June 21, 2009
Saina Nehwal beat China’s World No. 3 Wang Lin 12-21, 21-18, 21-19 to win the Indonesian Open Super Series final in Jakarta on Sunday. With this win Saina clinches her maiden Super Series title. Earlier, on Saturday in Jakarta, the Hyderabadi teen turned things around in dramatic fashion, stunning former World No. 2 Lu Lan of China 25-23, 21-19 to storm into the final of the Indonesia Super Series, her maiden entry at this level. Lin in her semi-final beat World No. 5 and No. 8 seeded compatriot Xie Xingfang 21-19, 21-13.
June 20, 2009
Apple has added some nice features to the iPhone with its latest hardware and software upgrade, but it could and should have done more.
Since launching the iPhone, Apple has been the pacesetter for the industry for interface, design and attracting outside developers. The updates will make the phone even more compelling for consumers and programmers.
The new iPhone 3G S is faster than previous models and, unlike them, can shoot and edit video. Meanwhile, its new software, iPhone OS 3.0, which comes pre-installed on the 3G S and can be downloaded for earlier models, brings long-awaited features such as copy-and-paste and cool surprises such as peer-to-peer networking.
If you’re shopping for a new smart-phone, you should strongly consider both the 3G S and the Pre. If you’ve already got the iPhone 3G, it’s debatable whether the 3G S is worth the cost of the new phone or the extension of your contract with AT&T for another two years.
Compared with my iPhone 3G, the 3G S loads programs, shoots pictures and displays text I’ve typed considerably faster. I started up a music game, Leaf Trombone, on both devices at the same time. I could start playing on the 3G S while the 3G was still loading
June 11, 2009
Leading white goods and mobile handset manufacturer Samsung Wednesday launched a low-cost solar-powered mobile phone, and said it was planning to introduce about 20 more models by year-end.
The new handset, launched under its low-cost line of products – ‘Guru’ – at a price of Rs.2,799, has a solar panel on the back, which can be used to charge the battery anywhere the sun is shining.
‘We have developed this phone keeping in minds the needs of the consumers, especially for people in areas where the electric supply is unstable,’ said J.S. Shin, president and chief executive of Samsung, Southwest Asia.
The phone, christened the ‘Guru E1107’, can provide around 5-10 minutes of talk-time with one-hour of solar charging when the handset is turned off and sunlight has adequate intensity.
‘Solar charging can give you enough time to make few important calls when there is no electricity or you are not close to a plug point,’ said Sunil Dutt, country head of Samsung India.
The battery will attain full power with about 40 hours of solar charging.
‘But that is really not the intention behind the launch of this phone. It is to enable customers to make a call when there is no electricity,’ said Dutt.
The handset, the 11th model in the Guru series, will be in shops by month-end.
The first few batches of Guru E1107 will be imported from South Korea.
Saumsung has already launched about 20 models this year and plans to take this number to about 40 across categories.
Asked whether the company would consider introducing solar charging features in high-end phones, Dutt said: ‘We would definitely consider doing so.’
Samsung, which has invested about $44 million in developing its mobile manufacturing facility in Noida, also has ambitious plans for the huge Indian mobile market.
‘Our market share is in the early double digits currently. We plan to increase it by about 5-6 percent this year,’ said a company official.
June 11, 2009
Tamil Tigers leader Velupillai Prabhakaran was tortured by the Sri Lankan military before being killed, a leading human rights body said in a report released Wednesday.
The University Teachers for Human Rights (UTHR) quoted high-level military sources as saying that Prabhakaran was tortured in the presence of ‘a Tamil government politician and a general’.
The torture, it said, took place probably at the headquarters of the army’s 53 Division, which battled the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) before crushing it last month.
‘Several army sources have said that Prabhakaran’s (younger) 12-year-old son Balachandran was killed after capture. Our (sources) said that he was killed in front of his father,’ said UTHR, which has always been critical of excesses both by the military and the LTTE.
‘These sources added that this information is correct unless officers at the highest level are fibbing to one another.
‘Our sources in addition to several others have said that all the LTTE persons remaining in the NFZ (No Fire Zone) were massacred,’ it added in a 48-page report, an advance copy of which was made available to IANS.
Sri Lanka announced May 18 that Prabhakaran, founder leader of the LTTE, was killed in a lonely coastal stretch in the northeastern district of Mullaitivu where the Tigers had massed their forces before going down.
His body was put on display, placed on a stretcher, the back of the head blown off.
Sri Lankan minister Vinayagamurthy Muralitharan alias Karuna, a former confidant of Prabhakaran, had told IANS that the LTTE chief was shot dead with 18 of his guards.
Prabhakaran’s death marked the end of the LTTE’s dragging conflict that claimed 90,000 lives since 1983.
UTHR said: ‘Information seeping into the public domain from within the army points to capture or surrender, but the official responses dismissing this are a rehash of stories that public no longer finds credible. It is left to an impartial enquiry to answer this and related questions.’
UTHR pointed out that the government was evasive about the fate of Prabhakaran’s wife Mathivathani.
It quotes a brigadier as saying: ‘We had to look for Prabhakaran’s body because the world was interested in seeing it. But the body of his wife is not of any importance to us.’
The UTHR report said: ‘That would be the fate of the unknown hundreds of civilians and militants killed in those last days (of fighting).’
According to the report, among the LTTE leaders who surrendered to the army included Baby Subramaniam, a member of the group since 1976 and one of Prabhakaran’s oldest associates.
June 11, 2009
U.S. President Barack Obama’s ‘Say no to Bangalore, yes to Buffalo’ rhetoric, which has gained strong ground after the introduction of the Durbin-Grassley’s anti H-1B visa bill, has failed to accrue support of the American companies. Many of the U.S. firms have jointly, launched a campaign against the newly proposed law as it would lead to a job loss of as many as 2.2 million Americans.
The Technology CEO Council, a Washington-based advocacy group of U.S. American tech-companies, in its protest has released a report that reveals the affects of the new policy of Obama administration to end ‘tax breaks’. The new law that ends tax incentives to those firms which create jobs overseas, would also lead to a decline in investments in the U.S. plants, equipment and property by as much as $84.2 billion. Repealing or sharply limiting deferral would not generate large tax revenues, since substantial job losses, wage cuts and lower investments would reduce tax revenues, the report said. The report commissioned by the council has been authored by Robert J Shapiro, a former Clinton administration economic official, and Aparna Mathur, a Research Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
As per the new law, the tax incentives would now go to those creating jobs inside the United States, in places like Buffalo city, bordering Canada in upstate New York. “We will stop letting American companies that create jobs overseas take deductions on their expenses when they do not pay any American taxes on their profits,” Obama said.
May 29, 2009
Much as I went into The Fellowship of the Ring caring more about Peter Jackson and Ian McKellen than I ever could about JRR Tolkien, my interest in X-Men Origins: Wolverine stems from the involvement of Gavin Hood and Hugh Jackman, and not from the legacy of X-Men comic books. ”
Having said that, I rather liked Singer’s X-Men, loved X2 and probably thought more of The Last Stand than most people, so I do have a context in which I have invested in Wolverine-slash-Logan before. Have Gavin Hood and his collaborators fashioned a film that can make me invest again, or dare I hope it, even make me invest more? The opening scene kept me guessing as to how successful the film would ultimately be. It serves as a super-quick introduction to Logan’s rage and guilt, which are given as some kind of inner drive for him and visualised in the form of a howling motif we will see again and again. In the sequence, we see James Logan as a young child in the 19th Century, sharing a bedroom with his brother, later to become Vincent Creed and be played by Liev Schreiber (the separate surnames issue is not entirely clear, but I’m sure you will make an educated guess as to how it might be resolved). A man who appears to be their father rouses the children before another man arrives and violence erupts.
The events of this brief, fairly well presented and mostly exciting sequence are designed to provide some depth and motivation to the characters, and particularly in respect of the two brothers’ relationship, but it could honestly have benefited from running longer, opening out more and allowing a more meaningful relationship to form between the children and the adults. Nonetheless, what the scene does achieve would be greatly missed had the scene been skipped. On the subject of the cast, I think it is worth noting that Schreiber and Danny Huston offer more in terms of a general cool factor and credibility than on a scene by scene basis with their performances – the film isn’t really structured in such a way that they have to do any heavy lifting with their characters. Subsequent to this comes another sequence that strives very sincerely to establish the complexities of the film’s central sibling rivalry. Set into the titles, and stylized to play half like a flowing motion picture, half like a set of title cards, this sequence is a montage of wars, with the chronological presentation of Logan and Creed fighting, growing, changing and interrelating through a string of historic conflicts. There is likely to be some comparison made between this sequence and the opening titles of Watchmen. Both skip through time, both provide tone, context and some establishing character information and both are pretty successful – though this is likely to receive less enduring love from fans, devoid as it is of pop music, pop iconography or popping stylization. Indeed, by this point, the film seems to be building quickly towards and ever elaborate drama between the two brothers. It’s an arc that continues to sweep through most of the film, only occasionally getting knotted or falling off desperately. It wouldn’t be hard to have issues with how the brothers’ relationship changes through the last act – but, as you’ll see, it isn’t hard to have any number of issues with the last act in any way. A better structure would have allowed the first half of the film to expand and become more elaborate until it took up at least 85% of the narrative. This is where the most interesting stuff lies, and the stuff that could stand to be fleshed out considerably. The further past the halfway mark we go, while there are still many things to enjoy and appreciate, the higher the stack of problems rises.
May 22, 2009