Ponting, Clarke get top base price ahead of IPL auction

They are not exactly Twenty20 stars but retired Australian skipper Ricky Ponting and his successor Michael Clarke have attracted the highest base price of USD 400,000 (approx Rs 2.1 crore) among the 101 names who will go under the hammer in the IPL players’ auction to be held here on Sunday.

There are four marquee players in the list, the other two being South African all-rounder Johan Botha and out-of-favour Indian pacer R P Singh, whose base price has been pegged at USD 100,000 (Rs 53.3 lakh).

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‘Quebec keen to establish business & cultural ties with Madhya Pradesh’

(Pervez Bari): Minister for International Relations & External Trade of Quebec Jean Francois Lisee has said that the Quebec is keen to establish mature business and cultural ties with central Indian province Madhya Pradesh. He said that Madhya Pradesh has immense potential and possibilities and businessmen, industrialists of Quebec are willing to invest here.

Lisee was addressing a trade and investment promotion session here today. Speaking on the occasion, Madhya Pradesh Water Resources Minister Jayant Malaiya described the state as the emerging growth centre of India.

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Girl, who performed at Obama’s inauguration shot dead

Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old girl who performed at President Barack Obama’s inauguration last week, has been shot dead in Chicago, a media report said.

Pendleton was shot dead while hanging out with friends after school, reported NBC News.

She had performed with the King College Prep school band at Obama’s inauguration.

She was standing under a canopy in Vivian Gordon Harsh Park when a gunman came from an alley, opened fire and fled, police said.

She was shot in the back but managed to run about a block before she collapsed. She died at hospital.

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More stringent charge against Salman Khan in 2002 case

Spelling more trouble for Bollywood actor Salman Khan, a Mumbai court Thursday directed that he should be tried for a more serious charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, and not death by negligence in the 2002 hit-and-run case.

The provision – section 304 of the Indian Penal Code – attracts a maximum jail sentence of 10 years. The Bandra magistrate also committed the case to the sessions court for trial.

Presently, Salman, 47, is being tried under section 304 A – causing death by negligence, which attracts maximum jail term of two years.

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Pakistan optimistic about World Cup performance

Pakistan skipper Sana Mir sounded optimistic about her team’s performance in the ICC Women’s World Cup and said the off-field issues will not affect their campaign in the eight-team tournament.

“We are optimistic about our good performance at Barabati Stadium. There is no pressure on players as Odisha Cricket Association has been very cooperative and helpful to us,” Mir told reporters at a media conference on the eve of her team’s match against Australia.

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Jerusalem’s Jewish-only team’s fans up in arms against inclusion of new Muslim players

Fans of Jerusalem football club Beitar, which is the last of Jewish-only football teams in Israel, are up in arms against the signing of two new Muslim players from Chechnya in the team. The Chechen players, Dzhabrail Kadiyev and Zaur Sadaev, were scheduled to fly to Israel on Jan. 30 after a spell of discussions in Moscow, and were signed by club’s unfathomable Russian owner, Arkady Gaydamak, Both the players arrived in Jerusalem on Thursday to join the country”s most nationalist football team, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

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Urdu is Britain’s third most spoken language: Census

Urdu has been revealed as the fourth most spoken language in the United Kingdom after English and Polish, according to 2011 census data released by the Office of National Statistics. Polish is now the main language spoken in England and Wales after English and Welsh, followed by the south Asian languages of Punjabi, Urdu, Bengali and Gujarati and then by Arabic, French, Chinese and Portuguese, the Guardian reports. The statisticians said they recorded over 100 different languages and 49 main languages with more than 15,000 users.

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Prostitutes openly using Facebook and Twitter to sell sex ‘put kids at risk’

After it emerged that prostitutes have been using Facebook to advertise their services, fears about the effect it could have on kids have risen.

Social media has been flooded with hundreds of pages operated by sex workers, visible to any web user.

While it has always been difficult to avoid adverts for prostitutes in sites such as phone boxes, the rise of social networking has made it even easier to access explicit content.

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Couples who share household chores in traditional ways have more sex

According to a new study, married men and women who divide household chores in traditional ways report having more sex than couples who share so-called men’s and women’s work.

Other studies have found that husbands got more sex if they did more housework, implying that sex was in exchange for housework. But those studies did not factor in what types of chores the husbands were doing.

The new study co-authored by sociologists at the University of Washington showed that sex isn’t a bargaining chip. Instead, sex is linked to what types of chores each spouse completes.

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Excessive alcohol use can damage youngsters’ brain

A new study has highlighted the significant changes in brain function and structure that can be caused by excessive alcohol use in young people.

Functional signs of brain damage from alcohol misuse in young people mainly include deficits in visual learning and memory as well as executive functions, according to the study published in Cortex.

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Another hate speech case against Akbaruddin Owaisi in Kurnool

Another case related to alleged hate speech has been filed against the jailed MIM legislator Akbaruddin Owaisi, this time in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh, following a court directive.

Atmakur police in Kurnool district yesterday registered a case against the MIM leader under sections 121 (waging war against the government of India), 153A (promoting enmity) and other relevant sections of Indian Penal Code.

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Teens’ TV viewing and sedentary lifestyle may up disease risk in adulthood

Television viewing and lack of exercise at age 16 is associated with the risk of developing metabolic syndrome at 43 years age, a team of scientists has found.

Metabolic syndrome is a name for the disorder of metabolism – a combination of abdominal obesity, elevated blood lipids, hypertension and impaired glucose tolerance – which provides for a significantly increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular disease.

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138,000 people in England, Wales don’t know how to speak English: Report

The number of people living in England and Wales who could not speak any English is 138,000, according to the 2011 census.After English, the second most reported main language was Polish, with 546,000 speakers, followed by Punjabi and Urdu.

Some 4 million, or eight percent, reported speaking a different main language other than English or Welsh, according to the census report.English or Welsh was the main language for 92 percent, or 50 million, of residents aged three and over. Of the 8 percent who spoke a different main language, most were proficient in speaking English.

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Rahul insists on ‘frank and open’ talks with AICC leaders

Rahul Gandhi today held his first formal meeting with AICC office bearers here after taking over as Congresss Vice President, which saw demands for bringing in discipline and cohesiveness in the party’s functioning.

In his opening remarks, Rahul Gandhi insisted on a “frank and open” discussion.

Sources said that the meeting saw a large number of members raising the issue of indiscipline in the party saying this is turning out to be a major problem during elections.

__PTi

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Govt. to constitute executive committee to assist PM”s Council on Climate Change

The government on Thursday decided to constitute an executive committee on climate change to assist the Prime Minister’s Council on the issue.

The executive committee will assist in evolving a coordinated response to issues relating to climate change at the national level and regularly monitor the implementation of the eight national missions and other initiatives on climate change.

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Unemployment rates fall in major US cities

The United States Labor Department has said that unemployment rates have fallen in a majority of the largest cities in the country, as compared to the same period last year, with modest hiring proving beneficial to most areas. Las Vegas saw the biggest annual decline of unemployment, where the rates fell to 10 percent from 13.3 percent, CBS News reports. The lowest rate was reported at Midland, Texas, at 3.1 percent, the report added. Unemployment rates have decreased in 290 of the nation”s 372 largest metro areas.

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Dubai’s Indian-origin residents feeling insecure following increase in break-ins and vandalism

Residents of Dubai’s posh neighbourhoods, mostly of Indian origin, have complained against the lack of security following a recent series of break-ins, intrusions and vandalism. Geeta Bhatnagar, who lives in a luxurious five-bedroom villa in the lakes, a posh locality, has called for increased patrolling and installation of CCTV cameras on the streets, after her car was vandalised with food items by suspected teenaged pranksters, Gulf News reports. She added that the security in her locality needed to be increased to stop such occurrences.

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Cricket SA not to allow players to take part in Pakistan Super League

In another major blow to the efforts of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to revive international cricket in the country, Cricket South Africa (CSA) have confirmed they will not be issuing No Objection Certificates (NOC) to contracted players participating in the Pakistan Super League (PSL). Earlier, Cricket Australia too refused to support contracted players participating in the League, reports Pak Passion.

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ICC Women”s WC Pak team has no problems with stadium accommodation

Pakistan women team manager Ayesha Ashar has said the decision to accommodate her team at Cuttack”s Barabati Stadium owing to threats from India”s right-wing parties, is not disturbing, and is in fact, quite comfortable. The decision to lodge the team at the stadium drew heavy criticism from several quarters, reports The Express Tribune.

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India’s demand for extradition of Headley, Rana continues to stand: MEA

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday reiterated that New Delhi would continue to press the United States of America for the extradition of two key accused in 26/11 terror attacks on Mumbai, Tahawur Hussain Rana and David Coleman Headley.Rana and Headley were sentenced to 14 and 35 years in prison respectively in connection with the terror attack in which about 166 people died and more than 300 were injured.

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103 exhibitors from 23 nations at India Art Fair

The fifth edition of the India Art Fair Feb 1-3 featuring 103 exhibitors from 23 countries opened here with a VIP preview Thursday in a new-age art space designed by eminent space designer Sumant Jayakrishnan across 20,000 square metres.

The fair laid out in three adjacent gallery space has separate sections devoted to multi-media art and a speakers’ forum which will host more than 40 speakers over three days at the venue, the NSIC Ground in Okhla.

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Court summons Kejriwal for verbal attack on Dikshit

A Delhi court Thursday summoned activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal on a criminal defamation complaint filed against him for allegedly using “filthy and foul” language against Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in a television show.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Shailender Malik issued summon to Kejriwal for March 20 on a complaint by Dikshit’s political advisor Pawan Khera.

Khera said: “Due to politically motivated and malafide reasons, mischievous and absolutely false and baseless allegations have been intentionally made in a filthy and foul language….”

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UAE, Bangladesh hold talks

The UAE’s Minister of Foreign Trade Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi has held talks with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

The visit to Bangladesh was aimed at strengthening investments and bilateral trade and establishing joint projects in maritime shipping, ports management, logistics and other investments.

During her meeting with Hasina, Sheikha Lubna emphasised on strengthening bilateral economic and investment ties.

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