Chelsea are 29/20 favourites at BetVictor to land their third FA Cup in four years in 90 minutes at Wembley, with Liverpool 21/10 and the draw 23/10.The Blues are 8/13 to lift the trophy with the Reds 6/5 – and the 11/1 we have quoted for Liverpool to win on penalties has been the most popular bet.The last time the cup was decided on penalties was 2006 when Liverpool beat West Ham. They also won the Carling Cup from the spot back in February and their last Champions League triumph was decided from 12 yards back in 2005!Wednesday night’s defeat against Newcastle more or less guaranteed that if Chelsea are going to be playing in the Champions League next season it will be as holders given they are now 16/1 to finish in the top four.Tongue firmly in cheek, we have a market between Liverpool and the Chelsea Pensioners (Drogba, Terry and Lampard only) and bet:Chelsea Pensioners 7/2Draw 2/1Liverpool 4/5Note all three Chelsea stars must start or the bet is void.Didier Drogba and Luis Suarez are 10/1 joint favourites with BetVictor to be named man of the match and as both were given the accolade in their respective semi-finals I do think that is just too big.Rangers are 4/5 to be relegated to the Championship and, with a visit to the Etihad Stadium next weekend, they really have to beat a poor Stoke side who were extremely fortunate to get a point against Everton on Tuesday having been outplayed for long periods of the game.That said I think the R’s will get all three points at 20/23 with the Potters 33/10 and the draw 11/4.The final spot for the drop looks to be between Rangers and Bolton, who were very ordinary against Spurs on Wednesday.Sunday is a must-win game for the Hoops and, after their drubbing at the Bridge, they owe their supporters another three points. But will it be enough?Fulham must have travelled back to Merseyside hardly full of confidence after their loss to Everton, but history was made at Anfield and they are a shade of odds-on at 20/23 to beat a struggling Sunderland side.The honeymoon period for Martin O’Neill is long gone and the Black Cats are 7/2 to land all three points with the draw at 27/10.Clint Dempsey has had another wonderful season and the American is 5/1 to score the opener which would be fitting after the campaign he has had for the Whites.For all your weekend odds check out betvictor.com.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook
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[vemba-video id=”van/sc/2019/05/21/bang_3319f460-0402-4e39-936e-9a97b2ee306f”]PORTLAND, Ore. – The moment usually calls for Stephen Curry to take the shot. Do we really need to explain the reasons?Curry is the best NBA shooter ever. The Warriors held only a one-point lead in the final minute of overtime. And through shooting slumps and streaks, Curry thrives in those moments.With Curry encountering double teams, though, he found it better to pass to an open teammate. Even if the ball went to …
Episode 21 of the Play Your Part Television Series will air on Saturday 10 February 2018 on SABC 2 at 18h00.Here’s what to expect:Episode 21 tells the stories of Celeste Louw from the Optimystic Bikers Against Abuse; Thobile Mushwane of Dental Marathon and Mike Sharman from the Put Foot Foundation.Celeste Louw shines some light on the long journey to healing after domestic abuse. Celeste is an Optimystic Biker Against Abuse and she shares her personal journey of healing after abuse to shine some light on this violation of human rights.Play Your Part ambassador and founder of Dental Marathon Thobile Mushwane tells us about how his organisation raises awareness and funds for oral health care and education in Africa. Thobile led Dental Marathon, its sponsors and volunteers in a mission to climb the highest mountain in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania in 2017.Mike Sharman puts shoes on feet through the Put Foot Foundation.Play Your Part is broadcast at 18:00 on Saturdays on SABC2.To get involved in playing your part in South Africa:Check out the conversation on Twitter: #GetInvolvedTell us how you Play Your Part through our social media channels:Follow us on Twitter: @PlayYourPartSA;Follow Brand South Africa on Twitter: @Brand_SA; orLike us on Facebook: Official Brand South Africa.
12 June 2014 South African referee Daniel Bennett has had his dream of officiating at the 2014 Fifa World Cup shattered by injury. Bennett, a former South African Referee of the Year, had been selected as a support referee for the football world’s greatest spectacle, which kicks off in Brazil on Thursday and runs through until 13 July. He picked up the injury in a routine training session at the Zico Centre in Rio last Tuesday, and unfortunately has been unable to overcome it.Sidelined for four to six weeks “The medical investigations revealed the seriousness of the injury, which means a minimum of four to six weeks for cure. The main consequence is that Mr Bennett will be unable to officiate and support matches at this 2014 Fifa World Cup,” Fifa secretary-general Jerome Valcke wrote in a letter to the South African Football Association (Safa). The Fifa medical team had hoped Bennett would recover in time for the start of the tournament, but their efforts were in vain.Treatment “During these days, adequate rehabilitation (twice a day) has been provided to Mr Bennett. However, this represents an additional load on the medical team, which has to ensure recovery massage and specific treatments to referees and assistant referees actively involved in the 2014 Fifa World Cup,” Valcke said. As a result, at the Fifa referees’ sub-committee meeting on Monday, it was decided to release and send Bennett home to ensure his proper recovery. However, his assistant, Marwa Range from Kenya, will continue with his duties in Brazil as a support assistant referee. There will be no replacement for Bennett, as Fifa believe they have sufficient cover for him.‘Quality paramount’ “The quality of referees and assistant referees at the 2014 Fifa World Cup is paramount, and the support referees were implemented in order to provide a seamless transition when a referee or assistant referee must be replaced for any reason after the final selection has been made,” Valcke explained. “At this stage of the competition, taking any referee who is not on the final list of selected match officials is counter-productive, since those referees did not partake in any official Fifa fitness tests nor all theoretical, tactical and physical sessions since January 2014, when the final list of referees and assistant referees was approved.” SAinfo reporter and South African Football Association
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Loretta Sorensen Progressive Farmer Contributing EditorMost consider conservation practices to be a long-view payoff. Chris Hitzeman sees them as avenues to profitability.The South Dakota farmer uses soil-quality and soil-health programs as the foundation for his self-guided pheasant-hunting business.When Hitzeman purchased his 700-acre Charles Mix County farm in the early 2000s, he brought along two decades of corporate experience and the analytical skills of owning his own Minneapolis-based software business.He intended to move away from hunting pheasants on public land and develop his own private hunting location. Most of his land is made up of riparian areas, trees, sloughs and grasslands recently enrolled in public and private conservation, and habitat programs, creating ideal pheasant- or deer-hunting settings.Early in the process of identifying and evaluating his farm’s resources, Hitzeman recognized an opportunity to establish a “fair chase” pheasant-hunting business involving his land and a network of surrounding farms.What he’s developed during the past 16 years is U-Guide South Dakota Pheasant Hunting, a seven-week hunting experience that draws hunters from across the nation (www.uguidesdpheasants.com).“What I’ve learned is that hunters want that ‘typical’ South Dakota pheasant-hunting experience, where both birds and hunting locations are plentiful,” Hitzeman said. “I could see that, in order to bring hunters to my locations, I had to support production of as many naturally produced pheasants as possible.”Pheasants live out their lives within a home range of about a square mile (640 acres), requiring all habitat components (nesting cover, brood habitat, winter cover and food plots) to be in close proximity. Ideally, a minimum of 30 to 60 acres (about 5 to 10%) of this range should be nesting cover. Larger blocks of cover are preferable to narrow linear strips.Hitzeman’s challenge was to augment the need for habitat, food and shelter in an economical, sustainable manner that also contributed to the health of his farm’s ecosystem.“To begin with, I considered how productive each portion of land would be in terms of hunting, grain crops, seed crops, livestock, wind development, etc.,” Hitzeman said. “This is an age-old real estate principle, to find the highest and best use for every portion of land.”He understood production on every acre wasn’t an option, and long-term profitability would suffer if he didn’t build and maintain soil health. As a result, Hitzeman considered how conservation programs and practices fit with his pheasant-hunting business model.BUILD IT“Soil is our primary asset,” he said. “If we take care of it, it will take care of us. We can build resiliency by implementing soil-health principles but will destroy our land and ourselves if all we do is take from it.”He recognized that the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and some Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) programs provide the necessary elements pheasants need to thrive.“In general, CRP acres give pheasants nesting habitat, meet some feeding needs and provide winter shelter,” Hitzeman said. “Around 2014, after completing a prescribed burn on some CRP acres, I realized I could reseed those acres with specific grass and native flowers designed to feed and support a large pheasant population.”With the help of his Soil Conservation District, NRCS and Pheasants Forever, Hitzeman identified grasses designed to provide high-standing winter and low-standing nesting and brooding cover for pheasants. Prescribed burns and herbicide application help suppress invasive grasses and noxious weeds.Pheasant chicks that hatch in June grow and mature rapidly through July and August, requiring massive quantities of insects. Hitzeman’s forage mix includes blooming plants, which naturally draw insects during those months. The flowering plants also provide habitat critical to the survival of pollinators.BIRD FEEDEight varieties of grass and eight native prairie flowers now flourish in the area — including white clover, Canadian milk vetch, alfalfa, Maximilian sunflower, black-eyed Susan, goldenrod, pale purple coneflower, red clover, purple prairie clover, big bluestem, little bluestem and switchgrass. Seeding rates vary on the different land segments.Hitzeman has also established 25 food plots across marginal land to help provide food and year-round shelter for pheasants, deer, songbirds and birds of prey. Grains in the food plots include corn and millet interseeded with hairy vetch and a variety of other cover-crop species, which serve as both an additional food source while contributing to soil microbiome activity.Spraying a low rate of glyphosate over the plots, also known as chemical mowing, helps set back cover crops until corn plants are established. Plot crop rotation also helps manage weeds.Additional conservation projects include planting 45,000 trees in 17 shelterbelts that are surrounded by 30-foot alfalfa/clover firebreaks. The shelterbelts are comprised of silver maples selected for their tall windbreak characteristics, plum bushes as a wildlife food supply and shelter, and eastern red cedars because of the effective winter shelter pheasants find around this tree species.A portion of Hitzeman’s acreage is enrolled in a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFW) permanent wetland easement. Restored wetlands provide water for wildlife and seasonal habitat for ducks, and preserve cattails where pheasants seek winter shelter.FAIR GAMEHitzeman’s self-guided, fair-chase hunting business won’t work just anywhere. However, the conservation practices woven into developing and managing his “pheasant farming” could provide many farmers with a skeleton plan to help diversify income and improve per-acre profit while building soil health and supporting the farm ecosystem.On his cropland acres, Hitzeman rotates winter wheat, corn and soybeans. Strip-harvested wheat, with cover crops sown into the stubble, leaves ample stubble — a winter shelter for pheasants. Any waste grain from cash crops is used by pheasants and provides desirable hunting conditions for pheasant hunters. Cash crops are cultivated with no-till practices, netting some $125 per acre.In refining how to integrate his conservation practices with his pheasant-hunting business, Hitzeman assesses his options and maximizes conservation benefits.Jim Ristau, South Dakota Corn director of sustainability, applauds the willingness to maximize soil quality and wildlife habitat rather than aiming for maximum crop production.“We need diverse landscape in our rural areas,” Ristau said. “The strategy Chris adopted addresses all five soil-health principles—maintaining soil armor, minimizing soil disturbance, maintaining plant diversity, keeping a live plant root in the ground and integrating livestock [wildlife] — which means it’s a healthy strategy for any of the landowners he works with.”Matt Morlock, South Dakota Pheasants Forever assistant director, said the state leads in pheasant harvest with some 1,000,000 roosters harvested annually. He sees efforts to bolster pheasant and other native wildlife (deer) populations as economic boosts for the state.Approximately 700 roosters (averaging $100 gross revenue per bird) are bagged on his land each year. About 40% of Hitzeman’s income is generated from his hunting business. Another 40% comes from farm program payments and the rest from cropland cash rent.“I believe the key exercise in identifying an alternative business model on the farm is to start by looking outside traditional markets like grain and livestock,” Hitzeman said. “Most of us think of farming as growing crops or raising crops. We need to expand our thinking and see ourselves as conservation farmers, pheasant farmers, precision conservationists and soil farmers.”(ES/AG)© Copyright 2019 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.
Virtual reality (VR) is a new means of audiovisual communication. Its mission is to sell the idea of entry into a three-dimensional computer generated environment where the experience is so surprising that it cuts our minds to believe that this virtual world is really Reality. Its ultimate goal is to allow us to experience the senses we could never experience in our daily lives. VR will transform our world as a result of this ability to deliver experiences.So far, our experience with the internet was at best two-dimensional. The possibility of touch sensitive screen was the nearest we have been in interacting with the internet, and virtual reality is about to transform that concept. VR will transform the world and bring about a monumental change in the way of buying and experiencing the web, scanning; thanks to the pure power and imagination of human thought. It will drastically transform the way we live, communicate, learn and relate with others all over the globe.With massive adoption through platforms such as, HTC Vive, Oculus, VR Play station and Cardboard, companies and customers have already begun to turn to augmented reality and virtual platforms as they come online. Projected revenues are reaching over $100 billion in 2020 for AR and VR platforms, these platforms will create dramatic upheaval in all industries around the world.It is clear that our way of life and the way we behave are willing to change dramatically. And while there may be dozens of ways in which VR will transform the world, there are certain basic things that it will have the most effect on.See Also: Facebook slashes price of Oculus Rift for second time1. GamingThe obvious use of virtual reality – and the most proven example is the game. Oculus already has many titles that support it, and Sony PlayStation already has many games that use it.Is unlikely to be supported by all parties at any time, but we’ve played with Morpheus and Oculus and the VR will provide a strong, spectacular and impressive experience that brings gaming to a new level of excellence.2. Watching MoviesSomething that has contained this spacious miracle is the possibility of films that take advantage of VR capabilities.Think of 3D movies and then think of the real, true 3D – a cinematic world which you can sight edges and angles in 3D reality and paying more attention to what you choose to watch.Actually it is theoretical at best, but the probability is there. And it could transform the movie industry forever.3. TourismThink about how compelling it can be to simply look at the world on Google Maps. Then think how shocking it would be to do the same with your eye, a kind of crazy right?The VR will transform long trips to museums for people who cannot enter the building. Also, in another example of visiting a space, real estate agents can give buyers a peek at a property. Real estate agents could line up a playlist of properties for the buyer to experience and explore. In a similar way, a tour guide could do line-up touristic experiences as a product,4. MedicineIt is better and safer for surgeons to train to hone their techniques in a simulated environment. But, it would be better for young surgeons to train on not just plastic models or people who have left their bodies to medical sciences.Therefore, a fully interactive and accurate modeled sample suffers from a variety of diseases requiring surgery through a virtual reality interface could make many surgeons with better training and better performance – which is better for all of us.Simulator Surgeon developed in 2013 was a language in games based on this condition.Pilots already learn using flight simulators, but as surgeons they really could do something much more exciting and realistic to improve their skills. VR can be this technology.5. Exploring SpaceThe ability to fly through the globe using Google maps interface would be interesting and fun.The agency in charge of space exploration could put cameras around their equipment and sends off. Scientists then could navigate and visualize space using a virtual reality device. This would allow the exploration of space in a way that we have not seen before.Maybe you may have heard of Valkyrie – where you take the role of a spaceship pilot – and that seems real, although we knew it was not.6. Digital MarketingAn exciting way in which virtual reality is set to change the world is by the advancement of digital marketing. While physical marketing is limited by the laws of nature, experiences in the Virtual world are not.For example, if you are looking to navigate to a Harvard University campus, you will be able to do so, travelling classrooms, walking among students. You may be promoting a concert and want to place visitors there in the midst of this experience in a virtual reality environment.Companies like YouVisit explore experiential marketing for everyday businesses by offering an easy to use platform for building VR experiences.Not only is it useful for businesses, but also for consumers. Consumers now can make decisions based on virtual experiences the same way they would with physical ones. Not only is it ideal for hotels and travel, but much more for any other experiential marketing.See Also: What brands need to know about VR and AR [Infographic]These 6 categories are a brief introduction into all of the ways VR will transform the experiences around everyday activities. But, even with these new experiences brought by VR, it will still require VR delivering experiences that are otherwise not even remotely possible and further exploration of experiences similar to those mentioned for it to reach its full potential. Tags:#Future#Internet of Things#IoT#Oculus#virtual reality#VR How a Modern Gaming Engine Can Supercharge Your… How AR and VR Will Enhance Customer Experience Melissa Crooks is Content Writer who writes for Hyperlink Infosystem, a mobile app development company based in USA & India that holds the best team of skilled and expert app developers. She is a versatile tech writer and loves exploring latest technology trends, entrepreneur and startup column. Few Industries will not be Transformed by AR an… Melissa Crooks Related Posts AR And VR: Which is More Important to Emerging …
These 7 design guidelines will help your title and motion graphic designs look polished and professional.Video editors are often called to do titles and graphics, but often haven’t really had any training in the basics of graphic design. Motion graphics artists probably have a higher rate of graphic design education, but it’s not guaranteed.For those of you that fall into the category of wanting to make better graphics for your videos, but not really knowing what goes into making a good design, here are a few general design guidelines and rules that should help you out. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it covers the things I’ve seen most often and implemented in my own design work.1. Contrast Is KeyContrast is everything. Yes, I’m talking about brightness and contrast, but I’m also talking about color contrast, contrast in size, contrast in composition, contrast in motion, contrast in speed, shape, pace.Contrast is really when something is distinctly different from what is around it, either in space (the images on the frame) or time (the previous and next shots/scenes). For things to stand out and have an effect, they have to be different enough from the rest of the image. Even low contrast (like in a visual, brightness/contrast sense) throughout a piece can be used to bring enormous impact to something that’s suddenly very different. Contrast adds a punch.2. If Everything Is Important, Nothing Is ImportantTo put it another way from a visual angle: If everything has to stand out, nothing will stand out. You can’t have everything in all caps or it all becomes white noise. It can’t all be bold or nothing is really “bold”. Every design element and graphic in you video can’t “pop” or else it can’t separate itself from the rest.Just like certain elements of your story are key elements, certain visuals and text need emphasis drawn to them. For emphasis to be placed on something, another thing has to be de-emphasized. Form a hierarchy, and decide what’s most important, then emphasize that. Your message will be a lot clearer and the eye will be drawn to the visuals that need to be seen the most.3. Stick With One Or Two Fonts, MaxYes, fonts are awesome. Yes, there are a billion free and/or paid ones out there. But a good designer knows restraint. The general rule is to pick two typefaces: A heading typeface and a body typeface. The heading typeface should be used for big, bold text that needs to stand out, and is generally a few words or a sentence at the most. The body typeface should be for longer chunks of text, multiple sentences or text that’s not as important as the “headlines”.If you need more visual variation, stick with variations within the typeface itself: bold, italic, condensed, black, book, demi, etc. These can be used to add emphasis where necessary, without adding visual clutter by using a million different fonts. That said, don’t go too crazy with variations either. It’s all about simplicity. This goes back to tip #2: If everything has to stand out, nothing will stand out. Image from hulk4598 on Flickr.4. Pick A High-Quality FontIf you really want your work to have a high production value, go with a well-designed, high-quality font. Pay for it; it’s totally worth it. You normally wouldn’t trust the “free” stock image sites for your best clients, so why do the same with your typefaces?For those of you that subscribe to Adobe’s Creative Cloud, you’ve got a leg-up on the others. Creative Cloud includes a subscription to Adobe’s awesome TypeKit library (Clay Asbury did a great post about this here). A high quality typeface has had a ton of research, thought, and design put into it. Type designers do this for a living. Trust that they know what they’re doing.Also, for the love of all that is holy, never stretch text. They made that typeface the way it is for a reason. If you don’t like it, you’ve probably picked the wrong typeface.5. All-Caps Is Great, Except When It’s NotYes, all-caps is frequently used to draw attention to key text and it does a great job of that. But it’s all about balance.There are many parts of a letterform, so here’s a quick take-away – the parts of a lowercase letter that stick up or hang below the main body (x-height) are what enable us to read easily and quickly. Remember contrast being important? It applies here too. The parts that stick up and down help us super-quickly scan and identify those letters without having to really study the letter. If you use all-caps, you’ve taken that advantage away; every letter is exactly the same height, so your eyes have to stop and identify every letter, one at a time.Don’t believe me? Type a whole paragraph in all-caps and time yourself reading it. Then find another paragraph of similar length and read it in normal case. Which one is faster, which one hurts your eyes? So yes, all caps can bring emphasis but it also reduces readability. It’s a trade-off, so trade wisely.Fun aside – did you know that there’s a difference between readability and legibility? Without going into too much detail, legibility is how easy it is to read/identify the letters, readability is how easy it is to read/identify the word(s).6. Pick & Stick With A Color PaletteColor palettes bring a very pleasant harmony and cohesion to any good design, and motion graphics and titles are no exception. Find one that fits your piece’s mood or use the branded colors of your client (often they’ve had a designer pick scheme that works wonderfully together). Then stick with this color scheme.You’d be amazed at how a well-planned color scheme can give a design a sense of polish and energy. Two great resources for finding palettes are ColourLovers.com (my personal favorite; you can even search by keywords like mood and feel) or Adobe’s Kuler:7. White Space Is Okay, I PromiseDon’t feel like you have to fill up every pixel. Empty space (white space) is good. It gives the eye a break, and if you use it well, it leads the eye to exactly what you want the audience to be focusing on. And, no, that logo doesn’t need to be bigger (even though your client may be telling you otherwise). The empty space around it brings attention to it. Let it breathe.I hope these help polish up your own motion design projects. There are a ton of resources out there for graphic design, and you’ll find that a lot of them help tremendously with motion graphics and title design. So get out there and learn!
Playing a dirty game”With the mud slinging and public washing of dirty linen by sportspersons and politicians, the Arjuna Awards ought to be renamed the ‘Duryodhan Awards’.”-Jinu Mathew, on e-mailThe Broken RunYour cover story has exposed the darker and gloomier side of the state of Indian sports (“Prize and Prejudice”,,Playing a dirty game”With the mud slinging and public washing of dirty linen by sportspersons and politicians, the Arjuna Awards ought to be renamed the ‘Duryodhan Awards’.”-Jinu Mathew, on e-mailThe Broken RunYour cover story has exposed the darker and gloomier side of the state of Indian sports (“Prize and Prejudice”, September 3). The Arjuna Award, once the pride and dream of Indian sportspersons, has now been reduced to a farce thanks to political lobbying and corruption. What is equally disheartening is the plight of past Arjuna winners who are forced to sell their trophies for survival.-Rohit Bhandiye, PanajiIt is a shame that in our country recognition doesn’t come on its own for the deserving – it depends on one’s ability to pull the right strings.-K. Balaramakrishnan, ChennaiMilkha Singh’s decision to decline the Arjuna Award is not justified. It is, after all, a national honour. But I’d also like to add that the complaints aired by him and a few others cannot be ignored. If the country’s best prize for sportspersons is awarded to people unworthy of it, upcoming sportspersons cannot be motivated to perform well in the international arena. I suggest that a rule be made that any person whose name is being considered for the award should have at least one international medal to his name. Secondly, the number of Arjuna Awards given per year should be reduced. Only then can its value be restored.-Lokesh Thakur, ShimlaArjuna was a warrior and even the Arjuna Award emblem depicts him taking aim with his bow and arrow. I, therefore, find it disgraceful that this award is not associated with soldiers but with sportspersons.-Lt-Col (Retd) R. Nandkeolyar, LucknowadvertisementSleeping with the EnemyThe custom of sharing brides among the Gurjjars in Rajasthan is nothing but prostitution in the garb of marriage (“Family Bride, September 3). I am convinced that the women hardly have any choice in this matter though your report seems to suggest that they are quite happy as they are freed from doing household chores. It is preposterous and utterly shameful.-Jayati Mandal, on e-mailThe story of the gurjjars’ dearth of females calls for an introspection into our demographic guidelines and the rules by which we dilineate our population parameters. It brings to mind the vulnerability of another ethnic group which is on the brink of extinction – the Great Andamanese.-J. Mathew, on e-mailThe story offers a lesson to all those who believe in a patriarchal society: indulge in female infanticide and foeticide and pay the price.-Aruna Saxena, PuneNot GuiltyI find it distressing that you are trying to denounce the means adopted by Tehelka (“The Truth Uncovered”, September 3). Your report smacks of double standards because the means to unearth misdoings at the top echelons cannot always be above board but that does not mean we try to stop the pursuit of truth. Besides, such unconventional means are adopted by many media houses for exposes. Moreover, it diverts attention from the main issue: corruption in high places. Why is there an urgency to launch criminal proceedings against the Tehelka team when there’s a greater urgency to book the bribe-takers?-Dr R.N. Trivedi, KanpurIn a Different ContextYour article on George Fernandes and his reinduction into the government is regrettable (“Doghouse Woes”, September 10). In describing his exclusion from the Government Fernandes has been quoted as saying that “it is a grave injustice to me” when his actual statement was that a question pertaining to his inclusion in the Cabinet was an injustice. Besides, the NDA has made no complaint about the slow progress of the Justice Venkatswami Commission. It is unfair to say that the SP is “griping” about delays in proceedings of the Commission.-Dr Shambhu Shrivastwa, General Secretary, Samata PartyStatus QuoYour story on the “commendable work” being done by the Gujarat Government came as a shock (“Turning a Calamity into an Opportunity”, September 3). It seems your reporter did not visit Gujarat, let alone Kutch, and even if he did, he probably spoke only to those in power and not the hapless victims of the quake. The victims are still running from pillar to post for succour and aid. The government has failed miserably in providing that most fundamental necessity: a shelter.-B.G. Varghese, AhmedabadThis was an advertisement feature and not an INDIA TODAY report. – EditorRank InefficiencyI am not surprised at the poor performance and bad results of the tourism minister (“Ministries of Inaction”, August 27). While foreigners find the food here to be cheap, entrance fees to monuments are very high. It is my third visit to India and I appreciate the kindness of the people but I must say that visiting India is quite a financial burden for a family man as far as monuments are concerned.-Nicolas Geiger, FranceYour analysis of the ministry of Tourism portrays a sad picture for a remarkable country. After spending a month here on holiday, I am still surprised by the government legislation that makes the tourist’s life unpleasant, difficult and expensive. The US$20 Taj Mahal entrance fee is outrageous but would not be so bad if one could guarantee that it would be spent on maintenance of the building or the surrounding area. Instead, I suspect that it will form part of a government official’s holiday fund to a foreign country which has realised that such blatant discrimination is detrimental to its tourism industry.-Alex Marshall, on e-mailadvertisementGoing by the grading system you have adopted for the ministers, the petroleum and natural gas minister should be the topper. After all, nobody outside the Government is interested in attributes like “understanding of issues” or “commitment to reforms”. It is the “achievements” that count.-B. Rita, on e-mailI was dismayed to see that Laloo Yadav is the most preferred chief minister of Bihar (“Missing a Leader”, August 20). What about the fodder scam, caste carnages, and non-existence of tourism and industrialisation? Srikrishna Sinha, the man responsible for putting modern Bihar on the map of India, has been forgotten. And it was only after 1961 that Bihar and Biharis became the butt of jokes.-Suresh Shankar, PatnaCaste and CharacterIn the editorial on violence in Kashmir, you mention that “part of the problem is India’s national character” (“Passive Resistance”, August 20). It is this “character” perhaps that made an English magazine state after a thorough exploration that except for two, no Hindu temples were attacked in Kashmir. Again, it must be this “character” that tries to rationalise every action of the terrorists and opine that anyone who reacts in provocation is the scum of the earth.-Ashok Chowgule, president, VHP, Maharashtra PradeshCurriculum of the BabusIn her column, Tavleen Singh tries to deflect the blame from our disastrous present Government (“Missing the Point”, September 3). She tries to pin the blame on the Congress by saying that in the 40 years that it ruled us we had an education system that was designed to turn India into a nation of clerks. Is she not aware that our country produces the highest number of competent engineers, as also a large number of other professionals? And what about herself? Was she educated abroad or does she think she hasn’t risen above the level of a clerk considering that she was a product of the same system she talks of so contemptuously?-C. Sunita Reddy, HyderabadI couldn’t agree more with Tavleen Singh. Both A.B. Vajpayee and Sonia Gandhi need to understand that what we teach is more important than how we teach it. The most important point of quality of education is sidelined by both the BJP and the Congress: where is our education system headed? As an instrument of change and development, the education system in India must be depoliticised and modernised.-Aashish Opal, ChandigarhadvertisementOptical DelusionPlease desist from publishing irrelevant comments of B.S. Bedi (“Captain Cowboy”, August 13). He seems to be suffering from a delusion of grandeur. Though a great spinner of the 1970s, he was recently spitting venom while discussing the lack of character of current Indian cricketers. Not only a foot, he put both his legs in his mouth. It is beyond any doubt that Sourav Ganguly has some “pet” cricketers. But what is the harm in backing competent cricketers? At least he is not promoting provincialism and aiding incompetent ones as done by his predecessors.-Mahasweta Mitra, Jayant, Madhya Pradesh
[dropcap]I[/dropcap] watched ‘Juno’ tonight and it inspired me to compile the following list.My Top-Ten Favourite Films (with a little bit of cheating for number 10):1= Schindler’s List (Oscar = my life-hero)1= Goodfellas (grafters galore)3 Casablanca (Rik = Not-Staff)4 Jaws (love the old fisherman dude + watch most NY Eves)5 Harry Brown (naff adjective, but ‘real’)6 The Secret in their Eyes (Spanish. Deep and eerie)7 Wall Street (couldn’t live without GG)8 Juno (favourite cutting comedy)9 Match Point (clever and had to namecheck Woody Allen)10= Rain Man (intense)/ A Rather English Marriage ( Albert Finney = world-class)/ Seven (top thriller)What have I forgotten? Sleepers, Casino and Broken Embraces all just missed the cut. But hang on a minute, HOW, have I left out Clint Eastwood? He rarely makes a bad film, but has he ever made an absolute cracker?? I think I just need to rip this list up and start again..! What do you think, Blog??In other news:Cau, 33 High Street, Wimbledon, SW19 5BY (WEB SITE). I rarely eat steak, but it is excellent here. The music was a bit too loud. Excellent chunky-chips, and don’t miss all the naughty sides. A v good shout for post Wimbledon Dogs. 7.5Over and out, B x