INESTIMABLE PLEASURES On Saturday, April 2, with an awe-inspiring and emotional outpouring of love and respect, this nation bade a grand farewell to one of its most illustrious sons. Winston Blake (‘The Merritone Music Maestro’) was not universally embraced for his connections with or contribution to Sport. However, with his undying love for his alma mater, Kingston College – a virtual hotbed for the games that teenagers play – he was a fixture at the National Stadium and before that, Sabina Park, during Champs week. Without fuss or fanfare, his unsolicited support took many young athletes over the hump. Politicians from both sides of the divide, by their presence, typified the life of the man whose earthly journey they had huddled together to celebrate. He will be sorely missed. Foster’s Fairplay wishes that he be granted eternal rest. No one with a straight face can deny that there are inestimable pleasures to be derived from the shortest version of the game. The ending to the final provides stark evidence. In attacking an achievable target, the West Indies innings had fallen into serious disrepair. The strategy crafted by the ‘out of touch’ and in some quarters ‘out of favour’ Marlon Samuels was sheer brilliance. He curbed his well-known flair and ferocity to set up the Carlos Brathwaite explosion. It was the grand finale, all West Indians loyal to the cause could conceivably have wanted. It had all the ingredients of a Hollywood thriller. All that said, West Indies cricket has impacted and ruled the world from the springboard of Test cricket. That and only that must be the focal point in any perceived initiative to turn that never-ending corner. The treasures of watching and appreciating the grace, elegance and charm of a Lawrence Rowe, the ability to bludgeon into surrender a savage attack as Sir Vivian Richards afforded us, are no longer. Need one to further illustrate the point; go back to the mastery of a Sir Garfield Sobers or the finesse of the great Rohan Kanhai. Set in what is now being challenged – a five-day match – like it or not, together with fierce fast bowlers, the West Indies grabbed and held on to the number one spot for close to two decades. To this place all heads must be pointed if the call of “we are back” is to be countenanced. Go for it, West Indies! English Cricket commentator and former County of Hampshire player, Mark Nicholas, has referred to the West Indies T20 team as “short of brains”. The remark came during the build-up to the recently concluded ICC T20 World Cup in that format of the game. Nicholas is described by the popular cricket website, espncricinfo, as “almost a throwback to the era of amateurs”. Anyone familiar with that period in English cricket, where there was a clear, social demarcation between two sets of cricketers, is wont to draw a single conclusion. Amateurs were referred to as gentlemen and those who looked to the game for their living were given the nomenclature of players. Given all that, the “no brains” label, coming from a white Englishman, must be seen as manifestly racist. That skipper Darren Sammy, mindful of, but not allowing the tag to disrupt his flow, could have led his team to a sound thrashing of the English, was a masterstroke. The clobbering, straight on the heels of a similar beating of the Aussies by our ladies, was a ”take that” response in the face of those who consider themselves to be ahead in quality of on-field performance. With those two title-winning victories and the still savoured under-19 triumph, the way forward is being charted by the loyal fans of the sport. They have stuck with a team whose fortunes have plummeted to rock bottom. Once ruling the roost in what is still considered to be the real cricket, they had been swept aside by teams who prepared, while the perennial high rankers remained complacent and perhaps, over-celebrated. It is quite understandable that this string of victories in a ‘slam bam, thank you, ma’am format’ has elicited shouts of “We are back”. Foster’s Fairplay urges caution. SHORT OF BRAINS
Bronze medallist Sakshi Malik reached New Delhi today after scripting her success story at the Rio Olypmics last week. The wrestler’s flight landed at the Indira Gandhi International airport at around 3:50 am.Sakshi Malik was accompanied by Haryana’s Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Anil Vij on her flight back home.As many as five BJP ministers from Haryana including Kavita Jain, Rao Narbir Singh, Manish Grover and Vipul Goel, Director of Sports and Youth Affairs Department of Haryana were there to welcome Sakshi Malik.The wrestler will also be felicitated with a cash prize of Rs 2.5 crore by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar for her achievement. The felicitation ceremony will be held in her village in Rohtak where the Haryana CM will meet the wrestler and congratulate her on her victory. The ceremony is expected to see a footfall of roughly 30,000 people.Sakshi Malik expressed her joy of coming back to India after her Rio Olympics stint earlier yesterday in a tweet. She tweeted, “Aa rahi hoon main, apne des apne ghar!”Aa rahi hoon main, apne des apne ghar! ???? pic.twitter.com/tCd5ZSsRLi Sakshi Malik (@SakshiMalik) August 23, 2016Malik has been requested by sarpanchs from several villages in Rohtak to make a brief stopover on her way home. The wrestler, travelling in her decked vehicle, is expected to stop at couple of villages before reaching her home.Also read – Sakshi Malik earned new respect for tricolour on Raksha Bandhan: PM Modi
Motorola launched the Moto Z2 Play in the US on June 2. Soon after that, the company announced via a tweet that they are going to launch the device in India on June 8. The Moto Z2 Play is set to launch in India today at an event in Goa around noon. Motorola will also live stream the event on their YouTube channel. You can watch the live stream here. The smartphone will be Flipkart exclusive and will be available to pre-book at 2PM on Flipkart . The Moto Z2 Play was initially launched with 4 new Moto Mods. This is the successor of the last year’s Moto Z Play, and is much improved in terms of performance, camera, processor and more at least in terms of the specifications. The company on Sunday tweeted that the smartphone soon after the India launch will be available for pre-booking as well. Moto Z2 Play can be pre-booked via the company’s official Moto India website.Meanwhile, another Moto phone — a high-end Moto phone called Moto Z2 — has been leaked on Geekbench, a website that lists Android benchmarks. The benchmark that was uploaded on June 7 hints at a phone that will be powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 835. This phone is likely to be the successor to the last year’s Moto Z. This also means that the phone will have a metal body, high-end hardware, including a high-megapixel camera and a QHD screen. It will also certain that the phone will support newer Moto Mods. In addition to the processor information, the Geekbench leak also reveals that the Moto Z2 will have 4GB RAM and that it will use Android 7.1 Nougat software.advertisementMotorola is offering several offers on pre-booking. People who pre-book the Moto Z2 Play will have to pay Rs 2,000 up front, and the rest of the amount can be paid eventually over a span of of 10 months with 0 percent interest. Furthemore, Lenovo is also offering the Moto Armor pack, which includes — protective accessories, there will be offers on Moto Mods as well.To recall the new Moto Z2 Play is priced at $499 in the US. In India the smartphone will likely to be priced somewhere in between the Rs 25,000 and Rs 30,000. In terms of specifications, the Moto Z2 Play comes with a 5.5-inch full HD Super AMOLED display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 on top. The device was announced in two storage options – 32GB and 64GB, both of which are expandable via a microSD card of up to 2TB.On the camera front, Z2 Play comes with a much improved camera set up and comes with a 12-megapixel primary camera and sport a 5-megapixel front facing camera coupled with LED flash. Further, the successor of last year’s Moto Z2 Play will run on Android 7.1.1 Nougat, and will be powered by an octa-core Snapdragon 626 processor clocked at 2.2GHz coupled with either 3GB or 4GB of RAM memory. Moto Z2 Play is backed by a 3,000mAh battery, which is expected to last for 30 hours on a single charge.Also Read: Moto Z2 Play with Snapdragon 626, 4GB RAM launched with four new Moto ModsAlso Read: Moto Z2 Play: Full specs, new Moto Mods, price and everything you need to know
About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Watford defender Kabasele taken to hospital after collision in Chelsea defeatby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveWatford defender Christian Kabasele was immediately taken to hospital after colliding with a post in defeat to Chelsea.Kabasele was taken to hospital and given oxygen to numb the pain after being forced off.Despite returning to his feet momentarily, television pictures towards the end of the first half showed the former Genk man being wheeled into an ambulance on a stretcher with the aid of oxygen. With games coming thick and fast over the Christmas period, it is a blow for Watford to lose one of their key men at the back.
Nick Saban Wedding Bryant-Denny StadiumNick Saban’s daughter, Kristen, got married last night. We’ll give you one guess at the venue. Yes, it was Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium. And it looked awesome. Congrats to Mr and Mrs Setas #SabanToSetas #SetOnSetasA photo posted by Ann Marie Theis (@annmarietheis) on May 30, 2015 at 9:11pm PDT The lovely bride! #setonsetas #sabantosetasA photo posted by Ann Marie Theis (@annmarietheis) on May 30, 2015 at 6:56pm PDT #SabanToSetas #SetOnSetasA photo posted by Ann Marie Theis (@annmarietheis) on May 30, 2015 at 9:14pm PDT So Nick Saban’s daughter got married last night. Why am I not surprised at the venue!? 😉 pic.twitter.com/IPZVrETCxM— Belle Es You (@SouthernbeLLSU) May 31, 2015 RT @MarisaLeeMartin: Only Kristen #Saban could pull this off at her wedding #SabanToSetas pic.twitter.com/uUPN1zx4Pa— Brent Dougherty (@brentdougherty) May 31, 2015 All weddings of people related to college football coaches should be held at college football stadiums.
TORONTO – Wall Street set another record high Tuesday on relatively minor movements as Canada’s largest stock index inched forward and the loonie cleared 80 cents US.In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 84.07 points to 22,641.67. The S&P 500 index edged up 5.46 points to 2,534.58 and the Nasdaq composite index added 14.99 points to 6,531.71.North of the border, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index advanced 23.51 points to 15,728.51.“It’s a little sleepy today, pretty slow,” said Cavan Yie, a portfolio manager at Manulife Asset Management. “All you’re seeing is optimism in the markets being sustained.”“If you look at Canada,” Yie added, “the banks keep chugging along with share prices near all-time highs, with solid fundamentals to support them.”The TSX’s financials subsector was up nearly half a percentage point on Tuesday.Looking ahead to Friday, investors will be eyeing Statistics Canada’s labour force survey for September.RBC Economics Research has said Canadian employment is expected to continue to increase that month, rising 10,000 though this would be down from the 22,000 increase in August.“The slowing largely reflects the expectation that the gain in service-producing jobs drops to just 5,000 after the 35,900 surge in August,” it said in an investor’s note.Meanwhile, some U.S. economic reports may look abnormally weak because of the hurricanes that have recently struck the United States, such as this week’s upcoming report on hiring. But investors are expecting to see temporarily weaker numbers, which would limit the impact.In currency markets, the Canadian dollar was trading at an average price of 80 cents US, up 0.03 of a cent.The November crude contract fell 16 cents to US$50.42 per barrel and the November natural gas contract was down two cents at US$2.90 per mmBTU.The December gold contract gave back $1.20 cents to US$1,274.60 an ounce and the December copper contract was unchanged at US$2.96 a pound.Follow @DaveHTO on Twitter.
LAS VEGAS — A judge in Nevada has temporarily blocked the planned release of a Massachusetts Gaming Commission report about allegations of sexual misconduct against former casino mogul Steve Wynn.A court aide says Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez decided Monday she’ll hear arguments about whether the report contains confidential information and documents that Wynn attorneys say should be protected by attorney-client privilege.Wynn sued Nov. 7 to stop next month’s planned release of commission findings about whether Wynn engaged in sexual misconduct with female employees while he headed Las Vegas-based Wynn Resorts.Wynn resigned as company chief executive and chairman in February after misconduct claims were made against him.He denies the allegations.Wynn’s name has been removed from the company’s Massachusetts casino, now called Encore Boston Harbor.The Associated Press
Sloan said that crews have been levelling out the property and preparing it for construction to begin on the new school’s foundation, with the goal of having the first concrete poured before the ground hardens up later in the fall.He explained that initial work has been proceeding at a faster pace than on the new Margaret ‘Ma’ Murray School on the City’s west side due to a number of factors, including better preparedness and different geological properties of the site.“We weren’t sure when we were going to get approval, so we had the plan on the shelf. I wouldn’t say this is ahead of the game, but this is our new reality in terms of making sure that we construct to schedule. ‘Make hay while the sun shines’ is the expression, and we had enough interesting experiences with weather on the ‘Ma’ Murray site that once we got the go-ahead we had the plan on the shelf for how to prep the site.”Sloan said that the land for the new school differs in several aspects from that of ‘Ma’ Murray including in ground slope and composition, which makes it easier to prepare for laying the building’s foundation.The provincial government announced on June 28th that it is providing up to $30.8 million to build the school, while the School District will contribute $300,000. Full-scale construction is set to begin next summer, with the school scheduled to open in fall 2021, with 505 spaces for students in Kindergarten through Grade 6. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – School District #60 says that site preparation work has begun on a new elementary school on the northeast side of Fort St. John, less than two months after the provincial government announced funding for the project.SD60 Superintendent Dave Sloan said that construction crews began preparation work at the site of the new school, which is located across 112th Avenue from the Fort St. John Hospital, less than a week ago.The School District posted photos of the construction work on its Facebook page on Sunday.
“Our government recognizes the importance of a safe, modern and reliable road infrastructure for the economic prosperity of the northern part of this region. The completion of these projects along the Alaska Highway highlights our commitment to providing safe infrastructure to Canadians.”The Honourable Carla QualtroughMinister of Public Services and Procurement and AccessibilityFor more information on this announcement CLICK HERE FORT NELSON, B.C. – Four contracts were awarded for maintenance and construction work along the Alaska Highway.Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, made the announcement on November 15, 2018. These improvements will give the community access to a more reliable, safer and modern roadway with improved circulation.Areas that will be improved are a 33-kilometre portion of the highway, receiving bituminous surface treatment to asphalt, replacing a culvert in the Townsend Creek area, improving the Wonowon intersection by changing the road configuration and a new salt shed in Wonowon.
The General Election this time has been marked by a significant amount of violence in the run-up to the polls in several parts of the country. The bitterness amongst the contesting parties in states like West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra precipitated clashes between rival workers testing the efficacy and impartiality of the local police. The institution of the State Electoral Officer did not seem to be strong enough in monitoring the performance of the district police officials and taking action against those who showed serious dereliction of duty. Violence around polling booths is a negation of democratic rights of the voters and by now India should have been able to practice zero tolerance towards this malaise. It is high time a commission examined the ways and means of ensuring peace during elections and defined specific policy measures in this regard for the future. It is highly regrettable that the largest democracy in the world cannot liberate the election process of street-level violence. Clearly, in the federal scheme of things, it is the state police chief who has to take direct responsibility for it and demonstrate his or her apolitical credentials while handling law and order during elections with an iron fist. There should be no delay in the implementation of the Supreme Court order issued last year against the practice of appointing officiating DGPs – that also clearly laid down that the UPSC will draw up a panel of three names in consultation with the state government and that the state government will make one of them the DGP of the state on the basis of merit-cum-seniority. This is the single most important Police reform that the Centre must put in place at once. Another area of political violence that showed up during and outside of elections, concerns the injurious fallout from public speeches that tended to instigate caste, communal or regional conflicts. Pungent wit and some name-calling without violating the law of defamation could be a legit part of electioneering but deliberately indulging in identity politics and questioning the symbols of nationalism became much too obvious in the poll fray this time. India is vulnerable to communal and caste tensions and freedom of expression cannot be allowed to cross the legal limits put on it by the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1972 that created Sections 153A & 153B to define cognizable and non-bailable offences pertaining to sectarian speeches. The police machinery of the districts has to be strengthened a great deal with manpower and technological equipment to enable it to handle this rampant criminality committed by the people in public life today. Follow up on the blatant violations of law noticed in this General Election should continue even after the poll process is over. The most dangerous form of political violence that is steadily permeating our nation, however, is the rise of new terror emanating from faith-based motivation. Terrorism by definition is the resort to ‘covert violence for a perceived political cause’. In the absence of such a ’cause’, the violence will just be sheer criminality; and terrorism is not that, certainly. A cause demands ‘commitment’ which in turn is rooted in ‘motivation’. India has seen diverse motivations behind terror movements and insurgencies – ‘ideological’ that sustained Maoism or assertion of ‘ethnic identity’ that was the case with North-East insurgent groups – but the new global terror that is now afflicting the world and becoming a prime security threat to India is a class apart since it is linked to the call of ‘defence of Islam’ or Jihad. This is an outcome of the complications connected with the ‘war on terror’ launched against the Islamic radicals by the US-led West post 9/11 on the one hand and the cross border terrorism started by Pakistan to settle scores with India using India- specific terror outfits under the ISI control, on the other. Developments in recent times have made Pakistan the world repository of Islamic militancy and the agencies in that country are now manoeuvring the entire spectrum of militants from Al Qaeda-Taliban combine and ISIS at one end to Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen at the other. The keenness of the US to work for the withdrawal of American troops from Syria and Afghanistan has given a lot of residual advantage to Pakistan in terms of its plans to use Islamic militants as a strategic resource for furthering its foreign policy objectives. India has much to feel concerned about the way the US was relying on Pakistan to reach a settlement with the Taliban. While this is the scene in Afghanistan, the recent terror bombings against Christians and Western tourists in and around Colombo have been claimed by ISIS. What is more significant, the local radical outfit, the National Towheed Jamaat, complicit in this covert offensive in Sri Lanka is found to have links with Pakistan and South India. It is already known that Al Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) operating out of Pakistan with patronage from ISI has the avowed aim of establishing Islamic State in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Myanmar. India, unlike the US, is directly in the arc of Islamic militancy and needs to strategise for national security against this new threat of faith-based terror. It is extremely disquieting that political discourse in India – and this became sharper in the election campaign – has tended to drag Pakistan into the discussions on minorities here. This trend has started from Jammu and Kashmir where the regional parties have openly advocated a communally-based ‘solution’ by talking of the Valley and not about the integral state of J&K that is home to many religions. They have strengthened the hands of Pakistan which finds it convenient to project Kashmir as a Muslim issue and create a communal divide in the domestic politics of India. The same effect is produced by some opposition leaders at the national level who criticised the ‘muscular’ policy of the Modi government towards Pakistan but maintained deliberate silence on the infiltration of terrorists by Pakistan’s ISI across the LOC to create violence in the state. The campaign for General Election this time has deepened the communal antagonism on majority-minority line and left the country vulnerable to Pak machinations to generate militancy as a byproduct of communal disharmony. In the initial decades after Independence, India witnessed communal riots primarily because of the legacy of Partition but these subsided as the democratic processes took firm root and equality of rights played out for everybody. The rise of new global terror that invokes the cause of Islam has made it possible – particularly because of the mischief of Pak agencies – for radicalisation to seep into India, howsoever small may be its spread in the country so far. The events at Colombo come as a wake-up call for our security set-up. Various communities of India at the level of average citizens want to lead a peaceful life and make use of whatever opportunities of economic advancement that would become available to them. It should not be difficult to achieve a convergence amongst all communities on the external threats to national security if the leaders of the communities did not seek political power by dividing the people. Our laws and security policy should provide for quick punishment for those who tried to gain from the advocacy of violence in course of projection of religion into politics. Our ruling dispensation should be upfront about it – this seems to be the major learning from the 2019 national election. (The writer is a former Director of Intelligence Bureau. Views expressed are strictly personal)