Brazil eats, sleeps and drinks football. It lives football! ~ Pele
The World Cup fever is in full swing all over the globe. Soccer, called ‘football’ everywhere except in America, is one of most popular sports if you step outside America. Many European and South American countries including Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Italy, Uruguay and England have some of most fanatic soccer culture. Soccer is their favorite pastime, a part of their daily life.
And, every four years during the FIFA World Cup, the soccer mania is everywhere, even in America. It is the World Cup time… and boy, we love the World Cup soccer! During this season, even the America joins the FIFA World Cup fan club band wagon.
FIFA, Fédération Internationale de Football Association, is the international governing body of soccer. It organizes the World Cup. During early days, FIFA pushed for Soccer to be a part of Olympics, but without success. So, they started their own world competition repeating every four years, just like Olympics. Today World Cup is as popular as Olympics, if not more, in most parts of the world. The sport commands billions of audience during this competition.
2014 World Cup in Brazil is no exception. USA, along with other 200 plus other countries competed for one of only 32 slots available in the World Cup match-up. The most talented teams are in the field in Brazil, fighting for the top honor – to be the 2014 World Cup Champion.
In many countries, especially in South America and Europe, football (the soccer, as they call it in America) is a religion. Christiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Fernando Torres are worshiped like gods, more popular than the Hollywood stars. Continue reading “We love soccer….but only every four years!”
They say, time changes everything. Now, how fast or how slow? – It depends on the time or the force of change!
The Indian elections bring one of the biggest change in the political scenery. The Congress Party – the ruling party for decades, has been voted out. The Gandhi dynasty is gone, for now. The Indian public have spoken, They wanted a change, and the change they got; at least that’s what they think!
However, lets be clear; BJP is the winner by default not by merit. People wanted congress gone, no matter who the opposition is. The change is more driven by the fact that Congress was dissed by the masses, not because BJP is embraced by everyone. In other words, the common man on the street was more interest in ousting the Congress party. As a result, BJP came out a winner in big way.
This is a major change in Indian politics after a long time. The majority of Indians are happy about the results. But, are they more hopeful for a better future, for a better India? Not necessarily, not if you look around. Nothing is changing in a hurry; there is nothing new on the horizon!
For example, take the case of common corruption. The corruption runs deep in India, it is an accepted way of life. When it comes to corruption and the common ailments of Indian society, the boundaries of political parties don’t matter. No matter who sits in the high office, the middle management is still the same. An honest police chief will be always honest no matter if congress ruled or BJP. A corrupt office will still be corrupt, even if there is s change in the political party. So, the things have hardly changed for the common man even though there is a major political change.
So what gives! The BJP promise of better days ahead – is it false? It may not be false, but it is not so true either. There is not going to a change overnight, let us be realistic. The web of Indian corruption and other political evils has deep roots, it cannot be eliminated by taking out the current ruling party. It is not so simple. It is not the color of a party’s flag but the color of money that drives India and the Indian infrastructure. And lots of that money is still black, no matter which party rules the high offices.
For an average man, there is hardly any change – nothing, nada, zero!!
So, are the better days ahead? Not in the near future, not for a common man. Continue reading “Indian Elections and the Change – Not so fast”
Affirmative action has many names in different parts of the world. Some call it positive discrimination; Canada touts it as employment equity; it is ‘reservation’ in India and positive action in the UK. Affirmative action is the policy of providing special opportunities for a disadvantaged group of society who suffer from discrimination. It is an effort to ‘equal the playing field’ by favoring a weaker/minority group.
The nature of positive discrimination policies varies from country to country. Some countries, such as India, use a quota system, whereby a certain percentage of jobs or school vacancies must be set aside for members of a certain group. In some other regions, specific quotas do not exist; instead, members of minorities are given preference in selection processes. The US public colleges and Universities often consider race and ethnicity during admission process.
The Affirmative action is intended to promote the opportunities for the minority groups – to give them equal access to that of the privileged/majority population.
Now, there has been ongoing argument that the affirmative action is an unfair system and prefers certain groups during a selection process. The Michigan state has been in the news for many years now as the argument (for and against affirmative action) started in a school, leading all the way to the Supreme court. Here is a quick summary:
October 1997: Two students (Jennifer Gratz and Patrick Hamacher) sue the University of Michigan regarding the affirmative action policy used in undergraduate admissions after not getting into the College of Literature Science and Arts.
December 1997: Barbara Grutter sues the university regarding the Law School’s use of admissions, which considers race in reviewing applicants.
June 2003: The U.S. Supreme Court held in the Grutter case that diversity is a compelling interest in higher education, and that race is one of a number of factors that can be taken into account during the admissions process. The Court upheld the holistic review used in the Law School’s admissions policy. Continue reading “The ban on Affirmative Action – a new trend”
A horrific tragedy beyond imagination: Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting!
This is bad, beyond words.
Just heard on the news: Some deranged lunatic went crazy inside an elementary school in Connecticut, shooting little kids. More than 25 people are reported to be dead, 20 of them are children between the age of 5 and 10 years.
This is just unimaginable – one of the worst tragedy you can dread..
This is pure evil, the worst kind you can think of.
Killing innocent people is bad enough, killing innocent little kids? How low can you go!
I feel sad and helpless; not sure what to say or what to do! Continue reading “Sandy Hook School shooting in Newtown Connecticut – a new low!”
The US Presidential Elections are less than 10 days away. And, I can hardly wait for the whole thing to be over!!
The attack ads, the twisted truths and repeated slogans bombarding the airwaves day and night – the election campaign is a bit put-off, and quite often down right distasteful. I don’t think anyone look forward to watching these political ads anymore. I cannot see anybody enjoying the propaganda unless you are a fanatic follower of the candidates or you have nothing better to do!
Throughout these campaigns and bitterly contested debates, both parties are promising a lot for the next 4 years if you elect their guy – the economic prosperity, the financial reforms and how well they understand the average American’s woes…
I wonder if politicians believe that the voters are too dumb to see through the thin veil that separates the reality from the promise-land. It is sad and disheartening that American politics is down right dirty and is driven by so much negativity. You have to think – there is something fundamentally wrong they way the system operates!
I am not a democrat nor republican. Like many of you, I am turned off by the while political system. Moreover, I don’t think the American president has as much power as they advertise during the election days. Remember, any new law has to go through the both houses of US congress; and we all know how inefficient and how divided the US congress is.
So, no matter how many promises either of the candidate makes, keeping those promises is a whole different thing. May I advise, a grain of salt, or a spoonful! Continue reading “2012 US Elections – Romnesia and Obamaloney”
If you have an idea, make it happen! That is what ‘Google for Entrepreneurs‘ says! The Google wants to make new start-ups easier for the entrepreneurs. The mega-company already provides Internet-related products and services, including internet search, cloud computing, and software and advertising technologies; this is one more feather in the giant cap that Google wears.
This is a fantastic news for those who need some help with converting their ideas into a tangible service or product. This new initiative help you discover local programs and online resources to launch and scale your business. Many individuals, many companies and different start-ups are already joining the program to ‘Connect, learn, and grow through programs from Google and local partners’.
For those interested in exploring this, you can find workshops, networking events, mentoring sessions, and much more under Events.
There are all kinds of resources that you can utilize to grow your business with tools and online resources from Google. Continue reading “Google for Entrepreneurs – Polish that idea!”
Now how do I know this, you might ask? Well, I have my connections – in the kingdom of love, where they carefully calculate the value of love!! Only kidding, it is PNC Bank that calculate it based on the price of all the gifts mentioned in the old Christmas carol – ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’. And, thanks to the rising price of gold and the soaring birds, the true love costs more in 2010..
Just to to refresh your memory, the carol is a cumulative song, adding the gifts AGAIN as the days go by. The first day starts with one gift from the true love, repeating the same gift next day and adding one more every day. So, on the 12th day, the true love receives 12 gifts. Now that is what you would call …ummm…. true love!! Continue reading “Price of True Love is up again in 2010!!”
The legality of unconventional relationships in India
The forbidden relations are hard to hide. That is just the reality. So, here we go! The courts are getting involved in your dirty laundry; so beware! And, this is no Bollywood where story ending can be predicted based on the morality of the character.
The Supreme Court of India has spoken, on the often unspoken topic of unmarried relationships. Some the legal aspects of non-conventional relations including one-night-stand, a man’s ‘keep’ and live-in-relationships… are at stake.
This sort of relations and living arrangements have always been considered a taboo in the Indian society – home or abroad.
In India, a country where marriage is a part of the religious guidelines, society as a whole has always looked down on couples living outside the marital boundaries. Even the supreme body of Indian legal system did not forget to remind us of the good old morality: Continue reading “The mistress, the live-in relationship, the one-night-stand!”
NATIONAL DO NOT CALL option against telemarketers for USA households
Tired of telemarketers?
Random phone calls interrupting your day?
Cold calls on services and product that you don’t even care about?
How nicely, or rudely, you ask them to stop, most of the telemarketers don’t care. The calls never stop!
Now the good news that many of us are not even aware of. The National Do Not Call Registry gives you a choice about whether to receive telemarketing calls at home. Starting in 2003, the Federal government created the national registry to make it easier and more efficient for you to stop getting telemarketing calls you don’t want. You can register your phone number online or by calling a toll-free number. And, it does not cost you anything, except a few minute of your time.
Register your phone number:
The registration is quick and easy from the official Do NOT CALL web-site listed below under ‘source’. Open the link ‘Register your phone number’ and follow the steps:
1. Enter up to three phone numbers that you want to register, and your email address. Click Submit.
2. Check for errors. Click Register.
3. Check your email for a message from Register@donotcall.gov. Open the email and click on the link to complete your registration. Continue reading “National DO NOT CALL Registry”
Every now and then, there comes something that makes you turn you head, that demands your attention regardless if you are ready or not.
Is the world ready for green energy to take over the day-to-day life?
The chatter is getting louder, about the possible next BIG thing. California Silicone Valley is buzzing with the new venture. Backed by the same powerful venture capitalist who once supported the start-ups like Netscape, Amazon and Google, the discussions about alternate power source are everywhere.
If successful, the new energy source can replace the big power plants and eventually the transmission line grid, over time. Moreover, it is ‘green energy’, completely environment friendly, as there is no burning or combustion.
K.R. Sridhar, the CEO of Bloom Box, is the man behind the concept. The ambitious undertaking is already being trialed by EBay headquarters and many other corporations, as an alternate to the conventional energy.
Basically, in simplistic terms, the Bloom box invention is a fuel cell, a very skinny battery that always runs; that is always on. The slim wafer takes oxygen from one side, and fuel on the other. The two combine within the cell to create a chemical reaction to produces electricity. These tiny wafers or skinny slates are stacked up to compound the energy production. Continue reading “The Bloom Box –An energy magic box or just a hype?”
England temporarily suspends student visa applications from North India
UK is scrambling to control a flood of student visa applications from north India. With a large increase in the number of student visa-seekers, Britain has suspended accepting such applications in north India.
The UK Border Agency, the immigration and customs regulations body, announced the temporary suspension of Tier 4 student visa applications in North India: Continue reading “UK suspends Student Visa Applications from North India”
In a rush?
Don’t have time to get Tourist Visa for India?
Well, there is a good chance that they might let you in, if you come from one of these five countries below.
The Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi issued a press release on January 01, 2010, and introduced new measures to allow ‘Tourist Visa-on-Arrival’ in India. This is a welcome step toward facilitating foreign tourism and to encourage tourists who plan their trips on a short notice.
“Government of India has decided to introduce “Tourist Visa-on-Arrival” for a period of one year for citizens of five countries viz. Finland, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand and Singapore on an experimental basis…” The Press Release says.
This is effective immediately, that is starting January 1, 2010. Tourists from these countries can also procure their visas from the Missions / Posts in the normal course, just as in the past.
The statement read, “The said “Tourist Visa-on-Arrival” with a maximum validity of 30 days with single entry facility shall be granted by the Immigration Officers at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata airports to start with.” Continue reading “Tourist Visa-on-Arrival in India introduced”
FBI indicts David Headley aka Daood Gilani for 26/11 Mumbai, India attacks
A U.S. citizen David Headley of Chicago – aka Daood Gilani – has been formally charged with involvement in planning last year’s terrorist attacks on 26/11/08 in Mumbai, India, the Justice Department said.
Headley, a U.S. citizen who changed his name from Daood Gilani in 2006 and resides primarily in Chicago, was arrested on Oct. 3, 2009, by the Chicago FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) at O’Hare International Airport before boarding a flight to Philadelphia, intending to travel on to Pakistan.
Also, Tahawwur Hussain Rana – aka Tahawar Rana – a native of Pakistan and citizen of Canada who also resides in Chicago, was arrested on Oct. 18, 2009, at his home by federal agents. Rana is the owner of several businesses, including First World Immigration Services, which has offices in Chicago, New York and Toronto. He was charged with conspiracy to provide support to a foreign terrorism conspiracy that involved Headley and other individuals in Pakistan.
On Dec. 7, United States Attorney’s office unsealed additional charges, reading in parts:
“New federal charges filed today allege that a Chicago man, who was arrested in October for planning terrorist attacks against a Danish newspaper and two of its employees, also conducted extensive surveillance of targets in Mumbai for more than two years preceding the November 2008 terrorist attack on India’s largest city that killed approximately 170 people, including six Americans, and injured hundreds more. The defendant, David Coleman Headley, a U.S. citizen, earlier this decade allegedly attended terrorism training camps in Pakistan maintained by Lashkar e Tayyiba (Lashkar), and conspired with its members and others in planning and executing the attacks in both Denmark and India…..” Continue reading “FBI charges David Headley of Chicago for 26/11 Mumbai attacks”
Shahrukh Khan goes through additional questioning at USA Customs and Immigration
Shahrukh Khan (SRK), the iconic Indian Movie Star and the king of Bollywood, was subject of additional inspection and questioning by the immigration officers at the Newark airport, New Jersey. He was en route to Chicago to attend an event related to Indian Independence day celebrations.
SRK claims that he was singled out due to his Muslim last name – Khan. He added that the immigration officer was not convinced with any of his explanation about the trip.
The US Immigration and Customs office denies that his last name had anything to do with the additional questioning; he was stopped due to missing baggage. As per the statement from the Customs, everything was done professionally and by the book. It is common for a customs officer to ask someone to step aside for additional inspection if they are not satisfied with the interview.
It is ironic that SRK was in USA earlier this year shooting a Hindi movie titled ‘ My name is Khan’. The film is about the experiences of a Muslim in America.
Another remote possibility is that it was all planned by SRK; a thought that I could not resist.Considering how good an actor he is, he may have staged the whole drama. This incident turned out to be a very good publicity for him and his upcoming movie. Everybody is now talking about ‘My Name is Khan’ all of a sudden, which will be released worldwide soon. Continue reading “SRK, “My Name is Khan”…umm… too bad!”