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Welcome, 2006

The New Year has plenty of excitement lined up, the biggest being the football World Cup.

india Updated: Jan 01, 2006 00:29 IST
PTI

Up there with 2006

The year in the Gregorian calendar corresponds to the years 5766-5767 in the Hebrew calendar and 1426-1427 in the Islamic calendar.

Big anniversaries

* The Rembrandt Year, commemorating the 400th anniversary of the birth of Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, Netherlands’s greatest 17th-century painter.

* The Mozart Year, celebrating the 250th birthday of Austrian composer Johann Chrysostom Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

* The Tesla Year, celebrating the 150th birthday of the world-renowned electro-technician Nikola Tesla.

Also in the offing

The World Wide Web conference — the global event that every year brings together key decision-makers, technologists, businesses and standards bodies influencing the future of the web — will be held in Edinburgh, England, on May 23-26. The event has been organised by the International World Wide Web Conference Committee (IW3C2) since 1994. Ever since its inception, the meet has gathered together trailblazers from the international community. Its aim is to explore how to develop the future of the World Wide Web.

The United Nations will elect a successor to Kofi Annan, whose image lost some shine when his son was named in the food-for-oil scam. The US will press for someone with the energy to take the present reforms further, but the Asian and Latin American countries will be rooting for someone more sympathetic to their agendas.

The hugely ambitious Golden Quadrilateral project will probably be finisged in December. The largest expressway project of India consists of 5,846 km of four/six lane expressways connecting Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, forming a quadrilateral of sorts.

Sport

Thirty-two teams from six continents, including six past winners, will take the field for the 2006 World Cup in June. Hosts Germany head the 14-strong European contingent, while holders Brazil lead the South American challenge. The tournament will kick off in Munich on June 9 with a match between Costa Rica and host Germany. The final will be played in Berlin on July 6.

Personalities

Final face-off

JK Rowling will finish writing the seventh and last book in the Harry Potter series. The last chapter of the book has already been written and is under lock and key, with speculation that the boy wizard may die in a fight to the finish with arch-foe Lord Voldemort.

Space

Nasa will launch the New Horizons spacecraft on its first mission to Pluto in January.

Nasa’s Stardust mission will near Earth after a 2.88-billion mile round-trip to return with cometary and interstellar dust particles. The velocity of the sample return capsule, as it enters the Earth’s atmosphere at 28,860 mph on January 15, will be the fastest for any human-made object on record.

The Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) spacecraft, which will be launched in spring, is the first mission to image the sun and solar wind in 3-D. It will help improve our understanding of space weather and its impact on Earth.

Nasa’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter arrives at the Red Planet on March 2006. It will return with more data about Mars than all previous missions combined.


Books

* Paul Watkins’s The Ice Soldier (Faber). This is an adventure story set in Britain and the Alps in the wake of World War II.

* One City, by Alexander McCall Smith, Ian Rankin and Irvine Welsh (Polygon). These are three tales about Edinburgh, all interlinked. The introduction is by JK Rowling.

* Mozart: The Early Years by Stanley Sadie (OUP). A new study of the composer’s early life and achievements.

* On Hitler’s Mountain by Irmgard Hunt (Atlantic). The slow crushing of Germany and the oppressive daily life under the Nazis is seen through a child’s eye.

* Salaam Stanley Matthews by Subrata Dasgupta (Granta). This is a memoir of Britain in the Fifties, written with great affection.


Films

* Rang De Basanti is eagerly awaited for Aamir Khan’s ‘new look’ after the moustachioed Mangal Pandey.

* Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, with a cast of Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Rani and Preity, is Bollywood’s biggest bet for the year.

* In JP Dutta’s remake of Umrao Jaan, Aishwarya Rai will reprise the role essayed by Rekha. Aishwarya Rai stars opposite Abhishek Bachchan.

* Krrish, the sequel to Rakesh Roshan’s ET-inspired film Koi.. Mil Gaya, is expected to put son Hrithik Roshan back on the top.

* Kajol will return with Fanaah, her first film after marriage and kids. The Yash Chopra film also stars Aamir Khan.

* The Da Vinci Code, the worldwide bestseller, is being made into a film starring one of the world’s biggest and greatest actors. Tom Hanks stars in the film that revolves around a murder in the Louvre museum of Paris, clues present in Da Vinci paintings. The film may find itself pitted against the first James Bond film starring the new face of Bond, Daniel Craig. Casino Royale will hit the screen in the second half of the year.