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Friday, April 19, 2019

+2 Results - SYMA Growth students secure 'All pass' - 2019


Today 19th Apr 2019 is a Happy Day for us all ~ SYMA Growth students have performed exceedingly well.  It is ‘all pass’ **

SYMA has an unsaturated desire for serving the Society.  SYMA [Srinivas Youngmen’s Association]  has been in the field of Social service since 1977 ~  in the past few years, our initiative in the field of Education ‘SYMA Growth’ has been prospering.  SYMA Growth – a fullfledged tuition centre, is our  cherished initiative in educating the economically poor children, uplifting their standards and making them responsible citizens, by providing quality educational support throughout the year free. In this beautiful World, most students are frightened to face the Public examinations.  SYMA’s vision is  to provide good quality education training free of cost  for those students who suffer for want of opportunities.  On 6th  July 2008,  Mr.R Sekar, IPS, Commissioner of Police launched our Tuition Centre ‘Growth’  and a right beginning was made.  Every year since, we have been tasting grand success with very good results. The Academic year 2018-19 was  11th year of SYMA Growth.

The classes for the present academic year started  in June 2018   after our initial screening ensuring that the most deserving were selected on economic criteria.  The Centre is run on all days from 6 - 8 pm in the evening and on Sundays @ 10-12 am and has  +2 Commerce, + Science Group; X standard – Tamil and X Std English medium – each having around 30 students.   The Tamil Nadu board declared the results for the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC), or Class 12, examinations on Friday, 19 April (today) at 9.30 am

Though we were little bit anxious, we were quite confident – and we are very happy in informing you that ‘all our + 2 students have passed’ [15 of them in Science group and 28 in Commerce group]   Our Student Ms Varsha is the topper in Science with 545 out of 600.  4 of them got above 400; 9 students are in the bracket 300-400.  In the Commerce group, the topper is Pugazhenthi 506/600.  6 got more than 400 and 12 above 300.  We place on record our hearty thanks to Mr PV Venkatesan and M/s Manpower Group for their solid support. 

This year, around eight lakh students appeared for the HSC exams, which was held from 1 March till 19 March by the Tamil Nadu Directorate of Government Examinations. Among the districts, Tiruppur ranks first with a pass percentage of 95.37 percent, followed by Erode with 95.23 percent and Perambalur district in the third place with 95.15 percent. The overall pass percentage in the State  is 91.3 percent. Girls have outshone boys this year too with 93.64 percent. The pass percentage for boys is recorded at 88.57 percent. A total of 8,87,992 students received the Tamil Nadu 12th results today.

The success of SYMA Growth in uplifting the students from lower echelons of society is fully because of the untiring efforts of teachers of SYMA Growth.    SYMA places on record our profound thanks  to the Management of NK Thirumalachariyar National Boys High School, Mr S. Venkatadri, HM, NKT Boys High School, our beloved teachers of SYMA Growth, Mrs Thara, and the volunteers.  Special appreciations are due to M/s Manpower Group India and Mr PV Venkatesan – for their support in fully-funding this project for the 3rd continuous year. 

We would also like to mention the efforts of Mr Durai and Mr TJ Ramani in visiting the facility daily and in the conduct of full-fledged model exams in all subjects.    There are so many of you, who have contributed in the success of Growth and a BIG THANKS to you ALL.

The next academic year will be our 12th year of Operations and together we will strive to continue to educate the students.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
19th Apr 2019.


Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Bangla campaign in West Bengal ~ Vellore election cancelled


In 2016, for the first time in electoral history of India, the Election Commission of India (ECI) based on reports of large scale distribution of money and gifts to elector by the candidates and political parties in two Assembly constituencies in Tamil Nadu  decided to rescind the notification and conduct elections afresh in due course of time. After considering reports of Observers, Special teams of central observers, report of the special team of observers of Aravkurichi and Tanjavur Assembly constituencies and representations of contesting candidates of these two Assembly constituencies.

“The ECI is satisfied that the election process in the two constituencies Aravkurichi (134) and Thanjavur (174), because of inducing electors by candidates and political parties by offering money and other gifts to woo them in their favour, is seriously vitiated and cannot be allowed to proceed and ought to be rescinded so that fresh elections may be conducted de novo in these two constituencies when the atmosphere becomes conducive to the holding of free and fair elections after a reasonable lapse of time,” an official said.

Back in 1995, Rajnikant starrer Muthu was released.  Directed by KS Ravikumar, initially, it was blamed that the songs were not catchy, though later by repeats, it picked up.  Rajni even here is known for his style, speed, fight and action – but miles away, in Japan his dance sequence with Meena was hailed and the film was a big hit as Dancing Maharaja, acquiring cult status.  The movie was recently restored in 4K and 5.1 CH surround – and was directed at Japanese audience too. 

Bahubali was a real black-buster.  For most favourite character from SS Rajamouli’s Baahubali, would probably be – Baahubali, Bhallaladev, Kattappa, Devasena, Sivagami, Avantika or Bijjaladeva or Rajamouli or MM Keeravani.   But Japan – the country who is showering immense love on the Indian film, got obsessed over Kumar Varma. So much so, that it became an emoticon there !



Perhaps drawing analogy from all these, the Bengal CM felt the need to rope in help from across the border .. huge political storm has erupted in West Bengal over Bangladeshi film star Ferdous Ahmed campaigning for TMC candidate Kanahiya Aggarwal.  On Monday, Ferdous campaigned in Karandighi and Chakulia areas of North Dinajpur, while on Sunday, he is said to have participated in road shows at Raiganj and Hemtabad along with Tollywood actors Payel Sarkar and Ankush. The actor is said to be on a business visa.  It is clear that business visa does not allow such participation. 


More than all these, the Lok Sabha election to the Vellore constituency stands cancelled following recovery of huge amount of cash allegedly from a DMK candidate's office a few days ago. President Mr  Ram Nath Kovind rescinded the notification to hold the election to the seat based on the recommendation made by the poll panel. Polling in Vellore was scheduled for 18 April. The Election Commission took the decision after the district police had filed a complaint against the accused, Kathir Anand, as well as two party functionaries on the basis of a report from the Income Tax department on 10 April. Anand was charged under the Representation of the People Act for giving "wrong information" in his election affidavit filed along with his nomination papers, the police said. The other two, identified as Srinivasan and Damodaran, were booked under bribery charges. The recommendation was sent to the legislative department of the law ministry on Tuesday which issued the notification.

On 30 March, Income-Tax officials had conducted searches at the residence of Anand's father Durai Murugan over suspected use of unaccounted money for electioneering, and seized Rs. 10.50 lakh in alleged "excess" cash. Two days later, they claimed to have seized Rs 11.53 crore from a cement go-down belonging to a DMK leader's associate in the same district. DMK leader however denied and questioned  the timing of the Income Tax department's operation.  Whether it proper to cancel the election when one is caught – is it fair to the people, is it fair to other candidates, the debate would rage on.

There is another cancellation too – the  Ministry of Home Affairs has cancelled the business visa of Bangladeshi actor Ferdous Ahmed, who campaigned for the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal. He has also been blacklisted.  More of election news -  addressing a rally in Thrissur, BJP chief Amit Shah alleged, "Under Pinarayi Vijayan government, 525 incidents of mob lynching and violence have taken place... The Kerala government also unleashed violence  on the devotees of Sabarimala in the name of implementing the Supreme Court order. What message does the Kerala chief minister want to send through the violence on the devotees?"  The Election Commission has sought report from the Katihar district magistration on Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu's speech in which he reportedly appealed to the Muslims not to split their votes.

A blot and shame for the democrary !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
16th Apr 2019.


Saturday, April 13, 2019

Marine salvage ~ costly cars from sunken Baltic Ace


On 5 Dec 2012, Baltic Ace collided with the Cyprus-registered container ship Corvus J in the North Sea while underway from Zeebrugge, Belgium, to Kotka, Finland with a cargo of about 1,400 Mitsubishi cars likely headed to the Russian market.The incident took place some 40–50 kilometres (25–31 mi) off the Dutch coast south of Rotterdam on one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world at 18:15 GMT. Sources ascribed the cause of accident to be ‘human error’.  Immediately after the collision, Baltic Ace began taking on water, capsized and sank within 15 minutes in shallow waters.  There were human casualties too ~ Corvus J was severely damaged and her bulbous bow was bent, but she was not in danger of sinking and participated in the search for survivors.


Marine salvage is the process of recovering a ship and its cargo after a shipwreck or other maritime casualty. Salvage may encompass towing, re-floating a vessel, or effecting repairs to a ship. Today, protecting the coastal environment from spillage of oil or other contaminants is a high priority. Before the invention of radio, salvage services would be given to a stricken vessel by any ship that happened to be passing by. Nowadays, most salvage is carried out by specialist salvage firms with dedicated crew and equipment.

The legal significance of salvage is that a successful salvor is entitled to a reward, which is a proportion of the total value of the ship and its cargo. The amount of the award is determined subsequently at a "hearing on the merits" by a maritime court in accordance with Articles 13 and 14 of the International Salvage Convention of 1989. The common law concept of salvage was established by the English Admiralty Court, and is defined as "a voluntary successful service provided in order to save maritime property in danger at sea, entitling the salvor to a reward"; and this definition has been further refined by the 1989 Convention.


Originally, a "successful" salvage was one where at least some of the ship or cargo was saved, otherwise the principle of "No Cure, No Pay" meant that the salvor would get nothing. In the 1970s, a number of marine casualties of single-skin-hull tankers led to serious oil spills. Such casualties were unattractive to salvors, so the Lloyd's Open Form (LOF) made provision that a salvor who acts to try to prevent environmental damage will be paid, even if unsuccessful. This Lloyd's initiative proved so advantageous that it was incorporated into the 1989 Convention.

All vessels have an international duty to give reasonable assistance to other ships in distress in order to save life, but there is no obligation to try to salve the vessel. Any offer of salvage assistance may be refused; but if it is accepted a contract automatically arises to give the successful salvor the right to a reward under the 1989 Convention. Typically, the ship and the salvor will sign up to an LOF agreement so that the terms of salvage are clear. Since 2000, it has become standard to append a SCOPIC ("Special Compensation - P&I Clubs") clause to the LOF, so as to circumvent the limitations of the "Special Compensation" provisions of the 1989 Convention.

"Salvors" are Professional  seamen and engineers who carry out salvage to vessels that they do not own, and who are not members of the vessel's original crew. When salving large ships, they may use cranes, floating dry docks and divers to lift and repair submerged or grounded ships, preparing them to be towed by a tugboat. The goal of the salvage may be to repair the vessel at a harbour or dry dock, or to clear a channel for navigation. Salvage operations may also aim to prevent pollution or damage to the marine environment. Additionally, the vessel or valuable parts of the vessel or its cargo may be recovered for resale, or for scrap.

Smit Internationale N.V. (or Smit International) is a Dutch company operating in the maritime sector. The company was founded in 1842 by Fop Smit as a towage company with only the 140 horsepower paddle steamer tug Kinderdijk. It is now part of Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V. a leading global dredging and offshore contractor and maritime services provider. With origins in the Netherlands, they have been operating for over 100 years.

The vessel in first para - MV Baltic Ace was a Bahamian-flagged car carrier that sank in the North Sea on 5 December 2012 after a collision with the Cyprus-registered container ship Corvus J. Built by Stocznia Gdynia in Poland, the ship had been in service since 2007.  Baltic Ace was a car carrier, a roll-on/roll-off ship designed to transport vehicles in a large, fully enclosed garage-like superstructure running the entire length and width of the vessel. She had eight cargo decks of which two decks (3 and 5) could be hoisted up to increase the clearance of the decks below to 4.8 metres (16 ft) for large vehicles. Her car capacity, measured in RT43 units, was 2,132. For loading and unloading cargo, Baltic Ace had a stern ramp for normal ro-ro berths and a stern quarter ramp for harbours with no specialized cargo handling facilities.

She was propelled by a single 5.84-metre (19.2 ft) nickel-aluminum alloy fixed pitch propeller directly coupled to the main engine. Calling ports in the Baltic Sea regularly, Baltic Ace was strengthened for navigation in ice and held a Finnish-Swedish ice class1A. She was classed by Det Norske Veritas.After the collision, she went into the sea and was resting in sea bed – not so deep, estimatedly around a  depth of only 35 metres with its cargo including 1400 cars – some costly luxurious ones .. .. there was also substantial quantity of oil, which created some disturbance to marine environmentalists. 

In Mar 2014, in  its largest ever salvage award the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment contracted Boskalis and its partner Mammoet Salvage for the wreck removal operation.  The concern was that the ship  had some 540,000 liters of pollutants on board such as heavy fuel oil and lubricants and posed quite a threat to the environment. In addition, of course, there was also the petrol, oil, batteries etc. in the vehicles themselves. Furthermore, this is a very busy shipping lane so the wreck was certainly a hazard to vessels, given that it was so close to the surface. The wreck therefore was closely monitored by the Dutch and Belgian coastguard authorities.


The contract was to be completed before end 2015 ~ North Sea offered its share of complications as work normally could be done only during Apr to Sept. For taking out the oil, the salvors used hot tapping with a heating system.  In this process, the  oil is heated with inserts in the bunker tank. Steam is run through these inserts, which are cylinders of 2 meters long and 30 cm in diameter. The steam plant was installed on a barge and provided constant heating to create the flow of oil in the tank. Once all remaining oil had been removed from the wreck, the vessel was cut into 8 separate pieces using a cutting wire and raised from the seabed.  To cut a section of 25 meters wide and 25 meters high takes around 30 hours. The sections were then lifted with large sheerlegs onto a barge and taken to a recycling plant.


For maintaining navigation hassle-free, the seabed had to be cleaned and grabs were used to retrieve the smaller parts and debris  off the bottom. Divers cleared the  remaining waste.  The salvaging of a sunken ship is certainly challenging and in this case the salvors - Boskalis Westminster N.V ensured a clean retrieval.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
4th Apr 2019
PS : news collated from various sources on the web – pics credit : Boskalis, the salvor’s website.

Friday, April 12, 2019

that final over ~ Jadeja falling, Dhoni walking in and Santner hitting


Another thriller ~ last ball finish – an unlikely or rather unexpected one as it came from bespectacled spinner  Mitchell Santner – another match that made you lose sleep ! – all ingredients of IPL.

Rajasthan Royals were off to a hot start – 3 overs – 35 runs – but were contained by the Spinners – and then   Super Kings got off to a miserable early reply. Shane Watson bowled four balls into the chase with a beautiful delivery from Dhawal Kulkarni that held its line. Suresh Raina had to run as Faf was already running – chinna thala watched Jofra Archer field at fineleg, not expecting a throw to be sent to the non-striker's end ball hitting stumps  with Raina a foot short to make it 5 for 2 in the second. Faf du Plessis picked out one of the two boundary riders in the Powerplay at deep midwicket to gift Jaydev Unadkat a wicket in the fourth. Stokes pulled off spectacular  catch of the tournament at backward point, flying to his left to knife Kedar Jadhav's attempted cut off Archer to make it 24 for 4 with one ball to go in the Powerplay.  .. .. yet CSK won !!

You see so many WI performing well in IPL – Aljarri Joseph, DJ Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Sunil Naraine .. .. Russel .. .. there are the likes of Hetmeyer too but why still WI is not clicking .. .. lot happening outside the ground  Dave Cameron's controversial reign as the CWI president coming to an end last month, Ricky Skerritt, a former West Indies team manager, beat Cameron by an 8-4 margin in the board elections. Cameron had several fallouts with senior West Indies players, especially Darren Sammy who led them to two World T20 titles.  West Indies head coach Richard Pybus has been replaced months after he was appointed, as one of several reforms announced today by new Cricket West Indies president Ricky Skerritt. The entire selection panel has also been replaced, with Robert Haynes replacing Courtney Browne as interim head of selectors. Floyd Reifer has been confirmed as interim head coach, a role he previously filled on West Indies’ tour to Bangladesh last year. Richard 'Ricky' Skerritt is a politician affiliated to the St Kitts and Nevis Labour Party

In that thriller, as Alzarri Joseph and Rahul Chahar completed the second run to clinch a thrilling last-ball win against Kings XI Punjab, the Mumbai Indians players ran out on the field in two batches: one sprinted down the stairs from the dressing room and the other erupted in the dugout. Kieron Pollard, who turned the tables on Kings XI, was in neither of them. Pollard was still padded up and under his helmet after his stunning 83 off 31 balls, studded with ten sixes, and was next to the dugout just beyond the boundary. Once Joseph hit the winning runs, Pollard jumped with joy, then gradually walked out on the field, took his helmet off, stood in the middle and pointed his thumbs towards his name at the back of his jersey. He was expressionless, but reminded the crowd who he was and what he could do. Pollard had unleashed an astonishing assault en route to his highest IPL score when things were looking down for Mumbai. Not just for the win and his clean hitting, Pollard would always cherish this match because it was his first IPL outing as captain.

Kieron Pollard last played an ODI in October 2016 but may still have hopes of making it to the West Indies World Cup squad because of a new set-up running Cricket West Indies (CWI). After smashing his highest IPL score - 83 off 31 balls - to help Mumbai Indians edge Kings XI Punjab in a last-ball finish in Mumbai on Wednesday night, Pollard was asked if he thought he would be picked in the World Cup squad that will be announced later this month, and he indirectly said anything could be possible.

Yesterday at Jaipur, Dhoni fought off getting hit in the helmet by Archer in the 17th to eventually bring up his 50 off 39 balls with a two behind point off Archer in the 19th over, after which he started sucking wind heavily.  He required some treatment probably for cramps and was struggling.   Another two required an extended break with the physio coming on field while Dhoni caught his breath. A four flicked off his pads to end the 19th brought the equation down to 18 off the final frame to set up the thrilling finish.
Nothing would portray that drams of the last over.  Score card would read Chennai Super Kings 155 for 6 (Dhoni 58, Rayudu 57, Stokes 2-39) beat Rajasthan Royals 151 for 7 (Stokes 28, Buttler 23, Jadeja 2-20) by four wickets

Off the last 18 required Ben Stokes was the bowler.  The first ball was unimaginable – Jadeja heaved, was seen falling ugly flat, the bowler too upon completing the delivery stride was on the ground, but the ball was soaring straight to the screen for a 6 ! ; 2nd was a no ball, ran one, free hit and Dhoni had a brace.  Off the 3rd, Dhoni was bowled to a beautiful Yorker.   MS Dhoni b Stokes 58 (76m 43b 2x4 3x6) SR: 134.88.  Santner in. 8 needed off 3. 19.4 Stokes to Santner, 2 runs, another no-ball for height this time, slower ball goes wrong, ends up above waist height and Santner is able to shovel-flick it away. .. .. No ball given but reversed by the leg Umpire – Dhoni is furious.   5th another 2 – one gets a feeling that Santner should not be on strike – last ball a wide – Stokes has to bowl that again – Ben bowls full and outside – Santner a mighty heave hits a straight six .. everyone is elated and one could hear shouts in the mid of night as the clock strikes 12.00

That last over was possibly the most action-packed in IPL history. It began with Jadeja falling over while hitting a six  - had a no-ball call reversed and the unprecedented sight of Dhoni marching on to the field – and the last ball six by Santner.   

What is still hotly debated is Captain Cool losing it momentarily and walking on to the field   to remonstrate with the umpires over that contentious no-ball call.   Stokes bowled a full toss. Umpire Ulhas Gandhe signaled a no-ball for height, only for his square-leg colleague Bruce Oxenford to overrule him. That led to heated arguments in the middle, with batsmen Ravindra Jadeja and Santner getting involved. Dhoni also marched onto the field and got involved in an animated discussion with the umpires. The delivery stood as a legal one,  MS Dhoni has been docked 50 per cent of his match fees for a Code of Conduct breach. Dhoni admitted to the Level 2 offence under Article 2.20 of the IPL's Code of Conduct and accepted the sanction.

All happening in IPL ~ my Q is what would be the state of mind of players when the team for WC is picked in Apr 15, 2019

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
12.4.2019