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Even after a series of misses from deep where he makes his money, Stephen Curry kept letting it fly from long range. Then, at last, the ball started falling. Curry scored 29 points on his 29th birthday, Klay Thompson added 28 and the Golden State Warriors used a frenetic fourth-quarter rally to end a three-game skid and beat the Philadelphia 76ers 106-104 on Tuesday night. “That’s what I love about Steph – he’s never going to stop shooting and he never loses confidence,” coach Steve Kerr said. “That’s the mark of a star, when it’s not your night and you still hit big shots to help your team win.” Dario Saric intentionally missed his second free throw with 2.6 seconds remaining to try to give the Sixers one last shot, but Curry secured the ball. Curry struggled to knock down open 3-pointers again but came through from deep with 5:38 left and again with a key baseline 3 at 3:42. Matt Barnes hit one a minute later from the opposite corner for a 104-99 lead. “He found it at the right time and he came through for us when we needed it the most,” Draymond Green said of Curry. Curry’s jumper with 9:55 to play pulled the Warriors within 90-86 after Golden State trailed 90-78 to begin the final quarter. Green’s 3 at 8:04 made it a one-point game, and Shaun Livingston gave Golden State the lead the next time down.

Green had 20 points with 11 free throws, eight assists, eight rebounds and six blocks for the Warriors, who trailed by as many as 16 in the third. He reminded his teammates during one timeout it would take everything to pull out of this recent rut. “The only way to change that is to grind your way out of it. It’s not going to be pretty,” Green said. Saric had 25 points in the Sixers’ eighth straight loss to Golden State. The Warriors’ winning streak in the series matches their longest ever, along with a stretch from Dec. 16, 1971, to March 11, `73. Curry shot just 8 for 23 and 5 of 13 from 3-point range, making him 26 for 89 from deep in his past eight games.

The Warriors aren’t worried. Thompson and others remind him of all his incredible feats. “He’ll have a huge breakout game coming soon,” Thompson said. “He’s better missing now than come May or June.” Earlier in the day, Curry refused to call his shooting of late a slump, and Kerr insists nobody can expect the two-time reigning MVP to match his NBA-record 402 3s last season. “I never really use that word, because a slump to me almost (seems) like you’re losing confidence,” Curry said. The Warriors returned to the Bay Area following a brutal road stretch _ which included losing Kevin Durant to a sprained left knee _ and barely bounced back to avoid their first four-game losing streak since Feb. 26, 2013, to March 2, `13. Golden State moved a half-game ahead of the idle Spurs for the top spot in the Western Conference.

News source: Indian Express

Published in Sports

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New Delhi: Opposition Congress on Wednesday forced three adjournments in the Rajya Sabha protesting the "stealing of mandate" in Manipur and Goa where it was not invited to form government despite being the single largest party. The House witnessed adjournment of proceedings thrice, twice during the Zero Hour and once during the Question Hour. Congress cited rulings by the constitution benches of the Supreme Court to state that the Governor was bound to invite the party with the largest number of MLAs to form the government and prove its majority on the floor of the House. It alleged that the Governors in the two states, which in the recently concluded assembly elections threw up a hung assembly with Congress being the single largest party, were "acting at the behest" of the Centre.

Congress members stormed into the Well of the House shouting slogans, forcing Deputy Chairman P J Kurien to adjourn proceedings for 10 minutes. Raising the issue through a Zero Hour mention after his notice under rule 267 seeking setting aside of the business was converted, Anand Sharma (Cong) said the people's mandate through the elections in a democracy should be accepted and respected by all. He congratulated the ruling BJP for scoring a big victory in Uttar Pradesh and went on to say that the Congress got a massive mandate in the sensitive border state of Punjab and emerged as the single largest party with 28 MLAs in the 40 member Manipur assembly. "The incumbent Chief Minister (in Manipur) was in a position to form the government" but the Governor ignored his claim and called the BJP to form the government, Sharma said.

He said the legal position has been established through two judgements of the constitution benches of Supreme Court which have "made it absolutely clear that if there is no clear mandate, the Governor is obliged to invite the leader of the largest party to form government and prove the majority." In case the largest party is unable to prove the majority, the second largest party is invited, he said. "The mandate has been violated," he said, adding Manipur and Goa have witnessed "stealing of MLAs and stealing of mandate". The Governor "is acting at the behest of the government," he alleged. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the reference about Governor should be expunged as references on the conduct of a person in high authority cannot be made without a substantive motion. Kurien moved to the next Zero Hour mention and called D Raja (CPI) but Congress members would not give up easily and trooped into the Well raising slogans against the government and "murder of democracy". Treasury benches also shouted slogans to counter them. Kurien said Raja was raising a Dalit issue and should be given a patient hearing and asked the treasury benches not to disturb and the opposition members to return to their seats. But none heeded to his advice, forcing him to adjourn the House for 10 minutes.

News source: News 18

Published in Politics

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New Delhi: A paper published in the prestigious Harvard Business Review says that the results of the Uttar Pradesh elections indicate that it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Big Narrative”, rather than “big data”, which won a landslide for the Bharatiya Janata Party. Bhaskar Chakravorti, who teaches business and finance at Tufts University wrote that the “Big Narrative” in question was the decision to demonetize 86% of cash in the Indian economy, which was perceived by the voters as someone doing something decisive to fight corruption.

The paper published in the Harvard Business Review is called Early Lessons from India’s Demonetisation Experiment. “The victory of narrative over data may be the takeaway from India’s demonetization saga,” Chakravorty wrote. “On March 11 Uttar Pradesh gave the prime minister's party a landslide election victory. While we celebrate the age of big data, it may be "big narrative" that drives the most-profound decisions: When people feel that you’re fighting for them, it seems even the most concrete evidence, be it data or history, wields less and less influence.”

The paper goes on to say that the voters of UP did not judge the Modi government’s actions on the basis of “arcane” issues such as percentage of cash deposited in banks or intricacies of GDP growth, but on the perception that the government was acting on behalf of ordinary people. Chakravorti further buttressed his argument by writing that Prime Minister Modi at an election rally drew a distinction between his efforts and the critics, which may have found resonance with the voters: “On the one hand are those [critics of the note ban], who talk of what people at Harvard say, and on the other is a poor man’s son, who through his hard work is trying to improve the economy.” The Bharatiya Janata Party alliance won 325 seats in the 403 member UP Assembly, securing a landslide. The results indicate that voters connected with the Prime Minister’s message of “development” despite the hardships caused by the cash swap exercise.

News source: News 18

Published in Politics

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Chennai: The K Palaniswami government on Thursday presented its maiden budget in the assembly where a reference to AIADMK General Secretary V K Sasikala by Finance Minister D Jayakumar invited strong protests from the opposition DMK. The DMK, which demanded that the remarks be expunged, also tried to raise the issue of a no confidence motion proposed by it against Speaker P Dhanapal. But the Speaker said he would stick to the day's agenda of presentation of the budget and possibly take up the matter later during this session. Soon after commencing his budget speech, Jayakumar paid tributes to late chief Minister Jayalalithaa and later thanked "honourable Chinnamma' (Sasikala). At this point, Leader of the Opposition M K Stalin sprang to his feet and questioned how the name of a person convicted by the court could be raised in the Assembly. He was supported by party MLAs who were seen making loud protests.

In the meantime, the Speaker asked the Finance Minister to pause his budget speech for a while and allowed Stalin to speak. Questioning mention of Sasikala's name, Stalin said the Speaker does not even allow sub-judice matters to be raised. Countering him, Leader of the House and School Education Minister K A Sengottaiyan said it was the usual practise for ministers and MLAs to greet, laud and thank their party leader while speaking in the Assembly. There was "nothing wrong" in Jayakumar taking the name of Sasikala, he said. Stalin reiterated how a convicted person's name could be taken in the House and wanted the Speaker to expunge the remarks by the Finance Minister. Sengottaiyan remarked Sasikala was AIADMK General Secretary and it was not wrong to mention her name. Later, the Finance Minister continued with his budget speech uninterrupted. Prior to presenting the budget, Jayakumar paid respects at the memorial of late Jayalalithaa at the Marina Beach here, placing the suitcase containing the budget papers at the site. Meanwhile, AIADMK MLAs owing allegiance to Sasikala welcomed Chief Minister Palaniswami by thumping of the desks when he entered the house.

News source: News 18

Published in Politics

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The Supreme Court is right, the best way to determine who is the chief minister of a state is by having a floor test. But the question is, how often should the decision of a governor, as to who is invited to form a government, go under review especially when there are mechanisms already in place to check if the decision was a correct one. All eyes are on Panjim right now where the Goa Legislative Assembly is scheduled to have a floor test on Thursday to see if Manohar Parrikar, recently appointed as the state's chief minister, can survive a vote of confidence in the House. The state election didn't result in any party getting a clear majority. The Congress emerged as the single largest party with a total of 17 seats, just three seats short of the halfway mark in the state's 40-member Assembly. It was followed by the BJP with 13 seats.

However, the BJP , which is also the ruling party at the Centre, claims that it has managed to form an alliance of MLAs including the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party with its three seats, three members of the Goa Forward Party and two Independent members giving it a total number of 21 seats. With this number, the BJP legislative party approached the governor and claimed the right to form the government. The governor of a state has a unique constitutional role in our system of Westminster-style democracy. The role is similar to the president at the Centre. While they play no formal role in the day to day administration of a state, when it comes to the appointment of a government, their role suddenly becomes one of absolute importance, as this is where they exercise their discretion. The role of the governor at the end of the day is to ensure that there is a stable government that can pass a budget and ensure supply as without passing a budget the government will stop and only the legislature can raise money. For this the governor must be satisfied that the chief minister can command a majority in the House to see through bills. So this does not become a point of who is legally authorised to hold office or not, when adjudicating these matters there are many factors at play, the cold hard letter of the law, the changing tides of democracy and the practicality of having to form of a government. So when courts get involved, the results that come out often times don't always stick to precedent like clockwork.

Such as the one the Supreme Court disposed off on Tuesday, with a direction that a trust vote be held on the floor of the House on Thursday. The principle question in dispute according to the order was if the BJP's legislative party had sufficient numbers. The governor's decision could have been reviewed for appropriateness as to who should have been called first to form a government or what is the correct procedure. But the Supreme Court nipped the dispute in the bud by ordering a quick floor test. If Parrikar wins, the governor stands vindicated, if he fails then the Congress is invited to form the government. Even so, if halfway through his term, Parrikar loses the support of his coalition, the Congress may move a motion of no-confidence and take over the reigns of the government. After all they only need to sway three MLAs on their camp to get to the magic number of 21 and the BJP has to hold on to at least seven. So while, there may be many legal disputes as to how best a governor should act, sometimes effective and quick rulings are better for a democracy than cold hard letters of the law. The law states that the chief minister is a member of the house, who is appointed by the governor and holds the confidence of the House. Whoever meets that criterion can be the chief minister. Be it Parrikar or Kavlekar or anyone really. The best way to handle it is to do what the SC just did, grind our teeth and get on with it.

News source: First Post

Published in Politics

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During the various phases of polling in Uttar Pradesh, Congress leaders used to gauge Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance's prospects — success or failure — through "measure of happiness" which PK showed.
PK, in this case, has nothing to do with Aamir Khan's movie, but to do with Prashant Kishor, external poll strategist for Rahul Gandhi and the Congress party. After extensively covering the election in Uttar Pradesh, on return to Delhi, this writer met some Congress leaders of varying hierarchical levels. They were curious to know how the elections were progressing, but they had the same thing to say: "That could be your assessment, but we are going to win these election, our coalition would be the single largest. PK is very happy, his team is very happy. We have done very well in four-five phases of polling. Look at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's level of desperation that he had to camp in his own parliamentary constituency in Varanasi for three days. PK is very clear that we are winning it."

It didn't matter to them that khat sabha for Rahul Gandhi's month-long campaign in UP had ended in a fiasco, his idea to project a tired outsider Sheila Dikshit as a Brahmanical mascot and chief ministerial candidate, the slogan '27 saal UP behal' and the subsequent electoral alliance with Samajwadi Party, has raised an umpteen number of questions on his and Congress strategist's wisdom. The Congress workers, whose grassroots connections have been questionable, started celebrating a bit too early. Stitching an alliance with Akhilesh Yadav's Samajwadi Party was a kind of victory for them and several reports in the media was leaked suggesting that the alliance was a result of Sonia Gandhi's intervention, Rahul Gandhi's prudence and Priyanka Gandhi's hard work, as also the perseverance and push of PK. Some Congress leaders told the correspondent, "See what PK has achieved for us. Earlier, nobody was considering us to be a player, now everyone is talking about Congress and Rahul Gandhi." They conveniently forgot that it's a folly in marketing terms when a backroom strategist becomes bigger than the brand itself.

After all, after Bihar election, PK had acquired a larger than life persona. He was the chief strategist for Nitish Kumar. Lalu Yadav-Nitish Kumar-Congress combine had humbled Modi and BJP president Amit Shah. Prior to that, PK fans had credited him with Modi's victory in 2014 parliamentary elections. In 2015, he was even credited for selecting and rejecting names of probable ministers in Nitish Kumar-Tejashwi Yadav government.
He had suddenly become a cherished brand creator. He was required everywhere and became a Raj guru of sorts for Rahul. He acquired an unbeatable image. He had no other parallel in Indian political electoral strategy history. He seemed to be the one, who would replace actual election strategy and groundwork by table top strategy and his band of black T-shirt boys and girls, who would call the shots over seasoned Congressmen. The aura around PK that he could make anyone win an election — state or parliamentary — and the kind of offers that he was getting across political spectrum, barring Left and BJP, it remind one of the famous dialogue from the Shashi Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan starrer Deewar: "Mere paas maa hai". In this case 'mere paas PK hai', came as the singular winning formula. Rahul and Congress thought their road to recovery passed through PK's room.

News source: First Post

Published in Politics

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Yuki Bhambri knocked out fifth seed and world number 147 Blaz Kavcic in straight sets to progress to the singles quarterfinals of the USD 50,000 ATP Challenger event. The unseeded Indian, playing under Protected Ranking (PR), beat his Serbian rival 6-1 6-4 in a second round match lasting an hour and 14 minutes. Ranked 341, Yuki next faces Argentina’s Agustin Velotti, who is ranked 190. The Indian broke his rival five times in the match and lost his serve only once. “I stayed solid and served well. I went for my shots when it was possible. I had good two wins and I am hoping to get more,” Yuki told PTI after the match. Yuki and Chennai Open winner Jeeven Nedunchezhiyan had lost the first round in the doubles event.

News source: Indian Express

Published in Sports

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American Bobby Wood had another game to remember on Sunday, scoring a late winner after his earlier goal was disallowed as Hamburger SV beat Borussia Moenchengladbach 2-1 to boost its Bundesliga survival chances. The 24-year-old Wood is steadily making a name for himself since joining Hamburg from German second-division team Union Berlin last summer. He struck with 10 minutes remaining when he left defender Jannik Vestergaard sprawling with a quick change of feet and then rifled the ball into the roof of the net from close range.

It was Wood’s fifth league goal of the season. The Hawaii-born forward has eight goals in 29 appearances for the US national team. ‘Gladbach defender Andreas Christensen had opened the scoring after 20 minutes with a header off Oscar Wendt’s free kick. Wood thought he’d equalized seven minutes later but the goal was ruled out for offside amid Hamburg protests after the linesman at first failed to raise his flag. The linesman further antagonized home fans with another offside decision ruling out Lewis Holtby’s lob over Yann Sommer. TV replays showed it was again the correct call. But there was nothing wrong with Filip Kostic’s header in off the post a minute later in the 36th, sparking relieved celebrations for Hamburg and prompting a wry smile from referee Deniz Aytekin with all the players looking in his direction. Hamburg ‘keeper Rene Adler pulled off two huge saves to deny Josip Drmic and then Patrick Herrmann in the first half. Hamburg had the ball in the net again in the second, and once more it was ruled out for offside, leaving Kyriakos Papadopoulos with his hands on his face. Again, it was the right call. Knowing that a win would draw the side level on points with relegation-rivals Wolfsburg and Werder Bremen, Hamburg kept pushing for the winner until Wood proved the hero. Hamburg remains in the relegation zone but only on goal difference. Ten rounds remain. “We should keep our focus, stay calm, humble. Then we’ll manage it and get the points we need,” Hamburg coach Markus Gisdol said.

SCHALKE 3, AUGSBURG 0

Guido Burgstaller scored twice as Schalke ended its three-game winless run in the league with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Augsburg. Winter signing Burgstaller got the home side off to a flying start in the fourth minute and claimed his second in the 29th. The normally reliable Paul Verhaegh then missed a penalty for Augsburg before Daniel Caligiuri scored at the other end. The visitors’ poor afternoon continued when striker Raul Bobadilla had to go off with an injury sustained in the challenge from Benedikt Hoewedes that led to the penalty. The second half proved just a formality. Max Meyer might have made it 4-0 before Hoewedes missed another good chance for the home side. “We lost the game in the first 45 minutes,” Augsburg coach Manuel Baum said. Schalke jumped two points above Augsburg into 11th place, while the visitors were just two points above the relegation zone after Hamburg’s win in the late game.

News source: Indian Express

Published in Sports

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In early December, Prajnesh Gunneswaran entered an Australian Open Wild Card playoff event semifinal against Denis Istomin – the man who would later go on to beat Novak Djokovic in the year’s first Grand Slam. Prajnesh would take the Uzbek to three sets, even holding three match points before losing out. Last week, the AITA’s selection committee announced the Indian team that would host Uzbekistan in the second round Asia/Oceania Group 1 Davis Cup tie in Bangalore next month. For all the world, it would have seemed a straight-forward pick: Ramkumar Ramanathan and Yuki Bhambri to play the four singles rubbers, and Rohan Bopanna and Leander Paes to compete in the doubles match. But not the Uzbeks.

For them, Prajnesh’s inclusion will keep them curious, especially since he drove Uzbekistan’s best player to the edge just months ago. It gives India’s new non-playing captain Mahesh Bhupathi a third singles option. And given that Bhupathi has mentioned his leaning towards a three-singles-one-doubles formula, Prajnesh, in all likeliness, could win his first Davis Cup cap. He remembers the Istomin game well. “I was nervous before the game because I had never played anyone of that calibre before. But he’s no magician and is beatable. He likes to be on top of the ball and attacking, but not as much when it comes to defending,” he says. When it came to the three match points though, the world number 69 proved his stature. “I was being a bit cautious and he went for his shots,” he adds. It’s that experience of playing Istomin, who is now at the peak of his career, that holds Prajnesh in good stead when it comes to the Davis Cup. At 27, the southpaw is the eldest among the four singles players selected in the India team, which also includes N Sriram Balaji. But Prajnesh has played the least. Mainly due to the fact that he spent five years in and out of the game due to injuries that could initially not be diagnosed. “I did a bunch of tests but nothing would come up. Clinically, there were no issues, but I’d experience a lot of pain in my knees. Initially I’d push through the pain and then I had stress fractures. Then they figured out there was some muscle imbalances that was causing the problems,” Prajnesh recalled during the last tie at Pune where he was reserve. He remembers going through a phase where his playing strategy was simply based on how much pain he could take. “I was trying to play as often as I could. If I could push for two-three days then I would, and on the fourth if I couldn’t climb a flight of stairs, then I’d stop,” he says.

Giving up hope

There came a point when he did not touch a racquet for an entire year. In fact, according to his records on the ATP circuit, after turning professional in 2009, he did not play a single tournament till 2012. At the same time, the thought did strike him to forgo his hopes of a tennis career and instead embark on an MBA degree before joining the family business. But he decided to give his stop-start career one more shot. “At that point I was ranked somewhere in the 800s. I didn’t want to look back 20 years later and know that the highest I could ever reach was 800s. I felt I could do a lot better,” he says. That was back in 2015. A year later he played 19 tournaments – the most he has ever managed in a season, including a strong run to the final of a Challenger in Pune in October, his best-ever finish. “I played mostly Challengers that year. I could have played Futures, but figured I’m 27, so I need to get my ranking up and start taking risks. It worked out for me,” says the world number 342. It was a year that ended for him in China, in that semi-final against Istomin. If his performance in Pune gave him the indicator that his tennis was progressing, his match against the Uzbek gave him confidence to push on. “I didn’t feel out of my depth. It just showed me I’m in the right vicinity to play the big guys.” His progression up the ranks earned him his first call-up to the Davis Cup in September, for the tie against Spain where he served as a reserve. He came to Pune against New Zealand, just last month in the same capacity. But against Uzbekistan, where Istomin will be the most potent threat, Prajnesh might get his first look in.

News source: Indian Express

Published in Sports

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SYDNEY: A recall for one-Test pacer Pat Cummins has been a long time coming but New South Wales captain Moises Henriques believes it still might be too soon for the bowler he considers a "freak of nature".
Cummins may have only played one Test but his was a pretty impressive performance, taking 6-79 in the second innings to lead Australia to a two-wicket victory over South Africa at Wanderers in November 2011.
After more than five years of injury setbacks preventing his talent from blooming in the Test arena, the 23-year-old was called up to replace the injured Mitchell Starc in the squad for the last two matches in the series in India. A man-of-the-match performance on his return to first class cricket for the first time in six years last week was enough for selectors to give him the call, but his New South Wales captain was not so sure.
"I think Pat is a very special bowler, so in terms of skill-wise and if you want someone to play cricket for Australia, I think Pat Cummins is your man," Henriques told reporters on Monday.

"But whether he's ready physically on the back of one Shield game, that's a completely different kettle of fish. "There's a number of different factors when it comes into selecting guys to play for Australia in those sorts of conditions." Portuguese-born all-rounder Henriques made his Test debut against India in Chennai in 2013 and all four of his matches for his country were played on the continent. Perhaps a little piqued after the Australian selectors overlooked his own claims to call uncapped Marcus Stoinis into the squad as a replacement for the injured Mitchell Marsh last week, Henriques questioned their call on Cummins.

"It was only one Shield game earlier that he got ruled out and apparently he wasn't ready to play Shield cricket for NSW," he said. "Now on the back of one Shield game he's ready to play a Test series in India, that's their call. "Skill-wise, can he bowl at that level? 100 per cent he can. He's a freak of nature." Former Test pacer Geoff Lawson, a bowling coach at New South Wales, was equally bemused at the decision to call up Cummins after five years of Cricket Australia protecting the bowler. "They've already broken Pat once last year by bringing him back too early," Lawson told Fox Sports TV. "This is his third comeback from these stress fractures and they've picked him against the plan which has been intricately devised by a number of people, both at Cricket NSW and Cricket Australia. "The plan was not for him to be playing in this Test series -- it was for him to be playing Sheffield Shield cricket. From that point of view it's Cricket Australia going against its own plans -- we're just hoping it turns out well." The series is level at 1-1 with the penultimate Test starting in Ranchi on Thursday.

News source: The Times of India

Published in Sports
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