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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

9 crore worth ! Richard Mille watch stolen in Ibiza, Spain ..

A chronograph is a specific type of watch that is used as a stopwatch combined with a display watch. A basic chronograph has an independent sweep second hand; it can be started, stopped, and returned to zero by successive pressure on the stem. More complex chronographs use additional complications and can have multiple independent hands to measure seconds, minutes, hours and even tenths of a second.
Modern day youngsters may not really understand many a thing – one of that is the importance of watch ~ a wrist watch was a luxury till about 5 decades ago… only college goers and rich  were blessed with wrist watches ~ HMT ruled the roost… the most common Q that one to put to the other on the road was ‘may I know what the time is ?’ ~ now the Q is ‘where are you ?’ [everyone talking on mobile on street and perhaps mostly asking the other person as to where he / she is ?] [ in Cinema, if one were to speak to a girl – Q – what is the time ?] ~ and mobiles have effectively replaced the wrist watches !!

Wearing wrist watches were customary – they were to be hand wound – automatic watches were costlier.  MG Ramachandran, Tamil Nadu's former chief minister and founder of AIADMK, was laid to rest at Marina beach in his iconic attire, complete with his fur cap, dark shades, and his famous Seiko watch. In years to come, believers swore that MGR's watch could be heard ticking from beyond the grave.

Those days when I went to school, wearing a watch was a prestige ! – not many could afford watches; HMT [Hindustan Machine Tools] priced their watches in the range of Rs.350/- + and in 1979  my grandfather awarded me one [HMT Vijay blue-dialled wrist watch] for me scoring  good marks in SSLC Exam -  it was heaven ~ those days, Rs.300/- + easily was more than a month’s salary for most…… life has changed a long way.. now you have costly wrist watches, brands that are status symbols ~ at the same time, you have duplicate ones at throw away prices, which also work fine and well serve the intended purpose of showing the time.  Now this post is about a watch worth Rs.9 Crores worth approx. – leaves to imagine, if one requires a watch for showing time – why and how can a watch be so costly ? – what extra will that offer ? – what sort of utility value it has ??

At home, have seen some elders have the time in watch set a few minutes faster – that way – one could get a warning they would say .. .. I always wonder whether that will work at all – when one is aware that the clock is running 10 mins or so faster, would not we always reckon that extra time and somehow contrive to be late !

Richard Mille is a brand of luxury Swiss watches from the company of the same name founded in 1999 by French businessman Richard Mille. After studying marketing in Besançon, Richard Mille, started work at Finhor, a local watchmaking company in 1974. In 1999 he founded the company Richard Mille SA in collaboration with AudemarsPiguet. Its first product, the RM001 went on sale in 2001. Richard Mille SA is based in Les Breuleux, in the Canton of Jura, Switzerland.The brand's most famous models are the Tourbillon RM 008 (chronograph tourbillon) and the sapphire split seconds (chronograph tourbillon) RM 056. The RM 008 combines a tourbillon movement with manual winding, a chronograph split-seconds, a torque indicator, and a power reserve indicator. Claimed to be one of the most advanced watches in the world, it is priced from 500,000 Euro.

Today, Daily Mail UK reports of a super-rich tourist losing his  £1MILLLION McLaren F1-inspired watch !    ~ valued so high,   there are only 75 of the ultralight pieces in the world. .. . it is reported that a  pickpocket in Ibiza stole one of the world's most valuable watches worth nearly £1million from a tourist. The thief, thought to be in his 30s, stole the Formula One inspired wristwatch from its Azerbaijan owner in broad daylight after shoving his victim several times. He then made off with his haul at around 4.30pm last Wednesday which police say is worth €1.2 million. Only 75 of the record-breaking ultralight watches exist in the world.

The Azerbaijan tourist, aged 22, was walking along the seafront in Ibiza town with a friend when the robbery happened. He was left with injuries to his wrist and arm. Police say he was staying in a hotel in Ibiza and immediately went to the police station to report the theft. The watch is a Richard Mille (RM) 50-03 McLaren F1 valued at approximately €1,150,000. (INR 9 Cr approx)  It is the lightest in the world, weighing only 40 grams with the strap included. The watch is inspired by the McLaren F1 cars and is a tourbillon - a specific mechanism of watchmaking - that means the entire mechanism inside the case rotates at a rate of one revolution per minute in order to nullify the effects of gravity. In addition to that, the RM 50-03 features chronograph function of fractions of a second to measure lap times, a power reserve of 70 hours, and a torsion sensor to avoid winding.

No words to say !!

With regards –S. Sampathkumar
26th June 2019

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

first woman to receive Doctor of Philosophy ~ this day, 341 years ago !!

All great philosophies and philosophers of the world have been those who made man premier of their teachings. The first entity that man encounters in this boundless universe is his own self. Centuries before, Socrates, who was influenced by Sophism,  asserted that the real subject of man’s knowledge is the man himself. Out of copious philosophers who emerged in ensuing phases some assumed prominence in comparison to others.

Philosophy (from Greek  philosophia, literally "love of wisdom") is the study of general and fundamental questions about existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Such questions are often posed as problems to be studied or resolved. The term was probably coined by Pythagoras. Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, and systematic presentation. Classic philosophical questions include: Is it possible to know anything and to prove it?  What is most real? Philosophers also pose more practical and concrete questions.     Historically, "philosophy" encompassed any body of knowledge
"The School of Athens" by Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino.jpg ~ Wikipedia commons

A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD, Ph.D., or DPhil; Latin philosophiae doctor or doctor philosophiae) is the highest university degree that is conferred after a course of study by universities in most English-speaking countries. PhDs are awarded for programs across the whole breadth of academic fields.  The completion of a PhD is often a requirement for employment as a university professor, researcher, or scientist in many fields.  Individuals who have earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree may, in many jurisdictions, use the title Doctor (often abbreviated "Dr" or "Dr.") .. .. this post is on a woman, the first person to receive a Doctor of Philosophy degree.

Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia or Elena Lucrezia Corner (1646 – 1684) was a Venetian philosopher of noble descent who in 1678 became one of the first women to receive an academic degree from a university, and the first to receive a Doctor of Philosophy degree.  Elena was born in the Palazzo Loredan, at Venice, Republic of Venice, as the third child of Gianbattista Cornaro-Piscopia and his mistress Zanetta Boni. Her mother was a peasant and her parents were not married at the time of her birth.  Lady Elena was therefore not technically a member of the Cornaro family by birth, as Venetian law barred illegitimate children of nobles from noble privilege, even if recognized by the noble parent. Worse for Zanetta's case, she was from an extremely poor peasant family. Zanetta had likely fled to Venice in order to escape starvation, and soon found herself the mistress of a member of one of the most powerful noble dynasties in the Republic. Gianbattista and Zanetta married officially in 1654, but their children were barred from noble privilege, which galled him.

In 1664, her father was chosen to become the Procuratore di San Marco de supra, the treasurer of St. Mark's Cathedral, a coveted position among Venetian nobility. At that point, Gianbattista was second only to the Doge of Venice in terms of precedence. Because of this connection, Lady Elena was prominent in the Marriage of the Sea celebration, even though she was born illegitimate. Her father tried to arrange betrothals for her several times, but she rebuffed each man's advances. Early biographers' suggestion that she took a vow of chastity at age 11 are disputed by Francesco Ludovico Maschietto. In 1665 she took the habit of a Benedictine oblate without, however, becoming a nun. In Christian monasticism, an oblate is a person who is specifically dedicated to God or to God's service.

As a young girl, Lady Elena was seen as a prodigy. By the advice from Giovanni Fabris, a priest who was a friend of the family, she began a classical education. She studied Latin and Greek under distinguished instructors, and became proficient in these languages, as well as French and Spanish, by the age of seven. She also mastered Hebrew and Arabic, earning the title of Oraculum Septilingue ("Seven-language Oracle. ] Elena came to be an expert musician, mastering the harpsichord, the clavichord, the harp and the violin. Her skills were shown by the music that she composed in her lifetime.   She was invited to be a part of many scholarly societies when her fame spread and in 1670 she became president of the Venetian society Accademia dei Pacifici.

Upon the recommendation of Carlo Rinaldini, her tutor in philosophy, Felice Rotondi petitioned the University of Padua to grant Cornaro the laurea[d] in theology.[10] When Cardinal Gregorio Barbarigo, the bishop of Padua, learned that she was pursuing a degree in theology, he refused on the grounds that she was a woman. However, he did allow for her to get a degree in philosophy and after a brilliant course of study she received the laurea in Philosophy. The degree was conferred on 25 June 1678, [this day 341 years ago !]  in Padua Cathedral in the presence of the University authorities, the professors of all the faculties, the students, and most of the Venetian Senators, together with many invited guests from the Universities of Bologna, Perugia, Rome and Naples. Lady Elena spoke for an hour in Classical Latin, explaining difficult passages selected at random from the works of Aristotle: one from the Posterior Analytics and the other from the Physics. The last seven years of her life were devoted to study and charity. She died in Padua in 1684 of tuberculosis and was buried in the church of Santa Giustina. On 5 June 2019, Google celebrated her 373rd birthday with a Google Doodle.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
25th June 2019.

Five Black rhinos fly 3700 miles to Rwanda

Rhinos are a highly threatened species. Prized for their horn, which is made from keratin and is a popular ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine, they have been  a prime target for poachers. In Uganda, they were once abundant, but the last of the animals fell victim to illegal hunters in the 1980s.  ..

As I grew in Triplicane, have seen hundreds of cows and buffaloes ~ there were couple of ‘kosalas’ too ! – now the situation is different – there are less of buffaloes and bulls too – cows roam on the street, sometime chase, sometimes behave wildly – perhaps in search of food as green fodder is not being provided for .. .. have seen them being injected on roads before mulching .. and other day saw crude mode of IV fluid being injected .. ! ~ this is no post on Triplicane or its cows but on Rhinos !

Rhinos, along with equids and tapirs, are the only surviving members of an ancient and formerly diverse group of ungulates, which originated around 50 million years ago. The black rhinoceros or hook-lipped rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) is a species of rhinoceros, native to eastern and southern Africa including Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Although the rhinoceros is referred to as black, its colors vary from brown to grey. The black rhino has a prehensile (or grasping) upper lip, which it uses to draw plant material into its mouth. Their population decreased by a massive 96% between 1970 and 1992, the largest decline of any rhino species. The black rhino has been the victim of persecution for being seen as volatile and dangerous over the 20th century, but in recent years its major threat comes from poaching for the international rhino horn trade.

The other African rhinoceros is the white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum). The word "white" in the name "white rhinoceros" is often said to be a misinterpretation of the Afrikaans word wyd (Dutch wijd) meaning wide, referring to its square upper lip, as opposed to the pointed or hooked lip of the black rhinoceros.  The species overall is classified as critically endangered (even though the South-western black rhinoceros is classified as vulnerable). Three subspecies have been declared extinct, including the western black rhinoceros, which was declared extinct by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2011.

Black rhinos are the smaller of the two African rhino species. The most notable difference between white and black rhinos are their hooked upper lip. This distinguishes them from the white rhino, which has a square lip. Black rhinos are browsers rather than grazers, and their pointed lip helps them feed on leaves from bushes and trees. They have two horns, and occasionally a third, small posterior horn. Populations of black rhino declined dramatically in the 20th century at the hands of European hunters and settlers. Between 1960 and 1995, black rhino numbers dropped by a sobering 98%, to less than 2,500. Since then, the species has made a tremendous comeback from the brink of extinction. Thanks to persistent conservation efforts across Africa, black rhino numbers have doubled from their historic low 20 years ago to between 5,042 and 5,455 today. However, the black rhino is still considered critically endangered, and a lot of work remains to bring the numbers up to even a fraction of what it once was—and to ensure that it stays there. Wildlife crime—in this case, poaching and black-market trafficking of rhino horn—continues to plague the species and threaten its recovery.

There is some welcome news as  five rhinos from European zoos (three from Dvur Kralove Zoo, Czech Republic, one from Flamingo Land, UK, and the other from Ree Park Safari, Denmark) have been together in Dvur Kralove Zoo since November 2018 and are making the long journey into Rwanda in June 2019.  The European-born rhinos will be joining 18 Eastern black rhinos that were moved in 2017 to Akagera from Thaba Tholo game farm in South Africa. With a total of 23 rhinos and a diversified gene-pool within the Akagera population, there is a better chance of a healthy population growing in the National Park (the African Rhino Specialist Group recommends at least 20 unrelated founder animals to enable a successful rhino population). Therefore, rhinos best suited for a translocation into Akagera National Park were selected: the selection must include a good genetic mix within the group itself, and the rhinos need to be at the right age, i.e. sub-adult. After a couple of years to settle in, the animals will be just coming into breeding age, and the cows should be capable of giving birth to seven or eight calves in their lifetime.

Thus to culminate the success of a well drawn project, Two males and three females, aged between two and nine, came from various European zoos and safari parks across Europe and arrived at Dvur Kralove safari park in the Czech Republic.  The animals were then flown 3,700 miles (6,000km) to the south African nation and will now join 17 other eastern black rhinos, which were donated in 2017.  All five were born and bred in Europe and have been in captivity for their whole lives.

There are about 5,000 black rhinos remaining across their range in the wild, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, making them one of the most critically endangered species in the world. Black rhinos have been killed in increasing numbers in recent years as transnational, organised criminal networks have become more involved in the poaching of rhinos and the illegal trade in rhino horn. Uncontrolled hunting in the colonial era was historically the major factor in the decline of black rhinos.  Today, poaching for the illegal trade in their horns is the major threat, according to the WWF. Powdered horn is used in traditional Asian medicine as a supposed cure for a range of illnesses – from hangovers to fevers and even cancer.

The recent surge has been primarily driven by the demand for horn by upper-middle class citizens in Vietnam. As well as its use in medicine, rhino horn is bought and consumed purely as a symbol of wealth.  Akagera National Park has allowed a number of key species to be reintroduced, including lions in 2015 - which have tripled in number after they had practically disappeared from the country for about 15 years. The five new rhinos will be studied as they settle into their new home and are expected to be a positive addition to the area's ecosystem. 'This unique achievement represents the culmination of an unprecedented international effort to improve the survival prospects of a critically endangered rhino subspecies in the wild,' said Jes Gruner, manager of Akagera National Park. 'Their arrival also marks an important step in Akagera's ongoing revitalization and one that underscores the country´s commitment to conservation.'

The rhinos began their journey on Sunday after months of preparation at Safari Park Dvur Králové in the Czech Republic, according to the Rwanda Development Board. The animals were then flown 3,700 miles (6,000km) to the south African nation of Rwanda.  Rwanda, which has experienced a dramatic turnaround since a 1994 genocide, which left 800,000 dead, is billing itself as a Big Five safari destination to attract more tourists, with many coming to see the rare mountain gorillas. The translocation represents a significant moment for Rwanda's natural history.

Rhinos have been wiped out twice in the country by poaching - once during the 1940s and 50s, when their horns were in demand to make dagger handles, then again in 2010.  Sadly, on an earlier occasion,  Ten black rhinos  died after being moved to Tsavo East National Park. The only survivor was injured after being attacked by a lion.  One of the causes reported was  that the water in the park was too salty, causing the rhinos to become severely dehydrated.  The government had originally planned to move fourteen rhinos to the new habitat, but transportation of the final three was canceled after the initial deaths.  However, further reports suggest that between   2005 and 2017, the Kenyan wildlife ministry  transported 149 rhinos with only eight deaths, according to the Associated Press.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
25th June 2019.
Pic credit : James Hassell/Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute;

Monday, June 24, 2019

the Police Officer who arrested former PM Mrs. Indira Gandhi is no more !

I was too young .. .. yet Triplicanites could make me understand the electoral politics. Clearly there was a wave ~ in houses the elder generation was for Congress, the youth wre for the newly created Janata party  .. .. and in 1977 – newspapers screamed in bold letters [was that half page !!] ‘Indira defeated’ ~ nothing else mattered.  The man who defeated her in 1977 Lok Sabha elections was Raj Narain, a freedom fighter and politician who had won a famous electoral malpractice case against the then PM Mrs Indira Gandhi that led to her disqualification and subsequent imposition of Emergency in India in 1975 !!
Janata Party won – Morarji Desai became the first non-Congress PM of India and much more were to happen .. ..  on Oct 3, 1977, the Union Home Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh had the former PM Mrs Indira Gandhi arrested – and was that a political bungling ?   the arrest was made on charges of "planning the killing of all opposition leaders in jail during the Emergency." Indira Gandhi's arrest triggered nationwide strikes and protests. The Congress party supporters demanded her immediate release. They even hijacked an Air India flight in protest of their leader's arrest. In the face of such national unrest, Gandhi was freed from prison on the night of December 26, after spending one week in detention for breach of privilege and contempt of the Indian Parliament.

That was truly historical – arrest of PM of the Nation .. .. .. On Jan 19, 1966, Indira Gandhi became India's first Prime Minister. She continued to serve the nation at this post for almost 14 years. During her first term as Prime Minister, Gandhi had nationalised 14 banks in India.  In 1973, she was to nationalize Insurance Companies too !  After her re-election as the Prime Minister in 1971, Indira Gandhi extended her support to the freedom fighters of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), a move lauded till date.  Indira Gandhi was banned from the Parliament by the High Court of Allahabad on charges of electoral malpractice. She regained her position on the grounds of public support.

It was reported that Mrs Gandhi's arrest had been the topic of discussion at almost every "informal Cabinet meeting". Industry Minister George Fernandes and Health Minister Raj Narain, and others had been pressing for Mrs Gandhi's immediate arrest. The Prime Minister Morarji Desai had advised caution: "We must take action only according to the law," he had warned. Law Minister Shanti Bhushan had concurred. Chaudhary charan Singh  wanted to launch the prosecution immediately after Janata assumed power in March. Fernandes' concept of a trial on the Nuremberg model had specially appealed to the leader who has an almost total belief in the sanctity of the democratic process. But there were too many pressing issues at hand. As the officials waded through the files, one political crisis after another had confronted the old man. Indira Gandhi could wait. There was time enough to catch her, he said to himself.  After months of hesitation, the Indian government moved without warning  and arrested former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and at least four members of her cabinet, charging them with corruption. The 59 year-old Gandhi was taken into police custody for an appearance in court on a  Tuesday after she refused to post bail. Gandhi demanded that she be taken away from her home in handcuffs but police agents refused her request. In a statement issued before being taken into custody, the former prime minister asserted her "arrest is a political one. It is to prevent me from going before the people. It is an attempt to discredit me in their eyes and the eyes of the world."  She too was in a confrontation mode daring the Govt to arrest her .. .. and finally is happened. 

Officials at that time stated that one case dealt with Gandhi's "illegally conniving" with others and pressuring two companies to obtain 104 jeeps for election work in several districts including her own. The second charge alleged she misused her position in awarding a $13.4 million government oil drilling contract to a French firm, despite a lower bid by a competitor. The names of the companies involved and other details were not made public.  Today comes the news that - V R Lakshminarayanan, the police officer who arrested Indira Gandhi in 1977 after the emergency on the orders of the Morarji government, passed away at his residence at Anna Nagar in Chennai on Sunday (23.6.2019). He was 91.

Indira Gandhi had pinned two medals on him for meritorious and distinguished service and Lakshminarayanan was loathe to handcuff her. When she held up her hands to be handcuffed, Lakshminarayanan told her he had forgotten to bring handcuffs. This is what he would recount when asked about the incident, said his nephew A Ranganathan, as reported in TOI. Lakshminarayanan had a distinguished career in the IPS and last served as director general of the Tamil Nadu Police. He was also joint director in the Central Bureau of Investigation after joining the IPS in 1951 with his first posting as assistant superintendent of police in Madurai when Kamaraj was chief minister. As chairman and managing director of the Tamil Nadu Police Housing Corporation (TNPHC) from 1981 to 1984, he built quarters at many places for police personnel. Lakshminarayanan has been a mentor to many police officers across the country.

VRL, the younger brother of the well known jurist V R Krishna Iyer, graduated in physics from Madras Christian College (MCC) in 1945 and then finished his graduation in law. Since his father and brother were in the judiciary he opted to join the Indian Police Service. He also served in the Malabar Special Police in Nagaland during the insurgency. His book ‘Appointments and Disappointments’ was much sought after among relatives and friends. Post retirement Lakshminarayanan spent most of his time mentoring junior police officers and doing charity work. He donated funds during the Kerala floods and for the education of children of police personnel. Lakshminarayanan is survived by his son Suresh Lakshminarayanan and daughters Usha Ravi and Rama -- all settled in the United States.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
24th June 2019.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Pat Cash who defeated Ivan Lendl in financial trouble !!

In 1983, my friends had booked a movie ticket [hard to get those days] and gracefully invited me – it was K Viswanath’s classic ‘Salangai Oli’ – Kamal Jayapradha starrer with classic hits of Illayaraja.  I refused as those were the days when Semis & Finals of Wimbledon would be shown live .. .. .. my favourite Ivan Lendl was to play John McEnroe.  A few years earlier, I had started following Tennis seeing the exploits of Bjorn Borg.  McEnroe defeated Ivan Lendl, played the unseeded Chris Lewis in the finals won in straight sets 6–2, 6–2, 6–2 to claims his 2nd Wimbledon title.   My friends were to make fun of me, not only for missing the movie but also for my unbridled support for Ivan Lendl.

To me, Lendl was the MS Dhoni of those days – exceptionally talented, very cool player.  He was World No. 1 for some time, won French Open, won US Open but ‘grass was for cows’ as he failed again and again at Wimbledon.  When he lost, I would not read the newspaper as I  could not digest details of his loss. He was a tennis machine, stoic in patience, yet not so endeared to the crowd.  May be because of his baseline game in an era of serve and volleyers.    In 1987, I was hoping for his title triumph,   Lendl narrowly avoided the ignominy of early  defeat. In a rain interrupted match, Lendl went  to bed on Thursday night a set down and 5-5 in the second, against the Italian Paolo Cane. The crucial moment came the following day, when Cane, leading 2-1 in sets, broke Lendl in the fourth set to lead 4-3. Cane had two points in the next game to lead 5-3, but Lendl hit back, winning the next four games to take the set 7-5, and easily strolling through the last set 6-1.

In 1987, I had reasons to believe that Lendl would make it .. .. Boris Becker,  the two-time defending champion,  lost in the second round to Peter Doohan. Andre Agassi made his first appearance in the main draw at Wimbledon, losing in the first round to Henri Leconte. Agassi would not compete at Wimbledon again until 1991 due to his disagreement with the All England Club's dress code. Lendl made it through to his second final in a year, in a tight four set victory over Edberg, the crucial moment occurring when Lendl won the third set on a tie break.  So came the finals – Ivan Lendl against Pat Cash, the Australian.  Lendl was in great form but on that evening 32 years ago,   Pat Cash, sporting a black-and-white chequered headband that would never be sanctioned today, punched an angled volley into the open court and then celebrated his first grand-slam title with an unscheduled ascent towards his friends and family in the player’s box above the scoreboard.

The final on Sunday July 5 was definitely a clash of styles: the popular, crowd favourite Cash, with his serve-volley game, against the stand-offish, machine-like Lendl, relying on his powerful baseline play. But Cash's game was so well oiled in the first set that Lendl only won six points on the Australian's serve (before the tie break), and Lendl knew the kind of afternoon he was in for when in his first service game he had to save five break points.  In the Second, Cash was simply brilliant.   Cash showed no nerves, and rather appropriately served his way to the championship – not sure in the manner Lendl reacted after the loss, but I was crestfallen.

Aside, the man Peter Doohan who ousted Boris Becker   reached his highest Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) singles ranking of World No. 43 in Aug 1987.    Doohan died in  2017 from motor neurone disease. Motor neuron diseases (MNDs) are a group of neurodegenerative disorders that selectively affect motor neurons, the cells which control voluntary muscles of the body.  A motor neuron (or motoneuron) is a neuron whose cell body is located in the motor cortex, brainstem or the spinal cord, and whose axon (fiber) projects to the spinal cord or outside of the spinal cord to directly or indirectly control effector organs, mainly muscles and glands.

Today’s MailOnline carries an article on Pat Cash .. ..  Wimbledon champion Pat Cash claims God 'sent' him money when he was left almost penniless after divorcing his wife.  The 54-year-old tennis star told The Mail on Sunday that money 'miracles' have happened 20 times in his lifetime.  He said: 'Whenever I need money, God sends some.  'Just enough to pay the bills. It happens all the time. Whenever I am in trouble or stuck, I get a new deal, renew a contract or am offered another income stream. This has happened 20 times. It's weird. 'I had legal bills and financial commitments towards my family and ex-wife – and nowhere to live.'

Cash, who won the Wimbledon men's singles title in 1987, credits his faith with helping him through the darkest times in his life.   He said: 'I remember one day looking up to the sky and going, "'God, will you please take over all my finances?"  'Within hours, a friend of mine called and asked me to play a tennis event which paid several thousand pounds and the highest fee I had ever earned for a set of doubles.'  Cash has talked in the past about his financial troubles, saying that playing tennis professionally from a young age left him with little knowledge about personal finance.

He has also detailed that playing in the Association of Tennis Professionals' Champions Tour has helped him earn money in retirement.  Besides winning Wimbledon in 1987 (defeating Ivan Lendl) he also made Australian Open finals in 1987 and 1988 on his way to career prize money of approximately £1.5 million.  Cash divorced his ex-wife Emily Bendit in 2002,  after 12 years of marriage.  The pair has twin boys - Shannon and Jett Cash - who were born in 1994.  Cash also had two children in a previous relationship with former Norwegian model Anne-Britt Kristiansen.

.. .. it is hard to read that stars rising to such heights get in to deep financial trouble.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
23rd June 2019.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Ranveer tweet ! and WWE threat !!

There is a particular way Mumbai Indians play or strategise  ~ 1) their bench strength [advisors – ex-players] would be more formidable than the playing X1 itself 2) they would buy strong players but some would not feature in their playing X1 (perhaps denying the other teams a change of usage) 3. Pinch hitter like Kieron Pollard would be kept back and allowed to play last 10 balls or so .. .. .. was something similar happening today – when MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav were defending along – having a player like Hardik Pandya waiting .. .. waiting !!

Deepika Padukone, who will be playing Ranveer Singh's on-screen wife in the upcoming film 83, shared a photo of herself wearing a bright green ensemble on her Instagram handle. She wrote the photo caption in "shuddh Hindi" and Ranveer is impressed beyond words. "Vishisht aakriti dharan karna (to take on a special shape)..." the caption read. Ranveer Singh is always in news ! ..  .. there are ads you love and there are ads that don’t really strike a chord with you. And then there are ads you might love or hate but just can’t ignore! Ranveer Singh’s latest Ching's ad seems to be falling in the latter category. With over a million likes and over a thousand comments, this ad seems to be gaining a lot of attention.  While some pointed out how absurd it is, others were left baffled at the superhero act.  Ranveer Singh was in full spirit, sartorially as well, during the ICC World Cup 2019 India versus Pakistan match at Manchester's Old Trafford. The 33-year-old actor was spotted cheering for India in a shirt and tie paired with a brown overcoat and checked trousers. Along with his outfit, Ranveer clubbed a printed muffler and added a dash of quirk with his glasses.  .. .. more so, it was his tweet that got him more attention !!

On a slower-than-usual Hampshire Bowl pitch, Afghanistan have limited India to 224 for 8 – their lowest ODI total while batting 50 overs since 2010. Mujeeb ur Rahman found zip and turn with the new ball to go past Rohit’s outside edge and hit the top of off stump. Mohammad Nabi then took over, stifling India further with his drifters and donkey drops. Two such drifters got rid of Rahul and Kohli. No.4 Vijay Shankar flickered briefly before part-time legspinner Rahmat Shah pinned him lbw. Dhoni and Jadhav came together at 135 for 4 in the 31st over, and the spinners continued to pile the pressure on the two batsmen. Dhoni’s plan was to simply block the spinners out of the attack and go after the weaklinks Naib and Aftab.  Finally MS dhoni  ran down the track only to the stumped for 28 off 52 balls – of which 33 were dots. Kedar Jadhav couldn’t get going either and scrapped his way to a 66-ball half-century. With Dhoni – and then Hardik – out of the way, Naib and Aftab varied their pace excellently to keep India to a meagre total.

I know nothing of this ~ for I don’t consider WWE as a sport at all – the ‘wrestling mania’.  World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., aka WWE, is an American integrated media and entertainment company that is primarily known for professional wrestling. WWE has also branched out into other fields, including movies, real estate, and various other business ventures.  Followed the news and read that this man was born on Sept 1, 1965 -  son of Sulamita and Richard S. Heyman, a prominent personal injury attorney and World War II veteran. Wikipedia describes that he is of Jewish descent; his mother was a Holocaust survivor who suffered through experiences in Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, and the Łódź Ghetto.  Paul Heyman  is an American entertainment producer, professional wrestling manager.  He is currently signed to WWE, where he performs on the Raw brand. Heyman has also competed sporadically in matches, including the WWE Championship main event of the 2002 Rebellion pay-per-view.

The news is .. .. Ranveer Singh has been sent a legal notice, claimed WWE superstar Brock Lesnar’s advocate Paul Heyman. Heyman had earlier posted on social media that he would sue Singh for using his war cry- ‘Eat, Sleep, Conquer, Repeat’ with a twist.  …. .. the catch-phrase caught the ire of Heyman who appears annoyed stating that it is an issue of copyright.  In his latest tweet, Heyman also took a jibe at publications that referred to him as Lesnar’s manager, and not as an advocate. Heyman wrote, “I didn’t warn. I served noticed. And while I applaud @TheStatesmanLtd for their coverage of #YourHumbleAdvocate and @BrockLesnar, I must stress that I am not a manager (what an outdated, antiquated term). I am an #Advocate. And I’m the best #Advocate in history (sic).”

Ranveer Singh, who is currently in London preparing for the shoot of Kabir Khan’s film titled 83, attended India’s World Cup clash against Pakistan in Manchester. After the match, he clicked a picture with India allrounder Hardik Pandya and tweeted, “Eat. Sleep. Dominate. Repeat. The name is Hardik. Hardik Pandya.” Ranveer Singh is yet to make a comment on statements by Lesnar’s attorney. It is stated that this  is not the first time that Heyman has raised this issue. He had brought it up earlier when a tweet used the line, “Eat. Sleep. Finish games. Repeat. Life” while praising Indian wicketkeeper MS Dhoni.  The phrase  reportedly became prominent when Lesnar returned to WWE and is  printed on the back of Lesnar’s outfits that he wears while entering the ring in WWE.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
22nd June 2019.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

spiteful dance ... tweet of Pak PM .. .. and an Indian win !!

The Indo-Pak encounter was ‘no match’ but lot seems to be flying around after that 7th loss !! ~ all is not well with Pakistan.  ~ if one were to relate the poor bowling performance of Hasan Ali  9-0-84-1 to his spiteful dance at Wagah, perhaps people would ridicule but this criticism came from ace Paki bowler Shoaib Akhtar..

Much has been written about the ‘beating retreat’ at Indo-pak border .. .. The 'lowering of the flags' ceremony  is a daily military practice that the security forces of India (Border Security Force) and Pakistan (Pakistan Rangers) have jointly followed since 1959.  The ceremony starts with a  parade by the soldiers from both the sides, and ends up in the perfectly coordinated lowering of the two nations' flags.  A couple of years back, it was mutually agreed and the troops have abandoned aggressive postures adopted during the daily beating the retreat ceremony held at sunset.  As multitudes wait to watch the event unfold daily -    'Please don't raise slogans other than Bharat Mata ki Jai, Hindustan Zindabaad and VandeMataram,' the parade anchor repeatedly cautions the audience that has gathered to witness the beating retreat ceremony.

Emotions run high among all those who have gathered here.  Last year, the Pakistan cricket team visited Wagah border to witness the flag-lowering ceremony following a  request of Pakistan Rangers after concluding their training camp for the Test tour of Ireland and England.  The immature  bowler Hasan Ali entertained the crowd with his trademark celebrations without realising ever that this is a different field altogether and his gestures had no meaning.   Hasan Ali entered the drill and performed his signature wicket-taking gesture towards the Indian armed force.

.. ..we should be knowing is ~ we should refer this significant place as ‘Attari’ and not ‘Wagah’ !  ~ somehow you see the latter used in the media often !!

after that incident, Border Security Force (BSF)  said it was not satisfied with Pakistan’s reply over their cricketer Hasan Ali’s gesture towards its personnel and Indian audience during the beating the retreat ceremony at the Attari-Wagah border and will write to them again. The BSF had lodged a written protest on April 22, a day after the Pakistani cricketer entered the flag-lowering ceremony area from the other side and made his signature wicket-taking gesture.  As per protocol, the ceremony is to be conducted only by the BSF personnel and the Pakistani Rangers from their respective sides. The BSF top brass had said that if the Pakistani cricketer was unaware of the protocol at the beating the retreat ceremony, the Pakistan Rangers could have stopped him when he was indulging in ‘provocative actions’.  In the video that went viral, Hasan Ali, the Paki cricketer was   seen tapping his thighs, raising arms towards the Indian audience and the BSF, and celebrating as he does after taking a wicket before a man in civvies escorts him back amid applause from the Pakistani audience. Foolish it was !!

on the much awaited Sunday, the  masses descended, coming on buses and in taxis from across town and on airplanes from across oceans, flying from home or some diaspora capital, wearing blue and green, carrying flags and colours. Fans outside Hotel Football, across a narrow, industrial canal from the famous Man United stadium, beat out a marching rhythm on a drum and blew melody on a saxophone.  Vendors sold scarves and flags and umbrellas; the weather report promised rain, and the cricket officials looked nervously to the sky. Somewhere from a speaker, a radio or television feed blared out across Great Stone Road, narrating the madness in a strange, meta way as everyone walked in range of the speaker and then out again; "... most anticipated cricket game of the 21st century ~ what a hype it was for that Indo-Pak encounter that turned a damp squib.

One great moment for Kuldeep Yadav  was that spiteful delivery, that drifted, turned, hung in air, beat batsman Babar all end and clipped the bails – a dream delivery  that broke the partnership and the backbone of Pakis.  ~ as also there was this drama of captain Sarfraz Ahmed not heeding to the advice of his PM Imran Khan on toss on twitter.  Not sure whether Sarfraz has a twitter handle and whether they would, rather would be allowed to – keep looking at twitter during or just before the match !!

Media reports state that PM of Pak Imran Khan, advised Sarfaraz Ahmed on toss, but Sarfraz ignored the suggestion and elected to field after winning the toss.  His decision backfired as Rohit Sharma notched up his 24th ODI ton and put the Men in Blue in a formidable position.  Hours before the much-anticipated clash between India and Pakistan in Manchester on Sunday, former Pakistani skipper Imran Khan advised Sarfaraz Ahmed to bat first if he wins the toss. In a series of tweet  ! – one of which advised the Pakistani team to field specialist batsmen and bowlers and not rely on ‘Raillu Kattas’, who crumbles under pressure situation. Raillu Kattas translates to a “wandering buffalo calf”, which means a sportsperson who fails to add any extra value to his team. Wishing the team luck, the cricketer-turned-politician also mentioned that the Men in Blue will go into the contest as favourites, but the Pakistan team should fight till the last ball and accept the outcome like true sportsmen.

As Sarfraz put India in, Rohit Sharma  with KL Rahul added 136 runs for the first wicket before Rahul was removed by Wahab Riaz on 57.  India did set a formidable target.  .. .. as Paki lost, more was to come from ex-cricketers.  Pacer Shoaib Akhtar slammed Pakistan pacer Hassan Ali and asked him to stop jumping around at the Wagah Border and focus on his cricket instead.  A dismal display in all the three departments from Pakistan players did not go down with former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar fuming. Speaking on his YouTube channel, Shoaib Akhtar slammed Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed and called him a 'brainless' skipper and then one by one took a shot at every other Pakistani player.

Lashing out at fast bowler Hasan Ali, Akhtar pointed out to Ali's antics at the Attari-Wagah Border where he performed his signature wicket-taking gesture. "Hasan Ali, who never shies away from jumping around at the Wagah border, couldn't apply himself when it mattered the most. Many of his deliveries were short-pitched. His mindset seems to be: I want to keep playing T20s and the PSL. But in the World Cup 2019, we can see that he has not shown any pace or swing that could trouble batsmen

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
18th June 2019

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Bangla soars win over West Indies

Sure you have heard this cliché many a times ~ ‘in ODI Cricket, it is not the best team that wins – but the team that wins better on that day !’ .. .. chasing a formidable 322, Bangladesh were 133/3 with Soumya Sarkar, Tamim Iqbal & Mushfiqur Rahim out .. .. but only 19 overs had gone by ! – Liton Das walked in !!~ the Bangladeshi Press and its people are celebrating searching for adjectives !

Shakib Al Hasan, has been in tremendous form in the ongoing World Cup, reached the landmark of 6000 runs in ODI cricket during the Tigers’ match against West Indies at the Cooper Associates County Ground in Taunton yesterday. He started the game against the Caribbean side just 23 runs shy off the personal achievement. Bangladesh’s premier all-rounder then reached the milestone in the 15th over of the innings when he chopped a length ball outside off which went pass the keeper to take a double off the Oshane Thomas delivery.

Earlier, Bangladesh conceded a combined 110 runs in the first 10 and last 10 overs, but the 30 overs in between -- usually Bangladesh’s strength as the spinners come into play -- leaked 211 runs, thanks mainly to a blitz from Hetmyer.  For WI,  everything was going according to script. Hope had dropped anchor in order to let others bat around him, Bangladesh were bowling in partnerships to keep West Indies from getting away. Bangladesh’s standards dropped and Hetmyer’s rose. Mustafizur Rahman -- who would later make amends in a fine death-overs spell -- lost the plot in the 35th over, conceding 19 runs, which included five wides. Hetmyer was then also untroubled by Mehedi -- the man who got him out four times in Tests and thrice in ODIs in the last year -- as Bangladesh’s most economical bowler in the World Cup had a rare off day, starting with his spell to Hetmyer. The left-hander hit Mosaddek Hossain for a six and a four in one over and Saifuddin for two sixes in another as the fourth-wicket partnership rocketed to 83 in just 7.1 overs, changing the course of the innings.

Still Bangla could smile and celebrate -  Daily Star, Bangladesh screams – ‘Three sixes off three successive balls, two of them hooked off bouncers delivered by a genuinely fast bowler. 15 minutes later, the score read 305 for three after 40 overs. Nine balls later, a total of 321 was chased down in just 41.3 overs. The batting team were none of England, India or Australia.’  In a performance that consummately upended perceptions, Bangladesh beat West Indies by seven wickets playing a style of cricket that has not been associated with the Tigers. The second-highest successful chase in World Cup history brought the Tigers’ campaign roaring back to life at the County Ground in Taunton yesterday in the presence of a delighted, sloganeering crowd of Bangladeshi expatriates.

The style of play may have been a surprise, but the man spearheading the win was not. As Liton Das swivel-pulled the last of a plethora of bouncers to the square leg fence, Shakib Al Hasan crossed over to the striker’s end and, with a fist-pump and a smile, calmly uprooted the stumps much like he had extracted the sting from a stubbornly aggressive West Indies attack over the past three hours. He had to put it back because, as he said later, ‘they do not let you keep the zinc bails’, but there was no going back from the notion that Bangladesh had served further notice of their prowess. In the end it was an easy seven-wicket victory for the Tigers against the West Indies that keeps them in contention for something significant at this World Cup after an amalgamation of improvement in every cricketing department. They reached the 322-run target -- equaling their highest-ever successful chase in ODIs and also accomplishing the second-highest successful chase in World Cup history, with 8.3 overs to spare. Ace all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan will rightfully be touted as the hero of the match after his back-to-back ton but even though Liton Das may not quite be the unsung hero, the right-hander’s contribution to the cause will leave a mark, and indeed something any supporting batsman can learn from.

Bangla would savour the town name derived from "Town on the River Tone"   King Ine of Wessex threw up an earthen castle here about 700, but it was destroyed by his queen Æthelburg of Wessex in 722, to prevent its seizure by rebels.  In 1451 during the Wars of the Roses Taunton was the scene of a skirmish between Thomas de Courtenay, 13th Earl of Devon, and Baron Bonville. The match was played at Taunton -   a large regional town in Somerset, England.  Somerset, the county which had   world class players, Viv Richards, Joel 'Big Bird' Garnerand the England all-rounder Ian Botham at one time. 

The West Indies have now lost three of their five matches and, with four games left, captain Holder conceded there is only a slim chance they can make the semi-finals in the 10-team tournament.  “It’s looking tough at this present moment, but it’s not impossible. We have to play every game here now as a final,” Holder said. “We’ve got to win every game left to give ourselves a really good chance.”  As Shakib edged closer to his hundred, Liton began to accelerate at the other end. Shakib reached his ninth ODI ton off just 83 deliveries and then Liton soon reached his fifty. Liton proceeded to up the ante hitting three brilliant sixes on the trot off Shannon Gabriel in the 38th over as Tigers looked to finish in a hurry. The duo remained unbeaten during an unbroken 189-run fourth-wicket partnership off 135 deliveries as Tigers coasted to victory. Shakib remained unbeaten on a 99-ball 124 while Liton missed out on a ton after an unbeaten 94 off 69 deliveries.

It was Bangladesh's second victory in this World Cup and after Shakib's first ton had gone in vain against England, his second ton on the trot did not miss the mark. For the statistics buffs, on June 18, 2015 – at Dhaka, Liton Das made his debut alongside Mustafizur Rahman.  Das made only 8 but Mustafizur’s 5 for enabled victory over India.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar