Pak has ‘hunger’ to defend T20 title: Afridi

Karachi, Apr.16 (ANI): Pakistan T20 captain Shahid Afridi is hopeful of defending the World T20 title, and believes that his squad has the hunger to lift the coveted title for the second consecutive time.

Afridi said players have developed a great bonding among them in the ongoing preparatory camp in Lahore, and they are eager to do well.

“ Its all bout team spirit and the hunger to win. The good thing is that we have both of those ingredients which is why I’ am confident about our title chances,” Afridi said while interacting with media persons on the sidelines of the ICC World T20 Championship trophy unveiling ceremony.

Afridi, however, pointed out that being the defending champions Pakistan would be under pressure during the Championship starting April 30 in West Indies.

“ Obviously there will be pressure for us because we are the champions and everybody here expects us to win the title again.But I think it would also be a great source of confidence. The boys know that they won the title just nine months back and are good enough to do it again,” The News quoted Afridi, as saying.

When asked whether the pressure of captaincy would affect his performance on the field, Afridi said he believes the added responsibility would make him give his best.

.“I personally think this new responsibility will make me give an even better performance in the West Indies,” he said. (ANI)

Himachal villagers take up paragliding as an occupation

Manali, Mar 19 (ANI): Villagers of a small village in Himachal Pradesh are taking up paragliding a profession as it is proving to be a lucrative source of income.
The village of Burua, which is seven kilometres away from Manali, has produced over 200 paragliding pilots.

Roshan Lal Thakur, the man who brought the adventure sport of paragliding to the valley, believes that the sport can help the village youth to a great extent.

“When I initially started paragliding, then I didn””t know that this will become a great source of income for the youth. I got into this because of my interest. But today I feel happy about the fact that the locals and the youth of the region are earning their bread and butter through it,” said Thakur, who has represented India in the Asian Paragliding Championships in 2004.

Thakur further said that it was purely the initiative and drive of local youth which has made the sport accessible to tourists.

In 1995, Thakur started the first tandem commercial flight at Solang Nala in the valley and is now running a training school in Manali.

Initially, paragliding was a huge investment for the villagers, who otherwise cultivated potatoes and apples.

A single paraglider costs about Rupees 200,000-500,000. Fully trained paraglider pilots earn up to 1,000 rupees per day.

“Earlier, for earning their living, the locals used to sell potatoes and apples. But then the valley wasn””t giving much profit with its cultivation. So, since 1989 when the tourists started coming here, so the locals started training as paragliding pilots. Now, the people are earning well through this profession,” said Hira Lal, a professional paraglider pilot. (ANI)

Scientists solve mysterious disappearing act of world’s second largest fish

Washington, May 8 (ANI): Scientists have discovered where basking sharks – the world’s second largest fish – hide out for half of every year.

The discovery revises scientists’ understanding of the iconic species and highlights just how little we still know about even the largest of marine animals.

“While commonly sighted in surface waters during summer and autumn months, the disappearance of basking sharks during winter has been a great source of debate ever since an article in 1954 suggested that they hibernate on the ocean floor during this time,” said Gregory Skomal of Massachusetts Marine Fisheries.

“Some 50 years later, we have helped to solve the mystery while completely re-defining the known distribution of this species,” he added.

Using new satellite-based tagging technology and a novel geolocation technique, the researchers found that basking sharks make ocean-scale migrations through tropical waters of the Atlantic Ocean during the winter, traveling at depths of 200 to 1,000 meters.

Their data show that the sharks sometimes stay at those depths for weeks or even months at a time.

“In doing so, they have completely avoided detection by humans for millennia,” Skomal said, emphasizing that as one of the very largest of marine animals, the sharks grow to over 10 meters and weigh as much as seven metric tons.

Skomal said they were “absolutely surprised” when they first received a signal from the tagged sharks coming from the tropical waters of the western Atlantic, in the vicinity of the Caribbean and Bahamas.

After all, basking sharks were always believed to be cool-water sharks, restricted to temperate regions.

Several factors had made basking sharks a challenge to study. On top of the fact that they disappear for long periods of time, they also feed exclusively on plankton.

That means they can’t readily be captured with traditional rod-and-reel methods, and even when the sharks are found closer to the ocean surface, they spend their time in the cool-temperature, plankton-rich waters that limit underwater visibility and make diving difficult.

The findings could have important implications for the conservation of basking sharks, which have shown some signs of dramatic decline in the last half century and are listed as threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. (ANI)