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Taste Movie 2015

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PBL: Srikanth, Ashwini were our targets, says team Bengaluru

The Bengaluru team in the Premier Badminton League might not have had the time to perfect their bid strategy but they landed all their targets to end the player auction a satisfied lot in New Delhi on Monday. Bengaluru Top Guns bagged world No. 9 Kidambi Srikanth for a staggering $ 80,000 and doubles specialist Ashwini Ponnappa for $ 30,000, apart from a rough gem in China’s Suo Di for her base price.

“We didn’t have a lot of time to strategize as we got the player list on the morning of the auction. There were some errors in base prices and it was all a bit frenetic. However, I’m happy with the players at our disposal,” said former international player and Top Guns coach Arvind Bhat. “Our targets were Srikanth and Ashwini and we are happy to have landed both, both from a sporting and marketing perspective,” said Bhat.

“I was surprised that nobody went for Di, who can run top players close,” Bhat, 36, said of the Chinese who came into the side for $ 15,000. “She could play a decisive role in women’s singles.”

The 22-year-old Di, whose best singles ranking is world No. 32, ran Indian ace Saina Nehwal close before losing in the pair’s only meeting in the China Open last year. “She has the capacity to give the likes of Saina and Sindhu a run for their money. We are hopeful she will get us some important wins in the 15-point which will be quite fast,” added Bhat, who retired as a player recently.

Bhat, who was contacted a few days ago to take charge as coach and strategist, said Ashwini would play mixed doubles with Dane Joachim Fisher Nielsen ($ 30,000), a partnership that began when the duo played for the Pune team in the erstwhile Indian Badminton League.

Completing the line-up for the Top Guns were Indian singles stars Sameer Verma ($ 22,000) and Anand Pawar ($ 10,000) while B Sumeeth Reddy ($ 25,000) joined Malaysian doubles aces Hoon Thien How ($ 15,000) and Lim Khim Wah ($ 15,000). Scot Robert Blair ($ 5,000) was a late addition to the team. “It’s a balanced squad,” said Bhat.

“Our primary aim was to have a serious singles contender and we chose Srikanth at the outset and didn’t bid for Saina yesterday,” said Prasad Mangipudi of Brand Prix, the owners of the team. “We’re happy to have got him at a decent price. Ashwini will add extra value to our team as she is a local player,” he added.

SAINA, CHONG WEI BAG TOP DEALS

Meanwhile, Saina Nehwal and Malaysian Lee Chong Wei were both sold for the maximum auction price of $ 1,00,000, picked up by Awadh Warriors and Hyderabad Hunters, respectively, a day prior to the auction. Among the big earners on Monday were PV Sindhu ($ 95,000), who will play for Chennai Smashers, HS Prannoy who went to Mumbai Rockets for $ 47,000 and Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto who went to Delhi Acers for $ 74,000.

US aid will be used against India, not terrorists: Former Pakistan diplomat

WASHINGTON: As the US prepares to sell F-16s to Pakistan, the country’s former top diplomat has warned the Congress that such fighter jets would end up being used against India and not against terrorists.

Describing sale of such military hardware and even reported talk of a civil nuclear deal as an appeasement policy towards Pakistani military, the former top Pakistani diplomat has urged the US to tell the leaders in Pakistan that their ambition of rivalling India is akin to Belgium trying to rival France or Germany.

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Pakistan stops foreign media’s probe into radicalization of California shooters

“The Obama administration’s consideration of a nuclear deal with Pakistan, just like its decision a few months ago to sell almost USD 1 billion in US-made attack helicopters, missiles and other equipment to Pakistan will fuel conflict in South Asia without fulfilling the objective of helping the country fight Islamist extremists or limit its nuclear arsenal,” said Husain Haqqani, the former Pakistani Ambassador to the US.

In a prepared remark submitted ahead of a Congressional hearing on ‘Civil Nuclear Cooperation with Pakistan: Prospects and Consequences to the Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade Subcommittee of the Committee on Foreign Affairs’, Haqqani said Pakistan’s failure to tackle its jihadist challenge is not the result of a lack of arms but reflects an absence of will.

“Unless Pakistan changes its worldview and its compulsive competition with its much larger neighbour even in violation of international commitments, American weapons will end up being used to fight or menace India and perceived domestic enemies instead of being deployed against jihadists,” he said.

Currently, director of South & Central Asia at the Hudson Institute, a top American think-tank, Haqqani said competition with India remains the overriding consideration in Pakistan’s foreign and domestic policies.

“By aiding Pakistan over the years – over USD 40 billion since 1950, according to the Congressional Research Service – the US has fed Pakistan’s delusion of being India’s regional military equal. Seeking security against a much larger neighbour is a rational objective but seeking parity with it on a constant basis is not,” he said.

“Instead of discussing civil nuclear deals and selling more military equipment to Pakistan, US officials should convince Pakistan that its ambitions of rivalling India are akin to Belgium trying to rival France or Germany,” Mr Haqqani wrote.

India’s population is six times as large as Pakistan’s while India’s economy is 10 times bigger, and India’s USD two trillion economy has managed consistent growth whereas Pakistan’s USD 245 billion economy has grown sporadically and is undermined by jihadist terrorism and domestic political chaos.

Mr Haqqani said unlike other countries, Pakistan did not raise an army to match the threats it faces. Pakistan inherited 33 per cent of the British Indian army, raised for the Second World War, at independence in 1947 and has sought to identify threats that match the size of that army.

Asserting that since the 1950s, US policy has ended up nurturing Pakistan’s military and keeping alive its dream of parity with India, Mr Haqqani told lawmakers that “it is time, the US adopted a policy towards Pakistan that supports the aspirations of its people for a better standard of living instead of allowing its military and civilian hardliners in pursuing unwinnable competition with India.”

“The US government has been giving the signal that Pakistan is too important for the US to ignore, which reinforces all of Pakistan’s wrong policies. These are policies that both the US and a significant section of the Pakistani intelligentsia would like changed,” Mr Haqqani said.

Sub-junior badminton: Bhargav, Nithin in final

BENGALURU: Bhargav S Gowda and Nithin HV set up a title clash in the boys U-15 category of the ASA state-ranking sub-junior (U-13 and U-15) badminton tournament here on Monday. Bhargav defeated Abhiman Andekuli 21-15, 21-13 while Nithin HV ousted Saneeth S Dayanand 21-19, 21-17. The duo then teamed up to enter the doubles final, where they will face Ajinkya Joshi and Saket CS.

In the U-13 category, Chiranjeevi Reddy S and Saneeth S Dayanand found themselves in an identical situation, with both in line for a double. Among the girls, Sheethal D and Ananya Praveen entered the title clash in singles and doubles of the U-15 category.

Results

Boys: U-15: Semifinals: Bhargav S Gowda bt Abhiman Andekuli 21-15, 21-13; Nithin HV bt Saneeth S Dayanand 21-19, 21-17. Quarterfinals: Bhargav S Gowda bt Amogh P 21-13, 15-21, 21-15; Abhiman Andekuli bt Shashank Reddy Vanukuri 21-17, 21-16; Nithin HV bt Ajinkya Joshi 22-20, 21-15; Saneeth S Dayanand bt Mayur K 21-16, 16-21, 21-15.

U-13: Semifinals: Chiranjeevi Reddy S bt Suhas V 21-19, 21-17; Saneeth S Dayanand bt Ayush Shetty 21-17, 14-21, 21-11. Quarterfinals: Chiranjeevi Reddy S bt Vishesh Sharma 21-17, 21-7; Suhas V bt Kishal Ganapathy 21-18, 21-16; Ayush Shetty bt Prajwal V Shet 21-14, 21-9; Saneeth S Dayanand bt Aditya Diwakar 21-16, 21-17.

Girls: U-15: Semifinals: Sheethal D bt Medha Shashidharan 21-16, 21-14; Ananya Praveen bt Ramya CV 20-22, 23-21, 21-18. Quarterfinals: Sheethal D/ Deethya 21-10, 21-11; Medha Shashidharan bt Keerthana P Shroff 21-16, 21-18; Ramya CV bt Roshni Venkat 21-18, 21-13; Ananya Praveen bt Janani Ananthkumar 21-11, 21-11.

U-13: Semifinals: Tanya Hemanth bt Shraddha Hegde 21-16, 21-15; Vijetha Harish bt Niyati Prabhu N 21-17, 21-17. Quarterfinals: Tanya Hemanth bt Alfiya R Basari 21-7, 21-7; Shraddha Hegde bt Kushi Athreya 21-19, 21-13; Vijetha Harish bt Varsha Bhat 21-16, 14-21, 22-20; Niyati Prabhu N bt Riddhi Sunil Shah 21-9, 21-3.

UN Security Council meets Obama and US government officials

AP | Dec 8, 2015, 09.10 AM IST

US President Barack Obama. (TOI file photo)US President Barack Obama. (TOI file photo)
UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations Security Council has met with President Barack Obama and senior leaders of the Senate and Pentagon during a visit to Washington.

US ambassador Samantha Power said the visit underscored the gravity of global threats and highlighted the urgent need for international cooperation.

Power organized Monday’s trip for the 15 members of the UN’s most powerful body and the five new elected members who will join the council on Jan. 1.

She said Obama and other senior US officials delivered the same message: That international engagement is critical to solving today’s wide-ranging threats from the Islamic State extremist group to the Syria crisis and violence in Burundi, South Sudan, Yemen and elsewhere.

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Survivors mark 74th anniversary of attack on Pearl Harbor

HONOLULU; A handful of aging US military veterans who survived the surprise Japanese bombing raid that drew the United States into World War Two marked the 74th anniversary of the attack in a somber wreath-presentation ceremony on Monday at Pearl Harbor.

The survivors, who wore Hawaiian leis around their necks, watched as a bugler played “Taps” and onlookers placed their hands on their hearts.

The Japanese air and naval assault on Dec. 7, 1941, a date that U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt said “will live in infamy,” took 2,390 American lives. The United States declared war on Japan the next day.

Nearly half of those who perished at Pearl Harbor were sailors aboard the battleship USS Arizona, which Japanese torpedo bombers sank early in the attack, sending 1,177 of its 1,400-member crew to their deaths.

U.S. Navy officials said about two dozen veterans who were on the island of Oahu the morning of the attack were well enough to attend commemoration ceremonies on Monday. The number of aging survivors able to attend the ceremony has been dwindling steadily over the years.

Participants in the ceremony on Monday gathered at Kilo Pier, looking out over the USS Arizona Memorial built over the remains of the ship.

Three of the survivors took a small boat from the pier to the USS Arizona Memorial where they participated in a wreath-presentation ceremony. Wreaths from all branches of the U.S. military and the states of Hawaii and Arizona were propped up on wooden stands for the commemoration.

A whistle blast from the USS Preble in the water beyond the pier marked the beginning of a moment of silence at the ceremony, which was broken by a flyover of F-22 fighter jets.

Later, the crew of the USS Preble stood on the bow of the ship and saluted as the Navy ship passed by.

US soldier injured in Afghanistan set for penis transplant

Within a year, may be in just a few months, a young soldier with a horrific injury from a bomb blast in Afghanistan will have an operation that has never been performed in the United States: a penis transplant.

The organ will come from a deceased donor, and the surgeons, from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, say they expect it to start working in a matter of months, developing urinary function, sensation and, eventually , the ability to have sex.

From 2001 to 2013, 1,367 men in military service suffered wounds to the genitals in Iraq or Afghanistan, according to the Department of Defense Trauma Registry. Nearly all were under 35 and were hurt by homemade bombs, commonly called improvised explosive devices, or IEDs. Some lost all or part of their penises or testicles -what doctors call genitourinary injuries.

Missing limbs have become a well-known symbol of these wars, but genital damage is a hidden wound -and, to many , a far worse one -cloaked in shame, stigma and embarrassment.

“These genitourinary injuries are not things we hear about or read about very often,” said Dr W P Andrew Lee, the chairman of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Johns Hopkins. “I think one would agree it is as devastating as anything that our wounded warriors suffer.”

Only two other penis transplants have been reported in medical journals: a failed one in China in 2006 and a successful one in South Africa last year.

The surgery is experimental, and Johns Hopkins has given the doctors permission to perform 60 transplants. The university will monitor the results and decide whether to make the operation a standard treatment.

Oval Office choice signals prez intent

When the cameras blinked on for Sunday night’s address on the San Bernardino, California, shootings and the threat from the Islamic State, President Obama delivered it from the Oval Office, a place for speechmaking that he had largely shunned during his presidency .

The choice of the Oval Office as the location for the address to the nation was partly the result of holiday happenstance: The rest of the White House is decorated for the many parties that Obama will be hosting this week for his staff, members of Congress, journalists and others. But the decision also reflects the gravity of a subject that has come to define Obama’s presidency , especially in his second term -how to reassure Americans of their safety even as the US faces an increasingly aggressive terrorist foe.

And it suggests the importance that the president and his advisers place on responding to criticism of his strategy for defeating the IS in Iraq and Syria. That criticism has grown more fierce in recent months, as the terrorist network has initiated or inspired attacks beyond those borders -in Paris; in Beirut, Lebanon; in the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt; and, perhaps, last week in the US. Obama has delivered formal remarks to the nation from the Oval Office twice before -in the summer of 2010, as oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico from a broken well, and a few months later, as he announced the end of combat operations in Iraq, declaring that he had made good on a central promise. He had not done it since. Most of the dramatic moments of Obama’s presidential oratory have happened outside the Oval Office.He announced the killing of Osama bin Laden in a speech from the East Room, a location that allows him to stride up to the lectern through the Cross Hall of the White House as the cameras are rolling. He used the same location to hail the passage of his signature health care initiative, the Affordable Care Act. And throughout his presidency , Obama and his aides have sought backdrops outside Washington.

But there is also history to think about, and there is no doubt the Oval Office backdrop conveys the historic nature of a moment. In addressing the terrorist threat on Sunday , Obama hoped to achieve that goal.

White House slams Trump's plan to ban Muslims

WASHINGTON: Senior White House officials lined up Monday to condemn Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States, saying it was contrary to US values and interests.

“You’re being generous by describing it as a proposal,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest, castigating the fiery Republican presidential frontrunner’s latest outburst as “cynical.”

“I think what Mr Trump is doing is something that he’s been doing over the course of his entire campaign, which is… to play on people’s fears in order to build support for his campaign.”

“I think what he’s doing, he’s dividing America in a really cynical way,” Earnest told MSNBC.

A statement from Trump’s campaign team earlier ignited a political firestorm, by suggesting he would stop Muslims from entering the country “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

The comments come in the wake of a mass shooting that saw a married couple kill 14 people and we denounced by many in his own party.

“It’s entirely inconsistent with the kinds of values that were central to the founding of this country,” said Earnest.

One of President Barack Obama’s top foreign policy aides, Ben Rhodes, told CNN that the plan was also “contrary to our security.”

“The fact of the matter is (the Islamic State group) wants to frame this as a war between the United States and Islam,” he added.

“And if we look like we apply religious tests to who comes into to this country, we are sending a message that essentially we are embracing that.”

Rhodes added that the move plan, if acted upon, would also call into question the United States’ ability to work with Muslim communities to counter radicalization.

Trump calls for Muslims to be temporarily denied entry to US

WASHINGTON: Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump on Monday called for a “total and complete” block on Muslims entering the United States, in the wake of last week’s mass shooting in California by a Muslim couple believed to have been radicalized.

A statement from Trump’s campaign team said the halt on Muslims entering the country should remain in place “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

The statement does not specify if the proposal would affect both tourists and immigrants, and also does not say if it would target American Muslims currently abroad.

Trump’s campaign cites poll data allegedly showing “hatred toward Americans by large segments of the Muslim population.”

“Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine,” the billionaire real estate mogul, who is leading in opinion polls among likely Republican voters, said in the statement.

“Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life.”

Trump has been increasingly virulent in his remarks targeting Muslim Americans since the deadly Paris attacks, and again in the wake of last week’s shooting rampage in California, which left 14 dead and 21 wounded.

“Just put out a very important policy statement on the extraordinary influx of hatred & danger coming into our country. We must be vigilant!” Trump tweeted after the statement was released.

His announcement unleashed quick condemnation on Twitter.

“@realdonaldtrump removes all doubt: he is running for President as a fascist demagogue,” Democratic presidential contender Martin O’Malley said.

Both California shooters 'radicalized for quite some time': FBI

SAN BERNARDINO: The husband and wife who killed 14 people in last week’s shooting rampage in California were both radicalized and “for quite some time,” the FBI official in charge of the investigation said Monday.
David Bowdich, the FBI’s assistant director in charge of the Los Angeles field office, said investigators were still trying to determine how and by whom Syed Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik were radicalized before the December 2 shooting.

“But I will say this — as the investigation has progressed, we have learned and believe that both subjects were radicalized and have been for quite some time,” he said.

The couple had taken target practice at Los Angeles-area shooting ranges, and once “within days” of the massacre, Bowdich told reporters.

Farook and Malik left their baby daughter at home on Wednesday before heading to the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino east of Los Angeles, where some of Farook’s colleagues had gathered for a year-end party.

The couple opened fire, killing 14 and wounding 21 others. They were killed hours later in a wild firefight with police.