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Saturday, August 18, 2018

young Rishabh Pant arrives at Nottingham - Kohli misses century

The River Trent is the third-longest river in the United Kingdom. Its source is in Staffordshire and it flows through and drains most of the metropolitan central and northern Midlands south and east of its source north of Stoke-on-Trent. The river is known for dramatic flooding after storms and spring snowmelt, which in past times often caused the river to change course.  The 3rd  Test, India tour of Ireland and England is now played at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, Aug 18-22 2018. Nottinghamshire (Notts) is a county in the East Midlands of England, bordering South Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire  and Derbyshire.   The  county council is based in West Bridgford in the borough of Rushcliffe, at a site facing Nottingham over the River Trent.

It is 291 for the youngster ! ~ 280 was Rohit sharma in 2013; then Stuart Binny, Pankaj singh, Karn Sharma, KL Rahul in 2014; Naman Ojha, Jayant Yadav, Karun Nair, KUldeep Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah and now Rishabh Pant today at Nottingham.

Remember that at this venue on Aug 6, 2015 – on an interesting Ashes series in which the 1st  Test at Cardiff was won by England with a handsome margin of 169 runs.  At Lords, Aussies came back so heavily that the margin of defeat was 405 runs.  In the Third at Birmingham, England won by 8 wickets and the one at Nottingham was expected to be a challenging gripper. On that day too, I posted at  11 pm, when England were in sound position of 274/4 with Joe Root unbeaten on 124.  His century had clearly been overshadowed by Stuart Broad who bowled out Aussies for 60 in Test no. 2175.   Australia 60 – yes all out - utterly bereft,  dismissed for 60 in only 18.3 overs, with cricket statisticians wading through damning numbers either achieved or narrowly avoided. Broad, carrying an onerous responsibility in the absence of James Anderson, returned his best Test figures of 8 for 15 in 9.3 new-ball overs amid scenes of general delirium. When it was all over, Anderson led the applause from the dressing room balcony.

Now today at 11 pm – India ended the day at 307/6 with Pant unbeaten on 22.  This morning Joe Root made probably "the toughest selection call" as a Test captain on the eve of the match. Sam Curran, the player of the match at Edgbaston, was left out and Root has "no doubt" over Stokes' readiness – at 10.30am England won the toss and choose to bowl in bid to seal the series.

The winner of Toss Joe Root said : There is a nice covering of grass on this pitch and our seamers have been doing extremely well. I think it's a great opportunity for this team to do something special, if we play to potential. When Adil has come into the game, he has played an important part. Good to have a balanced attack.  The Q to Kohli was whether he was disappointed in losing the toss ..  Kohli came with a stunner - We wanted to bat first, it seems pretty hard. The idea was to play freely and put up runs on the board. Just go out and express yourself. Three changes: one combination change with Bumrah replacing Kuldeep. Pant and Dhawan are in. Jasprit did really well in South Africa and bowls attacking lines and lengths. We think thus surface will slow down after two days, and Ash is always a weapon when the wicket offers something.

India started well crossing 5o then at 18.4 Shikhar Dhawan fell; followed by KL Rahul and when Pujara got out it was 82/3 – all to Chris Woakes.  Rahane and Kohli steadied with a very good partnership and at 241 Rahane departed.  Kohli looked well set for another century but at 97 he drove without getting to the pitch and was caught at slip by Stokes off Rashid for a well made 97.

The debutant Rishabh Pant walked in – he was not the first choice – that one  Wriddhiman Saha was injured, the selectors wanted a young deputy to Dinesh Karthik. Pant was the best choice, the selectors and team management felt, keeping in mind his performances for India A in the last 18 months. The other reason Pant became a favorite was because of his batting form on the India A shadow tour of the UK earlier this summer.  Dinesh Karthik failed in the first 2 tests, perhaps he and Murali Vijay might have blossomed at Nottingham but .. .. today Rishabh Pant, 20, has become the fifth-youngest wicketkeeper to play Test cricket for India and the sixth to make his debut before turning 21.

Since making his first-class debut in 2015 for Delhi, Pant has caught the eye primarily with his batting exploits. He was one of India's stars at the Under-19 World Cup in 2016, when he scored 267 runs at a strike rate of 104.29. Back home, he made 928 runs in eight Ranji Trophy games in 2016-17, scoring his runs at an astonishing strike rate of 107.28 - easily the highest among those who made at least 700 runs that season. His scores that season included a triple-hundred against Maharashtra and a blistering 48-ball hundred against Jharkhand. In the IPL, he had been with  Delhi Daredevils' squad over the last two years, and before the 2018 season was retained by the franchise for INR 8 crore

His definitive moment came in 77th over – Adil Rashid bowling and his second ball of the International career, jumped down to a googly, smashed it straight for a 6. He has survived and is unbeaten on 22 at the draw of stumps today .  .. his 48 ball century came against Jharkhand with 21 sixers in that match  - prior only two had  scored a century off 56 balls: Rajesh Borah in 1987-88 and VB Chandrasekhar in 1988-89.

He has started very well – and a reasonable good innings might put the door shut on DK and perhaps Wriddhiman Saha and other aspiring keeper too ! – welcome to Test Cricket – the young Rishabh Pant.

Regards – S. Sampathkumar
18th Aug 2018.

Remembering Nethaji Bose this day !! letter to Prof Samar Guha seeking truth !!!

One man who has left the most indelible impression on India – as fighter par excellence was certainly ‘Nethaji Subash Chandra Bose’ and the Nation remembers him today .. 

After their first defeat at the hands of British in 1757, there have been many occasions, when Indian patriots formed groups and fought hard and bitter battles exhibiting selfless sacrifice.  Alongside hundreds of Velu Thampi, Peshwa Baji Rao, Sardar Shyam Sing, Rani Laximibhai, Tantia Tope, Maharaj of Dumraon, Nana Sahib, there are many hundreds hidden whose exploits, history did not record or were neglected by the British historians and later partisan historians.  May be those were the time, when such fighters did not fully realize that British singularly constituted gravest threat to the whole of India and not to a particular dominion alone.  Despite some early stage victories, ill-luck, being unorganized, better arms & ammunition, slavery, and many other aspects led to their subjugation.

Years later in the foreign land came another clarion call for organizing Indians in self-defence and fighting for Independence occurred.  In a conference at Tokyo in March  -    Giani Pritam Singh, Swami Satyanand Puri, Capt, Mohammed Akram and K. A. N. Iyer crashed and died while proceeding for attendance. Delegates to the Conference came from Hongkong, Shanghai and Japan, Malaya and other places.  Rash Behari Bose presided. The Conference decided to start the Indian Independence movement amongst Indians in East Asia. It was also decided to raise an Azad Hind Fauj and resolved  that military action against the rulers of India will be taken by the Indian National Army.  The next conference was at Bangkok in June 1942, under Rash Behari Bose. The Indian National Army was formed on September 1, 1942. Capt. Mohan Singh was appointed G.O.C.   A large body of nearly 7,000 well disciplined troops was raised, the training and fighting being done with British Arms, The  Army was governed by the Indian National Army Act which was specially prepared in August 1942.

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose arrived in Singapore on July 2, 1943. On July 4 a Conference of delegates from all countries in East Asia assembled to meet him. At that conference Rash Behari Bose formally handed over presidentship of the Indian Independence League to Subhas Bose.

Tragically for the Nation, Nethaji died in a hospital at Taipei (Taiwan) on 18.8.1945 – two days later, his body was cremated and ashed arrived at Tokyo.  The ashes were kept in a Buddhist temple in Tokyo.

it is stated that the British government did not really believe that Bose was dead. Even for some months after the Japanese announced Netaji’s death, the British goverment continued to discuss ways of ‘dealing with him’.  Sadly, Indians under Congress believed the death.  After Independence too, the Indian Govt  was “not inclined to favour” the bringing back of Netaji’s ashes kept in Renkoji temple, Tokyo “due to possible adverse reactions from members of Netaji’s family, as well as certain sections of the public, who refused to believe in his death in the plane crash in August, 1945”. The commission under  GD Khosla was fully  convinced that  the wooden casket lodged in the Renkoji Temple at Tokyo contained Bose's ashes and these ashes were placed in the box at Taipei after the cremation of his dead body.

According to a confidential report prepared by the home ministry in 1977, the Indian embassy was paying the temple authorities in Tokyo Rs 5000 a year for the safekeeping of the freedom fighter’s ashes.  The chief priest at the temple sought some kind of recognition in the form of a letter or a medal from the Indian government for the trouble he took to retain the ashes. Later it was paid to Netaji’s daughter and was duly discontinued in 1965 when she got married !

That was the sad story of the greatest hero of India – born in 1897, Bose became president of the Congress Party for India's independence but resigned from the post following differences with Mahatma Gandhi. He exiled himself in Germany before moving to Japan. In 1944, he commanded the Indian national army at the Battle of Imphal, a clash during the now-defunct Imperial Japanese Army's invasion of British India through Burma, now Myanmar. He was said to have aspired to continue fighting in the former Soviet Union.   Recently, the  Japanese government declassified archival materials to help settle the long-held controversy over the death of Subhas Chandra Bose, and the Indian govt too declassified its files containing information on the leader’s mysterious disappearance aka presumed death. 

After the fall of Japan on 15th Aug 1945, Tokyo radio reported on 23.8.1945 that Subash Chandra bose had died in a plane crash at Taipei, in former Taiwan on 18.8.1945 ~ however not many bought this report and certainly not Prof. Samar Guha former MP who wrote to Comrade Mikahil Gorbachev, then President of USSR – here is his letter in Nov 5, 1988 – which was sent to the President of India and by him to the PM, VP Singh.  The noted Parliamentarian Guha had been a close associate of Nethaji.  He was an academician, whose books on Chemistry were widely used.  He was elected as a Praja Socialist Party candidate MP in 1967 and relected in 1971 & 1977.

Guha was of firm conviction that Bose was not killed on 18 August 1945 after the overloaded Japanese plane that Bose was flying in crashed in Taihoku Japanese-occupied Formosa (now Taiwan), As a parliamentarian, he was a devoted activist to make Government of India accept that Bose lived after 1945.  He also made several efforts to make Government of India publish all secret files on Bose's death. Guha did not believe prior Shah Nawaz Committee's report on this. Even though the secret files were not published, Guha was one of the main vocal supporter of creating G D Khosla commission to re-investigate Bose's death in 1970. However, G D Khosla Commission also came up with the same conclusion as Shah Nawaz Committee even after Guha's effort to point out the inconsistency in the report produced by Khosla Commission.

In his letter to Russian President, Guha mentions that Dr s Radhakrishnan who was second Indian Ambassador in Moscow confided to his close friend Dr S Das, the head of Philosophy Dept in Calcutta University and Dr LC Majumdar that he came to know that Bose was kept captive in Stalin’s Russia.  He added that he had come across an important report   on Bose’s presence in Russia in 1961, from an Engineer A Sarkar who was sent to Russia 3 times for training from Heavy engg Corporation for manufacturing heavy machinery set up in collaboration with Russia.  While working at Gorlovska, near Doniesh he came into contact with a jew  - BA Zerobin who had earlier designed machines in Nazi Germany.    Zerobin told Sarkar that he was captured in Berlin after fall of Germany and sent to reorientation camp somewhere in Siberian- Mongolian border  and had met Bose twice.  Zerobin having seen him earlier could identify him because of his handsome appearance and rare cut.  According to Zerobin, Bose was brought to the Camp in a car accompanied by 2 Mongolians, one as his interpretor. Zerobin believed that both the Mongolins were KGB men but it appeared to him that Bose was well looked After. When Zerobin tried to converse, the interpreter stopped stating that it was not allowed.  Zerobin while disclosing his meeting with Subhas Bose warned Sarkar that he should not disclose it while in Russia as it would endanger both. Sarkar told about the matter to the Second Secretary of the Indian Embassy in Moscow, who also warned him of the dire consequence if he disclosed it to anybody. Sarkar told Saha after he came out of Govt service by which time Zerobin also was dead.

Saha addressed Comrade Gorbachev- You have taken many bold steps in disclosing many suppressed facts of horror and repression of the Stalin days. You have done great justice to history by rehabilitating Trotsky and Bhukharin and restoring honour to the great scientist, Prof. Sakhalov. Inspired by your great liberal policy of 'Glasnost', I would make an appeal - an appeal from the depth of my soul to you – on behalf of the patriotic people of India to reveal all facts about the Universally adored hero Subhas Chandra Bose.  Stalin might have done injustice to the legendary hero but why would you not reveal it now ? Bose was a Promethean hero of Indian revolution who staked everything for the liberation of his motherland and was always friendly with Russia.  Why should you not let the Indian people know what happened to the hero – and win the hearts of millions of patriotic Indians.  When Comrade Brezhnev visited India in Nov, 1973, I met him in the President’s house as leader of Socialist Party and gave him a letter seeking information about Subash Chandra Bose’s presence in Russia.  The letter was acknowledged but was not replied.  Considering the poignancy of the issue, I hope you will excuse me for addressing this long letter to you.  I eagerly expect reply before you visit India.

The truth as they say, never came out ! and got buried elsewhere perhaps as most attribute to the Congress leaders who were not interested .. !!   - Interestingly, Subhas Chandra was conferred with Bharat Ratna but the award was subsequently withdrawn, due to a technicality, the only case of an award being withdrawn. It was withdrawn in response to a Supreme Court of India directive following a Public Interest Litigation filed in the Court against the “posthumous” nature of the award. The Award Committee could not give conclusive evidence of Bose’s death and thus it invalidated the “posthumous” award.

Sad to read the history of this great son of India ~ and today (18th Aug) is the day when he reportedly perished

J  a  i        H  i  n  d

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
18th Aug 2018.
Biblio : story of INA by Kusum Nair; declassified files & letters of Prof Samar Guha, Ex-MP

cattle rearing ~ floating farm plan at Rotterdam

We design and create iconic, innovative, sustainable buildings and landscapes on the water. Have a look at our projects and feel free to reach out to us with ideas.~ following some links I was led to the website of Bealadon BV – which is a property developer in Nederland -  sure have no reason for reading about property development in the Netherlands !  it further read - our engineering and design principals are in line with nature’s biggest challenges concerning Energy, Food, Water & Waste.

Back home at Thiruvallikkeni – much is written about the cattle menace – that of roaming cows in the mada veethis putting fear into humans and harming them too – for sure, Triplicanites are not against the holy cows – we have seen hundreds of them (owned by couple of individuals too) – those days in the morning & evening, the owners would bring the cows / buffaloes to the door steps, show the jorthalai to give confidence that there is no water inside, milk the cow in front and sell milk. Those days, the cattle were so well maintained. Gone are those days - the population of cattle has come down to less than hundred and those owning too have migrated to greener pastures. There are scenes of untethered cattle roaming, looking out for food, sometimes causing trouble by chasing humans – and sadly, one could see on road, the cattle being crudely given hormonal injections for giving milk.. .. ..

Population across the globe is growing.  This growth will take place in the big (delta) cities, creating great pressure on the demand for food, water and energy, and consequently on dwellings as well. Where will we be able to live safely, cleanly that is also a healthy environment?  Producing food is a growing challenge to a world population that is growing intensively and becoming increasingly prosperous. After all, there is less and less suitable agricultural land to produce food. The cities of the world are expanding to meet the demand for housing, so that the citizen literally gets further and further away from agriculture.

I read about Bealadon BV and an interesting plan called ‘floating farm’ to produce fresh milk ! though they claim to produce fresh products, do research and education on cattle – it would be more of commercial of exploiting cow and earning revenue, yet the idea of keeping cows on a transparent farm on water, does look novel and interesting.   

In developed countries, cattle are reared in large numbers in dairy farms – mostly mechanized producing huge quantities of milk, out of which dairy products are made and sold.   Dairy cows generally are of the species Bos taurus. BBC reports that the  world's first offshore dairy farm opens in the Port of Rotterdam this year, with the aim of helping the city produce more of its own food sustainably. But will such farms ever be able to produce enough to feed the world's growing urban populations? A Dutch property company, Beladon, is launching the world's first "floating farm" in a city port. It has built the offshore facility right in the middle of Rotterdam's Merwehaven harbour and will use it to farm 40 Meuse-Rhine-Issel cows milked by robots.
Meuse rhine issel cow – pic credit :

Built-up urban areas may not seem like the most sensible places to run farms, but reducing the distance food travels before it reaches consumers' plates makes environmental sense as it reduces transport pollution. And if the global population grows to 9.8 billion by 2050 as expected, 70% are forecast to live in cities - up from 55% today. Beladon's farm, which is on three levels and is anchored to the ocean floor, is expected to open at the end of 2018 and produce about 800 litres of milk a day. The concept would be resilient against hurricanes, too, it is stated.  Over the last few years, the farm’s concept  has taken shape, and earlier this summer its floating platform was moved by barge from Zaandam in the north of Holland, to Rotterdam.

Peter's wife and business partner, Minke van Wingerden, says the farm will start with 40 cows, enough for the venture to break even. But she says it is "easily scalable", with larger operations promising "obvious efficiencies". The farm also aims to reuse and recycle as much as it can. "At least 80% of what our cows eat will be waste products from Rotterdam's food industry," says the farm's general manager, Albert Boersen. That might include grains discarded by local breweries, leftovers from restaurants and cafes, by-products from local wheat mills, and even grass clippings, all collected and delivered in electric trucks provided by local "green waste" firm GroenCollect. "We will grow duckweed as an animal feed, too," says Ms van Wingerden. "It is high in protein, fast-growing and can be nurtured with cow urine. We will have an installation of four or five vertical platforms growing the plant under special LED lights."

The project will even generate some of its own energy - hydrogen produced through electrolysis powered by solar panels. Once up and running, the farm will produce and pasteurise milk and yoghurt on-site and sell it in Rotterdam. It will also process and sell its own cow manure.

"Healthy, sufficient food production is key to a better, cleaner, safer world." ~ but often mankind’s greed ensures that it is not the quality or sustenance of animals but only the sustainability of the product and the financials that overweigh everything else – be it local Thiruvallikkeni or any other part of the globe.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
18th Aug 2018.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Inflation ~ Venezuela cuts 'five zeroes' from its currency !!

Inflation is too much money chasing too few goods !

Canada’s inflation hit the 3% mark for the first time since 2011 in July, an unexpected surge that puts pressure on the Bank of Canada to accelerate interest-rate increases. The consumer price index recorded an annual pace of 3 percent, quickening from 2.5 percent a month earlier, Statistics Canada said Friday from Ottawa. Economists expected the inflation rate to remain unchanged

Back home, India’s retail inflation cooled more than expected in July due to subdued food prices after the Monetary Policy Committee raised interest rates for the second straight time. Consumer price inflation in July rose 4.17 percent compared with the same month last year, declining from the five-month high of 4.9 percent in June, according to data from the Central Statistics Office. Headline inflation slowed for the first time after rising for the past four months. India’s rate-setting panel has hiked benchmark lending rates twice —in June and in August—to its highest level in two years for tackling inflationary pressure. The country’s inflation-targetting central bank has had a long-term aim to keep CPI at 4 percent. “We took two steps, one in June and one in August, to maximise our chances that we don’t drift away from 4 percent and in fact we move towards 4 percent,” Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel had said earlier this month after the policy meeting.

Inflation is the rate at which the general level of prices for goods and services is rising and, consequently, the purchasing power of currency is falling. In economics, inflation is a sustained increase in the price level of goods and services in an economy over a period of time.  When the price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services; consequently, inflation reflects a reduction in the purchasing power per unit of money – a loss of real value in the medium of exchange and unit of account within the economy.  A chief measure of price inflation is the inflation rate, the annualized percentage change in a general price index, usually the consumer price index, over time.

Economists generally believe that the high rates of inflation and hyperinflation are caused by an excessive growth of the money supply.  Inflation may also lead to an invisible tax in which the value of currency is lowered in contrast with its actual reserve, ultimately leading individuals to hold devalued legal tender.  Today, most economists favor a low and steady rate of inflation. The task of keeping the rate of inflation low and stable is usually given to monetary authorities. Generally, these monetary authorities are the central banks that control monetary policy through the setting of interest rates, through open market operations, and through the setting of banking reserve requirements.

Four years of recession and the world's highest inflation have plunged millions of Venezuelans into poverty. Supermarket shelves in the capital Caracas have no food as Venezuela's economy sinks into the abyss        - in January, a non-governmental organization found that more and more Venezuelans, unable to afford anything else, were buying dog food to feed their families. The situation is reported to be especially dire for prisoners in the country who have resorted to eating rats and pigeons to avoid starving to death. Looting has been increasing in the provinces since Christmas, with food shortages and hyperinflation leaving millions of people hungry, though the capital, Caracas, has mostly lbeen unaffected. Stories of degradation and deprivation come out of Venezuela at a 'relentless clip', the Washington Post recently reported. Life has seldom been so challenging for people living in shanty towns      - and that is a reflection of the misrule. 

It is estimated that as many as four million Venezuelans - more than 10 percent of the population - have left the country.  That is an exodus on a similar scale to that of war-torn in Syria.  Now MailOnline reports that Venezuela will cut FIVE ZEROS from its currency in a desperate attempt to battle economic crisis which is set to see inflation hit one million per cent.

Media reports suggest that Venezuela is minting a new currency with five less zeroes than the bolivar in a desperate attempt to stem inflation and tackle its economic crisis. The new 'sovereign bolivar' will enter circulation on Monday, which has been declared a national holiday so that the population can get used to the new banknotes. Inflation in Venezuela is forecast by to hit a million per cent this year, with a cup of coffee now costing around two million bolivars.  President Nicolas Maduro  said the virtual petro currency, which was launched in February, would be a second 'accounting unit' for the country alongside the bolivar. Maduro said the virtual petro currency, which was launched in February, would be a second 'accounting unit' for the country alongside the bolivar and would have an official exchange rate.

Maduro said he would unveil a new salary and pricing system which would be anchored to the petro, which is backed by oil, ABC International reported. Venezuela's president said the country's central bank would publish an exchange rate for the new virtual currency.  In March,  US  President Donald Trump banned Americans from using the cryptocurrency in a move to stop Venezuela using it as a way to avoid U.S. sanctions. The executive order described the petro as an 'attempt to circumvent U.S. sanctions by issuing a digital currency in a process that Venezuela's democratically elected National Assembly has denounced as unlawful.' 

The currency reforms are the latest effort to shore up the country's struggling economy. Gasoline is practically given away in Venezuela with the subsidy, meaning a single liter of gasoline costs a bolivar, which is next to nothing. A dollar exchanged on the black market would buy nearly five million liters. Maduro has announced that Venezuela's dirt-cheap fuel will be available only to people with a special government aid card that the opposition has denounced as a tool for controlling people. People who want to keep benefiting from subsidized gas prices in this oil-rich nation must register their vehicles by Friday using the so-called 'carnet de la patria,' or fatherland card, which provides access to government assistance.

Certainly – all is not well in Venezuela

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
17th aug 2018.