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Thursday, October 30, 2014

“Ouagadougou” - Capital of Burkina Faso in turmoil...

Before you mistake these three colours for something else – it is river – the Volta River,  a stream primarily in Ghana that drains into the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean. It has three main tributaries—the Black Volta, White Volta and Red Volta.

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 inhabitants are called ouagalais.  Ouagadougou's primary industries are food processing and textiles. It is served by an international airport, rail links to Abidjan in the Ivory Coast.  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.

The place is in news for wrong reasons – it’s Parliament is on fire …. 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.

Today, Daily Mail reports that protesters set fire to Parliament amid violent demonstrations against president's bid to extend his rule.  Angry demonstrators went on the rampage in Burkina Faso today in protest at plans to allow the President to extend his 27-year rule, setting the parliament on fire and wreaking havoc across the capital. Crowds of people broke through a heavy security cordon and stormed the National Assembly building in Ouagadougou, ransacking offices and setting fire to cars. One man was killed in the chaos that erupted in the west African nation shortly before lawmakers were due to vote on the controversial legislation.

The United States and former colonial power France voiced alarm over the unrest gripping the poor west African nation and appealed for calm. Amid the surging violence, the government announced it was calling off the vote but it was not immediately clear if this was only a temporary move. Black smoke billowed out of smashed windows at the parliament building, where several offices were ravaged by flames, including the speaker's office, although the main chamber so far appeared to be unscathed. The ruling party headquarters in the second city of Bobo Dioulasso and the city hall was also torched by protesters, witnesses said.

The country has been tense for days in the run-up to today's vote on constitutional changes to extend President Blaise Compaore's rule.  The European Union has urged the government to scrap the legislation, warning that it could 'jeopardise... stability, equitable development and democratic progress', and had called for all sides to refrain from violence. The legislature is due to examine a proposed amendment that would allow Compaore, now in the 27th year of his presidency, to run for re-election in November next year for another five years.  Compaore's bid to cling to power has angered the opposition and much of the public, including many young people in a country where 60 percent of the population of almost 17 million is under 25. Many have spent their entire lives under the leadership of one man and - with the poor former French colony stagnating at 183rd out of 186 countries on the UN human development index - many have had enough.  Compaore was only 36 when he seized power in a 1987 coup in which his former friend and one of Africa's most loved leaders, Thomas Sankara, was ousted and assassinated. The 63-year-old has remained in power since then, re-elected president four times since 1991 - to two seven-year and two five-year terms.

The opposition fears the new rules would enable Compaore to seek re-election not just once, but three more times, paving the way for up to 15 more years in power. Protesters have erected barricades and burned tyres in the capital since the proposal was announced on October 21.

Things are not alright at ‘the land of honest people’

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

30th Oct 2014.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

the most powerful women in football !

Angela Merkel, Janet Yellen, Melinda Gates, Dilma Rousseff, Christine Lagarde ……….the toppers of most powerful women list according to Forbes. 

Back home, in 1994, she was one of five people handpicked to start the National Stock Exchange (NSE) – more than two decades later, in Apr 2013, Chitra Ramkrishna became the third person, and most importantly the first woman, to head India's largest stock exchange. 

Know the most powerful women in Soccer ??

Founded in 1905, Chelsea quickly gained a reputation for signing big name players and for attracting large crowds, but failed to win a major trophy in their first fifty years. They spent thirty of their first forty seasons in the First Division, although often found themselves finishing in mid-table or battling relegation. The closest Chelsea came to success was in the FA Cup; they were runners-up in 1915. The duck was finally broken by manager Ted Drake, who introduced a series of changes at the club and led Chelsea to the League Championship in 1955.

A further revival under managers Ruud Gullit and Gianluca Vialli from 1996 to 2000 saw Chelsea win the FA Cup in 1997 and 2000, the League Cup and UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1998, and qualify for the Champions League for the first time; the club have not finished outside of the top six in the Premier League since the 1995–96season. In 2003, Chelsea were bought by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, ushering in the club's current phase of success. José Mourinho led them to two league titles, an FA Cup and two League Cups in three seasons. The club added a further FA Cup in 2009, and then their first League and FA Cup "Double" in 2010. Under the stewardship of former player Roberto Di Matteo, the club won a seventh FA Cup in 2012, before going on to win its first UEFA Champions League title. That is the history of ‘Chelsea Football Club’ based in Fulham, London. The club's home ground is the 41,837-seat Stamford Bridge stadium, where they have played since their establishment. Chelsea's regular kit colours are royal blue shirts and shorts with white socks.

Recent reports in many press state that Marina Granovskaia is set to be one of the most powerful women in football.  Behind the scenes the discreet Marina Granovskaia has long been one of the most powerful women in football and now the Russian is set to become even more influential as she is tipped to take over as Chelsea's chief executive at the age of just 39, following the surprise resignation of previous CEO Ron Gourlay. She is glamorous but anyone ready to dismiss Ms Granovskaia as merely a pretty face should be aware of a core of steel behind the megawatt smile. She has been the most trusted member of the oligarch's inner circle for 17 years and is already often described as 'chief executive in everything but title', his 'eminence grise'.

Born in Russia, at school there was little indication of her future as a powerhouse in the footballing world with one former teacher describing her as a 'grey mouse'. She studied at a Moscow school which specialised in music and dance, in which there were compulsory lessons, but at the time offered pupils no sport. She graduated six months after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and studied in the Foreign Languages Faculty of Moscow State University before leaving with honours in 1997, and starting her career at Sibneft, the oil company which was then owned by Abramovich.  Since she moved from the Russian capital to London when he bought Chelsea Football Club in 2003, the billionaire is said to have grown to trust her implicitly.

Her biggest coup so far has been engineering the return to the club of Jose Mourinho, the Portuguese manager who was dubbed 'The Special One' during his first spell as Chelsea manager between 2004 and 2007. She is fluent in English and speaks several other European languages, and is said to be one of the primary architects behind Chelsea's youth scheme - by taking young talent and sending them on loan to develop.

Now there are further reports that Chelsea will not appoint a chief executive to replace Ron Gourlay, who left the club last week with immediate effect. Despite the dramatic nature of that statement Gourlay, after 10 years at Chelsea, including five as chief executive, has left on his own volition. He was not pushed, even if it might be argued he did not have the remit normally enjoyed by a chief executive. That Roman Abramovich is not planning to replace the Scot, who joined from Manchester United, is the clearest sign yet of what the football world has known for the past few years: Marina Granovskaia is the power at the club.

Chelsea now openly acknowledge it is Granovskaia who runs the football side of the business. For the past four transfer windows, at least, it is Granovskaia who has been landing the deals. It is Granovskaia who has been overseeing the contract negotiations with players such as John Terry, the signing of Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa and dealing with difficult decisions such as moving Florent Malouda out of the first-team squad to train with the kids. In the statement announcing Gourlay’s departure, Chelsea stated that Granovskaia will, along with Bruce Buck, the chairman, assume “additional executive responsibilities”.

So here is the new powerwoman of football

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
29th Oct 2014.

Google doodle on Jonas Edward Salk's 100th birthday ....

I am one impressed by Google doodles ~ and post on them too… today saw one and tried keeping away ….in the closing hours of the day – seeing the doodle again – it is celebrating 100th birth day of a person – it shows a group of celebrating children and parents. A child with balloons, one cycling, another one running with a pet –two other children are seen holding up a banner that reads, "Thank you Dr. Salk." Strangely,  Google's logo isn't seen in the doodle.

With curiosity getting better of me, I click the doodle and is led to details and the reasoning of this doodle is very impressive.  It is Jonas Edward Salk, the US-based medical researcher who was born in New York on October 28, 1914 (passed away in June 1995).  He was born in New York City to Jewish parents. Although they had little formal education, his parents were determined to see their children succeed. While attending New York University School of Medicine, Salk stood out from his peers, not just because of his academic prowess, but because he went into medical research instead of becoming a practicing physician and Jonas Salk is the man who created the world's first polio vaccine.

Until 1957, when the Salk vaccine was introduced, polio was considered the most frightening public health problem.  Annual epidemics were increasingly devastating. The 1952 epidemic was the worst outbreak in the nation's history.  In 1947, Salk accepted an appointment to the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. In 1948, he undertook a project funded by the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis to determine the number of different types of polio virus. Salk saw an opportunity to extend this project towards developing a vaccine against polio, and, together with the skilled research team he assembled, devoted himself to this work for the next seven years. The field trial set up to test the Salk vaccine was, according to O'Neill, "the most elaborate program of its kind in history, involving 20,000 physicians and public health officers, 64,000 school personnel, and 220,000 volunteers." Over 1,800,000 school children took part in the trial.  When news of the vaccine's success was made public on April 12, 1955, Salk was hailed as a "miracle worker" and the day almost became a national holiday.

His sole focus had been to develop a safe and effective vaccine as rapidly as possible, with no interest in personal profit. When asked who owned the patent to it, Salk said "There is no patent. Could you patent the sun? The vaccine is calculated to be worth $7 billion had it been patented. Salk's last years were spent searching for a vaccine against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

An interesting article in - – says Jonas Salk didn’t patent the polio vaccine, butGoogle Doodles—like today’s on Salk—are patented. By the time of his chat with Murrow, which aired on the day the polio vaccine was announced as safe and 90 percent effective, Salk was already more messiah than virologist to the average American. Polio paralyzed between 13,000 and 20,000 children annually in the last pre-vaccine years, and Salk was the face of the inoculation initiative. Appearing on television to present the vaccine as a gift to the American people was a public relations masterstroke. Over the last half-century, Salk’s rhetorical question to Murrow has become a rallying cry for those who campaign against pharmaceutical company profiteering. To many, it represents a generous view of scientific discovery distilled down to a beautiful simplicity. One critic of the big pharma called Salk “the foster parent of children around the world with no thought of the money he could make by withholding the vaccine from the children of the poor.”

 “People worked on the polio vaccine like it was the Normandy invasion,” says Jane Smith, author of the book Patenting the Sun: Polio and the Salk Vaccine. More than 650,000 children were vaccinated. Their doctors had to submit forms, and public health officials tracked the information. Then it all had to happen again for placebo and control groups. In the single year that the polio vaccine was unveiled, 80 million people donated money to the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which spearheaded the vaccine effort. Many donors could only afford a few cents, but gave anyway (hence the foundation’s modern name, the March of Dimes).

Another interesting one in states that Salk would have been richer by $7 billion if his vaccine were patented.  So a worthy doodle on the 100th birth anniversary o the man who created the world's first polio vaccine. The Jonas Salk doodle by Google was  visible in select regions across the world, excluding much of Africa, Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East, while also skipping Russia, China, Australia and South America.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

28th Oct 2014.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Aavin hikes milk price - how does it compare with neighbours !!!

The Tamil Nadu government on Saturday announced a hike in Aavin (Tamil Nadu Co-operative Milk Producers Federation) milk price by Rs.10/- per litre. The hike, which comes after a gap of three years, will come into effect from November 1.  Chief Minister Mr O. Panneerselvam said the price of milk will go up by Rs 10 per litre to Rs 34. – that has prompted immediate protests with some calling for roll back of the prices.

flavoured milk of Vijaya 

The retail price of toned milk will go up by 40 per cent, from the current rate of Rs. 24 to Rs. 34 – the hike comes at a time when an increase in power tariff is looming large.  The CM said that  procurement prices of cow and buffalo milk would also go up by Rs.5 and Rs.4 a litre. This meant Aavin would buy cow milk at Rs.28 a litre and buffalo milk at Rs. 35.  It is most likely that you do not know the price of the milk that you buy daily.  From Sept 2011, the price of toned milk [the blue cover that you buy]  1 litre is Rs.24/- for monthly card holders and the MRP is Rs.27/-; for half-litre it is Rs.12/- & Rs.15.50 respectively;  in respect of Standardised milk [green cover] which  is 4.5 milk i.e., containing fat @ 4.5% - the price is Rs.14.50/- per 500 ml.

Those who are 40+ would remember the olden days and scramble for milk in the morning.  In the mid 1970s was the paradigm shift in the city of Chennai to pasteurized milk.  Prior to that the localities depended entirely on the neighbourhood cowherds for milk.  They use to buy cow’s milk as also buffalo milk for different needs.  The milkman would come in front of the house, have a customary check of the utensil before they touch the udder and then milch the cattle in your presence – still people used to complain of the milk being very much watery. Then slowly people shifted to pasteurized milk supplied by the Govt. which was a very big hit those days.  The process (not of manufacture) but of getting it home was arduous though. 

Getting back to the price increase after 3 years, the TN CM is quoted as stating that there has been demand of the dairy farmers for hiking the procurement prices because of the increase in input cost. Pointing out that the private dairies had also increased the procurement prices, he recalled that when the government, in January this year, hiked the procurement prices by Rs. 3 a litre, there was no hike in the retail prices. The previous increase was made in November 2011.

The milk price has been hiked after nearly three years and has been necessitated by the increasing cost of production as the cost of milch cows; animal feed and fodder have gone up, the release said.  From November 1, 2014, the dairy cooperative will pay dairy farmers 5 more per litre for cow milk taking the procurement price to 28 a litre; and 4 more for buffalo milk which will give dairy farmers 35 a litre. The hike in sales price of milk will help improve the viability of the dairy cooperative. The State Government has given the Federation financial assistance of over 192 crore and helped stabilise its operations. The milk price hike will benefit over 22.5 lakh dairy farmers, the release said.

A newspaper report puts it that the hike will help Aavin turn a small profit of about 0.22 (22 paise) a litre. Previously the dairy cooperative was making a loss of about 4.77 on every litre of milk sold. Aavin sells about 21.5 lakh litres of milk daily in Tamil Nadu with 11.5 lakh litres sold in Chennai and the balance across the State. Due to sustained losses Aavin had lost its dominant position in the dairy market to private brands such as Arokya, Heritage and Tirumala, the sources said.

No industry can suffer continued losses and the hike in prices was waiting to happen.  With private milk producers offering much more than what Aavin was paying, milk farmers started queuing up before them to sell their produce.  Private producers increased procurement price several times and farmers were reluctant to sell milk to Aavin as they got more money by selling to private producers, it is stated.  The increase either in terms of % or substantially high – but yet, it was a move necessitated by circumstances.  You may wish to draw comparison with neighbouring State milk products of : ‘Milma, Nandhini, Vijaya, Sudha…’

In Kerala, in July 2014,  Milma hiked the price of milk by Rs.5 per litre; the revised rate for one litre toned milk in blue cover is stated to be  Rs.33 per litre from the earlier Rs 28/-  In Sept. 2013, in Karnataka, Nandhini went up by Rs.2/- becoming Rs.30 per litre from Rs.28/-; that too was criticised as it was the third increase in six months.  In the same month, Andhra Pradesh Dairy Development Cooperative Federation Limited (APDDCFL),  increased the price of Vijaya milk  by Rs. 2 per litre from Rs. 32 to 34.  In May 2014 in Bihar, the Bihar State Milk Cooperative Federation Limited (Comfed) was  criticised as 'milching' milk consumers in the native state by selling pasteurized Sudha milk for Rs 33 to Rs 43 per litre, but supplying to a private dairy at Joya in Moradabad for just Rs 25 per little, including transportation cost. The beneficiary of the Comfed's largesse, incidentally, was selected without floating tender.

For Aavin the card holders, the following will be new rates [subject of course to possible rollback !!]

Milk Variety
Packet Colour
Price Now
Toned Milk
Full Cream
Double toned

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

27th Oct 2014.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

41 year old Saravanan dies electrocuted ... in trying to be a good samaritan !!!

Saravanan, a  41 year old person passed away and that appears as a small news in TOI page 2 – that really makes a sad reading.  The TOI news reads :  A 41-year-old man was electrocuted when he came in contact with a snapped live cable in Neelankarai on Friday. Two others sustained injuries while trying to rescue him. Saravanan of Senkeni in Neelankarai was an AIADMK worker.  The Neelankarai police registered a case and are investigating.

Electric Shock is  a condition that occurs when there is a flow of electricity through that body. It is usually caused by contact with poorly insulated wires or ungrounded electrical equipment or by being struck by lightning. The severity and effects of electric shock depend mostly on the amount of current passing through the body and the duration of contact.  A slight, harmless shock produces only a jarring or startling sensation. 

Severe shocks produce muscle contractions, which lead to muscular spasms, paralysis, unconsciousness, or death. A fatal electric shock is called electrocution. Burns may occur where the current enters and leaves the body. Though water in a chemically pure form is a weak conductor of electricity, with salts dissolved – it becomes an excellent conductor. 

Mr Saravan, unfortunately died because he tried to be a good samartian and hence must be appreciated. He chose to act and do something while most others would have stayed back in the comfort of their homes.  It is stated that  at Neelangarai, he  went to the Ellaiamman temple to drain the rainwater that had stagnated on the premises. Saravanan was accompanied by his driver Ameen and a relative, Viji. Saravanan stepped on a cable wire while cleaning the debris and stagnated water and was thrown away in the impact. The two others went to his rescue and sustained injuries in the process. Saravanan was rushed to the Government Royapettah Hospital where he was declared brought dead. Makes a sad reading indeed and Mr Saravanan, we mourn your death.

Remember the Kamal starrer, Shankar film ‘Indian” – the storyline was described in two tracks – one that of a small time RTO broker Chandrabose – who is corrupt .... and the other majestic meticulous old man Senapathy who tries to weed out corrupt officials with his varma skills.  Apart from the freedom struggle shown in flashback .... [Senapathy in INA]... there is personal tragedy too.  On a rainy day, there is electricity leakage which is not attended to by officials; Senapathy’s daughter gets electrocuted, a corrupt doctor refuses to attend to the third degree burns resulting in the death of the daughter and the oldman runs pillar to post for obtaining certificate (stoutly refusing to pay illegal amounts).  Senapathy sets to avenge by murder of the doctor in front of television audience………………

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
26th Oct 2014.

Picture credit : 

the much touted first post of Stephen Hawking on Facebook...

Strange are the ways of people – many do not have time to walk around the streets, talk to thy neighbour or office colleague – but have ample time to bury their neck into the Social networking – Facebook to be precise. Facebook has become so much a part of our life now that it’s so prevalent across the world. With close to a billion users out there, one can easily throw a stone and hit a Facebook user. The amount of time users engage in Facebook activities, like updating statuses, posting photos, commenting and ‘liking’ posts has also been increasing with smartphones has become  commonplace in recent years.  It is strange that at a time when many netizens have great concerns over the issue of privacy online,  many people voluntarily share  deepest secrets about their intimate lives and post private photos on Facebook.  In the world of FB, they seek social affirmations from networking friends !

Most likely that all your family members have FB accounts (some have multiple fake accounts too !) …. My  friend’s status once read என் பொண்டாட்டி வலையில் விழுந்துட்டா  !! (can translate literally into ‘my wife has fallen in to my trap / net … actually meaning her joining the web of FB)….. those with very high number of friends can often miss out the posts of friends, as you get to see the recent posts and when you have thousands of friends and on your page falls the posts of ‘friends of friends too’ !!!  - in such a World can you imagine a post making waves with FB itself trending and it getting mentioned in all newssites including Times.   The favourite comment on the page is quoted to have come from Pamela Hughes.  She took the time to how Facebook can alter time: "Beware, facebook can teach you all about time dilation...You can spend an hour checking pages and reading articles and suddenly discover that 8 hours have passed in the real world."

In the modern World even agnostics visit this place frequently and get into huddle – and it is post of Hawking that is making sensational news. His welcome post read: "I have always wondered what makes the universe exist. Time and space may forever be a mystery, but that has not stopped my pursuit. Our connections to one another have grown infinitely and now that I have the chance, I'm eager to share this journey with you. Be curious, I know I will forever be." You might expect that someone who seeks the answers so vigorously would quickly gain followers. He's already amassed more than 1.3 million likes. Reports proclaimed that 24th Oct 2014 is a big day for social media as Queen Elizabeth II sent her first tweet, and Stephen Hawking posted his first Facebook message. Though the world-renowned theoretical physicist officially joined the site on Oct. 7 but  didn’t share anything until today:

Hawking’s plunge into the infinite social media abyss is certainly well-timed. The Theory of Everything, the film about the scientist’s personal and professional life, comes out in just a few weeks. Stephen William Hawking CH CBE FRS FRSA  is an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author and Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology within the University of Cambridge.  Among his significant scientific works have been a collaboration with Roger Penrose on gravitational singularity theorems in the framework of general relativity, and the theoretical prediction that black holes emit radiation, often called Hawking radiation. Hawking was the first to set forth a cosmology explained by a union of the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. Hawking is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a lifetime member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States. Hawking was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge between 1979 and 2009.

Hawking has achieved success with works of popular science in which he discusses his own theories and cosmology in general; his ‘A Brief History of Time’  stayed on the British Sunday Times best-sellers list for a record-breaking 237 weeks. Over the years, Hawking maintained his public profile with a series of attention-getting and often controversial statements:  he has asserted that computer viruses were a form of life, that humans should use genetic engineering to avoid being outsmarted by computers, and that aliens likely exist and contact with them should be avoided.
photo credit :

Several buildings have been named after him, including the Stephen W. Hawking Science Museum in San Salvador, El Salvador, the Stephen Hawking Building in Cambridge, and the Stephen Hawking Centre at Perimeter Institutein Canada. Appropriately, given Hawking's association with time, he unveiled the mechanical "Chronophage" (or time-eating) Corpus Clock at Corpus Christi College Cambridge in September 2008. A new trailer for the upcoming Stephen Hawking biopic "The Theory of Everything" is out, and it takes viewers even deeper into the personal life of the famed astrophysicist. The 2.5-minute trailer, which came out on 1st of Oct,  is the second Focus Features has released to tout the film.

Hawking has a motor neuron disease related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a condition that has progressed over the years. He is almost entirely paralysed and communicates through a speech-generating device. He married twice and has three children.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

26th Oct 2014.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Dr MAV Swami mani vizha malar veliyeedu ..

At Thiruvallikkeni divyadesam, sashtiapthapoorthi celebrations of   Methavimani, Gambhira Vakvarshi, Dr Mandayam Ananthanpillai Venkatakrishnan Swami was celebrated grandly for 18 days.   The first phase lined up great scholars performing kalakshepams at Nampillai sannathi at Thiruvallikkeni. 

On 24th Oct 2014, at Bharathiya Vidya Bhavan, the manivizha malar was released by : His Holiness Sri Paramahamsedhyathi Sriuperumpudur Appan Parakala Ramanuja Embar Jeeyar Swami and first copy received by Sri Mandayam Parthasarathi.  There was graceful  dance on ‘Siriya Thirumadal’  by Smt. Vyjayanthimala Bali.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Singer Mrs Vani Jayaram in the audience

Ms Vaijayanthimala performing 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Google doodle on Mangalyaan's completion of 1 month in Mars orbit

This morning have you ‘googled’ ? – we are in for a pleasant surprise !!- In a tribute to India's space-technology prowess, Google is celebrating with a doodle today – today’s doodle is on the completion of one month by Mangalyaan in an orbit around Mars. India's Mars Orbiter Mission, or Mangalyaan (Sanskrit for Mars craft), started orbiting Mars on September 24.

The entire Nation celebrated happily on 5th Nov 2013 when Mangalyaan was successfully launched at scheduled  time  at 2:38 pm from Sriharikota. The 1,337 kg Mars Orbiter Satellite  was later put into a 250 km X 23,500 km elliptical orbit. The launch vehicle  used was a PSLV-C25. This is the 25th mission of PSLV and fifth in the XL configuration.

On Sept. 24, 2014 – more was to occur as Mangalyaan successfully fired  its 440 Newton Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) along with eight smaller liquid engines. This Liquid Engines firing operation for 1388.67 seconds changed the velocity of the spacecraft by 1099 metre/sec. With this operation, the spacecraft entered into an elliptical orbit around Mars.  The country joined the United States, European Space Agency and the former Soviet Union in the elite club of Martian explorers with the Mars Orbiter Mission, affectionately called MOM. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the country had achieved the "near impossible".

It was a proud moment for all Indians as India became the 4th country to do so. Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second smallest planet in the Solar System, after Mercury. Named after the Roman god of war, it is often described as the "Red Planet" because the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it areddish appearance.  Indian scientists were delighted when Mangalyaan beamed home its greatest photo of the Red Planet yet, a view that reveals the planet from pole to pole. The new photo of Mars from India's Mangalyaan probe was unveiled on Sept 21 by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It shows Mars as a red globe in space, with the planet's southern ice cap clearly visible, while a huge dust storm blankets part of the northern region. "Something's brewing here!" ISRO officials wrote in a Twitter post for the Mars orbiter.

The Mangalyaan spacecraft used its Mars Color Camera to capture the amazing photo from a distance of 46,292 miles (74,500 kilometers) above the Red Planet on Sunday (Sept. 28), according to an ISRO photo description. It is the third and best view of Mars from Mangalyaan since the spacecraft arrived in orbit around the planet last week. The Mars Color Camera is one of five different instruments riding aboard Mangalyaan to study Mars from orbit.
Earth imagery from Mangalyaan taken on 19.11.2013.

As we know, the Google search page is not plain.  It has Google logo and many a times animated expressions – which keep changing.  Google has had several logos since its renaming from BackRub. The founders Larry Page and Sergei Brin had nicknamed their search engine ‘backrub’ as the system checked backlinks to estimate the importance of a site.   These special logos, some designed by Dennis Hwang, have come to be known as Google Doodles.~ and today is dedicated to “Mangalyaan completing one month in Mars orbit’ ….. but this google doodle can be seen only in India.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

24th Oct 2014.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi visits Siachen and meets our SOLDIERS

It’s name literally translates into - the place of roses – it is  72 km, in the East Karakoram and  is one of the longest glaciers in the Himalaya and Karakoram. It has number of peaks, side valleys and at its head lies the Indira Col, the divide between South and Central Asia. The Nubra river drains the glacier and ultimately joins the Shyok river near Khalsar.  A few years back, when I happened to travel with a soldier in Tamil Nadu Express – he was returning home after serving a stint over there – a few words made sure that in life others should never complain – he said, that many end up killed either by snow or driven mad by the loneliness – with nearest soldier miles away, food coming once a while – it is harrowing beyond imagination. 

The Great Indian Army fights adversities on borders as well as with natural calamities. The major feature of this army is that it combats in hot, chilly, temperate, forestry, terrain. One best example is the Siachen glacier where the Indian soldiers guard the border at -80 degree Celsius and braving the hot climate conditions in the Thar desert, at plus 50 degrees.  "But cold kills more troops than bullets. Soldiers brought down to base camp often suffer hearing, eyesight and memory loss because of prolonged use of oxygen masks. Many lose eyes, hands or feet to frostbite. " Cheetah helicopters fly in to retrieve wounded or sick soldiers and drop supplies to their comrades, who remain behind on the lonely promontories. The enemy is hard to see in the crags and craters in the vast whiteness -- and harder to hit. Rifles must be thawed repeatedly over kerosene stoves, and machine guns need to be primed with boiling water. At altitudes of 18,000 feet, mortar shells fly unpredictable and extraordinary distances, swerving erratically when met by sledgehammer gusts. While some troops fall to hostile fire, far more perish from avalanches and missteps into crevasses that nature has camouflaged with snow. This is especially so now in springtime, as the sun licks away several feet of ice and opens new underground cracks and seams.

"After 50 strides, even a well-conditioned man is gasping for breath with his muscles in a tremble. Seventeen years of refrigerated combat have brought only 17 years of hardened stalemate. The Pakistanis cannot get up to the glacier; the Indians cannot come down."  The Siachen Glacier has claimed the lives of over 8,000 Indian and Pakistani soldiers between April 1984 and April 2012.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday paid a surprise visit to Siachen to celebrate Diwali with soldiers posted at the world’s highest battlefield and hailed the role of the armed forces in securing the country. Before reaching Srinagar, he went to Siachen early in the morning and spent more than an hour with the soldiers at a base camp situated at a height of over 12,000 feet.

He praised their valour and courage, saying that 125 crore Indians could celebrate Diwali, and go about their lives in comfort, because the jawans stood guard at the borders, prepared to make every sacrifice for the nation. From the icy heights, he also extended Diwali greetings to President Pranab Mukherjee. Mr. Modi told the jawans that he had come unannounced, and they may be surprised, but one does not need to announce arrival when coming to one’s own family.

Jai Jawan ~ hail the act of our Prime Minister

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Abandonment in Marine ~ & the WI did .... Lankan team fills in

Suddenly there is no Cricket ……. and that is because, the touring West Indies have suddenly abandoned their tour and gone back ! – sudden abandonment due to payment structure dispute between the players and the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and WIPA.

In law, abandonment is the relinquishment, giving up or renunciation of an interest, claim, civil proceedings, appeal, privilege,possession, or right, especially with the intent of never again resuming or reasserting it.  In general, to abandon is to give up or renounce. However, the word abandonment is used in different senses in marine insurance.  It may simply refer to the act of physically quitting a vessel, usually when a casualty is in danger, imperilling the safety of those on board. With particular reference to Marine Insurance (MI Act)  - the general concept of abandonment is contemplated when there is a Constructive Total loss (CTL).  According to MI Act, where there is a CTL, the assured may either treat the loss as a partial loss or abandon the subject matter insured to the Insurer and treat the loss as if it were an actual total loss.  Further proviso in the Act states – ‘where the assured elects to abandon the subject matter to the Insurer, he must give notice of abandonment’- if he fails to do so, the loss can only be treated as a partial loss.

For pursuing a claim as CTL, the assured must abandon (the ship or goods) to the Insurer by way of notice of abandonment.  Here the meaning of ‘abandonment’  constitutes the transfer of the subject matter insured from the assured to the Insurer in return for a full indemnity.  Insurers must tread carefully, for acceptance means, they do not only get proprietary rights but also any possible liabilities  !!!

With Srinlankan board accepting to fill the void, Lank are touring India. MS Dhoni has opted out of the first three ODIs against Sri Lanka, citing the need for a break to freshen up ahead of the tour of Australia and the World Cup. Virat Kohli will stand in as captain, and Wriddhiman Saha will be the keeper. Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been rested, making way for Varun Aaron. Sadly Kuldeep Yadav is out without earning an Indian cap.  There has been speak of Rohit Sharma coming back – after continuous failures, he was persisted with, made runs at home and away from homes – struggled making runs, occupying the crease and wasting balls.  Still people say that if he is fully fit, he will walk into the side !! 

For India Vs Srilanka -  dates are yet to be announced, but they will be played in Cuttack, Kolkata, Ranchi, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad. Sri Lanka have left out Lahiru Thirimanne, vice-captain in their previous ODI series against Pakistan in August, from their squad for the first three games of the five-ODI series in India. Uncapped fast bowler Lahiru Gamage, wicketkeeper-batsmen Kusal Perera and Niroshan Dickwella, and left-arm allrounder Chaturanga de Silva  are in the squad.

Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) interim president N. Shivlal Yadav says that in all probability legal proceedings will be initiated against the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) for pulling out of the India tour after having played just four ODI’s (the team was scheduled to play five ODIs and three Tests). It was an internal problem of the WICB, but  since it meant a huge loss both financially and otherwise, the general mood in the BCCI is to take action for their abrupt move – Shivlal is quoted as saying.  Shivlal said the agreements between the full members for a bilateral series suggests that each Board keeps the revenue generated for hosting the international series and also incurs the costs from the time the visitors arrive till they leave the host nation~ and the loss is reported to be more than Rs. 40 crore per match from television broadcasters.  That way, the BCCI is likely to claim damages of at least Rs 400 crore (US$65 million approx) from the WICB for West Indies having pulled out of the tour to India.  That is a huge sum by any standards !

The BCCI's revenue is primarily generated through broadcast sponsorship, series-title sponsorship, team-title sponsorship, apparel sponsorship, minor share of advertising from host broadcaster, gate receipts and in-stadia advertising. Since the broadcast and series-title sponsorships deals are on a per match basis, irrespective of whether it's a T20, Test or ODI, that income is unlikely to be affected.   The decrease in broadcast revenues will also impact the state associations since the BCCI distributes 70% of it equally amongst the 27 members who participate in the Ranji Trophy.

Srilanka is making a counter claim for hosting the Test series next year. The BCCI, however, is yet to confirm the swap. Cric info reports that by  hosting the three-Test series with India, SLC stands to make around $ 7-8 million, according to Ranatunga. There will be no ODIs or T20Is included in the itinerary. India have not  hosted Sri Lanka for Tests since 2009, and the last time Sri Lanka hosted India for Tests was in 2010, the series that marked the retirement of Muttiah Muralitharan.  The next available slot for a Test series between the two teams, as per the new FTP, is in August 2017  ~ and that portrays the importance for Tests in this T20 era. 

BCCI sternly views the abandonment and is trying to seek punitive damages  in unambiguous language.  At the same breathe, it is stated that this will not prevent WI players from participating in cash-rich IPL in their individual capacity !!  The West Indian Board is furious over the latest strike action by the players, they need to be guided by practicality rather than emotion. The fact that the A team is continuing with its tour of Sri Lanka is an indication that not every West Indies player is dissatisfied with Hinds' leadership of the WIPA. As some jocularly put, there are so many top WI players in the circuit (either in coaching or commentating) – Richie Richardson, Stuart Williams, Clive Lloyd, Curtley Ambrose all associated with the team and Richards, Ian Bishop, Courtney Walsh, Michael Holding on mike – may be a team of theirs could still beat many sides currently playing International Cricket

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

23rd Oct 2o14.