Pushed by pandemic, Germany seeks to boost technology use

first_imgBERLIN (AP) — The German government has agreed on a strategy to boost the use of data for commercial purposes and signed a deal with state education authorities to fund laptops for teachers. The measures are part of a drive to boost digitalization in a country that has fallen behind many of its peers due in part to concerns about data protection. Officials often refuse to communicate with citizens by email, but Germans were nevertheless surprised to learn last year that many labs were still transmitting coronavirus test results by fax. Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Germany “didn’t look good” when it came to linking up over 400 regional health agencies, or in the use of IT for distance learning.last_img

SMC-TV goes on the air, revamps office

first_imgWith the new school year, Saint Mary’s students will see new content on channel two of their campus televisions, care of SMC-TV. “We are a station that welcomes the creativity of all of Saint Mary’s students and faculty,” said Christina Midgley general manager of SMC-TV. This fall SMC-TV was officially recognized as a club at Saint Mary’s for the first time. The club has weekly meetings to plan shows, news and events that they will cover. There are many opportunities for Saint Mary’s students to get involved with SMC-TV, Midgley said. The official unveiling of the newly re-vamped station and its new content will be October 4. “You can be a reporter, writer, graphic design artist, producer, director, technician, make-up artist, fashion coordinator, event coordinator, photographer — the list goes on and on and on,” Midgley said. “If there is a job you want, we will make a place for you at SMC-TV.” SMC-TV is a student run television station on Saint Mary’s campus. According to its website, The station was re-established in 2009. It previously broadcast content from classes on campus. This year the station has added content and commercials, as well as lengthening their shows. This also means new programs, including weekly newscasts, interviews and coverage of both athletic and academic events. Lizzie Laughman was also named the station’s production manager. “She was the star of our show, ‘That’s Hot,’ last year. The show dove into celebrity gossip and news,” Midgley said. “Lizzie was great on it and we are excited for more.” SMC-TV has also updated its equipment and how it is used. The station, located in the basement of the library, has even been working with green screen technology. “The green screen will allow us to put our hosts on a different set for their shows and make them look like they are somewhere other than our normal studio,” said Katelyn Grabarek, technical manager of SMC-TV. Grabarek is also a sports writer for The Observer.center_img Midgley said she is hoping the station can reach out to more clubs and organizations on campus to help them get their message out. “There is a way for everyone on campus to be involved in this,” Midgley said. “I want SMC-TV to be everywhere and cover everything that the students and faculty want to see.”last_img read more

How did Frank Howard earn the green light to shoot from Jim Boeheim?

first_imgOne week after last season ended Frank Howard realized he needed a change. Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim had essentially banned him from shooting jumpers.Howard made just 18-of-63 field goals and averaged 1.6 points per game. He finished the year on a 5-for-14 stretch in the final nine games.“He’s a different player,” Boeheim said. “He put on a lot of weight … He’s just a stronger player and he’s shooting it better.”Two-hundred and twenty-four days since SU’s Final Four loss, Howard’s improved jump shot was on display. He helped lead No. 19 Syracuse (1-0) to an 83-55 victory in its season opener on Friday night in the Carrier Dome. He shot 4-for-4 from the field, including three 3s. He also dished out nine assists in 22 minutes to round out his game.“He’s going to really surprise people this year I think,” fellow point guard John Gillon said.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textHoward worked with trainers and went back to the film in the offseason. He was shooting the ball from his palm when it should have come from his fingertips. He was pushing it through the air. He had to keep his shoulders square.The summer workouts were simple. Step in front of the basket and take 20 shots with one hand. Twenty shots with two hands. Over and over. He’d record himself shooting around in the gym, watch it back and try to fix his mistakes.“I just had to shoot like I was a little kid,” Howard said. “Just trying to break it down and just go back to shooting how I was in high school.”In Syracuse’s season opener, the adjustment paid off. He made two 3-pointers all of last season. Within the first 23 minutes of SU’s 2016-17 campaign, Howard made three.The first came off a Tyler Lydon assist and after sinking the 3 from the right wing, Howard jammed three fingers into the side of his head to celebrate. The play pushed Syracuse’s early lead to five and capped off a 7-0 run that put the Orange ahead for good.The second also came from the right wing on an assist from Gillon amid a 17-point SU run to put Syracuse up, 40-25. Once again, Howard jammed three fingers into the side of his head.A season ago, Boeheim said that if Howard continued to take 10-foot floaters, he’d come out of the game. On Friday night, the 41-year head coach said Howard now has the green light.“I’m glad I could shoot the ball again,” Howard said.Howard’s improved scoring ability helps his passing, Boeheim said. Howard racked up six assists in just over the first eight minutes of the game.On Syracuse’s first possession of the season, Howard drew in the defense with the dribble and slipped a pass to Tyler Roberson down low for a dunk.Howard’s nine assists went to four different players.“My job is to get everybody involved and put points on the board,” Howard said.A year ago, Howard averaged 10.5 minutes per game. But as one of just four returners and now a starter for the Orange, Howard has taken on a bigger role.Friday night could be just a taste of what’s to come.“I want to make this like a normal thing,” Howard said. “I don’t want to get too high on it.” Comments Published on November 11, 2016 at 11:27 pm Contact Paul: [email protected] | @pschweds Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Dodgers blanked by Giants, won’t clinch on this homestand

first_imgPreviousSan Francisco Giants’ Buster Posey, right, celebrates after a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles, Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Will Smith is on the left. The Giants won 5-4. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)San Francisco Giants’ Evan Longoria, right, scores after Kevin Pillar grounded out as Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Will Smith stands at the plate during the first inning of a baseball game Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)San Francisco Giants’ Evan Longoria, left, almost hits Los Angeles Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger as he attempts to throw out Will Smith at first during the second inning of a baseball game Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Los Angeles. Smith was safe at first on the play. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsSan Francisco Giants’ Mauricio Dubon, left, breaks his bat as he grounds out while Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Will Smith watches during the sixth inning of a baseball game Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)San Francisco Giants’ Evan Longoria dives for a ground ball hit by Los Angeles Dodgers’ Will Smith during the second inning of a baseball game Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Los Angeles. Smith was safe at first on the play. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, left, jokes around with Clayton Kershaw prior to a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Joc Pederson swings a bat that was given to him by former Dodger Andre Ethier as he bats during the third inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin throws to the plate during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Will Smith pitches during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles, Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. The Giants won 5-4. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Tyler Beede throws to the plate during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Joc Pederson holds a bat that was given to him by former Dodger Andre Ethier as he bats during the third inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Dodgers’ A.J. Pollock, right, rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run off San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Will Smith during the ninth inning of a baseball game in Los Angeles, Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. The Giants won 5-4. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)San Francisco Giants’ Evan Longoria, left, scores after Kevin Pillar grounded out as Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Will Smith stands at the plate during the first inning of a baseball game Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin walks off the field after the first inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)San Francisco Giants’ Buster Posey, right, celebrates after a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles, Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Will Smith is on the left. The Giants won 5-4. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)San Francisco Giants’ Evan Longoria, right, scores after Kevin Pillar grounded out as Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Will Smith stands at the plate during the first inning of a baseball game Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)NextShow Caption1 of 14San Francisco Giants’ Evan Longoria, right, scores after Kevin Pillar grounded out as Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Will Smith stands at the plate during the first inning of a baseball game Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)ExpandLOS ANGELES — October will get here eventually. The calendar is undefeated that way.In the meantime, the waiting has become the hardest part for the Dodgers. They were shut out by the combined efforts of seven pitchers as the San Francisco Giants beat them 1-0 Saturday night.Back-to-back one-run losses to the Giants means the Dodgers have lost four of their past seven series and have a losing record (7-8) over their past 15 games. Their magic number to clinch the NL West remains stalled at four with the Arizona Diamondbacks having won 11 of their past 12 games. There will be no clinching party before Tuesday in Baltimore.The Houston Astros, New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves all won Saturday as well, meaning the Dodgers’ lead over the Braves for the best record in the National League has been trimmed to 2 1/2 games and the Dodgers now trail the Astros and Yankees by 1 1/2 games for the best record overall. Dodgers starter Tony Gonsolin loaded the bases with a walk and another single, and the only run of the game scored when Kevin Pillar dribbled a groundout to third baseman Justin Turner.Gonsolin walked four in four innings, driving his pitch count up to 88 and making him the 10th consecutive Dodgers starter to see the sixth inning from the dugout. But he didn’t give up another run and neither did a parade of six Dodgers relievers over the final five innings.But the Dodgers’ offense couldn’t match even that meager output.The Dodgers did load the bases twice in the first five innings. But there were two outs both times and they came away empty when Gonsolin struck out (in the second) and Cody Bellinger flew out (in the fifth).With retiring Giants manager Bruce Bochy pulling the matchup levers, the Dodgers didn’t have a hit or get a runner past first base after that wasted opportunity in the fifth inning. The Dodgers have been held to seven hits or fewer in each of their past four games, batting .197 as a team since a Labor Day blowout of the Colorado Rockies.But Roberts tried to put a bright face on it, pointing out the positives of five scoreless innings from the bullpen, a stop by Giants third baseman Evan Longoria that robbed Will Smith of a potential two-run double in the second inning and a 103-mph line drive by Lux in the ninth.“I thought there were some good at-bats,” Roberts said. “(Giants starter Tyler) Beede made some pitches. We had that big shot with the bases loaded and he got Cody to fly out. Even that last at-bat, Luxie hits a ball hard, could be in the gap. Pillar runs it down. It could have been a different situation in the ninth inning.“There were some things that didn’t go well but I thought we squared some balls up. For us, obviously, we lose a game but … I still think there’s some good things to take away.”All of those home-field perks that Roberts is “cognizant” of weren’t enough to prevent the Dodgers from losing 16 out of 17 late in the 2017 season — a late-season lull much worse than the current one — and one that melted away when they went 7-1 in the first two rounds of the postseason and reached the World Series.“I think that’s a little premature,” Roberts said, dismissing any talk of parallels. “I think this pales in comparison to ’17. In ’17, the sky might have been falling. I don’t feel that way right now.” “I’m not (following that). I’m cognizant obviously,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “It’s just that the way the season plays out — the records and everything is going to come out in the wash. I think for us it’s just more collectively, individually, positionally just playing clean, good baseball. Once we kind of get consistent with that, it’ll all take care of itself.”It hasn’t happened against the Giants.Saturday’s loss was decided with a bloop single on the first play of the game. Mike Yastrzemski’s popup found the outfield grass when rookie second baseman Gavin Lux pulled up and let it fall in front of right fielder Joc Pederson.“Just a miscommunication,” Lux said. “Joc called it. I called it kind of at the same time.“That happens. It’s baseball.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

Southampton 0-0 Man United: Romero ensures Red Devils avoid third straight loss

first_img The Argentine goalkeeper was in inspired form 1 Southampton struggled to relieve the pressure building on manager Claude Puel after an under-strength Manchester United held them to a 0-0 home draw.Saints chairman Ralph Krueger has refused to offer assurances surrounding the Frenchman’s future despite him leading them to the brink of an eighth-placed finish and this partly demonstrated why.Puel’s future is to be discussed at the end of the Premier League season but with Jose Mourinho again selecting a weakened XI – without Marcus Rashford, Michael Carrick, Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera and David De Gea – the home team had the chance to impress.United goalkeeper Sergio Romero, making only his second league start of the season, instead frustrated them, aiding the Red Devils’ preparations for next weekend’s Europa League final and demonstrating his ability to perhaps replace De Gea permanently.The hosts were gifted a chance to take the lead in only the fifth minute, when Eric Bailly produced the clumsiest of handballs – albeit outside of the area – to prompt referee Mike Dean to award them a penalty.Manolo Gabbiadini, who posed such a threat to United in the EFL Cup final, took responsibility but was far from convincing as he shot towards the bottom left corner but within Romero’s reach, and the goalkeeper tipped wide.Bailly almost instantly responded with a goal of his own, when just three minutes later after beating Nathan Redmond to a loose ball he produced an uncharacteristic run into Southampton’s area before forcing a reaction save from Fraser Forster.Wayne Rooney had been selected to start his fifth consecutive league game, this time doing so up front, and despite his decreasing importance to United continues to show hints of the fine player he once was. In the 15th minute he masterfully controlled a high ball before sending Anthony Martial one-on-one with Forster, from where the young forward’s shot could do no more than prompt a routine save.Henrikh Mkhitaryan also tested Forster with a low drive from midfield, but thereafter Southampton improved – similarly to at Wembley in February, and perhaps relevantly amid Jose Mourinho’s complaints that his United team are tired.It was on the stroke of half-time when, after a poor clearance from Romero, Redmond played a one-two with Steven Davis before shooting low at the goalkeeper.Shortly after the break James Ward-Prowse laid off a free-kick on the edge of the area to Dusan Tadic, from where the midfielder struck well but saw Romero parry clear.They steadily applied more pressure, with Redmond playing in Oriol Romeu whose shot from just inside the area was also saved.Ward-Prowse drew Romero’s finest save with a curling effort towards the top right corner as the diving Argentinian impressed in tipping wide.Mourinho introduced Rashford, Carrick and Herrera, pursuing a first league win in five, but the closest they came was in the 71st minute when Martial curled against the right post.Either way they would have remained sixth; perhaps more significant was that sections of Southampton’s supporters booed their team off.last_img read more

A’s takeaways: Anderson’s fluke injury can’t prevent ‘W’ thanks to long ball

first_imgCLEVELAND — Baseball people often try to explain the game by simply saying, “That’s baseball.”It was a typical “That’s baseball,” fluky moment that resulted in starting pitcher Brett Anderson’s cervical strain and subsequent removal from the A’s 6-4 win over the Indians on Monday.Anderson said he instinctively jerked his neck away from the broken part of Roberto Perez’s bat after it shattered and flew to Anderson’s left on Perez’s groundout to shortstop Marcus Semien in the bottom of the …last_img

Oil refinery ‘will save SA billions’

first_img Source: BuaNews 18 October 2010 The proposed Mthombo crude oil refinery will help South Africa escape from the “dependency trap” of having to import refined automotive products, ultimately saving the country billions of rands, says President Jacob Zuma. At the same time, the refinery, to be built at the Coega Industrial Development Zone near Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, would showcase South Africa’s competitive ability to its counterparts globally. Construction on the refinery, which will be the biggest in Africa, is expected to start in 2012, which would bring the refinery on stream by 2015. The US$11-billion refinery, which would have a 400 000 barrel a day capacity, is meant to ensure security of fuel supply in South Africa. The country is currently dependent on international oil companies to provide for its liquid fuel energy needs. “With Project Mthombo, this country stands to save an estimated R12.6-billion a year in energy costs once the refinery is running, and could export oil across Africa,” Zuma said last week. Zuma was speaking during a visit to PetroSA’s gas-to-liquid refinery in Mossel Bay in the Western Cape. The visit by Zuma and Energy Minister Dipuo Peters was to obtain a first-hand account of PetroSA’s operations, his office said. “We welcome the fact that PetroSA is making its impact, not only in job creation but in empowering the people as well. It employs close to 2 000 people, while 27 500 more will be absorbed within the crude oil refinery that is planned,” Zuma said. Zuma welcomed the impressive growth of PetroSA following its successful merger of Mossgas, Soekor and parts of the Strategic Fuel Fund in 2002. PetroSA is reaching markets in Europe, the United States, Caribbean, Middle East and Far East, which Zuma said was an important achievement. He also commended the National Oil Company for the role it was playing in reducing the country’s dependence on imported refined fuel. last_img read more

Communities to score from Amplats deal

first_img9 November 2011Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) has announced a R3.5-billion empowerment deal that will see Lefa La Rona – a development trust for both mine host and labour-sending communities – acquiring a 2.33% stake in the company.The transaction is designed to provide cash-flow benefits to the beneficiaries from the outset and potential equity ownership in Amplats at the end of the 10-year notional vendor finance period.“The need for ongoing community development and sustainable economic transformation is recognised as a commercial and social imperative,” the company said in a statement this week.“Amplats has been exploring innovative ways of enhancing and optimising the benefits that accrue to Mine host communities at the Mogalakwena Mine, Dishaba/Tumela Mine, Twickenham Mine and the Rustenburg Mines and extending such benefits to include key labour sending areas to the mines.”As such, it had identified the need to consider broader community benefit schemes for affected communities surrounding the mines that had not previously participated in Amplats’ empowerment ownership transactions.Amplats believes the deal will improve and entrench its relationship with mine host communities, while also developing self-sustaining mine host communities that are not solely dependent on the mines.Broad-based, sustainable empowermentDuring the 10-year period, 40% of the dividend declared by Amplats will be paid out to Lefa La Rona Trust, while the remaining 60% will be used to settle the notional vendor finance.In addition, the transaction provides a guaranteed R20-million to the trust to finance development projects, should the aggregate dividend payable be less than R20-million per year.In addition, the trust will receive other cash-flow benefits in the form of annual social investment incentives of up to R30-million per annum, over and above the guaranteed amount, for social development projects put forward by the trust and approved by Amplats, for the duration of the notional vendor finance period.“The transaction underscores Amplats’ commitment to empowerment and community development,” the company said. “Amplats believes that the transaction and the related development dialogue with the mine host communities will mark a significant step towards true broad-based and sustainable empowerment and the ongoing development of the beneficiaries.”SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

“BongEun-Sa Revivial” GCXNRW GEOCACHE OF THE WEEK – January 24, 2011

first_imgView from near ground zero of GCXNRW“My first cache in Korea. Nice place, nice hide. A beautiful place to calm down and enjoy silence.” Geocachers have been writing logs just like that for “BongEun-Sa Revivial” (GCXNRW) since Healthpia hid this cache in 2006.The difficulty 1.5, terrain 1.5 traditional geocache rests near the heart of Seoul, South Korea.Its proximity to major hotels draws travelers out of their rooms to begin an urban treasure hunt.  More than 120 geocachers have discovered the unexpectedly quiet and serene grounds of Bongeunsa Temple in the middle of this major city.The Bongeunsa Temple was founded in 794. It’s a popular tourist destination where visitors can experience the life of a monk for two hours. The cache owner reminds people to be respectful and also to use stealth when hunting for the cache.View of Buddha statue from near geocache site GCXNRWThis traditional cache is tied for the most Favorite Points received out of more than 4000 geocaches in South Korea. Geocaching Favorites is a new feature on Geocaching.com.Continue your exploration with some of the most engaging geocaches from around the world. Explore all the Geocaches of the Week on our blog or view the Bookmark List on Geocaching.com.Share with your Friends:More SharePrint RelatedHigh energy! — Fission around the bend (GC1NGRD) — Geocache of the WeekMay 28, 2015In “Geocache of the Week”Line of Sight — In the Distance (GC4JZTK) — Geocache of the WeekMarch 19, 2015In “Geocache of the Week”Do you think this is a game? — Flappy Cache (GC507NW) — Geocache of the WeekMarch 24, 2014In “Community”last_img read more

Bonded for life

first_imgMy Brother & IYou don’t need to be a twin to feel especially close to a sibling. There have been times when my brother, Anil, (43,and a doctor settled in Hyderabad) and I have had no contact with each other for months – but have somehow known just when to call each other. ‘I had a feeling – at the back of my mind – that I needed to speak with you,’ he’s said to me innumerable times always to have me promptly break into tears because something had been bothering me. It has happened again and again, even in the time that he was studying in the US and I was living away from home in Kodaikanal. (Tamil Nadu) We are only three years apart and have shared a troubled childhood through which he’s done his best to protect me and vice-versa. But we weren’t especially close to begin with; we didn’t have a “real” conversation till quite late. The turning point in our relationship came the night our mother died. He was 22 and I, 19. We were shattered – we had no language, no words to articulate that feeling of unreality that had set in; that utter and somewhat unmitigated feeling of being abandoned. We kept looking at our father who was surrounded by his siblings and was talking his way through his own grief. And we turned to each other in the only way that siblings do – irrevocably.Anil rented a whole lot of brainless, Hollywood action films, came home and took me by my arm to the TV room, and we watched movies all night. We couldn’t sleep – not for any extended periods of time, we didn’t know what to say to each other but just being in the same physical space was somehow reassuring. We would fall into bouts of fitful slumber and wake up to the other talking about what had happened in the interim – as if it was important. It just helped to be able to hear each others’ voices. And so the most difficult night of our lives passed…A Bond, Quite ApartShared happiness is fleeting while shared traumas forge a bond that’s immutable – the loss of a parent is an equal loss in a sibling relationship.There is no other person who felt thee devastation quite like the two of us did when we lost our mother. Yet we were, and are, so different. Most sibling relationships are a bit like a lava lamp- two disparate elements in one container that are connected by the electricity of shared memories and traumas. The magic bubbles up in common history, a jigsaw puzzle of memories . The missing pieces of which are in the others mind.My Sister, My FriendPreeti Ray, a yoga enthusiast and middle sibling of three sisters from Bangalore says,”As we were growing up, there was never any need to go out and seek other friends . My best friend was my sister,” Neeti who now lives in Bhubaneswar. This when they are very different as people, Neeti, was the good girl, while I was completely bindaas. They filled each others lives in ways that other friends could never do. Their younger sister Keerti, who lives in Hyderabad, is nine years younger than me, so both of us tended to mother her a little but as we grew older and she hit her 30s, we forged a more equal relationship. Keerti is the official keeper of the family memories and dotes on her nieces and nephew. My son Rijul relates to her more as an equal than an aunt,laughs Preeti. Despite the age difference, Keerti helps keep them together, through times serious and light. She’s so good with imitating people and mimicry . All our family gatherings have to have her doing some impression or the other. We’re all just rolling on the floor with laughter. Eccentric aunts, redoubtable relatives, you name it, she can do it!My Brother’s Best!Sometimes the relationship is so special that there aren’t any words to describe it. Swati Thakur, 40, gets a glow on her face when she talks about her brother Umesh Desai who is two years older. She says, “We’re very close and we are there for each other?c Thinking back, I am mortified that I hung on his coat tails for so long!”. She says that everything Umesh decreed was good for her and if he turned his back on something so did she. In solidarity with utter and absolute faith that he knew best! And this when he was just two years older.”I wonder if I bugged him. He was the arbitrator of good taste, music, books, sports and what have you. I watch far more sports channels than any other woman I know and that’s entirely because of my brother,” she says. She talks of a time when she would call him and cry because the team that she had been supporting . in whatever sport . had lost! They were each others’ confidants and friends through crushes and careers. That’s true for me too. My world view has a definite Anil slant to it . He seems to read the same newspapers that I do , but what he gets out of them is so much more than the arid bits of information that I glean. By the time I’ve figured out that there is a particular political movement or trend in society underway, Anil has already figured out the ins and outs of it and knows the trajectory it will follow.When I was doing a stint as an editorial consultant with a local magazine for the first time, I would religiously call up my brother for fodder for my editorial. Every other relationship in the world is different from the one that you share with your sibling; your relationship with your parent comes with the intrinsic authority, the one with your spouse is a social construct that you chose, as are the ones with your friends, peers and co-workers… Each type of relationship comes with its own level of expectations and limitations. Dr Anuradha Reany, a neuropsychiatrist from Hyderabad points out that while every other relationship (except that with your parents) can and sometimes dissolve, there is no such dissolution for siblings. You can fall out but you cannot divorce a sibling. The effects of an emotionally distant sibling relationship is far more devastating because there is absolutely no dissolution of the physical connect. This bonding despite differences is sometimes reflected in the more thinking movies. For example, in the film No One Killed Jessica (based on a true story), the very different older sibling, is devastated by the murder of her younger, ebullient and vivacious sister, and goes all out to bring her killer to justice.While the movie focuses on the pursuit of justice, the side story, and a very strong one, is the one of sibling bonding through differences.Comfort And SafetyThe feeling of the ever present safety net, the one person that you can always count on, is singular to siblings. “When we talk of unconditional love and understanding, I think we get it only from our siblings,” says Preeti. There are very few people in the world that you can call and start a conversation midsentence and they’ll get you. Kamini Mathai, a Chennai-based mother of two and the elder by 111.2 months of two siblings completely agrees. She adds that since she wasn’t so good with people while her brother was socially adept, all his friends became her friends too. In fact her son’s piano teacher is her brother’s friend’s wife. So the circle enclosing her life in its warm approval was created for her by her brother today. Anith Mathai, 32 works on a Virtual Soldier Programme in Iowa. He’s the only guy I know who’s been playing with soldiers from when he was a child and still hasn’t stopped,’ quips his sister. Kamini’s reminiscences of her life – like all of us Preeti, Swati, and me – have this sustaining thread of her sibling(s) through it all. We are but the stories that make up our lives. Anith got his entire class to vote his sister into the school cabinet, ‘I never knew he did that till my mom told me about it much later. My brother and I learnt to love movies together, and nearly all of our childhood truly reminds me of reenactments of film scenes. One memory stands out among all others – we’d both sit in the foot well of the old-fashioned peddle rickshaws with our mom sitting in the middle of the seat and loudly sing the hit Sholay number, “Yeh Dosti? hum nahin choodhenge?.”, much to our mum’s embarrassment.’Beyond DifferencesVera de Jong, a Canadian artist who lives in Kodaikanal, is the sixth of seven siblings. ‘Each of whom has a different world view, and take on things. One brother, Ed, is an ardent Bahai and another brother, Jerry, is a scientist and they clash spectacularly about their differences of opinion – never losing that inherent and very basic bond they share. My other brother Frank is a school teacher and also a Green Party candidate in Ontario. He for his part, brings an entirely different perspective on anything to the table. When we get together we talk up a storm. We have so much to say to each other – so much to discuss and delve into. The de Jong gatherings are never quiet – we don’t know how to do quiet !’ she laughs. The siblings are spread across three continents – the majority in Ontario, while Jerry is in Netherlands and Vera lives in India. But there is no dearth of communication – they’ve jumped on every technological band wagon and Skype and G-chat often. This apart from a flurry of emails and articles that are sent and discussed endlessly on their family website. So this is about sibling love, revelry and sometimes rivalry. But through it this is one relationship for keeps, through good and not so good times.advertisementadvertisementadvertisementBonded for lifeInvolve Them In Your World: Make an effort to stay in touch with your sibling; sometimes your relationship can slip up easily, thanksto the busy pace of life in urban India. Unlike friends, siblings don’t have to be of the same age to click with each other? Also another good part is that they can be siblings when needed and friends otherwise! Unconditional love apart, siblings are the best bet to share secrets with. You always have this one member of the family who knows all about you. And you don’t mind. So make that call, send that sms or email, whenever you can. It’s Worth The Effort: Unlike your relationship with your spouse, your relationship with your sibling is like a reflex action – you are born with it. Childhood pangs of jealousy usually give way to a mature closeness. Emotional investment in your sibling is bound to bring you rich dividends – warmth, care and companionship especially as you grow older.Don’t Let Gender Be An Issue: It doesn’t matter if you have a brother or sister. You can still be best friends with your sibling. Remember protectiveness is different from possessiveness and an elder brother can be as useful as a man friend in guiding you.Revisit “talk-points”: Every set of siblings that I have known, share their own special “talk points”. It could be something that they both enjoyed as a family or childhood stories that no friend will identify with. These talk points also work to cement your bond. Don’t let go off this habit – share your good times and bad. It will bring you closer.Beyond Bullying: Remember it’s fine to be pampered if you are the younger one, but things will even out as you grow up. Your elder sister might still bully you in front of your children, but you should no that deep down she is there for you no matter what and how you goof up.Make Room For Differences: Chances are that you have had your worst fight ever with him/her but it is also true he/she has seen you at your best. Accept the fact that you will have differences always, yet make room for each other whenever possible. It’s worth it.Accept Their Other Ties: If you have a sibling of your own age, chances are that he/she is married too. Make an effort to mingle with his/her spouse ; this won’t come automatically like the bond you share with your sibling. It’s okay to be initially apprehensive of your sibling’s new world, just like they were of yours, but with time, things will settle down. Also, be mature enough to understand that his/her love for you will never diminish, she/ he will still remain your midnightfriend, who is always there.last_img read more