Images of 1983 still give Bhajji ‘goosebumps’

first_imgHarbhajan Singh was all of three years of age when Kapil Dev held the 1983 World Cup aloft at Lord’s but the off-spinner still draws inspiration from that glorious triumph.Harbhajan Singh and Yusuf Pathan in New Delhi. APIn the Capital to join hands with a campaign against road rage and drunken driving, Harbhajan said that even though in the ensuing 27 years he has seen six World Cups, the 1983 tournament still serves as the biggest inspiration for an Indian cricketer.”Seeing Kapil paaji lift the trophy is an image ingrained in all of our minds. I have seen the reruns of that match so many times and it always gives me goosebumps,” the off-spinner told reporters here on Wednesday.To repeat the success of ‘Kapil’s Devils’ at the World Cup, Bhajji believes the key for India will be the explosive opening combination of Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag.”There is no doubt that they are great players and I think if they stay at the crease for the first 15 overs, it will be very difficult for the opposition to come back into the match,” he said.Asked about India’s combination for the quadrennial mega event, Harbhajan said it may not be the best team out there but he was still a good side. “It is wonderful to have a lot of options in the team. We have got different types of spinners. We have (Ravichandran) Ashwin who performed well in the IPL and leg-spinner Piyush Chawla brings variation into the attack. We have great seamers too and the batting can chase down any target. If we just focus on our processes, we should have a good outing,” he said.advertisementHarbhajan has always been a feisty character but he believes comparing sledging to a serious issue like road rage is ridiculous.”Sledging is part and parcel of the game. It just adds a bit of momentum to the game and, as a cricketer, we don’t carry anything off the field. Road rage is quite harmful and it hurts you for life,” he said. He even claimed that neither he nor his India teammates drink.Looking beyond the World Cup, Bhajji will be sharing a dressing room with Andrew Symonds for the Indian Premier League Mumbai Indians, and believes the ‘Monkeygate’ scandal that brought bad blood between them is a thing of the past.”I am looking forward to winning the IPL along with him,” Harbhajan said, guardedly adding: “What Symonds has done with his career is his personal choice and I don’t want to talk about any individuals.”Though he was surrounded by the media during his short stay at the event, Harbhajan did find time to thank Indian fans. “I salute all those who are supporting us. With their good wishes, hopefully, we will do well in the World Cup,” he said.last_img read more

Pentagon Lifts Hiring Freeze on Civilian Workers

first_imgThe Defense Department has rescinded a civilian hiring freeze for the office of the secretary of defense (OSD), defense agencies and field activities that applied to all vacant positions.The department lifted the freeze, which went into effect March 20, after all organizations finished transferring their personnel records to a central manpower tracking system that provides officials a clearer picture of staffing levels, reported Defense News. The change was needed as the Pentagon imposes a 25 percent reduction in funding for fiscal years 2017 to 2020 on major DOD headquarters activities.OSD is planning to eliminate 309 positions by FY 2020, said DOD spokesman Eric Badger. Of those positions, 243 currently are filled.“We continue to expect the vast majority of impacted workers, upwards of 96 percent, will be placed in other jobs or take voluntary actions, such as an early retirement or separation incentive payments,” Badger said of those workers. The issue of headquarters reductions should remain on the front burner as Senate Armed Services Chair John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Defense Secretary Ash Carter focus on reforming the department, according to the story. Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img read more

Breakthrough in bringing back Bangabandhu murder convicts

first_imgDhaka has made certain breakthroughs in the process of bringing back death-row convicts of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman murder case, law minister Anisul Huq has indicated.Diplomats in Washington said on Monday that the United States government has ‘some interest’ in extraditing AM Rashed Chowdhury, one of such convicts who is now living there under political asylum.The government of Bangladesh has started the communication process to bring back two more convicts after being certain that Shariful Haque Dalim is staying in Spain and Moslem Uddin in Germany.However, Canada, a country which opposes death penalty, refuses to hand over another convict in the Bangabandhu murder case – Noor Chowdhury.Dhaka does not know where two others – Khandaker Abdur Rashid and Abdul Mazed – are currently living, foreign ministry officials admit.The law minister told Prothom Alo earlier on 2 August that, “Death penalty has not been abolished in the US. So, the US has no point why AM Rashed Chowdhury shall not be extradited… What I can say is that there has been certain breakthroughs in the process.”On extradition of Noor Chowdhury from Canada, Anisul Huq, a lawyer by profession, said that they have continued discussions with Canada.Anisul Huq is the head of the taskforce the government earlier formed to bring back the convicts of the murder case of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who was killed on 15 August 1975 in a coup d’etat.Foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali, during his visit to US in February of 2015, requested Washington to extradite Rashed Chowdhury. Three months later, a US legal consultancy firm named Skadden LLP was hired to expedite the process of extradition of Rashed Chowdhury.Former president Barack Obama’s law consultant Gregory Craig, now representing the firm, is monitoring the case. He and his colleagues had held a series of meetings with the officials of US departments including the state department and the homeland security. The matter was brought to the attention of the then US attorney general Stuart Bruce.Following foreign minister Mahmood Ali’s request to the US law office last year for extraditing Rashed Chowdhury, Skadden LLP informed Dhaka that the US is positive about extraditing Rashed Chowdhury.In June 2007, the US government sent back another convict in the case KM Mohiuddin, who failed to get political asylum, and who had already been executed.When asked about progress in bringing back Moslem Uddin, Bangladesh ambassador to Berlin Imtiaz Ahmed declined to make any comment.Also, Bangladesh ambassador to Madrid, Hasan Mahmud Khandaker did not make any comment on Dalim’s stay in Spain.Both Germany and Spain have already abolished the death penalty as punitive measure for serious offence.Foreign ministry officials in Dhaka said  Canada has not yet completed the pre-risk removal assessment of possible extradition of Noor Chowdhury although the Canadian high court rejected his appeal for political asylum.A three-member Bangladesh delegation held discussion with Canadian authorities in April about forming a taskforce for bringing him back. The two sides may hold talks again in December.Abdur Rashid, a key convict, is believed to have been staying in Islamabad. Dhaka has sought information from Islamabad about his stay in Pakistan. No reply came in this regard till date.The government is yet to trace the whereabouts of Abdul Mazed.*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Rabiul Islam.last_img read more

Sri Lanka imposes state of emergency over attacks

first_imgSecurity personnel stand guard outside St. Anthony`s Shrine in Colombo on 23 April two days after the church was hit in a series of bomb blasts targeting churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka. Photo: AFPSri Lanka on Tuesday imposed a state of emergency hours after the government blamed a local Islamist group for a series of suicide bomb blasts that killed at least 290 people, including dozens of foreigners.Twenty-four people have been arrested over the coordinated Easter Sunday assault on multiple churches and hotels in the capital Colombo and beyond, authorities said.The carnage — which also left some 500 people injured — was the worst atrocity since the South Asian country’s civil war ended a decade ago.The attacks were also the worst ever against Sri Lanka’s small Christian minority, who make up just seven percent of the country’s population of 21 million.Investigators are now hunting for clues on whether the National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ) group received “international support”, said cabinet minister and government spokesman Rajitha Senaratne.The spokesman added that it was not possible for such “a small organisation” to carry out such well coordinated suicide strikes.The state of emergency, which gave police and the military special powers to counter militant strikes, came into force at midnight (1830 GMT Monday). Suspects can be detained without a court order.The country was already observing a second straight night-time curfew since the attacks.Officials are also investigating why more precautions were not taken after an April 11 warning from Sri Lanka’s police that a “foreign intelligence agency” had reported the NTJ planned suicide attacks on churches.Senaratne said that warning was not passed on to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe or other top ministers.”Intelligence sections have reported that there are international terror groups which are behind local terrorists,” President Maithripala Sirisena’s office said in a statement.Sirisena was due to meet with foreign diplomats on Tuesday “to seek international assistance to combat terrorism”, his office said.- Toll mounts, tensions high -Tensions remained high, with a bomb detonating as police prepared to defuse it near one of the targeted churches. Although there was a powerful blast, no injuries were reported.Police also found 87 bomb detonators at a Colombo bus station.The toll rose dramatically Monday to at least 290 dead.A police source told AFP that at least 37 foreigners were killed, while the tourism minister put that figure at 39 and the foreign ministry said there were 31 foreigners among the fatalities.That number was likely to shift again, as the United States reported at least four Americans killed — including a young student — and the Netherlands raised their toll to three.A Danish billionaire lost three of his children in the attacks, a spokesman for his company said.The death toll also included eight Britons, eight Indians and nationals from Turkey, Australia, France, Japan and Portugal, according to Sri Lankan officials and foreign governments.Several of those killed were dual nationals.The suicide bombers hit three Colombo luxury hotels popular with foreign tourists — the Cinnamon Grand, the Shangri-La and the Kingsbury — and three churches: two in the Colombo region and one in the eastern city of Batticaloa.Two additional blasts were triggered as security forces carried out raids searching for suspects.Interpol said it was deploying investigators and specialists to Sri Lanka, and the US State Department warned of possible further attacks in a travel advisory.”This is America’s fight, too,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters in Washington.- Memories of civil war -Ethnic and religious violence has plagued Sri Lanka for decades, with a 37-year conflict with Tamil rebels followed by an upswing in recent years in clashes between the Buddhist majority and Muslims.A memorial service and funeral were to be held Tuesday at St Sebastian’s church in Negombo, north of Colombo, where more than 100 people were killed Sunday.Among the dead were friends of 16-year-old Primasha Fernando, who was at her home nearby when the suicide bomber struck.”When I got to the church, there were people crying and screaming,” she told AFP.”I saw bodies everywhere,” she added in tears. “I saw parents carrying their dead babies.”At a government morgue in Colombo, relatives endured the gruesome task of identifying their loved ones.Janaka Shaktivel, 28, father of an 18-month-old son, sat in shock outside the building waiting for the body of his wife to be handed over.He said he escaped the blast at St Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo because the baby had started crying and he had to go outside.”I recognised her body from the wedding ring that she always wore,” he said. “I have no words to explain my feelings.”Two leading Muslim groups issued statements condemning the attacks, with the All Ceylon Jamiyaathuul Ulama, a council of Muslim theologians, urging the “maximum punishment for everyone involved in these dastardly acts.”The attacks drew global condemnation, including from US President Donald Trump and the pope.last_img