Month: November 2019

SMB draw collective effort in win over Phoenix

first_imgMOST READ LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary The Beermen, who are eyeing a Grand Slam, have a 7-3 record and are in a three-way tie with TNT and NLEX for the third spot. The Beermen almost had a fourth player notch a double-double after Arwind Santos put up 15 points and nine boards. PBA IMAGESANTIPOLO—There are a lot of things June Mar Fajardo enjoys like winning titles, capturing awards, and seeing his teammates excel.The reigning three-time PBA MVP is known for his selfless nature and when a couple of his teammates put up double-doubles, Fajardo was quite proud of the achievement.ADVERTISEMENT Dela Cruz, Hontiveros bid farewell to PBA Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles01:30’Excited’ Terrence Romeo out to cherish first PBA finals appearance00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters 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 Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president E.T. returns to earth, reunites with grown-up Elliott in new ad  BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fightcenter_img Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients  Terrence Watson had 26 points, 11 rebounds to go along five assists, three steals, and three blocks while Alex Cabagnot posted 24 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists.“All of us have to step up, and if possible we should all get double-doubles,” said Fajardo after San Miguel edged Phoenix, 109-107, in the PBA Governors’ Cup Wednesday at Ynares Sports Center here.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 shutoutFajardo also came away with a double-double of his own, finishing with 24 points, 17 rebounds, and six blocks.“It’s a good thing we got the win, one more game until the end of the eliminations and we have to win our last game so we can get to the top four.”  Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Read Next LATEST STORIES Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City View commentslast_img read more

Record-breaking Neymar says money not motive for joining PSG

first_imgAt a packed Paris news conference, Neymar found it “really sad” to be asked whether the riches on offer were the reason for his decision to swap one of soccer’s most illustrious teams — Barcelona has won every major honor multiple times — for a club yet to win the biggest competitions outside of France.“I was never motivated by money,” Neymar said at the PSG stadium. “What I think about is happiness. If I was following the money I would maybe be in some other country.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsThe move more than doubled the previous transfer record.“The fact I am the most expensive player is not a burden. I am 69 kilograms (152 pounds),” Neymar said through a translator. Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo View comments Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ LATEST STORIES Big firm products top worst plastic litter list — report PLAY LIST 01:45Big firm products top worst plastic litter list — report00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:49Robredo: 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 MOST READ Kelly wary of ‘legend’ Boku in return fight to ONE FEU Auditorium’s 70th year celebrated with FEU Theater Guild’s ‘The Dreamweavers’ National Coffee Research Development and Extension Center brews the 2nd National Coffee Education Congresscenter_img A record-breaking transfer leaves PSG having to squeeze every euro out of the signing — through sponsorship, merchandise and jersey sales — to ensure the club complies with European soccer’s financial regulations.Posters of the Brazilian — accompanied by the words “Welcome to a Paris Neymar Jr 10” — were unveiled to cheers on the front of the central Paris store where fans had been waiting for hours to get their hands on jerseys emblazoned with his name.“We look at Neymar as a brand,” PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said. “I don’t think he is expensive because I think (the transfer) will pay more than we paid.”With Neymar on board, supporters expect the team will achieve much more than just regain the French title from Monaco.The transfer could also elevate the 25-year-old forward to new personal heights as he emerges from the shadow of Lionel Messi at Barcelona.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Church, environmentalists ask DENR to revoke ECC of Quezon province coal plant DILG, PNP back suspension of classes during SEA Games “He is one of the three best players in the world,” 21-year-old PSG fan Sacha Cope said as he waited in line outside the club store on the Champs-Elysees on Friday morning to buy a Neymar jersey.“He comes here to win the Champions League with Paris Saint-Germain. We are expecting that. If he can do that here, for sure he will win the Ballon D’Or. He couldn’t do that at Barcelona because he was with Messi.”It was unclear if Neymar would make his debut when PSG opens its league season Saturday against Amiens, a team making its top-flight debut.Philippe Chembon, a fan, flaunted a receipt showing he spent 623.50 euros ($740) on four Neymar jerseys.“This is a very big moment for PSG,” said the 63-year-old Chembon, who is older than the club.When word spread late Thursday that Neymar could be staying at Le Royal Monceau in Paris, fans started to descend on the hotel. They weren’t deterred from hanging around through the night, despite discovering Neymar wouldn’t arrive until the morning.“We think Neymar will help us to dream bigger and win everything,” 20-year-old fan Samy El Amrani Jorey said outside the hotel at 1:30 a.m., adopting the club’s motto.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Trump strips away truth with hunky topless photo tweet Brazilian soccer star Neymar speaks during a press conference in Paris Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. Neymar arrived in Paris on Friday the day after he became the most expensive player in soccer history when completing his blockbuster transfer to Paris Saint-Germain from Barcelona for 222 million euros ($262 million).(AP Photo/Michel Euler)PARIS — Neymar insisted that money was not a motivation in deciding to join Paris Saint-Germain and said Friday that he would not be burdened by his 222 million-euro ($262-million) price tag.The Brazilian star flew in from Barcelona on a private jet for his official presentation, arriving in a city whose soccer fortunes he is expected to transform.ADVERTISEMENTlast_img read more

AVC brings PH volleyball team closer for SEA Games

first_imgCONTRIBUTED PHOTOBIÑAN, Laguna—National team outside hitter Alyssa Valdez said national team’s time in the AVC Asian senior Women’s Volleyball Championship has been of valuable help as it prepares for 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia.The Philippines finished at eighth place after three straight losses in in the Asian tournament includinga 25-20, 25-16, 21-25, 21-25, 15-3 setback to Kazakhstan Thursday but Valdez knows they’ve garnered enough experience to help them in Kuala Lumpur.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ “We have to prepare harder now and we have to have a better on-court chemistry than what he had here,” said Valdez. “We have to see all the little things so we’ll have better movement once we play.” View comments Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games05:25PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH03:04Filipino athletes share their expectations for 2019 SEA Games00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games00:36Manny Pacquiao part of 2019 SEA Games opening ceremony “This was a long tournament and we all know each other [better] because of it,” said Valdez in Filipino as she finished with 11 points in the loss to the Kazakhs.“We all have one goal and we’ll all kill ourselves to achieve that goal and bring glory to the country.”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 openingThe Kuala Lumpur Games would be Valdez’ second after she competed in the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore.She said they’d have to come out stronger if they hope to step to the podium in Malaysia. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Belo flies to KL with Gilas, hopes to join team in SEA Games Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’center_img LATEST STORIES Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesterslast_img read more

Warriors beat Redbacks, to meet Chennai in Champions League final

first_imgCaptain Davy Jacobs led from the front with a blistering 61 to guide Warriors into the final of the Champions League with a 30-run win over South Australia Redbacks in the second semifinal.Warriors set a challenging target of 176 for Redbacks, and with this win, they will now meet Chennai Super Kings in Sunday’s final.Calum Ferguson’s 71 (49b) was in vain, as Redbacks replied with 145-7. Lonwabo Tsotsobe (2-16) and Rusty Theron (1-21) combined to bowl eight economical overs, settling the game halfway through the chase when Redbacks were reduced to 60-4.Opting to bat, Warriors had a great start and finish to their innings, which at one stage looked bleak after they lost five wickets for just 41 runs in the middle overs.Jacobs and Colin Ingram (46) led the charge with a 105-run second wicket stand that came off just 72 balls.Jacobs quickfire 41-ball stay at the crease was decorated with 10 boundaries and a six, while Ingram struck three fours and a six during his innings.Nicky Boje came up with a short little seven-ball 22 run unbeaten cameo in the end to take Warriors beyond the 170-run mark.Medium-pacer Daniel Harris pulled South Australia back into the match with figures of three for 18 from his four overs, while Shaun Tait scalped two victims for 37.Contrary to the scorecard, Warriors innings started on a disastrous note as they lost Prince in the very second delivery, caught at first slip by Harris off Tait.But Jacobs and Ingram counter-attacked the South Australia bowlers to get back into the match and race to their fifty in just five overs.advertisementThe duo took the South Australia bowlers for ride to pile up 34 runs in the next two overs.South Australia skipper Michael Klinger’s decision to give the second over to Aaron O’Brien backfired as Ingram smashed the left-arm spinner for two fours and six to start the run flow for the Warriors.After the initial burst from Ingram, it was skipper Jacobs turn to cut loose as he clobbered Tait for two boundaries and a six in the next over.From there on, the duo did not spare a single South Australia bowler as they took them for a leatherhunt and found boundaries at will to notch up the team’s 100 in 11 overs.Warriors’ task was made easy by some sloppy fielding from South Australia as they dropped as many as three catches — two of Ingram and Mark Boucher once.Jacobs was the aggressive among the two batsmen as he notched up his fifty in 34 balls. But a little to aggression eventually led to his downfall but not before giving his batters the perfect platform to launch the final assault.He mis hit a Harris delivery, only to give a skier back to the bowler at square leg.Jacobs’ dismissal helped South Australia pull the plug as Harris and leg-spinner Cullen Bailey maintained a good line and length to stem the run flow.Warriors’ cause was not helped by two quick wickets in the form of Ingram and Craig Thyssen in a span of two overs.Mark Boucher made vital 21-ball 25 before perishing, but South Australia skipper Klinger went wrong for the second time in the match when he gave Daniel Christian the last over.Christian went for 23 runs in the last over as Botha smashed back-to-back sixes a four and then Justin Kreusch finished off the proceedings with another hit over the fence.last_img read more

Spectacular ceremony draws curtain on 34th National Games

first_imgPoliticians wave during the closing ceremony of 34th National Games.A spectacular air show and a musical extravaganza with a dash of Bollywood marked the closing ceremony, which drew curtains on the controversies-ridden 34th National Games in Ranchi on Saturday night.After 14 days of intense competition, hosts Jharkhand put up a glittering closing ceremony at the athletics venue of the Mega Sports Complex, even as country’s top leaders decided to gave it a miss on Saturday night.After Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Union Sports Minister Ajay Maken too skipped the ceremony at the last minute, apparently due to beleaguered IOA chief Suresh Kamadi’s veiled attack on the sports ministry.In absence of the top politicos, Kalmadi “declared the National Games close” as the political overtones dogged the closing ceremony.Indirectly taking a dig at the political heads, Kalmadi quipped, “I’m not going to give anymore bhasan (speech). Enough of bhasan has already been given,” as he went on to “declare the Games close”.With smiles and loud cheers all around, the spectacular ceremony lived up to the expectation at the jam-packed Birsa Munda Athletics Stadium in Mega Sports Complex in the outskirts of the city.The best of the ceremony was preserved for the last part as Bollywood heartthrob Katrina Kaif danced to hit numbers that brought the entire atmosphere alive.The four-hour long closing ceremony left an indelible impression on the people of Jharkhand.”It was a lifetime experience for me. Right from the air show to the item numbers, it really made us proud of the state. I have never seen such a programme and I’m sure everybody liked it,” Amit Kumar Jha, an enthralled volunteer, said.advertisementThe ceremony came as a balm for the Jharkhand Olympic Association who had received all the brickbats for the tumultuous build-up that had witnessed six postponements and a delay of four years after Guwahati hosted the previous edition in 2007.Divided into a total of five segments, the four-hour long closing ceremony began with a spectacular air show by the airforce who enthralled the audience with some breathtaking performances over the stadium.About an hour’s slot was allotted to the formal part of the show that saw arrival of the dignitaries, formal speeches and announcement of the closing as the torch was put off and the Games flag was handed over to the representatives of Kerala, the hosts of the next Games. .There was a jumble march-past by all the participating athletes which signified their friendship and bond of togetherness. It was followed by speeches by the dignitaries.Jharkhand Olympic Association chief R K Anand said, “People might be saying many things about the use of infrastructure but let me assure that it will be the hub of sporting activities even after the Games.”Virdhawal Khade and Richa Mishra were adjudged Best Male and Best Female athletes, while Raja Bhalendra Trophy for the champions were given to the Services Sports Control Board who topped with 70 gold, 50 silver and 42 bronze.An audio-video feature film, ‘Journey For All’ marked the beginning of the cultural segment as school children performed ‘Ye Desh Rangila’ inviting loud cheers from the crowd.There were also clippings of moments of glory, nail biting moments, sights and sounds of Jharkhand and rural to global transformation of the state that marked the show.Percussion, wind and string instrumentalist of Jharkhand created a tune titled ‘Wings of Aspiration’ which was followed by Thang-ta, a martial arts presentation by Manipur and Giddha and Bhangra dances of Punjab.Child prodigies, Hemant Brijwasi, Yatharth and Anamika Chuadhary, winners of different TV reality shows, performed separate Tri Colour Act before one shehnai, 100 dhaks, 100 nagaras (drumbeats), 800 paika (warrior dancers) and 66 dancers (33 pairs representing each dance forms) gave a special farewell tribute, aptly titled ‘Bidaai’.In the final segment of the ceremony, about 180 artists from Kerala showcased their cultural and traditional heritage in a 12-minute slot directed by National award winning filmmaker Shyama Prasad as they rendered ‘Varika Varika’ (welcome to Kerala).Shaan’s mesmerising crooning performance brought the atmosphere alive as a spectacular laser show lit up the evening, while ‘Katrina Kaif Live’ became the buzzword of the ceremony that closed with a spectacular fireworks dazzling the Ranchi sky.- With PTI inputslast_img read more

Trends that transcend time

first_imgPast, present and future trends that transcend time. Golden apple”The system of nature, of which man is a part, tends to be self-balancing, self-adjusting, self-cleansing. Not so with technology.” – E.F. Schumacher Master craftsmen create with a vision for longevity. They seek to achieve immortality for themselves by dressing their,Past, present and future trends that transcend time.Golden apple”The system of nature, of which man is a part, tends to be self-balancing, self-adjusting, self-cleansing. Not so with technology.” – E.F. SchumacherMaster craftsmen create with a vision for longevity. They seek to achieve immortality for themselves by dressing their creations in jewels that will never fade in beauty. Technology, however, is in constant upheaval and perpetual evolution, as any early adopter’s brimming shed of obsolete gadgets will testify. That’s why Stuart Hughes’ Ipad 2 Gold History Edition elicits polarised reactions from different communities. Encrusted with 12.5 carats of flawless diamonds, a total of 53 individually set sparkling gems in solid 24 carat fill the Apple logo, with the rear section formed again in 24 carat gold weighing 2 kgs. The main front frame is made from the oldest rock found in the world, ammolite. Sourced from Canada, this stone is over 75 million years old. However, to really pull out all the stops, Hughes splintered and shaved sections of a 65 million-yearold T-REX Dinosaur’s thigh bone into the Ammolite, and then crowned it with the ultimate jewel: a single cut 8.5 carat diamond inlaid in its own platinum surround with 12 outer diamonds. Only two of these are available, and only if you are ready to fork out $8,100,000 (Rs 36.61 crore). Of course for those who can’t afford one just yet, remember, it’s just a fleeting matter of time before the Ipad 2 becomes an ancient relic. From the look of it, Hughes really wanted this one to be a collector’s item, choosing to border a version of technology approaching extinction with the primitive bones of a dinosaur.advertisementSpa: Spray of lifeBathline Sensations introduces the anti-ageing skin spa, a luxurious treatment you can enjoy in the comfort of your home shower cubicle. This treatment draws on medicated oils and salt solutions from minerals, vitamins, fatty acids and bio-photons and releases them through a shower onto the skin. Housed in a glass booth which a person can sit comfortably in, it fills the space with a light mist that envelops the body. The Kasch Micro Steam cabin uses natural materials to douse you with a healthy dose of antioxidants and minerals. This is easily absorbed by the skin and mucous membrane. Now get all the rejuvenating power of the spa without stepping out of your home.Accessories: Eyes wide openHas the summer heat confined you to the air conditioned indoors? Cartier, Paris, has the perfect step-out gear in a tricked-out pair of sunglasses. Grab the only pair of their custom made French shades in black plastic, trimmed in 18 carat gold, with 188 collet set diamonds in excess of 7.5 carats in their original box. These elegant and sparkling sunglasses, modelled on 1980s chic, are thought to be the only of their kind in existence. If you can see yourself sporting the sunshine sparkle then get in touch with New York City’s Gallery 47, but be prepared to shell out an eye-popping $25,000 (Rs 11 lakh) for the unique pair.Philately: Million dollar stampThe world’s most famous stamp,the elusive Post Office Mauritius, was sold for a record breaking Euro 1,053,090 (Rs 7.71crore)at Spink in London. The stamp was one of the highlights of the Chartwell collection formed by businessman and philanthropist Sir Cyril Humphrey Cripps. Over the next 18 months, Spink will sell the Chartwell collection, comprising of some of the finest material ever seen in Great Britain. Currently held in just over 80 stamp albums, The Chartwell Collection is estimated to fetch well in excess of 20,000,000 (Rs 146.62crore) before the last lot is sold in December 2012. Who would have thought snail mail could be such a lucrative hobby?TalkAnimal planetThe Barkley pet hotel sits just across the Four Seasons hotel in Los Angeles. Created for those that love their pets silly, the hotel is apt for folks who fit into the creed of buying gold gilded pet crates or Louis Vuitton pet carriers for transporting their pooches. Pets get their own suites with individual climate and lighting control (so you can let the hotel know what your pet prefers).Cats get smaller suites but also have televisions which show birds in flight and tropical fish in a tank. Pets are free to choose dinners from the Four Seasons hotel next door (the steak is a favourite with the guests apparently). Fussy cats can also feast on tuna sushi if they so desire. Spa treatments include fur dyeing to ensure your pooch is up to date with the latest fashion.Fashion: Fendi’s museKarl Lagerfeld has captured Anja Rubik for the third consecutive season in Fendi’s fall 2011 campaign. This time around, Lagerfeld steps behind the lens to create sultry images of Rubik playing an artist’s muse in a rusty room crowded with canvases, paint buckets and old rugs. This brings out the raw essence of the new collection’s fur-filled wardrobe with knits, tweed and wool in dark and mysterious shades of green, maroon and brown. The magical collaboration looks set to continue.Auto: Through the looking glassThis 1939 Pontiac Plexiglas Deluxe Six Ghost Car, once displayed at the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair, could now be yours at the right price. The first full size transparent car built in America (at a reported cost of $25,000), is expected to sell for between $275,000 and $475,000(Rs 1.24crore and Rs 2.15crore). The see-through vehicle is a collaboration between General Motors and Rohm & Haas. It features a plexiglass body that exposes the vehicle’s innards. After the World’s Fair the car was on display at the Smithsonian and at several Pontiac dealerships across the United States in the 1940s.Art: Leica’s first lookLuxe German camera-makers Leica have just opened their first Leica boutique in Singapore. Located at the Raffles Hotel Arcade, the showroom also serves as a photo gallery which will display fine pieces from Leica’s best known photojournalists.Hotel: Revisiting historyOne of London’s finest hotels, Grosvenor House, has introduced a new package to celebrate its rich American connection. Grosvenor House’s transatlantic package provides the ultimate Anglo-American adventure in the heart of London, allowing guests to explore this special relationship. Guests will be invited to join an American Civil War walking tour through the streets of Piccadilly, Mayfair and Marylebone. Next on the schedule is a visit to the Imperial War Museum, London, founded during the First World War in 1917 as a record of the war effort. Check in for some serious time travel.David MilliereThe spice cellar: A hint of honeyadvertisementWhat better feeling than savouring a little taste of home when you find yourself an ocean away from it.One evening, I was walking by the wine cellar of a wealthy local country club in Atlanta, Georgia, where I was privileged to occupy the envious position of sommelier. I popped in for a little snooping.I noticed, unexpectedly lying on the floor, half a dozen bottles of white wine that I had never seen before. As I got closer to the alien bottles, I managed to read this: Joseph Drouhin, Beaune Clos des Mouches, 1997. Soon after that, I was chatting with my boss, the head wine minister of the huge mansion.”Jodie, what are those bottles lying there?” “Ah yes… well, I’ve had them for quite a while now. I can’t print them on the wine list, because I only have six. Sell them by the glass if you can,” he said.By the glass? It meant I could crack open one of them and taste it, just to make sure that time combined with possibly non appropriate cellaring conditions hadn’t turned the delicious nectar into white wine vinegar. After all, I was dealing with a quasi decade old wine.Clos des Mouches (clos stands for enclosed vineyard, mouches is the old French word for bees) is the name of the vineyard, within the village of Beaune, arguably the historical capital of Burgundy wines. Ranked as a premier cru, or first growth, the clos is bordering the village of Pommard, famous for its red wines. It is planted with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, both reigning as King and Queen of Burgundy, only leaving crumbs to Gamay and Aligote that belong to lower casts.As I opened the bottle, the golden liquid, trapped for such a long time in its prison of glass, was a bit reluctant to express its joy at being released. Pouring some in a glass made it instantly more talkative: subtle vanilla hints, candied lemons, a generous minerality, but above all this trademark honey scent that you almost unmistakably find in all great white burgundies that has gone well over the age of reason. The palate is unsurprisingly bone dry, with an acidity as sharp as a recently manufactured Laguiole. The taste lingered long after the wine had been consumed.Domaine Joseph Drouhin was created over a century ago, and is now under the control of the fourth generation of the family, all siblings. They mostly do wines from their own vineyards, but also have a negociant activity, which allow them to produce wines from grapes they buy from other growers.Interestingly, this very wine was featured, via its 1973 vintage, in the most famous tastings of all, the 1976 Judgment of Paris, where French and Californian wines were assessed in a blind exercise. There and then, it compared very well with its illustrious opponents.Marcel Proust has his Madeleine, I now have my Drouhin Clos des Mouches Blanc 1997. Just a sip and I am transported back to either Atlanta or my native France.David Milliere is Head Sommelier, The Leela Palace, New Delhi.advertisementlast_img read more

After defeating censure motion on Gujarat, Vajpayee Government looks confident

first_imgVote bait: The Government has survived but its image has taken a beatingThere are leaders who find politically uncertain times the most convenient to search for their conscience. Ram Vilas Paswan is one such. Union coal minister till last week, Paswan pulled out of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Cabinet, and,Vote bait: The Government has survived but its image has taken a beatingThere are leaders who find politically uncertain times the most convenient to search for their conscience. Ram Vilas Paswan is one such. Union coal minister till last week, Paswan pulled out of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Cabinet, and his latest party offering, the Lok Janshakti, out of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA), hours before the Lok Sabha debate on April 30.The Opposition-sponsored motion sought to censure the Government on the continuing violence in Gujarat. As the discussion began, Minister of State for External Affairs Omar Abdullah, of the National Conference (NC), also announced his decision to quit.With the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) having already declared its intention not to participate in the voting, the Congress-led Opposition was anticipating an April 1999-type closing that saw the then Vajpayee government being thrown out by a solitary vote.Far from being a close call, the voting at the end of a 16-hour, often acrimonious debate showed that despite the cracks in the coalition the Government was safe. The Opposition had pinned its hopes too high.The Government garnered 281 votes, the Opposition merely 194. “The Vajpayee Government may have won, but the nation is the ultimate loser,” fumed RJD leader Laloo Prasad Yadav, assuming the uncharacteristic role of democracy’s latest torchbearer. Rural Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu showed no trace of emotion when he said, “Only numbers count in democracy, not sentiments.”Golden hour: The Congress has gained from the BJP allies’ trial by fire in the debateThe parliamentary test may have been won by the Government but it had to count its losses as well. After the continued deadlock in the Lok Sabha and the hype outside over Gujarat ever since Parliament resumed the budget session in mid-April, it has been a fight for survival for the Government.It did survive, but its image was badly bruised. In the past, the BJP could afford to brush aside Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee’s outrageous demands as the tantrums of a temperamental woman. But this time, even the hitherto reliable allies began to play truant.advertisementIn hindsight, it is clear that some of the allies are dispensable but it would be naive to assume that the coalition emerged stronger after the debate. If anything, the vote pattern proved that many alliance partners had no choice but to stick to the NDA despite the BJP’s hardline posture on Hindutva.The voting of the alliance partners was dictated mainly by their own political compulsions. Ahead of next year’s assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, the TDP could do little else but abstain. The alternative? Hand over the substantial Muslim votes in the state to the Congress.The Trinamool, still smarting from last year’s rout in the West Bengal assembly elections, had no electoral compulsions and voted for the Government. The NC’s dilemma was somewhat akin to that of the TDP. Elections in Jammu and Kashmir are due later this year and the party could not afford to annoy the state’s majority Muslim community.At the same time, the party faced the risk of a double anti-incumbency backlash – being in power both at the Centre and the state. But since it had no intention to antagonise the Centre, it decided to abstain and sacrifice the ministerial berth of Abdullah, who in any case is scheduled to take over as the NC chief in the near future.The DMK had in the past voiced its reservation over the events in Gujarat but was forced to vote with the Government because it couldn’t afford to be seen on the same side of the political divide as arch rival AIADMK. The Janata Dal (United) was anything but united. While party chief Sharad Yadav is a member of the Vajpayee Cabinet, his Parliamentary Party leader Devendra Prasad Yadav, sore over not being accommodated in the Cabinet, decided to adopt the moral highground and abstaining despite being present in the House.Major parliamentary debates are usually covered live by Doordarshan, but with the Government ordering the switching off of the cameras, viewers across the country were deprived of the chance to see their elected representatives indulge in doublespeak. In this case, the NDA leaders who spoke the language of the Opposition and blasted the Narendra Modi Government for its alleged inefficiency, but ultimately voted against the censure motion.While the NDA’s image has taken a beating, the debate has boosted the BJP’s morale. Having crossed the Lok Sabha halfway mark of 272 despite the desertion of key allies – thanks to the trade-off with the BSP’s Mayawati which brought 13 crucial votes – party leaders will now be eager to put an end to frequent threats being doled out by them. “Enough is enough.advertisementNow the BJP will call the shots in the NDA,” said a BJP minister after the debate. The obvious reference was to the TDP, Trinamool, JD (U), and NC leaders’ attempts to form an informal pressure group within the NDA to force the Government to seek Modi’s resignation.The BJP has now proved to N. Chandrababu Naidu that his party is not indispensable. So long as the TDP doesn’t vote with its arch rival Congress – the political equivalent of the Muslim League building the Ram temple – Vajpayee’s Government is safe. But only as long as the battle is fought in Parliament. The outcome could be different if instead of the honourable MPs the people were to decide the Government’s fate.Sling Shots”The Congress president is an antique smuggler.” PRABHU NATH SINGH Samata Party MP”Sonia lowered the dignity of the House by chewing gum.”GEORGE FERNANDES Defence Minister”Uma Bharati speaks like a Nazi volunteer.”CHANDRA SHEKHAR SJP President”Vaiko is a murderer, a terrorist and an antinational.”MANI SHANKAR AIYAR Congress MP”Mulayam once had Mayawati dragged by her hair.”UMA BHARATI Sports Ministerlast_img read more

Radical Islamism: ‘Factors that allowed Taliban to overrun Afghanistan made it fall apart’

first_imgFALL AND FREEDOM: Retribution is bloody for this Taliban fighterIt was mid-morning and the valley of Maidan Shah was full of sound and fury. Kabul, 30 miles to the north, had been captured 10 days earlier and now it seemed the Northern Alliance was set for a big push south,FALL AND FREEDOM: Retribution is bloody for this Taliban fighterIt was mid-morning and the valley of Maidan Shah was full of sound and fury. Kabul, 30 miles to the north, had been captured 10 days earlier and now it seemed the Northern Alliance was set for a big push south along the road to Kandahar, the Taliban’s stronghold 300 miles away.In north Afghanistan the hardline Islamic militia had crumbled with surprising rapidity. Now the Northern Alliance was trying to fight in its heartland. Since early morning, rocket launchers, tanks and mortars had been pounding the ridge lines where the Taliban fighters were dug in.The rattle of automatic fire and a steady counterpoint from heavy machine guns filled the air. It looked like a full-scale set-piece battle, but in fact, as so often in Afghanistan, reality was far more complicated.As casualties mounted and trenches were captured and recaptured, negotiations continued between Ghulam Mohammed, the Taliban commander of Maidan Shah, and his Northern Alliance counterpart Sher Alam.After 48 hours, an uneasy peace descended, and a new political reality emerged; not just for this scrappy roadside town but for the country as a whole. For what happened at Maidan Shah was about to be repeated, with a few local variations, across much of central, eastern and southern Afghanistan.Ghulam Mohammed had done a deal with the Northern Alliance. After he surrendered a token tank or two,his fighters came down from their positions and embraced their counterparts. In a matter of minutes, Ghulam Mohammed’s nominal allegiance was suddenly to Kabul, not Kandahar. Another chunk of territory had been stripped from the Holy Warriors of Kandahar.advertisementFALL AND FREEDOM: An Afghan woman having a haircutFor observers, the battle of Maidan Shah was an object lesson in why the Taliban crumbled so fast. The first stage had been the rout in the north. There – in Mazar-e-Sharif, Shibergan, Taloqan, Kunduz, the Bamiyan Valley and the Shomali Plain – the Taliban was never going to be able to put up concerted resistance.The Pentagon may crow about the efficacy of the Daisycutter bomb and their Special Forces spotter teams but all those who know Afghanistan are aware that the Taliban presence in the north was a military, cultural, ethnic and political anomaly that was always fragile.When the Taliban (most of its militiamen are Pashtoons from the south-west) conquered the north in 1998, it met with little resistance. Judicious payments to the right commanders at the right time, combined with more than the usual infighting among the opposition, allowed the Taliban to take the key city of Mazar-e-Sharif without much of a fight. The Panjshir itself, despite a short-lived incursion in 1998, remained securely with the Northern Alliance.But the Taliban’s regime in the north was built on sand. When they arrived in Mazar-e-Sharif three years ago, the new governor of the city made his views clear: the Shia Muslims who predominate locally were unbelievers and worse than animals, he said.It did not endear him to the locals. “The Taliban in the north was an occupying power and seen as such,” said one western diplomat in Islamabad last week. “Any hold it had in the region was entirely dependent on the goodwill and financial greed of some local commanders.It had no hinterland.” It is now clear that the decision to try to defend the Taliban’s occupied territory beyond the Hindu Kush was the gravest strategic error made by Mullah Mohammed Omar, the reclusive one-eyed cleric who ran the movement from Kandahar.FORGOTTEN JOYS: Swinging freeFor months it was predicted that the Pashtoon heartlands of Afghanistan would rise up behind the Taliban. Ethnic, religious and nationalistic motives would combine, and the US-led coalition’s campaign would bog down in a morass of guerrilla warfare and religious extremism.”Had the Americans come up in force against Taliban ground troops, all things may have been different …” said one senior British army officer in London last week. “But that wasn’t the war they wanted – with good reason – and that wasn’t the war they fought. So the Taliban collapsed through its own internal weakness.”To understand why, you have to analyse the Taliban and what it is – or was. Though its origins are shrouded in myth, there is no doubting that the original impulse came from a semi-retired mujahideen fighter from Oruzgan province who was earning a poor living as a mullah in a small village near Kandahar in 1994. Mullah Omar and a small band of followers gathered their forces and set about cleaning up their neighbourhood. From those small ambitions and beginnings, the Taliban was born.advertisementTERROR LINE FORGOTTEN JOYS: At a bathhouseOrigin: The Taliban started in 1994 in Pashtoon-dominated south-east Afghanistan, when Mullah Omar, a veteran of the war against the Soviets, fought bandit warlords.1996 onward: Consolidates position in Afghanistan. Becomes home of radical Islamism, shelters people like Osama bin Laden.Sept 11: Incurs US wrath as two planes crash into and destroy the WTC. Another plane hits the Pentagon. US President George Bush blames bin Laden and promises to “hunt” him down.Oct 7: The US launches air strikes in Afghanistan.Nov 9: Northern Alliance troops capture the strategic Mazar-e-Sharif.Nov 12: The Taliban troops abandon Kabul.Dec 6: The Taliban troops surrender Kandahar, their last stronghold. Over the next seven years, a body of ideologically aligned fellow travellers coalesced around the core group in Kandahar. At first these were Afghans attracted by Mullah Omar’s message and his personal charisma.Soon they were joined by a strong Pakistani contingent – the madarsa nexus, which brought thousands to their fold. Lately, Al Qaida elements began to build a stronger presence.Osama bin Laden himself and his chief ideologue Ayman al-Zawahiri became more influential and their fighters more militarily significant.But most important of all were the hundreds of local Afghan warlords who decided that the clever choice was to join the Taliban, or at least not to resist it.And this is where the almost feudal nature of Afghan politics played into the Islamic milita’s hands. “A good leader (in Afghanistan) looks after his fighters.That means not getting them killed and keeping them sweet with handouts so they are loyal to him,” explained Sher Abdullah, a former Taliban commander in Jalalabad last month. “That means being on the winning side.”As the Taliban began its drive across Afghanistan, scores of local commanders made their calculations – and suddenly became Mullah Omar’s men.By last September, the Taliban had a fighting strength of around 50,000 (including foreign fighters numbering 5,000), large stocks of ammunition, fuel, weapons, and several hundred tanks and armoured personnel carriers. But it was all for nothing. For what allowed the Taliban to spread so quickly, allowed them to fall apart even faster.The collapse was in spite of the hard core, not because of it. Mullah Omar is now a fugitive and his close associates have not surrendered. The Pakistanis and other foreigners fought on after the Taliban pulled out from the north voluntarily.The men who held out for some time in the eastern cave complex of Tora Bora, where bin Laden is believed to be sheltering, were certainly in no mood to surrender, and of the 2,000 Pakistanis who entered Afghanistan from Malakand, 1,100 are unaccounted for-either in prison or dead.What basically caused the collapse of the Taliban was the failure of support in the Afghan countryside as a whole. President George W. Bush’s idea was to drain the swamp that aids terrorists. This swamp spat them out voluntarily.That happened even though the Taliban was welcome when it first took over many cities because it brought order. Basically the Taliban was defeated- like every other power that overreaches itself in Afghanistan-by the traditional structure of Afghan rural society.advertisementThe Taliban was never more than a superimposition on the social structure in rural areas, on the local ruling councils, shuras, on hierarchies established over centuries. The primacy of the mullah – the foundation of Taliban rule – was always an anomaly and a reversion to earlier hierarchies favouring the malik or the syed or the alim (religious scholar) an inevitability.Couple that with the traditional mendacity and venality of your average post-Soviet era Afghan warlord – the other pole of local power – and, once its back was to the wall, the Taliban never stood a chance.Some things might have staved off collapse. Much depended on money and the Taliban received a lot in its early days from Saudi Arabia, bin Laden and Pakistan. It also received substantial military support from Pakistan. But the changes in the regional geopolitical map in the past three months left the Taliban high and dry. The conjunction of regional factors that had facilitated its emergence had disappeared.For the moment, the Taliban is effectively gone. It is, however, far from forgotten. In Pakistan, former Taliban ministers and officials have formed a new party, a Taliban Mk 2. What exactly their intentions are is not clear yet.(The author is the chief reporter of The Observer, London, and was its South Asia correspondent from 1998 to 2000.)last_img read more

Termination of Deccan Chargers franchise stands: BCCI

first_imgAfter a month long legal battle, the cash-strapped Deccan Chargers on Saturday lost its status as an IPL team after the Bombay High Court stayed the order of Arbitrator for maintaining status quo on the matter till further hearing.The beleaguered owners of Deccan Chargers had on Friday failed to produce a Rs 100-crore bank guarantee before the Bombay High Court, a condition that had been set for the struggling team’s survival in the league. They later approached the Court-appointed Arbitrator who had passed the order of status quo.BCCI chief N Srinivasan”BCCI moved an appeal against the Order of Arbitrator and the same was heard today morning. The Honourable High Court was pleased to stay the Order of Arbitrator after hearing both the parties”, the BCCI said in a statement.”Thus, the termination of Deccan Chargers franchise stands”, the BCCI said, ending the uncertainty on the fate of the team which has run into huge financial problems.Deccan Chronicle Holdings Limited’s failure to furnish the guarantee money before the 5pm deadline yesterday effectively meant that the BCCI’s termination of the team stood and the Board was free to float the tender for a new franchise. But the Arbitrator’s order prvented BCCI from going ahead with its termination process.DC logo”The termination of Deccan Chargers franchise was challenged in the Hon’ble Bombay High Court by the DCHL pending the arbitration. A Conditional Order of stay was granted by the Hon’ble High Court pending arbitration on 1st October 2012″.”The condition to give BCCI a Bank Guarantee of a Nationalized Bank for Rs 100 Crores by 5.00 p.m. on 12.10.2012 to cover expenses of IPL 6, was breached by DCHL”, the BCCI statement said.advertisementlast_img read more