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Friday, September 22, 2017

genocide in Nagorno-Karabakh ~ President daughter indulges in selfie !!

People of behave strange ! ~ Taking ‘selfies’ is a mania !! ~ when people spot celebrities – they whip out their camera, head strikes a posture, hands extend as they click a selfie with the famous; this gets repeated -  also when they are famous places .. .. .. but what would those so called celebrities do ?? ever imagined ???

When Danish Prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt took a "selfie" on her smartphone,  like millions of people do every day, she doubtless had little idea of the commotion that would ensue.  It created ripples for the photograph was taken at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela; What's more, Thorning-Schmidt was flanked in the shot by a smiling Barack Obama on one side and David Cameron squeezing in on the other. And all three looked as if they were ready to Snapchat their larking pose to all their schoolfriends !


Ilham Aliyev is the fourth and current President of Azerbaijan, in office since 2003. He also functions as the Chairman of the New Azerbaijan Party and the head of the National Olympic Committee.  He made people talk more earlier this year, when he appointed his wife as first vice president, the  move seen as tightening the family's grip on the oil-rich Caspian nation.  That  appointment of Mehriban Aliyeva followed constitutional changes made after a tightly managed referendum last year which introduced the powerful position of first vice president, the second most senior official in the country. Aliyeva, 52,  is no stranger and has been an MP for the ruling Yeni Azerbaijan party since 2005 and head of the influential Heydar Aliyev Foundation - named after her father-in-law and former president.

Azerbaijan is a country in the South Caucasus region, situated at the crossroads of Southwest Asia and Southeastern Europe,  bound by the Caspian Sea, Russia, Georgia, Armenia and Iran.    The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic proclaimed its independence in 1918 and became the first democratic state in the Muslim-oriented world. The country was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1920 as the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic.  The modern Republic of Azerbaijan proclaimed its independence on 30 August 1991, prior to the official dissolution of the USSR in December 1991. In September 1991, the Armenian majority of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region seceded to form the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

Nagorno-Karabakh is the modern designation for a southern part of the Lesser Caucasus range, encompassing the highland part of the wider geographical region Karabakh.  The name Karabakh itself (literary meaning "Black Vineyard") was first employed in Georgian and Persian sources from the 13th and 14th centuries to refer to an Armenian principality known by modern historians as the Kingdom of Artsakh or Khachen.

The Nagorno-Karabakh War, referred to as the Artsakh Liberation War by Armenians, was an ethnic and territorial conflict that took place in the late 1980s to May 1994, in the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh in southwestern Azerbaijan, between the majority ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh backed by the Republic of Armenia, and the Republic of Azerbaijan. As the war progressed, Armenia and Azerbaijan, both former Soviet Republics, entangled themselves in a protracted, undeclared war in the mountainous heights of Karabakh as Azerbaijan attempted to curb the secessionist movement in Nagorno-Karabakh. The enclave's parliament had voted in favor of uniting itself with Armenia and a referendum, boycotted by the Azerbaijani population of Nagorno-Karabakh, was held, whereby most of the voters voted in favor of independence. The demand to unify with Armenia, which began anew in 1988, began in a relatively peaceful manner; however, in the following months, as the Soviet Union's disintegration neared, it gradually grew into an increasingly violent conflict between Armenians and Azerbaijanis, resulting in claims of ethnic cleansing by both sides.  Full-scale fighting erupted in the late winter of 1992. International mediation by several groups failed to bring an end resolution that both sides could work with.  As many as 230,000 Armenians from Azerbaijan and 800,000 Azerbaijanis from Armenia and Karabakh have been displaced as a result of the conflict.

While you may feel wars are bad, the  daughter of Azerbaijan's president has been slated online after she took ridiculous seflies while her father spoke to the UN about genocide. 

President Ilham Aliyev was delivering a major speech to world leaders in New York, in which he solemnly discussed the bloody Nagorno-Karabakh War of 1992.  But his 33-year-old daughter Leyla Aliyeva - who was sat in the audience - seemed more concerned with pulling absurd faces as she pointed her smartphone at herself. While her father talked of savage conflicts with neighbouring state Armenia, Leyla was filmed pulling shocked and surprised faces for her selfies.  To add to the president's embarrassment, her efforts were live-streamed all around the world from the General Assembly ! As well as her global TV audience, Leyla's performance has been seen - and mocked - by tens of thousands of watchers on social media

Leyla is at first seen listening intently to her father's speech as she sits beside her 53-year-old mother Mehriban in the hall. Then - not even two minutes into her father's delivery - she starts turning her smartphone on herself.  According to Azerbaijani news agency APA, the president was making a deadly serious - and controversial - speech about a 1992 war with Armenia. He said: 'As a result of Armenian aggression, more than one million of Azerbaijanis became refugees and internally displaced persons.'  He also spoke of a particularly bloody moment in the war commonly known as the 'Khodjaly massacre', which many people in Azerbaijan deem a genocidal act - though Armenia has strongly contested the claim. The president said: 'Armenia committed genocide against Azerbaijanis in Khodjaly. 

'Armenia committed a war crime, killing 613 peaceful residents, including 106 women and 63 children,' the President claimed – the  contrast between the content of her father's speech and the silliness of Leyla's actions did not go unnoticed by social media users who ridiculed her - 'To make faces like that when her father is talking about genocide...'

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

22nd Sept. 2017

Thursday, September 21, 2017

all about Hat-tricks ~ Kuldeep Yadav's feat at Kolkatta

Do you know, who was the 1st bowler to take a hat-trick in ODI and in Tests ?

At Eden Gardens, India defended an ordinary total with ease to go up 2-0.  The score card reads : India 252 (Kohli 92, Rahane 55, Coulter-Nile 3-51, Richardson 3-55) beat Australia 202 (Stoinis 62*, Smith 59, Bhuvneshwar 3-9, Kuldeep 3-54) by 50 runs

High drama unfolded ~ the target of 253 looked ordinary – Aussies lost 2 early wickets to Bhuvneshwar – Steve Smith was milking runs;  Glenn Maxwell took on the  wristspinner, Kuldeep Yadav, out of the attack with two sixes in one over.  Chahal struck again, drawing Maxwell out of his crease, beating him with dip, and having him stumped beautifully by the effervescentl MS Dhoni off his back leg. When the fifth bowler, Hardik Pandya, removed Smith with an accurate, cross-seam bouncer, Australia were 138 for 5. 

Kuldeep had bowled rather ordinarily as his figures of 7-0-39-0 suggested – Kohli persisted with him, bringing him back twice and .. .. he changed the match with a hat-trick.  Yes, Kuldeep Yadav picked up a hat-trick in the second One-Day International to sink Australia  becoming  third Indian to take a hat-trick in ODIs for India after Chetan Sharma and Kapil Dev. He also became the second wrist spinner to achieve the feat after Wanidu Hasaranga.

Almost 30 years ago, in Oct  1987, Chetan Sharma became the first bowler in World Cup history to take a hat-trick.   He was the first Indian bowler to do so.  The venue was Nagpur, for the 24th  match of the Reliance World Cup, where India faced New Zealand. Bowling his nippy cutters and seamers, Sharma castled Ken Rutherford, Ian Smith and Ewen Chatfield with the last three balls of his sixth over - the 42nd  of New Zealand's innings - to help set up a nine-wicket win for the defending champions. All 3 batsmen were bowled. 

Four years later in 1991, in Asia Cup at Kolkata – Kapil Dev had Roshan Mahanama caught behind by Kiran More, trapped Rumesh Rathnayake in front and had Sanath Jayasuriya caught by Sanjay Manjrekar to take the next hattrick.   

                   Statistically, the  only bowler to have taken three career hat-tricks is Lasith Malinga of Sri Lanka, while three other bowlers (Wasim Akram, Saqlain Mushtaqand Chaminda Vaas) have taken two hat-tricks.

The 1st ever hattrick in an ODI was on Sept. 20, 1982 when JalaludDin had Rodney Marsh, Bruce Yardley and Geoff Lawson. 

All of us do well remember that brilliant hattrick by Harbhajan Singh in what is otherwise known as VVS Laxman special Test – 2nd Test at Kolkatta in Mar 2011, when India, following on bounced back, thanks to that great innings by Laxman.  Aussies on a winning spree lost the test and the Series.  Bhaji’s victims were Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist and Shane Warne.  Warne was caught by Saagopan Ramesh.  At Karachi, in Jan 2006, Irfan Pathan removed Salman Butt, Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf -  have seen all the hattricks by Indian bowlers live !! (on TV of course!) The first ever hattrick in a Test was performed way back  in Jan 1879 by Fred Spofforth for Australia against England at Melbourne.

Remember watching Petherick bowling to Venkat Raghavan at Chepauk, he came with the reputation of having a taken a hattrick on debut against Pakistan – but went on to play just 6 tests !

In Nov 1988,  Courtney Walsh dismissed Tony Dodemaide to end Australia's first innings in the first Test in Brisbane, then ripped out Mike Veletta and Graeme Wood with his first two deliveries in the second innings to have a hattrick spread over 2 innings.  In the  next Test after Walsh's inaugural split-innings hat-trick, the big Merv Hughes came up with an even more complicated one, which was actually spread over three overs. At Perth, he  dismissed Curtly Ambrose with the last ball of his 36th  over, then (after another wicket had fallen at the other end) polished off the innings by removing Patrick Patterson with the first ball of his next over, to finish with 5 for 130. Then, with the first ball of West Indies' second innings, Hughes trapped Gordon Greenidge plumb in front, and went on to take 8 for 87.

Well bowled Yuz Chahal and his spinning partner Kuldeep Yadav – by the way, is it a conscious plan to keep more acclaimed Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja out ??

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

21st Sept. 2017

collision at Kamarajar Port, Chennai ~ BW Maple being allowed to sail out !!


It was not to be so simple !  ~ for at  3:30 am on January 28, BW Maple, a gas carrier carrying liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) from RasLaffan in Qatar, eased past the breakwaters of the Kamarajar Port, picking up speed as it headed out into the open waters of the Bay of Bengal.The sea was calm, the wind minimal, and the temperature was an easy 24 degrees Celsius. The Maple, manned by an Indian captain with a mixed Indian and Filipino crew, was headed further up the coast to Vishakhapatnam.  There was another tanker -  MT Dawn Kancheepuram an inward bound ship – and both  collided about 12 fathom into the sea.  Some were to state  that collision happened about two nautical miles from the shore owing to “miscommunication” or “misjudgment.”

BW Maple, had berthed at Kamarajar, a busy east-coast port near Chennai that handles vessels loaded with the primary elements that power India’s economy: gas, oil, iron-ore, coal.  The other vessel MT Dawn Kanchipuram, laden with 32,813 tonnes of petroleum lubricant, had slowed down as it approached Kamarajar’s harbour “channel” — the deep passage carved into the sea-bed to allow ships to enter port without running aground.  A few minutes prior,  the two massive ships  suddenly realised they were headed for a collision. Not much perhaps is recorded or rather such records may not be out - both vessels took desperate, but un-coordinated, evasive action, sliding inexorably closer even as they tried to get out of each other’s way.  There was collision and collateral damage.  The authorities later were to claim  thatonly one tonne oil had spilt, then said 20 tonnes after the Coast Guard issued a separate statement. The final quantity of spilt oil, officials privately admit, could have been  100 tonnes.

While the Port could not come clean on the extent of oil spill, there was some more confusion on who handle oil spill of this size !meantime, damage was done.  Not everything could be kept hidden as the oil eventually was to hit the sea – when it does,  its surface is quickly dispersed by the wind, while sea currents spread the lower layers in contact with the water. This twin action creates a large, ever-expanding film of oil called a “slick”.Along the shore, the oil mixes with sand and debris to form a thick viscous sludge that gradually oxidizes into a toxic brown mass that experts like to call “chocolate mousse”. This pollution is a great hazard to marine life and to those shore creatures besides damages to the environment.   The longer the oil stays in the water, the more it spreads, and the harder it becomes to clean.

It was imperative that Kanchipuramhad to be brought to port as soon as possible; raising fears that if the ship were to sink in the harbour, it could block off the entire port.Bunker oil, or fuel oil, of the sort spilt by the Kanchipuram, is a thick viscous mix of highly toxic polyaromatic makes it hard to pump out or skim from the sea surface. In Chennai, municipal authorities used pumps meant for floodwaters to suck up the oil.  Could it not been better handled with specialised equipment is the Q ?   ~ than trying with  municipal pumps,  poorly equipped workers armed with little more than plastic buckets.

All the past is behind and perhaps not much was learnt from that disaster – now comes the news that  Directorate General of Shipping and Mercantile Marine Department (MMD), Chennai, has reportedly issued no-objection certificate to the British vessel, BW Maple, one of the two ships that collided off the Ennore coast, to sail away though the investigation into the incident is still underway. According to the documents accessed by the Express, insurers of BW Maple have offered to submit bank guarantee to allow the ship to sail away and carry out its usual businesses.

Indian Express Chennai edition of date reports that on September 14, Captain Anish Joseph, Nautical Surveyor-cum-DDG (Technical) of DG Shipping wrote to the Principal Officer of MMD, Chennai, expressing the Directorate’s no objection to the sailing of BW Maple from the Kamarajar Port. A day after, that is, on September 15, RavikumarMoka, Ship Surveyor-cum-DDG (Technical) of MMD, Chennai, also cleared the deck for Maple, and wrote to Kamarajar Port that the department has no objection. Copies of the NOCs were sent to the chief secretary, Director of Fisheries, Customs and other departmental heads concerned.

So a collision of vessel carrying highly inflammable LPG, ramming on another tanker loaded with 26,806 tonnes of motor spirit and 6,008 tonnes of high-speed diesel - a well-documented environmental disaster, whose effects were felt up to 100 km from the collision site – vessel is being allowed to move away with the investigation incomplete. What will happen if the investigation concludes that it was BW Maple that was fault causing collision and oil spill.Meanwhile, Minjur police told Express that ideally the vessel should not be allowed to sail away until the investigations are over. “We got a request from the insurers of the BW Maple for no objection certificate and the office of Superintendent of Police is examining the request,” the official said. The official also said that the police investigation report would be filed in another 10 days.

“We have the complete recording of Simplified Voyage Data Recorder (S-VDR), a critical evidence to confirm the voice communication, besides an array of related data to get to the root cause of the incident. Shortly, we will decide on who all should be included as accused,” he said. To a query, he said since there was no life loss, the charges framed are all bailable.  The newspaper further reports that the two masters of the ships have been signed off with condition that they will be available during the course of investigations. Currently, Maple is anchored in the sea near the port and Dawn is anchored at Marine Liquid Terminal Jetty of Ennore tank terminal.

Though the initial estimates of DG Shipping on quantum of oil leak was pegged at 196 tonnes, the latest report submitted by the Union Environment Ministry before the southern bench of the tribunal on Wednesday claims that only 75 tonnes had been leaked. “The quantity of spilled oil could not be assessed. As per the statement of the captain and marine engineer of the ship, only furnace oil was leaked and that too about 75 tonnes. The same is being assessed by DG Shipping,” the report says. The ministry also referred to the incident as minor, but acknowledged the fact that the environment damage was severe in magnitude, which cannot be assessed at this juncture.

BW Group is a global maritime group involved in shipping, floating gas infrastructure and deepwater oil & gas production. The company has a fleet of over 165 vessels. The group was founded in Hong Kong in 1955 as World-Wide Shipping. In 2003, the company acquired Bergesend.y. ASA, Norway's largest shipping company. 

Strange things happen at sea and sometimes people add to confusion !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
21st Sept. 2017.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

dam (Gateshwar Panth Canal Project) collapses in Bihar

A dam is a barrier that stops or restricts the flow of water or underground streams. Reservoirs created by dams contain flood waters and store water for usage for humans for irrigation,  consumption, industrial use, aquaculture, and navigability.


a dam (illustrative photo from seattle.com)

A destructive flash flood caused when a dam under construction unexpectedly burst open sent people in its wake running for their lives in the Laos province of Xieng Khouang.  Xaisomboun  is a mountainous province located in Central Laos, between Vientiane Province and Xiangkhouang Province. Video of the Sept. 11 disaster  now circulating in the net shows the raging waters growing more widespread as workers run for higher ground while some unsuccessfully attempt to drive vehicles out of harm's way.  After several people manage to escape on foot, two people are seen running towards their trucks so they can drive away.

In the early years of the Second World War, aeronautical engineer Barnes Wallis is struggling to develop a means of attacking Germany's dams in the hope of crippling German heavy industry. Working for the Ministry of Aircraft Production, as well as doing his own job at Vickers, he works feverishly to make practical his theory of a bouncing bomb which would skip over the water to avoid protective torpedo nets. When it came into contact with the dam, it would sink before exploding, making it much more destructive. Wallis calculates that the aircraft will have to fly extremely low (150 feet (46 m)) to enable the bombs to skip over the water correctly, but when he takes his conclusions to the Ministry, he is told that lack of production capacity means they cannot go ahead with his proposals. Angry and frustrated, Wallis secures an interview with Sir Arthur "Bomber" Harris, the head of RAF Bomber Command, who at first is reluctant to take the idea seriously. Eventually, however, he is convinced and takes the idea to the Prime Minister, who authorises the project.   …. ..       

..The Dam Busters (1955) is a British Second World War war film starring Michael Redgrave and Richard Todd.  The film was based on the books The Dam Busters (1951) by Paul Brickhill and Enemy Coast Ahead (1946) by Guy Gibson. A remake of this hit movie has been in development since 2008, but is  yet to be produced as of 2017.

Heard of ‘Kahalgaon’, a city in   Bhagalpur district in the state of Bihar.  It is located close to the Vikramashila, that was once a famous centre of Buddhist learning across the world, along with Nalanda during the Pala dynasty.  This place is in news for wrong reasons !!

On occasion of his 67th  birthday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi  inaugurated the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada river.  The ‘engineering miracle’ is expected to provide power, drinking water, and irrigation to 9,000 villages in three states - Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.  The project which has been the subject of much controversy for decades now is one of the largest dams in the world. Before making any comments ~ it is a project inaugurated by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1961.   The prime minister also struck the right chords by claiming that several quarters, including the World Bank, had stood against the project but yet the government went ahead to complete it. Modi also said that the temples of the state came forward with funds to ensure that the world's second largest concrete dam saw the daylight.  Sri Narendra  Modiji  presented a picture perfect*.   

Fast forward to September 19, a portion of a dam under the ambitious Gateshwar Panth Canal Project in Kahalgaon near Bhagalpur in Bihar collapsed on the eve of its inauguration by the state's chief minister, Nitish Kumar. The dam built at an estimated cost of Rs 389.31 crore is part of the ambitious Gateshwar Panth Canal Project which was planned to improve the poor land irrigation system in the region.

Several low-lying areas were flooded as water from the collapsed dam rushed into residential areas in Kahalgaon. The dam broke due to release of water in full capacity. The incident has not caused any damage to the newly constructed part of the project," State’s Minister of Water Resources, Lallan Singh said. CM Nitish Kumar, who was supposed to inaugurate the project today, had to cancel his visit.

The wall of the dam broke up after being forcefully hit by the Ganga river waters when the pump was switched on for a trial run on Tuesday at Bateshwarsthan in Bhagalpur district. The water gushed into Kahalgaon and inundated areas in NTPC township as well some civil areas including the residence of the Kahalgaon civil judge and the sub-judge.  Former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav  was quick to blame  rampant corruption under CM Nitish Kumar for the fiasco.

The canal is a joint project of Bihar and Jharkhand, under which 18,620 hectares of land in Bhagalpur would get irrigation facility while 4038 hectares of areas in Godda district of Jharkhand would be irrigated, a government brochure on the project said. The Rs 389.31 crore project has a total irrigation capacity of 27603 hectares out of which 22816 is in Bihar and 4887 hectares in Jharkhand. The Planning Commission had originally approved the project in 1977 at an estimated cost of Rs 13.88 crore.

Sad state of affairs indeed !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

20th Sept. 2017.