‘Mile sur’ video back with younger feel

‘Mile sur mera tumhara’, that vibrant, lilting music video of the 1980s showcasing the colours, sights and sounds of India, was back in a younger and dynamic avatar across television screens on Republic Day Tuesday.

The captivating new video, ‘Phir mile sur’, in a 16-minute long sweep travels to 15 locations with over 68 known personalities, be it Bollywood’s macho man Salman Khan or badminton ace Saina Nehwal or musician A. Sivamani. From beaches to deserts, from mosques and temples to high rises, it gives a feel of modern India.

Each artiste speaks of a cause and the video is shot at places which have historic value and significance. Film veteran Amitabh Bachchan is perhaps the rare personality who featured in the original and surfaces again in the new one.

Corporate couple Arti and Kailash Surendranath have produced ‘Phir mile sur’.

‘It has been an incredible journey creating ‘Mile sur’, which was a mosaic of so many different personalities from various walks of life and regions in India,’ said Kailash Surendranath.

‘Today, we feel the same emotions gushing, after a span of two decades. So many things have changed in India – growth, prosperity, the economic scenario. However, as citizens of this wonderfully diverse country, our feelings for India have only grown stronger and we hope that ‘Phir mile sur’ will further strengthen this bond,’ he said.

When the original ‘Mile sur’ was premiered on Doordarshan Aug 15 in 1988, it was an instant hit. It featured many national icons of the time, including Amitabh Bachchan, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Kamal Haasan, Balamurli Krishna, Lata Mangeshkar, Prakash Padukone, to name a name a few.

This time many of the faces are from the new generation, be it sitar player Anoushka Shankar, sarod players Aman and Ayan Ali Khan or shooter Abhinav Bindra, boxers Mary Kom and Vijender Singh, and sand sculptor Sudarshan Patnaik.

The original video of 1980s was conceptualised by the late Suresh Mullick and written by adman Piyush Pandey.

The new one has brilliant cinematography and lilting music by Louis Banks who had also composed the original with late P. Vaidyanathan. It took the makers more than 60 days of shooting.

The video features 22 superstars, 18 musicians, 13 artistes and singers and 15 sportspersons.

There does, however, seem to be an overdose of Bollywood, with not only megastar Amitabh but also son Abhishek, daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai along with Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, Ranbir Kapoor, Shahid Kapoor, Shilpa Shetty and Juhi Chawla.

The video has got more than 2,600 hits on Youtube so far and has got mixed responses from the surfers.

‘It’s beautiful – I like the fact that it does not stress state-wise division, but was a beautiful flow up and down the country, not fixing every celebrity to the state they belong to. A big thank you to the makers. I will not compare it to the old one, this is definitely perfect for today,’ posted a surfer on the site.

There were reactions on the other extreme.

‘Awful, awful, awful…Very Bollywoodised. Bring back the old one,’ said another surfer.

Indo Asian News Service

Tips to get rid of dark circles

Are dark circles under your eyes making you look older than you are? You can get rid of dark circles by following simple home remedies.

Apart from taking a balanced diet, one should do meditation and yoga, suggests Kiran. Here are a few other expert tips to get rid of dark circles:

For dry skin: Apply a paste of almond and milk regularly.

For normal skin: Apply a honey, lemon and almond paste.

Everyday, apply pure almond oil sparingly around the eyes. Leave on for 15 minutes and wipe off gently with moist cotton wool.

Dark circles due to genetic factors are generally difficult to get rid of, but under-eye support creams can help slow down the darkening.

Anti-wrinkle creams also help as they strengthen collagen and hide under-eye blood vessels.

Hindustan Times

Did McGraw-Hill CEO spill Apple’s tablet secret?

The McGraw-Hill Cos. Inc.’s CEO spoke on CNBC on Tuesday and appeared to confirm speculation that Apple Inc. will indeed unveil a tablet computer running on iPhone software during a highly anticipated media event on Wednesday.

Harold McGraw, the company’s chief executive, was discussing his company’s earnings on the cable television business news channel. When asked about the tablet, McGraw said Apple will “make their announcement tomorrow on this one” and that “the tablet is going to be based on the iPhone operating system.”

His comments, though brief, sounded authoritative and several Apple-themed blogs reported the incident as if McGraw had accidentally beaten Apple CEO Steve Jobs to the punch.

McGraw-Hill spokesman Steven Weiss would not confirm that the CEO was describing Apple’s actual product.

“There has been lots of speculation and we are as eager as anyone to see how the new device can be used to advance education and business information platforms,” Weiss said.

McGraw’s comments on CNBC appeared to be an abbreviated version of remarks made during a conference call with Wall Street analysts earlier in the day. According to a transcript supplied by Weiss, McGraw sounded confident that the tablet would soon become a reality. But as for technical details, he said only that “many expect that the Apple device will use the iPhone operating system.”

McGraw-Hill is a major developer and publisher of educational materials and textbooks, and some of its college texts are already available for reading on Apple’s iPhone. If Apple’s tablet is based on the iPhone system, the investments McGraw-Hill and other publishers have already made in e-books would still be relevant on the new device.

India to send two astronauts into space in 2016

India will launch its first manned mission in 2016 with two astronauts for a week-long odyssey in space, a top Indian space agency official said on Wednesday.

“We are planning a human space flight in 2016, with two astronauts who will spend seven days in the earth’s lower orbit,” Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman Dr. K. Radhakrishnan told reporters here.

Space scientists and senior officials of the state-run ISRO are preparing a pre-project report to build the infrastructure and facilities for the mission, estimated to cost a whopping Rs.124 billion ($2.76 billion).

The Planning Commission had in principle approved the human space flight project in February 2009. Its Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia then said more funds would be allocated in two phases during the Eleventh Plan (2007-12) and Twelfth Plan (2012-17).

“We will design and develop the space module for the manned mission in the next four years. Two astronauts will be selected to train for the space flight,” Mr. Radhakrishnan said on the margins of a space event.

The government had allocated Rs. 950 million (Rs.95 crore/$10 million) for pre-project initiatives in 2007-08.

The space agency will set up a full-fledged training facility in this tech hub for training the astronauts and building a third launch pad at its spaceport at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, about 80 km northeast of Chennai.

“Spacecraft for the proposed manned mission will have extra facilities like entry into crew capsule and an escape chute,” the chairman said after releasing a book titled “Moon Mission: Exploring the Moon with Chandrayaan-1”.

The book was authored by S.K. Das, former member (finance) of the space department.

To demonstrate its re-entry technology prowess, ISRO had launched in 2007 a 600 kg space capsule recovery experiment (SRE) using the polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV) rocket and was successful in bringing it back to the earth safely 12 days later.

Pain in the back

Here’s how to protect your back from injury and stress

I have often come across people complaining of back pain — not only the old, but even the young. However, it is not something to be taken lightly. Lower back pain may radiate down to the back of the thigh and in some cases to the calves and the feet. Most of us suffer the pain silently and do nothing about it. Those who do so should stop and think. Low back pain can be acute lasting for three to four weeks, or chronic lasting for more than 12 weeks.

Causes

Poor posture

Stooped or bent posture can cause a lot of damage. Many of us stand and sit in poor postures. If this is corrected, your back pain will reduce a great deal. Habitual bad posture can cause enough damage to the structure and the musculature of the spine. The reason why older people stoop is not because they are getting older but because of poor posture; this holds good for youngsters too.

Incorrect lifting techniques

Very few ensure that the back is straight when they are lifting things. Those who lift weights with rounded backs are at bigger risk of back injuries. The pressure on the intervertebral discs is much higher when heavy objects are lifted with a bent back.

Prolonged sitting

Those who have sedentary jobs have a tendency to develop back ache. Sitting posture is critical for those who have backaches.

Over training

Exercise enthusiasts in quest of the perfect body tend to do many exercises that are orthopaedically unsafe and not necessary; they need to consult a professional on what is good and not good for them.

Car seating

Many cars do not give adequate lumbar support. Bad seating can cause strain to the muscles, ligaments and discs of the back.

Prevention

Standing and sitting erect is very important: if your chair does not give the necessary lumbar support, it’s time to change it. Always keep your back straight while lifting objects, do not bend from your back; bend your knees instead. If you’re in a sedentary job, make sure you get up and move around every now and then in conjunction with a few stretches for your back. While shopping try to carry loads symmetrically on both sides and try not lifting too much (use trolleys). Shift sides if you’re habituated to carrying shoulder bags.

Sleep is very essential; make sure you get to sleep at least seven hours a day. Avoid stress which can aggravate your backache.

Avoid smoking as it has a deleterious effect on healing: the lack of sufficient oxygen to the tissues will affect the healing process.

Treatment

Stop worrying and get rest, but do not become completely inactive unless your physician says so. If the pain does not subside, contact a professional therapist, holistic exercise practitioner or an orthopaedician. Also start a professional training programme under a qualified fitness expert.

The author is a CSCS (NSCA), C.H.E.K and expert trainer

Manmohan to go to Saudi soon, extradition treaty on cards

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is planning to go to Saudi Arabia around the end of February, his first overseas visit of 2010 that will have an extradition treaty and pledges of big-ticket Saudi investments into India as its highlights.

“The visit is under consideration. He could go around February end or the first week of March. It is being finalised,” knowledgeable sources told.

It will be the first visit by an Indian prime minister to Riyadh, the world’s top oil producer that supplies nearly 30 percent of India’s crude oil needs, since Indira Gandhi went there in 1982.

Building upon their counter-terror cooperation since the landmark visit of the Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud in 2006, the two sides are planning to sign an extradition treaty, which they have been discussing for years, during the visit.

The treaty will underline a new trust and synergy between India and the Gulf’s most influential country, home to 1.6 million-strong Indian diaspora.

“The draft has been finalised. Only some formalities remain to be completed between the two sides,” the sources added.

The cabinet is expected to approve the treaty soon. It will enable India to get access to some of fugitives like underworld don Dawood Ibrahim who are often spotted in Saudi Arabia. Ibrahim is wanted in India for the 1993 serial bombings in Mumbai.

Riyadh is keen to seek greater counter-terror cooperation with New Delhi and has consistently expressed solidarity with India in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.

Another area that is going to see a tangible breakthrough during Manmohan Singh’s visit – deferred many a time in the last three years due to scheduling issues – is the expected announcement of some showpiece investments by Saudi companies in the infrastructure sector.

Saudi investors are looking at India, the world’s second fastest growing economy, afresh specially after the global financial crisis when they lost heavily in the crunch.

The investment proposals will also be discussed when a Saudi delegation headed by their deputy minister for trade comes to India for the two-day Indo-Arab conclave next month.

India is planning to offer $9 billion in investments to Gulf countries during the conclave, the sources said. Indian companies have already invested around $2 billion in the Gulf’s largest economy.

With Saudi Arabia looking at India anew as a knowledge power, expanded cooperation in areas like IT and science and technology will be among important outcomes of the visit.

The spadework for the visit was done by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who attended the eight session of the Joint Commission in Riyadh in October.

India feted King Abdullah as chief guest at the Republic Day parade in 2006 – the first visit by a Saudi monarch to the country in over half a century.

Cambodian ship hijacked, Indian crew may be on board

Mumbai: A Cambodian cargo ship, MV Layla S, was hijacked off the Somalian port of Berbera in the Gulf of Aden, a top maritime authority said here on Wednesday. The crew members are said to be a mix of Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Somalian and possibly Syrian nationals.

The details of the crew members are still awaited, said the Directorate-General of Shipping (DGS). The vessel is believed to be owned and managed by Al Hufoof, an agency based in either Syria or the United Arab Emirates.

The DGS said the ship was overpowered after the cargo was offloaded at Berbera Port.

Moreover, the DGS said the crew has reportedly been abandoned by the owner so they may have been already held in captivity since the past few days. Such incidents are common in this region but come to light only much later.

The DGS has informed the authorities, including the Coast Guard and Indian Navy, of the developments.