Friday, 15 February 2013

Playing in India is always special: Clarke

Chennai: From the time Michael Clarke made a memorable Test debut against India at Bengaluru in 2004 with an impressive 151, the Australian has grown from strength to strength.

The stylish batsman has tormented the bowling attack whenever he was up against the Indians. When the two teams last met down under, Clarke led his side to a 4-0 whitewash with astonishing displays of batting at Sydney (careerhigh 329 not out) and at Adelaide (210).


On coming back to the country where his Test journey began:

It's always exciting to come to India as I've always enjoyed playing here. The main reason for that is people of India love the game of cricket. It is a special place for me because I made my Test debut here and I have so many fond memories. I suppose it's more special to come back as a captain.

On his career so far: It's been up and down. I guess -some good times, when the team has had a lot of success and I have scored some runs, and some tough times, when I have been dropped from the Test team and I didn't know if I was going to get back into the team. Now the positive is that the team is playing well and I am able to captain Australia.

On conditions here: IPL has certainly changed the comfort level of the players. Players know what the conditions are like when they come to India. The IPL has also been fantastic in that it has built relationships between players all around the world.

On shielding youngsters: Being a senior player, not just the captain, it is part of your responsibility. The responsibility is on some of us who have played a lot of Tests to stand up and lead from the front, make sure the youngsters are taken along. So it's part of my job to make sure I help them and as much as anything, be there for them through the good times and the tough times.

On Gambhir’s absence: I expected him to be in the Test the Test team. He is a wonderful player and has been for India for a long time now. I think there are a few bowlers in our team who are happy he is not playing. If he scores runs, I'm sure he will get his chance with the Indian team again.

No pre-series salvos?

It's not about what you say, it's about what you do on the field. As a player, as the Australian cricket team, that's our goal. It's no good making statements and comments and not backing them up. I'd rather people say less and do more, so that's our goal. Perform well on the field, that's all we say.

Source : DC

US Warns North Korea Against Further 'Provocative' Acts

WASHINGTON: The United States Friday called on North Korea not to take any further provocative steps, as a US think tank said Pyongyang was preparing a launchpad that could pave the way to firing a long-range missile.

Asked about media reports that North Korea, also known as the DPRK, has told China it is preparing further nuclear tests, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said such moves would just "lead to more isolation."

"The United States calls on the DPRK to refrain from additional provocative actions that would violate its international obligations and run counter to its commitments," she told journalists.

UN Security Council resolutions insist North Korea should not carry out any further nuclear tests, or face further global sanctions.

There was global outrage after Pyongyang on Tuesday defiantly carried out its third nuclear test, saying it was responding to US "hostility" after the UN Security Council condemned its last missile launch two months ago.

"The DPRK is not going to achieve anything in terms of the health, wealth, safety, (or) future of its own people by these kinds of continued provocative actions," Nuland said.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest, speaking aboard Air Force One, also stressed that Pyongyang should abide by UN resolutions.

"We encourage the North Koreans to live up to their international obligations, abandon their nuclear program and work with the rest of the international community to become a responsible member of the international community," he said.

38 North, a blog of the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, said Thursday it had analyzed satellite photos that it said showed possible assistance from Iran at the Tonghae Satellite Launching Ground in northeastern North Korea.

38 North said a commercial satellite photograph taken on January 5 showed "important progress" since the area was hit with typhoons last year and indicated activity that was consistent with preparations for a launch.

But the website said there was not enough evidence to support speculation that North Korea could raise the stakes by testing its KN-08, a new missile with potential intercontinental range first displayed in a parade in April.

The website said that North Korea likely was preparing to test much larger rockets by the time the site is completed in 2016.

Source : TOI

Brig, 2 IAF Officers Manipulated Specifications For Deal

Pushed to the wall by the Italian government’s probe into the alleged payment of bribes to Indians for the Rs 3,750 crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal, the ministry of defence (MoD) has instituted an internal inquiry even as it gets ready to cancel the deal. According to sources in the MoD, they have also found prima facie evidence that the specifications for the tender were tweaked to favour AgustaWestland.

The CBI will send its team to Italy next week to investigate the scam.
The process of cancellation of the contract with Italian firm Finnmeccanica was initiated on Friday afternoon. Sources told DNA that during the internal probe, names of two senior IAF officers and an Army Brigadier has emerged as the people who changed the technical specifications to favour the Italian major.

“During the probe, the names of two high ranked officers of the Air headquarters in New Delhi and an army officer has come out, as they were part of the committee to change parameters of technical specifications,” a senior MoD official told DNA. But despite indications, the MoD could not take any administrative action against these officers, as the government is awaiting a reply from their Italian counterparts.

“The MoD today issued a formal show cause notice to the AgustaWestland of the UK seeking cancellation of contract and taking other actions according to the terms of the contract and the Integrity Pact,” MoD spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said.

“With today’s show cause notice, the operation of the contract has been put on hold,” Kar added.

According to defence ministry officials, the government will also go for blacklisting the firm. Blacklisting of Finnmeccanica will lead to affect its military business of worth $8 billion (Rs, 44,000 crore) with India. After cancellation of the VIP chopper deal, the three AW 101 that have been delivered will be returned and the paid money will be forfeited.

By Pradiprsagar (DNA)

Micromax Sells 25 Units Of Canvas HD Per Minute

Mobile consumers are returning Micromax’s Valentine’s Day love. Its newly released phone, the Canvas HD, has already sold over 9,000 units online in less than 24 hours, Micromax said today.

The Canvas HD which was launched exclusively online on Thursday has been Micromax’s one of the most awaited products this year.

Data from the company’s  online partner, showed that the first lot of the Canvas HD was sold out within 15 minutes of announcing sale on the midnight of 14 February. The second lot of 300 units was also sold out within 15 minutes of the sale at 9 am and the third lot of 1,200 phones was sold in 45 minutes with the beginning of the sale at noon on Thursday.

“This product exceeded our expectations by a huge margin. We took this live at midnight and we were completely surprised to see all 500 units which we expected to sell in the entire day sold out within 15 minutes of launch. Our call volume shot through the roof with enquiries and we have replenished inventory levels to cater to more sales. This kind of pace of sales beats our previous records,” Tony Navin, vice president,  Business Development, Snapdeal  said.

Micromax, in a statement has said that got a booking order for 9,000 units of the Canvas HD, in less than 24 hours since its launch.

“After the unprecedented success of the Canvas 2, we are overwhelmed with the customer response for Canvas HD. This is the first time our online sales partners have ever witnessed a digital queue in cyberspace to such an extent for any product,”  said Shubhodip Pal, CMO Micromax.

“We expect the sales of this device to touch a new high in the coming weeks which will soon be available for sale at all leading retail stores in the country. We hope to further strengthen our leadership in the new phablet category in India,” Pal said.

The phone which was launched on midnight of 14 February has seen a booking pace of 25 units per minute. Priced at Rs 13,990, the Canvas HD is Micromax’s first quad core processor phone and launched sales only online.

Micromax also launched the Bolt A35 on Valentine’s Day . It is its first phone in the Bolt category and comes with ‘Flash Transfer’. The Bolt category will include a new range of feature rich phones from Micromax whose flash transfer will enable users to share apps, games, photos, videos, songs and much more with just a swipe.

Spanish Tourist Among Five Injured In Kashmir During Protests Against Afzal Guru Hanging

Srinagar: A Spanish tourist was among five people injured Friday in the Kashmir Valley as sporadic protests erupted against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. Despite a valley-wide curfew for the seventh straight day, protesters took to the streets in areas and clashed with security forces, both police and other sources said.

Police said the situation was "by and large peaceful" Friday. However, there were incidents of stone pelting at Naid Khai, Azad Gunj Baramulla, Handwara, Ajas Bandipora, Muran Pulwama, Charar-i-Sharief and Qaimoh Kulgam, a police statement said.

Police said they exercised maximum restraint while dealing with mobs. One man, Ghulam Nabi Dar of Bandipora district, was injured in his right leg and was hospitalized. It was not clear what precisely happened.

Three policemen were hit by stones and injured at Handwara and Charar-i-Sharief. The tourist from Madrid, Marcos Tovio, was also hit by a stone when he was going to the north Kashmir Gulmarg ski resort Friday afternoon, police said.

He was admitted at the Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences Soura in Srinagar. Authorities imposed curfew in all major towns of the valley including Srinagar to foil protests over Afzal Guru's Feb 9 execution in New Delhi's Tihar Jail.

His body was then buried in the jail complex. In old city areas of Srinagar, Baramulla, Sopore, Anantnag, Pulwama and Shopian towns, uninterrupted curfew entered the seventh day.

Police sources said in some areas the curfew was relaxed in the evening to allow people to buy food and other essentials. Separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani has extended his call for a protest shutdown till Sunday.

Geelani had asked people to offer Afzal Guru's funeral prayers in absentia and collectively demand the return of his body to the family. The blockade of Internet and mobile telephones imposed February 9 continued for the seventh day Friday.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had asked separatist leaders not to prolong the shutdown. Omar said he cannot prevent people from identifying with Afzal Guru. "This is not a totalitarian state," he said earlier.

More than 40 youths have been taken into custody in the last six days during clashes with security forces or during night raids at some places. There is heavy deployment of police and paramilitary forces in all cities and towns of the valley.