• The trickery of Panenka Penalty

    During the 1976 European Championship Finals, a 5ft 10 in Czechoslovakian player Antonin Panenka looked unperturbed as he fired the decisive penalty kick into the German goalpost. The finely chipped ball pierced right through the heart of the opposition post when goalie Sepp Maier dived to his left, as if under some spell. The brazen, yet calculated goal made a French journalist then dub Antonín Panenka a poet, and the player became a bit of a cult hero with the classic kick being named after him.

    Italy's Pirlo scores a goal past England's goalkeeper Hart during the penalty shoot-out of their Euro 2012 quarter-final soccer match at Olympic Stadium in KievItaly's Pirlo scores a goal past England's goalkeeper Hart during the penalty shoot-out of their Euro 2012 quarter-final soccer match at Olympic Stadium in Kiev
    Yesterday, against England in the quarterfinals of UEFA Euro Championship, Italian midfielder Andrea Pirlo successfully reenacted the footie bard's cheeky penalty, displaying nerves of steel at the taut, decisive  shootout moment, fooling England's goalie Joe Hart. For Pirlo, who played a pivotal role in pinning down the Englishmen (apparently he ran 11.58 km, more than any English player, according to UEFA), this was an icing on the cake. With the media going berserk about Pirlo's
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  • Ford's all new global compact SUV EcoSport has been the talk of the town ever since it was unveiled at the Auto Expo earlier this year. While Ford has confirmed that it won't be launching the EcoSport this year, testing on the home turf seems to be on full swing.

    Pictures of completely undisguised EcoSport being tested in Chennai have surfaced on the internet. The production-ready EcoSport doesn't look any different from the prototype displayed at the Auto Expo. Missing here are just the LED headlamps and chrome garnishing on that large trapezoidal front grille.

    Spied in Chennai is the Titanium TDCI model powered by the 1.5-litre diesel engine borrowed from the Fiesta. However, the highlight of the EcoSport is expected to be the new 1.0-litre, three-cylinder, EcoBoost petrol engine. Wonder how on earth does a 1.0- litre engine pull an SUV? That's the wizardry of the EcoBoost powertrain technology, which enables this tiny engine chug out the performance of a conventional 1.6-litre

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  • The Western Ghats in the eastern imagination

    By Narayani Ganesh and B Sivakumar

    NARAYANI GANESH and B SIVAKUMAR make a plea to conserve the sacred groves and rich bio-heritage of the Western Ghats that stretch all along the coast of western India from Kerala upwards to Gujarat as they run across parts of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa.

    The Western Ghats have long been home to ancient sacred groves, inspiring deep insight into life and living. Designated as one of the 10 top biodiversity hotspots in the world and soon to be declared a World Heritage Site, the Ghats, also known as the Sahyadri range, are home to over 5,000 species of flowering plants, 139 mammal species, 508 bird species and 179 amphibian species. There could be as many species here that are still unknown to us whereas 325 of those we know are on the endangered list.

    Western Ghats, Eastern Pride: Click to see more stunning images of the Monsoon mountains.Western Ghats, Eastern Pride: Click to see more stunning images of the Monsoon mountains.According to the Worldwatch Institute, from 1980 to 2008, an average of 52 species per year moved one category closer to extinction on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red

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  • When a 17-year-old Shook up Heads of State

    By Narayani Ganesh

    A twelve year-old Severn Suzuki blazed into the world’s consciousness with her touching SOS for Earth in 1992. And now it’s the turn of 17-year-old New Zealander, Brittany Tilford who is keeping her Date with History at Rio+20.

    When twelve year-old Severn Suzuki delivered her short but powerful speech at the Rio’92 Earth Summit, everyone sat up. “The world simply stopped for those six minutes,” while heads of states and others were transfixed by a child’s plea for survival – not just of humans but of all species – demanding governments and all adults to take steps to reverse the damage that was being done to the environment.

    Today, 32 year-old Severn continues to campaign for Earth as she did at Johannesburg in 2002 and now in Rio in 2012. “That was the most powerful thing I have ever done in my life till today,” says Severn in Rio, of her 1992 address to heads of state. And thanks to the power of social media, her 20 year-old speech continues to touch people across

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  • The laughing Buddha and a Rio homestay

    By Narayani Ganesh

    Having to stay with a family on my first night in Rio de Janeiro as hotel rooms were unavailable – with Rio+20 delegates filling them well before the event -- I found myself in for a pleasant surprise.

    The Brazilian couple, now retired, live in an apartment in Lapa, the happening place for music and dance lovers in Rio de Janeiro. My hotel booking was available only from the day after my arrival that night after a long flight. Because of the recommendation of a Brazilian friend of a friend, this couple kindly hosted me that night. All my apprehensions vanished into thin air the moment the lady of the house rushed downstairs to greet me at the entrance to her building despite it being close to 11 pm.

    “Welcome to Brazil, to Rio, to Lapa....” she gushed, grabbing my suitcase and guiding me to the elevator. She has three children, she informs me. The older son lives with his wife elsewhere and the other two stay here. She ushers me into what looks like the master bedroom,

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  • Sports cars are not an everyday sight on Indian roads. The reason is simple - many of them aren’t ‘daily drivers.’ They are mostly taken out of the garage on the weekend for a romp on the highways or a blaze up the twisties. But the Nissan 370Z flies in the face of the conventional wisdom that sports cars are not practical machines. The 370Z offers not just performance, but everyday practicality along with the technological edge.

    A bit of history

    The Nissan 370Z didn’t come down in the last shower of rain; it boasts of a rich lineage that dates back to 1960s. The original Z was sold in October 1969 in Japan as the Nissan Fairlady Z and then exported to the US with the 240Z nameplate. It took the Americans by storm with its muscular straight-six engine and the sleek design. Six generations of Nissan Z-cars followed and the 370Z pulls mainly from the 350Z, the model it replaces, but with more 240Z into it. The 370Z got curvier, more fluidic with its redesign – seductive to some eyes, moreRead More »from Road Test and Review: Nissan 370Z
  • What is your MP doing?

    By Narayani Ganesh
    Editor’s note: 300 parliamentarians from 80 countries meet up before Rio+20. Find out what’s new.

    Every which way you turn, you bump into a legislator –- from Botswana, Gabon, Bahrain, Pakistan, Australia, Japan, Costa Rica, USA, Sweden, UK or India, to name a few -- for the ornate hall here at the Palacio Tiradentes in Rio de Janeiro is brimming with legislators, speakers and others from 80 countries with delegates and media persons attending the proceedings that began on June 15. It’s the old building that was used by the National Congress of Brazil, between 1926 and 1960, and is the current seat of the Legislature of the State of Rio de Janeiro. The palace is named after a seventeenth century dentist (Tiradentes) who later became a revolutionary, only to be arrested, executed and dismembered.

    Palacio Tiradentes, RioThe summit, organised by GLOBE International, a UK and Costa Rica-based group seeks to place national legislation, natural capital and scrutiny at the heart of the Rio agenda.

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  • The Mahatma Gandhi plaza, the carnival city & Rio+20

    By Narayani Ganesh

    Editor's Note: This article is in partnership with Federation of Environmental Journalists of India.

    Why its holiday time for locals
    “What do you feel about the UN Earth Summit returning to Rio after 20 years,” I ask a 20-something Brazilian seated next to me on the flight to Rio. He was helping me fill the landing form that was in Portugese. “It will be holiday time for many of us in Rio,” he grins, as most offices and educational establishments would simply shut down during the summit days as the streets would overflow with demonstrators, protestors and of course, more traffic. “And what do you think world leaders will discuss here, would it interest him?” “I guess it will be about energy and renewables and all that. In Brazil we have plenty of hydro power, and renewables too, mainly ethanol, so we don’t really have to worry.” He was going home after a holiday with friends in London and looking forward to a few more days off during the Rio+20 summit to be held June

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  • What's going on at Rio?

    By Joydeep Gupta

    The largest international gathering of them all got underway in Rio de Janeiro this Wednesday June 13 with no agreement on how the world could be made more liveable and sustainable at the same time. Delegates from 193 countries are still divided over key issues – development financing, capacity building especially in least developed countries, technology transfer, the “green” economy and the framework of action to implement all these ideas.

    But as the first lot of 50,000-odd politicians, officials, NGO representatives and media descended on this fabled city on Brazil’s Atlantic coast and jammed up the streets, Sha Zukang, head of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), was confident that the differences would be resolved. The last preparatory committee meeting of officials started on Wednesday, and by Friday they are supposed to finalise a declaration on “the future we want”. There was agreement on only 20% of the declaration and many developing

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  • Never thought it would get to this; did you? Rs 80/litre just to get down the road! The need for more efficient vehicles was never 'in your face' as it is now. So, the time is right for Mahindra 2Wheelers to introduce the revamped Rodeo RZ, the highlight of which is certainly the impressive mileage of 59.38 kmpl under ARAI's test conditions.

    The new Rodeo is not just another facelift, but an attempt to incrementally improve an already very good product. The 125cc Z series engine got better with the Dual Curve Digital Ignition System (DCDI), which marginally increases the performance while not compromising mileage. Do not expect jaw-dropping acceleration since the power delivery is very linear and smooth, however, the RZ is zippier than its predecessor and rides seamlessly even with pillion on board. Moreover, Mahindra claims best in class 0-60 acceleration of 9.35 seconds, which is better than the Suzuki Swish's 9.4 seconds record.

    I rode the Rodeo RZ on various terrains of

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