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Friday, July 29, 2011

Will India win the 2nd Test - some history of Trentbridge, Nottinghamshire

Jelly beans are a type of confectionery that comes in many different  flavors. They are small and usually have a hard candy shell and gummy interior. The confection is primarily made of sugar.  What do they have to do with cricket ?  After losing the First test by a huge margin, Indians play England in the Second Test at Nottingham in the 4 test series. 

Zaheer is out – so also is Gambhir – Sreesanth and Yuvraj are in.  As we have BCCI, there is the ECB – England and Wales Cricket Board running the affairs, established in 1997 with its hq at Lords.  As you might have observed the England team is sponsored by Brit Insurance Limited, a UK Insurance Company.

The venue is Trent Bridge, Nottingham in  Nottinghamshire NG2 6AG  which has a chequered history.  It was established centuries ago in 1841 and has a capacity of around 15000.  It hosted Test match for the first time way back in  June 1899 and has been a regular, popular fixture of international cricket circuit.  In 1965 Graeme and Peter Pollock led South Africa a famous victory; Graeme made a century that is still considered one of the finest innings played by a South African.

This is not the first time, that in the second test of the series, Indians are faced with a deficit.  They could speak of injuries to Zaheer, Gambhir and illness of Sachin but they were battered by a disciplined English attack.  With rhythmic regularity, Indians are poor starters and play very badly in the first test of the series though they have come back pretty strongly on more than a couple of occasions.  If history were to pointer, MSD can have high hopes. Statistically, Indians have won a higher no. of their second tests on away tours and that way this Test does offer more than a glimmer of hope.   In some ways, Harbhajan also has had some poor tests only to perform well in the subsequent ones. 

Coming back to the venue,  Trent Bridge is a Test, One-day international and County cricket ground located in West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire, England and is also the headquarters of Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club. In 2009 the ground was used for the ICC World Twenty20 and hosted the semi-final between South Africa and Pakistan. The site takes its name from the nearby main bridge over the River Trent.  Nottinghamshire (Notts) is a county in the East Midlands of England, that shares borders with Yorkshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire.   The City of Nottingham was administratively part of Nottinghamshire between 1974 and 1998 but is now a unitary authority, remaining part of Nottinghamshire for ceremonial purposes.




Picturesque view of the Radcliffe end.

The test in 1899 incidentally was a 3 day match with 5 balls per over.  J Darling captained Aussies against WG Grace’s English team.  The famous KS Ranjitsinghi played for England and remained unbeaten on 93 in the second essay when England made 155/7 and the match was drawn.

The Indians have played 4 matches – have lost once and won once.  Way back in 1959, in test no. 474 Indians led by DK Gaekwad lost the test by an innings and 59 runs. 

The last time we played here in 2007, we won by 7 wickets thanks to some great bowling by Zaheer who is not playing today.  Dravid won the toss and put England in, who were bundled out for 198; India made 481 ; Tendulkar made 91;Sourav Ganguly made a fluent 79;  Dinesh karthik, Wasim Jaffer,  Laxman all made 50 + ;  Zaheer had a 9 wicket haul. Ganguly hit the only six of the match.   Sreesanth also played in that match but had a forgettable experience – shoulder charged Vaughan, bowled a beamer to Pietersen and was fined 50% of his match fee.  When Zaheer was at the creast on the third evening, there were more than a few brightly coloured jelly beans purportedly strewn by the fielding side.  He felt harassed but in the end no action was taken.  To read more of that click here.  :  jelly beans


So,  will history repeat itself and will Indians draw level in the series is earnestly hoped for !!

Regards – S. Sampathkumar.

Don't get carried away by the looks of Hina

War will never do good for anybody and every possible attempt towards peace must always be made.  India is always a peace loving Nation and its long history is replete with the fact that it has never made attempts to invade foreign territory and keep them as its own. A perfect neighbour to have !!

But don’t ever be overwhelmed by looks or perceptions – peace is desired without squandering the National interests and for achieving it statesmanship and diplomacy are required.  Though past may not be permanent indicator, it does no good to totally forget the past and get carried by the rhetoric.  A day after the meeting between the External Affairs Minister of India SM Krishna with counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar in New Delhi – some media has already started hailing the new era of cooperation in Indo-Pak ties and that two sides have revived the pursuit of an uninterruptible dialogue process. 

What is to be pursued is clear action on fighting  terrorism, no to cross border terrorism, deescalating tension across the Line of control, release of those suffering in the prisons and promoting trade processes across the frontiers.  Some Press went agog on the fashion sense of the visitor, her  Jane Birkin handbag, Chanel sunglasses, her pearls and her diamonds of the good looking representative of Pakistan. 

She is the 26th in the list but the first woman to head the Ministry of Foreign affairs in Pakistan as she did on 20th July 2011.  Hina Rabbani Khar was born in 1977 in Multan and is  the  youngest and first female Minister of Foreign Affairs.   She is the daughter of politician Malik Ghulam Noor Rabbani Khar and niece of Ghulam Mustafa Khar.  She graduated from Lahore and got her post graduation  from the University of Massachusetts in 2001.   Her father  Ghulam Noor Rabbani Khar  was elected Member of National Assembly in 1990 and 1997 from Muzaffargarh. He was also elected member of Punjab Assembly in 1985 and 1988. He served as Provincial Minister of Punjab in Nawaz Sharif Government in Punjab from 1988 to 1990.

Jammu & Kashmir, which is an integral part of India and which has seen lot of international meddling would be a core aspect of Indo Pak relations any time and this time SM Krishna stated that we will continue discussion with a view to find a peaceful solution by narrowing down divergences and finding convergences.  In her address to the media, Khar did not mention the Kashmir issue.  Ahead of her departure for India,  Hina  met Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Yasin Malik in Lahore  and said that genuine Kashmiri leaders ought to be made part of the Indo-Pak dialogue process on Kashmir.  India would certainly like to decide on its own on the peace progress at Kashmir and would certainly be prepared to involve all people of Kashmir but that does not certainly require seconding by the neighbour from where enough trouble has brewed thus far.   Hina reiterated the view of Pak that  Pakistan believes in the resolution of Kashmir issue as per the wishes of the Kashmiris in the light of the United Nations resolutions.”  It is of concern that this  meeting was attended by Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir and other JKLF leaders.

Though there has been no cooperation from the Pak side on 26/11 attack, Krishna declared that he was satisfied with the resumption of peace process.  History suggests that trouble had brewed earlier even when there had been earnest attempts for dialogue – incursion of Kargil, incursions along the border have time and again had occurred. 

Things like cricket diplomacy could at best be rhetoric but no real measures of peace building.   Though the joint statement touched on some of the aspects, there is real need for countering terrorism on a joint basis and not fanning and abetting cross-border terrorism,  agreements on nuclear CBMs, meaningful resolution of Kashmir,  accepting and respecting the Line of Control, issues of Siachen, Wullar barrage navigation project and Sir Creek and the like. 

Though the media went agog with the age and looks of the visiting dignitary, she chided them for their so called  rhetoric in the discussion on the problem of terrorism, which has soured relations between the two countries.   Khar’s point was that Pakistan is today the one country in the world that faces the challenge of terrorism “on a daily basis, on an hourly basis” but that the Indian media were not reflecting its predicament, but instead focusing excessively on Pakistan’s sponsorship of terrorism in Indian soil.  There were also references to 26/11 Mumbai attack, which seemingly were provocative and made unnecessary comparison with the 2007 bombing of Samjhauta Express.  Can Pak reveal their real designs and the measures taken by them against those abetting cross border terrorism and can they tell with any certainty on the role of ISI / military on the training militants against India.

As a Country Indians are sympathetic with the loss of innocent lives – in any part of the World, be it Norway or Pakistan – but India has no design of sending murderous gangs to wage war in other parts of the World.   Hina Rabbani is young and new but there have been lies and Pak need to demonstrate that their words are true and  genuine !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cat eyed snake sent by Courier to Slovakia - subject matter of Marine Insurance

There is a group of vagabond community called ‘narikuravas’ in Tamilnadu.  In Tamil Nari means fox/jackal and kuravas are hill tribes.  Geographically the hilly lands were known as ‘kurinji’ in tamil literature.   These people sell lot of products obtained from hill including honey.  Once a ‘narikurava’ sold a ‘fox horn’ to an unsuspecting mechanic, who bought it for a few hundred rupees believing that it would bring him good luck.  Which genus of fox has a horn !!!

Marine is ‘sea or naval’ adventure and Marine insurance is insurance of goods in transit or of coverage to the conveyance that carries the goods.  The vast and varied nature of the subject matter in marine insurance is so mind-boggling and can include animals.  In land, there are animals like – mules, bullocks, horses, elephants, donkeys and more which can be carriers i.e., the mode of transportation.  Sometimes, the animals themselves can be the subject matter of transportation and hence the subject matter for insurance also.  For Marine insurance coverage, some of the essential ingredients are : transit, subject matter, mode of transport, insurable interest, sale contract, contract of affreightment etc., - one of most essential ingredient can be read on the concluding paragraph. 

The latin word ‘animalis’ means ‘those having breath’ – colloquially animals refer to all those beastly and ordinary beings  including tiny insects, vertebrates, birds, fishes and others in sea  and more but excluding humans – simply because the words were coined by men.  The members of the kingdom Animalia live better in their natural environ – in wild.  But humans have since long domesticated some and habituated them to work for their benefit.  The pets are household animals kept  for companionship and a person's enjoyment.  There are some which are kept and bred for economic reasons.  Pets generally are those which are playful, loyal and display traits that please mankind.   Humans would justify chaining them by saying that they  relieve stress and bring cheers.   The most popular pets are dogs and cats, but there are also rodent pets, such fancy rats, rabbits, and guinea pigs;  avian pets, such as pigeons, lovebirds, parrots,parakeets and a host of others.

Animals are moved from one place to another for various reasons – pets are moved; so also are commercial animals like cattle, horses, mules. Many animals are moved for zoos, circus, entertainment and for showcasing them at other parts of the World and then there is the dreaded illegal trade in wild life – a global industry which challenges the wildlife conservation in a very big way.  Lions, tigers, rhinos, hippos, elephants, monkeys, wolfs, armadillos – anything large enough to be eaten or lucrative enough to be sold are hunted on massive scale for their meat, skin, fur, feathers or traded illegally.  Many animals are driven to extinction by these dreaded mafia who ruthless kill animals for lure of money.

This criminal industry has spread its tentacles wide internationally, infact dwarfed only by the drugs and arms trades.  In the same league, most of the money so earned perhaps funds terrorist and militia groups leading to indiscriminate snaring and slaughtering of animals.  There exist International treaties, Police Units, Campaign groups and NGOs all battling to save the animals from being poached but little is the control they have against the dreaded fearsome criminals.   The world's tiger population has plummeted from what it was at the start of the 20th century; tens of thousands of elephants are killed every year for their ivory.  Elephants have big tusks which lure the traders – the rhinos have smaller horns and they also lure the traders !!  the situation in sea is not far different than the lawlessness at land -  sea turtles are being harvested at an astonishing rate; finally it takes toll of mankind also as rangers and sometimes law enforcement officials are also killed.  Some ill conceived notions also add to the killing and trade.  There are beliefs that rhino horns cure cancer, that if you drink out of a rhino horn cup you get eternal happiness, and that some of these wild animals raise men's potency.  Though there is no scientific research oriented back, many of the animals are believed to have aphrodisiac values.

If you think that only big organized groups operate in this trade, then you are not aware of the reality.  There are small time crooks who try capturing, transporting and trading them and they do indulge in moving them by concealing inside their body, hats, dresses or in suitcases.   It is also stated to be a booming multifaceted business catering to huge demand among collectors for exotic species.   The trade flourishes as the  profits are vast.

Beautifully coloured birds found in the Amazon basin and South-east Asia frequently command the highest prices.   Rhino horns, tusks of elephants, tiger skins, Tibetan antelope hair, oil of sharks etc., command high prices as well.  Even eggs of exotic birds are not left out.  Many reptiles and amphibians are regularly taken clandestinely in suitcases and in many masked ways in aeroplanes and other transports transgressing National borders and evading the Customs and other law enforcement agencies.  

Don’t ever assume that these occur only in African countries like Somalia, Congo, Kenya or Latin America or Malaysia – incidents come to public notice only when a stray criminal is caught, otherwise this trade is sans borders sans race.   While the black-market profits are enormous, the complexity of the smuggling chain is long and involves numerous intermediaries.   From the poachers, to transporters locally, to agents, to intermediaries and international buyers the chain in indeed very long and strong at many points. Sadly, a very high % of animals / birds trapped might die en route, there could be equal or a larger no.  maimed or severely traumatised by the experience.  For drug traffickers it is capital punishment in many countries, but there are no such harsh deterrents for those involved in animal trade.  

With the result, the effect on the countries from which wildlife is taken is devastating.   You can read frequently about jelly fish, star turtles, parrots and exotic birds, monkeys etc., seized by Customs of various countries, when people tried stealthily transporting them.  

Of the many reported instances, a man was arrested at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International airport attempting to get 50 snakes on plane by concealing them in sock.  Quite surprisingly, a tiger cub was once found concealed along with stuffed tiger toys inside the suitcase of a Thai woman. A marmoset monkey was found inside the cap of an air passenger.  Recently, [in May 2011] a  first-class passenger was arrested at a Thai airport after being found carrying suitcases filled with baby leopards, panthers, a bear and monkeys. The animals had been drugged and were headed for Dubai.

Not to be left behind, India also has its presence in the  market -  and as if to prove the same, today there is a newsitem in TOI titled “ Cat-Eyed Snake  for Slovakia ” – a rather strange attempt – somebody tried to transport the snake through Courier to Slovakia.   

Times of India reports that Forest department officials on 27th July 11 rescued a one-and-a half-foot cat-eyed snake from an unusual location a private courier firm in Nungambakkam from where it was to be sent to Slovakia. An employee of the firm scanning parcels before sending them to the airport noticed something suspicious inside one and informed his seniors. They alerted the police who opened the parcel and found a rectangular cover wrapped in a cloth in the outer envelope.  Then came a hissing sound and they suspected it was a snake. Forest officials were informed and a team led by ranger rushed to the office.  Upon opening the parcel carefully, a video cassette was found covered by a cloth.  Inside was a  snake put in a sock. It was found to be a brown common cat-eyed snake with hexagonal and square-shaped scales all over the body.  It is stated  that Cat-eyed snakes are found in India and Australia.

Cat-eyed snakes are reported to  have vertically elliptical pupils like those of cats, which they can open and contract to suit light conditions.  They are slender, light brown to grayish with darkerblotches down the middle of the back interspersed with smaller, dark blotches along their sides.  They live on the leaves of Palmyra trees, under the stones and bushes.  They are arboreal snakes as they are tree climbers.They eat lizards,mice,frogs and small birds ; they reportedly are not very poisonous.

A very queer attempt of smuggling – the parcel reportedly was booked in Trichy and destined for Slovakia.  The address of the sender turned out to be fake.  There have been attempts to transit by air - Turtles, ornamental fish, star tortoise,tiger skins and other precious animals  but  snake in a parcel is perhaps a pioneering attempt.  There have been instances of snakes being stolen – even from the famous snake park in Adyar which houses quite a large no. of reptiles.  

All goods that are moved from one place to another – part of marine adventure can be subject matter of insurance and can be insured.  Sec 5 of the Marine Insurance Act 1963 categorically adds   subject to the provisions of the Act, every lawful marine adventure may be the subject of a contract of marine insurance

Regards – S. Sampathkumar.

Have you filed your Income Tax returns and what is Form 26AS

During the financial year end i.e., March – the Company’s focus was on completion of annual targets, individuals were worried about tax saving and the actual amount of tax deductions.  Income tax is a direct tax on income.

NO introduction would be necessary as almost every salary earner knows that the Govt. of India imposes income tax on taxable income of individuals, Hindu Undivided Families (HUFs), companies, firms, co-operative societies and trusts  and any other artificial person. Levy of tax is separate on each of the persons. The levy is governed by the Indian Income Tax Act, 1961.  For all of us receiving salary, the income tax gets deducted at the time of payment i.e., tax deduction at source.  

Whilst you are not required to provide details as to how your hard earned money suddenly disappeared, you need to properly submit your IT returns for all your income, from any source which will include, rental income,  interest on fixed deposits, income by dividends, income from horse races, income from gifts, income from winning bull races, income from shares and the like.    Filing of Income Tax returns is a legal obligation of every person whose total income for the previous year has exceeded the maximum amount that is not chargeable for income tax under the provisions of the I.T Act, 1961.

July 31st being the last date and given our attitude of doing things at the last instance, there is bound to be long drawn queues in the Income Tax Department.  There also exists the convenience of filing returns through Internet known as e-filing. It also eliminates/ reduces interface between assessee and tax officials.

Be aware that all your transactions can be tracked by Income Tax Department.  Over the years, the tax payers have felt the need for a single source where they could find details of all their financial transactions.  Even to date, the procedure of filing an Income tax return is somewhat cumbersome – you will feel this more, if you have placed some money in fixed deposit in a bank /NBFC ; or own more than a house, or have let out on rent a house property, have indulged in some sale of shares, Mutual funds etc.,   For all this, you need to obtain Form 16 from the authorities concerned evidencing the TDS and have to necessarily pay tax according to your slab – this actually needs to be done before the closure of the financial year i.e., you need to calculate your tax liability and pay your tax in advance – advance tax !

It is a good news for all tax payers that One can check their  tax credits in 26AS statement before filing IT return for faster processing and quick refunds.  It is advisable  to verify the tax credits in 26AS statement before filing the Income Tax Return. It will facilitate faster processing and quick refunds. The credits available in the tax statement confirm that:
a) the tax deducted/collected by the deductor/collector has been deposited to the account of the government;
b) the deductor/collector has accurately filed the TDS/TCS statement giving details of the tax deducted/collected on your behalf;
c) bank has properly furnished the details of the tax deposited by you.

It is hoped that in future, you will be able to use this consolidated tax statement (Form 26AS) as a proof of tax deducted/collected on your behalf and the tax directly paid by you along with your income tax return, after the need for submission of TDS/TCS certificates and tax payment challans along with income tax returns would be  dispensed with by the Income Tax Department.  However, as of now for claiming the credit for tax deducted/collected at source you may be required to enclose TDS/TCS certificates (Form 16/16A) issued to you by the deductor.

In addition to the above, you can also view the details of paid refund received during the financial year.  The Form 26AS (Annual Tax Statement) is divided into three parts, namely; Part A, B and C as under:
Part A displays details of tax which has been deducted at source (TDS) by each person (deductor) who made a specified kind of payment to you. Details of the deductor (name & TAN) along with details of tax deducted like section under which deduction was made (e.g. section 192 for salary), date on which payment was effected, amount paid/credited, tax deducted from payments and deposited in the bank are included in this part.
Part B displays details of tax collected at source (TCS) by the seller of specified goods at time these goods have been sold to you. Details similar to those displayed in Part A in respect of the seller and the tax collected will also be available.
Part C displays details of income tax directly paid by you (like advance tax, self assessment tax) and details of the challan through which you have deposited this tax in the bank.

The Department claims that uploads of  TDS/TCS statements are daily activity and thus represent an up to date feature.  As per the Income Tax Act, the deductors/collectors are required to file their TDS/TCS statements every quarter. This means that within about 15 days of the deductors filing quarterly e-TDS/TCS statement, the TDS/TCS entries will be posted in the tax statement which is available in the TIN website.

Thus, Form 26AS is a consolidated tax statement issued under Rule 31 AB of Income Tax Rules to PAN holders.   The Banks also upload challan details to TIN on a T+3 basis after the realization of the tax payment cheques.  So the advance tax that you pay would very much be part of this Form 26AS

So quote your Permanent Assessment Number [PAN] in all your transactions and pay your tax without fail in time.  Be a responsible citizen.  For more details and for registering for this facility log on to :   https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in.    It is a simple procedure and after a few entries, you are now registered with IT and in a position to view / download your form 26 AS

Regards – S. Sampathkumar

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dwelling deep into the Ocean - Jiaolong !

One may not understand what  “Jiaolong” means – sure it sounds Chinese and perhaps something very deep rooted.  Mankind has been attracted to Ocean and sea voyage since ages.  The vast spread ocean offers great challenges to the adventurous sailors who set their sail on boats and yachts for conquering the world.  It is not only the expanse of the sea but also its depth that are unfathomable.

Today (26th July 11) there is news of China's most advanced deep-sea submersible conquering  its way to new depths.  China began to work on the ambitious ocean exploration programme in 2002. About 100 research institutes and companies were involved in the project.  The resultant machine, named after an ancient Chinese mythological sea dragon is being closely watched for its mining and military potential as well as its capabilities for scientific research.  The submersible reportedly  has a special titanium hull to withstand the crushing pressures of the deep ocean.   The submersible is about 8 meters long, three meters wide, and 3 meters high. It weighs nearly 22 tons, but can only carry a crew of three -- one diver and two researchers. It has the capability of operating underwater for 12 straight hours.  This gives the machine access to 99.8 per cent of the world's ocean floor and the capability of harnessing mineral wealth.

The vessel is named ‘Jiaolong’ and  was part of the national high technology research development plan, also known as the 863 Plan. More than half of its parts and components were made in China. 96 experts from 13 institutions involved in the research and manufacturing of the watercraft were aboard the Jiaolong's mother ship, Xiangyanghong 9.

To many of us, ships are indeed wonderful objects – huge and tons of steel, still float on sea – circumnavigating from Country to Country transporting men and more importantly material that smothers World Trade.  If the law of floatation itself is too complex, then there is more to wonder – ship that can go under the water and raise at will.  A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation below the surface of the water.  Those with limited underwater capability are known as ‘submersible’ to which category our captioned Jiaolong would fall under.   The term submarine most commonly refers to a large crewed autonomous vessels.  The word submarine was originally an adjective meaning "under the sea"; consequently other uses such as "submarine engineering" or "submarine cable" may not actually refer at all to the vessel.  Submarine was in fact shortened from the proper term, "submarine boat", and is often further shortened to "sub" when the word is employed informally. Submarines should always be referred to as "boats" rather than as "ships", regardless of their size. The English term U-boat for a German submarine comes from the German word for submarine, U-Boot, itself an abbreviation for Unterseeboot ("undersea boat").

There have been well experimented designs of submarine from 19th century adopted by many Navies.  They were widely used during WW I.  They can spring surprise and destroy enemy surface installations of high significance and large armed vessels also.   There are some used for civilian purposes marine science, salvage, exploration etc.,  Most of them are of cylindrical bodies with  hemispherical (and/or conical) ends and a vertical structure, usually located amidships, which houses communications and sensing devices as well as periscopes.

These  Submarines are known to operate at depths in the range of 400–500 feet (120–150 m) and can house around 50 – 100 people.   There reportedly exists some submarines of drug smugglers known as narco boats.  Perhaps there has been some drift as this article is more about the Chinese made manned submersible vessel designed to dive to a depth of 7,000 meters which  has successfully completed trial operations.  Going by Marine reports, this submersible, dubbed "Jiaolong", completed 17 dives in the South China Sea from May 31 to July 18, with the deepest reaching 3,759 meters.  The feat makes China the fifth country, following the United States, France, Russia and Japan, to have the technologies for a manned dive to more than 3,500 meters below sea level,  according to the Ministry of Science and Technology and the State Oceanic Administration (SOA).

Recently, it created history  by operating underwater for nine hours and three minutes.  Jiaolong is a submersible  which differs from a submarine as it typically depends on another vessel or facility for support.  If operationally successful the manned vehicle designed to reach 7,000 meters below sea level in the world,  can be used in 99.8 per cent of the world's sea area and would probably represent  the most advanced technology in deep-sea exploration.  Earlier,  manned submersibles could only descend to 6,500 meters below sea level.  Now there are reports that  Jiaolong, with a crew of three, dived 17 times from May 31 to July 18 in the South ChinaSea, going below 3,000 meters four times. The deepest it reached was 3,759 meters.

In an experiment when it landed on the seafloor, it placed the Chinese flag and a sign depicting the legendary dragon's palace onto the seabed with a robotic arm.  On 26th July, the vessel reached 5,057 metres below sea level in a test dive in international waters of the northeastern Pacific, the official Xinhua news agency said.  The feat is still not half as deep of the record 1960 dive of US Navy but puts China on a deeper horizon than other Nations could imagine and can only envy.  The US Navy had  reached the bottom of the Mariana Trench – the deepest point in the world’s oceans at 11,000 metres – in 1960.

Reportedly lacking experience, now they have conducted enough trials and are targeting a depth of 7000 meter goal.  It is claimed that the submersible development is aimed at scientific research to help with the peaceful exploration and utilization of natural resources.  Scientists say the ocean’s floors contain rich deposits of a range of potentially valuable minerals, but the extreme depths pose technical difficulties in harvesting them on a wide scale.  It might take years to reach the riches but perhaps the beginning has already been made.  The SOA was quoted as saying that the submersible would attempt a 7,000-metre dive in 2012, Xinhua reported.

Jiaolong or simply ‘jiao’  is a polysemous aquatic dragon in Chinese mythology.  Spiritually akin to the crocodile, and perhaps originally the same reptile, was a mysterious creature capable of many forms called the chiao (kău).  It is also  described as 'a snake with four legs'.  Myth logically, it is stated that  when a number of fish in a pond reaches 3600, the Jiaolong will come as their leader and enable them to follow him and fly away. This can be stopped, however, by placing a fish trap in the water.  The female counterpart of this dragon is called the Jiao, and is hornless. Unlike the Jiaolong, which has horns.

China with its mysterious capabilities continue to make others wonder !!

Regards – S. Sampathkumar.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

the loss at Lords - who is to be blamed ?


It baffled and saddened the Indian sports fan.. it was yet another display of spineless performance in the first Test of an Overseas tour.

England won the Test comfortably by a huge margin of 196 runs. The score card would read :  England 474 for 8 dec (Pietersen 202*, Trott 71, Praveen 5-106) and 269 for 6 dec (Prior 103*, Broad 74*, Ishant 4-59) beat India 286 (Dravid 103*, Broad 4-37, Tremlett 3-80) and 261 (Raina 78, Laxman 56, Anderson 5-65, Broad 3-57) by 196 runs.  The last day was not intense but more of a tame submission by the famed Indian batting line up.  There was no DRS and the fielding was poor, yet the batsmen scratched around without ever looking confident or assured.  Raina did offer good resistance but the loss was always on the cards once Dravid got out early and Gambhir followed in an uncharacteristic dismissal. 

England has been consistent and they  improved on their excellent record atLord's in recent Tests. In 23 Tests between 1984 and 1999, they won four and lost 11 out of 23 Tests. In 24 Tests since 2000, they have won 13 and lost just three. India suffered their 11th defeat in 16 Tests at Lord's. The 11 defeats is the most at a particular venue for India.

The way Gambhir and Sachin battled though incapacitated to some extent by injury and illness respectively was appalling.  It is long since Dhoni played an authoritative innings also.  The tail was demolished ruthlessly.   Perhaps the Senior batsmen are to be blamed for the ridicule 0r perhaps it was the usual under-preparedness of the Indian players when it comes to playing the first match in any away series. 

Some might tend to call the injury of Zaheer the misfortune – but all these players were perfectly fit or did not miss any of the matches in IPL but are breaking down.  What you do with a bowler who has the capacity of breaking down in the start of the series and another who somehow manages to be in the team always carrying a niggling injury calling to be a pacer but would delivery in the corridor in 120s.  – is the system or lack of controls ?  or the lack of guts and gumption of playing for National honour ??  the lead spinner was a fodder and could take a solitary wicket for 200 odd runs….. 

Statistically, this loss adds nothing…. This is how Indians have fared in Tests, in England and at Lords :

Stats
Matches
Won
Lost
Drawn
Against All Nations
452
110
140
201
Against England
100
19
35
46
In England
49
5
24
20

We have won only 5 matches in England and only one of them came at Lords almost 25 years back : 

Margin
Ground
Date
Test No
4 wickets
The Oval
19-Aug-71
692
5 wickets
Lords
5-Jun-86
1046
279 runs
Leeds
19-Jun-86
1047
inns & 46 runs
Leeds
22-Aug-02
1613
7 wickets
Nottingham
27-Jul-07
1841

Regards – S. Sampathkumar.

Kargil Diwas - Remembering the martyrs of Kargil

We have National Holidays and We celebrate important days for the Nation including The Independence Day (Aug 15th) and Republic Day (26th Jan) – we recall the birth and death days of important National leaders.

Today is more important than most of them… 26th July…. The Kargil Diwas..  in very many countries, Victory day is a much celebrated day commemorating the victory in an important  battle for the honour of the Nation. 

We read about so many things and persons – why don’t we think of including the real life heroics of people like :  Captain Anuj Nayyar, Captain Amol Kalia, Captain Manoj Pande, Captain P.V.Vikram, Captain Vikram Batra, Deputy Commander Sukhbir Singh Yadav, Driver-Soldier Gopinath Moharana,  Flight Engineer Raj Kishore Sahoo, Grenadiar Amardeep, Grenadiar Bajinder Singh Naik Surjeet Singh, Naik Subedar Lal Chand, Naik Vikram Singh, Naik Yoginder Singh, Rifleman Ansuya Prasad Dhayani, Rifleman Bachan Singh, Subedar Sumer Singh Rathore, Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja, Squadron Leader Rajiv Pundir, Squadron Leader Lal Singh, Squadron Leader Ojha, Zrfn Man Singh,  Kaushal Yadav in the history books of the school curriculum.  The list is illustrative and infact 527 heroes who sacrificed their future for protecting the honour of the Nation….. yes these are some of the names of Indian jawans and officers who made the supreme sacrifice in the battle field of Kargil. 

Kargil Vijay Diwas, is the day  named after the success of Operation Vijay. On this day, 26 July 1999, India successfully took command of the high outposts which had been lost to Pakistani intruders. The Kargil war was fought for more than 60 days, ended on 26 July.  This did result in the loss of lives but not the honour of the Nation.  In remembrance of those heroes  who defeated Pakistan in the 1999 war, this day is to be  celebrated in the Kargil - Dras sector and the national capital New Delhi, where the Prime Minister of India, pays homage to the soldiers at Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate every year.  Years back functions were also organized all over the nation to commemorate the contribution of the Armed forces – do we remember them still !!!!!

We tend to complain for simple things – the life of army men who are protecting the borders providing us the comfort of life is never easy.  They live and survive under most strenuous circumstances with little or no comfort. There is the ice clad Himalayas which would be scenic to a tourist but life out there is extremely difficult.  There are army posts in high glaciers where they would have no companion for kilo meters – some even turn lunatics due to loneliness – there would be gusty winds and chilling temperature.  The terrain of the Kargil and surrounding regions of the LOC is inhospitable in the best of times. Some of the characteristics of the region are jagged heights of up to 18,000 feet and harsh gusts of wind and temperatures plunging to about -60 degrees Celsius in the winter. The battle of Kargil was not fought on land but on the  high altitude peaks and ridgelines most of which are over 16000 ft.; in regions which are dry and extremely cold, snow covered and not the place where humans can survive.  Due to the extreme weather conditions, the armies of either side reportedly were not occupying posts between Sept to April. 

The 1999 Kargil War took place between May 8, when Pakistani forces and Kashmiri militants were detected atop the Kargil ridges and July 14 when both sides had essentially ceased their military operations. It is believed that the planning for the operation, by Pakistan, may have occurred about as early as the autumn of 1998. The spring and summer incursion of Pakistan-backed armed forces into territory on the Indian side of the line of control around Kargil in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and the Indian military campaign to repel the intrusion left 527 Indian soldiers dead and more than thousand wounded.

July 26, 1999 will remain written in gold in the annals of Indian history as a day when the determined Indian forces achieved a glorious victory over the retreating Pakistani army.  It was on this day that the Indian victory over Pakistan was complete. True to its character despite having to pay a heavy price for fighting a war within its territory, the Indian forces allowed the Pakistanis to return across the Line of Control (LoC). It was a gesture which depicted the great Indian tradition of forgiving even the enemy.  There were reports that Pak had chosen to torture and kill the Indian prisoners of War (PoWs), rather than handing them over safely as was done by India through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

WAR is never to be craved for, it causes innumerable and irreparable losses to both the warring sides.  But no Nation can afford to forget the sacrifices of its warriors.   Kargil has lessons for both, India and Pakistan.   The peaks of Tololing and Tiger Hill once reverberated in Indian news – seemingly shadowed now.  India would remain a peace loving Nation having good relationship with its neighbours but should remember that there are military adventurist army driven Nations who have the propensity to engage in conflicts notwithstanding any episodic peace rhetoric.

The Nation needs to remain prepared and strong militarily and in terms of civil defence measures but should not never get buoyed by war calls.  

Today, is the time, we remember the martyrs of Kargil.  Jai Jawan, Jai Hind

Regards
S. Sampathkumar.


I don’t want to write this but :

Today gleaned through some National newspapers in the morning and the headlines read :

Tuesday, July 26, 2011 “  The Hindu”
Government considering law on right to service delivery
Distribution of title deeds to settler farmers to be expedited »
Manmohan, Chidambaram aware of dilution of shares by Swan, Unitech: Raja
Norway killer sourced crusader badge from Varanasi
No compromise on demand for statehood for Telengana : Keshava Rao
Yeddyurappa: I'll abide by party directive
 ‘Pottu' Suresh detained under Goondas Act
________________________________________

26th July 2011 Page 1  -Times of India
2G case: Raja defends himself, seeks to drag in Manmohan, PC
Urban womens average income doubles in 10 yrs
India looks to boost fighter jet strength
Hotel maid goes public, says she wants Strauss-Kahn jailed
Country bombs found at three locations in city
To target Cong on graft, BJP decides to dump Yeddyurappa
President Patil makes her wealth details public
NEWS DIGEST
Veerapandi Arumugam in police custody for 3 days