Friday, February 29, 2008

NASA Baffled by Unexplained Force Acting on Space Probes

Mysteriously, five spacecraft that flew past the Earth have each displayed unexpected anomalies in their motions.

These newfound enigmas join the so-called "Pioneer anomaly" as hints that unexplained forces may appear to act on spacecraft.

A decade ago, after rigorous analyses, anomalies were seen with the identical Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft as they hurtled out of the solar system. Both seemed to experience a tiny but unexplained constant acceleration toward the sun.

A host of explanations have been bandied about for the Pioneer anomaly. At times these are rooted in conventional science — perhaps leaks from the spacecraft have affected their trajectories. At times these are rooted in more speculative physics — maybe the law of gravity itself needs to be modified.

Now Jet Propulsion Laboratory astronomer John Anderson and his colleagues — who originally helped uncover the Pioneer anomaly — have discovered that five spacecraft each raced either a tiny bit faster or slower than expected when they flew past the Earth en route to other parts of the solar system.

'Humble and perplexed'

The researchers looked at six deep-space probes — Galileo I and II to Jupiter, the NEAR mission to the asteroid Eros, the Rosetta probe to a comet, Cassini to Saturn, and the MESSENGER craft to Mercury. Each spacecraft flew past the our planet to either gain or lose orbital energy in their quests to reach their eventual targets.

In five of the six flybys, the scientists have confirmed anomalies.

"I am feeling both humble and perplexed by this," said Anderson, who is now working as a retiree. "There is something very strange going on with spacecraft motions. We have no convincing explanation for either the Pioneer anomaly or the flyby anomaly."

In the one probe the researchers did not confirm a noticeable anomaly with, MESSENGER, the spacecraft approached the Earth at about latitude 31 degrees north and receded from the Earth at about latitude 32 degrees south. "This near-perfect symmetry about the equator seemed to result in a very small velocity change, in contrast to the five other flybys," Anderson explained — so small no anomaly could be confirmed.

The five other flybys involved flights whose incoming and outgoing trajectories were asymmetrical with each other in terms of their orientation with Earth's equator.

For instance, the NEAR mission approached Earth at about latitude 20 south and receded from the planet at about latitude 72 south. The spacecraft then seemed to fly 13 millimeters per second faster than expected. While this is just one-millionth of that probe's total velocity, the precision of the velocity measurements was 0.1 millimeters per second, carried out as they were using radio waves bounced off the craft. This suggests the anomaly seen is real — and one needing an explanation.

The fact this effect seems most evident with flybys most asymmetrical with respect to Earth's equator "suggests that the anomaly is related to Earth's rotation," Anderson said.

As to whether these new anomalies are linked with the Pioneer anomaly, "I would be very surprised if we have discovered two independent spacecraft anomalies," Anderson told "I suspect they are connected, but I really do not know."

Unbound idea

These anomalies might be effects we see with an object possessing a spacecraft's mass, between 660 and 2,200 lbs. (300 and 1,000 kg), Anderson speculated.

"Another thing in common between the Pioneer and these flybys is what you would call an unbound orbit around a central body," Anderson said. "For instance, the Pioneers are flying out of the solar system — they're not bound to their central body, the sun. For the other flybys, the Earth is the central body. These kinds of orbits just don't occur very often in nature — it could be when you get into an unbound orbit around a central body, something goes on that's not in our standard models."

The researchers are now collaborating with German colleagues to search for possible anomalies in the Rosetta probe's second flyby of the Earth on November 13.

"We should continue to monitor spacecraft during Earth flybys. We should look carefully at newly recovered Pioneer data for more evidence of the Pioneer anomaly," Anderson added. "We should think about launching a dedicated mission on an escape trajectory from the solar system, just to look for anomalies in its motion."

Montana State University physicist Ronald Hellings, who did not participate in this study, said, "There's definitely something going on. Whether that's because of new physics or some problem with the model we have is yet to be worked out, as far as I know. A lot of people are trying to look into this."

Anderson and his colleagues will detail their latest findings in an upcoming issue of the journal Physical Review Letters.

Link :

Enrique Iglesias to quit before age 50

MEXICO CITY - Enrique Iglesias plans to leave the spotlight before he turns 50 — unlike his famous father, Julio, who is still crooning romantic ballads after four decades.

"I'm not sure I want to be up on a stage when I'm 64 or 65," the 32-year-old pop star told The Associated Press. "In my father's case, I think he's going to die onstage and I respect that very much. In my case, in 15 years I'll probably look ridiculous singing 'Bailamos' ('Let's Dance')."

The Madrid-born artist — who debuted in 1995 with a self-titled album and releases the greatest hits compilation "95/08" in March — said dissatisfaction with his own work is what drives him to continue performing and recording.

"When I listen to my music I think it can still continue to evolve," he said. "After a couple of months go by, I think I could write a better song."

Iglesias said he is striving to make the perfect record — "One you listen to 10, 15, 20 years from now and say, 'Oh! I wouldn't change a thing.'"

And until Iglesias makes that album, it seems his plans could change.

"I want to retire in the next 15 years," Iglesias said. "But that's what I say now. Who knows if I'll have the courage to do it when the day comes."


On the Net:

Shocker : Stage6 to Shut Down on February 28

Can be Found at and

I'm Tom (aka Spinner), a Stage6 user and an employee of DivX, Inc., the company behind the service. I'm writing this message today to inform you that we plan to shut down Stage6 on February 28, 2008. Upload functionality has already been turned off, and you'll be able to view and download videos until Thursday.

I know this news will come as a shock and disappointment to many Stage6 users, and I'd like to take a few moments to explain the reasons behind our decision.

We created Stage6 with the mission of empowering content creators and viewers to discover a new kind of video experience. Stage6 began as an experiment, and we always knew there was a chance that it might not succeed.

In many ways, though, the service did succeed, beyond even our own initial expectations. Stage6 became very popular very quickly. We helped gain exposure for some talented filmmakers who brought great videos to the attention of an engaged community. We helped prove that it's possible to distribute true high definition video on the Internet. And we helped broaden the Internet video experience by offering content that is compatible with DVD players, mobile devices and other products beyond the PC.

So why are we shutting the service down? Well, the short answer is that the continued operation of Stage6 is a very expensive enterprise that requires an enormous amount of attention and resources that we are not in a position to continue to provide. There are a lot of other details involved, but at the end of the day it's really as simple as that.

Now, why didn't we think of that before we decided to create Stage6 in the first place, you may ask? That's a good question. When we first created Stage6, there was a clear need for a service that would offer a true high-quality video experience online because other video destinations on the Internet simply weren't providing that to users. A gap existed, and Stage6 arrived to fill it.

As Stage6 grew quickly and dramatically (accompanied by an explosion of other sites delivering high-quality video), it became clear that operating the service as a part of the larger DivX business no longer made sense. We couldn't continue to run Stage6 and focus on our broader strategy to make it possible for anyone to enjoy high-quality video on any device. So, in July of last year we announced that we were kicking off an effort to explore
strategic alternatives for Stage6, which is a fancy way of saying we decided we would either have to sell it, spin it out into a private company or shut it down.

I won't (and can't, really) go into too much detail on those first two options other than to say that we tried really hard to find a way to keep Stage6 alive, either as its own private entity or by selling it to another company. Ultimately neither of those two scenarios was possible, and we made the hard decision to turn the lights off and cease operation of the service.

So that's where we are today. After February 28, Stage6 will cease to exist as an online destination. But the larger DivX universe will continue to thrive. Every day new DivX Certified devices arrive on the market making it easy to move video beyond the PC. Products powered by DivX Connected, our new initiative that lets users stream video, photos, music and Internet services from the PC to the TV, are hitting retail outlets. We remain committed to empowering content creators to deliver high-quality video to a
wide audience, and we'll continue to offer services that will make it easy to find videos online in the DivX format.

It's been a wild ride, and none of it would have been possible without the support of our users. Thank you for making Stage6 everything that it was.


Thursday, February 28, 2008

Rowling bashes 'Harry Potter Lexicon'

NEW YORK - As the creator of the Harry Potter books sees it, her kindness to fans might come back to haunt her. In papers filed for a lawsuit in Manhattan, J.K. Rowling says she feels betrayed by a fan, Steven Vander Ark, for his role in trying to publish an unauthorized reference work, "Harry Potter Lexicon."

Ark is editor of a Web site containing a fan-created collection of essays and encyclopedic material on the Potter universe, including lists of spells and potions found in the books, a catalog of magical creatures and a who's who in the wizarding world.

Rowling said she was especially irked that the site's owner and the lexicon's would-be publisher, RDR Books, continued to insist that her acceptance of free, fan-based Web sites justified the efforts.

"I am deeply troubled by the portrayal of my efforts to protect and preserve the copyrights I have been granted in the Harry Potter books," she wrote in court papers filed Wednesday in a lawsuit she brought against the small Muskegon, Mich., publisher.

She said she intends to publish her own definitive Harry Potter encyclopedia.

"If RDR's position is accepted, it will undoubtedly have a significant, negative impact on the freedoms enjoyed by genuine fans on the Internet," she said. "Authors everywhere will be forced to protect their creations much more rigorously, which could mean denying well-meaning fans permission to pursue legitimate creative activities."

She added: "I find it devastating to contemplate the possibility of such a severe alteration of author-fan relations."

She brought the lawsuit last Halloween along with film company Warner Bros., which owns the intellectual property related to the Potter books and movies. The lexicon's publication, previously scheduled for last Nov. 28, has been blocked by the lawsuit.

A telephone message left with RDR Books on Thursday was not immediately returned.

RDR Books publisher Roger Rapoport has said the lexicon is a "critical reference work" and would not compete with any official encyclopedia written by Rowling.

On its Web site, RDR Books said it was "determined to publish this book for the benefit of Harry Potter fans everywhere."

It said it "believes Ms. Rowling, who has championed the `Lexicon' for years, will love reading the book just as much as she does the Web site on which it is based."

In the past, Rowling had singled out the Web site and its editor for praise.

Link :

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Pakistan to host Asia Cup in June

Pakistan will host the Asia Cup from June 25 to July 6 in Karachi and Lahore this year, the Pakistan board has announced. Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh - the other big names in the tournament - have confirmed their participation in the event.

"We held a meeting in Delhi back in December and had decided on the dates back then," Shafqat Naghmi, chief operating officer PCB, told Cricinfo. "India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have confirmed that they will take part in the tournament."

This is the first time the tournament is being staged in Pakistan, and is the first edition of what was meant to originally be an annual event, since 2004.

The initial group phase of matches will be held in Lahore, while the second stage as well as the final will be held in Karachi. As the heat is expected to be severe, particularly in Lahore, all matches will be day-night contests.

The board is also in the process of finalising a tentative itinerary for Australia's tour, should it go ahead. After the decision to cut the tour by 18 days, the two will now play two Tests, four ODIs and a Twenty20 international (instead of three Tests and five ODIs as originally planned). A three-day warm-up match is also on the cards.

Cricket Australia has asked for a list of venues and it is learnt that Karachi is unlikely to host any games. Most of the internationals will be shared between Lahore, Faisalabad and Multan.

Australia are due to send a security delegation to Pakistan before they make a decision to tour the country. They have not toured Pakistan since 1998-99.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Complete list of Oscar winners

Complete list of winners at the 80th annual Academy Awards, presented Sunday night at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles:

Best Motion Picture: "No Country for Old Men."

Lead Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, "There Will Be Blood."

Lead Actress: Marion Cotillard, "La Vie en Rose."

Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem, "No Country for Old Men."

Supporting Actress: Tilda Swinton, "Michael Clayton."

Director: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, "No Country for Old Men."

Foreign Language Film: "The Counterfeiters," Austria.

Adapted Screenplay: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, "No Country for Old Men."

Original Screenplay: Diablo Cody, "Juno."

Animated Feature Film: "Ratatouille."

Art Direction: "Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street."

Cinematography: "There Will Be Blood."

Sound Mixing: "The Bourne Ultimatum."

Sound Editing: "The Bourne Ultimatum."

Original Score: "Atonement," Dario Marianelli.

Original Song: "Falling Slowly" from "Once," Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova.

Costume: "Elizabeth: The Golden Age."

Documentary Feature: "Taxi to the Dark Side."

Documentary Short Subject: "Freeheld."

Film Editing: "The Bourne Ultimatum."

Makeup: "La Vie en Rose."

Animated Short Film: "Peter & the Wolf."

Live Action Short Film: "Le Mozart des Pickpockets (`The Mozart of Pickpockets')."

Visual Effects: "The Golden Compass."


Academy Award winners previously announced this year:

Honorary and technical Oscars: Robert Boyle; Eastman Kodak Co.; David A. Grafton.

Coens `Country' wins best picture Oscar

LOS ANGELES - The Coen brothers have completed their journey from the fringes to Hollywood's mainstream, winning four Academy Awards for "No Country for Old Men," including best picture.

LOS ANGELES - The Coen brothers have completed their journey from the fringes to Hollywood's mainstream, winning four Academy Awards for "No Country for Old Men," including best picture.

Javier Bardem won for supporting actor in "No Country," which earned Joel and Ethan Coen the best-picture honor as producers, best director and adapted screenplay.

Accepting the directing honor alongside his brother, Joel Coen recalled how they were making films since childhood, including one at the Minneapolis airport called "Henry Kissinger: Man on the Go."

"What we do now doesn't feel that much different from what we were doing then," Joel Coen said. "We're very thankful to all of you out there for continuing to let us play in our corner of the sandbox."

Daniel Day-Lewis won his second best-actor Academy Award on Sunday for the oil-boom epic "There Will Be Blood," while "La Vie En Rose" star Marion Cotillard was a surprise winner for best actress, riding the spirit of Edith Piaf to Oscar triumph over Julie Christie, who had been expected to win for "Away From Her."

While the quirky American Coens led the night, the Oscars had a strong international flavor, with all four acting prizes went to Europeans: Frenchwoman Cotillard, Spaniard Bardem, and Brits Day-Lewis and Tilda Swinton, the supporting-actress winner for "Michael Clayton."

"Push" by Enrique Iglesias

The song has officially been confirmed as the third US single by Iglesias. The song has been added to the soundtrack to the upcoming movie Step Up 2 the Streets and has filmed a video featuring the film's lead actors.

The music video will be premiering on Yahoo! Music on February 29.

Hollywood abuzz with Oscar preparations

LOS ANGELES - Will Meryl Streep's outfit match her talent? Will Diablo Cody actually refuse to wear those million-dollar, diamond-encrusted shoes? Will Katherine Heigl need to squint? The city was abuzz with all things Oscar as celebrities flocked from around the world for Sunday's Academy Awards ...

FUNNYMEN UNITE: Oscar freshmen Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill were welcomed to the Kodak Theatre by sophomore Jon Stewart.

He jumped up and down on the side of the stage as the "Superbad" stars rehearsed for their Academy Awards debut on Saturday night. Stewart, who hosted the Oscars in 2006, rushed across the stage to greet them, then disappeared into the wings.

Wearing matching black horn-rimmed glasses, Rogen and Hill cracked jokes and scoped out their seats in the theater from the stage. Afterward, they met with Stewart in his dressing room.

"It's going to be so weird," Rogen told the show host. "It's so epic."

Stewart chatted with the pair before sending them on their way with a snack.

"Can I offer you a rugula?" he said.

Each actor took one of the cookie-like confections, then headed off.


PROJECT OSCARS: Tim Gunn hopes Meryl Streep can make it work on the red carpet.

The "Project Runway" mentor suggested Streep wear something more flattering than last year when the actress, who was nominated for her part as a cutthroat fashion editor in "The Devil Wears Prada," donned a long black dress and was infamously draped in chunky coral and turquoise jewelry.

"I worry about Meryl," Gunn told the AP at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. "She's so smart. She's so talented. I felt so bad for her last year at this event. I had the highest expectations for her because of the role she was nominated for."

Gunn's most looking forward to seeing fashions on Cate Blanchett, Julie Christie, Angelina Jolie — and Helen Mirren, "the most stunning and ravishing woman on the red carpet" at last year's Oscars.

"If everyone follows current fashion trends, we should see a lot of jewel tones, black and ivory, and a little birdy told me we'll see lots of yellow on the red carpet," said Gunn. "But, boy, yellow is a difficult color. Very difficult."


FOOD FIGHTS: Language and war may divide us, but catering troubles are universal.

Directors of the five Oscar-nominated films in the foreign-language category met Saturday, showing clips from their movies — little-seen so far in the U.S. — and talking over the joys and frustrations of international production.

Sergei Bodrov said his epic "Mongol," Kazakhstan's entry, was shot in Mongolia over the course of two years, with two separate cinematographers. The Russian crew of the film about a young Genghis Khan refused to eat the Chinese food they were served so workers drove 12 hours to pick up new meals, Bodrov said. His movie will be released by Picturehouse in the U.S. on June 6.

Nikita Mikhalkov, actor-director for Russia's entry, "12," recalled similar difficulties on the set of his Oscar-nominated 1992 film "Close to Eden."

"We had Chinese food and the Russians lost their minds," he said through a translator.


SHOE FLAP: Fancy-footwear designer Stuart Weitzman chose Diablo Cody to wear his specially designed $1 million Retro Rose shoes on the red carpet, but the "Juno" screenwriter might leave the diamond-encrusted high heels off her feet Sunday. Cody's not completely thrilled, "now that I think about it."

"They're using me to publicize their stupid shoes and NOBODY ASKED ME," Cody wrote on her MySpace blog Friday. "I would never consent to a lame publicity stunt at a time when I already want to hide."

Weitzman wasn't at his Four Seasons Hotel shoe suite in Beverly Hills on Saturday afternoon while Taryn Cox, assistant to Scarlett Johansson (size 9), and "Today" show entertainment correspondent Jill Rappaport (size 10) browsed Weitzman's wares.

"I would expect she probably won't wear them. She made that very clear," Weitzman later told the AP about the shoe tussle during a telephone interview Saturday night. "If she decides not to wear the shoes, that's Diablo's decision, and I wouldn't try to convince her otherwise. It's Diablo's day, and she can do whatever she wants."

Weitzman says he made the cost of the metallic beige shoes — more than $2.5 million, including parts that were not used in the final pair — clear to Cody when he met with her. He blames Cody's behind-the-scenes team for not communicating the value of the shoes to the Oscar-nominated screenwriter.

"I'm just embarrassed that she wrote what she wrote," he said.

Even so, the designer says he wouldn't change his decision to give the ultra-expensive slippers to Cody.


LADIES' NIGHT: Half a dozen A-list actresses stopped by the Kodak Theatre on Saturday to rehearse their Oscar lines.

Cameron Diaz, in a gray sweater, skinny black jeans and towering high heels, opened a prop winner's envelope and said, "The Oscar goes to — your mama. No, I'm just kidding."

She stepped off stage and bumped into Jessica Alba. "Hi, honey," Diaz said as she gave Alba a kiss.

Alba, who is expecting a baby with her fiance, Cash Warren, hid her growing bump under a loose black tunic. Ponytailed and makeup-free, the star recapped her presentation two weeks ago of the academy's annual Sci-Tech awards — always a tongue-twisting challenge.

"You nailed it, hon," stage manager Dency Nelson told her. As soon as she walked off stage, she traded her high heels for comfy flats.

Renee Zellweger arrived in a sweat shirt, jeans and sneakers, her oversized Gucci bag slung over her shoulder. Before taking the stage, she plunked her bag on the floor and fished out a pair of tall Christian Louboutin heels. She left her socks and sneakers in a pile near her purse as she stepped out to rehearse her lines.

After hitting her mark, she slipped off the stilettos and tossed them back into her bag, saying, "Well, that's enough of these things for today" to no one in particular.

Zellweger greeted Katherine Heigl, who was headed to the stage carrying two pairs of heels. But shoes weren't her problem — seeing the teleprompter was. Heigl narrowed her eyes as she tried to make out the words on the screen at the back of the theater.

"Oh, no," she said. "I'll try not to squint."

Also switching shoes was Jennifer Garner, who swapped her running shoes for high heels before stepping onstage. An assistant held her sneakers as Garner rehearsed.

Expectant mom Nicole Kidman didn't fuss with her shoes. Looking elegant enough to attend the awards a day early, she wore kitten heels with black tights, a black dress and a black overcoat that obscured her tummy. Her husband, Keith Urban, was also dressed all in black, from his ball cap down to his sneakers.

"Thank you for being here," a worker backstage said to the Oscar-winning actress.

"I'm so pleased," she said with a smile. "See you tomorrow."


FOREIGN CONFLICT: Four of the five nominees vying for the foreign film Oscar are set in the past and revolve around war, with the Russian entry "12" the exception.

Inspired by Sidney Lumet's 1957 film "Twelve Angry Men," "12" depicts a jury deliberating over whether a young Chechen murdered his Russian stepfather.

"I just don't know how I even ended up here today," said director Nikita Mikhalkov, gesturing to the oversized Oscar statues decorating the theater where the motion picture academy was sponsoring a Saturday symposium on the foreign film nominess. "This is such a deeply Russian, personal, local story that I don't even understand."

Veteran Polish director Andrzej Wajda explained that his "Katyn," about the 1939 massacre of Polish military officers and intelligentsia in the titular forest, was intensely personal. His father, Jakub, a cavalry officer, was among the more than 15,000 killed by Soviet authorities.

But because Jakub Wajda's name never showed up on a list of the dead, he said, "My mother waited for my father my whole life ... (she) had forever hoped that one day he would return home."

Israel's entry "Beaufort" sparked a national controversy there because one-third of the actors — depicting soldiers during Israel's 2000 withdrawal from Lebanon — hadn't completed the country's mandatory three years of military service.

Director Joseph Cedar said that actually helped them more deeply depict war's effects on the psyche because veterans are prone to "getting used to something that is terrible and accepting it as normal."

Austria's entry, "The Counterfeiters," brings a fresh look at World War II concentration camps, using documentary-style handheld camera and quick zooms to tell of a master forger forced to work for Nazis.

Director Stefan Ruzowitzky said he got full cooperation from the real-life camp survivor on whom his main character is based, Adolph Burger, who was in the audience Saturday.

Sergei Bodrov said his epic "Mongol," Kazakhstan's entry, was shot in Mongolia over the course of two years, with two separate cinematographers.


Associated Press writers Sandy Cohen, Derrik J. Lang and Ryan Pearson contributed to this report from Los Angeles.

Link :

Important Notice : In Pakistan the Ceremony will start around 06:00 AM. It will be telecasted live on Star Groups Star Movies

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Ancient "devil frog" may have eaten baby dinosaurs

By Will Dunham
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - It was the biggest, baddest, meanest froggy ever to have hopped on Earth.

Scientists on Monday announced the discovery in northwestern Madagascar of a bulky amphibian dubbed the "devil frog" that lived 65 million to 70 million years ago and was so nasty it may have eaten newborn dinosaurs.

This brute was larger than any frog living today and may be the biggest frog ever to have existed, according to paleontologist David Krause of Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York, one of the scientists who found the remains.

Its name, Beelzebufo ampinga, came from Beelzebub, the Greek for devil, and bufo -- Latin for toad. Ampinga means "shield," named for an armor-like part of its anatomy.

Beelzebufo (pronounced bee-el-zeh-BOOF-oh) was 16 inches

long and weighed an estimated 10 pounds (4.5 kg).

It was powerfully built and possessed a very wide mouth and powerful jaws. It probably didn't dine daintily.

"It's not outside the realm of possibility that Beelzebufo took down lizards and mammals and smaller frogs, and even -- considering its size -- possibly hatchling dinosaurs," Krause said in a telephone interview.

"It would have been quite mean," added paleontologist Susan Evans of University College London, another of the scientists.

Their findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Even though it lived far away, Beelzebufo appears to be closely related to a group of frogs that live today in South America, the scientists said. They are nicknamed "Pac-Man" frogs due to their huge mouths. Some have little horns on their heads, and the scientists think Beelzebufo also may have had horns -- a fitting touch for the "devil frog."

Beelzebufo was bigger than any of its South American kin or any other living frog -- "as if it was on steroids," Krause said. The largest one today is the goliath frog of West Africa, up to 12.5 inches long and 7.2 pounds (3.3 kg).

The presence of Beelzebufo in Madagascar and its modern relatives in South America is the latest sign a long-lost land bridge once may have linked Madagascar to Antarctica -- much warmer then -- and South America, the scientists said.

That would have let animals move overland among those land masses. Fossils have been found of other animals in Madagascar from Beelzebufo's time similar to South American ones.


The first frogs appeared about 180 million years ago, and their basic body plan has remained unchanged. Beelzebufo lived during the Cretaceous Period at the end of the age of dinosaurs, which went extinct along with many other types of animals 65 million years ago when a huge space rock clobbered Earth.

Beelzebufo did not live an aquatic lifestyle, hopping among lily pads, the scientists said. Instead, it lived in a semi-arid environment and may have hunted like its modern-day relatives, which camouflage themselves and jump out at prey.

Its first fragmentary fossils were found in 1993, and the scientists have since assembled enough fragments to piece its remains together like a jigsaw puzzle, Krause said.

While it was the king of frogs, Beelzebufo is not the largest amphibian ever to have lived. Many reached truly astounding dimensions, such as the crocodile-like Prionosuchus that grew to an estimated 30 feet during the Permian Period, which ended about 250 million years ago.

(Editing by Peter Cooney)

Link :

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Croc hunter's son unfazed by snake bite

NEW YORK - Like father, like son? The 4-year-old son of "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin wasn't at all alarmed when he was recently bitten by a baby boa constrictor, according to his mother.

"He picked one of them up and it bit him on the finger, and he was so proud to have copped his first hit," Irwin's widow, Terri, said Monday at an appearance at FAO Schwarz with her two children to promote a new line of toys.

"He said, 'I hope it wasn't venomous,' so I assured Robert I wouldn't actually let him play with venomous snakes," she added.

Terri Irwin said the couple's 9-year-old daughter, Bindi, was first bitten by a snake when she was 18 months old.

The girl, who is featured in the Discovery Kids Channel show "Bindi the Jungle Girl," posed for cameras with a new action figure in her likeness.

"It's every little girl's dream to have an exact look-alike doll. It's amazing," said Bindi, who was signing action figure toys of her late father.

Steve Irwin, known through his nature TV series as a wrangler of crocodiles and snakes, died in 2006 from a stingray's barbed tail during an underwater documentary shoot. He was 44.

Irwin provoked an international outcry in 2004 after being filmed holding his then 1-month-old son while feeding a snapping crocodile.

Pakistan opposition has solid vote lead

By ROBERT H. REID, Associated Press Writer

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - President Pervez Musharraf appealed for national unity as unofficial returns showed the opposition taking commanding leads early Tuesday in parliamentary elections aimed at bolstering democracy and calming political strife.

Fear and apathy kept millions of voters at home during Monday's vote. But while at least 24 people were killed in election-related violence, the country was spared the type of Islamic militant attacks that scarred the campaign, most notably the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto.

State-run television early Tuesday gave the two main opposition parties strong leads in early unofficial tallies, a trend conceded by the president's Pakistan Muslim League-Q party. Final official results were not expected before Wednesday.

"As far as we are concerned, we will be willing to sit on opposition benches if final results prove that we have lost. This is the trend," party spokesman Tariq Azeem said.

If the vote pattery continues, it will ease concerns that lack of a clear winner could result in a government too fragmented to rally the nation against Islamic extremists.

Two of Musharraf's close political allies — the chairman of the ruling party and the outgoing railways minister — both lost seats in Punjab, the most populous province and a key electoral battleground.

Though balloting proceeded without major attacks, Bhutto's party claimed that 15 of its members had been killed and hundreds injured in scattered violence "deliberately engineered to deter voters." Officials confirmed 24 deaths in election-related violence over the previous 24 hours, mostly in the country's biggest province of Punjab, the key electoral battleground.

Musharraf was not on the ballot, but the election was widely seen as a referendum on his eight-year rule — including his alliance with the United States in the war against terrorist groups that many Pakistanis oppose.

Musharraf's approval ratings have plummeted since his declaration of emergency rule in November and his purge of the judiciary to safeguard his re-election by the previous parliament a few weeks earlier.

Going into the election, two public opinion surveys predicted Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party would finish first, followed by the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-N of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. The pro-Musharraf Pakistan Muslim League-Q was in third.

More than 12 hours after counting began, state-run Pakistan TV said early Tuesday that unofficial tallies were complete for more than 100 of the 268 parliament seats being contested. It gave Bhutto and Sharif's parties nearly 70 percent of the vote, with Sharif's party leading.

An overwhelming victory by the opposition could leave Musharraf politically weakened at a time when the United States is pressing him to take more robust action against al-Qaida and Taliban fighters based in Pakistan's restive northwestern region along the Afghan border.

With his political future in the balance, Musharraf pledged to work with the new government regardless of which party wins.

"I will give them full cooperation as president, whatever is my role," Musharraf said after casting his ballot in Rawalpindi. "Confrontationist policies ... should end and we should come into conciliatory politics in the interest of Pakistan. The situation demands this."

In the north, prominent pro-Taliban cleric Maulana Fazl-ur Rehman was trailing far behind his rival from Bhutto's party with more than half the precincts in their district reporting.

"I'm very happy, but we have to struggle," said Sadiq ul-Farooq, a senior official in Sharif's party. "We face serious problems — the economy, law and order and then the problem of terrorism, which is 70 percent because of President Musharraf. He has to go."

The U.S. government, Musharraf's strongest international backer, was anxious for a credible election to shore up democratic forces at a time of mounting concern over political unrest in this nuclear-armed nation and a growing al-Qaida and Taliban presence in the northwest.

"Every single vote must be counted fairly, and the numbers must be transmitted so decisions can be made," said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Texas Democrat who was one of several American lawmakers monitoring the election.

Lee said that an "effective government for the people of Pakistan" was America's "great concern."

Despite the stakes, it appeared most of the country's 81 million voters stayed home — either out of fear of extremist attacks or lack of enthusiasm for the candidates, many of whom waged lackluster campaigns.

Sarwar Bari of the nonprofit Free and Fair Elections Network said reports from his group's 20,000 election observers indicated voter turnout was about 35 percent. That would be the same as in the 1997 election — the lowest in Pakistan's history.

Ayaz Baig, the election commissioner in Pakistan's most populous province, Punjab, estimated turnout there at 30 percent to 40 percent — slightly lower than in the 2002 election. In Baluchistan and Sindh provinces, turnout was estimated at about 35 percent, officials said.

In Lahore, 2,740 voters were registered at two polling stations in a primary school in an upper middle class district. Less than two hours before the polls closed, only 760 people — or 28 percent — had cast ballots.

Bhutto's party had hoped to ride a public wave of sympathy after the former prime minister was killed in a gun and suicide bomb attack Dec. 27 in Rawalpindi. Her death and the nationwide riots that followed prompted authorities to postpone the balloting for six weeks.

But Bhutto's assassination forced candidates to curtail public rallies due to security concerns, and the death of the country's most charismatic figure appeared to drain much of the excitement from the campaign.

"I was already disillusioned with politics and it only deepened after the death of Ms. Bhutto," said housewife Rifat Ashraf, who was relaxing at a park in the eastern city of Lahore. "There are three voters in our family, and they are all here having a picnic."

With turnout so low, it was unclear whether the ruling party machinery was more successful in getting its supporters to the polls, especially in Punjab, its political base.

Opposition officials warned the government against trying to manipulate the results during the laborious count, saying there could be street protests if the count was rigged.

"People came out today and they voted for us. But we are hearing that their votes will be stolen after darkness, and we will not tolerate it," opposition politician Shahbaz Sharif said on Geo television. "Those who want to rob our votes should listen that we will not allow them to do it."

Opposition parties and analysts said local authorities used state resources to back ruling party candidates — charges that were denied by the government, which promised a free and fair vote.

Police arrested an election official after 600 ballot papers went missing from a polling station in the southern city of Shikarpur, police official Ali Mohammed Shahni said.

While fears of attack deterred some voters, sympathy for Bhutto and disaffection over rising food prices compelled others to take the risk and go to the polls.

"My vote is for the PPP," said Munir Ahmed Tariq, a retired police officer in Nawab Shah. "If there is rigging this time, there will be a severe reaction. This is a sentiment of this nation."

In the remote border region of Bajur, a possible hiding place of Osama bin Laden and his top deputy Ayman al-Zawahri, hundreds of Pashtun tribesmen turned out at a polling place inside a government college, and dismissed the threat of attack.

"We are not afraid of the situation. Death comes only once," said farmer Amanat Shah.

A nearby, segregated polling station for women, was empty — a reflection of conservative attitudes in Pakistan's tribal belt.


Associated Press writers Stephen Graham in Lahore, Zarar Khan in Nawab Shah and Robin McDowell, Sadaqat Jan and Munir Ahmad in Islamabad contributed to this report.

Link :

Pakistan holds election key to democracy

By MATTHEW PENNINGTON, Associated Press Writer

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Pakistanis fearful of militant attacks voted Monday for a new parliament in a key step toward democracy after eight years of military rule under President Pervez Musharraf, whose political survival hangs in the balance.

Musharraf promised to work with the new government regardless of who won the vote, after a year of turmoil that has seen an explosion in Taliban militancy and growing public disaffection with Pakistan's support of the U.S.-led war on terror.

"I will say from my side, whichever political party will win, whoever will become prime minister and chief ministers, congratulation to them on my behalf. And I will give them full cooperation as president whatever is my role," the president told state television.

Public antipathy over Musharraf's support of the U.S.-led war on terror could count against his political allies, as could his recent declaration of emergency rule and purging of the judiciary to safeguard his controversial re-election as president in October.

An overwhelming victory by the opposition, headed by Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party, or PPP, could leave Musharraf politically vulnerable to impeachment.

"It is the fate of the Pakistan People's Party that it will win, and we will change the system after winning," said Bhutto's husband, Asif Ali Zardari, after casting his vote in his hometown of Nawab Shah.

Two public opinion surveys by U.S. groups have suggested that if the election is fair, Bhutto's party will finish first, followed by the opposition party of ex-Premier Nawaz Sharif. The pro-Musharraf party — the Pakistani Muslim League-Q — is trailing in third.

But the PML-Q still predicts it will fare strongly in rural areas of the largest province, Punjab, where the election is likely to be lost or won and where allegiance to feudal landlords, rather than a party's profile, can determine how people vote.

Opposition politicians have accused the government of planning to rig the balloting, and have threatened street protests.

Musharraf, who recently ceded his command of Pakistan's powerful army, has warned he would not tolerate such protests, which could set the stage for a dangerous confrontation in this nuclear-armed nation.

Before casting his vote in the city of Rawalpindi, he urged candidates to accept results of the vote.

"If they win they should not show arrogance and if they lose they should show grace, accepting the result," Musharraf said in comments broadcast Monday on state television.

Pakistan has lurched in its 60-year history between weak civilian governments and military rule — including the period since Musharraf's takeover in a 1999 coup.

"This is about Pakistan and the government's relationship with its people, and it is about Pakistan's ability to show the world that it has a credible election, therefore a credible government," said Sen. John Kerry as he observed voting in the eastern city of Lahore.

More than 470,000 police and soldiers were deployed nationwide to provide security after a wave of suicide bombings, including the Dec. 27 assassination of Bhutto that forced a six-week delay in the vote. The day was declared a public holiday to encourage citizens to turn out to vote.

But while fears of attack warded off some voters, sympathy for Bhutto and disaffection over rising food prices compelled others to exercise their democratic rights.

"My vote is for the PPP," said Munir Ahmed Tariq, a retired police officer in Nawab Shah. "If there is rigging this time, there will be a severe reaction. This is a sentiment of this nation."

But turnout in many parts of the country appeared low — possibly below the 41 percent recorded in the last general elections in 2002.

At a polling station in the key city of Lahore, just 28 percent of the 2,740 registered voters had turned out, with just 90 minutes of voting to go.

Opposition parties and analysts claim that local authorities have used state resources to back ruling party candidates — claims that have been denied by the government, which has promised a free and fair vote.

The last general election, which installed pro-Musharraf parliament, was widely regarded as flawed and lawmakers have provided little check on the president's dominance. But with power — and popularity — now diminished the incoming parliament could have more leverage.

Along with fears of Taliban attacks, political violence stalked the election.

Violence between rival political factions in the key province of Punjab has killed at least nine people and wounded dozens more since Sunday night, including provincial assembly candidate from the opposition party of Sharif, officials said.

Two people were killed and 10 injured in clashes between rival political groups in Sindh province, officials said.

Police arrested an election official after 600 ballot papers went missing from a polling station in the southern city of Shikarpur, said police official Ali Mohammed Shahni.

Inflation, power outages and insecurity were key issues for voters.

In Karachi, housewife Nargis Hamid just said she was voting for "peace" as the country could not progress without it. In Multan, Fatima Bibi, 45, said she supported Sharif's party to cut the price of flour and cooking oil. Mohsin Ali, a 24-year old business administration student in Lahore, said he cast his ballot at random to show support for democracy and contempt for Pakistan's notoriously corrupt politicians.

"They are all simply seeking power and once they are in power we are nobody," said Ali, wearing a trimmed beard and a prayer cap. "Democracy has not been given a chance. Any time anything happens, the military steps in."

In the remote border region of Bajur — a possible hiding place of Osama bin Laden and his top deputy Ayman al-Zawahri, hundreds of Pashtun tribesmen turned out to vote at a polling set up inside a government college, and dismissed the threat of attack.

"We are not afraid of the situation. Death comes only once," said farmer Amanat Shah. A nearby, segregated polling station for women, was empty — a reflection of conservative attitudes in Pakistan's tribal belt.


Associated Press writers Stephen Graham in Lahore, Zarar Khan in Nawab Shah, Sadaqat Jan and Munir Ahmad in Islamabad contributed to this report.

Link :;_ylt=Ag_E7I3dI8X9p00l3imyjMlvaA8F

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

Yes, Finally the day of love's here! Happy Valentine's Day to every loving soul out there!
P.S : My Comments were considered under an Article for a Magazine. Follow the link to view the article

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Hello Again....!

How have you been? Well, My Internet service was down for about a week, Its Fine now (I'm posting this...duh!)

This month General Elections will take place in my country (Pakistan). On 18th of February they are going to happen. I hope that it will go well and good. God protect our country from all those Filthy Terrorists and other anti groups who wish to terrorize our Nation.

How a Lunar Eclipse Saved Columbus

On the night of Feb. 20, the full moon will pass into Earth's shadow in an event that will be visible across all of the United States and Canada.

The total lunar eclipse will be made even more striking by the presence of the nearby planet Saturn and the bright bluish star, Regulus.

Eclipses in the distant past often terrified viewers who took them as evil omens. Certain lunar eclipses had an overwhelming effect on historic events. One of the most famous examples is the trick pulled by Christopher Columbus.


On Oct. 12, 1492, as every schoolchild has been taught, Columbus came ashore on an island northeast of Cuba. He later named it San Salvador (Holy Savior). Over the next ten years Columbus would make three more voyages to the "New World," which only bolstered his belief that he reached the Far East by sailing West.

It was on his fourth and final voyage, while exploring the coast of Central America that Columbus found himself in dire straits. He left C?diz, Spain on May 11, 1502, with the ships Capitana, Gallega, Vizca?na and Santiago de Palos. Unfortunately, thanks to an epidemic of shipworms eating holes in the planking of his fleet, Columbus' was forced to abandon two of his ships and finally had to beach his last two caravels on the north coast of Jamaica on June 25, 1503.

Initially, the Jamaican natives welcomed the castaways, providing them with food and shelter, but as the days dragged into weeks, tensions mounted. Finally, after being stranded for more than six months, half of Columbus' crew mutinied, robbing and murdering some of the natives, who, themselves grew weary of supplying cassava, corn and fish in exchange for little tin whistles, trinkets, hawk's bells and other rubbishy goods.

With famine now threatening, Columbus formulated a desperate, albeit ingenious plan.

Almanac to the rescue

Coming to the Admiral's rescue was Johannes M?ller von K?nigsberg (1436-1476), known by his Latin pseudonym Regiomontanus. He was an important German mathematician, astronomer and astrologer.

Before his death, Regiomontanus published an almanac containing astronomical tables covering the years 1475-1506. Regiomontanus' almanac turned out to be of great value, for his astronomical tables provided detailed information about the sun, moon and planets, as well as the more important stars and constellations by which to navigate. After it was published, no sailor dared set out without a copy. With its help, explorers were able to leave their customary routes and venture out into the unknown seas in search of new frontiers.

Columbus, of course, had a copy of the Almanac with him when he was stranded on Jamaica. And he soon discovered from studying its tables that on the evening of Thursday, Feb. 29, 1504, a total eclipse of the moon would take place soon after the time of moonrise.

Armed with this knowledge, three days before the eclipse, Columbus asked for a meeting with the natives Cacique ("chief") and announced to him that his Christian god was angry with his people for no longer supplying Columbus and his men with food. Therefore, he was about to provide a clear sign of his displeasure: Three nights hence, he would all but obliterate the rising full moon, making it appear "inflamed with wrath," which would signify the evils that would soon be inflicted upon all of them.

Bad moon rising

On the appointed evening, as the Sun set in the West and the moon started emerging from beyond the eastern horizon, it was plainly obvious to all that something was terribly wrong. By the time the moon appeared in full view, its lower edge was missing!

And, just over an hour later, as full darkness descended, the moon indeed exhibited an eerily inflamed and "bloody" appearance: In place of the normally brilliant late winter full moon there now hung a dim red ball in the eastern sky.

According to Columbus' son, Ferdinand, the natives were terrified at this sight and ". . . with great howling and lamentation came running from every direction to the ships laden with provisions, praying to the Admiral to intercede with his god on their behalf." They promised that they would gladly cooperate with Columbus and his men if only he would restore the moon back to its normal self. The great explorer told the natives that he would have to retire to confer privately with his god. He then shut himself in his cabin for about fifty minutes.

"His god" was a sandglass that Columbus turned every half hour to time the various stages of the eclipse, based on the calculations provided by Regiomontanus' almanac.

Just moments before the end of the total phase Columbus reappeared, announcing to the natives that his god had pardoned them and would now allow the moon to gradually return. And at that moment, true to Columbus' word, the moon slowly began to reappear and as it emerged from the Earth's shadow, the grateful natives hurried away. They then kept Columbus and his men well supplied and well fed until a relief caravel from Hispaniola finally arrived on June 29, 1504. Columbus and his men returned to Spain on Nov. 7.

Another side to the story

In an interesting postscript to this story, in 1889, Mark Twain, likely influenced by the eclipse trick, wrote the novel, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. In it, his main character, Hank Morgan, used a gambit similar to Columbus'.

Morgan is about to be burned at the stake, so he "predicts" a solar eclipse he knows will occur, and in the process, claimed power over the sun. He gladly offers to return the sun to the sky in return for his freedom and a position as "perpetual minister and executive" to the king.

The only problem with this story is that on the date that Mark Twain quoted — June 21, 528 A.D. — no such eclipse took place. In fact, the moon was three days past full, a setup that can't generate an eclipse.

Perhaps he should have consulted an almanac!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Team confident of facing Australia - Malik

Team confident of facing Australia - Malik

Faras Ghani in Sheikhupura

Hamilton Masakadza: "We failed to capitalise on good, match-winning positions. We could've won at least three matches on this tour but let good positions slip too easily" © AFP

A surprisingly elated Shoaib Malik credited his senior players after Pakistan completed a comfortable clean sweep of the Mobilink Cup against Zimbabwe. Pakistan, led by Malik, went on a lap of honour around Sheikhupura Stadium after their win, an unusually exuberant celebration as they were expected to win 5-0. But Malik had personal reasons for smiling, having been adjudged the Man of the Series after scoring 158 runs with two half-centuries and topping the bowling charts with 11 wickets.

Pakistan tried nine new players during the series, but Malik insisted the support they received from the senior players was a major factor behind their success. "We tried a lot of new faces in the series and it is not easy for young players to perform right from the start," Malik said. "However, I'm thankful to the senior players who helped these debutants make their entry into international cricket that much easier. It is due to that the changes worked so effectively."

Ever since their bowlers received a mauling in the first ODI in Karachi, Zimbabwe have opted to bat after winning the toss. Hamilton Masakadza, Zimbabwe's stand-in captain, carried on the trend here, but he was left ruing it from the start as Sohail Tanvir and Abdur Rauf, one of four debutants, utilised overcast conditions to good effect. Malik was surprised by Masakadza's decision and confirmed he would have bowled first in order to give his bowlers the chance to make an impression.

"With overcast conditions and a relatively unknown pitch, I would've bowled had I won the toss," he said. "Even though we had helpful conditions, credit must also go out to our young fast bowlers, of which two were making their debut, for bowling in the right areas."

Masakadza, disappointed with his team's batting, blamed Zimbabwe's lack of all-round skills for the convincing loss. "We failed to capitalise on good, match-winning positions," Masakadza said. "We could've won at least three matches on this tour but let good positions slip too easily.

"We weren't thrashed or outplayed by the opposition in any of the matches so it all comes down to taking half-chances and crossing the finish line. We need to learn how to finish things off."

Our motto is to keep fighting as a unit and with the series win, the team is confident of facing AustraliaShoaib Malik

Malik, despite the win, said the team had a lot to learn and implement before the tough series against Australia. "There's a lot of difference between ODIs and Test matches," Malik said. "Just because we have performed well in ODIs does not mean we can be complacent for the [Test] series against Australia. We need to improve our fielding and running between the wickets because those two departments of the game can be vital against a strong team like Australia."

Having been unable to bowl out Zimbabwe in three of the five games, Malik pointed to his side's "lack of killer instinct" as one of the areas they needed to work on. "We were in positions to get Zimbabwe dismissed cheaply, like today, but we let our guard down and let opportunities slip. Luckily, we went on to win the matches so it did not come back to haunt us but we still need to improve on that.

"Our motto is to keep fighting as a unit and with the series win, the team is confident of facing Australia."

Faras Ghani is an editorial assistant at Cricinfo

Pakistan complete clean sweep

The Bulletin by Kanishkaa Balachandran

Pakistan 187 for 3 (Younis 63, Manzoor 50) beat Zimbabwe 181 (Taylor 49, Chigumbura 34, Rauf 3-45) by seven wickets

Younis Khan's 63 off 51 balls led Pakistan's run-chase in Sheikhupura © AFP

A new-look Pakistan, without a handful of senior players, drove Zimbabwe into the ground with a comprehensive seven-wicket victory in the final one-dayer in Sheikhupura to clean sweep the Mobilink Cup 5-0. The overcast and bitterly cold conditions didn't faze debutant Khurram Manzoor and Younis Khan as they chased down a meagre target of 182 with 19 overs to spare.

The win was set up by Pakistan's sprightly young bunch - which included four debutants - who showed exemplary commitment in the field to keep Zimbabwe in check for much of their innings. The overcast conditions were tailor-made, it seemed, even for Pakistan's untested seam-bowling attack, and Hamilton Masakadza's decision to bat first was perplexing. After a top order wobble, Zimbabwe were lifted by a rearguard from Elton Chigumbura and Brendan Taylor, but couldn't sustain the momentum as Pakistan quickly clawed back to shoot them out for a woefully inadequate score.

Sharp reflexes - a refreshing change from earlier games - handed Pakistan their early wickets as Abdur Rauf managed to hang on to a low return catch, literally off his toes. Debutant Rizwan Ahmed's athleticism contributed to the next two wickets, first running out Vusi Sibanda with a fiery throw to the wicketkeeper from deep backward square-leg, and then holding onto a stunner to his left at cover to send back Tatenda Taibu. Wahab Riaz, one among an assembly line of left-arm quicks in this series, was the beneficiary for the second, a wicket in his first international over.

As the sun disappeared behind the clouds and the mercury dipped in Sheikhupura's first international match for nearly a decade, the situation got worse as Zimbabwe lost half their side before the halfway stage. Chigumbura and Taylor, however, buckled down and produced a stand of 85, against the run of play. Pakistan allowed the game to drift a little as bowlers were made to pay each time they erred. The boundaries were interspersed with intelligent running and before anyone knew it, the pair had added fifty.

Taylor, who's had an inconsistent series with the bat, punished anything on full while Chigumbura, a proven allrounder, took on Fawad Alam's left-arm spin and punished anything full and wide outside off stump, unfurling forceful drives. Rizwan, the legspinner, excelled in the field but had a forgettable debut with the ball as the pair feasted on his half-trackers.

Wahab Riaz had figures of 8-3-19-2 on debut © AFP

But just when a lower-order revival threatened to push the score over 200, the spinners struck back, breaking up the stand. Thereafter Rauf returned to clean up the last two wickets with inswinging yorkers to end the innings with over four overs to spare.

Zimbabwe's attack lacked the sting and pace to cause Pakistan any trouble. Nasir Jamshed threw his wicket away early when the going was good, but Younis and Manzoor were determined not to miss out.

Manzoor was impressive, the bridge between domestic and international cricket seemingly invisible as he sized up his first ball with a firm backfoot punch to the cover point boundary. Busy at the crease, he was particularly strong with his bottom hand, unfurling another punch on the hop, this time beating the covers.

But Manzoor soon took a backseat as Younis arrived and the chase progressed at pace. Chigumbura suffered as Younis announced himself with a punchy square drive and then blazed three consecutive boundaries in his next over, immediately after the second Powerplay began. Each was classic improvisation, beginning with a scorching square drive, following it up with a straight six after exposing all stumps on the walk, and then ending with a biff over midwicket.

Younis didn't slow down once the spinners came on. Ray Price was welcomed with a reverse sweep and Keith Dabengwa's long hops were bludgeoned to the on side. He soon brought up his fifty with a sweep to fine leg. Manzoor, meanwhile, was providing solid support.

Both looked set to see Pakistan through, before recklessness set in. Younis fell slogging, while Manzoor was cleaned up sweeping across the line, just after reaching his half-century. By that stage, however, the deal had been sealed as Pakistan, after four unconvincing victories, ended on a high before taking on the Australians.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a staff writer at Cricinfo

Friday, February 1, 2008

India Slammed By Aussies In T20 Clash

Oz Slammed Indians in a T20 Match which happened today at Melbourne, Australia. Indians batted first and were bundled for 74 runs. Aussies achieved the target soon enough with 9 Wickets.