Friday, 15 February 2013

Playing in India is always special: Clarke

Chennai: From the time Michael Clarke made a memorable Test debut against India at Bengaluru in 2004 with an impressive 151, the Australian has grown from strength to strength.

The stylish batsman has tormented the bowling attack whenever he was up against the Indians. When the two teams last met down under, Clarke led his side to a 4-0 whitewash with astonishing displays of batting at Sydney (careerhigh 329 not out) and at Adelaide (210).


On coming back to the country where his Test journey began:

It's always exciting to come to India as I've always enjoyed playing here. The main reason for that is people of India love the game of cricket. It is a special place for me because I made my Test debut here and I have so many fond memories. I suppose it's more special to come back as a captain.

On his career so far: It's been up and down. I guess -some good times, when the team has had a lot of success and I have scored some runs, and some tough times, when I have been dropped from the Test team and I didn't know if I was going to get back into the team. Now the positive is that the team is playing well and I am able to captain Australia.

On conditions here: IPL has certainly changed the comfort level of the players. Players know what the conditions are like when they come to India. The IPL has also been fantastic in that it has built relationships between players all around the world.

On shielding youngsters: Being a senior player, not just the captain, it is part of your responsibility. The responsibility is on some of us who have played a lot of Tests to stand up and lead from the front, make sure the youngsters are taken along. So it's part of my job to make sure I help them and as much as anything, be there for them through the good times and the tough times.

On Gambhir’s absence: I expected him to be in the Test the Test team. He is a wonderful player and has been for India for a long time now. I think there are a few bowlers in our team who are happy he is not playing. If he scores runs, I'm sure he will get his chance with the Indian team again.

No pre-series salvos?

It's not about what you say, it's about what you do on the field. As a player, as the Australian cricket team, that's our goal. It's no good making statements and comments and not backing them up. I'd rather people say less and do more, so that's our goal. Perform well on the field, that's all we say.

Source : DC

US Warns North Korea Against Further 'Provocative' Acts

WASHINGTON: The United States Friday called on North Korea not to take any further provocative steps, as a US think tank said Pyongyang was preparing a launchpad that could pave the way to firing a long-range missile.

Asked about media reports that North Korea, also known as the DPRK, has told China it is preparing further nuclear tests, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said such moves would just "lead to more isolation."

"The United States calls on the DPRK to refrain from additional provocative actions that would violate its international obligations and run counter to its commitments," she told journalists.

UN Security Council resolutions insist North Korea should not carry out any further nuclear tests, or face further global sanctions.

There was global outrage after Pyongyang on Tuesday defiantly carried out its third nuclear test, saying it was responding to US "hostility" after the UN Security Council condemned its last missile launch two months ago.

"The DPRK is not going to achieve anything in terms of the health, wealth, safety, (or) future of its own people by these kinds of continued provocative actions," Nuland said.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest, speaking aboard Air Force One, also stressed that Pyongyang should abide by UN resolutions.

"We encourage the North Koreans to live up to their international obligations, abandon their nuclear program and work with the rest of the international community to become a responsible member of the international community," he said.

38 North, a blog of the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, said Thursday it had analyzed satellite photos that it said showed possible assistance from Iran at the Tonghae Satellite Launching Ground in northeastern North Korea.

38 North said a commercial satellite photograph taken on January 5 showed "important progress" since the area was hit with typhoons last year and indicated activity that was consistent with preparations for a launch.

But the website said there was not enough evidence to support speculation that North Korea could raise the stakes by testing its KN-08, a new missile with potential intercontinental range first displayed in a parade in April.

The website said that North Korea likely was preparing to test much larger rockets by the time the site is completed in 2016.

Source : TOI

Brig, 2 IAF Officers Manipulated Specifications For Deal

Pushed to the wall by the Italian government’s probe into the alleged payment of bribes to Indians for the Rs 3,750 crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal, the ministry of defence (MoD) has instituted an internal inquiry even as it gets ready to cancel the deal. According to sources in the MoD, they have also found prima facie evidence that the specifications for the tender were tweaked to favour AgustaWestland.

The CBI will send its team to Italy next week to investigate the scam.
The process of cancellation of the contract with Italian firm Finnmeccanica was initiated on Friday afternoon. Sources told DNA that during the internal probe, names of two senior IAF officers and an Army Brigadier has emerged as the people who changed the technical specifications to favour the Italian major.

“During the probe, the names of two high ranked officers of the Air headquarters in New Delhi and an army officer has come out, as they were part of the committee to change parameters of technical specifications,” a senior MoD official told DNA. But despite indications, the MoD could not take any administrative action against these officers, as the government is awaiting a reply from their Italian counterparts.

“The MoD today issued a formal show cause notice to the AgustaWestland of the UK seeking cancellation of contract and taking other actions according to the terms of the contract and the Integrity Pact,” MoD spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said.

“With today’s show cause notice, the operation of the contract has been put on hold,” Kar added.

According to defence ministry officials, the government will also go for blacklisting the firm. Blacklisting of Finnmeccanica will lead to affect its military business of worth $8 billion (Rs, 44,000 crore) with India. After cancellation of the VIP chopper deal, the three AW 101 that have been delivered will be returned and the paid money will be forfeited.

By Pradiprsagar (DNA)

Micromax Sells 25 Units Of Canvas HD Per Minute

Mobile consumers are returning Micromax’s Valentine’s Day love. Its newly released phone, the Canvas HD, has already sold over 9,000 units online in less than 24 hours, Micromax said today.

The Canvas HD which was launched exclusively online on Thursday has been Micromax’s one of the most awaited products this year.

Data from the company’s  online partner, showed that the first lot of the Canvas HD was sold out within 15 minutes of announcing sale on the midnight of 14 February. The second lot of 300 units was also sold out within 15 minutes of the sale at 9 am and the third lot of 1,200 phones was sold in 45 minutes with the beginning of the sale at noon on Thursday.

“This product exceeded our expectations by a huge margin. We took this live at midnight and we were completely surprised to see all 500 units which we expected to sell in the entire day sold out within 15 minutes of launch. Our call volume shot through the roof with enquiries and we have replenished inventory levels to cater to more sales. This kind of pace of sales beats our previous records,” Tony Navin, vice president,  Business Development, Snapdeal  said.

Micromax, in a statement has said that got a booking order for 9,000 units of the Canvas HD, in less than 24 hours since its launch.

“After the unprecedented success of the Canvas 2, we are overwhelmed with the customer response for Canvas HD. This is the first time our online sales partners have ever witnessed a digital queue in cyberspace to such an extent for any product,”  said Shubhodip Pal, CMO Micromax.

“We expect the sales of this device to touch a new high in the coming weeks which will soon be available for sale at all leading retail stores in the country. We hope to further strengthen our leadership in the new phablet category in India,” Pal said.

The phone which was launched on midnight of 14 February has seen a booking pace of 25 units per minute. Priced at Rs 13,990, the Canvas HD is Micromax’s first quad core processor phone and launched sales only online.

Micromax also launched the Bolt A35 on Valentine’s Day . It is its first phone in the Bolt category and comes with ‘Flash Transfer’. The Bolt category will include a new range of feature rich phones from Micromax whose flash transfer will enable users to share apps, games, photos, videos, songs and much more with just a swipe.

Spanish Tourist Among Five Injured In Kashmir During Protests Against Afzal Guru Hanging

Srinagar: A Spanish tourist was among five people injured Friday in the Kashmir Valley as sporadic protests erupted against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. Despite a valley-wide curfew for the seventh straight day, protesters took to the streets in areas and clashed with security forces, both police and other sources said.

Police said the situation was "by and large peaceful" Friday. However, there were incidents of stone pelting at Naid Khai, Azad Gunj Baramulla, Handwara, Ajas Bandipora, Muran Pulwama, Charar-i-Sharief and Qaimoh Kulgam, a police statement said.

Police said they exercised maximum restraint while dealing with mobs. One man, Ghulam Nabi Dar of Bandipora district, was injured in his right leg and was hospitalized. It was not clear what precisely happened.

Three policemen were hit by stones and injured at Handwara and Charar-i-Sharief. The tourist from Madrid, Marcos Tovio, was also hit by a stone when he was going to the north Kashmir Gulmarg ski resort Friday afternoon, police said.

He was admitted at the Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences Soura in Srinagar. Authorities imposed curfew in all major towns of the valley including Srinagar to foil protests over Afzal Guru's Feb 9 execution in New Delhi's Tihar Jail.

His body was then buried in the jail complex. In old city areas of Srinagar, Baramulla, Sopore, Anantnag, Pulwama and Shopian towns, uninterrupted curfew entered the seventh day.

Police sources said in some areas the curfew was relaxed in the evening to allow people to buy food and other essentials. Separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani has extended his call for a protest shutdown till Sunday.

Geelani had asked people to offer Afzal Guru's funeral prayers in absentia and collectively demand the return of his body to the family. The blockade of Internet and mobile telephones imposed February 9 continued for the seventh day Friday.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had asked separatist leaders not to prolong the shutdown. Omar said he cannot prevent people from identifying with Afzal Guru. "This is not a totalitarian state," he said earlier.

More than 40 youths have been taken into custody in the last six days during clashes with security forces or during night raids at some places. There is heavy deployment of police and paramilitary forces in all cities and towns of the valley.

6 Months After Geetika Sharma, Mother Kills Self

The fight against the system — and former Haryana minister Gopal Goyal Kanda — took another life in the Sharma family. Six months after her daughter Geetika committed suicide in August in the family’s Ashok Vihar home, Anuradha Sharma also killed herself on Friday — by hanging herself in the same room as her daughter.
For, she said in her suicide note, she could never get over the trauma of Geetika’s death. “We found a suicide note in the house. Anuradha Sharma was depressed. The note says Gopal Kanda and Aruna Chaddha were responsible for Geetika’s death,” said P Karunakaran, DCP, northwest.

According to the police, Anuradha — an accountant in the finance ministry — returned from work at 4.30pm. She was alone at home. Her husband Dinesh and sister-in-law Jyoti were the first to see the body when they entered using a spare key and informed the police.

According to the police, Anuradha — an accountant in the finance ministry — returned from work at 4.30pm. She was alone at home. Her husband Dinesh and sister-in-law Jyoti were the first to see the body when they entered using a spare key and informed the police.

Earlier, Geetika’s suicide note also alleged ‘mental harassment’ by her boss Kanda, then a Haryana minister and managing director of the MDLR group.

Geetika was an airhostess in the group’s airline venture. After the airline folded up, she tried to get away but was forced to stay back and shifted to the group’s educational institution in Gurgaon.

During the probe, it emerged that Geetika and her family were well known to Kanda and his wife and both families had gone on tours and pilgrimages.

After Geetika’s death, Kanda and HR chief of the group Aruna Chaddha were arrested for abetment to suicide. But the family feels its loss was irreparable and its honour sullied irreversibly.

A fresh case of abetment to suicide has been registered against Kanda and Chaddha at north Delhi’s Bharat Nagar police station.


People Who Have Mandate To Rule Are Typical "Bullies": CAG

Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai, whose reports on various scams had raised the hackles of those in the government, says people who have the mandate to rule are typical "bullies". Rai, who is due to retire in May this year, also said on Friday that time alone will tell whether he will join politics.

The Government auditor while stating that public officials make the most oft repeated statement that law would be allowed to take its own course over detection of large number of misdemeanors regretted that this does not happen at all. Touching upon the rash of corruption case that has come to the fore, Rai said things have changed and the silent majority can no more be bullied by the minority.

Describing 2012 as a defining year, the CAG said the year debunked the myth of silent majority.

"The myth that has been debunked is that of the silent majority. The majority is always silent because the minority feel that they have a mandate and they are exercising that mandate. They are more articulate and aggressive than the silent majority...... But, the times have changed....But, the so called people who have the mandate, are typical what I would call, bullies. The majority has to be consistent in their efforts to see the changes in the system," Rai said in response to a question at a banking symposium here.

Rai said the urban middle-class, who are usually averse to the idea of politics, are now asserting themselves, and are uniting for a cause.

"Today, there is a culture of end justifying the means, which has far reaching implications," he added

Rai said compulsion of coalition politics in every democracy is leading to convenient deviations. "The dominant culture of adjustment is prevalent... With honesty and integrity becoming the casualty."

"It is unfortunate that this is exactly what doesn't happen and any number impediments are created in law taking its own course," he said of statements by the public officials over the large number of misdemeanors which have been reported that the law would be allowed to take its own course.

When asked whether he had any plans to join politics post-retirement, Rai quipped, "Is there anything wrong in it?'" However, he said , "time alone will tell. I neither affirm nor deny..."