Bollywood is the ultimate wet dream for its zillion fans — no question about it. The scale and depth of its impact on its devotees across the globe has, in recent times, forced even Hollywood to pause, take notice and make the right (politically correct) sounds. In fact the west’s serious engagement with the B-town product — hi-decibel emotions, color-drenched song-dance freakouts, operatic-in-feel-n’-grandeur — took off in 2004 when gorgeous British brunette Sophie Dahl did her slinky number in a film entitled King of Bollywood. The film bombed, big time and Dahl’s desire to become the dahl-ing of the masses suffered a deadly blow. Barbara Mori and Hritik Roshan Over time, post the Dahl-calamity, tons of phirang hotties have continued to grace the Bollywood screen, with spectacular and unbelievably diminishing returns. From Antonio Bernath (Kisna) Annabelle Wallace (Dil Jo Bhi Kahey) and Jelena Jakovljevic (Popcorn Khao, Mast Ho Jao) to Denise Richards (Kambakkht Ishq) to Naomi Campbell (Karma Confessions & Holi) and Barbara Mori (Kites), it’s been a long and tragic tale of Operation Bomb!However, this has not discouraged our B-town guys to lay off. No once bitten, twice shy stuff for them. Super-stud Salman Khan, riding high on his Dabangg success, is reportedly busy green-lighting 24-year old Hazel Keech. Born to Indian British parents and based in London, the young dazzler, took inspiration from her Indian mom’s roots and enrolled in a Bollywood dance academy. An extra on Harry Potter’s second, third and fourth series of films, Rose Dawn (her real name) appeared very serious and determined to get into movies somehow. On a vacation in Mumbai six years ago, she was blown away by the opportunities available to pursue her dream and quickly grabbed invitations to do a slew of TV commercials and a role in a Tamil film entitled Billa. Trained in Bharat Natyam, Kathak, Jazz, tap-dance, ballet, hip-hop and a bit of belly-dancing, she earned quite a name at age 19 for allegedly rocking to the famous, evergreen number Kahin Pe Nigahen. The London-based babe is also taking Hindi diction classes from Vidur Chaturvedi for Khan’s brother-in-law Atul Agnihotri’s re-make of the Malayalam super-smash Bodyguard. With Salman Khan as your mentor, half the battle is won, right?Hazel is only the first of the recent fresh crop of imported dazzlers to hit B-town 2011. Miss Teen World 2009 Amy Jackson — another UK import — is all set to make her masala-movie debut opposite the sexiest dhobi in town, Prateek Babbar. Signed to play female lead by director Gautham Menon for a Hindi remake of his 2010 Tamil mega successful Vinnai Jhaandi Varuvaaya (Will you cross the skies and come for me), her voice however will be dubbed. A romantic, mushy, moony tale involving a Hindi Tamil boy and Syrian Christian Malayali girl, how the UK sizzler will be an “appropriate fit” remains a closely guarded secret! Naomi Campbell (right) in Karma Confessions & Holi With Amy coming into his screen life, young Prateek has earned himself the enviable reputation of being the first Indian actor to romance two foreign beauties. In Rohan Sippy’s Dum Maro Dum, Smita Patil’s son does his number with Brazilian bombshell Mariah Gomes (best remembered for her sizzling Neeyat gyrations in the forgettable Teen Patti). Next up is Nargis Fakhri, the gorgeous Czech-Pakistani model making her debut in Imtiaz Ali’s much-touted Rockstar opposite dreamboy Ranbir Kapoor. She is followed by Ariadna Cabrol, a Spanish phataka expected to thrill and surprise, in equal measure, in Zoya Akhtar’s, Zindagi Milegi Na Dobara. She shares screen space with Hrithik Roshan, Katrina Kaif, Abhay Deol and Kalki Koechln. Not bad, huh? Last, but not the least, Ximena Rosette. A mind-blowing show-stopper, the current Miss Universe is a hugely popular Mexican model, hotly tipped to play heroine opposite Salman Khan in Partner-2, whenever it kicks off.Point is: why does this look-west craze (despite its scary history) continue for our film-makers — and look-east obsession, grab the phirang hotties? Film Critic Partha Chatterjee offers an interesting insight: “Contrary to popular belief, it has little to do with the poor track record indicated. If they haven’t impacted the film or audience, the fault lies squarely on the filmmaker and his intent in using this creature effectively. More often than not, the very intent is suspect, because it is consciously to add spice and present these hotties in a voyeuristic way. That clearly has not worked, at all. Unless these women are weaved into the fabric of the storyline in a convincing way, they will continue to be ignored. The moment that is done (remember Giselle Monterio in Love Aaj Kal?) it is going to succeed.” Chatterjee could well be right. With the communication explosion, white flesh is no longer a big deal for 2011 Indian movie-watchers. To meaningfully fashion these imports so that they add value to the cinematic narrative, is both the critical issue and the challenge facing B-town. Until that happens, this cavalier and flamboyant recruitment of phirang hotties to heat up the desi temperature will remain where it belongs — the deep freeze! Related Items
History is cruel to those who lack the abilities to learn from its lessons.Despite the worst nightmare scenarios predicted, despite the earlier ghastly attempts on her life, despite the deceptions, the back-room dealings and the public pretensions, Benazir Bhutto has met a tragic end. The first woman leader of the Muslim world, and the second top-ranked woman leader in a South Asian country, has been tragically assassinated.This event either extends the tragedies of the Indian subcontinent, or it opens up a new, brutal era where it does not matter if you are a woman or a man, optimistic or autocratic, a proven deceiver or a charismatic leader – your end could be marked by the age of terror, revenge and instability. Benazir Bhutto at her last public appearance in Rawalpindi, minutes before her assassination.The early reports don’t quite tell us who was behind her assassination, but it has all the marks of a calculated assault, reminiscent of similar targeted violence against Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi in India. Then there are several of these violent events in Pakistan: the air crash of Zia ul Haq toward the end of the war in Soviet-Afghanistan, the execution of Benazir’s father, the colorful and bombastic Zulfikar Ali Bhutto years earlier. Bhutto’s other family members suffered violent ends: the murders of her two brothers – Murtazza’s at the hands of suspected rivals and Shahnawaz’s apparent non-political killing in his apartment in Paris.The recent return of Benazir Bhutto to Pakistan was tainted with suspicion and hope. Already steeped in corruption (along with her husband), she was somehow a cut above the infamy that accompanied another returnee to Pakistan’s elections in January, the former Prime Minister Nawaz Shariff. With her Western (especially Oxford) pedigree, she was said to have managed her return with the tacit approval of the U. S. State Department.Indeed, if some of the speculations and gossip in the U.S. are to be believed, nothing could happen in Pakistan without the explicit consent of the powers that be in Washington, D.C. She wrote editorials in U.S. newspapers explaining why she was returning, made herself available to the American media before and after her return and there was constant chatter of back-door dealings with Musharraff.Yet, there was some hope in all of this.Some believed that she could at least restore some stability in the public sphere while the army took care of its real business. Improbable, but there was hope. With her face on something called “democracy” in Pakistan, it was likely that she would make things “normal” in a place that seems to bear all signs of chaos and disorder.All that is gone with what seems like a targeted assassination by a suicide bomber. If you hear the presidential hopefuls and the talking heads in this country, there is the usual chatter and scri pted pronouncements about the strategic importance of Pakistan to the United States, worries about the security of nuclear weapons and lip service to how things could be straightened out.In South Asia, the same story has gripped the sub-continent for some time: extreme actions beget extreme reactions, out of the ordinary emerges the extraordinary and political assassinations follow rampant mob violence and wounds that never heal.For India, the question of stability across the border is even more crucial. Disorder in Pakistan could make porous borders even more active. Trainees could move around in India to test their skills in terror before moving to the theater of declared enemies. Distraught supporter at the spot where Benazir Bhutto was assassinated.Not everything is a cricket match. People’s lives in the two countries are mediated by powerful interests, even though their cultures and histories are shared. The deep enmities and suspicions could well trigger something worse or at the least impose a heavy demand on resources in India. And with truly active global strategic interests, there is China, a major player in that area.None of this figures in political analysis in the U.S. There is just a generic war on terror and some dictators are our own bastards, who we need to protect, and some are not, so we hang them. Everyone else who has nuclear power is immature and unreliable while ours is fortified and positioned against “evil.”Simplicity marches on as political policy while the world grows complex and dangerous.Bhutto’s death may precipitate crises on several fronts. She was a charismatic woman leader in South Asia, which has had its share of elected women leaders. She dared to put herself in the front of crises, much the same way that Indira Gandhi bedeviled her demons. She was oddly bold and at the center in an otherwise dogmatic and sexist region.And yet, there is a lot to learn from women leaders like her: for men who suspect women’s leadership and for women who cannot extend their faith in their own abilities. She was a clumsy and shy, but pampered girl, going to Oxford and attempting to live through her celebrity life. Power made her grow up, just as it did Indira Gandhi and Hillary Clinton. There were times she appeared completely Westernized, entirely unfit to be the leader in a Muslim country. She never even mastered Urdu, something her countrymen pointed out and poked fun at until recently. But she knew how to steer and use charm and skills with the masses. Her political bent was never clear, but she appeared to be skillful in playing the part. She had talent of her own kind, no matter what her political shortcomings.Her death, under these circumstances, marks another sad and volatile chapter in South Asia that is likely to be misunderstood here and elsewhere. If we think of justice, it would be appropriate to remember where she came from and what her promise was. And for a moment, let us express lament about this world and subcontinent that is so violent toward its women leaders. Related Items
The Goa State Human Rights Commission(GSHRC) on Monday directed the State government to ensure optimum care and facilities for people living with HIV, following a complaint filed by Peter F. Borges, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Human Touch Foundation(HTF).The GSHRC has asked the Chief Secretary to fix responsibility in this regard. GSHRC in its inquiry report said that there were no full-fledged facilities in the State to provide treatment for people living with HIV. “There are no viral load testing facilities in the State of Goa for studies in HIV or any other viruses. Presently, the samples are referred to J J Hospital, Mumbai for viral load testing. The State should make efforts to provide this essential facility to all the individuals who are in need of the same,” said the order, based on its inquiry report.Mr. Borges had earlier argued that the goal of the Antiretroviral therapy (ART) in force is viral suppression and routine viral load facility is of utmost importance to all those accessing treatments in the State.Mr. Borges had also said the current treatment strategy, executed through State-run Goa Medical College and Link ART centres at Mapusa, Margao, Chicalim and Ponda are ineffective and not-coordinated in a professional manner.“There is a failure in retainment of the patient on ART, leading to lost cases, loss/death of patients in follow up, patients reporting to Goa Medical College with an advanced staged of treatment failure, with very less CD4 counts. During this, it is required that results of any viral load investigations are available within 2-3 days, hence the complainant prayed for viral load testing in the State itself, he said.
The much-anticipated third expansion of the Maharashtra Cabinet took place on Sunday, with eight Cabinet and five Ministers of State (MoS) sworn in. The Assembly polls are set to be held within the next four months.Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “We have elected a new team, considering certain criteria such as regional balance and performance. We have given opportunity to new faces, and no minister from the previous team has been removed over allegations of corruption or non-performance.” Of the 13, eight are from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), two from the Shiv Sena and one from the Republican Party of India (Athawale).As the new ministers were sworn in, six others submitted their resignations to Mr. Fadnavis, including three Cabinet ministers: Housing Minister Prakash Mehta, Social Justice Minister Rajkumar Badole and Tribal Welfare Minister Vishnu Savra. The three Ministers of State who resigned are Dilip Kamble, MoS for Social Justice and Special Assistance, Relief and Rehabilitation, Minority Welfare; Pravin Pote, MoS for Industries, Mining, Environment and Public Works Department; and Raje Ambreeshrao Atram, MoS for Tribal Welfare.Mr. Fadnavis is the first Maharashtra Chief Minister to have inducted two Leaders of Opposition (LoP) in his Cabinet. Former Congressman and LoP in the Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil was the first to be sworn in to the Cabinet on Sunday. In the second expansion, Shiv Sena leader and former LoP Eknath Shinde had been inducted into the Cabinet after the Sena decided to support the government.After taking oath as minister, Mr. Vikhe-Patil said he performed his duties as LoP with due diligence and honesty, and will do the same with the duties bestowed upon him by Mr. Fadnavis. “Constructive work for society can be done only after joining the government,” he said. When asked about the allegations of corruption he had levelled against Mr. Fadnavis, he said inquiries were ordered after his allegations, and will continue. While Mr. Vikhe-Patil, who was sworn in from the BJP’s quota, former Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Jaydutta Kshirsagar was inducted as a cabinet minister from the Sena. Mr. Kshirsagar, who quit the NCP during the Lok Sabha election campaign, was the minister of Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) in the Congress-NCP government from 2009-14. The Sena’s second pick, first-time MLC Tanaji Savant, was a surprise entrant in the Cabinet.BJP Mumbai chief Ashish Shelar was also inducted as Cabinet minister. Mr. Shelar is a former president of the Mumbai Cricket Association, and was rewarded for his contribution to the party’s growth in Mumbai. The BJP increased its tally in the Brihanmumbai Muncipal Corporation from 33 to 83 in the 2017 civic polls. The other Cabinet ministers sworn in include Suresh Khade from Sangli district, where the party is aiming to consolidate its base during the Assembly polls. Sanjay Kute, Dr. Anil Bonde and Ashok Uike from Vidarbha’s Buldhana, Amaravati and Yavatmal districts respectively have been given a Cabinet portfolio for the first time. Those inducted as Ministers of State include RPI leader Avinash Mahatekar; BJP MLA from Charkop Yogesh Sagar; BJP MLA from Maval Sanjay alias Bala Bhegade; BJP MLA from Aurangabad Atul Save; and Parinay Fuke, BJP MLC and a close confidant of Mr. Fadnavis.
In an attempt to tackle the drug menace in country’s northern region, senior police officers from Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Delhi and the Union Territory of Chandigarh met here at a joint meeting on Wednesday.The joint meeting of the northern region police coordination committee was hosted by Punjab Director General of Police Dinkar Gupta. A decision was made to set up a common police and drug secretariat to share information among different police forces regarding drug smugglers and gangsters operating in the region.An official statement said that Mr. Gupta proposed quarterly joint meetings of police chiefs of the northern States and that senior police officers heading Anti-Terrorism Squad, Special Operations Group, Special Task Force and Special Cells should hold bi-monthly meetings for sharing vital information related to drugs and gangsters. It was also decided to develop and implement a common IT-based platform of member States for quick sharing of information to achieve better coordination and results in the drive against drugs and gangsters.MCOCA soughtChandigarh’s DGP Sanjay Beniwal advocated introduction of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) to deal effectively with gangsters and criminals.
If a court decision in the Shah Bano case could be reversed then why couldn’t amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act that have raised traffic fines manifold also be rolled back, Maharashtra’s Transport Minister Diwakar Raote asked on Friday. Poll-bound Maharashtra has decided to put on hold the implementation of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, and termed the new fines ‘exorbitant’. Mr. Raote has also written a letter to Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari requesting reductions in the fines. “People’s sentiments need to be taken into consideration always,” said Mr. Raote, addressing a press conference. “If a Shah Bano case verdict can be reversed owing to public sentiment, then similarly people’s sentiments have to be considered here as well,” he said. The Shah Bano case verdict is considered one of the milestones in Indian judiciary, where the Supreme Court upheld her right to receive maintenance from her divorced husband. However, the verdict was overturned by the then Congress government through the enactment of a legislation in Parliament, which in turn came under sharp criticism from the Opposition of surrendering to a section of the Muslim community. In a separate press conference in Mumbai, Mr. Gadkari had said that Mr. Raote had been a part of the committee of ministers that gave its approval to the amendments in the law.“Yes, of course I was the part of the committee,” said Mr. Raote. “But I missed few meetings as well. There were ministers from different States and the decision was taken. But if it is going against the people’s will then it can be reversed,” he added. The Maharashtra government was yet to hear from Mr. Gadkari’s ministry on its letter seeking reversal of the decision. “We have not received any reply as of now… once we get the reply, I will talk to the Chief Minister about whether to implement it or not,” said Mr. Raote. Addressing the media earlier, Mr. Gadkari had supported his department’s decision to increase the fine. “If you won’t break the law, you won’t be fined. The old fines were 30-years-old. People were not afraid of it, neither they had respect for the law. This has been done to save people’s lives. Maharashtra CM has assured me that this will be implemented in the State,” he had said.
An e-mitra plus operator in Bhim tehsil, Rajsamand district, Rajasthan. | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy “There is not enough signal for the Internet to work properly,” Khatik says apologetically. “Imagine, if it is so bad in Bhim town, it’s much worse in the village panchayats. At least, with the urban machines, they can be connected to Wi-Fi even if the speed is slow. Rural machines must be connected to Rajnet [the State operator].” Data available with the government show that in one year, only 10 transactions have been made on this particular machine. Of the 14,440 machines installed across the State over a year ago, 914 have never been used.Khatik adds that all 37 of the kiosks installed in Bhim block have private operators who act as middlemen anyway. “There is no incentive for the operator to even login to the machine in many areas, because he can charge more for the same services without using it,” he says. DoITC data show that the kiosks are used more frequently in urban areas mostly to print out digitally signed certificates and pay for phone and electricity bills. The Jan Soochna portal itself has been accessed only 16,000 times on these machines over the last month.Little informationAlthough the Jan Soochna portal was launched with much publicity, information about it is still to reach many people in Rajasthan. “No one outside our office has heard the name of this Jan Soochna. But it is a new scheme, it will take some time to become popular,” explains Khatik.In the villages of Rajsamand and Bhilwara district, there is no visible publicity regarding the portal as yet. Even villagers who have personally benefited from the expanded database access are yet to hear the term Jan Soochna.“We have put out advertisements in papers and are planning awareness programmes. So far, the entire expenditure on Jan Soochna has come from our own internal budget, but the DoITC has now proposed a budget of ₹5 crore over the next five years to maintain the software and popularise the portal,” says Sharma. He sees the Jan Soochna initiative as the next step of the government’s integrated service delivery efforts, a natural evolution of its franchisee-based e-mitras or service centres. He argues that e-mitras are the ideal facilitators for the Jan Soochna portal.According to the MKSS activists who helped evolve the concept of Jan Soochna, e-mitra operators are often part of the problem, acting as middlemen who have a vested interest in blocking access to information. “We see Jan Soochna as a natural evolution of the RTI movement. This information is meant to back up an accountability and grievance redressal framework, and as such needs government-run information and facilitation centres,” says Dey.MKSS wants training on Jan Soochna usage to be imparted to front-line government workers at anganwadis and panchayats as well as grassroots social workers. Local databases need to be made visible offline as well, says Dey. “Specific data on ration beneficiaries should be painted on the walls of the ration shop itself, so it can be seen even by those who cannot go online,” he says. The DoITC is also seriously considering an MKSS suggestion that printouts of information from the Jan Soochna portal should automatically come with a digital signature, giving them the same legal validity as RTI responses. At the Jan Soochna launch, the Chief Minister gave a big boost to the point of view that the portal is part of a wider RTI framework rather than a mere service delivery, reminiscing about his engagement with the early RTI movement. “About two decades ago, I reached the sit-in protest organised by social worker Aruna Roy and her companions demanding RTI. I agreed to their demands. Then, fortunately, we formed the government and Rajasthan became the first State of Indian to initiate for this law,” he said.As the Rajasthan experiment evolves, other States are already making plans to follow suit and are thus closely watching these debates. Just five days after the launch of Jan Soochna, the Karnataka government directed all departments with beneficiary schemes to begin sharing datasets in preparation for the launch of a similar portal. The real success of the story will depend on how well the Rajasthan government can help empower the marginalised with the biggest tool at its disposal: information. For example, in 2017, MKSS activists got access to a list of 10 lakh people across the State who had been excluded from the government’s pension scheme when the payment system switched from the post office to Aadhaar-linked bank accounts. Overnight, the number of pensioners dropped from 68 lakh to 58 lakh. According to the government, almost three lakh of the excluded names were dead, while another two lakh were fake or duplicates. By painstakingly tracking down names from the list of the supposedly dead, activists like Baluji found that thousands of people like Tolaram had been wrongly excluded. “We sent in the papers to show he is alive, and finally they restarted his pension three months ago,” says Baluji. He navigates search queries and Excel sheets on his phone with a fluency that is enviable in a 62-year-old who has only studied till Class 8. “See, he got ₹8,000 worth of back pay, pensions unpaid for 11 months, on July 25, 2019,” Baluji points to the screen. Tolaram cannot read the information there, but nods vigorously with a gap-toothed smile. “Overall, I have helped people who were denied pensions get more than ₹80,000 worth of unpaid pensions,” says Baluji. In the neighbouring Bhim tehsil alone, more than 1,300 wrongly excluded names were added back to the pension scheme after a re-verification exercise. “It is only possible because we are able to see this information in detail,” Baluji says. Digital Dialogues, the beginningOver the last five years, Rajasthan has been digitising and integrating databases, including flagship social sector schemes, using Aadhaar-based verifications and payments. In 2017, the Department of Information Technology and Communication (DoITC) began to host ‘Digital Dialogues’. Bimonthly meetings were held with interested citizens including activists from MKSS and the wider collective of the Soochna Evam Rozgaar Adhikar Abhiyan, to discuss how to open access to such databases and present them for public use. In early 2018, Tolaram Kumhar, 73, suddenly stopped getting his pension of ₹750 per month. “I went to the bank after a while, but they didn’t have any answers. I didn’t know what to do until Baluji came,” he says, holding a creased booklet that documents the saga of his pension payments. Tolaram gestures to the man sharing the charpoy with him on a breezy October evening. “Baluji looked up information on his phone and found that I had been removed from the government’s pension list,” he says. Why? “Because they said I was dead.”Tolaram, who wears a torn blue T-shirt and a dirty white dhoti, spends most of his days in a small hut located high above the fields and grazing grounds of Thana village in Bhilwara district of Rajasthan. The land looks lush, but excess rainfall in this typically water-starved region has destroyed the maize crop this year, leaving marginal farmers and agricultural workers like him on the brink of destitution and deeply dependent on the government’s pension scheme for basic sustenance.It is people like Balulal Gujjar, popularly called Baluji, who have come to the rescue of people like Tolaram. Baluji is dressed in an intricately tied white dhoti, pleated white kurta-jacket, a silver neckband, and a red turban. He has been a social activist with the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) for half of his 62 years. Now an elected ward member in Thana, Baluji with his faded pink jhola is a familiar sight to villagers for 30 km around. Baluji carries a well-used Samsung smartphone in his pocket, through which he accesses the Jan Soochna (public information) portal, which is the Rajasthan government’s latest effort to offer wider and easier access to the State’s increasingly digitised databases. The single window portal aims to increase transparency and accountability in governance. It has 82 different information request options for 32 schemes across 13 departments. It not only explains the schemes but also provides real-time information on beneficiaries, authorities in charge, progress, etc. Jan Soochna was launched with great fanfare by Congress Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in Jaipur on September 13. Different elements of the portal have been on trial for more than two years, with gradual public access to databases being provided under the previous regime of BJP Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.Also Read Effort worth emulation: On Rajasthan’s public information portal After she recovered from the operation in June 2017, Devi made several visits to the hospital, but failed to recover her money. “I took all my papers, but they told me they have applied to the insurance company and nothing has come yet,” she says. “Only when Vineet bhai looked on his computer, he found that the hospital had already got the money.” Devi also says that after her operation, she put her fingerprint on a form that she could not read. Later she found out that the form falsely stated that she had not paid any money to the hospital as she was covered by the cashless insurance scheme. In March 2018, Bhambhu, armed with information from the Bhamashah database, accompanied Devi to the hospital and recovered ₹19,600.“After that, my husband got cancer, so we had to use up the money for my husband’s treatment. He died last year,” Devi says, as her two remaining goats enter the courtyard along with her youngest child, 13-year-old Radha. “I never went to school, but my daughter has finished Class 8 and I want her to study till Class 12 at least. Without education, there is nothing,” she says. Strength of unityFor unlettered villagers, the Jan Soochna portal is of little use without facilitators like Bhambhu and Baluji. However, in Gomaka Badia village in Thana panchayat, villagers have also discovered the strength of unity when armed with information. On a hot evening in May 2017, Baluji set up a projector in an open area in front of a small shop owned by Chun Singh, 67. Suddenly, the shopkeeper saw his own face flashing on the makeshift screen. “They had all the details about my ration card. For the first time, I found out that I was getting less foodgrain than I should have. There were five names on my card, so I was owed 25 kg of wheat every month, but I was only getting 10 kg,” he says, sitting on a steel drum in his shop. The information obtained through Digital Dialogues showed that almost every family in the village was getting cheated by the local dealer, Paras. Outraged, a delegation of 22 villagers took their complaint to district authorities in Bhilwara. Following an investigation, the dealer was suspended and the 400-odd quintals he had swindled were distributed among the villagers.Also Read Rajasthan launches information portal “Digital Dialogues was the real beginning of the Jan Soochna portal,” says R.K. Sharma, an additional director who oversees the project. Sharma joined the DoITC in 1988, the year it was formed, and can speak at length about the State’s efforts to use “technology for integrated service delivery” over the last three decades. “Through our discussions with citizens and activists, we developed this portal to share whatever real-time, individual-level data are needed by the common man, to reduce corruption and to increase transparency of governance.”In the month since its official launch, the Jan Soochna portal (jansoochna.rajasthan.gov.in) has had 3.3 lakh visitors and almost 15 lakh information hits. Apart from this, there have been another 50,000 information hits from the Jan Soochna mobile app.The portal provides information in Hindi and English on universal social security, health and education schemes as well as welfare schemes specifically aimed at farmers, construction workers, miners and students. Land revenue records, case listings, and grievance redressal databases are also available. While some categories, such as forest rights, have very limited data, some others have a lot of detail — on individual beneficiaries and specific details of payment, for instance. “This is a much-needed step inspired by the spirit of Section 4 of the Right to Information Act, which mandates governments to maintain computerised records and provide this information suo moto to the public, so that there is minimal need to file RTIs,” says Nikhil Dey, an MKSS activist who has been at the forefront of the RTI movement. A recent NGO study of orders by the Central Information Commission in 2018 found that 70% of the original RTI applications requested information which should have been put out in the public domain already. “You have made people go through so much pain for digitisation, getting multiple cards made, giving their biometric data… At least, let them get some benefits from it. Through Digital Dialogues, we argued that the public has a right to all the information the government collects about them. There should be no password-protected login barring access to these databases,” says Dey.The role of facilitators “It was activists like Baluji who gathered initial information on what data are most needed by marginalised villagers,” says Vineet Bhambhu, earlier a U.S.-bound software engineer and now a grassroots activist, who helped lead MKSS conversations with the DoITC for Digital Dialogues. “We found that people mostly needed data on their own entitlements: food, pensions, job guarantee, educational scholarships, labour welfare benefits, health insurance, treatment for occupational diseases such as silicosis, land rights, etc.,” he says. Bhambhu points out that many poor people had no way to track what happened if payments had been diverted to a different bank account or if forest rights applications had been rejected. In other words, they had no way of finding out what happened to payments if they could not access the databases and processes that form the backbone of a particular scheme or law. Take the case of Sovani Devi. A 45-year-old widow in Bherukeda Amner village in Rajsamand district, lack of information cost her a flock of goats, a loss she could ill-afford. Sitting in her bare courtyard, Devi is flanked by her sons, both disabled. Ram Singh, 18, cannot use his legs and drags himself around on his knees, while his 16-year-old brother Kishore can neither hear nor speak.“Two years ago, I was diagnosed with a tumour in my uterus and I went to the hospital because I had Bhamashah [health insurance],” says Devi. The Bhagwan Mahavir Hospital, a private hospital, is empanelled as part of the State’s cashless health insurance scheme, the Bhamashah Swasthya Bima Yojana, and should have treated a card-holder without payment. “But they said I would have to first pay for the operation and that I would get the money back only later,” Devi says, showing the folder from the hospital. which is located in Deogarh town, 40 km away. Faced with a demand for ₹15,000 for the operation plus additional charges for medication, Devi saw no choice. “I used up all my savings. I went back home and sold 12 [out of 16] goats for ₹30,000 and used that to pay the hospital,” she says. Apart from the operation, Devi says she paid ₹8,600 for medicines, of which bills were provided for only ₹4,600. The rest of the money from the goat sale was soon gone too, in paying for food and travel, with a one-way trip to hospital by taxi costing ₹600. A milestone in greater transparency, accountability “I got one bori [100 kg] of wheat. Now, we all know we must ask for the receipts every time we get ration,” says Singh. Although an FIR was filed against Paras, villagers say that his proximity to the local MLA means that no further action is likely. “The Jan Soochna portal is not about simply getting information for information’s sake. It must be built into a wider ecosystem of accountability,” says Bhambhu. Over the last two weeks, he has been part of a social audit of a welfare scheme for construction workers. Using their access to the government’s database, teams visited workers across the Bhim tehsil of Rajsamand district, gathering complaints which were presented at a stormy jan sunvai, or public hearing, in Bhim town on Monday. Confronting the labour commissioner, senior police officials and the local MLA under a swaying tent, hundreds of workers testified to a corrupt nexus of agents and government officials swindling them. They said they had been denied thousands of rupees worth of benefits. “We did not know our rights. We had no other option, so we paid the agent, but he cheated us,” said Ambalal, a worker from Sameliya village in Rajsamand district.No middleman, yes middlemanIn the Bhim block office, adjacent to the public hearing sit two expensive kiosks branded as e-mitra plus machines, which are meant to cut out the corrupt middleman and provide services and information directly to the user. The sleek orange and grey machines, which also host the Jan Soochna portal, look like ATM machines and cost ₹2 lakh each. Nearly 15,000 have been installed across the State.However, neither of the machines in Bhim works during the public hearing. One sits amidst coils of wires which have not been connected. The block’s informatics assistant Dalvir Khatik manages to switch on the other machine, but jerks his hand away as he gets an electric shock every time his finger meets the touch pad. Using a piece of paper as a makeshift protective glove, he manages to reach the Jan Soochna portal, but it fails to cough up any information. It gets stuck on a ‘loading’ page.Also Read
The ruling BJP on Friday defended the Gujarat government’s decision to buy a new aircraft worth ₹191 crore to ferry Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and other dignitaries, claiming it was necessary for safety as the current plane in its fleet was old. The decision had come under fire from the opposition Congress as well as the Aam Aadmi Party. Justifying the purchase of a new 12-seater, twin- engine Bombardier Challenger 650 aircraft, the Gujarat BJP, in a statement today, said the move would eliminate an annual expenditure of ₹5 crore which goes into maintaining the 1999-made Beechcraft Super King aircraft and a 2007-made helicopter.“When the common man is afraid of travelling in a 10- year-old vehicle, CM Vijay Rupani is risking his life by flying in a 20-year-old plane. The government’s helicopter is dangerous to fly. That helicopter was forced to make emergency landing twice in 2017. Since then, in view of CM’s safety, only private helicopter is being used on most occasions,” said the statement.“The new plane has been purchased after 20 years, following a report submitted by the state civil aviation department expressing concern about the fly-worthiness of the helicopter. This decision would save ₹5 crore spent every year towards the maintenance of old aircraft and helicopter.New plane was purchased out of necessity, not for anyone’s luxury,” the statement said.“Since the present aircraft was not able to fly long range, the government was forced to hire private jets, which costs ₹1 lakh and more per hour. This new plane will not only ensure safety of the dignitaries but also save time and money,” the statement said in response to criticism. It further added the new plane was not meant only for the CM, as it would also ferry other dignitaries like deputy CM and the Governor. Earlier on Thursday, the Congress had tweeted, “VVIP culture has really taken off in the BJP.”Gujarat Congress president Amit Chavda had tweeted, “Public money is being splurged. When farmers in Gujarat are in distress due to unseasonal rain and they are yet to be paid any compensation or insurance, a new plane worth ₹191 crore is being purchased for the Chief Minister.” Aam Aadmi Party leader and Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain tweeted the story published in a Hindi daily and wrote “people ask how AAP government managed funds to make women’s travel free in Delhi. It was made possible because your CM (Arvind Kejriwal), instead of buying a plane for himself, used the same money to make the travel free.” Earlier on Wednesday, officials had announced that the five-year long procurement process for a new plane has come to an end as the two-engine Bombardier Challenger 650 aircraft worth ₹191 crore would be delivered in the next two weeks. The new aircraft can carry 12 passengers and has a flying range of around 7,000 kilometers, much higher than the present ‘Beechcraft Super King’ aircraft currently in use. It can fly with a speed of around 870 kilometers per hour, much higher than the 20-year-old Beechcraft.
The Bombay High Court recently directed the State government to file an affidavit on steps taken to provide safety and security in asharam shalas all over Maharashtra.A Division Bench of Justices Ranjit More and M.S. Karnik was hearing a criminal public interest litigation (PIL) filed by one Ravindra Talpe in 2013 alleging that proper arrangements have not been made to ensure basic public utilities, which are normally given in such ashram shalas across the State. The PIL states there is no proper toilet and WC facility in the ashram schools. There have been cases of death of children due to snake bite if they go out to answer nature’s call, the PIL said. There are nearly 500 government-run ashram schools, which were opened in remote areas of the State for the education of children from tribal families.According to the PIL, there are no proper building facility for the students, and no underground water tank which deprives them of suitable drinking water. The PIL also mentions there are no proper kitchen, dining and storage rooms on account of lack of proper kitchen and dining facilities, and a number of children have died of food poisoning. There are no proper beds for children, more particularly, to girl students, personal hygiene of the girl students is not maintained and first aid boxes are not there, the PIL states.Based on the PIL, the high court had in June 18, 2014 had asked Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) to look into the ground reality at the ashram schools. The report, submitted in June 2017, covered both government-run and government-aided private ashram schools, and listed deficiencies by the government in ensuring safety and security in these schools.The two-judge Bench noted that 100% compliance has not been reported and directed the State to file a fresh affidavit detailing compliance with the TISS report. The high court also sought to know what steps had been taken to comply with the other lapses listed in the report. The matter will next be heard on December 11.
The Janata Dal (United) on Saturday announced its second list of 12 candidates including the party’s Jharkhand unit president Salkhan Murmu and a son of former Congress leader Bagun Sumbarui.Mr. Murmu has been fielded from Majhgaon (ST) while Vimal Kumar Sumbarui has been nominated from Chaibasa (ST). Mr. Sumbarui is a son of former Bihar Minister and Congress leader Bagun Sumbarui, who died last year. The senior Sumbarui had also been a member of the Lok Sabha between 1977 and 1989 and 2004 and 2009. He represented the Lower House from Singhbhum (ST). The other 10 candidates of the JD(U) are new faces. The JD(U) headed by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, which is contesting the Assembly elections on its own, has so far announced candidates for 25 of the total 81 seats.
Jadavpur University’s Food Technology department is collaborating with the West Bengal government to increase the shelf life of Banglar Rosogolla, which got a geographical indication (GI) tag two years back, to market it internationally.A senior professor of the Food Technology department, told PTI on Sunday that the Research and Development (R and D) section has been working on the type of preservatives to use to increase the shelf life of Bengal’s delectable Rosogolla – cotton cheese ball dipped in syrup.“Our R and D department is on the job to suggest ways for increasing the shelf life of the Rosogolla by a considerable time, say six months. But, the technology transfer of the process has not yet taken place. The Animal Resources Development department of the State government will be in a better position to say when and how the delicacy will be made available in the market,” the professor said.The dessert will be manufactured using machines, he added.West Bengal’s Animal Husbandry Minister Swapan Debnath said, once the transfer of technology is completed, the State will start producing Rosogolla in automated machines at a plant using the prescribed norms set by JU experts and sell the product under the Mother Diary brand.“Initially, the first round of production will not be delivered in the market. Experts will carry out research on it and once they give us the nod after considering the taste and quality of the product, our Rasogolla will hit the market,” he said.No specific time frame has been set for this.West Bengal was given the GI tag for the Banglar Rasogolla on November 14, 2017.The State government held a ‘Rosogolla Fair’ to popularise the sweetmeat in 2018 and observed ‘Rosogolla Day’ on November 14, 2019 at the ‘Misti Hub’, a popular sweetmeat makers hub in New Town area.
Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd PLAY LIST 02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd00:50Trending Articles01:28Ex-President Noynoy Aquino admits contracting pneumonia01:37Protesters 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 Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients 13 kids get chance to train at FC Barcelona camp Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary “I’m satisfied because they showed their best,” said Pascua after FEU dropped a 25-22, 21-25, 25-18, 26-24 decision Wednesday night. “The difference was just the endgame.”FEU offered a stiff challenge and gave NU a run for its money despite missing the services of its team captain Bernadeth Pons and Kyla Atienza, who are suiting up for the Lady Tams in the UAAP beach volleyball.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 shutoutBoth are likely to miss Saturday’s Game 2 as well but Pascua said the team will be ready without their two key players.Pascua, though, said he would like to see the Lady Tamaraws to show how bad they want to win. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netFar Eastern University coach George Pascua was pleased with his team’s performance despite losing to National University in Game 1 of the PVL Collegiate Conference Finals.Gutsy and resolute, the Lady Tamaraws had their moments against the undefeated Lady Bulldogs and nearly forced a deciding fifth set.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Read Next Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC LATEST STORIES “We still lack killer’s instinct and desire to win because they already have the skill.” BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight View comments
View comments Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH MOST READ The Tornadoes overwhelmed the Lady Realtors in terms of attacks, 42-24, and committed fewer errors 17-21.But the telling discrepancy was in the frontline, which Foton declared a no-fly zone with a 3-1 edge in blocks. Foton also had more aces, 8-1. LATEST STORIES Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters 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 Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Jaja Santiago of Foton over Pam Lastimosa and Mar-Jana Phillips of SLR. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOFoton displayed all the qualities that made it a back-to-back champion, exposing Sta. Lucia Realty for the struggling team that it really is Saturday night.The result was a lopsided 25-16, 25-10, 25-16 triumph for the Tornadoes, who spun back into title orbit with their fifth victory in six matches.ADVERTISEMENT QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort Torre logs back-to-back wins, grabs share of lead in World Seniors tournament Read Next Kris Aquino ‘pretty chill about becoming irrelevant’ Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion After losing to Petron recently, the Tornadoes have now caught up with the Blaze Spikers at the top spot with similar 5-1 records.It was a big morale bounce back for the Tornadoes, who fashioned out the win in an hour and seven minutes before a capacity crowd at La Salle Lipa Sentrum in Batangas.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 shutoutTowering star Jaja Santiago scored 14 points, including two aces and a block.Foton led in all departments as it showed determination to pile up enough wins in the eliminations and secure a lofty spot in the knockout rounds.
MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers Unbeaten NU averts disaster vs UE, wins 3rd straight UST libero Rica Rivera being helped out of the court after suffering a right knee injury in the first set against Ateneo. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netUniversity of Santo Tomas libero Rica Rivera suffered a right knee injury during the first set of their match against Ateneo in the UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament Sunday at Filoil Flying V Centre.Golden Tigresses assistant coach Mark Alfafara said the initial assessment was that Rivera tore her meniscus in the right knee but further tests will still be conducted once the libero arrives at UST hospital.ADVERTISEMENT Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Read Next 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 Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises View comments LATEST STORIES John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH AFP official booed out of forum 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting Rivera was going up after receiving Kat Tolentino’s hit and that’s when her knee buckled.The fourth-year player still tried to walk it off but eventually fell down in pain.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutRivera already suffered a right knee injury in 2015. Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC
MOST READ Pussycat Dolls set for reunion tour after 10-year hiatus Families in US enclave in north Mexico hold sad Thanksgiving New Orleans, which has played well since losing center DeMarcus Cousins to a season-ending injury in January, kept rolling without Davis, although the Kings made a brief run late in the fourth.Buddy Hield hit a 3-pointer to pull Sacramento within 103-94 with 3:12 left, but Nikola Mirotic and Jrue Holiday both hit 3s and combined for 11 straight points to help the Pelicans pull away.“We can do that against teams like this,” Davis said. “But to better ourselves we have to do a better job, at least when I was in there, to make sure that we execute our game plans and don’t play down to the level of our competition. We went out there and thought it was going to be an easy game.”Mirotic scored 26 points with 10 rebounds, Holiday had 23 points and eight assists, and E’Twaun Moore added 15 points.The 10-game winning streak matches the Pelicans’ franchise record set Jan. 9-26, 2011. New Orleans has scored 100 or more points in each of the wins, setting another team record.ADVERTISEMENT Hield had 20 points while Zach Randolph added 19 points and five rebounds for Sacramento.The Kings, who have lost six of eight, played the final 42 minutes without point guard De’Aaron Fox. He left early in the first quarter due to lower back stiffness.“It seemed like everything was real difficult,” Sacramento coach Dave Joerger said. “We missed a lot of open shots also, which certainly would have helped.”Ian Clark’s 16-foot jumper and 3-pointer on consecutive possessions capped a 12-4 run to end the first and put the Pelicans up 32-21.With Davis getting a lengthy rest on the bench for most of the second quarter, New Orleans extended its advantage to 49-29 on another deep shot from Clark. Holiday later scored eight consecutive points and Davis added a late three-point play to help the Pelicans take a 62-44 halftime lead.MIROTIC’S MOMENTMirotic made 10 of 12 shots and is shooting 56.3 percent over his last four games.“I’ve been taking a lot of extra work to get my confidence back because I was (in) a little struggle in the beginning with my shots,” Mirotic said. “Now it seems that I did get my rhythm.”GOING HOMEThe Pelicans get a break with eight of their next nine in New Orleans after playing eight of their past 11 on the road. They’re in the thick of the playoff race in the Western Conference.“We knew that this would be a real difficult stretch,” Gentry said. “The thing that we wanted to do is just give ourselves an opportunity at the end of games to win on the road. We’ve done a good job with that.”TIP-INSPelicans: New Orleans has won seven straight road games, one shy of the franchise record set in 2007-08. … The Pelicans shot 60.9 percent (14 of 23) in the opening quarter. Kings: Willie Cauley-Stein missed his third straight game with a lower back strain.UP NEXTPelicans: Host Washington on Friday night.Kings: Host Orlando on Friday night. SPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutDavis went down after battling Kosta Koufos for a rebound. The five-time All-Star winced and grabbed at his ankle before slowly getting to his feet. Davis remained in the game briefly before being taken to the Pelicans locker room with 3:11 left in the third. He did not return and appeared to be getting fitted for a walking boot after the game.“I feel fine but they’ll have the team doctor look at it tomorrow and go from there,” Davis said. “Any time you twist an ankle it hurts, especially coming off somebody’s foot because you really don’t have any protection. It was sore. I just wanted to make sure everything was fine.” John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis grabs his ankle after going down during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings, Wednesday, March 7, 2018, in Sacramento, Calif. Davis left the court and didn’t return to the game as the Pelicans went on to win 114-101. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Anthony Davis has been at the heart of New Orleans’ franchise record-tying 10-game winning streak. It’s possible the Pelicans will have to go for No. 11 without their career scoring leader.Davis scored 17 points before rolling his left ankle and leaving in the third quarter of a 114-101 win over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.ADVERTISEMENT View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Although X-rays taken on Davis’ ankle were negative, coach Alvin Gentry sounded cautious.“Won’t know anything until tomorrow,” Gentry said. “They took X-rays but couldn’t really tell a lot from the X-rays, so we’ll go back home and I’m sure he’ll have an MRI at some stage tomorrow and we’ll have more information.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch run No stopping Rockets as they roll to 17th straight victory LATEST STORIES Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Google honors food scientist, banana ketchup inventor and war hero Maria Orosa Read Next Typhoon ‘Tisoy’ threatens Games LOOK: Iya Villania meets ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ cast in Mexico 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
Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors and LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers pause on the court during the first half at Quicken Loans Arena on December 25, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. AFP/GETTY IMAGES FILE PHOTOOAKLAND, United States—Cleveland superstar LeBron James, as versatile and dangerous as any NBA player, is a focus of the Golden State Warriors as they prepare for Thursday’s start of the NBA Finals.The Cavaliers are defending champions after James sparked the greatest comeback in NBA Finals history, rallying Cleveland from 3-1 down to win last year’s best-of-seven series in a dramatic winner-take-all showdown at Oakland, California.ADVERTISEMENT Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR Golfer Woods was asleep at wheel, passed breath test – police “They are a strong team and they are playing well. They have chemistry. It has only gotten better all year. We’ve got to work hard at practice and when the game comes on, get out there and go play.”The Cavaliers flew into San Francisco on Tuesday, taking a team photo once they arrived that Cleveland forward Kevin Love posted on Instagram.Oddsmakers have the Warriors favored to dethrone Cleveland as the Cavaliers did to them a year ago, but the snub gives the Cavs something else to prove.“We’ll use it as fuel, use it as motivation,” Love said. “We’re defending our title. We’re trying to repeat, which is so hard to do.“I don’t feel like we’re underdogs. We match up well with them. I think they would say the same thing about us.”Golden State, which boasted the NBA’s top scoring squad this season, is off to a record 12-0 playoff start with an average win margin of 16.3 points. Cleveland is 12-1 in the playoffs, winning by an average of 13.6 points.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Cayetano dares Lacson, Drilon to take lie-detector test: Wala akong kinita sa SEA Games 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 LATEST STORIES Every 18 seconds someone is diagnosed with HIV Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ BSP survey: PH banks see bright horizon amid dark global recession clouds Palace: Duterte to hear out security execs on alleged China control of NGCP James became the first player to lead an NBA Finals in every major statistical category with 29.7 points, 11.3 rebounds, 8.9 assists, 2.6 steals and 2.3 blocked shots a game last year.This season, at age 32, James averaged 26.4 points plus career highs of 8.6 rebounds and 8.7 assists as well as a league-high 37.8 minutes on the court a game.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingREAD: LeBron James surpasses Jordan as all-time leading playoff scorerAs dangerous a scorer as he is from outside or driving to the hoop, James also threatens by being able to find teammates such as Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love with passes when defenders focus too much on him. MOST READ BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast “You can’t stop LeBron,” said Mike Brown, the Golden State assistant coach guiding the team while head coach Steve Kerr recovers from complications after back surgery.“He’s going to score. He’s going to get other players involved in the scoring by passing the ball off. So you’ve got to make him work as hard as he can. He can’t have an easy game.”Brown, who once coached James with the Cavaliers, has emphasized perseverance when dealing with James, especially since Kevin Durant will be dealing with him much of the time.“LeBron is going to get his points and so is Kyrie. You’ve just got to try and make it tough on them,” Durant said. “You can’t get discouraged.READ: Star wars: LeBron, Durant moving toward NBA Finals reunionADVERTISEMENT View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information.
Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR PSC Chairman Butch Ramirez, DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and POC president Peping Cojuangco during the formal announcement of 2019 SEA Games hosting.Filipino athletes will have a voice on how the Philippines should efficiently run the hosting of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee chair Alan Peter Cayetano assured Thursday that the athletes would be involved in the selection of venues where their respective sports would be held.ADVERTISEMENT READ: PSC on top of SEA Games preparations While patiently putting the organizing committee together, Cayetano said they’re considering to hold the Games in Bulacan, Pampanga and Zambales.He also thanked Senator Migz Zubiri, who was initially designated as chair of the organizing committee, for the groundwork of setting up the organization.There was no mention yet on the figures that the government will spend for bringing the 11-nation sportsfest on local turf but Ramirez assured that the hosting budget can be embedded in the PSC allocation from the General Appropriations Act.READ: POC still not giving up on SEA Games hosting ADVERTISEMENT Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side AVC: Philippines drops to 8th place after close loss to Kazakhs Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games05:25PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH03:04Filipino athletes share their expectations for 2019 SEA Games00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games00:36Manny Pacquiao part of 2019 SEA Games opening ceremony Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ MOST READ READ: PSC gives 2019 SEA Games hosting green light “The athletes are the ones who will compete and it will be difficult if someone else will decide for them,’’ said Cayetano during the formal announcement of the country’s SEAG hosting at the Marriott Hotel in Paranaque City.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 openingPhilippine Sports Commission chair Butch Ramirez and Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose Cojuangco Jr. will co-chair the organizing committee with Cayetano, who also sits as Department of Foreign Affairs secretary.“I’m taking the lead from Sir Butch (Ramirez) that the athletes should be consulted,’’ said Cayetano. “With social media and the direct means of communication, we can really consult more people.’’ Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters “In the course of our discussion with the sports committee (at the House of Representatives), there’s great hope that they will allocate money for the hosting and even the PSI (Philippine Sports Institute) budget,’’ said Ramirez.Cojuangco and Ramirez also functioned in their current positions during the 2005 Manila SEA Games where the Philippines captured its first overall title.“We’ve seen the effects of the 2005 hosting and this is how important it is for our country,’’ said Cojuangco. “I hope this will add more impetus for everyone to contribute to this effort, because this isnot for Peping or Secretary Cayetano or Butch Ramirez. This is for the country.’’Cayetano will arrange a meeting with Cojuangco over the next few days and attend the turnover ceremonies during the closing rites of the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games on Aug. 30.“It’s more of putting a system so everybody will have duties appealable to us. The three of us (with Cojuangco and Ramirez) have agreed to do it the Asean way, which is by consensus,’’ said Cayetano.The Philippine hosting was initially shelved after the government explained that it would just focus on the rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi City.Ramirez said talks were revived to save the hosting early this week through the efforts of Presidential Assistant Christopher Lawrence Go, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Cayetano.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES View comments
Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games05:25PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH03:04Filipino athletes share their expectations for 2019 SEA Games00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games00:36Manny Pacquiao part of 2019 SEA Games opening ceremony Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters During the selection for this SEA Games, she was required by Patafa to be under one of its sanctioned coaches, which also didn’t sit well with Tabal, who was training abroad under her own set of mentors.Patafa again took her in to compete in the Games and hopefully give a golden start to the athletics team which garnered five golds, seven silvers and nine bronzes.Competing alongside Tabal is teammate Jeson Oyco Agravante.ADVERTISEMENT Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Short-handed Bolts rally to thwart Fuel Masters View comments LATEST STORIES Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ MOST READ Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR Mary Joy Tabal. FILE PhotoKUALA LUMPUR—As marathon ushers in the medal-rich track and field competitions on Saturday, focus will be on how Mary Joy Tabal would fare against the best in the field.And as she seeks to give the country its first gold, inevitably, the spotlight will also shine on the controversies that have hounded her career.ADVERTISEMENT Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Tabal has been the country’s golden girl in marathon, winning racess in international and local events, but her name has also been so often attached to controversyThe 28-year-old Tabal, of Guba, Cebu City, has been at odds with national governing body of her sport, the Philippine Track and Field Association, for the good part of the last two years.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 openingWhen she bagged silver in the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore, she immediately resigned from the national team over her camp’s alleged disagreement with sponsorship deals.But after a lengthy exchanges all over the media, she was reinstated later on to compete—and finish 124th—in the Rio Olympics in 2016.