Category Archives: This is Life

Remembering Sirimavo – The Modern World’s First Female Head of Government


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj
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Today, March 8, 2012 (Thursday) is the 101st International Women’s Day.

Currently, there are 17 countries with women as head of government, head of state, or both, which according to Inter-Parliamentary Union and UN Women has more than doubled since 2005.

The honour of being the modern world’s first female head of government goes to the late Sri Lankan politician Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike. She served as Prime Minister of Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, three times, 1960–65, 1970–77 and 1994–2000.

Mrs. Sirimavo Ratwatte Dias Bandaranaike (Sinhala: සිරිමාවෝ රත්වත්තේ ඩයස් බන්ඩාරනායක, Tamil: சிறிமாவோ ரத்வத்தே டயஸ் பண்டாரநாயக்க) was born on April 17, 1916 as Sirimavo Ratwatte to Barnes Ratwatte Dissawe and Rosalind Mahawelatenne Kumarihamy of Mahawelatenne Walauwa, Balangoda. She was the eldest of six, with four brothers and one sister.

Mrs. Bandaranaike was educated at St Bridget’s Convent, Colombo, run by Roman Catholic nuns. She was a devout Buddhist. In 1940 she married Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike. They had three children, Chandrika, Sunethra and Anura.

Her husband Mr. S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, a member of the State council and son of Sir Solomon Dias Bandaranaike, the Maha Mudaliyar (chief native interpreter and advisor to the Governor of Ceylon), was elected as Prime Minister of Ceylon in 1956. His election marked a significant change in Ceylon’s political history. In 1959, a Buddhist monk assassinated him while in office.

After the death of  Mr. S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, there was much confusion in the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), founded by him, and it was on the verge of collapsing. At the request of senior party members, Mrs Bandaranaike took over the presidency of SLFP. Though she was an untried leader, she quickly established herself as a formidable politician in her own right, and was the long-time undisputed leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party. She remained leader of the party for the next forty years.

Known to her fellow Sri Lankans as “Mrs. B,” she could skillfully use popular emotion to boost her support, frequently bursting into tears as she pledged to continue her assassinated husband’s vaguely socialist policies. Hence her opponents and critics dubbed her as “the weeping widow”.

In 1960, M. P. de Zoysa (Jnr) stepped down from his seat in the Senate (appointed upper house of Parliament) paving the way for Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike to be appointed as a member of the Senate from the SLFP.

As a bereaved wife and mother of three, Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike led her party to win the July 1960 elections on the pledge to continue her husband’s policies, notably the Sinhala Only Act, and to proceed with repatriation of the estate Tamils to India. On July 21, 1960, she took the oath as prime minister of Sri Lanka, thus becoming the first female prime minister in the modern world.

But within a year of her historic 1960 election victory, she was inundated by a prolonged ‘civil disobedience campaign’ by the minority Tamil population, outraged by her action in replacing English with Sinhala as the official national language and her order to conduct all government business in Sinhala, the language of the majority Sinhalese. The Sri Lankan Tamils considered this a highly discriminatory act and an attempt to deny Tamils access to all official posts and the law. This led to an increase in Tamil militancy which escalated under succeeding administrations. With no other solution in sight, she declared a state of emergency.

Further problems arose when the government took over foreign businesses, particularly petroleum companies. This move irked the United States and Britain, and aid to Sri Lanka was stopped. So, Mrs. Bandaranaike moved towards China and the Soviet Union and championed a policy of nonalignment.

At home, she crushed an attempted military coup also known as the Colonels coup by Christian officers in 1962.

In 1964, Mrs. Bandaranaike entered into a historic coalition with the Marxist Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP).

In December 1964, Mrs. Bandaranaike and her cabinet were defeated by a no-confidence vote when some of her MPs deserted the party over the nationalization of Lakehouse Newspapers. The SLFP coalition was defeated in the 1965 elections, ending her first term as Prime Minister.

In 1970, she became prime minister of Ceylon once again, after an electoral landslide victory by United Front, her left-wing coalition coalition consisting SLFP, LSSP, and the Communists. She developed strong personal ties with China and the then Indian prime minister, Indira Gandhi.

But after just 16 months in power, the government was almost toppled by the  April 1971 JVP Insurrection of left-wing youths led by the Sinhalese Sri Lankan People’s Liberation Front, or Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, a movement started in the late 1960s by Rohana Wijeweera, the son of a businessman.

There was no warning of the uprising, and Sri Lanka’s small army was caught off guard, since Mrs. Bandaranaike had disbanded the government’s intelligence service, suspecting that it was loyal to the opposition United National Party (UNP).

Although the insurgents were young, poorly armed and inadequately trained, they succeeded in seizing and holding major areas in southern and central provinces of the island before they were defeated by government forces. Thanks to Mrs. Bandaranaike’s skillful foreign policy, the government was saved by military aid from both India and Pakistan.

This unsuccessful rebellion by Sinhalese Marxist youth claimed more than 15,000 lives. Their attempt to seize power created a major crisis for the government and forced a fundamental reassessment of the nation’s security needs.

During those tough political years, Mrs. Bandaranaike turned herself into a formidable leader. “She was the only man in her cabinet”, one of her officials commented during the height of the insurgency.

In 1971, she declared the country a republic, and changed the name of the island nation from Ceylon to Sri Lanka.

She also nationalised some companies in the plantation sector and restricted some imports.

By 1975 her government gradually became very unpopular. Under the Soulbury constitution, election should have been held in 1975, but she used a clause of the 1972 constitution to delay elections until 1977.

But in 1976, despite high international standing, Mrs Bandaranaike’s popularity at home declined with a faltering economy and allegations of corruption; and she lost much of the support given to her by the left parties, thus paving the way to a crushing election defeat in 1977, winning only 8 pathetic seats and she managed to win her own seat.

The 1980s were her dark years. Sri Lankan parliament expelled her in 1980, accusing her of misusing power for the 1975-77 delay in elections, and banned her from holding any office for seven years.  She became a political outcast, rejected by her own people who had once idolized her.

Her civic rights were restored in 1986, and she narrowly lost the election for the new, more powerful post of president in 1988.

In 1994, the SLFP-led coalition called the People’s Alliance (PA) won the general elections. Mrs. Bandaranaike’s daughter Chandrika Kumaratunga first become prime minister and then became president of Sri Lanka the same year in November 1994.

Chandrika Kumaratunga then appointed her mother Mrs. Bandaranaike, as prime minister for the third time. As the constitution had changed since her last tenure as prime minister Mrs. Bandaranaike was now subordinate to her daughter, the President.

Political observers said that Mrs. Bandaranaike and her daughter Chandrika Kumaratunga did not have a good rapport, and that her daughter wanted her mother to leave the office to make way for a younger person.

Mrs Sirimavo Bandaranaike remained in office till a few months before her death, but had little real power. She reluctantly gave up the reins of power on 10 August 2000. Exasperated she said, “I believe it is time for me to quietly withdraw from the humdrum of busy political life, to a more tranquil and quiet environment”

Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike died on Election Day, October 10, 2000, after having cast her vote for the last time. She was 84.

“May Madam Sirimavo Bandaranaike, Sri Lanka’s charismatic matriarch, attain Eternal Bliss.” – Mahinda Rajapakse, President of Sri Lanka, in a  tribute on her 88th Birth Anniversary commemoration  (April 17, 2004).

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Skimmers can skin you …


My nephew Dilip Vazirani living in Colombo, Sri Lanka, alerted me through an email to be aware of ATM skimmers installed in ATM booths. He says,

Friends,
I received this mail from a friend in India. I do not know if this is being done here. Nevertheless, be alert – if its not here (wherever in the world you are) already, it could well arrive soon.

Best to all.
Dilip

So, I surfed the net and oh my my … lots of information on ATM scamming and skimmers. I am writing this for people who are duds like me living in a cocoon.

Nowadays, the crooks are getting wiser and wiser. They can steal our credit or debit card information without our knowledge by card skimming that has become increasingly common in the past few years. In essence skimmers – the electronic equipment and those who plant them are indeed a serious security threat to users of credit or debit cards at ATMs, gas pumps, credit card readers, etc.

ATM Skimming is an illegal activity that involves the installaltion of a device, usually undetectable by ATM users. The skimmer secretly records bank account data when a customer inserts an ATM card into the machine. Criminals can then encode the stolen data onto a blank card and use it to ransack the customer’s bank account.

Credit card skimmers are devices that crooks place over the actual card readers on an ATM or credit card terminal. The skimmers look like real card readers and their appearance range from mediocre to sophisticated equipment that are indistinguishable from an actual ATM equipment. When customers insert their ATM card into the phony reader, their account info is swiped and stored on an attached cell phone or laptop or sent wirelessly to the crooks lurking nearby.

There are variety of equipment used for skimming:

  • Phony card reader that swipe the account info.
  • False keypad placed over the actual keypad to harvest the PIN numbers being typed.
  • Hard-to-detect pinhole cameras mounted overlooking  the keypad to peep and convey images of the personal information. that’s being entered such as PIN number.
Fig 1: SKIMMING Equipment (phony card reader) being installed on top of the existing atm bank card slot

FIG 2: The skimmer (PHONY CARD READER) as it appears installed over the normal ATM bank card slot.

FIG 3: The PIN reading camera being installed on the ATM is housed in an innocent looking leaflet holder.

FIG 4: The installed camera in the leaflet holder captures PINs by looking down on the keypad

The following are from the article “Taking a Trip to the ATM? Beware of ‘Skimmers’ ” posted by the FBI on their website.

How to Avoid being Skimmed

  • Inspect the ATM, gas pump, or credit card reader before using it…be suspicious if you see anything loose, crooked, or damaged, or if you notice scratches or adhesive/tape residue.
  • When entering your PIN, block the keypad with your other hand to prevent possible hidden cameras from recording your number.
  • If possible, use an ATM at an inside location (less access for criminals to install skimmers).
  • Be careful of ATM s in tourist areas…they are a popular target of skimmers.
  •  If your card isn’t returned after the transaction or after hitting “cancel,” immediately contact the financial institution that issued the card.

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Fractions used by Ancient Tamils


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Myself .

By T. V. Antony Raj
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In our conversations, we, Tamils, use words denoting fractions very frequently without batting an eyelid.

A Tamil goldsmith will assure his client, “இம்மி அளவேனும் குறையாது (immi alavaenum kurayathu) meaning “not a fraction less”. Here, the word இம்மி (immi) is the Tamil word for the fraction 1/2150400 ≈ 4.6502976190476190476190476190476e-07.

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The word “aNu“, meaning “Atom”, is used very frequently by the Tamils to denote very minute portions or particles. In ayurvedic and sidda medicines the naattu vaithiyar (the country doctor) might give instructions to his assistant to add “அணு அளவு பாதரசம்” (aNu alavu padharasam) meaning “an atom sized mercury”. Here the word அணு (aNu) is the Tamil word for the fraction 1/165580800 ≈ 6.0393475572047000618429189857761e-09.

Now, I wonder why the ancient Tamils had such names for these particular fractions. The smallest fraction to be named being தேர்த்துகள் (thaertthugal) which is

1/2323824530227200000000  ≈ 4.3032508995084501477534881372607e-22

I am not able to fathom the underlying reason for the ancient Tamils to use such minute fractions and name them too. I read somewhere that the only place where such minute fractions are used nowadays is in NASA but I am not sure.

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Here is the list that I gathered of fractions used by the ancient Tamils:

1 – ஒன்று – onRu
3/4 = 0.75 – முக்கால் – mukkaal
1/2= 0.5 – அரை – arai
1/4 = 0.25 – கால் – kaal
1/5 = 0.2 – நாலுமா – naalumaa
3/16 = 0.1875 – மும்மாகாணி – mummaakaani
3/20 = 0.15 – மும்மா – mummaa
1/8 = 0.125 – அரைக்கால் – araikkaal
1/10 = 0.1 – இருமா – irumaa
1/16 = 0.0625 – மாகாணி (வீசம்) – maakaaNi (veesam)
1/20 = 0.05 – ஒருமா – orumaa
3/64 = 0.046875 – முக்கால்வீசம் – mukkaal veesam
3/80 = 0.0375 – முக்காணி – mukkaaNi
1/32 = 0.03125 – அரைவீசம் – araiveesam
1/40 = 0.025 – அரைமா – araimaa
1/64 = 0.015625 – கால் வீசம் – kaal veesam
1/80 = 0.0125 – காணி – kaaNi
3/320 = 0.009375 – அரைக்காணி முந்திரி – araikkaaNi munthiri
1/160 = 0.00625 – அரைக்காணி – araikkaaNi
1/320 = 0.003125 – முந்திரி – munthiri
3/1280 = 0.00234375 – கீழ் முக்கால் – keel mukkal
1/640 = 0.0015625 – கீழரை – keelArai
1/1280 = 7.8125e-04 – கீழ் கால் – keel kaal
1/1600 = 0.000625 – கீழ் நாலுமா – keel nalumaa
3/5120 ≈ 5.85938e-04 – கீழ் மூன்று வீசம் – keel moondru veesam
3/6400 = 4.6875e-04 – கீழ் மும்மா – keel mummaa
1/2500 = 0.0004 – கீழ் அரைக்கால் – keel araikkaal
1/3200 = 3.12500e-04 – கீழ் இருமா – keel irumaa
1/5120 ≈ 1.95313e-04 – கீழ் வீசம் – keel veesam
1/6400 = 1.56250e-04 – கீழொருமா – keelorumaa
1/102400 ≈ 9.76563e-06 – கீழ்முந்திரி – keezh munthiri
1/2150400 ≈ 4.65030e-07 – இம்மி – immi
1/23654400 ≈ 4.22754e-08 – மும்மி – mummi
1/165580800 ≈ 6.03935e-09 – அணு – aNu
1/1490227200 ≈ 6.71039e-10 – குணம் – kuNam
1/7451136000 ≈ 1.34208e-10 – பந்தம் – pantham
1/44706816000 ≈ 2.23680e-11 – பாகம் – paagam
1/312947712000 ≈ 3.19542e-12 – விந்தம் – vintham
1/5320111104000 ≈ 1.87966e-13 – நாகவிந்தம் – naagavintham
1/74481555456000 ≈ 1.34261e-14 – சிந்தை – sinthai
1/1489631109120000 ≈ 6.71307e-16 – கதிர்முனை – kathirmunai
1/59585244364800000 ≈ 1.67827e-17 – குரல்வளைப்படி – kuralvaLaippidi
1/3575114661888000000 ≈ 2.79711e-19 -வெள்ளம் – veLLam
1/357511466188800000000 ≈ 2.79711e-21 – நுண்மணல் – nuNNmaNal
1/2323824530227200000000 ≈ 4.30325e-22 – தேர்த்துகள் – thaertthugal

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Eradicator of Polio – Dr. Jonas Salk


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Myself 

By T.V. Antony Raj

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Polio Egyptian Stele
Polio Egyptian Stele

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The effects of polio have been known since ancient times. Egyptian paintings and carvings depict afflicted people with withered limbs, and children walking with canes to support. The photo on the right is that of an Egyptian 18th Dynasty (1403–1365 BC) stele thought to represent a polio victim.

At the turn of the twentieth century, small, localized paralytic polio epidemics began to appear in the United States and Europe. During the first half of the twentieth century, polio epidemic outbreaks reached pandemic proportions in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

Prior to the 20th century, polio infections, in most cases afflicted children six months to four years of age. It was rarely seen in infants before six months of age. Around 1950’s the peak age incidence of polio in the United States shifted from infants to children aged five to nine years; and almost one-third of the cases reported were in persons over 15 years of age. Hence, the rate of paralysis and death due to polio infection also increased during this time. In 1952, the United States, saw the worst outbreak of the polio epidemic in the nation’s history. Around 58,000 cases were reported that year out of which more than three thousand died, mostly children, and more than twenty thousand were afflicted with mild to disabling paralysis of the limbs.

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Dr. Jonas Salk
Dr. Jonas Salk

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In early 1950s, this scourge brought fear into the hearts of everyone, especially the parents of young and teenage children, as it was very well publicized with extensive media coverage of any scientific advancement that might lead to a cure. Thus, the scientists and researchers working on polio became some of the most famous of the century.

This burden of fear was lifted forever when an American dedicated researcher and virologist, Dr. Jonas Salk made the “impossible possible” by developing a vaccine to fight polio. Dr. Salk became world-famous overnight, but his discovery was the result of many years of painstaking research.

Jonas Edward Salk was born on October 28, 1914 in New York City to parents from Ashkenazi Jewish Russian immigrant families. Although his parents themselves did not have much formal education, they were determined to see their children study and succeed.

Salk had an immense passion for science. It was because of this that he finally chose medicine over law as his career goal. During his years at the New York University School of Medicine he stood out from his peers, according to Bookchin, “not just because of his continued academic prowess—he was Alpha Omega Alpha, the Phi Beta Kappa Society of medical education—but because he had decided he did not want to practice medicine.”

After obtaining his M.D. degree at the New York University School of Medicine in 1939, he worked as a staff physician at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Later, he joined  the University of Michigan as a research fellow. There,  at the behest of the U.S. Army, he developed a vaccine for influenza. In 1947, he joined the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine as director of the Virus Research Laboratory.

Jonas Edward Salk (Photo courtesy of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies)

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While developing the influenza vaccine, he had observed that protection could be established using noninfectious, inactivated (killed) viruses. So, in Pittsburgh Salk developed the techniques that would lead to his polio vaccine. Vaccines against smallpox and rabies were induced by infecting by a living virus, but Salk thought otherwise – he conceived the idea that protective immunity could be induced, without infection by a living virus.

Basil O’Connor, president of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, showed interest in Salk’s research. His organization decided to fund Salk’s research to develop a killed virus vaccine against paralytic poliomyelitis.

The vaccines developed by Sak’s team were tested first by injecting monkeys and then on patients who already had polio. Next, in order to test the vaccine on people who had not had polio, Salk injected himself, then his wife, his three sons, his laboratory staff, and volunteers. All of them developed anti-polio antibodies without encountering any bad reactions to the vaccine.

Finally, national testing of the polio vaccine began in 1954. One million children, ages six to nine, who became known as the ‘Polio Pioneers’ were injected: half of them were given the vaccine, while the other half received a placebo.

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On April 12, 1955, Dr. Thomas Francis, Jr., of the University of Michigan, the monitor of the test results declared that vaccine to be safe and effective. When news of the vaccine’s success was made public on April 12, 1955, Salk was hailed as a “miracle worker”, and the day almost became a national holiday.

The average number of polio cases in the US was more than 45,000 in the two years before the vaccine was made widely available. In 1962, that number had dropped to 910.

Dr. Jonas Salk never patented the vaccine, nor did he earn any money from his discovery. He preferred to see it distributed as widely as possible. When the late television personality Ed Murrow asked him, “Who owns this patent?”, Salk replied, “No one. Could you patent the sun?”

This great humanitarian researcher died in June 23, 1995.

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By 1988, polio had disappeared from the US, UK, Australia and much of Europe and South America, but remained prevalent in more than 125 countries. The same year, the World Health Assembly adopted a resolution to eradicate the disease completely by the year 2000. 

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The WHO Americas region was certified polio free in 1994, with the last wild case recorded in the Western Pacific region (which includes China) in 1997. A further landmark came in 2002 when the WHO certified the European region polio-free.

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In 2012, Polio remains officially endemic in four countries – Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, and India. Despite so much progress, polio remains a risk with virus from Pakistan re-infecting China in 2011, which had been polio-free for more than a decade.  India is on the verge of being removed from the list having not had a case since January 2011.

Klok beats the clock


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj
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If you are asked to perform 10 illusions within a span of 5 minutes can you take on the challenge? The handsome Dutch illusionist Hans Klok beat the clock by performing his fastest illusions in 5 minutes – faster than he ever did.

Dutch illusionist and actor Johannes Franciscus Catharinus “Hans” Klok was born in Purmerend, Netherlands on 22 February 1969. He began his career in magic as a teenager. By the time he was sixteen he had won awards in several international competitions. At the age 23, he was part of a touring show along with famous Dutch comedian André van Duin.

His debut in USA was in 1994, when he performed for the first time on the Las Vegas Strip, as part of NBC’s “The World’s Greatest Magic.” This was broadcast live from Caesars Palace to an audience of over 60 million people.

He then toured Europe and China for 10 years and appeared in Las Vegas once more.

During the opening ceremony of the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, he enthralled around 500 million football fans in 152 countries, by making the 18-carat gold World Trophy appear out of thin air in a glass cage.

In 2012 he broke his own world record for the most illusions done in 5 minutes on the BBC show, “The Magicians.”

Hans Klok has also acted in films and TV:

2002 – Le plus grand cabaret du monde (TV series) in Episode dated 14 December 2002.

2003 – De D van dag (short drama – 22 mins)

2004 – Sinterklaas en het geheim van de Robijn (adventure, family film 115 mins) in whcih Hans Klok appeared as Bisschop van Zwitserland.

2007 – The 2007 World Magic Awards (family, fantasy TV movie 120 mins). Roger Moore appears as himself at the host of the show. The Hans Klok and Pamela Anderson team was fun to watch as well as the other performers.

2009 – De Dik Voormekaar show (comedy TV series). In Episode #1.10, Meneer De Bok hopes Klok will make his wife disappear.

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Coriander Leaves and Kidneys


Readers have viewed this post more than 124,298 times.

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Myself . 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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Kidney2

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The pair of bean-shaped kidneys, each about the size of a fist, are vital organs in our body located, one on each side of the spine, near the middle of our back, just below the rib cage. The kidneys perform many functions to keep our blood clean and chemically balanced.

Our body uses food for energy and maintenance. Wastes in the blood come from food that we consume and from the normal breakdown of active tissues, such as muscles. Every day, a person’s kidneys process about 200 quarts of blood and filter out about 2 quarts of waste products and remove excess water. The wastes and excess water flow to the bladder through two tubes called ureters as urine. The bladder stores urine until releasing it through urination.

Coriander (Coriandrum sativum), also called cilantro, koththamalli (in Tamil),  or dhania (in Hindi) is an annual herb in the family Apiaceae. In the English-speaking world (except for the U.S.) the leaves and seeds are known as coriander. In American culinary usage, the leaves are generally referred to by the Spanish word cilantro.

Coriander is an excellent source of minerals like calcium, potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. It is also rich in many vital vitamins essential for optimum health including vitamin-A, beta carotene, vitamin-C and folic acid. By the way, vitamin-C is a powerful natural antioxidant.

A study found both the coriander leaves and seed act as antioxidants, however, the leaves were found to have a stronger effect. Hence, Coriander like many other spices can delay or prevent spoilage of food seasoned with this spice. Chemicals derived from coriander leaves were found to have antibacterial activity against Salmonella choleraesuis, caused in part by these chemicals acting as nonionic surfactants.

Coriander seeds are used in traditional Indian medicine as a diuretic (a substance or drug that tends to increase the discharge of urine) by boiling equal amounts of coriander seeds and cumin seeds, then cooling and consuming the resulting liquid.

The powerful anti-inflammatory capacities of coriander can help one deal with symptoms of arthritis. Coriander also increases HDL cholesterol (the good) and reduces LDL cholesterol (the bad).

Cholesterol – the good and the bad

Cholesterol is not all bad. It is an essential fat. In fact, it provides stability in every cell of our body. The liver makes some cholesterol and some come from the diet. Cholesterol cannot dissolve in blood, so transport proteins called lipoproteins carry it to locations where it needs to go.

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol 

The low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol particles are less dense than other kinds of cholesterol particles. Each microscopic blob of LDL cholesterol consists of an outer rim of lipoprotein surrounding a cholesterol centre.

What Makes LDL Cholesterol Bad? It is just its chemical makeup. Here’s how high amounts of LDL cholesterol leads to plaque growth and atherosclerosis.

  • Some LDL cholesterol circulating through the bloodstream tends to deposit in the walls of arteries. This process starts as early as childhood or adolescence.
  • White blood cells swallow and try to digest the LDL, possibly in an attempt to protect the blood vessels. In the process, the white blood cells convert the LDL to a toxic (oxidized) form.
  • More white blood cells and other cells migrate to the area, creating steady low-grade inflammation in the artery wall.
  • Over time, more LDL cholesterol and cells collect in the area. The ongoing process creates a bump in the artery wall called a plaque – made of cholesterol, cells, and debris.
  • The process tends to continue, growing the plaque and slowly blocking the artery.

An even greater danger than slow blockage is a sudden rupture of the surface of the plaque. A blood clot can form on the ruptured area, causing a heart attack.

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol

The High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol particle is dense compared to other types of cholesterol particles. Each microscopic blob of HDL cholesterol consists of a rim of lipoprotein surrounding a cholesterol centre.

The well-behaved HDL cholesterol is a friendly scavenger that cruises the bloodstream. It removes harmful bad cholesterol from where it doesn’t belong. High HDL levels reduce the risk for heart disease — but low LDL levels increase the risk.

Experts believe HDL cholesterol may act in a variety of helpful ways that tend to reduce the risk for heart disease:

  • HDL cholesterol scavenges and removes LDL cholesterol.
  • HDL reduces, reuses, and recycles LDL cholesterol by transporting it to the liver where it is reprocessed.
  • HDL cholesterol acts as a maintenance crew for the inner walls of blood vessels (endothelium). Damage to the endothelium is the first step in the process of atherosclerosis, which causes heart attacks and strokes. HDL chemically scrubs the endothelium clean and keeps it healthy.

Coriander leaves offer great relief from stomach indigestion problems and the like. It also helps reduce feelings of nausea. Since it has strong antioxidant properties, it helps promote healthy liver function.

A friend suggested that consuming an infusion of Coriander leaves is a good remedy for kidney pain. This is the instruction my friend gave me to prepare a decoction using coriander leaves:

“Wash and clean a bunch of fresh coriander leaves thoroughly in water to remove the dirt and any residual harmful pesticides that might be sticking on them. Chop the leaves as small as possible. Put the chopped leaves in a vessel, pour filtered water and boil for 10 minutes. Filter after cooling using a sieve. Pour the filtered liquid into a sterilized glass bottle and store it in a refrigerator.”

She said: “Drink one glass of the liquid daily and you will notice all salt and other accumulated poison coming out of your system while passing urine. Also, you will notice that you feel healthier than before.

By the way, coriander can produce an allergic reaction in some people. So, please consult your physician before consuming the coriander decoction.

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Teach me how to pray …


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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I love listening to the mellow voice of my all-time favourite singer late gentleman Jim Reeves. My heart starts palpitating and tears flow from my eyes whenever I listen to his rendering of “Daddy my daddy teach me how to pray …”

One night a sleepy little boy knelt beside his bed.
He smiled and looked into my eyes and this is what he said:
“Daddy, my daddy, you‘ve taught me lots today;
So daddy, my daddy, teach me how to pray.”

“You brought me home a brand new kite, and you showed me how to fly;
And there ain’t no other kid whose dad can knock a ball so high;
I’d like to thank God for you but I don’t know what to say;
So daddy, my daddy, teach me how to pray.”

I had to turn and leave this room and he began to cry.
I didn’t want my boy to know but so did I
His best pal had forsaken him but what was there to say?
For daddy, his daddy, had forgotten how to pray.

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This song always makes me read the Gospel of Mathew 6:7-15 again and again.

When his disciples ask Jesus to teach them to pray, he tells them:

“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.” (Mathew 6:5-6)

And then Jesus presents them with an example of a communal prayer that stresses the fatherhood of God and acknowledges him as the one to whom all of us owe our daily sustenance, forgiveness, and deliverance from the final trial.

Jesus said to his disciples:
“In praying, do not babble like the pagans,
who think that they will be heard because of their many words.
Do not be like them.
Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

“This is how you are to pray:

Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

“If you forgive men their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you do not forgive men,
neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”

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Well said Mr. Udaya Kumar …


Anti-nuclear activist Uday Kumar on Friday criticised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over  his statement that the NGOs based in the United States are fuelling the Kudankulam nuclear plant protests, and asked the Prime Minister either to prove the charge or step down.

This is the report that appeared in IBN Live India.

The Prime Minister should take back his statement. If the Prime Minister can’t prove his charge then he should step down. The Prime Minister is not an elected PM but a nominated one, that’s why he is insulting the people of India,” said Uday Kumar.

It is nonsense to say that NGOs from the US and Scandinavian countries are funding the Kudankulam protest,” he said.

The Prime Minister, who is the head of the country, can’t make such remarks. He has no sympathy. Lakhs of people are struggling and instead of acknowledging, he is accusing us of receiving money. We are not receiving money from any NGO,” said Uday Kumar.

His ministerial colleague Narayansamy said the same thing. Why can’t he produce some evidence to prove his charge? The Prime Minister insults the people of the country,” said the activist.

Hitting out at anti-nuclear activists for the first time and questioning the source of their funding, Manmohan Singh, in an interview in the journal ‘Science’, said, “The atomic energy program has got into difficulties because these NGOs, mostly, I think, based in the US, don’t appreciate the need for our country to increase energy. The local NGO-led protests have stalled the commissioning of two 1000 MW nuclear reactors.”

However, supporting Manmohan Singh’s claim, Iowa State University scientist Dr Sivramiah Shantharam said, “The Prime Minister is right on the dot. It is a very well known fact that international NGOs, both from US and Europe, who in alliance with local NGOs whip up trouble. All the frenzy was whipped up by them after receiving funding to create anxiety and suspicion about biotech advancements.

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Navels of Adam and Eve by Modern Painters


Myself  

By T.V. Antony Raj
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Fascinated by the Navels of Adam and Eve, I Googled for paintings of Adam and Eve done by modern day painters. I came across seven paintings of Adam and Eve with navels.

 

Adam-and-Eve-Kees-van-Dongen-1877-1968.jpg

Adam and Eve by the Dutch painter Kees van Dongen (1877-1968) who gained a reputation for his sensuous, at times garish, portraits.

Adam-and-Eve-by-Karoly-Patk-1920-305x340.jpg

 

This painting of Adam and Eve by Karoly Patkó (1895 – 1941) is an example of 1920s neoclassicism.

Karoly Patkó was a twentieth-century Hungarian painter and copper engraver, noted for his nude paintings in a plastic presentation.

Adam-and-Eve-Robert-Lohman-1919-2001-298x340.jpg

This is a lithograph done by Robert Lohman (1919-2001), an American artist from Indiana.

Lohman was an Art Educator, Teacher, and Lecturer well-known for his sculptures, medals, and oil paintings.

Adam-and-Eve-V.O.M.-Petrillo-in-1996-340x252.jpg

The Beginning of Life” created in 1996 by the artist Prof. V.O.M. Petrillo (1932-2001).

Collectors of his artwork have deeply admired his artistic genius and his expressive uniqueness.

Adam-and-Eve-Vladimi-Zunuzin-present-day-340x194_thumb.jpg

This painting of Adam and Eve by the Russian painter Vladimi Zunuzin, a prolific painter. He was born in 1950 and participated in many Russian, regional and international exhibitions.

Works of Vladimi Zunuzin are being kept by the Regional Arts museum in Ulyanovsk, and private collections in USA, France, Italy, Germany, Canada and other countries. Vladimir Zunuzin is a member of Russia Painters Union. He has more than 1000 works to his credit.

Adam-and-Eve-by-Maia-Ramishvili-born-1969-340x272.jpg

Adam and Eve by Maia Ramishvili, born in 1969 in Tbilisi, capital of Republic of Georgia.

Maia’s talent for art was discovered at an early age. She went to two very prestigious art school. She studied at Nikoladze School of Art from 1984 and graduated in 1988.

Adam and Eve - Nataly Kuzmina (232x340)

Adam and Eve by Nataly Kuzmina of Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Natalywas educated in a variety of artistic styles including Old Russian Icon painting, Realism, Impressionism and the Avant-Garde.

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An Atheist and an Agnostic in Paradise


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Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj
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Swami Beyondananda.

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Recently I came to know about Swami Beyondananda, the cosmic comic alter ego writer, humorist, performer and uncommontator Steve Bhaerman.

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Steve Bhaerman alias Swami Beyondananda.

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This Swami, whose favourite yoga pose is ‘tongue-in-cheek‘, is the spokesperson for a new non-religion, FUNdamentalism (accent on “fun”). Says the Swami, “We are strictly non-dominational.”

By the way, do you know who or what the word ‘uncommontator‘ or the word ‘non-dominational‘ mean? Well, I don’t know, neither does Google.

One day in 1979, while Steve was pursuing a career as a teacher and writer, the name “Swami Beyondananda” flew into his head. As Steve tells it, “I got struck by enlightening during a brainstorm.”

Now, let us tune into the wisdom of Swami Beyondananda:

Whew, my head is spinning with all that hate! Well, here is a joke to lighten up everyone!

An atheist and an agnostic after dying to arrive in what they realize is paradise. When they arrive in Paradise, they are met by this benign, radiant beautiful woman who claims to be God ( or rather Goddess!) who shows the agnostic and atheist around.

They see all these beautiful trees, orchards, meadows, waterfalls and meet with many beautiful people of many different ethnicities with happy-faced children all hugging and loving each other with flowers in their hair singing

“If you’re going to San Francisco,
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair…”

“Who are they?” ask the atheist and the agnostic

“They are the Children of earth, atheists and agnostics like yourself,” says the beautiful Goddess. They have come to paradise and obtained what they sought – eternal happiness, peace and harmony among all people,” says the beaming Goddess.

Finally, they arrive at the edge of paradise, a vista point where they see this deep, bottom-less huge pit, a cavern the size of the milky way with roaring flames! They see all kinds of people throwing bombs at each other, blowing each other up, hating each other, cursing each other, fighting each other, in other words, one big hate fest!

The atheist and the agnostic ask, “Who are they and what is that cavern with flames?”

“Oh, that is Hell,” says the Goddess. “Those people down there are hateful, intolerant, violent religious extremists, the believers, all the haters from planet earth, extremist Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Jains, Sikhs, Nazis and yes even republicans!!”

“Why are they so angry and hateful?” ask the atheist and the agnostic.

The bemused Goddess says, “Oh, they are just angry because they were lied to by their Gods as to who would be in heaven and hell!!”