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Monday, July 10, 2017

Boris Becker is bankrupt ~ Maserati car towed by Council

From 1976 to 1980 – it was monotonous – Bjorn Borg continued to win Wimbledon and in 1981, the young tantrum throwing John McEnroe beat him.  In 1985, another young acrobatic player emerged – I did not like him those days, primarily because, he defeated Ivan Lendl in the finals of 1986.  Lendl was to lose again in 1987, this time to Pat Cash.

Boom boom Becker, as he was known then - Boris Franz Becker  was six-time major singles champion, was the  youngest Wimbledon men's champion when he was 17 years, 7 months and 15 days. He also won five year-end championships, 13 Masters Series titles, and an Olympic gold medal in doubles. Tennis magazine ranked him the 11th  best male player of the period 1965–2005. After his playing career, he coached Novak Djokovic for three years beginning in 2013.
It was 1985 – Becker burst on to top fame becoming  the first unseeded player and the first German to win the Wimbledon singles title, defeating Kevin Curren in four sets. Becker was at that time ranked 20th  in ATP ranking, and was unseeded, but Wimbledon did not then seed players beyond the top 16. He was the youngest ever male Grand Slam singles champion at 17 years, 227 days (a record later broken by Michael Chang in 1989, who won the French Open when he was 17 years, 110 days).  An year later,  Becker successfully defended his Wimbledon title, defeating world no. 1 Ivan Lendl in straight sets in the final. In 1987 Becker, then ranked world no. 2, was upset in the second round of Wimbledon by the world no. 70 player, Peter Doohan. In the Davis Cup that year, Becker and John McEnroe played one of the longest matches in tennis history. Becker won 4–6, 15–13, 8–10, 6–2, 6–2 (at that time, there were no tiebreaks in the Davis Cup). The match lasted 6 hours and 22 minutes.

Becker was back in the Wimbledon final in 1988, where he lost in four sets to Stefan Edberg in a match that marked the start of one of Wimbledon's great rivalries. Becker also helped West Germany win its first Davis Cup in 1988.   Boris  had it all — six grand-slam tennis titles, models hanging off his arm and luxury houses all over the world. At the height of his career, the German ace had amassed a reported $63 million in prize money and sponsorships, but now the man once known as “Boom Boom” for his ferocious serve has gone from boom boom to bust !

UK media including Daily Mail is agog about - Boris Becker's £65,000 Maserati being towed from the tennis star's private members club after he was made bankrupt over debts of more than £3 million. The towing truck came after the Wimbledon champion was slapped with parking tickets on his two sports cars in west London. The tennis ace, 49, parked his red porsche and blue Maserati in South Kensington on Monday morning as he arrived at his private member's club.  But a traffic warden found his cars and tucked penalty charge notices under each windscreen.

Kensington and Chelsea council told MailOnline cars are usually only towed away if they are causing an obstruction or if they are parked in a suspended bay.  They added that a car can be towed by the council at any point after a ticket has been issued.  Boris's Maserati has been moved to a pound in Chelsea and the tennis ace will have to fork out £200 as well as the parking fine, to get his roadster back. If the car is not reclaimed on the day of the towing, an extra £40 is added each day it is not claimed.  

Kensington and Chelsea council charge up to £130 for parking illegally, but it is unknown how much he was charged. It appears that the Maserati was parked on a single yellow line and on top of hatched markings, where cars are not allowed to go on the road ! Even though he has been declared bankrupt, the Wimbledon champion was seen driving his £80,000 Porsche Cayenne GTS and his Electric Blue Maserati GHIBLI S, which starts from £65,000. It is believed the Maserati was already parked outside the private members club and had received a ticket when Boris pulled up in his Porsche.

Despite his financial woes, the sportsman turned commentator was also seen entering his private members club, the South Kensington Club. According to Business Insider, the exclusive club charges monthly fees from £365 as well as an £1,000 joining fee. Earlier this week, Boris was declared bankrupt over debts of more than £3 million.

The club, which doesn't require applicants to be proposed by a current member, writes on its website: 'It’s not about who you know, it’s about who you are.' The South Kensington Club has a focus on fitness and wellbeing, boasting a gym, bath house and beauty treatments.  Matters could get even worse for the former tennis star after claims that his eight-year marriage to model Lilly Becker is on the rocks.

The fall to disgrace appears sudden and somehow many stars have squandered all their earnings, unable to cope up with pressures of living, which many simple persons do at ease.  Have heard of actor comedian Chandrababu living in chill penury after losing all his earnings. Some other stars who turned bankrupt include Mike Tyson, David James, Diego Maradona, John Arne Riise, Chris Cairns, Lawrence Taylor and a host of others.

Sad or what to say ! – while some struggle for a decent living, some squander all their fortune after amassing quite huge sums !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

26th June 2017.

keyboard .. Microsoft integrates fingeprint reader with Compu Keyboard

**  asdfgf ;lkjhj  **  - asdfgf with left hand fingers  and ;lkjhj with right hand fingers is what all of us typed on day 1 at a Typewriting Institute.  Most of us loved the Typewriting Institutes, for some, love developed at those lovely places.

The cylinder,  knob; carriage,  return lever,  keys, the stems that rose whenever a key was pressed, printing point indicator, margin stops, paper release lever,  backspace key, tab clear key, space bar, ribbon, spools, ribbon colour control – all were too familiar to that generation of Typists and Stenographers.  Colour / single colour ribbons; stationery, carbon papers were regularly bought.  The typeheads would be cleaned with pins, then short handle brushes, bit of petrol, chamois leather all assisted  a neater output, thought it was entirely the skillset of the operators that ensured good quality typed letter. Stenos took the dictation and reproduced verbatim, the context on paper, as the most effective recorded communication between Offices, individuals and more !

If cylinder sat on the carriage and moved alongwith the paper, getting type prints as type faces rose to punch on the ribbon creating impression, there was the ubiquitous keyboard.  In effect, a Keyboard is a panel of keys that operated a Typewriter and the modern Computers.  (it may refer to set of keys on a piano or a musical instrument – somehow many heroines were adept playing pianos – remember Jonny, the Rajni, Sridevi starrer)

The noun ‘Keyboard’ would mean  a panel of keys that operate a computer or typewriter.  A computer keyboard is one of the primary input devices used with a computer that looks similar to those found on electric typewriters, but with some additional keys. Keyboards allow you to input letters, numbers, and other symbols into a computer that can serve as commands or be used to type text.

Today, most desktop computer keyboards connect to the computer using either USB or Bluetooth for wireless communication. Before USB, the interface hardware between  a computer and keyboard was  PS/2 or AT (Din5). interface.  Today's smartphones and tablets do not come with a physical keyboard, although it may be purchased as an optional peripheral add-on. These devices utilize a thumb keyboard or on-screen keyboard to type messages and enter text into various fields.

The subject matter of the post is :  Microsoft has quietly unveiled a new “Modern Keyboard” with an integrated fingerprint reader. The Modern Keyboard is the successor to the Surface Keyboard, and looks identical. The only changes are a new fingerprint reader and the ability to use a cable for a wired connection instead of wireless.

Microsoft has integrated the fingerprint reader into the second Windows key on the right-hand side of the keyboard, and it can be used to log into Windows 10 or websites using Windows Hello. The new Modern Keyboard will work with Windows 10, MacOS, and the latest versions of Android.

The Modern keyboard [not the one photographed here]  will be available shortly, priced at $129.99 (approx Indian Rs.8300/-)  It's a surprisingly quick release schedule after Microsoft only debuted the Surface Keyboard for $99 recently.  Rs.8500  is a lot to pay for a keyboard, but it is one of the best desktop keyboards on the market at the moment if you like laptop-like key travel. On its US store, Microsoft writes,”Our vision was to blend the Fingerprint reader into a keyboard, so it would appear to be any other key”.  “We iterated relentlessly to improve each layer, making sure they came together to create a flawless typing experience that felt like any other key”, the company says.

Last year, Apple launched the MacBook Pro with the TouchBar as well as built-in TouchID support. Following the launch, some reports even speculated that Apple might be preparing to add the TouchID into the Magic keyboard. Last week, Apple launched a new Magic keyboard with a number pad, but it lacks TouchID and TouchBar functionality. Looks like Microsoft has beaten Apple to launch a wireless keyboard with a fingerprint scanner.

Not sure what sort of market it would hit in India, though, that may not be their target area when designed.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

26th June 2017.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Mithali reposte to who is your fav Cricketer ? - Women WC 2017 starts

How many of us are following ODI no. 1057 at Derby now – where Smriti Mandhana has given India a rousing start with a 50 n.o.  – for the uninformed, it is ICC Women’s WC 2017


Those of us following would well know the retort to the Q : “So who’s your favourite male cricketer?”  .. .. ..  
It is a question that people ask at dinners, presentation ceremonies and all other events !   But when the same question was put to Mithali Raj, on the cusp of the biggest cricket tournament in the female game, it wasn’t innocuous, it represented something more insidious. So Raj put a question of her own across in reply.

“Do you ask that same question to a male cricketer?”: “Do you ask them who their favourite female cricketer is?” 

Raj’s retort has gained quite a bit of traction in the media. News channels have picked it up. Amitabh Bachchan has tweeted about it. 

Raj herself, speaking on the eve of her match against England, downplayed it and chose to focus on the cricket.

The 2017 Women's Cricket World Cup now on  is an international women's cricket tournament – being played  in England from 24 June to 23 July 2017. It is the eleventh edition of the Women's Cricket World Cup, and the third to be held in England (after the 1973 and 1993 tournaments). Quick info is that the first WC preceded that of Men which was played in 1975 !!  Eight teams qualified to participate in the tournament.

In one half is :  Australia, England, India and Newzealand and on the other is Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and West Indies.  The group stage is  a single-league format with each side playing the other once. The top four sides following the conclusion of the league matches will progress to the semi-finals with the winners meeting at Lord's on 23 July. Therefore, a total of 31 matches will be played during the 28-day tournament.  This edition of the World Cup will be the most watched, most covered and most well rewarded of all time. That also means it will be taken the most seriously, by players, spectators and the media.

Women's cricket is largely covered as a novelty with stories focusing on obvious topics of breaking the gender barrier, fighting for funds and overcoming the odds.  Is that set to change is the big Q ?  The women's game has started to professionalise and with that will come all the pleasures and pressures of the spotlight. Apart from increased profile, they can also expect to be scrutinised, their performances analysed, their game-plans dissected, their mannerisms watched and their characters' trumped up or even assassinated.

England have taken precautions against that, with several of their squad swapping social media for what Heather Knight called "trash telly", to serve as a distraction from the real world.  Indian Captain Mithali Raj is a star – has scored 5 centuries in Onedayers and a 214 in Test – averaging more than 50 in both versions.  She was quick to bury her retort stating - “I didn’t intend to be arrogant, it was just something that came from the heart,” she said. “I felt it’s a stage for women cricketers, it’s our forum, so the questionnaire should be around women’s cricket and not men’s cricket.”

Aussie skipper Meg  Lanning would look forward to winning ways -  Australia have a remarkable record at the Women's World Cup, having won six of the 10 tournaments (England have won three and New Zealand one), but this is Lanning's first World Cup as skipper.

The 1973 Women's Cricket World Cup was the first tournament of its kind, held two years before the first limited overs World Cup for men in 1975. The competition was won by the hosts, England.  The competition was the brainchild of businessman Sir Jack Hayward, who contributed £40,000 towards its costs. England, Australia, New Zealand, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica were joined by an International XI and a Young England side in a round robin league which saw the top team win the World Cup. England topped the group with 20 points from their six matches, including five victories and one defeat, while Australia were runners up posting 17 points with four wins.  The next World Cup was held five years later in 1978.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
24th June 2017 @ 4.10 pm.


Tanker in Public Place ~ leaking oil explodes killing more than 150 in Pakistan

Most of the insurance is ‘Motor Insurance’ – the bread and butter of most Insurer (should we say curd rice !].  This business was for long tariffed, now in chaos in the name of discounts and newer add-on coverages.  There are two types of policies -  Package policy (called Comprehensive) and Liability only Policy.  The Liability policy covers the Third party liability for bodily injury  and/or death and property damage.  Tanker lorries are covered under Motor Policies and what is the exposure – is it the lorry (own damage), the cargo that is carried inside, or the death / injury to third parties that they may cause arising out of an accident ?

I had earlier posted in great detail about the Apex Court Judgement - the cause of action arose, in the early hours of October 29, 1987 - a petrol tanker was proceeding on National Highway 4, coming  from the Pune side and going towards Bangalore. As it reached near village Kavathe, in the district of Satara, Maharashtra, another  truck laden with onions, was coming from the opposite direction.  At the point where the two vehicles crossed each other, there was a pile of rubble on the left side of the road. As the two vehicles crossed each other,  the rear right side of the petrol tanker was hit by the rear left side of the truck. As a result of the impact, the petrol tanker was thrown off the road  and it came to rest on its left side/ cleaner's side on the kutcha ground, about  5 feet below the road.

As a result of the collision and the falling down of the petrol tanker on its side, petrol started leaking from the tanker. The tanker driver was unable to stop the leak even though he tried to tighten the lid. At daybreak, the local people started collecting  near the fallen down tanker and some of them brought cans and tried to  collect the petrol leaking out from the tanker. The driver of the tanker tried to stop them from collecting petrol or even going near the tanker, explaining to them that doing so would be risky and dangerous. No one, however, listened to him and he was even manhandled. In the melee, the petrol caught fire and there was a big explosion in which 46 persons lost their lives.

The heirs and legal representatives of those people who died at the accident site filed claim petitions for compensation under section 110A of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 before the MACT, Satara, against the owner of the petrol tanker and its insurer.  In all the cases, claims were also made for payment of Rs.15,000/- as no fault compensation under section 92A of the Act.  From MACT to High Court and thence to Supreme Court, the case was appealed.   One important Q was - when the tanker was lying immobile, was that a petrol tanker still, even if it be assumed  that it was a motor vehicle, was in use as a motor vehicle at the  time of the explosion and fire.

The  Apex Court having considered all details of the case  held and observed that : -   In   our view, in the facts and circumstances of the present case, this question must be answered in the affirmative. That the  learned Judges of  the High Court have rightly concluded that the collision between the tanker and the other vehicle which had occurred earlier and the escape of petrol from the tanker which ultimately resulted in the explosion and fire were not unconnected but related events and merely because there was interval of about four to four and half hours between the said collision and the explosion and fire in the tanker, it cannot be necessarily inferred that there was no causal relation between explosion and fire.  The vehicle owner and the Insurer were held liable for the death / bodily injury to persons arising out of explosion after hours of the accident.

That is no isolated incident, with scant regard to safety – people would still pilfer and take away goods when a vehicle is involved in an accident, but the vehicle owner is still liable for any injury / death / loss or damage arising out of use of vehicle in public place.  Now read this sad news of another accident in neighbouring Pakistan.  Click here to read the post on Tanker and liability in Public place : Tanker in Public

Chaos, killings and people losing lives in Pakistan is  nothing new ~ yet this tragedy reported in all media is bad.  More than 150 people were reported  killed and around 140 injured in a fire that broke out after an oil tanker overturned in central Pakistan and crowds rushed to collect the fuel.  The tragedy came one day before Pakistan was due to begin Eid ul-Fitr celebrations,  with many roads crowded as people travel home for the holidays. Images of the crash showed rising flames and a thick plume of smoke, along with charred vehicles.

The tanker crashed near the town of Ahmedpur East, 416 miles south of the capital Islamabad. The military said it was sending army helicopters to evacuate the wounded and hospitals were put on high alert. The nearest burn centre is believed to be more than 93 miles away.  Those who tried rescuing running towards the smoke carrying buckets of water and sand, said the heat was too intense to reach those in need.  Eye witnesses are quoted as stating that victims were trapped in the fireball and  were screaming for help. Another added that  when the fire subsided, 'we saw bodies everywhere, so many were just skeletons. The people who were alive were in really bad shape.' 

Many of the victims, who were taken to Bahawalpur's Victoria Hospital in south Punjab, suffered up to 80 per cent burns. The hospital declared a state of emergency, called in extra doctors and nurses, and formed a team to handle the emergency within 15 minutes of the fire. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed his grief and directed the government of Punjab province, run by his brother Shabhaz Sharif, to provide 'full medical assistance'.

The tanker flipped over on the national highway about 60 miles southwest of Multan. It was driving from the southern port city of Karachi to Lahore, the Punjab provincial capital, when the driver lost control and crashed. That was a regular road accident, what followed was not !  - nearby  villagers ran toward the overturned tanker with jerrycans and utensils to take the leaking fuel; and it is reported that some of them were smoking cigarettes, which caused the blaze. A loudspeaker atop a local mosque alerted villagers to the leaking fuel, and scores raced to the site with jerrycans, said Rana Mohammad Salim, deputy commissioner of Bahawalpur.

Highway police moved quickly to redirect traffic but could not stop those who raced to collect the fuel, said a spokesman.  Eyewitnesses said about 30 motorcycles that had carried villagers to the accident site lay in charred ruins nearby. Eight other vehicles were destroyed, they said. Pakistan has an appalling record of fatal traffic accidents due to poor roads, badly maintained vehicles and reckless driving.  At least 62 people including women and children were killed in southern Pakistan in 2015 when their bus collided with an oil tanker, starting a fierce blaze that left victims burnt beyond recognition.

The country has also long struggled to contain a chronic energy crisis, with regular blackouts suffocating industry and exacerbating anger against the government. The crash came days after a series of militant attacks killed at least 57 people across the country Friday, unnerving many Pakistanis, with authorities ordering a security crackdown.

Sad so many lives have been lost in an incident, which could have been averted !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

26th June 2017.