Showing posts from July, 2007

Sanjay Dutt sentenced to 6 yrs in prison

Tuesday, July 31, 2007 (Mumbai):Actor Sanjay Dutt has been sentenced to six years in prison for illegal possession of arms in connection with the 1993 Mumbai blasts case.

In his observation on Sanjay Dutt the judge said that acquisition of guns showed scant respect for law.

The judge cancelled Dutt's bail and he will be taken into custody right away. He has been fined a sum of Rs 25,000.

However, Dutt's lawyers said that they will appeal in the Supreme Court.

Soon after the verdict was pronounced Dutt asked the judge to be allowed to call his daughter and also pleaded for few days to surrender.

Earlier, the judge had refused the probation report of Dutt and other accused Yusuf Nullwala and Kersi Adajania.

He also said that Dutt committed the offence and also made others do so. He further observed that Dutt made Nullwala an offender by making him destroy the weapon.

Nullwala has been sentenced to five years in prison while Kersi gets two years in jail.

One of the aides of Sanjay Dutt, …

Ford launches diesel version of Fusion

Ford India launched the diesel version of its premium hatchback Fusion in an attempt to build a robust diesel portfolio. "Strengthening our diesel plat form is a key strategy for us and we are hopeful that with the launch of the diesel variant of Fusion we will be able to attract more customers," said Arvind Matthew, president of Ford India, while unveiling the car. The car is being offered in only one variant and is priced at Rs 6,59,000 ($16,300). It will be available in six colours, paprika red, moon dust silver, diamond white, panther black, brush steel and mystic wine. "With the prices of petrol going up, diesel is always a viable option. Fusion diesel is a practical mix of international design, spacious and comfortable interiors with Ford's world renowned Duratorq TDCi diesel engine," said Matthew. The diesel version of Fusion is packed with a 1.4 litre Duratorq TDCi (turbo diesel common rail injection) engine. The engine is made of aluminium alloy,…

Indians happier than five years ago: Survey

Silicon Valley: Indians are markedly happier and optimistic today than five years ago, a recent survey on global opinions has said. The survey, conducted by the Pew Global Attitudes Project in about 47 nations, shows that increasing contentment in India as well as some other developing nations, including China, is clearly correlated with sizeable increases in per capita Gross Domestic product that has far outpaced the rate of growth prior to 2002. Over the last five years, the per capita GDP in India rose by 38 per cent and the percentage of people in the country expressing life satisfaction has grown from 29 per cent to 41 per cent, the survey found. Perhaps reflecting their country's tremendous economic growth in recent years. In contrast, levels of personal contentment and satisfaction with annual incomes have been much more stable in North America, Western Europe and Japan, where income growth has been less impressive. Also, unlike the developin…

Chennai emerges as new Animation Hub

Despite several inequities and challenges, Chennai is emerging as a seedbed for the animation industry with great success stories. Mr Muralidharan, chief technology officer, Accel Animation Studios, says, "The current scenario is very encouraging with the increasing demand in domestic as well as outsourced service work from leading producers. It indicates the indu-stry is growing at a very fast pace in Chennai." Accel Animation is currently working on 3D animated episodes for preschool children Raju the Autorickshaw for a Canadian producer Kahani World. The company has just completed a 40 minute visual effect and 3D character animation for a Hindi feature film Friends For Ever which is expected to hit the screens by September 2007. Mr Muralidharan added that the company is also working on a 3D animated movie South India Fables based on Thirukkural for a global audience. The first one-hour show of 12 hours will be ready for distribution by October 2007. According to …

Adlabs woos Himesh Reshammiya with film deal

After the success of Aap Ka Surroor, singer-actor Himesh Reshammiya has been approached by Adlabs for a film deal (for an unheard price) which has him as a lead actor as well as the music director-singer. The singer had announced that henceforth he would only be doing those film projects that star him as a lead actor. Sources say that Adlabs has offered Himesh a package deal which gives him total freedom to choose his script, director and lead actress. This film will be totally fresh project and not the sequel to Aap Kaa Surroor. Himesh has also given his nod for the same. The source adds, "Adlabs had the distribution rights of Aap Ka Surroor and now that they are assured of his box office standing as a lead actor in films, they have decided to go ahead with the next venture." One of his friends revealed that Himesh has been flooded with acting offers right from the day Aap Ka Surroor took a fantastic opening at the box office. The source says, "He has give…

Shilpa's marriage talk is speculatory

Shilpa Shetty is not fighting off the men. She's single and ready to mingle," said her publicist and spokesper son Dale Bhagwagar, replying to the rumours of her impending mar riage to NRI business man Raj Kundra. "Mr Kundra is her friend and has helped her in the launch of her per fume S2 in the UK. But let me insist that the marriage rumours are speculato ry," he says. "Let her get the right guy and she will surely settle down. But right now, there isn't one," he adds. Do such stories upset Shilpa? "Yes, she does get a little upset at times, but I guess she is now coming to terms with the fact that such rumours are part and parcel of being an international celebrity," Bhagwagar observes. "Shilpa is a great human being and all the recent success and international stardom hasn't changed her nature at all. She remains the smiling, loving and affectionate down-to-earth girl," he remarks. When asked if …

Did you know, Why tears flow when you cry?

Shedding tears is an action that does not take place until you are about two months old. When you cry, pressure builds up in your head and the flow of blood to the face increases.

There are two kinds of tears:

Basal tears lubricate your eyeball. The eyeball has a grainy surface, so without the coating of tears, you would not be able to see properly. The tear glands in the eyes produce about ten ounces of basal tears everyday.

Reflex tears protect your eyes against irritants like onion fumes and foreign objects. The amount of protein produced by emotional tears is about 20-25 per cent more than other kinds of tears.

According to scientists, tears are a way for the body to get rid of wastes. Another interesting theory is that tears are also a way of communication.

Researchers say that ever since ancient times, people who insisted on something usually got what they wanted. So maybe crying was evolved as a means of communication, as people who cried the loudest were most like…

Burj Dubai is the tallest building on earth

DUBAI (Reuters) - Burj Dubai, a tower under construction in the United Arab Emirates' trade hub, became the tallest building in the world on Saturday, measuring 512.1 meters (1,680 ft), its developer said. "Burj Dubai is now taller than Taipei 101 in Taiwan, which at 508 metres has held the tallest-building-in-the-world title since it opened in 2004," Emaar Properties, which is developing the Dubai tower, said in a statement. "Burj Dubai has now reached 141 storeys, more storeys than any other building in the world." The developer wants the tower, set to be completed next year, to be the world's tallest building according to all four criteria listed by the Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, which measures buildings to the structural top, the highest occupied floor, the top of the roof and the tip of the spire or flagpole. Emaar did not say how tall the finished building will be. Once completed, Burj Dubai will have consumed 330,000 cubic …

Classics Movies gets a coloured look


Converting black and white Hindi movies into colour is the latest rage. K.Asif's Mughal-e-Azam has paved the way for several black and white Indian films to be converted into colour. After this came B.R. Chopra's Naya Daur, and now Dev Anand is planning to re-release Hum Dono in colour with Dolby Digital Sound.

The movies were big hits once upon a time when they were first released. Even today a lot of people love to watch old movies and listen to the melodies of these timeless classics. But will these films lose their charm by adding colour to the original version or will they become even more popular?

Last year on Diwali, Mugale-Azam was re-released in colour and it turned out to be a success. What made director Akbar Asif, son of K. Asif come up with the idea to convert the movie into colour? He replies, "My father believed in Mugal-e-Azam and created a timeless classic with his belief. The co…

Some frequently used terms on net:

'H&K to QT' is new chat lingo

New terms of communication have evolved on the net, courtesy networking sites like Facebook and Orkut. Netizens coin their own terms of communication in order to make conversations shorter and crisper. But with so much evolution in technology; it's really hard to keep pace with lingo that's constantly changing. BRB (be right back), ASL (age, sex, location) and LOL (laugh out loud) are outdated abbreviations now. The new short forms that are in these days are QT (cutie), IM (instant message), H&K (hugs and kisses) etc For instance, while chatting if you receive this symbol - ‘:p' don't get astounded as it signifies the act of sticking your tongue out and is meant to be a sign of affection. Such symbols are popular because they add colour to the communication process says Roma Gill, a BPO employee. She admits that earlier these terms sounded strange to her but eventually she became acquainted with them. "If we appl…

Sania Mirza leads way into Cincinnati quarter-finals

CINCINNATI(Ohio), July 19: Third-seed Sania Mirza of India led the way into the quarter-finals of the $175,000 WTA hardcourt tournament here with a straight set win over Varvara Lepchenko.

Sania downed her opponent on Wednesday from Uzbekistan 6-2, 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals here for the third straight year.

Mirza has been working her way back into shape after missing two and a half months earlier this season due to knee surgery.

Wednesday's victory marked the first time she has put together back-to-back victories since February.

Mirza now awaits the winner of the second-round match between ninth-seeded Jill Craybas of the United States and Olga Govortsova of Belarus.

Top-seeded Russian Anna Chakvetadze also reached the quarter-finals, defeating Romanian qualifier Anda Perianu 6-4, 6-3.

Perianu had recorded her first WTA Tour match win on Tuesday when she beat Melinda Czink in the first round.

The only other seeded player in action, No 7 Akiko Morigami of Japan also had …

TVS Apache RTR 160 Unleashed

Two-wheeler major and leaders of bike racing in India, TVS Motor Company, today unveiled the Apache RTR 160. The Apache RTR (Racing Throttle Response) has been created to be a premier street bike, high on performance by combining TVS Racing’s technology with R&D know how.

According to Mr. K N Radhakrishnan, President, TVS Motor Company, “The priority in every step of the Apache RTR 160’s development has been Performance. Every system, detail and component has been tuned to maximize performance. If it didn’t make the RTR 160 faster or deliver quicker lap times, it wasn’t considered”.

The Apache RTR’s, 160 CC Oversquare engine is programmed to ooze out an astonishing 15.2 Brake Horse Power (BHP) making it the most powerful bike of its class on Indian roads. The bike has a top speed of 118kph and can reach 60kph in just 4.8 sec and 100kph in 17.7 sec, making it the fastest two-wheeler in its class.

This enormous power, coupled with the well-sculpted tank and chiseled design of the Apach…

Love gurus make life easy


Who says films don't replicate our lives? When Sallu (Salman Khan) can play love guru to Chi Chi (Govinda) in the movie Partner, he has inspired youngsters to turn to their friends to seek advice on relationships. A student of BBM at Wigan Leigh College says that he seeks only his close friends' advice in matters of the heart. "I discuss such issues only people with whom I trust completely. My girlfriend and I used to keep fighting because we didn't get to spend much time together. I sought my close friend's advice because I was in a dilemma whether I should continue with this strained relationship. My friend advised me to take things slowly. He told me to spend quality time with her wherever we met and not fight over the time that she doesn't give our relationship. I followed his advice and now, …

Honorary degree for Shilpa by a university in Britain

Bollywood film star Shilpa Shetty has been honoured with a degree by a university in Britain. The Leeds Metropolitan University on Wednesday honoured Shilpa for her outstanding contribution to cultural diversity. Thirty-two-year-old Shilpa was awarded an honorary bachelor in arts degree during the first day of the four-day summer graduation celebrations at the Leeds Metropolitan University. The university's vice-chancellor, Prof. Simon Lee, handed the honorary degree to Shilpa, who was dressed in the traditional graduation gown and cap. The Leeds Metropolitan University, which is the official education partner of the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA), had awarded filmstar Amitabh Bachchan an honorary degree before the IIFA weekend, held in Leeds in 2007. Talking about Mangalore-born Shilpa Shetty's grace and restraint during the Celebrity Big Brother series, Prof. Simon Lee said at the ceremony: "There are some parallels between the challenges faced in…

Meet the illustrator of Harry Potter series

Can you imagine being one of the very first people on the planet to read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final novel in the series by J.K. Rowling? Mary GrandPre, the illustrator for the American editions of the books, doesn't have to imagine, she is one of the lucky few. Reading the book is just part of her job. We caught up with GrandPre by phone to ask her about saying goodbye to Harry and hello to a new chapter in her own life. GrandPre, who lives in Sarasota, Florida, says she got the manuscript for Book Seven in January. That means she's known how the story ends for about six months. Is it hard to keep the secret? Do friends, family members or kids at bookstore signings press her for details? "Not really so much," GrandPre says. "I think people just know that I can't talk about it." One question GrandPre does get a lot is: "Who's your favorite character?" "Besides Harry, I would say Hagrid is my favorite character…

The charm of man-made marvels

The new seven wonders of the world beat 14 other nominated landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, the Sydney Opera House, the Parthenon and the Statue of Liberty.

Here are some interesting facts about the new wonders:

THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA Originally built in the 5th century BC, the Great Wall of China went through incessant repairs throughout the succeeding ages. It became a single long wall only during the Qin dynasty, when Emperor Qin Shihuang succeeded in his efforts to join the walls together in order to fend off the invading Hun tribes. The Great Wall stretches 6,700 km from the east to the west of China.

THE TAJ MAHAL, INDIA The architectural beauty of the Taj Mahal is acknowledged to be unsurpassed in perfection. It was built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The mausoleum of Shah Jahan himself was later added to it. The Taj is built entirely with white marble, and was constructed over a period of 22 years, employing over 20,000 labourers. It…

Geoff Lawson named new Pakistan coach

Former Australian fast bowler Geoff Lawson will coach the Pakistan team, it was announced on Monday. "Geoff Lawson has been named as Pakistan's new cricket coach," Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Nasim Ashraf told a news conference in Karachi. Lawson, 49, succeeds Bob Woolmer, who died during the World Cup in the Caribbean in March. The Australian was picked by a four-member PCB committee over two other Australians, Dav Whatmore and Richard Done. "We considered all three of them. Of the three, Lawson has been confirmed," Mr Ashraf said. "Lawson has been awarded a two-year contract, which is renewable. We want a coach to lead us to the 2011 World Cup which will be jointly hosted by Pakistan," added the PCB chief. On Sunday, Mr Ashraf said the race was between Whatmore and Lawson for the post. The third Australian on the short list, Done, was already ruled out. "Done is no longer in the race and we now have to choose among Lawson and Whatmore…

India's first one TeraByte PC

HCL, of personal India's largest manufacturer computers, is bringing out the country's first PC with One Terabyte hard drive capacity. The new PC is mainly intended for design and animation professionals.

Geeks who crave for higher capacity machines can also opt for it. It will use the 1 TB Deskstar hard drive which was recently launched with much fanfare by Hitachi. HCL will introduce two models, an entry level machine and a high-end digital content creation workstation. Both of them will offer ten times more storage space than ordinary PCs.

The high end model would have Quadro FX 1500 and Adobe Production Studio Premium as add-ons. The entry level model will be priced at Rs 35,000 and the digital content creation workstation at Rs 99,000.

Information Technology firms make $28 billion a year

The top 20 IT companies of the country earned $28 billion in 2006-07. This is 42 per cent more than the revenue earned the previous year.

According to an annual survey conducted by…

IT Watch: New virus plays on browser

New virus is playing a nasty game using Internet Explorer and Firefox, rival browsers jostling for space in desktops. Security researchers say that it uses IE to force Firefox to open ‘windows' to download malware and to alter security settings in the PC.

It is a roundabout way of making mischief and seems all the more funny because of the rivalry between the two browsers. A Symantec researcher said that the virus made use of flaws in both the browsers. "Here we have a case of two very complex applications that simply don't play nice together," he said. "When you put them both on the same machine it becomes a security problem.

A museum for PCs

A major museum's tracing the history of computers being set up in Bletchley Park in London, where the first ‘modern' computers were set up during World War II. The main attraction of the museum would be the aptly named Colossus computer which was rigged up to enable code breakers to intercept communications of Ger…

Credit card thieves turn big time charity donors

Credit card thieves are becoming big time charity donors, but it's not out of the goodness of their hearts. According to Symantec Corp. the criminals are starting to use charitable donations as a way to check whether their stolen credit card numbers are working. Fraudsters have been using a similar technique for years, but until recently they tended to make minor purchases on online retail sites. Now, as these sites have become better at identifying and blocking these transactions, the criminals have begun looking elsewhere, said Zulfikar Ramzan, senior principal researcher with Symantec Corp. "Using a charitable organization as a way to verify a credit card number is a relatively new technique, and it's probably being used by a minority of the more innovative guys," he said. Credit card numbers are bought and sold in underground "carder" forums, which bring together the people who have stolen the credit card numbers with those who want to use them. T…

Hacker ‘DVD Jon'claims to crack iPhone activation

Hacker Jon Lech Johansen, known widely as "DVD Jon," has cracked Apple's iPhone activation, or so he claims, meaning that iPhone buyers will be able to activate and use the new handset without having to commit to an AT&T wireless contract. Johansen announced his feat in a blog post entitled "iPhone Independence Day." The Norwegian cracker initially made a name for himself eight years ago when he cracked the encryption code on DVDs. And last year, he cracked the digital rights management code that prevents iPod users from playing songs purchased from competing online music stores. In his latest effort, DVD Jon has detailed a Windows work around that he claimed will allow the iPhone to be used as a widescreen iPod and Internet communicator. The cracked iPhone cannot be used to make calls. "I've found a way to activate a brand new unactivated iPhone without giving any of your money or personal information to AT&T," Johansen wrote on his &…

IT giant, India has lowest Internet penetration

Though India is known as an IT giant, it has the lowest Internet penetration among countries of the Asia Pacific region, a latest study has revealed. Internet research firm comScore, which studied Net behavior of 10 countries in May, found that only three per cent of India's population used the Internet.

South Korea led the pack with 65 per cent of its population using the Internet and was followed by Australia (62 per cent), New Zealand (60 per cent) and Hong Kong (59 per cent).

Though China's Internet penetration is only nine per cent it has the biggest online population of 91.5 million people.
South Korea also has the most active online population, with the average person using the Internet 17.4 days in a month

Playing with Spielberg

Ace director out Steven Spiel berg is bringing two video games in partnership with Electronic Arts. One game is code named LMNO and is said to be a breath taking action adventure in traditional Spielberg ‘Indiana Jones' style.

The other is…

Muslims allowed Internet weddings

The announcement will help the man marry his fiancee, who is in the US.

An Islamic seminary here has ruled in favor of marriage through the Internet, after a man asked if such weddings were valid. However, the wedding will be valid only if it is performed in the presence of witnesses, the Darululoom Deoband seminary said on Tuesday, while allowing such marriage under Shariat law. The nikah should be performed in the presence of two witnesses and an advocate who would solemnise the wedding by announcing the acceptance of the bride and groom, the fatwa department of the seminary said.

Pakistan troops storm Lal Masjid, 160 Die

At Least 160 Killed Radical Cleric Ghazi Dead Nearly 1,700 Surrender Ishtiaq Ali Mehkri & Agencies Islamabad: Pakistani security forces stormed Islamabad’s citadel of Talibanism on Tuesday, killing nearly 160 people, including the deputy chief cleric of Lal Masjid Abdul Rashid Ghazi, who had openly challenged Prevez Musharraf and demanded Pakistan officially embrace Islamic orthodoxy by adopting harsh Shariat Laws.

“He was spotted in the basement and asked to come out. He came out with four or five militants who kept on firing at security forces,’’ Army spokesman Brigadier Javed Cheema said, announcing his death.

The Army stormed the mosque in the heart of Islamabad and troops rushed in to flush out entrenched holdouts inside a women’s religious school in room by room fighting, a government spokesman said.

Militants mounted a last stand in the basements of the madrassa, where military spokesman Major-General Waheed Arshad said Ghazi had barricaded himself in.

Till the filing of this r…

One billion good reasons

If you are jubilant about the Taj Mahal making it to the new seven wonders of the world, then you have a reason to celebrate World Population Day in India. It is reported that 8 million people voted for the Taj from their cellphones and over the internet and this would not have been possible if India's population wasn't this huge. The businessman who came up with this scheme benfitted the most as over Rs 8 million (international SMSes cost more) were incurred by Indians who voted via SMS.

In a country like India where the population seems to be ceaselessly proliferating, let's look at how our numbers have a made a positive difference instead of viewing things from a pessimistic perspective.

Professor Madhavan Shankaranth, Principal of Delhi Public School, Jeddah agrees, "Indians have definitely made an international reputation professionally as being well qualified in technology. Indian consultants and students who go abroad are looked upon as having tremendous focus an…

Strict rules keep expats away from India

A recent study undertaken by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) has revealed that India is facing an acute shortage of skilled manpower, necessitating the drafting of skilled persons from foreign countries in future. However, due to the existing stringent work laws for expatriates in India, the procedure to secure the work permit has become extremely complicated.

The report also suggests that the economic boom has resulted in India becoming a new hub for the jobs market, generating approximately 11.3 million net new jobs in an year. As per a NASSCOM report, the number of technology jobs is slated to reach 1.7 million in India by end of the year 2010.

IACC president Deepak Pahwa said, "The time is ripe for India to admit that it is moving towards a major crunch in the manpower supply. The West provides a huge pool of resources that India can easily tap into. More and more foreigners are also looking for jobs in the Asian continent on account of the jobs cuts, outsourcing a…

World's Largest Digging Machine

This is the largest digging machine (or trencher or rotating shovel) in the world. It was built by Krupp and is shown here crossing a road in Germany on the way to its destination, an open air coal mine. Although at the mine the treads are unnecessary, it was cheaper to make the machine self-propelled than to try and move it with conventional hauling equipment. Some factoids: The machine is 95 meters high and 215 meters long (almost 2.5 football fields in length) Weight is 45,500 tons (that's equivalent to a bumper to bumper line of jeeps 80 miles long) It took 5 years to design and manufacture at a cost of $100 million Maximum digging speed is 10 meters per minute Can move more than 76,000 cubic meters of coal, rock, and earth per day
Can move more than 76,000 cubic meters of coal, rock, and earth per day

Anil Ambani entered the trillionaire club

The race between Anil Ambani and his elder brother Mukesh just got hotter with Anil entering the trillionaire club under the personal wealth category. His personal riches through his personal shareholding in the companies in his group touched over Rs 100,000 crores on Friday. Based on the closing price on Friday at the Bombay Stock Exchange, the value of Anil Ambani's personal shareholding were worth Rs 100,334 crores while the market capitalisation of his group soared to Rs 162,930 crores. Anil is now Rs 14,666 crores away from his brother's wealth. The wealth of Mukesh Ambani was over Rs 115,000 crores. The share of the Anil Ambani group companies - Reliance Communication and Reliance Capital touched an all time high of Rs 551 and Rs 1,149 respec tively, resulting in the increase in wealth. The market capitalisation of flagship Reliance Communication was placed at Rs 112,657 crores, of which promoters holding is 67 per cent giving Anil Ambani a wealth of Rs 7…

Unesco slams the new 7 wonders list

Lisbon: The UN body for culture on Sunday blasted a private initiative that drew nearly 100 million Internet and telephone voters to choose seven "new" wonders of the world. "This campaign responds to other criteria and objectives than that of Unesco in the field of heritage," said Sue Williams, the spokeswoman for Unesco, the UN cultural body that designates world heritage sites. "We have a much broader vision," she said. Short-listed sites that missed the final cut included the Acropolis in Athens; Paris' Eiffel Tower; the Easter Island statues; Britain's Stonehenge; Cambodia's Angkor Wat temples; New York's Statue of Liberty; and the Alhambra in Spain. Christian Manhart, Unesco's press officer, criticised the ballot, saying it sent out a "negative message to countries whose sites have not been retained." All of these wonders obviously deserve a place on the list, but what disturbs us is that the list is limited…

Taj Mahal makes it to new Seven Wonders list

The Taj Mahal, regarded as one of the world's most beautiful monuments, was voted in a global online poll as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Three of the other six chosen are from South America: Peru's Machu Picchu, Brazil's Statue of Christ Redeemer and Mexico's Chichen Itza pyramid. The remaining three are the Great Wall of China, the Colosseum in Rome and Jordan's Petra. There is no pucca list of wonders of the world in existence. You could take your pick from among the Stonehenge, the Colosseum, the Catacombs of Komel Shoqafa, the Great Wall of China, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Porcelain Tower of Nanjing, the Hagia Sophia, the Taj Mahal, Cairo Citadel, Ely Cathedral and Cluny Abbey. Except for the Taj Mahal, the Colosseum and the Great Wall of China, all others dropped out of the list. There is another list, that of ancient wonders. This includes the Great

Taj Mahal among top 21 in wonders list

A global competition to name the New Wonders of the World is attracting widespread interest, with more than 20 million people voting so far in the poll conducted by Internet and telephone, organisers said.

The list of candidate has been whittled down to 21, and the winner will be announced on Sunday in Lisbon. The Egyptian pyramids at Giza are the only structures still remaining from the original list of seven architectural marvels put together by different observers of the ancient Mediterranean and the West Asia. Long gone are the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes and the Pharos lighthouse off Alexandria.

Choosing world wonders has been a continuing fascination over the centuries. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, or Unesco, keeps updating its list of world heritage sites, which now totals …