Bollywood reacts to Mallika Sherawat’s ‘anti-India’ remarks


B-Towners react to Mallika’s statements asking her to leave the country if it depresses her so much, and settle abroad.

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Hema Malini
Mallika should not have forgotten what this country has given her. Instead of badmouthing us at an international gathering, she should join hands with other women who are working towards improving the status of under-privileged women.

Lilette Dubey
Women in India are in some ways freer than in other countries. But there are parts of India where women live wretched lives and tradition is a pretext for regressive values. But Mallika’s observations should not be taken that seriously.

Gauhar Khan
If she really feels this way I feel sorry for her regressive thoughts. I wish her a great life somewhere outside India that she finds non-regressive.

Pooja Bhatt
It is said that we do not see the world as it is, but as we are. While there are pockets of India that are way more regressive than even Afghanistan, there is another India that is way more progressive than Europe or America. India is too complex a nation to be reduced to a blurb. At the same time it is also a nation that permits everyone to have an opinion, no matter how banal or profound.

Divya Dutta
Wonder why she said what she did! Isn’t she undermining all the Indian women achievers who’ve been given great opportunities by this country? She got her fame here. Women in this country are on par with their sisters in any part of the world.

Raakhee Gulzar
Poor thing. She tried every trick, yet made no impact. If she says we’re regressive then she must leave, find herself a more suitable place of her choice. Maybe a nudist’s colony?

Amrita Puri
The context in which Mallika spoke was ridiculous. She made it sound like she is the only progressive actor in this country. It’s a shame that she was given a platform where she presented such a false and unintelligent point of view.

Shibani Kashyap
She shouldn’t be talking against India. It shows her lack of empathy with her roots and an absence of loyalty to the country that has given her name, fame and stardom. Rather than bitching about India why doesn’t she work towards the safety of women here?

Tapsee Pannu
I don’t want to waste my time and energy commenting on the comments of such people.

Tannishta Chatterjee
The status of women is no different in other countries. The expressions and manifestations are different. The cosmetic pressure on women comes from the West. In the US, being a woman president was made into such a  big deal.

Dia Mirza
Honestly, I believe India is a paradox and for many women in our country the benefits of progressive thought, equal opportunities and a level playing-field are denied.

There have been times when I’ve been deeply disturbed about many issues that trouble women in India. Having said that, I think it’s unfair to make a sweeping statement that encompasses all women. Such a rash generalisation undermines the very voices that strive to make India a better place for women.Instead of being pessimistic we should all make a conscious effort to strengthen those voices thereby further empowering women.”

Richa Chadha
I saw her interview and found it typical of a Colonial prejudice, replete with a gora accent and all. Yes, India has regressive elements that results in rapes, female foeticides and a gender bias. But India is also a country where women choose to wear and say what they want. It has Indira Gandhi, Indra Nooyi and Medha Patkar. And yes, we also have space for Mallika Sherawat. It is uncool for an Indian woman to go abroad  and speak ill of our country.

Dolly Ahluwalia
If she feels so strong against this country, why has she tolerated India for so long? She is forgetting her identity as a woman is due to this country. I am proud to be an Indian woman and to represent my country at international forums.

Khusbhoo
As a woman and a proud citizen of my country I find her statements very harsh. Her comments project my India in a very bad light to the outside world. We do have our flaws. But which country doesn’t? A child was flushed down a toilet in China this week.

Could society get any more regressive than that? Mallika is an Indian. She has the freedom to speak her mind. That shows how progressive we are.

SUBHASH K JHA

Exhibition on Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s life at BJP’s MP executive meet


The exhibition also displays photographs of Vajpayee addressing in his trademark style which remained his forte till he was restricted because of poor health.

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An exhibition on the life and achievements of BJP‘s veteran leader, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, has been put up at the venue of the party’s three-day state executive meet which began in Gwalior on Thursday.

Though the 88-year-old leader’s frail health has restricted him from attending the meet at his birthplace here, his presence has been ensured by way of the exhibition titled ‘Atal Bihari Vajapyeeji ke Vyaktitva ki Chitramay Pradarshini’.

The leader’s birth place ‘Krishna Kripa’ here is now converted into a library in the memory of his parents Krishna Devi and Krishna Bihari Vajpayee.

The exhibition highlights Vajpayee’s achievements right from his formative years and is a tell tale of BJP’s political success – from just two seats in 1984 to the party’s coming to power at the Centre.

“The exhibition has a collection of Atalji’s rare photographs collected by ‘Atal Samagra’, to showcase the achievements of the poet-turned-politician for inspiring younger generation,” BJP investor cell’s co-convenor, Shailendra Sharma said.

It also showcases Vajapayee’s political journey from Jansangh to taking oath as Foreign Minister and then as the Prime Minister, first for a short stint of 13 days, 13 months and later for the full five-year-term.

The exhibition also displays photographs of Vajpayee addressing in his trademark style which remained his forte till he was restricted because of poor health.

On display are also his photographs with former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Pakistan’s ex-President General Zia-ul-Haq, former US President Bill Clinton and at the Pokhran nuclear test site.

There are also photographs of Vajpayee’s bus diplomacy and peace initiatives during Nawaz Sharif‘s government in Pakistan.

Going through the exhibition, Madhya Pradesh Medical Education Minister Anoop Mishra, who is the nephew of Vajpayee, turned nostalgic when he identified his mother in a rare family photograph.

Though BJP’s senior leader and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi‘s image was conspicuously missing from the posters and banners that dotted the city, the exhibition showcased at least two of Modi’s photographs with Vajpayee, one in Lucknow and the other playing Holi with him.

Vajpayee had advised Modi to follow the path of ‘Raj-dharma’ in the aftermath of the 2002 Godhra riots.

Justifying the exclusion of Modi from the posters and banners, state BJP’s media in-charge Dr Hitesh Bajpai said, “Only photographs of those leaders are displayed who are attending the three-day meeting in different sessions.”

BJP’s national vice president and former MP Chief Minister Uma Bharti, who has not been invited by the party to attend the state executive meeting, has found a place in the exhibition which displays her 2003 victory in Madhya Pradesh, ousting Congress government led by then Chief Minister Digvijay Singh.

The exhibition also showcases Vajpayee’s photograph with late Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia, whose family ruled Gwalior for ages.

The exhibition also puts up portraits of Jansangh-BJP’s formative years under the leadership of its founders, Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya and Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee.

Senior party leaders, including BJP President Rajnath Singh, senior leader LK Advani, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, and her counterpart in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, state Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, among others, are taking part in the meet.

The meeting is crucial for the saffron party in view of the Assembly elections scheduled in Madhya Pradesh by year-end. 

30-year-old man dies after drinking three litres of cola every day


A 30-year-old Briton died after he drank three litres of cola every day, causing his lungs to swell to four times the normal weight. His mother said the man “drank absolutely excessively since he was 10 years old”.

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According to the Daily Mail, Paul Inman of Haworth, West Yorkshire, would go out to buy the drink up to three times a day, and would also drink glasses of water to quench his thirst, the Bradford hearing was told.

But the huge quantities of cola drinks caused his lungs to swell to four times the normal weight, and the man died in his sleep.

Inman was found dead in his bedroom by a care worker, who was checking on him one morning in March 2012.

Detectives investigated the sudden death but found no suspicious circumstances.

Inman never stayed still and care staff had to keep his cigarettes so he would not smoke 20 an hour.

When he was 17, Inman was diagnosed with schizophrenia but when his case was reviewed in 2008, doctors diagnosed that he suffered from Asperger Syndrome – a form of autism.

“A post-mortem examination found that Inman’s lungs were three to four times the weight they should have been” ,pathologist Deirdre Mckenna said.

She ruled out the cause of that being epilepsy and a heart attack and put it down instead to his excessive drinking.

He was already known to have had low sodium levels because of the volume of fluids that he drank.

His mother said after hearing the doctor’s report: “I’ve said all this time the cause of it was he drank excessively, absolutely excessively. He had done since he was 10 years old. We used to say he had a self-destruct button.”

The inquest recorded a verdict that Inman died of natural causes.

IANS

Srinivasan should go — but why? [Yahoo]


The atmosphere of corruption he created opened the door for lesser mortals to be tempted.

So it is all down to numbers. Which, in other words, means open bidding for votes, promises of largesse, and which faction can make the more potent promise (or threat) to buy votes.

Just the great Indian democracy in action, and isn’t that such a heartening sight to see? Not.

Meanwhile, the news channels are all about highlighting those voices that say Srinivasan should go. And yes, he should.

Srinivasan should go because of the illicit manner in which he acquired a franchise; because of the way he manipulated the IPL to his own personal ends and institutionalized corruption on a grand scale. Remember how Mumbai Indians complained vociferously that he had ‘fixed’ the previous auction to favor his own team? Remember the complaints about him tampering with the duty roster of umpires, and even the schedule, to benefit his team? Remember the way he manipulated the salary caps so he — and MI — could retain select players while still retaining sufficient money to bid for top talent at the auction?

All of this is fixing; it is corruption on a grand scale. And once you create such an atmosphere of corruption, you open the door for lesser mortals to be tempted. After all, if the Srinivasans of this world can earn in crore, what harm in a Chandila, a Sreesanth, a Chavan earning a few lakh?

I don’t know about prosperity trickling top-down, but corruption certainly does that. And for this, Srinivasan should bear the blame, more than most.

Also, Srinivasan should go for his arrogance, for the sheer contempt he has displayed towards the public, as most recently evidenced by his blatant, repeated lies. “Gurunath Meyappan has nothing to do with CSK… Gurunath Meyappan is just an enthusiast…” Good grief!

But let us not be under the illusion that Srinivasan’s exit signals the end of corruption in Indian cricket. The malaise is way more deep-rooted than that.

Remember that it was Sharad Pawar who facilitated Srinivasan’s ownership of an IPL franchise in the first place, though it was clearly against the rules of the body of which he was then president (And to think today he has the gall to say there would have been no corruption on his watch!)

Pawar wrote to Srinivasan on January 8, 2008, permitting the latter to participate the bidding process. He said he had examined the bye-laws and there was nothing there to prevent Srini from being part of the auction. He was lying — and later, when that lie was brought home, when the relevant bye-laws were aired in the public forum, he got his tame executive committee to rewrite the rule book, and amend the relevant clause (Clause 6.2.4 of the BCCI constitution).

Originally, the clause stated that no member of the board could benefit either directly or indirectly from cricket. The amendment, authored 6 months later, exclude the IPL from the ambit of that provision. This move was so egregious as to evoke scathing comment from Justice Gyan Sudha Mishra, one of the two judges who heard the case filed by former BCCI president AC Muthaiah; Justice Mishra suggested in her opinion that Srinivasan had to chose between being a board member or owning a franchise, but he could not be both, and do both, simultaneously. That case is now before the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Remember also that when the IPL was hit by a series of scandals that cumulatively led to the ouster of Lalit Modi, Pawar was the board president; it all happened on his watch. So when he emerges as the flag-bearer of honesty and probity today, it is a truly jaw-dropping moment.

Remember, too, that the IPL has a commissioner. His name is Rajiv Shukla.

When the IPL was mired in scandal earlier, the then commissioner had to go (and Shukla was one of the first to ask for his ouster). Today, the IPL is mired in scandal again, but Shukla’s role, his responsibility, doesn’t even merit a mention. How come the buck never seems to stop at Shukla’s doorstep? What is he made of, teflon, that nothing seems to stick to him?
Sachin Tendulkar’s silence has been disappointing.
There is another point worth keeping in mind. Remember how in his letter, Pawar said that he had discussed Srinivasan’s participation in the auction with fellow board members? Who were those board members? None other than Shukla, Arun Jaitley and gang — all of whom, by Pawar’s own admission, agreed to bend the rules to breaking point and let Srinivasan dip his grubby fingers in the pie.

Isn’t it funny that today, it is the same troika of Pawar, Shukla and Jaitley waxing indignant at Srinivasan’s misdeeds?

All of this is why Srinivasan’s exit — and the way things are shaping now, it is merely a matter of hours, or at most days — will change nothing. The BCCI honchos and their supporters in government will claim that it is a sign of the board getting tough and not respecting personalities or positions; they will trumpet it as a sign of their earnestness to clean up the system.

But it will be no such thing — because those now gunning for Srinivasan are the very ones who enabled all of this in the first place. Cutting Srinivasan out therefore solves nothing, because the rot is within the system, and the rot runs deep.

What the board needs right now is a systemic clean-up; it needs men of probity and unquestioned integrity at the helm — men of character empowered to do whatever it takes to bring credibility back to the game, and restore faith to the fans.

Instead, what we will get is Pawar. And Shukla. And Jaitley.

Somewhere in London, meanwhile, Lalit Kumar Modi is laughing his head off.

PS: There have been many cricket-related disappointments in recent days — but there is nothing more disappointing than the complete, total silence of senior players past and present. Particularly the stone cold silence of Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar — a man with unparalleled goodwill in this country; a man who, if he took a stance on this issue, would have the unqualified support of the fans; a man whose stature is so large that even this cabal of politicians will not be able to go against him.

If a Tendulkar will not use the goodwill he earned from this game for the good of this game, then what use is it? And what is the point of asking lesser mortals to speak out?

Source : Yahoo

Forbes’ Ten Most Powerful Women


Angela Merkel #1

Chancellor of Germany since 2005, Angela Merkel is the most powerful woman in the world. (Photo by Getty Images)

Dilma Rousseff #2

Brazil president Dilma Rousseff is ranked second in the Forbes list. Rousseff, ranked the third most powerful woman in 2012. (Photo by Getty Images)

Melinda Gates #3

Co chair of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Melinda Gates is ranked third most powerful woman globally by Forbes this year. (Photo by Getty Images)

Michelle Obama #4

The First Lady of the United States of America, Michelle Obama is ranked fourth most powerful woman globally by the Forbes. (Photo by Getty Images)

Hillary Clinton #5

Described by Forbes as one of the most watched and listened-to women on the planet, Hillary Clinton is ranked fifth most powerful woman globally by the magazine. She was second in the Forbes list while also making it to the top 20 of the most powerful people in the world last year. (REUTERS)

Sheryl Sandberg #6

Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of one of the most powerful social networking sites, Facebook is the sixth most powerful woman in the Forbes list this year. Ranked tenth last year, Sandberg is credited for the increase in company’s U.S. mobile revenue in 2012. (REUTERS)

Christine Lagarde #7

Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is the seventh most powerful woman in the world. Lagarde became the first woman to run the IMF as she assumed office. (REUTERS)

Janet Napolitano #8

Janet Napolitano, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, United States is the eighth most powerful woman in the Forbes list this year. (REUTERS)

Sonia Gandhi #9

United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi is ranked ninth in the Forbes list of 100 most powerful women globally. (AFP)

Indra Nooyi #10

PepsiCo chief Indra Nooyi is the second Indian name to feature in this year’s Forbes list of 100 most powerful women globally. (Photo by Getty Images)

Bayern oust Manchester United as top brand


European champions are now valued at $860 million

Champions League winners Bayern Munich have overtaken Manchester United as the most valuable brand in world football, according to a report released on Wednesday by London-based consultancy firm Brand Finance.

1452866152The FC Bayern Munich team poses with the trophy after winning the UEFA Champions League final against Borussia Dortmund at Wembley Stadium on May 25, 2013 in London, United Kingdom. (GETTY)

According to the report, Bayern are now valued at $860 million (669 million euros, £572 million), overtaking last year’s top side United ($837 million) as football’s most lucrative brand.

Spanish giants Real Madrid ($621 million) and Barcelona ($572 million) are third and fourth in the new ranking.

Bayern, who beat domestic rivals Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in Saturday’s Champions League final at London’s Wembley Stadium, have seen their brand value increase by 51 million euros compared to last season, while United’s value has dropped by 20 million euros.

“The challenge now for all Bundesliga clubs and the league itself is to see if they can export their domestic brand strength into global opportunities,” said Brand Finance’s CEO David Haigh.

Interest in Bayern from overseas fans has shot up this season, with one million Munich replica shirts expected to be sold in 2013, compared to 600,000 in the 2012 calendar year.

By comparison, Dortmund have sold around 350,000 replica shirts this season.

The report’s figures were calculated using a formula based on future turnover attributable to the brand name and reflect Bayern’s growing power, with the Bavarians poised to become the first German club to win the treble of European Cup, German Cup and league titles.

“It’s a record year in terms of turnover, as we’ll break the 400 million euros turnover mark for the first time,” said club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

“No German club has ever been close before. Propelled by our success on the field, we’re breaking every record off it, too. The club is in great shape for the future.”

Bayern face Stuttgart on Saturday in the German Cup final, having already broken or equalled 25 German league records en route to success in the Bundesliga.

Dad puts 6-week old baby in freezer to stop her crying


Bail was set at $1 million Tuesday for a 25-year-old Washington man accused of putting his 6-week-old daughter in a 10-degree freezer for about an hour to stop her crying.

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Doctors believe the baby will survive but it’s too soon to know potential complications, Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said.

The child’s core temperature fell to 84 degrees in the freezer, prosecutors said. She also had a broken arm and leg and a head injury, medical staff determined.

Tyler James Deutsch pleaded not guilty to charges of child assault, criminal mistreatment and interfering with the reporting of domestic violence. He was represented by a public defender.

According to court papers, Deutsch gave Pierce County sheriff’s officers several accounts but finally said he put the child in the freezer Saturday afternoon “because he was tired and she was crying.”

Deutsch said he fell asleep, awoke as the baby’s 22-year-old mother returned to their trailer in Roy, Wash., and was removing the baby from the freezer as the mother came in, according to the prosecutor’s account.

Deutsch said little at Tuesday’s arraignment other than to answer “yes” to Pierce County Court Commissioner Meagan Foley’s questions about his address and the spelling of his name, The News Tribune reported.

The baby was clothed when the mother left, charging papers said, but wore only a diaper when she was removed from the freezer.

The man is accused of taking a phone away when the mother tried to call for help. She took the child and got neighbors to call 911, authorities said.

Foley set a tentative trial date of July 15. If the man makes bail, he’ll be barred from any contact with the baby or her mother.

Image courtesy Shutterstock

AP

Pregnant Filipina raped, murdered


Snatched off the street in Logan, Queensland on her way to work at McDonald’s.

A pregnant Filipina has been raped and killed by a still unidentified man in Logan Central, a suburb of Logan City in Queensland, Australia.
 
“My wife was eight weeks pregnant at the time she was taken,” Cory Ryther, husband of Joan Canino-Ryther, said in between sobs as he joined detectives at Logan police station on May 27. “I’d like to urge the public that anything they knew, anything … to come forward to get this guy.”
 
Quoted by the couriermail.com.au in a news report on Monday, he added: “Her family, my family, we want justice for my Joan.”
 
The article quoted the police as saying that Joan was sexually assaulted and suffered a blow to the head that brought her demise. It added that she must have been snatched off the street while walking to McDonald’s at Logan Central, where she worked, on May 21.
 
A local resident found her almost naked body at 7am the following day, Wednesday, in a yard on Leichhardt Street, about 900 metres away from her home on Mayes Avenue.
 
Police said they located on May 27 a man who went to a home on Mayes Avenue and asked to be let inside on the night Joan was murdered. But the man, described as wearing a yellow top on the night the crime was committed, has already been released.
 
Ryther, a Canadian-born chef, said his wife worked eight hours a day at McDonald’s and went to school in the daytime, a schedule she had maintained the past three years.
 
“Joan was a very determined woman,” he said. “She was the only one out of her brothers and sisters who finished their education.” Joan was the youngest in a brood of eight, he added.
 
“Nothing would stop her from doing what she wanted to do,” he said, revealing that Joan had wanted so much to be of help to her family back home, especially her brother who became the breadwinner when their father got murdered just before she was born. “In turn she promised her nephews she would put them through school.”
 
Armed with an ultrasound image of his unborn child, Ryther told the media in Logan Central that his wife had set up a Facebook page for the child, a girl, whom they had named Camille Gayle.
 
“What was taken from me was not just my wife but was also my child,” Ryther said.
 
Ryther and Joan got married in October 2011 in the Philippines, after meeting at Stones Corner, in Logan, while he was getting a coffee and she was on a lunch break from studying hairdressing in February 2011.

Anti-narcotics officials from Saudi Arabia are in Manila meeting with their counterparts to forge closer ties between the kingdom and the Philippines in their fight against drug trafficking.

Saudi Arabia, host to the largest number of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) at over 1.5 million, considers drug trafficking a heinous crime punishable by beheading.

“We are returning the favour,” Undersecretary Arturo Cacdac Jr, chairman of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), who recently visited Riyadh, told reporters on Monday.

Composed of officials from Saudi Arabia’s General Directorate for Drug Control, the kingdom’s delegation, headed by Major General Othman Nasser Al Mhrij, on Monday paid a courtesy call to Cacdac as part of their programme to build stronger bilateral ties against illegal drugs.

The delegation’s visit to the PDEA national headquarters in Metro Manila’s Quezon City, Cacdac said, “served as an avenue” for the Philippines “to showcase its operational capabilities in and facilities for dealing with crimes related to illegal drugs.

Cacdac, who spoke on May 1 at the “2nd Regional Symposium on Narcotics Control and Information Exchange” in Riyadh, said: “The symposium was an excellent opportunity to open lines of communication, share operational experiences and knowledge about international drug syndicates and the best possible practices in combatting them.”

AP

David Luiz Belter Seals Europa League Semifinal Win for Chelsea


Chelsea scored three times in nine minutes to overturn a 1-0 deficit and seal their progression to this season’s Europa League final, where they’ll face Benfica in Amsterdam.

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The goals, which came from Fernando Torres, Victor Moses and David Luiz, represented the quickest treble in European club competition this season and helped Chelsea to a 5-2 aggregate win over Swiss champions Basel.

But it was the guests who attacked with conviction from the opening whistle, as Marco Streller’s daisy-cutter narrowly missed Petr Cech’s left-hand post after barely a minute. And while Frank Lampard hit the post in the ninth minute with a shot from distance, Streller came close again in the 26th with a superbly taken volley from Markus Steinhofer’s cross that, again, came close to finding its way inside the far post.

Then, with just a minute of normal time remaining in the first half, Mohamed Salah bagged a deserved opener for Basel.

Just four minutes earlier, the Egyptian international had been denied by a superb Cech stop (and Valentin Stocker might have even been awarded a penalty on a subsequent drive that looked to have hit Ryan Bertrand’s arm). Salah made no mistake on this occasion, though, accelerating past the offside trap to receive Stocker’s ball before finishing calmly past the Chelsea goalkeeper.234304hp2

It was a different Blues side Basel had to contend with after the restart, however, and Torres began the onslaught after restoring level terms in the 50th minute with a tap-in following Yann Sommer’s initial save on Frank Lampard.

Two minutes later, Chelsea had turned a one-goal deficit into a one-goal advantage on the night and a 4-2 lead on aggregate. Then Victor Moses, pouncing on another rebound inside the area, beat Sommer from in close with his second effort after Gaston Sauro had blocked his first.

And to complete the triple salvo, David Luiz made it 3-1 to the hosts with an absolutely stunning goal just shy of the hour mark.

For a moment—as the midfielder dribbled the ball along the 18-yard box—it looked as though Frank Lampard was going to take a shot. But after seeing David Luiz flying into space, he left the ball for his teammate—jumped out of the way, actually—as the Brazilian unleashed a left-footed belter that arched magnificently inside the top corner of the Basel goal.

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From there it was only a matter of holding on to what they already had, and while Torres had a trio of chances to build on the lead, Chelsea were able to cruise to the final whistle with relative comfort.

The Basel fans, who created an impressive match atmosphere throughout the 90 minutes, lit flares and a massive flag on fire during the final minutes, but there were to be no more fireworks on the pitch as Chelsea claimed the 3-1 win.

The London outfit now have a chance to become the first club to win the Champions League and Europa League in successive seasons (in that order) when they face Benfica in the May 15 final at Amsterdam Arena.

Doctors slam Mohanlal’s ‘cholesterol-free’ oil


His claims of cholesterol-free coconut oil not scientific, say medical professionals

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A section of Indian doctors in the UAE have said they do not endorse a much publicised endorsement of a coconut oil brand by the Malayalam superstar Mohanlal.

Indian doctors at the All Kerala Medical Graduates Association (AKMG), a group of doctors practising in the UAE, said they are perplexed by the endorsement of a coconut brand by a superstar like Mohanlal, claiming that coconut oil is totally free from cholesterol.

What Mohanlal publicises through the advertisement is not scientifically proven and people may risk their health by blindly trusting a superstar endorsement, according to them. Earlier endorsement of a leading liquor brand by the superstar raked up controversy, similar to a celebrity brand endorsement by KJ Yesudas for a property firm that cheated hundreds of NRI investors.

Coconut oil, like all saturated fats, should be limited to 7-10 per cent of calorie-intake because it can increase risk for heart disease, according to the AHA and 2010 Dietary Guidelines,” an Indian doctor said, quoting the American Heart Association.

A number of radio stations, television channels and newspapers are currently running an advertisement campaign for the new brand of coconut oil, claiming that the oil processed using a new technology will not cause heart disease or fat accumulated as spread by some foreign agents.

Mohanlal, one of the most popular Malayalam actors, acts as a Kerala King, sending out a Royal Decree, endorsing the specific brand of coconut oil.

According to marketing experts, celebrities are roped in to sell anything from gold ornaments to chit funds and financial products. The particular brand of coconut oil is claimed to be 100 per cent pure made with finest copra (dry coconut) pieces. Trans fats, saturated fats in coconut oils can be harmful and cause heart attack, doctors said.

In the advertisement Mohanlal, dressed as a traditional king of Kerala, says he is aware of a conspiracy hatched by foreign countries and is issuing a decree endorsing the pure coconut oil, free from cholesterol. Doctors say it is a highly misleading advertisement of Coconadu oil, because such claims are not scientifically proved.

“There are two basic categories of fats. Healthy fats are unsaturated and include vegetable oils, fish oils, and plant fats in nuts, avocados, and seeds. These fats should be the primary fats in your diet because they are either neutral or raise HDL cholesterol [considered good cholesterol] but don’t raise LDL cholesterol [considered bad cholesterol].

“The less healthy saturated fats found in animal fats and tropical oils, including coconut oil, are allowed, but in lesser amounts because they raise LDL cholesterol,” says Dr Hanish Babu.

“Trans fats in processed foods are the worst fats, capable of lowering HDL and increasing LDL, and should be kept as low as possible. Eating a nutritious diet that includes mostly whole foods and is balanced in calories is more important that worrying about specific nutrients and foods.”

“Coconut oil is an essential fat, saturated fat that can cause problem for heart by causing LDL cholesterol. Both coconut oil and palm oil can cause more cholesterol and can cause heart attack, which is scientifically proven. It is not misleading information spread by foreign countries, as Mohanlal claims in the advertisement. It is a scientifically proven fact that saturated fat can cause cholesterol,” said Dr Babu, who was speaking in his personal capacity.

He is also the Vice President of AKMG Emirates, but some officials in the Association have a different opinion.

Dr Babu said Keralites are more prone to heart diseases than people from many other Indian states due to many factors – increased use of red meat, egg and other fatty food items. About 7,000 tons of red meat is consumed every day in Kerala and now people are not doing enough physical exercise. High levels of stress, increased use of smoking and alcohol and negative attitude are factors causing heart ailments. It is definitely a misleading advertisement,” Dr Babu . There are different opinions on this issue and it is not the view of the organisation, he added.

According to studies, pure virgin coconut oil, containing no hydrogenation (the process of adding hydrogen to make a liquid fat hard), contains 92 per cent saturated fat – the highest amount of saturated fat of any fat.

“Most saturated fats are solid at room temperature, found in animal products (such as meat, dairy, poultry with skin, and beef fat) and contain cholesterol. Unlike animal fats, tropical oils – palm, palm kernel, and coconut oils – are saturated fats that are called oils but depending on room temperature can be solid, semi-solid, or liquid, and do not contain cholesterol.

Like all fats, coconut oil is a blend of fatty acids. Coconut oil contains an unusual blend of short and medium chain fatty acids, primarily lauric (44 per cent) and myristic (16.8 per cent) acids. It is this unusual composition that may offer some health benefits,” an Indian doctor said quoting relevant studies.

VM Sathish