Private Equity Firms Looking Hard at India?

first_imgIn March, when the international private equity firm Warburg Pincus sold a $560 million stake in Bharti Tele-Ventures, India’s largest publicly traded mobile telephony company, it created a sensation both in that country and among private-equity investors around the world. The transaction, on the Bombay Stock Exchange, was the largest block trade ever on the Indian market. It was also consummated in a breathtaking 28 minutes, prompting stock market observers in India to remark on the unexpected depth and maturity of their equity markets. Private equity investors marveled at the profitability of the investment – in a market that was in its infancy barely a decade ago. Money from U.S. private equity investors was going to Asia back then, but it was to destinations such as Indonesia and Thailand. India did not figure in most investors’ definitions of “Asia” – or at least not in any major way. The March transaction was the largest of a series of retrenchments, over several months, that saw Warburg reduce its 18.5% stake in Bharti to about 6 percent.Warburg, which invested nearly $300 million in Bharti between 1999 and 2001, walked away with a profit of $800 million from selling two-thirds of its holdings. At Bharti’s current share prices, Warburg’s remaining 6 percent stake in the company is worth some $700 million, or more than twice what it originally invested. Bharti, which trails privately held Reliance Infocomm, had a sallow $100 million market capitalization when Warburg entered the scene. It now has a market capitalization of $15 billion. In 1999, Bharti had 104,000 subscribers. It now has 14 million.So is the Bharti deal the tip of the iceberg or, alas, the entire iceberg? Two Warburg veterans at the center of the firm’s activities in India from its inception in 1994 are emphatic that the Indian story is no one-deal wonder.India has done well by Warburg, generating returns in “the mid-30s over 10 years,” the firm’s co-president, Charles R. Kaye, said. In turn, the firm has favored India. Warburg is the largest private equity investor in India by far, having ploughed $811 million into the country as of mid-2005. This amount is more than twice the $362 million Warburg has invested in China, according to data provided by the National Venture Capital Association in Arlington, Va.Bears and BullsWarburg’s vote of confidence in India is not universally shared. Globetrotting financial commentator Jim Rogers has written off the country as a haven for slow-moving bureaucrats who are insensitive to the needs of business. He has predicted a gloomy future for India not only as an economy but also as a country – predicting its breakup into smaller nation states, torn apart by ethnic and religious strife.But Rogers drove through India and sought out its most difficult political and economic terrain. Warburg has an office there. Rogers was dejected by the country’s decaying roads and bridges. Warburg investors see investment opportunity in them. Rogers hated the rickety telephone landlines he encountered in India. Warburg investors, like millions of Indians who are simply bypassing the landlines and migrating to mobile telephony, fell in love with Bharti. The Indian government reluctantly embarked upon political and economic reforms in 1991, after years of stifling government control of business and profligate spending on propping up failing state-run enterprises brought the country to the brink of bankruptcy. The reforms have continued unimpeded through four different coalition administrations with seemingly disparate economic ideologies, according to Dalip Pathak, the managing director at Warburg who spearheads the firm’s strategy in India.“There may be debate about the pace of reform, but not about its direction. Indian businessmen today very rarely point to government as an obstacle,” Pathak says. As for that vaunted Indian bureaucracy, he mentions that Warburg repatriated its profits in 48 hours. It’s easy to take money out of India, perhaps even easier than bringing it in, he jests.What has Warburg discovered in India during the last decade? Pathak lists the developments that are exciting investors like him: Foreign institutional investment has boomed (more than $12 billion in 2003-04) as curbs on foreign investment in Indian industries have been relaxed; there is a virtually open skies approach to investment from the United States; and gross domestic product has grown at rates between 6.5 percent and 8 percent in recent years. The volatility of the Indian rupee has been curbed and inflation has declined. “There are smart people running that economy,” Pathak says.Declining inflation has meant lower interest rates, and in turn has goosed the equity markets. Since October 2004, the Bombay Stock Exchange’s Sensitive Index, or Sensex, of 30 blue chip stocks has added 2,500 points, to cross 8,000. “We made a big bet on interest rates coming down, and it was the right bet to make,” Pathak says. He even compares India favorably with parts of Europe in one surprising aspect: “Labor issues are far more difficult in France than in India,” he says.High ConfidenceOne of the biggest changes Pathak says he has noticed has nothing to do with numbers. “There has been a complete change in the confidence level of people in India,” he says. The “tipping point” here was the contribution of Indian information technology companies to averting a worldwide Y2K meltdown. Suddenly, India’s small IT companies went global, and the government – long accustomed to regulating big industry but unfamiliar with IT – had nothing to do with it. Now “most people believe they will not let government get in their way,” Pathak says, “and that’s why we keep putting money there.”There’s a swagger in the step of India’s business, and the country’s government is showing signs it has caught the contagion, Kaye says. According to a 2003 Goldman Sachs report, “India’s economy could be larger than all but the U.S. and China in 30 years.” It’s a prediction that doesn’t appear far-fetched to Kaye and Pathak.As Warburg’s substantial divestment from Bharti shows, however, the investment firm has not lost its head over India. “Bharti has reached the scale and quality level that ensures it will have a long and bright future,” Kaye says. But that very milestone means it is “less appropriate from a risk-reward perspective.” That’s investor-speak for “there’s not enough upside left” in the company.Warburg’s other notable holdings in India include Rediff Communication, the country’s largest consumer web portal; Gujarat Ambuja Cement; Sintex Industries, an industrial plastic-goods manufacturer with a 60 percent share of the market for water-storage tanks; Kotak Mahindra, a financial services conglomerate; Nicholas Piramal India, a major pharmaceutical company, and WNS Global Services, a business process outsourcing company.As the list shows, Warburg’s bets in India are hardly reckless. The firm generally sticks to the tried, true, big and stock-market listed. That is rarely a winning strategy for a private equity investor in the United States, but can be in India, where the pent-up demands of a billion people leave plenty of room to grow for even the largest conglomerates. So in India, the investment firm is not spending much time seeking out early-stage companies or funky technology. In fact a couple of its forays into tech were jettisoned. They involved minor investments, under $2 million each, Pathak says.“Larger companies are less risky; listed companies are less risky,” he says, citing the transparency afforded by India’s capital markets. One other reason to pick big over small, in Pathak’s view: Bigger Indian companies are increasingly seeking capital and acquisitions abroad, and if they play foul with Warburg, “they know they will never get investment abroad.”But success has brought competition. Several significant names in the U.S. private equity world are now operating in India, among them Intel Capital, Oak Hill Capital Management, the Carlyle Group, Citigroup Venture Capital International, General Atlantic Partners, CSFB Private Equity, and the California Public Employees Retirement System, or CalPERS. Most of them have invested only in the double digits so far – Citigroup has invested as little as $23 million. But “we need to keep on our toes,” Pathak says. Warburg is now looking to participate in India’s raging real estate market, he adds. “Last year we were not.”“Being smart and having a lot of money is not a differentiator anymore,” Kaye says. So Warburg is working assiduously to become a recognizable brand in India.Reprinted from Knowledge@Wharton (http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu) (c) 2005 Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.Special to Little India.   Related Itemslast_img read more

A harvest of crushed hopes: Why number of hysterectomies are high in Maharashtra’s Beed district

first_imgAt 34, Sangeeta Kale from Maharashtra’s Beed district is a mother of two college-going sons, aged 19 and 17. Married off to a sugar-cane cutter at the age of 13 even before she had hit puberty, Kale had little inkling of the hard life ahead. Kale, who had her first child when she was just 16, worked through her pregnancy with husband Sadashiv in the fields of western Maharashtra, sometimes spending up to 16 hours cutting and loading the cane crop into trucks during the harvesting months — October to March. Her life remained the same after her first and second deliveries and subsequent years.However, she found the routine backbreaking work daunting on days her menstrual cycle set in, as the fields had no toilets. She couldn’t take leave for fear of being heavily penalised. Finally, fed up with these troubles and other recurrent gynaecological issues ranging from white discharge to pain, Kale underwent hysterectomy — uterus-removal surgery — last July.Just like Kale, many women, some of whom are just in their 20s, in Beed have undergone this life-altering procedure, which is otherwise prescribed only for a handful of medical conditions and often performed as a last resort.What is even more shocking is that Kale was the seventh woman in her extended family, living in Beed’s Umrad Jahagir village, to have undergone the operation. “Frustrated with period pain, white discharges and foul smell, when I approached a doctor, I was told my uterus was damaged and hysterectomy was the way out,” says Kale.The drought-stricken Beed district in Maharashtra’s Marathwada region came under the scanner this May after reports came to light about the unusually high rate of hysterectomies among its women, especially among those who migrate to neighbouring districts to work as sugar-cane cutters.State figures say that in three years (2016-2019), as many as 4,605 women have had their uterus removed in Maharashtra. Civil rights organisations allege that the hysterectomy rate in Beed is 14 times more than that for the State or the country. In Umrad Jahagir village where the Kales reside, the number of ‘womb-less women’ now stands at 50.Pushed into debtSitting on the floor of her tin-roofed shanty, Kale, slightly under five-feet tall, points towards her back and knees. “The uterus-removal surgery has no doubt relieved me from the menstrual cramps and vaginal discharge, but it has brought along back and joint pain. On many days, the pain is unbearable. It’s like I have aged at a greater speed,” she says.“The doctor assured me that removing the uterus was the best option. Though I was taking medication, my infections were recurring. I had already undergone a sterilisation surgery, so there was anyway no scope of having more children. Hysterectomy seemed like the right thing to do. But later, the after-effects started,” rues Kale, who missed out on the last sugar-cane cutting season as she was bedridden for three months after the procedure. Her decision to undergo the procedure has brought not just health issues but severe economic distress to the already impoverished household.Her husband holds her responsible for the debt of ₹2 lakh that has piled on them. At first, he blamed her one-off leaves from work. Then, he pointed fingers at her for the ₹30,000 that they had to borrow for the hysterectomy. The taunts have gotten worse since they missed out on the last season of sugar-cane cutting.  Ashok Anand, head of gynaecology at the state-run J.J. Hospital in Mumbai, is amused at the reasons cited. “Neither a bulky cervix nor persistent demands by a patient warrant a hysterectomy. Her symptoms were more likely due to cervicitis, which could be treated through conservative medication,” says Anand.Since news on the hysterectomies in Beed came to light, questions have been raised on the possible role of the medical fraternity in making women undergo the procedure. State data showed that 99 private hospitals in Beed district have carried out 4,605 hysterectomies since April 2016. Eleven of these hospitals have carried out more than 100 hysterectomies in the three-year period.‘Gross exploitation’The top five in the list are: Pratibha Nursing Home (277); Tidke Hospital (196); Shree Bhagwan Hospital (193); Gholve Hospital (186); and Veer Hospital (179). In comparison, 2,000-odd hysterectomies have been performed in the public sector in the same period in Beed. “Instead of getting rational treatment in public health-care facilities, the women are pushed towards irrational treatments in the private sector,” says Abhay Shukla, national co-convenor of the Jan Swasthya Abhiyan. “It’s nothing but gross exploitation of vulnerabilities of women and a failure of the state,” he says. Activists also rue that the official count could be under-reported as the state banks on these same hospitals to furnish the figures.Local doctors, however, feel the criticism is uncalled for and insist that for most of the women who underwent the surgery, their health warranted it. Gynaecologist Madhav Sanap, who has run the Shree Bhagwan Hospital since 1998, is prompt to assert that there may be doctors who conduct unindicated procedures, but he is not one of them. “Of the 193 surgeries that I have carried out, only four were of women under 35. I can provide history for each and every case,” he says, while arguing that the hype around hysterectomies in Beed requires an in-depth analysis. “It will prove that the district has rates comparable to other parts of the State,” he says.Poor hygieneSanjay Veer, a gynaecologist and owner of Veer Hospital, says no one goes under the knife unless there is real suffering. “These women live in conditions of extremely poor hygiene. They don’t have access to toilets. They can’t afford sanitary pads. Open defecation is rampant in their villages as near the sugar-cane farms where they work,” he says.“The core issues are poverty, illiteracy, lack of sanitation and access to water. Doctors are being made scapegoats in this issue, which is largely a socio-economic one and requires a larger solution,” he adds.The National Family Health Survey data show that the rate of hysterectomies in Maharashtra is 2.6%, while the national average is 3.2%. But when it comes to Beed, a 2018 survey of 200 women by Maharashtra State Commission for Women revealed the extent of the problem as around 36% were found to have had undergone hysterectomies.According to Beed’s civil surgeon Ashok Thorat, there is an absence of enough data to carry out comparisons with other districts in Maharashtra. “Our primary investigations have shown that the prevalence of hysterectomies is 17 per 1,000 women in Beed. In some parts of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and other States, the prevalence is about 50 to 60 per 1,000 women,” says Thorat, adding that a detailed survey is under way to get to the root cause.In fact, a circular dated April 16, has made it compulsory for private gynaecologists in Beed to seek permission from a civil surgeon for every hysterectomy procedure barring emergency procedures, which have to be reported within a span of 24 hours. The circular warns doctors against portraying all kinds of tumours, growths and swelling on uterus as cancers.“The number of hysterectomies has gone down by 50% since we implemented the SOP [Standard Operating Procedure],” Beed’s collector Astik Kumar Pandey tells The Hindu. “Right now, all the hospitals are under our scanner. All hysterectomies in the past, especially of women who are under 35, are being scrutinised,” he says.Activists say that the menace of unwarranted hysterectomies affects not just sugar-cane cutters but women in general. “Early marriages and child birth, fear of cancer and the loss of wages during menstruation have all culminated in the high rate of hysterectomies. The government has no clue about the ground reality as it has never maintained any data,” says health activist Abhijit More who terms Beed’s situation as a blatant violation of rights of women living in the district, who are uneducated and therefore ill-equipped to make the right health choices. Six out of the seven women from the extended Kale family in Umrad have undergone hysterectomies. | Photo Credit: Arunangsu Roy Chowdhury Kale relied on the testimonies of her four sisters-in-law and two of their mothers-in law, who had all been through the procedure, when she got admitted to the Veer Hospital located on the Beed-Jalna road for the surgery. “None of us has ever been to school. But the doctor is educated. His word was assuring for us,” she says.Kale’s sister-in-law Vaishali, 33, was also advised a hysterectomy when she sought medical help after grappling with vaginal discharge and recurrent infections for years. “I was told my uterus was damaged and getting it removed was best. I had two sons, so we thought the most important job of the womb was done,” says Vaishali.Scores of women in Beed offer a similar narrative. Shockingly, most don’t have medical reports or any papers to show the history of their treatment.Their individual stories all follow a pattern. Women would commonly consult their doctors for health issues lasting up to a year, but then complain of recurrent infections. Sooner or later, hysterectomy would be recommended to them as a permanent solution.However, they were never told how the surgery could lead to hormonal imbalance, calcium deficiency and constant body ache, among other things.In Beed, open defecation remains a ground reality. Many households do have built toilet blocks built under the government’s Swachh Bharat scheme but their members still defecate in the open due to lack of water. For the women in the district, it is a vicious cycle as they have no sanitary facilities either at their workplace or at their homes. And the nature of work in a sugar-cane field has only worsened their situation.An estimated 5-6 lakh people, including pregnant and lactating women, migrate from Beed to other parts of Maharashtra, and border areas of Karnataka, to work as sugar-cane cutters. Hailing from a region that is perennially under a spell of drought and not having many avenues of employment, Beed residents continue to live in abject poverty and have to rely on sugar-cane cutting to make a living. Traditionally, a couple is hired by a mukadam (contractor) as a single ‘unit’, known as ek koyta (one sickle). The contractor pays them uchal (a lump sum) in advance, ranging from ₹80,000 to ₹1.2 lakh, for a period of four to six months. The pairs migrate after Deepavali every year.While a typical workday starts at around 6 a.m. for the couple, the woman gets up earlier, at 4 a.m., and cooks food for the entire family before she sets out. Children are left behind in temporary shanties near the sugar-cane farms as their parents toil under the sun.Two-and-a-half tonnes a dayLaxmi Chauhan, 44, from Beed’s Vanjarwadi village and her husband Nanabhau, 45, have been migrating for sugar-cane cutting for the past 25 years. “We manage to cut about two-and-a-half tonnes of sugar-cane in a day. A tonne of sugar-cane earns us anywhere between ₹350 to ₹400 depending on the seasonal rate,” says Nanabhau, a father of two sons, both in their twenties.Soon after the birth of their children, Chauhan began experiencing pain in the abdomen, which resulted in her frequent absences from work and low productivity. “Working during the menstrual cycle was anyway difficult,” says Chauhan, adding that she had to make multiple strikes with the sickle to cut a single cane, a process which made her feel further weak and unwell. It also meant lower earnings for the couple.“We earned less than the uchal and had to repay the remaining amount to the mukadam. Also, when one failed to report to work, the mukadam demanded a fine of ₹500, which had to be paid in cash and was distributed among other workers who took the extra workload,” says Chauhan.Troubled by her own dwindling productivity and the couple’s mounting debt, Chauhan finally decided to see a doctor at the Veer Hospital in 2014. Following a sonography, she was told that her uterus had got swollen and this could lead to cancer. Within the next few days, the couple hurriedly collected ₹25,000 and Chauhan got her uterus removed, as advised by the doctor. She was hospitalised for seven days.“Since then, my body has begun swelling and I am in pain every day. But I feel better than before,” she says. Weight gain, which Chauhan has experienced, is another inevitable side effect of hysterectomy. When asked if the uterus removal was at the suggestion of a mukadam, the couple deny it. “We trusted the doctor’s word,” says Nanabhau, adding that they had sought help with the intention of getting medical treatment and not surgery. “When the doctor told us about the risk of cancer, we did not want to take any chances,” he says.Coaxed by contractors?Following reports on the high number of hysterectomies performed in Beed, the Maharashtra administration launched an investigation on June 18. Among the many aspects that the authorities are probing, one is whether the mukadams push women to undergo the procedure to ensure better returns. “There could be a nexus between profit-driven doctors and the mukadams. This definitely needs to be investigated, among other things,” says Neelam Gorhe, who is heading the seven-member investigation committee that will submit its report to the Chief Minister and Health Minister this month.A mukadam is a well-connected villager who reaches out to prospective labourers from the nearby areas. With frequent droughts and failing crops, many couples prefer to migrate for income generation, even if they have acres of farmland back home.“The poverty is so ingrained that the advance taken by couples is exhausted very quickly. When they fail to cut sugar-cane worth the advance paid to them, we are left with no choice but to pursue them to return the remaining money,” says Bappa Kotwade, 42, a mukadam from Beed’s Irla Dubba village. Having been a mukadam for the past 15 years, he supplies up to 200 koyatas (couples) to sugar-cane factories every season.While some labourers are gadiwale (couples with a pair of bullocks and a rented cart), some work as toliwale (groups that transport harvested sugar cane in trucks or tractors).“Some men are alcoholics and recovering money from them becomes a task. Some couples disappear midway. There are some who never pay back. We have to be taskmasters to deal with this,” says Kotwade, adding that they forge long-standing relationships with the labourers and keep paying them small amounts for food and health expenses to ensure that they come back every season.But it is not always hunky-dory for the labourers, some of whom have been beaten up and even illegally detained in factories when they failed to cough up the money. “There have been murders too,” says Kotwade, citing a story of a mukadam who had a scuffle with a labourer while demanding the money. “The labourer died due to serious injuries and the mukadam landed in jail.”Kotwade, however, rubbishes the allegation that mukadams suggest hysterectomies to women. “It is a vicious cycle of hard manual labour, grinding poverty and bad living conditions. Uterus or no uterus, they have to work to earn. Why should we tell them anything?” he says, adding that women have been undergoing hysterectomies for years in Beed.Let down by doctors?A muddy pathway through a farm in Vanjarwadi leads to the house of Sarika Chandrasen Kurlekar, a frail 32-year-old. In the village, where 56 women have undergone uterus removal procedures, Kurlekar is the youngest to have been operated. She has never migrated for cane cutting but, like all other women, had been complaining of continuous white discharge that caused fatigue. Her medical record from Matoshri Hospital cites “bulky cervix and persistent demand by patient” as the reason for the hysterectomy.last_img read more

SEA Games: Comedy own goal dampens Malaysia’s golden day

first_imgBrace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC It proved the game’s only goal and brought a tame end to another wildly successful day for Malaysia, who reached a record 140 gold medals to finish top of the table for the first time since 2001.Haziq was the fall guy but the Thais were well worth their 1-0 half-time lead after Chenrop Samphaodi had curled a shot wide and Suriya Singhui saw a strong header saved by the goalkeeper.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 shutoutMalaysia’s goalkeeper Muhammad Haziq bin Nadzli reacts after losing to Thailand during their men’s football final match of the 29th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) at Shah Alam Stadium, outside Kuala Lumpur on August 29, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MANAN VATSYAYANAThailand also had an early penalty shout turned down and just prior to the own goal, Phicha Au-Tra narrowly failed to connect with a cross which trickled across the face.After the break, Worachit Kanitsribumphen was twice denied by last-ditch defending from the Malaysians, while Sasalak saw a menacing shot go wide. Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Read Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Malaysia were restricted to the odd attempt from distance before Danial Amier fizzed one over on 69 minutes and Syazwan Andik went close with a curling shot 12 minutes from time.The men’s football final was the last act of a bumper penultimate day, with 60 gold medals up for grabs and Malaysia taking 29 of them to reach an unbeatable 140 for the tournament.Malaysia have amassed more than one-third of the 404 gold medals at the mini-Olympics, smashing their previous record of 111 and sealing top spot for the first time in 16 years.Thailand trailed on 69 golds and Vietnam had 58, meaning the second and third-placed teams totaled less than Malaysia between them.ADVERTISEMENT Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension LATEST STORIES MOST READcenter_img SEA Games: PH squash team settles for another silver LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games View comments Thailand’s football team players celebrate after defeating Malaysia during their men’s football final match of the 29th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) at Shah Alam Stadium, outside Kuala Lumpur on August 29, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MANAN VATSYAYANAMalaysian goalkeeper Haziq Nadzli scored a horrendous own goal to hand Thailand a 1-0 win in the Southeast Asian Games football final on Tuesday, puncturing the hosts’ celebrations as they finished top of the medals table.In a moment that will haunt Haziq, the 19-year-old punched a corner into his own net on 39 minutes, silencing 80,000 fans at the cavernous Shah Alam Stadium.ADVERTISEMENT PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games PLAY LIST 03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games05:25PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH00:50Trending Articles01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students03:04Filipino 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 Games Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s weddinglast_img read more

R Ashwin receives Sir Garfield Sobers trophy

first_imgIndia retains ICC Test Championship mace cricket Seven in a row: India beat Australia to win series 2-1 SHARE SHARE EMAIL COMMENT India’s off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin today received Garfield Sobers Trophy for being named the ICC Cricketer of the Year as well as the ICC Test Cricketer of the Year.“It has been a great honour to be named by the ICC for two top awards and it is dreamlike to actually receive them here,” said Ashwin, who had finished 2015 as the number-one ranked Test bowler in the world, a position he twice reclaimed in 2016.“What has been greatly satisfying for me is that I have helped the team do well during this period. We have a great unit that has done well across formats. Being on top of the Test table, in particular, is an accomplishment we are all proud of.During the voting period, which ran from September 14, 2015 to September 20, 2016, the 30-year-old from Chennai played eight Tests in which he took 48 wickets and scored 336 runs. Ashwin also claimed 27 wickets in 19 T20Is. “I’d like to thank all my team-members, team management and support staff for helping me perform. I hope to continue doing well and help my team win many matches in the coming years,” he said.“I thank my family and also would like to remember my uncle who passed away suddenly during this game. My uncle’s family has also been a pillar of support all these years. I thank the ICC for recognizing and encouraging players with these awards because such moments always remain in one’s memory.”ICC Cricket Hall of Famer and former India captain Kapil Dev, who presented the ICC Cricketer of the Year to Ashwin, congratulated the spinner. “Ashwin has shown his penchant for winning Test matches time and again. He has played a big part in India becoming the top-ranked Test side. Not for nothing has he himself been ranked the number-one bowler on the ICC Test rankings for so many weeks,” he said.“Ashwin is a big asset for the team as he is useful with the bat and is a thinking all-rounder. I’m sure he will have a lot many successes in the coming years and help India win many more matches, both at home and abroad.”Gavaskar, who presented the ICC Test Cricketer of the Year award to Ashwin, said: “India has always produced some of the finest spin bowlers seen in the game. Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are the latest who are upholding that wonderful tradition.“It is never easy for a spinner to make the adjustments required for the different formats of the game. Ashwin in particular has made these changes seemingly without any effort and continues to pick wickets in all formats of the game.“Besides he is a batsman who prizes his wicket dearly and makes useful contributions with the bat. The number of man of the match awards and man of the series awards he has won show why he is the biggest match winner for India in recent times.“He thoroughly deserves all the accolades coming his way including the latest, the coveted Garfield Sobers Trophy. Well done and hearty congratulations to Ashwin,” he added.ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said: “Ashwin has shown time and again that he is a match-winner in the true sense. I congratulate him for joining a select band of cricketers to have won these two top ICC awards.” R Ashwin with his two ICC awards presented to him. Photo: V V Krishnan   –  The Hindu Published on March 28, 2017 R Ashwin with his two ICC awards presented to him. Photo: V V Krishnan   –  The Hindu RELATED During the voting period Ashwin played eight Tests in which he took 48 wickets and scored 336 runs. × SHARE COMMENTSlast_img read more

EXCLUSIVE: Rahul Dravid never lost his temper with us, says Ishan Kishan

first_imgRahul Dravid was known to be one of the calmest heads in cricket. He rarely succumbed to pressure and kept piling runs in his own style. And Dravid, who is now in charge of the India A and U-19 teams, is doing exactly the same. (Full IPL Coverage)Dravid’s boys were extremely consistent in the recently-concluded U-19 Cricket World Cup. However, they finished second best after being outclassed in the final by a spirited West Indies unit.Dravid’s consistent approach has made him one of the favourites for Team India coach’s role.The skipper of India U-19 team Ishan Kishan seems to be in awe of his coach. In an exclusive interview to India Today, Kishan said Dravid was one of the most humble human beings he had ever met.When asked if he hated anything about Dravid, Kishan was quick to say that there was nothing to dislike about the batting icon.”Dravid is such a humble person. It was very nice to work with him. He made sure he appreciated us whenever we performed well. He comes to us individually, he helped us learn a lot,” Kishan said.The Jharkhand wicketkeeper-batsman also said he had never seen Dravid lose his temper with the young boys in the U-19 team. “He is very, very calm. He doesn’t lose his temper. Even if we make mistakes, he just lets us know them and makes us aware of our negatives,” Ishan said.And as expected, the young men who stole the show in the U-19 World Cup were rewarded with Indian Premier League contracts this season. While the skipper himself is plying his trade for Gujarat Lions, Sarfaraz Khan, who was the highest-run getter for India with 355 runs from six innings at the ICC tournament, is playing under Virat Kohli at the Royal Challengers Bangalore.advertisementUnlike skipper Ishan, Sarfaraz is not new to IPL. He has been regarded as one of the most exciting talents in the league after he stole the show last season matching the T20 giants AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle with every stroke he played. Sarfaraz played 13 matches in the eighth edition and his strike rate read an impressive 153.60.His rich batting form made sure he grabbed attention this season also. In Bangalore’s opening clash against Sunrisers Hyderabad this season, Sarfaraz slammed a 10-ball 35 not out and boxed out the opposition.Kishan is not surprised with his U-19 teammate’s good showing in the IPL. He says he had expected Sarfaraz to fire all cylinders in the lucrative tournament. “He is a hard working boy. He executes his plans on the ground well. He was determined and was talking about the Indian Premier League as well when we were playing together. He is doing well and it’s really good,” the 17-year-old said.Kishan is also excited about sharing the dressing room with T20 stalwarts Brendon McCullum, Dale Steyn, Dwayne Bravo and Gujarat skipper Suresh Raina. “I am sharing the dressing room with legendary players at Gujarat Lions. It gives me a good opportunity to learn from them,” he said.Kishan also revealed his plans for the future saying he had to focus on learning from his mistakes. “I don’t think I have to compete with anyone else. I would be my own competition. It would depend on how I improve myself as the days pass. I have to work hard and rectify my mistakes,” he said.last_img read more

Moto C and Moto C Plus’ new 360-degree video leaves little to the imagination

first_imgLenovo-owned Motorola saw a great success with its budget phones, notably with Moto G and Moto E series. The company is now gearing up to launch a whole new C series which is expected to be the cheapest phone series ever launched by Motorola.While past leaks have already given us a murkier picture of how the phone could look like, now a new 360 videos of both Moto C and Moto C Plus, published by Android Authority and OnLeaks helps us clear the cloud around the two phones.The video shows the two phones from every possible angle and leaves almost nothing to imagination. The video shows a Red coloured Moto C and the Silver Moto C Plus. The two phones look similar except a rear camera bump clearly seen on the Moto C Plus. Both the phones sport a rear-mounted speaker grill, a headphone jack and micro-USB port on top.  The rear  panel of the both the models are removable and can be attached with Moto Mods.Also Read: Moto E4, E4 Plus images and 360-degree video leaks, reveals complete specificationsThrough previous leaks we know that both Moto and C Plus will run Android Nougat and will be sold in gold, silver, red and black colour variants. The devices are expected to come with 5.2-inch display and may be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 SoC. Moto C is expected to house 1GB RAM while C Plus could come with 2GB RAM. Expect 16GB and 32GB of internal storage for the two phones.advertisementAlso, it is speculated that the Moto C could come with  a 16-megapixel rear facing camera with LED flash, and an 8-megapixel front camera. The smartphone is expected to house  a 3,800mAh battery and can be priced somewhere closer to the price of  other Moto M devices. It is also rumoured that there will be two variants of Moto C-2G and 3G.Also Read: Moto E4 specs leaked, to come with Android NougatAlongside Moto C and Moto C Plus, Moto is also working on Moto E4 and Moto E4 Plus. The recent video render of Moto E and E4 Plus reveals several key specifications of the device. Moto E4 Plus is expected  to come with 5000mAh battery which earlier also reported in the FCC listing. Also, the video exposes the front top of the smartphone revealing the front camera and a LED flash placed beside the selfie-shooter. The upcoming Moto E4 Plus is also expected to come with a 3.3mm headphone jack on the side.The smartphone is also rumoured to sports  a 5.2-inch display screen coupled with 2.5D curved glass layer on top. The images leaked by famous tipster Evan Blass shows that Moto E4 can come with 5-inch display with either HD or FWVGA display. Also, the smartphone is expected to be powered by a MediaTek chipset and can house a 2800mAh battery. Both Moto E4 and E4 Plus are speculated to run on Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box.last_img read more

Conte confirms Hazard start against Forest

first_imgChelsea Hazard to start against Nottingham Forest as Conte prepares to rotate Joe Wright Last updated 2 years ago 22:58 19/9/2017 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Eden Hazard Chelsea Getty Chelsea Eden Hazard Nottingham Forest Chelsea v Nottingham Forest League Cup Antonio Conte The Belgian forward will be drafted into the starting XI for midweek League Cup duty as the Blues look to rest to a number of other first-team players Eden Hazard is set for his maiden start of the season in Chelsea’s EFL Cup clash with Nottingham Forest on Wednesday, Antonio Conte has confirmed.The Belgium international made his first appearance since suffering a broken ankle in June in the Premier League win away to Leicester City on September 9.Hazard 9/2 to score first v Stoke Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘I’m getting better’ – Can Man Utd flop Fred save his Old Trafford career? Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing He also came off the bench in Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Arsenal at Stamford Bridge and Conte feels the time is right to give the 26-year-old a full 90 minutes.”I think, for Eden, now is the right moment to start the game and try to play the whole game,” he told a news conference.”I think we have managed very well his situation. In my career I was injured a lot of times and I have a bit of experience about this situation. We are managing it very well and he is ready to start. “Our work is to try and improve every single player, at the tactical aspect and the physical aspect. I think the most important thing for the players is to be open to receive new information.”I think Eden is a top player and he improved a lot. I think he can continue to improve and become one of the best.”Conte also suggested youngsters Charly Musonda and Kenedy could start the match as he looks to give a rest to some first-team regulars.Kenedy caused controversy during the pre-season tour with social media posts that appeared to poke fun at China, but Conte says he has learned from his error.Antonio Conte Chelsea“For sure, it could be a good opportunity for Charly and for Kenedy it is the same,” said the Chelsea boss.”I think he knows very well what happened in China. He made a mistake but I think everyone in life makes mistakes.”Now he is focused and working very well. He understands his mistake and he is ready to play.”He added of Musonda: “I’m sure that we are talking about a young player with a really good prospect because you can see Charly’s talent very clearly.”I think now it is very important for him to adapt himself to this league because this league is not simple, it is a physical league.”Now he is working a lot to improve his strength and be ready for a big impact.”last_img read more

12 hours agoAtletico Madrid striker Morata calls on fans to get behind Koke

first_imgAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Atletico Madrid striker Morata calls on fans to get behind Kokeby Carlos Volcano12 hours agoSend to a friendShare the loveAtletico Madrid striker Álvaro Morata has called on fans to get behind captain Koke.The whistles from a small section of the home fans at the Wanda Metropolitano when Koke was substituted during Tuesday’s visit from Bayer Leverkusen is still a talking point in the red and white half of the capital. Morata said, “This is a team. “We’ve always worked as one and when one of us isn’t having the best of times we support each other; we’re a family and that’s the way it has always been for us atléticos, we support one another and that’s the way it should be.” last_img read more

Analyst Names Program That “Won” The College Football Offseason

first_imgA general view of an Oklahoma Sooners football game.NORMAN, OK – NOVEMBER 25: The Oklahoma Sooners and West Virginia Mountaineers in between plays at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on November 25, 2017 in Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma defeated West Virginia 59-31. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)The college football offseason is set to enter a new period soon, as spring football is approaching for several programs around the country.The true offseason – the time for serious player and coaching movement – is mostly over, or at the very least, coming close to wrapping up.Which college football program “won” the offseason?According to one analyst, it’s not Alabama or Clemson…247Sports Director of Scouting Barton Simmons believes Oklahoma might be the program that “won” the offseason. The Sooners added former Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts via a transfer.“I think Lincoln Riley is going to cater that offense to be perfect for him, and he’s going to kill it,” Simmons said on the Cover 3 College Football Podcast. “I legitimately believe we could see three-straight Heisman Trophy winners. I think there’s that opportunity there for sure.”Hurts is expected to start under center for Oklahoma in 2019. The Sooners will likely be a preseason top five team.“Jalen Hurts is the perfect addition to that team, not only from a skillset standpoint but he adds leadership at the quarterback position,” Simmons said. “I don’t know what Tanner Mordecai was bringing to the table from a leadership standpoint, Spencer Rattler the true freshman quarterback could have battled for a starting job probably if he had enrolled in the midterm. But you can’t ask for a freshman to lead that group and feel confident in what’s going to happen. I think Jalen Hurts comes in there and immediately wins the team, and they’re just good. They’re set on offense.”Oklahoma opens its season on Aug. 31 against Houston.last_img read more

US Tightens Security Measures for Ships Arriving from Iraq

first_imgzoomIllustration; Image Courtesy: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license The US imposed additional security measures on vessels arriving from Iraq as of October 26.Namely, the US Coast Guard imposed conditions of entry on vessels that arrive in the country after visiting certain ports in Iraq as one of their last five ports of call.Only three Iraqi port facilities are currently maintaining effective anti-terrorism measures, the Al-Basrah Oil Terminal, the Khor Al Amaya Oil Terminal and Al Maqal Terminal 14, the US authorities determined.The conditions of entry were therefore imposed on vessels that have visited any other Iraqi port as one of their last five ports of call.Under the conditions of entry, affected vessels must implement measures in accordance with the vessel’s security plan equivalent to Security Level 2 while in a port in Iraq, ensure that each access point to the vessel is guarded and that the guards have total visibility of the exterior of the vessel while the vessel is in ports in Iraq, as well as attempt to execute a Declaration of Security while in a port in Iraq.Furthermore, the vessels are to log all security actions in the security records; and report actions taken to the relevant Coast Guard captain of the port (COTP) prior to arrival into US waters.In addition, based on the findings of the Coast Guard boarding or examination, vessels may be required to ensure that each access point to the vessel is guarded by armed, private security guards while in US ports.last_img read more

Le comité recommande daugmenter le salaire minimum

first_img l’augmentation du salaire minimum pour les travailleurs sans expérience (moins de trois mois d’expérience) pour qu’il passe à 9,50 $ le 1er octobre; l’indexation du salaire minimum à l’indice des prix à la consommation de l’année précédente, et ce chaque année à compter de 2012; que le comité continue à se réunir chaque année pour effectuer la réindexation et pour déterminer si des changements sont nécessaires. Le comité de quatre personnes, composé de représentants des employeurs et des employés, a recommandé en janvier 2008 une série d’augmentations du salaire minimum. Les dernières augmentations sont entrées en vigueur en octobre 2010 et elles ont porté le salaire d’un employé à temps plein, rémunéré au salaire minimum, très près du seuil de faible revenu prévu pour une personne célibataire. Le seuil de faible revenu représente le point minimum où les gens consacrent un pourcentage de leur revenu largement supérieur à la moyenne afin de payer les nécessités de subsistance que sont la nourriture, le logement et l’habillement. Le Comité d’examen du salaire minimum a recommandé dans son dernier rapport que le salaire minimum passe de 9,65 $ l’heure à 10,00 $ l’heure, et ce à compter du 1er octobre. Le gouvernement a mis le rapport en ligne aujourd’hui, 10 mars, pour permettre au public, au milieu des affaires et à d’autres groupes d’intéressés de formuler des commentaires sur les dernières recommandations. Les soumissions devront être reçues au plus tard le 11 avril. Le gouvernement réagira au rapport et à ses recommandations après avoir étudié les commentaires. « Le salaire minimum est une référence économique importante qui influe sur les gens et sur la communauté des affaires, a précisé la ministre du Travail et de l’Éducation postsecondaire, Marilyn More. J’encourage tous les intéressés à lire le rapport du comité et à formuler des commentaires. J’attendrai de lire les commentaires que nous recevrons, de même que les conclusions du rapport, avant de prendre en compte d’autres changements au salaire minimum. » Pour de plus amples renseignements et pour obtenir un exemplaire du rapport, visitez le www.gov.ns.ca/lae ou téléphonez au 1-888-315-0110. Le rapport recommande également ce qui suit :last_img read more

Whats next for Canadas Bianca Andreescu

first_imgShe’s currently ranked fifth in the world — a career-high.Andreescu is looking to cap off an incredible 2019 that has already seen her win her first Grand Slam, as well as the Rogers Cup and Indian Wells, both WTA Premier tournaments.Lewis hosts a podcast called Match Point Canada.WATCH: Bianca Andreescu on her big win, dealing with fame BEIJING (660 NEWS) — After winning the U.S. Open earlier this month, Canada’s Bianca Andreescu is ready for action again.The 19-year-old is in Beijing for the China Open. A solid run will help her qualify for the WTA Finals, where only the top eight seeds are invited to play.“Here she is, Bianca Andreescu, you could argue she’s been the best women’s player all season long when she’s played,” Sportsnet’s Ben Lewis explained. “It’s unbelievable to think of where she would’ve started this year rankings-wise. It seemed completely out of the realm of possibility that she could’ve possibly been a player on anybody’s radar to be competing at the end of year finals.”LISTEN: 660’s Sandra Prusina chats with Sportsnet’s Ben LewisAudio Playerhttps://www.660citynews.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/sites/8/2019/09/26/ben-lewis-fan-590-tennis-sandra.prusina.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.last_img read more

Taylor Swift Challenges Radio DJs To HighRise Dare

first_imgBritish radio presenters Dave Berry and Lisa Snowdon are teaming up with Taylor Swift in their incredible charity breakfast show on October 9th – raising money for Global’s Make Some Noise.Global’s Make Some Noise Day will see the three take to the skies, 1,000 feet above London, at the top of The Shard to present a never-before-heard show.Not only will they be facing the heights of Western Europe’s tallest building, but Taylor has set Dave and Lisa a terrifying challenge: whoever raises the least in the run up to 9th October – Global’s Make Some Noise day – has to clean the windows of The View from the Shard – from the outside!Capital Breakfast’s Dave Berry said: “I’m absolutely terrified of losing out to Lisa on this challenge, so I’m going to need everyone’s support. I’m pulling out all the stops to raise as much money as possible for our new charity, Global’s Make Some Noise, so please get behind me and donate!”Lisa Snowdon said: “The forfeit for losing this challenge is possibly one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever been faced with, thanks Taylor! I need everyone’s support on this – help me get Dave up there! Come on, London, I need your help!”It’s up to you – are you Team Lisa or Team Dave?To save Lisa from scaling the shard text ‘LISA’ to 70070.To save Dave from this window-cleaning nightmare text ‘DAVE’ to 70070.The pair have just over a week to raise the most – so get donating today!Glabal’s Make Some Noise helps disadvantaged children and young people across the UK. These youngsters may be affected by illness, disability, bereavement or lack of opportunity. They want every child and teenager to reach their full potential. So they use the power of radio to MAKE SOME NOISE for those who struggle to be heard. Which allows them to award grants to specially selected projects across the country that are changing young lives.Find out more here.Source:Make Some Noiselast_img read more

NEB approves 266 km TransCanada Corp pipeline abandonment in northwest Alberta

first_imgCALGARY, A.B. – The National Energy Board has approved NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd.’s plan to abandon a 266 kilometre section of its Peace River Mainline system in northwestern Alberta.The approved plan calls for the TransCanada Corp. subsidiary to remove a nine kilometre section of the pipeline running through the Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation Reserve Land and leave the rest of the pipeline segments in place.The NEB says this was the largest proposal to abandon a facility ever considered by the regulator. TransCanada indicated in its application that the section of pipeline running north-south about 34 kilometres west of Peace River, Alta., is no longer needed and customers will be served by other pipelines in the network.The NEB says the company will be liable and accountable for monitoring and maintaining the pipeline in a safe and environmentally sound manner for as long as it remains in the ground.The company said in its application that the cost of project is estimated at $29.7 million.(THE CANADIAN)last_img read more

Syrian National Coalition meets to discuss Geneva

first_imgISTANBUL– Istanbul-based opposition group Syrian National Coalition is meeting for a two-day general assembly as anticipation grows for an international conference later this month on a solution to the ongoing civil war in Syria.The SNC‘s eleventh general assembly is expected to broach participation to the Geneva-2 conference slated for January 22, and election of a new president now that the tenure of Ahmad Jarba is over.The opposition group is said to be under pressure as the Syrian National Council, one of the largest formations within the SNC, has announced it will not take part in Geneva-2 because the embattled Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad has not taken necessary steps to free captives, stop airstrikes, and open secure corridors – conditions earlier set by the Council for participating.last_img read more

UN UnderSecretaryGeneral for Political Affairs arrives in Sri Lanka

UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, arrived in Sri Lanka today for a three-day visit. Feltman is expected to meet with a wide range of Sri Lankan leaders including the President, the Prime Minister and other senior officials of the Government of Sri Lanka, political parties and civil society groups.The visit will take place in the context of ongoing UN engagement with Sri Lanka, the UN office in Colombo said. (Colombo Gazette)

Avalanche near Kabul traps 20 cars UN reports

The UN had received a request from the Interim Authority for assistance, the spokesman said, adding that while the world body did not have relevant equipment to free or rescue the people trapped near the Salang Tunnel, a team from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) had gone to the area. There were no reports of casualties at this time and no UN vehicles or personnel were in the area at the time of the avalanche, the spokesman said.

In Afghanistan UN crime chief pledges support to combat disastrous drug trade

The Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Yury Fedotov during his meeting with Afghanistan’s political leadership also discussed how to enhance the long-standing relationship between Afghanistan and UNODC, said a press release. The Executive Director acknowledged that illicit drugs have had a “disastrous” impact on the country. According to UNODC, Afghanistan suffers one of the world’s highest prevalence rates for opiate use and HIV and hepatitis are widespread among injecting drug users. At present, more than one million Afghans are drug dependent. Poppy cultivation and production have also increased rapidly in Afghanistan in recent years. There has, however, been progress, most notably in the capacity of local authorities to counter drug trafficking, corruption, money laundering and terrorism, as well as the provision of essential drug treatment and rehabilitation services. Afghanistan has also worked hard on its engagement with neighbouring countries. UNODC will continue to use its integrated country and regional programmes to focus on illicit financial flows, to undertake research and analysis of the problem and to offer strong technical support to government bodies.But it was also recognized that any successful response must be regional and international in its scope and ambition, and connected to the country’s social and economic development, the statement said. read more

Students encouraged to get talking about mental health

first_imgSTUDENTS ARE BEING encouraged to talk to each other about their mental health as part of the Union of Students in Ireland’s (USI) More Talk, More Action campaign.They had former rugby star and mental health advocate Alan Quinlan on board to help launch the campaign, which is run in partnership with Lyons Tea, See Change and St Patrick’s Mental Health Services.The campaign sees thousands of Chats for Change packs being distributed across college campuses nationwide. Containing two teabags and a banner pen with tips on how to spark the conversation around mental health and contacts for support services, it encourages students to make time and space to chat about their mental health while enjoying a cuppa.The More Talk, More Action campus tour will also roll into college campuses nationwide with a message for students to talk more about mental health and take more action for their wellbeing.It will include interactive and educational information stands and expert advice from a range of groups, as well as one-to-one consultations by St Patrick’s Mental Health Services.The More Talk More Action campus tour will visit the following locations:Monday, November 11 – NCI, DublinTuesday, November 12 – Cork IT, CorkWednesday, November 13 – NUI Maynooth, MaynoothThursday, November 14 – AIT, AthloneDenise McCarth, USI VP for Welfare, explained to TheJournal.ie that the USI runs a mental health campaign every year.In encouraging students to talk more, the USI wants them to prioritise their mental health, and take action. It’s not about being an expert, it’s about being there to listen and share.“The fact of the matter is we all know college can be such a fun and exciting time, but it is such a stressful time as well,” said McCarthy. “It sometimes can be isolating.” From moving house to exams, sexuality and relationships, there can be many different pressures on students.“We’ve seen this macho image that boys shouldn’t talk about it and girls do nothing but talk about it,” said McCarthy of the stereotypes surrounding mental health.“We want to make sure that people are aware that mental health is part of all our stories.”Read: Isolation and the lack of opportunities impacts on young peoples’ mental health in Donegal>last_img read more