Archive for November, 2007

Umar Gul, the Pakistan fast bowler, has broken down while training and will be sent home ahead of the second Test against India beginning in Kolkata on Friday. The team management have asked the Pakistan selectors to send a replacement by Thursday evening but nothing has been confirmed yet.

Gul bowled at full steam in the nets on Wednesday and had apparently recovered fully from the back injury, which had kept him out of the first Test in Delhi.

The recurrence of Gul’s injury is a severe blow to Pakistan’s pace attack. Uncertainty remains over Shoaib Akhtar participation in the second Test. Shoaib, who was Pakistan’s best bowler with six wickets in Delhi, was admitted in a hospital because of a fever and chest infection. He was discharged on Wednesday evening.

Pakistan’s other injury concerns included the captain Shoaib Malik, who was suffering from an ankle injury sustained while playing foot ball after the Delhi Test. Malik had a Grade 1 problem with his right ankle and sat out of a practice session on Wednesday.


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Sold into prostitution aged nine, condemned by an Iranian judge to hang at 18, Leila was saved by a group of human rights activists.

Leila reading the newspaper

Leila was illiterate but she is now learning to read

“I was nine years old when my mother started selling me. I did not understand what was happening.”

Today Leila is a young woman of 22. For the past two years she has been cared for by a private home for destitute young women in Tehran, Omid E Mehr, which means Hope.

“My mother would say: ‘Let’s go out to buy things, like chocolates’. She would actually trick me. I was a tiny girl. She just took me to places.”

Leila still finds it difficult to talk about the past. But we know that the “places” she speaks of are where she was sold for sex and raped.

Leila became the main source of income for a family of five.

The lawyer who eventually saved Leila’s life, Shadi Sadr, is a controversial figure in Iran. Although she was imprisoned earlier this year for taking part in human rights demonstrations, she is widely respected and frequently quoted in the press.

A girl is considered one of the first commodities or properties that can be traded or sold in the eyes of a parent who is poor in Iran

Shadi Sadr

Ms Sadr says Leila’s story is not unique.

“A girl is considered one of the first commodities or properties that can be traded or sold in the eyes of a parent who is poor in Iran,” she says.

Ms Sadr says that, in practice in Iran, under the Islamic penal code a father has enormous power over his own children.

“If a father decides to kill his own child he will not be sentenced to death, he will only be sent to prison for a couple of years.”

Temporary wife

Leila lived in Arak, a small town four hours drive south of Tehran – notorious for criminal behaviour and illegal drugs. Most of Leila’s earnings went on illegal narcotics for her family.

According to the United Nations three quarters of the world’s opium seizures take place in Iran and the authorities acknowledge addiction is a serious problem.


Human rights lawyers say Leila’s case is not unique

But there are no such statistics on prostitution. The Director of the Omid E Mehr centre in Tehran says it is a growing problem.

“I have entered many homes in the south of Tehran where young girls had to go out and sell their bodies to provide for their father’s drug habits,” says Eshrat Gholipour.

I have also seen several cases of families chaining their own daughter to the homes to stop them from running away.”

I am going to tell you something but please do not be upset. You are going to be hanged

Prison warder

Leila’s husband begun selling her for sex to as many as 15 men each night. Two months into the marriage, police raided the house and arrested everyone.

The husband was sentenced to five years in jail for providing a house for illegal sex.

During the course of the criminal investigation, Leila’s brothers had confessed to raping her. They were flogged. For this Leila was accused of incest. A crime punishable by death.

Leila was in a women’s prison when she heard about her own sentence from the warder: “I am going to tell you something but please do not be upset. You are going to be hanged.”

Ms Sadr says the judicial system is deeply conservative and unfair.

“These male judges have not had any training about sexual charges. They all have a chauvinistic point of view and they see the woman as guilty,” she says.

Leila’s brothers later retracted their confessions. Ms Sadr took Leila’s case to appeal and won.

Death sentence

Earlier this year Ms Sadr defended and won the case of 19-year-old Nazanine, sentenced to death for killing a man who tried to rape her. Today she too is a free woman.

There will be so many protests… from the human rights activists that the judges are under pressure not to issue a death sentence”

Shadi Sadr

According to Amnesty International, 177 people were executed in Iran last year, of these four were women – this year the number is up to five. The real figures could be higher as executions are not always reported.

But Ms Sadr and other Iranian lawyers say that constant human-rights campaigning and publicity is making Iran’s judges more sensitive to public opinion. “There will be so many protests or so much complaints from the human rights activists that the judges are under pressure not to issue a death sentence,” she says.

Tender hope

Today Leila lives in a small flat with a full-time carer paid for by Ms Sadr and the Omid E Mehr day centre.

Marjaneh Halati, who lives in London, is its founder. She says that when Leila arrived she was illiterate and needed to be taught the basics of life.

Leila and Marjaneh Halati, Founder of the Omid e Mehr Centre

Leila is rebuilding her life and learning to be independent

“She did not know anything. To the point that she did not know that you wear a pad when you get a period.”

Today Leila is learning to read and earning money as a seamstress.

But Ms Halati also knows that by helping girls like Leila – by boosting their self-esteem and encouraging independence – the centre is treading a fine line.

“We live in Iran and there are certain rules we have to abide by, but it does not mean we cannot tell the girls that they are no different to men. They are individuals,” she says.

Today Leila is free and attitudes may slowly be changing. Iran passed its first child protection laws five years ago.

This spring a new bill drafted by human rights lawyers, is expected to go before Parliament to make prosecutions in child abuse cases easier.

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IT’S HERO VS. HERO AS THE SERIES’ “VOLUME II: GENERATIONS” COMES TO AN EXPLOSIVE, BLOODY FINISH – Deep below Primatech Paper in Odessa, TX, Peter’s (Milo Ventimiglia) reunion with Nathan (Adrian Pasdar) turns violent when the brothers, Matt (Greg Grunberg) and Hiro (Masi Oka) all clash thanks to Adam (David Anders) and his pursuit of the deadly Shanti Virus. After watching his heroic cousin captured by a street gang, Micah (Noah Gray-Cabey) turns to the one person who can help him save Monica (Dana Davis) — his mom (Ali Larter). Meanwhile, Maya (Dania Ramirez) tragically learns how much of a monster Sylar (Zachary Quinto) really is during his kidnapping of Molly (Adair Tishler) and Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy). Meanwhile, Elle (Kristen Bell) decides to play hero to get back into her father’s (Stephen Tobolowsky) good graces. Jack Coleman, James Kyson Lee and Hayden Panettiere also star.

click here to watch online

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This Week in ‘Heroes’ Epsiode 10 (Truth & Consequences), Peter travels to Primatech in Texas to destroy the virus,which will kill 93 percent of the world’s population in the future, or so he believes, but not everything is what it seems. Hiro continues the pursuit of his father’s killer, while Matt pursues the last Company member in the photo. Niki is reunited with Micah but has bad news, while Maya has to choose to remain with Alejandro, or go with Sylar.

Click Here to watch it for free 

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General Pervez Musharraf has begun a series of farewell visits to Pakistan’s military establishment.

His first stop on Tuesday was at the Joint Staffs headquarters, combining the top commands of the Army, Navy and Air Forces.

Later on Tuesday, Musharraf visited the separate headquarters of the Air Force and Navy and addressed the troops. On Wednesday, he will preside over a meeting of the military corps commanders.

Gen Musharraf will then hand over charge to former ISI chief General Pervez Ashfaq Kiyani and on Thursday, take oath as a civilian President.

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif personally promoted Musharraf over other senior officers to appoint him as Army Chief in October 1998.

The formal stepping down will take place at the army headquarters in Rawalpindi.

At a change of guard, Kiyani will take over as the new army chief. Pakistani media reports say preparations for the handover have already begun in Rawalpindi.

“Gen Kiyani will assume command of the Pakistan Army on Wednesday and farewell visits by President General Musharraf have started today (Tuesday),” his spokesperson Maj Gen Rashid Qureshi said.


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Border-hopping has become a common practice with the likes of Strings, Atif Aslam, Call, Roxen, Annie and many others composing Indian film soundtracks. The latest band to join this league is Suroor.

Suroor’s title track from debut album Pyar To Hona Hi Hai has been taken by Rohit Shetty (director of Gol Maal fame) for his upcoming movie Sunday slated to be released early next year. The movie stars Ajay Devgan, Ayesha Takia, Arshad Warsi and Irrfan Khan.

“Rohit Shetty was looking for a love song for Sunday. The director along with Ajay Devgan heard some tracks from Pakistan pop acts and the moment they heard Pyar To Hona Hi Hai they loved it…they called me immediately from Mumbai and locked this song”, said an excited Kami, “Ajay liked the Suroor sound so much that he has picked up a couple of more songs from the band’s album for his upcoming movies.”

Kami went on to say that neighter the lyrics or the music composition in the song has been altered for its Bollywood debut. About the video, Kami says “The video has been shot along with the lead cast Ajay and Ayesha in Delhi. It should be out with the mahurat of music that is early December.”

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If you’ve heard the soulful, lilting and melodious tunes of Taare Zameen Par, you wouldn’t connect the compositions to the musical trio Shankar Ehsaan Loy. But its true, we have it here for you… from the horses’ mouth – Taare Zameen Par was an experience which was different and inspiring for the trio. Hear them talk about working with Mr. Perfectionist, Aamir Khan and releasing their composition at the hands of the great Shammi Kapoor. A Must Watch!

Click here 

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