Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Selected extracts from transcript of US President Trump's speech in Ahmedabad, India on 24th Feb. 2020 which has very warm words about India and Indians including Indian-Americans

Here's the video of the entire event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3_IhRR6s0U. President Trump's speech starts around 2 hrs. 30 mins into the video.

https://factba.se/transcript/donald-trump-remarks-namaste-trump-rally-modi-ahmedabad-india-february-24-2020 has the transcript of USA President Trump's speech.

Given below are selected large extracts from it (I have edited it slightly to avoid political bias; Note that I am publicly political neutral; I have retained one or two groups of references to PM Modi rising from tea-seller to PM, and being elected as PM, as I think that is something that can inspire all Indians irrespective of political party):

[USA President Donald Trump:]
Namaste! Namaste. And hello to India. This is such a great honor. Let me begin by expressing my profound gratitude to an exceptional leader, a great champion of India, a man who works night and day for his country, and a man I am proud to call my true friend: Prime Minister Modi. The First Lady and I have just traveled 8,000 miles around the globe to deliver a message to every citizen across this nation: America loves India, America respects India, and America will always be faithful and loyal friends to the Indian people.

Five months ago, the United States welcomed your great Prime Minister at a giant football stadium in Texas, and today, India welcomes us at the world’s largest cricket stadium right here in Ahmedabad. It is a profound honor to be (at) the beautiful new stadium, to be here with you -- Motera Stadium.

So beautiful. And joined by so many distinguished guests from all across your nation and all across the world. To the hundreds of thousands of everyday citizens who have come out and lined the streets in a stunning display of Indian culture and kindness, and to the 125,000 people in this great stadium today -- -- thank you for the spectacular welcome to your magnificent country.

You have done a great honor to the American people. Melania and my family, we will always remember this remarkable hospitality. We will remember it forever. From this day on, India will always hold a very special place in our hearts. The life of Prime Minister Modi underscores the limitless promise of this great nation.

He started out by his father’s side as a chaiwalla -- -- a tea-seller. When he was a young man, he worked at a cafeteria in this city.

...

Today, Prime Minister Modi is the tremendously successful leader of this vast Indian Republic. Last year, more than 600 million people went to the polls and gave him a landslide victory like no other in the largest democratic election ever held anywhere on the face of the Earth. [Ravi: Hmm. I think this (2019) victory margin was lesser than the NDA's (Political alliance led by PM Modi's party BJP) margin in 2014.]

Prime Minister Modi, you are not just the pride of Gujarat -- you are living proof that with hard work and devotion, Indians can accomplish anything -- -- anything at all, anything they want. The Prime Minister has a moving story of an incredible rise, and so does this entire nation.

Your nation is doing so well. We are very, very proud of India. The story of the Indian nation is a tale of astounding progress, a miracle of democracy, extraordinary diversity, and above all, a strong and noble people. India gives hope to all of humanity. In just 70 years, India has become an economic giant, the largest democracy ever to exist, and one of the most amazing nations anywhere in the world.

Since the turn of the century, India’s economy has grown more than six times in size. In a single decade, India has lifted over 270 million people out of poverty. --snip-- for the first time in history, every village in India now has access to electricity. Three hundred and twenty million people -- more Indians -- are right now connected to the Internet.

The pace of highway construction has more than doubled. Over 70 million more households -- think of this -- 70 million more households have access to cooking fuel; 600 million more people have access to basic sanitation; and, incredibly, 12 Indian citizens are lifted out of extreme poverty every single minute of every single day.

India will soon be the home of the biggest middle class anywhere in the world. And within less than 10 years, extreme poverty in your country is projected to completely disappear. The potential for India is absolutely incredible. India’s rise as a prosperous and independent nation is an example to every nation all over the world and one of the most outstanding achievements of our century.

It is all the more inspiring because you have done it as a democratic country, you have done it as a peaceful country, you have done it as a tolerant country, and you have done it as a great free country. There is all the difference in the world between a nation that seeks power through coercion, intimidation, and aggression, and a nation that rises by setting its people free and unleashing them to chase their dreams.

And that is India. This is why India’s accomplishment over the last 70 years is completely unrivaled no matter where you go. It is your faith in the strength of a free society, your confidence in your own people, your trust in your own citizens, and your respect for the dignity of every person that makes the United States and India such a natural, beautiful, enduring friendship.

While our nations have many differences, they are both defined and propelled by a fundamental truth: the truth that all of us are blessed with divine light, and every person is endowed with a sacred soul. As the great religious teacher, Swami Vivekananda, once said -- -- “The moment I stand in reverence before every human being and see God in Him, that moment I am free.” In America and in India, we know that we are all born for a higher purpose: to reach toward our fullest potential, to work toward excellence and perfection, and to give all glory to God. Powered by this spirit, Indians and Americans are always striving to be greater, our people are always seeking to be better, and so our nations have become thriving centers of culture and commerce and civilization, giving light and vitality to all of the world.

This is the country that produces nearly 2,000 movies a year from the hub of genius and creativity known as Bollywood! All over the planet, people take great joy in scenes of Bhangra music, dance, romance and drama, and classic Indian films like DDLJ and Sholay. This is the country where your people cheer on some of the world’s greatest cricket players -- from Sachin Tendulkar to Virat Kohli.

The greatest in the world. This is the country that built the tallest statue on the face of the Earth to honor the namesake of this stadium, the great Indian patriot and native of this state, Sardar Patel. India is the country where hundreds of millions of -- light candles to celebrate the triumph of good over evil at Diwali.

And it’s where, just days from now, Indians of all faiths will pour out onto the streets to celebrate the beautiful festival of Holi. India is a country that proudly embraces freedom, liberty, individual rights, the rule of law, and the dignity of every human being. Your nation has always been admired around the Earth as the place where millions upon millions of Hindus and Muslims and Sikhs and Jains, Buddhists, Christians, and Jews worship side by side in harmony; where you speak more than 100 languages and come from more than two dozen states, yet you have always stood strong as one great Indian nation.

Your unity is an inspiration to the world. In America, we have come to know the splendor of Indian culture personally, through the 4 million Indian Americans living in the United States as our wonderful friends, colleagues, and neighbors. They are truly spectacular people. Indian Americans enrich every aspect of our national life.

They are titans of business; the biggest, the best pioneers of science; masters of the art; and innovation of technology like few people have been able to see no matter where you go anywhere in this universe. Nearly one in four Indian Americans trace their roots right here in Gujarat. Gujarat is a special place.

So on behalf of the entire American people, thank you and thank you all for the contributions your culture and traditions have made to my beloved country. Americans are eager to strengthen these beautiful ties between our two people.

...

The First Lady and I have just had a pleasure of visiting Mahatma Gandhi’s Ashram, a few miles from here, where he launched the famous “Salt March.” And tomorrow in Delhi, we will lay a wreath, plant a tree at Raj Ghat in honor of this leader who is revered all around the world. And the First Lady and I look forward to visiting one of your country’s most iconic landmarks.

We are later today going to see the majestic Taj Mahal. The Prime Minister and I will also continue our important discussions about how to deepen the relationship between our two great countries. Both of us understand that when leaders put the interests of their own citizens first, we can forge strong and fair partnerships to build a safer and more prosperous world.

...

The United States and India are committed to working together to stop terrorists and to fight their ideology.

...

Over the course of my visit, Prime Minister Modi and I will also discuss our efforts to expand the economic ties between our two countries. We will be making very, very major -- among the biggest ever made -- trade deals. We are in the early stages of discussion for an incredible trade agreement to reduce barriers of investment between the United States and India.

And I am optimistic that, working together, the Prime Minister and I can reach a fantastic deal that’s good and even great for both of our countries. Except that he's a very tough negotiator. [Laughs] Since my inauguration, commerce between our two nations has increased by more than 40 percent.

India is now a major market for American exports, and the United States is India’s largest export market. A booming America is great thing for India and it's great for the world. And that’s why we're so happy to announce that we have the greatest economy ever in the history of the United States.

...

Two years ago, Prime Minister Modi warmly welcomed my daughter Ivanka to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Hyderabad. And she is back with us today.

Ivanka, thank you. Thank you for being here, honey. We are delighted to be joined as well by dozens of Indian women entrepreneurs who are helping to build your nation’s future. They are great and natural entrepreneurs. And I just say to the men: Be very careful. They're really good. The United States and India are also working closely together on the future of space exploration.

You are making impressive strides with your exciting Chandrayaan Lunar Program. It is moving along rapidly, far ahead of schedule, and America looks forward to expanding our space cooperation with India as you push even further. You are pushing the limits -- and that’s a great thing -- including in realm of human spaceflight.

The United States and India will be friends and partners on our voyage into the stars and into space. It is truly extraordinary what this nation has achieved in the span of just one lifetime.

...

This nation is blessed with many treasures. From the sacred banks of the Ganges, to the Golden Temple, and the Jama Masjid, it is home to some of the most cherished cultural heritage anywhere on Earth.

It is also a land of stunning vistas and astonishing natural wonders, from the rugged peaks of the Himalayas to the splendid shores of Goa. And India has always been a wellspring of deep wisdom and great ideas -- from the Vedas and the ancient epics, all the way up to the modern India nation. But standing before all of you today, I know that true strength of India is not found in its textbooks, its landmarks or its landscapes.

The true strength of India is found in 125,000 beating hearts in this stadium and the millions and millions of people who have seen and witnessed our great friendship and admiration today. It is all found in the soul and the spirit of the Indian people. Your courage won and secured this nation’s independence.

Your devotion built this great and enduring democracy. And it is your dreams that will power this country to a future -- even greater progress, prosperity, equality, and opportunity for every citizen across your land. So today I say to every Indian -- North and South, Hindu and Muslim, Jewish and Christian, rich and poor, young and old: Take pride in the glories of your past, unite for an even brighter future, and let our two nations always stand together as powerful defenders of peace and liberty, and the hope of a better world for all of humanity.

Thank you again, Prime Minister Modi, for your hospitality. And thank you, India, for this phenomenal welcome. I want to just leave by saying: God bless India. God bless the United States of America. We love you. We love you, India, very much. Thank you. Thank you.

--- end large selected extracts from President Trump's speech ---

I felt it appropriate to repeat some parts of my earlier post (slightly edited), https://ravisiyermisc.blogspot.com/2020/02/president-trump-wins-indian-hearts-with.html :

[Ravi:] President Trump said wonderful things about India, Indians and USA-India relations. I liked that very much and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Surely, speechwriters would have contributed significantly to this content of President Trump's speech. However, the way President Trump said it, it seemed as if he really meant it. As a resident and citizen of India, I am really touched by the warmth of these words of President Trump and the way he said it. He spoke of India's achievements done in an environment of freedom and democracy. He also spoke of faith in God and divine soul in each person and how that is important among people of both USA and India (in general). I really liked that.

As an Indian, I am very thankful to US President Trump for these very warm words about India and Indians, including Indian-Americans.

Namaste Trump!
Long Live USA-India friendship!

Please note that I have a PUBLICLY (POLITICALLY) NEUTRAL informal-student-observer role about USA politics. In this post my support is for the office of the democratically elected President of USA, irrespective of political party affiliation. I am a well-wisher of the people of the USA.

[I thank USA President Trump and https://factba.se/, and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extract(s) from their speech/website on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

Monday, 24 February 2020

President Trump wins Indian hearts with very warm words about India and Indians including Indian-Americans in his speech today in Ahmedabad, India

Last updated on 25th Feb. 2020

From around 2:18:30 secs in video below which is about US President Trump's visit to Ahmedabad, India on 24th Feb. 2020, we have Indian PM Narendra Modi speaking, followed by USA President Donald Trump (President Trump's speech starts around 2 hrs. 30 mins into the video). After that PM Modi speaks again thanking President Trump. It gets over around 3:09:00 when PM Modi, President Trump and US First Lady Melania Trump move off stage.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3_IhRR6s0U (Doordarshan live stream video)

President Trump said wonderful things about India, Indians and USA-India relations. I liked that very much and thoroughly enjoyed it. I will check around later for a transcript of President Trump's speech and share it here if I find it. [25th Feb. 2020 update: You may want to see my later post: Selected extracts from transcript of US President Trump's speech in Ahmedabad, India on 24th Feb. 2020 which has very warm words about India and Indians including Indian-Americans,  https://ravisiyermisc.blogspot.com/2020/02/selected-extracts-of-transcript-of.html.]

Surely, speechwriters would have contributed significantly to this content of President Trump's speech. However, the way President Trump said it, it seemed as if he really meant it. As a resident and citizen of India, I am really touched by the warmth of these words of President Trump and the way he said it. He spoke of India's achievements done in an environment of freedom and democracy. He also spoke of faith in God and divine soul in each person and how that is important among people of both USA and India (in general). I really liked that.

As an Indian, I am very thankful to US President Trump for these very warm words about India and Indians, including Indian-Americans.

Namaste Trump!
Long Live USA-India friendship!

Please note that I have a PUBLICLY (POLITICALLY) NEUTRAL informal-student-observer role about USA politics. In this post my support is for the office of the democratically elected President of USA, irrespective of political party affiliation. I am a well-wisher of the people of the USA.

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Tragedy of 4 deaths in Chinese film director family who were in Home Quarantine in Wuhan starkly shows danger of new Coronavirus

I think this tragedy in a Wuhan family that seems to be well-to-do, starkly shows how a new and dangerous virus can devastate any family even in a modern city if there is an epidemic.

Chinese film director Chang Kai and family die from coronavirus, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/18/coronavirus-kills-chinese-film-director-family-wuhan-covid-19, 18th Feb. 2020.

I am putting up such posts as I strongly believe that it is in knowing the danger of this new Coronavirus that it can be beaten with lesser casualties than in not bothering much about it. In this context, I think Cambodian leaders displayed dangerous nonchalance in not following appropriate safety protocols when they welcomed the cruise ship Westerdam (which had been refused entry by a few countries) with no quarantine requirement. Eventually, one person from the Westerdam cruise ship tested positive. Hopefully, that is only one such case and that person has not infected others before she tested positive (and presumably got isolated immediately after). [Ref: A Passenger Tested Positive for Coronavirus After Hundreds Exited a U.S. Cruise Ship ..., https://time.com/5785109/coronavirus-confirmed-westerdam-cruise-ship/, updated on 18th Feb. 2020]

Back to the Chinese film director family tragedy covered in Guardian article above. The Guardian article is based on Caixin article here (may require free registration to read): Four Deaths in One Family Show Danger of Wuhan’s Home Quarantine Policy, https://www.caixinglobal.com/2020-02-17/four-deaths-in-one-family-show-danger-of-wuhans-home-quarantine-policy-101516690.html, 17th Feb. 2020.

Chang Kai (55 years old) is described as a "notable director at Hubei Film Studios". It states that on Jan. 25th (2020), Chang's father reported symptoms of the new coronavirus infection. Chang tried to admit his father to a hospital in Wuhan but was turned away by the several hospitals he visited "due to a shortage of beds".

At that time, Wuhan city followed a policy of home quarantine (at least for such cases which could not be admitted to hospital). [Note that later Wuhan city has changed that policy but it was too late for Chang and his family.] The family seems to have followed home quarantine with tragic results. Around Jan. 28th Chang's father died. This was followed by deaths of Chang's mother (Feb. 2nd), sister and Chang himself (on Feb. 14th). Chang's wife has also contracted the disease and is in a serious condition.

The caixinglobal article quotes a message sent by Chang on his deathbed: "As I draw my last feeble breaths, I say to my family, my friends, and my son in faraway London: All my life, I was a filial son, a responsible father, a loving husband, and an honest person! Farewell to those I love and to those who loved me!"

Ravi: My God! This is so tragic and so moving.

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

Monday, 17 February 2020

Great service to world at large done by Chinese whistle blowers on Coronavirus 2019 Wuhan outbreak, who sadly have disappeared now

I debated with myself quite a bit about whether I should put up this post.

I decided to go ahead with putting up this post. Why? Well, besides the medical doctor and martyr Li Wenliang, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Li_Wenliang, who first shared the info. about a possible new and dangerous virus to friends privately but who shared it publicly, two Chinese social media whistle blowers - Chen Qiushi and Fang Bin - have done a great service to the world at large by informing the world about the severity of the COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus 2019) epidemic in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. This has led the rest of the world to get a better idea of the crisis there and to try to prevent or reduce its spread in other countries. Note that India is a neighbouring country to China, and that Kerala state of India had 3 cases of COVID-19 (2 of which have recovered and 1 is under treatment) among students of Kerala who were studying in Wuhan.

I have done some whistle-blowing in the past and know how lonely that task is, how much courage it needs, how one earns many powerful enemies due to whistle-blowing, and also, seeking your kind indulgence for blowing my own bugle, how vital that task is to inform the larger community about the truth of what happened and what is happening, which enables them to get a much better understanding of complex problems in the community.

As I am among many who have benefited from these two Chinese whistle-blowers' work, I felt that the least I could do, in return for their service, is to post about them.

Here are a few videos which tell us about them and their work:

1) Citizen Journalist Chen Qiushi Goes Missing Covering Coronavirus Outbreak in Wuhan, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2J4ddPVcq4Q, 2 min. 15 secs, published by QuickTake by Bloomberg on 11th Feb. 2020.

2) Fang Bin took some video of a hospital in Wuhan and was caught by the police, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCEFzL66oKg, 7 min. 14 secs, published by Truth Wins on 1st Feb. 2020.

3) Wuhan’s Fang Bin (shortly after his first arrest for leaking Coronavirus vid), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBZw7WrRhVY, 4 min. 17 secs. published by Tech Noir on 8th Feb. 2020.

4) Fang Bin is second Chinese citizen journalist to vanish while reporting from coronavirus epicentre, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUvBNpkxrJo, 3 min. 23 secs, published by South China Morning Post on 14th Feb. 2020.
---

Here's a New York Times article on their work and disappearance: They Documented the Coronavirus Crisis in Wuhan. Then They Vanished., 'Two video bloggers whose dispatches from the heart of the outbreak showed fear, grief and dissatisfaction with the government have gone silent.', https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/14/business/wuhan-coronavirus-journalists.html, 14th Feb. 2020.

Enjoyed watching 1959 Western movie, Rio Bravo

Enjoyed watching 1959 Western movie, Rio Bravo, https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x4bchx8, 2 hrs. 15 mins.

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rio_Bravo_(film) :

Rio Bravo is a 1959 American Western film produced and directed by Howard Hawks and starring John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, Angie Dickinson, Walter Brennan, and Ward Bond. Written by Jules Furthman and Leigh Brackett, based on the short story "Rio Bravo" by B. H. McCampbell, the film is about the sheriff of the town of Rio Bravo, Texas, who arrests the brother of a powerful local rancher to help his drunken deputy/friend. With the help of a "cripple" and a young gunfighter, they hold off the rancher's gang. Rio Bravo was filmed on location at Old Tucson Studios outside Tucson, Arizona, in Technicolor.

In 2014, Rio Bravo was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.[3]

...
[Wiki Reference]
3.  "Cinematic Treasures Named to National Film Registry". National Film Preservation Board. Library of Congress. 17 December 2014. ISSN 0731-3527. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
--- end wiki extract ---

The movie script is here: https://www.scripts.com/script/rio_bravo_16963.
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My Rifle, My Pony and Me - Dean Martin, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AigXBl3hdcg, 2 min. 48 secs.

A cool song!
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[I thank Wikipedia and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above extract(s) from their website on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

Fascinating and detailed Hindu article: Fighting a virus, yet again: How controlling the Nipah outbreak helped Kerala to take on COVID-19

Fascinating detailed and long account (details guys like me lap it up but it may be too long for some readers) of how the public health authorities in the South Indian state of Kerala, which had hundreds of its students studying in China (72 from Wuhan), got prepared, and eventually handled the, so far limited (3 cases), of COVID-19 that its citizens returning from China to Kerala, had contracted. They used the experience they had gained in tackling the Nipah virus outbreak in 2018 to good effect. This article appeared in the print edition of The Hindu yesterday (15th Feb. 2020).

Fighting a virus, yet again: How controlling the Nipah outbreak helped Kerala to take on COVID-19, https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/fighting-a-virus-yet-again-how-controlling-the-nipah-outbreak-helped-kerala-to-take-on-covid-19/article30825430.ece.

The reaction of the father of the boy who was the second case that tested positive in Kerala is dramatically eye-catching. The family heard the news about the first case in Kerala. Then the father said, "I was trembling. I immediately drove my son to the Alappuzha Medical College hospital. The scenes at the isolation ward were terrifying. Alien-like figures in full protective gear and face masks took my son inside. It sort of felt like a final goodbye"! As per the article, thankfully, the son recovered well and has been discharged. Note that the son was taken into isolation even before he tested positive, as he had come back from Wuhan and was in contact with the first case (he seems to have travelled back to Kerala with her). The father is under quarantine at home.

The article quotes the Head of Infectious Diseases, Thiruvananthapuram Government Medical College about focusing on Wuhan returnees, even if it was "a bit of an overkill", paying off as the three cases were already in isolation in Kerala when they tested positive. If the public health authorities had not been so aggressive, their symptoms may not have resulted in them being hospitalized. Apparently, the news that even asymptomatic patients could transmit the disease, prompted an aggressive surveillance and quarantine strategy from the Kerala govt. public health authorities.

Interestingly, the public health authorities requests that all who had travelled to China voluntarily report to them, was initially viewed as an exaggerated response by the public, and people evaded the govt. health authorities. All that changed with 1st postive COVID-19 case being reported! Now their helplines seem to have got flooded with calls from people who were self-reporting!

The article describes the nightmare of contact tracing for the three infected persons, especially the third person who returned to Kerala from China via Kolkata and Bengaluru (Bangalore). For first case they traced 82 contacts, second case 52 contacts, and for the third case, 186 contacts! Each contact had to be explained the situation, allay their concerns, and had to be followed up on daily basis to confirm that they were doing fine!

My God! Hats off to the Kerala public health authorities for having done this so well, so far. I did not know that such level of contact tracing would be possible in India for such public health issues (different from criminal investigations by police).

The Nipah outbreak in 2018 claimed 17 lives in Kerala. Then Kerala was not well prepared to handle such outbreaks. This time around, they have been much better prepared.

One family got ostracised after it became known that one person from the family had tested positive for COVID-19. A store owned by one of the family lost patronage resulting in losses! Cops arrested 2 for this social ostracism. Awareness campaign by the govt. helped resolve the social ostracism problem. My God! But then such is the reality of human life and human society.

Friday, 14 February 2020

My Feb. 2020 FB posts on new Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)

Last updated on 17th Feb. 2020

Given below are contents of most of my posts in Feb. 2020 on the new Coronavirus 2019 nCoV2019 which is now labelled as COVID-19 by WHO. I plan to update this post with later FB posts in Feb. 2020 on this matter. Some posts have been put up as as separate posts by itself. Their contents are not included in this post. I have tried to provide links of all such posts at the bottom of this post.

To save time, I am usually not providing my FB post links but only contents. I am also not hyperlinking links. So readers will have to copy-paste links from this post onto a browser link box and then browse to that link.
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Decided to share this after a lot of thought, and with the following warnings:
a) It is a tough look at China's handling of the COVID-19 crisis and may be over critical of the Chinese govt.
b) Viewer discretion is advised
c) Some stuff in it is very graphic and can be distressing. If you cannot handle seeing such stuff, DON'T VIEW the video report.

Coronavirus Outbreak in China 10 Times Worse Than Reported?, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-nv7j9HEgY, around 40 mins. published by 'Zooming In with Simone Gao' on 14th Feb. 2020.

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Interesting article from a former reporter of The Hindu who lived in Beijing during the 2003 SARS epidemic, comparing those days with COVID-19 epidemic now.

A tale of outbreaks, both in China, https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/a-tale-of-outbreaks-both-in-china/article30823771.ece, 15th Feb. 2020

Some points from the article:

* Mortality rate for SARS was 10% whereas for COVID-19 it seems to be around 2% (yet to be established).

* COVID-19 is much more infectious. SARS spread to 8000 people over 8 months with 774 deaths. COVID-19 has spread to 63,000 people over 6 weeks with over 1300 deaths (perhaps at time of writing the article; now official count is over 1600).

* SARS cover-up was for many months. It started in Nov. 2002. On 3rd April 2003, Chinese health minister said (to the world) that Beijing had only a handful of infected cases. On April 20th, the cases were increased to over 10 times the earlier number and on April 23rd, the cases were reported as 693!

* SARS happened in pre Facebook/Twitter/WhatsApp age

* Weeks long silence on COVID-19 after it was detected led to around 5 million people moving out of Wuhan before the city was quarantined. [The 5 million figure seems to be backed by other reports e.g. Top 10 list: 5 million left Wuhan before quarantine — where did they go?, https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/02/09/asia-pacific/science-health-asia-pacific/top-10-list-5-million-left-wuhan-quarantine-go/#.XkkVuCgzY2w, 9th Feb. 2020. A small extract from it: "For weeks after the first reports of a mysterious new virus in Wuhan, millions of people poured out of the city, cramming onto buses, trains and planes as the first wave of China’s great Lunar New Year migration broke across the nation. Some carried with them the new virus... Speaking to reporters a few days after the city was put under quarantine (on Jan 23rd), the mayor estimated that 5 million people had already left. Where did they go?"]

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Coronavirus: Why many deaths will never appear in official figures, https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/3050311/its-pneumonia-everybody-china-knows-about-many-deaths-will-never

"Wuhan’s overburdened health workers are unable to confirm many of those who died were suffering from Covid-19, so they will not show up in official figures".

Ravi: The eyes of the world are on the stats. I guess we have to simply accept that the real count of infected persons and deaths are higher than official Chinese stats.

The key current official Chinese stats (from above article) - Mainland China: Infected cases: 68,500, Deaths: 1665.

That is followed by Japan (338 cases), Singapore (72 cases) and Hong Kong (56 cases).

Four COVID-19 deaths have been reported outside mainland China - 1 each in Hong Kong, Japan, Philippines and France.
....
Hongkongers who lived through Sars outbreak call for more government action against new coronavirus, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgEGlcIeyek, 6 min. 9 secs.

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Glimmers of hope!

Coronavirus: China announces drop in new cases for third straight day, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-51519055

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Good to read this interview of senior Chinese leader and Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi, as I think a dialogue with top Chinese leaders about the state of the COVID-19 virus epidemic is important for the world.

Exclusive: Senior China diplomat concedes challenge of coronavirus, slams 'overreaction', https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-politics-exclusive/exclusive-senior-china-diplomat-concedes-challenge-of-coronavirus-slams-overreaction-idUSKBN2082EZ, 15th Feb. 2020.

Wang Yi said: "Only under the leadership of President Xi can we control this sudden epidemic, which has spread so quickly. This is not only to defend the health of the Chinese people, but also will prevent the rapid spread of this epidemic in the world". .. "We have taken the most correct, the most rigorous and decisive measures to fight against the epidemic. Many measures went beyond international health regulations and the WHO recommendations".

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Coronavirus & Me: Ben Kavanagh’s journey - from quarantine in Wuhan to Wirral (in UK), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-GB9EYqAGM, 21 min. 52 secs.

Quite a breezy video about an Irish teacher guy who worked in Wuhan and got caught up in the lockdown. While he did not get infected, he had to be in self-quarantine in Wuhan and then when he was flown to UK, in quarantine for two weeks or so, after which he (and others with him, if I got that right) were found to not have any infection and so free to come out of UK quarantine and mix with the general populace. His mother is waiting for him and the last scene is of him having a pint of Guinness beer while sitting with his mother in Liverpool.
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Coronavirus: Senior Chinese officials 'removed' as death toll rises- BBC News, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEKXaxiBiw4, 7 min. 49 secs, published on 14th Feb. 2020
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Dying a desperate death: A Wuhan family's coronavirus ordeal, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-health-family/dying-a-desperate-death-a-wuhan-familys-coronavirus-ordeal-idUSKBN2080NY, 14th Feb. 2020

Small extract from it:

"Two days before Xiangyou died, doctors at the 4th Hospital of Wuhan had written in a diagnosis that both brothers were likely infected by the coronavirus which has now killed over 1,350 people in China. CT scans showed their lungs had turned “white” with patterns resembling cracked glass, symptomatic of severe viral infections.

But the hospital did not have any RNA test kits to confirm their cases, and thus could not admit them for treatment, according to the doctors. They were told to contact their community government, which on Jan. 30 offered to house the brothers at the hotel."

Xiangyou is one of the two brothers who had gone to the above mentioned Wuhan hospital. The other brother, Xiangkai, is now in the hospital but seemingly in serious condition awaiting the result of an RNA test.

Ravi: What is very sad is that the CT scan done before Xiangyou died seems to have shown that he, most probably was infected with the COVID-19 virus. Why did he not get some treatment then? Just because the disease was not confirmed as there were no RNA test kits to confirm it? Or was the hospital just too, too crowded for them to treat him?

I am not trying to blame the medical staff here. Just trying to get a picture of how overwhelmed perhaps the medical staff at the Wuhan hospital mentioned above, were.

I think such killer infectious disease outbreaks are one of the worst things to ever befall human settlements, whether city, town or village. I mean, even tsunami and earthquakes do their damage and then people can focus on relief. Here it is ongoing damage for over a month now, since the disease was identified in early Jan.
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Diary of a coronavirus survivor: 'I thought I was knocking on hell’s door', https://www.livemint.com/news/world/diary-of-a-coronavirus-survivor-i-thought-i-was-knocking-on-hell-s-door-11581618353475.html.

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Coronavirus: Hubei province reports 4,823 new cases and 116 more deaths, https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/3050570/coronavirus-hubei-province-reports-4823-new-cases-and-116-more, 14th Feb. 2020

Deaths in China have touched 1483 along with 1 death each in Japan, Hong Kong and Phillipines taking the total death count to 1486.

The pic in the article shown in the FB preview below is of a lady at a Beijing railway station having plastic covers on her shoes and her head and body for added protection! Seems to be an outlier case, as one can see others in the background with only facemasks as protective gear. But I do think it is such pics that tell us the story about the fear among people in China's capital today of this new Coronavirus.

China will surely beat this disease in due course. But the fear this has created in Chinese people across China including its capital Beijing, due to the Wuhan, Hubei province virus outbreak, should be motivation for governments and public health agencies across the world to work to be better prepared for such outbreaks in future, and work to prevent or at least reduce the possibility of such new and dangerous virus outbreaks.
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An article that appeared in the print edition of The Hindu a few days ago: Beijing in the time of Corona, https://www.thehindu.com/society/beijing-in-the-time-of-corona/article30761479.ece, 8th Feb. 2020.

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Continuing to share stats of COVID-19 ( that seems to be the official name now of the novel Coronavirus 2019 strain, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019-nCoV_acute_respiratory_disease) as I strongly believe that transparent information sharing is the way to beat such diseases rather than suppressing or hiding the information and being in denial.

Coronavirus cases rise sharply as 242 people die in a single day, https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-more-than-14-800-new-cases-reported-yesterday-11932787, 13th Feb. 2020.

"A total of 48,206 cases of COVID-19 are now being treated in Hubei province alone, most of them in the city of Wuhan."

"A total of 242 people died from the flu-like virus on Wednesday - the fastest rise since the pathogen was identified in December." [Wednesday is 12th Feb. 2020] The death toll has now crossed 1300.

Hmm. China publicly reported this then new virus on 31st Dec. 2019. This document from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, "Outbreak of acute respiratory syndrome associated with a novel coronavirus, China; First cases imported in the EU/EEA; second update", https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/sites/default/files/documents/Risk-assessment-pneumonia-Wuhan-China-26-Jan-2020_0.pdf states: "On 31 December 2019, a cluster of pneumonia cases of unknown aetiology was reported in Wuhan, Hubei Province China. On 9 January 2020, China CDC reported a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) as the causative agent of this outbreak, which is phylogenetically in the SARS-CoV clade."

I presume China CDC is China's Centre for Disease Control or something similar to that. So by 9th Jan. 2020, Chinese health officials had figured out the cause of the disease outbreak in Wuhan, a modern city of over 11 million, as a novel Coronavirus (new strain). Today it is over a month and Wuhan is still struggling to overcome the disease. Over 200 died yesterday, a full month after Chinese health officials had identified the disease! My God! This just goes to show how limited the power of science and technology is against a dangerous and infectious new virus outbreak.

Ebola was very scary. I had followed some of the media reporting of the Ebola outbreak in 2014. Here's one of my posts on it: The fear of dangerous and contagious diseases like Ebola, https://ravisiyermisc.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-fear-of-dangerous-and-contagious.html, posted on 26th Oct. 2014.

But, from what I recall, Ebola impacted poor countries in Africa.

Wuhan is a modern city in China. That a new virus could really lay low a city like Wuhan for over a month so far after public identification of the disease, is a scary but vital learning for me about how vulnerable human society is, even in modern cities today, to new and dangerous diseases.

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China is awesome in how it can get mega tasks done. Great to see that exceptional ability being used to disinfect ***entire cities*** to fight this new Coronavirus outbreak. Video is around a minute and a half.

Shared video: https://www.facebook.com/scmp/videos/266546957658083/?t=0

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Bill Gates in April 2015 about world not being ready for next dangerous epidemic, and his suggestions about how the world could be more prepared: Bill Gates: The next outbreak? We’re not ready, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Af6b_wyiwI, 8 min. 36 secs.

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Fight the Virus - Alvin Oon, "'Fight the Virus' by Alvin Oon is a remake of Simon & Garfunkel's classic song 'Sound of Silence'. This song shares information about the current Wuhan coronavirus that has spread across the world and how we can all work together to fight and beat this virus. Share the song! Fight the virus!", https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYTzX9JCbDY, 3 min. 7 secs., published on 29th Jan. 2020.

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The article which is dated 12th Feb. 2020 (today at 6:46 AM perhaps Hong Kong Time) gives the grim statistics of Coronavirus strain nCoV 2019. I felt it appropriate to share so that the truth of the situation is known. IMHO, it is such truth that will eventually beat this virus outbreak.

Total cases: 45,168
Deaths: 1,115, Recovered: 4,771

Mainland China: 44,653 cases, 1,113 deaths
Japan: 202 cases, 0 deaths
Hong Kong: 49 cases, 1 death
Singapore: 47 cases, 0 deaths
Thailand: 33 cases, 0 deaths
South Korea: 28 cases, 0 deaths
...
India: 3 cases, 0 deaths
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As of now it seems that, essentially, it is in China that the disease has to be beaten, with all other nations being cautious about spread of the disease. So the world should help China in beating this disease but in an open and transparent manner as hiding information may come in the way of beating the disease outbreak.

I earnestly pray to Almighty God to help China in particular, and the world in general, to overcome this dangerous disease outbreak.

[Shared article: Chinese officials’ phone apology to patients as coronavirus deaths hit 1,115, https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/3050104/coronavirus-chinas-hubei-province-reports-94-new-deaths-1638-new ]
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PBS video made over three years ago (well before nCoV2019 outbreak in Dec. 2019): Why southern China is a hotbed for disease development, [Warning: watch it only if you can handle some disturbing pics & info.] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vb4oDJ4T1kE, 6 min. 43 secs, published on 11th Aug. 2016

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Quite comforting to see a concerned but calm Xi Jinping while China is fighting this virus: Xi Jinping visits Beijing neighbourhood as coronavirus death toll reached 910, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qXzP1Ckb1k, 2 min. 42 secs., published on 10th Feb. 2020.

A calm leader radiates calmness to the country. I should also say that I think Xi Jinping has a warm connect with the Chinese people, and that is great in a political leader.

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More Pics and video clips capturing China's grim fight against the 2019 Coronavirus strain

This post follows up on my yesterday's post: https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2752524471630779 .

The objective of this post is just to share the reality of what one new virus can do to big cities. For me, seeing these pics and videos have been a sad but powerful learning experiece about the dangers of new virus epidemics in today's times.

I am not commenting about whether the police action against resisting Chinese people who perhaps were suspected of having the symptoms of the virus, was appropriate or not. These are grim days in Wuhan and other cities in China that are impacted by this virus, and the battle is to save other Chinese people (and people of the world) from getting infected with this virus.

Note that even in Shirdi Sai Baba's times, some parts of Maharashtra were hit by plague (yes, the dangerous disease, plague), which is recorded in Shirdi Sai Satcharita along with Shirdi Sai Baba's miraculous cures of some cases of plague in his devotees. [To get the references to plague in Shirdi Sai Satcharitra, just search for plague in this ebook version of Shirdi Sai Satcharitra: https://www.sai.org.in/sites/default/files/sai-charitra-english-complete-book.pdf.]

But now with this new and dangerous virus hitting Wuhan and other places in China and the world, resulting in lockdown in Wuhan to control the outbreak, due to social media, one can see pics and videos of the devastating impact of the virus. This is the first time I am seeing such pics & videos about impact of such a virus on a modern city of over 11 million. It is a very disturbing but powerful experience teaching me, like perhaps no text articles can, about what such a virus outbreak can do to a modern city.

I first came across this twitter account through this tweet and its embedded video: https://twitter.com/HimalayaGlobal/status/1223580046893338625, 1st Feb. 2020.

The video is about a Christian evangelical group in China distributing facemasks and a gospel leaflet in Wuhan, China. Perhaps the twitter account itself is associated with the Christian evangelical group.

While I appreciate their work in giving free facemasks to Wuhan residents, I think they should have made the gospel leaflet optional. Further, there are statements in the translation that indicate that they view the Wuhan virus outbreak as a consequence of sinning against God. I think that is very inappropriate. My final issue with these evangelical preachers is their statements in the translation say that ***only*** Jesus Christ is the way, truth and eternal life. I would be fine if they preached that without the word 'only', while giving the free facemasks.

Later I went to the twitter account and saw its tweets. It has a lot of videos about what seems to be Wuhan and/or other cities in China grimly fighting this outbreak. I don't know how accurate the English text that appear on the video are, but I do get the impression that the video alone (minus audio) seems to be authentic. That is why I am sharing some of these tweet videos in this post. Please view them (if at all you do), with some skepticism.

'Voice from #fangcang hospital “I was so hopeful that once moved here, I shall be cured. But it is such a mess here. Patients everywhere.',
https://twitter.com/HimalayaGlobal/status/1225411980090982402, 6th Feb. 2020

"Desperate wife wailing for help on the balcony. Husband is dying at home.", https://twitter.com/HimalayaGlobal/status/1226244920043802625, 9th Feb. 2020

“Physical isolation is to lock you up... with chain lock, so you can't get out. Anyone in Hangzhou, if fails to comply with this rule, will be prosecuted.", https://twitter.com/HimalayaGlobal/status/1226129958990315520, 8th Feb. 2020.

"Recent announcement by Chinese judicial officer: Fail to report recent trip to #Wuhan may be charged(.) Offender may receive severe punishment, even Death!", https://twitter.com/HimalayaGlobal/status/1225375663663616001, 6th Feb. 2020

There are some very sad tweet videos about this matter. I did not want to share them here. Readers who want to see them can go to the tweet account and see them.

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Some good news:
India’s first coronavirus patient recovers, may get to go home soon, https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/india-s-first-coronavirus-patient-recovers-may-get-to-go-home-soon/story-GAzvhGmdz5B3wCefFxiCnM.html

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Good to see this: "Demonstrates Friendship": China On PM's Letter To Xi Over Virus Crisis, https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/china-praises-prime-minister-narendra-modis-letter-to-president-xi-jinping-says-appreciate-indias-su-2177858.

As a citizen and resident of India, I fully support Indian government's offers of help to China to combat the nCoV2019 crisis, and also appreciate any help (info.) from China to India to combat cases in India based on China's experience in handling it, and appreciate China's co-operation in helping Indian citizens from Wuhan in China get back to India.

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Pics and video clips capture China's grim fight against the 2019 Coronavirus strain

I debated a little with myself about whether I should put up this post. I decided to put it up as my work as a social media writer is focused on reality on the ground, and how human society reacts to it or should react to it.

I am not commenting about whether the police action against resisting Chinese people who perhaps were suspected of having the symptoms of the virus, was appropriate or not. These are grim days in Wuhan and other cities in China that are impacted by this virus, and the battle is to save other Chinese people (and people of the world) from getting infected with this virus.

But what these video clips and pics show is how day-to-day human life in Wuhan, China, a city of over 11 million people, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wuhan, and also some other places in China, in our times of this early 21st century can be filled with fear by one new virus! And I think most cities and towns (let alone villages) in most countries in the world may be similarly prone to a new virus epidemic. So I think we have to learn from this grim experience of Wuhan, China, and other Chinese cities impacted by the virus, and be better prepared to combat such new and dangerous virus outbreaks. It is in that spirit of learning that I am sharing a tweet video and a Daily Mail (UK) article with pics & video clips of life in these days in Wuhan, China and some other cities in China.

I tried to check whether this tweet video has been authenticated or even just shared by any mainstream media outlet but failed to get any such link. Perhaps that may be because the tweet is dated just one day back. So this tweet video is NOT authenticated by any major news media outlet, and the tweet author is not a known figure.

https://twitter.com/chuaijiji/status/1226388394218909702, 9th Feb. 2020

Coronavirus mass arrests: Eighty-six people die of virus in a DAY in China as Beijing starts rounding up sufferers and videos show hazmat suit-clad goons dragging people from their homes while death toll hits 724, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7980883/Video-shows-officials-protective-suits-dragging-suspected-coronavirus-carriers-homes.html, 8th Feb. 2020

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Useful video giving us one person's experience in China in recent days. I agree with the view of the speaker that discrimination against Chinese people now is bad. They need the rest of the world's help now to win over this battle, which victory will help the whole world, and so the rest of the world should help China now on combating this virus.

Just got back from China, let me tell you about the Coronavirus!, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DUkWy0D1cs, 4 min. 41 secs.

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Oh! So sad to know this. Some of the car parts came from some Chinese factories which have been shut down now to control the nCoV2019 Coronavirus outbreak. So this Hyundai factory ran out of one of those parts, and had to suspend operations! The article states, "It (Hyundai) is having to suspend production at its factories across South Korea, putting 25,000 workers on forced leave and partial wages, healthy victims of the disease outbreak across the Yellow Sea."

Coronavirus claims world's biggest capacity car plant, https://auto.hindustantimes.com/auto/news/coronavirus-claims-world-s-biggest-capacity-car-plant-41581059679937.html

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The article is thought-provoking though some of its views may be strongly contested by China's communist party.

Free flow of vital information seems to be vital in quickly controlling such epidemic outbreaks, which in today's globalization era means that these outbreaks reach further and faster than before. Kerala state in India already has 3 confirmed cases of this nCoV2019 virus!

One big downside of authoritarian systems is that flow of information about such epidemics is controlled through laws and the police. The doctor martyr-hero who was one of the key persons who broke the news on possibility of new and dangerous virus to Chinese friends on the Internet which then went viral, was hauled up the police and forced to sign a humiliating apology letter!

Those democracies where freedom of speech is healthy are much better at this. If a new and dangerous epidemic had broken out in countries with such democracies, the news would have made it quickly to mainstream media, and then actions to control the epidemic would have kicked in much faster than what happened in Wuhan, China.

Authoritarian systems where information flow is controlled and unpleasant info. is suppressed, may look good from a distance, as they can put on a good show (marchpast, drama, music & dance, noble-sounding speeches etc.) but what history has taught us is that typically such authoritarian systems do not develop good ability to counter and control some critical issues that develop in the system over time.

I have learned how valuable healthy freedom of speech is, for social systems to be in good health over time (years & decades), whether it is a country-level political system or smaller community groups, including ashram systems. Today I cherish the freedom of speech that I have as a resident and citizen of India which enables me to express myself freely on social media on topics that are important to me. I thank God that I was born & bred, made a living and now do free service writing on social media, in the democratic republic of India.

The coronavirus threatens the Chinese Communist Party’s grip on power, https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/opinion/article/3049589/coronavirus-threatens-chinese-communist-partys-grip-power
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"A Chinese nurse in a coronavirus-hit hospital in Henan Province gives her sobbing daughter an "air hug." #coronavirus", https://www.facebook.com/XinhuaNewsAgency/videos/2544403945883164/?t=0
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Perhaps the article goes too far. But if China had more freedom of speech, the damage of Novel Coronavirus 2019, in all probability, could have been contained significantly better.

If China valued free speech, there would be no coronavirus crisis, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/08/if-china-valued-free-speech-there-would-be-no-coronavirus-crisis, 8th Feb. 2020.
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Medical staff heroines and heroes of Wuhan, China! May God give them more strength and courage for the noble work they are doing, and the sacrifices they are making.

FB post: https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2750431068506786 has shared article and pics.
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See inside cruise ship called 'floating prison', https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsL77cLfHsg, published by CNN on 7th Feb. 2020, 6 min. 15 secs.
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How Chinese doctor Li Wenliang died twice in China's state media, https://edition.cnn.com/2020/02/06/asia/china-li-wenliang-whistleblower-death-timeline-intl-hnk/index.html
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Tragic passing away of a Chinese medic hero! May God shower His Grace on his soul and give strength and courage to those who loved him to bear this loss.

FB post: https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2748793952003831 shares Times of India article on passing away of Li, a 34 year old doctor tried to warn other medics of the epidemic.
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China has to be congratulated on having this hospital erected and run in such a short period of time. Hats off to China for this awesome display of its construction prowess.
[Shared South China Morning Post video titled "China opens hospital built in 10 days", https://www.facebook.com/scmp/videos/634221900662802/?t=0 ]
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3 Cases Of Coronavirus In Kerala; All Students Who Returned From China, https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/third-case-of-coronavirus-confirmed-in-kerala-says-state-health-minister-2173894, 3rd Feb. 2020

The students returned from Wuhan in China to Kerala. The video report embedded in the article gives an interesting account of how Kerala government health officials are trying to reach out to all who may have come in contact with these students while they were or may have been infected with the virus. Good to see this action from Kerala govt. It is awareness among health care providers and the general public at large that is vital to beat such epidemics/outbreaks.
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Carlo Urbani, Italian doctor martyr-hero, who saved many lives in 2003 SARS outbreak by identifying it as a new and dangerously contagious disease and alerting WHO

Articles on the Coronavirus outbreak in China which has spread to some other countries in the world, has led me to read more about the SARS outbreak in 2003. That in turn led me to this Italian doctor martyr-hero, Carlo Urbani.

Given below are extracts from his wiki page, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlo_Urbani:

Carlo Urbani (Italian: [ˈkarlo urˈbaːni] (About this soundlisten); Castelplanio, Italy October 19, 1956 – Bangkok, Thailand March 29, 2003) was an Italian doctor and microbiologist and the first to identify severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) as a new and dangerously contagious viral disease.[1][2] Although he became infected and died, his early warning to the World Health Organization (WHO) triggered a swift and global response credited with saving numerous lives.

...
In late February 2003,[3] Urbani was called into The French Hospital of Hanoi to look at patient Johnny Chen, an American businessman who had fallen ill with what doctors thought was a bad case of influenza. Urbani realized that Chen's ailment was probably a new and highly contagious disease. He immediately notified the WHO, triggering a response to the epidemic (principally isolation and quarantine measures) that would end it within 5 months.[4] He also persuaded the Vietnamese Health Ministry to begin isolating patients and screening travelers, thus slowing the early pace of the epidemic.

On March 11, as he flew from Hanoi to a conference in Bangkok, Thailand where he was to talk on the subject of childhood parasites, Urbani started feeling feverish on the plane. A colleague who met him at the airport called an ambulance.
...

Urbani contracted SARS while treating infected patients in Hanoi. His Bangkok hospital room was an improvised isolation ward, and communication occurred via an intercom. It is rumoured that Urbani had an argument with his wife who lamented that it is an irresponsible behaviour for a father of three children who age from 4 to 17 to risk his life treating such a contagious and lethal disease. Urbani replied, "If I can't work in such situations, what am I here for? Replying e-mails, going to cocktail parties and pushing paper?"[3]

As his lungs weakened, he was put on a respirator. During a moment of consciousness, Urbani asked for a priest to give him last rites and asked for his lung tissue to be donated for scientific research. Urbani died on 29 March 2003, after 18 days of intensive care.

Wiki-Refs
1. Coates, Sam; Asthana, Anushka. "Dr Carlo Urbani Health expert who identified the Sars outbreak as an epidemic, and was killed by the virus". The Times. London.
2. "Dr. Carlo Urbani of the World Health Organization dies of SARS". WHO. 29 March 2003. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
3.  McNeil (Jr.), Donald G. (2003-04-08). "Disease's Pioneer Is Mourned as a Victim". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-12-06.
4. "Summary of probable SARS cases with onset of illness from 1 November 2002 to 31 July 2003". World Health Organization (WHO). 31 December 2003. Retrieved 31 October 2008.
--- end wiki extracts ---

Ravi: My God! How his wife would have felt when Urbani died leaving her with three children to raise as a widow! I don't know what further to say about her situation except to pray and hope that she and the children are doing well now.

The challenges that medical field personnel (doctors, nurses, paramedics etc.) face, especially when treating dangerous contagious diseases, are scary. The medical profession is truly a noble profession.
...
The article that I was reading which led me to read up on SARS 2003 outbreak: Coronavirus-related xenophobia is spreading – and I’m feeling the effects in the UK, https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/coronavirus-uk-china-xenophobia-outbreak-health-latest-a9313551.html
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================================

Separate posts on COVID-19 that I put up in Feb. 2020:

Fascinating and detailed Hindu article: Fighting a virus, yet again: How controlling the Nipah outbreak helped Kerala to take on COVID-19,  https://ravisiyermisc.blogspot.com/2020/02/fascinating-and-detailed-hindu-article.html.

Saturday, 8 February 2020

Once Upon a Time in the West - Famous Western genre movie made in 1968

Once Upon a Time in the West - Famous Western genre movie made in 1968 which has been listed as one of the top Western genre movies by Guardian (in 2013) and TIME. It also has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant", https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Once_Upon_a_Time_in_the_West.

Henry Ford and Charles Bronson are the main stars. The female lead is played by Claudia Cardinale.

The movie: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2c770m, 2 hrs. 38 mins.

Its script: https://www.scripts.com/script.php?id=once_upon_a_time_in_the_west_15225.

I enjoyed the movie.
...
In response to comments on my Facebook post:  https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2747311775485382, having above content, I wrote (slightly edited):

--Name-snipped-- - I think the movie is a reflection of the reality of human settlements where law and order are not strong. Note that even today there are many, many places in the world, especially in rural parts where law and order enforcement is not very effective.

Money power and gun/violence power people boss over the rest of the community. And women and children who are not protected by their family/friends become rather vulnerable - brutal reality of human settlements.

--Name-snipped-- - If you are interested in exposure to dramatic enactments of certain realities of human settlements where law & order is not so powerful, then I think the movie will be worth your time.
...
An example of a small country ***today*** where law & order is not effective - El Salvador in Central America: Hundreds of Salvadorans deported by US were killed or abused, report reveals, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/05/salvadorans-deported-us-killed-abused-report, 5th Feb. 2020.
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Gunfight between Charles Bronson (Harmonica), the hero and Henry Fonda (Frank), the villain (unusually), with flashback showing how a younger Frank had brutally hanged Harmonica's older brother with young boy Harmonica holding his brother's weight but eventually collapsing leading to older brother getting hanged. The movie is Once Upon a Time in the West.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHX8UnNjqTs, close to 9 mins.
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Charles Bronson as the Harmonica player who can shoot too! The still pic preview shows Jason Robards who, on watching Bronson shoot, says, "He not only plays, he can shoot too." Prior to this scene in the movie, Robards has encountered and interacted with Bronson in a bar. In that scene, Bronson plays the harmonica (and does not shoot though he gives his gun to Robards, a fleeing bandit who also is handcuffed then).

He Not Only Plays, He Can Shoot Too - Once Upon a Time in the West (3/8) Movie CLIP (1968) HD, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtPoKS5cCL8, 2 min. 34 secs.
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Miscellaneous Facebook posts & comments in Feb. 2020

Last updated on 17th Feb. 2020
Minor update on 20th Feb. 2020 
Note that most of the COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus 2019) related FB post contents of mine are put up here: My Feb. 2020 FB posts on new Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19),  https://ravisiyermisc.blogspot.com/2020/02/my-feb-2020-fb-posts-on-new-coronavirus.html.

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

To save time, I am usually not providing my FB post links but only contents. I am also not hyperlinking links. So readers will have to copy-paste links from this post onto a browser link box and then browse to that link.
==========================================

In a limited access Facebook post related to motherhood, I wrote (slightly edited):

Great pic --name-snipped--!

I would like to add that I think responsible motherhood is one of the greatest services rendered to humanity as a whole. As an unmarried man in his late fifties now, I am very reverential towards responsible mothers for the service they render to humanity by nurturing and raising children to adulthood, and teaching them good ethical and social values.

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Geet Gata Hoon Main, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ays7xJK8UF8, 3 min. 30 secs. from 1971 Hindi movie Lal Patthar, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lal_Patthar. Sung by Kishore Kumar, on screen star Vinod Mehra, lyricist Dev Kohli and music director(s) Shankar Jaikishan

The initial lyrics of the song, http://www.lyricsoff.com/songs/geet-gata-hoon-main.html, are:
Geet Gata Hoon Main
Gungunata Hoon Main
[English (my rough translation): I sing songs, I hum (songs)]
Maine Hasne ka vaada kiya tha kabhi
Isliye ab sada muskurata hoon main
[English: I had made a promise sometime to smile (laugh)
Therefore I always keep smiling (implicit: even if I am in sorrow)]

[I haven't seen the movie but the wiki page says that the childhood sweetheart of the character singing the song (played by Vinod Mehra) is married to another man (played by Raj Kumar and is the cigar smoking seemingly rich landlord character in the song) who comes to know of it, and then plots the downfall of the pair. So the character singing the song seems to be in sorrow while singing the song as he could not marry his childhood sweetheart.]

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FB post: https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2755807934635766
Don't know if it applies to all but I think it does apply to some toxic persons. They are never wrong - the whole world can be wrong but not them - that's their world view!

Shared FB post shows text: "A toxic person will never change [sad & wry icon] They just change victims & blame everything on everybody else!"

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Today (15th Feb. 2020) the Puttaparthi Ward Volunteer lady assigned to my ward, visited my flat (in outside-ashram Puttaparthi town) to get some additional info. about me and to take my thumb impression. She had got a fingerprint device which was connected to her rather large smartphone device. She asked for my Aadhaar card number, fed it into her smartphone - an app. I guess. Then she requested me to press my thumb on her fingerprint device. That got read OK. She showed me her smartphone (app I presume) showing my details - name and some other info - which seemed OK, and that was it. Perhaps it took totally around 5 to 10 minutes.

I am mighty impressed with Puttaparthi municipal corporation I.T. use. I mean, earlier I would have to go to the municipal corporation office when they needed stuff like fingerprint. Now the ward volunteer comes to my home/flat and gets it! That is superb service and superb deployment of mobile apps. and devices. I presume this is not limited to Puttaparthi municipal corporation and is happening in most towns & cities across Andhra Pradesh. If so, that is really good usage of I.T., especially mobile devices and apps, by Andhra Pradesh government to deliver service to citizens at their homes!

Tech. is so powerful and so revolutionary! In my own adult life, I have seen how tech. has revolutionized life. In 1984 I would type in a computer program on a (dumb) computer terminal that would be connected to a big mini computer housed in an air conditioned computer room. I think the mobile device including its software that the government town level ward volunteer lady used today (along with the fingerprint device) in 2020, must be more powerful than the mini-computer I used in 1984 (as an employee in my first software company, Datamatics in Mumbai when I was 21 to 22 years old), and surely far more powerful than the dumb terminal I used then. Here's a pic of a Wang dumb terminal similar or same as the one I would typically use in 1984, https://ingeniumcanada.org/ingenium/collection-research/collection-item.php?id=2002.0358.002.

What absolutely mind-blowing change in 36 years from 1984 to 2020!
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Some gun-fighting time pass from Clint Eastwood, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaJwgHYOaQk, around 10 mins.
...
Some Charlie Chaplin fighting time-pass
Shared FB video: https://www.facebook.com/Chaplinlaughingworld/videos/880612702392963/?t=0
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Good to know this. Look forward to visit of Hon'ble President and First Lady of USA.

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

I am a strong supporter of ties between India and USA. Mr. Trump is the duly elected President of USA, the oldest republic type of democracy (no monarchs) in the world with the largest economy in the world today. I look forward to his visit to India, the number-of-citizens-wise largest republic type of democracy (no monarchs) in the world, in his very important capacity/position of President of USA.

I request readers not to comment on domestic politics related matters in USA, in the context of Mr. Trump.
[Shared FB post of U.S. Embassy India:  https://www.facebook.com/India.usembassy/photos/a.190766654372705/2931338540315489/ ]
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Sharing a reality-bite that some human beings are evil. Period.

This is a case about USA but such evil exists in many countries (surely exists in India), and perhaps exists all over the world.

"Run away from bad company" is what Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba would teach. I think that is wonderful and wise advice to follow. But one should base one's judgement about whether a person is bad only after being convinced about it, and not on just some seemingly suspicious behaviour (which could have a very genuine and good explanation).

Father, 60, who murdered his son for a $700k insurance policy is found guilty of killing his wife to pocket a $200K insurance payout - and he was only caught when his second wife grew suspicious after he took out $1.2 million policy, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7967381/Man-killed-son-insurance-scam-convicted-killing-wife.html, 5th Feb. 2020.
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When a drug turned killer (in 1973 in Chennai, India), https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/when-a-drug-turned-killer/article30770710.ece, 9th Feb. 2020

Very interesting though tragic account of how, in 1973, the pediatric surgeon of a Child Health hospital in Chennai figured out that the spate of child deaths due to renal failure that he encountered was due to a medicine with a toxin in it. The account is by the doctor, V.R. Ravikumar, himself. I came across the article in the print version of The Hindu.

The doctor explains that similar cases began to mount (one or two children were brought to the (children specialty) hospital every week), and in a month 15 children died of kidney failure. The cause of this spate of cases was still not known.

Then, the doctor writes, "Next week, a child from my neighbourhood, who had seen me a week earlier, was admitted with acute renal failure. A sense of fear gripped me since I had a one-year-old son and a daughter of three years."

As the doctor went through the history of this child's case it struck him that the only new drug administered to the child was "Pipmol C". Now the doctor was aware of this new drug as he had been given a sample of it some time back. It was a paracetamol solution with vitamin C.

He suspected that this new drug may be the cause of the spate of these cases they were facing. As he dug into history of other cases (for past cases where children had died he had to get their addresses and then visit their homes then), it became clear that all the children who died had taken "Pipmol C"!

The key problem had been identified. Eventually, with help of higher medical and government authorities, it was found that, by mistake, a toxin had been used in preparing the Pipmol C medicine (that batch, I guess). The top doctors spoke to the media about the issue, and the media printed and broadcasted warnings about not consuming Pipmol C medicine. The article has some newspaper clipping pics with those warnings.

Ravi: Hmm. Fascinating account of investigation of cause of public health crisis in 1973 in Chennai. Public health medical practitioners (doctors and support staff including administrative staff like the record keepers who gave this doctor the addresses of past children patients who had died) do a great service serving the public at large, which includes their own family (like this doctor's two children), by responding to, and solving such public health crisis.
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What happened to Pakistani young cricketers, has happened to Indian young cricketers now :-). I had posted the earlier video involving the Pakistani cricketers in U-19 match against India. Felt it appropriate to post this too.
[Shared FB video: https://www.facebook.com/cricketworldcup/videos/2575313326128953/ ]
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"We firmly believe that India’s growth is linked to peace and prosperity in its neighbourhood.  A stable and prosperous Sri Lanka is in the best interest of India: President Kovind", https://twitter.com/rashtrapatibhvn/status/1226118863206567937

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Superb rendition in 2017 of 1969 rural ambience slow melody romantic Hindi film song: Je Hum Tum Chori Se - Mukhtar Shah & Sampada Goswami - JHILMIL SITARON KA AANGAN, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvzfbu46tpk, 3 min. 49 secs.
...
The original song with the video part having some playing to the gallery stuff (that's what brought the film makers money): Je Hum Tum Chori Se (HD) (from) Dharti Kahe Pukar ke (1969). On-screen stars are: Jeetendra and Nanda. Singers are Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh. Music director(s) is(are) Laxmikant Pyarelal. The lyrics are by Majrooh Sultanpuri. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqXo7be-meI, 5 min. 31 secs.
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These are state level elections in Delhi.

The President of India is formally the head of Indian state and republic. A citizen gets raised to that topmost position of President via nomination and election by members of Parliament and political parties. This topmost person also plays the role of a citizen by casting his vote in the state election!

What a wonderful thing democracy in a republic is! Indians today are very fortunate to enjoy this democracy in a republic (from 1947 onwards informally, and formally from 1950 when Indian constitution was formally adopted, if I am not mistaken).
[FB post: https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2750245991858627 shares pics and text of related President of India post.]
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1980s English pop hit song - Money for Nothing, Dire Straits / Sting - Money For Nothing (Live Aid 1985), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JcqhvPNiJzo, 7 min. 33 secs.

In response to a comment (on FB post:  https://www.facebook.com/ravi.s.iyer.7/posts/2749483975268162) I wrote: Oh! Nowadays, once in a while I like to hear high energy Western pop music which I have heard often in the past. Note that in the 2nd half of the1980s and early 1990s, Dire Straits was a very popular band and I and friends used to play it often especially while partying (in USA, Europe & India). The Money For Nothing song perhaps was the most popular song of this band. I also recall seeing it on MTV (in USA) very often in the second half of the 1980s.

BTW I mentioned USA, Europe and India just to convey that Dire Straits, and this song of theirs, was really popular among some of us Indian software techies then who would be on assignments in USA and Europe (and elsewhere too like Persian Gulf countries but I have not been there), or be in India offices of our companies. When we would group together to have some food and fun, and some alcohol too (for those who took it), having a music player blaring out our favourite English pop songs (and Hindi songs too), was the norm. At such times, the Money for Nothing song was in great demand to be played, if I recall correctly.
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The cult classic song live (in 1977): Eagles Hotel California (Best Version), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3TH3BOx2g4, 6 min. 40 secs.
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O Mere Dil Ke Chain (Eng Sub) [Full Video Song] (HD) With Lyrics - Mere Jeevan Saathi (1972), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jHPhM6hVmg, 4 min. 20 secs. The English subtitles could be improved upon but the non-Hindi speaking viewer gets the drift of the meaning of the lyrics.
...
Thoroughly enjoyed this singing while walking and interacting with audience, performance by an orchestra singer (I think his name is Alok Katdare). This is while he is superbly singing (parts of) Rajesh Khanna (actor) superhit songs (mostly sung by Kishore Kumar I think) along with one or two dialogues (of Rajesh Khanna). The orchestra music performance is just superb flooding back memories of the tunes of those superhit songs.

MASH UP - RAJESH KHANNA SHIPER HIT SONGS I ALOK KATDARE I PUNEET SHARMA MUSIC, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XekC3D3202M, 10 min. 49 secs, published on 27th Dec. 2019.
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Sports sometimes brutally shows up character aspects that otherwise would stay hidden

The video in the tweet given below is of an Under 19 international cricket match. Still the non-striking batsman (from Pakistan) who initially agrees to the run but then turns back almost half way down the pitch perhaps to avoid getting himself run out, and reaches back to safety at the non-striking end, seems to show unsporting selfishness and willingness to put the teammate (striking batsman) in trouble. But it is not clear from the video (at least to me) who hesitated first. Maybe the striking batsman hesitated first and so the non-striker decided to run back which, in those circumstances, would be a fair decision to take and not a selfish one.

The striking batsman is run out as he continues his initial run towards the same non-striking end.

What is quite comical is that both of the batsmen seem to try to beat each other to get to safety on the non-striker end. I guess the rules of the game would save the first guy who crossed the crease on the non-striker end (which happens to be the non-striker).

To make things more harsh for the Pakistanis, the team they are playing against is arch-rival India!

https://twitter.com/CricketVideos16/status/1224655525641506816 (video is 30 seconds), 4th Feb. 2020.
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The awesome technological miracle of the Internet and youtube, and the diligent video record keeping by some USA media network(s), allows us to see the first 1960, yes 1960, USA presidential debate between the top two candidates: then Senator John F. Kennedy and then Vice-President Richard Nixon.

TNC:172 Kennedy-Nixon First Presidential Debate, 1960, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbrcRKqLSRw, around an hour.

I saw the first 20 to 25 minutes of the video, so far.

USA and India share an important feature in their democracies in that both are republics without any king or queen or monarch of any other sort. Citizens of the country gets elevated to most powerful position(s) in the country - President  and Vice-President in USA, Prime Minister and President in India. Note that the above positions are each held by one person only. That reduces the possibility of power mongering by an individual by grabbing all positions of power for himself/herself.

India has a parliamentary form of democracy with elected members of lower house of parliament (Lok Sabha) and usually political parties that they are from, choosing a Prime Minister. The President of India is also chosen by Parliament and political parties but I think it is by both houses of Parliament (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) with Rajya Sabha composed of members nominated by political parties.

As a lover and beneficiary of democracy of republic form, I find the fact that USA had a TV debate between the top two presidential candidates in 1960 itself, to be a great indicator of how much of a leader USA has been in the post World War II world (our age) for democracy of republic form. I have to say that despite some issues that USA democracy has today that makes it difficult for those with limited money backing to rise to the top, it still is the "shining city on the hill", for democracy lovers like me in India.

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 am a well-wisher of the people of the USA.
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We have to know the reality of the day. Living in denial in some imaginary paradise where nobody is evil and nobody wants to harm other human beings, is being unrealistic. That may be appropriate for individual reclusive spiritual aspirants who are willing to even die for their beliefs, and may do wonders for their spiritual uplift (as even if they die in an attack by a terrorist, it is only their body that dies but not their spirit) but I think living in such denial of harsh realities of our times is not good for society as a whole.

So I am sharing this article about a recent horrific incident in London, UK, as a reality-bite of the times that we live in: London stabbing: 20-year-old attacker wanted girlfriend to behead her parents, https://www.indiatoday.in/world/story/london-stabbing-20-year-old-attacker-wanted-girlfriend-to-behead-her-parents-1642675-2020-02-03, 3rd Feb. 2020.

We must be grateful to the London police armed officers who killed the attacker before he could do further grievous harm to others.
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New beginnings for the UK after Brexit?, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ww9C2XlnEhk, 4 min. 16 secs, published on 1st Feb. 2020.
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When fonts fight, Times New Roman conquers, https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/jan/29/when-fonts-fight-times-new-roman-conquers, 29th Jan. 2020.

Very interesting and entertaining article :-) (passed on to me by a correspondent over email).

Not surprised about Times New Roman 12 being a favourite.

Interesting to read about other choices of authors.

Besides Times New Roman, over my software industry career (1984 to 2002), I have used Courier and Arial. Nowadays I use Calibri for some fonts on cover pages of books as that was the default in some graphics applications for Text inserts and I found it to be good.
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Friday, 7 February 2020

Miscellaneous Facebook posts & comments in Jan. 2020

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

To save time, I am usually not providing my FB post links but only contents. I am also not hyperlinking links. So readers will have to copy-paste links from this post onto a browser link box and then browse to that link.
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I think that is a very valid question raised by Shri Rahul Gandhi. As per a report I had read earlier, the Union Home minister, Amit Shah, has condemned the incident and promised strict action against the shooter who is now under arrest. The police should conduct an investigation into how the shooter was motivated to do this horrific act against protesters, and share that with the country at large. Then the country can decide/opine about what to do, to prevent recurrence of such horrific and violent acts against protesters.

Peaceful protest is an important right to safeguard in a democracy. Whether one agrees with the protesters or not is a different matter - the right to peacefully protest is the vital thing to protect in our (Indian) democracy.

Shared article: Rahul Gandhi: 'Who paid Jamia shooter?', https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/rahul-gandhi-who-paid-jamia-shooter/articleshow/73793592.cms
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John Denver singing his love for country roads (in West Virginia, USA) live: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUmnTfsY3hI, around 3 mins.
...
Fans of Otis Redding's classic song - Sitting on the dock of the bay - may enjoy this rendition done by a group of great performers on the 50th anniversary of the song which was released in 1967. I just loved this rendition.

(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay | Otis Redding 50th Anniversary | Song Around The World, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ca5QoXSe18, 3 min. 46 secs, 17th Dec. 2018
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Wonderful to know of this nice contribution from Dutch software entrepreneur Jan Baan, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Baan, to Hyderabad, India. As an Indian, I thank Jan Baan for this contribution to needy sections of Hyderabad. ... In late 1980s as an employee of Datamatics Ltd. Bombay (Mumbai), I had visited Baan Netherlands in Barnavelde for a couple of months for study of a Window Manager related project (which eventually did not work out). I recall one short meeting with Jan Baan then. Great to see that the same person now is contributing to Telugu needy society as I have now been living in Andhra Pradesh (neighbouring Telugu state to Telangana where Hyderabad lies) for over 17 years.

Here's a recent article on LinkedIn by Jan Baan which seems to be a public access article (and so people not on LinkedIn can also access it), on the matter: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6626954969289379840/

The article talks about "Jan Peter Memorial School" in Hyderabad and a recent alumni meet where 240 alumni showed up. This school seems to be a charitable school funded from the proceeds of Baan's India software factory. The article says Jan Peter, son of Jan Baan, died in Nigeria in 2003 and that this school is in his memory.

The article states that the school was started in 2003 with 32 students and grew to 640 students in 6 years. In 2009, they decided to focus on after-school training. Two years ago the last students left.

Jan Baan says that the alumni of this school refer to him as "Thathaiah" (Grandpa in Telugu)! I was absolutely fascinated to know this.

I think the IT connect between India and Netherlands has had a very interesting cultural connect between the people of the two nations too!
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Interesting Feb. 2017 article: Chhatrapati Shivaji's Bengaluru days, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/57229947.cms.

I did not know that Shivaji seems to have spent two years in Bengaluru (Bangalore) during his boyhood (at age of 12 to 14 years) from around 1640 to 1642. Shivaji's father Shahaji Raje ruled Bengaluru then. I find this info. to be very interesting.
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1959 movie. Geeta Dutt is the singer of this hauntingly beautiful song about the "beautiful outrage (haseen sitam)" done by time (waqt). Around 4 mins.
Waqt Ne Kiya Kya Haseen Sitam - Waheeda, Geeta Dutt, Kaagaz Ke Phool Song, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JqBqHXODlc
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Very popular Hindi film oldie song about the sorrow of romantic love - Jaane kyon log mohabbat kiya karte hai from movie 'Mehboob Ki Mehandi(1971)', sung by Lata Mangeshkar. On screen star - Leena Chandavarkar. Music - Laxmikant -Pyarelal, lyrics - Anand Bakshi. The lyrics of the song are just awesome! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N40fWVY0F50, 6 min. 37 secs.
...
Itna to yaad hai mujhe ke unse mulaqaat hui, from movie 'Mehboob Ki Mehandi(1971)', sung by Mohd. Rafi & Lata Mangeshkar. On screen stars - Rajesh Khanna and Leena Chandavarkar. Music - Laxmikant -Pyarelal, lyrics - Anand Bakshi

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEMlo1H9wX8, 7 min. 47 secs.
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Hindi film oldie goldie song: From movie Do Raaste (1969) - Yeh Reshmi Zulfein Yeh Sharbati Aankhein - sung by Mohd Rafi. On screen stars - Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9aMSJGAkeY, 4 mins.
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Close to 7 mins.

Powerful military force is an absolute must to ensure self-defence of the country, especially in these uncertain times.

Great to see Indian armed forces might on display on Republic Day!

[Video: https://www.facebook.com/TimesofIndia/videos/225243741809225/?t=0]
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Welcome to India to President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro. May ties between India and Brazil grow and flourish. Wonderful that the President of Brazil is the chief guest of tomorrow's (Indian) Republic Day function.
[Video: https://www.facebook.com/PresidentOfIndia/videos/2600079696899400/?t=0 ]

I made a similar comment on above video (link: https://www.facebook.com/PresidentOfIndia/videos/2600079696899400/?comment_id=2492369177758280 ) (which got 30 reactions - Like etc.). In response to a comment there, I wrote: I welcome President Bolsonaro of Brazil as the representative of Brazilian people as a whole, irrespective of whether they politically support Mr. Bolsonaro or not. My welcome is for the ***position*** of president of Brazil and the current holder of that position. Regarding internal politics of Brazil, please note that I have a PUBLICLY (POLITICALLY) NEUTRAL role. Of course, as I am an Indian citizen living in India, there is no question of me having voted in Brazil elections.

I wish all people of Brazil, irrespective of their political affiliation, all the very best!
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Deer shedding antlers caught (from behind) on camera (tweet has the video) -
https://twitter.com/DeerAlliance/status/1217903863103213568
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USA democracy contests can be fun, at times.

A push-up challenge is discussed: https://twitter.com/DackRouleau/status/1217967232468340736

It is followed by a push-up contest: https://twitter.com/JeanWMUR/status/1217975768208347136. I think the guy could have lasted longer but did a small drama-act of losing out :-). Nonetheless, Tulsi Gabbard showed her fitness level.

Hats off to those USA political leaders who stay physically fit with such exercises.
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"How Dare Indira Jaising Suggest...": Nirbhaya's Mother Slams Lawyer, https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/nirbhaya-case-asha-devi-slams-indira-jaising-over-death-penalty-suggestion-2165929, 18th Jan. 2020

I fully support Nirbhaya's mother Smt. Asha Devi in this matter. I think the leading lawyer Ms. Indira Jaising is just plain wrong in being against the death penalty for all cases. 

Perhaps some countries in Western Europe and some states in USA may have societies where death penalty being done away even for the most heinous crimes, works. As a voting citizen of India, my considered view is that in India with a varied and diverse population of 1.3 billion people some of whom live very difficult and challenging lives and so may not fear jail time as much as they fear death, that will NOT work.

In most of Indian society including in ashram townships, it is fear of bad consequences for bad actions that results in lesser number of bad actions happening. Deterrence is absolutely key in India to keep society functioning in a reasonable way.

Indira Jaising is entitled to her view of being against the death penalty and she has the freedom to argue for that in India even if I think the majority of Indians (including me) would reject her argument, but I think it was quite insensitive of her and quite unjust of her to make such a request to Nirbhaya's mother. Good to see such a strong rebuttal by Nirbhaya's mother Asha Devi of Indira Jaising's request.

I think the brutal reality of India today is that only the hanging of these four rapists and murderers who brutally, I repeat brutally, raped and murdered Nirbhaya in 2012, will send the message of deterrence to future potential rapists & murderers like these convicts that no mercy will be shown to them and no lawyer no matter how senior, will be able to save them from being executed for committing such horrific and heinous crimes. That deterrence message will save some girls and women in India from the horrors that Nirbhaya and so many others have suffered at the hands of rapists & murderers in India. We have to face up to this truth and act with that understanding and courage.
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As a resident and citizen of India, I am fully supportive of this quick action of concerned government ministries and President of India in refusing mercy plea of one of the four 2012 Delhi gang rape convicts who are on death sentence. 

As per the article given below, Delhi govt. Dy. Chief Minister (AAP) Manish Sisodia rejected it in around a day or two's time, forwarding it (with rejection recommendation I presume) to Central govt. Home Minister Amit Shah (BJP) who acted with the similar speed in rejecting it and forwarding it (with rejection recommendation I presume) to President Ram Nath Kovind's office who received it on Thursday evening. Friday morning, the President's order rejecting the mercy petition had been conveyed to the (Union) Home minister's office!

The article states, "Officials who had handled mercy petitions in earlier roles indicate that the decision within four days was a record.

The previous record of 42 days in the last 40 years was on a request for presidential pardon filed by a Rajasthan farmer Ram Chander in 1996."

Prez Kovind’s rejection of Mukesh Singh’s mercy petition in 4 days is a record, https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/prez-kovind-s-rejection-of-mukesh-singh-s-mercy-petition-in-4-days-is-a-record/story-1bPW7Poa84B7lSGxLX42cP.html, 18th Jan. 2020
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I read a report somewhere that great amount of construction in some Chinese cities makes them more prone to sinkholes - don't know how valid that view is.

But this video of a recent sinkhole tragedy where some died and some may have been injured, tells us how scary it can be. Readers who prefer not to see such stuff may please skip seeing the video.

Sinkhole swallows bus in China, leaving at least 6 dead and 4 missing, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofsGW7Azi7I, 1 min. 37 secs, published by South China Morning Post on 14th Jan. 2020.
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Not sure whether it is right for a Doctor to overwork himself (herself) to this point, as then he may mess up treatment/surgical procedures performed on his (her) patients. ... Nonetheless his commitment to work is appreciable. And yes, medical work is noble work and high-risk work - done by not only doctors but also nurses and other staff in hospitals who directly handle patients.

The video-post is about a Doc in China. .. But I would like to mention about nurses in India based on some info. I have from a young nurse in Andhra Pradesh. Nurses in India tend to get overworked, have to work night shifts at times (or most of the times for some), but their sacrifices are seldom highlighted. And small private hospitals in India don't pay much to their nurses.

[Shared video: https://www.facebook.com/scmp/videos/215703862791541/?t=0 , text: What happened to an overworked doctor at a hospital in China.]
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Interesting set of two videos mainly about events in the year 1979, even if the perspective is mainly a Western perspective, published by German media house DW in Dec. 2019:

The Big Bang that created today’s world (1/2) | DW Documentary, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyz1cy6VeqA, 42 min. 25 secs.

The Big Bang that created today’s world (2/2) | DW Documentary, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JW7hqgVbMqM, 42 min. 25 secs.
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Nice message from Jeff Bezos about Mahatma Gandhi along with video of him paying respects at Mahatma Gandhi memorial in Delhi

'Just landed in India and spent a beautiful afternoon paying my respects to someone who truly changed the world. “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever." - Mahatma Gandhi.', https://twitter.com/JeffBezos/status/1217100229993881600 [Tweet has embedded video.]

My tweet response to above tweet: "Welcome to India Mr. Bezos! Hope your trip is a good and fruitful one. Wonderful to see your words of praise for Mahatma Gandhi."
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Debated a little about whether I should share this CNN video report. I decided to, as I think it shows how even the most militarily powerful country in the world - USA - had its armed forces base in Iraq pounded by Iranian ballistic missiles with the USA forces being lucky to not have suffered any casualties (as reported by them). And that in turn is a message about how bad war between ballistic missile armed nations can be.

This is non-nuclear attack - just ballistic non-nuclear missiles attack. The video shows the damage that these Iranian ballistic missiles caused.

War between ballistic missile armed nations today can be horrific. There is no need for fighter jets piloted by human pilots which can be counter-attacked by anti-aircraft fire or other fighter jets. Countering a ballistic missile does not seem to be easy though I believe there are anti ballistic missile systems but they are very expensive and may not be 100% effective in stopping ballistic missile attacks.

Disputes between ballistic missile equipped nations today ***must*** be resolved by talks and not war, as such war would have a horrific human cost even for the victorious side, if one side does achieve victory.

See how US troops survived Iran missile attack, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzXpNxAeCck, 7 min. 11 secs.

My prayers to Almighty God for peace on earth, and especially for peace between Iran and USA.
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Western Europe is producing women political leaders who are so articulate. That is really very nice to see and I think it is a sign of the maturity of Western Europe when it comes to treating women well, as compared to many other parts of the world.

I think this is the first time I am seeing an interview of now candidate for (UK) Labour party leadership, and MP and shadow (UK) Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey. I am really impressed by how well she expresses herself and how calm she is.

Note that I am publicly politically neutral in my posts on politics (including UK politics) and so I am not saying anything positive or negative about her policies and political stands.

Here's the interview: Rebecca Long-Bailey: I do want to abolish the House Of Lords, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iqoJFxVkFU, around 20 mins.
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This appeared in the print edition of The Hindu today.

Fascinating pics and story of how one family's bird-feeding service of migratory birds in a Rajasthan village from the 1970s has led to around 25,000 migratory birds (from as far as Mongolia) arriving at the village every year. Now, of course, more families would be involved in catering to the birds. The village has a 'birds first' policy making the migratory birds feel welcome :-).

In photos | Dancing with the demoiselles in Khichan, Rajasthan, https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/in-photos-dancing-with-the-demoiselles-in-khichan-rajasthan/article30543920.ece/photo/1/
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Chupke Chupke Raat Din By Manjari l Doha Musical-Notes Episode 6 l Ghazals, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zTckmJWptM, 8 min. 4 secs.
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I enjoyed this home rendition of Chupke Chupke Raat Din (song made famous by Ghulam Ali in the 1980s): Chupke chupke raat din by Sarbjeet singh Laddi & Manjit singh Goldy, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8HXaccAEWg, 6 min. 21 secs.
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Ghulam Ali singing it live: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5DVLNgHx0k, around 8 mins. Note that Ghulam Ali is (not active now) a Pakistani singer and this mehfil (gathering) seems to be in Pakistan.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghulam_Ali_(singer)
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Ukrainian Boeing Plane Shot Down Due To "Human Error", Says Iran, https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/iran-says-ukrainian-plane-shot-down-due-to-human-error-after-it-flew-close-to-military-site-news-age-2162290.

Tragic! But it is good that Iran has admitted that it shot down the plane due to human error. I think the kin of those who died in this tragedy, and indeed even those who died, deserve at least this truth being known.

Prayers for the souls of those that died and for strength for their kin & friends to bear this grief.
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Poverty in India can be utterly horrifying! Now I have some decent idea about how tough life is for the very poor in rural Anantapur district (which is where Puttaparthi lies). Debt is inescapable for many rural Indian poor - and debt usually borrowed at high interest from informal money lenders (the banks won't loan them money).

The particularly difficult cases are of poor single mothers with children. I have great respect bordering on reverence for poor single mothers of rural India who struggle to somehow survive and raise their children. Theirs is a great tapas (penance)!

The lifeline for these poor in current times are the welfare programs from the government. But having all the paperwork to successfully qualify and getting the money regularly can be a big challenge. Very good to know that this lady (from Salem in Tamil Nadu, a state in South India) is now getting her monthly widow pension from the government.

Shared article: Salem: Widow sells her hair for Rs 150 to feed 3 kids, https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/salem/woman-sells-off-hair-for-rs-150-to-feed-her-three-children/articleshow/73179771.cms
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The damage that just war-like tension and not real war, between missile equipped nations, seems to have resulted in - an accident surely and not intentional, but something that would not have happened if there was no war-like tension.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pb7h0pTAO9U, 1 min. 44 secs.

The power of arms (destruction technology) today in 2020 is just horrendous. World War II horror would be nothing in comparison to what destruction could happen if a world war breaks out now. Fortunately, the current picture is that both the missile equipped nations which launched recent attacks against each other's people or bases, have stepped back.

And missile tech. today along with drones and satellite enabled guidance, seems to be so advanced that no country, I repeat, no country, no matter how powerful in arms and defense tech. it may be, can be sure that it can prevent significant damage to its land and people, if major war breaks out between nations that have reasonable levels of arms technology.

Anti-missile systems may not be all that good to take out each and every missile in a barrage of missiles. Some will hit their targets. That I think is the reality today, irrespective of whatever hype there may be of protective 'domes' against missile attacks.

And civilians will become 'collateral damage' in such wars!

My prayers to Almighty God for peace on earth. My prayers to Almighty God for Grace on the souls of those who died in this Ukrainian plane tragedy in Tehran as well as in the recent missile attacks between two countries, and for giving strength to the injured and to the kin and friends of those killed and injured to bear the pain and grief.
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Very interesting to see this slightly over 2 min video of Hon'ble President of India's visit to Lakshadweep (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lakshadweep - a group of Indian islands off the southwestern coast of mainland India). The natural beauty of the place seems awesome!
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Fascinating rendition of old Mohd. Rafi hit songs by Afghan singer Masih Raihan, Masih Raihan - Teri Galiyon Mein Na Rakheinge (Cover) OFFICIAL VIDEO, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oAE2bOB28k, 4 min. 38 secs., published in Jan. 2018.
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Aane Se Uske Aaye Bahar (I) | Mohammed Rafi | Jeene Ki Raah 1969 Songs | Jeetendra, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ode9h3g3xrE, 3 min. 39 secs.
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Hawas - Teri Galiyon Mein Na Rakheinge Kadam - Mohd Rafi, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0weRgdk8_do, 3 min. 41 secs.
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The Hindi film song title line goes:
Chalo ek baar phir se ajnabi ban jayein hum dono
"Come, let us both become strangers again!"

It is from the movie Gumrah (1963) and the lyrics were composed by Sahir Ludhianvi.

A terrific set of lines in the song:
Woh afsaana jissey anjaam tak laana na ho mumkin
Ussey ek khoobsurat moud de ker chodna acha

English: "That romance/story which cannot be taken to fruition,
it is better to give it a beautiful twist and then leave it".

Video: https://www.facebook.com/TimelessIndianMelodies/videos/320029478861516/?t=0
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The on-screen song: Chalo Ek Baar Phir Se Full Video Song | Gumrah | Sunil Dutt, Ashok Kumar, Mala Sinha |, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gI-xOdqagxo, 4 min. 37 secs.
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In Court, Convict's Mother Walked To Nirbhaya's Mother And Begged, https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/nirbhaya-delhi-gangrape-case-2012-in-court-convicts-mother-walked-to-nirbhayas-mother-and-begged-2160248
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There seems to be some possibility of some "curative petition" which may delay it further.

I think the earlier these horrific killers and rapists are hanged the better. Death to such horrific killers and rapists will act as some strong deterrent to future such horrific crimes in India. I think that is just the brutal reality.

I forced myself to read some of the details of what was done to Nirbhaya by these monsters - I can't share that here as it was really gruesome. They deserve no mercy because of what they did to her.

Shared article: Nirbhaya Convicts to be Hanged on 22 January; Leaders Hail Verdict, https://www.thequint.com/news/india/nirbhaya-case-convicts-plea-death-penalty
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Comparison of large area devastating fires in 2018 and 2019; 2019 Australia fires are the biggest!

https://www.statista.com/chart/20387/recent-wildfire-events-by-acreage-burned/
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The young Sikh was based in Malaysia though his native place is Pakistan. His brother said that one of the assailants called him from his brother's phone saying that they had killed him!

Tragic and terrifying! Prayers for his soul and for his family to have strength to bear this loss.

Shared article: Young Pakistani Sikh shopping for his wedding shot dead in Peshawar, https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/young-pakistan-sikh-shopping-for-his-wedding-shot-dead-in-peshawar/articleshow/73112775.cms
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Zindagi Pyar Ka Geet Hai | Padmini Kolhapure | Souten (1983) | Old Hindi Songs {HD} | Lata Mangeshkar, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9YGUkKphsg, 5 min. 10 secs
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(Australia) Bushfire emergency has claimed 1000 homes and razed an area the size of Belgium | 7.30, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vf5szLjTIy8, 33 min. 40 secs, published on 1st Jan. 2020 by ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Around 1 min. 10 secs, the host says, "While an area as big as Belgium has been reduced to ash"! My God! I am not able to process this either (like the almost half a billion animals perishing statement in a previous post I put up). I have lived in Belgium for over a year! It is a small sized country as compared to major countries in the world but still it covers significant area. That sized area in Australia "reduced to ash"!!! That is just mind-boggling!
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Nearly 500,000,000 animals have been killed in Australia’s wildfires, https://metro.co.uk/2020/01/02/nearly-500000000-animals-killed-australias-wildfires-11989639/, 2nd Jan. 2020.

The almost half a billion (480 million) figure of animals (mammals, birds & reptiles) killed is reportedly from the University of Sydney. 

I just can't process this 480 million figure in this context.

Apocalyptic is the only word that comes to my mind.

The article has pics that tell the story in a way that words simply can't.

I think the recent past California fires seem to have been much smaller in terms of area destroyed and animals killed, as compared to this (but I am not sure).
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The awesome & very scary fury of fire and heat wave in some parts of Australia captured in pics.
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Some parts of Australia are going through horrific distress due to heat wave. Great to see this koala's thirst being quenched by the cyclist.
Video: Thirsty Koala Stops Cyclists In Australia To Drink Water, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cdaNKWXv4M
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This farm girl from Gujarat, India, saw shot put videos on youtube on her cell phone and learned from that. She practised shot put on her farm in the mornings and evenings!

And now she was won the top spot in a state level shot put competition!

What an awesome inspirational and transformational force, videos on the Internet can be for rural folks in India, as such videos can be watched on low-cost smart phones with phone/Internet service rates being quite affordable in India today (thanks to market disrupter Reliance Jio)!
Gujarat: Self-taught Porbandar girl wins first prize in shot put, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/73063875.cms
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About the chiefs heading air force, army and navy of India
Shared post: Not Just NDA Mates, The Three Service Chiefs Also Have an IAF Link, https://www.thequint.com/news/india/not-just-nda-mates-the-three-service-chiefs-also-have-an-iaf-link
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Good to see this. Indian armed forces personnel, irrespective of grade, should not get involved with Indian politics while they are in the armed forces. After they retire then if they want they can enter politics (like is the case with a few current Indian political leaders).

As a resident and citizen of India, I wish Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat all the very best for his new responsibilities.
Shared article: ‘We Keep Ourselves Away From Politics’: Rawat Takes Charge as CDS, https://www.thequint.com/news/india/general-bipin-rawat-takes-charge-as-the-chief-of-defence-staff
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