Sunday, 20 November 2016

PV Sindhu clinches first Super Series title, beating home girl Sun Yu in the China Open final

FUZHOU: Olympic silver medalist PV Sindhu clinched her maiden Super Series Premier title after edging out Sun Yu of China in the final of the $700,000 China Open badminton tournament on Sunday.
Sindhu, who became the toast of the country after becoming the first Indian women to win a silver at Rio Games, continued her rampaging run as she lifted the prestigious title after beating Sun 21-11, 17-21, 21-11 in the summit clash that lasted an hour and nine minutes.
World No. 11 Sindhu had come into the match with a 2-3 head-to-head record but then statistics counted little when she took the court at the Haixia Olympic Sports Center.
 Sindhu dished out a dominating game as she zoomed to a healthy 11-5 lead early on. The Indian looked sharp and athletic as she engaged in a fast-paced game to bamboozle her opponent.

Eventually it was a cross court return which earned Sindhu a massive 12 game points at 20-8. A couple of smashes on Sindhu's forehand and backhand and a drop going to the net helped Sun save three points. But Sindhu sealed the opening encounter after dominating a parallel game and finishing it with a return that hit Sun's face.

In the second game, Sindhu had a slender 6-3 lead which she extended to 11-7 and 14-10. But Sun soon broke the rhythm by mixing her strokes and coming up with steep and powerful body smashes to catch up with the Indian at 14-14.

A sharp smash and a superb return on Sindhu's backhand helped Sun grab a 18-16 lead which became 19-16 after the Indian lost a video referral. At 20-16, Sun hit the nets but she roared back into contest when Sindhu's stretched low return at the forecourt could not cross the net.

Back to her winning side of the court, Sindhu once again started with new exuberance as the duo locked themselves in a battle of supremacy. As a result service changed hands too quickly as they moved together till 6-6.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Indian Girl Won $1 Million Hult Prize & Solving Transportation Issues in Kenya

“Lags in the transportation system are a big issue in many countries and it is something that is often overlooked even though people use it on a daily basis. When transportation is inefficient, it curbs people’s accessibility to healthcare, education and jobs,” says Sonia Kabra, the co-founder of Magic Bus Ticketing – text-based ticketing service that aims to make bus transport more reliable and accessible by reducing waiting times and increasing the productivity of both commuters and buses starting with African countries.
Along with three other co-founders, she recently participated in the Hult Prize competition in New York where Magic Bus won a seed capital funding of $1 million.
The annual competition challenges student entrepreneurs to come up with solutions for the world’s most pressing problems. The prize is offered in funded by Bertil Hult, founder of EF Education First, in partnership with Former US President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative. The competition is hosted by Hult International Business School.

The challenge this year was related to crowded urban places and how one can better connect people to goods and services. And the aim for the participants was to double the income of one million people by 2020. Magic Bus was one of the 25,000 participants in the competition.
All four cofounders of Magic Bus – Iman Cooper, Sonia Kabra, Wyclife Omondi, and Leslie Ossete come from different countries – USA, India, Nairobi, and Kenya respectively.
And they had all witnessed varying problems with respect to transportation in their countries. In Kenya, they knew how an unorganised and unpredictable bus transportation service leads to people spending three to four hours of the day waiting around for busses, or missing out on important opportunities just because they could not find a bus to commute.

“Inspired by the shared economy model of UBER and Airbnb, we thought that we will do something similar. But the market we were going into, a smartphone app would not have been useful because most people don’t have the Internet. But most people have mobile phones,” says Sonia, adding that the mobile phone adoption in Kenya is 85%.

This was how the team came up with the idea of an offline service that would use Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) gateway and SMS service to help people book their seats on in-city buses, know the time of arrival of the buses, fares, etc. USSD is basically a Global System for Mobile (GSM) communication technology used to send messages between a mobile phone and an application program in the network. The team members were also aware of the fact that m-Pesa, a mobile-based money transfer service, was first launched in Kenya by telecom company Safaricom and is widely used by people there for day-to-day transactions like grocery shopping.

The team developed Magic Bus technology in a way that it uses m-Pesa for transactions for buying bus tickets.
Commuters just have to dial a code after which they receive a USSD menu. They use the message to select pick-up and drop locations, and Magic Bus sends them an SMS with the bus details including the expected time of arrival and fare. Commuters can then pre-book the seats using m-Pesa. The service gives the expected time of arrival with the help of GPS tracking system.

“In Kenya, the bus system is privatised and informal. So there is a lot of fluctuation in prices. Also, the buses wait at the main stop for the seats to get occupied and all the people waiting at the stops after that have to wait for 3-4 hrs every day. There are no fixed times for busses,” says Sonia, adding that the team is trying to move to an offline platform for the drivers as well.

They have used the beta version of the app for pilot testing in five busses in Kenya over a period of nine weeks during which about 2,000 people used the service. 73% of the commuters used it more than three times in one week.
Born and brought up in Jalgaon, Maharashtra, Sonia went to Hong Kong to finish High School in the United World College and then to Earlham College in the USA to pursue liberal arts. She has always wanted to start a business of her own and is excited to live in Kenya very soon. The team hired a group of 20 volunteers to help train the locals on using the service and they are now planning to use their funds to expand to other African countries as well.

Discover the wonders of avaram flower tea

If you stand the risk of being diabetic, you could switch from the sugary morning tea to the tea of avarampoo. The rate at which number of Indians with diabetes is growing, researchers say that we could be looking at a potential epidemic. With more than 60 million people in India affected with the disease, and several lakhs possibly not even knowing that they have been affected by it, it is imperative that we consider making significant changes in our lifestyle and diet to prevent or control diabetes.
A small step towards that would be going for the avaram flower tea instead of the sugary morning tea.

The avaram, or senna auriculata, is a legume tree and grows in dry regions of India. It isn’t a rare plant, but it isn’t commonly used either.

Each part of the avaram plant has some medicinal qualities, and the flowers and flower buds, when dried, can be used to make tea.

“Apart from diabetes, it also helps strengthen the uterus in women and improves the functioning of the heart,” says Dr. Selva Shanmugam, a Siddha doctor.

And here is the bonus, it also helps us have wrinkle-free and healthy skin.

The avaram poo (flower) keeps the body hydrated and should be used after it has been dried under the sun.

Avaram poo tea is extremely simple to make.

Boil the dried flower in water, and for further taste and nutrition, a mixture of ginger powder, pepper and coriander powder can also be added to it. To this mixture, add lemon and jaggery, and you will have a cup of immensely healthy and tasty tea.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

People needing emergency aid after Hurricane Matthew

Haiti faces a crisis that requires a "massive response" from the international community, the United Nations has said, with at least 1.4 million people needing emergency aid after Hurricane Matthew.

The storm killed almost 1,000 people in the impoverished Caribbean nation, with that toll likely to rise as rescue workers reach previously inaccessible areas. Matthew, the most powerful Atlantic storm since 2007, last week leveled homes, fouled water sources and killed livestock, leaving victims pleading for help to arrive quickly. "Some towns and villages have been almost wiped off the map," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters.

The UN has launched a $120m flash appeal to cover Haiti's needs for the next three months. After pummeling Haiti on October 4 as a monster Category 4 storm, packing winds of 230km an hour, Matthew slammed into the southeastern United States, where it killed at least 20 people. Hundreds of people were rescued by boat and helicopter as floodwaters inundated towns in the state of North Carolina on Monday, and officials warned that life-threatening flooding from swollen rivers would continue for days.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Rio Olympics 2016 Opening Ceremony -Most Memorable Moments

Let the games begin! There were plenty of memorable moments at the 2016 Rio Olympics opening ceremony on Friday, August 5, from the shirtless Tongan flag bearer to Gisele Bundchen’s fierce walk down the runway. Here, Us Weekly has rounded up the top seven standout moments from the festive kick-off to the Summer Olympic games

The first-ever Olympics refugee team was greeted with loud cheers and applause as they entered the stadium. The 10-person team is made up of six men and four women who fled their home countries — ranging from Syria, South Sudan, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Neil Patrick Harris’ doppelgänger, Belarus road cyclist Vasil Kiryienka, graced the international stage, and Twitter immediately reacted to seeing the How I Met Your Mother lookalike on TV. “Neil Patrick Harris competing for Belarus, is there anything he can’t do?!?!?” former View host Michelle Collins tweeted.
Michael Phelps led Team USA into the stadium as the nation’s flag bearer, and his big grin said it all. The swimmer, who holds the record of most Olympic medals of all time, will be competing in his final games this year.

When Team Bolivia competitor Jose Quintanilla walked into the Maracana stadium with his fellow countrymen, he couldn’t contain his emotions — and the beautiful moment was caught on camera
Rio demonstrated an Avatar-like allegiance to the rainforest with its theatrical opening ceremony performance, which paid tribute to the country’s indigenous people with dance and movement meant to mimic the trees and water of the Amazon
Gisele Bundchen made Brazil proud with her fiercest walk down the runway yet, clad in a glittery, silver gown to the classic tune “The Girl From Ipanema.” Later, the supermodel was spotted letting loose and dancing her face off in the crowd.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Tennis: Novak Djokovic stunned in early Wimbledon exit

Novak Djokovic admits he may not play again until the Olympics after having his grand slam hopes sensationally scuppered with a shock third-round exit from Wimbledon.
Big-serving American Sam Querrey sent the all-conquering world No.1 crashing out of the championships with a stunning 7-6 (8-6) 6-1 3-6 7-6 (7-5) victory that blew the men's draw wide open.
Already the first man to hold all four major trophies, Djokovic had been bidding to become the first since Rod Laver in 1969 to complete a calendar-year grand slam sweep.
But the 29-year-old was unable to claw back the two-set deficit he slept on after rain forced the suspension of play on Friday with Djokovic's title defence on tenterhooks.
Querrey's earth-moving triumph ended Djokovic's open-era record 30-match winning streak at the slams and consigned the Serb to his earliest departure from a major since the 2009 French Open. "It's disappointing, of course, losing at a grand slam hurts more than any other tournament. There is no doubt about that," Djokovic said.

"Congratulation to Sam. He played a terrific match. "He serves very well, as he usually does. That part of his game was brutal today. He just overpowered me. He was aggressive and it paid off."
 The top-seeded three-time champion had also been striving to become the first player since American Don Budge in 1938 to win five consecutive grand slam titles.

But after quickly taking the third set upon the resumption of play on Saturday, Djokovic was unable to force a decider despite serving for the fourth set at 5-4. He put a forehand volley into the net to allow Querrey to break back before the 28th seed safely held serve for 6-5.

One game away from victory, Querrey had to endure another nerve-wracking hour-long rain delay before taking the tiebreaker to secure a famous victory after two hours and 58 minutes.

"Incredible," said Querrey as he basked in the glory of the biggest win of his career. "Especially to do it here at Wimbledon, the biggest tournament in the world. I'm so ecstatic."

The stunning result presents a huge opportunity for seven-times champion Roger Federer and other leading seeds Kei Nishikori, Milos Raonic, Marin Cilic, David Goffin and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to make the final.

While Querrey, a former Queen's Club champion on London grass, can look forward to a Monday meeting with unseeded Frenchman Nicolas Mahut for a place in the quarter-finals, Djokovic said he may not return to the court until next month's Rio Games.

"It's been a very successful year so far, but very long one, exhausting one, in every sense of that word. I just need some rest," he said, adding he wasn't 100 per cent healthy against Querrey.

"But it's not the place and time to talk about it.

"I believe in positive things in life. I managed to win four grand slams in a row - two different seasons, though.

"I want to try to focus on that rather than on failure."

Nishikori dispatched Andrey Kuznetsov 7-5 6-3 7-5 to set up a 2014 US Open final rematch with Cilic, who also progressed in straight sets, 6-3 6-3 6-4, over Lukas Lacko.

On the other side of the draw, second-seeded local hope Andy Murray assumed title favouritism with a 6-3 7-5 6-2 victory over Australian John Millman. Nick Kyrgios will play Spanish No.22 seed Feliciano Lopez later on Saturday for a last-16 crack at Murray on Monday.