M. F. Husain
Maqbool Fida Husain, the celebrated painter often described as India's Picasso, dies at the age of 95.
Birth Name: Maqbool Fida Husain
Born: 17th September 1915 at Pandharpur, Bombay Presidency, British India
Died: 9 June 2011 (aged 95)
London, England, United Kingdom
Works: Mother India; illustrations to Ramayana, Mahabarata
Padma Shri (1955)
Padma Bhushan (1973)
Padma Vibhushan (1991)
He was one of India's most renowned artist and his paintings fetched millions of dollars at international auctions. But he did not have a studio and walked barefoot most of the time.
Maqbool Fida Husain died in self-exile in London on June 9 at the age of 95, leaving behind close to 40,000 paintings, an open debate about the state of India's democracy, and tremendous respect for Indian art on the international stage.
Humble Beginnings: Born in 1915 in Western Maharashtra, Husain was raised by his grandfather, who fixed lanterns for a living. His father remarried after his mother passed away before Husain was two years old.
As a child, painting was one of Husain’s hobbies, soccer being the main other. He never had much interest in formal schooling or acquiring a degree.
When he was seventeen, Husain moved to Bombay. He slept on pavements while he searched for work. His love for the movies landed him a job as a painter of cinema hoardings. The skills that he learned working with large brushes and expansive canvases would become a trademark of his art that always sided on grandiosity.
In the 1940s, when Husain made his first splashes as an artist, the art scene in Bombay was quite small. Dominated by well-educated figures such as Francis Newton Souza of the Progressive Artists Group, they looked towards European Modernism for inspiration. Husain, who was discovered by Souza, came onto the scene with an entirely different mentality.
By the 1970s, Husain had grown to prominence, exhibiting alongside artists such as Pablo Picasso. His focus on distinctly Indian themes brought Indian art to eminence at the international level as he began appearing in exhibits and auction houses.
Husain, more than anyone else, really delved into the vast corpus of Indian mythology. Ever since he was a child, he had grown fascinated with the tales of the Ramayana. He even acted in some performances as Hanuman when he was a child.
The other fascination of his art was the female form. And in his search for the perfect form, he watched a movie featuring Madhuri Dixit, the Indian actress and Hussain's friend, sixty seven times: each time in a theatre.
The Exile Years: In 1996, at the height of communal violence in India, Husain became a target of the Hindu right wing. An article in a Hindi magazine that dug up a series of nude paintings of Indian goddesses from the 1970s became the basis for calls of blasphemy. His home and several galleries that displayed his work were attacked by violent protestors. Under the auspices of Shiv Sena, the Hindu right wing political party, numerous cases were filed against him in local courts that were then sent to Delhi.
A narrowly partisan group intensified a massive campaign against him, displaying his nude paintings of goddesses along with fabricated titles and captions. They also coupled the paintings next to Husain's fully-clothed depictions of female Muslim figures, claiming Husain was deliberately defaming Hindu goddesses. As the attacks on Husain increased and other political parties did not resist the Hindu right - fearing they would lose votes for being soft - Husain moved to Dubai in self-exile. He spent his final years shuttling between Dubai and London.
At the time of his death, 95 years old, he was working on three major projects: a history of Indian civilisation, a series of paintings on Arab and Islamic civilisation, and another series on the history of Indian cinema.
As one of his final projects before he left India in 2006, Husain took on the designing of the store for a shoe-maker friend at Mumbai's Taj Mahal Hotel. From the shelves to the ceiling to the furniture he obsessively planned everything. At the entrance of the store, Husain's bare feet are cast in bronze.
He died in exile, but the marks of his bare feet and long brush remain across India - and museums around the globe.
On 20 May 2011 Kanimozhi Karunanidhi was arrested and sent to Tihar Prisons in India after her bail plea was rejected in the 2G spectrum scam case, in which she is alleged to be co-conspirator.
MK Kanimozhi is a DMK Rajya Sabha MP and the one member of DMK chief M Karunanidhi's family that talks the language of the GenNext. She has also been called her father's literary heir, the one that shares a love of poetry with him.
She was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 2007, and serves on various Parliamentary committees. And lists her profession as politician, poet and journalist.
Kanimozhi, now 43, spent her growing years without seeing much of her father as he divided time between two homes and wives. Kanimozhi's mother, Rajathiammal, was Karunanidhi's third wife. His second, Dayaluammal, is the mother of sons MK Alagiri and MK Stalin.
The DMK MP has a Masters in Economics, was a journalist employed with several publications and also ran a website before she joined active politics. She is also a published poet and is seen as Karunanidhi's literary heir while her two half-brothers joust for top honours as his political heir.
Within the family, the two brothers are said to be wary of the little sister, for whom their father has a decided soft spot. He has gone out of his way to underscore that fondness and his solidarity with his daughter ever since she was named in the 2G scam.
Kanimozhi's political career has been in a shadow ever since the 2G scam broke. A Raja, who is now in jail for his alleged involvement in the scam, was known for his close relationship with Kanimozhi. She also owns 20 per cent stake in the Chennai channel Kalaignar TV that was allegedly the recipient of a Rs. 214-crore kickback from the massive spectrum scam. It is in this capacity that Kanimozhi was charged as a co-accused in the 2G scam.
Kanimozhi has been married twice. G Aravindan is her second husband and they have a son.
2G Spectrum Controversy
In November 2010 Outlook published transcripts of six conversations between lobbyist Niira Radia and Kanimozhi from May 2009. India Today claims that these conversations reveal that Kanimozhi filtered the information flowing to her father (the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu) and thereby "tipped the scales in favour of" A. Raja, who was Minister of Communications and Information Technology during controversial 2G wireless spectrum allocations in 2008. The New York Times's Delhi correspondent Lydia Polgreen said Raja's rise to telecommunications minister was "emblematic" of how politics in India really work, with the DMK "more closely resembling a sprawling family business empire than a political party," and highlighted Mr. Raja's "close relationship" with Kanimozhi. Raja was arrrested on February 2, 2011 for his alleged role in manipulating rules to allocate favourable spectrum to some telecom companies at throwaway prices.
Following the Central Bureau of Investigation's raid on Tamil Maiyam, an NGO of which she is a director, Kanimozhi said the DMK party will come out clean in the CBI probe, stating "The law has to take its own course. It is a process to prove us not guilty." After the February 2nd arrest DMK party members and workers immediately passed a resolution declaring that the arrest doesn't mean Raja is guilty, and claimed opposition parties were targeting him for political purposes.
On March 11, 2011, Kanimozhi was questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation at the DMK headquarters in Chennai, in relation to an apparent flow of over Rs.200 crore from Shahid Balwa's DB Realty firm to Kalaignar TV, the regional Tamil channel in which Kanimozhi is alleged to have a 20 percent stake. The CBI has included Kanimozhi's name in the second chargesheet of the 2G scam in relation to this flow of money.
On May 20, 2011, the special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in New Delhi ordered the arrest of Kanimozhi along with Kalaignar TV CEO Sharad Kumar after rejecting their bail pleas. Kanimozhi was arrested and sent to Tihar Jail.
Acting on the appeal by Kanimozhi after her bail plea was rejected by the CBI Court earlier, the Delhi High Court on June 08, 2011, also followed the suit and rejected the bail pleas of Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar stating that Kanimozhi may be in a position to influence the 2G probe. This means Kanimozhi will remain in Tihar Jail until further proceedings.
Li won the 2011 French Open singles title, becoming the first Asian player to win a Grand Slam in singles.
Li Na (born February 26, 1982) is a Chinese professional tennis player. Li has won 5 WTA and 19 ITF singles titles. She is currently ranked World No. 4 by WTA.
Li won the 2011 French Open singles title, becoming the first Asian player to win a Grand Slam in singles. She had been the first Asian player to appear in a Grand Slam singles final with her performance at the 2011 Australian Open.
The Chinese slugger has certainly blossomed late (by women's tennis standards) in her career, as she waited until she was 28 to land in her first Grand Slam final and 29 to capture a major championship. Heading into this season, Li had only ever won three titles on the WTA circuit, and they were relatively small ones.
Chinese state media proclaimed Li Na’s victory in the French Open as the stuff of legends and miracles, elevating Asia’s first grand slam singles winner to near mythic status in a country where national glory and athletic feats are closely entwined.
It was a national and personal redemption for the widely adored 29-year-old after falling in the Australian Open final to Belgian Kim Clijsters in January.
Nearly 2.1 million people were fans of Li’s twitter-like microblogging site on Sina’s Weibo and millions more were talking about her win. Xinhua news agency said 95 million viewers tuned in to watch the match on state television. For many young people in China, Li is a role model, partly because of her broad smile and off-court wit, but also due to her air of independence in a country where elite athletes’ careers are nurtured — and largely supervised — by the state.
Driving Force: The outspoken Li was permitted in 2009, along with four other top women players, to manage her own career and keep a greater share of her winnings after run-ins with Chinese tennis officialdom over training arrangements and pay.
Li, who was identified as a potential badminton talent as a child, was steered into tennis before her teenage years, but had to be coaxed back into the game in 2004 after walking away to study media at university.
As the country’s sometimes reluctant standard-bearer for tennis, her success is expected to fuel the sport’s rapid growth in China.
China Tennis Association chief Sun Jinfang said that Li will help drive the sport forward in the country, still considered an elite game that lags behind basketball, soccer and table tennis in its draw on youth.
Career Achievements: On October 3, 2004 Li defeated Martina Suchá, in the final of the Guangzhou International Women's Open to become the first Chinese woman to win a singles title on the WTA Tour.
At the 2006 Wimbledon Championships, Li became the first Chinese player to receive a seeding in a grand slam event. She went on to reach the quarterfinals becoming the first Chinese player in history (male or female) to reach a grand slam singles quarterfinal but she lost to second seed Kim Clijsters.
In January 2010, Li and hercompatriot Zheng Jie reached the semifinals of the 2010 Australian Open in singles. This marked the first time in history where two Chinese players (male or female) had reached the semifinals of a grand slam tournament in singles simultaneously. Following this event, Li became the first Chinese player in history (male or female) to achieve a top ten ranking in singles as she attained a then career high singles ranking of World No. 10.
In January 2011, Li defeated Kim Clijsters in the final of the Medibank International, rallying from 5–0 down in the first set to win the fourth and biggest WTA Tour singles title of her career.
Two weeks later at the 2011 Australian Open, Li defeated World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, in the semifinals, saving a match point in the second set to reach her first grand slam singles final, and thus becoming the first Chinese player in history (male or female) to reach a grand slam final in singles. However, she lost to Clijsters in the final.
On March 21, 2011, Li achieved a new career high singles ranking of World No. 6.
At the 2011 French Open, Li defeated Petra Kvitova in the fourth round to become the first Chinese player in history (male or female) to reach the quarterfinals there. She then went on to advance to the semifinals by defeating Victoria Azarenka. In the semifinals, Li defeated Maria Sharapova for the third straight time to reach her second consecutive grand slam final. Li became the first player from Asia to win a grand slam by defeating Francesca Schiavone in the final. She achieved a new
Obama’s back in the limelight; with the perfect timing. Osama bin Laden's death in a hail of bullets fired by US forces is likely to provide a timely boost to President Obama's flagging popularity ratings.
US President Barack Obama's approval ratings have surged by nine points following the death of Osama Bin Laden, according to The Washington Post/Pew Research Center and USA Today/Gallup Poll. The Gallup Poll included about 1,500 adults around the nation. 57 percent of Americans now approved of the President's jobs performance, up from 46 percent last month. Presidential scholar Rene Van Vechten at the University of Redlands said the perceptions of Obama are changing. "These events will do wonders for his popularity. They won't fade from memory quickly. It's huge. This is exactly the kind of victory he needed."
Barack Obama’s approval ratings are around the 60% mark in the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden. Those are pretty decent ratings for a president deep into his first term, although obviously the memory of bin Laden will fade and Obama’s ratings will drop again. Still, it’s clear that he has gained significantly from not only the fact of bin Laden’s death, but the manner in which it happened.
Despite the clamour for the death photo to be released, and lingering concerns over whether or not bin Laden should have been buried at sea, Obama seems to have bounced out of the whole thing fairly well. His low-key visit to Ground Zero last week was well-received, despite poorly-researched attempts by conservatives to rustle up a fuss about a flag. So Obama has probably made the best of the situation.
But as the 2012 presidential elections draw near, Republican guns will be more in synch and Obama will once again be facing a cavalcade of conservative ire. Given their demonstrable willingness to lie, many conservatives can be expected to come up with some pretty underhand tactics once again. And no amount of bin Laden killing is going to stop the mud flying.
Death of Osama Bin Laden
Starting with information received in July 2010, intelligence developed by the CIA over the next several months determined what they believed to be the location of Osama bin Laden in a large compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, a suburban area 35 miles from Islamabad. CIA head Leon Panetta reported this intelligence to President Obama in March 2011. Meeting with his national security advisers over the course of the next six weeks, Obama rejected a plan to bomb the compound, and authorized a "surgical raid" to be conducted by United States Navy SEALs. The operation took place on May 1, 2011, resulting in the death of bin Laden and the seizure of papers and computer drives and disks from the compound. Bin Laden's body was identified through DNA testing, and buried at sea several hours later. Within minutes of the President's announcement from Washington, DC, late in the evening on May 1, there were spontaneous celebrations around the country as crowds gathered outside the White House, and at New York City's Ground Zero and Times Square. Reaction to the announcement was positive across party lines, including from predecessors George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and from many countries around the world.
Barack Obama as US President
Barack Hussein Obama II (born August 4, 1961) is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.
His presidential campaign began in February 2007, and after a close campaign in the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primaries against Hillary Rodham Clinton, he won his party's nomination. In the 2008 presidential election, he defeated Republican nominee John McCain, and was inaugurated as president on January 20, 2009. In October 2009, Obama was named the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
As president, Obama signed economic stimulus legislation in the form of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in February 2009 and the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 in December 2010.
In foreign policy, Obama gradually withdrew combat troops from Iraq, increased troop levels in Afghanistan, signed the New START arms control treaty with Russia, and ordered enforcement of the United Nations-sanctioned no-fly zone over Libya in early 2011.
On April 4, 2011, Obama announced his re-election campaign for 2012 in a video titled "It Begins with Us", posted on his website. He filed election papers with the Federal Election Commission on the same day.