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  • Gayle hopes for another big knock against India at World T20

    first_imgMUMBAI, India (AP):Chris Gayle hopes to smash another century when West Indies returns at the Wankhede Stadium tomorrow for their World Twenty20 semi-final against India.Gayle’s 47-ball century against England gave West Indies a winning momentum in the tournament before Afghanistan broke the three-match winning sequence of the 2012 champions on a turning wicket at Nagpur.”This is a perfect opportunity to actually start the tournament and try and pick up where I left off, get a big one for the team and put them in a winning position,” Gayle said yesterday.A niggling hamstring injury denied Gayle a chance to bat against Sri Lanka. He returned against South Africa but lasted only two deliveries – flicking the first one for four before getting clean bowled off the next ball.He was then rested against Afghanistan in their last last group match.POWER HITTINGBut the batting-friendly wickets in Mumbai with short square boundaries ideally suits the power hitting of Gayle as West Indies raced to 183-4 against England with 11 balls to spare.South Africa also twice scored over 200 runs at the Wankhede Stadium. However, first England denied the Proteas with the second highest ever successful chase of 230-8 and then Afghanistan put up a brisk start before losing by 37 runs in pursuit of South Africa’s 209-5.In the absence of at least two key players leg-spinner Sunil Narine and all-rounder Kieron Pollard, West Indies have ousted South Africa and defending champions Sri Lanka from the tournament.”That goes to show the strength of West Indies cricket back home,” Gayle said. “The guys who actually replaced the first picks, someone like Carlos Brathwaite, he won us the game against South Africa … and the bench is still strong enough.”Gayle said that six-run defeat against Afghanistan has only increased the motivation of West Indies to do well in the semi-final.”The only positive you can look from the Afghanistan game is the motive,” Gayle said.”We saw India bounce back from losing games as well, so it can put us in a strong position as well to actually lift our game and do better on Thursday.”Virat Kohli has been key in guiding the host into the semi-finals with his two masterful half centuries against arch-rivals Pakistan and an unbeaten 82 off 51 balls in the do-or-die last group match against Australia.Gayle was not surprised by the sublime form of India’s master middle-order batsman, who has scored 184 runs at an impressive average of 92.00.”No surprise there. I have said it over the years he is going to be the world beater he is today,” he said.”He has been fantastic right through the year. He has been in great form. He can still get runs but in a losing cause. We’ll be happy with that as well.”- APlast_img read more

  • Donegal cancer group express shock at women’s waiting list

    first_imgDonegal Action for Cancer Care has expressed its shocked at learning that a total of 1783 Donegal women are waiting to be seen at Letterkenny Hospital.The group said the situation is “just not good enough.”DACC has since contacted Mr Sean Murphy General Manager Letterkenny Hospital & to the CEO of the Saolta University Hospital Group. Their correspondence has also been sent to Minister for Health Simon Harris TD.The group said they must acknowledge the quick response of all.Below is an update on the Gynae Service at Letterkenny Hospital and the breakdown of the waiting list as we had requested.Spokesperson Betty Holmes said “It is important that we DACC share this information. It is important to note that the hospital has commenced the process of recruiting a fifth Obstetrician and Gynaecologist and it is anticipated that this post will be advertised in the coming weeks.” Below is a reply from Mr Sean Murphy General Manager LUH received by DACC.Letterkenny University Hospital has seen its gynaecology waiting list rise over the last 5 years, in line with the increase nationally.If a person is waiting for an outpatient appointment to see a gynaecologist, this could be for a number of reasons, such as investigation or treatment of pelvic pain, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, menopause, infertility, polycystic ovarian disease, etc.Letterkenny University Hospital regrets that any patient should experience long waiting times to access an outpatient appointment. Hospital management and the gynaecology team have been working to reduce the length of time women wait to be seen in the gynaecology service and most importantly, ensure that high risk referrals are seen promptly.In 2018 the hospital commenced a dedicated Post Menopausal Bleeding Clinic. This clinic is additional to the normal Gynaecology Clinics and was developed to target women with symptoms that may indicate a risk of endometrial cancer. Since its commencement 164 women have been seen in this clinic, including all those patients on the waiting list with post menopausal bleeding symptoms prior to the clinic starting. Given that post menopausal bleeding is a clinically established risk indicator for endometrial cancer, this specialist clinic has been set up to provide GPs with urgent access for patient with these symptoms. The waiting time to be seen in the clinic is 2 to 4 weeks to ensure that women receive a prompt diagnosis.Other actions underway to address the waiting list include:· Letterkenny University Hospital has commenced the process of recruiting a fifth Obstetrician and Gynaecologist and it is anticipated that this post will be advertised in the coming weeks.· The hospital is also working with the National Treatment Purchase Fund to secure funding for additional Gynaecology Clinics to reduce the number of patients waiting over 15 months. · In July, the hospital introduced a text reminder service for Gynaecology Outpatient appointments to assist in reducing the number of patients who fail to attend their appointment. An average 6 patients fail to attend the each of the Gynaecology Clinics, which has an impact on the waiting list.Donegal cancer group express shock at women’s waiting list was last modified: August 20th, 2019 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

  • Giants’ offense slowing down at the wrong time, concerns crop up again in loss

    first_imgSAN DIEGO — After another heart-stopping, nail-biting thriller that ended in a victory, the Giants returned to the visiting clubhouse at Petco Park on Friday night and talked up the value of their dominant bullpen.The Giants’ 11-inning win over the Padres marked their seventh extra-inning win since the All-Star break and their major league-best 25th victory in a one-run game this season.On Saturday, the Giants showed why a great bullpen can only take a team so far.The Giants’ offense …last_img

  • Maine Slashes Its Efficiency Program

    first_imgLawmakers are dismayed, but PUC says the law is clear“This decision by two members of the PUC makes absolutely no sense,” state Sen. Dawn Hill, a York Democrat, said in a written statement, according to the Press Herald. “Underfunding a program that has a proven track record of helping businesses and homeowners save money on their energy bills is a short-sighted decision.” In a statement posted at its website, the Natural Resources Council of Maine, an environmental advocacy group, said the vote was a “surprising and unfortunate development” that would cost state residents as much as $265 million a year in missed savings.The NRCM said the vote was part of a “very disturbing trend” that included an earlier PUC vote to reopen discussions on two previously approved wind farms in the state.PUC spokesman Harry Lanphear said that commissioners in favor of the cutback were simply following the letter of the law.“The law is completely clear and completely unambiguous as to how we do the calculation of the cap, and that was their decision,” he said by telephone. “The other side, some people would say that wasn’t the intent of the legislation, but the law that was passed, the law that went on the floor that was passed, was crystal clear. Our job is to implement the laws passed by the legislature and that’s what we’re doing.”After the legislation was approved, lawmakers followed up with a letter to the PUC explaining their intent that efficiency spending be capped at $60 million. Lanphear said commissioners considered the letter, but in the end decided the law as written took precedence.Electric rates won’t be going up as a result of the ruling, he said, and that current Efficiency Maine programs would not be affected.Currently, the program adds about 78 cents a month to the average residential power bill. That would have increased to about $3.13 a month if the PUC had interpreted the law as legislators had apparently intended, The Press Herald said. Utility regulators in Maine have voted to trim funding for a statewide program that pays for energy efficiency improvements in homes and businesses, from the $60 million state lawmakers said they were expecting to $22 million.Efficiency Maine, an independent agency that underwrites a variety of programs designed to reduce energy consumption, gets money from several sources, including a surcharge on electric bills. The vote by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) on March 17 affects the amount of money that can be collected and spent on efficiency programs such as weatherization, heating system upgrades, and more efficient lighting.The 2-1 vote was part of a rule-making followup to legislation passed in 2013. Flabbergasted lawmakers said their intent for a $60 million cap was clear, but regulators said they were simply following the letter of the law.A clerical mistake in the bill as it left committee — the omission of the word “and” — may be to blame, according to a report in The Portland Press Herald.The vote doesn’t affect current spending plans, but it if left uncorrected will be a blow. Efficiency Maine’s fiscal report for 2014 said the program had invested $36 million in efficiency upgrades last year that would save $192 million in long-term avoided energy costs. Benefits directly affected 261,000 participants last year.Michael Stoddard, Efficiency Maine’s executive director, said by phone it was still up in the air exactly how the reduced funding would affect the agency’s program. If left as is, changes would kick in with the budget year that begins July 1, 2016last_img read more

  • The Notifications Are Too Damn Many

    first_imgTags:#Pause Related Posts jon mitchell What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfacescenter_img Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement How many notifications do you receive from apps in a day? How many of those are really important? More important than whatever you’re doing at the time? OK, maybe you’re an E.R. doctor on call. But if you aren’t, consider turning off Facebook notifications off this Thanksgiving. The food pictures will still be there after dinner.Apps are needy. They need your eyeballs on them as much as possible. Notifications are how they get you. It’s really the only trick in the smartphone era. Push notifications are twisting beloved apps into nagging annoyances, and it’s on us to manage them.A Cautionary TaleRecently, a friend who works for a tech startup was crashing at my house for a couple days while his converted San Francisco warehouse room was blasted for bedbugs. He brought an iPad, a Nexus 7 and a Windows laptop, in addition to his phone.He was out and about in the evenings, which I usually use for solo creative writing while my roommates are out. So he had the phone with him. The PC was sleeping. But the two tablets were wide awake and vigilant, just waiting for something to happen somewhere in my friend’s digital world. I swear to you, he was getting more than a notification a minute on the iPad, the Nexus 7 or both. It ranged from iMessages to email to Facebook to calendar events to some kind of life-tracking, goal-setting app. They were all pinging and bonging and dinging across the room pretty much constantly, each with their own attention-destroying sound. It was profoundly awful. Add one more buzzing device, and that’s my friend [REDACTED]’s life. Don’t end up like [REDACTED].Of course, it’s easy to find other people’s notifications annoying. For instance, the guy in my office whose phone plays the Simpsons theme song every 12 minutes is going to need another phone next time it happens. But when it’s your own notifications, it’s more complicated.Protect Your BrainMessages are like little rewards for your brain, so you’re tempted to check them immediately to get little rush of self-validation. But the interruption just isn’t worth it. Multitasking makes us worse at all the things we’re doing, and these messages imposing the needs of others stress us out. We need some coping strategies.After my four-day Digital Detox, I made a few sensible changes to my signal-to-noise ratio that really helped. I never had push notifications for email (how do people survive that?), but I still had way too many bells and whistles in my life, and I scaled them back successfully.I turned off Twitter notifications for mentions, and I turned off sound and vibration for the rest of them. Then I went a step further and moved Twitter off the front screen of my phone. I stopped letting Twitter pull me in. Instead, I decide when to go there deliberately, do what I need to do, and leave.But the most important thing you can do for yourself is go through each service and carefully decide which notifications, if any, you need. If your apps are sending notifications in the first place, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. If you have them make sound, you’re constantly interrupted and distracted. If you have them come in silently, you’ll keep coming back to your phone to check, or wait a while and see 11 new messages and get stressed out.If you want out of this cycle, you’ve got to comb through your settings and disable the notifications at the root of the problem — except for those you honestly need. Many of us in the United States have some official downtime this week. It’s a great chance to turn down the noise in our lives. The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

  • 2006: A year of revolutions and resolutions in India

    first_img2006 EssaysYou have heard it before: for a country that takes great pride in its ancestral antiquity, what can the passage of another year mean? Quite a lot, considering our collective calendar fetish. For cultural sustenance, we return to the colour-coded texts of yesterday. It is not necessarily a learning,2006 EssaysYou have heard it before: for a country that takes great pride in its ancestral antiquity, what can the passage of another year mean? Quite a lot, considering our collective calendar fetish. For cultural sustenance, we return to the colour-coded texts of yesterday. It is not necessarily a learning experience. Often, we come back armed with one-dimensional wisdom. That is the thing about sites of history: resourceful tourists can collect enough items to accessorise their most outrageous ideas. We look back before we take the next tentative step forward, and not always nostalgically, but more likely with a sigh of the one who has survived. Mercifully, when we re-read India in the last glow of 2006, we realise it has been an admirable story of survival. Being an Indian story, it must be reasonably loud, rich in exaggerations and contradictions, with the right mix of morality and kitsch. Don’t expect any originality of plot, though. There is virtue in creative imitation. At least it kills the monotony of sameness.So, there they go: the politician who peddles repetition as re-invention; the sloganeer who borrows old lines to make a new point; the artist who modifies the safest formula and presents it as the alternative; and the dissenter-the over-familiar conscience keeper-who turns his combat with Power into street theatre. We have seen them all before. They never go away, and that is the advantage of being a paradoxical type. That is why we have comrades who achieve a perfect balance between Soviet rhetoric and Chinese attitude-between Delhi and Kolkata. That is why we have a prime minister who can be both a neo-Nehruvian dogmatist in matters of social justice and an open-minded pragmatist in his internationalism. And that is why we have a leader representing tribal power with blood on his hands. This variety in dramatis personae is matched by thematic diversity as well. The year 2006 has given justice a new resonance, populist and redeeming. The politician, with his eyes set on the ghettos of minority votes, turns justice into secularism’s worst pretence- maybe we should call it benevolent communalism. The media, mining middle class frustration, turns it into a relentless crusade. In the end, there is relief in the drawing room: this is not a land without justice, and let it rhyme with Jessica. Hang on for a sec, the cause junkie, outraged by the sham of the attack on Parliament, reminds us with italicised shrillness how justice can turn subversive as well. The canonisation of Afzal Guru has already begun. Nothing is ever boring in this country. Welcome to the land of crafty improvisers. They have made 2006 the year of remix, which, after all, is the art of variation. In music, it has been legitimised by the originality of the imitators themselves. In politics, practitioners of remix are not necessarily apostles of change, although there have been honourable exceptions. Bill Clinton, the New Democrat, was a master. Remember how he made a New Deal for the new times. In the process, he himself became an original-and an inspiration for the Blairs and Schroeders of this world. Now, see how Wilsonian idealism has become a moral force of the 21st century during the presidency of George W. Bush. At home, some old ghosts in fancy dress are staging a comeback; or rather they have been dragged into the arena by the politics of desperation. Our own Grand Old Party is currently engaged in the craft of remix. Garibi Hatao-ah well, we have been there before, but no Congressman worth his starched khadi would ever say “it is so last century”. Garibi, after all, is an Indian constant, no matter how sprawling the market is. And politics, at its idealistic best, is all about reaching out to the people. A “shining” slogan won’t work, and BJP will tell you how suicidal it can be. A new slogan for the new India requires too much thinking, and in Congress, it is the singular prerogative of the Leader, this business of thinking. Maybe the Leader, at her best, could only think of returning to the original Mrs G.Congress’ return to Garibi Hatao is, at the most obvious level, a tribute to the original Mrs G. In packaging poverty, she was there before Jeffrey Sachs and Bono. Sonia Gandhi may be the new Mrs G in the making. And unlike the original, the journey to that iconic summit is effortless for her. She doesn’t need to invent a slogan; she doesn’t need to outsmart a syndicate; and no socialist will dismiss her as goongi gudiya (the dumb doll). All that she has to do is invoke the family mystique. The starched cotton power dressing and the borrowed gait will do the rest. For the Gandhi-driven Congress, future lies in the great yesterday. The new Mrs G, venerated by the party as Our Lady of Salvation, is remix personified with minimum creative input but with a maximum power quotient. In 2006, the Sonia iconography had its defining moment when she resigned from the Lok Sabha over the office-of profit controversy. It was a simple act of high symbolism, and she knew it would yield huge moral profit-and that she would be back without much of a fight. The Gandhi remix was easy. This was not the case for the prime minister who was still learning to grow up in politics, that too without ceasing to be politic.In 2006, Manmohan Singh, the “chosen” prime minister, the apolitical, matter-of-factly gentleman, did a bit of remixing in his own quiet way. He wanted to be a statesman. He had the credentials, but political expertise was not one of them. He was determined to change the public’s perception; he had to do it without denigrating himself into an Arjun Singh. It was an ambitious project-and pretty adventurous too. The nuclear deal was his big moment. In retrospect, it was not entirely an achievement of the UPA Government. The groundwork was already done by the Vajpayee regime, whose finest hour in power arrived when India began to shed the shibboleth of Third Worldism and catch up with the post-Berlin Wall world. It was Vajpayee, with Jaswant Singh as his lieutenant, who realised that America was not an imperialist bogeyman but our natural ally, that India’s place was on the right side of history. Manmohan took this agenda to its logical conclusion as BJP, repudiating its own legacy in foreign policy, failed to see the difference between nationalism and national interest. Manmohan, like any other remix artist, owes a great deal to his predecessor. Being Manmohan, he might even say Vajpayee should have the first claim on India’s nuclear glasnost.Manmohan did not say it. What he did say was not shocking at all: Muslims must have the first claim on resources. He was bound to say it one day. What was really shocking was: how come Arjun Singh missed the line? He is, after all, the patron saint of divide-and-reform. He is the one who has given a communal tag to the wretched and the dispossessed. In 2006, he brought genetically modified Mandal back onto the campus. For a while his India looked so different from Manmohan’s India-competitive, market-driven, meritocratic. An India rhapsodised by Davos. In Arjun’s India, merit is a social privilege of the few. He took complete copyright over secularism, which, in practice, meant minority-ism. He set the agenda-social, cultural and political. Still, he didn’t have the last word. The vision thing had to be stated by the prime minister. He began with the M-word. It is the word that sustains the politics of social justice, which, in India, has always been divisive. Under the UPA raj, it is secularism at its fanatical worst. The Nehruvian New Man of scientific temper was an ideal, a role model who existed beyond the sway of cultural exceptionalism or religious belief. Arjun Singh wants to reclaim him; Manmohan wants to reinvent him. Those desperate remix artists who aspire to be contemporary Nehruvians lack the intellectual elegance of the original. Remixing can be pretty jarring in clumsy hands.Artists were at work on the right side of Indian politics too. BJP travels back into civilisation’s vandalised provinces and mythologies’ deepest recesses whenever it requires raw ideological material for reconstruction. And Advani was its finest explorer. As 2006 began, the party was still struggling to control the damage done by his deviation the year before: the trip to Jinnah’s mausoleum across the border was his shortest journey in history-and the most problematic one in his career as a political yatri. The year 2006, though, didn’t mark the end of the road for him: the yatra continues in his mind. The year, though, belonged to the leader of the New Generation Right. Rajnath Singh, the heartland veteran, is the new face. Is he the new voice as well? At his formal coronation in Lucknow last week, there was no new vocabulary of change; there was only the emphasis of the familiar. It was not exactly the art of remixing as such. The Ayodhya rhetoric was pure repetition. What was notable was the spirit of combat. Rajnath, a hardcore realist, has to now come out with some new ideas-or at least reworked old ideas to suit the times. There is no other way to reclaim the space lost by the Right in Indian politics. For BJP, it is an idea, not a surname, which galvanises. The idea of Vajpayee is on the retreat. If there was any trace of remixing in the House of Saffron in 2006, it was in Rajnath’s own style: a dash of Vajpayee without the lyricism.Remix, at its best, celebrates the triumph of the derivative. And it brings out the urge for change. In mainstream politics in 2006, the Left alone defied the temptation. Bengal’s McMarxist was not really remixing. By introducing an Indian version of social capitalism, the Bangla Deng was repudiating the orthodoxy of the apparatchik at Headquarters. He had the people who elected him; the occupants of AKG Bhawan in Delhi had nothing at stake except the book. His counterpart in Thiruvananthapuram, another winner in 2006, tells a different story in Marxist morality. He won the election single handedly as the people’s comrade, as a street fighter, not as a market-friendly Marxist. The Indian market, anyway, has acquired an independence that allows little space for ideological intervention, in spite of the customary red alerts from comrades, permanently aware of their indispensability in Delhi’s power structure. Bangalore may aspire to be the digital capital of the “flat world”, but India Inc is no longer a soft power. It has already learned to conquer. In 2006, the Indian Business Model was a global story, and it was a story of renewal and change. We have come a long way from mixed economy to remixed economy.Still, as the year of the remix nation passes, spare a thought for the originals, even if you are not in a movie hall. It is the spirit of the originals that makes the experiments in change such an engrossing affair. We are indebted.IDEAS REDUXFLASHBACK: Sonia Gandhi’s conscious effort to model herself along the lines of her mother-in-law extended to her agendaIndira GandhiAt the end of 2006, the Congress found itself trying to soothe irate coalition members with one hand, while appeasing a fidgety Opposition with the other. The Government advertised the booming economy and the Indo-US nuclear deal as its showpieces, but didn’t get a chance to celebrate. The party and its leader, Sonia Gandhi, went to the masses with ideas tried and tested, albeit in another time and place. Sonia, who has often invited more than a passing reference to her similarity with Indira Gandhi because of her trademark saris and court shoes, put all doubts to rest when the Government, in a flashback to Indira’s 1971 election campaign, decided to relaunch the 20-point garibi hatao programme on the back of which the former prime minister had ridden to power. The Government decided to bring back garibi hatao (eradicate poverty) on its agenda as the term garibi unmoolan (alleviate poverty) used so far was not adequate. While garibi, no doubt, still needs to be hataoed, the fact that the new slogan has only a rehash of existing schemes to back it shows a lack of new ideas-something not many missed. The Government’s agenda on OBC reservations was an agonisingly real replay of the 1990 Mandal Commission protests, with the Government mouthing words jaded with overuse, and students on both sides of the debate shouting back in the same age-old refrain. November saw the Sachar Committee Report on the status of Indian Muslims being tabled in the Lok Sabha. But it was Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s comment that minorities, especially Muslims, should have first claim on the country’s resources that literally brought the roof down. Many have never been quite convinced that the Congress had washed off its tag of minority appeasement, and this relapse from the days of the Shah Bano affair only convinced them that the taint was no paint, but a tattoo. 2006 was the year of old wine in a new bottle, but it never really got anybody even half-way high on enthusiasm.by Gaurav RajkhowaLEFT SULKS, STALLSRED POWER: Left-backed trade union workers at a May Day rally in BangaloreThe Left’s uninterrupted reign for 28 years in West Bengal was extended by five years through a landslide victory in the assembly polls in April. It simultaneously seized Kerala from Congress in the volley between the two fronts. Positive vote shares in Tamil Nadu and Assam added to its power quotient at the Centre. Congress, a poor performer in the polls, had to surrender its desire to divest small amounts of public equity in Nalco and Neyveli Lignite. High on its victory in Tamil Nadu, DMK threatened to withdraw support to the UPA if Neyveli was touched. The Left’s political understanding with DMK helped as trade unions affiliated to both swung into action. Outside the “third” (non-Congress, non-BJP) alternative platform, the Left parties tried to embarrass the UPA Government even before the assembly polls took off. While US President George W. Bush was in the Capital drawing out the nuclear agreement with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Left leaders burnt effigies of Bush and took to the streets. Sensing anti-Bush sentiments growing among Muslims, Samajwadi Party (SP) backed the Left, frequenting CPI(M) headquarters and threatening (on TV) Congress. Inside Parliament, Left and SP members warned the Government of dire consequences if the nuclear deal went through without incorporating their concerns. The prime minister finally explained himself in Parliament in an emotional speech which somewhat mollified the Left. After hollering at Congress for proliferating SEZs, the Left got trapped in its own design of Singur and in the process facilitated the emergence of Mamata Banerjee from oblivion. Justifying reforms in Bengal and condemning the same elsewhere marked the year’s end for the Left. The rug remained firm below Congress.by Satarupa BhattacharjyaHARD BATTLEBUBBLING UP: The cola controversy became an emotive political issueCola controversyIn a year of remixes, the cola controversy was a tune that stayed true to its original from three years ago. In August, the Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) put out a report that claimed to have found toxic levels of pesticides-lindane, chlorpyrifos, heptachlor, malathion and DDT-in 11 soft drink brands of Coca-Cola and Pepsi. The CSE, while releasing the findings, said the situation was even worse than it was three years ago. But for the major part, the reactions all around were much the same as in 2003.The cola companies, bitter rivals in the market place, became the best of friends, hosting joint press conferences refuting the CSE findings and asserting their commitment to international standards of quality. This time around, the companies went one step further than the newspaper advertisements and poster campaigns of 2003, roping in their brand ambassadors for testimonial ads on TV. Pepsi’s new head Indra Nooyi even made India her first destination outside the US since she took over in October in an attempt to smooth ruffled feathers. The cries for banning the multinationals from India found their voice again, as they do periodically, and a series of court cases followed. Left bastions Kerala and West Bengal filed high court cases to ban the soft drink makers in their markets, as did Karnataka. The Health Ministry set up an expert committee to look into “the methodology of sampling, methodology of testing and validity as well as the consistency of results derived by the CSE in its report”. It was only here that the subtle loops of the remix became audible-the committee rubbished the organisation’s findings which had an echo in the report of the Joint Parliamentary Committee set up after the 2003 controversy. Bombarded with other-worldly nomenclatures and subdecimal contamination levels, the consumer was hardly any more aware of the issues at hand than she was three years ago. So 2006 saw the soft drink controversy turn into an even harder battle. Even though the Government gave them a clean chit, the cola companies have now agreed to comply with any standard established by it, setting a precedent for the entire food processing industry.by Gaurav RajkhowaDADA STRIKES BACKGreg Chappell – Saurav Ganguly: After their tiffGreg Chappell with Saurav GangulyTheir names will forever be linked but not like Rodgers and Hammerstein or Haynes and Greenidge. Sourav Ganguly and Greg Chappell are more like Zinedine Zidane and Marco Materazzi. What was said and who delivered the head butt are now foggy in the memory but we all know the score. At the end of 2005 and an accelerating run of one-day victories, it read Chappell-1 Ganguly-0. At the end of 2006, the Indian team was in the throes of the worst 15-ODI slump of all teams barring Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, and blanked 4-0 by South Africa. Promises about multi-dimensional players were premature, platitudes about processes worn thin and total cricket was in tatters. Re-enter, courtesy a new selection chief, the prince of rough tides. Since his return, the Bengal left-hander has shown enormous composure and more than reasonable return in a low-scoring Test and the team’s tide has turned. A first-ever Test win in South Africa, and no eggshells on the dressing room floor. After the win, Chappell spoke in glowing terms about the comeback. Ganguly has said nothing, other than his reception from the coach was “very good”, in sporting clich, a statement now on par with “we are not underestimating the opposition”. Baffled South Africans like Darryll Cullinan wondered whether Ganguly’s return was not an embarrassment for Chappell, after repeated public and private Dada dumpings. India’s finest TV pundits like Ravi Shastri (relentlessly cheerleading for the coach) spun it differently. In a biblical metaphor, they call this Chappell’s vindication- the unseemly shakeups needed to send Ganguly to the grindstone so he could return like a prodigal. But just like The Godfather didn’t end with a handshake, this fraught episode is unlikely to end in an easy ‘moral of the story’. Indian’s emotional public of course believes “Dada” has brought India’s edge back. Either way, India’s most formidable middle order ever has, by accident or design, been reunited and has delivered a Test result to drool over. For every victory crafted by Rahul Dravid that bolstered Ganguly’s captaincy record, the Bengal bat has played a vital part in what could be the turnaround moment for the Bangalore man’s leadership. Chappell-1 Ganguly-1. And it ain’t over yet.by Sharda UgraFAMILIARITY BREEDS CONTENTREMAKE SEASON: Bollywood copied entire films as in Umrao Jaan, 1981Aishwariya Rai in Umrao Jaan, 2006It was called Bollywood’s best year ever. Yes, but only if one looked at the overseas box office receipts. Never did Bollywood ransack itself, clichs and all, as flagrantly as it did this year. Whether it was remakes or sequels, the Mumbai film industry finally declared what it had covertly been doing all these years. Copy outrageously. It borrowed entire films (Don and Umrao Jaan), characters (Krrish, Lage Raho Munnabhai and Dhoom 2) and sometimes even ideas (adultery in Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna-so very Silsila?-and Shakespeare in Omkara). Some results were spectacular, as in Lage Raho Munnabhai, easily the best film of the year, for its unabashed simplicity and its breathtaking courage. If Munnabhai proved the importance of content, leading everyone to rejoice at the widespread acceptance of sensible cinema, there was also a Dhoom 2 which showed that pouting and preening worked as well. With marketing becoming the real star in Bollywood, it was only natural that familiarity would breed content. Successful concepts, sequels and remakes are easier to sell. They guarantee box office openings when a handful of stars alone cannot be trusted to deliver bottoms on seats. Expect a lot more of the same in 2007. On the anvil is Ram Gopal Varma ke Sholay, Sarkar 2, Don 2 perhaps, and now it is being said, Dhoom 3 as well. Where will it all end? In franchise movie-making and more popcorn, making us forget the slender but subtle successes of Dor (ah well, that was a remake of a Malayalam film) and Khosla ka Ghosla. Perhaps it was time for Bollywood to invest in writers instead of expecting good music, pretty people and prettier locations to do the job. It would be cheaper, for sure.by Kaveree Bamzaiadvertisementadvertisementadvertisementlast_img read more