Tag Archives: News

Segregation in the United States Still Lingers on…


Myself

By T.V. Antony Raj

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A sign in Jackson, Mississippi which reads 'Waiting Room For Colored Only by order Police Dept.', 25th May 1961. (Photo by William Lovelace/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
A sign in Jackson, Mississippi which reads ‘Waiting Room For Colored Only by order Police Dept.’, 25th May 1961. (Photo by William Lovelace/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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Some say that the United States is a country that tolerates other nationalities. Does it really?

Some states of the United States still incarcerate a high proportion of blacks than apartheid South Africa did. Today the black-white wealth gap in the United States is greater than what it was at the peak of apartheid in South Africa in 1970.

On rare occasions, individual citizens challenged public segregation in the United States, but their effirts had minimal impact on civil rights issues. In some locales, in addition to segregated seating in buses, it could be forbidden for stores or restaurants to serve different races and nationalities under the same roof.

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Rosa Parks, an international icon of resistance to racial segregation.
Rosa Parks, an international icon of resistance to racial segregation.

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In December 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of a bus for a white passenger. Parks’ civil disobedience sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott. This act of defiance by Rosa Parks became an important symbol of the modern Civil Rights Movement, and Parks became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation.

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Sureshbhai Patel (Source: huffingtopost.in)
Sureshbhai Patel (Source: huffingtopost.in)

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In Alabama, where the vestiges of segregation still linger on, Indian citizens have to be careful while walking on the streets. The case of the 57-year-old Sureshbhai Patel clearly illustrates the attitude of the white segregationists. And, sadly, it is the guardians of peace, who resort to brutality.

The following video includes a footage captured on the morning of February 6, 2015 by the dash cam of a car, shows an inglorious scene of two Alabama police officers using  disproportionate force and slamming a frail Sureshbhai Patel to the ground. Sureshbhai Patel was out strolling near his son’s house in Madison, Alabama. He had arrived only the previous day from India to see his 17-month-old grandson. Sureshbhai Patel is now partially paralyzed and hospitalized in a city hospital.

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 Madison City Policeman Eric Parker, who assaulted the 57-year-old Sureshbhai Patel (Source: dlatimes.com)
Madison City Policeman Eric Parker, who assaulted the 57-year-old Sureshbhai Patel (Source: dlatimes.com)

The police officer Eric Parker, who assaulted Patel has been arrested for third-degree assault. Madison City Police chief Larry Muncey has offered apologies to Patel and his family and has said the Federal Bureau of Investigation will look into the incident.

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Why Do Some Indians in the Guise of Scientists Talk Nonsense?


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Myself 

By T.V. Antony Raj.

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There tends to be two camps in history. One that discredits the ancient world as a bunch of amoral savages beating each other over the head with sticks, and the other that thinks ancient peoples were perfect in every way, could do no wrong, and managed to achieve stages of technological development beyond our own. Both are ludicrously wrong.
— Robbie Sentry McBoddy, a friend on Facebook.

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This year the University of Mumbai  hosted the 102nd Indian Science Congress 2015  from January 3 to January 7, 2015. The Focal theme was “Science & Technology for Human Development.”

Mumbai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurating 102nd Indian Science Congress 2015 at the Mumbai University on Jan. 3, 2014.  (Photo: Sandeep Mahankal/IANS)
Mumbai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurating 102nd Indian Science Congress 2015 at the Mumbai University on Jan. 3, 2014. (Photo: Sandeep Mahankal/IANS)

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On January 3, 2015 Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, inaugurated the 102nd edition of the Indian Science Congress.

At a session on “Ancient Indian Sciences through Sanskrit,” held for the first time in the history of the Indian Science Congress, there were some astonishing claims made by people in the guise of scientists based on ancient Hindu texts, such as the Vedas and the Puranas.

Claims such as the ancient Indians extracted 24-carat gold from cow dung, used sharp knives that could split a hair in two, used aircrafts for travel between continents and between planets, etc.,  were presented to the audience.

Anand J. Bodas, pictured in Mumbai on January 4, 2015, says Maharishi Bhardwaj -- a sage of the Vedic period (around 1500 - 500 BC) -- laid down as many as "500 guidelines" on flying in a Hindu text ©STRDEL (AFP)
Anand J. Bodas, pictured in Mumbai on January 4, 2015, says Maharishi Bhardwaj — a sage of the Vedic period (around 1500 – 500 BC) — laid down as many as “500 guidelines” on flying in a Hindu text ©STRDEL (AFP)

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On January 4, 2015 the Indian Science Congress had a session on “Vedic Science through Sanskrit.” Captain Anand J. Bodas, a retired pilot with a Master in Sanskrit as well as an M. Tech. Degree presented a paper on “Ancient Indian Aviation Technology.

As soon as he was slated to speak at the event Bodas said that the airplanes of Vedic times could fly not only from country to country, but also from one planet to another. ” In those days, aeroplanes were huge in size, and could move left, right, as well as backwards, unlike modern planes which only fly forward,” he added.

Ram Prasad Gandhiraman, a NASA scientist, launched an online petition demanding that the talk be cancelled as it would represent pseudoscience.

At the session on “Ancient Indian Sciences through Sanskrit,” Bodas cited an alleged old text called Vaimānika Śāstra (वैमानिक शास्त्र,) literally, “Shastra on the topic of aircrafts” compiled about six to seven thousand ago which mentioned aviation technology. The text was attributed to an ancient Rishi named Maharshi Bharadwaj. Bodas stressed that aviation technology had existed in India almost 7,000 years ago and the flight of the Wright brothers was nothing new. He said:

“There is a reference to ancient aviation in the Rigveda,… The basic structure was about 60 by 60 feet and in some cases, over 200 feet. They were jumbo planes,… The ancient planes had 40 small engines. Today’s aviation does not know even of a flexible exhaust system. The ancient aircraft could not only move in any direction, but travel between planets. History merely notes that the Wright brothers first flew in 1904… Bharadwaj, who authored the book Vimana Samhita, had written about various types of metal alloys used to build an aeroplane. Now we have to import aeroplane alloys. The young generation should study the alloys mentioned in his book and make them here,.. (sic)”

With these scientifically unproved ludicrous utterances, Anand J. Bodas has become a laughing stock among the scientists and the rationals. Now everyone is wondering how the organizers of the Indian Science Congress allowed such inept speakers, who do not bother to verify their claim, to make such foolish utterances on their platform and undermine the honour of the Indian scientific community.

In 1974 five young Indian scientists – Mukunda, S.M. Deshpande, H.R. Nagendra, A. Prabhu and S.P. Govindaraju – from the departments of aeronautical engineering and mechanical engineering of the prestigious Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore conducted a detailed study of Vaimānika Shāstra. The same year they published a paper titled “A Critical Study of the Work Vyamanika Shastra,” in the journal Scientific Opinion. They gave the reasons why the Vedic airplane theory according to Vaimānika Shāstra was not viable.

Rukma Vimana (Source: aryabharati.org)
Rukma Vimana (Source: aryabharati.org)

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The Scientists concluded that the aircrafts described in the text were “poor concoctions” and that the author showed a complete lack of understanding of aeronautics. In fact, none of the technologies documented in the Vaimānika Shāstra would allow an object to lift off from the ground except one. The study stated:

“The Rukma Vimana was the only one which made sense. It had long vertical ducts with fans on the top to suck the air from the top and send it down the ducts, generating a lift in the process.”

Pandit Subbaraya Shastry
Pandit Subbaraya Shastry

The young scientists debunked the claim that this text is ancient. They said it was actually written between 1900 and 1922 by Pandit Subbaraya Shastry. So much for Bodas’ exaggerated claim that this text was more than 7,000 years old.

According to the young scientists from the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore,  Pandit Subbaraya Shastry was born in a small village in Hosur Taluk. His parents died when he was young. As a destitute, he contracted diseases and wandered from place to place. One day he met a great saint at Kolar. The saint initiated him into spirituality. He revealed to him several Shastras, including the Vaimānika Shāstra.

After Subbaraya Shastry settled into normal life, he started uttering slokas (verses) when inspired. Though he had no formal schooling and learned to read and write only after his encounter with the saint, some described him as “a walking lexicon gifted with occult perception.

In the early 1900s, Pandit Subbaraya Shastry dictated the text of Vaimānika Shāstra to his aide G. Venkatachalam Sharma and completed the work in 1923. The Pandit claimed that the text was psychically delivered to him by the ancient Hindu sage Bharadvaja. The Vaimānika Shāstra contains 3,000 slokas in 8 chapters.

Pandit Subbaraya Shastry died in 1941. His aide Venkatachala Sharma kept the manuscripts in his custody. By 1944, the Vaimānika Shāstra manuscript appeared at Rajakiya Sanskrit Library in Baroda.

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Ra Paulette, the Cave-digging Artist


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Myself  

By T.V. Antony Raj

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It has a lot to do with the juxtaposition of opposites: the sense of being underground with the light streaming in; the intimacy of being in a cave, yet the columns end up very large, sometimes thirty to forty feet high.  - Ra Paulette in an interview, 2014

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Ra Paulette, the American cave sculptor
Ra Paulette, the American cave sculptor

For the past 25 years, 67-year-old Ra Paulette, an American cave sculptor based in New Mexico has been carving out caves from the sandstone hills of New Mexico. He digs, shovels, scrapes, and bores into hillsides. He then sculpts elaborate artistic spaces inside these caves. He turns the underground sculpted spaces into works of art. And, his caves attract visitors worldwide.

Ra Paulette grew up in  La Porte, LaPorte County, Indiana, United States, along the shores of Lake Michigan. In 1985, he moved to the small town of Dixon in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, near the Rio Grande about 35 miles north of Santa Fe.

A veteran of the Vietnam War, Ra Paulette began creating underground art. When he roamed the rugged terrain of the remote backcountry and found a promising spot on the side of a sandstone cliff he would start digging with his pickaxe. He works with rudimentary hand tools such as shovels, pick axes, and scrapers. Paulette never studied architecture, sculpting or structural engineering in a formal school. He is self-taught.

In 1987 Paulette finished his first cave using a shovel and buckets and a wheelbarrow. He called the “Heart Chamber.” Later on, he described it to a historian as “a secret place for me, a private place, a hermitage.” The Heart Chamber had many visitors and it almost developed into a public shrine. The cave was on public land and he had dug it without permission from the authorities. Fearing it might collapse on a visitor, he buried the chamber and sealed it off.

The Jemez Mountains are a volcanic group of mountains in New Mexico, United States. Located in the rural Ojo Caliente River Valley, approximately halfway between is the Rancho de San Juan, the 225-acre Relais & Chateaux Country Inn and Restaurant. David Heath and John H. Johnson II, the owners of the ranch had moved to the area from California to open the elegant Resort.

In June 1994, Ra Paulette approached the owners of Rancho de San Juan. He showed them pictures of the Heart Chamber and asked them if they would like to commission him to dig a shrine on their property. At first the owners were reluctant. After several months 0f persistence by Paulette, they relented. They wanted their guests to have a view of the surrounding impressive landscape from their ranch. They commissioned Ra Paulette to open the interior of the natural butte. Heath and Johnson paid him between $10 and $16 per hour for his work.

"Windows in the Earth" shrine  was carved over 2 1/2 years.
“Windows in the Earth” shrine was carved over 2 1/2 years.

It took two and a half years for Ra Paulette to create the “Windows in the Earth Shrine.” It is a chamber with lofty arched ceilings and imposing columns. Long windows fill the chambers with light. The windows provide a spectacular panorama of the magnificent Jemez Mountains. Inside the sandstone cave, one can enjoy the art created by Ra Paulette. He has carved all sorts of shapes on the interior sandstone walls: scallops, molded curves, smooth ledges, inlaid stones, narrow pods and crusty ledges. There is space to meditate and write. Even high desert weddings take place there.

Later on, Ra Paulette created more than a dozen caves. He spent months and in some cases he toiled for years on each of them.

Ra Paulette's cave
Ra Paulette’s cave
Ra Paulette's cave
Ra Paulette’s cave
Ra Paulette's cave
Ra Paulette’s cave
Ra Paulette's cave
Ra Paulette’s cave

Needless to say, the work of Ra Paulette was backbreaking. He carved out rooms, connected tunnels, created alcoves and arches, benches, steps, pillars, etc. He decorated the surfaces with sculpted shapes and chiseled ornamental patterns. He broke through walls and ceilings to create windows and skylights to bring in sunlight to the dark underground spaces.

Martha Mendoza, a reviewer in the Los Angeles Times described the caves of Ra Paulette as hallowed places and as a sanctuary for prayer and meditation. Many connoisseurs of art describe the caves of Ra Paulette as works of art.

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FIFA World Cup 2014: Schedule – Third Place and Finals


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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FIFA World Cup 2014 - Brasil

 


QUARTER-FINALS


FRIDAY, JULY 4, 2014

21:30 IST

16:00 GMT

11:00 EST

13:00 BRT

Match #57

France vs Germany

FULL-TIME
0-1

France

Germany

Estadio do Maracanã
Rio De Janeiro


SATURDAY, JULY 5, 2014

01:30 IST

20:00 GMT (Friday)

15:00 EST (Friday)

17:00 BRT (Friday)

Match #58

Brazil vs Colombia

FULL-TIME
2-1

BrazilColombia

Estadio Castelão
Fortaleza

21:30 IST

16:00 GMT

11:00 EST

13:00 BRT

Match #59

Argentina vs Belgium

FULL-TIME
1-0

Argentina Belgium

Estadio Nacional
Brasilia


SUNDAY, JULY 6, 2014

01:30 IST

20:00 GMT (Saturday)

15:00 EST (Saturday)

17:00 BRT (Saturday)

Match #60

Netherlands vs Costa Rica

Netherlands won on Penalties (4-3)Netherlands Costa Rica

Arena Fonte Nova
Salvador


SEMI-FINALS


WEDNESDAY, JULY 9, 2014

01:30 IST

20:00 GMT (Tuesday)

15:00 EST (Tuesday)

17:00 BRT (Tuesday)

Match #61

Brazil vs Germany

FULL-TIME
1-7

Germany

Brazil

Estadio Mineirão
Belo Horizonte


THURSDAY, JULY 10, 2014

01:30 IST

20:00 GMT (Wednesday)

15:00 EST (Wednesday)

17:00 BRT (Wednesday)

Match #62

Netherlands vs Argentina

 Argentina won on Penalties (2-4)

Netherlands

Argentina

Arena de São Paulo
São Paulo 


THIRD PLACE


SUNDAY, JULY 13, 2014

01:30 IST

20:00 GMT (Saturday)

15:00 EST (Saturday)

17:00 BRT (Saturday)

Match #63

Brazil vs Netherlands

Brazil

Netherlands

Estadio Nacional
Brasília


FINAL


MONDAY, JULY 14, 2014

0:30 IST

19:00 GMT (Sunday)

14:00 EST (Sunday)

16:00 BRT (Sunday)

Match #64

Winner Match 61 vs Winner Match 62

Estadio do Maracanã
Brasilia

BRT = Brazil Standard Time  EST = Eastern Standard Time
IST = India Standard Time  GMT = Greenwich Mean Time

 

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FIFA World Cup 2014: Schedule – Semi-Finals, Third Place and Finals


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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FIFA World Cup 2014 - Brasil

 


QUARTER-FINALS


FRIDAY, JULY 4, 2014

21:30 IST

16:00 GMT

11:00 EST

13:00 BRT

Match #57

France vs Germany

FULL-TIME
0-1

France

Germany

Estadio do Maracanã
Rio De Janeiro


SATURDAY, JULY 5, 2014

01:30 IST

20:00 GMT (Friday)

15:00 EST (Friday)

17:00 BRT (Friday)

Match #58

Brazil vs Colombia

FULL-TIME
2-1

BrazilColombia

Estadio Castelão
Fortaleza

21:30 IST

16:00 GMT

11:00 EST

13:00 BRT

Match #59

Argentina vs Belgium

FULL-TIME
1-0

Argentina Belgium

Estadio Nacional
Brasilia


SUNDAY, JULY 6, 2014

01:30 IST

20:00 GMT (Saturday)

15:00 EST (Saturday)

17:00 BRT (Saturday)

Match #60

Netherlands vs Costa Rica

Netherlands won on Penalties (4-3)Netherlands Costa Rica

Arena Fonte Nova
Salvador


SEMI-FINALS


WEDNESDAY, JULY 9, 2014

01:30 IST

20:00 GMT (Tuesday)

15:00 EST (Tuesday)

17:00 BRT (Tuesday)

Match #61

Brazil vs Germany

Germany

Brazil

Estadio Mineirão
Belo Horizonte


THURSDAY, JULY 10, 2014

01:30 IST

20:00 GMT (Wednesday)

15:00 EST (Wednesday)

17:00 BRT (Wednesday)

Match #62

Netherlands vs Argentina

Netherlands

Argentina

Arena de São Paulo
São Paulo 


THIRD PLACE


SUNDAY, JULY 13, 2014

01:30 IST

20:00 GMT (Saturday)

15:00 EST (Saturday)

17:00 BRT (Saturday)

Match #63

Loser Match 61 vs Loser Match 62

Estadio Nacional
Brasília


FINAL


MONDAY, JULY 14, 2014

0:30 IST

19:00 GMT (Sunday)

14:00 EST (Sunday)

16:00 BRT (Sunday)

Match #64

Winner Match 61 vs Winner Match 62

Estadio do Maracanã
Brasilia

BRT = Brazil Standard Time  EST = Eastern Standard Time
IST = India Standard Time  GMT = Greenwich Mean Time

 

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Hurry Curry to Brazil for Bangladeshi FIFA Fans


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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Mustafa Azim, a director of Imperial Air Salvage, is a Bangladeshi. When Tom Cruise’s latest blockbuster The Edge of Tomorrow was being shot at Warner Bros Studios in Leavesden, the Imperial Air Salvage provided planes to be blown up on the set.

Azim and a couple of his friends have tickets for the World Cup final. Many of his football crazy friends from Bangladesh are already in Brazil. Since curry, rice, and fish are the main items in their regular diet, they were disappointed when they realized that there are no Indian restaurants in Brazil and intimated him.

Waiter Habib Miah with restaurant owner and chef Mohammed Wahid (Source: worthingherald.co.uk)
Waiter Habib Miah with restaurant owner and chef Mohammed Wahid (Source: worthingherald.co.uk)

So, Azim approached Mohammed Wahid, the owner of Chilcha, an Award Winning Indian Restaurant in Montague Street, Worthing, West Sussex, to arrange a 12-person delivery to Brazil of some of their favorite dishes. “Chilcha” is the Bengali word for happiness.

Azim was already aware of Wahid’s delicious, appetizing cooking when the latter provided catering on the set of The Edge of Tomorrow at Warner Bros Studios in Leavesden.

Mohammed Wahid owner and chef of Chilcha Restaurant in Montague Street, Worthing. (Source: m.theargus.co.uk)
Mohammed Wahid owner and chef of Chilcha Restaurant in Montague Street, Worthing. (Source: m.theargus.co.uk)

Wahid was surprised at first and agreed to cater to him.

Mustafa Azim, will fly into Shoreham Airport on a chartered plane to collect the dishes. He will then head to an airport near Heathrow, before boarding a commercial plane to take him and the food to Brazil.

The overall cost of the delivery is £4200: £1200 for the curry, £1800 for the flight to Brazil, £1000 for a chartered flight to Shoreham to collect the takeaway, £100 landing and parking charges, and £100 for the taxi to the hotel.

 

Hoodwinking the Innocent in the Name of Jesus and The Holy Spirit


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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An innocent Congo boy

In the New Testament in Mark 10:13-16 we read:

People were bringing children to Jesus that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them.

When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.”

Then he embraced the children and blessed them, placing his hands on them.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo

If your heart is physically weak please do not view these videos.

The images you see in these videos are from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where self-styled pastors hoodwink ignorant rural folk using the name of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. These criminals who call themselves “pastors” resort to so-called “exorcism” of infants and children to fatten themselves by levying a high fee equal to US$50 or more to drive out the evil spirits in the innocent children. The government officials in Congo do not bother to intervene and arrest these extortionists because they receive their kickbacks under the table.

In India too, there are in every nook and corner, many crooked Christian pastors such as these, who inveigle ignorant people to their churches and fleece them in the name of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

These felons should be stripped bare and molten lead should be poured into their blasphemous mouths for Exodus 20:7 says:

You shall not invoke the name of the LORD, your God, in vain. For the LORD will not leave unpunished anyone who invokes his name in vain.

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India and Day 26 – Part 5: Resurgence of the BJP


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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In numerology, the numbers 8, 17 and 26 mean “money, power,” and are also the numbers of destruction. Numerologists consider the number 8, 17 and 26 emphasize the areas of career, business, finances and authority. These three numbers are the great Karmic equalizers that balance the material and immaterial worlds – forces that just as easily creates as it destroys. So, when 8, 17, and 26 come to the fore, we can be assured that we will reap what we have sown.

On the material plane, the 8s focus on results, often in the form of money, which it sees as a tool, not the end of the rainbow. People with strong 8s in their charts may lose fortunes in their life, but they will never consider bankruptcy a reason to slow down or feel sorry, but rather would surge once again, stronger and more success-oriented than before.

The recognizable traits of the 8s are drive, ambition, discipline, efficiency, organization, management, control, focused and goal-oriented, good judgment, practical, realistic and possess the authority.

According to Cheiro, the number 8 stands for the planet Saturn. This number influences all people born on the 8th, 17th or 26th in any month.

Narendra Damodardas Modi was born on September 17, 1950.

May 26, 2014 – Narendra Modi  sworn in as the 15th Prime Minister of India

On May 26, 2014, ten minutes after 6 pm, 63-years-old Narendra Damodardas Modi of Bharatiya Janata Party, armed with a decisive mandate was sworn in as the 15th Prime Minister of India by President Pranab Mukherjee at the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

President Pranab Mukherjee administers oath to Narendra Modi as the 15th Prime Minister of India, at a ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. (HT Photo/Ajay Aggarwal)
President Pranab Mukherjee administers oath to Narendra Modi as the 15th Prime Minister of India, at a ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. (HT Photo/Ajay Aggarwal)

The glittering event, replete with symbolism and grandeur, was attended by the heads of SAARC countries like Nawaz Sharif, the 18th and current Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mahinda Rajapaksa, the 6th president of Sri Lanka, Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, and a galaxy of other dignitaries.

Nawaz Sharif, the 18th and current Prime Minister of Pakistan
Nawaz Sharif, the 18th and current Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri anka. (Source - ips.lk)
Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri anka. (Source: ips.lk)

Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan (Source - Flickr)
Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan (Source – Flickr)

Modi opted for a small team of 45 ministers: 23 Cabinet Ministers, 10 Ministers of State with Independent Charge and 12 Ministers of State. This is the smallest government to take the oath in the last 15 years.

Another view of Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony. (HT Photo)
Another view of Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony. (HT Photo)

Here is the message from Prime Minister Narendra Modi published in the official website of the Prime Minister of India:

My dear fellow Indians and citizens of the world, Namaste!

A very warm welcome to the official website of the Prime Minister of India.

On 16th May 2014 the people of India gave their verdict. They delivered a mandate for development, good governance and stability. As we devote ourselves to take India’s development journey to newer heights, we seek your support, blessings and active participation. Together we will script a glorious future for India. Let us together dream of a strong, developed and inclusive India that actively engages with the global community to strengthen the cause of world peace and development.

I envision this website as a very important medium of direct communication between us. I am a firm believer in the power of technology and social media to communicate with people across the world. I hope this platform creates opportunities to listen, learn and share one’s views.

Through this website you will also get all the latest information about my speeches, schedules, foreign visits and lot more. I will also keep informing you about innovative initiatives undertaken by the Government of India.

Yours,
Narendra Modi

Let us hope and pray that Narendra Modi and his cabinet with their mantra of “minimum government, maximum governance” will usher in a golden era in India.

Jai Hind!

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 Previous ~ India and Day 26 – Part 4: Terrorist Attacks in Mumbai – 2

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The Heartbleed Bug Causes Vulnerability in the OpenSSL


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj
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Heartbleed

It has now been revealed that a very serious bug was independently discovered by a team of security engineers at Codenomicon and Google Security, and they reported it to the OpenSSL team.

Antti Karjalainen, Riku Hietamaki, and Matti Kamunen at Codenomicon found the bug while improving the SafeGuard feature in their Defensics security testing tools. They reported this bug to the NCSC-FI for vulnerability coordination and reporting to OpenSSL team.

Google Security’s Neel Mehta, who worked independently of Codenomicon team is also credited with being the first to discover the flaw and reported it to the OpenSSL team.

Now this bug has been nicknamed “Heartbleed” and CVE-2014-0160 is the official reference to this bug. Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) is the Standard for Information Security Vulnerability Names maintained by MITRE.

OpenSSL, used by most Internet websites, is a set of open source software tools to handle secure communication. This secure technology is represented in URL addresses by the “s” in HTTPS, indicating our communications with that particular site are encrypted and a third person would not be able to read any information sent or received. SSL turns our communication into a coded strain that has to be unlocked by a digital key. Here is what it looks like for the Facebook login page:

https on Facebook page

According to Matthew Green, cryptographer and Assistant Research Professor at the Johns Hopkins University, the Heartbleed vulnerability is in the OpenSSL software which was not cleverly engineered to be this way, but the result of a “mundane coding error”.

The Heartbleed bug allows an attacker to read sensitive information from vulnerable servers and possibly steal items like passwords, cookies, and encryption keys.

The author of the article “The Heartbleed Bug” published in heartbleed.com says:

“We have tested some of our own services from attacker’s perspective. We attacked ourselves from outside, without leaving a trace. Without using any privileged information or credentials we were able steal from ourselves the secret keys used for our X.509 certificates, user names and passwords, instant messages, emails and business critical documents and communication.”

To the question “How to stop the leak?”, he says:

“As long as the vulnerable version of OpenSSL is in use it can be abused. Fixed OpenSSL has been released and now it has to be deployed. Operating system vendors and distribution, appliance vendors, independent software vendors have to adopt the fix and notify their users. Service providers and users have to install the fix as it becomes available for the operating systems, networked appliances and software they use.”

Barry Abrahamson
Barry Abrahamson

In the post “Heartbleed Security Update“, Barry Abrahamson, the Chief Systems Wrangler at Automattic, responsible for running the globally distributed infrastructure that powers WordPress.com, Akismet, VaultPress, IntenseDebate, and others revealed that the WordPress.com servers “were running the latest version of OpenSSL, which was vulnerable. We generally run the latest version of OpenSSL to enable performance enhancements, such as SPDY, for our users. The non-vulnerable versions of OpenSSL were over two years old.

Barry assures us that WordPress.com fixed the issue by patching all their servers within a few hours of the public disclosure and replaced all SSL certificates and private keys. He said:

“Out of an abundance of caution, we have replaced all of our SSL certificates, along with regenerating all of the associated private keys. In addition, our servers support forward secrecy so that even if our private keys were compromised, they could not have been used to decrypt old encrypted communication.”

About resetting password by users on WordPress.com, Barrys said that at this time, they will not be forcing their users to change their password. He added:

“If you want to, you are welcome to change your password. If you are using the same password other places on the Internet, we urge you to change your password and remind you to use unique passwords wherever possible.”

Now, with the assurance by Barry on behalf of WordPress.com, I feel secure.

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Mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 – Inmarsat’s Satellite Data


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

Wild ride of MH370 (Source: heraldsun.com.au)
Wild ride of MH370 (Source: heraldsun.com.au)

The search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is now on in a section of the southern Indian Ocean known as the “Roaring Forties” where strong westerly winds generally blow between latitude 40° and 50°. The strong west-to-east air currents are induced by the combination of the Earth’s rotation and air being displaced from the Equator towards the South Pole, with just a few landmasses to act as windbreaks. The area is characterized by cold fronts that sweep east every four to five days, causing  13 to 30 feet (4 to 9 meters) pounding waves that churn the icy sea.

International Mobile Satellite Organization (Inmarsat) is a British satellite telecommunications company, offering global, mobile services. Inmarsat started playing an import role immediately after Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared.

One of Inmarsat’s satellites continued to pick up a series of automated hourly ‘pings’ from the missing aircraft which would normally be used to synchronize timing information even after the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS), which would usually transmit the plane’s position, was switched off, suggesting the plane flew to the Indian Ocean.

How Inmarsat tracked down Flight MH370 (Source: telegraph.co.uk)
How Inmarsat tracked down Flight MH370 (Source: telegraph.co.uk)

By analyzing these pings, Inmarsat established that the aircraft continued to fly for at least five hours after the aircraft left Malaysian airspace, and that it had flown along one of two ‘corridors’ – one arcing north and the other south. The plane was reportedly flying at a cruising height above 30,000 feet. See my article “Mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 – If Hijacked, Where Did It Go?

Using complex mathematical processes, Inmarsat’s engineers analyzed the tiny shifts in the frequency of the pings from the missing aircraft and came up with a detailed Doppler effect model for the northern and southern paths and inferred the aircraft’s likely final location though their method had never been used before to investigate an air disaster.

Chris McLaughlin, senior vice-president of external affairs at Inmarsat said:

“We looked at the Doppler effect, which is the change in frequency due to the movement of a satellite in its orbit. What that then gave us was a predicted path for the northerly route and a predicted path the southerly route…

That’s never been done before; our engineers came up with it as a unique contribution… By yesterday they were able to definitively say that the plane had undoubtedly taken the southern route…

We worked out where the last ping was, and we knew that the plane must have run out of fuel before the next automated ping, but we didn’t know what speed the aircraft was flying at – we assumed about 450 knots. We can’t know when the fuel actually ran out, we can’t know whether the plane plunged or glided, and we can’t know whether the plane at the end of the time in the air was flying more slowly because it was on fumes.”

Pings to Inmarsat (video grab from Wall Street Journal)
Pings to Inmarsat (video grab from Wall Street Journal)

According to the Wall Street Journal, Inmarsat relayed their findings to the Malaysian officials and the British security and air-safety officials on March 12, 2014. But the Malaysian government concerned about corroborating the data and dealing with internal disagreements about how much information to release did not publicly acknowledge Inmarsat’s information until four days later. On Saturday, March 15, 2014, during a news conference, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak accepted for the first time that deliberate actions were involved in the disappearance of the aircraft. He said:

“Based on new satellite information, we can say with a high degree of certainty that the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) was disabled just before the aircraft reached the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Shortly afterwards, near the border between Malaysian and Vietnamese air traffic control, the aircraft’s transponder was switched off.”

 He added that the search effort was redirected from that day to focus on the areas the Inmarsat information described:

“From this point onwards, the Royal Malaysian Air Force primary radar showed that an aircraft which was believed – but not confirmed – to be MH370 did indeed turn back. It then flew in a westerly direction back over Peninsular Malaysia before turning northwest. Up until the point at which it left military primary radar coverage, these movements are consistent with deliberate action by someone on the plane.

Today, based on raw satellite data that was obtained from the satellite data service provider, we can confirm that the aircraft shown in the primary radar data was flight MH370. After much forensic work and deliberation, the F.A.A., N.T.S.B., A.A.I.B. and the Malaysian authorities, working separately on the same data, concur.

According to the new data, the last confirmed communication between the plane and the satellite was at 8:11 a.m. Malaysian time on Saturday 8th March. The investigations team is making further calculations which will indicate how far the aircraft may have flown after this last point of contact. This will help us to refine the search.

Due to the type of satellite data, we are unable to confirm the precise location of the plane when it last made contact with the satellite.

However, based on this new data, the aviation authorities of Malaysia and their international counterparts have determined that the plane’s last communication with the satellite was in one of two possible corridors: a northern corridor stretching approximately from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand, or a southern corridor stretching approximately from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean. The investigation team is working to further refine the information.

In view of this latest development the Malaysian authorities have refocused their investigation into the crew and passengers on board. Despite media reports that the plane was hijacked, I wish to be very clear: we are still investigating all possibilities as to what caused MH370 to deviate from its original flight path.

This new satellite information has a significant impact on the nature and scope of the search operation. We are ending our operations in the South China Sea and reassessing the redeployment of our assets. We are working with the relevant countries to request all information relevant to the search, including radar data.

As the two new corridors involve many countries, the relevant foreign embassies have been invited to a briefing on the new information today by the Malaysian Foreign Ministry and the technical experts. I have also instructed the Foreign Ministry to provide a full briefing to foreign governments which had passengers on the plane. This morning, Malaysia Airlines has been informing the families of the passengers and crew of these new developments.”

On March 18, 2014, Australia and the US National Transportation Safety Board narrowed down the search area to just three per cent of the southern corridor by taking into consideration Inmarsat’s inference from the satellite pings, along with assumptions about the plane’s speed.

On Monday, March 24, 2014, Prime Minister Najib Razak said that according to Inmarset the aircraft flew along the southern corridor and ended its journey in the middle of the southern Indian Ocean. He said:

“Based on new analysis… MH370 flew along the southern corridor and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean west of Perth… It is therefore, with deep sadness and regret, that I must inform you that according to this new data that flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.”

On the same day, Australian and Chinese search planes separately spotted a few objects in the southern Indian Ocean and alleged they were possible debris from the missing aircraft and reported the coordinates to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), which is coordinating the multinational search, and also to the Chinese icebreaker Snow Dragon, which is en route to the area. Half a dozen other Chinese ships along with 20 fishing vessels have been ordered to move toward the search zone.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the crew of an Australian P3 Orion plane had located and two objects in the search zone, but it was unclear if they were part of an aircraft. He said, the first object was grey or green and circular, the second orange and rectangular. The crew was able to photograph the objects.

Search suspended ... this satellite image shows severe tropical cyclone Gillian off the Western Australian coast. Credit: Bureau of Meteorology
Search suspended this satellite image shows severe tropical cyclone Gillian off the Western Australian coast. Credit: Bureau of Meteorology

An Australian Navy supply ship, the HMAS Success, was on the scene on Monday trying to locate and retrieve the objects. However, according to AMSA, due to rough seas the vessel left the search area early Tuesday morning since conducting the
search in such conditions would be hazardous and pose a risk to crews.AMSA said the vessel is now in transit south of the search area until the sea calms down and if weather conditions permit the search would be resumed tomorrow, otherwise if weather conditions continue to deteriorate it could be several days before the search is resumed.

Meanwhile, the United States prepared to move into the region a special device that can locate black boxes.

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