Retired IAS officer C. Lalsawta was sworn in as the first Chairman of the newly constituted Lokayukta in Mizoram on Monday, officials said. He was sworn in at the Raj Bhavan here, they said.Governor Jagdish Mukhi administered the oath of office to Mr. Lalsawta, an official said.Chief Minister Zoramthanga, other Ministers, Assembly Speaker Lalrinliana Sailo, legislators and senior officials were present on the occasion, he said. The function was presided over by State Chief Secretary Lalnunmawia Chuaungo, younger brother of the new Lokayukta chairman.Mr. Lalsawta is a 1981-batch Bihar cadre IAS officer. He was the Principal Secretary of the Finance department in the State from 2008 to 2011. After returning to Bihar, he was made the State Vigilance Commissioner, the official said, adding that he retired in 2015. The Lokayukta would function from a rented building here.
Out of ₹1,400 crore earmarked annually for the north-eastern States under the Centre’s flagship Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, only ₹8 crore — or just over half a per cent — was actually spent last year, according to senior Agriculture Ministry officials. Four north-eastern States — Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram — are not covered under the scheme at all.In fact, farmers in seven States and four Union Territories nationwide will not be covered by the scheme in this kharif or summer season, for which sowing begins next month.Lack of interest Some large States like Bihar and West Bengal have withdrawn from PMFBY to set up their own State-level schemes and Punjab has never participated in the scheme, while UTs like Delhi and Chandigarh are largely urban spaces. However, States in the Northeast, as well as the Union Territory of Daman and Diu, face challenges such as the lack of interest by insurance companies and the lack of State budgetary resources to pay their share of the premium, say officials. The Centre is now making it compulsory for insurance companies to bid for these States as well.As The Hindu had reported from Mizoram on Thursday, this lack of coverage has left thousands of maize farmers devastated by losses from the fall armyworm pest there without any hope of insurance.“Although the north-eastern States have only 2.5% of the country’s cultivable area, 10% of the budget for PMFBY and RWBCIS [Restructured Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme] is earmarked for them. But all the funds are lapsed,” said a senior official administering the scheme, who did not wish to be named. While Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland have never been covered under the scheme, which was launched with much fanfare in 2016, the scheme was implemented in Mizoram and Manipur only in the initial season.“Insurance companies have been reluctant to bid for these States, as the administrative costs are high. There are no proper land records. Historic yield data is not available for these States, particularly at the gram panchayat and block level. It is difficult to conduct CCEs [crop-cutting experiments] needed for many of the horticulture crops,” said the official. “Insurance companies are also not interested because the coverage is so limited. There are low number of loanee farmers in the Northeast, except in Assam,” added the official. Lack of forecasting infrastructure has also hampered the penetration of the weather-based insurance scheme in these states. The Centre also argues that several State governments are not sufficiently interested in promoting the scheme.
The loss of crops due to floods in the State has been put at ₹125 crore, according to preliminary assessment by the government. Even as the exact extent of the damage will be known only after flood waters have fully receded, senior officials said around 27,468 hectare of agriculture land has been completely destroyed. This could even cross one lakh hectares when the panchnama is complete, senior officials said. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Saturday that the total length of road damaged is 484 km, while 2,615 transformers were damaged partially or fully. The destruction to agriculture land will cross over 1.5 lakh hectares, state Minister of Employment Guarantee and Horticulture of Maharashtra, Jaydutt Kshirsagar said on Saturday. Chief Secretary of the state Ajoy Mehta too has confirmed that crops across one lakh hectares could be affected. The State horticulture department has said they are drawing up the estimates with the help of satellite images, and the panchnama has been started with the help of Department of Revenue and Agriculture. “We expect major damage of agriculture crop to spread across 11 districts, while the centre of the destruction is Kolhapur where 30% of this damaged crop is located,” said an official of the Department of Revenue and Agriculture.Mr. Fadnavis said the government will not only compensate damaged crops but also help in removing silt from the farms, and provide assistance of ₹13,000 per hectare to the farmers. The work will be assisted by many organisations like Art of Living, Siddhivinayak temple, and Pandharpur temple, who have promised to come forward to help, he said.
Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ 2 dead in California school attack; gunman shoots self PLAY LIST 03:122 dead in California school attack; gunman shoots self01:42Police: California school shooting took 16 seconds00:50Trending Articles02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Cayetano to unmask people behind ‘smear campaign’ vs him, SEA Games Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Heart Evangelista admits she’s pregnant… with chicken National University also capped the preseason tournament with a piece of recognition after fending off University of Santo Tomas, 86-75, for the third-place trophy.Rhayyan Amsali had 30 points and 14 rebounds to lead NU. LATEST STORIES For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. 1 dead in Cavite blast, fire Mapua topped Ateneo, 89-82, in the high school finals of the Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.Clint Escamis delivered an offensive assault for the Red Robins, finishing with a game-high 23 points to go along seven rebounds.ADVERTISEMENT Escamis, though, wasn’t the lone Red Robin to punish the Blue Eaglets.Mapua’s frontcourt duo of Warren Bonifacio and Will Gozum crushed Ateneo.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutBonifacio finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds, nine of which came from the offensive glass, while Gozum had a 17-point, 14-rebound double-double.Dave Ildefonso led Ateneo with 16 points and eight rebounds while Kai Sotto finished with 15 points and 14 boards. MOST READ Ronaldo hits milestone as Portugal sink New Zealand What ‘missteps’? WATCH: Firefighters rescue baby seal found in parking garage Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ World’s 50 Best Restaurants launches new drinking and dining guide View comments
Nargis, who was last seen in the Akshay Kumar and John Abraham-starrer Garam Masala, says she would never wear something that makes her family uncomfortable.Taking a dig at her Garam Masala co-star Neetu Chandra ” who was recently in news for a hot bikini shoot ” Nargis says sporting a bikini is out of question for her.The actress goes on to say she has, in fact, missed out on “a whole lot of films” because she refused to do things which were ethically unacceptable to her.Is that the reason she has done a single film ” Pranali ” since her debut three years ago in Garam Masala? Talking about her career, Nargis says her third film, Morning Walk, is scheduled for release on July 10.The actress, however, says she is happy about the fact that Neetu went on to become a better known face and also tried the bikini.”I am really happy for her. She is a great person and actor and we have been good friends,” she says. “( But) the bikini is out of limits for me. I even refused to wear a bikini in Morning Walk , though the director had asked me to,” she adds.Courtesy: Mail Today
OSU then-junior catcher Jalen Washington (2) swings at a ball during a game against Bethune-Cookman at Bill Davis Stadium on April 1. Lantern file photoOn Friday, Ohio State baseball coach Greg Beals announced his team had voted for senior catcher/infielder Jalen Washington and redshirt junior starting pitcher Adam Niemeyer to serve as co-captains for the upcoming 2017 season. This will be the second year Washington will lead as co-captain for the Buckeyes. He served in the role last year alongside third baseman Nick Sergakis.The process of selecting the captains was done by voting amongst the players, leaving the coaches outside of the decision process. Despite this, Beals felt his team made the right decisions in selecting their captains.“We have great leadership throughout our clubhouse, but these two have more than proven themselves as leaders on the field, in the locker room, classroom and on our campus,” Beals said in a press release. “I have absolute confidence in Jalen and Adam to captain the 2017 Buckeyes.”Last season, leading the Buckeye pitching staff behind the dish, Washington was able to help drive the team to a 44-20-1 record in 2016, a Big Ten Tournament championship and a berth into the NCAA Louisville Regional. Washington started in 62 of OSU’s 65 regular season games and slashed .249/.352/.343 with three home runs and 14 steals in 19 attempts.Washington held opposing base stealers to a .730 success rate with 14 passed balls. He also led the Big Ten in runners caught stealing, successfully throwing out 17 would-be base stealers.For Washington, it was a “tremendous honor” to be recognized as one of the team’s captains for a second year.“This means a great deal to me, to know that my teammates saw me fit to lead this team again,” Washington said in the press release. “I’m going to do my best to help push this team to play championship ball.”OSU then-redshirt sophomore pitcher Adam Niemeyer (43) pitches during a game on April 14 at Bill Davis Stadium. Credit: Lantern File PhotoIn his second season in the Ohio State rotation, Niemeyer amassed 71.0 innings across 14 starts while spending time as both the Saturday and Sunday night starter, though he missed several starts towards the end of the season with a lingering hamstring injury. The right-handed finished the season with a 4.31 ERA, 70 strikeouts, only 12 walks (fewest of any starter in the rotation) and a .270 opponent’s batting average.Now faced with stepping up in the rotation following the graduation of John Havird and Cleveland Indians draft pick, former ace Tanner Tully, Niemeyer will be counted on to step up in the role as the Friday-night starter.“I am honored to be named a captain,” Niemeyer said. “It makes it even more special that it was voted on by my teammates. We have numerous leaders on our team and I cannot wait to get the season started.”The 2017 season starts on Feb. 17 for OSU in Osceola, Florida, when the Buckeyes take on the Kansas State Wildcats.
Freshman outside hitter Miles Johnson fires a serve during a match against Lees-McRae Jan. 17 at St. John Arena. OSU won, 3-0.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorIn the midst of a four-match winning streak, the No. 15 Ohio State Buckeyes are set to see how they stack up against the nation’s best.The Buckeyes (4-3, 2-0) are scheduled to travel to Chicago to take on No. 1 Loyola Saturday at 5 p.m.OSU snagged a pair of conference victories last weekend, beating Quincy in straight sets and then Lindenwood in a 3-1 decision.The Ramblers (6-1, 0-0) lone loss came Jan. 4 against then-No. 11 USC and are led by redshirt-senior opposite Joseph Smalzer, who was named First-Team All-American last season after leading the country in service aces with 74.“(Loyola) has the best server in the nation,” junior outside hitter Michael Henchy said of Smalzer. “We’ve done lots of drills to help us slow him down.”The Ramblers rose to No. 1 in the rankings after wins at Sacred Heart and No. 13 Harvard last weekend.“It would be very exciting to be the team to knock them down from the top,” redshirt-junior setter Peter Heinen said.The Buckeyes are familiar with the “weapons” Loyola has, and the team is prepared strategically as well, Henchy said.Freshman outside hitter Gabriel Domecus said that even though they will be going against other top schools later in the season, this match will be one of the biggest matches of the season.“This is a conference matchup, and Loyola happens to be the top team in the country,” Domecus said. “This will prove that we have the ability to hang with all the teams in the country.”OSU coach Pete Hanson said the team has already been exposed to top competition early in the season — in Hawaii — which has prepared them for yet another match on the road.“It’s unfortunate that the first four times we have played top teams this season have all been on the road, instead of in our own building, but it is what it is, and eventually those teams are going to come to us, so we just have to bide our time,” Hanson said.
OSU vice president and athletic director Gene Smith in an interview with The Lantern Jan. 29.Credit: Lantern file photoWhile Gene Smith supports covering all college costs and promising four-year scholarships, he doesn’t think student-athletes should be paid.“I am not a proponent of creating an employer-employee relationship, which changes the whole dynamic,” the Ohio State vice president and athletic director said in a July 7 interview with The Lantern. “At the end of the day, you get fired if you don’t perform if you’re an employee, and we don’t want that.”Smith said he hopes the NCAA never makes it to the point of paying student-athletes beyond the cost of attendance, and added that if it did, it could lead to less lucrative sports being cut.“I hope that we don’t get to that point,” he said. “If we do, then the men’s volleyball teams of the world, and the gymnastics teams, and all those teams — sayonara.”But rather than a salary, Smith said he is strongly in favor of covering the cost of attendance beyond just tuition for student-athletes, something the Big Ten is pushing for as well.He also said there are athletes who might not have saved up for college but who later find themselves in a position to attend school because of their athleticism.“They may have aspired to just go work in the Ford plant, and all of a sudden they become this great athlete and they’re coming from families where the families didn’t develop a war chest to support them to go to school,” he said. “So those miscellaneous expenses aren’t paid for.”Smith added the scholarship plan in place today is “old and inadequate” and needs to be changed.In a June 24 press release, the Big Ten presidents and chancellors said they want to increase their efforts toward schools covering “the full cost of a college education, as defined by the federal government.”Like Smith, the Big Ten statement acknowledged paying football and basketball players –– the sports that bring in by far the most money –– would hurt other, smaller programs.The release also touched on an intent to guarantee four-year scholarships whether the player continues to compete throughout his or her time at the university. The same would still apply if the student-athlete chose to turn pro before completing their degree.Smith said OSU already guarantees scholarships through degree completion. He added that it should be required across the board.“What the Big Ten is talking about, and what’s being talked about nationally, is that should be mandated for all schools to do that,” he said.Smith said he was at former OSU basketball player Mike Conley Jr.’s wedding recently when he started talking to Greg Oden, another former OSU basketball player who has moved into an NBA career, about what he plans to do next.“He’s unsure, but there’s a possibility he might come back and even though he’s a multi-millionaire, we’ll probably end up paying for his degree,” Smith said.While Smith and the Big Ten are pushing to cover the full cost of attendance and to guarantee scholarships, player compensation has been a hot debate around the entire NCAA recently after athletes at Northwestern University made attempts to unionize.A National Labor Relations Board ruled in March that football players at the university can qualify as employees and can therefore unionize. The players haven’t taken any steps to do so yet, however, and Northwestern filed a brief with the NLRB earlier this month detailing its opposition to its players unionizing.
Lazio have officially confirmed the signing of Italy international and defender Francesco Acerbi from Sassuolo in a five-year contract.Earlier today, the centre-back had his medical and was already training with his new teammates even though it’s believed the deal cost €10m plus another €2m in performance-related bonuses.The 30-year-old will now effectively replaces Stefan de Vrij. Acerbi, who has won two caps for Italy, was believed to be on the radar of West Ham United and Fulham. He has also played for the likes of Pavia, Renate, Reggina, Chievo and AC Milan during his career. #Laziali,After making our fifth official signing in Francesco #Acerbi, how do we feel from 1-10 on our #transfermarket / #calciomercato business so far?Fonseca hints Smalling could debut tomorrow Manuel R. Medina – August 31, 2019 AS Roma manager Paulo Fonseca has hinted Chris Smalling could debut in tomorrow’s Derby Della Capitale between his team and Lazio.Why do you feel this way?— TheLaziali.com ? (@The_Laziali) July 11, 2018Acerbi received a call-up to the pre-season camp of Serie B team Reggina on 13 July and the co-ownership deal completed on 16 July. On 31 January 2011, Pavia sold the remain 50 percent registration rights to Reggina for an undisclosed fee, whereupon the Calabrian side formed another co-ownership deal with Serie A team Genoa for €1 million.Acerbi only missed two games in 2010–11 Serie B and played both legs of promotion playoffs, losing to eventual playoff winners Novara in the semi-final.He played once during the 2010–11 Coppa Italia, a match he was ultimately sent off in. He was suspended in the next cup match and was not included in the third round.
Arsenal will make a late swoop for Domagoj Vida on transfer deadline day with Gunners set to offer £26.9m, according to Mirror UK.The Reds are willing to strengthen at their back and the Croatia international has been one of their priority following his impressive and successful World Cup.Arsenal is determined to bid £26.9m for the Besiktas defender believing the bid would help discourage competition from Liverpool.Merson believes Arsenal should sign Sancho Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho might be the perfect player to play for the Gunners, according to former England international Paul Merson.In the same vein, the Evening Standard claims that Unai Emery will make a move on the final day of the window ahead of Sunday’s game clash against Manchester City which will begin the Unai Emery era.Vida scored a header in the quarter-final against hosts Russia to give his side a 2-1 lead in extra time and when the match finished 2-2, Vida used his spot-kick in the penalty shootout to help his side advance.Vida picked up a runners-up medal as France defeated his side 4-2 in the final.
Paris Saint-Germain chairman and CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi has reacted to Paris Saint-Germain draw with Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League last 16 round.He boast that his side’s fans will have to watch their side have magical football moments.Speaking to the club’s official website Al-Khelaifi said:Neymar can win the Ballon d’Or, says Ander Herrera Andrew Smyth – September 13, 2019 An “excited” Ander Herrera believes new Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Neymar is a contender for the Ballon d’Or alongside Kylian Mbappe. “We face Manchester United for the first time in our club’s history. We look forward to two wonderful Champions League evenings against a respected and prestigious opponent in the last 16. Our fans will enjoy magical football moments in Manchester and at the Parc des Princes. As I always say, we must be ready to face anyone, and ready we will be!”PSG qualified for the last 16 by topping Group C with 11 points in 6 matches, progressed beyond Liverpool who has secured 9 points, Napoli with 9 points and Belgrade with just 4 points.Manchester United finished second in Group H with 10 points, behind Juventus that has 12 points as well as ahead of Valencia that has 8 points and Bern 4 points.
However, he can veto certain items from the capital budget. The budget passed by the House restores money for university scholarships, rural energy assistance and the state’s medical school program. It also funds highway, airport and other construction projects that triggers nearly $1 billion in federal matching dollars. The Senate was still scheduled to vote on a separate budget bill that restores some of Dunleavy’s $444 million vetoes and the size of the Permanent Fund Dividend. With 32 yeas, 6 nays the Capital Budget passed two days before the July 31 deadline. The House also passed to reverse the sweep, 31 yeas, 7 nays. The reverse sweep is an item Governor Mike Dunleavy can not undo in a veto. The ‘reverse sweep’ would restore several dozen funds shifted to a state savings account per the Alaska Constitution. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享Third times the charm for the Alaska House of Representatives after they narrowly passed SB 2002 on Monday afternoon passing the Capital Budget on their final attempt.
Starship test flight rocket just finished assembly at the @SpaceX Texas launch site. This is an actual picture, not a rendering. pic.twitter.com/k1HkueoXaz— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 11, 2019 CES 2019: See all of CNET’s coverage of the year’s biggest tech show.CES schedule: It’s six days of jam-packed events. Here’s what to expect. “Starship test flight rocket just finished assembly at the @SpaceX Texas launch site. This is an actual picture, not a rendering,” Musk wrote. He first teased us in December with an image of the prototype rocket under construction.The assembled version looks like a stainless-steel Airstream trailer mated with a space shuttle. A person or mannequin in a spacesuit stands nearby to give us a sense of scale. Starship is a monster. SpaceX happenings 23 Photos Share your voice Sci-Tech Enlarge ImageThe SpaceX Starship prototype is now assembled. Elon Musk Elon Musk and SpaceX’s ambitious plans to reach around the moon and all the way to Mars require a big effin’ rocket. Now we know what it looks like.Musk tweeted out an image on Thursday of an assembled early version of the SpaceX Starship, which was once known in polite company as the Big Falcon Rocket. NASA’s wildest rides: Extreme vehicles for Earth and beyond 10 Comments Musk dropped a few more details about the prototype: “This is for suborbital VTOL tests. Orbital version is taller, has thicker skins (won’t wrinkle) & a smoothly curving nose section.” VTOL stands for “vertical take-off and landing.” Musk says the body diameter of Starship is about 30 feet (9 meters).The SpaceX founder also retweeted a video taken by Twitter user Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo showing the rocket as seen out of a car window driving by. SpaceX Crew Dragon mission to ISS delayed yet again SpaceX Mr. Steven ship tries again to catch a rocket fairing Musk says the first Starship orbital prototype should be done around June. The current version will be used for short “hopper” flights that send it up and then bring it back down to test launch and landing systems.The entrepreneur has big plans for Starship. SpaceX already sold out a voyage around the moon with a hoped-for launch date in 2023. It will be interesting to follow along as Starship moves toward actual space travel. Tags SpaceX first Starship hopper under Texas Boca Chica Beach’s cloudy sky.@elonmusk #Starship #SpaceX pic.twitter.com/hVg5Ken7Vp— Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo (@JaneidyEve) January 10, 2019 Elon Musk Space SpaceX
Twitter/Hockey IndiaFor all those who regard Haryana and Indian villages as merely hotbeds of toxic misogyny and patriarchy, the story of Savita, the veteran custodian of Indian goal-post in women’s hockey provides a much-needed corrective. In this exclusive interview with Akshay Saraswat of International Business Times, India, the Jat lass reveals her incredible story of turning from a shy teenager with no knowledge of hockey to an Arjuna Award-winning goalkeeper of the national side. For hockey fans of your age-group, the Indian women’s team’s victory in the 2002 Commonwealth Games and 2004 Asia Cup were very memorable events. Were you also inspired by them to take up hockey, especially, since many players in that team were from your state, Haryana?Savita: I was aware of the Indian team winning the medal because my father had knowledge of sports. But I had absolutely no interest at that time and had no knowledge of hockey since I belonged to a village. Also, I wasn’t from a modern family but a middle-class family so we didn’t get to watch that much television. My mother’s health was also not good so most of my time after school was spent in helping her.Then how did you get involved with hockey?Savita: I belong to a village called Jodhka in Haryana’s Sirsa district. In 2003, the brother of a football coach who used to train youngsters some distance away from our place, came to our house. He informed us that trials are about to take place for a sports nursery – in those days government organised sports nurseries to train youngsters – and asked my parents whether they would like to send their kids to it. It was around one year after my mother’s health started deteriorating due to arthritis and she had to be on complete bed rest. So, my parents decided to send me to the trials, away from home, as they thought I would get stuck at home and won’t become anything otherwise. Hockey IndiaAt that nursery, there were three sports being played – Judo, badminton and hockey. First, the physical trial took place. I went through it while wearing salwar suit and fleet shoes as I didn’t know much about running at the time.But I chose hockey because of my grandfather. In my house, girls are very highly respected and loved because of my grandfather. There was no discrimination against girls. If anything, girls were given preference. He had, in his time, seen hockey matches in Delhi. He had told us about hockey. So, when we told him that there are three sports available at the nursery, his wish was that I should play hockey.It was in 2004 that the trials took place. In the beginning, I didn’t know the ABCD of hockey. So, first, you have to learn the basics. It was at the end of 2005 that I turned into a goalkeeper.How did that come about?Savita: I had absolutely no knowledge of hockey. But in my family, everyone, including my father, possess good height. When my father came to meet me, my coach said that if you want to see your daughter play for India soon, then I will have to make her a goalkeeper. But you will have to buy the goalkeeping kit. My father felt that nothing could be better than his daughter playing for the country. But I strongly insisted that I don’t want this kit because, I felt, at that time, that I would return home after 1-2 years.Initially, I was very happy to come to the camp because it was in a city. My father’s sister used to live in a city and whenever we visited her, it would make me very happy. So, I was very excited to move to the city from the village.But then, once I had moved, I was feeling very homesick. I used to get to talk to my family only once in a week, on Friday. I used to cry while talking to my mother and tell her that I am not feeling happy and want to return. But when my father purchased the kit for me, it was a huge burden. Earlier, we used to buy clothes just once in a year. So, to suddenly buy a kit worth Rs 18,000 put pressure on me. I would think, “Why has my father invested so much money on me?” If I had interest in this game, it still would have been fine as I could have earned a return for him. But, I didn’t even have interest in hockey at that time!But this act of my father brought about a change of mind in me and I felt that I have to stay here and achieve something. I spent two years at the academy situated in Maharaja Agrasen senior secondary school in Sirsa. My coach, Sunder Singh Kharab, made the decision that he would make me a goalkeeper. Then I was under the tutelage of Azad Singh Malik at Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre at Hissar. Though he wasn’t a coach of SAI but of a university, still we used to train under him. Hockey IndiaDid you have any role models that you looked up to after becoming a goalkeeper?Savita: No, not at all. As I said, when I first joined the camp, there were seven goalkeepers there. I used to feel very happy training with them. It was there that I came to know of the value of an Indian player and felt very happy.I was also, always, deeply attached to my family and ours was a joint family. Unfortunately, we were going through a very bad time as my uncle and my mother expired and there was a great deal of sadness in our house. I felt that if, because of me, there is happiness on their face – especially my grandfather was feeling very happy – that is great.It was after 2009 that I finally realised the value of a goalkeeper. Before that, we only knew of Mamta Kharab didi (former India captain) because in Haryana, she and Surender Kaur were the most well-known players. Since Mamta Kharab is a Jat and I am also a Jat, she was talked about in our house. My family members would ask whether I would be able to succeed like her.Since you are among the senior-most players in the team, have you been given the responsibility to guide youngsters?Savita: Absolutely. We are given that responsibility but it’s also something that comes naturally. Of course, I and Rani (team captain) have been asked to play that role. Our coach is very supportive on this front. He believes that while Rani is the captain in the team, I should look after the second group of younger players so that she can take care of the junior-most members of the squad.The sense of responsibility comes by itself because when we were junior in the team, we knew how our seniors could boost our confidence and motivate us. So, we know, if somebody isn’t able to play well or has a weakness, how to treat them. Rather than going up to a player and saying: “you have this, this and this flaw.”There is a better way in which you can talk to them nicely and explain that this part of your game is good but that could be made better. Our current coach has also paid a lot of attention to this. Earlier, what used to happen is there was too much criticism. What that automatically leads to is less focus on what is good in a player and more on her weaknesses. Even in our psychology class, we are taught how we can communicate without hurting someone. We have to say the same thing but our way of saying should be such that the morale remains high. Even if we say something strong during a match, after the game is over, we sort that thing out quickly so that the player doesn’t feel herself insulted.Since me and Rani are senior players, vice-captain and captain respectively, we have to guide the whole team. But we have other senior players as well. For example, Nikki Pradhan, Monika, Deep Grace Ekka, etc. It’s their responsibility also to watch over youngsters.Last year, your team lost the World Cup quarterfinal against Ireland in a penalty shootout. The entire team, according to Rani, was deeply saddened. For you, it must have been even more painful since the match ended in a shootout.Savita: Indeed. Because prior to that match, whenever a game went to the shootout, we would usually win it – maybe due to luck or benefit of experience. In a shootout, luck is also a factor. You may be having a good day or a bad day. That was certainly a bad day. Those two days, our morale was so down and I had such strong negative thoughts that my body pained. I personally felt that everything is finished for me. Also, my coaches really trust me, whether it is Bharat Chhetri or Sjoerd sir. So, while I play first for the country, I play for them also. That’s because after the 2016 Olympics, I had felt that my career is over. My performance in that event wasn’t what it should have been as a goalkeeper. But, under Sjoerd sir, since 2017, when I played again, I realized that playing as a goalkeeper is so great. You can enjoy it so much!Did you get weighed down by pressure in the match against Ireland, since it was a World Cup knockout game?Savita: Pressure is always there but with experience, you learn how to handle it. Still, whenever it comes to shootouts, the focus is entirely on goalkeeper as she needs to make the save for her team to win. So, yes, those thoughts are there in the mind. But, as I told you, this wasn’t the first time we were in this situation. We had won in the Asia Cup through a shootout and had also qualified for the 2016 Olympics in 2015 by beating Italy in a shootout.The only thing I can say is that, of course, there is pressure. But with experience, we can remove the word ‘pressure’ from the mind. We had undergone a lot of training before that game. So, there was confidence and we believed we could win. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. PR Sreejesh is somebody Savita sees as an inspirationIANSIn the Asian Games final, one of the two goals that your team conceded was through a very unique penalty-corner variation. Were you left surprised by that?Savita: No. With the Japanese team, we knew that they don’t use drag-flickers that much. They have good variations. We were well-prepared and, on that day, we played really good hockey as well. But our PC defence wasn’t very good. Still, every experience is a lesson and we have to take that lesson and go forward. That opportunity isn’t going to come back.It was the same in the recent FIH Series Finals final. We knew that Japan would use variations more and were prepared for that and ended up being successful.The next big tournament is the Olympics next year. Have you already started preparing for it, at least in terms of mental preparedness?Savita: Indeed. Since the start of this year, our body language and our coach’s meetings with the team and his preparations are aimed at the Olympics. In a way, all of us are keenly waiting for playing in the 2020 Olympics. 2016 Rio was a very bad experience for all of us. You can call it a bad experience or maybe, a case of getting over-excited due to being on that stage for the first time. As a team, our game was so good that we shouldn’t have done that badly.Presently, our coach and our trainer, Wayne Lombard, have worked a lot on our fitness, strength and basic hockey skills. So, our strengths – PC attack and defence – is what we focus on.As a goalkeeper, you must be happy with the new system of penalty shootouts as it gives the goalkeeper a better chance. How much do you practice for that?Savita: A lot. Usually, it’s part of our training. Today, it’s an ‘easy day’ for players. On such days, we do some basic training, then penalty corner attack and defence practice, and then shootout practice in the end. So, in a week, we have penalty shootout training on three days. But in recent times, we have worked even harder on this aspect of the game because we have a very good side. It doesn’t matter which team we are facing, we have the strength to take the game to a draw and therefore, a penalty shootout.You mentioned psychologist. In penalty shootouts, you could often face situations where you have to stop your opponent from scoring, otherwise, your team would lose. How do you deal with such situations mentally?Savita: Yes, in all these things, psychologists provide a lot of help. But as an experienced player, you are likely to have faced such a situation before, so you can easily get out of it. For instance, in the 2016 Olympics, it was my first appearance at that event. Perhaps, there was more pressure on me.Even though, we have to play the same as any other tournament, the name of the event changes the state of your mind. But I have always said that experience teaches you everything. The more experience you have, next time you are in the same situation, you can easily handle it while being calm. Twitter/Hockey IndiaYou have played hockey for so long. In all these years, who are the goalkeepers that have impressed you the most?Savita: Well, among women, if you talk about two years ago, I really used to like Maddie Hinch and her game. And among men, I have always admired Sreejesh bhaiya and also Jaap Stockmann (of Netherlands). In today’s time, every goalkeeper is very good. In years gone by, only a few teams had goalkeepers who were top-class. But these days, the standard of goalkeeping has really gone up, in every team, be it men’s or women’s.And who is the most difficult striker that you have faced in your career?Savita: There are some very good strikers in the Netherlands team but we haven’t had too many matches against them. Even Argentina have strikers who possess great skills like Indians do.Currently, I feel very happy looking at our team. Earlier, our attack was anyway good but Sjoerd sir has focussed a lot on defence as well. We are as focussed on defence as we are on attacking. Defence isn’t just the four people standing at the back. Defence starts from the striker’s line and also includes mid-field.So, it’s easier for the goalkeeper. Now we know which ball we need to come out to and charge and which ball we should remain still against. We also know what the position of our defenders is. For example, in the World Cup – such a big tournament – was something only a few of our players had played in before. For most, it was their first World Cup because. Despite that, we conceded only 2-3 goals in the tournament. That was also due to good defence.You mentioned the great support you got from your family. Is Haryana a leading state in sports because there is great passion for it among the general populace?Savita: Absolutely. I can say that even though I don’t know much, in Haryana, people believe in sending their girls out as well, not just the boys. Of course, there are families which may put restrictions upon their daughters, whether it’s related to their dress or their going out of the house. But in current times, many people have changed their mind-set and don’t consider their daughters inferior to boys. In many cases, the government also lends great help. Haryana government gives good rewards to the players. Everybody wants their child’s future to be secure and sports provides good jobs and cash awards. So, everybody seems to be changing their mind.
Christine Blasey Ford testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on 27 September 2018. — Photo: ReutersA university professor on Thursday detailed her allegations that Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, sexually assaulted her 36 years ago, saying she thought he was going to rape and perhaps accidentally kill her, during a dramatic U.S. Senate hearing on Thursday.Christine Blasey Ford, whose voice sometimes cracked with emotion, testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee during a hearing that could determine whether Kavanaugh will be confirmed to the lifetime job after a pitched political battle between Trump’s fellow Republicans and Democrats who oppose the nominee.Kavanaugh was due to testify later in the day.“With what degree of certainty do you believe Brett Kavanaugh assaulted you?” Democratic Senator Richard Durbin asked Ford.“One hundred percent,” she replied, remaining firm and unruffled through hours of questioning.Ford said “absolutely not” when Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein asked her if it could be a case of mistaken identity.The hearing, which has riveted Americans and intensified the political polarization in the United States, occurred against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and assault. Kavanaugh has been accused of sexual misconduct by two other women as well. He has denied all the allegations.While some Republicans and Trump have said called the allegations by Ford and two other women against Kavanaugh part of a smear campaign, Ford told the committee, “I am an independent person and I am no pawn.”Ford and Kavanaugh, a conservative federal appeals court judge picked by Trump in July for a lifetime job on the high court, were the only two witnesses scheduled.Ford was seated at a table in the packed hearing room flanked by her lawyers, facing a bank of senators. Cameras from news photographers clicked as she entered the room and took her seat, smiling nervously. Ford told the senators at the outset of the hearing that she was “terrified” to testify but felt it was her civic duty come forward.Democratic senators, who praised the credibility of her testimony and called her brave for coming forward, sought to score political points during their five minutes apiece of questioning Ford. The panel’s Republican senators, all men, did not question her, assigning that task to Rachel Mitchell, a sex crimes prosecutor.While Mitchell sought to probe Ford’s account including any gaps in her story, her questioning seemed disjointed because she took turns with the Democratic senators to ask questions in five minute segments, disrupting her flow.“The first thing that struck me from your statement this morning was that you are terrified. And I just wanted to let you know, I’m very sorry. That’s not right,” Mitchell said.Ford, a psychology professor at Palo Alto University in California, said a drunken Kavanaugh attacked her and tried to remove her clothing at a gathering of teenagers in Maryland when he was 17 years old and she was 15.“Brett groped me and tried to take off my clothes. He had a hard time because he was very inebriated and because I was wearing a one-piece bathing suit under my clothing. I believed he was going to rape me. I tried to yell for help,” Ford said, adding that Kavanaugh and a friend of his, Mark Judge, were “drunkenly laughing during the attack.”‘TERRIFIED ME THE MOST’She said Kavanaugh put his hand over her mouth to stop her from screaming, adding, “This was what terrified me the most, and has had the most lasting impact on my life. It was hard for me to breathe, and I thought that Brett was accidentally going to kill me.”Under questioning from Feinstein, Ford said she has suffered from claustrophobia and anxiety as a result of her experience and initially struggled when at college.Ford said in a response to Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy that her strongest memory of the incident was the “uproarious laughter between the two (Kavanaugh and Judge) and their having fun at my expense.” She said the laughter has haunted her ever since.Supreme Court appointments must be confirmed by the Senate, and Trump’s fellow Republicans control the chamber by a narrow 51-49 margin. That means that a handful of moderate Republican senators who have not announced whether or not they support Kavanaugh could determine his fate.The committee could vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation on Friday, with a final Senate vote early next week.Some Democrats have called on Kavanaugh to withdraw in light of the allegations.ELECTIONS LOOMINGThe controversy has unfolded just weeks ahead of the Nov. 6 congressional elections in which Democrats are trying to seize control of Congress from Trump’s fellow Republicans. Kavanaugh’s confirmation would cement conservative control of the high court as Trump moves to shift it and the broader federal judiciary to the right.Falling back on her own professional expertise, Ford was able to fend off Mitchell’s questions about her memories by citing biological and medical facts concerning memory formation and what factors can prompt anxiety.Republican Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the committee, at the opening of the hearing decried the “media circus” around the allegations against Kavanaugh and said the nominee.“What they have endured ought to be considered by all of us as unacceptable and a poor reflection on the state of civility in our democracy,” Grassley said. “So I want to apologize to you both for the way you’ve been treated.”Feinstein said Ford should be treated with more respect than Anita Hill, who in 1991 accused Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment. Thomas was ultimately confirmed by the Senate and still sits on the court.Democratic Senator Chris Coons told reporters during a break, “I’ve been struck at how composed Dr. Ford has been and I frankly think overall this has been a fairly measured hearing so far and I hope it continues.”In his prepared testimony, Kavanaugh again “unequivocally and categorically” denied her allegation, as well as “other false and uncorroborated accusations” by his other accusers.“Sexual assault is horrific. It is morally wrong. It is illegal. It is contrary to my religious faith. And it contradicts the core promise of this nation that all people are created equal and entitled to be treated with dignity and respect,” Kavanaugh said.Two other women, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick, have also accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct in the 1980s.Ramirez accused Kavanaugh of exposing himself during a drunken dormitory party during the 1983-84 academic year when both attended Yale University.Swetnick, whose allegations emerged on Wednesday, said she witnessed efforts by Kavanaugh and others to get girls drunk at parties so that they could be raped. She also said Kavanaugh was present at a 1982 party at which she was raped.Trump chose Kavanaugh to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, who retired effective in July.
On Sept. 30, two marches – the March for Racial Justice and the March for Black Women — included men and women from several different racial and ethnic backgrounds, marching in unity, to the DOJ to advocate for Black women and racial equality.(Photos by Rob Roberts)