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Monday, May 30, 2016

India's Praggnanandhaa is the youngest International Master in the World .. !!

Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar’s son Arjun is part of the U-16 West Zone squad now.  Sun Risers won the IPL – Ricky Bhui of Andhra, Siddarth Kaul, Vijay Shankar- were among the players part of the SRH squad who did not get to play a single match. Many of us could easily recall that at Mirpur, WI created history winning the U19 WC – Rishab Pant, who played for Delhi Daredevils was the wicket-keeper then…. So much so for the knowledge in Cricket – how many of us know : Praggnanandhaa and his glorious fete !!

In Mar 2016, Indian ace Viswanathan Anand played out a thrilling draw with Holland’s Anish Giri but bowed out of contention for a ticket to the World Championship after the 13th and penultimate round of the Candidates Chess Tournament.  That was sad news for fans, as for the  first time in 10 years, there will be a World Championship without Anand, who has won the crown as many as five times. Either Sergey Karjakin of Ukraine or FabianoCaruana of United States will challenge Magnus Carlsen of Norway in the next World Championship match slated to be held in November this year.

In the game of intelligence played on the square board divided into 64 alternating dark and light squares with 16 pieces each – it is the  The World Chess Federation, FIDE (Fédération Internationale des Échecs) that  awards several performance-based titles to chess players, highest being the Grandmaster title. Titles generally require a combination of Elo rating and norms.  Once awarded, FIDE titles are held for life, though a title may be revoked in exceptional circumstances.  

A chess title, usually in an abbreviated form, may be used as an honorific. For example, Viswanathan Anand is styled  "GM Viswanathan Anand".

FIDE's first titles were awarded in 1950 and consisted of 27 Grandmasters (GMs), 94 International Masters, and 17 International Women Masters. IMs (International Masters)  usually have an Elo rating between 2400 and 2500. After becoming an IM, most professional players set their next goal as becoming a Grandmaster. It is also possible to become a Grandmaster without ever having been an International Master.

Awonder Liang the US Chess prodigy  earned his third and final IM norm in Dallas in Nov 2015 when he was just 12 years, 7 months and 6 days old,  becoming the youngest American ever to qualify for the title of International Master. Now there is a great Indian child prodigy – news reported in Indian Express, Chennai edition of date.
photo credit :

There is a story that R Praggnanandhaa’s parents often invoke to peals of laughter from listeners. When he was taken to Slovenia for his first World Championship in 2012, he turned up at the venue tired and jet-lagged. When his mother returned to check on him, she found Praggnanandhaa asleep at the board, his opponent waiting patiently for him to wake up and make his move.A couple of years on, the kid who slept during a game is one of the biggest stories in world chess. The 10-year-old from Chennai achieved his third and final International Master (IM) norm after beating a Grandmaster and holding two others at the KIIT International Festival of Chess in Bhubaneswar.

In comparison, Judit Polgar, the youngest IM to date, did it only at 11-plus. Sergey Karjakin, the youngest Grandmaster ever and current challenger to Magnus Carlsen’s crown, became an IM at 11 years and 11 months. Praggnanandhaa is 10 years and 9 months old. “The youngest International Master in the history of chess,” his coach R B Ramesh delivers the punchline.“He got his first IM norm three months ago at the Cannes Open in France. The second came recently at the Aeroflot Open in Russia. In the Bhubaneswar tournament, he achieved his third norm and ELO rating of 2400 to become an International Master. Now, we just have to wait for the FIDE to process the documentation,” Ramesh says.

Praggnanandhaa’s journey began when he was just over two years, watching his sister R Vaishali, herself a world girls’ under-14 champion, train. “He owes a lot to the two women in his life,” says his father A Ramesh Babu, a bank employee.“When his sister Vaishali started playing, we had little idea what to do. But by the time Praggnanandhaa started playing, we were able to provide him with all that he needs. Maybe that is why he has progressed so fast,” he says. Praggnanandhaa’s mother, Nagalakshmi, is the one who accompanies the little champ to every tournament.“I’m physically handicapped due to polio, so his mother has to  take him and his sister everywhere,” his father says.

Ramesh Babu, while proud, is also a bit worried. He knows what his son needs now is a lot of international exposure, and that means money. “Praggnanandhaa needs to play a lot abroad,” says his coach R B Ramesh, a noted Grandmaster. “His mindset is already that of a Grandmaster. With the right opportunities, he can overtake Karjakin and become the world’s youngest ever GM.”

Pray that he becomes one and bring more laurels to the Nation.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

30th May 2016.

Ben Cutting's blitz - Sunrisers Hyderabad wins IPL title

Have heard of Clive Lloyd hitting the ball over Chepauk to canal (not sure whether this really happened ! or was that at Bombay !!)… have seen Krish Srikkanth hit a straight six in Marina to Wenlock park, the biggest six, I saw at Chepauk was Kirti Azad hoisting one ! … yet, this one was amazing – a clean 117 M hit. 

A certain six (the ball was well over the rope) was converted into one run and five runs were saved – I had posted on the athleticism of  Benjamin Colin James Cutting – leaping  in the air, grabing the ball with both hands and throwing  it back inside the ropes – more was to be seen of him in the finals of IPL 2016.  

Chester-le-Street  is a town in County Durham, England. Its history goes back to Roman times when it was called Concangis. County Durham  is a ceremonial county and (smaller) unitary district in North East England.  By some accounts the cricket ground has a capacity of around 12000 which is too low by Indian standards. 2nd Investec test between Srilanka and England is in progress and for sure the crowd would not have been 1/10th of what it was at Chinnasamy Bangalore.  When partisan crowd was screaming in delight, at Durham, people were shown reading newspaper.

What a finals it turned out to be on Sunday, 29th May 2016 -  6 Teams that have won the IPL; Sunrisers Hyderabad are the sixth, after Rajasthan Royals, Deccan Chargers, Chennai Super Kings, Kolkata Knight Riders, and Mumbai Indians. For Royal Challengers Bangalore, this was their third defeat in a final, after losses in 2009 and 2011.

After over 16 – 47 runs were required with 18 balls to go, Stuart Binny and Sachin Baby were at the crease in a line-up that read : Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, KL Rahul, Shane Watson …..  Chris Gayle gave a thundering start making 76 off 38 with 8 sixers – when he got out in 10.3, the score was 114 ! – Kohli too made a 50 .. .. yet it was SRH – there was the late surge from Cuttings, whose 15 ball innings read : 0 0 0 6 0 4 0 1 4 1 4 6 6 1 6.

He has bowled more than 12000 deliveries in International Cricket, but was hit apart – perhaps in trying to dart the ball into the stumps from round the wicket, Shane Watson fell into a trap of his own. A slightly greasy outfield and a wet ball may have contributed to him slipping in full-tosses instead of yorkers, which kept getting picked away. One was massive and would remain ever talked about.  Ben Cuttings hoisted him over deep backward square leg, for a massive  117 metres.  SRH had a great bowling line-up. Bhuvaneswar kumar was outstanding and Mustafizur Rahman was very impressive.  Still it was Bipul Sharma who had smacked some sixers in earlier matches providing the breakthrough of deVilliers wicket.   This IPL saw sheer impudence of Mitch McClenaghan, the infinite variety of Dwayne Bravo's slower balls,  yet so many spinners bloomed in the six-hitting carnage. Bipul Sharma was one, there was Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Amit Mishra, Sunil Narine, Krunal Pandya (who also made some big hits) Shiv Kaushik unorthodox action – Pune started playing leggie Murugan Ashwin alongside Ravi Ashwin. There was also  Yuzvendra Chahal  and the youngest  of the leggies, Adam Zampa – overall, this IPL was exciting.

The scorecard almost catches the excitement.  Sunrisers Hyderabad 208 for 7 (Warner 69, Cutting 39*, Jordan 3-45) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 200 for 7 (Gayle 76, Kohli 54, Cutting 2-35) by eight runs.  In their first IPL final, Sunrisers Hyderabad showed their intent early by opting to bat against Royal Challengers Bangalore at a venue where tall scores have been chased down nonchalantly. David Warner, their leader, walked the talk and top-scored with a 38-ball 69, before Ben Cutting lent the finishing touches with an unbeaten 15-ball 39 to help them post 208 for 7. Eventually, however, it was their bowling line-up, the best in the tournament, that delivered the maiden IPL title with an eight-run win over the hosts at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.

Royal Challengers had breached the 200-mark thrice previously at home this season but choked at the final post… Now, the only Q is what will people who watched IPL for so many days, do from today on !!!!!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

30th May 2016.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

poster hailing good performance of SYMA Growth students at Triplicane

According to the French historian Max Gallo, "for over two hundred years, posters have been displayed in public places all over the world. Visually striking, they have been designed to attract the attention of passers-by, making us aware of a political viewpoint, enticing us to attend specific events, or encouraging us to purchase a particular product or service."  A poster, primarily is only a piece of printed paper designed to be attached to a wall or vertical surface.

Tomorrow morning,  Triplicanites would wake up to see new  posters all over ……. even though  posters are nothing new to Chennaites or people elsewhere, these are different …

A couple of decades ago, posters were the best source of reaching the masses.  Most Fridays, new cinemas would be released and whole of Tamilnadu would see double-sized posters of the new release, attracting more people to the theatres. Slowly the culture permeated so deep that there were posters hailing 100th day – degenerated to 25 days and even successful opening.  There were some hailing the audio release and pooja of proposed films even. Posters are the most preferred form of advertisement for political parties too – in some places, even death would be communicated through posters. You would have seen posters of Temple festivals, of political agendas, cinemas, hailing regional and caste leaders, announcing the death of near and more…  – have you  ever seen posters pertaining to education or ones  hailing the performance of students ?

We live by the axiom that ‘Education is the only tool which can uplift the Society and empower the lower echelons of the Society’. The foremost responsibility of a Social Service Organisation is to improve the society and help the underprivileged.  From smaller experimentations to full-fledged quality educational assistance in the form of SYMA Growth was born on 6th  July 2008, a very auspicious day, inaugurated at NKT National Girls Higher Secondary School, Triplicane by Shri R Sekar, IPS, (the then) Commissioner of Police, Greater Chennai. We  have nicely moved along having completed 8 successful years. All our students are from the lower echelons of society and some of them are first generation students with no support in the family. Many do not have conducive atmosphere at home, nor the proper support – still they strive to achieve is what is most heartening. Life often is a struggle for have-nots and there are many who have to struggle for even ordinary things.   We try to learn from our experiences trying to iron-out the rough edges.

At SYMA Growth,  last year, we had :  X Std Tamil Medium; X Std English Medium(2 sections); +2 Commerce Group and +2 Science Group.  We are always concerned about the performance of SYMA Growth students who come from lower echelons of society.

This year in +2 Section :  In Commerce section, out of 29, we had a cent percent pass. 8 of our students have obtained more than 1000 marks [83.3%]. 2 of Science students got more than 1000.  Growth topper is R Devarajan with 1110 marks.  In the Science, there is a slight set-back as 4 out of 27 failed.
The X results were announced on 25th.  Our students have done well.  In X English medium 50 have passed out of 52.  15 students have secured more than 400 marks.  In Tamil medium, which generally is marked by absenteeism at school level too, 19 passed out of 22; two of them secured more than 400.  Growth topper is Ms Sandhiya who got 469/500; in Tamil medium – it is V. Saranraj 466/500 including 100 in Social Science.

Meantime, the activities for the Educational year 2016-17 have commenced.  This year we have a Corporate sponsor – M/s Manpower Group.  We distributed applications, scrutinized them, have conducted personal interview on 15th May 2016 to +2 students.  We have infact addressed the parents of aspirants in group emphasizing the standards of tuition, need for adherence to discipline, involvement of parents, attendance of students and all other aspects.  We are keen on raising the level of education and making our students better informed and become responsible citizens of the society.  The selection is primarily on economic criteria. Those with parental income of Rs.20000/- and above are not considered.   It would be of interest to you to know that the selection was done on certain additional  parameters : physically challenged, students of schools of lower fee structure,  parents illiterate, parental occupation being manual labour / coolie and the like, orphans, children of destitute / single mother – all accorded some additional mark enabling that we select students who otherwise do not have access to quality tuition by paying fees. 

Every year at the time of inauguration, as a carrot for improved performance in studies, we tell our  ‘SYMA Growth’ tuition centre students that we would print posters with photos of all students who score more than 400 out of 500 in X and more than 1000 out of 1200 in +2.  This year 27 of them have their photos and achievements printed and displayed in all streets and bylanes of Triplicane.  This is a grand achievement by our students  considering the fact that most come from economically poor family, have none to guide them at home and the environ at home is not so conducive. We appreciate all those who have performed well and wish that they study well further and march towards a chosen successful career path.  Here is the poster that would spring up in Triplicane tomorrow hailing our students……….

No words can describe our gratitude to the management of NK Thirumalachariar Educational Trust and NKT Boys Higher School.  We thank the NKT Management for providing us the infrastructure and all the support.  We thank  Smt. Leela Sekhar, Secreatry of NKT Trust and the Head master of the School Mr S Venkatadri.  We pray to Almighty for continued success of this project and look forward to continued support of you all.  The success is due to the blessings of Lord Parthasarathi who guides us in all our steps.  We must place on record our thanks and gratitude to those teachers who taught these students with great dedication, commitment and devotion.  We thank all our teachers for their care and attendance. Our Coordinator Mrs Thara and the team who assisted her also deserve special appreciation. .  A Big Thank you to all of you  who have been supporting us in all our endeavours.Together We will strive to make the society better place for all of us.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
Secretary – SYMA

29th May 2016.

May 29th is International Day of UN Peace-keepers

There are days of significance ~ 29th May of course was one – it is the day annually celebrated as ‘International Day of UN Peacekeepers’  – the UN Postal Administration (UNPA) recently  announced the issuance of a set of six new stamps for the occasion.“On this day, we continue to honour the memory of those who gave their lives to the cause of peace, and pay tribute to all men and women who carry on their legacy by serving in the field,” the association said. “UNPA is proud to issue stamps that feature images of the important work of UN peacekeepers around the world.”
UN Peacekeeping

The International Day of UN Peacekeepers was established by the General Assembly in 2002 in tribute to all the men and women serving in peace operations for their high level of professionalism, dedication and courage, as well as to honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace. The Assembly designated 29 May as the Day because it was the date in 1948 when the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), the world body's first peacekeeping mission, began operations in Palestine.

The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers falls on May 29, a day when the world solemnly remembers the blue berets who have made the supreme sacrifice for the cause of world peace — there have been 3,471 such bravehearts by last count.  These bravehearts of different nationalities and cultures, donning different uniforms, were bound with a singular vision of dousing the fires in a land alien to them.  They were unsung heroes in conflicts not of their making, where the sanctity and territorial integrity of their own motherland were not at stake — and hence the anonymity of their departure.  Here are excerpts from a well-written article by Manmohan Bahadur in Daily Mail.  He  was in the IAF’s first UN mission to Sudan.

India, a founding member of the UN, has been in the vanguard of peacekeeping since 1950.  Hundred and sixty-five Indians have been among these unheralded, the largest sacrifice by any troop-contributing nation; as India pushes for restructuring the Security Council to make it more representative, it is time that its role in UN peacekeeping is revisited.  Isn’t it ironical that uniformed personnel trained to kill, use their arms to maintain peace? As Dag Hammarskjöld, the first UN Secretary General, succinctly put it, “Peacekeeping is not a job for soldiers, but only soldiers can do it.”

India, a founding member of the UN, has been in the vanguard of peacekeeping right from 1950 when it contributed medical personnel and troops to the UN Repatriation Commission in Korea. There has been no looking back since and more than 2,08,000 Indian troops have donned the blue beret over the years. The Indian Army and the Air Force have been in the forefront and while the Army has participated in 49 missions since then, IAF contingents have won laurels in Somalia, Sierra Leone, Congo and the Sudan.  In fact, Op Khukri, a joint air and ground mission launched in Sierra Leone in 2000 by contingents of the Indian Army and the IAF to free almost 250 UN troops held prisoner for months, is the stuff of legend and used as a model case study in UN training centres.

Is the loss of human lives and expense of material worth the effort? Does India gain any tangible or intangible benefits from its contribution in the world of power politics?  In yesteryears, by the theory of international relations, a country would be regarded as a ‘power’ based on its military capability; thus, the British Empire had its sea power and the Prussians their Army.  The modern day has seen an expansion of the concept of ‘power’ to include soft power and an intelligent combination of the two, termed ‘smart’ power.

While the US has hard military power and soft technological power in abundance, it has not succeeded in combining it smartly so as to be ‘accepted’ politically and socially as a benefactor in the comity of nations. The same possibly holds good for other Western nations too. India, on the other hand, lacks military power beyond a level but has an abundance of soft power capability.  All these are in-built in a UN peacekeeping assignment and India’s active involvement, besides being an indicator of the nation’s altruistic intent, enhances its efforts to be accepted as an important player on the world stage.  Indian troops are model peacekeepers and accepted as being neutral in their handling of warring factions.

Peacekeeping missions have generally been in excolonial states where the legacy of their shackled past fosters a feeling of solidarity with Indian peacekeepers and enables amicable solutions through a combination of humane understanding and display of subtle power. Indian jawans are leading the pack, living up to the national ethos of peace for everyone. They deserve the world’s undiluted gratitude, says the author,  a retired Air Vice Marshal, is a Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for Air Power Studies, New Delhi.

A topic like this would never be complete without reference to the sad but strategic - Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) performing a peacekeeping operation in Sri Lanka between 1987 and 1990. It was formed under the mandate of the 1987 Indo-Sri Lankan Accord that aimed to end the Sri Lankan Civil War between militant Sri Lankan Tamil nationalists and the Sri Lankan military. The main task of the IPKF was to disarm the different militant groups.  The IPKF was inducted into Sri Lanka on the request of Sri Lankan President J. R. Jayewardene under the terms of the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord.

The IPKF began withdrawing from Sri Lanka in 1989, following the election of the V. P. Singh government in India and on the request of the newly elected Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa. The last IPKF contingents left Sri Lanka in March 1990 after bloody toil.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

29th May 2016.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

US President Obama hugs Hiroshima survivor ~ first Nuke liability Policy in India

US President Obama laid a wreath at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial on Friday, telling an audience that included survivors of America’s atomic bombing in 1945 that technology as devastating as nuclear arms demands a “moral revolution.”Thousands of Japanese lined the route of the presidential motorcade to the memorial in the hopes of glimpsing Mr. Obama, the first sitting American president to visit the most potent symbol of the dawning of the nuclear age. “Seventy-one years ago, on a bright cloudless morning, death fell from the sky and the world was changed,” Mr. Obama said in opening his speech at the memorial.

Obama was not expected to apologize for the U.S. action to hasten the end of World War II and he did not during his 20-minute-long remarks.In the Hiroshima museum's guest book before his speech, the President wrote that he hoped the world will "find the courage, together, to spread peace, and pursue a world without nuclear weapons."During the speech, the park was silent except for a circling helicopter, chirping birds and camera shutters.Obama said there is a "shared responsibility" to look into the "eye of history" and ask what must be done to prevent another nuclear weapon being used.He urged that the world make moral progress alongside its remarkable scientific advancements.

During his visit, President Barack Obama hugged Shigeaki Mori, an atomic bomb survivor who created the memorial for American WWII POWs killed at Hiroshima.  Mr Obama spoke to two survivors and in an address called on nations to pursue a world without nuclear weapons.At least 140,000 people died in Hiroshima and another 74,000 three days later in a second bombing in Nagasaki.Mr Obama first visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum before walking to the Peace Memorial Park, accompanied by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.Both men stood in front of the eternal flame. Mr Obama laid a wreath first, followed by Mr Abe.

Back home, Economic Times reports issuance of a liability policy – a significant one at that – the First Nuclear Liability Policy aimed to push private investment. 

The report states that the  country's first Nuclear Operator's Liability Policy has been issued to Nuclear Power Corporation of India , underwritten by a consortium of insurance companies through the India Nuclear Insurance Pool. The policy was the missing component from the set of requirements for getting private investment in nuclear power - the doors for which were opened ten years ago when the then Manmohan Singh - led government signed the civil nuclear agreement with the US.

The report adds that the  entireRs 1,500-crore India Nuclear Insurance Pool is entirely supported by domestic companies and is managed by General Insurance Corporation ( GIC ), which has also committed funds to the pool. The first policy was issued by New India Assurance - the largest state-owned company.  Chairperson, GIC, is quoted as saying  "In all history, there have been only three nuclear accidents - Three Mile Island (US), Chernobyl (now Ukraine) and Fukushima (Japan) and the probability of another is remote.  Though the nuclear deal ended India's isolation, investment was not forthcoming. This was because nuclear risks are generally excluded by insurers and nuclear power operators have a maximum liability of Rs 1,500 crore under the new law.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

28th May 2o16.

Bipul Sharma helps Warner beat Gujarat Lions - athleticism of Ben Cutting !

At Feroz Shah Kotla, in the crucial match, with Aaron Finch and Dwayne  Smith in the line-up, Suresh Raina chose to open with Brendon McCullum and Eklavya Rakesh Dwivedi ! – it was indeed an engrossing match as Gujarat Lions set up a target of 163 thanks to 50 by Finch. 

A certain six (the ball was well over the rope) was converted into one run and five runs were saved.  That was the athleticism of  Benjamin Colin James Cutting -  14th  over of Lions' innings, Aaron Finch slammed a Barinder Sran delivery to mid-wicket fence, ball went up in the air and crossed the ropes, Cutting leapt in the air, grabbed the ball with both hands and threw it back inside the ropes, preventing a certain over-boundary.  More drama to follow - Sunrisers Hyderabad were 117 for six and needed 46 off 25 balls when Bipul Sharma joined his captain David Warner in the middle.  Before you read more of the match, do you know Abhay Sharma, who had kept wickets for Railways & Delhi !

"In our heads, we have already won [the IPL]," KL Rahul is quoted as saying at an informal media briefing, two days ahead of the final.  -  they have one match to go, the finals where they will face the rising Sunrisers of Hyderabad, in great form.   An unbeaten 58-ball 93 from David Warner, his eighth half-century of the season, steered Sunrisers Hyderabad into their maiden IPL final. Warner batted through a tense chase of 163 even as Lions chipped away at the wickets, and found a calm lower-order ally in Bipul Sharma at a critical juncture when Sunrisers needed 46 from 25 balls.  Bipul has been a local all rounder, and in the last match he struck two sixers of Morne Morkel; here he was in the team as a left-arm spinner.  He struck 27 off 11 with 3 sixers clinching the match. 

In the 17th Pravin Kumar lost his calm. Bipul Sharma hit him for a straight six, and then failed to pick a slower ball, sending a leading edge looping agonisingly over his head and beyond his reach. With Warner now on strike, Praveen steamed in from around the wicket and delivered the perfect yorker, moving swiftly to his left to cut off a possible single. Then he spun around and shaped for a mock throw at the batsman's end. Could not make out whether Warner said something (though after the event, he appeared so unruffled), Praveen ran towards Warner in an ugly spat charging, Dinesh Karthik stepped in, sprinting from his wicketkeeper's post to put himself between them and lead Praveen away with a calming hand on his shoulder.  Warner himself seemingly showed his anger to Tom Moody, the Sunrisers coach, who had come out with drinks and instructions at the fall of the sixth wicket.

For the Indian team to Zimbabwe captained by MS Dhoni, Sanjay Bangar, the former India and Railways allrounder, has been appointed India's head coach. Bangar, 43, had worked with the team as assistant coach till their previous international assignment, the World T20 in March and April this year, under team director Ravi Shastri. Abhay Sharma, who most recently worked with the India Under-19 and A teams, was named fielding coach for the tour. He had also worked with the Rest of India team that beat Ranji Trophy champions Mumbai in dramatic fashion in the 2016 Irani Cup.

Away, the summer of  2017 could see the first day-night Test staged in England, with Lord's and Edgbaston the most likely venues. Both venues are keen, in theory, to explore the possibility of staging an August Test against West Indies under lights. The final decision whether and where a floodlit game is played will be made by the ECB. A key part of the attraction for Warwickshire would be the novelty. Under normal circumstances, they might expect a Test against West Indies to prove a relatively tough sell and feel that staging it under lights could help attract a larger audience. The MCC, who have an excellent record of selling games against most opposition, also have a history of spearheading the experimentation into day-night cricket and are expected to discuss the issue at up-coming committee meetings in June. While Lord's is limited to 15 days of floodlight usage a year - any time the floodlights are raised constitutes a usage - to appease local residents, they would expect to allocate 10 of those days to the two Tests they host each season.

Tomorrow’s late eveninger between RCB & SRH sure would be an entertainer.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

28th May 2016

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

PM Shri Narendra Modi visits Iran ~ gifts Sumairchand's Ramayana - Persian translation of 1715

The cultures of the West should look beyond the Roman and Greek civilizations for new inspiration.  There existed centuries before a great work of antiquity attributed to a sage.  Its date of composition can never be fixed with any certainty, particularly as, in common with other Sanskrit classics, it was not at first committed to writing but passed on generations from singer to singer.

The sage Valmiki, Chief among Munis and most eloquent of men, constantly engaged in study of holy scriptures enquired the most knowledgeable Narada  - “who is there in the World, endowed with excellent and heroic qualities, who is versed in all duties of life, grateful, truthtul, firm in his vows, benevolent to all beings, learned, eloquent, handsome, patient, slow to anger – one who is truly great; who is free from envy and One whose wrath can strike terror to celestial beings.   Narada replied - " Rare indeed are those, endowed with the qualities thou hast enumerated, yet I can tell thee of such a one – born in Ikshwaku clan, named Sri Rama. Srimad Ramayanam, the most ancient and reverred epic comprises of nearly 24000 slogas stating the journey of Lord Rama set to annihilate the demon Ravana in lanka.  In this beautiful land replete with scholars, I do not possess enough knowledge to write at length on the mahakavya.

Rampur Raza Library,  located in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh,  is a repository of Indo-Islamic cultural heritage and a treasure-house of knowledge established in last decades 18th century, and built up by successive Nawabs of Rampur and now managed by Government of India. It contains very rare and valuable collection of manuscripts, historical documents, miniature paintings, astronomical instruments and rare illustrated works in Arabic and Persian.

We have heard about Persia.  Prince of Persia is an entertaining video game created by Jordan Mechner, originally published by Brøderbund, then the Learning Company, and currently Ubisoft. It was all about setting free a beautiful princess amidst various dangers.

Persian, also known as  Farsi, the predominant modern descendant of Old Persian, is one of the Western Iranian languages within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan.  Persian is a pluricentric language and its grammar is similar to that of many contemporary European languages. Wikipedia states that there are approximately 110 million Persian speakers worldwide, with the language holding official status in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan. For centuries, Persian has also been a prestigious cultural language in other regions of Western Asia, Central Asia, and South Asia by the various empires based in the regions.

The holy Ramayan has been translated in many languages.   Valmiki Ramayan is available in many English versions.  Way back in 1880 FS Growse translated Thulasidas Ramayan.  In 1952, Oxford University Press published the work of W. Dagnal P Hill.  Now we are reading more about one particular version of 1715, which has attracted so much of media attention, thanks to our PM Shri Narendra Modi.  

 US President Obama’s historic visit to Hanoi, where he announced the U.S. is ending the 41-year U.S. arms embargo against Vietnam, and also oversaw new business deals worth about $16 billion was historical.  More fraught part of the continent is that of three leaders—Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani—signing a flurry of deals in Tehran on Monday, aimed at reworking political obstacles that have hobbled the region’s economies through years of war and economic boycotts.

Shri Modi spoke thus -  Centuries of free exchange of ideas and traditions, poets and craftsmen, art and architecture, culture and commerce have enriched both our civilizations. Our heritage has also been a source of strength and economic growth for our nations. The richness of Persian heritage is an integral part of the fabric of the Indian society. A part of Iranian culture lives in Indian hearts. And, a slice of Indian heritage is woven into the Iranian society. Our ancient heroes and epics bear striking parallels. .. .. .. .. ..  The great medieval poets of India have called the Persian and Sanskrit the two sisters. India's religious epic Ramayana which has seen over a dozen translations in Persian is known to have about 250 words of Persian. It served as a court language in medieval India. But, its popularity is also because it is written on the hearts of the Indians. It is taught in around 40 universities in India. All India Radio has been running the Persian language service for last 75 years. India has a proud collection of almost 5 million manuscripts of Persian in public and private collections. There are more than 20 million documents in Persian in National and State Archives.

More than the speech, Indian Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi, gifted the supreme leader of Iran Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei a specially commissioned reproduction of a rare seventh-century manuscript of the Holy Quran attributed to Hazrat Ali, the fourth caliph. Written in Kufic script, this manuscript is stated to be a prized possession of the Ministry of Culture’s Rampur Raza Library. Modiji  also gifted the Iranian President Dr. Hassan Rouhani specially commissioned reproductions of Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib’s collection of poetry in Persian, Kulliyat-e-Farsi-e-Ghalib, as also Sumair Chand’s Persian translation of Ramayana.

Translated into Persian in 1715 and copied in 1826, Sumair Chand’s Ramayana is a rare manuscript at the Ministry of Culture’s Rampur Raza Library, and contains over 260 illustrations – possibly the largest number in any hand-written Ramayana manuscript.  Not much was written about this earlier, but the media is all buzz about the Persian language translation of holy Ramayana !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

22nd May 2o16.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

770 seconds of glory ~ Indian seven metre (23-foot) scale model space shuttle makes maiden return !

The entire flight lasted just 770 seconds, yet, Monday, 23rd May 2016 is certainly a day to remember for on this day,  the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) embarked on a first-of-its-kind test — hoisting into space what is essentially a scale model of what would be India’s indigenously designed space shuttle. The 6.5m-long Re-usable Launch Vehicle–Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) weighs about 1.75 tonnes and is the result of more than a decade of development costing around Rs 95 crore.    

The space research activities were initiated in our country during the early 1960’s, when applications using satellites were in experimental stages even in the United States. With the live transmission of Tokyo Olympic Games across the Pacific by the American Satellite ‘Syncom-3’ demonstrating the power of communication satellites, Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, the founding father of Indian space programme, quickly recognized the benefits of space technologies for India.  ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation)  vision is to "harness space technology for national development, while pursuing space science research and planetary exploration".  Formed in 1969, ISRO superseded the erstwhile Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) established in 1962.   

ISRO built India's first satellite, ‘Aryabhata’  which was launched by the Soviet Union on 19 April in 1975. In 1980, Rohini became the first satellite to be placed in orbit by an Indian-made launch vehicle, SLV-3. ISRO subsequently developed two other rockets: the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) for launching satellites into polar orbits and the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) for placing satellites into geostationary orbits. These rockets have launched numerous communications satellites and earth observation satellites. ISRO sent lunar orbiter, Chandrayaan-1, in Oct  2008 and Mars orbiter, in Sept 2014, making India the first nation to succeed on its first attempt.

It has been almost five years since Nasa sent its Space Shuttle on its final flight into orbit, but a new generation of reusable spacecraft are preparing the ground for a new race into the heavens. Counties including Japan and Russia have joined private companies like Blue Origin and SpaceX in building reusable space rockets, and now India is the latest country to step up to the challenge.

In what is a proud moment for India, seven metre (23-foot) scale model space shuttle blasted off from a southeastern space port, in a crucial step to eventually developing a full-scale, reusable one to send up satellites in the future.  The success of  India’s first winged body aerospace vehicle operating in hypersonic flight regime brings fame.  In this experimental mission, the HS9 solid rocket booster carrying RLV-TD lifted off from the First Launch Pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota at 07:00hr IST.  After a successful flight of 91.1second, HS9 burn out occurred, following which both HS9 and RLV-TD mounted on its top coasted to a height of about 56 km. At that height, RLV-TD separated from HS9 booster and further ascended to a height of about 65km.  From that peak altitude of 65 km, RLV-TD began its descent followed by atmospheric re-entry at around Mach 5 (five times the speed of sound). The vehicle’s Navigation, Guidance and Control system accurately steered the vehicle during this phase for safe descent. After successfully surviving a high temperatures of re-entry with the help of its Thermal Protection System (TPS), RLV-TD successfully glided down to the defined landing spot over Bay of Bengal, at a distance of about 450km from Sriharikota, thereby fulfilling its mission objectives. The vehicle was successfully tracked during its flight from ground stations at Sriharikota and a shipborne terminal. Total flight duration from launch to landing of this mission of the delta winged RLV-TD, lasted for about 770seconds.

ISRO acknowledge the support of Indian coast guard and National Institute of Ocean technology (NIOT) for the mid sea wind measurement and shipborne telemetry respectively in this mission. The move marks a crucial step towards developing a full-scale resuable model to launch satellites in the future and highlights India's presence as a serious space faring nation.

Indian  scientists hope that subsequent larger version, expected to be six times the size, will be launched over the next decade and will make it safely back to Earth.  India faces stiff competition including from global companies which are developing their own reusable rockets after Nasa retired its space shuttle programme in 2011. Reusable rockets would cut costs and waste in the space industry, which currently loses millions of dollars in jettisoned machinery after each launch. Billionaire Elon Musk's SpaceX and Amazon owner Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin have already successfully undertaken their own test launches. Russia, Japan and the European Space Agency are also developing similar technology and are in testing stages. SpaceX has managed to land three rockets from space back on Earth - two on sea and one on land, while Blue Origin's New Shepard successfully completed a third launch and vertical landing in April this year.

Even as India basks in glory, some critics are trying to cast some blame stating that  US spent an estimated $192 billion on the shuttle programme from 1971 to 2010. "The average cost per launch works out to $1.2 billion, which is as much as the total annual Indian space budget. It is a costly experiment that India can ill-afford."

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

24th May 2016.

Monday, May 23, 2016

when man enters animal enclosure - what can happen : 3 possibilities !!

It is a rare phenomenon of human relations with animals – in some zoos, the animal keepers become so friendly with the animals, that they respond to human language and calling by names !!!

In life – sometimes there would be options ~ here are 3 different occurrences – all could have gone the same way !!!

A couple of years ago, in  a grisly incident, witnessed by scores and captured live on many cameras, a 200-kg tiger mauled and killed a youth after he fell into the animal's moat in the Delhi Zoo…… that gory incident went viral on  social media, also raising the Q on why people who were keen on filming the incident did not respond in any manner trying to help the victim. The man in his 20s reportedly had either fallen off or had jumped into the moat which separated the tiger’s enclosure from the visitor’s gallery.  The victim reportedly had history of mental illness – and it was described that authorities were in a state of helplessness.
lions at Vandalur zoo

Miles away, in Chile, a man reportedly stripped naked, jumped in to lion enclosure, in a bid to feed himself to the big cat – a suicide attempt of a different order. The man, who has been named by local media as Franco Luis Ferrada Roman, was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment and was said to be in grave condition.  The man survived but in the process, two animals, which did nothing wrong were killed.
Authorities in Santiago confirmed that the two African lions were put down as they severely mauled the 20-year-old man who had broken into their cage early on Saturday. Zoo keepers killed two lions to save the man, who was gravely injured in the incident. A suicide note was reported to have been found in his clothing.  It is reported that the  young man broke into the enclosure, took off his clothes and jumped into the middle, horrifying other visitors who witnessed the attack.
Once inside, the lions reportedly immediately pounced on him and began to 'play' with him. At this point, zookeepers intervened in the attack and shot the two lions in order to save his life. The director of the zoo, Alejandra Montalva, said: 'We believe that this person entered as a visitor and paid for his ticket. She told local media the park was crowded with visitors at the time of the incident. The zoo director said she was 'deeply affected' by the deaths of the two lions, a male and a female. 'The zoo has an established protocol because people's lives are very important to us,' said the director. She added that there were no fast-acting tranquilizers available to stop the lions from mauling the man.
The attack occurred in full view of visitors, who could only watch in horror as the man was mauled and the lions - one male, one female - were killed. One witness, told Chilean radio station Bio Bio that the security personnel at the zoo were slow to react and that the animals did not attack the man as soon as he entered the enclosure. She also said the man was 'shouting things about Jesus'.  Sadly, it was the animals which paid with their lives for the insane act of the man. 
Back home, it was the same African lion enclosure, slightly different incident, with a much different result. This time it was a drunken man’s misadventure into the enclosure of lions, in Hyderabad, seemingly to shake hands with a lioness.

At Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad, the alertness of the zoo animal keepers, prevented the loss of life.  Indian Express reports that it was around 4.55 pm when 35-year-old Mukesh Kumar jumped into the moat, ignoring the warnings of onlookers, calling the lioness 'darling'. As he splashed into the water, the lioness Radhika moved towards him. Soon her partner, lion Krishna too started approaching the intruder. Mukesh, however, was not the one to fear. In a fully inebriated state, Mukesh extended his hand towards the wild animals. As the onlookers screamed in panic and started throwing whatever they could at the lions to ward them away from Mukesh, the animal keepers rushed to the spot. Animal keeper R Papaiah called Radhika, the lioness, to move aside even as Mukesh kept extending his arm to her.

real incident at Hyderabad zoo : photo credit : Indian Express

To the luck of  Mukesh Kumar, native of Rajasthan, Papaiah, who has been taking care of the two wild cats for the last seven years, also intervened calling the two to step back. The animal keepers managed to divert the attention of the wildcats, while Mukesh, after much pleading, was rescued from the jaws of death without a scratch and then handed over to the police.  Mukesh Kumar, hailing  from Kurdiya in Sikar district is a labourer working with metro rail project. Kumar reached the zoo along with five of his co-workers after gulping down a few pegs in the afternoon. Zoo curator Shivani Dogra, who took charge only a day before, appealed to the visitors to follow rules to ensure their safety.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

23rd May 2016.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

IPL - apple Tim Cook in India - who will move to next round in IPL !!

IPL is drawing to a close -  Home advantage counts. With four spin options to call upon on a parched Eden Gardens pitch, Kolkata Knight Riders strangled Sunrisers Hyderabad to defend 171 and pull off a 22-run victory. The win helped them secure a playoff berth, while ending Mumbai Indians' journey in the tournament. Sunil Narine delivered his most incisive bowling spell of the tournament, with figures of 3 for 26 in four overs. His partner in crime was Kuldeep Yadav, the 21-year-old chinaman bowler who had replaced Piyush Chawla in the Knight Riders XI.

To the next stage, Gujarat Lions are on top with 18 points – Sunrisers & KKR have qualified and would wait for the result of RCB and Daredevils, which will not only decide who will quality, but also the rank…

Miles away, Democrats knew a general election battle between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump would be rough, but many never considered the potential of a nailbiter. Last week, Indian Nation was abuzz with actitivy.  Five Assembly elections, and five different winners. Voters have not distributed their favours equitably. The Congress, the only party with a realistic chance of being part of a winning coalition in all the five elections, won only one, the least important politically, the Union Territory of Puducherry. 

In some manner, this man garnered more attention. Less  than seven hours after a midnight landing in India, Apple CEO Tim Cook was spotted in a famous Hindu temple in Mumbai.  He was seen there with Anant Ambani, son of Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, whose Jio 4G service is expected to be a game-changer for mobile internet in India by the end of 2016.  India was the sole bright spot in those results as Apple reported its first-ever revenue decline in 13 years. While global iPhone sales fell for the first time ever, a drop of 16% from the first quarter of 2015, they rose 56% in India in the same quarter.

Mr Cook's visit to India is a first for an Apple CEO. None of the California-based technology giant's seven CEOs ever visited India while in office, though Steve Jobs famously came here as a backpacking hippie looking for "answers" in the mid-1970s.  India accounts for just 1% of global iPhone sales and Apple's share of India's mobile handset sales is 1.5%. India's market is dominated by phones under 5,000 rupees, while Apple's recent models start at 39,000 rupees ($580; £390).

Expressing interest in making Apple products in India, the global technology giant’s chief Tim Cook on Saturday discussed with Prime Minister Narendra Modiji  the “possibilities of manufacturing” and tapping the young talent pool in the country.  On his maiden visit to India, the Apple CEO also discussed with Modi issues regarding cyber-security and data encryption.

Cook has already announced during this trip setting of an app development centre in Bengaluru and one for maps in Hyderabad. During his meeting with Modiji, Cook highlighted the immense potential for app development in the country. He also narrated to the Prime Minister his experiences, including a visit to Siddhivinayak temple in Mumbai and watching a cricket match in Kanpur.

Shri Narendra Modi, appreciating Cook, said that in India “seeing is believing” and added these experiences would definitely steer his business decisions. The California-based maker of iPhone and iPads plans to sell refurbished smartphones , though  such proposals have been rejected twice. Moreover, the company also plans to set up its own retail outlets, and is seeking ease of local sourcing rules for it to set up shops here. Meanwhile, delegation members accompanying Apple CEO also spoke of their experiences in rural Rajasthan, where several villages have recently been electrified and women are being skilled to assemble and operate solar energy equipment.

Cook should be a stranger to Cricket, more specifically the club league – IPL. The Rising Pune Supergiants signed off their maiden season of the Indian Premier League with a thrilling 4-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab on Saturday evening. After KXIP had posted 172-7, RPS captain MS Dhoni produced a special effort, helping his team past the line off the last ball of the match. The win meant Rising Pune Supergiants finished 7th in the 8-team VIVO IPL standings, while Kings XI Punjab had to be content with the wooden spoon.

Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook landed in Kanpur to get a taste of an IPL cricket match between Gujarat Lions and Kolkata Knight Riders, on invitation from League chairman Rajeev Shukla. During the first innings, Cook spoke to Alan Wilkins and said, “This is incredibly exciting, it’s my first cricket game. I’m hooked to it! The talent here in India is huge. We want to tap into the iOS ecosystem.” Lot is cooking !

A lot of excitement was evident at the Green Park Stadium which hosted an IPL game for the first time. It was also the first time that a game was played under lights here.  Away, the Federation of International Cricketers Associations (FICA) has claimed that the Masters Cricket League, a private T20 tournament for retired cricketers held in Dubai and Sharjah earlier this year, has not paid "a significant number of players" according to their contractual agreements. The dishonouring of player contracts is an issue that the entire global game should address, but not an issue in IPL which draws crowds even for the deadest of dead rubbers. Two knocked-out teams - Rising Pune Supergiants and Kings XI Punjab - were desperate not to finish at the bottom of the pile. The final over began with Supergiants needing 23. M Vijay's key men in the end overs - Mohit Sharma and Sandeep Sharma - had bowled out. Axar was in the hot seat.  It ultimately boiled down to 12 off the last two balls, with MS Dhoni, the supreme star, facing off against Axar Patel, the rising star. Dhoni unleashed his attacking avatar to bring back memories of his heyday; his back-to-back sixes over midwicket delivered Supergiants a sensational four-wicket win in Visakhapatnam.

When asked three areas of success that youngsters should focus on, the Apple CEO said, “Three areas of success: Do what you love, put your heart into it and enjoy what you do.”

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

22nd May 2016.