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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

India thrash Poland at Johannesburg


Happy news for India in Field Hockey.  At Johannersburg, In  2011 Men's Hockey Champions Challenge  India clouted  Poland 7-0 yesterday.    India will take on Pool B's fourth-placed Malaysia in the quarter-finals on Thursday. (01122011).  India and Belgium both finished with seven points after Belgium prevailed 2-1 over hosts South Africa, but Tuesday's comprehensive win gave India a much superior goal difference that clinched the top spot in Pool A.

For India, Tushar Khandekar and Yuvraj Walmiki scored two goals each.  India enjoyed complete domination against Poland, who have lost all their three preliminary league matches with huge margins.  Walmiki opened the scoring in the 19th minute when he deflected Manjeet Kulu’s long diagonal shot past the goalkeeper.Shivendra Singh then capitalised on a Danish Mujtaba pass for India’s second goal in the 23th minute.  At the other end, Poland were unlucky not to have scored two minutes later when Tomasz Gorny’s firm shot hit the post after beating the goalkeeper. Walmiki’s opportunistic 33rd-minute strike produced his second goal to give India a 3-0 lead at half-time and Manpreet Singh capitalised on SV Sunil’s pass in the 44th minute to continue the scoring spree in the second session. Birender Lakra slammed in a reverse drive in the 53rd minute before Khandekar scored a brace in the 55th and 70th minutes.

In the inaugural Champions Challenge tourney held at Kuala Lumpur in Dec 2001, India defeated South Africa in the finals to win the competition, thereby earning a spot in the  2002 Champions Trophy in Cologne, Germany.

Will India win again ?

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

India Wins a Thriller at Cuttack - India Vs WI - 1st ODI


Can it be called a thriller ?  - a low scoring match – what looked like a certain win – suddenly towards the end 15 dot balls – 2 wickets and the last wicket pair making some runs in the midst of high drama – all the ingredients of a thriller – India lost or perhaps WI allowed the match to slip out of it hands.

India does not often win a thriller but today at Barbati it was different.    Cuttack is the former capital city of Orissa.  The city has lineage to the Ganga dynasty  founded by King Ananta-Varman Chodaganga Deva (1078–1147), grandson of the Chola king Virarajendra Chola and nephew of emperor Kulothunga Chola I. Anantavarman is credited for having built the famous Jagannath Temple of Puri in Orissa.  The barabati fort was built by the Ganga dynasty and there lies the modern Barbati stadium.  The city is in the Mahanadi river delta and hence fertile. .Orissa is officially Odisha from Nov 2011 – the modern name of ancient Kalinga kingdom.   The Barbati stadium is the home ground of Orissa Cricket Team.  Way back in Jan 1982, it hosted the third One dayer in India against England, when India won comfortably. 

Today, Rohit Sharma was the man of the match; he anchored a good innings when all others struggled to score but left softly at a crucial juncture putting pressure on everybody.  Chasing a modest 211, India got off to a good start – lost Parthiv Patel at 31 at 4.1 – soon they were looking down the barrel losing 5 wickets for 59 in 11.2 overs (Parthiv, Gambhir, Kohli, Sehwag and Raina gone) A grand partnership of 83 between Ravindra Jadeja and Rohit saved them.  Ashwin added another 17, then there was another good partnership of 42 runs… between Rohit and Vinay Kumar. 
 
After 45 overs, Indians were totally on target – Rohit 72 not out; Vinay Kumar 18 not out – 11 runs required off 30 balls and to boot all – Martin came on to bowl.  46th over - First ball was not scored; second an innocuous one out side the leg – a straight one, hit the pad changed direction and found Rohit’s stumps. – no more runs in that over.

Still 11 required off 24 balls now – Darren Sammy 47th over and off the first ball – Vinay goes for a hit and hits it straight to mid off.  In walks Umesh Yadav to partner Varun Aaron – another maiden.  From 11 off 30, it is is 11 off 18 – the last wicket is more concern.   In fact Aaron refuses to run a single even when the ball went to fine leg and we are confused with the strange strategy. 

Martin continues to bowl his gentle breaks.   1-2-3 no runs – though it appears that Aaron is keen on taking a single ! 4th they a run a single – a run after 15 balls !! – another run by Umesh – an appeal for run out as Aaron just about manages to get back.  Now heading for a tight finish : 9 off 12 balls – the last pair battling out and both have little experience at this level.

First ball of Darren Sammy, Umesh gets a single;  second was wide and short, Aaron cracks it for a four behind square.  Third Aaron runs a single, turns at the bowler end, slips, gets back – comic ! – its all happening there. 4th no run as Umesh leaves it outside off.   Off the 5th the unexpected or the most expected happens, Umesh Yadav, a rabbit on drives, beats mid on and gets a boundary.

Indians have won !! 




sheer delight WI way - Andre Russel & Darren Bravo
courtesy : cricinfo.com

Hunter becoming hunted and the liability of the landowner !!

There are two sides to a coin – in India – there is a peculiar ‘please adjust’ mentality.. it is common when you travel in a reserved compartment – meant to seat 3 – you could 5 people seated nearby, with another passenger just trudging in and asking for some space – it is after all adjustment ! – you could find somebody violently getting into a queue or sneaking with a request – ‘pl ajust’…. Mostly it works without people coming to terms – most are used to this way of life……… but there are countries where negligence becomes a tort and then becomes a suit.

It is not easy to explain – ‘Tort’ in common law is a wrong – it involves a breach of a civil duty [not a contractual one] owed to somebody else.  It is not a crime, which by nature is against the society.  Some acts could be tort as also a crime – prosecution for a crime is that of the State.  Any party who is harmed by a tort may bring a law suit claiming compensation.  One who commits a tortious act is called a tortfeasor.   Through civil litigation, if an injured person proves that another person acted negligently to cause his injury, he can recover damages to compensate for his harm. Proving a case for negligence can potentially entitle the injured plaintiff to compensation for harm to their body, property, mental well-being, financial status, or intimate relationships.

Though still in its nascent stages in India, Liability Insurance is big business elsewhere, especially in USA.  It is the insurance of protecting the holder of the policy against the liabilities imposed by law suits and similar claims.  An easy to understand example, is the vehicle owner’s liability to those who get injured in any accident involving the vehicle.  Whilst assessment and indemnification are the only roles for an Insurer in General Insurance, in Liability, the Insurer has the duty to defend, duty to indemnify and in some duty to settle a reasonable claim.  There could be Public and Product liabilities and in US, a Commercial General Liability Policy (CGL) takes care of both.  

‘hunter becoming hunted’ is a known phrase –   Hunting  is the practice of pursuing any living thing, usually wildlife, for food, recreation, or trade.  Elsewhere in US, a hunter was seriously hurt when a tree stand he was using collapsed – he was left partially paralyzed after the fall.  He sued the owner of the property and tree stand !  

The hunter later realised from other sources that the person whom he had sued had given him the permission to use the tree stand had actually spoken to another person who owned the tree stand but not the land.   If somebody takes permission to use your land, gets injured and sues you for the fall – naturally, such act would spark fears on the landowners who would think more than twice or simply deny permission to use their land for hunting, any recreational activity or for any other purpose.  Upon knowledge of the circumstances, the hunter did drop the suit and his lawyer who had filed paper work reportedly told that the case was not about land access; it was about holding the owner of a faulty product accountable – the defective tree stand and not the land on which it was located !  Once he was aware that the owner of the land did not own the tree stand also, he dropped his suit !!.

There are also news that lawmakers are suggesting legislation aimed as much private land as possible remains open to hunters, hikers, and sporting vehicles.  The Law would not require the owners to keep the land safe for use or give warning of the hazards.    Whether the legislation reportedly would protect he landowner from liability when they get something in return for allowing people onto the property is not yet known.  Meanwhile there is further news that the hunter’s lawyers are trying to identify the actual owner of the tree stand and would consider filing a new claim.

Curious are the ways of people…….. 

Do provide your feedback on the articles that interest you

With regards
S. Sampathkumar

Monday, November 28, 2011

Ferry Services from Tuticorin to Colombo suspended [temporarily ?!?!?]

Subrahmanya Bharathiyar was a visionary – a Great Freedom fighter and the greatest among the Indian Poets wrote almost a century ago, of building a bridge to the island of Srilanka as also of running ships in the high seas !  He did not live longer to see these; infact did not live enough to see his dreams of freedom realize !! – he lived only for 39 years.

In June 2011, I posted about the launch of  passenger ferry service between Tuticorin and Colombo.  It was marked by a festive atmosphere at  Toothukudi (Tuticorin) the land  traditionally known for pearl fishing and shipping.    It was  the vessel  'Scotia Prince'  with 9 decks and a capacity of 1200 passengers and 300 tonnes of cargo.   The ferry  operated by Flemingo Liners, which ran as Nova Scotia in the Gulf of Maine, earlier.   

It is not good news – the vessel which left for the island capital on Nov 18, 11 has not returned since.   There are reports that the passenger ferry service has been stalled – though different reasons have been cited by different sources.  Some claim it to be a technical snag and that the services are likely to rescue in a week’s time. ??

The first of its kind in this part of the Region, ran into rough as not many have been patronizing.  Against its stated capacity of 1044, reportedly even on peak days, the carriage was not more than 350 passengers and perhaps its commercial viability was in question.  The numbers reportedly dwindled to about 150 passengers in the recent weeks.    Initially, it was patronized by traders who took bulk cargo like saris and other goods for sale in Sri Lanka. [kuruvi ??]  These traders took with them workers, most of them migrants from other states to carry additional cargo, which is permitted multi-fold at a cheaper price when compared to airlines.

There are also reports that the vessel was detailed at Colombo port fro non payment of dues to a local fuel supplier.  If you wonder, how a vessel not belonging to and not operated by the Lankans, could be detained – it is ‘action in rem’.    The detention is reported to be a result of a case filed in the Colombo Commercial High Court by a fuel supplier for non-payment of US$ 400,000.  The Operators were quoted as saying that  the supplier had gone to court even though they had paid an instalment only two days earlier.    In rem (Latin, power about or against "the thing") is a legal term describing the power a court may exercise over property (either real or personal) or a "status" against a person over whom the court does not have "in personam jurisdiction".  In rem is Latin for "against a thing". In a lawsuit, an action in rem is directed towards some specific piece of property, rather than being a claim for, say, monetary compensation against a person (which is an in personam or personal action). It focuses on proprietary title to property.

Some said that the suspension of services came even before the case was filed.   The SL sources quoting the state-run Ceylon Shipping Corporation  states  that the service was suspended for lack of passengers.   At the Indian side, it is stated that  connectivity at Thoothukudi end  was to  be enhanced with the recent introduction of a luxury bus service linking Thoothukudi port with Chennai, with timings to suit ferry passengers
Whether it was the detention, non viability, absence of patronage, connectivity, procedures, bunkering – or simply the business will – the services stand stalled now – with no communiqué on when it is likely to be resumed !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

Hail the spirit of Major Devender Pal Singh – Indian Blade runner.


Sure you have heard of Oscar Pistorius !   There are gruelling sports – Marathon would perhaps top that all – then there is half marathon – a  road running event of 21.0975 kilometres (13.1094 mi). It is half the distance of a marathon and usually run on roads.  Worldover it is fast becoming very popular.  There are many internationally recognised half marathon events and one such was held in Delhi on 27th Nov 2011. 

On a  chilly Sunday,  Delhiites came out in full support for the half marathon event sponsored by  Airtel.   Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia and Kenyan Lucy Kabuu won the title for men’s and women’s overall titles respectively.  Desisa covered 21.097 km in 59 minutes and 30 secs to receive the gold medal and $25,000 as winner.  Kenyan Kabuu won the race in an hour, seven minutes and four seconds while Sharon Cherop settled for silver in 1:07:08s.  From the Indians,  Suresh Kumar finished in the overall 20th spot (1:04:06s).  In the women’s it was  Lalita Babbar who was the fastest Indian with timing of 1:17:37s.

There was glam with cinestars including Bipasha Basu making it a celebration in the city brining together people of various backgrounds.   Anil Ambani, Rajeev Khandelwal were among the popular stars who participated.  Overall, 8,368 participants ran the 21.097 kms half marathon distance while the 7km Great Delhi Run was participated by 21,095 people.

Then there was Major Devender Pal Singh, whose spirits we all must salute ! – he finished the marathon with a timing of 2 hr 40 minutes and certainly deserves rich tributes !!  it is nothing about the timing – it is about finishing – it is about participating ……….. from this great person who perhaps saw death in close quarters.

Major DP Singh is a veteran of Kargil War and had his leg amputated after an injury in the war. July 15, 1999, is etched in Major Singh's memory. It was the day his front post was attacked by the Pakistan Army, and he was declared dead by the hospital. Thankfully, the doctors were able to revive him, but not before they amputated his leg. But the fighter in Major Singh has kept him afloat, and he now wants to better his own record as he aims for the full marathon and the Paralympics.   "The moment they said they want to amputate my leg I felt a strength from within. Now I want to lead by example and make everybody realise that it's all in the mind," Major Singh said.   From being declared dead at the Akhnoor hospital in the LoC to forming a support group for trauma victims, the man has been an example of courage under fire.

He has been taking part in Delhi's half marathon every year, becoming an inspiration to all war veterans.  Every marathon that Major DP Singh has run has helped improve his timing. The retired Major from the Dogra regiment lost his right leg during the Kargil war in 1999. He suffered 90 per cent disability as per the Army service conditions.    Since his debut at the Delhi half marathon where he took 3 hours and 40 minutes, to Sunday's half marathon which he clocked in 2 hours and 40 minutes, the Kargil veteran has come a long way. A regular day in Major Singh's life begins early as he hits the streets by 6 am, practising his daily fitness and running regimen. After three hours of practice, he goes to a private bank where he works as an Administrative Manager.   As Major DP Singh crossed the finishing line, it was not just a personal milestone for him, but it is through such strong performances that he wants to instill confidence in the victims of trauma and the differently abled people.  There were some adjustment problems for sure but that did not prove to be a deterrent for India's first blade runner Retd Major Devender Pal Singh who completed the Airtel Delhi-Half Marathon here on Sunday with a personal best timing of 2:45.00.

"There will never be an ideal situation for anything, whether it be sports, race or life. You have to cater for some sort of adjustment,"  "I wanted to prove that to myself. It is your mindset which shapes your vision. Your mind should control your body and not the vice-versa," – Singh is quoted as saying.  Singh is looking forward to run a full marathon and represent India in the Paralympics.


Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius (1986) is a South African sprint runner popularly known as the "Blade Runner" and "the fastest man on no legs", Pistorius, who has a double amputation, is the world record holder in the 100, 200 and 400 metres (sport class T44) events and runs with the aid of Cheetah Flex-Foot carbon fibre transtibial artificial limbs by Ossur. Although eligible to compete in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, Pistorius did not qualify for the South African team. Despite achieving third place and a personal best time of 46.25 seconds in the 400 metres in Lucerne, Switzerland, on 16 July 2008, this was short of the Olympic qualification time of 45.55 seconds. With his 400 m time of 45.07 on July 19, 2011, he achieved the "A" qualifying standard for the 2011 World Championships and 2012 Olympics. He participated in the 400m sprint and 4x400m relay, being eliminated in the semi-final of the 400m sprint (finishing last with a time of 46.19secs) and being part of South Africa's silver medal winning relay team, making him the first amputee to win an able-bodied world track medal, although he was not selected for the final.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

[with  inputs from TOI] [photos from videos of IBN Live]

India thrash South Africa – Champions Challenge Update

Team Anna is no longer the same force it was a few fortnights ago – is it their own downfall or craftily managed by some politicians can never be understood – now there are talks of a Lok Pal common for the Centre and States – we wait anxiously to see whether it would be yet another tale of broken promises !    The market has been mayhem and the small time investor would be heart broken – but there is always hope of a better day as indices are expected to perk up this week.  

At Wankhede, it was an exciting draw – normally draw and excitement do not go together.  It is common to hear that other sports do not get the recognition that they deserve – Cricket is closely followed – whether it be Test / ODI or T20 or IPL or even Ranji !! – how many of us are following or even know of the hockey tournament being held at Johannesberg presently.  

The organizing body in Dec 2010  announced that 8 teams – Argentina, Belgium, Canada, India, Japan, Malaysia, Poland and host South Africa would participate in the event.   There are two pools and India is in Pool A alongside Belgium, South Africa and Poland.   In our first match, we were held to a draw by Belgium.

It is the  2011 Men's Hockey Champions Challenge  -  the sixth tournament of the Hockey Champions Challenge for men being held  from November 26 to December 4, 2011 in Johannesburg, South Africa.  The Hockey Champions Challenge is an international field hockey tournament, played every two years. It was introduced in 2001 by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) in order to broaden hockey's competitive base at world level. India won the inaugural tourney held at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2001.

It was perhaps the same old story of not clinching the match letting it go in the dying seconds.  India conceded a goal in the penultimate minute on a penalty corner to allow Belgium to secure a 3-3 draw in their opening outing at the Champions Challenge hockey tournament in South Africa on 26/11/11.  Playing well,  India sprung to life with three second-half goals in the space of 12 minutes, but twice allowed the Belgians to draw level after falling behind. India's goals came from Rupinder Pal Singh (45th minute), Chingelnsana Singh (48th) and Vokkaliga Raghunath (57th) as they had a good chance to start with a victory, until a 69th-minute penalty corner rebound by Xavier Rekinger helped Belgium to a share of the points.  Belgium, among the few teams in this competition who have already secured their passage to the London Olympics, are one of the strongest sides.

Yesterday was a good day for Indians and they thrashed the host South Africa 7/4.  At Johannesburg, drag-flick specialist Sandeep Singh and striker S V Sunil scored two goals each as India dished out a fast-paced and entertaining hockey to beat South Africa 7-4.  Playing a fine, brisk game to match their robust rivals, India capitalised on every scoring opportunity to open a big margin after being levelled at 4-4 until the 55th minute in the Pool A league match.  Sandeep converted two penalty corners in the 14th and 35th minutes, while Saravanjit Singh (29th) and Tushar Khandekar (41st) scored one apiece.

With this victory, India now has  four points from two matches, the same as Belgium, who yesterday drew 3-3 with India and beat Poland 7-3

With regards
S. Sampathkumar.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thumping win for WI - what a result of Wankhede


A search on WI + cricket yielded a result of ‘WI makes a thumping win’ – how misleading it was !!

It was not the result of Wankhede but of the finals at Mirpur where WI women completed a thumping 130-run win against Pakistan Women in the final of the Women's World Cup Qualifiers.  West Indies chose to bat and put on 250 for 5, driven by a hard-hitting career-best 95 from Deandra Dottin. The top order all contributed, with cameos, opener Juliana Nero also hitting a half-century. While Dottin's knock included seven sixes and five fours, Nero steered the innings with a 98-ball 63. Pakistan's opener Qanita Jalil put the side on course with a fluent 53, but once offspinner Anisa Mohammed came on, the innings collapsed. Anisa too put in a career-best performance, claiming 7 for 14 in 8.3 overs to bowl Pakistan out for 120.

In the much sought after match at Wankhede, Mumbai (Test No. 2019 – 22nd to 26th Nov 2011) – a draw was the predicted result.  At draw of stumps yesterday, WI were 81 for 2 – 189 lead over all – perhaps a dull dreary draw was expected.  But it turned out to be exceptionally exciting match.  A great advertisement for Test cricket and a perfect result – this Test at Wankhede would be remembered for the tension and the great result.  Those who did not watch the match in the end may never understand how a ‘draw’ could be termed a great result.

Both the teams scored 724 : WI 590 & 134; India 482 & 242/9.   Ravichandran Ashwin, was the Man of the Match and Man of the Series, but  there were some who blamed him after the last ball.  The events unfolded in this manner when he faulted for a split second in going back for that non-existent single.  When the last over of the match was up – India needed 3 runs, WI needed 2 wickets and all the 4 results : an Indian Win, a WI win, a draw and a tie were in the realms of reality. 

The rookie Varun Aaron was at the strike and Fidel Edwards cleverly varied his pace without giving any run in the first three.  The 4th ball – misfield at midoff by Marlon Samuels and Indians scampered a single. 5th ball very cleverly  played by Ashwin without going for any swipe … clever because now only two results are possible – an Indian win or a draw.  6th ball was smashed to long on – was that Brathwaite ? – Ashwin not the quickest of the runner between the wickets, pushes himself, grounds his bat and a split second wait – Aaron is back running like a hare…   good throw to the keepers’ end – smart thinking by the fielder – Ashwin appeared a bit reluctant to go for the run – for a second you felt like blaming Ashwin – the hero who hit a century in the first, took 5 & 4 wickets and then made a good 14.  Perhaps his plan was that the throw would come to the non-striker’s end and if he stays till Aaron comes nearer, there is the possibility of that winning single.

Darren Sammy has reasons to smile after the way WI folded this morning.  From 78/3 it was 91/3 and then at 112 they lost Bravo & Samuels, at 129 the 8th wicket fell and at 134 9th and 10th – bowled out for 134 – leaving a target of 243.  Praveen Ojha had figures of 27-5-47-6 and Ashwin after that century and a 5 wicket haul in the first had  15.2-0-34-4

When India chased Sehwag made a good 60.   Gambhir was the first to go at 19, Sehwag at 101, Sachin almost immediately and at 165/5 when Laxman left and 189/6 when Dhoni left in 49.4 overs with 14 overs to go – West Indies fancied their chances more – but Ashwin’s partnership with Kohli and with Ishant Sharma inched closer to the target.
With that performance, there is no more room for Harbhajan who has been left out the Australian series.  The 17 member squad reads :

Squad: MS Dhoni (capt &wk), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Virat Kohli, R Ashwin, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron, Rohit Sharma, Pragyan Ojha, Praveen Kumar, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha, Zaheer Khan (subject to fitness).

No to legspinner Rahul Sharma – Pace attack of Ishant, Umesh Yadav, Aaron, Praveen kumar and Zaheer.   But what will happen if  Vinaykumar, Ravindra Jadeja or Rahul Sharma perform exceedingly well in the Onedayers against West Indies ?

Regards – S. Sampathkumar.





Immediately after the match I posted, that it was Brathwaite,  from whom the all important throw of the last ball of the match thundered in to the gloves of Carlton Baugh.

I stand corrected (first by my friend Rajaraman) that it was this player who originally started as a fast bowler, then kept wickets honing his reflexes.  He led Trinidad & Tobago and WI U19 sides before getting selected – Denesh Ramdin. 

A sensational draw at Wankhede – on the last ball of 3rd Test today.


A great advertisement for Test cricket and a perfect result – this Test at Wankhede would be remembered for the tension and the great result.  Those who did not watch the match in the end may never understand how a ‘draw’ could be termed a great result.

When the last over of the match was up – India needed 3 runs, WI needed 2 wickets and all the 4 results : an Indian Win, a WI win, a draw and a tie were in the realms of reality.  

The rookie Varun Aaron was at the strike and Fidel Edwards cleverly varied his pace without giving any run in the first three.  The 4th ball – misfield at midoff by Marlon Samuels and Indians scampered a single.  5th ball very cleverly  played by Ashwin without going for any swipe … clever because now only two results are possible – an Indian win or a draw.

6th ball was smashed to long on – was that Brathwaite ? – Ashwin not the quickest of the winners pushes himself, grounds his bat and a split second wait – Aaron is back running like a hare…   good throw to the keepers’ end – smart thinking by the fielder – Ashwin appeared a bit reluctant to go for the run – for a second you felt like blaming Ashwin – the hero who hit a century in the first, took 5 & 4 wickets and then made a good 14.  Perhaps his plan was that the throw would come to the non-striker’s end and if he stays till Aaron comes nearer, there is the possibility of that winning single.

Whatever it was India 9 wickets down, scores equal – no more overs – a Draw is the result.  Exactly 724 runs scored by both the teams – WI 590 & 134; India 482 & 242/9.

A great match indeed.

Regards – S. Sampathkumar.

What has dotterel & cryolite to do with agrounding of MV Rena ??



I have never heard of this bird before [not that I know many other birds]  - it is a dotterel !  Marine is ocean deep and offers tremendous opportunity to know more -here is something on a curious mineral – colourless and could disappear in water but more in news for the apprehension of its hazardous quality. 

It has been historically used as an aluminium ore and later in the electrolytic processing of the aluminium ore bauxite.  It is Cryolite (Na3AlF6, sodium hexafluoroaluminate) is an uncommon mineral identified with the once large deposit at Ivigtût on the west coast of Greenland, depleted by 1987.   The difficulty of separating aluminium from oxygen in the oxide ores was overcome by the use of cryolite as a flux to dissolve the oxide mineral(s). Pure cryolite itself melts at 1012 °C (1285 K), and it can dissolve the aluminium oxides sufficiently well to allow easy extraction of the aluminium by electrolysis.   Cryolite occurs as glassy, colorless, white-reddish to gray-black prismatic monoclinic crystals.  It is translucent to transparent with a very low refractive index of about 1.34, which is very close to that of water; thus if immersed in water, cryolite becomes essentially invisible.


I had earlier posted about ‘MV Rena’ running aground on the Astrolabe reef in New Zealand.  Shipping sailing would not make news – but their coming to standstill through running around would ! – the waves of a sea would not rest – the acts of salvage would only conclude when all interests including the lives, cargo and the vessel is towed to safety and perhaps made to sail again.    Feared to be NZ’s worst maritime environmental disaster,  on 5th Oct 2011 MV Rena sailing clear weather from Napier to Tauranga ran aground.  The container ship owned by the Greek shipping company Costamare Inc., through one of its subsidiary companies and chartered by the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) was carrying 1,368 containers, some of which were reportedly hazardous materials and  1,700 tonnes of heavy fuel oil and 200 tonnes of marine diesel oil.  Upon the ship listing,  oil slick threatened wildlife and the area's rich fishing waters.

After days of hardwork, the oil could be emptied and the removal of first container from the vessel was considered a landmark.  Close to 100 containers were reportedly moved  out of the vessel and the salvage  vessel Go Canopus is stated to be  still connected to the Rena, monitoring its condition.   Close to 1200 containers were on board and more than 2 dozens of them were containing dangerous goods.    The heroes in salvage playing a key role are Tug Waka Kume owned by Port of Auckland and tanker Awanuia, which took out the vessel’s oil  - these two reportedly have returned to Auckland after completing an arduous task.  It was not their regular job, but they strove manfully – every one knew what was expected but only when accomplished, it counts.  They deserve all the appreciation for the job well done. 

The dangerous goods containers include 21 containers of Cryolite, which were not declared to MNZ on the ship’s original manifest. Investigations by Maritime NZ are underway as to why this occurred.   The total 953 tonnes of solid waste has been removed from the coastline and is being processed at a specially prepared site at Hampton Downs in the Waikato.  NZ reports that 17  of the 60 rare New Zealand dotterels kept at the Wildlife Response Centre were released back into their natural habitat.  The New Zealand Dotterel  is an endangered species found only in certain areas of New Zealand.  They are  shorebirds and are usually found on sandy beaches and sandspits or feeding on tidal estuaries.  They are largely pale-grey on the back,  and can  be hard to see, because their colouring merges effectively with the background of sand, shells and dune vegetation in their environment.

Now when only the containers remain to be removed, the news of 21 containers holding dangerous goods including cryolite has caused furore.    It is reported that NZ authorities could  consider legal action as hazardous containers on stricken boxship were not all declared.  The Insurer of  Mediterranean Shipping Company, which chartered the vessel, sparked a furore after admitting that there were a further 21 containers on board loaded with potentially hazardous chemicals. It is now known that there were 490 tonnes of cryolite, wrapped in one-tonne plastic bags inside containers on board the Rena.   Government body Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) warned that the fact that the additional 21 containers were not declared could have legal repercussions.  It is stated that when information was sought immediately after agrounding the contents of these 21 containers were not declared as dangerous goods in the original manifest provided to MNZ, as required under the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code.

In containerized cargo, there are always the innate risks of misdeclaration of cargo contained – of the nature of its contents as also its weight – both of which could pose severe problems to the vessel and the handlers at various point of time.    

The Carrier - Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC)  is quoted as responding  that the extra information  on hazardous cargo was discovered following an audit by the parties involved in the shipments that have now been identified as hazardous cargo on the grounded container ship Rena.  This information led to the re-classification of the hazardous and dangerous nature of some of the containers shipped,'' it said.

Majestic when sailing – its stoppage has garnered Worldwide attention – caused shore washing and cleaning efforts along Bay of Plenty coastlines, tough operations in shifting oil to tankers and container recovery operations in windy and tough conditions – all because of this agrounding..

With regards
S. Sampathkumar

Remembering the heroes of 26th Nov (the day when Mumbai, nay India was under siege)

As the day comes, its bitter memories stark one’s mind – a day when the Nation was held to ransom.  We grimaced, those affected were resilent, we all expected that some concrete thing would happen to ensure Justice for the victims, solace for the Nation and some tough action preventing recurrence.  Ajmal Kasab challenges, goes through all the procedure, figures of expenditure in maintaining him keeps going up in crores… but where is the stern action  ??
Remembering the heroes of 26th Nov (the day when Mumbai, nay India was under siege).  

India, as a Nation is given to kindness – we don’t believe in the theory of ‘Retributive Justice’ – here punishments are not proportionate response to crime.  There is always talk of ‘innocents should never be punished – in the process allowing hardcore criminals escape unscathed’ – the legal system is not intended to bestow satisfaction or phychological benefits to those aggrieved – whether an individual, a group, society or the Nation at large.  Hence, criminals and militant groups in whatever name can even challenge the Nation – targetting common man and even the Parliament !!

There are times, when the common man who is always called upon to bear all the troubles and tribulations feels frustrated but is helpless – in such times, one certainly feels, that ‘let the punishment fit the crime’ is ethically correct.  A normal person committing a crime in a fit of rage, might deserve support from the legal system – but should the State go on extending all benefits to somebody who waged a war against the Nation remains unanswered – but the benefits are too visible through the practice !!  - there need not be the code of Hammurabi but certainly there has to be stricter interpretation of even the existing Law. 

Today – 26th Nov –  a day when Mumbai was under siege 3 years back.  On this day [26th Nov 2008] there were coordinated shooting and bombings across Mumbai by Islamic attackers who came from Pakistan.  The only assailant alive -  Ajmal Kasab later claimed upon interrogation that the attacks were conducted with the support of Pakistan's ISI.  In an attack spanning 4 days,  164  Indian lives were lost and 308 were wounded’; and that includes some top Police men and Military who valiantly fought and but for whom the loss would have been of a much higher magnitude.  Eight of the attacks occurred in South Mumbai: at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the Oberoi Trident, the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital,the Nariman House Jewish community centre,the Metro Cinema,and  more.   India's National Security Guards (NSG) conducted Operation Black Tornado to flush out the remaining attackers; it resulted in the death of the last remaining attackers at the Taj hotel and ending all fighting in the attacks.

Leopold Café


Ashok Kamte – one of the many valiant.

The attacks were widely condemned, the Indian government said that the attackers came from Pakistan, and their controllers were in Pakistan. On 7 January 2009, Pakistan's Information Minister Sherry Rehman officially accepted Ajmal Kasab's nationality as Pakistani.  A trial court on 6 May 2010 sentenced Ajmal Kasab to death on five counts.

Apart from the valiant officers and jawans who lost their lives, there were Police officers and common men, who were injured badly getting bullet injuries.  Some reports do suggest that Govt. had not taken care of them in the best manner possible.   While people have lost track of the crores spent to keep the lone attacker alive, should not the Government spend more on its heroes who contained the damages and lost their lives in the process !  Is it not the duty of the Government to ensure that infrastructure is made better ensuring prevention of any recurrent attacks ?  Should not security be beefed clearly conveying message that ‘no more of attacks’ would be tolerated ?  Has anything of any sort happened ?  Is not our coastline still vulnerable, despite what was demonstrated so badly on that day. 

We say that common public have shorter memory – but what are the Rulers doing ?  Only relishing that ?  perhaps – if it is a stray incident, it would remain  fresh in the minds of everybody and Govt. would be keen to avert such disasters –  Looking back 26th Nov was perhaps not unique – there have been so many acts of terrorism – may  not be of this magnitude – no, it is not unique to Mumbai even !!

In 1993 (12/3/1993) a series of 13 bomb explosion shook Mumbai (then Bombay) – resulting in more than 250 fatalities.  The attacks were reportedly coordinated by Dawood who cosily lives in Pakistan.  – after the 26th Nov, again in 2011 – this time 13th July 2011 – three bombs exploded at different locations in Mumbai at  Opera House, Zaveri Bazaar, and Dadar West localities. So, bombings go on, people will talk for some time and perhaps something bigger or otherwise turns away their attention !!!

We ape the Western World, especially US – we take pride in eating hotdogs, sandwiches, pizza and coke.. US was also under attack – Sept 11, 2001 – was a black day for them when four passenger jets were hi-jacked and crashed into the Twin towers, Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania.  Suspicion quickly fell on al-Qaeda, and in 2004, the group's leader Osama bin Laden, who had initially denied involvement, claimed responsibility for the attacks.  Cleanup of the World Trade Center site was completed in May 2002, and the Pentagon was repaired within a year. Numerous memorials were constructed, including the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York,  and in an adjacent place  another World Trade Center is estimated for completion in 2013.  US takes pride in its Operation Neptune Spear which eliminated Osama bin Laden at a far off place from US (in Pakistan) on 2nd May 2011. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Sachin, Sachin ranting the air – Wankhede ; and Joginder injured.

The Sports facility established in 1974 with Garware Pavilion End and Tata End is in news – when radio commentary was the only source, the captivating voice would describe – ‘ Gentlemen, it is a warm sunny day at  …. Left arm over the wicket runs in from…… end with thousands roaring - …. is taking strike’
It is the famous cricket stadium in Mumbai – the  Sheshrao Krushnarao Wankhede Stadium built when there was dispute between  the Cricket Club of India, which owns the Brabourne Stadium, and the Mumbai Cricket Association over the allocation of tickets for cricket matches.  At the initiative of S. K. Wankhede, a politician and the secretary of the Mumbai Cricket Association, MCA built the new stadium in South Mumbai near the Churchgate station. It was built in six months and opened in time for the final Test between India and the West Indies in 1975.  The stadium was recently renovated in the build up to host the 2011 Cricket World Cup, in which India defeated Sri Lanka by 6 wickets.
The venue hosted its first Test match on Jan 1975 – the final match of a tantalizing series of Clive Lloyd’s mighty WI touring India.  The series was 2-2 at that time. West Indies won that match by 201 runs.  Clive Lloyd made 242 and remained not out in the first innings.  India lost Farokh Engineer without scoring (was that his last match ?) – Sunil Gavaskar made a fluent 86 while the best fielder India has ever produced – Eknath Solkar made his only century in that match.  

One would also remember the famous win in the inaugural T20 WC in 2007 – Misbah attempted scoop landing in the hands of Sreesanth at short fine leg would remain frozen in memory of all cricket lovers.
In tune with the recent trends of empty stands, the MCA had made an announcement in advance offering large discounts to the fans. Daily tickets for the Test were priced as low as Rs 50 (East Stand) and season tickets for vantage viewing points like the North Stand (behind the bowler's arm) and the Vithal Divecha Pavilion (midwicket) were slashed to Rs 500 and Rs 600 respectively. The ticket windows were near the ground, making it easier for fans to purchase them.  By contrast the prices were high in the recent One dayer against England and stadium was more than half empty.  Now, crowds have come – not only lured by the pricing strategy but by the expectation of watching a spectre of Sachin’s 100th ton.  The Indian fan is looking forward to that and perhaps it could happen in the pre-lunch session itself !!
-                     --  that last ball in the T20 WC at Johannesburg was bowled by Joginder Sharma,  who rose to prominence with that single over and played for CSK in IPL.  There are reports that he was injured  in a road accident in Delhi this morning but is now stable. He had sustained a head injury in the accident, which required surgery. He is reportedly out of danger.
With regards – S. Sampathkumar