Saturday, November 22, 2014

The PM Modi experience abroad

I had covered international summits before as well - the Sapporo G8 summit in 2008 when PM Dr Manmohan Singh went to Japan defying the Left to push ahead with the nuke deal - but the Brisbane G20 summit and Prime Minister Modi's five-day trip to Australia was certainly a different experience.

First, an Indian Prime Minister was traveling Down Under after a gap of 28 years. Predictably, the PM's calendar was packed: unveiling a statue of Mahatma Gandhi, pitching the "Make in India" campaign to Australian CEOs, meetings with Aussie politicians, addressing a joint session of the Australian Parliament, attending a reception by the Indian diaspora at a venue usually reserved for touring rockstars and finally, a banquet at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Now, if you consider that all these and a few more events were spread over two-and-a half days across four cities, it simply meant the PM was engaged from 8 am in the morning to 10 pm at night. For Indian journalists, the challenge, of course, was to make it on time from one event to another. True, as many of the events were "open only to the official media," it gave us some much-needed breathing space.

Chacha Nehru's birthday at Tech Campus:

Prime Minister Modi arrived at Brisbane a day before the G20 officially kicked off on November 15. But that didn't mean he would have any free time for himself.

Almost immediately, he got down to business. He visited the Queensland University of Technology, agreed to get selfies done with enthusiastic students, many of whom were from India. Later, the PM tweeted about spending the day at a campus on Pandit Nehru's birth anniversary.

The Cameron Exchange and a missed opportunity:

The same evening, British Prime Minister David Cameron was the first foreign leader PM Modi had a bilateral meeting with. I had gone to cover the meeting but learnt that the photo-op was open only to the "official" media. The British PM, however, may want to give a short sound bite after the two PMs had met, his media team informed. I wasn't willing to let it go.

"Ok guys, where do you want me to do this," asked Mr Cameron as he walked in after meeting his Indian counterpart. My colleague, Suresh Kumar, asked him to stand in a particular way and Mr Cameron sportingly obliged. In the next five minutes, Mr Cameron described his meeting as excellent and informed that he had invited Mr Modi to visit Britain.

So what did they discuss? Apart from economic issues, Mr Cameron stressed on security challenges: "Both agree that we have to challenge the narrative of extremism and violence."

As I walked out, I saw PM Modi engrossed in conversation with the National Security Advisor, Mr Ajit Doval about 50 feet away. There were no journalists around. Here was my chance to get an exclusive bite. Should I just walk up and ask him for a soundbite? The atmosphere in the room was formal, actually quite overwhelming! There was no way I could shout out, what we usually do to attract attention for a soundbite.

Shouldn't I just wait for the PM to look towards us? The moment he see us, I will pop the question: Sir, how was your meeting?

I am not sure if he noticed at all. Dressed in a smart pair of khakis and a jacket, he seemed immersed in conversation even as he started walking away. Before I could tip toe my way to the PM, he was already heading for his next engagement: a dinner meeting with Shinzo Abe.

I spent the rest of the night, regretting my "missed" opportunity to get a soundbite from the PM. That opportunity came less than 48 hours later. Mr Modi was unveiling the statute of the Mahatma at the Roma Park. The Indian media was there, in full force, to cover the event. While most others placed their cameras in front of the stage where the PM was scheduled to speak, we parked ourselves right in front of the Gandhi statue. There was one more TV crew waiting there and another joined in.

As soon as PM unveiled the statue and got a group photo clicked with the organizers, I shouted out: "Prime Minister sir! Would you... would you please speak to us?" I took my chance even though less than 5 minutes ago, he had spoken and shared his thoughts on his Australia visit. The Prime Minister sportingly obliged the camerapersons for the perfect frame, stood next to the statue, gave us a smile and left with a Namaste!

Breaking the security protocol:

"Modi, Modi, Modi!!" Wherever the PM went, his admirers and supporters would line up the venue, fill the air with chants and slogans, often prompting the PM to break his protocol, get out of his security ring and meet people, shake hands or even pose for a selfie!

In Sydney, right next to the Allphones Arena, a group of about 100 protesters were protesting against the PM. Their complaint: the BJP, during their earlier stint in power, didn't do much to ensure justice to the victims of 1984.But the protesters were clearly outnumbered before a 16,000-strong crowd who had gathered to listen to the PM.

At the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Australian PM Tony Abbot hosted a banquet in honor of Mr Modi, crowds had gathered by 3 in the afternoon. Could it be because of the cricketing legends? After all, how often do you see Sunil Gavaskar, Allan Border, Kapil Dev, Glen McGrath, Laxman, Steve Waugh or Dean Jones together?

"No, we have come to see our Prime Minister," said a couple from Bangalore, who were on a vacation in Australia and New Zealand. They were meant to fly out of New Zealand but changed their plan and came back to Australia. Could they not have seen him in India? "Yes but here, we hope to meet him as security is not so strict," said the wife.

By the time the banquet ended, it was 10pm. The weather had suddenly turned quite cold with a constant breeze. The number of people waiting to meet the PM was no more than 50, perhaps one-fifth of what we saw in the evening. But the moment he walked, there was frenzy once again!

Apart from his scheduled speeches, including the one at the Australian Parliament, Prime Minister Modi didn't give any soundbite or hold a press conference for the Indian journalists who followed him everywhere. But he kept his followers updated with his tweets, text of his speeches or video links to his programs. So is anyone really complaining?

Selfie stick in Time magazine's best inventions list

The selfie stick that facilitates your capturing a selfie from an angle of your choice by positioning your smartphone beyond the arms' reach has made it to the Time magazine's list of 25 best inventions of 2014.

"If 2013 was the year in which selfie became a buzzword, then 2014 was the year selfies became a cultural phenomenon," Time said, indicating that the new-found infatuation with selfies matured within a year.

"Look no further than a recent Pew report, which found that at least a quarter of Americans have shared a selfie on a social-networking site (including Ellen Degeneres, Kim Kardashian and President Obama)," it added.

In fact, it does not matter in which part of the world you live, and whether you are old or young, a high-profile politician or one among the hoi polloi, everyone seems to love taking a selfie.

The selfie stick (produced by multiple brands) "adds genuine value", Time quoted Van Baker, a mobile tech analyst at the research firm Gartner, as saying.

Also in the list is a smartphone that puts privacy at the forefront and helps users conceal their data.
The Blackphone "runs a customised Android operating system stripped of features that might make data vulnerable, like calendar sync", Time noted.

"It also comes with software that encrypts calls, texts and browsing history at levels far beyond normal smartphones," the report added.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Tourist Was Filming At The Beach When THIS Came Out Of The Water… This Is CRAZY!

Hey guys, I've seen a lot of incredible videos in my time and I have to say that this one is truly remarkable. A tourist was enjoying what seemed to be a calm day at the beach in Arraial do Cabo in Brazil when he spotted something rather unusual in the water. He immediately grabbed his camera and recorded a pod of 30 dolphins headed straight for shore!If you think that’s incredible, wait until you see what happens next.

I don’t know why the dolphins did what they did, but I’m so glad that it ended the way that it did. Kudos to the camera man for capturing and sharing this extremely rare and incredible event!

Dollar Store Princess Wand Contains Suicidal Demon Bonus Image

What little girl doesn't want a sparkling pink princess wand that holds a dark suicidal secret?
Nicole Allen, a mother in Dayton, Ohio, is not too happy with her local dollar store after purchasing something that looked like an innocent toy: a pink, plastic wand in a fun, purple package. After giving the toy to her sweet two-year-old daughter, the young girl promptly peeled off its foil cover, revealing a vivid image of a big-eyed, bloody-toothed demon lady slitting her wrist. Fun!

To be fair, Nicole overlooked the fact that the wand was called "EvilStick," but to be fair once again, the package also said "I can send out wonderful music!" and that message was written on a snowflake, so.
The dollar store owner reportedly says he will take the toy off the shelves if he receives more complaints.
Though the toy is certainly not suitable for children, and while I disagree with the store owner that children see "images like [a demon slitting her wrist] on TV every day," I do think this spooky nightmare toy is suitable for a certain blogger who would love if her local dollar store began carrying it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Do sit-ups and crunches to loose belly fat: Weight loss tip

Flat abs is a fitness goal of many people. If you are looking to cut down that extra fat from your belly, start including crunches and sit-ups in your daily exercise regime. These exercises will increase your metabolism and you will eventually end up burning more calories. However, the number of calories you burn will depend on your weight and the intensity of the exercise.

These exercises target the upper and lower abdominal muscles. Sit-ups are a powerful resistance exercise which means that they will help tone your abdominal muscles. Abdominal crunches are designed to target a specific muscle group that is the rectus abdominis. You can include a set or two of 20 crunches daily as a part of your workout routine. One great advantage of abdominal crunches is that they don’t put much stress on the lower back as compared to other abdominal exercises.

Sit-ups and crunches may look simple but need to be done in the right manner for the results to be visible.  Along with these exercises, always remember to take care of your diet to lose fat effectively.

Living Paintings, that grow in front of you

The Art of Movement is a monthly show that highlights the most significant innovations in science and technology that are helping shape our modern world.

A living painting is many things," says artist and designer Aerosyn-Lex Mestrovic. "It's a painting in process, it's a work of film, it's an actual tactile painting."

Mestrovic celebrates the movement behind painting by recording every step of the process on camera. When creating his "living paintings" on a wet canvas, he sets up high-resolution cameras and lighting to capture every stroke, without his hands or the brush ever being seen.

Originally from Buenos Aires, Mestrovic got the idea for this process while developing his first film "Scriptura Vitae," which fuses Japanese performance art with his unique style of painting.

The piece was commissioned as part of the Random Acts art series by the UK's Channel 4, and stars Japanese actress Miho Nikaido, alongside Maki Shinagawa, a Japanese dance theater performer.

Having lived in Tokyo and studied calligraphy for years, Mestrovic often uses ancient texts and his knowledge of lettering in his artwork.

Facebook to be mostly video in five years: Zuckerberg

According to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the social networking site will be mostly video in next five years.

"In five years, most of the Facebook will be video," Zuckerberg told a gathering at a community town hall meeting in California.

Responding to a question about why Facebook launched Messenger, he said that Messenger is a better experience and will get people faster responses from friends.

"Asking everyone in our community to install another app is a big ask. But Facebook thought it could provide a better, faster messaging product if it split off from its own app," he told the audience.

Zuckerberg also took questions from a froup of users, who were invite to the Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California in the US, TechCrunch reported.

Zuckerberg said that support for women entering science, technology, engineering and maths needs to start earlier so girls do not self select out, with regard to a query about what could be done to get more women into technology,

The issue of Facebook losing its "cool" was also raised but Zuckerberg maintained, "my goal was never to make Facebook cool. I want it to be a helpful service that just works".

Upon being asked as to why he wears the same shirt every day, he replied with a laugh, saying he has several such shirts.

"I wear the same gray t-shirt everyday because it speaks to how we think about our duty to the community here. I do not feel like I am doing my job if I spend any of my time on anything silly or frivolous in my life," he said