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Chennai Lions thrash Puneri Paltan for their first win in UTT

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Putting behind their opening match debacle, Chennai Lions thrashed Puneri Paltan 10-5 to record their first win in Ultimate Table Tennis season three at the Thyagaraj Stadium here last evening.
 
Two foreigners, Germany’s Petrissa Solja and birthday boy Tiago Apolonia of Portugal, spearheaded Chennai Lions' comprehensive win.  Solja blanked Commonwealth Championship gold medal winner Ayhika Mukherjee 3-0 in the opening women’s singles, while Apolonia staved off a fighting Harmeet Desai of Puneri Paltan 2-1, to hand Chennai the firm advantage (5-1) just two matches into the tie. 
 
Sharath Kamal and Petrissa then eased past Desai and Sabine Winter 2-1 in the mixed doubles, to seal the win in the Lions' favour.
 
Petrissa helped the Lions’ begin on a strong note, with a 3-0 win over Ayhika in an intensely fought women’s singles opening encounter. Although ranked 108 places below world number 26 Solja, Ayhika showed great composure and fighting spirit as she made her opponent sweat in the first game. 
 
Fresh from her CWG TT gold medal triumph in Odisha, Ayhika appeared confident and fired-up. She raced to a 5-2 lead before Rio Olympic silver medallist Petrissa relied on her experience to pull level at 5-5. From there on, Petrissa showcased some deft touches and superb net play to take a handy 10-8 lead. Ayhika fought back hard and saved two game points before Petrissa finally pocketed the opening game on the golden point (11-10).
 
The second game began in the same vein, with Petrissa being tested by her younger opponent, who was cheered wildly by the home crowd. Ayhika led 2-0 but thereafter lost her way. Petrissa opened up a huge lead at 10-5 and sealed the game at 11-6. The final game (11-8) too went Petrissa’s way, as she survived some anxious moments to stave off a dangerous-looking Ayhika to hand Chennai the early advantage.
 
Chennai consolidated their lead when Apolonia came from a game down to defeat Desai 2-1 in the opening men’s singles match. 
 
Stretched by Desai in the opening game which he lost 8-11, thrice Olympian Apolonia showed exemplary agility and game reading to make a brilliant comeback. 
 
In the second game, Apolonia and Desai breathed down each other’s necks and were well poised at 5-5 and then at 9-9. Once again experience came to the fore, with Apolonia winning the game on golden point (11-10) to take it to the decider. Apolonia was in his element in the final game, often playing away from the table and taking advantage of his height to quell Desai’s challenge (11-7).
 
The mixed doubles, too, went Chennai’s way. Sharath-Petrissa had an easy run in the opening game, winning it 11-7 and kept up the good work throughout. They pocketed the following games 11-7 and 11-6 to hand Chennai the win as they now led 8-1 overall.
 
Later, in the second men’s singles, Puneri Paltan’s Chuang Chih-Yuan beat Sharath Kamal 2-1 (11-5, 11-10, 3-11) in what was another gripping contest. Despite losing the first two games, Sharath showcased some delightful shots in the third to reel one point off Chuang.
 
The day’s last match saw Puneri’s Sabine Winter defeat Madhurika Patkar 2-1 of Chennai in the second women’s singles match.
 
Chennai Lions bt Puneri Paltan: 10-5
 
Women’s Singles: Petrissa Solja bt Ayhika Mukherjee - 3-0 (11-10, 11-6, 11-8);  Men’s Singles: Tiago Apolonia bt Harmeet Desai 2-1 (8-11, 11-10, 11-7);  Mixed Doubles: Sharath Kamal-Petrissa Solja bt Harmeet Desai-Sabine Winter 3-0 (11-7, 11-7, 11-6); Men’s Singles: Sharath Kamal lost to Chuang Chih-Yuan 1-2 (5-11, 10-11, 11-3); Women's Singles : Madhurika Patkar lost to Sabine Winter 1-2 (8-11, 11-5, 11-10).
 
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Premier trains between Mumbai, Pune cancelled for 2 weeks

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Important trains linking Mumbai and Pune including the Deccan Express and Pragati Express will be cancelled for a fortnight from July 26 to August 9 to enable the Central Railway address the problem of falling boulders in the treacherous Lonavala-Khandala ghats sections, an official said here on Wednesday.
 
The CR will take up a massive restoration work to ensure the problem of toppling boulders and minor landslides, which becomes widespread during heavy rain, is resolved.
 
"The services get badly disrupted due to this problem mainly in the South-East Ghats from mid-June, affecting mobility and safety of the trains negotiating this section. The CR's Mumbai Division has undertaken various infrastructure works to prevent this," said the CR official.
 
Over the next fortnight, several trains will be cancelled, short-terminated or diverted, which is likely to hit the passengers on these and other sectors.
 
There were at least half a dozen incidents of falling boulders and minor landslides on the Mumbai-Pune sector in the past few weeks since the onset of monsoon.
 
Though any major disaster was averted to passing trains below, the incidents nevertheless resulted in huge delays till the route was cleared and declared safe for train movement.
 
This crucial high traffic route serves Mumbai-Pune daily commuters, besides students, people working in the IT sector in both cities and tourists.
 
Among the major trains to be cancelled are the Deccan Express, Pragati Express, CSMT Mumbai-Gadag Express and Pune-Panvel passenger train.
 
As many as 10 trains including the Kolhapur-Mumbai Koyna Express, Mumbai-Kolhapur Sahyadri Express will be operated only upto Pune, and will be cancelled between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharashtra Terminus-Pune sector.
 
The Hubbali-Lokmanya Tilak Terminus Express (Mumbai) will be run only up to Pune and return journey will commence from Pune to Hubbali.
 
The Hazur Sahib Nanded-Panvel Express shall be run till Pune and remain cancelled between Pune-Panvel and the return journey will commence from Pune.
 
In view of this, the passenger load is expected to shift to the Mumbai-Pune Expressway and the Mumbai-Pune Highway which also witness traffic snarls, landslides, rolling boulders and occasion flooding in some sections.
 
IANS
 

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Zomato, eatery fined Rs 55K for serving chicken instead of paneer

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A consumer court here slapped a Rs 55,000 fine on food delivery platform Zomato along with a hotel for delivering non-vegetarian food to a lawyer who had ordered a vegetarian dish.
 
According to media reports, the consumer court directed Zomato to pay the fine within 45 days to city-based lawyer Shanmukh Deshmukh who was delivered non-veg food not just once, but twice.
 
He had ordered paneer butter masala but was delivered butter chicken instead.
 
"Since the curries of both dishes look alike, he didn't realise it was a chicken dish and ate it," said the reports.
 
According to Zomato, the lawyer complained against the food delivery platform to defame it as it had refunded his amount.
 
Zomato told the consumer forum that the error lay with the hotel which supplied the wrong dish, but the forum considered it to be equally guilty.
 
The hotel, however, admitted its mistake.
 
Zomato and the hotel were directed to pay Rs 50,000 for deficiency in service and the remaining amount for mental harassment.
 
IANS
 

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39 killed as relentless rains wreak havoc in Maharashtra

At least 39 persons were killed across Maharashtra as relentless rain wreaked havoc and left Mumbai paralysed with the country's commercial capital being pounded by record rainfall on Tuesday, officials said.
An inundated King's Circle after heavy rains in Mumbai, on July 1, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
An inundated King's Circle after heavy rains in Mumbai, on July 1, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
At least 39 persons were killed across Maharashtra as relentless rain wreaked havoc and left Mumbai paralysed with the country's commercial capital being pounded by record rainfall on Tuesday, officials said.
 
Early on Tuesday, the compound wall of a water reservoir at Pimpripada in Malad collapsed on a dozen hutments, leaving 21 killed and another 78 injured.
 
The National Disaster Response Force, the Mumbai Fire Brigade and other agencies launched a massive rescue effort to remove dig out several others feared trapped in the rubble.
 
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who visited the victims of the tragedy, announced compensation of Rs 500,000 for each of the deceased, even as agitated Congress and Nationalist Congress Party leaders blamed the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena for the mess and demanded action against those responsible for the loss of human lives.
 
"In the past 12 hours, the city has received an unprecedented 300 to 400 mm rains, the highest in the past decade. The existing drainage systems are unable to cope with such a heavy downpour, coupled with a high tide this afternoon," Fadnavis told journalists.
 
Two persons - Irfan S. Khan, 38, and Gulshad Sheikh, 37, who were trapped inside a sports utility vehicle (SUV) in the flooded Malad subway since last night, were found dead on Tuesday.
 
Gabri Singh, 45, the security guard of a private building, was killed in a wall crash in Mulund, and 22-year old Gopal V. Jha was electrocuted at Nehru Nagar in Vile Parle.
 
In adjoining Thane district, three persons were killed when the boundary wall of National Urdu School crashed in Kalyan town and several more were injured, and two persons were washed away in flood waters in an overflowing river in Jawahar.
 
Also on Tuesday, a 15-feet high compound wall of the Bharatiya Vidyapeeth College in Pune crashed on some hutments beside it, killing at least six persons. NDRF teams were at the site to extricate those still feared trapped in the debris.
 
In Nashik, two persons were killed by drowning in a water tank and one woman killed when she was struck by lightning in Buldhana.
 
The India Meteorological Department predicted extremely heavy to very heavy rains in Mumbai, many parts of coastal Konkan, besides Vidarbha and Marathwada till Friday.
 
Battered with over 375 mm rain, the highest July rainfall within a 24-hour period since July 1974, Mumbai has received around 35 per cent of its average annual total rainfall.
 
As a precautionary measure, the state government declared a public holiday in the city and the city administration ordered all schools and colleges to be shut while the Education Department postponed all examinations scheduled for Tuesday.
 
Many parts of Mumbai city and its suburbs, as well as towns in adjoining Raigad, Thane and Palghar districts, turned into huge tracts of muddy water, witnessing people struggling to safety in waist-deep water. Small vehicles were submerged, and several tempos, trucks and heavy vehicles stranded on the roads adding to traffic snarls. 
 
The inundation also stopped local and long-distance trains in their tracks and leaving thousands stranded as road traffic, trains and flights were hit for hours.
 
At least 150 BEST buses in Mumbai were also submerged and stranded at various locations since this morning, but operations continued near-normal with diversions and cancellations of services.
 
The Central Railway had stopped its services since early Tuesday as tracks were underwater in many places, especially Sion, Chunabhatti, Kurla, Bhandup and many commuters waded through the flood waters to reach their destinations.
 
After nearly 15 hours, the CR resumed full services around 5.15 pm, though the Western Railway managed to trudge along with delays and cancellations.
 
Domestic and international flight operations were hit at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport due to heavy rains coupled with a SpiceJet aircraft with 167 passengers overshooting the runway and getting stuck in soft mud.
 
With the stuck plane blocking the main runway, at least 55 incoming flights including 26 international were diverted, 13 go-arounds, 18 incoming flights including four international cancelled and 24 departures including four international cancelled, said a spokesperson for Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL).
 
A 150-metre long ramp was being built to push the stranded aircraft and clear the runway, but it was expected to take another 48 hours till the alternative (shorter) runway is operational.
 
As parts of Mumbai experienced a lull in rains for a few hours this afternoon, thousands of harried people rushed out of their homes to buy stocks of vegetables, fruits, groceries, milk from local markets, despite the higher rates being charged.
 
The Indian Navy's team of divers from INS Tanaji deployed rubber boats, life-jackets, lifebuoys to rescued over 1,000 people stranded in rising waters at Krantinagar slums in Kurla in north-east Mumbai.
 
IANS
 

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20 killed in Mumbai, Pune wall crashes

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At least 13 persons were killed in a wall crash in Malad, north-west Mumbai and another seven perished in a wall collapse in Pune, early on Tuesday as rains continued to wreak havoc in large parts of Maharashtra.
 
In the wake of the incessant rainfall, the state government has declared July 2 as a public holiday for Mumbai.
 
According to officials, the compound wall of a school in Pimpripada in Malad suburb, collapsed on some adjoining hutments in which more than 13 people were killed, around 1 am on Tuesday.
 
Early today, the compound wall of the Sinhagad College in Pune crashed on some hutments beside it, killing at least seven persons.
 
In both the incidents, many more victims are still feared buried under the rubble and teams of NDRF are at the site for rescue and relief operations.
 
As the IMD predicted extremely heavy to very heavy rains in parts of coastal Konkan, the Maharashtra government declared a public holiday for Mumbai city.
 
Early today, Brihanmumbai Municipal Commissioner Pravin Pardeshi declared all schools and colleges shut for the day as a precautionary measure.
 
Air, road and rail traffic was also hit for the second consecutive day on Tuesday and rains have so far claimed around 50 lives in the past five days in the state so far.
 
IANS
 

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15 dead as Pune apartments compound wall collapses

The scene of a wall collapse in Kondwa area of Pune, in which 15 people were killed, on June 29, 2019. (IANS)
The scene of a wall collapse in Kondwa area of Pune, in which 15 people were killed, on June 29, 2019. (IANS)
A total of 15 people, mostly hailing from West Bengal and Bihar. were killed while three others were injured when a compound wall of a building collapsed in Kondwa here early on Saturday, officials said.
 
The incident occurred around 2.15 a.m. when the compound wall of Alcon Stylus Building suddenly came crashing down trapping the victims still asleep in their huts, police and NDRF officials said.
 
Teams of rescuers who rushed to the spot managed to rescue just three alive including two minors. Most of them were labourers, the officials said.
 
Among the dead were 10 men and five children. Work was still on to rescue some others feared trapped in the rubble.
 
"We are immediately issuing a Stop Work order to an adjoining building where construction activities are underway. We shall also give full relief to the victims' families," Pune Mayor Mukta Tilak told the media here.
 
Guardian Minister Chandrakant Patil, who said he was rushing to Pune, warned that no guilty will be spared.
 
The Pune Collectorate and Pune Municipal Corporation authorities said they will probe the tragedy.
 
The victims identified are mostly labourers working on the building sites -- Sunil Singh, Sonali Das, Bhima Das, Deepan Sharma, Alok Verma, Mohan Sharma, Sangeeta Devi, Neeta, Avdhesh Singh, Aman Sharma, Ravi Sharma, Ajit Sharma, Rahul Sharma, Laxmikant Sahani, Ovi Das.
 
IANS
 

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15 killed in Pune wall collapse

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At least 15 people were killed and three others injured when the compound wall of a building collapsed in Pune's Kondhwa area on Saturday, officials said.
 
The incident occurred at around 2.15 a.m. at the Alcon Stylus Building. The sudden collapse of the wall trapped the victims as they slept in their huts, the police and NDRF officials said.
 
Three people, including two minors, were rescued.
 
The victims comprised 10 men and five children. Work is on to rescue some others still feared trapped in the rubble.
 
"We are immediately issuing a 'Stop Work' order to an adjoining building where construction activities are underway. We will also give full relief to the victims' families," Pune Mayor Mukta Tilak told the media here.
 
Guardian Minister Chandrakant Patil was also on his way to inspect the accident site.
 
The Pune Collectorate and Pune Municipal Corporation authorities said they will probe the tragedy.
 
IANS
 
 

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15 killed in Pune wall collapse

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At least 15 people were killed and three others injured on Saturday when the compound wall of a building collapsed here, officials said.
 
The incident occurred early Saturday morning, trapping the victims as they slept in their huts, the police and NDRF officials said.
 
Teams of rescuers which rushed to the spot have managed to rescue three people including two minors.
 
The victims included 10 men and five children. Work is on to save others still feared trapped in the rubble.
 
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Two killed in accident on Maharashtra Expressway

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At least two persons were killed and 14 others injured when a tourist bus rammed into a stationary minibus on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, an official said.
 
The accident occurred around 7.30 a.m. near Khalapur on the service lane of the Mumbai-Pune arm of the Expressway, a Highway Control official said.
 
"A Volvo bus was proceeding from Vasai to Mahabaleshwar when the incident occurred on the service lane, where a minibus had halted. At least two persons, including the driver of the minibus, were killed," the official told IANS.
 
The injured were rushed to a hospital in Khalapur, where the condition of four was described as serious.
 
Traffic on the Expressway, which was disrupted following the accident, returned to normal by noon.
 
IANS
 

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25 people saved from burning Pune building

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At least 25 people were rescued from a burning residential building here on Thursday, officials said.
 
The blaze broke out at the building in Joshi Complex, near the Prabhat Talkies in the city's Shanivar Peth area. Thick clouds of white-grey smoke was seen billowing out at around 8.45 a.m.
 
Fire brigade and disaster relief teams rushed to site and fighting the thick smoke, managed to bring out the 25 occupants to safety.
 
Operations are on to ascertain if there were more people still stuck inside the building. The cause of the blaze is not yet known.
 
IANS
 

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Five FTII courses receive AICTE approval under applied arts and crafts category

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The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has granted approval to five courses of the  Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, under its newly created applied arts and crafts category.
 
This approval makes India's premier film school, FTII, the first and only Institute in this category in the country to receive such recognition.
 
A list of Institutions and approved courses published by AICTE on May 11 under its newly-constituted category pertaining to Institutes offering courses in applied arts, crafts and design, includes FTII and all its five one-year Post Graduate Certificate courses.
 
Of the five FTII courses which have received AICTE approval, four are in Television wing (Direction, Electronic Cinematography, Video Editing and Sound Recording & TV Engineering) and one in Film wing (Feature Film Screenplay Writing).
 
FTII Governing Council Chairman Brijendra Pal Singh said, "This is a historic moment for FTII to have received AICTE approval for all five PG Certificate courses. This makes FTII the first film school in India to receive this recognition.
 
“In recent years, FTII's television courses have been in the limelight winning several National awards and even international honours. The AICTE approval lends more value to the TV courses making them as attractive as the film wing specializations. Screenwriters from FTII are already making their mark in the entertainment industry,” he added.
 
“With the AICTE approval coming into effect from 2019-20, students entering TV courses and Feature Film Screenplay Writing course this year stand to gain. This is as important a watershed event as the grant of Master's degree equivalence granted to FTII's six PG Diploma film wing courses by Association of Indian Universities (AIU) in January 2017.
 
"With this, all the 11 FTII courses now stand approved by either AIU or AICTE," he said.
 
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Four killed in Pune saree shop blaze

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At least four people were killed on Thursday in a major fire that engulfed a well-known saree shop here, police said.
 
According to an official of Pune Police (Rural), the fire was reported at around 5 a.m., when the workers were asleep in a room above the shop located in the Devachi Urli area on the outskirts of the city.
 
The blaze quickly spread from the shop to the room above and the workers were suffocated to death.
 
The police said they are trying to verify whether there were more workers sleeping there amid fears the toll could go up.
 
At least five fire tenders were deployed to battle the blaze, the cause of which remains unknown.
 
IANS
 

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3 MBA students drown in Maharashtra dam

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Three MBA students, including a girl, drowned while taking a swim at the Mulshi Dam here on Thursday morning, police said.
 
A group of 10 MBA students from Bharatiya Vidyapeeth had gone for a picnic to Valne village near the dam. After a night out, some students stepped into the dam waters for a swim around 7 a.m., an official of Pune Police Control told IANS.
 
However, they apparently failed to guage the depth of the water and at least three were reported missing. The others called for help, after which rescue teams rushed to the spot.
 
So far, the bodies of two - Sangeeta Negi and Shubham Raj Sinha - have been recovered, and efforts are on by divers to trace the body of their classmate Shiv Kumar.
 
All the victims are residents of Pune and aged 22. Their families have been informed of the tragedy, said the official.
 
IANS
 

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FTII announces course in Film Criticism and the Art of Review

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Breaking yet another new ground, Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune has announced, for the first time, a course in Film Criticism and the Art of Review.
 
The 20-day course will be conducted from May 28 to June 19 in Delhi in association with Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), Delhi.
 
Talking about the course, Bhupendra Kainthola, Director, FTII, said it meets a long-standing demand of cinema critics, film reviewers, film bloggers, research scholars, film academics and just about anyone who has more than ordinary interest in cinema. He added that one needs to know how to ‘read’ a film in order to review it, the tools for which will be provided through this course.
 
The course would be helmed by Bhopal-based filmmaker Rajula Shah, an FTII alumnus. She studied film direction at FTII from 1997 to 2000. Her film practice emerges from an intense dialogue with the various arts, schools of thought and philosophies through close collaboration with people, their work and contexts. Her special interest of study and work is in the expanding scope of the film practice & the digital arts.
 
Talking about the course, she said it has been designed to provide a basic grounding in the discipline of Film Criticism and to train the participants into becoming serious viewers of cinema. The course includes the study of significant films in the history of cinema through the prism of critical thinking.
 
The course is being conducted under FTII's countrywide film education outreach initiative SKIFT (Skilling India in Film and Television) under which over 135 short-term courses have been held in 37 cities across the country covering over 5800 learners.
 
The course is open to all, with no age bar. The last date for applying is 22nd April 2019. Accommodation will be made available on request for selected participants coming from outside Delhi. Course details are available on www.ftii.ac.in
 
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Inaugural edition of AFINDEX-19 culminates with impressive closing ceremony

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The inaugural edition of the Africa-India Field Training Exercise-2019 (AFINDEX-19) culminated on Wednesday after a validation exercise and an impressive closing ceremony at Foreign Training Node, Aundh Military Station here.
 
General Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Army Staff witnessed the closing ceremony along with senior military officers of the Indian Army and representatives of  17 African nations, namely, Benin, Botswana, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
 
The Indian contingent was represented by Maratha Light Infantry (Jangi Paltan). The validation exercise showcased various tactical drills which included protection of civilians, the establishment of standing combat deployment, convoy protection, patrolling aspects and neutralisation of improvised explosive devices which were practised as part of the joint exercise for the past 10 days.
 
AFINDEX-19 demonstrated the commitment and capabilities of the participating nations in working closely with each other in Humanitarian Mine Assistance and Peace Keeping Operations under the United Nations mandate. The exercise was also attended by observers from three African nations--Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Mozambique.
 
The validation exercise was followed by equipment display organised under the aegis of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) at Aundh Military Station.
 
General Rawat and other senior army officers witnessed more than 11 categories of indigenously developed defence related equipment displayed by various agencies to include Ordnance Factories, Defence and Research Development Organisation (DRDO), leading private sector companies and startups to showcase some of the latest weapon systems and vehicles produced indigenously.
 
During the closing address, General Rawat said the exercise has been a grand success with the troops of all participating nations showing impeccable training standards and mutual cooperation.
 
He congratulated the participating nations for showing great enthusiasm and zeal during the entire duration of AFINDEX-19. He also interacted with the contingents and Defence Attaches of the participating nations after the closing ceremony.
 
The social interactions between the contingents have also contributed towards developing better interpersonal relations and bonds of friendship across geographical boundaries and the exercise has been a landmark event to promote values of peace, prosperity, international brotherhood and trust amongst participating nations, he added.
 
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Infosys Foundation signs MoU with Pune's Bhandarkar Institute to foster research in Orientology

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Infosys Foundation, the philanthropic and CSR arm of IT services major Infosys, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Pune, for five years to strengthen research activities in Orientology, the study of ancient cultures of the Asian sub-continent. 
 
The proposed grant of Rs. 9.13 crore will be utilized to train scholars in Orientology and prepare a bibliography of relevant academic texts in the field, a press release from the foundation said.
 
The grant will also help to create a centralized information cell through descriptive cataloguing of manuscripts, collection and publishing of inscriptions and outlining the history of the collected information, enabled by a team of specialists, it said.
 
The release said the foundation would establish two chairs at the institute, The Infosys Foundation Chair of Orientology and the Karnataka Chair of Orientology, for eminent scholars of Orientology. Two visiting scholars renowned in any area of Orientology will also be invited for a term of two to six months, as part of this grant, and will be known as Infosys scholars.
 
Through this grant the Institute will appoint four visiting fellows for visits of one week to one month, who will be referred to as ‘Infosys Fellows’, and also make provisions for two principal investigators, six research assistants, one helper and one design artist for various activities that will be conducted by the Institute.
 
Speaking on the occasion Mrs. Sudha Murty, Chairperson, Infosys Foundation, said, “The study of ancient texts holds great importance in society today as it forms a means to better understand both our past as well as our present. The discovery and preservation of these texts will ensure that Indological research continues to grow and thrive as an academic field in our country. Our partnership with the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute aims to support the field of Orientology through the provision of the necessary tools and resources and we at the Infosys Foundation are proud to be a part of this endeavor to better understand India’s past and its place in the history of the East.”
 
“The Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute focuses on Orientology which is the study of ancient cultures of the Asian sub-continent. We live in a time where social sciences have expanded their horizons to be able to apply their inferences across almost all fields of learning. Orientology, therefore, is not limited to the Orient and the Occident alone; it has numerous applications in areas of social sciences and more. This initiative by Infosys Foundation will definitely boost the vigor and charm of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute.” said, Prof. Shrikant Bahulkar, Honorary Secretary, The Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute.
 
The Bhandarkar Oriental Institute, Pune was founded on July 6, 1917, and is a public organization registered under Act XXI of 1860 and is administered by a regulating council. The Maharashtra Government nominates five representatives on the regulating council and two on the executive board.
 
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Africa-India Field Training Exercise-2019 opens at Aundh Military Station

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The inaugural Africa-India Field Training Exercise-2019 for India and African nations, AFINDEX-19 scheduled from March 18 to 27 began with a grand opening ceremony at Aundh Military Station here yesterday.
 
Contingents of the 17 African nations -- Benin, Botswana, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe -- came together for the opening ceremony along with a contingent of Maratha Light Infantry representing India. 
 
Major General Sanjeev Sharma, General Officer Commanding, Golden Katar Division, who was the chief guest for the opening ceremony, reviewed the parade, in the presence of a large number of defence attaches and other officials of participating nations.
 
A flypast by a set of Advanced Light Helicopters and Cheetah helicopters of the Indian Army carrying the flags of United Nations, India and AFINDEX was the highlight of the opening ceremony.
 
The aim of the exercise is to train the participating nations in planning and conduct of Humanitarian Mine Assistance and Peace Keeping Operations under Chapter VII of the United Nations Peace Keeping Operations.
 
The exercise will focus on the exchange of best practices between the participating nations, team building and tactical level operations in the conduct of United Nations-mandated tasks.
 
These include the establishment of a new mission, siting of a United Nations Headquarters for Peace Keeping operations, siting of Military Observer sites during the peacekeeping missions, protection of civilians, nuances of standing combat deployment, convoy protection, patrolling aspects and aspects related to Humanitarian Mine Assistance.
 
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Conference in Pune to work out modalities for India Africa Field Training Exercise

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The final planning conference to work out the modalities for the India Africa Field Training Exercise (IAFTX)-2019 began in Pune today.
 
Delegates from Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, South Africa, Tanzania, Namibia, Mozambique, Uganda, Niger and Zambia are attending the two-day conference.           
 
The Indian Africa Field Training Exercise (IAFTX)-2019 is scheduled to be conducted at Aundh Military Station and College of Military Engineering, Pune from March 18-27. 
 
The joint training exercise is being conducted with more than a dozen African countries. It aims at bringing synergy between humanitarian mine action and joint peace operations. The initial planning conference for the exercise was held in December 2018.
 
"The IAFTX-2019 is a positive step towards growing political and military ties with the member nations of the African continent and will boost the already strong strategic cooperation between the countries," an official press release added.
 
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Indian CPaaS startup CometChat selected for Techstars Boulder accelerator program

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Mumbai-based CometChat, a Communication-Platform-as-a-Service (CPaaS) startup, has become the first Indian startup to be selected for the three-month long Techstars Boulder program.
 
A press release from the company said that, as part of the program, Techstars will seed fund CometChat $1,20,000 and incubate the company in its US location.
 
Under the program, CometChat will have access to Techstars resources such as mentors, financial, legal and infra resources for life. This would include access to Techstars network of more than 10,000 entrepreneurs, 2,700 investors and 1200 alumni companies. At the end of the 3-month program, selected companies will be showcasing their progress and refined product to investors as part of demo day, which is likely to result in further growth stage funding and visibility.
 
Anuj Garg, co-founder & CEO, CometChat, said, “This is a big milestone for us as we are the first Indian startup to be accepted into Techstars Boulder. We are very excited to leverage Techstars network and mentoring program; we will be able scale CometChat faster than expected. We will also be significantly expanding on our AI/ML & bots platform allowing our customers to include artificial intelligence in their communication layer with great ease”
 
Natty Zach, Managing Director, Techstars Boulder, said, “We are excited to work with CometChat in the next class of Techstars Boulder. This is the first company from India accepted into the boulder accelerator program. We hope the learnings about building great companies will flow in both directions.”
 
CometChat, which originally began as a licensed model nine years ago, was launched as a pure play Subscription Service in 2018 by twin brothers Anuj Garg and Anant Garg, who take pride in the fact that they built the company, generated revenues and expanded their team and portfolio, while being bootstrapped. 
 
The company has also announced the launch of CometChat Pro, an SDK for expert developers, who are looking to build bespoke in app/web chat solutions in their final offering to the end user. 
 
It has also launched CometChat Go, a ready to use plug and play solution for beginner developers and business owners looking to add a communication layer in their product.
 
As the decision making power has gradually shifted from CIOs of companies to developers there is a booming market of B2D (Business to Developer) startups emerging looking to empower developers and catch a pie of the growing developer mind space.
 
Anant Garg, founder & CTO, CometChat, says, “We believe we are at the cusp of a big milestone in the journey of CometChat. While on one hand, Techstars program will help us enter the US market and establish corporate channels and expand our presence in a big way, on the other hand, rolling CometChat Pro will ensure we are ready for highly evolved and quality obsessed customers, which are developers in this case."
 
CometChat, a B2D (business to developer) company, has plans to expand aggressively in the US and EU markets with their Developer-First marketing approach. To capture a share of the mind space of developers as well as for key talent acquisition they will be raising funds in 2019 – transitioning from their bootstrap roots to a growth focused enterprise.
 
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KIYG once again puts focus on footballing gems from North East

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There is no denying the fact that the North-East is on its way to becoming a major talent pool for Indian football. The team for the 2017 Under-17 World Cup hosted in India had as many as 10 players from Manipur and Mizoram in the ranks. These states continued their glorious run at the just-concluded Khelo India Youth Games where they shared four of the eight medals handed out.
 
While Mizoram’s boys won the Under-21 gold, Manipur bagged the U-21 girls’ tournament in dramatic yet identical penalty shoot-outs.
 
The North-East is extremely football-centric and that shows in their grassroot level programmes. Mizoram has its own football league where young talents are scouted from every nook and corner of the state and trained. According to Hmingsanga, coach of the U-21 Mizoram football team, having the state’s own football league has improved the tactics and styles of the players.
 
“My boys may have not played for the big leagues but they are regulars in the Mizoram Premier League which started in 2012. Football is highly popular in the state and having a televised league gives the players more motivation since they get more recognition,” he says.
 
About the team’s performance through the tournament, Hmingsanga adds, “We began training from November and were confident that we would perform well. Khelo India was a big deal for my boys and they showed it till the end. All of them are from small villages and did not expect luxurious treatment from the organisers. That came as a nice surprise.”
 
“They were well rested and content before the matches which helped. And before every fixture we prayed for a good match. I guess all our prayers were answered.”
 
Manipur, on the other hand, has a long history of football champions. The U-17 World Cup team featured eight footballers from the state. The extreme level of passion for football in Manipur has impressed one and all including the Sports Ministry, which is planning to build a world class football academy in the state. 
 
Players from the state were expected to perform well in Khelo India Youth Games and they did not disappoint.
 
Their success story was credited to the players’ families. Says coach, Shanta Singh, “Manipur is not an economically strong state. But people wish to see at least one national level player in their family. To fulfil this dream they work really hard and support their kids as much as they can.” 
 
He adds that even though sports like boxing were getting medals and recognition for the state, kids choose football at a very young age which helps to secure a big pool of talent right from very early on.
 
With Khelo India Youth Games being a national-level platform to showcase young talent, these two states have managed to steal the limelight and will hope to continue this with their passion for football.
 
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Hockey veterans blown away by KIYG performances

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The hockey competition at the just-concluded Khelo India Youth Games 2019 here demonstrated that the dynamics of the sport in India have changed, and it no longer remains confined to a few States. 
 
Haryana teams, both girls and boys, and sides like Jharkhand, Odisha and Mizoram proved that with exposure, training and proper coaching they found results.
 
“Events like KIYG can be a windfall for the sport and its talented players,” said former India hockey coach Baldev Singh. The veteran was happy with the showing of Haryana girls, many of whom he has trained at Shahbad. He also praised the manner in which the Jharkhand and Odisha teams had performed here.
 
“These youngsters are hungry, they want to prove themselves. You just see their body language, their joy and sorrow when they win or lose. It tells you a lot. I have represented India and coached teams, but these youngsters amaze me. They just don’t want to play to get certificates. They want to excel. It is time for the concerned to take advantage of this pool of talent,” he said.
 
“I am happy with the girls, they come from conservative societies and backward areas and they want to do something bigger on their own. My experience with the Haryana girls has been an eye-opener,” he said. The girls from the North-Eastern States are no longer awe-struck on the big stage, and that itself us a big achievement, he felt.
 
“KIYG provides the players a good platform. They are being treated like stars, they are being looked after well, they have been provided great kits and transport by the authorities and though these things on the face of it, these things look small, they play an important role in boosting the self-esteem of a player,” Baldev said.
 
Former India captain and Olympian Zafar Iqbal, who was here as a Government observer, also lavished praise on the girls’ teams.
 
“I am very optimistic about the future of the game, provided the talent is spotted and given exposure like here. Players are treated the way they should be. I am impressed with Jharkhand and, Odisha girls.
 
"Haryana, Punjab are developed States, so they were expected to do well. KIYG is laying the foundation of a bright and sporting India at the grass-root level. I am returning very impressed,” Zafar Iqbal said.
 
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Sachin, Paras's golden touch lifts Haryana to top of archery table

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Sachin Gupta, a comfortable winner over favourite and fellow Army Sports Institute-trainee B Dhiraj (Andhra Pradesh), and Paras Hooda won the boys Under-21 and Under-17 recurve golds to lift Haryana to the top of the medals charts in the archery competition in the Khelo India Youth Games 2019 at the Army Sports Institute here today.
 
Haryana finished with a total of seven medals, including two silver and three bronze. The 13-year-old Paras Hooda, who got to pick up a bow only a year and a half ago, showed mental toughness to come back from 2-4 down to beat team-mate Rahul by winning the last two sets. Son of a Rohtak school principal, he is drawn and driven by archery.
 
Sachin Gupta took to the sport when in a Gurugram school because he thought archery was unique. He moved into paying guest accommodation near Delhi’s Yamuna Vihar Sports Complex to train with coaches Lokesh and Ravinder. He was picked by ASI scouts a year and a half ago and hopes to draw from his seniors in the Indian side to help recurve archery regain lost ground.
 
Maharashtra’s Sakshi Shitole and Isha Ketan Pawar, both trainees of coach Ranjit Chamle at the Archers Academy in Pune, won the girls Under-21 recurve and girls Under-17 compound gold medals to help the home state take the second spot with four medals, including a silver and a bronze.
 
Daughter of a farmer who also has a furniture shop, 18-year-old Sakshi has trained her sights on the Olympic Games. “I was confident that I would win gold here, having beaten each girl in the competition sometime or the other. I did not shoot the qualification round as well as I wanted to but I know I could put that behind me,” she said.
 
Jharkhand’s Anita Kumari scored a thrilling one-point victory over Asian Games silver medallist Muskan Kirar (Madhya Pradesh) in the girls Under-21 compound final. Muskan was still dealing with shoulder muscle spasms and showed stomach for a battle. With Komolika Bari taking gold ahead of team-mate Shaniya Sharma, Jharkhand finished with two gold and a silver.
 
Another Asian Games athlete, Punjab’s Sangampreet Singh (boys under-21 compound) and Delhi’s Ritik Chahal (boys under-17 compound) were the other gold medal winners today as the curtains came down on the archery competition at KIYG 2019.
 
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Bengal’s Surabhi, Gujarat’s Manush emerge singles champions in U-21 Table Tennis

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Surabhi Patwari of West Bengal and Manush Shah of Gujarat emerged individual champions in the Under-21 section in Table Tennis at the Khelo India Youth Games, which came to an end on Sunday.
 
In an all-West Bengal starrer, the U-21 girls’ singles final went down to the wire as Surbhi Patwari and Kaushani Nath showing exceptional skills.  The match was interestingly poised at three sets all, and the decider turned out to be a cracker. Surabhi and Kaushani were locked in a neck-and-neck battle with Surabhi finally overpowering Kaushani 16-14 in the decider to take the gold by a 4-3 margin.
 
Prapti Sen (WB) and Shrushti Helengadi (MH) were awarded the bronze.
 
Gujarat’s Manush Shah faced stiff competition from Anirban Ghosh (WB) in the U-21 boys singles final. The battle between the left-handed Shah and the right-handed Ghosh reached its zenith in the third game where Anirban had the last laugh winning 12-10.
 
Here too the match went down to the decider after six games, but Anirban was left stranded in the final set and lost 4-11.
 
Ronit Bhanja (WB) and Parth Virmani (Del) took the bronze.
 
West Bengal and Maharashtra emerged overall winners for the U-21 and U-17 categories in Table Tennis. Gujarat and Maharashtra finished second and third in the U-21 category, while Madhya Pradesh were second and Delhi and Bengal shared third place in the U 17 category in the overall race.
 
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Mizoram Boys, Manipur Girls win U-21 football titles in penalty shootouts

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Northeastern neighbours Mizoram Boys and Manipur Girls annexed Under-21 football gold medals recording dramatic identical 4-3 penalty shootout victories in the Khelo India Youth Games here.
 
Mizoram Boys beat Kerala and Manipur Girls beat Tamil Nadu to claim the gold in their respective categories at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex on Saturday.
 
The Mizo boys had the better of exchanges, but were unable to convert that into goals. They did exhibit a lot of aggression but were made to wait for the penalty shootouts to beat their rivals after the matches ended goalless in the regulation period.
 
But their penalty takers served them well. In the shootout, Mizoram’s scorers were Lalmawizuala, Lalmuanawma, Vanlalnghenga and Lalnunzama, while Fahad Aliyar, Arjun Kaladharan and Gokul scored for Kerala.
 
In the Girls U-21 final, Th. Babysana Devi, Sultana, W. Rajnibala Devi, and H. Daya Devi  converted their kicks for Manipur, while Kowsalya Siva Samy, Karthika and Pavithra found the target for Tamil Nadu.
 
Earlier, in the Boys Under-17 final, Karnataka, despite dominating the proceedings most of the time, had to wait for the penalty shootout to put it across Punjab 4-2 after the teams were tied 1-1 at the end of regulation time.
 
In the match for the third place, Aman Khanna’s brace enabled Maharashtra to beat a spirited Kerala 2-1 to claim the Under-17 bronze medal.
 
In the Girls Under-17 final,Jharkhand outpaced Odisha 2-1 to win the Girls U-17 Football title while Manipur ousted Kerala 2-0 to bag the bronze.
 
The Karnataka Boys Under-17 team played a dominating game against Punjab in the final but their strikers could not convert the chances that came their way. Karnataka surged ahead through Uzen Chhojzang who capitalised on the defensive lapses and shot home a fine goal (1-0) in the 13th minute.
 
After taking the lead, Karnataka piled up more pressure on Punjab but could not increase the lead due to the poor finishing.
 
However, 19 minutes into the second session, Punjab launched a counter offensive against the run of play. That earned them a penalty and S. Lotjem made no mistake in converting the spot kick to draw parity (1-1). There were no more goals.
 
After that the teams failed to break the deadlock leading to the penalty shootout in which Karnataka emerged triumphant.
 
For Karnataka, C S Khwairakpam, Chanambam R.Singh, Sumit Kumar Puran and Alfred Lal Routsang converted their spot kicks.
 
For Punjab, only Mangal Ram and S.Lotjem could find the target while M. Singhson and Akash M  failed to beat the goalkeeper.
 
For the third place, Aman Khanna scored in the 30th and 76th minutes to help Maharashtra beat Kerala 2-1. Anandhu N reduced the margin for the losers in the 81st minute.
 
In Girls (U-17) final, Jharkhand were put ahead by Sunita in the 12th minute and then Salina made it 2-0 in the 63rd minute. Sarita reduced the gap for the losers, Odisha.
 
Manipur beat Kerala 2-0 for the third place. Usham (37th) and N. Priyangka Devi (44th) were the goal getters for the winners.
 
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KIYG: Maharashtra amass 228 medals including 85 gold to take overall trophy

Hosts Maharashtra walked away with the Overall Trophy for the Khelo India Youth Games, which came to a close here today, as they amassed a mammoth 85 gold, along with 62 silver and 81 bronze for a total of 228 medals.
 
Their sportspersons and officials received the glittering trophy from Mr. Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister for Human Resource Development, and Mr. Vinod Tawde, Minister of Sports and Youth Welfare, Maharashtra, amidst loud cheers at the closing ceremony held at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex.
 
Speaking at the ceremony, Mr Javadekar said the performances of the athletes at the Games had underlined the Prime Minister’s idea of “5 minute aur” for sports and also added that the government was determined to bring in a compulsory one-hour daily period for sports in every school across the country. The idea was greeted with huge cheers and applause.
 
Mr. Tawde said that he wanted not just five minutes, but 50 minutes and encouraged all the sportspersons.
 
Maharashtra finished ahead of Khelo India School Games 2018 champions, Haryana, who were second with 62 gold, 56 silver and 60 bronze for a total of 178 medals, while Delhi were third with 48 gold, 37 silver and 51 bronze for a total of 136 medals.
 
With sportspersons gathered around at the jam-packed Badminton Hall at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Ms. Neelam Kapur, Director General of the Sports Authority, welcomed the dignitaries.
 
Ms Kapur pointed out in her vote of thanks that it was the tremendous efforts of the Maharashtra Government and the hundreds of volunteers that had made the Games so successful. “KIYG 2019 had an approximate participation of 10,000 which comprised more than 5,925 athletes, 1,096 support staff, 893 technical officials, 36 chef-de-missions, 1010 volunteers and 1,500 officials.”
 
“This was almost double in comparison to the approximate 5.500 at the KISG 2018,” she added.
 
On the final day, 15 gold medals were at stake and of them eight were in archery, where hosts Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Haryana picked two each while Delhi and Punjab got one each.
 
Haryana asserted themselves in hockey, winning the girls Under-21 final to take their third gold in hockey from four finals, while Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala won gold each in volleyball. Manush Shah of Gujarat emerged the singles champion in Under-21 table tennis, while Saubhi Patwari of West Bengal won the Girls Under-21 singles.
 
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