In a world of materialism it is not difficult for NRIs to seek a bride or bridegroom in India. Related Items
In a world of materialism it is not difficult for NRIs to seek a bride or bridegroom in India. Related Items
Staffing crisis at United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) does not seem to be getting over soon. Now, the NHS is planning to recruit more than 600 nurses from the Philippines and India to plug the shortage of staff in Northern Ireland, according to an announcement made on Jan. 15.A shortage of medical staff is being felt all over Europe. Across the United Kingdom, there is a reported shortage of 40,000 nurses. In Northern Ireland, the shortfall is said to be 1,500. In view of current crisis, Charlotte McArdle, Northern Ireland’s chief nursing officer, was quoted in media reports as saying that a decision has been taken to launch an overseas recruitment program.“Through that program we are hoping to recruit 622 nurses, mainly from the Philippines, with some from India, by 2020. We have a history with the Philippines, and to a lesser extent India, from the last shortage around 2000,” she said, the Tribune reported.“We are running with just under 10 per cent vacancy levels. In the context of Northern Ireland we have probably in the region of between 15,000 and 17,000 posts and about 1,500 vacancies,” she added. “That is significant, but in the context of what is happening around us, it certainly isn’t as bad as what would be happening in England or the Republic of Ireland and it is probably on a par with Scotland and Wales. This year is going to be difficult in terms of nurse recruitment.”McArdle emphasized that getting nurses in from overseas was only an temporary measure to wade through the difficult years. “The answer for us is to grow our own workforce,” she said. “We can’t be reliant on other places to do that for us. The overseas program is an interim step to help balance things while we get to the other side.”The NHS crisis was pushed to the forefront with Brexit, as almost 10,000 nurses quit after the referendum.This winter, a flu outbreak and amid shortage of staff is making things worse, and hospitals in the United Kingdom have announced “black alerts,” a sign that they were unable to deliver comprehensive care.With non-urgent surgeries postponed and patients having to wait more than 12 hours in emergency wards before being attended to, undergraduate medical students are being asked to volunteer to help through the crisis, the Guardian reported. Medical schools are asking fourth- and fifth-year students for urgent assistance at nearby hospitals and GP surgeries, it added. Related ItemsEmploymentMedicineUnited Kingdom
If you are contemplating a good travel destination, going to see an old tree would definitely classify a curious one. May be not to a tree expert, or a naturalist or even a historian, but ordinary tourist travelling a good 103 kms from the city limits to view of all the things, a tree?This is precisely what my family and I did when we visited India last summer. I have often heard that the oldest and world famous Banyan trees are found in India and the one that I intended to visit was close to Mahbubnagar, a town in Andhra Pradesh, around 103 kms away from Hyderabad. It was a hot Saturday morning in July with temperature hovering at 40 degrees C when we set out. The air is thick with dust and heat as our driver maneuvers the city traffic that follow its own rules of the road and speeds his way out of the city limits. One of the major means of communication in Indian transportation is the horn. In America, only cities like New York share this special privilege, but in India it is almost your birthright and a vital test of your driving skills. Needless to say, our driver used it skillfully and sometimes annoyingly, making no allowance for our eardrums. To reach this famous banyan tree, we had to take a small detour from the city of Mahbunagar.The tree is called Pillalamarri. Pillalu means children and Marri means Banyan tree in Telugu.The tree is more than 700 years old and it covers an area of 3 acres. We drove down an uneven road in the dusty countryside in the blistering hot sun. There are few signs leading to this place. So you have to constantly stop and ask one of the roadside stalls the directions to Pillalamari.We reached at almost noon time and it was mostly quiet here, with very few visitors and an occasional call of a chirpy bird and the sound of the whiff of wind that came as a respite form the hot sun. The path opened up at an eroded spot beneath a grove of trees that had an enclosing around it. From that vantage point, we stopped there to gulp down some water and enjoy the gentle winds gusts that swept across.After the short respite, we walked through the canopy marveling at the beauty of this single tree that seemed so monumental. Where did it begin and where did it end? We had no clue. It was an amazing sight to see the branches touch the earth almost as if in obeisance and shoot toward the sky the next moment. Dried needles from the trees carpeted the ground, cushioning our feet.There were barely one or two people around, and an old village lady walked up to us and acted as an impromptu guide. Speaking in the local dialect. which had a hard time grasping, we nevertheless learnt that the tree had a legend behind it, which gave it its name. We walked under this sunlight-shielding canopy of trees and vegetation. At one spot, a shrine of a Muslim saint sits in the shadow of the huge banyan tree with vines intertwined so tightly that they appear like the kind of thick rope used to secure ships. You are transported to Rudyard Kipling’s Mowgli tales, swinging through branches. It is believed that this area alone can accommodate as many as 1,000 people.From my research, I found out the Banyan tree (Ficus Bengalensis) has a remarkable method of growth. As it puts down roots, the trunk shoots up and branches spread out. The branches stretch and bend almost touching the ground. These then grow into the ground to become roots. Roots then pump sap up and act as support and again strut out branches. In this way it keeps growing outward and the tree expands to form a small wood or even a forest under its massive canopy or umbrella. The host tree almost loses its identity as the banyan sends out roots and branches. It is said that a mature Banyan’s canopy can cover more than 1,000 feet in diameter. The banyan also has legendary, mythological and cultural significance in many cultures. So it is in India. I remember as a young child visiting temples and often finding rest and shade under its huge Boughs.In Hindu mythology, the tree is called Kalpavriksha, the tree that fulfill all your wishes. It is also called Bhaupada, the one with several feet or many footed one. And of course our various mythological tales and religious texts talk about how many Hindu sages and as well Buddhist monks have sought the meaning of life and attained nirvana under the Banyan tree.The most popular and delightful folk tale is the one of the three good friends, a monkey, an elephant and a partridge who lived under the great banyan tree in the Himalayas. After living in a world of chaos they decide they needed a leader and the partridge emerged the winner. How? His answer to the question on how well he knew the banyan tree was “”long ago there grew another great banyan tree far from here. I used to eat the fruits of that great tree. It was I who carried seeds to this spot and left them here in my droppings. From one of those seeds, this great tree grew. I knew this tree before it was born!” The other two were convinced and so they all sang Bishop Heber (1825) was so impressed by the sight of this tree that he exclaimed: “What a noble place of worship”. Travelers’ tales even inspired the great English poet Milton to give description of the banyan tree in Paradise Lost in the following lines.The fig-tree at this day to Indians knownIn Malabar or Deccan, spreads her arms,High over-arched and echoing walks between.”Branching so broad and long, that on the groundThe bended twigs take root, and daughters growAbout the mother tree, a pillar’d shadeAs Seneca (1st century AD) remarked, “If you come upon a grove of old trees that have lifted up their crowns above the common height and shut out the light of the sky by the darkness of their interlacing boughs, you feel that there is a spirit in the place, so lofty is the wood, so lone the spot, so wondrous the thick unbroken shade.”Standing under the banyan tree at that moment, I could feel the echo of his words. Related Items
Wherever they might live, Indians are very passionate and sensitive about their food. Whether it is Mr. Singh’s juicy chicken tikka masala or Mrs. Iyer’s perfectly puffed idlis, all believe they have the last word when it comes to food.Over the years, the idli and chicken curry have found their way out of the restrictive confines of purists and are mixing well in urban homes. This new-found fusion is reigniting the Indian love affair with food in Indian metros.The 21st century Indian professional is a global citizen. Well read, well travelled and yes, well fed! She knows her blue cheese from a feta, pita bread from a naan, dim sum from a momo. These up-worldly mobile Indians do not shy away from asking for New World Wines with specific harvesting years nor are they insensitive to subtle flavors like truffle oil, asparagus foam or recognizing the robust overtones of a genuine Thai bird eye chilli and galangal.Pinky M. Padmaraj, manager, marketing and communications, at The Oberoi, Bangalore, says that whenever her hotel plans a promotion or menu, chefs do extensive research on sourcing the right ingredient, instruments and presentation as their diners have become “more erudite on food, detailed in their appreciation and criticism, not to forget rightfully discerning when it comes to their palate.”Young urban Indians have opened their kitchen to global tastes, a trend increasingly stoked by expats, returning NRIs and corporate executives. They are happy to experiment with new ingredients, which has led to a boom in the Indian food industry, from the launch of global cuisine restaurants, gourmet stores that stock up on products and produce that one only read about just a few years ago, to international food magazines, food festivals, and TV shows. These influences, in turn are subtly dictating how urban, nuclear families cook and eat.The Krishnamoorty family of five spent this summer vacation holidaying at a farm in Coonor, a hill station in the Nilgiris. The idea was to bond over farming, cooking and eating. “We’ve done the five-star holiday route many times. We wanted the entire family to be involved in a single activity and have fun doing it,” says Shiela Krishnamooorty, whose husband is a chief operating officer at a multi-national firm. She felt cooking was the obvious choice since her pre-teen and teenage children loved baking.The Wild Acres Farm, run by one-time successful Bollywood director Mansoor Khan, encourages such family visits. Khan himself leads the class on bread making, right from preparing the dough mixture to setting the temperature in the oven.The family eagerly took turns kneading the dough, learning about different kinds of yeast that work best to create the perfect loaf, and finally baking the mixture. Their joy was doubled at breakfast when the guests were served the bread with farm-made cheese, jams and preserves.It is no surprise then that contents of the grocery shopping bags are changing rapidly. The synthetic Mozzarella is slowly being replaced with the sharp-flavored Parmesan. Broccoli is favored over the traditional cauliflower, and bell peppers are adding more than just color as toast toppers.Enterprising moms are ditching the ready-made pizza breads (that life-saver to rustle up temptation in a stubborn child) to rolling their own pizza dough.What’s more they do not have to look far for help. Just switch on the television and a whole army of celebrated chefs are at your disposal with shows catering to every range of Indian and global cuisines.The more discerning gourmet is happy to shell out Rs 100 ($2) to leaf through BBC’s Good Food Magazine. Its India edition was launched last year and many are already addicted to it. There’s a veritable explosion in the media to satisfy this gluttony. Food magazines like Upper Crust, Food and Nightlife Magazine, Food Lovers, innumerable food blogs, Facebook pages dedicated to discussing recipes and new restaurants… the list is endless. But what clearly whipped up a creamy storm of sorts a few years ago was the Master Chef Australia TV series. The cook-off between contestants coupled with the endearing judges and presenters of the show glued not just individual foodies, but whole families to their sofas.Such was the response that advertisers were quick to grab their share of this enticing pie, and Master Chef India was served up in style. The second edition saw award-winning Michelin Starred Indian chef and food writer Vikas Khanna anchoring the show. The New York-based chef won many hearts with his ready smile and helpful tips on cooking. According to Manu Chandra, executive chef at Olive Beach, Bangalore, and Olive Bar and Kitchen, Mumbai: “Food shows have always been popular in India; it is after all one of the most tangible things to watch on TV. With the increasing popularity of western shows, food went from being merely tangible to drama. The competing nature, the edit cuts, the sound effects and the constant feedback (read reality show) combined with a very safe and approachable subject probably gave rise to its popularity.”Adds Sabitha J of Sorbet, a gourmet store which opened shop two years ago in Bangalore, and recently launched another branch in a different neighbourhood: “Our customers are all passionate foodies and come searching for new products and ingredients. However, we also have kids coming in with their ingredient list to pick stuff in the hope that they can replicate a dish from the previous night’s show.”While throwing a kid’s birthday party at a fast food joint was considered the “in” thing two years ago, today to play the big league, families are organizing “make-your-own-pizza” party where children get to bake what they eat complete with a chef’s cap!Tejaswi Uthappa, a Bangalore homemaker, who travels to her London home every summer, had organized a Master Chef birthday party for her son Crish when he turned nine. “Excluding the birthday cake, the kids made their own food. Each child was handed a personalized apron that carried the party logo. The little chefs were given a master class on cup cake decoration where they learnt to make sugar art and decorate their pre-baked cup cakes,” Tejaswi eagerly shares all the details.She also laid out a complete bar of food ingredients like chopped veggies, grated cheese, cold meats, fruits, sauces, spreads, cooked pasta, pizza bases and bread. Each child made a sandwich, a pasta dish and a pizza with the ingredients of their choice.“They had a ball! I have never picked up cleaner plates at the end of a party before,” confesses Tejaswi. And by virtue of being the birthday boy, Crish was the preordained Master Chef.A few years ago, the idea of a Master Chef party may not have gone down well with Tejaswi’s guests. Imagine sending your kid to a party where they have to cook what they eat! But such has been the appeal of international TV food shows that her party was a success even before it had begun.Shivakumar Kandaswamy, managing director, Weber India, says: “Global food has entered our kitchen through the television and no one is complaining!” According to him, though the hospitality industry is Weber’s main client, it is now targeting consumers (end-users) with a lifestyle tag attached to it. “Licence to Grill,” a social event organized by Weber every month, hopes to capitalize on this new-found love for good food, especially in cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. The idea behind the License to Grill sessions is to popularize barbecue grilling, promote healthy eating and share tips and recipes with barbecue enthusiasts and help them find a space in their own kitchen, terrace, backyard and gardens for barbecue parties.Shilarna Vaz, who ran a successful restaurant in Goa, moved to Mumbai last year to supply gourmet meals. It is a decision that she has not regretted as her client list that includes people who are obsessed with good food, corporate lunches, shoots for advertising production houses and sushi lovers, keeps growing every month. “The idea is to have restaurant quality food served fresh from your kitchen,” she says, adding, “I think our cities need to grow and evolve to include this growing demand of world cuisine and more importantly authentic good food.”“India is a big market, there is no doubting that. Youth often become the drivers of trends owing to their willingness to break out of an established mould. Pasta will be cooked at home because they want to have that for Sunday dinner, forcing the mother to learn to cook it,” says Manu Chandra.Chef Chandra, who regularly conducts “kids’ day in” cooking sessions at his Mediterranean theme gourmet restaurant, says, “I’ve actually quite enjoyed watching the kids turn into little food aficionados over the last seven years. There were children that came with their parents for dinner and are returning with dates as teens. Their orders are remarkable for a teenager. It’s the grooming they have been through that defines their taste buds today.”Chandra says he cannot even begin to relate how successful the “kids day in” was. “For a child to create something they can eat from scratch is as much an achievement as winning a race. I believe the interest has always existed; there just seems to be more opportunity to partake in it,” he says.The Institute of Baking and Cake Art, Bangalore, is another place where many young people get opportunities to indulge their love for baking. Manish Gaur, director of the institute, says: “The average profile of people coming to learn baking is anywhere from 8 years to 60 plus. Though the majority of our students are women there is an interesting phenomenon where a lot of boys in the age group of 12 to 15 years are passionately interested in baking.” Gaur cites innovation in cooking gadgets and easy availability of the equipment in India as important factors contributing to new converts to the kitchen.It would have been expensive and difficult for Tejaswi to organize her son’s Master Chef party even five years ago. Today, people like her just have to take a short walk to the neighborhood gourmet store or look up an online gourmet store.“We have some high-profile customers who swear by our store because they always get what they are looking for,” says Sabitha of Sorbet. The brain child of Sandiip Khanna, an avid food lover himself, Sorbet offers top of the line products and produce from cold cuts, meat, sauces, dips, and pasta to low fat and sugar free products.Online stores like the Gourmet Company are building consumer appetites with exclusive products like Inspiration Tea, Happiness Tea, Blackberry Apple Jam and Apple & Mint Dressing. “We want to bring the best food brands to consumers across India at affordable prices,” says Neerja Mittersain, co-founder of Gourmet Company.The online store currently features nearly 400 gourmet food products ranging from flowering teas and rare coffees to pastas and even Mediterranean food ingredients.Recently, the company tied up with two international food brands, Today Was Fun and Kitchen Garden Preserves, to bring their range of teas and preserves to the Indian market.As Chef Manu Chandra adds, “I find that a lot of Indians have opened up their minds and taste buds to international flavors and concepts. They are often fairly predictable with it, that is, they tread a safe line even while experimenting, but it all takes time. Spaghetti in Meatball was the epitome of good Italian food in the US in the late seventies, by the early nineties however the story was very different. We’re getting there.” Related Items
From this September, students in Harvard University are set to study Indian epics Mahabharata and Ramayana. The course, titled “Indian religions Through Their Narrative Literatures: The Epics” will be taught by Anne E Monius, who is the Professor of South Asian Religions at the University. According to media reports, the course will, through the stories, examine religious traditions and communities of South Asia.The course description, according to Professor Anne E Monius, states that it will study Indian religions from poetic visions of Vyasa and Valmiki to modern performances of the epics in urban street theatres and television serials.Wealth of Narrative LiteratureRamayana is a narrative poem of about 25,000 slokas divided into seven kandas. Mahabharata is the longest poem ever written— it contains around 100,000 verses and is divided into eighteen parvan. Bhagavad Gita forms part of it. Interestingly, according to scholar Wendy Doniger, Bhagavad Gita was the first book to be translated from Sanskrit to English in British period and gained increasing global attention because of it.The Indian epics are long and complex narratives that speak to virtually every aspect of human experience. While the Mahabharata is a sobering tale of cataclysmic war and loss, the Ramayana is one of India’s great love stories,” said Professor MoniusAccording to her, scholars have studied these texts over a century as spiritual and philosophical texts while ignoring the larger wealth of narrative literature from the sub-continent.Transcending Boundaries of GenresWhich is why the course is not going to limit itself to Sanskrit texts but will further explore dance performances, shadow puppet plays, modern fictional retellings and televised renditions of the stories. She says, “The two epics easily transcend boundaries of genres both in history and today.”Once the course is over, she believes that her students would be able to develop varied prisms with which to examine the different practices and traditions of “Hinduism.”The move by Harvard University was appreciated by Hindu support groups that requested that other universities like Oxford, Princeton, Cambridge, Stanford to follow suit and offer Hinduism focused classes reported The India England News.Highlighting the intellectual wealth of the religious texts Indian Politician Shashi Tharoor had proposed of teaching them as literature in India, during an interview last year. “Instead of teaching epics Ramayana and Mahabharata like religious texts, they should be introduced as literature. The wisdom of these ancient texts could be employed to heal religious divides,” Tharoor said speaking to New Indian Express.“Teach Shakespeare but give equal importance to the works of Sanskrit poet and playwright Kalidasa, who was no less a writer than any other greats of the world. The omission of an indigenous maestro like Kalidasa from curriculums would be depriving the young generation of a part of their culture and identity” Related Items
Indian technical professional Hari Sudhan, who was reported missing in Helsinki earlier this month, has been confirmed dead. The dead body of Sudhan was found in the sea off Hernessari beach by the local police, Vani Rao, the Indian ambassador to Finland, said.“The Helsinki police found a body in the sea yesterday and identified it as that of Shri Hari [employed with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)]. Their investigations are ongoing,” said Rao in a message, the Times of India reported.Rao added that the Indian embassy is in regular touch with the family of the deceased and TCS to help them fulfill all formalities at this time of distress.The Finnish Police informed the Indian embassy that the investigation in this case has been handed over to a special team specialized in investigating serious crimes.TCS Mourns Hari Sudhan’s DeathMore than 500 people working for TCS in Finland are shocked after this incident.“We are devastated by the incident, and wish to express our deepest condolences to his family and friends. As this is a matter for the Finnish police to investigate and also out of respect for the family we are not in a position to discuss the topic in any further detail. We are in contact with the associate’s family all help and to work out any necessary arrangements,” TCS spokesperson quoted the Times of India as saying.Hari reached Finland in 2016, and was working with TCS in the financial domain.Mystery DeepensHelsinki Police also released the last photograph of Hari Sudhan on Fredrikinkatu in central Helsinki, which was taken at around 5.40pm on Sept. 8. In the photograph, he is seen walking towards his home at Kalevankatu. His phone was last located on the same day at 06.45pm in Hernesaari.The deceased’s father Balakanna had earlier said that Sudhan contacted his mother on the evening of Sept. 8. He added that Sudhan had the habit of going for small trips on the weekends, but he did not return on Monday. Following Sudhan’s absence, TCS employees informed the embassy on Sept. 10, and a complaint was filed the next day. Related ItemsFinland TCS techieHari Sudhan Indian techieHelsinki Indian deadIndian techie dead FinlandLittle IndiaTCS techie dead
Flanked by Azad (left) and Gundu Rao, Rajiv is led in a cheering procession to town: a reunion of old friendsIt was democracy – Congress style. The ‘decisions’ were all taken earlier, the ‘choice’ had really been made – it only needed a crowd to put a ritualistic seal of,Flanked by Azad (left) and Gundu Rao, Rajiv is led in a cheering procession to town: a reunion of old friendsIt was democracy – Congress style. The ‘decisions’ were all taken earlier, the ‘choice’ had really been made – it only needed a crowd to put a ritualistic seal of approval, to punctuate the pre-programmed computer-tape with a few ‘live’ cheers. No issue was at stake; no programme needed to be thrashed out.Of course it could not have been otherwise in the Congress(I), a party which is free to choose its leader only from one family. In a whole decade, the party had witnessed no internal election, no conference to sort out issues through open debates. It meets only to rubber-stamp decisions taken at the top.The eye-catching pageantry at Bangalore made debates and disagreements irrelevant. The 50-feet paper board cut-out of Sanjay flanked by those of his mother, brother and Man Friday Gundu Rao, the weighty Karnataka chief minister scowled hard at the busy traffic down Queen’s Circle. Along the 12-kilometre route from airport to city, loudspeakers blared forth taped greetings of ‘Rajiv Gandhi Zindabad’. By all reckoning political sycophancy had come of age.No Santa Claus could have offered so much allurement, loaded in one stocking, to the late Sanjay Gandhi’s pocket borough, the Indian Youth Congress(I). In one blockbuster national convention, the first in the ’80s so far, the long-forgotten ‘Sanjay brigade’ leapt back into the glare of the arc-lamps.To the 40,000 delegates who thronged the convention arena at the lavishly decorated Bangalore palace grounds, renamed Sanjay Nagar, it was like a reunion of old school buddies; the months in the wilderness, when they had drifted apart, could do nothing to undermine the school badge and the school colour. They only needed to sing ‘auld lang syne’ to the popping of champagne corks.Rajiv alighted at the airport to a flourish of the traditional Kerala drum, was greeted by a bevy of 11 Kannada beauties (the number is auspicious), donned a turban, sported a tilak and graciously waved away a float sent to fetch him by Rao’s alter ego F. M. Khan and decorated – thoughtfully – like an aircraft. “Making a leader to order”: the Indian Express headlined a stinging editorial-page article on the convention.advertisementSuccession Drama: For the faithful, it was yet another apostolic succession. Said Ghulam Nabi Azad, 33, the cherub-faced president of the organisation, and the party’s man of the times: “It is in the fitness of things that Rajivji has agreed to lead our organisation after Sanjayji. This will help us in fulfilling the unfinished tasks of Sanjayji.” -4 cut-out of Sanja) totrers over the delegates: return of the faithfulThe declared tasks include Sanjay’s Five-Point Programme with one rider piggybacking on the Boy Scout chore – blood donation camps. However, the undeclared task of the convention was to reactivate the nine-day wonder of youth power to launch Rajiv to a safe and high orbit.There was no dearth of men willing to play the chorus to the glittering succession drama. Nor was there any lack of nostalgic throw-backs to the 1976 Gauhati session of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) where the younger ‘son’ rose, “stealing”, as the mother then said, the party’s “thunder”-or whatever was left of the thunder. At Bangalore, said Sitaram Kesri, the rubber-stamp AICC(I) treasurer: “Rajiv too has stolen the thunder.” Kesari might have run out of phrases, but still possessed the shrewdness of street-wise politicians which told him which way the wind blew.The business of stealing thunders dominated the Bangalore show. It certainly stole the thunder of the parent AICC(I). No function recently organised by the AICC(I), the Pradesh Congress Committees-I (PCC-I) or any of the front organisations attracted as much media interest and public attention as the Bangalore convention did.Rao established his credentials as a fund-grabber as he single-handedly helped the organisers raise nearly Rs 1.5 crore for the function. The VIPs present included 18 members of the Union council of ministers, over 60 state government ministers, three chief ministers besides Rao, four AICC(I) general secretaries, 200 MPs and over 900 ML As from all over the country.Big Arrangements: It was hard-sell all the way. Nine special trains converged on Bangalore with ferryloads of ‘delegates’. The heavyweights were all put up at five-star hotels and guest houses, where they ate six-course dinners after handing over free coupons. Others were kept at comfortable tents dotting 800 acres of the sprawling greens.At the main pandal, which covered 4,800 square metres, closed circuit TV sets added the right touch of “competence” and “effectiveness” to the scene-the things that Rajiv is known to value. The odd man out was Nar Bahadur Bhandari, the 37-year-old chief minister of Sikkim, who crossed two mountain ranges -the Himalayas and the Vindhyas to attend the convention because he felt it was “our duty”.The first ‘duty’ of the delegates was of course to Rajiv; the Youth Congress(I) and the AICC(I) came much later. The 18 speakers at the convention spoke in one voice about Rajiv; he was the Indian version of the “great helmsman” who was often referred to as the “only ray of hope”.advertisementRao, who has a perfect sense of melodrama, brought in his own variation when he first urged the crowd to shout ‘Rajiv Gandhi zindabad’ and then. after a pause, yelled into the microphone: “Now shout louder and still louder, till Mrs Gandhi can hear you sitting in New Delhi.”Nobody present at the convention had any doubt about Mrs Gandhi’s sole intention -to get an endorsement by the Youth Congress (I) of her son’s new political status. And nobody was in any apparent disagreement with her view on the subject.It was an army of robots, with their electronic brains pre-programmed to sing hosannas only to the Gandhis. Jagdish Tytler, the bearded president of the Delhi Pradesh Youth Congress Committee(I) who is lately working overtime to get rid of his Sanjay-man image and gain Rajiv’s favour, pronounced donnishly: “the Congress has a 100-year history of which 70 years belong to the Nehru family. We, therefore, support the leadership of Rajiv Gandhi who represents the saga of sacrifices made by the Nehru family.”Charade Repeated: The invocation of the “family’s sacrifices”, the inspired forays into the history of the Indian freedom movement in an attempt to blot all non-Nehrus out of it-these are but the unique features of the Youth Congress culture.At Gauhati, when Ambika Soni, as the then president of the organisation, invited Sanjay Gandhi to provide leadership to it, she mouthed the same shibboleth and was blessed with an identically gullible audience. It was the same charade in Bangalore: only the actors had changed.Gundu Rao and Azad share a joke while Rajiv listens to Union Minister A. P. Sharma: days are here againThe political resolution adopted at the convention itself set the tone of sycophancy. It read: “The Indian Youth Congress(I) unanimously calls upon Shri Rajiv Gandhi to come forward and accept its leadership in the implementation of its policies and programmes to build India as a self-reliant and strong nation in the world and assures him of its fullest determination and commitment to achieve these objectives.”It was of course a ritualistic invitation to leadership, like the city mayor handing over a symbolic key to a distinguished guest. But, quite regardless of the distinction between gesture and action, Tariq Anwar, a general secretary of the Youth Congress(l), rushed to the microphone to announce that Rajiv had “agreed to lead” the organisation.In fact, just as he had waved back Khan’s aircraft-shaped float, Rajiv declined to assume titular responsibility. “They have said they will follow whatever lead I give,” he later told newsmen. It was a neat way of saying neither ‘yes’ nor.’no’-not that an answer was really called for.Rajiv himself got into the spirit of the convention in right earnest when he took his earlier controversial remarks on the subject of corruption one slightly lurching step forward. Fresh from his view that Maharashtra Chief Minister A.R. Antulay’s antics did not “really qualify as corruption” but amounted to “misuse of official machinery”, he told the assembled legions at Sanjay Nagar that just as there had been a lot of propaganda about the Youth Congress and family planning during the Emergency, there was a similar propaganda – and “a lot of woolly talk” -about corruption.advertisementWoolly thinking apart, this was no less than a sort of self-anointing of the youthful Lok Sabha member from Amethi into the political morality of the ruling party. “Mr Clean, did you say,” remarked journalist and political critic Arun Shourie, “He is Mr Whitewash.”While that was a characteristically pointed remark, there was no doubt that Rajiv, from the moment he stepped on Karnataka soil, was very much the young leader in the making. Far from discouraging the sycophancy, he was completely at ease throughout the session, wearing his typically fresh, white khadi kurta pyjamas, a starched Gandhi cap perched on his head. But the dais was the closest the delegates got to him. Far from emulating his brother and mingling with the masses, Rajiv kept an aloof distance shuttling between Kumara Krupa, the Karnataka Government’s sprawling guest house where he stayed, and Sanjay Nagar, with occasional detours for meals with the chief minister-and one public procession and meeting.Among those basking in reflected glory was Bangalore’s Police Commissioner A. R. Nizamuddin who was seldom more than a whisper away from Rao and his distinguished guest. Delegates who hoped he would tour the encampment were disappointed, as were the crowds at the Kantheerava stadium public meeting.No audience sits still for long, and there was a distinct note of unease in Rajiv’s neat homily to emulate the spirit of the Independence movement in the fight against poverty, when he saw sections of the audience emptying out. No practised orator, Rajiv was handicapped by having to speak in English and have his words translated, point by point, into Kannada.The budding politician had a better rapport with the convention audience whom he addressed once -first in Hindi and then in English. The brunt of his message was no great revelation: apart from the customary invocation to emulate the struggle for Independence, Rajiv’s main concerns were to get the Youth Congress involved in Mrs Gandhi’s 20-point programme and Sanjay’s 5-point programme and to counter what he saw were the Opposition’s efforts to destroy the nation.Rajiv took the inherited programmes only one step forward when he told the Youth Congress(I) that the ’80s were the decade of rural development. It was, however, his press conference which showed Rajiv off at his somewhat controversial best. He was curt, arrogant, witty and even, on occasions, rude. A smile played constantly on his lips and he seemed to enjoy the banter and light digs at the press. And it was little surprise that except on a few occasions, the city’s newshounds were no match for his rapacious wit or his ability to leave everything unsaid.The fundamental question is, of course, why the Youth Congress(I) needs a messiah to deliver itself? Why does it bend over backward to enlist Rajiv as its supremo when it has its own national council and president to turn to for leadership? Or, is there something phoney about the authority supposedly enjoyed by Azad and his six-man secretariat? Is there a problem of identity which the organisation cannot solve without invoking the weighty name of a Gandhi?Debaprasad Roy, the articulate general secretary of the Indian Youth Congress(I) who speaks with a candour quite uncharacteristic of the Congressmen of the Sanjay-Rajiv era, admitted: “We’ve no identity without the Gandhi family.”His look suggested that it was a painful admission. almost a confession of failure. He gently added: “There’ve been rebels galore. Priya Ranjan Das Munshi and Ambika Soni, both former presidents, who thought that they could do without Mrs Gandhi and her family. Where are they now? They can reach, at best, a few thousand people. And that’s all. But you reach the millions only if you’re with the Gandhis.”Roy’s practical wisdom, though shared by almost everyone at the convention, was nevertheless buried under piles of obsequious phrases, such as desk ke naujavanon ke dil ki dharkan Rajiv Gandhi-the heartbeat of the nation’s youth, Rajiv Gandhi. And Rajiv’s own reaction to such blatant acts of toadyism was nonchalant, verging on a practised acceptance, in sharp contrast to the diffidence of his political weaning.A view of the ornately decorated dais: safe platform for RajivBack-slide: For the Youth Congress(I) hard core, which was handpicked by Sanjay, being consecrated again by Rajiv was something like receiving manna from the heavens. After Sanjay’s death in June 1980, many of his cronies-often ridiculed as ‘Sanjay’s orphans’-slid back into backwaters of politics. One of them, Sarabjeet Singh, a former Youth Congress(I) general secretary, now runs a small printing press in New Delhi’s Connaught Circus. Another luminary of the Youth Congress(I), Akbar Ahmed, who was regarded as Sanjay’s closest ‘personal friend’, now spends his time looking after his family farm in Nainital.Right from the beginning, Rajiv – the Mr Clean – sought to surround himself with a cordon sanitaire against the Sanjay-men who carried a lot of baggage with them from the Emergency days. Some of these men-like Ahmed-were indeed banished into the wilderness. Even Tytler, who had been charged with many an excess during the Emergency, was bluntly sent packing by Rajiv’s men from the prime minister’s house, where he held office.Ram Chandra Rath, MP, and a Sanjay-appointee as the organisation’s president, was suddenly found to have crossed the upper age ceiling of 35 years and was asked to leave. Kamal Nath, once Sanjay’s right hand man, was reduced to the role of a supporting actor on the Madhya Pradesh stage. Though there was hardly any ‘purge’, the organisation as a whole came under a cloud. It was-for purposes of hygiene -tucked away from the living area to be left in a corner. But modern technology, mercifully, knows how to recycle garbage.Come-back: As the Youth Congress(I) needed Rajiv Gandhi (or “any of the Gandhis”, to go by Roy’s lament of despair), so did Rajiv need the Youth Congress(I): it had to be recycled. For one thing, as a former minister put it, “The Youth Congress has to be given a role, otherwise it will become a forum for bickering and careerism.” For another, here was the suppressed energy of a large number of young men who had tasted power -and could not be expected to acquiese to their eclipse.However, the eclipse of the organisation as a whole was brief; from June 1980 till April of the next year. In April, when Rajiv decided to join politics, the first step he took was to disinfect the youth organisation. At his advice, and Mrs Gandhi’s command, the 48-member national council of the organisation was reconstituted. As many as 20 MPs were inducted into it, including Arun Nehru, executive-turned-politician and’ Rajiv’s close confidante.Soon after, Rajiv donned the khadi cap, was elected MP and nominated a member of the national council. The set-up’s crucial future importance was recognised at last; it was destined to become Rajiv’s, and Mrs Gandhi’s, commando battalion to be unleashed in times of need, just as Sanjay used it after his mother’s electoral debacle in 1977.Little Change: Even during its temporary eclipse immediately after Sanjay’s death, the organisational structure of the Youth Congress(I) was disturbed but little. Ofthe nine state and union territory units of the Youth Congress(I) in India, which furnished the sinews of the organisation, the president of only one-the Rajasthan unit-was replaced. At lower levels, there was hardly any change. It served two purposes: first, it made the change of guard at the top an unobtrusive affair; and, it did not shake the faith of the common workers.Since April last year, when the national council was reconstituted, Azad, as the new president, took heed of Rajiv’s advice to make the organisation go through all the motions of an active body. The Youth Congress(I) hardly played any meaningful political role during this period; in fact, it fell back on its pre-1977 social-worker image, thus keeping a profile too low to cause worry to the parent body but, at the same time, high enough to occupy a corner in public memory.Though never hotly publicised in the media, throughout last year the Youth Congress(I) observed programmes such as:holding a Sanjay Gandhi fortnight all over the country during June 23-July 7, in which 11,000 rallies were organised, 35,000 volunteers donated 8 million cubic centimetres of blood, and an impressive 2 million posters were stuck in a campaign against dowry;organising over 1,000 blood donation camps on August 15;celebrating Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday on October 2 at 200 places in the country, again accompanied by workers donating blood;holding, on October 12, a two-day zonal convention of the units in the north-eastern states-not particularly hospitable ground for any Congress(I) outfit-at Shillong, with Rajiv inaugurating it;observing, dutifully, Mrs Gandhi’s birthday on November 19 as the National Integration Day with 260 big and small meetings to mobilise support for her 20-Point Programme; andorganising over 1,000 rallies on December 14 to celebrate Sanjay’s 35th birthday as the Youth Day.Final Act: The culminating act was of course the national convention at Bangalore last month where the Youth Congress(I) was officially acknowledged as the safe platform for Rajiv to embark upon his conquest of the party – and. in return, be given a much-needed public shot in the arm. Rajiv himself exhorted new initiatives from his cadres when he told them: “Recently there has been a lot of talk within the Youth Congress that we are not given recognition and responsibility. But recognition is not given from the top, it is won by hard work from below.”However, some Congress(I) insiders who are watching the show from a distance believe Rajiv needs the Youth Congress(I) now more than the Youth Congress(I) needs him. As it is, he entered politics rather late, at least much later than his brother Sanjay. Moreover Sanjay had a head start having come to prominence with several years of behind the scenes activity. Temperamentally, he was most suited to the political bazaar: quick and decisive, able to give as good as he got, inspire fierce loyalty and cut corners where necessary. His hold on the party was becoming unshakeable. Rajiv, who prefers persuasion, will find it increasingly more difficult to keep the party together.Initially Rajiv tried to make his presence felt in the party by reposing his entire trust in the Congress(l) chief ministers and the AICC(I) general secretaries. But he could not control the infighting. The fiasco over Antulay’s trusts, and the consequent confusion in the Maharashtra unit of the party. further shook Rajiv’s confidence in the chief ministers. “These days Rajiv is getting cynical about the senior leaders,” said a close aide.There is not much time at Rajiv’s disposal either. “He must make his mark in the 1985 elections”: says almost everyone in Rajiv’s personal outfit. But, if he has to run for the number two position in the Union Cabinet, and give it a veneer of legitimacy, he has to pack the next Parliament with a large number of his loyal supporters. “The existing Congress(I) chief ministers cannot deliver the goods for Rajiv,” said a former Union minister, weighing the possibilities.Naturally, Rajiv has to lean on the Youth Congress(I) more and more, giving it. by doses, the political edge that it had enjoyed when Sanjay was fighting the courts and the commissions of enquiry almost entirely with its support. It is, all said and done, a perfect shock brigade, a private panzer division with its own reserve of small-time fund-raisers, local bullies, political workers and resourceful go-getters.From Calcutta to Bombay, and Srinagar to Madras, the Youth Congress(I) represents a particular social phenomenon which is essentially a product of the ’70s. Inhabiting the rather wide twilight world between neighbourhood toughs and organised political force, the boys in their starched khadi kurta-pajamas were called out whenever the parent party fell in trouble.In West Bengal, it is the same lumpen army which fought the Naxalites on the streets, and. later on, joined hands with them to rig the assembly polls and defeat the Marxists in 1972. In Andhra Pradesh, it is the same Youth Congress that enabled the chief minister, Vengala Rao, to hunt down peasant revolutionaries.In Delhi, the same boys stormed the courts to torpedo the legal process started by the Janata government to bring Sanjay to book. Azad was hinting at this omnipresence when he mused: “Name one district where we don’t have a unit? We’re everywhere. Our office bearers alone are 150,000 in number.”Fighting Band: Like ants crawling out from woodwork, the Youth Congress legions are always ready to respond to the distress signals from the parent party.Rajiv’s decision to play ‘Mr Whitewash’ with the Youth Congress(I) was meant to sprinkle cologne water on this wild bunch and keep it ready for use. He will need its help more and more in the future months, in the by-elections, the coming state elections, and, finally, when the drums roll for the 1985 general elections. Even the immediate tasks are quite daunting. Elections will be due this year in Jammu and Kashmir, where SheikhAbdullah’s National Conference reigns supreme; in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi-where the Congress(I) base is fast eroding; in West Bengal and Tripura, the Marxist bastions. There is a distinct possibility of a mid-term election in Kerala where the Congress(I) has just succeeded in toppling an enemy government but may not have won the hearts of the people.In 1971, the Congress was able to turn the tables on a strong opposition only because the youth force had come to its rescue. It is only in 1977 that even the Youth Congress could not save the party from defeat, so monumental were its lapses and excesses.But, again, in 1980, Sanjay managed to deploy the Youth lobby again, this time with devastating effect, on the opposition parties. Said Sanjay Singh who found himself transformed from an outcast to a Rajiv vote-getter in Amethi: “Youth Congress is the backbone of the party.” The idea moved Azad to poetry: inaugurating the session, he reached for a line from Words-worth to say, “The child is father of the man.”Big Faction: Sanjay established his vicelike grip on the party in the 1980 parliamentary and assembly elections simply by ensuring the nomination of large groups of Youth Congress workers. In the bargain, 180 of the 352 Congress(I) MPs turned out to be Youth Congressmen; in the state assemblies, every fourth Congress(I) MLA is from the youth organisation.Rajiv has to follow in his brother’s footmarks if he wants to achieve the same objective, that is, of first stuffing the state assemblies and, later, the Parliament with his followers; and, then, using their support to pack the Union and state cabinets with his chosen minions.Azad (left) and Rajiv : vague ideologyAn AICC(I) general secretary possibly had this scenario worked out in mind when he glanced into his crystal ball and said: “After Mrs Gandhi Rajiv will surely become the chief executive” of the State; but this will happen through democratic process.”However, the parent organisation is too riven with tension and squabbles to provide even a semblance of support to Rajiv at this moment. Of the 18 Congress(I) chief ministers, only three – in Orissa. Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh – have been able to keep their respective PCC(I) on a tight leash.At the headquarters of the AICC(I) in New Delhi, five of the six general secretaries have made it their sole mission to needle chief ministers in their home states, or states under their charge. The sparring game between Antulay and the powerful general secretary Vasantrao Dada Patil, has already become a legend. In Karnataka, where the Youth Congress(I) convention was held, the chief minister and the state Congress(I) chief, K. P. Rathod, are locked in a long war of attrition.Total Paralysis: The infighting has kept the party in a state of near-coma. So total was its paralysis that weeks after the carnage at Dehuli and Sadhupur in Uttar Pradesh, where 34 people were massacred by dacoits, the Congress(I) could hold not a single procession or peace march. The leadership repeatedly had to postpone its decision to hold party elections; so complete has been the effect of internal bickering.While the PCC(I)s lapsed into inaction, the Opposition was slowly inching ahead. 1981 was of course a bad year for the Opposition when it lost nearly all by-elections except in the Marxist citadels of West Bengal and Tripura.But as the year rolled out, there were signs of scale-tipping. At Sagar in Madhya Pradesh, the Congress(I) conceded defeat to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) even though Rajiv spent three days there campaigning for the party candidate.Veteran AICC(I) leaders too admit that there is a subtle change in the direction of the wind; they attribute it to the appalling extent of infighting in the party. Said Antulay: “I can take care of the opposition parties because they make no impact on the people. But I am helpless when some of my own colleagues in the high command are actively colluding with these forces.” vRajiv is obviously on the right track now, which is to short-circuit the main party and rely on the Youth Congress(I). Here again comparison with Sanjay becomes unavoidable, because Sanjay did the same thing with a rare panache, so far unmatched by his brother.The first thing that Sanjay did was to dab out the last trace of ideology from the organisation. “The youth should be neither left nor right,” said the departed guru. It helped him in many ways: giving legitimacy to hisfight against alleged crypto-communists within the organisation and, at the same time, it provided him with a bulwark against infiltration from the right-wing Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS).Vague Ideology: The Youth Congress(I) under Rajiv is yet to strike such a posture of opportunistic nihilism, though the ideological content of the political resolution adopted at Bangalore is vague to the point of bankruptcy. In Sanjay’s case, the ideology of no-ideology was a political ploy; in the case of the Youth Congress(I) in transition, it was plain illiteracy.It is no wonder, therefore, that Rajiv himself railed at intellectuals (because ideology begins with them) at his press conference, observing that “it is only in India that intellectuals call themselves intellectuals”. This, in itself, was a faint echo of Sanjay who remarked in Calcutta in 1976 with his characteristic bluntness: “Intellectuals are bad.”However, the political resolution at Bangalore talks of adopting “constitutional procedures” and pays lip-service to well-known cliches of the day. It dutifully tilted at the Opposition wind-mill, but when it came to defining the role of the youth, it only listed objectives that are highly laudable for organisations like the Rotary Club but of dubious political value. The resolution called upon the youth, with due solemnity, to work for improvement of women’s life, to plant more trees, to fight corruption and to eradicate illiteracy.There was hardly a word on the political system the Youth Congress(I) wanted to initiate. In an interview, Azad talked vaguely about ‘socialism’ but hastened to add that all he meant was its purely desi and undefined variant. So little value was attached to the political resolution by the organisers themselves that copies of it were hardly distributed outside the press enclosure. Said Amarjeet Singh, a delegate from Punjab, with charming simplicity: “Nothing was distributed apart from the meal coupons. No, I certainly haven’t received this resolution that you mention.”Resolution: However, the convention still went through the motions of a political meet. The I3-paragraph economic resolution – equally soft-pedalled – sang bhajans to the various economic measures lately taken by the Government to lift the nation’s economy out of “stagnation as a result of the Janata mis-management”. It commended the Government on every score; from efforts to set up bio-gas plants to measures undertaken for family planning. It rounded oil with plaudits to 20-plus-5 point programmes.The common thread that meandered through all resolutions and speeches was the bogey of the Opposition. The overture was sung by Mrs Gandhi herself when she said in a message to the convention: “It is a jnatter of- regret that the opposition parties, in following their sectarian objectives and their policies of opportunism and vindictiveness, are unmindful of the harm they cause to the national unity, cohesion and interest. The task of the Youth Congress now is to support the forces of cohesion. They must resist the wreckers; only then they can build.”Taking the cue from her, rows of speakers hurled the choicest of abuses at the Opposition; one of them – perhaps in an autobiographical mood – described the entire Opposition in one sweep as “buffoons”. Said Anand Sharma, the newly appointed general secretary of the organisation: ‘Opposition parties are subverting the economy. By giving calls for Bharat Bandh at :his critical moment, they’re destroying the economic fabric of the country.”Blank Cheque: The anti-Opposition tirade and the small talks about economics and politics were but mere trivialities com-tared to the future scenario of the Youth Congress(I) politics. The organisation, as its present mood suggests, is definitely willing to give Rajiv a blank cheque as far as its support goes. But it is going to ask its price.Maganbhai Barot, Union deputy minis-er for finance, who addressed the conention, announced that “the Central Government, under the dynamic leadership if Shrimati Gandhi, has decided to bring 1.5 rore families above the poverty line by 985 by providing them loans and grants. Who will select these families? I request Rajiv Gandhi to direct the Youth Congress Yorkers to identify these poor people…”One cannot but offer sympathy to Barot or his plight. In a country like India, where half the people live below the poverty line, Jarot cannot locate the poor, and needs the help of Rajiv and the Youth Congress(I). Catch-22 strikes there, because Barot wants he Youth Congress(I) to find the poor istead of the poor finding the channels of government grants themselves.In a speech hat left many a Youth Congress(I) mouth watering, Barot listed various schemes by banks through which the poor could be-helped, and the organisation’s political clout strengthened. However, only in last November, a similar attempt to distribute loans from Punjab and Sind Bank, a nationalised bank, to unemployed youths of Kanpur through the local Youth Congress(I) created a hot controversy.More Demands: Apart from bank loans, there is a wide pasture of licences, permits and government contracts lying fallow for the Youth Congress(I) fortune-seeker to tap. And, in addition, the organisation will seek legitimacy for its traditionally unruly conduct, just as Sanjay had given it to them by inducting Youth Congress(I) members in large numbers into his panel of election nominees.Portraits of Mrs Gandhi and Rajiv are caried across a Bangalore street: hero-worship unlimitedSaid Anwar: “In the coming elections we will demand more representation for the youth as was given by Sanjayji. We will also insist that the vacant posts in the various PCC(I)s be filled by those retiring from the Youth Congress.”However, a clash of interests is inevitable between the garden variety of Youth Congressmen and Rajiv’s inner circle of confidants many of who are well-groomed public school-educated types. Some of them are well-intentioned and are bubbling with enthusiasm to “help Rajiv”, and maybe to help the country in the process.Rajiv’s dazzling Praetorian guards shut him off from the hoi polloi but are unable to bring him face to face with the basic problems of society. Nobody knows how Rajiv reacts to issues like poverty, injustice, bad management and inefficiency.In contrast, Sanjay left nobody in doubt about his intentions and preferences. He created leaders out of obscure men and women, and dropped even the weightiest of politicians out of sight whenever the need arose. He appeared in public with backstreet goons and pulled no punches when it served his own interest to hit at established institutions.But, in his six months in politics, Rajiv has only flip-flopped, swaying between statements and actions which can hardly be called consistent. His image as “neither riff nor raff’ gradually obscured the popular hope that he would give his party a direction.It remains to be seen how Rajiv wins an identity for himself: by stepping into the Youth Congress(I) milieu on a catapult, or by pulling the Congress(I) machinery by its bootstraps to the democratic qualities with which it was credited in the pre-Mrs Gandhi era. Will he sink into the rising cacophony of sycophancy, or will he swim against the tide. setting new standards of political behaviour? As a litmus test, the convention points in the wrong direction.
The Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso Formula One team could be facing yet another driver change amid uncertainty about Pierre Gasly’s availability for next week’s US Grand Prix.The young Frenchman made his debut in Malaysia and competed in last weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix alongside Spaniard Carlos Sainz, with Russian Daniil Kvyat dropped for those races.Sainz is racing for Renault next season and that switch has now been brought forward, with both teams announcing at Suzuka that he would be driving for the French outfit from Austin onwards.That has opened up the door for the under-performing Kvyat to return but Gasly may now miss Texas because the US Grand Prix clashes with the decisive round of the Japanese Super Formula series at Suzuka.Gasly can win that title for Team Mugen who are powered by Honda, Toro Rosso’s engine partners next year. The Frenchman is half a point behind Toyota-powered Hiroaki Ishiura in a battle of Japanese brands.The rookie, who is set to return for the last three rounds of the season after Austin, has said he would rather stay with Toro Rosso and the team indicated that would be the case when he arrived.However, Red Bull motorsport consultant Helmut Marko suggested last weekend that the Japanese race might be given priority, a view that has since been firmed up according to media reports.A Toro Rosso spokeswoman was unable to clarify the situation on Thursday and did not know who would be driving in Austin.Should Gasly’s absence be confirmed, Toro Rosso’s options appear limited given the shortage of available drivers with the necessary super licence.advertisementFormer Toro Rosso driver Sebastien Buemi, who has won the Formula E electric title since he last competed in Formula One in 2011, might be one option.Le Mans winner Brendon Hartley also has enough points to qualify for a super licence, with the motorsport.com website saying the New Zealander had become the leading contender.Hartley, 27, is a former Red Bull reserve driver who also tested for Toro Rosso in 2009 but has never raced in Formula One and has not been in an F1 car since 2012, before the new generation of turbo hybrid engines.The 27-year-old won at Le Mans with Porsche this year and is competing in the World Endurance Championship, a sportscar title he won in 2015.
AAEON releases the UPC-GWS01 x86-based industrial computer. Just 91 x 67 x 55.2mm in size, the system is highly versatile and boasts onboard storage, WiFi, Bluetooth, and a comprehensive I/O interface. The UPC-GWS01, which has already won a Computex d&i Award, is built around AAEON’s state-of-the-art UP Core professional maker board. Featuring an Intel Atom quad-core CPU, the SBC delivers low-power-consumption, high-performance specifications and is equipped with 2GB/4GB DDR3L memory and 16GB/32GB/64GB eMMC storage. The board is also fitted with USB3.0 and HDMI ports and has support for Windows 10, Windows 10 IoT Core, Linux, and Android 6.0.Inside the chassis, the UP Core is paired with a carrier board that gives the system extra functionality. For the standard product, the carrier board adds a LAN port and COM port, but the UPC-GWS01 is more than just a general IPC solution. To maximize its potential as a flexible, large-scale maker platform, AAEON provides potential customers with design guidelines to help them design expansion boards and customized chassis to suit their applications.With onboard WiFi and Bluetooth, a LAN port, and support for 3G/4G connectivity via an mPCIe slot, the UPC-GWS01 can serve as a flexible and incredibly portable IoT gateway device for smart home and smart retail systems. Its HDMI port and Intel Gen 8 HD 400 GPU, which enables 3D graphics, also make it ideal for digital signage applications.Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInMoreRedditTumblrPinterestWhatsAppSkypePocketTelegram Tags: Boards & Modules Continue Reading Previous Vector and Lauterbach: development solution for software debugging over the XCP protocolNext Avoiding failure with ISO 26262
By Amanpreet Singh New Delhi, Dec 24 (PTI) Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat attained superstardom with historic medals but two other history-makers found themselves grappling for relevance in a year during which Indian wrestling moved towards a hitherto unexplored contracts system. With the national federation’s decision to introduce a contracts system for 150 grapplers in India, the sport is set to be professionalised like never before. What was more historic than this move was the way Bajrang and Vinesh meticulously went about giving solid performances through the year. It was not just the gold medals but the manner in which the two won them, which raised hopes of India getting its first gold-medallist in the sport come Olympics in less than two years’ time. Speaking of Olympics, 2018 was largely forgettable for Sushil Kumar — India’s only double Olympic-medallist — and Sakshi Malik — the country’s first and only woman wrestler to win a medal at the biggest stage. Sushil still had a CWG gold, albeit in a not-so-strong field, to take comfort from but it was a stunning downward spiral that Sakshi went through. Sakshi’s CWG and Asian Games ended in tears, although she did win a bronze in the former event in Gold Coast. The 26-year-old admitted that she needs to be mentally stronger to pull off close bouts. On the other hand, Sushil’s Asian Games challenge fell flat in the first round itself but he rejected suggestions that his dominance was coming to an end. Instead, he remained bullish about his prowess and insisted that he has unfinished business at the Tokyo Games.advertisement The year 2019 — in which the World Championship will be a chance to book Olympic quota berths — will determine if the two grapplers remain relevant to Indian wrestling. Before the Worlds in September in Astana, there will be plenty of events, including the Asian Championship in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan which will provide hints on what lies in store for these two. Despite the fact that the two are not in great form, the recent Nationals in Gonda failed to throw up any replacements in their respective categories. Sakshi easily won the national title to finally draw something positive out a largely disappointing year. And the 74kg men’s category does not have anyone who is even close to what Sushil is even now. The Commonwealth Games may not be the best yardstick but considering that the Asian bloc is a powerhouse of the sport, Bajrang and Vinesh’s gold medals at the Jakarta Games assume significance. Vinesh began her victorious Jakarta campaign with a revenge win over Chinese Yanan Sun against whom she suffered the career-threatening knee injury which ended her Rio Olympics campaign in excruciating pain. In the next bout she brushed aside the challenge of Korea’s Hyungjoo Kim by technical superiority, ending the bout with a four-point throw. Her semifinal lasted just 75 seconds as she moved into the final with a ‘fitley’ and grabbed the gold with ease, outplaying Japan’s Yuki Irie. These are the same opponents, who are likely to figure in the 50kg category in Tokyo, and experts believe that with such class, Vinesh will be a strong contender for a medal. While Vinesh missed out on adding a World Championship medal to her kitty due to an injury, Bajrang won a silver at Budapest Worlds to end the year with medals at every major championship this season. However, the defeat in the world championship final was a reminder that his defence on the leg attack is still a work in progress. Japan’s Takuto Otoguro kept attacking Bajrang’s right leg and he could not find a way out and had to settle for a second-place finish. This was after his dominating show throughout the year at the CWG, Tbilisi Grand Prix, Yasar Dogu International and Asian Games. Bajrang ended the year as world number one in 65kg, though an elbow injury pegged him back slightly. The other Phogats Ritu, Sangeeta, Babita and Geeta more or less endured a quiet year and even missed out on appearing for Asian Games trials. But one woman, who bit by bit created her own space in Indian wrestling was Pooja Dhanda. She added a World Championship bronze to her CWG gold. In most of her bouts, she trailed overwhelmingly but managed to bridge the gap and tilt the result in her favour. This was in complete contrast to what Sakshi was doing. Pooja became only the fourth Indian woman after Alka Tomar, Geeta and Babita to win a medal at the Worlds.advertisement The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) earned some applause for pumping in money in the sport by striking a deal with the Tata Motors. In a three-year deal as Indian wrestling’s principal sponsor, Tata Motors’ will support the development of the sport at various levels. It’s first benefit is already there to be seen with WFI offering central contracts to 150 wrestlers. The top A Grade, which offers Rs 30 lakh as support, initially had just Bajrang, Vinesh and Pooja but WFI later added Sushil and Sakshi’s name after realizing that the duo’s reputation took a hit. But given their below-par results this year, it didn’t seem to be an unfair call to keep them out of the top bracket. The coming year is an important one for all Olympic disciplines and Indian wrestling can only hope for better results with foreign coaches set to join the national camp. For the first time, the WFI has managed to procure services of a coach from Asian powerhouse Iran. Hossein Karimi is set to join along with Andrew Cook of USA and Georgia’s Temo Kazarashvili on a one-year contract. PTI AT PM PM
Charlie Strong was fired on Saturday one day after he said he had a national championship-type team. Yeah, that was really a thing he said on Friday after getting pounded by TCU at home to end his career as the Texas coach with the three-straight seven-loss seasons (for the first time ever).Texas coach Charlie Strong said the record doesn’t speak to how good they are. Said they’re good enough to win a national championship— Anwar Richardson (@AnwarRichardson) November 26, 2016So he was fired (Baylor … psssst you need a disciplinarian who can recruit … you should hire him … pssst), and Herman was hired after getting beat by Memphis (!) on Friday. Herman guided Houston to a 22-4 record in two seasons and beat Florida State in the Peach Bowl last year. He also lost to Memphis, SMU, Navy and UConn.Is he going to be good in Austin? Maybe. Who knows. Strong was incredible at Louisville and stunk at Texas. Les Miles was good not great at Oklahoma State and crushed at LSU. There is no magic formula. Herman has proven he can get dudes to Houston, but Texas’ issue has never really been getting dudes, has it?I do think Strong probably left the program with a better trajectory than he found it. Maybe he would have been awesome in Year 4. Look at what Colorado’s Mike MacIntyre did after three years of oblivion. But Texas is not the kind of school that has the time to find out. It was time to move on. Especially after losing to Kansas.The humorous part here is that it looks like the Horns will be bowl eligible (!)If UCLA loses to Cal, Texas clinches a bowl bid via APR. I think they’ll accept, that gets Herman time to look at his new players— Samuel Chi (@ThePlayoffGuru) November 27, 2016 But back to what this means for Oklahoma State. There are two primary things. Let’s talk about one thing I don’t think it means first. I don’t think it changes much on the recruiting front for Oklahoma State. If anything, it might help. Houston ranked No. 36 nationally in recruiting this year. It is currently No. 35 for next year. OSU was No. 45 last season and is No. 32 for 2017.The reason it doesn’t matter that much for OSU that a great recruiter like Tom Herman is at Texas is because Texas was already great at recruiting (they finished No. 7 last season). There are only so many guys a team can sign. It might actually help loosen the grip UH had on the Houston area — a former favorite of Gundy and Co. — if a not-as-great recruiter is brought in to replace Herman.So if Texas and Houston’s combined ranking last year was No. 43 (UH was No. 36 and Texas was No. 7) and Texas moves up to say, No. 3, this year, I bet UH drops significantly to No. 50 or beyond. That’s better for OSU, right?Anyway, on to the things this hiring does mean.The first is that Mike Gundy along with Bob Stoops and Gary Patterson remain the stalwarts in a league of turnover. Because TCU hasn’t been in the Big 12 as long as OSU and OU, you can sort of look at Stoops and Gundy as the long-standing residents in a frat house full of multimillionaires. Per @Pokelahoma, #HC’s each school has now had during Gundy’s tenureUT: 3rdTT: 3KU: 4?KSU: 2BU: 3OU: 1ISU: 3WVU: 2TCU: 1 Right?— I’m beyond help (@RobertW_OkSt) November 27, 2016Gundy has owned them all, too, in recent years. Except for OU. Here is his record against Big 12 teams.Kansas: 8-1 (89%)Texas Tech: 10-2 (83%)TCU: 4-1 (80%)Iowa State: 7-2 (78%)Missouri: 3-1 (75%)Kansas State: 6-3 (67%)Colorado: 2-1 (67%)Nebraska: 2-1 (67%)West Virginia: 3-2 (60%)Baylor: 7-5 (58%)Texas A&M: 4-3 (57%)Texas: 5-7 (42%)OU: 2-9 (18%)The other thing this means, and this is maybe more important, is that coupled with LSU’s hiring of Ed Orgeron on Saturday, there will be no monstrous job available for a long period of time this offseason (barring something crazy happening at Notre Dame). With Gundy’s name popping up every time a top 10 job came up, this will be a nice non-distraction.Was Gundy ever going to leave for a LSU or Texas? Probably not, but now he can’t because they aren’t actual jobs anymore. Now all we have to worry about is winning Bedlam, getting into a New Year’s Day game and reaping the recruiting benefits heading into the offseason.The Texas situation with Herman will play itself as the years roll on. Somebody at some point will get them back to at least playing for conference championships (if not winning them). Might be Herman, might be somebody else. But for now, we wait. We wait until next season (and beyond) with Texas. We wait until another monster job opens for Gundy’s name to be floated. We wait until next weekend for Bedlam.Texas plays catch-up as Oklahoma State plays for a Big 12 title.It might not be like this forever, but for now it feels pretty dang good.If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!
New Delhi: In a move to prevent suicides and other incidents, the National Capital Region Transport Corporation plans to install platform screen doors (PDS) at all upcoming stations of rapid rail transit corridors. The NCRTC, the executing agency of the Rapid Rail Transit System (RRTS), said the move would facilitate safe boarding and deboarding from the train which will have an operational speed of 160 kmph. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation has installed platform screen doors at its several stations owing to instances of people jumping on metro tracks to commit suicide and crowd management. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThe National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC) is executing three proposed RRTS corridors – Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut, Delhi-Gurugram-Alwar and Delhi-Sonipat-Panipat. “In recent times, we have seen untoward incidents like commuters on railway track by accident, trespassing on track and suicide cases. The installation of PDS at all RRTS stations will increase safety measures,” Sudhir Sharma, Chief Public Relation Officer of NCRTC, said.He said the PSDs would act as a barrier between the platform and the tracks besides helping in better crowd management at the stations. According to the NCRTC, installation of PDS will also enable trains to arrive and leave the station at greater speed besides reducing the time it takes to pick up and drop passengers.
(RED) has announced a collaboration with one of the world’s leading DJs and electronic dance music pioneers, Tiesto.Tiesto and Bono collaborate for (RED) on U2’s ‘Pride’ at Converse Rubber Tracks StudioOn November 27, Tiesto will release an exclusive compilation album, DANCE (RED), SAVE LIVES, followed by a global livestream – powered by YouTube – from Melbourne’s Stereosonic Festival over World AIDS Day weekend on December 1st and 2nd.Dance (RED), Save LivesThe compilation features artists including Calvin Harris, Avicii and Diplo, as well as an exclusive collaboration between Tiesto and Bono on U2’s ‘Pride’.Mobilizing the huge global community of dance music fans in the fight against AIDS, Tiesto and his fellow DANCE (RED), SAVE LIVES artists will, for the first time ever, livestream their sets from the Stereosonic Festival on YouTube, bringing fans an unforgettable live global music experience. The stream will be available at www.youtube.com/joinred.The announcement comes as (RED) and its partners mark an important milestone in the fight against AIDS, having generated $200 million for the Global Fund.Speaking about his collaboration with (RED), Tiesto said; “When I went to Africa in 2006, I was struck by the devastating effect of AIDS. Now the world has an incredible chance to make sure that babies are born HIV free by 2015, and the dance community is going to make a lot of noise to help make this happen.”The war against AIDS faces a critical battle: to deliver the first AIDS Free Generation since HIV was diagnosed 31 years ago. In 2003, new childhood HIV infections peaked with more than 1,500 babies born with HIV every day. For only 40 cents a day, mothers can be treated to prevent transmission to their unborn children, and just over 900 babies are now born daily with the virus. By 2015, that number can be near zero. Ending mother-to-child transmission of HIV is a component of the UN Millennium Development Goals.Deborah Dugan, CEO of (RED), said “Tiesto represents a generation of young music fans with incredible passion and energy. We want to tap into that passion to help deliver an AIDS free generation by 2015; a monumentally important milestone in the fight against AIDS. What Tiesto and his friends in the dance music community are bringing to this fight is invaluable. They bring the kind of heat that is so desperately needed to keep this issue at the top of the agenda. This World AIDS Day, I want fans to buy the album and DANCE (RED), SAVE LIVES! Go to www.joinred.com.”Richie McNeill, Managing Director of Totem OneLove Group, said; “We are really excited to have Stereosonic involved in such a great cause. AIDS is one of many things we should all aim to help research and destroy, and (RED)‘s mission to fight AIDS in Africa is a noble one we are simply honored to be a part of. If by music we can spread the word with the generous support of the DJs, artists and record labels, then we will! Big thanks to Tiesto, Complete Control Management’s Josh Neuman and the (RED) crew for inviting us to be a part.”In addition to being on YouTube, the livestream will be available throughout World AIDS Day weekend across the web on leading sites such as Rolling Stone, Mashable, Huffington Post, Wired, Thrillist, VEVO. Promotion for the DANCE (RED), SAVE LIVES campaign includes a pro bono media campaign by Hill Holliday, across leading digital platforms, television networks and print publications including Twitter, IFC, A&E, Los Angeles Times, AOL and Klout.Source:PR Newswire
Login/Register With: Advertisement Facebook Advertisement Advertisement Brandon Jay McLaren (born October 15, 1982) is a Canadian television actor. He is best known for his roles on Power Rangers S.P.D., Harper’s Island and Slasher. (Wikipedia)BRANDON’S IMDB PAGE: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1564963/A huge congrats to @brandojay on his #UBCPACTRA nomination for BEST ACTOR in @SlasherSeries!A huge congrats to @brandojay on his #UBCPACTRA nomination for BEST ACTOR in @SlasherSeries! pic.twitter.com/VpYeJgEeRW— UBCP/ACTRA (@UBCP_ACTRA) October 14, 2016 Twitter LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment
These scams ranged from plans to flip run-down Muskoka cottages to a development in her native land. “She aggressively encouraged investors to remortgage their homes and borrow from lines of credit … and encouraged them to refer their friends and family to her,” Weinberg said. “All of the money used to pay investors came directly from other investors, and not from investments,” Weinberg said, reading an agreed statement of fact last month.Perera took more than $5.5 million from 60 investors, but she pleaded guilty to two counts of defrauding the public for almost $3 million from 32 GTA-area victims, with sums ranging from $776,000 to $1,000. “To a more sophisticated observer, these investment opportunities were obviously too good to be true. Promised interest rates were very high, sometimes 72% or higher.”She even paid travel costs for some investors to go to Sri Lanka.“All of the ‘deals’ went bad at the same time. Victims invested, or so they thought, in different types of investments, yet they all went bad at the same time,” Weinberg said. Yet the scheming continued. A Sri Lankan in Toronto, Jayawathe “Janake” Perera, who promised dozens of investors up to 60% in annual returns, has been sentenced to five years in jail. She was also slapped with a $3-million restitution order, the Toronto Sun reported.From 2004 until 2014, Perera, 52, conned many of her fellow immigrants from Sri Lanka as well as others into investing their hard-earned cash in bogus schemes. The victims’ money was spent on various items, including Perera’s first-class plane tickets to Sri Lanka and travel expenses (almost $100,000), on her $92,000 BMW, a downpayment and on mortgage payments for her home and business condo.Perera presented herself as a successful businesswoman who entertained clients at her luxurious home and drove a BMW with vanity plates.She also travelled by limousines and attended casinos, Justice John McMahon heard. While she was out after being initially charged on April 30, 2012, she kept on ripping off victims. She was recharged in February 2016 and has been in jail since. She pleaded guilty last month and was given credit for one-year custody for her eight months in jail. It was a Ponzi scheme, Crown attorney Renna Weinberg told court.
Envoys from the US and the UN met Speaker Karu Jayasuriya today to discuss the Constitutional crisis which has affected the country.Chargés d’affaires of the US Embassy in Colombo Robert Hilton and a top official of the UN office in Colombo met the Speaker in Parliament. The Speaker’s office said that the US officials noted US concerns over the political situation in the country and the need to resolve it soon.The official from the UN had also expressed similar sentiments.
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Macy’s Inc. on Wednesday reported a 4 per cent profit increase in its fiscal second quarter as business rebounded from slow sales earlier in the year.But the department store chain cut its full-year outlook for a key sales measure, saying it couldn’t make up the sales shortfall from the first quarter, when winter storms kept shoppers at home.Shares of Macy’s tumbled nearly 5 per cent, or $2.83, to $56.93 in trading Wednesday.Macy’s, a standout among its peers throughout the economic recovery, is the first of the major retailers to report second-quarter results, which should provide insight into shoppers’ mindset heading into the critical final months of the year. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Nordstrom Inc., Kohl’s Inc. and J.C. Penney Co. are set to report their results Thursday.Like many retailers catering to the middle class, Macy’s is facing economic challenges. While the job market is improving and the housing market is rebounding, the gains are not strong enough to sustain big shopping sprees.Macy’s said Wednesday that it’s been pleased with the start to the back-to-school season, which typically begins mid-July and ends in mid-September. But Macy’s said it needs to continue to discount to bring shoppers in.“Our outlook for the fall season reflects our confident optimism tempered with the reality that many customers are feeling the impact of an economic environment that, at best, is improving very gradually,” Chief Financial Officer Karen Hoguet told investors during a conference call Wednesday.Still, Macy’s, which also operates the upscale chain Bloomingdale’s, has benefited from its focus on tailoring merchandise to local markets. It’s also aiming to create a more seamless experience for shoppers who are going back and forth from stores to websites.Macy’s, which has corporate offices in Cincinnati and New York, said it just finished rolling out a program that allows shoppers to order online and then pick up items at stores. The company also said that its sharpened marketing and merchandising aimed at 13- to 30-year-old customers has re-energized the back-to-school business.Macy’s said its second-quarter net income increased to $292 million, or 80 cents per share, from $281 million, or 72 cents per share, in the same quarter a year earlier. The average estimate of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for profit of 86 cents per share.The company said revenue rose 3.3 per cent to $6.27 billion from $6.07 billion in the same quarter a year earlier, but missed Wall Street forecasts. Analysts expected $6.29 billion, according to Zacks.Macy’s said that sales at stores open at least a year rose 4 per cent. The figure includes business from departments licensed to third parties. But Macy’s said that it now expects that measure to increase by 2 per cent to 2.5 per cent for the year, down from its previous projection of 2.5 per cent to 3 per cent.____________Follow Anne D’Innocenzio at http://www.Twitter.com/adinnocenzio Macy’s trims sales outlook as it reports 4 pct increase in 2Q profit AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by Anne D’Innocenzio, The Associated Press Posted Aug 13, 2014 6:32 am MDT
“I couldn’t believe it. They could have got into the coach, what the hell would they have done?” he told the Daily Mail.”It’s the second time it’s happened to the coach driver. The first time he was stabbed by a spike. These poor drivers take a hell of a risk.”I feel really sorry for these people. I know they’re desperate, but we shouldn’t be scared to travel.”The petrol station on the A16 motorway outside Dunkirk was near the Grande-Synthe migrant camp, around 27 miles east of Calais.Christie said the driver found himself “surrounded” by a group of five men as he filled the tank.When he shouted at the group that they were being recorded by security cameras they dispersed.”But then our tour manager found a man hiding with the stage equipment in the trailer,” Christie said.When he was discovered, the man threatened to kill the manager before fleeing the scene.Christie enjoyed a number one single when (Is This The Way To) Amarillo was re-released as part of Comic Relief in 2005 and the tour group were returning from a final gig in Bonn, Germany.He told the newspaper: “I think I will fly from now on. I don’t think I’ll go on the road again.” I couldn’t believe it. They could have got into the coach, what the hell would they have done?Tony Christie Singer Tony Christie has described how his tour bus was ambushed by a group of men after it stopped for fuel near a migrant camp in France.The 73-year-old was returning from a European tour with his band and wife Sue, 68, when their bus had to fill up at a service station near Dunkirk early on Saturday.Christie said the couple were sleeping after a party on board to celebrate the successful trip when they were awoken by their driver and tour manager, who were “shaking”. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. In the cold light of day, it’s hard to ignore London’s violent crime surge. More than 50 people have been killed in the capital since the start of 2018. Martin Griffiths, a consultant surgeon at one of London’s leading trauma centres has told The Telegraph that he has seen gunshot injuries at the hospital more than double from 10 to 23 in the first quarter of the year.