SHILLONG: Royal Wahingdoh FC booked their place in the final of the U-20 All India Football Tournament at Chittaranjan in West Bengal on Thursday beating current IFA Shield champions Tata Football Academy 7-6 in tie breaker. The Royals will face Mohun Bagan Sail Academy in the final to be played under lights on Friday evening. Earlier, the two sides were tied at 0-0 at the end of the stipulated 90 minutes and eventually the outcome of the crucial encounter had to be decided through a tie breaker. RWFC, who were dominant all along, missed a golden opportunity to take the decisive lead when a penalty strike was awarded to them in the 42nd minute after Tajjuddin was fouled inside the box. However, Khusen Manger failed to convert from the spot. Later the Royals won 7-6 and will now look forward to conquer home favourites Bagan Sail Academy who got the better of the Shillong side in the league stage. While RWFC had beaten East Bengal 5-0 en route to the semis, TFA had tamed Shillong Lajong FC to make it to the round of four. “It was a great win for us against a formidable opponent,” RWFC coach Bob L Nongbet said adding that his side is confident of a good show against Mohun Bagan Sail Academy. RWFC assistant coach Playerson Syiemlieh said that the tough semi final match had provided sound match practice for the Royals ahead of the all-important final on Saturday.
NAGPUR: Chris Gayle will return to the top of the batting order as West Indies look to continue their winning run and secure a semifinal berth when they take on South Africa in the ICC World Twenty20 here on Friday. The big-hitting left-handed opener was dropped down the order to number six in their previous match against Lanka after he pulled a hamstring. The West Indies, though, didn’t require Gayle’s services as they rode on opener Andre Fletcher’s unbeaten 84 to register a seven-wicket victory at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. It was the West Indies’ second win of the tournament after a Gayle century, which included 11 sixes, inspired them to a six-wicket triumph over England in their opening match. The former champions are on top of Group 1 on four points and a defeat of South Africa in Nagpur would see them become the second team to qualify for the last four, after New Zealand. Gayle and Fletcher are expected to open the batting for West Indies with Johnson Charles moving down the order. “I’ve opened the batting with him on many occasions so I know what sort of a player he is, he is very dangerous and he’s capable of getting big scores as well,” Gayle said of Fletcher. With just a win from two outings, South Africa desperately need a victory to bolster their prospects of reaching the semifinals. After the stunning loss to England, who chased down a record 230-run target, South Africa beat minnows Afghanistan to be placed precariously in third spot, two points behind England. If South Africa fail to beat the Windies then England would be in pole position to qualify into the last roundrobin game. The Proteas’ preparations were dealt a blow after all-rounder JP Duminy was ruled out of the match with a hamstring injury he picked up in the 37-run win over Afghanistan on Sunday. The right-arm spinner, who bats left-handed, has scored 83 runs in two matches without being dismissed, and also took 1-31 in the loss to England. “JP is a big player for us. Not having him is a big blow and does upset the balance of the side,” South Africa coach Russell Domingo said. In Duminy’s absence, South Africa will include Aaron Phangiso to complement the legspin of Imran Tahir with the wicket in Nagpur likely to suit spin We have to play better: Steve Smith Australia will have to play better cricket than what they have managed to do so far in the World T20 to have a shot at reaching the semifinals, captain Steve Smith said on Thursday. Australia suffered a batting collapse in their loss to New Zealand before they huffed and puffed to beat Bangladesh by three wickets in their second match. “We have to play a bit better than we have been in our first two games. We have not been at our 100 per cent yet and that could work for us. You don’t want to be playing your best cricket at the start of the tournament. We are next playing two quality opposition in India and Pakistan and we have to beat both of them to qualify. As simple as that,” Smith said on the eve of their match against Pakistan on Friday. Asked if the team was feeling extra pressure ahead of their must-win match on Friday, Smith said, “Well, there is always pressure in a tournament like this. We are excited about the challenge. (PTI) TEAMS South Africa: Faf du Plessis (C), Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock, AB de Villiers, Imran Tahir, Chris Morris, David Miller, Aaron Phangiso, Kagiso Rabada, Rilee Rossouw, Dale Steyn, David Wiese. West Indies: Darren Sammy (C), Samuel Badree, Sulieman Benn, Carlos Braithwaite, Dwayne Bravo, Johnson Charles, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder, Ashley Nurse, Denesh Ramdin, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Jerome Taylor, Evin Lewis.
TEHRAN: A lacklustre India went down 0-4 to Asian football giants Iran in a onesided 2018 World Cup qualifier at the Azadi Stadium here on Thursday. Ehsan Hajsafi (33rd, 66th minutes) struck twice from the penalty spot, while Sardar Azmoun (61st) and Alireza Jahanbakhsh (78th) struck once each. Iran finished as the top team in Group D with 17 points. India remain last in the five-team group with just three points to their name ahead of their final game against Turkmenistan in Kochi on March 29. India do have a faint chance of qualifying for the 2019 Asian Cup, but they will have to defeat Turkmenistan and depend on results from other matches in the group. Up against the highest ranked team in Asia, the Indians adopted a defensive approach. But they produced a limp performance and were undone by a couple of defensive blunders which led to penalties. The men in blue started off well enough, restricting the hosts to just a single goal in the first half. But their game fell apart in the second half as Iran, coached by former Manchester United manager Carlos Quieroz, made their domination count. The visitors were without the injured duo of Sunil Chhetri and Eugeneson Lyngdoh, who were replaced by Udanta Singh and Pronay Halder respectively. In defence, Arnab Mondal and Pritam Kotal made way for Sandesh Jhingan and Aiborlang Khongjee. Iran also made several changes to their starting line-up and fielded a young team. Iran got their first chance in the eighth minute and Indian goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh had to rush off his line in order to to deny Azmoun. India should have scored five minutes later, but Holicharan Nazary saw his attempt sail above the bar with Iran goalkeeper Mohammad Rashid Mazaheri off his line. Gurpreet parried away another Iranian attempt in the 17th minute before Jhingan survived a penalty appeal two minutes later after bringing down Alireza inside the box. The relentless pressure by the hosts took its toll when a reckless high-boot challenge from Bikash Jairu saw the referee point to the spot and the East Bengal winger was handed a booking as well. Off the subsequent penalty, Hajsafi sent Gurpreet the wrong way to open the scoring. Jairu was substituted three minutes later by fellow East Bengal player Harmanjot Singh Khabra. The hosts continued to create chances at regular intervals and nearly doubled their lead early in the second half as Ezatolahi headed just wide from a corner-kick. Azmoun, nicknamed the ‘Iranian Messi’, went close in the 52nd minute as he curled an effort wide from the edge of the area. Gurpreet then parried away Morteza’s effort three minutes later. Iran doubled their lead when a Hajsafi corner found Azmoun, who received the ball on his thigh before finding the target from close range. The visitors conceded another penalty when Narayan Das’s attempt at a headed clearance saw the ball strike his hand. Hajsafi scored his second goal from the spot to put the issue beyond the visitor’s reach. The hosts scored their fourth goal thanks to another piece of poor work by the Indian defenders. Alireza was allowed plenty of space and time as he cut in from the right flank to bulge the net with a wellplaced finish. (IANS)
Brussels: Three suicide bombers who struck Brussels airport and a metro train in attacks claimed by the Islamic State have been identified, as the manhunt for a fourth suspect whose suitcase bomb failed to detonate intensified.
Prosecutors said brothers Ibrahim and Khalid El Bakraoui had carried out attacks at Zaventem airport and Maalbeek metro station, while bomb-making expert Najim Laachraoui was identified by police sources as the second airport bomber.
Authorities yesterday stepped up the manhunt for a third airport attacker, seen wearing a hat and white jacket on CCTV footage from Zaventem departure hall, whose explosive-packed suitcase failed to go off with the two other suicide bombers.
The three identified suspects behind the twin assaults, which killed 31 and injured 300, have been linked to the Paris attacks last November, underscoring the threat European nations face from the jihadist group.
Turkey said it had detained Ibrahim El Bakraoui near the Syrian border in June 2015 and deported him as a “foreign terrorist fighter”, piling more pressure on Belgian authorities who have faced criticism for failing to tackle the extremist menace. Prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw revealed that Ibrahim had left a desperate “will” on a computer that he dumped in a trash can, in which he said he felt “hunted” and added “I don’t know what to do”.
In an apparent reference to Salah Abdeslam, the key suspect in the Paris massacre arrested in Brussels on Friday, Ibrahim added: “I don’t want to end up in a cell next to him.”
EU justice and interior ministers will convene today in Brussels for an emergency meeting to work out a plan to address the threat posed by jihadists to Europe and the application of EU anti-terrorism laws across the bloc.
Leaders in Europe have reacted with outrage to the twin bombings, vowing to defend democracy and combat terrorism “with all means necessary”.
Belgium authorities are under immense pressure over their apparent inability to smash domestic extremist networks, after it emerged that the Paris attacks were largely planned from the country. Belgium is also Europe’s top exporter of jihadist fighters to Syria per capita.
Belgian authorities had already been hunting the Bakraoui brothers, both Belgian nationals with long criminal records, over their links to Paris attack suspect Abdeslam.
They also issued a wanted notice for Laachraoui on Monday, the day before the attacks, with officials saying he had travelled to Hungary with Abdeslam last year and that his DNA was found on explosives linked to the Paris rampage. (AFP)
Dhaka: At least 13 people have been killed and about a thousand others injured in poll-related violence during local elections held in party lines for the first time in Bangladesh, police said.
Much of the violence was in the southern coastal town of Mathabria, where clashes broke out on Tuesday when thousands of ruling party supporters attacked police and border guards and snatched ballot boxes.
At least five persons were killed and several others injured in Mathbaria area that saw the deadliest violence.
Apart from this, two persons were killed in Cox’s Bazar and one each in Jhalakathi, Netrakona and Sirajganj in polls-related violence. Police opened fire when the ruling party workers refused to move away after hearing that their candidate was losing.
Three persons died on the spot while three others passed away on way to hospital in Barisal.
Main opposition outside parliament Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) called the polls a “farce” as their nominees bagged only 30 seats in 712 union councils and attributed the violence to the newly introduced system of contesting polls with party tickets.
“We previously feared the new system will spark violence, our apprehension turned true,” BNP Spokesman Asaduzzaman Ripon told.
Awami League activists had laid siege to a college centre where the counting was under way, said police official Abu Ashraf.
Most of the dead were ruling party supporters. On Wednesday, 712 Union Parishad went to the polls, held on the party lines for the first time.
The Election Commission initially had planned to conduct elections to 730 Union Parishad but it had to postpone the polls in 18 places due to legal complications.
Elections to 643 Union Parishad are slated for March 31 in the second phase and 681 Unaion Parishad on April 23 in the third phase.
Around 2,200 unions will go to polls in three more phases till June.
BNP, which boycotted the 2014 general elections but decided to take part in the local government polls to revamp their politics, said almost all the local council polls were marred by violence, rigging and fraud including ballot- stuffing by the ruling party supporters.
The elections will not change the political landscape of the country, but a sweeping victory would consolidate Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s hold on power ahead of the general elections in 2019. (PTI)
Singer The Weeknd will no longer be the a part of singer Rihanna’s tour.
The R&B singer, whose real name is Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, has decided to drop out of the upcoming European leg of Rihanna’s world tour, supporting her eighth studio album “Anti”, reports a website.
“Due to some unforeseen changes with upcoming projects, The Weeknd will no longer be joining Rihanna on her upcoming international Anti World Tour,” a representative for the Weeknd announced in a statement.
The Oscar-nominated singer himself wrote a cryptic message on Twitter: “It’s my job to make music… Not to convince you.”
A source told Billboard that he “has hit a stride on his new album and decided not to interrupt the process”.
The Umbrella crooner is currently traveling North America for her tour with Travis Scott.
After a month’s break, she will resume it on June 17 to kick off the European leg in Amsterdam.
She is expected to stay on the road at least until August. The Weeknd was supposed to join her with musician Big Sean. (IANS)
Actor John Abraham is full of praises for his Force 2 co-star Sonakshi Sinha and is proud of her for performing challenging stunts fearlessly for the film.
“Sonakshi is very sweet, she’s a fantastic co-star, one of my best co-stars and the work that she has done in ‘Force 2’, I really like action and especially the action that she has done, this girl absolutely has got no fear,” John said at the screening of the film, “Rocky Handsome”.
“We had to make a jump, I asked Sonakshi if she was sure, and she said, ‘I am sure I will jump’, so from second floor and third floor she jumped. I am very proud of her. Watch ‘Force 2’, our director is very special, Abhinay Deo, who made ‘Delhi Belly’,” John continued.
“It is a very fantastic film, it will be completed in July, and we have still got about 50 percent of the shoot left,” said “Rocky Handsome” actor John. Sonakshi was also present at the screening and said that she is excited about the film.
It is the first time in “Force 2” that the John-Sonakshi pair will be seen on the big screen.
The film promises to be bigger than the first part, which was directed by director Nishikant Kamat and starred Genelia D’Souza, who was also present at the screening with her husband Riteish Deshmukh.
“Rocky Handsome” is releasing on Friday and about the response, John said, “It’s just started but the response has been fantastic; the heartening response has been that all sections of the audience have really enjoyed it. Saying anything now will be pre-mature but very happy with the response.”
“The biggest compliment that I have received is that it is your best film up till date, people have spoken about the action, they have liked the action, they say that on Indian screens they have not seen this kind of action.” “We have worked very hard on the action and it’s turned out superb,” he added.
Rocky Handsome also stars Shruti Haasan and Kamat as a villain. (IANS)
Mumbai: Pakistani-American terrorist David Headley on Thursday told a court here that LeT wanted to eliminate Bal Thackeray but the person who was assigned the job to kill the late Shiv Sena chief was “arrested” but he managed to give police a slip.
The 55-year-old, who has turned approver in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks case, stated this during a cross-examination on the second day by Abdul Wahab Khan, the lawyer of Abu Jundal, an alleged key plotter of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, via a video link from the US. Headley also told the court that he had visited the Sena Bhavan twice. He, however, did not specify the year for the same.
“We (LeT) wanted to target the chief of Shiv Sena…His name was Bal Thackeray. LeT wanted to kill him wherever a chance arose. I knew that Bal Thackeray was the head of Shiv Sena. I have no first hand knowledge but I think an attempt was made by LeT to kill Bal Thackeray,” he said.
“I don’t know how this attempt was made. I think the person (who was sent to kill Thackeray) was arrested but he managed to escape from police custody. I don’t have first hand knowledge about this though,” he said.
Headley, convicted in the US for his role in 26/11 Mumbai attacks, also told special judge G A Sanap, who is hearing the 26/11 terror case against Jundal in a sessions court here, that he does not know who else was a target of LeT apart from Thackeray. When asked by Khan as to how much money he had spent on his visit and reconnaissance in India prior to 26/11 attacks, Headley said, “I am not sure… Many lakhs were spent by me not as high as Rs 30-40 lakhs but much much less. It is correct that ISI spent this money but it is not correct that I demanded the money from them.”
Headley said that after the 26/11 attacks, when he had come to India again (in March 2009) at the behest of Al-Qaeda to carry out further attacks, its leader Illiyas Kashmiri gave him about Pakistani rupees one lakh. He claimed while LeT came under the scanner of international community after the November 26, 2008 attacks, it was not correct to say that LeT became “soft” towards India. “I think they (LeT) became soft about Denmark (Mickie mouse project) but not India. After the Denmark issue (LeT backing out from attacking Denmark) I went to Al-Qaeda, as LeT had become soft,” Headley told the court.
Headley told the court that while he had not personally met any of the 10 attackers in the 26/11 case but he had seen the photo of one of the attackers on internet and identified him as Ajmal Kasab ‘Rehmatullah Aliah’.
When asked by Khan as to why did he put the words ‘Rehmatullah Aliah’ after Kasab’s name, Headley replied, “When a person is dead he should be prayed for whether he is good or bad. One should pray for the person…to be forgiven. I don’t know if Kasab was good or bad as I didn’t know him.”
When prodded by Khan if what Kasab had done (by participating in 26/11 attacks) was good or bad and if the act of 26/11 was good deed or a bad deed, Headley said, “Of course the act of murder is not going to be a good act. Any kind of murder of innocent person is a bad act.”
Khan then asked him if he was ‘happy and satisfied’ with the damages in the 26/11, to which Headley said “this is an argumentative question.
Kush the yeh bhi galat jawab hai, Kush nahi the yeh bhi galat jawab hai, (I was happy is also a wrong answer and I was not happy is too a wrong answer).
What can I say ?” Headley also told the court that in the 26/11 case (in which he has been awarded a 35 years sentence by the US court), supervised release is also part of his sentence. (PTI)
SHILLONG, March 23: The last day of the Assembly’s budget session saw a heated debate on the issue of the two accident cases involving the Chief Minister’s official vehicle and convoy.
Assembly Speaker Abu Taher Mondal had to even expunge an allegation made by HSPDP legislator, Ardent M Basaiawmoit against the Chief Minister, Dr. Mukul Sangma while moving his cut motion in the Assembly on Wednesday.