Oldest Test cricketer Gordon passes away at 103 years

News4u-Sports Desk-South African fast bowler Norman Gordon, oldest surviving Test cricketer at 103 years old, passed away after a year long illness due to renal complications.

Gordon passed away in his home in Hillbrow, close to the Johannesburg City Centre, where he has lived for over sixty years.

Gordon played five Tests against England back in 1939 taking 20 wickets in all before World War cut short his international career.

His nickname was ‘Mobil’ as he used to apply hairgel to set his folowing mane while bowling.

He was best known for being one of the 22 players, who took part in the epic ‘Timeless Test’ between England and South Africa that was held between March 3 -14, 1939 in Durban.

Gordon had bowled 92.2 overs in the match with each over having eight balls as per rule at that time.

The match ended on the 10th day as England team had a train to catch from Durban as they had to board the ship ‘Athlone Castle’ from Cape Town which was already pre-booked.


Norman Gordon

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Mars Mission completes 300 days in space

News4u-Features Desk-In a major boost to the Indian scientific community, the Mars Orbiter Mission (Mangalyaan), on its maiden tryst with the red planet, has completed 300 days of its journey in space and is just 23 days away from reaching its intended orbit.

“Mars Orbiter Mission completes 300 days in space. Just 23 days more to reach Mars”, Indian Space Research Organisation said in its micro-blogging site.

It said the spacecraft has travelled 622 million km in its heliocentric trajectory towards Mars.

It is now 199 million km away from Earth and is travelling at a velocity of 22.33 km a second with respect to the distance from the Sun.

“MoM and its payload are in good health,” ISRO said.

The Rs 450-crore project was launched from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh from the old workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) on November 5, 2013 with the aim of reaching the red planet’s atmosphere by Sept 24, traversing 680 million km.

Last week ISRO scientists said the spacecraft had completed 90 per cent of its journey towards Mars.

On September 24, the scientists will undertake a “challenging task” when they would restart the on board liquid engine, which has been in sleep mode for nearly 10 months, for Mars Orbit insertion.

The project is expected to provide the scientific community better opportunities in planetary research.


Mars Mission completes 300 days in space

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Fiji says UN negotiating demands with hostage takers

News4u-News Desk-Fiji revealed for the first time on Tuesday the demands being made by Al-Qaeda-linked Syria rebels who took more than 40 UN peacekeepers hostage in the Golan Heights last week.

Fiji army chief Mosese Tikoitoga said the rebels wanted their organisation, the Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front, to be removed from the UN’s list of terrorist organisations.

He said they also wanted humanitarian aid sent to a small town which is an Al-Nusra stronghold just outside Damascus and were demanding compensation for three of their fighters who had been hurt in recent days.

“These are the official demands that are being quoted to the UN for the release of our boys,” Tikoitoga said in Suva.

Unconfirmed reports in Fiji’s media said the hostage takers were also demanding the release of Abu Mussab al-Suri, also known as Mustafa Setmariam Nasar, an Al-Qaeda leader who was arrested in Pakistan in 2005 and is now being held by Syrian authorities.

Tikoitoga said there were 45 troops in the captured peacekeeping deployment, not 44 or 43 as authorities originally stated.

He released the names of the soldiers and said the Fiji government was operating a crisis centre for their families in Suva. He said a UN negotiation team had arrived in the Golan Heights from New York to take over negotiations with the rebels.

“Unfortunately we have not made any improvement in the situation, our troops remain at an undisclosed located, the rebels are not telling us where they are,” he said.

“But they continue to reassure us that they’re being well looked after, they’re being fed well and are being kept safe. They’ve also told us that they’ve been taken out of battle (combat) areas.”

The Fijians were captured last Wednesday when the rebels stormed a Golan Heights crossing.

Another group of 72 Philippine peacekeepers refused to surrender and eventually escaped from two camps on the Syrian side of the border after the rebels besieged them.

The soldiers are serving in the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) stationed in a buffer zone to monitor a ceasefire between Syria and Israel since 1974.


Fiji says UN negotiating demands with hostage takers

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Clashes between Islamists, rivals in Libya kill 31

News4u-News Desk-A Libyan security official says clashes in the eastern city of Benghazi between Islamists and rival fighters loyal to a renegade general have killed 31 on both sides.

The official said early on Tuesday that fierce fighting erupted between Gen Khalifa Hifter’s loyalists and a group of Islamist militias called The Benghazi Revolutionary Shura Council late on Monday.

Hifter’s jets pounded Islamists’ positions while militiamen responded with artillery.

The hours-long clashes concentrated around the city’s Benina airport.

The official says Hifter’s side lost 20 fighters while the militiamen had 11 killed.

He says 36 fighters in all were wounded.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to media.

Libya is witnessing its worst spasm of violence since Moammar Gadhafi was toppled in 2011.


Clashes between Islamists, rivals in Libya kill 31

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President pays obeisance at Vaishno Devi shrine

News4u-News Desk-President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday paid obeisance at the Mata Vaishno Devi cave shrine in Trikuta hills of Jammu and Kashmir’s Reasi district. The President performed ‘darshan’ at the cave shrine this afternoon and has returned to Jammu, a police officer said in Katra today

He signed the visitors’ book and waved to other pilgrims, who had queued up to see him.

He flew in an army helicopter from Jammu’s technical airport and landed at the newly-constructed VVIP helipad at Panchi area in Trikuta hills around noon time, where he inaugurated the Shridhar Bhawan Elevator and the Panchi Helipad.

Along with top officers, particularly Governor N N Vohra, Chairman, Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (MVDSB), the President’s entourage drove in a convoy of six battery- operated cars to the Bhawan and later they had ‘darshan’ at the cave shrine.

Mukherjee is scheduled to fly back to New Delhi late this afternoon after a lunch at the Raj Bhawan.

The President is on a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir and had arrived in the state yesterday.

The new Panchi helipad has reduced the distance for pilgrims visiting the cave shrine by air. It is located at distance of 2.8 km from the Bhawan.

The elevator can be used by the aged and infirm devotees to reach the shrine without having to climb the 127 steps up the mountainous trek.

The President presided over the 14th convocation of the Jammu University yesterday, where 67 degrees and 68 medals were awarded to meritorious students.


Vaishno Devi shrine

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150-metre long tunnel dug up to infiltrate terrorists: Army

News4u-News Desk- A 150-metre long tunnel which was recently discovered near a forward post along the Indo-Pak border in Jammu region’s sensitive Pallanwala sector, was apparently dug up for infiltrating terrorists, Defence spokesperson said in Jammu on Tuesday.

“Having failed to infiltrate terrorists across the Line of Control in the Jammu Division, there was an attempt to construct a tunnel across the LoC (to facilitate infiltration)”, he said.

The tunnel, which was discovered on 22nd August, was about 150-metre long on our side of LoC, and originated from the Pakistan side, spokesman said.

The tunnel was about 20 feet below ground level and its diameter was about four feet, he added.

A senior Army officer at Udhampur-based Northern Command headquarters felt that tunnel has been dug up with a design probably to push in terrorists and carry out smuggling of weapons and drugs and narcotic substances.

However, we have not got any evidence in this regard so far, the officer said.

The alert Indian Army personnel deployed along the LoC in the sector thwarted the nefarious designs of the terrorists and prevented major terrorist incidents by discovering the tunnel before it could be completed, the spokesman said.

The alert area domination patrol of the Indian Army noticed a depression in the ground and after investigating the same with ground penetrating radar and other equipment, discovered the tunnel, he said.

Earlier, Defence Spokesman issued a handout on 23rd August and said “On 22 Aug 2104, Army personnel deployed in Pallanwala Sector of Jammu District during routine patrolling found a tunnel approximately 50 meters on Indian side of the Line of Control”.


150-metre long tunnel dug up to infiltrate terrorists: Army - File photo

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Bali, a place for sea lovers and ancient temples

News4u-Travel Desk- Bali: Are you a sea urchin who wants to soak in the sun in a serene ambience? Do you also fancy ancient temples and the fascinating stories around it? Then a visit to the island of Bali in Indonesia - a predominantly Hindu enclave in a country with the world`s largest Muslim population - will more than quench your thirst.

Bali`s undulating landscape is a real treat for the eyes as well as the soul. Bali is an Indonesian province where 84 percent of the population is Hindu followed by Muslims and Christians. It has tropical weather conditions and July-August are considered the best months to visit.

The picturesque city of Nusa Dua, 40 km from Denpasar, the provincial capital of Bali, points to the aesthetic sense of the its planners. The city is dotted with huge lush green parks. Statues of various Hindu mythological figures and sculptures of dancing women and various tropical animals and birds are spread across the city.

During the religious festivals, the Balinese people dress up the sculptures. Even temples put umbrellas over the heads of the statues.

The people are soft-spoken, friendly and religious. They start their day by offering flowers and fruits to the gods, a common scene across the island.

“Tourists come from across the world. Many people from the West come just to enjoy the sea,” a tour guide said.

People also throng Bali for the beautiful ancient temples; the place is also known as “The island of thousand temples.”

A visit to Uluwatu Temple will sweep you off your feet. Located on the edge of a cliff overlooking the blue sea, it has a therapeutic effect on visitors. Constructed in the 11th century, it is one of the nine directional temples meant to protect Bali from evil spirits. It is a ritual to wrap a cloth around the waist while entering.

But one needs to be cautious about the monkeys in the temple premises! They are present in huge numbers and at times give tourists a tough time.

There is also an amphitheatre-like structure within the premises where Hindu mythological plays are performed in the evening.

Bali is also known for its handicrafts like batik works on dress material, wooden crafted objects, showpieces made of shells, leather goods made of snakeskin, various utility items made of wood and cane and traditional musical instruments crafted out of coconut shells, wood and cane.

One needs plenty of rupiahs to purchase this stuff. With the inflation rate steep, $100 will fetch you 1,135,000 to 1,140,000 rupiah depending on the day`s exchange rate. And, any beautiful object one will lay one`s hands on will cost not less than 75,000 rupiah.

Nusa Dua is a serene and private location with lots of upmarket hotels, but to get a hang of the night life in the city one must go to Kuta. Life starts there after 10 p.m. Here one can find lots of reasonable accommodation and open restaurants. Kuta has innumerable night clubs and the hookah crowd flocks the place.

Beaches in Bali are a hot spot for swimming, surfing and sunbathing. Since the mercury never dips substantially in this zone, one can travel light.

Bali caters to the beach spirit of both the rich and bagpackers alike.

How to reach:

* From India, travel through Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia Airlines, Air Asia), Singapore (Singapore Airlines and others) or Bangkok (Thai Airlines). Thence, fly by carriers like Air Asia, Lion and others to Denpasar.

Flight time from New Delhi to Kuala Lumpur/Singapore: 5 hours 30 minutes.

Flight time from Kuala Lumpur/Singapore to Denpasar - less than 3 hours.

* Accommodation: Ranges from Rs.3,000 to Rs.50,000 ($47-$792) per night.

For the really high end traveller, there is the Bulgari hotel, one of only two in the world, where a room costs Rs.150,000 ($2,380) a night.

* A meal for four in a mid-range restaurant will cost Rs.2,000 ($31) without alcohol.

* Cuisine to watch out for: Nasi Goreng (Indonesian fried rice), Mie Goreng (fried noodles), Opor Ayam (Chicken curry), Tuna Sambal Matah (Seared Tuna with raw Sambal), Sambal Udang (Prawns in spicy sambal sauce) and Beef Rendang. IANS


Bali, a place for sea lovers and ancient temples

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Caribbean visitor arrivals surge

News4u-Travel Desk-The Caribbean recorded a rise in visitor arrivals during the first half of this year, keeping pace with the world average.

The region enjoyed a 4.3 per cent increase during the first six months of the 2014, much in line with the world average of 4.7 per cent, the director of research and information technology at the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Winfield Griffith, announced tonight on the CTO’s television programme, Destination Caribbean.

Mr. Griffith revealed that just under 14 million long-stay tourists visited the Caribbean between January and June, with nearly half this number ( 6.87 million) coming from the United States of America compared to 6.61 million during the same period in 2013. This represents a 3.9 per cent rise in arrivals from the US market.

“There is enough evidence to suggest that there is growing economic confidence in the region’s biggest neighbour and this is releasing much pent-up travel demand caused by a long recessionary period”. Mr. Griffith said.

The CTO research head stated that just 21 countries in the region were able to breakdown their tourist arrivals by destination in time for the report. From the most recent figures it was clear that more Europeans and Canadians are gravitating to the region showing increases of 6.0% and 4.3% respectively.

For the winter period represented by the first four months of the year, at least five countries reported double digit growth. These destinations continue to power through the current summer showing signs of doing exceptionally well this year.

Griffith also announced that the cruise sector enjoyed an 8 per cent increase in passenger arrivals to reach 13.1 million after the first two quarters of 2014. Agencies


Caribbean visitor arrivals surge

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American play on violence against women travels to India

News4u-Entertainment Desk- American play “Voices of Men”, which uses humour and celebrity voice impressions to highlight issues of violence against women, is now travelling to India and will also be translated to Telugu and Nepali.

American educator and public speaker Ben Atherton-Zeman, who has performed the one-man play in different parts of the world during the last ten years, says he wants to pass on a message to men in India where violence against women is a burning issue.

During his ongoing maiden India tour, the 48-year-old is performing in cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Coimbatore and Vijayawada.

“I am reaching out to as many people as possible with the performances in different cities. The response has been very good and a youth theatre group in Hyderabad is translating it in Telugu while it is also being translated into Nepali langauge,” Zeman said.

During his Kolkata trip he showcased his engaging play at the American Center addressing issues of sexual assault, domestic violence, objectification and sexual harassment.

“Gender-based violence is prevalent all over the world and the idea of the play is that when I use humour to express my thoughts people will listen more to what I am saying,” Zeman said.

So far, it has been performed more than a thousand times all over the world. During his India tour, he is also discussing the issue with Indian NGOs, feminists and victims of gender-based violence.

While making the play humourous he says he is careful enough not to cross the line where it might hurt a woman’s feelings.

“That happens because I am myself very serious about the issue. I have learnt to express myself in a humorous way from American feminist icons,” said Zeman, who identifies himself as a “recovering sexist”.

He uses humour and celebrity male voice impressions as a tool to spread awareness on the need to stop asking questions to the victims and instead start raising questions on how safety can be created for womenfolk.

“Blaming the victim happens everywhere and not just in India. The rights of women must be treated as human rights,” the campaigner said. However, he doesn’t consider himself as an expert on gender-based violence.

“It all started when a girlfriend told me that she had been raped by her previous boyfriend. I started thinking about the issue and it made me mad and then I started volunteering for a women’s centre,” Zeman said.

He has worked as a prevention educator for rape crisis centres and domestic violence programmes.

His second play ‘Men’s Monologues Against Violence’ features real men and boys who have taken specific steps to stop gender-based violence.


American play on violence against women

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University need to become drivers of innovation: Prez

News4u-News Desk- Universities on Monday need to become drivers of innovation and their focus should be on collaborative relationships with industry and government, President Pranab Mukherjee said on Monday.

Addressing the 14th convocation of Jammu University, he said entrepreneurial activities in universities could take various forms such as contract research, consultancy, patenting, licensing, spin outs, start-ups and incubating companies.

It is essential that universities create the right environment for promoting entrepreneurship amongst students as well as academicians, he told the students.

The convocation is being held after a gap of seven years.

Referring to inter-linked aspect innovation and entrepreneurship, Mukherjee said realising the centrality of innovation in the growth and development process, 2010-20 has been declared as the ‘Decade of Innovation’.

India’s Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) policy 2013 emphasises boosting innovation through research and development (R&D), driven mainly by private sector participation, publishing more research papers, achieving gender parity in Science and Technology and seeking global cooperation.

“It is here that an University’s third axis, the first two being teaching and research, becomes critical. While it is well recognised the world over, enterprise incubation as a part of the academia - industry linkage is still at a nascent stage in India,” he said.

The function was attended by Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra, who is the Chancellor of the University, and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah who is also Pro-Chancellor of the varsity.


President Pranab Mukherjee

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