21 June 2011It’s going to be a busy week for US First Lady Michelle Obama, who is on her first official visit to South Africa.Obama, who landed at Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria on Monday night, started her day on Tuesday by visiting President Jacob Zuma’s second wife, Nompumelelo Ntuli Zuma, at the President’s official residence in Pretoria.She then proceeded to Johannesburg, where she visited to the Nelson Mandela Foundation. There she toured the Nobel Peace laureate’s archives with Mandela’s wife, former Mozambican first lady Graca Machel.It was unclear whether the first lady would meet the 92-year-old icon, who is in frail health and has been under home medical care since he was hospitalised with a respiratory infection in January.Later in the afternoon Obama, who is travelling with her daughters Malia and Sasha and her mother Marian, was due to make a stop at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, which chronicles the history of the fight against white minority rule.Obama has a packed schedule that includes a trip to the memorial for Hector Pieterson in Soweto on Wednesday.She will also give a keynote address at a conference of the Young African Women Leaders Forum, a two-day meeting of 75 women aged 16 to 30 who are playing leadership roles across the continent.She will then jet off to Cape Town on Thursday, where she will meet with Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu before leaving for Botswana on Saturday.The White House says the First Lady’s visit will advance her husband’s foreign policy goals.The trip is a continuation of Michelle Obama’s work in engaging young people, especially girls and young women, at home and abroad.“This visit to two critical countries will underscore that the United States has an important stake in the success of Africa’s many nations and underscore the historic connections between the American people and those who live on the African continent,” the US embassy in South Africa said in a statement last week.“South Africa is a vital global partner for the United States, as political leader and economic engine on the continent, and a historic example of democratic transition in Africa and around the world.”Source: BuaNews
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Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday appealed to voters in Gorakhpur to reject the “unholy and corrupt alliance” of the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party in the upcoming Lok Sabha bypolls to two seats. His remark came a day after BSP chief Mayawati said that though her party was not contesting the bypolls, her workers and supporters would vote for the “strongest candidate” in a position to defeat the BJP. The SP is the prime opponent of the BJP in the bypolls, and Ms. Mayawati’s call would mean that the BSP workers would support the SP candidates in Gorakhpur and Phulpur.Addressing a rally in Gorakhpur city, Mr. Adityanath said the SP and BSP had agreed on a “deal” to throw the State back into anarchy and corruption.Mr. Adityanath said the BSP was supporting the SP despite “the SP in the past promising to destroy the Ambedkar memorial in Lucknow if it came to power, and the State guest house incident [of 1995 in which SP leaders allegedly humiliated her]”.In another rally in Campierganj, Mr. Adityanath said the two rivals had been forced to come together to save themselves “just like the snake and the mole-rat take shelter in the same place to survive the floods”.”I pity them. But in reality, they are looteras (plunderers). They looted the State, messed with the future of the youth, pushed farmers to despair and defamed the State,” the Chief Minister said.Ms. Mayawati, however, has already clarified that her support to the SP in the bypolls or Rajya Sabha elections did not amount to a formal alliance with the party and the final decision in that regard would be taken after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections are declared. Holi celebrationsIn his election rallies, Mr. Adityanath is also emphasising that on Holi festival, Muslims shifted their timings for Friday prayers so that the Hindu festival could be celebrated without any glitches.”Friday prayers come 52 times in a year, the timing can be changed. They changed it from noon to 2 p.m. And we gave full freedom to celebrate Holi with all the fun and frolic,” said Mr. Adityanath.The ruling BJP has picked its Gorakhpur region head Upendra Shukla, a Brahmin, to defend the political bastion of the Chief Minister, who held the seat from 1998 and exerts considerable influence in the region through the Gorakhnath temple of which he is head priest. The Gorakhnath Peeth has held the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat since 1989, with Mahant Avaidyanath, Yogi Adityanath’s guru, winning till 1998.If Mr. Shukla wins, Gorakhpur would get its first BJP MP in 28 years who is not directly from the temple. He faces a challenge from Praveen Nishad, the son of Nishad Party founder Sanjay Nishad. He is fighting on an SP ticket.
A video clip, showing Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) workers allegedly punishing a man with 50 squats in Pune for allegedly criticising party chief Raj Thackeray on social media, has gone viral.In the clip, the man identifies himself as Rohit Burade, and is surrounded by MNS workers led by the student wing leaders Ashish Sable-Patil and Rahul Gawali. He is made to acknowledge his “error” in posting an “objectionable” comment against Mr. Thackeray on the MNS leader’s Facebook page.The MNS workers are heard saying that Mr. Burade was let off easily as he was a Maharashtrian hailing from a poor family. “His father passed away… Hence, we are not beating him up,” one of them is heard remarking.The party workers are then heard reprimanding Mr. Burade, making him say, ““Raaj saheb, I have made a mistake and this will not happen again,” even as the victim is seen gasping for breath. They then issue a warning that anyone insulting Mr. Thackeray would suffer a similar fate. No case has been lodged against the MNS workers.
At a time when international athletes are worried about their security in India during the Commonwealth Games, the visiting Australian cricket team on Thursday gave thumbs up to the security arrangements for their tour against the hosts.Many star athletes have pulled out and several countries including Australia have issued travel warnings to their citizens, saying there is high risk of a terror strike during the Games.According to media reports, Australia is also sending a team of top cops to New Delhi to provide a high-level security cordon to its athletes for the Games.However, the Australian cricketers have described as “fantastic” the arrangements.”The security so far has been fantastic. We always get looked after very well in this country. All the players and other guys are excited about being here,” Australia’s vice captain Michael Clarke said during an interaction with the journalists.”Ever since we arrived in India, the security has been outstanding. Right now, we feel very comfortable and are looking forward to the two Tests and the ODIs later on,” he added.Australian cricket team arrived here on September 20 and are scheduled a two-Test and three-ODI series.The series opener will begin here on October 1.All-rounder Shane Watson too found no problems with the security ever since the team has landed in Delhi.”Security has very good. We are being looked after extremely well. I also play for (IPL team) Rajasthan Royals and have been coming here regularly. I find the security and other arrangements exceptional,” Watson said.advertisementOff-spinner Nathan Hauritz also echoed the same sentiment.”There are lot of people around for our security. They are trying to look after us really well,” he said.Youngsters Steve Smith and Phillip Hughes said they have no clue why there is so much hue and cry about the security issue.Clarke said he has always loved touring India.”I love touring here. I also love the Indian food. I must say that I have been lucky to play in India and also enjoyed a bit of a success here. We get looked after well and people here are so passionate about this game.”And the people here also know the way Australia plays and we also love to entertain them by playing best cricket,” Clarke said.
Seeking to allay fears expressed by the city’s fire department about the safety norms at the Wankhede Stadium, World Cup tournament director Ratnakar Shetty on Sunday said security and safety of people would not be compromised while staging matches at the venue. “When we build a stadium, we take care of each and every person who will come to the stadium. And there would be no compromises in anything required by the government or any agencies,” Shetty told reporters who were taken around the renovated stadium. “Every permission that is required will be obtained and without that you can not have a stadium. You can not organise a match. But getting a permission is a procedure. It does not happen that you go to a counter and say now give me a NOC. There is a procedure which is followed and permissions are taken in a sequence. “Rest assured, all permissions will be in hand, all things required from the fire department and the NOC (no objection certificate). What is required is the compliance at the new areas like the basement at the north stand which will house the control room for the television and the media conference room,” he said. Expressing displeasure at the non-compliance of fire safety norms at the revamped Wankhede stadium, city’s Fire Brigade department had last week said that it would seek a reply from the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) in this regard.- With PTI inputs
England batsman Eoin Morgan, who was at the non-striker’s end when the Ian Bell run-out controversy happened during the second Test against India, claims that the confusion was caused by umpire Asad Rauf’s ambiguous gestures.Bell was run out when he walked off the crease presuming that the ball had gone for four at the stroke of tea only to realise later that it was in play when he headed for the dressing room. But he was reinstated after India decided to take back the appeal on being requested by England coach Andy Flower and captain Andrew Strauss.Morgan was at the non-striker’s end at that time and revealed that Rauf didn’t quite give a clear answer as to whether the ball was still in play when he asked him.”I said ‘Is it four?’ And Asad (Rauf, the umpire) nodded his head. No, he didn’t nod his head. He sort of gestured. So I just turned round and walked off presuming the ball was dead,” Morgan told The Daily Telegraph.”It was a weird one really because Asad at the end of the over doesn’t actually call ‘over’; he never does. He just gestures to the bowler,” he claimed.Bell and Morgan were then stopped reserve umpire Tim Robinson on the boundary line.”Tim just told us to hold on because they were checking to see if it had gone for four and what action they were going to take because the bails had been taken off,” he recalled.advertisementMorgan insisted that neither he nor Bell had a clue about what was happening in the middle.”I wasn’t really worried until I walked off and Belly told me they’d taken the bails off,” he said. .”In the dressing room we didn’t really know what was going on. We were just waiting around to see what happened.The bell went and we still hadn’t heard anything,” Morgan said.”Billy Bowden (the television umpire) came up to our dressing room three times during the interval to say they hadn’t retracted their appeal,” he elaborated.”Literally two minutes before Matt (Prior) and I were about to go out, the message came through that Belly was still in.”Morgan said he could not really understand the fuss that followed.”It was ridiculous really. If the roles were reversed, we would have felt a responsibility to the spirit of cricket and to the way the game should be played,” he asserted.Talking about the ongoing four-match Test series which England lead 2-0, Morgan said the hosts were aiming for the number one spot.”We want to strive to be No.1. For all the talk outside, inside the changing room it is a matter of keeping things simple and breaking down every part of our game. We know that if we execute our plans we can get to be No 1,” he said.- With inputs from PTI