ROME: Roger Federer kept up his pursuit of the elusive Italian Open title with a 6-3, 6-3 win over sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych on Friday to reach the semifinals of the clay-court tournament.
Along with Monte Carlo, Rome is one of only two Masters series titles that the 17-time Grand Slam champion has never won.
Federer will next face either seven-time Rome champion Rafael Nadal or eigth-seeded Stan Wawrinka, who were playing in the night session at the Foro Italico.
Also, seventh-seeded David Ferrer beat David Goffin of Belgium 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 and will meet the winner of a match between top-ranked Novak Djokovic and fifth-seeded Kei Nishikori.
In women’s action, second-seeded Simona Halep routed qualifier Alexandra Dulgheru 6-1, 6-0 in an all-Romanian matchup.
Under overcast skies with some rain drops falling briefly, Federer fell behind a break midway through the first set but recovered it immediately and cruised from there.
“From the baseline I was playing very well.” Federer said.
“My serve was not quite there from the beginning. I was hitting too many second serves and he was able to take advantage of that and break early. So it was important to pick it up on the serve, which is maybe the easiest thing to do.”
“I felt good again on the return and (was) moving well, so as the match went on I got better and better,” he added. “The wind picked up in the second set – that’s when I think Tomas didn’t play so well anymore and I was able to get the job done.”
Perhaps fatigued from his three-set win over Fabio Fognini a day earlier, Berdych struggled to get his first serve in and rarely pushed Federer into long rallies.
Berdych attempted to take the initiative while serving at 3-4 in the first set but Federer produced a spectacular backhand cross-court passing shot with a flip of his wrist that left the Czech player looking on in admiration.
“I’m hitting my backhand quite well at the moment,” Federer said.
Federer went on to break Berdych’s serve to take a 5-3 lead and quickly served it out.
“Roger played a very good game. He really used his chances,” Berdych said. “He just played well. But there are days like that.”
After winning a title on clay in Istanbul two weeks ago, Federer lost his opening match to rising Australian Nick Kyrgios at last week’s Madrid Open.
However, he has played solidly here, also beating Kevin Anderson of South Africa in straight sets in his opening match.
Making his 15th appearance at the Foro Italico, Federer is a three-time finalist. He was beaten by Felix Mantilla in 2003, by Nadal in a fifth-set tiebreaker in 2006, and by Nadal again in 2013.
Rome is the last big warmup for the French Open, which will start in nine days. (ap)
New Delhi: Looking to replace the not-so-popular Champions League Twenty20 annual cricket event, IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla on Fridaysaid that the BCCI is exploring options for a new league in September.
After six years of CLT20, where winners of various world T20 competitions clash, the BCCI is planning to scrap the event after dwindling viewer interest in the tournament and Shukla admits a new league can be a good answer.
“Yes, we are planning to do away with the Champions League T20. In place of that, we are considering an alternative league. But at the moment all this is at the planning stage” Shukla told PTI.
Since its inception in 2009, the TV ratings of CLT20, which in joint ownership of India, Australia and South Africa, have dipped considerably. Shukla said that he and BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur are trying to come up with something different.
“Several ideas are coming and honourable secretary and myself are considering those ideas. We will sit together after the IPL gets over and try and plan out something,” he said.
UAE is reportedly being considered as a possible venue for the proposed league but Shukla was unwilling to reveal anything furthur. “At the moment we don’t have anything in hand, but yes we are in the process of bouncing off ideas. When something concrete comes up, we will cetainly bring it to everyone’s notice,” he said. (PTI)
Mumbai: Indian batsman mainstay Ajinkya Rahane on Friday thanked former captain Rahul Dravid for the encomiums showered on him on Thursday, but insisted he cannot be compared to “The Wall.”
“It is a big compliment coming from Rahul bhai. It gives me motivation and inspiration to do well and work harder. For me the process is important, not the result. Over the last two years I have been doing that,” said Rahane at a promotional event for his IPL team Rajasthan Royals here on Friday.
“I feel that Rahane has been the most successful Indian Test batsman in the last one year. We played four overseas tours in the last one year and his performance was very good in all these four tours,” Dravid said here on Thursday.
“Some players performed in one or two series but Rahane was one player, who performed well in all the four series,” the Rajasthan Royals ‘Mentor’ said of Rahane, who scored Test centuries in New Zealand, England and Australia.
“There is always one wall, and there will always be one. I don’t think I can take his place, but there is only one wall in India and that is Rahul Dravid,” Rahane said on being compared to Dravid for his solidity in batting.
On the Royals’ dip in form after a great start in the IPL, where they are facing a do-or-die situation against title holders Kolkata Knight Riders on Saturday at the Brabourne Stadium, Rahane said it was due to the nature of T20 cricket.
“In T20, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. It’s important to play good cricket, and I feel we are doing that really well this year.
“It’s just about one game, if we win this and we’re through. So it’s just about playing good cricket on 16th. Throughout this season everyone has contributed really well and I’m sure everyone will do well on 16th,” he said. “We are not looking for any result. It’s important to give your best on the field, it’s important to follow the process. If we play our best cricket, I’m sure we will qualify,” he added.
“KKR is a balanced team, every player is equally dangerous and important. We are not thinking too much about KKR, we are just looking to back our strengths.
“We focus on our game rather than what other teams are doing. The simpler you keep, the better it is for you. We watched how KKR played. We are prepared well for this, had a good session yesterday too,” he answered when asked about Thursday’s game in which Mumbai Indians defeated KKR by five runs to keep their qualifying hopes alive. (PTI)
SHILLONG, May 15: The chairman of the People’s Democratic Forum (PDF), Pynshngain N Syiem was on Friday elected as the new Chief Executive Member (CEM) of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC).
This major development came in the wake of the All Regional Parties Alliance (ARPA) led Executive Committee (EC) of the KHADC tendering in its resignation on Friday itself.
Syiem was declared elected as the new CEM uncontested by the KHADC chairperson Teilinia Thangkhiew during a special session of the KHADC held on Friday.
SHILLONG, May 15: Even as he was released on bail on Friday, Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) president, Daniel Khyriem has threatened of a massive programme of agitation should the state government not pay heed to the demands for withdrawal of cases against 13 pro – Inner Line Permit (ILP) NGOs.
Khyriem was arrested on May 7 and sent to 14 days judicial custody after he refused to accept a bailable warrant issued against him by a special court institutd by the state government to try cases related to damage incurred during the four month long agitation launched by the pro-ILP NGOs in pursuit of the implementation of the ILP in the state.
SHILLONG, May 15: A serious allegation was made on Friday by the Khasi Heritage Observer Union (KHOU) wherein it has blames the state government of using the traditional chiefs as ‘agents’ in an effort to get people to agree to the ordinance that the government has passed to empower the traditional heads.
“The ordinance is still a blank-white paper for the public. But the government is trying to adopt a tactic to force people to agree to it by sending its agents to hold a signature campaign at Mawsynram yesterday (Thursday),” KHOU secretary Desparsing Rani told reporters at a news conference held here on Friday.
Mumbai: Mumbai Indians stayed on course for a play-off berth after pulling off a narrow five-run win over defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders in a nerve-wracking last-over IPL thriller here on Thursday.
The hosts first recovered from a poor start of 79 for four to post 171-4 following a whirlwind knock of 61 not out in 31 balls from Hardik Pandya.
Chasing the score, Knight Riders lost wickets at regular intervals after a bright start of 45 but still were in the hunt for a win and a place in the play-off when they needed 12 runs in the last over bowled by Kieron Pollard.
However, the big-built West Indian conceded only six runs after taking the wicket of danger man Yusuf Pathan who was caught behind for 52 off the first ball to help Mumbai cross the finish line at the Wankhede Stadium.
MI thus took their points tally to 14 with one last away game left to play against Sun Risers Hyderabad on May 17, while Kolkata have 15 with one match in hand against Rajasthan Royals to be played at the Cricket Club of India’s Brabourne Stadium here on May 16.
Earlier Pandya, who came after the fall of captain Rohit Sharma, slammed 2 sixes and 8 fours in his 31-ball whirlwind knock and added an unbroken 92 runs in 51 balls for the fifth wicket with Pollard (33 not out) to resurrect Mumbai after they were reduced to 79-4 in 11.4 overs.
Put into bat, MI were put on the back foot within the power play period when they lost both openers Parthiv Patel (21) and Lendl Simmons (14).
After the rare failure of the consistent Ambati Rayudu that left MI at a difficult 47 for 3, captain Sharma and West Indian Pollard did some repair work but the dismissal of the former for a 21-ball 30 put the brakes again.
But Pandya took the KKR bowling by the scruff and smashed the ball around. He struck Umesh Yadav for four fours in the 17th over before reaching his half century with a six in 25 balls.
Former Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan, returning to the tournament after a month’s gap because of national duty, did the star turn for the defending champions with a two-wicket haul for 22 with his crafty left arm spin.
South African Morne Morkel (1 for 27) and Narine (1 for 38) were the other wicket takers. Knight Riders conceded 72 runs in the last five overs.
Chasing the MI total, Knight Riders were off to a sound start with in-form openers, captain Gautam Gambhir (38) and Robin Uthappa (25) putting on 45 runs before the latter was sent back by off-spinner Harbhajan Singh.
A lap shot by Uthappa went straight to fine leg fielder Malinga, a ball after the batsman had clubbed the off-spinner over mid wicket for a big six.
In the same over of Harbhajan, a suicidal attempt for a single saw Manish Pandey run out by a direct hit at the striker’s end stumps from fine leg by Lendl Simmons to leave the Knight Riders at 46 for 2 within the power play.
Yusuf Pathan then added 30 runs with Shakib Al Hasan before the former Bangladesh captain was caught pulling pacer Vinay Kumar and ten runs later Andre Russell was dismissed by Malinga via a wide ball that he edged behind to leave Knight Riders at 128 for five.
Suryakumar Yadav threatened for a brief with a couple of boundary hits before perishing in the deep off a flick shot against McClenaghan in his death-over spell. Later, needing 21 to win off the last 12 balls, Yusuf Pathan hammered Malinga for a huge six over mid wicket off the fifth ball of the penultimate over to bring down the target to 12 in the last over and also complete his fifty in 35 balls.
But his dismissal off the first ball of the last over ended KKR’s hopes as Piyush Chawla was unable to score the required runs. (PTI)
SHILLONG: The artificial football turf was inaugurated on Thursday at Madan Heh Stadium, Mawlai Phudmuri.
Speaking on the occasion, Meghalaya Sports and Youth Affairs Minister, Zenith Sangma said that it is a happy moment for sports lovers of Mawlai and that the fund was actually sanctioned for a bigger stadium but due to the non-availability of space, the actual 8,000 sq.mts. was reduced to 6,000 sq.mts.
He also informed that the remaining amount out of total amount of Rs. 4 crore sanctioned, was utilized for other purposes such as roofing, chairs, and fencing of the stadium.
While appreciating the enormous potentiality that the youth of Meghalaya has, Zenith said that the Government was committed to develop sports activities in the State and that the government is focusing diligently for the last three years in this area.
He also informed that the District Sports Commission Society under the Chairmanship of the Deputy Commissioner has been set up in all the 11 Districts of the State and an amount of Rs. 5 crore has also been sanctioned for the same. He therefore urged the people to avail the benefits
Also present at the inaugural function were, S D Khongwir, President, Mawlai Town Dorbar, G Kharmujai, Ex President and Advisory Board Member and Marcel Kharbani, President, Mawlai Sports Club besides a large number of school students and residents of Mawlai.
Melbourne: Cricket Australia on Thursday announced an independent review into the death of batsman Phillip Hughes.
Hughes died on November 27, 2014, two days after being struck in the neck by a ball while representing South Australia in a domestic match against New South Wales at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The review will be chaired by leading lawyer David Curtain, a former chairman of the Victorian Bar Council and president of the Australian Bar Association, a CA statement said.
CA CEO James Sutherland said the review was being commissioned to see if anything could be done to prevent a similar accident happening again.
“When this tragedy happened, I said that it was a freak accident, but it was one freak accident too many. Never again do we want to see something like that happen on a cricket field,” Sutherland said.
‘We have a deep responsibility and obligation to look into the events of that awful day to understand everything that occurred and then see what could be done to prevent a similar accident happening in the future.
“This is not an exercise designed to apportion blame on any individual for what took place. It is about making sure that as a sport we are doing everything in our power to prevent an accident of this nature happening again.”
He also said that CA has put in place certain measures to avoid such incidents in future.
“There were certain measures put in place soon after Phillip’s passing such as increasing the medical presence at all CA matches and working very closely with our helmet supplier to investigate the suitability of protective head equipment offered to all players.
“This review will help determine whether we need to implement further measures before the 2015-16 season. We fully recognise that undertaking a process such as this may be a traumatic experience for some and we will be as respectful and understanding as possible throughout that time.
“As such Cricket Australia and all states continue to make available counselling and support to any players and staff who feel they need help at any time.”
Curtain has been requested to examine on the causes and circumstances which led to the injury and ultimate death of Hughes. He will also prepare a report on the policies, practices or systems in place to prevent a similar accident from occurring including those in relation to the prevention of traumatic injuries to the head and heart. (IANS)
ROME: Swiss world number two Roger Federer survived a late fightback by Kevin Anderson on Thursday to book his place in the quarterfinals and a possible last four match-up with Rafael Nadal at the Italian Open.
Federer, bidding to win his first title on the red clay of the Foro Italico, swept Anderson aside 6-3 in the first set and looked to be heading to an easy win on Centre Court before the 15th-seeded South African launched a late fightback.
Anderson stubbornly saved two match points in the second set before Federer sealed the win 7-5 to book a last eight clash with Czech Tomas Berdych or local hope Fabio Fognini.
If Federer accounts for Berdych he will meet seven-time champion Nadal — a 6-4, 6-4 winner over big-serving American John Isner — in the semi-finals on Saturday, providing the Spaniard overcomes Swiss Stan Wawrinka on Friday.
Nadal came into the event looking to make amends for his defeat to Andy Murray in the final of the Madrid Masters last week, when the Scot took his victory streak to a remarkable 10 wins out of 10 on clay this season.
The Spaniard said he is “more than happy” as he looks to put the mediocre form that has besieged his clay court game lately behind him as he ups the tempo ahead of bidding for a 10th French Open title at Roland Garros.
“I’m more than happy, I think I played a fantastic match against a very, very tough opponent,” said Nadal.
Nadal, however, said his form on the red dirt so far this season means he won’t be the bookies’ favourite.
He added: “This year for sure I haven’t been consistent enough to be considered the main favourite for Roland Garros.” Murray’s hopes of continuing his stunning form on what is not his favourite surface were kept in check by a bout of fatigue which forced the Scot, the world number three, to pull out prior to his third round match-up with Belgian David Goffin.
Goffin will now meet David Ferrer after the Spaniard beat countryman Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-1, 6-3. The winner of that quarter-final could come up against Novak Djokovic, who faces Brazilian qualifier Thomaz Bellucci in the third round later Thursday. “I’m going to take a few days’ rest, not go on the court,” said Murray, who added that his decision was a precaution with the French Open looming.
“It wasn’t just about today’s match. It was about the rest of the tournament… and further down the line the possibility of getting sick and missing five, six or seven days.”
Joining Murray on the way out through the turnstiles was defending women’s champion Serena Williams, who cited a sore right elbow for her decision to withdraw prior to her third round match with Christina McHale. Williams, who exited the Madrid Masters in the semi-finals last week, said the ramifications for her future targets of Roland Garros and Wimbledon were too serious had she decided to play through the pain.
“It wasn’t an easy decision, I talked with my coach and he said it wouldn’t be smart for me to play,” said Williams.
Her absence has paved the way for Russian Maria Sharapova, who won the last of her two Rome titles in 2012, to aim for a third Italian Open crown.
Sharapova cruised past Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia 6-3, 6-3 to set up a quarter-final with Carla Suarez after the Spanish 10th seed took three sets to beat Eugenie Bouchard of Canada.
On her way to the final the Russian could cross paths with Romanian second seed Simona Halep, a straight sets winner over Venus Williams (6-2, 6-1) or Czech Petra Kvitova, who swept Jelena Jankovic of Serbia aside 6-3, 6-2. (AFP)
London: Carlo Ancelotti will not be manager of Real Madrid next season and Zinedine Zidane could be his replacement, feels Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher.
The club is poised to go without any silverware this season after being dumped out of the Champions League by Juventus and falling four points behind Barcelona in La Liga with two games remaining.
Even Ancelotti himself admitted he does “not know if I will still be here” next season and Carragher feels Zidane, currently manager of the club’s B team Real Madrid Castilla, is a natural replacement.
Asked whether Ancelotti should fear for his job, Carragher was quoted as saying by dailymail.co.uk on Wednesday: “You know how this club works, he knows that better than anyone. He’s one of the world’s top managers, won the Champions League three times, but there’s no way he will be here next year.
“I’m sure there’ll be a change,” Carragher, who is a football expert with Sky Sports, said.
Ancelotti won the Champions League and Copa del Rey double last season, but club president Florentino Perez can be unforgiving when it comes to a trophyless year.
Zidane took charge of the club’s reserve squad in June 2014, and narrowly missed out on promotion from Spain’s third tier, Segunda B, recently.
“There’s talk of Zidane, who is in charge of the reserve team. You wouldn’t be surprised at Real Madrid if that happened in the next couple of days, and they give someone else the job for the last three or four games to see how Zidane went,” former defender Carragher continued. (IANS)
St. Anthony’s School, Jail Road Boys, Gandhi Buniyadi Sec School win
Shillong: St. Anthony’s School defeated Buddha Vidya Niketan by 42 runs in the 7th Babu Ondromoni Dkhar Memorial Senior Cricket Tournament organised by the Shillong Cricket Association at the SCA Cricket Ground, Polo, on Thursday.Electing to bat first Anthonian’s scored 98 runs losing 7 wickets in 15 overs. Eddyson scored 25 runs off 20 balls and Jerry scored 17 runs off 18 balls. Bishwajeet took 3 wickets for 18 runs and Barshat took 2 wickets for 17 runs for Buddha Niketan.In reply, Buddha Niketan were dismissed for 56 runs in 12.3 overs. Vinod Rai scored 21 runs off 22 balls and Barshat scored 12 runs off 13 balls. Subham Yadav took 3 wickets for 10 runs and Abhishek took 2 wickets for 1 run for St. Anthony’s In the second match, Jail Road Boys defeated St. Anthony’s School by 21 runs in the 10th I.P Das Memorial (Junior) Cricket Tournament.Jail Road Boys elected to bat first and scored 98 runs for the loss of 6 wickets in 15 overs. Monojit Das scored 34 runs off 42 balls. Donkupar Nongkynrih and Anchit Mahanla took 2 wickets each for St. Anthony’s School.In reply, St. Anthony’s scored 77 runs losing 4 wickets in 15 overs. Raj Joshi scored 25 runs off 38 balls and Abhishek Upadhaya scored 12 runs off 11 balls. Aman Sharma took 1 wicket for 6 runs for Jail Road Boy’s.In the third match, Gandhi Buniyadi Sec School defeated Madrasa Hemayul Islamia by 6 wickets in the 10th I.P Das Memorial (Junior) Cricket Tournament. Choosing to bat, Madrasa Hemayul were all out for 63 runs in 13 overs. Md. Faiyaz scored 31 runs off 37 balls. Pappu Kr. Rai and Satander Kr. Rai took 2 wickets each for Gandhi Buniyadi.In reply, Gandhi Buniyadi Sec School reached the target in 12 overs losing 4 wickets. Bikash Kr. Rai scored 19 runs off 19 ballls and Pritam scored 11 runs off 18 balls. Md. Sameer took 2 wickets for 15 runs and Md. Nisar took 1 wicket for 16 runs for Islamia School.
SSA Annual General Meeting
Shillong: The Annual General Meeting of the Shillong Sports Association will be held on Saturday, May 16 at 11.00 AM in the conference room of the Association, Polo Grounds, Shillong. Affiliated clubs are reminded to depute a duly authorized representative to the meeting and to collect the necessary papers for the meeting before the above date.
Steven Gerrard dreading emotional Liverpool farewell LONDON: Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard says he has been dreading the moment he must wave goodbye to his adoring Anfield fans this weekend when he plays his final home game for the club. After 17 years with his boyhood team, during which time Gerrard has made more than 700 appearances, Saturday’s clash with Crystal Palace will mark the end of an era. “I don’t know what it will be like at the end of the game when I say goodbye for real,” said the 34-year-old midfield general who will join the Los Angeles Galaxy when the season finishes. “I’ve been dreading this moment in a strange way because I’m going to miss it so much, playing in front of the fans at Anfield and with my team mates,” Gerrard told a packed news conference at Liverpool’s Melwood training ground. “It will be emotional but the plan is to keep it together and avoid the tears.”(Reuters)
Barcelona FC and its president to stand trial in Neymar case
Madrid: Spanish National Court judge Jose de la Mata has decided to prosecute football club FC Barcelona’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu, his predecessor Sandro Rosell, and the club itself, as a legal entity, for three counts of tax fraud allegedly committed in signing Brazilian striker Neymar da Silva. Judge Mata issued the order on Wednesday to commence proceedings of the case, in which FC Barcelona is accused of defrauding an estimated 13 million euros (roughly $14.7 million), reports Efe. The judge explained neither the prosecution nor the state’s attorney requested in indictments of any measures to ensure the potential civil liability of Rosell and Bartomeu. The judge also accepted the state attorney’s request to retain the amount appropriated by the club from the treasury to ensure that the team would be able to pay any possible financial penalties in the ruling on the case. (IANS)
ICC Cricket Committee to meet in Mumbai
Mumbai: The International Cricket Council (ICC) will discuss course of its action on critical issues like the balance between bat and ball and illegal bowling actions at its annual cricket ommittee meeting here on May 15-16. The committee is chaired by former India captain Anil Kumble and includes ICC chairman N. Srinivasan and chief executive David Richardson, an ICC release said on Thursday. In addition, a review of the World Cup, held in Australia and New Zealand in February-March, will be done. Also on the agenda for discussion is the use of technology in umpiring and the code of conduct, including player behaviour. The committee’s remit is to discuss these issues and make recommendations to the chief executives’ committee and the governing body’s board that will meet in Barbados during the ICC’s Annual Conference week, June 22-26. (IANS)
AFC general secretary suspended following media allegations
Kuala Lumpur: Asian Football Confederation (AFC) general secretary Alex Soosay has been suspended by the organisation following media allegations that he attempted to tamper or hide documents during a corruption probe in 2012, a statement on the official AFC website said. A video statement conducted as part of a FIFA investigation was passed on to media recently and the AFC has now been able to verify its authenticity, Xinhua reported citing AFC as having said on Wednesday. AFC deputy general secretary Windsor John will take over the role for the interim while an internal investigation is conducted, the AFC said. Malay Mail, a local English language newspaper, reported recently that Soosay had attempted to “tamper or hide” documents during the 2012 internal audit which was triggered by claims of corrupt practices by the then president Mohamad Hammam.Hammam was later banned for life by FIFA for corruption. (IANS)
MANILA: Police will open a criminal investigation into a Philippine factory fire that killed at least 72 people, as a relative of several of the victims said on Thursday the blaze had trapped workers in the building’s second floor where iron grills on windows prevented their escape.
Most of the bodies were retrieved from the gutted two-story Kentex Manufacturing Corp. rubber slipper factory a day after the fire raged for over five hours in the outskirts of the capital, Manila.
As forensic officers worked to identify the dead and reconcile their names with those listed as missing, questions were being raised if the factory followed fire and building safety standards.
Dionesio Candido, whose daughter, granddaughter, sister-in-law and niece were among the missing, said iron grills reinforced with fencing wire covered windows on the second floor that “could prevent even cats from escaping.”
He said he was allowed by authorities to enter the gutted building, where he saw charred remains “piled on top of each other.”
Local media reports quoted relatives as saying their kin sent frantic text messages asking for help from second floor, but contact was lost shortly after.
Police will file charges against “all those accountable and those at fault,” said police Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina.
Valenzuela city fire marshal Mel Jose Lagan said arson investigators will look into why the people were unable to escape from the second floor when there was a “sufficient exit” that includes a wide stairway to the back of the building leading to the outside. They will also look into whether there were more people inside the building than allowed.
Iron grill bars on windows are common in offices, factories and homes in the Philippines to keep away thieves. In workplaces or factories, they are also meant to prevent employees from stealing equipment or products.
Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian said that a workers log book was lost in the fire and the foreman was among the dead, making it difficult to determine how many were inside the factory at the time. (PTI)
The chief of the national police medical examiner’s office, Emmanuel Aranas, said fingerprints could no longer be used to identify the burnt victims and forensic officers will have to rely on dental records, DNA and personal items to identify the bodies.
Gatchalian said the fire was apparently ignited by sparks from welding work at the factory’s main entrance door, triggering an explosion of the chemicals used to make the slippers. Workers fled to the second floor where they were trapped, he said.
District Fire Marshal Wilberto Rico Neil Kwan Tiu said that the building had other exits but apparently the workers were overwhelmed by the thick black smoke from the burning rubber and chemicals, which are highly flammable and caused the blaze to spread quickly.
Kabul: Four Indians and an American were among 14 people killed in a Taliban attack on a guesthouse here, with a top Afghan official saying the Indian Ambassador could have been the target of the militants who stormed the complex popular among expats.
The four Indians killed included two private auditors and an NGO worker who were at the Park Palace Guesthouse, located in the Kolola Pushta area of the Kabul city, when the Taliban militants stormed the building at about 0900 PM last night.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s special envoy for good governance Ahmad Zia Massoud was quoted by Khaama Press as saying said the militants attacked the guesthouse thinking Indian Ambassador Amar Sinha was present in the compound. However, he did not elaborate further.
When asked whether he was scheduled to go there, Sinha told PTI “I was invited for an event at the guesthouse which is full of expats but I had not confirmed my attendance.”
Confirming that four Indians were among the victims, Sinha said he has been informed by the Afghan authorities that the total number of casualties was 14 and the nationality of others was being ascertained.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is currently on a visit to China, spoke to President Ghani. “Spoke to President Ashraf Ghani and offered condolences on loss of lives due to the Kabul attack. We are one when it comes to fighting terror,” Modi, who arrived in Xi’an this morning on a three-day visit to China, tweeted. “President Ashraf Ghani expressed sadness on the unfortunate demise of Indian citizens in the attack in Kabul,” the Prime Minister said.
Three gunmen stormed the guesthouse and started firing. Afghan National Security Forces including Special Forces rushed to the spot and began striking back. All the attackers were killed in the siege that lasted for about seven hours, ending in the wee hours of this morning. The Taliban has claimed the responsibility for the attack on the guesthouse which was about to host a musical concert. “The attack was planned carefully to target the party in which important people and Americans were attending,” the militants said in a statement. When the attack took place, the musical event was due to begin and was to be attended by the Turkish and Indian guests as well Afghan nationals, an Afghan Security official was quoted as saying. (PTI)
Washington: The Republicans-dominated US House of Representatives has approved a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, a vote slammed by women’s rights activists as “unconstitutional”.
The House voted 242 to 184 in favor of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
The House has said it would veto the bill. “The bill continues to add a harsh burden to survivors of sexual assault, rape and incest who are already enduring unimaginable hardship,” said Josh Earnest, the White House Press Secretary.
“The bill puts women’s health and rights at risk, undermines the role doctors play in health care decisions, burdens survivors of sexual assault, and is not based on sound science,” said Hillary for America Senior Policy Advisor Maya Harris.
“In just the first three months of 2015, more than 300 bills have been introduced in state legislatures — on top of the nearly 30 measures introduced in Congress — that restrict access to abortion,” Harris said.
The Act would ban abortions from 20 weeks after fertilization. “Passing an unconstitutional nationwide ban on later abortions does nothing to help women — instead, it threatens their health and lives and interferes in their personal medical decisions,” said Gretchen Borchelt, vice president for health and reproductive rights for the National Women’s Law Center in a statement.
The bill includes exceptions for the life of the mother, and for cases of rape or incest. “As we remember the second anniversary of Kermit Gosnell’s conviction for brutal and tragic abortion practices, Congress is taking action to prohibit abortions proven to cause pain and suffering for unborn infants,” said Charles Boustany, Republican Congressman, one of the co-sponsors of the bill.
“These aren’t just fetuses. These are babies just like the ones we see in Neonatal Intensive Care Units in hospitals in our area struggling for life, needing love,” said Congressman Joe Barton.
Currently 24 States including Louisiana have already acted to ban late-term abortions. According to the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the US is currently one of only seven countries worldwide, including North Korea and China, which allows elective late-term abortions. (PTI)
“This vote is just the latest measure in an unprecedented series of Republican assaults on women’s health care this Congress, from restricting how women can spend private money in purchasing coverage to enabling DC employers to fire women for buying birth control,” said Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic Leader. PTI LKJ AMS AKJ AMS 05141532
Bangkok: Thailand on Thursday said it will build more temporary shelters for Rohingya and other migrants even as the country described the irregular migration as clearly illegal.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said there were already nine such shelters that had accommodated nearly 500,000 illegal immigrants and the new facilities would be for temporary detention.
Repatriation had reduced their number to about 100,000, Prayut said. “Stop talking about going to a third country. No one would accept them, but everyone tries to make a transit point, such as us, take responsibility. Is this fair?” Prayut said.
Thailand could not avoid the responsibility of temporarily caring for migrants, including Rohingyas, but other countries and international organisations must also provide their support, he said, pending the repatriation.
Prayut ordered Foreign ministry officials to discuss the matter with representatives of countries and organisations who would attend the special meeting on “Irregular Migration in the Indian Ocean” in Bangkok on May 29.
Prayut said the migrants’ arrival in Thailand was clearly illegal and they had to be controlled during their stay in the country pending legal action, Bangkok Post reported. He added that Thailand needed assistance from other countries in handling these illegal migrants.
Meanwhile, neighbouring Malaysia turned away two boats crammed with more than 800 migrants, as thousands of Bangladeshis and Rohingya illegals who arrived in droves in the past few days are camping in Malaysia.
People in the thick of human trafficking have abandoned the illegals and escaped fearing arrest. Around 1,600 have been rescued, but an estimated 6,000 remain stranded at sea. Malaysia has made it clear that it does not want the migrants. Indonesia, which has taken 600 migrants, also turned a boat away earlier this week. The UNHCR said 25,000 people had embarked from Bay of Bengal in January-March, double than the last year’s rate. (PTI)
Thousands of them are feared abandoned after a crackdown in Thailand, which began after the discovery of dozens of dead migrants in jungle graves along its southern border earlier this month. Dozens of graves and bodies, believed to be Rohingya people from Bangladesh and Myanmar, were discovered at abandoned jungle camps in Padang Besar, Sadao district of Songkhla and Phangnga in southern Thailand. PTI JB MRJ 05141556
SHILLONG, May 14: In view of State Government’s failure to approve the KHAD (Village Administration) Bill, 2014, KHADC Chief Executive Member (CEM) Adelbert Nongrum has decided to start his ‘fast onto death’ from May 16 at the parking lot near the Additional Secretariat.
Confirming the development, sources close to Nongrum informed that the decision was taken after state government failed to pay any heed to his 10 days deadline which will expire on Friday. According to them, Nongrum has failed to get any official correspondence from the government on the steps taken to address to his three-point demands.
SHILLONG, May 14: Following on the heels of the Chief Executive Member (CEM) of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC), Adelbert Nongrum, a young man has threatened to stage a fast unto death agitation if the state government does not resolve the present crisis that the traditional heads of Khasi – Jaintia Hills are currently stuck in.
Announcing this during a press conference on Thursday, Goldy Warjri said, “The traditional heads have been performing their duties from time immemorial which is a custom of our people and the High Court ruling has adversely affected our old age customs and tradition.”
SHILLONG, May 14: HSPDP on Thursday decided to temporarily suspend its ongoing office picketing against the state government’s failure to resolve the current crisis that arose out of the ruling of the High Court after the party felt that it needs to sensitize the public on the issue first.
Announcing this here on Thursday, HSPDP vice president Ardent M Basaiawmoit said, “We have decided to temporarily suspend our agitation.”
SHILLONG, May 14: The Chief Executive Member (CEM) of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC), Adelbert Nongrum has once again been summoned by the Meghalaya High Court for openly challenging it even though he had earlier been advised by the latter to exercise restraint. Interestingly, the court has also restrained the media from printing or televising any of Nongrum’s statements regarding his contempt of court case.
In a press release issued on Thursday, the Registrar General, High Court of Meghalaya, Shillong informed that the Chief Justice Uma Nath Singh and Justice T Nandakumar have directed Nongrum to remain present in the Court on Monday next.
This order has been issued in view of statement(s) made by Nongrum in the media against the order of the Single Judge of the High Court namely, Justice S.R. Sen.