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Friday, June 22, 2018

Italy interior Minister Matteo Salvini says migrants 'will only see Italy on a postcard'.

The Arab Spring has not radically changed patterns of migration in the Mediterranean, and the "migration crisis" label does not capture a composite and stratified reality. Ever since the emergence of popular uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East, European media and politicians have worried about the prospect of a "tidal wave" of North Africans on Europe. These sensationalist predictions have no scientific basis though !

Migration, in its various forms, has nevertheless played a determining role in the uprisings that have spread across these regions. The lines of vehicles fleeing the besieged cities and villages in Libya, the emigrant workers awaiting repatriation to the detention centers in Egypt and Tunisia, the boats that are stranded on the island of Lampedusa and in which are piled Tunisians and sub-Saharan Africans seeking to cross the Mediterranean Sea, and the return to Cairo of many emigrants and university students who want to join the demonstrations on Tahrir Square, are just a few examples to show how this intersection between human mobility took place and events in North Africa. Some recent migration phenomena cannot be reduced to a simple side effect of revolutions. The potential links between, on the one hand, the reduction of migration possibilities from North Africa to Europe (due to the economic crisis and the intensification of border controls), which is accompanied by disadvantaged young people and deprived of rights of a feeling of exclusion and discontent, and on the other hand, street protests in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Algeria and Morocco deserve closer examination.

The largest flow of modern African migration funnels through a single country — Libya. Coming from the south, migrants flee the vestiges of wars that have left entire nations in ruin. From the east, they escape a life of indefinite military servitude and violent conflict. From the west, they evade destitution and governments that arbitrarily jail whomever they please. Some arrive by choice, others by force. But Libya is the purgatory where most migrants prepare to face the deadliest stretch of the Mediterranean Sea.  To understand the reality of Libya's escalating migration crisis, one must weave together the threads of instability left behind by a toppled dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, and the power vacuum filled by rivaling factions vying to take his place. The chaos allowed smuggling networks to thrive, suddenly opening up a lucrative market designed to profit off trading humans like other goods and commodities. The country's 1,100-mile coastline has effectively become an open border without government forces to monitor who comes and who goes. Smugglers have filled the void, willing to tightly pack hundreds of migrants at a time into flimsy vessels and shuttle them to Italy.

Migrant crossings through the central Mediterranean jumped by more than four-fold after 2013. Unlike the millions of people forcibly displaced by Syria's brutal five-year civil war, migrants that pass through Libya do so amid a complex web of forces that have uprooted entire generations. For years, broad regions of sub-Saharan Africa have been swallowed by squalor and extreme poverty, crushed under the rule of oppressive governments or caught in the crosshairs of deadly groups that thrive on terror.  ~ but it is never a safe passage !

                 The EU  recently approved  a plan to launch a military operation in the Mediterranean aimed  at crippling the movement of the human-trafficking networks. “This attempt has the goal of limiting the torrents of the illegal immigrants that influx to the EU countries via the Mediterranean on rickety boats and ships, which in most cases have sent them to the bottom of the sea.” An EU source stated. The source added that this military operation will later involve steps that allow it to intercept the smugglers’ boats and ships; however, the EU is still awaiting to be granted the do-so from Libyan authorities.

Nothing more concrete than this .. .. Italy's  interior minister has refused to let a rescue boat with 224 migrants on board dock in Italy, saying those on board 'will only see Italy on a postcard'. Matteo Salvini's latest move to clamp down on arrivals from the Mediterranean comes a week after he turned away another foreign ship, the Aquarius, which was carrying 630 migrants and had to reroute to Spain.  Salvini said the latest ship, operated by German aid group Mission Lifeline, had loaded the migrants in Libyan waters against the instructions of Italy's coast guard.

Mission Lifeline denied Salvini's claims, saying it conducted the rescue in international waters and asked for a safe port, which had not been assigned.  The interior minister, who is urging Malta to take in the Dutch-flagged ship as he pressures European partners to share the burden, said today: 'We cannot take in one more person. On the contrary: We want to send away a few.' Salvini added: 'For the safety of the crew and those rescued we humanly and politically ask Malta to finally open one of its ports, and then seize the ship and its crew.'  He categorically said: 'Italian ports are no longer at the disposal of traffickers.

The Aquarius, operated by SOS Mediterranee and Doctors Without Borders, took the migrants to Spain, travelling an additional 932 miles, after Italy and Malta refused to let them land. Salvini has likened such rescue ships to taxi services that finish the job for migrant smugglers.  He also has pointed out the failure of other European Union nations to take their share of migrants headed for Europe, a point that Italy will press in forthcoming EU meetings.  Salvini has threatened that Italy will withhold its payments to the EU if it does not get more help on the migrant issue. Italy's transport minister, Danilo Toninelli, said the Lifeline remained in Libyan waters and would be seized by Italian authorities if it arrived in Italy. Matteo Salvini has questioned whether the deeply divided EU will survive the events of the coming year. The new populist government in Rome accuses fellow EU members of abandoning Italy as it tries to cope with migrants making the perilous journey from Africa across the Mediterranean.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, facing domestic pressure on immigration, is seeking deals to send back to Italy and other frontline countries arriving asylum seekers already registered there. Salvini, leader of the right-wing League party, has been leading efforts to reduce arrivals from migrants rescued in the Mediterranean.   Some 640,000 migrants have landed in Italy since 2014. The numbers are down dramatically this year, to some 14,500, more than 80 per cent lower than in 2017.  An SWG poll this week showed two-thirds of Italians agree humanitarian boats should not be allowed in the country's ports. Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said today his country was ready to start turning away migrants if Berlin and Vienna do so, as Germany's interior minister proposed earlier this week.

Matteo Salvini  was named interior minister after his party struck a deal to form a government with the populist Five Star Movement.   Since Salvini took over the League, nearly 700,000 people have landed in Italy after crossing the Mediterranean, sparking a sense of resentment among many Italians who feel Europe has abandoned them.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
22nd June 2o18.

India thumps Pakistan in Kabaddi WC at Dubai 2018

A few years ago, the  phase of an ODI innings between overs 15 to 40 was considered to be dull and insipid -  with batting sides resorting to accumulation. Two new balls were expected to offer some swing to seamers and more runs to batsmen in this period.  Now that is under cloud !!  342, 481, 314 in 44 overs. As England once again ravaged the Australian bowlers - chasing 311 in the 45th over in Chester-le-Street - Sachin Tendulkar said it was high time that cricket revisited the rule of having two new-balls in an ODI.

In FIFA  2018,  Philippe Coutinho and Neymar broke down dogged Costa Rica in injury time on Friday, sealing a 2-0 win for Brazil that propels the five-time champions towards the World Cup last 16. The Central Americans looked likely to hold on for a hard-earned draw, particularly after Neymar had a penalty award chalked off by referee Bjorn Kuipers after he consulted the Video Assistant Referee. But Coutinho and Neymar finally broke through, scoring in the 91st  and 97th  minutes to put Tite's side on the brink of the knockout stages. After a ponderous start, Brazil enjoyed a gradual crescendo during the first period but their dominance in possession was not reflected in chances created.

To us the match of the day was different – it was Kabaddi World Cup at Dubai .. .. of course, World champions India starts as  firm favourites as they locked horns with arch-rivals Pakistan in the opening game of the inaugural six-nation Kabaddi Masters Dubai 2018 today.   The tournament will provide an excellent opportunity for the Asian countries like India, Pakistan, South Korea and Iran to fine tune their skills before the Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang in August.

Star raider Ajay Thakur, who led India to successive wins against Pakistan en-route their Asian Championship crown in Iran last year, is at the helm.  Besides Thakur, the Indian team also has quality raiders in Rahul Chaudhari, Pardeep Narwal, Rohit Kumar, Rishank Devadiga and Monu Goyat in their ranks. In Deepak Hooda, Manjeet Chhillar, Surender Nada and Girish Ernak, India also boast of top-class all-rounders and defenders to lend a perfect balance to the side. Perhaps the Indian time clearly has the bench strength to field another side in the tournament. 

The Kabaddi World Cup, is an indoor international kabaddi competition conducted by the International Kabaddi Federation (IKF) in standard style, contested by men's and women's national teams. The competition has been previously contested in 2004, 2007 and 2016. All the tournaments have been won by India. The current format of the competition involves a round robin group stage, with 6 teams in 2 pools, with the first and second place finishers of each group progressing to the semi-finals.

The 2018 Dubai Kabaddi Masters is a 6 nation Kabaddi Masters series held in the United Arab Emirates for 9 days from 22 June 2018 - 30 June 2018. This is the first international kabaddi sport event to be witnessed in the UAE.  The tournament features defending world champions India, Pakistan, Iran, Republic of Korea, Argentina and Kenya. Al Wasl Sports Club which is in Dubai is set to host all of the matches. 

Indian Union sports minister and former professional shooter, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore  is the Chief Guest and Abhisheik Bachan, owner of kabaddi team in pro-league was also present.  The matches are telecast live in Star Sports Network.

India thumped  Pakistan 36-20 in their opening encounter of the inaugural six-nation Kabaddi Masters Dubai 2018 a few minutes ago.  After starting the game cautiously, India soon picked up the pace scoring points off successive raids. On the other side, Pakistan raiders looked clueless and were all over the place. The world champions continued with the raiding domination collecting a total of 15 points compared to 9 by Pakistan. Skipper Ajay Thakur led from the front scoring 8 points in the match.  In the defense department as well, India outclassed their opponents clinching 12 tackle points. Pakistan were no way near their opponents  as they got all-out twice during the match. Towards the end, India extended their with tackle points from Ajay Thakur and Rohit Kumar. India will next play Kenya on Saturday.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
22nd June 2018 @ 21:30 hrs.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

friendly crocodiles of “Ouagadougou” Burkina Faso

A lakeside baptism service in Ethiopia was struck by tragedy after a crocodile attacked and killed the vicar.  It is reported that an  80-strong congregation looked on in horror as the reptile struck at  a protestant clergyman in the town of Arba Minch, while he conducted a mass baptism in the shallows of Lake Abaya on Sunday.  Reports state that - “All of a sudden, a crocodile jumped out of the lake and grabbed the pastor, pushing aside the person he was baptising.”

Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire (1772 – 1844) was a French naturalist who established the principle of "unity of composition". He was a colleague of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and expanded and defended Lamarck's evolutionary theories.

You may not easily spell or pronounce “Ouagadougou” – the name of capital of Burkina Faso and the administrative, communications, cultural and economic centre of the nation.  The city's name is often shortened to Ouaga. The name Ouagadougou dates back to the 15th century when the Ninsi tribes inhabited the area. They were in constant conflict until 1441 when Wubri, a Yonyonse hero and an important figure in Burkina Faso's history, led his tribe to victory. He then renamed the area from "Kumbee-Tenga", as the Ninsi had called it, to "Wage sabre soba koumbem tenga", meaning "head war chief's village".   The city became the capital of the Mossi Empire in 1441.

To the clergyman in Nigeria and elsewhere, Crocodiles may be one of the deadliest hunters in the animal kingdom, but in a small village in Burkina Faso it is not unusual to see someone sitting atop one of the fearsome reptiles. People in Bazoule, around 30 kilometres (20 miles) from the capital Ouagadougou, share their pond with more than 100 of the razor-toothed creatures.  Villagers in west Africa have been photographed in a series of stunning images that show a startlingly close relationship between crocodiles and humans.  In one of such images,  a large crocodile is seen leaping clear of the ground in an attempt to snatch a chicken offered to it by a resident, in a pose which brings to mind a cat jumping for a toy.

Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in West Africa around 274,200 square kilometres (105,900 sq mi) in size. It is surrounded by six countries: Mali,  Niger, Benin, Togo,  Ghana and Ivory Coast.   Formerly called the Republic of Upper Volta, the country was renamed "Burkina Faso" on 4th  August 1984 by the then-President Thomas Sankara, using a word from each of the country's two major native languages, Mòoré and Dioula. Figuratively, Burkina, from Mòoré, may be translated as "men of integrity", while Faso means "fatherland" in Dioula. "Burkina Faso" is understood as "Land of upright people" or "Land of honest people”.  French is an official language of government and business in the country.

The West African crocodile  or desert crocodile (Crocodylussuchus) is a species of crocodile related to – and often confused with – the larger and more aggressive Nile crocodile (C. niloticus). The species was named by Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire in 1807, who discovered differences between the skulls of a mummified crocodile and those of Nile crocodile (C. niloticus). This new species was, however, for a long time afterwards regarded as a synonym of the Nile crocodile.  Compared to the Nile crocodile, the West African crocodile is smaller: Traditional peoples who live in close proximity to West African crocodiles revere them and protect them from harm. This is due to their belief that, just as water is essential to crocodiles, so crocodiles are essential to the water, which would permanently disappear if they were not there to inhabit it. Here the crocodiles live in harmony with the humans, and never attack swimmers !

The residents of Bazoule, a community outside Burkina Faso's capital Ouagodougou, began to hold the reptiles sacred around 600 years ago and offer them chickens as a sacrifice. The tradition has continued to this day and visitors regularly go to the village to watch the ritual. The deadly reptiles and villagers appear to live happily side-by-side with children apparently happy to play and do chores just yards from them.  "It shows that crocodiles are not just ferocious and dangerous animals and that they deserve to be protected. Crocodiles are today completely integrated in the life of the population.

"It's not rare to see some children playing just metres away from them - it is quite a magical place."  The practice reportedly  started in the 14th  century when a local chief called KoudNaba ruled the area. During this period the inhabitants started believing the Nile crocodiles brought the seasonal rains, the absence of which can cause drought and starvation across the Sahel. Now there are more than 100 of the creatures, which might not bring in the rains but certainly bring in the tourists.

According to local legend, the startling relationship with the predators dates back to at least the 15th century. The village was in the grip of an agonising drought until the crocodiles led women to a hidden pond where the population could slake their thirst. "The villagers organised a party to celebrate and thank the reptiles,"  ~ a celebration known as Koom Lakre is still held every year during which villagers make sacrifices and ask the animals to grant their wishes of health, prosperity and a good harvest.

Far from being considered a threat, the crocodiles are deemed to have a mystical connection with Bazoule.  Global warming is also believed to be having an impact. Rainfall levels are down each year, and the famous pond that is the crocodiles' home is shrinking. When it disappears, man’s hope could still be – whether  the reptiles once more guide their human friends to a new watery home ?

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
21st June 2018.

Oh Teacher Sir, please don't go pleads students and parents !!

சுமார் 30 அல்லது 40  ஆண்டுகளுக்கு முன் – பள்ளிகளில் ஆங்கிலபிரிவில் படித்தவர் குறைவு.   முந்தையகாலங்களில் 'ஆசிரியர் - மாணவர்'  உறவு அன்பான பந்தமாக இருந்தது.  நாம் இதை இயம்பினால் பழமைவாதி என பட்டியலிடப்படும் அபாயம் உள்ளது.  திருவள்ளூரில் ஒரு கிராமத்தில் அமைந்துள்ள இப்பள்ளி இப்போது செய்திகளை ஆக்கிரமித்துள்ளது !

அரசுவேலைகளில் பதவி உயர்வு ஒரு முக்கியமான நிகழ்வு.  பணிமாற்றம்  -  விருப்பத்தின் காரணத்தாலோ அல்லது வேறு சூழ்நிலைகளிலோ நடக்கவல்லது.  சமீபத்தில் தமிழ் செய்திதாள்களில் வந்த இந்த செய்தியை நீங்கள் படிக்காமல் இருந்திருக்கக்கூடும்.  :  பணிநிரவல் கலந்தாய்வு, இரவு வரை நடக்காததை கண்டித்து, மாவட்ட முதன்மை கல்விஅலுவலகத்தில், பட்டதாரி ஆசிரியர்கள் உள்ளிருப்பு போராட்டத்தில் ஈடுபட்டனர். நாமக்கல், தெற்கு அரசு ஆண்கள் மேல்நிலைப்பள்ளியில், அரசு பள்ளியாசிரியர்களுக்கான, பொதுமாறுதல் கலந்தாய்வு நடந்துவருகிறது. நேற்று, பட்டதாரி ஆசிரியர்களுக்கு, பணிநிரவல் கலந்தாய்வு நடப்பதாக அறிவிக்கப்பட்டிருந்தது. இதில் பங்கேற்பதற்காக, மாவட்டம் முழுவதும் இருந்து, 104 பட்டதாரி ஆசிரியர்கள் விண்ணப்பம் அளித்திருந்தனர். அதன்படி, நேற்று காலை, 10:00 மணிக்கு கலந்தாய்வு நடக்கும் மையத்துக்கு வந்திருந்தனர். ஆனால் இரவு, 7:00 மணிக்கே மாவட்டத்தில் காலியாக உள்ள பட்டியல் வெளியிடப்பட்டது. இருந்தும், இரவு, 9:00 மணிவரை ஆன்லைனில் கலந்தாய்வு நடத்தவில்லை. அதனால், ஆத்திரம் அடைந்த பட்டதாரி ஆசிரியர்கள், மாவட்ட முதன்மை கல்வி அலுவலகம் முன், உள்ளிருப்பு போராட்டத்தில் ஈடுபட்டனர். இதற்கிடையில் இரவு, 9:45 மணிக்கு, ஆன்லைன் கலந்தாய்வு துவங்கியதால், போராட்டத்தை கைவிட்டு கலைந்து சென்றனர். ஆசிரியர்கள் உள்ளிருப்பு போராட்டம் நடத்தியதால், அப்பகுதியில் சிறிதுநேரம் பரபரப்பு ஏற்பட்டது.

Till a few decades ago, Tamil was the primary medium of education and most of us studied Tamil medium in Govt schools or aided schools.  The bonding between teacher – student, those days was exquisite.  I still remember the teacher (Mrs Bhagavathi) who was my Class teacher for V standard at Samarao school.  She was travelling from Katpadi and like most teachers – was very kind, taught us so well – clearly a role-model whom we would like to remember.

You may have skipped the news item – of the school education department announcing the schedule for the counselling for transfers of headmasters and teachers of government high and higher secondary schools and promotions of higher secondary school teachers across Tamil Nadu. It is online application, conselling and transfers to places sought or where there was need. 

Samuthirakkani and Thambi Ramaiah were impressive in their role as school teachers in the film ‘Sattai’ - directed by M. Anbazhagan. The hero comes to a Govt school in a village in Thiruvannamalai district; the condition of the school is not great and as he manfully strives to change, is met with hard resistance by the AHM and many others.  Though he gets into turbulence, the teacher becomes a hit with the students. He gets involved in a foisted case of sexual abuse condition. He is physically assaulted too.  With all his efforts, the students do well in the exam and towards the end, he gets promoted and posted as Head master elsewhere.  The students weep – they and others do not let him go and appeal to him to continue service there itself.  The hero moves stating that change has occurred and perhaps he is needed in another place that requires change. 

All movie stuff, one may think – yet it was moving !  ~ now this newsitem has appeared in all Tamil dailies and English newspapers too including TOI, Chennai edition.

                      As 28-year-old Bhagawan tried to exit the gates of the government high school in Velliagaram, Pallipattu  in Thiruvallur  on Wednesday, he was engulfed in hugs and tears while his students held on to his arms. Their stance was clear – their beloved English teacher could not be transferred out.Demonstrating a kind of love and admiration that is rare to witness in schools today, students of the school in Tiruvallur district staged protests soon after they received the news of their teacher’s transfer. Bolstered by the support of their parents, students even decided not to go to the school on Tuesday to show that the government’s decision of transferring their teacher was not agreeable.

“We don’t want him to be transferred. He has been one of the most supportive staff members and has been like a brother to many of us,” said Nithya, a student. Not every teacher can boast of such love from students. “But then, not all teachers are Bhagawan Sir,” say his students. In a matter of four years, the teacher has formed long-lasting friendships with his students, comforting the teens as brother, ally and guide. “Many of us were not comfortable with English but with his encouragement, we were able to improve. He was always available to clear doubts at any time of the day and we could call him even late in the evenings after the special classes,” said Tamilarasan, a student.

Instead of merely focusing on syllabus, students said he gave them information on GK, social service, developing skills and prepare for competitive exams and focused on employment-oriented education.Principal A Aravind said that he had submitted a representation to officials of the education department based on the requests by parents and students. “We have requested the department if there is a possibility of retaining the teacher. He is one of the best teachers we have, completely involving himself in teaching students. During special classes that would go beyond school hours, he would help in arranging food for students and had been overall very friendly,” he said. “The students too are very affectionate by nature, something I find more common in rural schools. It is usually difficult for them to let go of their teachers but this time even parents got emotional,” he added.

Meanwhile, education department officials said the transfer is part of the usual deployment and based on teaching hierarchy. They have to carry it out as per the requirement.  Some other reports suggest that the teacher’s transfer has been stalled for now !!!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
21st June 2018.

long hours occupation of crease ~ work culture !!

Afghans learnt it the hard way ~ that in Test Cricket – occupying the crease is one of the most important thing.  Have once seen Anshuman Gaekwad grind Pakis for 436 balls, 652 minutes,  making a double ton.  Gaekwad had stonewalled the vaunted WI pacers in their own backyard in 1976 and was recalled in 1983 when India toured Caribbean islands.  In an Ashes test, Len Hutton's technical excellence, stroke-making abilities and the ability to score big when set was in full show as he tormented the Australian bowlers at the Oval. He faced 847 deliveries and batted for more than 13 hours to bring up the then record score of 364.

As different as the countries' work cultures are,  not many have similarities – and one of them is  employees working  long hours and do not take many vacations ! Japan is notorious for its long work hours. There is even a phenomenon where people have died from working too much. It is called karoshi, which literally means "death by overwork."   However,  data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, states  American workers clocked in more average annual hours than Japanese workers in 2016.

In Nov 2017,  Cheteshwar Pujara achieved a rare feat, becoming only the third Indian and ninth overall to bat across five days in a Test match.  He joined ML Jaisimha and Ravi Shastri in the elite list. Incidentally they had also achieved the rare feat at the Eden Gardens.  He could achieve the feat thanks to rain interruption on day one and two. Pujara had come in to bat on day one after opener Rahul was dismissed in the first ball and went on hit a gritty 52 under testing conditions.  Pujara remained unbeaten on eight runs having faced 32 deliveries on day one. He added 39 runs in his unbeaten knock and faced 70 balls on day two. Pujara added five from 15 balls on day three before being cleaned up by Lahiru Gamage. Pujara faced nine balls on day 4 and on fifth day,  he added 20 to his overnight total of two, having faced 42 deliveries before being done in by Suranga Lakmal.  Incidentally Pujara’s aggregate of 74 runs (52 and 22) is the lowest among the nine players to bat all 5 days, going below 94 by Jaisimha (20* and 74).

The culture of Japan has evolved greatly over the millennia, from the country's prehistoric time Jōmon period, to its contemporary modern culture, which absorbs influences from Asia, Europe, and North America. Strong Chinese influences are still evident in traditional Japanese culture as China had historically been a regional powerhouse, which has resulted in Japan absorbing many elements of Chinese culture first through Korea, then later through direct cultural exchanges with China. The inhabitants of Japan experienced a long period of relative isolation from the outside world during the Tokugawa shogunate after Japanese missions to Imperial China, until the arrival of the "Black Ships" and the Meiji period. The Black Ships  was the name given to Western vessels arriving in Japan in the 16th and 19th centuries.

MailOnline reports that a  Japanese water company has apologised to customers and docked a worker's pay after he was caught leaving his desk for a lunch break.

A 64-year-old male staff member at the Kobe City Waterworks Bureau on the outskirts of Osaka, Japan, took approximately 78 minutes of lunch break over the course of seven months.  But his employers took a dim view of his antics, arguing that he had frittered away company time in the pursuit of food. The trips a nearby store, which took three minutes each time, took place a total of 26 times between September 2017 and March 2018.

The man was only caught when a senior office worker looked out the window and saw him crossing the street to get himself a bento - a popular Japanese lunchtime box. A televised apology was staged by the Waterworks Bureau after the 'scandal' with company executives appearing on screens to bow in apology to its customers. The company also docked him a half-day's pay for good measure.  According to the man's superiors, the reason he gave for leaving the office to buy his lunch was because he wanted 'a change of pace'.

While the, high-ranking officials called the incident a 'scandal' and apologised  -  social media users leapt to the man's defence - calling the punishment 'absurd'. The incident throws the spotlight on Japan's torturous working conditions where many employees are expected to work overtime and not take holiday.  A twitteratti said it is workplace slavery while another   said: 'The punishment is totally absurd – 26 times over a six-month period means he only left the office once a week.' .. .. . Workers are entitled to 20 days leave a year but currently about 35% don't take any of it.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar                                                                      20th June 2018.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

பாரதியாரின் குயில்பாட்டு ~ Indian koel - the songbird

மஹாகவி சுப்ரமண்ய பாரதியாரின் குயில்பாட்டு, (the songbird Cuckoo)  மற்றைப் பாட்டுகளினின்றும் வேறுபாடானது. கவிஞன், குயிலொடு கொண்ட காதலைத் தானே சொல்வதாக அமைகிறது. விழுமிய பொருளையும் உயர்ந்த தத்துவக் கருத்தையும் மனித வாழ்க்கையை, லட்சியத் துணையோடு இணைக்கும் வகையிலும் அமைந்து, பொருள்நயமும், கவிதை இனிமையும் சேர்ந்த இத்தொகுப்பு பாரதியார் பாண்டிச்சேரியில் வாழ்ந்தபோது இயற்றப்பட்டதாம்.

காலைத் துயிலெழுந்து,காலிரண்டு முன்போலே
சோலைக்கிழுத்திட,நான்  சொந்த  உணர்வில்லாமே
சோலையினில் வந்து நின்று,சுற்றுமுற்றுந் தேடினேன்,
கோலப் பறவைகளின் கூட்டமெல்லாங் காணவில்லை.
மூலையிலோர் மாமரத்தின் மோட்டுக் கிளையினிலே
நீலக் குயிலிருந்து நீண்டகதை சொல்லுவதும்   !!   ,...

                    புதுச்சேரியில் கடல் அலை எழுப்பும் ஓசை கவிஞருக்கு வேதப் பொருளை உரைத்ததாம்; கடல் அலைகள் மட்டுமல்ல  ~   குக்கு குக்கூவென்று குயில் பாடும் பாட்டில் தொக்க பொருளெல்லாம் தோன்றுகின்றது அவரது சிந்தைக்கே.

Cuckoo, (குயில்)  of the family Cuculidae,  designates some 60 arboreal members of the subfamilies Cuculinae and Phaenicophaeinae. Cuculids range in length from about 16 cm (6.5 inches) in the glossy cuckoos (Chrysococcyx and Chalcites) to about 90 cm (36 inches) in the larger ground cuckoos. Most are coloured in drab grays and browns, but a few have striking patches of rufous (reddish) or white, and the glossy cuckoos are largely or partially shining emerald green. All have long (sometimes extremely long), graduated tails, usually with the individual feathers tipped with white. The bill is rather stout and somewhat downcurved.

The attribute for which the cuckoos are best known is the habit of brood parasitism, found in all of the Cuculinae and three species of Phaenicophaeinae. It consists of laying the eggs singly in the nests of certain other bird species to be incubated by the foster parents, who rear the young cuckoo.  Some of the adaptations that enhance  the survival of the young cuckoo are : egg-mimicry, in which the cuckoo egg resembles that of the host  minimizing rejection by the host; removal of one or more host eggs by the adult cuckoo, reducing both the competition from host nestlings and the danger of recognition by the host that an egg has been added to the nest; and nest-mate ejection, in which the young cuckoo heaves from the nest the host’s eggs and nestlings.

In India,  a pied cuckoo or chatak has the magical ability to summon rains wherever it goes. In fact, it feeds off rain. There are many stories of pied cuckoos signaling  the beginning of rainy season, heard from childhood.  The pied cuckoo is closely associated with monsoon rains in India -- so much so that generations of nature watchers and observers have found a strong correlation between a pied cuckoo's sighting and rain following closely behind.

The Asian koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus) is a member of the cuckoo order of birds, found in the Indian Subcontinent, China, and Southeast Asia. The name koel is echoic in origin with several language variants. The bird is a widely used symbol in Indian poetry. The Asian koel is a large, long-tailed, cuckoo;  male of the nominate race is glossy bluish-black, with a pale greenish grey bill, the iris is crimson, and it has grey legs and feet. The female of the nominate race is brownish on the crown and has rufous streaks on the head. They are very vocal during the breeding season (March to August in the Indian Subcontinent), with a range of different calls.

குயில் பாட்டு ஓ வந்ததென்ன இளமானே ! அத கேட்டு ஓ செல்வதெங்கே மனம் தானே   ~ இசைஞானி இளையராஜாவின் மனதை தொட்ட இசையில் ஸ்வர்ணலதா பாடிய பாடல். படம் ராஜ்கிரண், மீனா, நடித்த -  'என் ராசாவின் மனசிலே'.   இத்திரைப்படத்தில் தான் நகைச்சுவை நடிகர் வடிவேலு தமிழ்த் திரைப்படங்களில் அறிமுகமானார்.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
20th June 2018

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

England makes history posts 481 in ODI at Trentbridge

The River Trent is the third-longest river in the United Kingdom. Its source is in Staffordshire and it flows through and drains most of the metropolitan central and northern Midlands south and east of its source north of Stoke-on-Trent. The river is known for dramatic flooding after storms and spring snowmelt, which in past times often caused the river to change course.
rival captains Tim Paine and Eoin Morgan

Eoin Morgan ascended to the England one-day captaincy in slightly chaotic circumstances less than two months out from the 2015 World Cup and was less than enamoured with an entirely inadequate campaign.  Today he has made a grand history, becoming a non-english Batsman to become its highest scorer (aggregate) in ODIs. Interesting !

The list now reads : Eoin Morgan with  5443  runs; Ian Bell (5416); Collingwood (5092), Alec Stewart (4677); Joe Root (4552) – far below – the Indian list that would read : Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar (18426); Sourav Ganguly (11221); Rahul Dravid (10768); Mahi Dhoni (9793); Virat Kohli (9588); Mohd Azharuddin (9378) and few more others above Morgan.  Incidentally Morgan has 6187  ODI international runs –  5443 for England, rest for Ireland.  Eoin Joseph Gerard Morgan, is an Irish cricketer – the present captain of England is a left hander.  He originally represented his native Ireland at international level before switching to play for England in 2009. He was the first of only two players in history to score an ODI hundred for two nations and is particularly noted for his end of innings hitting ability, seeing him labelled as a 'finisher'. He is also noted as being a skilful player of the reverse sweep shot.

Today at Trent Bridge, England broke their own record set in Aug 2016.  Trent Bridge staged its first Test in 1899 and is a regular, and popular, fixture on the international circuit. It used to be the shared home of Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club and Notts County Football Club, but when the football and cricket seasons were considered to have become too overlapped (as far back as 1910) the football club moved a couple of hundred yards away to Meadow Lane. Trent Bridge has been home to some of the finest cricketers in the world; Gary Sobers, Clive Rice and Richard Hadlee have all graced the ground and left a permanent mark on its history.   Today England made a record 481/6 (Jason Roy 82; JM Bairstow 139; Alex Hales 147; Morgan 67) – a bad day thus far for Aussies with their bowlers going : Stanlake 8 0 74 0; Jhye Richardson 10 1 92 3; Tye 9 0 100 0; MP Stoinis 8 0 85 0.

On Aug 30, 2016 at the same venue the score card read a new high  - England 444 for 3 (Hales 171, Buttler 90*, Root 85, Morgan 57*) beat Pakistan 275 (Sharjeel 58, Amir 58, Woakes 4-41) by 169 runs.  England has produced some astonishing batting feats in one-day cricket but they surpassed even themselves at Trent Bridge as they plundered the highest total in ODI history to wrap up the series against Pakistan in overwhelming style. (that has gone for a toss today).

On that day at his  home ground, Alex Hales surged to England's highest ODI innings, finally knocking Robin Smith's unbeaten 167 against Australia in 1993 off the top spot, while Jos Buttler hit England's fastest fifty off 22 balls as they tallied a monstrous 444 for 3 to overtake Sri Lanka's 443 for 9 against Netherlands in 2006. Needing to score six off the final over to set a new high total seemed a formality, but Buttler and Eoin Morgan struggled to lay a bat on Hasan Ali until Buttler connected with a smite through the covers off the last ball to give put England top of the pile. Pakistan, unsurprisingly, did not get close, bowled out for 275 although Mohammad Amir joined in the batting fun with his own 22-ball fifty, the highest score by a No. 11 in ODIs.

The score made by England is not  the highest total in ODI matches  – significant for only recently on June 8 at Dublin, New Zealand women smashed the world record for the highest one-day international score by posting 490-4 in the 346-run win in Ireland. The White Ferns surpassed their own 21-year record of 455 in the 48th over at the YMCA Sports Club in Dublin. Skipper Suzie Bates top-scored with 151 off 94 balls as her team also went past the men's record of 444 by England. Ireland leg-spinner Cara Murray conceded the most runs ever in an ODI by taking two wickets for 119 runs. The previous most expensive analysis in an ODI, men's or women's, was by Australia's Mick Lewis who had figures of 10-0-113-0 against South Africa in the famous '438 game' at Johannesburg in 2006. Maddy Green also hit a century for New Zealand, with her 121 coming off 77 balls, while Amelia Kerr was unbeaten on 81. Ireland, with Isobel Joyce unable to bat after suffering a head injury while fielding, managed just 144 for nine in reply, with New Zealand off-spinner Leigh Kasperek taking career-best figures of 4-17.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
19th June 2018 @ 22.17 hrs.

simpl(y)icity forgotten ~ Mr Kakkan

Most of us suffer from short-term memory loss !  ~ a decade or two ago, there was a trip of an Indian PM (not Modiji) to an island – and there were reports that AI spent huge amount in carrying payasam for his entourage.  A decade ago, an Indian President visited   Andaman and Nicobar Islands.  When the President,  decided to visit the Andaman and Nicobar Islands on the third anniversary of the tsunami, it could only have been considered an extremely welcome gesture. For the people of a place ravaged by one of the biggest disasters in living memory, the interest and concern of the first citizen of the country could have been and certainly was a very important statement. Her handing over of 200 permanent houses to citizens in Car Nicobar on December 26 could have and should have made front page news for all the right reasons. For all the potential and the “could haves”, that is not how it turned out in the end.

The President’s visit to the islands did make front page news, but it was for all the wrong reasons with the responsibility lying mainly at the door of the local administration. The one issue that perhaps got the maximum attention was the large scale cutting of trees. Some media reports indicated that nearly 400 trees had been chopped down across the islands for the visit. A huge amount of money was also spent for increasing the size of the helipad that already existed there, for the construction of a special VVIP room and the widening and relaying of the road in the vicinity.  Shipping services were disrupted, preventing tourists from accessing islands where they had planned a holiday many months ago and local fishermen were prohibited from going fishing in areas that the President was supposed to visit

In case you were to rubbish this as this is no modi-bashing, do follow the link :

A web search also revealed that ex-President Pratibha Patil's foreign travel  cost the public exchequer a whopping Rs. 205 crore on her foreign visits, surpassing the record of all her predecessors.  At that time, since assuming office as the country's first woman President in July 2007, Ms Patil had undertaken 12 foreign trips covering 22 countries across four continents.  A series of RTI applications has revealed that Air India incurred over Rs. 169 crore on use of chartered aircraft, always a Boeing 747-400, on the foreign visits by Patil, mostly accompanied by her family members. A visit to Bhutan was covered by a smaller jet.

Politicians are what they are ! ~ or does the fault lie with the people when they act differently (indifferently !) – how many of us remember this simple person who was once a Minister in Tamil Nadu.

1980-ம் ஆண்டு. தமிழகத்தின்முதல்வராக  எம்.ஜி.ஆர். இருந்தகாலகட்டம்அது. மதுரை ராஜாஜி  அரசு மருத்துவமனையில் சிகிச்சை பெற்றுவரும் மதுரைமுத்துவை சந்தித்து நலம் விசாரிக்கச் சென்றார் எம்.ஜி.ஆர். அப்போது காளிமுத்து சொன்ன தகவலால் பதறிபோனார் எம்.ஜி.ஆர். உடனடியாக மதுரை ராஜாஜி அரசு மருத்துவமனையில் உள்ள சாதாரணவார்டுக்கு எம்.ஜி.ஆர். சென்றார். அங்கு சிகிச்சை பெற்றுவரும் அவரை கண்டஉடன் கலங்கினார். உடனடியாக அவரை சிறப்பு வார்டுக்கு மாற்ற உத்தரவிட்டார். அப்போது சிகிச்சை பெற்றுவந்தவர் எம்.ஜி.ஆரிடம் வேண்டாம் என்றார். 'எல்லோருக்குமான சிகிச்சைபிரிவே எனக்குபோதும். நீங்கள் பார்க்கவந்ததே மகிழ்ச்சி' என்றார்அவர்.

எம்.ஜி.ஆர்.  அங்கிருந்த மருத்துவ பொறுப்பாளர்களை அழைத்து, "இவர்யார் எனத் தெரியுமா? இவர் போன்றவர் பெற்றுத்தந்த சுதந்திரத்தில்தான் நாம் இன்று வாழ்ந்து கொண்டிருக்கிறோம். அவருக்கு தனிஅறைவசதியும் உயர்ந்தமருத்துவமும் அளியுங்கள்" என உத்தரவிட்டுச் சென்றார். எம்.ஜி.ஆரை கலங்கவைத்த... 'இவரில்லாவிட்டால் நாம் இல்லை' என பெருமையுடன் அறிமுகப்படுத்தப்பட்ட நபர் தமிழக காங்கிரஸ் கட்சியின் தலைவர்களில் முக்கியமானவரான கக்கன்.

கக்கன் ஜூன் 18, 1908-ம் ஆண்டு மதராஸ் இராசதானியாக தமிழகம் இருந்தபொழுது மதுரை மாவட்டம், மேலூர் வட்டத்திலுள்ள தும்பைபட்டி என்ற கிராமத்தில் ஒருதலித் குடும்பத்தில் பிறந்தார். இவரின் தந்தை பூசாரி கக்கன், கிராமக்கோயில் அர்ச்சகராக (பூசாரியாக) பணிபுரிந்தவர்.

18th  June marked 110th birth anniversary of  Mr P. Kakkan (18 June 1908 – 23 December 1981) a  freedom fighter who served as a member of the Constituent Assembly of India, Member of Parliament, President of the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee and in various ministerial posts in Congress governments in the erstwhile Madras state between 1957 and 1967. Kakkan served as a member of the Lok Sabha from 1952 to 1957.

When K. Kamaraj resigned as the President of the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee in order to take office as the Chief Minister of Madras state, Kakkan was elected as the President of the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee.  Following the 1957 elections when the Indian National Congress was re-elected to power in the Madras state, Kakkan was sworn in as the Minister for Public Works (excluding Electricity), Harijan Welfare, Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes.  He later served as  the Minister of Agriculture. Later, he was appointed as a member of the Business Advisory Committee and as Home Minister in Oct 1963, serving till 1967  - when the Indian National Congress was defeated in the Assembly elections.

It is stated that   despite having served as a minister for ten years, Kakkan was so simple that he willingly slept on the verandah of the Government Rajaji Hospital in Madurai when he was ill. “It was M.G. Ramachandran who provided him a decent accommodation,” In a remembrance meeting, then Dindigul M.P., N.S.V. Chitthan, recalled an incident in which Kakkan forced his daughter Kasturi to return two gold bangles to an industrialist who had gifted them on her marriage.

While all would hail him now for his simplicity and austerity, in  the watershed 1967 Assembly elections,  Kakkanji lost the Melur (South) constituency to  O. P. Raman of DMK.  Following this defeat,  Kakkan retired from politics and nothing was known much of him later.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
19th June 2018.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Messi Misses ~ VAR debuts and overturns decision of referee for France

In Cricket, review / referral is a welcome technology that helps Team fight against decisions of the Umpire which otherwise would have gone away ~ there are such use of technology in FIFA too .. ..

It is soccer mania ~ yet, football fans were shocked to see thousands of empty seats during Egypt and Uruguay's World Cup clash today. The two nations played at the Ekaterinburg Arena in Russia's most easterly city Yekaterinburg, in front of 5,200 bright orange seats with nobody in them.  Ironically, the stadium's capacity had been  increased from 23,000 prior to the tournament but FIFA regulations stipulated that every venue must have a minimum capacity of 35,000 seats. The reason for the empty seats might be Yekaterinburg's location. It is 1113 miles from Russia's capital Moscow, where a lot of travelling fans are staying for the tournament.

In another match watched by millions - Lionel Messi stood a few yards away from the ball as it lay on the penalty spot. He waited. Behind him, in the stands at the side of the pitch, Argentina fans bowed down theatrically to the living deity. Behind the goal at the Spartak Stadium, more fans chanted his name, slowly and rhythmically. High to his left, sitting in a VIP box, Diego Maradona watched from behind a garish pair of sunglasses. Messi took his normal short run-up. Everyone expected him to score. That goes without saying. Messi had scored 64 goals in 124 games for Argentina before this match. But it was not a good penalty and the Iceland goalkeeper, Hannes Halldorsson, guessed correctly. He dived to his right and the ball was hit just high enough and just low enough for him to parry it away to safety.

In the match of France against Australia - VAR overturned a decision at the World Cup for the first time as referee Andres Cunha reversed choice not to award France a penalty.   Antoine Griezmann was brought down just inside the box by Australian defender Josh Risdon early in the second-half of the Group C encounter. Referee Andres Cunha at first did not award a spot kick but, after consulting his pitch side monitor, overturned the decision. Griezmann then stepped up and put France ahead. It was in the 53rd minute of the match that the controversy unfolded. Paul Pogba set Griezmann through on goal and as he approached the box Risdon brought him down. Play continued as normal for around 25 seconds before the ball went out of play and Cunha blew his whistle before running over to his pitch side monitor to begin the review.

The officials inside the tournament's VAR headquarters in Moscow and Cunha then began trawling through replays from two camera angles. After thoroughly watching the footage for around 37 seconds, the referee overturned his decision. Australia were left fuming with the ruling but there was nothing they could do as France went ahead and Risdon was left with a yellow card.  Just as we see in Cricket, during review – the  LED screens within the stadium highlighted to fans that VAR was reviewing the decision.

On the BBC's coverage of the game pundits were split over the decision. Former Manchester United defender and current England women's manager Phil Neville thought the officials made the wrong call. Former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba and ex-Arsenal defender Alex Scott were of the opposite opinion and felt referees made the correct decision.  Australia captain Mile Jedinak bemoaned the decision but remained upbeat in his post-match interview. 'Disappointed. We didn't have that luck. That first decision I don't know, the ball seemed to keep going and he didn't get a shout. That's football, we understand that and must keep going.

Moments after the first penalty incident, Cunha consulted the screen once again to double check Samuel Umtiti had handled a cross into the box. The technology confirmed his decision and Crystal Palace's Jedinak stepped up to fire Australia level in Kazan. This year's edition of the tournament in Russia is the first time video technology is available to match officials. The VAR and his assistants have a number of television cameras at their Moscow base throughout the tournament - some 37 during the knockout stages.

The Video Assistant Referee is a highly-trained match official who is watching the game away from the pitch, safely shut away in a room casting an eagle eye over every piece of play. When trialed by the Bundesliga, VARs were based externally in Cologne, as opposed to inside the match-day stadium. They communicate with the referee on the field of play via a two-way radio. The tech first reared its head on British shores when England faced Germany in a friendly at Wembley, following successful tests in Germany, Italy and the United States. The referee must consult VAR — only then does the process of analysis of an incident begin. The VAR cannot simply review anything it wants during the match. The referee draws the outline of a TV screen in the air so everybody knows what's going on and that VAR is set to be used.

Initially the masters of the game expressed their opposition stating that the technology  is 'making the game ugly.'  ~ but it only enhances the quality weeding out the wrong decisions will be learnt over period of time.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
16th June 2018.