South African midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala was the toast of his nation, striking the first goal of the FIFA World Cup 2010 but Mexico's Rafael Marquez's equaliser sealed a thrilling 1-1 draw in a Group A fixture. [See match photos]In the second game of the day, 2006 finalists France and Uruguay opened with a 0-0 draw in Cape Town. [See match photos]The World Cup got underway after a colourful song and dance ceremony where the likes of R Kelly and Cheb Khaled performed before a crowd of around 95,000. [See photos of the opening ceremony]The iconic Nelson Mandela had to skip the event at the last minute after his great granddaughter passed away last night in a car accident shortly after attending the World Cup opening concert in Johannesburg.South African president Jacob Zuma declared the World Cup open during his speech here at the Soccer City.The two teams remained goal-less in the first half. But Tshabalala put the home team ahead in the 55th minute.They seemed to be taking the game home when Marques equalised in the 78th.Earlier in the first half, Mexico's Carlos Vela's strike in the 38th minute was ruled off-side.South Africa had a heart-break in the 90th minute when Teho Modise outran the Mexican defence but tragically hit the pole.
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Originally designed as an efficient and practical runabout, the Mini Cooper has evolved as the embodiment of the fun of motoringIf you've drooled over the final scenes of the 2003 remake of The Italian Job then you're already sold on the Mini Cooper. The movie ends with a thrilling chase,Originally designed as an efficient and practical runabout, the Mini Cooper has evolved as the embodiment of the fun of motoringIf you've drooled over the final scenes of the 2003 remake of The Italian Job then you're already sold on the Mini Cooper. The movie ends with a thrilling chase in brightly painted Mini Coopers through subways, sewers, staircases and streets of Los Angeles. The choice of car was no doubt inspired by the fact that the original 1969 British movie, The Italian Job, starring Michael Caine, used the original Mini Cooper as the getaway car of choice.Having seen the light of day in 1959, the Mini was only a decade old then but had already won the hearts and minds of generations, with a devoted fan following across all strata of society, from the hip housewife to the hippie roadtripper. In fact, in 1999 the Mini was voted the second most influential car of the 20th century after the Ford Model T.The Mini was designed by Sir Alec Issigonis. It stood out as a fresh new automotive design because it had a front wheel drive layout (not the norm then as it is today) which eliminated the need for a propeller shaft and a rear differential; hence the floor of the passenger cabin could be flat which meant more room for baggage and passengers.Its simplistic design and practicality ensured the car was an immediate hit. From easy transport for grannies to winning Monte Carlo rallies, the car performed every role with equal panache and soon became an icon of British motoring in the 1960's.The 'Cooper' attachment came in 1961 when John Newton Cooper, a Britisher who tinkered about with cars to make them race and rally worthy, souped up the humble Mini to make it the Mini Cooper; a race and rally car to reckon with-a sort of Clarke Kent to superman.The Mini Cooper convertible does sport four seats but there will always be a scramble for the front seats Today, Cooper Car Company that John Cooper coowned with his father Charles Cooper, has been rechristened John Cooper works, and like the Mini, is now a wholly-owned sub brand of BMW working exclusively for Mini. Hence the name Mini Cooper.Like its contemporary the Volkswagen Beetle which was the only good thing to come out of Nazi Germany, the Mini too has been rejuvenated in a new avatar. Which means, like the latest model of Volkswagen Beetle, the new Mini Cooper is a modern car that still carries the characteristic design lines that leave no room for doubt about its heritage and lineage.While the Beetle was launched in India two years ago, the Mini Cooper arrived in India this January. It was launched at the annual Auto Expo in four variants-Mini Cooper, Mini Cooper S, Mini Cooper Convertible and Mini Cooper S Countryman. The old-new look cars are priced between Rs 25 and 32 lakh.But let's face it, the Mini Cooper S is a car that you will buy more for passion than purpose and the Mini Cooper convertible even more so. While these cars do serve the purpose of being handy city runabouts that are small and easy to park as the original Mini was conceived; the new Mini Cooper has been built and designed to cater to the ardour of motoring. This is why its 1.6l engine pumps out 184 bhp at 6000 rpm and the car attacks corners with such enthusiasm that you can feel its glee radiating through the steering wheel. It feels planted on straight roads and wraps itself around corners with confidence. It is then that you realise the reason behind big bucks for a small car; simply, more bang for buck. It's a car that loves to be driven and driven hard at that.The Mini Cooper countryman can easily take on the role of a weekend tourerIn the Mini Cooper Convertible (which is more expensive than the Mini Cooper S) the exhaust burble is a beautiful accompaniment to the drive. The most expensive of the lot is the Mini Cooper S Countryman. When the Countryman was revealed to the world many purists considered it sacrilege. First of all it's more like a miniature SUV than a little runabout (read higher ride height hence more ground clearance), secondly it was the first Mini to feature four doors and also a four wheel drive (optional).While the four wheel drive option is not likely to make it to India in the first stage, the Mini Cooper S Countryman is a good option for those who lust after a Mini Cooper but can't get past having to pay so much for just two doors and essentially two seats. The Countryman will seat four in comfort and five at a squeeze. The company also claims that the boot space between the hatch and the rear seats is generous and that its rear space will give the BMW X1 a run for its money.The best bit: even with these proportions it doesn't compromise on the fun to drive characteristic. And let's not forget, you're finally in the league of legends that brag ageless sensibilities and timeless appeal. Under the hoodThe S variants feature engines that are tuned to deliver 184bhp at 6000 rpm. The standard Mini Cooper engine turns out 124 bhp at 6000rpm.The Mini Cooper S will do 0 to 100kph in 7.2sec while the Mini Cooper will do the same in 10.4. The figures would be marginally higher for the Countryman given the extra weight.Price: Mini Cooper: Rs 24.9 lakhs; Mini Cooper S: Rs. 27.9 lakh; Mini Cooper Convertible: Rs. 29.9 lakh; Mini Cooper S Countryman: Rs. 31.9 lakh (all prices are ex-showroom Delhi)advertisementadvertisement
No Biz: Ambumani Ramadoss doesn't want stars to endorse colasDELHI: After bullying striking doctors into submission in the recent OBC reservation feud, PMK leader and Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss feels he can overwhelm film and sport celebrities as well.At the Central Food Laboratories' golden jubilee celebration in Kolkata recently,,No Biz: Ambumani Ramadoss doesn't want stars to endorse colasDELHI: After bullying striking doctors into submission in the recent OBC reservation feud, PMK leader and Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss feels he can overwhelm film and sport celebrities as well.At the Central Food Laboratories' golden jubilee celebration in Kolkata recently, he appealed to Shah Rukh Khan, Sachin Tendulkar, Aamir Khan, Virender Sehwag, Aishwarya Rai and other stars to "refrain from endorsing" soft drinks.Ramadoss's logic is that colas endanger children as they get hooked to them. "Even if they (colas) do not contain pesticides, children are being harmed," he said. When asked about the reasons behind his outburst, his office at Nirman Bhawan, Delhi, belts out an exhaustive list of side effects including obesity.A doctor himself, Ramadoss feels rising cardiac problems among children are linked to drinking colas. The appeal is unlikely to be followed by any official action soon, Nirman Bhawan sources say.Soft drink giants PepsiCo and Coca-Cola use celebrity endorsements globally, but the minister wants to set a precedent by trying to end the practice in India. Last year, he had created a bigger controversy by issuing a circular banning on-screen smoking. It was to be effective from January 1 this year.However, the information and broadcasting ministry put its foot down on the proposal following intense pressure from the film fraternity. The minister's request is being taken lightly by his colleagues in the council of ministers who think Ramadoss is being unrealistic.Worse still is the fact that the UPA's anti-MNC components like the RJD and Left haven't spoken a word yet in his favour.advertisement
It was supposed to be the pre-series press conference of the Asia Cup, but Rahul Dravid, who retired from firstclass cricket on Friday, dominated the proceedings with captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni saying that it's not even advisable for youngsters to think that they would replace the most successful Indian No.3 Test batsman, or any other great player."'Jam' was a great character to have in the dressing room. He was someone who loved challenges, whatever was thrown to him throughout his career - whether he was asked to open because of any reason or was asked to keep wickets."He's someone who will definitely be missed - an ideal role model and a good ambassador for the sport," Dhoni said."Definitely, we will miss him when it comes to the talent and what he brought into the team. Guys like him... it's not even advisable to think that they will be replaced by some other youngsters. Youngsters will be under tremendous pressure if they start to think like that."Dhoni pointed out the huge contribution that senior players like Dravid and a few other Indians have made to the game. "Every individual is different. Anyone who comes in shouldn't even think of the kind of senior we've got, whether you talk about Anil Kumble, Rahul, Sachin or Laxman or Sourav Ganguly. It's tough to replace them, so no point in thinking you'll have players who will replace them," he said."Somebody will start his career and who will be, after 10 or 12 years, very successful. But to say whether they will replace Rahul or talent like his, it's difficult."advertisementOn India's prospects in the Asia Cup, which begins with a Bangladesh-Pakistan game on Sunday, Dhoni hoped his team would perform consistently in the 12-day tournament."Over the years, its format has changed. Now, four good sides are playing. It's very important to start on a positive note."I said important because it's not very often that all the Asian countries play together. Hopefully, the team that plays the best will win the tournament. All the sides are really good," said the captain who will have a new vice-captain in Virat Kohli."It's important to take it one game at a time, not to think too much ahead. When it comes to ODI format we've done quite well."We are hoping that we will stick to it and be consistent throughout the tournament," he said.
Black Money BoomCurrency of Corruption It is a well-known fact that the biggest generator of black money is the unorganised sector, which includes the film industry, political parties, real estate, small businesses, middleman and moneylenders ("Black Money Boom", December 19). The size of the black economy would be at least,Black Money BoomCurrency of CorruptionIt is a well-known fact that the biggest generator of black money is the unorganised sector, which includes the film industry, political parties, real estate, small businesses, middleman and moneylenders ("Black Money Boom", December 19). The size of the black economy would be at least 70 per cent of the size of the unorganised sector, excluding agriculture-related activities outside the tax net. Therefore, it is necessary to regulate and minimise unorganised activities.-Shaun Venkat, on e-mailUnaccounted wealth can be controlled but not completely eliminated from the system. We need innovative solutions like VAT and special benefits for those whose tax declarations increase over the years. Government-sponsored investment instruments, which mobilise funds for priority sectors of our economy, should also aim at mobilising the unaccounted wealth, but without victimisation of investors who come forward with their undeclared incomes.-Navneet Dhawan, DelhiThe root cause of black money is illogical and too many laws applicable to even a small entrepreneur or a professional. A good portion of one's income goes into the government's pocket in the shape of taxes, excise and customs duty, and indirectly as taxes included in the prices of commodities bought every day, stamp duty, entertainment tax, service tax and toll tax.-Mahesh Kumar, DelhiInvestments in real estate and numerous benami deals happen with the patronage of the political class, whom the law hardly touches. As a first step in checking black money, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram's department ought to concentrate on politicians.-R.K. Sudan, on e-mailVoluntary disclosure schemes send a wrong signal by rewarding tax evaders. The Income Tax Department is concentrating on the salaried class, while allowing big evaders to escape.-M.M. Gurbaxani, BangaloreIt is time we abolished giving advertisements in media for people to pay their taxes and used that money to get hold of them.-Alok Chandna, KarnalThe only solution to the menace of black money is to scrap the Income Tax Act, which has been used to harass only genuine taxpayers. About 20 countries have no income tax. The scraping of the tax regime will make the entire money available in banks for development purposes. The government can earn revenue through VAT and uniform expenditure tax.-Subodh Saxena, DelhiThe main culprit is corruption and measures needed to tackle it are: reducing red tape and paper work at government offices, simplifying procedures, prohibiting appointment of people with dubious record to higher positions and immediate redressal of complaints by the public about wrongdoings by government servants.-Om Julka, ClevelandHalf MeasuresIt is astonishing that an intelligent and experienced person like K. Natwar Singh failed to read the writing on the wall ("Exposing the Natwar Connection", December 12). The day Natwar was divested of the external affairs portfolio it became clear that he was a persona non grata as far as the Congress and the UPA Government were concerned. Natwar's claim that he stepped down to prevent a deadlock in Parliament does not hold much water. Going by the same logic, Sonia Gandhi should also resign as chairperson of the UPA since the Opposition is demanding her resignation and stalling Parliament.-K.R.P. Gupta, on e-mailPaul Volcker is one of the conservative Republicans who try to undermine the credibility of anyone who opposes them. How can one do business with a dictator without paying him bribe? Does the US never give bribes to any dictator? I am not defending corruption but one has to see who is accusing Natwar and why. Is it because he opposed the nuclear deal with the US? Or because Saddam Hussein hated America and did not give contracts to US companies?-Paresh Gandhi, on e-mailWhat is the criterion for becoming an ambassador? Aniel Matherani is described as a person who used to hang around the Congress party office and was close to Natwar. It seems patronage and not competence is the qualification for the post. The prime minister should review all ambassador appointments made under Natwar.-Anjali Sreekumar, ThiruvananthapuramHas any politician ever been convicted of a crime? Some time ago the CBI had pleaded in a Delhi court that it wanted to drop the case against Satish Sharma, a Congress politician close to the Gandhi family, because it did not get the requisite cabinet approval to prosecute him. The court also agreed. This case will also meet the same fate after crores of rupees have been wasted on covering it.-Udita Agrawal, DelhiA Finger in Every PieCentral and state ministers are often seen fighting elections for sports organisations ("The First Pawar Play", December 12). It seems running a ministry is a child's play or these ministers are so efficient that they can do justice to both their ministry and the sports body they head. A law should be enacted to bar ministers from heading other organisations.-Sudhir K. Bhave, MumbaiBlinkered VisionOn paper, most cities have a floor space index (FSI) of two, but in reality it is four in Indian metros (Cities of Joy", December 12). Huge apartment blocks and commercial complexes routinely violate parking, open space and safety standards. Without any word for the disastrous chaos this may lead to, Hafeez Contractor prescribes an FSI of 16 and compact, high-density cities. What we need is deregulation in terms of repealing the Urban Land Ceiling Act, the municipalities creating and managing basic services and public transport systems. Merely increasing the FSI will not solve the problems.-E.F.N. Ribeiro, DelhiTheir Own UndoingThe prime reason why left parties are on the decline is that they have ignored the voice of the people ("The Party is Withering Away", December 19). Many left intellectuals downplay the interests of the people once they have attained a high stature. Those claiming to be nation oriented are hankering for the seal of approval from foreign powers even if that means deviating from their ideals. Such contradictions ensure that the gap between leftists and the interests of the nation exist forever.-Arvind K. Pandey, AllahabadLessons Not LearntIn spite of the rejection by the people of Bihar, Lalu Prasad Yadav has not realised his follies ("BJP will use Nitish to communalise Bihar", December 12). He is still under the impression that he can keep on fooling the people. It is ridiculous that he wants organisations like the People's Union for Civil Liberties to investigate the "atrocities" committed on the candidates and voters during the election.-K.R. Sivaramakrishnan, on e-mailUma BhartiAnger And DespairUma Bharati has been short-changed in being denied the chief minister's post in Madhya Pradesh after she had been acquitted by the court ("Sanyasin Scorned", December 12). It is but natural that she is unhappy with the BJP leadership which wants to crack the whip.-D.B.N. Murthy, BangaloreNo party can survive without discipline. The BJP has done the right thing by sacking Bharati from the party.-K.R. Parvathi, WayanadBharati is an honest and forthright grassroots leader unlike anyone in the BJP. This gives her moral superiority.-Madhu Singh, Ambalaadvertisementadvertisement
Bhopal, Mar 24 (PTI) Bhopal Badshahs made a remarkable comeback to hold second-placed Chandigarh Comets 4-4 in an 11th round match of the World Series Hockey here today. Down 0-4 in the first two quarters, Badshahs made a spirited comeback and scored four goals in the next two periods to deny Comets full points. Expectedly it was the team from Chandigarh which dominated the first two quarters pumping in as many as four goals through Sukhwinder Singh Gabbar (8th minute and 20th), Gurjinder Singh (9th), and Amir Khan (30th). But it was not to be Comets day as Badshahs came out a determined lot in the last two quarters and scored through Affan Yousuf (40th minute), Sameer Dad (47th), Shailendra Singh Bundela (61st, 64th) to share points with the better-placed visitors. By virtue of this draw, Comets have consolidated their position in the standings and have moved to the second position with 19 points from 11 matches. The draw also raised Badshahs semifinal hopes and they now lie in the sixth position in the tally with 14 points from 11 games. Badshahs will next host bottom-placed Mumbai Marines here tomorrow, while Chandigarh will travel to Chennai to play third-placed Chennai Cheetahs on Monday.
Actor Madhuri Dixit is back to sizzle TV screens again with the fifth season of dance reality show Jhalak Dikhla Ja. To make sure that all eyes are on her, she is donning three looks of the actors of three decades, including her once competitor Sridevi.The timeless diva has been paying a tribute to Bollywood's different dance eras sporting sultry looks from the 1960s, 70s and the 80s in the promo for the reality show as Madhuri promises the musical extravaganza to get bigger and better.Inspired by Meena Kumari's courtesan look from the sixties in Pakeezah, Madhuri gracefully pays homage to the yesteryear's superstar.Donning a bright orange salwar kameez with a bouffant, Madhuri revisits the seventies as she does Cha Cha Cha to thank Mumtaaz, her inspiration for a retro avatar.Madhuri also pays a tribute to her Bollywood contemporary in the eighties, Sridevi. Clad in a sheer yellow nine-yard wonder, Madhuri draws inspiration from Sridevi's uber sexy number in Mr India.If the promos' glimpses are anything to go by, the fifth season of Jhalak Dikhla Ja would certainly be TV's big offering.
DUBIOUS DISTINCTION: BlairTony Blair may have won the war in Iraq but it appears he isn't exactly winning the hearts of the people of Britain.In an online survey conducted by Channel 4, the prime minister, who celebrated his 50th birthday recently, has surpassed 12 politicians and screen, stage and sports,DUBIOUS DISTINCTION: BlairTony Blair may have won the war in Iraq but it appears he isn't exactly winning the hearts of the people of Britain.In an online survey conducted by Channel 4, the prime minister, who celebrated his 50th birthday recently, has surpassed 12 politicians and screen, stage and sports celebrities to win the not exactly-coveted No. 1 slot in the list of the 100 most hated people in Britain. His much-in-the-news advocate wife, Cherie, also figures in the list at No. 89. Blair is followed by buxom model Jordan. "What goes around comes around," said Jordan on hearing that she was at No. 2. "I am a great believer in that, so eat your apple pie." Producers of Channel 4 show said what she probably meant was "humble pie". If the New Labour leader is heading the list, his Conservative predecessor and former prime minister Magaret Thatcher is not far behind. The Iron Lady is at No. 3. Hero-turned-villain journalist Martin Bashir - famous for prodding Princess Diana to talk about her rocky relationship with Charles and, more recently, for his controversial interview with popstar Michael Jackson - is at No. 5. The list has a good sprinkling of royal names led by the Queen at No. 10 and followed by Prince Charles at 24, Prince Edward at No. 40 and the Countess of Essex and Princess Ann further down.Though the poll is dominated by celebrities who are normally associated with "C" lists, it also has musical genius Andrew Lloyd-Webber, whose Broadway hits like Phantom of the Opera and lately Bombay Dreams don't seem to have entertained some. Even the UK's golden couple - Victoria and David Beckham - have not been spared. Victoria is at No. 13 and her husband at No. 91.advertisementAccording to the rules, the nominees had to be British, alive and not in prison or pending trial. So author Jeffrey Archer, who is currently serving a jail term, was out of the running. But he is probably better off watching from the cell than being in the thick of action.
The Income Tax department has given a clean chit to the five banned domestic cricketers, who were involved in the IPL spot-fixing fiasco, from any financial misconduct or receiving kickbacks in order to fix matches.The department, which conducted an investigation into the financial transactions of the five players for charges of spot-fixing, found that the cricketers have not received any pecuniary benefit in cash or by the way of fund deposits in their accounts.The five players -- T P Sudhindra, Shalabh Srivastava, Mohnish Mishra, Amit Yadav and Abhinav Bali were also questioned by the I-T sleuths at their special unit office in the national capital after a TV channel aired the sting operation.According to sources privy to the development, the department is expected to submit a report in this regard soon and would also inform the Sports Ministry.The Sports Ministry had asked the Department of Revenue under the Finance Ministry and the I-T to probe alleged financial irregularities in the cash-rich IPL, including in the latest edition of the tournament.The I-T sleuths also conducted a scan on the bank accounts, investments and other financial avenues of these five cricketers and their close relatives, in order to probe if any kickbacks were illegally received by them to fix IPL matches."They are clean, at least, on the illegal gratification and money front," sources said.The department, however, is continuing with its probe against various IPL franchises.The BCCI had on Saturday slapped a life ban on pacer T P Sudhindra and handed lighter punishments to the other four other players who were also exposed in the TV sting operation.advertisementWhile Srivastava was banned for five years, Mishra, Yadav and Bali were debarred for a year each.While the BCCI had cracked the whip against the five players for a variety of reasons like "receiving a consideration to spot-fix" an IPL match and indulging in "loose talk and unsubstantiated bragging to bring the game into disrepute", sources said the I-T probe was specifically gauged to find evidence of transfer of any illegal cash or any other monetary benefits.The statements of the players, according to sources, and the inputs gathered about them corroborated that their finances were not illegal.The I-T department officials also went through the footage of the sting operation conducted before questioned the cricketers.