mont blanc john lennon pen Kanda is the face of the new flashocracy

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Gopal Goyal Kanda epitomises a new breed of small town politicians the flashocracy. There was a time when Rajiv Gandhi’s Gucci pumps, or Arun Jaitley’s collection of Mont Blanc pens, or Narendra Modi’s Bulgari glasses would get the media excited in the silly season, but there was nothing vulgar ab

Gopal Goyal Kanda epitomises a new breed of small town politicians the flashocracy. There was a time when Rajiv Gandhi’s Gucci pumps, or Arun Jaitley’s collection of Mont Blanc pens, or Narendra Modi’s Bulgari glasses would get the media excited in the silly season, but there was nothing vulgar about the way these men carried the iconic brands. Life’s luxuries sat well on them.

The flashocracy, in contrast, has the cash but not the class. It has the Bentleys and Bimmers but it still carries the baggage of its plebeian roots. It has enormous reserves of libido but it has been deluded into believing it owns the licence to prey upon its objects of lust. If the rise of small town India’s wealth has been liberalisation’s biggest feel good story, the successful dustbowl male has become the stereotype of all that can possibly go wrong when unbound material aspirations displace cultural mores.

It’s not enough for the mine lords of Bellary, for instance, to own Lamborghinis and have their own private tracks to drive their supercars. They believe their money gives them the first right to the corridors of power; they no longer are content to be fixers greasing other people’s hands, they crave the power that guarantees them their share of the loot.

The revolution of rising aspirations has spawned a mass market of greed.

India has never been a demonstratively acquisitive culture, but with the access to wealth being liberalised and with corruption becoming a retail phenomenon, we’ll see more people like Kanda treading the fine line between power, pelf and prison. Politicians like Amar Singh, T. Subbarami Reddy, Praful Patel and Rajiv Shukla who are known more for their wealthy friends, their Page 3 parties and their material possessions than for any contribution to the public good) were the first to lower the barriers that enabled politicians of the previous generation maintain a safe (albeit hypocritical) distance between the representatives of the people and their financiers.

With the Rajya Sabha becoming the safe route for ‘high net worth’ political patrons entering Parliament, there was no need for them any longer to take favours from their former clients. The men who paid the bills of the old style politicians and supplied them their goons had now taken their place and they brought with them their flashy baggage, their Hummers and their Habanos cigars, their supreme love for their personal well being overriding even a residual concern for the public good.

Kanda is the besmirched face of this new political species with a malleable moral code and a jelly like spine whose ideology is greed and whose political god is money. And he’s not alone in the muck that people like him have reduced politics to he’s just the one who got caught.
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Amitav Ghosh’s small cottage at Aldona village in north Goa is an ideal place where he wants to ‘conceive’. “I have this streak in myself that I have to be alone when I am writing; I can’t attend to people and phone calls. My cottage is in the interiors of north Goa amidst mangrove forestsjust the perfect setting I wanted to write the next part of my trilogy,” says Amitav, whose Sea of Poppies recently won the Crossword Book Award 2008 along with Neel Mukherjee. “I am very superstitious when it comes to writing. There has to be a particular pen (a Mont Blanc that he hides in his safe) and sheets of paper when I begin writing and I go through these phases where I freak out because nothing seems to come out of my mind. But I try to tell myself that it’s okay,” he adds. “We’d invite each other’s families over for dinner sometimes, but that happens occasionally since Jhumpa is a fiercely private person and doesn’t like to socialise too much,” he says on the Pulitzer Prize winning novelist. “Whenever I have met her, she talks about her kids (Octavio, 7, and Noor, 5). She keeps on telling me that her kids take up so much of her time now that she hardly has any time to do anything.”
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As opposed to Chamonix, at the opposite end, it is sunny and cheerful, a recommended destination for the urban escapists who swarm up from Turin and Milan during the weekend. The medieval town is a maze of narrow alleys and flights of steps, all of them leading into the pedestrianised Via Roma. Look up and you are confronted by Mont Blanc’s tangled icefalls; look around and you see men and women in matching furs strolling along cobbled streets. For those who like their winter sports with sophistication and a sense of history, there is no better place.

Courmayeur’s primary ski region suffers from an insurmountable problem in the form of the river that separates it from the town. The mid station at Plan Checrouit is efficiently accessed by the enormous Courmayeur cable car, but most people take it back down once more at the end of the day instead of tackling the piste to the neighbouring village of Dolonne, which often results in a half hour wait for the bus back to town.

The slopes that spread out above Plan Checrouit are moderately narrow and super crowded at peak times. Improving intermediates are well served by a network of predominantly red cruisers, but novices will discover the going tough when they graduate from the single nursery slope. In a resort where red is the new black, there is virtually nowhere to go for challenging piste bashers, but powderhounds have great prospects either in the trees or on three classic runs from Cresta d’Arp the Arp Vieille to Val Veny, the deserted valley to Dolonne or Pre St Didier or the Youla gorge to the resort of La Thuile.

Another hardcore choice is the three stage cable car from La Palud, above the village of Entreves, up to Punta Helbronner at 3,470m, which offers access to the celebrated Vallee Blanche run on the Chamonix side or the splendidly challenging serac run down the Toula glacier, which begins with a rope swing down an ice drop off. And that’s just the start.

Courmayeur is rightly proud of its mountain restaurants, which rank among the best in the Alps. Best of all is Maison Vieille. In a basic mountain hut, they serve dishes of home made pasta, lamb shank and game to a clientele that comes back day after day and year after year.

The Forum Sports Centre in Dolonne is perfect for all athletes, having tennis, squash, ice skating and swimming, plus a creche. You could also join the passageata and shop till you drop on the Via Roma.

The Aosta valley food chain is highly recommended in Courmayeur. Most meals begin with pork led antipasti usually ham and salami followed by pasta and a meat dish, often steak or game. The market leaders are Pierre Alexis and Cadran Solaire. The more casual Mont Frety has equally great food at lower prices. If you don’t wish to choose,
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go for the full monty at La Maison de Filippo in Entreves, where gets you 36 dishes.

A class of its own, Bar Roma, is an off the wall, crowded haven with sofas, open fires and period furniture, let alone a great free early evening tapas buffet. The surprise is that anyone leaves to go to dinner. Popular options on the Via Roma include the traditional Caffe Posta and the American Bar, both famous for their cocktails.

Cresta Et Duc is an elegant hotel preferred by skiers for a memorable ski holiday in the Alps. Guests will can choose from the hotel’s 44 luxurious and comfortable rooms, as well as the on site facilities. Renovated in 2009, the hotel offers guests a lobby with 24 hour reception, a hotel safe, currency exchange facilities, a cloakroom, lift access, a games room, TV lounge, children’s playground, a bar, and restaurant. Conference facilities with WLAN Internet Access are available.

Another of Courmayeur’s attractions is its family run hotels. Finest of all is the three star Bouton d’Or, where the Casale Brunets make you wish you could stay eternally. The Royal Golf is princely and well positioned on the Via Roma, while the three star Auberge de la Maison in Entreves is extremely recommended for its ambience and panoramic views.

Walser Hotel is another family vacation place. This small and characteristic family hotel offers a spacious and inviting dining room, where guests can relish the traditional cuisine of the Aosta Valley and the country national dishes. Facilities provided to guests at the 22 room ski hotel include a private car park and garage, a ping pong area, ski storage, a 24 hour reception and lift access. A bar, TV lounge and game room are also available.
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2002 12 03 04:00:00 PDT Kuwait City The glass and steel shopping mall glitters at night. Inside, luxury boutiques offer gold and jewels, Mont Blanc pens and Lacoste sportswear. At the designer coffee shop on the ground floor, patrons sip espressos and lattes around a baby grand piano that revolves beneath laser lights.

It’s a strangely Vegas like venue for a meeting with a leading member of the country’s burgeoning Islamist movement.

But that’s Kuwait, where the baubles and luxuries of the West abound thanks to the oil bonanza, yet the most potent political force calls for a return to fundamental Muslim values and tribal heritage. soldiers on a highway last month for allegedly speeding, drew his pistol without warning and shot both. Marines on training exercises, killing one before other Marines killed them.

After the highway incident, the Kuwaiti government put out word that the officer who was arrested in Saudi Arabia was mentally unbalanced. officials, meanwhile, assured journalists that this nation remained firmly in the pro American camp.

But Kuwaitis and longtime expatriates here say they have seen a steady and disturbing rise in Islamic extremism.

“I have been here 22 years, and in that time I have seen the country becoming more and more fundamentalist,” said a European businessman, who asked that his name not be used.

The government here restricts its own citizens’ access to one fourth of the country. troops already here. campaign against terrorism is a thinly disguised religious war against Muslims.

“Every day, we watch on TV the scenes of Israel killing people in Palestine, ” said Dr. Ismail Shatti, the Islamist who met with a journalist at the Galleria 2000 mall. “Every day. What do you expect to happen in the Arab person’s mind? You should expect huge anger, and sometimes it does not stay only as anger. It develops into action.”

Shatti runs a consulting business and wears a close trimmed goatee rather than the long, wild growth favored by the al Qaeda crowd. presence in Kuwait as a protector from the Hussein regime. If there were an invasion of Iraq, he would back the United States as a way of repaying the Americans for their role as Kuwait’s savior even though he would be opposed to the invasion himself, he said. guests.

“Any society consists of some fragile people, and pressure will guide them to lunacy and fanatic actions,” he said. victim in Kuwait: the Marine killed Oct. 8 by two men linked by investigators to al Qaeda. The attackers’ funeral drew a large crowd of supporters and a mullah later arrested who lionized them as martyrs. force in the country is able to take care of itself, it is an awkward reality that as troops are built up in the region for a possible invasion, they must be wary of the very people they came to help. But the liberals admit that they lack the financial support,
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mass appeal and organization of the Islamists,

though the Sept. 11 attacks spurred them to press for democratic reforms and to oppose religious intolerance.

The limited democracy that the United States helped foster after the ouster of Iraqi troops in the 1991 Persian Gulf War gave Islamists their foothold on power here, said Shamlan Essa, chairman of the political science department at Kuwait University.

“This is the problem with democracy it allows Islamic fundamentalists to pop up like mushrooms,” he said.

In the Kuwaiti parliament, between 15 and 20 of the 50 members are Islamists, while about 10 are liberals. The balance is held by “tribal” independents. In reality, however, the conservative tribal representatives tend to side with the Islamic bloc.

As a result, Islamic issues dominate public debate. Religious groups recently pushed through a law mandating segregation of the sexes on Kuwait University’s modern, sprawling campus, and there have been calls for more hours of religious training each week in public schools.

Both Kuwaiti officials and Western experts consider the number of hard core al Qaeda operatives in the country to be small; they put the number in the dozens rather than the hundreds. And the estimated 70 to 120 Kuwaitis who went to Afghanistan to fight with al Qaeda are reportedly under close scrutiny by intelligence agencies.

Shatti, a leader of the Islamic Constitutional Movement, said Islamists like him had had almost no political competition since the death of the Arab nationalist movement in the 1960s and 1970s and the eradication of communism and socialism after the Cold War. Now, the only alternative to Islamists is “liberal democracy the West,” he said. “And people do not like how the West has been treating us.”

Essa, the university chairman, blames the royal family, which runs the government, for giving the Islamist movement too much scope. Part of the reason, he suggests, is that the royals felt guilty for not having prevented the invasion by Iraq in August 1990 and were afraid to try to challenge the Islamists openly.

“The whole quandary in the gulf is that the governments and the Islamic fundamentalists both compete for the popular masses, and their competition inevitably revolves around Islam,” he said.
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Is Avocado A Fruit Or Vegetable?

Curated By Susanne 1 Comment

I always been fascinated by avocado. It is such a delicious, creamy and rich treat that pretty versatile. You can enjoy it savory as well as sweet dishes. It rather healthy but also incredibly rich and fatty. One of the questions that often comes up is this: Is avocado a fruit or a vegetable?

Since it grows on a tree (the avocado tree) and is part of the reproductive organ of the plan that also carries the seed, it is technically / biologically a fruit. We do tend to think of it more as a vegetable though because of the way we use it in the kitchen.

Most of the time we use it in savory dishes and salad. And since avocado aren naturally sweet, we don think of them as fruit. We add it to salads, make cold soups from it or use it as a sandwich spread. Of course then there the ever popular guacamole, a simple avocado dip. Here my favorite recipe.

1/8 teaspoon salt

Cut the avocados in half and remove the pit. Use a spoon to scoop out the flesh and put it in a bowl. Add the lemon juice and use a fork to mash the avocado into a smooth paste. Stir in the salsa and salt. Chill until ready to serve.

In some cultures, the avocado is treated more like a fruit and is used in sweet dessert type dishes. Mostly it is mixed with milk and sugar to make a rich and sweet shake.

The nutritional makeup of the avocado also makes it unique. It is by far the fattiest fruit I am aware of. A medium Avocado contains 276 calories and 27.6 grams of fat. Thankfully those fats are the healthy kind but you should still limit yourself to no more than 1 avocado every other day.

Ready to include more avocado in you meals. One easy way to do this is to buy them when they are on sale and then freeze them. They turn out quite well provided you know how to freeze avocado. You can then use your frozen avocados in dips, sandwich spread, soups etc. It time to use this unique fruit in your kitchen on a regular basis.

Last 5 Articles Added By SusanneQuinoa Nutrition Facts This Is What Makes It Such A Healthy Food July 21st, 2010Here’s How To Make Frozen Fruit Smoothies July 17th, 2010Healthy Fruit Smoothies Indulge In One Of These Today July 9th, 2010Replace Your Dryer With An Old Fashioned Clothes Line July 1st, 20107 Tips For Creating A Frugal Meal Plan That Works For You And Your Family December 29th, 2009
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Ireland take on France in Paris in their opening fixture before hosting Italy at the Aviva Stadium as Conor O’Shea makes his first visit to Dublin as Italian head coach.

The uncapped Jordan Larmour from Leinster has been named in Ireland’s 36 man squad, which also includes Chris Farrell and Bundee Aki, who won their first caps during the successful GUINNESS Series in November.

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt commented: “It’s been great to witness some quality performances from provincial teams over the last seven weeks of European and derby matches, with a number of players performing well. There were some very tight decisions but it’s great to see some competitive depth in a number of positions.”

There are a number of players unavailable through injury Finlay Bealham, Jamie Heaslip,
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Jared Payne and Craig Gilroy as well as Niall Scannell who is due to return to action in the coming weeks.

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