Sunday, January 4, 2009

India beef up security around Dhoni after threat

Police have beefed up security around Mahendra Singh Dhoni after he received extortion letters from a man claiming to be an associate of the country's most wanted gangster.

Police said on Wednesday they had sent more than 45 commandos to Dhoni's house in his hometown of Ranchi, the capital of the eastern state of Jharkhand, one of India's poorest states.

The first letter, sent on Monday, threatened Dhoni's family with dire consequences if the player failed to pay 5 million rupees ($102,000), police said.

A second letter on Wednesday threatened to blow up the captain's family home if police were asked for help.

Dhoni arrived in Ranchi on Tuesday and met a local police official on Wednesday to discuss the threat.

"The letter has been sent by one Taslim who claims to be a close associate of Dawood Ibrahim," Satya Narayan Pradhan, a Jharkhand police spokesman, told Reuters.

Dawood Ibrahim is India's most wanted man for allegedly masterminding the country's most deadly bombings in 1993, which killed at least 250 people in Mumbai.

The underworld boss has eluded authorities for the past 15 years and is believed to be hiding in Pakistan. By the 1980s and 1990s, he was one of Mumbai's top gangland leaders, with a billion-dollar vice empire spanning gambling, drugs and prostitution.

Police say they have started an investigation into the letters.

Dhoni had already received extra security cover after Maoist rebels made death threats against him last year, police said.

But he was unhappy with the arrangements and applied for government permission for his security to carry more sophisticated weapons.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Event that changed India forever:Terroism on tourism

This season has been wiped out. The situation we are facing is unprecedented. Already reeling under the economic slowdown, the incidents in Mumbai have seen more cancellations than ever before. There is an approximately 50% slowdown in the sector. Though with the help of the Ministry of Tourism, we are trying to get some groups reinstated, but I estimate that the overall loss will be about 30%.

For the tourism sector, hotels are the most important component. And if bookings are down there, then the whole sector is affected. The hotel industry should reduce tariff by 20-25 per cent and focus on domestic tourism to survive.

To revive the situation, along with the minister, we are trying out some innovative steps. One of the steps we have suggested is 'Buy One Get One Free,' which was something Sri Lanka tried out after 9/11. We have to get aggressively into marketing. We are also requesting the government to make some concessions - which includes a two year relief from service tax and luxury tax. While the tour operators have been asking for the tax holiday on service tax, the hotels want the luxury tax to be waived for a while.

There are silver linings too. The industry has stood solidly together and we should be able to do things together. There is no significant drop either for the business travelers in India or China, nor is there any effect on VFR, or Visiting Friends and relatives category, but the other categories are hurting.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

India will weed out terrorism from Pakistan if global efforts fail

India's Home minster PC in Puducherry conveyed following info to world with respect to Current situation in INDIA.
"The Mumbai terror attacks have awakened the world and international community is using its good offices to prevail on Pakistan to tread the right path. We hope these efforts succeed.

"If not, India is prepared to face the attacks from Pakistan squarely with the help of the people," he said addressing the students and faculty of Pondicherry University here.

The minister said everyone knew from where the terror attacks emanated and the cross border terrorism from Pakistan had been targeting India continuously for some years now. It cannot be denied that there were also supporters within India for such activities, he said.

"As far as India is concerned we are looking at Pakistan as friendly nation as there is no need for any enmity particularly when both the countries have third generation of people after their independence," he said.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Obama's victory :A History

Dawn op

One of the many ways the election of Barack Obama differed from recent presidential elections was that in the end, it did not all come down to one state.

The addition on Thursday of the electoral votes from North Carolina - a state that had not voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since Jimmy Carter in 1976 - brought Obama's total to 364, well above the 270 needed to win the presidency and the 162 won by Senator John McCain.

The final 2008 Electoral College tally is still not known because Missouri, which has 11 electoral votes, and Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District, which has one, are still considered too close to call. (Nebraska and Maine are the only two states that do not allocate their electoral votes on a winner-take-all basis.)

So how does Obama's 364, which could go as high as 376, measure up?

"It's a normal win," said John Fortier, a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, who edited "After the People Vote: A Guide to the Electoral College." Fortier called it a respectable, solid mandate.

"It was not a blowout and not a really close election," he said. "We got a little bit used to these close elections. Until 2005, we were legitimately talking about a 50-50 nation, where everything was close."

Obama's commanding victory does break the habit of decidedly close contests of the last two election cycles. This time around, there was none of the hand-wringing, nail-biting or teeth-gnashing that followed the 2004 election, which the Democrats could have won if they had carried Ohio.

And certainly none of the conceding, unconceding, recounts, halted recounts and Supreme Court intervention of the 2000 election, which the Democrats could have won if they had carried Florida or any of a number of other states.

For a real blowout, think of the 523 electoral votes that President Franklin D. Roosevelt won in 1936, when he ran against Alf Landon, who won eight. Or more recently the 525 electoral votes President Ronald Reagan won in 1984, when Walter Mondale won only 13. Or the 520 President Richard Nixon won in 1972 against George McGovern, who won 17. Those were the widest electoral vote margins.

The disputed 2000 election, by the way - in which George W. Bush ended up with 271 electoral votes - was not the closest on record. The 1800 election produced an electoral-vote tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr and was decided by the House of Representatives. And the election of 1876 was a real squeaker: after the disputed election was put before a special commission of lawmakers and Supreme Court justices, Rutherford B. Hayes beat Samuel Tilden by a single electoral vote.

Obama's victory was more along the lines of Bill Clinton's in 1992, when he won 370 electoral votes to the first President George Bush's 168.

It was a margin wide enough that neither side made a major effort to contest or challenge votes to try to flip a state. In the waning days of the contest, the McCain campaign raised many complaints about possible voter fraud, which some Democrats feared was an effort to lay the groundwork to challenge a Democratic victory.

And that Obama won both the popular vote and the electoral vote means there has been little outcry questioning the fairness of the Electoral College, as there was in 2000 after Bush lost the popular vote but still won the presidency.

Robert Bennett, a law professor at Northwestern University who studies the Electoral College, said there were still a number of other potential problems - "land mines," he calls them - with the Electoral College system. The most serious, Bennett said, was the problem of what are called "faithless electors," or electors who decide not to follow the will of the voters in their states.

"It's unlikely to explode, but it could really be mischievous," said Bennett, who wants states to act together to pass uniform legislation to make it impossible.

Faithless electors have never changed the outcome of an election, but they do pop up from time to time. In 2004, one of Minnesota's 10 Electoral College votes was cast for John Edwards instead of for the Democratic nominee, John Kerry. Since the electors' votes were not signed, it was never discovered who gave Edwards his lone electoral vote; at the time other electors in Minnesota speculated that it had been a mistake.

And in 2000 - after the Supreme Court ruling dashed his hopes to win Florida's electoral votes, and with them the presidency - Al Gore lost yet another electoral vote. A faithless elector from the District of Columbia left her ballot blank to protest Washington's lack of a voting representative in Congress, an abstention that left Gore with 266 electoral votes, one fewer than he had expected.

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Saturday, August 2, 2008

Greame smith at his best:So does South African cricket

The curse is finally lifted, and the identity of the man who has delivered South Africa's first series win in England for 43 years comes as no surprise whatsoever. Graeme Smith's irrepressible willpower was first demonstrated to the English public way back in 2003, when - as the most mature 22-year-old imaginable - he scored back-to-back double-centuries, at Edgbaston then at Lord's, to announce a new chapter in his country's sporting history.

Today, however, he finally closed that chapter and looked forward to the next, after producing the innings that he declared, without equivocation, as his greatest yet. "I've had some really meaningful innings in my life, and the double-hundreds here last time have to go down among my greatest achievements," he said. "But ever since readmission, we have really strived for victory in England and have always been disappointed. It's bigger than just us, this victory, and so I have to say it's my best."

The importance of a South African victory in England cannot be overstated. When the coach, Mickey Arthur, declared on Friday evening that his side was "desperate" to win, he was speaking not only for the eleven men on the field, but those back home in South Africa who recognised that, almost two decades on from their readmission to international cricket, the time was nigh for closure. For Smith, it was as if he had set his agenda on his maiden tour five years ago, and was now ready to cement his ambitions.

"If you taken the whole bigger picture," said Smith, "of all the players who've come before us, those who've come here and given it their all and had the disappointment, as well as the many who haven't had the opportunity in the many years past, as well as the fans back home who can imagine what it's like. For us this was bigger than a cricket game, it was a huge moment and something we're really proud of."

South Africa's transformation since apartheid has been a long and often traumatic process, and the country's cricketing misfortunes have often been seen as a part of the healing. But under Smith the team has achieved a rare unity and consistency that, for the first time ever, has transcended racial politics. Their current series record reads seven wins and a draw in India, a run that ranks among the very best of all time.

What is more, it has been delivered by a team that can no longer be accused of tokenism. From Ashwell Prince to Hashim Amla, via the fading but unyielding Makhaya Ntini, and all the way to the young white stars, AB de Villiers, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel - all have been worthy members of a team whose next major assignment is a mouthwatering trip to Australia in December, where further ghosts await exorcism. It would have been unjust for them to fail, especially when you consider the turbulance that afflicted the England camp after their rout at Headingley.

But ever since readmission, we have really strived for victory in England and have always been disappointed. It's bigger than just us, this victory, and so I have to say it's my best - Graeme Smith on South Africa's achievement

And yet, for all the magnificence of the current South African team, their efforts would have come to nought had it not been for their imperturbable captain. The day began as the previous one had finished, with England in the ascendancy, stretching their lead through the efforts of Paul Collingwood and Ryan Sidebottom and then, after a relatively calm opening stand of 65, instigating a chaotic collapse of four wickets for 28 runs.

Neil McKenzie and a steamed-up Jacques Kallis failed to pick Andrew Flintoff's full length against the problematic pavilion sightscreen, and as the Edgbaston crowd erupted in recognition of the moment, Smith feared that the "hot-headedness" that can characterise South African sporting teams was about to come to the fore once again.

Not that he was afflicted by the same emotions, however. Far from it. "I couldn't control that," he said. "I was just hoping that the right-handers could start picking up those low full-tosses. For me it was just about a real focus on my own game. Bat and hope someone could bat with me, because I knew if we could get a decent total on the board we could get close, England might get desperate and try a few things, and give us a few free deliveries."

In the final analysis, that is precisely what happened, as the combative Mark Boucher emerged to exorcise his own demons from the 1998 Test series, not to mention the World Cup semi-final on this very ground one year later. But there was nothing free about the runs that Smith accumulated. It was fitting that his final score was 154 not out, because there cannot have been a more brilliant and meaningful matchwinning century scored in England since Graham Gooch took down the West Indians at Headingley in 1991.

Like Gooch 17 years ago, Smith batted through a barrage and, until Boucher's late role, found only token support from his colleagues. And symbolically he too batted on into the gloaming when others might have called it quits and returned to complete the job in the morning. Instead, he claimed the extra half-hour on the stroke of seven o'clock, and hurtled to victory in five further overs.

"I knew we had England tired because their seamers had bowled a lot of overs," he said. "The new ball was at the back of my mind - if we'd lost a wicket we had a bit of a tail - but eventually I thought: 'Let's go for it. We've got England on the ropes, so let's back ourselves.'"

And to think Smith might not even have taken part in this match. He pulled out of training on the eve of the game after suffering a back complaint while batting against Bangladesh A, and admitted afterwards that the problem had never entirely gone away. "It's been a bit sore, but I'm thankful I got on the field," he said. "I've been on a few painkillers, but at the moment there's a lot of adrenalin so I'm not feeling any pain."

Victory is always the best painkiller, but in South Africa's case, it extends beyond the fitness of their captain. The capitulations of 1994, 1998 and 2003 can at last be forgotten, and by blotting the date "1965" out of their record-books, the final link with the apartheid era has been severed. South Africa are a team going forward at high speed, and for their captain, the journey has never been so pleasant.