INFANT ENCEPHALITIS: New outbreak reported in Indian city

Gorakhpur – VIJAY SHAH via PRABHASH DUTTA and India Today

The latest stage in a series of infant encephalitis outbreaks has claimed the lives of around sixty children in the Indian city of Gorakhpur, in Uttar Pradesh state, India Today news magazine reported this Saturday. The city, which lies 200 kilometres north-west of India’s capital New Delhi has been the scene of yearly outbreaks of both Japanese encephalitis and acute encephalitis syndrome since 1978, a period of nearly forty years.

Official figures claim that so far, around 25,000 children have succumbed to both conditions, which is spread by mosquitoes and causes inflammation of the brain and can leave survivors mentally and physically disabled, since the first outbreak in 1978. Unofficially the death toll since then has been claimed to be double that, at 50,000. The unofficial tally includes those children who never made it to hospital and were not officially recorded by doctors. Lack of medical facilities, poor nutrition and hygiene and close contact in crowded family environments in Gorakhpur and other parts of Uttar Pradesh has seen regular encephalitis outbreaks impossible to control.

 

Government records suggest that since September 2016, 224 children had died of encephalitis at just one hospital, BRD Medical College hospital, where already sixty children died just this year. This is the only hospital within a 300-kilometre radius that has the facilities to treat encephalitis victims, some of which come to the hospital from as far away as Nepal. Most of the victims were below the ages of eight and ten. Including all age ranges, Gorakhpur has lost 114 residents to the lethal diseases this year alone..

Government support of medical facilities and initiatives to combat the outbreak, of which Gorakhpur is the epicentre, have been minimal most of the time. In 2007, a government initiative was launched to save people live’s using drugs imported from China. While successful in many other parts of India, it failed to halt the march of encephalitis in the struggling eastern regions of Uttar Pradesh.

Recently, the Yoga Adityanath administration that governs the northern state launched a massive anti-encephalitis drive, vaccinating babies against catching the illness, but it will be years before results become conclusive, and the yearly sceptre of death is lifted from Gorakhpur’s innocent children.

SOURCES:

Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984

annapurnapande, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/ManyaPande

Abhijit Majumder, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/abhijitmajumder

“Gorakhpur has a history of children’s deaths, 25,000 kids have lost lives to encephalitis” – Prabhash K. Dutta, indiatoday.in/Living Media India Limited. (12 August 2017) http://m.indiatoday.in/lite/story/gorakhpur-encephalitis-deaths-brd-medical-college-hospital/1/1024551.html

IMAGE CREDIT:

“How is Japanese Encephalitis transmitted?” – Sanofi Pasteur, Flickr (22 February 2013) https://www.flickr.com/photos/sanofi-pasteur/8497288143

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UNITED AIRLINES: Airline cremates world record size rabbit without owner’s permission

Chicago – VIJAY SHAH via ASHITHA NAGESH, GEORGIA DIEBELIUS and Metro

The American air carrier United Airlines, which has suffered a massive PR blow recently after a doctor was assaulted and dragged off one of its planes, faces yet more controversy after it emerged the airline cremated a deceased giant rabbit without informing the pet’s owner, according to UK tabloid paper Metro today.

Ten-month old Flemish Giant rabbit Simon, the son of current world record holder for biggest rabbit, 4ft 4in (1.32m) Darius and measuring at 3ft (91cm) himself, was found frozen to death in the cargo hold at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. He was travelling from Heathrow Airport, near London, UK to a new home in Chicago.

 

Picture posed by another giant rabbit.

 

It was reported that airport ground staff at O’Hare has placed Simon in a freezer instead of a suitable pet carrier, resulting in his death. Simon had remained entirely trapped in the freezer, which was set at a temperature of around 0-2 degrees Celsius for the entire 16-hour duration of the flight. His former owner, rabbit breeder Annette Edwards, demanded that a post-mortem be held on her pet, but came to discover that Simon’s body was sent for cremation without her being told. The cremation took place this past Friday.

Edwards told The Sun newspaper: “I had been asking United over and over again for his body so that I can have him examined here in Britain but they never got back to me,

‘All I want to know is how he died. He was fit as a fiddle when he left my house, and then 24 hours later he’s dead”

Simon was said to have been travelling to the home of an unnamed celebrity, based in Kanton in Ohio state who had taken on the responsibility of being his owner, and the celebrity was reported to be upset at Simon’s passing.

At the time, United Airlines claimed that the rabbit was still alive upon arrival at Chicago, and that he was mistakenly placed in a freezer at holding on the airport premises. A United staff member told The Sun: “The rabbit arrived fine but there was some sort of mistake and he was locked inside a freezer overnight.

Everyone thought he was just having a nap or something. Nobody realised it needed to be taken out.’

‘We know from the inventory that that the rabbit was alive when it reached the airport. So it happened in the warehouse. It has all been kept very hush hush but none of us know who froze the rabbit.”

A United spokesman countered the allegations, saying at the time of the incident: “That assertion (that Simon froze to death on the flight) is completely false. Simon was cared for at the PetSafe kennel facility which is kept at room temperature (on average 70°F (21°C)).

‘He arrived at Chicago O’Hare airport in apparent good condition at 10:25 am (local time).

‘He was seen by a representative of the kennel facility moving about within his crate about 11:00am. Shortly thereafter, a kennel representative noticed Simon was motionless and determined that he passed away “

SOURCES:

Metro, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/MetroUK/?hc_ref=NEWSFEED

“United Airlines ‘cremated Simon the giant rabbit without the owner’s consent’” – Ashitha Nagesh, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (1 May 2017) http://metro.co.uk/2017/05/01/united-airlines-cremated-simon-the-giant-rabbit-without-the-owners-consent-6607998/

“Giant rabbit died in care of United Airlines ‘after being put in the freezer’” – Georgia Diebelius, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (29 April 2017) http://metro.co.uk/2017/04/29/giant-rabbit-died-in-care-of-united-airlines-after-being-put-in-the-freezer-6604933/

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Colby the Flemish Giant” – Rhiannon Boyle, Flickr (4 October 2008) https://www.flickr.com/photos/anomieus/2912690917

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.

 

SOURCES:
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
IMAGE CREDIT:
“File:Port Louis, Parliament Building.jpg” –  Karsten Ratzke, Wikipedia (28 September 2015) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Port_Louis,_Parliament_Building.jpg

ROSE BELLE TRAGEDY: Homeless person found dead under parked bus

Rose-Belle, MAURITIUS
VIJAY SHAH via TOP FM

 

A homeless person has reportedly been found dead under a parked bus on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius, local radio station Top FM reports. The body of a 63-year-old man, identified locally by his first name Raju was found this morning underneath a bus parked at a petrol station in the village of Rose Belle in Grand Port district, 10 kilometres west of district capital Mahébourg, in Mauritius’ south east.

It is not yet known how the victim died, or whether he was struck by the vehicle. Raju’s body was taken by ambulance to a hospital in Candos, in the western town of Quatre-Bornes, where an autopsy to determine cause of death will be performed.

The country’s police force have opened an inquiry to get to the bottom of the Rose Belle tragedy.

It is not known how many homeless people there are in Mauritius, but some estimates state around 500-700 nationally.

SOURCES:
Radio Plus – Mauritius/Ile-Maurice, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/groups/radioplusilemaurice/?ref=nf_target&fref=nf
“Rose Belle: A Homeless Found Dead Under A Parked Bus” – Top FM Radio (10 September 2016) http://topfmradio.mu/2016/09/10/rose-belle-a-homeless-found-dead-under-a-parked-bus/
Yogesh Kumar Ramsahye.
IMAGE CREDIT:
“Rose belle transport – Bus Mauritius – IMG_6111” – Egidio Maurizio, Flickr (17 June 2014) https://www.flickr.com/photos/egidiomaurizio/16456507113

 

I’M THE GREATEST: Boxer Muhammad Ali passes away aged 74

Phoenix, UNITED STATES
VIJAY SHAH via BBC

Legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, who dominated the world’s rings in the 1960s and 1970s, has passed away today at the age of 74, BBC News has reported. The three-times world heavyweight champion, who was famous for the epic ‘Rumble in the Jungle‘, was admitted to hospital recently in the US after suffering a respiratory illness.

Formerly known as Cassius Clay, the sportsman changed religion to Islam and renamed himself Muhammad Ali, was plagued by Parkinson’s disease in his later years, but still made an imposing figure in the sports world, and inspired a generation of boxers such as Mike Tyson.

He passed away at a hospital in Phoenix, Arizona USA. He was admitted there on Thursday after suffering breathing complications.

Billed as the ‘ultimate fighter’, Ali was born in Louisville, Kentucky on the 17th January 1942. His father painted signs while his mother worked as a house cleaner. Of African-American heritage, Ali was born at a time when Kentucky, as with much of the southern United States at that time, was racially segregated, and black families such as his were forced to live in separate neighbourhoods, use separate shop entrances, and study at separate schools. His mother, Odessa Grady Clay, remember her son as a particularly active child, never sitting still, and was talking and learning well ahead of his years.

On his 12th birthday, a bike that was given to Ali as a gift was stolen. He visited a local police station to report the theft and told officer Joe Martin he wanted to beat up the thief. Martin, who was also a part-time boxing instructor, told Ali he should first learn how to fight before making threats. Ali took up Martin on his offer, and the officer became Ali’s first trainer and mentor. Soon Ali was picking up his first boxing titles at local rings.

Six years later, Ali appeared for the American Olympic team in Rome. His affable and energetic personality caught the attention of the world’s media and endeared him to his team members and fellow athletes. He won a gold medal in the light heavyweight division, and later turned professional, beginning his path to boxing glory.

Clay had immense confidence in his speed and agility, often leaving his guard down and leaning back to avoid punches. Clay’s showmanship was also evident in early bouts, as he dazzled media and fans with his bravado and predicted the round in which his fights would end. This was also the time when Ali began using his trademark witticisms and slogans, one of the most quoted being “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”.

In 1967, Ali famously refused to serve in the draft for the American army as the Vietnam War began to start up. Ali was dragged to court after refusing to sign up, citing his religious beliefs and his anger against the treatment of African-American people. He was stripped of his championship, indicted for draft evasion, fined $10,000 and sentenced to five years in prison. Three years later, his conviction was overturned. Away from the ring, Ali toured colleges and spoke out on a variety of social and political issues.

In October 1974, Ali faced hard-striking heavyweight George Foreman in the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ held in Kinshasa, Zaire (now DPR Congo). He entered the ring as a 3-1 underdog. Avoiding Foreman’s colossal punches, Ali laid low around the ropes until his opponent tired out in the middle rounds. It was this strategy, which Ali affectionately called ‘rope-a-dope’, that was to pay off by round eight, Ali came alive with a serious of fast punches, utterly capitulating Foreman.

Ali’s victory over Foreman in central Africa firmly planted him in the limelight. He won a crew of celebrity fans, including Elvis Presley, Bertrand Russell and Nelson Mandela. In 1975, Ali destroyed Joe Frazier in a low key rematch in the Philippines, dubbed the ‘Thriller in Manila’. The match lasted an astonishing 14 rounds, fuelled by a wordy animosity between the two sports personalities.

After a few losses however, Ali called it quits in 1978, retiring permanently at the age of 40 with  a ring record of 56 wins and five losses. After retirement, Ali began to appear on the world stage in a political sphere. In 1980, then US President Jimmy Carter asked Muhammad Ali to visit the African continent to drum up support for a boycott of the Moscow Olympics, and during the First Gulf War in 1990, Ali made a personal visit to Iraq to help negotiate the release of American hostages captured after Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. Fifteen hostages were released, aided by Ali’s profile.

Sadly, in 1984 Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s after he began to slur his speech and tremble in his hands. The degenerative conditions was believed by Ali’s doctors to have come from enduring repeated blows to the head from his numerous matches. In the ensuing years, Ali became a visible symbol of courage in the face of physical disability and helped raise millions of dollars for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson’s Center. Ali also began to devote himself to humanitarian causes and became a well-respected philanthropist. In 1999, the United Nations nominated Ali as a Goodwill Ambassador, and the biographical film Ali, starring Will Smith in the titular role, was released in the boxer’s honour in 2001.

Beyond the ring, he will be remembered for his belief in social justice and support for Black civil rights. Truly a cultural icon, Ali’s passion, skill, intelligence and wit gave him a global appeal unmatched by few, if any, other sporting figures and inspired millions.

Muhammad Ali’s funeral will be held in his hometown, according to his family.

He leaves behind wife Lonnie and two daughters, Tatyana and Hana.

SOURCES:
Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/
“Boxing legend Muhammad Ali dies at 74” – BBC News – US and Canada (4 June 2016) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-16011175
“Muhammad Ali: The ultimate fighter” – BBC – iWonder http://www.bbc.co.uk/timelines/zy3hycw
IMAGE CREDIT:
Getty Images via Zemanta.

 

DUDLEY CAR ACCIDENT: Person killed in collision with car

Dudley/Birmingham, UNITED KINGDOM
VIJAY SHAH via Ace Breaking News/BBC

A man has been killed after being struck by a car in the northern English town of Dudley, near Birmingham, the BBC’s Birmingham and Black Country news team has reported today.

The pedestrian, who has not been formally identified as of current reports, was found lying injured in the road at the junction of Marriot Road and Cradley Road in the town’s Netherton district. Nearby passers-by attempted to administer first aid to the victim. Local ambulance personnel arrived at the scene, but the paramedic team were unable to save the man’s life, according to a statement by the West Midlands Ambulance Service.

The victim was reported to had suffered ‘multiple injuries’. He was pronounced dead at about 23:45 GMT yesterday, according to an ambulance spokesperson quoted by the BBC.

SOURCES:
Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984
#AceBreakingNews, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/AceBreakingNews
“Man dies after being hit by a car in Dudley” – BBC News – England – Regions – Birmingham and Black Country/BBC (7 November 2015) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-34755369#?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
MAP CREDIT:
Google Maps.

 

 

OBAMA: US President to cut short India trip after death of Saudi King

The United States President Barack Obama, who is currently on a tour of India, will cut short his diplomatic trip in the Asian subcontinent after the sudden demise of the Saudi king Abdullah, the Associated Press news agency (AP) reports.

Obama had visited India for strategic talks for a three-day period, of which the itinerary included an open-air audience with India’s new prime minister Narendra Modi, but the sudden death of the long-reigning King Abdullah ibn Abdilaziz Al Saud yesterday after being admitted to hospital with a lung infection has caused a sudden change of plans. The Saudis are one of America’s key allies in the Middle East. Indian officials told AP that President Obama will be heading immediately to Riyadh to pay his respects to the monarch, who was widely applauded in the West as a reformer who favoured some elemental women’s rights and helped preside over Saudi Arabia’s march forward as a regional power. He was only hours away from making a scheduled touristic trip to the Taj Mahal in Agra, just outside Delhi, when the passing of the Saudi ruler was announced. An official, Pradeep Bhatnagar, who is based out of Agra, said that American counterparts informed him today that Obama would not be visiting the ‘monument of love’ and would immediately jet off to Saudi Arabia, according to AP.

The US president had intended to hold a series of meetings with prime minister Modi on Sunday (tomorrow) and then arrive in New Delhi to be a special VIP guest alongside India’s political elites for the country’s yearly Republic Day celebrations and parades the following Monday. US officials have stated that the Saudi trip is a detour and that Obama will continue to press on with his India tour at an unspecified later date.

Josh Earnest, a spokesperson with the White House – the official presidential residence – said that president Obama and First Lady Michelle would travel to Riyadh on Tuesday this week and meet with the newly-crowned Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud. Salman is the half-brother of the late King Abdullah and previously held the portfolio as the kingdom’s defence minister since 2011, according to Wikipedia sources. The US had planned to send a separate delegation headed by Vice-President Joe Biden to Riyadh, but spokesperson Earnest said that these plans were dropped after the White House realised that Biden’s visit would clash with Obama’s departure from India. Biden will not now be attending the Riyadh function and will remain on official duties in Washington.

President Obama’s visit to India comes during a period of strengthening relations between the two superpowers. AP reported that Obama and Modi had got along very well and had built a good rapport as leaders of two of the world’s largest democracies. The Indian prime minister, formerly the chief minister of the western state of Gujarat, visited Washington in autumn 2014, and invited the US president to return the compliment as a guest for India’s Republic Day on January 26th, 2015.

It took us by some surprise,” said Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser. “There’s a great affinity between the United States and India and our people, but there’s also a history that is complicated and that would have made it seem highly unlikely that a U.S. president would be sitting with India’s leaders at their Republic Day ceremony.

There have been tensions in the past, mostly over India’s nuclear programme, which some US observers feared would exacerbate tensions with nuclear arch-rival and neighbour Pakistan. Washington has also been perturbed by India’s reluctance to open up their carefully regulated state industries to more foreign investment and to tackle rampant infringement of often US-owned copyrights and patents, such as in pharmaceuticals and digital media.

The two countries have however enjoyed good relations particularly in the trade, science and education fields. Officials in the US also hope the warm ties between the two leaders will also help address issues such as the Indian contribution to tackling climate change, including the limitation of carbon admissions from its rapidly developing industrial areas, as well as provide American business leaders with new opportunities and linkups with big business in Asia.

After some deliberations from White House advisers, Obama was cleared to pay a visit to Modi at New Delhi. As well as attending the Republic Day celebrations in an official capacity, he was also scheduled to meet with local and US business leaders as well as attend bilateral meetings with India’s prime minister. Barack Obama has the new distinction of being the first American leader to visit India more than once. He previously visited for an economic summit held in 2010.

Obama’s tour of India is expected to be loaded with symbolism with fewer ‘substantive advances’, although significant issues such as climate change, economics and defence ties are expected to be on the agenda for discussion. Modi will also use the visit to help protect his country against any aggressive political complications from either China or Pakistan, according to AP, as well as neatly coinciding with his election promise to revolutionise Asia’s third-largest economy.

Indian political commentator Ashok Malik, speaking to AP, said expectations for concrete deliverables during the visit are “below the standards usually set by U.S. presidents when they travel across the world for a three-day visit.

The tête-à-tête with Obama also marks a significant sea-change for PM Narendra Modi, who was once denied a US visa in 2005 after protests at his alleged but unproven involvement with the Godhra incident of 2002, which saw religious riots paralyse the state he governed at the time.

 

SOURCES:
Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984
Andrew S. Ginsburg, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/GinsburgJobs
“Obama to cut short India trip to visit Saudi Arabia” –  Julie Pace, Ashok Sharma & Muneeza Naqvi, AP Mobile/The Associated Press (24 January 2015) http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_289563/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=k9MBhS0r
IMAGE CREDIT:
Getty Images via Zemanta.

IN MEMORIAM: To dearest Ajaybhai – my blogging angel

(c) Ajay Mody {Ajaytao}

It is with heavy heart and deep sadness that we mourn the passing away of Ajay Mody, also known as Ajaytao, blogger of “Ajaytao2010” and the “Ajaytao Botanical Photography” blogs. He left this world on the 10th August 2014 after a short illness at his home in Mumbai, India.

Ajay was an incredible blogger,  a great friend and a proud Mumbaikar. I was humbled, yet reassured, by his kind and spiritual take on life. His imagery was moving and beautiful. He loved nature, loved children and loved life. He has been a great blogger and a firmly loyal friend to many of us.

United by a common knowledge of Gujarati language and our love for blogging, I first encountered Ajay in April 2013 after I stumbled across his blog, possibly after he had visited one of my articles and liked them. The simple imagery of flowers, exotic birds and the kindly smile of a young neighbour on her favourite tricycle that was the highlight of Ajaytao 2010 in those early days of our friendship soon warmed my heart to what I appreciated as a kind and gentle soul. I related to Ajay as a fellow introvert and a keen photographer, and soon developed a respect for him as an elder brother. It was no surprise that I took to calling him “Ajaybhai” – literally “Brother Ajay”. In our first conversation, responding to comments left by him on my blog’s information page, he complimented my rather derisory attempt at speaking Gujarati, and always addressed me too as his brother and friend.

Apart from his sheer talent as a blogger, Ajay also struck me with his generosity and support for the Half-Eaten Mind as we marked our second year of operations. He often sent various blogging awards my way, and indeed probably a third of the awards we picked up were thanks to my new and illustrious elder brother in the blogosphere. His comments were sweet and reassuring, but he did not hold back from telling me I made a mistake if I did. But this was rare, and never in a harsh voice, but merely to guide and notify. I looked up to him, the way he blended powerful imagery with quotes from the famous and the historical, and was slightly jealous, in an admirable way, of the many hundreds of followers he had acquired. Ajay was someone I looked up to and aspired to be like.

Ajay made many friends and supporters during his few years blogging. He was probably one of the most enthusiastic and patient bloggers I have met in my more than two years at WordPress. Yet he was never an overly proud man. Obviously brimming with a talent and wit that was apparent as soon as you visited his site, Ajay always expressed himself boldly but in another way, was quite understating in the skills and mastery of language and visual that he had. Many of his images were profound and detailed, yet were calming. Glimpses into the beauty of nature. Ajay must have made quite an impact on behalf of the world battle to safeguard the environment beyond his laptop and camera.

The last time I wrote to Ajay was a day before his passing, when he posted an article on his worsening health. I knew that Ajay was advanced in his years and had a heavy blogging schedule, yet always kept things going on Ajaytao2010. Only a few weeks previously, he had started two more blogs and was branching out into one of them, which was a homage, an online gallery of his invitingly vivid photography of plants. Botany was one of Ajay’s pet loves, and one which he could happily wipe Magnus Magnusson over the studio floor with had he ever appeared on Mastermind. Unfortunately old age did take its toll on my good friend and he was confined to home due to a cardiac issue. Though his heart troubled him, he made happiness blossom in all our hearts.  His dedication to blogging was so strong, that even though the doctor handling his condition advised him against using the computer, Ajaybhai still wanted to give it his all to the thousands of fellow bloggers lovingly following his every post. I told Ajay, in that friendly jokey joshing way that we Mauritians always do, that his doctor must have surely made a mistake and that he should get a second opinion. I wished him a speedy recovery and glowing health…as you do. 

I am still reeling from the shock as I type this. I am tearing up but trying to keep a brave face. I was not even aware of Ajay’s departure from this world until I visited another blogging friend, Serena, and saw on her site her own dedication to this shining bright light of the blogging world.

I can understand that he passed away from a heart attack brought on by the protracted illness on that Sunday morning with his friends and brother passing on the sad news to those who had called Ajay’s home in Mumbai to check up on him.

Dearest Ajaybhai. Thank you for supporting me and inspiring me to reach new heights and for your steadfast support for my little east London blog. Your kindness and motivation, direct or indirect, was one of the reasons that I knew blogging would always be a part of my life. You were always a bright star illuminating the community and though the light here on earth has been extinguished, I know that now you are brightening up the heavens. May God/Bhagavan give you eternal Moksha and liberate your soul from all suffering and I offer my deepest condolences to all of your family and friends in this saddest of times.

Goodbye, Ajaybhai, my friend. May the heavenly flowers fill your heart with joy as much as the ones on Earth did.

II राम राम II

IMAGE CREDITS:
Ajay, Twitter https://twitter.com/Ajaytao2010
“quotes rip quotes for friend tumblr rest in peace poems rip quotes” – Pics & Photos http://funny-pictures.picphotos.net/quotes-rip-quotes-for-friend-tumblr-rest-in-peace-poems-rip-quotes/img1.funscrape.com*en*friendshipnotes*529.png/

 

IBRAHIM TOURE: Brother of famous footballers passes away

Ibrahim Toure, the younger sibling of world-class Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) footballers Yaya and Kolo Toure, has died. The Cote d’Ivoire football team announced the passing of the third Toure brother yesterday in an official statement witnessed by the Bleacher Report.

The Ivory Coast Football Association also stated that the remaining brothers have been deeply affected by Ibrahim’s passing away, which happened in the English city of Manchester this past Thursday. Further in the statement, the ICFA offered its deepest condolences to the Toure family.

(c) R. Gorączniak/Wikimedia Commons

The Cote d’Ivoire national side before a match against Poland in 2010.

The statement reads:

Kolo and Yaya Toure just heard about the death of their young brother, Toure Oyala Ibrahim. The entire Ivorian delegation want to show their support to the players.

The football Ivory Coast federation president (FIF) and the Executive Committee announced to the entire family of Ivorian football the death of Toure Oyala Ibrahim, the younger brother of Toure Kolo Abib and Toure Yaya Gnegneri, which happened on the 19th of June in Manchester (England).

In such a sad situation, the players from the Ivory Coast national team, and the entire delegation here in Brazil, show their support to the Toure brothers and their whole family. The president of Football Ivory Coast Federation and the Executive Committee ask Ivorians for their prayers.

Ibrahim had like his brothers become a shining star in the world of football. Aged only 28 at the time of his death, the professional player had played in Egypt for Misr El-Maqasah, before relocating across the Mediterranean to play for Lebanese side Al Safaa where he featured as one of that team’s strikers. As a centre forward, Ibrahim also featured highly for many Far Eastern sides while his brothers sought their chances developing their sporting careers in the top flight clubs of England.

Born in the Ivory Coast town of  Bouaké on the 27th September 1985, the youngest Toure brother first appeared on the international scene for Ukrainian side Metalurh Donetsk in 2003, before starting with a French club.

He began a globetrotting career, seeing action on the pitch in Ukraine, Syria and France, but was never able to join the roster for his country of birth. Fans and clubs have expressed their shock on Twitter and forums, with Kolo’s team, Liverpool, tweeting “The thoughts of everybody at #LFC are with Kolo Toure following the news of the passing of his brother, Ibrahim…” Kolo is currently a defender for Liverpool. Yaya’s club, Manchester City, also expressed their condolences: “Ibrahim was a regular visitor to Carrington and was a popular figure among the staff and players and was extremely close to his two older brothers...the thoughts of everyone connected with City are with the Toure family at this most difficult time.” Condolences were also sent in by Sepp Blatter, the FIFA president as well as teammates of the surviving Toure brothers.

Kolo and Yaya are both currently in Brazil with the Cote d’Ivoire national side. The west African nation’s first match in the tournament had Yaya in action for the whole ninety minutes, which saw Les Éléphants slide to a comfortable 2-1 victory over Japan. Their next match against a respectable Colombian side saw them defeated 2-1 at Brasilia. The death of Ibrahim was notified to his brothers a few hours later.

Ibrahim died after a short battle with cancer. He was undergoing chemotherapy treatment to battle his tumours at the Christie clinic in Manchester. The specialist cancer facility describes itself as “one of Europe’s leading cancer centres” according to an ITV News bulletin published in the wake of the death announcement.

A video of Ibrahim Toure being interviewed by an Arabic news channel after he was signed by Al-Safaa FC of the Lebanese Premier League last year.

SOURCES:
Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/
“Ivory Coast Statement Confirms Death of Ibrahim Toure, Brother of Yaya and Kolo” – Rob Blanchette, Bleacher Report UK – World Cup 2014 edition/Bleacher Report, Inc./Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (20 June 2014) http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2103793-ivory-coast-statement-confirms-death-of-ibrahim-toure-brother-of-yaya-and-kolo
“Ibrahim Toure dies: Liverpool and Vincent Kompany among those to pay tribute to late brother of Kolo and Yaya” – Bruce Archer, Mirror (20 June 2014) http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/world-cup-2014/ibrahim-toure-dies-recap-updates-3731484
“Ibrahim Toure dies aged 28 as brothers Kolo and Yaya represent Ivory Coast at the World Cup” – David McDonnell, Mirror – World Cup 2014 edition (20 June 2014) http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/world-cup-2014/ibrahim-toure-dies-aged-28-3730549
“Ibrahim Toure ‘died after battle with cancer’ ” – ITV – News/ITV plc (20 June 2014) http://www.itv.com/news/update/2014-06-20/ibrahim-toure-died-after-battle-with-cancer/
“Yaya and Kolo Toure’s younger brother Ibrahim, 28, dies in Manchester” – AOL.co.uk via Sky Sports – World Cup  (20 June 2014) http://www1.skysports.com/FIFA-World-Cup-2014/news/12098/9355565/yaya-and-kolo-toures-younger-brother-ibrahim-28-dies-in-manchester
“Ibrahim Touré” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ibrahim_Tour%C3%A9
IMAGE CREDIT:
“File:Cote d’Iviore NT 2010.jpg” – Roger Gorączniak, Wikimedia Commons (17 November 2010) http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cote_d’Iviore_NT_2010.jpg
VIDEO CREDIT:
“Ibrahim Toure aiming for trophies with Safaa” – SNTV (Sports News Channel), YouTube GB (19 September 2013) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HH0lA3klp0 – via The Mirror.

HUMOUR MOMENT: Ladies of a certain age

S. Nungesser (contributor/images)

Vijay Shah (editor)

(c) if these walls could talk

It’s been a long time coming, but today the Half-Eaten Mind brings you a Humour Moment kindly donated by a friend who submitted it by email. It’s a quick and ruthless coffee-table joke about how some people never grow old graciously but also makes a giggle of that blessed ecstasy in getting a second chance at life, even though that chance might get quickly taken away, as the lady in the joke unfortunately finds out.

Whether it’s ‘mutton dressed as lamb’, embarrassing their grandchildren with blood-curdling renditions of Take That songs, or splattering on a bit too much make-up and lavender perfume, some optimistic ladies of a certain age might want to take heed.

A 54 year old woman had
a heart attack and was taken to the hospital.          


While on the operating table she had a near death experience. Seeing God she
asked “Is my time up?”

God said, “No, you have another 43 years, 2 months and 8 days to
live.”

Upon recovery, the woman decided to stay in the hospital and have a
face-lift, liposuction, breast implants and a tummy tuck. She even had
someone come in and change her hair colour and brighten her teeth! Since she had so much more time to live, she figured she might as well make the most of it.

After her last operation, she was released from the hospital. While crossing the street on her way home, she was killed by an ambulance.    

 

Arriving in front of God, she demanded, “I thought you said I had another 43 years? Why didn’t you pull me from out of the path of the ambulance?”    

God replied: “I didn’t bloody recognize you.”    

 

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IMAGE CREDITS:
S. Nungesser via email.
“funny-old-lady-smoking” – if these walls could talk v5.0 LINK