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India should replicate English league

Kolkata—Welsh footballer Niel Taylor Tuesday said India should replicate the English Premier League (EPL) model to “massively” boost the football scene in the country.

“It can help massively. I have seen the Indian Premier League (IPL) and how big you can do things, putting it on a global scale. I wonder how it can’t happen. They have premier leagues worldwide so hopefully India; the combination you have in the country, there’s no reason why you can’t have one,” Taylor said here while interacting with participants, coaches and coordinators of the Kolkata Goalz project at the East Bengal Club.

Taylor, who plays left-back for Swansea City Association Football Club in Wales was hopeful about the club producing quality players in future.

“We have good talent for a couple of years. Hopefully we can build on what we have and produce a strong set. The strategy at Swansea is to get players who are hungry, willing to use the opportunity and there is a prevalence of new players,” said Taylor.–IANS

India not ready for legalising betting in sports: Delhi Police

New Delhi —Delhi Police may have unearthed betting and spot fixing in the Indian Premier League (IPL), arresting three Rajasthan Royals cricketers, but one of their top investigators feels that the country is still not ready for legalising betting in sports.

S.N. Srivastava, special commissioner, Delhi Police, who is heading the investigations in the IPL spot fixing case, said Tuesday that while legalising sports betting can help in generating revenues in the form of taxes, on the other hand, it will play as a deterrent for the young who indulge in the act.

“One must not forget that betting is not approved by the society,” said Srivastava during a seminar ‘Regulating Sports Betting: Way Forward to Counter Match Fixing?’, organised here by FICCI.
Srivastava agreed that India needs stringent laws in sports but feels that it would take another 10-15 years for the country to legalise betting in sports.

Albert Climent, founder, Bluesea-Gaming.com and adviser, Asian Gambling Brief, however, opined that India is ready for regulating sports betting and it will reduce match fixing.

“The authorities will work in tandem with betting operators and not against them. The betting operators will not encourage match fixing as they would want to earn profits and will be answerable to the authorities,” he said.

Climent, however, warned that only reliable operators should be issued licences and it should be ensured that they comply with all the pre-requisites.

Climent pointed out that it would be easier to track the flow of money and once India legalises betting, it will automatically come under the ring fence which will allow Indians to bet with Indians only and help in keeping the Indian money spent on betting in the country itself.–IANS

1983 World Cup win gave new dimension to Indian cricket: Kapil Dev

New Delhi–Kapil Dev relived some of the moments of the 1983 World Cup triumph as India Tuesday celebrated 30 years of its most famous win.

Kapil, who led India to the win, along with his teammates Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri, the youngest man in the team, walked down memory lane recalling some of the best memories of the 1983 Prudential World Cup.

“We were just a bunch of young boys who wanted to have fun. Winning was more fun in the evening and that’s what we started to look out for – how we can enjoy more. The first match itself (against West Indies) gave us a little hope. After that our aim was to make the top four. Every match became more and more serious after that,” Kapil was quoted as saying by BCCI.tv
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“We felt that the 1983 World Cup changed the entire sport in our country and gave a new dimension to Indian cricket,” he added.

Shastri said the fact that India had beaten the West Indies and Australia in the group stages to reach the semi-final gave them a lot of confidence.

After battering Australia by 118 runs, India booked the semi-finals berth and were off to Manchester to take on England in the semi-finals.

“The fact of the matter was that we had beaten the West Indies and Australia to reach the semi-finals. When we reached Old Trafford for our semi-final game and saw the pitch, we knew we had a very good chance,” said Shastrishpal Sharma (61) and Sandip Patil (51 not out) scored fifties and India chased down the target with six wickets to spare.

The Unthinkable had happened. India had made it to the World Cup final. Off to London, off to the Lord’s!

“We just said, ‘let’s go out there and enjoy ourselves’. There was no thought of winning or losing. We had played damn good cricket to reach the final and now let’s go and enjoy,” said Shastri.
Gavaskar said Kapil told the boys to make the final “a memorable one.”

“That’s what Kapil said, ‘We have worked hard and made the final. Yes, nobody is giving us a chance but this is a huge occasion so let’s go out there, give it our best’. That’s exactly what we did,” said Gavaskar.

Kapil said the track at the Lord’s was prepared to suit the West Indies bowlers.

“There was so much grass on that wicket, I still remember it clearly in my mind. I thought, ‘what the hell is this? This is not a one-day wicket. We discussed it in the team meeting and I said, ‘I am sure they will cut the grass. There’s no way it will be so bouncy and green for the final’. But that didn’t happen,” he said.

On the day of the final, Clive Lloyd won the toss and put India in to bat. Sunil Gavaskar departed early but his opening partner Krishnamachari Srikkanth unleashed his uninhibited attacking instincts on the giant Caribbean bowlers.

“The West Indies hadn’t seen Cheeka (Srikkanth) before and he had the shots – the cut, the pull and hook – to counter their bowling. When it was pitched up he would smash it through the covers. So the kind of shots he played, took them by surprise. At the end of the match, his 38 was the top-score in the World Cup final,” said Shastri.

Srikkanth’s cameo helped India crawl to 183 in 54.4 overs but it was never going to be enough against the likes of Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Vivian Richards and Clive Lloyd.

“If you look at 183 with the kind of batting line-up that West Indies had, it really should have been a walk in the park for them,” he said.

Greenidge and Haynes went cheaply but Richards looked in marauding mood before Kapil covered the distance from mid-on to midwicket to catch a miscued hook from the batsman. With West Indies on 3 for 57 India were back into the game.

“After Richards’ wicket it was India’s turn to keep their calm and not try too many things in a flash. It was a matter of hanging in there and you never know, there might be a run-out or a stupid shot that’s played. Once Clive Lloyd got out India had their nose in the front and they made sure they don’t do anything stupid to lose that advantage,” said Shastri.

When Mohinder Amarnath trapped Michael Holding lbw a new world order was set.–IANS

Badal, IAS body slam assault on Punjab officer in Uttarakhand

Chandigarh–The assault on Punjab-cadre IAS officer Kahan Singh Pannu by a group of agitated pilgrims from Punjab at Govind Ghat in Uttarakhand has been deplored by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and an IAS officers association.

Badal called up his Uttarakhand counterpart Vijay Bahuguna and demanded adequate security for Punjab officers supervising rescue and relief operations in calamity-hit Uttarakhand.

Badal expressed surprise “that security arrangements for those helping others in fighting against the natural calamity were so pathetically inadequate”.

Pannu was assaulted Monday by a group of stranded pilgrims in Govind Ghat in Uttarakhand following an argument over shifting the pilgrims to another place.

Pannu was chased, slapped, punched and beaten with shoes and even a broom. The entire incident was video-graphed by a person and uploaded on the Internet.

In a statement here Tuesday, Badal described the incident as “deplorable” and a “great disservice to the cause of relief and rehabilitation for which the officers are working at considerable hardship and risk to their lives”.

In an appeal, Badal said: “Everyone should keep their calm and composure in the hour of this grave natural calamity. We must battle this unitedly, keeping our calm…”

“Making the relief and rehabilitation workers themselves the target of such inhuman assault is totally unacceptable,” Badal said.

The Punjab Indian Admnistrative Service (IAS) officers Association strongly condemned the “brutal attack” on Pannu.

“This dastardly attack on an IAS officer has raised a number of issues which require to be addressed on priority. First, the criminals must not go unpunished. The association demands that our state government should take up the matter with the Uttarakhand government for lodging an FIR…,” it said.

“Secondly, if the roots of any conspiracy exist in Punjab, the association demands that our state government should direct the police chief to get the matter thoroughly investigated and the law should take its right course,” the association said.

It demanded that if teams were sent for rescue and relief operations in other states, they should be accompanied by adequate police protection.

Punjab Congress president Pratap Singh Bajwa demanded a judicial probe into the assault on Pannu.

However, the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal, while condemning the incident, rejected the judicial probe demand saying that the Congress leader was resorting to “gimmicks”.–IANS

Huge ship with arms for Syrian rebels breaks off Goa coast

PANAJI: A huge ship from Singapore, reportedly carrying arms and ammunition for Syrian rebels, broke up mid-sea about 500 nautical miles off the Goa coast, chief minister Manohar Parrikar told the media on Tuesday afternoon.

Parrikar, however, clarified that the information that the ship was carrying containers with arms and ammunition is unconfirmed. He said while there is no immediate danger to Goa from the ship, which is reportedly drifting towards the Goa coastline, the real danger could be the containers floating in the water and posing danger to other vessels.

Parrikar said all security agencies have been alerted to cope with any eventuality.

Musharraf charged in Bhutto killing case

ISLAMABAD: Compounding his legal woes, Pakistani investigators included ex-military ruler Pervez Musharraf in the list of main accused who conspired to assassinate former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007.

The Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) submitted a chargesheet against 69-year-old Musharrafincluding him in the list of main accused in the case in the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Rawalpindi.

The FIA presented a four-point chargesheetagainst Musharraf in the ATC, accusing him of hatching a conspiracy to assassinate Bhutto.

54-year-old Bhutto was assassinated in a suicide attack outside Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007, after she addressed an election campaign rally.

The chargesheet submitted contained the statements of four witnesses, including an American journalist Marc Siegel, as well as Bhutto’s own statement.

FIA officials said that the chargesheet has been prepared on the basis of Marc Siegel’s statement, who had claimed that Musharraf called and threatened her when he was sitting with Benazir Bhutto.

Siegel, who served as lobbyist for Bhutto in the US, had also stated that she had told him that Musharraf would be responsible for any harm to her.

He had earlier stated that he was with Bhutto in London when Musharraf had denied the allegations.

The chargesheet stated that the statement of the American established Musharraf as the prime accused in Benazir’s murder.

The chargesheet also levelled terrorism accusations against the former president.

The document stated that Musharraf had failed to prove his innocence in the case.

The ATC last year summoned Siegel to personally appear in the court and record his statement. However, he has not yet appeared before the court.

The ATC judge Chaudhry Habib-ur-Rehman ordered that Musharraf must be produced in the court on July 2, when the court will resume hearing of the case.

Indian couples want ‘white’ sperm donors for fair kids

A Delhi-based couple in their forties had twins through a surrogate mother, who carried an embryo created from the husband’s sperm and eggs from a ‘white’ donor, the Hindustan Times reported.

The couple wanted a donor with ‘very fair’ skin, but as someone with such special physical attributes was not available on Indian databases, the couple decided to look abroad for Caucasian or ‘white’ egg donors.

Through a foreign agency, the couple contacted a young unmarried woman from the West, who came to a Mumbai clinic and donated her eggs in May.

She was paid about Rs. 8 lakh or about $14,000— a package that included cost of her stay, food and travel. The fertilized embryo was then transferred to an Indian surrogate who delivered the baby.

“The husband is very fair and they wanted to have a fair child. We could not get an egg donor who could match the husband’s complexion and, hence, a Caucasian donor was selected,” said Dr Duru Shah, who runs a private clinic at Peddar Road. “The donor is a student who wanted to fund her nursing course and so agreed.”

According to infertility experts, easily accessible websites and donor-finding agencies have brought foreign sperm and egg donors just a click away from Indian couples.

Several media, including the BBC have reported on the desire for lighter skin in India. For centuries women in South Asia have been raised with the belief that a fairer complexion equates to beauty.
But new developments in this area has always reignited the age-old fairness debate.

In 2010 India’s whitening cream market was worth $432m and growing at 18% per year, according to ACNielsen, BBC said.

Bollywood stars who have promoted the products include: John Abraham, Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif, Deepika Padukone, Preity Zinta, Sonam Kapoor.

New Punjabi film ‘Aaja Ve Maahi’ to target children of Punjabi diaspora

AMRITSAR: Producer Tanvi Sandhu and director Vikram Sandhu today announced their new Punjabi film “Aaja Ve Maahi” targeted at children of Punjabi Diaspora born and brought up in foreign lands. While their parents are well conversant with the Punjabi culture and heritage, most of these children are blissfully ignorant of the Indian ethos.

Addressing a press conference here film director Vikram Sandhu claimed that the film, which for the first time in the history of Punjabi film industry will also simultaneously be released in Pakistan and Europe, will attempt to bind these children to the Punjabi way of life. For the purpose of selling in Europe, “Aaja Ve Maahi” is being dubbed in Spanish and Greek, he added.

While Wadali Brothers will sing the title song of “Aaja Ve Maahi”, music will be composed by the legendary Jaidev. All of them were present at the media briefing. Commenting on the star cast, Vikram Sandhu said apart from Sarvar Ahuja and Micky Sidhu in the lead roles, others already cast in the film are well known actors Ranjit Singh, Dheeraj Kumar and Kanwaljit Singh. Tatiyana from the UK is in the female lead role while hunt was on for others.

The film is being made under the banner of Angel Film Creatiives, which has earlier produced films like “Dil Da Mamla”, “Dil Mera Mod De” and “Jai Jai Veer Goga Peer”. Guri Bal is the partner and distributor worldwide, while the film has been organised by Raj Sandhu and Karan Sandhu.

Revealing about his other major project, Vikram Sandhu said he was going to make a Bollywood film “Dream” revolving around the life of well known actress Divya Bharti, who died very young under mysterious circumstances. For this auditions were beginning on July 20 in Amritsar. Apart from this audition for this film are also planned at Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Chandigarh, London, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and many other countries. He is launching the shooting for the film from Amritsar itself on July 5.

British Sikh girl’s organs traced in Punjab

Parents of a British Sikh girl who died suddenly while on holiday in India have moved a step closer to getting answers about her mysterious death.

Birmingham-born Gurkiren Kaur Loyal fell ill on a family holiday in Punjab back in April and was being treated for dehydration at a clinic in Khanna when staff reportedly gave her a mystery injection.

The eight-year-old’s parents claim her organs were then removed during a post-mortem to cover up the cause of death.

Their local councillor, Narinder Kaur Kooner, who has been spearheading a campaign for the return of these organs for a post-mortem in the UK, has now received an email confirming that the organs are at the Department of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh.

“Now we need to make an approach to them to try and get the organs released and repatriated. We’re very excited about that. We’ve also managed to make contact with Parkash Singh Badal, chief minister of Punjab, who has apparently said “Why did they remove the organs? They shouldn’t have,” she said, following a candlelight vigil in memory of Gurkiren held in Birmingham on Saturday.

“We don’t know what the timescale is for this. But the fact they’ve confirmed the organs are at the facility is a real breakthrough, we want to pursue that as quickly as possible,” she added.

Hundreds of candles spelt out the word “justice” at Centenary Square in the heart of the city as family members and well-wishers gathered in memory of the local schoolgirl.

“We need to get justice, not just for Gurkiren but for others in a similar situation out there. It’s a long process,” said her mother, Amrit Kaur Loyal.

The family also carried buckets around Birmingham city centre raising cash for their campaign Justice4Gurkiren and collected signatures demanding a change in the law.

UK pathologists have been unable to carry out their own post-mortem tests on Gurkiren’s body to establish a cause of death because of the missing organs.

The Birmingham Coroner’s Office has requested their return.

Amrit Loyal and the girl’s father Santokh Singh recently also arranged a meeting with UK Foreign Office minister Hugo Swire in a bid to ramp up pressure on the Indian authorities.

Gurdwara Hemkunt Sahib to remain closed for the year

Patiala: Hemkunt Sahib Gurudwara, located at a height of over 15,000 feet above sea level, which bore the brunt of the recent rain ravage in Uttarakhand may remain closed for the rest of the year as the road link to the 17th century Sikh shrine has been badly damaged.

“We have decided to close Gurdwara Hemkunt Sahib as of now and asked staff of the Shri Hemkunt Sahib Management Trust to come down at Gurdwara Govind Dham, located lower at a height of 10,500 feet above sea level,” SHSMT Vice Chairman Narinder Jit Singh Bindra said, adding that it will be next to impossible to resume the pilgrimage this year.

The sealing of the Gurdwara with electric welding is underway, Bindra said. The entire process undertaken to keep all the food stock intact is likely to be completed in couple of days.

“We have instructed all the 70 odd staff members to come down at Gurdwara Govind Dham,” he added.

All the staff members of the SHSMT along with 130 other employees from Gurdwara Govind Dham would be airlifted to the plains when the choppers will resume sorties in two days, Bindra said.

“We have formed a committee which would visit and estimate the damage done to the Gurdwara and other buildings. It would also check the safety of the areas and advice on the repairs and maintenance,” Bindra added.

He said the Trust will ask Uttrakhand Government to allocate some more place in Gurdwara Govind Ghat for Langar (Community Kitchen), store and parking as the entire place was washed away by the Alaknanda on June 16.

Moreover, the Yatra work could resume only after the roads and bridges en route the Gurdwaras including Govind Ghat (6,000 feet) and Govind Dham (10,500 feet) were rebuilt, he added.

Notably, Hemkunt Sahib Gurdwara, situated at a height of over 15,000 feet above the sea level in the Himalayan ranges of northern India, has emerged as an important centre of Sikh pilgrimage which is visited by thousands of devotees from all over the world every summer.

According to Bachitra Natak, the autobiographical account of the tenth Guru, Gobind Singh, it was at Hemkunt ‘adorned with seven snow peaks’ that he meditated in his previous birth.