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first_imgSAN FRANCISCO — During his first offseason as Giants president of baseball operations, Farhan Zaidi was quite careful when choosing ways to describe his vision for the franchise.When asked to offer a big-picture goal for the 2019 season, Zaidi often said he wanted the Giants to play “meaningful” baseball as deep into the season as they could.Zaidi’s predecessors never shied away from explaining the team’s annual goal was to “contend” for a playoff spot, but competing for a postseason berth …last_img read more

first_img7 February 2014The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is to team up with Indian state-owned company Coal India Limited to explore opportunities in the South African mining industry value chain, the DTI said on Thursday.The agreement to explore mutual prospects in South Africa’s coal sector was reached after a meeting between DTI officials and Coal India representatives on the sidelines of the African Mining Indaba in Cape Town.“Coal of India is in the business of mining and exporting low-grade thermal coal and has been mapping the South African coal mining industry, with the interest of acquiring mining concessions and information on how best to exploit coal deposits in a way that serves the best interest of all stakeholders,” the DTI said in a statement.During the meeting, the DTI said, it had elaborated on government policies and the regulatory framework in the mining industry, the importance of the sector and the costs involved in the business “in an effort to clarify and provide predictable solutions”.The DTI’s Yunus Hoosen said discussions like these with different stakeholders were “a breakthrough on how South Africa could engage more productively with investors in the mining sector”.Hoosen said the talks also served as a platform for encouraging big mining role players to develop smaller mining companies in the coal sector, and also to zoom in on the beneficiation and localisation opportunities within the industry.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

first_imgPune: In a blow to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Maharashtra Rural Development Minister Pankaja Munde, her close supporter Ramesh Karad switched sides to join the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Wednesday.His move comes days before the biennial elections to the Legislative Council from six local bodies’ constituencies on May 21.According to political observers, the defection was engineered by NCP leader Dhananjay Munde – Ms. Munde’s cousin and bitter rival — who was present when Mr. Karad joined the party at a function in Osmanabad district. Mr. Karad, an important leader from Latur district, was brought into the BJP fold by the late Gopinath Munde. After the latter’s untimely death in a road accident in 2014, Mr. Karad transferred his loyalties to Mr. Munde’s daughter Pankaja.However, Mr. Karad was reportedly miffed with Ms. Munde, and the BJP, after he was refused a ticket in the 2014 Assembly elections. “I had lost my way,” said Mr. Karad referring to his tenure with the saffron party.‘End of political exile’“I was with the NCP since its inception in 1999. Then I joined the BJP and therein began my political exile. Today, after rejoining the NCP, my exile is over,” he said.Like a prodigal son, Mr. Karad’s re-entry into the NCP, days before the much anticipated biennial elections to the Legislative Council marks a setback for the BJP as he is an influential leader in the Beed- Latur-Osmanabad belt.“The BJP has slighted its true party workers. It has not given supporters of Gopinath Munde like Mr. Karad their due,” Dhananjay Munde, Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the Legislative Council, said at the function.Biennial elections will be held for the Raigad-Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg, Nashik, Wardha-Chandrapur-Gadchiroli, Parbhani-Hingoli, Amravati and Osmanabad-Latur-Beed seats.The NCP has staked its claim to the Osmanabad-Latur-Beed seat after senior Congress leader Dilip Deshmukh, brother of late Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, expressed reluctance to contest again after serving three terms.Munde vs MundeThe move to bring back Mr. Karad is seen by observers as yet another step on Dhananjay Munde’s part to checkmate his estranged cousin.The bitter feud between the cousins snowballed during the 2009 Maharashtra Assembly elections when Gopinath Munde decided to field his daughter, Pankaja from the Parli Assembly constituency, which prompted Dhananjay Munde, to break away and cast his lot with Sharad Pawar’s NCP.Since then, besides vying for the political supremacy of Beed district, the rivalry between the Munde cousins has extended to the control of the Vaidyanath sugar factory in the district as well.last_img read more

first_imgApple is unveiling its latest iPhone on Wednesday, but its older phones will get a software upgrade as well. A new operating system sports a different mapping service and a built-in bond with Facebook.Apple has said that its iOS 6 software will sport more than 200 new features, though some won’t be available on all devices. It will be a free upgrade for iPhones released since 2009, as well as last year’s and this year’s iPad models. It will also work with newer iPod Touch devices.With the launch of new iPhone, Apple is expected to provide details as to when the software update will be available for older phones.Here are some highlights of iOS 6:Apple’s mobile devices will have a mapping program, built in-house.New Maps application In the past, Apple has given prominent billing to Google Inc.’s mapping app. But the two companies have increasingly become rivals as people buy more devices running Google’s Android operating system. Google also has been keeping some features, including turn-by-turn directions spoken aloud, exclusive to Android.Apple’s new Maps application will have a voice navigation feature. It will have real-time traffic data and offer alternative routes as traffic conditions change. It will also include “flyover” three-dimensional images taken by helicopters hired by the company to fly over major cities. Google has been dispatching its own planes to produce similar 3D images.Apple’s map program will be integrated with its Siri virtual assistant so that you can ask for directions and pose other questions.FacebookThe new software promises better integration with Facebook. The upgrade will enable you to log into Facebook just once, and then you will be able to post to the social network from a variety of apps. You can also post about websites directly from Apple’s Safari browser.Facebook will be integrated with Apple’s online app store so that you can declare that you “like” specific apps there, as well as songs and movies in iTunes. Events in Facebook’s calendar and birthdays of Facebook friends will also appear on your phone’s calendar.Enhancements to SiriIOS 6 will have enhancements to Siri, which interprets voice commands and talks back to the user. It is also coming to the iPad for the first time. Siri, introduced last October with the iPhone 4S, is supposed to get better at fielding questions about movies, restaurants and other things.Apple says it is partnering with Yelp Inc. so that Siri can include ratings and prices of restaurants when you ask her about places to eat. The company is also partnering with OpenTable Inc. to make reservations. Siri will now be available in more languages and more countries.Apple also says it’s working with car manufacturers to let you use a button on the steering wheel to talk to Siri, allowing you to keep your hands on the road. Apple says General Motors Co., BMW AG and Daimler AG’s Mercedes are among the automakers that have promised to offer Siri integration in the next 12 months.CallsApple’s new software will give you more options for preventing messages and text notifications from disturbing you at night.You can control how and when you get back to people. If you can’t call someone back right away, you can set a reminder to call that person back later or have a text message sent directly to the caller.There’s a “call when you leave” feature that reminds you to call back when you are leaving a building or office. The phone can detect when you are leaving.New Passbook feature Apple’s new Passbook feature will be a central place to keep your boarding passes, tickets and gift cards.When you get to a Starbucks, for instance, the device will bring up your gift card if you have one and if you have the location feature turned on. Likewise, when you get to a movie theater or baseball stadium, the ticket will pop up. Passbook will also alert you to gate changes and flight delays once you have a boarding pass stored.Passbook could be the foundation for a new digital commerce hub for Apple, especially if the iPhone 5 includes a “near-field communication” chip that enables payment information to be transferred by tapping a device on a terminal at a checkout stand. A few Android phones use this technology to process payments with a feature known as Google Wallet.advertisementlast_img read more

first_imgFor the last one week, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is facing a situation that he has not encountered in the last one year. As many as 12 incidents of rape, sexual molestation and stripping of women reported from in and around Bengaluru in the last 15 days has suddenly given the state an image of lawlessness. Unfortunately, neither Siddaramaiah nor Home Minister K J George seem to be showing the kind of urgency that is expected of them in tackling the situation.Bengaluru has never seen this kind of public outrage, on matters relating to women’s safety. On Friday and Saturday, thousands of people have poured on to the streets to seek action against the perpetrators of such crimes, particularly the alleged rape of a sixyear-old girl in a well-known school and the sexual molestation of a girl in a moving car by a gang of six miscreants. Both incidents came to the fore only after the media extensively highlighted them.In fact, there is a general impression among the public that the police, under the Congress regime, are being insensitive to issues relating to crime.Despite the so-called reforms and people-friendly policing measures, people here continue to view the law enforcement agencies with suspicion because of their personal experiences. There are plenty of instances to show how the police arm-twist cases or work under political influence to keep their masters happy.A girl, who was sexually molested for more than an hour in a moving car, is instructed by the jurisdictional police inspector to delete the words “kidnap” and “rape” from her complaint copy. It was subsequently found that the prime accused was the son of a local influential politician. Was the police trying to protect the culprit? Further investigations revealed that the prime accused was short of getting rowdysheeted for his activities in the locality. Similarly, parents of the six-year-old rape victim had to seek the support of parents of other children to mount pressure on the police to conduct a probe into the alleged rape.advertisementEvery time there is an incident, it is the citizens who have had to go out of the way to register their protest and convince the police to take effective action. But why is there such a situation? Why aren’t the police probing cases with the same seriousness in the first instance? There is a feeling among the public that a case may not progress unless pressure is mounted on the police, either through politicians or senior IAS officers or civil society. The politician-police nexus is an open secret in Karnataka and even politicians have acknowledged the same.As the spate of crimes against women rocked the ongoing Karnataka legislature proceedings, the Karnataka Assembly Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa has directed the state government to transfer police officers who have completed a three-year term in each police station.But so far there has been no action by the state government to implement the Speaker’s directive. What is surprising is the attitude of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his team of Cabinet colleagues towards the issue.The Congress seems to have forgotten the fact that the people of Karnataka, who were fed up with the previous government’s administration, gave a thumping majority to Siddaramaiah. But whenever the BJP leaders question the Congress on tackling crime in the city, the Congress Chief Minister only points to the lapses of the previous government.Does it mean that the Congress is trying to prove that it is no different from the BJP? Or is it conveying that it cannot deliver better governance? But that is not what the people expect from the government. People cannot throng the streets every time there is a rape or sexual molestation case to exert pressure on the establishment.While the IPS officers are trying their best to maintain a harmonious relationship between the police and the public, the attitude of lower rung officers and constabulary needs a sea change. At the ground level, corruption continues to rule the police stations while a severe shortage of staff has affected policing.The Siddaramaiah government has four more years in power. But unless the Congress government addresses sensitive issues like these seriously, the impression that it is no different from any other political party will not change.Bengaluru remains a civic messThough it has been one year since the Congress came to power in Bengaluru, the IT capital continues to suffer as there seems to be no longterm vision on infrastructure for the city. While the government has been proclaiming achievements, ironically none of the projects is new but rather those announced by the previous government.advertisementThe peak hour traffic in the city is agonisingly slow at eight kilometres per hour. Though the roads have been widened, the absence of adequate number of underpasses and overpasses, unscientific one-way systems, and the acute lack of parking space, have made the Central Business Districts (CBDs) impenetrable during peak business hours. In fact, it has become routine for people to commute in taxis and auto rickshaws to CBDs for meetings than risking driving on their own here!While the state government is pointing fingers at the BJPruled Greater Bangalore City Corporation for the inadequate infrastructure, the civic agency, in turn, expresses its helplessness because of lack of funds to execute projects on a priority basis.On one side, as many as 1,250 new vehicles – both cars and two-wheelers – are registered every day in Bengaluru. On the other, not a single multistoreyed parking complex has been commissioned by the state government in the past decade, even though government agencies, such as City Corporation and Bangalore Development Authority, possess land banks within the city. The lack of accountability as well as short-term goals will only make Bengaluru’s traffic conditions worse.KPL to find best Karnataka cricketersThe Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) seems to have rediscovered its spark with the state team winning the Ranji Trophy, Irani Trophy and the Vijay Hazare Trophy this year. Several players from Karnataka are representing the Indian team in different formats of the sport. Buoyed by this, the KSCA has revived the Karnataka Premier League, a T20 format of cricket modelled on the lines of IPL.The KPL, which was started in 2010 by the late Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, scion of the Mysore family, was abandoned after two editions. Now, as a tribute to Wadiyar, the KSCA has organised the third edition of KPL, which will start from August 23. Interestingly, several interior cities and local industrialists of Karnataka, have shown tremendous interest in the sport. Consequently, cricketers with national and international calibre are emerging from smaller towns of Karnataka to represent the state and the country in the game.As many as 10 teams are participating in KPL 2014 with matches being staged in Bengaluru, Mysore and Hubli. Former cricketers are managing the teams representing different cities of the KPL and it will be interesting to see how many new cricketers will emerge on the scene. Earlier, there was a notion that Karnataka cricket was restricted to players from Bengaluru due to access to the best coaches and practice grounds. But looking at the performers in this year’s Ranji team, that notion could well be forgotten. Let’s see if KPL can bring to the fore more talented cricketers from the hinterland. The writer is assistant editorlast_img read more