Portugal among Europe’s biggest drinkers !!

A 161-page document released this week looking into the state of alcoholism in Europe has placed Portugal amongst the top ten consumers in the continent.

The study entitled Alcohol in the European Union was compiled by the World Health Organisation (WHO) using vast amounts of national and international research findings.

The average amount of alcohol consumed in Portugal was placed at 13.43 litres per annum, above the European average of 12.45 litres.

Portugal was found to be one of the highest alcohol-related road fatalities, but still fared better than Belgium or Austria.

Absenteeism due to excesses the night before was also high in Portugal, which led researchers to reach the conclusion that those who drink in Portugal drink heavily.

Nonetheless, alcohol consumers in Portugal were the least prone to binging, which is defined as six drinks in one evening on at least one occasion each month.

The percentage in Portugal of males who admit to being binge drinkers was 12.2 percent, below the 13.1 percent of British women who said they regularly over-indulged. The figure for Portuguese women was 2.7 percent for women. Both Portuguese men and women enjoyed the second lowest rates (only Spanish males fared better with 4.8 percent while only 2.4 percent of Polish women said they would have six drinks or more in an evening). Greek males topped the list with 50 percent, followed their Cypriot counterparts with 48.1 percent.

In Europe, alcohol is the third leading risk factor for disease and mortality after tobacco and high blood pressure, according to WHO research published in 2009.

The European Union is the region with the highest alcohol consumption in the world.

In 2009, average adult (aged 15+ years) alcohol consumption in the EU was 12.5 litres of pure alcohol – 27g of pure alcohol or nearly three drinks a day, more than double the world average.

Although there are many individual country differences, alcohol consumption in the EU as a whole has continued at a stable level over the past decade.

The harms from drinking disproportionately affect poorer people, researchers also found.

Socially disadvantaged people and people who live in socially disadvantaged areas experience more harm from the same dose of alcohol than those who are better off.

The real absolute risk of dying from an adverse alcohol-related condition increases with the total amount of alcohol consumed over a lifetime. Most alcohol is drunk in heavy drinking occasions, which worsen all risks, including ischaemic heart disease and sudden death.

Alcohol can diminish individual health and human capital throughout the lifespan from the embryo to old age. In absolute terms, it is mostly middle-aged people (men in particular) who die from alcohol.

The adolescent brain is particularly susceptible to alcohol, and the longer the onset of consumption is delayed, the less likely it is that alcohol related problems and alcohol dependence will emerge in adult life.

In the EU in 2004, conservative estimates indicate that almost 95,000 men and over 25,000 women aged between 15 and 64 years died of alcohol-attributable causes (total 120 000, corresponding to 11.8 percent of all deaths in this age category).

This means that one in seven male deaths and one in 13 female deaths in this age category were caused by alcohol.

Researchers also found that countries of southern Europe (Portugal, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malta, Spain) have a Mediterranean drinking pattern.

In the south of the EU wine has traditionally been produced and drunk, characterised by almost daily drinking of alcohol (often wine with meals), avoidance of irregular heavy drinking and no acceptance of public drunkenness.

“Shekhar (gupta, EIC/CEO, IE) is the general of the “Sonia bhakts” !?! Scoop is sensationalist and full of unwarranted conjectures

Mohan Guruswamy writes on his facebook page & his opinion is widely received and commented upon:
The Indian Express story this morning about two crack Indian Army units moving towards Delhi on the night January 16-17 is sensationalist and full of unwarranted conjectures. Obviously the “details” have been provided by someone high up in the security and intelligence apparatus, and the leak is meant to keep the Military circled out and kept isolated from the Government. This is not the first time this sort of thing has happened.

The first time it happened was during the funeral arrangements for Jawaharlal Nehru in 1964. The COAS had ordered up some units to be prepared to assist in the funeral ceremonies with crowd cordoning and VIP security. The DIB interpreted this as a preparation for a coup and warned the acting PM, Gulzarilal Nanda. The Army was asked to explain. Gen. JN Chaudhry replied appropriately and said the Military was sworn to uphold the Constitution and that it was commanded by men of honor.

I recall an acrimonious discussion in the early 90’s related to me by a COAS. The Indian Army was pressing for putting the BSF under full military control in J&K for effective counter-insurgency operations. The BSF balked and its then DG argued before the then HM, with the COAS present, that the BSF must be kept independent of Army control at all times as it was the bulwark against any Indian Army attempt to seize political control. The COAS scoffed at it saying, that knowing the calibre of the IPS in command of the BSF, it would not even take hours for the Army to subdue the BSF and confine it to the barracks. He asked him not to talk nonsense in front of the Home Minister to protect his turf.

The friction between the Army and the IPS is well known, and its testy relations with both the IB and RA&AW, apart from the BSF and CRPF are well known. The Defence and Home Ministry bureaucracies love this situation as it allows them to play off one against the other.

The Government will do well to get to the bottom of this news report and track down its “sources”. But who will the Government turn to trace these sources. The IB?

VK Cherian I do wish it is just “sensationalist and full of unwarranted conjectures”..But what ever is it not a good sign for our democracy, just as the row with the General…
Akhil Shastry Nehru had enormous contempt for the armed forces.He said soldiers were mindless zombies who killed on orders without even bothering to think about the rightness or wrongness of the order.
Machimanda Appaiah Deviah Akhil: In my opinion Nehru had no opinion on this. He was probably parroting Krishna Menon’s words. He was the real Chanakya in all this.
Manoj Joshi Hit the nail on the head, Mohan
Vinay Talwar VK, in my opinion Shekhar is the general of the “Sonia bhakts”, he has consistently shown his great capacity to ‘spin’ and would rank ahead of Bhajji as India’s best spinner 🙂
Niranjan Pant I agree with MG that it is probably a planted / inspired story by vested interests. With a weak central leadership, everyone has visions of grandeur or nefarious designs, especially with some foothold in the media. Highly condemnable. Every public servant – uniformed or civil – knows that whistle-blowing against powerful vested interests is a perilous task. Very few therefore undertake it The article has mischief written all over, what with fanciful bold scary headlines interspersed with slimy praise for the professional and ‘impeccable integrity’ of the General.
Prakash Nanda I am ashamed as a journalist that such a horrible story has appeared in Indian Express. My friends say that it is an IB plant. As it is becoming increasingly evident that the letter of VK Singh to Manmohan Singh has been leaked by “Babus”, not military personnel, it is another trick to prepare grounds for sacking the General. I hope my friends are wrong. It is really enemies of India who want a weak Army in India….
Rikeesh Sharma Soul selling and loyalty issues aside, this piece is irresponsible journalism. especially looking at the timing of it all. there is no need to splash sensationalism and negative news on the front page. Poor ethics…in my view!
Manas Paul Lo…this is queer development….now…its not the army but the power lobby in Delhi corridors that seeks to enforce …’force multiplier’…
Outlook’s Churumuri writes (asks, doubts, questions ?) about it his blog:

PRITAM SENGUPTA writes from New Delhi: The front-page, full-page report in the northern editions of The Indian Express this morning, that two units of the Indian Army moved towards Delhi on January 16, 2012—the day the Army chief V.K. Singh‘s petition before the Supreme Court on his date of birth was coming up—has sent New Delhi into a tizzy.

The report, anchored by the paper’s redoubtable editor-in-chief Shekhar Gupta, with reporting from Ritu Sarin, Pranab Dhal Samanta and Ajmer Singh—that barely disguises its attempts to hint at a “coup” that wasn’t—has been stoutly denied by the ministry of defence and an official statement from the defence minister A.K. Antony is due.

As the old saying goes, never believe a story until it is officially denied.

Still, is the Express story a “scoop” throwing light on something that was hidden or unknown; a rehash of previously published stuff; or just plain Delhi-style “spin”, against the backdrop of leaks and plants that have been coming in a torrent in the crossfire between the outgoing Army chief and the “establishment”?

To give Express its due, the three-deck, four-byline, eight-column banner headline suggests plenty of leg work.

What blunts the edge somewhat on the Express story is that the Army manoeuvre wasreported by Rediff.com 22 days ago—on March 13, 2012. What also muddies the waters is that the Army itself held an official briefing on the subject 25 days ago—on March 10, 2012—in Agra.

So, regardless of the official denials, is the Express story a scoop, a rehash or spin?

Musalman: @75p, the last “handwritten” newspaper in world !!!

The earliest forms of newspaper were handwritten and now ‘The Musalman‘ probably is the last handwritten newspaper in the world. This Urdu language newspaper was established in 1927 by Chenab Syed Asmadullah Sahi and has been published daily in the Chennai city of India ever since.

With the recent technological advances, where paper newspapers are going extinct because people read them online, this personable touch is rare to find. The price of this paper is 75 Paise

It is presently run by Syed Asmadullah’s grand son Syed Arifullah and six skilled calligraphers work on this four pages newspaper everyday. With a circulation of approximately 23,000 the paper covers news in Urdu language across a wide spectrum including politics, culture and sports.

The ‘Musalman‘ is probably the last handwritten newspaper in the world. It has been published and read every day in South India’s Chennai since 1927 in almost the same form. In the shadow of the Wallajah Mosque in Chennai, a team of six die hard workers still put out this hand-penned paper. Four of them are katibs — writers dedicated to the ancient art of Urdu calligraphy. It’s tough for the die-hard artists of Urdu calligraphy. But the story we tell here is not just of their desperation and despair. The fact is, at the office of ‘The Musalman’, the oldest Urdu daily in India, no one has ever quit. They work till they pass on.

Check out this video directed by Ishani K. Dutta and produced and uploaded to YouTube by the Public Diplomacy Division of India’s Ministry of External Affairs: http://youtu.be/LUmdx2YHGcA

Preparation of its every page takes about three hours. After the news is received in English from its part time reporters, it is translated into Urdu and Katibs – writers, dedicated to the ancient art of Urdu calligraphy, pen – down the whole story on paper. After that negative copy of the entire hand –written paper is prepared and pressed on printing plates.

Presently it is edited by Mr. Syed Arifullah. He took over the charge after his father died. His father ran this paper for 40 years. It was founded by his grandfather in 1927. This paper has maintained its original look and had not compromised with the Urdu computer font.

Urdu type setting was very difficult; also, typeset work looked ugly in comparison to handwritten work. Therefore, Urdu resorted to lithography while other languages adopted typeset.

With the advent of computer, Urdu writing got great boost. It allowed calligraphic writing without the problems of lithography. Yet, a book or newspaper written by a good katib and properly lithographed is very pleasing and beautiful; computer written Urdu is no match.