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Monday, October 31, 2011

Nation remembers Indira Gandhi


Death occurred to this jawan on this day (31st October) – 27 years ago – the dying of this man from Faridkot Dist of Punjab shook the entire Nation and was felt World over.  For it was Beant Singh along with Satwant Singh standing as bodyguards assassinated the Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at her residence.  Beant was killed in the gun fire.  Satwant Singh was arrested and later sentenced to death along with conspirator Kehar Singh. The sentence was carried out on January 6, 1989.

The assassination which changed the history of India was said to have been motivated by  Operation Blue Star, an attack on Sikh separatists holed up in Golden Temple complex in Amritsar, India. Satwant Singh and Beant Singh fired thirty three bullets into Indira Gandhi's chest and abdomen.

Indira Gandhi, unlike many other Prime Ministers of India was portrayed to be strong-willed, autocratic and determined to govern the way she wanted. Mrs  Indira Gandhi was Prime Minister four times and the dominant figure in India for almost two decades.  She was born to politics and power, the granddaughter of Motilal Nehru, an early leader of the Indian independence movement, and daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, who led India as Prime Minister in its first 17 years of Independence from Britain.

It is indeed an inspiring story of Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi [19 November 1917 – 31 October 1984) who served as prime minister of India for three consecutive terms (1966–77) and a fourth term (1980–84).  Though she was not the first female PM [the first being Sirimavo Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka)  she is the  world's second longest serving female Prime Minister.  Noted for her charismatic authority and political astuteness,  she had a chequered  career often bordering on authority and conflicts.  History knows her as  the only Indian Prime Minister to have declared a state of emergency in order to 'rule by decree' and the only Indian Prime Minister to have been imprisoned after holding that office.  She had seen it all – way back in 1966, the Congress was split in two factions, the socialists led by  her, and the conservatives led by Morarji Desai.  She had to accommodate Desai in her cabinet.  In July 1969 she nationalized banks.   On 12 June 1975 the High Court of Allahabad declared Indira Gandhi's election to the Lok Sabha void on grounds of electoral malpractice.

During 1975 – 1977 India saw Emergency being declared, arrest of most of opposition and some disorder.  President's Rule was imposed on the two opposition party ruled states of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu thereby bringing the entire country under direct Central rule or by governments led by the ruling Congress party.  The immediate elections after emergency saw the Nation having the first non Congress Govt led by Janata Party, which however failed to last the full term due to internal squabbles.

She will be remembered for the strong action during the Indian war against Pakistan in 1971 leading to the formation of Bangladesh, as a new Nation.  In 1979, she could come back to power with a landslide majority.  The early 1980s saw the devaluing of rupee.

For any visitor to Delhi, the blood stained saree and her belongings preserved at Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum in New Delhi would kindle sympathy and sadness at the loss of her.  On this day, she was shot savagely and  died on her way to the hospital.

Regards – S. Sampathkumar.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Heaviest and costliest Gold coin – 1012 kg – unveiled in Australia.

Though I am a strong advocate of buying Gold in e-form, the yellow metal does offer a personal satisfaction to hold and have in solid form.  Most times you would find those shops in T Nagar and elsewhere – those shops selling gold, extraordinarily crowded, colourful, bustling with activity and chaotic at times ! – there are people, who as routine buy small units of gold every month and there are others who buy on festive occasions, important occasions to make them memorable, for marriages and so on.. all those make up those unmindful crowds at jewellers. For some, keeping gold is good and they buy because it spells luck to them..  the prices are volatile and the rates generally only go up so also the demand !   Women buy bangles, men buy gold coins and bars, which make a good long term investment !!
In olden days, people use to bury their valuables and some were lucky to find pots of gold !  Any such find is National property in India, but down under prospectors are searching for their fortunes in creeks and hollows – it is stated that the classic Australian buses near Sydney are one such destination for prospectors.  Prospectors still venture out with old-fashioned pans, sifting through the sludge, pebbles and debris scooped up from the creek whilst some try their luck with modern day tools of range detectors.  For the blessed, persistence could pay off and a tiny fragment of a nugget is worth a fortune !!   From the days of Emperors and Kings, gold is seen as a physical asset with finite supply undiminished in value.
From the naturally found nuggets, gold is minted in the forms of bars and coins.  The largest gold coin ever minted was  a $1m Canadian Maple Leaf - is 52cm in diameter.  Down under, there are factory made  gold nuggets – gold bullion coins minted by Perth Mint in denominations of 1/20 oz,1/10 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/2 oz, 1 oz, 2 oz, 10 oz, and 1 kg of 24 carat gold. They have legal tender status in Australia and are one of few legal tender bullion gold coins to change their design every year, another being the Chinese Gold Panda. This and their limited annual mintage may, unlike for many other bullion coins, raise their numismatic value over the value of gold used.  The Gold Nugget series was introduced in 1986 by the Gold Corporation, a company wholly owned by the government of Western Australia.  From 1986 to 1989, the reverse of these coins pictured various Australian gold nuggets. With the 1989 proof edition, the design was changed to feature different Kangaroos, a more world-recognized symbol of Australia. The coins are today sometimes referred to as "gold kangaroos".

In 1991, 2 oz, 10 oz, and 1 kilogram sizes were introduced. These were created with the intention of using economies of scale to keep premiums low, and are some of the largest gold coins ever minted. In 1992, the face values on these large coins were lowered to keep them proportional to the 1 oz coin. The reverse of these coins does not change annually like the lower denominations; the same "red kangaroo" design is used every year.In October 2011, the Perth Mint created a one tonne gold coin, breaking the record for the biggest and most valuable gold coin, previously held by the Royal Canadian Mint.   The coin is approximately 80 centimetres (31 in) in diameter and 12 centimetres (4.7 in) thick. It features a red kangaroo on the front of the coin and a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the reverse. The face value of the coin is A$1 million[52 lakhs INR approx], but at the time of minting it was valued at overA$53 million[ approx Rs.275 crores].  Besides these Gold nugget coins, the Perth mint also issues Australian Lunar Gold bullion coins- both have .9999 purity, but Lunar coins use images of different animals from the Chinese calendar instead of the kangaroo.
This biggest and heaviest gold coin was displayed at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Perth on 27th Oct 2011.It features a bounding red kangaroo on one side, and the Queen's motif on the other. It is nearly 80cm in diameter and 12cm thick.  “The giant coin weighing 1012 kilograms  is a magnificent Australian icon symbolising one of the most extraordinary accomplishments in its 112-year history,” a statement on the Mint's website said.

The Perth Mint is Australia's oldest currently operating mint (with the earlier mints, the Sydney Mint and Melbourne Mint having since shut down). Its foundations dates back to 1896.  Although Federation occurred in 1901, the Mint remained under the jurisdiction of Britain until 1 July 1970, when it became a statutory authority of the Government of Western Australia. It is now owned by Gold Corporation which is wholly owned by the Government of Western Australia.
With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

Indian Team for the First Test against West Indies announced

There was some speculation that the Indian Captain who is carrying an injury might be rested for the home series against West Indies, considering that the tour of Australia scheduled after the home series is more important.  There were no reports of Dhoni asking for a break but reports suggested that the selectors were in favour of resting him for the Test Series.   There was also speculation on which of those players who played in that disastrous England series would be retained ?
West Indies are to play 3 Tests and 5 One dayers – the schedule is :
Date
Event
Venue
Nov 06 - 10
First Test
Feroz Shah Kotla, New Delhi
Nov 14 - 18
Second Tst
Eden Gardens, Kolkatta
Nov 22 - 26
Third Test
Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai



29-Nov
First One dayer
Cuttack
2-Dec
Second One dayer
Visakhapatnam
5-Dec
Third One dayer
Ahmedabad
8-Dec
Fourth One dayer
Indore
11-Dec
Fifth One dayer
Chennai


The squad for the First Test has been announced and there has been wholesome changes from the one that played in England.  The new look squad is :  M S Dhoni (capt & wk), Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Yuvraj Singh, R Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Virat Kohli, Varun Aaron, Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Sharma
Three pacers – Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron (one of the last two is likely to make their debut) – Spin Dept in the hands of Pragyan Ojha, R Ashwin and Rahul Sharma (again one amongst Ashwin and Rahul like to play their maiden test).  Ajinkya Rahane finds favour ahead of Murali Vijay and Abhinav Mukund, but unlikely to play in the Test in the side packed with stars – Sehwag, Gambhir, Sachin, Dravid, Lakman and Yuvraj. 
In the Team - no Harbhajan, Amit Mishra, Sreesanth, Munaf, Praveenkumar, Zaheer….the leggie, Rahul Sharma who impressed in IPL 4 and was part of the ODI squad against England without playing any match, has been selected.  Harbhajan left the England tour midway with strain in his abdomen.  In that tour he took only two wickets in 2 Tests and before that was mediocre in WI tour.  Amit Mishra batted splendidly in the last day of the 4th Test but was ineffective as a bowler.  Raina who struggled in England has also been left out – Virat is in, but unlikely to play ! 
Am not sure whether the team of WI would be the same one  that is struggling in Bangladesh.  There were reports that the West Indies Board had said that he would be considered for selection only if he retracted his statements about the board and its officials.  What exactly is to be apologized and what needs to be retracted – Chris Gayle is seeking explanation.   Gayle is reported to have stated that WICB was playing mind games and that he would address their demands at the end of the Regional Super50 in Guyana, where he is leading Jamaica's campaign.  Relations between Gayle and the board had broken down after he gave an interview in April to a radio station during which he was scathing about both the board and coach Ottis Gibson. After attempts at reconciliation failed, and Gayle was left out of the squad for the home series against India.  Gayle has not played for West Indies since the 2011 World Cup. Since then he has been an integral part of Royal Challengers Bangalore's squad in their IPL and Champions League Twenty20 campaigns, finishing as the leading run-getter in the IPL. His impasse with the board had escalated to a level where the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) heads of government had become involved.
So more cricket ahead !!  Don’t shout of a overkill !!  - the fifth one dayer was played to half filled stands at Eden Gardens, which is no ordinary phenomena in this cricket-crazy Nation.  Whether the Caribbean team will draw crowds is a moot Q
Regards – S. Sampathkumar.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Face Book opens its Data centre closer to Arctic circle.

Intelligent people learn from other’s experience ! – the recent outage of Blackberry was a testament to the damage that can occur to those who are over reliant on specified places.  When we had only hard copies filed, it required voluminous storage space; huge record rooms were the order of the day and it required efficient systems to have retrieval of files and data contained in them..  then such storage was outsourced.. now a days you have most of the data in e-form.. still they have to be stored, maintained and mined.

For millions life starts everyday with Facebook – they log in, read, post messages and live in FB.  This social networking site launched in 2004 reportedly has more than 800 M active users.  Officially, one has to be 13+ for having a FB account, though there could be high no. of children less that age accessing it daily.  
Every day, millions of such users post messages, post photos, add links, videos and more and sure that collates into huge chunk of data. There have to be Servers and Storage medium enabling retention and access by all users.  Technically, Data Centre is a facility that houses Computer systems, associated components and storage systems.  It generally includes backup power supplies, redundant data connections, and security devices also.   For any Company, IT operations are a crucial aspect of its organizational requirements, the crucial aspect being business continuity.  Without the system and the data contained, the operations would be impaired and to minimize the chances of disruption, there have to be sufficient back-up preferably at different places.  The Data Centre has to be of high integrity and functionality.  

If this be the requirement of any Company, just imagine how many servers should something like Facebook have ?

A couple of years back, it was speculated that FB was having 30000 servers supporting its operations.  A high ranking official was quoted at that time as saying that the no. will be different today than yesterday as FB adds capacity on daily basis.  That placed FB among the largest  Internet companies that have publicly discussed their server counts, and Companies have to loan millions for such augmentation of resources.  Besides lakhs of photos, there are volumes of data required to be stored and delivered instantaneously.  FB reportedly had been making huge investments in locking down large chunk of data centre space.  

FB has grown in a big way since…. FB as also many of hi-tech companies have been thinking on how such big data can be handled with low-cost computing centers.  Few months ago, FB announced of their plans of associations with industry heavyweights on developing server and data centre designs for FB.   Then they described the Company’s progress on ‘Open Compute Project’ – often used to describe software.  The new data center,  is touted to be green as largely would  be fueled by hydropower, and is to be in  Lulea, Sweden, just south of the Arctic Circle.  There are reports that FB is steering this project and other partners are stepping up to add guidance.  In a recent Open Compute Summit, executives from Dell, Amazon.com and Intel took the stage to discuss how openly rethinking data centers can help major companies, as well as startups and medium-sized businesses that need efficient and flexible systems. By launching the Open Compute Project as a stand-alone foundation, Facebook is hoping to further standardize the market for data center equipment, thereby reducing costs and vendor lock-in.

‘Necessity is the mother of invention’ and the speed of growth of FB has pushed it to building its own servers making it a better viable option.   The others who had grown tremendously in the market such as Google went the same way of building their own servers.  Such big market players cannot afford to rely on a single vendor to solve hardware or software issues.  With their volumes they can decide on designing their hardware and server needs, picking up the best off the shelf products and adding unique features suppliant to their environment.   The other side of this, they are reinventing and could be away from the changes in the market after making too heavy a investment on their designed equipments.  There is also the apprehension that this will expose them to potential eavesdropping from a Swedish intelligence agency, according to Sweden's Pirate Party, a group opposing government interference with the Internet. Facebook is facing its own privacy concerns in Europe over how long it retains users' information and other issues.

The new centre first outside US is  proposed at Swedish city of Lulea, 100 km south of Arctic circle due to the access to renewable energy and cold climate.  This centre is touted to be the largest of its kind in Europe and is to handle all data processing from Europe, the Middle East and Africa and serve millions of the site's 800m users. The Lulea data center, which will consist of three 300,000-square foot (28,000-square meter) server buildings, is scheduled for completion by 2014. The site will need 120 MW of energy, fully derived from hydropower.

 It will cover 30,000 sq m – about the size of 11 football pitches – and be fully packed with data servers. In case of a blackout, construction designs call for each building to have 14 backup diesel generators with a total output of 40 MW.   Each of Facebook's US datacentres is estimated to use the same amount of electricity as 30,000 US homes. Energy consumption of warehouses run by companies such as Facebook, Google and Amazon, is among the fastest growing sources of global electricity demand.  Earlier there were activity of Greenpeace seeking their shifting to clean renewable energy.  

But for an ordinary individual user, whether the server is in US or Europe should make little of difference !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

The man who moved the hill to bring road to village…..

To some, politics is  bad outright  and politicians do nothing good –

It is not the Metropolis or major cities but India still lives in villages – how many of us know or have been to or heard of villages named –  Agaramcheri, Alangayam, Andiyappanur, Chinnavarikkam, Chittiappanur, Eachampattu, Girisamudram, Kadavalam, Kammiyampattu, Kulidigai, Kurisilapattu,  Mallagunta, Mothagapalli, Nekkanamalai, Peddakallupalli, Sammandhikuppam, Shimugapattu,  Somalapuram, Thottalam, Udayendram, Valayambattu, Vellakkal, Velthikamanipenda  ................... and the like

Sure to you some do not even sound Tamil names and perhaps are situated elsewhere !!  These are some of the villages in Vaniyampadi  town of Vellore District.  Vellore, not far away from the capital Chennai is a district bounded by Tiruvallur, Kanchipuram, Thiruvannamalai, Krishnagiri Districts and north by Andhra Pradesh State. 

Many villages are green and are governed well by local leaders who are widely respected for their integrity and their will to serve their place.  There is the system of local self-Governments known as Gram Panchayats at the village or small town levels.  The Gram Panchayat is the foundation of the Panchayati Raj. The Sarpanch or Chairperson is the head of the Gram Panchayat. The elected members of the Gram Panchayat elect from among themselves a Sarpanch and a Deputy Sarpanch for a term of five years. In some places the panchayat president is directly elected by village people. The Sarpanch presides over the meetings of the Gram Panchayat and supervises its working. He implements the development schemes of the village.   The Sarpanch has the responsibilities of looking after street lights,  construction and repair work of the roads in the villages and also the village markets, fairs, festivals and celebrations,  keeping a record of births, deaths and marriages in the village, looking after public health and hygiene by providing facilities for sanitation and drinking water and providing for education.  A Himalayan task indeed !!

Though not a recent one – I had once shared the deeds of an extraordinary person  Dashrath Manjhi, who was once asked  by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to occupy his chair for a little over five minutes.  The CM had said that was one way of acknowledging the greatness of the great deed.  This real hero died in 2007 at AIIMS New Delhi and was accorded state funeral.  Dashrath Manjhi was born in 1934 into a poor labourer's family in Gahlour village near Gaya in Bihar. He fought a lengthy battle against the mountain – not out of any grudge but for a social cause. He was ridiculed in 1959 when he started hewing a way through the Gahlaur Ghati hills of Bihar’s Gaya district, some 150 km from Patna. Age, health, bereavement, criticism, ridicule -  nothing deterred him – as he carried on with grit for 22 years and made a reality 360ft-long, 30ft-wide road across the mountain. What was once a precarious passage just a foot wide became wide enough to accommodate cyclists and motorcyclists – helping locals hailing from nearby villages with ease.  From 1960 to 1982 it certainly was a long journey but the accomplishment of herculean task made him happy.

Now the newsitem in today’s (28th Oct 2011) ‘The New Indian Express’ – Chennai Edition makes us realize that such great men are not alone and there are some who are to be placed in the same pedestal. 

You read a list of some of the villages in Vaniyampadi Town in Vellore District.  One amongst those tiny tots of village is Veladhikamanipenta.  This hill village  near Vaniyambadi,  is on the district/state border of Andhra Pradesh – the death of a 85 year old person has the made the whole area sad and mourn the death.

Jalappa, is most illustrious son of this village.  He as the Village Panchayat, spent his life to ensure that the village gets connected with the rest of the World.   Veladhikamanipenta, is about 3,000 feet above sea level and  is a picturesque hill village, some 15 kms from Vaniyambadi.  There are more than 200 villages in the hills, most of them in Chittoor district of AP, sharing border with Vellore. All these villages had no transport facility and the villagers who had to sell their produce at the nearest town Vaniyambadi, had to trek the hills everyday.  Jalappa, as the panchayat president in 1972, was determined to get roads for the villages. He teamed up with another panchayat president, M M Basheer of Jafferabad in the foothills, who shared a similar vision. Both of them took up the matter with the TN and AP forest departments and got the approval for a road linking the National Highway 46 and NH 4 after a long struggle.  Basheer, who is in his eighties now, mourning the death of Jalappa, recalled how hundreds of villagers from the hills worked day and night to clear debris. The then District Collector Paramasivam, with the help of his counterpart in Chittoor, got the roadwork extended within its territory. The `70-lakh project began in 1972 and was completed in 1974. It was declared open by the then PWD minister.  While the road was ready, it did not have protective walls and hence, both the State governments had refused to ply transport services. After several efforts by Jalappa and Basheer, the wall work was completed and the mini bus service was introduced in 2008.

It was a day of delight and merriment not only for Jalappa & Basheer but also for the entire village which celebrated by distributing sweets when the buses carrying the villagers landed in Vaniyampadi.  But the visionary – Jalappa was not contented… he wanted the inter-state highway to be expanded to accommodate bigger  vehicles.  The duo once again began their visits to the government offices and got the NABARD sanction `2.28 crore two years ago. But the work had not been taken up.

The newspaper states that at old age of 85 the frail Jalappa went to Hyderabad last week  to seek the intervention of the government to move papers for the expansion work.  Today, Jalappa is no more.. the village mourns his death.. it might take a few more years – but he will live in the hearts of the villagers by his selfless great deed.  The one-acre land Jalappa had donated at Veladhikamanipenta for a school will stand testimony to this simple man, who had dedicated his life for his villages.

BHARAT – our Great Mother land has more Jalappas –  it rains still and  We are leading peaceful life only due such noble acts of such Great persons.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

the calls that alarmed Emergency Services 108 in Chennai

Do you know which type of calls  alarmed 108 on Deepavali day ?

Whenever you see an accident or somebody in dire need of medical attention, do not panic.. try and assist the victim in some possible manner.. the simplest is to call the Emergency Service (108) and inform them clearly of the need, probable requirement and  the place where their attendance is required.

Often we see vehicles flashing with warning lights and sirens – unfortunately such vehicles (ambulances) are also caught up in the melee of traffic and find it difficult to manouvre out of the muddle.   A timely response and care is  most essential in saving lives and we on our part should at least ensure that their passage is easy and fast.  Remember that ‘whatever be your urgency’ – the movement of an ambulance is more essential as it is either transporting sick / injured people or would be moving to assist one in dire need.  Next time you hear or see an ambulance, please do stop / move to a side, giving free way to the ‘emergency assistor’ irrespective of whether those in front and behind do the same.. you need not be guided by what others do, but can set your own rules !   

Some also have the nasty habit of driving fast behind in the leeway created by the movement of ambulance.. silly .. the movement of ambulance is the top priority – rest all can wait !

There was a time, when Emergency services were not readily available.  Now you have a host of Private hospitals providing immediate urgent service besides the good services of “108” – the one managed by GVK EMRI in Public Private Partnership with the Govt in the State of Tamilnadu and in many other States as well.  GVK EMRI handles medical, police and fire emergencies through the " 1-0-8 Emergency service". This is a free service delivered through state- of -art emergency call response centres.

A few months back, Delhi Police launched a special drive to book and penalize those callous motorists who deny and block passage of emergency vehicles, ambulances, fire tenders and Police control room vans.   Should there be prosecution and should not people desist from this on their own does not need any lengthy explanation !

Deepavali – the festival of Lights was celebrated grandly in the State. The incessant rains did dampen the spirits yet people were out celebrating the festival in style, wearing new clothes, bursting loads of crackers and visiting their friends and relatives

--- and all lived happily thereafter  (is an ending only in fairy tales)

The Emergency Services remain on tenterhooks throughout such festive occasions.  If you think, that it is the crackers and the possible fire or injuries out of bursting of cracker that causes most damage, you are far away from the mark…………….  It is the drunken driving that keeps posing a big worry to all Emergency Services..

Quite unfortunately, revelling in drinking is the form of enjoyment to some.. such people cause more harm to themselves and to Society at large..  One is at liberty to enjoy – but those inebriated often cause trouble and injuries to others by their negligent acts and callous driving in drunk condition.  There are reports that  Ambulances had a tough time on Wednesday (26th Oct 2011) in the City of Chennai ,not so much because of fire accidents as accidents but more  caused by drunk drivers.  Quoting  108 Service, TOI reports that  the Service received 1,500 more calls than they usually  get on a normal day. The number of cases involving vehicle accidents more than doubled in the days of festivity.  From an average of 350, it rose to alarming 700 approx.   The ambulance service got only 21 calls for burn injuries on Tuesday and 44 on Wednesday.

The police attributed this sudden jump in vehicular accidents to drunk driving.  Expecting this,  Police had conducted a special drive to crack down on drunk drivers and caught more people than usual. The Chennai City Traffic Police has 87 breath analysers that they use during weekends and such occasions. 

Chennai is a city bursting with population reportedly of 4.68 million and more millions of floating population who visit the city daily.  It is becoming virtually impossible for the Law Enforcement Agencies to keep things in check.  No body has the liberty to cause harm unto others even when they are unlikely to get caught.  

Next time,  Nay  – Every time – Drive Carefully – Have concern for other road users and give way to Emergency Vehicles.  In a civilized Society, care and concern for the Society is of utmost importance much above self.


With regards
S. Sampathkumar.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Boeing 737 Dreamliner’s maiden commercial flight : Haneda – Hongkong.

Innovations are what keeps One above their competitors and ‘plastic jet’ is one.

When we celebrated Deepavali in our backyards, (on Oct 26, 2011) something remarkable occurred elsewhere in Japan– the Boeing 787 flew its first commercial flight from Haneda to Hongkong.  .  The first 787 was officially delivered to launch customer All Nippon Airways in September 2011 and now is the first commercial flight.  Handea Airport is more better known as  Tokyo International Airport .  Tokyo has   airports  and Haneda is in Ōta, Tokyo, 14 km  south of Tokyo Station.  Haneda handles almost all domestic flights to and from Tokyo, while Narita International Airport handles the vast majority of international flights.  The inaugural flight was on air much later than the original plans – 3 years later. The airline  had auctioned six business-class seats on the inaugural flight, with one selling for $34,000 (£21,200) - about 13 times the price of a regular business-class ticket between the two Asian hubs.
The specialty was it was a Boeing 787 Dreamliner – a  long-range, mid-size wide-body, twin-engine jet airliner developed by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. The first 787 was unveiled in a roll-out ceremony on July 8, 2007, at Boeing's Everett assembly factory, by which time it had become the fastest-selling wide-body airliner in history with 677 orders.  It seats 210 to 290 passengers, depending on the variant. Boeing states that it is the company's most fuel-efficient airliner and the world's first major airliner to use composite materials for most of its construction.  It is claimed that  787 consumes 20% less fuel than the similarly-sized Boeing 767.    The 787 was designed to become the first production composite airliner, with the fuselage assembled in one-piece composite barrel sections instead of the multiple aluminum sheets and some 50,000 fasteners used on existing aircraft.  Industry reports state that Boeing initially priced the 787-8 variant at US$120 million, a low figure that surprised the industry but the reports were raised subsequently
It flew for All Nippon Airways Co Ltd (also known as Zennikku) one of the largest airlines of Japan, headquartered  at Shiodome City Center,  Minato, Tokyo, Japan. It operates services to 49 destinations in Japan and 35 international routes.  It has some regional airlines of which Air Next is  a low-cost carrier.   The  new aircraft would allow All Nippon Airways to open new routes to cities not previously served, such as Denver, Moscow, and New Delhi.   All Nippon Airways launched the 787 Dreamliner program with an order for 50 aircraft in 2004.
The Wednesday’s flight (26th Oct 11)  was a special charter and the normal services are to start next month.   Because of the materials used in construction - carbon fibre rather than aluminium - as well as new engines and aerodynamics, it is claimed to be more fuel efficient than similarly-sized models flying today.  That would be a big help for airlines coping with the high price of jet fuel, which is usually their biggest single cost.  ANA's chief Shinichiro Ito and Boeing vice-president Scott Fancher broke open barrels of sake with small hammers and passed it around to passengers as they boarded in Tokyo.  The plane has bigger windows, wider seats and aisles less.  The cabin hosts specially modified levels of air pressure and humidity to help avoid the headaches and nausea that can accompany a long-haul flight. The 787 also boasts 60 per cent lower noise levels and comes with anti-turbulence systems and even an advanced air-filtration system to eliminate unwanted odours. The overhead compartments are 30 per cent bigger than those on the Boeing 777, and comfortably take a suitcase.  Some technical specs are given as :
Seats: 210 to 250. ; Range: 8,800 to 9,400 miles. ; Wingspan: 197 feet. ; Length: 186 feet.; Height: 56 feet. ; Cruise speed: Mach 0.85, about 650 mph. ; Cargo volume: 4,400 cubic feet. ; Maximum takeoff weight: 502,500 pounds.; Engines: Rolls Royce or General Electric.
Boeing 737 has many orders in the pipeline and it is reported that  Thomson Holidays expects 12 in 2012; British Airways expects first of its 24 in 2013, Virgin Atlantic expects first of 15 in 2014.
Remember that I had posted in July 11 of the dreamliner landing at Delhi.  To read that post click :  here
On 13th July 2011,  American aircraft manufacturer Boeing's most-anticipated passenger jet - the 787 Dreamliner aircraft - landed in the Capital on its maiden visit  - for demo trials to Air India.  It was received with a water cannon salute at that time.    

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

Sushil Kumar wins 5 Crores in KBC 5 - Do you remember Koteeswaran

‘Naan ready – Neenga Readiya ?” – was the poser to audience by Sarathkumar….. not many years ago !  Do you remember the show “Koteeswaran” featuring the actor in Sun TV on the lines of ‘Kaun Banega Crorepathi’ ?  Koteeswaran is common name – a Hindu name after Lord Easwar; one denoting unlimited riches.  ‘koti’ is crore and the one named so is blessed to possess crores of values… way back in 1955 there was a Sivaji Ganesan / Padmini starrer produced by Sri Ganesh Movietone with background score by G Ramanathan. 

This is nothing about the Cinema – about the mind sport or more about a person from Bihar turning riches in the game.

Koteeswaran was a much hyped game show, a regional Quiz on the lines of KBC – remember was sponsored by Hindustan Lever…   in those days the advt rates for KBC  were stated to be  around Rs 3.5 lakh for 10 seconds.  Koteeswaran never succeeded the way KBC did – the poor tamil viewers were thus denied opportunity of becoming richer unlike their counterparts from cow belt.  There was another attempt - `Koteeswari',  initially intended to be a game show, a precursor of jackpot, hosted by Kushbu.  The prize money was a lowly lakh of rupees.

Perhaps South Indians can never win in KBC – there would always a Q on Hindi tinseldom, a sitter for most Indians and certain doom for people like us.  Then the one in mythology or local adaptation also would be a killer..

The 5th season of  game show "Kaun Banega Crorepati" is on and now  Sushil Kumar from Bihar has won the mega prize of Rs.5 crore.  The present episodes show the participant’s background, their homes, their locality often portraying their simplicity.  Sushil Kumar, is a  computer operator and tutor who earns Rs.6,000 per month.

For those uninformed, Kaun Banega Crorepati is an Indian reality/game show based on the UK game show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? – the 5th version which is now aired offers a maximum cash prize of Rs.5 crores (Rs.5,00,00,000/-)   The show first aired in 2000 and was hosted by Amitabh Bachchan. This was the first appearance of Bachchan on Indian television. On 5 August 2005, the show was restarted after a four-year hiatus with prize money enhanced to 2 crores.    It  abruptly ended in 2006 with Amitabh falling ill.  Star Television roped in Shahrukh Khan to host the third season of the show but was not a real success.  So the 4th season, it was Amitabh at the hot seat again (rather infront of the hotseat which was reserved for the select participants) calling computer jee, lock kiya jaye !! – but the prize money was decreased to 1  crore with a jackpot Q for 5  crore.  It was an instantaneous hit.

The fifth season which is currently on air started on 15 August 2011 on the Independence Day of India with the same format.  Bihar is one of the poorest states in India but its resident Sushil Kumar has turned rich.. Sushil Kumar has become a crorepathi (5 crore winner)

It perhaps was a better version of the hindi blockbuster - Slumdog Millionaire.  The winner who got married recently was reported as stating that he never thought in his wildest dreams that he would do this !  "This is what the common man is all about. This is what KBC is all about - given an opportunity, the common man has the strength the ability and the accumen to prove to the world that he is the best and second to none,"  stated the 69-year-old Bachchan, who hosts KBC.

Questions would look simple and answers too easily known when you see and judge it from outside… that is more because your failures are not counted and your answers are not valued… attach some value of gain or a loss to your decision then most men would fumble often on very ordinary Qs, answers to which most people would claim to know.   That way, there should have been  pulsating excitement on the set and the expectations on air at the venue for the crew and spectators should have been unimaginable.  It is the highest prize money ever  in the history of Indian television.  Tension would grip the viewer as each question would be answered and perhaps sometimes you start praying for the participant to know the right answer !!

The reports state that Sushil took more than long time in deciding on going for the last Q after crossing the 1 crore mark.  The defensive mindset would have forced ordinary mortals to walk away with the crore prize money; he eventually decided to go for it and after he answered and results were known, the  entire place just exploded. The family of Sushil Kumar, the contestant, not prone to any kind of public jubilation ran on to the floor of the set in uncontrollable joy and screams and tears of happiness, whilst the live audience were whooping it up on their feet with the loudest scream.  The episode, featuring Sushil  Kumar's win, will be telecast Nov 2, 2011.


In the first season Harshvardhan Nawathe from Mumbai won 1 crore; in 2004 Rahat Taslim from Jharkand won Rs.1 crore but quit before the jackpot question for Rs.5 crore.

In the show there is something known as ‘lifeline’ which the participant can use when one is unsure of the answer.  It is limited option.  The current lifelines in KBC 5 are :
Audience Poll: - showing bar graph format answers of all those audience
Phone a Friend:- contestant can ask a friend – to be answered in 30 seconds, where often friends fumble to answer within the given time.  
Ask an Expert: - provides the contestant to ask an expert via  live face-to-face audio and video connection.
Double Dip:  -   allowing the contestant to make 2 guesses at a Q.  

In the first episode there were the famous 50/50 which will remove 2 wrong answers off the 4 and Flip the Question by which the contestant can avoid the Q and take another Q from the Computer.  

Quiz is fun but can be boring at times with the time taken and with advertisements running in between…

With regards
S. Sampathkumar.