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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Biggest World Cup upset

O'Brien smashes fastest WC hundred ton as Ireland stun England by 3 wickets
Kevin O'Brien
Kevin O'Brien struck the fastest-ever World Cup hundred as Ireland pulled off a sensational three-wicket win over England on Wednesday.
Ireland won with five balls to spare as they finished on 329 for seven after England, who had made 327 for eight, had been cruising when they reduced non-Test playing Ireland to 111 for five.
But a brilliant burst of power-hitting got O'Brien to three figures in just 50 balls at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.
That meant he'd obliterated former Australia opener Matthew Hayden's previous fastest World Cup century record off 66 balls against South Africa at St Kitts in 2007.
O'Brien's whirlwind innings of 113 off 63 balls, including six sixes and 13 fours, ended when he was run out by Stuart Broad's throw to wicketkeeper Matt Prior.
Ireland's target was down to three off the last over and victory was secured when John Mooney struck a four off James Anderson.
"I don't think it's quite sunk in," said 26-year-old O'Brien, after another famous win to follow Ireland's shock World Cup triumph over Pakistan in 2007.
"It's probably the best innings I've ever played. I just hit the ball pretty well and got a bit of luck and things went my way. I just kept going and kept attacking.
"When we were 111-5 I said to myself we could have just pottered around and got 220 off 50 overs for eight or nine and the game would have been pretty boring to watch.
"But I just chanced my arm and said I was going to be as positive as I can and got a few away and didn't look back."
It was the highest successful run chase in World Cup history beating Sri Lanka's 313 against Zimbabwe at New Plymouth in New Zealand in 1992
"It's pretty amazing," said Ireland batsman Alex Cusack, who made 47 in a decisive sixth-wicket partnership of 162 with O'Brien.
"I was just trying to knock it around for Kev. He's got the power. That was my job and he was playing the big shots."
England captain Andrew Strauss said: "We thought we'd done a reasonable job with the bat and we got Ireland at five down and things were looking pretty comfortable.
"But we weren't reckoning on an outstanding innings from Kevin O'Brien. It was pretty brutal."
Mooney struck several superb blows of his own on his way to 33 not out to complete a fine all-round display after he had claimed four wickets for 63 runs with his medium-pacers.
O'Brien went to fifty in 30 balls when he pulled Anderson for six.
He then lofted Anderson for an enormous six over midwicket, with television replays estimating the ball had carried for 102 metres, the longest of the tournament.
O'Brien did have a break on 91 when a huge skyer off Paul Collingwood was dropped by Strauss.
Ireland burst into life during the batting powerplay, scoring 62 runs in five overs.It was the second-time in a matter of days the Chinnaswamy Stadium had served up a run-fest after Sunday's extraordinary tie between India and England had seen the two teams make 676 runs between them.
Anderson, whose first overs yielded one wicket for 11 runs, finished with figures of one for 49 in 8.1 overs while Broad was pummelled for 73 runs in nine wicketless overs.
Earlier Jonathan Trott equalled the record for the fastest 1,000 runs in one-day internationals
Trott's 92 was the centrepiece of England's 327 for eight and when he made 64 he equalled West Indies great Vivian Richards and England team-mate Kevin Pietersen in taking just 21 innings to reach four figures in ODIs.
Ireland's victory was all the more impressive as they lost captain William Porterfield to the first ball of their reply when he dragged on to Anderson.
score card

England innings (50 overs maximum) R M B 4s 6s SR
AJ Strauss* b Dockrell 34 61 37 2 1 91.89
KP Pietersen c †NJ O'Brien b Stirling 59 77 50 7 2 118.00
IJL Trott b Mooney 92 126 92 9 0 100.00
IR Bell c Stirling b Mooney 81 102 86 6 1 94.18
PD Collingwood c KJ O'Brien b Mooney 16 21 11 0 1 145.45
MJ Prior† b Johnston 6 7 5 1 0 120.00
TT Bresnan c Johnston b Mooney 4 23 8 0 0 50.00
MH Yardy b Johnston 3 8 6 0 0 50.00

GP Swann not out 9 8 5 1 0 180.00

Extras (b 1, lb 2, w 20) 23

Total (8 wickets; 50 overs; 220 mins) 327 (6.54 runs per over)
Did not bat SCJ Broad, JM Anderson
Fall of wickets1-91 (Strauss, 13.3 ov), 2-111 (Pietersen, 16.6 ov), 3-278 (Bell, 42.6 ov), 4-288 (Trott, 44.3 ov), 5-299 (Prior, 45.6 ov), 6-312 (Collingwood, 46.6 ov), 7-317 (Yardy, 48.3 ov), 8-327 (Bresnan, 49.6 ov)

Bowling O M R W Econ

WB Rankin 7 0 51 0 7.28 (4w)
DT Johnston 10 0 58 2 5.80

AR Cusack 4 0 39 0 9.75 (1w)
GH Dockrell 10 0 68 1 6.80 (5w)
JF Mooney 9 0 63 4 7.00 (1w)
PR Stirling 10 0 45 1 4.50

Ireland innings (target: 328 runs from 50 overs) R M B 4s 6s SR
WTS Porterfield* b Anderson 0 1 1 0 0 0.00
PR Stirling c Pietersen b Bresnan 32 45 28 5 1 114.28
EC Joyce st †Prior b Swann 32 90 61 3 0 52.45
NJ O'Brien† b Swann 29 37 36 2 1 80.55
GC Wilson lbw b Swann 3 17 14 0 0 21.42
KJ O'Brien run out (†Prior/Bresnan) 113 123 63 13 6 179.36
AR Cusack run out (Broad/Collingwood) 47 80 58 3 1 81.03

JF Mooney not out 33 40 30 6 0 110.00

DT Johnston not out 7 6 4 1 0 175.00

Extras (b 5, lb 16, w 12) 33

Total (7 wickets; 49.1 overs; 223 mins) 329 (6.69 runs per over)
Did not bat GH Dockrell, WB Rankin
Fall of wickets1-0 (Porterfield, 0.1 ov), 2-62 (Stirling, 9.5 ov), 3-103 (NJ O'Brien, 20.2 ov), 4-106 (Joyce, 22.2 ov), 5-111 (Wilson, 24.2 ov), 6-273 (Cusack, 41.3 ov), 7-317 (KJ O'Brien, 48.1 ov)

Bowling O M R W Econ

JM Anderson 8.1 1 49 1 6.00 (1w)

SCJ Broad 9 0 73 0 8.11 (2w)
TT Bresnan 10 0 64 1 6.40 (2w)

MH Yardy 7 0 49 0 7.00 (2w)
GP Swann 10 0 47 3 4.70

PD Collingwood 5 0 26 0 5.20

Steve Jobs launches Apple's iPad 2

Belying all rumours of him being extremely ill, Apple founder and CEO Steve Jobs CEO on Wednesday night launched second generation iPad 2.
Jobs made his presentation after he was given a standing ovation by a hall full of journalists and analysts from across the world who were probably happier seeing him on stage than iPad2.
But the new iPad almost stole Jobs' thunder. With price tags beginning at $499 for the 16 GB model, it runs on a new processor A5 which will double the speed and graphic display by nine times. At $899, the highest priced is the 64 GB model with WiFi and 3G.
Jobs pointed out iPad 2 will have as many as five models that are priced below $799 tag that its just launched rival Xoom from Motorola bears.
Almost as if inspired by Jobs who is said to be battling severe illness and has shed a lot of weight off late, iPad 2 is a lot thinner than the current iPad (one third), even thinner than the iPhone 4.
It bears two cameras at back and front for video conferencing; a HDMI port; a smart microfiber case cum stand that is also used to clean it; and will come in both black and white variants.
iPad 2 will start shipping from March 11 across 26 countries that doesn't include India. In US, both AT&T and Verizon will retail it with bundled data plans.
Jobs took potshots at all rivals who he said were flummoxed by the success of iPad and could only try to follow what has come to be "best-selling gadget ever".
"A lot of people have tried to copy this, said Jobs while making reference to sales figures of rivals such as Samsung which claims to have put out more advanced tablets in the market following iPad's launch a year ago.
"Many have said this is the most successful consumer product ever launched. Over 90% market share... our competitors were flummoxed," quipped Jobs.
Pooh pooing another rival Google Android's Honeycomb operating system, Jobs said they had only 100 apps to show on it. In contrast, Apple iPad had 65,000 apps just for photography alone.
"We recently paid out over $2 billion to developers in total. They have earned over $2 billion from selling their apps on the App Store," said Jobs.
Apple also shipped out 100 millionth iPhone recently.
The presentation was attended among others by Apple's COO Tim Cook and design head and Jobs' friend Jony Ive who according to unconfirmed reports is believed to be having a
tussle with the company's board regarding his impending relocation to London.
Times of India had earlier reported that the much-hyped tablet was accidentally  listed on Amazon hours ahead of its official launch  before being pulled down.
Interestingly, while Apple usually gives a makeover to each of its products in a year's time, there is buzz that the company might actually upgrade the just-launched iPad 2 with a  far more advanced third generation tablet by the Fall this year  itself.
According to The Economist, however, iPad could see a dent in its market share this year despite projections that Apple could sell 40 million units in 2011 as against 15 million it sold in nine months of 2010.
Other tablet manufacturers, especially those based on Google's Android operating system, are expected to erode Apple iPad's market share which stood at 90% of total tablet sales last year. Here are 10 most expected tablets to watch out for in 2011 .
What may be worrisome for Apple is the speculation that by 2015 the company's market share could fall below 40%, said the magazine.
This year is likely to see a  huge number of Android-based tablet PCs  flooding the market, with almost every mobile and PC maker jumping in the fray with   their alternatives. 
Industry watchers claim that of these, the ones that are most likely to pose a challenge to iPad will be RIM's Playbook and  Motorola's Xoom  which has just been launched in the market.

When the Butterfly Effect Took Flight

MIT News, by Peter Dizikes
Cambridge (Massachusetts).
Read “Deterministic Nonperiodic Flow,” Lorenz’s ground-breaking 1963 paper in the Journal of Atmospheric Sciences, here (pdf). For links to Lorenz’s papers, visit here.
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On a winter day 50 years ago, Edward Lorenz, SM '43, ScD '48, a mild-mannered meteorology professor at MIT, entered some numbers into a computer program simulating weather patterns and then left his office to get a cup of coffee while the machine ran. When he returned, he noticed a result that would change the course of science.
The computer model was based on 12 variables, representing things like temperature and wind speed, whose values could be depicted on graphs as lines rising and falling over time. On this day, Lorenz was repeating a simulation he'd run earlier—but he had rounded off one variable from .506127 to .506. To his surprise, that tiny alteration drastically transformed the whole pattern his program produced, over two months of simulated weather.
The unexpected result led Lorenz to a powerful insight about the way nature works: small changes can have large consequences. The idea came to be known as the "butterfly effect" after Lorenz suggested that the flap of a butterfly's wings might ultimately cause a tornado. And the butterfly effect, also known as "sensitive dependence on initial conditions," has a profound corollary: forecasting the future can be nearly impossible.
Like the results of a wing's flutter, the influence of Lorenz's work was nearly imperceptible at first but would resonate widely. In 1963, Lorenz condensed his findings into a paper, "Deterministic Nonperiodic Flow," which was cited exactly three times by researchers outside meteorology in the next decade. Yet his insight turned into the founding principle of chaos theory, which expanded rapidly during the 1970s and 1980s into fields as diverse as meteorology, geology, and biology. "It became a wonderful instance of a seemingly esoteric piece of mathematics that had experimentally verifiable applications in the real world," says Daniel Rothman, a professor of geophysics at MIT.
As many researchers would recognize by the 1980s, Lorenz's work also challenged the classical understanding of nature. The laws that Isaac Newton published in 1687 had suggested a tidily predictable mechanical system—the "clockwork universe." Similarly, the French mathematician Pierre-Simon Laplace asserted in his 1814 volume A Philosophical Essay on Probabilities that if we knew everything about the universe in its current state, then "nothing would be uncertain and the future, as the past, would be present to [our] eyes."
Unpredictability plays no role in the universe of Newton and Laplace; in a deterministic sequence, as Lorenz once wrote, "only one thing can happen next." All future events are determined by initial conditions. Yet Lorenz's own deterministic equations demonstrated how easily the dream of perfect knowledge founders in reality. That the tiny change in his simulation mattered so much showed, by extension, that the imprecision inherent in any human measurement could become magnified into wildly incorrect forecasts.
"It was philosophically very shocking," says Steven Strogatz, a professor of applied mathematics at Cornell and author of Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos. "Determinism was equated with predictability before Lorenz. After Lorenz, we came to see that determinism might give you short-term predictability, but in the long run, things could be unpredictable. That's what we associate with the word 'chaos.' "

Weather, war, and computers
Edward Norton Lorenz was a lifelong New Englander, born in 1917 in West Hartford, Connecticut. As a boy, he once recounted, he was "fascinated by changes in the weather." He received his undergraduate degree in mathematics from Dartmouth in 1938 and a master's in the subject from Harvard in 1940. When the United States entered World War II, he joined the Army Air Corps and filled a growing military need by training as a weather forecaster at MIT, where the nation's first meteorology curriculum had been established in 1928. After the war, he earned a doctorate in meteorology at MIT and largely stayed at the Institute until his death in 2008.
The military's meteorology program that Lorenz completed had been developed by Carl-Gustaf Rossby, a former MIT professor who was an advocate of dynamic meteorology. That approach treated the atmosphere as one large system to be analyzed using the equations of fluid mechanics. "With my mathematical background, I naturally found dynamic meteorology to my liking," Lorenz later wrote. Into the 1950s, however, dynamic meteorology did not produce reliable forecasts. A less scientifically sophisticated alternative called synoptic forecasting, which analyzed the weather by studying atmospheric structures such as high- and low-pressure systems, produced better results.
Lorenz and others began experimenting with statistical forecasting, which relied on computers to develop forecasting models by processing observational data on such things as temperature, pressure, and wind. By the late 1950s, he was using a computer to run complex simulations of weather models that he used to evaluate statistical forecasting techniques. Some of his simulations, however, were too regular to be realistic; they yielded periodic patterns, or precisely repeating sequences. As he knew, that wasn't how the weather really worked. When his 1961 simulation deviated from its expected path, he saw that a change as small as the one he'd made in rounding a number can create a vast difference over time. Lorenz realized that sensitivity to initial conditions is what causes nonperiodic behavior; the more a system has the capacity to vary, the less likely it is to produce a repeating sequence. This sensitivity makes weather very difficult to forecast far in advance.
Confirming this intuition was a set of equations, using just three variables to represent the movement of a heated gas in a box, that Lorenz employed in his landmark 1963 paper. Even such a drastically simplified model produced "solutions which never repeat their past history exactly," he noted. "Two states differing by imperceptible amounts may eventually evolve into two considerably different states ... [meaning] an acceptable prediction of an instantaneous state in the distant future may well be impossible."
Lorenz realized that if such a simple system was so sensitive to initial conditions, he had discovered something fundamental. "Ed's work on chaos theory was a beautiful example of very clear reductionist thinking," says Kerry Emanuel '76, PhD '78, an atmospheric scientist at MIT who for years had an office next door to Lorenz.
The principle of chaos drove home the importance of non­linearity, a characteristic of many natural systems. If a group of 100 lions has a net gain of 10 members a year, that increase in population size can be plotted on a graph as a straight line. A group of mice that doubles annually, on the other hand, has a nonlinear growth pattern; on a graph, the population size will curve upward. After a decade, the difference between a group that started with 22 mice and one that started with 20 mice will have ballooned to more than 2,000. Given that type of growth pattern, the real-life pressures on species—normal death rates, epidemics, limited resources—will often cause their population sizes to rise and fall chaotically. While not all nonlinear systems are chaotic, all chaotic systems are nonlinear, as Lorenz observed.
Yet chaos is not randomness. One way that he demonstrated this was through the equations representing the motion of a gas. When he plotted their solutions on a graph, the result—a pair of linked oval-like figures—vaguely resembled a butterfly. Known as a "Lorenz attractor," the shape illustrated the point that almost all chaotic phenomena can vary only within limits.
By 1965, Lorenz had pinpointed what he considered the primary source of nonlinearity in weather: advection, the horizontal and uneven wind-induced movement of heat, moisture, and other atmospheric properties. He had also concluded that the butterfly effect made it impossible to accurately forecast the weather two weeks ahead. Small errors regarding large-scale weather features, such as recording an imprecise location for a storm, would double in magnitude in about three days. Errors in observing small-scale weather features, such as imprecisely recording locations of individual clouds, could turn into errors on a larger scale within a day.
Meanwhile, a few scientists had begun grappling with Lorenz's discoveries. Joseph Pedlosky '59, SM '60, PhD '63, now a scientist emeritus at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, was a new assistant professor at MIT studying nonlinear eddying motion in the ocean and atmosphere when he saw Lorenz speak and realized that his meteorological and oceanographic models demonstrated chaos. Lorenz's insight "allowed me to talk about chaotic and aperiodic behavior, and that was very exciting," he says.
It took longer for chaos theory spread to other disciplines; in the mid-1970s, the biologist Robert May first suggested that populations of species fluctuate in chaotic fashion. Today we recognize that such disparate phenomena as a heartbeat and the erosion of a riverbed display chaotic behavior. Many scientists—including Emanuel—now rank chaos theory alongside relativity and quantum theory among the great scientific revolutions of the 20th century.

Dances with coyotes
A legend in the classroom, Lorenz earned students' votes as the meteorology department's best teacher year after year. "Eventually, the award was discontinued because no one else ever won it," Emanuel recalls. Yet Lorenz's research went largely unnoticed for a decade. "Ed was a very shy man who was as far from being a self-promoter as you could possibly imagine," says Emanuel. "He didn't go off giving scientific talks a lot."
Colleagues finally persuaded Lorenz to give his ideas a wider airing at the 1972 conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His paper "Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly's Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?" introduced the butterfly image, courtesy of meteorologist Philip Merilees, who came up with the title. Previously, Lorenz had used the more prosaic example of a seagull causing a storm. In 1987, the term "butterfly effect" took flight in James Gleick's best seller Chaos: Making a New Science—and Lorenz's discovery reached a general audience.
Gleick's book made a scientific celebrity of Lorenz. Rothman and Strogatz, then a professor at MIT, began inviting him to present annual guest lectures to awed students. "Every year he would give a new lecture on what he had done in the last year," says Rothman. "It was astonishing. In the last five years of his life, the lectures started getting better. Deeper. He was very into it." But Lorenz would deflect students' questions about his old breakthroughs.
Modest and soft-spoken even around familiar colleagues, Lorenz could be more voluble about his family or the outdoors; he was a lifelong hiker and cross-country skier. "If you talked to him about the White Mountains of New Hampshire, he would completely open up," says Emanuel. One time, improbably, Emanuel ran into Lorenz and his wife, Jane, on vacation in the Southern California desert. They all went to a nature preserve, where Emanuel saw a group of coyotes napping under a tree. On a whim, he started clapping and hollering to wake up the coyotes, but they did not stir.
"All of a sudden I heard this really loud coyote yelp coming from right behind me," recounts Emanuel. "I shot up about three feet in the air. Then I turned around and it was Ed! He had snuck up behind me, and he knew how to talk to the coyotes. He woke them up right away, and they started carrying on some kind of conversation with him. This huge sound, coming from this guy who you ordinarily had a hard time hearing."

Pop goes the butterfly
The butterfly effect even filtered into pop culture. "A butterfly can flutter its wings over a flower in China and cause a hurricane in the Caribbean," says Robert Redford's character in the 1990 movie Havana, adding that scientists "can even calculate the odds." But they can't, as Lorenz made clear in his 1990 book, The Essence of Chaos. Nature's interdependent chains of cause and effect are usually too complex to disentangle. So we cannot say precisely which butterfly, if any, may have created a given storm. Moreover, as Lorenz stated in his 1972 paper, "If the flap of a butterfly's wings can be instrumental in generating a tornado, it can equally well be instrumental in preventing a tornado." And that would be impossible for us to know.
Lorenz would thus equivocate when asked whether a butterfly can really cause a tornado. "Even today I am unsure of the proper answer," he said in a 2008 lecture. The value of the question is the larger point it evokes: that nature is highly sensitive to tiny changes. "The idea has now entered the everyday vision of many scientists across all disciplines," says Rothman. "They understand that some things are chaotic, and that there's exponential divergence from initial conditions. They may not voice it, but they know it because it's in the air. That's the sign of a great achievement."
Lorenz's work has also led to improvements in weather forecasting, which he credited to three things: wider data collection, better modeling, and "the recognition of chaos" in the weather, leading to what's called ensemble forecasting. In this technique, forecasters recognize that measurements are imperfect and thus run many simulations starting from slightly different conditions; the features these scenarios share form the basis of a more reliable "consensus" forecast.

Imagining a Lorenz Institute
Beyond forecasting, Lorenz was "keenly interested in climate," ­Emanuel says, and made it clear that even if tracing the effects of small things is too hard to let anyone predict the weather a month ahead, the effects of large things, like the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, are not hard to discern. "He did not think that climate change is wholly unpredictable and would have been amused at those who say that because we cannot predict the weather beyond a few days, there is no possibility of predicting climate," he says.
Today, Emanuel and Rothman are working with MIT fund-­raisers to find backing for a climate research center that they would like to call the Lorenz Institute. Emanuel thinks that would help compensate for the fact that Lorenz never held a titled professorship, despite his many professional awards. "He was a classic example of a prophet not honored in his own country here at MIT," he says bluntly.
The proposed Lorenz Institute, Emanuel says, would focus on pure research in service to a quest for "underlying principles in climate that make it easier to understand." As Lorenz wrote in 2005, "It has often been noted that a piece of pure research can lead, sometimes much later, to a practical application very likely not anticipated by the scientist performing the pure research."
Indeed, it is hardly fanciful to imagine Lorenz's insight as one such brief intellectual flutter, setting off currents that still affect the scientific atmosphere. Perhaps on some future winter day, another MIT climate scientist, ensconced in the Lorenz Institute, will return from a coffee break and instigate a breakthrough just as profound.

WikiLeaks: How the Cola war was won in Libya

An unpublished US diplomatic cable obtained by WikiLeaks tells the previously undisclosed story of how an American corporate powerhouse -- the $35-billion Coca-Cola Co. -- got caught up in a fierce fraternal dispute between two of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's sons.
The contretemps among the freres Gaddafi over a local bottling plant escalated into a heavily armed confrontation resembling a Hollywood gangster film, as a classified 2006 US cable put it.
"You know the movie 'The Godfather'? We've been living it for the last few months," a businessman involved in the dispute was quoted in the cable as telling an official from the US diplomatic mission in Tripoli.
The cable, which was made available to Reuters by a third party, centers on a bottling plant in Tripoli that was shut down for three months. It had been seized by troops loyal to Mutassim Gaddafi, a son of Muammar, who at the time was feuding with one of his brothers, Mohammed. (Another State Department cable suggests a third Gaddafi son, Saadi -- better known as the family's professional soccer player -- may also have been involved in the squabble, though no details of his role are given.)
Eventually, the American diplomatic mission in Tripoli, known then as the US Liaison Office, sent a firm protest to the Libyan government. The document states that around the same time, Mohammed Gaddafi, possibly under pressure from his sister Aisha, a family peacemaker, apparently agreed that shares owned by the Libyan Olympic Committee, which he led, would be sold to a third party.
Shortly afterward, the cable says, Mutassim's men left the Coke plant, ending the family standoff, but not before employees of the plant received threats of bodily harm and a Gaddafi cousin was stuffed in the trunk of a car.

The Coca-Cola confrontation is among numerous tales about endless squabbling within the Gaddafi clan recounted in State Department cables. Among other things, the incident underlines the difficulties faced by foreign companies operating in Libya even after the US and United Nations began to scale back sanctions following Muammar Gaddafi's decision in late 2003 to abandon his nuclear weapons program.
A spokesman for Coca-Cola acknowledged there had been "some uncertainty" surrounding Coke distribution arrangements in Libya during the period described in the cable. But the problem was "resolved amicably" by the end of 2006, the spokesman said, and since then, Coca-Cola had been operating normally in Libya until the onset of the current unrest.
A spokesman for the State Department said: "We will decline to comment on any particular cable. The US has taken aggressive action in recent days to freeze the assets of the Gaddafi family. Thus far, more than $30 billion in assets have been blocked."

Back when Libya was isolated by economic sanctions, its Coca-Cola supply was limited to consignments of the beverage bottled at a plant in Tunisia and transported to Tripoli and Benghazi.
After US and international trade embargoes on Libya began to ease, the Tripoli plant was established. It was co-owned by what the cable describes as a British company called Ka'Mur -- whose name was a reference to two embargo-era Libyan soft-drinks -- and by the Libyan Olympic Committee, headed by Mohammed Gaddafi.
Immediately after this joint venture was set up, the State Department cable says, the embargo-era Libyan distributor of bottled Coke sued the group behind the newly-opened plant, alleging breach of contract. A complaint was also sent to Coca Cola International alleging that the bottling plant operators had "stolen the franchise" from the previous distributors, according to the cable. The bottling plant operators counter-sued.
Then, on December 28, 2005 -- two weeks after the Tripoli plant began turning out locally-bottled batches of Coke -- "two military cars carrying armed personnel without clear identification illegally broke into the facility, asked the employees to leave the premises and shut down the plant," according to an account of the incident a businessman gave to US diplomats.
The US mission in Libya learned from other sources that the troops were loyal to Mutassim Gaddafi, who, after the Coca-Cola dispute was resolved, was named Libya's national security adviser.
According to the State Department cable, Mutassim bore a grudge against his brother because he had "taken over" the embargo-era domestic soft-drink business in the late 1990s when Mutassim had been exiled to Egypt for "insubordination" against their father. (Another cable says the "rumor" was that Mutassim had been linked to a coup attempt.)

Pakistan minorities minister shot dead in Islamabad

Shahbaz Bhatti
Pakistani minister for minorities Shahbaz Bhatti, who had called for changes in the country's controversial blasphemy law, was killed in a gun attack in Islamabad on Wednesday, officials said.
Police said the shooting took place near an Islamabad market. Bhatti was the only Christian in the Pakistani cabinet.
"The initial reports are that there were three men who attacked him. He was probably shot using a Kalashnikov, but we are trying to ascertain what exactly happened," said Islamabad police chief Wajid Durrani.
A hospital spokesman said Bhatti had several bullet wounds. The anti-blasphemy law has been in the spotlight since last November, when a court sentenced a Christian mother of four to death.
On Jan 4 the governor of the most populous province of Punjab, Salman Taseer, who had strongly opposed the law and sought presidential pardon for the 45-year-old Christian farmhand, was gunned down by one of his bodyguards.
The anti-blasphemy law has its roots in 19th-century colonial legislation to protect places of worship, but it was during the military dictatorship of General Mohammad Zia ul-Haq in the 1980s that it acquired teeth as part of a drive to Islamise the state.
Liberal Pakistanis and rights groups believe the law to be dangerously discriminatory against the country's tiny minority groups.
Under the law, anyone who speaks ill of Islam and the Prophet Mohammad commits a crime and faces the death penalty, but activists say the vague terminology has led to its misuse.
Christians who make up about two percent of Pakistan's population have been especially concerned about the law saying it offers them no protection.
Convictions hinge on witness testimony and often these are linked to personal vendettas, critics say.
Blasphemy convictions are common, although the death sentence has never been carried out. Most convictions are thrown out on appeal, but angry mobs have killed many people accused of blasphemy.

US flexes muscle, sends warships to Libya

The United States began moving warships toward Libya and froze $30 billion in the country's assets as the administration declared all options on the table in its diplomatic, economic and military campaign to drive colonel Muammar Gaddafi from power.
Secretary of state Hillary Clinton said the administration was conferring with allies about imposing a no-fly zone over Libya. Such a move would likely be carried out only under a mandate from the UN or Nato, but Hillary's blunt confirmation that it was under consideration was clearly intended to ratchet up the pressure on Gaddafi and his dwindling band of loyalists.
"Gaddafi has lost the legitimacy to govern, and it is time for him to go without further violence or delay," Hillary told reporters after a special meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
ABC News said amphibious ship USS Kearsarge had left the Red Sea to transit through Suez Canal into the Mediterranean, close to Libya. USS Kearsarge has armed helicopters and harrier jets on board as well as around 700 Marines. It also said aircraft carrier USS Enterprise had also been kept on 'high standby alert' in the Red Sea, though it had not been given orders to move into Mediterranean yet.
But officials in Washington and elsewhere said that direct military action remained unlikely, and that the moves were designed as much as anything as a warning to Colonel Gaddafi and a show of support to the protesters seeking to overthrow his government.
Enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya would first require bombing the north African nation's air defense systems, top US commander general James Mattis warned. A no-fly zone would require removing "the air defense capability first," Mattis, the head of central command, told a Senate hearing . "It would be a military operation ," the general said.
Anti-regime leaders said they have formed a military council in Benghazi, which has become the hub of efforts to topple Gaddafi. The council, comprising officers who joined protesters, will liaise with similar groups in other freed cities but it was not clear if there were plans for a regional command.

Copycat PhD? Gaddafi son under LSE lens

Saif el-Islam Gaddafi
The London School of Economics is investigating allegations that Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi's son, Saif el-Islam Gaddafi, plagiarized his 2008 PhD thesis at the prestigious institution, British media reported.
The LSE in a statement said it is investigating two specific claims against Saif al-Islam , 37, and was aware of allegations that he may have used a ghostwriter for his thesis . "The allegations are in the public domain about possible plagiarism in Saif Gaddafi's PhD thesis,'' an LSE spokesperson said. "We have also received direct allegations and are seeking more specific information in a couple of cases. We are also carrying out our own checks.''
The LSE's Centre for the Study of Global Governance director David Held said there was a rumour that he may not have been the sole author of the thesis. "I wrote straight away to his supervisor but there was no substantial evidence .'' He said there are accusations of several sections in the thesis being reproduced virtually verbatim from elsewhere without due credit. Saif al-Islam studied at the centre.
The matter could be particularly embarrassing for Indian origin LSE economics professor Meghnad Desai, who examined Saif al-Islam before doctorate was awarded. "I read the thesis,I examined him with an examiner, he defended his thesis very, very thoroughly, he had nobody else present, and I don't think there's any reason to think he didn't do it himself ,'' said Desai.
Saif al-Islam said eminent Harvard University economist Joseph Nye read parts of his manuscript and offered advice and thanked the USbased Monitor Group for providing empirical data for his writing in his acknowledgements . The group advises governments on economic development. It has a branch in London, where Rahul Gandhi reportedly worked before entering politics.

Fighting back, Gaddafi forces seize eastern town

Forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi have recaptured a town in Libya's mostly rebel-held east, rebel military officers said on Wednesday, in an attempt to break the momentum of a popular rebellion against his 41-year-old rule.
Forces sent by the Libyan leader had seized back Marsa El Brega after violent clashes with rebels who had controlled the town 800 km (500 miles) east of the captial Tripoli, the rebel officers told Reuters.
"It's true. There was aerial bombardment of Brega and Gaddafi's forces have taken it," Mohamed Yousef, an officer in the town of Ajdabiyah which is about 75 km (47 miles) from Brega, told Reuters on Wednesday.
The assaults are the most significant military success for Gaddafi since the uprising began two weeks ago and set off a confrontation that Washington says could descend into a long civil war unless the veteran strongman ruler steps down.
There are also fears that the uprising, the bloodiest yet against long-serving rulers in the Middle East, is causing a major humanitarian crisis, especially on the Tunisian border where thousands of foreign workers are trying to flee to safety.
Gaddafi is defiant and his son, Saif al-Islam, has warned the West against launching military action. He said the veteran ruler would not relinquish power or be driven into exile.
Across Libya, tribal leaders, officials, military officers and army units have defected to the rebel cause and say they are becoming more organised. Tripoli is a stronghold for Gaddafi in this oil-producing north African state.
"We are going to keep the pressure on Gaddafi until he steps down and allows the people of Libya to express themselves freely and determine their own future," Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told ABC's " Good Morning America".
Captain Faris Zwei, among officers in the east who joined the opposition to Gaddafi, said there were more than 10,000 volunteers in Ajdabiyah, a short distance from Marsa El Brega.
"We are reorganising the army, which was almost completely destroyed by Gaddafi and his gang before they left," he said. "We are reforming, as much as we can, the army from the youth that took part in the revolution."
Two amphibious assault ships, USS Kearsarge, which can carry 2,000 Marines, and USS Ponce, entered the Suez Canal on Wednesday en route to the Mediterranean. The destroyer USS Barry moved through the canal on Monday as part of efforts to increase diplomatic and military pressure on Gaddafi to quit.
The two ships entered through the southern end of the canal, an official said, adding that they were expected to pass through by 3:30 p.m. (1330 GMT) or 4:00 p.m. local time.
Arab League foreign ministers meet on Wednesday at an extraordinary session in Cairo and are expected to reinforce their condemnation of Gaddafi. Some delegates want the meeting to underline the League's unwillingness to see foreign intervention in Libya.
The repositioning of U.S. ships and aircraft closer to Libya is widely seen as a symbolic show of force since neither the United States nor its NATO allies have shown any appetite for direct military intervention in the turmoil that has seen Gaddafi lose control of large swaths of his country.
"We are looking at a lot of options and contingencies. No decisions have been made on any other actions," Defense Secretary Robert Gates said, noting the United Nations had not authorised the use of force in Libya.
Italy said it was sending a humanitarian mission to Tunisia to provide food and medical aid to as many as 10,000 people who had fled violence in Libya on its eastern border.
Tunisian border guards fired into the air on Tuesday to try to control a desperate crowd clamouring to cross the frontier.
About 70,000 people have passed through the Ras Jdir border post in the past two weeks, and many more of the hundreds of thousands of foreign workers in Libya are expected to follow.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: "Libya could become a peaceful democracy or it could face protracted civil war."
The U.S. Senate, in a unanimous vote, approved a resolution "strongly condemning the gross and systematic violation of human rights in Libya, including violent attacks on protesters demanding democratic reforms".
The White House said the ships were being redeployed in preparation for possible humanitarian efforts but stressed it "was not taking any options off the table". Gates said: "Our job is to give the president the broadest possible decision space."
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe sounded a note of caution, saying military intervention would not happen without a clear United Nations mandate.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, who said Britain would work with allies on preparations for a no-fly zone over Libya, said it was unacceptable that "Colonel Gaddafi can be murdering his own people using airplanes and helicopter gunships".
General James Mattis, commander of U.S. Central Command, told a Senate hearing that imposing a no-fly zone would be a "challenging" operation. "You would have to remove air defence capability in order to establish a no-fly zone, so no illusions here," he said. "It would be a military operation."
Analysts said Western leaders were in no mood to rush into conflict after drawn-out involvements in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Gaddafi, a survivor of past coup attempts, has told television networks: "All my people love me," dismissing the significance of the rebellion that has ended his control over much of oil-rich eastern Libya.

The Libyan leader has, however, faced defections from soldiers, diplomats and ministers. Gaddafi replaced two of his ministers who had defected to support the uprising seeking to oust him, Libyan state television said on Wednesday.
Despite the widespread collapse of Gaddafi's rule, his forces were also fighting back in the west. A reporter on the Tunisian border saw Libyan troops reassert control at a crossing abandoned on Monday, and residents of Nalut, about 60 km (35 miles) from the border, said they feared pro-Gaddafi forces were planning to recapture the town.
The U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday unanimously suspended Libya's membership of the U.N. Human Rights Council. A U.N. Security Council resolution on Saturday called for a freeze on Gaddafi's assets and a travel ban and refers his crackdown to the International Criminal Court.
The United States has frozen $30 billion in Libyan assets. Libya's National Oil Corp said output had halved due to the departure of foreign workers. Brent crude surged above $116 a barrel on Tuesday as supply disruptions and potential for more unrest in the Middle East and North Africa kept investors edgy.

No direct funding to Pak nuclear programme : Pentagon

The US has a strong fund tracking system to make sure that Pakistan does not use any direct US money to strengthen its nuclear programme, a top Pentagon official told lawmakers who expressed concern over American aid money to Islamabad given reports that the country has doubled its atomic stockpile.
"I'm confident there is no direct funding going to their nuclear programme because of my confidence in tracking the cost we are reimbursing them for now," General James N Mattis, commander of the US central command said at a Congressional hearing convened by the Senate armed services committee.
The statement came after lawmakers expressed concern over recent reports that Pakistan has doubled its nuclear weapons and the stockpile has crossed the 100-figure mark.
"Obviously, they have their own funding, and whether or not they would spend some of that elsewhere, if we weren't reimbursing," Mattis said.
Senator Jim Webb said while Pakistan may not be using US money directly to fund its nuclear programme but expressed apprehension that American assistance in other areas could have helped the country divert its own money.
Apparently not satisfied with Mattis' response, Webb said: "The concerns that I have is that if we are funding programmes that they otherwise would be funding or they are able to take that money in order to increase their nuclear arsenal, it's not a healthy situation for the region and for us, in my view".
At the same Senate committee hearing, Admiral Eric T Olson, commander of US special operations command noted that Pakistan needs to do more in this war against terrorism, even though it has taken considerable steps in this regard.
"I would say in many ways Pakistan is behaving as a great ally and taking much risk upon their selves. But there is perhaps more that can be done. I think that the senior-level dialogues that are taking place are very productive in this regard," he said.
Olson said he has been in constant touch with Admiral Willard, commander, Pacific command, about the relationship between India and Pakistan.
"India-Pakistan reconciliation has got to be something that they take responsibility for. So we're more on a mode of making certain that what we're doing militarily is never seen as contrary to that trend," he said in response to a question.
Earlier, Senator Carl Levin said the presence of safe havens for terrorists in Pakistan continues to pose a security threat to Afghanistan and to the region.
"While US-Pakistan military cooperation has improved in some respects, the Pakistani army has not yet gone after the sanctuaries for the Haqqani Network in North Waziristan or the Afghan Taliban in and around Quetta, Pakistan," he said.
Mattis told Levin that there have been disconnects where the United States has not always seen eye to eye with Pakistan.
"Part of the reason these groups exist is together with Pakistan we helped create some of them," he said. "Any attempt to look at Pakistan's security interests must include their relationship, their difficult relationship, with India. And over the years, I believe that Pakistan got into position where the very groups that in some cases we helped to give birth to were... became part of the landscape, the Kalashnikov culture, for example," he said.
He said in many areas, Pakistan has acted against such groups and has cost it thousands of troops killed and wounded. "Especially telling is the number of junior officers they've lost, indicating an aggressive effort against these areas," Mattis said.
"But I think, too, it is the most difficult terrain I have ever operated in my 39 years in uniform. And the Pakistan military's movement against these folks is continuing. "We are now into our 24th month of unrelenting campaign against them," Mattis said.

Govt against mercy killing, AG tells SC

The Centre has rejected the Law Commission's recommendation to allow terminally ill patients to choose death to end their suffering, attorney general G E Vahanvati told the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
Opposing an euthanasia plea on behalf of Aruna Shanbaug, who has been in a vegetative state at KEM Hospital for 37 years, Vahanvati said western parameters seldom applied to Indian conditions and culture. "We do not lead our terminally ill parents or kids to death. Who decides if one should live or die? Who knows tomorrow there might be a cure to a medical state perceived as incurable today. And won't leading the terminally ill impede pro-life medical research?" he argued . The SC will give its verdict on Monday.
Euthanasia—"good death" in ancient Greek but popularly known as mercy killing—has been a taboo word in India, but allowed in the West. In its 126th report, the commission had recommended, "If a person is unable to take normal care of his body or has lost all senses and if his real desire is to quit the world, he cannot be compelled to continue with a painful life."
The commission said in such cases, it would be cruel not to permit a person to die. "Hence, a dying man who is terminally ill or is in persistent vegetative state can be permitted to terminate it by premature extinction of life."
The AG disagreed and said India was a country where people were poorer but more emotional than their western counterparts. He also said euthanasia was fraught with danger as relatives could seek the death of a person to grab his property. He suggested that if relatives did not have the means to pay for a patient's treatment, the government must step in.
Agreeing with Vahanvati's apprehension, the bench quoted Shakespeare from Macbeth—"nearer, the bloodier". With social relationships eroding, people could misuse euthanasia in collusion with doctors, it said.
Amicus curiae and senior advocate T R Andhyarujina appreciated the efforts of lawyer Pinky Virani in bringing the euthanasia plea to court, but said the nurses and staff of KEM Hospital who have been taking care of Aruna were the right people to talk about it. "And they have made no such plea," he said.
The bench said, "We respect Virani's efforts. The nurses and staff of the hospital took amazing care of her for 37 years, so much so that she does not even have a single bed sore."
The hospital's counsel, senior advocate Pallav Shisodia, said the nurses and staff really loved Aruna and since they had not made such a plea, the court should dismiss Virani's petition and not decide any academic issue relating to euthanasia. "Euthanasia must be debated in public and Parliament and the court should not decide the sensitive issue by hearing five or six counsels," he said.
An expert panel comprising Dr J V Divatia, Dr Roop Gursahani and Dr Nilesh Shah, all of whom were present on Thursday, had examined 60-year-old Aruna and given two reports to the court, agreeing about her permanent vegetative state. But they had said she liked fish and chicken soup, calmed down while listening to devotional music and disliked crowding in her hospital room. "She accepts food in normal course and responds by facial expressions. She responds to commands intermittently by making sounds. She makes sounds when she has to pass stool and urine, which the nursing staff identifies and attends to by leading her to the toilet," the panel had said.

Fall of a legend: Indian-American corporate icon Rajat Gupta faces insider trading charges

Rajat Gupta
  In the growing pantheon of high-flying Indian internationalists, few have scaled the corporate heights Rajat Gupta achieved. IIT titan, Harvard Business School alum, top honcho at consulting giant McKinsey, and board member of Goldman Sachs, Proctor & Gamble, and American Airlines among other blue chip firms, he has epitomized Indian-American success in the United States. His storied reputation as a management maestro saw even the United Nations turn to him for advice on reforms.
But in a stunning turn of events, the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday accused Gupta of insider trading in an ongoing case that threatens to demolish the fabled career of the 62-year old corporate maven, who counts Bill Gates and Bill Clinton among his pals (he has been an adviser to both). Such is Gupta's stature and such is the gravity of the charge that some market analysts reckoned that he may be the most important businessman ever to be charged with a serious violation of securities laws.
According to the SEC, Gupta used his corporate board positions to supply confidential information to his friend Raj Rajaratnam, a Sri Lanka-born hedge fund manager who is set to go on trial next week on insider trading allegations. In one instance, the SEC charged, Gupta tipped off Rajaratnam minutes after the board of Goldman Sachs Group approved a $5-billion investment by Warren Buffett in the Wall Street firm at the height of the financial crisis, enabling Rajaratnam's Galleon hedge funds to rake in a quick $900,000 profit. In all, Gupta's tips generated more than $ 18 million in illicit gains for Rajratnam, SEC said.
The SEC backed it charges with citations of telephone records and calendar entries that showed Gupta and Rajratnam exchanging phone calls minutes after key board meeting decisions, which were followed by big stock purchases and sales by the latter, enabling quick profits. It also said Gupta was at the time of the exchanges a direct or indirect investor in at least some Galleon hedge funds, and had "other potentially lucrative business interests with Rajaratnam."
Gupta has denied through his lawyers any wrong doing even as Rajratnam, who was arrested by the FBI in October 2009 and subsequently secured bail, is fighting the charges against him. Both Gupta and Rajratnam are politically active in Democratic circles, counting friends among the high and mighty.
In fact, Rajaratnam has also been accused of conspiring with two other corporate executives of Indian origin, Intel Capital treasury department managing director Rajiv Goel, and Anil Kumar, a director of McKinsey & Co (both his classmates from Wharton '83), in the insider trading case already underway. But they were seen as relatively minor, mid-level managers.
The charge against Gupta takes the case to a whole new level, reaching into the most elite boardrooms of corporate America that welcomed the Indian immigrant into a tight club. Gupta, is also on the advisory boards of various top-line business schools (Harvard, Kellogg among them), was seen by many as the first Indian to break the glass ceiling in corporate America. More recently, he is the co-founder, along with former President Clinton and Citibank executive Victor Menezes, of the American India Foundation.
"Mr. Gupta was honored with the highest trust of leading public companies, and he betrayed that trust by disclosing their most sensitive and valuable secrets," said Robert Khuzami, the SEC's director of enforcement, in a statement. "Directors who violate the sanctity of boardroom confidences for private gain will be held to account for their illegal actions."
While Gupta and at least two other managers of Indian origin are under the gun, it turns out that the investigation and prosecution of the case is also in the hands of Indian-Americans. The SEC probe is being handled, among others, by Sanjay Wadhwa, of the Commission's Market Abuse Unit in New York. Rajratnam, meanwhile, is being prosecuted by Preet Bharara, who is the Justice Department's Attorney for Manhattan.