Sunday, September 05, 2010

Craigslist drops adult service listings

After years of mounting public pressure, Craigslist appears to have surrendered a battle over sexual ads on its website that some viewed as a test case for the boundaries of online freedom.

The popular San Francisco classifieds site removed its controversial adult services section late Friday, defiantly replacing the link with the word "censored." The move followed a torrent of legal threats and negative media reports that highlighted ads within the category that promoted prostitution and child trafficking, or led to violence against women.

The harshest critics have called Craigslist an "online pimp" and the "Wal-Mart of online sex trafficking." Last year, an Illinois sheriff filed a lawsuit that accused the site's owners of knowingly promoting and facilitating prostitution, while the South Carolina Attorney General threatened criminal action against the company.

Late last month, attorneys general in 18 states demanded the removal of the site's adult category, saying the company wasn't doing enough to block ads for illicit services. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, set up a House Judiciary Committee hearing for later this month to explore how sites like Craigslist are being used to "facilitate criminal activity."

Speier initially applauded the removal of the adult category in a statement on Saturday.

"Craigslist's decision demonstrates a commitment to seeing these horrific abuses end, and I commend them for taking this step," she said.

About a half hour later, however, her office issued a revised statement with a far different tone. "The site is down but not forgotten," the statement said. "We can't forget the victims, we can't rest easy. Child sex trafficking continues and lawmakers need to fight future machinations of Internet-driven sites that peddle children."

No explanation for move
Craigslist executives didn't immediately respond to inquires Saturday, so it was unclear why they made the decision at this point. For that matter, it's possible the company is attempting to make a point with the "censored" label and plans to flip the section back on.

In an interview with The Chronicle late last month, the company's chief executive, Jim Buckmaster, was steadfast in his stance that removing the adult section wouldn't address the underlying issue.

"Is moving advertising around our best hope for addressing these harms?" he said. "Then the ads fall under personals, and how long before the demand is that we shut down personals? And where do those ads go next? What other sections of our site would they like us to shut down?"

Some outside observers also questioned the wisdom of removing the adult services category, and the legal basis for compelling Craigslist to do so.

Web publishers are generally protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and Communications Decency Act from the illegal actions of third parties who use their sites, though there are narrow exceptions in the latter law when it comes to criminal statutes.

"The legal analysis hasn't changed," said Matt Zimmerman, senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "Craigslist isn't legally culpable for these posts, but the public pressure has increased and Craigslist is a small company. My guess is that they may have just decided that the public pressure was too big."

Fear of chilling effect
The broader concern is that making publishers responsible for the behavior of their users, whether through new laws or legal threats, will force them to adopt more conservative standards over what's allowed on their sites. That could have a chilling effect on online expression, said Brian Carver, an attorney and assistant professor at the School of Information at UC Berkeley.

"If you impose liability on Craigslist, YouTube and Facebook for anything their users do, then they're not going to take chances," he said in an earlier interview. "It would likely result in the takedown of what might otherwise be perfectly legitimate free expression."

Zimmerman added that any migration of ads for illicit services to other parts of Craigslist, like the personals section, would potentially make them that much more difficult to monitor and catch.

The Associated Press reported Saturday that Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, one of the attorneys general who pressed for the change, said he welcomed the removal of the adult section and was trying to verify Craigslist's official policy going forward.

Attempts at screening
Buckmaster said that Craigslist already does far more than other websites and many print publications to monitor and filter out ads for illegal services.

In late 2008, with the attorneys general from more than 40 states demanding changes, Craigslist began requiring posters to provide a working phone number, a small per-ad fee and credit card verification to encourage compliance with the site's guidelines. Since spring 2009, the company has manually screened the images and texts of every ad submitted to its adult section before it is published. Any that indicate the involvement of an underage person are reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Buckmaster said.

But suggestive posts have still managed to slip through to the site, like massage ads featuring photos of women in their underwear, providing an opening for continued criticism.

Until the brouhaha over adult ads, Craigslist was mainly known as the small, quirky company that got the best of far bigger rivals by focusing on the needs of its users rather than profits. Buckmaster called the widespread suggestion that the company is profiteering from prostitution ads "galling," and used recent blog entries to hit back at certain critics and journalists in a tone that revealed palpable frustration.

The Rebecca Project for Human Rights of Washington, D.C., has been one of the most vocal critics of the adult services section, placing ads in major newspapers, including The Chronicle, calling for its removal.

Executive Director Malika Saada Saar said she was encouraged that the company listened, but then went on to echo Buckmaster's trepidation about what will happen next.

"I would hope that there is that commitment ... to implement a more comprehensive screening process," she said. "My fear is that the ads will migrate to the 'casual encounters' section and pimps and traffickers can sell children without even having to pay for that ad."


Teammates fixed every game

akistan Test opener Yasir Hameed has confirmed that his teammates fixed "almost every game" and claimed that he was dropped from the national team for two years because he did not go along with his corrupt colleagues. The British tabloid News of the World, which stirred international related stories

It also published several more details of the spot-fixing saga. The tabloid reported that Hameed provided a "devastating insight into the shady world of betting scams" and added that he refused bribes of up to 150,000 pounds from a corrupt bookmaker to throw matches.

Hameed claimed he lost his place in the team because of this refusal, while his corrupt colleagues reportedly splashed money on plush properties and expensive sports cars. He spoke to the tabloid in a Nottingham hotel, it said. "They've been caught.

Only the ones that get caught are branded crooks. They were doing it (fixing) in almost every match. God knows what they were up to. Scotland Yard was after them for ages. "It makes me angry because I'm playing my best and they are trying to lose. The guys that have got done have got themselves killed.

They're gone - forget about them," Hameed said about the trio of Salman Butt, Mohammad Amer and Mohammad Asif. Hameed reportedly said pacer Mohammad Asif who has played around 50 matches has built four mansions. "Where did they come from? He has just built a house in Italian style in Lahore.

You go there and you will think you are in Italy - that's how good his house is." "It's because of all these wrong things that I was outed, because I wouldn't get involved," the Pakistan opener said. "If you sat here and said, 'I'm a bookie and I want you to fix the match tomorrow' - I've met lots of people like that in the past and I refused. They offered me handsome money." "I could have come to see you in a Ferrari. They give you so much money that you can live out your dreams, buy a flash car. I've been offered huge amounts of money, up to 150,000 pounds," the cricketer said.


Friday, July 09, 2010

Anti Aging, Antioxidants From Oxis International

Not everyone has heard of antioxidants and how they benefit people with their anti aging effects.

It's summer and it’s time to hang out at the pool and beaches. There is no better way to beat the heat except for being soaked in cool water. But, it’s during summer we actually expose our sensitive skin to the sun's ultraviolet and damaging rays. Although sun-screen and sun-tan lotions help protect our skin, what we actually need are some anti-oxidants to relieve the stress and wrinkles.

It is not everybody who have heard about antioxidants and how they benefit people with their anti-aging effects. Some of us may have heard of Glutathione, Resveratrol and Vitamin E, but it is one potent antioxidant that is probably one of the most effective and which is called L-ergothioneine or simply ERGO. In addition to being an antioxidant, ERGO is an anti-aging product that reduces wrinkles. It also fights free radicals that harm the body, and conserves and maintains the level of other antioxidants such as Vitamin E, Vitamin C and Glutathione.

The best place to obtain these anti-oxidants is at Advancing Oxidative Stress Technology Oxis International, Inc., is the premiere provider for the potent antioxidant, Ergothioneine. Oxis International, Inc., is the premier provider of this product and they develop this product using natural and organic methods through their patented synthetic manufacturing process. Since 1966, Oxis International has been researching and developing ERGO products to share with the public.

The Oxis company is currently under penny stocks (OTCBB: OXIS) and with everyone raving for longevity, good health and organic products, this is the perfect time to invest in Oxis Inc.

You can also follow Oxis on Twitter or follow Oxis on facebook so as to be updated on latest news and developments.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Art - Is it for real or is it all hype?

Great art does not require hype to thrive.

It is the new artists who are served by such hype. What art requires is a concentrated critical culture. The more noise that art makes, the less it matters.

Artists must first have a vision and with it a plan on how to create that vision on a medium without sacrificing quality. If the artist can do that and produce that as their own work, then that can be classified as art. Of course, there is no compulsion that anyone has to like it, let alone buy it. They also don’t need any brand value or a reputation to give that art its value.

In short, it is just what it is. Actually, art is something that re-creates the soul and the inherent connection with the viewer.

It is the critics and the artists themselves who are responsible for the current hype associated with art. However, to be fair, a large part of this problem is because of the critics who consider themselves as the final say in any form of art. It is these self classified pontificators, who classify a rudimentary finished product into a masterpiece, thus giving the product a brand equity far more than it deserves. It is here where the marketing hype creeps in.

Personally I think that if you are innately driven to create something, re-create something from a different perspective, express yourself, regardless of the medium, the channel of expression (music, dance, painting, etc.), then whatever you create is art. Art and music only sell because someone has an opinion about it that is influenced by emotion, not because it inherently has value.

Some of Picasso’s original works on canvas are just oil on canvas and would be considered junk by someone who doesn’t appreciate art, but just materials. However when a hype was created, the sales of the painting obviously went up. So, the bottom line here is that a true artist is someone who does it because they’re driven to, only because they enjoy it, and for no other reason.

Hence, there is a very small line between what is classified as art and what can be classified as hype. The market is actually art minus all other aspects. The so called aspects that comes with art is what that can be classified as hype.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

How To Reduce Unsecured Credit Card Debt

Credit cards are generally unsecured. In other words, an unsecured credit card provides the user to purchase goods / services up to a specific limit. The user also can pay back this amount within a mutually agreed time frame.

Research shows that a huge number of Americans own credit cards and some even carry more than one card. In fact, the entire financial horizon is filled with hundreds of credit card offers and hence choosing one is rather a difficult choice. Hence, it is recommended that the individual, prior to selecting any credit card, assesses the offers available and selects the one that really benefits them. It is also wise to remember that a credit card should be utilized with care as it gives you a huge amount of financial freedom and this makes it important that the individual has a certain level of self-discipline.

In the US, there is a heavy competition among credit card companies. As a result, this leads to many credit card companies coming up with several attractive offers to its consumers. Most of them offer a low rate of interest with some of them even offering a zero percent interest. However, such an interest rate would be viable only for a small period, say 3 to 6 months. As these credit cards are unsecured, their rate of interest is normally higher than a bank loan. On the other hand, its interest is far less compared to the normal credit card. Nevertheless, these low rates can bring substantial savings for the user.

There is also the option of those free unsecured credit cards. But searching for an unsecured credit card that is free is like searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack. However, there are a lot many fee free card offers out there and all you have to do is just search around. A lot many credit card companies charge an annual fee on their cards and try to justify this annual fee. Obviously, a card with annual fees comes with certain benefits. All you have to do is to evaluate whether you profit from these benefits prior to paying a fee. The benefits generally include frequent flyer miles and some cash back offers. Now unless you are a frequent flyer or an avid online shopper, these benefits are basically useless. Your best choice for a credit card with no fees is to select one with not many benefits or none at all. If you can do without the frequent flyer miles, discounts at merchant stores and online cash back rebates, then you can definitely find a large amount of free unsecured credit cards.

Summarizing, people incur unnecessary expenses on their credit card and end up in a crisis. It is therefore suggested that you either go in for a short term unsecured credit card or a low cost or a free unsecured credit card with no benefits.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Reasons For Outsourcing

In most cases I have never asked my PRIMARY clients regarding their clientele.

As in an outsourcing process, it would be unethical of me to contact their clients directly, unless advised. In most cases when I contact clients, it is only for clarification of information provided from the PRIMARY source

As most of you may be aware, outsourcing provides a number of benefits to the PARENT (primary) organization.

Below are just a few of the reasons why a PARENT organization should consider outsourcing. It can maintain control over critical functions, while taking advantage of outsourcing non-critical functions.

Take for example “resume writing” to INDEPENDENT Resume Writers for a Recruitment or a Head Hunter

In the midst of hundreds, if not thousands of resumes, recruiters and employers receive for any given position; your resume needs to stand out from the crowd. You must make the Recruitment or HRD Manager of the identified or targeted company, read your resume more thoroughly than just the rudimentary 10-20 seconds the vast majority of your competition will warrant. The way to do this is by designing an accomplishment driven resume.

As a Manager, you would know that by retaining the services of a freelance writer, you pay only the writer's fee, as they do not require monthly retainers, and can be hired on a project basis. So payroll taxes, benefits costs, and other employee expenses are eliminated.

Besides, a freelance writer works on a per project basis and works to deadlines.

So, the PARENT Company’s projects are completed on time and on budget. In addition, customers need to see new content and how the services are changing with the times. A freelance writer has the skills to handle complex research and fact checking. Besides, a freelance writer can accommodate special needs and schedules, and can provide fresh perspective and expertise, that staff writers may have lost

In short, there is cost containment through reallocation of resources, by freeing up valuable resources to perform other duties, thereby getting a significant cost savings benefit, besides, the time savings benefit. This allows the PARENT company to focus on critical processes.

Moreover, when employees know that writing projects are handled by a freelance writer, they have the time to concentrate on what they do best.

So, give it a shot.

If you face any hurdles, drop me a line should you need to outsource any of your writing projects.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sir Salman The Clown

Eight floors above, in the Random House boardroom, Rushdie is sipping takeaway coffee, and looking both professorial and profoundly amused. These days he is, as the receptionist implies, a novelist more talked about than read, a situation he is keen to reverse.

It wasn't always thus. Back in 1981 when he won the Booker Prize for Midnight's Children, an instant classic, he was the hottest young writer of the day. That all changed in 1989 when, following publication of The Satanic Verses, Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran issued a fatwa calling for its author's death.

Overnight, Rushdie stopped being "just" a novelist and became a weird hybrid – a man in hiding who was also a public figure, a visible symbol of freedom of speech who was, himself, invisible. Rushdie was forced into hiding for 10 years over his book's alleged slight on the prophet Mohammed.

Having said that were it not for the first lot of Moslem nonsense over his book the Satanic Verses, and a certain Iranian getting a fatwa on his arse few people would not really have heard of him. They do say that publicity no matter what type is good, as Oscar Wilde said something on the lines of it was better to be talked about than not talked about all. I am sure Salman is sat back cashing in the cheques and thinking, each death threat means a few more book sales.

What a lot of people don’t know was that he had round-the-clock police protection costing nearly £1 million a year, although that has been downgraded in recent years after Iran indicated the death sentence no longer applied.

I have to remind myself I’m a writer, not just a fighter, and that’s the story of my life, said Rushdie. Living in hiding is worse than death and your detractors will always try to discredit your work.

Now for those who came in late - a quick biography……

Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie is an Indian born novelist and essayist. He was born in Bombay (now Mumbai) on 19 June 1947. He went to school in Bombay and at Rugby in England, and read History at King's College, Cambridge, where he joined the Cambridge Footlights theatre company. After graduating, he lived with his family who had moved to Pakistan in 1964, and worked briefly in television before returning to England, beginning work as a copywriter for an advertising agency. His first novel, Grimus, was published in 1975.

He first achieved fame with his second novel, Midnight's Children (1981), which won the Booker Prize for fiction in 1981, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for fiction), an Arts Council Writers' Award and the English-Speaking Union Award, and in 1993 was judged to have been the 'Booker of Bookers', the best novel to have won the Booker Prize for Fiction in the award's 25-year history.

Salman Rushdie is Honorary Professor in the Humanities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He was made Distinguished Fellow in Literature at the University of East Anglia in 1995. He was awarded the Austrian State Prize for European Literature in 1993 and the Aristeion Literary Prize in 1996, and has received eight honorary doctorates. He was elected to the Board of American PEN in 2002. In the spring of 2007, Rushdie was named Distinguished Writer in Residence in the English Department at Emory University. Phew !

“Midnight's Children” narrates key events in the history of India through the story of pickle-factory worker Saleem Sinai, one of 1001 children born as India won independence from Britain in 1947.

The critic Malcolm Bradbury acclaimed the novel's achievement in The Modern British Novel (Penguin, 1994) as a new start for the late-twentieth-century novel.

Much of his early fiction is set on the Indian subcontinent. His style is often classified as magical realism mixed with historical fiction, and a dominant theme of his work is the story of the many connections, disruptions and migrations between the Eastern and Western world.

The author's own biography is of a boy born in 1947, educated in an `English public school ethos' school in Bombay, then leaving India as a teenager to complete his education at a major public school in England, and then Cambridge University, before making a career for ten years as an advertising copywriter in London. Lack of deep and broad insight into India and its people, much beyond his own rather narrow background and what one can pick up from books, newspapers, TV docs and acquaintances in England, is perhaps unsurprising. Now I know that I am being a bit over the top here, but aren’t all of from the same mould ?

Nonetheless, anyone who liked Rushdie’s other books is bound to love this one as well. The book certainly has some great moments that will definitely hold your interest.

Unfortunately, whatever people say, I have my views and perhaps that may be to the fact that I am not such a big fan of Salman Rushdie. However, at times, he rocks !

For example, there is the recent row over Muslim women's dress codes reignited today after author Salman Rushdie declared that "veils suck". Speaking as somebody with three sisters and a very largely female Muslim family, he added that there's not a single woman that he knows in his family, or in his friends circle who would have accepted wearing the veil. He was expressing an important opinion, which is that veils suck, which in fact, they do and he felt that in other words it is way of taking power away from women. No comments, but it takes a lot of guts to speak up.

The fatwa was lifted in 1997, and in more recent years Rushdie's public image has altered to that of literary playboy. The new view is that he spends his time attending parties with Bono, squiring beautiful young women (his marriage to the actress, model and TV presenter Padma Lakshmi ended last year) and hanging out with Martin Amis and Ian McEwan, the novelists with whom he supposedly forms a neocon triumvirate. Being a literary playboy is easier than being a fugitive from Islamic vengeance, but the divorce seems to have left a devastating effect on Salman Rushdie

Once reclusive, now apparently a global gadabout with homes in London, New York and his native India. He gets called lots of things – arrogant, smug, and overindulged – but in the final analysis, could Sir Salman be nothing more than a good bloke to whom some bad things have happened?
We start by talking about his new novel, The Enchantress Of Florence, which is set during the 16th century and in which Rushdie forges a connection between the sexual decadence of Medieval Florence and the sensual world of India's Mughal Empire. He has been working on the book for three years, and seems to feel that it proves, after almost a decade of bad reviews, that he remains a world-class novelist. "Sometimes when you finish a book you don't know quite what you've got," he says. "This time I actually felt happy when I finished it. As far as I can tell, this is not bad. The last time I really felt that way was Haroun And The Sea Of Stories, and before that Midnight's Children."

Rushdie, who studied history, did an enormous amount of research for "Enchantress," and there is the odd inclusion, for a novel, of an 83-book bibliography. The purpose, he said, was to acknowledge the work he built upon as well as to ward off any accusations that he copied other sources.

He particularly said that he did not want some smart aleck to go find the facts mentioned in his book and say that he stole it from another source.
He added that it is obvious that he has done extensive research and has taken stuff from all over the place. The only existing record of the Ottoman campaign against Dracula, for instance, is a journal written by a young Serbian janissary named Konstantine, who describes arriving at a town finding 20,000 people impaled on stakes. The image that particularly haunted Rushdie was of a mother with a baby, and he uses this description of 'crows nesting in her hollowed breasts.'

That's his, not mine," said Rushdie, who used it in "Enchantress." "But who can beat that for a description?"

The Enchantress Of Florence is also an important book for Rushdie because writing it helped him recover from his split from Lakshmi, his fourth wife.

After three years of marriage, they had split and for around two months, he was unable to work, but eventually found comfort in flitting imaginatively through the whorehouses and harems of Florence and the Mughal court. In his novels there is a recurring motif of artists literally disappearing into their own work, and he seems to have done something similar here, sinking into his own pages, sighing with pleasure and relief.

The two novels also share a fairytale quality. Rushdie is a great admirer of fairy stories and fables, a habit that he and his sisters were told when they were kids Memories of Ali Baba, Aladdin, Sinbad were the stories that his father told him and which he enjoys watching as movies. This was enormously important to his later development as a magical realist writer, but what it did at the time was bond him to his father, Anis Ahmed Rushdie, a small businessman in Bombay.

One of the few things that he remembers about his father was that he was a very good storyteller. However, he had a problem with drink and that made him difficult, but he was a very good father of small children – entertaining and amusing and entrancing. He had more difficulties with all of us when we acquired minds of our own, but as a child he was completely enchanted by him.

How did the relationship change? "Well, it got much worse and then it got better again.
There was a long time when he was in his thirties that things got so worse and they were not on talking terms. However, when his cancer was diagnosed he went back to meet him and they became immensely close. There wasn't very long between his diagnosis and his dying, but he says that it was during that time they put away most of their problems.

It then appears that on his 40th birthday (June, 87), his father wrote him a very long letter (which he still retains) in which he had spoken to him about his work. He had never really spoken to him about his work before as he found it hard to do so, but that letter it appears was extraordinary and deeply affecting. In short, towards the end they became very attached

He died in November that year

It isn’t surprising that he is called the literary playboy and the connection he has with women. He was born in Bombay in 1947 and his sisters arrived one, five and 14 years later. He seems to have had many more close women friends than men. Besides, the fact that in his family there was always the presence of such a disproportionate female element.

He grew up surrounded by confident, assertive women. One of his aunts married a general in the Pakistan army and became a high society figure. The other was one of the great intellectuals of her generation and through her he met some of the greatest writers and poets. In short, his knowledge of women was that they were anything but the cliché of mild, self-effacing Indian women. They were extremely confident, forthright and took no ‘shit’

This influence is paramount in his books as well. His friendship with women is evident in many of his books. He has never had any problems in making friends with women, perhaps it was due to the fact that they understood that he was only trying to be their friend and not trying to get them to bed. Many men start being friendly with women because they are trying to seduce them.

He maintains that the women he befriends are not for any other purpose but with the only purpose of hanging out with them. Perhaps a “seduction” is a bonus (pardon the pun). That said; let's not forget that Rushdie has been married four times. Seduction cannot be a completely foreign art for him. He feels that he has done his share and laughs at the fact of being viewed as a ‘Don Juan’, albeit embarrassing. Four marriages and still he remains an optimistic and romantic idiot !

It does seem to me that even now, aged 60 and with two children of his own, he craves acceptance. This desire to belong, would explain, for instance, why being awarded a knighthood made him so happy, why it meant so much to him that Indian readers took Midnight's Children to their hearts, and the very fact that why it hurts so much that The Satanic Verses was banned in that country.

Last June, when Queen Elizabeth knighted him, many of the issues that have dogged Rushdie over the past 20 years were freshly aroused, not only among Muslims around the world but also among political kin contemptuous that an avowed leftist would accept such an imperial honor, and conservatives who lashed out at him because they believed he was once again endangering Britain's security.

It appears that he deeply resented the assaults on him, and couldn’t quite fathom the animosity. Perhaps he should write a book titled “Sir Shalimar The Clown” and quieten his critics

Then, a few weeks later, he announced that Lakshmi was leaving him (she informed him via e-mail). Cheap…….didn’t think she would do that, but what to do, her upbringing is evident. Poor Sir Salman, he still hasn’t quite understood her.

Now if Rushdie happens to be spotted having a drink with an attractive woman, he is soon likely to be greeted with a headline like "Salman Rushdie Is Once Again On The Prowl in Midtown," in some New York magazine (no names here). Not being able to work was one of the terrible byproducts of his breakup with Lakshmi, Rushdie said. He has described the split as a "nuclear bomb dropped in your living room when you're trying to work. What a sentimental idiot – there are more to some guys that never are written.

As Rushdie himself acknowledges, he enjoys going out and socializing. Tell me something new. Perhaps, it might help him relax and get “himself out of the system” after a day of slogging and groom himself for another grueling day

Rushdie now lives in Manhattan but regularly commutes to London to see his family, and keeps a punishing lecture and touring schedule in North America and Europe. A theme that repeatedly surfaces in "Enchantress" is the illusion that one can come home after a long journey and find peace.

And to set the record straight, he recently clarified that all the people that he has been recently associated with “in such reports”, are not true.

He went a step further to add “I'm totally eligible, single and available." Any takers ? You kidding ?

With an old fart ! (with all due apologies)

Wishing him another four more marriages !

• Grimus (1975)
• Midnight's Children (1981)
• Shame (1983)
• The Jaguar Smile: A Nicaraguan Journey (1987)
• The Satanic Verses (1988)
• Haroun and the Sea of Stories (1990)
• Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism, 1981 - 1991 (1992)
• Homeless by Choice (1992, with R. Jhabvala and V. S. Naipaul)
• East, West (1994)
• The Moor's Last Sigh (1995)
• The Firebird's Nest (1997)
• The Ground Beneath Her Feet (1999)
• The Screenplay of Midnight's Children (1999)
• Fury (2001)
• Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992 - 2002 (2002)
• Shalimar the Clown (2005)
• The Enchantress of Florence (2008)
• The Best American Short Stories (2008, as Guest Editor)

Prizes and awards

• 1981 Arts Council Writers' Award
• 1981 Booker Prize for Fiction Midnight's Children
• 1981 English-Speaking Union Award Midnight's Children
• 1981 James Tait Black Memorial Prize (for fiction) (joint winner) Midnight's Children
• 1983 Booker Prize for Fiction (shortlist) Shame
• 1984 Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger (France) Shame
• 1988 Booker Prize for Fiction (shortlist) The Satanic Verses
• 1988 Whitbread Novel Award The Satanic Verses
• 1989 German Author of the Year The Satanic Verses
• Kurt Tucholsky Prize (Sweden)
• 1992 Writers' Guild Award (Best Children's Book) Haroun and the Sea of Stories
• Austrian State Prize for European Literature
• 1993 Booker of Bookers (special award made to celebrate 25 years of the Booker Prize)
• Prix Colette (Switzerland)
• 1995 Booker Prize for Fiction (shortlist) The Moor's Last Sigh
• 1995 British Book Awards Author of the Year The Moor's Last Sigh
• 1995 Whitbread Novel Award The Moor's Last Sigh
• Aristeion Literary Prize
• Mantova Literary Prize (Italy)
• Budapest Grand Prize for Literature (Hungary)
• Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (France)
• Freedom of the City, Mexico City (Mexico)
• 2005 Whitbread Novel Award (shortlist) Shalimar The Clown
• 2006 Commonwealth Writers Prize (Eurasia Region, Best Book) Shalimar The Clown
• 2007 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award (shortlist) Shalimar The Clown
• 2007 Man Booker International Prize (shortlist)
• 2008 Best of the Booker Midnight's Children

Publisher (General enquiries) Agent

Jonathan Cape Ltd The Wylie Agency (UK) Ltd
Random House UK Ltd 17 Bedford Square
20 Vauxhall Bridge Road London WC1B 3JA
London SW1V 2SA England
England Tel: +44 (0)20 7908 5900
Tel: +44 (0)20 7840 8539 Fax: +44 (0)20 7908 5901
Fax: +44 (0)20 7932 0077 E-mail:

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Hyundai’s Double Dog Dare

Hyundai has dared all car buyers to compare Hyundai models with any other car out there.

The new Hyundai Genesis has a stylized emblem, formed by a shield hexagonal black and silver wings and which symbolizes the desire to "fly over the others". As the car slowly develops the Hyundai brand, people will get the feel of the badge. The feeling that I own a Hyundai and I’m proud to be a Hyundai owner and would never consider buying something without a Hyundai badge!

Hyundai wants its new premium sedan Hyundai Genesis to be its brand image. It is certain that the Hyundai Genesis would achieve its goal. With the Genesis, Hyundai has created a design generic that is recognizable and a brand image that is desirable. It has managed to position itself into a unique spot where its brand has started generating attention.

Hyundai Genesis’ new adventure against the world has just begun and it will really be exciting.

To further substantiate that are the results from a recent survey where 44% of Hyundai Genesis owners that have been interviewed have household income of over $100,000.

What does that indicate?

It tells you that these buyers can also afford its competitors, but have instead gone for the Hyundai Genesis. Furthermore, the majority of the demographics have also previously owned other luxury models – so the value theory goes out of the window

What Hyundai offers is a car that is as good as a Lexus GS for around $10,000 less. At you’ll find ex-owners of Lexus, BMW and Infiniti vehicles!

Hyundai is now comparing the speed of a Genesis to a Porsche Boxster, the handling and braking to BMW, and the sound system to a Rolls. A Genesis is not a Rolls Royce. It is also not a Porsche. But when you say Porsche, you understand "speed and performance". When you say BMW, you understand that the car must handle well, and when you hear Rolls, you generally understand that the car has luxury features. They also conducted a 0 to 60 mph test with the BMW 750i and Porsche Boxster, with the Genesis finishing ahead. Not everyone is going to make a spreadsheet with performance specifications on it, but most people will understand what you mean when you say that a car is as fast as or faster than a Porsche.

Hyundai has also taken pains to ensure that each item stands apart - whether it is the gear levers, visors, cup holders or seat controls, it appears that they belong to a luxury sedan. Pitting each of these cars against the Hyundai's Genesis in a luxury car challenge has resulted in leaving most of them dazed and shuffling realizing that Hyundai Genesis deserves the full respect that it demands, whether be it safety or luxury.

So, if there is one thing to take from these comparisons, it would be the fact that Hyundai can take on its competitors head-on, without making room for the price factor.

Hyundai is now daring all car buyers to compare Hyundai models with any other car out there.

Visit us and see for yourself

Sunday, May 09, 2010

The Arab And The Genie

An Arab had just spent many days crossing the desert without water.

His camel had died of thirst and he was crawling through the sands, certain that the end was close when all of a sudden he sees a shiny object sticking out of the sand several yards ahead of him.

He crawls to the object, pulls it out of the sand, and discovers what looks to be an ash tray from an old car. He opens it and out pops a genie...

But this apparently is no ordinary genie. He is wearing a polka dot bow tie and a sport coat with a dog-eared little book in the breast pocket with a blue cover and has a pencil tucked behind one ear.

"Well, kid," says the genie. "You know how it works. You have three wishes."

"I'm not falling for this." says the man. "I'm not going to trust a used car salesman!"

"What have you got to lose?”

"You've got no transportation, and it looks like you're a goner anyway!”

The man thinks about this for a minute, and decides that the genie is right.

"OK, I wish I were in a lush oasis with plentiful food and drink." ***POOF*** The man finds himself in the most beautiful oasis he has ever seen. And he is surrounded with jugs of wine and platters of delicacies.

"OK, kid, what's your second wish."

"My second wish is that I was rich beyond my wildest dreams." ***POOF*** The Arab finds himself surrounded by treasure chests filled with rare gold coins and precious gems."

"OK, kid, you have just one more wish. Better make it a good one!"

After thinking for a few minutes, the Arab says: "I wish that no matter where I go, a beautiful woman will want and need me." ***POOF*** He's turned into a tampon.

The moral of the story?

If a used car salesman offers you anything at no cost, there's always going to be a string attached somewhere!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

55th Annual Filmfare Awards: 3 Idiots, Amitabh and Vidya shine

Bollywood Shahenshah Amitabh Bachchan and Vidya Balan won the much coveted titles of best actor and actress respectively at the 55th annual Filmfare awards which was held at Yashraj studios on Saturday, 28th March 2010. Both won it for the same film 'Paa' in which they starred as mother and son.

Other big winner of the night was Aamir Khan's top grossing film ‘3 Idiots’, winning the best film, best director for Raj Kumar Hirani, and also best story, dialogues, screen play and the best actor in a supporting role for its star Boman Irani. The best actress in a supporting role was won by Kalki Koechlin for her role in Dev D.

Musical maestro A. R Rehman won the best music director award for Rakesh Omprakash Mehra's ‘Delhi 6’ which incidentally also won the female and male playback singer awards for its singers Mohit Chauhan for 'Masakali' and Rekha Bharadwaj for 'Genda Phool' respectively. The female Category was shared by Kavita Seth too, for 'Ik Tara' from 'Wake Up Sid'.

Yesteryear actor Shashi Kapoor and Music director Khaiyyam were honoured with Lifetime Achievement awards.

The glittering event was hosted by the irrepressible host duo of Shahrukh khan and Saif Ali Khan and supported by Karan Johar, and actors Siddharth and Shweta for various categories. Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif and Karenna Kapoor were among those who entertained the crowd with their performances while Shahid Kapoor did a memorable dancing tribute to legendary singer Michael Jackson.

Most of the who’s who of Bollywood was present at the ceremony except the Bachchans, who boycotted the event in protest of against a publication associated with Filmfare, which gave false news about Aiswarya Rai's health.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Frieda Pinto Set to Have Two International Releases in 2010

The dusky beauty from India, Frieda Pinto, who shot to international stardom with last years‘ multiple Oscar winning film ‘The Slum Dog Millionaire’, is embarking on her international career in a big way. She has reportedly finished shooting for two hugely hyped Hollywood films both of which are set to release in September this year.

One is titled ‘Miral’, a love story set in Israel which finished shooting on location in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Frieda plays the title role of Miral, a girl brought up in an orphanage in Jerusalem in a story spanning over many decades. Written by Rula Jebreal who authored the book with the same name, the film is directed by Oscar nominated writer director Julian Schnabel.

Other film of Frieda that’s already in post production stage is the celebrated filmmaker Woody Allen’s next ‘You will meet a tall dark stranger’ which circles around a family, their love stories and their efforts to try to figure out their troubles. She is starring in this romance cum family drama along with an array of huge international names like Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins, Naomi watts, Josh Brolin, Antonio Banderas etc. Woody Allen recently stated that there is lots of substance in Indian actors and called it worthy working along with them. Coming from such an esteemed source that’s high price for one film old Frieda.

Coming up next she will start shooting in April for a Greek mythology based film ‘War of The Gods’ directed by Tarsem Singh. She is also rumored to be cast in “American Empire’ directed by Andy Armstrong.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mumbaikars Also Should Work Hard - Asha Bhosale

It seems that after the SRK and Shiv Sena stand off, Bollywood is beginning to find the courage to voice their true opinion regarding the issue of being a Marathi and a Mumbaikar.

‘Mumbai belongs to all’ was the emphatic comment made by the legendary singer and Maharashtra born Asha Bhosale, when asked about the contribution made by migrants coming to Mumbai. The words became all the more significant because the MNS chief Raj Thackeray was sharing the stage with her.

The venue was an event ‘Swar-Asha’ organized in Pune on Sunday by channel Mi Marathi’. Raj Thackeray made a speech before Asha in which he made the claim that even though the songs sung by Asha are accepted by people all around India as their own, it all happened because she is a Marathi.

Later in the show Asha was interviewed by television anchor Sudhir Gadgil, who asked her to comment on the Mumbaikar versus migrant issue. That’s when the singer made the comment and emphasized that nobody is justified to snatch jobs from people who work in Mumbai from morning to evening and instead of such acts, Maharashtrian people should also be ready to work hard. As a singer she worked hard, and that’s why nobody could deny the success and recognition that was due to her, she added.

Raj Thackeray chose not to respond to Ashaji’s words. MNS spokesperson Shirish Parkar also refused to comment when questioned about it. Asha Bhosale is reported to be close to both Raj and his uncle Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray. In such a case, what reaction her words bring about is yet to seen.

Recently, industrialist Mukesh Ambani and cricketing legend Tendulkar faced the wrath of Shiv Sena and MNS for making similar statements.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Do politicians have a sense of humour ?

This is something that happened quite sometime ago, but worth reading

It is about an enterprising prankster, who wrote to American Senators asking them for their favourite joke. The responses are amusing, illuminating and, in some cases, really rather charming.

Posing as a 10 year old boy doing a "government project" at school, the prankster sent a scrawled note to 100 American Senators. Right off the bat, he discovered that getting a response from a top elected official is not an easy task, even for a ten-year-old boy. Weeks passed, with no response.

The reason for the delay, apparently was due to the fact that all 100 joke letters were screened for traces of chemical residue as per regulations. Federal marshals wearing protective suits held the prank messages up to ultraviolet lights, with long tweezers. Trained dogs sniffed hungrily over the letters, their keen noses able to detect anything except the scent of a practical joke.

Finally, the letters went through, and it pestered the nation's Senators until, finally, the responses started coming in. Senators actually took time from their busy schedules to write a joke, and send it to a lying ten-year-old kid. The results are sure to both amuse and amaze you. You can discover which of the Senators are funny and which are not, you will be moved to such a degree that you might even be tempted to vote [if they are participating during the next election ]

There are letters from such luminaries as John McCain and John Kerry. The jokes they chose reveal much about their personalities. And, against all odds, some of them manage to be quite funny too.

The senators who fell for it are listed at The Senator Prank


Please note that Insanitary Media Behavior is only a blog, and it is in no way responsible for the content of any external website.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

N-Viro International Corporation's Green Technology

N-Viro International Corporation builds and licenses its technology to private companies and municipalities, where the companies’ patented processes uses lime and / or mineral rich, combustible by-products to pasteurize, treat and convert wastewater sludge and other bio-organic waste into bio-mineral agricultural and soil-enrichment products, which has real market value.

N-viro international affirms a renewable energy future by utilizing patented n-viro fuel. Products from N-Viro can also change the useless material into fuel, and can also overcome the residue depletion of opportunity fuels, except material generated from clean coal.

Today’s climate change has nations scrambling for solutions to minimize this worsening condition. Some companies all over the world have already been practicing ways to transform waste into beneficial reusable products. The production of alternative energy has contributed to alleviate environmental issues such as global warming.

By doing this, products from N-Viro are turning waste products, composed of both organic and inorganic material, into renewable alternative fuel in synergy with the coal combustion industry. N-Viro International Corporation makes clean coal as opportunity fuels. Planet Earth would definitely be proud of this company!

The company has generated sales in excess of $40 million dollars, since its initial public offering in October of 1993.

The company and management expect to develop the N-Viro Fuel technology with other power facilities within the United States and anticipates international acceptance for the N-Viro Fuel technology.

Visit for more details.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Hema Malinis bunglow burgled - Security Guards suspected

Hindi cinema's original dream girl Hema Malinis bunglow in Mumbai suburb of Dindoshi was burgled last weekend. Money and jewellery worth Rs.80 lakh is reported missing. Police claim that they have enough leads to believe that the two on-duty security guards at the bungalow were behind the crime. One of them is detained by the police for questioning while a team of police is dispatched to find the other who allegedly escaped to his village in Uttar Pradesh together with the stollen goods.

The crime was discovered on Saturday morning by Hema's cousin, who is the caretaker for the posh 2,500 sqft bungalow situated at Yashodhara Hilltop Society in Dindoshi, Goregaon (E) when the actress is away. He noticed a broken window and things kept in the safe in the bedroom missing. Hema Malini who apparently was in Nagpur during the incident, returned immediately upon being informed. They then went to the Dindoshi Police Sation together and reported the incident. "I was away for a dance show when this robbery occurred. No papers were lost, only jewellery and money are gone," said Hema Malini in speaking about the incident. She also claimed to have no suspects in this matter, hoped the police would nab the culprits soon.

According to the Dindoshi Police team who visited the spot, the crime took place on Friday night. The robbers entered the house through a window in the back of the bungalow and forced open the bedroom door to get to the safe where the cash and valuables were kept. Two to three people must have been involved, who were and familiar with the plan of the house in order to carry out the break in without anybody noticing, all the more points towards an inside job, the police said.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Grinding Teeth at Night Can Be Related to Stress

If you know somebody who is given to grinding teeth during sleep, it can be a telltale sign that the person is suffering from some kind of stress. Well that’s what results of a recent study conducted on persons who grind their teeth at night by Heinrich-Heine-University, Dusseldorf, Germany show. This habit of teeth grinding, called as ‘sleep bruxism’ is quite a common phenomenon but so far no reason could be established as to what caused it.

In this study 69 adults were examined of whom 48 were already known to have bruxism. For this purpose thin plates were attached to the teeth of the subjects overnight to assess the extent of grinding. The same individuals were also made to answer questionnaires to take stock of what’s going on in their life and how much stress they are under in their personal or professional front.

Dr.Maria Giraki who headed the team which conducted the tests says in her report that while factors like age, sex or education didn’t seem to affect bruxing, there was a striking connection with those who claimed to be under stress in day to day life or work. The ones who suffered the most were those who didn’t know how to deal with the stress effectively, she said.

The journal, Head & Face Medicine will carry the details of the study.

Bruxism in the long run can lead to excessive wear and tear to teeth, looseness and sensitivity. It can also cause growth and pain in the muscles responsible for chewing. Now with this study establishing stress as a reason for this habit, maybe a solution is also on the way.

For nore info, visit :

Written by Priya Shankar

Sunday, March 07, 2010

PayPal Resumes India Bank Withdrawals - Good News For Freelancers

PayPal is widely known to be an easy way to collect money from affiliate and advertising programs and payment for freelance services. The money collected in PayPal account then can be transferred online, to the users' bank account.

Sometime during early February, PayPal had officially announced that the RBI (Reserve Bank Of India) had intimated them that they required specific approvals to allow personal inward remittances to India, which PayPal did not have. So till the time PayPal obtained these approvals; all personal payments into India remained suspended. However, if the PayPal user from India was an exporter, they would be still be able to use PayPal for payments of goods and services, but PayPal will not provide users with the IEC (Importer Exporter Code) to withdraw payments to their banks accounts. Instead, the users will have to apply for it themselves and the process in itself might take several weeks as getting the IEC is not an easy task.

Now, it appears that PayPal is resuming their services, but with some new features.

According to the new rules specified by RBI (Reserve Bank of India), the PayPal management has included a new field called the “Purpose Code”. Basically, this code allows the banks to identify the nature of the cross border bank transaction. It is also to be noted that this is clearly different from IEC (Importer Exporter Code). The new withdrawals will require users to use a Purpose Code while withdrawing money to their bank accounts. So, if you received payments for your website or blog, you need to use Freelance Journalism as your purpose code.

Besides, you don't have to make any real efforts to get a Purpose Code. PayPal has provided a table in their post to confirm your Purpose Code. You can either choose your code according to your business category or confirm your code from PayPal’s customer support team.

After logging into your PayPal Account and selecting the ‘Withdraw Funds’ option, you would be then asked to fill out a new field titled the Purpose Code. Select the code most appropriate for your nature of business and proceed. More details on purpose codes can be found by clicking here.

Further info on same can also e found here.

Users are advised to choose their purpose code accordingly, so that you do not get into any trouble later. There will also be a limit on the amount that the user can withdraw before which they will be required to produce receipts or invoices and their PAN card. PayPal has also not explicitly stated how much the upper limit would be before the Indian user would require additional documents. However, it is believed that this would more likely be not more than Indian Rupees 50,000, as bank deposits above this limit require users to produce their PAN cards.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Another Godman lands in a Sex Scam

The whole cult of ‘Godmen’ suffered yet another jolt today with one more from them losing credibility and prestige in the public eye.

Sri Paramahamsa Nithyananda Swamiji of Nithyananda Dhyana Peetha near Bidadi, close to Bangalore, was hit by a sting operation carried out by a Tamil Channel and Magazine. The Swamiji was ‘caught in a compromising position’ in a video aired by the popular Tamil Channel Sun TV on Monday. The video shows him with a female allegedly an actress from Tamil movies. The hidden camera shots taken over two days make it amply clear that the person filmed is indeed the Swamiji.

The channel hasn’t revealed the whereabouts of where the video was shot or the identity of the actresses involved. Rumor says there are two of them, identified as Ragasudha and Rajitha, two popular actresses from Kolliwood. Ragasudha who starred in films like Dhinamum Ennai Gavani, Iyer IPS, Mullil Roja, has been involved in a sex scandal before this as well.

The news created ripples all over Tamil Nadu and there were sporadic protests and violence. At Coimbatore, angry followers vandalized property, while at Thiruvannamalai the Ashram run by the Swami faced a march in protest by a few locals. Subsequently the Ashram was provided police protection and the situation remains calm.

A spokesperson of the Nithyananda, Sachidanandaswamy claimed that it was nothing but a combination of rumors, conspiracy and graphics and wished to reassure the thousands of devotees whose minds were hurt by the rumors. They were contemplating taking legal action, he said.

Written by Priya Shankar

Thursday, February 25, 2010

First Trial Over for Indian Made H1N1 Vaccine

Ahmedabad: Zydus Cadila announced completion of the first phase of the H1N1 vaccine trial on Thursday. The Ahmedabad-based drug maker will now commence the phase II and phase III clinical trials in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Jaipur and Pune.

An Indian made H1N1 vaccine is on the way. The Ahmedabad based drug company Zydus Cedilla who is making the vaccine in India and has announced the completion of the first phase trial on Thursday. The vaccine has to go through the second and third trial in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Jaipur and Pune now which will take six more months.

The company’s press release said “Multi-centric trials extending for a period of six weeks are currently underway. On successful completion of the trials, the group will submit the results to the Drug Controller General of India (DGCI) for marketing approval.” The vaccine has been developed by a team of experts using conventional technology at the company’s Vaccine Technology Centre here, the statement said.

The Indian made vaccine will be available in market by April 2010. The company is proposing to produce six million doses initially. The H1N1 vaccine is in huge demand in India to the extent of 50 to 60 million dosages initially.

At the same time the vaccinations against H1N1 in India will begin from next week itself, using the 1.5 million doses of vaccine imported from the French drug manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur that has passed the safety test. The clinical bridge study results conducted on 100 adult subjects in Delhi and Pune were submitted to the Drug Controller General of India on Wednesday by the company. The trials were completed on February 21. The results were then checked thoroughly in Lyon before being submitted to DCGI.

DCGI Dr Surinder Singh told TOI, "The trials of the vaccine have proven its safety profile. By Friday, we will vet the results and give its clearance for use on humans in India. By next week, the vaccination should begin."