Mumbai boy, Ashwin Subramanian does it again.  He won the National Table Tennis Championships held in Gandhidham, Gujarat, between January 16th & 21st, thereby retaining his position as India’s No.1 player in the Cadet Boys’ Category ( Under 12 ). He beat Udit Bhattacharya of West Bengal in the best of seven finals, 4-2.  This is the highest award one can get in this category. He is also the Maharashtra State Champion in his age category as he had earlier won the Maharashtra State Championships Table Tennis Tournament, 2012 held in Aurangabad in December 2012.

IMG-20130121-00193  ASHWIN 10ASHWIN 9The competition was very tough in every single round. Ashwin faced stiff resistence from Andhra Pradesh’s boy in the group stage. Though he won and qualified from the group, he had a tough draw with Bengal players breathing down his neck at every stage. He won in the decider against Bengal player, Sayan Chatterjee in the pre- quarterfinals. But the real scare came in the quarter finals where he came across another Bengal player, Soumyadip Ghosh. He was down 0-2 in the best of five games. In the third game he was down 0-3 and nothing was working for him. Ashwin took time out and started playing with calm and composure. He took the next three games thereby winning 3-2.

In the semi finals, he had another tough opponent, Anukram Jain, from PSPB. Ashwin lost to him in the quarter finals of the team championships. This time, Ashwin dominated and prevailed over him 4-1 thereby making the finals.  Though he had defeated Udit Bhattacharya twice earlier, he didn’t take his opponent lightly as this was the National Championships final. Ashwin tookan early lead winning the first two games very quickly 11-5, 11-5. But a lapse in concentration cost him the next two games which he lost 8-11 & 9-11. Realising that this is a big stage, Ashwin quickly regained his composure and closed out the match winning the next two games 11-5 and 11-2.

A class VII student of DAV Public School, Airoli, Ashwin practices in “Kalidas” indoor sports complex in Mulund (West) under the able guidance of coach Mr. K.K. Rai. Mr. Rai is the current Veteran National Champion. Ashwin gives all the credit to his coach for guiding him so well and making him a good & confident player. “I am very lucky to have a coach like him. He not only teaches me well, but also is a friend, philosopher and a guide” says Ashwin. Mr Rai too praises his ward. He says, “Ashwin put in a lot of hard work and is a good learner. He quickly tries to rectify his mistakes during match situations and that is a very good quality. I am very happy to have a student like him”.

Ashwin’s dream of representing the country will be realised soon as he consolidated his position as India’s no.1. The top 4 players will get an opportunity to be part of India camp. Ashwin is looking forward to wear the India T-shirt and represent the country. Good start for a promising career.

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Ajmal Kasab hanged at Yerwada Jail in Pune


NEW DELHI: Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist Ajmal Kasab, accused for the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, was today hanged at Yerwada Jail in Pune at 7:30 am after President Pranab Mukherjee rejected his mercy petition.

Home minister Sushil Shinde said: “Kasab was hanged at 7:30 am. President Pranab Mukherjee had rejected the Kasab’s mercy petition on November 6. President signed the Kasab’s death sentence file on November 5 and I also signed it on November 8. Later, on November 8, it was decided that Ajmal Kasab will be hanged on November 21.”

According to Maharashtra home minister R R Patil: “26/11 Mumbai terror attack accused Ajmal Kasab’s mercy petition was rejected on November 8. He also confirmed that Kasab was hanged at about 7:30am on Wednesday.

Earlier, the Lashkar-e-Toiba operative was shifted from Mumbai’s Arthur Road Jail to Pune’s Yerawada Jail.

The entire process was executed very secretly, home minister said.

“Yes, Kasab has been hanged this (Wednesday) morning at 7.30 a.m. in Yerawada Central Jail,” Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, who led the 26/11 terror attacks case.

Kasab’s end came just five days before the fourth anniversary of the brutal terror attacks. The Nov 26-29, 2008 terror siege had claimed 166 lives.



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Major fire on fourth floor of Maharashtra secretariat building

A major fire today broke out at ‘Mantralaya’, the Maharashtra state secretariat complex that houses offices of the chief minister, key ministers and top officials.

Close to two hours after it was first noticed near the cabin of Tribal Welfare Minister Babanrao Pachpute on the fourth floor, the fire continued to rage till evening even as fire fighters battled the leaping flames.

Several people are trapped on the upper floors and terrace, prompting authorities to press into service contingents of the elite commandos of Force One and city police’s Quick Response Teams. Two teams from the naval dockyard were also rushed.

Panic gripped the sprawling building, the seat of state administration, after the fire, first noticed around 2.45 pm, spread swiftly to fifth, sixth and seventh floors. Towering plumes of blinding smoke soon engulfed the building making it difficult for the fire brigade to evacuate the stranded.

According to sources, nearly 5,000 people vacated the building within 20 minutes of the fire breaking out. Fire brigade personnel with huge hydraulic ladders were seen bringing down those trapped. Choking in thick black smoke, several people were seen standing precariously on the parapet and balconies, waiting to be rescued. Many could be seen rappelling down the ropes and drain pipes in a desperate attempt to escape.

Injured have been taken to JJ hospital, GT hospital and St George hospital in Mumbai. Team of 50 doctors is present at all the three hospitals to attend to the injured.

The INS Vikrant Museum

A legendary ship, the first aircraft carrier of Indian Navy, now a naval museum.

It was with a sense of awe that I stood on its decks. I knew the aircraft carrier was huge but it was only when I stood there that I got a sense of it. We had gone there the previous Sunday, a whole bunch of us cousins. It is not open to the public every day…only on specific days (like Navy week) and sundays. Usually when one is living in the same city one usually neglects to see the important places…and this museum is certainly important – from the historical point of view. In fact when I stood there it almost seemed as if the history would rise up and consume me. The liberation of Goa in December 1961. The Indo-Pak war of 1971. Vikrant earning two Mahavir Chakras and 12 Vir Chakras. I had heard the stories from my dad and my uncles (all service officers) but this was the first time that I actually saw the ship first hand.

The museum, which was opened to the public a few years ago has beautiful black and white photographs with descriptions of air operations and landings as well as exhibits on the 1971 war. The ship’s forward engine room displays the propulsion system powered by huge steam turbines and technically inclined people would find this very interesting. There are aircraft on display here too, the very ones like Sea Hawk and Chetak helicopters, which have taken off and landed in action from the Vikrant’s flight deck. Besides there are also submarine models, diving equipment, bombs and mines which are on exhibit. Plus on certain specific days (Navy Week) a documentary film is screened. People are also drawn to the flat, expansive length and breadth of the flight deck, deck-landing mirrors costing crores each, a giant hanger lift which can lift hundreds of persons at one time, the ski jump arrangement and arresting gear on the flight deck. And for a bit of shopping, there is a curio shop which sells mementoes like caps with the Vikrant logo (Rs 60- each), key chains (Rs 25 each) and even large coffee mugs (Rs 120- each). And yeah, a cafe where you can have a bite on tables shaped like propellers! We didn’t visit the cafe, but it sure sounded like fun! Well, the musuem happens to be a big hit with families and children. School visits are common. Entry tickets are Rs 40/- each, for adults and a half ticket for children under 14. There is extra charge for carrying a camera.

Vikrant (Sanskrit vikrānta = “stepped beyond”, i.e. “courageous”, “victorious”) was India’s only carrier for over two decades. It has an interesting history and you can read news reports about how she was procured and what she did during the war here and here and get some more information from this Bharat Rakshak site.

The great ship has traveled or rather, steamed, a total of 4,99,066 nautical miles, about 15 times around the world. Interestingly, the carrier might be preserved for posterity – the only wartime constructed British aircraft carrier to be under possible preservation.

The ship is docked near the Gateway of India, at the naval docks and entry is through the ‘Tiger Gate.” If you are in Mumbai, check it out.

Nehru Science Centre

Nehru Science Centre,(NSC) Mumbai is India’s largest interactive science center, located in Worli. The centre is named after India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. The centre started with the ‘Light and Sight’ exhibition in 1977 and then a Science Park was built in 1979. It was opened to public on November 11, 1985 by late Rajiv Gandhi at that time the Prime Minister of India.Nehru Science Centre, first conceived as a Science & Technology Museum in late sixties, took final shape as India’s largest interactive science centre in 1977 to match the world trends in such public institutions. The centre opened its first semi-permanent exhibition `Light & Sight’ in 1977 followed by the world’s first ever Science Park in 1979, during the International Year of the child. The full- fledged science centre was finally opened to public on November 11, 1985 by late Shri Rajiv Gandhi the then Prime Minister of India. Nehru Science Centre, the largest Science Centre in the country has a sprawling 8 acres (32,000 m2) of science park with varieties of plants, trees and shrubs. More than 50 hands-on and interactive science exhibits on energy,sound, kinematics, mechanics, transport, etc. are installed in the science park. The NSC building with its unique architecture houses several permanent science expositions on various theme.Nehru Science Centre is visited by over 600,000 people every year who experience and enjoy the basic principles and marvels of science & technology. Situated on Dr. E. Moses Road, Mumbai – 400018, in between Worli Naka and Mahalaxmi Railway Station and spread over 14 acres (57,000 m2) of land, the Centre provides a natural and free environment for students to learn, familiarize and spend creative holidays and for professionals in the field of science education to have a glimpse of innovations in science education. Close to 1,20,000 school children alone participate in the activities of the Centre.

Nehru Science Centre incorporates innovative ways to communicate science to enthuse, entertain, initiate, excite and bring the developments of science & technology to the doorstep of common people for prosperity, awareness, and improving the quality of life. The centre attempts to enhance public understanding of science and spread scientific literacy.

More than 50 hands-on and interactive science exhibits are based on various aspects of science and technology, and there is a collection of some historical artifacts of science and technology. The 3D Science Show is also organized at the centre.
NSC is famous for its Distinct shape

Existing galleries

Dynamic Earth
Hall of Computing
Human & machine
Light & Sight
Our Technology Heritage
Pre-historic Animal Life
Science for Children
Sound & Hearing[2]

How to Reach

The Centre can be reached by public transport i.e. train, bus, taxi or private vehicles. It is situated on Dr. E. Moses Road between Mahalaxmi Rly. Station on the South and Worli Naka on the North at a distance of about 1 km from either end. The nearest bus stop is Jijamata Nagar. The nearest railway station – Mahalaxmi (Western Rly.), Byculla (Central Rly.); Bus Routes – 50, 80 (Ltd.), 91(Ltd.), 124, 154, 164, 165, 168, 172, 351.

The Science Centre is open to the public every day including Sundays and public holidays throughout the year except two: the next day after Holi and on the day of Diwali.

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Soon, guided tours at Byculla Zoo

If everything goes as per the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) makeover plan for the Byculla zoo, then soon, the 150-year-old zoo would be getting a new lease of life.

Thick glass fences would be added around enclosures, so that visitors
have an uninterrupted view of the animals in the Byculla zoo

It’s been a while since the zoo authorities and the civic body have been at the receiving end for their lackadaisical approach in maintaining the zoo and its flora and fauna.

The Rs 150 crore makeover plan is in the final stage of approval with the Central Zoo Authority (CZA).

Guided tours
According to Anil Anjankar, director of Byculla zoo, “Since the makeover is on the cards, we are planning to introduce guided tours for visitors, on an hourly basis.

We’ll be hiring experts zoologists and botanists once the renovation concludes. These experts can then explain the importance of having flora and fauna to the visitors.”

He further stated that currently, a botanist has been helping the zoo to maintain its flora and has been organising botanical tours for groups of interested students. Anjankar added that once the makeover was complete, the service would be extended to all the visitors.

“We are paying him (botanist) Rs 1,000 for conducting tours and seminars. These seminars are organised once a week, depending on their demand.”

The proposal
Commenting on the makeover, Anjankar said that once the proposal is approved by the CZA, the renovation of the zoo will be carried out in three phases and would be done by August 2014.

Explaining the Phase I, the director stated that it would include filling up existing empty enclosures and setting up eight new ones.

“Once the CZA approves the measurements for the enclosures and gives its nod, HKS Consultant will start working on the technical details of the master plan,” added Anjankar.

The zoo management is now eagerly awaiting the final blueprint and is likely to commence work in a month’s time. “There are a few minor changes and we are waiting for the final blueprint.

We are planning to install a glass fence for animal enclosures so that visitors can have a clear view of the animals.

Moreover, the glass that will be utilised for the purpose will be sturdy so that animals like hippos and elephants won’t be able to break it,” stated Anjankar.

Helping hand
The Save Rani Bagh Committee is already preparing informative booklets and are busy numbering enclosures and trees on the zoo’s premises. These booklets will have information on each enclosure and tree depending on its number.

Post-makeover attractions
The zoo will have a total of 340 animals and birds
Ten pairs of exotic Humboldt penguins, emus and zebras will be added
Indian species: hyena, jackal, wolf, wild dog, sloth bear, porcupine, mouse deer, gaur, sambar, swamp deer, Asiatic lion, Bengal tiger, leopard, jungle cat, common otter, palm civet cat
An interpretation centre, the heritage structures on the premises would be restored
Additional toilets, resting places, rain sheds, drinking fountain and car parking

Revamped proposal
Earlier, the CZA had turned down BMC’s Rs 480-crore makeover proposal on May 11, stating that it was impractical and that the civic body had overlooked the heritage committee’s objections. Following its rejection, the BMC reworked on the proposal (Rs 150-crore) in accordance with the CZA norms.

8% of people in Mumbai, Thane hit by COPD

In The Emperor of All Maladies : A Biography of Cancer, oncologist Siddhartha Mukherjee brought to the fore a disease that society and the medical world are still grappling with. But there is another disease that claims more lives than cancer; considered as dangerous as AIDS, its fatality rate is surpassed only by heart attacks, strokes and acute lung infections-Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Described as a slow killer, COPD is fast emerging as an epidemic , affecting eight out of 100 people living in Mumbai and Thane district . The results of a city-based study show that the percentage of Mumbaikars and Thaneites suffering from COPD is much higher than the all-India figure of 4.1%. The culprit , say doctors, is smoking.

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Environmental Medicine (IIEM) put the urban and rural prevalence of COPD at 7-8 %.

The most common cause of COPD is smoking. “Around 90% of people who smoke risk the chance of developing COPD,” said IIEM director Dr Rohini Chowghule, a chest specialist who conducted the study on 500 men and 500 women above the age of 35 years.

Though the study reflected 2006 figures, city doctors say the incidence rate would have only increased in the last few years.

One reason, say doctors, for the higher prevalence of COPD in Mumbai is the massive population. “There is a bigger population in the city, especially of those who smoke-actively as well as passively. This is the reason more people suffer from respiratory problems,” said Dr Ashok Mahasur, a chest specialist with Hinduja Hospital. “Another problem is the environmental pollution in the city. Many Mumbaikars have occupational exposure to pollution and end up falling prey to COPD,” he said, adding that if repeated respiratory infections during childhood are not treated, they too can become COPD at a later age.

“For a long time, there are no visible effects of smoking. But over a period of time, the tubes of the air ways get inflamed. The person gets bronchitis, which is still reversible . If, however, the person continues to smoke, then the alveoli, which are tiny air sacs in the lungs, start getting damaged,” said Chowghule. There are about 300 million alveoli in two adult lungs and provide a surface area almost equal to the singles area of a tennis court. But with COPD, the elasticity of the alveoli is lost. The walls of the air sacs break, thus reducing the capacity and the surface area. “The air is trapped in these damaged alveoli. There is stale air in the lungs and one has to strain to breathe,” said Chowghule.

Biomass fuel is a health hazard

Another worrying aspect, say doctors, is the prevalence of COPD among women who don’t smoke. Studies show that women who have to use biomass fuel for cooking purposes are more prone to COPD. Dr Amita Athavale, head of the chest department at KEM Hospital, said: “It is not just a rural phenomenon. Even women in Mumbai slums and pavements use this technique for cooking purposes.” According to doctors, the morbidity is higher and gradual among women who use biomass fuel. “In the course of the disease, there comes a time when they cannot perform the most basic household chores and have to strain the abdominal and neck muscles to breathe. It is important that women are taught to maintain smokeless chulhas so that they don’t fall prey to COPD at a later age,” said Athavale.


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD is a chronic obstruction of the flow of air through the airways and out of the lungs. The obstruction is usually permanent and progressivethe disease gets worse over time



Smoking is responsible for 90% of COPD cases. When a COPD patient stops smoking, the decline in lung function slows to the same rate as a non-smoker


It can cause problems for people with a lung disease, but it is unclear whether outdoor air pollution contributes to the development of COPD. In the nonindustrialized world, the most common cause of COPD is indoor air pollution, usually due to indoor stoves used for cooking


Some occupational pollutants such as cadmium and silica do increase the risk of COPD. People at risk include coal miners, construction, metal and cotton workers


COPD symptoms usually slowly worsen over time. Over time, symptoms may become severe enough to see a doctor

Typically, after smoking 20 or more cigarettes a day for more than twenty years, patients with COPD develop a chronic cough, shortness of breath (dyspnoea), and frequent respiratory infections Chronic bronchitis and bronchiectasis symptomschronic cough and sputum production-are telling signs Periodic chest infections can cause fever, dyspnoea, coughing, production of purulent (cloudy and discoloured) sputum and wheezing


Patients may develop cyanosisbluish discoloration of the lips and nail beds-due to a lack of oxygen in blood They also may develop morning headaches due to the inability to remove carbon dioxide from the blood Some patients experience weight loss, primarily because of the additional energy that is required to breathe. Patients with COPD may cough up blood


Worldwide, one in 10 adults over the age of 40 may have COPD prevalence In India, the is 4.1% Worldwide, nearly 3 million people die from COPD every year

According to the World Health Organization, COPD is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide, surpassed only by heart attack, stroke, and acute lung infections. It kills more people than cancer, and as many people as AIDS

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