Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Nepal Tragedy - Rescue teams short of tools, hands in Nepal


Rescue teams short of tools, hands in Nepal 

Jayant Sriram

 A woman and her child, who were injured in Saturday’s
earthquake, being treated at a hospital in Nepal on Monday. 
A woman and her child, who were injured in Saturday’s earthquake, being treated at a hospital in Nepal on Monday.

The death toll in Saturday’s earthquake in Nepal soared past 4,000 on Monday even as rumours persist that another major earthquake is imminent. About 6,500 people have been injured in the 7.9 magnitude temblor.
Rains and a powerful aftershock late in the night sent a fresh wave of panic in the capital. Thousands of tourists and locals are desperately searching for a way out of Kathmandu, where a roof over their heads and provisions are in short supply. 

During the day the incessant rain of the previous night abated, as the capital took stock of the damage and stepped up relief operations. As of 2 p.m. the death toll in the capital stood at 1302. 

Going around the city there seemed no obvious logic as to why some houses survived the massive earthquake on Saturday and the aftershocks on Sunday, while others crumbled. In a narrow lane in Thamel for example, a six-storey building called the Budget Hotel came crashing down even as those around, many even older, stayed intact. A team of Nepali armed police force (APF) oversees the rescue mission and it says that five dead bodies, including that of one Indian woman, were retrieved while miraculously, an Iranian man was pulled out alive after a day and a half. 

Searching among the rubble for any sign of his bags or documents, Simon, a French tourist, says he was sleeping on the 6th floor the morning the hotel collapsed but had gone sightseeing at the now destroyed Basantapur Durbar square. “Monuments were falling all around us and I jumped under a police truck. When I came back here I was shocked to see the entire building collapsed. I escaped with my life twice,” he says. 

Complex operations

In the nearby Gangobu area, APF teams mount complex rescue operations but are hamstrung by a lack of equipment and manpower. 

In one five-storey house, three officers are trying to extract two bodies trapped between the beams inside. “We only have a chainsaw. If we cut the beams then the whole house may collapse,” a commanding officer explains. 

They need cranes and cables but such equipment is in short supply. 

Locals pitch in with bare hands 

The Nepali armed police force (APF), a commanding officer explains, has only 550 officers who are trained in disaster management. The rest provide support to them however they can. 

In a fallen structure in Gangobu, a team of neighbourhood locals have mounted an operation using just their bare hands and some helmets borrowed from the APF. It was too long to wait for the official forces so something had to be done. 

The bodies, when they come out, are sent to the already overflowing teaching hospital from where most are swiftly dispatched to crematoriums. 

Many of the people who live in areas like Gangobu and Thamel explain that the major destruction has taken place in the villages outside the city, where they have families. “About 95 per cent of the homes there have been destroyed. And everyone says not to go there as the roads are also cracked,” says Madhav Pokhril, a 24-year-old school teacher. As Kathmandu slowly puts itself back together, the focus will now be on the villages close to the epicentre. 

(Courtesy: The Hindu dated 28th April 2015) 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Massive Earthquake in Nepal; over 1500 killed


 1,500 killed in Nepal quake 

Damakant Jayshi People sit with their belongings outside a damaged temple in Bashantapur
Durbar Square after the earthquake hit Kathmandu on Saturday. 

 The Dharahara Tower, in the heart of the capital and built in 1832, collapsed, trapping people.

A massive earthquake of 7.9 magnitude on the Richter scale and a series of aftershocks hit several parts of Nepal on Saturday morning, leaving over 1,500 people dead and many others injured. Roads and buildings, many of them historic landmarks such as the Dharahara Tower in Kathmandu, were destroyed.
The government said 1,500 bodies had been recovered. An equal number of people are said to be injured. The death toll is mounting and rescue operations have proved difficult given the mountainous terrain. A clearer estimate of casualties and damage could take days. 

The U.S. Geological Survey said the epicentre was Lamjung district in western Nepal. The quake hit at 11.56 a.m. Nepal Standard Time (11.41 a.m. IST). 

People took shelter in open spaces, fields, the palace venue and schools. Many foreign tourists are stranded at Thamel. The residents of the capital are out on the streets. The government has opened the gates of the Singha Durbar for people to take shelter. 

Emergency meeting

The Cabinet held an emergency meeting and declared an emergency in the quake-hit areas. The most affected districts. besides the three districts of the capital, Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur, are Kavre Gorkha, Nuwakot and Makwanpur in central Nepal and Ramechhap, Okhaldhunga and Bhojpur in the east. Some 40 of the 75 districts have been affected. Tremors through the afternoon lasted as long as 45 seconds. The last strong tremor occurred around 3.15 p.m. local time (3 p.m. IST). 

The Dharahara Tower, in the heart of the capital and built in 1832, collapsed, trapping people. The Kalomochan temple at Thapathali was destroyed, as was the King Mahendra statue at Tripureshwar.

Massive earthquake in Nepal; over 1,500 killed

7.9 earthquake in Nepal; tremors felt across north India

A strong 7.9-magnitude earthquake shook Nepal's capital causing massive damage. Some tremors are reported to have lasted as much as 20 seconds.

(Courtesy: The Hindu) 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Sara Omar, grandma of US President Barack Obama performs Umrah

Obama’s grandma arrives for Umrah
Sara Omar, grandma of US President Barack Obama, has emphasized the significance of the Prophet Muhammad exhibition in Makkah and said it reflects the moderate teachings of Islam that calls for tolerance and rejects violence.


Sara has come to Makkah with her son Saeed Obama, uncle of President Obama and her grandson Mousa Obama to perform Umrah.

She commended the Saudi government’s efforts to expand the two holy mosques.
Sara and her family members visited the Prophet’s show, which is located in the Naseem district of Makkah, for two hours. “I am very happy to visit this exhibition, which is a good example for the propagation of Islam in a modern way, supported by scientific and authentic documents.”

Obama’s grandma also expressed hope that the exhibition would visit other countries with the support of the Saudi government in order to remove the misunderstandings about the divine religion

(Courtesy: Arab News) 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Alas Manegar Khaleelur Rahman saheb is no more.

 Today, Tuesday, 21st April 2015, at about 4 pm, Manegar Khaleelur Rahman saheb, President, Ahle Sunnat Wal  Jamaat, Ambur, passed away in sleep at Kellys in Chennai  Perhaps neither he experienced any pain nor gave any pain to others. Khatima bilkhair - a very peaceful departure. He was aged 76 years. Inna lillahi wa inna ilahi rajiwoon.    

                    President, Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, Ambur Manegar khaleelur Rahman saheb
His body was kept at the house of his brother-in-law K. Abdur Rahmanr saheb. Quite a large number of people gathered there to have his "deedar". After " maghrib" prayers his body was taken to Ambur. Insha Allah his burial will take place tomorrow i.e. Wednesday, 22nd April 2015 after Zuhar prayers at the "Qabristan" of Jama Masjid, Ambur.

He was undoubtedly an administrator par excellence. He moved with all sections of the  people. He was easily available to all. One feels that he was the ambassador of the community. His simple and diplomatic approach was appealing to all people.

While studying at Mazharul Uloom High School at Ambur, he showed interest in Badminton and tennikoit, participated in matches and brought laurels to the school. Once he was elected as a SPL (School Pupil Leader) and discharged his duties well. The late Headmaster Janab N.M. Yahya saheb had all appreciation for him. He was a social activist in his own way till he breathed his last.

 The Muslim community of Ambur has lost their Manegar who was close to them, Indeed I have lost a good friend .May his soul rest in peace and may Allah give his family the required forbearance to bear this irreparable loss. Let us all pray for his "maghfirat".

We express our heart felt condolences to the members of his bereaved family.

 V. M. Khaleelur Rahman

Friday, April 17, 2015

TCS will pay employees a special onetime bonus


 TCS annual revenues up 15.7%

  Ramnath Subbu
The company’s revenue for the period rose 12.4 per cent at Rs 24,220 crore.
The company’s revenue for the period rose 12.4 per cent at Rs 24,220 crore.

 A special one-time bonus for its employees caused the fourth quarter net profit of India’s top software services exporter Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to fall about 30 per cent. Not counting that, it managed to increase net profit by 7.7 per cent to Rs 5,773 crore, in an environment of strong currency volatility.
The company’s revenue for the period rose 12.4 per cent at Rs 24,220 crore. 

TCS’ operating profit for the period was up 2 per cent at Rs 6,439 crore while operating margin declined by 271 basis points at 26.6 per cent. The net profit margin was down 103 basis points at 23.8 per cent. The figures are post the bonus adjustment. 

“In what is traditionally a weak quarter, TCS has reported exceptionally good results with an incredible performance,” N. Chandrasekaran, MD & CEO, TCS told a press conference. “While our revenues were a tad below expectations of the street, our bottomline, profits and margins were above estimates.”
Mr. Chandrasekaran pointed out that the company was vindicated in its earlier flagging of the major headwinds it had expected to face during the period. “The headwinds were the energy sector due to oil, the volatility in the telecom sector and our Diligenta’s insurance platform.” 

Growth leadership
For the year, TCS reported a 14.3 per cent growth in net profit at Rs.21,912 crore (excluding one-time special employee reward) with a 15.7 per cent growth in revenues at Rs.94,648 crore. Operating profit was up 6.3 per cent at Rs.25,311 crore with operating margin down 235 basis points at 26.7 per cent. The company declared a total dividend of Rs.79 per share including proposed Rs.24 as final dividend. 

TCS CEO said that barring the three headwinds, the deal momentum and pipeline were very good. “TCS is playing a leading role in the ongoing revolution, helping clients navigate and leverage digital to help growth their businesses. We are very well placed for the future and on our digital platform, cloud did exceptionally well with revenues of $125 million and growing at 55 per cent.” 

Mr. Chandrasekaran also said other than cloud, neural science and machine learning (self learning software) were huge initiatives for the company. “The initial pilots were successful and we will announce a big initiative in the next few months.” 

Ajoyendra Mukherjee, EVP, Head, Global HR, TCS, said that during 2014-15, the company integrated over 67,000 professionals. “We have made 25,000 offers on campus and they will join us in the second quarter.”
The gross addition during the year was 67,123 associates and closing headcount was 3.20 lakh. On prospects in the current year, Mr. Chandrasekaran said in terms of deal size, order book and client sentiment, “all look positive. We have laid a strong foundation for growth in 2015-16. Our investments in platforms, digital and automation are gaining traction with clients and together with our market investments in USA, Europe and Japan, we are upbeat that the coming quarters will bring more opportunities to partner with customers across multiple industries.” 

One-time Bonus to mark 10th anniversary of IPO
TCS said it will pay employees a special one-time bonus to mark the 10th anniversary of the company’s initial public offering in 2004. Employees who have completed at least a year of service are eligible for the special bonus payment and will be given a reward equivalent to a week’s salary for every year of service completed at TCS. The total consideration for this exercise is Rs 2,628 crore. 

 (Courtesy: The Hindu dated 17th April 2015) 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Alas Nagore Haneefa is no more..Inna lillahi...........


Noted singer Nagore E,M. Hanifa, whose stentorian voice transcended religious lines, died here on Wednesday. He was 97 and is survived by two sons and four daughters. 

DMK leader M. Karunanidhi, along with party treasurer M.K. Stalin, visited his home in Chennai and paid their last respects. “Our leader broke down as he was a close friend since the inception of the DMK,” said Mr. Stalin. 

Hanifa’s voice used to be a powerful draw in DMK meetings and rallies and party cadres roared in excitement when he sang ‘Odi varukiran Udayasooriyan and Kallakudikonda Karunanidhi Vaazhgavey’ and plunged into silence when he used his baritone voice to sing ‘Yengey sentrai yengey sentrai’ to narrate the death of DMK founder C.N. Annadurai. 

He lent his voice for a few films including Paava Mannippu in which he sang the song "Yellorum Kondaduvom" along with T.M.Soundararajan, ‘Un mathama’ in Raman Abdullah and also in Sembaruthi. His song Iraivanidam Kaiyenthungal continues to enchant many . 

Born in Ramanathapuram, he settled in Nagore in the composite Thanjavur known for its famous Dargah and as a symbol of religious harmony. 

“Hanifa was faithful to his religious beliefs. He was a household name and propagated the ideals of Islam through his songs,” said Iraianban Kuthoos, DMK’s platform singer. 

Nagore Hanifa was the DMK candidate for the Vaniyambadi by-election in 2002, but he could not win the seat. 

(Courtesy: The Hindu dated 9th April 2015) 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Leather market is slow and prices down - April 2015


V. M. Khaleelur Rahman

Chennai leather market is slow and prices of tanned and wet blue goat and sheep skins are lower. Even the regular buyers who are mostly manufacturers and exporters of leather products have slowed down their purchases. Prices of raw hides and skins are also considerably lower in raw centres throughout the country. 

Mr. M. Rafeeque Ahmed, President, All India Skin and Hide Tanners and Merchants Association has said that the Maharashtra government’s decision to ban beef will affect the leather sector in Tamil Nadu which sources 40 per cent of hides produced in Maharashtra.
Foreign enquiries are limited for all kinds of leather. There is a general feeling in the trade circle that the present market is a “difficult one”.

As far as tanned goat skins are concerned, there is no report of any big translations. Some tanners have sold their 4/6 sq. ft. Suede at around Rs.46 and 5/8 sq. ft. Suede at around Rs.48 per sq. ft. whereas A Lining in the same sizes have been sold at around Rs.47 and 49 per sq. ft. respectively. There is more demand for Lining and less demand for Suede. Rejection and Langda are sold at around Rs.30 and 25 per sq. ft. Many big tanners are having stocks of tanned goat and sheep skins for disposal in the market. But they say that “right prices” are not coming. Almost same is the case in wet blue goat and sheep skins.
As regards overseas business, some patchy business is taking place in goat and sheep upper, suede and lining leathers at reduced prices depending on the quality and selection. But most of the importers of Europe, U.K. and Japan do not seem to be operating here. 

Some exporters have sold their finished leathers at around the following prices:

3/5 and 4/7 sq. ft.: Upper, ABC US$2.30, Suede US$2.00 and Lining TR1/2/3 US$1.45 per sq. ft. C&F. 

Latest Quotations of exporters are as follows:  

                                S/C OR F/C GOAT LEATHERS
Size/sq. ft.
Price US$ per sq. ft. C&F
Goat upper leather
3/5 / 4/7
0.6/0.8 mm
Goat milled leather
0.6/0.8 mm
Goat suede leather
0.6/0.8 mm
All Suede
Goat lining leather

3/5 or 4/7
0.5/0.7 mm
0.6/0.8 mm
                                                     F/C SHEEP LEATHERS
Price US$ per sq. ft. C&F
Sheep upper leather
0.6/0.8 mm
Sheep Upper leather
0.8/1.00 mm
Sheep lining leather
0.5/0.7 mm
Sheep lining leather
0.6/0.8 mm

Demand for changes in exim policy. 

The general feeling in the trade circle is that the leather industry is passing through a difficult period due to the unfortunate effluent problems despite best efforts and high competition in the world leather market. While small tanners say that they are not able to carry on their export business as the existing norms for identification of finished leathers are very strict and controversial, some others are of the opinion that the high 15% duty levied at present on the export of E.I. tanned hides and skins (which are nothing but a sort of finished leather) should be abolished for the sake of their survival and earning more foreign exchange for the country. At the same time yet another section feel that the government cannot go back from its present progressive policy which encourages growth and export of leather products such as shoes, garments and leather goods and that all it can do is to make necessary changes in the exim policy in consultation with the Council for Leather Export and many other trade associations representing different sections of the trade and industry.