Monday, August 9, 2010

Swiss city fines Muslim parents over swimming

Several Muslim families have been fined for keeping their children out of mandatory school swimming lessons, the first time such a punishment has been handed down.
Education authorities in canton Basel-City said on Thursday that seven children from five families had missed the lessons. Five of the children were removed on religious grounds. All of the students were girls under the age of ten.

A revision of cantonal school policies made the lessons obligatory one year ago and each parent can be fined as much as SFr1,000 ($957) for not sending his or her child to the classes. Fines in these particular cases were set at around SFr350 per child per parent, meaning a two-parent family with twochildren who missed the classes must pay SFr1,400.

Basel-City schools offer swimming lessons that separate boys and girls past puberty, while youngerchildren take the classes together.

Christoph Eymann, director of the canton?s education department, said it is important for schools to avoid creating parallel societies. There are a total of 1,033 Muslim boys and girls registered in the canton?s primary schools.

Four-digit fines for non-cooperative parents are in place in other cantons across Switzerland, including Aargau, Appenzell-Outer Rhodes and Basel-Country. Basel-City is considered to have the most comprehensive parent-responsibility laws in place.

The canton decided to tighten laws governing parental obligations toward school children because it saw an increase in students doing housework rather than homework and more instances of parentssending children off to school without breakfast.

Ch. Nisar raps PPP on media handling

 Updated at: 1619 PST,  Monday, August 09, 2010
Ch. Nisar raps PPP on media handling ISLAMABAD: Opposition leader in the National Assembly and Central leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said President Asif Ali Zardari was previously taxed with mafia-style politics and even today, he is attesting to the same through anti-media action, Geo News reported Monday.

Talking to media at his chamber, he said the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) does not utter a word against British media; instead, it is victimizing the free media in the country.

Chaudhry Nisar said he condemned the way media was treated, adding media is a mirror.

Urging the PPP to ascertain whether the incident took place or not, Nisar wondered why media is being targeted if the incident did not occur altogether.

Commenting on allegations leveled against Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), the PML-N said his party does not target its political rivals as such, adding Zardari was reviled in the UK’s media as no leader of the world was denounced ever before.

He also alleged the efforts are being made to affect the media through Salman Taseer’s cable network, vowing his party will support media in its protest.

Chaudhry Nisar said the wrong impression was created as to Zardari’s visit being official, adding they would raise the issue at the Assembly floor.

‘Instead, the visit was meant for boosting his own business. The government is doing nothing for the flood-affected people, who are being made fun of, by setting up fake medical camps.’

The Punjab Assembly resolution against media was a mistake, he said adding his party acknowledged this; unlike PPP, that jumped to setting newspapers ablaze.

UN says Pakistan floods worse than 2004 tsunami

 Updated at: 1649 PST,  Monday, August 09, 2010
 SUKKUR: The United Nations said Monday that massive floods in Pakistan had affected 13.8 million people and eclipsed the scale of the devastating 2004 tsunami, as anger mounted among survivors.

The Pakistani government and UN officials have appealed for more urgent relief efforts to cope with the worst floods in more than 80 years, with President Asif Ali Zardari due to return home after a heavily criticised European tour.

The entire northwestern Swat valley was cut off at the weekend as were parts of the country's breadbasket in Punjab and Sindh.

"This disaster is worse than the tsunami, the 2005 Pakistan earthquake and the Haiti earthquake," Maurizio Giuliano, a spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said.

He said the 13.8 million affected outstripped the more than three million hit by the 2005 earthquake, five million in the tsunami and the three million affected by the Haiti earthquake.

The United Nations estimates 1,600 people have died in Pakistan's floods.

About 220,000 were killed by the December 26, 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia.

Martin Mogwanja, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Pakistan, called on relief operations "to be massively scaled up".

"Millions of people have suffered and still there is more rain and further losses are feared. I appeal to the world to help us," Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told reporters.

Pakistan's meteorological office forecast only scattered rain in the next 24 hours and said the intensity of monsoon showers was lessening.

But with floods sweeping south, thousands of people are fleeing into cities to seek safety as heavy rains continued to lash the province of Sindh and water levels rose further in the swollen Indus river.

Hundreds of farm workers were stranded on a bridge in the highway town of
Karampur in northern Sindh, camped out with utensils and bedding while the road beyond lay flooded and the main Indus highway blocked, a reporter said.

"We wanted to go to a safer place but we can't move," said Dodo Khan, 50, an agriculture worker.

"Our village is submerged in water. We fled to save our lives. We thought we would get relief goods but we got nothing.

"We haven't eaten for three days. My younger son, who is just five years old, is crying with hunger."

Gnawing on a piece of onion, the child winces at the bitter taste, crying and visibly unable to swallow.

Survivors have for weeks lashed out at authorities for failing to come to their rescue, piling pressure on Pakistan's cash-strapped administration straining to contain Taliban violence and an economic crisis.

Thin and frail, Mahi Bacchi, 45, cried: "We voted for this government. We made Asif Ali Zardari our ruler but we don't know why he is so unconcerned.

"We are here without food and water. Our children are sick but no one comes from the government to help us.

"Please send vehicle and take us out. We are in grave danger. There is water on one side and hunger on the other," she said.

Zardari has spent August in France and Britain, courting massive criticism from the political opposition and intelligentsia for not returning at a time of national disaster. One protester threw a shoe at him in England.

The United Nations estimated that up to 500,000 people are homeless and 1.4 million acres of agricultural land destroyed in central Punjab province, but said damage was worst in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The OCHA spokesman Giuliano said that even donkeys were being used to access parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa inaccessible by other means and warned that the risk of water-borne diseases persisted.

Authorities in the Punjab district of Muzaffargarh issued a red alert and ordered people to evacuate as water entered the city from breaches in canals.

"The situation is very serious. We are totally helpless. That's why we asked people to move to a safer place," local official Farasat Iqbal said.

An overloaded army boat evacuating people in the Punjab town of Jampur capsized Sunday and 30 people are missing, said a local official.

At least 14 people, including three children, were killed as flash floods destroyed homes in the the northwestern Hangu district. In the lawless Khyber district on the Afghan border, 150 houses were destroyed in floods.

Swedish climber dies on K2: officials

 Updated at: 1704 PST,  Monday, August 09, 2010
 GILGIT: A mountain climber from Sweden plummeted to his death while climbing the world's second highest mountain, K2 in the Himalayas of northern Pakistan, local officials said.

Frederik Ericsson was trying to conquer 8,611-metre (28,251-feet) peak but fell 1,000 metres and was buried under heavy snow, a senior government official in the town of Shigar said.

"I have issued his death certificate after his guide told police that he died," said the official, Zamir Hussain.

"He died some four days back," Hussain added.

Police in Shigar also confirmed the death.

Ericsson's Austrian climbing partners said last week that they believed he had died after falling near the summit.

He was climbing with Austrian Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, who narrowly missed a bid to be the first woman to conquer all 14 of the world's 8,000-metre peaks.

According to his website, Ericsson was attempting to ski the world's three highest peaks: Mount Everest, K2 and Kanchenjunga on the border between Nepal and China.

Updates on his site indicated the climbers had had warm conditions on K2 in recent days.

K2 is regarded by climbers as far more dangerous and difficult to scale than Mount Everest, the world's highest peak, and has a rate of deaths to successful summit attempts almost five times as high.

Italian climbers Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli were the first to scale K2 on July 31, 1954. Between then and 2007, there have been 284 successful ascents and 66 fatalities.

Japan building that looks like a PlayStation

 Updated at: 1031 PST,  Monday, August 09, 2010
Japan building that looks like a PlayStation OSAKA: Located in Osaka, Japan, the Namba Parks building was built in 2003.

Gamers have been passing around pictures of the office block, having a dig at its resemblance to the PS3.

'I feel sorry for the buildings around the back when it overheats,' quips a post on one message board.

'How come my PS3 doesn't have a helicopter pad?' jokes another.

Other all-knowing commentators suggest the building, the brainchild of architects Nikken Sekkei, could be in for a 'slimmer redesign'.

Experts suggest low-calorie diet for longer life

 Updated at: 1058 PST,  Monday, August 09, 2010
Experts suggest low-calorie diet for longer life LONDON: The dinner table during the second half of your life should look and taste a lot like that of the first half: a well-balanced plate with lots of fruits and vegetables, healthy grains and low-fat dairy products.

For seniors, who may have limited energy and resources, it's all too easy to fall into the trap of eating processed foods and frozen dinners loaded with salt and additives.

“The message doesn't change,” said Jane Doroff, director of senior nutrition at the Council on Aging. “Stay away from as much processed food as you can and utilize your farmers market, buying produce from them rather than just opening a can.”

According to the Tufts University's Modified MyPyramid for Older Adults, seniors need fewer calories, but they still require a high level of nutrients from whole grains, protein and brightly colored veggies and fruit, along with adequate water. But because appetite and thirst diminishes with age, seniors often forget to eat and drink on a regular basis throughout the day. That can lead to weight loss and infections, and exacerbate chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.

“The biggest problem we see is dehydration,” said Genevieve Ladha, who provides meals for seniors in their homes as the owner of Sonoma Homecare. “Because their thirst diminishes, they're not interested ... But you have to drink your water. It's a chore, but a really important one.”

To help boost water intake, Ladha suggests purchasing a Brita water filter, available at Safeway and other stores. The pitcher holds six glasses of water and is easy for seniors to lift.

“You can make water taste better by being filtered,” she said. “You have to help them remember or give them a benefit.”

Ladha, who is a certified senior advisor, or CSA, provides nutrition advice for seniors through a series of “Food After 50” workshops held at various senior living complexes throughout Sonoma County.

Her clients also enjoy the boosted flavor and smooth texture of hummus and carrots, caramelized roasted vegetables and whole-grain breads from Alvarado Street Bakery, which can be toasted for breakfast. Instead of white rice, Ladham suggests that seniors choose corn tortillas and whole-grain tortillas as the starch component of their meal.

While it's easy to slice carrots, colorful vegetables such as squash and pumpkin can be unwieldy for seniors to chop. Instead, Ladma recommends buying frozen squash from the grocery store, then mixing it with black beans and sauteed spinach for a nutritious meal.

If you use canned beans, however, she suggests rinsing the beans several times to remove the excess salt.

For clients who have high cholesterol, she likes to cook with two fresh eggs — but only one yolk — for a simple frittata breakfast or lunch. Another high-protein breakfast is yogurt mixed with a small amount of fruit.

“A quarter cup of yogurt, with berries, is manageable,” she said. “We use the Fage Greek yogurt, and it has a ton of protein.”

As part of her “Food After 50” workshop, Ladha takes seniors to local farmers markets to help steer them toward vibrantly colored foods such as sweet potatoes and blueberries, along with other fresh produce.

“They go to the farmers market and pick up radishes and greens,” she said. “And they like the crunch of Romaine lettuce.”

Ladha finds that her senior clients are particularly fond of her Caesar salad because she makes it with a fresh, lemon-anchovy dressing.

One of the tips for stimulating a senior's appetite is to have them suck on a lemon drop or bite into a lemon before eating, to wake up their taste buds.

“It's a refresher, and it cleanses the palate,” Doroff said. “Their taste acuity does diminish, because their taste buds slough off.”

At the Council on Aging, a nonprofit organization serving 900 meals to Sonoma County seniors each day, almost everything is made from scratch, which enables the kitchen to keep the sodium and fat content in check.

Sharon Spratling, senior-meal program dietician for the Council on Aging, plans all the menus according to American Heart Association guidelines for low-fat and low-salt meals. She must include sources of vitamin C, calcium, fiber and protein in each meal.

Getting enough protein can be especially challenging for seniors who are on a tight budget or have difficulty chewing their food, but experts view it as a key component of a healthy diet.

“Research shows that boosting your protein intake can help retain your lean muscle mass, even when you're sedentary,” Spratling said. “Lean meat, dairy, eggs and beans are all wonderful.”

While tofu is still a hard sell among older seniors, it can provide an excellent source of protein for younger seniors more open to new foods, Spratling said.

The Council on Aging sends out nutrition tips with their daily menus and in their monthly newspaper that encompass everything from farmers market updates to ideas for easy entrees for one. The council also recommends that seniors try to integrate some physical activity as part of their daily regime. That viewpoint, however, is not always met with enthusiasm.

“We were on a roll about growing container gardens right off your patio as a good physical activity,” Doroff said. “Then we got a comment from an 88-year-old, who said, ‘That's enough with the health. I'm 88 years old and I'm going to do what I want.'”

Flood unfolds fury in Sindh

 Updated at: 1332 PST,  Monday, August 09, 2010
Flood unfolds fury in Sindh HYDERABAD/SUKKAR: The flooded River Indus is wreaking havoc in various parts of Sindh, as several Sukkar villages are inundated, Geo News reported Monday.

River Indus sustained its high water level at Guddu and Sukkar Barrage that is running at present at 1130,000 cusecs, as water overwhelmed dozens of villages. Thousands of people have been rescued to safer places.

At least 35 villages are awash with floodwater in only Sukkar district.

Flood torrents engulfed several villages of Rorhi, Sangi, Pannu Aqil, Bachchal Shah Mayani with floodwater still roaring up short of couple of inches below the protective wall of the city in Sukkar.

Administration jump-started buttressing all those points that can allow seepage.

According to Irrigation Department, hundreds of irrigable lands sank under water when Jakobabad Begari Canal breached on three different places. Thal city has been cautioned to evacuate in view of flood.

Quetta-bound Bolan Mail from Karachi was stopped at Shikarpur Railway Station in the wake of Begari bund collapse.

According to DCO Jakobabad, Sindh-Balochistan Highway came under water after the Begari Canal bund breached; consequently, caveat has been issued to city for early evacuation.

According to Project Director Abdul Sheikh, the river water breaking from Bhong Bund forced into Reni Canal, which is exposed to added risk of fissures in the event of water surge.

The flood torrents raging from District Ghotki and Obaro sustained its pressure on bunds, as people are relocating to safer places on self-help basis.

The wheat sacks worth millions of rupees lying under open skies in Ghotki/Obaro, wasted.

The water from a 50-foot wide breach in RDM-46 Canal at Gaon Sahib Khan Khosa of District Dadu, inundated several villages and hundreds of irrigable lands.

Thousands of people living in catchments areas are being shifted to safer places, as Larkana’s protective embankments of Nusrat, Aqil Agani and Purana Abad are under constant pressure of amassing water.

Several villages were cut off from each other and various roads including Abdur Rehman Unar Road and Keti Mir Muhammed Road of tehsil Kangri in District Khairpur, came under floodwater.

First train brings Muzaffargarh affectees to Multan

 Updated at: 1504 PST,  Monday, August 09, 2010
First train brings Muzaffargarh affectees to Multan MULTAN: The administration of Muzaffargarh issued warning for city’s evacuation, as water in city’s Ring Canal surged to a dangerous level, Geo News reported Monday.

The first train brought the affectees of Muzaffargarh to Multan.

Earlier today in Muzaffargarh, the announcements were made from mosques urging the residents to evacuate the area. People in large number comprising women, children and the elderly came out on roads with the necessary goods and set out towards safe locations including Multan.

A large portion of these affectees consists of the ones who arrived here from flood-bogged down South Punjab areas including Layyah, Gujrat and Kot Addu; but, the devastations followed in their footsteps forcing them to leave their area once again.

Banks are closed in the city. Petrol and diesel have run short giving rise to people’s hardships.

Bohemia Ft. Jennifer – What Have I Learned (Download Audio)

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Artists: Bohemia featuring Jennifer F.

Russian man dies in searing heat at sauna contest

HELSINKI -A Russian man trying to win the Sauna World Championships died after collapsing with severe burns in the final stage of an event that required contestants to sit in a 230-degree (110 Celsius) room as water was tossed onto a searing stove, officials and witnesses said.
Vladimir Ladyzhenskiy, an amateur wrestler who was in his 60s, was pronounced dead late Saturday after he collapsed alongside reigning champion Timo Kaukonen of Finland roughly six minutes into the final round. Medical workers pulled both men out of the sauna in front of nearly 1,000 spectators in the southern Finnish town of Heinola.
Both were shaking and bleeding from what appeared to be severe burns, said Hakon Eikesdal, a photographer with the Norwegian daily Dagbladet.
Kaukonen, about 40, was hospitalized in stable condition Sunday, contest spokesman Ossi Arvela said.
The annual contest, which had over 130 participants from 15 countries, had been held since 1999. It will never be held again, Arvela said.
Half a liter (a pint) of water is added to the stove every 30 seconds and the last person to remain at the sauna is the winner.
There was no prize other than "some small things" Arvela said. He declined to provide details.
Arvela said Kaukonen — the defending world champion — had refused to leave the sauna despite getting sick.
Sauna bathing is a popular past-time in Finland, which has an estimated 1.6 million saunas for a population of 5 million. Temperatures are normally kept around 158 to 176 degrees (70-80 degrees Celsius).
"I know this is very hard to understand to people outside Finland who are not familiar with the sauna habit," Arvela said. "It is not so unusual to have 110 degrees in a sauna. A lot of competitors before have sat in higher temperatures than that."
Arvala said all rules in Saturday's competition were followed and the temperatures and times were similar to those in previous years.
He said police are investigating the death.


ASUS’ Powered Windows 7 Phone Leaked in Pakistan

ASUS ASUS Powered Windows 7 Phone Leaked in Pakistan
This is one of the most prestigious moments for the people living in Pakistan, as the first ever Windows 7 mobile phone reveals itself in Pakistan.
This news was released after a Tweet from the user @Shaistajafri brought a slick looking device, that appears to be the Win 7 powered mobile device, and that too by ASUS.
The phone is seen having a brushed metal look, with a front facing camera and having a  “Powered by ASUS” logo on its front (as seen in the pic).
According to reports, the tweet that showed this has now been removed. If so, then we can take this to be some kind of a pre-production device gone for testing to some, few and chosen “lucky” people.

*** Meet Akshay's Look A Like ***


The hunt for an Akshay Kumar lookalike to play his younger version in Patiala House was on for months. Now it is learnt that Usman, a 20-year-old from Stockholm, who has no background in films, has bagged the chance to play the part.

After hunting high and low (and even considering Akshay's cousin for the role), director Nikhil Advani was even ready to let Akshay play his character's younger self. This, the unit felt, would've been a compromise. Then suddenly Usman was found.

The boy is being kept under wraps. Nikhil says, "I don't know where you heard this but it's true." Usman is photographer Avinash Gowariker's (Ashutosh's brother) nephew on his wife's side.

Adds the director, "We just found the boy's picture in Avinash's family album. I was stunned by the resemblance. And so was Akshay." Even Khiladi's wife Twinkle and his mother-in-law Dimple Kapadia (who plays Akshay's mother in Patiala House) were surprised at the resemblance.

The boy could pass off as AK's double. "And to our delight he can also act. When people see Patiala House they'll wonder if Akshay himself has gotten younger with prosthetics, etc to play the character in the flashbacks," concludes Nikhil.

*** 'How MUCH MORE weight will Bebo LOSE ?' ***

Kareena Kapoor is thankfully going to stay as she is. She won't lose more weight for her upcoming project with Imran Khan in Karan Johar's next, to be directed by debutante Shakun Batra. Says Johar, "I read about the LOOK that we've planned for Bebo when in fact we're still undecided. We're certainly not asking her to lose weight. Poor thing how much more weight will she lose?"

The one thing that has been decided is that the film will be shot in Las Vegas. "BUT!" protests Johar. "We are NOT remaking What Happens in Vegas. There's no similarity between our film and the Ashton Kutcher-Cameron Diaz romcom. By that logic every film shot in Bhuj would be Lagaan, no?" If we wanted to do a Desi Version of What Happens In Vegas, I would have bought the rights for it like I did for Stepmom."

The producer-director is in London till August 10 to write his next script.

|:| Pay me 1.5 cr, I'll host "DUS KA DUM" : Salman |:|

You heard the correct figure here first. Salman Khan is being paid Rs 1.5 crore per episode of Bigg Boss 4. And if he's paid the same for 10 Ka Dum, he's willing to return to HOST the Third Season.

First, the facts. Salman Khan's exit from 10 Ka Dum is not final. He is being earnestly wooed back. And if he's offered what Bigg Boss has agreed to pay him -- Rs 1.5 crore per episode -- chances are Khan will return to host 10 Ka Dum after completing his 13-episode run with Colors.

Khan is being wooed by Siddharth Basu, the producer of 10 ka Dum. Says a source, "Salman is very close to Basu and his wife. They're like family. When the deal for the new season of 10 Ka Dum fell through with Sony, Basu stepped in. Now that Salman has agreed to do Bigg Boss for Rs 1.5 crore per episode, Basu has re-opened negotiations. Salman will be back on 10 Ka Dum after Bigg Boss is over."

In the meantime, here's what Bigg Boss plans to do with Salman. "Salman's role as a host will be based on the motto: 'Doston ka Dost, Dushmanon ka Dushman.' Salman won't be a mellow, detached anchor. He will get right into the problems of the contestants. And if he believes one of the contestants is wrong, usski to band bajaa dega," says a very reliable source from Bigg Boss. He continues: "Salman has been brought in because he is unpredictable and entertaining."

Flood warning for Muzaffargarh issued

 Updated at: 0746 PST,  Monday, August 09, 2010
Flood warning for Muzaffargarh issued MUZAFFARGARH: Flood warning has been issued in Muzaffargarh district after the water level in Ring Pur canal reached a dangerous level, Geo News reported.

The residents have been asked to leave the area. Adequate transport facilities were not available making the evacuation more difficult where 400000 people were waiting to move.

DCO Muzaffargarh Farasat Iqbal told Geo News that the government would provide all resources to the citizens.

Google Nexus One now available, yet again, for Android devs only

If you couldn't manage to get yourself a Google Nexus One and still want to give it a try, today might be your lucky day. You only need to be a registered Android developer and to have some 529 US dollars in the piggy bank.
As you might have heard, a little while ago Google stopped selling its first own Android-running device online so from that moment on your only option for becoming an owner of the HTC-made Google Nexus One were Google's partners (operators and retailers).
HTC Google Nexus One HTC Google Nexus One HTC Google Nexus One HTC Google Nexus One 
Official photos of HTC Google Nexus One
But if there aren't any of those in your neighborhood, you can now go for another option: as of yesterday the Google Nexus One can be purchased from the Android Developers website since the Nexus One has just become the new Android Developer Phones (replacing the elderly ADP 2).
In order to take advantage of that new option, though, you have to be a registered Android developer. If you happen to be one, just log into your Android Developer account and follow the "Development Phones" link. By the way, the Android Developers' Nexus Ones come with the Android 2.1 on board but the ver. 2.2 update is just a few taps away.
The phones sold over there are factory unlocked (and probably rooted) and are priced at 529 US dollars (around 400 euro, so, no news here).