Thursday, July 26, 2007

Launching Formula One social bookmarking site

Some of us have been Formula One fans for a very long time. Me, even before F1 even came to Indian TV screens. Even after watching Schumacher win again and again put me to sleep again and again.

So here is what we have got. A site for Formula One top news. In the social news and bookmarking format, a la Digg. That way this is a Digg for F1 news. Vote on stories, the stories that get the max votes make it the front page etc etc. And anyone can submit stories too.

The site is already in action, and content-wise, quite there. What we need now is active participants. People who get a kick out of finding the best F1 stories of the day, and submitting them to the site for other fans to read. Hope all our F1 fans are not couch potatoes!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, Sarah Fisher disappoint in Indy 500, 2007

For the first time in the history of Indy 500, there were three women in the fray-- Danica Patrick, Sarah Fisher, and Milka Duno. In the much-hyped battle between the three women who made it to the Indy 500 this year, it was Danica Patrick who came out tops in the Indy 500 on May 27, 2007.

Danica Patrick finished in eighth place, in the Indianapolis auto race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 27, 2007. Patrick who had finished fourth in the Indy 500 in 2005, was a bit out of the limelight this year compared to venezuelan glamor girl, Milka Duno. But, the gorgeous Venezuelan, who crashed out of the Indy 500 when she was at the 22nd place in the race and did not quite live up to the hype.

25-year-old Danica Patrick blamed miscues at pitstops, the three-hour rain delay, and the truncated laps because of storms. Patrick has so far made it to the top ten in the last three Indy 500s. She said that she was very frustrated with the way the race went but was glad nevertheless that her Andretti Green Racing teammate Dario Franchitti made it to the top in the pouring rain. Dario Franchitti, husband of actress Ashley Judd, netted the second win for Andretti in three years.

In 2005, Patrick had been leading in the last few laps but fell behind when she had to slow down to conserve fuel. This time, she made a pitstop at lap 155 while Franchitti and the others raced ahead. Then, 34 laps were lopped off and the race ended because of the rain, blowing Patrick's pit stop strategy.

Danica Patrick had even got to second place at a point and was in the top five for a very long while, in the race. However, she lost her lead when the race was stopped for three hours and then restarted.

Sarah Fischer, who has not received as much attention as Danica Patrick and Milka Duno, finished in 18th place. She had returned to Indy 500 after a two-year gap. Fisher was the fastest woman qualifier at the Brickyard. She also has the distinction of achieving the best finish by a woman in Indy 500 when she finished second in 2001 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Milka Duno, on the other hand, was stopped by a wall when she was entering turn 1 after a restart and lost control in lap 66.

All in all, it was a lacklustre performance by the three women who were followed very closely in the run-up to the Indy 500. Of course, the race itself was a frustrating one to watch, with stops and starts and safety cars on the track because of the many crashes.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Bob Woolmer may have been strangled using a towel, suspected Al Qaeda link

According to latest reports, Jamaican police believe that Woolmer may have been strangled using some cloth, possibly a hotel towel. Reports quote Jamaica's deputy police commissioner Mark Shields as saying that the absence of marks on Woolmer's neck suggest that the murderer did not strangle Woolmer using his or her bare hands; rather there must have been something between the hands of the murderer and Woolmer's neck.

Mark Shields insists that even though the first pathology report was inconclusive, he is convinced that Bob Woolmer was murdered.

The Pakistan Times has reported that even though the Pakistan team has been allowed to return to Pakistan, the team has not been cleared in the inquiry into Woolmer's murder. Mark Shields has been quoted as saying that no one can be ruled at this stage of the investigation. Shields has said the theory that comes to light is that of match-fixing but that it is not the only line of inquiry.

Mark Shields has also been quoted as saying that he can identify many people from the digital security images as those he had met in the week after Woolmer's murder.

The police has not ruled out the possibility of a hit man being involved in Woolmer's murder.

Meanwhile, there are rumours of an Al Qaeda link to Woolmer's murder, circulating in some British newspapers. The Sun has said that a Pakistan-based bookie was thrown out after Woolmers' room after a row. The daily has said that the bookie was linked to Dawood Ibrahim.

Bob Woolmer's memorial service will be held in Cape Town on Wednesday at the Wynberg Boys' High School.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Sanjaya Malakar very likely to win the American Idol contest

Sanjaya Malakar, the 17-year-old Indian contestant of American Idol is neck-deep in controversy.

Despised by critics, spoofed on televisions, backed by DJ Howard Stern, Sanjaya Malakar is a serious contender to win the American Idol contest. Malakar has already made it to the top nine in the contest.

While Malakar has been much maligned by critics and judges, he seems to hold some appeal for a lot of viewers and has received support from unexpected quarters.

DJ Stern has been consistently promoting Malakar to his approximately six million listeners, according to a timesonline report. What is also helping him is the website which is running a campaign to vote for Malakar.

If this sweet-looking son of an Indian father and Italian mother from Seattle wins, it may spell doom for the American Idol franchise, some reports say. Usually, mediocre to poor contestants are voted out early into the contest but if Sanjaya Malakar is not voted out and actually wins the contest, the credibility of American Idol will be rocked.

American Idol is already low on ratings. However, it is also very likely that the fervid interest in Malakar may bolster flagging ratings, with viewers vying to vote him out or in depending on which side of the divide they are.

Controversy is also raging around Malakar's Indian roots. Reports say the Indian American community is pushing hard and garnering votes to keep Malakar in the reckoning.

Meanwhile, American Idol's caustic judge, Simon Powell, has said that he will walk out of the show, should Sanjaya Malakar win.

But the fact remains, however weak Malakar's peformances may be, he has a very strong fan base. Malakar's long flowing hair and winsome smile has made him very popular with young girls. He also has a certain kind of charisma and stage presence which is keeping him firmly in the running.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows cover pictures

The back and front covers of the last Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, has been released by its US and UK publishers Scholastic and Bloomsbury, respectively.

According to news reports, the US publisher Scholastic have used Mary GrandPre, the illustrator of the earlier six US editions of the Harry Potter series, to design the cover.

The front cover features Harry standing with his arm outstretched against an orange-gold sky. Harry is surrounded by shadows of other people in what looks like a walled structure.

According to reports, the wrap-around cover shows spidery hands on the back cover that are outstretched towards Harry. On opening the book, one can see an image of He-who-must-not-be-named.

The UK publisher Bloomsbury has a children's cover featuring Harry, Ron, and Hermione looking troubled, surrounded by lots of treasure. The inside front flap features a stag at the bottom.

The adult cover has a locket shaped like a S, which could be Slytherin's locket.

Harry Potter will be released on July 21, 12.01 AM. The previous six Harry Potter books: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince have been bestsellers.

Pax Thien's adoption by Angelina Jolie is legally binding, says top vietnamese official

In response to the News of the world report that Angelina Jolie may lose Pax Thien to his biological mother, the director of Vietnam's International adoption department, Vu Duc Long, has said that it was impossible for Pax Thien's birth mother to reclaim the three year old, according to News24. The official said that the adoption was totally legal and therefore could not be challenged.

Yesterday News of the world had reported that Angelina Jolie may lose her newly adopted son, Pax Thien Jolie since she adopted Pax Thien without his biological mother's consent.

According to the tabloid, the adoption papers of Pax Thien were signed by his grandfather and grandmother and now the grandfather, Chieng, was saying that Pax's biological mother ws a heroin addict and may do anything for money.

Apparently, the mother had Pax when she was involved with a married man who did not acknowledge Pax. The boy then ended up in an orphanage because his living conditions were so bad. Pax's grandparents have five children and could not take care of Pax.

Long had approved Pax's adoption. He told News24 that the adoption followed vietnamese law and that the biological mother had lost all claims on the boy when she abandoned him as an infant. Long added that the police had tried to search for the mother but they could not find her. He also added that Pax Thien's grandparents had never visited him in the orphanage all this time and that at the time of the adoption they were tracked down.

Earlier, Time magazine had reported that Pax Thien had been abandoned at birth and for 30 days signs were put up seeking the mother. However, when the biological mother did not turn up, Pax was sent to the Tam Binh orphanage.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Van Trung, director of the Tam Binh orphanage, from where Pax Thien was adopted by Angelina Jolie last week, has denied that Jolie could lose Pax.

Also, Vietnamnet has carried an interview with Pham Chieng, Pax Thien's grandfather where Chieng has said that they have no idea about what is being reported in News of the World. The family says that they have signed no papers for adoption. They say that they had been informed about the adoption by the Tam Binh orphanage and the HCM city department of Justice. The family also denies that Pax Thien's biological mother was involved with a married man. This account ties up with what Vu Duc Long is saying.

Early last week, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt adopted a three-year-old vietnamese boy from the Tam Binh orphanage in Ho Chi Minh city. Jolie looking to adopt another child had applied for a healthy boy between ages three and five. Pax Thien was the only boy at the Tam Binh orphange who met that criteria.

Jolie had signed the adoption papers as a single parent as Jolie and partner Brad Pitt are not married. Rumours are doing the rounds that Jolie and Pitt will tie the knot this Easter.

The couple already had three children; Maddox, 5, adopted from Cambodia, Zahara, 2, adopted from Ethiopia, and Shiloh Nouvelle, born last year to the couple.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Anna Nicole Smith died of accidental overdose

The New York Times has reported that Anna Nicole Smith died of an accidental prescription drug overdose last month according to the autopsy report.

Traces of many drugs such as muscle relaxants, pain relievers like methadone and anti-anxiety medicines were found in Smith's body. The primary drug was identified as the sedative chloral hydrate.

The medical examiner also said that other contributing factors included an intestinal flu and a bacterial infection.

There was intense speculation as to Anna Nicole Smith's death when she was found unconscious in her suite at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood. Smith was rushed to a nearby hospital where she was pronounced dead. However, the medical examiner ruled out suicide saying she was in very high spirits and the police department said there was no evidence of foul play.

Anna Nicole Smith was unwell when she arrived in Florida and was complaining of 105 degree fever. The fever may have been a result of the infection caused by the longevity injections she was injecting in her buttocks, says the New York Times. Smith did not go to the hospital but kept taking chloral hydrate to go to sleep.

Last September, Anna Nicole Smith's 20-year-old son Daniel died of a drug overdose in the Bahamas a few days after Smith gave birth to a daughter, Dannielyn. Many believe that Smith has been in depression ever since.

Meanwhile, the battle for custody for Smith's baby daughter, Dannielyn, continues over who is the biological father of the baby. A Bahamian judge had recently ordered a DNA test for Dannielyn to determine the identity of her father. Dannielyn is currently in the care of Smith's last companion Howard Stern, who is being challenged by photographer Larry Birkhead an ex-boyfriend of Smith, for Dannielyn's custody.

There is also a lawsuit on whether Dannielyn will inherit a part of Smith's ex-husband, oil billionaire J. Howard Marshall II's vast estate.

Latest shades for spring 2007: sporty, funky, city, glam

Here's an eyeful of the latest sunglasses to hit the stores this spring. Sporty, funky, streetwear, glam, whatever your style, take a look.

We like:

Glam: Large sunglasses from Christian Dior. Price: $260

Streetwear/City look: Tom Ford's Jennifer sunglasses. Price: $310

Beach sunglasses: Juicy Couture Zuma Beach sunglasses. Price: $195

Sporty: Dolce & Gabbana long wrap sunglasses. Price: $135

(Images: courtesy

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Bob Woolmer murder case: Police have video that may help nab killers


The Jamaican police are now examining Bob Woolmer's computer for clues to his murder, according to various news reports. The police are hoping to find some leads pertaining to match-fixing, which is being considered by many as the prime motive for the murder.

The police are also trying to locate as many witnesses as possible. Most of the people in the hotel have moved to other venues of the world cup and the police are trying to track them down.

An Associated Press of Pakistan report says that the Jamaican police are looking for three Pakistanis connected to the Pakistan cricket team in connection with the murder. Reports say that Hamid Malik, Efran Chaudhary, and Jundie Khan were fans who spent a lot of time with Pakistani cricketers. The three, reportedly, left Jamaica soon after Bob Woolmer's death.

Meanwhile, the police also suspect that Bob Woolmer was poisoned or drugged before he was strangled. According to the New Zealand Herald, the police are conducting toxicology and tissue tests on Woolmer's last service meal.

The latest reports on the Bob Woolmer murder case are reporting the Jamaican police as saying that they are in possession of video that could help nail the killers. According to the deputy police commissioner Mark Shields, images were transferred into a digital format from the security videotapes at the Pegasus hotel.

The security video that the police has shows only an end of the corridor of the 12th floor and not any of the doors, including the door of Bob Woolmer's room. However, the police are hoping that whatever footage is available of the activity on the floors will give them some leads as to the identity of the killers.

Meanwhile, News of the World, a UK tabloid has quoted Bob Woolmer's close friend Clive Rice (South African cricket player) as saying that Bob Woolmer was aware of match fixing and knew the names of members of the betting nexus and senior officials who were involved. Woolmer was apparently going to tell all in this forthcoming book.