Thursday, 18 January 2018

Exceptional Kohli named ICC Cricketer of the Year

In phenomenal form across formats, Indian captain Virat Kohli was today named the world cricketer of the year, besides bagging the top honour for ODI players in the ICC annual awards, announced here.

In the qualification period from September 21, 2016 to the end of 2017, Kohli scored 2,203 Test runs at an average of 77.80 including eight centuries, 1,818 ODI runs including seven centuries at 82.63, and 299 T20I runs at a strike rate of 153.

He also captained India to the top of the ICC Test rankings.

"It means a lot to win the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for becoming the ICC Cricketer of the Year 2017 and also the ICC ODI Player of the Year," Kohli was quoted as saying in an ICC statement.

"I won that back in 2012 also but it's the first time winning the Garfield Sobers Trophy, and it's a huge honour for me. It's probably the biggest of all in world cricket and two Indians getting it back-to-back makes it more special," he added.

This is the second time in succession that an Indian won the overall cricketer of the year award. Off-spinner R Ashwin had claimed the honour last year.

It was Kohli's second gong at the 2017 ICC Awards, with the 29-year-old also being named the ODI Player of the Year.

Kohli was also named captain of the ICC Test and ODI teams of the year.

Australian captain Steve Smith claimed the Test Player of the Year honour after scoring 1875 runs in 16 matches at an average of 78.12, with eight hundreds and five 50s.

This is the first instance since 2013 that the ODI Cricketer of the Year award has been won by a non-South African, with Quinton de Kock receiving the accolade for 2016 and AB de Villiers winning it in 2014 and 2015.

In the nominations for ODIs, Kohli was placed nominated alongside Pakistan paceman Hasan Ali, Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan and his own teammate Rohit Sharma.

Smith, meanwhile, averages 63.75 from 61 Tests, the second-best average of all time for those who have played more than 20 Tests.

In the ICC rankings he has climbed to 947 points, just 14 shy of Don Bradman' high watermark of 961.

Smith beat off competition for the from last year's winner Ashwin, who took 111 wickets at 25.87, Cheteshwar Pujara, who scored 1,914 runs, Kohli, and Ben Stokes, who hit 1,000 runs at 40.00 and took 35 wickets at 27.68.

Among other awards, Yuzvendra Chahal's incredible haul of 6/25 against England in Bengaluru last year, was named as Twenty20 International performance of the year.

Chahal was named Player of the Match and Player of the Series for his performance -- the best by an Indian bowler in T20I history, and the third-best of all time.

He is behind only Sri Lanka's Ajantha Mendis, who took 6/8 and 6/16 against Zimbabwe and Australia respectively.

Afghanistan's Rashid Khan was adjudged ICC Associate Cricketer of the Year after taking 60 wickets in 2017 -- a record for an associate player in a calendar year -- and 43 in ODIs, also a record.

Source : http://www.dailypioneer.com/

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Come to table and assist in fight against terrorism: US to Pak

The US today expressed hope that Pakistan would "come to the table" and demonstrate willingness to "aggressively" confront terrorist groups that operate from its territory, amid reports that Islamabad has suspended its military and intelligence cooperation with America.

According to media reports, Pakistan's decision to suspend military and intelligence cooperation with America came after President Donald Trump accused Islamabad of giving nothing to the US but "lies and deceit" and suspended about USD 2 billion in security aid to it.

When asked to comment on Pakistan's reported move, US Under Secretary of State Steve Goldstein said: "We're hopeful for future cooperation from Pakistan."

"We stand ready to work with Pakistan in combating all terrorists without distinction, and we hope to be able to renew and deepen our bilateral security relationship when Pakistan demonstrates its willingness to aggressively confront the Taliban network, the Haqqani Network, and other terrorist and militant groups that operate from its territory," he said.

The US has been clear on this issue to Pakistan, Goldstein said.

"We would like Pakistan to come to the table and assist us in this effort," he said adding that the suspension of security aid is not a cutoff and no funds have been reprogrammed.

The US announced on Thursday that it would not deliver military equipment or transfer security-related funds to Pakistan.

On Monday, a Pentagon spokesman said the US had conveyed to Pakistan to take "concrete steps" against terror groups to earn hundreds of millions of dollars in aid.

Referring to his conversation with the US Ambassador to Pakistan, Goldstein hoped that Pakistan will join the US in its effort with regard to fight against terrorism.

"The Pakistani people have suffered greatly from terrorism, and its security forces have been effective in combating the groups that target Pakistan's interest. So, it’s to their benefit to join with us in helping resolve this matter," Goldstein said.

"We always look at that; but again, it's a suspension and not a cutoff. We haven't reprogrammed the funds. We’re hopeful that Pakistan will come back to the table and do what they told us that they would do," he said.

The US and others have long complained that Pakistan offered safe haven to the Afghan Taliban and their allies, the Haqqani Network, allowing them to carry out cross-border attacks in Afghanistan.

Pakistan denies allegations but President Trump has escalated the criticism against the country since he took office last January.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Bail denied to accused teenager in Ryan school murder case

A sessions court today rejected the bail plea of a 16-year-old student, accused of killing 7-year- old Pradhuman Thakur at the Ryan International School here.

Additional Sessions Judge Jasbir Singh Kundu declined relief to the accused, who is presently under custody.

The court had earlier reserved the order after hearing arguments of the counsel for the accused, the CBI and the complainant.

The defence counsel had claimed that the charge sheet in the matter was not filed within one month, as prescribed in the Juvenile Justice Act, and he was not given required documents.

Opposing the contention, the CBI had said that the mandatory period for filing a charge sheet is 90 days under CrPC provisions as the accused had been declared an adult by the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB).

Pradhuman was found with his throat slit in the school's washroom on September 8 last year.

The Gurgaon Police had claimed the crime was committed by a school bus conductor, which was later refuted by the CBI.

The probe agency had claimed the teenager had killed Pradhuman in a bid to get the school closed so that a parent- teacher meeting and an examination could be deferred.

The court was hearing an appeal filed by the accused against an order of the JJB denying him bail.

The JJB had on December 20 held that the teenager would be tried as an adult and directed that he be produced before the Gurgaon sessions court.

The JJB had noted that the accused was mature enough to recognise the consequences of his actions.

If convicted, the accused will stay in a correctional home till he is 21 years old after which the court can shift him to a jail or grant him bail, it had said.

The board had earlier rejected the bail plea of the Class 11 Ryan International School student.

It had set up a committee which included a psychologist from the PGI, Rohtak, for an expert opinion on the accused, who was taken into custody by the CBI in November 2017.

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 lowers the age of juveniles from 18 years to 16 years for heinous crimes such as rape, murder and dacoity-cum- murder, which warrant at least seven years of imprisonment.

However, the JJB first decides whether the crime was "child-like" or was it committed in an "adult frame of mind", following which it orders the accused to be tried as a juvenile or an adult.

Source : http://www.dailypioneer.com/top-stories/bail-denied-to-accused-teenager-in-ryan-school-murder-case.html

Friday, 5 January 2018

White House meltdown

Trump-Bannon row is making the world’s most powerful building look like a dysfunctional place
An American author and columnist Michael Wolff was given unprecedented access to the first weeks of the Donald Trump White House and his new book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, paints a devastating portrait of the United States President as a weak man, controlled by forces he does not know and someone completely unfit to run the office of the most powerful politician in the world as well as being a warlord with the power of global destruction in a briefcase within arm's reach at all times. There are several excerpts from the book which has been released early to counter Trump’s legal team who tried desperately to stop the release of the book and that unfortunately seems to have given it increased publicity that make Trump look ugly. Some of the aspects of his win or the fact that he brought his wife Melania Trump almost to tears ahead of the election and possibly even the passage where the book states that he only believed that could be President after he won the November 2016 Election, strengthen the belief that Hillary Clinton lost the election rather than Trump winning it.

However, his fallout with his former chief strategist, the Editor of US right wing news website Breitbart News Steve Bannon may be the biggest disclosure. Bannon is quoted to be offering odds on Trump’s Presidency, equal chances he says of Trump either being impeached or removed under the Constitution's 25th Amendment that authorises the US Legislative bodies to remove the occupant of the White House for mental incapacity, and of Trump limping home to complete his Presidency. But with not even a year since Trump was inaugurated, this scandal broke just as Trump entered his fiftieth week in charge and has followed scandal after scandal, let alone foreign policy announcements on social media, even if they are to India’s advantage makes it seem like it has already been an eternity since he has been in charge. Barack Obama was in Delhi recently, but almost no-one remembers him because Trump has so decisively taken over the news cycle.

The fallout between Trump and Bannon is akin to Narendra Modi and Amit Shah falling out; you know that such a thing won’t happen because most people in power keep their own and their nation's best interests in mind. But over in Washington DC the Press corps and the Government bureaucracy have no idea what will hit them tomorrow. While some in the world find all of this amusing, this isn’t a hillbilly or folksy President with amazing acumen; this is a man who has a tremendous ego and on the face of it, a comment on the fact that democracy is not perfect. But then again, American-style democracy is strange. President Trump still has three years to go and despite problems with North Korea and Iran, there aren’t tens of nuclear mushroom clouds across the world. However, a dose of sanity and quiet may not be a bad thing either for President Trump or the rest of the world because even roller-coaster junkies need a break every once in a while.

Source : http://www.dailypioneer.com/columnists

UP as a electronic manufacturing zone

The Uttar Pradesh government introduced UP Electronics Restructuring Policy under which Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway will be declared as electronic manufacturing zone and will be part of Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) industries.

Deputy Chief Minister Dr Dinesh Sharma said that the policy aimed at making Uttar Pradesh as electronics manufacturing hub by projecting the state as ‘preferred destination’ of electronic giants, who will be provided all facilities under one roof.

“The objective of the project is to generate employment for the youth. We have set a target to attract investment worth Rs 20,000 crore under ESDM sector which would generate over 3 lakh jobs by 2022,” he said.

Sharma said that the government also wanted private entrepreneurs to set up ESDM Parks across the state which would revive local economy and boost the GSDP.

Under the new policy, the state government would resolve problems that entrepreneurs may face through single window system. In some case, the government may also arrange finance and would allow concessions as per Industrial Policy announced recently.

Sharma, who is also IT and Electronic minister in the Yogi government, said that ESDM units might get cent per cent rebate in stamp duty and would also reimburse State GST.

Source : http://www.dailypioneer.com/state-editions/lucknow/up-as-a-electronic-manufacturing-zone.html

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Tragedy of Kashmir that bleeds us to this day

One fateful decision taken by Nehru seventy years ago, much against the advice of Sardar Patel, is still creating ripples in the Indian sub-continent. India continues to suffer for the Kashmir mistake
Seventy years is a long time, but a blunder which took place in the last days of 1947, is still creating ripples in the sub-continent. I am speaking of Kashmir. On October 20, 1947, the Indian State of Jammu & Kashmir was invaded by tribesmen and Pakistani nationals from bases inside the Pakistan territory.

Six days later, Maharaja Hari Singh offered to sign the instrument of accession of his State to the Indian Union. The following day, on October 27, the British Governor-General of India accepted the offer; thereafter, the State became an integral part of India.

In a separate letter to the ruler, Mountbatten expressed a wish that the people of the State should be given the right to decide whether they should remain in India or not. This was to take place at a future date when law and order had been restored and the soil of the State cleared of the invaders.

In the following weeks, the situation continued to worsen; on December 19, in a note on Kashmir, former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru noted: “there has been a progressive deterioration and the initiative appears to have been with the enemy most of the time.”

Even the pacifist Prime Minister realised the seriousness of the situation: “What is happening in Kashmir State is not merely a frontier raid but a regular war, on a limited scale, with the latest weapons being used on the part of the invaders.” Nehru continued: “This type of operations can continue for months and months and years without bringing any result. The longer they continue the greater harm they cause to India.”

He agreed that only solution for India was a military action which meant hitting at the raiders, their bases and supply lines in Pakistan.

When Lord Mountbatten, the Governor General, realised the possibility of a change in India’s policy, he decided to act quickly. Since the beginning of the crisis in Kashmir, he had wanted to give the United Nations a say in the matter. But for India, the mere fact of appealing to the United Nations meant creating a ‘dispute’ where there was no dispute; the Kashmir maharaja, like more than 500 other rulers, had acceded to the Indian Union. The fact that Pakistan has organised an armed invasion of Kashmir was a separate issue; the accession of Kashmir was indeed legal, Mountbatten had himself accepted it in writing.

But if India was to declare a war on Pakistan, it would have many consequences for Great Britain and Mountbatten’s career. First, the British officers, serving in the armies of the two dominions, would have to resign; the ‘stand down’ order issued by London was clear on this. The British generals were not vital for India, since the indigenisation of the Army had made great strides since August 15; however, it would have serious consequences for the Pakistanis who were totally dependent on the British officers.

Another consequence was that Mountbatten would probably lose his job, it was impossible for a Briton to be the Head of a State at war against another member of the Commonwealth (ie Pakistan).
As Mountbatten started putting pressure on Jawaharlal Nehru to refer the issue to the United Nations, a distressing incident took place in Delhi. Though legally, the issue of Jammu & Kashmir was under the Ministry of States headed by Sardar Patel, Nehru decided to take over the Kashmir file. We shall see the consequences.

On December 23, using the excuse of 150 motor vehicles being sent from East Punjab to Kashmir by the States’ Ministry, the Prime Minister wrote to Patel: “I do not appreciate the principle which presumably the States Ministry has in view in regard to its work. That Ministry, or any other Ministry, is not an imperium in imperio, [a state with the State] jealous of its sovereignty in certain domains and working in isolation from the rest.”

This was totally unfair to Patel.
But Nehru argued that Kashmir was connected with international, military and others issues “which are beyond the competence of the States Ministry as such.”

Patel immediately decided to resign; he told Nehru that the latter’s letter “has caused me considerable pain …In any case, your letter makes it clear to me that I must not or at least cannot continue as a Member of Government and hence I am hereby tendering my resignation.”

Unfortunately, on Gandhi’s intervention, Patel had to withdraw his resignation, but thereafter he had no say on important decisions on Kashmir. This would have tragic consequences.

Once Patel was out of the way, Mountbatten could act; he asked the British High Commissioner in Delhi to inform Attlee of the catastrophic military situation for India and that if Uri and Naushara fell, there would be nothing he could do “to stop the Indian forces from marching in West Pakistan.”
The problem was that Mountbatten, as Chairman of the Defence Committee, was privy to all Delhi’s decisions. He could not tell Attlee, the British Prime Minister, to directly write to Nehru, by referring to plans that Attlee was not supposed to know. Mountbatten, therefore, suggested that Nehru should himself keep Attlee informed of the situation.

Naively, the Indian Prime Minister wrote to Attlee to explain to him that India had no alternative but to attack Pakistan; the last thing His

Majesty’s Government wanted to see was the end of Pakistan as Attlee knew very well that as soon as the war would break out, all British officers would have to leave both dominions.
He replied the same day to Nehru that his Government was very much disturbed by the fact that India believed it had the right to enter Pakistan, even in self-defense. Attlee knew Nehru well enough to play on a very sensitive point: That world opinion would condemn him and India.

Probably also influenced by Edwina Mountbatten, Nehru fell into the trap; he wrote a complaint to the United Nations. But by accepting Mountbatten’s suggestion to unveil India’s plans to Attlee, Nehru committed a major blunder, and Patel could not intervene anymore.

On December 28, 1947, in a letter to Lord Mountbatten, Nehru wrote: “In view of the great importance of the step we are contemplating regarding a reference to the United Nations, we had a special meeting of the Cabinet today to consider it.” A ‘draft reference’ was approved and a copy sent to the British Prime Minister.

The next day, Vallabhbhai Patel was informed “I am sending you separately a copy of a telegram sent yesterday to the Prime Minister, UK, in regard to Kashmir. We held a meeting of the Cabinet yesterday afternoon when we considered this telegram and the draft reference to UNO.”

Patel had been sidelined and the harm was done. Seventy years later, India is still suffering from the blunder then committed. Such a tragedy!

Source : http://www.dailypioneer.com/columnists/edit/tragedy-of-kashmir-that-bleeds-us-to-this-day.html

Modi for strengthening BJP at roots, promoting young leaders

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today called for strengthening the BJP at its roots for a win in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and also pitched for promoting young faces inside and outside the party.
 
Addressing the BJP parliamentary party here, Modi pushed for promoting the new generation for a "New India", a vision for 2022 promoted by his government.
 
He also urged party leaders not to be affected by the opposition's "disinformation" campaign against the BJP, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar told reporters.
 
Booth level work, which is the root of a poll campaign, is the mother of an election victory, Kumar quoted Modi as saying.
 
"He called for strengthening the party at its roots across the country," Kumar said.
 
Party sources said Modi turned emotional a few times as he recalled how the party organisation was built in Gujarat and young leaders were groomed by their seniors, including former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
 
With the Congress claiming a "moral victory" for scoring its highest tally and pushing the BJP's to its lowest score in the last many elections, Modi asserted that it was a big win for his party in his home state.
 
No party in power at the Centre had done this well in elections across the country in over three years of tenure as the BJP had done, he said, referring to its winning streak in Assembly elections.
 
Modi fondly recalled how Vajpayee congratulated him in person when the party fared well in a Lok Sabha election from Gujarat, noting that he, then a relatively new entrant to the BJP from the RSS and a general secretary in charge of the state, was not widely known in the party, sources said.
 
Seeking the promotion of young leaders at every level in the organisation, Modi referred to his association with party president Amit Shah, who was present at today's meeting, and spoke about how he groomed Shah, 14 years younger to the prime minister, they said.
 
"Modi called for strengthening the party at its roots across the country. He said the work at the booth level is most important, beside people's blessings to the party, for creating a wave in its favour," Kumar told reporters after the meeting.
 
Modi wanted younger generations to be connected with party work, social work and for building the nation. He noted that the "millennial generation" would be eligible to vote from 2018.
 
In his address, Shah attacked the Congress over its claim of a moral victory in the Gujarat polls, saying it was a "laughable exercise" for the opposition party to see victory in defeat.
 
By getting more than 49 per cent of the votes, the BJP had received its highest share in the last many elections, including in 2012, when it won 116 seats against the 99 this time.