Mr Orescanin said the man was conscious and talking at first but got quiet. He appeared to have chest injuries, including broken ribs and a collapsed lung, Orescanin said.

The man was airlifted to Hamilton General Hospital with what police initially said were life-threatening injuries. Hospital spokeswoman Agnes Bongers said later that the man was critically injured but was expected to survive.

Authorities did not release the man's name.

Horseshoe Falls, on the Canadian side of the river, is the tallest of the three main falls, higher than the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls.

The man, believed to be in his 30s or 40s, was rescued about two hours later after fire department rescuers rappelled down the steep and rocky gorge and pulled him in a basket back up the cliff.

"It was very difficult. Between the shale and the boulders, and everything is wet and slick. It's slimy," Mr Orescanin said.

About seven rescuers struggled to carry the basket up to a point where it could be lifted with ropes suspended from an aerial truck.

"We had to basically hand-carry him back up, a foot at a time, up the rope," Orescanin said.

The rescue came weeks before daredevil Nik Wallenda plans to walk over Niagara Falls on a tightrope after convincing United States and Canadian officials to grant an exception to laws prohibiting stunting.

Although several daredevils have survived trips over the falls in barrels or other contraptions, beginning with Annie Edison Taylor in 1901, few have survived unprotected. In 1960, 7-year-old Roger Woodward was swept over the falls wearing a life jacket and survived.

Authorities don't believe Monday's plunge, on a warm and sunny Victoria Day holiday in Canada, was a stunt.

"Based on witness statements and surveillance video, it doesn't appear in any way, shape, or form that this was anything other than a suicide attempt," Niagara Parks Police Sgt. Chris Gallagher told WIVB in Buffalo.

More than 6 million cubic feet (0.17 million cubic meters) of water go over the brink of the falls every minute during peak daytime tourist hours, according to the Niagara Parks Commission.

The last person to go over the Falls unaided and survive was a 30-year-old Canadian man in March 2009. In October 2003, Kirk Jones, an out-of-work auto parts salesman from Michigan survived his plunge over the falls.

After getting the call on Monday, rescuers didn't immediately know whether the man at the bottom of the gorge had gone over the brink or entered the water at the base.

"When we heard that he had gone over the falls we were shocked," Mr  Orescanin said.

Simple techniques offer protection against asthma

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Changing pillow covers every week, rubbing and polishing every corner till it was spotlessly dust-free, wearing masks while travel and a host of other things were a part of homemaker Swati Bodhe’s routine for her son Aarav’s (name changed) protection against asthma attack. 

Her six-year-old son who was suffering from childhood asthma was prone to asthma attacks quite often. Swati couldn’t fathom the reason till a detailed history taking by her doctor revealed that preservatives in junk food and soft drinks consumed by her son were to blame. 

Asthma experts say most people depend heavily on medication and do not follow simple easy to do things and techniques to ensure protection against asthma. 

“Fifty per cent of asthma attacks are triggered by dust mite allergies which are avoidable to great extent. Just keeping house dust free, ensuring no fungus on damp walls, keeping bed sheets and pillow covers in sunlight once a week to kill dust mites, good ventilation can help in protecting against asthma attacks,’’ said Dr Vijay Warad, allergist and pediatric pulmonologist. Following a healthy lifestyle by eating right foods and exercising regularly is equally important in asthma control, say doctors. 

“Innumerable studies across the world have proved correlation between junk food and rising asthma. Frequent consumption of junk food leads to lowering of basic immunity levels among kids, which, in turn, makes sensitivity to various allergies sharper. Besides that junk food, soft drinks contain preservatives that can be allergents,’’ said Dr Sundeep Salvi, director, Chest Research Foundation (CRF). Besides good food, ensuring no deficiency of vital nutrients such as Vitamin D and Vitamin C can help in better asthma control. 

Pediatrician Dr Barnali Bhattacharya said while asthma is genetically-linked ailment, there were a few measures one could take to ensure protection against asthma. 

“It is a known fact that women, who abstain from smoking during pregnancy, do exclusive breastfeeding for at least 6 months give their children better chances of protection against asthma,’’
she said.

Our solar system may have evolved faster than we think

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Our solar system, which is four and a half billion years old, may have formed over a shorter period of time than we previously thought, an international team of researchers has revealed.

The team include researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and universities and laboratories in the US and Japan.

Establishing chronologies of past events or determining ages of objects require having clocks that tick at different paces, according to how far back one looks. 

Nuclear clocks, used for dating, are based on the rate of decay of an atomic nucleus expressed by a half-life, the time it takes for half of a number of nuclei to decay, a property of each nuclear species.

Radiocarbon dating for example, invented in Chicago in the late 1940s and refined ever since, can date artefacts back to prehistoric times because the half-life of radiocarbon (carbon-14) is a few thousand years.
The evaluation of ages of the history of earth or of the solar system requires extremely “slow-paced” 

chronometers consisting of nuclear clocks with much longer half-lives.

The activity of one of these clocks, known as nucleus samarium-146 (146Sm), was examined by Michael Paul, the Kalman and Malke Cooper Professor of Nuclear Physics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, as well as researchers from the University of Notre Dame and the Argonne National Laboratory in the US and from two Japanese universities.

146Sm belongs to a family of nuclear species that were “live” in our sun and its solar system when they were born. Events thereafter, and within a few hundred million years, are dated by the amount of 146Sm that was left in various mineral archives until its eventual “extinction.”

146Sm has become the main tool for establishing the time evolution of the solar system over its first few hundred million years. This by itself owes to a delicate geochemical property of the element samarium, a rare element in nature. It is a sensitive probe for the separation, or differentiation, of the silicate portion of earth and of other planetary bodies.

The main result of the work of the international scientists is a new determination of the half-life of 146Sm, previously adapted as 103 million years, to a much shorter value of 68 million years. 

The shorter half-life value, like a clock ticking faster, has the effect of shrinking the assessed chronology of events in the early solar system and in planetary differentiation into a shorter time span.

The new time scale, interestingly, is now consistent with a recent and precise dating made on a lunar rock and is in better agreement with the dating obtained with other chronometers.

The measurement of the half-life of 146Sm, performed over several years by the collaborators, involved the use of the ATLAS particle accelerator at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois.

Details of the finding appeared in recent article in the journal Science.

'Light weights just as good for muscle building'

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Lifting less weight more times is just as good at building muscle as doing it with heavy weights, says a new finding.

"We found that loads that were quite heavy and comparatively light were equally effective at inducing muscle growth and promoting strength," says Cam Mitchell, the study's co-author and a doctoral candidate in kinesiology at McMaster's University in Ontario, Canada. 

The research suggests that the key to muscle gain is working to the point of fatigue and challenges the widely held belief that training with heavy weights is best for muscle growth, the Journal of Applied Physiology reports.
"Many older adults can have joint problems which would prevent them training with heavy loads," says Mitchell. "This study shows that they have the option of training with lighter and less intimidating loads and can still receive the benefits."

For the study, a series of experiments were conducted on healthy and young male volunteers to measure how their leg muscles reacted to different forms of resistance training over a period of 10 weeks, according to a McMaster's statement.

The researchers first determined the maximum weight each subject could lift one time in a knee extension. Each subject was assigned to a different training program for each leg.

In all, three different programmes were used in combinations that required the volunteers to complete sets of as many repetitions as possible with their assigned loads -- typically eight to 12 times per set at the heaviest weights and 25-30 times at the lowest weights.

This Saturday, witness the biggest full moon of 2012

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The moon is set to get a lot bigger and brighter than average this weekend as it officially becomes full on Saturday (May 5) at 11:35 pm EDT.

And since this month’s full moon coincides with the moon’s perigee — its closest approach to Earth — it will also be the year’s biggest.


The moon will swing in 221,802 miles (356,955 kilometres) from our planet, offering skywatchers a spectacular view of an extra-big, extra-bright moon, nicknamed a supermoon, the Discovery News reported.

According to meteorologist Joe Rao, besides moon’s perigee coinciding with full moon this month, this perigee will be the nearest to Earth of any this year, as the distance of the moon’s close approach differs by about 3 percent. 

This occurs because the moon’s orbit is not perfectly circular.

This month’s full moon is due to be nearly 16 percent brighter than average. Conversely, later this year on November 28, the full moon will coincide with apogee, the moon’s farthest approach, offering a especially small and dim full moon.

Though the rare appearance of this month’s full moon may be surprising to some, there’s no reason for alarm, scientists cautioned. 

The slight distance variation is not enough to cause any earthquakes or extreme tidal effects, experts asserted.

However, the normal tides around the world will be mostly high and low. At perigee, the moon will exert about 42% more tidal force than it will during its next apogee two weeks later, Rao added.
The last supermoon appeared in March 2011.

'Iceman' mummy holds world's oldest blood cells

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The oldest red blood cells ever identified have been found in the body of Ötzi the Iceman, a 5,300-year-old mummy found in the Alps in 1991.

'Iceman' mummy

The bloody find is a first for Ötzi's mummy, which has been under scientific scrutiny since a pair of hikers stumbled over the body frozen in ice on the Austrian-Italian border. And the new research, published today (May 1) in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, helps confirm the story of Ötzi's death.

The Iceman was so well preserved that scientists could estimate his age (about 45), his health, his last meals (they included red deer meat with herb bread) and even his probable cause of death, an arrow wound to the shoulder that sliced an artery. But no one had ever found blood cells in the ancient man's corpse.

Albert Zink, a biological anthropologist at the European Academy of Bozen/Bolzano, was the leader of the study that uncovered the elusive cells. "It was very surprising, because we didn't really expect to find compete red blood cells," Zink said. "We hoped to find maybe some remnants or shrunken red blood cells, but these are looking like a modern-day sample; the dimensions are the same." [Photos: See the face of Ötzi]

Feeling for blood

Zink and his colleagues took tissue samples from Ötzi's arrow wound and from an earlier wound on the mummy's hand. Using a light microscope, they identified round objects that looked a bit like red blood cells, Zink said. But to be sure, the researchers needed more advanced technology.

They turned to a device called an atomic force microscope, which works by "feeling" rather than "seeing" an object. The minuscule probe, itself invisible to the naked eye, runs over the object like a needle on a record player. As the probe bumps up and down along the object's contours, a laser measures the movement. The result is a three-dimensional "tracing" of the object.

In the case of the mysterious Ötzi contents, an exciting picture emerged: The roundish shapes were indeed red blood cells.

"They have the typical form, this kind of doughnut-like shape of red blood cells," Zink told LiveScience. "The dimensions are the same in modern-day samples, so we were really quite sure these were red blood cells that had been preserved for 5,000 years." [Mummy Madness: Quiz Yourself]

A quick death

To confirm the finding, the researchers used a technique called Ramen spectroscopy, which uses light-scattering patterns to determine which molecules are present in a sample. The suspected blood cells had all the markers of true red blood cells, including hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen in the blood.

While other researchers have attempted to identify blood on older stone tools, this is the oldest definite confirmation of blood, Zink said. The find may help advance forensic science, because current crime-scene technology has trouble differentiating between old and new blood, he said.

But the finding also adds corroborating evidence to the long-cold murder case of Ötzi the Iceman. Traces of a protein called fibrin were found in the blood from the arrow wound, Zink said. Fibrin is a part of the clotting process that appears immediately after a wound but vanishes very quickly.

"The fact that we found some of the fibrin confirms that he didn't survive the arrow for a long period," Zink said. "It's good to have, because there were still some people [thinking] that maybe he could have survived the arrow shot for a few hours, a few days."

Norwegian swimming world champion Dale Oen dead at 26

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Norwegian world champion swimmer Alexander Dale Oen has died of a suspected heart attack in Arizona at the age of 26, the Norwegian Olympic Committee said on Tuesday.

Dale Oen became a national hero last year when he won the 100 metres breaststroke at the world championships in Shanghai just days after Norway had been rocked by the massacre of 77 people by far right fanatic Anders Behring Breivik.

One of his country’s best hopes for a medal at this year’s London Olympics, Dale Oen was attending an altitude training camp when he died.

After a day of light training and a game of golf, his team mates became worried when they noticed he had spent a long time in the shower on Monday evening and after breaking into the bathroom, they found him lying half-in and half-out of the bath tub.

Ola Ronsen, doctor to Norway’s elite Olympians, was quickly on the scene and an ambulance arrived shortly afterwards, but despite their best efforts to revive him Dale Oen was pronounced dead at 2100 local time.

“This is incredibly sad and tragic,” Ronsen said. “As a doctor, it is painful experience not to succeed with resuscitation.

“Everything was done according to procedure, and everything was tried, so it’s infinitely sad that we were unable to revive him.”

Born in Oygarden in south-western Norway, Dale Oen’s career was ground-breaking for Norwegian swimming, and his bronze medal at the 2006 short course championships was the first for a Norwegian man in a world event.

He also won his country’s first Olympic swimming medal when he took silver in the 100m breaststroke in Beijing in 2008 but it was at the 2011 world championships that he became a real national hero to the Norwegian people.

As he prepared for the 100m breaststroke competition in Shanghai, Norway was thrown into shock by the massacre of 77 people and Dale Oen struggled with his emotions in the aftermath, touching the Norwegian flag on his swimming cap every time he entered the pool deck.


Three days later, he swam to victory in the 100m breaststroke final and dedicated his triumph to the Norwegian people.

“We need to let everyday life come back because we cannot get things ruined,” he told reporters after the race.

“In a time like this for Norway, we need to be together, to be one. I think now that everyone back at home, of course, is paralysed. I can feel the emotion, but I’m here in Shanghai and I have to show my best and … just think of those at home.”

Together with prime minister Jens Stoltenberg, the swimmer became a symbol of hope that life in Norway could return to normal after the savagery of Breivik’s attacks.

These old wounds were recently ripped open once again when Breivik went on trial on April 16 in an Oslo courtroom.

The gruesome details of the 77 fatalities – the vast majority children and teenagers gunned down at a Labour youth camp on the island of Utoya – were once again played out across the media.

But instead of looking forward to the Olympics and another medal for Dale Oen, the small nordic nation is now preparing for another unexpected funeral.

Stoltenberg expressed his shock and grief at the loss of his compatriot, telling TV2 that “this is a great loss for his family and friends, but also for all of Norway”.

He revealed that he had spoken to Dale Oen at the annual sports gala event in Norway.

“He told me that there was a strange, mixed feeling to win the medal while he received the tragic news from Norway, (but) the way he carried on and managed a great sporting performance, and also to show dignity, caring and compassion, it shows that he was not only a great athlete, he was also a warm and good person,” Stoltenberg said.

Dale Oen was active on social media site Twitter and in his final message he told his followers he was looking forward to returning to his native country.

“2 days left of our camp up here in Flagstaff, then it’s back to the most beautiful city in Norway – Bergen,” he wrote.

Norwegian officials offered their condolences to Dale Oen’s family and friends, and to the wider Norwegian sporting community.

“My thoughts go first and foremost to his family in Oygarden,” Per Rune Eknes, president of the Norwegian Swimming Federation said in a statement. “This is the toughest day the sport of swimming in Norway has ever had.”

“Norwegian sport has lost a sporting hero, not just because of his performances in the pool, but also because of his manner,” said Borre Rognilen, president of Norway’s Olympic council.


Exempt Depression with Exercise Trails

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If you are currently plagued by stress and depression, there is no harm in trying a cheap solution to this one. Walk regularly in the morning, while breathing fresh air!

Yes, some light exercise like walking may help reduce symptoms of depression. This is the conclusion of a recent study by scientists from the University of Stirling in Scotland.

As is known, regular exercise, especially that done in an active and energetic shown to assist patients in reducing symptoms of depression. However, the benefits of light activity for the recovery of depression remains unclear.

A recent study published in the journal Mental and Physical Activity suggests, walk proved to have great benefits for the recovery of depressive symptoms.

Researchers revealed that one in 10 people may have experienced depression at some point in their lives. This condition can be overcome by using drugs, but most doctors generally advise to exercise when experiencing symptoms of mild depression.

The researcher explained, walking is an effective intervention to treat depression and effect is the same when a person commits an energetic workout.

"Walking has the advantage of being easily performed by most people because it does not cost the sakali and relatively easy to apply in daily life activities," said Professor Adrian Taylor of the University of Exeter, who was not involved in the study.

However, Taylor reminded the need for more research on the benefits of walking. Because there are still many questions about how long it should run, how fast and whether it is running must be done indoors or outdoors.

"The beauty of walking is that anyone can do it. Walking has benefits for mental health conditions such as depression," said Taylor, who had been the focus of studying the effect of exercise on depression, addiction and stress of the University of Exeter.

How exercise can help to overcome depression remains unclear. However, Taylor said, may exercise can be a distraction from feelings of anxiety or worry, give a sense of control and release of hormones that give a sense of tranquility.

"It's important to find the type of exercise you enjoy doing. Try different things, such as walking, bicycling, gardening," continued Paul Farmer, of a social organization that cares about mental health.

"Exercising with others can have a greater impact, as it provides us an opportunity to strengthen social networks. So invite a friend to join you," he concluded.

Bond is back! Get ready for 007 Legends game

Category: By News Updates
Six classic James Bond films are to feature in this year's 007 Legends on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, which will end with story and action sequences from October 2012 Bond premiere Skyfall.

For now, Activision and developer Eurocom are staying mum on which of Bond's twenty-two previous silver-screen escapades have made it in.

What is known is that one storyline will serve to unite key moments from each film.

Four-player splitscreen is back, as is GoldenEye Reloaded's MI6 Ops mode and online multiplayer.

Also promised are the sort of superspy gadgets, signature weapons, high-end vehicles, exotic locations, dastardly villains, henchmen, stunts, and beautiful women that make up a typical Bond excursion.

A precise release date is yet to be announced, though Activision's four prior James Bond titles -- GoldenEye 007 Reloaded, Blood Stone, GoldenEye 007 and Quantum of Solace -- all favored November's first week.

Plane Crash in Pakistan

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Civilian aircraft crashes in bad weather near Islamabad international airport: Pakistani television channels.
Over 120 passengers were on board

The plane had flown from Karachi, and was due to land in Islamabad at 6:40pm local time.
Rescue teams were en route to the crash site, located near the Pakistan Air Force base Chaklala.

New James Bond director admits 'doubts' about Daniel Craig

Category: By News Updates

LONDON –  The director of the new James Bond movie said he initially had doubts about Daniel Craig being cast in the role of the legendary British spy.

James Bond

Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes admitted his concern at the media launch of the 23rd Bond movie, "Skyfall."

Speaking at Pinewood Studios, he said, "I was one of the people who said I didn't think he was the right casting. At the time, I was asked in an interview and I said, 'I'm not sure, I would advise him not to do it'."
Mendes, who directed Craig alongside Jude Law in 2002 movie "Road To Perdition," admitted he was wrong.
"I watched him go through that intense pressure and come through that with flying colors," Mendes said. "I bumped into him after 'Casino Royale' and I was so excited to see him as Bond. It was great to watch him come through that and prove the doubters wrong."

Craig said that working with Mendes for the second time -- and the first on a Bond film -- had helped him deal with the pressures of the role.

"I have got an awful lot to worry about when making a movie like this -- it's another level making a Bond movie," Craig said.

He added, "Sam has allowed me to forget about that and concentrate on the job. I have been able to remember why I love this job."

Earth unprepared for super solar storm

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Humanity needs to be much better prepared for massive solar storms, which can wreak havoc on our technology-dependent society, a prominent researcher warns.

Powerful blasts from the sun have triggered intense geomagnetic storms on Earth before, and they'll do so again. But at the moment our ability to predict these events and guard against their worst consequences - which can include interruptions of power grids and satellite navigation systems - is lacking, says Mike Hapgood of the British research and technology agency RAL Space.

"We need a much better understanding of the likelihood of space weather disruptions and their impacts, and we need to develop that knowledge quickly," Hapgood, head of RAL Space's space environment group, writes in a commentary in the April 19 issue of the journal Nature.

Potentially devastating storms

The solar storms we need to worry about, Hapgood says, are coronal mass ejections, huge clouds of charged solar plasma that can rocket into space at speeds of 3 million mph (5 million kilometers per hour) or more.
CMEs that hit Earth inject large amounts of energy into the planet's magnetic field, spawning potentially devastating geomagnetic storms that can disrupt GPS signals, radio communications and power grids for days.

The world witnessed such effects not too long ago. In March 1989, a CME caused a power blackout in Quebec, leaving 5 million Canadians in the dark in cold weather for hours. The event caused about $2 billion in damages and lost business, Hapgood writes.

But CMEs are capable of much greater mischief. A huge ejection - now known as the Carrington event, after a British astronomer - slammed into Earth in 1859, setting off fires in telegraph offices. The world was not technologically advanced enough yet to suffer worse consequences, Hapgood noted.

"If we had a repeat of the Carrington event, I would expect several days of economic and social mayhem as many critical technological systems failed - e.g., localized power grid failures in many countries, widespread loss of GPS signals for navigation and timing, disruption of communications systems, shutdown of long-haul aviation," Hapgood told via email.

And the short-term problems caused by such a storm could pale in comparison with its long-term impact, he added.

"What scares me is the possibility that this recovery could take a long time in many parts of the world," Hapgood said. "Over the past few decades, we have become much more dependent on technology to sustain our everyday lives: e.g., electricity to pump clean water to our homes and remove sewage, just-in-time supply chains to feed us, ATMs and retail card readers to provide money for everyday shopping. Do we know how to recover quickly from the simultaneous disruption of a huge range of systems?"

Improving predictions

Despite a growing sense of concern among scientists - and decision-makers in politics and industry - our technology-dependent society remains vulnerable to a big CME-spawned geomagnetic storm, Hapgood says.

For starters, our forecasting ability, while improving, is still lacking. The United States' Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) can currently provide warnings of strong geomagnetic storms 10 to 60 minutes in advance with about 50 percent accuracy, Hapgood writes. That's a pretty small window for power companies to take protective measures.

SWPC scientists and other space-weather forecasters generally rely on observtions of approaching CMEs made by a handful of spacecraft. These include NASA's Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) and Solar Terrestrial Rela­tions Observatory (STEREO) probes, as well as the NASA/European Space Agency Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO).

ACE launched in 1997, SOHO in 1995 and the twin STEREO craft in 2006. It's time for an upgrade, Hapgood told

"We really need to replace those spacecraft and their instruments that monitor CMEs and, if possible, upgrade the instruments so they are optimized for space weather monitoring – essentially to pull out the most critical data and get it back to Earth as soon as possible," he said.

Preparing for the worst

The 1989 event spurred some power companies to require that all new transformers be able to withstand storms of similar magnitude.

But Hapgood thinks power, aviation and other vulnerable industries  - including finance, which depends on precise GPS time stamps for automatic trading - should take a longer view and guard against the huge storm that comes along just once every 1,000 years or so.

That's tough to do, since researchers don't know what a thousand-year storm might look like; data on such dramatic events are pretty hard to come by. But Hapgood says scientists could get a better idea by analyzing more data, including observations from a century or more ago.

Much of this historical information exists on paper only. Digitizing it would bring these records to the attention of many more researchers, Hapgood says, and he suggests enlisting citizen scientists to do the job on the Internet, much as the Galaxy Zoo project asks volunteers to classify galaxies online by the galaxies' shapes.

Researchers also need to develop better physics-based models to improve their understanding of extreme space weather, Hapgood says. And he suggests that studying storms on other, sunlike stars could be helpful, too.

In general, Hapgood is calling for powerful geomagnetic storms to be regarded as natural hazards similar to big earthquakes and volcanic eruptions: infrequent, potentially devastating events.

"These events often transcend the experience of any individual because they happen so rarely. Thus there is an all-too-human tendency to ignore them - that they lie outside the awareness of the decision-maker and probably will not occur during his term of office," Hapgood said. "But these events will happen sometime. 
We need to understand them and decide how far we should (i.e., can afford to) protect against them - and definitely not leave them until it's too late.

Audi to Decide on Ducati Acquisition Today

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Audi denied the rumor that it was going to gobble up Italian superbike maker Ducati, but a new rumor emerged saying their board will decided on the acquisition today or by the end of the week at the latest. The deal is supposedly worth a massive €860 million, or about $1.1 billion, according to sources familiar with the matter.

This is Audi’s way to challenge BMW’s motorcycle division, which has been in the business so long they used to make bikes for the German wehrmacht during the Second World War.

However, BMW Motorrad is a 100% German brand, and they have that famous shaft drive that sets them apart in the business.

“Ducati is one of the finest machines you can buy but strategically it’s insignificant for Volkswagen,” said Christoph Stuermer, an analyst for HIS, a German firm. “Its revenue is more than Lamborghini’s and Bugatti’s combined, but to the automotive operations, it’s a mere accessory.”

Audi to buy Ducati Motor Holding for $1.1 billion

Category: By News Updates
BERLIN: Volkswagen AG's Audi is poised to purchase Italian motorcycle maker Ducati Motor Holding from owner Investindustrial for about 860 million ($1.1 billion) including debt, a person familiar with the matter said.

Ducati Motor
Ducati Motor

Audi has reached an agreement with Investindustrial to buy the Bologna, Italy-based maker of luxury motorbikes, with VW's supervisory board set to approve the deal on Wednesday, said the person, who declined to be identified. Audi and Investindustrial declined to comment.

The deal, minus debt, would value Ducati at about seven times last year's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation. Ducati's total liabilities are less than 200 million, buyout firm Investindustrial said last month.

Volkswagen Chairman Ferdinand Piech, who turned 75 today, has long coveted the brand, publicly expressing interest in buying Ducati in April 2008 before eventually losing out to Investindustrial. The purchase will make Ducati the 11th brand in VW's portfolio, alongside super-car marques Lamborghini and Bugatti and heavy-duty truck manufacturers Scania AB and MAN SE.

"Ducati is one of the finest machines you can buy but strategically it's insignificant for Volkswagen," said Christoph Stuermer, a Frankfurt-based analyst with IHS Automotive. "Its revenue is more than Lamborghini's and Bugatti's combined, but to the automotive operations, it's a mere accessory."

BMW Competition

Ducati would complement Audi's luxury-car lineup with products such as the $28,000 Superbike 1199 Panigale S Tricolore and expand the brand's competition with Bayerische Motoren Werke, which makes BMW and Husqvarna motorcycles. Ducati, which last year sold about 42,000 motor bikes, had revenue for 2011 of 480 million.

For Volkswagen, the deal would mean an entry into the motorcycle business and gaining another asset in Italy after buying Lamborghini and Italdesign Giugiaro SpA. Piech has also expressed interest in the past in Fiat's Alfa Romeo brand.

Hero MotoCorp had also expressed interest in Ducati after Investindustrial made it known in February that it planned to sell the company.

Dinosaur eggs found in Chechnya

Category: By News Updates
Grozny - Geologists in Russia's volatile Chechnya region have discovered what they believe to be fossilised dinosaur eggs laid by one of the huge extinct reptiles that roamed the Earth more than 60 million years ago. 

Dinosaur eggs
Dinosaur eggs
"We've found about 40 eggs so far, the exact number has not been established," said Said-Emin D zhabrailov, a geologist at the Chechen State University. 

"There could be many more laying under the ground." 

The find was uncovered when a construction crew was blasting through a hillside to build a road near the region's border with former Soviet Georgia in the Caucasus Mountains. 

A team of geologists stumbled across the smooth, oval rock-like forms, which range from 25cm to 1m coincidentally on a recent trip to the area, said Dz habrailov. 

He said palaeontologists were needed to determine which species of dinosaur had laid them. 

Dzhabrailov said that the regional Chechen government, which is eager to shed the region's reputation for violence, is considering turning the area into a nature preserve and seeking to attract tourists. 

Federal forces fought two separatists wars between 1994-2001 in Chechnya, and an Islamist insurgency persists in the mostly Muslim region an d surrounding provinces of Russia's North Caucasus. 

However, violence has declined under the strong-arm rule of Ramzan Kadyrov, whose multi-million dollar construction projects are aimed at raising the region's profile and boosting the tourism potential of the troubled area.