Saturday, September 24, 2011

clearXchange Fees To Email Money Worth It?

Last night I clicked on the “Transfer Money” tab on Bank of America to move some money from savings to checking. But instead of seeing the usual screen, I was first prompted with this…
clearXchange invite screenshot
…it was a solicitation for me to participate in their new program that gives you the ability to email money or send it via phone, to other accountholders at Bank of America, Wells Fargo, or Chase (if they are also enrolled in clearXchange service.

After clicking “Yes” here’s what the next screen said:

Introducing a new way to send and receive money. Now you can make transfers simply by using an email address or mobile phone number, with no account number needed. A fee may apply when you use this new service (fee waived for a limited time). The fee amount is disclosed prior to each transaction and is also in the service agreement. Please note that there are dollar amounts and other limits for these transfers. Please also see the service agreement for applicable daily cut off and delivery times.
About transferring money to others
  • For a fee (fee waived for a limited time): Make transfers to another person using the recipient’s mobile number or email address.
  • No fee: Make transfers to other Bank of America customers using the recipient’s account number. Most customers may also use Bill Pay to send money to individuals without charge (see your service agreement for details).
By checking this box and selecting “I agree” below, I confirm that I:

a. have read and agree to the terms of the service agreement, including the terms of the Email/Mobile Network Transfers sections;
b. consent to receive email and automated text messages about Email/Mobile Transfers;
c. will only register mobile numbers where I am the account holder; or if I am not the account holder, I have the account holder’s permission to register that mobile number; and
d. will obtain the consent of the person to whom I want to send a Mobile Transfer text message to receive the automated text message.
e. consent to receive surveys requesting my feedback about this service, even if I am on a Do Not Solicit list.

Message & data rates may apply. For help text “HELP” to 53849. To cancel your plan, send a text “STOP” to 53849 at anytime. In case of questions please contact customer service at 1.877.343.7174.

Supported Carriers: AT&T, Sprint, Nextel, Boost, Verizon Wireless, U.S. Cellular®, T-Mobile®, Cincinnati, Bell, Virgin Mobile USA, Cellular South, Centennial and Ntelos

I did some digging around on my own to find out more about this clearXchange (or as I was initially calling it, Clear Exchange) and this is what I’ve learned:

1. It’s a joint effort by BofA, Wells, Fargo, and Chase. It’s unclear whether it will be offered to other and smaller banks once the programs is completely rolled out.

2. Who they’re going after is Paypal, obviously. I’m all for this, because Paypal fees are outrageous (especially for non-credit card payments) so it would be great to see this become popular.

3. The banks are keeping tight-lipped about what the clearXchange fees will be. Currently no one’s getting charged but if you rewind back 10+ years ago, Paypal’s slogan was “Always Free!” and we all know that ended up being a crock.

What are your thoughts on this banking service for emailing money or texting money? Have you used it yet? Have any insight as to what the service fees will be?

Shoaib Akhtar's Biography "Controversially Yours" Talks Ball Tampering, Tendulkar, Akram, Modi & SRK

Shoaib Akhtar The Pakistan fast bowler released his book
Shoaib Akhtar announced his retirement in the course of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. However, he continues to bowl bouncers, this time via his controversial book,
appropriately named “Controversially Yours”.

In his controversial book released, the Pakistan fast bowler, also known as Rawalpindi
Express, touched upon several issues with regard to his own cricket as they affected
world cricket and thereby, has generated plenty of controversy already.

Amongst the many things that are relevant, Akhtar admitted as much to ball tampering
and stated that everyone indulges in ball tampering and that he is no different. In many
ways, he is echoing the words used by Shahid Afridi when he was caught ball
tampering, which can only bring further shame to Pakistan cricket. Ball tampering
has been a serious issue with the sport and Shoaib Akhtar’s admisison is not
likely to endear him furthermore since Akhtar has called for legalizing ball

Akhtar also cast aspersion on Indian cricketing giants, Sachin Tendulkar and
Rahul Dravid,saying that there not genuine match winners and that they even shied
away from his faster ball on the flat pitches of Pakistan.

He also said that Wasim Akram threatened to create mutiny in the team if Shoaib Akhtar
was included in the team. He further alleged that Shoaib Mallik was only made the
Pakistan captain because of his proximity to the then Pakistan Cricket Board chief,
Naseem Ashrar . Akhtar alleges that Akram tried to destroy his cricket career.

Akhtar also mentioned his brief stint with the IPL with the Kolkata Knight Riders co
owned by Bollywood actor, Shah Rukh Khan. Akhtar claims that Shah Rukh Khan and
Lalit Modi, the then IPL chairman and commissioner, duped him of his fair price in the
IPL and that he was not given the money promised to him.

Akhtar has led a rather controversial life and even more controversial cricket career.
Controversy is certainly not new for Pakistan cricket although some of the so called
revelations in the book may not necessarily defame anyone more than Shoaib himself
and Pakistan cricket in particular. Some of the issues revolving around Pakistan cricket
have been nothing short of drama and in that light, there were always going to be
varying versions of the truth with matters generally remaining murky, both above and
below the surface.

Akhtar’s book is bound to sell hot off the shelves not particularly because every page
may necessarily contain the truth because it is from Akhtar’s perspective but because
of the kind of controversies he has been a part over the years, most of which would
have undoubtedly been captured from his view point. Whether it can damage
Pakistan cricket’s already sullied reputation or Akhtar’s revelations, like his career,
are past their time can only be judged by the rest of the contents.

Akhtar though has lived once more, stirring cricket matters on and off the field. 
Undoubtedly he will have already rubbed a few people the wrong way as he claims
others have against him and it seems unlikely judging by the contents, that some of
those relationships are goign to change anytime soon.

Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi aka Tiger Pataudi Passes Away

Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi with son Saif Ali Khan Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi aka Tiger Pataudi passed away , leaving behind an extraordinary legacy

In a stunning turn of events that took the cricket world aback, Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi aka
Tiger Pataudi, one of India’s most respected cricket captains passed away in a hospital in New Delhi.

Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi’s death sent shockwaves, particularly through the Indian cricket fraternity. Although it was learnt that Tiger Pataudi was suffering from an interstittial lung infection since returning from England, his hospitalization and subsequent treatment was expected to take longer given that he was of seventy years of age. However, that his condition had deteriorated so badly in the last twenty-four hours prior to his demise has taken his former team mates and members of the Indian cricket establishment by shock.
Tiger Pataudi made his debut at the tender age of twenty years of age and despite losing the vision in his right eye, went onto captain the Indian team at twenty-one years of age. He captained in forty of the 46 Tests for the country, scoring 2793 runs for an average of 34.91. Despite showing India the mentality that they could win abroad, he may not have tasted by statistical standards but he is greatly revered as a true captain and passionate lover on the game. Those passions and concerns were even heard when he was part of the IPL governing council when he lamented the state of affairs the IPL controversies had taken.

Born on the 5th of January 1941 in Bhopal to the 8th Nawab of Patuadi, Iftikhar Ali Khan, Pataudi completed his education between Dehradun, Hertfordshire and Oxford, succeeding as the 9th Nawab of Patuaudi after his father’s death in 1952. Having also an ICC Match Referee for a period of 3 years between 1993 and 1996, Pataudi was considered a visionary in that he backed India to win abroad and they did against New Zealand. Pataudi is also credited with having encouraged the spinners in the Indian cricket team, backing one of India’s traditional strengths.

Revered as an inspirational, gentlemantly, warmed hearted cricketer with a wicked sense of humour, Pataudi’s presence in the team from the early 1960’s proved to be a turning point in Indian cricket and that he had influenced so many people within the cricket fraternity became evident in the outpouring of condolence since the news of his passing away this evening at 6.30pm in hospital was made known.
Tiger Pataudi leaves behind his wife, Sharmila Tagore, a famous actress from the Hindi cinema industry. He is survived by his three children, Saif Ali Khan and Soha Ali Khan, who are both Bollywood actors, and Sabah. In fact the children have been around his father as his condition began to deteriorate with Saif Ali Khan’s girlfriend/fiancee and Bollywood actress, Kareena Kapoor, also visiting him in the hospital. In fact the Saif Ali Khan-Kareena Kapoor marriage was supposedly secretly being planned for early 2012 and now the family is bereaving their beloved father.

Although the doctors claimed that Tiger was suffering from the condition for the past three months, a lung transplant was ruled out. His condition though only worsened less than a month ago after he returned from England where he was present to give the Pataudi Trophy to the England team for their win over India in the Test series.

Cricket mourns one of India’s truly legendary cricket captains. Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi RIP.

Sachin Tendulkar’s 50 over Format Change Proposal Rightly Rejected by the ICC

Sachin Tendulkar Sachin Tendulkar wants the 50 overs format changed, ICC thinks 
It is no new news that Sachin Tendulkar wanted the fifty overs format changed. Even
as the idea, already pitched and in trial in a few countries such as Australia, was being
considered on the basis whether there were vested business interests behind the
venture, that has to be investigated as well with the ICC rightly turning down the idea.

Sachin Tendulkar, who missed the ODI series in England with the recurrence of a toe
injury, is in India but appears in serious doubt as far as his participation as the Mumbai
Indians captain in the Champions League Twenty20 2011 is concerned as a result
of that injury. However, other things have kept Sachin Tendulkar busy including a
proposal to the ICC to change the one day game as it presently stands.

What is interesting is that Tendulkar is essentially raking up an old issue and although
the idea of the one day game being split into four alternate innings of twenty-five overs
each is being attributed to him, it would seem that the timing of the issue being raised
is once again questionable.

However, while the novelty of the idea is certainly interesting, the ICC has made its
decision validated by the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 wherein the one day
international format received a roaring response, particularly more so since India went
onto to win the final and lift the trophy after twenty-eight years. That the format itself
has been a reasonable success can be attested to by the fact that given the right kind
of marketing and tweaks, the interest in one day format is far from redundant.

There has been a previous issue with regard to Cricket Australia changing the one day
format in domestic cricket to a split format. However, there were also implications that
the changes were being enforced upon not only to enhance the revenue aspect derived
from the fifty overs format of the sport but also, because of some business interests
behind the sport who preferred the split format. Although the one day cricket format
has taken a bit of a beating since the advent of Twenty20, there has been little reason
to actually do away with the format as is. Rather what it did require was a bit of
innovation in tweaks aspects of the format that would have enhanced the thrill level
of the sport.

The ICC has taken steps in that regard, particularly with the Power Play overs and
any further changes that do not take away from the essence of the format but rather
enhance the interests need to be encouraged. The ICC is certainly right in not jumping
the gun and has decided to evaluate the game as it evolves with the tastes of the viewer.
Some of the other international cricket captains have suggested that the one day format
could get a shot in the arm if the number of one day internationals played in a series or
tournament could be reduced to a suspenseful number instead of lengthening the series
with what has basically been termed as meaningless ODI matches, which is perhaps
one of the things that the ICC could look at in terms of viewing how the interest in the
one day game can be further injected.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

USAA Credit Card Review

If you or a family member serves our great military, there’s a good chance you are familiar with USAA, the financial services company offering everything from auto insurance to bank accounts. They offer a number of different credit cards. In this review we will take a look at the pros and cons associated with them.

Part One: Cash Back Credit Cards

These days most people seem to prefer cash back, so let’s start with the USAA credit card offers for this category.
  • USAA Cash Rewards (World MasterCard or American Express)
  • USAA Active Military MasterCard with cash rewards
While the benefits differ slightly between them, all three offer the same cash back program as follows:
  • You earn “up to” 1.25% cash back on all purchases, without any cap on the amount that can be earned.
  • In January the account will be credited with all the cash back earned over the past 12 months. Therefore you only get your cash rebate once per year.
  • Neither version has an annual fee.
Unfortunately this cash back program has a major drawback…
USAA cash rewards table
As you can see from the above table, you start out by earning less than 1/2% cash back. Only your yearly spending above $10,000 will be earning 1% or more.

The APRs on all of these can be low if you have good credit. When it comes to benefits, the American Express version offers purchase protection, extended warranty, and other perks for free (as you would find on any American Express card). The World MasterCard version also offers similar benefits but in my opinion, they aren’t as good.

Perhaps the most noteworthy benefit comes with the USAA Active Military MasterCard. If you are deployed you get to enjoy 3 major perks (a) special interest rate for up to 12 months, (b) new finance charges during deployment will be rebated, and (c) no foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside of the country.

Verdict? The USAA cash back credit card program is not very attractive with this tiered rewards structure. These days you should expect at least 1% on all your spending, if not more. Therefore, the application only makes sense if it is the other benefits you are after instead.

Part Two: Cards With Reward Points

The majority of the USAA credit cards are for programs that offer reward points. These don’t have an annual fee either:
  • USAA Rewards (World MasterCard or American Express)
  • USAA Military affiliate credit cards (available for 16 different military associations such as Air Force Association, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Wounded Warrior Project and others)
  • USAA Active Military MasterCard with rewards
All of these credit cards operate on the same points program. Here’s how it works:
  • You earn 1 point per dollar spent. There are no bonus categories for extra points.
  • No cap to the number of points that can be earned
  • Points can be redeem for cash back, as well as the other usual options credit cards offer these days: merchandise, gift cards, travel, charitable donations
USAA cash back program 
How much are the points worth? Well that depends on how you redeem them. If you do it at lower tiers you usually won’t get a good deal in terms of point value. The table on the right shows the cash rebate option and as you can see, it takes 20,000 points to get the full 1 cent value per point. If you go below that, your value per point goes down. If you use your points for charitable donations it’s the same $200 threshold for maximum value.

The worst value comes with the merchandise and gift certificate/card rewards. Based on the tiers shown in the fine print, it appears you will never get a full penny per point. For example, it shows a $25 gift card costing 3,500 points (about 7/10th of a cent per point). Even the highest tier shown, a $500 gift card, costs 70,000 points (also around the same conversion).

The best value appears to be when points are used for cruise rewards. It’s possible to get about 1.18 cents per point, but the drawback is you need to redeem hundreds of dollars worth to get that amount of a boost. Airline rewards do not give a boost in value but are still a good deal, because you get 1 penny per point with as little as 15,000 points ($150 worth) redeemed.

Verdict? After reviewing the reward options I would advise against these cards for that reason alone. There are credit cards with higher travel rewards on the market. However, if you want the other USAA credit card benefits then one of theirs might still make sense.

Part Three: Cards for low rates or rebuilding credit

USAA Rate Advantage MasterCard – Offers a low rate with qualifying credit as low as 6.9% and no annual fee. Those considered less creditworthy may still be stuck with a rate as high as the 20’s though, according to the fine print on the application. This card offers no rewards.

USAA Secured Credit Card – This is for folks who can’t qualify for a regular credit card, but still want a card to build their credit with. The USAA secured card charges a $35 annual fee which is definitely reasonable. You can learn more about how secured credit cards work here.

Verdict? Neither of these cards come with rewards, but that’s okay, because if you carry a balance or are trying to rebuild credit, rewards should be the last thing on your mind. If you have great credit and can get the lowest tier APR on the USAA Rate Advantage card then it’s a deal. The secured credit card from USAA is also a good value for what it offers.

Mumbai Indians to Field 5 Foreign Players in Champions League Twenty20 2011; No Tendulkar!

Mumbai Indians With injuries to Sachin Tendulkar amongst other Indian cricketers, the Mumbai Indians will be allowed to field five foreign players
 Even as the new IPL President, Rajiv Shukla, has said that the four foreign players in the IPL rule will stay, exception is being made for the Mumbai Indians who will be allowed to play as many as five foreign players in their team in the Champions League Twenty20 2011.

Sachin Tendulkar, the Mumbai Indians captain, himself is benched with a toe injury and while fans would have hoped that he will return sooner, that appears may not be the case after all. No Dhawal Kulkarni or Ali Murtaza, originally named in the Mumbai Indians squad as part of the Champions League Twenty20 2011 squads, had also compounded matters. Injuries to Indian cricketers have done the Mumbai Indians no favour in that even Munaf Patel was injured in the last India England ODI and will also not being taking his place in the team.

Given the spate of injuries and absence of several Indian cricketers, it appears that the organizers have relaxed the rules for the IPL team and have gone ahead and allowed them to field five foreign players, something that has been asked for by some of the IPL teams and coaches in a bid to improve their overall competitiveness. However, with the IPL being primarily targeting at giving more domestic Indian cricketers while balancing the attraction act with the foreign cricketers, after four years of the IPL, it would appear that the four foreign players rule will stay.
The Mumbai Indians will be grateful that Harbhajan Singh, who also pulled away midway from India’s tour of England with an abdominal injury, is supposedly fit by his own reckoning and raring to get back to cricket.

Mumbai Indians squad for the Champions League Twenty20 2011 before


Mumbai Indians squad for the Champions League Twenty20 2011 now:
Harbhajan Singh, Lasith Malinga , Andrew Symonds , James Franklin , Aiden Blizzard , Davy Jacobs , Kieron Pollard , Dilhara Fernado , R Satish, Ambati Rayudu, T Suman, Yuzvendra Chahal, Sarul Kanwar, Abu Nechim
In the revised squad, the Mumbai Indians do have their pick of foreign cricketers from fast bowler Lasith Malinga from Sri Lanka to Kieron Pollard who opted to play for the Mumbai Indians against the Trinidad and Tobago team which he competed with in the earlier edition of the Champions League Twenty20. It was that exposure that elevated Pollard to the exalted position of a much sought after specialist Twenty20 cricketer. Aiden Blizzard of Australia and Davy Jacobs of South Africa may well open the batting in Sachin Tendulkar’s absence while Andrew Symonds, having played the IPL and an experienced member, will be expected to bolster the team. Dilhara Fernando and James Franklin also provide team options although the Mumbai Indians will clearly miss a stronger Indian connection. Fortunately they will still have representation in the form of the trio of Tirumalasetti Suman, R. Sathish and Ambati Rayudu.

With the Mumbai Indians having the opportunity to field five foreign players, it not only gives some of the IPL franchisees to have a look at how that formula works but also, for a few to register their complaint over why perhaps the rule should not be equally relaxed along all four IPL teams including the Chennai Super Kings, Royal Challengers and Kolkata Knight Riders who are all competing in the Champions League Twenty20 2011. Unfair advantage, some would say. The Mumbai Indians would say, compulsion.

Champions League Twenty20 2011 Points Table

The Champions League Twenty20 2011 is promising to be a real battle between Twenty20 champions from cricket playing nations. And as they fight it out, here is how they stack up on the points table.

Champions League Twenty20 2011 Points Table
Group A

Matches………………………CC…..NSW…..CSK…..MI….T&T…….Total Points
Cape Cobras…………………0………………………………………………….0
New South Wales……………………..0……………………………………….0
Chennai Super Kings……………………………0……………………………0
Mumbai Indians……………………………………………..0…………………..0
Trinidad and Tobago…………………………………………………0……….0

Group B
Matches………………………………W……SAR……RCB……..KKR…..SS……..Total Points
South Australia Redbacks………………0…………………………………………………..0
Royal Challengers Bangalore………………………….0…………………………………..0
Kolkata Knight Riders………………………………………………..0………………………..0
Somerset Sabres………………………………………………………………….0……………0

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Best Credit Cards For 600 Credit Score?

Q: Dear CreditCardGuru, I’ve been reading a lot of your posts and love your advice but the problem is that I think my credit score is too low to qualify for your recommendations. For a 600 credit score what credit cards are best? (I have a 650 credit score from Experian and 640 from Equifax)
650 credit score 
A: Your FICO score isn’t the ultimate deciding factor. The reasons for it being where it’s at is also a crucial element which is taken into account. Having a 650 score because of little credit history is viewed much more favorably than someone who has a 650 score due to prior charged off debt, an old bankruptcy, etc.

Whether you have a 650, 640, or even a 680 credit score doesn’t really matter… because unfortunately they all are considered sub-prime. To get approved for the best credit card deals you typically need a score in the mid-700’s. In the past banks were more lenient, but not anymore.

Secured or unsecured?

Being in the mid-600’s you are right on the cusp of what qualifies for unsecured versus secured credit cards. For secured, you will have to put up a deposit ranging from $200 to thousands (you choose the amount) and that becomes your credit limit. Many are alarmed when they hear this but don’t worry, that deposit is refundable you close the account in the future (assuming you don’t owe money when it’s closed).

Which type will you qualify for? There’s no way to know until you try applying. But don’t misinterpret that the wrong way – you should not apply for credit cards until you get approved. Every application you submit results in a credit inquiry and having too many of those isn’t good for your score. So the last thing you want to do is make you score worse by having a boatload of new inquiries made!

In my personal opinion, the best credit cards for a 600 credit score range are those which offer both types, and will check your eligibility for both with only one application. There are a couple companies who do this and you can learn more about them on this page about rebuilding credit using secured cards.

If your credit score is only good enough to get you a secured card, then make sure you use it responsibly (always pay on time and never use more than 30% of your credit limit). After 9 to 12 months I would then recommend checking your credit score again and seeing where you stand. Hopefully by then, it will be enough to qualify you for an entry-level unsecured card.

Sidenote: The reason you had a 650 credit score on one report and a 640 on another is because each credit bureau has their own set of data they use to calculate the score. Usually the information across all 3 credit bureaus is the same but sometimes, a given bureau’s info may differ slightly (perhaps it hasn’t picked up recent information from one or both of the others). However as mentioned, anything in the mid-600s will be viewed as more or less the same, so don’t fret over the minute difference.

Secured Cards To Rebuild Credit

Those with bad credit often got there through no fault of their own… job loss, medical bills, and other economic hardships we can’t always control.

Whatever the case may be, instead of dwelling on the past, it’s best to focus on the future and rebuild your credit. But of course the catch-22 is you can’t apply for a credit card with bad credit and get approved! However with secured cards you can, no matter how horrible your history may be!

Here are 3 important things to consider when choosing your secured credit card…
  • Reasonable Fees – Fees should be expected, but some banks will rip you off with outrageously high fees. The application fee and annual or monthly fee should be reasonable and when combined, they should not cost more than $100 to $150 over the course of the first year.
  • Reports to Credit Bureaus – Of course it’s important that your account is reported to the bureaus. However, banks that offer secured credit cards (or any card for that matter) have to pay to report customer records… for that reason, some unscrupulous banks won’t report because they’re being cheap, make sure you watch out for them.
  • Flexible Security Deposit – We all know higher credit limits are better, but maybe you can’t afford much for your security deposit right now. The best cards should give you some flexibility. For example, you can start with a $500 deposit for a $500 limit, but later on when you can afford to do so, you should be given the ability to raise that to a $3,000 limit by adding more to your security deposit.
2 Important tips you need to know!

Tip #1 – Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to carry a balance to rebuild your credit. What’s actually reported to the credit bureaus is the balance on your statement when it closes each month. So it’s best to use your card and pay off the bill in full every month in order to avoid interest.
Tip #2 – A small portion of your credit score is based on what percentage of your available credit limit you are using. Again, contrary to popular belief, having higher balances are not better. It’s best to never use more than 25% to 30% of your credit limit at any given time.

The Best Secured Credit Cards To Rebuild Credit In 2011
This sponsored listing of the best offers is regularly updated.

Top Pick: Orchard Bank MasterCard
Orchard Bank MasterCardWhat’s so great about this offer is that Orchard Bank will check your pre-qualification for 4 different cards at once – both secured and unsecured. This is great because who knows, maybe you will qualify for a regular unsecured card? Since this issuer is part of HSBC (one of the world's largest banks) it is a great, respectable card to have. They specialize in credit cards to rebuild credit and their rates and fees are quite reasonable.

Household Bank MasterCard
Household Bank MasterCardThis MasterCard has an annual fee of $39 which is definitely on the low end for a secured credit card. However the best part about it is that you earn a full 2% cash back on your spending. It's rare to find a secured card that gives rewards, let alone one that gives an extremely high 2% rebate! If your credit score is better than you think, you might qualify for the unsecured version which has the same rewards but a $0 annual fee.

Applied Bank Platinum Zero Card
Applied Bank Platinum ZeroThey call this the Platinum "Zero" because the interest rate for purchases is fixed at 0% (even if you make late payments) and there's $0 in application fees. However the monthly maintenance fee is $9.95 so this secured credit card is probably only appropriate for rebuilding credit in the short term, rather than paying that fee for years to come. The security deposit ranges from $500 to $5,000 depending on how high of a credit limit you want

Kochi Franchisee Terminated from IPL Over Breach of Payment

Kochi Tuskers Kerala The Kochi franchisee has been terminated from the IPL from 2012
In a stunning decision, the BCCI did not just serve a suspension note but went ahead and terminated their IPL’s troubled association with the Kochi franchisee after only one season.

The BCCI Annual General Meeting saw more drama than was expected. While N.
Srinivasan took over Shashank Manohar as the BCCI President, his first order of
business was cutting off BCCI’s ties with the one franchisee that no one seemed to get
along from the start.
Whether it was the lingering effect of the then IPL chairman and commissioner,
Lalit Modi,and the Shashi Taroor battle that cost the Kochi franchisee a realistic chance
as the rest of the nine IPL franchisees remains speculative.

What the new BCCI President made clear in his first press conference since taking up
the position was to state categorically that the doors had been shut on the Kochi franchisee
bought by Rendezvous Sports. While earlier there was concern that the Kochi team was suspended over financial dues, N. Srinivasan, who himself has a stake in the Chennai
Super Kings, made it clear that there was no comeback for the Kochi Tuskers Kerala
in the IPL 2012 season but rather the franchisee stood terminated.

The bone of contention between the two new franchisees and the BCCI had been the
fact that the two franchisees had been bid for huge sums of money that outbid the first
eight teams. Under the premise that the IPL would extend to ninety-four matches, Sahara
who own the Pune Warriors India and Rendezvous got into a spat with the BCCI over
the final amount to be paid because the matches for IPL 4 had been reduced to
seventy-four as against the promised ninety-four. Having initially withholding the
payments, the matter was understood to have been resolved after it was claimed that
both the new franchisees had paid their dues but in protest over failed promises.

However, the BCCI has now claimed that Kochi had defaulted on their payment which
is basically to say that Kochi were apparently not keen to keep up their end of the bargain
if the BCCI did not go through with the matches. The BCCI meanwhile has encashed
the bank guarantee of the IPL franchisee and have not only served the Kochi team a
warning but terminated them altogether over what the BCCI has termed as breach of
contract. The BCCI has vindicated their decision on the stance that the Kochi was unable
to come up with the financial requirements agreed upon and therefore, stands in
violation. Such has been the BCCI’s stance on the issue that the new BCCI president
has stated that there is no way the Kochi can come back into the IPL set up because
in his own words, the breach was irreversible.

This now implies that there are nine teams standing in the IPL, two of which have fought
their way through a stay through court intervention, with Kochi having now been officially
axed. Kochi has only played the IPL 4 season and the results were nothing to boast
about. For the trouble riddled Kochi team, the BCCI’s termination appears more than
a matter of money. The BCCI though have deemed themselves the final authority on
the subject which has meant no room for Kochi on the IPL bandwagon.

Mohammad Aamer, Mazhar Majeed Confess to Spot Fixing in England

In a startling relevation, it would appear that the young Pakistan bowler has broke his own defense by confessing that he was indeed guilty of spot fixing, the scandal that brought cricket to its knees last year on Pakistan’s tour of England.
Mohammad Aamer Aamer has reportedly confessed to the spot fixing scandal that turned Pakistan’s tour of England into turmoil

From the confessional statements apparently submitted by the eighteen year old fast bowler as well as that of the player agent cum bookie, Mazhar Majeed, holds he first admission of guilt on the part of the duo. By the same token, fellow Pakistan cricketers, Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif, have apparently not taken a stance yet on how they will stand as far as corruption charges in the UK are concerned.

Butt, Asif and Aamer were declared guilty by the ICC Anti Corruption Tribunal and handed bans of varying degrees with a beginning starting ban of five years. Through the whole time of their defense and indeed Pakistan’s trouble stay in England since the scandal broke out during the Lord’s Test, the trio individually maintained their innocence and that Pakistan had been wrongly framed.

The now defunct News of the World tabloid broke into the open the sting operation they conducted with Mazhar who was able to prove without doubt that the players would bowl no balls at the designated moments as predetermined in collusion. Furthermore, his arrogance turned into a problem for the Pakistan cricketers who found it difficult to wriggle out of what seemed like rather nailing evidence.
However, the Pakistan cricketers maintained that they were above board even as Scotland Yard carried on their own investigations. The ICC took its own time as well and eventually bringing down the punishment on the tainted trio even though the three Pakistan cricketers and their lawyers accused the ICC of having already premeditated their decision without hearing through the defense.

Of the three Pakistan cricketers, Mohammad Aamer garnered much of the empathy because of his age and also, of the fact that while Asif has had a chequered career, Salman Butt has not very popular in Pakistan circles. Given the young talent, there was the general conspiracy theory that Aamer had been lured in through lucrative measures or through coercion to go along although the truth could be far worse than that speculated upon. It was even expected at the time that since Aamer was as young as he was at the time of the deviant form of match fixing, he would be the easiest to break and that perhaps his turning approver would spare him more stringent punishment. However, the trio followed their own individual defense and the ICC had their own take, based on the material they had in their possession, that the trio were deserving of time away from the game for the crime committed.

Now in a reversal of the stance that they have shared for the past one year, Aamer is perhaps having a change of heart, realizing how derailed his cricket career stands in light of the scandal and perhaps is hoping that even such a late confession will help him get off leniently although it has to be said that the fact that Aamer took a whole year, if the reports regarding the statements is true, and that his confession comes after he has already been handed out the punishment on his cricket career seems like the moment for that would have already passed him by.

Samsung GALAXY S WiFi 3.6 Android-based without SIM slot

At IFA 2011 trade show event, Samsung has introduced its newest Android-powered portable media player, the Samsung Galaxy S WiFi 3.6. Newly gadget is looks like a mobile phone, which is also brings large 3.6-inch screen, phone features (make voice and phone calls) but lacks a SIM card slot so utilized Wi-Fi connectivity for do it.
According to manufacture, the Samsung GALAXY S WiFi 3.6 is ideal solution for socially-connected multimedia enthusiasts who are interested in smart on-the-go multimedia without the expense of a mobile phone contract.
Running on the latest Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) OS, the Samsung Galaxy S WiFi 3.6 is boasts an ultra-fast 1GHz OMAP processor.
Galaxy S WiFi 3.6 has features a 3.6-inch display, 2MP rear camera, a front-facing camera for video calling, GPS, SoundAlive and support for a variety of video and audio formats.
There are Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Social Hub that allows users to stay in contact over social networking sites.
It is comes in two flavors – black and white. The Samsung GALAXY S WiFi 3.6 player is available in the UK in early October with two models – 8GB and 16GB at price of £149 and £169 respectively.

Samsung Wave 3, Wave M and Wave Y smartphone with bada 2.0

Samsung will bring three smartphones to the IFA 2011 (September 2-7, Berlin, Germany), the Samsung Wave 3, the Samsung Wave M and the Samsung Wave Y. All three handsets are its first smartphones that running on its proprietary bada 2.0 platform.
As noted, the bada 2.0 operating system has an improved features when compared to its predecessor, including Near Field Communication (NFC), Wi-Fi Direct support, push notifications, a new UI with more customization options, voice recognition, and multi-tasking. The Bada 2.0 is also brings ChatON mobile communication service.
The Samsung Wave 3 smartphone is packs a 4-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen display with a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, a rear-facing 5-megapixel camera, a front-facing 0.3 megapixel camera, GPS / GLONASS, and a 1,500 mAh battery.
Heart of the Wave 3 phone is boasts a 1.4GHz processor and 3GB of internal memory. As connectivity, the Samsung Wave 3 smartphone has 802.11 b/g/n WiFi with WiFi Direct, and Bluetooth 3.0. Its dimensions are 126 x 64 x 9.9 mm and weight 122 grams.
The Samsung Wave M is brings a 3.65-inch touchscreen display with 480 x 320 resolution, two cameras (5MP rear and 0.3MP front), and optional NFC. New Wave M phone is sports an 832MHz processor, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi (Wi-Fi Direct supported), and Bluetooth 3.0. Dimensions of Samsung Wave M are 114 x 63 x 12.2 mm and weight 121 grams.

New Samsung Wave Y smartphone has a 3.2-inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 480 x 320 pixels, an 832MHz processor, 2 megapixel camera, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 3.0. Dimensions of Samsung Wave Y are 110 x 58 x 12.3 mm and weight 102 grams.
All of them are made in the bar-type form factor and HSDPA support. The Samsung Wave 3, Wave M and Wave Y smartphone will be available this fall.


Huawei U8520 Android Dual SIM Phone

Huawei will be having a new dual SIM Android phone, the Huawei U8520. This handset has appears on FCC site, and also Chinese and Australian websites. Reportedly, the one of Huawei U8520‘s SIM card slots is support for 3G capabilities, while the other is just GSM network but two slots are works simultaneously.
Running on Android 2.2 OS, the U8520 is sports a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8255 processor, 2GB of ROM, 512MB of RAM, and a 1500mAh battery.
The Huawei U8520 Android dual SIM phone is packs a 3.2-inch capacitive touchscreen display with 320 x 480 resolution, 3G, Bluetooth, WiFi, Email, FM Radio, GPS Navigation, and MP3 Playback.
Weighing 110 grams, new Huawei U8520 is support for WCDMA II and WCDMA V connectivity (1900 / 850 MHz).

Nokia C7: A Revolutionary, Uncelebrated Handset

With all the talking about the Nokia E7 and N8, the C7 hasn’t had an opportunity to shine. And with a valid reason, these handsets and their amazing specs can easily get all the attention, leaving the C7 looking as just “another” Symbian^3 smartphone.
It wasn’t until a meeting with C7 product manager that the C7 seemed like a brilliant device. First of all, the man behind the C7 is totally passionate about what he does. It was evident that he was trying to create something that users would enjoy using; he also was really thankful for all the direct talk that we did about the C7 while the meeting lasted.
The C7 was introduced, according to the product manager, as the phone for everyone. They made sure that “everything was there,” meaning that the C7 has all the features somebody would need. The product manager described the C7 as the phone that most people would agree, that “it has everything.” Of course it doesn’t, and this phone isn’t targeted at the high-end of the market. However, it is targeted at that key level in which people want a really nice phone, but don’t want to spend a considerable amount on it. The key, is that the C7 offers a lot for its value.

The C7 is indeed a perfect phone to cover this important level of the market. The C7 has very advanced features, like 3.5″ CBD AMOLED display, and 8 Megapixel Camera, and it does all this in a really compact and user friendly design. The C7 is made out of mostly metal, and glass; it feels solid, an has an excellent construction I must say. The C7 has a lot in common with the very successful E71. I almost see the C7 as the E71, minus the keyboard which was replaced by a touchscreen. This very slim and metallic design is a winner, Nokia has proved it before.

The C7 is similar to the Nokia N8, but of course, the camera was replaced, and the construction, although really nice, isn’t the aluminium that the N8 uses. The C7 is a really fast phone, you can see in the pic below how the UI was going so fast that the camera produced a blurry shot. The C7, in the short time we handled it, seemed like a practical device that most people would enjoy using. The screen is top-quality, the UI is fast and responsive, and it comes with social Ovi services that many people will surely use. There are also many apps available on the new version of the Ovi Store installed on the C7, which by the way, is responsive and enjoyable to browse. For example, according to a Nokia rep, Swype will be available to download from the Ovi Store.

So what is the Nokia C7? It is the phone you would recommend to everyone. You know, family, friends etc… who want a nice phone but don’t want to spend high-end prices. Its features, and design, make it an “universal” phone. Lets wait and see if the C7 takes the market as we believe it can.

When is The N8 Shipping in The US? We Got Some Answers

The wait for the N8 has been ridiculous….really. While most major companies announce a product and put it in the market within months, Nokia has this horrible custom of letting fans wait for months, months, and months. To put it in perspective, the iPhone 4, announced this past June, was released that same month. The Blackberry Torch, announced this past August, was released too, the same month. Compare that to the N8, we know about the N8 officially since April, and it’s September and no news about it? Well, until now because we got some answers!

Today I got in contact with the folks over at Nokia USA, and got some interesting information on the status of the N8. First of, they said there is a very strong pre-order demand. This means, there’s actually a queue. If you were one of the very first people to pre-order the N8, you will get your N8 shipped tomorrow, September 30th. If you ordered after that first batch, you will get your N8 shipped anytime during October. That is all the info we got, but is pretty substantial. In our own personal opinion, we think that Nokia didn’t foresee the huge demand this phone would have in the US, so they might take some extra days to deliver those N8s. Keep us updated! Tell us below whether your N8 shipped, or not….

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Review: Capital One Cash Credit Card

There are several top cash rebate credit cards which give 2% to 6% on category spending, but few give above 1% on other purchases. However there are a few that do, including Capital One’s recently launched Cash credit card. Depending on your spending patterns, it may or may not beat other reward cards. Let’s review what it does and doesn’t offer.

What the Capital One Cash offers?

The system is a bit different because you don’t get all of the rewards upfront. Here’s how it works:
  • 1% cash back is earned on spending. The rebate accumulates on the account and can be redeemed at anytime through the website or by calling customer support.
  • 0.5% cash back is given for all spending during the previous 1 year period. This half-percent bonus is awarded each year on the anniversary date that the account was opened.
So in a nutshell, you are getting 1% cash back now and another 1/2% at the end of the year. Combined, this means a total of 1.5% cash back on spending, without any ceiling on the amount that can be earned. Although this falls short of the 2% you can get with the Fidelity credit cards from American Express, the 1.5% for non-category spending is high for a Visa or MasterCard.

Redemption: The cash back can be redeemed for the usual statement credits, checks, gift cards, charity donations, etc. The statement credits typically show up 5-7 business days after being requested. For gift cards and checks, it can take up to 30 days to receive them in the mail. With the Capital One Cash card there is an option to arrange for automatic redemption – when the account’s accumulated cash back reaches a certain amount, it will automatically be redeemed.

What it doesn’t offer?

This card’s main selling point is the 1% + 0.5% cash back program. If you like your premium benefits like credit card purchase protection and other perks, then the Cash card from Capital One is probably not for you. That being said, when accounts are approved with credit lines of $5,000+ they will be World MasterCards which do carry some additional benefits (though not up to par with what even the free AmEx cards offer). For credit lines below $5,000 the account will be a Platinum MasterCard which will have fewer benefits.

How does it stack up against competition?

For basic cash rewards, the Capital One Cash credit card lives up to its name and offers a good value. If you don’t spend money on groceries, travel, gas, clothing stores, and other frequently featured reward categories, then the 1.5% is a good choice.
On the other hand, most consumers with average spending patterns will probably come out ahead with any number of other reward cards on the market. With the unlimited 3% to 6% cash back offered on categories, the Blue Cash Preferred by American Express offers rewards which may average out to be far above 1.5% for many people. The Freedom by Chase with its 5% on categories is no annual fee option that may offer enhanced earning opportunity. However if you want the most bang for your buck, then the Starwood credit card offers the best rewards with a value that can often exceed 2% depending on how you spend your points.

Using Credit Cards In Australia (What Americans Need To Know)

when a reader sent me a question asking which credit cards are accepted in Australia, I knew that I could give a pretty good answer but not provide the kind of in-depth information that a native Aussie could. Fortunately, I happen to have a buddy from there (who is also a fellow credit card blogger) and passed the question off to him… this is probably the 4th or 5th guest post ever accepted in the 2 year history of the

It can be the journey of a lifetime making that special trip Down Under: getting prepared for the long-haul flight, packing clothes and reading up on Australian slang so not to confuse a ‘dag’ with a ‘dill’. It also pays to know how American credit cards fare in the land of koalas and kangaroos.

1. Accepted in Australia

MasterCard and Visa are both widely accepted in Oz, as they are all around the world. Diners Club cards have an agreement with MasterCard so they can be accepted at nearly 25 million locations worldwide. But what about American Express, the credit card so synonymous with the USA that they account for 24% of the total dollar volume of credit card transactions in the US? There is limited acceptance of AmEx in Australia; the company tends to charge retailers more to accept their service, which puts a lot of businesses (particularly small family owned operations) off the idea of accepting them. If you have a Discover credit card, leave it at home. It is not accepted in Australia, although they are working on it.

2. Not Accepted in Australia

Australia is similar to the USA in that credit cards are generally accepted in most locations, although you might find your card being refused by smaller retailers. Check beforehand, by either looking for signs or asking the store assistants. Smaller hotels and guesthouses may not offer credit card facilities and other places listed that sometimes don’t accept credit cards include some restaurants, cafes, fitness clubs and even tattoo parlors. There are some taxi companies which don’t accept credit card payments either (not even Visa), so be aware of how to pay for your services or products.

3. Fees

It is common for credit card issuers to charge from 1% to 3% for purchases made in other countries. If you are using your credit card for every purchase whilst on vacation these charges can quickly mount up. Use a card that offers a low currency conversion fee or even one that has 0% on foreign transactions, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Capital One has a number of cards which don’t charge foreign transaction fees and the VentureOne offers miles as a reward, handy if you want to check out Tasmania or New Zealand whilst visiting Australia. Another credit card which has no foreign transaction fee is the HSBC Premier World MasterCard.

4. Store Charges

Generally, you shouldn’t get charged extra for making a purchase in a store if paying with a credit card. However, there are some stores which will charge you for using this payment method, so look for signs warning that charges will be made or ask the cashier before using your card. There have been reports of some places charging up to AU$3 (~US$3.18) just to use a credit card to pay for goods or services.

5. Crime

Credit card fraud costs the main credit card issuers over $1 billion a year in the US alone. One method is called skimming: a device reads the magnetic strip on the card whilst the user is at an ATM. Hidden cameras record the security number being typed in and that’s all a fraudster needs to start accessing an account. Avoid ATMs that look like they have been tampered with and make sure you shield the keypad with your hand when keying in your PIN. Australia has dated card technology and this has been exposed by Eastern European criminal gangs who know how to exploit this situation. You can improve your security by applying for a card such as the JP Morgan Select visa signature credit card. This card has extra security features and is ideal for using in Australia as it has no foreign transaction fee.

Tips for Using Your Credit Card in Australia

Here are a few tips gleaned from’s (an independent comparison website based in Australia) learning centre.
  • Before you leave, contact your credit card issuer and inform them about your vacation plans. Irregular spending in a foreign location can set off security measures which temporarily lock your account.
  • Shop around credit companies before you leave. Try and find a card that has a 0% or low foreign fee rate.
  • Consider taking a prepaid debit card in case your credit card is not accepted.
  • Try not to withdraw cash from an ATM with your credit card if you can, to avoid cash advance fees.
  • Check the exchange rates. If paying in Australian dollars works out more economical than US dollars, then don’t be fooled into paying in US currency.
  • Have your passport with you when making a credit card payment.
This post was contributed by Andy Boyd who is a Co-Founder at, one of Australia’s top comparison websites for credit cards, where he has critically reviewed over 100 cards.

Munaf Patel joins Injury List in the Fifth India England ODI (Picture)

Munaf Patel Munaf Patel was the latest Indian cricketer injured on India’s tour of England in the fifth India England ODI
Even in the last match of the series, India could not avoid injuries, this time Munaf Patel coming down while fielding and eventually had to be carried off in the fifth India England ODI at Cardiff, a match that was Rahul Dravid’s final ODI for India and one that England prevailed eventually by six wickets.

Rahul Dravid Ends Up on Losing Side as England Complete Series Sensationally in 5th ODI

Alastair Cook England won the 5th India England ODI by six wickets at Cardiff
Rahul Dravid did not quite get the farewell the Indian cricket team had in mind as England were once again able to show more enterprise, spirit and exuberance to dominate proceedings in the fifth India England ODI at Cardiff after rain and Duckworth Lewis were at it for a fifth time in a row.

Rain reduced the contest to England requiring the revised target of 270 to be further reduced to 241 from thirty-four overs. The chase though should have got tougher for England with the runs per balls exceeding more than a run a ball. But England have shown a great deal more determination in their batting line up and depth while India continue to struggle with their bowlers. And the story pretty much wrote itself even though England found themselves reduced to four down for 166 in the twenty-sixth over when Jonathan Trott departed, having made sixty-three imperative runs in a partnership with the England ODI captain, Alastair Cook, who made a half century himself.

England still needed heroics in the end stages of the match that had seen rain play its part right through the series. India may have fancied their chances as the runs required mounted. However, England have always held the leading edge in the series and the fifth ODI proved no different with Jonny Bairstow, making his ODI debut for England, made it a memorable outing for himself and the team. Ravi Bopara was playing a role that has now become accustomed to him as he has made the best of the opportunity given to him in the absence of England cricketers such as Eoin Morgan and Kevin Pietersen.

Rahul Dravid would have been reduced at the end of the day to reminisce on his own personal innings even as India once again let slip an opportunity, which has meant that India literally end home empty handed, having received a terrible drubbing from the outstanding England team who have not put a foot wrong in the entire tour. Dravid may have scored a half century that will be remembered as his final effort, playing his final ODI for India. But this series has not left him much by way of team memories other than his own personal outstanding contribution consistently even as team status and morale sunk as the tour went on.

Losing Munaf Patel to another injury would not have helped India. For England though, it must give them immense pleasure and pride to know that they can succeed not only in facile circumstances but also, in situations that demand that they dig deep. That they have done it with a relatively new captain and with a few inexperienced faces bodes rather well for England’s goals over the summer.

While Bopara scored precious thirty-seven runs at a run a ball, Bairstow certainly provided the much needed acceleration, scoring forty-one runs off only twenty-nine balls with three sixes that did the damage in that England won the match with ten balls to spare to hand India an embarrassment that will be hard to forget for sometime as England complete 3-0 series win.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Nokia has let me down…

Being a Nokia blogger is not as exciting as it was some years ago. Nokia has been playing the “catch-up” game for too long now. They used to be the leader.

I was just playing with my Nokia N93 and I realized why I started a Nokia blog in the first place: they were the ones that came up with the cool gadgets, the innovations – and everyone else played the catch-up game.

But Nokia stopped innovating. Its last effort, the N8, makes me feel sad when I compare it to my other phones. In every other aspect, but the camera, the N8 lags behind my Galaxy S, and more recently, my Samsung Focus.

I have to be honest, I sold the N8 I won in a contest. I was not using the N8, it was just pretty hardware with an annoying, horrible, and unattractive UI and UX.

I have not given up on Nokia though. There is MeeGo coming as well as the updates that used to be Symbian 4. But until Nokia gets my attention back, this blog will remain without updates…..

Rumor: Nokia X7 Will Come to the US Exclusively With AT&T

The first time I heard it I wasn’t too sure about it, but now it’s coming from two different sources, so this has to be true. A tweet from the Editor-In-Chief of MobileBulgaria states that the Nokia X7 “seems” to be an exclusive of AT&T in the United States. In my opinion, this is a strong rumor coming from two sources that have predicted a number of Nokia-related events ahead of time.

If true, these would be excellent news for Nokia here in the US – where they have absolutely zero presence. It will be a tough fight though, the market is already plagued with Droids, iPhone, and now Windows Phone 7 devices; each with a ridiculously strong marketing campaign that we have never seen coming from Nokia. The X7 could do well here, it could also mean that big-company apps would arrive to the Ovi Store together with this US release. More news to come!

No Indian Winners for LG ICC Awards 2011; Is That Why - No Indian Team at the Awards?

No Indian cricketers went for the LG ICC Awards 2011

Is it even remotely possible that the Indian cricket contingent had an inkling that there would no illustrious awards for the Indian cricketers and is that why they stayed away from the LG ICC Awards 2011? Just another conspiracy theory.

Although it seems that there is a greater power battle here between the ICC and the BCCI, there was also the thought, although on a level that would suggest more like finding the lighter side of it although the implications of it could be far reaching, that perhaps there was an indication that the Indian cricketers would not feature prominently by the end of the night as the ones holding the award in their hands.

It would be safe to say that apart of the Spirit of Cricket Award which was considered a no brainer, there were no reason for the Indian cricket to even be at the function other than the fact that this was the visiting team in the city where the LG ICC Awards were slated. Although there were four creditable Indian cricketers nominated across the various ICC Awards including Sachin Tendulkar and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, that the Indian cricketers were ultimately pipped to the award was rather comprehensive. Even the LG Popular Choice Award went the way of Kumar Sangakkara and not Dhoni although given the system under which popular cricketers around the world are picked, Dhoni would not have missed a beat.

The conspicuous absence of the Indian team, who one would have thought would have been there simply by default, as a while does raise questions whether there were unwritten collective team instructions by the BCCI to skip the ICC Awards over what is believed to be a power struggle between the BCCI and the ICC led by Sharad Pawar, the ICC President who was the former BCCI chief. That even Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the Indian captain and the only other senior member of the Indian cricket team on the England tour, Rahul Dravid, raised more eyebrows at a ceremony that is considered to be the ultimate platform of recognition for the outstanding word of cricketers in the designated time period.

However, now there is the perception that perhaps in some way, there was communication of some sort that the Indian cricketers would not be felicitated in the night and therefore, the Indian cricket team deliberately skipped the awards ceremony, by diktat or otherwise. That though is merely speculative because for one, the awards are not usually released by way of announcement prior to the night itself and thereby, there should be no way that anyone within the Indian cricket administration or team should have had prior knowledge of it.

With that being ruled out, there is no logical way to explain the absence of the Indian cricketers from the awards function despite being in the same city of London other than it being something that the ICC will want to perhaps sort it out with the BCCI because there is something that is beneath the surface even if it is something that, in some people’s perception, that too much is being made about it.

Indian Hockey Team Rejects Prize Money; Indian Cricket To Blame?

Indian hockey The Indian hockey team refused the prize money after winning the Asian Champions Trophy

Even as the winning Indian hockey team returned home to a hero’s welcome, controversy and Indian hockey have not be able to separate in recent times. Now so-called greed on the part of the Indian hockey players is being blamed on the precedent set by Indian cricket.

Players of the Indian hockey team rejected Hockey India’s cash prize of Rs.25000 each for winning the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy by beating Pakistan in the final by a penalty shootout 4-2. However, the return of the Indian hockey team was met first with garlands and later by brickbats from the players over what they term as insufficient incentive.

Indian hockey is supposed to the national sport. However, it has become quite apparent that cricket, not hockey, is the popular sport in the country. With cricket’s popularity, mass appeal and the clout of the BCCI, cricket in India has also attracted sponsorships, mega multi million endorsement deals as also, huge broadcasting deals that have elevated cricket in terms of its financial clout not only in the country but also, across cricket playing nations.

It is only natural that the effects were going to trickle down to the Indian cricketers. Today the players that make the Indian cricket team enjoy million dollar endorsements, retainers from the BCCI as well as IPL money that has made cricketers some of the richest men in the country and also, subsequently upscaled their lifestyle.

With the kind of precedent that is being set where the BCCI is spinning money and the Indian cricketers have garnered their clout, the kind of money they have received as rewards from the BCCI alone have soared in the crores. With lakhs of rupees worth cash prizes from various state associations as well as land deals, the cricketers have netted a bonanza, particularly when they won the ICC World Twenty20 and more recently, the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011.

The kind of money rolling in cricket, particularly more so amongst the BCCI and the Indian cricketers, has led to a great deal of scrutiny as well as the sociological study of how the trend is skewing the lines as far as Indian sport is concerned. The perception has largely grown that the Indian cricket is spoilt for riches and when the Indian cricket team fails to rise to the challenges as it has on the tour of England, questions have been asked if the Indian cricket team is motivated enough with money not being a huge incentive anymore.

Perhaps it is the comparison that is killing the poor cousins in India. Some of the senior hockey players have questioned whether the amount announced as reward for the Indian hockey team would fetch anyone anything substantial. Dubbing the money as too paltry, the players have rejected it altogether even as the Indian government, through the Sports Minister led by Ajay Maken, has come out to state while the Indian government has not announced any prize of its own, it had already spent about Rs.7 crores on the hockey team in the last seven months, and with some quarters indirectly hinting that greed was consuming the Indian hockey players after looking at their cricket counterparts in the country.

There has been a great deal of turmoil within the Indian hockey set up wherein there has been a battle between several authorities over power struggle to rule hockey administration in the country. However, the Indian hockey players are unwilling to buy into the idea that a cash crunch is the cause of their meager prizemoney. Instead they insist that if this is the trend then cricket may well attract the youth to take up the sport while Indian hockey will die a slow, silent, painful death.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New York City Airports

New York has three main airports through which millions of people pass each year. If you have questions about travel into and out of New York City, call (800) A-I-R-R-I-D-E during normal business hours.

John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)

JFK, in Queens (at the south end of the Van Wyck Expressway), primarily handles international flights.

General Info: 718-244-4444
Parking Info: 718-244-4168

LaGuardia Airport (LGA)

LaGuardia, also in Queens (on the Grand Central Parkway), mainly handles domestic flights. If you're flying in from anywhere in the U.S., chances are you'll come through here. Particular exceptions include Continental Airlines.

General Info: 718-533-3400
Parking Info: 718-533-3850

Newark International Airport (EWR)

Newark, in Newark, New Jersey, handles both domestic and international flights. It's a bit further from the city than the other two airports, but it is generally less crowded and has more modern facilities.

General Info: 973-961-6000
Parking Info: 888-397-4636

Before visiting New York's airports you may want to heed the warnings of one traveler to New York's Kennedy airport.

Airport Ride Scams

Here is the story of Anthony Sumner and his first experience at Kennedy Airport. This could happen at any of the city's airport so please beware:

"When we arrived at JFK at 13:40 we came out of arrivals right near the transportation desk. A man came up and asked us if we needed a Taxi, we said no. A second man came up to us and asked the same question instead of saying NO I said we were looking for Grey Line as per your suggestion! The man produced a card with Grey Line details on it and ushered us off. As we headed for the roof top car park we felt a little nervous. We headed towards a car not a minibus. I was not comfortable with the guy and asked for some ID which he could not produce so we said no thanks and headed back to where we came in. He managed to catch us right in front of the transportation desk where it has a large sign explaining the legality of people soliciting Taxi rides!"

How to avoid this

  • Ignore random people asking if you need a Taxi ride at the airport.
  • When you arrive at the airport go straight to the transportation deskif you don't have someone to pick you up.

Mumbai Airport

Mumbai has two Airports-The Chattrapathi Shivaji International Airport and Santa Cruz  Domestic Airport.At a height of 26 feet above mean sea level, The Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport serves as one of India's major international airports. It is also the busiest, currently handleing up to 45 landings and takeoffs per hour. 

International Travellers: On arrival at the Chattrapathi Shivaji Airport (35 kms from city centre), the immigration, baggage retrieval and customs areas precede the remainder of the services. Exchange can be obtained at bank counters just outside the customs area. Hotel bookings and pre-paid taxis are available. There are no shops in the arrival area. The departure lounges are marginally better equipped for shopping. They also have a restaurant, a snack bar and exchange. However, check in and emigration is chaotic because of the bunching of flights at night. Phones are available at both arrival and departure. 

Domestic Travellers: On arrival at the Santa Cruz Airport (25 kms from city center) the baggage retrieval area is skirted by counters for various services such as hotel reservations. There is no pre-paid taxi counter, although some auto-rentals may represent themselves as such. Taxis are available from a policed queue outside the terminal. The departure area has minimal shopping and a snack bar. Phones are available at both arrival and departure.

City Information
Name Mumbai
Population 14.8 Million and growing
Area 600 Sq. Kms.
Language Spoken Marathi is the main language. Also spoken Hindi, Gujarati and English.
Rain Fall Average 216 cm (June to Sept.
Altitude Sea Level
Time Zone Single Time Zone IST (Indian Standard Time)
Places of Tourist Interest
Place Distance Accesibility
Gateway of India 30 Kms Taxi, Bus
Prince of Wales Museum 30 Kms Taxi, Bus
Jehangir Art Gallery 30 Kms Taxi, Bus
Rajabai Clock Towers 30 Kms Taxi, Bus
Flora Fountain 30 Kms Taxi, Bus
Marine Drive 28 Kms Taxi, Bus
Hanging Gardens 24Kms Taxi, Bus
Haji Ali 20Kms Taxi, Bus
Juhu Beach 4Kms Taxi, Bus
Sanjay Gandhi National Park 20Kms Taxi, Bus
Kanheri Cave 20Kms Taxi, Bus
Marve & Manori Beaches 50 Kms Taxi, Bus, Ferry
Elephanta Caves 40 Kms Taxi, Bus, Ferry
Bassein Fort 30 Kms Taxi, Bus, Ferry
Essel World & Water Kingdom 70 Kms Taxi, Rickshaw
Karla & Bhaja Caves 120 Kms Taxi, Train, Bus
Lonavala/Khandala 106Kms Taxi, Train, Bus
Karjat 90 Kms Taxi, Train
Matheran 90 Kms Train, Walk
About the Airport
Physical Location Latitude 19°5'27" N Longitude 72°52'0" E
Distance & Direction From City 14 Kms. Brg 023° geo from Mumbai Central
Other Airports in vicinity
Name of the Airport Juhu Aerodrome (Small Strip)
Distance from the Airport 4 Kms


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