KOONJOO TRAGEDY: Daughter of Mauritian politician dies from severe burns

Plaine-des-Papayes, MAURITIUS
VIJAY SHAH via L’Express

The daughter of a member of parliament on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius has died from injuries caused by a lamp she lit during prayers, local French-language publication L’Express reported yesterday.

Vandana Devi Ranjat (née Koonjoo), 40, the eldest daughter of Oceanic Economy Minister, Prem Koonjoo, was admitted to the Burns Unit of Victoria Hospital in the western town of Quatre Bornes twenty days ago in critical condition, following a tragic incident while participating in family prayers at the family home in Plaine-des-Papayes, a small village near the town of Triolet in the island’s north.




Ms. Ranjat, also known by the nickname Poonam, had been lighting diyas, traditional lamps used for prayers in Hinduism, on October 3. She had been replacing a diya, when its flames came into contact with her clothes after she spilled the lamp’s fuel contents on her hand. Overwhelmed with panic, she attempted to put out the flames but to no avail and they quickly spread.

Her funeral was held today in her hometown, and was attended by national luminaries, friends and family, including former prime minister Aneerood Jugnauth and his son Pravin. According to L’Express, she leaves behind her husband and one child.

Her father is a former teacher who is also a constituency member for Vieux Grand Port and Rose Belle. He has been Minister of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries, Shipping and Outer Islands since 2014, and previously was in charge of ministerial portfolios for commerce, cooperatives and local handicrafts, and had also worked as a private parliamentary secretary.


Alex Laridon‎.
Radio Plus – Mauritius/Ile-Maurice, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/groups/radioplusilemaurice/
“La fille du ministre Koonjoo décède des suites de ses brûlures” – lexpress.mu/La Sentinelle Ltd (22 October 2016) http://www.lexpress.mu/article/292140/fille-ministre-koonjoo-decede-suites-brulures
“Plaine-des-Papayes: funérailles émouvantes de Vandana Koonjoo” – lexpress.mu/La Sentinelle Ltd (23 October 2016) http://www.lexpress.mu/article/292216/plaine-papayes-funerailles-emouvantes-vandana-koonjoo
“Premdut Koonjoo” – National Assembly, Republic of Mauritius http://mauritiusassembly.govmu.org/English/hmembers/Pages/Premdut-Koonjoo.aspx
“File:Port Louis, Parliament Building.jpg” –  Karsten Ratzke, Wikipedia (28 September 2015) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Port_Louis,_Parliament_Building.jpg

QUOTE MOMENT: Smiles drive the sadness away

A superb quote I found this morning on social media, posted by a relative living here in London.


“Smile, even if it’s a sad smile, because sadder than a sad smile

is the sadness of not knowing how to smile.”

Marie Hiles.
Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/
“Mother And Baby Smiling” – Vera Kratochvil, PublicDomainPictures.net http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=11276

POST-BREXIT SCOTLAND: First minister may sign off separate trade deal with EU



As the UK decides what to do next after the life-changing EU referendum in June which saw the country vote largely to leave the European Union, and the nation is facing a rocky political climate coupled with a weak pound, there are concerns about whether the UK will still be able to maintain access to the European single market.

In a sign of the complexity of the situation, and with EU leaders hitting back hard at the UK’s pick-and-choose approach to negotiations, the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, has hinted that her country may go it alone in seeking a separate trade deal with the Continent, the BBC reports.



Around 62 per cent of eligible Scottish voters were in favour of Remain, and in the aftermath of the highly divisive referendum, some members of Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party pushed for another plebiscite on Scotland quitting the UK and rejoining Europe. In a recent interview with the BBC, the First Minister said that she believed a deal could be struck which will preserve Scotland’s own access to the single market, saving the country millions of pounds in tariffs and other fees for importing European goods.

Speaking on videolink with the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Sturgeon said that Brexit should not come in the way of Scotland establishing its own and separate trade deal that will not be affected by the rest of the union’s departure from the EU.

“I think that is possible,” she said.

Sturgeon also added that her government are examining the technicalities of a separate trade deal and mentioned We will publish proposals over the next few weeks.”

In recent days, EU leaders have warned the UK that continued access to the single market is dependent on it continuing to allow free movement of EU citizens. Concerns over the UK being a magnet to EU arrivals was one of the issues vocalised by supporters of Leave.

Half-Eaten Mind, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind
Ace News Services, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/AceNewsServices
“Nicola Sturgeon: Scotland may seek separate EU trade deal” – BBC News – UK – Scotland – Scotland politics (16 October 2016) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-37671236?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
“Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland” – First Minister of Scotland, Flickr (29 November 2014) https://www.flickr.com/photos/firstministerofscotland/15805899567

PHOTO MOMENT: Canadian elf coin


A 25-dollar pure silver coloured coin issued by Canada in 2016. The coin, part of a popular and recent tradition of countries issuing coinage with full-colour scenery and even holographic elements, shows a mythological ‘woodland elf’ on the reverse. The elf, dressed in green hat and suit, is busy at work building a wooden birdhouse amidst typical northern Canadian forest scenery. The obverse features a unique profile portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.

The coin was recently launched by the Royal Canadian Mint, based on a design by local artist Jesse Koreck, and is being sold at face value in Canada and the United States.


Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984
Numismatics, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/numismatics_rr
“2016 $25 Woodland Elf Silver Coin for $25” – CoinNews.net via NUMISMATICS (14 October 2016) http://www.rightrelevance.com/search/articles/hero?article=c1d0c3c908112d8b82a9fe698eabfed619d40934&query=numismatics&taccount=numismatics_rr

BREXIT: EU nationals in the UK to stay after country leaves union


VIJAY SHAH via Press Association & The Guardian



The Home Office, the UK government agency in charge of immigration and settlement matters, has announced via various reports that European Union nationals currently residing in Britain will be permitted to continue living there, ending a dilemma for hundreds of thousands of continentals worried about their status post-Brexit, the Guardian reports.

After the July referendum which saw the shock decision by just over half of British voters to get their nation withdrawn from the EU after forty years, European Union citizens were left in the lurch, unsure of their futures, as new prime minister Theresa May refused to give a final definition of their status. Her manoeuvre consisted of a criticised attempt to guarantee the rights of the 1.2 million British emigrants living in Europe, mostly in France and Spain.

It is expected that 80 per cent of the EU citizens currently in the UK will be allowed to stay after Britain triggers Article 50 on membership and leaves the union, widely expected to be in 2019. The 600,000 remaining will be offered an amnesty, the Guardian says. At one point, reports suggested that EU nationals who settled in the UK before the referendum would not be asked to leave. There are believed to be 3.6 million EU nationals working and living across the UK.

Home Office calculations were reported as saying that five out of six EU nationals could not be deported after the country leaves the EU.

‎Sergio Mourão‎.
EEA visa.. EU free movement, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/groups/650212281695959/?fref=nf
“EU nationals living in UK will be allowed to remain after Brexit – report” – Press Association, The Guardian – home – politics/Guardian News and Media Limited (8 October 2016) https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/oct/08/home-office-says-eu-nationals-living-in-uk-can-remain-after-brexit
“brexit” – portal gda, Flickr (25 June 2016) https://www.flickr.com/photos/135518748@N08/27612677760


TRUMP: British actor lays into US presidential candidate



As the presidential campaign in the United States heats up with only a month left to go before elections on the 8th November 2016, a well-loved voice from the other side of the Pond has made a few choice words about the controversial Republican candidate Donald Trump, the UK’s ITV News service reported yesterday.

Actor and voiceover artist Brian Blessed, famed for his distinctive booming vocals, rounded on the billionaire during a video interview with the ITV channel, in which he described Trump as a ‘total, complete utter moron’ in what ITV News described as an ‘extraordinary outburst’. 


Blessed has long been a feature of British television screens, renowned as much for his imposing chestnut brown beard as for his voice. He was born in Mexborough, Yorkshire in 1936 and first appeared in the programme Z-Cars in 1962 and has made a living appearing both behind the screen and on stage, as well as doing voiceovers and bit roles for television adverts.

In the interview, the actor told ITV how he could not understand how a nation that has produced so many brilliant minds now has a large part of its electorate backing a man whom he felt was ‘gormless’ and ‘tasteless’. Blessed also personally addressed Donald Trump in the interview, picking on his blonde toupee-like hairstyle by saying that the candidate should ‘get a haircut and scram’. Blessed also saidAmerica’s full of such brilliant people – brilliant professors, brilliant scientists but you have an appalling, gormless, tasteless, individual like Trump, who really [fart sound] is that, isn’t he?”

“An appalling creature.”

“What they hell are they doing with him? He’s a total, complete utter moron.”

Blessed made the comments shortly after he collected an OBE (Order of the British Empire) royal honour for services to the arts and charity in a Birthday Honours ceremony presided over by Queen Elizabeth II at her residence Windsor Castle. He is a patron of the Hopefield Animal Sanctuary and of PHASE (Practical Help Achieving Self Empowerment) which is a network of NGOs and charities working to improve the lives of people in remote parts of Nepal.

Currently in the US presidential race, both Trump and Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton are neck-and-neck, and hotel magnate Trump has repeatedly found himself in hot water over a series of disparaging and racial comments, including selling off welfare services, proposing a wall separating his country and Mexico to keep out illegal immigrants and banning all Muslims from settling in America. The US elections are been keenly followed in the UK with most people aware of the main issues and contenders and hours of news time on British television dedicated to the election coverage.

ITV News, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/itvnews/
Helen Mutton.
” ‘He’s a total, complete utter moron’ Brian Blessed delivers his damning verdict on Donald Trump” – ITV News (7 October 2016) http://www.itv.com/news/2016-10-07/hes-a-total-complete-utter-moron-brian-blessed-delivers-his-damning-verdict-on-trump/
“Brian Blessed” – Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Blessed
“Toy Fair – Brian Blessed” – Hot Grill, Flickr (28 January 2009) https://www.flickr.com/photos/grill/3255741274



BBC DIVERSITY: Radio DJ claims he was sacked for being a white male

VIJAY SHAH via PressGazette

The diversity policies of UK public broadcaster the BBC have come under scrutiny after a presenter for its Radio 4 service made a controversial claim he was dropped from his role to make more room for women and ethnic minority candidates, the Press Gazette reports.

Radio host Jon Holmes, a journalist who has also written travel pieces for the Sunday Times paper, tweeted this week “Sad to announce I’ve been axed from @BBCNowShow as ‘we want to recast with more women and diversity’ Tsk. And I didn’t even punch a producer”. He made reference to an infamous incident where another former BBC employee, Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson was sacked after assaulting the show’s producer after not receiving a steak dinner at a hotel whilst filming.


The BBC Now Show is a programme consisting of comedy sketches and satire. After his dismissal and tweet, Holmes vented his frustration further in an opinion article written for the Mail on Sunday and alleged he was the victim of reverse discrimination, racism and sexism. He wrote “Should I, as a white man (through no fault of my own), be fired from my job because I am a white man? Arguably, yes. You may well think I’m crap on The Now Show, and that’s fine, but to be told it’s because I’m the wrong sex and colour? I’m just not sure that’s helpful to anyone’s cause.”

Holmes added he “understands and agrees with all things BAME [Black Asian and minority ethnic]” and said speaking out about losing his job was not “sour grapes”.

He also claimed that after his dismissal he spoke to several presenters, actors and others involved in the broadcasting industry, who also claimed they were turned down for auditions and jobs because the hirers were looking to give the role to an ‘Asian person’.

Holmes added: “I love the BBC and everyone I’ve ever met and worked with – whatever their sex, creed or colour – is doing the best they can and just trying to get on and do the right thing. But even they are all privately saying it’s all got a bit out of hand.”

However the BBC claimed Holmes was not dismissed because of his background or gender. They state that he was let go as he had been a presenter for 18 years at the broadcaster and they wanted to offer a chance for a newer comic.

A BBC spokesperson said: “While the Government’s new charter for the BBC does set us diversity targets, we always hire presenters on merit.

“We’d like to thank both Jon Holmes and Mitch Benn for their contributions, but – as we explained almost a week ago when the story first appeared in newspapers – our comedy shows are constantly evolving and it was simply time to create opportunities for new regulars when The Now Show returns this autumn.”

The BBC has been criticised in the past for not doing enough to represent non-majority voices in both its programming and its workforce, although to its credit, it runs several stations geared towards different regions, cultures and age groups.

In April 2016, the BBC launched a new diversity plan, with its aim of having “a workforce at least as diverse, if not more so, than any other in the industry” by 2020. The BBC has said it wants to make sure 15 per cent of on-screen staff are BAME, that women make up 50 per cent its workforce and that LGBT people are 8 per cent.

HEM Journalism Portal, The Half-Eaten Mind, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind/lists/hem-journalism-portal
Press Gazette, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/pressgazette
“Radio 4 presenter Jon Holmes told he was sacked to ‘allow more women and diversity’ ” – Dominic Ponsford, Press Gazette (3 October 2016) http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/radio-4-presenter-jon-holmes-told-he-was-sacked-to-allow-more-women-and-diversity/
“File:BBC Manchester, Oxford Road.jpg” – Coffee Lover, Flickr via Wikimedia Commons (7 January 2009) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:BBC_Manchester,_Oxford_Road.jpg

A MILLION MILES TOGETHER: UK Olympic gold champion at launch of Newham keep fit drive


VIJAY SHAH via Newham Council

British Olympic champion and gold medallist Christine Ohuruogu returned to her home borough of Newham to help the council’s special keep fit drive Million Miles Together Challenge, which officially launches today and is designed to encourage residents to be more active.

The challenge encourages people to go out and get involved in activities such as running, sports, jogging, yoga and dance to help Newham collectively achieve a million miles in a hundred days. The former 400 metres World Champion and the borough’s mayor, Sir Robin Wales, came together yesterday (Friday 30th October) to announce that they would both be participating.


Ohuruogu became a role model for the nation after winning a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, before picking up a silver in her native country in London 2012, which was partly held in the Newham district of Stratford’s purpose-built Olympic Stadium. She recently collected a bronze in this year’s games in Rio de Janeiro, where Team GB walked away with the second highest medal haul of all nations that took part.

The Million Miles Together Challenge involves people signing up to the Million Miles Together website. There they can record all the physical activity they take part in, which is then converted into mileage. By Sunday 8th January 2017, it is hoped that Newham’s residents will have collected a million miles between them – the equivalent of a return trip to the moon.

In addition to Ohuruogu and the local government, the challenge is also been supported by the borough’s eight Community Neighbourhood Teams. The Teams, which encourage members of their respective community areas to get involved in social events and initiatives, have been tasked with getting at least 1,500 people signed up to the health drive per community neighbourhood. The drive is also been sponsored by London City Airport.

In an interview with the council, Olympic champion Ohuruogu, who was born in Stratford on the 17th May, 1984 said I’m really excited to be involved in Million Miles Together. It’s fantastic that Newham will be the first Council in the whole of the UK to take on this challenge.

“I love that this challenge is for everyone, of any age, any level of health and fitness. It’s not just about sport and anyone can take part.

“It is an opportunity to take part in something I believe offers a fresh, new and creative approach to an age old problem of getting people to lead fitter and healthier lives. Both the Council and I are committed to helping inspire people to get more active, and initiatives like this are a positive step in the right direction.”

Councillor Ken Clark, cabinet member for building communities, public affairs, regeneration and planning, said: “Million Miles Together is a fantastic initiative that will give people the impetus they need to get active.

“As well as helping Newham reach its million miles target they will also be able to see and feel the benefits in their own health.

“I am delighted Christine has added her support to the initiative as she is an inspirational figure for many people across the borough. I will also be joining the Mayor and many of my council colleagues in taking part and I hope as many others also join in.”

Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984
Pam, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/salsapam
Newham London, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/NewhamLondon
“Newham’s Olympic hero spearheads Million Miles Together Challenge” – Newham London/Newham Council (30 September 2016) https://www.newham.gov.uk/Pages/News/Newham’s-Olympic-hero-spearheads-Million-Miles-Together-Challenge.aspx
“File:Christine Ohuruogu, October 2008.jpg” – Nick J Webb, Flickr via Wikimedia Commons (16 October 2008) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Christine_Ohuruogu,_October_2008.jpg

APPLE IPHONE 7: People caught out by headphone jack drilling hoax video



Technology company Apple recently launched the latest iteration of its best selling and fashionable iPhone series. However many Apple fans have been left frustrated as the iPhone 7 comes with one less feature, a headphone jack. While Apple have been encouraging consumers to spend a bit extra to purchase their equally new music accessory, the wireless Airpods, some users, not keen on splashing out on little white things for their ears, have resorted to drilling holes into their handsets thanks to a hoax video doing the rounds, with disastrous consequences.

YouTube star TechRax, whose channel shows him exposing iPhones to all kinds of mishaps, including getting them run over by a train, and soaking them in liquid nitrogen, put out a video showing him drilling a hole into a iPhone. While clearly intended as a joke, some viewers have taken TechRax’s tips a bit too much to heart, leaving a trail of ruined expensive phones in their wake.



The short tutorial, entitled “Secret Hack To Get Headphone Jack on the iPhone 7”, shows the producer clamping down an iPhone in a vice before applying a drill to the top of the device. Once the new ‘jack’ is in place, TechRax removes the phone, puts in some headphones and plays music, which comes loud and clear from the speakers. Despite this obvious flaw, people have been reportedly copying TechRax, assuming that there is a hidden jack buried deep within the iPhone.

Several comments below the video were from people who tried it out for themselves, only to find their handsets have stopped functioning. Ste Richards wrote I’ve just done this but there is no sound coming from the headphones. I used an exact 3.5mm drill bit but the connector doesn’t sit flush in the hole for some reason. The phone doesn’t even detect the headphones are in.” ImperioMagno complained Thanks bro, I destroy my iPhone 7, 700 dollars at trash, thanks (sic)”. Commenter ‘lol atu’ wrote Dude are you serious?! I just paid $800 dollars for this thing and now it turns on but the screen just had a few dots on it. I think my phone’s dead! **** my mom’s going to be so p****d! I hope insurance covers this”. Several commenters were so angry at being tricked that they hurled insults at TechRax and told him they hoped his channel is taken off YouTube.

For anyone reading this who is vexed at having a jack-less iPhone, please refrain from drilling holes in it. There is no hidden jack and your warranty will be voided.

Metro, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/MetroUK/?hc_ref=NEWSFEED&fref=nf
“You should NOT drill a hole in your iPhone 7 to make a headphone jack” – Simon Robb, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (24 September 2016) http://metro.co.uk/2016/09/24/you-should-not-drill-a-hole-in-your-iphone-7-to-make-a-headphone-jack-6150353/
“Secret Hack To Get Headphone Jack on the iPhone 7” – TechRax, YouTube GB (17 September 2016) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tqH-Un9SFU
“Apple iPhone 7, Pro, SE?” – Martin Hajek, Flickr (17 March 2016) https://www.flickr.com/photos/nepaltibet2005/25842583096

PHOTO MOMENT: Frothy coffee



I hope your Saturday and of course, your weekend got off to a good start. Here’s an elegant and frothy coffee to help keep you livened up!

Via Enikő Imre and Marie Hiles.