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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

LALITTHAABARANAM:  is said to be Instagrams posted by him, The selfies speak for themselves. The link is as above. Google News brought this to me

Here are the photos Lalit Modi posted on Instagram the week his wife was having surgery in Lisbon

Shortly after visiting the Champalimaiud cancer research centre in Lisbon last August, the cricket czar was back on the circuit in Ibiza. 
Ajoy Bose  · Yesterday · 08:55 pm
Here are the photos Lalit Modi posted on Instagram the week his wife was having surgery in Lisbon
Photo Credit: via Instagram
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The Modi government’s entire defence of its Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj’s controversial decision to facilitate British travel documents last August for Lalit Modi , a fugitive wanted by the Enforcement Directorate and taxmen, rests on a humanitarian plea. Swaraj has insisted that her unprecedented personal request to the British authorities was guided solely by sympathy for Modi’s wife, Minal, who was said to be set for treatment at the Lisbon Cancer Centre in the first week of August last year.

Bharatiya Janata Party leaders such as Home Minister Rajnath Singh and party president Amit Shah also reiterated this defence.  Although a tweet by Swaraj claiming Modi had to go to Portugal to sign consent papers for his wife’s surgery was found incorrect, the ruling party has continued to maintain that he had to be by his wife’s side if for nothing else but to provide emotional support.

However that humanitarian argument appears to have been undermined a little by Lalit Modi himself. An obsessive social-media user, the former cricket czar has a left a graphic online record of what he did when he got the British travel documents in the first week of August. His posts do not at all suggest a man worried sick about his wife's illness.  Modi, who assiduously records almost every important event in his life by posting photographs and comments on Instagram, does not even mention his wife or her cancer treatment in the first week of August when the surgery took place. However, he does note that he visited a cancer research facility in Lisbon.

When he obtained his British travel papers, Modi immediately posted a photograph of it on Instagram. But instead of mentioning how this would let him go to Portugal to help his wife through her cancer surgery, he only talks about how triumphant he is feeling about overcoming his foes and how much he is looking forward to travel and meet his friends and family members who were forced earlier to come him in London.

The next day Modi was back posting photographs of himself travelling out of Britain but once again a mysterious silence on the very purpose the Indian Foreign Minister intervened on his behalf. He remarks that he is thrilled that this is his “first flight in 4 years, 2 months and 14 days”.

Modi does not record anything on Instagram  about his wife’s cancer treatment, but his tweets on August 4 do have a mention about the Champalimaiud Centre for the Unknown cancer research facility on the banks of the Taguis in Lisbon and photographs of it.  He notes that it has been designed by Indian architect Charles Correa but does not specify why he visited it.

The next day, Modi recorded his presence in Portugal on Instagram by posting a photograph of himself in front the church in Fatima, the Catholic pilgrimage site about 100 km outside Lisbon. He does not mention how his wife’s surgery went, though he says he was there to honour the fulfillment of a vow.

Almost immediately, the international celebrity was off to Ibiza, the island in Spain favoured by the rich and famous as a party destination. The photographs and comments on Instagram speak about how much Modi is enjoying himself.

Since then, Modi further fortified by the restoration of his Indian passport by a Delhi High Court order a few weeks later on August 27, 2014, has been partying non-stop across more than a dozen countries all over the globe. He has posted a stream of photographs and a series of pithy comments celebrating his freedom to have fun in a fascinating variety of resorts. A loyal Lalit Modi fan club for whom he keeps his Instagram account so open have been vocal in their admiration for someone who leads their secret fantasy lives regardless of those criminal charges left behind in India.

In the year since her treatment, Lalit Modi’s wife Minal seems to be doing remarkably well and is often seen partying with him. Minal Modi last appeared in an image posted by her husband at a wedding in Venice just a few days ago along with her two sisters. Modi as usual was effusive describing them as his “two hot sisters-in-law and angel wife”.

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Why Lalu Yadav 'drank the poison' and allied with Nitish Kumar

The answer lies in vote share gap between the BJP and the combine of JD(U), RJD and Congress.
Praveen Chakravarty, · Yesterday · 07:30 pm
Why Lalu Yadav 'drank the poison' and allied with Nitish Kumar
Photo Credit: IANS
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“I am ready to consume poison to crush the snake of communalism,” said Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav, almost conjuring up an image of Lord Shiva with the serpent Vasuki coiled around his neck.

Lalu Yadav’s insinuation was that, to save the state of Bihar from the venom of BJP’s communalism, he was ready to accept the leadership of his once arch rival and current Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar for the upcoming elections in Bihar. Nitish Kumar was thus crowned the leader of the newly concocted alliance of the Janata Dal (United), RJD and the Congress party to contest against the BJP in the Bihar elections later this year.

The rhetoric of communalism aside, surely the counterfactual maths – had their votes been combined in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP-led NDA could have been reduced to a mere 11 seats from the current 31 – would have played a catalytic role in Lalu Yadav’s embrace of Nitish Kumar.

A cursory analysis of vote shares of all these parties in the 2014 elections would make it seem obvious that it didn’t need a snake charmer to woo them together. However, our trend analysis of voter choices in Bihar over the past decade reveals that the upcoming elections may turn out to be a much closer snakes and ladders battle despite the potential consolidation of anti-BJP votes.

About 155 million voters across 243 constituencies in Bihar have exercised their electoral choices in three Vidhan Sabha and three Lok Sabha elections since 2004. The BJP, JD(U), RJD, Congress and Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party have each contested  elections in Bihar in variou ...

The tiny but spirited island-nation of Guam makes it look easy against abject Indian football team

Much was expected of India after their promising display against Oman. But against a team ranked almost 30 places below them, they simply froze. 
Angikaar Choudhury · Yesterday · 06:49 pm
The tiny but spirited island-nation of Guam makes it look easy against abject Indian football team
Photo Credit: Manjunath Kiran/AFP
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The "underdog" tag fits well on India. That much was evident after their spirited performance against Oman. But on the basis of this performance against Guam, the "favourites" tag decidedly does not.

India arrived in the idyllic Pacific island of Guam with quiet confidence. They had every reason to be. Despite the loss against a much-higher ranked Oman, they had competed till the very end, winning hearts.  Guam were ranked almost 30 places beneath them. It was a perfect springboard for the Blue Tigers after an impressive display against Oman.

What transpired, however, was rather different. In alien conditions and on artificial turf, India played a brand of football that has become all too familiar in recent years. The energy and spark that had characterised their performance against Oman was painfully absent. In their place, India were dreary and dull. Guam, in contrast, sparkled throughout the match, continuously troubling the Indian defence.

It ended 2-1, the same scoreline as India’s previous encounter against Oman. Unfortunately, this time, there were no positives to take from this defeat.

Guam sparkle

By defeating Turkmenistan a few days earlier, Guam had provided an early warning of their intentions. Their squad comprises many players who play in the United States and they bring a wealth of experience to the team. But their biggest asset is Gary White, a coach who has been at the helm since 2012, who understands their game intricately and has brought sweeping changes to Guam football.

India seemed completely switched off after it started. As Guam orchestrated attack after attack, India had no choice other than holding for dear life. Any effort at pushing the ball towards the Guam goal was swiftly nipped in the bud. Finally in the 32nd minute, Sehnaj Singh hit a shot, more out of frustration than anything else, which went over the bar. This would remain a trend throughout.

Guam had ...

Four Indian women scientists who are pushing the frontiers of research

Despite inherent biases in the academic system, some Indian women are thriving at the cutting edge of science.
Nayantara Narayanan · Yesterday · 06:30 pm
Four Indian women scientists who are pushing the frontiers of research
Photo Credit: Google Images
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Nobel laureate Tim Hunt stirred a hornet’s nest at the World Conference of Science Journalists at Seoul, South Korea, last week with a statement about why the presence of women scientists in the laboratory was distracting. “Let me tell you about my trouble with girls,” Hunt is reported to have said. “You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them, they cry!”  Though he soon claimed that he meant the remarks as a joke, the hornets stung hard. After immediate media outrage and humourous but powerful Twitter reactions from women scientists, the 72-year-old biochemist has had to resign from his position at the University College of London.

The reason very few in the research world found Hunt’s remarks funny is because women scientists have, for decades, been fighting bias and the suggestion that they are not cut out for the lab. Women are underrepresented, underpaid and often unrecognised for their scientific achievements.

In 2008, Indian women held only 37% of PhDs, less than 15% of faculty positions and less than 4% of awards and fellowships at various science academies, according to a report of the National Task Force for Women in Science. The government and scientific academies have instituted mechanisms to correct the gender asymmetry in the field. But that hasn't stopped some Indian women from pushing at the frontiers of science with remarkable results. Here are four such researchers who have achieved no small measure of success in recent years.

Yamuna Krishnan

Yamuna Krishnan makes experimental machines out of DNA. Working that the cutting edge of a field called bionanotechnology, Krishnan < ...

How Lalit Modi methodically created Indian cricket’s biggest brand

Lalit Modi changed the course of Indian cricket with the IPL. But it was the same IPL that led to his downfall. 
Angikaar Choudhury · Yesterday · 05:30 pm
How Lalit Modi methodically created Indian cricket’s biggest brand
Photo Credit: Gianluigi Guercia/AFP
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Joginder Singh Sharma turned back nervously to deliver the third delivery of the final over in the match. At the other end, Misbah-Ul-Haq waited. Pakistan still needed six more runs to win the first World Twenty20 Championship. As Sharma ran in on that fateful evening on September 24, 2007, little did he know that his delivery would change the course of Indian cricket forever.

Ironically, when the Twenty20 format first started gaining popularity in 2003, the Board of Control for Cricket in India was not every enthusiastic about this new format. It was much more television-friendly than the one-day version ‒ and almost unrecognisable from traditional five-day Test matches.

There was no Indian representation in the International 20:20 Club Championship (an early prototype of the Champions League T20). When the inaugural World T20 Championship came around in 2007, the BCCI’s interest in the tournament was evident from the team they had sent – a team missing all its big stars, captained by a young wicket-keeper from Ranchi named MS Dhoni.

But India’s euphoria when Misbah-Ul-Haq failed to clear the infield, only to find Sreesanth grabbing a high catch, prompted the BCCI to look at Twenty20 in a different light. It was evident that this new format could revolutionise cricket in India. The BCCI wanted a slice of the pie. To make that happen, Lalit Modi, the BCCI's vice-president, was summarily appointed the Indian Premier League chairman and commissioner.

The rise of Modi

Lalit Modi, by then, had worked his way up the BCCI ladder. Involved in broadcasting from the 1990s, he found his way into cricket administration when he was elected the President of the Rajasthan Cricket Association in 2004. In 2005, when Sharad Pawar ousted Jagmohan Dalmiya as BCCI President, Modi was duly give the vice presidency.

Modi had dreams of creating a franchis ...

There’s much more to the FTII than Bollywood director Rajkumar Hirani, Mr Gajendra Chauhan

A history lesson for the recently appointed chairperson of the Film and Television Institute of India’s Governing Council.
Nandini Ramnath · Yesterday · 04:30 pm
There’s much more to the FTII than Bollywood director Rajkumar Hirani, Mr Gajendra Chauhan
Photo Credit: Ranabir Das
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According to Gajendra Chauhan, the television actor named to head the Governing Council of the Film and Television Institute of India, the school has not had any major achievements since 1987, the year director Rajkumar Hirani graduated.

Why did Chauhan single out Hirani? The PK director’s batch included several other worthies, such as filmmakers Sriram Raghavan and Sanjay Leela Bhansali, cinematographers KU Mohanan, CK Muraleedharan, Hari Nair and Faroukh Mistry, and sound designers Biswadeep Chatterji and Anuj Mathur. All of these are respected names in the film industry, and have won several awards. The only difference is that none of them has produced four blockbusters in a row, one more gargantuan than the rest. If that is the only criterion to judge a filmmaker, then every film school that fails to produce a bank-breaker should shut down and send its students home.

Since it was set up in 1960 in Pune, the country’s oldest and most prestigious film school has produced some of the brightest talent across filmmaking departments. It is so revered, many people in the film industry refer to it simply as “the Institute”. Its detractors are fond of attacking its alleged snobbery and pretentiousness, but the numbers of well-trained and thinking professionals who bring intelligence, taste and attentiveness to their craft are too large to ignore.

Roster of excellence

After Hirani, the FTII has produced editors, directors, actors, sound designers and cinematographers who have been given national awards by the same Union government that is responsible for Chauhan’s appointment. Among the prize-winning filmmakers who emerged after 1987 are Marathi filmmakers Sunil Sukhtankar (co-director with Sumitra Bhave of DevraiVastpupurush and Astu, among others) and Umesh Kulkarni, whose Deool won a National Award in 2009. Cinematographers Sudeep Chatterjee, who has shot several Bollywo ...

Zhou goes down – but China's corruption purge is on thin ice

As the biggest tiger yet claimed by his anti-corruption crusade goes down, Xi Jinping finds himself in a terrible bind.
Jackie Sheehan, The Conversation · Yesterday · 03:30 pm
Zhou goes down – but China's corruption purge is on thin ice
Photo Credit: AFP/Pool
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The credibility of Xi Jinping’s “tigers and flies” anti-corruption campaign has required the destruction of a bigger player than any previous targets. Zhou Yongkang, who’s now beginning a life sentence for bribery and abuse of power, certainly fits the bill.

Zhou’s life sentence is for bribery, with lesser terms of seven years for abuse of power and four for leaking state secrets. This last charge turned out to be far less serious than previously suspected, as no documents were passed to a foreign power – only to a veteran of China’s 1980s qigong boom, the “Xinjiang sage” Cao Yongzheng.

A mystic who claimed the ability to cure incurable diseases and predict people’s futures, Cao’s real gift turns out to have been using his confidante status with Zhou to obtain large sums of money for his energy company as income from a non-existent investment in a state-owned oilfield in Shaanxi, rather than the ability to tell someone’s past and future from looking at their face.

He was detained in 2014 as part of the long investigation into Zhou’s connections in oil and mining, having reportedly failed to evade the authorities by fleeing to Taiwan. (Insert your own “he didn’t see that coming” joke here.)

Zhou presided over a “stability maintenance” apparatus with a larger annual budget than China’s military which devoted considerable resources to the suppression of Falun Gong, detaining and torturing tens of thousands of qigong practitioners to force them to renounce their belief in people such as Cao. That said, raging hypocrisy is not in itself a criminal offence.


For five years, Zhou was a member of the CCP Politburo Standing Committee, one of the nine men who ran China. Even though he’d left office by the time he came under investigation, bringing down someone of his rank and connections is impressive, as a glance at Caixin magazine’s mapping of his web of interests shows.

Given Zhou entered the courtroom in terrible shape, thin and haggard with hair turned completely white, it’s only natural we should wonder how voluntary his guilty plea really was. But his case will inevitably have involved a process of negotiation. Unlike his protégé, Politburo member and leadership contender Bo Xilai, Zhou played his part obediently in court.

The only public statement he got to make was a brief and shakily delivered one acknowledging his guilt. Accepting that no doubt helped him escape a death sentence, even a suspended one.

There were plenty of inflammatory earlier statements that may have been calculated to pressure him into this. The People’s Daily’s labelled Zhou a traitor, the Supreme People’s Court claimed that he and Bo Xilai had formed an illegitimate faction within the party, and there was a loudly trumpeted investigation into rumours that he was implicated in his first wife’s death.

On the other hand, the uneven tone of official comments on Zhou’s wrongdoing may just reflect a genuine struggle to decide how harshly to condemn him.

Threading the needle

It’s doubtful that Xi will take down anyone else of Zhou’s status, although he will need to find some way to push the three-year-old campaign forward. Popular though the anti-corruption drive is with many ordinary citizens, it has met significant resistance among officials at all levels.

The risk of jeopardising the party’s other goals by prioritising corruption is not to be taken lightly. Unfilled government posts are a significant problem in the provinces hardest hit to date, not only in Zhou’s bailiwicks of Sichuan and Shaanxi but also in Guangdong.

When the CCP’s foot soldiers feel unfairly treated by those higher up – and accusing officials of corruption in a system where they cannot stay clean and do their jobs is arguably unfair – they have ways of making their displeasure known, including the simple but effective refusal to take the decisions which keep the business of government running.

This is the big dilemma Xi faces. Official corruption is certainly a huge threat to CCP rule, but if he cracks down on it too hard, his officials will start to worry that any one of them could be arbitrarily hung out to dry for something they can hardly avoid doing – and that will greatly undermine their loyalty.

He will be well aware of the risks of this all getting out of hand. When Mao set his sights on two out of six serving politburo members in 1966, he had to start something close to a civil war to get the job done – and even then, one of his victims, Deng Xiaoping, survived to succeed him as China’s paramount leader.

Xi has also used his power to block the development of any of the institutions proven to help a society resist and expose corruption: a free press, a vibrant civil society, an independent judiciary. And even if he decided to unleash them tomorrow, they would dismantle his regime as surely as doing nothing about corruption eventually will.

But if Xi can find an answer to endemic corruption under existing conditions in the seven years he has left to rule, then he really will stand out from his predecessors as a different type of leader.

This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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