Over 100 fin whales, dolphins wash ashore in Tamil Nadu

TUTICORIN: Since Monday evening, a number of small whales (short finned pilot whales) have washed ashore in Tiruchendur in Tamil Nadu. According to a TNN report, more than 100 whales were seen on the 16km stretch from Alanthalai to Kallamozhi coastal hamlets by Tuesday morning.

About 20 whales were feared dead on the shore, while others were struggling for their lives. Local fishermen joined hands to save the whales by pulling them back to the sea.  Rajan, a fisherman in Manapad said, “The whales started reaching the shore in groups around 5pm. It is very strange. In 1973 when we were boys, we witnessed same phenomenon. However, not these many washed ashore then.”

Ditto Mascarenhas of Kulasekarapattinam believes that, had it not been for the local fishermen and their vigil, many whales would have died. The fishermen remained conscious the whole night to continue to save the whales, by pulling them back to the sea.

M Ravikumar, Tuticorin’s district collector, inspected the coast and said, officials were looking into the matter to find the cause for such a massive number of whales reaching the shore.

A team from the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park in Ramanathapuram has reached the location.




Lionel Messi wins his fifth FIFA Ballon d’OR over Cristiano and Neymar

There is only one player in our generation who can humble his opponent on the football field effortlessly. He seizes the game with his unparalleled class and supreme skills. The magic of Lionel Messi escalates with each passing minute of the 90 and expands to his team. A phenomenal career brimming with records was further elevated when the 28-year old Argentine won the FIFA Ballon d’Or for the world’s best player for a record-fifth time.


Messi had earlier won the prestigious award four times in a row from 2008 to 2012 until Cristiano Ronaldo dethroned him in 2013, winning it twice in a row. Last year proved to be an outstanding year for Lionel Messi’s club, FC Barcelona which won five trophies including the treble – La Liga, Copa del Rey and the Champions League. Cristiano, who was a notch above in number of goals, concluded the year without any trophy with his club Real Madrid. Lionel Messi played 61 games and scored 52 goals and assisted 26 with a scoring rate of every 101 minutes. He also scored in all six tournaments, being directly involved in 49 La Liga goals. Messi garnered 41.33% of the votes while Ronaldo and Neymar got 27.76% and 7.86% respectively.


“It’s a very special moment for me to be back here on this stage, winning again another Ballon d’Or after seeing Cristiano win it,” Messi told BBCSport. He further added, ”It’s incredible that it’s my fifth, much more than anything I would have dreamed of as a kid.”


Riding on the immense success of Barcelona, the Spanish club manager, Luis Enrique won the World Coach of the Year award beating Bayern Munich’s Pep Guardiola and Jorge Sampaoli, who led Chile to Copa America last year.


The 33-year old Carli Lloyd from USA, won the women’s World player of the year award over Germany’s Celia Sasic. Lloyd scored a spectacular hattrick against Japan in the final and deservedly won the best player of the tournament.


Lionel Messi has reached a pedestal where it is next to impossible for any player to reach. The 28-year old has set a benchmark for the generations to come who will look back at the magician Messi as the greatest footballer to have ever graced the football pitch.


Source: BBCSport – http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/35285469

Smith, Bailey partner up for a record- breaking win against India

Australia defeated India by five wickets in the first One Day International at the WACA on Wednesday. Captain Steven Smith’s 135-ball 148 and George Bailey’s 112 in 120 balls helped the hosts win the record- breaking 300- run chase at the stadium.

India chose to bat first after winning the toss, put up an adequate 309 runs on the board, with a 163- ball 171 from opener Rohit Sharma. Vice- captain Virat Kohli departed for 91, caught by Aaron Finch at long- on under James Faulkner’s spell . Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who came in at number four, made a quick 18 off 13 balls in the last few overs.

Though the Australian opening duo Aaron Finch and David Warner crashed with single digits, Bailey and Smith took up the chase challenge. They made a significant 242- run partnership until Bailey was caught out by Bhuvneshwar Kumar to Ashwin’s bowling. Smith fell one short of 150 in the last over, and left the winning runs to be hit by James Faulkner. Smith was adjudged the Man of the Match.

The second ODI of the 5-match ODI series is scheduled to take place on the 15th of January at The Gabba in Brisbane.

Source: NDTV Sports

SC stays decision to lift Jallikattu ban

The Supreme Court on Monday stayed Central Government decision to lift the ban on Tamil Nadu’s traditional bull-taming sport Jallikattu due to  a clutch of petitions by animal rights activists and groups  opposing the decision.

The bench led by Justice Deepak Misra also issued notices to the BJP-led Centre and all the other state governments Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) seeking a clamp down of the Centre’s notification and demanded their replies within one month.

Expressing her displeasure at the verdict, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa, in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted the concerns of the people of Tamil Nadu by stating that in many rural areas preparations are underway and hoped that the Supreme Court would respect the feelings and sentiments of the people of Tamil Nadu.

She insisted that the Prime Minister should immediately promulgate an ordinance to ensure the smooth conduction of Jallikattu during the Pongal festival which is to start on January 14.


Sources: The Indian Express , Firstpost

World’s 1st smokeable smartphone about to hit the stores: Vaporcade

A US-based company Vaporcade is about to bring a Smartphone which could be used not only to call, text, click photographs and multitask but also take electronic puffs of smoke in several e-flavours.

The android phone is supposed to have an e-cigarette which not only lets one smoke their preferred e-flavours but also helps to quit smoking, as reported on Sunday by The Verge.

The Jupiter IO3 allows one to have electronic puffs of an e-cigarette and is reportedly going to be the world’s first ‘smokable smartphone’ that comes with a vape.

Priced at $299, the 3G smartphone is equipped with Android KitKat 4.4 operating system, two batteries, one to provide power to the phone while the other is for the vape. Also, as the battery power is shared, with lesser use of the vape, one is said to get a longer battery life.

Furthermore, the entire mechanics of the e-cigarette attached starts from the small opening under the plastic cover. This is where the flavored liquid cartridge gets attached along with a mouthpiece for smoking. And, one can regulate the heat or even get a stronger pull with a small button provided.

The liquid cartridges have been priced at $15 and are available in various flavours like mint, coffee, and peach. Each cartridge provides almost 800 puffs which is equivalent to four packs of cigarettes.

Moreover, a Vaporcade app is also present facilitating the user to track the remaining liquid, battery life, puffs taken by the user or select the flavor to be loaded in the cartridge. It also is equipped to alert the user whenever he or she would cross the number of puffs.

However, although it claims to have been approved by the US Federal Communications Commission, information regarding its side effects and the impact of vaping from the device have still not been revealed.


Source: Indian Express, The Hindustan Times

“The Revenant” sweeps clean at Golden Globes

Alejandro Gonzalez & Leonardo DiCaprio at the Golden Globe Awards
Alejandro Inarritu & Leonardo DiCaprio at the Golden Globe Awards Source- The Guardian

Alejandro Inarritu’s “The Revenant” swept the Golden Globe awards this year, winning the best dramatic film, best director, and the film’s protagonist Leonardo DiCaprio winning the best actor in drama.

“Two years ago, we found ourselves submerged deep in nature with all of its complications and all the beauty that it gave us cinematically,” DiCaprio said in his award acceptance speech. “This film was about survival. It was about adaptation. It was about the triumph of the human spirit,” he added.

The best picture in the musical/comedy category went to Ridley Scott’s saga “The Martian” for which Matt Damon also won Best actor in a comedy for his role in the sci-fi film.

Brie Larson was named best actress in a drama for “Room”, while Jennifer Lawrence won best comedy actress for her role in the semi- biographical drama “Joy”, which is also the actor’s third Golden Globe.

Veteran Italian composer Ennio Morricone also won his third Golden Globe for Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” in the best original score category. With no surprises, the best animated picture was backed by Pixar’s “Inside Out”.

The best foreign film went to the Hungarian movie “Son of Saul”, which had also won the Cannes Grand Jury price last year.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-35267777

Zomato shuts services in four cities

Zomato, the leading online restaurant discovery and food-ordering app has announced the shutdown of its services in four cities; Coimbatore, Indore, Kochi and Lucknow.

These cities bring a combined order of less than 2% to the food-ordering app service’s total order volume. The latest shutdown has now brought the number of cities that the app caters to 11 from 14 since its launch. The reason for the shutdown has been cited to be financial and cost-cutting.

Zomato’s co-founder, Pankaj Chaddah said, “The shutting down of business in Coimbatore, Indore, Kochi and Lucknow is due to the small size of the market is in these cities. We will re-launch our services when these cities grow with time. Meanwhile, we continue to offer our best content to foodies”.

Despite the various marketing efforts as well as TV ads, Zomato did not get the required increase in volume in these cities. These cities are as of now not ready for the online food-based app services and Zomato will resume services once the time is right.

The leading food based online app service had laid off about 300 employees in the United States last October. These strategies are being employed due to cost reasons. Zomato lists about 75,000 restaurants in India and is partners with Delhivery and Grab to offer delivery services.


Source: Hindustan Times