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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Montek, Brajesh, Laxman in list of 128 Padma awardees

(Hindustan Times)
New Delhi.  Actors Kajol and Tabu, cricketer VVS Laxman, wrestler Sushil Kumar, Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Brajesh Mishra, national security advisor in the NDA regime, found their names on the list of 128 winners of this year’s Padma awards, announced on Tuesday.
The suspense, however, continued on whether ace cricketer Sachin Tendulkar would be awarded the country’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna.
Mishra was a surprise choice for the country’s second highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan. Ahluwalia, Wipro chairman Azim Premji, noted economist late LC Jain, educationist and former governor AR Kidwai, noted culture personality Kapila Vatsyayan, 13th Finance Commission chairman Vijay Kelkar, first woman photojournalist Homai Vyarawalla and former
attorney general K Parasaran are also among the 13 Padma Vibhushan winners.
  Among the 31 Padma Bhushan awardees are ITC chairman YC Deveshwar, chairperson of the Aditya Birla Centre Rajashree Birla for her contribution in community initiatives and rural development, Max India Ltd chairman Analjit Singh, ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar, Bollywood  veterans Shashi Kapoor and Waheeda Rehman and music composer Khayyam.
Diplomat Shyam Saran, who has been the prime minister’s envoy on the nuclear deal and climate change, and noted urban planner MN Buch also figure in the list.
 The list of 83 Padma Shri awardees includes Laxman, Sushil Kumar, weightlifter Kunjarani Devi, ace shooter Gangan Narang and discus thrower Krishna Poonia.
Apart from Kajol and Tabu, other winners from the film industry are actor Irrfan Khan and singer Usha Uthup. All of them have been awarded the Padma Shri.
 Noted educationist and former NCERT chief Dr Krishna Kumar, former Delhi University vice-chancellor Dr Upendra Baxi, Kashmir University vice-chancellor Riaz Punjabi and American scholar on Indian history Granville Austin are also on the Padma Shri list.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

South Africa beat India by 33 runs, win series 3-2

5th ODI: Pathan hit blistering century
 (The Times of India)
CENTURION: Yusuf Pathan hit a blistering 68-ball century but could not stop South Africa from winning the series-deciding fifth and final one-day international against India at SuperSport Park on Sunday. South Africa won by 33 runs according to the Duckworth-Lewis method, clinching a come-from-behind 3-2 series win thanks mainly to a century by Hashim Amla and four wickets by fast bowler Morne Morkel.
Opening batsman Amla made 116 not out as South Africa reached 250 for nine in a rain-interrupted innings. Set to make 268 to win, India were headed for a heavy defeat when they slumped to 119 for eight with fast bowlers Morkel and Dale Steyn inflicting most of the damage.
But Pathan unleashed a ferocious assault on the South African bowlers during a ninth wicket stand of 100 with Zaheer Khan. Pathan slammed eight sixes and eight fours as he made 105 before he top-edged another attempted big hit against Morkel and sent a catch spiraling to cover. Khan got a reprieve when the stand was worth 20 when he top-edged a short ball from Morkel and was caught by wicketkeeper AB de Villiers.
But umpire Simon Taufel asked television umpire Shaun George to check whether Morkel had bowled a no-ball. George ruled that Morkel had overstepped by millimetres and Khan batted on.
As the ball flew to all parts of the ground, South African captain Graeme Smith called on Morkel and the fast bowler finally induced a false stroke.
Morkel finished with four for 52 as India were all out for 234.
Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni admitted that South Africa deserved to win.
"It has been a disappointing series for the batsmen. We have not really performed as a batting unit. To say we wanted to win the final game just because Yusuf scored a hundred was asking too much," said Dhoni.
Looking ahead to next month's World Cup, Dhoni said the big lesson for India was that if they were able to keep wickets in hand they could chase down almost any target with a powerful hitter like Pathan in the side. Smith said South Africa had finished the series strongly."We were 2-1 down and we played two good games." He said South Africa had paced their innings well, despite a late collapse after a rain break, and had bowled "really aggressively".South Africa's innings was interrupted when the hosts were strongly placed at 226 for three after 42 overs.The rain caused a delay of more than an hour and the match was reduced to 46 overs a side.
South Africa lost six wickets for 24 runs in the remaining four overs of their innings, with a succession of batsmen falling to ill-judged strokes and two run-outs in a chase for quick runs. Dhoni sent South Africa in, hoping to take advantage of expected early morning life in the pitch - and also to have the option of revising his team's strategy in the event of predicted rain interruptions.
Smith fell once again to left-arm opening bowler Khan - for the 11th time in international cricket - edging a catch to second slip in the third over.But Amla played a calm innings, content to play the supporting role in a second wicket stand of 97 with Morne van Wyk, who made 56 off 63 balls, then picking up the pace in a fourth wicket stand of 102 off 98 balls with JP Duminy (35).
There were only four boundaries as Amla reached fifty off 72 balls, but he added another five fours as he needed just 41 more deliveries to reach the first century by a batsman of either side in the series.
India opted to play only two seam bowlers, bringing in leg-spinner Piyush Chawla in place of Ashish Nehra.For the second match in a row, Dhoni used eight bowlers, mainly in short spells.
As in the fourth match in Port Elizabeth, left-arm spinner Yuvraj Singh was the most effective of the slow bowlers, taking two for 45 in eight overs - the longest unbroken spell by any of the players.
But when Yuvraj conceded nine runs off his eighth over Dhoni immediately took him out of the attack.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Governor Bhardwaj gives sanction to prosecute Karnataka CM Yeddyurappa


(Times of India) 

BANGALORE: Karnataka on Friday night appeared heading for a showdown with Governor H R Bhardwaj granting sanction for prosecution of chief minister B S Yeddyurappa on corruption charges and a defiant CM asking him to apologise for remarks against the BJP government. 

The stand off came to a head with the Governor first rejecting a state cabinet resolution asking him not to permit prosecution of the chief minister and later Raj Bhawan sources said that the sanction has been granted for Yeddyurappa as also home minister R Ashoka.

Stung by Bhardwaj's remarks, the ruling party went into a more aggressive mode announcing state-wide anti-Governor protests tomorrow and "Raj Bhavan chalo" on January 25, besides deciding to meet President Pratibha Patil in Delhi on January 24 to seek the Governor's recall.
Hitting back at Yeddyurappa, the Governor told him bluntly in a letter that he cannot "put a lid" on serious allegations of corruption and dismissed as "unwarranted" the January 19 cabinet resolution.

"The sum and substance of the Cabinet decision is that it simply requires me to put a lid on the serious allegations of corruption against you (chief minister)," said Bhardwaj, whose relationship with the BJP government is becoming increasingly turbulent.The cabinet resolution had asked the Governor to drop the proceedings to prosecute Yeddyurappa and home minister R Ashoka on alleged land scams on the basis of a complaint filed by lawyers' forum, saying such a move was nothing short of a "farce and colourable" exercise on his part.An angry chief minister sought an "unconditional apology" from Bhardwaj for characterising the state government's request to drop proceedings for his prosecution as a "case of a thief admonishing a policeman"."For his remarks, he (Bhardwaj) should tender an unconditional apology. He has insulted the people of the state," Yeddyurappa told reporters before the state BJP Core Committee and Executive meet to discuss how to deal with the Governor.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

India wins thrilling 3rd one-day

takes 2-1 lead in the five one-days series

Tuesday, Jan 18, 2011
Cape Town | With Ashish Nehra's boundary in the 48th wicket India won the third one-day match by 2 wickets with 10 balls remaining against South Africa in Cape Town.With this win India now go up 2-1 in the series.In the nail-biting finish, Ashish Nehara, Harbhajan Singh and Yusuf Pathan played important role.
Coming at number seven Yusuf Pathan scored 59 runs in 69 balls. His partnership with Harbhajan Singh turned the match in India's favour. Pathan was chosen as the as the Man of the Match.
      Chasing a modest 221 for victory, India were 37 for one after 11 overs. Opener Murali Vijay's (1) poor form continued as he fell in the second over to start India's run chase on a disappointing note.
Vijay was brilliantly caught by an athletic Dale Steyn of his own bowling after the right-hander was done in a by a delivery that stopped a bit on him on a slow Newslands track.
But Virat Kohli (18) and Rohit Sharma (15) then held on to the Indian innings after the early blow and were unbeatan at the crease after the 11-over mark. Earlier, JP Duminy (52) and debutant Faf du Plessis (60) scored risk-free half centuries before Indian bowlers made a remarkable comeback in the final batting powerplay to bowl out South Africa for 220.
Electing to bat, Graeme Smith made a patient 43 off 79 balls before Duminy and du Plessis steadied South Africa's ship with a 110-run fifth wicket stand that came off 125 balls after they were down 90 for four at one stage. But the highlight of the day was the disciplined Indian bowling attack. Credit should go to the Indian new ball pair ofd Zaheer Khan (3/43) and Munaf Patel (2/42) , who made life difficult for the South African batsmen from the word go in what looked as a flat Newlands track.
Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh (2/23) was not to be left behind as he controlled the proceedings in the middle overs before Zaheer and Munaf returned at the death to bowl out South Africa in 49.2 overs from a good position.The final batting powerplay backfired for South Africa as they lost as many as four wickets for just 25 runs.
To add to skipper Smith's woes, South African batters could manage only 48 runs in the last 10 overs losing as many as six wickets. Starting the proceedings, Zaheer produced a brilliant first over as he exracted swing and bounce to beat South African captain Smith a number of time. Smith survived a confident leg before wicket appeal in Zaheer's second over with a ball that swung insharply but the umpire was unmoved. Television replays suggested that the ball would have gone over the stump.
India fired the first salvo in the seventh over when Zaheer bowled Amla (16) with a gem of a delivery. Amla tried to drive through covers but the ball angled in and took an inside edge to knock down his off stump. Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni introduced his specialist spinner Harbhajan as early as the 12th over of the match and he troubled Smith in his very first over. Harbhajan struck in his second over by getting rid of Colin Ingram (10) to reduce the Proteas to 49 for two.
Ingram, who has not been among the runs, stepped forward to defend but only succeeded in edging the ball to Virat Kohli at slip, who pulled off a one-handed blinder.The hosts then lost the wickets of de Villiers (16) and Smith in quick succession to find themselves in a spot of bother at 90 for four.
Yusuf Pathan, who came into the team in place of an injured Sachin Tendulkar, struck in his very first over by getting rid of de Villiers with Zaheer taking a superb running catch in wide long on.
Harbhajan then accounted for Smith who attempted a sweep but failed to time the ball and Kohli took his second catch at slip.
     Then Duminy and debutant du Plessis joined hands to ressurect the South African innings with the 100-plus partnership. Both Duminy and du Plessis were in no mood to take risks and toiled hard for their runs which came mostly in singles and twos. The duo's hardship can be gauged from the fact that they struck just three boundaries during their partnership.
With both the batsmen set at the crease, South Africa took their final batting powerplay in the 45th over but the decision misfired as both du Plessis and Duminy made hardly any imapct, departing when their team needed them the most.
Du Plessis, who was struggling with cramps, was the first to show some signs of urgency, lofting Munaf over mid-off for a four in the 45th over before departing in the next ball in search one too many. He was caught by an agile Kohli at the edge of the circle as the batsman went for an inside out shot over cover. Duminy was then cleaned up by Zaheer in the next over to make matters worst for the home team. And as if the twin blow was not enough, new man in Wayne Parnell was run out two balls later in search of a double.Johan Botha, Dale Steyn and last man Lonwabo Tsotsobe were no better with the bat as they departed in quick sucession towards the end.

Monday, January 17, 2011

World Cup squad: Piyush Chawla surprise inclusion

Rohit Sharma, Sreesanth omitted
Monday, Jan 17, 2011, 13:35 IST
Chennai | Leg spinner Piyush Chawla was the surprise inclusion while young batsman Rohit Sharma and speedster S Sreesanth were today dropped from India's 15-member squad for the upcoming cricket World Cup to be held in the sub-continent from February 19.
Tamil Nadu spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who is also a useful batsman, was also named in the squad announced by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary N Srinivasan after a meeting of the selection committee in Chennai.
There were just a couple of spots up for grabs in the team and the selectors opted to include Chawla and Ashwin ahead of Pragyan Ojha in the squad which has as many as three specialist spinners which came as a surprise.
India's major concern ahead of the team selection was the injuries to four key players - Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and pacer Praveen Kumar - but the selectors decided to include them, expecting all four to be fit in time for the high-profile tournament.
Apart from inclusion of Chawla, who last played a ODI match in 2008, there were no major surprises in the squad to be captained by Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virender Sehwag as his deputy.
The national selectors, who met for one and half hours to finalise the team here, picked three specialist spinners considering that the high profile-event will be held in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
"This is the best possible winning combination we have picked up which will win us the World Cup. We (selectors) engaged in thorough discussion at the meeting here before finalising the squad.
"Taking into account all the conditions like wickets, the opposition we will be playing, the selectors have chosen a very well balanced team," said chief selector Krishnamachari Srikkanth told reporters after the meeting.
The chief selector said the reason behind picking up three specialist spinners were the turning wickets in India.
"Don't forget that you are playing in India. The spinners probably play a very major role on the turning wickets. I am confident that the kind of balance we have, the kind of batting line-up we have, this cricket team led by Dhoni and others will do the job for us", he said.

"This particular Indian team is doing brilliantly for the last couple of years in both Test and ODI cricket. They are playing consistently not only in India but outside. We are confident this team will do well and win the World Cup for us in front of the home crowd," he added.
Srikkanth said there is going to be a lot of pressure on players given the mega-event is taking place in the sub-continent.
"There is lot of pressure playing in India and the sub-continent. There is going to be tremendous amount of pressure on players and selectors. This team will repeat the 1983 feat again and win us the World Cup," Srikkanth said.
The squad has six batsmen, four pacers, three spinners, one all rounder in Yusuf Pathan and a wicket keeper in captain Dhoni.

Most of the batsmen select themselves but the only issue is whether those on the injury list like Tendulkar, Sehwag, and Gambhir can recover fully before the mega event to be held from February 19 to April 2 in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Zaheer Khan will spearhead the pace bowling department with Munaf Patel, Praveen Kumar and Ashish Nehra being the others. Harbhajan Singh is the main spinner in the squad while 22-year-old Chawla and 24-year-old Ashwin were the other slow bowlers.
The big-hitting Yusuf Pathan has also secured a berth in the team since he can really be destructive on his day and can prove to be a handy bowler in sub-continent conditions.
Captain Dhoni is the only wicket keeper with the selectors ignoring all the three other keepers -- Parthiv Patel, Dinesh Karthik and Wriddhiman Saha -- who featured in the list of 30 probables.
Ishant Sharma, Murali Vijay, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra and Cheteswar Pujara were some of the other players who failed to find favour.

India in group-B

India are clubbed in Group-B in the world Cup alongwith Bangladesh, England, South Africa, West Indies, Ireland and The Netherlands. India will play the inaugural match of the World Cup against Bangladesh in Mirpur on February 19.

India's World Cup squad

Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Captain), Virender Sehwag (Vice Captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Yusuf Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Praveen Kumar, Munaf Patel, R Ashwin, Piyush Chawla.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Raze Adarsh Society: Jairam Ramesh

New Delhi, January 16, 2011
In an unprecedented order, the Union environment ministry on Sunday declared the controversial Adarsh Housing Society in Colaba in south Mumbai “illegal” and asked the project developers to demolish the structure and restore the site to its original form within three months.  If the society
related stories fails to raze the structure, the ministry said it would get it demolished.
The ministry said the 31-storey building, the scam around which cost former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan his job, violated coastal regulation zone (CRZ) norms.
Hindustan Times was first to report on January 13 that environment minister Jairam Ramesh had declared the building illegal and the ministry is likely to order its demolition.
“Adarsh society has violated the very spirit of the CRZ Notification 1991, by not even acknowledging the need for clearance under this notification...ignorance of law can never be an excuse for non-compliance,” Ramesh said in a statement.
It is unlikely that the building will be demolished immediately because the society plans to challenge Ramesh’s order in the Bombay high court.
The minister had two other options — asking the government to take over the building for public use and declaring only unauthorised parts illegal. The notification allows the construction of six floors. Ramesh opted to declare the entire structure illegal because the society had failed to take approvals for constructing a 31-storey complex under the CRZ notification.
 Meant for war widows and defence personnel, Adarsh society came under the scanner following allegations that it had violated environment norms and had given politicians and bureaucrats flats in the building in return for clearances.
The ministry has found the Adarsh society guilty of violations on two counts.
First, the society failed to seek a CRZ clearance as directed by the environment ministry in its letter of March 2003. Second, the floor space index granted to the building was higher than that stipulated in CRZ regulations, despite the society’s claim that the FSI was within stipulated limits.
The society had claimed that CRZ approval was not required, an argument the ministry found untenable. “The society has said in its written admission that permission under CRZ was required quoting the ministry’s 2003 letter,” said Nalini Bhat, adviser to the environment ministry in her order in the case.The ministry also held officials of Maharashtra’s urban development department responsible for “misinterpreting” its letter in 2003, which said approval under CRZ was required. The department had said the letter was a “no-objection letter” for the building. The Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority confirmed this.
The ministry has also found that the complex was initially meant for 50 people —19 civilians and 31 defence personnel — but the number was increased to 71 in 2004 and 92 in 2005.
The ministry’s order shows the builder-bureaucrat nexus in violating norms meant to protect the coast but it did not examine how the structure was built despite all these violations and who facilitated its construction. That is for the CBI to look into, Ramesh said.

1326 Indians die due to accidents, suicide every day

Jan 17, 2011,
NEW DELHI: Every fifth person who killed himself in Maharashtra in 2009 was a farmer, recent suicide data says, nailing the state for most farm suicides for the tenth year in a row. Nationwide, 17,368 farmers killed themselves in 2009, 7% more than the count in 2008.
The data is part of National Crime Records Bureau`s annual report of deaths and suicides across the country. Overall, India reported 418 accidental deaths a day in 2009. Road accidents killed 348 people a day; as many killed themselves daily for reasons ranging from illness to failure in love. The suicide count rose 1.7% compared to 2008 while accidental deaths, including those in road mishaps, increased by 7.3% over the last year. Around 1.27 lakh people committed suicide and 3.57 lakh died accidental deaths.Five states accounted for nearly two-thirds of all farm suicides in the country: Maharashtra (2,872), Andhra Pradesh (2,414), Karnataka (2,282), Chhattisgarh (1,802) and Madhya Pradesh (1,395). A total of 17,368 farmer suicides were reported in 2009. The figures almost doubled for Tamil Nadu, which reported 1,060 farmers` suicides in 2009, compared to 512 a year ago.