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Writers, who get their first book published by a major label, are generally above the age of 30. But there are a few extremely fortunate writers who didn’t even enter their teens, before their first book was published. Here is a list of some of them.

1. Christopher Beale
In 2006 Christopher Beale, from Switzerland, became the youngest author in the world with the publication of his 1,500-word book This and Last Season’s Excursions. He was six years and 118 days old when the book was published, thereby, beating the previous Guinness World Record by 42 days.

2. Jason Gaes
Jason Gaes wrote a moderately successful non-fiction book on his personal experiences called My Book for Kids with Cansur (sic) when he was eight. Diagnosed with Burkitt's lymphoma at six, and given a 1 in 5 chance of survival, Jason felt there should be a book about childhood cancer, telling young people they didn't have to die. An independent film called "You Don't Have to Die" and a play were based on the book. In 1988, one year after the book was published, President Reagan awarded Jason the American Cancer Society's "Courage Award."

3. Libby Reese
Libby Reese is Britain’s youngest published author, whose 60-page self-help book, Help, Hope and Happiness, came out in 2005 when she was 9. The book, based on her experiences when her parents separated, raised thousands of pounds for the charity Save the Children. Her second book about moving from primary to secondary school was published in 2007.

4. Manuel Alguacil
At 6 years old, Manuel Alguacil could barely hold his copy of The Lord of the Rings. Three years later, Manuel became one of the youngest authors in the world with the publication of his book Thok, the Vain Dragon. The book is about a baby dragon that looks in the mirror and thinks he is ugly. He hides until his mother reassures him that he is only growing up, and the young dragon learns to stop being vain. Despite all the success at such a young age, Alguacil plans to be an astronaut in the future.

5. Nancy Yi Fan
While in fifth grade, at the age of 11, Fan penned Swordbird, a fantasy story about a war between cardinals and blue jays, an instigating evil hawk, and the mystical hero Swordbird that can bring peace to the forest. Published in 2007, it made Fan the youngest best-selling author in HarperCollins history. She translated the text into her native Chinese. Currently, she is working on the final part of her Swordbird trilogy.
NGOs for the Girl Child

There is no dearth of driven people who live for a cause. Here, we take a look at the top NGO's who have been working towards the cause of the girl child.


The organization supports grassroots groups involved in putting a stop to child labour and child poverty, such as supporting Mahita in Hyderabad and helping and supporting in imparting education to under-privileged girl children. They have a couple of campaigns running to protect the girl child. They also plan to present a charter in the Ministry of Women and Child Development.

To be a part of the peoples movement for change, for Child Rights write in to

Nanhi Kali-Mumbai

Run by the K C Mahindra Trust, an all-India Organization, Nanhi Kali, allows you to sponsor a girl child's education through their network. The Nanhi Kali project is working with 23 NGO implementation partners at the grassroots level to ensure that the girls receive academic and material support. The K. C. Mahindra Education Trust regularly monitors the NGOs giving technical inputs where ever required to ensure that quality education is being imparted to all the Nanhi Kali's

Dream A Dream-Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore

This is a professionally run, registered not-for profit organization working with children coming from vulnerable backgrounds such as from streets, slum communities, runaway children, orphans and HIV+ children.

Log on to their site-

Population First-Mumbai

The organization runs a campaign called ‘Laadli', which tackles the issue of the falling sex ratio. Laadli is a comprehensive communication campaign launched by Population First to address issues related to the low status of the girl child in society and male preference in families. They work with the youth - future parents, decision makers and agents of change - to help change mindsets and perceptions about the girl child.

Log on to: - for further details.

Smile Foundation- NewDelhi

Formed in 2002 by a group of young corporate professionals, the organization is involved in promoting and catalyzing universal education among underprivileged children. Through more than 100 education, healthcare, livelihood and girl child oriented programmes such as Swabhiman spread throughout India, the Foundation facilitates individuals, corporates and institutions to invest in social initiatives aimed at the welfare of poor and needy children.

For further information write to
Click here


by Rachel Fernandes

A Masters in Business Administration or MBA is one of the most coveted post graduate degrees amongst people interested in enhancing their education, career and job prospects. However, it is important to choose an MBA college that not only imparts high standard of education but also is recognized worldwide as a strong brand. Here’s our list of top MBA colleges.

1. Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIM) India
IIMA, one of the premier business management colleges in Gujarat, India was initiated by Dr Vikram Sarabhai and a few other public-spirited industrialists in 1961. It offers a variety of Post graduate management courses. An important feature is the institute’s exchange program with other foreign management institutes like Stern School of Bussiness, Anderson School at UCLA etc. There are other branches of IIM colleges in Bangalore, Lucknow, Kolkatta and so on.

2. Stanford University in USA
The Stanford University in California is one of the top research and teaching institutions for management studies in the US. Only around 390 students per class get selected in order to impart quality education and enhance educational experience. Its faculty includes 12 Nobel Laureates and 4 Pulitzer Prize winners.

3. Harvard Business School – USA
Another top business school, founded in 1908, it was originally located in Harvard Yard but is now on the Boston side of the Charles River. Apart from its world class business programs at the graduate and under graduate level, it consists of the Baker Library, the world’s largest business library with more than 600,000 volumes spanning seven centuries. Some of its other features are the Aldrich and Hawes Hall which consists of state of the art amphitheaters.

4. London School of Business & Finance
LSBF was established in 2000 and is located in Holborn in Central London which is the hub for business, finance, politics, etc. It provides professional, post graduate and executive management programs like MBA, MIB etc. It has around 28, 500 international alumni in around 130 countries around the world and also has international collaborations with other business schools.

5. Melbourne Business School (Australia)
Melbourne Business School is one of the largest business schools in Asia Pacific for management development studies. It offers a variety of degree and executive programs and is equipped with state-of-the-art lecture theatres, a dedicated management library and excellent IT infrastructure.

Now you know what a good college must comprise. So go ahead and aspire for the best.


by Rachel Fernandes

With 74 countries reporting 27,737 cases of H1N1 infection resulting in 141 deaths worldwide, the WHO (World Health Organization) declared swine flu as a global pandemic on last Thursday, 12th June 09. This is the first flu pandemic to hit the world leading to such serious consequences, after the Hong Kong flu Pandemic that hit the world in 1968. Come, let us get informed about this dangerous flu, its causes, preventive measures and more.

What is Swine Flu?
Swine flu, or influenza A (H1N1), is a respiratory disease that infects pigs and is caused by a flu virus. Until now it had not normally infected humans, but recently the H1N1 virus jumped from pigs to humans in Mexico and then gradually spread to around 53 countries including India, the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, New Zealand and Japan.

Why is it dangerous?
It is a new virus that is spreading rapidly and no one has immunity to it yet. Also, there is no definitive cure yet. This is the prime reason because of which WHO fears that it could infect one third of the world’s population within a year.

How it spreads?
Flu viruses are made up of tiny particles that spread through the droplets that come out of one’s nose and mouth when he/she coughs or sneezes. These droplets spread easily, exposing others at the risk of breathing them in.
It can also easily spread from one’s hand to any hard surfaces that the person touches. Everyday items such as door handles, computer keyboards, mobile and ordinary phones and the TV remote control are all common surfaces where flu viruses can be found.
If other people touch these surfaces and then touch their faces, the germs can enter their systems and they can become infected.

Symptoms of swine flu in humans are similar to those produced by standard, seasonal flu.
These include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, chills, fatigue and in some case diarrhea and nausea.
Though it may not be perceived as a serious threat but even seasonal flu often poses a serious threat to public health: each year it kills 250,000 - 500,000 around the world.

Can it be cured?
Two drugs commonly used to treat flu, Tamiflu and Relenza can be effective but these drugs must be used at an early stage for relevant results. The flu is also said to respond well to anti-viral drug Oseltamivir.
It is mandatory to seek medical help if you feel you could be infected with the said virus, instead of popping pills yourself.

Necessary precautions
General infection control practices and good hygiene help to reduce transmission of all viruses, including the human swine influenza.
One should cover his nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, and use a tissue when possible and dispose it promptly. This can minimize transmission of the virus.
When taking care of someone with a flu-like illness, a mask should be worn to cover the nose and mouth to reduce the risk of transmission.
One must wash hands with soap and hot water or a sanitizer gel as often as possible.
The bottom line is that like any other flu, Swine flu is avoidable if good hygiene standards are maintained and some basic precautions are taken.


by Rachel Fernandes

The ghastly terror attacks that shook the city of Mumbai just a few days ago have re-emphasized the fact that terrorism is indeed the top global crisis facing the world today. Though, the various terrorist outfits may have different excuses for their acts of barbarism, but the outcome of all of these is the same: death of humanity. These are some of the major terrorist outfits that have spread havoc in our country and the world in the recent times:

1. Al-Qaeda
Al Qaeda is an international Sunni Islamist movement established in 1988 by Osama bin Laden. Al-Qaeda have attacked civilian and defense targets all across the world, the most disastrous being the 9/11 terrorist attack in the US in 2001 where thousands were killed and injured. Suicide attacks and simultaneous bombings at different destinations usually in the same city is their characteristic technique. Al-Qaeda's objectives include the end of foreign influence in Muslim countries and the creation of a new Islamic caliphate. Though, Al Qaeda is not as active in India, it is suspected to be behind the recent Mumbai terror attacks.

2. Indian Mujahideen
Indian Mujahideen is a banned Islamic terrorist group that claimed responsibility for the 2008 terrorist bombings in Jaipur, Bangalore, Delhi and Ahmedabad. Their main objective is to spread terror and destruction of other religious communities. The group is known to be actively involved in terrorist activities in India.

3. SIMI- Students Islamic Movement of India
The group started off as a student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami group but later separated due to their adoption of extremism. Their main objective is to rid India of western influences and to spread Islam through terror acts.

4. Lashkar-e-Taiba
The LET is a Pakistani based terrorist group banned by India, UK and US. Its main objective is to drive out Hindus and the Indian government from the India occupied Kashmir. The group has been reportedly involved in the 2001 terrorist attacks on the Delhi Parliament and 2006 Mumbai train bombings.

5. LTTE- Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
The LTTE is a banned terrorist group that is fighting for independence of all Tamil dominated regions. The LTTE is believed to be involved in the assassination of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and the 1998 Coimbatore bombings. They indulge in suicide bombings, attacking police and army personnel etc. They operate from Sri Lanka and have a strong armed force.

These terrorist groups have caused widespread destruction and death and continue to do so. Instead of waiting for the government to wake up, let us become the change we want to see around us. Let us be more alert, more helpful and more responsible. Let us start a peace movement. To show solidarity, let us all come together at Gateway of India, Mumbai on the 3rd of December, tomorrow. Let us ask for what is our right: our right to live fearlessly.


We are used to seeing cars on the roads and planes in the sky. But these were not so common at one time. In a bid to do what others had not managed to do till then, certain enterprising people took up the challenge and designed and developed these wonderful transportation machines, which we now take for granted. Read here about the first steps in the development of these, now common, machines.

First Bicycle Prototype

John Kemp Starley built an earlier model of the cycle in 1870 and subsequently designed a number of safety bicycles. He finally built the Rover model with equal-sized wheels. This bicycle improved the performance of racing bicycles that had reached their maximum speed by 1884. The saddle, handlebars and crank axle were well balanced and logically placed, and this established the shape of the bicycle as we know it today. Two or three years thereafter, the bicycle's components such as the frame material, tyres, variable speed gears, saddle and chain were rapidly made practical.

First Self-powered Vehicle

The first vehicle to move of its own power, for which there is a record, was designed by Nicholas Joseph Cugnot and constructed by M. Brezin in 1769. The model on its first drive around Paris hit and knocked down a stone wall. It also had a tendency to tip over frontwards unless it was conterweighted with a canon in the rear. The purpose of the vehicle was to haul canons around town. This was the prototype for more refined self-powered vehicles to come.

First Controlled Aircraft

The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, were Americans generally credited with engineering controlled, powered, heavier-than-air human flight for the first time on December 17, 1903. In the two years thereafter, they developed their flying machine into the world's first practical fixed-wing aircraft. The brothers' fundamental breakthrough was their invention of ‘three axis-control’, which enabled the pilot to steer the aircraft effectively and to maintain its equilibrium. This method has been used ever since by all fixed-wing aircrafts. From the beginning of their aeronautical work, the Wright brothers focused on unlocking the secrets of control to conquer ‘the flying problem’ rather than developing powerful engines as some other experimenters did.

India has the distinction of producing a feature film with the longest title. At Chennai in December 1994, a Telegu-film (Telegu is the state-language of Andhra Pradesh, a state in south India) was released with 20 words in its title: Shree Shree Rajadhiraja Shree Shree Madana Kamaraja Shree Shree Vilasa Raja Shree Shree Mahdubana Raja Shree Shree Krishnadeva Donda Raja. Lets see if you can memorize this one!

You won’t find them at the Olympics, but if they were allowed to participate, they would surely be the ones taking the gold medal in the high jump. We’re talking about fleas. The average flea can jump 200 mm (or 8 inches) into the air. For its size and weight, that’s amazing. To put things in perspective, the flea’s jump is equivalent to a human being jumping 130 metres (or 400 feet) high! Now that would be some world record!

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