Tony's Feed
Aug 11, 2009
via The Great Debate (India)

Is India ready to tackle swine flu?

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With the number of swine flu fatalities in India touching double figures on Tuesday, panic is slowly setting in.Schools, malls and cinema halls in Pune are already shut and nearly a thousand people across India have tested positive for the virus.The H1N1 flu outbreak, declared a pandemic on June 11, has spread around the world since emerging in April and could eventually affect 2 billion people, according to WHO estimates.But is India ready to tackle the outbreak?More supplies of flu drug Tamiflu and testing kits are being imported and private hospitals are being asked to help state-run hospitals cope with a surge in people rushing to get tested.Some also feel that the media hype over swine flu is causing needless fear.On Tuesday, the Hindustan Times said the common flu could be killing an estimated 572 Indians every day, much more than H1N1 flu — in most cases, infection has been mild and patients have fully recovered.So is there really cause for panic?

Aug 9, 2009
via India Insight

Writing a novel? Just tweet it

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When Matt Stewart’s agent submitted his debut novel to publishing houses, he didn’t quite get the response he wanted.”Many of them loved it, but none were willing to buy what they viewed as a ‘risky’ novel — vivid language, elements of fantasy and farce, raunchy humor,” the San Francisco resident wrote on his website.But Stewart didn’t lose heart. On July 14, he started posting “The French Revolution” on Twitter.The novel, about a San Francisco family forging its place in history, is one of the few full-length works of fiction to be released one tweet at a time.Micro-blogging service Twitter and its now famous 140-character tweet limit is being put to uses more profound than just describing what you had for breakfast.Like tweeting a novel.Stewart says it will take him approximately 3,700 tweets to transmit all of the 480,000 characters in his novel.”I can get instant feedback from readers, and we can discuss the intricacies of the characters and plot twists as they develop,” he says.Stewart is not the only one writing Twiction (or Twitter fiction). There’s Jim McCormick who tweeted a novel written by his late wife, Nick Belardes’ ‘Small Places‘ and even a Twitter novel in French.And tech writer Rakesh Raman’s humanoid protagonist Robojit is leading a mission to the Sand Planet – at the rate of 10 tweets a day.There are also some who tell the entire story in a single tweet.Geoff Meeker, for instance, writes Twisters, or short stories written in 140 characters or less. So do William Brazill and Arjun Basu.If you need help, there are even web pages offering tips on writing a novel on Twitter.And if you are suffering from writer’s block, you could always turn to literary classics for inspiration.Videogame designer Ian Bogost and friend Ian McCarthy came up with idea of recreating a chapter from James Joyce’s 1922 novel “Ulysses” on Twitter.And Chindu Sreedharan, who teaches journalism at Bournemouth University, is retelling the Hindu epic Mahabharata on Twitter.Of course, Twiction is not perfect.This month, a reader of the Mahabharata Twitter narrative alerted the author after reading a tweet that seemed out of place.”I accidentally posted something meant for another Twitter account — and since it had some reference to ‘beach’ and ‘bikini-clad’, I had some answering to do,” Sreedharan said.But the big question is — will Twiction remain some sort of social media experiment? Will it ever have literary merit?

Jul 17, 2009
via The Great Debate (India)

Is the Chandrayaan project too ambitious?

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The Indian Space Research Organisation has said that Chandrayaan-1, the country’s first unmanned moon probe, has malfunctioned and its two-year mission may need to be curtailed.The Chandrayaan-1, which cost $79 million, was launched in 2008 to map the moon’s surface and look for precious metals.The moon probe’s successful launch in October enthused the media and distracted India from an economic slowdown, collapsing stock prices and outbreaks of ethnic and religious violence.In a recent interview, Delhi Metro chief Elattuvalapil Sreedharan told Reuters that the government should concentrate more on building basic infrastructure.”The pressure should be more on that rather than going to the moon,” Sreedharan said.Do you think the moon probe project was a mistake in a country where millions still survive on less than $2 a day?

Jul 7, 2009
via The Great Debate (India)

Was Michael Jackson greatest entertainer ever?

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The music world, the Jackson family and thousands of fans bade farewell to Michael Jackson at a public memorial on Tuesday.”The more I think about Michael, and talk about Michael, the more I think that ‘King of Pop’ is not good enough,” said Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, who signed The Jackson 5 in 1968.”I think he is simply the greatest entertainer that ever lived.”Here’s your chance to pay your final tributes to Michael Jackson.

Jul 2, 2009
via The Great Debate (India)

Will court ruling on gay sex change perceptions?

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The Delhi High Court’s ruling that homosexual sex among consenting adults is not a crime is expected to boost an increasingly vocal pro-gay lobby in India that says a British-era law banning gay sex is a violation of human rights.The current law bans “sex against the order of nature”, and is widely interpreted to mean homosexual sex in India.The High Court ruling applies to all of India, but can be appealed at the Supreme Court.In a country where gay sex has been a taboo, will the court ruling have any bearing on how conservative Indians view homosexuality?

May 22, 2009
via India Masala

Partition: A not-so-epic love story

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It’s unusual for Indian cinemas to screen a 2007 film that has already had its television premiere.

But the stand-off between Bollywood producers and multiplexes has resulted in a slew of otherwise straight-to-DVD films getting a chance at the box-office.

May 20, 2009
via The Great Debate (India)

Should Rahul Gandhi join the cabinet?

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Prime Minister-elect Manmohan Singh has said he will try and persuade Rahul Gandhi, heir apparent to the Congress party, to take on a cabinet position in the new government.

Gandhi, whose father, grandmother and great grandfather were all prime ministers, had become the most visible campaigner of Congress in the month-long election to win over Indian youth as well as millions of poor villagers.

May 17, 2009
via The Great Debate (India)

Is this the end of the road for Advani?

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Bharatiya Janata Party leader Lal Krishna Advani’s prime ministerial ambitions were crushed when the ruling Congress-led coalition defied predictions to sweep the 2009 general election.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s coalition was only about 11 seats short of an outright majority from the 543 seats at stake, according to election commission data.

May 15, 2009
via India Masala

Jana Gana Mana ‘Rann’: new-age anthem?

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Nearly 60 years after Rabindranath Tagore’s composition was adopted as India’s national anthem, filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma’s interpretation of it is raising conservative eyebrows.

Varma uses the tune of ‘Jana Gana Mana’ and adds to the lyrics, making it a full-fledged song for his film about India’s media industry — “Rann”.

May 14, 2009
via The Great Debate (India)

Congress or BJP – who will win?

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With just hours to go before the counting of votes, several exit polls have shown that India’s ruling Congress-led coalition is slightly ahead of the BJP-led alliance.

The probable lack of a clear winner has stoked concerns that the coalition that emerges after a month of elections may be unstable.

    • About Tony

      "Tony Tharakan is Editor, India Online and looks after the Reuters India website, managing the desk's 24/7 operations in New Delhi. He has been with Reuters since September 2006 and has previously worked with The Times of India and Press Trust of India. He holds post-graduate degrees in journalism from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication and in English from Hindu College, Delhi University."
      Joined Reuters:
      September 2006
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