India lose, fail to reach tri-series final

Perth: In what was being being touted as the dress rehearsal for the World Cup, India miserably failed to reach the tri-series final Down Under as they lost the virtual semi-final by three wickets to England at the WACA here Friday. England will now play the final against hosts Australia here Sunday.

India failed to win even a single game out of four in the league stage with one One-Day International (ODI), against Australia, being washed out.

Put in to bat, India folded up for a mere 200 in 48.1 overs with opener Ajinkya Rahane top scoring with 73. Though England were made to struggle by the reigning World Champions, a 125-run sixth-wicket partnership between James Taylor (82) and wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler (67) guided them home in only 46.5 overs.

In the morning, Rahane was the standout performer. His and Shikhar Dhawan’s (38) opening-wicket partnership of 83 runs was the only bright spot in an otherwise dreadful Indian batting performance.

Rahane and Dhawan were slow off the blocks, playing with a lot of caution. But they gained confidence after negotiating the initial overs. Rahane was more aggressive of the two and lived a charmed life with most of his lofted shots landing in no-man’s land.

But following the first dismissal of Dhawan in the 21st over, India lost all other wickets like a pack of cards. Virat Kohli’s (8) wicket in the 28th over opened the floodgates with Suresh Raina (1) perishing just two overs later as India were reduced to 107/3.

Ambati Rayudu (12) looked sublime briefly but failed to capitalise on his start. Rahane’s wicket, in the 36th over, put tremendous pressure on the shoulders of captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (17), who also failed to cope with the pressure and was dismissed with the score at 164.

Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja (5) and Axar Patel (1) fell in the space of a run as India was reduced to 165/9.

However, Mohammed Shami (25) played a vital cameo in the end, adding 35 runs for the final wicket with Mohit Sharma (7 not out), to lend some respectability to India’s total. A few edges and some lusty blows from the bat of Shami helped India reach the 200-mark.

All English bowlers were amongst the wickets with Steven Finn taking three while Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali chipping in with two each.

England had bowled out India for 153 in the previous match and went on to win by nine wickets.

While bowling, India got the perfect start they needed to defend their meek total. Some good line-and-length bowling from Stuart Binny (3/33) and Mohit Sharma (2/36) saw England tottering at 66/5 by the 20th over.

However, Taylor and Buttler steadied the England ship by knocking around, taking the ones and twos. This kept the scoreboard ticking and also helped build their significant partnership which took the game away from India.

Taylor scored his fourth half-century playing in his 10th ODI while Buttler’s relatively aggressive innings made him reach his fifth half-century. Taylor patiently anchored the innings with a 122-ball knock which included four boundaries while Buttler stroked seven boundaries in his 78-ball innings.

By the time the two got out, England had already reached the 190s and were only a few runs away from the target which was achieved by the tail-enders.

Indian bowlers bowled well, restricting the run rate and picking up wickets but the score was too less to defend.

(IANS)

BJP's controversial ad campaign shows Anna Hazare dead

New Delhi: AAP leaders on Friday slammed BJP over the latter’s controversial ad campaign attacking AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal and showing Anna Hazare dead.

BJP had unveiled its new advertisement campaign that targetted Kejriwal and shockingly showed Hazare with a garland on his photo.

Arvind Kejriwal, the chief of the Aam Aadmi Party, tweeted on Friday that the BJP should apologise for “killing Anna” in a campaign ad.

“Nathuram Godse killed Gandhiji on this day in 1948. BJP has killed Anna in its ad today. Shudn’t BJP apologise?” Arvind Kejriwal said in a tweet.

AAP leaders questioned the ruling party on its acts and said that they should apologize in public for showing a living man dead in the ad.

Delhi will go to vote for a new government on February 7. The results will be declared on February 10.

(ANI)

At least 20 killed in blast at Shia mosque in Pakistan

Shikarpur imambargah

by Ubaidullah Shaikh, Dawn

Shikarpur: At least 20 people were killed and 55 others were injured in an explosion inside a central imambargah (mosque affiliated with Shia Muslims) in Sindh province’s Shikarpur district on Friday.

The imambargah is located in Shikarpur’s Lakhi Dar area and the explosion occurred just after Friday prayers.

A number of victims were trapped under debris after the roof of the imambargah collapsed due to the intensive blast.

Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) central leader Allama Mohammed Amin Shaheedi announced three days mourning, describing the incident a failure of the government.

He told Dawn that the party’s further course of action would be announced in a press conference later in the evening.

The Jafria Disaster Cell (JDC) demanded that the critically wouinded victims be immediately shifted to Karachi for treatment.

Civil Hospital Shikarpur Superintendent Shaukat Memon confirmed that at least 20 people were killed and 55 others injured. The casualties included many children.

The condition of the wounded is said to be critical.

Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon told Dawn that an emergency had been imposed at all hospitals in Shikarpur and surrounding talukas and cities.

He added that provincial Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah and Sindh Health Minister Jam Mehtab Dahar have taken strong notice of the incident.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, President Mamnoon Hussain, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan and Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain issued condemnation messages against the incident.

A bomb disposal squad team has been dispatched to the area from Sukkur and rescue teams have reached Imam Bargah Maula Karbala where the explosion took place.

Speculation prevails that the explosion may have been carried out by a suicide bomber.

The incident comes as Pakistan is attempting to implement the National Action Plan to combat and root out terrorism from the country, an initiative that was set in motion after the Dec 16 attack on Peshawar’s Army Public School in December 2014.

It was the second major attack on an imambargah in the country since the beginning of 2015; the first being an attack on Rawalpindi’s Imambargah Aun Mohammad Rizvi in the garrison city’s Chatian Hatian area.

At the same time, Pakistani security forces are engaged in the North Waziristan and Khyber tribal regions — with the operation in Waziristan starting soon after a terrorist attack on Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport and the theatre of war expanding into Khyber.

Spain Blames Israel for UN Peacekeeper’s Killing in South Lebanon Clashes

Israeli military vehicles are seen burning in the Shebaa Farms, an Israeli-occupied Lebanese territory near the village of Ghajar, on January 28, 2015, following a Hezbollah missile attack. AFP/Marouf Khatib

Israeli military vehicles are seen burning in the Shebaa Farms, an Israeli-occupied Lebanese territory near the village of Ghajar, on January 28, 2015, following a Hezbollah missile attack. AFP/Marouf Khatib

Spain on Wednesday said Israeli fire had killed a Spanish UN peacekeeper serving in South Lebanon and called on the United Nations to fully investigate the violence, a day after Israeli prime minister vowed that Hezbollah would “pay the price” an attack in the Israeli-occupied Lebanese Shebaa Farms that left at least two Israeli soldiers dead.

The UN Security Council condemned the death of the 36-year-old Spanish corporal who died when Israel shelled Lebanon with a combined aerial and ground strikes after an anti-tank missile was fired at an Israel Occupation Forces (IOF) convoy in the Shebaa Farms, a mountainous, narrow sliver of land illegally occupied by Israel since 1967.

“It is clear that this was because of the escalation of the violence and it came from the Israeli side,” Spanish Ambassador to the UN Roman Oyarzun told reporters.

The Spanish envoy said he had asked for a full investigation of the United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon (UNIFIL) peacekeeper’s death during an emergency meeting of the council called by France to discuss ways to defuse tensions between Israel and Lebanon.

The violence raised fears of another all-out conflict between Lebanon and Israel in a region already wracked by fighting in Syria and Iraq.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for “maximum calm and restraint,” urging all sides to “act responsibly to prevent any escalation in an already tense regional environment,” a UN statement said.

“Our objective is to engage toward de-escalation and to prevent further escalation of the situation,” French Ambassador to the UN Francois Delattre told reporters.

France presented a draft statement to council members, but after meeting for over an hour the council issued a terse condemnation of the peacekeeper’s death and made no mention of de-escalation efforts.

Discussions regarding another council statement on the situation were ongoing.

The 10,000-strong UNIFIL mission, which monitors the border between Lebanon and Occupied Palestine, said it had observed six rockets fired towards Occupied Palestine from southern Lebanon and that Israeli forces “returned artillery fire in the same general area.”

Hezbollah said it had targeted an Israeli military convoy “transporting several Zionist soldiers and officers.”

“There were several casualties in the enemy’s ranks,” Hezbollah said.

According to Israeli figures, two soldiers were killed and seven others were wounded.

The Hezbollah brigade which carried out the attack, the Quneitra martyrs of the Islamic Resistance, was named in reference to an illegal Israeli airstrike on the Syrian city of Quneitra on January 18 that killed six fighters of Lebanon’s resistance movement Hezbollah, as well as an Iranian Revolutionary Guard general, indicating that Wednesday’s attack was in retaliation for the killing of its members.

Meanwhile, Lebanese security sources told AFP that Israeli forces then hit several Lebanese villages along the border.

Clouds of smoke could be seen rising from al-Majidiyeh village, one of the hardest hit. There were no casualties.

Senior peacekeeping official Edmond Mulet told council members that the attacks were a “serious violation” of ceasefire agreements, which Israel violates on a daily basis.

Israeli warplanes routinely violate Lebanon’s airspace and have launched several attacks against Syrian targets in recent months, some reportedly carried out from over Lebanon. An infographic of the number of Israeli overflights in Lebanon in 2011 showed that Israeli planes breached Lebanese sovereignty roughly five to 10 times a week on average that year.

On Thursday, Lebanon’s National News Agency (NNA), said Israeli fighter jets penetrated deep into Lebanese airspace, startling residents as the jets flew over the capital Beirut.

Israeli jets were also seen flying over southern Lebanese towns.

In 2013, Lebanon filed an official complaint to the United Nations over the regular Israeli violations of Lebanon’s sovereignty.

Netanyahu: Hezbollah will “pay the price”

Israel claimed on Thursday it had allegedly received a message from Hezbollah that it was backing away from further violence.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon claimed Israel had received a message from a UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon stating that Hezbollah was not interested in further escalation.

“Indeed, a message was received,” he said. “There are lines of coordination between us and Lebanon via UNIFIL and such a message was indeed received from Lebanon.”

In Beirut, Hezbollah officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

“I can’t say whether the events are behind us,” Yaalon added in a separate radio interview. “Until the area completely calms down, the Israel Defense Forces (sic) will remain prepared and ready.”

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Lebanon’s Hezbollah it will pay the “full price.”

“Those behind today’s attack will pay the full price,” Netanyahu’s office quoted him as saying at a meeting with Israel’s top security brass Wednesday evening.

Netanyahu also threatened the government of Lebanon and to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“The government of Lebanon and the Assad regime share responsibility for the consequences of attacks originating in their territory against the state of Israel,” he said.

The United States stood by Israel after the exchange of fire and condemned Hezbollah’s shelling of the Israeli military convoy.

“We support Israel’s legitimate right to self-defense and continue to urge all parties to respect the blue line between Israel and Lebanon,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.

EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini, however, appealed for an “immediate cessation of hostilities.”

Meanwhile, Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam condemned the Israeli military escalation in south Lebanon and expressed concern regarding the “aggressive intentions expressed by the Israeli officials and the deterioration of the situation it could lead to in Lebanon,” the NNA reported.

“Lebanon deems the international family responsible for repressing any Israeli tendency to gamble with the security and stability in the area.”
Moreover, Hezbollah’s attack was hailed by the Palestinian resistance groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

“We affirm Hezbollah’s right to respond to the Israeli occupation,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said, while Jihad’s Quds Brigade praised the attack as “heroic.”

On Wednesday, Israeli security sources said at least one house had been hit in the divided village of Ghajar, which straddles the border between the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and Lebanon.

“Three houses were hit by rockets,” Hussein, 31, said, relaying what he had heard by telephone from relatives in the village of 2,000 inhabitants.

He said a number of villagers had been wounded but that he did not know how badly.

Other frantic family members argued with police to be allowed in to collect their children, who had been locked inside the village school for their own safety.

Building tensions

Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah had previously warned Israel against any “stupid” moves in Lebanon and Syria, vowing to retaliate and make sure Israel paid the price for any aggression against the neighboring countries.

Israeli airstrikes on Syria “target the whole of the resistance axis,” Nasrallah said in reference to Syria, Iran and his government, who are sworn enemies of Israel.

“The repeated bombings that struck several targets in Syria are a major violation, and we consider that any strike against Syria is a strike against the whole of the resistance axis, not just against Syria,” he said, adding the “axis is capable of responding” anytime.

Since the January 18 airstrike, troops and civilians in northern Israeli-occupied territories of Palestine and the occupied Golan Heights have been on heightened alert and Israel has deployed an Iron Dome rocket interceptor unit near the Syrian border.

Israel occupied most of southern Lebanon for 22 years until 2000 and the two countries are still technically at war.

Israeli army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner said Wednesday’s attack was the “most severe” Israel had faced since 2006, when its war with Hezbollah killed more than 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians, and some 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.

Nasrallah is expected to deliver a speech on January 30 regarding the Israeli strikes.

(AFP, Reuters, Al-Akhbar)

48 children rescued from bangle factories in Hyderabad

Representational Image

Representational Image

Hyderabad: In a series of raids, Hyderabad Police have rescued at least 48 child labourers from various bangle factories in the city.

Most of the rescued children belonged to Bihar.

The police have been carrying out raids as part of their ‘Smile’ programme to rescue minor children working in hazardous conditions.

Hyderabad Police circle officer, N. Rama Rao said they have booked a case against the factory owners and efforts are on to nab the culprits.

“As per instructions, we have raided three places. We have rescued 48 people who were working in hazardous conditions in bangle making factories.

We are booking case against the owners who are keeping these people in working in hazardous situations. We are taking action against them and we are also taking action against those who are abetting them to do this work,” said Rao.

Some of the rescued children said they were forced to abandon their studies and work in factories with either no or little pay.

Thirteen-year-old Mohammad Ruhail, who hails from Bihar, said he was forced to work ‘because my aunt is in the factory’.

“They are not giving us money… (I work) for round two and a half hours. But they don’t pay us,” Ruhail added.

Many children had untreated wounds and shards of glass on their face.

Last week, the police had rescued 218 under-age children during raids at several bangle and leather making units.

More than 12 million children below the age of 14 are working as domestic servants or other jobs such as in stone quarries, embroidery units, mining, carpet-weaving, tea stalls, restaurants and hotels, according to government data.

A law prohibiting employing children in homes and in the hospitality industry came into effect in October 2006.

The law-where violators face a jail term of up to two years and a maximum fine of 20,000 rupees is an extension of a previous 1986 ban prohibiting children from working jobs deemed too ‘hazardous’ for minors such as in factories and mines.

However, the law has failed to make significant progress as people still continue to employ children in odd jobs.

(ANI)

Terror suspect from Assam held in Davangere

arrest

Davangere: In a joint operation the Bangalore Internal Security Division, Davangere District Police and the Assam Police have arrested a terror suspect allegedly involved in more than two bomb blast cases in Assam and West Bangal at Kattige village in Honnalli taluk of Davangere district.

The suspect has been identified as Palbur Hussain allegedly belonging toJamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) outfit. The suspect was working as lorry driver in the village. The police have taken him to custody.

According to the police, the search for Hussain in Honnali began on January 27 following information provided by Internal Security Division of Bangalore Police and Intelligence officials.

Hussain, a native of Pokalagi village in Baksa district of Assam, was wanted by Assam police in bomb blast and other cases. His brother Najeem Ul Haq is involved in Honnali-Shikaripura road-laying work. Hussain was allegedly hiding at his brother’s house after the Assam police intensified their search.

A senior police official said that the Assam police is expected to file application seeking the custody of the suspect.

The operation was jointly carried out by Assam police, Internal Security Division of Karnataka, Davangere and Shivamogga police.

Karnataka Forest & Environment Minister threatens to quit over Sangh Parivar’s influence on intelligence wing

Ramanatha-Rai

Mangaluru: Claiming that the state intelligence department was filled with officials who were in favour of the Sangh Parivar, Minister for Forest and Environment B Ramanath Rai has urged Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to identify such officials in the department and replace them on the grounds that they did not work in favour of maintaining law and order situation.

According to highly-placed sources in the Congress party, the minister opined that such officials did not submit intelligence reports that worked in favour of the law and order situation and gave false information especially in the context of Dakshina Kannada district.

Resignation threat

A local media report claimed that Mr Rai has also threatened to resign from the post of the minister over Sangh Parivar’s influence on intelligence department.

He also has expressed dissatisfaction at the direct involvement of state party leaders in the party affairs in Dakshina Kannada district, report said.

Stating that the failure and non-cooperation of the intelligence department was the reason for the recent communal clashes in the district, Mr Rai has been appealing to the chief minister to reconstitute the intelligence department since it was not possible to control law and order at the last instant if the intelligence officials submitted reports favouring the Sangh Parivar. It is said that the minister was not happy with the lack of response in this regard.

The intelligence department officials are aware of the imminent threats and where clashes and riots are going to occur. However, they are misguiding the government by providing false information. By this, the people affected by the clashes are disappointed with the government, which could weaken the future prospects of the Congress party, say sources close to Mr Rai. It is said that Mr Rai had already brought this to the notice of the chief minister two weeks ago.

Sources have said that the district in-charge minister Rai has also expressed displeasure over the political developments in Puttur constituency in the district, primely over the constituency MLA Shakunthala Shetty having taken suggestions from party chief G Parameshwar while nominating office bearers in local bodies instead of having asked him. The minister is of the opinion that the activities of the MLA went against the interest of the party.

(CD Network)

Rahane stands out as India bowled out for 200

© Getty Images

© Getty Images

Perth: Another dismal batting performance by India saw them being bowled out for 200 in 48.1 overs by England in a deciding clash of the ODI tri-series at the WACA here Friday.

Opener Ajinkya Rahane was the standout performer, scoring 73 off 101 balls. His and Shikhar Dhawan’s opening wicket partnership of 83 runs was the only bright spot in an otherwise dreadful performance.

Pacer Mohammed Shami (25) played a vital cameo in the end, adding 35 runs for the final wicket with Mohit Sharma (7 not out), to provide some respectability to India’s total.

Following the dismissal of Dhawan in the 21st over, India lost eight wickets for just 62 runs.

All the English bowlers were amongst the wickets with Steven Finn taking three wickets while Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali chipping in with two each.

England had bowled out India for 153 in their previous and went on to win by nine wickets.

Earlier, England captain Eoin Morgan put India into toss after winning the toss and India looked shaky from the outset.

Rahane and Dhawan were slow off the blocks, playing with the lot of caution. They gained confidence after negotiating the initial overs.

Rahane was the more aggressive of the two and lived a charmed life with most of his lofted shots, in the begginning, landing in no-man’s land.

Virat Kohli’s (8) wicket in the 28th over, opened the floodgates for England. Suresh Raina (1) perished just two overs later as India were reduced to 107 for three.

Ambati Rayudu (12) looked good briefly but failed to capitalise on his start. Rahane’s wicket soon after put tremendous pressure on the shoulders of captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (17), who failed to cope with it and was dismissed with the score on 164.

Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja (5) and Axar Patel (1) fell in the space of a run as India was reduced to 165 for nine.

A few edges and some lusty blows from the bat of Shami helped India reach the 200-mark.

The winner of the match will go on to face hosts Australia in the final.

Brief Scores: India 200 all out in 48.1 overs (Ajinkya Rahane 73, Shikhar Dhawan 38; Steven Finn 3/36, Moeen Ali 2/35) vs England

(IANS)

Delhi Uber rape victim files lawsuit in U.S court

uber-cab

Washington: A Delhi woman allegedly raped by an Uber driver last December has filed a lawsuit in a US court accusing the web-based US taxi firm of focusing on profits over the safety of its passengers.

In a 36-page complaint filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California Thursday, the woman seeks to “slam the brakes on Uber’s reckless worldwide expansion at the unfortunate expense of basic customer safety.”

The lawsuit which identifies the victim only as Jane Doe, also seeks compensation “for the horrific and brutal rape that she suffered due to Uber’s inadequate and disingenuous ‘commitment to safety’.”

Demanding a trial by jury, the lawsuit seeks a “a permanent injunction directing that Uber take all affirmative steps necessary to remedy the effects of the unlawful conduct” alleged in the complaint, “and to prevent repeated occurrences in the future.”

It also seeks an award of unspecified amount of punitive damages to be determined at trial, plus prejudgment interest, to compensate the victim “for all physical, monetary and/or economic harm.”

Her New York based Douglas H. Wigdor, in a statement said: “Uber’s focus on its bottom line over the safety of its passengers has resulted in what can only be described as modern day electronic hitchhiking.”

“We intend to hold Uber responsible for the significant physical and emotional harm it has caused to our client, while simultaneously seeking a court order mandating that Uber initiate certain safety precautions that they appear unwilling to do voluntarily,” he said.

“We hope that this lawsuit will bring about positive change that will ultimately protect people worldwide who are unaware of the serious risks of entering into an Uber car,” Wigdor added.

Jeanne M. Christensen, another Wigdor LLP lawyer said: “San Francisco Uber executives’ decisions to cut costs at the expense of customer safety forced our client to pay the ultimate cost in New Delhi.”

“Her brutal rape by an Uber driver who was a known repeat sexual predator was a result of a global Uber policy that has far-reaching consequences,” she said.

“We intend to hold Uber accountable for violence that could easily have been avoided had even a minimal background check been conducted.”

An Uber spokesperson said: “Our deepest sympathies remain with the victim of this horrific crime. We are cooperating fully with the authorities to ensure the perpetrator is brought to justice.”
The accused driver Shiv Kumar Yadav is currently on trial on rape and kidnapping charges in Delhi.

Delhi banned Uber and several other web-based taxi firms for failing to carry out adequate driver checks in early December.

But last week Uber announced resumption of its services in Delhi sayinmg it had applied for a radio taxi license and would improve safety by introducing features such as an “in-app emergency button”.

(IANS)

Education getting rapidly 'saffronised': Archbishop

Archbishop Bernard Moras

Bengaluru: Archbishop Bernard Moras of Bangalore on Thursday expressed his concern over the ‘rapid saffronisation’ of the education system in the country and the slow disappearance of secularism in educational institutions.

Addressing the 17th All India Association for Christian Higher Education conference here on Thursday, the archbishop said India was a multicultural society and the education imparted at Christian institutions was for all. He said the institutions were not only imparting education, but also preparing the future generation to become the leaders of the nation.

He said though it had been more than six decades since the country attained independence, nearly 30 per cent of the population did not have access to basic education. However, he said, South India was fortunate enough to have a large number of educational institutions.

H G Dr Jacob Mar Irenios, Metropolitan of Kochi, Malankara Orthodox Church, urged the leaders of the Church to contribute to improving the quality of education. Rev Dr Prasanna Kumar, secretary and bishop-designate, Diocese of Central Karnataka of the Church of South India, was also present on the occasion.