Category Archives: World

A 20-year-old from Florida wins $451 million lottery

Shane Missler, a 20 year old from Port Richey, a suburb of Tampa, won the whopping $451 million Mega Millions prize, the Florida Lottery announced on Friday. Along with him, the retailer from which Shane purchased a winning ticket was awarded a $100,000 bonus.

Missler was working in a local background screening company when he was declared as a lottery winner. After win, he has retired from his job.

Missler chose the winning numbers 28, 30, 39, 59, 70 and 10 ticket at a 7-Eleven in town last week.

According to the Lottery, Missler elected to receive his payment as a one-time lump sum, which amounted to just over $280 million excluding federal taxes.

Responding to The Tines, he said, “If there is one thing I have learned thus far in my short time on this earth it is that those who maintain a positive mind-set and stay true to themselves get rewarded”

Missler, a believer of positive mindset added that he had “a feeling” that he might win. After a win he shared this big news to his brother and then to his father over a coffee next morning.

Although young and the lucky one among 302 people, Missler has his heart and mind at the right place. The Times report mentions that the money will be paid to a trust run by Missler. Missler told the paper that he planned to help his family, his education and have some fun. But he emphasized that he would be making sure that the financial success lasts longer and he plans to use the money for humanity purpose.

 

Zainab: A 8-year old girl raped and murdered. Humanity dies once again

Zainab Ansari, a eight-year old was raped and murdered brutally on Tuesday in a Kasur city of Pakistan after she went missing from her classes on 4th of January. Her body was found at a pile of rubbish just a mile away from her home. After investigation, police have released CCTV images displaying a man leading her away from her home. The outrage across the world against the failure of system to protect the children is immense and rightly so. Shockingly, Zainab is the twelfth girl who have been abducted, raped and murdered during past year in Kasur district and reportedly five of them points to the same person.

In another case of shameful and horrific acts, a 16-year-old girl was paraded half-naked through the village by armed men in north-west Pakistan. Local residents say, she was targeted because of her brother’s relationship with a woman from assailants’ family.

In March 2012, Oksana Makar a 18-year-old girl was gang-raped in Mykolaiv, Ukraine. The agony she went through was horrifying as her assailants strangled her after the rape and took her to a deserted construction site. She was set on fire alive there. She was discovered next morning after burning for hours in night and finally she lost her life.

Few months later to above incident, a girl from Delhi was gang-raped and brutally beaten by six men in a moving bus. The incident shook the entire world due to the horrific injuries that the girl went through in the hands of those culprits. Shortly after few days being hospitalized, girl lost her life by succumbing to her injuries caused by the atrocities.

Situation is worst for women and girls

It has become high time now for us to realize that we’ve failed as a society and system to protect children and women from such atrocities of rape. Cycle of regrets, investigation, candle march, inquiry, etc follows after every such case but still the harsh reality is the cases are still happening.

As per the United Nations, around 120 million girls worldwide which is slightly more than 1 in 10 have experienced forced intercourse or other forced sexual acts at some point in their lives. In most of the cases, the abuser is husband, partner or boyfriend. Most striking figure is that less than 10 percent of them seek help from a formal institution such as police.

Stop Victim-Shaming Culture and Practice Strict Implementation of Laws

Even after 144 countries in the world have laws against the sexual violence, we observe that the perpetrators walk away from the punishment easily or the punishment given to the perpetrators does not justify the after-effects of the act on the victim. Legal punishment should be tough enough to set a strict example for the society that such heinous crimes will result in extreme punishment. Political or money influence in the rape cases should be exposed by the media which is supposed to be the fourth pillar of the democracy. Media should play its role for justice rather than re-victimization of the victim.

Along with the rules and regulations mentioned in the law books, justice system should also consider the situation of the victim whose life has changed forever by the incident. Investigation of the rape cases should consider the psychological damage which has already been done to the victim. They should not be forced into medical tests such as two-finger test which are not only demeaning but also have already been banned by the Supreme Court of India.

In addition to the law and order, we as a society also have to break the shackles of shame for the victims of sexual violence. We need to stop the “Shame Culture” of rape victims which is one of the most prominent factor for girls and women not coming forward to report the sexual violence. It is because of this culture, a victim feels guilty of what has happened to her and which makes her rehabilitation in society a tough challenge for herself. Moreover, a sexually confident or independent girl or woman is often treated as a “slut”, specifically in Asian culture which is exactly opposite when it comes to applying the same concept to men. It all has to start with the family in order to make a change in society as a whole. With that being said, below quote rightly describes what is wrong with our society and what needs to change

“Don’t Tell Your Daughter Not to Go Out. Tell Your Son to Behave”

Not everything of value comes at a price: Rahul Dravid

On the 11th Sir Donald Bradman oration, Rahul Dravid was chosen to give speech and as always he showed his excellence with his extra ordinary, thoughtful and studious speech with a pinch of humor. Reflecting on the brilliance of the Donald Bradman, he talked about Cricket – then and now with careful observations from history and understanding the current cricket scenario. He also analysed what changes we should expect in a game of cricket and how we should be prepared for the changes

He started off by drawing a parallel between India and Australia. Not only in terms of Cricket but also how the Australian success against the English team was treated as a success for Indians during pre-independence era. Often, “War”, “Battle”, “fight” are the words being used to describe Cricket nowadays which was a reality at that time because Australia and India were on the same side fighting the English empire during Burma war and World War II. Cricket was a common denominator between India and Australia.

Rahul took pride in saying that he shared one thing with Sir Don Bradman – The No. 3. He laughed off on how different their batting styles are where Bradman could make a ton before lunch but he himself would bat entire day for the same. However, he believed that dignity, integrity, pride, compassion and competitiveness are the values with which Bradman played are still relevant and every cricketer should embody these traits. He emphasized on how Bradman’s praise for the master blaster Sachin Tendulkar meant a lot for every Indian who hardly saw a glimpse of Bradman’s cricketing talent but felt joy in his success.

He also touched upon a common notion in media about Indian cricket as a representative of “Money and Power”. He made it clear that this clichéd image is not true as cricket in India has developed from players coming from all classes, regions, with different mother-tongues and also it involves sacrifices of people surrounding these players. To be able to hold together such a team is Indian captain’s job and all the cricketers who have given a chance to do that have done it with all sincerity. Speaking of holding and working together as a team, he recalled an example of two cricketers from his Under-19 days when two Indian batsmen not knowing a word of each other’s language, made a 100 runs partnership, only because their common language was Cricket.

He mentioned that Indian cricket reflects the country itself. With all the media involvement in Cricket, he firmly said that Cricket is full of stories that are not being talked about (in public). Reciting examples of how talent has its roots deep inside India, he told the story of Indian players like Virender Sehwag who used to travel 84 km for match practice, Umesh Yadav who gave away his police training and a road to Munaf Patel’s home had to be re-constructed for press reporters.

Rahul Dravid known for his humility did not forget fans’ contribution to the game of Cricket. He believed that audience amplifies the atmosphere of a cricket match while remembering Kolkata 2001 test. He asked us to find a clue in how smaller towns are getting huge crowd which has given India her World Cup winning captain. He suggested his fellow cricketers that everything has started from fans, so it’s important that we should respect them first. A wave or smile back towards fans is what they ask for. He remembered 2011 Indian world cup win and how fans were thanking instead of congratulating them for bringing home the glory.

As Cricket has developed into 3 formats, Rahul remains strong on the view that Test cricket deserves to be protected. He mentions it wonderfully that, “Not everyone who fell in love with Test Cricket because they wanted to be a businessman. Not everything of value comes at a price.”

The great wall finished his meticulous speech with a message which is a lesson for everyone in whatever field they might be –

“Winning matters! But how we play is as important (as winning)”

Bradman Oration by Rahul Dravid from Rahul Dravid on Vimeo.

A. R. Rahman turns 51; Underrated work of the maestro that you must listen

A. R. Rahman turns 51 today. The journey that started with Roja has been a gift to the millions of listeners worldwide. In his 25 years of his journey, Rahman has always experimented and composed music well ahead of his time.

We look back at A.R. Rahman’s most underrated work of all time.

Marhaba Ya Mustafa

A. R. Rahman composed this song for a 2008 multilingual film Al Risalah. It is referred to as a Na’at which means a poetry in praise of Islamic prophet Muhammad. Rahman composed and sung this beautiful Na’at himself. After listening to this you are sure to get into a spiritual feeling.

Naina Neer

In 2005, Deepa Mehta approached A. R. Rahman for her movie named Water. This movie was set in 1930s and showed lives of widows (Daasi) during that period. Rahman had his genius written over all the songs that he composed for this movie. Already lyrically rich Naina Neer song is beautifully composed with a Sitar, synth flute and on the top of that sweet voice of Sadhana Sargam adds a magic.

Piya Ho

Rahman almost brought the tempo down to minimum for this song. Piya ho is rendered by Sadhana Sargam with a backdrop of slow and soft rhythm. When you feel you have transported to a different world with Sadhna’s voice, Sukhwinder Singh makes an entry at the end of the song which makes you crave for more.

Shaam Rang

A. R. Rahman has always managed to get the best out of even the new voices. Richa Sharma, even before she became famous with the Maahi Ve and Jag Soona Laage, she recorded this song alongside Naqeeb Alam and Surjo Bhattacharya. Rahman brought the festive colors of Holi in his music relying predominantly on Indian classical instruments

Ye Jo Zindagi Hai

Deepa Mehta might be the only director for whom Rahman has given his best yet underrated songs. 1947 Earth had some brilliant compositions by the maestro. This song has that mystic feeling thanks to the melodious voice of Sujata Trivedi, soft beats and brilliant chorus.

Aarti

There seems to be some kind of spiritual connection A. R. Rahman has with god which makes him compose such magical songs. This Aarti of Goddess is hardly over 3 minute piece but leaves a lasting impression on the mind even after it finishes.

Ay Hairathe

As always Rahman saves his best for Mani Ratnam. This song starts with a Rahman’s voice and then Tabla, Strings take over the song with a beautiful poetry of Gulzar. Hariharan and Alka yagnik renders this song beautifully.

Bombay Theme

In 1995, in his third film with Mani Ratnam, Rahman gave the world this piece of art which touches your soul so deep that would surely bring tears in your eyes. Backdrop of Strings with rhythms of constant bells ring, magical flute and orchestra giving it a magnificent feel. Just close your eyes and listen to this pure magic.

Aaromale 

It’s just so hard to describe this song. It has Rahman’s own version of psychedelic feel to it. Lyrics have been blended with a Malayalam word “Aaromale” (beloved). No matter how your mood is, this songs is just perfect for any mood.

Jaage Hai

Chithra starts of this song in her melodious voice and Rahman keeps the instrumentation to the minimal. Chithra is then joined by Rahman himself before reaching crescendo when the whole orchestration reaches to higher level. Pure genius at work.

Liquid Dance

Liquid Dance is a testament of Rahman’s genius of creating and experimenting with blending eastern and western musical sensibilities. Who would have thought a hip-hop rhythm can be blended so perfectly with Classical Sargam. Listen this with your headphones on!

Mausam and Escape

Rahman, once again blends east and west in Mausam and Escape. Sitar, flute, Guitar, piano, violin programmed together in a musical piece which is 4-minute long but leaves an ever lasting impact.

R.I.P.

Harshdeep Kaur, does a brilliant job in this background piece of Rahman for 127 hours movie. Humming piece of Harshdeep with a brilliant orchestration by Rahman which gets even more psychedelic in the end is so soothing for the ears.

Dil Gira Dafatan

Rahman ropes in Ash King who sang this as his first song in the Bollywood. Continuous strumming of guitar and keyboard violin gives the feeling of ultimate joy to the listener.

Shauk Hai

Most underrated song of Guru which wasn’t even listed in CD. Song builds up in a slow strumming of guitar and piano backdrop with a beautiful poetry rendered by Sowmya Raoh so beautifully. Just sit back and soak this song in.

Dil Se Background Score

Dil Se is undoubtedly one of Rahman’s top scores of all time. All songs of Dil se were top notch. But even on top of that, Dil Se’s background score was certainly one of the best. Sukhwinder Singh reciting Allama Iqbal’s poetry with ethereal arrangements by Rahman is not only a treat to listen but also it transcends you to surreal world.

Warriors In Peace

Rahman in his maiden Chinese film composed for film score and featured Jolin Tsai, a popular Taiwanese singer. Though the song is made in Mandarin language, it has Rahman’s stamp all over it. Rahman experimented with Armenian Duduk, Japanese Taiko Drums, Chinese Erhu (Fiddle) and Dizi (Flute) for this song and the result is nothing short of brilliance.

There are many more underrated works of A. R. Rahman which can be added to this list. Please let us know in comments if you know any work of Rahman which is underrated.

 

Aadhaar data being sold for just ₹500; Probe begins

As the deadline for linking Aadhaar with financial services and other services is nearly approaching, a new report in “The Tribune” suggests a serious data leak of a billion users’ Aadhaar data. A service is being offered by an anonymous agent over a WhatsApp group, which is providing an unrestricted access to Aadhaar data of over a billion Indian citizens, The Tribune reported.

A group running this racket reportedly created a Gateway and allowed The Tribune team to access the Aadhaar data of any citizen which includes Name, Address, Postal Code, Photo, Phone Number and an email. All of this for mere a ₹500 which were transferred to an agent through Paytm. Moreover, printing of Aadhaar card was facilitated for the Tribune correspondent posing as a buyer by providing ₹300 more.

UIDAI reaction

Sanjay Jindal who is an Additional Director-General at UIDAI Regional Centre in Chandigarh affirmed that no one except Director General and himself should have access to the portal. UIDAI responding to the report claimed that there had been no data breach and reaffirmed that the data is safe and secure. However, UIDAI accepted that the search facility was provided to the designated personnel and state government officials as a part of grievance redressal facility which is being misused to gain illegal access to Aadhaar data. UIDAI specified that the biometric data is still secure and the grievance redressal system gives away limited details of Aadhaar.

UIDAI clarified that Aadhaar number is not a secret number and can be shared with authorized agencies whenever a Aadhaar holder wishes to avail certain services.

Privacy of billion users at risk

While BJP calling the breach a fake news and UIDAI continue to be denying the claims of unauthorized access, a FIR was filed by UIDAI in this data leak case. It raises questions over the security of one of the largest personal data of Indian citizens. Reports suggested that the groups were created on Social Media to provide Aadhaar Services for a nominal ₹500 which were believed to be using Village-level-enterprise operators under Common Service Center scheme. UIDAI claimed that it maintains the traceability logs and will be able to track down the misuse. An Investigation has already begun to look into this which is certainly a major national data breach.

 

 

Apple Apology over battery drain; discounts on replacement

Recently, there has been lot of concerns on twitter, Facebook complaining about the iPhone battery life post-upgrade to #ios11. Apple in a press release on Thursday acknowledged the issue and addressed the customer concerns

Updates

Apple released iOS11 to the public on 19 September 2017 and it became available for download.  iOS11 release was identified with a bug which forced Apple to release iOS 11.2 on 2nd December 2017. Some of the features of iOS 11.2 include Apple Pay Cash (only in US), 7.5W wireless charging for iPhone X, 8 and 8 plus.

Battery Life concerns

A mobile security firm, Wandera carried out a monitoring of heavy to moderate iPhone and iPad users having iOS 10 and iOS 11. Analysis of these activity found that devices running iOS 11 ran out of battery in 50% lesser time than that of iOS 10.

What is causing battery drain

Wandera suspects that it is partly because of the Spotlight re-indexing that happens after an upgrade of iOS. Apple initially thought it is the performance impact because of the background installation of fixes and new software and updates of the apps. However, Apple now believe that the major contributor to the battery drain is chemical aging of the batteries in older devices.

battery

Apple explained about the possible factors that might affect the chemical aging of the batteries. It can reduce the ability of battery to hold charge for a longer time. Apple released a support article for their customers to understand the Performance of iPhone batteries.

For the Apple customers

While appreciating the loyalty and trust customers showed in their product, Apple announced updates addressing the battery life concerns

press

On this day: Tsunami struck South Asia

On Sunday morning of 26 December in 2004, Earthquake measured 9.1 on Richter Scale and 18.6 mi epicenter depth was observed in West Coast Sumatra Island which was the epicenter for Tsunami.

Here are few facts about the nightmare that devastated many lives

  • This earthquake was caused by two tectonic plate called as Indian and Burma plate.

  • It affected 18 countries. These are Indonesia, Thailand, India, Sri-Lanka, Malaysia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Maldives, Reunion Island (French), Seychelles, Madagascar, Mauritius, Somalia, Tanzania, Kenya, Oman, South Africa and Australia.

Image result for tsunami 2004 damage

  • In Sri-lanka, 1720 km coastline was damaged along with 300 m to 3 km inland area. 78529 houses were destroyed and 41097 partly damaged. More than 30 thousand lives were lost and more than five thousands are still missing while around 500K people remain displaced

  • Indonesia was one of the worst affected by Tsunami with Banda Aceh saw 126,602 people were dead and more than 93 thousand people still missing. Around 500 thousand people remain displaced till date.

  • Rahmatullah Lampuuk mosque, located in Lhoknga region of Aceh remained unscathed where Tsunami devastated the whole city and structures around the mosque were reduced to ground. Many people took refugee in this mosque built by Dutch colonizers in 1881.

  • More than 10 thousand people lost lives in Tsunami which struck Indian coastline leaving more than 600K people displaced. As per World Bank, Total economic loss is supposed to be of $1.5 b

Are we prepared enough?

In 2004, on the 10th anniversary of Tsunami, UNESCO recognised the achievements of Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (IOTWMS). United Nations General Assembly decided that 5 November should be designated as World Tsunami Awareness Day. /IOTWMS conducted the IOWave16 on 7 and 8 September 2016. The exercise simulated the Indian Ocean countries being put in a tsunami warning situation requiring the National Tsunami Warning Centre (NTWC) and the National and/or Local Disaster Management Offices (NDMO/LDMO) to test the SOPs and communication links at all levels of the warning and response chain. Twenty-four Indian Ocean Member States participated in the exercise, and for the first time, 12 countries took the exercise down to the community level where over 50,000 people were evacuated.

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO is leading a global effort to develop and implement ocean-based tsunami warning systems as part of an overall multi-hazard disaster reduction strategy

 

Remembering the 16 December 1971: Part 2/2

Indian and International intervention

India published their refugee intake from East Bengal region which was striking 1.2 million refugees. Various efforts were done by United Nations to provide medical and humanitarian support for these refugees. After US government cancelled arms sales to West Pakistan on 8 November 1971, India also took this matter to United Nations on 18 November. In response to Gopalpur tragedy, Mukti Bahini launched a military action against West Pakistani troops on 21 November. A couple of days later, state-of-emergency was implemented across East Bengal region on 23 November.

After West Pakistani troops enforced a military action against East Pakistan on 3rd December. Appeals were discussed from India and USA in United Nations in a period of early half of December. In effect to that, United Nations appealed West Pakistan to withdraw their troops on 7 December 1971 and a ceasefire on 15 December.

The surrender

As West Pakistani troops came under the International Pressure and the war was destined to be over soon on 14 December 1971, Al-Badr military launched an attack on Bengali intellectuals who they thought could play an influential role in building up a separate nation.

However, more than 90 thousand Pakistani troops surrendered to Indian and Bangladeshi Liberation forces on 16 December 1971 which was the largest of its kind since World War 2. Surrender Instrument was signed by Lt. Gen A. A. K. Niazi, CO of Pakistan Army forces.

Atrocities

A nine-month long war for its liberation is probably one of the most poorly-documented war with each side claiming different statistics of fatalities and atrocities caused in the war. However, as per various international agencies statistics, interviews, news reports, first-hand accounts of victims, it is believed that more than 3 million Bengali people were killed during the war period.

The most who had suffered during the war period were Bengali women. General Tikka Khan led military in what might be referred as most shameful event in mankind history, raped more than 400,000 Bengali women. As per a CIA documentary, these genocidal rapes were shockingly supported by Muslim religious leaders who called for impregnating women with Muslim fetuses. Girls as young as 14 were raped in what was referred as rape camps. Rape was used as a tool for degradation of society and destruction of a community. Some reports also suggested that even after the surrender, West Pakistani troops showed no remorse for their genocide rather they boasted.

All these atrocities left a never healing scar on the victims as well as on everyone who was victim of this war in some or the other way.

Bangladesh as an Independent Nation

After the surrender on 16 December 1971, Bangladesh was recognized as a sovereign nation. But not to forget the horrific it has to gone through to achieve this sense of freedom. Even after so many decades have been passed through, there is still a sense of denial of atrocities being forced upon Bangladesh. Wounds of the war are still very fresh in Bangladeshi people. Amount of scars the war has left on Bangladesh it is important to look back and give an ear to the freedom fighters of 1971 Liberation war to bring the justice to all the genocide, women and children of 1971.

Vijay Diwas (Victory Day)

16 December 1971 is celebrated as Victory Day of Bangladesh in Bangladesh and Vijay Diwas in India.

Remembering the 16 December 1971: Part 1/2

Eastern Bengal part of India and Western Punjab and valleys region were formed together as The dominion of Pakistan when India got its freedom from British Colonial rule on 14 August 1947. Though both regions were under the Pakistan regime, the regions were not only distant from each other by miles but also the cultural, political and economic conditions were significantly different. The period between 1947 to 1971 saw a biggest turmoil in East Pakistan in terms of culture as well as politics.

East Pakistan economic and political degradation

After four months since Khwaja Nazimudin was appointed as a Chief Minister of East Bengal, University of Dhaka demanded Bengali to be recognized as an official language of Pakistan considering the prominent ethnicity in East Pakistan. However, the demand saw a backlash from Md. Ali Jinnah denying Bengali and persisting with Urdu as official language which got official confirmation on 26 January 1952. Exactly a month after the incident, Urdu was declared as official language, the outbreak in Dhaka was resulted in death of ten individuals which could be one of the first violence incident against the government forces. Powers shifted from Awami Muslim League to United Front Coalition in April 1954. A couple of years later, on 29 February 1956, a new constitution came into effect describing Pakistani Republic with Urdu and Bengali as official languages. However, clashes between government forces and different political parties continue to happen till winter of 1968 with hundreds of people losing their lives.

The violence between Government and East Pakistan political parties led to a formation of combined force called Democratic Action Committee (DAC) which rose to prominence. In just a span of a year, more than 600 people were killed in East Pakistan. On the backdrop of Awami League coming into power in 1970 in Pakistani National Assembly as well as East Pakistan Assembly, political violence took hundreds of lives until March 1971 in Syedpur, Jaydevpur, Chittagong, Rangpur, etc.

Conflict and How the events unfolded

Post effects of parliamentary elections saw resurgence of voices from intellectuals, civilians, students, religious minorities in East Pakistan. In order to suppress these voices and political parties in East Pakistan, West Pakistan launched a military offensive on the night of 25 March 1971 which is referred to as “Operation Searchlight”. Having lost voices and lives throughout since 1947, East Pakistan declared their independence on 26 March 1971, since then the war broke out which went down in history as one of the horrific wars in human history.  China, Malaysia, Turkey and Iran expressed support for the West Pakistani troops who were proliferating inside East Pakistan territory. Mukti Bahini, a liberation army was founded by East Bengali nationalists against the General Tikka Khan led West Pakistani troops. On 5th of May 1971, West Pakistani troops broke through in Gopalpur to kill Mukti Bahini members.

Read Part 2/2 here