Wednesday, December 30, 2009

China's 56 Ethnic Groups

The vast majority (>90%) of Chinese are Han Chinese. The remainder are distributed among 55 other ethnic groups. This diversity was awkwardly displayed during the opening ceremonies of the last Olympic games, when a parade of 56 children representing those groups was later revealed to have been comprised of 56 Han Chinese children wearing the ethnic clothing of the other groups.

Now there is a photoessay which appears to correct that gaffe. All of the ethnic groups are portrayed in professionally composed group portraits, with the subjects wearing traditional dress and often carrying traditional instruments or tools. Pictured above as an example are the ethnic Kazak; the others are at the link. It’s an impressive photo gallery.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sarwan Singh - The men with the Longest beard in the world

His beard alone is taller than you are!

At 7 feet, 8-plus inches, Sarwan Singh's beard is quite a sight to behold. He holds the Guinness Book of World records for the length of his beard.

But any emotions the Sikh man holds about the hairs flowing from his face are of gratitude and respect rather than pride. Singh credits God for blessing him with such lengthy wisps, and in accordance with his religion, has not disfigured his body by cutting them.

"God has given a beard to everybody, but he has given him a special gift," said Yuba city resident Sukhcharan Singh.

Sarwan Singh, 43, lives in Surrey, Canada, but has spent the last three weeks at the Gurdwara Sahib on South George Washington Boulevard in Yuba City. Sukhcharan Singh is videotaping the religion and music teacher while he reads the holy scriptures of the Guru Granth Sahib aloud in Punjabi.

The tapes will create a recording for other Sikhs who may not have access or time to practice themselves. To read the Guru Granth Sahib in its entirety would take 80 hours, so the men have broken it down into 2 1/2 hour chunks.

Twice daily, Sarwan Singh prepares for the recording session with a cup of tea to warm his vocal cords, taking care to keep his beard clean while doing so.

It was not until about 10 years ago, when he moved from India to Canada, that Singh realized a knee-length beard was a bit of an oddity. His friends finally urged him to contact Guinness World Records.

The record-keepers measured Singh's strands at 7 feet, 8 inches in November. The previous record was held by Shamsher Singh of Punjab, India, whose beard measured 6 feet long in 1997. The men do not know one another.

Sarwan Singh's recorded length is from chin to tip, but his longest hair sprouts from just above the throat. The beard has since grown a few more inches.

"He might beat his own record!" Sukhcharan Singh said with a laugh.

Previous record-holders, before Guinness changed its standards, boasted beard lengths in the double digits, but bottom hairs were not actually attached and instead clung to matted knots.

A bright white smile peeks out amid Singh's bushy black, silver and gray strands that start around his jaw. The number of hairs gradually dwindle as they near his feet, tapering off at less than 10 wisps for the bottom few inches.

He estimates he spends about half an hour a day shampooing, conditioning and supplementing the hair with natural oils to keep it silky smooth. Speaking through Sukhcharan Singh as translator, he said he occasionally brushes the beard to keep it free from tangling.

Despite all the care and maintenance they demand, Sarwan Singh treats his hairs with patience.

As he talks, reads or simply stands, he gently fingers the tips of silver, gray and black wisps or drapes them over his hands. When a clean surface is available, Singh allows the strands to coil onto the floor; otherwise he wraps the beard into a loose knot below his chin.

The hair on his head, hidden by the traditional Sikh wrap, grows at a normal rate and length, he said.

Singh urges Sikh children to take pride in their religion and be proud to grow their hair. If he can take care of an almost-8-foot- long beard, they can respect God and their bodies, he said.

The beard is somewhat of a fascination among children.

During Singh's first days in Yuba City, Sikh youngsters were clambering around him, eager for photo opportunities. He stood atop an upturned milk crate so his beard could flow nearly all the way to the ground, although never touching the actual floor or dirt.

Every aspect of living with his world-record beard is in honor of and respectful of his religion and his creator, Singh said.

"We have to live this way, with whatever he has given us," he said.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Schumacher to race for Mercedes in 2010

After weeks of speculation Mercedes confirmed on Wednesday that Michael Schumacher will make a comeback to race for the team next season alongside fellow German Nico Rosberg.

Schumacher, who retired at the end of 2006, has signed a deal that will see him return to the Formula One grid at the age of 41, bidding to add to his record tally of 91 wins and seven world titles.

It follows a planned comeback earlier this year for Ferrari - the team with which he won his last five drivers’ championships - to replace the injured Felipe Massa. Those plans had to be abandoned because of a neck injury from a motorbike accident.

Now fully fit, Schumacher will revive his relationship with Mercedes, a company with whom he had close ties earlier in his career. The German carmaker recently purchased the 2009 title-winning Brawn GP team, retaining team principal Ross Brawn, who previously helped lead Schumacher to title glory at Benetton and Ferrari.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

India's most influential women - Sonia Gandhi

It's only fitting that we start with the president of the ruling Indian National Congress party and arguably the most influential woman in India today; in fact, according to Forbes Magazine's list of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women of 2008, Sonia is the 21st most powerful woman in the world.

An Italian by birth and widow of the late PM Rajiv Gandhi, a grieving Sonia cut herself off from public life after the assassination of her husband in 1991. She rebuffed repeated entreaties from Congress officials to enter the political arena until 1997, a year after the party lost the national elections and was in a state of utter chaos. In a bid to preserve the crumbling legacy of the Gandhi family, she finally became a primary member of the Indian National Congress and within three months of joining, was party president. Having steered her way into Indian public and political life, there was no looking back -- Sonia led her party to victory in the national polls in 2004. And when controversy arose over the country having a prime minister of non-Indian origin, she stepped aside and recommended renowned economist and present PM Manmohan Singh, who is known to defer to her in all matters.

Monday, December 7, 2009

India gains the top spot in Test Rankings

Cricket India's long wait of 78 years has come to an end. Yes! India is the no.1 test team in the world pushing the mighty South Africans to the 2nd spot. The Australians are in 3rd and Srilankans are in the 4th spot according to the latest ICC Test rankings. Defeating the srilankans with an innings victory in the third test, indian team gained the top spot. India won the series 2-0. Virender Sehwag who hit 293 in the 1st innings was selected the man of the match and man of the series. The Twenty20 matches starts on dec 9th.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

World's youngest IT whizz

Marko Casalan, 8, is officially world's youngest IT whizz. Marko as deemed the Mozart of Computers by the Macedonian press after passing Microsoft's exams for IT professionals

While the other elementary school pupils skim through their comics in the break between classes, Marko Calasan takes out his copy of Implementing and Administering Security in a Microsoft Windows Server Network for a light read.

At the age of 8, Marko has become the world’s youngest certified computer system administrator and was deemed the Mozart of Computers by the press after passing exams for IT professionals with the computer giant Microsoft.

In theory, he could now get a job maintaining complex office computer networks, even though he has not yet completed the third grade in his native town Skopje, in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

“The Microsoft officials gave me computer games and DVDs with cartoons when I passed the exams because I am a child. That was nice, but I’m not really interested in those things,” young Marko told The Times.
The interior defense dines under the sabotage.
A trial brigade fumes above the load.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The highest position in the world

Babu Sassi, a fearless young man from southern India, is the cult hero of Dubai's army of construction workers.

Known as the "Indian on the top of the world", Babu is the crane operator at the world's tallest building, the 819-meter Burj Dubai.

His office, the cramped crane cab perched on top of the Burj, is also his home. It takes too long to come down to the ground each day to make it worthwhile - although, when the building is completed, its elevators will be the world's fastest.

Stories about his daily dalliance with death are discussed in revered terms by Dubai's workers. Some say he has been up there for more than a year, others whisper that he's paid 30,000 dirhams ($8,168) a month compared with the average wage of 800 dirhams a month.

But everyone agrees, he's worth it - because nobody else would have the courage to do the job!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Lionel Messi wins Ballon d'Or

Barcelona's Lionel Messi has won the prestigious Ballon d'Or.
The talented Argentinian forward beat last year's winner Cristiano Ronaldo into second place in the poll for Europe's footballer of the year, organised by France Football magazine.
Messi, who becomes the sixth Barcelona player to take the award, told France Football: "For me it's a big honour to win - but also to become the first Argentinian in history to receive the trophy."
Messi polled 473 votes, more than double the number Real Madrid's Ronaldo totalled (233) and 27 more than the impressive number the Portuguese international managed in winning last year's award.
Ronaldo was the only non-Barcelona player in the top four, with Xavi (170) and Andres Iniesta (149) next in the list.
Former Barca striker Samuel Eto'o - now with Inter Milan, was fifth on 75, 17 votes clear of Real's former AC Milan playmaker Kaka.
Barcelona's Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who moved in the opposite direction to Eto'o, polled 50 - before a quintet of English-based players.
Manchester United and England striker Wayne Rooney and Chelsea forward Didier Drogba were eighth and ninth, with Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard completing the top 10.
Liverpool striker Fernando Torres was 11th, Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas 12th, with Manchester United winger Ryan Giggs - who netted his 100th Premier League goal at Portsmouth on Saturday, finishing 14th.
Barcelona's Thierry Henry, heavily criticised for his handball in France's World Cup play-off win over Republic, completed the top 15.

Didier Drogba secures win for Chelsea against Arsenal

Didier Drogba scored twice as Chelsea maintained a five-point Premier League lead with a 3-0 victory at Arsenal on Sunday. Drogba has scored 10 goals in his last 9 matches against Arsenal. Drogba scored his 1st goal in the 41st minute.

The team manager now thinks that Chelsea will remain on top of the Barclays Premier League until the end of the season. His confidence boosted by a stunning show from Didier Drogba and an own goal by Thomas Vermaelen that gave the leaders a comprehensive 3-0 victory over their London rivals.

Chelsea now leads the Championship points table with 36 Points, 5 pts ahead of Manchester United's 31. Tottenham is in 3rd place with 26 Points. Arsenal's lost made them 4th with 25 Points and Liverpool is in 5th spot with 23 points.


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