Sunday, October 26, 2008

Leading in every poll, Obama heads for a landslide

WASHINGTON: The momentum for Barack Obama is so great now that Democrats are swinging wildly between giddy euphoria and fearful disbelief. \"Stick a fork in McCain, he\'s done!\" one Obama supporter chortled on TV. Moments later, he said it ain\'t over till it\'s over.Every single poll now shows Democrat Barack Obama leading Republican John McCain by anywhere from five to ten points. A poll of polls averaging six prominent surveys gives Obama a 52-41 lead with seven per cent undecided. Unless Obama makes a big mistake now, McCain is a goner, says David Gergen, the respected political commentator.Republicans look and sound like the Australian cricket team. The swagger is gone; they have their backs to the wall. Obama is the Democratic Dhoni for now. Everything he touches is turning to gold.The fact that he took two days off from the campaign trail at a crucial time to go visit his seriously ailing grandmother in Hawaii was seen by some as confidence that he is on a roll. Others saw it as highlighting the fact that he has a white maternal grandmother.Madelyn Dunham, the woman he affectionately calls \"Toot,\" short for the Hawaiian word \"tutu\" for grandparent -- brought him up when his single white mother was traveling when he was a kid. Pundits say the gesture, while genuine, can only help him in the polls.Some of the most significant pointers to a possible Obama landslide came in an NBC-Wall Street Journal poll on Monday that put him 52-42 ahead of McCain, up from a six-point lead weeks ago. The 10-point lead is the largest in the Journal/NBC poll since both men claimed their parties\' nominations, and represents a steady climb for Obama since early September, when the political conventions concluded with the candidates in a statistical tie.The survey shows that Obama is now starting to extend his lead in almost every major voter segment, mainly on account of the economic crisis. He leads suburban voters by 12 points, up from two points two weeks ago. He holds a 12 point advantage with independents, up by four from two weeks ago. He even leads among voters older than 65 by nine points, erasing a one-point McCain advantage.Some of the most striking advances he has made have been in the Midwest, home to a swath of battleground states, where he is now favored by a staggering 25 points, up from a one-point advantage. A rattled McCain camp is on the run from states such as Iowa and Colorado, deep in the Republican heartland. To use a kabaddi term, Obama is now raiding deep into the Republican territory.The McCain campaign has already pulled out stakes (and finance and advertising) from Michigan to try and concentrate on Pennsylvania, where they still have an outside chance. In the American system, once a candidate establishes an insurmountable lead in one state, the rival does not waste time, money and resources on that state, preferring to divert it to state where the race is still close. It\'s one of the quirks of a system where a candidate who wins the popular vote of a state (even by a few votes) wins all the electoral votes. The number of electoral votes in each state is the sum of the number of Senators (2) and Congressmen (variable).As a result, the election is virtually over or uncontested in almost 40 states. The so-called battleground states number around ten. And in almost every one of them, Obama has the momentum.It won\'t be anything like Ronald Reagan\'s rout of Walter Mondale in 1984 (when he won 49 of 50 states and 525 out of 538 electoral votes), because there are more than a dozen states which McCain has wrapped up. But the Obama camp, no-hopers when they began their campaign, are certainly eyeing 300-plus now.

Police identify Malegaon blast mastermind

Mumbai: The Anti-Terrorist Squad of Mumbai Police on Sunday claimed to have closed in on the mastermind of the September 29 Malegaon blast. The ATS further revealed the name of the instigator as Ram Narayan Singh.The ATS disclosed that Singh planted the bombs on the bike and did a survey of the area before the blasts. According to police sources, the accused is associated with a Hindu organisation.The disclosure comes a day after the Mumbai ATS detained two former Army officials from Pune.The ex-Army officials are said to have given training to the people involved in carrying out the blast.ATS officials are also on the lookout for other leads in various states.Earlier, a young Sadhvi and two other men were arrested on Thursday and slapped with murder charges for their alleged involvement in the Malegaon blast.Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur along with Shamlal Sahu and Shivnarayan Singh, all hailing from Madhya Pradesh, have been remanded them to police custody till November 3.The motorcyle used in the Malegaon blasts on September 29 in which five persons were killed belonged to the Sadhvi. Besides having links with the BJP\'s student wing ABVP, she is suspected to be associated with the Indore-based radical Hindu Jagran Manch (HJM) accused of involvement in the blasts in Malegaon as well as in Modasa in Gujarat in which one person was killed.However, the right-wing outfit has denied the charge.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Thackeray stares at long legal battle

MUMBAI: MNS chief Raj Thackeray, who was released on bail on Wednesday, would have to prepare himself for a long-drawn legal battle in view of mounting pressure from major partners of the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government in Delhi.A day after MNS workers went on the rampage, the state home department led by senior NCP leader and deputy chief minister R R Patil registered a record 54 criminal cases against Thackeray in 27 police stations and arrested an estimated 6,000 MNS workers across the state.Director-general of police A N Roy confirmed that a large number of criminal cases had been registered against Thackeray and his supporters.\"After proper investigation and on the basis of adequate evidence, we have added his name as an abettor to the main crime. Of course, the law will take its own course in all these cases,\'\' Roy told TOI.According to records, offences for rioting, arson, obstructing public servants from performing their duties and conspiracy have been registered against MNS workers. In all these cases, Thackeray\'s name has been added as an abettor.Significantly, all the accused arrested since October 19 have been released on bail. If Thackeray is arrested, he, too, will be released on bail; but in that event, he will be taken across the districts. \"It is not necessary to arrest him in all the cases as, according to the law, he can be asked to remain present in court at the time of filing the chargesheet,\'\' a senior home department official said.Alarmed by the stringent criticism of the home department, it was for the first time that the law-enforcing agencies followed a strategy adopted for a hardened criminal.Once a criminal is booked, the police ensure that he does not get bail and is shifted from one court to the other. In the case of Thackeray, the home department has adopted the same strategy. \"We don\'t want to arrest him on a daily basis, but let there be a hanging sword,\'\' he added.On the large number of cases against Thackeray, the official admitted that more than the state government , there was mounting pressure from the Centre, particularly home minister Shivraj Patil, railway minister Lalu Prasad and fertiliser minister Ram Vilas Paswan, to take stern action against the MNS chief.\"If we hadn\'t detained him for two days, there would have been law and order problems across the country, particularly the north,\'\' he added.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Webmaster Jam Session Rocked

CoffeeCup Software
Over 45,639,249 Downloads in 87 Countries

The Webmaster Jam Session Rocks Again

Hi everyone!

Things are moving a little slowly around the CoffeeCup office today. What can we say? We were having so much fun at the Webmaster Jam Session this weekend that we didn't have a chance to get our beauty sleep.

It was worth it, though, because this year was easily the best Jam Session yet! We knew we had some great speakers lined up, but in no way were we prepared for them to kick this much butt.

Couldn't make it to the Jam Session this year? Check out some pictures here!

One of our favorite parts of the event was the Website Smackdown. Fourteen of our speakers crowded onstage, some lucky enough to find chairs, some perched on the edge of the stage, and one — Rob Weychert — sitting squarely on two other speakers' laps. Despite the cramped quarters, they critiqued Websites in fine style. Members of the crowd took notes, asked questions, and rolled in the aisles laughing. Everyone had such a great time!

The attendees and speakers had the exclusive pleasure to be the first to check out the newest members of the CoffeeCup family of software: Shopping Cart Creator, sIFR Font Maker, and the latest build of Website Font. We'd never seen that much excitement in crowd of Webmasters before!

Some of our users will get their exclusive beta invitations this week. Don't worry if you donĂ¢€™t hear from us this week, though. These and more applications will be ready for public release soon!

One of the perks at this year's Jam Session were free DVDs of the highlights of Webmaster Jam Session 2007. They were such a big hit that we decided to make a special offer for all our users. Here it goes: For the next 7 days, if you order any software on CD — even software you already own — we'll throw in a copy of the 2007 Webmaster Jam Session DVD absolutely free!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Wrong to malign Islam: Advani

NEW DELHI: Bharatiya Janata Party\'s (BJP) prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani on Saturday said that it is wrong to target and malign one particular religion for the wrongs of a few. \"Even if the Quran is quoted in threatening emails by terrorists, we should not malign a religion. It is the particular interpretation of the Al Qaida-type of groups,\" Advani said while addressing a seminar on \'War on Terrorism\' organised by Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini, a BJP- sponsored think tank. He said that Hindu scriptures could also be misinterpreted and it would be \"intolerable if people malign Hindutva because of that\". On the party\'s repeated demand for reviving the stringent anti-terror law Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), Advani said: \"We have accepted the Supreme Court\'s directions and precautions to check misuse of the law. This shows the determination of the BJP to make proper laws.\" The BJP has intensified its campaign for the general elections due next year and is using the issue of terrorism to criticise the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. The seminar on Saturday is one of many planned to mobilise people against the UPA government on the BJP\'s chief election plank - the fight against terrorism.

Suspected US strikes kill 21 in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: At least 21 people, including 16 foreign militants, were killed and several others injured in a missile strike carried out by a suspected US drone in Pakistan\'s North Waziristan tribal region on late Friday. Official sources were quoted by Dawn News channel as saying that a house in a village in Mohmandkhel area, located 15 km from North Waziristan\'s main town of Miranshah, was targeted in the attack. The sources said 16 Arab militants were among the 21 people killed in the strike. Earlier reports had said two women also died in the attack. The residents of the house fired at the unmanned spy plane, which then fired a missile. The house that was targeted belonged to two Afghan refugees, the sources said. However, local residents claimed the attack was carried out by two jets that intruded into Pakistani airspace. They said they had heard the jets flying in the area at the time of the attack. Pakistan has angrily protested cross-border attacks in its tribal areas by US-led coalition forces from Afghanistan, describing them as a violation of its sovereignty. Despite the protests, the attacks have continued.

US troops kill al-Qaida mastermind in Iraq

BAGHDAD: The US military says it has killed a senior al-Qaida leader suspected of masterminding deadly bombings in Baghdad. The military says US troops acting in self-defence also killed his wife in Friday\'s firefight. Saturday\'s statement identifies the man killed as Mahir Ahmad Mahmud Judu\' al-Zubaydi, also known as Abu Assad or Abu Rami. It says he directed the insurgent cell that was believed to be responsible for nearly simultaneous car bomb and suicide attacks that killed at least eight people on Thursday. The military says he was suspected in several other attacks against Iraqis and US forces in past years. It also says he is seen in the videotaped execution of one of four Russian diplomats in June 2006.

Primary health centres defunct: Supreme Court

NEW DELHI: In a strong indictment of the country\'s rural healthcare infrastructure, the Supreme Court on Wednesday said that primary health centres (PHCs)conceived as the pillar of the system providing medical care in the countryside, had become totally defunct. \'\'In rural areas, there are no doctors. They (PHCs) are functioning only on paper. There is no facility at PHCs. Hospitals function without any doctor,\'\' a bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices Ashok Bhan and P Sathasivam, said. The remarks came as the bench was approving plans of the health ministry headed by Anbumani Ramadoss for fresh initiatives on AIDS. The new AIDS control programme, largely authored by additional solicitor general Gopal Subramaniam and adopted by National Aids Control Organisation (NACO), was cleared after the ASG himself gave a power-point presentation. The programme would go a long way in containing AIDS. But the government\'s satisfaction was marred by the bench\'s observations on the poor state of India\'s the healthcare system. As Subramaniam pointed out that PHCs in rural areas would be linked with the ART (anti-retroviral treatment) centres so as to widen the net of the AIDS combat programme, the bench asked the health ministry to carry out a reality check on facilities available at PHCs. Interrupting Subramaniam as he offered an explanation, the bench asked: \'\'What to talk of PHCs, the state of affairs in government hospitals in the cities is no better. Go to Delhi\'s Safadarjung Hospital. What is happening there and what is the status of healthcare facilities there?\'\' The bench added: \'\'If you want to get a real picture of the rural healthcare system, go to Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. You will realise the ground reality. Now you are linking this scheme with PHCs. But have you noticed that certain areas of the country have more people living with HIV/AIDS compared to others. You should focus your attention to those areas.\'\' Sensing an exit route from a sticky situation, Subramaniam grabbed it and said the government had precisely done that and established more ART centres in areas where there were higher rates of HIV/AIDS prevalence. Though the health ministry has already issued an office memorandum to all players concerned, the ASG urged the bench to put the apex court\'s stamp of approval so that it could be effectively enforced. The court directed the states and Union territories to implement the 14-point scheme for \'\'Comprehensive Care for People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLAHAs) at Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) Centres\'\' and asked National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) to submit status reports on the implementation every four months.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

PM urges to guard India from global financial turmoil

he prime minister, Manmohan Singh said that insulating Indian financial market, inflation, terrorism and left wing extremism and effective implementation of flagship programmes are the priority areas of the government.India is not protected from what happens in the rest of the world. Inflation remains a major worry and government is keeping its fingers crossed, several steps have been taken to ease inflation, he said adding that the economic meltdown may also have a moderating effect on it.Government will also put its best foot forward while dealing with terrorism and left wing extremism. Terrorism still constituted a serious threat to the country`s cohesion and unity, he added further.Earlier, minister of Commerce and Industry, Kamal Nath has articulated that the India cannot remain `insulated` from the turmoil in global banking and financial system and the US rescue would not be sufficient to solve the problems of the world economy.

Eid-ul-fitr celebrated with fervour in Jammu and Kashmir

SRINAGAR: Lakhs of people today offered special prayers on Eid-ul-fitr at Eidgahs across Jammu and Kashmir where the festival marking the end of the holy month of Ramzan was celebrated with traditional gaiety and fervour a day ahead of rest of the country. The largest gathering was witnessed at Hazratbal shrine, housing the relic of Prophet Mohammad on the outskirts of the city, where, according to official estimates, more than four lakh devotees congregated on the occasion.No untoward incident was reported from any part of the state, officials said. Addressing gatherings in the Valley, separatists leaders asked the leadership in India and Pakistan to \"institutionalise\" the dialogue process to resolve the Kashmir issue and ensure involvement of Kashmiris in it. \"We are hopeful that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, besides taking forward the confidence building measures (CBMs) between the two countries, will start institutionalisation of the dialogue process to solve the Kashmir issue with seriousness and ensure involvement of Kashmiris in it,\" chairman of moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umer Farooq said at the Eidgah prayer ground. People raised pro-freedom slogans as they gathered at eidgah, a vast ground in interior city, and Tourist Reception Centre (TRC) in the heart of Srinagar soon after the special Eid prayers. The Valley has been bustling with activity for the last one week with people indulging in frantic festival shopping, reflecting little of the violent, over two-month long agitation that rocked the state following the Amarnath land transfer row.

Jodhpur Muslims won\'t celebrate Eid after temple stampede

Jodhpur: Tuesday marked an inauspicious start to the festive season when 130 devotees were killed in a stampede at the Chamunda Devi temple in Jodhpur, a popular religious and tourist destination in Rajasthan.Rajasthan on Wednesday observed state mourning as a mark of respect to the devotees who lost their lives during the stamped.The national flag atop Government buildings and installations flew at half mast throughout the state and no entertainment programme at official level was held anywhere.Expressing their grief on the incident, Jodhpur Muslim youth have also decided that they won't celebrate Eid on October 2 and will prefer to mourn the death of those killed in the stampede.They feel that the tragedy that struck at the Chamunda Devi temple on Tuesday doesn\'t warrant any celebration.According to the reports, locals rushed to the spot to help with rescue operation and take the injured to the hospital and a day later the city is mourning.And this section of locals have put up posters appealing to others in their community not to celebrate on Thursday.\"We will only be offering Namaz. We have decided not to celebrate Id,\" says one of the Jodhpur Muslim youths, who believe that Eid shouldn\'t be celebrated after the stampede, Shakir Ali.At least 130 people were crushed to death and more than 450 injured in a stampede caused by a rush of devotees at the Chamunda Devi temple in Jodhpur, Rajasthan on Tuesday.Thousands of pilgrims had gathered along the two-km-long slope to the temple to mark the beginning of the Navratra festival.Then, as eyewitnesses say, there was a scramble in the men\'s queue, some devotees slipped and soon, it turned out into a massive stampede within minutes.The disaster took place around 0600 hrs (IST), less than three hours after the historic Chamunda Mata temple opened for prayers on the occasion of Navaratri festival.No medical help was available and the pilgrims had to reportedly carry the injured themselves. Some even attempted to resuscitate the unconscious victims.A judicial inquiry has been ordered into the incident.

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