The Tripura government on Saturday announced that a museum to showcase the work of celebrated music composer R.D. Burman would be built. Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb conveyed the decision to singing icon Asha Bhosle, wife of the maestro.He requested her to inaugurate the museum after its completion. “I have also invited her to Tripura, land of Pancham da (as late R.D. Buram was popularly known) on behalf of the 37 lakhs people of the State,” Mr. Deb said.“Ashaji accepted the invitation.”Commitment to artsThe Chief Minister said his government was committed to promote the art and culture in every possible way.Members of the Tripura royal family, R.D. Burman and his celebrated music composer father S.D. Burman paid only a few visits to the State in their lifetime owing to the busy engagements in Bollywood.
Four personnel of a residential higher secondary institution, including a lecturer and three hostel staff, were arrested in Odisha’s Berhampur on charges of torture of students. According to Santosini Oram, Inspector in-charge of the Berhampur Sadar police station, the misdeeds of the arrested persons came to light on Saturday. As part of an investigation into a case related to disappearance of a plus 2 student of the same institution, a police team had reached its hostel. According to police sources, the student went missing from the hostel on September 26. The institution is located in the Bhabinipur area of Berhampur and around 200 students reside in its hostel..Deep wounds During interrogation of hostel inmates, four students complained that they had been ruthlessly beaten up by a lecturer and three staff of the hostel. The students also had deep wounds. The lecturer and the hostel staff had resorted to physical torture of the students alleging that they had information about their missing classmate.Later, parents of one of the injured students filed an FIR that led to arrest of the lecturer and the three hostel staff of the institution.
A three-year-old boy had a miraculous escape after he fell from the second floor terrace of a building and landed on the seat of a cycle-rickshaw passing by in Pradhanpura area in Tikamgarh, Madhya Pradesh.The boy, Parv Jain, escaped without any injury in the incident that occurred on Saturday night.The video of the incident, which was captured on the CCTV cameras installed in the nearby buildings, has gone viral on social media.It shows a man walking and pulling his cycle-rickshaw with his hand on a narrow lane in a busy market area of Pradhanpura in Tikamgarh, when a child suddenly falls on its seat.‘Lost balance’Ashish Jain, father of the child, said, “The incident occured at around 8.30 pm on Saturday night. My son, Parv, was playing on the second floor terrace, about 30-feet from the ground level. However, he lost balance and fell off the terrace. But luckily, a rickshaw puller Manohar Bhatt was passing on the road with his vehicle.”“Parv landed on the seat of the rickshaw. It was a miracle! Bhatt is an angel for our family. Later, we took Parv to hospital where the doctors examined him. He did not suffer any injury,” Mr. Jain said.Text by PTIVideo: ANI
Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Prosecutors had two arguments to make to the court. First, they needed to apply for permission to appeal Pistorius’ sentence. They were asked by the judges to also present their arguments for why, if their appeal is allowed, his sentence should be increased.This is the second time prosecutors have gone to the Supreme Court in the central city of Bloemfontein to challenge a decision by Judge Thokozile Masipa, who presided over Pistorius’ trial.In 2015, prosecutors successfully appealed against Masipa’s judgment that Pistorius was not guilty of murder. The court overturned Masipa’s verdict of culpable homicide — or manslaughter — and convicted Pistorius of murder.Legal analysts say, however, it is more difficult to get the court to change a sentence.After the manslaughter conviction was overturned, Masipa sentenced Pistorius to six years in prison for murder, a term just one year longer than her original sentence for manslaughter. Prosecutors called that sentence “shockingly” light.ADVERTISEMENT Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Judges can deviate from prescribed minimum sentences if there are compelling circumstances. The prosecution says there were no compelling reasons.“What we are saying is the court exercised its discretion inappropriately,” prosecutor Johnson said, calling the six-year sentence “unjust.”She said Pistorius still had not shown “genuine remorse” for killing Steenkamp and that Masipa put the athlete’s personal circumstances and his disability ahead of the need for “retribution” when she sentenced him.Pistorius claimed he mistook Steenkamp for a dangerous intruder hiding in his bathroom in the pre-dawn hours of Valentine’s Day 2013 when, without his prosthetic legs on, standing on his stumps and feeling vulnerable, he shot four times through the cubicle door.Masipa’s initial sentence was appropriate in the circumstances, Pistorius’ defense lawyers said, and his disability was not exaggerated. Pistorius had both his legs amputated below the knee when he was a baby because of a congenital condition.“Of course his disability is mentioned, but it can’t not be mentioned,” defense lawyer Kelly Phelps said. “It is one of the factors of this case. We can’t magic away his disability.” Redick’s 3s, Simmons’ triple-double lift 76ers over Pacers MOST READ Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 LATEST STORIES Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:41Robredo: Allegations in sedition case are ‘lies’01:37Protesters 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 Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Read Next FILE – In this Tuesday, June 14, 2016, file photo, Oscar Pistorius leaves the High Court in Pretoria, South Africa, after his sentencing proceedings. The Pistorius case is back in court, Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, with prosecutors seeking a longer jail sentence for the double-amputee athlete after he was found guilty of murder for shooting his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, File)SOMERSET WEST, South Africa — A judge “overemphasized” Oscar Pistorius’ disability and was far too lenient on the double-amputee athlete, prosecutors said Friday as they tried to convince a South African court to more than double his prison sentence from six to 15 years for the murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.“Murder is murder,” chief prosecutor Andrea Johnson told a five-judge panel at the Supreme Court of Appeal. She asked them to overturn Pistorius’ initial sentence and give him the prescribed minimum of 15 years. There is no death penalty in South Africa.ADVERTISEMENT Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding If the court agrees with prosecutors that he deserves a harsher sentence, Pistorius, now 30, could remain in prison until after he turns 40.The judges did not deliver a decision on Friday. Typically, Supreme Court judges take a couple of weeks before the senior judge returns to read out the decision, which is made through a simple majority.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 shutoutNearly five years after the once-admired Olympic runner first appeared in court for shooting Steenkamp multiple times through a closed toilet door at his home, Pistorius’ fate is still not certain.He was not present at Friday’s hearing as he serves his sentence at a prison near the capital, Pretoria. He has served more than a year of his six-year term. Steenkamp’s mother, June Steenkamp, did attend. Speaking outside the courthouse, her lawyer said the Steenkamp family supported prosecutors’ attempt to get a longer sentence. View comments
Dallas Mavericks guard J.J. Barea (5), center Dwight Powell (7) and center Dirk Nowitzki (41) celebrate a basket by Powell during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets in Dallas, Tuesday, March 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)DALLAS — Dirk Nowitzki drained his first five 3-pointers to put the Dallas Mavericks in position to hand the Denver Nuggets a damaging loss in the tight Western Conference playoff race.Denver coach Michael Malone figures his players should have known better than to let the 39-year-old in his 20th season do that.ADVERTISEMENT “No disrespect to Dirk Nowitzki, but the one thing he can still do at a high level is shoot the ball and we give him five 3s,” Malone said after the Mavericks’ 118-107 win Tuesday night. “It was just a very undisciplined effort and that is what happens when you are undisciplined on the road.”Yogi Ferrell, a second-year guard whose career in Dallas started on a 10-day contract last season, made his first six 3s while finishing 6 of 7 from long range and 9 of 11 overall for a season-high 24 points. Nowitzki was 5 of 7 from deep and had 17 points.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutWilson Chandler scored 21 points for the Nuggets, who couldn’t follow up a win at Cleveland with a chance to sweep a three-game road trip. Now they play LeBron James and company on the second night of a back-to-back for the second time in five days.Dallas split the season series with Denver, with both teams winning both home games. The Nuggets are among seven teams battling for the final five playoff spots in the West. Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university PLAY LIST 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 Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City MOST READ View comments Pussycat Dolls set for reunion tour after 10-year hiatus Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH “My message was very simple: Tonight was unacceptable,” Malone said. “It’s one thing to miss shots and to make mistakes, but it’s another thing to go out there and just kind of go through the motions. And I don’t think we can have that right now.”Rookie Dennis Smith Jr. had 18 points and a career-high 11 assists as the Mavericks won for just the second time in nine games. Dallas shot 56 percent from 3 (15 of 27) while Denver was at 31 percent (11 of 36) after making 19 of 35 in the win over the Cavaliers.Nerlens Noel had a season-high 14 rebounds for Dallas, his only other game in double digits since the opener. He missed 42 games after surgery for a torn ligament in his left thumb.“This is a great win for us, especially with a team that is trying to get in the playoffs,” Ferrell said. “We lived in the paint, we played together and that’s the biggest thing for us.”TIP-INSNuggets: Will Barton had 16 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. … Seven players scored in double figures. Paul Millsap had 12, Gary Harris scored 11 and there was a trip at 10 points apiece: Mason Plumlee, Trey Lyles and Malik Beasley.ADVERTISEMENT Serena Williams set for 1st-round match at Indian Wells Mavericks: G Wesley Matthews missed his second straight game with a left hip injury. … Doug McDermott and Harrison Barnes had 15 points apiece, and Dwight Powell scored 14.HARRIS HOMECOMINGDevin Harris played the Mavericks for the first time since a trade deadline deal that sent him to the Nuggets. After waving to the crowd following a video tribute late in the first quarter, Harris entered the game for the first time. He reached 10,000 points for his career in the first half and finished with seven points.The 14th-year guard started his career with the Mavericks, who traded for him in the fifth spot in the 2004 draft. The Mavs traded him to the Nets to re-acquire Jason Kidd in 2008, and he was sent to Utah in 2011. Harris spent one year in Atlanta before returning to Dallas in 2013.COACH’S DECISIONNikola Jokic, who had 29 points and 18 rebounds in one of the wins over Dallas in Denver, had four points and nine boards. He was 0 of 4 from 3, including a couple of forced shots from behind the arc in the third quarter. He didn’t play in the fourth quarter. “I don’t know what to say,” Jokic said. “I think that’s a normal thing. That’s the coach’s decision.”JERSEY SPONSORThe Mavericks became the 21st team with a jersey sponsor when they announced a three-year deal with Dallas-based online marketplace 5miles. The LA Clippers were the 20th team with an announcement earlier in the day on a deal with the online dating site bumble.UP NEXTNuggets: Host the Cavaliers on Wednesday after winning 126-117 on Saturday in Cleveland.Mavericks: Three days off before another home game against Memphis on Saturday. Google honors food scientist, banana ketchup inventor and war hero Maria Orosa Typhoon ‘Tisoy’ threatens Games Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding LATEST STORIES LOOK: Iya Villania meets ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ cast in Mexico Read Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Families in US enclave in north Mexico hold sad Thanksgiving
Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR Cayetano dares Lacson, Drilon to take lie-detector test: Wala akong kinita sa SEA Games Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Sablan on Bonleon’s tirades: Truth will come out Every 18 seconds someone is diagnosed with HIV Palace: Duterte to hear out security execs on alleged China control of NGCP BSP survey: PH banks see bright horizon amid dark global recession clouds BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast Creamline has struggled mightily this season despite the heroics of Alyssa Valdez who led the Cool Smashers with 20 points. Valdez and company never managed to string sizeable victories to put them in contention for a top-two spot. FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingImports Kuttika Kaewpin and Laura Schaudt had 17 and 16 points, respectively to help Creamline bRupia Inck had 20 points to lead Perlas while Amy Ahomiro added 11. BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students PLAY LIST 01:35Panelo 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 City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes LATEST STORIES Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netCreamline earned its fourth win in the Premier Volleyball League after taking down Perlas in four sets 25-19, 25-20, 23-25, 25-14, Thursday at Filoil Flying V Centre. The Cool Smashers improved to a 4-6 card but are still the second-worst team in the six-team league while the Spikers slipped to 5-5. ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments
As power forward Bong Quinto and point guard John Calvo put to rest rumors that they’re leaving Letran, the Knights are expected to be at full-strength against the Mapua Cardinals in their NCAA Season 93 basketball tournament debut.“I’m just happy we’re a complete team now,” said Letran coach Jeff Napa.ADVERTISEMENT Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES “The goal is to play hard every game and stay competitive,” said JRU coach Vergel Meneses.With former San Sebastian star CJ Perez finally suiting up, the Pirates of coach Topex Robinson have been installed as one of the favorites of the season.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next MOST READ China furious as Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong 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 Petron-F2 tiff up El Nido residents told to vacate beach homes Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Another vape smoker nabbed in Lucena LOOK: Jane De Leon meets fellow ‘Darna’ Marian Rivera Game time is at 4 p.m. on Tuesday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.Quinto and Calvo reportedly planned to transfer to La Salle in the UAAP, where they could have reunited with former Letran coach Aldin Ayo, before finally committing to stay with the Knights.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 duo will join forces with guard Rey Nambatac, who is suiting up for Letran for the final time this season.In other games, Jose Rizal U gets the first crack at Lyceum’s improved roster at 2 p.m., while St. Benilde, which is in the midst of rebuilding its program under new coach TY Tang, also makes its season debut against Perpetual Help at noon. Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ View comments
CJ Perez. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netLyceum brandished its newfound depth even as Mapua showed it can survive without that same amount of firepower.With CJ Perez dishing out an all-around game in his first NCAA game in three seasons, the Pirates justified the preseason hype with a 96-75 beating of contender Jose Rizal U Tuesday in the Season 93 men’s basketball tournament at Filoil Flying V Centre.ADVERTISEMENT Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR LOOK: Jane De Leon meets fellow ‘Darna’ Marian Rivera Meanwhile, the NCAA Management Committee immediately overturned Perpetual Help’s 69-65 victory over St. Benilde after the Altas showed up with the wrong uniform in their season debut.Tipoff for the noontime clash was delayed for close to an hour before the league decided to push through with the game since both teams wore dark jerseys, which was only designated for the Blazers.Perpetual Help also forfeited its game in the juniors division to St. Benilde-La Salle Greenhills, which still won the game, 64-60. Gilas gets break: Iran resting Haddadi El Nido residents told to vacate beach homes Another vape smoker nabbed in Lucena LATEST STORIES Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend “We try to stay in the moment. You always try to get better. We’re gonna be up against the number one team after this game. We’re just excited and glad that we got this win.”Perez, who transferred to Ateneo in 2015 before moving to Lyceum last year, pumped in 22 points and 10 rebounds, but committed seven of the Pirates’ 21 turnovers, which remained a concern for Robinson.“I got too excited and too eager,” said Perez, referring to his errors.While there was no shortage in manpower for Lyceum, the Mapua Cardinals squeezed the best out of the nine players who suited up before leaning on clutch plays from Andoy Estrella to subdue Letran, 78-75.Emerging as Mapua’s go-to-guy following the decision of two-time Most Valuable Player Allwell Oraeme to sit out the season, Estrella buried a step back triple with 5.2 seconds remaining for the marginal basket.ADVERTISEMENT The Pirates’ firepower was on display with seven players scoring at least seven points, including Perez, a former San Sebastian standout, who presided over a second half blitz to roll past one of the teams tipped to challenge San Beda for the title.Lyceum outscored JRU, 53-38, in the second half where the Pirates swarmed at the Heavy Bombers at every opportunity, forcing turnovers and translating them to easy baskets on the other end.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 starsLyceum coach Topex Robinson refused to get carried away by the performance, saying the Pirates are far from a championship team.“Obviously it’s a good output, but you don’t win a championship in the first game,” said Robinson, whose squad faces defending champion San Beda in an early clash of favorites on Friday. China furious as Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong MOST READ Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ 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 Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments
Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ FEU Auditorium’s 70th year celebrated with FEU Theater Guild’s ‘The Dreamweavers’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. “I love this sport and I will work hard to get back to my top level and play many more years,” Wawrinka said.Wawrinka follows countryman Roger Federer in having to cut his season short because of his knee. Federer sat out the second half of 2016 but has returned strong this year, winning two majors and beating Wawrinka in the finals at Indian Wells.Djokovic decided late last month he would miss the U.S. Open because of an injured right elbow, ending his streak of playing in 51 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments. He aims to return to the ATP Tour in January. LATEST STORIES Star stops San Miguel, stays unbeaten DILG, PNP back suspension of classes during SEA Games Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo 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 Trump strips away truth with hunky topless photo tweet MOST READ He joins the man he beat in last year’s final at Flushing Meadows, Novak Djokovic, in calling it quits for this season because of injury.The fourth-ranked Wawrinka added last year’s title to his 2014 Australian Open and 2015 French Open championships. He got back to the finals in Paris in June, losing to Rafael Nadal, but was eliminated by Daniil Medvedev in the first round at Wimbledon.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 32-year old Swiss was clearly bothered by his left knee then, icing it during changeovers. He said after the defeat the knee had been a problem on and off all season and he needed to figure out what was wrong.He finishes with just one title this season and says he is already looking toward his recovery and playing in 2018. Church, environmentalists ask DENR to revoke ECC of Quezon province coal plant FILE – In this July 3, 2017, file photo, Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka reacts during his men’s singles match against Russia’s Daniil Medvedev on the opening day at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London. Defending champion Stan Wawrinka has pulled out of the U.S. Open with an injured knee. Wawrinka announced Friday, Aug. 4, 2017, he would sit out the rest of 2017 because of the knee. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)NEW YORK — Defending champion Stan Wawrinka pulled out of the U.S. Open because of an injured knee. He will have a medical procedure and sit out the rest of 2017.“This was the only solution to make sure I will be able to compete at the top level for many more years,” Wawrinka said Friday in a statement through his agency.ADVERTISEMENT Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ National Coffee Research Development and Extension Center brews the 2nd National Coffee Education Congress View comments
LeBron James interacts with Jimmy Alapag’s son Ian Maximus during the Strive for Greatness tour. INQUIRER PHOTO/ Sherwin VardeleonLeBron James has returned to the Philippines for the third time on Saturday and in the eyes of Philippine basketball icon Jimmy Alapag, this speaks volumes for the NBA superstar’s appreciation for this country.“The fact that he came here to Manila to share some brief moments with everyone here at home…I think he understands how passionate we are about the game of basketball,” said Alapag Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena as James wrapped up another showcase before Filipino fans.ADVERTISEMENT Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo LeBron James trains Gilas Pilipinas8K viewsSportsVentuno Web Player 4.51 ‘Putting in work, believing in yourself’ still keys to LeBron James’ success 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 Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side It would’ve been James’ fourth tour in the country had his “Battle the Doubt Night” show in 2016 pushed through.But much like his in two previous visits, James once shared the floor with up-and-coming stars and national team members in a brief exhibition game for the “Strive for Greatness” show.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 openingAlapag, one of the key Gilas players in the last decade, showed he can still duke it out in the parquet floor—against one of the best NBA players ever no less—even a year into retirement.Saturday night was extra special, though, as he got to play again with his batch’s Gilas Pilipinas squad that include Ranidel de Ocampo and LA Tenorio, among others. Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ MOST READ LATEST STORIES Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next “What made it more special was being with my Gilas brothers because you know these guys are family for life,” said Alapag.But he also got to bring his real family with him to the bench to meet the King.His eldest child Ian Maximus, who has the same second name as LeBron’s youngest son Bryce, even got to keep LeBron’s arms sleeves.“My son will have to grow into it because it’s a little big right now and I’m just glad my kids could be here to experience it with me,” said Alapag.RELATED VIDEOADVERTISEMENT
The term ‘Games Village’ is a bit of a misnomer for the place where athletes are lodged during their stay in the Capital. It is a city in its own right.There is no facility or convenience one cannot find inside its premises and visitors can spend their whole free time in the International Zone of the Village.For those on their first trip to India in particular, it is no less than an eye- opener.Not surprisingly, the area remains full of people throughout the day. It is also a place where friendships develop and old acquaintances are revived.The handicraft store is never short of visitors, who seem to have taken a deep liking to the items on offer. “I like the stuff in the store very much. It is very exotic,” 14- year- old Charlotte Carey, a table tennis player from Wales, told Mail Today on Thursday.Charlotte, accompanied by two of her teammates, bought a pair of bracelets and seemed quite proud of her newest possessions.Traditional Indian handicrafts present a special charm for people coming from far- off lands and Kevin Coulter is no different.The general team manager of the Norfolk Island contingent was very interested in the goods that are on display. “These are very fascinating items. I am just surveying the stuff and may buy something a few days later,” he said, while inspecting a small decorative item made of alabaster.Coulter did not hesitate in enquiring about the material used for making the handicrafts. The store is run by the Central Cottage Industries Emporium.advertisement”We receive a lot of visitors everyday but sales are not so heavy at the moment. The visitors mostly just inspect the items on sale. May be the sales will pick up in the coming days,” Ashwani Arora, the manager of the store, said.Another favourite hangout for athletes seems to be the Shahnaz Hussain Beauty Salon. After all, who doesn’t want to be pampered? Mail Today found Indian hockey players Gurbaj Singh and Sarvanjit Singh having a haircut, while some foreign female athletes were enjoying a manicure session.”It’s an off day for us today so we decided to relax and enjoy ourselves,” Sarvanjit said.The official merchandise store has a wide array of stuff on show and also offers the famous ( or infamous) vuvuzela, known for the cacophony of noise it made during the FIFA World Cup earlier this year in South Africa.”They are priced at Rs 250 per piece,” Aisha Bhagat, the store manager for Premier Brands, said. “The most popular items among the athletes are the jugs and sippers.” The official t- shirts also seemed to find favour with a lot of athletes.The transactions were not without some hitches, though.”Most of the foreign visitors come with the currency of their own countries, while we can only accept payment in Indian rupees.After selecting some item, they may have to go to the bank to convert the currency or to withdraw money from the ATM,” Aisha said.No wonder the Central Bank of India outlet at the International Zone seems to draw one of the biggest crowds.The convenience store has virtually everything that can be of daily use on offer. “The soft drinks and colas are going off the shelf at a fast rate,” an attendant at the store said. “Detergents are also selling fast.” However, there was one item which did not see much sale.”The condoms at our store are hardly finding any buyers as there is a free dispenser just down the alley,” the attendant said.
Handicapped by a dislocated thumb and up against a two-time world champion, Indian boxer Vijender Singh on Monday said he still managed to pull off the Asian Games gold medal as “luck was back” on his side a month after deserting him at the Commonwealth Games.Vijender Kumar flaunts his gold medalWorld number one Vijender blanked Uzbekistan’s two-time world champion Abbos Atoev in the Asian Games final despite dislocating his thumb in the opening three minutes of the bout.Recalling the tense moments, the 25-year-old, whose hand is currently heavily bandaged, said a power-packed left hook led to the dislocation and leaving him to fight practically with one hand.”My hand was in a terrible state even before the Asian Games but it completely broke at the worst possible time.It was in the closing stages of the first round. I got the score for that left hook but I knew my hand was gone. I immediately told my coach that I cannot move it,” Vijender said upon his return to the country from Guangzhou today.”I asked the coach what the scoreline was, he told me it was 2-0. I thought I will give it a shot and continued. In the second round, I was not using my left hand at all. I was just swaying it once in a while to scare off Atoev, who thankfully didn’t get an idea as to what had happened,” he said.”When I took a 5-0 lead in the second round, I knew the bout was mine from here. I kept praying to almighty and I think that also helped. In the end, I guess I got lucky, god was with me,” he added.advertisementThe Olympic and World Championships bronze-medallist had settled for a rather disappointing bronze at the CWG here after losing in the semifinals due to a couple of warnings for clinching. And Vijender said the Asiad gold has finally wiped off the disappointment. .”That loss completely shattered me. I hadn’t felt so miserable in a long time. When I went to the Asiad, I was taking it one bout at a time. I think I peaked at the right time besides China is lucky for me. My rise started in Beijing after all,” Vijender said referring to his breakthrough Olympic bronze.”At the CWG, there were just too many distractions around me. The fact that so many people know me becomes a problem at times because then it takes away the focus. I like to go into a shell during major events. Keep to myself and focus, at the Asiad I could do that. There was peace around me and that helped me remain calm,” he said.”Moreover, it was my day. When I lost to Atoev in the World Championships, it was his day. Luck is a major factor.One cannot rule that out,” he added.”My toughest bout was the first one. I took the Chinese Taipei guy lightly initially but he fought hard before I got into the groove at just the right time.”The Haryana-lad also credited Cuban coach B I Fernandes for his success. “Fernandes has a sharp mind and he keeps giving advice from the sidelines. In Guangzhou, because there was not much noise around me, I could actually hear him and put his advice to use. In Delhi, his voice used to get drowned in all the hooting,” he explained. At least a month-long break follows from here before Vijender starts preparing for the World Championships and the Olympic qualifiers for 2012 Games in London. “I am desperate to go home and eat to my heart’s content. It’s impossible to explain what we go through when we are maintaining weight for tournaments,” he signed off.With inputs from PTI
India coach Gary Kirsten on Sunday paid rich tribute to Sachin Tendulkar for scoring a historic 50th Test ton in Centurion, describing him as professor of batting.Terming Tendulkar’s feat of scoring a half century of centuries as incredible, Kirsten credited his unmatched success to his sound technique, ability to play almost all the shots in the book and diligent preparedness.”It is an incredible feat. It must be a special one and he deserves it. He has the techniques to play almost all the shots in the book. He is the professor of batting,” Kirsten said, praising Tendulkar on becoming the first cricketer to score 50 Test tons here.”The key to his success is his approach to the game, his humility to learn and try to do better all the time. He diligently prepares for every match. For him, a Test match begins two days earlier, preparing for it. I am privileged to have associated with him for the last three years,” Kirsten said.”His success at the top level under the huge expectations in India is remarkable. It is quite different in India than other countries and the adulation he got there is amazing. At any time, Tendulkar will be surrounded by 300 people,” he said.Kirsten said despite the seniormost player in the team, Tendulkar was the one who spends most time at the nets and faces maximum number of balls.”He wants to face the maximum number of balls at the nets. You will not see him play a loose shot at the nets. He is focused all the time, he wants to do better all the time,” said Kirsten.advertisement”He has been phenomenal this year. I think he is playing better than ever. He is enjoying his cricket at present,” he said.The former South African opening batsman said despite his personal achievements, Tendulkar was a perfect team-man who wants to do his best for the team’s cause.”He is a perfect team-man and he always gives his best every time he goes out to a cricket field. He has been a huge motivational factor in the side in the past three years I have been associated with the team,” Kirsten said.About India staring defeat in the Test, Kirsten admitted South Africa are in a strong position.”We have a lot to work tomorrow. South Africa are in a strong position. But let us see what happens tomorrow. May be there is help from rain also,” he said.”But, the players have done well in the second innings.They have shown we can also play on equal terms. The strong batting display in the second innings will boost the confidence of the players in the series,” he added.- With PTI inputs
Ab de Villiers scored an unbeaten 54 as Bangalore beat Kochi by six wickets in their IPL match at the Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Saturday. ScoreChasing 162 – a tough target – Bangalore got off to forgettable start with their opener Tillakaratne Dilshan departing in the second over of the innings. A leading edge off S Sreesanth was well taken by keeper Brendon McCullum, who dived and took a low catch. Dilshan fell for 1 and Bangalore fell to 7/1.Post that wicket opener Mayank Agarwal and Virat Kohli forged a 41 runs partnership before Vinay Kumar trapped Kohli leg before on 23.Mayank Agarwal, who was batting with confidence all this while finally departed on 33 trying to play inside out off Ravinder Jadeja. He failed to clear the long off boundary even as Vinay Kumar took a fine catch to reduce Bangalore to 85/3 on the last ball of the 10th over.Then it was the turn of Bangalore’s South African import AB de Villiers and Saurabh Tiwary to come to the fore. The two batted, batted even as the asking run rate climbed with every dot ball.They would have liked to continue but that didn’t happen as Tiwary fell trying to slog off Raiphi Gomez in the 18th over with Mahela Jayawardene taking his catch in the deep. He fell for 26 and Bangalore went down to 137/4. But Bangalore’s fortunes took a U-turn in the 19th over when AB de Villiers and Asad Pathan were at the crease. Pathan struck consecutive fours off Vinay Kumar to lead his team to victory.advertisementKochi innings Openers Brendon McCullum and VVS Laxman put on 80 runs for the first wicket as Kochi posted 161/5 in their team’s IPL debut match. Kochi captain Mahela Jayawardene won the toss and decided to bat, a fine decision keeping in mind that his openers VVS Laxman and Brendon McCullum got on with the hitting act right away. The two blasted away boundaries and sixes at ease even as the opposition bowlers struggled.Finally, Sir Lankan Tillakaratne Dilshan provided the much-needed respite for Bangalore breaking their partnership by claiming Laxman on the last ball of the 9th over. He fell for 36 after a 80-run first wicket stand with McCullum.But McCullum was still at the crease and he went about his business with ease. And only after lot of effort by the opposition bowlers McCullum relented. A top edge of Virat Kohli was taken by Dirk Nannes at third man. He fell for 45 when the team total was 93.Post his wicket Kochi lost their captain Mahela Jayawardene when the total was 124. But there was a lot of batting to come with likes of Ravindra Jadeja and Parthiv Patel in their ranks.Jadeja scored an unbeaten 23 helping Kochi post a fine 161/5 on board in their 20 overs.
Prince William has ensured that close friends of his mother late Princess Diana are invited for his marriage to Kate Middleton atWestminster Abbey here on Friday.India will be represented at the wedding by the country’s High Commissioner to Britain Nalin Surie. Among thereligious leaders invited for the marriage include Anil Bhanot, afounding member of the Hindu Council UK. According to The Sunday Times, Sir Elton John, who sang at Diana’s funeral, is on the list along with Tessa Green, who used to chair the RoyalMarsden foundation trust – the cancer specialist centre which had beensupported by Diana.Sir John Major, former prime minister who was appointed guardian to princes William and Harry when Diana died, and William’s friend Joss Stone, the singer who performed at the concert for Diana, are also on the list.Diana’s family, including her brother Earl Spencer and his fiancee Karen Gordon, will sit behind the Middletons and their friends at the abbey, rather than on the royal family’s side of the aisle.Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, has not been invited.Among the foreign royals on the guest list are the Sultan of Brunei, PrinceAlbert II of Monaco and Princess Lalla Salma of Morocco.KingGeorge Tupou V, the ruler of the small Pacific nation of Tonga will also attend. The rulers of Middle Eastern countries are also invited. Theyinclude Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa of Bahrain.Besides Bhanot, the list of religious leaders and representatives attendingincludes Lord Sacks, the chief rabbi; Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor,archbishop emeritus of Westminster.Bogoda Seelawimala, acting head monk of the London Buddhist Vihara, will be among the guests. He is the first Buddhist monk to be invitedto a royal wedding in Britain. Seelawimala has already offered someadvice to the couple, recommending meditation as one of the keys to asuccessful marriage. “Discuss your problems and meditate together eachmorning,” he said.The world of sports and entertainment are well represented with a list that includes Rowan Atkinson, the comedian andfriend of Prince Charles, and Guy Ritchie, the film director friend ofthe couple.The sports stars include Mike Tindall, the England rugby player and fiance of Zara Phillips, William’s cousin; David Beckham, the footballer and his wife Victoria; Ian Thorpe, the Australian Olympic swimmer; Gareth Thomas, the Walesrugby player who has spoken publicly about his homosexuality; Sir CliveWoodward, the former coach of the England rugby team; and Simon Johnson, head of England’s failed 2018 World Cup bid.Mario Testino, whotook the couple’s engagement photographs will also attend along with Tom Bradby, the ITN journalist who carried out their engagement interview,and Ben Fogle, the television presenter.A selection of cabientministers and their spouses have been invited including Prime MinisterDavid Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Foreign SecretaryWilliam Hague and Home Secretary MsTheresa May. Ed Miliband, the Labourleader, will also attend.A war veteran who suffered near-fatal injuries including 75 per cent burns during anambush in Afghanistan will be at the royal wedding. Martyn Comptonserved alongside Prince William as a lance-corporal in the HouseholdCavalry.Also on the list are Susie Roberts, the widow ofWilliam’s friend Major Alexis Roberts who was killed in Afghanistan in2007, and Holly Dyer, whose sister Joanna, a close friend of William’sat Sandhurst, was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2007.Bryn and Emma Parry, founders of the charity Help For Heroes, and William’scolleague Sergeant Keith Best, a search and rescue winchman at RAFValley, are invited as well.advertisement
Anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare on Wednesday demanded that the entire government machinery be brought under the proposed Lokpal Bill to protect people from corruption.Hazare said that while the government was reluctant to bring its entire machinery under Lokpal, it had brought 4.5 lakh NGOs under it.”Not all NGOs are clean, but can anyone deny that the NGOs have done work that even the government wasn’t able to?” he asked.Hazare termed corruption as worse than terrorism emanating from Pakistan and accused the UPA government of being insincere in fighting it.”The RTI Act has helped exposed scandals, such as the Adarsh and CWG scams. But the guilty haven’t been sent to jail. An effective Lokpal Bill is needed to ensure that.”Hazare also demanded that the CBI be brought under the purview of Lokpal to effectively fight corruption.”The CBI isn’t able to book the guilty as it’s under the government’s control,” Hazare said a day after unsuccessful final negotiations between the government and civil society representatives of the Lokpal Bill drafting committee.”As the government has gone on its promises, we are ready for the second freedom movement,” said Hazare, who has announced a fast-unto-death from August 16 at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar over the Lokpal bill.”What we are proposing is not a parallel government,” Hazare said, adding, his next movement would draw a bigger support across India than witnessed on April 5, when he went on a fast over the issue of the anti-corruption ombudsman.On Tuesday, after the last round of meeting, Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal had said Team Anna wanted to run a “parallel government”.advertisementThe two sides came up with their own versions of the Lokpal Bill draft and Hazare vowed to go ahead with his anti-corruption stir beginning from August 16.Activist Kiran Bedi called the government’s draft of the Lokpal Bill a “hoax”. “There is nothing for the common man in it,” she said.For more News, click here.For more news on India, click here.For more news on Business, click here.For more news on Movies, click here.For more news on Sports, click here.
One of the major challenges on the higher education landscape in India will be to create infrastructure capabilities and a suitable environment to ensure that the huge gap between supply and demand is filled, or at least reduced considerably. But rough estimates of the number of young aspirants for higher education (post school) will almost double by 2016-30. Needless to say, this will be a complex and difficult job; the sheer scale of it is daunting.Mindless and unplanned growth will not only spoil the existing fabric of higher education, but might start off something which will be difficult to rectify and control later. Given the scale of the needs and urgency, it is quite clear that private players, and public-private partnership, along with massive efforts of the government, will be required. Already, in recent times a large number of private institutions have sprung up and although some of these have created reasonable infra-structure, their focus has remained limited to what they perceive as the needs of the “market”.NeedMany of these institutions also proudly display their association with educational institutions abroad. On their part, given their more recent perceptions about its economic growth and huge demand for higher education, the foreign educators are more than tempted to bring their expertise to India. On the other hand, there is no question that higher education in India can benefit enormously from those who have proven credentials, abilities and the desire to come to India, independently or in collaboration with existing universities/institutions in India, both public and private.advertisementMore so, in several areas where we have not been able to create facilities and trained manpower including those which may be considered non-traditional, but are in great demand in present times, for example, film making, media, animation, product design, automobile engineering and design, subject related to the hospitality industry, clinical studies, hospital management, conflict resolution, diplomacy, town planning, food processing and so on.I know this because of my own association with a number of scholarship schemes for studies abroad where one often finds that there are none at all, or very meagre facilities at present in the country. Many of these areas are not only relevant, they are now established subjects of teaching and research. However, whether foreign educators in these areas will come and establish facilities or they will all opt for softer options like business management, law, engineering etc. remains to be seen.As of now, the role, scope and guidelines for foreign universities wanting to come to India remain unclear, particularly to students aspiring for quality higher education. In this context, the Foreign Institutions Entry Bill, which is due to be presented to Parliament, is timely and much needed. The bill is essentially regulatory in nature and seeks to set conditions, boundaries and guidelines for the entry of foreign educators.LegislationWhile most guidelines are straightforward, two mandatory conditions that will make any highly reputed foreign institution frown are: (a) “The foreign university has to maintain a corpus fund of a minimum of Rs 50 crore. Maximum of 75 per cent of any income generated from the fund shall be utilised for developing the institution in India and the rest should be reinvested in the fund and (b) Any surplus in revenue generated in India by the foreign university has to be invested in the development of the educational institution established by it in India.”Why would any decent foreign educator like to come to India, at least independently? More so in present times when most well known foreign universities are finding it difficult to run their “business” of providing quality education in their own countries. The costs of higher education, for example in UK and USA, have increased alarmingly, and these universities have increasingly resorted to shorter duration courses for higher studies, largely diluting the whole idea of quality education within a university set up. But getting back to the bill, the question remains: why will a highly ranked foreign educator, which cannot make, and take, money out of India, come here in the first place?As a regulatory bill, this is a good one, particularly for the benefit of eager students and parents. It tries to ensure that incoming foreign educators have appropriate credentials, and that all relevant information regarding the nature of courses, faculty, fees, infrastructure, nature of collaboration, entry process etc. is transparently and easily available to all; for the first time, it will also be clear to the foreign educators as to what is required on their part, and what they can expect. The bill should be welcomed by all stakeholders involved in the pursuit of higher education.advertisementHowever, the sheer scale of the demand should be a scary thought for all. The regulators are only as good as they choose to be. There are several regulatory bodies, existing for a long time, whose job is to ensure the quality and transparency of higher education and how well they have performed is not hidden from anyone, particularly in the case of private Indian institutions. While the present bill is aimed at foreign educators coming to India, there is an urgent need for making it mandatory and ensuring that all private institutions in India provide adequate infrastructure and the details that are being asked from the incoming foreign educator.QualityWhat about the quality of higher education? The bill is largely silent on the issue, and rather vaguely mentions that “quality” should be maintained. This however is an important issue, equally valid for the foreign educator as well as Indian institutions, public or private. It is often said that studying at world class institutions such as Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Yale, Cornell, to name a few, is an experience in itself. In fact, it is. It is not only the environment, quality of teaching, quality of coherent students, robust research culture etc but also several other facilities and structures like organised sports, music, theatre, debates, university clubs and entertainment facilities that make for essential ingredients of quality education.Good quality education is expected to provide the recipient with knowledge, analytical skills, ability to think independently, an appetite for deeper inquiry in the subject and equip one with tools and methodology to address different questions. In addition, while quality education readies one for taking up a variety of jobs, it is also expected to inculcate flexibility in thoughts and the ability to appreciate opinions different from one’s own.What is the quality of higher education in Indian teaching institutions, public or private? While some of the well known universities (a generous estimate of thirty or so) can claim a reasonable standard of education, these standards decline rapidly. Higher education in the university has suffered from continuous criminal neglect for a long time, and that simply cannot be addressed in a short period of time; such repairs are necessarily long drawn processes.Can quality in education be transplanted? In principle the answer has to be yes. But in practice, it would require persistent and careful attention. My own hunch is that we will see the presence of foreign educators in areas like engineering (B.Tech, M.Tech), law, pharmacy, biotechnology, management studies, areas already invaded with missionary zeal by private education providers in India. Will their collaboration with foreign players produce better quality? It is the Indian government which will have to invest heavily and continuously in higher education in areas like the humanities, fine arts, basic science and it is good that after decades of neglect higher education is on the radar as far as human resource development is concerned.advertisementThe writer is Director, International Centre for Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology, New Delhi
Diego Maradona has said he would like to continue as coach of Dubai’s Al Wasl team despite the club’s announcement of his dismissal.Maradona, expected to meet with the club’s board of directors, said on Wednesday he was confident that they would be “willing” to keep him and they would “reach a good deal,” reports Xinhua quoting local media.”I would like to say that I have always wished to continue in this marvellous land that has received me so well. I am especially grateful to the sheik (Ahmed bin Rashid) for having welcomed me and given me the opportunity to coach a team from the United Arab Emirates,” Maradona said in a statement.Maradona last year signed a 4.1 million-dollar two-season contract with Al Wasl Football Club and the contract ends in 2013.But after the club ended its 12-team league season in eighth place, with no championship wins, the board, headed by Rashid, announced via Twitter it was letting Maradona go.Maradona said he had already talked with club owners about the key issue of buying talent and improving Al Wasl’s performance on the field.”In the past few days, we have been talking and trying to reach a deal on buying players, a necessary requirement for winning championships that make the club’s fans happy and make sheik Ahmed happy, too,” Maradona said.”Regretfully, the club has announced something I don’t agree with, because my wish was and is to continue coaching Al Wasl and if the club can’t buy players due to a lack of budget, there is always the possibility of talking it over with the board and finding solutions,” Maradona added.advertisement
South Africa have rested Jacques Kallis for the one-day international series against England.The 36-year-old Kallis, who scored an unbeaten 182 to help South Africa win the first Test against England by an innings and 12 runs at the Oval on Monday, has been replaced by the uncapped Dean Elgar.In naming their 15-man squad, Cricket South Africa(CSA) announced that Kallis is “being rested ahead of the ICC World Twenty20 in September.”The other changes to the squad that claimed a 3-0 ODI series win in New Zealand earlier this year sees spinner Imran Tahir and all-rounder Ryan McLaren recalled.
A victory to start a tournament is always welcome, and if it comes against a higher-ranked opponent, the confidence will only be high. India began their title defence of Nehru Cup with a 2-1 win over Syria and the hosts would be looking to continue the good run against Maldives on Saturday.A familiar foe for the hosts and former SAFF champions, Maldives, too, began their campaign on a bright note, beating Nepal 2-1 in their opener at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Thursday.India, however, will hold the edge as they were impressive against the Syrians. Captain Sunil Chhetri has already put up his name on the goal scorers list and the midfield generals looked in good touch.Clifford Miranda, Lenny Rodrigues and Francis Fenandes fed Chhetri well with precise passes and pierced the Syrian defence line time and again.The newly propounded possession football was on display and the players tried hard to string along six-seven short passes, until rain forced them to tweak their style and rely on aerial shots.However, defence remains a concern for the defending champions.Raju Gaikewad will have to raise his level on the right. His under-performance against Syria put more load on the other three Gouramangi Singh, Nirmal Chhetri and Syed Rahim Nabi.With talented striker like Ali Ashfaq on the rivals ranks, the defenders need to tighten up.Against Nepal, the Maldives captain had tormented the defenders with his ability to single-handedly create openings in the front.Two rookies Abdulla Asadhulla and Umair Mohamed impressed on the flanks, and Koeverman’s need to keep a plan ready for the trio. Like India, Maldives also need to shore up its defence. The central defence manned by Abdul Ghani Akram and Mohamed Sifan had some jittery moments against Nepal.Maldives coach Istvan Urbanyi did not want to read too much into Indias win against Syria.Its impossible to comment on India at the moment. Rain played a major role in Indias match against Syria. I just cant draw any comparison between this Indian side and former ones,” he said.In their last meeting at the SAFF Championships here in December, last year, India had defeated Maldives 3-1 but even that record isnt giving Koevermans an absolute confidence.”We got three yellow cards in the first match and that remains a matter of concern. Maldives has some quality players who can create a difference,” he said.Ashfaq has already caught Koevermans attention, but the Indian coach was tight-lipped about whether he was going to mark the striker. He also refrained to comment on any change in India’s starting line-up.He might draw solace from the fact that the Maldives coach is concerned about his teams fitness.”Most of my players have just come after observing a month of Ramadan. Also we had little practice before coming here,” he said.But I am happy with the way the youngsters have played in the first match.advertisement