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Thursday, November 16, 2017

when WI allrounder Marlon Samuels won defamation against Geoff Lawson

He bowled fast creating doubts and fears in the minds of batsman. In all he took 180 test wickets and 88 ODI scalps.  At a young age, Lawson had problems with tunnel vision. He also had to endure blind spots and red mist; he later became a qualified Optometrist, though we know him better as a fast bowler and a coach later.

During Asia Cup 2008,  Journalists stormed out of Geoff Lawson's press conference as tempers frayed after Pakistan's 64-run loss to Sri Lanka, which pushed the hosts to the brink of elimination.  

A visibly irate Lawson, Pakistan's coach, attended in place of captain Shoaib Malik and immediately set down some ground rules. "Couple of rules before we start. Don't make statements, ask questions. If someone asks a question twice, I won't answer it. Make questions sensible, otherwise I won't answer it."  Shortly thereafter, he was  sacked as the Pakistan coach and said that he  was better off than other officials working with the Pakistan board since he was paid out and got a decent exit.

Remember very well that famous 175 n.o. by the great Kapil Dev, retrieving the team from 17/5 against Zimbabwe.  Earlier on 9th   June 1983 In their very first one-day international, Zimbabwe announced their arrival with one of the greatest upsets in World Cup history, beating Australia by 13 runs at Trent Bridge. Brief scorecard reads :   Zimbabwe 239 for 6 (Fletcher 69*, Butchart 34*) beat Australia 226 for 7 (Wessels 76, Marsh 50*; Fletcher 4-42) by 13 runs.. Zimbabweans had played with ease the renowned Australian pace attack of Dennis Lillee, Jeff Thomson,  Geoff Lawson and Rod Hogg.

A couple of years back,  WI Cricketer – all rounder, Marlon Samuels filed a defamation case against Geoff Lawson for ‘erroneous, malicious and unjustifiable comments’ that the former Australian fast bowler had made about the West Indies batsman accusing him of being ‘tied up with gangs in Jamaica’ during a radio show in April this year. According to Samuels’ statement, the defamatory comments were made by Lawson in a radio podcast, ‘Big Sports Breakfast’ on April 4, a day after the Jamaican had led his team to their second World T20 triumph in Kolkata.

“He’s tied up with some shady people back in the West Indies….he’s a guy you don’t muck around with on or off the field. He’s from Kingston, Jamaica, it’s one of the murder capitals of the world…he’s tied up with gangs there, it goes well beyond cricket,” Lawson is quoted as having told the radio podcast in the statement.

The law suit also includes journalist James Matthey, who published a news story on the website, accusing Samuels of ‘being involved with criminal gangs in Jamaica’. The statement states that both the website and Big Sports Breakfast were  sued for defamation for publishing and airing the comments.

There were also stories  on the  strong comments that Samuels had made against Shane Warne following his second man-of-the-final winning World T20 performance in response to a few extremely critical remarks that the Australian spin legend had passed about the West Indian.  Samuels’ statement stated that he found the comments not just defamatory but also deeply offensive and damaging to his character.

An year or so later, Marlon was successful – the award came forcing Lawson to tender   a full apology and undisclosed "substantial damages".  Samuels instructed his lawyers Richard Owen-Thomas and Suzette A Thompson in London after defamatory comments were made about him on the Big Sports Breakfast radio programme.   London based barrister Thompson in a release said "These comments were published and aired without proper journalist research, nor was Samuels contacted to give his views on the damaging remarks about his character.  We are delighted that Lawson and the Big Sports Breakfast radio have now settled and are issuing a full apology and agreed to pay substantial damages to Marlon".

Samuels said: "Through this case, my intention was not only to defend my integrity and image as an international cricketer, but also the values I have defended all my career.   “I also wish to avoid any public figure from making insulting or false allegations against an athlete using the media, without any evidence or foundation and to go unpunished."

Interesting to say the least !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

16th Nov. 2017.

Japanese Railways apologises for not keeping time !!!

Last week, provided me an opportunity to traverse close to 1500 km in 2 days – in 4 different trains and I thoroughly enjoyed the journeys, though one part was day travel.  For  Indian Railway fan, this train ‘Antyodaya Express’ should provide added attraction for they  are completely Unreserved/General coaches and of the few to be introduced, two are to run in Tamil Nadu.  One from Tambaram to Tirunelveli via Chengalpattu, Vilupuram, Mayavaram,  Thanjavur, Dindigul, Madurai and another from Tambaram to Shenkottah.  These overnight trains would cater to those who are now shelling out heavily to bus services.  Antyodaya, means uplifting of the weakest section of the society  ! ~ and I read that it is yet to be introduced.

It is easy or a fad to criticize Indian Railways stating they run late.. .. a recent report attributed far newer reason that adverse competitions among different railway zones to  beat others on best on-time performance are leading to delay in services! – it is stated that trains are kept waiting for green signals at interchanging point between two railway zones and divisions. 

Miles away, passengers on a local train in Gifu prefecture, Japan were pleasantly welcomed by meowing companions in Sept this year,  at an event hosted by a local train operator and an NGO hoping to bring awareness to the culling of stray cats. About thirty cats roamed freely on a moving train, where some passengers mingled with the felines while others enjoyed lunch boxes and tea. The event, hosted by Yoro Railway Co Ltd and Kitten Cafe Sanctuary, was held to bring awareness to the culling of cats. Although the number of cats admitted to shelters and culled has dropped significant over recent years, some are aiming for no culling of cats at all.

Japan is different and so also their trains !!  ~  on Nov 14,  at approximately 9:44 a.m., a northbound Metropolitan Intercity Railway Company train left Minami Nagareyama Station roughly 20 seconds earlier than the time indicated on the timetable. .. .. .. and the Rail company apologized for the same !

Management on the Tsukuba Express line between Tokyo and the city of Tsukuba said that they  "sincerely apologise for the inconvenience" caused. In a statement, the company said the train had been scheduled to leave at 9:44:40 local time but left at 9:44:20. The mistake happened because staff had not checked the timetable, the company statement said. It added that no customers had complained about the early departure from Minami Nagareyama Station, which is just north of Tokyo.

Japanese trains are awesome for a number of reasons, not the least of which is how amazingly punctual they are. So a train not sticking to timetable naturally makes news, though it is not so natural that it left 20 secs early and the Company apologized for the mistake.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
16th Nov. 2017.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Grace Mugabe falls into disgrace !!

It is not ‘Crocodile tears’ but true tears of the crocodile .. .. ..  media reports confirm that Zimbabwe's military has placed President Robert Mugabe under house arrest in the capital Harare.  Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe, is being confined to his house by soldiers who surrounded his official and private residences, as well as other government buildings.  BBC reports that  Grace Mugabe, who was being positioned to eventually take over from her husband, has left Zimbabwe for Namibia.  The sacked vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was reported to have returned to Zimbabwe on Wednesday morning 15th Nov 2017  from South Africa, where he fled after being stripped of his office.           The president of neighbouring South Africa, Jacob Zuma, however said he had spoken to Mugabe, who was “fine” and that he was sending special envoys to meet both Zimbabwe’s president and its senior army officers.

Mr Mugabe, 93, has dominated the country's political scene since it gained independence from the UK in 1980. With tanks on the streets of Zimbabwe and enemies at the gates of his plush mansion, perhaps the globe is  witnessing the end of Robert Mugabe’s remarkable and blood-stained rule over Zimbabwe?  After 37 years running the nation, the old despot’s vice-like grip on the shattered ‘breadbasket of Africa’ has weakened, the like cause – his  loathed second wife, Grace.

Western media confirms that the  man who has ruled Zimbabwe for 37 years looks deposed after a shock coup was orchestrated by the vice president he sacked last week.  Robert Gabriel Mugabe was born on February 21, 1924 at a Catholic mission village near Southern Rhodesia's capital city, Salisbury. His father, Gabriel Matibiri, was a carpenter and his mother, Bona, was a religious teacher.  He qualified as a teacher at the age of 17, later studying at Fort Hare University in South Africa, where he met many of southern Africa's future black nationalist leaders. It was during this period that Mugabe was introduced to Marxism by South African communists. He later embraced Marxist doctrine, but claimed that his biggest influence was Mohandas Gandhi because of his behaviour during the Indian struggle for independence.

When he returned to Southern Rhodesia in 1952, he was 'completely hostile' to European imperialism. He headed to Ghana to teach in 1958, where he was influenced by president Kwame Nkrumah. Mugabe claimed tat  went to the country as an 'adventurist' because he wanted to see what an independent African state looked like (Ghana was the first nation in the continent to win freedom from a European power).   In 1980, he was elected Prime minister after independence elections; in the military actions in 1982 the Govt was accused of killing thousands of civilians.  In 1987, the amended the constitution and became the President.  In 2000, Zimbabwe witness turmoil and ugly scenes of land seizures owned by the While.   In 2008, Mugabe and opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirayi agreed to share power after contested election; Britain's Queen Elizabeth II annuled Mugabe's honorary knighthood.  The elections were set to be held in 2018.  Early this month, Mugabe fired deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa, appearing to position first lady Grace Mugabe for vice president post.

In his early days, Mugabe  repeatedly called for violence against white people in Rhodesia, lashing out at them in racist rants as being 'blood-sucking exploiters' and 'sadistic killers'.  The freedom had been possible due to violent insurgency and economic sanctions forcing  the Rhodesian government to the negotiating table. Mugabe took control of one wing in the guerrilla war for independence - the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) and its armed forces - after his release from prison in 1974.  His partner in the armed struggle - the leader of the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU), Joshua Nkomo - was one of the early casualties of Mugabe's crackdown on dissent.

His second wife, Grace, the  First Lady has been viewed as a front-runner to succeed her husband after decades of his vice-like grip on power. But now has ran away to Namibia.  The man, Mugabe, aged 93, once heralded as liberator is seen differently by his own people.  In the final decades of his rule, Mugabe - one of the world's most recognisable leaders with his thin stripe of moustache and thick-rimmed spectacles - has embraced his new role as the antagonist of the West.

The man believed to be behind the coup in Zimbabwe is the country's recently sacked vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa - also known as 'The Crocodile'. Mnangagwa, 75, is a notorious and much-feared figure in Zimbabwe, having led a vicious crackdown on opponents in the 1980s with the help of the dreaded North Korean-trained Fifth Army brigade. Thousands of civilians were killed during the Gukurahundi campaign, but Mnangagwa has always denied involvement. His reputation for cruelty is so legendary that he was one of the few leaders of Zimbabwe known to drive around the country without security.

With Zimbabwe in turmoil, it perhaps is from one tyrant to another !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
15th Nov. 2017.

PS :  Remember very well that famous 175 n.o. by the great Kapil Dev, retrieving the team from 17/5 against Zimbabwe.  Earlier on 9th  June 1983 In their very first one-day international, Zimbabwe announced their arrival with one of the greatest upsets in World Cup history, beating Australia by 13 runs at Trent Bridge. Brief scorecard reads :   Zimbabwe 239 for 6 (Fletcher 69*, Butchart 34*) beat Australia 226 for 7 (Wessels 76, Marsh 50*; Fletcher 4-42) by 13 runs.. Zimbabweans had played with ease the renowned Australian pace attack of Dennis Lillee, Jeff Thomson,  Geoff Lawson and Rod Hogg. 

utterly delicious 'khajas' of Kakinada !!

Ponugupati Kotiah  along with his son Venkata Apayya, moved to Kakinada from Repalle village in Tenali, Guntur district, in 1900 and started a sweet shop named Kotiah Sweets in the main market.” An erstwhile farmer, he came to this town and literally found his pot of gold — sweet gold. I lived in Kakinada for 6 years and recently had happiness of visiting the place again.  The  district headquarters of East Godavari was a very calm and pleasant place as observed by in 1990s.  Those days, there was the Main road, Cinema road and another parallel road – now found that the city has changed a lot.  In earlier days, the village called Kakinandivada was a Dutch settlement. Some would say that it was known for coconut products and hence Cocanada. 

Train journey is most enjoyable as one can spend time leisurely eating the choicest delicacies and look through the window the different culture, fields, people and everything as the train chughs past different areas.  Interestingly, Indian Trains have Names besides the Numbers. As you would know, Trains now have 5 digit numbers – earlier they were 4 digits.  I have travelled so many times in this particular train no. 7043 [Chennai Central to Kakinada] – now it is 17643 [Chengalpattu Junction via Egmore – Vijayawada to Kakinada].  Kakinada is also known as  ‘Pensioner’s paradise’ and old timers were happy in calling it ‘Second Madras’.  Kakinada in fact is a planned, neat peaceful city.  There are several edible oil refineries and the Port has become busy now a days.

The word ‘Circar’ – noun would mean a District or part of a Province. This is a common word to old timers as there was the ‘Northern Circar’  - which was a former division of British India's Madras Presidency, which consisted of a narrow slip of territory lying along the western side of the Bay of Bengal in the present-day states of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. Circar region mainly corresponding to Coastal Andhra and comprised some of the modern day places in the districts of Krishna, Godavari, Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam and Guntur and some in Orissa. In 1765 Robert  Clive obtained from the Mughal emperor Shah Alam a grant of the five Circars. Thus over the years the possession of these places and the geographical pattern kept changing.  

After West Bengal was awarded with the Geographical Indication (GI) tag for ‘Banglar Rasogolla’ (Bengal Rasogolla) on 14.11.2017,  the Odisha government announced a few hours later that it was “in process” of obtaining the same for ‘Odishara Rasagolla.’  It originated in Odisha and is offered at Jagannath Temple as part of religious rituals by people of Odisha since the 12th  century,” Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik wrote on Twitter on Tuesday night. A GI is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation related  to that origin.  If rosogolla gets GI, can Khaja be far behind ??

Kakinada khaja (కాకినాడ కాజా) is a sweet delicacy of Andhra, specifically  Kakinada. Some attribute that khaja is Arabic meaning pure or sacred.  Whatever be its origin, there is no denial that it a ghee rich, succulent, melting delicacy made of fine-grounded wheat flour, sugar, ghee / edible oil.  Very very tasty !!  ~ the paste made of wheat flour is deep fried till crispy; soaked in sugar syrup as they absorb the watery sweet syrup.  There are atleast two well know variants – the madatha khajas looking small tapes, of Tapeshwaram and the gottam khajas of Kakinada, that are dry outside, but full of syrup inside, melting and leaving one satiated for a long time. 
 Tapeshwaram khajalu

The only complaint perhaps is its shelf life ~ as  maida becomes soggy and sugar syrup solidifies, the shelf-life of the gottam khaja is restricted to five days, making it difficult to be stored outside.  Those days, khajas made and ready for sales in the evening would be emptied in few minutes of their arrival !! ~ here are some photos of Kotiah Khaja shop in Main road Kakinada.  While those days, there was only one Kotiah Sweet, now they are found in few places – not sure whether it is family spread or competition.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

15th Nov. 2017.