Monsoon may continue to be vigorous over coastal areas


Vehicles wade through a flooded street in Chennai. According to Met Department, rains may continue to lash TN and Puducherry for the next two days..

 With a low pressure area over Kanyakumari and neighbourhood likely to become more marked, the northeast monsoon, which set in over the State on October 29, will continue to be vigorous over the coastal belt.

A trough from the low pressure area extends to west central Bay of Bengal across the Gulf of Mannar and southwest bay off the coast of Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh, according to a bulletin of the Met department on Saturday.

Thundershowers are likely to occur at most places over the coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and at many places over interior parts of the State on Sunday. Heavy rain at a few places with very heavy to extremely very heavy rains at isolated places is likely to occur over coastal parts of the State and Puducherry on Sunday and Monday.

During the 24-hour-period that ended at 8-30 a.m. on Saturday, the maximum amount of rainfall of 15 cm was recorded at Red Hills on the northern outskirts of the city. Chembarampakkam in the western fringes of the city received 14 cm; Ponneri – 13 cm and Madurantakam, Sholavandan and Cuddalore – 11 cm each.

A 40-year-old person in Alangulam taluk of Tirunelveli district died in the latest spell. A senior official of the Revenue administration here said though the death occurred on Thursday, it was just now reported to the authorities.

In the morning, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi discussed with Deputy Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, Chief Secretary K.S. Sripathi and Principal Secretary (Finance) K. Gnanadesikan on the relief work to be carried out. Mr Stalin briefed him of his visit to northern and southern parts of Chennai earlier. Union Minister for Textiles Dayanidhi Maran and Chennai Corporation Commissioner Rajesh Lakhoni were present.

The Deputy Chief Minister, who visited T. Nagar and Choolai to inspect baling out of rainwater and went to a special medical camp at Ayodhya Kuppam, later told reporters that over the last three years, storm water drains were laid in the city at a cost of Rs. 81.76 crore for nearly 150 km. Silt was removed from the drains over the length of 996 km. As of now, there was no need to relocate people in camps in view of the baling out operations.

U.S. jobless rate tops 10 pc for first time since 1983


In this March 5, 2009 photo, job seekers join a line of hundreds of people at a job fair in New York. The unemployment rate has surpassed 10 per cent for the first time since 1983

The U.S. unemployment rate has surpassed 10 percent for the first time since 1983 — and is likely to go higher.

Nearly 16 million people can’t find jobs even though the worst recession since the Great Depression has apparently ended. The Labor Department said Friday that the economy shed a net total of 1,90,000 jobs in October, less than the downwardly revised 2,19,000 lost in September. August job losses were also revised lower, to 1,54,000 from 2,01,000.

But the loss of jobs last month exceeded economists’ estimates. It’s the 22nd straight month the U.S. economy has shed jobs, the longest on records dating back 70 years.

Counting those who have settled for part-time jobs or stopped looking for work, the unemployment rate would be 17.5 per cent, the highest on records dating from 1994.

The jobless rate rose to 10.2 per cent, the highest since April 1983, from 9.8 percent in September. The jump reflects a sharp increase in the tally of unemployed Americans, which rose to 15.7 million from 15.1 million. The net loss of jobs is based on a separate survey of businesses.

Economists say it could climb as high as 10.5 per cent next year because employers remain reluctant to hire.

“It’s not a good report,” said Dan Greenhaus, chief economic strategist for New York-based investment firm Miller Tabak. “What we’re seeing is a validation of the idea that a jobless recovery is perfectly on track.”

Friday’s report is the first since the government said last week that the economy grew at a 3.5 per cent annual rate in the July-September quarter, the strongest signal yet that the economy is rebounding. But that isn’t fast enough to spur rapid hiring.

“You need explosive growth to take the unemployment rate down,” Mr. Greenhaus said in an interview on Thursday.

The U.S. economy soared by nearly 8 per cent in 1983 after a steep recession, Mr. Greenhaus said, lowering the jobless rate by 2.5 percentage points that year. But the economy is unlikely to improve that fast this time, as consumers remain cautious and tight credit hinders businesses. In fact, many analysts expect economic growth to moderate early next year, as the impact of various government stimulus programs fades.

Many economists also worry that persistently high unemployment could undermine the recovery by restraining consumer spending, which accounts for 70 per cent of the economy.

One sign of how hard it still is to find a job: the number of Americans who have been out of work for six months or longer rose to 5.6 million, a record. They comprise 35.6 per cent of the unemployed population, matching a record set last month.

Congress sought to address the impact of long-term unemployment this week by approving legislation extending jobless benefits for the fourth time since the recession began. The bill would add 14 to 20 extra weeks of aid and is intended to prevent almost 2 million recipients from running out of unemployment insurance during the upcoming holiday season. President Barack Obama is expected to quickly sign the legislation.

The employment report showed that job losses remain widespread across many industries. Manufacturers eliminated a net total of 61,000 jobs, the most in four months. Construction shed 62,000 jobs, down slightly from the previous month.

Retailers, the financial sector and leisure and hospitality companies all continued to reduce payrolls. The economy has lost a net total of 7.3 million jobs since the recession began in December 2007.

The average work week was unchanged at 33 hours, a disappointment because employers are expected to add more hours for current workers before they begin hiring new ones.

There were some bright spots in the report. Professional and business services companies added 18,000 jobs. And temporary employment grew by 33,700 jobs, after losing positions for months. That’s a positive sign because employers are likely to add temporary workers before hiring permanent ones.

Still, economists expect jobs likely will remain scarce even as the economy improves. Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial, said that small businesses, a primary engine of job creation, still face tight credit and don’t have the cash reserves to support extra workers.

And many companies are squeezing more production from their existing work forces. Productivity, the amount of output per hour worked, jumped 9.5 per cent in the third quarter, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

That’s the sharpest increase in six years and followed a 6.9 per cent rise in the second quarter. The increases enable companies to produce more without hiring extra people.

While the unemployment rate hasn’t yet topped the post-World War II high of 10.8 per cent set in December 1982, many experts say this recession is worse.

The unemployment rate was much lower when the recession began — 4.9 per cent in December 2007, compared with 7.2 per cent in July 1981, when a brutal downturn started. That means the current job cuts have been much steeper to get to the 10 per cent mark.

And the work force, on average, is older now as the baby boomers have aged and fewer teenagers are out looking for work. Gary Burtless, an economist at the Brookings Institution, notes that older workers are more likely to be employed than younger ones. As a result, it takes a tougher job market to push the rate to 10 per cent.

“This may be the toughest employment situation we’ve seen in the postwar era,” Mark Gertler, an economics professor at New York University, said in an interview earlier this week.

Big Bang machine to restart ‘in a couple of weeks’


This March 22, 2007 photo shows the magnet core of the world’s largest superconducting solenoid magnet (CMS, Compact Muon Solenoid), one of the experiments preparing to take data at European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) particle accelerator, in Geneva, Switzerland

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which is expected to throw light on the Big Bang Theory and the birth of the universe, will restart within the next fortnight, its architect and project leader Lyndon Evans said here on Friday.

LHC, the world’s most powerful particle accelerator, was shutdown on September 19, 2008 owing to a technical fault.

“The machine will start up in the next couple of weeks. The first collider beams would be injected around the end of this year. Scientific experiments can start in early 2010,” Mr. Evans said after delivering a lecture here.

On September 19, 2008 a fault in an electrical connection between two magnets in the LHC led to mechanical damage and release of liquid Helium which contributed to the further damage of the affected sub-sector of the machine. This caused the LHC to shut down temporarily.

Scientists were doing their best to ensure that similar problems with the LHC did not occur in future, Mr. Evans said. Describing the LHC as dealing with the fundamental issues of physics, he said besides throwing light on the Big Bang and the birth of the universe, it will also result in Grid Computing, the next generation global network after the World Wide Web, which was also introduced by the European Organisation for Nuclear Research’s (CERN).

New scheme for maternal and child health

Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry has launched a new programme, Navjat Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram, to train the healthcare providers at various health centres across the country.

Under this programme, health care providers are imparted training in resuscitation, prevention of infections, hypothermia, and , Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad announced this here at the Parliamentary consultative committee meeting . The programme aims to reduce the infant and maternal mortality rate. The Minister said another priority area would be strengthening the government’s resolve to population stabilisation. So far, 11 States and Union Territories have already reached the replacement level of total fertility. The Ministry would focus on Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh in the coming months. These States have high total fertility rates.

“Though achievement of a TFR of 2.1 by 2010 seems impossible, as we were at 2.7 in 2007, we will make all efforts to ensure that we are able to move closer towards replacement levels by 2015,” Mr. Azad said.

This exercise, the Minister said, helped to identify 288 districts that account for 80 per cent of maternal and infant deaths; and Primary Health Centres and Community Health Centres that are geographically remote and difficult to access within these villages and blocks that have a high percentage of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. “For these areas, we are now formulating a comprehensive package of additional incentives to health workers and doctors. We intend to give special focus to new born care, as nearly 23 per cent of the neonatal deaths occur in the first two days of birth,” he said. Asphyxia, hypothermia, sepsis are major causes of such deaths.

“We still have a long way to achieving our goals related to maternal mortality, infant mortality and total fertility ratio, the burden of disease on account of malaria and TB and other infectious diseases, universal immunisation,” he said, adding that heasked the officers to focus on most difficult and inaccessible areas.

Slow and steady


CHIN UP Tone your upper body

Getting to be a top-class athlete involves perfecting techniques one at a time

Many a time I have had parents walk into my gym and demand a four-week programme to make their children faster athletes.

What about work ethic, consistency and years of nutritional habits and discipline? And does a child understand that working out entails healthy lifestyle habits and hard work? Once these two goals are understood then increasing performance, becoming a stronger athlete, or getting faster can all be achieved.

Here are some simple exercises for an athlete to implement into his/her programme to help increase speed and strength. Work on perfecting your technique in the gym, and progress to the next step only after you’ve mastered each specific movement first.


A warm-up will prevent injuries, increase mobility and flexibility, increase blood flow, prepare the body for the workout, and activate specific muscle structures. Examples: Knee raise pulls, leg swings, lunging, running high knees, running butt kicks, power skips, lateral shuffles, and some light strides.

Squatting variations

When your legs are stronger, you will run faster. Improve your lower body strength and you will see an increase in speed.

Examples: Split squats, front squats, lunging variations, single leg squats, and controlled step-ups.

Increase trunk strength

When you transfer power from your trunk to your legs and arms, you will be able to run faster.

Examples: Plank variations, side plank variations, chop/lift series

Increase upper body strength

When you strengthen the upper body, you can maintain a steady body position when you run. Also, with more powerful arms and shoulders, you will be able to drive your arms at a more powerful rate. Arm drive is crucial to running faster.

Examples: Chin-ups, pull-ups, push-ups, alternating dumbbell press, any rowing or pressing variations.

Increase your power

Start with a basic plyometric programme. Get your athletes to jump and land soft with perfect mechanics.

Also, implement medicine ball training into your programme. Medicine ball exercises are a great way to increase your power and explosiveness. Introduce weight-lifting exercises with proper guidance.

(The author is CSCS (NSCA), C.H.E.K. and an expert trainer)