Denness drops guard, Test temperature rises
Naxalite chance for pariah terror law
Made in Mumbai, seen in Delhi
Calcutta Weather

London, Dec. 1: 
Poor Sourav Ganguly. He is being softened up by the British press ahead of not only the Test series about to start in Mohali but also for next summer’s Indian tour of England.

Why else would the Guardian caption his photograph today as “the controversial and widely disliked Indian captain”?

But then, the bad blood that seems to exist between Indian cricket board president Jagmohan Dalmiya and the two Malcolms — Speed and Gray — International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive and president, respectively, has also led to an entertaining India-vs-England media war.

Despite claims to the contrary, all this venom between the rival camps will be good for cricket and actually make for a riveting series.

An intriguing twist has been provided by Mike Denness, the match referee in South Africa, who is not supposed to give interviews. It is just as well there are no referees to judge whether a referee has broken this rule, for Denness has submitted to the entirely human failing of talking to sympathetic British newspapers.

Today, in an interview with Geoffrey Dean of The Times, he “expressed his relief that the dispute which threatened the Test series between India and England had been resolved”.

Denness, a former England captain, also declared his gratitude to the ICC for backing him unreservedly. “My reaction is one of delight with the support I’ve received from the ICC during this time,” Denness said. “I’m even more delighted that the game will go ahead and that cricket in the world will return to normalcy.”

The current England captain, Nasser Hussain, was critical of Dalmiya, according to several reports. “It has been a shocking week for cricket,” he said in Chandigarh.

“All that has been discussed since we got here is who is running the game and that has been disappointing. The sooner everyone realises that the ICC runs the game the way it should be run, the better. The two gentlemen who are running the ICC are doing a fine job, but it is no good making decisions bottom to top. Everyone must understand who is running the show and everyone should adhere to what the governing body says.”

Chief cricket correspondent for The Times Christopher Martin-Jenkins was more restrained. “The solution has also provided rather more than a means for Jagmohan Dalmiya to emerge, if not with credit, at least unscathed from the hole that he had largely dug for himself. From Dalmiya’s standpoint, it was the decision to offer a means by which the BCCI could question, and conceivably overturn, the decisions made by Mike Denness in Port Elizabeth that saved the day.”

British newspapers think the ICC won the battle of wills. In the Mirror, Mike Walters’s report from Chandigarh began: “In a humiliating climbdown, India agreed to drop batsman Virender Sehwag from their squad....”

He said that during a three-hour stopover in Delhi, the transit lounge became a talking shop as Hussain’s players weighed up the odds against a call from Lord’s to summon them home. The captain apparently said: “Over our chicken tikka, everyone was asking ‘Is Sehwag playing? Are we staying or going home?’”


New Delhi, Dec. 1: 
The Naxalite strikes on industrial units in Andhra Pradesh have given the Centre a handy platform to hardsell the controversial anti-terror Ordinance.

Home minister L.K. Advani said today the government was thinking of banning the PWG under the new decree as the extremist organisation had been extending its strikes beyond Andhra Pradesh. “The government is contemplating banning the PWG under the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance as the group has been spreading its activities in states beyond Andhra Pradesh,” Advani said in Delhi.

Besides Andhra, where the PWG on Thursday night picked out units linked to ministers for attacks, the group’s operations straddle Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. The wife of Andhra chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, a key ally of the BJP-led government at the Centre, had invested in one of the targeted plants.

The PWG is already banned in Andhra but the consent of the chief ministers of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, both ruled by the Congress which is opposing the Ordinance, will be required to curb its operations in these states. However, the Centre can step in and add the PWG to the list of terrorist groups already outlawed under the Ordinance. The Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammed, operating in Kashmir, are among the groups banned under the new Ordinance.

Naidu has been asking Delhi to dub the PWG a terrorist organisation. He is certain to take up the matter with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee when he meets him in Hyderabad tomorrow .

Naidu’s request has come at a convenient time for the Vajpayee government, battling to push through the new Ordinance in Parliament. It will demonstrate to a sceptical Opposition that a tough law is required to fight the unprecedented terrorist challenge facing the nation.

Naidu’s Telugu Desam had asked for some changes in the Ordinance when the matter was discussed at an NDA meeting last month. If the government uses the Ordinance to clamp down on the PWG and “help” a reluctant ally as well as chief ministers belonging to the opposition camp, it will be able to push harder for a “consensus”.

The Maoist rebellion in Nepal has also prompted the Centre to view the PWG with concern. Intelligence agencies believe that the outfit has close links with the Nepal Maoists as well as the far-Left Maoist Communist Centre.

Delhi is worried that Left extremist groups working together in Nepal and India could open another flank for terrorists, already bleeding India in Kashmir. India’s staunch support to Nepal to fight the Maoists is also a means to protect its own interests.


New Delhi, Dec. 1: 
Bollywood’s hit upon a new formula. Big banners are increasingly carting over the glitz and glamour of tinsel town to the Delhi durbar to launch their films with a power-packed premiere.

This evening, Karan Johar, the darling of Bollywood, brought his much talked about K3G — Kabhi Khushi, Kabhi Gham, for the uninitiated — and much of its cast to Delhi for a special screening at the government-owned Mahadev Auditorium. The show was organised by none less than information and broadcasting minister Sushma Swaraj, who has emerged as Bollywood’s most influential representative here.

Leading the capital’s power pack at the screening were Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and home minister L.K. Advani with families in tow. After two weeks of arduous work defending the anti-terror Ordinance and George Fernandes’ reinduction as defence minister, few could grudge them a couple of hours of high-powered performances by Bollywood’s best — the Big B and Jaya, Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol and Hrithik Roshan and Kareena Kapoor.

Sharing their august company were Hrithik and Kareena and Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh, another politician Bollywood loves.

This is not the first time movie moguls have come calling. Vajpayee and Advani have spent many entertaining hours at either the Mahadev Auditorium or the one in Siri Fort, watching Mission Kashmir, Pukar, Fiza and Zubeida in 2000, and Lagaan, Gadar, Nayak, Asoka and Veer Savarkar this year. Both are keen movie buffs — the home minister was once the film critic of Organiser, the RSS mouthpiece. So are the families. Last heard, Vajpayee’s foster-granddaughter Neha’s favourite film star was Salman Khan. But, as a source in 7 Race Course Road said, by the time she’s over and done with K3G, the choice could well be Hrithik.

K3G follows Johar’s spectacular debut with Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. The stakes are high not just for the young director but his star cast as well, especially Hrithik and Kareena whose recent films have bombed at the box office. Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, who have been paired in K3G for the first time since Kajol opted out briefly after her marriage, have a lot of expectations to live up to.

Johar’s marketing managers surely haven’t forgotten how Vajpayee and Advani gushed over Aamir Khan’s Lagaan, one of the year’s biggest hits and India’s nomination to the Oscars — after it was specially premiered for them and how the media-savvy Khan made it a point to quote what Vajpayee said in his press interviews.

The nascent trend shows that Bollywood is increasingly believing that what the VIPs say about a film might just make the difference between indifference and enthusiasm, a flop and a hit. Bollywood is no longer content with just having a glitzy premiere in Mumbai. The power set’s attention has become an essential component in the hoopla surrounding the release of a big-banner film in the hope that it would unleash the much-needed hype.




Minimum: 17.1°C (+1)



Relative humidity

Maximum: 94%,
Minimum: 41%


Mainly clear sky. Minimum temperature likely to be around 15°C
Sunrise: 6.06 am
Sunset: 4.47 pm

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