Former India captain Ajit Wadekar dies aged 77

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Aug
16

Ajit Wadekar, who led India to historic series wins in the West Indies and England in 1971, has died at the age of 77. He had been suffering from a prolonged illness.

Wadekar, an aggressive left-hand batsman and an excellent catcher in the slips, played 37 Tests, scoring 2113 runs at an average of 31.07. His one century, a match-winning 143 at Wellington, came during India’s 1967-68 tour of New Zealand, where they won a series away from home for the very first time.

It was a time when India, led by Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, were growing into a genuine force in world cricket. And it was Wadekar who, with Pataudi sitting out the tour of the West Indies in 1970-71, took over the captaincy, thanks to the casting vote of Vijay Merchant, the chairman of selectors.

Fuelled by the batting exploits of Dilip Sardesai and the debutant Sunil Gavaskar, India would go on to clinch a 1-0 victory over Sir Garfield Sobers’ side. When they followed that up with another 1-0 win in England, inspired by BS Chandrasekhar’s 6 for 38 at The Oval, many considered India unofficial world champions.

Another series win, against England at home in 1972-73, burnished Wadekar’s standing as captain, but the end, when it came, was swift and cruel – a 3-0 series loss on the 1974 tour of England, which included the infamous 42 all out – still India’s lowest-ever Test total – at Lord’s. Sacked as captain after the tour, Wadekar announced his retirement.

In later years, Wadekar served as India’s first ever official head coach, taking over in 1992 and overseeing a four-year period in which they were dominant on spinning tracks at home, memorably blanking England 3-0 in 1992-93. In December 2011, the BCCI conferred him with the CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award.

Whats Popular Today Wed 15 Aug

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Aug
15

Safaree, Wisconsin primary, Zion Williamson, …

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Hospitals scrap surgeries, Venezuelans forgo showers as taps run dry

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Aug
15

CARACAS (Reuters) – At one of Caracas’ biggest public hospitals, most bathrooms are closed. Patients fill jugs from a tiny tap on the ground floor that sometimes has a trickle of water. Operations are postponed or cancelled.

The Central Venezuelan University hospital, once a Latin American leader, is reeling as taps run dry.

“I have gone to the operation bloc and opened the tap to wash my hands, as you must do before a surgery, and nothing comes out,” said gynaecologist Lina Figueria.

Water cuts are the latest addition to a long list of woes for Venezuelans hurting from a fifth year of an economic crisis that has sparked malnutrition, hyperinflation and emigration.

Malfunctions in the capital’s water network due to lack of maintenance have taken a turn for the worst in recent months, depriving many in this city of 3 million people of regular running water.

Caracas is nestled in a verdant valley perched at around 900 meters (2,953 feet) and its water is pumped from much lower sources. But the pumps have not been maintained, spare parts are scarce and President Nicolas Maduro’s administration is short of cash.

“For many years this deterioration process was not noticeable. But now the water transport systems are very damaged,” said Jose De Viana, former president of Hidrocapital, the state-run utility in charge of Caracas’ water supply.

Venezuela’s socialist government typically says water cuts are due to sabotage by right-wing “terrorists.”

Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez in July announced a “special plan” to fix the issues, but did not provide details. The Information Ministry and Hidrocapital did not respond to a request for information.

Lack of water – and taps that sometimes spurt out brown liquid – have triggered health concerns in a country lacking basic antibiotics and vaccines.

About 75 percent of Caracas residents said they do not receive water regularly, according to a survey published by two Venezuelan non-governmental organizations this month. Around 11 percent said they thought dirty water had caused skin and stomach problems. The survey does not have comparative figures.

Medical consequences are hard to gauge as the Health Ministry no longer releases once-weekly data, but doctors say scabies and diarrhoea are on the rise.

Water shortages have also made some basic daily activities untenable. Poor residents say they take fewer showers.

In the low-income neighbourhood of Catia, university professor Mariangela Gonzalez, 64, has 127 bottles, gas containers and pots clogging the entrance to her house.

“When the water comes on, we have to run,” said Gonzalez.

Slideshow (4 Images)

Writing by Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by Dan Grebler

‘Manto’ trailer: Nawazuddin at his best

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Aug
15

Refrain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks, name calling or inciting hatred against any community. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines by marking them offensive. Let’s work together to keep the conversation civil.

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This day in Engadget history: The iPhone jailbreak era begins

Posted Posted by Admin in News     Comments Comments Off on This day in Engadget history: The iPhone jailbreak era begins
Aug
15

Back in 2007, however, the walled garden of Apple’s ecosystem was firmly in place; there wasn’t even an App Store to go find third-party apps in. On July 19, 2007 — just a few weeks after the iPhone launch — a hacker called “Nightwatch” compiled and launched the iPhone’s first third-party app, a “Hello World” program. A typical first program on any computing platform, the app didn’t do much but display those words. It did, however, usher in a whole new era of “jailbreaking” iPhones, along with app repositories like Cydia and the like.

So, whenever you bemoan Apple’s fierce gatekeeping around the apps it allows on the iOS App Store, remember it wasn’t that long ago when there weren’t any at all. And pour one out for Nightwatch, the one who started it all.

South Africa have made ‘huge strides’ as an ODI team

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Aug
15

It has been a weird tour for South Africa. In the Tests, they were more abject than anyone could have imagined, crash-landing in Galle where they slumped to 73 all out – their worst total since readmission – before being soundly thrashed in Colombo as well. Now in the final match of the tour, they have collected another worst-ever total, dismissed for 98 in the one-off T20I at Khettarama. In between though, there were rollicking ODI wins, and a real sense of depth to their one-day squad, as they surged clinically to three straight wins, before taking their foot off the pedal for the dead rubbers.

Out of eight matches in Sri Lanka, South Africa won only three games, and yet, even though that reads like a poor result, it could actually have been worse, said T20I captain JP Duminy. At least on this trip to South Asia there were some reasons to smile. That hasn’t always been the case at the end of tours to this part of the world.

“I don’t think we’re walking away from Sri Lanka with negativity,” Duminy said. “I think there’s a lot of positives. I’ve certainly experienced many tours of the subcontinent when you walk away with your head in your hands not knowing where your next run or next wicket is going to come from. Yes there’s disappointment about the Test series, but from a one-day perspective, we’ve taken huge strides in my opinion. I’m excited by the brand of cricket we’re trying to adopt. I believe we can only get better.”

Perhaps the biggest of South Africa’s “positives” is the state of their spin stocks. They left the tried-and-true Imran Tahir out of the limited-overs squads, in order to test out the other talent, and they could hardly have hoped for better returns from the younger slow bowlers. Left-arm wristspinner Tabraiz Shamsi was excellent in the three ODIs he played, taking six wickets at an average of 23.00, with an economy rate of less than five. He was also good in the T20I, where his two late wickets came close to turning the game in South Africa’s favour. Keshav Maharaj, meanwhile, had been outstanding in the Test series, finishing as the equal-highest wicket-taker with 16 dismissals at an average of 24.37. Add Tahir back into the mix, and South Africa’s spin stocks have perhaps never been so healthy.

“Tabraiz is an exciting prospect for South African cricket and he’s a wicket-taker,” Duminy said. “If you look at Imran Tahir who’s been a match-winner for us for many years, to have another one coming through now, it’s fantastic. Even Keshav Maharaj has been a match-winner for South Africa. That’s exciting to see for our spin department. Spin coach Claude Henderson has played a big role in that, working with the spinners. It’s exciting to see them put their hands up in these conditions.”

Given this is South Africa – a team that for much of its history has been modest in the spin-bowling department – it is strange to consider that they could bowl two frontline wristspinners in tandem in one-day cricket. Sri Lanka’s batsmen were not adept at picking Shamsi through the course of the one-dayers, and have often floundered against Tahir. India have taken to fielding a legspinner – Yuzvendra Chahal – and a left-arm wristspinner – Kuldeep Yadav – regularly in their ODI XI, even in places like England. South Africa now also have the option.

“The opportunity to pick both of them is exciting,” Duminy said. “If you have conditions similar to Sri Lanka, or even English conditions – that’s where the World Cup is going to be – that’s a good option to have, if you know that the opposition doesn’t necessarily play spin well. It’s definitely a great feather in our cap.”

They were woeful in the Tests, but in one-dayers at least, South Africa can leave Sri Lanka confident that they are closer to firming up a good World Cup squad.

Whats Popular Today Tue 14 Aug

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Aug
14

Bethenny Frankel Dennis Shields, John McCain, …

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Afghan forces say regaining control of much of besieged city

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Aug
14

KABUL (Reuters) – Afghan troops backed by U.S forces gained control of most of the embattled city of Ghazni on Tuesday, officials said, while a Taliban attack in another province raised new questions about Afghanistan’s defences against the insurgency.

After five days of fighting, Ghazni, a strategically vital centre two hours from Kabul on the main highway between the capital and southern Afghanistan was a city of burned-out buildings and vehicles with bodies lying in the streets.

Local officials had been warning for months that the Taliban’s growing control over surrounding districts had left Ghazni vulnerable to attack and President Ashraf Ghani faced bitter accusations over the failure to protect the city.

The government has faced accusations of incompetence, neglect and complacency, as well as anger at its repeated assurances that the Taliban attack had failed, even while hundreds of fighters were roaming at will through the city.

“The government knew about Ghazni very long ago and did little to protect it. “All we heard from officials were lies and deceit and the people know this,” said Etemadi, who added that fighting was still going on.

The assault, which shocked the country, raises fresh questions over parliamentary elections scheduled for Oct. 20 as well as over hopes for peace talks with the Taliban, which had grown following a three-day truce in June.

A senior Taliban official said the attack on a strategic city so close to the capital was intended as a demonstration that the insurgents held the upper hand on the battlefield, which would strengthen their position in talks.

“We wanted to convey a message to the Americans, their allies and the puppet government in Afghanistan that if we want, we can target them anytime and anywhere,” he said.

Hundreds of people have been killed and wounded in the fighting, some of the heaviest seen in Afghanistan since the Taliban seized the northern city of Kunduz in 2015.

Government officials said nearly 100 members of the security forces have been killed while the U.S. military said it had carried out more than 30 air strikes that had killed more than 220 Taliban since Friday.

There have been no reliable estimates of civilian casualties but the city’s hospitals have been overwhelmed.

“Bodies of Taliban fighters and police can be seen in the streets. I saw two bodies that were eaten by dogs,” said Abdul Hakim Sulaimankhel, 37, who owns an auto parts shop in Ghazni.

He said shops and a big carpet market had been burned out and a neighbour’s granddaughter had died of illness because her family could not take her to hospital.

“There is no bread and shops have all been destroyed. It will take months for it all to be rebuilt,” he said.

ATTACK IN NORTH

“The Taliban, who falsely and repeatedly claim that they do not target civilians, have executed innocents, destroyed homes, burned a market and created the conditions for a potential humanitarian crisis with this attack,” Lt. Col. Martin O’Donnell, spokesman for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan.

He said some Taliban fighters remained in the city but did not pose a threat and clearing operations were underway by Afghan forces.

While the security forces appeared to reassert control over Ghazni, the Taliban attacked and seized large parts of an army base in the northern province of Faryab, killing at least 10 soldiers and capturing dozens over two days of clashes, officials said.

Mohammad Tahir Rahmani, head of the Faryab provincial council, said the insurgents had seized tanks and ammunition.

“We have not been able to enter the base. Large parts of it are still under the Taliban control,” Rahmani said.

Another official in Faryab said the Taliban had captured 40 soldiers, while 30 militants had been killed.

The Taliban are fighting to expel foreign forces, topple the government and impose their version of hardline Islamic law 17 years after they were ousted by U.S.-backed forces.

The fighting has underlined the struggle security forces have been facing to confront the insurgents, who have steadily extended their control over the countryside even though they have been unable to take and hold a major city.

Western diplomats said the fighting raised questions about the viability of the U.S. strategy to end the war, which for the past year has focused on pressing the militants, largely with more air strikes, to force them to the negotiating table.

An unprecedented three-day truce during the Eid al-Fitr holiday in June and a meeting between a senior U.S. diplomat and Taliban representatives in Doha had raised hopes of further moves but the fighting in Ghazni had dampened optimism.

“The Taliban are asserting themselves on the battlefield even as U.S. officials talk of hopes for peace. War and peace talks cannot happen together,” said one diplomat in Kabul.

Ghazni parliamentarian Chaman Shah Etemadi said the events in Ghazni would destroy confidence in a government which had proved incapable of providing security.

Slideshow (5 Images)

“It doesn’t make much difference if government troops secure full control of Ghazni, it is a disaster – destruction, burned out buildings and panic,” he said. It will be impossible to encourage people to take part in democratic processes like elections.”

Additional reporting by Jibran Ahmad in PESHAWAR; Ahmad Sultan, Writing by Rupam Jain and James Mackenzie; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore, Robert Birsel, Richard Balmforth

Afghan forces say regaining control of much of besieged city

Posted Posted by Admin in News     Comments Comments Off on Afghan forces say regaining control of much of besieged city
Aug
14

KABUL (Reuters) – Afghan troops backed by U.S forces gained control of most of the embattled city of Ghazni on Tuesday, officials said, while a Taliban attack in another province raised new questions about Afghanistan’s defences against the insurgency.

After five days of fighting, Ghazni, a strategically vital centre two hours from Kabul on the main highway between the capital and southern Afghanistan was a city of burned-out buildings and vehicles with bodies lying in the streets.

Local officials had been warning for months that the Taliban’s growing control over surrounding districts had left Ghazni vulnerable to attack and President Ashraf Ghani faced bitter accusations over the failure to protect the city.

The government has faced accusations of incompetence, neglect and complacency, as well as anger at its repeated assurances that the Taliban attack had failed, even while hundreds of fighters were roaming at will through the city.

“The government knew about Ghazni very long ago and did little to protect it. “All we heard from officials were lies and deceit and the people know this,” said Etemadi, who added that fighting was still going on.

The assault, which shocked the country, raises fresh questions over parliamentary elections scheduled for Oct. 20 as well as over hopes for peace talks with the Taliban, which had grown following a three-day truce in June.

A senior Taliban official said the attack on a strategic city so close to the capital was intended as a demonstration that the insurgents held the upper hand on the battlefield, which would strengthen their position in talks.

“We wanted to convey a message to the Americans, their allies and the puppet government in Afghanistan that if we want, we can target them anytime and anywhere,” he said.

Hundreds of people have been killed and wounded in the fighting, some of the heaviest seen in Afghanistan since the Taliban seized the northern city of Kunduz in 2015.

Government officials said nearly 100 members of the security forces have been killed while the U.S. military said it had carried out more than 30 air strikes that had killed more than 220 Taliban since Friday.

There have been no reliable estimates of civilian casualties but the city’s hospitals have been overwhelmed.

“Bodies of Taliban fighters and police can be seen in the streets. I saw two bodies that were eaten by dogs,” said Abdul Hakim Sulaimankhel, 37, who owns an auto parts shop in Ghazni.

He said shops and a big carpet market had been burned out and a neighbour’s granddaughter had died of illness because her family could not take her to hospital.

“There is no bread and shops have all been destroyed. It will take months for it all to be rebuilt,” he said.

ATTACK IN NORTH

“The Taliban, who falsely and repeatedly claim that they do not target civilians, have executed innocents, destroyed homes, burned a market and created the conditions for a potential humanitarian crisis with this attack,” Lt. Col. Martin O’Donnell, spokesman for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan.

He said some Taliban fighters remained in the city but did not pose a threat and clearing operations were underway by Afghan forces.

While the security forces appeared to reassert control over Ghazni, the Taliban attacked and seized large parts of an army base in the northern province of Faryab, killing at least 10 soldiers and capturing dozens over two days of clashes, officials said.

Mohammad Tahir Rahmani, head of the Faryab provincial council, said the insurgents had seized tanks and ammunition.

“We have not been able to enter the base. Large parts of it are still under the Taliban control,” Rahmani said.

Another official in Faryab said the Taliban had captured 40 soldiers, while 30 militants had been killed.

The Taliban are fighting to expel foreign forces, topple the government and impose their version of hardline Islamic law 17 years after they were ousted by U.S.-backed forces.

The fighting has underlined the struggle security forces have been facing to confront the insurgents, who have steadily extended their control over the countryside even though they have been unable to take and hold a major city.

Western diplomats said the fighting raised questions about the viability of the U.S. strategy to end the war, which for the past year has focused on pressing the militants, largely with more air strikes, to force them to the negotiating table.

An unprecedented three-day truce during the Eid al-Fitr holiday in June and a meeting between a senior U.S. diplomat and Taliban representatives in Doha had raised hopes of further moves but the fighting in Ghazni had dampened optimism.

“The Taliban are asserting themselves on the battlefield even as U.S. officials talk of hopes for peace. War and peace talks cannot happen together,” said one diplomat in Kabul.

Ghazni parliamentarian Chaman Shah Etemadi said the events in Ghazni would destroy confidence in a government which had proved incapable of providing security.

Slideshow (5 Images)

“It doesn’t make much difference if government troops secure full control of Ghazni, it is a disaster – destruction, burned out buildings and panic,” he said. It will be impossible to encourage people to take part in democratic processes like elections.”

Additional reporting by Jibran Ahmad in PESHAWAR; Ahmad Sultan, Writing by Rupam Jain and James Mackenzie; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore, Robert Birsel, Richard Balmforth

Salman takes on the camera on sets of ‘Bharat’

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Aug
14

Ali Abbas Zafar’s ‘Bharat’ has been grabbing headlines ever since it was announced. First it was in the news for its lead pair, which was originally supposed to be Salman Khan and Priyanka Chopra. However, later it was confirmed by the filmmaker himself that PeeCee has quit the project owing to some personal reasons, which gave rise to rumours of the global icon getting married to her rumoured beau Nick Jonas.

Post all these speculations, it was revealed that Priyanka opted out of ‘Bharat’, as she has been signed for the Hollywood film, ‘Cowboy Ninja Viking’ opposite Chris Pratt. However, after the initial confusion of Priyanka’s decision, everything ended well when Katrina Kaif stepped into her shoes.

After the finalising of the cast, the shooting of ‘Bharat’ has finally kicked off with the wrapping first leg of schedule in Mumbai. Now, Salman Khan has landed in Malta where he will be shooting for the second schedule.

Salman took to his social media to share a picture of him in the picturesque country and captioned it as, “Starting the shooting schedule of #Bharat in Malta, lovely country.”

This day in Engadget history: The iPhone jailbreak era begins

Posted Posted by Admin in News     Comments Comments Off on This day in Engadget history: The iPhone jailbreak era begins
Aug
14

Back in 2007, however, the walled garden of Apple’s ecosystem was firmly in place; there wasn’t even an App Store to go find third-party apps in. On July 19, 2007 — just a few weeks after the iPhone launch — a hacker called “Nightwatch” compiled and launched the iPhone’s first third-party app, a “Hello World” program. A typical first program on any computing platform, the app didn’t do much but display those words. It did, however, usher in a whole new era of “jailbreaking” iPhones, along with app repositories like Cydia and the like.

So, whenever you bemoan Apple’s fierce gatekeeping around the apps it allows on the iOS App Store, remember it wasn’t that long ago when there weren’t any at all. And pour one out for Nightwatch, the one who started it all.

James Anderson ‘could play until he is 40’

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Aug
14

James Anderson could keep on bowling at his best in Test cricket until he is 40, according to England’s head coach Trevor Bayliss, in the wake of Anderson’s starring role in the second Test win over India at Lord’s on Sunday.

Anderson, 36, cemented his place at the top of the ICC World Rankings with a match haul of 9 for 43, and in attaining a career-high points total of 903, he became the first England bowler since Ian Botham in 1980 to cross the 900 mark.

In so doing, he helped carry England to their third Test win in a row this summer, and a 2-0 lead over an Indian team whose highest score of the match was R Ashwin’s second-innings 33 not out.

None of Anderson’s opponents looked remotely comfortable against his relentless combination of high-class swing and seam and probing line and length, and asked if he was surprised that England’s attack leader was maintaining such high standards even after his 36th birthday, Bayliss admitted that yes, he had been somewhat taken aback.

“If you compare him with other bowlers around the world, yeah,” he said. “A lot of other bowlers do start to drop off in their mid-thirties or so. It’s only the very, very best that are able to keep it going. I think he’s showing that he is the very, very best.

“He’s not just good when the conditions suit him, but in these conditions he’s the best in the world. It’s a test for any batsman in the world to try to face him in these conditions.”

Anderson was already 33 when Bayliss took charge of England’s fortunes in the summer of 2015, and he might therefore have expected to be overseeing a changing of the guard among England’s new-ball bowlers. But in Anderson’s case in particular, the economy of his approach to the wicket, coupled with the careful management of a bowler who has not played in white-ball cricket since the 2015 World Cup, has given the impression that he could go on forever.

“I don’t think there’s any age [when he’s too old],” said Bayliss. “He’s fit and keeps himself fit. As long as he keeps his body fit there’s no reason why he can’t go on for three or four years.

“Let’s wait and see! He keeps surprising everyone. At the moment, the last 12-18 months, he has had a shoulder problem, but at the moment he seems to have got over that pretty well and he just bowls and bowls and bowls. Hopefully that continues for a few years yet.”

It wasn’t just Anderson among England’s bowlers who thrived in the swinging conditions at Lord’s, however. Stuart Broad enjoyed a four-wicket burst to break open India’s second innings, while Chris Woakes was named Man of the Match after capping a superb performance with the ball with his maiden Test hundred.

For a man not given to overt shows of emotion, Bayliss’s reaction to Woakes’ hundred was notably effusive, and he admitted afterwards that he had been particularly pleased for one of the genuine nice guys of world cricket.

“Woakesy is one of those guys who is very well respected in the team,” Bayliss said. “He has done a lot of hard yards, not just with the ball but with the bat over the last few years too. He’s a lovely bloke, and one of those guys who everyone genuinely wants to do well, so to see him go out there and do so well when we thought we were in a bit of trouble, to go and play the way he did with Jonny [Bairstow] was fantastic, and the boys were very happy for him.”

Woakes had only stepped into the starting XI due to Ben Stokes’ ongoing court case in Bristol, and Bayliss admitted that the manner in which he had taken his chance in the side could prove to be the making of him as a Test cricketer.

“After Anderson and Broad, who put so much pressure on the opposition, there could be a bit of relaxation, ‘awh good, they’re off’, but the other guy who comes on is just as good in these conditions. He might catch a few off guard, but I thought he bowled beautifully in this game. His command of line and length with some away swing was fantastic.”

However, Bayliss also cautioned that the real challenge for Woakes – as with many of England’s players – would come overseas.

“There’s no reason why he can’t [succeed],” he said. “Lord’s would have to be his favourite ground, and the challenge for him is away from home, as it is for a lot of the boys, being able to do that away from home. At the moment we are playing at home and we look forward to some more success.

“When the ball is swinging around [India] have some difficulties, as it is when it’s spinning and we go to the subcontinent. It’s a challenge for any team to play in conditions you’re not used to and some of them are struggling a little bit. They have some extremely good players so our job is to try and stay on top.”

Whats Popular Today Mon 13 Aug

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Aug
13

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Afghanistan sends special forces to beef up defence of threatened city

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Aug
13

KABUL (Reuters) – Afghan security forces backed by U.S. advisers and air strikes fought on Monday to drive Taliban fighters out of the embattled city of Ghazni, where hundreds of people have been killed or wounded during four days of fighting.

The Taliban attack on Ghazni, a strategic centre on the main highway linking the capital Kabul with southern Afghanistan, is a blow to President Ashraf Ghani weeks before parliamentary elections are due and dampens hopes of a start to peace talks.

The insurgents seized control of the districts of Khawaja Omari north of the city and Ajrestan in the west, with officials saying dozens of Afghan security forces were killed or missing.

However Interior Minister Wais Barmak said the situation had improved by Monday afternoon, with reinforcements pressing the city’s last pocket of Taliban resistance.

“Afghan forces are in complete control of the city,” he told a news conference in Kabul.

Diplomats in Kabul said the government had admitted being taken by surprise by the attack and after days with minimal public comment from the presidential palace, Ghani announced on Twitter that reinforcements would be sent urgently.

Afghan officials said U.S. special forces units were on the ground helping to coordinate air strikes and ground operations and the U.S. military said its aircraft had launched two dozen air strikes since Friday.

“U.S. advisers are assisting the Afghan forces and U.S. airpower has delivered decisive blows to the Taliban, killing more than 140 since August 10,” said Lt Col Martin O’Donnell, the spokesman for U.S Forces-Afghanistan.

The Afghan government controls Ghazni, he said, adding there was no threat of collapse from “isolated and disparate” Taliban forces, with Highway 1, the main route from Kabul, open.

“That said, clearing operations are ongoing and sporadic clashes with the Taliban, particularly outside the city, continue,” he said.

The fighting fuelled an increasingly fevered political atmosphere ahead of October’s parliamentary elections, as concern grows over potential security threats from the Taliban and other armed groups.

As the battle raged in Ghazni, a suicide bomber in Kabul detonated explosives near the office of the independent election commission, where dozens of protesters had gathered, killing at least one police officer and wounding another, said a security official who sought anonymity.

The protesters had turned out in support of a parliamentary candidate disqualified by electoral officials over suspected links with illegal armed groups, as barred lawmakers encourage protests to disrupt the panel’s activities.

DESTRUCTION

News from Ghazni remains patchy and incomplete four days after the insurgents launched their assault on Friday, with communications hit after fighting destroyed most of the city’s telecoms masts.

But people escaping the city have described widespread destruction and bloodshed and Afghanistan’s largest television station, Tolo News, broadcast shaky phone footage showing fires apparently raging across the blacked-out centre.

Details of casualties were confused. Barmak said 70 police were killed in the fighting, while a security official earlier said about 100 soldiers and police had been killed.

The official said the Taliban suffered heavy casualties including about 50 fighters killed by an air strike on Sunday.

The number of civilian casualties was unknown but people fleeing the city have described bodies lying in the streets and aid groups said hospitals were struggling to cope with the wounded.

“Medication at the main hospital is reportedly becoming scarce and people are unable to safely bring casualties for treatment,” Dr. Rik Peeperkorn, the acting U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan, said in a statement.

The attack on Ghazni, the Taliban’s heaviest blow since they came close to overrunning the western city of Farah in May, has hit hopes of peace spawned by a surprise three-day truce during June’s Eid al-Fitr holiday.

“Clearly the Taliban have paid no heed to the Afghan people’s calls for them to reconcile and join the peace process,” O’Donnell said.

Officials said Taliban fighters in residential areas knocked down walls to ease movement and make the security forces’ task of targeting them harder.

Slideshow (4 Images)

“The militants know our forces will not attack civilians, so they are using young men as human shields to walk around the city and set buildings on fire,” said one official in Kabul.

Editing by James Mackenzie and Clarence Fernandez

Kapil, Salman, Arjun have pending challans

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Aug
13

There is no denial of the fact that being a celebrity you get certain perks. And a recent report throws light on the extent of those advantages.

According to a report, vehicles belonging to Bollywood celebrities like Salman Khan, Arjun Kapoor and Kapil Sharma had been issues challans multiple times for flouting traffic rules. However, the fines still remain unpaid.

Salman Khan’s vehicle, registered under the name of his brother Arbaaz Khan’s film production company, has been reportedly fined Rs 4000 for four traffic violations this year. His family reportedly said that they did not get any intimation from the police in this regard or the fines would have been immediately paid.

As far as Kapil is concerned, he has a challan of Rs 2000 pending against him. The comedian is currently out of the city.

Arjun Kapoor, who also features in the list, has a fine of Rs 2000 pending against him. The vehicle was reportedly challaned for three cases of speeding.

Other than the celebs, many politicians and public functionaries were on that list too.

This day in Engadget history: The iPhone jailbreak era begins

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Aug
13

Back in 2007, however, the walled garden of Apple’s ecosystem was firmly in place; there wasn’t even an App Store to go find third-party apps in. On July 19, 2007 — just a few weeks after the iPhone launch — a hacker called “Nightwatch” compiled and launched the iPhone’s first third-party app, a “Hello World” program. A typical first program on any computing platform, the app didn’t do much but display those words. It did, however, usher in a whole new era of “jailbreaking” iPhones, along with app repositories like Cydia and the like.

So, whenever you bemoan Apple’s fierce gatekeeping around the apps it allows on the iOS App Store, remember it wasn’t that long ago when there weren’t any at all. And pour one out for Nightwatch, the one who started it all.

Joe Root cautions against complacency despite India’s disarray

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Aug
13

England may be 2-0 up in the series after a resounding victory over India. They may have dominated the entire Indian batting line-up apart from Virat Kohli. Not to mention there is a chance Kohli may not be at full strength for Trent Bridge after battling back stiffness at Lord’s.

And yet… Joe Root isn’t leading the wagon-circling just yet. That is to be expected of course. Captains are naturally cautious of prematurely blowing the victory horn, they’d rather wait until all the ladies of varying girth have packed up their vocal chords and gone home. So it was no surprise that Root was keen to play down any talk of smelling five-nil-type blood in the water after an innings victory that has left India in disarray.

“Obviously, that would be the dream – to put in five complete performances and have five wins,” said Root. “But it’s important we don’t get complacent, arrogant, or look too far ahead.

“We’re playing against the No. 1 side in the world, with some very talented players, and we have to make sure we keep looking to learn and develop.

“We’re not the finished article – we’ve got a long way to go to where we want to get to. We’re going to have to start again and work extremely hard over the next five days to win the next game.

“That’s got to be our mentality…of course, it’s a great position to be in – 2-0 up with three to go, going into Nottingham, which is a great place for us to play.

“But we’ve really got to make sure we are realistic about things. Enjoy the position we’re in, and when we get our opportunities really try to put India under pressure and drive the game forward, but not get ahead of ourselves”

The question of how to fit both Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes into one Test team is one that has hovered around the England camp for some time. Stokes’ availability for the third Test is completely out of England’s hands for now but his loss has been softened by Woakes’ Man of the Match performance – he took four wickets and made an unbeaten 137 – in his first match back from side and knee injuries.

“Ben is obviously a huge part of this squad, so it’s a miss him not being here this week,” said Root. “But what it did do was create an opportunity for Chris to come in and perform – and boy, he didn’t disappoint did he? He was outstanding.

“He’s a big part of our squad, all three formats, it’s been a frustrating summer for him, he’s been injured for a long part of it, and to get an opportunity to come in this week – the easy thing to do is get anxious, try a bit too hard, but he settled in magnificently well with that first spell in particular, then took that confidence into his batting, that partnership changed the game, turned it on its head, and got us miles ahead on that surface.

“It’s a great headache to have for us, going into next week.

“It’s nice to see guys really taking opportunities, and that’s something we really want to harness as an example to the guys in and around the squad – when you get your chance, make it as hard as possible to leave you out.

England are mindful that their own performances with the bat and in the field have hardly been blemish free in the first two Tests and Root doesn’t want his side distracted by the prospect of any changes India make as they try to salvage the series.

“We haven’t played the perfect performance yet, and that’s something we’ve got to keep striving towards, regardless of what team India have at Trent Bridge. We’ve got a place we want to get to as a side, and we have to continue to work hard to get there. It’s important we enjoy this win then we spend next couple of days getting good preparation into that third Test.”

Whats Popular Today Sun 12 Aug

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Aug
12

Mario Moreno Cantinflas, Denver Broncos, …

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Intense fighting in Afghan city Ghazni as Taliban presses

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Aug
12

KABUL (Reuters) – Taliban insurgents attacked police headquarters and other government buildings in Ghazni in central Afghanistan on Sunday and were threatening to seize control of the city, with the main highway now heavily mined, local lawmakers and residents said.

U.S. aircraft conducted at least four air strikes but details of the fighting were unclear as most of the city’s telecoms masts were destroyed in fighting over recent days.

Mohammad Sharif Yaftali, Afghan army chief of staff, said the city was not under threat of collapse and heavy fighting was underway to push back the Taliban from city limits.

“Strategic locations and centres in the city are under the control of Afghan forces and the Taliban are hiding inside people’s homes and shops and resisting,” Yaftali told reporters at a news conference in Kabul.

But lawmakers from Ghazni who managed to talk to some residents said Taliban were in control of much of the city after launching an initial attack in the early hours of Friday.

“Only the governor’s office, police headquarters and intelligence agency’s compound are in the hands of the government and Taliban are pushing to take them,” said Chaman Shah Ehtemadi, a lawmaker from Ghazni.

The attack on Ghazni, a strategic city on the main highway linking Kabul with Afghanistan’s south, was the most serious blow to the government since the insurgents came close to overrunning the western city of Farah in May.

Mohammad Rahim Hasanyar, a member of the provincial council, said heavy fighting was continuing in several areas of the city and Afghan forces were in defence mode.

“No one knows what the exact situation is because there is no communication service,” he said.

There was no confirmed word on casualties. Quoting a hospital official, Afghanistan’s 1TV television reported more than 90 members of the security forces and 13 civilians had been killed, with more than 100 wounded. It said there had also been heavy Taliban casualties.

With the highway heavily mined to prevent reinforcements from arriving, residents were largely blocked inside but some who managed to escape across fields on the city’s periphery said many government buildings were ablaze.

“There was burning and fire and dead bodies everywhere in the city,” said Abdul Wakil, a local resident who escaped told Reuters at a checkpoint into Kabul.

Short videos circulating on social media, purported to be from Ghazni, show a number of heavily armed Taliban patrolling in the city with a large plume of smoke and flames coming out from the town.

“It is over and the city is taken,” says a man standing outside his home, with several Taliban insurgents nearby.

The videos could not be independently verified by Reuters but they generated heavy commentary by social media users that underlined the shock caused by the attack.

U.S. military headquarters in Kabul said sporadic clashes were occurring and American aircraft had conducted five strikes on Saturday and four more on Sunday.

“The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces continue to hold their ground and maintain control of all government centers,” Lt Col Martin O’Donnell, U.S. Forces Afghanistan spokesman, said in an emailed statement.

The attack on Ghazni leaves the future of peace talks with the Taliban uncertain. The government had been considering a ceasefire over this month’s Eid al Adha holiday to match a similar truce during June’s Eid al Fitr holiday.

Additional reporting by Abdul Qadir Sediqi; Editing by Richard Borsuk and Mark Potter

Kapil, Salman, Arjun have pending challans

Posted Posted by Admin in News     Comments Comments Off on Kapil, Salman, Arjun have pending challans
Aug
12

There is no denial of the fact that being a celebrity you get certain perks. And a recent report throws light on the extent of those advantages.

According to a report, vehicles belonging to Bollywood celebrities like Salman Khan, Arjun Kapoor and Kapil Sharma had been issues challans multiple times for flouting traffic rules. However, the fines still remain unpaid.

Salman Khan’s vehicle, registered under the name of his brother Arbaaz Khan’s film production company, has been reportedly fined Rs 4000 for four traffic violations this year. His family reportedly said that they did not get any intimation from the police in this regard or the fines would have been immediately paid.

As far as Kapil is concerned, he has a challan of Rs 2000 pending against him. The comedian is currently out of the city.

Arjun Kapoor, who also features in the list, has a fine of Rs 2000 pending against him. The vehicle was reportedly challaned for three cases of speeding.

Other than the celebs, many politicians and public functionaries were on that list too.

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