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Monday, February 20, 2017

IPL hammer man : success stories of Ben Stokes & T Natarajan

Many of us would still remember that night #11.10 pm on 3rd April 2016 at Eden Gardens – the T20 Finals between West Indies & England.  Chasing 156, WI (Carlos Brathwaite 8  & Marlon Samuels 79) were 129/6 – 27 required off 12.  Chris Jordan the bowler – 8 runs off that and 19 required of 6 deliveries …. Brathwaite heaved over deep backward for a six; 2nd hit over long on’ 3rd over long off – and 4th too went for a six, this time over deep midwicket – the bowler was naturally distraught !!  ~ and he is celebrating today !!!!

It is IPL time and the unsold players include : Martin Guptill; Pujara, Amla, George Bailey, Mike & David  Hussey, Brad Haddin, Manoj tiwary, Dilshan, Ravi Bopara, Nathan Lyon, Ajantha Mendis, Rahul Sharma, Pragyan Ojha, Darren Bravo, Abhinav Mukund, Sean Abbot, Richard Levi, Shaun Tait, .. .. .. .. and one man who has played in all IPL auction – is Richard Madley, who conducted 10th IPL auction today at Bengaluru.

Richard Madley the hammerman is a known figure.  The 59-year-old Welshman, a father of three, worked his way from being a floor sweeper at a London auction house. His web describes him to be a  second generation auctioneer ! who hails from Wales. A former junior international hockey player and Surrey league cricketer Richard joined the well regarded auction house of Phillips Son and Neale in New Bond Street in 1978. Following a distinguished 20 year spell at Phillips Richard was to join Christie’s as President of Christie’s East, New York – the liveliest auction house in North America – and he mints money in a place where perhaps everyone else knows more of the product that he is promoting sale !!

The much touted IPL 2017 auction occurred today.  Each team was assigned a specific budget to make their bids on players. Kings XI Punjab has the highest purse of Rs.23.35 crore, on the other hand, Mumbai Indians had the lowest purse of Rs 11.555 crore.  In the VIVO Indian Premier League Player Auction 2017 as many as 66 players were  bought by eight teams including 27 overseas players. On a day that witnessed intense bidding, a total of INR 91.15 Crore was spent. History was created as for the first time ever, players from Afghanistan were listed for the auctions. Rashid Khan, 18, fetched a whopping INR 4 crore as the teams pitched in hard for the Afghan leg-spinner with Sunrisers Hyderabad being the eventual winners.

The distraught man in 1st para, English all-rounder Ben Stokes generated tremendous interest and excitement with most teams willing to empty their purse. In the end, Rising Pune Supergiant bought Stokes for a massive INR 14,50,00,000. Stokes became the most expensive overseas player ever to feature in the IPL.  Tamilnadu left-arm medium fast, T Natarajan was bought for 30 times his base price, attracting an INR 3 crore. The lone UAE cricketer, Chirag Suri was bought by the Gujarat Lions.  This time, the Australians were less - Mitchell Johnson to Mumbai Indians at his base price of INR 2 crore (USD 300,000 approx), and Cummins to Delhi. More Australians - Nathan Coulter-Nile, Billy Stanlake, Dan Christian and Ben Laughlin - were bought in the second round of bidding after lunch. Coulter-Nile was bought by Kolkata Knight Riders for INR 3.5 crore (USD 520,00 approx.) while Stanlake, Christian and Laughlin went at base prices.

T Natarajan started playing tennis ball star for his local team in Chinnappampatti, a hamlet near Salem.  He moved  to Chennai and rose to  play for Vijay CC and Jolly Rovers, two of the more prominent clubs in Tamil Nadu Cricket Association's robust first-division league. Two years in league cricket was enough for the state selectors to thrust him into the first-class structure. He made his debut against Bengal in the 2015-16 Ranji Trophy; sooner was reported for a suspect action, leaving him with the unenviable task of remodeling it, undergoing tests and trying to find his way back.  Tamil Nadu Premier League provided fresh breather as he shone for Dindigul Dragons.  He for sure is celebrating his #3 crore while another left arm seamer, 27 year old Aniket Choudhary was bought by  Royal Challengers Bangalore for INR 2 crore from a base price of INR 10 lakh.

England fast bowler Tymal Mills also set a new record price for a specialist bowler: he was the second most expensive sale, bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore for INR 12 crore (USD 1.8 million approx). Allrounder Chris Woakes was the third England player to get a hefty payday; he was bought by Kolkata Knight Riders for INR 4.2 crore (USD 625,000 approx). Three other England players bought - all at base price - were: batsman Eoin Morgan for INR 2 crore (USD 300,000 approx) to Kings XI Punjab, batsman Jason Roy for INR 1 crore (USD 150,000) to Gujarat Lions, and allrounder Chris Jordan for INR 50 lakhs (USD 74,000) to Sunrisers Hyderabad. While demand for England players was expected, Afghanistan allrounder Mohammad Nabi, 18-year-old legspinner Rashid Khan, and UAE batsman Chirag Suri became the first Associate players after Netherlands' Ryan ten Doeschate to get an IPL bid.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

20th Feb 2017.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

violent scenes in TN Assembly ~ famous citizen of Lucknow will not cast his vote !!

Diwan Bahadur Agaram Subbarayalu Reddiar, was the first Chief Minister or Premier of Madras Presidency from 17 December 1920 to 11 July 1921. He  resigned on grounds of health and reportedly  died soon afterwards.  Now TN Assembly is in news for wrong reasons, and the State is having a new Chief Minister. 

The Madras Presidency, headquartered in Fort St. George, was a province of British India that comprised present day Tamil Nadu, the Malabar region of North Kerala, the coastal and Rayalaseema regions of Andhra Pradesh, and the Bellary, Dakshina Kannada, and Udupi districts of Karnataka.   The first CM of the State upon Indian Independence was  PS Kumaraswamy Raja, who assumed Office in 1950.  After him, came  C. Rajagopalachari,  Kamaraj, M Bakthavatsalam,  CN Annadurai, during whose tenure,  Madras State was renamed as Tamil Nadu  on 14 January 1969.  Since then it has been : VR Nedunchezhiyan;  M Karunanidhi, MG Ramachandran,  Mrs Janaki Ramachandran, Ms J Jayalalithaa, O. Panneerselvam and now     Edappadi K. Palaniswami.   

After a tumultuous couple of weeks, Tamil Nadu witnessed what could be the climax of the ongoing political drama on Saturday amid chaos and ruckus at the Assembly – with the breaking of tables and chairs in the House and ministers assaulting one another. Amid the heightened power tussle, Chief Minister E Palaniswami won the floor test with the support of 122 MLAs.  The rule is simple ! – it the vote of those members present and voting that counts and not those of members of Legislative Assembly and that way when the opposition walks out or is sent out, rest becomes meaningless.  Although the media was denied access to the proceedings in the Assembly, visuals of the chaos were later telecast on television channels. 

The uproar in the Assembly was mainly due to opposition parties like the DMK and the Congress demanding that the vote be postponed after their request for a secret ballot was rejected by the Speaker. The situation went out of control and the session was adjourned for couple of times and was escorted out by marshals. Meanwhile, MK Stalin alleged that he was manhandled as he spoke to the media wearing a torn shirt outside the Assembly. To launch his protest he then went onto met the Governor and later proceeded to Marina beach and started a hunger strike.  The speaker too claimed that he was manhandled and humiliated.
The floor test in the Assembly  was happening  in the state in about 30 years, and many could not stop themselves from experiencing a deja vu. Defending his decision in the Assembly on Saturday, Speaker P. Dhanapal asserted that there was no provision in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly Rules to allow secret voting on a motion of confidence. He  rejected pleas for secret voting by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the rebel group of the All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.

Elsewhere, elections are on in the big state of Uttar Pradesh.  As UP goes to polls in the third phase of the crucial assembly elections, it will be for the fifth consecutive time that this VIP voter of Lucknow -voter no. 141, will not be casting his vote.  It is none other than former Prime Minister and Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee, whose name has become synonymous to Lucknow for the past three decades.

He is ill and not in a position to cast vote.  A popular face in all the classes and the masses of the city of Nawabs, Vajpayee cast his last vote during Lok Sabha elections in 2004, the year which also marked his last year of tenure as the constituency's MP, also the last position he held in his political career. After this, he passed on his legacy to Lalji Tandon in 2009, also known as a protege of the leader.  With the voter ID card of No. GF0929877, he did not cast his vote in the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections in 2007.  

A five-time MP from the Lucknow seat, Vajpayee won five consecutive elections and made his debut in 1991. He won the 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2004 elections consecutively. He retired from active politics in 2004 due to health issues. According to sources close to him, the celebrated leader is now suffering from dementia and long-term diabetes. They further say that he is often confined to a wheel chair and hardly recognises people.

People cutting across partylines  regard him   as one of the most vibrant orators.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
19th Feb 2017

Biblio :> the part on UP excerpted from MailOnline.  TN photo credits Indian Express.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentines day ~ SC verdict on wealth case - Lahore blasts - Ghadar mutiny !!

Elsewhere it was Valentines day – in some places it was not to be ! Lahore  is the capital city of the Pakistani province of Punjab.   It was here that  martyr Bhagat Singh  was executed on March 23, 1931 (at the Lahore Central Jail) along with Rajguru and Sukhdev.  There are some news circulating in social media linking wrongly this incident to 14th of Feb.

Back home, the party, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) (lit. All India Anna Dravidian Progress Federation)  founded by M. G. Ramachandran  on 17 October 1972 is in turmoil.   Its supremo Ms J Jayalalithaa, then CM, passed away in Dec 2016 – and today the Court verdict has banished it further.   It was a case filed way back in 1996 by Dr Subramanian Swamy, then Janata Party chief,  alleging amassed properties worth Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate to  known sources of income.  Today on 14th Feb 2017, Supreme Court convicted  Sasikala and her two relatives, VN Sudhakaran and Elavarasi by restoring the trial court verdict in toto directing them to serve the remaining jail term.  Punishment  in this case has come after 21 years of delays and let-offs. Even the SC verdict announced today  was pending for almost 8 months.  Yet, those who have been convicted have been allowed the luxury of freedom,  because of the enormous power she wields on the AIAMDK in spite of being an extra-constitutional authority.

In Cricket,  India have named an unchanged 16-man squad for the first two Tests of the upcoming series against Australia, starting February 23 in Pune. There was no press conference or an explanation in the BCCI press release, but it can be assumed that batsman Rohit Sharma, fast bowler Mohammed Shami and legspinner Amit Mishra had not recovered from their injuries.

Moving back to Lahore, a powerful bomb blast on Monday ripped through a protest in the Pakistani city of Lahore, killing at least 13 people and wounding dozens, according to officials.  The explosion went off in Lahore's busy Mall Road during a rally attended by hundreds of pharmacists protesting against changes to a drug sale law outside the provincial assembly building.  Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a Pakistani Taliban-linked armed group, claimed responsibility for the attack, which also wounded at least 83 people, including media personnel covering the protest. A spokesman for the group warned in a statement that the blast was "just the start". Witnesses told Al Jazeera that the blast occurred near the Punjab assembly building when a suicide bomber on a motorcycle rammed into a police vehicle.  At least five police officers were killed in the attack, according to Mushtaq Sukhera, inspector general of police in Punjab province.

The bomb blast in Lahore has, according to the Pakistan Super League (PSL) chairman Najam Sethi, made it very difficult for foreign players to feature in the final of the second season which, until the bombing, was set to be played at Gaddafi Stadium on March 5. Speaking on his political talk show on Geo TV Sethi also said the question now of where the final should be played, was one that fans would have to decide.  Ever since the PSL announced that the final will be played in Lahore, the question of whether - and which - foreign players might attend has loomed. Sethi briefed foreign players about the security situation in Lahore last week ahead of the start of the league in Dubai. He said on the show that though the players had a number of questions and didn't commit, "they were mentally preparing to play in Lahore". By February 24th or 25th, if the players had not decided or were not ready to travel, the league was going to hold another draft to see which foreign players from any of other franchises were willing to travel to Lahore play for the finalists.

Lahore has historic background – the  Lahore Conspiracy Case trial, also known as the First Lahore Conspiracy Case, were the trials held in Lahore (then part of the undivided Punjab of British India) in the aftermath of the failed Ghadar conspiracy in 1915.  Rash Behari Bose was one of the key organizers.  The trial was held by a Special tribunal constituted under the Defence of India Act 1915. Out of a total of 291 convicted conspirators, 42 were executed, 114 got life sentences and 93 got varying terms of imprisonment. 42 defendants in the trial were acquitted. The uncovering of the conspiracy also saw the initiation of the Hindu German Conspiracy trial in the United States. The Ghadar Mutiny (Ghadar Conspiracy), was a plan to initiate a pan-Indian mutiny in the British Indian Army in February 1915 to end the British Raj in India. The plot originated at the onset of the First World War, between the Ghadar Party in the United States, the Berlin Committee in Germany, the Indian revolutionary underground in British India and the German Foreign Office through the consulate in San Francisco.  Intelligence about the threat of the mutiny led to a number of important war-time measures introduced in India, including the passages of Ingress into India Ordinance, 1914, the Foreigners act 1914, and the Defence of India Act 1915. The conspiracy was followed by the First Lahore Conspiracy Trial and Benares Conspiracy Trial which saw death sentences awarded to a number of Indian revolutionaries, and exile to a number of others. After the end of the war, fear of a second Ghadarite uprising led to the recommendations of the Rowlatt Acts and thence the Jallianwallah Bagh Massacre.

The Lahore Conspiracy Case (King Emperor v/s Anand Kishore and others) started on 26th April 1915, listing eighty-two individuals as criminated, including Rash Behari Bose (one of the seventeen absconders), and continued up to 13th September 1915. The principal charge against them was that they waged war against the king and wanted to overthrow the British government in India for the achievement of which they resorted to the enticement of Indian soldiers, collection of arms and ammunition, obtaining money by robbing government treasuries, committing murder of police officials and civilians, wrecking of railway trains and bridges, production of inflammatory literature and its circulation to spread rebellion.  The court was held in the Central Jail Lahore and the proceedings were held in camera.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

14th Feb 2017.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Oroville dam ~ fears of huge overflow - massive evacuation ... at California

Oroville Dam is an earthfill embankment dam on the Feather River east of the city of Oroville, California, in the United States. At 770 feet (230 m) high, it is the tallest dam in the U.S. and serves mainly for water supply, hydroelectricity generation and flood control. Built by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), Oroville Dam is one of the key features of the California State Water Project (SWP), one of two major projects passed that set up California's statewide water system. Construction was initiated in 1961, and despite numerous difficulties encountered during its construction, including multiple floods and a major train wreck on the rail line used to transport materials to the dam site, the embankment was topped out in 1967 and the entire project was ready for use in 1968. Since its completion in 1968, the Oroville Dam has allocated the flow of the Feather River from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta into the State Water Project's California Aqueduct.. .. ..

Miles away in China, the Yellow River or Huáng Hé,  is the third-longest river in Asia, following the Yangtze River and Yenisei River, and the sixth-longest in the world at the estimated length of 5,464 km (3,395 mi).  The river basin was the birthplace of ancient Chinese civilization, and it was the most prosperous region in early Chinese history. However, because of frequent devastating floods and course changes produced by the continual elevation of the river bed (due in part to manmade erosion upstream), sometimes above the level of its surrounding farm fields, it also has the names China's Sorrow.

Back home in India, it is all about water – which has flamed the States to become warring factions and placed at Parliament and doorsteps of Apex Court.  In a land fuelled by perceived notions, a movie Dam 999 further fuelled the hysteria. Away from Cauvery river sharing  snowballed  another river issue, it  originates from the Sivagiri peaks (1800m MSL) of Sundaramala in Tamil Nadu; runs a  total length of about 244 Kms, flows northwards for 48 kms and at Thekkady joins the west-flowing Mullayar – it is the river Periyar on which the dam constructed is a bone of contention – the Mullaperiyar dam.  It is a masonry gravity dam on the Periyar River, located 881 m (2,890 ft) above mean sea level on the Cardamom Hills of the Western Ghats in Thekkady, Idukki District of Kerala.  It was constructed between 1887 and 1895 by the British Government to divert water eastwards to Madras Presidency area (the present-day Tamil Nadu).   After a few minor earthquakes in 1979 in regions surrounding the dam, security issues were raised over its security. Since then, both the Kerala and TN governments have been at loggerheads over the security issue.
Now on the subject matter of the post – the Oroville dam – there have been mass evacuations,  to prevent flooding as the reservoir behind America’s tallest dam reached capacity and its main spillway was severely damaged.    On Saturday, water levels rose so high that an emergency spillway was used for the first time. Officials initially believed the measure worked. But on Sunday afternoon, as more water from record storms flowed into Lake Oroville, officials detected a hole in the emergency spillway. That prompted the evacuation order.  Officials worry that a failure of the emergency spillway could cause huge amounts of water to flow into the Feather River, which runs through downtown Oroville, and other waterways. The result could be flooding and levee failures for miles south of the dam, depending on how much water is released.

Nearly 200,000 people remained under evacuation orders on Monday (13.2.2017) as California authorities desperately battle to stop a collapse at the nation's tallest dam that could unleash a 100 foot tsunami if it fails. Concerned officials warned that in the worst case scenario a complete structural breakdown at the emergency spillway of Oroville Dam would unleash a torrent of water that would engulf Oroville within an hour. The ensuing flood from the 770-foot dam would put the city of Oroville and several other low-lying communities along the Feather River under 100ft of water. And amid the frantic evacuations, it emerged overnight that federal and state officials and some of California's largest water agencies rejected concerns 12 years ago about the precarious state the dam - which was built between 1962 and 1968.

An aerial of the Oroville Dam reveals the dangerous flooding at the spillway that has left the area in imminent danger of a catastrophic flood !   A massive hole is causing major erosion around the Oroville Dam in California – the  hole formed Tuesday and has continued to grow since then. If Oroville Dam were to suffer a massive breach, water would get to the town of Oroville within an hour, according to GIS maps maintained by CalFire. Within two hours, the small town of Briggs would be affected. In three hours, Gridley would be hit. Water would reach Live Oak in five hours.. it  would take eight to 12 hours for the water to get to Marysville and Yuba City. If the dam completely failed, flood depths could reach more than 100 feet in Oroville and up to 10 feet in Yuba City.

The dangerous situation sparked the California National Guard to put out a notification to all 23,000 soldiers and airmen to be ready to deploy if needed. The last time an alert for the entire California National Guard was issued was the 1992 riots.  And early on Monday morning, relieved officials said that water had stopped pouring over the dam's emergency spillway after they essentially rose 50-feet over a few days. They announced that although not nearly out of the woods, the situation had improved. However, another storm is predicted to hit the area by Friday, putting more strain on the dam and potentially sparking a catastrophic failure.

There naturally was panic as residents queued up evacuation. What they couldn't fit in their trunk they piled as high as they could in their downstairs Yuba City apartment and joined the line of traffic attempting to leave the city where they had moved just three weeks ago. Panicked and angry residents sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic hours after the evacuation order was given. A Red Cross spokeswoman said more than 500 people were at an evacuation center in Chino, California. The shelter had run out of blankets and cots, and a semi-tractor trailer with 1,000 more cots was stuck in the gridlock of traffic fleeing the potential flooding, said Red Cross shelter manager Pam Deditch.

Acting Director Department of Water Resources Bill Croyle said officials will be able to assess the damage to the emergency spillway now that the lake levels have been lowered.  Croyle said the department will continue releasing as much as 100,000 cubic feet per second from the main spillway to try and reduce the dam's level by 50 feet ahead of storms forecast to reach the area Wednesday. After years of drought Northern California has endured several months of exceptionally wet weather. Oroville and other lakes are brimming and have begun releasing water to make room for more runoff.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
13th Feb 2017

Inputs & photos on Oroville dam from MailOnline