VVS Laxman’s retirement came all of a sudden in 2012ReutersAmidst all the debate that took place around the absence of Ambati Rayudu and Rishabh Pant from the Indian ICC 2019 World Cup squad, what stood out most was Rayudu’s tweet. But even more interesting was the retweet by another out-of-favour Indian cricketer – Pragyan Ojha.The left-arm spinner last represented India in Sachin Tendulkar’s farewell series against West Indies in late-2013. Interestingly, he was the man-of-the-match in his last Test. Ojha retweeted the comments of Rayudu and added his own views to it.Now, Ojha didn’t reveal who are those ‘Hyderabadi cricketers’ that have been in ‘similar situations.’ But does he have a point when he suggests that cricketers belonging to this proud city have had a raw deal?If we look at the most prominent cricketers from Hyderabad, one can find grievances that all of them can have. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that there is any systematic bias against these cricketers. However, let’s first look at these prominent names and their possible complaints.Mohammad AzharuddinIt is very difficult to have sympathy for this legendary batsman from Hyderabad. After all, many would say it were his own actions that led to his career ending in disgrace. While the courts may have acquitted him and there are not any official sanctions against the former India captain, he still carries the taint of match-fixing. However, he can carry the grouse of not being allowed to play his 100th Test and being forced to end his career with 99. Of course, that is a partisan view.VVS LaxmanOne of the most aesthetically pleasing players in the world and a true match-winner, Laxman’s exit from the team was very, very surprising (pun intended). In 2012, he was picked in the Indian Test side to face New Zealand in a two-match home series. But all of a sudden, VVS announced his retirement. Speculation was rife that he had been told by the selectors that this would be his last series and he responded by ending his career himself. How much truth there was in these rumours, we don’t know. But it has to be said that Laxman’s form had declined substantially in the last year of his career and his place in the team was under doubt. But for hard-core fans of the batting wizard, that won’t be any consolation. Pragyan Ojha (L) put out a tweet suggesting Hyderabadi players getting a raw dealBCCIPragyan OjhaNow we come to the main aggrieved party. Does Ojha have reason to feel hurt by the selectors? He certainly does. The Orissa-born cricketer had become a regular member of the Indian Test team by late 2010 and was acting as a deputy to Harbhajan Singh. But for some reason, Indian selectors convinced themselves that he cannot do well on non-Asian pitches. Every time India needed a second spinner outside the sub-continent, they went to Amit Mishra – be it the South Africa tour of 2010-11 or England tour of 2011.Ojha, in order to prove his worth on non-friendly pitches, played a season of county cricket for Surrey in 2011. Even the former India captain Sourav Ganguly was impressed with his performances in English conditions. But the selectors kept ignoring him and when they decided to replace Ashwin during the South Africa tour of 2013, they went to Ravindra Jadeja and not Ojha.But even before that, the left-arm spinner was getting a raw deal from his team. After emerging as India’s best bowler in the four-Test series against England in 2012, he was dropped for the first two matches of the next series – vs Australia. Imagine the highest run-scorer from a series getting dropped for the first half of the next series. It seems impossible but this is exactly what Ojha faced.His problem got compounded when the ICC decided to crack down upon suspicious bowling actions and he too had to undergo remodelling. But since then, Ojha has made a comeback but without the selectors giving him another opportunity. So, one can understand why he feels aggrieved. Among all the Hyderabadi cricketers, it’s this one who has been treated most unfairly by the selectors and team management.
With less than a fortnight to go for the presentation of the Budget 2016, the divide between the two main Indian political parties â€“ the BJP and the Congress â€“ seems to be widening.While the BJP-led NDA government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is under attack for its handling of JNU students over the Afzal Guru death anniversary issue, the Congress is keen to take on the government head-on, using macroeconomic data and the latest political development to good effect, just days before Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is set to present the budget on Feb.29.At a press conference last Friday in New Delhi, Abhishek Singhvi, spokesperson for the Congress, took on the Modi government on a range of issues, from the alleged fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan to the JNU protests, besides the state of the economy.”Let us presume that Ishrat Jahan was a suspected terrorist. What is the course of action the BJP is proposing? That she should be liquidated in a false encounter? As a civilised country governed by law and order, should we not proceed by trying her in the court of law as Ajmal Kasab and Afzal Guru were tried? The BJP was advocating hanging them by the nearest lamp-post. How is India different from a banana republic if we too resort to such practices?” BusinessLine reported Singhvi as saying.Mocking the government for holding events such as “Make in India” without showing commensurate results on the ground, he said: “This clueless government has no idea on how to revive it (the economy) and they seem to move from one slogan and event to another without even attempting to address the real crisis at hand.”Singhvi also said that apart from the fact that 29 state-owned banks have written off Rs 1.14 lakh crore of bad debts during 2013-2015, the rupee, which was at 58.5 to a dollar when the BJP came to power, has dropped to 68.38, a fall of 17 percent. The NDA government is facing a grim situation, notwithstanding the description of Asia’s third largest economy as a “bright spot” by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.Retail inflation at a 17-month high in January, factory output (IIP) registering a second straight month of contraction in December, third quarter GDP growth rate coming at 7.3 percent, the lowest in the past three quarters, and merchandise exports registering decline for the 13th month in a row in December have emboldened the Congress â€“ which was reduced to its lowest tally in its history after the 2014 general elections â€“ to question the government’s performance on the economic front.Given the current political circumstances, Jaitley, who often says that “all political parties are with the government on economic legislations except the Congress,” may find it difficult to secure their support, given that they would find it politically expedient to go with the Congress.After all, the JD(U), the RJD and the Communists have found a common cause to take on the government and would not like to break ranks with the GOP (read the Congress) over the GST legislation, more so when crucial Assembly polls to five states â€“ Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Puducherry â€“ are round the corner. It would be politically naive to expect the Congress and the larger Opposition to support the NDA government at a time when it is politically weak.To use a stock market phrase, the Modi government is going through a bearish phase, much like the Sensex that posted its single biggest weekly fall in a year last week.The Budget Session needs to be seen in this context. The probability â€“ a high one at that â€“ of a united Opposition taking on the government over the JNU students’ issue and the Ishrat Jahan encounter case could mar the session. On the other hand, if the government is seen as unable to pass key economic legislations during the session, it would send the wrong signals to the marlets.
GABRIEL CRISTÓVER PÉREZ / KUTTexas leads the country in wind energy production and, because of the way the state’s electric grid is set up, most of that power stays right here. But a plan that would allow the state to make money exporting wind and solar power is moving slowly. The Southern Cross Transmission Project aims to move around 2,000 megawatts between Texas and states in the Southeast, enough to power up to a million homes depending on demand. Pattern Energy has been shepherding the project since around 2010, and David Parquet, Pattern’s senior vice president for special projects, says there have been a lot of twists and turns along the way.“The more things change, the more they stay the same,” Parquet said.When the plan was first conceived, there were federal rules proposed to encourage renewables like a Renewable Portfolio Standard, or RPS, which would have required more renewables to be put on the grid. But the RPS idea soon evaporated and was replaced by the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan. Parquet says, overall, both options would have been good for the project’s business model. But, now that the GOP controls Washington, the Clean Power Plan option is likely off the table for the project. Still, Parquet says, Southern Cross Transmission makes business sense.“The states in the Southeast, regardless of an RPS or a Clean Power Plan, are interested in renewables and that is what has kept the project alive,” he said.Why are they still interested? For one thing, renewables are cheap and getting cheaper.“It’s the market,” said David Spence, who teaches energy regulation at UT-Austin’s School of Law. “We’re still seeing a demand for renewable energy from consumers and particularly businesses.”Spence said it’s hard to export electricity from Texas because of the way the state’s grid is set up. Much of Texas runs on an electric grid that’s largely independent from the rest of the country. So, companies like Pattern need to find a way to connect to the rest of the country in a way that doesn’t threaten the sovereignty of the Texas energy grid.KUT’s Mose Buchele reports“I think Texas regulators and politicians like to be able to control the terms and conditions, and particularly the wholesale market, in Texas,” Spence said.The Southern Cross project is awaiting final approval from the Texas Public Utility Commission. But it has already managed to overcome many regulatory hurdles. The project recently proposed a route for its transmission lines through Mississippi.As the cost of renewable energy continues to drop, some believe more companies may try to export wind and solar power from Texas.“It might be a project whose time has come,” said Michael Webber, deputy director of the Energy Institute at UT-Austin.“It’s a little like what we did with oil a hundred years ago – where, at some point, we produced more oil than we needed and had to create a market to export it.” But, Parquet says, the process has been so difficult, he’s not sure other companies would want to try. “It’s been a tough row,” he said. “There are a lot of issues to deal with here. This is not going to be like something that happens routinely. This has been very comprehensive.”Ultimately, whether other projects follow suit may depend on how profitable the Southern Cross Transmission line becomes – when, or if, it gets off the ground. Copyright 2017 KUT-FM. To see more, visit KUT-FM. Share
By The Associated PressA fourth-grade teacher in a northern New York school district has been placed on administrative leave after being accused of having White students bid on Black classmates during a mock slave auction.The mother of one of the Black students tells WWNY the incident happened recently at North Elementary School in the Watertown City School District.North Elementary School in the Watertown City School District, New York. (Screengrab: Google)A statement from the school district said the teacher had been placed on leave during a district investigation launched after parents complained she had “exercised poor judgment in teaching a recent lesson.”A fifth-grade teacher at a private school in Westchester County was fired in March after parents complained she held mock “slave auctions.” The Chapel School in Bronxville agreed to hire a diversity officer after the state attorney general’s office investigated.
Contrary to popular assumption — and a talk by actor Arnold Schwarzenegger at the United Nations Paris Climate Change Conference — eating a vegetarian diet could contribute more to climate change than eating a non-vegetarian diet, warns a new study.Schwarzenegger, a former California governor, advised people to go meat-free one or two days a week to help protect the climate.But the new research found that consuming more fruits, vegetables, dairy and seafood is more harmful to the environment because those foods have relatively high resource uses and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per calorie. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’“Eating lettuce is over three times worse in greenhouse gas emissions than eating bacon,” said one of the researchers Paul Fischbeck, professor at Carnegie Mellon University in the US.“Lots of common vegetables require more resources per calorie than you would think. Eggplant, celery and cucumbers look particularly bad when compared to pork or chicken,” Fischbeck said.The study measured the changes in energy use, blue water footprint and GHG emissions associated with US food consumption patterns. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThe researchers studied the food supply chain to determine how the obesity epidemic in the US is affecting the environment.Specifically, they examined how growing, processing and transporting food, food sales and service, and household storage and use take a toll on resources in the form of energy use, water use and GHG emissions. On the one hand, the results showed that getting our weight under control and eating fewer calories, has a positive effect on the environment and reduces energy use, water use and GHG emissions from the food supply chain by approximately nine per cent.However, eating the recommended “healthier” foods — a mix of fruits, vegetables, dairy and seafood — increased the environmental impact in all three categories — energy use went up by 38 per cent, water use by 10 per cent and GHG emissions by six per cent.The findings appeared in the journal Environment Systems and Decisions.