Share petition · .@smritiirani: Provide counselling to students who speak out about sexual assault ·

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Why an iron fish can make you stronger - BBC News

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Cooking an Iron Fish to cure Anaemia tagged by
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Dumb TRAI makes millions of private email addresses public

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The Idiots of TRAI #NetNeutrality says
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Nepal earthquake - The Hindu

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7.8 #ritcher #earthquake shakes Nepal & parts of North India tagged by
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Not Antony Committee Report–Where did Congress go wrong

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Wednesday night the TimeNow TV telecast a Prime Time debate with the hashtag #AllNewRahul.  Watching it might make you think that pathetic media handling was the sole reason for the humiliation in the General Elections 2014 for the Congress party.  But that was not the sole reason, and we will analyse the confluence of reasons in a series starting tomorrow.

In the immediate aftermath of the 2014 General Elections, the widespread belief was that the Congress lost the elections because of the Commonwealth and 2G Scams, the controversial Coal Block allocations, and price rise in food grains.  In my opinion it is a very simplified conclusion.  The seeds for the defeat were sowed as far back as 2010, notwithstanding some new noises about it now.

Soon after the Congress constituted a committee with, who else but A.K. Antony as head to analyse the defeat, find out the reasons and chart out a plan of action.  No one knows what is in that report, except that Antony has not blamed the high command for the defeat.  Perhaps the only good to come out the report is the absence of leaks about it in the news reports.  Even without such leaks it should not be difficult to guess what is in the 2014 Antony Committee Report.  After all Shri. A.K. Antony, to my knowledge has submitted at least 3 such reports after election debacles.

The first one to my knowledge was in 1999, when the NDA won the election after their own misery of 1997.  The 1999 Antony Committee Report blamed the organisational weakness, and recommended a slew of measures including selection of candidates months before the elections, coalitions as a last resort, re-connect with educated, urban middle class, more dalit and OBC faces to re-attract their votes among others.

The second Antony Committee Report was in 2008  after the defeat in the Karnataka State Elections.  After four years, Antony was tasked with another report after the rout in the State Elections of UP, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Goa in 2012.  Goodness knows what was in those reports, and what happened to the recommendations.

Starting tomorrow we will analyse the various reasons for the Congress debacle – corruption, inflation, media-disconnect, media mishandling including leaks, hunger for power, inability to owe responsibility, over confidence, sense of entitlement, holier-than-thou and patronizing attitudes, disconnect with voters, inability to convey ideas, severely blurring the Executive-Legislature divide, frivolous policy decisions, monogamous professional representation and infighting are among the few.  An old timer who I spoke to recently speculated even internal sabotage.


The Return of Rahul Gandhi is also the most appropriate time for such an analysis.  2014 was too early, and too near the catastrophe to make meaningful reasoning.  With Rahul Gandhi away, there was no point, as things would have continued like in the times of earlier Antony Committee Reports.  If he was not going to be back, same reason.  The time is when he is back and before he makes his moves - to see how many of my independent analysis makes or breaks.
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4000 year old Indus Valley skeletons found in India

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Archaeologists digging around in Haryana, India reveal the unearthing of four human skeletons dating back to the oldest civilization in the subcontinent, and one of the oldest in the World.

The ancient civilization earlier termed Indus Valley Civilization, but now more commonly referred to as the Harappan Civilization dates back around 4,000 years and was first discovered at Mohenjo Daro in present day Pakistan in the 1920s.

The present finds have been recovered from a cemetery in the northern state of Haryana, and consist of 2 adult males, a female and a child.

Scholars believe these finds will shed new light on the Harappan people, about whom nothing much is known. The present excavation is a joint operation by archaeologists from India and South Korea at the cemetery at Rakhigarhi village in Hissar district of Haryana.

They have been at it since January 2015.

(image courtesy Manoj Dhaka / BBC)

Original report at the BBC link

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April Showers at Chennai

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After being hot and sweaty for 3 weeks or more, this Vishu Day, is a pleasant surprise for Madras, that is Chennai.  It was overcast in the morning, but later brightened up a little.  Though we have had a few drizzles over the last couple of days, it was not much.  But today is different.

A big, big Thunderstorm has moved in from Vellore and is dumping a few centimetres worth of moisture on the city.  April Showers are a rare phenomenon at Chennai and today will be one of those.

OTOH, people of Chennai have to be prepared for a spell of really hot, sweltering which usually follows up these finicky thunder storms.

Here are some snapshots of the Chennai sky before the storm burst.  Had to snap off a few quick snaps as the growling was ominous, and I suddenly realised that I was probably on (one of) the tallest structures around.

This is a view looking due North:


The is a view of the South East:


Does this little bit of April Showers mean a short bloom of May Flowers?
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Moodle for Doodle this Tamil New Year 2015

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Today, 14 April 2015, is the Tamil New Year.  Tomorrow is the Malayalam New Year or Vishu.  A unique aspect of these two days in the luni-solar calendar is that people from many more cultures celebrate their respective new year at this time.  Apart from the Tamil and the Malayali, people from Punab, Bengal, Assam, Odisha and Tulus also celebrate their New Year today or tomorrow.

It is not just people of India, but people from adjoining nations, like Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, and Kampuchea also celebrate their new year.

Google will not, did not, put up a Doodle for the Tamil New Year.  So what?  Let us have a Moodle instead.


Thus for the Tamil New Year, Vishu, Vaishaki, and for all the others people who are celebrating the New Year in Bengal, Assam, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Burma, Laos and Kampuchea – Best Wishes for a nice year ahead.

Addendum 15 Apr 2015:
Wait a moment.  Google did put up a doodle, or 3 New Year Doodles for the occasion.  Only none of them were India specific.

Songkran or the Thai and Burmese New Year on 13 Apr 2015

Khmer New Year on 14 Apr 2015

Bangladesh New Year on 14 Apr 2015

Too bad they did not put up one for the Tamil New Year, but then, we have our Moodle, do we not?

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How Dassault fooled PM Narendra Modi on Rafale

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Defence Minister Parrikar went to town how ‘oxygen’ was breathed into the Indian Air Force by signing the deal for 36, yes Thirty Six, Dassault Rafale fighters by Narendra Modi after meeting French President Francois Hollande in Paris on Friday, for about $4 billion.  The truth is Dassault, basically made a fool of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The facts are:
There was a proposal in 2006 PTI report dated 22 Feb 2006, wherein then CEO of Dassault Edelstenne (part of delegation with Jacques Chirac) to then MoS Defence Rao Inderjit Singh to sell 40 (yes Forty) Rafale's in fly-away condition - not as part of MMRCA - but as a separate deal.  []. 

Before we go into that 2006 proposal and its ramifications, the same Rao Inderjit Singh, has switched sides, and he is now part of the BJP government.  Let us for a moment keep aside the fact why that original offer was rejected.  The point is the same Rao Inderjit Singh is today, MoS (Independent Charge) of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Planning and Defence.  Yes, you read it right, he is also MoS Defence.  The point is whether Rao Inderjit Singh had informed the PM about the original 2006 offer, if so why that and the rejection was not taken into account, and even worse, if he had not done so, why?

Obviously the then PM Manmohan Singh refused to fall for it - as it would not involve any Technology Transfer or ‘Make in India’, though that phrase was not in vogue before the present PM Narendra Modi made a big hue-and-cry about it - and rejected the original Dassault offer of 40 Rafale in fly-away condition.

Now the same Dassault had offered almost the same proposal, with cost increase obviously, but other conditions like non-technology-transfer and no Make-in-India, but with only 36 as against the original 40 aircraft.

This opens up 3 disadvantages for India.
a) We are caught in the loop with Dassault and closed other options under MMRCA.  We cannot threaten to go for Eurofighter.
b) Our position has become weaker even on price and technology transfer negotiation.
c) Even within MMRCA, 1/2 to 1 squadron 20 - 40 Rafales were to be French manufacture and rest by HAL.  So now instead of only 20-40 French built, we are going to have (36+20 or 40) 56 - 76 fly-aways, and only 50 or so for HAL.

My querulous side queries, what happened to the missing FOUR from the original offer of 40.  Where did the 4 go?  Did they fly into Switzerland on the sly?  No wonder the PM is saluting the French.

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Tamil New Year, Mesha Ravi Tharpanam 2015 procedure in Tamil

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The new Tamil Year will bring us cheer on 14 April 2015.  It is also the practice to perform the Mesha Ravi Tharpanam on the day.  In 2015 the Tamil New Year commences at 12:17 IST on 14 April 2015, so the Tharpanam should be performed before that time.

As usual the procedure for Tharpanam as PDF and EPUB are uploaded, along with the shortest procedure for those who do not know all the details, yet do want to perform the Tharpanam.

Here is the screenshot of the Sankalpam in FB Reader on the desktop.


PDF: Mesha Ravi Tharpanam on Tamil New Year 2015 – PDF file [ download link ] ~140 KB
EPUB: Mesha Ravi Tharpanam on Tamil New Year 2015 – EPUB file [ download link ] ~ 72 KB
SHORT [Not for normal users] Mesha Ravi Tharpanam SHORT – PDF file [ download ] ~108 KB
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