Talking to Gegam Kazarian, you would almost think cocktails are living creatures — full of life and feelings. For the mixologist, who has been declared ‘the world’s best bartender’, cocktails are more than a concoction of spirits. ‘They are like my children. I love all cocktails. It is difficult to choose,’ he says. Kazarian was visiting the Capital to attend a mixology workshop organised by Aspri Spirits and Molinari. While he whipped some delicious cocktails, bartenders and mixologists from the city listened in rapt attention and took notes. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’What is the secret behind a good cocktail? Kazarian believes that like in life, balance is very important for a cocktail. ‘There should be balance between sweet and sour,’ he points out. Also, natural ingredients are very important for him. But then again, ‘if you do something with love, it will be your best, proclaims the mixologist who also dons the hat of a biochemist. Kazarian’s signature cocktail varies from brand to brand and he ensures he uses local ingredients wherever he goes. ‘Most important, the cocktails should be natural, clean and ecological,’ says Kazarian. And he is constantly evolving his style, putting his travels around the world to good use and the experience he gathers about various cultures, music, history, into his cocktails. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThis is his first visit to India and he says India is ‘growing up’ and he has been happily surprised by the hospitality. ‘For me that’s more important than the cocktails,’ he says. And to mark his visit, the Armenian — who now lives in Spain — has mixed Indian ingredients like basil and ginger to create the Molinari Basilicum.Kazarian’s first brush with fame happened when he won the G’Vine Gin Connoisseur 2011 World Finals held in Cognac, France, last June. The contest was organised by Philip Duff, one of the biggest cocktail gurus in the world. But Kazarian doesn’t believe in resting on his laurels. ‘I am not the best. There are amazing bartenders in the world. We are learning everyday,’ says the handsome man humbly. He is also involved with the Kazaris Project as part of which he does consultations, teaches and trains even at Michelin-starred restaurants.What sort of cocktails would he make for himself? ‘My taste is more feminine. Nice, balanced ones…some floral as well.I like cocktails which are easy to prepare. Sometimes mixologists complicate things a lot. Even though I use molecular and other technologies, I prefer easy ones,’ says Kazarian. What is he taking back from India? ‘I tried something with the Indian masala. That’s what I will try when I go back,’ he says. A musician, the mixologist likes to play the classical guitar and plans to travel to the villages of south India to take sitar lessons. Also on his travel plans are Goa, Kerala and Bengaluru. Bon voyage then!
But what is considered a departure from the practices of his predecessors, he took sides in the political comparison between the erstwhile UPA II government and incumbent NDA II administration. When asked whether he considered the Modi government being faster in decision-making and implementation than Manmohan Singh, he said: ‘This government means business. We (the chiefs) meet the defence minister every month. There is a greater degree of accountability of the bureaucracy. Every measure is being taken to increase the pace of action.’ Also Read – Need to understand why law graduate’s natural choice is not legal profession: CJIHe acknowledged that the IAF had a large number of ‘legacy aircrafts,’ which lead to problems in procurement and availability of spares, and thus lead to ‘cannibalisation’ some of the mothballed aircrafts. ‘We would like to have more spares in our possession at the maintenance divisions, because it takes a long time to get the components.’ACM Raha called the IAF’s relationship with the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) as being of ‘conjoined twins’. ‘We are working together with the view that operational requirements of IAF is met in quickest time,’ he said. Also Read – Health remains key challenge in India’s development: KovindHe supported the recent decision of the defence ministry to acquire helicopters – both attack and light utility – from indigenous sources. Raha said: ‘I do not think that the indigenously built helicopters will take very long (to be built).’The CAS also revealed that with the controversial Agusta Westland AW101 VVIP transport helicopters are not flying anymore. And he indicated that the Mi-17V5s will fly as VVIP transport.Talking about having a permanent chairman of the chiefs of staff committee as recommended by the Naresh Chandra committee, Raha, who is the current rotating chairman, stated: ‘This government is working faster on the recommendations. All the three services have agreed to having a permanent chairman or chief of defence services (CDS). Let us hope that the recommendation is implemented soon.’He also indicated that some of the recently opened advanced landing grounds like Nyoma in the north-east of the country on the Sino-Indian boundary, will take longer in becoming fully fledged airfield.Raha, in his capacity as the chairman COAS, stated that certain ‘compulsions’ drive the Chinese forces to transgress the Line of Actual Control (LAC). ‘These kind of incidents will continue,’ he said.
With the aim to further consolidate the ties between India and Sri Lanka, Empowerment (NGO) in association with Little Fingers Children’s Art Studio , supported by Indo-Sri Lanka Foundation, has organised an Indo-Sri Lanka Art and Culture Exchange program for youths Colours of Harmony from December 16 – 23 in Delhi. The event brings together 16 young students, 8 from both the nations, in a week long art and cultural camp.To better understand the Indian culture, the students will be taken on a heritage trail including monuments like Qutab Minar, Humayun Tomb, India Gate, Hauz Khas, Lotus temple and Akshardham. It also includes a visit to National Gallery of Modern Art and Crafts Museum, to learn about handlooms and handicrafts, folk and contemporary art of India. A workshop on abstraction will be conducted to broaden their horizons and creative vistas. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The students will participate in sketching workshop of monuments, markets, dilli haat and other places to gain a deeper perspective on their cultural significance. During their stay each student will paint a canvas. On the final day an exhibition showcasing the paintings done by the students will be held and the participants will be awarded certificates for their contribution.Sonika Agarwal and Kumar Vikas Saxena of Empowerment elaborate, “Youth is perhaps the best ambassador of art. Fresh talent, novel thinking, uncluttered feelings and zeal to innovate – all these qualities go on to make them best students of art and true ambassadors of culture. They are open to new experiences, eager to learn and happy to interact with youth from different countries. Last year we had taken Indian students to Sri Lanka and that became a hugely successful effort, so this year we are hosting them in India.”
Public Sector units have stepped up efforts to make upcoming energy conclave ‘Urja Sangam’ a big success here, as the historic March 27 meet braces to celebrate golden jubilee milestones of ONGC Videsh, Engineers India Limited and IndianOil’s Barauni Refinery among others.“The meet envisages bringing together all the state-owned companies in the energy sector for better synergy and a unified energy vision,” an official associated with the event set. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the event and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will address the valedictory session. “The event will also celebrate golden jubilee milestones of ONGC Videsh, Engineers India Limited and IndianOil’s Barauni Refinery,” an official said.
Kolkata: Rajesh Mondal, another contractual labourer from Domkal in Murshidabad, who went to Kerala for work a few days ago, was admitted to Beliaghata ID Hospital with fever on Tuesday.He has been kept in the isolation ward of the hospital with flu like symptoms. Mondal is the third patient to get admitted to Beliaghata ID Hospital with similar symptoms, when affected by Nipah Virus. Asif Mondal, another resident from Murshidabad was admitted to the hospital on Monday. Asif had been suffering from fever for the past 20 days. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsThe repeated incidents of patients getting admitted to Beliaghata ID Hospital with flu like symptoms had spread the Nipah virus scare as all the three victims had visited Kerala at some point of time.The state Health department has, however, confirmed that first victim, Safiqul Haq was not suffering from Nipah. In case of the other two, the hospital authorities and health department are yet to confirm the cause of their fever. A senior official at the Health department has urged people not to spread panic as it could complicate the situation. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedHe said there is nothing to worry about because no such cases have been traced in the state yet. The health department has already issued alert to all the hospitals across the state asking them to report if any suspected case is found.The city doctors have, however, said that fruit bats are among the carriers of the virus that is named after Kampung Sungai Nipah, a Malaysian village that first witnessed an outbreak in 1998. In case of a Nipah virus attack, the mortality is rate is much higher than other diseases. The tests are done only at National Institute of Virology. The city doctors have advised against consuming half-eaten fruits.According to doctors, the infected humans can develop encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain. The symptoms, typically starts about 5 to 14 days after the infection, including high fever, headache, drowsiness and disorientation that can advance to coma and death. Some patients also have respiratory distress.The doctors advised people to avoid fruits that are pricked birds or animals, wash hands if anybody comes in contact with animals. People are also advised to wear masks and gloves and take adequate care to stop coming in contact with body fluids if one is caring for patients. Using N95 mask is also advisable if someone is travelling or working in infected public places.
Kolkata: Several South Bengal districts will witness moderate to heavy rainfall accompanied with strong wind in the next 24 hours, predicted the Regional Meteorological Centre at Alipore.An alert has been issued to the fishermen in the coastal districts, warning them not to voyage into the sea as it may remain turbulent in next two days. According to the weather office prediction, the districts like North and South 24-Parganas, East and West Midnapore, Bankura, Purulia and Jhargram may receive heavy rainfall in the next 24 hours, while other South Bengal districts including Kolkata may receive moderate rainfall accompanied by wind measuring around 40-45 km per hour. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThe coastal districts may witness a stronger wind of around 65 km per hour, a weather official said.According to the weather office a low pressure area was created over North Odisha and adjoining Bengal, which has brought rainfall in various parts of Bengal since Saturday morning. The situation is expected to improve from Tuesday. The prediction also says that there may be isolated rainfall in the states like Odisha, parts of Chhattisgarh and North Telangana. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThe city, however, received light to moderate rainfall in various parts of the city and adjoining districts on Sunday. Rain lashed several parts of the city and the districts on Sunday evening, disrupting regular life.The states like Jharkhand, some parts of Bihar and Sikkim may also see light to moderate rains, weather experts said. The low pressure area hovering over Bay of Bengal has gained some strength, resulting in rain in the South Bengal districts.It may also be mentioned that some of the districts in South Bengal have received scattered rainfall on Sunday.The intensity of the rainfall may be reduced from Tuesday as the low pressure area over Bay of Bengal will start moving towards West and North-West Bengal, the weather office said.
Siliguri: The crucial tripartite meeting on minimum wages for tea garden workers has been postponed to August 6. Labour Minister Moloy Ghatak is expected to announce the minimum wage amount calculated by the state government from Uttarkanya on that day.Earlier, the meeting had been slated for July 31. “Due to the ongoing Assembly session, the meeting had been deferred to August 6,” stated Zai Ur Alam, Convenor of the Joint Forum of Tea Unions (a conglomeration of 26 operating tea unions). Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThe Joint Forum, demanding the implementation of minimum wages in the tea gardens, had called for a closure of all of them in North Bengal on July 23, 24 and 25 along with a general strike in the tea belt on July 24. Though the unions operational in the Hills had decided not to enforce the bandh, they had called for stopping tea dispatch from the Hill’s gardens. However, following the tripartite talks in Uttarkanya, the Mini Secretariat in Jalpaiguri district on July 17, the Forum had decided to keep the agitation on hold with assurances that the state Law minister would announce the minimum wage amount calculated by the state government in the next round of talks on July 31. The minimum wage is being calculated taking into consideration the various components including the cost of food, clothing, housing and the 1:3 composition (three dependents per worker). At present, the daily wage cash component is Rs 159.
Kolkata: State Finance and Industry minister Amit Mitra on Friday expressed his deep concern over the steady rise in the Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) in banks since 2014 after the BJP government came to power. The minister warned of more financial scams in the country and maintained that this trend was bound to affect fresh lending particularly in MSME, agriculture and real estate sectors.Presenting data from the recent Financial Stability Report of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Mitra said: “In March 2014, the NPA was Rs 2.04 lakh crore and in the end of March 2018 it has risen to Rs 10.25 lakh crore. The figures show that scams are very much in the offing. The climbing NPAs show surfacing of crony capitalism in the system.” Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThe minister, while addressing the 10th Banking Summit organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC), said the NPA ratio was 4.4 percent of the total advances in banks in March 2014, 5.3 percent in March 2015, 7.69 percent in 2016, 9.06 percent in 2017 and 11.6 percent in 2018. Describing this as a dangerous signal, he maintained: “RBI has brought 11 PSU banks under prompt corrective measures in which the present NPA is as high as 22 percent. It is projected to be higher by the end of 2019 and people should not be kept in the dark about this macro-economic crisis in the country.” Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedIn the current scenario, banks have been told by RBI to put a check on aggressive lending and as MSMEs are very dependent on bank loans, there are chances of these enterprises getting squeezed.”The MSME sector provides more than 90 percent jobs in the country, large industries provide only 8 percent of the jobs. So there is urgent need to keep people’s confidence going amidst this rising NPAs,” he added. Mitra also highlighted the financial inclusion in the state that has been rolled reasonably well with the government working in close coordination with the banks. “MSME lending by banks that was Rs 8,387 crore when we assumed office in 2011, has gone up to Rs 44,059 crore in 2017-18 financial. Lending in agriculture has mounted to Rs 42,232 crore up from Rs 14,387 crore in 2011-12 fiscal. Lending to Self Help Groups (SHGs) has also gone up to Rs 8,155 crore from Rs 553 crore,” Mitra said.It may be mentioned that the Bengal government holds State Level Banker’s Meeting (SLBC) meeting once in every 45 days to ensure that loan by the banks in the MSME and allied sectors goes on smoothly.
The Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) in association with Tamana, a non-profit organisation which works with the multiple challenged and autistic children, will host a Khadi fashion show titled- ‘Inclusion Beyond Boundaries’ in the Capital.The fashion extravaganza attempts to include the differently-abled into the world of fashion. The exhibition will be held on Saturday at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, read a statement. The show will bring forward creations of 10 FDCI designers including Abraham & Thakore, Anju Modi, Gaurav Jai Gupta, JJ Valaya, Payal Jain, Rahul Mishra, Rajesh Pratap Singh, Rina Dhaka, Rohit Bal and Samant Chauhan. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The style gurus will create ensembles in Khadi and present them in pure, simple and versatile forms for the differently abled and fulfil their dreams of walking the ramp with professional models. For the last 10 years, Tamana has been organising the show with the support of the fashion fraternity. This year, the event is being executed under the umbrella of the FDCI. Tamana founder and president Shyama Chona said: “Tamana’s annual fashion show has over the years depicted that fashion is inclusive; it does not discriminate, even the disadvantaged can imbibe the latest fashion and fulfil their desires and aspirations of looking good and fashionable.” FDCI president Sunil Sethi shared: “We respect diversity and inclusion and it is an honour to partner with Tamana for a landmark event like this.” Australian High Commissioner to India Harinder Sindhu will be the guest of honour at the event.