International Sports Movie Festival Begins in Moscow

The Second International Sports Movie Festival started on Thursday in the Russian capital.

The festival is being held as part of the international sports forum, Russia is a Sports Power, and aims to endorse sports and healthy living and encourage the production of sports feature and documentary movies.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, President of Russian Tennis Federation Shamil Tarpischev, Moscow assistant mayor Sergei Baidakov and Russian tennis celebrity Marat Safin attended the official opening ceremony.

“The festival…promotes the principles of sport and shows the efforts sportsmen make to reach success,” Mutko said.

“This work should not stop, even for a day, until we have completely promoted healthy living,” said Tarpischev, who is president of the festival.

Over 100 works of different genres from 22 countries in Europe, the United States and Africa, and 52 Russian regions have been submitted for the festival.
Franco Ascani, the president of the International Federation of Sports Movies and Television, will be present at the festival. Bookmark and Share

UNESCO Removes Galapagos Islands From Endangered List

A UN panel has selected to withdraw the Galapagos Islands from the World Heritage in Danger list, authorities said on Wednesday.

The World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) took the verdict at a meeting in Brazil's capital Brasilia.

The archipelago of volcanic islands off the Pacific coast of Ecuador had been on the catalog of endangered world heritage sites since 2007. A growing local population, fishing, and tourism had put demands on natural resources there.

But the committee voted 15 to 4 in favour of Brazil's recommendation to withdraw the islands from the list, saying Ecuador had made development in recent years.
"It's important to recognize the effort made by the Ecuadorean government to conserve this heritage," said Luiz Fernando de Almeida, head of the Brazilian delegation.

Charles Darwin considered species on the islands during the voyage of the Beagle in the 1830s. That work contributed to Darwin's theory of evolution by usual selection.
The committee also determined to add the Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi in Uganda to the List of World Heritage in Danger.
A fire deficiently damaged the main structure of the site in March, UNESCO said in a statement.

"The property, an outstanding example of an architectural style urbanized by the Buganda Kingdom since the 13th century, will be reconstructed," the statement said.
The whole and amended list of World Heritage Sites is expected to be published on Thursday. Bookmark and Share

Google Introducing Google Apps for Government

Google has announced a new edition of Google Apps. Designed with guidance from customers like the federal government, the City of Los Angeles and the City of Orlando, Google Apps for Government includes the same great Google applications that people know and love, with specific measures to address the policy and security needs of the public sector.

Google has also announced that Google Apps is the first suite of cloud computing messaging and collaboration applications to receive Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) certification and accreditation from the U.S. General Services Administration. The FISMA law applies to all information systems in use by U.S. federal government agencies to help make sure they’re secure. The federal government’s General Services Administration has reviewed the documentation of the security controls and issued an authorization to work, the official confirmation of our FISMA certification and accreditation. This review makes it easier for federal agencies to evaluate the security features to those of their existing systems; most agencies we have worked with have found that Google Apps provides at least equivalent, if not better, security than they have today. This means government customers can move to the cloud with confidence.

Take Berkeley Lab, a member of the national laboratory system supported by the U.S. Department of Energy. It’s managed by the University of California and conducts unclassified research across a wide range of scientific disciplines. Berkeley researchers collaborate with scientists around the world, so emailing version upon version of documents among collaborators and trying to juggle disparate files is difficult. Berkeley Lab researchers have been using Google Apps to share documents that live in the cloud, and can view and edit documents and spreadsheets simultaneously knowing they are always working from the latest information. (Read more from Berkeley Lab’s Chief Information Officer on the Enterprise blog.)

And Google is not stopping with FISMA certification. Google Apps for Government will continue to evolve to meet unique government requirements. Google Apps for Government stores Gmail and Calendar data in a segregated system located in the continental United States, exclusively for our government customers. Other applications will follow in the near future. The suite is a “community cloud”—as defined by the National Institute for Science and Technology—to support the needs of our government customers. Google Apps for Government is available now to any federal, state or local government in the United States.

With reviews of our security controls in place, government agencies can more easily take advantage of all the benefits of one of the world’s best cloud computing systems. Google’s cloud offers higher reliability, best-in-class disaster recovery and access to a steady stream of innovation—all of which can provide considerable improvements over existing systems in addition to significant cost savings. And with no hardware or software to install and maintain, Google Apps for Government allows agencies to redeploy resources to technology projects core to their mission of serving the public. This new edition should give governments an even stronger case for making the move to the cloud. Bookmark and Share

Mumbai Airport Fourth In World

Chatrapati Shivaji International airport has been ranked fourth among airports in the world that handle more than 15 million passengers per annum. Overall, it was ranked 23rd among 146 airports.

The quarterly Airports Quality Survey survey was conducted by the Airports Council International, an independent body, to measure passengers' perception and rejoinder to quality of facilities at airports, connectivity within airports, service delivery standards and airport service competence.

Mumbai scored above Delhi's Indira Gandhi International airport to be the top in the country. Globally, it was ranked below Gimpo Airport (Seoul) and the airports at Vancouver and Taipei. It ranked healthier than Shenzhen (China) and San Francisco and Zurich. About 1,500 passengers from Mumbai airport participated in the study. Bookmark and Share

First Indian Girl Wins Gold At International Physics Olympiad

Aakanksha Sarda, an 18-year-old girl from the city, set a precedent lately when she won a gold medal at the International Physics Olympiad held in Croatia. She is the first Indian girl to attain this feat. Moreover, Aakanksha also stood initial among the girls at the olympiad.

Five students each from 82 countries took part in this olympiad and overall, India stood sixth.

"The first girl to stand for India at the olympiad in 2006 had managed to bag a bronze. Aakanksha has become the first Indian girl to win the gold medal," said Vijay Singh, national co-ordinator of science olympiads. He further told that Aakanksha stood 12th among the 376 students who had taken part at the olympiad. Rest of ther members of the team won three silver medals and one bronze medal.

Aakanksha's ecstatic family in the city is now waiting for the team's coming on Tuesday morning. "It is amazing that she has reached this far bearing in mind that she once hated Physics in school. However, she loved Mathematics, and grew interested in the subject again. Soon, she was one of the five students representing India at this important event," said Zarana Sarda, Aakanksha's mother.

"She has made the nation proud. I am happy to know that a girl has proved herself, as this is a field typically dominated by boys. She topped at the national level, too," said Praveen Tyagi, managing director of IITians PACE, the classes where Aakanksha was groomed for the olympiad. Aakanksha, who also applied for IIT, had stood 18th in the country and would have effortlessly got a seat at any IIT. But, she will now head to the US to pursue a degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

"These students were selected from 40,000 applicants who had appeared for the first round of examinations. After series of tests and training programmes, five were chosen to represent the country at this event," added Singh. Bookmark and Share

London 2012 Targets youth For Olympic Games

London 2012 Olympics Chief Sebastian Coe said Friday the occasion would be unashamedly targeted at getting young people into sport, as London prepares to mark two years to go until the Games start.Coe said the Olympics would use novel media platforms and angle its ticketing strategy at stirring a new generation to take a lasting interest in sport.

With five years gone since London was awarded the Olympics and two to go until they get in progress on July 27, 2012, Coe said capturing the youth market would be vital to the Games' success."You need the interactivity if you are authentically delivering on the vision to put young people at the heart of the Games," the 1500m Olympic gold medal winner in 1980 and 1984 told reporters.

"Our mascots were in a large part shaped by and for young people, using language, visuals and technology that are far more familiar to them."We've reached out to young people not just through sport, but through our cultural programmes. It makes good quality sense. This is where young people are."Our communication strategy is flagrantly in new media. That is the way you communicate with young people.

"The world they live in, you've got to be much more imaginative if you want to get your messages across and invite them to join you."Coe said organisers were secure to finalising ticket prices and the event schedules. He said ticket prices needed to maximise revenue, make sure full stadia and crucially get youngsters in.

"We need to make sure that they are at prices that allow in the people that you actually want to be in there, inspiring ideally a new, young generation of competitors," he said.The 53-year-old said Tuesday would mark a divide in the London 2012 journey."We're a couple of day off quite a big instant for us. The last five years have gone extremely quickly," he said.

"The next two years of this project both in terms of operational delivery and in communicating and appealing are really the hard business end of the project."He said their strategy were well-suited to survive the economic downturn and government cuts to their budget."The Olympic project is as valid today with the economy at a lower ebb," Coe said."When we were bidding, we were still putting at the centre of our project a sustainably and a responsibly-delivered Games.

"We have always set about delivering a Games that is not simply bigger than the last Games because that's what's always been done, but one with a legacy at its heart. That's why these Games are different." Bookmark and Share

Taliban Claims Responsibility For Afghan Helicopter Crash

Two members of the NATO-led alliance in Afghanistan have been killed in a helicopter crash in the southern part of the country.

The Taliban claimed liability for the downing of the helicopter near Lashkar Gah in Helmand province.

NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said the incident is under inquiry and has not ruled out the possibility of hostile fire.

There was no instantaneous word on the nationality of the two service members on board the helicopter. Bookmark and Share

International Court Prepares Rule On Kosovo's Independence

The highest United Nations court is planned to release estimation on whether Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence from Serbia was legal.

Serbia filed the case with the International Court of Justice in 2009, saying that the statement by Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leadership was a "flagrant violation" of Serbia's territorial integrity.

Serbs, who consider Kosovo to be the birthplace of their national identity, misplaced control of the territory in 1999, when a NATO bombing campaign ended a war between Serbian forces and Kosovo's ethnic Albanians.

The ruling by the court, which is based in The Hague, Netherlands, will be nonbinding and optional -- but experts say the decision could have implications for other regions with separatist movements.

The court heard arguments on the case from nearly 30 countries. Countries with China, Russia, and Spain, which have been dealing with their own separatist regions, argued beside Kosovo independence, while the United States led those in support of independence.

Kosovo's independence has been familiar by around 70 countries, including the United States and many European Union member states. But a diplomatic campaign by Serbia has led other countries to hold off recognition.

On the eve of the ruling, Vice President Joe Biden presented assurances of U.S. support to Kosovo's Prime Minister Hashim Thaci.

Memli Krasniqi, a Kosovar government spokesman and supporting adviser to the prime minister who attended the July 21 meeting in Washington, said Biden pledged that the White House "will stand behind Kosovo no matter what."

Krasniqi said economic issues, the rule of law in Kosovo, and Kosovo's potential Euro-Atlantic integration were also discussed.

A White House statement said that through the meeting, which was also attended by other top U.S. administration officials, Biden "reiterated the United States' compact support for Kosovo's sovereignty and territorial integrity."

Prior this week, the Kosovo prime minister pledged to value the opinion of the international court -- but further that the independence of Kosovo was "irreversible. Bookmark and Share

Mandela 92 – The First 'Mandela Day'

Communicates Across South Africa yesterday marked Nelson Mandela's 92nd birthday and the first 'Mandela Day' – an international day dedicated to public service in honor of the anti-apartheid icon.

Mr Mandela, who is now mainly retired from public life, spent the day with close family at his Johannesburg home. Earlier, schoolchildren from Eastern Cape Province, where he grew up, had been flown to the city to sing him birthday songs.

Leaders around the world paid tribute to Mr Mandela, who stepped down as South African president in 1999. US President Barack Obama praised his "astonishing vision, leadership, and spirit", and UN chief Ban Ki-Moon described him as "a towering figure" who "embodies the highest values of humanity". South Africa's President Jacob Zuma visited Mvezo, the region where Mr Mandela was born, to plant trees and participate in painting a school building, while Mr Mandela's wife, Graca Machel, helped sow a vegetable garden at a Soweto orphanage. Bookmark and Share

Swine Flu Virus Attack Back In Kolkata

The H1N1 virus, which is conscientious for causing swine flu, has returned a little over a year after it struck Kolkata last. While it had broken out at the height of summer in 2009, this time it has struck in monsoon. The worrying aspect this time is that the virus has originated locally, unlike the last instance, when it had been brought into the country by travellers from North America and south-east Asia.

It is quite probable, experts pointed out, that the H1N1 has remained dormant in Kolkata and has mutated over the last 14 months. "We need to study the epidemiological history of the patients and check if they had come into contact with people travelling from abroad or other states. But it seems that the virus has not been brought from somewhere else, but has been brewing in our backyard. Influenza viruses like H1N1 have a propensity to mutate and linger. They return in waves and with varying degrees of intensity," said Tomonash Bhattacharya, a tropical medicine specialist.

It is too early, however, to predict if we are headed for a brutal outbreak this year, Bhattacharya added. "There is no model to the waves. Depending on factors like the weather, it could be severe in successive years," he said.

But the timing, said experts, is not unusual. Any influenza virus, including H1N1, is let loose by fluctuations in weather. The unreliable climatic conditions now prevailing in Kolkata are perfect for an outbreak, they felt. The fact that the temperature has been sliding up and down combined with irregular showers has helped the virus to spread. "Any influenza virus gets stimulated by temperature fluctuations and conflicting rainfall. Chances are that the virus had been floating around and has now got the right stimulus and turned potent. The virus won't vanish till the mercury starts dropping," said a virologist.

The initial symptoms of swine flu are similar to symptoms of regular flu. People with flu symptoms (see box) should seek medical attention, though mortality rate is not high for swine flu. "Many get cured without even knowing that they had the virus. But there is need to be cautious. The reason is that it is very infectious and a minor endemic could turn into a major outbreak in days," said Bhattacharya. Bookmark and Share

Google Employee Shows A Presentation Of Upcoming ‘Google Me’

A Google employee, Paul Adams has presented a preview to the upcoming 'Google Me' service that is likely to challenge social networking site, Facebook through a presentation.
Mr. Adams released a 216-page document that analyses human interaction ways when they interrelate online and also focuses on social networks online and offline. Paul openly draws examples from competitors like Facebook and Twitter where a child can come across an inappropriate image on Facebook.

The release chalks out the direction in which Google social networking will head in the prospect. Many people expect Google simply re brand its Orkut networking site and put in additional features like Google Friend Connect, Mail, Voice, Buzz, Wave, Picasa, Latitude or Youtube to make a socialnetworking site of choice.

Inter users around the world do not need just an additional rival to Facebook but a face platform to interrelate with their friends that does not compromise their security and privacy. Google has been in efforts to create an ecosystem offering such services, now it is too been how far it can go with the service and contend with the likes of Facebook that already has more than half a billion users. Bookmark and Share

Iran Nuclear Scientist Set “Free To Go” From US

The Iranian nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri who said that he was abducted by the US and took shelter in the Iran's office at the Pakistan Embassy in US is 'free to go'.

Clinton informed the media at the Foggy Bottom headquartes of the State Department that Mr Amiri has been in the US of his own free will and he is free to go. She further said that he was scheduled to travel to Iran on Jul 13 but was unable to make the essential arrangements to reach Iran through transit nations.

Clinton, sarcastically informed that Iran continues to hold three young US citizens against their well. "And we repeat our request that they be released and allowed to return to their families on a humanitarian basis," she said. She urged Iranian cooperation the safe return for Robert Levinson, who has been not there in Iran since 2007.

Amiri turned up at the Iranian connection at the Pakistan Embassy in Washington on Wednesday, Jul 14 days after he suspected in a video on You Tube that he had been abducted by the US Spies from Saudi Arabia. Bookmark and Share

Uganda Makes Arrests After Twin Lethal Bomb Blasts

Uganda has made arrests after Somali Islamists said they detonated two bombs killing at least 74 people, and an unexploded suicide-bomb belt has been set up at a third site, a government spokesman said on Tuesday,

The twin explosions ripped through two bars crowded with soccer fans watching the closing moments of the World Cup final on television late on Sunday.

"Arrests were made late yesterday after an unexploded suicide bomber's belt was detected in the Makindye area (of the capital Kampala)," said government spokesman Fred Opolot.

He did not say how many people were in prison after the attacks, for which a radical, al Qaeda-inspired Somali group, al Shabaab claimed responsibility.

Al Shabaab have susceptible further attacks on Uganda and Burundi, both of which have peacekeepers in the lawless Horn of Africa nation, if the troops are not withdrawn.

Opolot said there was no suggestion an African Union summit to be hosted by Uganda later this month would be cancelled subsequent to the bombings. Bookmark and Share

The Total Solar Eclipse Thrills South Pacific Sky Watchers

A total solar eclipse has crossed the South Pacific, with thousands of tourists and scientists gathered on Chile's Easter Island to view it.

The eclipse, which was only perceptible from small sections of land, ended over southern parts of Chile and Argentina.

The eclipse started at 1815 GMT about 700km (440 miles) south-east of Tonga, and reached Easter Island by 2011 GMT.

The population of the island - a Unesco World Heritage site – increased and became almost doubled to about 8,000 for the event.

Some forecasters had warned that cloudy skies could dash hopes of a clear view of the eclipse.

But as the moment neared on Easter Island, turbulent weather gave way to bright sunshine.

"It was like being in the stadium at night with artificial light. It was like being in a dark room with a 10-watt bulb," local official Francisco Haoa told AFP news agency.

"It started with a shadow. The skies were completely blue, with lots of wind which chased away the clouds. Everyone applauded."

In Tahiti, where the obscure began, crowds of football-mad Polynesians turned away from the World Cup final on TV to look to the skies instead.

"It was like the Sun was smiling," said eight-year-old Hinanui. "The Sun seemed like a horizontal crescent, then the Moon enclosed up the bottom of the Sun which reappeared again as a crescent."

The next total solar eclipse will happen in November 2012 and will be noticeable from northern Australia and the South Pacific. Bookmark and Share

US geologist jailed for 8 years in China

For breaking the state secrets law and gathering state secrets, a Beijing court sentenced an American geologist to 8 years in prison.

45-year-old Xue Feng was under arrest in November 2007 on charges of attempting to obtain a database of information about China's oil industry.

A Beijing court found him guilty more than a year ago, but sentencing was been repeatedly delayed. On Monday, Jul 5, along with Xue other 3 Chinese nationals were also sentenced to prison.

According to the Xue's family, Xue has spent more than 2 years in jail and the state security agents tormented him by burning him with lit cigarettes on his arms.

Xue case first became public when a news agency reported about it in 2009. Even US President Barack Obama raised the case with President Hu Jintao in 2009, during a state visit to Beijing.

Born in China, Xue earned a doctorate at the University of Chicago and became a US citizen and then he returned to his native country China to work.
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