गुरुवार, अप्रैल 22, 2010

Paternity of the Rajasthan Royals!

For the past few days, the ownership of the Rajasthan Royals, winners of the first Indian Premier League tournament, is making headlines. Shilpa Shetty and her husband Raj Kundra are just stake holders. It seems Suresh Chellaram, who happens to be IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi's brother - in - law, owns 44.1 % stake. Whereas Manoj Badale owns 32.4 %. The remaining is owned by Raj Kundra, Shilpa Shetty and Lachlan Murdoch.

The bid for Rajasthan Royals was won by Emerging Media Ltd. in January 2008. 2.5 million pounds were paid as earnest money.

The contract was signed in April 2008 by Jaipur IPL Pvt. Ltd., which was incorporated in March 2008.

In May 2008, balance bid amount of $ 77 million was paid by third company E. N. Sports Holding Ltd., based in Mauritius.

In Nov - Dec' 2008, Jaipur IPL wanted to offload its shares in Rajasthan Royals to E. N. Sports Holding Ltd., but failed to get permission from RBI. Despite this Jaipur IPL offloaded its shares to E. N. Sports through a bank.

Now, it is interesting to see who is behind E. N. Sports Holding. It seems Suresh Chellaram own 44 % stake in it, through Tresco International Ltd., Manoj Badale owns 32.41% through Emerging Media, the Kundra family owns 11.7 % via Kuki investments (based in Bahamas) and Lachlan Mudroch own 11.7 % of it through Blue Water Estates (Hong Kong).

शनिवार, अप्रैल 17, 2010

Musharraf's involvement in Benazir Bhutto's assassination

A three member United Nations' Commission was set up at the behest of Pakistani Government to inquire into the unfortunate assassination of former Prime Minister of Pakistan - Benazir Bhutto.

The U. N. Commission has held Pakistan's military government headed by Pervez Musharraf responsible for "not adequately protecting" Benazir Bhutto. The present regime in Pakistan is also accused of obstructing the U. N. team's investigation. The official contention that Taleban leader Baitullah Mehsud was behind the slaying of BB was also found to be dubious.

The report goes on to say that the police investigation never really tried to get to the bottom of the slaying fearing involvement of Pakistani intelligence agencies. It also speaks of police destroying evidence.

Pakistan's interior minister is accused of commandeering vehicle meant for BB on the fateful day, thereby leaving her vulnerable.

It also draws a possible link between the independent position taken up by BB on improved relations with India and her assassination.

It'll be interesting to see what action is taken by the Pakistani government on this report.

What caused the cryogenic engine to fail?

The failure of the launch of GSLV-D3 on 15th April, is being attributed to the non-ignition of the indigenously developed cryogenic engine that was being tested in this mission. Now the million-dollar question is why did the cryogenic engine fail to ignite? "The cryogenic engine has not ignited, that is for sure. Why it has not ignited, the reasons have to be found out," is what the ISRO spokesman is reported to have said.

The cryogenic engine uses liquid hydrogen (LH2) at 20 kelvin as fuel and liquid oxygen (LOX) at 89 kelvin as oxidizer. Here is a detailed explanation of the working of a cryo-engine.

The GSLV took off at 4:27 p.m. normally. It developed problem only when the cryogenic engine should have ignited at exactly 304 seconds from lift-off. Scientists at ISRO are puzzled as to why the cryogenic engine failed to ignite even though the vehicle had been repeatedly reviewed by experts in cryo-technology and was given a go-ahead. Even though the cryo-engine was required to fire only for 720 seconds on flight, it had been tested on ground for a total of 7,767 seconds. The problem appears to be that the ignition of the cryo-engine taking place in space vacuum cannot be simulated on ground. Apparently, even after passing umpteen number of tests on ground, the cryogenic engine cannot be guaranteed to fire in space.

So until we have mastered the art and science of cryogenic engine technology, Indian Space programme seems to be a gamble in uncertainty!

शुक्रवार, अप्रैल 16, 2010

Skewed Sex-Ratio in Punjab!

"The Hindu" dt. 16.04.2010 carried an interesting article. This article revealed that the sex-ratio in Punjab was totally skewed. The incidence of female foeticide is assuming alarming proportions. It is not only being practiced by the illiterate rural population, but what was more shocking was the fact that this is more prevalent and popular in the urban literate elite population.

Further, it was found that mothers who already had a female child were more likely to practice female foeticide than mothers who already had a male child.

This trend practically explodes the prevalent myths that this social evil was a result of parents' inability to meet dowry and marriage expenses in a society where marriages were an occasion to display opulence and were to be celebrated with great pomp and show. It is the perceived social disgrace of not having a male child that has prompted mothers to resort to female foeticide. Further, division of property which resulted from giving birth to a female child also contributes to the rise in this social evil.

Here are some revealing facts -

  • Sex Ratio at Birth (considered to be a more accurate indicator of female foeticide) was 776 : 1000 in 2006 as compared to 798 : 1000 in 2001
  • In urban areas it was found to be 761 : 1000 (as per National Family Health Survey)
  • The ratio was found to significantly lower among educated mothers (Class X and above), it was found to be 683 : 1000 as compared to 869 : 1000 among illiterate mothers
  • Sex Ratio of last birth (i. e., when first child is female) was 504 : 1000, whereas when the first child was male the ratio was a healthy 1003 : 1000

From the above facts, it is evident, that what is behind this evil practice, is not the economic background of the parents but it is the social stigma attached to the parents of a girl child, that is behind female foeticide. Moreover the article goes on to reveal that a whooping 70% of girls undergoing high school education who were surveyed revealed that they would not prefer to give birth to a female child. They were probably influenced by the plight of their own mothers and the discrimination meted out to them in their families and in the society in general.

This social evil is not a new phenomenon. It has been prevalent for hundreds of years. Previously also people used to abandon their girl-child on streets, garbage bins, public parks, etc. Now with the advance of science and technology, especially with the advent of diagnostic tests for the determination of sex of the unborn child, people are resorting to selective foeticide. In a way science and technology has been contributing to the murder of the girl-child.

If this trend is allowed to continue, then God alone knows what will become of our society.

GSLV-D3 launch fails

India's space programme, which has achieved major successes in the recent times, suffered a major setback when its ambitious GSLV-D3 launch vehicle failed and tumbled down into the Bay of Bengal off Sriharikota on 15th April, 2010 (yesterday).

On test was the indigenously developed cryogenic engine which powered the Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle. The vehicle itself was not destroyed as it landed harmlessly into the Bay of Bengal.

This launch was crucial for the Indian Space programme. If it had been successful, then India would have achieved self-sufficiency in cryogenic engine technology. Previously, Russian built cryogenic engines were used in the five GSLV flights from 2001 to 2007. The cryogenic technology is essential in putting heavy satellites (GSAT-4 in the present case) into a geo-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 36,000 km. ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) had been working tirelessly for more than 17 years to develop a cryogenic engine.

ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan, is reported to have said "We are not sure whether the cryogenic main engine did ignite. We have to confirm this after looking at various parameters that were monitored during the flight". However prima facie, it appeared that the problem lay with the ignition of the cryogenic engine, which after firing for 720 seconds, would have put the GSAT-4 into orbit.

With this failure, the fructification of the Indian dream of an indigenous cryogenic engine has been postponed indefinitely!


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