Sunday, November 29, 2020

Ingrida Šimonytė ~ becomes Prime Minister of Baltic Country

Following the 2019 presidential election, Šhe emerged as an unofficial leader of the Homeland Union and one of the most prominent politicians affiliated with the party, despite being officially an independent.  She stood for reelection to the Seimas in the 2020 parliamentary election, where she once again became one of only three constituency candidates nationwide to win their elections in the first round, this time having received more than 60% of the vote. Following the certification of the election results, it emerged that the Homeland Union had won a plurality of seats, overtaking the incumbent government led by the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union.

On 9 November, the coalition agreement was signed between the Homeland Union, Liberal Movement, and Freedom Party, paving the way for Šimonytė to become prime minister.   Šimonytė was appointed prime minister on 25 November 2020 by President Gitanas Nausėda, becoming the second woman to serve in the role, following Kazimira Prunskienė.

The Vilnia  is a river that emanates from ge of Vindžiūnai, 5 km south of Šumskas, at the Lithuanian-Belarusian border. The Vilnia is 79.6 km long and its basin covers 624 sq. km, flowing into the Baltic Sea. Its confluence with the Neris lies within the city of Vilnius, and the river's name was probably the source of the city's name.  Bruno of Querfurt  was a Christian missionary   who was beheaded near the border of Kievan Rus and Lithuania for trying to spread Christianity.  .. able to identity who is -  Ingrida Šimonytė, talked about in this post ?

The Seimas   is the unicameral parliament of Lithuania. The Seimas constitutes the legislative branch of government in Lithuania, enacting laws and amendments to the Constitution, passing the budget, confirming the Prime Minister and the Government and controlling their activities. Its 141 members are elected for a four-year term, with 71 elected in individual constituencies, and 70 elected in a nationwide vote based on open list proportional representation. A party must receive at least 5%, and a multi-party union at least 7%, of the national vote to qualify for the proportional representation seats.

Lithuania  is a country in the Baltic region of Europe. Lithuania is one of the Baltic states. Situated on the eastern shore of the Baltic Sea, to the southeast of Sweden and Denmark, Lithuania is bordered by Latvia, Belarus, Poland and Kaliningrad Oblast (a Russian exclave).   The capital and largest city is Vilnius and other major cities are Kaunas and Klaipėda. The official language, Lithuanian, is one of only two living languages in the Baltic branch of the Indo-European language family, the other being Latvian.

                 In the 1230s, the Lithuanian lands were united by Mindaugas and the Kingdom of Lithuania was created on 6 July 1253. During the 14th century, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was the largest country in Europe; present-day Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, and parts of Poland and Russia were the territories of the Grand Duchy.  As World War I neared its end, Lithuania's Act of Independence was signed on 16 Feb 1918, declaring the founding of the modern Republic of Lithuania. During the Second World War, Lithuania was first occupied by the Soviet Union and then by Nazi Germany. As World War II neared its end and the Germans retreated, the Soviet Union reoccupied Lithuania. On 11 March 1990, a year before the formal dissolution of the Soviet Union, Lithuania became the first Baltic state to proclaim its independence, resulting in the restoration of the independent State of Lithuania.

Lithuania is a developed country with an advanced, high-income economy, a very high Human Development Index, a very high standard of living and performs favourably in measurements of civil liberties, press freedom, internet freedom, democratic governance and peacefulness. Lithuania is a member of the European Union, the Council of Europe, eurozone, Schengen Agreement, NATO and OECD.  

Ingrida Šimonytė  is an economist who is the current Prime Minister of Lithuania, having taken office on 25 Nov 2020. She is the second woman to hold the office, following Kazimira Prunskienė. Šimonytė has served as a member of the Seimas for the Antakalnis constituency since 2016 and was minister of finance in the second Kubilius cabinet from 2009 until 2012. She was a candidate in the 2019 presidential election. Šimonytė is an independent politician, although she has been affiliated with the Homeland Union.

                            Šimonytė graduated from Vilnius University with a degree in business in 1996, later receiving a master's degree as well in 1998. She began her career as an economist and public servant, working as chief of the tax division within the Ministry of Finance until 2004.  Šimonytė returned to politics in 2016, when she ran as an independent candidate in the 2016 parliamentary election to represent Antakalnis constituency in Vilnius, ultimately winning a seat in parliament.  

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Saturday, November 28, 2020

barefoot at Sydney ......... ‘telephone manipol sirippaval ivala' !!

In the popular Shankar film “Indian” –  ‘telephone manipol sirippaval ivala – Melbourne malarpol melliya magala” song was a big hit – factually not right  as though the lyrical reference was to Melbourne, it was elsewhere !!

It is a bridge that is  equipped for tidal flow operation, permitting the direction of traffic flow on the bridge to be altered to better suit the morning and evening rush hours' traffic patterns.  The bridge has eight lanes in total, numbered one through eight from west to east. Lanes three, four and five are reversible. One and two always flow north. Six, seven and eight always flow south. The default is four each way. The bridge has a series of overhead gantries which indicate the direction of flow for each traffic lane.   It is the Sydney Harbour Bridge,  one of Australia's most well known and photographed landmarks.  The dramatic view of the bridge, the harbour, and the nearby Sydney Opera House is an iconic image of both Sydney and Australia.   It is the world's largest (but not the longest) steel arch bridge with the top of the bridge standing 134 metres above the harbour. Fondly known by the locals as the 'Coathanger', the Sydney Harbour Bridge celebrated its 70th birthday  on  19th March 2012. 

Sydney  located on South east coast of the Tasman sea, is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. The site of the first British colony in Australia, Sydney was established in 1788 at Sydney Cove by Arthur Phillip, commodore of the First Fleet as a penal colony. The city is built on hills surrounding Port Jackson which is commonly known as Sydney Harbour, where the iconic Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge feature prominently.   Sydney has hosted major international sporting events, including the 1938 British Empire Games, the 2000 Summer Olympics, and the final match of the 2003 Rugby World Cup. The main airport serving Sydney is Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport.

Way back in 1978 with series 2-1 in their favour, Australia batted disastrously and were dismissed for a paltry 131.  BS Chandrasekhar was the wrecker-in-chief with 15-3-30-4 and Bedi taking 3 for 49.  Karsan Ghavri bowled 7 overs; while Mohinder took one wicket in the same no. of overs conceding only 6 runs. When India batted, it was a remarkable team effort.  Gavaskar 49; Chetan Chauhan 42; Vishwanath 79; Vengsarkar 48; Kirmani 42; Ghavri 64; Prasanna 25 all made runs enabling India to declare at 396/8 !!

For a change Australians were under pressure in a turning track.  Dyson was out cheaply and at draw of stumps on day 3 Gary Cosier and Kim Hughes were at the crease with score 40/1 ; the 4th day was the rest day in the Series which had 8 balls per over.   On playing day 4, Australians lost wickets regularly and at end of day, they were 243/8 still struggling to make India bat again, but had pushed the game to the fifth day of the match.   The hero was Peter Toohey who was unbeaten with 77.

On the 5th day morning (early morning in India) the commentator screamed when Madanlal covering lot of ground got under the skier at long leg catching Toohey off Ghavri for 85 enabling Indian win by an Innings and 2 runs.   Madanlal was a substitute fielder and those days there was the restriction that a substitute shall not stand in close-in positions or in any specialist  fielding positions !! Strange rule considering that substitutes, later,  were allowed to bat or bowl also in some Onedayers.  That day, the commentator remarked that given his abilities, Madanlal should not be allowed to be inside the field at all as he appeared to be a specialist in any position !! Really great appreciation for the die-hard cricketer Madanlal.   Prasanna took 4; while Bedi, Chandra and Ghavri captured 2 apiece.

For many of us – walking barefoot was nothing.  Many of my colleagues in 1970s would come to school without a slipper or would wear a hawai ! chappal – and we have played Cricket in hot summer afternoons getting roasted on the sands running without a footwear !!   ~ but this barefoot was a major event !

The barefoot circle is a cricket centric way for players and teams to take a moment prior to matches to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land, connect to each other as opponents and pay respect to the country (land). This is done barefoot as a way to connect to country, but also a moment to reflect that we are all common ground, we are all human beings and we need to stand strong with each other, for each other ..

Cricket Australia, planned and took the  unique step in supporting the anti-racism movement. A month before the start of the India series, Cricket Australia announced the barefoot circle movement. This statement was created broadly to connect with Aboriginal culture and the land on which matches are played. Pat Cummins had said that it was the team's way of demonstrating an anti-racism feeling as well as celebrating the indigenous culture of Australia. Before the start of the Sydney ODI, both Indian cricket team and Australian cricket teams stood around an Aboriginal mural and stood barefoot in support of the indigenous people of Australia. The ‘barefoot circle’ is one of the symbolic statements made by Australia as they look to grapple with the injustice committed on the Aboriginals in early times. 

Australia's first match of a Covid-19 international summer that might have begun in Perth, Brisbane or Adelaide before finally settling upon the grand old SCG was fitting in that it was both bracingly uneven and also a commanding victory for a home side that was as organised as the logistical efforts that had allowed the series to get underway in the first place.

Playing in Australia is difficult ~ and it was no surprise.  Players who had not made a great mark in IPL were different.  A backbone century from Aaron Finch and a blistering one from Steven Smith, coupled with characteristic contributions from David Warner and Glenn Maxwell, vaulted Australia to an imposing 6 for 374, before India's chase was unable to maintain the runaway momentum of a beginning that benefitted from a rare case of Mitchell Starc losing control of the ball. The hosts were concerned primarily by a side problem that afflicted Marcus Stoinis - in a tight schedule his injury may open a path for Moises Henriques or Cameron Green.

In chasing a tall score, after a good start, Indian batsmen faltered – Shikhar Dhawan could not force the pace.  The man who has returned after lower-back injury,  Hardik Pandya was playing as a pure batsman and he silenced all his critics with a great innings.  He top scored with  90 off 76 from 101 for 4,  and there is a hint he might be ready to bowl come the World Cups. There are three of those in the next three years. 

Their bowlers and fielders let India down – and India has been fined 20% of their match fee for their slow over rate during the first ODI in Sydney. The match ran an hour beyond the scheduled finish, and techically went past the SCG's curfew limit for lights, but no one flicked the switch as the contest finally ended at 11.10pm.  Tomorrow the teams meet again at the same venue.  The second game of a three-match series is by default a must-win for one team and a chance to sew up the series for the other. More than losing, or winning, the series though, this will be an opportunity for several of the players to continue the adjusting phase to a format longer than 20 overs.  

Not pertinent to the result of the series, but not insignificantly either, the first ODI was also the first international cricket match post the Covid-19 pandemic to have spectators in the stands.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar



Friday, November 27, 2020

huge six hit out of ground is a potential liability situation !!

A tort, in common law jurisdiction, is a civil wrong that causes a claimant to suffer loss or harm, resulting in legal liability for the person who commits the tortious act.  Tort law involves claims in an action seeking to obtain a private civil remedy, typically money damages.  .. thus, for an act of wrong or negligence – causing danger, injury, or nuisance to anyother person, the tortfeasor ie., the person committing such act would be legally liable !

Ever heard of  Bolton v. Stone [1951]  is a leading House of Lords case in the tort of negligence, establishing that a defendant is not negligent if the damage to the plaintiff was not a reasonably foreseeable consequence of his conduct.   Even in a Private place, but allowing access to public – the common duty of care is to take such care as in all circumstances of the case is reasonable to see that the visitor is reasonably safe in using the premises.


At Sydney today, fans returned for the game – but the Aussies put up a top-notch performance making 374/6, their highest against India in one-dayers and the charge of Hardik Pandya was not good enough !.. sixes galored though !. – wonder what will happen if the Cricket ball were to cause harm to someone else!

Way back in 1977 - in that Pongal Test, Mike Brearly pulled Prasanna.  The sound could be heard on the stadium.  Mohinder Amarnath standing at forward short leg took evasive action, but the ball struck his head and ricocheted towards the bowler, Prasanna took a simple catch.  It became a Caught & Bowled dismissal.

Perhaps before 10 pm on 27.9.2020, he was trolled as badly or more than what Murali Vijay has been receiving – he himself had to say – ‘that was the worst first 20 balls that I have ever played.  Leg-spin bowling all-rounder Rahul Tewatia was traded to Rajasthan Royals from Delhi Capitals ahead of IPL 2020.  Tewatia smacked Sheldon Cottrell for five sixes in a match-turning, match-defining 18th over, and an improbable 51 off 18 balls turned into a far more straightforward 21 off 12.  IPL 2020 also saw legendary Chris Gayle hitting   1000 (ONE THOUSAND) sixes in Twenty20 cricket.  Way back in 2012 at Bangalore, a 10-year-old spectator Tia Bhatia,  was injured when a six from Chris Gayle broke her nose, she was admitted into and provided care in a hospital, where Gayle later visited.  

Matches at Sharjah saw some huge sixers.  AB de Villiers was at his imperious best against Kolkata Knight  Riders – his hits sailed over the stadium and landed on the streets. In fact, one of the sixes literally stopped the traffic.  Decades ago, a young bowler in Buchi Babu (was it Hoshidar Contractor ?) was hit out of the park in Marina by Krish Srikkanth and the ball landed crossing the beach road !

This is no post on such huge hits – in 1983 WC, when David Hookes sent the ball soaring, commentator said, not a great shot – for my car is parked over there. Yes, the ball clearing the field could cause damages – of personal injuries and property damage – who would then be responsible ? – the player, the team, or the Ground or the Association staging the game ???

Read this interesting newsitem in today’s MailOnline  detailing a case decided in the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division in UK -  A woman who was struck in the eye with a cricket ball at a local park has lost her £17,000 damages claim. Phoebe Lewis was hit in the face as she walked near to a boundary rope during a match in Battersea Park, London.   She successfully sued Wandsworth Council in the county courts, claiming signs should have been erected while the match was being played.  But a High Court judge has now overruled her win in the lower courts, according to a judgement from the case which has been posted online.

The judge said it was 'obvious' a match was being played and rubbished the idea that a 'reasonable passer-by' would think the players would be using a soft ball. In overturning the decision by the county courts, Judge Mr Justice Stewart said: 'What I frankly fail to understand is how the Recorder [the judge in the case] could envisage that a cricket match played by adult men could be assumed by any reasonable passer-by to be using a soft ball.

Battersea Park is a 200-acre (83-hectare) green space in south-west London;  cricket fields have been laid out in the park since it was opened. The initial incident took place in August 2014 and involved amateur players from a league. Ms Lewis was walking with a friend on a path around eight metres from the boundary of the match at Battersea Park when she heard shouts from cricket players. As she looked up she was struck by the ball 'square' in the eye.  She  suffered a 'serious injury'.  She later told the court that she was a 'regular user' of the park and that  'could not deny' that she knew a pitch was there. But she said that she 'never thought there were professional-style players using them'. She later said she 'did not see any signs', adding: 'I think there ought to have been some form of signage. 'I did not know that cricket played in a public park was played with a real cricket ball, which is really hard. If there had been a sign I think I would have noticed it. 'If a sign had warned me of either hard balls or a risk of injury, I would have paid more attention to the game.' She later took her claim against the council to Wandsworth County Court.

Wandsworth Council disputed her claim, saying the pitch is 'clearly visible' from where she was walking, that it was 'obvious' a game was being played and that 'anyone who frequents the park on a reasonably regular basis during the summer months would be aware that cricket is taking place'. But a Recorder ruled in Ms Lewis' favour, saying the council did owe a duty of care and had 'failed' in that duty because it had allowed pedestrians to walk along the boundary and had 'failed to warn' the claimant that a game was in progress. Last year she was awarded almost £17,000 in damages and an equal sum in costs.

But at the High Court earlier this month Mr Justice Stewart overturned the decision. He said: 'I reach the conclusion that the Recorder's judgement was wrong. 'He failed to take account of material factors and there was a lack of logic in his analysis of the facts. 'In the circumstances which obtained, allowing pedestrians to walk along the path when a cricket match was taking place was reasonably safe, the prospects of an accident (albeit nasty if it occurred) being remote.'

In the case referred earlier - Bolton v. Stone, the  plaintiff was hit by a cricket ball which had been hit out of the ground; the defendants were members of the club committee. On 9 August 1947, during a game of cricket against the Cheetham 2nd XI at Cheetham Cricket Ground in Manchester, a batsman from the visiting team hit the ball for six. The ball flew out of the ground, hitting the claimant, Miss Stone, who was standing outside her house in Cheetham Hill Road, approximately 100 yards (91 m) from the batsman.  The claimant argued that the ball being hit so far even once was sufficient to give the club warning that there was a risk of injuring a passer-by, fixing it with liability in negligence for the plaintiff's injuries. The claimant also claimed under the principle in Rylands v Fletcher, that the ball was a dangerous item that had "escaped" from the cricket ground, and in nuisance.

Interesting ! 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar



Thursday, November 26, 2020

more International Cricket - India takes on Australia at Sydney 2020

Covid statistics are alarming ~ 60578423 affected globally !  .. USA it is 128,51,208 with 180830 cases reported yesterday; India 92,66,705;  Brazil 61,66,606; France 21,69,336; Russia 21,44,229  … while that is top 5 – New Zealand has an envious story – new cases reported during past 24 hours 1; total active cases 60 !

The Indian men's cricket team, who stayed away from international cricket for more than eight months due to coronavirus crises, will return to action playing Australia in the opening One-Day International (ODI) of the three-match series tomorrow on November 27 at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).

Expectations naturally run very high ! - In the absence of Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal is likely to partner Shikhar Dhawan at the top of the order with KL Rahul continuing to keep wicket and bat at No. 5. If India pick both Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah, they will have to choose between Navdeep Saini's pace and Shardul Thakur's lower-order batting for the third seamer's role. Also, Chahal's IPL form may help him edge out Kuldeep Yadav for the lone wristspinner's slot.

IPL was very interesting but may not the guidebook of form and class ….  A great player by every standards Glenn Maxwell had an horror tournament with  average of 15.42, a strike rate barely scraping above a run-a-ball, and no sixes in 106 balls. .. yet he could be a tormentor just as India looks to Hardik Pandya.  Hardeek  didn't bowl a ball right through IPL 2020, and while that didn't necessarily hurt the Mumbai Indians' campaign, it could upset India's ODI balance given none of their other batsmen is a viable sixth bowling option. Pandya was in terrific hitting form right through the IPL, but he may have to show a little more versatility as a top-six batsman in ODI cricket.  

Virat Kohli will continue to lead the Men in Blue in the 50-over format, while KL Rahul will serve as his deputy in the absence of regular vice-captain Rohit Sharma. Australia's blueprint to topple Virat Kohli has been revealed, with the host nation set to relentlessly attack India's master batsman when the two nations open the international summer at the SCG on Friday. In a year like no other, the tourists and those Australians who had been in the Indian Premier League emerged from a fortnight of quarantine at 4pm on Thursday and now prepare to step into battle less than 24 hours later. While they have been able to train in a bio-secure bubble, it's been far from a normal routine heading into the first of three one-day internationals.

Indian captain Virat Kohli has said that the entire episode surrounding Rohit Sharma's injury has been "very confusing", exacerbated by a "lot of uncertainty and lack of clarity". Speaking on the eve of India's ODI series opener against Australia, Kohli said that ideally both Rohit and fast bowler Ishant Sharma should have been in Australia to complete recovery from their respective injuries which would have allowed them to play in the Test leg of the tour. Both players were ruled out of the first two Tests of the four-match Border-Gavaskar Trophy, which is scheduled to start with the day-night Test in Adelaide on December 17.

Miles closer, another Asian team, Pakistan is touring New Zealand. .. ..but - six members of Pakistan's touring contingent in New Zealand have tested positive for Covid-19. According to an NZC release, four are new cases, while two of the positive results have been deemed "historical". It is unclear whether the six who tested positive are players or other members of Pakistan's touring party. The results are from tests conducted upon Pakistan's arrival in New Zealand on November 24. Each member of the squad will have to undergo a minimum of four tests while in managed isolation.

The six who tested positive have been moved to a different floor of the managed isolation facility in Christchurch where Pakistan are currently based. The team will not be able to train until investigations are completed, and their 14-day quarantine period has been reset, meaning it begins afresh. NZC also revealed that some members of the Pakistan contingent had "contravened protocols" on day one of their managed isolation. "We will be having discussions with the tourists to assist them in understanding the requirements," the release said.  

Pakistan Cricket Board CEO Wasim Khan was told by the New Zealand government that one more breach of New Zealand's Covid-19 protocols by the Pakistan squad would result in the entire travelling party being deported. In a WhatsApp voice message to the travelling players which ESPNcricinfo has obtained, the PCB CEO addressed his players candidly, telling them being sent back home would be "hugely embarrassing". "Boys, I spoke to the New Zealand government and they told us there were three or four breaches of protocols," Wasim Khan said in the voice note. "They have a zero-tolerance policy and they've given us a final warning. We understand that this is a difficult time for you, and you went through similar conditions in England. It's not easy. But this is a matter of the nation's respect and credibility. Observe these 14 days and then you'll have the freedom to go to restaurants and roam about freely. They have told me in clear terms that if we commit one more breach, they'll send us home."

The Pakistan squad is due to play three T20s and two Tests in New Zealand, and landed in Auckland on a chartered flight with special permission obtained from the New Zealand government. They moved on to Christchurch, where they were set to undergo 14 days of strict isolation. The arrangements, however, got off to a rocky start when six players returned positive Covid-19 tests upon landing in New Zealand; the PCB had claimed there were no positive tests in the travelling party in Lahore, from where the team flew. The six players were moved into a separate isolation facility.

More significantly, New Zealand Cricket issued a statement revealing several players had breached quarantine regulations, and that the team would be put on a "final warning". It prompted a rebuke from New Zealand's director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield, who said it was "a privilege to come to New Zealand to play sport, but in return teams must stick to the rules that are designed to keep Covid-19 out of our communities".

Interesting !

With regards – S.Sampathkumar


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

the legend - Diego Maradona, is no more !!

Heard of or remember - Bogdan Ganev Dochev (1935 – 2017) a Bulgarian football referee. He is known for having refereed two matches in the FIFA World Cup  !!

The 1986 FIFA World Cup, the 13th FIFA World Cup, was held in Mexico from 31 May to 29 June 1986. The tournament was the second to feature a 24-team format. With European nations not allowed to host after the previous World Cup in Spain, Colombia had been originally chosen to host the competition by FIFA but, largely due to economic reasons, was not able to do so and officially resigned in 1982. Mexico was selected as the new host in May 1983, thus becoming the first country to host the World Cup more than once. It was won by Argentina (their second title, after winning in 1978). Argentina was captained by the 25-year old Diego Maradona, who played a large part in his team's success.   He carried the Nation’s dream and ensured its happening.

Diego Armando Maradona  is widely regarded as one of the greatest football players of all time.  He was one of the two joint winners of the FIFA Player of the 20th Century award.  Maradona's vision, passing, ball control and dribbling skills were combined with his small stature (1.65 m or 5 ft 5 in), which gave him a low centre of gravity allowing him to manoeuvre better than most other football players; he would often dribble past multiple opposing players on a run.   A precocious talent, Maradona was given the nickname "El Pibe de Oro" ("The Golden Boy"), a name that stuck with him throughout his career.   He preceded Sachin in wearing that jersey with 10  -  was the first player in football history to set the world record transfer fee twice, first when he transferred to Barcelona for a then-world record £5  million, and second, when he transferred to Napoli for another record fee £6.9  million. In his international career with Argentina, he earned 91 caps and scored 34 goals. Maradona played in four FIFA World Cups, including the 1986 World Cup.    

Maradona became the coach of Argentina's national football team in November 2008. He was in charge of the team at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa before leaving at the end of the tournament. He then coached Dubai-based club Al Wasl in the UAE Pro-League for the 2011–12 season. In 2017, Maradona became the coach of Fujairah before leaving at the end of the season.  In May 2018, Maradona was announced as the new chairman of Belarusian club Dynamo Brest  .. .. today he passed away, is the news !!

Besides his sporting glory, his life was ruined by   his addiction to cocaine took hold. In 1991, the year he left the club, he was banned for 15 months for drug violations. In 1994 he was thrown out of the World Cup in America after failing a drugs test, before retiring from football in 1997. In 1999 and 2000 he was taken to hospital suffering heart problems, the second time requiring a respirator to breathe. He has undergone two gastric bypass operations to control his weight and received treatment for alcohol abuse. Three week ago he was admitted to hospital for surgery on a blood clot in his brain, before being discharged to recover at home. It was there that he died on Wednesday. The Argentine news outlet Clarin broke the news on Wednesday afternoon UK time, describing the news of Maradona's passing as having a 'worldwide impact'.  The iconic former Argentinian footballer was driven away from the private Olivos Clinic just before 6pm on November 11 as hundreds of fans of photographers tried to get a glimpse of him.

                   In 2014, Maradona said of his drug use: 'I gave my opponents a big advantage. Do you know the player I could have been if I hadn't taken drugs?' In 1996, Maradona said publicly: 'I was, am and always will be a drug addict.'  Diego Maradona has died from a heart attack just days after turning 60.

Bogdan Ganev Dochev (1935 – 2017) is a Bulgarian football referee. He is known for having refereed two matches in the FIFA World Cup, Italia - Cameroon 1:1 in 1982 and Paraguay - Belgium 2:2 in 1986. Dochev was a linesman in the famous Brazil versus Italy match in 1982 and in the game between England and Argentina in 1986 in which the ‘Hand of God and Goal of the Century’  were scored by Diego Maradona.  On that day 22nd June 1986 – whole World watched Argentina play England  in the quarter-finals of the 1986 FIFA World Cup at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. The game was held four years after the Falklands War between Argentina and the United Kingdom, and was a key part in the already intense Argentina–England football rivalry. It was also a match which included two of the most famous goals in football history, both scored by Diego Maradona. The first goal, after 51 minutes, was to become known as the "Hand of God goal", which Maradona scored by using his hand. His second, four minutes after his first, saw him dribble past five England players, Beardsley, Reid, Butcher, Fenwick, Butcher (again), and finally goalkeeper Peter Shilton, and became known as the "Goal of the Century". Argentina won the game 2–1 and went on to win the 1986 World Cup with a victory over West Germany in the final match.  Maradona won the golden ball for player of the tournament whilst England's goalscorer on the day, Gary Lineker, won the golden boot for being the tournament's top scorer.

The soccer legend is no more !! – bye Diego Maradona

With regards – S. Sampathkumar



futuristic ship designs ... .. getting back to wood !!

Of the various effects of lockdown following Corona, is closure of Marina beach – that has denied watching the Bay of Bengal, its waves, the big majestic ships that sail on the sea. 

The first things that strikes the mind – is ‘ships float’ – boats also float .. but boats are made of wood.  We know that wood floats in water but when a steel rod is put on water, it just sinks in ! ..  for understanding this, one needs to know upward thrust, buoyancy and some Science as also the principle of density. Density describes how much something weighs relating to its size, or mass per unit volume. In technical terms, the density of a body is defined as the weight (mass) of the body in kilograms (kg) divided by its external volume in cubic metres (m3). The formula for density is:  density = weight/volume (kg/m3).

There are various types of ship – oil tankers, cargo ships, car carriers, container carriers and more .. .. .. a  cargo ship or freighter is a merchant ship that carries cargo, goods, and materials from one port to another. Thousands of cargo carriers ply the world's seas and oceans each year, handling the bulk of international trade. Cargo ships are usually specially designed for the task, often being equipped with cranes and other mechanisms to load and unload, and come in all sizes. They  are almost always built by welded steel, and with some exceptions generally have a life expectancy of 25 to 30 years before being scrapped.  The earlier cargo ships were purpose built to carry cargo in bulk.  Containerization changed the way goods are shipped and handled.

In understanding the anatomy of any ship – the  hull of a ship is the most notable structural entity of the ship. To define the hull, it can be said that it is the watertight enclosure of the ship, which protects the cargo, machinery, and accommodation spaces of the ship from the weather, flooding, and structural damage. But this alone does not suffice our requirements of understanding all the aspects of a ship’s hull. The hull is the most exposed part of a ship to the water. It’s generally waterproof in most cases and dictates the various components in ship’s motion.  Also, the hulls depending on whether they are single in number (monohulls) or more (multihulls) determine the turning area. 

For easy understanding – a Ship is a mega version of a mechanized boat – have seen lot of fishing boats in some ports and more specifically in Kakinada, East Godavari, Andhra Pradesh. Have heard from builders that they use ‘ayini’ or known as ‘anjili’ – wild jack - Artocarpus hirsutus logs for building the keel and the hull superstructure.  In the folklore of fishermen of coastal Andhra,  ‘Ranee of Hyderabad’ was a charmer.  I have heard the story of the  boat “Ranee of Hyderabad” pristine at its peak, built of teak and having copper hardwarde built somewhere in 1966  but continued its operation during 1990s also. Amidst the  ripe stories, was one of this boat getting carried away in stormy weather,  from Kakinada coast and found once in 24 paraganas and in Bangladesh (or was it Burma) but with all its crew safe and that some local astrologer finding out its whereabout in a betel leaf !! Strange are the ways at SEA.        

Now read this interesting article in BBC Future  on the construction of a small sized ship. The shipping industry's climate impact is large and growing, but a team in Costa Rica is making way for a clean shipping revolution with a cargo ship made of wood. In a small, rustic shipyard on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, a small team is building what they say will be the world’s largest ocean-going clean cargo ship.

Ceiba is the first vessel built by Sailcargo, a company trying to prove that zero-carbon shipping is possible, and commercially viable. Made largely of timber, Ceiba combines both very old and very new technology: sailing masts stand alongside solar panels, a uniquely designed electric engine and batteries. Once on the water, she will be capable of crossing oceans entirely without the use of fossil fuels.  “The thing that sets Ceiba apart is the fact that she'll have one of the largest marine electric engines of her kind in the world,” Danielle Doggett, managing director and cofounder of Sailcargo, states. The system also has the means to capture energy from underwater propellers as well as solar power, so electricity will be available for the engine when needed. “Really, the only restrictions on how long she can stay at sea is water and food on board for the crew.”

Right now, Ceiba looks somewhat like the ribcage of a gigantic whale. When  it was visited in the shipyard in late October 2020,   construction has been going on for nearly two years. The team is installing Ceiba’s first stern half frame – a complicated manoeuvre to complete without the use of cranes or other equipment. Despite some hold-ups due to the global pandemic, the team hopes to get her on the water by the end of 2021 and operating by 2022, when she will begin transporting cargo between Costa Rica and Canada. With the hull and sail design based on a trading schooner built in the Åland Islands, Finland, in 1906, from the horizon Ceiba will have the appearance of a classic turn-of-the-century vessel, when the last commercial sail-powered ships were made. 

For her builders, one of the ship’s main attractions is to provide a much-needed burst of (clean) energy in an industry long dragging its heels on climate. The global shipping sector emitted just over a billion tonnes of greenhouse gases in 2018, equivalent to around 3% of global emissions – a level that exceeds the climate impact of Germany’s entire economy.

Ceiba is small for a cargo ship – tiny in fact. She will carry around nine standard shipping containers. The largest conventional container ships today carry more than 20,000 containers. She is also relatively slow. Large container ships typically travel at between 16 and 22 knots (18-25 mph/30-41 kph), according to Gilliam. Ceiba is expected to be able to reach 16 knots at her fastest, says Doggett, and easily attain 12 knots, although the team has conservatively estimated an average of 4 knots for trips until they can test her on the water.  And while Ceiba is small compared to most container ships, she is still around 10 times larger than the most established fossil-free sailing cargo vessel currently in service, the Tres Hombres. Sailcargo hopes this means she can help bridge the gap between these smaller ships and even larger emissions-free ships in the future. 

But, being a world-first, there are some aspects of Ceiba’s design that have yet to be proven at sea – including her specific combination of wind power and an electric engine. Ceiba has a regenerative engine: when she is travelling using her sails, her propellers can be used as underwater turbines to capture excess energy, similar to how regeneration mode in an electric car can capture excess kinetic energy when you brake. The electricity, along with that generated by the solar panels, can then be stored in the battery until it is needed to drive the ship. Importantly, and unlike many other ships that already use some kind of electrical engine, Ceiba’s engine is purely electric and does not have diesel as a back-up option. She is genuinely fossil free. 

Sailcargo has pledged that 10% of its profits will go to back to the planet, including donations to AstilleroVerde as well as other charities. In addition to this pledge, it aims to ensure Ceiba is “carbon negative” by planting 12,000 trees in Costa Rica before she is launched, giving each four years of care after planting. One in every 10 of those trees will be destined for building future ships, while the rest will overcompensate for the wood used to build Ceiba. Most of these trees are native species, which are slow to mature. It takes about 50 years to grow the trees from which Ceiba is built to maturity.  

Interesting ! 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar


Monday, November 23, 2020

Cyclone Nivar brings rains to Chennai - floods washed through Mars 4 billion years ago !!

It is raining heavily now ! in Chennai and in social media messages of an impending cyclone and what one should do, including stocking of food is ripe ! ~ remember in my school days, in 1976, there was a cyclone that ravaged the city and cine stars collected fund from commoners for relief work at Kotturpuram. In a decade and half, we have seen, Bob05, Fanoos, Nisha, Jal,  Thane, Nilam,  Madi, Roanu, Kyant, Nada,  Vardah, Ockhi,  Gaja … as Nivar is threatening now.

Many a times, during November, there would be talks of Cyclone too – but they would not make a landfall in Chennai but eventually move towards coastal Andhra Pradesh crossing at Nellore, Ongloe, Masulipatnam, Kakinada, Vizag or move farther towards Orissa, West Bengal.

The low pressure area over the south Bay of Bengal has concentrated into a depression and lay over Southwest Bay of Bengal at about 9.5°N and 84.2°E at about 560km south-southeast of Puducherry and 590 km south-southeast of Chennai at about 08:30 IST of 23.11.2020. It is very likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm during next 24 hours. It is very likely to move northwestwards, intensify further into severe cyclonic storm and cross Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts between Karaikal and Mamallapuram as a severe cyclonic storm with wind speed of 100 kmph-110 kmph gusting to 120 kmph around 25th November 2020 afternoon.  ~ reads the report of Indian Meteorological Department

 “It is very likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm during next 12 hours and into a severe cyclonic storm during subsequent 24 hours. It is very likely to move northwestwards and cross Tamil Nadu and Ousucherry coasts between Karaikal and Mamallapuram around Puducherry during November 25 evening as a severe cyclonic storm with a wind speed of 100-110 kmph gusting to 120 kmph,” IMD says. Chennai and surrounding areas started receiving rain from Monday night. Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami today  announced suspension of intra and inter-district bus transport in Pudukkottai, Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Cuddalore, Villupuram, Chengalpet and Tiruvallur districts from  November 24. The announcement comes into effect from 1pm (on Tuesday) onwards until further orders. Six teams of NDRF would camp in Cuddalore and two teams in Chennai with adequate machinery, the chief minister said in a statement.

Cyclones, floods are not new to humanity and not to the Universe !  -  Floods of unimaginable magnitude washed through Gale Crater on Mars around 4 billion years ago, raising the possibility life once existed on the Red Planet. Researchers from Jackson State University, Cornell University and the University of Hawaii worked with NASA to examine sediment data captured by the Curiosity Rover. Dubbed a 'raging megaflood' by scientists, it was likely caused by an asteroid or comet hitting the planet, heating and unleashing ice stored on the Martian surface. Water as much as 78ft deep raged across the crater at 32 feet per second, leaving behind gigantic ripples that are tell-tale structures familiar to scientists on Earth.

On Earth where water is found 'there is life', according to co-author Alberto G. Fairen, and on Mars four billion years ago microbial life may have developed, he said.  The close up image of rocks on Mars show changes in the bed interval including rounded coarse sand and pebble fragments suggesting water once flowed through the area.  The ripples created by flooding - also known as antidunes - are up to 30ft high and spread about 450ft apart, according to Ezat Heydari, co-author. As is the case on Earth, geological features including the work of water and wind have been frozen in time on Mars for about four billion years - they convey processes that shaped the surface of both planets in the distant past.  

In one instance that water entered Gale Crater, and when combined with water coming down from Mount Sharp in Gale Crater, produced gigantic flash floods. The antidunes seen in data from NASA Curiosity are identical to the features formed by melting ice on Earth about two million years ago, the researcher said. The water vapour and gases combined to produce a short warm and wet period that could have resulted in the development of life, researchers claim.  'The warm and wet climate persisted even after the flooding ended, but its duration cannot be determined by our study,' the team wrote in their paper. The condensation from the heat generated by the impact likely formed clouds of water vapour which created torrential rain - possibly across the planet.  An earlier study, also using data from Curiosity, revealed evidence of storms that filled lakes and rivers with rainfall on the planet - about four billion years ago. The findings have been published in the journal Scientific Reports. 

Pray that Cyclone Nivar gives rain and passes without causing harm to people and property, already under the stress of Covid 19. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Novavax vaccine trials successful in monkeys !

                                        2020 has kept humans worrying all along .. .. now the count of Corona globally is : 5,56,24,562.

The dynamics in India has been changing.  India may have seen its peak in terms of Covid-19 cases in September, with the graph resolutely pointing downwards since then, but its capital city has not been able to rest easy. That is because Delhi, after already dealing with two spikes in new cases in June and September, has in November seen its worst figures yet. On November 19, the city recorded 7,546 new cases with 98 deaths, taking the total toll to 8,041. The highest number of cases had been reported on November 11 with around 8,593 cases. That week, the city recorded an average 7,000 fresh cases daily. On November 18, Delhi recorded 131 deaths, the highest so far because of the virus.  .. .. down South, Kerala is also reporting high number of cases, after the initial hype of successful control.

People react differently.  A week or so ago,  German police fired water cannon during an anti-lockdown rally in Frankfurt and eventually broke up the gathering as rules like wearing masks and socially distancing were not observed.  In Australia,  South Australia began a six-day lockdown with strictest restrictions in place. State Premier Steven Marshall said that lockdown is necessary to prevent the virus from spreading. The lockdown imposed by South Australia, is being considered as one of the strictest lockdowns as only one person from a household will be allowed to leave home each day and that too for essential reasons. … while Germany has 27,82,114 – the total number of people affected in Australia is 9,27,990.

India entered nineties – now the total is 90,95,806 though the live cases are much lower.  Maharashtra continues to be on top with 1774455; followed by Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.

The World now awaits vaccines with bated breathe. Trial successes from Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. have buoyed hopes that a Covid-19 vaccine is coming soon. But much of the world, outside of rich nations like the U.S., is counting on another company’s shot to escape the crisis. Findings from the final stage of AstraZeneca Plc’s vaccine studies are due to be released shortly, and the stakes for lower- and middle-income nations are immense. The shot developed with the University of Oxford accounts for more than 40% of the supplies going to those countries, based on deals tracked by London-based research firm Airfinity Ltd.  Astra vaccine costs a fraction of the price set by Pfizer and will be manufactured in multiple countries, from India to Brazil. It should be easier to deploy far and wide than other shots that need to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures. But if the U.K. partners can’t match the lofty efficacy levels Pfizer and Moderna delivered or roll out their inoculation quickly, the pandemic might continue spreading death and disease in countries relying on it.

The movie ‘Dasavatharam’ was all about a bio-synthetic virus developed in US lab for experimentation.  The extremely hazardous, superfast replicating virus contained in a vial would be consumed by a lab-monkey, ‘Anu’ which would bleed to death and Scientists would contain the spread with  Sodium Chloride (NaCl) – experimentation for the benefit of humans on a ‘monkey’.  Monkey is a common name that may refer to groups or species of mammals, in part, the simians of infraorder Simiiformes. The term is applied descriptively to groups of primates, such as families of New World monkeys and Old World monkeys. Many monkey species are tree-dwelling (arboreal), although there are species that live primarily on the ground, such as baboons.    The rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) is a species of Old World monkey. It is listed as least concern in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and lives  close to human settlements.

Not many would have read fully of - Novavax Inc stating a week or so ago, that  it is on track to begin a delayed US-based late-stage study of its experimental coronavirus vaccine later this month. The company also said the vaccine, NVX-CoV2373, had gained the US Food and Drug Administration's "fast-track" status and that expected data from the trial could support US authorization and approval. Novavax, which is testing the drug in a late-stage study in the UK, last month postponed the start of the U.S. trial by roughly a month, due to delays in scaling up the manufacturing process.  Novavax, Inc. is an American vaccine development company headquartered in Gaithersburg, Maryland, with additional facilities in Rockville, Maryland and Uppsala, Sweden.  

Now comes the encouraging news that a  company in the global race to produce a Covid-19 vaccine has raised hopes that its jab could stop humans spreading the virus to each other following successful trials in monkeys. Novavax told The Mail on Sunday that its vaccine 'prevented infection' between rhesus macaque monkeys in testing. The US pharmaceuticals firm is now going to study whether the vaccine could have the same effect in the human population – potentially helping to bring the pandemic to an end.  'If it happens in humans, that would be the dream scenario for a vaccine,' said Dr Gregory Glenn, president of research and development at Novavax.

Scientists last night described the breakthrough as 'exciting' but urged caution, warning of significant differences between the way viruses work in trials on monkeys and in human populations. The race to produce the earliest and most effective vaccine is reaching fever pitch, with a major announcement on trials by Britain's AstraZeneca and Oxford University expected within days. The promising results so far from US giants Pfizer and Moderna show their jabs should protect people from falling ill – but there is insufficient data on whether they stop the spread of Covid to others.  If asymptomatic people who have received a vaccine are still able to infect others, the virus could keep spreading. 

After a successful trial on mice, Novavax gave a dozen rhesus macaque monkeys two doses of its vaccine of varying strengths three weeks apart before infecting them with Covid. The virus did not make most of the animals sick as it did not appear in their noses. It only replicated in the lungs of one monkey, which received the lowest dose of the vaccine. That monkey fought off the infection in four days. Dr Glenn said the antibodies created by the vaccine had been 'so strong', they had created 'sterile immunity' – preventing the virus moving from the monkey's lungs to its nose and stopping the animals spreading Covid. The US pharmaceuticals firm is now going to study whether the vaccine could have the same effect in the human population. Monkeys are commonly used in US vaccine and drug studies and typically represent the last step before human clinical trials.  

The Novavax vaccine is being trialled in humans across the UK. The company initially began testing 9,000 people – including broadcaster Adrian Chiles, who has written about finding the experience 'weirdly fulfilling' – and is expanding the late-stage trial to 15,000 people. Initial results are expected early next year or potentially sooner. Danny Altmann, a professor of immunology at Imperial College London, said the data on Novavax's trial was keenly awaited by scientists. He added: 'Human life is much more variable than a macaque monkey study in a lab, because we're all being infected with different doses all the time, whether you're standing in the supermarket queue or the pub. 'You don't know how it's going to play out in real life, but it's pretty exciting.'

Maryland-based Novavax, which has received funding from Microsoft founder Bill Gates' foundation and the US Government, was founded in 1987 and is relatively small compared to its vaccine rivals. It has never before brought a vaccine to market.  The UK has committed to 60 million doses of the Novavax vaccine, which will be produced at Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies in County Durham.

Interesting ! 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar


Saturday, November 21, 2020

Global cases of Covid 19 go up .. .. some products claim to kill 99.5% of germs and Corona virus !!

As the World struggles to grapple with Covid 19 crisis, some companies have had their sales going up by advertising that their products kill 99% germs and protects from Corona virus !!  .. .. how were they able to identify, analyse the virus and create a product that could kill the dreaded virus ! .. a shop in Ahmedabad – have you seen anything similar in Chennai, sadly I have not !

In India, from (Mumbai / Chennai / Delhi – in early months) – the State tally has changed drastically.  Maharashtra has most victims at 1768695; followed by Karnataka 8.69 lakhs; Andhra Pradesh 8.59; Tamil Nadu 7.66; Kerala 5.51; Uttar Pradesh 5.21; Delhi 5.17; West Bengal 4.49; Odisha 3.12 & Telengana 2.62 – and those with conscience would recall what was read and written during June / July – on how Kerala has succeeded, how Arvind Kejriwal has acted and .. .. how Uttar Pradesh has failed !  .. .. .. sad, the statistics and worser still the media.

Covid-19 is spreading faster than ever before in the United States, with hospitals in some states running at capacity. The country is now in the same situation that France, Belgium and the Czech Republic were last month, when rapidly rising infections put their health care systems within weeks of failure. Now European media is touting that the European countries have managed to avert, for now, the worst-case scenario, in which people die because hospitals are full and they can't access the care they need to survive. They slowed down the epidemics by imposing lockdowns and strict mask mandates. (full praise to Indian Govt for their early action, lockdown, controlling movements and controlling epidemic in a Nation of 130 crore people).  The United States passed 11 million total coronavirus cases on Sunday, and its caseload has now soared past 12 million. New daily cases are approaching 200,000: on Friday, the country recorded more than 198,500, a record. As the nation reconsiders the usual winter holiday travel and cozy indoor gatherings, new cases are being reported at an unrelenting clip. The seven-day average has exceeded 100,000 cases a day every day for the last two weeks, according to a New York Times database. The latest virus surge began accelerating across much of the country in mid-October. It took just over two weeks for the nation to go from eight million cases to nine million on Oct. 30; going from nine to 10 million took only 10 days. From 10 million to 11 million took just under seven days.

The drug maker Pfizer said on Friday that it had submitted an application to the Food and Drug Administration to authorize its coronavirus vaccine for emergency use, setting in motion an accelerated regulatory process that could allow the first Americans to get a vaccine by the middle of December. Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech, announced on Wednesday that the vaccine was safe and 95 percent effective, and that it also worked well in older people and in preventing severe Covid-19. Another front-runner, Moderna, said on Monday that its vaccine, which uses similar technology, was 94.5 percent effective and that the company also expected to apply soon for emergency authorization.

In India, detergents, sanitizers, hand-wash, soap and other products have hit the ceiling with new highs.  Established about 80 years ago, Dettol was initially used in hospitals for cleaning and disinfection of skin at the time of surgeries and its related procedures.  People trust the product blindly and consider it as one of the best germ killers.  A few drops of Dettol now gets added to bathing water, cleaning floors and every other activity.  I bathe in dettol dropped water !! There are other competitors with similar products including Lizol,  Savlon, Himalaya, Dabur, Boroplus .. .. out of curiosity, read that Dettol Antiseptic liquid comprises of chloroxylenol, Terpinelol & absolute alcohol antiseptic liquid.  Dabur also has a similar product – chlorhexdine glucomate & cetrimide antiseptic solution

Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) firms are raising the supply of personal care and hygiene brands, and doubling down marketing efforts amid a surge in demand for products spurred by the rise in the number of positive Covid-19 cases detected in India. Global FMCG major Unilever on Saturday said it will bring to India its mouthwash formulation, which, it claims, will reduce 99.9% of coronavirus after 30 seconds of rinsing. “Unilever claims  that preliminary lab test results show that mouthwash formulation containing CPC Technology reduces 99.9% of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, after 30 seconds of rinsing,” the company said in a statement. The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose, which has been detected before, during, and after the acute phase of illness, as well as in asymptomatic cases.

With Gujarat witnessing a rise in Covid-19 cases, the government has decided to impose night curfew in Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot from Saturday. During the curfew, essential services such as medical shops, hospitals, clinics, dairy booths and petroleum/CNG pumps will remain open.  Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government is toying with the idea of suspending train and flight operations to and from Delhi in view of the rising coronavirus cases in the national capital, PTI quoted a senior official said.  

India’s COVID-19 caseload rose to 90.50 lakh, while the number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to over 84.78 lakh pushing the national recovery rate to 93.67 per cent, according to the Union Health Ministry data on Saturday.  The number of active cases remained below five lakh for the eleventh consecutive day.  As the number of coronavirus cases is on the rise in Delhi, the national capital recorded the second highest death toll in the past 24 hours on Saturday (November 21, 2020).  According to health bulletin released by Delhi, at least 118 people have succumbed to the COVID-19 infection in the last 24 hours. The highest single-day death toll is 131.

Delhi High Court on Thursday pulled up Kejriwal government for its flip-flop on the cap on the number of wedding attendees in the wake of a fresh wave of the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the city. Why did you ou wait for 18 days to restrict the number of attendees at weddings? How many died of Covid-19 during this period?" the high court also asked the Delhi government, according to news agency PTI. The court also noted that the quantum of fine for not wearing masks and not maintaining social distancing does not appear to be a deterrent. Delhi on Tuesday restricted the number of people allowed at weddings from 200 to 50 amid a surge in coronavirus cases. A bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad also slammed the Delhi government for their delay in introducing measures to curb the virus spread. The bench noted that statements made by the Delhi government to the media were contrary to the submissions they made in the High Court. Pointing out at the ministers had mentioned that the third wave of the Coronavirus had reached its peak and the daily number of cases were declining, however, the same 'is not reflected' in the daily tally.  The two-judge bench also warned the advocates representing the Delhi government that they could take judicial note of the statements made by the ministers in media. Moreover, it questioned the Delhi government over its preparedness to deal with rising in the number of deaths and required arrangements to cremate or bury.  The High Court bench has directed the AAP government to file a status report before November 26, indicating the funeral/burial arrangements, increase of ICU beds in its hospitals by an additional number of 663 and number of care homes for accommodating those who cannot home quarantine themselves. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

game of Chess in spotlight !

For a month or so till 10th of November 2020, it was exciting to watch IPL matches – and now we look forward to Indians downunder .. .. various cricketers in the last few weeks have spoken about how difficult it is to stay in Bio-Bubble for long durations. Now Indian cricket team players have also joined the list. Indian cricket team is currently staying in a bio-bubble in Australia where neither they are allowed to mingle around, move outside or dine together. Most of the members of the Indian cricket team were earlier in IPL 2020’s Bio-Bubble for 3 months and from Dubai were directly transported to Bio-Bubble in Sydney.  .. .. the standard Q is not there other Sports – why attach so much of importance to Cricket.]

Something on Chess !  .. .. do you know the first Chess player to receive National honours was -  Anupama Gokhale (born Anupama Abhyankar. She won the Indian Women's Championship five times (1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, and 1997) and the Asian Women's Championship twice (1985 and 1987).  Gokhale was the recipient of the Padma Shri Award in 1986  and the Arjuna Award in 1990. She is the youngest Padma Shri awardee, being only 16 years old when she received it. She is married to Dronacharya Award winner Raghunandan Gokhale, a chess player himself.   

A few months ago, G Akash was confirmed as a Grandmaster by FIDE, the world chess governing body. That the feat didn't cause much of a ripple even in a time starved of sports-news was down partly to chess's niche status, but also because of this: an Indian becoming Grandmaster, while still as prestigious and commendable, was no longer extraordinary or unusual. In Akash, India now had its 66th GM.  It took two decades for India's Grandmaster count to go from 1 (when Viswanathan Anand became the country's first GM, in 1988) to 20. By contrast, there have been 21 new GMs in the last three years, eight of them between ages 10 and 19.  Amongst Indian chess players there are 66 Grandmasters, 125 International Masters, 20 Woman Grandmasters, and 42 Woman International Masters, and a total of 33,028 rated players, as of September 2020 according to FIDE, the International Chess Federation.

Away, in Western World, Chess is finally having a moment in the spotlight thanks to Netflix's hit drama The Queen's Gambit, which sees the fictional prodigy Beth prove players can be sexy and fashionable. But stylish contestants aren't only found on the small screen, with a real-life Woman Grandmaster revealing how she likes to bring a touch of glamour to her matches by wearing trendy dresses and headpieces as well as standout lipstick. By the age of 18, Dorsa Derakhshani, now 22, was a Woman Grandmaster and International Grandmaster, and it the highest-ranking female chess player in Iranian history.

Having taken up chess at the age of two she recently placed third in a national competition in the US, and has also been an International Chess Federation (FIDE) trainer since 2016. She is currently studying a degree in biology at Saint Louis University, Missouri, on a chess scholarship.  However, despite her love for the game, the Iranian student admits the world of chess is even more sexist than the programme suggested - with 'lots of predators' and players treating women as 'inferior', Dorsa told The Daily Telegraph.  In spite of her success, Dora’s been told ‘you can be pretty or you can play chess’, and one of her European coaches even said wearing lipstick would put her at a disadvantage during her game.  Male contestants constantly question her chess scholarship and many get annoyed when she wins.

She confessed: ‘It gets boring that they’re surprised I can beat them, as if I were still a 10-year-old girl. It doesn’t matter how much you prove you’re good as a woman, when you have a bad game they still say, “see, we knew it was going to happen”.  In The Queen's Gambit, which is set in the 1950s and 1960s, viewers witness similar sexism happening to teenage Beth as she visits her first tournament and the male players around her are in disbelief as she storms through her opponents. Beth is also constantly left baffled by the media's decision to highlight her gender rather than her chess-playing prowess. One particular scene sees Beth interviewed by a reporter for Life magazine, and she is asked what it feels like 'to be a girl…among all of those men,'  - before replying that she 'doesn't mind'. But eventually Beth finds respect, knowledge and camaraderie with the men around her.  She is helped by former opponents such as Harry Beltik (played by Harry Melling) and Benny Watts (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) when against Russian players. And even when competing in the country, which is America's fiercest competitor, she is respected by the other players, such as Grandmaster Vasily Borgov (Marcin Dorociński).

In Netflix Chess drama  -  The Queen's Gambit  - Anya Taylor-Joy plays Beth Harmon, a chess prodigy and orphan from Kentucky whose genius is never in doubt, but whose drug and drink addictions mean disaster is constantly stalking her — both on and off the board.  As well as serious themes, the seven-part series offers the escapism of glamorous locations – with tournaments in Las Vegas, Mexico City and Paris – and the delights of the period fashions of the 1950s and 1960s that play such a key role in the storytelling. Based on a 1983 book The Queen's Gambit by Walter Tevis, the show tells how Beth is brought to live at the Methuen Home for Girls after her mother, a maths professor, kills herself.  At the orphanage, the children are given tranquilliser pills, and Beth, aged eight, becomes hooked on the drug.  She also starts to play chess, taught by the janitor Mr Shaibel — working out how the pieces move herself and visualising strategies on the ceiling while others sleep. At 13, she is adopted by Alma and Allston Wheatley and starts to play in male-dominated tournaments across America, and later the world.

Dorsa Derakhshani is an Iranian chess player representing the United States since September 2017. She was awarded the titles Woman Grandmaster and International Master in 2016.   She played for the Iranian team in the women's division of the Asian Nations Cup in 2012.  The accredited FIDE journalist was a speaker at TedxTalk in Munich, Germany in July 2019.  In Feb 2017,  the Iranian Chess Federation banned Derakhshani from playing for the Iran national team or playing in any tournaments in Iran for "harming national interests", after she played in the 2017 Gibraltar Chess Festival (when she was already a temporary resident of Spain) without wearing a hijab. Her 15-year-old brother Borna, who is a FIDE Master, was also banned for playing Israeli grandmaster Alexander Huzman in the first round of the same tournament.  Following the ban, Derakhshani accepted a place at Saint Louis University to study Biology on a pre-med track, winning a scholarship to play on the Saint Louis University Chess Team.

Interesting ! 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar