Monday, 21 January 2019

Utter lack of moral compass in Jake Patterson, the (alleged) kidnapper of 13 yr old Jayme Closs (in Wisconsin state, USA) and killer of her parents, is terrifying

Read this detailed report and saw all the video clips in it: The Jayme Closs case: A chilling tale of murder, kidnapping and escape in rural America, https://edition.cnn.com/2019/01/19/us/jayme-closs-case-moment-by-moment/index.html, 20th Jan. 2019

India has its share of horrendous crimes, including some terrifying cases of rape and murder, e.g. 2012 Delhi gang rape: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_Delhi_gang_rape. That shook the whole country (India). I was utterly horrified by the monstrosity of the crime.

But now this Jayme Closs case in the USA has badly shaken me. The kidnapper and killer Jake Patterson, reported to be around 21 years old, had a house (of his parents, I guess), a car, seems to have had some level of education and demonstrated intelligence in the planning and execution of his chilling and evil crime.

What beats me and terrifies me, is that the guy saw the 13 year old girl once - yes, just once - and decided that she was "the girl he was going to take"!

And to do that he brutally killed the girl's parents in their house using his father's shotgun, and picked up the 13 year old girl from this house. He tied her up and put duct tape over her mouth before taking her out of the house and putting her in the trunk of his car. He showed absolutely no remorse in whatever has been reported of his confession and the video of him listening to the charges made against him in court (he seems to have attended via a video link).

There is no racism here as the killer and the victims are white folks in rural Wisconsin.

He held the girl in his home for around 87 days. The girl was fortunate to escape and be helped by a stranger she met on the road and a family who took her in and called the police. These people were rightly worried that Patterson might come looking for Jayme and kill anybody who comes in his way!

Before Patterson, who had by then come to know that Jayme had escaped, was able to locate Jayme, the police were able to reach the house where Jayme was. Shortly after that they were able to arrest Patterson.

This crime in rural USA terrifies me due to the alleged culprit's utter lack of moral compass and any remorse. In a previous case of school shooting in the USA which I read up on (Parkland, Florida school shooting, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2018/09/police-interrogation-of-parkland.html), the then 19 year old shooter was hearing voices in his head that was asking him to do mad things.

How is it that Jake Patterson became such a person without any moral compass at all? Surely he would not be associated with a church or temple or with an atheist humanist organization as otherwise how could he not have any moral compass and have this terrifying lack of compassion towards the two parents he killed and the 13 year old girl he held captive for nearly 3 months!
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After I wrote the above, I read these two articles giving more information on Jake Patterson:

How did Jake Patterson's life lead to Jayme Closs?, http://www.startribune.com/how-did-jake-patterson-s-life-lead-to-jayme-closs/504601191/

Jake Patterson, suspect in Closs case, was discharged early from Marines because of character issues, https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/2019/01/17/jake-patterson-suspect-closs-case-kicked-out-marines-weeks/2606798002/

His parents divorced when he was young. That would have affected him but ... many kids go through that nowadays. After High School, he got selected for the Marines but got discharged after 5 weeks of boot camp. That happened in Oct. 2015. After that he seems to have got into a shell. Hmm. Not getting a suitable job in rural US may have led him down a slippery slope. But how could it get to such monstrosity! That still beats me!

My prayers to God to give strength and courage to Jayme Closs to overcome this horrific tragedy she has gone through.

Friday, 18 January 2019

Ordeaaaar! Guardian's light relief video on John Bercow - Class monitor of the British House of Commons!

Ordeaaaar! John Bercow, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Bercow, is the Speaker of the British House of Commons tasked with maintaining order while the House transacts its business. Brexit has got a lot of MPs worked up and so John Bercow has had to play class monitor kind of role quite often, it seems.

The Guardian has put together a humourous montage of clips related to this role of John Bercow:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EY7EIZl4raY, 1 min. 44 secs

Thursday, 17 January 2019

British PM Theresa May wins confidence vote with all votes from her Conservative Party MPs and 9 votes from ally DUP

British PM Theresa May wins confidence vote with ***all*** votes from her Conservative Party MPs and 9 votes from ally DUP. The vote count was 306 for the no-confidence motion and 325 against it.

After winning the vote, May said that she would "continue to work to deliver on the solemn promise we made to the people of this country to deliver on the result of the referendum and leave the European Union".

Hmm. Very unusual situation. After losing the vote on her Brexit deal by a huge margin of 230 votes (202 for and 432 against), the very next day she confirms that she and her govt. have the confidence of the house by a margin of 9 votes! I think this is a good thing. A general election at this time would have meant more uncertainty.

PM May said, "I stand ready to work with any member of this house to deliver on Brexit and ensure that this house retains the confidence of the British people".

Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said, "Before there can be any positive discussions about the way forward, the government (loud murmuring..) the government must remove, must remove clearly, once and for all, the prospect of the catastrophe of a No-Deal Brexit from the EU and all the chaos that would come as a result of that. And I invite the Prime Minister to confirm now that the government will not countenance a No-Deal Brexit from the European Union."

I don't think PM May has confirmed that there will NOT be a No-Deal Brexit. This is what seems to have increased the concern-level (or should I say fear/panic level) from perhaps the majority of British business community who seem to be against No-Deal Brexit. And, in our times in democratic countries, as it is the business community that sustains most of the existing jobs and generates new jobs (sometimes in the place of lost jobs), which is what the mass of working people need, I think that concern has spread to the working people too.

Perhaps PM May and her govt's view is that if Parliament fails to get a majority behind a deal which is acceptable to the EU, then, as part of their solemn promise to deliver on the referendum result to leave the EU, PM May and her govt. which has just won the confidence of (majority of) Parliament, are prepared to leave without any deal! So, in any case, the referendum result is obeyed. Out of the EU with or without a deal!

Hmm. Talk of brinkmanship! But then, politics is not a field for soft and easy going guys and gals! Note that Theresa May was a minister at the time of the Brexit vote two and a half years ago, and campaigned for Remain. She became PM after the Brexit vote in place of then PM David Cameron who also campaigned for Remain, and resigned after the Brexit referendum result went in favour of Leave. Interesting that PM May has kept aside her own preference for Remain and is now focused on delivering on the Leave verdict of the people! Democratic politics is quite extraordinary!

This 1 min 49 secs video from The Guardian captures the key moments including the above quoted statements,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wx49EPIerTs, published on 16th Jan. 2019

This a more detailed report on it by the BBC: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-46899466, 16th Jan. 2019
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Government wins no confidence vote amid Brexit chaos, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gc5dmjZBG4c, around 40 mins by Channel 4 News on 16th Jan. 2019.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Video showing humiliating punishment of crawling on road meted out to a Chinese company's employees (in China)

https://www.facebook.com/scmp/videos/458448701355906/ dated 16th Jan. 2019, 1 min. 12 secs.

I shared the above video with this comment (slightly edited) on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2392702820946281)

If something like this happens in a company anywhere in India, the concerned manager would, in all probability, be arrested by the police. And I think that workers' unions and political parties (many political parties are affiliated to some workers' unions) would have made such a hue and cry that the company bosses would have had to publicly apologize and promise never to allow such humiliation of workers/staff to ever happen again!

I thank God that workers' and employee unions in India are a powerful force today (and have been a powerful force throughout my adult lifetime which is from 1980 when I became 18 by which time I had started observing and noting some of these things in Mumbai and surrounding areas where I lived and studied, and in India in general). It is this power of unions in India that prevents such horribly degrading treatment to workers.

It is tragic that such treatment of workers happens in China - it may be rare and exceptional but still it is horrific. No amount of economic growth and prosperity is worth such abuse of workers/employees.
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Rahul Gandhi shares visiting Afghanistan Members of Parliament reaction to screaming & yelling in Indian Parliament

Please note that I have a PUBLICLY POLITICALLY NEUTRAL role in these social media posts that I put up related to Indian political leaders which may include leaders in government currently and those not in government. I am an Indian citizen and resident of India. I do vote in Indian elections but I keep who I vote for as a private matter. I should also say that I am a beneficiary, a lover and an open supporter of democracy in India.

I made this comment on the shared post below of Rahul Gandhi, leader of the Congress party which is the main opposition party in India now:

Thank you very much for sharing this experience, sir. I think what the Afghan visitors said is the plain and brutal truth. And Afghanistan is not too far away from India! Democracy, IMHO, is one of the great benefits we got from European colonization in India despite that colonization resulting in terrible economic exploitation of India.

As an early 1960s born Indian, I am a beneficiary, a lover and an open supporter of democracy in India. My view is that our democracy is one of our greatest strengths and we must defend it vigourously.

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Content of shared post (text and pic) of Rahul Gandhi, https://www.facebook.com/rahulgandhi/posts/629433870824338 dated 16th Jan. 2019 is given below.

One day, in our Parliament, I saw a group of MPs from Afghanistan sitting in the visitors' gallery.

And, I was thinking, "these MPs have come from abroad and look what we are doing: we are shouting and screaming and yelling. At least when they are here why can't this place be in order?"

Later these MPs visited me in my office and I said to them "I am sorry that you were sitting in the visitors' gallery and we were not having a nice debate. We were sort of having an argument."

And, then, one of the MPs started crying!

I was a bit surprised.

I asked her “what happened?”.

"You know, Mr. Gandhi," she said, "in my country the arguments that you have in this building, your parliament, are carried out with guns."

Our democracy is our greatest strength. We must defend it at any cost.




[I thank Shri Rahul Gandhi and have presumed that he will not have any objections to me sharing the above post text and pic from his Facebook pages on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

BBC report: [UK] Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal has been rejected by 230 votes - the largest defeat for a sitting government in history

"[UK] Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal has been rejected by 230 votes - the largest defeat for a sitting government in history.", https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-46885828

Ravi: Shocking! There was talk prior to the vote that if the margin of defeat was around or less than 60 or 70, it would give UK PM May a chance to modify the deal and present it back to Parliament.

This is two hundred and thirty votes! 432 voted against the deal and 202 voted for the deal in the House of Commons!

Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has called for a no-confidence vote but he is expected to lose that, if such a no-confidence vote motion is accepted. [If a no-confidence vote is held and won that will mean a new general election.]

Feel really sad about this state of affairs in UK now. Hope and pray that UK members of Parliament and PM somehow get their act together and get out of this terrible deadlock situation.
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1 hr + video covering various angles of the Brexit situation after PM May's deal got comprehensively defeated by over 200 votes, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isxFXwGRvXs

I saw the whole video and as a lot of MPs are interviewed in it, I think it does give a good feel of the situation now. Quite chaotic and confusing but some MPs and analysts are clear that PM May will defeat the no-confidence vote. So her position seems safe.

What needs to found out is some deal which will get the majority of Parliament approval. Then PM May will have to discuss with European Parliament about it ...

Lots of work to do ... lots of unknowns but it does NOT seem to be a dangerous "crash out" of Europe situ.

Few MPs and analysts argue that even if they come out of Europe with No deal, it will be good. But that is strongly disputed by others who feel that No deal will be bad for UK.
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I saw this video from around 3 hrs. 30 mins to 4 hrs. 19 mins : Watch again: Parliament votes to reject Theresa May's Brexit deal, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xp3arKtHApI, around 5 hrs published by The Telegraph on 15th Jan. 2019.
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Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Deeply unsettling to see deep divisions among public in two of the top democracies in the world - USA and UK

Last updated on 16th Jan. 2019

From a recent FB post of mine, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2392296144320282 :

UK people and politicians seem to be so divided over (how to) Brexit. It is very sad to see. Hopefully, they will decide quickly and move on.

Today I saw a few recent news videos of USA mainstream media channels (I include Fox News in that even though some of my FB friends may disagree with that categorization; I do it based on impact it seems to have on USA politics and the current USA President). [I have omitted sentences that I had initially put up telling what these videos were saying, as it is pretty controversial stuff.]

I am publicly neutral in USA (and UK) politics. So I am not taking sides here and saying one side is right and the other is wrong. I am just rather freaked-out that USA democratic politics has reached this horribly divisive level.

As a beneficiary, a lover and an open supporter of democracy, I hope and pray that this deep division gets healed and healed **quickly** in USA and UK.
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In response to a comment on above mentioned FB post, I wrote (slightly edited):
Thanks for your view --name-snipped-- sir. It is an interesting detached-observer view of these matters.

In my posts about these current affairs I write from a different perspective of a person concerned about the ***current*** well being of the persons in USA and UK, and about the ***current*** well being of democracy and the wonderful freedoms that democracy gives, in these countries.

During some periods, the sufferings involved for those in Sri Rama's family as well as in Sri Krishna's family and friends was immense, even when they were blessed with the divine presence! Sri Rama himself suffered when Sita was kidnapped, when Lakshmana was seriously injured in the battlefield and, I am quite sure but don't recall this part of Ramayana properly, when he had to banish Sita to the forest!

Perhaps one could say that suffering is inescapable in human life and take a silent and stoic view about such suffering.

But, as a social media writer, I try to help those who are suffering through sympathy and prayers in my writings. In a few matters where I am in a position to play a social media writer-activist role I do so, e.g. in informing Sathya Sai fraternity worldwide about spiritual fraud Madhusudan Naidu thereby helping a few people to avoid getting trapped by Madhusudan Naidu spiritual fraud.

In far bigger matters like current deep divisions in USA and UK among its public, I feel that I would be helping by sharing my concerns publicly and also by expressing my sympathy for their difficulties and my prayers for the deep divisions to be healed quickly. And so I write these posts.
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[The person responded that he understood my viewpoint and applauded my approach. I thanked him for it.]
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Sunday, 13 January 2019

Miscellaneous Facebook posts & comments in January 2019

When author of post or comment is not mentioned, it should be assumed that it is me (Ravi S. Iyer).

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On an FB post somewhere I (Ravi) wrote (slightly edited) and then deleted the comments (but have retained it on this blog post):

Don't mean to dampen the spirits here. But I could not help sharing that I got my proper understanding of one of the famous lines of Shakespeare's plays "Now is the winter of our discontent" when I would be waiting for a bus in the outskirts of Brussels in a bus stop which was open on two sides. When the wind blew it seemed to be like a knife cutting through me! And yes, I too had all the gear then - long johns, thick overcoat, scarf, even a woolen cap. But it was still quite a big challenge to face for a Tropical climate Mumbai youngster who had never been out of India till then (this was in mid 80s with me in my early twenties)! BTW Brussels is 50 degrees North and so 5 degrees more North than Montreal which is 45 degrees North, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brussels, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montreal.

Earlier I could not really understand why Shakespeare was talking of winter of discontent and all that. In Mumbai winter would be chill all right but just a sweater would do to handle it. And snow looked so pretty in the pictures!

Brussels made North European winters real for me and made me appreciate not only Shakespeare's above line but also some other aspects of North West European culture including shots of you-know-what (drink) to keep you warm in that chill :-).

Stay warm --name-snipped--! All the best!
...
I should also add that later on I was able to handle the cold winter of Brussels well and was fine with it. I mean, I learned how to deal with that cold even though I was using public transport and had no car. After that, it was no problem. I really enjoyed my 15 months stay in Brussels.
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From my FB post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2389663437916886, 12th Jan. 2019 (slightly edited):
Above 45 Indian ladies dancing their way to fitness with a famous Bollywood song - Na Jaane Kahan Se Aayi Hai, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqP5J9BCHFs, around 4 mins.

Great to see Indians explore various ways to stay fit.
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Two young Indian ladies dancing to the same song (longer version) for fitness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ux0AgVxkLI, 6 min. 17 secs.
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Thought-provoking BBC News video about youtuber burnout

Thought-provoking video about youtuber burnout. I think some of it may apply in some way to many of us who are active on social media (including me). So worth a watch if you are an active social media guy or gal : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUrNbl1lNV4, 13 min. 44 secs, published by BBC News on 11th Jan. 2019.

Plan to put up some posts, usually just links to video clips, of 2020 USA presidential campaign

Please note that I have a PUBLICLY (POLITICALLY) NEUTRAL informal-student-observer role in these posts that I put up about USA politics. Of course, as I am an Indian citizen living in India, there is no question of me having voted in USA elections.

I may have already shared Sen. Elizabeth Warren's announcement (sort-of preliminary announcement if I recall correctly) on my Facebook posts.

Here is Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard making an informal preliminary announcement in a CNN interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NeikJyQkIo, 10 min. 23 secs, published on 12th Jan. 2019.

Why am I following such events? Well, my interest lies in getting an understanding of top political decision makers' views on problems faced by people (society) today and how they intend to solve it. I have lots of friends and few relatives in the USA and so I am curious to know about these issues there. The presidential campaign gives us a good look at the views of the candidates running to be president. That is something that I find to be very helpful and even educative, in understanding top decision makers' views of problems of society and how to solve them.

I should also mention that what I am seeing is that some of the problems that USA is facing now are similar to some that India faces now and what I think India will face sometime in the future. So it is educative for me even from the perspective of problems faced by Indian people today and what they may face tomorrow, and possible solutions for them.

I do not put up such material on Indian politics as I have a serious concern that I will be viewed as being partial to some parties and therefore get dragged into a political debate which I do not want to get into.

Indian cricket pace battery is pretty good now but not really close to Windies late 70s to early 90s pace battery

Given below is content (slightly edited) of post & my comments from my FB post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2389742567908973, dated 12th Jan. 2019

Today's (12th Jan 2019) The Hindu carried this article: Breaking down a historic year for Indian pace-bowling, https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/2018-best-year-for-indian-pace-bowlers/article25977863.ece.

It stated, "Table 1 shows that this tally is second only to that of the West Indian pace battery in 1980, featuring Joel Garner, Colin Croft, Michael Holding, Malcolm Marshall, Andy Roberts and Sylvester Clarke, which picked up 189 wickets in 12 overseas Tests."

Ravi: Well, stats wise there may be some closeness between the current Indian pace battery and the Windies pace battery of the 80s and early 90s. And, yes India's pace battery is pretty good now.

But Windies pace battery was something awesome. Indian pace battery is not close to that, IMHO.

Here's a taste of Windies pace battery: Curtly Ambrose taking 7 for 1 (yes 7 wickets for 1 run) in a spell against Australia in Perth, Australia in 1993: (note that the video quality is not great), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7UOy5thUig, 5 mins.

I will also share small clips of other Windies fast bowlers' great spells in the comments of this post. Those guys were something really extraordinary. It is against these guys that the great Sunil Gavaskar batted and scored centuries. That is why Gavaskar has such a big name among Indian cricket fans of those days - 70s and 80s - including me.
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Four horsemen of death - West Indies, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ync2pKXveeE, 2 min. 40 secs.
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For India, Andy Roberts was perhaps the most famous Windies fast bowler of those days. Here's Roberts bagging Ian Chappell, Greg Chappell and Allan Border in 1980 in Adelaide, Australia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xq3TlmNFeYM, around 4 mins.
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Andy Roberts got so famous in India that his name figured in a dialogue in Amar Akbar Anthony, the blockbuster film made in 1977. Here's the less than 2 min clip having the reference (towards the end of the clip): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aYISpjKveA

In the movie clip, Amar (Vinod Khanna) asks Anthony (Amitabh Bachchan) around 1 min 7 secs in the video: "Robert kahan hai?" (Where is Robert?). Note that Robert is the villain in the movie (if I recall correctly).

Anthony says, "Robert? Kaun Robert?" (Robert? Who Robert?). And then Anthony continues, "Ooo! Woh fast bowler! Andy Robert. Arre Sahab, Match khatam hua, West Indies chala gaya. Apun se sala milke bhi nahi gaya."  (Oh! That fast bowler! Andy Robert(s). Oh sir, the match got over and the West Indies went away. The fellow did not even meet me before going.)
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Around 37 mins and so longish but shows the dominance of Michael Holding, Malcolm Marshall, Joel Garner and Courtney Walsh in a Windies tour of Australia in the 80s: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VOGoiaZlX8. The Indian pace battery today is good but can we say it is as menacing as what the above video shows of the Windies fast bowlers of the 80s? From what little bit I saw of summary video clips of this (just finished India-Australia) series, I don't think so. The Windies fast bowling pack was far more menacing!
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Big Joel Garner tormenting Greg Chappell (1979): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ah524EPXxo
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English captain Tony Greig said of the West Indies team, before the series I guess, that once the West Indies are down "they grovel". That's it! Clive Lloyd the captain of the West Indies team let the team know that they have to give it to the English on the cricket field. What followed was ***brutal***. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cozSq8XC-LU, 3 min. 36 secs.

The description of the video says, "This is from a documentary called Fire in Babylon -  2010". I looked around and found this link which seems to have the video of the documentary: https://www.hotstar.com/movies/fire-in-babylon/1000180223/watch. I plan to see it later on.
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From my FB post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2390432244506672, dated 13th Jan. 2019:

Patrick Patterson's fearsome pace (late 80s or early 90s I guess) knocks bat out of batman's (Andrew Hudson's) grip! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgH6qxD7E0Y, 29 secs. The title of the video seems to be misleading though as I doubt if it has been recorded as the fastest ball.

Video showing awesome bowling performance of Patrick  Patterson at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Dec. 1988, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExYqoPIIx2w, 4 mins
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I have also appreciated the performance of the Indian fast bowlers in the just concluded India-Australia test series on some Facebook posts, which I have shared here:  https://ravisiyermisc.blogspot.com/2018/12/miscellaneous-facebook-posts-comments.html. I have also copy-pasted relevant content of that post below:

https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2379144605635436

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6kV8BpbR8g, 1 min. 28 secs.

Rain could not deny the Indian cricket team the victory they deserved in this test match.

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https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2379152578967972

Moment of great triumph for Indian cricket team and its captain Virat Kohli, as they have gone 2-1 up in the 4 match test series with one match to go, and retained the Border-Gavaskar trophy as the worst case scenario for them is Australia only drawing the series. Fittingly, one of the pics, which is shown in the preview on this post, has the star wicket takers, Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma, with what I think is the centurion, Cheteshwar Pujara (it seems it is Mohammad Shami and not Pujara as per one comment on the post), all with a stump souvenir each: https://twitter.com/imVkohli/status/1079227976393342976. The tweet also has a pic of the celebrating Indian team.

Fascinating to see Indian fast bowlers be so menacing! In my avid cricket fan days a few decades ago, India had only medium pace bowlers who were never menacing, whereas the top opposition teams like West Indies and Australia had top notch and very menacing fast bowlers - Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Joel Garner, Malcolm Marshall, Dennis Lillee, Jeff Thomson etc.
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FB post of mine, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2363207697229127, dated 10th Dec. 2018:

In my avid cricket fan days in the mid-70s to 80s, it was quite common to read about India fighting hard but losing to Australia in test matches in Australia. Somehow, Australia would snatch victory from the jaws of defeat whenever they landed into some big problem in a test match with India (and with many other countries' cricket teams). Great, for me an Indian, to see a different outcome for this first test match in the current series in Australia. But the Aussie tail sure did rattle the Indians including their captain, as can be seen from the body language while the Aussie tail was heroically trying, but eventually failed, to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4t1izuBS-E
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I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made

Came across this quote today, which has made my day - "I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made." It is attributed to Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) - a president of USA from 1933 to 1945 which included most of the period of World War II, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_D._Roosevelt.

I think the quote applies to some extent to me too, given the enemies I have made by my whistle-blowing on social media, and by my social media writer activism for Sathya (Truth) & Dharma (Ethics) against outrageous false belief and spiritual fraud propagated by some by misusing the HOLY NAME of my beloved and revered Gurudev, Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Of course, there are many other whistle-blowers and activists for Sathya & Dharma to whom it may apply much more than to me.

Given below are front and back cover pics of a biography of FDR that I bought recently. I earnestly look forward to reading it some time in the near future (after I finish the book on P.N. Haksar,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P._N._Haksar, that I am reading now at my slow pace of a few pages off and on - I am on around page 305 of the around 500 pages book).

[To open pic in higher resolution, right-click on pic followed by open link (NOT image) in new tab/window. In new tab/window you may have to click on pic to zoom in.]



Saturday, 12 January 2019

Hats off to Canada's Justin Trudeau led government for giving refuge to Saudi teenager woman who fears for her life in Saudi Arabia

Saudi teen flying to Canada, Justin Trudeau says ‘pleased’ to offer asylum, https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/saudi-teen-flying-to-canada-justin-trudeau-says-pleased-to-offer-asylum/story-a7ZfbWIbJnQjkKphbj99yN.html, 12th Jan. 2019

The article quotes Canadian PM Justin Trudeau as saying,
“Canada has been unequivocal that we’ll stand up for human rights and women’s rights around the world” ... “When the United Nations made a request of us that we grant miss (Rahaf Mohammed) al-Qunun’s asylum, we accepted.”

Ravi: I salute the Canadian government led by Justin Trudeau for coming to the aid of this desperate teenager woman. The United Nations, in particular its agency for Refugees - UNHCR, also deserves praise for taking up her case on priority basis and requesting Canada to grant her asylum. Thailand government too deserves praise for (eventually) supporting the woman's desperate request.

May God bless the Canadian government and its people. May God bless the United Nations and UNHCR. May God bless the Thailand government and its people. My prayers to God to help the Saudi teenager woman lead a good and ethical life in Canada. I hope she will be grateful to Canada throughout the rest of her life and try to give back to Canada for coming to her aid at this key moment in her life.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Border wall crisis in USA and Brexit crisis in UK democratic governments, one following Presidential system and another a Parliamentary system, highlight differences in these systems

Last updated on 13th Jan. 2019

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parliamentary_system:

"A parliamentary system is a system of democratic governance of a state where the executive derives its democratic legitimacy from its ability to command the confidence of the legislature, typically a parliament, and is also held accountable to that parliament. In a parliamentary system, the head of state is usually a person distinct from the head of government. This is in contrast to a presidential system, where the head of state often is also the head of government and, most importantly, the executive does not derive its democratic legitimacy from the legislature."

My understanding is that UK is a parliamentary system as its executive head, the Prime Minister, and his/her cabinet, derives legitimacy from the confidence they command of the legislature (the House of Commons being the vital part of the legislature in this regard). The head of state is the constitutional monarch (as against absolute monarch) of the UK and is distinct from the Prime minister.

India too is a parliamentary system with its head of state, the President, being distinct from the executive head which is the Prime Minister, who along with his cabinet, derives legitimacy from the support he/she has from the legislature (Lok Sabha - Hindi/Sanskrit word meaning House of the People - being the vital part of the legislature in this regard).

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presidential_system: "A presidential system is a democratic and republican system of government where a head of government leads an executive branch that is separate from the legislative branch. This head of government is in most cases also the head of state, which is called president."

My understanding is that USA is a presidential system with its president and his (maybe her in the future sometime :-)) cabinet being separate from the legislative branch (US Congress). The US president is both executive head and the head of state.

Now both USA and UK are facing crises. USA is going through one of the longest government shutdowns (partial shutdown in reality as some sections of govt. do not get funding with workers either stopping work or working in anticipation of being paid in future) in its history due to a stalemate between the presidency and significant number of members of Congress over funding for a border wall on its southern border that its president wants to build. "Build that wall" was a catchy (among his supporters) and important slogan in his presidential campaign. Here's a recent article on the situation: Trump Storms Out of White House Meeting With Democrats on Shutdown, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/09/us/politics/government-shutdown-trump-senate.html, 9th Jan. 2019.

The US president's view is captured in this tweet of his: "Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, a total waste of time. I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier? Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!", https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1083099784012091396, 9th Jan. 2019.

UK is going through a harrowing time on how to Brexit. A recent article on the situation: UK parliament inflicts fresh defeat on PM May over Brexit, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/01/uk-parliament-inflicts-fresh-defeat-pm-brexit-190109154253342.html, 9th Jan. 2019. The report says that MPs in the House of Commons voted 308 to 297 backing a motion that if the govt. loses the vote on Jan. 15th on its Brexit deal, the govt. should put up a revised plan within 3 days. As I have understood it, the MPs seem to want to avoid the No-deal scenario which is the default that would come into play in end March of this year, unless the British Parliament approves of a particular deal or seeks additional time in some way.

In both the above situations in USA and UK, the majority of a key house of the two houses of the legislature (House of Commons in UK and House of Representatives in USA), disagree with the views of the executive head (Prime Minister Theresa May of UK and President Trump of USA). This has led to gridlock.

In the UK case, if the Prime Minister loses the Jan. 15th Brexit vote by a big margin, the opposition may demand a fresh election! To force the issue, I think, the opposition leader has to call for a vote of no confidence and win it in the House of Commons. In such a scenario, fresh elections will be called and the newly elected government will have to deal with Brexit. If that happens then Brexit gridlock would have forced a new mandate from the people.

In the USA case, there is no question of fresh elections. The President's term goes on till Jan. of 2021 with Presidential elections in end 2020. The House of Representatives too has a term till Jan. 2021 with elections in end 2020 (along with Presidential election). So there is no question of Border wall issue resulting in a new mandate from the people (elections) in the USA.

The President of USA has suggested that he might use some emergency powers to get funding for the border wall. But the opposition has indicated that if he does that they will challenge it in US courts! If so, then it will be the US court of law that will decide whether the President of US can get funding in this manner for his border wall, circumventing US Congress (including the Democratic Party controlled House of Representatives).

If the US President goes not go the emergency powers route, then he may have no option but to reopen US government (or rather rollback the partial government shutdown), without getting money for the border wall he wants to construct on US southern border. If I recall correctly, he has said that the shutdown could go on even for years! But I doubt if he will be able to do that.

As per my understanding of USA democratic government processes (which could have some mistakes), what the US President needs to easily get funding for US southern border wall is a Republican party (his party) controlled House of Representatives (which he had in 2017 and 2018) and 60 Republican senators in 100 member US Senate (which he DID NOT have in 2017 and 2018, and does NOT have even now). Where USA Congress gets powerful leverage over the USA President is in providing funding to USA government and in enacting new laws or striking down existing laws. The President cannot do these things on his own!

Please note that I have a PUBLICLY (POLITICALLY) NEUTRAL informal-student-observer role in these posts that I put up about USA and UK politics. Of course, as I am an Indian citizen living in India, there is no question of me having voted in USA and UK elections.

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Report on UK parliament's Brexit struggle: Has Parliament taken back control of Brexit after PM loses rebel amendment?, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRs02WEcrVs, around 21 mins, published by Channel 4 News on 9th Jan. 2019

Just an aside: Was interesting to listen to the English language and speaking style of UK Justice minister Rory Stewart who spoke calmly and smilingly even when he was pushed aggressively by the interviewer. I like such kind of guys :-). Quite rare in the political world nowadays I think. Aggressive pushback and fiery speech is the norm nowadays in the political world with the style sometimes clouding the substance.

[I thank wikipedia and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extracts from their website on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

What a challenge Brexit has become for the British parliament and the British people!

Last updated on 14th Jan. 2019

Given below are some videos which show what a challenge Brexit has become for the British parliament and the British people:

Here's a recent BBC interview of British PM Theresa May by a pretty aggressive Andrew Marr: Theresa May on Brexit vote timing and her political future - BBC News, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXlIpUtqxiE, 24 mins, published on 6th Jan. 2019.

But I must say that I appreciate Theresa May taking on such aggressive questions and answering them, instead of throwing a fit and walking out in a huff!
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Brexit explained: what happens when the UK leaves the EU?, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7eoDwvl0QGk, 11 min. 7 secs, published by Channel 4 News on 15th Sept. 2018.
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Watch: What is Jeremy Corbyn's view on Brexit?, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cT3vpWAH6zo, around 11 mins, published by Euro News on 18th Dec. 2018. Note that Jeremy Corbyn is the opposition leader (from Labour Party). Theresa May is the leader of the Conservative (Tory) party and is PM.
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This video is of a House of Commons speech by Jeremy Corbyn. So there is a fair bit of theatre in it - playing to the gallery of UK citizens who watch it on TV and Internet videos. Theresa May gets a short but hard-hitting response in. To find the ideal balance, I should also look for and put up a video of a speech in the House of Commons by Theresa May on this. I hope to do this in the near future.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn: 'She achieved nothing' at summit - BBC News, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rF5jIsBWG4, 9 min 49 secs, published on 17th Dec. 2018.
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Interesting analysis: Brexit and the U.S. Shutdown: Two Governments in Paralysis, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/12/us/politics/brexit-shutdown-us-britain-trump.html, 12th Jan. 2019

Very interesting NYT article: No Tuition, but You Pay a Percentage of Your Income (if You Find a Job)

Great to see this!

No Tuition, but You Pay a Percentage of Your Income (if You Find a Job), https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/08/business/dealbook/education-student-loans-lambda-schools.html, 8th Jan. 2019

A small extract from the article:
"It is an approach meant to treat students as investments rather than cash cows — a fundamental shift that could finally lift the crippling debt load we routinely push onto students. But it also comes with a peculiar kind of danger: By seeking safe investments, programs like this could cast aside the strides made to expand educational opportunities to higher-risk students and reduce the appeal of educations that focus on noble, but lower compensated, professions."

Ravi: Well, let's first focus on freeing students from the horrific student debt problem. We can worry about the other aspects later and come up with ways to fix them.

Note that like USA, India too has a big issue of high cost of higher education leading to a student or student's parents' debt problem but I think it is not as bad as that of USA, as of now. But Indian higher education field looks up to USA higher education field and tends to follow it. So solutions to student debt problem of USA, would help Indian higher education field as well as they might tend to follow similar solutions in India.

[I thank nytimes.com and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above small extract from their website on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

US border security: Latest example of opposing democratic country leaders going directly to the people of their country explaining their positions

One thing great about democracy is how opposing leaders have to ultimately address the people on their different views and strategies to solving problems of the country they lead. It surely will have its inefficiencies as compared to an authoritarian regime's way of solving such problems. But as the authoritarian regime does not provide a mechanism for opposition to freely and fairly voice its opposition to their approach, there is always the danger of the authoritarian regime becoming an oppressive and tyrannical regime. This is what history, including history of the 20th century, teaches us.

Here then is the latest example of opposing democratic country leaders going to the people directly, explaining their different views and strategies to solve a border security problem.

US President Trump's (Republican party leader) address to USA people: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWcmZ8hozvU, 9 min 31 secs, published by CNN on 8th Jan. 2019

US Congress Democratic party leaders - Speaker of House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer - response on the same issue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gyb-DjVT5_c, 4 min. 53 secs, published by Washington Post on 8th Jan. 2019

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Major achievement by the current Indian cricket team - beating Australia in Australia in a test series. Not done before!

It is a major achievement by the current Indian cricket team - beating Australia in Australia in a test series. Not done before!

Congratulations to the Indian cricket team for this major achievement!

One of the primary requirements of winning test matches is the ability to take 20 wickets of the opposing side in the time they bat during the 5 day match. The top wicket takers for India were the fast bowlers! Jasprit Bumrah topped with 21 wickets in the 4 match test series, Mohammed Shami got 16 and Ishant Sharma  (all fast bowlers) got 11.That itself tells a major part of the story, as to beat Australia in Australia, fast bowling is key. In the past, Indian cricket teams seem to not have had such fast bowling attacks.

For sure, during the late 1970s and throughout 1980s which is when I followed Indian cricket quite a bit, India simply did not have a powerful fast bowling attack even though medium pacers like Kapil Dev could get significant number of wickets. India then relied primarily on spin bowling to win test matches. And that meant rather poor showing in Australia.

Great to see that that has changed now! I think current young generation of Indian cricketers (and current young generation of most middle class and rich Indians) have been fed well :-). The young generation of Indian cricketers have also done what is needed to build muscles to match the cricket competition internationally.

India vs Australia: India make history, win first-ever cricket Test series in Australia, https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/cricket/india-in-australia/india-vs-australia-india-make-history-win-first-ever-cricket-test-series-in-australia/articleshow/67414248.cms, 7th Jan. 2019
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Team India dancing with The Bharat Army after the series victory: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_viW-4cAQbI, 3 min. 44 secs. The second song is the Hindi film oldie goldie - Mera Desh Ki Dharti

Raw emotions captured after historic win, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUVcJFcxBfw. 2 min 12 secs video by Cricket Australia

Dog bite in India should not be taken lightly

Sad news about a death in 2017 but tells the reality that dog bite in India should not be taken lightly: https://wtop.com/virginia/2019/01/cdc-va-woman-died-from-rabies-after-yoga-retreat-in-india/, 7th Jan. 2019. The article claims that a 65 year old American lady who was on a Yoga retreat in India got bitten by a dog. She complained of pain six weeks later (at which time she may have been back in USA). She was diagnosed with rabies and an experimental treatment was tried which failed. She died on 21st May 2017. She was NOT vaccinated against rabies.

Ravi: What I have been told is that if one gets a dog bite in India including in Puttaparthi, one has to go to the Doctor and take a course of injections (six of them, I was told in the past) which could be somewhat painful too (not like a normal injection). That, I believe but am not sure, takes care of the possibility that the dog was infected with rabies when it bit and possibly transmitted the virus. Anti-rabies vaccination is not common in India, I believe.

To be on the safer side, I avoid petting or getting close to dogs in Puttaparthi. Puttaparthi has many stray dogs.

Saturday, 5 January 2019

James Watson's sensitive remarks on race and genetics opposed by many scientists including Dr. Francis Collins

Great to see Dr. Francis Collins say in this article that most experts in the field "consider any black-white differences in I.Q. testing to arise primarily from environmental, not genetic, differences."

This is the same Dr. Collins with whom I was privileged to have a few email exchanges (short responses from him) and whose Caltech 2009 lecture about evidence for belief in God, I transcribed and published on my iami1 blog, with permission from him and the event organizers, here: https://iami1.wordpress.com/2012/08/10/francis-collins-the-language-of-god-a-scientist-presents-evidence-of-belief-transcript/ .

I view Dr. Collins as an extraordinarily good man, and I trust him on this very sensitive genetics field questions. In particular, I trust that he will have the right ethics and goodness to handle super-sensitive topics like that mentioned in the shared NYT article which, very unfortunately, some top scientists like Dr. Watson tripped up badly on, from an ethical point of view.

I am NOT saying that the data should be modified to suit a goodness and ethical framework believers in God typically have. But making astonishingly broad and offensive from a goodness and ethical viewpoint, race related statements without proper and very solid data to back them, is a terrible blunder for any scientist to make, no matter how great his (or her) scientific achievements may have been.

Shared link: James Watson Had a Chance to Salvage His Reputation on Race. He Made Things Worse., https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/01/science/watson-dna-genetics-race.html, 1st Jan. 2019

Nancy Pelosi gets elected and sworn in as Speaker of US House of Representatives

From my recent Facebook posts:

Nancy Pelosi becomes, arguably, the most powerful woman in the world today, as she has been elected and sworn in as the Speaker of the US House of Representatives. All the best to her and the 116th US House of Representatives!
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Watching the opening session of the 116th USA Congress House of Representatives: https://www.facebook.com/NancyPelosi/videos/384828685610016/

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Thursday, 27 December 2018

Referral: Documenting my part auto bio with pics - computer software industry appreciation and experience letters

Readers may want to see my recent post on another blog: Documenting my part auto bio with pics - computer software industry appreciation and experience letters,  https://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2018/12/documenting-my-part-auto-bio-with-pics_27.html, 27th Dec. 2018

Referral: Documenting my part auto bio with pics - the Visa trail as documentation of my foreign trips

Readers may want to see my recent post on another blog: Documenting my part auto bio with pics - the Visa trail as documentation of my foreign trips,  https://ravisiyer.blogspot.com/2018/12/documenting-my-part-auto-bio-with-pics.html, 26th Dec. 2018

Earthrise pic from USA's Apollo 8 taken 50 years ago in 1968 showing earth as blue marble in a background of vast and dark emptiness of space

From my recent Facebook posts, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7


[To open pic in higher resolution, right-click on pic followed by open in new tab/window. In new tab/window you may have to click on pic to zoom in.]

Blue marble in largely black (empty) space with stars including our sun, and other planets etc. But it is largely empty space and black. That's what is the physical reality of our earth. Just a blue marble in the solar system, and a tiny speck in space.
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Earthrise: What It's Like to Escape Our Planet | Op-Docs, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syQi7Q-ITCE, around half an hour, published by New York Times on 5th Oct. 2018.

From the video description:
What is it like to see the universe in a way no one ever has before? In “Earthrise,” this week’s new Op-Doc, the astronauts of Apollo 8 tell the tale of humanity’s first journey beyond Earth’s orbit. Director Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee — who previously directed the Op-Docs “Sanctuaries of Silence,” “Vanishing Island” and “Who Speaks Wukchumni?” — masterfully weaves archival NASA footage and candid interviews with the astronauts themselves to explore what deep space means for the human spirit.
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Earthrise in 4K, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHbFIieK-uo, 6 min. 46 secs. published by NASA Goddard on 21st Dec. 2018.

From the youtube video description:
In December of 1968, the crew of Apollo 8 became the first people to leave our home planet and travel to another body in space. But as crew members Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders all later recalled, the most important thing they discovered was Earth.

Using photo mosaics and elevation data from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), this video commemorates Apollo 8's historic flight by recreating the moment when the crew first saw and photographed the Earth rising from behind the Moon. Narrator Andrew Chaikin, author of "A Man on the Moon," sets the scene for a three-minute visualization of the view from both inside and outside the spacecraft accompanied by the onboard audio of the astronauts.
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Apollo 8’s Earthrise: The Shot Seen Round the World
Half a century ago today, a photograph from the moon helped humans rediscover Earth. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/21/science/earthrise-moon-apollo-nasa.html, 21st Dec. 2018
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Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Thursday, 20 December 2018

Hats off to USA Judge Sullivan in ensuring that truth is declared and upheld and that there is no miscarriage of justice

Usually, I avoid posting such sensitive USA politics related stuff. But here I am making an exception as the judge ensured that truth prevails by directly asking the person concerned (a retired military general) whether he claims that he was tricked into making a guilty plea.

A small extract from the New York Times Editorial Board article https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/18/opinion/editorials/michael-flynn-sentencing.html, dated 18th Dec. 2018 :

“I cannot recall an instance of a court ever accepting a guilty plea from someone who did not maintain he was guilty,” Judge Sullivan said, “and I do not intend to start today.”

Chastened, Mr. Flynn told the judge that nobody tricked him, that he lied and that he knew he shouldn’t have.
--- end extract ---

Ravi: That's what a judge can do! Ensure that truth is declared and upheld.

Miscarriage of justice is a horrendous thing. By directly asking the accused about this, the judge has ensured that on this vital guilty plea point, there is no miscarriage of justice.

Hats off to the judge! Hats off to USA justice system!

Truth is a powerful force in life. It is good to note that Mr. Flynn chose to be truthful to the judge. It is the truth that eventually saves. It is the truth that eventually redeems. Truth is one of the greatest values of life.

Please note that I have a PUBLICLY (POLITICALLY) NEUTRAL informal-student-observer role in these posts that I put up about USA politics. Of course, as I am an Indian citizen living in India, there is no question of me having voted in USA elections.

[I thank nytimes.com and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above short extract from their website on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Fareed Zakaria's WaPo article talks about rural vs. urban dividing line in Western world politics; My short remarks on farm loan waivers in Indian politics

The new dividing line in Western politics, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-yellow-vest-protests-add-to-a-new-dividing-line-in-western-politics/2018/12/13/f468b8d8-ff1d-11e8-862a-b6a6f3ce8199_story.html, 13th Dec. 2018

The article talks about rural backlash against urban elites in the political arena in USA, Britain, France and Belgium (the latter two having had the 'yellow vest' protests recently).

The article claims that rural populations feel looked-down upon by the urbanites, and so the former have "deep resentment" towards elite urbanites.

It quotes a USA census article of 2015 that over 60 percent of USA population lives in cities and occupies only 3.5 percent of the land, https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2015/cb15-33.html.

These cities are doing well as compared to rural areas which are facing lots of problems.

The article quotes a study that use of robots in industries reduces employment and that robots are being used in the USA MidWest and South, implying that these areas will see lesser employment opportunities due to robots.

I would like to add that in Indian politics too (and which I think is reflective of Indian social issues today), there seems to be a rural agricultural vs urban industry & services divide. The majority of Indians are still dependent on agriculture, directly or indirectly, for their livelihood. From http://www.fao.org/india/fao-in-india/india-at-a-glance/en/, "Agriculture, with its allied sectors, is the largest source of livelihoods in India. 70 percent of its rural households still depend primarily on agriculture for their livelihood, with 82 percent of farmers being small and marginal."

One of the key mantras for success in recent Indian state elections over the past few months (and perhaps it has been similar in the past years as well) is a promise to waive farm loans! Rural India demands that via the voting booth! I guess that these farm loan waivers essentially become a subsidy to farmers which has to eventually be paid mainly via, I guess, tax revenue from urban industry and services sector.

It seems to me that one of the major challenges for country-wide social well-being and harmony today, and for the future, is ensuring employment with decent wages for rural people in many countries of the world including India, USA, Britain, France and Belgium.

The rise of Indian business/merchant princes and princesses to world stage

Interesting! In my youth in Bombay, I never imagined that I would see a Bombay businessman's daughter acquire such a celebrity status and have such a lavish wedding. BTW during my software professional days, I recall a visit I made to Dhirubhai Ambani (Mukesh Ambani's father) company's (Reliance) Patalganga plant for some presentation/meeting. They had Wang computers there and I was well versed with Wang Computer software.

I think this video captures the rise of the Indian merchant princes and princesses to world fame. Note that some Indian origin merchant families have made it big in business in Western countries. But they are essentially foreign business tycoons. Mukesh Ambani and his father Dhirubhai Ambani's businesses have primarily been based in India, and both of them have essentially been Bombay based business tycoons.

Another fascinating aspect of the super-rich Indian merchant princes and princesses class is that most of them are educated in top USA universities! So there is a strong USA business management and USA culture influence.

Note that even Mukesh Ambani attended Stanford business school even though he did not complete his Master's study there. He claims that what he learned in Stanford under his Professors there has helped him in his business management!

Isha Ambani studied in Yale University for U.G. degree and then seems to have done her MBA in Stanford.

Her husband Anand Piramal, who is a scion of another Indian business family, seems to have done MBA from Harvard.

So there is a strong USA link to the new generation of Indian business/merchant princes and princesses.

Here's the video: Inside The Crazy Rich World Of Isha Ambani, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRo8Anrx5Co, 12 min. 11 secs., published by The Talko on 15th Dec. 2018
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Fascinating interview of Mukesh and Neeta Ambani probably in 2002 by Simi Garewal

Rendezvous with Simi Garewal Mukesh & Neeta Ambani Part -1, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypA71txfrJw, 24 min. 28 secs.

Rendezvous with Simi Garewal Mukesh & Neeta Ambani Part -2, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dxbjV0RfcU, 23 min. 50 secs.

This interview seems to have been done in 2002, as Neeta Ambani tells Simi Garewal of her marriage to Mukesh Ambani starting with something 18 years back in 1984. Note that the videos have been published in youtube in 2012.

The second video shows Mukesh and Neeta Ambani with then USA President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton in the White House in 2000 at a millennium event to which they were invited along with some other big shots. Hmm. So the Ambani friendship with the Clintons goes that far back. No wonder Hillary Clinton came for Isha Ambani's wedding.

Monday, 17 December 2018

Total views of this ravisiyermisc blog cross 100,000 (1 Lakh)

The two pics below, taken from this ravisiyermisc.blogspot.com blog today (17th Dec. 2018), give the details. This blog holds posts that typically are not related to spirituality & religion and are not in-depth technical posts (except prior to Sep. 2011), as I have other blogs for such posts (after Sept. 2011).



Note that the second pic above gives the top ten countries from whom visits have been made to this ravisiyermisc.blogspot.com blog. The view counts for both the pics seem to be for the period from Sept. 2011 to today (17th Dec. 2018). The first post on the blog was made in Aug. 2007 but at that time the blog name was different (gabbarsing.blogspot.com or something like that). I think I changed the name to ravisiyermisc from gabbarsing in Sept. 2011. 

Also note that I did not post much on the blog till Aug. 2014. The number of posts made prior to Aug. 2014 are only 10. Whereas from Aug. 2014 to 17th Dec. 2018, around 730 posts were put up.

The pic below, also taken today, shows how this blog's views were typically very low (100 odd views or even less than 100 per month) from Sept. 2011 to around Sept. 2015. After that there is a notable uptick in views per month. Note that the graph starts from May 2010.

[To open pic in higher resolution, right-click on pic followed by open in new tab/window. In new tab/window you may have to click on pic to zoom in.]






Friday, 14 December 2018

As per CNN report, it seems that Michael Cohen is directly implicating US President Trump in campaign finance violation crime! Trump strongly refutes such charges

Last updated on 16th Dec. 2018

Michael Cohen says he's 'done being loyal to President Trump', https://edition.cnn.com/2018/12/14/politics/michael-cohen-abc-interview/index.html

Hmm. This may turn out to be a big issue for Mr. Trump. However, Mr. Trump refutes Mr. Cohen's statements and says in these recent (13th Dec. 2018) tweets:

"I never directed Michael Cohen to break the law. He was a lawyer and he is supposed to know the law. It is called “advice of counsel,” and a lawyer has great liability if a mistake is made. That is why they get paid. Despite that many campaign finance lawyers have strongly......", https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1073205176872435713

"....stated that I did nothing wrong with respect to campaign finance laws, if they even apply, because this was not campaign finance. Cohen was guilty on many charges unrelated to me, but he plead to two campaign charges which were not criminal and of which he probably was not...", https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1073207272069890049

"....guilty even on a civil basis. Those charges were just agreed to by him in order to embarrass the president and get a much reduced prison sentence, which he did-including the fact that his family was temporarily let off the hook. As a lawyer, Michael has great liability to me!", https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1073210823936495617

What a legal fight with criminal charge overtones, between Mr. Trump and his former personal lawyer, with the latter already sentenced to serve 3 years in jail!

For a middle class, white-collar background guy like me, politics comes across as a truly terrifying field, whether it is USA or India, though the dangers may be different in USA and India! Only those who are ready to face all these dangers and fight resolutely to the finish, can survive in top level politics, whether it is USA or India.
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Trump knew payments were wrong, Cohen says l FULL INTERVIEW PT 1/2, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-prxClM2or4, 7 min 38 secs, published on 14th Dec. 2018 by ABC News.

Cohen on Trump as president: 'He's a very different individual' l FULL INTERVIEW PT 2/2, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxTOBIbEz68, 4 min. 34 secs, published on 14th Dec. 2018 by ABC News.

Transcript of above intereview: https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/michael-cohen-talks-george-stephanopoulos-transcript/story?id=59816305


Please note that I have a PUBLICLY (POLITICALLY) NEUTRAL informal-student-observer role in these posts that I put up about USA politics. Of course, as I am an Indian citizen living in India, there is no question of me having voted in USA elections.

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Various recent renditions and original Evergreen song - Tumne mujhe dekha - by Mohd. Rafi from 1966 Hindi movie Teesri Manjil

The great Mohammed Rafi sahab was, I have to say, my favourite singer and has given me so much joy with his songs over decades. Here's him singing live the 1966 movie Teesri Manjil song Tumne mujhe dekha. The video is interspersed with still pics of great singers and heroes/heroines of Hindi film world of those days. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SN959Zm6at4, around 2 mins.

Mohd. Rafi sahab, aapko mera salaam!
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Here's the song in the movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHfx7R53N1g (longish, around 6 mins, as there is some sub-plot).
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Seems to be a Pakistani channel and a Pakistani singer (his name seems to be Khalid Baig) singing it in 2015. Great rendition: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOFh33ukOBI
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Great orchestra and singer (Javed Ali) rendition in 2015: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=onV-Dik-qDw
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A nice rendition perhaps in 2017: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmGTauoLvSY
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Young guy gives decent rendition even if the support music setup is small, in 2017: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_uEUAdJF1w
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I loved the way the singer (seems to be named Anil Bajpai) just blended into the song, 2014: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_RYHXUNtgM
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Only Audio, Sonu Nigam sings it very well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDkl89WSrIw
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Safe way is to use boiled and cooled filtered water for Jala Neti (to clear sinuses)

From my FB post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2361377724078791, 8th Dec. 2018

Hmm. So should I use (Jala) Neti for clearing my sinuses? I do it occasionally using Amruta water in Puttaparthi. ... What's clear is that if I want to be really safe then I should boil and cool that water before using it for Jala Neti.

Any readers who use Jala Neti? What do you think about this?

"Woman dies from brain-eating amoeba after using neti pot", https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kb662O3W4-0, 1 min 19 secs published by USA Today on 7th Dec. 2018
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In response to a comment that partially said "They do tell you to use boiled water.", I wrote (slightly edited): Thanks --name-snipped--. I was told to use it with salt, which is what I do. ... Maybe I will use boiled and cooled water from now.
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In response to comment, I wrote (slightly edited): I think in these matters, medical science does not have a crisp black-or-white view. I have read of such reports in the past too. So while I don't think medical science would have a consensus view that causality has been established in this case, it seems to have a view that there is a decent probability of bacteria in water used for Jala Neti being the cause for the unfortunate brain disease and later death. Therefore I think it is safe to use boiled (and cooled)/distilled water for Jala Neti. In my particular case, I plan to use the packaged filtered drinking water that I get in Puttaparthi (Amruta water), boil and cool it, and then use that for Jala Neti in future.
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Miscellaneous Facebook posts & comments in December 2018

When author of post or comment is not mentioned, it should be assumed that it is me (Ravi S. Iyer).


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https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2377325399150690

Eddie Murphy with all his 10 kids (and wife, her mom and Eddie's mom) - https://www.instagram.com/p/Br0bsU2A6Cq/ .

For middle class Indians of my generation, one or two kids in a family is where it stops, with three kids being a rarity. So it is quite fascinating for me to see the USA film star have such a big family in today's age.

For more on the pic, see https://www.aol.com/article/entertainment/2018/12/27/eddie-murphy-poses-with-all-10-of-his-kids-for-the-first-time-pic/23627955/

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https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2379144605635436

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6kV8BpbR8g, 1 min. 28 secs.

Rain could not deny the Indian cricket team the victory they deserved in this test match.

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https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2379152578967972

Moment of great triumph for Indian cricket team and its captain Virat Kohli, as they have gone 2-1 up in the 4 match test series with one match to go, and retained the Border-Gavaskar trophy as the worst case scenario for them is Australia only drawing the series. Fittingly, one of the pics, which is shown in the preview on this post, has the star wicket takers, Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma, with what I think is the centurion, Cheteshwar Pujara (it seems it is Mohammad Shami and not Pujara as per one comment on the post), all with a stump souvenir each: https://twitter.com/imVkohli/status/1079227976393342976. The tweet also has a pic of the celebrating Indian team.

Fascinating to see Indian fast bowlers be so menacing! In my avid cricket fan days a few decades ago, India had only medium pace bowlers who were never menacing, whereas the top opposition teams like West Indies and Australia had top notch and very menacing fast bowlers - Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Joel Garner, Malcolm Marshall, Dennis Lillee, Jeff Thomson etc.
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https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2377747385775158

Insightful video about engineering concerns and management pressures interplay resulting in bad decisions for two NASA space shuttle disasters - Challenger in 1986 and Columbia in 2003, among many other successful space shuttle flights. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-O_DMyHdq_M, 20 mins, published by the New York Times on 2nd June 2014

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FB post of mine, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2363207697229127, dated 10th Dec. 2018:

In my avid cricket fan days in the mid-70s to 80s, it was quite common to read about India fighting hard but losing to Australia in test matches in Australia. Somehow, Australia would snatch victory from the jaws of defeat whenever they landed into some big problem in a test match with India (and with many other countries' cricket teams). Great, for me an Indian, to see a different outcome for this first test match in the current series in Australia. But the Aussie tail sure did rattle the Indians including their captain, as can be seen from the body language while the Aussie tail was heroically trying, but eventually failed, to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4t1izuBS-E
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From the 60s - In Baharon mein Akele na phiron, from Hindi film Mamta (1966), sung by Mohd. Rafi and Asha Bhonsale, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TT2jvDdQyc, 4 min. 14 secs.

Nice rendition maybe in the 2010s: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RDs7_WKLsA, 3 min. 44 secs.

Another famous song from the same film, Rahen na rahen hum - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDAyzXC-ayE - two versions of it sung by Lata, Suman and Rafi

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Superb rendition by Czech singers and orchestra of Kishore Kumar's great song - Pal pal dil ke paas from 1973 movie Blackmail, during a Sept. 2018 visit of President of India to Czech Republic (Slovakia is a different country from 1993).

https://www.facebook.com/PresidentOfIndia/videos/1783175085122418/?t=0

The original song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMuRRXCuy-4, 5 min. 14 secs.
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FB post of mine, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2363181703898393, dated  10th Dec. 2018:

Let's go get it! A great success story of a USA Entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is an extraordinary thing, and has done a lot of good to the world that I have lived in, along with some undesirable things too. But, overall, I think entrepreneurship is great. Its excesses should be held in check by the legislators/rulers of the country. The problems occur when the legislators/rulers of the country become beholden to wealthy entrepreneurs and so are unable to hold their excesses in check.

But that should not mean that entrepreneurship is bad! No, not at all! The other side of the coin is bureaucratic apathy and that is horrifyingly dreadful. India used to suffer heavily from it prior to economic liberalization in early 1990s. Now too, one sees it in certain sectors in India but much lesser than what we have seen and experienced, or rather suffered from, prior to 1990s.

[Shares FB video: https://www.facebook.com/cnbc/videos/10155688230404369/ ]
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FB post of mine, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2363167940566436, dated 10th Dec. 2018:

I was very inspired by Tagore's Gitanjali when, if I recall correctly, I first read it in my college days (late 70s and early 80s).

[Shares link: Today in History: Rabindranath Tagore awarded Nobel Prize in 1913 for Gitanjali, https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/videos/news/today-in-history-rabindranath-tagore-awarded-nobel-prize-in-1913-for-gitanjali/videoshow/67024957.cms ]
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From my FB post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2361398670743363, dated 8th Dec. 2018

Hindi film superstars during my youth - Dharmendra and Hema Malini - have aged well, as seen in this pic shared by their daughter Esha Deol on Dharmendra's 83rd birthday (today it seems), https://www.instagram.com/p/BrHMS9PhTD5/?utm_source=ig_embed.

Here's a Times of India article on it: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/hindi/bollywood/news/dharmendra-celebrates-his-83rd-birthday-with-his-wife-hema-malini-and-daughter-esha-deol/articleshow/66998007.cms

I am very happy to see these stars looking good and happy. They gave me a lot of joy through their movies.

Perhaps their most famous movie together was Sholay, released in 1975, which has some other stars as well: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sholay.
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Some comments from my on the above post:

In response to comment, "Wow! That’s what he looks like at 83 years old?", I (Ravi) wrote (slightly edited):
That's what the Times of India article said. I double-checked just now with his wiki page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dharmendra. It says, born on 8 Dec. 1935. So he has completed 82 years yesterday, and today is the first day of his 83rd year, which I think is viewed as his 83rd birthday.
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Hema Malini, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hema_Malini, is born on 16th Oct. 1948, and so has completed 70 years and is now running 71.
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A song sung by Kishore Kumar with the main actor being Dharmendra that has stayed with me over the years, as it has a lot of philosophical content, and I come from a Railways family (my Dad worked with Central Railway), and have extensively travelled on suburban train, and have done fair amount of long-distance train travel. Gaadi bula rahi hain (the train is calling) from the 1974 movie, Dost: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2lVtG3LWTk, 9 min. 31 secs. The priest who appears in parts of the song video is the mentor of Dharmendra in the film.
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From my FB post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2360770600806170, 7th Dec. 2018:
Interesting report on Xinjiang, China! Note that SCMP is published from Hong Kong, which now is officially a Chinese territory (since 1997 when the British gave it back to China), but has a separate administration from that of mainland China.
[Shared link: Xinjiang explained, https://www.facebook.com/scmp/videos/329807061122870/ by FB user South China Morning Post]
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From my FB post, https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2358642661018964, dated 5th Dec. 2018

Na to kaarvaan ki talaash hai - A very famous and long Qawwali from 1960 film Barsaat Ki Raat, having theme of romantic love and the tragic outcome dangers of it, and then getting into religious faith, relating love to God and bringing in Krishna (Hindu) and Allah (Islam) into the mix: 12 mins, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQRHuMBtOYY. The singers are Manna Dey, Mohd. Rafi, Asha Bhonsale and Sudha Malhotra.

One couplet from this song, I think, is really famous, sung by the lady who sings of the tragic nature of romantic love:

Jo davah ke naam pe zehar de
Usi charaghar ki talaash hai

Rough English translation would be:
He who gives poison in the name of medicine
(I) am in search of that medicine-man
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From https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2358605437689353, dated 5th Dec.
An interesting rendition by Westerners of Fanna Fi Allah group of the Pakeezah (1972) emotional superhit song - Chalte Chalte. It is a little different from the original song but I liked it. Great to see some Westerners really get into such songs which are steeped in Indian culture (this is Muslim influenced part of Indian culture). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCl_KoUHtgQ, 7 min. 46 secs.
...
The original song, around 6 mins: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flQb8zW7CrM
...
 Nice rendition by a young girl: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrg_r4UzN_o
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From https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2358576774358886, 4th Dec.
Terrific rendition by orchestra and singer of a superhit Hindi film oldie song!
[Shared Video: https://www.facebook.com/worldofmusic.xyz/videos/271909223443097/
Tum agar sath Dene ka Wada karo...
Sung by Vaibhav Vashishtha in Hemant Kumar Musical Group.]
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From https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2360193100863920, 7th Dec.

Fascinating to see a Pakistani singer, Khalid Baig, sing Mohd. Rafi's songs so well in recent times (this seems to be in 2012). Here's him singing the superhit oldie from 1968 film, Brahmachari - Aaj kal tere mere pyar ke charche, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2lwtfwWJKY, 4 min. 26 secs on what seems to be a Pakistani TV channel
...
And here's the original (1968). Note that Shammi Kapoor (actor) seems to "take inspiration" from Elvis Presley. The actress is Mumtaz. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDXB6W9JDeg
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From https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2358314231051807, 4th Dec.

Awesome concept!
[Link shared: https://www.facebook.com/TimesofIndia/videos/967794786751231/ is about a concept proposal "for high-speed underwater rail corridor between India and UAE." It may take only two hours for this train to travel from Fujairah in UAE to Mumbai in India.]
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In response to a comment wondering about impact on underwater world, I (Ravi) wrote:
A valid point sir!
...
But then there are underwater tunnels like the one that connects UK to France, already, and they have been around for quite a few years. So maybe they have ways to avoid interfering with marine life.
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In response to comment about India aping the West, I wrote:
Well, I think there is always an issue of material development vs. tradition. The West developed materially, especially in science & technology, leading to the West dominating the world for a few centuries almost till the end of the 20th century.

Now the Asian giants like China and India as well as Japan and South Korea have caught up with a lot of science & technology of the West. That's the good news. That includes this Facebook app. on Internet technology and computing hardware that we are using to interact right now.

What we need to do is find the right balance between technological modernity and traditional good values. If we shun technological modernity then we will open ourselves up to get dominated by those who progress in technological modernity (like the British were when they colonized us).
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In response to comment about ecological impact, I wrote (slightly edited):
Valid point. Ecological impact is a serious, serious issue ... I think the unsaid reality is that all the people travel currently between Gulf and India is based on oil extracted from mother earth as that is what powers the flights! God knows what ecological impact such billions of barrels of oil being removed from mother earth will have! Science and technology, I think don't really know. ... The climate change challenge is another major issue. ... But very few countries are willing to stop using fossil fuel (oil & coal) as the alternatives are either expensive as of now, or are not there. Kerala is a coastal state. Rising sea level can be far more devastating to Kerala than the Kerala floods. .... We are caught up in some jam. ... And life goes on as people want good paying jobs and for that we need to be technologically competitive with rest of the world. So ecology and all that, essentially gets ignored. Such is life!
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