Villagers along borders of Balasore and Mayurbhanj districts of Odisha have lost sleep for fear of 35 wild elephants that have been criss-crossing their localities. Though a dedicated trackers’ team is following the herd that strayed from the Dalma forest in neighbouring Jharkhand, villagers are apprehensive that the jumbos could veer towards their habitation.No casualityElephants in herds usually enter Odisha from Jharkhand and West Bengal during paddy harvesting season. Although no human injury has been reported from Balasore district, elephants have devoured paddy stored in backyards, trampled vegetable crops and fruits. Some thatched houses have also been damaged. As elephants move during evening hours, the district administration resorted to power cuts in order to prevent jumbos from coming in contact with live wire. It has added to the woes of people residing in the area. In some bordering villages, people are on vigil to ward off elephants.“We have been keeping tab on the herd. We have received information that the jumbos have entered the Kuldiha Sanctuary on Sunday. Now chances of elephants straying into human habitations have come down,” said Nilagiri forest ranger Sukumar Das.Elephants that migrate from Jharkhand annually use the forest patches of Nilagiri in Balasore district to enter the Similipal National Park. Sometime, they traverse through thickly populated areas keeping people on their toes.
Sowing for this year’s kharif season is already in progress, but banks in Maharashtra have achieved only 30% of the target of kharif crop loan disbursement. Despite repeated warnings from Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, nationalised and commercial banks have failed to speed up crop loan disbursement as they have achieved only 17% and 18% of the target respectively. District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCBs) have till date achieved 58% of loan disbursement.According to data available with The Hindu, the target of ₹43,844 crore set by the State Level Bankers’ Committee seems far from being achieved as banks have managed to disburse just ₹12,972 crore. Nationalised banks were given a target of ₹30,778 crore, of which they have managed to disburse only ₹5,331 crore. The target given to commercial banks was ₹27,918 crore, out of which only ₹4,899 crore has been disbursed. Last year, loan disbursement was 54%, even though demand for crop loans diminished due to drought. DCCBs had disbursed 60% of loans while the remaining banks achieved 50% of the target. Following the kharif review meeting in June, Mr. Fadnavis had said, “The demand for crop loans was less last year owing to drought. This year, the demand is likely to increase, but banks are likely to face action if they are found not providing crop loans to farmers.” According to sources in the Agriculture Department, the delayed monsoon has pushed back sowing in some parts of the State. “The CM himself had asked farmers to delay the sowing process. We expect loan disbursement to speed up once the monsoon spreads through the State,” said the officer. Another possible factor for the poor disbursement of loans is the delay in waiving crop loans. “Following loan waivers, farmers’ accounts were charged with interest, even though banks had accepted that they would not do so. As a result, crop loans cannot be disbursed to those accounts,” he said. Agriculture Minister Anil Bonde on Tuesday said the government will conduct cloud seeding experiments in three districts and is waiting for instructions from the India Meteorological Department. “Many parts of the State have yet not received rains and this experiment is being done to overcome the problem,” he said.Meanwhile, ruling coalition partner Shiv Sena will hold a protest rally in Bandra Kurla Complex against insurance companies, demanding they diburse the amount that farmers claim.
Rebels of the BJP and the Congress filed nominations as Independents from at least five Assembly constituencies in south Haryana, comprising Gurugram, Nuh, Rewari and Mahendragarh districts, on the last day of filing papers on Friday, altering the electoral arithmetic for the candidates of their respective parties.In Gurgaon Assembly seat, the BJP’s Sudhir Singla faces a strong rebellion in the form of his own partyman and sitting MLA Umesh Aggarwal, who made his wife Anita Aggarwal contest as an Independent from the prestigious constituency after the party snubbed him. Mr. Aggarwal, who had won the seat with a record margin of over 80,000 votes in 2014, has not been on good terms with Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar ever since he led a rebellion against him in 2016 along with a dozen party MLAs.Khattar blamedFiling her nomination papers, Ms. Aggarwal minced no words in blaming Mr. Khattar for the denial of ticket to her husband. She added that her husband had only raised his voice for the people of Gurugram, but it did not go down well with the Chief Minister.Similarly, Municipal Corporation of Gurugram Senior Deputy Mayor Pramila Kablana’s husband Gaje Singh Kablana and councillor Seema Pahuja filed their nominations as Independents from Gurgaon after the Congress chose former Minister Sukhbir Kataria over them.In Pataudi, former MLA Rambir Singh and Mukesh Kumari decided to take on Congress’s Sudhir Chaudhary as Independents after the party denied them the ticket. Similarly, BJP’s Satya Prakash Jaravata, who was chosen over the sitting MLA Bimla Chaudhary, faces opposition from party rebel Narender Kumar, an Independent candidate.In neighbouring Rewari district, BJP’s Sunil Musepur, a close confidant of Union Minister and Gurgaon MP Rao Inderjit Singh, has been challenged by the party’s sitting MLA Randhir Singh Kapriwas, who filed his nomination as an Independent. Mr. Kapriwas had alleged that the party high command denied ticket to him at the instance of Mr. Singh.In Punhana, the Congress replaced Mohammad Ajaz Khan with Mohammad Ilyas as its candidate minutes before the 3 p.m. deadline for filing of nomination in view of stiff opposition. Still, three rebel Congress leaders are in the fray from the seat. The BJP’s Kumari Nouksham Choudhary faces party rebel and sitting MLA Rahish Khan, who also threw in his hat as an Independent. In Ferozepur Jhirka, Congress’s Mamman Khan too faces party’s two rebels.BJP candidates in Badshahpur and Bawal may also face opposition from their own partymen.
The Election Commission of India has granted the Jannayak Janta Party the status of a recognised State party and the symbol of “key” in Haryana, according to a letter sent by the EC to the party earlier this week.On Wednesday, the EC told the Haryana-based party, currently an unrecognised registered party, that it had met the conditions laid down for recognition of a State party in Haryana. The JJP, formed in December 2018 by a breakaway faction of the Indian National Lok Dal, won 10 seats in the recently-held Haryana Assembly elections and formed the government with the BJP.
Chezka Centeno and Rubilen Amit of the Philippines celebrate after winning gold and silver medals, respectively, in the women’s 9-ball singles event of the 29th Southeast Asian Games billiards competition Sunday at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/SEA GAMES MEDIA POOLKUALA LUMPUR — It was a heartbreaker for Rubilen Amit in the Southeast Asian Games women’s 9-ball final Sunday.“I asked God, if I lose, does it have to be this painful?,” said the 35-year-old in Filipino.ADVERTISEMENT UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension SEA Games: PH’s Alisson Perticheto tops ice skating short program Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC LATEST STORIES PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games PLAY LIST 03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics05:25PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH00:50Trending Articles01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games03:04Filipino athletes share their expectations for 2019 SEA Games02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games MOST READ LIST: Class, gov’t work suspensions during 30th SEA Games Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games The two-time World 10-ball champion had two options for the 6-ball on the far end of the table in the 13th and last rack.“I went for the high percentage, mathematically it’s the best choice,” said Amit who pocketed on the corner from right side of the table. She had all the intention of preparing for the 8-ball in back of the table.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 shutout“I felt that I hit it well. And then I saw it (mother ball) fall on the side pocket,” said Amit, who yelled along with the people watching the match at KLCC Function Hall 4.But she didn’t want to take away the glory from her 18-year-old opponent. Read Next PH wins bronze in sepak takraw men’s doubles SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding “She deserves the gold medal. She came back from 2-5 and played steady,” said Amit. “But I can’t deny I was really disappointed. Give me the whole day to feel bad about it.”Amit said she’s preparing for the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games next month. View comments
LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Melbourne United center Majok Majok (22), left, and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, right, reach for a loose ball in the first quarter of an NBA preseason basketball game in Oklahoma City. APOKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma City Thunder needed a big defensive stand to hold off Melbourne United.Josh Huestis had two massive blocked shots in the final seconds to help the star-studded Thunder escape with an 86-85 exhibition victory Sunday (Monday Manila time).ADVERTISEMENT “To have the opportunity to play one of the best teams in the world and to know that our league can challenge those best teams in the world — it does a lot for our reputation in the league and it does a lot for our club’s reputation,” Vickerman said. Read Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC LATEST STORIES Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City After winless season, McIlroy plots return to top of golf NBA: Kawhi, George seek more for Clippers than beating Lakers PLAY LIST 01:48NBA: Kawhi, George seek more for Clippers than beating Lakers00:50Trending Articles01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:37Protesters 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 Games Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients View comments BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa MOST READ Melbourne, an Australian team, also was up against a time adjustment.“I know most of the guys couldn’t really get a good sleeping pattern, including myself,” Prather said. “My legs are a bit fatigued, but once you come to a game like this, you know all the adrenaline going and the energy to get going, so you know, we really don’t feel it too much.”Oklahoma City’s stars shot poorly. George had 22 points on 5-for-17 shooting, Anthony scored 19 points on 6-for-19 shooting and Westbrook was limited to nine points, going 3 for 10.“I was pretty impressed by the statistics that we held some people to,” Vickerman said. “For us, because we’re a little bit smaller, we try to fight through everything, and I guess that maintained some pressure on them rather than when you switch, there’s a little more separation.”Ware made a 3-pointer to tie the score at 80 but the Thunder responded with a 6-0 run that gave them the cushion to hold on.ADVERTISEMENT Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Huestis blocked Josh Boone’s shot out of bounds, then blocked Casey Prather’s shot to clinch the win.Melbourne coach Dean Vickerman said he was proud of the way his team played against the All-Star trio of Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. Melbourne withstood a run by the Thunder with their stars in the game in the third quarter and made it competitive down the stretch.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 shutout“I felt coming into the half that they were really going to try to make a run with their best group,” Vickerman said. “We weathered that storm, and they had to keep some of those best players coming back to win the game.”Casper Ware Jr. scored 20 points, Boone added 15 and Prather had 11 points and 10 rebounds for Melbourne, a member of the Australia and New Zealand-based National Basketball League.
Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games01:37Protesters 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 Games UST claims 5th UAAP beach volleyball title Under the country’s guardianship system, a male family member — normally the father, husband or brother — must grant permission for a woman’s study, travel and other activities. Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH A princess has been named to head a Saudi multi-sports federation, in a first for women in the conservative Muslim kingdom where men dominate all sports, an official said Saturday.The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP that Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan has become “the first woman to lead a federation” covering sporting activities for men and women.ADVERTISEMENT Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City In August 2016, the princess scored another first for women in Saudi Arabia when she was named by the cabinet to a senior post in the kingdom’s equivalent of a sports ministry.A daughter of a former Saudi ambassador to Washington, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Princess Reema is a graduate in museology from an American university.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 shutoutSaudi Arabia does not allow women to practice sports in the public sphere and even the introduction of private sports centers for women has aroused criticism among religious conservatives in the Gulf state.Although the kingdom announced it will lift a ban on women drivers from next June as part of a reform push, it still retains tight restrictions on women and imposes a strict segregation of the sexes. Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Read Next BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight LATEST STORIES Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments
The referee stops the fight, after which Rose Namajunas celebrates a win over Joanna Jedrzejczyk, of Poland, at UFC 217. APNEW YORK — Rose Namajunas took the 115-pound championship away from undefeated Joanna Jedrejczyk with a dominant performance at UFC 217.Namajunas connected with a left in the first round and pounced once Jedrejczyk (14-1) hit the canvas on Saturday night. Namajunas pounded away at the fallen champ as the Madison Square Garden crowd went absolutely wild for a fighter that had been soundly booed during her entrance.ADVERTISEMENT View comments Wilder knocks out Stiverne in 1st round Stars face off at ONE: Dawn of Heroes PLAY LIST 01:42Stars face off at ONE: Dawn of Heroes02:18Alvarez ready to take risk vs Folayang, looks to end clash by ‘knockout or submission’01:52UFC: McGregor set for Nurmagomedov showdown01:37Protesters 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 Games Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Read Next John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding LATEST STORIES QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa MOST READ Namajunas (17-3) ended Jedrejczyk’s bid at matching Ronda Rousey’s women’s record with six straight title defenses.Namajunas choked back tears as UFC President Dana White slapped the strawweight championship belt over her shoulder. She was drowned out by the roars as she spoke about what the championship meant to her inside the octagon.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 shutout“Just confidence, conditioning, composure, content that I’m the champion,” she said. Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101
“We’re good. At least, the team’s composure was tested in that game against Japan. Even though our opponents came back, the team showed that we don’t get rattled that easily,” he said.He also believes that his fellow guards Kevin Alas and Kiefer Ravena will perform better after their silent showing in Tokyo especially with the game being played at home.“It was our first game and it’s noticeable that we still lacked in preparation. But after that, I think we can play well,” he said. “We got lots of open shots that didn’t go in, and hopefully, it will all go down in our home floor.”ADVERTISEMENT Kris Aquino ‘pretty chill about becoming irrelevant’ Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion Read Next Photo from Fiba.comGilas Pilipinas may be the favored team against Chinese Taipei on Monday, but Jayson Castro reminded his team not let its guard down against its fierce rival.“We can’t be that confident because Chinese Taipei had beaten us before,” Castro said after team practice Sunday.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:29Police 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 Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Reyes: Japan and Taipei ‘very similar’ Castro harked back to the two nations’ clash in the 2016 Fiba Asia Challenge in Iran, where the Taiwanese topped a young Gilas crew.Roger Pogoy, Mac Belo, and Carl Bryan Cruz were the lone remnants of that team and that loss is still fresh in their memories.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 shutout“That’s a good example for us to learn from, and a motivation for us not to let that happen again,” said Castro.The speedy playmaker liked what he saw from the Philippines’ 77-71 win over Japan last Friday. Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH View comments
2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting Read Next AFP official booed out of forum Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH LATEST STORIES Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:29Police 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 Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City “This win was really important because we could’ve been 0-3 and at the bottom, and now we’re at par with a lot of teams even UST,” said De Leon, who had 11 points for Ateneo.Skipper Maddie Madayag said the trust they put on each other finally showed amid UST’s relentless push.“I guess the trust we have with each other was there because if we don’t have it there’s really nowhere to go,” said Madayag who finished with nine points. “And I think their confidence is slowly starting to show especially when they receive UST’s hits.”Kat Tolentino and Jhoanna Maraguinot also had 11 points apiece for Ateneo while Samonte added 10.Rondina had 22 points to lead the Goden Tigresses while Alessandrini and Tin Francisco combined for 21 points.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers Ateneo tacked its first win after taking down University of Santo Tomas, 16-25, 25-22, 25-22, 25-23, in the UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament Sunday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.The Lady Eagles improved to 1-2 to sport the same record as UST, which lost its libero Rica Rivera to a knee injury in the first set.ADVERTISEMENT Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC READ: UST libero Rivera suffers knee injury vs AteneoAfter trailing, 16-12, in the fourth set, the Lady Eagles battled back and took a 21-18 edge after Jules Samonte threaded the needle through UST’s blockade.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutCherry Rondina tried to keep UST alive with a booming kill that cut Ateneo’s lead to 24-22 and a triple block on Bea De Leon trimmed it further to 24-23.De Leon, however, finished off UST with her next kill bouncing off the defense of UST rookie Milena Alessandrini. Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Belangel stars as Ateneo completes UAAP juniors sweep
LATEST STORIES Reyes said the risk of missing Castro in the last game against Australia paid off with this superb showing in the clutch.“We rested him the last game to make sure he was ready for tonight because he’s our premier closer,” the mentor said. “And he came through tonight.” The veteran national team playmaker sanm the game-clinching floater with 10.6 seconds to spare, securing the Philippines’ third win in four games.“That’s why we have Jayson,” said coach Chot Reyes. “That’s why we made sure Jayson is in this lineup.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutCastro missed the Australia game last Thursday due to an ankle sprain, but made sure everyone remembered why he was named the best point guard in Asia twice.He saved his best for last and came alive in the second half, where he scored all of his eight points and none bigger than the game-sealing baskets in the waning seconds. Castro returns, rescues Gilas Pilipinas in close win over Japan AFP official booed out of forum Pussycat Dolls set for reunion tour after 10-year hiatus Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:29Police 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 Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Read Next John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding LOOK: Iya Villania meets ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ cast in Mexico Google honors food scientist, banana ketchup inventor and war hero Maria Orosa MOST READ Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netIn the end, Gilas Pilipinas knew where to go when it mattered the most.Jayson Castro once again saved the day for Gilas Pilipinas in a 89-84 victory over Japan Sunday in the 2019 Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Families in US enclave in north Mexico hold sad Thanksgiving View comments
View comments 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 Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken “It’s just a blur. My dad was pulling so fast I was just trying to keep up,” Catchings said after the halftime ceremony. “In that moment, literally, every tug was like every year — 2001, getting drafted all the way to 2017. It was like a flash. Seeing my teammates over there, even the ones I didn’t play with, I feel like I played with them as much as I’m around. Really, replaying the years, that’s a flash.”After being drafted third overall out of Tennessee, where she was a four-time All-American, in 2001, Catchings sat out with an injury before being named the Rookie of the Year in 2002. By the time she retired after last season, Catchings was the all-time leading rebounder in the WNBA and was No. 2 (now third) in career scoring. She is also on top of the steals and free throw lists.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutCatchings was the 2011 MVP and was the 2012 Finals MVP when the Fever won their only title. She was a five-time Defensive Player of the Year and 10-time All-Star as well as winning four Olympic Gold Medals. Now she is Director of Player Programs and Franchise Development for Pacers Sports & Entertainment.She credited the fans for her long stay with the Fever. What ‘missteps’? World’s 50 Best Restaurants launches new drinking and dining guide 1 dead in Cavite blast, fire “When you become so involved in your community, it makes it hard to leave,” she said. “It’s like a relationship … I love what the fans bring.”Nneka Ogwumike scored 21 points and Los Angeles had a 19-0 run in the third quarter.Los Angeles used a 21-5 run to close the first half to take a 46-40 lead then put a damper on the halftime ceremony by scoring the first 19 points of the third quarter to open a 25-point lead.Ogwumike had seven points and Canadace Parker, who had 18 points and a season-high 13 rebounds, added six points in the run that propelled the defending champions to their fifth straight win.Chelsea Gray added 17 points for Los Angeles (9-3). Parker also had seven assists, three steals and two blocks and the Sparks shot 53 percent and went 8 of 17 from 3-point range.ADVERTISEMENT Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ LATEST STORIES Bader wins light heavyweight title in Bellator’s NYC debut Candice Dupree had 13 points, 10 in the first quarter when Indiana (6-7) took a 23-20 lead. Briann January and Shenise Johnson had 13 points but the Fever couldn’t get closer than 11 after L.A.’s run despite closing the third quarter with 12 straight points and a 9-0 run in the fourth quarter.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Cayetano to unmask people behind ‘smear campaign’ vs him, SEA Games MOST READ Retired Indiana Fever great Tamika Catchings helps hoist a banner with her family as her No. 24 jersey is retired before the WNBA basketball team’s game against the Los Angeles Sparks on Saturday, June 24, 2017, in Indianapolis. The Indianapolis Star via AP.INDIANAPOLIS — Tamika Catchings was known as a hard worker during her playing career. But as hard as she worked in 16 seasons for the Indiana Fever, she had a tough time keeping up with her dad on Saturday night.Former NBA player Harvey Catchings helped his daughter raise a banner with her No. 24 jersey to the rafters at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the highlight for Indiana in an 84-73 loss to the Los Angeles Sparks.ADVERTISEMENT WATCH: Firefighters rescue baby seal found in parking garage 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’
Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side LATEST STORIES With Sarr rendered helpless on the bench in street clothes, Ateneo took full advantage, giving more touches to its big man Chi Ikeh.Ikeh pounced on the Falcons’ depleted frontline, coming away with 18 points and 17 rebounds. He already had a double-double as early as halftime with 14 points and 13 rebounds, including 10 offensive boards, three more than the entire Adamson team.“Ikeh just dominated us. We had a hard time containing him,” said Pumaren, whose squad was outrebounded, 60-35.Pumaren admitted not having Sarr around was tough, but it’s still not an excuse as to how the Falcons poorly performed and got badly beaten.“I’m one coach who won’t dwell on that. I’ve been coaching for the longest time and you won’t hear from me saying, ‘If this player was here.’ That’s part of my job to make the most out of my remaining 15 players.”ADVERTISEMENT 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 Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Meralco nips Star to clinch playoff berth Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim MOST READ For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. Sarr missed the much-anticipated duel between preseason favorites due to a groin injury and it’s still uncertain when he would return.“I want to play next game but everything will depend on the doctor if he will give me the clearance to play,” Sarr told INQUIRER.net.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 openingAdamson head coach Franz Pumaren said his Cameroonian import is still day-to-day.“We always prepare for the worst scenario. If he’s there, that’s a bonus, if not then, the other players must step up,” he said. Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netIt’s no surprise that Papi Sarr’s absence was a big blow to Adamson in its opening day loss to Ateneo on Saturday.Sarr averaged 14.4 points and 14.9 rebounds per game last season for the Falcons.ADVERTISEMENT Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side View comments
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Svelte, powerful, flexible… The A7, the latest machine from the Audi, is all set to make heads turn on Indian roads and highways.After having seen the A7 at its world premiere a few months back we were eagerly looking forward to driving the car, the opportunity for which we got at the beautiful Italian island of Sardinia. Having driven around Sardinia extensively earlier I couldn’t help but wonder how this rather large car, which will take on the Mercedes CLS in India, would manage on the narrow hilly roads of this rocky island.Before getting to that, it was a tough choice on the variants of the car to drive. The car comes with four V6 engines–two diesels and two petrols. The diesel engines are both absolutely new with 3-litre displacement each, there is a 2.8-litre FSI petrol engine and a 3-litre TFSI motor. While the 3-litre TDIs and the 2.8 FSI, engines are available with FWD (front wheel drive) cars and an 8-speed multi-tronic (CVT) gearbox, the other two engines are available with quattro (4WD) variants with the 7-speed S-tronic (dual clutch in Audi parlance). I choose to begin my drive with the 3.0 TDI quattro, which, like the other variants, turns out to be a technological variant. Audi introduced many new technologies on its flagship, the A8, but it has now gone even further on the technology front with the A7.The A7 features the Start-Stop technology on all its variants and includes a superior park assist option which parallel and perpendicularly parks for you, even in tight situations.advertisementTo drive, the car is superbly agile, thanks to its new electromechanical steering, the quick shifting S-tronic gearbox and the sport differential.On the narrow roads of Sardinia the car is easy to manoeuvre. Braking is superb as we discovered when a fiery Italian woman in a red Italian car came down the wrong side of the road, around a corner. Thanks to the great brakes we just about managed to avoid hitting the speeding Italians.The new 3-litre petrol engine feels like a new generation diesel powerplant. It offers the benefits of both a diesel engine in terms of low-end torque and petrol engines in terms of top-end whack. Although I did not get to drive any of the FWD variants, the multi-tronic gearbox works well. Both the engines with the FWD variants are super efficient and feature a number of fuel consumption reduction technologies.I specially liked the advanced safety systems like Audi pre-safe and active lane assist, which work to keep you from colliding. Also great was the large speed limit warning on the car’s twin pod instrument panel.The new five-door touring coupe from Audi features most of the technologies seen on the A8, and more. It is meant to combine the elegant looks of a coupe with the flexibility of an Audi Avant or an estate and the features and comforts of the flagship A8. Engine development is also at its peak in the A7, and with new modules like the steering, the car is not only luxurious and feature filled but sporty as well. Price: Rs. 65-75 lakh (approx)On the road: From Chandigarh to JaipurAt Auto Bild India, we love road trips. It serves two purposes. Firstly, it lets us drive a lot, which is less of a profession and more of a passion for all of us here. And second, we get to see new places. That is exactly what we did on the Drive to Discover tour organised by Honda. The drive started from Chandigarh and we hoped to reach Corbett National Park by sundown. Alas, Indian highways have a funny way of upsetting even the best laid plans, especially if they’re working in conjunction with monsoons as furious as the one we saw last month. So, by the time we had turned off the national highway onto State Highway 1, the road had virtually disappeared.After much manoeuvring around the various obstacles that the roads threw our way, we managed to get back on to the national highway en route to Sarsawa and on to Haridwar, our next stopover. Just a few kilometres ahead of Har ki Pauri (the principal bathing ghat in the pilgrim city) we saw the mighty Ganga in full flow. We finally halted at Ramnagar, close to Corbett.The following day we headed for the Dhangari gate, one of five of Corbett’s main gates. But to get there we would have to pass a section that is best described as an off-road section. The plan was to cross Corbett and then carry on to Bharatpur before calling it a day.advertisementOn the third and our last day we explored Bharatpur’s bird sanctuary before heading off to Ranthambhore. Rajasthan’s roads were brilliant and we made good time but past Ranthambhore we again found roads that had been mauled by the rains. Soon we were forced to take a detour. By the time we reached Jaipur we were exhausted but our wanderlust had been satiated.–Rahul GhoshYamaha SZThe Yamaha SZ is the Japanese bike maker’s attempt at grabbing a piece of the pie that is the entry level 150 cc motorcycle segment. For this new motorcycle, Yamaha has used the 153 cc engine from its FZ range of bikes. This engine is blessed with an impressive low and mid range performance, and doesn’t require too much downshifting to make meaningful progress. Indeed one can potter around the city in top gear, courtesy the bike’s maximum torque being developed at a relatively low 4500 rpm. However if shifting is required then it’s not too much of a hassle because the gearbox is not only precise but is also slick shifting. The SZ is light on its feet and changes directions quickly. The seat is comfy and most buyers wouldn’t mind the hint of sportiness in the riding stance. The ride quality is well sorted and the bike remains comfortable to ride throughout. What is commendable is that despite returning a good ride quality the bike remains an able handler; it does not feel unsettled under cornering and at the same time stays stable in a straight line. Price Rs. 52,000, ex-showroom Delhi.–Abhishek Saksena
Spain’s Rafael Nadal (right) reacts as he talks with compatriot David Ferrer at the net after his quarterfinal loss to Ferrer at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia on Wednesday.Rafael Nadal’s bid to win four straight Grand Slam tournaments is over.An injury-affected Nadal lost for the second straight year in the Australian Open quarterfinals, going down 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 Wednesday to fellow Spaniard David Ferrer.Nadal, who appeared to have tears in his eyes during a changeover while trailing 3-0 in the third set, took a medical timeout for an apparent leg injury after three games and was clearly out of sorts, failing to chase down balls that he would ordinarily return easily.”This is a difficult day for me,” Nadal said, adding that he preferred to not talk about the nature of the injury.”Today I can’t do more than what I did, he played at a very high level.”When pressed about the injury, Nadal added: “I don’t have to tell you what I felt on the court, but it is obvious I did not feel at my best. I had a problem with the match at the very beginning, and after that, the match was almost over.”It was the second year in a row he lost in the quarterfinals here due to injury – in 2010 he retired against Andy Murray due to a right knee ailment that kept him off the tour for two months, again on the Australia Day national holiday.advertisement”This is one big victory for me, but it’s not like a victory really,” seventh-seeded Ferrer said on court after the match.”He was playing with injury … and I had luck. But I played my game.”Nadal, who didn’t bother chasing the winner on match point, won last year’s French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open and was trying to add the Australian title so he could hold all four major trophies at once. That hasn’t been achieved since Rod Laver won four in a row in 1969.Nadal didn’t want to elaborate on his injury, saying he didn’t want to use injuries as an excuse when he lost matches.”In general, I had a virus. When you have a virus, your body goes down and you have more risk of everything,” he said of a sickness he picked up in Doha at the start of the year and carried into the tournament. “That’s probably what happened. That’s the simple thing.”The fireworks that would have lit up the tennis world had Nadal won his fourth in a row came Wednesday night during the match – Australia Day celebrations forced a 10-minute interruption while the sky outside Rod Laver was lit up by a pyrotechnics show.As the fireworks exploded, Nadal changed his shirt and briefly left the stadium. He came back a couple of minutes later and took off his right shoe and rubbed his toes and sock.After losing the second set, the usually fidgety Nadal slumped in his chair at the changeover, completely still with his head bent.The crowd cheered almost exclusively for Nadal – “Come on, Rafa,” – they roared, while often applauding Ferrer’s errors.All, eventually, for nothing.Nadal picked up a virus two weeks ago. He sweated profusely in several of his matches, but appeared to be over his problems, saying after his fourth-round win over Marin Cilic that he was “perfect physically.”Murray won’t have to get past Nadal this year, but he will have to beat Ferrer and either defending champion Roger Federer or 2008 champion Novak Djokovic to claim his first major title.He advanced earlier Wednesday with a 7-5, 6-3, 6-7 (3), 6-3 win over unseeded Alexandr Dolgopolov, after Kim Clijsters and Vera Zvonareva advanced to the women’s semifinals.Clijsters, the growing favorite in the women’s draw, advanced to a semifinal against No. 2 Zvonareva, whom she beat in the final at the U.S. Open last September. It will be the 10th tour meeting for the pair, with Clijsters holding a 6-3 advantage.Clijsters had some nervous moments in her 6-3, 7-6 (4) win over No. 12 Agnieszka Radwanska. None were as bad as when some air force planes flew in formation overhead as part of celebrations for the Australia Day holiday. Cannons went off earlier when Zvonareva started the Australia Day proceedings with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Petra Kvitova.Top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki plays Li Na of China in another semifinal Thursday, before Federer and third-seeded Djokovic meet in a night semifinal.Dolgopolov had already beaten 2008 runner-up Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and French Open finalist Robin Soderling and has the kind of unorthodox game that can unsettle higher-ranked players.advertisementApart from the second set, when 2010 finalist Murray didn’t lose a point on serve until he had triple set point, momentum swung frequently.Dolgopolov had 77 unforced errors, mainly because he was trying to push Murray to the extremes. In the first set, it took Murray more than 10 minutes and four set points to finally win the 12th game.Murray spent a lot of time talking – maybe swearing – to himself.”I was trying to get myself pumped up,” Murray said. “It was very slow, cool conditions out on the court. You need to make sure you’re moving your feet a lot when you’re out there. You need to urge yourself to play a solid, stable match, not make too many mistakes.”Clijsters is the only Grand Slam winner into the women’s semis, although she’s still seeking her first major title outside of America.”I hope the experience can help me a little bit,” Clijsters said. “But there are some tough players out there, we have Nos. 1, 2, 3 still in and Li Na has been playing really well. So it is going to be really tough.Zvonareva has lost the last two Grand Slam finals, to Clijsters in New York and Serena Williams at Wimbledon.Clijsters was up a set and a break before Radwanska rallied, winning three straight games to lead 5-4 with a chance to serve for the second set.Zvonareva wore a black ribbon on her hat in honor of the 35 victims of the suicide bombing at a Moscow airport this week. Her quarterfinal also featured a couple distractions.Zvonareva and Kvitova were surprised when cannons went off in a nearby park. And Zvonareva asked that the match be stopped for a few minutes while a woman in her sight line was given medical attention in the stands, but chair umpire Mariana Alves told them to continue.”I didn’t know they were going to start this noise during our match, it was a difficult moment,” said Zvonareva, who led the final set 3-0 before the disruptions but saw Kvitova level it at 4-4. “You’re here to play tennis … I was trying to keep my concentration.”At the end of the day, a reflective Nadal pondered his loss in the quarterfinals again. He had two months off before rejoining the tour, preparing him for what became his best year to date.”Last year I had a fantastic year,” he said. “I think it is almost impossible to repeat that. I still hope to have a lot of really good moments.”
What is it about Gujarati women that makes the nation fall in love with them? The Indian television industry has been witnessing an invasion of young damsels from Gujarat for quite some time. But with new faces like Prachi Desai, Apara Mehta, Disha Vakani and Sanjeeda Sheikh winning top roles, they are once again in the news. Name a channel and you have a Gujarati pretty young thing staring back at you. What makes them so irrestistible? Surely, not just the proximity to Mumbai and the ever-burgeoning channels of opportunities?The trend, in a way, started with actor Ronit Roy-who began his journey from the small screen and in a way epitomised the dream of many budding Gujarati stars when he won a whole range of awards- Star Screen, Zee Cine and the Filmfare awards for his role in the movie, Udaan. Following in his footsteps, today many PYTs in the 19-25 year age bracket from Gujarat are making their presence felt on the soaps aired on various channels like Colors, Sab TV, ZEE, Imagine, etc. Here’s an initmate chat with some of the best-known eyecandies from the state.Aashka GoradiaAfter her studies in Ahmedabad, she was freelancing as a translator for marketing companies when she got a break in a TV comedy show, Akting, Akting about seven years ago. “I happened to meet some people who recommended that I audition for TV shows and got me a part in the show. This was followed by Achanak – 37 Saal Baad, a supernatural thriller on Sony TV.” She later joined the cast of Bhabhi on Star Plus. Her big break was the role of Kumud in Kkusum.. Ek Aam Ladki Ki Kahani, a popular daily Indian television drama produced by Ekta Kapoor of Balaji Telefilms and telecasted on Sony.”Playing the role of KKusum’s daughter Kumud was exciting. It was certainly the biggest break I could have planned for, and I owe it to Ekta Kapoor,” she says adding, “her conviction that I was suitable for the role gave me the chance to play a character that was so pivotal to the plot. Since then Aashka played Arpita in Sinndoor Tere Naam Ka, Gayatri in Kahiin To Hoga of Star Plus, Nainia in the critically acclaimed serial Virrudh and Saniya in Mere Apne.She has also been part of reality shows and talent hunt shows. “But, so far the character of Kumud remains the highlight of my career.” In the plot of Kkusum, Kumud was the lead role – she is the daughter brought up for 18 years by Kkusum, a single mother after leaving her husband and has to struggle to save her marriage against her sister Kali.Currently, Aashka is playing Kalavati, a character with negative shades in Laagi Tujhse Lagan which is telecast on Colors channel. Kalavati is the sister of Dutta, the main male lead. She pretends to care for her brother as to get property which Kalavari is aware Dutta will inherit of but he is not. What is her big dream? “I am taking things as they come,” she says.Esha KansaraEsha Kansara studied at Hiramani School in Ahmedabad before leaving for Mumbai to study at the Mithibhai College which has many actors on its alumni list. “I was always keen on acting and dancing. So, I learnt Bharatnatyam for seven years in Ahmedabad. I realised that to make it big as an actress, I had to move to Mumbai with its theatre scene, film industry and television industry. I then decided to study commerce in Mithibhai College,” says Esha adding, “I was part of the drama team there which helped me a great deal in my career later.” She then got an opportunity to audition for Mukti Bandhan, an adaptation of Harikishan Mehta’s popular novel Mukti Bandhan by Vipul Mehta. Recalling the experience, she says, “While I auditioned for one of the smaller roles, I was liked so much that I was signed up for the major role of the ambitious woman Devki.” Her character is considered to be a competitor to IM Virani, the protagonist whose extraordinary sense of business has seen him rise from a modest background to become the fourth biggest industrialist of India in the serial. Even as she enjoys following her passion, Esha is also pursuing her second year in commerce at the college. She says, “I could not have dreamt of a better debut. I play one of the most important characters in the soap and that too one of a strong, positive woman respected in business circles.” she says. She adds that she can identify with the character, a contemporary woman with aspirations but at the same time has her roots firmly in place. Having got her big break with Mukti Bandhan, Esha is hoping to make it big in acting with many more TV series.Rashmi DesaiRashmi Desai’s family is from Vapi but she has spent much of her life in Mumbai. “I had never thought of acting as a career choice. I have a great wanderlust and was attracted to a career in airlines,” she says adding, “I did a modeling assignment for a hair oil brand which happened by chance while I was in school and my face appeared on the bottles.” Dancing is her passion. She has learnt Bharatnatyam and Kathak. Later on, she also did an album called Ye Pal. Rashmi got her first break on television in the mythological serial Raavan aired on Zee TV in which she played the teenaged Mandodari. “I come from a very educated family and my grandmother advised me not to give up my studies for an unpredictable career in the show business so I continued my studies in travels and tourism.” She entered regional cinema and worked in Bhojpuri films like Balma Bada Naadan, Kab Hoi Gawana Hamaar, Mai re Kar De Bedai Hamaar and Bambai Ki Laila Chapra Ka Chaila. “I signed up for Star One’s Pari Hoon Main, produced by B.R. Films in which I played a double role in 2008.” The story of the film revolves round the dual characters of Nikki Srivastav and Pari Rai Chaudary and showed how their uncanny resemblance causes turmoil in their lives. Pari was an arrogant, elegant and shorttempered character while Nikki was a simple and down to earth rural girl. “It was challenging to play both roles,” she adds. In the same period, she played Dr Meher Datta in Meet Mila De Rabba aired on Sony TV and after that she played Mona in Ssshhhh…Phir Koi Hai on Star One.”An exciting role is that of Tapasya Thakur in Uttaran, one of the most watched dramas on Colors and ranks among the most popular TV programmes.” The role of Tapu as the character is called is actually Desai’s main calling card today. She also won the Indian Television Academy award for best actress among other awards. “I never dreamt of being a star or even an actor but now I am really happy with this career,” she says adding, “It gives me the opportunity to travel, shop, be adventurous, and at the same time have enough time for my family between shooting schedules.” Everything has fallen in place for this young lady. So what would be that one thing that she wants to do? “I would like to act in Gujarati theatre one day.”Binny SharmaBinny Sharma from Ahmedabad was always fond of dancing. “While I loved dancing, and had the talent for it, I could not attend any serious courses as my father was in the textile business, kept shifting to different locations during my childhood for work,” she says. “However I did pretty well at everything from dance to athletics. I represented my school and college in sports. My parents encouraged me to take up everything possible, from studying to dancing and sports.” Her confidence in her dancing skills led to her auditioning for dance reality shows in Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Mumbai.”Though I had no formal training and had just done a short course in hip hop, I have a passion for dancing and learning new styles. I love Hip hop, locking and popping, and stunt dancing, but can also do semiclassical, krumping and B boying,” she says, admitting, “I auditioned for a dance show and was not selected. This taught me an important lesson -hard work, dedication and practice are necessary to back up talent. I also started watching dances on TV, You-Tube, and internet for ideas. The efforts bore fruit when I got selected for Dance India Dance (DID), the dance-based reality show, choreographed by some of India’s top choreographers and I got the big ticket for DID which airs on ZEE TV.”During the show, she was offered Sanjog Se Bani Sangini. “This is an Indian television series based on the love story of Gauri and Rudra and how these two people complete each other. The series premiered on Zee TV in 2010. I play the part of Gauri, a gentle and modest, yet sensible, intelligent, brave and practical character.I’m happy that people started recognising me as a good dancer with DID and now as an actor. I am concentrating now on my acting and dancing. I also completed my first year masters in commerce in Gujarat University and plan to get back to pursuing my post-graduation soon.”Aashka GoradiaGujarat connection: I am an Ahmedabad girl. I grew up, studied and lived there before joining films.Defining moment: Playing the character of Kumud in the popular TV series KKsum.USP: My eyes, I’m toldIdol: RekhaEsha KansaraGujarat connection: I hail from Ahmedabad where I went to school before leaving for Mumbai. Defining moment: Getting selected for the strong role of Devki in my debut serial, Mukti Bandhan.USP: My smile I would sayIdol: Kareena Kapoor, Apara Mehta and Kirron KherRashmi DesaiGujarat connection: My family is from Vapi in south Gujarat. Though I grew up in Mumbai, Gujarati is the language at homeDefining moment: Playing the part of Tapasya Thakur in UttaranUSP: My acting, I’m sureIdol: Angelina Jolie, Priyanka Chopra, Kangana Raut.Binny Sharma Gujarat connection: Though my family is from Punjab and Himachal, I have lived much of my life in Ahmedabad. And, yes, I speak Gujarati.Defining moment: Getting selected for Dance India Dance made me and my family proud.USP: My acting skillsIdol: Madhuri Dixit. She is a super dancer and great actor. Saroj Khan and my mentor Geeta Kapoor are my favourite choreographers.advertisementadvertisementadvertisement
Sri Lanka beat New Zealand by five wickets in the first semi-final of the World Cup at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Tuesday. Live scoreThe Sri Lankans would have liked to see Upul Tharanga and Tillakaratne Dilshan do a repeat of what they had done against England in the quarter-finals, where the two had remained unbeaten till the end, but it wasn’t the case to be.Kiwi pacer Tim Southee struck early in the seventh over to dismiss Tharanga on 30 with Jesse Ryder taking a fine catch at point. Sri Lanka lost their first wicket on 40.Post that wicket Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara and opener Tillakaratne Dilshan got on with a partnership putting 120 runs on board. They were cruising along until Southee came around and scalped Dilshan on 73 with Ryder again performing the final honours. Sri Lanka were 160/2 at the stage.No sooner had Dilshan departed that Mahela Jayawardene fell and Sri Lanka had added just one more run before this dismissal. Soon Sangakkara too was seen walking back on 54 with Andy McKay claiming him when the Lanka total was 169/4.Finally, Thilan Samaraweera and Angelo Mathews helped their reach home with 22/5 on board. Samaraweera scored the winning run hitting a four in the 48th over. New Zealand innings Earlier, New Zealand paltry 217 against Sri Lanka after their skipper Daniel Vettori elected to bat.Sri Lanka wanted early inroads and they got what they had desired with left-arm spinner Rangana Herath claiming opener Brendon McCullum with his quicker ball that took away his off stump on 32/1 on the first ball of the 8th over. advertisementPost that fall, the other opener Martin Guptill and Jesse Ryder got on with a partnership trying to thwart the Sri Lanka bowlers. But, they could not survive for as as veteran offie Muttiah Muralitharan got Ryder on 19 to reduced the Kiwis to 69/2. It was the extra bounce that saw him edge the ball to keeper Kumar Sangakkara.There was more to come as Sri Lanka ‘slinger’ Lasith Malinga bowled Martin Guptill out in the 22nd over when the score was 84. He fell for 39 as the Kiwis lost their third wicket. Finally, Ross taylor and Scott Styris forged a 77-run fourth wicket stand to help the Kiwis cross 150-rum mark. However, on the first ball of the 40th over ‘mystery spinner’ Ajantha Mendis got better of Taylor to break their stand even as the Kiwis lost their fourth wicket on 161/4. He was caught in the deep mid-wicket by Upul Tharanga on 36.New man Kane Williamson too could not stay at the crease for long and a straight one from Lasith Malinga trapped him leg-before on his individual score of 22. The Kiwis fell to 195/5 in 43.3 overs.Malinga came back to send Nathan McCullum packing on the first ball of the 46th over and Kiwis were down to 204/6.Then Muralitharan had the man the Lankans wanted the most. His ball trapped Scott Styris on the pads and the batsman went for the review, but failed to get any life and was forced to walk back on 57. The Kiwis lost their seventh wicket on 213 on the last ball of the 47th over.Another wicket and Kiwis were down to eight. This time it was Tillakaratne Dilshan who came to the fore scalping Jacob Oram to reduce the Kiwis to 215/8.With the tail-enders out in the midle things became rather easy for the Lankans, who wrapped up the New Zealander on a partly 217 with seven balls to spare. Teams: Sri Lanka: Upul Tharanga, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara(w/c), Mahela Jayawardene, Chamara Silva, Thilan Samaraweera, Angelo Mathews, Lasith Malinga, Ajantha Mendis, Muttiah Muralitharan, Rangana Herath New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Brendon McCullum(w), Jesse Ryder, Ross Taylor, Scott Styris, Kane Williamson, Daniel Vettori(c), Nathan McCullum, Jacob Oram, Tim Southee, Andy McKay
HOME, SWEET HOME: Western Ghat grasslands are tahr’s natural habitatAmidst news of spiralling conservation crises, the endangered Nilgiri tahr, a species of mountain goats, is today the bearer of good news. Found along the 400-km range of the southern end of the Western Ghats in Kerala and the grasslands of,HOME, SWEET HOME: Western Ghat grasslands are tahr’s natural habitatAmidst news of spiralling conservation crises, the endangered Nilgiri tahr, a species of mountain goats, is today the bearer of good news. Found along the 400-km range of the southern end of the Western Ghats in Kerala and the grasslands of Tamil Nadu, tahr numbers now touch 2,000. This is a significant improvement from a low of 1,200-the tahr count in early 1970s. It has taken 30 years and a unique participatory management conservation programme in the 97-sq-km Eravikulam National Park (ENP) near Munnar, Kerala to push numbers up from 500 to 800 in this single park.In a first of its kind public-private cooperation in wildlife conservation, the watershed programme was run by the High Range Wildlife and Environment Preservation Association (HRWEPA), made up mostly of nature buffs from the Tata Tea plantations that dominate the Kannan Devan Hills (KDH), and the Forest Department of Kerala. Under the programme, tea planters informally doubled as wildlife wardens keeping extra vigil even as concepts like nature education and participatory management of wildlife gained currency amongst the local people.”Conservation of the tahr must include the ecosystems and the protection of its habitats as also participation from local people,” says Mohan Alembath, president, Nilgiri Tahr Trust, Kochi. Alembath is a former wildlife warden of Kerala who oversaw conservation measures launched at the ENP. This private-public partnership is a dramatic turnaround from the days when shooting the tahrs was a favoured sport among planters and hunters. At that time, the planting of eucalyptus on the grasslands too had adversely affected the tahr as it led to the erosion of its habitat.advertisementA key group involved in the conservation programme were the Muthuvans group of tribals, the original inhabitants of Munnar. Some of them are enlisted as watchers by the state forest department. “People’s participation in environmental preservation and their interest in the tahr have contributed significantly to its conservation,” says M.K.Prasad, environmental activist of the Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad.When the Kerela Goverment declared the ENP as a protected sanctuary in 1972, it set in motion a chain of events that have led to healthier tahr numbers today. The expanse of the tea gardens in the region have inadvertently aided the conservation effort. The agro-ecological system, where tea was the prime produce with a large expanse of interspersed wilderness, provided ample space for the tahr and other fauna.”Conservation of the tahr must include the ecosystems and the protection of its habitats.”MOHAN ALEMBATH, PRESIDENT, NILGIRI TAHR TRUST, KOCHI The tahr is among the few species of mountain goats that have adapted to a cold and wet tropical environment of the kind that is confined to an area not bigger than 5 per cent of the Western Ghats. The tahr prefers a habitat that is predominantly of grasslands adequately sheltered by rocky cliffs, enjoys a short dry season and receives over 1,500 mm of rainfall a year. Such a unique tropical habitat is restricted to just seven of the high altitude landscapes (1,200 m to 2,600 m above sea level) in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, particularly the one found in the southern Western Ghats between the Nilgiri Hills and Kanyakumari Hills.Yet, in spite of the increase in numbers, the tahr still faces many threats to its survival: habitat destruction, competition and disease transmission from domestic livestock and poaching for meat or commercial products. In order to protect the species, experts believe other issues too need attention. Some of these include institutionalisation of the management system, increasing the size of the tropical grassland ecosystem and developing the landscape approach as also the preparation of a comprehensive ecosystem plan still needs to be put in place.Experts on the tahr and other hoofed grazers, who had gathered for the fourth World Congress of Mountain Ungulates at Munnar, have recommended the extension of the ENP to the ecological boundary of the Nilgiri tahr population. This is easier said than done. It will mean establishing protected corridors in the Western Ghats and ensure that forest tourism and other activities respect conservation measures. There is also a plan to extend the ENP by 30 sq km and reintroduce the tahr in some areas from where it had disappeared. Further, a protocol for monitoring the tahr population and its habitat has to be developed to evaluate the economic impact of tourism and put in place a preventive action plan against accidents such as an outbreak of fire in the ENP.Call of the WildThe Nilgiri tahr, Nilgiritragus hylocrius or goat antelope to biologists, is red-listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. A full grown male stands 100 cm tall at the shoulder and weighs about 100 kg. Females are slightly smaller in size and weight. Both sexes have curved horns, which are larger in the males, reaching up to 40 cm for males and 30 cm for females. Grey in colour, the animal is paler on the under-surface. Older males are known as saddlebacks due to the whitish hair that develop on the rump in the shape of a saddle as they age. The Nilgiri tahr live in herds ranging from six to 104 animals, with average group sizes of nine for all-female groups and 27 for mixed herds. Nearly half the population is in the Eravikulam National Park near Munnar. There is also the fear that any disease of epidemic proportions could wipe out the animal. That is why experts are against the tahr tracts being opened for tourists except the Rajamalai fringe of the ENP where visitors are taken up the slopes in the park’s vans. The tahr in this area of the park is not alarmed by the presence of human beings, which is also a grim pointer of its vulnerability to hunting and poaching. Also, the staff strength of the national park is very poor considering its remoteness and rugged terrain. “Protected areas have become the only beacons of hope for the long-term survival of the Niligiri tahr as with all wild animals of Asia,” says M.K. Ranjitsinh of the Wildlife Trust of India.A DNA profile of the tahr and a stock-taking of its scattered population outside the ENP is critical to guard against what Alembath calls “genetic erosion”. In order to obtain DNA samples of the tahr, researchers from the Centre for Ecological Sciences of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, have begun non-invasive sampling by collecting the tahr’s dung from locations across the Western Ghats.advertisementThe state governments too have begun to show greater interest. R.J. Ranjit Daniels, director, Care Earth, Chennai, points out that Kerala has set up the Nilgiri Tahr Trust and Tamil Nadu has put the animal on the cover of a book on the state’s biodiversity suggesting that the tahr occupies a significant position in the state’s wildlife conservation plan.However, the pioneers in protecting the tahr, Tata Tea and HRWEPA favour conservation through better management of the flora and fauna. “The tahr has contributed to tourism and generating funds for management through regulated eco-tourism is the only way,” says T. Damu, vice-president, Taj Group of Hotels. They are keen to promote private ownership and management of the tahr tracts and going by their track record in this project, few would bet against their success.