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New Modern Edu
College honours
Sakina Itoo

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Jan 14: New Modern College of Education, Sainik Colony, in collaboration with Eco Care Takers Organisation, organised a function in the college premises here today to honour Sakina Itoo, Minister for Social Welfare, ARI and Trainings and Public Grievances Department......more

More institutions celebrate Lohri

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Jan 14: More institutions celebrated Lohri with traditional fevour and enthusiasm. G D Goenka Public School celebrated Lohri with gaiety and fervour. Mohammad Saram, a student of class 8th delivered a speech on Lohri followed by a skit on Dulha Bhatti by the students of class 1st. ..more

Rural sports meet held

Excelsior Sports Correspondent

JAMMU, Jan 14: Rural Development Forum in collaboration with Nehru Yuva Kendra organised rural sports meet at Government High School here. Various youth clubs participated in the meet held in the disciplines of kabaddi and wrestling besides cultural items.....more

Anand in a tough field in Tata Steel Chess

WIJK AAN ZEE (The Netherlands), Jan 14: World Champion Viswanathan Anand of India is all set to take on a tough star-studded field in the 73rd edition of Tata Steel chess tournament that gets....more

Australia beat England
by four runs in T20

MELBOURNE, Jan 14: Australia finally had something to celebrate after recording an unlikely four-run win over England in the second Twenty20 international at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday...more

London honour
for Ashes hero Cook

LONDON, Jan 14: Australia’s Ashes tormentor Alastair Cook has been awarded the Freedom of the City of London. It is yet another honour for England’s player of the series, who scored a colossal 766 runs in the team’s 3-1 triumph. Now the 26-year-old opener, who plays for county side Essex, east of London, has followed in the footsteps of England captain Andrew Strauss in receiving the London award...more

Iran fighting flu
ahead of North
Korean clash

DOHA, Jan 14: Iran have been hit by a flu outbreak at the Asian Cup ahead of their Group D clash with North Korea, with coach Afshin Ghotbi and captain Javad Nekonam among those affected.....more

Over 100 foreign
players interested
in World Hockey League

NEW DELHI, Jan 14: Over hundred foreign players, including Australian star Jammie Dwyer and some Pakistani players are willing to be part of the World Series Hockey, to be launched by Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) later this...more

Battered India need to sort out problems....

Kiwis attempt to win confidence in 2nd Test ...

Lanka Sports Minister order probe into Nimbus deal...

Li shocks Clijsters to win Sydney title...

New Modern Edu College honours Sakina Itoo

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Jan 14: New Modern College of Education, Sainik Colony, in collaboration with Eco Care Takers Organisation, organised a function in the college premises here today to honour Sakina Itoo, Minister for Social Welfare, ARI and Trainings and Public Grievances Department.

Recipient of "Bharat Jyoti Award" for her commendable and meritorious social services and outstanding performance, Sakina Itoo in her address lauded the efforts of the Tarun Bahl, Chaiman of New Modern Group of Colleges.

She further said that the Government will continue to work with dedication to minimize the difficulties of old aged, physically challenged persons and people living Below Poverty Line.

She appealed the student community to come forward in cooperating the Government for implementation of schemes and programmes to the real beneficiaries.

Deputy Director, Social Welfare, Jammu Division was also present.

Tarun Bahl, Chairman, New Modern Group of Colleges, Ajit Singh Adyal, M R Bangotra and Prof Siraj-ud-Din Bhat, Principal also spoke on the occasion.

More institutions celebrate Lohri

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Jan 14: More institutions celebrated Lohri with traditional fevour and enthusiasm.

G D Goenka Public School celebrated Lohri with gaiety and fervour.

Mohammad Saram, a student of class 8th delivered a speech on Lohri followed by a skit on Dulha Bhatti by the students of class 1st.

A Punjabi dance was also presented by the students of class 5th while students of class brought eatables related to Lohri.

Mamta Singh, Vice-Principal of the School was also present on the occasion who gave good wishes for Makkar Sankranti and Pongal.

Dogra Pujari, Jyotish, Shastri Sangh celebrated Lohri. A function was held at Gurha Mandir.

Shastri of Gurha Mandir, Chander Mohan, President of Dogra Pujari, Jyotish and Shastri Sangh, Ram Pal Shastri and other intellectuals were also present.

Director School Education, Jammu, G A Qureshi celebrated Lohri festival with students at Youth Hostel, Nagrota.

A "Composite Contingent" of students drawn from various districts of Jammu Division are under rehersals for celebrations of Republic Day.

He also distributed sweets among the students.

The teaching and non-teaching staff of Renaissance Indian Convent School, Garhi also celebrated Lohri.

Students presented colourful cultural programme to mark the occasion which included Lohri Lok Geet "Sunder Mundria".

Principal of the School, Sunil Sharma and Chairman, Ram Rattan Sharma and Director were also present on the occasion.

Rural sports meet held

Excelsior Sports Correspondent

JAMMU, Jan 14: Rural Development Forum in collaboration with Nehru Yuva Kendra organised rural sports meet at Government High School here.

Various youth clubs participated in the meet held in the disciplines of kabaddi and wrestling besides cultural items.

Principal of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Jandrah was the chief guest while Headmaster, Government High School, Bhatyari, was the guest of honour.

President of Rural Development Forum presented the vote of thanks.

Anand in a tough field in Tata Steel Chess

WIJK AAN ZEE (The Netherlands), Jan 14: World Champion Viswanathan Anand of India is all set to take on a tough star-studded field in the 73rd edition of Tata Steel chess tournament that gets underway here.

World number one Magnus Carlsen of Norway starts as the top seed in a field that boasts of a 2740 average rating hitting category 20 according to FIDE’s ELO charts.

Formerly known as the Corus chess tournament, the tournament from this year will be named after Indian Steel giants Tatas following the takeover of Corus by them.

Anand will have his task cut out in the 14-players round robin tournament.

The World Champion will look forward to regain the number one ranking for which he needs to better Carlsen and third seed Levon Aronian of Armenia who recently became the fifth player in history to join the 2800 rating club.

Vladimir Kramnik is the other big name in the fray, besides Alexander Grischuk of Russia and former world champion Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine.

Young guns like Hikaru Nakamura, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Russian champion Ian Nepomniachtchi will also be eying some of the top stars, while the cynosure of all eyes will be young talent Anish Giri who will take on a world class field.

Brought up in Japan and Russia, Anish Giri is of Nepalese origin. Just a couple of years back his father got a job in Holland and since then there has been no looking back.

Anish got his Grandmaster title in the same tournament in 2009 and won the ‘B’ group in 2010 to qualify for the premier event this year.

Anand had a decent result and ordinarily he was a co-winner in the London Classic last month as he had the same score as Carlsen. However, with the soccer-like scoring system in place there, Anand could not match Carlsen’s score even though both had effectively scored 4.5 points each.

Carlsen, who had won four games, drawn one and lost two got 13 points while Anand, with two wins and five draws got 11 points.

Here, the Classical points system will be in place again, which means that a person winning more games does not get any real advantage. In fact, Carlsen will be under pressure as despite his ability to win many games, he is also prone to losing some.

The 13-rounds will be played under Classical time control of 40 moves in 100 minutes followed by 20 moves in 50 minutes and 15 minutes for the remaining game. There will be a 30 seconds increment from move one.

Like always, there will be other Grandmaster groups as well. In the strong ‘B’ group Grandmaster Surya Shekhar Ganguly will be the lone Indian challenge while in the ‘C’ group Tania Sachdev will make her debut in Wijk Aan Zee, a hamlet known for a long tradition of chess tournaments of highest standards. (PTI)

Australia beat England by four runs in T20

MELBOURNE, Jan 14: Australia finally had something to celebrate after recording an unlikely four-run win over England in the second Twenty20 international at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday.

After Australia battled to 147-7 thanks to an unbeaten half-century by second-gamer Aaron Finch, England looked set to cruise to victory when they were 58-0 after six overs, with opener Ian Bell on song.

But England’s quest to extend their record unbeaten T20 streak to nine matches, having defeated Australia on the last ball of Wednesday’s game in Adelaide, came unstuck as their middle order failed to deliver.

As was the case in Australia’s lone win during the Ashes series, in the third Test at the WACA Ground, it was paceman Mitchell Johnson (3-29) who turned the match on its head.

Johnson claimed the vital wicket of Bell (39) when the right-hander dragged a ball onto his stumps in the seventh over to end an opening stand of 60.

The left-hander then followed up by having Kevin Pietersen caught for one three balls later.

Johnson also removed the dangerous Eoin Morgan for 14, while Shane Watson backed up his brilliant effort in Wednesday’s match with a frugal 2-17 from four overs.

With 13 runs needed off the last three balls from Brett Lee, young England all-rounder Chris Woakes threatened to repeat his heroics on Wednesday when he lofted the paceman into the stands to leave seven needed from two.

But Lee got the job done as Australia snapped a run of five successive losses in T20 internationals.

Man of the match Finch, playing in only his second international, hit 53 not out from 33 balls in a crucial performance with the bat for the home side.

Australia side got off to a quick start and were 57-1 after six overs, but lost 4-17 as Graeme Swann and Michael Yardy wreaked havoc, the two spinners recording identical figures of 2-19 from their four overs.

The two sides now meet in a seven-match one-day series and Australian captain Cameron White was hopeful the home side finally had some momentum.

"It’s going to give us some confidence hopefully," White said.

England skipper Paul Collingwood said he thought his side was going to steal the win when Woakes hit his last-over six.

"When Woakesy hit that six I thought we were going to pull something out of the bag," he said. (AGENCIES)

London honour for Ashes hero Cook

LONDON, Jan 14: Australia’s Ashes tormentor Alastair Cook has been awarded the Freedom of the City of London.

It is yet another honour for England’s player of the series, who scored a colossal 766 runs in the team’s 3-1 triumph.

Now the 26-year-old opener, who plays for county side Essex, east of London, has followed in the footsteps of England captain Andrew Strauss in receiving the London award.

Cook, who will be presented with the accolade at a ceremony later this year, said yesterday: "I am greatly honoured and privileged to be given the Freedom of London for doing something I love... Beating the Aussies.

"I would like to thank all those involved with this decision."

The Freedom of the City of London is believed to date back to the 13th century, when it enabled recipients to carry out trade.

But now it is offered to individuals by the Corporation of the City of London to celebrate a significant achievement or honour an outstanding contribution to London life.

Cook, not required for England’s ongoing one-day series in Australia, has returned home and is set to assist with lambing on the farm owned by his girlfriend’s parents.

But he won’t be allowed to drive sheep over London Bridge, or be drunk and disorderly in the City without fear of arrest, as these traditional privileges associated with the Freedom of the City of London no longer exist. (AGENCIES)

Iran fighting flu ahead of North Korean clash

DOHA, Jan 14: Iran have been hit by a flu outbreak at the Asian Cup ahead of their Group D clash with North Korea, with coach Afshin Ghotbi and captain Javad Nekonam among those affected.

"We have a few issues with some players in our squad with a minor flu," Ghotbi told reporters today before they face the Koreans at the Qatar Sports Club on Saturday.

"It started really with the beginning of our training camp with our captain, then I had the flu for several days and it has gone through two, three, up to four players at a time."

Victory for Iran in the match (1845 IST) would book a place in the quarter-finals of the 16-team premier Asian tournament but they face the tricky task of breaking down a defensive-minded North Korean side.

The Koreans have not conceded a goal in their last three outings and have reverted back to a ‘defensive first, attack second’ strategy after being humbled 7-0 by Portugal in the World Cup finals in South Africa last June.

"I hope North Korea plays like they did against Portugal in the World Cup when they were open and attacked," Ghotbi said.

"But I think they will play very closed and attempt to counter attack which is why it is important we score early to bring them out of their shell."

Three-times champions Iran will start as favourites for Saturday’s match following their comeback victory over holders Iraq in their opening game but Ghotbi said there was little time to bask in the adulation of victory over their rivals.

"To be champions of a tournament you have to play six matches in 18 days and it takes a lot of mental toughness, discipline and quality to be able to recover."

Iraq will play the United Arab Emirates at the Al Rayyan Stadium also in Group D tomorrow (2145 IST. (AGENCIES)

Over 100 foreign players interested in
World Hockey League

NEW DELHI, Jan 14: Over hundred foreign players, including Australian star Jammie Dwyer and some Pakistani players are willing to be part of the World Series Hockey, to be launched by Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) later this year.

Yannick Colaco, Chief Operating Officer of Nimbus Sports, admitted that a lot of international players are in touch with them but did not divulge the names.

However, sources say 10 Australian and seven Pakistani players are in touch with the organisers through their agents and almost all the current overseas players, who were a part of Premier Hockey League, have also shown interest in the league.

"We have got tremendous response from players all around the world. Over 100 foreign players are in touch with us but we have the slot of 60 only. We will scrutinized them next month," a source told.

IHF president R K Shetty said that there will be not an IPL-like auction for the league and the process of player selection will be based on the draft system used by the National Basketball Association in the US.

"There will be around four grades of players. Players in A plus category will get around 45 to 55 lakhs. A, B and C graded players will get around 40 to 50, 30 to 40 and 20 to 30 lakh rupees respectively," he said.

Nimbus Sports had recently entered into a 15-year contract with the IHF to conceptualise, stage and market the hockey series.

The series will feature as many as 100 matches and up to 250 hockey players from India and around the world will participate in it.

"All the top players will be a part of this series. Pakistani players have also approached us but the decision on their participation will be taken by the government," Colaco said.

Shetty said that some countries are even interested in hosting the matches.

"We are surprised by the overwhelming response by the players worldwide. Some countries even expressed the will to host some of the matches," he said.

Asked about the final list of the players, Colaco said it will be disclosed next month.

"We will finalise contracts with all Indian players in couple of weeks and then we will select foreign players. Final list of the players will be ready by February," he said

He said the criteria of selection will be players’ form, consistency and potential.

"I don’t need any panel to tell me the capabilities of international players. All the foreign players who will be part of the league are well known and we will select the best," he said. (PTI)

Battered India need to sort out problems

JOHANNESBURG, Jan 14: Thrashed in the first game in Durban, India would hope to put up a far more inspired display as they go into the second cricket one-dayer against South Africa here tomorrow with a few problems to sort out in both the bowling and batting departments.

The Indians did well by drawing the Test series 1-1 and then winning the only T20 game on Sunday, but the humiliating 135-run defeat in the first match came as a big blow for the visitors who have to regroup before its too late.

Already plagued by injuries to key players, nothing seemed to have gone right for Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his men in Durban as both the batting and bowling left much to be desired.

The Indians have a track record of not doing too well in the first match on tours and Dhoni and his men will be looking to bounce back and level the five-match series 1-1 at the New Wanderers ground which is likely to aid the pace bowlers.

Already missing key players such as Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, the injury list has only grown longer with paceman Praveen Kumar also returning home because of an injury.

Paceman S Sreesanth is also recovering from an elbow injury, which forced him to sit out of the first match, and it remains to be seen whether the Kerala speedster is fit enough to take the field on the morrow.

Batting has been India’s strength but the top order collapsed like a pack of cards to be reduced to 43 for four in the first match, and the team could never really recover from that jolt.

Sachin Tendulkar, returning to the Indian one-day fold after close to a year, has a big role to play and the champion batsman has to take up the responsibility of giving India a competitive total on the board.

The Indian line-up has a number of young but talented players such as Murali Vijay, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina but they have to fire when it matters most.

Kohli was the only batsman to score a half century in the last game unlike the South Africans who had three batsmen coming up with substantial contributions. The failure to build partnerships made India’s chase all the more difficult.

For the off-colour Yuvraj Singh, it is the final chance to convince the selectors that he is the same destructive force which won India many a matches before the stunning slump in form.

Unlike the Indians, the South Africans put up a clinical show but captain Graeme Smith cautioned his teammates not to take the visitors lightly.

"I expect them to bounce back. We have to put our foot down in the next match," Smith said.

For the Indians, pacer Ashish Nehra was a big disappointment in Durban, and that forced captain Dhoni to use three part-time bowlers to try and contain the run flow.

But it is highly unlikely that the team management will drop him as the left-arm seamer had done well in the past.

"Honestly speaking, these are the four-five fast bowlers we have got. We do not have many options to play with. So we have to back them to do well. Whether they are in match practice or not what is important is that we take care of these bowlers and they should go in the World Cup without any injuries," Dhoni had said.

South Africa will miss prolific all-rounder Jacques Kallis, who is nursing an injury. The veteran has been the key player in the South African batting line-up and has been more than handy with the ball as well.

But the Proteas still have a good batting line-up with skipper Graeme Smith, the explosive duo of A B de Villiers and JP Duminy and the consistent Hashim Amla to anchor the middle-order. Amla, de Villiers and Duminy struck half centuries in the first match and will be looking to maintain that form.

The Indians are aware that they could have done much better in the first game and captain Dhoni has promised to bounce back in the series.

"We could have done better. When you are playing with four bowlers, you are under a bit of pressure, that if one of the bowler does not bowl well then you have to make those overs with the part timers."

"We can bounce back. We can play better cricket than this. That way cricket is good game as in every match you start afresh. We have to click as a unit to win matches," Dhoni said.

It is the final ODI series that India and South Africa play before the World Cup starting February 19, and both sides would look to settle their squads for the big event through these five matches. (PTI)

Kiwis attempt to win confidence in 2nd Test

WELLINGTON, Jan 14: New Zealand will attempt to win back the confidence of disgruntled fans in the second of two tests against Pakistan which starts at the Basin Reserve tomorrow.

Pakistan pummelled New Zealand by 10 wickets in the first test at Hamilton, bowling out the home team for 110 in just over three hours in its second innings. The New Zealand team has been harshly criticized in the media and flayed in public forums since that loss which it’s own captain, Daniel Vettori, called embarrassing.

Meanwhile, Pakistan is focused on achieving a 2-0 win in the two-test series to usher in what coach Waqar Younis says could be a bright new era for the troubled cricket nation.

"It’s a new year and it’s a new set up. I would definitely like to say the team is a lot hungrier than what I’ve seen in the past," Waqar said.

"It’s a good unit so hopefully this year will bring us good results."

Waqar adds a cautious note, that Pakistan has foreseen bright new eras in the past and circumstances have conspired to frustrate their optimism.

"That’s what we were thinking six months ago and then suddenly something comes up," he said in an oblique reference to the match-fixing scandal currently affecting Pakistan cricket.

Vettori and New Zealand coach John Wright both said the performance in Hamilton was unacceptable. New Zealand made only 275 in its first innings in ideal batting conditions, conceded a 92-run lead on the first innings then collapsed in its second innings, losing all 10 wickets in a session.

Both captain and coach have demanded a better performance and expressed sympathy with fans who - having endured New Zealand’s 11-match losing streak in one-day internationals - have now had to suffer the team’s failure at test level.

"Wrighty and myself have spoken to the team and there have been a lot of harsh words," Vettori said.

"Wrighty has stated emphatically that things have to change, you can’t keep putting those performances together. He wants to be part of the change and I do too, so it’s got to start at the base."

A succession of New Zealand players have been paraded before the media this week, repeating the same buzzwords: that players have to take "ownership" of their own personal performances and that the team must get back to basics.

Batsman Ross Taylor made scores of 6 and 8 in Hamilton, at the same time being picked up in the Indian Premier League auction for USD 1 million, the highest price for a New Zealander.

Taylor has averaged only 21 in his past seven tests and is part of a top six which has repeatedly failed to give New Zealand batting solidity.

"The way I’m playing at the moment isn’t good enough but as I said, I don’t feel as though I’m out of nick, I just haven’t been able to score the runs," Taylor said.

Wright said the batsmen had been clearly told that continued failure was not acceptable.

"They all understood it," he said. "It’s jut occupying the crease and not giving your wicket away. It’s not rocket science.

"We have to get our house in order and concentrate on what we do. They’re a dangerous side but we’ve got to look more inwards than outwards." (PTI)

Lanka Sports Minister order probe into Nimbus deal

COLOMBO, Jan 14: Sri Lankan Sports Minister, Mahindananda Aluthgamage has ordered a probe into the controversial Nimbus deal that had rocked the country’s cricketing circles, besides costing SLC a a huge amount of money.

A three-member committee has been appointed for investigating the matter thoroughly.

The committee is headed by the former Supreme Court judge Jagath Balapatabendi and also includes secretary of the Power and Energy Ministry, M M C Ferdinando and North Central Provincial Council official W A Tissera.

"There is a lot of speculation and allegations going round about this issue. So I decided that it is best to appoint a high powered committee with respected officials to investigate the matter and get to the bottom of it," the minister told ‘Daily Mirror’ newspaper yesterday.

"My predecessor Minister C B Ratnayake had promised the Parliamentary Consultative Committee of the Sports Ministry that he would appoint a committee to probe the deal, after several MPs had raised concern about the issue.

"When I met them for the first time, they asked me what had happened to the promise. So, I immediately decided to appoint a committee mainly because it will provide the accused people a chance to clear their names," Aluthgamage added.

Nimbus, an Indian based media and entertainment company, was involved in an arbitration battle last year with the SLC for defaulting a payment of USD 3.6 million.

However, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) had come to a settlement with the company after accepting a lower figure than what was due.

SLC filed arbitration proceedings against Nimbus when the company failed to honour a payment that was due for securing rights of India’s ODI series against Sri Lanka, played in February 2009.

The deal was signed on January 21, 2009 between SLC and Nimbus when the former was controlled by a one-man Competent Authority, Sports Ministry secretary S Liyanagama, appointed by the then Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge.

The TV rights deal was struck for an amount of USD 6 million, which was considered by many as a much below figure that could have been raised, as the experts thought that the high-profile series could have been worth as much as USD 15 million.

During that time, a One-day International involving India was estimated to be worth around USD 3.5 million.

When the deal was struck, the minister cancelled SLC’s TV rights contract with Ten Sports, a Dubai based company, which was to run till year 2011, contending that there were irregularities in that deal.

However, after the series was over, the former minister (Lokuge) made a U-turn and asked SLC to sign a fresh deal with Ten Sports.

Meanwhile, when the deal was struck with Nimbus for the India series, the authorities ignored the basic requirement of a bank guarantee, which was a compulsory component.

It was because of this lack of bank guarantee that SLC had no way of recovering their dues when Nimbus refused to pay USD 3.6 million after the tournament was over.

So ultimately, the SLC had to initiate arbitration proceedings.

The cricket board went through an extremly bad experience with Nimbus earlier in 2001 when the then SLC interim committee headed by Vijaya Malalasekara scrapped a deal and ended up paying USD 5 million in damages to Nimbus.

SLC had to give another Rs 57 million as lawyer fees, apart from Rs 13 million for overseas travel for the case.

Nimbus, meanwhile, has fallen into deeper trouble at present as media reports claim that it has a high debt burden of approximately Indian Rs 5.79 billion (SL Rs 14.48 billion).

Nimbus has recently failed to pay back loans taken from several banks through which they had raised the bank guarantee of Indian Rs 20 billion (approximately SL Rs 50 billion) that was needed to secure the TV rights of the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) for the period April 2011 to March 2014. (PTI)

Li shocks Clijsters to win Sydney title

SYDNEY, Jan 14: China’s Li Na staged a remarkable comeback from 5-0 down in the first set to upset Australian Open favourite Kim Clijsters 7-6 6-3 in the final of the Sydney International today.

It was a first loss in 14 semi-finals and finals for US Open champion Clijsters since her return from retirement in August 2009 and the manner of defeat will be a big psychological blow just three days from the start of the year’s first grand slam.

The 28-year-old Li, a semi-finalist at Melbourne Park last year, sealed her fourth career title when she volleyed home a winner with Clijsters stranded off the court after 90 minutes.

It had taken Clijsters just 18 minutes to rack up a 5-0 lead in the first set but her game then fell apart, with seven double faults and 27 unforced errors telling the tale of a spectacular collapse. (AGENCIES)

 

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