Actor, top model, TV phenomenon: At 60, Amitabh Bachchan is finally the Grand Old Brand

first_imgAT EASE: Bachchan on a Sandeep Khosla-Abu Jani bed at the Bollywoodat- Selfridges festival in LondonLet’s hit it.” As he steps out of his $5,000-a-day suite at the discreetly expensive Prince Maurice Hotel in Mauritius, Amitabh Bachchan is ready for his close-up. “Chup (be quiet),” he says to a frog,AT EASE: Bachchan on a Sandeep Khosla-Abu Jani bed at the Bollywoodat- Selfridges festival in LondonLet’s hit it.” As he steps out of his $5,000-a-day suite at the discreetly expensive Prince Maurice Hotel in Mauritius, Amitabh Bachchan is ready for his close-up. “Chup (be quiet),” he says to a frog croaking in the pool nearby as he primes himself for the camera.He pats his coloured hair, examines himself in the mirror and puts drops in his tired eyes. “Make me look 22 again,” he says as he offers to change into a violently coloured Versace shirt. Offer not taken, he sulks, rejecting one photograph in a red shirt with pockets big enough to fit in Africa. “I look like a Mumbai taxi driver,” he says scornfully to the photographer. That’s until she shows him a black and white polaroid. “Mind-blowing,” he exclaims.At 60, that pretty much describes the phenomenon that’s Amitabh Bachchan. Like the boy in the bubble, he has built a force field around him. Even if he’s changing his shirt for a shoot in the middle of a hotel lobby or eating a quiet dinner by himself in a noisy restaurant at Port Louis’ Domaine Les Pailles, no one dares to cross the invisible barrier.Not even metaphorically. Ask friend of 29 years Ramesh Sippy, who directed him so memorably in Sholay and Shakti. “Getting too close to him was not possible. He would laugh, joke and party sometimes, but he never gave too much of himself. He has a very sparing nature,” says Sippy.Yet, when imperative, Bachchan can switch on the charm, waving the fly from your face, posing with your child or even discussing the finer points of his favourite sport, table tennis.A Grand Old Brand, he’s in complete control of an image that cuts across several media: films, television, advertising. He’s the face of ICICI, Pepsi and Versa at about Rs 2.5 crore a year each; the essence of Amitabh B, a perfume by Lomani; the actor who’s priced at Rs 2.5 crore in each of the 10 films under production (in his heyday, he didn’t charge more than Rs 30 lakh); and the chatty host who makes Rs 30 lakh with each episode of Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC).advertisementPRIVATE PERSON: Abhishek, Amitabh, Shweta and Jaya at Prateeksha, their Mumbai home since 1976The programme that changed the face of Indian TV, KBC reinvented Bachchan, allowing an adoring audience to forgive him the ghastly Mrityudaata clones. As Star CEO Peter Mukerjea puts it, “After a lean phase, he again represented stature, solidity, flair and style.” At four nights a week over a year, he did the equivalent of 50 movies. The suitable boy who went slumming had become the sophisticate in a suit again.In his 33-year career, Bachchan has traversed emotions and generations. Even when he was supposedly weighed under his angry young man albatross, he played intense lovers and loveable madcaps. Now as he ages, Generation Next is ready to write roles for him.Whether it’s Aditya Chopra, whom he remembers as a two-year-old in a Superman costume at his son’s birthday party, or Farhan Akhtar, whose father Javed co-wrote his iconic roles, he’s responded in the fashion he knows best. Read the script, learn your lines, report to the sets on time. Work if needed from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Contribute to the script whenever possible. Just don’t mess with his shoes, even if they are white – he brings his own to the party.So how does he keep up with himself ? “Most humans use only 30 per cent of their potential intelligence. I’d like to try to use at least 35-40 per cent,” he says.That’s also about the extent of physical ability he was left with after his accident on the sets of Manmohan Desai’s Coolie. “I’d forgotten how to walk,” he recalls after his three-month stay at the ICU. It took him three months of intensive therapy at the Tania farm in Mehrauli, Delhi, to get back on his feet.A year later, when he was going up the stairs of his hotel room in Mysore, his legs refused to carry him. “I could not swallow liquid. I would comb my hair and my hand would fall off,” he says, a faraway look in the eyes whose irises are now rimmed with grey. “It happens with age.”Later, at Diwali, a firecracker exploded in his left hand, which had to be restructured from the wrist up. “It took a month of exercises before my fingers could touch each other. The blood you see in Sharaabi when the glass breaks in my hand is mine.”advertisementAs if that were not enough, he occasionally sees a bright flash in his right eye. Doctors have diagnosed it as a gap between the retina and the cornea – it can’t be treated.Baby AbyHis battles with ill-health have added to his iconic status, as a man with his back constantly up against a wall. His “younger brother”, Amar Singh, the Samajwadi Party leader, calls it his tremendous capacity to bear pain.”He’s emotional and sensitive. The best thing about him is that he doesn’t disparage his critics,” says the man who first met him 20 years ago with journalist K. Srinivasan (he later became his secretary) at his Gulmohar Park office in Delhi. Bachchan returns the compliment. “People call Amar Singh a power broker. It’s rubbish.”Bachchan’s recent choice of friends has been controversial but he defends it stoutly. Sahara Shree, he says of Sahara Group Managing Worker Subrata Roy, is an exceptional man. “He’s younger to me but I consider him to be my elder brother.” Indicating the stones he wears on his fingers – an opal, two sapphires and an emerald – he says they were suggested to him by Roy’s astrologer.It’s a lifetime away from the preppy days at Nainital’s Sherwood College (his house was called Robin Hood) and Kirori Mal College in Delhi. His group would hang out at Volga, at Cellar, at Tabela and at La Boheme, which was “very dark and very cosy”.They’d bunk and watch movies at Regal and Shiela theatres. That’s where he continued to indulge his passion for theatre under the celebrated teacher Frank Thakurdas. It was a love he inherited from his mother, Tej Kaur Suri. She was very active on stage, even having played Anarkali in Allahabad.But one experience didn’t bode well for his future choice of career: he muffed up a line when playing Zeus in Benn W. Levy’s The Rape of the Belt at Miranda House. His mother was watching. “It was hell,” he groans.His Kolkata days were more of the same. “It’s a very indecisive period in any man’s life. You are not qualified for anything in particular and you are getting to the age where it is expected of you to provide for your parents,” he says.After All India Radio rejected him as an announcer, he joined Bird and Co, a managing agency, at Rs 500 a month, and later moved to Blacker and Co, a freight brokerage firm. He loved it even though he shifted 25 times in five-and-a-half years.STAR ON SCREEN: The ascent of AmitabhClick here to EnlargeHe would act on stage at the Amateurs Club and Dramatic Club. He would sneak into concerts by greats like Bismillah Khan which would go on till six in the morning, go pandal-hopping during Durga Puja, take the tram. He and his friends would eat out at Skyroom, Firpo’s, Blue Fox, Prince’s at Grand. Any girlfriends? “Oh, eight or nine of them. Remember, we were all in a big group.”Younger brother Ajitabh, who worked at Shaw Wallace, took his pictures outside the Victoria Memorial in Kolkata and sent them to the Filmfare Madhuri Talent Contest. He was rejected. Disheartened, he quit and went back to Delhi. Nargis, his mother’s friend (they volunteered together at the United Military Camp), arranged his screen test with actor Mohan Saigal. He never got the result, but his brother’s friend Nina Singh told him about how K.A. Abbas was looking for a new face for Saat Hindustani. That was 1969. Bachchan was past the first hurdle.In Anand, he cleared the second. He left his Andheri home one Friday morning, just another struggling nobody in Mumbai. By evening, on his way back, he was a somebody. Yet he still wasn’t a star. Producer-actor Romesh Sharma remembers playing cricket in the compound of his apartment block.advertisementKabir and Protima Bedi would drop by, so would Tiger and Sharmila Pataudi. Says Sharma: “Every Sunday, we’d play cricket with the drinks trolley at square leg. We’d have potluck, drive to the beach, go water-skiing, see a film. All of us had lots of time.”Real stardom came with Prakash Mehra’s Zanjeer. Bachchan had become a minor constellation. Marriage to co-star Jaya Bachchan followed. Deewar, Sholay and Amar Akbar Anthony established his talent.The busy period took a toll on his family life. He would leave at 6 a.m. and return at 2 in the morning again. Rumours blazed about relationships as he did three shifts a day. Something had to give. It did. In 1982, Puneet Issar knocked him down on the sets of Coolie and Bachchan was out for six months.On August 2, he was declared technically dead. Going against doctor’s orders, he went back to work in January 1983. Despite being afflicted with myasthenia gravis (muscular dystrophy) a year later, he continued working until a phone call from childhood chum Rajiv Gandhi changed his destiny.STAGE PLIGHT: Bachchan (extreme right), playing Zeus in The Rape of the Belt, forgot his lines as his mother watchedHe and Ajitabh hired key Rajiv aide Arun Singh’s farm in Mehrauli, while he worked from 2 Motilal Nehru Marg (Rajiv’s office previously). He denies it, but Bachchan wielded enormous power at the time. The savvy star had become a naive politician-on-the-make.Arun Nehru, who was responsible for the Draft Amitabh strategy – he wanted to tie down Hemvati Nandan Bahugana in Allahabad – says he overstayed his welcome. “We used Bachchan to defeat Bahugana, but expected him to go back to Bollywood. Mrs Gandhi had warned Rajiv when he wanted Nargis’ Rajya Sabha seat to be given to Amitabh: ‘Don’t mix your friendship with politics. Let him stick to acting’.”Power brought enormous complications. He had to send his children, then studying at Modern School, Delhi, to a boarding school. “Each time I went to their school there would be immense security. My children would be embarrassed. I would be embarrassed. My brother was moving to Switzerland. His four girls and my two children had never been apart. They too went to study at Aiglon,” he says.That was the least of his problems. The accusations about the Hindujas stuck and put him squarely in the public eye. Arun Nehru blames the easy access Bachchan had to Rajiv and Sonia: “Anyone with a problem, howsoever small and irrelevant, would go to Bachchan. He would go to Rajiv.”But Bachchan was determined to fight the Bofors allegations by Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter and India Abroad. He won both the cases giving his cinematic streetfighter a kernel of truth. “When I had the accident, I had this stupid notion that though I had come in a stretcher I would walk out on my feet. So every night, while everyone slept, I would walk the 4-5 ft to the door. It would take a lifetime. But I’d do it,” he says.He returned to the movies briefly but not for long. In 1992, he moved from tapori to tycoon, starting TV Asia in the UK with Pakistani film producer Faisal Shajan and family lawyer Sarosh Zaiwala.Ask him how much he invested in the company that was meant to cater to the entertainment needs of the Indian diaspora and he turns evasive. “It was my brother’s. I ran TV Asia in the US,” he says, before adding hastily that he has sold his shares there too. He hasn’t given up his NRI status though.His experiment with Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Limited (ABCL, later renamed AB Corp) didn’t work either. When he returned to the movies, his cinematic judgement seemed to have been permanently impaired. “I was in dire straits after that. Then one day I woke up and asked myself, ‘what am I doing?’ So I went to Yash Chopra and told him I needed a job.”PERSONAL POLITICS: Bachchan addressing a rally in Allahabad in 1984Aditya Chopra’s Mohabbatein happened and Bachchan was back as a patriarch. While he was shooting for it, Star Plus convinced him to do KBC. For the children, he was Crorepati Uncle, not the man with the funny hairdo and knotted shirt they saw in TV movies. For their parents, he was still Vijay.But if he were master of reinvention alone, we’d call him the desi Madonna. Bachchan wields such a powerful influence because he is essentially a middle-class hero. Despite the stratospheric success, the Mont Blancs he collects, the Longines watches, super-rich friends like Vice-Chairman and MD of Reliance Industries Anil Ambani (“I can talk finance with him for hours”), he remains a thrifty householder.It’s clear in the way he’s taken charge of his personal finances. It’s also obvious in the loyalty of his domestic staff. His first driver, Nagesh, who was employed by him in 1970 still works for him, as does his make-up man of 25 years, Deepak Sawant, and his Man Friday and travelling companion of 20 years, Praveen Jain.It’s obvious in his selection of toys too – his Nikon is a trusty old companion, even if it hasn’t accompanied him for some time. His music system which he maintains himself (“I like it tuned just right”) is a Sony. So is his laptop, on which he communicates with friends and family: “These are destructive habits. There’s a new model every year. You can’t keep pace.”The wilder days are behind him, though he can surprise people with his quirky sense of humour. As on the sets of Honey Irani’s Armaan in Mauritius. Whether it’s virtually stripping its unfortunate assistant director Anshul Pandey who’s got a tattoo of his Kaalia character on his back or flinging down a file and declaring pack-up in mock anger, Bachchan’s temperament often dances ahead of more even natures.Ask London-based film critic Jessica Hines, who has been working on his biography for seven years: “What he has to saysurvives on medication and diet control. Life for him is tenuous. He works out in the gym for an hour every day. “I don’t want to be Mr Samson,” he says, “but I have to keep my body flexible. Otherwise, it won’t bend.” depends entirely on his mood, the other people in the room, what role he is about to play,” she says. Not everyone feels that way, of course. Ambani has known him since 1980. “I grew up watching and enjoying his films,” he says. “And now we share a close bond of respect, love -and affection.”Amitabh Bachchan with Samajwadi Party’s Amar SinghThe object of his affection shows no signs of retiring. Part of it may be insecurity. After the AB Corp debacle, neither BPL nor Mirinda came back to renew their contracts with him. His myasthenia gravis is in remission, and heHe works his mind too. He participates in every script, points out Yash Chopra, who says the history of Indian cinema cannot be written without him. So is he going to be another Dev Anand, cravat, hat and crazy grin? “Well, I’ll work as long as I’m given work,” he replies. If he doesn’t get it, he’s not above hustling for it. That’s Bachchan for you. Professional down to his white pants.last_img read more

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You WILL NOT believe how many goals the number 7s at United have scored…

first_imgAdvertisement AdvertisementFootball is vividly filled with a lot of symbolism and perhaps the most iconic kit symbol in world football is the prestigious Manchester United kit number 7. To begin with , names like ‘George Best’, ‘Bryan Robson’, ‘Eric Cantona’ , ‘David Beckham’, ‘Cristiano Ronaldo’ have represented United in this number 7 kit. The prominence and distinction of this kit have been aptly justified with the achievement’s of the above names and usually the expectation of being world class is set in stone when a player is even partly linked to the number 7 kit at Old Trafford. However , this number 7 kit has been let down time and time again after the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo who won 3 PL titles and 1 UEFA Champions League during his time in the number 7 kit.Image credits : SportwalkCristiano’s successor as the United no.7 was Michael Owen. The 2001 Ballon D’or winner was statistically the best no.7 among the ones that followed him. Owen was at the declining stage of his career but 5 goals for a United no.7 is still a embarrassing figure.Ecuadorian winger Antonio Valencia took over the number after Owen but found the net only once while wearing the number. Although Valencia has been an integral part of United always and currently wears no.25 , he hadn’t found much success wearing 7.A massive letdown was on the cards when the highly decorated Angel Di Maria joined the Red Devils in 2014. He was a world cup runner’s up , a La Liga winner and had a Champions League gold medal before his short stint with United took place. He ended up scoring 3 goals in a year and is a memory United fans wont want to hold on to.Memphis Depay was termed ‘The Next Ronaldo’ . He definitely wore the same jersey but failed to produce even an ounce of Ronaldo’s feats at United. His 2 season spell at United brought him 2 goals and that’s all about it .Alexis Sanchez was a big money buy during 2018 winter transfer window and he seems to have left his abilities at his former club Arsenal’s dressing room because so far he’s only found the net twice in 17 outings and it’s time the Old Trafford number 7 kit deserved better than CR7’s successors.last_img read more

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Pressure on Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho to deliver on investment

first_imgA year ago, the buzz around the Premier League was focused on the arrival in Manchester of Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho as managers of City and United.The buzz may have gone but the biggest question before the coming season remains whether two of the highest-profile managers in the world can deliver on all the hype surrounding them.The focus may have been on Manchester last season, but the title went to the capital and the run-in was a battle between two London clubs. Third-place City finished 15 points behind champions Chelsea, with Tottenham Hotspur in second place.Both Guardiola and Mourinho could argue that their first seasons were transitional campaigns. New faces had to settle in and the legacy players had to get used to the methods of their high-profile bosses.But after a close-season in which both managers have invested heavily in new players, United are now Mourinho’s team and City have been created by Guardiola. No excuses will be accepted by success-hungry fans – silverware is now expected.United, without a league title since 2013, certainly appear to have filled important gaps in their squad.Reuters PhotoRomelu Lukaku looks to be the physical presence with a goal-scoring pedigree needed to replace Zlatan Ibrahimovic in attack. Sweden’s Victor Lindelof looks the ideal partner for Eric Bailly in the centre of defence and Nemanja Matic is a proven asset on the defensive side of midfield duties.World-record signing Paul Pogba will be expected to finally deliver on his undoubted potential in a more attacking role, and while 19-year-old Marcus Rashford continues to excite as he develops.advertisementThe big question is whether Mourinho can forge a consistent starting side out of his squad after a year in which injuries hampered any attempt at continuity.City also look stronger on paper. Brazilian Ederson is believed to be the answer to their goalkeeping troubles and Portugal’s Bernardo Silva is a classy addition to the midfield.The full back position has been another problem area and Kyle Walker, signed from Spurs, is a clear upgrade at right back and France international Benjamin Mendy from Monaco an improvement on the opposite flank.CREATIVE TALENTSWith exciting Brazilian forward Gabriel Jesus now fit and ready, Guardiola has a second striking threat alongside Sergio Aguero to compliment the creative talents of Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane.In contrast, the London clubs have been relatively quiet in the transfer market, apparently adopting the approach of not trying to fix what isn’t broken.Reuters PhotoThere are question marks over Chelsea which may only be answered by the end of the transfer window.The squad is surprisingly small, given the number of players Chelsea have loaned out to other clubs, and the departure of Matic leaves manager Antonio Conte hoping France’s Tiemoue Bakayoko can quickly adapt after his arrival from Monaco.With Diego Costa widely reported to be leaving the club, the main striker is Alvaro Morata, brought from Real Madrid, and while he is an undoubted talent, he is untested in English football.Spurs are confident Kieran Trippier can replace Walker at right back, but while they have been strongly linked with Everton midfielder Ross Barkley they have yet to bring in any new faces.Manager Mauricio Pochettino has said he is looking for new players but, as Chelsea and Leicester showed in the past two campaigns, there are benefits to having a consistent line-up.Reuters PhotoArsenal’s biggest decision of the summer was opting to stick with manager Arsene Wenger and he has, so far, managed to keep Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil at the club.The Gunners showed signs of improvement at the end of last season and if they can keep that form – with new forward Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon giving them fresh firepower – their frustrated fans might enjoy an upturn in results after their worst finish in 21 years.Liverpool have brought in speedy Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah from AS Roma and Scotland full back Andy Robertson from Hull but have not made the kind of acquisitions that would transform their chances of a first title in the Premier League era.Indeed, the major transfer activity on Merseyside has been conducted by Everton, who hope their investments, along with the return of Wayne Rooney, can help them break into the top six.last_img read more

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Lean, mean pace machine: Virat Kohli poses with Mohammed Shami ahead of Nagpur ODI

first_img India Today Web Desk HyderabadMarch 3, 2019UPDATED: March 3, 2019 15:53 IST Virat Kohli on Mohammed Shami: Have never seen him so lean before. He has lost 5-6 kg (@iamVkohli Photo)HIGHLIGHTSMohammed Shami shone with the ball in India’s 6-wicket win over Australia on SaturdayVirat Kohli had heaped praise on Mohammed Shami after the fast bowler’s efforts in HyderabadHaving clinched a 1-0 lead, India take on Australia in the 2nd ODI in Nagpur on TuesdayIndia cricket team captain, Virat Kohli has posted a photograph of himself with fast bowler Mohammed Shami, whom he has described as “lean, mean pace machine” while posing with him at the Hyderabad airport on Sunday.Captain Kohli and his teammates left for Nagpur earlier in the day for the second ODI on Tuesday, March 5. India began the five-match ODi series against Australia with a six-wicket win in the first match in Hyderabad on Saturday.India’s win was set up by their bowling attack and the middle-order duo of MS Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav. While Mohammed Shami and Kuldeep Yadav shone with the ball, picking up two wickets each, Dhoni and Jadhav stitched an unbeaten 141-run stand for the fifth wicket to help India gun down a 237-run target with 10 balls to spare.Notably, Kohli had heaped praise on Shami after the pacer picked up the crucial wickets of well-set batsmen, Glenn Maxwell (40) and debutant Ashton Turner (21) in a span of two overs in the 1st ODI. Shami troubled the Australian batsmen with the new ball and came back to masterfully execute his old-ball skills on Saturday.Nagpur next. With the lean mean pace machine @MdShami11 pic.twitter.com/LoQP1OtKYdVirat Kohli (@imVkohli) March 3, 2019Lauding Shami’s fitness and the hunger to excel across formats, Kohli said: “The way Shami has come back into the white-ball set-up after his Test performances, have never seen him so lean before. He has lost 5-6 kg. He’s running in and bowling so well.advertisement”The lines and length he’s bowling; got Maxi on 40-odd out with a beautiful ball. He has the wicket-taking ability and he’s hungry for wickets. Heading into the WC, it’s a great sign for team India. If he can stay hungry like this and look for wickets and he has the ability to back it up with Bumrah and Kuldeep, it’s gonna be great to stand in the field and watch.”After impressing with the red ball in India’s overseas tours during the 2018-19 season, Shami made a splendid comeback to limited-overs cricket in the lead up to the World Cup. Shami had picked up five wickets in India’s 2-1 ODI series win in Australia earlier this year and topped the bowling charts for India in their ODI series victory in New Zealand with nine wickets in four matches.The Bengal fast bowler has seemingly sealed a spot in India squad for the World Cup, starting May 30 in England and Wales. Given his recent performances with both the new and the old ball, it may not be surprising if he is chosen as the second pacer ahead of Bhuvneshwar Kumar at the quadrennial showpiece event.Bhuvneshwar, who has been rested for the first three ODIs of the ongoing series vs Australia, will return to the final two ODIs.Also Read | Chris Gayle on world record in England ODIs: Fantastic to hit 39 sixes aged 39Also Read | Play and thrash Pakistan in World Cup, says Haryana sports ministerAlso Read | I don’t fear anything when MS Dhoni is around: Kedar JadhavAlso See:For sports news, updates, live scores and cricket fixtures, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for Sports news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byAkshay Ramesh Tags :Follow India vs AustraliaFollow Virat KohliFollow Mohammed ShamiFollow India national cricket team Lean, mean pace machine: Virat Kohli poses with Mohammed Shami ahead of Nagpur ODIIndia vs Australia: Virat Kohli had heaped praise on Mohammed Shami after the pacer picked up the crucial wickets of Glenn Maxwell and Ashton Turner with the old ball in India’s six-wicket win in the 1st ODI in Hyderabad on Saturdayadvertisementlast_img read more

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Russia: Construction of World’s Largest …

first_imgzoom Baltiysky Zavod, a subsidiary of United Shipbuilding Corporation, yesterday held a keel laying ceremony for the new generation nuclear icebreaker of Project 22220. When finished, the icebreaker LK-60 will be the largest and most powerful icebreaker in the world with an approximate lifespan of 40 years.As Rosatom (Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation) reports, the icebreaker will have the length of 173.3 m, width – 34 m, designed draught – 10.5 m, minimum working draught – 8.55 m and a displacement of 33,540 t. The nuclear power installation will use a new integral reactor RITM-200 designed by ROSATOM’s Nizhniy Novgorod-based OKBM Afrikantov. It will be more reliable, economical (the core needs refueling once in seven years) and nearly twice smaller than existing reactors.By her technical characteristics, this state-of-the-art nuclear icebreaker is a double-draught ship capable of operating in both the Northern Sea Route lines and rivers of the Arctic region. Owing to a greater width (34 m) than the existing icebreakers (30 m), the LK-60 will be able alone to steer tankers of up to 70,000 tons displacement in the Arctic. It will be for the first time that an icebreaker capable of passing 3-meter thick ice has been built.The icebreaker detailed design was developed by CDB Aisberg in 2009. The new nuclear-propelled ship will differ from the previous generation of icebreakers in a special ballast system, which will allow her changing draught from the maximum to the minimum one over a certain period of time. Filling her ballast tanks with water, the nuclear icebreaker will “settle down” and raise the vessel while sailing in severe ice conditions.The construction of the icebreaker is scheduled to be completed in December 2017. 此页面无法正确加载 Google 地图。您是否拥有此网站?确定 November 6, 2013 Print  Close My locationlast_img read more

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Crowley Takes Over SeaFreight Agencies

first_imgzoom Crowley Maritime Corporation’s liner services and logistics groups have completed the acquisition of Miami-based SeaFreight Line, SeaFreight Agencies, and SeaPack, liner and logistics companies that serve the Caribbean and parts of Central and South America.“This acquisition represents a great opportunity for Crowley to grow its footprint and capabilities in the Caribbean Basin,” said Steve Collar, Crowley’s Senior Vice President and General Manager, International Liner Services.“SeaFreight offers about a 50-50 mix of markets that Crowley is currently in, as well as markets in which Crowley doesn’t currently participate. Bringing the company into the Crowley fold will allow us to better utilize assets in our current markets and to grow into new markets.”SeaFreight President Roland Malins-Smith said, “Many of us recognize that our industry is undergoing fundamental change which emphasizes the importance of scale and the wisdom of consolidation. In executing our agreement with Crowley, SeaFreight has chosen to work with a like-minded group which shares our commitment to service excellence, integrity and focus on the wider Caribbean. We believe that this move is in the best interest of our customers and our employees.”The newly combined services will provide comprehensive ocean freight and logistics services throughout the Caribbean Basin, covering nineteen islands in the eastern and western Caribbean, Central America, and the South America countries of Guyana and Suriname.last_img read more

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Theyre coming Flying cars may appear in urban skies by 2023

first_imgThe flying cars depicted in science fiction classics such as “Blade Runner” and “The Fifth Element” have long been seen as flights of fancy, but their arrival is closer than you think. At least a dozen companies are prototyping or testing flying cars or passenger drones, according to a Deloitte report from January.Air taxis will number 15,000 and become a global market worth $32 billion by 2035, with aerial delivery and inspection services adding on another $42 billion, a study by Porsche Consulting predicts.Vertical takeoff and landing craft (VTOLs) carry the promise of delivering people and goods across congested urban and suburban areas in a fraction of the time a driver would need, taking cars off the road in the process. But technological and regulatory hurdles remain. And whether aerial vehicles can substantially change commuter behaviour and emissions — or overcome questions of safety and public perception — is still up in the air.Most VTOLs — or eVTOLs if they are electric-powered — resemble an oversize drone, sporting a halo of small rotors around a passenger pod and taking off and touching down like a helicopter. But they will be quieter, cheaper and greener than their heli-cousins, experts say.“Instead of this deep, guttural, penetrating-through-walls sound, you have a much more acceptable sound, similar to a ceiling fan,” said Nikhil Goel, head of product at Uber Technology Inc.’s aviation team, dubbed Uber Elevate.Uber hopes to start hauling passengers in five-seat, hybrid VTOLs above Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth and a third city outside of the U.S. by 2023.“The vehicles are real. They’re coming. I think it’s going to be faster than anybody thinks is possible,” Goel said.He sees the first wave of aerial taxis providing a shuttle service between major airports and downtown vertiports that integrate into the mass transportation system, rather than leapfrogging from block to block — a hub-to-hub travel option akin to a monorail.“We are not building this product for the elite,” Goel said.A few years after the launch of Uber Air, as it’s dubbed, the cost of an aerial trip will be the same as one on the asphalt, he said.He calculates that an aerial taxi would cut a 90-kilometre commute between the downtowns of San Francisco and San Jose to 15 minutes, down from an hour and 40 minutes.Uber is not alone in setting its sights on VTOLs. Chinese drone manufacturer Ehang carried out flight tests with a single-passenger drone earlier this year, according to the company’s website. German startup Volocopter has produced an air taxi prototype, taking to the skies above Dubai in 2017. And Kitty Hawk, a California-based company funded by Google founder Larry Page, produced a sleek, one-seat VTOL prototype this year.Bell (formerly Bell Helicopter), is one of five companies Uber has teamed up with, along with Karem, Pipistrel and aerospace rivals Embraer and Boeing’s Aurora Flight Sciences.Scott Drennan, Bell’s vice-president of innovation, sees 2025 as a more realistic commercial launch target than Uber’s goal of 2023.Battery life is one area that needs to advance, with lithium-ion packs today lasting for between 50 and 100 kilometres on a multi-rotor electric propulsion system, he said.Regulations are another obstacle. To avoid crowding urban skies, VTOLs could trace existing airplane takeoff and landing routes, but at a lower altitude, buzzing along at between 150 and 330 km/h.Western aviation regulators bar out-of-sight drone operations for the most part. Discussions are ongoing with the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority and the European Aviation Safety Agency, said Drennan, who said he has also met three times with Transport Canada regarding VTOLs.Mark Cousin, chief executive of Airbus’s A3 unit, stressed the traffic management hurdles on the horizon.“The vehicle is the easy bit,” he said. “The real challenge lies in integrating thousands of these vehicles into an urban air mobility system within cities.”A3 has put out an electric-powered VTOL dubbed Vahana. The autonomous prototype launched its first vertical flight in February.Drones would typically beat other modes of transportation, such as taxis, at distances of 20 kilometres or more in congested areas, according to the Porsche study.The report notes the technology’s limited potential, stating that it can relieve some pressure from congested urban hot spots — “but only some.”“If one tried to solve all traffic problems on the ground by moving into the air, the myriad take-off and landing spots would become the new choke points.”A city with more than five million inhabitants will likely have no more than 1,000 passenger drones in operation by 2035, the study predicts. That would make a relatively small dent in ground traffic.Uber cited Los Angeles as an appealing launch city in part because of the abundance of flat roofs there — a long-standing fire safety regulation required helicopter landing pads atop tall buildings.“But they’re actually not that well suited, because it’s not just a pickup and drop-off point,” said Robin Lineberger, head of aerospace and defence at Deloitte.“It has to be a place where people come, get ready to get on the aircraft…the vehicle has to land, recharge, refuel, maybe light maintenance and inspection going on. If you think about it, it really needs to be a small, multi-function airport service area.”Large parking lots downtown are ripe for conversion into vertiports, complete with conveyor belts, charging stations and hangars, he said.Insurance would function in ways similar to a helicopter manufacturer or transport service, Lineberger said, with premiums hinging on the probability and severity of accidents.However, public perception will be an issue for the foreseeable future. Fewer than half of respondents in a Deloitte global survey of 10,000 people this year were convinced that aerial passenger vehicles would be safe, with one-third undecided and one in five disagreeing. Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Several informal meetings on Sri Lanka at UNHRC

Several informal meetings on Sri Lanka have been scheduled at the UN building in Geneva on the sidelines of the 30th session of the UN Human Rights Council which begins today.Leading human rights groups Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are among those who have booked meeting rooms at the UN office to hold discussions on Sri Lanka. The briefings are to be focus on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka. Already the United States has scheduled an informal meeting on Sri Lanka on Thursday at the UN Geneva building as it looks to gather support for a resolution backing the new Sri Lankan Government. (Colombo Gazette) The International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR), the Pasumai Thaayagam Foundation, the Society for Threatened Peoples and the Alliance Creative Community Project are the other Non-Governmental Organisations which have scheduled briefings on Sri Lanka. read more

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Commonwealth in final report says Sri Lanka polls democratic

More than 6,000 candidates from 21 political parties and 200 independent groups contested the 17 August election, which saw 225 members of parliament elected. The United National Party (UNP), which led the United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) coalition, increased its vote share and formed a government with the support of some members of the opposition United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA).Nine women were elected to Parliament, with just one nominated on the national list, meaning women make up only five percent of the total seats in Parliament.Just under 200 incidents of election-related violence were reported in the campaign period, including three deaths, grievous assaults, attacks on political party and candidate offices, and abductions, the Commonwealth observers note. (Colombo Gazette) Writing in the foreword to the report, the Chair of the Commonwealth Observer Group, former President of Malta Dr George Abela said: “Our overall assessment is that these 2015 Parliamentary elections fulfilled the key benchmarks for a democratic election and that the electoral process was on the whole transparent, peaceful and credible.” Commonwealth election observers, in their final report on the August 2015 Parliamentary elections in Sri Lanka, found that the election was democratic.The Commonwealth Secretariat today released the final report of the Commonwealth Observer Group to Sri Lanka’s 2015 Parliamentary Elections. Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma made the observers’ findings public after they were sent to the Government, Commissioner of Elections and political parties following the elections. Among the recommendations offered by the Observer Group is a call for measures that make it easier for women to enter politics at the national level and a proposal that Sri Lanka take a “zero-tolerance” approach to election violence. The Group also concluded that the Government should reconsider restrictions on campaigning methods as well as consider legislation on campaign finance.The report praises Sri Lanka’s Commissioner of Elections and his Office for “having maintained high standards of fairness” and the country’s police for enforcing the law and ensuring a peaceful election. read more

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Norwegian expert finds serious flaws in UmaOya project

A Norwegian expert has found serious flaws in the Uma-Oya project adding that a better comprehensive preliminary study could have prevented water ingress into the tunnel leading to a severe water dearth in some areas.President Maithripala Sirisena said that it is regrettable that series of problems have arisen during the implementation of the Uma-Oya Multi-purpose Development Project as the previous Government had hurriedly commenced the project without a proper study of the feasibility report and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Secretary to the Ministry of Mahaweli Development & Environment Mr. Udaya R. Seneviratne, the Project Director and the officials of the Norwegian Embassy participated on this occasion. (Colombo Gazette) The expert advised that it would be necessary to get special grout materials and machinery before remaining 4 and half Km of the tunnel is dug as a part of it is below the of residential areas.The expert was of the view that a better comprehensive preliminary study could have prevented the water ingress into the tunnel leading to a severe water dearth in some areas.The President requested the expert to provide a full report on how the leakage could be completely stopped and the reasons for not taking into the consideration the water  leakage in the previous reports. The mistakes have been done from the beginning and we are attempting to rectify them to ensure that the problems faced by the people  are solved and there would not be any issues in the future, the President said. President Sirisena made these remarks after the Norwegian expert submitted an interim report to the President at the President’s Official Residence in Colombo, today. The President further said that such mega scale projects should not undertake without proper studies. He also said that Uma Oya problems are lessons for the future to avoid such mistakes. President Sirisena said that the Government plans to obtain expert advice prior to implementation of the next project in which a 22 Km long tunnel is to be constructed. The expert, Bent Aagaard  said that the preliminary studies had not forecast the possibility of large water seepage in the tunnel and he further said that the machinery used for the project had not been capable of proper strengthening of the tunnel wall and seal them with strong grout materials.‘Excavation must be done by using suitable machinery on the tunnel wall and grouting all the leaks in the tunnel to ensure that there will be no seepage in the tunnel in the future,’ the Norwegian expert Bent Aagaard  said. He further said that the contractors had not been prepared for large scale water ingress in the tunnel. read more

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Guatemalas human rights record is worsening says UN mission

In its latest report, the UN Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA) said it was becoming disturbed by developments between July 2002 and June this year.MINUGUA says the worsening human rights situation is closely linked to the failure to advance on other aspects of the peace agreements in place in Guatemala since its long-running civil war ended in the 1990s.MINUGUA will continue to monitor the peace agreements until 31 December. In 12 months’ time it is due to withdraw and be replaced by a human rights field office run by the UN. read more

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Report More allegations of Zach Smith abuse emerge

Ohio State wide receivers coach Zach Smith talks to junior wide receiver Eric Glover-Williams prior to fall camp on Aug. 5. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports Editor.Courtney Smith, the ex-wife of former Ohio State assistant coach Zach Smith, reported violent acts performed against her to the Powell Police Department, including choking, physical abuse and death threats in October 2015, according to a report from the Columbus Dispatch. According to reporters Dean Narciso and Rita Price, Ohio State sent a lawyer to speak to Courtney Smith in her home in Powell and tried to convince her to drop the charges because, “it would embarrass OSU if she proceeded with the prosecution.” Ohio State spokesman Chris Davey told the Columbus Dispatch the university was unaware of any allegations made and would investigate. The Lantern reached out to Ohio State for comment, but did not receive a response at the time of publication. According to the reports acquired by the Dispatch, Courtney Smith reported multiple incidents of domestic violence against her, including events where, “the suspect choked her until she could not breathe” and Courtney Smith telling the police, “the suspect tells her all the time that he will kill her.” The report acquired by the Dispatch said Zach Smith’s actions against Courtney Smith stemmed from allegations she made against him that he was cheating on her with other women. Zach Smith was fired from Ohio State on July 23 after allegations were released against him for domestic violence against his ex-wife. read more

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Ipso launches new symbol in fight against fake news

first_img“That means Ipso, and that’s why I’m proud that so many of our member publications will proudly display our mark on their pages.”Most national newspapers are signed up to Ipso, a voluntary independent body not backed by the Government, which acts as a regulator with its own code of conduct.The problem of  “fake news” largely disseminated on the internet has become an increasing problem in recent times with the public unclear what is false and what is genuine. The big technology information companies Twitter, Facebook and Google have been accused of failing to crack down on the spread of ‘fake news’ on their platforms. A newspaper industry logo has been launched to reassure readers that they are being protected from ‘fake news’. The new symbol has been produced by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) to help the public in ensuring that what they read is genuine rather than ‘fake news’.Newspapers, websites and magazines signed up to Ipso, which includes the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Telegraph and telegraph.co.uk, will be able to use the logo as a guarantee to readers they are not being misled. The slogan that accompanies the symbol states: “For press freedom with responsibility”.Ipso said the new symbol was particularly useful at a time when the “public’s trust in journalism has been undermined because of the rise of ‘fake news’.”Matt Tee, Ipso chief executive, said: “I strongly believe that Ipso membership helps our publishers distinguish themselves from the unregulated, thereby demonstrating that they choose to hold themselves accountable to higher standards.” He said the mark and what it stood for could help organisations to overcome challenges currently facing the industry.Mr Tee said: “The newspaper and magazine industry faces a number of complex challenges over the short term and I firmly believe that one of the ways in which it can thrive and prosper is by its commitment to independent, effective regulation. Ipso has issued a new symbol to help people ensure what they are reading is not "fake news" center_img Ipso has issued a new symbol to help people ensure what they are reading is not “fake news” Credit: IPSO In last year’s US presidential election, Donald Trump used the term “fake news” to attempt to discredit the mainstream American media, which remains highly critical of him. But Mr Trump is accused of using ‘fake news’ himself to boost his own popularity and standing. Last week, he retweeted videos posted by Britain First, a far right extremist organisation, which purportedly showed a ‘Muslim migrant’ attacking a Dutch boy in a park in a town outside Amsterdam. Dutch newspapers later reported that there was no evidence the attacker was either a Muslim or an immigrant. ‘Fake news’ was also voted its phrase of the year by Collins Dictionary, which estimated that usage of the term had increased by 365 per cent since 2016. It is defined as “false, often sensational, information disseminated under the guise of news reporting”. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

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Kim Andersson joining HSV Hamburg

← Previous Story Niklas Ekberg close to joining THW Kiel Next Story → Flensburg wins “Unser Norden Cup” in Kiel anderssonHSV HamburgKim AnderssonTHW Kiel More speculations about the future of the free AG Kobenhavn players. Now it’s Kim Andersson. Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet reports that the Swedish star has had intensive contacts with the HSV Hamburg management in the past weeks. In HSV there’s only Marcin Lijewski who is 35 and Stefan Terzic who is 18 on that position, so the eventual arrival of Kim Andersson would mean much stronger HSV Hamburg side. He is also rumoured to join Paris HC, but the Paris side already has Hallgrimsson and Kopljar on that position.Andersson won the Silver Medal with Sweden at the Olympics 2012 in London.source: aftonbladet.se read more

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To Potami runs dry

first_imgSunday’s snap vote saw To Potami (The River) fall from would-be kingmaker to bit player, putting its political future in doubt.The centrist pro-market party won 4.09 percent, about 2 percent down on its previous result eight months ago, and far from the 10 percent target set by its leader, Stavros Theodorakis. In absolute numbers, it lost 151,780 votes compared to January’s elections. Potami was reduced to sixth place, behind neo-fascist Golden Dawn, the left-of-center PASOK socialists and the Greek Communist Party (KKE), as well as front runners SYRIZA and ND.Exploring the reasons behind the party’s poor performance reveals a mix of political circumstance, character, strategy and ideological credo. Some of the traits have plagued other liberal projects in recent years.PolarizationExtreme polarization – partly because opinion polls had pointed to a tight race between SYRIZA and New Democracy (ND) – no doubt stole a considerable chunk of votes away from Potami. Early exit poll data indicate that 17.2 percent of those who voted for the party in January defected to SYRIZA, while another (surprisingly smaller) 14.5 percent went to ND. Just over half of those who voted for Potami in January renewed their support. In the end, and much to the embarrassment of most pollsters, the leftist party of Alexis Tsipras went on to win the vote with a comfortable 7.5 percent margin.Potami’s purportedly pragmatic strategy to announce that in order to “save” the country it would be willing to join either a right-wing or left-wing government and serve as the balancing force did not seem to resonate with voters.“The deeply nonpartisan message ‘I can cooperate with ND and SYRIZA if it means preventing the country from being left without a government’ eventually backfired. ‘In that case,’ voters said, ‘why not give my vote straight to ND or SYRIZA?’ And this is what they did,” Potami candidate Petros Tatsopoulos said on Facebook. Perhaps more controversially, Tatsopoulos said the party should shed its pretentions of being the “virtuous loner” and seek to join forces with PASOK.PopulismFounded in February last year, Potami found itself slap-bang in the middle of a tectonic shift in the Greek political landscape caused by the devastating debt crisis. As the two mainstream parties PASOK and New Democracy lost their supremacy, smaller movements began mushrooming along the bailout fault-line, aligning themselves either for or against.But Potami positioned itself as a post-bailout and post-political movement firmly anchored in the European Union and the eurozone. It shunned the typical trappings of Greek politics. Instead of flag-waving rallies, its leader, a former TV journalist, opted for small town-hall meetings with a seated audience.Instead of creating a youth wing replete with chants and slogans, Theodorakis wandered around beaches passing out portable ashtrays to smokers and set up eco-friendly camping tents as campaign kiosks to attract disenchanted urban voters. He preached pragmatism, reason and common sense while calling for radical reform of the country’s dysfunctional public sector. Around him, he gathered a motley crew of academics, businessmen and nonpolitical individuals.Less than a year after its creation, Potami seemed to have succeeded where other liberal-leaning parties had failed after gaining 6.05 percent and 17 seats in Greece’s Parliament. But then things turned sour.The aversion to populism was key to the party’s failure, according to Stathis Kalyvas, professor of political science at Yale. Given Theodorakis’s visibility and popularity, Kalyvas says, the absence of populism meant that his appeal would find a limited market mostly consisting of intellectuals and intellectual professionals.“There are just not as many of them, especially in a time of crisis when downwardly mobile intellectuals tend to be particularly spiteful and hence not open to the serious and optimistic message of Potami,” Kalyvas said.However, its cerebral message was not Potami’s only impediment.In Parliament, with few exceptions, Potami MPs seemed muted and awkward. Despite its abhorrence of populism, the party’s most visible MPs, apart from a former general secretary of revenues, became a second-rate actor and a former travel show presenter – neither academics nor intellectuals. Its slick marketing was not accompanied by a clear political message. And Theodorakis himself lacked political gravitas, often giving the impression he was acting the part of a political leader, reading his lines in his smooth TV presenter’s voice.To make matters worse, Theodorakis’s dispassionate everyman was obliterated by the supernova of Alexis Tsipras, the youthful, magnetic leader of SYRIZA who was convinced – and convincing – that he was on a mission to save Greece and change Europe.“Even if Theodorakis had picked populism, the niche was already taken by the time he emerged, and SYRIZA had a first-mover advantage,” Kalyvas said.ElitismAlthough Theodorakis assumed responsibility for the poor electoral result, he did seem to claim the high ground, feeding allegations of elitism.“Maybe in times of crisis society is not in a position to make a cool assessment of the situation and to give its support to a party that represents reason and progress,” said Theodorakis, lending weight to critics bothered by the party’s alleged elitism and intellectual snobbery.Writing for the website Protagon in the wake of election day, liberal author and former Potami member Nikos Dimou too appeared to suggest that the root causes of defeat lay with the public, and not the product.“Everyone, even rivals, agreed [Potami] had the best officials. But that too was destroyed by this abhorrence of excellence. You put a man like [constitutional expert] Nikos Alivizatos in a prominent position? You’re asking for it. A party ruled by excellence and reason has no business in a Roman bazaar,” he wrote.NetworkMuch in keeping with its post-political profile, Potami decided to skip local party organizations across the country, a standard but costly tradition for Greece’s mainstream political parties. Instead, Potami relied for the most part on an Internet-based campaign that affected its influence – particularly in the Greek countryside.“In a low-turnout election, where MPs were elected according to their position on the lists of party candidates [rather than the ‘crosses,’ or votes, each received], campaigning is crucial. As a result, Potami’s presence was weak outside Athens,” said Spyros Kosmidis, a political expert at Oxford University.On top of that, Potami was damaged by low turnout among young voters, the party’s main reservoir of support.VanityNone of the liberal parties launched in Greece in the past 15 years – including the Liberals of Stefanos Manos, Drasi, Democratic Alliance and Dimiourgia Xana (Recreate Greece) has been able to break into the mainstream. Analysts tend to point out Greek liberals’ inability to communicate their message, to do single issue politics and get involved in the daily grind of Greek politics. Another reason is the vanity of small differences: Despite their similar platforms, parties are unwilling to compromise on basic issues, leaving the country without a meaningful center-left.It is happening again. As Potami’s licks its wounds, the once-dominant PASOK is waiting around the corner. A subtle overture from Socialist officials on Wednesday was turned down by Theodorakis, who said that the party would either “remain independent or break up.” He said he was not willing to see the party “become an appendage to New Democracy, PASOK or SYRIZA” and called a congress for the beginning of December, where members are expected to debate what went wrong during the election campaign.“I find it hard to believe that PASOK and Potami would join forces so long as Theodorakis remains in charge of the party. Timing will certainly play a key role in any future move,” Kosmidis said, adding two more critical factors: the identity of ND’s next leader and the trajectory of SYRIZA’s popularity.Purists certainly fear that a merger would pollute Potami beyond recognition. The recent election of Fofi Gennimata, an old-school PASOK apparatchik whose father was a senior party official, as the Socialist leader, has fed to skepticism. On the other hand, analysts say a collaboration would bring together the newcomers’ know-how and intellectual seriousness with the Socialists’ far-reaching network of local organizations.For Alexandra Patrikiou, an expert in political history, a merger would be a boon for the country’s fragmented center-left. But it also seems inevitable for Potami.“The absence of a clear political identity was not necessarily a handicap. It made the party more flexible and more adaptable, at a time when that was necessary,” Patrikiou said.“But this absence renders the party hostage to circumstance. It means that it will not be able to survive long-term unless it transforms itself into something different. Today’s strength will become tomorrow’s weakness,” she said.Source: Kathimerini Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

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Messenger découvre de la glace en abondance sur Mercure

first_imgMessenger découvre de la glace en abondance sur MercureDe nouvelles observations réalisées par la sonde Messenger montrent que la planète Mercure recèle bien de grandes quantités de glace ainsi que d’autres matériaux gelés et volatiles dans ses régions polaires. Mercure est peut-être la planète la plus proche du Soleil mais cela ne l’empêche pas d’abriter de la glace en abondance. Une hypothèse que les spécialistes avaient émise depuis longtemps mais qui n’avait jusqu’ici pas pu être vérifiée. En effet, la planète où la température moyenne est de 169 degrés, paraît être le dernier endroit où trouver de la glace. Néanmoins, Mercure présente une particularité : son axe de rotation est incliné seulement de un degré. Cela signifie que certaines zones aux pôles de la planète ne voient jamais le Soleil et donc que les températures y sont très froides.  Il y a plusieurs décennies, des spécialistes ont ainsi suggéré qu’il pouvait y avoir de la glace d’eau voire d’autres composés glacés dans ces fameuses zones. Une hypothèse confortée en 1991 lorsque le radiotélescope Arecibo à Porto Rico a détecté des plaques aux pôles de la planète. Mais un grand nombre de ces plaques correspondaient à l’emplacement de vastes cratères d’impact cartographiés par la sonde américaine Mariner 10 dans les années 1970. Or, dans la mesure où Mariner n’avait pu observer que 50% de la planète, les chercheurs manquaient d’un diagramme complet des pôles pour pouvoir comparer les images. Ceci ne confirmait donc pas pleinement l’hypothèse mais grâce à Messenger, c’est désormais chose faite.En effet, les observations réalisées par la sonde arrivée en 2011 autour de Mercure, ont confirmé la présence de glace et d’autres composés gelés aux pôles de la planète. Les images prises ont montré les fameuses plaques plus ou moins brillantes dans les zones sombres des régions polaires. Et les instruments à bord de la sonde, notamment un spectromètre à neutrons, ont eux, permis d’établir qu’il s’agissait bien d’eau. Ils ont également servi à mesurer précisément les volumes. Ainsi, les nouvelles données indiquent non seulement qu’il y a bien de la glace sur Mercure mais aussi que cette dernière représente le principal constituant des dépôts trouvés au pôle nord. De la glace enterrée sous un mystérieux matériau sombre “La glace d’eau se trouvant dans les régions polaires de Mercure atteindrait plus de trois kilomètres d’épaisseur si elle était étendue sur une superficie de la taille de Washington DC à savoir 117 kilomètres carrés”, a expliqué David Lawrence, scientifique de la mission Messenger à l’Université Johns Hopkins à Laurel. Les résultats montrent en outre que la glace est exposée à la surface des dépôts les plus froids, mais que celle-ci est enterrée sous un matériau particulièrement sombre dans la plupart des dépôts, où les températures sont un peu trop chaudes pour que la glace reste stable à la surface. “Nous estimons que selon les mesures effectuées avec le spectromètre, la glace se trouve sous une couche de 10 à 20 centimètres d’épaisseur d’un matériau sombre moins riche en hydrogène”, a ainsi précisé David Lawrence. En effet, ce sont les mesures de la concentration d’hydrogène qui ont permis d’évaluer les quantités d’eau gelée. “La couche enterrée présente une teneur en hydrogène régulière avec de la glace d’eau quasiment pure”, a ajouté le chercheur dont les travaux, ainsi que deux autres études, sont publiés dans Science. À lire aussiDes chercheurs auraient découvert l’origine de la mystérieuse lumière verte observée par la NASAQuant à l’origine du fameux matériau sombre, là-aussi, les chercheurs ont leur petite idée. “Ce matériau est probablement formé d’un mélange organique complexe apporté sur Mercure par des impacts de comètes et d’astéroïdes, les mêmes objets cosmiques qui ont sans doute apporté de l’eau sur la planète” ainsi noté David Paige, de l’Université de Californie à Los Angeles, auteur de l’une des deux autres études. Selon lui, le mélange aurait foncé avec le temps et l’exposition à de fortes radiations à la surface de Mercure. De nouvelles questions au sujet de Mercure “Ce matériau isolant et sombre est un nouveau pli pour l’histoire. Depuis plus de 20 ans, le jury a délibéré pour savoir si la planète la plus proche du Soleil abritait de la glace d’eau en abondance dans ces régions polaires ombragées en permanence. Messenger a maintenant fourni un verdict affirmatif et unanime”, a commenté Sean Solomon, principal investigateur de la mission de la sonde cité par la NASA. Néanmoins, ces observations soulèvent aussi de nouvelles questions. “Ce matériau sombre dans les dépôts polaires est-il principalement constitué de composés organiques ? Quel type de réactions chimiques ce matériau a t-il subi ? Existe t-il des régions sur ou à l’intérieur de Mercure qui abritent à la fois de l’eau liquide et des composés organiques ? C’est seulement en continuant l’exploration de Mercure que nous pouvons espérer faire des progrès sur ces nouvelles questions”, a conclu Sean Solomon. Le 30 novembre 2012 à 13:16 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

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Aussie cyclist needs skin graft after iPhone explodes

first_imgWhen you think about cycling injuries, cuts, scrapes, bruises — maybe even the odd sprain or fracture might come to mind. A severe burn requiring grafts probably isn’t on the list.That’s exactly what happened to 36-year old Australian Gareth Clear when he was out biking recently. Clear was enjoying a ride on the extensive network of paths at Manly Dam. It’s a gorgeous place to go for a ride — here’s a short clip so you can see for yourself:Clear’s recent ride wasn’t quite as enjoyable, however. It was cut short when the iPhone 6 he’d been using for the past six months suddenly started to burn right in his pocket.This particular incident doesn’t appear to have been caused by a shoddy third-party charger or cable, at least not directly. Clear’s comments about the incident seem to indicate that he fell on top of it, and presumably onto something hard that managed to penetrate the iPhone’s aluminum back cover and puncture the internal battery.“The phone did hit the ground, it didn’t spontaneously combust,” Clear said. Once the battery was damaged, the reaction quickly set his phone ablaze. It burned through his shorts and two layers of skin. Doctors at the Royal North Shore Hospital patched him back up, but Clear will spend the next week recovering at home. He’ll be tethered to an antibiotic drip to help ensure the burn doesn’t become infected.Apple has contacted Clear and said they’re going to investigate the incident. There could have been other contributing factors besides the damage sustained — and if there were faulty components inside Apple definitely wants to know about them.last_img read more

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Streetplays to promote cleanliness drive Swachhta Pakhwada

first_imgVisakhapatnam: With a view to encourage people to keep their surroundings clean, Gail India Limited organised a programme as part of ‘Swachhta Pakhwada’ on Saturday. Street-plays were presented at Narava, Jerripothulapalem and Sheela Nagar in the city. Members of Navarasa Theatre Arts Association educated the passers-by through various themes to keep the environment clean and the importance of maintaining dignity by using toilets.last_img

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Heavy rain in Kerala to continue for 4 more days death toll

first_imgView of a flooded area in northern Kochi, Kerala, on August 18, 2018.  (Photo by – / AFP) (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)Heavy rains have lashed out several parts of Kerala with at least four people reported dead. The Indian Meteorological Department has said that the rains will continue for four more days.The intense monsoon rains have dilapidated many areas, mostly in the coastal and high ranges. The IMD has also issued a red alert to Kasaragod and Idukki districts on Sunday. Orange and yellow alerts have also been issued in many districts due to the intense rains that have created a flood-like situation in the state.Strong winds with a speed of 40-50 kmph from Westerly direction are expected along the Kerala coast. “Sea condition will be rough to very rough. Fishermen are advised not to venture into the sea,” stated IMD.Around 835 people are living in 10 relief camps across Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Thrissur, Kozhikode, and Kannur districts.Four fishermen who went missing returned safely on Saturday morning. The fishermen had set out from Vizhinjam harbour in Kollam district on Wednesday. The coastal police are still conducting search operations for the Tamil Nadu fishermen whose boat capsized at Neendakara in the district.The Thiruvananthapuram district administration has restricted entry to the famous Shankumugham beach due to bad weather. Many houses have also been damaged in the coastal areas of the district.A minor landslide was reported from Konnathady village in Idukki district but no casualties were reported. Many of the dam shutters have been opened in the state. The shutters of Kallarkutty, Bhoothathankettu, Malankara and Pambla dams were opened to drain out excess water. More dams are expected to open on Sunday.Even as the monsoon intensifies across the state, the state is facing a 17 per cent rain deficit. The southern peninsula is currently facing a high monsoon rain deficit.last_img read more

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