Category Archives: South Asia

Kohli breaks Lara’s record of most Test double tons as skipper


New Delhi, Dec 3 (IANS) Virat Kohli on Sunday broke the record of West Indian legendary batsman Brian Lara in registering scores of more than 200 six times – most as a captain in the five-day format.

The Indian Team Captain also equalled Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag in sharing the record of most number of double centuries for India in Test cricket.

Kohli, playing in his 63rd Test, took 238 deliveries to complete his second consecutive double hundred as he continued to plunder the Sri Lankans during their third and final Test at the Ferozshah Kotla stadium.

Former left-handed batting superstar Lara had five double centuries as the West Indies skipper.

Those opposing bullet train can take bullock carts: Modi

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Bharuch (Gujarat), Dec 3 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said those opposing the bullet train project should travel on bullock carts.

Modi made the comment while lashing out at the Congress for its criticism of the Rs 1.1 lakh crore project — which he said was “a negligible price” — connecting Ahmedabad and Mumbai and to be built by Japan.

He said the Congress government too wanted the project but failed to get it and so was now opposing it.

“Those opposing the bullet train project should travel on bullock carts. We won’t mind,” he told an election rally at the Amod Sugar factory near this Gujarat city on the banks of the Narmada.

Modi said the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail corridor to be built by the state-run Japan International Cooperation Agency would open up a huge employment opportunity in Gujarat.

“Imagine how much employment will it generate for the region, for Bharuch. I ask you where will the cement for the bullet train (infrastructure) come from, iron come from, labourers come from? Won’t that be from India? And who will be buying that? Japan. Isn’t it a big deal?” Modi asked.

He said the UPA government under Manmohan Singh also wanted the project but could not get it. “The NDA government got it at a negligible price. So the Congress didn’t like that. My only grievance against the Congress is that if they could not achieve anything, why does it pain them when someone else does it.”

Modi took a jibe at the Nehru-Gandhi family over what he said their claim to have Gujarati origins and doing nothing for the state.

“What good did they do to Gujarat? Did they even think about project like Roll on, Roll off ferry service? Over the years, the Congress has created divisions between villages and cities, states, between people, between the educated and the uneducated, caste, communities.

“But since the BJP formed the government in the Center, all these ailments have gone. When I was the Chief Minister, there was not a single day when they would not hurt Gujarat.”

He said the two districts of Kutch and Bharuch having large Muslim populations witnessed “maximum development during the BJP rule”.

He said the mega project of the Statue of Unity to install the world’s tallest statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel will also contribute to the development of the region and attract foreign visitors.

Can beat anyone if I am fit, says Mary Kom

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New Delhi, Nov 9 (IANS) Having won gold at the Asian Championships after returning to her favourite 48 kilogram category, star Indian boxer M.C Mary Kom asserted that she can defeat any opponent as long as she is fit.

“If I am fit, nobody can touch me. Nobody can beat me easily. As long as I am training hard and my body is fit, I can beat anyone, bring it on,” the five-time world champion told the media here on Thursday.

Farhan urges sexual harassment victims to open up


Mumbai, Nov 8 (IANS) Multi-talented Bollywood celebrity Farhan Akhtar, who is vocal in his support for gender equality, says there is no point in targeting only the film industry for perpetuating sexual harassment as it exists everywhere. However, he urged the victims to come out and talk about it openly.

Farhan, along with film director Feroz Abbas Khan and Poonam Muttreja of the Population Foundation of India (PFI) were here together on Wednesday as a part of the social campaign ‘Bas Ab Bahut Ho Gaya’ that is organising a concert titled ‘Lalkar’ to address the issue of sexual violence against women.

At a time when several women in Hollywood have come forward to voice their experience with sexual harassment in the field, Bollywood has been fairly quiet about it. People have spoken about the casting couch and some women celebrities joined the #MeToo campaign, but not many men have spoken out and women, especially budding actors, who may have even faced it, fear taking names.

Himachal polls see 74% turnout, highest in four decades


Shimla, Nov 9 (IANS) A record over 74 per cent, highest in four decades, of Himachal Pradesh’s 50.25 lakh electorate on Thursday exercised their franchise in the assembly elections where the ruling Congress and the BJP were locked in a straight contest.

“The percentage is expected to go up further. This is the highest poll percentage recorded by the hill state in assembly polls,” Dilip Sharma, Director General, Election Commission, told reporters in New Delhi.

Election officials said the polling was peaceful and no major untoward incident was reported from the 68 seats.

Odd-even scheme to be back in Delhi next week


New Delhi, Nov 9 (IANS) With the national capital facing an environmental emergency as pollution levels worsened, the Delhi government has decided to implement the third phase of the odd-even traffic rule from November 13 to 17, state Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot said on Thursday.

“Air pollution in Delhi has crossed the ‘severe’ level. That’s why we are bringing back the odd-even plan,” Gahlot told media persons here.

He said the modalities of the scheme would be the same as earlier, with similar timings and exemptions: private vehicles with odd registration numbers would be allowed on odd dates and those with even numbers on even dates between 8 a.m and 8 p.m, and there would be no restrictions on weekends and public holidays.

“We don’t have a lot of time left to design the whole programme, hence we are going ahead with the rules that were imposed in the previous two phases,” he said.

The first phase of the odd-even rule was implemented by the Delhi government from January 1 to 15 and the second phase from April 15 to 30 last year.

The rule would not apply to the CNG and electric cars, two-wheelers and the cars driven by women with a male companion not above 12.

Vehicles for medical emergencies, occupied or driven by people with disabilities, VVIPs and enforcement cars would also be allowed to run on all days.

Gahlot cited increasing public transport facilities as one of the ways to help the public during the upcoming five-day traffic rationing scheme.

“DTC will hire 500 buses from private vendors at the previous rates. We have also requested the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to push the feeder bus service,” he said.

Gahlot informed that Indraprastha Gas Ltd (IGL) stickers for cars would be available 2 p.m onwards from Friday at 22 CNG stations across Delhi and urged the people to cooperate in the implementation of the scheme.

“I appeal to the people, all agencies and the police to cooperate in these hours of crisis,” he said.

The Supreme Court-appointed environment body Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority (EPCA) and the Delhi Lt. Governor on Wednesday instructed the Delhi government to stay prepared to roll out the odd-even car rationing scheme, with air pollution levels reaching alarming levels.

Rohingya exodus to Bangladesh continues


Dhaka, Oct 28 (IANS) The influx of Rohingya refugees arriving in Bangladesh after fleeing violence in Myanmar continued on Saturday despite the two countries signing an agreement to stop the exodus.

“I do not see that the Rohingya influx has stopped. Normally, 1,000 to 2,000 Rohingyas enter Bangladesh daily, and it is continuing,” Shah Kamal, secretary of the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, told Efe news on Saturday.

“The influx did not stop. We cannot even say it has slowed down.”

According to the official, at least 500 Rohingyas entered the county on Friday.

He said that in the last four to five days, 500-700 Rohingyas had been arriving every day.

“We do not see any change in the number of Rohingyas entering Bangladesh after the agreement.”

In its latest report on Friday, the UN Inter Sector Coordination Group said that around 605,000 Rohingyas had arrived in Bangladesh in the last two months, excluding around 1,125 who had arrived a day before and had not been counted as they were still in transit.

The crisis began on August 25 when an insurgent group of the Rohingya Muslim minority staged a series of attacks on police and army posts in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, to which the Myanmar military responded with an ongoing large-scale offensive.

Myanmar does not consider the Rohingyas to be citizens, while Bangladesh, where around 300,000 Rohingyas were living before the start of the current crisis, also treats them as foreigners.

Prabhu takes up H-1B, L-1 visa issues strongly with US


New Delhi, Oct 28 (IANS) Union Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu strongly took up Indian concerns over the H-1B and L-1 visas with the US, and pointed out the contribution of skilled Indian professionals to make US companies more competitive, an official statement said on Saturday.

“The minister for Commerce and Industry strongly took up the Indian concern with regard to problems faced by Indian services companies in obtaining H-1B and L-1 visas. He requested the US to ease the movement of skilled professionals, which has over the years contributed towards making US companies more competitive,” the statement said.

During the 11th Trade Policy Forum (TPF) meeting, held in Washington on Thursday, Prabhu also took up the issue of mismatch between the US visa and the US social security regimes, wherein Indian professionals making social security contributions do not receive their due benefits upon their return to India.

Prabhu urged the US to revisit its position and work towards achieving a “totalisation agreement”.

The Minister discussed the issues with US Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer and his team.

Prabhu pointed out that as the Indian economy grows, and with the renewed emphasis on reviving US manufacturing, there will be greater opportunities for US exports to India.

“In this context, he pointed out that India has already started to import crude oil and new Liquefied Natural Gas exports are expected to commence early next year,” the statement said.

On market access in areas of interest to each other, Prabhu noted progress on issues like ground handling operations, import regulations relating to poultry, export of pork to India, that have been raised by the US side. He also sought easing of procedure for export of Indian mangoes and pomegranates and market access for table grapes from India.

While responding to the US concerns on price controls on medical devices, the Minister explained the need to bring about a balance between the demand for optimum medical facilities and affordable healthcare to Indian citizens.