Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Floating Stadium of Singapore

The Float at Marina Bay, also known as Marina Bay Floating Platform, is the world's largest floating stage. It is located on the waters of the Marina Reservoir, in Marina Bay, Singapore.
Made entirely of steel, the floating platform on Marina Bay measures 120 metres long and 83 metres wide, which is 5% larger than the soccer field at the National Stadium. The platform can bear up to 1,070 tonnes, equivalent to the total weight of 9,000 people, 200 tonnes of stage props and three 30-tonne military vehicles. The gallery at the stadium has a seating capacity of 30,000 people.
But do they have boats cruising around during the games to catch all those balls that were kicked outside the field?Read More....

Monday, December 21, 2009

Tiger Woods’ wife Elin Nordegren will stand by her man, friend says

Tiger Woods’ wife Elin Nordegren intends to stand by her man following the recent scandal surrounding his love life and stay married to the golfer for the sake of their children, a friend has said.
Ms Nordegren, a former model, is said to be devastated by her husband’s alleged adultery but wants the marriage to continue. The couple have a daughter Sam, two, and son Charlie, ten months.
"She is a child of divorce and that’s not something she’s likely going to want to do to Sam and Charlie," a friend told People magazine. "She really believes in the importance of parents staying together."
Ms Nordegren, a former model, is said to be devastated by her husband’s alleged adultery but wants the marriage to continue. The couple have a daughter Sam, two, and son Charlie, ten months.
"She is a child of divorce and that’s not something she’s likely going to want to do to Sam and Charlie," a friend told People magazine. "She really believes in the importance of parents staying together." Read More....

Sunday, December 6, 2009

IDF chief's guard now suspected of 'attempted sodomy'

Court extends Captain A.'s remand by four days at consent of his lawyers, while suspicions against him reduced due to additional findings received over past few days
The Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court on Sunday extended the remand of Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi's security guard, who is suspected of sexually attacking a young woman at the Tel Aviv Port about 10 days ago, by four days.
A police representative expressed his hope that the investigation would be completed by Wednesday, allowing the police to submit a prosecutor's statement ahead of an indictment.
The suspicions against Captain A. were reduced Sunday to "attempted sodomy" instead of sodomy, following additional findings received over the past few days.
The suspect's lawyers and the police reached an agreement on the four additional detention days. The police also agreed to the attorneys' request to hold additional inquiries, including a further questioning of witnesses and checking whether A. acted under the influence of drugs.
The police representative told the court that he hoped the investigation would be completed by Wednesday, but stressed that the police maintained the right to ask for further detention on remand.
The officer's lawyers said that he still denies the allegations, despite the fact that traces of DNA from his body were found during an examination of the complainant.

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Friday, December 4, 2009

Comcast confirms NBC buy

Comcast Corp. announced Thursday it plans to buy a majority stake in NBC Universal for US$13.75 billion, giving America's largest cable TV operator control of the TV network, an array of cable channels and a major movie studio.
Although the deal could mean that movies might reach cable more quickly after showing in theatres and that TV shows could appear faster on cellphones and other devices, it was already raising concerns that Comcast would wield too much power over entertainment.
If the deal clears regulatory and other hurdles, Comcast would rival the heft of The Walt Disney Co. — which Comcast CEO Brian Roberts already tried to buy.
Comcast, which serves a quarter of all U.S. households that pay for TV, would gain control of the NBC broadcast network, the Spanish-language Telemundo and about two dozen cable channels, including USA, Syfy and the Weather Channel. It also would get regional sports networks, Universal Pictures and theme parks.
In agreeing to buy 51 per cent of NBC Universal from General Electric Co., which has controlled NBC since 1986, Comcast hopes to succeed in marrying distribution and content in a way Time Warner Inc. could not.
AOL and Time Warner are undoing their ill-fated marriage Dec. 9. Time Warner has already shed its cable TV operations.
Deal in production for months
Comcast's Roberts and GE chief executive Jeff Immelt have been discussing the deal for months, and the final weeks came down to GE's persuading French conglomerate Vivendi SA to first sell its minority stake.
Comcast is eager to diversify as it faces encroaching threats from online video and more aggressive competition from satellite and phone companies that offer subscription TV services.
For entertainment viewers, the deal means Universal Pictures movies could get to cable faster. TV shows could appear on mobile phones and other devices faster as part of Comcast's plans to let viewers watch programs wherever they want. Comcast already is letting subscribers watch cable TV shows online in trials, with a nationwide launch in December.
Comcast pledged Thursday that NBC Universal shows that now cost money over its cable video-on-demand service would be free for three years after the deal closes.
Comcast also said it would maintain free over-the-air television signals from NBC stations — a business model that is eroding because of falling advertising revenue. Comcast also pledged to improve public interest programming. And it said it would not let its business interests affect NBC News.
Competition worries
But consumer advocates worry about the deal, saying people could end up paying more for TV. Subscription-TV operators such as DirecTV Group Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc.'s FiOS service would be negotiating with a direct rival on how much they have to pay to carry NBC Universal's content.
Consumer groups worry that as a result, fees that are already creeping up could rise even faster, with the costs passed to customers in their monthly pay-TV bills.
NBC Universal is profitable, with operating earnings of $1.7 billion US on revenue of $11.2 billion US in the first three quarters of 2009, despite weakness in the fourth-place NBC broadcast network and at Universal Pictures, ranked sixth in North American box office gross this year.
Comcast wants the company largely for its lucrative cable channels. It is seeking more programming to beef up its video-on-demand offerings and rely less on cable revenue as it loses subscribers to rival providers.
Meanwhile, GE needs cash to prop up its financing unit, GE Capital, which was devastated in last year's financial meltdown.
GE retains minority stake
Under the deal, expected to close in a year if regulators and shareholders of both companies approve, GE would buy Vivendi SA's 20 per cent stake in NBC Universal for $5.8 billion US — with $2 billion payable in September 2010 if the deal hasn't closed by then, and the remaining $3.8 billion at closing. NBC Universal is to be separated into a new joint venture.
Comcast would buy a 51 per cent stake of the new company by paying $6.5 billion US in cash and contributing $7.25 billion worth of cable channels it owns, including E!, Style and Golf Channel.
GE would retain a 49 per cent stake, with the option of unloading half of this interest in 3 1/2 years and all of it in seven years. The new company or Comcast could buy out GE. The new NBC Universal would borrow $9.1 billion US that would partially go toward covering the money GE owes Vivendi.
Comcast would get to name three people to the board and GE two, and Comcast would manage the joint venture. Jeff Zucker would remain NBC Universal's CEO and report to Comcast chief operating officer Steve Burke. NBC Universal's headquarters are expected to stay in New York.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

EA Sports Active More Workouts video game review

EA's new fitness game builds on the solid foundations of its predecessor to offer a more well rounded home exercise experience.
Ever since Wii Fit (and later Wii Fit Plus) demonstrated that there were oodles of cash to be made from fitness applications, developers have been falling over themselves to create the next big workout video game. It now seems that a new fitness title is released every other month. While their sheer numbers certainly prove that this genre of game has become big business, no game of this type has yet presented a credible challenge to the Wii Fit franchise's dominance of this market. The only title that has come anywhere near close is EA Sports Active which was released earlier this year and has since sold nearly two million units. Now, with the festive season upon us, and the promise of an ever expanding girth brought on by parties, dinners and calorie-rich Christmas pudding, EA has released a sequel in the form of EA Sports Active More Workouts. If the title seems unimaginative, take heart in the fact that at least this fitness game does exactly what it says on the box.

EA Sports Active More Workouts doesn't really offer an experience that differs all that much from its predecessor. Rather, it builds on the solid foundations of EA Sports Active, while expanding its content to include larger workout challenges, stretching and cool-down periods and exercises that target more areas of the body. The overall formula here is the same as before; players use the Wii Remote and Nunchuck in conjunction with a resistance strap and a leg band to perform exercises that are aimed at toning muscles and burning fat. At the time of this writing, EA Sports Active More Workouts is only available as a stand-alone entity; newcomers to the franchise will have to fork over around £15 for the game's accessories, which are currently sold separately. It's unclear at this time whether it will ever be sold as a bundle, but the cost of EA Sports Active: More Workouts and the EA Sports Active accessory pack add up to the same cost as the first game anyway. Veterans, for their part, will save a little bit of cash and will be able to import their fitness profile from EA Sports Active over to their new game.
Aside from a couple of tweaks, the experience of exercising is the same as before. Players tuck the Nunchuck into the pocket of the leg-strap in order to perform exercises below the waist (such as lunges) and most of the longer cardio exercises. The Wii Remote and Nunchuck are used for upper body exercises, both on their own (for cardio boxing or squash) and with the resistance strap for toning exercises (bicep curls, lateral raises and so forth). There is the option to use a balance board, although owning one isn't essential to play the game. Each exercise is introduced with a brief video in which the player is shown what to do and also what position to stand in. Players can set the difficulty of their exercises as well as set goals for burning calories or hours spent working out. All throughout the workouts, the players will be encouraged by a virtual trainer whose gender they can pick from the start, and whose psychotically cheerful demeanour will eventually cause them to fantasise about hurling a brick through their television's screen.
With the core experience basically untouched, EA Sports Active More Workouts differs from it predecessor by the depth of new content and a handful of cosmetic changes. Owners of the first game will notice a couple of tweaks right from the loading screen; the soundtrack is a little more sedate and all of the scenery has changed. The avatars now mirror the player's activities in an island paradise which not only looks better than the slightly bland track and field environment from the first game, it also offers some new activities. Another big change is that the first game's 30-day challenge has been replaced by a new 6-week challenge, presumably to increase the possibility that exercising in the living room will become more of a long-term commitment. Once again, the challenge also encourages players to fill in details about their daily diet and activities to help build up a more accurate trajectory of their progress. However, all set workouts now have warm up and cool down periods, which corrects a potentially harmful omission from the first game – especially for players who habitually worked out on the hardest settings.
The new game offers around 35 new exercises in total; some are evolutions of exercises in EA Sports Active (such as cardio boxing with moving targets) and some are only available with the balance board (such as step-ups). There are also a lot of brand new exercises which use the peripherals in new and interesting ways and allow players to target areas of muscles on their bodies. Probably the most noticeable collection of new exercises – which were conspicuous by their absence in the first game – are those that target stomach muscles such as crunches and (horrendous) leg raises. There are also a large selection of exercises which take advantage of the game's tropical paradise setting such as water skiing, paddle surfing and obstacle courses involving flotation devices.
Unfortunately EA Sports Active More Workouts carries over a couple of gameplay drawbacks from the original title. The Nunchuck and Wii sometimes takes longer to register one leg than the other during lunge exercises. The journal entries are improved somewhat, but they're still too just general to offer any worthwhile nutritional advice and the workouts have too much of a heavy reliance on calorie counting. As far as the peripherals are concerned, the fabric leg-strap is still a solid piece of kit, but the resistance strap is fairly useless as a toning implement. It's a shame that the new game doesn't offer a better peripheral that could actually help build muscle on the upper part of the body – especially when the rest of the game seems to offer a more well-rounded exercising experience than its predecessor. The only other problem the game has is that it may seem like a bit of a cash-grab to anyone who bought the first instalment in the series; asking full price for what could be offered as DLC (at a substantially lower cost) on either Xbox Live or PSN may cause a little consternation.
Then again, maybe not. The arrival of EA Sports Active More Workouts barely six months after its predecessor hasn't caused fans of the original to start a boycott, after all - which if anything proves fitness games just don't have the same hold over players as zombie shooters. Niggles aside, it's a huge improvement on EA Sports Active. While EA hasn't tinkered too much with the foundations of the franchise, the tweaks, tucks and additional content make EA Sports Active More Workouts feel like a far more effective fitness package than its predecessor. For players who want to work up a sweat in front of their consoles it's one of the best titles available. Read More....
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