Abandoning sinking ships
There were over 200 Indian crew members on board the luxury cruise liner, Costa Concordia, which ran aground over some rocks and capsized off the coast of Northern Italy on January 13. Nearly 4,000 people were safely evacuated, while 13 died, and one crew member, an Indian, is still missing. The ship's captain is under house arrest for his delayed SOS call, for taking the vessel too close to an island and abandoning it before all the passengers were saved. The emergency protocol followed while abandoning sinking ships:
Alarm: A general alarm is first sounded to initiate emergency procedures. The ship's horn gives out seven short blasts followed by a prolonged blast.
Evacuation: Following the alarm, all passengers and crew members are given life jackets. Crew members move to their assigned emergency stations. The ship's engine is shut off. Lifeboats are brought out and inflated. Crew members must assume responsibility for evacuating all on board.
Distress call: The crew tries to contact any ship in the vicinity by sending out distress calls. An Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) is activated to enable emergency crews or rescue workers to locate the ship and help out.
The word 'yacht' comes from Dutch, which means 'to hunt'. It was a swift-moving vessel originally used to pursue pirates. Luxury private yachts - and yacht racing - began in 17th Century Europe. The biggest luxury yacht today, named Eclipse, owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, is 164 meters (about 550 feet) long, and includes nine decks, two helicopter landings pads, a cinema and a garden.
Pen down, doc
Doctors are notorious for their poor handwriting, as anyone trying to decipher a medical prescription knows. The Delhi High Court has now upheld the order of a trial court judge insisting doctors stop their scribbling. After vainly trying to decipher a medico-legal certificate - a key piece of evidence in crimes like rape, murder, etc - the trial judge had directed doctors to henceforth provide only computer printouts of their findings.
One more reason for Northeast residents to accuse the government of neglect: a centrally-funded hospital, planned in 1998, is only 30 per cent complete. The state-of-the-art Falkawn Referral Hospital - at Falkawn, Mizoram, about 18 km south of Aizawl - initially to have cost Rs 40.5 crore, should have been completed in November 2000.
Compiled by Anamika Butalia