'Afghan cricket team in high spirits after return to training amid Taliban takeover'

News Network
August 20, 2021

Kabul, Aug 20: The Afghan national cricket team were feeling "spirited" after resuming training in the capital this week, just days after the Taliban seized control of the country, the head of the cricket board said Friday.

Following the collapse of the government at the weekend, Hamid Shinwari said the team were once again preparing for their one-day series against Pakistan, scheduled to take place in Sri Lanka in two weeks.

"The atmosphere in the camp was very spirited," Shinwari said. "We will send the team to Sri Lanka once the flight operations are resumed and for that we are in contact with authorities," he added.

Chaos has broken out at Kabul airport this week as tens of thousands of Afghans try to flee the militants, who swept through the country largely unopposed by government security forces.

Sport was tightly controlled by the Islamic fundamentalist group during their first rule of the country in the 1990s, often viewed by the militants as a distraction from religious duties.

Women were completely banned from taking part. 

However, Shinwari said he saw no threats to cricket from the movement.

"Cricket was not an issue during the Taliban regime before and it will not be an issue now. I don't remember any incident caused by the Taliban over cricket," he said.

Shinwari said he was unable to comment on the status of women's cricket but the situation would be clearer in the coming weeks.

Star spin bowler and T20 captain Rashid Khan and all-rounder Mohammad Nabi are currently playing The Hundred tournament in England. Both made pleas for peace in their country before the Taliban takeover.

But most other national players are in Afghanistan.

Sri Lanka's cricket board earlier this week said it was still hoping to host Afghanistan and Pakistan for the three matches in an empty stadium at Hambantota.

The one-day international series starts on September 3.

It was shifted to Sri Lanka after stadiums in the United Arab Emirates -- where Afghanistan play their home matches -- were instead preparing to host the Indian Premier League.

The Afghanistan Cricket Board also announced its Twenty20 league, to start from September 10 in Kabul.

"We are committed to doing well and lifting Afghanistan cricket. We have excellent relations with Pakistan and Indian cricket boards and we are part of the international cricket community," it said.

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News Network
September 2,2021

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The patriarch of separatist politics in the Valley and Hurriyat leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, passed away at his residence in Srinagar late Wednesday night. A former elected legislator, the ailing 92-year-old had been under house detention for more than a decade. 

His death comes when both his and the moderate factions of the Hurriyat are in disarray in the wake of a crackdown by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the abrogation of Article 370 and the downgrade of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories.

Apprehensive that his funeral may attract large crowds, the security establishment has imposed restrictions across the Valley, including Internet suspension. Police sources say curfew would be imposed.

“With shock and grief, we inform (you) that the father of revolution Syed Ali Geelani passed away tonight,” tweeted Geelani’s Pakistan-based representative Abdullah Geelani. “As per his will, he would be buried at the martyrs’ cemetery in Srinagar. The timing of the funeral would be announced later.”

However, it is unlikely that the government will allow Geelani to be buried at this cemetery.

Geelani’s legacy will be that of the hardliner who stood up to New Delhi, seeking resolution of the Kashmir dispute under the aegis of the United Nations. In fact, he was the only separatist leader to oppose Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf when the latter climbed down on Islamabad’s traditional stand on Kashmir and proposed a four-point formula to resolve the Kashmir issue.

Born on September 29, 1929, at Zurmanz, a village on the banks of the Wular lake in Bandipore, Geelani rose to become the face of separatist politics.

A school teacher, he started his political career under the tutelage of Maulana Mohammad Sayeed Masoodi, a senior National Conference (NC) leader, but soon moved to Jamat-e-Islami. The socio-religious organisation stood up to the NC leadership and saw Kashmir as an “unfinished agenda” of Partition.

Geelani’s electoral career started from Sopore, a traditional separatist and Jamat stronghold. He first contested the Assembly elections in 1972, and represented Sopore in the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir Assembly for three terms. The last term ended abruptly in 1987 when militancy erupted in Kashmir.

Geelani had been one of the four candidates of the Muslim United Front (MUF) — an alliance of political, social and religious organisations — who won in the widely rigged 1987 elections that brought the NC-Congress combine to power and set off militancy in the Valley.

An ardent supporter of armed struggle for resolution of the Kashmir issue, Geelani was among the seven executive members of the Hurriyat Conference when it was formed in 1993. But his support for militancy and unwavering ideology on Kashmir sowed the seeds of discord between him and his colleagues in the Hurriyat Conference, finally culminating in a split in 2003.

In 2004, Geelani also parted ways from Jamat-e-Islami when it distanced itself from militancy, and formed his own political outfit, Tehreek-e-Hurriyat.

While Geelani has been bedridden for years now and incommunicado for the last two years, he sprang a surprise on June 30 last year when he dissociated himself from the faction of Hurriyat that he founded. He left the reins to his deputy Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai, who died in custody in Jammu jail earlier this year.

And though Geelani said he wanted the resolution of the Kashmir issue as per the aspirations of the people, he himself was an ardent supporter of its merger with Pakistan. Last year, the Pakistan government awarded him with Nishan-e-Pakistan, the highest civilian honour of the country.

The NIA, which has till date arrested 18 separatist leaders from Kashmir including those from the Hurriyat in a case of terror funding, has alleged that they received funds from Pakistan to foment unrest in the Valley. The agency had even named Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq in the chargesheet, claiming they had been pushing for secession and fuelling unrest but had stopped short of naming them as accused.

In February, 2019 the NIA had raided Umer Farooq’s and Geelani’s son Naseem Geelani’s house among others in the case. In March 2019, the Enforcement Directorate had levied a penalty of Rs 14.40 lakh on Geelani in a 17-year-old case of alleged illegal possession of $10,000 in alleged contravention of the foreign exchange law.

Former chief minister and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti condoled Geelani’s demise, saying, “We may not have agreed on most things but I respect him for his steadfastness and standing for his beliefs.”

People’s Conference leader Sajad Lone tweeted: “Heartfelt condolences to the family of Syed Ali Shah Geelani sahib. Was an esteemed colleague of my late father. May Allah grant him Jannat”.

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coastaldigest.com news network
September 13,2021

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Mangaluru, Sept 13: Former union minister and veteran leader of Indian National Congress Oscar Fernandes passed away today after months after treatment at a private hospital in the city.

A prominent minority leader of INC, Fernades was the Union Cabinet Minister for Transport, Road and Highways and Labour and Employment, Government of India in UPA government. 

He was one of the closest confidants of the present Congress President Rahul Gandhi and one of the major leaders in the taking of important decisions of Congress Party. 

He was also the Chairman of Central Election Authority of the All India Congress Committee. He was the AICC General Secretary, the Minister of State (Independent charge) of the Ministry of Labour and Employment in Dr. Manmohan Singh's first UPA government in India. 

He served as Parliamentary Secretary to Rajiv Gandhi. He was elected to the 7th Lok Sabha in 1980 from Udupi constituency in Karnataka. He was re-elected to the Lok Sabha in 1984, 1989, 1991 and 1996 from the same constituency. Later, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1998. He was re-elected to the Rajya Sabha in 2004. He was a Union Minister from 2004 to 2009, holding a number of portfolios such as Statistics and Programme Implementation, NRI Affairs, Youth and Sports Affairs and Labour and Employment. He served two terms as a member of the Council of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.

Personal life

Oscar was born on 27th March 1941 to Roque Fernandes, the head of Government Composite PU College and the first President of Manipal Institute of Technology and Leonissa M. Fernandes, the first female magistrate in India, at the family estate at Udupi. 

Fernandes was one of 12 children in his family, and grew up with a strong Catholic background. As a child he was an altar boy, and as a youth he was active in Church activities. His family belongs to the Fernandes-Prabhu clan, a Mangalorean Catholic clan from Udyavara in Udupi district. He married Blossom Mathias Prabhu on 26 August 1981 and has one son Oshan and one daughter Oshanie. His son Oshan is married to Frazil Quadros and Oscar's daughter Oshanie is married to Mark Saldanha. In 2002 Fernandes inaugurated the Glowinstar Academy, an integrated development school, in Ambalpady, dedicated to his father, Roque.

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News Network
September 2,2021

Bengaluru, Sept 2: The Karnataka government has revised its Covid-19 protocol for people coming from Kerala, exempting a set of people from mandatory seven days institutional quarantine.

It had earlier stated that all those coming from Kerala have to be under institutional quarantine for seven days in view of the alarming rise in Covid cases.

The revised protocol exempted constitutional functionaries, healthcare professionals and their spouses from institutional quarantine.

Apart from them, children below two years, people in dire emergency situation such as death in the family or medical treatment, short term travellers (within three days), students arriving to Karnataka for examination along with one parent each and go back within three days and passengers in transit from and to Kerala via any mode of transport have been exempted, the order said.

According to the government order, all students and employees should compulsorily bring negative RT-PCR certificate that is not older than 72 hours irrespective of their Covid-19 vaccination status. It clarified that the validity of such certificates is for one week.

Meanwhile, state Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar said the situation in Kerala was "scary."

"We are scared of the prevailing situation in Kerala. The number of Covid patients is not reducing. Yesterday also more than 30,000 people were tested positive for Covid-19," Sudhakar told reporters in Bengaluru on Thursday.

He also said that the situation had prompted the Karnataka government to make institutional quarantine mandatory for those coming from Kerala.

"Students appearing for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) have complained that institutional quarantine for a week will affect them. Hence, keeping in view the academic future of the students, the government has directed the centres and institutions to arrange for institutional quarantine," Sudhakar said.

He further said the employers will have to make arrangement for institutional quarantine of their staff. Others coming here will be home quarantined, he explained.

The Karnataka government had earlier made it mandatory for everyone coming from Kerala to get quarantined for a week even if they possess a negative RT-PCR report or have taken the Covid-19 vaccine.

These measures were taken in view of the alarming rise in Covid cases in the neighbouring Kerala which reported 32,803 new Covid-19 cases and 173 deaths on Wednesday.

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