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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Polio drop administration..... Polio eradicated in India

Do you know Albert Sabin and his achievement ? Last week at the Toll booth of Rajiv Gandhi Salai (OMR) in Chennai, the AC bus slowed down…. Two staff nurses entered the bus – no, not for travelling – one of them loudly enquired whether any children below the age of 5 was travelling in the bus….they were ready with polio drops… ! exemplary !!
Photo courtesy : Hindu businesline
In Chennai and other parts of Tamilnadu, the Govt had arranged for administration of polio drops to all children below the age of five on January 19 and February 23. The drops were administered at government hospitals, primary health care centres, polio drop booths attached to noon meal centres and many other public places.  

The news for celebration is 13th Jan 2014 marked three years since its last case of polio was reported, a major public health success for a country that until recently accounted for most of the world’s cases. “Proud day for all of us as Indians,” Junior Home Minister RPN Singh wrote on Twitter. “India is polio-free for three years.” That is the official time period without a case for a country to be considered free of a disease by the World Health Organization (WHO). The achievement was due to a massive immunisation programme, Health Ministry spokeswoman said, adding that the WHO was to formally certify India polio-free on 11 February after checking the data. “India was once thought to be the most difficult country in which to achieve polio eradication,” the Global Polio Eradication Initiative said in a statement.

The global eradication of poliomyelitis is a public health effort to eliminate all cases of poliomyelitis (polio) infection around the world. The global effort, begun in 1988 and led by the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and the Rotary Foundation, has reduced the number of annual diagnosed cases.   
The progress made by India in eradication of Polio is unprecedented.  Reports state that the last case of polio due to wild poliovirus in the country was detected on 13 January 2011 in Howrah district of West Bengal. This monumental progress in polio eradication brings India and the South-East Asia Region of WHO, comprising 11 countries (including India), very close to the polio-free certification.

It has taken  nearly 16 years, since it began its efforts to eradicate polio, to finally get rid of the wild polio viruses from the country. The success of polio eradication in India is a tribute to the strong commitment and leadership of the Government of India and the State governments.  Reaching the vast population with diverse socio-cultural practices, overcoming the physical and social barriers, achieving high vaccination coverage in all areas despite weaknesses in health systems and ensuring coverage of the most vulnerable newborns and migrant populations have been the major challenges that have been overcome by the polio programme in India. Heightened surveillance for poliovirus has been the backbone of the polio eradication initiative in India.

While tremendous progress has been made over the past many years and sustained over the past three years, India remains at a risk of polio resurgence through a distant or cross-border importation of the wild poliovirus from countries with ongoing transmission. India is fully aware of the present global situation of polio eradication. As a polio risk mitigation strategy, 102 vaccination posts have been identified along the bordering areas of Pakistan, Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Bhutan to ensure continuous vaccination of children under the age of five years crossing these borders. The country is also seeking polio vaccination of all travellers coming to India from the polio endemic and recently infected countries before their departure to India.

Albert Bruce Sabin was a Polish American medical researcher best known for having developed an oral polio vaccine. Sabin was born in Białystok, Russian Empire (today Poland), to Jewish parents; in 1922 he immigrated with his family to America. In 1930 he became a naturalized citizen of the United States and changed his name to Sabin.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.



windmills of Muppandal .... and World's most powerful WEG at Østerild, Denmark

As you travel from Tirunelveli towards Kanyakumari, you pass through many villages…. Muppandal is one…. but is far different … there is the legend of Tamil poetess Avvaiyar associated with this place ~ that she called the Three Emperors (Moo Vendargal) – Chera, Chozha and Pandiyas ~ the Kings who had come for attending the marriage erected mantaps (pandals) in the village and hence they are now called Muppandal (meaning the 3 mantaps).  

The once impoverished village on hilly track is now famous as it harnesses wind energy in a big way.   In the area there are thousands of windmills of various hues and sizes – 250 KW; 750KW; 950KW and 1650KW to name a few.  



Miles away lived the Vikings, seafaring north Germanic people who raided, traded, explored, and settled in wide areas of Europe, Asia, and the North Atlantic islands from the late 8th to the mid-11th centuries. The Vikings employed wooden longships with wide, shallow-draft hulls, allowing navigation in rough seas or in shallow river waters.  Østerild is a small town in Thy with 653 inhabitants ~ wiki mentions that there is one grocery store, tavern, school, and a few other small businesses.  It is in Denmark,  officially the Kingdom of Denmark bordered by Sweden, Norway and Germany.  Denmark is associated with wind energy.

Wind energy is the kinetic energy that is present in moving air. The amount of potential energy depends mainly on wind speed, but is also affected slightly by the density of the air, which is determined by the air temperature, barometric pressure, and altitude. The Danish Government decided in February 2011 to build a new prototype wind turbine test center near Østerild in Jutland. Test Centre Østerild was established during 2012 and allows for erection of wind turbines of up to 210 and 250 meters.   

Vestas is a renowned  global energy company dedicated exclusively to wind energy - improving business case certainty and reducing the cost of energy for our customers. Vestas is more than a century old and have developed great expertise in the wind energy technology. 

Vestas and Denmark are in news now as : Vestas’ first V164-8.0 MW prototype wind turbine has successfully produced its first kWh of electricity, making it the worlds’ most powerful turbine in operation.  “We have now completed the production, testing, and installation of the V164-8.0 MW as planned, thanks to the team’s intense effort during a time when Vestas has reduced its investments and lowered fixed costs. We now look forward to evaluating the turbine’s performance on site,” says Vestas’ Chief Technology Officer Anders Vedel.

The turbine, installed at the Danish National Test Centre for Large Wind Turbines in Østerild, will be closely monitored in the coming months to further validate reliability and energy output. The turbine’s installation is a key milestone towards ensuring maximum business case certainty for customers investing in offshore wind. The V164-8.0 MW will be the flagship product for the offshore joint venture between Vestas and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

The V164-8.0 MW turbine is the world’s most powerful, with one unit capable of supplying electricity for 7,500 average European households. With a 140-metre tower, the turbine at Østerild has a tip height of 220 meters. The swept area of more than 21,000 m2, equal to three football pitches, increases the amount of energy captured, while reducing operational and maintenance costs by enabling customers to run fewer, larger turbines, with fewer service visits. It is claimed that given the necessary pipeline of orders, serial production of the V164-8.0 MW turbine are likely to begin in 2015.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
28th Jan 2014.
News courtesy : www.vestas.com

Windmill photos (other than watermarked Sampspeak)  “Courtesy of Vestas Wind Systems A/S”.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Odisha sandmining scam... mango people forget one scam after other...

Palar which rises in Nandi Hills, Kolar flows into Tamilnadu and finally joins Bay of Bengal …. it runs near Kanchipuram  ~ I have not seen water flowing in this river (perhaps in those days when my father had to cross it daily for coming to school, there was much of water to be crossed )………   In the Palar river basin, one can see – trucks, tractors and bullock-carts – all carting river sand…..most of that is illegal.. illegal sandmining is rampant….. you replace Palar with other river, the situation is more or less the same.. !!  ~ there are mining sites – hundreds of men and women work with shovels at a frenzied pace.

Sand mining is a practice  of extracting sand from an open pit.  Sand is mined an dredged from beaches, inland dunes, ocean beds and river beds.  Sand is used in manufacturing as an abrasive, for rich minerals contained and for construction purposes. 

The first sensational revelation in the Bofors scandal was made in 1987, more than 25 years ago, when the Swedish National Radio reported that bribes had been paid to top Indian politicians to secure the howitzer gun contract.  Years have passed by, none of the principal beneficiaries of the illegal payoffs have been convicted, and not a single paisa of the Rs 64 crore was ever recovered…. It has been a story of massive cover-up and deception. It cost the ruling party the government….. Opposition parties extracted much political mileage from it – VP Singh campaigned on the anti-corruption platform in 1989 and won, did precious little in convicting or recovering …  the Q got away so easily aided and abetted by successive Governments. 

About half a century and a decade ago … in 1957 there was the Mundhra scam…. Where Mundhra got the Govt owned LIC to invest Rs.1.24 crores in the shares of six troubled companies belonging to him.   The investment was done under governmental pressure and by-passed the LIC’s investment committee.

Today you may think that to be a paltry amount…. Decades later came the Bofors scandal – which ought not be weighed in monetary measures alone as it related to purchases of ammunition for the Indian army. The scandal reportedly implicated Congress of receiving kickbacks from Bofors AB for winning a bid to supply India's 155 mm field howitzer. The Swedish company reportedly paid  640 million (US$10 million) in kickbacks to top Indian politicians and key defence officials.

Subsequently we have heard of bigger scams each fading the earlier ones…. Now comes the Odisha illegal mining scam amounting to Rs. 59,203 crore and illegal iron and manganese ore amounting to 22.80 crore tonnes  extracted illegally from the state for almost a decade, the Shah Commission report is quoted as saying. It has demanded a CBI investigation into the matter, warning that too many powerful people, businessmen from Odisha and outside the state, bureaucrats and politicians are involved.  The Hindu mentions of accessing more parts and contents of the report which the government has classified as secret and asked the Supreme Court not to put out.  There is demand for a CBI inquiry not only in to the illegal mining, but also the attendant railway freight scam and linked evasion of excise duty by the mining companies. It is one of the most scathing reports to come out of the stable of Justice M.B. Shah Commission on illegal iron and manganese ore mining as yet and it holds businessmen, state government and the centre, all responsible for the systematic exploitation of natural resources and linked rampant corruption.

According to an article in The Hindu – the report says, “All modes of illegal mining a are being committed in the state of Odisha. There is a complete disregard and contempt for law and lawful authorities on the part of many among emerging breed of entrepreneurs, taking undue advantage of country's natural non renewable assets and resources for export earnings.” It adds, “The pursuit of super profits has absolutely drained them of any feeling for fellow human beings/for nation and the moral values. The law has been made helpless because of its systematic non implementation.” The Shah Commission goes on to list each company that mined thousands of crores of ore in blatant disregard of all mining and environmental laws. In some cases it notes that mines ran illegally for more than two decades.

“The Hindu had earlier reported the gross violation of environmental laws elaborated in the report. At this rate all the iron ore reserves in the state would be exhausted in 30 years. The miners have made a killing out of the illegal exploitation of natural resources, the Commission writes. Even while the miners have turned billionaires, the commission notes how the labour- the displaced tribals - are ill-treated. “Mine owners do not pay more than minimum wages to the labourers even though their income is more than billions of rupees. They have no idea or intention of paying fair wages. Labourers are exploited and the object of seeing that locals benefit is frustrated.” The panel also records how the current system of allotting mining rights is based on political discretion of both the state and the centre, the open to corruption.

Public memory is short-lived as one new scam after the other wipes out  all memories of the previous scam….. poor mango people continue to live in banana republic..


With regards – S. Sampathkumar

extinction and the vanishing Black Berry

An interesting article in - www.huffingtonpost.com  - attracted me and forms the nucleus of this post…………. In the US Scenario, the article asks : Did you know that Volvo is struggling to sell cars in America? Or that the sandwich chain Quiznos is in serious debt? … it lists out nine surprising companies that could actually be on the verge of dying ~ one of them we do use and hence this post.. not long ago, may be half a decade, it was a status symbol of entrepreneurs and many Corporates also provided it for their executives.

In biology, extinction is the end of an organism, normally a species. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of the last individual of the species, although the capacity to breed and recover may have been lost before this point.  Through evolution, new species arise through the process of speciation—where new varieties of organisms arise and thrive when they are able to find and exploit an ecological niche—and species become extinct when they are no longer able to survive in changing conditions or against superior competition. A typical species becomes extinct within 10 million years of its first appearance !!!! although some species, called living fossils, survive with virtually no morphological change for hundreds of millions of years. Most extinctions have occurred naturally, prior to Homo sapiens walking on Earth. Mass extinctions are relatively rare events; though there are some isolated incidence.

For long blackberry was only a fruit….. much like spinach, raisins, apples, plums and grapes, blackberries are rich in bioflavonoids and Vitamin C, but other nutritional benefits include a very low sodium count and having only 62 calories to a cup.  The dark blue colour ensures blackberries have one of the highest antioxidant levels of all fruits.  Consumption of blackberries can help to promote the healthy tightening of tissue,which is a great non-surgical procedure to make skin look younger. Prolonged consumption also helps keeps your brain alert, thereby maintaining clarity of thought and good memory.  In Canada, blackberries are seasonal fruits and from Canada  - came BlackBerry Limited, (formerly known as Research In Motion Limited (RIM)),  a Canadian telecommunication and wireless equipment company best known as the developer of the BlackBerry brand of smartphones and tablets.

Right before the iPhone was announced, BlackBerry phones were the most popular mobile devices on the market. They truly dominated in the "cool" factor, with every celebrity owning one. The later day  revolutionary touchscreen smartphones turned the Blackberry into a stale and antiquated device. Elsewhere a report states that in New York, the BlackBerry has become the mildly embarrassing symbol of a job as a lawyer or a banker, usually worn with an apology and protestations by the owner that they “also have an iPhone. Look!."  In Silicon Valley, it is worse: BlackBerries are regarded as museum pieces. People would be no less dismissive if you turned up to lunch with a 1980s-style brick, than if you pulled one of the Canadian handsets out of your jacket pocket. What’s the point in them, when there are so few BlackBerry apps available?  In 2012, when Marissa Mayer wanted to revamp Yahoo!’s staid image, she jettisoned  BlackBerries in favour of Apple’s sleek and fashionable alternatives.

All this at a time when the US Defence Department will give the company a new lease of life, or at least a reprieve in its cycle of decline.  Reviewers and analysts say that RIM needs to revamp its image, so that BlackBerry gains traction among the cool kids before its rivals work out how to make their handsets properly secure. All in a market, where for selling a luxury brand of car, there are models, stationed next to the vehicles as it they are accessories, all short skirts, big hair and six-inch heels. “Buy this car! You will get a sexy girl!” is the message. As marketing tools go, it is not terribly sophisticated.


In January 2013, Blackberry released its latest device -- a touchscreen smartphone. Even with popular integrated apps, the product failed to take off. Their sales have crumbled, and in September 2013, the company pre-announced second quarter earnings, reporting that they'd missed estimates by nearly 50 percent. They also announced they were cutting 4,500 workers and getting out of the consumer business, sparking up rumors that they would merge or sell the company. The Department of Defense recently offered BlackBerry some much needed good news, however, announcing that they would buy 80,000 of the company's devices.

Somebody said, what goes up will come down one day and if were to be a cycle wheel, the reverse of it is also true.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
27th Jan 2014


PS: inputs taken largely from huffingtonpost article.

Republic Day Parade - display of might ... Chief Guests at the Parade

64  years back, a salute of 21 guns and the unfurling of the Indian National flag by Dr. Rajendra Prasad heralded the historic birth of the Indian Republic on January 26, 1950; that significant day was  894 days after our country became a dominion following withdrawal of British Rule. Since then, every year the day is celebrated with great pride and happiness all over the nation. The transition of India from a British colony to a sovereign, secular, and democratic nation was indeed historical. It was a long journey of around two decades that started with the conceptualisation of the dream in 1930 to its actual realization in 1950.

The seeds of a republican nation were sowed at the Lahore session of the Indian National Congress at the midnight of 31st December 1929. Those present in the meeting took a pledge to mark January 26 as "Independence Day" in order to march towards realizing the dream of complete independence from the British. The Lahore Session paved way to the Civil Disobedience movement. It was decided that January 26, 1930 would be observed as the Purna Swaraj (complete Independence) Day. Many Indian political parties and Indian revolutionaries from all over the country united to observe the day with honour and pride.

On Republic Day, flag hoisting ceremonies and parades by armed forces and school children are held in different parts of the country. The grandest and most important of these parades is held at Rajpath in New Delhi, which showcases a multi-hued image of the country's rich cultural heritage and military prowess. This parade is presided over by the President of India.   One of the main functions of the Republic Day Parade is to pay tribute to the martyrs who have sacrificed their lives for the country and to confer bravery awards on military persons, citizenry and children for showing courage in the face of adversity.

The Republic Day Parade is a grand and pompous event.   At Delhi, apart from the parade armed forces, police and other forces;  display of various tanks, missiles and other equipment added to the arsenal of the military,  vibrant parade comprising tableaux from different States and cultural dances;  - children who have won National Bravery Awards ride past the spectators on colourfully decorated elephants. The Republic Day Parade is concluded by dare devil motor cycle riding and a flypast by Indian Air Force fighter jets over Rajpath, as spectators look on with their hearts filled with pride.

Every year, in the Parade,  India has been hosting a Head of State or Government of another country as the state guest of honour for Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi..  Before India fought wars with China and Pakistan, leaders from these countries were invited as state guests for the Republic Day celebrations. Interestingly, Pakistan Food and Agriculture Minister - Rana Abdul Hamid,  was the second state guest from that country for Republic Day in 1965, a few days after which the two countries went to a war. Countries which have been invited multiple times include India's neighbours (Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Mauritius), defence allies (Russia/USSR, France and Britain), trade partners (Brazil) and NAM allies (Nigeria, Indonesia and erstwhile Yugoslavia). France and Bhutan have the distinction of being the guest of honour for the maximum (four) number of times followed by three visits each from Mauritius and USSR/Russia. This year, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was the Chief Guest.


Photo courtesy :  deccanchronicle.com
On the eve of RD,  the President, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, addressed the Nation on the eve of the 65th Republic Day conveying warm greetings to all  citizens. He conveyed  special greetings to members of our Armed Forces, Paramilitary Forces and Internal Security Forces.

Live coverage of the Delhi Parade in Doordarshan attracts good audience for a couple of decades now ….. this year Doordarshan for the first time beamed the live telecast of the ceremony from Rajpath in superior quality High Definition (HD) transmission and also streamed it on YouTube. In another first, hearing impaired people were also able to follow the entire live coverage with the help of sign language commentary on three channels — DD News, DD Bharati and DD Urdu.  Reports state that the telecast on YouTube had more than 60,000 hits by 3 p.m., with many Indians living abroad expressing their happiness in the comments section for being able to see the parade live.  The crystal clear picture quality of the parade arrived on computers, laptops and mobile phones, barely a few seconds behind the actual proceedings. 

Sure all of you celebrated the day.. we did hoisting the National Flag and singing patriotic songs !  Jai Hind..


With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Celebrating our Republic Day .. 2014


Today, 26th Jan – a great day for the Nation… and the special Google doodle..

The Nation celebrates its 65th Republic Day today..


Saluting Mother India

- S. Sampathkumar

Fancy Dress Competition - SYMA Childfest 2013-14

25th Jan 2014…. Most roads in Triplicane led to NKT Girls Hr Sec School, the venue for -   Goldwinner – SYMA Child Fest 2012-2013 – the grand Inter-school competitions being organized by SYMA.

There were Bharatiyars, Vivekanandars, Sri Andal, many varied animals, varied nature, Organic farmer Dr Nammalwar …… and many more fancied ones …. All eagerly reaching the venue…

Children are our future and inculcating good qualities in them and making them responsible citizens is the responsibility of the Society.  SYMA all along has been striving betterment of society  and imbibing discipline, commitment, mental strength, self-consciousness and other virtues.  Child Fest is one such attempt aimed at imbibing in them the skill sets, confidence and more importantly competitiveness. Child Fest provides a competitive platform for showcasing talent in various fields.

For long, I personally thought that Fancy Dress is a competitions where, mothers try to outsmart their friends and others in making up their children. Yesterday at SYMA Fancy dress competition, one of our Judges (incidentally was an Income Tax officer and Psychologist) remarked that this provides the family to get together keeping away from mobiles, tablets, laptops, TV serials and more…. And a real occasion for children and others to learn about the famous and inspiring personalities – representing whom they are dressed.  More of this later..

Here are a couple of photos of the event as also the list of winners.


Fancy Dress: LKG
Student's Name
School
Std
Sec
Prize
S. Yuvanraj
Gill Adarsh Mat. School
LKG
D
I
V. DhanamTejasvi
Sir SivaswamiKalalaya
LKG
B
II
N. Rakshana
Gill Adarsh Mat. School
LKG
A
III
P. Sanchita
D.A.V. Nursery
LKG
D
Spl 1
V. Kiran
Cambridge Academy
LKG
A
Spl 2
R. Divyasree
Sir SivaswamiKalalaya
LKG
B
Spl 3
S. Bhadrinath
Gill Adarsh Mat. School
LKG
E
Spl 4
A.R. RathiqRaseen
Gill Adarsh Mat. School
LKG
A
Spl 5
R. Lekna
Sri SitaramVidyalaya
LKG
B
Spl 6
A. Srinidhi
The Hindu Sr. Sec. School
LKG
D
Spl 7
R. Aradhna
D.A.V. Nursery
LKG
B
Spl 8
N. Varsha
Rosery Mat. Hr. Sec. School
LKG
C
Spl 9
R. Lokesh
Gill Adarsh Mat. School
LKG
C
Spl 10


 Fancy Dress: UKG
Student's Name
School
Std
Sec
Prize
M. Dhushnth
Devi Academy School
UKG
C
I
K. Jyotsna
SatguruSainath Intl. School
UKG
E
II
V.A. Raghav Rao
S.J.N.S.Jain Nursery & Primary School
UKG
B
III
Sujay Sundara Raja
P.N.DawanAdarshVidyalaya
UKG
A
Spl 1
P. Pranav
D.A.V. Nursery
UKG
I
Spl 2
R. Janani
Devi Academy School
UKG
D
Spl 3
R. Kamalsri
Sri B.S.Mootha Girls Hr. Sec. School
UKG
B
Spl 4
S. Syed Kasin
S.J.N.S.Jain Nursery & Primary School
UKG
B
Spl 5
R. Shreeja
D.A.V. Girls School
UKG
G
Spl 6
G. Sadana
AdarshVidyalaya
UKG
E
Spl 7
T.T. Vibhav
JawaharVidyalaya Sr. Sec. School
UKG
F
Spl 8
SmritiRajan
D.A.V. Nursery
UKG
B
Spl 9
S. Arjit
Devi Academy School
UKG
A
Spl 10

Fancy Dress: 1st Std.
Student's Name
School
Std
Sec
Prize
K.N. Ranganayagi
S.J.N.S.Jain Nursery & Primary School
1st
C
I
S. Rithika
St. John Mat. School
1st

II
J. Jeevesh
JawaharVidyalaya Sr. Sec. School
1st
A
III
S. AnurudhMalolan
JawaharVidyalaya Sr. Sec. School
1st
F
Spl 1
S. Santhosh
The Hindu Sr. Sec. School
1st
B
Spl 2
R. Priyanka
Sri SitaramVidyalaya
1st
C
Spl 3
S. MuhamedYosuff
Gill Adarsh Mat. School
1st
A
Spl 4
J. Thaniya Jaya Rajeshwarie
P.N.DawanAdarshVidyalaya
1st
C
Spl 5
Ashmitha Ashok
JawaharVidyalaya Sr. Sec. School
1st
F
Spl 6
S. Priyanka
Bambino School
1st
A
Spl 7
V. Dayasree
S.J.N.S.Jain Nursery & Primary School
1st

Spl 8
R. Gayathri
The Hindu Sr. Sec. School
1st
B
Spl 9
D. Pranesa Krishna
The Grove
1st

Spl 10
The winners of the Drawing Competition as also other event will be awarded Prizes at a function to be held  today -   Sunday, 26th Jan  2014 at 05.30 pm at :-
N.K. Thirumalachariar National Girls Higher Secondary School,
Besant Road,  [Ice house], Triplicane, Chennai 600 005.

For all further enquiries contact :  044 – 28441078 /  or e mail us at : srinivasyoungmensassociation@yahoo.co.in.


With regards – S. Sampathkumar, Secretary, SYMA.