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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Cafe Coffee founder goes missing !


Ilya Zhitomirskiy was a Russian-American software developer and entrepreneur. Zhitomirskiy cofounded  Diaspora social network  and scaled newer heights at a very young age, but sadly  died in San Francisco at age 22.

Read elsewhere that the  biggest predictor of suicide may not be depression or thoughts about killing self (what people in mental health call "suicidal ideation") but the feeling of being trapped.  This subtle shift in understanding about suicide might just save some lives if colleagues, friends, family, psychiatrists, therapists and entrepreneurs themselves pay attention to it. When an entrepreneur indicates one is feeling trapped, it's time for aggressive action --by the entrepreneur himself if he can manage it, or by those who care about him if one cannot.  While mental health care might be essential, it's equally important for the business to take care of the structural business issues that are contributing to the feeling of entrapment.

The Netravati River has its origins at Kudremukh in Chikkamagaluru district of Karnataka.  This river flows through the famous holy place  Dharmasthala and is considered  one of the Holy rivers of India. It merges with the Kumaradhara River at Uppinangadi before flowing to the Arabian Sea, south of Mangalore city. Earlier in the last century it was known as the Bantwal River; the important town of Bantwal is seen on its banks. .. .. today the web would see many searching on this but would end up leading elsewhere, rather to an incident than the river !!

.. Café Coffee Day – CCD is in news ! for wrong reasons !  .. it was they who designed a new marketing strategy - “lets meet for coffee.” Some called it a coffee revolution. Though not entirely new,  CCD claimed it to be a humble expression of love for coffee that spread like a wave. CCD  earned its place as the front runner in the coffee space, by always making special occasions extra-special and memorable.  Cafe Coffee Day Global limited Company is a Chikkamagaluru-based business which grows coffee in its own estates of 20,000 acres. It is the largest producer of arabica beans in Asia exporting to various countries including USA, Europe and Japan. Café Coffee Day was started as a retail restaurant in 1996.bThe first CCD outlet was set up in  1996, at Brigade Road, Bengaluru, Karnataka. It rapidly expanded across various cities in India.  Later with foreign capital foray, it became a MNC with a different logo.

Yesterday web was agog with news of Café Coffee Day founder V G Siddhartha reportedly  gone missing after he left from Bengaluru on Monday night.  Mr Siddhartha, the son-in-law of former Karnataka chief minister S M Krishna, was headed for Sakaleshpur but on the way he had asked his driver to go towards Mangaluru, according to the police.  It was further reported that on reaching a bridge over the Netravati river in the Kotepura area in Dakshina Kannada district, he got down from the car and told his driver that he was going for a walk, not to be seen thereafter – Police officials went on a full search.

"He (Siddhartha) asked the driver to wait till his arrival. When he did not return even after two hours, the driver approached the police and lodged a missing complaint," deputy commissioner of Dakshina Kannada district Senthil Sasikant Senthil told PTI.  News reports suggested that more  than 200 policemen and divers on about 25 boats were carrying out searches for him. The help of local fishermen too were sought.   In Bengaluru, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa visited S M Krishna's residence and held discussion with the family members. Senior Congress leader D K Shivakumar also visited Krishna's residence.

Now there is news amidst of speculations that the young entrepreneur had committed suicide.  A letter doing rounds in media suggests that he ended his life unable to hold the business pressure.  “I fought for a long time but today I gave up as I could not take any more pressure from one of the private equity partners forcing me to buy back shares, a transaction I had partially completed six months ago by borrowing a large sum of money from a friend,” he reportedly  wrote in the letter.  He is said to have categorically stated - “My intention was never to cheat or mislead anybody, I have failed as an entrepreneur. This is my sincere submission. I hope someday you will understand, forgive and pardon me,” the letter further reads.

Sad ! ~ someone sort of forced to end his life when everyone would have envied of his lifestyle and having reached the sky ! ~ and as rumour mills have it, hopefully this has nothing to do with the political developments in the State.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
30th July 2019.

google celebrates Dr Muthulakshmi with a doodle !


Did you ‘google’ today or at least opened the browser in Google chrome – sure you would not have missed out this doodle on this famous person of Tamil Nadu .. .. there are people like her who are to be celebrated as ‘revolutionary leaders !’ .. ..

~ and there is some Triplicane connection as well. Triplicane houses century old specialty hospital for women famously known as ‘Gosha Hospital’ -  now  named after Kasturba Gandhi,  the wife of Gandhiji.  One needs to go back to the history of the Nation, the State and of the locality to understand the significance of this hospital. 

The history of the hospital records that the idea to start a hospital entirely for women who were unwilling to go to hospital run by men germinated in 1885 - under the presidency of Her Excellency Lady Grant Dufferin along with eminent persons of yore like Kasturi Bashyam Iyengar, Diwan Bahadur R.Raghunatha Rao C S I, Raja of Vizianagaram, Justice Muthuswamy Iyer, Raja of Venkatgiri and Raja Sri Savalai Ramaswamy Mudaliar.  It was named after Her Majesty Queen Victoria Hospital  and was  first located at Moore’s Garden, Nungambakkam.  Madras government donated a site at Chepauk in the year 1890 and also donated a sum of Rs.10,000/- along with a year’s supply of medicines. The main building was constructed with the donation of Rs.1 Lakh by The Raja of Venkatgiri. The hospital moved to its current place in June 1890.  The Madras Government took over the management of this hospital in April 1921.

Today's Google Doodle celebrates Indian educator, lawmaker, surgeon, and reformer Dr Muthulakshmi Reddi. Constantly breaking down barriers throughout her life, Dr Reddi devoted herself to public health and the battle against gender inequality, transforming the lives of countless young girls. Born on this day in 1883 in Tamil Nadu, Dr Reddi became the first woman to work as a surgeon in a government hospital and the first female legislator in the history of British India.

As a young girl, Dr Reddi opposed her parents' plan for an early arranged marriage, convincing them that she deserved an education. She attended the Maharaja College in Tamil Nadu, formerly an all-boys school. She graduated from the college with distinction and went on to become the first woman student at Madras Medical College. Dr Reddi later gave up her medical career to join the Madras Legislative Council, where she worked to raise the legal age of marriage and fought against the exploitation of girls.

In 1914, she married a doctor named Sundara Reddi. Working for the upliftment of women and battling gender inequality, she supported Mahatma Gandhi's efforts for India's independence. After losing her sister to cancer, she launched the Adayar Cancer Institute in Chennai in 1954. One of the most respected oncology centers in the world, it treats over 80,000 patients every year.

In recognition of her service to her country, Dr Reddi was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 1956.  The Tamil Nadu government Monday announced 'Hospital Day' celebrations to be held every year on July 30, the birth anniversary of one of the country's prominent successful woman doctors in the early 20th century and the State's first woman legislator Muthulakshmi Reddy. A statement issued by the health ministry said doctors, nurses and other employees of government hospitals and primary health centres would be able to showcase their activities, new initiatives and achievements as part of the celebrations. "Funds have been allocated to every hospital," it said.

Muthulakshmi went to England for higher studies and she gave up her rewarding practice in medicine in response to a request from the Women's Indian Association (WIA) to enter the Madras Legislative Council. She was elected unanimously as its deputy president. She led the agitation for municipal and legislative franchise for women. She was concerned about the orphans, especially girls. She arranged for them free boarding and lodging and started the Avvai Home in Chennai.  She  was the author of numerous social reforms. Her book My Experience as a Legislator records her service. She passed a resolution to establish a special hospital for women and children. The government accepted her suggestion and opened a children's section in the maternity hospital. She recommended systematic medical inspection of students in all schools and colleges, run by municipalities as well as other local bodies. Kasturba Hospital at Triplicane is a monument to her efforts.

During her address at the Centenary celebration of 1935, she declared her desire to start a hospital for cancer patients. With the overwhelming support of like-minded people, the foundation stone for Adyar Cancer Institute was laid by Sakthi Hari Haran in 1952. The hospital, which started functioning on 18 June 1954, was only the second of its kind in India. It is today a world-renowned institution offering treatment to nearly 80,000 cancer patients every year.

We remember Dr Muthulakshmi today

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
30th July 2019.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Silappadhikaram, Kannagi and Coleman !!


Silappadikaram ( சிலப்பதிகாரம்)  is one of Five Great Epics  of Tamil literary works.  Ilango Adigal the younger brother of reputed warrior-king Senguttuvan of the Chera dynasty wrote this.  Silappadikaram is held in high regard by the Tamils. It contains three chapters and a total of 5270 lines of poetry. The epic revolves around Kannagi, who having lost her husband to a miscarriage of justice at the court of the Pandyan Dynasty, wreaks her revenge on his kingdom.  Silappadikaram is a poetic rendition with details of Tamil culture; its varied religions; its town plans and city types; the mingling of different people; and the arts of dance and music.  U. V. Swaminatha Iyer known as Tamil thatha resurrected the first three epics from appalling neglect and wanton destruction of centuries.

Miles away, in British history - Charles II (1630 – 1685) was king of Scotland from 1649 until his deposition in 1651, and king of England, Scotland and Ireland from the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 until his death. Charles II's father, Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War. Although the Parliament of Scotland proclaimed Charles II king,  the country was a de facto republic, led by Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell defeated Charles II at the Battle of Worcester in  1651, and Charles fled to mainland Europe. After Cromwell’s death, Charles was invited to return to Britain in 1660.  Charles's English parliament enacted laws known as the Clarendon Code, designed to shore up the position of the re-established Church of England.

Unlike many plots with hero or heroins, Silappathikaram  is the story of the jeweled anklet !  it has no villainous or  wicked characters to cause the twists and turns of the events. The ending or climax is poetical emphasizing  the morals (1) Dharma or Justice would be the destroyer of those who err in Political and Judicial Administration (2) Adorable would be the lady of chastity by the great minds and (3) Fate would be the ultimate cause of misery in human life. The hero Kovalan  and heroine Kannagi  hail from the North-East part of Tamilnadu ruled by the Cholas; they move out in search of good fortune to the middle South of Tamilnadu ruled by the Pandyas  where the climax happens and finally after avenging her husband’s unjustified killing,  Kannagi ascends heaven.   

The story occurs at  Kaveripoompattinam aka  Poompuhar, a busy port city of the Chola kingdom ruled by the famous king Karikala and the native place of Kovalan, a rich merchant’s son and the hero.  Kannagi his wife is a  young lady bestowed with all the virtues of a sincere wife.  Kovalan is enamoured by  dance performance of Madhavi, a young and very beautiful Courtesan of the city. He falls in love with her and started living with her completely forgetting Kannagi and his business. He moves to  to Madurai, a prosperous business centre and the capital of the Pandya king Nedunchezhiyan. He is by quirk of fate, accused of stealing  Queen’s golden anklet and is killed – Kannagi proves by throwing her anklet on the Court proving that what Kovalan possessed was hers and … .. .. Madurai is set to flames !! 

Read in today’s MailOnline that a gold ring that belonged to courtier who was wrongly executed for plotting to kill King Charles II is found on the shores Loch Lomond 350 years after he was killed !  - it is reported that the rare  signet ring was discovered in six inches of soil using a metal detector.  This ring is believed to have  belonged to Edward Colman who worked for King Charles II before his death.  He was hung, drawn and quartered in 1678 for treason after assassination claims !
That  gold ring now found now and believed to have belonged to a King's courtier is tipped to sell for £10,000 after it was found by a metal detectorist - some 350 years later.  Edward Colman,  was implemented in the Popish Plot - a fictitious Catholic conspiracy to assassinate Charles.  The ring, that bears the grand-looking coat of arms of the Colman family, was declared by Mrs Vall to a treasure trove finds liaison officer - but is now her property  It is believed the ring originally belonged to Colman's grandfather Samuel, who lived in Norfolk between 1569 and 1653, and was handed down through the family. But as no museum came forward to acquire it, the item was given back to the 53-year-old as 'finders keepers'. Mrs Vall is now selling it at auction with Dix Noonan Webb who have given it an estimate of £10,000.

Nigel Mills, of Dix Noonan Webb, said: 'The Colman seal ring is an excellent example of a high status ring of the period of which there are only a very limited number surviving in this condition. Mrs Vall, a school teacher from Blackpool, Lancs, found the ring on the banks of Loch Lomond in Scotland while holiday with her husband, Tony. She said: 'Uncovering the ring was an unforeseen event as myself and husband were detecting on a field with no particular history of finds in the area. 'The ring was only six inches underground. I knew straight away that it was something special although obviously I didn't know exactly what it was.  'To find gold is rare for us detectorists and I even did a little dance to celebrate. It was a very exciting moment and you just don't expect to find something so special.'

She added: 'The history of the ring is really interesting and it's been a really amazing find.'  Edward Colman was convicted as part of the Popish Plot, a fake conspiracy put before the privy council by priest Titus Oates in 1678. Oates, later dubbed 'Titus the Liar', claimed several Catholic men were plotting to kill the King, with Edward Colman among those named. Although later established to be false, the plot resulted in the execution of at least 22 people, including Colman. He was hung, drawn and quartered at Newgate Prison in London in 1678. That was not the ending.  In 1685, Oates' lies began to unravel and he was later convicted of perjury. He was imprisoned for life and ordered to be 'whipped through the streets of London five days a year for the remainder of his life.' In 1689 he was pardoned, sixteen years before his death in 1705.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
29th July 2019.

vehicles to ply back on two sides of arterial Mount Road !!


Do you still travel in Chennai city transport bus ? [do you know or remember that it was Pallavan Transport Corporation (PTC) earlier ?] Today in Besant Road Triplicane, saw a new mini bus – M30 – one of the 14 routes recently started by MTC providing last-mile connectivity for passengers from the system that seeks to change the way Chennaites travel within the city.  This starts from LIC Metro station, via Express Avenue, Royapettah Hospital comes to Vivekananda House Terminus.

the train has for sure changed the Chennai traffic map – but its journey has caused few struggles !  .. .. … to  accommodate construction work for the Chennai Metro Rail project, Traffic Police made changes that came  into effect from March 3, 2012 (Saturday).  The majorly affected stretch was to be the one  from LIC building till Thousand Lights area –  that became  ‘One way’.

The Govt official press release, made  the stretch on Anna Salai from Thiru.Vi.Ka Road junction up to Wellington junction one-way with entry from Whites Road junction towards the LIC.  Vehicles plying on Mountroad had to take left turn after Devi talkies move towards  General Patters Road   from Wellington Road junction towards Royapettah tower clock.  Whites Road too became  one-way with entry from Royapettah tower clock.   For entering Spencer's Plaza junction, vehicles had to pass through the stretch of Smith Road, a small bylane, which many wondered whether can have buses plying !  

Chennai has few good stretches of roads… may be because Madras was not a planned city.  The  arterial Mount Road (Anna Salai) takes most of the traffic and there are no parallel roads.   The city has choked many a times whenever political agitation or a show of strength by any leader  left the city paralysed.  The balance is so thin that some diversion occurring somewhere, would adversely affect people elsewhere and one can see huge crowds waiting for the buses and vehicles piling up unable to move.
With Metro rail, something impossible happened – traffic in the main artillery road – Mount Road aka Anna Salai was regularized.  Many eye-brows were raised when this one-way announcement came effective 1st  March 2012.  Subsequently more parts of the Mount Road became one way… there were many other parts of Chennai too which took the brunt.
traffic changes of 2012

 The motorists have taken all the burden ~ the roadmap kept  changing as the underground work progresses – away in Saidapet and longer in elevated corridor, people have seen the work going on overhead – even when the 2nd phase became operational, motor vehicle users were still in a daze.  At some point of time,  the oncoming vehicles from Saidapet towards Parrys had to go on a major de-tour.  Vehicles coming from Nandanam had to take  left travel via South /  North Boag Road, come through GN Chetty Road to reach Mount Road. 

All that is set to change and Chennai could breathe more easy.  Seven years after being converted into a oneway stretch for building the underground line of Chennai metro rail, the LIC-Thousand Lights stretch of Anna Salai will see a trial run of two-way traffic on August 2.

“Traffic changes made due to metro work will be restored permanently from August 3,” said a metro rail official. The decision was taken after a meeting with traffic police officials early last week. Once the stretch becomes two-way, motorists may no longer have to take the circuitous routes.  Traffic changes made on several roads including General Patters Road, Whites Road, Woods Road and Pattulas Road will be restored to their original pattern.

While the launch completed the 45km stretch of phase-1 of metro rail work, both LIC and Thousand Lights stations were opened with only two entry-exits points on either side and the work to build two more entry points for both the stations continued.  The two stations, which were holding back the rest of the stretch from being opened for the public before the inauguration in February, were also part of the stretch where work was stalled for nearly a year after a Russian contractor abandoned work due to financial crisis.

The North Boag Road connecting Residency Towers and G N Chetty Road was made two-way on Friday. Police personnel kept a signboard on Theyagaraya Road and G N Chetty Road, and at the Vijaya Ragava Road intersection on North Boag Road.  Mount Road was renamed Anna Salai – yet to most the easy reference continues to be ‘Mount road’.  The arterial road is believed to have been built more than a couple of hundred years back, used by British garrisons at Fort St. George (in North Chennai) to visit Mount (South Chennai)

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
29th July 2019.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Potato politics !!


It could be elsewhere too ! ~ but am fascinated by the taste of ‘potato chips’ – more so for the way it is made at ‘Gandhi chips’ at T Nagar Usman Road – the man would stand couple of steps away from the big frying vessel – the cut chips would literally fly and fall in the pan .. interesting ! .. .. many of my friends like me are addicted to all fried items – chips – more specifically potato chips – the crispy, thin slices of potato, deep fried and goes well with everything from fried rice, sambar rice, curd rice and .. .. many beverages !

Trips to Kerala be it to Cochin or Thiruvananthapuram are not complete without buying chips.  Nearer Kochin airport, at Aluva, there are so many shops selling freshly made chips – the hot selling ones here are banana chips made from the nendran variety. The plantain variety can be cooked and eaten when raw and enjoyed as a fruit when ripe. But creating the perfect banana chips is a culinary art mastered after a lot of trial and error by working on a recipe which is known to almost everyone in Kerala.  These chips are deep yellow coloured – fresh, fragrant and plentiful – there are sweeter varieties made of ripened Nendran too. 

Moving away from Kerala, in April this year – there was some legal news on potato chips too.  FMCG giant PepsiCo reportedly  sued farmers for growing the potato variety which the company uses to make its Lay’s chips.  There was massive backlash in twitter -  In what is reminiscent of previous HUL controversy where people demanded a boycott of ‘videshi’ company, PepsiCo was also  called out for being a foreign company which is trying to take undue advantage of farmers.

Media reports suggested that PepsiCo  filed a lawsuit in Ahmedabad Court  against four farmers in Gujarat citing  infringement upon intellectual rights as these farmers had grown, sold and produced the Lay’s variety of potato. PepsiCo sought  Rs 1 crore each from these farmers in lieu of the alleged damage that the company had incurred. In their petition it was stated that  PepsiCo claimed to have exclusive rights over the particular variety of potatoes.

The Farmers  said that the case will set a precedent for other crop cases in India. Citing the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority Act, 2001, Kapil Shah, who heads Jatan — an organisation dedicated to organic farming — said that the act exempts farmers from PVP rights, PTI reported. Meanwhile, over 190 activists requested the Union government to intervene in the matter and direct the FMCG giant to withdraw its charges, PTI reported.  According to the 2001 Act, a farmer is allowed “to save, use, sow, resow, exchange, share or sell his farm produce including seed of a variety protected under this Act” so long as he does not sell ‘branded seed’. Meanwhile, PepsiCo cited Section 64 of the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Act, 2001, declining to comment further, according to the PTI report.

From PepsiCo’s point of view, farmer had taken undue advantage of the seeds from the earlier harvest. By growing using those seeds, farmer is now giving away the Lays potatoes, a breed developed by the company, they alleged. Some wrote on twitter – ‘let  us hope PepsiCo won’t sue people for using the same ground water used in pepsi’ – that did created a furore  .. a day later, reports stated that PepsiCo  faced a backlash after suing four Indian farmers  and  offered to settle “amicably” when the case went to court in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad. 

The case sparked outrage from farmers and others concerned that PepsiCo was using its clout to interfere with the country’s food supply. The role of foreign companies in producing and selling food in India is a hotly contested issue, particularly when concerning genetically modified (GM) crops.  The version of Pepsi was that the farmers who grew its strain of potatoes without permission were hurting the interests of the many people working with the company to produce them for its Lay’s crisps. It supplies those farmers with seeds and subsequently buys back the potatoes.

Companies such as PepsiCo have previously faced criticism for their use of natural resources, facing a boycott in one drought-hit Indian state in 2017 for allegedly using excessive amounts of water to manufacture soft drinks. A day or so later, Pepsi went on record stating that it would   withdraw its lawsuit against four Indian potato farmers accused of infringing its patent.  "After discussions with the government, the company has agreed to withdraw the cases against the farmers," said the spokesman.

Potato politics !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
28th July 2019.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Ireland manages to lose at Lords


Not sure whether this is bad advertisement for Test Cricket or a good one at that ! ~ yet Ireland would rue their chances for ever !!

England who recently won the ODI Cricket World Cup 2019  are playing Ireland in a Test at Lords.  20 wickets fell on day one – Ireland too were all out for 207 but lead by 122 runs.  Barely a week since England enjoyed one of the most triumphant days in their international history, they were pulled down to earth by an Ireland side making their first Test appearance at Lord's. On the ground where England were crowned World Cup winners, applause quickly turned to gasps as Tim Murtagh claimed the quickest five-for - in terms of deliveries bowled - in the history of Test cricket on this ground.  England bowled out for 85.. .. .. 23.4 - Overs in which England were bowled out against Ireland.
England skittled out made all the news ~ but the champion side has made amends.. .. coming back strongly.

Indian cricket lovers would still remember that Test at Karachi in 2006 – and that sensational first over by Irfan Pathan exhibiting great swing bowling.  Pathan made Salman Butt struggle in his first 3 and off the 4th got a leading edge to Rahul Dravid; then the dangerous Younis Khan was caught plumb in front – LBW in Pakistan ! ~ then Yousuf Youhana (Mohammad Yousuf) was bowled through the gate by a big inswinger.. .. India rocking – Irfan Pathan – a hatrick

At Lords – England were baffled – and some blamed the pitch too – Ireland having bowled out England for 85 and taking first innings lead too could not complete over the finish line.  Ireland had been set just 182 to win after Stuart Thompson struck with the first ball of the morning. But in gloomy conditions, Woakes and Broad bowled with great control and gained sharp movement to dismiss them for the lowest total in the history of Tests on this ground (the previous lowest was 42 made by India against England in 1974) and in the fewest number of deliveries (94).   It is the seventh lowest total in Test history and the lowest anywhere since South Africa were bowled out for 36 in Melbourne in 1932. Woakes finished with 6 for 17 - his Test-best figures - in completing the third five-for of his Test career; all three have come at Lord's.

While Ireland looked every inch the equal of England for much of this game, in the defining moments the extra experience and quality showed. Sensing Ireland's nervousness in gloomy conditions, Broad and Woakes seemed to raise their game in a manner they struggled to achieve in the first innings. Supported by some fine catching in the cordon, England will know the final margin of victory - and the fact that it was achieved in just seven sessions - does not fully reflect the competitive nature of the entire match.

The total of 38 by Ireland is the   seventh lowest in overall Test cricket history and lowest in the last 64 years. Eighth of the ten lowest totals in Tests have come against England. 94 Balls for which Ireland's innings lasted, is the joint second-shortest innings in Tests. The only shorter innings was 75 balls by South Africa at Edgbaston in 1924.

In Cricketing history only 4 times Teams have won   after making a first-innings score less than England's 85 in this Test. All the four instances occurred more than 100 years ago. The only other instance in the last 100 years of a team getting all out for less than 100 and winning a Test is Pakistan (99) against England at Dubai in 2012.

Chris Woakes had career best figures of 6/17 making it   the cheapest six-wicket haul in Tests at Lord's. Woakes has got 24 wickets in four Tests at Lord's at an average of 9.75. In the last Test at Lord's, he scored his maiden Test century, against India.  

If you still remember that Karachi Test of Feb 2006 despite Pathan hattrick,Pak managed 245 in their first; restricted India to 238 – made 599/7 decl and bowled India out for 265 – a big win by 341 runs in a match where there were 0/3 !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
26th July 2019.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Ship Registry, Flag of Convenience and more !


Flag perhaps would need no elaboration.  A flag – is a piece of fabric generally of rectangular design, used as a symbol, a signalling device or a decorative piece.  All political parties have distinctive flag and are known by the colour and the figure printed on it. It gets a different connotation when it symbolizes a country – that time lot of sentiment and National interests get attached to it.  It represents the country and needs to be reverred.  There are also maritime flags – those pieces used on ships, boats, and other water crafts.

Marine Insurance is as vast as the expanse of the sea – practitioners or anybody dealing with insurance of cargo whilst they are in transit from places, would sure have heard of the term ‘Flag of Convenience’.  In earlier days, when there was tariff, there were many extras charged – which included Overage, Under-tonnage, non-classification, non-approval and of these Overage again depended on whether the carrying vessel was flag of convenience.

The cargo ship Stena Impero, seized by Iran last week, was sailing under a British flag - but it was owned by a Swedish company and had no British nationals on board. This Red Ensign Group, which includes the United Kingdom, the Crown dependencies (the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey) and UK overseas territories (Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, St Helena and the Turks and Caicos Islands) is the ninth largest fleet in the world.   It's very common for ships to fly the flag of a country that differs from that of the owners. Just like Motor vehicles registered in Regional Transport Office, Ocean going ships are also registered.  Ship registration is the process by which a ship is documented and given nationality of the country that the ship has been documented to. The nationality allows a ship to travel internationally as it is proof of ownership of the vessel.  International law requires that every merchant ship be registered in a country, called its flag state.   The organization which actually registers the ship is known as its registry. A registry that is open only to ships of its own nation is known as a traditional or national registry. Registries that are open to foreign-owned ships are known as open registries, and some of these are classified as flags of convenience.

According to Maritime rules, every merchant ship must register with a country, known as a flagged state. Under the open-registry system, "flags of convenience" as they are sometimes known, can be flown by any vessel regardless of the nationality of the owners.  Other systems of flagging have tighter rules on who can own and operate these vessels.  Panama, the Marshall Islands and Liberia are the leading flag states.  An interesting article in BBC on Ship flags states that there  are about 1,300 vessels listed on the UK Ship Register.  The reason for choosing a particular register would  include regulations, taxes and the quality of the service provided.  Quoting a maritime expert, the article points to Greece - the world's leading ship-owner. Many of its vessels do not fly the Greek flag, a big factor being they would have to pay more tax.  The Panamanian ship registry contributes tens of millions of dollars to the country's economy. The system allows for the hiring of crew from anywhere in the world, which can lower costs.  This system of "flags of convenience" has been criticised because of the potential for looser regulation and even the flouting of international maritime rules. But shipping practices are generally seen as having improved significantly in the past three decades.  It is stated that the  owners tend to choose to register with a flag state based on reputation or because major shipping registries have a presence in every major port. Registering under a different flag makes it more difficult to hold ship-owners to account over wage disputes or working conditions, according to the International Transport Workers' Federation.

After signing up to a flag, the laws of that country are conferred on the vessel and each country is responsible for ships flying their flag. This includes ensuring that ships conform to relevant international standards - through survey and certification of ships, says the IMO. Flag countries sign up to international maritime treaties and are responsible for enforcing them, with rules set by the IMO in regards to the construction, design, equipment and manning of ships. Under the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea, flag states are required to take measures for ensuring safety at sea.

However, it not uncommon for a flag registry to be managed in a different country.  For example, Liberia, is administered by an American company with its headquarters in Washington DC. The land-locked Mongolia Registry is based in Singapore.  The Comoros Registry is based in Bulgaria. Far-flung Vanuatu has its base in New York. The unusual geography of the registry system can pose security challenges.  It's unrealistic for a flag state to provide security to all the vessels registered to it, says Mr Chapsos, even though vessels are essentially an extension of that state.

Flag of convenience [FOC]  is the business practice of registering a merchant ship in a sovereign state different from that of the ship's owners, and flying that state's civil ensign on the ship. This term has been in vogue since 1950s and vessels with FOC are considered inferior. In 1968, Liberia grew to surpass the United Kingdom as the world's largest shipping register.

Indian Register of Shipping (IRS) is an internationally recognized, independent ship classification society, founded in India in 1975. It is a Non-Profit organisation, Public undertaking and a member of the 13 member International Association of Classification Societies(IACS). It was inducted into IACS along with Croatian Register of Shipping (CRS) and Polish Register of Shipping (PRS).  Now,  IRS acts on behalf of the Maritime Administration of the Indian government as the sole authority for final assignment of Load Lines in Indian flag vessels and also as the security organisation that determines compliance under the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS) code for Indian flag ships and port facilities.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
25th July 2019.

Go bananas ~ the cost of the fruit !!


Robusta, Dwarf Cavendish, Rasthali, Poovan, Nendran, Karpooravalli, Monthan, Virupakshi, Sirumalai, Manoranjitham , Kathali ……. – simple – varieties of banana, that delicious fruit.   Then there is the ‘green banana’ – in one way green is unripe …having starchy texture and inedible – but green banana is a variety – generally big in size …… modern technology is supplying that yellow banana in green (confusing !) –  Banana, that delicious fruit is the common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa ~ interestingly, bananas do not grow from a seed but from a bulb or rizhome. 

Big burly fast bowlers require energy and they have health diets ! ~ an interesting story of Australian Quickie Peter Siddle who upon getting engaged to  Anna Weatherlake, turned Vegan. .. .. his staple diet became bananas !

Most of us relish food – sure you would have noticed that in luxury hotels, the food cost and the cost of beverages is surprisingly high .. .. but then we are used to dosa at Saravana bhavan being much costlier than other ordinary hotel !  - there was some fuss when  Rahul Bose who is currently shooting in Chandigarh and is staying at the JW Marriott, took to Twitter to share a video and wrote, “You have to see this to believe it.

Down under, competition for Ashes selection is heating up among Australia’s fast bowlers, with Jackson Bird, Peter Siddle and Michael Neser all making strong cases on day one of an intra-squad match. While Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and James Pattinson are all guaranteed to be picked in Australia’s squad for the five-Test series against England, the fifth-seamer’s spot remains firmly up for grabs.  With a charging run-up, powerful delivery, worrying bounce and elongated appeal, Peter Siddle was a reassuringly consistent presence in Australia's Test attack and is part of Australia's illustrious 200-Test wickets club.


I live on a plant-based diet now,” said Siddle. “My partner has been a vegetarian and vegan all her life. I have had a few niggles through my career and I have done a bit of research on different ways of approaching my game and that is the lifestyle I have worked out now. It is working. I am feeling fit and strong. It can vary anything between 15-20 bananas a day. Obviously it is a fruit-based diet and a lot of vegetables. It keeps my healthy, it keeps me strong and that is what is working at the moment.” 

Chandigarh Deputy Commissioner and Excise and Taxation Commissioner Mandip Singh Brar on Wednesday ordered a high-level investigation into an “illegal and exorbitant charge of GST” by Hotel JW Marriott on two fresh bananas, for which actor Rahul Bose was given a bill of Rs 442.50. On Sunday, Bose had posted a video on Twitter expressing shock at being charged Rs.442.50 for two bananas at the high-end hotel, located in Sector 35.

Attempts were made to contact JW Marriott officials, but to no avail. After calls to the communication manager went unanswered, their PR agency was asked for the hotel’s version, but they did not respond. The AETC has also been directed to inquire whether or not the hotel was depositing GST on other chargeable items with the excise and taxation department.

Ajay Jagga, who has authored two books on GST, told Newsline, “Fresh fruits and vegetables are not chargeable under GST. Offering two bananas in the garb of a fruit platter and charging exorbitant GST is also a matter to investigate under the Consumer Protection Act. If it would have been a proper fruit platter, even then they are authorised to charge only 5 per cent GST and not 18 per cent as was done in this case.”

n the 38-second video, Bose says, “So I am shooting in Chandigarh and I am staying at this beautiful suite at JW Marriott where they give you all these elegant freebies like these chocolate cookies…god knows how much these beautiful flowers must have cost…but get this…I was in the gym and I asked for two bananas…and check the bill out.” According to the bill shown in the video, the actor was charged for a ‘fruit platter’.  Till Wednesday night, Bose’s tweet had been retweeted 1,500 times and 1,200 users had replied to it.

‘Go bananas’ – is an idiom – which means – to become  irrational or crazy.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
25th July 2019.

Tim Murtagh rips open England !!


                      Have never heard of - John James Ferris &   Charles Thomas Biass Turner  ~ remember following that test at Port of Spain in Mar 1994.  WI made 252 & 269 and England made 328 in first essay – yet lost that match chasing not so big total – skittled out for 46 ! .. a strong line-up on paper – captained by MA Atherton, Alec Stewart, Mark Ramprakash, Robin Smith, Greame Hick, Graham Thorpe, IDK Salisbury, RC Russel,  CC Lewis, Andy Caddick  &  Angus Fraser – skittled out by Curtly Ambrose 10-1-24-6 & Courtney Walsh 9.1-1-16-3  - will read more of Tim Murtagh ..

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom  is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands.  The United Kingdom is a unitary parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. The current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the world's longest-serving current head of state.  The United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers.

Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel. Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles.  Politically, Ireland is divided between the Republic of Ireland (officially named Ireland), which covers five-sixths of the island, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom.

England who recently won the ODI Cricket World Cup 2019  are playing Ireland in a Test at Lords.  20 wickets fell on day one – Ireland too were all out for 207 but lead by 122 runs.  Barely a week since England enjoyed one of the most triumphant days in their international history, they were pulled down to earth by an Ireland side making their first Test appearance at Lord's. On the ground where England were crowned World Cup winners, applause quickly turned to gasps as Tim Murtagh claimed the quickest five-for - in terms of deliveries bowled - in the history of Test cricket on this ground.  England bowled out for 85.. .. .. 23.4 - Overs in which England were bowled out against Ireland. It is their shortest Test innings ever at home, about 21% shorter than the 30 overs they lasted against West Indies at Edgbaston in 1955. Overall, this is their fifth-shortest completed innings ever in Tests. The last time they lasted fewer overs was against New Zealand in Auckland last year, when they were bowled out in 20.4 overs. England's World Cup honeymoon was gatecrashed in sensational fashion at Lord's as Ireland skittled their hosts for a calamitous 85 all out on the first morning of the historic Specsavers Test. Just 10 days after their greatest achievement in one-day cricket, England were back at the scene of a triumph that has instantly entered sporting folklore but found themselves blown away by their first-time visitors.

The authors of their downfall were an unlikely bunch - 37-year-old seamer Tim Murtagh using all his nous and knowledge to take sensational five for 13, with the other five split between debutant Mark Adair and a man who once wore the Three Lions, Boyd Rankin.  Only three batsmen reached double figures in England's tale of woe, while the five World Cup winners on show mustered just seven runs between them.

Tim Murtagh is a bustling swing bowler with a marching run-up who late in a career that has stretched deep into his thirties has enjoyed the chance to play international cricket with Ireland. His pace is lively without being express but he has become a valued member of Middlesex's attack - and one of the most reliable new-ball bowlers on the county circuit. He can also be a destructive lower order hitter. Though now a stalwart at Lord's, he actually came through Surrey's age-group sides and was a member of the England Under-19 squad during the 1999 World Cup, subsequently touring Sri Lanka with a British Universities side in 2002. He battled his way into the Surrey side, and in 2005 took a competition-best 6 for 24 in a Twenty20 tie against Middlesex at Lord's.

Tim Murtagh has been plying his trade at Lord's for more than a decade, but it took him just 78 minutes on his first visit as a Test cricketer to achieve his most cherished ambition. At 12.18pm, he found the edge of Moeen Ali's bat to bag his fifth wicket of the morning in just his eighth over, to secure a coveted place on the dressing room honours boards.  And when England were all out for 85 on the stroke of lunch, it was Murtagh's honour to lead his Irish team-mates off the field, boasting the stunning figures of 5 for 13 in nine overs.  According to Cricinfo - Murtagh, who turns 38 next week, first played at Lord's in 2004 when he was on Surrey's books, but has been a regular here since 2007, racking up a first-class haul of 291 wickets at 23.98 until this morning's crowning glory.

England’s lowest ever came at Sydney way back in Jan 1887 !  ~ a timeless Test – England made 45 & 184 but beat Australia who made 119 & 97.  CTB Turner had figures of 18-11-15-6 & his bowling partner JJ Ferris had 17.3-7-27-4.  Charlie Turner was alter inducted into Australia Cricket Hall of Fame – playing between 1887 – 1895, 17 tests, all against England, Truner took 101 wickets at an average of 16.53 and was known as Terror.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
24th July 2019