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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Who is Cruel ~ who treats animals badly ? and who has the right to advise ?

Animals in India, are loved, worshipped and cared for ~ many places they share an exotic relationship with humans.  In Kerala, you can see young mahout taking nap under the massive feet of elephant – that is the height of trust.

There’s a scene in the movie where Baahubali’s step brother and his nemesis showcases his enormous strength by fighting a big bull.  Rana  Daggubati displays brute force in taming a wild bull, which a dozen men could not tether ~ below the screen would scroll, it is graphics with card mentioning that no animal was tortured.  In Pammal K Sambandham too, Kamal as a stuntman would get into trouble when animal right activists would protest !    In Adimai Penn, MGR would fight a real lion – which later days he kept as pet and after death is kept in MGR museum.  Much has changed since !!

At a good frequency, Western World would cry coarse on animals being treated inhumanely in India.  To them – in the land of snake charmers, people abuse animals.  There will be documentaries and cover pages on Temple elephants in shackles and elephants being rescued from cruel mahouts and owners ! Recently there was so much of ‘chest-thumping’ on how Gajraj, who had been chained for decades in Aundh was finally freed from his sentence.  The article in Western media would for its support write about the likes and shares in social media.  The earlier head David Cameron promised to help an Asian elephant and one film-maker vowed to circulate to the Western World the plight of the elephants in God’s own country.  They would make documentaries, show to the caring Westerners who would highlight the plight of animals stating that Indians are cruel to animals – they would raise funds and some Indians too would contribute.

At the outset, all looks correct, unless you try to see some sinister design and think on who teaches what to whom ?!?!? -  a couple of years back,  over two million farm animals were exported live from the EU to third countries in North Africa, the Middle East and Turkey. Exports of live animals are on the increase as the farming industry is in search of new markets.  Is that not the cruellest trade only next to human slaves trafficking that occurred in the previous century.   The  long distance live animal transport culminates with the inhumane slaughter of the animals. 

It is claimed that  EU has put in place a number of legislative measures aiming to protect the welfare of animals.  They export animals to other countries, make money and keep propaganda that conditions in third countries are vastly different from those in the EU and exported animals are no longer protected by EU transport or slaughter welfare laws once they leave its borders. In third countries, there is often no level of protection at all and slaughter practices are often in breach of the international standards of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) on welfare of animals at slaughter.  They would write pages that a wide range of slaughter practices which cause great animal suffering are common in regions where EU animals end up.  If such animals end up  slaughtered by cruel, unskilled and violent methods, causing severe pain and leaving them conscious and suffering for several minutes after any wounds are inflicted, until they eventually bleed to death, why should EU export them.  They end up raking money and raking up issues that third world countries are inhumane !

Here is a report read in MailOnline about Seals  being shot at Scottish fish farms that supply salmon to UK supermarkets, including M&S and Waitrose - a supermarket which has long promoted its ethical and green credentials.  Here are some excerpts of the report.

Licensed marksmen are hired to kill the seals by independent companies which say that the grey seal preys on their caged fish stock. The seal slaughter was revealed by new statistics published by the Scottish government. The global population of grey seals is approximately 400,000, less than African elephant and a quarter of these reside in UK waters.  But they are getting killed for the supermarkets want salmons !

Waitrose said that it is working with companies to limit seal deaths and it requires all its farmed salmon suppliers to take rigorous non-lethal measures to deter predators, including seals. These include the proper use of acoustic devices, tensioned and weighted nets and the efficient removal of dead fish, which can attract seals. Marine Harvest admitted it killed 21 seals last year. The company supplies fish to Waitrose and Sainsbury's.   Steve Bracken, Business Support Manager of Marine Harvest Scotland told MailOnline that the company was disappointed by and regretted any increase in seal deaths. He said that seal deaths through culls have decreased substantially in recent years.

But Andy Ottaway, Campaign Director with the Seal Protection Action Group (SPAG) said that approximately 1,600 seals were reported shot in the past six years alone in Scotland and that this is still too many. 'The companies shooting the most seals are Marine Harvest who supply Sainsbury's and Waitrose, and Scottish Sea Farms who supply Marks and Spencer's.  'They reported shooting 40 seals between them in 2016 out of a total of 75 shot by aquaculture, with 99 seals shot by all sectors in total,' he said.

He told the MailOnline that the grey seal is a lot less common than many people believe.  'The SPAG wants to see an end to seal killing and for the Scottish Salmon Industry to adopt strictly non-lethal methods to deter seals. Leading supermarkets can help by insisting their salmon suppliers stop killing seals.'  'Fishing is a multimillion pound industry in Scotland and if shooting seals was illegal, the industry would have to invest in preventing seals from accessing stocks rather than just shooting them.'  Although Scotland permits seals to be shot, a Seal Licence introduced in 2011 stipulates that they can only be shot with a permit.   Fish-farmers account for around half the total of seals shot and number of shootings has gone down by 70% from 240 in 2011 to around 75 in 2016.

'Seals are under a lot of pressure - from over fishing, culls, disease - and protecting them is an ethical issue.  If killing is inhumane, it would provide no excuse, if some were to say that they have stringent laws in place.  Next time, you hear a campaign on ‘Save elephant or some other animal in Asia’ – tell them to keep their house in order first.  Savagery has no moral right to advocate on cruelty.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

27th June 2017.

ATM is 50 ! ~ when money flowed from hole in wall !!

Have not heard of English comedian actor - Reginald Alfred "Reg" Varney  known for his television roles on The Rag Trade and On the Buses, appearing in the latter's three spin-off film versions.  But this news made me know him !!



In good old PSU days – salary used to be disbursed in cash on the penultimate day. The Accounts Section would become too busy with sub-staff going to bank, collecting cash – a group of people sitting together to prepare the salary cover, putting in cash of various denominations; some favoured with new notes ! [not to speak of some employees, who would prepare their own customised salary cover,  showing a lower amount than what they got – to hoodwink their spouses and keep some personal money !!!!] – in those days, those who took salary by cheque used to get 3 days in advance [there was a condition that an individual should not be maintaining an account with the bank on which Office was issuing salary cheque].  Feeling that currency in hand and getting some new notes all were pleasures of yesteryears ! - gone are such small satisfactions with salary getting credited and we drawing money from ATMs devoid of smaller changes !

India was hit by a storm on the night of 8th Nov 2016 ~ people first rumoured and then heard in disbelief – PM Shri Narendra Modi’s announcement that the currencies in the denominations of Rs.500 and Rs.1,000  becoming invalid by night.   People in cities were glued to TVs and news channels following US Presidential polls, when something trembled under their carpet.   Though there was a long window  [from 10th Nov to 31st Dec 2016] to deposit whatever they legally had with them [in 500s & 1000s] in their bank accounts and a small portion was allowed to be changed instantaneously.  There was so much hype and people stood in  serpentine queues in front of ATMs and bank branches,  many making negative criticisms too ! Before we read further, how many of us had lakhs of Rupees [in 500s & 1000s] and did anyone of us have had any difficulty in depositing the same in Bank account .. .. [personally, I  waited for a fortnight before walking to my friendly bank to deposit, had only 3 persons standing before ~ the transaction took less than 15 minutes ! ]

27th June marked 50 years of its first appearance in UK streets and people in disbelief,  talked about taking money from ‘holes in the wall’.   The world’s first ATM was unveiled by Barclays at its Enfield branch in north London on 27 June 1967. As a tribute to the golden anniversary, the bank has transformed the modern-day Enfield cash machine into gold. It comes as the rapid growth in the use of contactless cards means cash will be overtaken as Britain’s most frequently-used payment method by the end of next year.

ATM [Automated Teller Machine] has come a long way as an electronic telecommunications device that enables the customers of a financial institution to perform financial transactions, particularly cash withdrawal, without the need for a human cashier, clerk or bank teller.  There are millions, seen in every important Street, Airports, Railway stations, some malls, theatres and more.  On most modern ATMs, the customer is identified by inserting a plastic ATM card with a magnetic stripe or a plastic smart card with a chip that contains a unique card number and some security information such as an expiration date or CVVC (CVV). Authentication is provided by the customer entering a personal identification number (PIN) which must match the PIN stored in the chip on the card (if the card is so equipped) or in the issuing financial institution's database.  Using the plastic card,   customers can access their bank deposit and cash would literally flow down from the machine. 

From traditional  ‘hole in the wall’ , the original ATM,  brainchild of John Shepherd-Barron, from Inverness,  has evolved so much.  Just like Archimedes, this inventor, while soaking in a bath, struck upon an alternative means of accessing his money, imagining a machine similar to chocolate dispensers.Over a pink gin, he convinced Barclays that his vision was viable. Within two years, history was made at the Enfield branch, with the new machine allowing customers to withdraw as much as £10 a time. It was, its inventor would later recall, “quite enough for a wild weekend.”

Mr Shepherd-Barron died in 2010 at the age of 84. While he was long regarded as the father of the ATM, another Scot, James Goodfellow, can also lay claim to the title.The Paisley native unveiled his iteration of the ATM the same year at Mr Shepherd-Barron. Crucially, his was patented 12 months earlier, and was the first to use a card and PIN code system. He however,  revealed he made around £10 from the patent, and has not made a penny more since.

Despite the rise in other new technologies, such as online and mobile banking, the ATM remains popular 50 years on. While consumers are no longer reliant on hard cash to pay for goods, trade association Payments UK has said its forecast did not envisage the demise of money, as even in 10 years, it is still expected to make up around a fifth (21%) of all payments.

ATM’s  first user was late English actor Reg Varney.  Early dispensers were designed to receive hole-punched vouchers allowing withdrawals of £10 each, which could be purchased by the customer from the bank and inserted in the dispenser when needed.The mid-1980s saw the launch of the UK's cash machine network, Link. Almost every cash machine in the UK, both free-to-use and pay-to-use, is now connected to Link, allowing cardholders nationwide access to cash.

In India, HSBC was the first bank to introduce the ATM concept in India way back in 1987. How many times do you use ATM every month ?

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

28th June 2017.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

MACT - compensation parameters - Sarla Verma case & salary of IT & MNC employees

MACT [Motor Accident Claim Tribunal] OPs are gory details of claim for monetary compensation and most of them would  leave one saddened reading the details. When there is a road accident – the injured or the legal heirs (in case of death) file petition before MACT claiming compensation against the vehicle owner, driver and the insurer of the vehicle.   After due procedure, the Hon’ble Court passes award against the owner / Insurer and by virtue of Policy, Insurers effect payment of compensation.

There are Tribunals specially constituted for ensuring compensation speedily – there are also Civil Courts, and Appellate Courts.  This post is on a judgment in Court of Small Causes.  The Court of Small Causes exercise powers under the Presidency Small Causes Courts Act, 1882. Tribunals for the trial of cases under the Motor Vehicles Act and for Rent Controllers for the City of Chennai also function from Small Causes Court. The Court is presided over by the Chief Judge in the cadre of a District Judge.

Before we get into details of this, something on a judgement that is mostly relied upon in Motor accidents in arriving at the quantum of compensation.

                One Rajinder Prakash died on account of injuries sustained in a motor accident which occurred on 18.4.1988 involving a bus belonging to the Delhi Transport Corporation. At the time of the accident and untimely death, the deceased was aged 38 years, and was working as a Scientist in the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) on a monthly salary of Rs.3402/- and other benefits. His widow, three minor children, parents and grandfather (who is no more) filed a claim for Rs.16 lakhs before the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, New Delhi. An officer of ICAR,  gave evidence that the age of retirement in the service of ICAR was 60 years and the salary received by the deceased at the time of his death was Rs.4004/- per month.

              Tribunal by its judgment and award dated 6.8.1993 allowed the claim in part. The Tribunal calculated the compensation by taking the monthly salary of the deceased as Rs.3402. It deducted one-third towards the personal and living expenses of the deceased, and arrived at the contribution to the family as Rs.2250 per month (or Rs.27,000/- per annum). In view of the evidence that the age of retirement was 60 years, it held that the period of service lost on account of the untimely death was 22 years. Therefore it applied the multiplier of 22 and arrived at the loss of dependency to the family as Rs.5,94,000/-. It awarded the said amount with interest at the rate of 9% per annum from the date of petition till the date of realization.

Dissatisfied with the quantum of compensation, the appellants filed an appeal. The Delhi High Court allowed the said appeal in part. The High Court was of the view that though in the claim petition the pay was mentioned as Rs.3,402 plus other benefits, the pay should be taken as Rs.4,004/- per month as per the evidence of the employer.  Having regard to the fact that the deceased had 22 years of service left at the time of death and would have earned annual increments and pay revisions during that period, it held that the salary would have at least doubled (Rs.8008/- per month) by the time he retired. It therefore determined the income of the deceased as Rs.6006/- per month, being the average of Rs.4,004/- (salary which he was getting at the time of death) and Rs.8,008/- (salary which he would have received at the time of retirement). Having regard to the large number of members in the family, the High Court was of the view that only one fourth should be deducted towards personal and living expenses of the deceased, instead of the standard one-third deduction. After such deduction, it arrived at the contribution to the family as Rs.4,504/- per month or Rs.54,048/- per annum. Having regard to the age of the deceased, the High Court chose the multiplier of 13. Thus it arrived at the loss of dependency as Rs.702,624/-.

Not being satisfied with the said increase, the appellants agitated before the Supreme Court of India. They contend that the High Court erred in holding that there was no evidence in regard to future prospects; and that though there is no error in the method adopted for calculations, the High Court ought to have taken a higher amount as the income of the deceased.

Apex Court held that basically  only three facts need to be established by the claimants for assessing compensation in the case of death : (a) age of the deceased; (b) income of the deceased; and the (c) the number of dependents. The issues to be determined by the Tribunal to arrive at the loss of dependency are (i) additions/deductions to be made for arriving at the income; (ii) the deduction to be made towards the personal living expenses of the deceased; and (iii) the multiplier to be applied with reference of the age of the deceased. If these determinants are standardized, there will be uniformity and consistency in the decisions. There will lesser need for detailed evidence. It will also be easier for the insurance companies to settle accident claims without delay. To have uniformity and consistency, Tribunals should determine compensation in cases of death, by following well settled steps:

The Court held that generally the actual income of the deceased less income tax should be the starting point for calculating the compensation. The question is whether actual income at the time of death should be taken as the income or whether any addition should be made by taking note of future prospects. In Susamma Thomas, this Court held that the future prospects of advancement in life and career should also be sounded in terms of money to augment the multiplicand (annual contribution to the dependants); and that where the deceased had a stable job, the court can take note of the prospects of the future and it will be unreasonable to estimate the loss of dependency on the actual income of the deceased at the time of death. In that case, the salary of the deceased, aged 39 years at the time of death, was Rs.1032/- per month. Having regard to the evidence in regard to future prospects, this Court was of the view that the higher estimate of monthly income could be made at Rs.2000/- as gross income before deducting the personal living expenses.

In the instant case of Sarla Verma, the Court opined that   interest of justice would be met if one-fifth is deducted as the personal and living expenses of the deceased. After such deduction, the contribution to the family (dependants) is determined as Rs.57,658/- per annum. The multiplier will be 15 having regard to the age of the deceased at the time of death (38 years). Therefore the total loss of dependency would be Rs.57,658 x 15 = Rs.8,64,870/-.  By adding heads loss of estate and funeral expenses,  loss of consortium, the final compensation was arrived at   Rs.8,84,870/- and allowed the appeal in part.

With this background, read the details of this petition filed u/s Sec 166 of MV Act, by parents of a young girl of 22 years of age, dead in a road accident on 3.9.2014.  The deceased was on the pillion of a two wheeler which was hit by a bus. The filing date is 19.9.2014; first hearing was on 9.6.2016 and disposed by Hon’ble Judge P Velmurugan on 16.3.2017.

The issues framed were :
•        Whether rash and negligently  driven
•        Whether respondents liable to pay compensation
•        If so, the quantum

On their part, the petitioners produced the person who drove the two wheeler as eye witness and HR Manager  of an IT firm  where the deceased had been employed.  It is recorded that the evidence of the person who drove the vehicle was cogent, convincing and inspired the Tribunal into believing that the bus was driven rashly and negligently causing the accident and instant death.  The age of the deceased was taken at 23.

She was a BE from Anna University taken on employment  with CTC of Rs.301500/- ;  gross monthly salary of Rs.21555/- and bank pass book revealed  Rs.20100/- credited to her account.  The HR Manager deposed that she had joined on 15.7.2014 [less than 50 days !] and added that upon completion of 4 months training, salary would be revised to Rs.25000/-  They filed CTC letter and adduced evidence stating that  upon completion of probation salary was to be revised to Rs.335000/-

Counsel on behalf of Insurers contended that the  salary should be taken at actuals of  Rs.21555/- and not any notional increase.  The Tribunal however decided to take the salary that she would get upon completion of probation in 4 months recording that she was a meritorious student and performed well in office; that period of training was only 4 months and the salary will be increased upon completion.

The Tribunal  further made some interesting remarks  – on Indian Parliament enacting laws to protect interests of labour class to prevent exploitation, yet that continues.  After introduction of New Economic Policy, MNC, Foreign companies have come into being, employing Indians but they are not strictly implementing or following labour laws in letter and spirit.  They have not allowed employees to start or involve in Trade union movements and the employees do not have the bargaining capacity.  They are paying lesser salaries to Indian employees exploiting the competition prevalent in job market.

Tribunal  added that the cost of labour of an Indian Engineer in IT field is low in Indian market compared with developed countries and the Tribunal is inclined to take a sum of Rs.25,125/- as per her appointment order instead of the actual drawn salary.  The court adopted multiplier of 18 as per Sarla Verma, added 50% for future prospects, and as the family consisted of 2 members besides the deceased deducted 50% - calculated pecuniary loss at  25125 x 12 + 50% @ 150750 = 452250 less 50% = 226125 X 18 = 40,70,250/- 

Since the income is below 3.5 lakhs did not deduct any income tax.  Besides the pecuniary compensation allowed loss of love and affection @ 1 lakh each + funeral expenses at Rs.25000- totaling  Rs.43,05,500/-

The methodology and some of the comments in the Judgments can have a far reaching impact on compensation, if the same were to be interpreted in other cases too. Reading this, felt to be far different than the routine manner and hence thought of placing this before you all.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

25th June 2017

Mayors ~ acting, fearsome and one day Mayor !!!

The Shankar directed great hit – Arjun starrer ‘Mudhalvan’ ~ was in fact ‘Oru naal Mudhalvan’ (Chief Minister for One day)….it was indeed an enjoyable movie by most counts with inspirational dialogues of our beloved Sujatha.


The charter of George I in Sept 1726 provided for the development of the town anciently called Chinapatnam and Fort St. George.  A Body Corporate was accordingly authorised to consist of a Mayor and nine Aldermen, of whom Mayor and not less than 7 Aldermen were to be natural born  subjects of British.  

The Mayor and Aldermen were to be a Court of record authorised to try all civil suits.   Elihu Yale  was the Governor of the East India Company settlement in Fort St. George, at Madras  under whose regime,  Corporation for the city and Mayor to head the same were instituted. The idea of a Municipal Government of Madras was reportedly begotten from the Dutch Government in the East Indies.


Earlier in  1688, the Madras Corporation was inaugurated with all due solemnity, the Mayor and others taking their respective oaths.  Nathaniel Higginson (1652 –1708) was an English politician and a scion of the Higginson family of Salem, Massachusetts served as the first Mayor of Madras, and later as the President of the colony from 1692 to 1698. Mr. Higginson served only six months as Mayor and resigned.

There have been some very active mayors ~ ArtÅ«ras Zuokas was the Chairman of the political party Lithuanian Freedom Union and was the Mayor of Vilnius from 2000 to 2007 and again from 2011 to 2015. Zukoas earlier worked as  independent reporter for Independent Television News as a war reporter in Iraq, where he taped the bombing of the Baghdad TV Tower during the First Gulf War. In August 1991, he brought  captured footage from the site of the Medininkai Massacre to the official meeting between the president of the United States George Bush and Soviet Union president Mikhail Gorbachev in Moscow, which caused concern from the American side about the use of force against freedom-seeking nations.

During his tenure he was daring and once at Lithuania's capital, Vilnius, he was  filmed using an armoured vehicle to crush a car parked illegally in a cycle lane. "That's what will happen if you park your car illegally," Mayor Arturas Zuokas, an avid cyclist, was to say in  a clip posted on the Vilnius City website. In the video, Mr Zuokas ticks off the car's owner, sweeps up the broken glass from the wreckage and then hops on a bicycle and rides off - a scenario many cyclists would relish.

This certainly is different and I could not understand sense behind.  As Brynneth Pawltro, the latest mayor of the small Kentucky town of Rabbit Hash, settles into office, town residents are praising her as outgoing and having a great smile. She also happens to be a dog.
rep photo from askideas.com

“There’s always inappropriate licking going on,” Bobbi Kayser, secretary of the town’s historical society, told WDRB.com of how meetings with the new mayor tend to go. Brynneth, or Brynn for short, is a 3-year-old rescue pit bull. She defeated several contenders, including Stella the cat and a donkey named Higgins, to win the mayoral election. According to People magazine, Brynn amassed more than 3,300 votes, winning the election by a “landslide.” Brynneth is actually the fourth dog to be elected mayor of the town, which is so small it doesn’t even need a real mayor. The elections started in the late 1990s as a fundraiser, Bamforth told the station. Each voter is charged a dollar and allowed to vote as often as they would like.

The money from the election normally goes toward town improvements — but this year it helped repair the General Store that was severely damaged by a fire. On the campaign trail, Bamforth said that Brynneth would help to sniff out the community’s problems.

Back home,  there was this sensational hero – Dashrath Manjhi in the hills of Bihar – the man who broke the hill with iron will of a mountain, making his native village accessible. A straight lift from a popular movie – Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar asked this septuagenarian from Gaya to occupy his chair for a little over five minutes. Nitish said that was one way of acknowledging the greatness of the great deed. Manjhi died in chill penury is another sad story….  

Actors hog limelight – in  1962, invited by the then-US President, John F. Kennedy, Sivaji Ganesan visited US.  During his visit there, he was honoured by being made the honorary mayor of Niagara Falls, New York for one day and was presented the key to the city. The only other Indian who has had this honour before Ganesan was Jawaharlal Nehru.

Before concluding, there was this tragic incident of one day Mayor – Gisela Mota, 33,  (pictured at the start)   mayor of the Mexican city of Temixco was killed in a terror attack a day after she took charge and thus was Mayor for a day only.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

27th June 2017

Monday, July 10, 2017

Boris Becker is bankrupt ~ Maserati car towed by Council

From 1976 to 1980 – it was monotonous – Bjorn Borg continued to win Wimbledon and in 1981, the young tantrum throwing John McEnroe beat him.  In 1985, another young acrobatic player emerged – I did not like him those days, primarily because, he defeated Ivan Lendl in the finals of 1986.  Lendl was to lose again in 1987, this time to Pat Cash.

Boom boom Becker, as he was known then - Boris Franz Becker  was six-time major singles champion, was the  youngest Wimbledon men's champion when he was 17 years, 7 months and 15 days. He also won five year-end championships, 13 Masters Series titles, and an Olympic gold medal in doubles. Tennis magazine ranked him the 11th  best male player of the period 1965–2005. After his playing career, he coached Novak Djokovic for three years beginning in 2013.
It was 1985 – Becker burst on to top fame becoming  the first unseeded player and the first German to win the Wimbledon singles title, defeating Kevin Curren in four sets. Becker was at that time ranked 20th  in ATP ranking, and was unseeded, but Wimbledon did not then seed players beyond the top 16. He was the youngest ever male Grand Slam singles champion at 17 years, 227 days (a record later broken by Michael Chang in 1989, who won the French Open when he was 17 years, 110 days).  An year later,  Becker successfully defended his Wimbledon title, defeating world no. 1 Ivan Lendl in straight sets in the final. In 1987 Becker, then ranked world no. 2, was upset in the second round of Wimbledon by the world no. 70 player, Peter Doohan. In the Davis Cup that year, Becker and John McEnroe played one of the longest matches in tennis history. Becker won 4–6, 15–13, 8–10, 6–2, 6–2 (at that time, there were no tiebreaks in the Davis Cup). The match lasted 6 hours and 22 minutes.

Becker was back in the Wimbledon final in 1988, where he lost in four sets to Stefan Edberg in a match that marked the start of one of Wimbledon's great rivalries. Becker also helped West Germany win its first Davis Cup in 1988.   Boris  had it all — six grand-slam tennis titles, models hanging off his arm and luxury houses all over the world. At the height of his career, the German ace had amassed a reported $63 million in prize money and sponsorships, but now the man once known as “Boom Boom” for his ferocious serve has gone from boom boom to bust !

UK media including Daily Mail is agog about - Boris Becker's £65,000 Maserati being towed from the tennis star's private members club after he was made bankrupt over debts of more than £3 million. The towing truck came after the Wimbledon champion was slapped with parking tickets on his two sports cars in west London. The tennis ace, 49, parked his red porsche and blue Maserati in South Kensington on Monday morning as he arrived at his private member's club.  But a traffic warden found his cars and tucked penalty charge notices under each windscreen.

Kensington and Chelsea council told MailOnline cars are usually only towed away if they are causing an obstruction or if they are parked in a suspended bay.  They added that a car can be towed by the council at any point after a ticket has been issued.  Boris's Maserati has been moved to a pound in Chelsea and the tennis ace will have to fork out £200 as well as the parking fine, to get his roadster back. If the car is not reclaimed on the day of the towing, an extra £40 is added each day it is not claimed.  

Kensington and Chelsea council charge up to £130 for parking illegally, but it is unknown how much he was charged. It appears that the Maserati was parked on a single yellow line and on top of hatched markings, where cars are not allowed to go on the road ! Even though he has been declared bankrupt, the Wimbledon champion was seen driving his £80,000 Porsche Cayenne GTS and his Electric Blue Maserati GHIBLI S, which starts from £65,000. It is believed the Maserati was already parked outside the private members club and had received a ticket when Boris pulled up in his Porsche.

Despite his financial woes, the sportsman turned commentator was also seen entering his private members club, the South Kensington Club. According to Business Insider, the exclusive club charges monthly fees from £365 as well as an £1,000 joining fee. Earlier this week, Boris was declared bankrupt over debts of more than £3 million.

The club, which doesn't require applicants to be proposed by a current member, writes on its website: 'It’s not about who you know, it’s about who you are.' The South Kensington Club has a focus on fitness and wellbeing, boasting a gym, bath house and beauty treatments.  Matters could get even worse for the former tennis star after claims that his eight-year marriage to model Lilly Becker is on the rocks.

The fall to disgrace appears sudden and somehow many stars have squandered all their earnings, unable to cope up with pressures of living, which many simple persons do at ease.  Have heard of actor comedian Chandrababu living in chill penury after losing all his earnings. Some other stars who turned bankrupt include Mike Tyson, David James, Diego Maradona, John Arne Riise, Chris Cairns, Lawrence Taylor and a host of others.

Sad or what to say ! – while some struggle for a decent living, some squander all their fortune after amassing quite huge sums !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

26th June 2017.

keyboard .. Microsoft integrates fingeprint reader with Compu Keyboard

**  asdfgf ;lkjhj  **  - asdfgf with left hand fingers  and ;lkjhj with right hand fingers is what all of us typed on day 1 at a Typewriting Institute.  Most of us loved the Typewriting Institutes, for some, love developed at those lovely places.

The cylinder,  knob; carriage,  return lever,  keys, the stems that rose whenever a key was pressed, printing point indicator, margin stops, paper release lever,  backspace key, tab clear key, space bar, ribbon, spools, ribbon colour control – all were too familiar to that generation of Typists and Stenographers.  Colour / single colour ribbons; stationery, carbon papers were regularly bought.  The typeheads would be cleaned with pins, then short handle brushes, bit of petrol, chamois leather all assisted  a neater output, thought it was entirely the skillset of the operators that ensured good quality typed letter. Stenos took the dictation and reproduced verbatim, the context on paper, as the most effective recorded communication between Offices, individuals and more !

If cylinder sat on the carriage and moved alongwith the paper, getting type prints as type faces rose to punch on the ribbon creating impression, there was the ubiquitous keyboard.  In effect, a Keyboard is a panel of keys that operated a Typewriter and the modern Computers.  (it may refer to set of keys on a piano or a musical instrument – somehow many heroines were adept playing pianos – remember Jonny, the Rajni, Sridevi starrer)

The noun ‘Keyboard’ would mean  a panel of keys that operate a computer or typewriter.  A computer keyboard is one of the primary input devices used with a computer that looks similar to those found on electric typewriters, but with some additional keys. Keyboards allow you to input letters, numbers, and other symbols into a computer that can serve as commands or be used to type text.

Today, most desktop computer keyboards connect to the computer using either USB or Bluetooth for wireless communication. Before USB, the interface hardware between  a computer and keyboard was  PS/2 or AT (Din5). interface.  Today's smartphones and tablets do not come with a physical keyboard, although it may be purchased as an optional peripheral add-on. These devices utilize a thumb keyboard or on-screen keyboard to type messages and enter text into various fields.

The subject matter of the post is :  Microsoft has quietly unveiled a new “Modern Keyboard” with an integrated fingerprint reader. The Modern Keyboard is the successor to the Surface Keyboard, and looks identical. The only changes are a new fingerprint reader and the ability to use a cable for a wired connection instead of wireless.

Microsoft has integrated the fingerprint reader into the second Windows key on the right-hand side of the keyboard, and it can be used to log into Windows 10 or websites using Windows Hello. The new Modern Keyboard will work with Windows 10, MacOS, and the latest versions of Android.

The Modern keyboard [not the one photographed here]  will be available shortly, priced at $129.99 (approx Indian Rs.8300/-)  It's a surprisingly quick release schedule after Microsoft only debuted the Surface Keyboard for $99 recently.  Rs.8500  is a lot to pay for a keyboard, but it is one of the best desktop keyboards on the market at the moment if you like laptop-like key travel. On its US store, Microsoft writes,”Our vision was to blend the Fingerprint reader into a keyboard, so it would appear to be any other key”.  “We iterated relentlessly to improve each layer, making sure they came together to create a flawless typing experience that felt like any other key”, the company says.

Last year, Apple launched the MacBook Pro with the TouchBar as well as built-in TouchID support. Following the launch, some reports even speculated that Apple might be preparing to add the TouchID into the Magic keyboard. Last week, Apple launched a new Magic keyboard with a number pad, but it lacks TouchID and TouchBar functionality. Looks like Microsoft has beaten Apple to launch a wireless keyboard with a fingerprint scanner.

Not sure what sort of market it would hit in India, though, that may not be their target area when designed.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

26th June 2017.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Mithali reposte to who is your fav Cricketer ? - Women WC 2017 starts

How many of us are following ODI no. 1057 at Derby now – where Smriti Mandhana has given India a rousing start with a 50 n.o.  – for the uninformed, it is ICC Women’s WC 2017


Those of us following would well know the retort to the Q : “So who’s your favourite male cricketer?”  .. .. ..  
It is a question that people ask at dinners, presentation ceremonies and all other events !   But when the same question was put to Mithali Raj, on the cusp of the biggest cricket tournament in the female game, it wasn’t innocuous, it represented something more insidious. So Raj put a question of her own across in reply.

“Do you ask that same question to a male cricketer?”: “Do you ask them who their favourite female cricketer is?” 

Raj’s retort has gained quite a bit of traction in the media. News channels have picked it up. Amitabh Bachchan has tweeted about it. 

Raj herself, speaking on the eve of her match against England, downplayed it and chose to focus on the cricket.

The 2017 Women's Cricket World Cup now on  is an international women's cricket tournament – being played  in England from 24 June to 23 July 2017. It is the eleventh edition of the Women's Cricket World Cup, and the third to be held in England (after the 1973 and 1993 tournaments). Quick info is that the first WC preceded that of Men which was played in 1975 !!  Eight teams qualified to participate in the tournament.

In one half is :  Australia, England, India and Newzealand and on the other is Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and West Indies.  The group stage is  a single-league format with each side playing the other once. The top four sides following the conclusion of the league matches will progress to the semi-finals with the winners meeting at Lord's on 23 July. Therefore, a total of 31 matches will be played during the 28-day tournament.  This edition of the World Cup will be the most watched, most covered and most well rewarded of all time. That also means it will be taken the most seriously, by players, spectators and the media.

Women's cricket is largely covered as a novelty with stories focusing on obvious topics of breaking the gender barrier, fighting for funds and overcoming the odds.  Is that set to change is the big Q ?  The women's game has started to professionalise and with that will come all the pleasures and pressures of the spotlight. Apart from increased profile, they can also expect to be scrutinised, their performances analysed, their game-plans dissected, their mannerisms watched and their characters' trumped up or even assassinated.

England have taken precautions against that, with several of their squad swapping social media for what Heather Knight called "trash telly", to serve as a distraction from the real world.  Indian Captain Mithali Raj is a star – has scored 5 centuries in Onedayers and a 214 in Test – averaging more than 50 in both versions.  She was quick to bury her retort stating - “I didn’t intend to be arrogant, it was just something that came from the heart,” she said. “I felt it’s a stage for women cricketers, it’s our forum, so the questionnaire should be around women’s cricket and not men’s cricket.”

Aussie skipper Meg  Lanning would look forward to winning ways -  Australia have a remarkable record at the Women's World Cup, having won six of the 10 tournaments (England have won three and New Zealand one), but this is Lanning's first World Cup as skipper.

The 1973 Women's Cricket World Cup was the first tournament of its kind, held two years before the first limited overs World Cup for men in 1975. The competition was won by the hosts, England.  The competition was the brainchild of businessman Sir Jack Hayward, who contributed £40,000 towards its costs. England, Australia, New Zealand, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica were joined by an International XI and a Young England side in a round robin league which saw the top team win the World Cup. England topped the group with 20 points from their six matches, including five victories and one defeat, while Australia were runners up posting 17 points with four wins.  The next World Cup was held five years later in 1978.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
24th June 2017 @ 4.10 pm.


Tanker in Public Place ~ leaking oil explodes killing more than 150 in Pakistan

Most of the insurance is ‘Motor Insurance’ – the bread and butter of most Insurer (should we say curd rice !].  This business was for long tariffed, now in chaos in the name of discounts and newer add-on coverages.  There are two types of policies -  Package policy (called Comprehensive) and Liability only Policy.  The Liability policy covers the Third party liability for bodily injury  and/or death and property damage.  Tanker lorries are covered under Motor Policies and what is the exposure – is it the lorry (own damage), the cargo that is carried inside, or the death / injury to third parties that they may cause arising out of an accident ?

I had earlier posted in great detail about the Apex Court Judgement - the cause of action arose, in the early hours of October 29, 1987 - a petrol tanker was proceeding on National Highway 4, coming  from the Pune side and going towards Bangalore. As it reached near village Kavathe, in the district of Satara, Maharashtra, another  truck laden with onions, was coming from the opposite direction.  At the point where the two vehicles crossed each other, there was a pile of rubble on the left side of the road. As the two vehicles crossed each other,  the rear right side of the petrol tanker was hit by the rear left side of the truck. As a result of the impact, the petrol tanker was thrown off the road  and it came to rest on its left side/ cleaner's side on the kutcha ground, about  5 feet below the road.

As a result of the collision and the falling down of the petrol tanker on its side, petrol started leaking from the tanker. The tanker driver was unable to stop the leak even though he tried to tighten the lid. At daybreak, the local people started collecting  near the fallen down tanker and some of them brought cans and tried to  collect the petrol leaking out from the tanker. The driver of the tanker tried to stop them from collecting petrol or even going near the tanker, explaining to them that doing so would be risky and dangerous. No one, however, listened to him and he was even manhandled. In the melee, the petrol caught fire and there was a big explosion in which 46 persons lost their lives.

The heirs and legal representatives of those people who died at the accident site filed claim petitions for compensation under section 110A of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939 before the MACT, Satara, against the owner of the petrol tanker and its insurer.  In all the cases, claims were also made for payment of Rs.15,000/- as no fault compensation under section 92A of the Act.  From MACT to High Court and thence to Supreme Court, the case was appealed.   One important Q was - when the tanker was lying immobile, was that a petrol tanker still, even if it be assumed  that it was a motor vehicle, was in use as a motor vehicle at the  time of the explosion and fire.

The  Apex Court having considered all details of the case  held and observed that : -   In   our view, in the facts and circumstances of the present case, this question must be answered in the affirmative. That the  learned Judges of  the High Court have rightly concluded that the collision between the tanker and the other vehicle which had occurred earlier and the escape of petrol from the tanker which ultimately resulted in the explosion and fire were not unconnected but related events and merely because there was interval of about four to four and half hours between the said collision and the explosion and fire in the tanker, it cannot be necessarily inferred that there was no causal relation between explosion and fire.  The vehicle owner and the Insurer were held liable for the death / bodily injury to persons arising out of explosion after hours of the accident.

That is no isolated incident, with scant regard to safety – people would still pilfer and take away goods when a vehicle is involved in an accident, but the vehicle owner is still liable for any injury / death / loss or damage arising out of use of vehicle in public place.  Now read this sad news of another accident in neighbouring Pakistan.  Click here to read the post on Tanker and liability in Public place : Tanker in Public

Chaos, killings and people losing lives in Pakistan is  nothing new ~ yet this tragedy reported in all media is bad.  More than 150 people were reported  killed and around 140 injured in a fire that broke out after an oil tanker overturned in central Pakistan and crowds rushed to collect the fuel.  The tragedy came one day before Pakistan was due to begin Eid ul-Fitr celebrations,  with many roads crowded as people travel home for the holidays. Images of the crash showed rising flames and a thick plume of smoke, along with charred vehicles.

The tanker crashed near the town of Ahmedpur East, 416 miles south of the capital Islamabad. The military said it was sending army helicopters to evacuate the wounded and hospitals were put on high alert. The nearest burn centre is believed to be more than 93 miles away.  Those who tried rescuing running towards the smoke carrying buckets of water and sand, said the heat was too intense to reach those in need.  Eye witnesses are quoted as stating that victims were trapped in the fireball and  were screaming for help. Another added that  when the fire subsided, 'we saw bodies everywhere, so many were just skeletons. The people who were alive were in really bad shape.' 

Many of the victims, who were taken to Bahawalpur's Victoria Hospital in south Punjab, suffered up to 80 per cent burns. The hospital declared a state of emergency, called in extra doctors and nurses, and formed a team to handle the emergency within 15 minutes of the fire. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed his grief and directed the government of Punjab province, run by his brother Shabhaz Sharif, to provide 'full medical assistance'.

The tanker flipped over on the national highway about 60 miles southwest of Multan. It was driving from the southern port city of Karachi to Lahore, the Punjab provincial capital, when the driver lost control and crashed. That was a regular road accident, what followed was not !  - nearby  villagers ran toward the overturned tanker with jerrycans and utensils to take the leaking fuel; and it is reported that some of them were smoking cigarettes, which caused the blaze. A loudspeaker atop a local mosque alerted villagers to the leaking fuel, and scores raced to the site with jerrycans, said Rana Mohammad Salim, deputy commissioner of Bahawalpur.

Highway police moved quickly to redirect traffic but could not stop those who raced to collect the fuel, said a spokesman.  Eyewitnesses said about 30 motorcycles that had carried villagers to the accident site lay in charred ruins nearby. Eight other vehicles were destroyed, they said. Pakistan has an appalling record of fatal traffic accidents due to poor roads, badly maintained vehicles and reckless driving.  At least 62 people including women and children were killed in southern Pakistan in 2015 when their bus collided with an oil tanker, starting a fierce blaze that left victims burnt beyond recognition.

The country has also long struggled to contain a chronic energy crisis, with regular blackouts suffocating industry and exacerbating anger against the government. The crash came days after a series of militant attacks killed at least 57 people across the country Friday, unnerving many Pakistanis, with authorities ordering a security crackdown.

Sad so many lives have been lost in an incident, which could have been averted !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

26th June 2017.