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  1. 1917, is one of the best war-films released in 2019 across the globe and on 17 Jan, 2020 in India, that is sweeping the award season this year. But the reason why 1917 is so unique is that the film design makes the viewer believe that everything was shot in one single cut. Set in April 1917, the film takes place during the first World War. Germans have retreated back from the French territory mysteriously and without warning, later, it's found out that it's a trap set by the Germans. The British Battalion of 1600 men set to attack the Germans on the Hindenburg Line the next morning could potentially lose their lives in this trap. The film follows the mission of two soldiers Dean-Charles Chapman as Lance Corporal Blake and George MacKay as Lance Corporal Schofield who are asked to deliver the message to the battalion and further asking them to stand down. The pair has to cross the vast "no man's land" filled with the debris of dead soldiers and scavengers feasting on these bodies. © DreamWorks Pictures This anti-war film doesn't follow the generic format of the war-genre with a redemptive arc for the protagonist. Instead, the film focuses on making this mission an experiential one. You'll feel like following the two soldiers. Directed and co-written by Sam Mendes, the film features Mark Strong, Andrew Scott, Richard Madden, Claire Duburcq, Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch among others in pivotal roles. With stunning visuals and exceptional narrative, the film has historical roots but is certainly not based on a true story. Here are seven real-life historical connections with the film that make the narrative even more compelling. © DreamWorks Pictures 1. Sam Mendes's grandfather, Alfred H. Mendes served as a soldier in World War 1 for the British army on the Western Front and was sent on a mission in which he had to traverse across the âno man's landâ. However, the plotline in this film is largely inspired by his experience and the characters are fictional. The mission was written by the scriptwriters and most events are fabricated versions of the real-life event. The narrative to save a soldier's brother and his entire battalion is an incredible tale but it's important to note that the story is necessarily not a true one. © DreamWorks Pictures 2. It's true that the Germans obliterated everything in their wake, that could potentially be used by the Allies while retreating, creating a vast âno man's landâ. Roads, bridges, and water pipes were all destroyed in case the Allies moved forwards. Instead, booby-traps and barbed wire were set up which is represented in the extremely authentic set design in 1917. Itâs partly based on real-life events. © DreamWorks Pictures 3. In real life, Mendes's grandfather was given the Military Medal after volunteering to locate soldiers during the Battle of Passchendaele. This instance inspired the discussion between the two soldiers in the film about the honour of a military medal. McKay's character had received one and claimed it as a "piece of tin" that he traded for wine when he was thirsty. While Chapman's character held it as a symbol of pride and was rather excited to receive one. © DreamWorks Pictures 4. During the war, these trenches went on for miles of complicated twists and turns. The trenches on the Western Front were a pivotal feature of WWI and were created with as much accuracy as possible in the film. They hired a British Army veteran, Paul Biddiss, to act as a technical adviser to make these trenches in the film look as authentic as possible. The crew had dug about 2,500 feet of trenches by the end of it. © DreamWorks Pictures 5. In the timeline that this movie is set up, in real time, the First Battle of Passchendaele (or the Third Battle of Ypres) was underway. The battle that occurs in the film is heavily modeled on the Battle of Poelcappelle, which took place during the previously mentioned battles. This battle too was based on misleading information, much like it was in the movie. During this battle, the Allies thought they had an advance, but in reality, they did not. © DreamWorks Pictures 6. The background characters in the film are seen passing time by performing certain actions that were actually done by soldiers as they 'waited' for the battle to take place. Army Veteran, Paul Biddiss lent his expertise in assigning them tasks or leisure activities possible at the front. These included using candles to kill lice, filling sandbags, or even playing chess with buttons. © DreamWorks Pictures 7. 6 April, 1917, the date the film is set is based on the events that took place on 5 April. During the war, the Germans moved their troops to the Hindenburg Line along the Aisne River. The dispute between the Allies seeing it as a 'retreat' and the Germans seeking resources and a better location was actually based on real events. Besides, 6 April was the date that the Americans entered the war. Source: SCREENRANT View the full article
  2. Silhouettes of mobile phone and laptop users are seen next to a screen projection of WhatsApp logo, March 18, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/Files1 Advanced issue found▲
  3. Silhouettes of mobile phone and laptop users are seen next to a screen projection of WhatsApp logo, March 18, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/Files1 Advanced issue found▲ WhatsApp, the cross-platform messaging application, experienced a major outage around the world on Sunday evening, leaving people frustrated on alternative social media platforms. Many people around the world reported having problems with the Facebook-owned messaging app earlier on Sunday; however, the company has issued a statement addressing the issue as of reporting time. Down Detector/Screenshot via Geo.tvAccording to Down Detector, nearly 800 people reported facing problems in the messaging app, as of 6PM. Down Detector/Screenshot via Geo.tvMost of the users who reported problems in WhatsApp were from Europe, while those in South Asia and South America were also hit with the outage. Down Detector/Screenshot via Geo.tvOf the total issues, 75 percent pertained to connection whereas 22 percent was related to receiving messages. This is the latest of the many outrages, with one incident in March that left users cut off for almost a whole day.
  4. Let's be honest - for many of us into fast rides and motorsports, part of the thrill comes from witnessing something truly dangerous and yet being in control. Today's F1 cars, for example, regularly scream down the straights at speeds inching ever-closer to a staggering 400kmph - with little more than a helmet to keep a driver safe in the event of a crash. Along with tales of racing heritage on these tracks, comes a dark history of riders and drivers who strayed too far off the edge - and paid for it with their lives. These are the world's most dangerous motorsports tracks - ranked for their sheer lethality. 6. Daytona International Speedway © Reuters; Spectators catch a front-row view of a high-speed, 9-man crash that took place at Daytona in early 2019. 40 deaths mark the history pages of Daytona International Speedway - one of North America's greatest racetracks, particularly for NASCAR racing. Across the last 60 years, everything from botched speed records to tyre failures have resulted in violent crashes - the most famous of which involved 7-time NASCAR champ Dale Earnhardt Sr. crashing head-on into the racetrack walls. It also has the unusual distinction of being the only racetrack to have a death occur by boat, as the powerboat race course is within the Speedway boundaries. 5. Indianapolis Motor Speedway © Reuters; Chris Windon and David Malukas crash into the Speedway walls during an Indy Freedom 100 race. Commonly known as 'The Brickyard', this racetrack has the names of 73 unfortunate individuals (including 42 drivers) who were killed as a result of the races - going as far back as the very first race that inaugurated the Speedway back in 1909, when a driver named Wilfred Bourque and his mechanic were killed. It also happens to be the site of one of racing's most unusual and bizarre spectator fatalities - death by tyre. During a 1984 Indy 500 race, a tyre wobbled loose from Tony Bettenhausen's No. 56 machine and smacked into Roberto Gurrero's No. 4 car - flying skywards at up to 350 kmph, and directly into the face of 41-year old fan, Lyle Kurtenbach, who was soon pronounced dead at a local hospital. 4. Le Mans Circuit De La Sarthe © Reuters; Safety crew work to rescue British racer Allan McNish after a devastating crash with his Audi R18 TDI. Possibly one of the most prestigious, gruelling and infamous racetracks in the world - the French Circuit de la Sarthe is home to the 24 Hours of Le Mans race - a continuous endurance racing event that forms the pinnacle of the sport for many fans. It's also incredibly dangerous - having claimed the lives of 27 racers over the years. While some of these boiled down to the nature of the track and the lack of necessary safety rules, many can be attributed to incorrectly engineered cars - a phenomenon for which Mercedes-Benz became notorious for in the 90s with their 'backflipping' CLK GTR. Although current regulations have worked to improve safety for fans, the track is also home to the most devastating spectator disaster in the history of motorsports - the 1955 tragedy that claimed the lives of 83 spectators and Mercedes driver Pierre Boullin. 3. Autodromo Nazionale di Monza © Reuters; Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg finds himself in the middle of a massive pileup - right on the first corner. Monza, one of the three oldest permanent race tracks in the world, opened in 1922 and is also one of the most dangerous. The circuit, which has been on the calendar of the Formula One Championship since its inaugural season in 1950, took lives of many F1 greats among others. The two-time F1 champion Alberto Ascari was killed at Monza in 1955, Wolfgang von Trips and 14 spectators died in 1961, Jochen Rindt was killed in 1970, Ronnie Peterson died in a hospital after he crashed at Monza. In total, the lost lives of 52 drivers and 35 spectators are written on the walls of Monza, which is the highest of all current F1 tracks - a number that's risen so high due to the parameters of the track falling short of the insane speeds today's racing teams can achieve. 2. Nürburgring Nordschleife © Reuters; Ralf Schumacher crashes into his elder brother, Michael Schumacher on the course back in 2004. Nicknamed 'The Green Hell', this infamous track is known as the ultimate test of skill, dexterity and sheer will - the lengthy 20.8km circuit has over 150 turns, complete with several steep inclines and bumps that result in airborne vehicles and perhaps most deadly of all for racers, unpredictable weather conditions such as rain and fog. While several of those 150 turns have tamed the ego of hundreds of drivers (and the lives of over 80), perhaps the most famous crash to have occurred at the Nordschleife happened during the 1976 German Grand Prix. After failing to convince authorities and other drivers to boycott the extremely dangerous race, a reluctant Niki Lauda strapped in - only to have this horrific crash occur during the second lap. Lauda was trapped in the seat as a fire broke out and his helmet had slipped off - leading him to suffer serious burns on his face and inhale toxic gases from the inferno. Luckily, in one of F1's most heroic moments, he was saved by Italian racer Arturo Merzario, who jumped into the fire to save him. 1. Isle of Man Mountain Course © Reuters; Chris Palmer and John McGuiness practice around a bend before the 2009 Trophy race. There's absolutely no questioning it - this is the most hardcore, death trap of a race in the history of motorsports. Extremely tight and narrow lanes, several jumps, sheer cliffs and the pressure of hundreds of death-defying spectators right along the route… did I mention that the motorcycles here go upwards of 200kmph on average? F1 really is a cakewalk compared to this. Ever since the track opened over a hundred years ago, it has claimed the lives of over 250 riders and even more fans - several have crashed into buildings, trees, zoomed off cliffs and in the worst circumstances, crashed head-on into spectators. The Cup record holder is the late Joey Dunlop, whose grit and solid-titanium balls led him to 26 wins at the course. He died - you guessed it - riding a motorcycle. View the full article
  5. During the 44th over of Indiaâs innings in the first ODI in Mumbai, Rishabh Pant suffered a head concussion following a Pat Cummins bouncer which struck the batsman right in the helmet and also caused him to lose his wicket. While Pant was immediately rushed for medical assistance, the wicket-keeping gloves were handed over to KL Rahul. It was later confirmed that Pant was kept under observation and will not be travelling with the team for the second ODI in Rajkot. Update: Rishabh Pant has got a concussion after being hit on his helmet while batting. KL Rahul is keeping wickets in his absence. Pant is under observation at the moment. #TeamIndia #INDvAUS pic.twitter.com/JkVElMacQc â BCCI (@BCCI) January 14, 2020 Now where does that leave the Men in Blue as far as roster selection and batting order are concerned? If this situation would have presented itself last month, the answer to this question might have been a lot more than it seems to be now. Back then, an out of form Shikhar Dhawan suffered a big knee injury and was out of action for multiple series. All that while, it was Rahul who opened the innings with Rohit Sharma and he was doing a phenomenal job. We all believed that this top-form Rahul was the end of Dhawanâs time with the team and that the southpaw was going to be dropped soon. But in the last two T20Is against Sri Lanka and the first Australia ODI, a healed Dhawan has looked like his old self - confident and very capable of playing under immense pressure. In addition, the left-right combination of Dhawan and Sharma at the top would definitely help India during the upcoming ICC Menâs T20 World Cup. View this post on InstagramFIFTY! A hard-fought half-century for @shikhardofficial off 66 deliveries. This is his 28th in ODIs. #INDvAUSA post shared by (@indiancricketteam) So what happens to Rahul? The Mangalore-born has proven himself to be a more than capable wicket-keeper during the Indian Premier League and other domestic tournaments such as the Vijay Hazare Trophy, and his batting speaks for itself. During the Mumbai match on Tuesday, he showed that he does a significantly better job in following the ball from behind the stumps than Pant. His assessment of the trajectory of the ball during David Warnerâs LBW on a Shardul Thakur appeal also helped Kohli save the DRS, something Pant has been specifically bad at, granted the sample size is small. If Dhawan and Sharma are fixed as openers, that leaves Rahul with the third and fourth spot, based on how flexible Virat Kohli is. Even though Kohli has said that he isnât all that worried about playing on either of the spots, Indian veteran VVS Laxman decoded why Kohli at 4 wouldnât work. âI donât see this working. Sachin Tendulkar was the best player the world had ever seen. But he never relished batting at number four.â Laxman said. âYou want your best batsman to play maximum number of deliveries and set the game up and finish the game for the team, especially against quality attack. One cannot afford to experiment against this Australian bowling line-up," he said. âYouâve got someone like Virat Kohli that has played 230-odd one-day matches and 180 of those have been at No.3 and he has scored almost 10,000 runs at that particular position," he added. With Shreyas Iyer sliding to five, Rahul is left with the cursed number four spot, which isnât the best of news for either the player or the team. In his six-year ODI career, Rahul has played a total of four innings at two-down and has only made 52 runs with the highest score of 26, according to HowsSTAT. Even amidst the crisis that Team India has found itself to be in, what is certain is that KL Rahul is a far superior batsman than Rishabh Pant. He has the shots, the experience and the patience to make it through a challenging innings that the 22-year-old clearly lacks. Pantâs time away from the field could turn out to be a blessing in disguise for the team as this gives them the opportunity to explore a new and improved Rahul at the number four spot of doom. Will he be the one to lift the curse? View the full article
  6. Former South African skipper AB de Villiers. Photo: FileBRISBANE: South African star AB de Villiers is keen to make an international comeback at the T20 World Cup this year, but admits there are no guarantees he will be picked. The batting maestro bowed out of representing his country in 2018, saying he was "tired" after a 14-year career during which he was hailed as one of the best players in the game. He then made himself available for the one-day World Cup last year, only to be rejected, with officials saying he left it too late and calling him up would be unfair to other players. The 35-year-old has now given selectors plenty of time to consider him for the T20 World Cup in Australia in October. "There's a lot that needs to happen before that becomes reality," he told cricket.com.au after hitting 40 from 32 balls on his Big Bash League debut for Brisbane Heat against Adelaide Strikers on Tuesday. "I would love to. I've been talking to 'Bouch' (new South Africa coach Mark Boucher), (new director of cricket) Graeme Smith and (captain) Faf (du Plessis) back home, we´re all keen to make it happen. "It's a long way away still, and plenty can happen — there's the IPL coming up, I've still got to be in form at that time. So I´m thinking of throwing my name in the hat and hoping that everything will work out." De Villiers won fans around the world for mixing traditional and unorthodox shots, as well as his fast scoring and ability to hit the ball to all parts of the ground. He played 114 Tests, retiring with an average of 50.66 after smashing 8,765 runs. In limited overs, he hit 9,577 runs at an average of 53.50 and in the shortest format made 1,672 runs from his 78 T20Is. Boucher and Smith are former colleagues of de Villiers and he said he wanted to work with them again. "Absolutely, they're my friends and I played 10-plus years with them internationally," he said. "We've been through a lot and it's great to have them involved again, and as I said, hopefully I'll be involved again as well pretty soon."
  7. Federica Brignone. Photo: AFPALTENlMARKT, Austria: Italian specialist Federica Brignone clung on in the slalom run to win the World Cup combined event in Austria on Sunday having romped the Super-G run that took out a third of the field. In overcast conditions on a tight, challenging first run American superstar Mikaela Shiffrin, her key rival Petra Vhlova and 14 other competitors failed to complete the treacherous first run. Shiffrin pulled out of the ultra-fast and fog-blighted downhill on the same daunting Kälberloch slope on Saturday, making Sunday´s Super-G her first ever run in Altenmarkt. This was Brignone´s third combined win on the World Cup circuit and it firms up a good run of form that has lifted her to second in the overall World Cup standings. "That last part of the course is really difficult because you just can´t allow yourself to go too fast due to how technical it is, this was a tactical win," said Brignone on 565pts, 52 ahead of Vlhova but 261 behind the American. Swiss double combined world champion Wendy Holdener almost did enough to catch the Italian reducing her half second deficit from the first run to 0.15sec on the second. Hodener is fourth in the overall standings.
  8. It has been more than five months since the Indian cricket team got eliminated at the hands of Kane Williamson and the New Zealand cricket team but the heartbreak continues to stay fresh for many fans of the Men in Blue. © Reuters From questioning skipper Virat Kohli's judgement to sending an inexperienced batsman like Rishabh Pant and off-form Dinesh Karthik ahead of the veteran Mahendra Singh Dhoni to watching the former skipper walking towards the pavilion, disappointed and gasping for breath, the memories of that day will remain in our heads for a long time. @imVkohli today karthik is wrong choice And Rishabh pant 's shot is not gud at that time Or Kohli ur decision is bad For line up of india team Dhoni had came before karthik — pratik kumar shah (@pratikkumarsh14) July 10, 2019 But one moment of the game that left quite the impression in all our hearts and apparently in that the wicket-keeper batsman as well was when Martin Guptil fired the ball towards the stumps at the striker's end and hit bull's eye. Dhoni, who was just a couple of inches away from the crease when the bails flew, had to walk off. Many believed that it was at this moment Dhoni saw the end of his cricketing career. Also, many believed that he was crying, but one thing was for certain, India's dominating run at the 2019 World Cup had met a deadend. Nearly half a year later, Dhoni was interviewed by India Today's Consulting Editor Boria Majumdar about that very moment and the cricketer expressed his regret. He said, “I keep telling myself, why didn't I dive. Those two inches I keep telling myself, 'MS Dhoni, you should have dived.” © Twitter Ever since that day, we haven't seen him on the field. He took a two month sabbatical to serve in the Indian Army but that time off the team hasn't come to an end till date. “January tak mat poochho,” Dhoni had said on November 27, 2019. It is January and there is still no word from the Ranchi-born on his future with the national team. What if Dhoni had leapt for the safe zone that day? How would that have faired out for the cricketer and the team? Would India go on to win the Cup? Would Dhoni continue to be the main wicket-keeper for Virat Kohli? That one moment of misjudgement will never let us get the answers to all those questions and we will just have to live with the burden, just like Dhoni is. View the full article
  9. An aggressive seamer who banks on his ability to swing the ball away by hitting the pitch hard, Shardul Thakur continues to rise through the ranks and seems to be well on his way to becoming a vital cog in the Indian bowling unit. The right-arm bowler had already proved his worth playing under MS Dhoni at Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) which, in turn, earned him a national call-up in 2017. But, ever since his national debut, Thakur has evolved significantly, working on his pace and adding key variations to his armoury, to become more effective and efficient in limited-overs cricket. His reinvented vigour and improved skillset saw him producing one of the most memorable performances of his career on 10th January. © Twitter/@BCCI During the third and decisive Twenty20 International (T20I) between India and Sri Lanka, Thakur's all-round performance played a key role in Virat Kohli & Co's 78-run victory and, in turn, a 2-0 series win. Known for his fiery seam bowling, Thakur won everyone over for his blitzkrieg with the willow, batting lower down the order. After a brilliant start, India lost its way in the middle, losing six wickets for 57 runs including the key dismissals of Kohli and KL Rahul. Coming out to bat, with India desperately needing some acceleration to their scoring rate, Thakur hammered Lasith Malinga for a massive six only on his second delivery of the match. © Twitter/@BCCI In the final over, Thakur continued to display his batting might, smashing Lahiru Kumara for a six and four on successive deliveries before Manish Pandey scored another boundary to ensure the Lankan seamer ended up conceding 19 runs. While Pandey did play his part with his 18-ball 31, it was Thakur's eight-ball 22 that powered India to a mammoth total of 201 runs. Following his eye-catching batting performance, Thakur went on to impress everyone with his bowling show. Extracting early swing from the white ball, Thakur got the better of Avishka Fernando in his very first over to hand India the second breakthrough. In the 14th over, Thakur struck again to send Dasun Shanaka back into the hut. Meet Mr. Man of the Match!#ShardulThakur ðððððð#INDvSL #SLvIND #INDvsSL #SLvsIND pic.twitter.com/EcMvSFmaEC — BlueCap ð®ð³ (@IndianzCricket) January 10, 2020 For someone who took three wickets at the expense of 23 runs in the 2nd T20I, Thakur carried on his ominous form to score an eight-ball 22 and record impressive bowling figures of 2-19 to rightly deserve the 'Man of the Match' award. And, the Mumbai cricketer was quite understandably ecstatic to do good for his team. © Twitter/@BCCI "I believe I have the ability (to bat) and recently I've been practising well. The idea is that if I can contribute runs at No.8 it'll be good for the team,” Thakur said after the match. Talking about his bowling, Thakur said: “I can bowl good outswingers, so initially the idea is to swing the ball. If you swing the ball in any conditions, you can get wickets”. Given his recent performance, especially his clinical show in the recently-concluded T20I series against the Lankans, Thakur is surely making the right kind of noises to garner the attention of Indian selectors who will find it pretty hard to overlook the 28-year-old before finalising the Team India squad for the all-important ICC World T20, slated to begin from 18th October in Australia. View the full article
  10. Rafael Nadal suffered a stunning upset at the ATP Cup on Friday.Photo: AFPSYDNEY: A lethargic world number one Rafael Nadal suffered a stunning upset at the ATP Cup on Friday, crashing in two tough sets to Belgium´s David Goffin. The Spaniard was heavily favoured to win the match and secure Spain a berth in the semi-finals after Roberto Bautista Agut eased past Kimmer Coppejans 6-1, 6-4 in the first singles match. But the 19-time Grand Slam winner slumped 6-4, 7-6 (7/3) to the 11th-ranked Belgium -- a rare defeat for Nadal while playing for his country. It sent the tie into a decisive doubles match to determine who meets Australia in the last four. "I had to hold my nerve for a long time, which wasn´t easy," Goffin said. "I knew against Rafa I had to take the ball early and take more risk. I was in the court trying to dictate and he had to find a solution." Spain´s group games during the round-robin phase of the inaugural team event were played in Perth, where the air was much drier. Nadal, who had not dropped a set this year before meeting Goffin, faced not only heat but energy-sapping humidity in Sydney and struggled to deal with it, dripping in sweat for much of the match. He was not on song and struggled to find his rhythm, giving away nine break points in the first set. Goffin had two more break points to go 5-3 up in the second, but Nadal clung on and became more offensive to take the match to a tiebreak before the Belgian closed out the match for one of the biggest wins in his career.
  11. Photo: fileSeveral members of the national cricket team offered their best wishes to the U19 side ahead of their departure for South Africa, where the U19 Cricket World Cup will be staged from January 7. The senior players, according to a press release by the Pakistan Cricket Board, hoped that the U-19 side would carry last year’s winning momentum into the World Cup, and advised the players to make the most of the platform as it would lead to their eventual recruitment into the national team. “I wish all the best to the U19 team. My message for them is to do well, like they have been doing recently. Help each other and believe in your teammates’ abilities,” said T20I captain Babar Azam, who was part of the U19 World Cup in 2010 and 2012. “Our batsmen and bowlers are in good shape and after having played in South Africa, I would suggest the batsmen to stay upright while batting. Enjoy this opportunity and put your heart in it as that would enhance your performances.” Test captain Azhar Ali, who was a part of the U19 team in 2002 World Cup, told the current crop to focus on unity and aggressive play. “I wish all the best to this team and advise them to stick together as a unit and play fearless cricket," he said. “Playing the U19 World Cup gives you a flavour of international cricket as the matches are televised and the players get to experience the pressure of international cricket. "It is a great opportunity for these cricketers to learn, which will certainly help them when they graduate to the senior team." Azhar praised U-19 captain Rohail Nazir and Haider Ali, saying that "they have done well at the U19 level and impressed at the first-class level too. When a player performs at the first-class level, it lifts his morale up. If these two are able to stretch their form into the World Cup, the team will benefit immensely. Recent graduate of the side, Naseem Shah, also expressed his confidence in the former team. “I was recently playing with this side and I am hopeful that they are going to do well in the tournament. They have gelled very well and possess good combinations, which will help them excel in the World Cup." “I wish good luck to Rohail Nazir and his team,” he added. Shaheen Shah Afridi, who played in the previous edition of the U19 Cricket World Cup, reminded the youngsters of the importance the junior platform. “The way this team played in South Africa and won, I am hopeful that the U-19 team will win the World Cup. “U-19 cricket grooms a cricketer. It happened with me as after the last World Cup, in which I was the highest wicket-taker [for Pakistan], I was picked up for the PSL and subsequently called-up for the senior side. “This is a very good side and I wish them all the best. I have played with Rohail Nazir and Aarish Ali and I know they are very good players.” “Pakistan have a very good record at the U19 level and I am sure this team will do very well in the tournament," said Fakhar Zaman, who played U-19 domestic cricket. “U-19 level is very important for a player and such international tours help a great deal in the development of the players as they provide crucial opportunities to rub shoulders with the best cricketers. “I have played domestic cricket with these players and they all are very talented and have proved themselves.” Mohammad Hasnain, another former Pakistan U-19 player, said: “I wish all the best to the team and hope that they will do well. U-19 cricket is a very important phase in the development as it teaches you the basics which help in graduating to the next level. “My message to the team is to work hard and eye a spot in the national side.” The Rohail-led side begin their ICC U19 World Cup 2020 campaign on 19 January against Scotland. They will play Zimbabwe U19 and Bangladesh U19 on 22 and 24 January respectively in the group-stage.
  12. Photo: PCBKARACHI: Nahida Khan, the opening batter of Pakistan women's cricket said her team could surprise many in next month's World T20, scheduled to be played in Australia. The 33-year-old batswoman from Quetta said no team could be termed as a favourite or the underdog in the T20 format as any could surprise their opponents in the shorter format of the game. "There's nothing like the big or small team in T20s; any team can do anything, it is just how you perform on the given day," Khan told media in Karachi after opening game of PCB women's triangular tournament. "If you're at your best on the day then you can beat anyone." Nahida believes that Pakistan has the capability of beating England, South Africa, West Indies, and Thailand, along which it is placed in Group B for the tournament. "We have beaten them in the past and there is no reason why can't we beat them again," she said confidently. Also read: Pakistan women cricket team departs for England series In response to a question, the veteran of 59 ODIs and 53 T20Is said she would try to get maximum advantage of power-play overs and score as much as possible. "I am an opener and I aim to score maximum especially in the powerplay overs to help my team score big totals," Nahida added.
  13. If you have been following limited-over matches of the Indian cricket team in the recent past, you must have recognised umpire Anil Chaudhary's face by now. Most of India's ODIs and T20I matches in the past few years, that have taken place on home soil, have been officiated by the Delhi-born, who was also seen during their contest against the visiting Sri Lankan side in Indore on Tuesday. According to a PTI report, the 54-year-old has now been selected as the only Indian umpire to be a part of the International Cricket Council's officiating team for the upcoming U-19 World Cup tournament in South Africa, starting January 17, 2020. One of the leading umpires of the ICC in the past decade, Chaudhary made his ODI debut on November 27, 2013, during India's match against the West Indies at the Green Park stadium in Kanpur. He also made his debut in the shortest format of the game when the Men in Blue locked horns with George Bailey's Australian side at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot. © Twitter Ever since, Chaudhary has officiated in 20 One-Day Internationals and 27 T20Is and has received a lot of praise for having a great eye for the minute details of the game that helps him make the right call most of the time. However, his career as an umpire began on a rather interesting note when Pradeep Gupta (one of the local umpires during Chaudhary's club cricket days in 1989), gave him a call to make him stand as a substitute official. “I got a call from Pradeep Gupta (local umpire) to report at the St. Stephen's ground. He had taken ill and I was to stand as a substitute. Obviously, I was unprepared and honestly had little clue about umpiring. Fortunately, it turned out to be a low-scoring match with little pressure on the umpires,” the Delhiite had mentioned to The Hindu in 2016. © Twitter His first paycheck? 50 Rupees. “I went to give the money to Guptaji and was told to keep it since it was the fee for my work. That was petrol money and I just loved the idea,” he said. His dedication and also a little bit of good fortune guided him towards more and more matches and eventually landed him right next to international umpire Ram Babu Gupta, someone Chaudhary truly credits his career to. “I owe everything to Ram Babuji,” said the then 51-year-old Chaudhary. “He shaped my career. There was a SAIL Trophy match (between Mohan Meakin and Central Warehousing Corporation). It was a big tournament with some renowned players participating. It was again an emergency replacement and I did a decent job going by the reports that reached Ram Babuji. A pat from him made my day.” View the full article
  14. WASHINGTON: Recovery in a handful of countries will boost global growth slightly this year but the outlook is riddled with potential pitfalls that could derail this tepid upswing, the World Bank cautioned Wednesday. A renewal of trade tensions, which eased recently with announcement of an initial agreement between the United States and China, would erode the modest progress and could spread quickly beyond the two economic powers. In its latest Global Economic Prospects report, the World Bank projects the global economy will grow by 2.4 percent this year, just one tenth more than 2019 but slower than the 2020 forecast released in June. Despite the positive spin, the report -- titled "Fragile, Handle With Care" -- cuts the forecasts for nearly every country except the United States compared to the last edition in June. And growth is still not fast enough to meet targets for pulling more people out of poverty. Most major economies are poised to see sluggish growth in 2020. The tenuous global rebound relies almost entirely on a few large emerging market economies that are expected to accelerate after a disappointing 2019, or in the case of Argentina, contract at a slower rate. - Major economies - The United States and China together account for nearly 40 percent of global GDP and nearly a quarter of global trade. But with an improvement in their nearly two-year old trade dispute, they will be less of a drag on growth even as both economies slow. The US economy is projected to grow just 1.8 percent after 2.3 percent growth in 2019, the World Bank said. China´s GDP will expand by less than six percent for the first time since 1990, with an expected 5.9 percent growth rate. "Growth has decelerated more than previously expected amid cooling domestic demand and heightened trade tensions," the report said. The Euro Area, hit by a slowdown in Germany and the threat of Brexit, "has deteriorated significantly," with several economies "on the verge of recession at some point last year." The expansion is set to slow further to just 1.0 percent this year before picking up in 2021. Japan also is "suffering from acute weakness in manufacturing and exports" and the economy will continue to slow with growth of just 0.7 percent expected. - Emerging markets - Emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs) have been the boost to the global economy through the sluggish times but most face their own rocky road with a third are projected to decelerate this year. As a result the global uptick is not broad-based and "is largely predicated on a rebound in a small group of large EMDEs, most of which are emerging from deep recessions or sharp slowdowns," the report said. "Indeed, about 90 percent of the pickup in EMDE growth in 2020 is accounted for by just eight countries -- Argentina, Brazil, India, Iran, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey," it said. "Excluding these eight countries, aggregate EMDE growth would experience almost no acceleration." Argentina, which contracted 3.1 percent in 2019, is projected to slow by 1.9 percent this year while Brazil and Mexico should expand by 2.0 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively, far faster than last year. India too is expected to gain traction, with growth of 5.8 percent, while Turkey´s 3.0 percent expansion will come after no growth in 2019, the report said. In sub-Saharan Africa, the news is looking up, with a solid increase in GDP growth expected this year. But the World Bank cautions that, even with the improvement, "per capita growth will remain well below long-term averages and far from sufficient to meet poverty alleviation goals." The Middle East is expected to see growth jump to 2.4 percent this year after virtually no growth in 2019. - Downside risks predominate - The World Bank warns that "downside risks predominate" but since the cutoff for the forecasts was December 20, prior to the recent outbreak of hostilities between Iran and the United States. So it is too soon to tell what influence that might have. The major concern is the potential for a resurgence of trade tensions between the United States and China. A "renewed disruption to US-China economic ties could result in damage not only to these two economies but to the rest of the world," the report warned. In addition, "record-high debt levels and fragile public finance positions" leave many countries vulnerable to shocks or a sudden increase in interest rates.
  15. India is the best country in the world if you’ve a Canadian citizenship, says Indian artist Bollywood stars are reacting to a recent incident of violence in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) that saw several students injured at the hands of ruling party supporters. Anil Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, Twinkle Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan and many other actors have condemned the use of force against the students, expressing their support to the victims of the violence. Joining the chorus of condemnations, Indian comedian Kunal Kamra lamented the state of affairs in his country. The artist took a jibe at India with a sarcastic tweet that read: "India is the best country in the world if you’ve a Canadian Citizenship..." The JNU incident comes on the heels of a wave of protests that gripped the entire South Asian country over Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), a law that discriminates against Muslims.
  16. Pakistani actor and TV personality Sanam Jung on Monday introduced her brother-in-law to the world. Taking to her Instagram, the actress shared an adorable video of newly married sister and the groom in which her brother-in-law is singing to his ladylove. "Sharing a big part of my life with you all, introducing my beautiful sister and handsome brother in law :).May their love grow stronger and stronger. Ameen," Sanam Jang captioned her post. The video shared by the actor garnered over 100,000 likes within an hour. Check it out here:
  17. Former Iranian general Qasem Soleimani. Photo: FilePARIS: The world reacted with alarm on Friday after top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani was killed in a US strike in Iraq, with leaders appealing for restraint. The assassination was praised by US President Donald Trump´s Republicans but elsewhere there were warnings of the danger it could inflame regional tensions. Following are some of the reactions from around the world: 'Severe revenge'"Martyrdom was the reward for his ceaseless efforts in all these years," Iran´s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Twitter, declaring three days of mourning. "With him gone, God willing, his work and his path will not be stopped, but severe revenge awaits the criminals who bloodied their foul hands with his blood and other martyrs´ in last night´s incident." Khamenei called Soleimani the "international face of the resistance" and said he was killed by "the most cruel of those on earth". All people who back the resistance would be his "avengers". "The lack of our devoted and dear general is bitter, but continuing the fight and achieving final victory will embitter the murderers and criminals even more." 'Price of killing Americans'"In a display of resolve and strength, we struck the leader of those attacking our sovereign US territories," top House of Representatives Republican Kevin McCarthy said in a statement. "Wow - the price of killing and injuring Americans has just gone up drastically," Senator Lindsey Graham, a close confidant of Trump, wrote on Twitter. 'Adventurist step'"The killing of Soleimani... was an adventurist step that will increase tensions throughout the region," the Russian foreign ministry was quoted as saying by news agencies RIA Novosti and TASS. "Soleimani served the cause of protecting Iran´s national interests with devotion. We express our sincere condolences to the Iranian people." 'Dangerous escalation'The killing of Soleimani risks provoking a "dangerous escalation of violence", US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. "America -- and the world -- cannot afford to have tensions escalate to the point of no return." "President Trump just tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox," former vice president Joe Biden said in a statement. "Iran will surely respond. We could be on the brink of a major conflict across the Middle East." 'Appeal for restraint'"China has always opposed the use of force in international relations," foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a press briefing. "We urge the relevant sides, especially the United States, to remain calm and exercise restraint to avoid further escalating tensions." He said Iraq´s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity must be respected. China, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, is a key partner of Iran and major buyer of the country´s oil. 'Spark a devastating war'Iraq´s caretaker prime minister Adel Abdel Mahdi said the US strike, which also killed an Iraqi commander, was an "aggression" that would "spark a devastating war". "The assassination of an Iraqi military commander in an official post is an aggression against the country of Iraq, its state, its government and its people," he said in a statement. Abdel Mahdi said the strike was a "flagrant violation of the conditions authorising the presence of US troops" on Iraqi soil. 'World more dangerous'"We have woken up to a more dangerous world," France´s Europe Minister Amelie de Montchalin told French radio, saying President Emmanuel Macron would consult soon with players in the region. "In such operations, when can see an escalation is under way, but what we want above all is stability and de-escalation," Montchalin said. "All of France´s efforts... in all parts of the world aim to ensure that we are creating the conditions for peace or at least stability," she added. "Our role is not to take sides, but to talk with everyone," Montchalin said. 'Cowardly aggression'The Syrian government accused Washington of trying to fuel conflict in the Middle East. Syria is "certain that this cowardly US aggression... will only strengthen determination to follow in the path of the resistance´s martyred leaders," a foreign ministry official was quoted as saying by the state news agency SANA. 'Divine victory'Iraqis who have demonstrated for months against a government they see as beholden to Iran broke into song and dance after the US strike. "Oh Qasem Soleimani, this is a divine victory," they cheered in Baghdad´s iconic Tahrir Square, the epicentre of their movement. "This is God´s revenge for the blood of those killed," one added, after nearly 460 people were killed in violence that many demonstrators have blamed on Iran-backed security forces.
  18. Searches for 'World War 3' spiked on Google within hours of a US airstrike in Iraq which killed a top Iranian general on Friday. Top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani was killed after America conducted airstrikes near Baghdad´s international airport. The general's death, confirmed by both Iran and the US, represents the most dramatic escalation between the two countries in recent history. The Pentagon said US President Donald Trump had ordered Soleimani's "killing" in 'retaliation' to a mob earlier this week besieging the US embassy in Baghdad. Reacting to the incident, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has vowed to take "severe revenge" for Soleimani´s death. The heightening tensions sparked panic across the globe, with many struggling to make sense of what comes next. The sense of uncertainty was captured in a sudden spike in searches for the term 'world war 3' on Google recorded by Google Trends. Likewise, Iran was the number 2 most searched trend on Google in the United States, with more than 500,000 searches for the topic. Qassem Soleimani was number 5.
  19. The past decade was full of some great sports moments that we will never forget. Underdogs winning championships in the most dramatic ways, legends coming out of retirement to prove that they still got it, athletes making bold statements on big stages, some of the all-time greats calling time on their careers and a ton of money being generated in the process. There were so many timeless moments that took place in the past ten years all around the world and there is no specific way to categorise them as the “best ones” but still, the man's got to try, right? So here we go. Here are the ten greatest sports moments of the decade from all over the world without ranking: 1. Andres Iniesta Wins Spain's First World Cup In 2010 Date: July 12, 2010 116 minutes! It took 116 minutes for Spanish legend Andres Iniesta to find that one moment to place the ball in the nets and change the landscape of football in Spain forever. After practically winning the first FIFA World Cup for his homeland, the then 26-year-old celebrated with a T-shirt as a tribute to Dani Jarque, former Espanol defender who tragically died aged 26 in 2009. 2. India Winning The ICC World Cup In 2011 Date: April 2, 2011 We have got to put some personal bias here. After all, that six that the former captain of the Indian cricket team, Mahendra Singh Dhoni hit marked the end of a 28-year-old wait and India were once again the cricketing champions of the world. 3. Sergio Aguero Saves Manchester City's Premier League Dream In 2012 Date: May 13, 2012 If you've watched this game, all you will recall is Martin Tyler shouting “Aguerooooooo!!! I swear you'll never see anything like it ever again”. With the score between Manchester City and Queens Park Rangers tied, Sergio Aguero did some fine magic work, and provided his team with a heroic goal in the final seconds of the game and realised City's Premier League championship dream. 4. LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers Winning The Championship In 2016 Date: June 20, 2016 The face of the National Basketball Association for more than a decade, LeBron James returned to Cleveland with a promise to win a championship with the team in 2014 and he made it happen in 2016. Losing to the Golden State Warriors 3-1 in the NBA Finals, James' Cleveland Cavaliers made a historic comeback and won the next three games to win it all on June 20, with his iconic block and a dagger by his teammate, Kyrie Irving. 5. Michael Phelps's Gold Medal Streak & Retirement In 2016 Date: August 12, 2016 Coming out of his retirement, Michael Phelps' return to the Olympics pool in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 was nothing short of a spectacle. At 31 years of age, the swimmer was made USA's flag-bearer, won five more gold medals and finally said goodbye to the sport with more medals around his neck than 161 other countries. © Reuters 6. Usain Bolt Proved That He's Still The Fastest Man In 2016 Date: August 14, 2016 For three straight Olympic Games, Jamaican speedster Usain Bolt proved to the world that there was nobody in the entire world whose feet moved faster than him. This iconic image of him laughing at his “competition” says it all. Bolt ended his Olympic career with a 100% success in the finals with eight golds at the grand stage. © Reuters 7. Roger Federer Wins Wimbledon In 2017 Date: July 16, 2017 At 35 years of age, Roger Federer defeated Marin Cilic in one hour and 41 minutes and became the oldest man in the Open Era to win at the All England Club. Winning his first Wimbledon since 2012, Federer recorded his name as the man with the most number of Wimbledon titles (singles) with eight of them and only second to Martina Navratilova in the overall list. 8. Floyd Mayweather Vs Conor McGregor Date: August 26, 2017 Even though the “boxing match” between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor was nothing more than a gimmick, it has to be considered one of the most iconic moments in the decade of sports because of the sheer volume of money it generated. Popularly known as “The Money Fight”, led to Mayweather earning around Rs 1900 crore, while Mcgregor earned roughly Rs 600 crore. That's Rs 1900 crore and Rs 600 crore in less than 30 minutes of “boxing”! 9. Tiger Woods Returns To Win The Masters In 2019 Date: April 19, 2019 Two years since the aforementioned date, Woods has confessed to his friends that he was “done” and to be fair, with the way things were going on with his infamous arrest in 2017, everyone thought that he sure was. But Tiger being Tiger not only returned to the grass but also won the Masters 11 years since winning his previous major. 10. US Women's Football Team Hosts A 'Tea Party' Date: July 3, 2019 When US co-captain Alex Morgan brought the 'Tea Sipping' celebration after scoring a 31st-minute goal against England in the World Cup semi-finals, people interpreted various meanings behind it. Was she mocking the Brits? Was she making a statement against President Donald Trump? Was she talking about the fact that the German women's team was given a tea set for winning their first European title? In an interview with Time Magazine, Morgan clarified that she wanted to protest the thought of 'women needing to be humble in their successes while men can celebrate in the wildest ways possible'. View the full article
  20. India set a record on 1st January 2020 of the most number of babies born worldwide on New Year's Day. Yes, it is what it sounds like! According to data released by UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund), around 392,078 babies were born across the globe on January 1 and 67,385 were born in India. After India, China stands at 46,299 newborn babies born on January 1 followed by Nigeria (26,039), Pakistan (16,787), Indonesia (13,020) and the USA (10,452). © BCCL UNICEF's Executive Director, Henrietta Fore said, “The beginning of a new year and a new decade is an opportunity to reflect on our hopes and aspirations not only for our future but the future of those who will come after us.” The first baby of 2020 was delivered in Fiji in the Pacific and the last baby delivered on January 1 was born in the US. UNICEF celebrates babies that are born on January 1 and this year India topped the list of most born babies on New Year's Day. However, according to PTI, in 2018 around 2.5 million newborns didn't sustain even for a month and around one-third of them died on the first day itself. © Unsplash “Too many mothers and newborns are not being cared for by a trained and equipped midwife or nurse, and the results are devastating. We can ensure that millions of babies survive their first day and live into this decade and beyond if every one of them is born into a safe pair of hands,” Fore added. According to PTI, India is also said to break all records and become the most populated country by the year 2027, leaving China behind. According to the UN, India's population will increase by 273 million people between 2019 and 2050. Yes, you heard it right! View the full article
  21. Photo: ReutersCENTURION, South Africa: South Africa broke down stubborn England resistance to win the first Test of their World Test Championship series by 107 runs at SuperSport Park on Sunday. England needed 376 to win but despite some committed batting were bowled out for 268 on the fourth day of the five-day encounter. An enthralling contest swung South Africa´s way when left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj bowled Ben Stokes to halt a brief flurry of strokes as Stokes and captain Joe Root tried to lift the scoring rate before the second new ball was due. The new ball then had an immediate impact with Kagiso Rabada having Jonny Bairstow caught at gully before Anrich Nortje claimed the crucial wicket of Root, who made a fighting 48 before he was caught behind. It was the second time in the day Nortje claimed a wicket with the second ball of a new spell after he made the first breakthrough of the day by dismissing top-scorer Rory Burns for 84. The remaining wickets fell quickly, with Rabada finishing with four for 103 and fellow fast bowler Anrich Nortje claiming three for 56. Maharaj, who broke England´s first wicket stand of 92 on Saturday when he dismissed Dom Sibley, took two for 37. South Africa produced a disciplined bowling performance, making scoring difficult on a pitch which always offered something to the bowlers with some sideways movement and uneven bounce. England added only 50 runs in 25 overs while losing two wickets during the morning. Rory Burns took his overnight score of 77 to 84 before mistiming a pull against Nortje to be caught at mid-on, while Joe Denly was leg before wicket to Dwaine Pretorius for 31. Burns and Denly saw off the threat of Vernon Philander and Rabada but found scoring difficult. Philander conceded only one run in five overs. Rabada gave up 23 in six overs, which included two hooked sixes by Denly. Burns, who faced most of Philander´s bowling, adding only seven runs off 37 balls. The change to Nortje brought an immediate result for South Africa as Burns attempted to pull the fast bowler´s second delivery and sent the ball looping to Rabada at mid-on. Nortje made a second crucial breakthrough when South African captain Faf du Plessis made an inspired bowling change. First innings destroyer Vernon Philander sent down three overs with the second new ball but was not making the batsmen play many deliveries, so Du Plessis called on Nortje with immediate success.
  22. Lightweight laptops have always been a struggle for manufacturers to achieve as most of the time companies tend to sacrifice components over design. While Chromebooks are getting popular, they still aren't as powerful or easy to use compared to a Windows laptop. However, a Chinese company called 'Magic Pen' is trying to revive the Netbook category with their latest laptop called 'Mag1'. © Magic Ben It measures 20.7 x 14.6 x 1.8cm which is as big as an A5 paper and weighs only 700g. It comes with more ports than any modern laptop including a USB 3.0 port, a Type-C port, microSD port, an audio jack, and a micro HDMI port. © Magic Ben Apart from a small footprint, the laptop actually sports impressive components such as an Intel Core M3-8100Y CPU, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. These specifications work on a Windows 10 operating system, which comes pre-installed on this device. The display is a touchscreen with an aspect ratio of 2560 x 1600 pixels. It even has support for a stylus, comes with a fingerprint scanner for added security, costs only $789.99 (~Rs 56, 400) and can be bought from Gearbest. © Magic Ben Finally, the laptop can last up to seven hours on a single charge and can be recharged via its USB-C port using a Powerbank. The laptop supports power delivery charging which means you can use any PD charger in the market or a PD power bank to recharge the battery. View the full article
  23. Travelling is one of the best ways to call in the New Year, but to really be able to enjoy the holiday spirit, the best idea is to get the ball rolling as soon as the decision comes into the picture. No sooner have you decided on the destination that you should think about booking those tickets and rooms at the earliest, lest the best places will no longer be available because you chose to do this “a bit later”. Over the last few years, the world has gradually moved on from the 'same-old' hotel room to a more holistic experience of really living like a local in the area. With the option to opt for an entire apartment or villa, every travel destination has turned into a thrilling adventure. For inspiration, here are top five Bollywood celebrities who decided to AirBnB their way around the world, and truth be told that's all the push you'll need to make those New Year holiday plans. 1. Shah Rukh Khan During his recent visit to Los Angeles in the US, SRK stayed in a stellar, four-tier estate that befits a king's stay. King Khan even posted the pictures of the place and his stay on Instagram. Talking about his experience, he said, "Travel has always been a constant in my life. My work has taken me all over the world, yet the joy of discovery always remains. Whether it's the bliss of being in a new place or the opportunity to immerse myself in new cultures, I love experiencing every destination as a local would, with airbnb.” View this post on Instagram Finally the California sun is out....it's time for the Pool...maybe should dress right for it now at my @airbnb villa in LA #Ad #LAonAirbnb A post shared by Shah Rukh Khan (@iamsrk) on Dec 5, 2019 at 3:41pm PST 2. Katrina Kaif Bollywood heartthrob Kat chose to stay at a rustic cottage while on a vacation with her sisters in Colorado. She looked vibrant in the pictures she shared from her adventure in the snow-clad state. View this post on Instagram Just a little hop, skip and jump over to Colorado , Rocky Mountains â°âï¸ @airbnb #thatswhyiairbnb #ad ðâï¸ A post shared by Katrina Kaif (@katrinakaif) on Oct 24, 2019 at 9:14pm PDT 3. Parineeti Chopra The bubbly Parineeti also partook of the joys of having an entire villa to oneself when she visited London during the holiday season. We totally recommend staying-in and chilling with a hot cup of coffee and a book when it's snowing outside. View this post on Instagram This is how I'm gonna be found in my cozy @airbnb for the next few days - Giant socks, hot chocolate and sweaters!! âï¸âï¸ð§£Obsessed with apartment living!!! 𥰠#ad A post shared by Parineeti Chopra (@parineetichopra) on Dec 28, 2018 at 5:21am PST 4. Shilpa Shetty Actor Shilpa Shetty too has indulged in the luxury of renting a villa for a vacation during her family trip to Dubai. She stayed in a gorgeous garden villa overlooking the Burj Al-Arab and just like most of her pictures, these were breathtaking too. View this post on Instagram Holidays are all about chilling by the heated poolð¬ #waterbabies #familytime Hair and photo by (my niece)@Vanshika.dhirð¬ðð A post shared by Shilpa Shetty Kundra (@theshilpashetty) on Dec 30, 2017 at 3:12am PST 5. Sonam Kapoor Ahuja During her visit to New York city in the US, Sonam stayed at a West Village townhouse with five stunning bedrooms, in-house gym and a vibe that screamed luxury! The cosy yet sophisticated aura of the place was visible in her pictures. View this post on Instagram Had the most incredible time in my @airbnb in #newyorkcity #greenwichvillage look at this stunning backyard! #thankAirbnb #ad #livethere A post shared by Sonam K Ahuja (@sonamkapoor) on Jul 30, 2017 at 2:30pm PDT View the full article
  24. Putin slammed the decision as a 'politically motivated' ruling. Photo: AFP The World Anti-Doping Agency on Monday banned Russia for four years from major global sporting events including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar over manipulated doping data, prompting an angry response from President Vladimir Putin.WADA´s executive committee, meeting in Lausanne, handed Russia the "robust" four-year suspension after accusing Moscow of falsifying data from a doping testing laboratory that was handed over to investigators earlier this year.The toughest ever sanctions imposed on Russian state authorities will see government officials barred from attending any major events, while the country will lose the right to host or bid for tournaments."For too long, Russian doping has detracted from clean sport," WADA president Craig Reedie said."Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order and rejoin the global anti-doping community for the good of its athletes and of the integrity of sport, but it chose instead to continue in its stance of deception and denial."Under the sanctions, Russian sportsmen and women will still be allowed to compete at the Olympics next year and the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, but only as neutrals and if they can demonstrate that they were not part of what WADA believes was a state-sponsored system of doping.Russia will still be allowed to compete in qualifiers for the 2022 football World Cup, but WADA director general Olivier Niggli added that should they progress to the finals in Qatar, "the team there will not be representing the Russian federation".Russia´s participation in Euro 2020 -- and Saint Petersburg´s hosting of four matches -- is not affected by the ban because it is not defined as a "major event" for anti-doping purposes.Speaking in Paris, Putin slammed the decision as a "politically motivated" ruling that "contradicted" the Olympic Charter."There is nothing to reproach the Russian Olympic Committee for and if there is no reproach towards this committee, the country should take part in competitions under its own flag," Putin said.Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev also said the ban was politically motivated. "This is the continuation of this anti-Russian hysteria that has already become chronic," Medvedev told domestic news agencies.´A tragedy´ The significant extent of state-sponsored doping in Russia, notably between 2011 and 2015, was revealed in the independent report by sports lawyer Richard McLaren, released in 2016.It led to the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) being suspended for nearly three years previously over revelations of a vast state-supported doping programme.Full disclosure of data from the Moscow laboratory was a key condition of Russia´s controversial reinstatement by WADA in September 2018.RUSADA´s supervisory board is set to meet on December 19 to take a decision on whether to appeal against the ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.Yury Ganus, the head of RUSADA, told AFP Monday that his country had "no chance" of winning an appeal."There is no chance of winning this case in court," Ganus said."This is a tragedy," he added. "Clean athletes are seeing their rights limited."Documents released Monday show WADA´s Compliance Review Committee (CRC) believes "deletions and alterations" to Russia´s doping data "materially prejudiced the ability to pursue cases against 145 of the 298 athletes" whose doping controls between 2011 and 2015 WADA thought to be suspicious.About one third of the 145 athletes are still active, WADA chief of investigators Gunter Younger said Monday.The WADA decision was widely predicted, with Reedie having made a presentation Saturday to the Olympic Summit, participants of which "strongly condemned those responsible for the manipulation of the data from the Moscow laboratory"."It was agreed that this was an attack on sport and that these actions should lead to the toughest sanctions against those responsible," the IOC said, asking that the Russian authorities deliver the "fully authenticated raw data".Positive doping tests contained in data leaked by a whistleblower in 2017 were missing from the laboratory data supplied in January 2019, which prompted a new inquiry.
  25. Photo: AFPWASHINGTON: Senior US officials insisted that progress was being made in Afghanistan despite clear evidence the war there had become unwinnable, The Washington Post reported on Monday after obtaining thousands of US government documents on the conflict.The Post said it had collected more than 2,000 pages of notes of interviews with top US military officers and diplomats, aid workers, Afghan officials and others who played a direct role in the nearly two-decade-old war.The documents, the newspaper said, "contradict a long chorus of public statements from US presidents, military commanders and diplomats who assured Americans year after year that they were making progress in Afghanistan and the war was worth fighting.""The interviews make clear that officials issued rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hid unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable," the Post said.The newspaper dubbed the trove of documents "The Afghanistan Papers," a reference to the Pentagon Papers which detailed the secret history of US involvement in Vietnam and helped turn public opinion against the war.The documents are part of a "Lessons Learned" project conducted by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the Post said. They were obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests.John Sopko, head of the federal agency that conducted the interviews, acknowledged to the newspaper that the documents show "the American people have constantly been lied to."Besides the "Lessons Learned" papers, the newspaper also obtained hundreds of memos written by Donald Rumsfeld, who served as defense secretary under president George W. Bush.The United States invaded Afghanistan following the September 2001 attacks on New York and Washington to eliminate the threat from Al-Qaeda and topple the Taliban.Some 13,000 US troops remain in Afghanistan nearly 20 years later and the Taliban pose a continued threat to the Afghan government."We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan -- we didn´t know what we were doing," Douglas Lute, a three-star army general who served as the White House´s Afghan war czar under presidents Bush and Barack Obama, said in a 2015 interview."What are we trying to do here?" Lute asked. "We didn´t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking."Was it worth $1 trillion?Jeffrey Eggers, a retired Navy SEAL and White House staffer for Bush and Obama, questioned the cost of the US involvement in Afghanistan. "What did we get for this $1 trillion effort?" Eggers asked. "Was it worth $1 trillion?""After the killing of Osama bin Laden, I said that Osama was probably laughing in his watery grave considering how much we have spent on Afghanistan," he said.Among those interviewed was former army general Michael Flynn, who briefly served as President Donald Trump´s National Security Adviser."From the ambassadors down to the low level, (they all say) we are doing a great job," Flynn said in a 2015 interview. "Really? So if we are doing such a great job, why does it feel like we are losing?"Senior US officials interviewed said there was no clear US strategy or objective in Afghanistan after rooting out Al-Qaeda and toppling the Taliban."If there was ever a notion of mission creep it is Afghanistan," said Richard Boucher, who served as the State Department´s top diplomat for South Asia, in a 2015 interview."We have to say good enough is good enough," Boucher said. "That is why we are there 15 years later. We are trying to achieve the unachievable instead of achieving the achievable."A US official who served as a liaison to NATO who was not identified in the documents also had questions about strategy."What were we actually doing in that country?" the official said. "What are our objectives? Nation-building? Women´s rights?.... It was never fully clear in our own minds what the established goals and timelines were."The Post said the "Lessons Learned" interviews also contain "numerous admissions that the government routinely touted statistics that officials knew were distorted, spurious or downright false."A senior National Security Council official said there was constant pressure from the Obama White House and Pentagon to produce figures to show the US troop surge of 2009 to 2011 was working despite evidence to the contrary."It was impossible to create good metrics," the official said. "We tried using troop numbers trained, violence levels, control of territory and none of it painted an accurate picture. "The metrics were always manipulated for the duration of the war."
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