Search This Blog

Friday, February 28, 2020

woes of owner - vacating tenant - social activism

India squeezed past an error-prone New Zealand into the Twenty20 World Cup semi-finals and probable tournament favouritism, after Shafali Verma added to her tournament highlight reel and and then Harmanpreet Kaur marshalled her bowlers to suffocating effect at the Junction Oval in Melbourne.
           Perhaps getting vacant possession of one’s own land is one of most arduous jobs !!

                           Oamaru is the largest town in North Otago, in the South Island of New Zealand, it is the main town in the Waitaki District.  The owners of an Oamaru rental property in which the tenants fell behind in rent are frustrated at how difficult it has been to remove them. Leanne and Adrian Tuffley own the property on Kingslea St, Oamaru through their company Tuffley Developments. They bought the four-bedroom house with the intention to demolish it and build townhouses.  A few months back they issued notice to their tenants to vacate, but they refused.  They had to go to Tribunal to get possession. 

May be the NZ case was simple - when it comes to the relationship between a property owner and a tenant, it's best to be safe than sorry. Hasty decisions, cutting corners, lack of written agreement  and blindly trusting brokers are the reasons for many a legal battle waged by landowners against rogue tenants. Even having a well-drafted lease / tenancy agreement may not be worth the paper.  A tenant, has not paid rent for couple of years- meantime the owner with whom the rental agreement passed away – when the widowed wife sought possession, the tenant says – the agreement was not made with her and hence not valid; they would vacate in a couple of years when their ward completes education ie., on their own terms, abuses and threatens the owner – whom would you support ? – besides making up your position, remember that the tenant is a ‘social activist’ – who day in and day out fights against the Govt telling people that things are not alright !!

Decades ago, Marx propagated that the central problem was that there is a class of people who have no property and are thus forced to labor for a living.  Then there’s another class of people who own the productive capital. These people don’t have to engage in productive labor; they can command the labor of others.  They essentially compel other people to labor for them and then appropriate much of the wealth that is produced as their own property.

In  1917, revolution exploded in Russia. Workers, soldiers and peasants established soviets (councils), the monarchy fell and a provisional government convoked pending the election of a constituent assembly. In April of that year, Vladimir Lenin, leader of the Bolshevik faction of socialists in Russia and known for his profound and controversial expansions of Marxism, was allowed to cross Germany to return to his country from exile in Switzerland. Lenin  proposed that the social revolution would require the leadership of a vanguard party of class-conscious revolutionaries from the educated and politically active part of the population.

Claude Henri de Rouvroy,  was a French political and economic theorist and businessman whose thought played a substantial role in influencing politics, economics, sociology and the philosophy of science. He created a political and economic ideology known as Saint-Simonianism that claimed that the needs of an industrial class, which he also referred to as the working class, needed to be recognized and fulfilled to have an effective society and an efficient economy. The word  'socialism' finds its root in the Latin sociare, which means to combine or to share.  Socialism is a political, social and economic philosophy encompassing a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership  of the means of production and workers' self-management of enterprises. Now a days, we hear more about ‘social activist’ – who ? …  reportedly, Social activism is an intentional action with the goal of bringing about social change.

Now this activist often in news who was embroiled in ‘Pothys tree issuee’ has been a tenant since 2015 in a house  owned by couple N.N. Singh and Asha Kumari (53) of Kondappanaickenpatti. After the death of Mr. Singh, Asha Kumari moved to Bengaluru and is living with her son. Since the agreement between the owner and the tenant lapsed in 2019, Asha Kumari asked the activist to vacate the house to which he refused.

Social activist V Piyush Sethia alias Piyush Manush was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly attacking his house owner Asha Kumari (53), who claimed the attack was perpetrated after she questioned Manush for not vacating the house since 2018. She alleged Manush also failed to pay rent for last nine months. However, Manush’s wife Monika said they have paid the rent promptly, besides renovating the house at a cost of Rs 4 lakh. Monika alleged that Manush was arrested due to external pressure. Ever since her husband’s death in 2018,  the house owner has been asking Manush to vacate the house as she wanted to move to Salem. But the latter had allegedly denied doing so, police said.

“On Monday, Kumari, along with her daughter Akhansha and son-in-law Chandan Kumar, went to the house and asked Manush to vacate the house. A quarrel broke out and Manush allegedly pushed down Kumari, who claimed to have sustained injuries in her hand. On information, Kannankurichi police reached the spot and pacified both sides,” the police said.

Social activism – can fight against Govt alleging wrong in everything be it roads, nature, projects and more – can also refuse to pay rent, refuse to vacate house ! – real face !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

sad ! Gajaratnam Guruvayur Padmanabhan is no more !!

I love elephants ! ~ and today’s news on a Guruvayur elephant makes me sad. Elephants have always attracted me.  For ages, temple elephants have been a vital part of temple ceremonies and festivals especially in South India. In Kerala, they have a pride of place – as evidenced by the Pooram festivals or the Punnathur kotta, the place for temple elephants at Guruvayoor.

The old saying “elephant in the room” implies that there is an issue that is so obvious and serious that it is easier to pretend it does not exist than actually do something about it.  African elephants are the largest land animals on Earth. They are slightly larger than their Asian cousins and can be identified by their larger ears that look somewhat like the continent of Africa. Asian elephants have smaller, rounded ears.

Elephant ears radiate heat to help keep these large animals cool, but sometimes the African heat is too much. Elephants are fond of water and enjoy showering by sucking water into their trunks and spraying it all over themselves. Afterwards, they often spray their skin with a protective coating of dust. An elephant's trunk is actually a long nose used for smelling, breathing, trumpeting, drinking, and also for grabbing things—especially a potential meal. The trunk alone contains about 100,000 different muscles.  Both male and female African elephants have tusks they use to dig for food and water and strip bark from trees. Males use the tusks to battle one another, but the ivory has also attracted violence of a far more dangerous sort. Because ivory is so valuable to some humans, many elephants have been killed for their tusks. This trade is illegal today, but it has not been completely eliminated, and some African elephant populations remain endangered.

Sadly, Botswana held its first auction of licenses to hunt elephants  since President Mokgweetsi Masisi lifted a five-year ban on the controversial practice in May  2019. Masisi's government has argued that legal hunting is necessary to reduce conflict between elephants and humans, but some conservationists fear that reintroducing the practice could actually encourage more illegal poaching. The government was prepared to auction off seven hunting packages permitting the killing of ten elephants each. However, only six bidders were able to put down the reserve fee of 2 million pula ($181,000), according to Reuters. The packets were purchased by expedition operators who will sell them to trophy hunters at a markup, HuffPost explained. Most trophy hunters who come to southern Africa are from the U.S., and Botswana will allow foreign hunters to shoot 202 of its 272-elephant quota for the year, as well as to export the trophies. The hunting season will officially begin in April, according to The Washington Post. How sad !

Having failed to have a court declare chimpanzees to be persons entitled to habeas corpus protection, the Nonhuman Rights Project next tried the same thing with an elephant named Happy, that — not who — is held in her own pen at the Bronx Zoo due to behavioral conflicts with other elephants. This case also just failed. But before we applaud and say, “Well, of course,” it is clear that New York Supreme Court (the name of the trial court in that state) Justice Alison Y. Tuitt only dismissed the case because she felt bound by precedent.  Justice Tuitt clearly wanted to declare Happy a “person.” Indeed, she took the time to quote from a non-binding statement in the above-referenced chimpanzee case by Court of Appeals Associate Judge Eugene M. Fahey, in which he mused: “To treat a chimpanzee as if he or she had no right to liberty protected by habeas corpus is to regard the chimpanzee as entirely lacking independent worth, as a mere resource for human use, a thing the value of which consists exclusively in its usefulness to others.”

After some wandering, gathering strength to read the news again ~ the sad news of passing away of a famed Guruvayur elephant.  An elephant credited with carrying the “Thidambu” -- the representation  of the presiding deity of Lord Krishna of Guruvayur Temple-- for several decades during temple rituals died today  at the age of 84, a top Gurvayur Devaswom official said.

The elephant named Guruvayur Padmanabhan, who gained the title of ‘Gajaratnam’ due to his attractive features like long trunk touching the ground and well-carved shape, died at 2.10 pm, Guruvayur Devaswom Chairman informed media.  He said the tusker had been undergoing treatment for the last few weeks after it suffered swelling on its body. With the death of Padmanabhan, the number of pachyderms in the elephant sanctuary managed by Guruvayur Devaswom has come down to 47, he said.

Padmanabhan, one of the oldest elephant in the captivity, was much sought after during the temple festivals across the state including famous Thrissur Pooram. He got the highest pay of Rs.2.22 lakh in 2014 for participating in famous Nenmara-Vellangi Vela festival in Palakkad district in 2004, temple officials said. The elephant was kept at Anakkotta (the elephant sanctuary) located in the vicinity of the Guruvayur Temple. The sanctuary managed by the Devaswom attracts several devotees and tourists visiting the temple town every year.

When Padmanabhan was brought to Guruvayur in 1954, there were only a few elephants there. He was presented to the Guruvayoor temple by two brothers from Ottapplam in 1954, temple officials said.

Sad to know the passing of the gentle giant Gajaratnam Guruvayur Padmanaban.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Cinema shooting ! - accidents and the response !!

Insurers provide covers, they  take care of risks ~ not all risks are insurable.  Ideally, some basic criteria of risks being definite, financially measurable, not too unique posing challenges in rating and charging appropriate premium, not being random in nature and the like are to be met, to make it an ‘insurable risk’ – a risk that conforming to the specifications of the Insurers, the definitions of which may remain complex, dynamic and different based on the size and understanding of an Insurer.

A few years back – in the dead of night, an ambulance arrived at Devaki hospital – a man with cuts and bleeding injuries all over the body was admitted – was informed that he was injured badly while performing a stunt sequence.  Those around him were discussing of whether or not to inform his young wife of the accident and .. .. how to arrange money for the immediate treatment ! – sad tale of a junior artiste, part of the ‘dream industry’ where heroes utter punch dialogue and rake in crores (yet do not pay taxes !) – that even after earning so many crores, they too turn pauper is not the subject matter of this post. 

The Tamil cinema industry woke up to the tragic news of three people, on the sets of the Kamal Haasan-starrer Indian 2, being crushed to death after a crane fell on them. Assistant director Krishna, art assistant Chandran and production assistant Madhu were killed in the mishap that occurred at 10 pm on Wednesday. Nine others, who were injured while working on the Shankar directorial, were rushed to a private hospital in Poonamallee.  While the news came as a shock to many, important questions have been raised on the responsibility of production houses — in this case, Lyca Productions — towards their employees; the responsibility of the film Directors and that of the Heroes for whom great risks are taken.  Also there are many unanswered Qs  about the way in which Kollywood deals with accidents and mishaps that take place on film sets.

According to media reports,  the men were preparing to set up the place for shooting a fight scene of director Shankar's 'Indian 2' starring actor Kamal Hasaan.  A day later, Kamal reportedly visited the Kilpauk Hospital mortuary to meet the family members of the deceased after which he told media, "I have come here because they are family to me. I do not feel this accident has happened on the production of Lyca but I feel it has happened to someone in my family," – he further added - "It is shameful that our cinema industry is still not able to provide proper working conditions for its technicians. We boast about big-budget films but I think the entire cinema fraternity should work towards providing safe working conditions for the technicians which will be the only treatment to this incident."   Easy words but it is for those who are in the industry and who have made money to ponder whether at any point the lives and living of such insignificant people who too work in the same industry has ever been respected and cared for !.

This is not to blame the hero, director or the production house – but lessons are hardly learnt.  Mishaps, injuries and loss of life are not new to the industry.  Way back in 1914, while filing on location in Canon city, Colorado, for the movie ‘Across the Border’, cast member Grace McHugh was filming a scene where her character was crossing the Arkansas River in a boat. When the boat capsized, camera operator Owen Carter immediately jumped into the river to save her. He dragged her onto a sandbar that was reported to be quicksand. The rest of the film crew watched helplessly as they were sucked into the sandbar and drowned.

There have been many many instances -  in 1982, Vic Morrow and two child actors, Renee Shinn Chen and Myca Dinh Le, were killed in an accident involving a helicopter during filming on the California set of Twilight Zone: The Movie.   In 2016,  in a helicopter stunt for the Kannada film Masthigudi went horribly wrong. Duniya Vijay, Uday and Anil jumped into the Thippagondanahalli Reservoir, 35km west of Bengaluru, from a helicopter. Vijay came out, but the other two were drowned and lost their lives.  In 1994 on the sets of ‘The Crow’ directed by Alex Proyas, Brandon Lee  was accidentally wounded on set during filming by defective blank ammunition and later died in the hospital during surgery.   In 2017, Chi Po-lin along with his assistant Chen Kuan-chi and pilot Chang Chi-kuang died in a helicopter crash in a mountainous area in Hualien County's Fengbin Township. The group was shooting footage for the sequel to Beyond Beauty: Taiwan from Above, which was scheduled for release in 2019.

Human lives are precious and there cannot be no replacement – but there can at least be just compensation – for which Insurance is available, not all producers arrange for such insurances though.  Movies are insured – though not all Insurers have a Policy nor consider this insurable. The special specific policy has differential sections of coverage where limits of indemnity are taken by the proposer.  There is insurance for Cast (indemnity for death / criticial illness and the like); Props, Sets, wardrobes, equipments, extra expenses, public liability and the like.  There could be material damage to props, sets, wardrobes and equipments and there could be consequential losses caused by such cancellations / delays and more.  There can be cover for film negative !, extra expenses, public liability and .. .. personal accident, which again is taken only for key people and not for all – those doing small roles are often neglected. 

There are lessons to be learnt and such accidents should make people realise the need for protecting, planning properly and ensuring that financial compensation is made available.  Sad – for entertaining people and in trying to produce thrilling scenes, some get injured and some lose their lives too.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Mignon du Preez's unique 100

Sure, one may not immediately  identify this good looking person……. She is a Cricketer – a right handed bats(wo)man and occasional wicket keeper, who made her debut in Jan 2007, when aged 17……..  she is Mignon du Preez and was  in news as Cricket South Africa has offered contract to her alongwith few others for the first time in its history.  Today she has reached a big important personal landmark.  She has played 1 test; 130 ODIs and today her 100th T20( - has made 3239 ODI runs and 1666 runs in T2o.

Downunder, Perth may be one of the most isolated cities in the world but it is about to become a key player in the international space race, thanks to a new robotics centre developed in partnership with NASA. World-class technology will be adapted for remote operations on the moon and Mars at the national space robotics centre based in Perth. Australian Remote Operations for Space and Earth (AROSE) is a key figure in the Australian-NASA partnership, developing technologies to assist in the international space race.

The battle to host a Test against India next summer has intensified, with Perth's Optus Stadium outlining why it believes the $1.6 billion venue has a "compelling" case to be approved. Melbourne and Sydney are locked in to host two of the four Tests of the heavyweight - and financially lucrative - series, leaving Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane to fight for the remaining two matches, ahead of a decision state associations expect Cricket Australia to make on March 20. The Indian cricket team return to Australian shores next summer for a four-match Test series, but speculation remains over where the fixtures will be played.

The final Test remains an arm-wrestle between the Gabba and Perth Stadium. Both grounds have recorded disappointing crowd numbers over the past couple of seasons. An aggregate of 45,991 attended this season’s Test against Pakistan at the Gabba, while the 60,000-capacity Perth Stadium has never achieved a crowd greater than 21,000.  “Perth are arguing they have a brand spanking new $1.4 billion stadium, whereas the Gabba is the least of the stadiums on the mainland and needs a lot of money injected into it.  Australia have not lost a Test at the Gabba since 1988, undefeated in their last 31 matches, so far us, it is better to play in Perth perhaps.

Today, Perth is hosting the T20WC match between England and South Africa.  SA won the toss and chose to field.  Yesterday NZ beat Srilanka by seven wickets. The score card reads : New Zealand 131 for 3 (Devine 75*) beat Sri Lanka 127 for 7 (Atapattu 41, Jensen 3-16) by seven wickets.  NZ skipper Sophie Devine led by example - she was unbeaten to marshal her team to a victory that stretched them for stages. In the end, though, the margin was comfortable with 14 balls to spare as Sri Lanka's lack of power with the bat beyond Chamari Atapattu again hurt them. However, it was Sri Lanka who made the early running and they were 51 without loss after the powerplay with New Zealand a little untidy and getting a touch nervous that the target could be troublesome. Amelia Kerr made the first breakthrough, then it was Hayley Jensen who played the key role by equalling her career-best, the pair taking 5 for 37 in eight overs as Sri Lanka's second 10 overs brought just 52 runs. Devine, who is in the form of her life, was dropped on 18 but while she anchored the innings - shelving the full-on aggression seen recently - it was Maddy Green who seized the moment to put New Zealand ahead of the rate with a perfectly paced middle-order innings.

Today, Mignon du Preez has  become the first South African woman to play 100 T20 Internationals  - just to add – today’s match referee is an Indian from Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh.  She is GS Lakshmi, aged 51.   Lakshmi, was a right-hand batsman and right-arm outswing bowler. She played from 1986 to 2004, representing a variety of teams, including South Central Railways, Andhra, Bihar, East Zone, and South Zone.She first officiated as a match referee in domestic women's cricket in 2008-09 and has overseen three women's ODIs and three women's T20Is.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Darren Sammy to receive honorary citizenship and Nishan-e-Pakistan

What connects Fidel Castro, Shah of Iran, Queen Elizabeth II, Joseph Tito, Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, King Birendra, Aga Khan, Morarji Desai, Nelson Mandela ?

.. .. this not so much heralded Cricketer was  Vice-captain in an under-strength side that became Bangladesh's first away series victims in Tests, and then was appointed captain after the contract dispute that led to that losing, under-strength side taking the field wasn't resolved. Perhaps their Board thought him to be a perfect ‘yes-man’! – this West Indian however rose up and the  Beausejour Cricket Ground in St Lucia was renamed after him as __________ National Cricket Stadium, following West Indies' dramatic World Twenty20 title win in India.

No prize for guessing .. it is Darren Sammy.  Darren Julius Garvey Sammy was born in St Lucia in the year WI lost the WC for the first time, having won it in the inaugural year 1975 and repeating it in 1979.  He made his debut against England at Manchester in 2007 and played his last test at Hamilton in Dec 2013.  His ODI debut was earlier in 2004 and his last match was a couple of years later at 2015. In between he was an IPL star too and excelled in T20 format having lifted their team to win World title.  He made his T20I debut in 2007 and played till 2017.

The euphoria that swept through the cricketing Caribbean following men's team's victory snatched from the jaws of defeat in the World T20 final in Kolkata was spoilt  by the heated, long-running debate over the future of the West Indies board. The two were simultaneously linked at the presentation formalities by captain Darren Sammy's impassioned denunciation of the WICB as he received the trophy for the second time in three tournaments. Dwayne Bravo's subsequent descriptions of the WICB as "the most unprofessional board in the world" and of board president Dave Cameron as "immature", "small-minded" and "arrogant" added fuel to the fire.  

Board VP Nanthan termed Sammy's reproach "irrelevant, demeaning, insulting and unfortunate". A few days later, perhaps mindful of Sammy's widespread popularity, he claimed he wasn't really criticising him as they always had a father-and-son relationship. As Cameron was making his unsolicited apology and dispatching his tweet, the St Lucia government was preparing for the return of their two nationals from the champion team, Sammy and opener Johnson Charles. The culmination was the renaming of the Beausejour Stadium, venue for international cricket, the Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium. The size of celebrating crowds left no doubt over Sammy's status in his native island.

So it mostly was throughout the 11 territories, from Guyana in the south to Jamaica in the north, whose common passion for over 100 years has been the game that unites them and for which they have been universally recognised for excellence and the exciting brand of their play. Some of the West Indies legends during the glorious period between 1976 and 1995, Sir Viv Richards and Sir Andy Roberts the most prominent, sided with Sammy.

Then came his downfall.  Darren Sammy  announced his retirement from Test cricket after losing the captaincy. His decision came just hours after the WICB announced that wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin was replacing Sammy as captain of the Test side for the upcoming three-Test series against New Zealand. Sammy was the first player from St Lucia to represent the West Indies Test side, making his debut as a 23-year-old in 2007 against England at Old Trafford. He took 7 for 66 in the second innings of a 60-run loss to the home side, the best bowling figures at Old Trafford since Malcolm Marshall claimed 7 for 22 in 1988. After having played only eight Tests, he was made captain of the Test side taking over from Chris Gayle in Oct 2010 after Gayle turned down a WICB central contract. Sammy fought off plenty of criticism throughout his reign during which West Indies won eight, lost 12 and drew 10 of the Tests he captained.

His leaving Test cricket was  at a time when his Twenty20 career was near its peak. After leading West Indies to the World T20 title in 2012, he led them to the semifinals in 2014 on the back of some impressive finishing displays, none more than against Australia when he scored 34 not out off 13 balls in a final-over six-wicket win… .. now he is in news.

The names that you read at the start were some of the recipients of ‘Nishan-e-Pakistan’, the highest of civil awards and decorations given by the Government of Pakistan for the highest degree of service to the country and nation of Pakistan. The award was established in  1957. It is stated that the  Nishan-e-Pakistan, is a highly restricted and most prestigious award and is only conferred for the merit and distinguished services to the country, international community, and foreign relations.

Darren Sammy has played a major role in the return of top-flight cricket to Pakistan, and the country has decided to express its gratitude in style, by extending an honorary citizenship to the former West Indies captain. Arif Alvi, the Pakistan president, has signed off on the same, and Sammy will also receive the Nishan-e-Pakistan, the country's top civilian award, on March 23 in Islamabad. The idea of the honorary citizenship was initiated by Javed Afridi, the owner of Peshawar Zalmi, the team Sammy has represented since the start of the PSL in 2016. The PCB followed up on it with the federal government in light of Sammy's "invaluable contribution to cricket in Pakistan".

St Lucian Sammy, 36, has been Zalmi's premier marquee player from the beginning of the PSL. Ahead of the second edition, Shahid Afridi, who led the team in the first season, stepped down and handed the reins to Sammy, and he has led them since - they won the title in 2017 and were the losing finalists in 2018 and 2019.  More than that, though, it's Sammy's support to the Pakistan cause that has endeared him to people in the country. He was the first to agree to tour Pakistan when the PCB wanted to bring the PSL final to the country. Then, when an ICC World XI was lined up tour Pakistan for three T20Is in September 2017, Sammy - a part of that squad - spoke to the other tourists as part of a security briefing.

Darren Sammy perhaps has been honoured more by Pakistan than by his own country.

Regards – S. Sampathkumar
22nd Feb 2020.

some news on chemical element with symbol Cu and atomic no. 29

Newmont and Teck Resources are injecting new life into their NuevaUnión 50-50 joint venture in Chile by investing $152 million into the project, located in the northern Atacama region. In an evaluation request filed with Chile’s environmental evaluation service SEA this week, the companies said they plan to conduct two drilling campaigns this year at the La Fortuna copper-gold deposit, to reduce geological uncertainty.

Shiny, reddish copper was the first metal manipulated by humans, and it remains an important metal in industry today. The oldest metal object found in the Middle East consists of copper; it was a tiny awl dating back as far as 5100 B.C. And the U.S. penny was originally made of pure copper (although, nowadays, it is 97.5 percent zinc with a thin copper skin). Copper ranks as the third-most-consumed industrial metal in the world, after iron and aluminum, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). About three-quarters of that copper goes to make electrical wires, telecommunication cables and electronics.

Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu (from Latin: cuprum) and atomic number 29. It is a soft, malleable, and ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. A freshly exposed surface of pure copper has a pinkish-orange color. Copper is used as a conductor of heat and electricity, as a building material, and as a constituent of various metal alloys, such as sterling silver used in jewelry, cupronickel used to make marine hardware and coins, and constantan used in strain gauges and thermocouples for temperature measurement.

Globally, Copper prices slipped on Thursday, weakened by fears that the coronavirus outbreak in China could spread globally and further dampen economic growth and metals demand. Scores of new coronavirus cases and a first death in South Korea fanned fears of global pandemic as research suggested it could be more contagious than previously thought. Copper was given an early fillip from an interest rate cut in top metals consumer China but later fell back into negative territory for a third session running, also weighed down by a stronger dollar. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME) fell 0.8% to $5,727 a tonne in final open-outcry trading after rising as much as 0.8% to $5,814.

            According to Peter van der Krogt, a Dutch historian, the word "copper" has several roots, many of which come from the Latin word cuprum that was derived from the phrase Cyprium aes, which means "a metal from Cyprus," as much of the copper used at the time was mined in Cyprus. If all of the copper wiring in an average car were laid out, it would stretch 0.9 miles (1.5 km), according to the USGS.

Copper is one of the few metals that can occur in nature in a directly usable metallic form (native metals). This led to very early human use in several regions. In the Roman era, copper was principally mined on Cyprus. Commonly encountered compounds are copper(II) salts, which often impart blue or green colors to such minerals as azurite, malachite, and turquoise, and have been used widely and historically as pigments. Copper is essential to all living organisms as a trace dietary mineral because it is a key constituent of the respiratory enzyme complex cytochrome c oxidase.

Back home, Copper has caused a major stir in the lives of people of Tamil Nadu.  In 2018, during the protests against the Sterlite Copper plant in Thoothukudi, police opened fire and many protesters were killed in the incident. The shootout left many injured, and politicians and several film stars had also visited Thoothukudi and met the injured and the families of the deceased. When film actor  Rajnikant went to a hospital to look at the victims, a person named Santhosh  trolled the actor  questioning ‘Who he was?’ and the social media highlighted it to be a courageous response of an youth involved in the protests ideologically.  Rajni was trolled with people asking why he had not supported the movement.  Now comes the news that the person who tried to get focus by asking that Q has been arrested following a theft involvement.  A person named Samkumar had parked his bike before his house in Muthukrishnapuram, and it went missing. Based on his complaint, police investigated and found that three youngsters Santhosh (the one who was in news earlier), Mani and Saravanan had stolen the bike, and the bike has been recovered from them.  Now there is lot of troll on social media !

More importantly,  India’s refined copper imports more than doubled in 2018-19 to 92,290 tonnes ($605.20 million) from 44,245 tonnes ($294.95 million) in 2017-18. Export of refined copper, on the other hand, has substantially dropped to 47,971 tonnes ($302.27 million) in 2018-19 from 378,555 tonnes ($2,435.57 million) in 2017-18. So much so, the country has now become a net importer of refined copper. Today, we are a net importer at 44,373 tonnes ($302.93 million) in 2018-19. This is a far cry from the situation in 2017-18 when India was a net exporter of refined copper.  These are the numbers submitted to the Rajya Sabha by the Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal, while fielding an unstarred question on February 7. “The domestic production and exports have declined largely due to the closure, since May 2018, of the copper smelter plant of Vedanta Ltd. at Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu, which has an annual production capacity of four lakh tonnes,” the minister admitted.

The numbers indeed give a status report on the bleak copper situation. From a net exporter, India has quickly slipped to become a net importer.  It is not simply a balance of trade, but a big blow to the Nation’s attempt in becoming   self-sufficient.  Some Economists state that the  trade disadvantage situation is plainly the handiwork of a thoughtless political leadership and governance across the spectrum in Tamil Nadu.  Some elements created stir against the decades old Sterilite plant – the agitations were fuelled to become big.  In the end, sadly some human lives were lost and the factory was grounded to a screeching halt.  The factory had gained official approval and later those who were in power earlier supported the agitation. The agitation took an ugly turn becoming a riot, looting and Police resorted to shooting. 

Last month (Jan 2020) Justices T.S. Sivagnanam and V. Bhavani Subbaroyan of the Madras High Court  reserved their verdict on a batch of cases filed by Vedanta Limited to reopen its Thoothukudi Sterlite copper smelting plant. The plant remains shut since April 9, 2018 after Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) refused to grant consent to operate (CTO) the plant due to environmental concerns.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
22nd Feb 2020.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Poonam Yadav's star turn and India struggles at Basin Reserve

The puny woman standing at harbour bridge is not any simple tourist !

Watched with interest the inaugural match of the Women T20 World Cup between defending Champion Australia and India.  Shafali Varma impressed with that glitzy innings.  Smriti Mandhana failed; Jemima Rodrigues played a cameo.  Capt Harmanpreet Kaur too failed. DB Sharma took India out of woods making a well compiled 49* - the total appeared not challenging.  After Smriti was out lbw, Rodrigues was given out lbw to Perry as she tried to whip the ball square and was hit on the front pad on the shin.  She immediately reviewed and got it right. 

Perry to Rodrigues, no run, Given lbw! Rodrigues reviews. This was a fuller length, sliding in through the air, she tried to whip square and was hit on the front pad on the shin, no bat involved. Ball tracking had it missing leg! Not out. The decision is overturned. They ran a leg bye but because the decision was made before it it doesn't count – the Umpire had to reverse her decision .. yes, it was  Jacqueline Monique Williams, from Ashton, Jamaica.  In the recent Ireland’s tour to West Indies – on Jan 15, 2020, in the 1st T20I she was the 3rd Umpire and today she was field Umpire. 

On paper, India 4 for 132 (Sharma 49*, Jonassen 2-24) beat Australia 115 (Healy 51, Yadav 4-19, Pandey 3-14) by 17 runs – but it did appear as if Aussies would run away with victory before that bewitching spell of wrist-spin bowling from Poonam Yadav sank Australia. In front of a crowd of 13,432 - the best for a standalone women's cricket match in Australia - the Indians began with familiar bombast at the top of the order before the loss of three wickets for six runs lowered their expectations. Deepti Sharma was not daunted, reverting to plan B of running as many singles as possible and guiding India to a competitive 132.

While Alyssa Healy made a much-needed return to runs and confidence at the top of the Australian order, the rest struggled for timing on a slow, dry surface that proved to be ideally suited to Yadav's art. A legbreak and three wrong'uns delivered her the wondrous figures of 4 for 19, and with the strong support of Shikha Pandey, Australia were confounded. Having entered 2020 as the world's undisputed T20 dominators, the hosts would have to struggle to reach the semi-finals, though not impossible.

At Wellington, the story was scripted by a 6 feet 8 inches tall who could well be playing basketball -  Kyle Jamieson could have gotten pretty far playing that sport - though he says his "jump height is not the greatest".  Jamieson was more of a batsman growing up - his father Michael says batting outweighed bowling 60-40 in those days – as he frustrated India in that unbroken 76 with Ross Taylor for the ninth wicket, on his ODI debut.  Now at close of play on day 1 – India is 122/5 with Ajinkya Rahana 38* and Rishab Pant at the crease.  Mayank Agarwal survived the first session, did play well for his 34. 

Kyle Jamieson would likely have not played this match if Neil Wagner - away on paternity leave - had been available. On his first - rain-curtailed - day of Test cricket, though, the 6'8" fast bowler might have left an indelible mark on the Test and the series with the wickets of Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Hanuma Vihari. No play was possible post the tea break thanks to rain.

People can well remember that 1st Test at Wellington way back in Feb 1981.  NZ won by 62 runs.  .. .. and if one can recall good memory, there were 4 debutants – Yograj Singh touted to be faster than Kapil Dev, played that solitary test in his career; Kirti Azad who was part of Kapil Devils 1983 WC triumph, played 7; Martin Snedden played 25 and .. the lanky Ravi Shastri, who had flown all the way as replacement of Dilip Doshi went on to play 80 tests.

Wellington (for that matter New Zealand itself) is no happy hunting ground for Indians.  India has played a total of 23 matches in New Zealand and have managed to emerge as the winning team only on five occasions. They have lost eight matches while a total of 10 Test matches ended in a draw. If these numbers were not enough to show India’s poor record in New Zealand, in  7 Test matches played at Wellington, India has won just a solitary Test match which was in 1968.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
21st Feb 2020.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

ICC Women T20 WC - and India NZ test at Basin Reserve

A 95-year-old, $8 million stand with no name officially reopens at the Basin Reserve tomorrow  morning as a cricket legend's contribution is recognised on the nearby pavilion. What used to be known as the Museum Stand, which hasn't seated a spectator in eight years after being declared an earthquake risk, is back in business for day one of the Black Caps test against India. At last count, 994 shiny new seats will be available to spectators for the same price - around $50 - as a ticket to lounge on the grass hill, giving the Basin's capacity a welcome boost to near 8000 as Ross Taylor is feted for his 100th test. The new players' pavilion which was opened in December 2018 will now be known as the Ewen Chatfield Pavilion. The signage was already up on Thursday and Chatfield - whose record 403 first-class wickets for Wellington still stands - will be guest of honour at a lunch on Friday to officially unveil it. Before you read further do you observe anything in this roadside kirana shop in Mumbai.

Indians did so well in T20 Series but lost the plot to Kiwis in ODI Series – so the 2 Test Series should be very interesting.  India played here at Basin Reserve way back in Feb 1968 in Test no. 632. The bowling attack was : medium pace of RF Surti; off-spin of ML Jaisimha; left arm spinner Bishan singh Bedi & RG Nadkarni; offie Erapalli Anandha Sundara Prasanna and leg spinner V Subramanya.  Much water has flown under the bridge as India will play offie Ravi Ashwin and 3 pace bowlers Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami and Ishant Sharma or Umesh Yadav.

Before we read more on Test match, there is another interesting game tomorrow a T20 at that.  It is the T20 WC at Australia.  There are a lot of big-picture themes about this T20 World Cup: participation, inclusion, expansion to name a few.  The best team in the world against the potential future giants of the sport play tomorrow. There would a star off-spinner Radha Yadav, who is India's joint highest wicket-taker in T20Is since the start of 2019.

The 2020 ICC Women's T20 World Cup is the seventh ICC Women's T20 World Cup tournament, now held in Australia between 21 Feb – 8 Mar 2020.    Australia are the defending champions, and will play their opening match of the tournament against India.  For the first time at the Women's T20 World Cup, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced the use of technology to monitor front-foot no-balls for all matches during the tournament. The third umpire will call the front-foot no-balls, communicating this with the on-field umpires.  The tourney features 10 teams – 8 ranked teams from finishing positions of 2018 ICC Women World T20 and qualifiers Bangladesh and Thailand.  The teams are : Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies, Bangladesh, Thailand.

Just as we read impressive life-stories of some cricketers braving difficulties to raise in U19 WC, Radha Yadav too is inspirational.  She hails from a poor family. Upon getting a BCCI contract, allrounder Radha Yadav bought her family a small grocery shop in Kandivali, Mumbai, a stone's throw away from the makeshift stall where her father has been selling milk/veggies for decades. Really great – kudos Radha Yadav. The photo at the start is the shop of Radha.

Nestled beneath Mount Victoria and Mount Cook, the Basin Reserve is an island of cricket in inner city Wellington. Spectators are accommodated on a grass bank on the eastern side of the ground, a natural sun trap which also provides shelter from the notorious southerly winds. The ground is protected by Act of Parliament and is New Zealand's only sport ground on the National Heritage list. Cricket in Wellington received a surprise boost in 1855, courtesy of an unexpected earthquake which flattened out enough ground to create the Basin Reserve.

In that  3rd Test in 1968, India triumphed.  NZ playing first made 186 in 89.2 overs with Mark Burgess topscoring with 66.  Prasanna took 5/32 & Surti took 3/44.  India made 327 with Farokh Engineer making 44 and Ajit Wadekar making 143.  In the Second, NZ were again bowled out for 199 with Prasanna taking 3 and Bapu Nadkarni spinning a web with 6/43.  The required 59 runs were knocked with loss of 2 wickets with Abid Ali making 36.

Tomorrow at Basin Reserve, Kyle Jamieson will become New Zealand's 279th Test player as he replaces Wagner. Jamieson brings those hard lengths and extra bounce with his height. Depending on what they read of the pitch of the morning of the match, New Zealand will choose between Daryl Mitchell and Ajaz Patel, the lone spinner in the squad.  India seem to have settled with the opening combination of Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal. With fewer vagaries in New Zealand pitches, India seem to be going with the batting prowess of Rishabh Pant ahead of the wicketkeeping purity of Wriddhiman Saha. Unlike New Zealand, India are sure to play at least one spinner – the most successful Ravichandran Ashwin who is being treated rather unfairly these days. The middle order would be Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Hanuma Vihari. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
20th Feb 2020.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Apex Court - breach of warranty entails repudiation - Marine Cargo Insurance - Instt Classification

On 7th Feb 2020 – two Hon’ble Judges of the Supreme Court delivered a judgment dismissing an appeal (Civil Appeal 971 of 2014), upholding earlier decision of NCDRC, decreeing in favour of Insurer, which should be of great interest of Marine Insurers and those in Sea logistics, import / export and marine cargo movement.

Collision is an accident at sea – ship having a structural impact with another ship or floating or still object. I had earlier posted something about road accidents as also sea accidents. The collision at sea can cause – loss of human life, environment impact like oil spills (when tankers are involved), loss of property (of hull as also the cargo more particularly containers carried), loss of revenue to parties concerned, damage to infrastructure and financial consequences to those living nearby.

The sea lanes are not  congested as roadways and ships do not speed mad like buses and lorries – there are no space jammers like auto rickshaws and law breaking 2 wheeler drivers. Still there are operational loads, denser sea routes, poor visibility even though guided by radar and more importantly human error – all contributing to collision. Improper maneuvering by Master, Pilot or navigational officer, faulty propulsion, rudder or any other machinery, error by shore personnel giving directions all can cause mishaps. Many a times, ships are not pilotted and different vessels operating on different radio frequencies also add to the trouble.

A few years back  - major oil spills  of BP at US and another at China captured  media headlines, occurred this collision and oil spill on  the Indian coast.   On 7th Aug 2010, the container carrier MSC Chitra collided with MV Khalijia-III – 8 kms closer to Mumbai shore.  It was  calamitous news for India -  first there was disturbing news of oil spill, then JNPT rendered non operational due to the mishap and then the news of hundreds of containers floating in the sea lanes close to Mumbai shore. The closure of JNPT & Nhava Sheva disrupted Indian economy in a big way – reportedly 17 ships were stranded and 15 more  had to wait for docking following the shutdown of the ports. MSC Chitra had 1219 containers on board of which 31 were hazardous chemicals and pesticides.

MV Khalijia 3 owned by Kuwaiti Gulf Rocks Co was able to safely dock after the collision. MSC Chitra was dangerously listing and oil was spilling out from her fuel tanks. Listing refers to ship leaning on one side caused by uneven loading or flooding. At the time of mishap MSC Chitra had 512 containers on deck and 707 below the deck. The Port Trust authorities contracted the vessel agent and Insurers & P&I club. Smit Slavage, Singapore were appointed for salvaging the vessel. The vessel dropped anchor and secured from drifting but listing increased and about 250 containers have fallen into the sea.

A couple of months earlier in June 2010 -  our  Nation’s classification society became  a full member of the International Association of Classification Societies.  The Nation’s own classification society IRS (Indian Register of Shipping), established in Mar 1975, had been an associate IACS member since 1991, but that category was abolished in October 2009 when the association introduced single-class membership. The conferring of Full member status at the meeting of IACS Council in Hamburg assumed extra significance when you know that there are only 10 members in this elite group and IRS is 11th of the prestigious association of most advanced ship classification societies of the world. The membership according to IACS, is a reflection of the quality philosophy and high quality standards imposed by the IRS.

The International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) is a gathering of ten classification societies, headquartered in London. It was founded on September 11, 1968 in the city of Hamburg . Dedicated to safe ships and clean seas, IACS makes a unique contribution to maritime safety and regulation through technical support, compliance verification and research and development. More than 90% of the world's cargo carrying tonnage is covered by the classification design, construction and through-life compliance Rules and standards set by the ten Member Societies and one Associate of IACS.

Classification rules are developed to contribute to the structural strength and integrity of essential parts of the ship’s hull and its appendages, and the reliability and the function of the propulsion and steering systems, power generation and those other features and auxiliary systems which have been built into the ship in order to maintain essential services on board for the purpose of safe operation of the ship. Classification societies are not guarantors of safety of life or property at sea or the seaworthiness of a vessel because the classification society has no control over how a vessel is operated and maintained in between the periodic surveys which it conducts.

Cargo Policies have their terms and conditions going by the clauses attached. When the transit is by sea, the coverage is governed by Institute Cargo clauses A / B / C – these do not make any comments / restrictions on class of the vessel but there would be a specific mention which would state that ‘this contract is subject to the Institute Classification Clause’.  This is an express condition though classification of vessel is almost a fundamental requirement of commercial shipping and virtually all vessels would be classed.  There are two clauses that were being used by the cargo insurers in India  :  1)  The Institute   Classification Clause 1/8/97 & 2) Institute Classification clause 1/1/2001.

With this very lengthy intro, do read this judgement described in the 1st para :  The impugned appeal arose out of  judgement of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (‘NCDRC’) in 2013.  The Appellant is a Company engaged in Import/Export of various commodities and the Respondent was The Oriental Insurance Co Ltd who had insured consignment for a value of US$  12,63,712.

The Insurance had been proposed providing details of carrying vessel to be :  ‘Khalijia III’, built in Mar 1985  and its “class” was specified as ‘I.R.S.’  The facts of the case was -  Hangzhou Cogeneration (Hong Kong) Co. Ltd.(overseas seller) through its agent  shipped 80 prime hot rolled steel coils weighing 2000 Metric Tonnes on board the subject vessel from Caofeidian Port, China tobe discharged at Mumbai.  The vessel carried on board consignments of prime hot rolled steel coils of seven other importers who had also imported them from the same Overseas Seller. Subsequently, the Respondent’s brokers issued a single voyage policy covering all risks as per the Institute Cargo Clauses (A), Institute War Clause, and Institute Strike Clause.

The carrying vessel reached Mumbai Port on 6.7.2010 and was allotted a berth – however due to a failure of vessel’s crane, discharge could not be completed and had to be removed from allotted berth.  The vessel subsequent ran aground ! ~ and an intimation to lodge a claim was made.  The shipowners engaged the services of M/S. Smit Singapore Private Ltd. (‘Salvors’) for the purpose of recovering the cargo. The shipowners also appointed M/s Richard Hogg Lindley as the General Average Adjustor (‘GAA’).   The claimants approached their Insurers for GA Contribution by issuing GA Guarantee.  The Insurer too obliged by issuing GA Guarantee on 3.8.2010 thereby   agreeing to pay the GA as also other special charges.   Subsequently there was another request for Salvage Security of 25% of CIF value of the cargo.  Insurer did not issue the security which resulted in consignment not getting released and payment of heavy demurrage.  Later in Aug 2010, the Insurers informed that they were withdrawing the General Average Guarantee, ‘Form B’issued by them earlier in respect of the Appellant’s consignment on  account of non-compliance with the ‘Institute Classification Clause’ (‘ICC’) in the Marine Insurance Policy.

A few days earlier on 7.8.2010 occurred the collision between the subject vessel and a navy vessel in the waters near Mumbai Port. On 13.8.2010, the Salvors claimed a maritime lien on the cargo. Further, the Salvors initiated arbitration proceedings against the Appellant and the shipowners. During the course of the aforesaid arbitration proceedings, the Salvors obtained interim orders from the Hon’ble High Court of Mumbai, restraining the Appellant from removing their consignment from Mumbai Port. Ultimately, vide order dated 24.8.2010, the High Court directed that the Appellant would be allowed to take its consignment on furnishing security in the form of a bank guarantee in the sum of Rs. 14 crores. The Appellant furnished the security as directed and took delivery of the consignment from the Mumbai Port Trust on 3.9.2010. On 2.12.2011, the Arbitrator passed an award against the Appellant and other cargo owners, finding them liable for reimbursing the costs incurred by the Salvors.

On behalf of the Cargo owner (policy holder / insured / appellant here) it was submitted that the IRS classification was granted to the subject vessel by the ‘International Register of Shipping’, which is an independent classification society. Further, that after the issuance of the Cover Note, the Appellant had provided all particulars regarding the subject vessel, and expressly asked the Respondent whether the subject vessel was acceptable. It was argued that had the Respondent indicated at the time of the issuance of the Marine Insurance Policy that the classification was not acceptable; the Appellant could have paid an extra premium to purchase the policy.  Learned counsel also referred to the Institute Marine Cargo Clause  - Institute Cargo Clause   provides for waiver of any breach of implied warranties of seaworthiness of the subject vessel.  It was further contended that the Insurer estopped their rights of claiming breach of ICC once they provided the GA Guarantee.

The impugned judgment is a lucid elaboration of various facets of cargo carriage, insurance, Marine Insurance Act, warranties, principle of estoppel and more and is a must read for every Insurer.  The Hon’ble Court concluded that  the liability of the insurer was discharged on account of the breach of warranty caused by non-compliance of  the classification requirement within the ICC.  The Apex Court averred that - the Respondent rightly repudiated the claim of the Appellant; the judgment of NCDRC stands confirmed, and the appeal is dismissed.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
19th Feb 2020.
PS: By intent, this post outlines the circumstances of the case, the decision of the Insurer to repudiate and the Court’s pronouncement on the repudiation.  Some detailed elaboration on the aspects constitute in the impugned judgment are intended to be provided in another post. Do look forward to your feedback.