There has always been quite a lot of hype surrounding the Indian men’s hockey team in the lead-up to major multi-nation tournaments. Expectations have been sky high but all that was based on India’s dominant past in the sport.However, ahead of the much-anticipated 14th edition of Hockey World Cup, starting November 28 at home, the hockey fraternity, including fans and pundits are unwilling to play into the hype.Let alone recent form, history certainly doesn’t favour India. Ajit Pal Singh and his men gave the Asian giants its only world title in the third edition of the global spectacle. India’s performances in the recent past at the Hockey World Cup have been far from impressive.India’s best performance since the start of the 21st century has been an eighth-place finish that they clinched during the 2010 edition of the tournament, which was held in New Delhi. India finished ninth in the last edition at The Hague, Netherlands.Hockey World Cup 2018: Full Squads | ScheduleOn the other hand, the European nations and Australia have soared higher and higher at a time when Asian giants India and the most successful team at the World Cup, Pakistan are struggling to recreate their glorious past. The Aussies are heading into the upcoming edition in Bhubaneswar, bidding to win an unprecedented third straight title.Champions Trophy 2018 winners Australia, who have been drawn alongside England, Ireland and China in Pool B start as favourites while former champions and runners-up from the last edition, Netherlands will be hoping to make an impact after being drawn in the Group of death alongside two-time champions Germany, Pakistan and the impressive Malaysian side.advertisementReigning Olympic champions Argentina will also be the ones to watch out for as the second-ranked side will be hoping to make for their poor showing at the Champions Trophy in Breda earlier this year.Also Read – India took their eye off the ball: Ric Charlesworth on decline of Indian hockey in 1990sIndia will be facing an uphill task but their immediate concern will be to qualify for the knockout stages of the 16-team tournament.Coach Harendra Singh is under some considerable pressure after the heartbreak at Asian Games wherein favourites India lost to lower-ranked Malaysia in the semi-final before settling for a bronze medal.Harendra had taken over from former coach Sjoerd Marijne after India finished a disappointing fourth. The former women’s team head coach impressed in his first assignment by leading India to a runner-up finish at the Champions Trophy wherein they beat Argentina and clinched spirited draws against Belgium and the Netherlands.However, the Asian Games disappointment has come as a hard pill to swallow.India’s inability to survive knockout games after dominating round-robin stages has been a cause of concern. In both the Champions Trophy final and the Asian Games semi-final, India were undone by their ordinary performances in the shootouts.While coach Harendra has insisted the team has worked on shootouts, it remains to be seen how India are able to handle the pressure, especially playing in front of the home crowd, which will be expecting great things from Manpreet Singh’s side.Harendra, as a coach, tasted World Cup success when he led India to the junior World Cup glory in 2016 at home – in Lucknow.To recreate the magic in Bhubaneswar, the seasoned tactician has drafted seven members from the World Cup-winning squad in India’s 18 member squad. In the absence of two of India’s most crucial senior pros – Rupinder Pal Singh and SV Sunil – India have gone in with a squad that has a good mix of experience and youth.Fifth-ranked India begin their campaign on Wednesday against lower-ranked South Africa but their first big test will be against Belgium on December 2.Harendra and his men will be eager to lay down an early marker with a win against the European heavyweights. Securing the top spot in Pool B and thereby a direct entry to quarter-finals will be the hosts top priority but it’s easier said than done.
NEW DELHI: Petrol and diesel-powered vehicles will not be banned in the country, the government clarified on Thursday as the automobile industry is at a crossroads with the internal combustion engine (ICE) and rapid transition to electric vehicles.Nitin Gadkari, Union minister for road transport and highways, said, “The government has no intentions of banning the production or stopping the existing petrol and diesel-fuelled vehicles. People had apprehensions about buying ICE vehicles, and we are not going to take any such step.” Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c detailsAuto industry experts briefed Gadkari about the rise in prices of vehicles due to BSVI compliant engine. “The industry has sought a relaxation of GST on vehicles due to the extra cost incurred for the transition from BSIV to BSVI compliant engine. I would surely convey this to finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, and the government may consider the reduction of GST temporarily.” The minister, however, highlighted three significant challenges – import of crude, pollution and road accident – the government is currently facing with the automobile sector. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday”Firstly, we are aware of how importing crude is impacting the economy. The imports have crossed Rs 7 lakh crore. Pollution is our second big challenge, which is affecting the entire world. The automobile industry is not the reason behind the pollution. Reducing pollution is of national and social interests. Thirdly, we wanted to address the issue of road accidents. Annually, over five lakh road accidents occur across the country. To ensure greater road safety, we introduced the Motor Vehicles Act 2019,” Gadkari said at the 59th annual convention of Siam (Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers). “We are ready to take inputs and suggestions from the stakeholders and finance minister Nirmala Sitharama is constantly trying to solve the problems of a slowdown in the automobile industry. The government has taken steps to ensure greater liquidity in the system,” Gadkari added. Sitharaman announced a slew of measures on August 23 including making auto loans cheaper, lifting the ban on purchase of new vehicles for replacing old government vehicles, deferring of one-time registration fees till June 2020, additional 15% depreciation on all vehicles and operation of BSIV vehicles for their entire period of registration. With PTI inputs
Toronto producer J. Miles Dale wasn’t letting Oscar out of his sight Monday.Following reports that Frances McDormand’s Academy Award for best actress was stolen from an after-party on Sunday night, Dale planned to keep his trophy close by.“I’ll put it in my suitcase. That’s a hand-carry item proudly taken out at metal detectors,” Dale said a day after winning the best-picture Oscar along with director Guillermo del Toro for “The Shape of Water.”“I imagine the flight attendants will get a photo,” he added with a laugh in a phone interview Monday.“I’ve got meetings today, I’m taking it with me everywhere today…. I’m going to hold on tight until I get home and then where I put it, I don’t know.“It won’t be a doorstop for my bathroom, I will tell you that.”Dale said he was actually at the Oscar engraving station at the same time as McDormand and “had a laugh” with her at the Governors Ball on Sunday, before her trophy was allegedly stolen. A man was later arrested on suspicion of felony grand theft.“The Shape of Water” team won four Oscars in total, including best production design for Canadians Paul Austerberry, Jeffrey A. Melvin and Shane Vieau.Meanwhile, del Toro won best director and Alexandre Desplat won best original score.Dale said it felt like “the longest five seconds” of his life as he waited for the best-picture envelope to be opened.“It’s like if you’ve ever been in a car crash, how it all goes through extreme slow-motion. It’s just like that and you kind of can’t breathe properly and your heart rate is really going, and I’m by nature a very calm and composed person.”When “The Shape of Water” team got onstage to accept the best-picture honour, del Toro spoke and Dale tried to say a few follow-up words but was drowned out by music and his mic was cut off.Dale was able to squeeze in some praise for del Toro after host Jimmy Kimmel approached him and asked what he wanted to say.“I was just so filled with joy through all of this, it really didn’t matter,” Dale said.“It’s not like when they turn the mic off they take the statue away. That’s certainly not what I’ll remember but it’s an amusing anecdote.“I’ve got a story. And by the way — that was probably better than what my speech would have been.”In a humorous bit throughout the night, Kimmel promised a Jet Ski to the winner with the most concise speech. It went to Oscar-winning “Phantom Thread” costume designer Mark Bridges.“I told Jimmy Kimmel I should have won the Jet Ski, that’s really my principal complaint of the evening,” Dale joked.“I felt like my speech was two words and it was unambiguous in terms of whose speech was the shortest of the night. I feel like I got one out of two — I got the trophy but I was robbed of the motorcraft.”“The Shape of Water” was shot in Hamilton and Toronto and had a largely Canadian crew.It was the first Oscar win for Dale, who also worked with del Toro on the 2013 film “Mama” and the horror drama series “The Strain.”“It was the culmination of a long journey,” Dale said.“You feel like the marathon runner who runs 20 miles and you can’t feel your legs anymore, and you run into the stadium and the crowd is cheering and you hit the tape.”
Annette Francis APTN National NewsAll members of Parliament stood in support of an NDP motion recently that called for a $150 million investment in First Nations child welfare.It also urged the government to adopt Jordan’s Principle, which says no First Nation child should suffer denial, delay or disruption of health services because of jurisdictional feuds.According to Cindy Blackstock, not much has happened since then.That’s why her organization, along with Assembly of First Nations and Chiefs of Ontario have filed non-compliance motions with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.
Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee urged the people’s representatives to keep the areas under their jurisdiction clean.Inaugurating the Puja at Sribhumi, she said the development of an area depends on the efficiency and foresight of the local people’s representative, like councillor, MLA or MP. She congratulated party MLA Sujit Basu for taking up projects to develop vast areas surrounding Lake Town. There used to be massive waterlogging in the area and the infrastructure was also poor. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeHowever, over the years, the menace of waterlogging has been eliminated thanks to proper planning. “When one enters the city via VIP Road or New Town, he or she acknowledges the development that has come up in the area. The roads are smooth and brightly illuminated. The bank along Kestopur canal has been cleaned and beautified. We all feel proud when people from other states appreciate and praise our city,” Banerjee said. She said: “When I pass through Sribhumi, Lake Town and their neighbourhoods, I tell everybody to see what Sujit has done to these areas.” Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedBanerjee added that though the state government is spending so much money to carry out development projects, the sense to maintain them has not yet been developed. “After you paint a wall or a bridge in bright colours, there will be people who will spit on them. It is unfortunate that the sense to maintain them has not yet been developed,” she said. She urged people to maintain peace and harmony during Puja. “The celebration is for all and we in Bengal welcome the people from other states and communities who come to see Durga Puja,” she said.