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Archive | February, 2013

We need to play aggressively to beat India: Watson

Posted on 28 February 2013 by admin

Hyderabad, Feb 28 (UNI) The Australians need to play their aggressive brand of cricket and be at their absolute best if they are to beat India in the second Test match, visiting all-rounder Shane Watson said today.

Watson, who is featuring in the team only as a batsman these days, said their side is determined to do well after suffering a heavy defeat in the series-opener in Chennai.

“We need to win this Test match. We need to be certainly at our absolute best to beat India. They played very well in the first Test. Ashwin bowled beautifully in those conditions and M S Dhoni batted unbelievably well to take the game away from our reach. So we have to be certainly at our absolute best,” Watson said after team’s practice session here.

“We need to play our aggressive brand of cricket where we are best as a team. We need to find a way to make sure that we play that brand of cricket. We will be making sure as a team go out there and make sure that we are really up for the contest,” he added.

Watson did not reveal if Australia will play an extra spinner in the second Test match, beginning Saturday.

“I think that is something selectors are weighing at the moment. No doubt that India’s game plan in Chennai was significantly different from ours as we saw in the second innings when their quick bowlers hardly had four or five overs which is a big contrast to what our team did. Option are going to be there. We have a game plan and have a team which can succeed,” he said.

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Hagel committed to strategic partnership with India: Pentagon

Posted on 28 February 2013 by admin

Washington, Feb 28 (UNI) In a damage control exercise after Chuck Hagel’s comments on India’s role in Afghanistan kicked up a storm, the Pentagon today said the new Defence Secretary is “strongly committed” to a strategic partnership with India and to fostering an “even closer” defence ties.

“Secretary Hagel is strongly committed to the US strategic partnership with India and to fostering an even closer defence relationship with India that builds upon the work of Secretary [Leon] Panetta, Deputy Secretary [Ashton] Carter, and their Indian counterparts,” Pentagon spokesperson George Little told Washington Free Beacon.

“Secretary Hagel looks forward to working closely with Indian national security and defence officials,” Little was quoted as saying.

Free Beacon, the right-wing online newspaper, had this week uploaded an unreleased speech given by Hagel in 2011 where he is seen being critical of India’s role in Afghanistan.

In sharp contrast to US view on India’s role in Afghanistan, Hagel has alleged that India has over the years “financed problems” for Pakistan in the war-torn country.

Hagel made these remarks at Oklahoma’s Cameron University in 2011.

It sparked off a strong reaction from India which said such comments are ‘contrary to the reality’ of its unbounded dedication to the welfare of Afghans.

Hagel, during the speech said, “India for some time has always used Afghanistan as a second front, and India has over the years financed problems for Pakistan on that side of the border”.

“And you can carry that into many dimensions, the point being [that] the tense, fragmented relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan has been there for many, many years,” Hagel said.

Reacting to this, the Indian Embassy here had said, “Such comments attributed to Senator Hagel, who has been a long-standing friend of India and a prominent votary of close India-US relations are contrary to the reality of India’s unbounded dedication to the welfare of Afghan people”.

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Chidambaram proposes 10 pc surcharge on super-rich

Posted on 28 February 2013 by admin

New Delhi, Feb 28 (UNI) The much-debated additional tax for super-rich found favour with the government as Finance Minister P Chidambaram today proposed a 10 per cent surcharge for a year on income above Rs one crore. Continue Reading

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Iran should import more goods from India: Prez

Posted on 28 February 2013 by admin

New Delhi, Feb 28 (UNI) Observing the current bilateral trade was highly tilted towards Iran, President Pranab Mukherjee has stressed the need for an increase in import of Indian goods by Iran to balance the commercial ties.

This was conveyed by Mukherjee during his meeting with an Iranian Parliamentary delegation, led by its Consultative Assembly Speaker Ali Larijani, at Rashtrapati Bhavan here yesterday.

“Presently, our bilateral trade is weighted in favour of Iran. Indian markets are open to Iranian exports. India hopes that Iran would source more goods from India,” he said during the interaction.

Mukherjee said the two countries should work together to further promote trade and economic links, increased people- to-people contacts between them and within the region.

Noting that India and Iran are close neighbours, Mukherjee said the excellent bilateral relations between them have been strengthened through high-level exchanges and regular engagements through various dialogue mechanisms.

“India and Iran have a strong bilateral economic relationship and it needs to further deepen for the benefit of peoples of both countries.

“We must work together to promote trade and economic links and increased people-to-people contacts between us and within the region,” the President said, according to a Rashtrapati Bhavan press release.

India’s total exports to Iran in April-September 2012 amounted to USD 1.4 billion, a quarter of the value of its imports from Iran during the period, according to an Indian government data.

India and Iran, Mukherjee said, have a responsibility to address the challenges to region and the world like terrorism, energy security, food security, climate change, environment and natural disasters.

“Peace and stability in Afghanistan is a key to the progress in the region,” he said.

The President expressed happiness that India and Iran were engaged in regular exchange of information and views on the developments in Afghanistan.

India is actively engaged in the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan.

Larijani said Iran looks forward to a strategic and long-term partnership with India.

“India and Iran come from same roots and their destinies are the same. A large area of cooperation is possible between the two countries,” he said.

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AIBA approves IABF”s amended constitution

Posted on 25 February 2013 by admin

New Delhi, Feb 25 (UNI) After the lifting of suspension on Indian boxers, the barred Indian Amateur Boxing Federation has got another shot in the arm with the world body, AIBA, approving its amended constitution.

“The amended constitution has been approved and we have sent a copy of it to the Sports Ministry as well,” IABF Secretary General Rajesh Bhandari told PTI today.

AIBA had provisionally suspended the IABF last year, citing the International Olympic Committee’s ban on the Indian Olympic Association and “possible manipulation” in its elections.

The governing body had asked the IABF to amend its constitution to make it compliant with the AIBA Statute as one of the pre-requisites for the lifting of suspension.

“The AIBA wanted us to drop the word amateur because we have incorporated the provisions for professional boxing as well. We have also incorporated the age and tenure limitation guidelines which should satisfy the ministry as well,” said Bhandari.

The IABF was also suspended by the Sports Ministry, which wants it told hold a re-election.

“We are not averse to a re-election but we have given a point by point reply to the ministry’s objections. They should tell us, what is it that we have done wrong,” he said.

The nominated post of Chairman, which is currently occupied by former IABF President Abhay Singh Chautala, has also been removed from the amended constitution.

“We want the suspension to be revoked at least from the Ministry’s side now. We have adhered to the sports code and have incorporated changes as suggested to us,” Bhandari said.

“Because this is what was discussed at our last meeting with the Ministry officials. Now they should keep their word after going through the constitution,” he added.

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‘Argo’ best film, Ang Lee best director for ‘Pi’ at Oscars

Posted on 25 February 2013 by admin

Los Angeles, Feb 25 (UNI) Ben Affleck’s Iranian hostage drama ‘Argo’ won the Best Picture Oscar while Ang Lee pulled off a big surprise by taking home the Best Director trophy for ‘Life of Pi’, the story of a shipwrecked Indian boy, at the 85th Academy Awards here.

British actor Daniel Day-Lewis, 55, scored a historic third Best Actor Oscar for his turn as the 16th US President Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s civil-war set drama ‘Lincoln’.

He has become the first actor to win the most number of Best Actor Oscars. His previous Oscars were for ‘My Left Foot’ in 1989 and ‘There Will Be Blood’ in 2007.

22-year-old Jennifer Lawrence emerged a winner for ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ in a tight best actress race by tripping strong contenders like Jessica Chastain, Emmanuelle Riva, Naomi Watts and Quvenzhane Wallis.

‘Argo’ saw off tough competition from eight other films –including ‘Lincoln’, ‘Life of Pi’, ‘Amour’, ‘Django Unchained’ and ‘Zero Dark Thirty’– to walk away with the top award.

‘Argo’ was declared a winner by Jack Nicholson and First Lady Michelle Obama, who tuned in through a videolink, making an unprecedented appearance from White House in a shimmery silver gown.

The film, based on real incidents, narrates the near impossible escape story when CIA pulled out six US diplomats from Iran in 1979 by posing as a fake film crew. It won three trophies –best picture, best adapted screenplay and best editing– out of its seven nominations.

Lee pulled of an upset by winning the Oscar, his second, over favourite Steven Spielberg and three others with his visually stunning, India-set 3D drama. The film also scored maximum wins of four awards — best director, best cinematography, music (original score) and visual effects — out of its 11 nominations.

“Thank you, movie god. I need to thank Yann Martel for writing this inspiring book,” said Lee before commending his Indian cast and crew and ending his speech with ‘Namaste’.

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All eyes on Bansal for tomorrow’s Rail Budget

Posted on 25 February 2013 by admin

All eyes will be on Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal tomorrow on whether he yields to pressure of hiking passenger fares yet again or looks at other measures to mobilise resources to offset the burden of the recent diesel price hike. Continue Reading

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Suryanelli rape case: Hearing of bail pleas adjourned to Mar 4

Posted on 25 February 2013 by admin

Kochi, Feb 25 (UNI) The Kerala High Court today adjourned to March four the hearing of the bail pleas of 17 accused in the Suriyanelli rape case allegedly involving Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P J Kurien. Continue Reading

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Somdev, Yuki, Sanam return to squad, Bhupathi, Bopanna ignored

Posted on 23 February 2013 by admin

New Delhi, Feb 23 (UNI) Looking at the future, national selectors today drafted three singles specialists in Somdev Devvarman, Yuki Bhambri and Sanam Singh in the Indian Davis Cup squad and effectively ended Mahesh Bhupathi’s India-career by ignoring him for the upcoming tie against Indonesia.

Leander Paes, the highest-ranked at number 8, was the only doubles specialist in the team as the selectors continued to ignore Bhupathi (10) and Rohan Bopanna (12).

Paes is likely to be paired with Sanam, who won Guangzhou Asian Games doubles gold medal with Somdev.

The selection committee also named Vijayant Malik and N Sriram Balaji as reserves while Ram Kumar Ramnathan and Arjun Kadhe were also picked for practice.

S P Misra was retained as non-playing captain but the Indonesia tie will be his last.

Somdev had led a players’ revolt demanding better playing conditions, making themselves unavailable for the Korea tie, which India lost 1-4.

The rebellion ended partially when AITA agreed to most of the players’ demands and players made themselves available for selection for the Indonesia tie in Bangalore from April 5-7.

Bhupathi has publicly said that 2013 would be his last playing year and barring a catastrophic result it would also be India’s last Davis Cup tie of the year, hence Bhupathi may not get a chance to represent the country again.

The selectors reasoned that it made sense in picking three singles players because if there are only two singles players and one of them picks up an injury the doubles player was forced to play singles.

“We are trying to focus on three singles players. And all three (selected) players are good doubles players as well.

Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna are also good doubles players but Leander Paes is highest ranked,” AITA Secretary General Bharat Oza said.

Asked if it ends Bhupathi’s India career, Oza told PTI that it was not the case. “We are not saying this. We will see when we have the next tie.”

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26/11 case: Pak judicial panel’s India visit may be delayed

Posted on 23 February 2013 by admin

Islamabad, Feb 23 (UNI) A Pakistani judicial commission’s visit to India in connection with the Mumbai attacks case is likely to be delayed as an anti-terrorism court today sought an assurance that members of the panel will be allowed to cross-examine key Indian witnesses.

Prosecutors informed the court conducting the trial of seven suspects charged with involvement in the Mumbai attack that they would provide an undertaking from the Indian government that the panel will have the power of cross-examination.

Chief prosecutor Chaudhry Zulifqar Ali told Judge Chaudhry Habib-ur-Rehman that Pakistani authorities were awaiting India’s formal response on the issue.

The Pakistani commission is set to make a second visit to Mumbai to record the statements of four witnesses because the anti-terrorism court rejected a report submitted after its first visit on the ground that the panel was not allowed to conduct any cross-examination.

Ali argued during today’s hearing that the Indian government had stated it would allow the cross-examination of witnesses.

He further said a previous agreement that barred cross-examination would not have any bearing on the judicial commission’s second visit.

Khwaja Haris Ahmed, the counsel for Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, insisted that a “written document” from the Indian government about the cross-examination should be presented in court.

Ali said he would submit a “written assurance” from the Indian side at the next hearing.

Judge Rehman, who is conducting the trial behind closed doors at Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi, adjourned the case till March 2 and directed the prosecution to submit the Indian government’s written assurance.

After the hearing, Ali told PTI that the Pakistan government had written a letter to Indian authorities on February 12 seeking written permission for the judicial commission to cross-examine witnesses.

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