Search This Blog

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Parliament attack martyrs take back the medals....

It is not any ordinary edifice…. it is the symbolic portrayal of the democracy – it is the Parliament of India (or Sansad) ~  the federal and supreme legislative body of India. It consists of two houses – the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. It is located in New Delhi at Sansad Marg.  More than a decade ago, on that dreaded day,  the whole nation trembled. The attack on India's Parliament stunned a nation that watched what was happening live on television.  

Just to recall the news, Terrorists on December 13, 2001 attacked the Parliament of India resulting in a 45-minute gun battle in which 9 policemen and a parliament staffer were killed. All the five terrorists were also killed by the security forces and were identified as Pakistani nationals. The attack took place around 11:40 am (IST), minutes after both Houses of Parliament had adjourned for the day. The suspected terrorists dressed in commando fatigues entered Parliament in a car through the VIP gate of the building. Displaying Parliament and Home Ministry security stickers, the vehicle entered the Parliament premises. The terrorists set off massive blasts and have used AK-47 rifles, explosives and grenades for the attack. Senior Ministers and over 200 Members of Parliament were inside the Central Hall of Parliament when the attack took place. Security personnel sealed the entire premises which saved many lives.

On that day  Constable Kamlesh Kumari was first to spot the terrorist squad. One gunman, wearing a suicide vest, was shot dead; the vest exploded. The other four gunmen were also killed. Five policemen, a Parliament security guard, and a gardener were killed, and 18 others were injured. No minister or any MP was hurt. Indian Government initially accused LeT and JeM to be involved in this attack. In December 2002, four JeM members were caught by Indian authorities and put on trial. All four were found guilty of playing various roles in the incident, although the fourth, Afsan Guru/Navjot Sandhu, wife of Shaukat Hussain Guru (one of the accused) was found guilty of a minor charge of concealing knowledge of conspiracy. One of the accused, Mohammad Afzal Guru, was sentenced to the death penalty for the incident.  The execution of Afzal guru was delayed and on 13th Dec 2006, the families of the deceased returned the medals to the government expressing their anguish on the inaction.

Saturday, 30th March 2013 made a turn around…………. the family members of those who lost their lives in the December 2001 Parliament attack, on Saturday took back the gallantry medals, which they had returned to the President in 2006 to protest against the delay in the execution of Afzal Guru, who was convicted in the case.  They thanked Indian President and  received the medals from President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan.  The families had announced that they would take back the medals after Afzal was hanged in February in Tihar Jail. “We thanked the President for passing the orders for hanging Guru and thereby honouring the memories of the martyrs who died on December 13 when Parliament was attacked,” said Vipin, whose father head constable Vijender Singh was among the 10 who lost their lives. Shweta Singh was also present to receive the medal that was presented to her mother CRPF constable Kamlesh Kumari posthumously. She expressed “gratitude” to the President for “rejecting the mercy plea of Guru” and honouring her “mother's martyrdom.”

All India Anti-Terrorist Front (AIATF) chairman M.S. Bitta, who accompanied the families to Rashtrapati Bhavan, said he was grateful to the President for giving back the medals. Mr. Bitta also urged the President to clear all the pending death sentence cases, especially of the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh’s assassins. “Rajiv Gandhi is a martyr and one should risk the government, if required, to hang his assassins,” Mr. Bitta said.

In a memorandum submitted to the President, the AIATF has requested for the reinstating of cash awards, which were earlier announced for the security personnel, who fought the terrorists at the time of the attack on Parliament. The families of CRPF constable Kamlesh, CPWD Watch and Ward personnel M.S. Negi and Parliament security personnel J.P. Yadav returned the Ashok Chakra, while the kin of five police personnel returned the Kirti Chakra. Those who had received the Kirti Chakra were Delhi Police sub-inspectors Ghanshyam and Nanak Chand, assistant sub-inspector Ram Pal and head constables Om Prakash and Vijender Singh.

Certainly, the news of the families of Parliament attack heroes re-accepting bravery medals they returned in protest over Guru execution delay – must find a place in the National headlines.

with regards – S. Sampathkumar
31st Mar 2013.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Jennifer Lopez could not do what Katy Perry did at IPL - performance !!

When I circulate my posts through e-mail daily, I have 2 distinct lists ~ one religious, to whom I send my Temple related posts and the other group gets my posts on Insurance, Current affairs and Sports ~ to them I keep telling that most of my Cricket posts are about interesting aspects that surround the game rather than description of the game itself, and hence could be enjoyable to even those who do not like cricket [by the way are there many who don’t like Cricket] Here is a perfect opportunity for me to showcase ~ a post related to IPL ~ but that is not Cricket……………….  first Q ~ how much do you follow pop music and its entertainers…………. straight do you ogle at  Jo Lo…. and if so, be disappointed that Jennifer Lopez could not quite do what Katy Perry did. 
Priyanka Chopra with Murali Vijay, Dhoni and Ashwin

Katy Perry with Boulinger.

Last year it was a great show blitz in Chennai ~ the inauguration of IPL 5 ~ it was not at Chepauk, far away from the Cricket stadium at Nandanam there were more crowds – mad people spending so much – not for seeing cricketers in action………….. but  the event that kickstarted the game.   IPL was touted  to be  a treat of entertainment ~ but they opened the stage with bollywood diva Kareena Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, Prabhudeva, Priyanka Chopra, Salman Khan, Colonial Cousins and Katy Perry.  Yes, an  American Singer, songwriter and actress - Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson better known by her stage name Katy Perry performed for IPL at  YMCA College of Physical Education ~ an innovative move to promote and popularize and patronize cricket !!!

On that eventful day, the glamour quotient was at an all-time high as a galaxy of stars, led by megastar Amitabh Bachchan, descended at the at the YMCA College of Physical Education and set the stage on fire with their performance.  Though there were many glam stars, it appeared that the crowd was not entirely on their feet as the event was sort of a non-starter.   Amitabh, started the proceedings for the evening with a rendition of a poem 'If I were to be born again', written by renowned lyricist Prasoon Joshi. – the Colonial Cousins Hariharan and Leslie Lewis  did not churn out great stuff.  It was away from Cricket, venue was also away from the playing arena and the Opening Nite did not quite live up to the expectations.  Salman never a hit down south.   Prabhu deva has courted more controversies of late and not as flexible as he was in his yesteryears. Katy Perry dance looked a scene straight from any Telegu movie.   Rajeev Shukla, the IPL representative also spoke…………

So what is in store for the great Indian Cricket fan… can you imagine or do you have an inkling of what you have just missed !  Today’s Daily Mail reports that the Indian fans are poorer as they could not see J Lo, who has been dropped from performing in front of 60million people in India; unfair, my friends, that is not cricket and the drop is  over diva’s  demands for private plane and hotel rooms for huge entourage

Daily Mail reports that Jennifer Lopez missed out on performing at the IPL opening ceremony after her camp demanded her own plane ~ is that she or is that the Indian fans who have missed out…. The report puts that  Jo Lo’s camp demanded she have her own plane. Her manager Benny Medina reportedly asked organisers to make a private plane available to the superstar and pay for hotel rooms for her extensive entourage, including stylists and a personal chef.   It is further stated that Pepsi IPL booked rapper Pitbull after refusing to meet her diva-like demands.

The  report quoting NY Post states : 'She effectively priced herself out of the event. It was an idiotic move because the audience for this event is huge. It’s like the Super Bowl halftime show.' A J-Lo representative denied she was dropped by IPL organisers and said she is not performing at the ceremony on Tuesday because she is too busy.

So 56 million reportedly watched Katy Perry last year; this year they could not watch Jennifer Lopez in action.  In case, you are not in tune with entertainment World, Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson is known by her stage name Katy Perry ~ she  is an American recording artist, songwriter, and actress.  Jennifer Lynn Muñiz popularly Jo Lo, is an American actress, dancer, entrepreneur, fashion designer, film producer, philanthropist and singer.

Away from Cricket, there are reports that Madonna, another entertainer demands - special fabric, flowers and furniture plus a 200-strong entourage. The 53-year-old singer's rider includes all sorts of extravagant conditions as she performs her MDNA tour, according to reports.  Some reports state that Madonna has some outrageous demands included on her tour rider including special flowers and furniture.  one version puts it that  'She requires all furniture be removed from the rooms and replaced with her own pieces that she has shipped in.' It is claimed the singer demands 20 international phone lines in the room as well as special white and pink roses that must have the stems cut to six inches. Within the 200-strong team she is said to have 30 bodyguards, a yoga instructor as well as personal chefs and an acupuncturist.

Moving further away ~ if you are to ask whose entourage is bigger Jo Lo or Madonna………… perhaps it is none of them but Barack Obama… yes the celebrity – it is stated during his recent trip to Israel where his Beast broke down but had another one flown in replacing it had a 600 person entourage, that occupied all 233 rooms in King David Hotel.  It is stated that the entourage was even higher when he visited India last

There has to be some Cricket at least in the end…….. IPL much dogged by crisis of anti-lankan campaign in Tamil Nadu and the fact that matches at Chepauk will not have Lankan players playing for any IPL side is all set to begin on April 3rd 2013 with  the defending champ Kolkatta Knight Riders taking on Delhi Daredevils ~  there would be 72 preliminary matches + 4 culminating in finals on May 26 ~ the event sure is to attract millions of viewers…. Raipur and Ranchi will make debuts as IPL host cities in the 2013 edition. Max, the exclusive broadcaster of the Indian Premier League, is all set to launch its new marketing campaign for Pepsi IPL 2013 titled ‘Sirf Dekhneka Nahi’.

Now do tell me ~ do I write too much on Cricket !!!!

with regards – S. Sampathkumar.
29th Mar 2013.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Chinese tanker in Iranian Port ~ first after EU sanctions

In early 2012, the Council of the European Union raised  its concerns about the growth and nature of Iran's nuclear programme. As a result, the Council announced that it would levy an embargo on Iranian oil exports. Back in July 2012 the European Union [EU} imposed sanctions that prevented all European organisations from dealing with Iranian institutions. This meant that around 95% of the world’s tanker fleet had  to forfeit insurance if they traded Iranian oil, as most maritime insurers are based in Europe. Sanctions or restrictive measures (the two terms are used interchangeably) have been frequently imposed by the EU in recent years, either on an autonomous EU basis or implementing binding Resolutions of the Security Council of the United Nations. Sanctions are an instrument of a diplomatic or economic nature which seek to bring about a change in activities or policies such as violations of international law or human rights, or policies that do not respect the rule of law or democratic principles. All 27 EU states signed up for the sanctions. In addition to the oil embargo, the EU also decided to freeze the assets of the Iranian central bank, arguing that the aim was to choke off funding for the nuclear programme.

The new sanctions put restrictions on foreign trade, financial services, energy sectors and technologies and includes a ban on the provision of insurance and reinsurance by EU insurers to the State of Iran and Iranian owned companies. Iran on its part declared its intentions to close the Strait of Hormuz should the embargo be enacted. The embargo decision by  EU foreign ministers at a meeting in Brussels raised the stakes dramatically in the war of wits between Iran and the west. The EU decided no further oil contracts could be struck between the member states and Iran while existing oil delivery deals would be allowed to run until July. It impacted many other non EU Nations as well.  The oil embargo represented a leap in the sanctions regime against Iran, following four earlier rounds of escalating penalties. That also brought to fore the apprehension of rocketing oil prices at a time when there was extreme economic difficulty around the globe. 

Now months after the industry is agog with  report of the first confirmed visit to an Iranian port by a Chinese-owned crude oil carrier since the ban. A Chinese supertanker able to haul 2 million barrels of crude sent a signal from Iran’s largest export terminal in what may be the first visit of its kind since a European ban on insuring shipments in July. The Yuan Yang Hu, belonging to state-owned China Ocean Shipping (Group) Co., the country’s biggest shipping company, was at Kharg Island on March 21, according to vessel-tracking data from IHS Fairplay, a Redhill, England-based research company. The ship has since left thePersian Gulf, according to a signal today. The reason behind the Yuan Yang Hu’s visit to Iran has not yet been revealed officially.

Reports further suggest that Skuld, the Oslo-based insurance company responsible for providing cover to the Yuan Yang Hu, the tanker in question which happens to be owned by state-run China Ocean Shipping Co., has confirmed that the insurance protection will be automatically invalidated if the ship takes any Iranian oil onboard. “We insure ships on a yearly basis and do not usually know what particular activity a ship is engaged in at any one time,” Skuld said in its statement. “In general we only become aware of a particular ship’s location and cargo if there is an incident giving rise to a claim. An owner is not obliged to inform Skuld about the trade he is conducting with the vessel.” “Our insurance conditions contain a provision that cover is automatically excluded if providing cover or paying a claim may expose Skuld to the risk of sanctions,” Skuld said. “While we cannot comment on a particular member, we are very much aware of the EU restrictions on the provision of insurance,” Skuld said. “Compliance is of the utmost importance to us. We would point out that the operation of the exclusion is automatic – the exclusion will apply without us being required to give notice to owners.”

China has always been clear that it will not be subjected to the West’s Sanctions against Iran, with Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei, stating that, “China maintains normal and transparent energy cooperation with Iran in accordance with its own energy requirements. We obviously oppose some country imposing sanctions against another country according to their own domestic laws.” However, even Peoples Republic cannot transport oil without insurance. There was some speculation that they might decide to offer their own tankers some form of insurance cover, but that never occurred. There was speculation before and after the ban that the Chinese government would directly insure the cargoes or that the nation’s owners would seek alternative insurance.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
28th Mar 2013.

News source : and
Vessel photo courtesy  :

Genl Pervez Mushraff back in Pak ~ claims Kargil war was victory

A leopard cannot change its spots, nor can a tiger change its stripes ~ is an old adage. [meaning the basic traits do not change]

This man was at the helm for long, from Army to the politics and after resignation went to perform a holy pilgrimage to Mecca. He then went on a lucrative speaking and lectureship tour through the Middle East, Europe, and United States.  He reportedly was a highly paid keynote speaker; in  2011, he also lectured at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on politics and racism.

A couple of days ago, he returned to his own State  after a four-year self imposed exile, despite the life threats from Taliban & Talal Bugti. A recent Taliban video threatened to eliminate him with snipers and suicide bombers.  He landed on Jinnah International Airport, Karachi via a chartered Emirates flight with Pakistani journalists and foreign news correspondents.  Hundreds of his supporters and workers of APML were at Karachi airport welcoming him. He also delivered a short and emotional public speech at outside the lounge of airport. He faces a string of charges including conspiracy to murder, but on Friday the Pakistani authorities granted him protective bail in several outstanding cases, freeing him from immediate arrest once he sets foot in Pakistan ~ that is Genl. Pervez Mushraff.

Pervez Musharraf,  is a retired four-star general and a politician who served as the tenth President of Pakistan from 2001 until 2008. Prior to that, he was the 13th Chief of Army Staff from October 1998.  Commissioned in the Pakistan Army in 1964, Musharraf rose to national prominence after being appointed a four-star general in October 1998 by then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Musharraf was the mastermind and strategic field commander behind the highly controversial and internationally condemned Kargil infiltration, which derailed peace negotiations with India. Previously, Musharraf played a vital role in the Afghan civil war, both assisting the peace negotiations and attempting to end the bloodshed in the country. After months of contentious relations with Prime Minister Sharif, Musharraf was brought to power through a military coup d'état in 1999, subsequently placing the Prime minister under a strict house-arrest before moving him to Adiala Jail in Punjab Province.

The former military ruler of Pakistan, General (retd.)Pervez Musharraf, immediately on returning to Pakistan thundered that he was “proud” of the Kargil operation and blamed the political class for squandering away a military victory. At a press conference in Karachi — his first since returning from self-imposed exile on Sunday — he asserted that “a military victory was turned into a political defeat.”

Gen. Musharraf’s defence of the Kargil operation drew flak instantly from within Pakistan and elsewhere on the social media. At the same time, some Pakistanis sought to drive home the point that Indians held the former Army chief in greater esteem that his own fellow nationals. The kind of media coverage his return got in India, and the frequency with which he appears on Indian television channels and gets invited to conclaves organised by the media across the border has raised eyebrows in Pakistan often enough, particularly since Pakistani peace activists and players have been shown the door in India.

Some local media drew reference stating that he is simply hoping he will be luckier than Benazir Bhutto, another former president.  Bhutto, head of the Pakistan Peoples’ Party, was assassinated while campaigning in Rawalpindi. She was gunned down in December 2007, barely two months after she landed at Karachi airport following an eight-year absence. No one was ever convicted of killing her, though Taliban sympathizers were suspected. Ironically, it was the Musharraf government that was blamed for failing to provide adequate security.

The General is hoping to start a new party and run for parliament. The army is demanding the government provide what it terms “robust security.” Apparently, he is entitled to it as a former military man. Whether he gets elected or not is Pakistan’s destiny ~ but he has started India bashing as a route to becoming popular does not augur well for India which has made honest attempts in bridging peace but now finds itself distanced by the tiny-dot Srilanka as well.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
28th Mar 2013.

DDoS Bazooka attack slows down Internet in Europe

“Bazooka ..’ ~ is a shoulder-held weapon consisting of a long metal smoothbore tube for firing armor-piercing rockets at short range.  It reportedly is named so after a crude wind instrument made of pipes. The bazooka consists of a hollow tube open at the breech.

Perhaps you might think of ‘googling’ on this and might find your computer not responding as fast as you want it to.  There are reports quoting security experts that the Internet may have been slowed by one of the largest cyber attacks ever seen, which targeted a European group that patrols the Web for spam. The attacks targeted Spamhaus, a Geneva-based volunteer group that publishes spam blacklists which are used by networks to filter out unwanted email, and led to cyberspace congestion which may have affected the overall Internet.  The attacks began last week, according to Spamhaus, after it placed on its blacklist the Dutch-based Web hosting site Cyberbunker, which claimed it was unfairly labeled as a haven for cybercrime and spam.

So the news is that the internet around the world has been slowed down in what security experts are describing as the biggest cyber-attack of its kind in history. There are apprehensions that this could have  an impact on popular services - and experts worry it could escalate to affect banking and email systems. Five national cyber-police-forces are investigating the attacks.

The Spamhaus Project is an international nonprofit organization whose mission is to track the Internet's spam operations and sources, to provide dependable realtime anti-spam protection for Internet networks, to work with Law Enforcement Agencies to identify and pursue spam gangs worldwide, and to lobby governments for effective anti-spam legislation. Founded in 1998, Spamhaus is based in Geneva, Switzerland and London, UK and is run by a dedicated team of 38 investigators and forensics specialists located in 10 countries. Spamhaus maintains a number of realtime spam-blocking databases ('DNSBLs') responsible for keeping back the vast majority of spam sent out on the Internet. The Spamhaus Block List ("SBL") Advisory is a database of IP addresses from which Spamhaus does not recommend the acceptance of electronic mail.

To filter out spam and keep unwanted content out, the group maintains a number of blocklists - a database of servers known to be being used for malicious purposes. Recently, Spamhaus blocked servers maintained by Cyberbunker, a Dutch web host which states it will host anything with the exception of child pornography or terrorism-related material.  Cyberbunker feels that Spamhaus was abusing its position, and should not be allowed to decide "what goes and does not go on the internet". Spamhaus has alleged that Cyberbunker, in cooperation with "criminal gangs" from Eastern Europe and Russia, is behind the attack.

It is stated that the attackers have used a tactic known as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), which floods the intended target with large amounts of traffic in an attempt to render it unreachable. In this case, Spamhaus's Domain Name System (DNS) servers were targeted - the infrastructure that joins domain names,  the website's numerical internet protocol address.  It is stated that such attack could keep the target completely away from the internet.

To understand it better, if you imagine a motorway, the spam attacks try and put more traffic on the way and clog up the entire system so that nothing moves. The attacks typically happened in intermittent bursts of high activity.  We need not be unduly worried as, as of now those in Europe are reportedly more sluggish ~ same analogy – when there is traffic jam in autobahn, those driving in Chennai or Delhi do not worry of their way…….

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
28th Mar 2013.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

No Sri Lankan players in IPL matches in Chennai

The big bash extravaganza incidentally the game of Cricket – IPL 2013 is set to begin on Apr 3 with the defending champ Kolkatta Knight Riders taking on Delhi Daredevils ~ 72 preliminary matches + 4 culminating in finals on May 26 ~ the event sure is to attract millions of viewers…. Raipur and Ranchi will make debuts as IPL host cities in the 2013 edition.

Max, the exclusive broadcaster of the Indian Premier League, is all set to launch its new marketing campaign for Pepsi IPL 2013 titled ‘Sirf Dekhneka Nahi’. The campaign comes from the insight that cricket is not just a game in this country but a passion that moves every Indian to get up to celebrate and dance and there is news that    BCCI’s million-dollar tournament Indian Premier League (IPL), broadcasters are finding it tough to find advertisers for the tournament.  According to news in press the advertising slot rates have gone down to as less as Rs 4-4.5 lakh for per ten seconds decreasing by close to 20%...

IPL – Cricket & Politics are not away ~ this time, much has been happening even before the first ball is delivered.  South Africa allrounder Wayne Parnell's participation in IPL 2013 is in no doubt, according to his franchise Pune Warriors, despite him being one of 35 "wanted" foreign nationals for allegedly testing positive for recreational drugs following a police raid on a party in Mumbai last year. Parnell's IPL team-mate, Punjabi legspinner Rahul Sharma, who had also reportedly consumed drugs at the party, is also "supposed to join the squad as per schedule", Parnell and Sharma were among 90 people detained following the party at a hotel in the Juhu suburb of Mumbai on May 20 last year, a day after Pune Warriors' IPL 2012 campaign ended.

In IPL there is no place for Pakistan after 26/11 but that applies only for Pak players ~ not for commentators, match officials and coaches. Waqar Younis, the former Pakistan fast bowler, is to join  Sunrisers Hyderabad as a bowling consultant for the 2013 IPL season.

With so much of political tension in Tamilnadu, it had its impact on IPL too. During the test against Australia  the presence of Kumara Dharmasena was questioned in some quarters now it is of the  participation of Sri Lanka players in IPL.  The political fallout of the issue has led to the DMK, a Tamil Nadu-based party, pulling its ministers out of the federal coalition government in New Delhi and threatening its future. There have been at least two reported attacks on Sri Lankan tourists in Tamil Nadu in the past few days and Sri Lanka's foreign ministry has asked its nationals visiting Tamil Nadu to exercise caution. The fear is that the controversy will snowball and put players at risk.  It is official now, matches in Chennai will not feature any Sri Lankan cricketers or match officials, the league's governing council said after a meeting on Tuesday. It said the decision was taken keeping in mind security concerns in Chennai.

Meantime, the State CM has written to PM in unequivocal terms that in a hostile and tense environment, the participation of lankan players will aggravate an already surcharged atmosphere and further offend the sentiments of the people."  N Srinivasan, the BCCI president, has said the concerns surrounding the participation of Sri Lankan players in the IPL was an "operational issue" and would be handled accordingly.  The lankan players in the fray are :
Nuwan Kulasekara and Akila Dananjaya (Chennai Super Kings); Mahela Jayawardene and Jeevan Mendis (Delhi Daredevils); Sachithra Senanayake (Kolkata Knight Riders); Lasith Malinga (Mumbai Indians); Ajantha Mendis and Angelo Mathews (Pune Warriors); Kushal Janith Perera (Rajasthan Royals); Muttiah Muralitharan and Tillakaratne Dilshan (Royal Challengers Bangalore); Kumar Sangakkara and Thisara Perera (Sunrisers Hyderabad)

Tamilnadu is seeing students agitations and more over the genocide and calling for action against Mahinda Rajapaksa.  Recently, Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to boycott the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and the attendant Leaders' Retreat, scheduled to be held in Colombo this November, to demand action on Sri Lanka. As a nation aspiring for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, India has a duty to uphold the values of democracy and human rights, particularly in its immediate neighbourhood, Jayalalithaa said.

In the tense situation prevailing, students who took part in the protests to seek justice for victims of alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka said they did not want anything to do with anybody from the island nation, including cricket players, given the current situation. Many hold the view that if cricket bodies all over the world could boycott South Africa for practising apartheid, obviously there is nothing wrong with Jayalalithaa refusing permission to Sri Lankan cricketers playing in Chennai.

Three seasons ago at the time of the Telangana agitation, despite the Andhra Pradesh government promising full security, then IPL commissioner Lalit Modi unilaterally shifted all IPL matches out of Hyderabad. The rest of India may not see this in the same way Tamil Nadu sees; the political parties have no way out than target the IPL as parties vie to pitch themselves to be the champions of Tamil cause.  

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

Italian Foreign Minister resigns ~ MV Grietj another Enrica Lexie !!

Most of us are unlikely to have heard of - Giuliomaria Terzi di Sant'Agata , also known as Giulio Terzi ~ he is in news connected to Enrica Lexie.  If you had thought that the news has died down with the return of two Italian Marines Massimilano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, that is not to be. The Delhi High Court has now  set up a special court for trial of the two Italian marines accused of killing two Kerala fishermen. The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) of Patiala House court will hold trial of the two Italian marines, high court sources said.  

Giulio Terzi is the Italian Foreign Minister and he is news as he  has resigned in protest of his government's decision to send two Italian marines, accused of killing two Indian fishermen, to Delhi for trial. He is quoted as telling Italian MPs, "My reservations about sending the marines back to India were not listened to." Mr Terzi said he was resigning because his voice had gone "unheard" by Prime Minister Monti and his caretaker administration and that he can no longer be part of the government.  Prime Minister Mario Monti said he was "astonished" by the decision. He is due to speak in parliament on Wednesday.  The 66 year old Minister is quoted as stating "I am resigning because I have maintained for 40 years and I maintain more forcefully today that the honour of the country, its armed forces and the Italian diplomacy must be safeguarded. I am resigning because I support the two marines and their families." There was to be more dissonance  with  Defence Minister Giampaolo Di Paola stating that he would not step down over the crisis because he did not want to "abandon a ship in difficulty".

The marines, Massimiliano Latore and Salvatore Girone, returned accompanied by Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Steffan de Mistura in a military plane, after the dramatic u-turn by the Italian government, which had earlier said the two marines would not be sent back.   Italy then said that there has to be diplomatic assurance that the soldiers won’t face death penalty. Back home, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid had said that no deal has been worked out with Italy for bringing back the marines but the government had “clarified” to authorities in Rome that the case does not entitle death penalty.

All deaths are not the same ~ the Marine on board Enrica Lexie killed fishermen while the death of Anandan at Chennai is reportedly an accident arising out of negligence………  TOI repors that 2 German sailors have been  held for mid-sea collision.  The collision  with reported involvement of MV Grietji is getting murkier with the city police arresting two German sailors on 26.3.13. They were later let off on bail on the condition that they should not leave the city. Anandan, 45, a fisherman from Kasimedu drowned, and two of his friends were rescued after a ship rammed their boat. The Coast Guard and the mercantile marine department soon zeroed in on MV Grietj, flying the Antigua Barbuda flag, as the vessel which passed by, around 10 nautical miles (18.5km) off the Chennai coast, at the time of the accident.     A police officer confirmed the arrest of Albrecht Wolsgang (46), captain of the vessel, and Steffen Hinksoth (38), second officer. They have been charged under Section 304(A) (causing death due to negligence). The two seamen are from Munich, Germany.
A magistrate court in the city, where they were produced, directed them to surrender their passports and stay at the Seafarers Club at the Chennai port until further orders. Sources said an underwater inspection of the vessel at Chennai port had not yielded any visible evidence of a collision, but there was circumstantial evidence to arrest the seamen. International maritime conventions empower the local police to initiate legal action against a ship involved in an accident within 12 nautical miles (22km) from the shore. Local investigators have been insisting that the incident happened within this range. Elaborating on the ‘circumstantial evidence,’ a mercantile marine department official said MV Grietj was the only vessel that was in the vicinity of the region at the time of the incident.  “Moreover, the vessel’s VDR (voyage data recorder, which is like the black box in a plane), which should have recorded details of the ship’s movement and any incident, was not working. This could mean that it had a mechanical fault or it was tampered with,” the official said.  According to the earlier statements of two fishermen, Viji, 35, and Santhosh, 19, who were rescued by another fishing boat, their boat had developed a snag mid-sea and they saw a ship at a distance.

The ship’s owners had reportedly agreed to pay compensation to Anandan’s family, but refused to take responsibility for the accident.  Captain Albrecht Wolsgang and second officer Steffen Hinksoth have been asked to surrender their passports and not to leave the city

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
27th Mar 2013
PS: the news about MV Griegj reproduced from Times of India, Chennai Edition.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sanjay Dutt pardon ~ an actor who promoted Gandhism !!

At the outset, I am a firm believer that Cinema is only entertainment and nothing beyond….my knowledge of Hindi Cinema is too microscopic and I cannot identify most of the heroines….. !!  but  am simply unable to understand why there is so much clamour on a sentence…… which every newspaper reports to be rather mild, still talks of pardon beyond the purview of law….is an actor so important for the Nation ? or is it that am unable to understand something rudimentary.   My father taught me that one should never exploit or enjoy the difficulty of others….

I have not followed this earlier but now upon reading the scenario understood by me is : a case of conviction of a person for illegal possession of an assault weapon, an AK-56 rifle, is upheld by the Supreme Court. The weapon is part of a larger consignment that will be used to carry out the deadliest terrorist attacks on that country's financial capital. The convict has also met, hugged and had phone conversations with the masterminds of this terror conspiracy - men whose name repeatedly figure in the infamous "most wanted" lists. In the past, he has also illegally possessed a pistol. Along with him, about 100 others are found guilty. But there is a powerful political and societal lobby that sympathises with him and pushes for his pardon, arguing that his punishment is too severe.

In short, this is the story of a convicted criminal named Sanjay Dutt. That he happens to be an actor in India's powerful Hindi film industry called Bollywood, that his parents, too, were in the same profession and were honest and sincere social workers, and that his father and sister were and are members of India's Parliament are all secondary factors and should be of little importance. Perhaps you all know Sanjay Dutt better ~ read that Sanjay Dutt, son of film actors Sunil Dutt and Nargis Dutt, made his acting debut in 1981. He has since featured in films that are amongst some of the most popular Hindi language films of the past three decades.

On 21 March 2013, Supreme Court of India convicted Sunjay Dutt in the illegal possession of arms relating to the 1993 Mumbai blastscase and sentenced him to 5 years imprisonment. Earlier he had been sentenced to 6 years imprisonment by a TADA court. He has been ordered to surrender within four weeks from 21 March 2013 when the judgement was given. Most Press stated that Dutt was let off under the more stringent Terrorism and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, and was convicted under the Arms Act for illegal possession of guns.

From that time, prominent time in media has been arguing on the pardon to Dutt and there is news that the Governor of Maharashtra is reportedly set to consult the state government on the possibility of granting a pardon.  The report further states that the Governor  has been beset by appeals from a number of prominent personalities, asking him to pardon the actor.

Chairman of Press Council of India, Justice Katju, wrote a letter to Governor of Maharashtra, asking him to consider a pardon for a number of reasons, including the fact that he was not a terrorist, and that his parents had done a lot of social work.  He is not alone in the clamour as there are Jaya Prada, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, actor Rajinikanth and even West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee seeking that he be pardoned.

Every newsitem try to mention that there are projects estimated at Rs 100 crore riding on him; does that or should that impact any punishment is not written in the same breathe. Digvijay singh has made many controversial statements had he feels that Dutt should be pardoned.   Justice Katju lists out various reasons such as : Sanjay has suffered a lot; he underwent tribulations and indignities; he  had to go to court often; he is married and has 2 small kids…

What happened to the victims of bomb blasts – did they enjoy their life or have other persons who have had to loiter in the court verandahs allowed to earn when on bail.  When asked my friend stated that under TADA, at the point of time, possessing an illegal weapon in a notified area - which Mumbai was - automatically attracted the stringent act. Hence, he was booked and tried for terror charges just like the others. Lawyers are surprised that he was let off by the courts on this count.
One of the outrageous reasons seeking pardon that he through film revived the memory of Mahatma Gandhi and the message of Gandhiji, the father of the nation. By the same token, will Sanjay or for that matter any actor be tried for playing shady roles of criminals and articulating underworld and mafia dons….  If there is a legal provision of the power of pardon by the Governor, should that be exercised for these reasons ! and can any such action single out an individual for favourable treatment solely on the basis of his popularity. If accepted, the demand would entrench the belief that the country has two parallel systems of justice — one for the privileged and another for the rest.  The  Kalashnikov was not a toy and was not bought in any mall but  came through underworld gangs and was linked to the consignment of explosives used to perpetrate the Mumbai serial blasts, though Dutt may not have known that !!

The arms landed at two places in Raigad district and one in Gujarat. The Gujarat consignment was hidden in the cavity of a vehicle and brought to Mumbai by road, driven by Abu Salem, who went on to become a prominent gangster.  On 12th Mar 1993 there were coordinated attacks in Bombay and explosions killed over 250 and maimed more hundreds ~ making their lives miserable.  Supreme Court of India gave its judgement on 21st March 2013 after over 20 years of judicial proceedings.  The two  main accused in the case Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon have not yet been arrested and not tried.

People are entitled to their opinion but still… should popularity override punishment !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Barmer Guwahati Exp runs 20 kms ~~ backwards & without engine

Some consider travel by train very interesting ~ Indian Railway criss-crosses the entire Nation and some of its journeys stretch beyond two days……..  from its inaugural run from Bombay to Thane in 1853, Indian Railways has come a very long way.   Now here is something on a train whose travel time is : 48h-35m; has 29 halts; covers a distance of 2453 km running at an average speed of 50 km/hr… it connects Barmar to Guwahati…..

Barmer is located in the western part of Rajasthan, forming a part of the Thar Desert. The district is surrounded by Jaisalmer, Jalore, Pali and Jodhpur districts and  Pakistan in the west.  Like all other districts in the desert region, Barmer is known for its folk music and dance. The Bhopas (priest singers) are found in Barmer, who compose music in honour of the deities of the region and its war heroes.  The name Barmer is derived from the ruler Bahada Rao Parmar (Panwar) or Bar Rao Parmar (Panwar) who is said to have founded the town in the 13th century, when it was named Bahadamer (“The Hill Fort of Bahada”).  Barmer is famous for its carved wooden furniture and hand block printing industry.  In the recent past, it has gained prominence due to the operations of Cairn Energy and the large oil basin.  It also has Uttarlai military airbase, which is the Nation’s first under ground airbase.

It is news for different reasons ~ reports state that a major tragedy was averted when all the 13 coaches of Barmer-Guwahati Express without engine travelled a distance of about 20 km on track's downward slope from Barmer railway station and stopped only after crossing six level-crossings on Sunday night. Yes, the train ran backwards and without an engine…. !!!
photos and news courtesy : 

Reports state that the train was put on the platform in shunting mode much ahead of its scheduled departure of 11 pm when its coaches got released at around 9 pm. Though railway authorities had no idea of number of passengers in the engine-less train but according to Barmer station staff and local journalists around 400-500 passengers were onboard who had occupied seats during shunting. The passengers initially failed to comprehend the situation. However as the train assumed speed of around 40-45 km per hour they got alarmed. Some of them pulled the chain to stop it, but in vain.  Upon being alerted, crude attempts were made to stop the train without engine by putting stones and sand on the track. It, however, failed miserably, pointed out Barmer station staff.

As the arrival of Kalka-Barmer Chandigarh express had neared the track of the running coaches was changed. The coaches finally stopped after travelling around 20 km. Ultimately, coaches were brought back by sending the train's engine and train could leave about 20 minutes behind schedule.

Really surprising that a train [Barmer-Guwahati Express] could break free and hurtle backwards  at great speed.  Fortunately, this did not cause any mishap, but has triggered a major safety scare for the passengers as the Kalka-Barmer Chandigarh Express was coming from opposite direction at the same time.

The Barmar Guawahti Express running for 2 days is no way closer to the longest running train in terms of time… earlier it was Himsagar Express running 3715 km.   From Nov. 2011,  India’s longest running train  is  ‘Vivek Express’ running from Dibrugarh in Assam to Kanyakumari, in  Tamil Nadu. The train covers 4,286 km in 82.30 hours

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
26th Mar 2013.

Monday, March 25, 2013

fire at Connaught Place - the hazard of squatters and encroachment

Insurers rate their products based on risk perception ~ the physical features of a risk are most relevant….. there are pockets of potential hazards where fire-fighting or reaching out to the fire is too difficult, it is not these are far away ~ you can find them in your own locality, in your neighbourhood… but do we really seem to care ?  An Insurance Policy would at best provide financial reimbursement, but there are more that arise out of a loss ~ the loss of business, the injury / death of humans and more……..

A visitor to Delhi would no doubt visit this place and be overawed but he locality.  The area is instantly recognizable on any map of Delhi, being the big circle in the middle with radial roads spreading out in all directions, like spokes on a wheel. Eight separate roads lead out from its inner circle, named Parliament Street and Radial Roads 1 through 7. Twelve different roads lead out from the outer ring; the most well-known of these is Janpath. Its central park has long been a venue for cultural events. As is with many modern day landmarks, prior  to it's construction the area was a ridge, covered with kikar trees inhabited by jackals and wild pigs.

No prizes for guessing ~ it is the Connaught Place;  the regal station of Rajiv Chowk where you have the option to interchange for the Yellow and Blue lines of Metro rail.  Robert Tor Russell, chief architect to the Public Works Department(PWD), Government of India  is credited with its design.  It was named after The Prince Arthur, 1st Duke of Connaught (1850–1942), third son of Queen VictoriaConnaught Place is one of the largest financial, commercial and business centers in Delhi.

A fire blazed in shop in the heart of Delhi and Daily Mail reports that the blaze exposes fire risks ~ not exactly of its physical traits but from the surroundings -  from squatters and illegal parking. The report states that firemen raced against time on Sunday afternoon as illegally parked cars and a row of generator sets prevented them from taking a direct route to a chemist's shop that was in flames in Connaught Place. The obstructions forced them to take a longer way, wasting vital time and causing more damage to the shop. By good luck, the fire did not spread to other shops. However, things could very easily have got out of hand.

A Mail Today survey has revealed how automobile workshops, welders, scrap dealers, tens of small establishments and illegally parked vehicles have eaten into the posh market place, with disastrous consequences like those on Sunday.  Usually, civic officials have turned a blind eye to this. Details of the encroachments were first brought to the notice of the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) by the Supreme Court-appointed Bhure Lal committee a few months ago. The panel had directed the municipal body to prepare a report on all the illegal encroachments in Connaught Place along with an action plan to remove them.

"Encroachment on public land is unacceptable and whenever we get reports about them, we'll inspect the area and if necessary take action," said an NDMC spokesperson. Officials say that 27 establishments were identified in Connaught Place's A and G blocks. Encroachments in these areas were mostly found to be extended sheds, air-conditioning units and enclosures that were used as store rooms.  Following the inspection, notices were given to the establishments in October last year, of which only 11 were complied with. Even though NDMC officials have carried out minor demolition work in the area, Connaught Place has still not been rid of the encroachments and clogged pathways. Senior NDMC officials claim that removing encroachments in Connaught Place is not easy. Some shop owners, who have been sent notices, claim their disputed property to be older than 50 years, for which NDMC has no building records.

Encroachment between the blocks is not the only type of illegal occupation of land in Connaught Place. Hundreds of squatters are seen selling clothes, vegetables and handicrafts on the corridors of CP and in the lane outside Palika Bazaar underground parking.  There is evidently much to be saved from illegally occupying space in one of the most expensive commercial spaces in the world - the fourth highest, according to one survey.  The occupancy cost in Connaught Place is Rs 8,804 per square foot, compared to Rs 8,478 per square foot in Tokyo's central business district, according to an annual survey released recently by global real estate service firm Cushman & Wakefield. The equivalent cost in New York City's Midtown, is Rs 7,002.

This time the fire was not devastating and was brought under control – but there are potent risks waiting to explode… the onus is on the authorities to take timely action and on us to ensure that there is cooperation on all fronts.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

The fire and hazard part is almost entirely reproduced from the Daily Mail UK. Fire damage photos also courtesy

India celebrates whitewash ~ do you remember that Chennai Test

The ignominy is complete; another Test ending in 3 days… honestly, when the set target was 155, it did send some shivers in my mind reminiscing the same target of Chennai  on 22nd Mar 2001…..and another knowledgeable cricket fan shared similar sentiments in the evening.

The dust having settled, it is now easier to talk of the revenge, the whitewash, the strategy, Aussie’s incapacity to play spin,  ~ sure India’s best Series victory in 81 years has lots behind it.  At the outset, Aussies were talking more of Ashes and the antics like ‘homeworkgate’ did not work… Not since the summer of 1978/79 had an Australian team been thrashed by such a margin when Graham Yallop's side was beaten 5-1 by England in the middle of the World Series Cricket era – when many of the country's best players were banned.It is also the first 4-0 defeat since Bill Lawry's men were annihilated by South Africa in 1969/70.

Australia tried to surprise India by opening with Glenn Maxwell alongside David Warner. Maxwell opened the bowling too. Ferozshah Kotla was not exactly a dust bowl; Nathan Lyon who went for runs at Chepauk and was dropped for Hyderabad; took career-best figures of 7-94 and claimed nine wickets for the match, including Sachin Tendulkar for a fourth time – a record for an Australian spinner. Their lower order made runs regularly, Peter Siddle made runs; last match it was Starc who got out tantalizing close to a ton. 

India secured a six wicket victory, propelled by Cheteshwar Pujara (82 not out) but it was not as simple as the scoreline would suggest. At the start of the series MS Dhoni was under the hammer for being the first Indian captain in 28 years to lose a home series to England, that too after being blanked out on away series in England and Australia. Now it is Dhoni’s time to toss a few hammers towards the written press, but he said using the word revenge was all too "confusing." The disadvantage of having lost the toss in all four Tests meant that India had to bat last in three of the four Tests, but had done enough with the ball in the third innings to keep the target down to reasonable numbers. The Delhi Test may have ended inside three days, but it was here that India had to chase their highest target of the series, 155 runs, on the most treacherous wicket of the four Tests.  In the process, Duncan Fletcher has had an extention for doing nothing in shaping the players. 

Murali Vijay denied himself the chance of partying after such a successful series by playing an uncharacteristic reverse sweep, getting bowled.  Sachin provided more ammunition to his uncharitable critics that he never finishes, by getting out towards the end ~ it was Ajinkya Rahana, seemingly good test material; made runs in ODI and somehow made some in T20 too – miffed with the classic choice – incidentally, it is almost a decade or so since a batsman from Mumbai made his debut ~ remember, Mumbai has produced the best of the batsmen : from Vijay Merchant to Sunil Gavaskar to Sachin Tendulkar – and in between many many like Vengsarkar,  Manjrekars, Ravi Shastri, and more. 

Not sure how you all view this…..Ishant Sharma was fined 15% of his match fee for breaching the ICC Code of Conduct.  It was a penalty as per  Article 2.1.6 of the ICC Code of Conduct, "which relates to pointing or gesturing towards the pavilion by a bowler or a fielder upon the dismissal of a batsman in an International Match." ~ and is that singular or are we not seeing such gestures these days on the field……….  Or is that when Aussies does it is their way of aggression. On the second day, Australia opener David Warner was involved in a verbal altercation with Ravindra Jadeja, who asked the umpires to intervene and they subsequently called on captain Shane Watson to speak to Warner. Warner had reacted, seemingly, in response to the Indian batsmen running through the middle of the pitch while going for a couple.

So, a great time, a history of sorts of winning 4 tests in a Series.  Now getting back to that 155 target in the 4th innings in that test no. 1539 at Chepauk in Mar 2001 – Aussies batted first; Slater fell early – Aussies made 326/3 on day 1 with Hayden blazing with a century.  They were eventually all out for 391; Hayden making 203. Harbhajan took 7 for 133.  In that test Samir Dighe and Sairaj Bahutule made their debuts  adding to the strong Bombay contingent of Sachin, Zahir and Nilesh KUlkarni.

India made 501 with all top order contributing and Sachin making a grand 126. In the 2nd Australia were all out for 264 – setting 155. Harbhajan dazzled with 8 for 84.  On day 5 when we gathered in the early morning, Oz were ahead by 131 with 3 wickets in hand… and we were fearing the outcome ~ whether Indians could make the seemingly small but difficult target.  Jason Gillesspee, Glenn Mcgrath, colin Miller and Shane Warne ~ the attack looked awesome.

Sadagopan Ramesh opened with SS Das and made some delectable shots.  When Ramesh was run out if was 76/2 after 19.3 overs; suddenly pressure built up ~ it was 122-5 [Sachin, Ganguly, Dravid gone] Laxman batted beautifully making 66 and when he was out it was 135 and in the same over Miller removed Bahutule too…. 20 to go – 3 wickets in hands, seemed dicey. Sameer Dighe the debutant was solid and Harbhajan scored the winning runs which was a great relief to all of us present in the stadium and those watching on TV.  The last session was so tense, that all results were possible – people did not speak to the other; some did not change their seats, some smoked, some were baiting their nails.. as it ended Indian way. 

This time the same score; the end was not as tense !!! ~ that laidback left handed Sadagopan Ramesh went on to play some more matches, never fulfilled his potential then was seen on silverscreen………. Yes acting in films. 

The man who made some pristine drives off Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, made a small appearance in ‘Santosh Subramaniam’; in a comedy show in TV as Judge and  then had a major role in ‘Potta potti’……..  it was a cinema of two  Kodaivannan and Kolaivannan, of a remote village decide to marry a rich girl. To win the girl they had to win a match; the  ‘good’ hearted Kodaivannan’s team kidnaps the real cricketer, Sadagoppan Ramesh, while he was on his way to Thekkady.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.