TMC projects Mamata as PM candidate

first_imgThe ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal turned 21 on Tuesday and used the occasion to project party chief and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as a possible prime ministerial candidate of any grand Opposition alliance for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. The party also vowed to work to ensure a secular and progressive India under the leadership of 63-year-old Ms. Banerjee. Describing 2019 as the “year of change”, senior TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee said the party is “standing at a historic juncture where it wants to play a vital role in New Delhi in favour of the working class”.Good daysMr. Banerjee, the nephew of the TMC chief, said the year will bring good days (achche din) in the country. “The year of 2019 is a year of change and struggle. We should fight hard in order to ensure that we are able to gift the people of this country a secular and progressive India in New Delhi under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee,” he said in a video message on the TMC’s 21st Foundation Day. “Our party has turned 21 today. The number 21 assumes immense significance as it signifies struggle, youthfulness and change,” he added. TMC was founded on January 1, 1998, by Mamata Banerjee, who was herself baptised into politics by the Congress. At present, the TMC has 34 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats from West Bengal.Ms. Banerjee congratulated party workers on the occasion. “The journey which began on January 1, 1998, has been full of struggles, but we have been steadfast in our resolve to fight for the people #Trinamool21 …We are thankful to Maa-Mati-Manush for their constant support. And the workers who work hard 365 days a year for the people. A big salute to you,” she said.Anti-BJP front The TMC, which has been eyeing a wider political space for the last few years, has been at the forefront of forming an anti-BJP Opposition alliance and convened a rally of Opposition parties in Kolkata on January 19.Ms. Banerjee has been touring the country and has met leaders of several parties in a bid to forge opposition unity to take on the BJP. The TMC observed the day in the State in every block and subdivision and also at the panchayat level. The party flag was hoisted at the Trinamool Bhavan by party general secretary Subrata Bakshi. Blood donation camps, blanket distribution and cultural events were also held across the State.last_img read more

Two militants and a soldier killed in two separate incidents in Kashmir

first_imgTwo millitants, soldier killed in KashmirTwo militants and an off-duty soldier were killed in separate incidents in Kashmir on Saturday. The police said the militants were killed after they ambushed an Army patrol at Pinjora in Shopian. Preliminary reports suggest that Rahil Rashid Sheikh from Ganderbal’s Nunner Ganderbal was among the dead. Locals identified the other militant as Bilal Ahmad, a resident of Keegam. Meanwhile, suspected militants shot dead an Army man at his home in Warpora Sopore in Baramulla district. A soldier with the J&K Light Infantry, Muhammad Rafeeq Yatoo was on leave.last_img read more

Protests erupt in Kashmir Valley against alleged rape of 3-year-old

first_imgProtests erupted on Monday in parts of the Kashmir Valley against the rape of a three-year-old, allegedly by a local youth in north Kashmir, forcing the authorities to close all educational institutes. Divisional Commissioner of Kashmir Baseer Ahmad Khan appealed to people to maintain peace, brotherhood and law and order. “Justice will be done and the culprit will be given severe punishment as per law. It will be investigated on a fast track,” he said.On Thursday, the youth allegedly lured the child with a candy and raped her in Sumbal area’s Trehgam locality.A medical report is yet to be produced.The child’s family said she was sexually assaulted by the youth who lives in their neighbourhood. Violent protests broke out for the second consecutive day in parts of Baramulla, Srinagar and Bandipora districts. Protesters closed the Srinagar-Baramulla highway. The authorities decided to close schools and colleges as a precautionary measure. A spontaneous shutdown was observed across the Valley over the incident.Youth arrested: policeA police official said the youth had been arrested, and a special investigation team constituted to investigate the case. The head of a local school who issued a birth certificate to the accused, declaring him a minor, has been arrested. A medical team is likely to determine the accused’s age through scientific measures.All political parties, religious and social groups have condemned the incident.”Mortified to hear about the rape of a three-year-old in Sumbal. What kind of a sick pervert would do this? Society often blames women for inviting unwanted attention but what was this child’s fault? Times like these, Shariah law seems apt so that such paedophiles are stoned to death,” Mehbooba Mufti, former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir said in a tweet. People’s Conference general secretary Imran Reza Ansari described the incident as a crime against humanity and demanded severe punishment to the accused.”The need of the hour is to set up a fast track court for punishing the accused. Action should be taken against the school for issuing a fake date of birth certificate to show that the accused is a minor,” said Mr. Ansari.Mirwaiz’s pleaHurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq appealed for unity and vigil against some elements who want to divide people on sectarian basis.”A fervent appeal to all the people of Kashmir to maintain unity and vigil, especially in view of mischievous forces waiting to create a sectarian divide out of this most reprehensible crime against a child which is indeed a crime against all humanity. All of Kashmir stands in unison,” said Mr. Farooq.last_img read more

Agricultural Innovation Prize Launched

first_imgAre you a student in the United States with an idea that could improve the global food system? A 2-page business plan, and a presentation with up to 10 slides, could win you the first Agricultural Innovation Prize. The competition was announced in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. “We’re hoping that this will turns the heads of people who wouldn’t normally give ag a second thought,” says Molly Jahn, a plant breeder at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, who is directing the prize.The new prize stems from a 2012 report by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology about the ability of the United States to cope with agricultural challenges of the 21st century, such as climate change. “The top line was we’re not prepared,” says Jahn, an author. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy came up with the idea of using a cash prize for students to encourage early collaborations between disciplines and highlight the potential of businesses to quickly to improve the food system. The prize is modeled on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Clean Energy Prize, founded in 2007, which now awards a total of $310,000 in cash to five winners.Brief proposals must focus on developing a business, which can be a nonprofit, that would have a positive social or environmental impact. The innovations could come from traditional agricultural R&D—better drip irrigation, a new plant variety, or a technique to improve food safety, for example—or they could originate from another discipline, such as computer science or sensor engineering. “My dream with this prize is that we spur crosscutting innovations,” Jahn says. This year, the competition is limited to undergraduate and graduate students at U.S. schools, but the innovations can have global applications.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Proposals are due 28 February. A first round of judging will select 25 teams, which will then be matched to mentors from academia, industry, or government to help them expand the pitch. On 25 April, five teams will be awarded prizes ranging from $15,000 to $100,000. A student team will help recruit judges. The Howard G. Buffett Foundation has provided $215,000 for the awards in 2014. The Foundation is also making 50 $1000 grants available to students to help promote the competition on campuses.last_img read more

Podcast: Snakes on the Brain, the Upside of Allergies, and the Next SARS Pandemic

first_imgDid snakes drive the evolution of the human brain? Do allergies get a bad rap? And are bats carrying the next SARS pandemic? Science’s Online News Editor David Grimm chats about these stories and more with Science’s Sarah Crespi.Listen to the full Science podcast.Read the transcript.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Hear more podcasts.last_img read more

Bachchannama

first_imgAmit. Amit Bachchan. That’s how he was known in the early sixties in a Calcutta that really rocked, socially, culturally, intellectually and commercially. Young, tall, lanky with limbs that seemed to go on forever and a very conspicuous Adam’s apple, which kept bobbing up and down (in distracting fashion), the guy worked as an executive at a multi-national company and lived the charmed life of a carefree bachelor in a city that offered an embarrassment of riches.   Amitabh Bachchan in The Last LearI met him a couple of times through my St. Xaviers college buddy Victor Banerjee, who was starring in a musical (along with him) entitled Desert Song. Shy, well-mannered and soft-spoken, he appeared the retiring kind – one who, despite an active interest in English theatre, didn’t like to scorch public space with his personality. However, I have to confess, that even in those early days, what struck casual Bachchan-watchers was his innate sense of composure, quiet dignity and the way he conducted himself in public. The man epitomized refinement, an endearing sense of reserve and … class. One fine day there was a buzz that the Bachchan guy, the “lamboo” with a great voice, was splitting from the city to try his luck in Bollywood! Had he totally lost it? Was he suffering from delusions of grandeur? This was the late 1960s when the Rajesh Khanna wave was at its demonic height. What on earth could this toothpick offer? The first reports of his signing-on Saat Hindustani and the subsequent news that it hardly got a decent release prompted collective shrugs from our crowd.   The all star familyMy trips to Mumbai confirmed my worst fears. Right from his name (in an environment bursting at the seams with Kumars, Kapoors, Khannas and Khans) to his looks, background, stature, body language and the way he conducted himself, Bachchan was a mega-misfit all the way. Ridiculed, overlooked, neglected and rejected, Bachchan’s first commercial success – after his critically acclaimed performance in the Rajesh Khanna – driven Anand – was perceived as a never-ending corny laugh-fest. Playing lead opposite Aruna Irani, in Mehmood’s Bombay to Goa, he let fly a fine zinger of a performance, but it was the star comedians show all the way, and the lightweight hero was quickly forgotten by most. Luckily script-writers Salim-Javed weren’t among them. I remember Javed Akhtar telling me how Bachchan and Zanjeer happened. “Salim saab and I were at the end of our tether in terms of whom to cast as our edgy, unsmiling, intense cop who believed in violence without apology, spoke with his fists and generally epitomised the impatience and restlessness of that era. Today, we are so thankful that the script was vetoed by several established heroes of that time, because no one could ever dream of embellishing the role with the kind of style, deadly cool and panache, re-enforced with that heart-wrenching touch of soul-searing vulnerability that Amitabh Bachchan did. It took us only a few scenes in that silly Mehmood caper to decide who would be our Vijay. That’s how Zanjeer and the Angry Young Man was born.”   The Bachchan familyInterestingly, I was in Mumbai and at his Vile Parle residence during that auspicious September of 1973, a week before the release of the film that would change his life forever. Bachchan was pleasant and polite (as always) as we recalled the exciting Calcutta of the mid-60s and common friends, but appeared a bit jumpy and restless. He had just completed, he said, a role in a film where he played a cop who repeatedly takes the law in his hands. There were no light moments of the usual, popular escapist, audience-friendly romance and comedy. It was an unrelieved, intense, one-dimensional saga of a loner wanting to take on an unjust corrupt world. The guy was going through a miserable phase – the industry’s undisputed Mr. Unlucky – and he was desperately praying for the film to turn the tide. Would it? He requested me to pray for him. I remember smiling bravely and flashing the V sign before leaving his house. Another bomb, I told myself, beginning to feel real bad for the talented but jinxed actor, specializing in good performances in lousy movies that regularly bit dust at the box-office. Ah well …Amazingly, it was this very same Zanjeer that unchained Amitabh Bachchan from ill fortune and catapulted him into planet Wow. Fusing sexy machismo with Clint Eastwood-style cool, Bachchan introduced a brand of anti-herogiri never seen in mainstream fare which – bingo – worked! Tapping astutely into the temper of the times (an environment ripe with impatience, ferment, frustration and helplessness at a system that failed to deliver) the young actor soon found himself re-shaping his connect with the industry and audience alike. Success brings confidence and very soon, widening his histrionic bandwidth to include his brand of comedy, romance, song-dance, action, drama with a kind of magnetic conviction and credibility, he became the definitive one man industry.  His astonishing highs, his sudden lows with Toofan and Jadugar (a decade and a half later), his unhappy association with politics and the ABCL nose-dive have been chronicled a zillion times to warrant repetition. His amazing phoenix-like resurrection as an anchor in Kaun Banega Ka Crorepati in early 2000, however, demands re-telling. Siddharth Basu, who produced the landmark reality show, lays it on with trademark eloquence. “STAR was looking for a vehicle that would be a flagship for the turnaround relating to the launch of their Hindi channel. Who Wants to be a Millionaire, the hugely popular U.K. originated game-show was one of the concepts under consideration. The format was exceptionally strong and the temptation to use it was great, but the crucial question was: who would be the face for the show. We needed magical and mesmerising charisma and drawing power across the board. Many names were lobbed but when Sameer Nair (Programming Head) threw in AB, my jaws dropped! I tried to visualize the enormity of the project, whether the Big B would agree and did Sameer really hope to pull off mission impossible? The overwhelming success of KBC I & II bears testimony to the mind-boggling teamwork involved, but it was AB who really was the crucial driver for taking KBC to the skies! Blending style and class with mass-appeal, he infused in the show color and drama that was truly awesome! The bi-lingual ease and eloquence fused with a warmth that connected with every single participant across 350 episodes was incredible! Diligent, disciplined and conscientious, he took pains to do his homework after every single episode and at the end of the day ultimately managed to achieve the impossible – bestow on the box the dimension of the big screen! He broke the rules, re-invented himself with cool leather and denim outfit in the sequel and generally blew everyone’s mind. Man, whatta guy!”  Today Bachchan’s audacious willingness to not only push the envelope, but cram it to bursting point, through doing a variety of roles with a range of young, new age directors, seems to reflect his conscious decision of taking that magic leap into the exciting unknown. And with accolade, applause and awards across the globe, films, shows and endorsements raining on his backyard and his popularity once again zooming skywards, the Big B has truly gained iconic status. As a passionate Bachchan-watcher I have tracked his journey from nowhere land to Shahenshah territory. Some actors occupy the stage; few rule it. Some actors hold an audience; few possess it. Some actors light up a scene; few ignite the entire film. These combustible few blaze with the magic and mystique of acting – authority, intelligence, intuition, intensity – that triggers that sublime leap to greatness. There is a charisma apart from the role itself when these blessed creatures grace the screen, transforming co-stars into awed, rapt and overwhelmed onlookers!Keep going Sexy Sam … Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna. Yours is the power and glory……RITUPARNO GHOSHON THE BIG B’S NEWEST LANDMARKLovers of quality cinema will be familiar with film-maker Rituparno Ghosh. The youngest (Gautam Ghosh, Aparna Sen, Buddhadev Dasgupta are older) director of this celeb list from Kolkata, he struck with his very first directorial debut project Unishe April (19th April) a decade ago. He has never looked back, garnering name, fame, respect, accolade, adulation and awards at home and abroad. He is also the only director who, sitting in Kolkata, gets the biggest Bollywood stars to come down to the city and work happily in his projects for peanuts! Ash Rai, Ajay Devgun (Raincoat, Chokher Bali) Abhishek Bachchan and Soha Ali Khan (Antar Mahal) and now Preity Zinta and the biggest of the big … The Big B (in the English language film The last Lear, also starring Preity Zinta, Arjun Rampal, Shefali Shah and Divya Dutta).   Rituparno Ghosh with Amitabh BachchanIn this exclusive interview with Little India, the film-maker talks of his unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime experience collaborating with the towering inferno.  Over to Ritu …“Like everyone else, I was a huge fan of Amitabh Bachchan! When I started working in films, got more serious, involved, knowledgeable and experienced and watched his performances more closely, I felt that somewhere, (beyond his stunning ability to make the craziest and most filmy situation look convincing and believable), there was a void in his arsenal; one kind of fire-power was missing. I had absolutely no doubt that – intelligent, sensitive and honest that he was, in his heart of hearts, aware of it, but as a megastar, your roles are largely defined by your history of box office hits and The Angry Young Man image stuck to him like an albatross! With time, he slowly shed it and transitioned magnificently into character roles, but still, I continued to feel that there was an entire universe of untapped energy waiting to be detonated …Once I got to know the family (I am very close to Jaya-di and very friendly with Abhi and Ash) and started interacting with him, I found him cordial, refined, polite, but formal. While I wasn’t really intimidated, there was certainly a distance between us. However, the idea of casting him took seed only when I started seriously thinking of making The Making of the Last Lear. Once the script was ready I really couldn’t think of anybody else who could lend the kind of charisma, chutzpah, magic and gravitas that defined the persona of Harish Mishra, the veteran recluse, eccentric theatre actor who lived in the past and raged against the modern world with all the fire and fury he could muster! When I first approached him with the proposal and concept, he asked me to tell him the gist of the film in 3 lines! I did. Later, I gingerly sent him the script too. He obviously liked the concept and storyline enough to read the script carefully and come to the shooting, meticulously prepared.Working with Amit-da was an enriching experience. He does his homework inside-out even today after being 38 years in the industry. He offers suggestions, but never ever compromising either his dignity as a professional actor or intruding on the allotted space of the director. He works quietly and privately and is forever open to suggestions. He never ever throws his weight around and goes out of his way to make every single member of the cast and crew comfortable. He, for me, redefined the term “professional,” replacing the stereotypical image of a cold and clinical artiste to a person exuding warmth, positivity and sincerity. He is also an amazingly honest actor, always ready to own up any deficiencies or limitations he may encounter while portraying a scene. Clichéd as it may seem, he is a director’s dream, responding to both the big gesture and nuanced unspoken moment with the same unerring sense of total understanding and delivering, in the magical manner that only he can! Since this was a totally different genre of film from the movies he usually engages in, I found him (as I always suspected) hungry to explore, savor and get his teeth into a completely new histrionic experience. When was the last time, if ever, anybody saw him in a shabby, unkempt, raving, ranting, eccentric role coloured with vulnerability and insecurity? Amitabh Bachchan (if the critics at Toronto, London and Goa Film Festivals are to be believed) has delivered a powerhouse performance … majestic, moving, magical and memorable!  Thanks Amit-da. For me, you will always remain The Last (and greatest) Lear.”  – Monojit Lahiri   Related Itemslast_img read more

Capitalism vs. Altruism

first_imgThe marriage of capitalism and altruism is never very comfortable. One is about making money. The other, though often indirectly, is about giving money. Early in October, SKS Microfinance — a company that makes money lending to the poor — sacked its CEO Suresh Gurumani. In a terse note, SKS informed the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) that the company “had withdrawn all powers and authorities granted to [Gurumani] or otherwise enjoyed by him.” Said economic daily Business Standard in its lead-story headline: “SKS Microfin sacks CEO; shares tank.” Reported Moneycontrol.com, a web portal belonging to TV channel CNBC TV18: “Sacked SKS Microfin CEO may sue company.”For SKS, this is a second round of controversy. It is the first Indian company in the microfinance sector to go in for an initial public offer (IPO). It is among the first half-dozen anywhere in the world to list. (Banco Compartamos of Mexico went public in 2007 and drew considerable criticism.) SKS had a very successful IPO in August, being oversubscribed more than 13 times. Ironically around that time, several big issuers — including public sector majors — were waiting for the markets to improve. SKS raised $358 million. It got around $22 per share, the upper end of the price band. It jumped more than 16% on listing and, today, even after plunging when the CEO was fired, is some 30% above the issue price. According to Nobel-prize-winning economist Muhammad Yunus, who pioneered the microfinance industry in the 1980s by giving small loans to basket weavers in Bangladesh, “Microfinance is mission-driven banking. When you float an IPO you are telling your investors there is a good opportunity to make money off poor people. The message is wrong, the direction is wrong…. Staunch believers of market forces keep saying competition will bring business to people who are now unreached. Over centuries, this has not happened. Competition never brought credit to the poor; it only took it to richer people. That is the route the IPO will take them.”Taking the For-profit RouteYunus pioneered the “social business” model where there is no profit involved for the investor or promoter. SKS and its ilk are taking a totally different route. Wrote The New York Times at the height of the SKS IPO controversy: “SKS was set up as what philanthropists call a “social enterprise” — a business based on the concept of doing well by doing good… there is no question that the company’s 41-year-old Indian-American founder Vikram Akula and investors who include prominent Silicon Valley venture capitalists will do very well indeed from the IPO. Akula has already privately sold shares worth almost $13 million, and he still holds stock options potentially worth $55 million. The question is whether the social good will be as amply rewarded.” Headlined The Wall Street Journal: “SKS Microfinance’s IPO Plans Pit Capitalism vs. Altruism.”There were some disillusioned casualties. A Seattle-based nonprofit, which stood to make a handsome amount by selling its stake in SKS, decided to close shop. “You are encouraging profit maximization while nonprofits are closing down,” Yunus pointed out then. “That shows the real result of this IPO.”In India, there have been departures, too. M.S. Sriram, Lalita D. Gupte Chair Professor in Microfinance at the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA), writes in a paper titled “Commercialization of Microfinance in India: A Discussion on the Emperor’s Apparel”: “There were three high profile persons — Gurcharan Das, the author of The Difficulty of Being Good, Anu Aga of Thermax and Narayan Ramachandran of Morgan Stanley — on board [the SKS group] till days before the [IPO] prospectus was filed. Their sudden resignation in March in the run up to the filing of the prospectus raises some questions.”SKS founder and chairperson Akula, however, has no doubts that his way is best. “The path of the capital markets is the path that will lead to the greatest social impact,” he says. “Otherwise, you are limiting your reach and, in effect, not providing financial services to all those people that you could.” He admits that it did take some time to make the regulators comfortable with the idea of a microfinance institutions (MFI) going public, but that was only because it was a new concept.The Right Credentials Akula has all the right credentials. He began working in rural India two decades ago as a community organizer of women’s self-help groups for a nonprofit. He set up SKS Microfinance as a nonprofit in 1997, went to McKinsey & Co in Chicago as a consultant in 2004, and came back to SKS in 2005. He returned a convert; in 2005, he made SKS a for-profit. In 2006, Akula was named by Time magazine as one of world’s 100 most influential people. Also in 2006, he was given the Social Entrepreneur of the Year award at the World Economic Forum meet in Delhi. He is currently writing a book appositely titled A Fistful of Rice: My Unexpected Quest to End Poverty through Profitability.At SKS, Akula has delivered on the profitability front. The latest quarter ended June 30, 2010, saw profit after tax increase 265% to $15 million compared to the corresponding period the previous year. Gross income increased by 82% to $70.82 million. As of March 31, 2010 (the company’s year-end), SKS had total disbursements of more than $3 billion and 6.8 million women borrowers. This gives it almost three times the growth rate of Muhammad Yunus’ Grameen Bank in Bangladesh.Akula estimates that poor households in India need close to $50 billion in credit, only 10% to15% of which has been met by all MFIs combined because of lack of access to capital. “The best way to raise large capital is from commercial capital markets and the best way to tap commercial capital markets is to be structured as a profit-oriented institution and do an IPO,” says Akula. “It is precisely where that $50 billion will come from; it is the only place it can come from. That is why we did this IPO.”Akula is not interacting with the media after the departure of Gurumani. An SKS spokesperson, referring to Gurumani’s comment that he could sue, says that the deposed CEO can go the courts if he likes. “We have done what we have to do, let him do what he has to,” he says. “I cannot comment on his behalf. We have not received any [legal] notice so far.”Battle for Control The battle in SKS seems to be about control and money. The company has clarified that there were no issues of financial irregularity in Gurumani’s departure. But the power struggle, as the media has dubbed it, was evident even earlier.Akula has a very high-profile. Observers speculate that he did not expect the adverse reaction and the global debate over the IPO. The Indian media coverage was actually muted; articles in the Western media raised problems. People within SKS say that Akula allowed Gurumani to take the lead in the IPO as he preferred to stay away from the acrimony. Once the issue was a done deal, however, and the heat was off, he wanted to get back to the helm. The shares were listed on August 16. At a board meeting held in early September, SKS appointed Akula as executive chairman from November 1. (He is currently non-executive.) M.R. Rao, chief operating officer, was elevated to deputy CEO with immediate effect. The writing on the wall for Gurumani was getting clearer by the day.The only issue, say company insiders, was about the terms of disengagement. Gurumani had already cashed out most of his stock options. The board offered him a handsome amount — upwards of $1 million — to resign gracefully. He wanted more. “He was originally given 900,000 shares when he came on,” says a company spokesperson. “He sold 225,000 shares prior to the IPO. Another 675,000 would have vested in him over a period of four years. After the termination, he doesn’t get a single share. He has no right to his stock options right now. He can’t sell anything.”Not a Moral IssueThe issue in this and the larger debate about nonprofits turning for-profit is one of context, experts note. In a purely capitalist society, this would have been the way to go; Akula would have been a folk hero. In India, which still has a socialist ethos, there is distaste for money grubbing — and what some might even perceive as greed.“This is not about morality,” says Ramesh Ramanathan, promoter-director of Janalakshmi, a social enterprise. “It’s not about good and bad. It’s about the nature of markets. Markets are a double-edged sword. The power of the market for innovation, for raising money, for hiring good people, for bringing value to customers… all that positive also comes with baggage. That baggage is greed.”“When an MFI becomes for-profit, the danger does exist that it might lose its moral and ethical compass,” says Sriram of IIMA. “Everybody succumbs to the lure of the market.” Sriram feels that Gurumani’s departure has nothing to do with this dilemma, although the squabble over the golden handshake is another matter.Rajesh Chakrabarti, assistant professor of finance at the Hyderabad-based Indian School of Business (ISB), agrees. “It seems to be the consequence of an internal disagreement about the management of the organization between the CEO and the board and perhaps between the CEO and the chairman,” he says. “These things are quite common in organizations, only they are handled a bit carefully so that CEO terminations are relatively rarer. Given that Akula, the founder, is in the driver’s seat, the exit should not hurt SKS too much.”SKS has “sought to take a profit-oriented approach to microfinance,” he continues. “There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. This is an ongoing debate in the microfinance area. Everyone admits that without the profit motive, it is difficult to have organizations that would engage in the activity in a sustained and efficient manner. On the other hand, a total fixation on the bottom line can easily lead to mission drift.”Chakrabarti quotes a recent paper published in the Journal of Economic Perspectives titled “Microfinance Meets the Market”: “Globally, the social development model accounts for about 90% of microfinance organizations but 10% of profit-oriented providers are very large and account for over half of the industry assets. The nonprofits lend more to the bottom of the pyramid while the for-profits tend to focus on a slightly higher tier. Also nonprofits are more likely to go for group-lending while for-profits go largely for individual-lending. So, in conclusion, for-profits and nonprofits have somewhat different profiles in the microfinance industry, but both have important roles to play.”Laws Need ChangeYunus is not so sure. He believes that laws should be changed if they prevent lending to the poor. “If the government is poor-friendly, it should make laws to create banks for the poor and the poorest,” he says. Deval Sanghavi, president and co-founder of Dasra, a venture philanthropy fund, feels that non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) should be allowed to raise external commercial capital. “If the government were truly committed to social change, it should enable 1% loans to come into the country and then lend at 3% to 5%,” Sanghavi says. Rahul Saikia, vice-president, investment banking at Enam Securities, believes the rule that requires banks to have 40% of their portfolio in the “priority sector” should be amended to withdraw priority sector status from MFIs. “That’s what MFIs are surviving on today. If you remove that, only the quality MFIs will survive,” he says.Such changes would enable MFIs to access lower-cost funds. But it wouldn’t be a substitute for the capital markets. Says Sumir Chadha, managing director of Sequoia Capital India, SKS’ largest investor: “The not-for-profit world in India is filled with well-meaning people, but the challenge is that no one is going to give you enough funds to scale up. Grants just don’t scale to that level.” Additionally “from a banking standpoint, there is no way you can get debt since it’s a percentage of how much equity you have,” adds Ash Lilani, president, Asia market, SVB Capital, another SKS investor.But Yunus thinks there is enough money in the villages. “Grameen Bank doesn’t have a problem with money. It takes deposits and lends money. The solution is not in going to IPO; the solution is in treating microfinance as banking. That would be the right direction rather than rushing to the big-money people, offering them an opportunity to make money for themselves out of poor people.”What troubles Sriram of IIMA is the idea that one should not make money while tapping the bottom of the pyramid. “Very much the way we don’t get upset when soaps are sold to the poor, we should not get upset that people are making money from microfinance,” he says. He finds dissonance, however, when this objective is juxtaposed with the lofty mission of eliminating poverty. “There is little evidence to show that microfinance eliminates poverty,” he says, “If that had been the case, Bangladesh should have declared itself poverty-free.”Janalakshmi’s Ramanathan cites the case of SKS itself. “Vikram Akula constantly communicated a message that it’s a social business. But when push came to shove, the actions were all of a commercial enterprise,” he says. Adds Dasra’s Sanghavi: “The IPO is not unethical or illegal, it’s just disappointing.” Yunus, a sterner critic, says that once MFIs are in the business to make money, no amount is ever enough. “Interest continues to go up because the market will force [MFIs] to go in that direction and you end up becoming a bigger and bigger loan shark.” (Today MFIs charge 28%, higher than the banks but lower than the village moneylender’s 50% plus.)The Goats and the SharksEveryone at SKS has made money, though some more than the others. When Anjamma took her first loan from SKS in 1998, it was for $33 to buy a goat, says the company’s 2009-2010 annual report. Today, several other goats and loans later, she owns a buffalo and a plot of land worth $889.“First microfinance IPO makes millionaires out of employees,” reports Business Standard. “K. Nirmala, 31, will prepay her home loan shortly, courtesy the stock she held in SKS Microfinance — her employer for 13 years…. Nirmala is not alone. Five days after the company was listed, many of her colleagues are finding themselves in the league of millionaires.”Gurumani, who had exercised his option to purchase 225,000 shares on March 23, 2010, has made a profit of $1.69 million by selling his shares under a prior agreement, says the paper by IIMA’s Sriram.At SKS Microfinance, money is going places.   Related Itemslast_img read more

India-UAE Bilateral Trade to Exceed $100 Billion by 2020

first_imgIndia’s relationship with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has entered a vibrant growth phase with bilateral trade expected to exceed $100 billion by 2020, key speakers at the 2018 Dubai Global Convention said on April 17, Khaleej Times reported.“India is an important demographic and economic powerhouse in Asia and investments between the two countries exceed billions. This convention will take the India-UAE relationship a step further as both countries explore ways to enhance business ties, intensify economic cooperation and increase innovation and entrepreneurship in sectors of mutual interest,” Abdulla Al Saleh, Undersecretary, Foreign Trade and Industry, Ministry of Economy, said in his inaugural address, as per the report.Al Saleh added that India is the first trading partner for the UAE. “In 2017, trade relations between the UAE and India reached $53 billion, of which $35 billion is non-oil trade. The UAE is the third largest foreign trade partner to India after China and United States,” he added.He pointed out that UAE has invested more than $5 billion in India through foreign direct investment stock till the end of 2017. India was also the second largest direct investor in UAE at the end of 2016 with $6.6 billion, he explained, as per the report.“In the beginning, foreign trade and oil and gas were the focal point of the India-UAE relationship. But today, this has diversified to include many new sectors following the recent high-level visits of UAE and Indian leaders,” Al Saleh said.During the inaugural session, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Institute of Directors (IOD), India, and Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) to further strengthen the support between the two institutions.In March 2018, Anwar Mohammad Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of UAE, met Sushma Swaraj, India’s External Affairs Minister, and other top officials in New Delhi. The two countries discussed strategic ties and ways to enhance cooperation and joint coordination on regional and global issues. UAE’s ambassador to India Ahmad Abdul Rahman Al Banna was also a part of the meeting.The two countries also have a “shared interest” in combating terror and this brings the two nations closer, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Mohammed Gargash had said in March 2018 in New Delhi. Related ItemsIndiaUAElast_img read more

Himalayan States demand separate Ministry, green bonus

first_imgHimalayan States on Sunday came together at a conclave here to demand a separate Ministry to deal with problems endemic to them and a green bonus in recognition of their contribution to environment conservation.The twin demands formed part of a common agenda of the Himalayan States which was handed over to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at the end of the conclave, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat told reporters after the event.Ten out of 11 States took part in the conclave. It is for the first time that the Himalayan States have come on a single platform to take a unanimous stand on the issue of green bonus and demanded a separate Ministry to deal with problems unique to them.Explaining the rationale behind the demand for a green bonus, Mr. Rawat said most of the country’s rivers originate in the Himalayas and therefore, the Himalayan States had to play the most significant role in the Prime Minister’s water conservation initiative.He said it was also necessary because the Himalayan States’ contribution to environmental conservation was the biggest with all their green cover. The Himalayan States were also at a disadvantage because large swathes of land fell into eco-sensitive zones where all sorts of development activities could not be carried out.A green bonus thus was needed to compensate the Himalayan States for their disadvantages, Mr. Rawat said.last_img read more

SEA Games 7: Things to watch out for with PH women’s volleyball team

first_imgPH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games PLAY LIST 03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students05:25PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH00:50Trending Articles02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games03:04Filipino athletes share their expectations for 2019 SEA Games00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. And without further ado, here is the list.1. Mika’s leadershipFEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutCONTRIBUTED PHOTOMika Reyes’ appointment as the team’s skipper didn’t quite sit well with the fanbase of Philippine volleyball since the picturesque middle blocker hasn’t been a captain in recent memory.But so far, she has shown that she has the qualities of being a great leader. NBA investigating Lakers amid George tampering allegation LATEST STORIES Reyes was a visible figure in the Philippines’ campaign in the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship, communicating with teammates every chance she gets.The captain has shown control and calm while dealing with her teammates, and she seems to have shrugged off any outside negativity regarding her appointment.2. Alyssa doing Alyssa thingsCONTRIBUTED PHOTOAnother point of controversy was Alyssa Valdez’ inclusion to the national team but just like Reyes, Valdez has shown why she deserves to be in the position she’s in.Valdez was the team’s best scorer in the AVC tournament averaging 14 points a game, and that’s enough to prove why she was chosen as the country’s outside hitter for the SEA Games.ADVERTISEMENT Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses CONTRIBUTED PHOTOThe 2017 Southeast Asian Games just got going and what better way to pump yourself up for the regional sports showcase than read about a list of seven things to watch out for in Kuala Lumpur.And this is not about the tourist attractions in the Malaysian capital. This is about the seven best things about the women’s volleyball team of the Philippines.ADVERTISEMENT Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games The 24-year-old is still as potent as ever and is still a reliable point-getter when the going gets tough for the Filipinos.3. Everything Jaja doesCONTRIBUTED PHOTOWhile Valdez leads the team in scoring in the Asian tournament, Jaja Santiago provides the glorious highlights.Santiago has evolved from a towering middle blocker to a versatile hitter that can play from the three spots in front of the net.Santiago can still make those quick kills from the middle and she’s added a deadly running spike that, so far, has been a beauty.4. Kimmy’s sneaky attacksPhoto by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netKim Fajardo is arguably the best setter among her peers as she steered De La Salle to three UAAP titles during her stay.The wily playmaker, though, is not only renowned for her assists but also for her scoring prowess.She won’t put up gaudy scoring numbers like Valdez or Santiago but when called upon Fajardo is willing to do the dirty work.5. Jove’s veteran smarts AVC Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOIf there’s one constant in Philippine volleyball, it has to be Jovelyn Gonzaga donning the Philippine tricolor.Gonzaga is just 25-years-old—for comparison Valdez is 24—but has represented the Philippines in every conceivable volleyball tournament since 2015.She’s captained the team that participated in the 2015 Southeast Asian Games, played in the FIVB Women’s Club World Championship, AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship, and just everything in between.Gonzaga is Philippine volleyball personified.6. Kianna breaking throughCONTRIBUTED PHOTOKim Kianna Dy was initially named as a reserve player of the national team but when Rachel Anne Daquis announced that she would be leaving the team months before the SEA Games the La Sallian was thrust into the main team.And in her first game as a national player, didn’t go the way she had imagined it.She was a nervous wreck when she came in as a substitute in the AVC tournament, but her shot at redemption came just two days after.After her disappointing showing against Hong Kong, Dy showed class as part of the first six that faced Kazakhstan.Dy showed flashes 0f brilliance as one of the better opposite hitters of the country and proved to head coach Francis Vicente that she deserves to be in the main team. 7. The little ones, Denden and DawnPhoto from asianvolleyball.netDenden Lazaro and Dawn Macandili definitely breathe defense.Both Lazaro and Macandili have been prime examples of what a Philippine libero should be.The two defensive aces practically own the ground game and clean up whatever mess their taller teammates couldn’t get to. LIST: Class, gov’t work suspensions during 30th SEA Games UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension Read Next SEA Games: PH’s Alisson Perticheto tops ice skating short program SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief View commentslast_img read more

Castro rues poor transition D, not his cold shooting, in loss to Globalport

first_imgLOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games Gavina blows his top after yet another Kia loss: ‘I’m tired of this’ UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension And these attempts were point blank floaters and layups that Castro, who finished with 15 points, usually makes.“Everybody has off nights but I think our mistake was our transition defense because once they get the ball we let them start running,” said Castro in Filipino.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutThere were also some calls—or lack thereof—that seemed questionable for TNT but Casto would not comment on the officiating in the loss.“We can’t do anything about it, that was what the referees called so we just have to focus on the game next time around,” said Castro. LATEST STORIES View comments The KaTropa failed to stretch their winning streak to three with the loss as they dropped to 4-3. Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa MOST READ Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnessescenter_img PBA IMAGESANTIPOLO—–TNT point guard Jayson Castro had the coldest hands inside Ynares Sports Center in the KaTropa’s loss 119-112 loss to Globalport in the PBA Governors’ Cup.Castro went on a decent 5-of-12 clip from the field but missed multiple crucial shots in the fourth quarter when the KaTropa attempted to come back against the Batang Pier.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Read Next WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games PLAY LIST 00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games01:42Police: California school shooting took 16 seconds01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Gameslast_img read more

Messi to wed childhood sweetheart in Rosario, Argentina

first_imgBarcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (C), his wife Antonella Roccuzzo and sons pose with the trophy at the end of the Spanish Copa del Rey (King’s Cup) final football match FC Barcelona vs Deportivo Alaves at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid on May 27, 2017.Barcelona won 3-1. / AFP PHOTO / JAVIER SORIANOFootball superstar Lionel Messi is to marry his long term partner and mother of his two children, Antonella Roccuzzo, in their hometown of Rosario on June 30, the Argentina striker revealed on Thursday.“The wedding will be held in Rosario, Argentina, on June 30,” Messi’s personal communications agency 6Pointer said.ADVERTISEMENT Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken World’s 50 Best Restaurants launches new drinking and dining guide Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next 1 dead in Cavite blast, fire Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Pocari import Rivers gets clearance in time for PVL Finals MOST READ What ‘missteps’? WATCH: Firefighters rescue baby seal found in parking garage Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken Cayetano dares Lacson, Drilon to take lie-detector test: Wala akong kinita sa SEA Games The ceremony between the five-time Ballon d’Or winner and his childhood sweetheart is to be held at Rosario cathedral and many of Messi’s Barcelona teammates are expected, chief amongst them the couple’s closest friends, Uruguay striker Luis Suarez and his wife Sofia Balbi.Messi turns 30 on June 24 and Roccuzzo is 29 and the pair have been living together for nine years and have two children, four-year-old Thiago and baby Mateo.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout View commentslast_img read more

50-0: Floyd Mayweather stops Conor McGregor in 10th round

first_imgBefore a pro-McGregor crowd that roared every time the UFC star landed a punch, Mayweather methodically broke him down after a slow start to score his first real stoppage in nearly a decade. He did it in what he said would be his final fight, against a fighter who had never been in a professional boxing match.McGregor boxed surprisingly well early. But after landing some shots in the first three rounds, his punches seemed to lose their steam, and Mayweather went on the pursuit. McGregor backpedaled most of the way, stopping only to throw an occasional flurry as Mayweather wore him down.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games opening“I think we gave the fans what they wanted to see,” Mayweather said. “I owed them for the (Manny) Pacquiao fight.”McGregor had vowed to knock Mayweather out within two rounds, and he won the early rounds with movement and punches to the head. But the tide of the fight turned in the fourth round as Mayweather seemed to figure out what he had to do and began aggressively stalking McGregor. Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim LAS VEGAS, NV – AUGUST 26: (R-L) Floyd Mayweather Jr. throws a punch at Conor McGregor during their super welterweight boxing match on August 26, 2017 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFPLAS VEGAS — Floyd Mayweather Jr. figured out a 50th opponent, letting Conor McGregor have the early rounds before stalking him late and leaving the mixed martial artist defenseless and exhausted on the ropes.Mayweather battered McGregor around the ring in the later rounds, finally stopping him at 1:05 of the 10th round Saturday night with a flurry of punches that forced referee Robert Byrd to stop the fight.ADVERTISEMENT “I was a little fatigued,” he said. “He was composed in there, that’s what 50 pro fights can give you.”Mayweather ran his record to 50-0, surpassing Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 record and giving himself a great parting gift. He repeated afterward that he was not going to fight again.“This is my last fight for sure. 50-0 sounds good, I’m looking forward to going into the Hall of Fame,” Mayweather said. “I picked the best dance partner to do it with.”Irish fans arrived by the thousands in the days before the fight, filling the arena for the weigh-in and boisterously cheering for their man. They even went off in the middle of the night and spray painted an Irish flag and “49-1” on a billboard on Interstate 15 promoting Mayweather’s businesses.The capacity crowd at the arena cheered McGregor on, but they quieted as the fight progressed and Mayweather showed his dominance.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Philippines falls to Vietnam in bronze medal match Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games LATEST STORIEScenter_img Biggest Pogo service provider padlocked for tax evasion Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul MOST READ Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side “I turned him into a Mexican tonight,” McGregor said. “He fought like a Mexican.”In a fight so intriguing that it cost $10,000 for ringside seats, McGregor turned in a respectable performance for someone in his first fight. But Mayweather’s experience and his ring savvy paid off as he executed his game plan to perfection.“Our game plan was to take our time, go to him and take him out in the end,” Mayweather said. “I guaranteed everybody this fight wouldn’t go the distance.”Mayweather was widely criticized for not going after Pacquiao in their megafight, and he didn’t make the same mistake this time. In a fight that could make him $200 million he seemed to stagger McGregor with a series of punches in the ninth round, then came back in the 10th eager to finish it off.McGregor went over and hugged Mayweather. He seemed almost happy in the ring afterward, secure that he had given a good performance even in losing.ADVERTISEMENT View commentslast_img read more

Arunachal FM warns of Kargil-like situation in North-East

first_imgArunachal Pradesh Finance Minister Kalikho Pul has raised an alarm and warned of a “Kargil-like situation” brewing in the North-East.Pul told Headlines Today that Chinese personnel are constantly intruding into Indian territory. He said that the Chinese are easily able to come into many of the north eastern regions, especially Tawang and Anjaw districts.”The situation is alarming for the last seven-eight years. Chinese personnel are constantly intruding into our territory. Names of our villages are written in their area. China has better infrastructure on their side…while our connectivity to the border areas is very poor,” Pul said.Pul has asked the Indian government to take steps to better the infrastructure in the border areas which are lying vacant, otherwise, he has warned, a “Kargil-like situation” may develop in the state.For more news on India, click here. For more news on Business, click here. For more news on Movies, click here. For more news on Sports, click here.last_img read more

Three arrested in Bengal for murder of mentally-challenged woman

first_imgThree persons have been arrested for suspected rape and murder of a 30-year old mentally challenged woman Guria whose body was exhumed on Wednesday from a privately-run rehabilitation centre at Dhaniakhali in West Bengal’s Hooghly district.The arrests were made late Wednesday night. The police are also on the lookout for the key accused Shyamal Ghosh who is on the run. Inmates of the home alleged that Ghosh had seriously tortured Guria a few days before her mysterious disappearance, sources said.The authorities of the asylum said that Guria was admitted to the rehabilitation centre for mentally ill people (women) on May 22, 2012. She died on June 26 and buried five days later in a makeshift grave in the backyard of the rehabilitation centre.Women and child development and social welfare minister Sabitri Mitra has ordered a probe into the murder.”Three people including the secretary of the home Uday Kumar Konar have already been arrested in connection with case. Police is investigating into the matter thoroughly,” Mitra said.The minister said that the state government has shifted as many as 80 mentally-challenged inmates from that home to other asylums. “We have also cancelled their licence to run the rehabilitation centre for mentally deranged women,” Mitra said, pointing out that a magisterial inquiry has been ordered into the case by her department.The body of the victim was sent to Chinsurah in the district for post-mortem examination. The post mortem report will come out in next few days, police sources said.The National Commission for Women (NCW) has also sought an action taken report (ATR) from the district administration on the incident.advertisementSenior CPM leader and former West Bengal sports minister Kanti Ganguly dubbed the incident as gross negligence on the part of the state administration and demanded higher level inquiry into the matter. “I want a CBI probe into the incident as the primary investigation suggests it was not a natural death. The question is why her body was buried without giving any information to the police or the woman’s family members,” Ganguly said.last_img read more

Krishnan Madasamy and Subrata Pal: Caught in Indian sport’s vicious circle

first_imgKrishnan MadasamyA fallen athlete is a lonely one. Who remembers Subrata Pal today? Tomorrow, who will remember Krishnan Madasamy? Both lifters, separated by 12 years, were stripped of Commonwealth Games medals and their stories run parallel, a sign how little changes in Indian sport.Kolkata-based Pal, 38 today, who tested positive,Krishnan MadasamyA fallen athlete is a lonely one. Who remembers Subrata Pal today? Tomorrow, who will remember Krishnan Madasamy? Both lifters, separated by 12 years, were stripped of Commonwealth Games medals and their stories run parallel, a sign how little changes in Indian sport.Kolkata-based Pal, 38 today, who tested positive after winning silver in Auckland in 1990, lives quietly, working for Eastern Railways. Madasamy, whose tainted Games silver came in Manchester this year, shares a one-room home with a friend and is a painter at the Integral Coach Factory in Perambur near Chennai.Two evenings after winning his medal in 1990, all Pal was told by officials was that he had to return home from Auckland. He was banned for two years and to this day maintains he was never told what “substance” he was banned for.”If we get into trouble, our coaches just desert us.” Subrata Pal, 1990 Commonwealth Games weightlifterMadasamy, who tested positive for a nandrolone derivative and could face a two-year ban, says he consumed only vitamins and creatine and cleared a dope test in March and was tested again between April and July.When he tested positive in Manchester, he said he volunteered to undergo a blood test. “But Games officials told me it cost too much. Lifting was my passion but I just don’t feel like doing anything anymore.”Pal claims his coach Pal Singh Sandhu kept track of and gave him all the medication he ever took. “He did not trust anyone else with it.” After his test, Pal said he found Sandhu unwilling to help. “If we win a medal, they’re always around to share the limelight,” he says. “But if we get into trouble, they just desert us.”advertisementPal and Madasamy have been caught in Indian sport’s vicious circle – Sandhu is still coach of the national weightlifting team.last_img read more

Philippine Azkals flaunt quality under continental spotlight

first_img(From up L) Philippines’ defender Luke Woodland, Philippines’ defender Alvaro Silva, Philippines’ forward Patrick Reichelt, Philippines’ midfielder Kevin Ingreso, Philippines’ goalkeeper Michael Falkesgaard(From down L) Philippines’ defender Daisuke Sato, Philippines’ midfielder Stephan Schrock, Philippines’ forward Javier Patino, Philippines’ midfielder Manuel Ott, Philippines’ defender Stefan Palla pose for a photograph prior to the 2019 AFC Asian Cup football game between Korea Republic and Philippines at the al-Maktoum stadium in Dubai on January 07, 2019. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)DUBAI—It was a debut many years in the making and the Philippines surely left its mark, notwithstanding the result.On a cold Monday night at Al Maktoum Stadium, the Azkals combined their grit and resilience with their tactical genius and work rate for the rest of the continent to see as they went toe-to-toe against a giant in South Korea in their Group C opener.ADVERTISEMENT That the Koreans needed a 67th minute strike from Hwang Uijo to finally grab maximum points was a mere footnote to what was a memorable introduction for the Azkals, who showed a spring in their step as chants of Pilipinas reverberated inside the cavernous, newly-refurbished facility throughout the match.READ: Asian Cup: Azkals impress in loss to South KoreaFEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool stars“After a game like this, you will be having one teary eye and one which is okay with the result and the performance,” said midfielder Stephan Schrock, the captain for the night as coach Sven Goran Eriksson opted to start Javier Patino in favor of Phil Younghusband.“We are very proud. Korea had a lot of good players, they are composed and much better than the average Asian team. We surprised everyone with the performance tonight. We did very good. We have something to build on.” LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion PBA to implement new rules on goaltending review, traveling, timeouts SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion The Azkals will take a two-hour bus ride to Abu Dhabi late Tuesday as they prepare for their duel with China on Friday. Getting a result against the Chinese is paramount for Eriksson’s side if it wants to advance to the last 16.Few expected the Azkals to stay competitive against a Korean team that regularly plays in the World Cup and only recently stunned former World Cup champion Germany, 2-0.But the Azkals were hardly fazed by the quality and experience of a Korean side, which had established players in Ki Seungyeung of Newcastle United and Lee Chungyoung, formerly of Crystal Palace.The tactical brilliance of the staff led by Eriksson and deputies Scott Cooper and Chris Greatwich allowed the Azkals to cope with the Korean assault for majority of the match.The Azkals defended deep, but they tracked runs off the ball and produced a solid defensive block that hardly allowed the Koreans to break through. On the counter, they proved dangerous with Schrock and Patrick Reichelt threatening on the right and Patino holding up the play to relieve the pressure.ADVERTISEMENT Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next It took some tweaks and the introduction of Lee early in the second half for Korea to finally break down the Azkals.Lee, who played four seasons in the Premier League, praised the Azkals for their gallant stand.“Everyone thought Korea will win this game, but we saw in the first half that it was not easy,” said the midfielder. “It was a tough game for us. I’m happy to get a result, but the Philippines is good. They have a good future in this tournament.”The three-man defense anchored by Alvaro Silva put bodies on the line just to deny the Koreans opportunities, while Michael Falkesgaard produced three big saves to keep the Azkals in the match up until the late stages of the match.Patino led the line ferociously and provided the Azkals an attacking outlet when they recover the ball from deep positions, but his finishing let him down particularly in the second half when his tamed effort failed to beat Kim Seunggyu on the Korean goal when the match was still goalless.“We kept it nil nil for a long time,” said Younghusband, who came on in the 88th minute.“The longer it got, the more confidence it gave us. Every player had to work in this team. If you lose concentration or you sleep, South Korea will take advantage.”Still, it was a debut to remember for a Philippine team that struggles to get support for the sport back home.“The feeling is incredible: The whole atmosphere,” said Reichelt. “You can feel that this was all a different stage. And we showed that we belong in this stage.”“I’m happy with the performance; but I’m also sad because we could have gotten something out of it,” said Azkals manager Dan Palami. “But if somebody told us before the game that it was going to be just 1-nil, I would take it anytime against a team like South Korea which is always in the World Cup. It gives us encouragement and motivation to do better in our next games.”center_img Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments Hotel management clarifies SEAG footballers’ kikiam breakfast issue Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting MOST READ Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? LATEST STORIES RELATED VIDEO Magalong: Albayalde also got SUV out of ‘agaw bato’ operation in 2013 PLAY LIST 01:19Magalong: Albayalde also got SUV out of ‘agaw bato’ operation in 201300:50Trending Articles01:21’Save the PNP:’ Gordon says Albayalde ‘under pressure’ from PMA02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krausslast_img read more

#KicksStalker: Jayson Tatum debuts self-lacing sneakers in Celtics’ win

first_imgSports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion View comments PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss MANILA, Philippines—As the game of basketball further evolves, so too does the shoe that comes with it.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening Doncic finished with 25 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists wearing the new self-lacing sneaker.The Nike Adapt BB was the second multipurpose performance shoe to feature power lacing after the Nike HyperAdapt 1.0 released in 2016.According to Nike, a custom motor and gear train senses the foot and the shoe itself will adjust to create a snug fit.Using Nike’s FitAdapt tech, the user can now have full control of the shoe through manual touch or by using an app that can adjust both shoes.ADVERTISEMENTcenter_img With key players out, UST Tigresses still figuring out best lineup for UAAP Season 81 Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Boston’s Jayson Tatum debuted the first self-lacing sneaker on an NBA game when the Celtics beat the Toronto Raptors 117-108 Thursday (Manila time) at TD Garden.Tatum wore the Nike Adapt BB to the tune of 16 points and 10 rebounds in a landmark moment in sneaker history.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsDallas’s rookie sensation Luka Doncic also wore the sneakers in the Mavericks’ 105-101 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.READ: #KicksStalker: Nike unveils next-generation self-lacing basketball shoes LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte LATEST STORIESlast_img read more