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Soccer finds a foothold in cricket-mad India
Report dated 01/08/2011 @ 2:43 AM
A number of local soccer academies are now mushrooming in India. Anadi Barua, a former Indian soccer player who runs one of these academies on the outskirts of Delhi, is himself, rather surprised at the growing trend.
Soccer in India does not have the glitz and glamour, nor the money that cricket has. Where cricketers can earn $1 million for a season in the IPL, only the star players in soccer's I-League make near $100,000 per season. In fact two major soccer clubs that were part of the I-League, Mahindras and JCT, folded in the last year.
The glaring disparity in 2009 led the Board of Control for Cricket in India to feel obliged to give the All India Football Federation a $5 million grant to help it stay afloat. Even so, a Nielsen global survey indicated that 47 percent of Indians claimed to be soccer fans.
India qualified for the 2011 Asian Cup by winning a competition for second-tier nations and also reached the second-round of Asians qualifying for the 2014 World Cup before they lost to the UAE.
Changes are visible now though, with increased interest even in the increasing broadcasts of European soccer.
IMG Worldwide and Reliance Industries Ltd. signed a 15 year $140 million deal last year for commercial rights to the second round of Asians qualifying for the 2014 World Cup. Their goal is to promote and market soccer starting at the grassroots level.
Of 150 trainees at Barua's academy in Noida, Aviraj Singh a 16 year old, was selected for a national schools team to play against a youth team from Premier League champions Arsenal, later this year.
Boy with 34 fingers and toes sets Guinness record
Report dated 30/07/2011 @ 1:52 AM
One year old Akshat Saxena, of Bareilly UP, is registered in the Guinness Book of World Records for having a total of 34 fingers and toes.
The mother of the boy Amrita was delighted that her son had broken the record held by a child born in China with 31 fingers. She submitted to her family's coaxing and sent in documents that led to Akshat's name in the world famous Record Book.
Doctors say it was a rare phenomenon called polydactyly, that is the result of defects in the bone development in the uterus that can be either a developmental congenital formation or chromosomal anomalies. The anomaly is easily corrected by surgery.
Meanwhile Mrs Saxena worries for her son's future, wanting him to undergo treatment in order to lead a normal life .
Polydactyly occurs in humans, dogs, and cats who have supernumerary digits.
India has world's most Gmail users
Report dated 30/07/2011 @ 1:51 AM
India has the highest percentage of Gmail users in the world, at more than twice the figure for the United States.
Reston,Virginia's digi-marketing intelligence firm Comscore, confirmed that Gmail's market penetration in India stands at 62%, far above second ranked Brazil at 41%. The figure for the US is 29%.
Penetration is defined as the percentage of total home and work Internet users who engage in a particular behaviour.
The popularity of Gmail in India could have been a factor behind the success in India of Google's social networking initiative Google+.
Al-Qaida threatens bomb attacks on Kerala temples
Report dated 29/07/2011 @ 2:57 AM
Authorities of the famous Lord Krishna Temple at Guruvayur say they have received a letter warning of bomb attacks from Al-Qaida threatening the use of IEDs, on the temple.
The letter appeared to have been posted from Chennai and warns of an attack on the Thiruvananthapuram Temple, apparently referring to the Padmanabha Temple that has been in the news recently after a treasure trove of valuables was found in the temple vaults.
The writer of the letter 'Sawai' says he wants to bring down the present government in Tamil Naidu first and then the Modi government in Gujarat.
Security has been beefed up at the temple and authorities say they are taking the threat seriously even though they think it could be hoax.
Two Indians receive Magsaysay Award
Report dated 29/07/2011 @ 2:46 AM
Neelima Mishra 30, and Harish Hande 44, have been cited for the Magsaysay Award.
Neelima Mishra was recognised for her "tireless work with villagers in Maharashtra, organising them to successfully address both their aspirations and their adversities through collective action and heightened confidence in their potential to improve their own lives".
Harish Hande was recognised for his "efforts to put solar power technology in the hands of the poor, through a social enterprise that brings customised, affordable and sustainable electricity to India's rural populace".
Mishra has a Masters in clinical psychology from the University of Pune. Hande has a PhD in energy engineering from the University of Massachusetts.
Other awardees are Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation Inc from the Philippines, Koul Panha from Cambodia and Hasanain Juaini and Tri Mumpuni from Indonesia.