Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Defeat of Team

After the shameful defeat of Team India, the team members were not able to show their faces to people and they chose not to go in public and rather just pack up in hotel rooms.

Dravid could not resist for too long to be in the hotel room and still not be able to go out shopping. So he disguises himself as another man and goes out. He meets a woman at the exit of the hotel who greets him

“Hi Dravid!”

Surprised for having been caught he comes back and makes himself up as Muslim woman - in Burkha etc and goes out. Yet the same woman greets him

“Hi Dravid!”

Dravid comes back determined to give it yet another try with the make up of a Hippie wig and shorts etc. All in vain, the same lady catches him again and greets him

“Hi Dravid!”

Bewildered by now, he could not help asking, “How did you recognize me?”

The lady replied : “I am Sachin !!!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Quit-Smoking Drug May Raise Suicide Risk

News Clip Courtesy : Steven Reinberg, HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Feb. 2 (HealthDay News) -- There's increasing evidence that the smoking-cessation drug Chantix is linked to serious "neuropsychiatric" side effects, including agitation, depressed mood and even suicide, U.S. health officials said Friday.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has asked Chantix's manufacturer, Pfizer Inc., to make the warning about these potential problems more prominent on prescribing information and on the drug's label. The agency is also working with Pfizer to produce a Medication Guide for patients, officials said.

"We have become increasingly concerned as we have seen a number of compelling cases that truly look as if they are the result of exposure to the drug and not to other causes," Dr. Bob Rappaport, director of the FDA's Division of Anesthesia, Analgesia and Rheumatology Products, said during an afternoon teleconference.

"These cases involve abnormal behaviors, changes in mood, and suicidal ideation and suicide," Rappaport said.

The FDA knows of 491 cases of suicidal behavior associated with Chantix, said Dr. Celia Winchell, a team leader in the FDA's Division of Anesthesia, Analgesia and Rheumatology Products.

"Of these, 420 are from the United States," Winchell said. "There are 39 that involve completed suicides, 34 in the United States."

According to Pfizer, 5 million patients have taken Chantix, whose generic name is varenicline.

Friday's warning follows a Nov. 20 FDA statement that the agency was "evaluating post-marketing adverse event reports on Chantix related to changes in behavior, agitation, depressed mood, suicidal ideation, and actual suicidal behavior."

At that time, Pfizer said there had never been a cause-and-effect relationship shown between Chantix and these symptoms. The company also said that part of the problem may be due to nicotine withdrawal.

Last month, Pfizer agreed, after consulting with the FDA, to update packages of Chantix sold in the United States to more prominently display a warning that users should be monitored for suicidal behavior, depressed mood, and other mental health symptoms.

The FDA approved Chantix in May 2006 as a smoking-cessation drug. It acts in areas of the brain affected by nicotine and may ease withdrawal symptoms and block the effects of nicotine if users resume smoking.

On Friday, FDA officials advised patients to tell their doctor about any history of psychiatric illness before starting Chantix. The drug can cause current psychiatric illness to get worse even if it is under control. Chantix may also cause the recurrence of an old psychiatric illness, the officials warned.

Patients should also report changes in mood and behavior to their doctor. Symptoms to look out for include anxiety, nervousness, tension, depressed mood, unusual behaviors and thinking about or attempting suicide, the FDA officials said.

In most cases, these symptoms developed while taking Chantix, but they can also appear after stopping the drug, the officials noted.

"We are continuing with the review process over the next several months as we try to pin down to what extent these problems are being seen with Chantix," Rappaport said.

Vivid, unusual, or strange dreams may occur while taking the drug. Patients may also experience impaired ability to drive or operate heavy machinery, the officials said.

More information

For more on quitting smoking, visit Smokefree.gov.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Broke homeowners linked to arsons

Authorities in economically stressed cities see an increase in torched houses. Is the nation's mortgage mess transforming more Americans into criminals?

Arson is nothing new in Detroit. It's a time-honored weapon of the angry, vengeful, distressed and dispossessed in a city that gets hurt harder and sooner than others, making it a perfect place to spot early evidence of stress from the real-estate meltdown.

The Detroit Fire Department can't draw a definitive link between its rising arson rate (151 arrest warrants in 2007), rising foreclosures (up more than 65% last year) and falling housing prices (the region's median house price dropped 17.3% in the past four years, to $145,173).

But Capt. Steve Varnas of the department's arson section says he sees a connection: In 2005, the city issued only 80 arrest warrants for arson -- about half the number last year. "Things were going great," Varnas says. "There were fewer desperate people in 2004 and 2005."

Across the U.S., homeowners are searching for ways to escape from mortgages they can't pay -- or don't want to. A few are turning to arson, but it's too soon to turn anecdotes into meaningful statistics. Consumer pressure and state laws require speedy settlements, which means insurance companies are quick to pay up and slower to complete complex arson investigations. Definitive answers will come later.

But the signs of trouble are there if you're looking for them:

The FBI reportsthat arson grew 4% in suburbs and 2.2% in cities from 2005 to 2006. The 2007 numbers aren't out yet.

In California, a state hit particularly hard by foreclosures, insurance companies must tell the state within 60 days if they suspect a fire is "questionable." Last year, more than 120 reports were filed, and in 14 foreclosure was named a possible factor. The previous year, just 70 reports were filed, with seven citing foreclosure, says the state insurance commissioner's office. (Not all reports become arson cases.)

Arrest warrants for arson in Detroit rose 89% between 2005 and 2007. "We are up to our eyeballs in arsons," says Varnas, of the Detroit Fire Department. "We're not only dealing with hardened criminals. We're dealing with desperate people."

A trend -- or arson as usual?

In Stockton, Calif., where foreclosures are rampant, Deputy District Attorney J.C. Weydert is wondering whether he's looking at an arson trend or just a coincidence.

Weydert, a prosecutor with San Joaquin County's Economic Crimes/Insurance Fraud Unit, usually handles a residential arson case every two or three years. "Now I've got two in the pipeline," he says.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Santana's total deal exceeds $150M

Johan Santana reached a preliminary agreement with the Mets Friday night on a record contract, according to a major-league source, all but completing the trade that will send the two-time Cy Young Award winner from Minnesota to New York in exchange for four young players.

The Mets locked up Santana for the next seven years, signing him to a six-year, $137.5 million extension on top of the final year of his current deal, which is valued at $13.25 million. The total value of the package is $150.75 million, making his new average salary more than $21.5 million — a record for a pitcher on a long-term contract.

Santana, who turns 29 on March 13, needs only to pass a physical to make the trade official. But the most difficult elements of the transaction — the trade and contract negotiations — are finally complete. Santana is scheduled to take his physical Saturday morning, Twins GM Bill Smith said, according to The Associated Press.

The Mets needed Major League Baseball to grant a two-hour extension of the 72-hour negotiating window to persuade Santana to waive his no-trade clause, forsake free agency at the end of the season and approve the deal.

Without a new deal, Santana, who will turn 29 next month, could have become a free agent after the World Series. Minnesota offered him an $80 million, four-year extension this offseason, but he turned it down.

Santana was present for the final stages of the talks, according to two sources close to the negotiations. He was adamant that he deserved a vastly superior deal to Giants lefty Barry Zito, who signed a seven-year, $126 million contract as a free agent last off-season.

In return for Santana, who was eligible for free agency at the end of the season, the Twins will receive outfielder Carlos Gomez and pitchers Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra.

Cubs right-hander Carlos Zambrano held the previous salary record for a pitcher under a multi-year deal — $18.3 million per season over five years. Zito is earning $18 million per season in his deal with the Giants.

Santana's new average trumps both of those numbers, leaving Indians left-hander C.C. Sabathia — who is eligible for free agency at the end of the season — as the next in line for a monster score.

The only players with larger packages are New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez ($275 million), Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter ($189 million), Boston outfielder Manny Ramirez ($160 million) and Colorado first baseman Todd Helton ($141.5 million).

Santana is 93-44 with a 3.22 ERA in eight major league seasons, winning the AL Cy Young Award in 2004 and 2006 with the Twins. He has been less successful in the playoffs, going 1-3 with a 3.97 ERA.

The left-hander slipped a bit last year, finishing with a 15-13 record that included marks of 0-5 against AL Central champion Cleveland and 1-3 vs. Detroit. He dropped seven of his final 11 decisions as his ERA rose from 2.60 to 3.33 ERA, his highest since 2001. He also allowed a career-high 33 homers — most in the AL.

He joins a rotation that includes three-time Cy Young Award winner Pedro Martinez, right-hander Orlando Hernandez and a pair of 15-game winners from last season: John Maine and Oliver Perez.

The Mets also agreed to a $1,025,000, one-year deal with left-handed reliever Pedro Feliciano that avoided an arbitration hearing. A key member of the bullpen, Feliciano was 2-2 with a 3.09 ERA and two saves in 78 appearances last season. He asked for $1.2 million in arbitration and the Mets offered $880,000.

News Clip : The Associated Press contributed to this report.