Madonna’s son to be richest celebrity in next 20 yrs

London, Nov 20 (PTI) ‘Queen of Pop’ Madonna’s son Rocco and soccer star David Beckham’s son Cruz are predicted to become the richest celebrities in UK when they grow up. Rocco Ritchie, nine, and Cruz Beckham, four, are tipped to have the most earning power in a new report compiled by Cartoon Network.

The report assessed the estimated worth of today’s celebrity children in 20 years time, Contactmusic reported. Rocco, son of the ‘Celebration’ singer and film director Guy Ritchie, topped the four categories in the report – star quality, likely inheritance, talent and love of the camera – getting ratings of ten out of ten for each.

The report also estimated Rocco to be worth 376 million pounds before he reaches 30. “Rocco will earn a fortune from his mother and a fair bit from dad. But it’s the other three rankings that power him to the number one place,” Celebrity expert Mark Frith said.

Cruz, whose mother is former Spice Girl-turned-fashion designer Victoria Beckham, beat siblings Romeo, seven, and Brooklyn, ten, to second place in the list. Both Rocco and Cruz scored highly because they have been spotted dancing at their mother’s concerts.

None of Rocco’s other siblings, sister Lourdes and adopted brother and sister David and Mercy, featured on the list. British royals, William and Harry, came ninth and tenth on the list with estimated fortunes of just under 200 million pounds each, but were both awarded zero out of ten for showbiz talent.

Afghanistan is world’s worst place to be born: UN

Geneva, Nov 20 (IANS) Afghanistan is the most dangerous place in the world for a child to be born, the UN has said.

It is especially dangerous for girls, the UN Children’s Fund (Unicef) said Thursday, in launching its annual report: The State of the World’s Children, the Online news agency reported.

Afghanistan has the highest infant mortality rate in the world — 257 deaths per 1,000 live births, and 70 percent of the population lacks access to clean water, the agency said.

As Taliban insurgents increase their presence across the country, growing insecurity is also making it hard to carry out vital vaccination campaigns against polio, a crippling disease still endemic in the country, and measles that can kill children.

‘Afghanistan today is without a doubt the most dangerous place to be born,’ Daniel Toole, Unicef regional director for South Asia, told a news briefing.

A Taliban-led insurgency and militant attack on an international guesthouse in Kabul that killed five UN foreign staff last month prompted the world body to evacuate hundreds of international staff from Afghanistan for several weeks.

Some 43 percent of the country is now virtually off-limits to aid agencies due to insecurity, according to Toole. The Taliban have been building their forces in their traditional southern and eastern Afghanistan stronghold and are increasing attacks in the north and west.

Teaching girls is one of the practices they forbid. Some 317 schools in Afghanistan were attacked in the past year, killing 124 and wounding another 290, Toole said. ‘We have seen a drop in the number of children who are attending schools and particularly young girls,’ he added.

School enrolment in Afghanistan had risen to five million, including two million girls, against one million with virtually no girls in 2001 when the Taliban were ousted from power, he said.

‘In Afghanistan and Pakistan we’ve made some progress but we’re starting to worry about back-tracking on that progress given the high rates of insecurity and the ongoing conflict,’ Toole said.

Meanwhile, Unicef has urged the world to help the one billion children still deprived of food, shelter, clean water or health care – and the hundreds of millions more threatened by violence.

Kasab’s lawyer wilts in the harsh spotlight

Spotlights can often be welcome but not this one. The notoriety that came with having as a client the lone terrorist caught alive after the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attacks has left S.G. Abbas Kazmi weary, insecure and financially spent.

Defending Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab during the seven-month high profile trial has taken its toll, said Kazmi, who was appointed by the court for the task after the woman lawyer before him was removed over issues of clash of interests.

It has been a financial drain, has left him too busy to take up other cases and has led to 24X7 security for him and his family.

In a free-wheeling chat with IANS here, the 55-year-old lawyer said the case brought him fame — and many problems too.

‘For one, you all know what a hostile atmosphere I had faced from all quarters and communities when I was appointed for the trial,’ he said with a tired smile.

The hostility has dissipated to a large extent, he added, because he has conducted the trial in a most professional manner and even people who were protesting now accept he was merely doing a job assigned to him by the Special Court.

Kazmi, a known face in legal circles having defended some of the accused in the other high profile trial of the March 1993 Mumbai serial bombings, said the 26/11 trial turned out to be more than what he had expected.

‘It has regular hearings, which I cannot afford to miss. So, all my other work and cases got affected. I had to pass them on to my colleagues; till this trial gets over I have no time to take up new cases.’

‘All for Rs.2,500 ($55) per day’s hearing,’ Kazmi added ruefully. A pittance for a nationally known criminal lawyer.

The constant security that has come to be a part of their lives is new for the family that lives in Mahim, central Mumbai – and is also unwelcome.

‘But my family has been extremely understanding and supportive. They understand the sensitive nature of the trial and its implications; so they bear with everything,’ he smiled.

Commenting on Kasab, Kazmi said his interactions were always of a professional nature.

‘I get to meet him around once a week or so. From day one I have maintained that I would like this case to get over quickly so I can get on with other things, I have never tried to delay the trial in any manner.’

This was an oblique reference to Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam’s accusations that the defence was attempting to delay the proceedings.

Kazmi listed out the difficulties in the trial, and the differences between the hearings of the March 1993 bombings in which 257 people were killed, and the 26/11 attacks, where the three-day terror siege claimed 166 lives.

‘The first and foremost is that in the March 1993 case, all the accused were Indians. In this (26/11), the sole prime accused is a foreigner, from Pakistan. Then, there are two co-accused accomplices (Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin Ahmed) who are Indians,’ he said.

In the previous trial, there were a total of 123 accused, including several women, a Bollywood star (Sanjay Dutt), police and customs officials, mafia operatives and businessmen.

‘In this case, there is only Kasab, the prime accused,’ he pointed out. The other two – Ansari and Ahmed – had provided background support and were not directly involved during the terror attacks.

In both instances, 13 locations, including government buildings and luxury hotels, were targeted.

Discussing the number of witnesses in the two trials, Kazmi said it worked out to barely five witnesses per accused in the March 1993 case, compared to 250-plus against Kasab.

‘In my professional career, I have never seen so many witnesses against a single accused in any case. I do not recall any similar precedent in India in the past,’ Kazmi said.

The March 1993 trial went on for nearly nine long years under different judges; 26/11 has been on since the past seven months with only one Special Judge, M. L. Tahilyani, presiding.

It is likely to go on for some more time. At the present pace, Kazmi feels the trial may continue well into 2010 – before the final sentencing ends it

25 hurt as Shiv Sena attacks IBN Mumbai office

Mumbai, Nov 20 (ANI): At least 25 people were hurt when Shiv Sena allegedly attacked the offices of IBN7 and IBN Lokmat, the Hindi and Marathi news channels of the IBN Network on Friday afternoon.

According to sources, several journalists were beaten up and office property was damaged.

CNN-IBN sources quoted Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and State Police Chief D.Shivanand as saying that action would be taken promptly against the attackers.

The attack on the IBN offices was in response to the channel airing negative reports about the Shiv Sena and its chief Bala Saheb Thackeray.

Media networks across the country have condemned the incident, saying it amounts to a clear attack on press freedom. (ANI)

ANIFacebook, MySpace, slammed for not introducing ‘help button to protect kids’

Popular social networking websites Facebook and MySpace have come under fire for failing to introduce a help button for children being bullied online.

The outrage comes after rival networking site Bebo adopted the button that allows users to contact trained child protection officers and also provides details of local police and links to 10 other sources of help.

Jim Gamble, from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop), criticised MySpace and Facebook for not following the same example of Bebo.

He said there was “no legitimate reason” for not doing so and that social networking sites were raking in money through advertising by attracting children and teenagers to join.

“We applaud that but do not forget while you do that there is a responsibility, a duty of care, to the young and the vulnerable,” The BBC quoted him as saying.

He added, “[The button] is tiny and does not take up any significant real estate. The bottom line is there is no legitimate reason for not taking it and placing it on a site.”

Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, also said: “I can see no reason why other sites would not consider adopting the same approach and would encourage them to embed the Ceop Report button for the benefit of all users.”

A Facebook spokesman, on the other hand, explained: “The safety of Facebook users is the top priority for the company, which is why we have invested in the most robust reporting system to support our 300 million users.

“We also work closely with police forces in the UK and around the world to create a safe environment. Our teams are manned by trained staff in two continents giving 24-hour support in 70 languages.

“We look forward to hearing about the experience of Bebo using the Ceop button and will take account of their experience in any future evaluation of our reporting systems.” (ANI)

Google Image Swirl: A New Way To Browse For Similar Images

The newest addition to Google Labs is a mashup of Google Images, Google Similar Images and the visual query refinement tool, the Google Wonder Wheel. Called Google Image Swirl, the new tool clusters similar images based on characteristics found in both the text surrounding images, as well as using some of the visual analysis techniques that I wrote about in Google Adds Search By Similarity To Image Search back in April.

Image Swirl results look a lot like the thumbnails presented in regular image search results, but you can see that there are many images stacked behind the topmost result.


Click on a thumbnail, and the stack expands to show you a cluster of images, related by visual characteristics. Click on one of those, and you’ll get a further expansion, this time based on textual or conceptual relationships.


Image Swirl currently works for about 200,000 of the most popular queries. You can tell which queries have Image Swirl results when you start typing in the search box, as available searches will auto-complete, similar to Google Suggest. Google said it plans to expand the number of Image Swirl results available in the future.

Yahoo Brings ‘Real Time’ Updates To News Shortcut

Yahoo has enhanced its News shortcut with real-time feeds and updates. The idea is to make the News Shortcut more current and more social with Twitter content in the form of videos, photos and tweets. The new shortcut has a horizontal tabbed interface that offers access to each category of information (see screens below). According to Yahoo this is the first such integration with Twitter, although both Google and Bing are starting to integrate Twitter feeds.

The Yahoo Search Blog explains:

Starting today, you can see relevant photos, videos, and tweets about a breaking news story on the Yahoo! News Shortcut. Many of you are already familiar with the existing Yahoo! News Shortcut, which displays headlines on our Web search results page when you look for news stories. The enhanced shortcut with these new tabs will now display for many breaking or major news searches.

Images make the implementation self explanatory:

Picture 34

Picture 33

Picture 35

The enhanced shortcut seeks to make Yahoo Search the first place to go find the most current information on a range of news stories. Apparently there’s no comparable Yahoo News integration on the immediate horizon although it’s being considered. In terms of the “noise” that often shows up in Twitter, Yahoo is running a separate algorithm to filter the content and make sure that it’s free of irrelevant information.

When asked about whether users will take advantage of these content tabs, given that historically tabs are not widely utilized, Yahoo’s Larry Cornett told us that in user testing Yahoo was “very pleased” with the reaction to the new shortcut and its format.

News is a context in which “real-time” information makes perfect sense, unlike a range of other contexts where I may not need or want to know — right now.