Depression over Arabian Sea likey to cause rains over coastal Karnataka, Kerala

A depression over east-central Arabian is expected to move initially north-northwestwards slowly and intensify into a deep depression during the next 48 hours, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said today.
In a bulletin issued at 1400 hours, the IMD said the depression had remained practically stationary for the past six hours and lay centred at 1130 hours IST of today near latitude 14.00 N and longitude 70.30 E, about 410 km west-southwest of Goa and 630 km south-southwest of Mumbai.
The bulletin said that, under its influence, rainfall would occur over 
coastal Karnataka and Kerala during the next 24 hours and over Konkan and Goa during the subsequent 24 hours, with isolated heavy falls.
Strong wind speed reaching 30-40 kmph, gusting to 50 kmph, would prevail along and off Konkan, Goa and Karnataka coasts during the next 48 hours and along and off the Kerala coast and Lakshadweep area during the next 24 hours.
The sea condition would be rough, it said, advising fishermen not to venture into deep sea along and off the Karnataka, Konkan and Goa coasts during the next 48 hours and Kerala coast and Lakshadweep area during the next 24 hours.

The Weekend Plan offers vacation villas on rent in Goa, Maharashtra

Villa in Alibaug
Villa in Alibaug
For travellers who find the confines of a regular hotel rather restricting when they are on vacation, The Weekend Plan, a Mafatlal initiative, now offers a portfolio of more than a hundred luxury villas in Maharashtra and Goa for their dream holidays.
The ever-growing portfolio of handpicked and personally inspected villas are currently available in the popular holiday spots of Khandala, Alibaug and Panchgani in Maharashtra and in North Goa.
Since its inception in 2013, The Weekend Plan has catered to 1000+ plus travellers, a press release from the company said.
"(They) can't stop raving about this unique vacationing experience.  This is a travel bug of a different kind, once bitten you can't go back to the confines and restrictions of a regular hotel," it said.
The venture started as a way for travellers to find a private residence in a nearby destination by Satish and his wife Vridhi Dodani, both avid travelers. 
What began as a simple web page with a few villas near the city for personal friends has now grown into a full-fledged vacation villa rental portal. Close friend and business entrepreneur Chirag Mehta shared his vision and helped align this company with the powerful business house of Mafatlals.
Renting a villa can always come with apprehensions of the experience. Understanding this concern, the founders decided to be different by ensuring quality and consistency. Every villa has been hand-picked according to strict standards and only the very best are invited to be part of the collection. 
To make the vacation experience special and memorable, they decided to focus on providing comfortable villas with amenities like swimming pools, air-conditioned bedrooms, good quality bed linen, soft comforters, shower and hand towels, facilities of a cook-on-call and more to effectively combine the space and comfort of private vacation homes with the five-star service of luxury resorts. 
Unlike typical online vacation rental agents that broker third-party homes, they manage most residences themselves 365 days-a-year for the exclusive use of the guests, investing in them to meet high standards, the release said.
Villa in Lonavla
Villa in Lonavla
"Every vacation has its own special vibe and it all starts with where you stay. Their uniquely luxurious homes are designed to suit every vacation style, from jaw-dropping lavishness to fashionably urban to charming beach cottages and everything in between. The villas have to start spectacular and taking it a step further they maintain the quality by investing in upgrades, so the guests have comfortable stays on every trip," the release said.
"As with many other sectors, the Internet’s arrival changed everything. For us the path ahead is manifold, focus on customers, not channels has been our approach; unlocking the power of partnerships and mastering the entire customer experience," said co-founder Satish Dodani.
"At the forefront of the 'Comfort For Less' movement, The Weekend Plan is a vacation solution ideal for travel with family and friends, offering a handpicked, personally inspected growing list of comfortable villas in popular travel destinations across the country. We ensure the villas we offer are the very best and the service starts from the very first call. We help you choose the right property, answer your questions and make the booking process as simple as possible. You are even assigned a Relationship Manager who will take care of every detail of your booking," he said.
"Whether it’s an action packed adventure in Alibaug, an indulgent luxury escape with friends in Goa or a private family retreat to Lonavala, or simply a bonding girlfriends’ getaway in Igatpuri, there is a villa somewhere for everyone," the release said.
"If you have ever dreamed of waking up in a designer holiday home a Frisbee’s throw from a sweep of soft sand and the inviting blue of the ocean , it’s time to make that dream  come true!Who doesn't want a weekend home, but why settle for just one, when you can get a variety of options across popular travel destinations with The Weekend Plan!" it added.
Most of the villas on offer provide more than 3000 square feet in which the guests can stretch out and unwind, and are ideal for intimate getaways or large family gatherings.
The Weekend Plan also offers second home owners a platform to monetize their extra space by showcasing it. 

CBEC to host 11th Asia Europe Meeting of DGs, Commissioners of Customs in Goa

The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) will host the 11th Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) of the Directors General and Commissioners of Customs in Goa on October 8-9.
The meeting will be chaired by CBEC Chairman Najib Shah, an official press release said here today.
India is hosting the Head of Customs administrations meeting for the first time since joining the ASEM forum in 2008. 
Heads of Customs administrations and delegates from 53 Member States of ASEM -- 30 from Asia, 21 from Europe and two international organizations, the European Commission and the ASEAN Secretariat -- are expected to attend. 
Mr. Kunio Mikuria, Secretary General of the 180-member strong World Customs Organization (WCO) will be present at the event as an observer. 
Established in 1996, ASEM aims to strengthen Asia-Europe relations and in this direction provides opportunities for dialogues and cooperation between countries of Asia and Europe in areas such as politics, economy, culture and others. 
The release said cooperation in Customs matters between Asia and Europe was an important element of the ASEM framework and the Directors General and Commissioners of Customs of ASEM meet biennially to discuss current developments and priorities of Customs work. 
The two-day meeting will focus on the five main priorities of ASEM -- Trade Facilitation and Supply Chain Security; Combating Infringement on IPR; Protection of Society and Environment; Involving Business; and Communication and Visibility. 
The Directors General-Commissioners of Customs will deliberate on a new action plan for 2016-17 which shall reflect the priorities of Customs administrations as they face the twin challenges of facilitating trade and ensuring legal compliance as global trade volumes rise, the release added.

World Bank to provide $ 308.40 million for National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project-II

India and the World Bank today signed a financing agreement for World Bank (IDA) assistance of $ 308.40 million for National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project-II (NCRMP-II).
The agreement was signed by Mr. Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs on behalf of the Government of India and Mr. John Blomquist, Program Leader and Acting Country Director in India, on behalf of the World Bank.
The Project Agreements in respect of the States of Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra and West Bengal were signed by the representatives of the respective State Governments. 
Mr. Subrai T. Nadkarni, Chief Engineer, Water Resources Department and Ex-Officio Additional Secretary, signed on behalf of the Government of Goa; Ms. Anju Sharma, Chief Executive Officer, Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority signed on behalf of the Government of Gujarat; Mr. Raj Kumar Khatri, Principal Secretary, Revenue and Disaster Management signed on behalf of the Government of Karnataka; Ms. Rachna Shah, Additional Resident Commissioner signed on behalf of the Government of Kerala; Mr. Suhas Diwase, Director, Disaster Management Unit signed on behalf of the Government of Maharashtra; and Mr. R. D. Meena, Principal Resident Commissioner signed on behalf of the Government of West Bengal. 
An official press release said the objective of NCRMP-II is to reduce vulnerability to cyclone and other hydro-meteorological hazards of coastal communities in the States of Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra and West Bengal; and increase the capacity of the State entities to effectively plan for and respond to disasters. 
The primary beneficiaries of NCRMP-II will be coastal communities in the target states benefitting from cyclone risk mitigation infrastructure and early warning systems. The project will also finance technical assistance for strengthening of multi-hazard risk management at the national level and improving the quality of available information on multi-hazard risks for decision making across the country. 
NCRMP-II has four components which are: (i) Early Warning Dissemination Systems; (ii) Cyclone Risk Mitigation Infrastructure; (iii) Technical Assistance for Multi-Hazard Risk Management; and (iv) Project Management and Implementation Support. 
The project is implemented by the Ministry of Home Affairs through National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). At the State level, it is executed by the respective State Disaster Management Authorities. 

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Cyclone Ashobaa over Arabian Sea set to intensify further: IMD

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) today said the cyclone  Ashobaa over eastcentral Arabian Sea is expected to intensify further into a severe cyclonic storm during the next 36 hours.
In a pre-cyclone watch issued for Karnataka, Maharashta and Gujarat this afternoon, the IMD said the cyclonic storm had remained practically stationary during the past three hours and lay centred at 1130 hours IST near latitude 17.9 N and longitude 67.2
E, about 590 km west-southwest of Mumbai, 470 km southwest of Veraval in Gujarat and 960 km east-southeast of Masirah Island in Oman.
"It would move initially north-northwestwards and intensify further into a severe cyclonic storm during next 36 hours," the bulletin said.
Under the influence of this system, rainfall would occur at most places, with isolated heavy falls, over coastal Karnataka, Konkan & Goa and south Gujarat during the next 24 hours, it said.
The bulletin said strong winds with speed reaching 70-80 kmph and gusting to 90 kmph would prevail along and off the Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra coasts during the next 24 hours and 90-100 kmph, gusting to 120 kmph, during subsequent 24 hours. 
It said the sea conditions would be very rough to high along and off the Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra coasts during the next 48 hours.
Fishermen along and off the Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat coasts have been advised not to venture into the sea during the next 48 hours. Fishermen out at open sea are advised to return to the coast, the bulletin added.

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Deep depression over Arabian Sea likely to intensify into cyclone: IMD

The depression over eastcentral Arabian Sea has intensified into a deep depression and is likely to turn into a cyclonic storm during the next 24 hours, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said this morning.
A bulletin from IMD said the deep depression had moved north-northwestwards and lay centred at 0530 hours IST of today near latitude 17.50 N and longitude 67.50 E, about 590 km west-southwest of Mumbai, 480 km south-southwest of Veraval in Gujarat and 970 km east-southeast of Masirah Island (Oman). 
"It would move northnorthwestwards and intensify further into a cyclonic storm during next 24 hrs," the bulletin said.
Under the influence of this system, rainfall would occur at most places, with isolated heavy falls, over coastal Karnataka and Konkan and Goa during the next 48 hours, it said.
Strong winds speed reaching 60-70 kmph, gusting to 80 kmph, would prevail along and off the Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra coasts during the next 24 hours and 80-90 kmph, gusting to 105 kmph, during the subsequent 24 hours, it said.
The bulletin said sea conditions would be very rough to high along and off the Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra coasts during the next 48 hours.
Fishermen along and off the Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra coasts are advised not to venture into the sea during the next 48 hours. Fishermen out at sea are advised to return to the coast, the bulletin added.

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Depression forms over eastcentral Arabian Sea: IMD

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) today said a depression had fomed over eastcentral Arabian sea and would move northnorthwestwards and intensify into a deep depression over the next 24 hours.
"Latest satellite imagery and observations indicate that a depression has formed over eastcentral Arabian Sea and lay centred at 0830 hours IST of today, the 07th June, 2015 near latitude 14.50 N and longitude 68.50 E, about 690 km southwest of Mumbai, 740 km southsouthwest of Veraval and 1230 km southeast of Masirah Island (Oman)," a bulletin from IMD said.
The bulletin said strong winds speed reaching 45-55 kmph, gusting to 65 kmph, would prevail along and off Maharashtra, Konkan and Goa coasts during the next 48 hours.
Sea condition would be rough along and off th Maharashtra, Konkan and Goa coasts during the same period, it said.
The bulletin advised fishermen along and off Maharashtra, Konkan and Goa coasts not to venture into the sea during the next 48 hours.

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Indo-French naval exercise Varuna commences in Goa

The 14th edition of Indo-French naval exercise Varuna began with the arrival of four French naval ships in Goa today.
Representing the French Navy in the exercise are aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, two destroyers Chevalier Paul and Jean de Vienne, replenishment tanker Meuse and a maritime patrol aircraft Atlantique 2. 
Charles de Gaulle is carrying its complement of fighter aircraft Rafale M, Strike Aircraft Super Etendard, E2C Hawkeye AWACS and helicopters Dauphin and Alouette 3. 
Aircraft carrier INS Viraat, destroyer Mumbai, stealth frigate Tarkash, guided missile frigate Gomati, replenishment tanker Deepak, submarine Shankul and a few fast attack craft are participating from the Indian side. 
Aviation assets of the Indian Navy participating in Varuna this year include carrier-borne fighter aircraft Sea Harriers, maritime reconnaissance aircraft P-8 I and Dorniers along with integral helicopters Seaking 42B and Chetak. 
An official press release said the scope of the exercise included the entire gamut of maritime operations from aircraft carrier operations, anti-submarine warfare exercises, maritime interdiction operations to multi-ship replenishment exercise. 
The release said regular interaction between the Indian and French navies over the years had allowed both of them to gradually and systematically increase the complexity and professional content of the joint exercises. 
"Varuna aims at deriving mutual benefit from the experiences of the two navies. The confidence gained through such exercises helps develop Standard Operating Procedures, particularly in the fields of Joint Maritime Air Operations Planning with exchange of Carrier Operational Capabilities. The other joint exercises include Coordinated Anti-Submarine Exercises, Surface Exercises, Cross Deck Flying, Damage Control and Fire Fighting, Air Defence, Firing Drills, Air to Sea Firing, Tactical Exercises and Visit Board Search and Seize Operations, which further hone the fighting efficiency of the two combat forces," the release said.
Varuna-15 is scheduled to continue upto May 2 off Goa. The two countries have been conducted naval exercises since 1983 and, following the establishment of a strategic partnership between them, they were christened as Varuna in 2001.
The last exercise Varuna-12 was conducted in the Mediterranean Sea from July 19-22, 2012 off Toulon, the release added.

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Sesa Sterlite Limited renamed as Vedanta Limited

Natural resources major Sesa Sterlite Limited, the Indian subsidiary of Vedanta Resources Plc, today announced that it had been renamed as Vedanta Limited.
A press release from the company said that its shareholders had approved the name change through postal ballot, the result of which was announced on March 30.
"The name change to Vedanta Limited is now effective post issue of ‘Fresh Certificate of Incorporation’ issued by the Registrar of Companies, Goa, Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), Government of India.
“The name change from Sesa Sterlite to Vedanta Limited promises a united and aligned identity, Vedanta, which positions us to create greater value for our domestic and global stakeholders, as a diversified natural resources group of companies. Vedanta embodies commitment to deliver world class excellence with low cost operations and superior shareholder returns,” said Mr. Tom Albanese, Group CEO, Vedanta.
Vedanta Resources Plc is a globally diversified natural resources company. Its Indian subsidiary is engaged in the exploration and production of aluminium, zinc, lead silver, copper, iron ore, oil & gas and commercial power.
The change in the name of the company will have no impact on the operations of subsidiary companies -- Cairn India Limited, Hindustan Zinc Ltd (HZL) and Bharat Aluminium Co. Ltd (BALCO) and the divisions of Vedanta Limited, the release added.

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AirAsia India announces flights from Delhi to Bangalore, Goa, Guwahati

Low-cost carrier AirAsia India today said it would launch new flights from New Delhi to Bangalore, Goa and Guwahati from May 21 this year.
To celebrate the launch of new sectors, AirAsia India is offering all-inclusive promotional fare from Rs 1700 from New Delhi to Bangalore and Goa and Rs 1500 from New Delhi to Guwahati and vice versa. 
Passengers will be able to start their booking on  from 00:30 hrs on 21-04-2015 to 26-04-2015 for the travel period from 21-05-2015 – 31-05-2016
Mittu Chandilya, CEO, AirAsia India said, “We are very excited about coming into New Delhi and setting it up as our North region hub. Our ability to provide our guests with a truly low cost and high quality mode of travel is what we truly believe in. Our entry into New Delhi market is a sign of confidence in our business model and in our performance that we can come into a highly saturated market and help expand the market by providing connectivity to the underserved."
"It would be an opportunity we would have to work hard for, but one where the passengers should be the distinct winners with more choice and lower fares. The new sectors will allow more people to experience air travel in India. We will continue to build our network throughout India through both our Northern and Southern hubs," he added.

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Smriti Irani spots camera pointed at FabIndia's trial room in Goa

Union Minister for Human Resource Development Smriti Irani spotted a camera pointed towards the trial room of a store of well-known apparel chain FabIndia at Candolim in Goa when she went there to buy some clothes on Friday.
Smriti Irani spots camera pointed at trial room in FabIndia store
Union Minister for Human Resource Development Smriti Irani spotted a camera pointed towards the trial room of a store of well-known apparel chain FabIndia at Candolim in Goa when she went there to buy some clothes today.
According to sources, Ms Irani alerted her husband Zubin Irani and local Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Michael Lobo, who has filed a first information report with the local police on her behalf. Ms Irani had given a statement to the police in this regard, Mr Lobo told newspersons later.
The Minister was taking a two-day break with her family in Goa..
According to Mr Lobo, he was at home when he received a call from her around 12.45 pm. He said Ms Irani was shopping at the store, about 20 km from here, and was headed towards the trial room, after selecting some clothes, when she spotted the camera.
Mr Lobo said he found that the camera, though located outside the room, was trained on the trial room through a ventilator.
The police were informed, and they have seized the camera as well as recordings made in recent days and are investigating the matter. Four members of the staff at the showroom were called for questioning in this regard.
The incident has sparked off a debate about privacy issues at such places, especially in popular tourist destinations. The police has formed a team to check all showrooms in the area to ensure that there was no such invasion of privacy.

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Two officers missing after Navy's Dornier aircraft crashes off Goa

Navy aircraft crashes off Goa coast, two missing
Two officers of the Indian Navy were reported missing after a Dornier surveillance aicraft crashed about 20 nautical miles south west of Goa while on a routine training mission last night, official sources said.
One officer has survived and was located and taken to hospital, where he is recovering.
An official press release said here today that the aircraft, with three officers on board, had lost radar contact with the Naval Air Station in Goa around 2208 hours yesterday.
" The aircraft is feared to have ditched soon thereafter," it said. 
The aircrew onboard the aircraft comprised three officers (two pilots and one woman observer). One survivor, Commander Nikhil Kuldip Joshi, was picked up by a passing fishing boat (Niharika – from a fishing hamlet off Karwar) and transferred to a naval Fast Interceptor Craft. He is presently in naval hospital ‘Patanjali’ at Karwar and is reported to be stable.
Eight Naval ships and four aircraft were immediately deployed to search the area to locate the remaining two officers. Presently, there are 12 ships (including two ships from Indian Coast Guard) and four aircraft involved in the search and rescue (SAR) operations.
"The next-of-kin of the aircrew have been informed. Meanwhile, a Board of Inquiry has been ordered to establish the cause of the accident," the release said.
During the day Admiral R K Dhowan, Chief of the Naval Staff, flew down to Goa and took stock of the SAR operation. He also met the families of the aircrew and met Cdr NK Joshi at Karwar before returning to Delhi in the evening.

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Navy's Dornier aircraft crashes off Goa, two officers missing

Navy aircraft crashes off Goa coast, two missing
Two officers of the Indian Navy were reported missing after a Dornier 228 surveillance aicraft crashed about 25 nautical miles south west of Goa while on a routine training mission last night.
One officer has survived and was located and taken to hospital, official sources said.
Navy spokesman Capt D K Sharma told reporters here today that the aircraft, which had taken off from INS Hansa in Goa with three officers on board, had lost contact with the radar around 2208 hours yesterday.
He said a search and rescue mission was launched immediately and several survey vessels, ships, aircraft and divers were deployed. One survivor was located and rushed to hospital, where he is recovering, he said.
"We are hoping to locate the two missing officers," he added.
Capt Sharma said the cause of the mishap could only be ascertained after a board of inquiry completes its investigation into the incident.

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Parrikar witnesses Navy's TROPEX-2015 in Arabian Sea

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has said that the Indian Navy must remain a superior force in the Indian Ocean Region and promised that the government would provide it all support to become a truly blue water navy.
Addressing sailors and officers of the INS Vikramaditya yesterday after witnessing two days of Theatre Readiness Operational Level Exercise (TROPEX-2015), off the coast of Goa in the Arabian Sea, he said his stay on board the aircraft carrier had helped him understand the difficult situations that the Defence Forces, especially sailors and officers of the Indian Navy, face while ensuring the safety and security of the nation. 
TROPEX provides the Navy a valuable opportunity to validate its concept of operations and integration of new acquisitions with the fleet. 
Mr Parrikar was accompanied by Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh, Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, Chief Naval Staff Admiral R K Dhowan and Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command Vice Admiral A K Chopra. 
The two completely networked fleets of the Indian Navy -- the Eastern and the Western -- were kept widely dispersed across seas in the Indian Ocean during the exercise, operating in a dense electronic environment to match their professional and technical proficiency. 
All the operations were facilitated by a robust and seamless communication network, including satellite communications under the Navy’s overall thrust on Network Centric Operations, aligned with the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Digital India’. 
Mr Parrikar also released a postage stamp commemorating the indigenous Naval communication satellite Rukmani, which is a dedicated Naval satellite, taking the Navy another step forward in achieving complete digitisation of communications. 
The stamp release, which took place on board INS Vikramaditya, was relayed live to naval units at sea, as well as to Maritime Operations Centres ashore. Rukmani has been pivotal in ensuring seamless connectivity between the triad of surface, sub-surface and air platforms of the Navy. 
New weapons, sensors, communication systems and tactics were tested during the exercise and tried to optimize the net combat power of the fleets. 
Over forty surface combatants of various classes including the two aircraft carriers (Vikramaditya and Viraat), submarines including the INS Chakra, a large number of aircraft and UAVs participated in the exercise. As would be the case in any operation of the twenty first century, the exercise had a jointmanship element of IAF with participation by aircraft such as Sukhois, Mirages and Jaguars. 
During the embarkation, the dignitaries were provided an overview of the multi-dimensional capabilities of the Indian Navy. The Navy demonstrated multiple facets of operations during the period which encompassed a variety of weapon firings, MiG 29K and Sea Harrier operations from the two aircraft carriers, integration of the P8I aircraft with fleet, and operations by the Navy’s Marine Commandos. 
The Navy has deployed two Carrier Task Forces after many years during the exercise. The Defence Minister also witnessed a vertical launch of the Brahmos, supersonic long range anti- shipping cruise missile, from the recently commissioned stealth destroyer INS Kolkata, a major milestone in itself. This was particularly satisfying as the launch of the missile was an affirmation of the country's indigenous weapon capabilities, an official press release said.
In pursuit of the Navy’s thrust to inspire the young generation, 30 NCC cadets from 8 Karwar NU NCC embarked onboard INS Mumbai and witnessed the operations. Two of these cadets also got an opportunity to be transferred at sea to INS Vikramaditya by ‘Jackstay’ – an evolution wherein ships transfer men and material between them. Mr Parrikar hoped this practice will be continued with larger number of cadets being given exposure to the ways of the Forces so that they are inspired to join the Navy, Army and Air Force in large numbers. 
A critical part of Anti- Missile Defence being surface to air missiles (SAM), the Defence Minister witnessed the successful interception of a fast, low flying, surface to surface missile by a SAM. A clear dark night laid an ideal setting for this demonstration of precision targeting. 
Mr Parrikar also witnessed a full scale air power demonstration from INS Vikramaditya and INS Viraat with MiG 29 Ks, Sea Harriers, Seakings, UH3H, ALHs and Chetaks participating. 
The recently acquired MiG 29Ks proved their mettle by showing the STOBAR operations including the bombing runs. Mr Parrikar was also shown the reputed professionalism of the MARCOS as they carried out a demonstration of insertion and extraction in the middle of the ocean by slithering. During this battle, the Defence Minister also witnessed, first hand, the potency of the upgraded Sea Harriers, particularly in the networked environment. 
In addition to operational activities, various in-house innovations and efforts towards increased indigenisation were also presented to the Defence Minister, which helped showcase the Navy’s efforts towards self-reliance. 

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Advani, Dilip Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Badal chosen for Padma Vibhushan

File photo of L K Advani
File photo of L K Advani
Former Deputy Prime Minister and veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Lal Krishna Advani, renowned actors Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and well-known lawyer K K Venugopal are among the nine people chosen for the Padma Vibhushan, the nation's second highest civilian honour, on the eve of Republic Day today.
Others who have been chosen for the Padma Vibhushan are philanthropist D Veerandra Heggade of Karnataka, Jagadguru Ramanandacharya Swami Rambhadracharya, the founder and head of Tulsi Peetha in Chitrakoot, well-known nuclear scientist and former Atomic Energy Commission chairman Malur Ramaswamy Srinivasan and Prince Karim Al Hussaini, the Aga Khan.
Those chosen for the Padma Bhushan include Assamese filmmaker Jahnu Barua; IT scientist Vijay Bhatkar, the founder-Executive Director of the Centre for Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Pune; journalists Swapan Dasgupta and Rajat Sharma; former Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami; former Lok Sabha Secretary-General Subhash Kashyap and well-knownlawyer Harish Salve.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda Gates, co-chairs of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, are among those chosen for the Padma Bhushan.
Indian-American mathematician Manjul Bhargava and Saichiro Misumi of Japan, the oldest living associate of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, also figure in list of Padma Bhushan awardees.
Parkash Singh BadalAmitabh Bachchan
Parkash Singh Badal and Amitabh Bachchan
Filmmaker and photographer Naresh Bedi, space scientist Subbaiah Arunan, the project director of India's Mars Orbiter Mission, Bollywood filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali, economists Bibek Debroy, a full-time member of the newly-formed NITI Aayog, and Ashok Gulati, advertising guru and lyricist Prasoon Joshi, music director Ravindra Jain and humorist and playwright Tarak Mehta have been chosen for the Padma Shri.
Badminton star P V Sindhu, Indian hockey captain Sardara Singh, hockey player Saba Anjum, cricketer Mithali Raj and Arunima Sinha, the first female amputee to climb Mount Everest and the first Indian amputee to climb the peak, also figure in the list of Padma Shri awardees.
Educationist J S Rajput, former director of NCERT, endocrinologist Nikhil Tandon, T V Mohandas Pai, former member of the Board of IT services major Infosys Ltd, former bureaucrat P V Rajaraman, Telugu film actor Kota Srinivasa Rao, late Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin, the head of the Dawoodi Bohra community who had passed away last year and late Delhi-based cartoonist Pran Kumar Sharma have also been honoured with the Padma Shri.
Dr. S. K. Shivkumar of ISRO, who was part of the team that developed the telemetry system for Chandrayaan-I, India's first lunar exploration mission, was chosen for the Padma Shri.
The Padma Awards, among the highest civilian awards of the country, are conferred every year in three categories -- Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri  -- for achievements in in various disciplines and fields of activities, including art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, and so on.
The Padma Vibhushan is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service; Padma Bhushan for distinguished service of high order and Padma Shri for distinguished service in any field. The awards are announced on the occasion of Republic Day every year.
The awards are conferred by the President at ceremonial functions held at Rashtrapati Bhavan, usually around March/April every year.
This year, the President has approved conferment of Padma Awards to 104 persons, including nine Padma Vibhushan, 20 Padma Bhushan and 75 Padma Shri awards.
As many as 17 of the awardees are women. The list also includes 17 persons from the category of foreigners, NRIs and PIOs. There are four posthumous awardees.
The following is the list of awardees:
Padma Vibhushan
1.   L. K. Advani, Public Affairs, Gujarat
2.   Amitabh Bachchan, Art, Maharashtra
3.   Prakash Singh Badal, Public Affairs, Punjab
4.   D. Veerendra Heggade, Social Work, Karnataka
5.   Mohammad Yusuf Khan alias Dilip Kumar, Art, Maharashtra
6.   Jagadguru Ramanandacharya Swami Rambhadracharya, Uttar Pradesh
7.   Malur Ramaswamy Srinivasan, Science and Engineering, Tamil Nadu
8.   Kottayan K. Venugopal, Public Affairs, Delhi
9.   Karim Al Hussaini Aga Khan (Foreigner), Trade and Industry, France/UK
Padma Bhushan
1.   Jahnu Barua, Art, Assam
2.   Vijay Bhatkar, Science and Engineering, Maharashtra
3.   Swapan Dasgupta, Literature and Education, Delhi
4.   Swami Satyamitranand Giri, Uttar Pradesh
5.   N. Gopalaswami, Civil Service, Tamil Nadu
6.   Subhash C. Kashyap, Public Affairs, Delhi
7.   Gokulotsavji Maharaj, Art, Madhya Pradesh
8.   Ambrish  Mithal, Medicine, Delhi
9.   Sudha Ragunathan, Art, Tamil Nadu
10. Harish Salve, Public Affairs, Delhi
11. Ashok Seth, Medicine, Delhi
12. Rajat Sharma, Literature and Education, Delhi
13. Satpal, Sports, Delhi
14.  Shivakumara Swami, Karnataka
15.   Kharag Singh Valdiya, Science and Engineering, Karnataka
16.  Manjul Bhargava, (NRI/PIO), Science and Engineering, USA
17.  David Frawley (Vamadeva), (Foreigner), USA
18.  Bill Gates (Foreigner), Social Work, USA
19.  Melinda Gates, (Foreigner), Social Work, USA
20.  Saichiro Misumi, (Foreigner), Japan
Padma Shri
1.   Manjula Anagani, Medicine, Telangana
2.   S. Arunan, Science and Engineering, Karnataka
3.   Kanyakumari Avasarala, Art, Tamil Nadu
4.   Bettina Sharada Baumer, Literature and Education, Jammu and Kashmir
5.   Naresh Bedi, Art, Delhi
6.   Ashok Bhagat, Social Work, Jharkhand
7.   Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Art, Maharashtra
8.   Lakshmi Nandan Bora, Literature and Education, Assam
9.   Gyan  Chaturvedi, Literature and Education, Madhya Pradesh
10. Yogesh Kumar Chawla, Medicine, Chandigarh
11. Jayakumari Chikkala, Medicine, Delhi
12.  Bibek Debroy, Literature and Education, Delhi
13.  Sarungbam Bimola  Kumari Devi, Medicine, Manipur
14.  Ashok Gulati, Public Affairs, Delhi
15.  Randeep  Guleria, Medicine, Delhi
16.  K. P. Haridas, Medicine, Kerala
17.  Rahul Jain, Art, Delhi
18. Ravindra Jain, Art, Maharashtra
19. Sunil Jogi, Literature and Education, Delhi
20. Prasoon Joshi, Art, Maharashtra
21, Prafulla Kar, Art, Odisha
22. Saba Anjum, Sports, Chhattisgarh
23. Ushakiran Khan, Literature and Education, Bihar
24. Rajesh Kotecha, Medicine, Rajasthan
25. Alka Kriplani, Medicine, Delhi
26. Harsh Kumar, Medicine, Delhi
27. Narayana Purushothama Mallaya, Literature and Education, Kerala
28. Lambert Mascarenhas, Literature and Education, Goa
29. Janak Palta McGilligan, Social Work, Madhya Pradesh
30. Veerendra Raj Mehta, Social Work, Delhi
31. Tarak Mehta, Art, Gujarat
32. Neil Herbert Nongkynrih, Art, Meghalaya
33. Chewang Norphel, Jammu and Kashmir
34.  T. V. Mohandas Pai, Trade and Industry, Karnataka
35.  Tejas Patel, Medicine, Gujarat
36. Jadav Molai Peyang, Assam
37. Bimla Poddar, Uttar Pradesh
38. N. Prabhakar, Science and Engineering, Delhi
39. Prahalada, Science and Engineering, Maharashtra
40. Narendra Prasad, Medicine, Bihar
41. Ram Bahadur Rai, Literature and Education, Delhi
42. Mithali Raj, Sports, Telangana
43. P. V.  Rajaraman, Civil Service, Tamil Nadu
44. J. S. Rajput, Literature and Education, Uttar Pradesh
45. Kota Srinivasa Rao, Art, Andhra Pradesh
46. Bimal Roy, Literature and Education, West Bengal
47. Shekhar Sen, Art, Maharashtra
48. Gunvant Shah, Literature and Education, Gujarat
49. Brahmdev Sharma, Literature and Education, Delhi
50. Manu Sharma, Literature and Education, Uttar Pradesh
51.  Yog Raj Sharma, Medicine, Delhi
52.  Vasant Shastri, Science and Engineering, Karnataka
53.  S. K. Shivkumar, Science and Engineering, Karnataka
54.  P. V. Sindhu, Sports, Telangana
55. Sardara Singh, Sports, Haryana
56. Arunima Sinha, Sports, Uttar Pradesh
57. Mahesh Raj Soni, Art, Rajasthan
58. Nikhil Tandon, Medicine, Delhi
59. H. Thegtse Rinpoche, Social Work, Arunachal Pradesh
60. Hargovind Laxmishanker Trivedi, Medicine, Gujarat
61. Huang Baosheng, (Foreigner), China
62. Jacques Blamont, (Foreigner), Science and Engineering, France
63. Late Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin (Posthumous), Maharashtra
64. Jean-Claude Carriere, (Foreigner), Literature and Education, France
65. Nandrajan “Raj” Chetty, (NRI/PIO), Trade and Industry, USA
66. George L. Hart, (Foreigner), USA
67. Jagat Guru Amrta Suryananda Maha Raja (NRI/PIO), Portugal
68. Late  Meetha Lal Mehta (Posthumous), Social Work, Rajasthan
69. Tripti Mukherjee, (NRI/PIO), Art, USA
70. Dattatreyudu Nori, (NRI/PIO), Medicine, USA
71. Raghu Rama Pillarisetti, (NRI/PIO), Medicine, USA
72. Saumitra Rawat, (NRI/PIO), Medicine, UK
73. Annette Schmiedchen, (Foreigner), Literature and Education, Germany
74. Late  Pran Kumar Sharma alias Pran (Posthumous), Art, Delhi
75. Late R. Vasudevan, (Posthumous), Civil Service, Tamil Nadu

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India conducts test flight of Naval version of indigenous light combat aircraft

India today successfully carried out a test flight of the Naval version of indigenously developed light combat aircraft (LCA) (Navy) Prototype 1 (NP1) in Goa.
India today successfully carried out a test flight of the Naval version of indigenous light combat aircraft (LCA) (Navy) Prototype 1 (NP1) in Goa.
The 4th plus generation aircraft, designed to operate from the decks of aircraft carriers, took from the ski-jump facility of the shore based test facility at INS Hansa in Goa at about 1234 hours today.
Piloted by Commodore Jaideep Maolankar, the Chief Test Pilot of National Flight Test Centre, the aircraft had a perfect flight with results as predicted.
The launch was orchestrated by Test Director Cdr J D Raturi and Safety Pilot Capt Shivnath Dahiya supported by Gp Capt Anoop Kabadwal, Gp Capt R R Tyagi and Lt Cdr Vivek Pandey. 
"The readiness and availability of aircraft for the event was made possible through the relentless effort of HAL, ARDC under the aegis of Mr P S Roy, the Executive Director," an official press release said.
Dr Avinash Chander, Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister and Director General of Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO), congratulated the LCA-Navy programme team.
"With today's copybook flight of LCA-Navy from the land based ski-jump facility we see our own indigenous combat aircrafts soon flying from the decks of our aircraft carriers," he said.
Congratulating the team, Dr Tamilmani, DS & DG Aeronautics, said “A complex task of Ski Jump of NP1 Executed beautifully."
The release said LCA (Navy) is designed with stronger landing gears to absorb forces exerted by the ski jump ramp during take-off to be airborne within 200 m as against 1000m required for normal runways. 
"Its special flight control law mode allows hands-free take-off relieving the pilot workload, as the aircraft leaps from the ramp and automatically puts the aircraft in an ascending trajectory. The maiden successful, picture perfect launch of NP1 from ski jump at Shore Based Test Facility at Goa is a testimony to the tremendous efforts put in by scientists and engineers to design the Naval aircraft, its simulator (that helps pilots to know well in advance how the aircraft will behave on ski jump) and the flight test team that timed the whole event to near perfection," it said.
The release said today's feat was the culmination of several years of design, flight test, simulation and management effort with significant contributions from a number of DRDO laboratories.
The teams were ably supported by the certification agency, CEMILAC and the quality assurance agency, CRI (LCA). INS Hansa, the Naval Air Station played the perfect host to achieve this significant milestone. 
The design teams guided by Program Director ADA P S Subramanyam have ensured that all systems meet the stringent requirements of carrier borne aircraft. 
Cmde C D Balaji (Retd) as Project Director LCA (Navy) and its Chief Designer has been at the helm of affairs right from the concept phase. The team led by Dr Amitabh Saraf indigenously achieved the flight control laws that take care of the problems encountered by a fly by wire aircraft undertaking a ski jump launch.
The Shore Based Test Facility (SBTF) has been created to replicate the aircraft carrier with a ski jump for take-off and arresting gear cable for arrested landing; by ADA with the participation of the Indian Navy, Goa shipyard, CCE (R&D) West, Pune, R&D Engg (E) Pune and the Russian agencies providing the design support and specialized equipment.

ISL: Atlético de Kolkata beat Goa in penalty shootout to enter final

Atlético de Kolkata players celebrate their passage to the final of the Hero Indian Super League after defeating FC Goa in the second leg of the second semi-final at Fatorda in Goa on December 17, 2014. Photo Courtesy: ISL
Atlético de Kolkata players celebrate their passage to the final of the Hero Indian Super League after defeating FC Goa in the second leg of the second semi-final at Fatorda in Goa on December 17, 2014. Photo Courtesy: ISL
Atletico de Kolkata held their nerve to defeat FC Goa 4-2 in tie-breaker at the end of a game which ended 0-0 at full time and also extra time in the second leg of the second semi-final of the Hero Indian Super League at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium at Fatorda tonight.
The two teams had been locked in a goalless draw in the first leg of the semi-final at Kolkata on December 14.
After the incident-packed, exhilarating first semi-final, which saw Kerala Blasters move into the final with a late winner against FC Chennaiyin in the second leg at Chennai last night, today's dramatic ending with the first penalty shootout of the tournament was only fitting.
Atletico de Kolkata will now meet Kerala Blasters in a final that promises to be a cracking affair on December 20 at the D Y Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.
Josemi, Mohammed Rafi, Jofre and Borja Fernández all successfully converted their spot kicks for the visitors while only Tolgay Ozbey and Clifford Miranda bulged the net for the hosts, with André Santos firing wide and Zohib Amiri hitting the crossbar.
Both teams started cautiously, aware of the high stakes of this game. Kolkata were happy to sit back and soak up the pressure as Goa looked to use their wingers to good effect. 
Goa captain Grégory Arnolin came closest to scoring for the hosts in the 20th minute as Miroslav Slepi?ka found the Frenchman’s head from a shot at goal, with only a reflex save from Kolkata keeper Apoula Edel Bete denying Goa the lead. 
Edel did seem to suffer a strain as the half wore on, with Josemi taking up the duties of taking goal kicks. Goa had to make an early substitution too, with Sheikh Jewel Raja coming on for Peter Carvalho, who was labouring with a strain.
The second half began with Goa on the front foot, with Romeo Fernandes driving forward from the kick-off itself and letting loose with a shot from just outside the box. Kolkata’s defence continued to soak up the pressure, standing firm against Goa’s constant attacks. Santos had a penalty shout denied and then Edel came up with a stunning save to keep out the Brazilian’s shot soon after.
Chances were few and far between after that, however, with the pattern of the game remaining the same – Goa dominating possession and putting plenty of attacking pressure, but not quite unlocking Kolkata’s defence.  Ultimately, however, neither side could break the deadlock. The second semi-final, just like the first, was headed into extra time.
Kolkata were the more enterprising in the first half of extra time, putting the Goa back line under sustained pressure for the first time. At the other end, Goa nearly went ahead, but Mandar Rao Desai’s low shot was too close to Edel.
Santos took the responsibility of taking the first penalty for Goa but booted it high over the bar. Kolkata defender Josemi made sure his side took immediate advantage. Özbey and local legend Miranda converted their efforts, but Amiri missed in between.
Mohammed Rafi and Jofre’s successful penalties for Kolkata left Spanish midfielder Borja with the task of putting his side through to the final. He made no mistake, beating Goa keeper Jan Šeda with a superb shot into the roof of the net.   
Match awards:
Hero of the match: André Santos (FC Goa)
Swift Moment of the Match: Apoula Edel Bete (Atlético de Kolkata)
Amul Fittest Player of the Match: Romeo Fernandes (FC Goa)
ISL Emerging Player of the Match: Mandar Rao Desai (FC Goa)

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ISL: Atlético de Kolkata hold Goa 1-1 to qualify for semi-finals

Fikru Teferra of Atletico de Kokata in action against FC Goa in the Hero Indian super League at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on December 10, 2014
Fikru Teferra of Atletico de Kokata in action against FC Goa in the Hero Indian super League at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on December 10, 2014
Atlético de Kolkata found a late equaliser through a Fikru Teferra penalty to cancel out Edgar Marcelino's first half opener for FC Goa in a 14th round league match of the Hero Indian Super League at the Salt Lake Stadium on Wednesday. 
The 1-1 draw enabled the hosts to finish in third place with 19 points and set up a semi-final duel with the same opponents who finished second on 22 points.
The two sides will meet in Kolkata for their first semi-final on December 14 and play the second leg in Goa on December 17. Table toppers Chennaiyin FC will take on fourth placed Kerala Blasters FC in the other semi-final.
Kolkata started the first half on the front foot knowing that a victory over Goa would seal their passage to the semi-finals. Their main attacking outlet for the home side was Fikru. The Ethiopian international used his strength to advantage to win aerial battles and keep the ball which Kolkata did effectively for the first 15 minutes. Thereafter, Goa began to get more and more involved in the game.
Robert Pirès, who was drafted back into the makeshift Goa side in which several regulars were rested, played the role of central holding midfielder and distributed play well. 
Bruno Pinheiro was a rock at the back for the visitors as he got in the way of every attack that came his way. It was Goa who took the lead unexpectedly. Pirès fed the ball to Ranti Martins who took a shot from distance which was well blocked. The ball fell kindly for Marcelino, starting only his second game, and the Portuguese player smashed it past goalkeeper Apoula Edel Bete from outside the box.
In the second session the home side came out with attacking intent knowing that they needed a goal to stay in the competition, with Luis García coming in off the bench. They dominated the opening exchanges but could not find the breakthrough. Goa also created a few more chances of their own but were unable to increase their lead.
Kolkata's persistence finally paid off through Fikru who powered his way past the Goa defence. Pinheiro, who tailed him, attempted to make the challenge but the striker appeared to trip on his heel and went down in the box. The referee pointed to the spot and sent an unlucky Pinheiro off. 
Fikru wrongfooted Laxmikant Kattimani and put his penalty to the right of the goalkeeper in the 68th minute. Thereafter, it was Kolkata all the way but they couldn't get the second to kill the game off.
Match awards
Hero of the Match:  Fikru Teferra (Atlético de Kolkata) 
Swift Moment of the Match: Fikru Teferra (Atlético de Kolkata)
Amul Fittest Player of the Match: Peter Carvalho (FC Goa)
ISL Emerging Player of the Match: Baljit Sahni (Atlético de Kolkata)
Following is the schedule of the semi-finals:
December 13: Kerala Blasters FC vs Chennaiyin FC (in Kochi) First Leg
December 14: Atletico De Kolkata vs FC Goa (in Kolkata) First Leg
 December 16: Chennaiyin FC vs Kerala Blasters FC (in Chennai) Second Leg
December 17: FC Goa vs Atletico De Kolkata (in Goa) Second Leg

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ISL: FC Goa move into last four after 3-1 win over Chennaiyin FC

Photo courtesy ISL
Photo courtesy ISL
FC Goa completed an impressive 3-1 victory over Chennaiyin FC to maintain their impressive winning form in the second half of the campaign in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here tonight.
With this victory, Zico's men qualified for the knockout stage of the competition along with the home side.
Chennaiyin started the first half the brighter of the two sides as they kept the ball and drove forward with purpose, controlling possession for the first fifteen minutes. As the half progressed, Zico's men began to get a foothold in the game. 
The defeat to the same opposition in the first match of the tournament was probably ringing in their minds. In the 24th minute, Mandar Rao Desai took an excellent left-footed shot that beat Shilton Paul and ricocheted back into play off the crossbar. Romeo Fernandes was on hand to smash home an excellent opener.
The away side took confidence from their first goal and pushed on. André Santos saw his excellent free kick from the right come back off a post in the 40th minute. He wasn't to be denied, however, as he turned and shot with his left foot to beat Paul a minute later to double the lead.
Chennaiyin nearly halved the lead before halftime, with Jeje Lalpekhlua coming close to pulling one back after his header looped over Jan Šeda and was headed goalward. Bruno Pinheiro however, cleared it off the line with a good defensive header to protect Goa’s 2-0 lead.
The hosts were quickly off the blocks when they came out in the second period as they required two goals to draw level.  They moved the ball around with intent but their superior possession could not be translated into a goal.
It was the away side who grabbed their third when Narayan Das collected the ball in midfield, ran towards goal and fired a fantastic left-footed shot at Paul, whose parried save was straight into the path of Miroslav Slepi?ka. The Czech striker turned it in with a smart volley from close range to score his fifth goal in four games. The away side did fashion a few more chances but couldn't get a fourth. 
Chennaiyin did all they could to get at least a consolation, and were finally able to grab a goal late on. Jean-Eudes Maurice collected the ball and slipped it through Grégory’s legs with Šeda well off his line. Maurice’s goal ended up being the last kick of the game as Goa collected their fourth win on the trot.
Zico will be happy with his team's performance after a dismal start to the season and will want Goa’s winning streak to continue against Atlético de Kolkata, whom they play in Kolkata on December 10. Chennaiyin are still top of the league and will want to remain there. They can guarantee top spot with a win over Delhi Dynamos at home on December 9.
Match Awards:
Hero of the Match: Romeo Fernandes (FC Goa) 
Swift Moment of the Match: André Santos (FC Goa) 
Amul Fittest Player of the Match: Cristian Hidalgo
ISL Emerging Player of the Match: Narayan Das (FC Goa)

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Russian film ‘Leviathan’ wins Golden Peacock at 45th IFFI in Goa

Winners of the Golden Peacock and Silver Peacock at the closing ceremony of the 45th International Film Festival of India (IFFI-2014), in Panaji, Goa on November 30, 2014.
Winners of the Golden Peacock and Silver Peacock at the closing ceremony of the 45th International Film Festival of India (IFFI-2014), in Panaji, Goa on November 30, 2014.
Russian Film ‘Leviathan’ won the Golden Peacock at the 45th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), which ended here yesterday evening, while Nadav Lapid won the Best Director award for the Israeli film "The Kindergarten Teacher", an impressive portrayal of a prodigy poet and enigmatic teacher.
Director Andrey Zvyagintsev as well as producers Alexander Rodnyansky and Sergey Melkumov received the award for Leviathan from Goa Governor Mridula Sinha and veteran actress Waheeda Rehman at the glittering closing ceremony.
The Best Actor (Female) award was shared by two actors, both for their roles as teachers in different films. Alina Rodriguez was chosen for her portrayal of a teacher in Cuban film ‘Behaviour’, while Sarit Larry got it for her outstanding performance in ‘The Kindergarten Teacher’. 
The Best Actor (Male) award was also shared by two actors. Alexey Serebryakov, who was chosen for his role in the film ‘Leviathan’ and Dular Sarkar, a dwarf actor, who won it for his lead role in the Bengali film, Chhotober Chhobi. His acting depicts the struggle for survival of a community in a socially hostile environment. 
The Marathi film, Ek Hajarachi Note won two awards -- the Special Jury Award and the Centenary Award for best film. The director of the film, Shrihari Sathe received the awards. 
The Lifetime Achievement award was given to internationally acclaimed and cosmopolitan Chinese film maker Wong Kar-Wai. At the age of 56, he is the youngest film maker to get the lifetime achievement award at IFFI. Wong Kar-Wai said that he was very moved and honoured by the award. He appreciated the hospitality extended to him and the support to Chinese cinema at IFFI. 
Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore said that the focus of the film festival was on China, which shows that films connect hearts across nations and cultures. The Minister said that the government will make efforts to create a market abroad for Indian films. This will be done by screening of Indian films abroad and entering into agreements which will facilitate foreign film makers to come to India and vice versa, as well as promote co-productions.
Earlier, Coa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar announced that efforts would be made to enhance infrastructure in Goa as the number of the delegates at IFFI is growing phenomenally and this year the number of delegates reached a record high of 13 thousand. 
Artistes from the North-East gave scintillating performances encapsulating various dance forms from the region. 
Actors Nana Patekar, Jackie Shroff, Bhojpuri actor Ravi Kishan and Malyalam actor Jayaram were amongst the others present on the occasion.

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IDPA in 5-year pact with DD National to showcase documentary films

The Independent Documentary Producers’ Association (IDPA) has signed a five-year contract with public broadcaster Doordarshan to telecast documentaries from across India.
IDPA President and well-known documentary filmmaker Mike Pandey told a press conference here yesterday, on the sidelines of the the 45th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), that, under the agreemet, documentary makers would be paid substantially to help them recover their costs to an extent.
He said documentary films have an educational purpose and must be promoted in partnership with the government as well as by the private sector under the corporate social responsibility (CSR) rules.
Mr Pandey said IDPA would approach the government to set up a television channel for value-based educational films. He said such a channel could help achieve better programmes on themes like cleanliness, women's and children's health, environment and so on.
He said the IDPA was trying to create a welfare trust for independent producers to help them in times of crises. He said documentary film makers were educators of the future. He said what they captured today would be part of history tomorrow, citing the examples of documentaries on Jawaharlal Nehru.
He said IDPA plans to hold festivals in universities across India. He said IDPA centres could be set up in different states for regular screening of documentary films.
Mr Pandey urged the organisers of IFFI to give opportunities to documentary film makers to showcase their films at the festival. He said a documentary lounge should be created to enable buyers and other film makers to view the films, discuss and negotiate. Documentary film makers should also be honoured and given awards at the IFFI, he added. 
IDPA General Secretary Priti Chandriani said that the organisation was holding workshops and master classes to train people for producing documentaries but this needed to be done on a much larger scale for which funds are required.

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ISL: FC Goa outplay Kerala Blasters FC to win 3-0

Photo courtesy ISL
Photo courtesy ISL
FC Goa overwhelmed Kerala Blasters 3-0 with three second half goals after a goalless first half in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda tonight.
After a closely-fought first half, Goa broke the game open after the break, courtesy a brace by substitute Miroslav Slepi?ka on either side of an André Santos strike.
The first half ended 0-0, but Goa looked like the team more likely to score throughout, attacking the Kerala goal from the start. They were lively going forward, and managed to extract important saves from Blasters keeper, David James. Tolgay Özbey, Zohib Amiri, Mandar Rao Desai, and André Santos all came agonizingly close to scoring for the hosts. 
Özbey hit the inside of the post with following a superb run down the left early in the game, and James made a superb save to deny Santos’ follow-up and then Amiri’s header from the subsequent corner. He made another excellent save when Rao was clean through on goal following a beautifully threaded through ball from Santos. Brazilian Santos came closest to breaking the deadlock, and in fact beat James, only to see his shot headed off the line by Guruwinder Singh.
Miroslav Slepi?ka 
Though Kerala made attacking substitutions to start the second half, bringing on Iain Hume and Goan-born Milagres Gonsalves, Goa came out with even more attacking purpose, intent on getting the goal that had been denied them by Kerala’s keeper. 
Two goals in six minutes finally broke the Blasters’ resistance. Santos, who had been inconsistent with his delivery up to that point, floated in a perfect free kick from the left in the 63rd minute, which fell to the onrushing Slepi?ka, who calmly finished past James to give Goa the lead. Minutes later, Slepicka and Romeo Fernandes combined to set up Santos, who slotted home from the latter’s cutback.
As Kerala looked to get back into the game, they got hit on the break, with Slepi?ka getting his second, and Goa’s third. A clever one-two with Bikramjit Singh played the Czech striker through on goal, and though his first effort was parried by James, Slepi?ka was quickest to react and beat his man to the ball, finishing into an empty net.
This was Goa’s third clean sheet in a row, and fifth straight game unbeaten. For Kerala, who boasted the best defence in the league heading into the game, the loss puts an end to their own five-game unbeaten run. 
The result sees Zico’s men leapfrog the Blasters into third place, courtesy of a superior goal difference. Their next game is on December 1 against NorthEast United FC, their final home game, while Kerala Blasters host league leaders Chennaiyin FC in a ‘South Indian derby’ on November 30.
Match awards:
Hero of the Match: André Santos (FC Goa) 
Swift Moment of the Match: David James (Kerala Blasters FC) 
Amul Fittest Player of the Match: Narayan Das (FC Goa)
ISL Emerging Player of the Match: Sandesh Jhingan (Kerala Blasters FC)

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ISL: FC Goa outplay FC Pune City 2-0

Photo courtesy:ISL
Photo courtesy:ISL
FC Goa exacted their revenge on FC Pune City by outplaying them 2-0 in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda tonight to climb to the fourth spot in the table.
It was the same margin by which the hosts had lost to the visitors in Pune in the first leg encounter.
Winger Romeo Fernandes got the opener for the winners in the 6th minute and substitute Miroslav Slepi?ka added another in stoppage time to seal the victory.
The match started at a frenetic pace with the hosts getting into the right positions as soon as the opening whistle was blown. Arindam Bhattacharya was tested as early as the opening minute when Zohib Amiri floated his cross in on target and the Pune keeper had to tip it over the bar for a corner. 
Minutes later, Fernandes won a free kick on the right flank which was taken by André Santos. The sprightly winger got onto the end of it and his glancing header beat Bhattacharya hands down to give the hosts the lead.
Santos tested Bhattacharya again in the half, when his free kick from the left side was goal bound, but the keeper managed to parry it away. It was then Pune’s turn to have a go and Park Kwang-Il almost got onto the score sheet after getting at the end of Kostas Katsouranis’ lobbed pass but was denied by Jan Šeda’s fingertips.
Goa came out in the second half more settled with an intention to hold on to the lead even as Pune showed more intent. Joachim Abranches was introduced by Franco Colomba for the first time in the competition after coming back from injury. He made an immediate impact but understandably wasn’t sharp enough to take the chances that came his way. Katsouranis managed to rattle the crossbar with an acrobatic effort from a corner, but that was the closest Pune got to equalising in the second half.
Colomba went with three strikers in an effort to save the game, throwing in David Trezeguet in the 83rd minute. But it was Zico’s introduction of Clifford Miranda, Miroslav Slepi?ka and Jewel Raja that sealed the deal for the hosts, as Miranda latched onto a cross from Raja and headed it towards goal. The Czech target man got the last touch and put it away.
Goa now have three clean sheets in the past four games, and have stormed into the top half of the table, edging out Mumbai City FC on goal difference. FC Pune City are level on points (12) with Goa and Mumbai, but are sixth in the standings owing to inferior goal difference.
Goa play Kerala Blasters FC next at home on November 26 while Pune return home to take on Atlético de Kolkata on November 29.
Match awards:
Hero of the Match: Romeo Fernandes (FC Goa) 
Swift Moment of the Match: Romeo Fernandes (FC Goa)
Amul Fittest Player of the Match:  Park Kwang-Il (FC Pune City)
ISL Emerging Player of the Match: Narayan Das (FC Goa)

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Actor Manoj Bajpai opens Indian Panorama at IFFI 2014

Actor Manoj Bajpai speaking at the inauguration of the Indian Panorama, during the 45th International Film Festival of India (IFFI-2014), in Panaji, Goa on November 21, 2014.
Actor Manoj Bajpai speaking at the inauguration of the Indian Panorama, during the 45th International Film Festival of India (IFFI-2014), in Panaji, Goa on November 21, 2014.
The Indian Panorama opened at the 45th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) 2014 with the screening of Paresh Mokashi's feature film Elizabeth Ekadashi and Shabnak Sukhdev's non-feature film The Last Adieu.
Well-known actor Manoj Bajpai was the chief guest at the opening. He and Festival Director Shankar Mohan felicitaed the jury of both sections on the occasion.
The jury for the feature films included A.K. Bir (chairman), SatarupaSanyal, Vinod Ganatra, Ganga Raju Gunnam, Utpal Borpujari, Oinam Gautam Singh, Gautaman Bhaskaran and Sameer Hanchate. Members of jury for the nonfeature films present incuded Abhiram Bhadkamkar, Babu Kambrath, Oinam Doren, R. Buvana, Shila Datta and Vivek Mohan.
The cast and crew of both the films were introduced to the audience and felicitated by Mr Bajpai.
The features section of the Panorama will feature 26 films. They include seven Malayalam films -- 1983, North 24 Kaatham, Njan Steve Lopez, Drishyam, Munnariyippu, Swapaanam and Njaan -- and five Bengali films -- Punashcha, Chotoder Chobi, Bodhon, Jodi Love Dile Na Praane and Teenkahon.
The following are the films selected for the Panorama:
Feature Films: 
1.   Othello -- Assamese -- Hemanta Kumar Das
2.   Punashcha -- Bengali -- Souvik Mitra
3.   Chotoder Chobi -- Bengali -- Kaushik Ganguly
4.   Bodhon -- Bengali -- Ayananshu Banerje
5.   Jodi Love Dile Na Praane -- Bengali -- Sudeshna Roy & Abhijit Guha
6.   Teenkahon -- Bengali -- Bauddhayan Mukherji
7.   Gour Hari Dastaan - The freedom File -- Hindi -- Ananth Narayan Mahadevan
8.   Ankhon Dekhi -- Hindi -- Rajat Kapoor
9.   1-December -- Kannada -- P. Sheshadri
10.  Ri -- Khasi -- Pradip  Kurbah
11.  1983 -- Malayalam -- Abrid Shine
12.   North 24 Kaatham -- Malayalam -- Anil Radhakrishnan Menon
13.   Njan Steve Lopez -- Malayalam -- Rajeev Ravi
14.   Drishyam -- Malayalam -- Jeethu Joseph
15.   Munnariyippu -- Malayalam -- Venu
16.   Swapaanam -- Malayalam -- Shaji N. Karun
17.   Njaan -- Malayalam -- Ranjith
18.   Ek Hazarachi Note -- Marathi -- Shrihari  Sathe
19.   Elizabeth Ekadashi -- Marathi -- Paresh Mokashi
20.   Killa -- Marathi -- Avinash Arun
21.   Dr. Prakash Baba Amte - The Real Hero -- Marathi -- Samruddhi Porey
22.   Yellow -- Marathi -- Mahesh Limaye
23.   Lokmanya – Ek Yugpurush -- Marathi -- Om Raut
24.   A Rainy Day -- Marathi -- Rajendra Talak
25.   Adim Vichar -- Odiya -- Sabyasachi Mohapatra
26.   Kuttram Kadithal -- Tamil -- Bramma G.
Non-Feature Films:
1.     A Dream Never Dies -- Assamese -- Aneisha Sharma
2.     The Last Adieu -- English -- Shabnam Sukhdev
3.     My Father Namgyal -- English -- Utpal Das
4.     On and Off The Records -- English -- Pratik Biswas
5.     Womb on Rent -- English -- Ishani K Dutta
6.     Qissa-E-Parsi - English & Hindi -- Divya Cowasji, Shilpi Gulati
7.     Songs of the Blue Hills -- English & Nagamese -- Utpal Borpujari
8.     Songs of the Bards of Bengal – The Bauls and Fakirs -- English, Bengali -- Monalisa Dasgupta
9.     An American in Madras -- English, Tamil, Hindi -- Karan Bali
10.  Bhoomiyil Chuvadurachu -- Malayalam -- Vipin Vijay
11.  Mitraa -- Marathi -- Ravi Jadhav
12.  Vithya -- Marathi -- Prasanna Shrikant Ponde
13.  Ek Hota Kau -- Marathi -- Viju Gopal Mane
14.  Bahadur The Accidental Brave -- Nepalese/ English -- Aditya Seth
15.  Candles in the Wind -- Punjabi & English -- Kavita Bahl & Nandan Saxena

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IFFI 2014 off to a colourful start, Rajinikanth receives Centenary Award

Renowned actor Amitabh Bachchan and Information & Broadcasting, Minister Arun Jaitley presenting the centenary award to Tamil megastar Rajinikanth, at the inauguration of the 45th International Film Festival of India, in Panaji, Goa on November 20, 2014.
Renowned actor Amitabh Bachchan and Information & Broadcasting, Minister Arun Jaitley presenting the centenary award to Tamil megastar Rajinikanth, at the inauguration of the 45th International Film Festival of India, in Panaji, Goa on November 20, 2014.
The 45th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI 2014) got off to a colourful start here yesterday with a series of enthralling performance that evoked nostalgic memories of the years gone by.
Goa Governor Mridula Sinha lit the traditional lamp to mark the beginning of the festival in the presence of Union Finance and Information & Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar and Union Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore.
Renowned actor Amitabh Bachchan was the chief guest on the occasion, while Tamil mega star Rajinikanth was presented with the Centenary Film Personality of the Year Award for his lifetime contribution to Indian cinema on the occasion. The award consisted of a cash prize of Rs 10 lakh, a certificate and the Silver Peacock Medal. It was instituted last year to commemorate 100 years of Indian cinema 
Rajinikanth received the Centenary award from Mr Jaitley and Mr Bachchan and dedicated it to his producers, directors, co-stars, technicians and fans.
The international jury of the festival -- chairman Slawomir Idziak, cinematographer and filmmaker from Poland, Zhang Jianya, a filmmaker from China, Marie Brenner, a New York-based writer, Indian actress Seema Biswas and Nadia Dresti, the head of International Locarno Film Festival -- were amongst those present.
Actors Anupam Kher and Raveena Tandon were the comperes of the opening ceremony.
The highlight of the evening was a captivating performance by Malayalam actress and dancer Shobhana Pillai and her troupe, which took the audience down the memory lane of popular dance sequences from Indian films, including numbers such as “Hothon pe aisi baat mein dabaake chali ayee” and “Piya tose naina lage re”.
Other celebrities present on the occasion included actors Satish Kaushik, Manoj Bajpai and Roopa Ganguli. 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Bachchan traced the history of Indian cinema, touching on the issues and various aspects of Indian life as depicted on the silver screen.
"Those who do not know the stories of their forefathers, cannot write their own," he said.
Mr Jaitley said the Indian film industry had come of age in view of the diversity it offered in terms of the numbers of films produced in different languages and themes.
Cinema today acted as an "alternate religion" to cricket in India as it entertained, educated, gave a social perspective to issues, offered young growing minds the vision to learn and nurture talent, he said.
A dance performance at the inauguration of the 45th International Film Festival of India, in Panaji, Goa on November 20, 2014.
A dance performance at the inauguration of the 45th International Film Festival of India, in Panaji, Goa on November 20, 2014.
Mr Jaitley said cinema had matured as a medium in the country and corporatization had made it more professional and vibrant. He also spoke of the National Film Heritage Mission to create a digital record of Indian cinema.
"The President" directed by eminent Iranian film maker Mohsen Makhmalbaf was the opening film of the festival. 
As many as 178 films from 79 countries will be screened during the 11-day event in various sections: World Cinema (61 films), Master-strokes (11), Festival Kaleidoscope (20), Soul of Asia (7), Documentaries (6), Animated Films (6). 
Besides, the Indian Panorama section will include 26 Feature and 15 Non-Feature Films. 
Seven films from the North-East, the focus region of the festival, would be showcased. There will also be retrospectives on Gulfzar and Jahnu Baruah, special homage films on Richard Attenborough, Robin Williams, Zohra Sehgal and Suchitra Sen and a special tribute to Farooq Shaikh.
A special section of films that focus on dance, personality-based retrospectives, and Masterclasses/workshopswould also form a part of IFFI 2014. 
The open air screening of Indian films for the general public free of cost on first come first served basis would be a new attraction in IFFI 2014. Besides the world premieres, IFFI 2014 offers activities such as the Film Bazar, 3D Film Shows and Panel Discussions.

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