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Friday, April 19, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
19th Apr 2019.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Bangla campaign in West Bengal ~ Vellore election cancelled

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A blot and shame for the democrary !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
16th Apr 2019.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Marine salvage ~ costly cars from sunken Baltic Ace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, April 12, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Thursday, April 11, 2019

why many are in race in locating the lost F-35 Japanese aircraft ..

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company is a major unit of Lockheed Martin with headquarters at Air Force Plant 4 in Fort Worth, Texas. The company draws upon the history of the former Lockheed and Martin Marietta corporations. While the formation of Lockheed Martin in 1995 was a merger of equals, by far the greatest contribution to Lockheed Martin Aeronautics was the product portfolio of Lockheed. This included the C-5, C-130, and C-141 transports as well as the F-2, F-16 (purchased from General Dynamics), F-117, F-22, and F-35 Lightning II. The most important project by far to Lockheed Martin Aeronautics is the F-35 Lightning II (JSF). Worth a potential $200bn the initial order book is approximately 3,000 excluding almost guaranteed export orders.

The F-35 is the first to combine radar-evading stealth technology with supersonic speeds and the ability to conduct short take-offs and vertical landings. It is a  Fifth-generation all-weather stealth multirole fighter.  Only 355 have been believed to have been built and the  Jet is almost invisible to radar because of its shape and the use of a fiber-mat which absorbs signals rather than reflecting them.   The F-35 is equipped with one machine gun, air-to-air missiles and air-to-surface missiles. It can also carry up to six 910 kg bombs inside the body. It has the ability to operate from land and sea and has previously been hailed as a huge leap forward in aerospace technology.

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II is a family of single-seat, single-engine, all-weather stealth multirole fighters. The fifth-generation combat aircraft is designed to perform ground-attack and air-superiority missions. The United States principally funds F-35 development, with additional funding from other NATO members and close U.S. allies, including the United Kingdom, Italy, Australia, Canada, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Turkey.  As the largest and most expensive military program, the F-35 is the subject of much scrutiny and criticism in the U.S. and in other countries. The F-35 first flew on 15 December 2006. In July 2015, the United States Marines declared its first squadron of F-35B fighters ready for deployment.  U.S. plans to buy 2,663 F-35s, which will provide the bulk of the crewed tactical airpower of the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps in coming decades.

I did not understand anything on the above ~ other than the fact that all this is about military aircrafts, which countries boast of .. .. recently we heard more on F-16, the one Pakis had .. and one of which was shot down by our hero Abhinandan, who walked through Attari border.  One of the most versatile aircraft in the U.S. Air Force inventory, the F-16 Fighting Falcon has been the mainstay of the Air Force aerial combat fleet. In an air combat role, the F-16's maneuverability and combat radius (distance it can fly to enter air combat, stay, fight and return) exceed that of all potential threat fighter aircraft. It can locate targets in all weather conditions and detect low flying aircraft in radar ground clutter.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Monday presented two radar images of the engagement with Pakistan Air Force (PAF) on February 27 to prove that a Pakistani F-16 was shot down by a MiG-21 piloted by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. “The IAF has irrefutable evidence of not only the fact that F-16 was used by the PAF on February 27 but also that an IAF MiG-21 Bison shot down a PAF F-16,” Air Vice Marshal (AVM) R.G.K. Kapoor, Assistant Chief of the Air Staff, Operations (Space), told the media. The images were redacted to avoid revealing certain details for security reasons. The images from the Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) show the tracks of the PAF jets and one IAF jet in combat and in the second image, one of the PAF jets disappears. “In the combat that followed, one MiG-21 Bison of the IAF piloted by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman shot down one F-16 of the PAF,” AVM Kapoor said.

Analysis of electronic emissions have shown that the aircraft picked up by the ELINT intercepts from AWACS and radio transcripts indicated F-16s in the area directly in front of Wg. Cdr. Varthaman’s aircraft, he stated. The F-16 crashed and fell across the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). Indian Army posts in the vicinity of the LoC in Jhangar sector have visually sighted two separate parachutes, AVM Kapoor said. The first was due west, in Sabzkot area and second was, after few minutes, southwest, in Tandar area. The two areas are separated by approximately 8-10 km.

.. .. miles away, into the deep sea, the  US military is desperately trying to recover the wreckage of a Japanese F-35A stealth fighter which crashed over the Pacific yesterday amid fears China and Russia could beat them to it. Yes they are not alone .. .. parts of the tail of the world's most sophisticated stealth jet have already been found after it disappeared off the radar 85 miles east of Misawa, Japan during a training mission. Eight ships and seven aircraft, including a U.S. Navy P-8 Orion maritime patrol plane, are looking for traces of the jet that is believed to have sunk to 5,000ft. The pilot of the aircraft is still missing.  Experts warn that  Russia and China could also be trying to get their hands on the aircraft to discover its secrets. 

Tom Moore, a former senior professional staff member at the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, tweeted: 'There is no price too high in this world for China and Russia to pay to get Japan's missing F-35, if they can. Big deal.' 'Bottom line is that it would not be good,' retired US Air Force Lt. Gen. David Deptula told Business Insider.   The F-35B's service life 'may be as low as 2,100 [hours],' a quarter of what was expected, due to structural issues. Some jets are expected to hit their service life limit and will need to be retired as early as 2026. It is believed Russia and China could be using their advanced submarines to scour the ocean floor in search of the jet in order to steal vital technology on board.

.. .. the reason -  experts have warned that parts of the jet could easily be replicated if they do recover the wreckage before US or Japanese search teams. 'The usefulness for Russia or China of recovering some or all of the wreckage would depend on how much damage the aircraft sustained upon hitting the water,' Justin Bronk, an combat aviation expert at the Royal United Services Institute, told Business Insider. 'The general shape of the jet is well known, as are its performance characteristics so not much to gain there but parts of radar and other sensors would be prime targets for recover and testing/even attempts at reverse engineering.'

There was no word yet on the fate of the one pilot and a large chunk of the plane remains missing, Japanese Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya said. 'We have collected part of its tail' in search operations at sea with planes and vessels, Iwaya told reporters.  'We believe it crashed,' he added. The aircraft, less than one-year-old, was the first F-35 to be assembled in Japan and was only in the air for 28 minutes on Tuesday, a defence official said. It was at the front of a group of four planes out for training manoeuvres when it sent an 'aborting practice' signal and then disappeared from the radar, Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya told reporters.

Japan's first squadron of the $1million jets became active just 11 days ago after 13 of the jets were formed into a new unit at the Misawa base. The UK government announced on Wednesday it was in close contact with the US's F-35 Joint Office over the crash and was considering grounding its fleet of 17 F-35s in response to the incident. The F-35 crash in the Pacific represents the first ever such opportunity for Russia and China to hunt for one of the planes as the jet has only crashed once before, and that time was on US soil.   Lockheed Martin, which manufactures the aircraft, said it was standing by to support the Japanese Air Self Defense Force as needed. The Pentagon said it was monitoring the situation.  Japan started deploying the expensive U.S.-made F-35s since last year, part of its plan to bolster its defense spending and weapons capability in the coming years to counter potential threats from North Korea and China.

Under guidelines approved in December, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government plans to buy 147 F-35s, including 105 F-35As, costing about 10 billion yen ($90 million) each. Early reports suggest Tuesday's crash was a system failure and which could point to something being missed in the production process, experts said.  Tuesday's incident was the first F-35 crash since A US pilot was forced to eject midair after the $100million fighter jet crashed in South Carolina last year. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
11th Apr 2019.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

tough jobs and resilient women ... 'coffee addiction' !

Every morning, as I enter my Office building – there is a little challenge – that lure of Coffee Sastra ~ whether to sip coffee and go to Office or go to seat and order Coffee ?  ~  though there could be umpteen coffee shops, coffee hotels, and people delivering coffee in Office, to my surprise, I always find couple of delivery boys at least waiting to take delivery of coffee, ordered from elsewhere !  -  Life in Corporate World can change too suddenly – often there are people rising to higher echelons while many remain low … a ‘glass ceiling’ is a metaphor – of the unseen, yet unbreakable barrier that stops people from rising to upper rungs, despite possessing qualification and capability.

Madrasi !  ~ In South Indian culture, the visitor to a House is welcomed and offered a tumbler of coffee.  It is an energizer, many have the habit of taking a cup of coffee immediately after consuming their food, especially tiffin items.  It is common to see people walking to restaurants / hotels and order a cup of coffee.  For most Indians, especially South Indians, the day begins with a coffee in the morning and perhaps at least two more during the day.  At home,  it is not simply Coffee, but Filter coffee – made from decoction dripping down from  coffee powder made of  dark roasted coffee beans, chicory – the hot water percolates through the thick powder solely by gravity and not under pressure.  To this decoction, is added milk, enough not to change the colour and aura.  The fresh coffee beverage literally wakes you up and makes you open to the day’s realities.  It has a stimulating effect on people due to its caffeine content and is the most consumed beverages of the World.

Coffee berries, which contain the coffee seeds, are produced by several species of a small evergreen bush of the genus Coffea. The two most commonly grown are also the most highly regarded Coffea arabica, and the "robusta" form of the hardier Coffea canephora. One Coffee advertisement used to ask  – how much you know about the person whom you love most…..  In good olden days, whenever people used to travel they used to travel with coffee contained in ‘kooja’ [a special coffee pot] and then with flask-load(s) of coffee… be it a traveller, or somebody making it at home – concocting coffee without spilling … spillage and perhaps liability is altogether a different issue, interesting one at that.

Coffee is one of the most widely consumed drinks in the world, with two billion cups drunk worldwide every day. Brewers from every continent have developed a legion of different methods to make the perfect cup, but few have ever put the question to science.  In recent past, on every highway in Tamilnadu, shops calling themselves - original Kumbakonam filter coffee shops have mushroomed.

Coffee is not entirely desi or consumed only by Brahmins ! ~  miles away,  Switzerland has  announced plans to abolish the nation’s emergency stockpile of coffee, in place for decades, after declaring the beans not vital for human survival, though opposition to the proposal is brewing. Nestle, the maker of instant coffee Nescafe, and other importers, roasters and retailers are required by Swiss law to store bags of raw coffee. The country stockpiles other staples, too, such as sugar, rice, edible oils and animal feed.  This system of emergency reserves was established between World War I and World War II as Switzerland prepared for any potential shortages in case of war, natural disaster or epidemics.

According to the plan released for public comment, coffee stockpiling obligations would expire by the end of 2022, with companies free to draw down what they store in their warehouses. “The Federal Office for National Economic Supply has concluded not essential for life,” the government said. “Coffee has almost no calories and subsequently does not contribute, from the physiological perspective, to safeguarding nutrition.” A final decision on scrapping coffee stockpiles is expected in November. Switzerland’s mandatory coffee reserves are now spread over 15 companies, including Nestle, and amount to about 15,300 tonnes, enough to cover three months of the Alpine state’s domestic coffee consumption. Switzerland’s 8.5 million residents consume around nine kg (20 lb) of coffee per person annually, eclipsing Britain’s 3.3 kg average and double the 4.5 kg consumed in the United States, according to International Coffee Organization figures. Not everyone wants to see the Swiss strategic coffee reserve disappear, however.

If you are wondering the relevance of the 1st para ~ this morning, as I passed by – saw this person waiting to take delivery at Coffee Shastras… .. curiosity got better of me – went to the shop, spoke to her, conveying my morning greetings, had a cup of coffee with her .. .. for she is something unusual – in the male dominated World, she is among the few women causing ripples. 

It certainly is not easy – still some frown – especially when a woman rides a two-wheeler and zips past fast .. .. few would chase, overtake feeling that it is machoism.  .. .. .. and driving two-wheeler across the city, delivering at remote corners, knowing lanes and by-lanes and yet making delivery happen in time, is indeed a tough job.  In a field where even man would sulk in the hot sweltering Sun of Chennai – this woman Sumathi, starts her day early, arriving from Kolathur, making deliveries across and returning home somewhat late in the evening.

Around one lakh food delivery personnel are engaged by Swiggy every day to deliver food across 45 Indian cities it operates in, states one statistics. Add Zomato, Uber eats, Food Panda, eateries having their own delivery system and more – still I have not seen many women (in fact Ms Sumathi was the first I saw !).  Hearty wishes to this woman, who said ‘life goes on well – and it is not all that difficult’ – travelling in hot Sun, searching for those who had booked food through Apps.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
10th Apr 2019.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Zing bails ... WI merry at IPL - Alzarri Joseph dream debut

Energy, enthusiasm, or liveliness =  ‘Zing’.  In 1980s – on Poonamalle High Road, after Arun Hotel, before DG Vaishnav college, as one crossed Govt Sidha hospital, was ‘Goldspot’ factory -  ‘goldspot – the zing thing’ – was the catchy tune advertisement.   Regular Cricket views know it too well – when the delivery or throw or the keeper’s glouse hits the stumps – and when the bails goes off, they flash a luminous red. They are not ordinary wooden bails but ‘zing bails’.

In IPL history, before this match only two players had taken a 6 for .. .. first Sohail Tanvir 6/14 (those days when Pak too were part of IPL) against CSK at Jaipur in May 2008; then Adam Zampa for Pune Supergiants against Sunrisers in May 2016 – 19/6.  ~now you have another entrant on 6th Apr 2019, one on his debut – the West Indian Alzarri Joseph who against Sunrisers had magic figures of 3.4-1-12-6.

Some of us still remember that 3rd Test at Gros Islet, in Aug 2016.  Ravichandran Ashwin was the Man of the Match, for his batting prowess.  The brief score card would read :  India 353 (Ashwin 118, Saha 104, Cummins 3-54) and 217 for 7 decl. (Rahane 78*, Cummins 6-48) beat West Indies 225 (Brathwaite 64, Bhuvneshwar 5-33) and 108 (Bravo 59, Shami 3-15) by 237 runs.

On day 3 of that  St Lucia Test, India saw rain wash a whole day's play out, with runs having been scored at about 2.5 an over on the first two days. The bowlers' last memory of having taken a wicket was 79.2 overs ago; still by the end of the play on the fifth day, India had taken 17 wickets in 63.5 overs to complete an incredible Test and series win- the bowlers, pacers performed so well. It was another matter that Darren Bravo and Rohit Sharma were fined 15% of their respective match fees for breaching the ICC Code of Conduct on the final day.   Rohit and Bravo had verbally sparred with each other on the fifth morning and did not pay heed to repeated warnings from on-field umpires Nigel Llong and Rod Tucker. India began the final day believing they could still win; West Indies did nothing to make India doubt it. After Bhuvneshwar Kumar's swing masterclass left India 285 in lead at the end of the fourth day, India quickly ran away to a victory. For West Indies, young U19 prospect Alzarri Joseph debuted in that match and did reasonably well.

In IPL on 6th Apr 2019,  Mumbai Indians 136 for 7 (Pollard 46*, Kaul 2-34) beat Sunrisers Hyderabad 96 (Hooda 20, Joseph 6-12) by 40 runs.  In his first IPL match ever, 22-years-old Alzarri Joseph steamed in, bowled the tournament's top run-scorer David Warner - off an inside edge - with his first delivery, and went on to have a debut beyond all fantasies.In defence of Mumbai Indians' 136 for 7, which had only been made respectable by Kieron Pollard's 46 not out off 26 balls, Joseph produced one of the great IPL bowling performances. He claimed 6 for 12, consistently rushing batsmen with his deceptive pace. Those figures broke an IPL record that had stood since the very first season, bettering Sohail Tanvir's 6 for 14.

West Indies are ruling the roost – it is not Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Sunil Naraine, Kieron Pollard alone – Andre Russel is savage.  In the 21st Match at Jaipur, Apr 7 2019 – Rajasthan Royal made a paltry 139/3 and were stormed by KKR.   Earlier on 5th April, RCB posted a massive total and seemed well in control for their 1st win =- before Andre Russel damaged everybody .. His 48 not out off only 13 balls included seven sixes, and took his season tally to 207 runs off 77 balls. Andre Russell produced fourth consecutive devastating innings, clubbing everyone out of the ground.  Chasing  206, Knight Riders needed 66 off 24 at one point, and then 53 off 18 with Russell having faced two balls.

Siraj had had a night to forget even before he was handed the ball for the 18th over. He had put down two catches - Chris Lynn and Nitish Rana's - and had bowled a beamer that was hit for six. With 53 required off 18, he started with two dot balls, fizzing past Russell's outside edge on both occasions. But just when he seemed to have redeemed himself, he bowled a bouncer that was called wide. From there, Royal Challengers lost control altogether.His next ball, the beamer that got him suspended, was slapped for six. The ensuing free-hit, mercilessly handed to Marcus Stoinis who had to complete the over, also went for six. And so did the next ball. Twenty-three came off that over.Tim Southee, brought in place of Umesh Yadav,  bowled from both over and around, tried slower balls, short lengths, full lengths - pretty much all that's there - and was carted for four sixes and a four. Russell had managed to get 28 off that over, and 47 off his last nine balls. Knight Riders needed only a run off the last over.

Now getting back to that ‘zing bails’ – they do not only provide excitement but also added precision, especially for Stumpings and run-0uts.  The rules of cricket say that a batsman is out if they are beyond their batting crease when the stumps are "broken" - that is, when the bails are knocked off the stumps. Both ends of the bail have to come apart from the stumps. However, it can be hard for an umpire to detect this in real time.  The new equipment, known as the Zing wicket system, the stumps and bails will flash the moment contact is broken. It was developed by Bronte Eckermann, a former Australian grade cricketer who was inspired by one of his daughter's toys, which was roughly the size of a cricket bail and contained LED lights.

Traditionally stumps and bails are made from wood, but the new flashing wickets are made from a composite plastic, which are embedded with LED lights.The use of flashing wickets in international matches has been in vogue for more than 5 years now.   A bail is only completely dislodged when both spigots have separated from their stump grooves. A microprocessor in each Zing detects when BOTH spigots have become dislodged from the stump grooves. The Zing illuminates within 1/1000th of a second.

.. .. .. technology too can fail !  ~  In the fourth over of Knight Riders' chase, Dhawal Kulkarni got one to move into Chris Lynn and clip into his leg stump off the inside edge. The zing bails lit up, and the ball ricocheted to the fine-leg fence. Lynn started his long walk back, and Kulkarni began wheeling away in celebration.

Except, for the third time in a week, the bails didn't come off their groove and Knight Riders got four runs to show for it, after all. Royals have been at the receiving end on two of those occasions now. First, it was MS Dhoni who got away with it, after inside-edging a Jofra Archer shorter one that rolled on to the stumps. Dhoni was on 0 and went on to make a match-winning 75* off 46 balls.On Saturday, Dhoni was at the receiving end of it, after one of his lightning-quick throws from behind the stumps found KL Rahul short of his ground. The bails again refused to fall off. Rahul made 55, but Super Kings sealed a comfortable 22-run win.Lynn's non-wicket is now the third time the zing bails have stayed stubbornly rooted to their groove this season, and wasn't the first piece of luck that came the batting side's way: Rahul Tripathi had put down a skier off Sunil Narine just the previous ball.

Before concluding know these trivia:

June 9, 2017, will be remembered in cricketing circles for years to come as the day when Asian minnows Afghanistan and Bangladesh pulled off sensational upsets over their more pedigreed opponents in the form of West Indies and New Zealand respectively in the 50-over format.Afghanistan’s 63-run victory over West Indies was, the match at the Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, St Lucia,  the game was played with no bails on the stumps at both ends as strong winds made it virtually impossible for the bails to be in place.

Some web searches reveal that the first laws of the game  were laid down in 1744, but  the wicket consisted of two stumps with a solitary bail atop.   Have heard of an interesting anecdote, when   WG Grace was  clean bowled,  not the bails, the stump uprooted, he quipped  'they've come here to see me bat, not you umpire.' Grace, with two public benefits as an amateur that made him the richest professional cricketer in history, was an eminent Victorian and an enormous cheat.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
8th Apr 2019.